Monday, April 27, 2009

Tot School - April 20 - 24, 2009

Lindsay is currently 3 1/2 years old

Tot School

Tot School last week was a little sparse in the picture department. My foot has been really bothering me lately, and I'm having trouble walking. What's wrong, you wonder? In an act of infinite gracefulness, I stepped on a piece of broken glass last year sometime. Evidently, the surgical skills of my husband and I are lacking a bit, because I am in excrutiating pain when I walk. The only plus is that by the afternoon, it's so numb that it doesn't hurt as bad and I can actually get things done. I've never gone to the doctor about it because, well - I don't have to explain that to other moms, I guess. I just tend to put my own problems on the back burner until the whole kitchen burns down. :) Anyway...I've now realized that by ignoring it, I may have done myself more harm than good. So....I'm having surgery this Thursday to correct the damage I've caused to my foot and will be on crutches for 3 weeks. No biggie...but I've never walked on crutches before so this will definitely be a challenge. Ya'll pray...I'm not scared, but Gary is. He's never had a surgery and worries himself sick when I have to.

ANYWAY...Tot School. Right. We had a busy week, even if most of our time was spent just talking to each other. We talked about Earth Day and the importance of recycling. We looked at pictures of the earth and I showed her where we lived on a world map. We made promises to do better when we throw things away and we will really try to get things to the recycling bin instead of the trash can. We had lots of little talks about our planet and how we need to take care of it. We touched on climate differences a little, but it was kind of over her head, so we moved on.

Here's something I did get pictures of: Our "Fuzzy Weed-Stamped Flower Garden"!! One afternoon, we were sitting outside playing in the grass. Lindsay brought me this weed that I'm sure everyone has in their own yards, right?? She called it a "Fuzzy Weed". After I finished sneezing, I collected several more from her and grabbed some paint. Here's what we ended up with!

First - Grab a "fuzzy-weed" like this from your yard (or if you're the super-mom-type who would die if she found a weed in her yard, go steal one from your neighbor!)

Second, choose your paint colors - we used yellow, orange, green, purple, light blue, red, and pink. I used the Crayola Washable paints, and they worked like a charm when it came to clean-up time.

Next, dip your "fuzzy-weed" into the paint and stamp it on your paper (I used 11 x 13 poster board), to make a flower. Play around with it...the more paint you put on your "fuzzy-weed," the fuller the petals on your flowers. I loved the effect I got when I used a very small amount of red almost looked like a hibiscus flower!

Finally, use the stem of your "fuzzy-weed" to make the flower stems and leaves for your garden!

Clean up was really easy - I tend to stay away from painting because I detest cleaning paint brushes!! But this proved to be very easy!!

For those of you who noticed my hypocrytical use of styrofoam plates while teaching Lindsay about Earth Day...I know! I know!!! I'm really sorry!!! I bought a huge supply of them a few months ago - before our new promise was made. :) I am trying to change, I swear!!!

To join in the weekly fun, or simply read other Tot Reports from other moms, visit Carisa's blog: 1+1+1=1.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Please Don't Call Me Sweetie!!

Today is my first post with's Small Talk Six. Each Saturday, a new topic is given in which you respond by posting 6 words, phrases, pictures, paragraphs, etc. You can view the pre-scheduled list of topics here. This week's topic is 6 Things that Others Do to Make You Personally Uncomfortable. So stop by and join in the fun, or just read what others posted this week at MomDot!

Here's my list...

1. I have a real big issue with violation of personal space. You know what I'm talking about...the people who stand 6 inches from your face when they want to talk to you. And don't even try to back away...they'll follow you!!!

2. Please don't call me sweetie. My hairdresser does this, and I really wish I had the nerve to ask her to stop. She's just such a nice person - she was really sweet to my little girl and I just can't find the words.

3. Poor driving while my children or I happen to be in the car. I hate to get in the car with folks who don't pay attention when they're driving. I'm a nervous passenger anyway, so please don't make it worse by running red lights, or expressing your road rage while we're in the car.

