Mother’s Day 2017

I want to start this post by saying, Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!

As I checked my facebook news feed the other day an article popped up from Joanna Gaines' blog about motherhood. It got me thinking about Mother's day and the meaning of it for me. Mother's day to me is a blessing, not because it is a celebration of me but a celebration of my children who made me a mom. After all, without them I would not be a mother.

It's funny to me how different Mother's day has changed for me over the years. I would try to make Mother's day so special for my mom. I remember decorating my kitchen with banners and signs that my brother, sister, and I made for her. I would make breakfast for her (not in bed because that was against the rules). When I went to college, I would send her flowers while I was away. Mother's day was a day I tried to really show my appreciation for my mother.

As a young adult, prior to children, I imagined Mother's day to be a day that I would be spoiled, pampered, given just me time. Now that I am a mother of three, that is not how Mother's day goes in my house. And I'm truly thankful that it's not that way!

Mother's day for me is a day for spending time together. Our lives become so busy and absorbed with jobs, chores, home projects, sports, and school that we hardly stop and spend an entire day focused on our family. Please don't take that as we don't spend time together, because we do. Mother's day gives us a day with our family to celebrate us.

This year our celebration was

 

 

Coming Up On The Blog:

  • Homeschool Recaps
  • Preschool Graduation
  • Soccer Games

Hale Yes Designs

A quick post for today.

I have an Etsy shop where I sell some items but haven’t found that Etsy was the best choice to reach the audience I was hoping to reach. So I have added a shop to my blog. This shop is Hale Yes Designs.  I have personalized cups, coffee mugs, wine glasses, t-shirts and more.

Click on the Hale Yes Designs link above to visit the page and place an order.

 

Coming up on the blog: Final Soccer Games, Preschool Graduation, Summer

Homeschool Month 5: Recap

Christmas break was a nice break of school for our family. I waited to start homeschool until the week they were returning to their preschool. Waiting meant that we didn’t start homeschool again until the second week of January with the lesson on Space. I have to admit that it was hard for all of us to get back into the routine. In this first week the kids loved the Humpty Dumpy Egg Drop. I think Science has become their favorite subject in our homeschool time.

Week two was on the topic of Earth. As I started to teach this week, I noticed a new issue. They were getting bored bored with tracing their sight word. Both girls were making zig-zag lines and scribbling all over the page. It was obvious this page was causing issues yet again. So plan C needed to happen.

Week three of January was about Weather. Boy this week was a great week to talk about weather, especially how weird weather can be. Our weather was crazy! Warm days in January…who knew it would be that way. This week was cut short with yet again more colds. With the warm weather breaking through, we had a yo-yo affect happening. One day it was warm, then a cold front came through bouncing temperatures all over the scale. This wildness in weather made the respiratory issues stir back up in our house. Poor kids couldn’t stay healthy. Have I mentioned how much I hate winter time!

By the time week four hit, we were trying to survive from yet another one sick in our house. This week we did the bare minimum with the Dinosaur’s lesson, scraping any extra or redundant activities. I incorporated a lot of breaks because they needed the rest. We would work about 45 minutes and then take a snack and water break. Then work another 45 minutes before another break. Then I finished the rest of the activities after lunch and nap or quiet time. This is not our normal routine but it gave them the time they needed, not rushing them when they weren’t feeling well.

By the end of January I was exhausted. All we wanted was to have everyone feeling well, not how it turned out at all. Is it Spring yet?

Homeschool Month 4: Recap

December was a short month for us. With my lesson planning, I scheduled that we would take time off when their preschool was out too. It would keep all of us from getting tired of homeschool. December was only two weeks of lessons for us.

Weekly Reviews

The first week was Baby Animals for our theme. It was a good week with them at home. They both were so excited about the fun festivities at their preschool so I tried to keep the excitement going at home. Elf Belle helped with that excitement. After homeschool lessons each day, we enjoyed holiday activities.

The second week covered the lesson Jungle Safari. This was another review week. We reviewed all of the letter readers and completed the word study IG. This week was another great break in the lessons. The review lessons from Reading the Alphabet brings a different perspective on the same letters. It also has more games which gives them something fun to do while learning. They also loved this week’s theme. They are obsessed with the Lion Guard and learned about some of the animals during this week’s stories. Bailey was especially excited when we got to Cheetahs, her favorite animal. I read the nonfiction book to her and then she had to look at it herself to “re-read” the Cheetah information. So precious!

