Sunday, March 19, 2017

2017 Summer Fun List

After a long pregnancy, a long winter and a 6 week adjustment period with our sweet baby Hensley, we are ready to bring back the FUN! Looking forward to summer, we created our summer fun list for 2017! We clearly wont get to each activity but it will serve as a guide for us to pick from!

Places to Go:
Drive in movies
Metro parks
Fireworks
Camping
Bowling
Strawberry/blueberry picking
Creation museum/ark
Zoo
Imagination station
Lego land
Matinee show
Put-put golfing
Find 10 new parks
Go to the donut shop for breakfast
Go to Calders
Petting zoo
Taylor botanical garden
Rouge factory tour
Greenfield village
Henry Ford museum
IMAX documentaries
Beach
Turtle cove
Go to a lighthouse
Go on nature walk
Visit a waterfall
Monroe county fair
Go to the ice cream shop
Batting cages
Play baseball at the park
Volleyball at the metro park
Kalamazoo air zoo
Maker Faire

Things to Do:
Backyard movie
Giant slip and slide
Dye a strip of hair a fun color
Sponge fight
Giant marshmallow fight
Catch fireflies
Silly string fight
Water balloon fight
Set off fireworks
Make forts
Summer reading challenge
Water gun fight
Living room slumber party
Wash bikes
Sidewalk chalk murals
Paint pet rocks
Stargaze
Teach the kids pig Latin
Have bonfires
Have a picnic
Jump on the trampoline in the rain
Play in rain
Make liquid rainbow sidewalk chalk
Science projects
Build/paint birdhouses
Play infected/freeze tag in the dark
Board game nights
Makeovers
Paint with pudding
Sidewalk chalk entire back porch
Pick flowers
Plant a flower garden
Fairy garden
Crafts
Ice sculpting
Wood burning
Plant a tree
Bird watching
Fishing
Movie marathon day (space chimps)

Things To Make:
Homemade ice cream
Banana splits
Ice cream bar
Root beer floats
Homemade lemonade
Mulberry muffins/cobbler
Make Popsicles
Snow cones
Make smoothies
Have a weekly treat making night


Joyful Learning

Our family is in a time of transition right now. We are moving, although it's not too far, it's a huge change for us. We have lived in our house for about three years now. We have a fairly decent rhythm that our days flow with. Which, on a good day goes something like this: breakfast, morning chores, school work (we do school year round), lunch, field trip or play time, dinner, nighttime chores, baths and then I either read the kids a bedtime chapter book or we watch an educational show. Most nights Kait needs to be taken to one of her activities, so add in quite of bit of driving time in our loose schedule. The last couple of weeks have been a little different for us. We have been packing our house and painting the new house. Chad has been working a ton of hours and we haven't seen him much. He has been going straight to the new house from work where and then begins painting. The kids and I meet him there and they play in the backyard. Once he's done, he comes home, showers and heads back to bed. The kids are used to spending a lot of time with him and having a mostly quiet morning at home and operating on our loose schedule. I was very worried about how they would handle all of this change and how we would get our learning time in. I have to say, I'm shocked at how well they are handling everything. All but one of my little ones are excited to move and even with just doing some online school work and math books, they are learning a ton.

Here are some pictures of our days right now.

Hudsyn being silly!


Making homemade jam with the kids. It turned out delicious!


I love Kait's way of getting around something! She is a witty!


Flag my Bella girl drew!


Kait chalking her name!


Tristin drawing all the road in a town. Love the parking spots!










Saturday, February 1, 2014

School

When I created this blog, my original intention was to journal our school adventure. All I can say to that is oops! Hopefully, I can remember to jot down our journey a little better than I have in the last year. I find school to be such a natural extension of out lives that I often don't stop to write down how our days work.

Hudsyn practicing her two's. She has a hard time making them, so this day for math, we stopped and she filled the table with 2's. By the time she was done she had made great progress.



Nerf math. 
I write numbers on the school cabinet, then call out math fact questions and the kids have to shoot the correct answer. 




Hudsyn working on Reading Eggs and Kait researching a few things for a newspaper she has to create for school.


My very relaxed homeschool planner. I'm nearly done filling it out for next week. 


For the longest time I have been puzzled as to what to do with all our thin paperback books. When I put them in a bookshelf they got hidden and no one read them. A while back I had seen rain gutter bookshelves on someone's blog, I filed the bookshelves in my mental filing system just in case we ever wanted to try them out. About a month ago, Chad installed them for me. Let me say I am in love. They encourage me to read to my littles more often. By that I mean they follow me around with their favorite books and ask me to read to them until I do! 


Regular night of school. Disregard the bowl of Jelly Bellies and Pringle cans. I would never let my kids eat junk food during school. ;)



Craft time, super simple and everyone gets involved. I don't know where big sister is in this pic, but don't let her fool you. She loves craft time more than the little kids! 


Finished product!



