Sister Time, take 2

In case you were wondering how sister time has been working out, it has really been quite awesome.  The only problem with it is that, perhaps, it is too awesome… Sierra always wants to do an activity when the girls really need to both be working on school.  Never-the-less, I am so happy about it!  Let me highlight 3 of the activities they’ve chosen for you.  And remember, they often do these completely on their own, so I am lucky if I catch them with a picture.

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1.  Make “moveable” paper dolls using brads and a hole puncher.

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2.  Make “jewelry” using strings and cut straws.

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Sierra has worn hers on her feet ever since, and they have played this one a few times now; never expected it to be such a hit!

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3.  Play with sponges and water.

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I didn’t actually catch the girls in the act on this one, but the mess they left certainly entertained their brother for a while!

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“Helping one another is part of the religion of sisterhood.”  ~Louisa May Alcott

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursdays are back!  What is Thankful Thursday?  For us it’s a chance to stop and reflect on all we have to be thankful for.  Building gratitude in the hearts of my kids is very important to me.  More than anything else, I believe gratitude will bring them joy and contentment in life.  Of course, it’s also an excuse for a tea party with my girls.  Any excuse for a tea party, right?

Last year we did Thankful Thursday every single week until Sierra started gymnastics in late spring on Thursdays — then it became more sporadic.  This year we are doing it every other week.  For today’s TT, we made “cheater” donuts.  We’ve done them before but try not to do them too often, simply because they are more calories than this body needs!  But they are oh so wonderful.  All you need is some Pilsbury Grands, canola oil, cinnamon, and sugar.  (Oh, and a fun small cookie cutter for the hole!)

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I’m so thankful for my family!

Bad story, happy ending.

It was a good day.  My husband was home from work.  We spent the morning doing free bowling with friends at the bowling alley’s homeschool day.  We came home and got our work done.  We ate dinner.  All was well…

After dinner we went outside to enjoy some rollerblading around the cul-de-sac.  That’s when it began.  My little guy accidentally stepped on my knee, and I screamed from shock causing him to ball.  We brought the kitty outside for the first time only to have him run off to where we couldn’t find him.  We went inside and put the kids down, and discovered my husband’s wedding ring was missing.  Yeah, one of those nights!  I was exhausted, but found it hard to sleep thinking of the missing ring and the missing kitty.  (My knee was fine.)  Fast forward a few hours, and I hear something outside our window.  I screamed.  I thought it must have been our kitty.  More tossing and turning and no sleep.

Do you ever have those times where you can’t explain it, but you know there is a spiritual attack?  As I laid in bed, I just kept trying to pray, but it was hard.  My tired mind raced.

I got up this morning determined to make it a good day.  But, my heart was heavy thinking of the kitty.  And, the kids who went to bed healthy came downstairs with major colds.  SO… we talked and prayed.  And, we pulled out our “special straws” for a fun treat.

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While drinking our milk, the kids asked if “Miss Savannah” could come for a visit.  This is a bit embarrassing to admit, but Miss Savannah is my alter-ego who is always joyful, joking, and has a big southern accent.  They seem to ask for her whenever I least feel like putting on her character.  Funny thing, huh?  But, I do — and it is a spiritual battle at times.  But, you know what?  It not only does their hearts good, it does mine good, as well.  I joke about the bad, point out the good, and we trust together that God works ALL things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose, (Rom 8:28).

Here’s the happy ending part… by that afternoon, I noticed something in front of the couch — my husband’s ring!  And, just before dinner when the girls went to check for eggs, they heard a “meow.” Long story short, we have our precious Spongie back and he is just fine.  Oh, the joy — I was elated!  And that, my friends, is our story.


Sensory bins

Do you do sensory bins for your little ones?  Do you have a theme?  Use rice?  Do you even know what a sensory bin is?

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Here’s the thing… I don’t really know what a sensory bin is, either.  I heard the term and have seen them here and there; enough to kind of grasp the concept without a real explanation.  My guess is they’re bins that are supposed to keep kids entertained with imaginative play.

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I decided long ago I had to give these a try.  So, for the past several months whenever the kids would get a little “junk toy,” (like from a goody bag or prize bin or something), I would set the little toy aside.  Likewise, if I found some tiny toys laying around, I put them in this box.  Turns out, I collected a lot of junk — enough to make 3 decent sensory bins.

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I thought this would be a HUGE hit with Sierra.  She absolutely loves her sister’s mini fairy sandbox, and could play make-believe with her stuffed animals for hours.  But, these didn’t get the thrill I was hoping for.  Bummer, huh?  I did play with her a bit and she liked that.  And, today she played a little longer than yesterday with them, much to my surprise.  So, I am not giving up hope, yet.  Perhaps they will catch-on.   At the very least, all our random little “treasures” now have a home!  Oh, and this is what happens when you walk away from a one-year-old for a minute.  (Just one minute, I promise!)

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Yup.  The vacuum has been used quite a few times in just 2 days.  So, what do you think?  Is there something I’m missing?  Is this what they’re all about?  Will she catch on, or are these just not her thing?

Flying Solo

Not 1… not 2… but 3 notes in 3 rooms…  Oh how I LOVE my kids!

htd“Happy Teacher’s Day” they read.  Very sweet.  Super sweet!  Just what I needed.

