Monday, May 31, 2010

The Week In Advance

  • I have two appointments this week and hopefully the perinatologist is going to tell me that I am free and clear of my previa issues. We'll see!
  • I would really like to get organized with my activity ideas for the's a work in progress.
  • I would like to nail down the ideas I have swirling around in my head about why I want to homeschool and what our priorities should look like.
  • I have decided that I am going to start Before Five In A Row with Braedon (and Kaley but she may not get much out of it at this point). I was delighted to find that we already have two of the books it focuses on. I ordered a few more so we would have a selection on hand to get started with. Then, I will decide if I should borrow or buy the rest of the titles. I will definitely be using Delightful Learning as a source. I hope that I can be as organized as she is in doing B4FIAR.
  • I want to focus more on our bible verses and activities surrounding the bible but not entirely sure what that looks like yet.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tot School (Week 4)

Tot School

It was a pretty low key week. I am still trying to find time to organize my ideas, search for new ideas, and actually implement them. On the fly has been getting us by but it is not making for many new and different activities.
Braedon loves to stick stickers. Last week he stuck circle stickers on the do a dot letter pages. This week, I used the play do mats from Homeschool Creations and gave him square stickers.

Kaley was playing with the fridge farm but then was very interested in what Braedon was doing.

So, I gave her a play do mat and some square stickers too.

Since both my kids love sticking stickers, I created a chart called I Ate My Vegetables that they get to stick a sticker on whenever they eat their vegetables. We have only been using it for two days but so far it is working. I saw the idea at Tots and Me.
They both did a little bit of painting. I couldn't resist the shot of Kaley with paint all over her face.

They played with rice on a cookie sheet though it didn't stay on the cookie sheet for very long. The idea was for Braedon to draw letters in it. He drew a couple of letters and then just started playing in it. Then, Braedon and Kaley worked together to transfer it into a different container and then back again. They had lots of fun and it kept them busy for about 30 minutes or a little more.

We also tried this neat feed the shark counting game I saw at Along The Way. My shark didn't turn out quite as cute as hers and Braedon said it looked like a frog. Oh well. We used real goldfish so after a few minutes of daddy playing the game with them it turned into feed Braedon and Kaley instead of the feed the shark.

Mama's Favorite:
"Mama, look at the pretty flower" and then I asked him to sit down next to it for a picture.

Tired and cranky baby didn't get her way. Her pigtails are even drooping. Poor thing!

See what other moms are doing with their tots at: Tot School

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Picnic and Creek Wading

Our Sunday school class had a picnic at a local park last week. After enjoying some pizza, popsicles, and ice cream we went creek wading.

After that we visited the playground for a while. Kaley almost fell off of the merry-go-round so when we took her off of it and would not allow her back on this is what she looked like.

Poor thing. You can tell it is getting late in the day...her pig tails are even drooping.
On the other hand, Braedon was holding onto the merry-go-round and having a blast.

We completely forgot our camera. Photography kudos go to Chris...thank you for the pictures!

Friday, May 28, 2010

(Un)Forgetful Friday (Daily Bible Reading)

Something that I have been super-excited about our family implementing recently is daily bible reading. We thought for about a week about how we could do daily bible reading with two small children. My very wise husband suggested that we try at the dinner table after we finish eating because it is one of the few times we are all still and mostly quite together. So, our new center piece for our table is Braedon's My First Study Bible. It stays in the center of our table so we have a constant reminder. After we finish eating, daddy picks it up and starts reading where we left off the night before. It is a training process and it doesn't look perfect. Mostly the kids start giggling and sometimes yelling. We encourage them to be quite and listen by saying "you have to be quite so you can listen to the story." A few days ago after we finished lunch, Braedon said he wanted to read the bible. He went and sat down in daddy's chair and opened up the bible. Then, he said, "Kaley, you have to be quite so you can hear the story" and proceeded to ramble on pretending like he was reading the story.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grilled Chicken, Corn/Pepper Mix, Potatoes

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist. What I deem as healthy for me and my family may vary from yours depending on your family's nutrition needs. Let me also add that these meals are healthy for the most part. However, they may still contain some ingredients that aren't necessarily that good for you.

I am noticing that we eat a lot of chicken around here. We almost always grill it and then couple it with some new and different side(s). This one is grilled chicken seasoned however you like it with sliced potatoes and corn/pepper mix. We had this again just last night with a sliced, raw avacado on the side instead of potatoes. It was wonderful. The corn pepper mix is sauteed and includes:
Red Pepper
Minced Garlic
I think this has become a favorite with the kids.

