Saturday, October 18, 2008

Our Week

We had a week of wrapping things up this past week. It was our last week of studying the solar system. I think we'll wait to add some more science until after the Holidays, and spend extra time on Holiday stuff between now & then.

We also finished the Really Reading Curriculum. I want to spend some more time reviewing some of the concepts, but we worked through the whole curriculum. We're doing review work now, and reading the easy reading books & continuing with the phonics worksheets.

And finally, we finished our study of Jamestown and moved on to Plymouth. One of the books I'd planned to use hasn't come in at the library yet, I'm HOPING it will come in sometime this week so we'll have it ready to use when we get back from our trip, if not, we may end up skipping it, we shall see . . . In the meantime we read another book, Three Young Pilgrims , and started Squanto. I was nervous, since Squanto was another chapter book, that it would be above the girls' head like the Jamestown one was, they got into Jamestown as we moved through it, but had trouble following it. But it's written at a younger level, and when I finished reading 2 chapters, L asked that I keep reading, so it was a hit. I'm hoping to read a bunch of it to them in the car on our trip, it should pass time driving and help us keep moving forward with the curriculum at the same time. We also started our first History Pocket book. When I first looked into this curriculum, the library system shows that they have all the History Pocket books, but when I tried to actually reserve one, it wouldn't let me, so apparently they're considered a reference book or somesuch at the library that actually has them. So we've skipped the History Pockets up to this point. I did want to try at least ONE though, and determined that the Plymouth one was used extensively & is geared for the younger kids, so I bought this one. I think it'll be a hit. We made the first pocket yesterday, and the girls thought it was great fun :)

I'd planned to take this next week off completely, since we're getting ready for our trip, but we have a good momentum going, so I think we'll try to go ahead & do Bible, Reading & History the first 2 or 3 days this week. But I reserve the right to change my mind if I start stressing about getting everything else done LOL.

Friday, October 17, 2008

They're Constantly Changing

I'm amazed at how something the girls weren't interested in a few months ago can now hold their attention so completely. Last fall we got a couple Nest videos to take with us to watch in the car on a trip, the girls weren't interested in them (on that same trip, I also introduced them to Mary Poppins, they weren't interested in that either). We tried the Nest videos at various times during last winter, and then kind of set them aside since they continued to not be a hit. Then a month or so ago dh discovered that there's a TV station here that plays a whole bunch of religious kids programs on weekend mornings, so he set the DVR to record a bunch of them, including NEST videos. And the girls love the Nest videos! So I thought, perhaps they just didn't like the particular video we'd tried watching before. Tonight I went back into the DVR list & chose a NEST video for them to watch (and it doesn't tell me which one is which, so it was just whatever was recorded last weekend) and it's John the Baptist (the one we have, that they didn't like). They did mention, as it started, that they'd seen this one before & I asked if they wanted to watch a different one but they didn't reply, so I left it on. They're completely engrossed in it!! So I guess they just weren't old enough for it (or something) last winter. Along the same line, Mary Poppins is now one of their favorites and they watch it probably at least once a month on trips to & from the grandparents' houses.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Doing a Happy Dance!!

I'm so excited!! One of the many blog giveaways I entered recently was for the complete set of Liberty's Kids DVDs. For those who don't know, Liberty's Kids was a PBS series a few years ago set during the Revolutionary War. Great history in a kid- friendly format! The series has been cancelled, but they did re-play at least some of them on one of the Discovery Channels a year or so ago, I recorded them and watched one or two with the girls but they were still abit too scary (war is like that LOL) for the girls at that point. I think I did keep them on our DVR in case we wanted to watch them later, but then we moved, so that kinda ruined that LOL (and even if I'd known how to record off the DVR, there was way too much chaos at the time of the move to think of recording a show we might someday want to watch). Now we're studying American History and I'd been thinking what a great resource that would be when we get to that period in history. And I THINK they would be less scared now, especially if we were also reading about it at the same time (we used to have to ff through the scary scenes in The Little Mermaid and Beauty & the Beast, and now we don't). So anyway, I was excited when I found the giveaway for the DVDs, but figured chances were slim that I'd win, but I got the e-mail this afternoon, I DID win them!! So we'll have them to watch when we're studying it & if they ARE still too scary, we can save them to watch when the girls are older (obviously even if we watch them now, we'll likely pull them out in the future when we cycle back around to studying that period in history). Yay! I can't begin to tell you how much this made my day (and yes, I realize it's a little thing, it doesn't take much to make me happy LOL).