We have so much going on with school and so many people to school that it would be a challenge to manage everyone without a homeschool planner. Kait has a student planner that came with her boxed curriculum, and I have the matching instructors guide, same exact thing just different. ;) It gives her a day by day layout of exactly what needs to be done, right down to pages and paragraphs to be read. It has guides and appendices in the back. Not a stone is left unturned. It is so easy to manage, I love it. Since I didn't buy a boxed (all in one) curriculum for Tristin, Bella and Hudsyn I made my own planner. It's very basic but it functions just fine for how I use it. In the front of my planner I have several things that make my day easier. Mostly reference sheets, but also a routine for our school day. There are three different routines written out in there, right now we are on our daytime routine, but it can change to afternoon or even evening depending on Chad's work schedule. Our kids are fully adjusted to the constant schedule changes their Daddy's job brings. We try to spend time with Chad when he is home and work while he is working or sleeping from midnights. In my planner for the younger three kids, I make a weekly schedule. It's simply what needs to be done by the end of the week. There are days that we focus longer on math and then the next day skip math and focus on reading. As long as we get done by the end of the week what I have in my planner, we are good in my book. Even though we have a routine, it helps me to have a schedule in front of me....because once in a while I will forget a subject and then have to make it up the next day if I am not paying close enough attention to my planner.

We usually start our school day with arts and crafts, because I have tried calling my children to the school table when they already doing something (which is always). Even my girls who love school, are hard to pry away from their fun. When they know that we are doing a craft or art project they consider it equally, if not more fun than what they were originally doing and are excited to get to the table quickly. Then after we have all completed our projects, everyone seems a little more focused and we can move onto our school work. From there we move onto reading our Bible passage. Since we have turned our table into a chalkboard, we are able to use it to draw the Bible story we are reading. It basically reinforces learning and keeps little hands busy. We work on our memory verse and then whatever character quality we are working on. After we are done with that we move onto to reading and spelling. This year we are using All About Reading and All About Spelling. So far, I am very happy with both. After reading and spelling we move onto handwriting, of this we are using A Reason for Handwriting. We keep record of what we are thankful for in our gratitude journals. Then we work on math. Math is done in our workbooks, then we try to complete one lesson on timezattack, it's a math facts website set up a bit like a video game. Rarely does Bella let me get away with skipping Life of Fred, so we slide that in for math too. For science we are working on the human body, we are using Apologia. I like that there is a audio CD to read to your child the exact material that you would be reading. I am finding it a little bit dry. So, when we are too bored we switch to a science based unit study or lap book for a week or so. After we finish up all of our table work, I read to the kids. We like to focus on living books. I usually read a historic book, and then another book from our collection of beloved children's literature. I often spend an hour or two reading to them, they love it and beg for more. Out of all the things we do as a family, we all enjoy our time reading the most. It is one of my all time favorite ways to spend time with my kiddos. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sister Love

I had the privilege of watching the sweetest interaction between my oldest and youngest daughter recently. It was nothing out of the ordinary, but I wanted to write it down somewhere for my girls to read when they are older, this seems to be the only place that I manage to get pen to paper, so to speak.  Kait, my 14 year old was in her room listening to music and doing a few things, Maezy (4) and I went in for a few minutes to chat and hang out with her. As soon as we walked in Maezy started dancing, the girl loves to dance. When we were done chatting Kait told Maezy she could stay in her room and dance. Maezy said she wanted to have a dance party, Kait told her she could have one in her room, but Maezy said she wanted one in her own room, without a second thought Kait took her music phone and her speaker into the girls room. Which I thought was so sweet, she gave up her own music so her little sister could enjoy it. My favorite part of their cute little interaction though, was that after Kait out of the girls room, Maezy followed her back into her room and said, "no, Kait, remember the last time when Hudsyn had a dance party? She had make-up on and my nails don't have anything on them." Which was her way of asking her big sister to do her make-up and polish her  nails. Kait put everything she was working on aside, looked at Maezy so sincerly and said, "oh sweetie, come sit right here then." She as usual, put a little bit of make-up on her and polished her nails.

I love, love, love  the bond that our kids have with each other. They get along so well as a group, in trios, or in pairs. It is absolutely my treat to get to watch them grow up together and see their relationships form and grow.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas Morning in Pictures!

It took me a while to get our Christmas pictures uploaded this year. Life is so busy and so fun! We are loving all these snow days. We have been having tons of fun with school and making lots of arts and crafts. Pictures fell to the very bottom of my priority list, but I wanted to make sure they did get posted somewhere as a way for us to remember this Christmas. It's a very picture heavy post, I just want to make sure to document my favorite holiday! This year we started upstairs with gifts from Dad and Mom and moved down to the basement for Santa gifts. We couldn't get our girls to come downstairs with us because they were so in love with an animal set they received from us, they couldn't stop playing with it. Once we got them down there, they were so excited to find a great portion of the same animal set we had given them a small piece of upstairs. As a side note, pay no attention to the fact that Kait and I are wearing the exact same thing. She came home from her Dad's house Christmas morning and walked in and I couldn't help but laugh....we were wearing the exact same hoodies and black pants. At least once a week we fight over who gets to wear that hoodie. We refuse to go out matching, so it usually comes down to whichever one of us is more desperate for our favorite hoodie. ;)