Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Hannah Chronology

Hannah in utero :) 24-ish weeks

Newborn..the day she came home from the hospital.  This was the pic used for her birth announcement.

3 months...just when she started looking like the Michelin Man ;)

1 year

2 years

3 years

4 years

5 years

6 years

If you have never felt anything but sheer joy from this girl, then I have no words for you.

The end.

Free eBook: 31 Days to Clean--Today only!

Being a homemaker the day to day tasks can become pretty mundane, and it's hard to ever say I enjoy cleaning. :-/ Of course the end result is always a pleasure, but having the right heart is always important.  I am really looking forward to reading this book.  I know how to clean--it's just a matter of finding contentment and joy in this part of the job that God has called me to do.

Click here to find out how to do get your free copy! :-D

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy (belated) Easter!

I trust everyone had a blessed Easter!  We sure did. We took Hannah to the Easter play at church last weekend.  I was a bit nervous at first, because I thought she would be scared when Jesus died.  She did cover her eyes, but it was awesome seeing how excited she got when He rose again.  She has heard the story of Jesus many times, but it's important for her to actually see it.  Autumn played in the preschool dept while we were watching the play, but I look forward to when she starts to understand the gospel as well. :) 

Week in Review #27: The Countdown Begins!

 Is it too late to start a countdown until the last day of school?  ;)  Well, we have a mere 33 days! That's counting weekends since there are some Saturdays when the school mood strikes.

Monday was perfect zoo weather!  Peyton the Polar Bear got to be reunited Hannah while swimming. :) We can never get enough of those bears!  While Ryan was off Tuesday we did some unexpected spring cleaning, mostly in the the kids' room and the school room.  We purged a lot of toys and packed up clothes the girls have outgrown.  The trunk of Ryan's car filled quickly with stuff for the Goodwill!  There were no church activites on Wednesday because of Holy Week (a bit ironic, isn't it?). 
The girls watching Peyton
go for a dip
The books read this week were "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Are You My Mother?" Flipping through Hannah's phonics book I saw that the last few lessons include the ow/ou sounds and the sight words 'should', 'would', and 'could'.  Hannah's already learned those from reading actual books! Sheer awesomeness!

I started writing out the field trips we've done this year.  I'll put down the name of the place and underneath that I'll put the dates.  I'm up to 15 and I'm not even done yet! It's going to be a bit of a pain since I just recently got the idea to do this so I'm going to have go to go through the blog and see when we went to the library and the zoo. :-/
Until I was going through all my pics I did not realize I had
taken this! Love it!

Hannah is 6!!

As of yesterday morning at 3:34 AM, Hannah Jo Caulfield is 6 years old! Hard to believe since I myself remember being six. At my own birthday party we did make up, which I remember very well. :) Ryan and I took the girls to the zoo on Saturday and had presents and cake at home. A very simple celebration, but we are also celebrating with family this weekend in Clarksville. Hannah is requesting a polar bear cake this time.  She already had a panda cake last year, so at least I can use the same cake pan. :)

Some pics from Saturday:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Turtle Craft

The list is most likely endless when it comes to crafts using paper plates.  I got the idea for this turtle craft and the kids loved it!  You gotta love simple crafts that don't list materials you've never heard of! Only five materials are needed here: glue (or tape, which worked better for us), scissors, foam sheets, paper plates, and googly eyes.  Half the time I usually give the girls a bunch of embellishments, stickers, and paper and just let them create crazy pictures.  I liked the planned out route. ;)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Worthwhile Day

This day just flew by! First the library for an Easter egg hunt and then grocery shopping (with the girls since Ryan had to go to work).  I was so proud of the girls for behaving, considering they were probably starving from not having lunch yet. We didn't get home until 1:30. Even though I had the kids with me, I was still able to get some good deals!

1 - Wheat Thin Stix
2 - Ronzoni Healthy Harvest spaghetti
2 - Ronzoni Smart Taste spaghetti
2 - Ronzoni Garden Delight spaghetti
3 - Pillsbury biscuits, 5 ct. each
1 - Hunt's ketchup
1 - Banquet chicken nuggets
1 - Oscar Mayer turkey bacon
1 - Perdue Short Cuts chicken breasts
1 - International Delight coffee creamer
1 - Dannon Dan-o-nino yogurt, 6 pk

Retail: $38.36 +tax
Paid: $14.19 +tax

The retail and what I paid are always somewhat similar. I do not plan that in anyway! It's just weird. :-/ Then again I'm not complaining about 64% in savings!

