Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fall Is Here

Signs that fall is here:
Winter jammies
A good book
Hot cocoa at night

Monday, September 25, 2006

Scary Bugs

A new sight to behold in Ohio. Apparently praying mantises and extra large grasshoppers are very common in this area of the country. Not only was this guy? hanging out on my kitchen screen, but so was a grasshopper that was actually bigger than him and fairly disgusting for those of us not so friendly with bugs. The grasshopper picture was too blurry though. After reading Danielle Bean's blog about her daughter's fascination with the praying mantis, I am even more frightened by these creatures who have come into my life.

Sibling Love

When they aren't busy hitting each other, taking toys from one another, and yelling at each other, they can actually be quite charming.

Bathtime Bubbles

Bubble beards and bubble hair are just way too much fun!!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Daddy's birthday has come and gone. I don't know who had more fun though, Daddy or Katie?? It is definately a new thing to experience a birthday with young children. Katie and I went out the day before to go get a present I had in mind for Mike. On the way to the store, Katie asked me if we could go to the bookstore. Boy does she know her Dad. She came up with a list of about 5 presents that she was going to get for him. So after I picked up the present I had in mind, we went to the bookstore. I have never seen her so intent on finding her very own present for Daddy. She wanted to get him a book about planets, so after I led her to the right section, she proceeded to browse through the books. First she picked out a nice big hardback, to which I promptly replied, "Let's look a little more." (An $80 pricetag was just a little too steep for me.) Then she picked out her perfect presents, and we left the store with one very satisfied customer. She even helped wrap the presents and got to hide them all in her closet. The rest of the day was filled with "Can I give Daddy his present now?"

When the morning finally arrived, she once more got stuck waiting since her baby brother decided to pick that particular morning to sleep in. But finally both Daddy and Nicholas woke up and she delighted in giving her specially picked out card and gifts. It was wonderful just watching her excitement over giving a present rather than getting one, and how important it was to her for Daddy to be happy with his gifts.

The boys got in a little baseball before a quick lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.
And later that night, Katie baked a special birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday.

Best Friends

The all too often heard words these days: Mom, when is my best friend going to come out and play? Katie now has 2 best friends. First and foremost is her best friend Audrey, who she calls her Texas best friend. But now she has a new "girlfriend" for Ohio.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Car Conversation

Katie took it upon herself to "teach" her little brother how to say some letters.

Katie: P
Nick: P
Katie: E
Nick: E
Katie: S
Nick: et

Katie: NO, S
Nick: (That's what I said) et
Katie: (moving on to numbers) 2
Nick: 1, blast off!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is the kid smart or what??

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Triumph and Tragedy

Today was a day of success!!!

Not only did we successfully complete our lessons early this morning with minimal Nicholas distraction, but Katie also mastered her first real reading words. We began our first alphaphonics lesson this morning and while I didn't think she was totally getting it, I was once again proved wrong this evening. We have been reading quite a lot of books at night lately, and while reading one of the newer half-price selections, Katie began finding "her" words: am, an, as, and at. Ax thankfully was not in this particular book. She was overjoyed that she was reading and happily trotted downstairs to display her new talent to Daddy! Her excitement was so great that she was literally bouncing all over the bed instead of going to sleep tonight.

Of course the tragedy occurred mid-day.

After finishing lessons, I figured we would go out shoe shopping for some fall shoes for Katie. I ran upstairs to get socks for Nicholas and soon heard the usual screaming that is far too common these days from Katie. I came downstairs to her sobbing and saying Nicholas hurt her foot in the door. Thinking it was a usual unseeable injury, I went over only to discover that her big toe was bleeding and the nail had been bent in half. OUCH!! As she continued to cry, I checked out the injury, prayed it wasn't bad enough to cause the nail to fall off, and went about calming her down and treating the injury with the perfect cure-all - THE BARBIE BANDAID!!

A happy smile and a dose of Tylenol later, we decided to head to the shoe store anyway and at least try shoes on the left foot. We got a pair of cute magenta fall dress shoes as well as a pair of Princess slippers that are fuzzy on the outside and soft on the inside - a rarity in children's slippers.

The biggest triumph was for mommy though. I managed to make it through the shoe store, through Carter's next door, back home for lunch, and got both kids down for a nap in their own beds by 1:00. (Nicholas has had 15 minute car naps the past 2 days and been a general grouch and Katie has had no naps and been an even bigger grouch)


Friday, September 08, 2006

Homeschool Curriculum

We have completed our first week of kindergarten and Katie has shown much more enthusiasm and excitement than I could ever have imagined. As I started to prepare our lessons for the day and get organized yesterday, she got a big smile on her face and said "Is it time to do my work?"