Last Week's Wrap-Up

We had a productive week last week, stayed on track for "school", the girls are definitely picking up the reading, and after a slow start, are into the Jamestown book now (& we'll finish it today or tomorrow). We also figured out to fit a visit to Jamestown into our upcoming Disney trip (had planned to stop in Williamsburg for Busch Gardens anyway), and I think it will help alot for them to SEE what we just read about.

As already mentioned, we went apple picking, we also had a rather applesauce filled week, with making 2 small batches here at home (the apple corer/peeler/slicer is pretty cool!!) and then yesterday at my parents' house we made & canned 9 1/2 quarts (and the girls & I probably ate at least another pint while we were there LOL). I'm so excited to have those all sitting on my shelf for this winter :) I still have probably a bushel & a half of apples sitting in my basement too (some of the empires still, most of the staymens we picked, and then I got a half bushel of yorks (YUM!! My all-time favorite!!!) while we were at my parents. So will have to keep an eye on them & may make some more applesauce &/or dried apples &/or apple leather w/ some of those.

We were at my parents' this weekend and spent a good part of Friday at a pumpkin patch, corn maze, etc. near our old house. I'd taken the girls last year & we'd enjoyed it, but had gotten horribly lost in the corn maze, so we attempted it again this year with more adults along. We didn't get lost but it confirmed for me that it wasn't any great lack of directional ability on my part that got us lost last year, this year we did lots of one adult stay at a crossroads w/ the girls while the other 2 check out 2 of the options and then take our best guess, and even then we went in circles a few times. We had found 6 of the 10 clues when we came to a lookout tower & discovered that we were still about as far from the beginning as it's possible to get and it was approaching sundown, so rather than risk having to find our way out in the DARK we abandoned the maze & followed a straight line (through the rows of corn) to the hay wagon path that ran around the outside of the maze and followed it back to civilization LOL. Besides that the girls had a great time jumping on a huge moonbounce type pillow (they especially enjoyed it when Papa got out & jumped w/ them LOL), going down huge slides, seeing the farm animals (they had some itty bitty baby pigs that were ADORABLE!!!!), playing in a big bin of shelled corn, and racing rubber duckies down chutes that you pump water down. And of course the hayride to the pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins. L found a "peanut pumpkin" and was/is quite proud of it.

The girls amazed me with how well they did learning the Lord's Prayer this week. I wasn't 100% happy w/ either version of the song that I bought (but at $0.99 ea it wasn't a great loss & did help them learn it). Soon after we moved here we had a longish (nowhere near this long, but longer than most) memory verse & I found it odd (but assumed it was just a coinicidence) that L seemed to learn it faster than she does she shorter ones, but again this week, she had the Lord's Prayer down to needing one or two prompts by TUESDAY!! It is often Thursday before she can say the typial one line memory verses w/o hearing the whole thing first. I just don't get it! But by the end of the week both were saying it to my satisfaction to be able to tell Teacher Cindy next week that they said it.

Now we're home, ready to fit in our last week of school before our Disney trip (taking some time off either side of the trip to keep from stressing me out too much LOL). This week we have friends coming over this morning, books to pick up at the library, a new source for raw milk to find (the farm we've been going to put up a sign a week ago saying they were moving, sigh . . .), I'd really like to find some new shoes for Disney, but am beginning to resign myself to just wearing my crocs, they look less that lovely w/ skirts & dresses, but they're comfortable . . . still hoping to check a couple stores this week though. . . so it's a busy week. I also need to reserve videos from the library to take w/ us on the trip.

