Friday, December 26, 2008


We try very hard to spend as much time with our kids as possible. We are not those parents that try to get rid of their kids at every opportunity. Of course, we like date night as much as the next guy. But we try to spend time with them to let them know that they are loved, and the world can be a great place. So here's what we did tonight.

We had some left over prime rib that hubby's dad cooked yesterday for Christmas dinner. We sliced it thin, put it on some hoagie rolls, topped it with cheese, and popped it in the oven. Hubby and I added sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms to ours. And it was fantastic. After I was done I read the last Christmas story to them that we have. And then we decorated ginger bread men.

I had to stop at the grocery store this afternoon after the park and they had kits for 50% off. They only had four men in them, so hubby and I had to share. Which that actually was ok for me because hubby doesn't like ginger bread. Here are the pictures. Hubby did mine, and the kids did their own. And we had a blast. Then hubby beat us all at tennis on the Wii that we got for Christmas. He had some great competition, though. He didn't walk all over us like he did last night.

And the TV didn't get turned on until now. That is so nice.

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Traditions

What are some of your traditions during this time of year? Some of ours are from childhood, but a lot of them are from our time as a family. But they are traditons that hopefully mean something to our children and will be carried on.

Christmas Eve is when we open presents. When I was a child we always opened presents then. And when hubby and I spent our first Christmas together that was one of my first questions. He's an Eve, too. That was such a relief. I have a hard time waiting for Christmas Eve, much less Christmas Day.

Our first Christmas in our own place, we had a sad Charlie Brown tree. We paid $5 for it from a discount store. When we put it together we realized why it was so cheap. It was missing some of it's branches and what there was of them didn't spread out enough to cover the tree. A friend had given us a bunch of ornaments she no longer used so that helped. But the poor thing still needed some serious help. So we took all the cards we got and put them on the tree. It looked fantastic after that. It looked full and beautiful and you couldn't see the bald spots. That is something we still do to this day. All cards go on the tree even though we have a great tree now.

Our stockings are always filled by us. I'm not real sure where it came from, but that is something we have always done with our kids. Santa leaves a present, we fill the stockings. And the kids are alright with that. They actually look forward to what Mama and Papa have done.

And then there is the cookies. Our kids always put out chocolate chip cookies. I know, Santa usually prefers sugar, but that doesn't stop him from eating the chocolate chip ones. But he never cleans up after himself. He always leaves crumbs and a yucky milk glass. But that's alright, too. He always leaves presents wrapped in Santa paper.

All the presents he leaves have Santa on it, and I think that's really cool. But the really cool thing is that he uses ink that only Mama and Papa can see to put the names on the packages. The kids are so upset they can't see his writing. But that's a new one that started today ;).

I could go on and on, but that would take forever. I hope you have traditions that you enjoy. And I hope you all had a Merry Christmas.

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fun at the Park

The boy would be so angry if he knew I was doing this. But this is what has happened to him the last two Fridays at the park. The first one he ran into another boy and got smacked in the face. They were running at each other, not looking in front of them. The boy thought he could make it around his friend, but alas, he didn't. Black eye followed. And it got ugly for a couple of days. The second happened yesterday. A boy threw a stick at him and one of his friends. Guess who got the brunt of it? It is not pretty. But I butterflied him up and he seems to be doing fine. He went right back to playing. What's that saying? Oh, yeah, "Boys will be boys."

The pictures are backwards, but you still get the idea.

And for those of you who see my boy regularly, not a word. You are hereby sworn to secrecy!

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Lap Books Are Done

We finally got them finished. We all had a great time. The kids have asked that we do more. I'm really glad to hear that since I have some planned for our science next year. Yeah, I have science planned for next year. And the year after that because I am a freak that way. So here are the things we did and some pictures.

The first day we glued bookmarks on the front. They have John 3:17 printed on them and I was able to download them 4 to a page. That was good since we needed 4. I also printed these really cute mini books and we each wrote our favorite thing about Christmas. You cut it out, put it in order, and staple. Decide where you want it in your book, then glue. Then we colored pictures of the three wise men, and Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus. Cut, place, and glue.

Day two we put together a mini book that was the Christmas story. It is an 11 page mini story that you cut out, put in order, and staple. Then you place it and glue. We read the story together and talked about what Mary and Joseph went through to get to Bethlehem. We talked about the meaning of Advent. Then we wrote what advent means to us and glued it. It is a fold over. You lift the flap and the writing is in there. Then we copied a prophecy verse that told about the coming Savior. It is also a flap. You fold the top down to cover the bottom, place and glue. We had a list of verses and we each picked the one that meant the most to us. Even the baby did it. She didn't copy all of it, but she got a great start.

