Sunday, January 20, 2008

Needed some down time.

My hubby got sick last week. VERY SICK! He is better now and so far the rest of us seem healthy. I took this week to care for Rob, wash off things he touched (keep sick germs down), hours of walking the floor with Zee (her reflux was bad this week), getting Travis back to full days of school, and I took time just to relax myself. I have a habit of running around jumping to get everything my family needs and not feeling like I deserve any time for myself. after that sock I wrote about last time. I knitted up a pair and then I took some time to update my neglected craft blog. I love to do adult crafts but time for me to craft always comes after everything else is done. This week I didn't get everything else done (reason I have nothing to show for this week). I just needed some time to relax a little. If nobody gets sick I will be back to our normal routine in the next couple days.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

#9 resolution DONE!

For my birthday my children got me a set of size 3 double pointed needles. They gave me them so I could make socks. This is the funny part.... I can't knit never mind make socks! I only know how to do a simple knit stitch (I'm a very beginner knitter). My hands feel awkward with normal knitting needles (2 sticks). The thought of using 4 all at the same time with points on each end sticking out all over SCARED me! I try to be thankful for everything I have and put things to good use so I decided (felt obligated) to give them a try. I found some directions online with lots of pictures and everything in words I could understand (not a k2 p2 yo code) and I gave it an honest try. I first made a cuff but instead of making it 8 inches long I made it 2 inches because I felt like I had the hang of the cuff and wanted to see how hard the rest of the sock would be to make. Turning the heal (part I was most afraid to do) was easy and FUN! I enjoyed it. I then knitted along making the foot but decided to make a short foot and move ahead to see how hard making the toe of the sock would be. It all went very smoothly. Even sewing the toe shut was simple. Making a sock was fun and easy. I am a very slow knitter so it did take me time but only a few days of on and off knitting. My knitting improved a lot from doing this one sock. It is just one sock (no mate) and it is about the length to fit a four year old. My 2 year old is having fun wearing it and using it as a toy. LOL I am planning on making real socks now. Ones with mates that will fit on adult feet. My new year's resolution # 9 is to learn a new skill and I think learning to knit a sock counts as a new skill. I am very proud of my tiny sock.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Weather in the 60's is this PA?

I love this weather! We played some soccer.

Princess Demi had lots of fun with sticks.

It was safe for princess Demi and princess Zee to be outside the castle because the brave knight Sr Travis was nearby to protect them.

Here he is running after and attacking a fierce mean swamp monster!

He fought all the evil away. We can all rest easy tonight!Anyone who knows Travis must be wondering if this is really him jumping in puddles and in costume fighting evil monsters in swamps. It really is him and I didn't ask him to do it. I am just as shocked as you are. I think Demi has shown him that it is lots of fun to get dirty and play pretend. I think it is wonderful seeing him do the things boys are known to do! I hope he keeps doing stuff like this!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Remember the muddly puddle children's song from the 70's?

OH! A puddle a puddle

a beautiful puddle.
A beautiful puddle

a Muddly puddle

A big beautiful muddly puddleWhat will I do?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Unplugged project Puzzles

For this weeks unplugged project I printed out maps from one of my favorite websites Owl and mouse We used the USA maps and we pieced them together (like a big puzzle). Time was short this week (hubby has been home) so we only made the 9 page maps. We are still coloring them in. When Travis is done coloring his we will cut out the states to make another puzzle to do over and over again. He doesn't want to write the names of the states on the map (something I always have him do). This time he will place cards with names of the states on the map(capitols will be on the back side of cards). He wants to time himself at this and get very quick (like a game). When he is tired of putting the state names on the puzzle I will have him flip over the cards and put the names of the state capitols on the puzzle. We also made some simple puzzles we made out of our Christmas boxes and Christmas cards. We had lots of other puzzle plans but we didn't have time to get everything done.

Below is Demi playing with a puzzle we made from a gift box top.

I thought this was cute this is Demi cheering (she is saying I did it, hooray, I did it) when we finished putting together her USA map. I did most of it. She was only able to get 2 of the pages in the right places. I think she feels like she did it all herself.
Here she is decorating her puzzle. This will keep her busy and unplugged for sever days.
Travis doing his puzzle.

We hope to do more puzzles in the next few days. I would love to share some pictures of Demi doing the new puzzles my Mom and Dad gave her for Christmas. I am WAY behind on everything computer related but I hope to catch up soon (Rob is waiting for the computer right now). A quick note to everyone (homeschool group). I am behind and hope to get to group mail and emails tomorrow and then catch up on blog reading by the end of the week. Rob works all week so things should get back to normal soon. I think we need to hook up our old computer just so I can get some computer time.

