March 29, 2013

{friday}

You know when you have those weeks where you just want it to be Friday and it just seems to drag on???
Well I want one of those weeks. Bad.
Time is flying by at an incredible rate lately! My hair's blowing back and this seriously pregnant mama is waddling along to keep up.
 
It's all good stuff though, making the time fly by...mostly good.
Yes, good stuff.
 
{Art}
 
 
 
Kandinsky's Centric Circles was on our lesson plan for art this week. Very simple project and very fun. Just water colors and oil pastels. Pretty much a lot of fun.
 
{Granny's Coming!}
My mom will be here NEXT FRIDAY!! (so hang on til then baby, ya'hear??) I just can't believe how fast that's snuck up on us. I know that with Easter, a ton of appointments next week, and school I'd have to be thinking ahead and getting things done early.

 
So I put together this Gram-packet...I don't know when I'll go into labor so I wanted to be able to leave to the hospital without worrying about Sophie missing her ballet photos or the boys missing their last day of co-op classes. I printed off maps, our schedule, and a list of fun things we want to do with her while she's here. I had to add a little fun with some washi tap. Obvs.
 
And then to make her feel at home...
 
 
...all her faves: a coffee mug...she drinks coffee like its running through her veins...licorice nibs, crossword puzzle, and gardening reading material. She just needs to add her sweet granny glasses and we're golden.
 
{Bed Rest School}
 
No, I'm not on bed rest...but having school this week in my room, the kids making their desks here and there around the room...just seemed easier on my dumb sciatic nerve that's been giving me horrible fits. Sitting is hard...laying or standing is better, but standing means swollen ankles. Gosh, I'm a piece of work.
 

 
{Love Mail}
 
I've gotten some super super sweet packages in the mail this week, including this scrummy blankie that will be swaddling my babe home from the hospital. I can't wait to show off our little make-shift nursery we've put together. I have to hang one more thing, then you can see. We are so darn excited to just add the baby to complete it...but not til a little later, ya'hear, baby????

 
{Easter Happenings}
 
Somehow Easter is THIS weekend. I put together one community basket for all three kids this year. One. I don't have a clue where their baskets are. Two. I don't want to make a big dealio out of gifts and candy. I got each one a CD. I got a couple outside things to play: Play-Doh and sidewalk chalk. And I got Miss Potter for everyone. Have you ever seen this movie?! Oh my...love it. It's about Beatrix Potter...pretty fitting for the whole "bunny" thing. Anyway, it's just one of those sweet movies you love. So it's in their basket for me them.


 
{Projects Projects Projects}
 
We made lungs out of paper bags because that's just neat. Also a diaphragm from an empty bottle...also extremely neato. The boys worked on their derby cars!!! So exciting! They handed them in this week and NEXT WEEK is the big race!! 






 
Alright. That's enough randomness for one bit. Not that there's any other theme to my life....
 
Happy Easter weekend to you!
 
xo,
{alicia}

March 27, 2013

so what's in those boxes? {march and april and may}

My head is swimming today.....timelines and dates, blessings and parenting issues, cervixes and hospital bags....I'm kind of a head case today...which isn't good because its only 7:40am. So instead of hashing all that out on my blog and possibly making you a headcase too, I'm going to talk about something light-hearted. Ok? Ok. (and I'm not going to the hospital yet...just need to get my bag ready. One of the many things on my list.)
 
Last week I shared some boxes I made for Sophie's birthday. Each box was a monthly craft kit that she can work on. I didn't include all the activities I included, but I got so many comments and emails about what I put in there I figured I'd share....but only the March, April and May box this post. I'm pretty sure the post would take me two hours to find all the links if I included the info for all six boxes in one post.
 
 
Each box has 3-5 projects: a picture of the project and anything she might need. I didn't include the basic stuff, like glue and markers, but I did include things that would be hard for her to get herself in case I'm tied up with baby. Each box also includes a book to go along with the theme. Anything else I could find that was small...a little puzzle, stickers, etc.
 
