Friday, March 30, 2012

3 months

I have been quiet. Can you believe we have been hit with yet another bug? And the free time I do get, I struggle to keep up with the regular stuff. Ahh! But it's ok. Warmer weather's trying to stay, school's about done, and maybe with some extra tax money I can have someone come in for a deep, germ-cleaning fest. ;)

When I have time to think, I find it hard to believe that it has been three months since Miss Z's birth! Like her siblings, she loves to eat so that can be tiring (physically), but she sure is a cutie. She loves to watch faces and interact with lots of coos, bubbles, and laughs now. Her pretty blues are still around, and hopefully to stay like her sister's. I have no idea how big she is now but she definitely is growing!

Enjoy a few snapshots:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blast-Off to the Moon!

We sure are enjoying science here this year, using Jeannie Fulbright's Exploring Creation with Astronomy. One of things I like best is how it flows. Each lesson takes us approximately two weeks. The first week we ease into the lesson with a bit of reading each day (I also find supplemental books at the library for the kids to look at or for me to read if they desire). After reading, the boys work on their lapbook for the lesson. Then, the following week, the fun really peaks with hands-on activities. I try to keep these activities simple, easy for me, and cheap.  And so far, the kids have loved it!

Recently we wrapped up our lesson on the moon. Skipper was certainly inspired to become an astronaut after this lesson!

We worked together and made a moon viewer:

On clear nights, the boys check out what phase the moon is in and mark it on their charts. On cloudy nights, we use our wall clock which also shows the moon phase. (We also used the Internet to fill in gaps on those days I was sick.) The boys are charting the month for one cycle and they are just about done.

All the kids joined in on making a 2D moon art project. The kids traced around an upside-down bowl to form a circle on dark card stock. I mixed some flour in with some gesso (white paint would be fine) and they painted in their moons. Using a plastic bottle lid, they formed craters. Once dry, golden stars were added.

Miss Bear's.



While visiting my parents, we also found my old telescope and are eagerly awaiting a clear night when the kids can stay up and check out the moon and stars. The book suggested making your own telescope but this is much easier!

One Sweet Sunday the boys attempted making a "chart" of the moon's cycle using Kinnitoos gluten-free chocolate cookies (think Oreos) but it did not really work. The cream did not come clean like it does with Oreos. But it was still fun and yummy!

Two additional activities I came across but did not do are: a moon flip book of the moon's phases (more of an art project) and why the moon stays in orbit around the earth.

Now, it's off to Mars!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rediscovering Lent

We are in the midst of rediscovering Lent here. Throw in a drawn-out, yucky illness and apparently all things Lent go out the door (ok, ALL things this time around!). Perhaps my "penance" was the misery of illness. Still, I hate when I lose track and then the kids get off track. I am just now getting my voice back so we can proceed with Scripture reading and our Jesus tree as well as our sacrifice/good deeds jar.

One thing being so sick shoved in my face, aside from how much stuff we have, is how so very weak I am - both physically and spiritually. Physically, I am reminded that our life is but a breath; that one day I will not be so young. Spiritually, how easy it is to "forget" about prayer, to forget about my thanksgivings, to lose sight of my ultimate goal in life - heaven. But here I am, blessed to be reminded of all that, and given a chance to start anew.

What a wonderful, loving, merciful God we have!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Show Must Go On

Hello Blog World! I feel like I have been away a long time. Indeed, I have much to catch up on! Illness caught hold of our house and is taking its sweet time letting go. Thankfully Skipper and Critter seem to be healthy again with only a remnant of a cough. Miss Z seems to be handling it well. And Miss Bear is doing much better now that she is on an antibiotic (for an ear infection). Unfortunately I had the worst of it. I thought it was all over after last week but it was not to be. I even had a middle of the night trip to the ER (you know it's bad if you have to wake all the kids so you can get help). Hopefully, though, I am now on the upswing and can get and stay healthy.

Needless to say, not much has gone on around here. I'm sure the kids are learning something - at least from the school of life. Skipper did try to teach Critter how to read one day (that would have been amazing, right?):

Miss Bear happily played away (she loves role playing with little figurines and always cries out, "Help! Help!"):

And Skipper was right on when he said, "Babies are so cute because they're so little."