The third day we all picked our favorite Christmas carol out of 22 I downloaded. It has music and lyrics. We glued that to the back. Then we talked about the Advent candle and what each one means. We colored an Advent candle, fold, place and glue. Then we had a flap book that went on the front that is the history and lyrics to three different songs. The names of the three songs are at the bottom of each flap and you can flip to which ever song you want to look at. We read the history of each song and then sang two verses of each. The songs are "Mary Did You Know", "Angels We Have Heard on High". and "O, Holy Night". The last one is my favorite.

Today was day four and the last one. We colored a mini coloring book and put it together. You know the drill by now. Staple, place, and glue. Then we did a mini book that was a map. It was the journey of Mary and Joseph. That got placed and glued. We have a small flap that asks "Who is the light?" The kids wrote Jesus inside and glued that. Then the girls did a small book on Mary and the boy decided he wanted to do Joseph. I'm good with that. Then I let them fill the empty spots. We had a cut out nativity scene that we ended up not using. They cut out some of the people and animals from that and glued them onto their lap books. I did, too. There were a couple of spots that looked like they needed something.

We had a really good time. It was fun and it was work. We talked about the bible, the Christmas story, and what Jesus means to us. It was an awesome way to spend time with my kids and talk about some really important stuff. And once you know some basics, you can adapt it to anything. And if you have any questions, just ask. I couldn't get all the pictures posted, but hopefully you get the main idea.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Family Reading

One of the things that I like about Park Fridays and co-ops is that I get to talk to other homeschooling parents, usually moms, and get ideas that I really like. I also get to find out that my family is, are you ready, normal.

If we don't school one day and I happen to mention that, several moms inevitably say, "Neither did we!" I love that. It makes me feel so good. If someone mentions that their son would rather walk barefoot across broken glass while his hair is on fire than work on his handwriting, I just sigh and think, or say, "Mine, too." What a great thing it is to belong. To know that someone else has the same problems or dilemmas that I do, and that I am not alone.

One of my favorite things is hearing what other families are doing in their adventure called homeschooling. The park is a place to get new ideas. Or to get new ideas about an old concept. Or a new way to teach an old concept. But it is also a place to get fresh ideas for our families.

One of the best things you can do for your children, and for yourself I think, is to read out loud. It helps your brain learn and function in a different way than reading silently. Look it up, there's a study somewhere I'm sure. A friend of mine reads to her children while they are eating their lunch. They are reading "A Christmas Carol." So I have taken that idea and sort of spun it around and made it our own.

I read at the dinner table. Every night we sit together at the table. That is something that I can remember doing in my home when I was growing up. As my sister and I got older, that fell by the wayside. But I always remember that we could talk about our day and just be together. So that is something that is very important to hubby and me and our family. And after I'm done with my dinner, usually I'm the first, I read to the family. We just started late last week, but it has become something that we all enjoy.

The first book I read was "The Fright Before Christmas". It was a cute little story that had the character Bunnicula in it. If you don't know who Bunnicula is, he's a vampire rabbit. But don't worry, he only drains vegetables. Read some of his stuff if you haven't. He plays a minor role in this story. It is set in his household and is about how scared the new puppy is of Santa. The kids loved it, and there were even a couple of laugh out loud moments.

The next book we read was "A Christmas Tale" by Geronimo Stilton. We love his books. I have blogged about him before, but if you don't know, he's a mouse. He is the editor of a local newspaper and quite a good writer. All of his books are about his life. This one is about how Geronimo was going to have to spend Christmas alone. He was devastated. But his Christmas was saved. I won't tell you how, but it's a nice little surprise.

We are now reading a Little House Chapter Book. This one is "Christmas Stories". They are cute little stories based on the Little House on the Prairie series. I was hoping the big girl would start reading them, but they are not really her style I guess. So instead, I'm reading some out loud. We are enjoying it. It is something that the kids don't normally look at in the library, but they crowd me every night when they are done eating.

We are concentrating on Christmas right now. Tomorrow we go back to the library and pick out some new books. I have three that already have to go back. This has been a fantastic way to spend together as a family and I highly recommend it. Find a good book from your childhood to share, or find one that can be passed on to your children's children. Just read. Your kids will love it, and so will you.