I'd planned to get corncobs from my parents' house to use to make corncob dolls this week, but realized halfway home last night, that I forgot, so we'll be skipping that in this week's school . . . and try to remember to bring the corncobs home after our disney trip.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Apple Picking

We went apple picking yesterday. Since the apples at the u-pick place were $1.19/lb, and the apples from an orchard near my parents' house are $16/bushel (a bushel is 40+ lbs, do the math!!!) or $8/bushel for seconds (which means trimming a spot out now & then, many of them are "seconds" because there's no stem, which doesn't affect anything except how long they'll keep). This was definitely filed under "educational experiences" NOT "frugal shopping" LOL. But the girls had a blast & would have happily picked apples for quite abit longer than we did. Conveniently, the apple variety I wanted was small trees that included branches that were literally inches from the ground. And apparently had, up until that point, been picked by people about my height. The low branches were still loaded, as were the tops of the trees, the branches I could easily reach w/o squatting to the ground or standing on tiptoe were pretty sparse. So it worked great, plenty of apples the kids could reach, and at that price, I wasn't doing much picking anyway LOL.

We also got apple cider while we were there (yum!) AND the most exciting part of the trip for me, the little "market" there had raw honey for prices I'm willing to pay!!! I'd about given up, I got raw honey from the same farm I got raw milk from when we lived in our old house, and all the prices I was finding here were at least double what I'd paid there. I was hesitant to just keep buying it there (though we go w/in a mile of that farm when we drive to/from my parents' house so it's not a big deal to stop there), because I prefer truely LOCAL raw honey for the added protection against environmental allergens (bees make honey out of local wildflowers, that's the same pollen that's floating in the air making people sneeze, if they eat the pollen as honey, they're less likely to react to the pollen in the air, at least that's how I understand it . . . I think it's the same principal as homeopathics?) , although so far the only one in our family who has any environmental allergies is dh & he doesn't eat honey (or anything else sweet) anyway. But still . . . I was excited to find local raw honey for only slightly more than what I'd been paying before.

So it was a rather expensive day all around, but the girls had fun LOL.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Review & Giveaway

Ore-Ida sent me a coupon for a free package of their new Steam & Mash potatoes.

We tried them for supper last night. I chose the garlic flavor, it was abit to garlicky &/or salty for my taste but everyone else ate them w/o complaint, the girls each asked for seconds. Both dh & I agreed that while they weren't bad, they tasted more like instant potatoes than homemade from scratch ones. They also seemed pricey to me (but I'll admit, I don't normally buy "prepared" potatoes), it was around $3.50 (I don't remember exactly) for a package that was barely enough for a side dish for our family of 4 (after we each had one serving, each of the girls ate a 2nd serving and there was an extra spoonful for dh to finish up).

While it would be a selling point for most people, the fact that the potatoes are prepared IN the plasticy bag didn't appeal to me either, I question leaching issues w/ those "steam in" bags for the microwave.

So all around, it's not a product OUR family is likely to purchase again, but we are far from the average American family LOL. IMO homemade from scratch win out hands down from a cost & flavor standpoint & plain old instant potato flakes taste comparable, are equally easy to make, and while I haven't specifically priced isntant potatoes recently, I assume they'd be a cheaper option.

That said, Ore-Ida also sent me some $1 off coupons to share w/ my readers. So . . . if you'd like to try these for yourself, just leave a comment on this post before next Monday, Oct 13:00 at 8pm Eastern Time.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gratituesday - Faith of a Child

Yesterday dh took the girls to his mom's house for the day. Since the church near her house has a big open field, perfect for shooting off rockets (as opposed to all the trees around us), they took their model rockets along to finally shoot them off. I'm alittle unsure of the specifics (having 2 excited 5 1/2 yr olds telling you about it is rather . . . confusing LOL) Well, when they shot A's rocket they somehow lost track of it & had NO IDEA where it came down. The girls prayed that Jesus would help them find it, and they started looking. Just when dh had said it was time to give up, the pastor & a neighbor came along. The pastor had been standing in another part of the property & thought he'd seen it come down (but hadn't known what it was until he came over to talk to dh, MIL and the girls), so they went and looked where he thought he'd seen it & sure enough, they found the rocket but not the parachute/top piece. Well today, the neighbor called MIL, he & his wife went for a walk today & the parachute/top piece literally blew right across their path. The girls are SOO EXCITED that Jesus answered their prayer! And honestly, that's what I'm most thankful for! That God cares enough to honor such small, inconsequential requests (the rocket was easily replaceable) and remind all of us of His love & the power of prayer!