Nothing could make me happier.

Since I have been so interested in seeing what other use to school their children, I am including a list of what we are using, and hope to update with things that I found particularly fun for us. I hope others will also include ideas on their BLOGS. (HINT HINT)

For our religious education, I am using the Kindergarten Who Am I? in the Image of God Series. We have previously used the preschool A book as well, and it worked for me. I also am sticking with Every Day Bible Stories. The simplicity of the stories is what makes it so great for us right now. Nick can happily sit on my lap, and the story is easily under a minute each time. Katie still learns something new each time, and we never did all the stories last time.

For Math we have begun the Horizons Kindergarten by Alpha Omega. While so far the material is too easy, we have improvised some things, so that instead of recognizing colors by flashcard, we are working to match color words to the proper colored crayon. How you ask? Simply by matching the letter sounds as she says the word to the printed letter on a color word flashcard. With only a simple introduction of red, blue, yellow, and green, Katie was getting them on her own after the first 2 colors.

For Language Arts we are using many varied programs. First, I chose Modern Curriculum Press' Phonics Level 1. We completed the Kindergarten level last year, and Katie and I both enjoyed it. We are also starting Alpha-phonics after many good recommendations. I like the simplicity and think now that her letter/ sound concepts are fully established that she will flourish. I have chosen many good books to read aloud to her from my own knowledge of good literature and from the Sonlight Grade K Read-Aloud list. Eventually, as she learns to read we have the I Can Read! books by Sonlight, and the simple books from Sing, Spell, Read, and Write. I also have a bunch of Dr. Seuss, P.D. Eastman, and other easy readers.

We are using the D'Nealian method for handwriting by Scott Foresman. I used it when I was teaching, and found it to be simple, and a great transition for cursive.

Social Studies is a little trickier. I have to cover the Ohio requirements, so I have chosen to use Gallopade International's Ohio Experience Kindergarten Student Workbook as well as their The Out-of-This-World Ohio Coloring Book.
We will also cover holidays, important people, the flag, etc. through art projects and good books from the library.

Science is mostly unit studies. I am following a basic outline by Sonlight and a 1st grade Science textbook that I bought at Half-Price books for $2. Gotta love Half-Price!! I then go pick up good non-fiction books at the library on that topic. So far we have done weather. This week will be the solar system and a little bit on seasons. In October we will do fall, pumpkins, harvest, etc. I also use several teaching resources I have to find projects for us to create. The Complete Resource Book for Preschoolers is a great source for ideas that can be expanded. Usborne and DK also have great books on different subjects for reading and finding ideas.

Hope everyone else is having a great start to their school years. I know we are!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dog Food

There are probably millions of reasons why a 1 year old should not eat dog food.

The biggest one on my little one's mind tonight is most likely that it doesn't taste as good coming up as it did going down!

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Lesson in Baseball

This weekend we had the first glimpse of sun in quite a few days, as well as our first taste of fall-like weather. Temperatures have only been in the 60's during the day, and get quite cool at night. While I was busy inside baking an apple pie and some chocolate chip cookies for a night out at our neighbor's home, the boys were busy with the first of many lessons on baseball.
Anyone who knows my husband well, knows that a passion of his is the good old American sport of baseball. So after noticing that our dear son was not only holding a bat by the wrong end, but using it as a fairly accurate golf club, some batting practice was in order.

I must say the boy, at 22 months, is a natural, even with a backwards bat. And hitting off his sister's tee makes a great outlet for all that natural boy aggression. Who knew little boys were so rough and tumble?

First Day of School

Today was Katie's first day of kindergarten. While the day was not momentous in any way, shape, or form, it was a start. We had talked several times about mommy and daddy teaching her kindergarten at home, and she liked the idea very much. She surprisingly has not been to keen on the idea of going to a real school. So this year she is being homeschooled in a kindergarten curriculum that I will provide in a future blog. I liked seeing what a good friend was using to school her son this year, and hope the rest of you homeschoolers will think of blogging your curriculum ideas as well.

So today's lesson included making a Trinity mobile as part of our religion lesson.

She also made this gorgeous rainbow mosaic as part of our science lesson on weather. This was a really easy project and took very little prep work, but came out beautiful. Even Nick was highly interested in both of the finished products. The mobile is especially entertaining for him, since we hung it over our kitchen table.

Friday, September 01, 2006

For Grandma

Here you go Grandma!! Although the picture isn't all that inspiring, it is all I have for now.

The house is coming along slowly. I actually have a kitchen island again!

The kids are sick with runny noses, and Nicholas has decided to give his sister her lumps literally. She has a nice goose egg on the back of her head from a missile thrown by her dear loving brother.

More pictures coming soon, I promise.