Sunday, January 6, 2013

Emily Is 5!

My baby girl turned 5 at the end of December! I know everyone feels this way but time is flying by so fast! She had a wonderful birthday. We gave Emily the choice between having a friend party or going to The Great Wolf Lodge and she picked going to the lodge:) We had such a great time. She also had a family party. Here are some pictures from my sweet girls big day!


DSC04587 DSC04588   Ellie and Emily helped decorate the cake! DSC04603  DSC04607  DSC04621 DSC04623 DSC04638 Here she is giving her new Bella Ballerina shoes a spin!DSC04641   DSC04648  

If I had to describe Emily in two words it would be funny and sweet! She loves to make people laugh, especially Ellie and she is just SWEET! She loves stuffed animals and any little character she can get her hands on like Strawberry Shortcake or her latest obsession, My Little Pony. She will play for hours talking for these little guys. She is not a morning person but it typically doesn’t take her too long to shake off the morning grumpies. She is a “natural” at most things she tries and one very loved little girl! Happy Birthday Emily…..WE LOVE YOU! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Companies I Love

In the last few months I have started ordering from 2 different companies that I am so happy with!!! The first one is Redmond's. I buy and love their salt called Real Salt. It is so flavorful and contrary to popular belief it is healthy! It is unrefined and full of natural minerals. I have started using their garlic and onion salt as well. I also use Redmond's Clay. I use it on stings, bites, warts and right now I am using it on a cyst. Don't know if it will work for that but I will let you know. Clay has so many uses! Don't believe me... just google it and you will find lots of interesting info.The last product of Redmond's that I am using and blown away by is EarthPaste. Now that i have been using this toothpaste I don't think I could ever go back to my old toothpaste. Not only does it feel like I had my teeth cleaned every time I brush my teeth but I feel so much better about the small list of ingredients! Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of your regular tooth paste? Kind of scary!

The other company that I am super happy with is Cultures for Health. They sell lots of different culture starters, cheese making products, sprouted grains and more. I have ordered multiple starters and been very happy! Their costumer service has been AMAZING! They are always so helpful and knowledgeable when I call and the starters have been great!

I have not been given any free products and don't have any affiliation with either of the companies. I just like to share when I find products or companies that I love! Any products or companies that you love?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Worthy of Pinterest or Pintrosity?

I know everyone knows about Pinterest but have you heard of Pintrosity? It is a blog showcasing pinterest ideas gone wrong. People showcase what they made, how it turned out and how it was supposed to turn out. There are also troubleshooting tips to some common mistakes on popular pins. Not only is this blog helpful and funny but it makes me feel better that I am not the only one with so many missteps! So while I love Pinterest for so many cool ideas
that I find like these cute Christmas trees I just made after seeing them here I also get frustrated with Pinterest too because of the many failed attempts like this one: I loved the wreath after seeing it here so of course I couldn't wait to make one!I collected the acorns, spent time washing and drying them, hot gluing them on and then painting them but those silly acorns are falling off like crazy!! This could totally be on Pintrosity!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hot Chocolate Bar

One of our advent activities this year was to have a hot chocolate bar. It was a hit! I got the idea from Pinterest. We had hot chocolate mix, sprinkles for the rim of the mugs, candy cane stir sticks, crushed candy cane, marshmellows, and my favorite...homemade whip cream! YUM!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Turkey Trot

Ellie and I participated in the local turkey trot 1 mile fun run again this year. We plan on this being a tradition and are looking forward to Emily and Chris joining us next year. It is such a great way to start off our Thanksgiving morning. Last year we ran it in 12:36 and this year 11:15...GO ELLIE!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Advent Activities

Advent season is upon us and I have been busy coming up with our advent activities for 2012. We always fill our advent calendar with fun activities and last year all of our activities were Random Acts of Christmas Kindness (RACK). The girls enjoyed doing that so much more than I ever expected so this year we are doing RACK along with crafts, baking, etc. I  came up with extra activities this year because sometimes what I plan just doesn't work out and it is nice to have a back-up.

1.       Decorate gingerbread house

2.       Go see the nutcracker

3.       Go see a Christmas play

4.       Make gingerbread craft

5.       Make Christmas cookies

6.       Christmas book tea party

7.       Make blessing bags

8.      Have a hot chocolate bar

9.       Make and take gifts to neighbors

10.   Christmas movie night

11.   Sleep under Christmas tree

14.   Santa train ride at transportation museum

15.   Make and Paint scratch and sniff ornaments

16.   Fancy candlelight Christmas dinner using these Christmas conversation starters

17.   Christmas family sleepover - with Christmas crafts and games

18.   Make paper plate wreaths

20.   Go Christmas ornament shopping for each other (the girls buy each other an ornament every year)

21.   Christmas themed breakfast - lots of ideas on pinterest

22.   Live nativity

23.   Go through our Christmas cards and pray for those families

24.   Go ice skating - they have never been
25. Get peppermint milkshake from Chick-fil-a (this might be more for me)

26.   Pass out candy canes with the story of the candy cane attached

27.   Go the movies for the $1 showing of Polar Express and The Grinch that Stole Christmas

28.   Make and take gifts to librarians and teachers from their outside classes

29.   Tape RACK notes and quarters to vending machines
30.  Find somewhere to volunteer
31. Take hot chocolate to the salvation army bell ringer
32. Drive through difference (pay for the persons food that is behind you in the drive through line)