Penny Pinchers

Another post courtesy of Sanctuary is in the Small Things. Part of today's challenge is to share money saving tips. So I thought I'd post a few of the things I do to stretch our budget. Most of this won't be new for those who've read my blog all along, but that's ok . . .

  • Cook from scratch, avoid prepared foods, they're not as healthy AND more expensive
  • Hang your clothes dry. The clothes dryer is a huge electricity drain, and clothesline fresh clothes smell SOOO good! (and I find hanging clothes up somehow meditative, but I might just be wierd).
  • Just plain don't buy stuff! Seriously. Before buying something stop and think if you REALLY need it. Do you have something else that will work for the same thing? Can you borrow it for someone if you only need it rarely? Can you find it at a yardsale for much less if you're patient . . .
  • Stay home more. Saves gas AND pretty much anywhere you go there's going to be SOMEONE trying to sell you something.
  • Consider if spending more up front will save money over time. A Diva Cup or Moon Cup may seem expensive up front, but think what you'd save over the next 5 years in not buying any tampons or pads! Same w/ cloth diapers, a basic cloth diapering system (IF you stick with it!) will save a bundle over disposable diapers.
  • Use your local library! We are doing a book-intense history curriculum this year, there's no way I could afford to buy all the books we will read over the course of this curriculum, even if I got them all off, but the vast majority are available through our county library system, it means planning ahead to reserve them so I can pick them up at my library at the time I need them, but it's saving us a bundle.
  • Know when things go on sale & stock up. I got glue sticks for next to nothing during the back-to-school sales. If I had to buy them now, I'd pay 2 or 3 times as much. Needless to say I stocked up when they were cheap. Ditto for notebooks, notebook paper . . . all the basic consumable school supplies. I generally watch for winter coats for the kids in the spring, I can get them for the next winter at 50% off or more.
  • If you use credit cards (for the convenience) pay them off EVERY MONTH, ON TIME, AND find a card that gives you something back. For the last few years we've had cards that give us points toward rooms at Choice Hotels (Comfort Inn, etc). This means for the second year in a row we're spending a week (actually closer to a week & a half this year, counting a stop in Williamsburg on the way down) in FL w/o having to pay for any lodging. If you can't stick to your budget while using credit cards, don't use them!
I'm sure I'm forgetting some obvious ones, but that's a good start LOL.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

First, we had some "keepers" in last week's menu.

The apple smoothies were declared "the best smoothie I've ever had" by A, she even asked if we could have them for her b-day (guessing she'll forget that in the next 6 months, but still . . .). Main change I made to the recipe was to use frozen peaches instead of the frozen banana (neither kid is a big fan of bananas so I didn't have any & I DID have peaches & figured from a color standpoint they would blend in well. I'm thinking I'll try freezing some apples (peel, slice, brush w/ lemon juice, lay on baking sheets till frozen, then bag) to be able to continue making these smoothies throughout the winter.

We also made the 1500's Bean Soup, primarily for "school" but obviously it was a meal as well. The girls each ate 2 bowlfuls for supper that night, and were excited to hear there was some leftover for lunch the next day & ate 2 1/2 bowls each for lunch (which finished it all up, they asked for MORE), dh wasn't overly thrilled with it, but w/ the girls liking it SO much we'll probably have it occasionally. I may try freezing some next time I make it, which would then make an easy lunch option this winter (dh comes home for lunch but often doesn't want to take time for me to fix him anything (and the time he gets here varies from noon to after 1:00 so it's hard to have something hot & ready when he gets home) and just eats cereal or something anyway, so having lunch options dh doesn't like isn't a big deal). So, it was a successful lesson (the girls asked about each ingredient as we put it in and wanted to know why Columbus would have had it on the ship & such) AND a successful meal (I used a vegetarian equivalent of chopped ham in place of the hamhock btw).