Kids science #1 centripetal forces

We did a spinning penny experiment. It lets children see centripetal force. I don't know for sure it is centripetal force and not centrifugal force. I am still looking for answers to this. I learned it was centrifugal force in school but we found several places online that say scientist have proven centrifugal force does not exist. I don't believe everything I read online so I am still looking to check and see that this is true. I don't want to give anyone wrong info! We put a penny in a balloon then blew it up (not a thick balloon you need to see inside it). We shook the balloon in a circular motion and got the penny to roll. We then stopped moving the balloon and watched the penny roll around for a long time. We then tried it with a quarter (that made a neat buzzing sound). We also tried a marble (that didn't roll much) and 2 pennies in one balloon (you could hear them clink a lot). Travis was the one who thought of trying a quarter, marble, and 2 pennies. If you do this please let us know what you put inside your balloon and how it worked.

I think this was a fun experiment for all ages. Travis was able to learn about how and why this happened. Demi got to see magic, play with balloons, and hear big words like Centrifugal and centripetal force. Even baby Zee seemed to have fun hearing and seeing things roll around in the balloons. I hope your children enjoy this as much as mine did.

Friday, January 04, 2008

My 10 Resolutions

My New Years Resolutions.
  1. Spend more time in the word of God
  2. Work on improving my marriage (this is my resolution every year)
  3. Work with my hubby on our budget and sticking to it
  4. Get organized
  5. Loose 15 pounds
  6. Find ways to give to others daily all year long
  7. Create wonderful memories for my children
  8. Have more fun adventures as a family (finding things for all 5 of us to do together)
  9. Find time to learn a new skill
  10. Blog often at least once a week

Resolution #10

Right now I will write about resolution #10 because it has to do with all of you more than the other things on my list. I guess I will try to write backwards on my list to number 1. I would like to blog daily but until I get a laptop and high speed internet I know I will not have the time to do that every day. I think even on a busy week I should be able to blog weekly. I am tempted to get a laptop and high speed my hubby told me I could over a year ago BUT it goes against my #3 resolution so until we have enough extra cash that isn't needed for something else I will not be doing that (I am too cheap to make the jump).

My plans for my blogging this year are.

#1 share pictures and stories with our family who lives far away.
Hi Mum Mum, Poppy, Granny Peacock, Uncle Gravy(Gary), and Lona (I am not sure Lona knows we have a blog) . We miss you all!

#2 Give back I would like to help others. I had some wonderful mentors who taught me how to play with/teach/ and have fun with my children.
Hi Shauna, and AmySue!
I will be forever grateful for all the time they spent helping me along the way.

My give back ideas for right now are.
Share a weekly science project. I have wanted to start this for a long time but I never seem to find the time. Now that I wrote it down I hope I feel obligated to find the time. Lots of people have asked me many times about science experiments/play/projects in the past and I feel bad that I haven't got around to sharing. I am going to try to share one idea a week. I am not a scientist but I do remember the projects my Dad did with me when I was younger and I have found many fun things online over the last 6 years. If I fall behind I think I should be able to post 4 simple easy quick ones all together (to equal 1 a week).

I would like to share 1 craft a week. Just something quick and fun that we come up with. I LOVE crafting but our "school" curriculum doesn't have much of that. We use a classical approach and our art class is more study artist and learn and copy the techniques kind of thing. I do see value in that but I enjoy the fun make up your own and experiment (color outside the lines and get messy) kind of thing. In the past when we fell behind, this is the thing we end up cutting out so we can catch up. I am happy to say we haven't had to cut this out yet this year (some how I am ahead of schedule). I hope that by writing this down now I will not cut this part out of our days if we do fall behind. I want to keep doing this even in the summer months. I have fond memories of my my mom's special craft box. I want to give my children the same memories.
Note to self.... I need to make up a special craft box like the one my mom had.

I would like to share a monthly preschool theme idea with you all. Maybe 10 or so ideas a month like my mitten madness project I did before.

I would like to share at least 1 game (homemade) a month.