PS-Sorry about the obnoxious blue makes for a horrible picture. Just focus on the food and I promise not to post anymore food pictures on our blue plates! :-)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Keeping A Record Of Wrongs

While studying 1 Corinthians 13 love something struck me. I realized that I didn't understand how all encompassing the phrase that says "keeps no record of wrongs" is. I tend to think of it as actually keeping a mental note of what exactly was done wrong and then bringing it up in a later disagreement. I think it is that but I also think it is withholding love or acts of kindness and love because of how my feelings have been hurt by something done to me wrong or something done wrong in general. For me, this strikes home in a huge, huge way. I first noticed it with my kids. I find that sometimes (even when they are not doing anything wrong) I am a bit snappy and my tone of voice is not very loving. They are doing everything I ask them to do but I am still being a bit brash and bossy instead of gentle and loving. God is so gracious to bring this to my attention and make me ask myself why I am being short with them. When I start to pray about it and dig down to the root of the issue, God has shown me over and over that it is unresolved conflict. It is something that happened earlier that day or even the day before that has left me with a bad attitude toward them. This is a prime example of keeping a record of wrongs. Instead, I need to fully resolve the conflict and choose to forgive them for it in the moment so it does not keep feeding negativity into our lives. This may sound a bit simple but I didn't even realize I was doing this until God revealed it to me. Something would happen we would deal with it and move on. I really thought I was over it simply because I wasn't consciously thinking of the wrong. But, deep down it was still there unresolved and continued to play out negatively in our daily interactions. Immediately after I started noticing it with my kids I started noticing it with my husband. Sparing the gory details, we get in little spats don't really resolve them and try to move on. This leads to me being disrespectful and unkind to him. Lesson? I need a serious lesson on conflict resolution. Recommendations?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tot School Week 3 (39 & 18 Months)

Tot School

We didn't do a ton "school" related this week. I am struggling trying to keep all of the ideas organized and then actually following through with them. I also am struggling with balance between structure and non-structure. So, it is a work in progress. We did focus on the letter Pp, mostly.
-Braedon did the cut and paste activity for Pp from Homeschool Creations.
-Braedon and Kaley both played with do a dot markers.
-We again completed our weather chart and days of the week chart everyday this week. That has become a normal in our morning routine and the kids love it.
-Braedon worked more on recognizing and spelling his name.
Here are a few more of our highlights from the week:
Our painting experiences up until now have consisted of Braedon mixing up all the colors with both of his hands and being ready to go wash them about 2 minutes into it. I have been unsuccessful at getting him to use a brush until this week. I think he has finally figured out that if he uses a brush then he won't get his hands all messy. So, now painting is his favorite thing to do and it takes up a little more time than just 2 or 3 minutes. I gave him a dot marker page, printed from Confessions Of A Homeschooler, and showed him how to paint inside the circles.

It was very cloudy and rainy here on Friday and I ran across this super-neat cloud activity at No Time for Flash Cards and had to give it a try.

After we were finished using the cotton balls, Braedon wanted to use his paintbrush.

For the most part, Kaley just wanted to sit in a big chair at the table and watch her brother. When she saw I had the camera out she started looking at me smiling like she was ready to get her picture taken.

She did try a little transferring activity with cotton balls but ended up just batting them around and watching them scatter to the floor.

I also did the shaving cream in a bag for both Kaley and Braedon. I originally saw this at Confessions of a Homeschooler but have seen it elsewhere in blogland too just can't remember where all. Both of them really just liked squeezing it and pressing hand prints into it.

Mama's Favorite:
Lately, my favorite thing to do each afternoon is to lay down on the couch with Braedon and read books. After we are finished reading, we snuggle up and take a nap together. This started as simply a way for me to get off of my feet in the middle of the day because of placenta previa but has been such a treat to cuddle with Braedon since he is mostly all go, no stop.

See what other moms are doing with their tots at Tot School.

Friday, May 21, 2010

(Un)Forgetful Friday (Newborn Braedon)

Having a newborn has been on my mind a lot lately, for obvious reasons. Since we know our next baby is a boy I have been remembering a lot about what Braedon was like as a newborn. One really precious memory I have of him was the first night in the hospital. He was screaming at about 2 or 3 a.m. The nurse came in to check on us because he kept crying and crying. We changed his diaper. He wasn't hungry. We swaddled him up. We tried to give him a pacifier. He just would not stop screaming. I would love to be able to say that my "motherly, nurturing instinct" kicked in at this point but it didn't. When the nurse came, in her calmness, she re-swaddled him and nestled him in bed beside of me. It was like a light switch. Braedon instantly became quite. The nurse said, "there, he just wanted some mama time." This is a moment that to this day brings tears to my eyes and one I am sure I will never forget!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