Looking Back…

As I looked back at the first semester of homeschool, I could see how much they had grown in a few short m onths. They were becoming more independent with the lessons and really were loving learning. They both love reading to me and then showing their daddy what they learned when he got home. I think that was the most important part for them each day, being able to show them what they had learned. I love that he comes home to ask them about school each day. It really gives our homeschool journey a family process and not just mom with the kids. This month they have also started attempting to read books on their own, identifying the words they are familiar with. Proud homeschool mom here!

Homeschool Month 3: Recap

September and October have flown by which means we are in the third month of homeschool. The girls are quickly growing into wonderful readers. Both of them are loving reading, which makes this homeschool mom happy. This third month of homeschool was October 31 to December 2, taking the week of Thanksgiving off from all school.

Weekly Reviews

Having all of that candy from trick or treating is such a bad thing for all of us. The first week of the month, we covered the lesson Being Healthy. I planned this for after Halloween as reminder of healthy habits.  This week was another week with a lot of resistence on the sight word poke page. I put the dots a
gain for Brooke after she sat for about 10 minutes refusing to try it on her own. But then Bailey had to have the dots too. If you do something for one, then you have to do it for the other.

For week 2, we covered Forest Animals. This week was a rough week for all of us. The week started with a full meltdown over the poke page. This page was beginning to cause me so much grief. Brooke refused to do the paper this week. I was ready to scrap this activity altogether. Then, I chose to look at what the goal of the page was and change the activity we were doing with it.

In the next week’s lesson on Thanksgiving, we changed up the sight word poke page. This week I had them trace the word one time, which helped a lot. They both were happy to trace the words, such a relief for this homeschool mom. By the end of the week I was facing three sick kids. The first cold virus swept through our house.

Finishing up the month

We skipped Thanksgiving week because we needed the break and we were planning on traveling. Ugh, The kids were still sick. We skipped our trip and chose to stay home and have a small Thanksgiving with our little family of 5. After a week of relaxing and healing, we started a new week of homeschool. This lesson was The Pond. Considering we had just had a week off and they had been sick, this week’s lesson went really well. I’m not sure if it was them enjoying the school or the fact that Elf Belle had returned to our house to kick off the Christmas season. This was Mason’s first time seeing Elf Belle, of course he didn’t know what to think about her.

Three months of homeschool is in the books and we are looking forward to teaching and their learning as we move forward.

Homeschool Month 2: Recap

We started the second month of homeschool on October 3. The first month was a great start to homeschool and I was optimistic that the second one would be too. The first week was on the topic of Sports. This week was a lot of fun for the girls because we had an obstacle course in the backyard. Each day we played a different sport such as t-ball, soccer, basketball, and more. For Science this week we made a cloud in a jar. They loved this experiment.

Week two was the lesson Sharing. I felt like this lesson was an important lesson for them. Their little brother is very active and getting into their belongings, which really upsets them. This week’s lesson reminded them how to share with others as well as with their little brother. We talked about all types of ways we can share. During this week I started to see Brooke struggling with the sight word poke page. It was hard for her to poke holes all through the letters to form the words so that the light can shine through in the window. She became frustrated and would refuse to do the activity.

During week three we started the Halloween festivities with the Monsters and Scary Stuff theme. This was our first review week in the Reading the Alphabet series. It was a good change of pace for all of us by introducing new activities and games.

The final week of October was Halloween theme, of course. This week started with a new letter book and sight word. Again Brooke refused to do the sight word poke page so I added dots on the word so that she could only poke the pin through those dots. I was trying to make it easier for her, and allow her to feel accomplished.

The second month of homeschool was another great month for us. I love seeing this read and watching them learn. It has also been good for me. I feel like I’m back in my element of teaching which is something I love.

Soccer Games #4 & #5

Two weekends ago the girls had their fourth soccer game. This means that soccer season is half way over. My girls are slowly getting better at getting into the crowd to go after the ball. They each got into the crowd and wedged their way in for a quick kick at the ball. Unfortunately, once they’ve touched the ball, they have no intention of kicking the ball again. In fact, they usually shut down and refuse to run after that point because someone stole the ball from them.

The remainder of the game the run back and forth on the field, trying to stay with the group. I feel like all I’m doing is screaming “Come on, get in there!” Their competitive nature has not kicked in when it comes to sports at this point.

The following weekend’s game (number 5) was a much harder game. The morning of the game we received three phone calls of girls out that day due to illness and a funeral. This meant only three players on the team. Unfortunately for my two girls, you can play a game with three players. Right before the game started, Joel talked to the other coach and asked him if they would mind playing just three players at a time, that way it was three on three. He happily agreed and understood our dilemma for the day. The first half of the game was long for the girls. They ran back and forth, Bailey and Brooke both got control of the ball dribbling it for a few feet before it was taken by an opposing player. By the half time break these girls were tired from all of the running.