Miss Z's starting to coo, make raspberries, and giggle at times as well as trying to sit up (not a fan of lying down!). She's such a happy baby - as long as I hold her or interact with her. I keep telling myself this only lasts a short time so try to enjoy it. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

From Saint Patrick's Breastplate

Christ be with me
Christ before me
Christ behind me
Christ in me
Christ beneath me
Christ above me
Christ on my right
Christ on my left
Christ where I lie
Christ where I sit
Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man
who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of every man
who speaks of me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me
Salvation is of the Lord.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

We have a 7 year old!

Illness still reigns but I wanted to put up a quick picture and happy birthday wishes for my oldest, who turns 7 today!!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Before Picture

This is a little off topic for me for my blog, but I figured the more public I am about it, maybe the more committed I would be. You know?

My brother is a Team Beachbody coach. Have you heard of this? If you google it, all you will find are reviews from people selling the stuff. For a long time I was able to dodge his sales techniques because the challenges consisted of doing the workouts + drinking a shake, which contained dairy, that I cannot have. Note: I do love my brother, just not the over-the-top enthusiasm for Beachbody and Shakeology. Fast forward to January 2012 and guess what? The company finally developed a vegan shake without soy. Awesome. Now I am stuck. But luckily for my brother, I was stuck between his high enthusiasm and my "ugh, I cannot believe this is my body anymore!"

So I decided to sign up for a challenge - which by the way is 90 days, not the 30 I thought I signed up for! For me, this means I drink a shake in the morning, which actually is a good thing for me as breakfast has been the hardest for me to get post-baby. And, it actually is very good. The vegan flavor tastes mostly like strawberry. It has a slight thickness to it which is easily remedied if you make the shake thicker (though it is not bad if thin either). I have tried it with plain, unsweetened coconut milk as well as chocolate coconut milk - both good. Shakeology is supposed to be full of good-for-you-stuff, low calorie, high protein, yada, yada, yada. I am sure it is highly overpriced but to be fair, any vegan shake will be and good luck finding one without soy. I know it's out there but seriously, I have no energy to do the research right now! And, I also do not plan on the shakes being long-term.

The other part of the challenge is the workouts. You have a bunch to choose from via Beachbody. Most are long and extremely difficult (for me anyway - it tires me out just looking at them working out!). I chose instead to do the 10 minute Trainers. I can - and I have - fit in ten minutes of workouts, and they do work me out. Once I start getting more in shape - yes! - I can add the bands for a harder workout. In the 10 minute package you have 10 minutes of each: cardio, yoga, total body, lower body, abs. Personally, I love the cardio. It gets my heart pumping and it works me. My only wish is that it came with more than one 10 minute cardio. That one routine is going to get old fast.

With the challenge I am part of a group, and since I know a majority of the people, it is nice and we help each other by telling others that we worked out for the day, what we are having trouble with, etc. This is a very nice part of any plan - the support of others.

The worst part, for now anyway? The before pictures. You have to take them as part of the challenge. I jokingly told my husband that you always see the before pictures and the people slump, stick out their belly, look drawn and haggard, etc. and that I was going to be "all sparkly" for mine - great posture, makeup, and so forth. That is, until I went to take the picture! It really is horrible, and while I know I am out of shape (and not just you had a baby out of shape), the pictures really were awful! I guess that's my motivation to keep at it!

I'll have to post a "real" review on Beachbody and Shakeology post-challenge. And this truly turned into a long, rambling post. I am still reeling from an awful cold that laid me flat yesterday. So if you stuck with me, wow, that is amazing! :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

State Study: Alabama

Slowly, slowly, getting back into a planned school schedule and catching up on some backwork. Today I helped Skipper with his next state to go into his scrapbook: Alabama. He also did a little exercise in a state workbook (contains handwriting practice, dot-to-dot, activity, and fact for each state).

Because Alabama was home to the scientists who built rockets to put the first man on the moon, Skipper and Critter made these far-out sparkle space artwork. They actually did this way back in December, pre-baby, and they have been hanging on our walls since. For full directions, check out Deep Space Sparkle's site for Rocket and Space Art Collage for Kids. Great site by the way!