I want to keep sharing some of the "ugly" parts of my days. Not that I really think it is "ugly". BUT I feel that it is the biggest struggle I have had with teaching/parenting my children. Figuring out the HOW to deal with it has been SO hard! I completely understand and respect people who have blogs that have only the happy times on them. I am a person who wonders HOW did they get that happy time? What do they do when it get hard? How do others deal with the not so perfect situations that come up? How did they have the time to do that? What are the other children doing when one is working on something? I know it is none of my business how people handle things like that but I always felt if I could read how others handle the hard times I would be able to learn how to deal better with them in my house. I feel that by sharing the troubles "tough times" I will be able to look back and "see" how I worked it out and build on that when Demi is Travis' s age or Zee is Demi's age. I hope that others will be able to read what happened and maybe "see" how I worked around it and hopefully they will come up with even a better way of dealing with it than I did. I have to say that the times when a baby is crying, a toddler is having a fit, or a school age boy is unhappy because he doesn't want to do his lessons, have been the HARDEST part of homeschooling for me. The issue that has made me want to give up on homeschooling, many times in the past, is the WHAT to do when someone is cranky or acting up! It wasn't socialization, sports, my ability to teach, what books to use, keeping records, making schedules or the other questions that people who don't homeschool ask about. It is simple little behavioral problems that make me want to quit. The same behavioral problems public school children have. The ones that public school children's parents can say "he learned that at school". I am in a situation that I can't blame it on the "bad" children in school or the teachers. I am the teacher and the naughty children in the class are all mine! I have to say this gives me a HUGE respect for teachers! They are the ones that get stuck with every child's behavioral problems. I can't be a teacher and blame it on the parents because again I am that "bad" parent who hasn't fixed the behavioral problem! It is the silly (frustrating) things like tipping in chairs, being loud, getting or pretending to be hurt, daydreaming, not feeling well, being selfish, pinching, pushing, teasing, and such, that is the stuff that ruins many of my good homeschooling days. I know they are not "bad" things they are normal child things. They are the same things all parents have to deal with even if they don't homeschool. I have learned enough ways to handle the bad times that sending the children to school doesn't enter my mind much at all anymore. I hope that if I keep sharing this you all will be able to see that you are not alone when this happens in your house. Maybe you will be able to take how I worked around it and come up with something better to work for you. I hope my children will be able to "see" if they ever hear about or read the things I write on this blog, that they will know I didn't write this stuff to hurt them or make them feel bad! I hope that they will laugh at the silly/naughty/ and normal kid things they did and see how much they have grown up. I hope everyone knows I am not trying to make my children look bad! I feel my children are children and do the same type of things other children do. Please understand that when I write my baby cries, my toddler yells, tosses toys, climbs the walls, and how my son says I can't do it, stomps, daydreams, or pokes along slowly, I am not saying that to make them look bad I am saying they are normal and wonderful and this is how we worked around this and got back on track. When I was a child everyone knew that I talked all the time (could not be quiet), I daydreamed a lot, and didn't work to my ability with my school work. I see notes on all my old report cards that say all of that. When I was young I often heard my mom say that to family and friends. I never felt my mom was saying I wasn't good enough. My parents always let me know how much they thought of me and how much they loved me. My children to me are not loved by how well they do school work or if they behave. I often think that is even a backwards statement for my house. Most of the time it seems the child struggling in my house with unpleasant behavior or school work is the one who needs most to hear, feel, and see how much they are loved and how special I think they are. I think the computer doesn't have my tone of voice so it is hard for you all to know what/how I am saying things and you don't get to see the love in our house. I don't take pictures of that stuff I just assume you all know it is happening. I feel that my children know my tone and what I am saying and they know how much I love them. I do tell and show them all the time how much I love them (I know all parents do this). Anyway, that is why I will keep writing about the troubles in our days when I have blogging time. I think it also keeps me grounded. I will never become better than others. I don't think I will ever think I am above anyone because that isn't my personality but I do want to keep myself grounded and humble because it is one of the things I like about myself. I think sharing my mistakes and struggles keeps me human and true to who I really am. I am a person who struggles and makes mistakes. Because of all my mistakes I am a person who learns a lot every day. Often I feel I am learning a lot more than my children.

