Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sight Words Made Fun!

Wow, Crew is reading his first beginning readers (Biscuit, Clifford, etc) all by himself!  I am not sure who is more excited.  He loves to read to see what happens next.  The phonics program we are using is great, but I also know that he is so successful independently because of his mastery of sight words.  I am using a great site that has lists organized by level. Here it is..... 

We are choosing 5 new words a week and writing them on index cards.  Each day he reads the cards to me or reads the list of sentences off the above site. As I prepare lunch, he usually will do some sort of activity with these words.  He enjoyed writing his words with sidewalk chalk in the driveway today.

Other ideas for sight word practice:
Writing words in shaving cream on dinner or patio (easy clean up with the hose =) ) table
Sidewalk chalk on driveway
Wikki Sticks
Dot Art (We call these Dobbers. I got them at Lakeshore.  Will post pic)
Sticker Letters
Magnetic Letters

Feeling so blessed to see him grow and learn!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Coolest Lunchboxes Ever!!!

My life easier!!!  These are the best lunchboxes ever and they are green! My kiddos think they are cool and it makes my job easier.  I think we can all agree that we want our kids to eat healthy.  These compartmentalized lunchboxes make it so easy to pack a healthy lunch.  I try to have a fruit, veggie, carb and protein for each meal and it keeps portions the perfect size.

We take these everywhere from picnics at the park, the beach, airplanes, trains, car, friends houses.  Check them out.....

Our experience with this company has been fantastic!  They have great customer service and guarantee their products.  

Save $$ idea .....  I didn't buy their Bento Carrier, as I read on a blog that the soft lunchboxes (Princess, Batman, etc.) at Target fit the Bento boxes perfectly. 

Truly an investment worth making for health and the environment!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Writing Journals and Tot Trays!

I enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee while watching the kiddos busy at work. Crew's journal writing lasted 35 to 40 minutes and Goose enjoyed her Tot Trays of beading and counting. 

Each morning Crew gets to choose either a Math Journal entry or his Writing Journal.  We don't use anything formal right now for writing prompts.  This morning he decided he wanted to write about our family hike this weekend.  So great to see such focus on both his drawing and writing!

Goose enjoyed her new Tot Trays for the week.  Many thanks for all the wonderful ideas on the Tot School website

Illustrating & Beading

Counting and Fine Motor

I did it!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dinner Swap Anyone?!?

I think this is a brilliant idea!   As a busy family with so much to juggle; schooling, laundry, dishes, errands, excercising, trying to eat healthy, and the list goes on, I think this is an answer to my prayers.

When I recieved an e-mail from  a friend asking if I was interested in joining a group for a Dinner Swap, I jumped at the chance.  I had never participated in anything like it and had a few questions but was on board to try it out.  Real Simple Magazine had a great article, recipes and tips on how to start a swap.  Check it out..... 
  • Baked penne with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes
Hans Gissinger
1. Choose a schedule that you can live with. Some groups meet weekly to trade several days’ worth of dinners; in other groups, members are assigned one night of the week on which they deliver a dish to the other members’ doors. Select the structure you prefer, then seek out participants. “We found families through our three sons’ sports teams, and we trade dinners after the games,” says Elizabeth Cooper of Sioux City, Iowa.

2. At your first meeting, address potential trouble spots, such as food preferences, and how much each meal should cost. Hate cilantro? Allergic to shellfish? Speak up! And be sure to set a price range for each meal. “You don’t want to have one person making hot dogs while another spends a lot of money on filet mignon,” says Shannon Pifer of Tallahassee, Florida.

3. Pool your containers. Or ask everyone to contribute money to buy a communal set. Look for tight-sealing storage that transports well and can go from freezer to oven.
RS pick: the Bake ’N Store line from Pyrex ($8 to $12 each,  I got mine at Walmart for around $7!
4. Plan the menu. Nominate one person to keep a meal calendar, or rotate the responsibility. Focus on dishes that travel, store, and freeze well. (For meals delivered frozen, be sure to include reheating instructions and accompaniment suggestions.) Groups that opt for nightly delivery may swap more perishable dishes, like salads and tacos, or hand off “dinner kits” with all the ingredients of a meal (say, lettuce, cheese, dressing) packaged separately.

5. Get feedback. After the first few weeks, the members should meet to talk about what’s working and what’s not. Don’t feel comfortable openly judging someone’s cooking? Type up a form in which members can comment anonymously.

We met at Starbucks and decided on dishes, recipes and a swap time.  Here is a link to some bulk recipes on Real Simple's website.....

3 Ready for the swap......
Gathering the ingredients....
and ours in the oven!
The Baked Penne with Spinach & Sun-dried Tomatos recipe is great!  It was a delicious pasta dish.....the kiddos even asked for seconds.  

I am very excited for the swap tomorrow!  

Let me know if you try this or have any other comments, questions or suggestions.  

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Apple Farm here we come!

Apples.....yes we are welcoming Fall already!  We took a family trip to Happy Apple Farm where we all got to experience picking apples for the 1st time.  Fun, fun, fun!  Okay, all but the wind that was blowing so hard at times that we found ourselves in dust storms where we all had to close our eyes.  The kiddos did enjoy picking different varieties, climbing trees, TASTE TESTING and then of course enjoying a piece of homemade apple pie at the country store.  We left with several pounds of apples to snack on and bake with.  I made my first ever apple pie from scratch.  Yummy!

What a perfect introduction to an apple themed unit.  Though, not on our formal curriculum for kinder ;) this is where life took us.  Oh....the beauty of homeschooling!  

Using a variety of resources we have enjoyed cooking, graphing, science, art and much more.  Here is a link to the K-Crews sample Apple unit....
and here is another site with some cute poems and ideas

Below are some pictures of our adventures thus far....enjoy!

Tractor Ride with Farmer Tony to the Orchards

Picking Galas

Apple Art - Paint blowing (using straws fits in perfectly with learning about air in science) and felt apples!

Check out the links above to see more of the activities we enjoyed =)

Wondering where the nearest apple picking farm might be.....

Happy Apple Picking!!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Joining the blogging world!

I thoroughly enjoy so many blogs from friends and others on the web that I have decided to join you all. Though still under construction, I decided to write my first post as life is passing us by and we want to share so much with all of you!

Well, summer is over in our house and though it was fun filled with great family time, traveling everywhere it seems, I am soooo ready to settle into our new routine.

Life is good! We have decided to homeschool this year.....definitely led by God. Mike and I have both been public school educators, and we always said that there was NO way we would ever homeschool our kids (for many reasons that I am finding to now be silly)! I trusted that this door was opened for a reason and we are following our hearts and our journey one day at a time.

Here are some pics of our homeschooling area. Yes, that's right I said area as we do not have an extra room. So for those of you thinking you need a whole room, this is for you.  It is great!

After, simple & efficient!