Sunday, December 31, 2006


I have decided I will NOT go out again! No more visits with friends or family dinners! I am locking myself in for the winter! We all went out tonight (silly me, I didn't learn my lesson from Friday's outing). My parents took us all out to eat. It was my Dad, Mom, Aunt, Uncle, My sister, her husband, her 3 children, my brother, his wife, my children and myself. My husband was at work so he couldn't make it. My daughter tossed herself around, yelled, tossed food, climbed out of the highchair, ran around the restaurant. IT WAS AWFUL!!! I think that big groups are not a good thing for my daughter right now. 18 months is a kind of WILD time for a child without the large group overstimulated thing going on! I have my hands full most days just chasing after her to catch her before she gets hurt in my own house. To make a bad embarrassing situation worse..... I was sitting right next to my next door neighbors! He is a Church minister! Can I crawl in a hole now????? I keep telling myself that this will all pass very quick! I remember outings like this with my son when he was her age. I think we did stop going out for a few months until he outgrew some of it. Looking back it feels like he was only like that for a very short time! Right now this phase with my DD feels like it is lasting FOREVER! I know someday I will laugh at this.....NOT TODAY! I have to go finish up making our noise makers for New Years. My children are both up waiting for the ball to drop. We are all tired and I hope it doesn't turn ugly!! I hope they sleep in tomorrow. I need to sleep in just this one day. It would help me start the new year off on the right foot!

Saturday, December 30, 2006


My Christmas tree is unlike anyone in the world! I think I am the only person who could enjoy this tree. My children made most of the ornaments and they help us decorate it. I think it is BEAUTIFUL! I know you will not agree. I think it marks a time in our family that we will never have again. My DD thinks the shinny balls are for her to play with (toss like a ball). She pulled all the decorations off that she could reach. She gave them to her brother who put them back on the tree at his height. This year we have a naked tree at the bottom (18 month old height). Then we have a few branches that have six or so decorations on ONE BRANCH! (6 year old height).

Next year my DD will not pull them all off. Next year my son will not put six on a branch they will both be older and be more like adults. I took several pictures this year of my tree. I know in a few years they will not want to use homemade ornaments on our tree. They might even refuse to make them and beg for us to bring down all the store bought ornaments from the attic. I think that year I will be very sad to see our tree look like others but yet very proud that my children did grow up.

Below you can see my son's area of the tree. LOTS of his decorations.

Below you can see my DD's branches.

Below is a close up of one of my son's six ornament branch.

AND LOOK AT WHO I FOUND UNDER THE TREE EATING HER BROTHERS CHOCOLATE TRAIN! I wondered why she was being so quiet! Her brother is going to be mad that she bit into his train when he was sleeping! LOL!

Baby School Area

Some online homeschool friends have been sharing pictures of homeschool areas in the house. My family is starting a remodeling project right now in the middle of my house so my pictures are not going to all be exactly how we have things set up or how we are going to keep it. They will show that you can work around everything (even 8 boxes of ceiling blocks). OH! We don't have a place to keep the toys they got for Christmas yet. The playroom is the spot my hubby is starting with the ceiling blocks so I will not be able to find a proper place until we move ahead with our project. I am going to try to post a few pictures at a time. I am starting with my some of daughters school area. She is 18 months and I think that preschool areas look so much more fun than school age school areas. Most of her things are kept in the playroom and living room of our house.

This is her puppet basket. It has everything from paper puppets, expensive nice puppets(grandparents bought them), Puppets I made, Bath puppets(that haven't been used in the tub yet), finger puppets (anything puppet). Most of the puppets are made by us. My children seem to like the ones made out of socks or mitt shape fabric almost as much as the large fluffy ones that make noise. I keep this basket on the bottom shelf of our TV stand right now. Her little tape player shares the same shelf. Nothing fancy (walmart basket) works well in our small home.