 
{March: Butterflies}
 
The Projects: (click each link for instructions)
 
 
 

 
{April: Birds}
The projects:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
{May: Flowers & Gardens}
The Projects:
Painted flower pots
 
The book: Jack's Garden
 

 
I'm going from memory and not actually looking in the boxes, so I might be missing a few projects, but this will get you started if you wanted to make your own. She's having fun with them already. She did her butterfly painting and I love it! I want to paint one!
 
Have a great Wednesday!


March 26, 2013

Nature Study Lately

Even though there were a few flakes flying yesterday, we feel like Spring has sprung here in Asheville. The people here think it's still cold, but my kids are running wild in t-shirts and shorts! Something I've been itching to do more of with the kids is nature study. It really is so simple and adds so much to our school...or not even just school, but education all around.
 
We're outside, looking for birds, identifying birds, looking at tracks, at moss, at lichens, at toads!
 
 
I've been having the kids do an entry in their nature journals a few times a week for the past couple of weeks. I put together new journals for them for spring and summer. They're just three-ring binders and then I had them design a cover to go in the front. Then on the inside, the journals are divided into five sections: trees, birds, animals and habitats, flowers, and water creatures.
 
I found a ton of printables to put in each section on pinterest. Here's the link to my Science and Nature board.  Also, I purchased some notebooking pages from THIS website that included some great coloring sheets for birds as well.

 

 
 
Our bird feeder on our back balcony has been alive with birds, so even on colder days we see them out there and can journal about what we see. There's been a whole herd of cardinals, robins, chickadees, and blue jays...so exciting!

Sophie's journal
 

 
 
This toad was hilarious. I'm sure the kids scared him half to death, but he just sat there forever almost completely camouflaged in the leaves. We could see his heart about to explode!!
 
It looks like it's going to be chilly today, so probably we'll stay inside but we've been taking advantage of the warmer days for sure! Otherwise on the agenda, I'm going to a doctor appointment, Scouts, and hopefully getting my hospital bag packed....only THREE weeks to go!!! Can you even believe it!?! 
 

March 22, 2013

this week

I just had one of those weeks that leave you exhausted and counting your blessings too. Everyday was jam packed...today, Friday, is jam packed as well. Weeks like this are making life speed by so fast that somehow...not sure how, but SOMEHOW I only have 3 weeks and 4 days til my due date. What the????
 
Ya, crazy.
 
Monday was spent running errands, getting a cake, getting gifts wrapped for Sophie's big day.
Tuesday was the big day, but we celebrated mostly on Wednesday. Tuesday I took little Sis to get her a pedi for fun and she got to pick all the meals, which included donuts for breakfast...of course.
 
 
Wednesday we spent the day celebrating. Jarrod took the day off and we went to the zoo AND the children's museum in Greenville, SC...only about an hour from us.  They have a fantastic zoo!!! I opted to sit in the museum cafe and do some reading while the kids and Jarrod went through with the kids.
 
But the zoo was SO fun...
 

 


Thursday was appointments, ballet, errands, and I got the organizing bug something fierce which is always exciting for me and terrifying for everyone around me...

 
I put away Sophie's new things, cleared off all the countertops, organized a new calendar for the kids, threw away garbage.....just stuff!!

 
Our fifth and final butterfly emerged.  Ain't she pretty...

 
The boys watched Tora! Tora! Tora! for history and wrote a little report on it. It's on Netflix right now if you're interested.

 
I'm trying to tie up loose ends before my mom come in a few weeks and the baby comes soon after that.  I cleared everything off the fridge and put on ONE pad for Target and groceries and BIG magnetic calendar so everyone can see what's up. The kids are always asking what we're doing...not they don't have to. Also this one has a little blank for each day to put your menu so they can check that out too.

 
 
Sophie got her recital costume...I die.
 