4. Cell Phones! This is a biggie. I absolutely detest the use of cell phones in public. Here's an example of why. My husband and I went to a traditional Italian restaurant for our anniversary a couple of years ago. I was excited because this place was known for it's quiet, intimate atmosphere; and with 4 kids, we don't get a chance to connect much anymore. Unfortunately, there was a lady a few tables away from us who had evidently been stood up by whomever she was expecting. Instead of leaving, she immediately began dialing everyone on her address list and complained to them about her predicament in the loudest, whiniest voice I could imagine. It was almost too bad to be true when she started screaming into the phone when her friend couldn't hear her due to a bad connection. Needless to say, our perfect night was ruined before the appetizers came. GGrrrrr.....

5. I also hate it when someone blows their nose in front of me. I want to vomit everytime. So please excuse yourself and go to the restroom to do so. Or just give me a heads up first! Trust me - I'll leave promptly!!!

6. Lastly, I can't stand to go to restaurants, etc. with people who are rude to the wait staff. It is sooo embarrassing to me! You never know what that person has already been through that day, and I really don't want to wonder if they've spit in my food.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Believe...

Beliefs. We all have them, but can we all articulate them upon request? If you're like me, you are usually able to pick from a list when presented with a specific question. Do you believe in God? Do you believe in capital punishment? Those questions are fairly easily answered for me. But the little things take a little more time for me to formulate...that's why I was thrilled to receive the following in an email from my sister Lisa this morning.

I Believe...

That just because two people argue, doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, doesn't mean they do love each other.

I Believe...

That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I Believe...

That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe...

That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.
I Believe...

That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I Believe...

That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I Believe...

That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe...

That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I Believe....

That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe...

That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe...

That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe...

That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe...

That my best friend and I can do anything, or nothing, and have the best time.

I Believe...

That sometimes the people you expect to kick you When you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe...

That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe...

That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had,
and what you've learned from them..... and less to do with how many
birthdays you've celebrated.

I Believe...

That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe...

That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I Believe...

That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe...

That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life Forever.

I Believe...

Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I Believe...

That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I Believe...

That even when you think you have no more to give, if a friend cries out to you.... .... you will find the strength to help.

I Believe...

That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe...

That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I Believe...

That you should send this to all of the people that you believe in. I just did.

I Believe...

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; They just make the most of everything.

Thanks to all the wonderful people who help me throughout the journey of my life...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Girl's Day Out!!

Last Friday, the girls and I had the day to ourselves. The guys went to the cabin to help out with some more of the building phase. So the girls and I decided that we would get out of the house for a while and have some fun!

First on our To-Do List was Chuck E. Cheese. They had a really great time. The highlight, though, was when they impressed everyone with their cool dance moves (that they obviously didn't learn from me). Addison took off as soon as the tokens hit her hand, and I didn't see her again until it was time to eat the pizza. Lindsay didn't want to get down from the clock ride.

Then came the shopping!! I was looking for an outfit for Easter, and the girls had fun sifting through all the beautiful jewelry we came across. They got bracelets, and hair bows, and all the typical "girly" stuff that any mini-fashionista would be proud to own! The funniest moment, though, occurred while we were in one of the "Mommy Stores." From the minute we walked in the door, Lindsay was obsessed with the manequins. There was a group of them posed in front of the doors showing off the newest spring fashions. Lindsay politely walked up to them and said, "So...what's up girlfriend? Hi ladies!" I got a little laugh out of that and moved on.

I found some really cute things and headed for the register. It was crowded - I was 4th in line, with a couple of women behind me, but I didn't mind because I was just excited about this rare opportunity for me to get something new. :) Of course, I was really hoping Lindsay wouldn't notice the half naked manequin beside us wearing nothing but a thong. I swear this is a respectable store...I don't know what they were thinking putting that manequin up like that!! But both of my smart little observant children noticed right away!! Addison just snickered under her breath and was obviously embarrassed. Lindsay, on the other hand, was very interested. I know my face had to be red, but I tried to ignore it in hopes that maybe the shiny new necklace I was now dangling at her would catch her attention.