1 Corinthians 13 Love

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails..." 1 Corinthians 13:1-8
God has been all over me about 1 Corinthians 13 love for about two months. I always know He wants to teach me something when the same theme keeps coming up in several (6 or 7) sources that I am reading or listening to independently yet within the same time frame. I love it that this is one of the ways God likes to get my attention. Of course, this prompts me to start paying a bit more attention. However, it doesn't necessarily make me "get it" any quicker (hence the 2 months). What I have learned is that there is no earthly, physical way that I can live out this kind of love without the example of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit living in me. It brings to mind Galations 2:20, which I have adopted as my life verse.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." I don't want to live; I want Christ to live in me. I don't want to try harder; I want to let Christ do everything through me. But, I still haven't quite figured out exactly how to do that. I have some nasty old flesh patterns and am self-seeking a lot of the time, whether I realize it or not. Yet at the same time, I know and completely trust that my God is faithful and if I cry out to Him in prayer and ask for the strength and guidance, He will provide.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Healthy Meal Idea (Chicken w/Carrot & Lentil Mix)

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist. What I deem as healthy for me and my family may vary from yours depending on your family's nutrition needs. Let me also add that these meals are healthy for the most part. However, they may still contain some ingredients that aren't necessarily that good for you.

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Carrot & Lentil Mix with Grilled Chicken:

1. Cook carrot ribbons with olive oil, black pepper, salt, parsley, and a couple drops of maple syrup

2. Cook lentils per package instructions for ease. However, we soaked them overnight with:

Water (3 part water to 1 part lentils), liquid smoke, salt, montreal chicken seasoning, dried thyme, bay leaf (add any other herbs or sub if you prefer). Use the same liquid to cook the lentils (may need to add more water)

3. Seperately, mix diced tomato, minced onion, minced garlic, rice wine vinegar, salt, and pepper

4. Mix together and enjoy

5. Serve with grilled chicken seasoned to your taste. We seasoned it with salt, pepper, montreal chicken seasoning.

This is another recipe from my wonderful hubby (chef). Thanks, Honey! Sorry there are no measurements...please use your best judgement according to your own taste.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Week In Advance

Thank God that He has shown us how to incorporate family bible reading time and family prayer time and given me peace about the fact that it isn't perfect. But, pure joy that at least it is happening more often than not. We will continue to make this a priority.

I am trying to pray more with the children throughout the day too. There are certain scenarios where I want to stop what we are doing and pray out loud with them in the moment.

I am still so thankful that my wonderful husband is willing to study God's word with me. We have been keeping up with our weekly bible study...this week we will be studying Amos.

I am becoming re-acquainted with and am slowly but surely working on getting my house in order. I can't (physically) do everything I want to do but I have been trying to work in some things to add a new level of cleanliness and organization to our home. I am looking to continue sorting through her ideas and implementing those that make sense for my home.

I am sure we will be harvesting some more of our apple mint as I just noticed it is overgrown again! I have a neat idea of what to do with it. Hmm...maybe that is another blogpost: ideas for apple mint. :-)

I want to be more intentional about looking for photo opprtunities.

Ideas for the week as it relates to school/toddler activities:

He has one bible verse completely memorized with reference and all (Psalm 17:8). I have been trying to get him to start reciting a new one. However, he hasn't been very cooprative yet. I am going to stay at it this week and figure out a new approach. We are going to continue working on spelling his name. I think we can move to a new letter to focus on now and am planning to move to Pp. He seems to be pretty clear on Dd and Bb now. There are lots of cool ideas I have seen from other Tot School moms that I am planning to try out this week. More about those in my Tot School post for this week. Of course, I want to build in plenty of reading time and one on one snuggle time. I am still thinking about how to get him some room time so I can have alone time with Kaley but I haven't come up with any ideas yet.
I am going to try color sorting with Kaley again. Kaley discovered finger painting last week and so I will probably expose her to that again this week. I also think I should spend some time working with her on saying some words. I can tell that she wants to talk so bad but only sounds that don't really resemble words are coming out. I want to work some with her on pointing to body parts. A few toys that I could have intentional play with her are her purse, shape sorter, and nesting blocks. I still want to figure out a way to get some more one on one time with her.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Posting Schedule Change

I am altering the schedule of my blog posting:
1. I was starting to feel like a slave to my blog with wanting to post everyday
2. I was having trouble coming up with a relevant Tuesday post for what I said my topic for the day would be...Tuesday will probably become my random/rambling day
3. I added Tot School, which will be posted every Sunday and will be a chronicle of our week as it relates to school/activity
4. I am going to combine the Monday week in advance post with how things went last week. Therefore, I won't need the scheduled Thursday weekly check-up post. This may also become a random/rambling sort of day
5. I am definitely keeping the Wednesday recipe and (Un)Forgetful Friday
6. I still want to keep pictures on Saturday because I want to be more intentional in looking for photo opportunities...not just with the kids but in general
Hopefully this will still keep a level of intentionality and purpose but provide for some free days so that blog posting does not take much time out of my day.

