Friday, June 22, 2012

Our Week

  We  had another busy week. We continued working on getting Doodles moved into her "new" room, and hubby put shelves in her closet, as well as in the entryway closet. We all pitched in and helped. We still have some more organizing to do, but at least we've gotten a good bit done. We plugged on in school, doing most of our schooling on the couch while I held & cuddled Baby Girl. We finished Week 31 of Sonlight's Condensed One Year American History. We discussed World War II, The Cold War, and The Korean War. I must admit here that I really did not understand what The Korean War was about until we studied it this week. Another perk of homeschooling: mom learns a lot, too! I want to give a shout-out to Sonlight here: this year, using their American History Curriculum (elementary level), I have either learned about something I'd never heard before or understood more about the "why" behind familiar historical events, on numerous occasions. We have had some great discussions as a family, and we have been inspired to go online or to the library to do further research on certain topics, people, and events.
   We also began our discussion of The Civil Rights Movement this week, and we will continue discussing it throughout the upcoming week. We started a new read-aloud, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, that the kiddos are really enjoying. They are quite shocked and horrified at the treatment of black Americans during that time period. I am thankful to know that my children cannot imagine treating anyone in that way. And speaking of treating others kindly....I must say that the books I've posted about here and here and here have been very helpful. We are connecting more as a family, and Doodles & Bug are bickering a lot less & learning to work out their problems in a constructive way. Now if I could only do away with Doodles' nasty (at times) preteen attitude! And, to help everyone get in gear and look forward to starting our school week, I've instituted "Marvelous Mondays." We will have a "special" breakfast that I will prepare and have waiting on the table when the kids get up for school. We also have a special "Tea Time" on Mondays, which I've posted about before. During that time, usually between 2:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon, we have tea/coffee/hot chocolate and a snack while we study an artist and his work or listen to a composer & read his biography. I got the idea here.
  In science Doodles is learning about fossils, which she wasn't thrilled about initially, but she has been pleasantly surprised that it's "not as bad" as she thought. Bug is learning a lot about everyday things with this book: Usborne Finding Out About Everyday Things, and today he did some experiments with dishwashing liquid. He is really enjoying this book and looks forward to reading it each day. He especially enjoyed learning about how toilets work, and then he had to run to our hallway bathroom to see it in action!
  Doodles is continuing with her Twilight unit study, and she is having a blast. This week she researched wolves, wrote a persuasive paragraph, wrote inner dialouge for a character, and designed a family crest. She excitedly asks each day, "What is my Twilight assignment?" LOVE it!!!
  Baby Girl is still enjoying Goodnight Moon, and as you'll see below, she likes for Daddy to read it, too. She also played with a ball this week, which is a big step for her!

Special breakfast for "Marvelous Monday"

Bug sands wood to help build the shelves

Now that he's read about how a toilet works, he wants to see it in action

The family crest that Doodles designed

Baby Girl plays with a ball

Baby Girl is still enjoying the ball

Daddy reads Baby Girl's favorite book

Friday, June 15, 2012

Our Week...Busy!!!

  Whew, what a whirlwind of a week! Late Sunday night we said goodbye to my older son, as his plane left out WAY EARLY on Monday morning. It is always hard to say goodbye, but it's something that we've gotten used to as an Army family. Still, it's much easier this time since he is now back in the states (well, sort of) and NOT headed back to the Middle East. And, pretty soon, his new wife will join him so they can start their "real life" together as a married couple. So exciting!
  There was a lot going on at our house this week, as you'll see in the pics below. But, I'm not complaining. Staying busy is a good thing sometimes. Still, though, we managed to find plenty of time to relax and enjoy being a family. As usual, there have been ups and downs, and highs and lows, but it's been a pretty nice week for us. One of the highs for me personally was when Doodles and Bug planned & prepared dinner one night. It took a load off me...thanks, guys! We are still working on our "regular school stuff," but we are also chasing a few interest-led rabbit trails, as you'll see below.
   I finished reading The Connected Family and am currently reading Siblings Without Rivalry. Wow, both books have been so helpful to me! I highly recommend each of them. Next on my reading list is How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk.  We sat down as a family and wrote down things we'd like to do together, and now we are working on putting everything on the calendar. If you want to make sure it happens, then schedule it! Tonight we are having a "Girls' Night" and a "Boys' Night," per our kids' request. You will see the activities they chose for tonight in the pics below. Usually we do things all together as a family, but every once in a while we separate for more one-on-one time, which is really nice.
  Doodles officially moved into her older brother's room since he is now married and no longer lives here. And, boy, can that girl clean and organize when it benefits her! Of course there is still a ton of stuff piled in my entryway as we continue to sort through everything that she cleaned out of the room. That is our task for this weekend...what fun! (sarcasm here...LOL) Also, Doodles did her typical school stuff this week, but now she is also doing an interest-led Twilight unit study. We got the idea here: Twilight Unit Study. We are HUGE Twilight fans around here-both the books and movies--and literally have a countdown for when Breaking Dawn Part 2 hits theaters!
  Bug continued with his interest in volcanoes, so we took a "detour" from his usual work on Friday afternoon and focused on volcanoes. You will see a few things we did in the pics below. Also, he got to make both craft dough and yeast rolls as part of his Sonlight science this week, which was awesome! I got in on the action, too. There is something quite peaceful about kneading dough. :)
  And, we had a MAJOR victory with Baby Girl this week! Several times a day, every day this week, I read Goodnight Moon to her. Then, today, she picked it up from the coffee table, brought it to me, and said, "Doodnight Moon." Yes!!! This is the first time she has truly connected with a book. She LOVES this book, and so do I! Thank you, Lord, for this blessing.