What really helped me was a couple items were marked down because they were a few days from expiration. Not to worry since they are items (such as the biscuits) that will definitely not go to waste. :)

On the subject of couponing, I have finally getting a chance to watch Extreme Couponing.  I saw the first special and was naturally amazed. Although some people are just obnoxious about the whole thing. 60 bottles of mustard? Come on. I'm sure other people would like some mustard, too. :-p  I really admired the mother of 7 who paid $6 for $555 worth of groceries.  Even all her kids helped her out. Good stuff.

Okay, I will end this with something more interesting and that is pictures of the girls at this morning's egg hunt:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Workin' at the Car Wash!

The girls assisted Ryan with washing his car yesterday.  They had more fun playing in all the suds than anything of course!  Bath time came immediately after!

Excited for more bubbles!

Too excited to actual wash the car :)

Keeps going back for more!

Hannah was an awesome help!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spin USA Giveaway!

Confessions of a Homeschooler is having another great giveaway, this time for a game called Spin USA. A great way to learn all about our 50 states and capitals!  Visit the link to see how to enter!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Week in Review #26: "Real" Books

Ryan took the girls to the zoo on Tuesday while I was stuck
at the dentist have a cavity filled...hooray for me. :P
Since Hannah is so far through her phonics book I figured she could handle some "real" books (such as Dr. Seuss).  Well, she actually took it upon herself one day during quiet time.  I give her all the credit! :)  At the beginning of this week she had already read "Go Dog Go!" and "Green Eggs and Ham".  Throughout the week she read "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" (definitely not my favorite Dr. Seuss, hopefully a lot of you can agree). I'm planning on incorporating more actual books for next year along with this thick phonics workbook called Reader Rabbit that's a lot of review and reinforcement of the phonics rules.

Autumn loves doing her puzzles during school time--or "puzz" as she calls them. :) As soon as she got up the other morning she asked, "do my puzz?" For next year I definitely need to get on the ball on more fun things for her during school time.

Speaking of next year, I have decided that no matter what our school year will end May 28th!! I'm sure we won't be done with the phonics book by then, but we should only have a few lessons left. I'm sure I can just roll that right over to first grade. :) Everything else should be no problem.  We will take June off and start first grade in July!!! I'm so excited!!!

I'd really like to do something special for Hannah for doing so well through the year and being that this was our first year homeschooling. Any ideas?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ni Hao!

That's "hello" in Chinese (pronounced "nee how"), and the only reason I know that is from a Nick Jr. show called "Ni Hao, Kailan!" Think of it as Dora but in Chinese. It's quite cute.  Despite having seen both shows, Hannah seemed to only be aware of Spanish as a different language from her own.  Saturday night we met Ryan for his dinner break at a Chinese restaurant.  After the woman behind the counter took our order, she started speaking Chinese to another woman behind her.  "Why is she speaking Spanish?", Hannah inquired.  I hate to admit that this question was slightly amusing since Chinese and Spanish sound nothing alike! Of course we corrected her, and the woman just laughed. :) This was just one of many moments that easily happen throughout the day that provides a teaching opportunity for us and both our girls.  Sometimes parents just aren't in the mood to get into details when the opportunity presents itself (believe me, I've been there too!), but it's real life moments that teach just as much if not more than traditional school work.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Week in Review #25: Mundane is never a bad thing!

Aside from our adventure on Monday, the rest of the week was unexciting yet productive.  We did the normal things--church, library, school.  We officially started subtraction and it has gone wonderfully! Counting money is still bit of a sore spot, so we're just going slow with that.  Autumn loves working her ABC and number puzzles during school.  I try to make them specifically for school time, and I feel bad when she asks to play them ony other time. We need to get a few more of those things.  I wish Melissa and Doug stuff was a bit cheaper. We were just lucky to find these on clearance!

Early in the week we officially finished our bear unit and made a book of all the species of bears Hannah learned about. She was soooooo proud of it! :) The last section in her geography book is about animals of different continents, so I thought we could make similar books for each continent.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I love routine!

The older I get the more I'm realizing that almost nothing can be planned no matter how hard we try.  Even something as small as a daily routine is better off to just fall together by itself. Here is a look at a normal day of our lives.  This schedule is just what would most likely happen if we didn't have anywhere to go that day (which might happen 2 days out of 7!).

