Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Geography Books

Today we got some of our homeschool materials in the mail! In the fall we will begin Pre-K for Amelia. These are the Geography books we will be using this year. As we get more of our books and supplies over the next few months I will post them as well. The girls were so excited, and Amelia is asking more and more about her homeschool.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Today is Earth day and we have been working on some art to go along with the books we have been reading. We painted paper plates in blue, green, and white to represent the water, land, and air. We also made contact paper globes using torn paper( blue, green, brown, newspaper). The book you see on the left called "The Tree in the Ancient Forest" was purchased long before we had the girls on a trip to Yosemite National Forest. On Earth Day, instead of thinking along the lines of global warming and other things "Al Gore", we focus on appreciating and caring for the beautiful earth God created. It is far more important for children to connect with nature in their everyday lives than to teach them about how to save it. On this Earth Day take time to listen to the birds chirp, watch how the wind moves, and be thankful for the rhythm of the seasons.

What a Fun Evening

It's always fun when an unplanned evening turns in to a memorable one. When Stan got home from work last night he was really tired so he took a cat nap while the girls and I went to get some dinner. After dinner I took the girls to the new play area at Sedgwick County Park. I heard it was cool but, WOW! It really was well done. The best one I think I have been to. It was also VERY packed. People were everywhere (including a few large groups). It was worth it though. Amelia and Mads didn't seem to mind. Of course I forgot my camera so I don't have pictures. On our way home we stopped by the gas station near our house and Stan and Murphy walked over to meet us. When we got home we hung out on the porch on this beautiful evening. Amelia wanted to climb the tree followed by Mada, so everyone got their turn. What a wonderful time we had. The simple things in life are often the most fun.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunflower House

This is one of my favorite books for spring/summer. We read this book together and painted sunflowers with real seeds in the middle. The girls really enjoyed it.


Mada picked some of our "flowers" she found outside. Some might call them weeds but we call them beautiful!

Girls New Room

We have been working on setting the girls up in the bigger bedroom downstairs. Mada will be transitioning into a big bed soon. Their other bedroom was just too small. It has been a slow process...we just haven't found any blinds that will work for all 7 windows. And we still need to buy Mada's bed. However, they are all moved in and Stan and the girls piled on the bed to relax.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Putting Clothes Away

Continuing with my posts on teaching my children life skills, I decided to discuss the work Amelia (almost 4) is doing. She has started putting her own clothes away...mostly pajamas, underwear, and socks. After I have folded the clothes on the dining room table, I call her to put her things away. Today she gathered them on her ride-on toy and rode off to her room, happily placing each item in the correct spot. Pajamas and bottoms go in the dresser drawers, tops and dresses are hung on a low bar, and socks and underwear go in separate baskets. Hanging the kids clothes on hangers in actually new to us. I used to fold all their clothes and put them in drawers. However, as the kids have gotten bigger, so have their clothes and they no longer fit in the small dresser. Instead of buying a larger one (which we really don't have room for) I decided to buy some small hangers for tops. We have been using this system for a couple of weeks and it seems to be working well. Amelia complains once in awhile about having to stop playing to put her clothes away, but she is catching on to the fact that this is just a new responsibility in her life and is for the most part openly accepting the idea.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Garage Project Complete

Spring cleaning is well under way and the Garage was one of the major projects on our list. We did a big garage organization day in the fall, however, over the winter things just got thrown in and it was hard to even walk around! I knew as soon as spring came we would pull everything out and start over. So yesterday was that day. It feels great to check it off the list. The top picture is the before and below is the after.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Garden Tools

The girls have been excited to start helping outside, however, all of the tools I use on a regular basis are too big for them to use. I have decided to start putting some things together that are child-sized so they can help out on jobs in and around the house. They recently got some garden carts and "real" metal and wooden tools to use outside. We were ready to get out there on this beautiful spring day and try them out!

Purposful Work for Children

My kids are always wanting to help out with real jobs around the house. They are at the prime age when helping me around the house is lots of fun for them. Instead of being irritated by them "slowing me down", I have decided to embrace this time and organize some jobs that they enjoy doing. For Easter, my mom got them some garden carts and "real"metal and wood yard tools. They are so excited the rain finally stopped and a beautiful spring day is upon us. We are ready to get outside and use the new garden tools. As I put together more jobs for the girls to do around the house, I will post them as well.