This is a very OLD bookshelf. It is small My DD can reach the top. The top is a box with some of our musical instruments. Some of my busy boxes are on the other shelves (wipe containers with little play and learn things in them)sorting type things. Stacking cups and shape sorter. I don't know if you can see this or not but many of our musical instruments we make ourselves out of household things. My busy boxes are things to keep her busy and she can learn with but I use what we have around the house to make them up or sometimes toys from the dollar store. It is a very affordable school set up. LOL!

This is one of our block centers. It is a wooden wagon I bought at a craft store about 10 years ago for $5. I keep wooden blocks old, new, banged up, and shinny, expensive ones and ones from the dollar store all together. Both my children have fun with this. I put them in this wagon about 6 years ago. They get used all the time. I guess children never tire of playing with blocks. They are in the living room so they often build when they have TV time. My son doesn't like watching TV so he likes being able to build when we are watching it.

I will try to put more pictures up later or tomorrow. I have dial up so loading pictures is sometimes slow and I have children who need me (the story of my life and I am glad for it). They want me to play with them and they will want to eat dinner very soon.

Troublesome Toddler.

First let me say that I don't feel that my daughter is trouble. She is curious Abbot EVERYTHING! It seems like trouble but it is her way of learning. My son was the same way at 18 months. He had 3 things he loved to do...

1. Bang on the glass at the bottom of the TV stand we had.
2. Bang our floor lamp on the wall to hear it ding and see the lights move.
3. Pick up his little dog by the tail.

It felt like he was spending most of his days doing the 3 but it wasn't really. Anyway, I did my best to keep up with him and guide him away from the trouble. I remember feeling like this phase was lasting forever. Then it just all went away. It was quick (looking back now).

Back to the story about my daughter. She is 18 months old. Her favorite things are to

1. pull the ornaments off the tree and yell ball then toss them across the house. She doesn't know that the pretty shinny balls on the tree are NOT toys for her (we only used plastic shatter proof ones this year).
2. She likes to toss food. She isn't much of an eater she would rather see how far she can toss the food across the room.
3. She likes to run on the couch and stand on the table. All of this I am trying to keep patient and guide her along. I do well with this on most days. When I get very tired I sometimes cry because I feel that this running on the furniture is something she isn't going to outgrow fast enough. I am afraid she is going to get hurt! But for the most part I know this will pass quick it just FEELS like it has gone on forever!

NOW if you look at her list of fun things to do (the things I am trying to help her learn). you will easily see WHY I don't go out much nowadays! I had to take her out yesterday and I think my nerves STILL are frazzled today! She slept at first in my arms (my neck and shoulder hurt today from that). Once she woke up she wanted the balls on the tree! OH NO!!! She was OUT OF CONTROL!!! I know she wasn't try to be BAD! I just stayed to long (she had to much time to warm up and feel comfortable). I got tired of chasing her down and decided I should go home. I was very embarrassed at how I had to RUN around like a mad woman catching her before she touched anything. Lots of children were at the party. NO problems with any EXCEPT my little one! I know most of the children are a LOT older than her and they grew out of this phase YEARS ago. Two girls are younger than her and they didn't touch anything!! I keep telling myself that Demi didn't touch anything at that age either and I try to reassure myself by saying the little girls will be like my Demi in just a few months. I have to say that doesn't make me FEEL any better about it!

To top it off a toy got BROKE in the playroom! 9 children in a house playing I guess 1 toy getting stepped on is expected but I FEEL AWFUL about it!!! My children aren't attached to toys so if a toy got broke in my house it wouldn't be any big deal. We only have baby toys downstairs and they are almost impossible to break (I don't think we have broke one yet). My sons toys are in his room and we don't let his sister play in his room. Because of that it would be hard to break a toy in our house and if it did I am sure my children would not care. I keep thinking what if that toy was a favorite? I wonder why didn't I take a close look at it to see what kind of toy it was. If I knew what kind of superhero it was I could go buy a new one and I would feel so much better!