During the half time break, the other coach talked to Joel and offered a loan player for our team. This is allowed in children’s soccer to loan a player to even the field. Our three players would still play the entire second half but we would have a fourth player from the opposing team. The coach offered his own daughter to play on the opposing team. By this point both sides were cheering for both teams. I think it was the best sportsmanship example for kids. To show that all that matters is that they play and have fun.

 

During the past four games, my girls have experienced the pushing phase of soccer. Now I know that you are not supposed to push other players, but it seems that when you are four and running into a group of players, trying to get a ball, your first instinct is to put your hands up to push them away from you. I do not believe that any of this is out of anger or to be mean. I have seen several kids do this over the four games.

Unfortunately, my kids are the ones that get pushed a lot. Which may be causing them to back off and not get into the group, they don’t want to be pushed. As a parent it is frustrating to see your child pushed and to have them crying because they don’t understand why someone would do that. Well a new twist occurred in this past week’s soccer game.

Brooke got pushed early in the first quarter. She was not pleased by this but continued to play. It was not long before that same girl pushed her again. Brooke brushed it off and continued to play. By the third time that the girl pushed Brooke she was mad. This time she did not brush it off but shoved the girl back. Joel was standing by me when it happened, both of us stunned that she reacted that way. Brooke is our timid child, who cries if someone taps her. So to see her push another girl was a big surprise. We didn’t yell at her, or pull her off the field in that moment. I knew we would talk to her about it at the next break, reminding her that we don’t push, which is exactly what we did during the half time break.

Our little talk did not stick with her for long. During the third quarter the same girl pushed her trying to get the ball. Brooke stopped focusing on getting the ball but was determined to get the girl back for pushing her yet again. After the third quarter we had the same talk again with Brooke, adding that the best thing to do if someone pushes you when trying to get the ball, is to get back out there and take the ball to score a goal. We started trying to channel that frustration into a competitive nature for her. We know it’s there because she wants to steal the ball from her sister or me when we play at home. Our biggest hope is to move her into a positive competitive nature on the field without the need to push an opponent.

I have been working on “keep away” strategies with them in our backyard on off days from soccer practice. They love to chase me to get the ball back. It has worked to bring them some speed and determination on getting their ball back. They both have been able to maneuver themselves in front of me to snatch the ball, turn it around and run back across with me chasing them. It’s been helpful in teaching them strategies on trying to swoop in and get the ball. We are seeing growth in their soccer skills.

Coming Up On The Blog

  • I have been working on the homeschool recaps for each month of homeschool. I am a little behind in updating those on the blog. Sorry about that. You will see those posts published over the next couple of weeks.
  • Mother’s Day is around the corner so be watching for that post.
  • Later in May I will be sharing our summer plan for reading and math learning.

 

Homeschool Month 1: The Recap

homeschool

We started homeschool on September 5. The girls are homeschooled three days a week and go to a mother’s day out preschool program the other two days. This gives me a break and them the socialization as well as learning opportunities that I cannot give them at home.

Weekly Reviews

For the first week, we covered Back to School lesson. This was a long week. The girls were still learning how to do the activities and I was trying to figure out the schedule with my son tagging along. As I worked through the lesson, I saw the strengths and weaknesses of my girls. Shapes were a strength for them. Writing was a weakness.

On week two we covered the lesson All About Me. The girls were starting to see the repetition in the learning activities and were enjoying learning at home. I was loving teaching them at home too.

Week three was the People lesson. By this week both girls were really excited about school time. I felt like we were getting the hang of the routine. This week was starting to show me that we were going to be able to make this work with me teaching them at home.

Week four of September, we covered Community Helpers. By this week, I opted to make a few changes to the lesson plan. The kids started their pocket chart stories on Mondays rather than Wednesdays. This gave them the repetition they needed to learn the new stories. I also added sight word flash cards to our activities. I had found that Fridays when they read the sight word wall, they were struggling with words that they may not have seen that week. So I added the sight words to flash cards that they kept in their reading pockets with their books. They read through them each day to help them remember the words.

Overall the first month was a success! I made some adjustments for their learning but we are all learning in this process. Their favorite activities this month as been Science and all the experiments. I love that they are loving Science!

What’s In Your Easter Basket?