We had Easter dinner and an egg hunt (inside because of the rain) on Sunday evening when Stan got home from work. Alina was in charge of the egg decorating. She set up the materials and helped Amelia and Mada decorate their eggs.
Celia made the ham and green bean casserole. Grandma Sally made the dessert.I made the potatoes, corn, and rolls. My mom made the jello salad. Anita made deviled eggs and puppy chow (our favorite holiday treat). Everyone pitched in for a delicious meal! Hope everyone had a great Easter!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Healthy Snacks

Lately it seems that my kids never stop eating! I was brainstorming ideas on what to do about the constant snacking and then it came to me... fresh fruits and veggies in the fridge for anytime snacks. The key is preparation. As soon as the groceries are put away, I washed and prepared the fresh foods and stored them in containers . This week we have carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, seedless grapes, apples, pears, and celery with peanut butter. It has been going well so far. When the kids say they are hungry and it isn't snack or mealtime, I remind them of the fruits and veggies. I hate to say this is something new for me... but it is. I serve fruits and veggies with meals but not usually with such variety. I also realized I wasn't instilling a healthy mindset into my children by only serving crackers and cookies for snacks. I want my kids to realize fruits and veggies are great snacks too! Now, I'm no health nut...just look at my snack cabinet... but keeping a healthy balance is my goal.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Favorites in the Kitchen

If you are anything like me, you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It helps to have favorites in the kitchen when I set out to do those jobs that seem tedious and never-ending like hand washing pots and pans or anything else that can't go in the dishwasher. My favorite dish washing soap is Dawn Simple Pleasures Lemon & Tangerine. It is the perfect size for keeping out on the sink (about 8 in.) instead of those huge bottles you feel like need to be stored under the sink when not in use. It also has a built in air freshener at the bottom of the bottle. The air freshener doesn't last as long as the bottle (at least not in my house), but it is nice to have that burst of freshness for the first couple of weeks. The dish rags have become my absolute favorite item when it comes to cleaning up in the kitchen. They are sold at Target in packs of 12 for $2.99. They have carried them for at least two years (which is when I first discovered them). They have a great nubby feel to them and come in white and various tri-color sets.

My Quiet Time Basket

Spending time with the Lord each morning is a habit I have tried to form at various points in my life and it always seemed to fade into the sidelines after a short time. However, I have found that having the right "tools" in my Quiet Time basket has made it a lot easier to stay committed to this essential part of my day. As I lay in bed asleep each morning and hear the alarm, it is always more tempting to turn over and get some extra sleep. But, here are some tips I have found helpful:
*God is honored by the time I set apart just for Him, even if I only wake up 15 minutes early for that purpose.
*Having "something to do" in my quiet time gives me a purpose. My goal is to pray, read the word, and gain some insight into living my life more fully for Him.
So here is a look at what is in my Quiet Time basket...

1.My Favorite Bible. It is the New Living Translation.

2. "Starting Your Day Right" by Joyce Meyer.

3. My Journal

My routine is to start with dedicating my day to Him in prayer. Then I look up the scripture at the top of that days devotion in "Starting Your Day Right". I read the devotion of the day and then write a few sentences in my journal about how these things apply to my life. I usually spend about 15 minutes with the Lord each morning before everyone else gets up and the business of the day sets in. It makes all the difference!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Preparations

Today is Good Friday and Easter will soon be here! This year, I have been working on making the holidays special for my family. I have read some really great books about this subject, but one of my favorites is called "Lets Make a Memory" by Gloria Gaither and Shirley Dobson. I actually checked the book out from the library and really loved it. I just made some notes before returning it, but it would definitely be one to add to my home library. I will be hosting Easter Dinner so I gathered some decor for the table. There are two speckled egg topiaries in light pastels, a new table cloth in taupe, light green plates that my mom gave me, small favor boxes and chocolates to place inside, ceramic salt and pepper shakers in a little twig nest, and some color coordinated paper napkins. I will add a picture of the finished table in a later post.

On the menu... Glazed Ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, jello fruit salad,and rolls. Desert will be Strawberry Shortcake, Pineapple Upside down Cake, and Chocolate bunt cake.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Picking up Sticks

There is one thing we have come to realize... Spring brings storms and storms blow down tons of branches. We have about 25 trees on our acre of land. So, the girls and I went around the yard with the wagon picking up branches along the way. I am thankful we have somewhere to put all those branches besides the curb. We filled the fire pit with the branches and started a fire later that evening. We grilled hotdogs and s'mores too!

Spring Cleaning

We have been doing some projects around the house. Spring just has a way of getting me motivated to tackle some work outside. Here is a look at some our projects...
We had a huge log pile that the tree trimmers left. We stacked all the logs against the fence...and's a little ridiculous how much wood we have now. Our next project was window washing. Our windows probably had not been cleaned (or opened) in 15 years. However, we got all the living and dining room windows done. They look awesome!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bunny Stories

We have been reading bunny stories and made a cotton ball bunny craft today in preparation for easter.

Spring Snow

We had an early Spring snowstorm Friday and Saturday. The kids had fun playing while I shoveled the walk. Stan was working this weekend so he didn't get to join in on the fun, but he did have a good view from his vehicle on the base. The rest of the day was spent relaxing. Amelia took a picture of me relaxing with a homeschool catalog on the couch). It warmed up Sunday and most of the snow melted off.