WHY can't I get over this??? Maybe I need a nap! Maybe I need to stay home for a few months until my little one grows out of this phase in her life. Has anyone ever felt like this? I don't think I am going nuts but I guess I wouldn't know if I was! LOL!

The up side of this crazy ramble.... Looking back at my sons 6 almost 7 years. I have the BEST memories of teaching him at 18 months old. My daughter is giving me the same memories right now she is learning SO MUCH and she is LOTS OF FUN to have around. Most of our days are full of reading books, learning to talk, dancing, singing, puzzles animal noises and lots of other fun things. EXCEPT for her 3 naughty (curious) habits. Does anyone have any words of wisdom?????

How our baby learned to say her ABC's

I often wonder when people say my child is able to do this or that HOW did they teach that? I do understand that all children learn at different times and I am not big on comparing children. I do love to see and hear how other moms teach little children. I am going to try to post some of the how I do it on this blog. PLEASE understand I am NOT a person with a teaching degree. I am just a mom of 2 who tries to educate my children and every so often something works well for us. This might not work for you. I have noticed in my 2 children they both love to learn but in very different ways. This story most likely will make you laugh.

This HOW story is saying ABC's. This kind of happened naturally with very little work on my part. My daughter started yelling HEY at around 10 months. I thought it was hey anyway. Whenever someone would come into the room she was in she would shout HEY! Baby talk is funny sometimes. A Mom KNOWS what her child is saying..... WELL, I like to think I know what my baby is saying this story shows I might not ALWAYS know. LOL! I thought she was saying HEY! I would always reply hello! This went on for a month or so. Then one day she was shouting HEY, Hey, HEY! at my husband. He responded with B. I thought B????? What is he talking about. She shouted again hey. and then once again my husband said "B!" It then clicked! He thought she was saying A. I was sure my husband didn't know our daughter was saying hello by shouting hey. I giggled to myself thinking silly guy he doesn't know what our baby is saying. I have with both my children tried to use baby chatter to get words. Like if a child is saying bu bu bu I will pick up a book and say book? I know that isn't what they are saying but I If I can find something close to the word I will try to get them to use it. Later in the day when my husband was at work my baby started with the hey again. I started to think...... Hmmm.... ABC's are higher on my list than having her shout hey at people...... Maybe my hubby is on to something..... Then I did it! I replied to my my daughter with a loud excited B! She yelled A and I would nod smile and yell B. Later in the day we did A, B, C!!!! In just a few days we could do over half the alphabet. THIS WAS FUN!!! About 2 weeks after my daughters first birthday we took a long trip to visit my husbands family. Demi started with her A! I said "B" and on we went.... By this time she wouldn't repeat the ones she knew she would just say the next one so it went like this....

Baby "A"
Mommy "B"
Baby "C"
Mommy "D"
Baby "E"
Mommy "F" She didn't know what came next so she repeated me.
Baby "F" (sounded more like ehehfffsshh)
Mommy "G"
Baby "G"
Mommy "H"
Baby "H"
Mommy "I"
Baby "I" (pointing to her eye)
Mommy "J"
Baby "J"
Mommy "K"
Baby "K"
It went on like that for L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,S (Baby said essssssssssss), T, U, V then my favorite W (baby duba duba you)X, Y, Z! We all had fun with it. We said them just like that a few times.

A few hours later (still riding in the car) my husband tried to get her to do it again...... Daddy said A and baby looked confused! She wouldn't play along. LOL!!!

My husband turned to me and said "How do you get her to do that?" I laughed because it started out as something he taught her but he didn't even know it. Once I told him to shout A like he was yelling Hey. He did and then she was happy to play along. I guess you can say the way we taught my little girl to say her ABC's is to shout them when she was learning to talk. We still play this game sometimes.

I want to tell you at that time she didn't know what any letters looked like or what they sounded like. She didn't even know any of the song. She just repeated me and we used that as a starting point to build on.

