Saturday, June 27, 2009

School Prep 4

Now that all of my curriculum has arrived, it is time for me to make my supply lists. School supplies typically flood the stores after July 4th, and traditionally they are sold at very low prices. I go through my supply closet and shelves making a list of how many boxes of crayons, markers, glue sticks, glue bottles, pencils, colored ballpoint pens, spiral notebooks, folders, binders, page protectors, etc. that I think I will need for the entire upcoming school year. Who wants to buy a box of crayons for $.97 in December, when they sell for $.10 in July? I also stock up on teacher-type supplies too: tape, paper clips, rubber bands, etc.

I keep my eye out for unique school supplies that I can include in my Back To School Treasure Hunt. In fact, school supplies are always the treasure in this annual back to school tradition.

In addition to a regular school supply list, I make supply lists for my various subjects. Most science courses provide a materials list in the teacher edition or student book. I photocopy this list and mark off each item as I purchase it. Then I place all of the science materials needed for the whole year in a designated box or on a shelf. Now when the child is ready to conduct an experiment in March, you don't have to turn the house upside down for a cork or piece of wire.....and you don't have to run to the store for some obscure item. All of items the child needs are safely stored in the Science Box. This school year, for the first time, I will have all 3 of my older children studying different science subjects (for many previous years we have done KONOS unit studies or used the elementary Apologia science books). Therefore, I plan to have 3 separate Science Boxes on the shelf this year.

Other subjects can require special supplies too: math manipulatives, any kind of unit study, an art course, and for Olivia this year, her Home Economics course. Unit studies or literature-based history courses provide booklists. I purchase or make sure that I can check out from the library all of the books I will need. Preschool supplies may include paint and other craft supplies. Also, every summer I purchase 3 or 4 new preschool/kindergarten activities to add to my preschool collection. These are the activities and games that I rotate on a daily basis for the preschooler and kindergartener. Finally, I go through each child's courses and determine what kind of notebook/binder/paper/folder the course will require to store the child's schoolwork in.

With my lists made, I am ready for school supply shopping in July!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

San Francisco Day 5

On this day we visited Alcatraz, which was interesting and a little bit creepy! A ferry carried us across the bay to the prison.

Sam, reading the map to Jimmy, Russ, and Olivia

Olivia, Julie, Megan, and Clay enjoying the breezy ferry ride

Leah and Me on the ferry

Clay and Julie

Something must be very interesting down there!

Alcatraz is now a sanctuary for birds and flowers.

Leah and Sam with their headphones. Alcatraz offers an audio tour guide. I can't remember how long it lasts, but Sam only lasted about 20 minutes with his headphones.

The children and I are posing inside a jail cell .
After leaving Alcatraz Island, we ate lunch at Fisherman's Wharf. Olivia wasn't feeling well, so she, Jimmy, Leah, and Sam headed back to the hotel for the afternoon. Julie and Clay stayed with Russ and Megan. They explored downtown San Francisco, rode a cable car, and visited Chinatown. Later that evening, Olivia felt better so Jimmy dropped us off at Chinatown for a brief shopping excursion. He picked up the rest of our party, then picked us back up, and we all returned to the hotel for the night.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vehicle Litter Bags

This is a follow up to my previous post about the Van Can (the trash can in my van). Thanks to all of you who left comments and shared great ideas. Today I solved my problem of the tipping trash can. I placed the can in a rectangle plastic basket. I put the trash can on one side of the basket, and a box of tissues on the other side. Both items fit snugly, and today while I rode around town nothing turned over!
But....I found this fantastic website (thanks for the link in my comments)---Organize Your Ride. I definitely want to order this Vehicle Litter Bag for my van! Check out this website for all kinds of car organization ideas.

The Van Can

The van trash can.....
Today's tip is actually not my original idea. My friend Lynn shared this wonderful idea with me a couple of years ago. I have always used those plastic grocery store sacks for our van trash. The children would pass me their trash, and I would hang the plastic bag on a knob or something in the front of the van. Not very attractive!
Now I have a small wastebasket that we keep on the floor between the seats on the second row. It has to be emptied almost every day!

There is one problem: it frequently falls over while I am driving, scattering trash all over the floor! Do any of you have a suggestion about how I can keep it upright?

Please visit We Are That Family for more Works For Me Wednesday tips and idea.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reading to Preschoolers

This is my Tuesday's Tip For Moms.
Tuesday’s Tip for Mom is a blog carnival hosted at Raising Olives to allow moms to share what they have learned along the path of motherhood. Join us every Tuesday as we learn and share tips and ideas for spending time with, encouraging, training or relating to our children.