I would like to add in some baby play ideas. I love all of the "first" I get to give and share with baby Z. Babies have so many wonderful firsts. First bath, first smile, first painting, first word, first tooth, first step and so on. Babies grow up so fast and I feel every second of her life counts so much. Yes she does cry a lot but I like to think that by me holding, rocking, walking, singing ,and letting her know I am with her when she is fussing or crying makes it a little better for her. Walking, talking and many others are first she will let me share with her. I like giving her the first I can. Firsts like footprint painting, touching/feeling cold, warm, wet, dry, soft, hard, hearing songs, telling stories and such are just a few of the firsts I get to give her. I hope that maybe sharing some of the special playtime I have with baby Zee maybe some other mom with a baby will paint footprints and get to have the same fun first I get to enjoy. I am the kind of person who LOVES hearing about people's best childhood memories and then I feel driven to give them all to my children. I know Zee will never remember her first time painting but I will always treasure that first and I love knowing I got to do it with her. I think I would cry if the first time she got to paint it was with a sitter, in a daycare, in school or such. I guess a big reason I homeschool is because I am selfish and I don't want someone else to get the special "firsts" with my children. I feel that a first grade teacher is lucky to be able to share the first time reading with children but I don't think she could treasure it in the way a parent would. I cried so many times when my son was learning to read. Anyway, I am once again rambling and getting way off track.

I hope that this year I find the time to blog many of my reading and math ideas. I once was a mom who thought I wouldn't be able to teach my children to read and do all preschool math skills! I bought many very expensive things to teach reading and math. I feel that toy makers/teaching supply creators know that parents feel they might miss something important if we teach without bright, bold, fancy instructions/ materials made by someone with the proper training to invent them. They know we often feel that we NEED to buy something expensive to teach reading and basic math or we will "miss" something important and our precious children will never be able to recover from our mistakes! Ever watch a HOP commercial? I myself fell for this. When Travis was 2 he taught himself to read (I am not sure how he did this). I didn't know what to do and I thought I was going to hurt him by not teaching correctly! I talked to Rob and we together decided to call HOP and purchase the entire set so we could teach our child (who was already reading) how to read! LOL! I think HOP is a good program but I don't think we needed it and it isn't a perfect fit for all children! We had to move things around adjust things and even bribe at the end just to finish it up. I feel it was made to help children who have lots of trouble learning to read. It didn't seem to work as well with a child who was already reading. We did it all from the beginning to the very end. I guess I felt I wanted to get my monies worth so even though Travis was reading at a 4th grade level I felt like I needed to bribe him to finish the HOP books that were way below his reading level at that time just to be sure I didn't "miss" something important. We liked many of the reading and math things we bought but I didn't feel any of them should have had the large price tags they had on them! I had to change things around to get all of them to work with "fit" my children (yes, HOP was not our only large purchase). Looking back I can say that the simple things I made myself worked better than the things we bought. I think that if I write out what works for me maybe it will help someone else. I hope to find the time to do this sometime this year.

I want to try to keep my blogging evenly split between 1. what fun Travis is doing by sharing fun learning things I make up for him to play/learn with 2. Preschool learning fun with Demi. 3. baby play. Baby play will not even out for a couple more months because it is impossible for me to snap pictures of her when I am holding her doing things.

I want to share more of our routine, schedule, storage and such as I have the time. I KNOW I have a long way to go to get a perfect routine and an organized storage system going but I feel sharing what I am doing might help someone with no system. I dream of having better systems like so many of you already have but I doubt I will get that done this year because life with a baby and toddler is a bit crazy.

I have other ideas but I can already see that I have a LOT down in writing and I am a person who always feels I need to reach my goals so I will not write anymore. I will try to write about my #9 resolution sometime next week.

Snapshots of baby Zee

I downloaded a picture resize program and it did make a HUGE difference in uploading pictures. Here are some shots of baby Zee from new years. I thought maybe our family would enjoy looking at them. Having a baby can be so much fun! My older 2 would never let me do stuff like this to them! Baby Zehira was happy, she seemed to enjoy doing this! She laughed when the hat fell over her face.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Do quilt fairies exist?

Rob has been off work and my house has been very busy. I wrote this back on Jan 1 but I guess I never published it. I really thought I had published this! Right now my baby is fussing so I don't have time to proof read this (same story with almost all my posts). It looks like I typed out all of the story. Rob will be off again the next 2 days I will try to blog more next week.