Have a great day!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lap Books

I mentioned lap books on my other blog. We started a Christmas one, and the kids are loving it. They are fun and give you a more well rounded lesson, almost like a unit study. They are a unit study if you think about it. But here is the one that I completed. When we are done on Thursday, I will post the pictures of the kids'. Each one is a little different, because I didn't pick the file folders that had the same tabby. Next time.

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Alert

It was a great day today. This last week has just flown by. I think it was because we were so busy. So here's the update.

I got to go Christmas shopping today all by myself. It was so much fun. I love that part. My mother in law gave me the money to shop for her for our family pod and boy did I ever. We already had something for the boy, but I got to pick out the stuff for hubby and the girls. Hubby gets to shop for my stuff, hopefully tomorrow. But I might make him take a couple of the kids. Hubby had the kids at his parents house all day. And he's bringing home dinner. And a fresh out of the oven apple pie. So far my feelings are not hurt.

I went to a couple of big box stores, and even went to the mall. I found some pretty good deals and got the stuff everyone has been asking for. We have already purchased the gift for our family pod. And we only got one. But I think we will all enjoy it. I even got a couple of things that we need to complete the gift today. And the mall wasn't as packed as I though it was going to be.

As I was standing in line at Target, I spoke to a couple of really nice ladies. They were sisters and were very friendly. One of the sisters was buying all of the Christmas gifts for the other sister's kids. One sister was having a hard time financially because her husband had been laid off. He builds high rises and that industry has dried up around here. They have been living on unemployment and are two months behind on their mortgage. That is a hard story to hear. So many are without this season and some are even homeless. It definitely makes me grateful for what I have.

I got to come home and wrap everything. My mother in law offered to wrap it, but that is my second favorite part. I got to spend the rest of the afternoon playing with ribbons and bows and wrapping paper. It was so much fun. I love gift bags and tissue paper. I love my wrapping station that holds it all. And I loved having some time to myself. The tree looks so much better with presents.

Friday was park day. It was cold and windy, but that didn't stop alot of us from showing up. We were even one of the last two families there. We planned a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" coloring book exchange for next Friday. I love the fact that we can do things like that. And I love the fact that people participate. You can't do that in public school.

Thursday the boy had two teeth removed. He needs the room to let some of his teeth come in, and maybe straighten them out a little. He didn't have pemanent teeth removed, just baby teeth that weren't going to be loose for a long time. He got to be numb and everything. I always loved that part. The dentist said he was such a good boy. She said if the rest of her patients for the rest of the day were that good, it would be a banner day. I was so proud. And those suckers were huge! They still had the root attached and they were cool. The boy was so excited about the tooth fairy. His cousin told him that when he had teeth pulled, he got $2 a piece for them. The boy got $5. And the tooth fairy let us keep one for show and tell. I wrote a note and asked if we could keep one, and she let us. Maybe I'll get a picture and post it.

No science co-op on Thursday. Our facilitator was having a busy week and cancelled. She didn't have the time to prepare a lesson and didn't want to do bad job. I whole heartedly agree. It was a busy week for us as well, and that gave us some time to ourselves. We were able to get some catch up work done. It also let us get a big nap. I really needed that.

Wednesday was our last JAM until January. We partied and had a really good time. We had sloppy joes, chips, and juice boxes. Then we did a really great relay race based on Christmas carols. That was so much fun. When I have a little more time, I'll explain it to you. And we did our giving craft. The kids "shopped" in magazines and catalogs and "bought" things for other people. Then they glued the picture inside a "gift box" and decorated the "box". Then we watched "The Nativity Story" and had popcorn. That is such a great movie for relaying the danger and hardships Joseph and Mary went through to bring Jesus into this world.

Tuesday was party day for our other co-op. Everybody brought something to share and a gift. We had drawn names for a secret Santa and made a gift. I am so not artsy, but we did pretty good. We did reindeers out of popsicle sticks, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners. They turned out pretty good, but I had a hard time getting the sticks to stick together. Thankfully, the other moms have hot glue guns, so they can piece them back together.

Monday was "do as much school as we can because we have a busy week" day. We crammed as much as we could into that day. Thankfully the kids were pretty receptive to the idea. And don't forget dance all week long.

That's a look into our busy week, such as it was. Hubby is home, and he has dinner. I love dinner I don't have to cook. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

Have a great day!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

CHRISTMAS decorating

Just so you know, it is Christmas in this home. We do not put up a holiday tree, or a season's greetings tree, or any of that nonsense. We firmly believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We are grateful to our Heavenly Father that He saw fit to give us a savior and to allow a closer relationship with Him through His Son. We don't wish people season's greetings or happy holidays, we say Merry Christmas.
Now that I'm down from my soap box, here's some quick shots of our night tonight. We pulled all the decorations out, made hot chocolate and popcorn, and watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas". It's kind of a family tradition.