On Alabama's coin I saw Helen Keller so that led to a talk about being blind. (We didn't get into being deaf - Skipper was still stuck on being blind). We read a bit here on PBS and made a message in Braille (I love you!). I added some glue dots as they suggested so the kids could feel how it would be to "read."

Skipper may have had some fun pretending to be blind (he was supposed to find the bathroom), but he was definitely sure he would not want to be that way permanently! This ended up being a nice little impromptu lesson!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Lost Week of Lent

Somewhere behind me is a lost week. A lost week of Lent. And I'm just now resurfacing. We kept with the kids' daily Lenten activities with a few misses but mine were very easily sidetracked (what does that say about me?). I sure could tell a difference as I was just a mite grumpy come week's end.

So where did the week go? School... to a clingy, cranky Miss Z... to a sick Skipper who is still feeling it days later... to the sinkhole that is my house (ah, how badly I need clean and clutter-free!)... to never-ending hungry stomachs...

Ok, pity party over and done. Off to a new week. With renewed energy and spirit. With calmness, patience. I sure pray it so anyway!

A few pictures just because...

Playing with "oobleck" last week for Dr. Seuss. To celebrate, we always read of course but then we get a little crazy with oobleck (cornstarch and water), creating wacky characters from odds and ends, and strange food. Because of illness, we didn't make it past the oobleck.

And sleeping babies, no matter what size!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Exploring Earth

Next stop on our Astronomy path was Earth. After reading the lesson from Jeannie Fulbright's Exploring Creation with Astronomy, we did a little hands-on Earth exploration.

What do you call that? Oh yeah, gravity! Super simple. All you need is a ball and a willing child. Throw the ball up and watch it come down. What makes it do that? Gravity!

Watching the Earth spin? Cool! My picture was taken during the day, but you need to do this at night, when the stars are visible. Tape a piece of paper to a window. Sketch in the horizon line. Mark a prominent star. Wait an hour or so. Come back and mark the new position of that same star. See, the Earth is spinning! (Idea taken from You'd Never Believe it but... There's a Great Bear in the Sky and Other Facts About Stars by Helen Taylor - a very fun book for pre-k to early elementary years).

Make your own homemade compass using a plastic lid, cork, needle, and magnet. Honestly, not so much fun. Yeah, the needle moved but you had to keep "charging" it up and it wasn't moveable so where's the fun in that?

As an unexpected bonus, we ran across the book, The Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole at the library. Skipper really enjoys the Magic School Bus books. Personally, I feel like I am all over the place when I read it. I have learned to read the text and only add in some of the extras and quotes if it flows naturally with text (I scan it quickly as I read the other text). Another way to read the books would be to read the text only in one reading and go back slowly, filling in with the extras and looking at the pictures more closely. Maybe I will try that next time. This particular book only had a little bit on the Earth's layers. Mainly it dealt with the crust and the types of rocks you find there. Still, it was informative, and definitely had Skipper wondering if you could actually take a trip to the center of the Earth (you cannot, you know, just in case you were wondering!).

Right now we are visiting the moon and are looking forward to some hands-on fun next week! By the way, last night was a beautiful night to take a peek at some constellations as well as three planets in the sky: Venus, Jupiter, and Mars. Very cool!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Crazy Walk

As an introduction to our spring (or soon-to-be) study of geography, the kids along with a few tag-a-longs went on a "crazy walk." It was simple, and based on an idea I saw years ago, that I think came from Family Fun magazine. I took one of our large foam dice, wrapped some painter's tape around it (for easy removal), and added some directional arrows.

Then we headed outdoors and took a walk around the neighborhood. The catch? At each possible intersection, one of the kids rolled the die and we had to go in that direction, resulting in a lot of backtracking and walking in crazy circles. It was a lot of fun!

I used this idea of no direction the next day when we started in with Beginning Geography and talked about what a map is. It is a workbook type of thing, but geography mostly is, right? The boys loved it, and I was able to change it up a little to include Critter. I think this will be a fun addition to our spring studies.