Reading to Preschoolers
If you are like me, some days the time flies by, and at the end of the day you realize that you have not read one single book to your young child. In addition to reading 3 books at naptime and 3 books plus one Bible story at bedtime, I strive to read 10 or more books to my preschool aged children each day. As with all things, if I have a plan, then I am more likely to meet my goal.

My "reading to toddlers in addition to naptime and bedtime plan"---

Each morning choose 10 or more books and place them on the large ottoman in the middle of your den. You could also place these books on the hearth of your fireplace, the mantel, or any sort of flat surface in the main room of your house. The plan is to make yourself stop what you are doing several times throughout the day, sit down with your preschooler and read a couple of the displayed books. When you finish reading the books, place them back on the bookshelf or in the basket or whatever you store them in. When all of the books are returned to their home, you have met your goal of reading to your preschooler for that day. It really is that simple!

Long ago a friend advised me to stop once each hour and spend 5-10 minutes of uninterrupted time with my baby/toddler/preschooler. We sing songs, play a simple game or read a couple of the displayed books. Making a point to carve out these few minutes each hour insures that I am paying attention to my young children each day. With older children and the time it requires to homeschool them and transport them to various activities, plus housework, I would frequently unintentionally ignore my preschoolers until they "needed" me, if I did not have a plan of action.

This works for me and keeps my preschoolers happy (mostly!).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Yes! This is the same picture I posted on our blog last year on our anniversary! I do not know how to scan photos, so I am using the same one!

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary! I still haven't seen my groom all day (he has been at work since yesterday morning). I am not even sure that we have any plans for the night! Jimmy will most likely need to eat supper and go to sleep as soon as he gets home. Don't we look so happy in this picture? I am still just as happy! I am so thankful for my wonderful husband!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fun Family Weekend

We have spent time with both sides of our family this weekend.
Saturday night the children and I traveled to Huntsville for my cousin's wedding. (Jimmy is on call this weekend, so sadly he missed all of the festivities, including Father's Day!) We met my parents at the wedding, and we all enjoyed visiting during the wedding and the reception, which were both beautiful! My cousin was the groom, and he and his bride were both beaming!

Leah enjoying her dinner at the reception

Olivia and Mims

Clay, Me, and Pops

Uncle Wayne and Aunt Jennye (parents of the groom), Julie, and Meme

Aunt Jennye and Julie

Sam was not feeling well, so I did not get a decent picture of him. He actually looks pretty pitiful...he has pink eye in both eyes, and he had a 4 wheeler wreck a couple of days ago. He has a skinned place on his forehead.
My parents followed us home after the wedding and spent the night. I was able to give my daddy his Father's Day present in person!
My parents left this afternoon with Olivia, Julie, and Clay in tow. The children are so excited about their vacation at Mims and Pops's house!
Jimmy was able to run home for about 5 minutes this afternoon (while on call). Leah and Sam excitedly wished him Happy Father's Day and gave him their cards. We actually gave Jimmy his Father's Day gift a couple of weeks ago. I knew that he would be working this weekend, and the gift was something for his camera.....we gave it to him before our vacation to San Francisco.
After Sam's 3 hour nap, I loaded up Sam (still with pink eye) and Leah and took them to Granmomma's and Pop's house. Russ and Megan were there along with Jenny and Jeff and their family. We had grilled hamburgers and the kids played around in the back yard.

Sam and Grace rolling around in the grass

the girls

the boys

School Prep 3

As all of my new curriculum arrives, I sort it out by placing each child's workbooks, textbooks, and other resources into his work bucket. I store all of the currently used teacher editions and teacher resource books on one shelf in my schoolroom for easy access. Some of our courses are entirely completed on the computer, so I store any supplies the child may need for that course on a shelf beside the computer.

Some of the workbooks I use are reproducible. You are allowed to purchase one copy for your family, and make copies for each child. If it is less expensive to just buy each child their own copy rather than copying the book, I do that. If not, I take the book to a place like Staples and have them cut off the book binding. Then it can be easily copied. I like to have each child's copy of the reproducible book comb bound. Occasionally I use a 3-hole puncher and store the copy in a 3-ring binder, but the comb binding takes up much less space. Recently I spent $2.00 to have the binding cut off a book and $1.49 to have it comb bound.

We Have Service!

Finally!! We have internet service again! We were without the world wide web for 7 days.....I have a lot of catching up to do! We just got home from attending my cousin's wedding (2.5 hours away). The three older children are going home with my parents tomorrow for a few days. Leah and Sam will stay home, so I am not sure how much catching up on blogging I will be able to do!
I have more school prep posts and the rest of our San Francisco vacation to share.
It's good to be back!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Big Catch!