No such luck...she immediately walked around the back of the manequin with a look that could only be described as a cross between utter disgust and absolute hysteria. Then came the pointing, snickering, and the eventual proclamation that...

"Mommy! That lady has a wedgie!!!"

Ok, my face has to be at least 4 shades of purple at this point! Addison was trying her best not to laugh. But it eventually got the best of her and that just multiplied Lindsay's quest to make sure that everyone in the store was aware of the "lady's" unfortunate situation, while she continued to try to help the "lady" dislodge the offending material from her rear-end.

As a mother, I often find myself blushing over some of the observations of my children in public places. Thank goodness it was an all-women's store. I'm sure everyone in line was a mother who had probably experienced some degree of public humiliation at the hands of their beloved children. They all got a good laugh out of it anyway!!

By the time we made it out of the store, I needed a little time to let the blood drain from my face. Sooo................................
We decided to top off our day with a trip to Coldstone Creamery...FOR DINNER!! This is something I have never done before as a mother, but I couldn't resist! We were having such a good time, and it reminded me of some of the times that my sister, Lisa and I would spend with our Aunt Jeannie. We used to spend summers with her at her beach house outside of Galveston, TX. When we were little, she'd fix us waffles with ice cream on top for breakfast as a special treat. It was memorable to say the least! Aunt Jeannie died in a car accident in 2000, and never met my girls. So I was so happy to be able to share a little part of her with them.

Her ice cream kept falling off the cone, so I got her a bowl.

But she was determined to get it IN the cone!

Obviously, they liked the ice cream! I can only hope that they enjoyed our Girl's Day Out as much!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tot School - April 6 - 10, 2009

Tot School

Yes, I know I'm late with my Tot School post...I've been really busy this week getting Trey appropriately transitioned from the 3rd grade into the 4th. It has really been quite a week!

Last weekend, we went to the cabin that my (very talented) father-in-law is building in Arkansas...himself. No really...ALL by himself - well, for the exception of Grandmommy. My brother in law Rick helps out when he can, and so do we...but that's about all the help he's had. :)

It's been 4 years of working through every weekend/vacation he takes off work, but Gary Sr. is about to get it finished!! You can't tell by looking at the primer on the exterior, but eventually, the entire house will be a pale yellow with white trim, and pecan trees will line the drive. This is the backside of the house. The front side overlooks the river, and has two large dormer windows that will make for an even more scenic view. The porch wraps around 3 sides of the house, and there will be french doors leading onto that from the master bedroom. This will be a perfect place for them to spend their retirement! (And in case you were wondering, yes, that is an outhouse out there to the is only temporary -thank goodness!!- until they get all the plumbing done which will come later in the building phase).

Grand-daddy always takes special time to show the kiddos what he's doing and he lets them help whenever they want. Here, he's showing Addie how to measure a board correctly.

Lindsay loves taking "Nature Walks" and looking for rocks. A few months ago, we found 2 huge pieces of sandstone with a vein of quartz crystal running through each piece, and she is always eager to find more! In these particular pictures, I was trying to convince her that digging up Grandmommy's carefully laid stone path outside the cook house wasn't the greatest idea. She didn't agree. Sorry Grandmommy!!

This is the "driveway" that leads up around a bank of woods and into the area where the house is being built. Lindsay and I love to take our walks here.

She loves sitting on the huge wrap-around porch and looking out over the river. I can't wait to get her into a canoe this summer!!

Later in the week, we made a "Counting Catepillar." I just cut out 1 medium and 5 big circles out of construction paper, and let Lindsay tape them together. We curled pipe cleaners around our pencils and made the antennae. I wrote the numbers 1-5 on each circle and counted out the corresponding numbers of colored pom-poms. She was supposed to match both the correct color and number of pom-poms to the corresponding circle. It took her a few tries, but she got it in the end! :)

I also found a letter matching/memory type game in one of her workbooks. She had so much fun with it, that I decided to make a bigger (better) one as a file folder game that she can play anytime. :)

The goal is to find the matches to all the letters/numbers so she can place them on the cookie sheet. You can't really tell, but on the left, there is a "placemat" that has a photo of a traditional place setting. That was made into a pocket to store all of the "cookies."