If you are interested Here and here are some of our advent activities from previous years. Hope you have a blessed advent season!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Great Reminder

I was reading through The Family Book of Advent this morning and it was telling the story of when Gabriel announced to Zachariah that his wife Elizabeth would have a son. Zachariah responded in disbelief saying, "How can I be sure of this? After all I am really old, and my wife is old too." The book talks about how we as parents can act the same way as Zachariah.We speak from our "logical" perspective of what we know and what makes sense. "How will we make it if my husband loses his job or will the kids ever learn respect? What are we going to do?" It says "We cram God into confines of our own imaginations. We define what he can do by the size of our tiny worlds."

This is so true and I am guilty of this so often. Reading this was such a great reminder of how small I really am and how big God really is!!!!

Proverbs 3:5
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Fun

We go to the same pumpkin patch every year and we always have such a great time. They have an awesome playground, farm animals and lots of stuff to climb on.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

School - What is Working, What is Not

I mentioned in the previous post that school was going a lot better this year and I think there are several things that have really helped:

  • implementing a rewards chart -  I really struggled with this because I thought that the girls should have good attitudes in school without being "bribed" but my very smart hubby mentioned that almost everything we do in life brings some kind of reward and that it could be a very positive thing and boy was he right. We have a chart with 20 circles to fill up. Fill up the chart and you get to pick something off of the rewards list such as stay up an hour later, special outing with mom or dad, watch a movie in bed etc. It has been so successful!
  • including recess (30 min. break) I was wondering if I would  they would have a hard time getting back on track after the break but I was wrong again. I They come back with happy hearts and more energized. I am sure the snack we have right after is also a good motivator.
  • only fitting in morning chores before school and leaving the bigger ones for after school - Last year the girls really stretched out the morning chores which put me in a bad mood before school ever started so now if they drag their feet they are messing with their own free time:)

What is not working out so well is having activities that are right after school that we need to rush too. I do not like having to clock watch and rush the kids out the door to get somewhere and I am so sick of packing lunches!!! I know, i know, if the girls were in school i would probably be doing this everyday but still I don't like it :)

I struggle so much with wanting the girls to be a part of  the great homeschool opportunities in our area but I would love not to rush them out the door after school! In the spring we will probably drop one of our activities to get an extra day at home and hopefully that will help! It is hard also because Ellie is a go, go, go, girl and loves going out and being a part of anything and everything where as Emily is a lets stay home type of girl!

I would love to know what is working /not working for you!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

2012- 2013 Curriculum

I love reading what other people are using for curriculum so I thought I would share what we are doing for school this year and a little about our school day.

Ellie (2nd grade):
For our core curriculum we are using Heart of Dakota Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory. We have really enjoyed working our way through this curriculum but I am only using it for history, bible, read aloud, poetry, and just a little bit of science. Everything else we are using our own thing.

Spelling: We are using Rod and Staff Sound and Structure

Writing: we are doing mini writing workshops and free writing during circle time (they both love this) and Winning With Writing.We also do the narration parts of Writing With Ease

Math: Math Mammoth and Miquon (we sprinkle in Life of Fred but more for fun)

Grammar: Growing With Grammar

Latin: Slowly going through Song School Latin

Geography: Evan Moore's Beginning Geography

Science: Ellie takes a science class every other Friday and I add in a nature study using Queen's Discovering Nature Series

Art: We are using Atlier Art

Music: piano lessons

Bible: Bible Study Guide for All Ages (We LOVE this) and AWANA

Things that I had planned to do that we are not getting to: Artist and Musicians study and Spanish

Emily( Age 4 Preschool)

Emily sits in with Ellie on History, Read Aloud, Poetry, Life of Fred, Latin, Bible

Math - Miquon and just playing with cuisenaire rods

Writing- We are pretty much doing our own thing

Reading - Reading Made Easy (she looks forward to this everyday) and Get Set For the Code

Bible -  Bible Study Guide for All Ages and AWANA

She also does lots of coloring, cutting and pasting.

This school year is going really well so far. We didn't have the greatest last couple of months in first grade so I am so happy that school is such a joy for us all now! I pray it continues that way!

Quickly I will share how we structure our day:
Monday - Thursday -The girls start off with there morning chores (typical brush hair, teeth etc. )We try to start our school day by 8. We have circle time and our writing time. After that we set the timer for 30 min. During that time I work with Emily and Ellie works on all of her independent work. After 30 min. we reset the timer and Ellie reads for 15 min. and I keep working with Emily. We then break for 30 min. so I can get a few things done and they play. We come back together and they have a snack while I read history, poetry, read aloud chapter book and anything else we need to cover all together. This usually takes about 30 min. to an hour. After that I work with Ellie and Emily plays with things off of our school shelf. I let her pick whatever she wants. She loves this time and gets very creative!

 Fridays are pretty laid back. We only school half the amount of time and it tends to be more of the fun stuff like math and spelling games, crafts etc.

So that is pretty much our school week in a nutshell!