I have been stuck at home for several months now. I had a hard time recovering from Zee's birth, money has been very short (huge hospital bill from her birth), and getting out of the house with 3 children one of them being a very cranky fussy baby is hard to do. I know I have gone out with Rob a couple of times I remember Travis's soccer game, our trip to NJ, and my Mom's house for Thanksgiving. They are the only times I can think of that I have left our house/yard other than 1 trip to the doctors for Zee's well visit. That one is the only time I remember driving (going without Rob). Anyway, I left the house last night. My parents treated us all to dinner. ALL of us... Dad, Mom, brother, his wife, my sister, her husband, her 3 children, Rob and I and our 3 children. 14 of us! It was wonderful! The point of writing all of that is to let you all know that the chances of someone stopping by my house and me not being home is not likely to ever happen! We had dinner at a restaurant 10-15 minutes down the road from our house. Travis was calm and kind, Demi was on her best behavior (I was shocked), Zee didn't cry, fuss, or look upset at all SHE even SMILED at everyone (this was a HUGE SURPRISE for me). After our wonderful dinner we came home ready to start our small family New Year's party. I carried Demi up on the porch and found a QUILT in our door! YES! A QUILT! Not just a quilt but a BEAUTIFUL HAND MADE QUILT! I oohed and aahed over this gorgeous quilt for some time. I had NO idea who it came from! My first thought was hmm... I better call my mom.... She MUST know WHO the quilt fairy is, after all, my mom told me 2 or three times at the restaurant to call when I got home to let her know what my hubby and children got me for my birthday (I hadn't opened my gifts yet). I started thinking that her birthday gift question was just an excuse to get me to call so she could hear about my surprise visit from the quilt fairy. I was sure that someone must have let her know that they had plans to drop off a quilt and that she even told them when I wouldn't be home. I was so shocked to find out she was just as surprised as I was to learn about our fairy visit. I was so sure she knew because only my family would have known I was going out! I started thinking HARD trying to figure it out but I could NOT think of anyone who could have made this. Rob looked at it and he thought he recognized some of the fabrics in the quilt. I don't go out much but my hubby does bring me home things from stores sometimes so he is familiar with fabrics (not by his choice). lol He said that he thought maybe his brother or mother went into our local quilt shop looking for something for my birthday (they know I love fabric, thread, and yarn) and maybe they saw this beautiful small quilt while shopping for thread and knew I would love it. This quilt is one that you would expect to find in a nice quilt shop (it is that beautiful). I thought a baby quilt seemed very extravagant for a gift but unless someone dropped it off at the wrong house it must be that someone gave it to me! LOL! I didn't want to call everyone I knew asking them if they made or bought a gift and stuck it in my door. I had a picture in my head of lots of people with strange looks thinking hmmm... I didn't know she was expecting me to give her a gift and not just any gift but a quilt! I didn't know what to do! I asked Rob to call his mom and brother and just ask if they had stopped by the house. I tolld him not to ask if they bought a quilt just ask if they stopped by the house. They said no. I could not imagine WHO did such a nice thing. The only 2 people that I could think of was a friend down a few houses down from me who told me once that she has made a few quilts int he past.The other person, I thought of, is a friend down the road who has a mother who makes quilts. I wouldn't call either of them because I was convinced that it had not came from either of them. I was so sure that someone dropped it at the wrong house! If it was a baby rattle small teether, or even a small scented candle I would have guessed it was a gift from a friend. I never thought anyone would MAKE me a baby quilt! My friend Vicky from down the road did say the other day she had a gift for my baby but I was really expecting a baby rattle maybe if I was really lucky, a handmade cloth diaper (she sews the cutest cloth diapers). I was sure that either someone was at the wrong house or we had some quilt fairy floating around. I remember stories as a child how little magical fairies float around at night doing nice things when nobody is around to see. I liked the fairy idea a lot more than the thought of someone stopping at the wrong house!

Our phone rang this morning. Rob answered it and I could hear him ask if the person on the phone stopped by our house last night. I heard him chuckle and say I thought so. I was very anxious to find out who was on the other end of the phone line! It was my friend Vicky! She made this quilt!
I don't know what to say! I feel so blessed to have such wonderful friends like Vicky and Kcaarin (she knit that beautiful sweater I wrote about a few weeks ago). With this being a New Year, turning a year older yesterday, having a new baby, and taking a good look into the mirror, I am able to see that I have so much growing up to do yet! I truly feel a deep desire to learn a skill/craft. I want to make others feel as special as I do right now.


Yes, once again our children stayed awake until midnight.

Even Zee was awake at midnight.

We cut a ton of confetti (wrapping paper, streamers, and tissue paper).

We made some noise makers (bottles with beads and colored paper).
We made some kazoos.

We had party hats and horns (Daddy got some store bought ones this year with lots of shooters).
Zee did rest up for the big event.
And we welcomed in the new year by making a big mess and lots of noise.