Ok, now on to this week. We're going to my parents' this weekend, hence the lack of recipes on Fri & Sat. We have a busy week planned, but A threw up on her way home from her grandmother's this evening so hopefully we don't all deal w/ a stomach bug this week, sigh . . . she seemed fine once she got home so who knows . . .

Other menus are here.

Weekly Wrap-Up

We had a good week last week, nothing really "extra" going on, so just a nice week at home doing school and playing outside and just being.

Both girls, but especially A, have made marked improvement in reading this week. You may recall in last week's wrap-up I mentioned needing to slow down and reinforce some stuff in the curriculum, we were able to pick back up to speed this week and things are moving forward. One of A's struggles was the word "the" it's a mystery to me how the child who memorizes memory verses w/ no trouble whatsoever, simply could NOT memorize that t-h-e says "the". But we struggled and struggled and struggled. Probably making it worse for little miss perfectionist (poor thing, she's her mother's child), was that L came into these "lessons" knowing "the" from having worked w/ the Bob books in the past. And while L was a great "cheerleader" I think it just underlined for A the fact that L knew it & she didn't. . . finally, in desperation, I told A to take a piece of paper & write "the" 5 times, saying the word as she wrote it each time (I wrote it at the top so she'd know what to write). That did the trick (further proving she's her mother's daughter LOL. My history notes for some of the major tests floated around our hs for YEARS after I was gone (seriously, my brother was 5 yrs behind me and someone gave HIM a copy of them when he was taking those classes LOL) funny thing is, *I* never studied those notes per se. I memorize by writing. So I wrote copious notes in class and then went home & typed them up, organizing them as I typed. To "review" for a major exam I took notes from quizes and previous exams and retyped/organized them yet again . . . once I had "pretty" notes, at most I'd skim them right before the test. ANYWAY . . . apparently A inherited my tendency to memorize best by writing down, something that actually excites me greatly since we're already using copywork as part of our curriculum, once her reading is to the point that she can actually READ the copywork she's doing, I suspect she'll have a head chock full of Bible verses and whatever else we choose to use for copywork as time goes on). So, A's mastering of the word "the" was a major, and much celebrated, accomplishment this week. I'd also taken a couple weeks off from using the easy reading books from the library. The words were easy enough but when we read the first one (Cat Traps) the sheer length of it overwhelmed A. (L did fine w/ it, but while this may not be "fair" w/ them close in abilities, but L slightly ahead, and A's perfectionist tendancies, I prefer to keep them "even" right now even if it means not pushing L as fast as she COULD go (truth be told, given my druthers I wouldn't be teaching them to read at ALL. I was fully prepared to use the unschooling method of providing them w/ resources and taking it slow and when they were ready, they'd start reading w/o any formal "lessons" but alas, A got impatient and wanted to learn NOW). So anyway . . . I printed off nice short "books" from and and such and we've been using those for the last week or two. Near the end of this week I realized that I hadn't printed off another starfall book (and they'd read the ones I'd printed off earlier) so I decided to take another shot at the library books. A did SOOO much better. One of the reasons she struggled so much, compared to L, w/ "Cat Traps" is because she never picked up on the repetition. Seriously every other opening in the entire book was word for word EXACTLY the same. And the other ones were only a few words different. But she labouriously sounded out those exact same words on! Whereas L quickly picked up on the repetition and barely glanced at the "same" pages. This time (we were reading "Big Egg") A picked up quickly on the repetition and use of pictures (so, for example, neither kid even noticed that the word goat uses a letter combination (oa) tha we haven't learned yet, because by that page in the book they'd figured out that each page asked "is this a [insert farm animal pictured on this page] egg?" saw the picture of the goat and "read" the page without any problem. LOL. Anyway, while some will argue that's not "reading" it strikes me as an important logic skill that is a step toward realizing that reading doesn't have to involve sounding out every single word if there's another way to figure out what it says LOL.

As already mentioned, we also introed the Book-It reading incentive this week & it went over big. They're over halfway to their goal of 12 books and it's only the first week of the month, methinks next month needs a higher number of books LOL.