So, today was my first day in almost 4 weeks having all 4 kids to myself with no help.  Two days ago I had them for a few hours, and was a wreck.  Somehow thoughts of “I can’t do this yet” snuck in and overwhelmed me.  Once I realized it was a spiritual battle, I finally put on my armor.  I’ve been praying and reading God’s Word the last few days, and that has helped change my attitude.  Of course I can’t do this — but God can help me!

And, He did.  Today went well.  I am tired.  There were lots of poopy diapers.  Normal arguments and messes.  But, school was great.  The littles were fine.  And, my joy is overflowing… now it’s time for me to go to bed!



Balloon Day

Balloon day… why not?

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First up… balloon rockets.  Super cool.  Original post here.  Second up… balloon marshmallow shooters.  Amazing.  Super duper far shooters.  (So far we had to move outside!)  Original post here.  Finally… balloon play free for all.  Kids loved it all.  Parents loved it all.  Cat loved it… well, all but the popping part!

Favorite Spot

We all have our favorite spots in our house.  Mine happens to be my bedroom at about 3:00pm.  The sun is pouring through the windows, and I love to stare out as it comes through the evergreens.  My second-favorite spot happens to be our dining room — again, because of the window.  And it also seems to be the favorite spot for this little guy:

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It’s my favorite spot because of the purple flowers.  Spongie, on the other hand, probably enjoys the fresh air as well as spying on the chickens.

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When we got Spongie, we intended for him to be an outdoor cat.  Well, indoor/ outdoor.  We want him to be out most of the day having fun, chasing mice, and getting exercise.  We hope to bring him back in at night to avoid the same fate as Stray.  Anyway, he has not had all his shots yet, so he has been totally indoors.  Tomorrow all that will change.  We’ll let you know how it goes!

Concentric Circles

Just as we don’t have a formal “science curriculum” this year, we are also going to just wing it for art.  Again, I find it somewhat fun and freeing, but a little scary as well.  You see, I have used the same all-inclusive curriculum up to this point, (from Dakota publishing).  And, I’ve really enjoyed it — but since the art and science always tied in with the history and Bible lessons, it just feels weird to be doing something totally on my own.  Kind of silly, I suppose…. but it’s always hard for me to shift my brain to realize there are other ways than “the way it’s always been done.”  And, that’s a good thing for me.

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So, today’s art was simply some concentric circles using fun scissors.  I was inspired by this Pinterest post.

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It was a big hit, and a fun way to start a Friday morning.  Want to know the best part?  The girls didn’t have to do much cleaning.  We just called in the cleaning crew, and he took care of most of it.  (I wonder how long this phase lasts, because none of my girls ever went through it!)

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Aw, and the first weekend is here… Happy Friday!

Social Studies

When are kids too old for play dough?  Never, I hope… my older girls are now in 2nd and 3rd grades, and it is still a hit!  Of course, it is now up to them to measure the flour, dump the salt, stir, etc.  But, it is still fun!

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For the past 2 years, we have done U.S. history for our social studies.  You’d think we’d be tired of it by now… and Natalie probably is.  But, Allison and I have loved it and could probably do it again!  There is so much to learn, and the more you learn the more scary it is to see how far our country has come in its philosophy… but I digress.

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Anyway, this year we are changing it up a bit and looking to take a trip around the world!  We are using the Expedition Earth curriculum which I discovered and bought used through my awesome blogger friend, Darcy.  This week has been a simple introduction, reviewing geographical terms, the continents, and praying for people around the world.  Next week we begin our travels… and I am thrilled!  I am also a bit nervous about the prep work, but praying it will all go well.

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In addition, we also subscribed to Little Passports for fun.  I think it will be neat for me the girls to get their packages in the mail each month!  Can’t wait to see what they hold.  They probably won’t line-up with our travels exactly, but they will never-the-less be exciting.

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Speaking of Passports, that is what the girls will be getting tomorrow. (I need to get on that!)

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 Another fun resource we hope to utilize is Around the world in 60 days.  My friend sent it to me in the beginning of the summer, and that confirmed for me my decision to travel the world this year.

Miscellaneous Photos

With school in session and supposed “order” in our lives, (yeah, right!), we should be doing more planned activities… which means more planned blog posts… which means I need to have some fun random posts sometimes, too!  So, here is a fun random post!

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This cat… too fun!

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When my mom was here, shevbravely took the kids to the grand opening of Yogurtland for free yogurt.  Was it worth the wait?  Yes!

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First “real” haircut.  I have trimmed it many times, but we had my hair dresser give it a whack.  Actually, she didn’t chop much; it’s still long, but much nicer!

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Sister did her hair…. ’nuff said!

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He brought me the camera, (my heart stopped when I turned to see why he was saying “Here, Mom!”).  But, he didn’t drop it and smiled nicely; what a handsome boy!

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Something I didn’t expect to see this year… the 3 younger ones doing school.  Malachi LOVES to color!  And, Sierra keeps begging for school, (Which is a problem since I don’t have many things planned for her!)

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And, all is fun and games until someone decides to color their face.  Precious.  At least he didn’t eat the crayon.