We also played the coolest game called Hullabaloo!! All of my kiddos enjoyed this game! It was a hoot!!!

Well, that was it for us for Tot School for last week. For more Tot Reports from other mom's, visit Carisa's blog, 1+1+1=1!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Big 4th Grader!!!

Well, it's official! Trey has begun the 4th grade!! I'm so proud of him! He really buckled down and finished the 3rd grade curriculum, and is ready to begin the 4th grade. Of course, I was really hoping and praying that he would do so, and he didn't let me down!!

You see, I thought I was being really proactive and organized, and ordered our 4th grade curriculum early so we could beat the rush. When I got to the Homeschool Curriculum Shop website, I was pleased to find that they now offer a lease option. Gary and I decided that this would be a good option for us because we don't have the room to store all those textbooks anyway. The website stated that "upon returning the required materials," we would receive a credit towards next years purchase/lease. I thought can't beat that, right?? Well, I was wrong.

5 weeks after ordering, we received our curriculum (just about the time I was beginning to panic). We opened it up to find that the Math books we ordered were on backorder with no idea as to when they would arrive. On the invoice, they had also noted where I had ordered Saxon Math instead of Harcourt Math- which I didn't...Trey does not do well with the Saxon learning style. Thankfully, I saved every page of my online order as I completed it and was able to convince the customer service representative that THEY were the ones that had made the mistake. (They tried to tell me that there was no such option on the order form!!) Anyway...they also included on the invoice that the lease is only for 13 months. Which, even in my own opinion is a fair amount of time, but their website led me to believe that we could keep it until we were finished with the grade and return it in order to receive the credit. After all, the lease option WAS the same amount as the purchase're just given a list of items you have to return, like the hardback textbooks and (photocopied) teacher's guides in order to receive the credit. So they wouldn't be out any money if we decided to keep them forever! Actually, they would make money, because all of the teacher's guides and answer keys were photocopied. If we had purchased them, we would have received the full color paperback or hardback editions.

Back to the original problem...the lease is only good for 13 months. I did the math, and found that there was no way that Trey would be able to finish the 3rd grade and the 4th grade in that amount of time. ALSO...we still don't have our Math books! So how is he supposed to start the 4th grade without the Math books?? I was basically informed that we could choose to extend our lease for $20 per month, and the 13 months on the math will begin upon receipt of the items (whenever that is). So we're supposed to go ahead and begin the 4th grade without math, OR we can choose to spend $20 per month to extend the lease however many months it takes them to 1) correct my Math order, and 2) ship them from the backorder log.

I chose to go ahead and begin the 4th grade without the Math. I went ahead and tested Trey out of the 3rd grade minus Math. He will continue to work on his 3rd grade Math until the 4th grade materials arrive, and begin 4th grade work on all other subjects. He will not get the summer break that he was looking forward to, but we will only have school 4 days a week...for the exception of online math games and occasional unit tests.

So I am not exactly thrilled with my experience with Homeschool Curriculum Shop, and they are aware of my feelings. I should have done more research, or called and spoken with a rep before I placed my order...but you live and learn right? I DO however LOVE the quality of the books - everything is brand new (which coincidentally would not have happened had I not ordered early). I also like the option of choosing the secular package: only because it coincides with the public school scope and sequence. There is a possiblity that Trey may end up going back to public school in the future and I wasn't impressed with the Christian core curriculum I ordered last year. As stated in a previous post, all of the material in that curriculum was a review from the 1st grade of public school, and it didn't work for his style of learning. For $579 (including tax/shipping), we received all core subject textbooks, workbooks, answer keys, as well as a guide for Physical Education and Health. I will just teach Bible lessons separately. I will have to return everything except the consumable workbooks we received. The P.E. book will also have to go back. We will receive $110 towards next years lease, or we will have the option to "cash out" and receive half of that. Which looking at the photocopied answer keys, and everything we have to return, I don't think is a fair amount. That means we're paying over $500 for workbooks. I'm not sure how we will handle this yet...luckily, we've got 13 months to figure it out. LOL! In my opinion, the Purchase Option is a good deal...the Lease Option is not. Shoulda known, right??