Tot School Week 2 (39 & 18 months)

Tot School

We did the weather chart and the days of the week activity every day this week. Braedon is really starting to catch on and I am so glad he likes it (again). I guess he was just in a mood a couple of days last week when he didn't want to do it.
I printed Braedon and Kaley's names on paper and hung them on the fridge so we could read them and spell them each morning.
I also cut out the letters of Braedon's name and am having him put them in order each morning. He almost has it down...just getting hung up on the e in the middle!

Table Time:
We had a couple of major successes with activities this week. First, Braedon strung beads onto pipe cleaners. I bought a bag of 400 beads from the dollar store. The day I broke them out, he proceeded to string all 400.

I sat with him for a little while but then he kept going and going and going. I figured I would take advantage of some alone time with Kaley while he continued to string beads. I am pretty sure it was close to 2 hours that he sat there stringing beads. I have to wonder, should I let my 3 year old do anything for two hours? I kept asking him if he wanted to do stickers, dot markers, etc, etc...and he kept saying no he wanted to keep playing beads. I thought I would introduce the idea of making a pattern. So, I modeled for him using just two colors. The dialogue went something like this:
mommy-look Braedon you can make a pattern using the same colors over and over again. See, pink-yellow-pink-yellow-pink-yellow...what comes next Braedon?
Braedon-Ummmmm, Blue!
I tried it a couple of times but it was clear he wasn't catching on so I didn't push it. But, he did start saying "look mommy, I'm making a pattern."
In the meantime, Kaley and I snuggled on the couch watching Hide 'Em In Your Heart Vol 1 & Vol 2.
The second major success was circle stickers on dot marker pages. Braedon kept wanting to play stickers over and over and over again all week long. It didn't keep him quite as busy as the beads but he really enjoyed it. I got these super-cute Christian themed stickers from the dollar store that came with a couple different size circle stickers.

Braedon and Kaley both wanted to color with crayons a bit more than usual this week. Then, I realized that putting the crayons back in the container correctly can be used for motor skill/coordination development too. They are triangular shaped and only fit into the box a certain way.

I tried to get Kaley to sort two colors with pom poms but she would much rather throw them around and rub them on her cheeks and nose. I am not surprised kids like pom poms so much. I like feeling and squeezing them!

I tried to get Braedon to make letters with pom poms but just wanted to watch me do it instead.
I drew Braedon's name in large block letters and showed him how to paint inside the letters with a brush. About a second later it turned into both hands swirling about covering the entire page.
I drew Kaley's name in large block letters and gave her finger paints. She liked it for about 2 minutes.

Braedon did the Dd cut and paste activity from Homeschool Creations. He loved cutting (with quite a bit of help) and pasting. Afterward, we hung up his "work" on the kithen wall as he was very proud of it. He kept pointing to it saying, "look mommy, my work!"

Braedon tried pre-writing skills with the Dd practice pages from Confessions of a Homeschooler. This the second time we tried these pages and he just is not all that interested. So, we will put them away for a while.

Floor Time:
We have these cute little foam letters and numbers.

Braedon and I played with them a bit. He put them all together and lined them all up. Then, I suggested that we sort them with numbers in one pile and letters in another pile. We got about 1/2 way finished and then it turned into acrobatics.

Kaley kept bringing me the Dr's kit and toy ambulance all week. We spent a lot of time playing with them no pictures of it though.
Reading Time:
Braedon's books of choice this week: The Cat in the Hat, Curious George at the Aquarium, Let's Learn Our First Words (letter/word activity) , and Baby Jesus Is Here.
Kaley's books of choice this week: Pooh Adorables Think & Play (a look and find book) and Mirror, Mirror.
Braedon and Kaley love jumping on the bed. I love that we have an old one they can jump on. I wish I had some pictures of Kaley jumping but I had to hold onto her so I couldn't take pictures.

Kaley also still loves her jumper, which she asked to get into several times this week. Here she is staringly lovingly at the TV at Hide Em In Your Heart videos. She would sit still and stare like this at the slow songs and then she would start jumping and singing with the faster songs.

Mommmy's favorite:
Kaley walking around in Braedon's very loud yellow crocks and that they actually match her outfit!

See what other moms are doing with their tots at Tot School.