7AM - Kids get up (and in turn wake us) and have breakfast (the kids have been known to pick cereal over pancakes).  Coffee is started immediately!

8:30 - By this time the Today show gets boring so the kids watch Nick Jr. for an hour.

9 - snack

9:30 - play doh or craft

11 - lunch

12PM - quiet time...sometimes I get a sweet surprise and one (usually Autumn) takes a nap. :)

1:30 - Ryan leaves for work

2-3 - School! We usually do at least three subjects--reading, math, and whatever Hannah choose unless there is something in particular we have not done for a while.  Autumn now has her special school time puzzles and what not, so that works out very well.

3-4 - play outside depending on the weather

4-5 - a little more Nick Jr. while I figure out what to serve for dinner

5 - dinner

5:30 - baths after which the girls will play in their room while I watch some news.

7:30-8 - We have a Bible devotional, stories, and bed. The girls go to bed within a half-hour  of each other usually.

8-11 -  I enjoy time by my lonesome, whether it's surfing the net, some housework, watching TV, or preparing something for school.

11 - Ryan gets home from work and we chat about the happenings of our evening while getting ready to go to sleep.

12-12:30 - we go to sleep only to get up the next morning to do it all over again! :-D 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stretching on a Road Trip

Stretching your legs every so often on a road trip is very important, but sometimes we need a little extra help. :) The following pictures should be very helpful in ways you can extend the limbs of your children before their time. 

Let's start with arms, shall we?

Please keep in mind that dislocated shoulders and elbows are a no-no, so maintain control!

Moving on to legs...

Disclaimer: The kids thought this was all hilarious and we had a great time. Although this may not have been safest thing considering Hannah is lanky enough and Autumn is well on her way! ;)

Stores are catching on :P

Word around the couponing community is that Kroger is changing its coupon policy to where you can't "stack" coupons such as using both an ecoupon with a paper coupon. Boo! How do you think I have six boxes of cereal stacked in the cupboard plus all the mac and cheese and instant potatoes? It is in fact the truth since I was not able to use some of my coupons this morning when I went grocery shopping ($7.60 lost to be exact!), but some of them went through along with the ecoupon. Quite a little conundrum we have here. Moving on...

Despite recent changes, I think I did pretty good this morning when I did our "big" grocery shopping for the week.

6-Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers (Ryan had already taken one to work when I took the picture :-p)
2-Fleischmann's olive oil spead, 2-pack
1-dozen eggs, Kroger brand
1-Egg Beaters
1-Oscar Mayer Deli Select combo
2-Oscar Mayer Carving Board lunch meat
1-Formula 409 multi-purpose cleaner
1-Lysol bathroom cleaner
1-Fantastik multi-purpose cleaner

Retail: $52.70 +tax
Paid: $21.89 +tax

Monday, April 4, 2011

Caught in the Rain

Seems that going to the zoo on Mondays is becoming a tradition.  The weather looked a bit iffy this morning, but we decided to take a chance anyway.  We saw the sea lions do some tricks and even balance a ball on their nose! Very cool! There was an announcement over the PA system that there was a severe thunderstorm warning in the area, so we took that as a signal for us to leave. :) Our intention then was to head to Cici's for lunch, but we heard the tornado sirens going off.  Yeeeaaah...we thought home would probably be the best place for us.  Driving toward the interstate the wind and rain were so bad we could barely see 10 feet in front of us! Ryan quickly into Arby's, and we all ran as fast as we could to the door (looking a bunch of lunatics I imagine).  We all still got soaked.  The kids seemed to get the worst of it.  Since their hair is so fine they looked more wet than they really were. :-p By the time we finished lunch the rain calmed down quite a bit, and we were able to make it home unscathed. We are definitely homebound the rest of the day which is awesome. No better place to be in this type of weather!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Another Awesome Giveaway!

There is another awesome giveaway from Confessions of a Homeschooler!  This time it's Expedition Earth: A Journey Through God's World.  This geography curriculum is designed primarily for grades K-3, and they will journey through 31 different countries with different activities, crafts, recipes, and more! Again, even if you don't win the giveaway the price is just right: $15 for instant download and $20 for a CD. 

Hop on over to the blog for your chance to win! :-D

Since my opinion is so valuable...