We finished up Columbus this week by making 1500's bean soup like might have been served on Columbus' ship. The girls asked about each ingredient as we put it in, and we discussed why this would be a good thing to have on a ship (onions last a long time w/o having to stay cold, etc). At suppertime they informed Daddy that "this isn't REALLY supper, it's more like, well . . . school!" and proceed to explain that it was soup like Columbus might have had, yadda yadda. We're now learning about Jamestown/Pocahontas. I FINALLY manged to get one of the d'Auliere books from the library (the last 2 had long wait lists that meant we'd have been on beyond that character before we got the book) and we're enjoying it. It's a great series of books about historic characters for young kids. The other book we're using, Surviving Jamestown, is abit more of a struggle. I'm hopeful that once we get past the ship part, they'll be more interested, I think another descriptive book about a long ship voyage right on top of "Pedro's Journal" (about Columbus' voyage) was just abit much for them. I went through and printed off some coloring sheets that I'll have them color while I read this week, hopefully that will help them listen w/o getting bored (I listen much better if my hands are busy, this is why dh sometimes gives me a hard time for "stealing" the girls' coloring books and coloring in church LOL). Unfortunately, the other book on Jamestown hasn't come in yet, and I suspect won't in time (since we'll finish w/ Pocohontas/Jamestown next week and I'm still #2 on the list), so if we want to learn anything from the settlers' point of view, we need to plow through this one. With Jamestown a likely "fieldtrip" destination at some point (we actually went there when the girls were 2 1/2, but obviously they don't remember it. I REALLY wish my parents' schedule was such that they/we could "recreate" the Nov motorhome trip we took when the girls were 2 1/2, I think w/ what we're studying now & their overall interest in history, the girls would be fascinated by it all! But alas, my parents didn't retire as planned, so it will have to wait for another year. On the positive side, since the original trip was for Dad to get his National Park Passport stamps, I figure the odds are good I can convince him to recreate it at some point, so he can re-get those stamps LOL.

Yesterday (Sabbath) after church we'd been invited to stay for dinner at the church with the other Primary kids. One of the leaders, Teacher Cindy, fixed lunch for everyone and then the kids made crafts (the little melted bead things) to take to the nursing home (I'm not clear on whether there will be another trip later to actually TAKE them to the nursing home or if Cindy will just deliver them w/o the kids), and then went to a nearby playground for awhile. The girls seemed to have fun. The group of older kids (who even w/in the group very much paired off by grade level, I heard comments like "I don't trust anyone who's not in 2nd grade") didn't go out of their way to include the girls, and the girls didn't go out of their way to be included, but it was several small groups of kids anyway, not "everyone" vs. the girls, so I don't think the girls noticed or cared. There was a younger sibling there who was probably 3, maybe 4. And A took her under her wing and "helped" by playing chasing games and such w/ her while we were getting the meal ready & such. At the playground near the end the girls joined in w/ some of the older girls abit more, so there were steps toward building friendships at least.

Looking ahead to this coming week, I realized we really NEED to pick apples this week, that way if we decide we want to turn a good number of them into applesauce we can be lazy & take them to my parents' this weekend and use mom's . . . ok, no idea what it's called, but you just run the apples through it & it grinds them up & dumps the core & seeds out one side & the applesauce out the other side. I figure the girls will think cranking that thing is great fun, and quite frankly cranking that thing strikes me as being more fun than peeling & coring a whole bunch of apples LOL. So, assuming weather cooperates we'll go pick apples this week.