That is the peak into a fun learning moment in our house. We have TONS of not so fun moments and as new ones come up or I remember some of the old ones I will share them also.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Giving back!

If anyone wants something I have made on my blog just drop me a note! Many of the things I have made I have extras of or my children use them and get tired of them. I would be happy to pass them on to someone who can use them! Nothing I make is "real nice" or perfect but it works ok for my children most of the time. If you see a learning game and you would like to do the same thing but you don't have the same toy just drop me a note I would be happy to help you find ways to use your child's toys to do the same thing. I don't want anyone to look at my blog and feel like they NEED to BUY stuff! I did that when my son was young. Everything I saw that was educational I wanted to buy. Everything other children had I felt my children needed to learn. I now have fun using what we have. The same thing goes for stuff in my sewing and craft blog Many Moms have spent a lot of time sending me links and giving me advice to help me along my homescooling journey. I feel this is my small way of paying it forward.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Salt Dough (baby craft)

Today we made ornaments from salt dough.
the recipe we use

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water

Dump together mix until you have a ball. Sprinkle four down before rolling out. Roll cut into shapes bake 22 deg for 2 hours. Let cool and paint.

Making the dough took me about 2 minutes. My son was able to roll out and cut them out. Family crafts are getting a LOT easier now that my son is getting older!

Below are pictures of my 17 month old girl making hers.

5 point star tries

It took me a few hours but LOOK! I finally figured out how to make a 5 pointed star! I looked a several places online. After a few hours of failed tries I went to and it "clicked" for me. My son (the glitter king) decorated them. I should have told him to decorate the side that folds out not in. I spent WAY more time on them than I wanted to so this will have to do. If my son doesn't care why should I worry or fuss over it. I had NO plans to make stars this year.

This picture shows all my failed attempts. My son wanted stars so he could use his gold glitter. I let him glitter all the mistakes until I figured it out. I think he could have figured it out quicker than I did. I am embarrassed to admit this but this isn't my first time working on 5 point stars. I spent a entire day once before trying to figure it out. I think it was flag day a few years ago I wanted to show my son how to do it. I hope I can still remember how to do it next Flag Day.

More Tree Ornaments.

My son is really getting into the beads and pipe cleaners. This is a picture of wreaths and what we call curly Q ice cycles. Both are designs he has done for years and at one time our entire tree was covered with them. I use to give him a bag of beads and have him separate the blue and whites in one dish and the greens and reds in another then he would put them on a pipe cleaner and I would help him twist the wreaths together. We use to use a pencil to wrap our long curly ones. I don't know how he did them this year he didn't need any of my help. (sniff sniff)

Some snowflakes I made.

This is just candy canes and a cross made by my son.

My son tried a few times but he couldn't make a snowman the way he wanted so I made them for him.

This is a blue ball (3D round didn't show well in picture), sled, stocking, tree, and joy.

Monday, December 18, 2006

More glitter art.

My son decided to try out our glitter glue. This is something that he hasn't done in a few months. I am not sure what all the pictures are of.....

This one he told me is a house covered with Christmas lights. I just asked him and he said they are all houses with Christmas lights on.

Snowing in our house!

I taught my 6 year old son how to make snowflakes over the last week. We tried in past years but he wasn't ready to do it. My sons hands are strong enough this year to do this so he is having LOTS of fun. I now have tiny paper snips all over the house and glitter sparkling on the table, floors, walls, counters, my children and just about the entire house! Glitter is a strange thing.... It helps a child see how beautiful his art work is and at the same time it makes a mom wonder how to clean up the trail left behind. Have you ever noticed the more you clean up glitter the more it spreads? It starts on a table and in no time it is all over the house. I guess the up side is I can say my house sparkles! LOL!

It is hard to see in the picture but this is about 50-100 large snowflakes. He is still making more! I hope we get some snow outside soon!