I have conducted (between myself and my brain) some reviews of various places where we slept/ate/wandered around looking at stuff while we were in Gatlinburg.  We drove through Pigeon Forge before getting to Gatlinburg, and all I could think was "Holy Cheesy Attraction, Batman!"  With some things you can only pray you are getting your money's worth since everything is so expensive being a tourist city and all.  I am happy to report that there was nothing we saw that was horrific and made us feel cheated out of our money.

One star is terrible, five stars is awesome

All images are from a Google search and are not personally mine.

Sidney James Mountain Lodge ****

It took us forever to find the place but once we did we realize it was in pretty good walking distance from the main strip.  Perfect!  Due to a reservation mix up they offered to upgrade our room which was great! The only thing I would not recommend is the breakfast.  The free continental breakfast was kinda pathetic.  I just say skip that and go out to one of the many, many pancake houses they have! We never ran into a bad one, and prices were not bad!

Ripley's Aquarium ***

Very kid-friendly and pretty cool going through the tunnel where the sharks were, but fish can only be so interesting.  That's just my opinion.  There are some who just loooove aquariums, but I would not put this is one of the top "must sees" of Gatlinburg.

If you guess where this is from you get
a cookie!
 Hollywood Star Cars Museum ****

Admission is $10 each, and this is actually a pretty interesting attraction.  All the automobiles were actually used in the specified movies and TV shows such Bumblebee, General Lee, and Kitt.  I found the 1961 police car from Andy Griffith pretty interesting myself. :) This is definitely worth checking out! I'd give 5 stars if we were allowed to sit in the cars for pictures. :-p

Bubba Gump Shrimp ***

Great food and loved all the oldies music playing! The tables were a bit overdecorated with odds and ends w
hich didn't leave very much room to eat.  Prices were a bit extreme for the amount of food they give you, but the service was great.  The servers will do Forrest Gump trivia with you, which was fun. 
Hard Rock Cafe ****

Obviously everyone who does not live with their head in the sand knows what the Hard Rock is. This was the first time I had ever been to one! Definitely a place for those who are into all aspects of music and rock history (they had a handwritten letter from Paul McCartney!)  If you are looking for a nice quiet meal this would not be the place. :-p We had awesome service and the food was great.  The bartender messed up on Ryan's drink, and they were totally cool about it.  We don't like making a fuss and being "those" types of customers, but you have to figure this is your money you're giving them.

Sky Lift ***

The view was awesome, and I really wanted one of those pictures they take of you when you get to the top.  Unfortunately, it was so foggy that's all you couldn't see the view behind us. :( You can't help but be a tad nervous as you're traveling over a river and busy street several feet in the air.  If you have any problem with heights this is not recommended.  I'm hoping to someday get a picture with pretty fall colors behind us. :) 
Guiness Book of World Records *

Admission was only $10 a person (we got 50%! Military discount!), but I would say take that money and invest in the book.  Look at it with your friends and it will be a better time than this museum.  Don't know why you would refer to it as a museum since there were no actual artifacts.  Just a bunch of pictures and exhibits looking like they were put together by a bunch of middle school students. I just wasn't impressed, but I guess it's something to do if you have to kill some time.

Titanic Museum *****

Go! Now! This was the most we paid for any attraction, but it was soooooo worth it! You know most people have some sort of fascination with the Titanic, and this is a great way to learn more about it! The recreation of different parts of the ship (3rd class rooms, The Grand Staircase!) were amazing! You were also able to go out onto the "deck" and feel the 28 degree water, which was how cold is was when the ship went down. Wow, and that was cold! I can't even begin to describe how amazing this was! Makes me want to go back just writing about it! The only complaint is that they don't allow photos or video inside due to copyright. :( Bum deal.  

WonderWorks ***

Just the sight of this building was pretty cool! I was unsure of what it actually was, but it's pretty much interactive museum.  Very kid-friendly.  I think one of the few times I wished the kids were with us. ;) Since we went during the weekend it was very crowded and we stood in line more than actually checking out the exhibits.  This is worth going to definitely, but more so during the week.

Tony Roma's ****

It's in walking distance from WonderWorks, so it was perfect for lunch! The food, atmosphere, and service was great!  Another chain restaurant I had never been to! :-p Prices were a bit high, but I suppose that's not a huge surprise.

If there's one thing I learned while in Gatlinburg it was always ask if they have military discount! We got some awesome deals!!


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