As you'll notice if you pay attention to our weekly schedule (for school) the memory verse this week is the ENTIRE Lord's Prayer. Now, while I have nothing against the Lord's Prayer, I'm not one to go out of my way to encourage reciting prayers (vs. saying what comes from your heart, I firmly believe that Jesus gave us that prayer as an example, not so much something to repeat verbatim with any regularity) so it's not like they already know some/all of it from having heard it elsewhere on a regular basis. We started though it last night and while I for sure want them to learn this one in the KJV (which is what is in the lesson, as the memory verse), that adds the further complication of words they're not accustomed to. So they're having to memorize new WORDS as well as putting a whole lot of words together. We shall see how the week goes. We won't be at our church this weekend (as mentioned above, we'll be at my parents') so at least they won't have to tell Teacher Cindy they don't know it, if they can't memorize it all. I still need to decide which one I want to buy, but I found 3 different kids versions of the Lord's Prayer set o music (kid music, not Charlotte Church type music, which is beautiful, but not likely to help 5 yr olds memorize it) online that can be purchased (the mp3) for $0.99 so I want to get one of them and we'll sing it through a couple times during circle time each day, plus play it at least a time or 2 anytime we're in the car (my gps unit has a built in mp3, so I can download it onto that to have in the car or upstairs (or I can just use my computer upstairs, either way).

One of my accomplishments last week was to go through the ENTIRE history curriculum and figure out the schedule. Obviously there are many variables (books might not be available, or as we're finding w/ the Jamestown book right now, might not hold their attention, in either we might switch to a different one or skip it altogether as needed). I did NOT leave out any time for the baby's birth, with so much of it being read-alouds, I'm wondering if we'll be able to pretty much keep right on going w/ history w/o really missing any time for when the baby's born, but obviously that's something we'll play by ear. I also went through and determined the few books I need to buy (library doesn't have them or, in the case of Squanto, it's a long book that is used over several weeks, even w/ "tweaking" the schedule to not start Squanto till we got back from Disney (following the schedule in order put us reading the first day's reading before the trip) it would mean having to go get the book the DAY we got back from Disney (which would mean reserving it while we were AT Disney, and assuming there wouldn't be any holds on it ahead of us) and it was still iffy if we'd finish it before we needed to return it. So when I found it on for $0.75 plus shipping I decided it was worth that to not have to stress about it being overdue and us not being done. So I ordered it this week. As an added bonus, that should make it a good book to take along on our Disney trip and read some in the car if the girls are in the mood, which might put us ahead of schedule :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It Takes So Little to Make Them Happy . ..

Today, being the first day of October, was also the first day of our Pizza Hut Book-It program. Being a great one to plan ahead, this morning I spent 30 seconds deciding what the reading requirement would be. I decided on them reading (either easy reading or quoting a book they've mostly memorized) at least 3 books per week (or a total of 12 per month), to earn their free pizza. Printed out a chart (gotta love dtlk charts & stuff!) and introduce the whole thing to the girls during "school time" they were OVER-THE-MOON!! We get our OWN pizza and we can choose our OWN topping on it?!?!?! OH the excitement!! And ummm . . . each kid has already read 3 books, I think we'll have no trouble making the 12/mo requirement LOL.

What fits in Pockets

Off and on, I've been participating in Rachel Anne's Sanctuary in the Small Things Challenge this year. And part of today's task is to make a list of things that will fit into 15 min (or less) "pockets" of time.

Now I've always been a fan of pockets of time . . . and this pregnancy has made it much more so, since I get tired if I do too many things w/o sitting down to rest. I'll admit I haven't timed things (and I'm not going to rush around & do EVERYTHING today just to time it all, but here's a list off the top of my head, and perhaps if I can remember to time things, I'll add to it over the next week or two as I do other household things:

Cheating by stealing the applicable things of Rachel Anne's list first, then I'll add others I can think of:

  • Put away a load of clothes.
  • Unload a dishwasher.
  • Load a dishwasher.
  • Wipe down a sink and mirror.
  • Scrub a potty.
  • Clean the kitchen sink.
  • Pick up an entire room.
  • Water the plants.
  • Straighten a junk drawer.
  • Read a story to a preschooler.
  • Clean a stove top.
  • Put a load of laundry in the washer
  • Hang out a load of laundry
  • I THINK I can vacuum an entire floor of this house in 15 min (if it's been picked up already)
  • Sweep/Mop the kitchen floor
  • Unpack a bx (yes, I'm still unpacking)
  • Fit in one subject of homeschool (we normally do all our "school" in one big chunk, but I need to remember that on days when we don't have that one big "chunk" we CAN do it in little bits.
  • Do various dinner prep tasks (chop veggies, put the rice (or other long-cooking things) on to cook, etc.)