And I realized my limits this week with swollen ankles and some bad rib pain and sciatic pain.  My body is nearing the end of this pregnancy and I'm feeling it big time! I know I've got another 3 weeks in me...but still, it's getting harder!  What makes it all worth it is the reward...I had an ultrasound yesterday and saw that sweet baby's face. I could see it's lips moving!! It was SUCKING! I nearly died, it was the sweetest thing ever. 

 
So that's that...a full week in more ways than one. We are feeling so blessed with where we're at...the hard things and the good ones.  I'm learning to trust God's timing more than ever. I feel at peace with the unknown. I feel like we're in our last half hour...I think.
 
It's Friday!!! We're doing school and going to a friend's house. Jarrod ordered me to bed rest this weekend.  I will not argue. But I will be putting baby stuff in drawers and hanging a few wall art pieces around the crib in it's make-shift nursery so Baby feels the love right away :) I'm also putting together a schedule for my mom with maps and instructions in case my water would break in the middle of the night and Sophie misses her ballet pictures the next day or the boys miss their Derby Car race for Scouts.  Jarrod said I just want an excuse to make more lists. ;) He kinda knows me....
 
What are you doing this weekend??? Have a good one!!
 
 
 

March 20, 2013

Our Own Monthly Craft Kits

 
Sissy turned the big 0-5! yesterday, which kinda makes my head want to pop off from disbelief, but our remedy to that is to just keep having more kids...so we feel better about our present baby being 5. 
 Her birthday was yesterday, but we're celebrating today: the zoo, pounds of sugar...and gifts.
 
There's one gift that I put together with the help of my mom that I want to talk about for a sec. At first, she and I were going to split a year's subscription to BabbaCo or Kiwi Crate...both great companies, I'm sure, but expensive. And we thought maybe we could create something similar to their monthly themed craft kits...but include more projects.
 
I thought something like this would be a great gift for Sissy with the baby coming. She's like my second-self and I wanted something that she could just pull off the shelf and do by herself...or with me if I'm not busy.
 
 
 
Mom and I decided to make six months-worth of boxes, she helped me brainstorm and halved the cost with me, and I set out to gathering all the stuff.
 
Each month goes something like this:
March: Butterflies
April: Birds
May: Flowers and Gardens
June: Fairies
July: Oceans
August: Honeybees
 
I ordered a book for each box and then found several projects to go with the theme. 
 
 
Almost all the ideas in the boxes are from my Creative Kids board on Pinterest or my Science and Nature board. I also got a TON of ideas from the blog Deep Space Sparkle...so many great ideas over there!  You can check those out, but if you want to know the exact projects I used, I might be willing to part with that info :)
 
Since I don't know whether or not the computer will be handy during craft time, I printed off some of the directions for the harder projects and for all the projects I printed pictures of them and glued them to large index cards. So when she sits down to craft she can pick the one she wants to do. Pretty  much everything is in the box, except the basic supplies like scissors and glue and paint. She'll have to go round up those things on her own.

 
She will be under strict orders to NOT open a box until the appropriate month...I'm very funny about this sort of thing.  No peeking at the sex of the baby, no peeking in your craft kit til next month! Very important rules, you see...
 
I'll let YOU peek though...
 
...here's her kit for May: Flowers and Gardens. She'll be reading Jack's Garden, making a mini greenhouse in a rotisserie box, painting pots and planting seeds, painting rocks for garden markers, and making a color wheel flower, (which she did yesterday because it was so cute I couldn't stand waiting...she can make another one.), and painting some Georgia O'Keeffe inspired flowers.

 
To add a little fun, I spray painted the lids hot pink. I'm sure it will chip off and really tick me off later, but for now it's really cute. 


 



 
I can't wait to give them to her today! She loves art AND nature right now and each of these boxes will give her plenty of activities to do.
 
In other exciting news....
 
 
Our butterflies have begun to emerge... ON Sophie's birthday, which I think is incredibly fitting...and awesome.
 
Ok, I'm off to the zoo and lots of walking around. Please pray for my ankles...and that my water doesn't break. That would be bad...delivering a baby at the zoo.  But I guess when it's older and acting crazy, I could say..."Were you born in a ZOO?" and it could have some really great smart remarks back.  It would be a good story...
 
no.
 