Planning your child’s Easter basket can be fun but also a bit of a chore. The easiest thing is to buy a basket prepackaged with random things in the basket. Those are usually themed baskets such as sports, art, summer, etc… I don’t like to pick up the prepackaged baskets because I find that it has items that are not what my children are interested in. Another option is to buy the prepackaged candies and random things at the grocery store on the holiday aisle. Again that is an easier choice but we prefer to not have a basket full of candy. Especially since Mom and Dad would be the ones eating it.

So, what do we do?

Like many other parents we pick and choose the items we want in the basket. The first years easter baskets can be found here and here. Last year we chose to go with a summer theme with bathing suits, sunglasses, and flip flops. Easter basket fillers this year were products of the dollar section of our grocery store and Target. With three kids, easter baskets can get expensive. So the dollar sections were a perfect solution. What was in this years easter basket?

For my twins’ easter baskets:

  • coloring book
  • activity book
  • easter socks
  • easter stamps
  • chalk
  • a new reader book
  • an assortment of plants in the pot ready for planting
  • small chocolate bunny

My girls are really into the whole idea of gardening so when I saw the dollar plants I had to get some for their baskets.

For my baby’s easter basket:

  • coloring book
  • toddler plates
  • a toddler cup
  • chalk
  • bubbles
  • football
  • soccer ball
  • book
  • small chocolate bunny

The kids loved their easter baskets and they were great on the budget. The most expensive thing I purchased was the books. The majority of their items were in the dollar sections and literally cost only a dollar. I loved finding things they want to play with and use that didn’t cost a fortune.

Read here to find out more about our easter celebration or how we plan our easter egg hunt.

 

Coming up on the blog:

  • Soccer Games #4 & #5
  • Summer Bucket List

 

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Summer Bucket Lists

Once upon a time,  I loved Summer vacation. It was my time to take a break from school and my teaching job. In the summer I could sleep in, lay by the pool, or do whatever I wanted during those summer vacations.

Well, Summer is quickly approaching and all three kids will be home five days a week. I’m trying to prepare myself for all the whining, crying, fighting, and drama that comes with three kids being home day after day. Just thinking about all of that drama made me realize that I needed a plan of fun to keep them busy all summer.

There are a few things that I plan to already do with them that will keep them busy for short periods of the day. We will have swim lessons four days a week and will have our pool for afternoon play time. I also plan for the girls to be in ballet camp for a week and possibly vacation bible school for another week.

Let’s be honest, those plans will not keep them busy for long and definitely won’t stop the drama. For those in between times I need some back up plans which is why I have created the summer bucket list full of ideas of what to do with the kids.

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Summer Bucket List 2017

Indoors:

  • Reading program
  • Play board games
  • Have a puppet show
  • Tea Party
  • Read-a-thon
  • Build a fort
  • DIY spa day
  • Ball pit fun
  • Finger Paint
  • Family Sleepover in the family room
  • Make root beer floats
  • Pajama party
  • Kids baking

Outdoors:

Day Trips or Vacations:

  • Beach Trip
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Trip to the Zoo
  • Go to the movies
  • Trip to the children’s museum
  • Go to a drive-in movie
  • Trip to one museum
  • Camping Trip
  • Trips to the park
  • Go to a bowling alley
  • Baseball game
  • Go to a jump park
  • Library story time
  • Go feed ducks
  • Back to school shopping trip
  • Go on a hike
  • Visit a splash pad
  • Go fishing
  • Visit the Farmer’s market

With all of those ideas, the kids should have a blast this summer, I hope! But, they are not the only ones that need a summer bucket list. I have a list of things that I would like to do this summer as well.

 

Summer Bucket List for Mom

  • Read 5 books or more start to finish
  • Finish my bible study that I started a year ago, The Armour of God
  • Go see a movie (something my husband and I have NEVER done together, weird I know)
  • Finish the girls’ scrapbooks ages Birth to 5 and start a new one for each of them.
  • Bring baby boy’s scrapbook up to current date.
  • Garden around my house, bringing color to my yard
  • Organize rooms in my house
  • Work on new projects for Hale Yes Designs (on Etsy)
  • Brainstorm blogging topics
  • Learn something new
  • Knit winter hats for the kids (something I doubt I will do but it’s worth a try)
  • Update decor in my bedroom
  • Get into shape

 

Hopefully, with these great to dos on our summer bucket lists, we will keep busy and not have bored moments in our house. Maybe we can even replace the drama with loads of fun. For now, we will have to wait and see. Check back for updates of our summer break.

 

Coming Up:

  • What’s In Your Easter Basket?
  • Soccer Game #4 & #5