Moral of the Rant: Don't trust website descriptions! RESEARCH AND ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS!!!

I knew that homeschooling was going to be a learning experience for me...since I've never done this before. I had no idea, however, that so many lessons would be learned so quickly. :) I continue to be extremely thankful for the opportunity that I've been given to homeschool my son. We have grown so much closer, and I can see the light returning to his eyes as we reverse the damage done by the one particular public school teacher who found pleasure in humiliating him at every opportunity. He truly believes that he is JUST as smart as other kids, and now understands that his learning style is different, but his learning capability is JUST THE SAME!!

I am also very thankful for the many resources available nowdays for homeschool parents! I can't imagine doing this without the homeschool support groups, internet, or the awesome curriculum that is now available. I am also very, very thankful to my husband for working as hard as he does so that I could quit my good-paying job and stay home. Without him, I don't know what we'd do!! I thank God every day for allowing us this amazing time together!! It is such a wonderful blessing!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tot School - March 30 - April 3, 2009

Tot School

Wow! We had one of the best weeks ever! The weather was beautiful almost every day last week!! So beautiful, in fact, that I couldn't bear to keep the kids inside all day. So nearly every day last week, we went outside for most of the day. Most of Lindsay's tot school was done inside in the mornings, while it was still a little too chilly outside.

Theme: WEATHER!!
We just kept it simple this week. Rather than simply teaching her about the weather, I wanted Lindsay to really experience our theme up close and personal! This theme is one of my favorites because I LOVE sunshine!! Without it, I would surely go insane.
Prior to last week, I had made a bunch of weather cards using an April Lesson Plan I bought online. On Monday, she and Addison helped me make a box to display them. Each day, Lindsay got up from the breakfast table and ran over to the front door to peak out the side-lights to see what the weather would be. I would ask her to choose the correct weather card from the box to show me what the weather was. Then we would place a matching weather card on our calendar.

We talked about the rain...

And she made a raindrop (that I had outlined for her) out of blue thumbprints and "swirlies"...
We talked about clouds...She did a worksheet (on desk above) which had to do with counting clouds and being able to circle the correct number that corresponded to the number of clouds in a given row.
This is something I felt particularly proud of...I handed her a coloring page with a cloud on it, and asked her what color she thought clouds were. My 3 year old little Einstein told me that clouds could be pink, purple, blue, orange and white...rainbow clouds. I laughed and said, "oh how cute," and dismissed it. Later on that evening, while (still) playing in the yard, she pointed to the sky and said, "Look Mommy! Rainbow Clouds!" It was a beautiful sunset and all the clouds were, in fact, "rainbow" colored!
I taught her a song about clouds in which she got to use her cloud stick. It included an appropriate amount of wiggling and giggling! :)

We did some color sorting...nothing to do with "weather" persay, but she REALLY likes to sort M&M's!!

We talked about the wind, and made a beautiful windsock!

On it, she colored herself and Mommy playing in the flowers.

She decided to hang it in the big Elm tree in the front yard. I thought it looked very pretty there!

And we spent a LOT of time discussing the aerodynamics of a Dora the Explorer tricycle! (LOL...just kidding!!)

For more Tot Reports from other moms, visit Carisa's blog at 1+1+1=1. Y'all have a great week!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Got An Award!!

I NEVER receive awards!! Well not since High School, anyway! So I am very grateful to Ticia at pucktricks for giving me this award!! :)


1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

I would like to nominate the following blogs:

The Howe Family

Lisa's Homeschool Circus

Who I Am

Clatter from Clarendon

The Littles are Running Amok

Life is Not a Cereal

Jen's Whimsical Life