Have a great day!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Science Experiment

You may be wondering what the pictures are. They are the science experiment that hubby did with the kids this evening.
When we got home from dance, hubby made a quick dinner (it was leftover night) and did this really neat experiment. You take a plastic bottle, any size, with a lid and fill it with hot water. Let the water sit for one minute, then quickly pour it out. Place the bottle in the freezer for one minute and see what happens.
The point is that cold air is denser than warm air. It was an experiment about thunderstorms and how the temperature of the air contributes to the intensity of a storm. And since cold air is denser than warm air, it holds more water vapor. And since the air in the bottle was warm from the hot water, the cold air of the freezer put more pressure on the outside of the bottle, causing it to collapse. It was really neat and to watch the kids learn is always fantastic.
If you want to have a little fun, you should try this. We always have a good time with our experiments. We like them better when they involve chocolate, but really, who doesn't?
Have a great day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Vacation is over and it is time to get back to it. That doesn't mean I want to, it just means we have to. We had such a great time in Texas and when we got back, there wasn't time to breathe before it was back at our busy life.

We got back at a decent hour on Monday. We had stopped at the grocery store to pick up milk and bread and ended up picking up something for dinner, too. I just did not have it in me to cook after our two day road trip. The kids helped us unpack and unload with a minimum of whining. There had to be whining, it just was done mostly out of ear shot or there would have been trouble.

We did come home to a couple of unexpected visitors. There was a dead mouse in our bathroom. We aren't real sure what killed him, but he couldn't have been dead for long. The house didn't smell and I was glad for that. Then later as I was putting snacks in the pantry, I heard rustling. Apparently, the dead one had a partner in crime. We spent some time trying to catch it then flush it out of hiding, but no luck. So now we have a mouse trap set up in the pantry, and hubby gets to go under the house Saturday. As long as they don't get mail at our house. I don't know how things work where you are, but in Florida, if you get mail at a residence, it's your residence. I really don't want to start eviction proceedings, because we probably won't see a dime from the little rodent.

Tuesday started off with gang busters. When I originally did our lesson plans, I wasn't expecting to be out of town for Thanksgiving. I had work planned for Monday, so we spent Tuesday trying to catch up. And then Wednesday, and then Thursday. I think we are almost caught up. The kids have a science test for tomorrow. Yes, I planned a test for Friday. Take a breath, it'll be ok. The boy has to do his spelling test as well, and that's all. And then the park!

We had a co-op on Tuesday. I got my times mixed up and we were early (for a change). But it was our kings and queens day and we also talked about the Magna Carta. We did a quick lesson, then a little review with a Cloze activity. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's basically a fill in the blank. It was a lot of fun. Our facilitator even gave the moms one. I was the first one done out of everybody and I got them all right! I didn't get a prize, but I got to spend some time with three really great ladies while the kids played outside. That was prize enough.

Wednesday was our busy day. Dance class was fantastic. The ladies are trying to get me to be in the recital. I don't want to. I keep saying no, but they aren't listening. The kids were great at my in-laws, but they always are. I picked them up and off to JAM we go.

We had a guest speaker. His name is Lew Clayton and he is the illustrator for a new book, called Archie's Christmas Tale. It is a fantastic little book. I highly recommend it for those of you who are looking for a new Christmas book. It is about the mouse that was stirring on Christmas Eve. He brought gift bags for the kids and taught them how to draw Archie. All the kids had such a fantastic time.

And today was our science co-op. I really enjoy that class. Today we talked about magnets and the kids learned how to make an electro magnet. I don't know one child that doesn't like to play with magnets. It is such an interesting class. The kids are usually antsy during the lesson, but come time for the activity they are all eyes and ears open. They are so funny.

And of course, we still had, and have, dance this week. The big girl missed her class because we were on the road. I didn't even think about it until we passed dance class on the way home. Neither did she. She was a little bummed, but was tired from traveling and really didn't mind.

We have two more weeks of school after this. And then we break for Christmas. We are working next week. But the week after is a light week and we are going to work on a Christmas lap book that I think the kids will enjoy. It will be our first, but hopefully not our last. I want to do some with our science next year when we study animals.

Enjoy your week. I hope you had a great one. I hope your Thanksgiving was as fatastic as ours was. I am so thankful for the time we got to spend with family and friends. It was much needed on this end of the country. We love you and miss you all already.

Have a great day!