This is a close up of a few. I guess glitter doesn't show up well in pictures.

This is some of the small ones he is putting on the tree. He ran out of glitter. He is VERY happy Daddy is on his way home and bringing more glitter for snow. I guess cleaning up glitter is going to take me until Jan.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sons Graham Cracker House.

This is my sons Gingerbread graham cracker house (one of many this season). It looks like I was out of the room to long and he ate a lot of it before I took the pictures! I guess I can't blame him! The one he made from a kit he didn't get to eat yet. When I gave him this stuff and told him he could eat it I guess I should have said I wanted a picture first!

This is the frame.

This is his decorations.

The finished part way eaten house!

Baby Gingerbread house.

This is the Gingerbread house my little one did. I used 2 graham crackers 1/2 for the bottom. 1/4 for each side and another 1/2 for the top. I used very little icing. Cupcakes and cookies have more icing than this so I don't think it is all "that bad" for my little one.

This is the tray of things I gave her to decorate it.

Pictures of her decorating it.

This is her finished house. Not bad for a 17 month old!

Gingerbread house

Sorry I haven't posted in so long. My son got sick then my daughter followed by my husband. My Dh is still not on his feet but he isn't as hard to care for as the little ones.

A few weeks ago my DH picked up this kit for the children to do. My son over his cold (didn't want him coughing on food) so we got to do it yesterday. Our 1 year old took a nap so she didn't get to join in. My 6 year old son did this with no need for an adults help. I did tell him how to put the house together but he could have read the directions without a problem. Even young children who are not reading can follow the picture directions. I think even my 1 year old could have put the candy on without any problems (she would have ate as many as she used to decorate) I thought it was going to be a lot harder to do. If I knew it was going to be so easy I would have just handed it to him and let him do it on his own. We plan to make more but using Graham crackers later today. Do you know that Honey Maid makes Gingerbread graham crackers? My 1 year old will have her own to make (more like eat). This kit was so much easier than making up my own and then cutting out the shapes for the house!!!! I will wait to build one made from our own homemade gingerbread until the children are old enough to cut out the pieces themselves.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Today.... The down side of our school day.

My 1 year old screamed for a few HOURS! I carried her around in a sling trying to comfort my teething baby. My son can't do his school work when his sister is screaming. My son covered his ears a few times and said he can't think when she is yelling. Once the tylenol kicked in enough that she could take the nap she needed all was well again. It did make it hard on all of us the time she was hurting. I think in my house we are all learning patience and empathy right now. We did some how get our school work all done. I have a stack of dishes calling my name right now, laundry to do, toys on the floor, a lot of cheerios cereal crushed on the floor and I myself am very tired. I know I have to go get done what I can quick and get to bed my DD will be up screaming with her teething pain again several times in the night and my son will be getting up early all ready to do school again. Thank God for coffee! I never knew a baby could have such a hard time cutting teeth. I am so amazed at how well my son handles hearing all the screaming his sister does. The good news is she only has 4 more teeth to go and this will all be over! She will have a mouth full of teeth. If I get some sleep tonight and some free time tomorrow I will try to write out how our school days are set up and sometimes not set up.

Today.... The up side of homeschooling.

The I get to cut paper and make my children think I can do magic! LOL! My son thinks fringe cut from construction paper is magic! This is the first of our 3 kings. I hope my son will want to make the other 2 himself tomorrow. This isn't a craft I came up with on my own it came from a craft book..... Ice-cream cones or something like that. I will look at the name of it tomorrow if I think about it. My MIL gave me the book it is one she used with her boys.