Wow! Look at those fish!

Clay, Jimmy, and Pop fished yesterday. Jimmy had to leave them after just a short time, right when the fish were beginning to bite. Clay stayed with Pop and his friend, and came home around 10 last night.

Clay and Pop


Proud Clay with his big catfish!

While Clay and Pop continued to fish, the rest of us enjoyed dinner at Amit and Shruti's house. Amit and Shruti are originally from India, and Shruti prepared us the most delicious authentic Indian meal. Thankfully my children are not picky eaters, and they tried everything Shruti served. Leah and Sam's favorite part of the meal was the biscuits, which are actually cookies.
Amit and Shruti are sweet friends of ours, and we really appreciated their hospitality!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Frog Level 5K

Go Clay Go!

Earlier this rainy, stormy morning, Jimmy and Clay ran the Frog Level 5K. They both earned 1st place in their age divisions! Way to go! Their times are posted in the Race Results in the left sidebar.
Olivia is still at running camp, and Julie came home one day early from running camp because she had a sore throat and was running fever. She seems better this morning.

Look at all of those trophies! (Mr. Jackie, Clay, Carson, Jimmy, John Parker, Stephen)

John Parker, Carson, Clay

San Francisco Day 4

This entire day was spent in the Point Reyes National Seashore area. About an hour's drive from San Francisco, the National Seashore provides the most beautiful and the most diverse landscape and wildlife! In this one area you will find beaches, mountains, boulders, sand, a dairy farm complete with hundreds of cows grazing on the steep mountainside, deer, elephant seals, prairie dogs, snakes, and a lighthouse. God's creation and creativity is breathtaking and truly amazing!

Limontour Beach. We had a picnic and briefly viewed the beach. It was so windy!

around the lighthouse area at Point Reyes

You can see the diverse vegetation.....the previous picture of Leah is taken in the same area

If there are rocks, the kids will climb!

Sam and Clay as high as they could go. Notice Clay holding on to Sam--we didn't want him to jump off the mountain! Sam is fearless, and there were no guardrails!

Beautiful beach in the backgroud

Enjoying God's creation

Now Olivia is holding on to Sam!


climbing a tree on the trail to the lighthouse

Leah in the tree
The variety of wildlife impressed me! Here you can see some of the dairy cows.....

And just a little bit down the can see elephant seals!

Cute little seal!
By the time we reentered the San Francisco area, it was dark. Jimmy took several beautiful pictures of the illuminated Golden Gate Bridge.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

San Francisco Day 3

We began the morning by driving an hour or so to Fairfield, CA for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory.
Our family posing out front

shopping in the gift shop
Everyone was required to wear the Jelly Belly paper hats (or you could choose a hair net!) to tour the factory. No pictures were allowed during the actual tour.

tasting the free samples that they gave at the end of the tour

Uncle Russ and Julie

Olivia tasting her samples

Clay and Me

Millions of jelly beans!
You would not believe the strange flavors of jelly beans that the factory creates----rotten egg, pencil shavings, toothpaste...YUK! They had samples of these and other horrible flavors too. Only Russ was brave enough to try rotten egg!
The Belly Flops (imperfect jelly beans) are sold in a separate gift shop. These "mess-ups" are sold for a discounted price. We bought all of our jelly beans to take home in the Belly Flop store!
We ate lunch in the Jelly Belly Cafe where some of our food was served in the shape of jelly beans! (Pizza and hamburgers!)
Next we travelled to Muir Woods. This national park is absolutely beautiful. It is difficult to comprehend how tall trees can grow. God's creation is truly magnificant!
Russ admiring a tree

Sam posing on a tree

Julie is walking in the distance, while I stopped to look up at these tall, tall trees.

group photo (minus Jimmy the photographer!)

crossing the creek--I didn't let Sam do this!

Olivia and Aunt Megan

Sam climbing on the tree roots

Leah in the same spot

Aunt Megan and Julie
Our next excursion for the day was Mt. Tamalpais. This mountain offers a trail to the top. All 7 of us trekked up and posed for some beautiful pictures. The scenery from the top of this mountain was breathtaking! Megan's main concern during the hike was that Sam or Leah would fall down the mountain! Everyone arrived both up and down safely!

Sam striking a pose!

Olivia, Clay, Julie, and Sam at the top

All five children at the top
No one fell off!
Our family

Julie and Clay examining the rocks

Leah with her windblown hair

Clay the mountain man

Jimmy and Sam

On the way back down
We ended the day by driving through the little town of Sausalito, and then dining at the Rainforest Cafe in downtown San Francisco.
Another exhausting, but fun-filled day!