Me and my Doodles! Getting ready for a fun girls' night in!

Doodles' list of activities for our girls' night

Bug's list of ideas

Making memories: my dining room table, any given day of the week

And we surely discovered that yeast makes things rise!

Bug mixes dough...not sure if this is for the yeast rolls or the craft dough

Yay! I got to knead the dough and shape the yeast rolls.

Yummy yeast rolls!

Bug reads a recipe

Doodles sautees zucchini for the meal she planned

The miracle book and the miracle baby

Bug's volcano book of choice

Bug's "volcano" erupts (vinegar, baking soda, and food coloring)

Doodles' art project from her Twilight unit study: Bella's transformation into a vampire

Ahem...the pile of stuff that Doodles cleaned out of her older brother's room, which is now piled in my entry way

Part of Doodles' "new" room

Doodles' organized bookshelf/entertainment center

Friday, June 8, 2012

First week of June 2012 and a Change of Plans for Next School Year

Things pretty much got back to normal around here after the wedding. We returned to our normal routine, which was a welcome relief! We got back to school; we are still working on completing Sonlight's condensed American History core, and also finishing up science and math.  The kiddos played outside and discovered things in nature, such as the strange bug pictured below. We took time to bake some treats together. We planned upcoming family activities to strengthen our bond as a family (some serious-like decluttering and cleaning the house together one room at a time, and some totally silly-like backwards night), and we also discussed ways to get along better (particularly Bug and Doodles, who have been doing more than the usual amount of bickering lately.) I've gotten some great advice and ideas from these two books: The Connected Family and Siblings Without Rivalry. Also, I ordered (and am awaiting the arrival) of another book by the same authors as the Siblings.... book. It is titled How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk. I also "wishlisted" another one of their books, How to Talk so Teens Will Listen and Listen so Teens Will Talk on Paperback Swap. We are really focusing on bringing joy and pure old fun into our life as a family.

Something else I've decided to do is to separate Bug and Doodles for all of their school subjects, starting this upcoming school year. In the past, we've done Bible, history, geography, and read-alouds together. While we've had some good discussions, all too often one child would interrupt the other, which would cause a quarrel. Or one child (usually Bug) would want me to read another chapter, but the other (typically Doodles) child wouldn't, which also turned into an arguement between the two of them. While I realize this will require more work from me, I feel that it is worth it. It also seems to me that each of my children needs something they can call their "own." So, we will try this and see how it goes and if it will work for our family. And, truly, I did have concerns about placing Bug in Sonlight's next core at his age. I feel he is too young for Core F, but it will be a great fit for Doodles. So, Doodles will be using Sonlight Core F, and Bug will be using this: Further Up and Further In, which is a unit study based on The Chronicles of Narnia series. Bug and I flipped through the teacher's manual last night, and he is already excited about some of the projects that he will be doing.

Baby Girl will continue with her interest-led learning. Currently she is especially interested in singing her ABC's, counting to fifteen (although she skips a few numbers), and singing her current favorites "The Wheels on the Bus," "If You're Happy and You Know It," and "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes." The great thing is that she will sometimes point to her body parts as she sings...YES!!! She has also used her little potty a few times, so that is cause for celebration. Another awesome thing she did was to play with me in her castle tent for over an hour the other day! We had lots of fun singing, tickling, and making silly noises. She made a lot of eye contact with me that day, so it was very exciting! She is also interested in hula hoops now, as you can see below. We pray that she continues doing well, and that hopefully she is moving past some of the issues that she has been struggling with.

Here's the bug that the kids discoverd on our carport

Homemade chocolate chip cookies for the kiddos

Baby Girl with a hula hoop

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Wedding Weekend

It's official...I am the mom of a married son now. I am thrilled to welcome our new "daughter" into the family. Here is a glimpse into our weekend:

The bride and groom a few night before the wedding...still kids! LOL

Baby Girl was right in the middle of things when the wedding flowers were delivered.

Bug helps his big brother (the groom) make wedding favors

My son, the groom, and me, the mom, before wedding rehearsal

Mother and sister of the groom

Time for wedding cake

First dance as husband and precious son and new "daughter" :)

Groom's table

Our newly expanded family

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