We are reading about Norman Rockwell for our art studies. It doesn't fit into the time period we are learning about in our other subjects (Late Renaissance/Early Modern 1600-1850) but my son likes to look at Norman Rockwell's work so that is who we are learning about this year. We read how his art always stressed the positive. I got to talk to my son about being positive. We even roll played several times taking turns on how to find the positive if this or that happened. I decided not to go get out our art book to do a drawing class when we finished reading about N.R. I thought instead of reading about "how to draw we could try to copy "My Studio Burns" by Norman Rockwell. We spent time talking about our thought on how he told a story of the fire. You can see what we tried to copy . This is my son's version. It is kind of hard to see but he is 6 and not a great artist yet. LOL!

My son was laughing. It was nice to talk about a fire and not have my son afraid! My son was happy to know that all the family bikes got rescued. I am glad that we went off course and skipped our planned lesson. I know that anyone who knows me in real life is laughing at that line...... I am a person who always gets off track when it comes to our days. We get done all I plan each week but we often take a round about way of getting it done. We use the Classical method for education but I try to never let the perfect unschooling moments skip by. I think that many people who use the Classical method would disagree with me saying that is how we homeschool. I should clarify.... We follow the book The Well Trained Mind. We follow what the book says to teach. I DON'T teach it the way the lessons say. We learn lots of the stuff by jumping, hopping, playing games and such. My children are very active and I guess I am not as structured as some other homeschoolers. We do learn all the stuff in the books (I don't even move ahead on a spelling lesson until my son knows every word) but how we learn the stuff isn't always by writing on paper reading books sitting at the table. This is what is working for us right now. Ask me next month and I might not think the same way I do now. I will try to post the down side of our day tomorrow. I need to get to bed.

Mom's picks #1

I am going to jot down everyday one thing my children and I had fun doing . My pick for today for Mom's favorite things to do with my children is play trains and sing train songs. Some of the songs we sang today are I've been working on the railroad, John Henry, and lots of our own train sounds. We also watched and sang songs on the Wee sing train movie. I found that when I play trains with the children my son who thinks he is to old for train play will join in and my little one will learn how to play. My son was obsessed with John Henry a few years back that was all he would talk about. It was kind of like visiting an old friend. We like adding in the tambourines and harmonicas. Loud but fun.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My son's art-puppets

Art is one of the hardest things for my son to do. I made up some simple puppets today and my son drew pictures on them. I thought he was going to make a bunch of animal ones for his sister. He went with a Christmas theme. It is so neat that he is now old enough to be able to think about what he wants on them and do it himself. This is his Santa puppet. A Christmas tree.

An Elf. this is his most creative. I did make this puppet with a mouth but I thought he was very creative in making it a frog. He colored the top all green. He made the bottom green with a white circle on the belly. He told me that is the only way to make a REAL looking frog. He then snipped of a piece of elastic. I must admit I wasn't happy that he went into my sewing box and got stuff without asking but I didn't say anything once I saw what he was doing. He took a fabric marker and made the elastic red then asked me to sew it in the mouth to make a REAL frog tong. LOL! OH! BTW I don't know if you can tell in this picture but my son's hands aren't black and dirty they have green markers on them.... I had to go look at a larger copy of the picture to make sure. LOL!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

My son is doing Christmas CRAFTS!

My son isn't big on crafts. He would rather have his nose in a book than crafts. I was so surprised to see him doing crafts on his own this morning. He got out our beads and some pipe cleaners and started making ornaments for the tree. This is something he has done every year from the time he was 2 or 3 years old. This year I didn't get out the stuff and ask him to make them he just started making them on his own. He was happy doing it! I am so happy that he is starting to find crafts fun! I guess I need to get the tree set up.

4 with large and small beads.

2 with all small beads.1 with all star beads.
This I thought was an original idea. His sisters wooden lacing beads! LOL! Yup! We will hang them on the tree. I don't want to take his new crafting joy away. I'll have to keep telling myself that this will work out great because my 1 year old will be trying to climb our tree this year. We will not be using any glass on our tree. It might be all decorations done by the children this year. Maybe next year when the baby is a little older we will be able to do more decorating with glass and such. This year we will have to be creative with it or DD will get hurt for sure!