Ok, bye.
 

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March 18, 2013

My Favorite Homeschool Resources-Old and New

I spent all day Saturday ALONE at a homeschool conference. It was lovely. Not only did I get to look at (and smell) approximately 50,000 books and art supplies, I got to listen to some fabulous speakers and come home rejuvenated and refreshed about homeschooling.
 
I love getting ideas from other homeschool mom and the encouragement is priceless. I go and listen and take notes like a crazy person and leave feeling good about implementing those new tools.
 
Since I love getting ideas and tips from other moms, I thought you would too. I've come across so many great books and websites lately...not to mention my list of books I've loved for years, that I thought I'd compile a list of some of my favorite homeschool resources; old and new:
 
Beyond Survival by Diana Waring. I heard Diana speak at a conference last year and I loved her. She has such wisdom and this book is all about letting go of some of those things we freak out about and really enjoy your homeschooling life. She has many other great books too and a fabulous-looking history curriculum that I'm sure I'll have to try one of these years.
 
A Charlotte Mason Education series by Catherine Levison. These books are some of my very very favorite. They are easy and quick to read, she gives very practical tips and ideas, and her books are what really made me understand what it means to have a Charlotte Mason-type education. I have implemented many of her tips in our homeschool and I'm planning on rereading them again for a third time this summer.
 
Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. This is a terrific Charlotte Mason resource as well. It's a great book to read a chapter here and a chapter there because that are short, simple, forward chapters all about having a great Charlotte Mason homeschool.
 
Homeschool Supermom...NOT! by Susan Kemmerer. I haven't read this book yet, but I bought it because I listened in on a workshop by the author and she was fabulous! Her talk was about homeschooling boys and everything she said about the subject was so good! I think she said she had SIX boys or something crazy like that!?! She gave such practical tips like having your little guy stand at the counter to do math if they're too wiggly to sit and let your child run with their interests. Good good stuff. I can't wait to dive into her book. It's about homeschooling life in general...not just boys.
 
. I have wanted to hear Sonya speak for a long time. I have read some of her other books and she is basically the guru on Charlotte Mason teaching. I was able to go to her workshop on habit training your kids and I am SO glad I did. Her whole talk was about the habits our kids should (and shouldn't) have and how to ingrain those habits as moms....AND how much easier life is when they do grasp those habits. It was SO good. I haven't read this book yet, but I have started it and  I think it's going to be wonderful. We have been dealing with REMEMBERING things that we've told the kids and I'm thinking that Sonya's tips will help with some of those issues.
 
The Big WHAT NOW Book of Learning Styles by Carol Barnier. Carol was my most favorite speaker at the convention I went to last year. She was an absolute doll and BRIMMING full of knowledge on learning styles and how to implement different tactics in your homeschool. This book is simple and easy to read. There are chapters on different subjects and suggestions and LOTS of ideas for making those subjects sink in for your kids. She loves using ditties and has a CD of a whole list that she's recorded for helping kids remember certain things. Even Sophie, who is four, could recite: In Ireland Eighteen forty and five; they ate just potatoes, it kept them alive; then a blight came along and the crops failed for years; one million they died and two million came here.
Great stuff!! I love her book and her CD.

 
 

 
Two other resources we've been using a lot lately are:

-www.bookadventure.com is a lot like Accelerated Reader if you remember that program. You can choose a list of books for your kids and after they've read them, they take a quiz and earn points. My boys are loving it so far. The prizes are a little hokey, so I'm going to come up with some prizes on my own...like an ice cream cone at DQ or something.
 
-www.learner.org/jnorth...Journey North has been SO much fun for us this spring! You can track Hummingbird Migration and see when they'll be coming your way, track American Robins and tulips popping up. They also have a bunch of printables that you can print and add to your nature journals. It's been a really fun resource.
 
So that's my list...it's ever-growning though :) Hopefully you can use some of these too!
 
Happy Monday, friends!


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