A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Our Week - end of May

I miss doing the Weekly Wrap Up posts that I do during the school year, because it's a good way to share all the pictures I've taken that week.  So this is not just homeschool, but everyday life, as well.  

I'm going to miss Hannah when she goes back to school soon!  I imagine Katie will, too.  Here's another of her Art Projects.

That's yarn glued around the outline of the cat.

These wooden rainbow pieces came from Clickity Clack, back when I got the penguins.

I'm finally getting around to painting them.  It's not finished yet, I still need to coat them in ModPodge, but they make me smile.

This week, in addition to starting a book about Greek mythology, we updated our World History Sticker Atlas book.  (affiliate link)

This book is a combination timeline/geography lesson.

The drawing on the left shows an agora, the Greek marketplace many of the ancient city states had.  The drawing on the right is the Parthenon.

Eli caught Jack and I reading together.  Those aren't kissy faces; we're sounding something out.

Eli photobombing Katie's "Mommy!  Look my blocks!" shot.

Remember how we did so much learning about Greek pottery that we got kind of sick of it?  Um, yeah.  We're there with Greek architecture, too.  My kids are SO OVER the Parthenon.

It's hard to find boy/girl matchy clothes, so when I saw these cute organic pieces from Burt's Bees on zulily.com, I thought they'd make a good addition to Katie and Luke's summer wardrobe.  (affiliate link)

My studious boys, working hard on our summer studies.

Zach and H have been over 3 times this week.  It's so nice to have my boy close enough to visit!

I promise you, we're not zombies all the time!  We played Scrabble together one day.

So we did an art project this week.  And it involved googly eyes.

Which led to chaos and merriment, of course.  

We're working on virtue training for a review, and One of my Students is highly resistant to it.  I'm thinking this is something I should have worked on more deliberately when the kids were younger.

I let the kids draw or color or work on projects while I read aloud.  If their hands are busy, they're more likely to stay in one place, right?

Well, Double Oh Eli here decided to make himself a duct tape holster one day.

Sigh.  I was the "no guns" mom for so many years.  They've worn me down.

Speaking of crafty, see the rainbow bandz flower charm Brianna made for our peppermint oil spray?  Pretty!  Oh, and the naked rainbow is in the background from before I painted it.

You know how hard it is to keep coming up with random things for Hannah to draw and write about in her journal for school?  I'm about out of creative on this one.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Raptor 6 book review and Kindle HDX GIVEAWAY

Raptor 6 is a bit of a departure from my usual book reviews.  This is a little bit of a "guy book" in that it's full of action and combat, but it's a girl book, too, with a boy/girl scenario that keeps you guessing.

When the book first arrived, Eli, age 12, picked it up and walked off with it.  The cover was enough to interest him.  However, he brought it back to me a few days later, saying it was confusing, and he couldn't follow it, so he didn't finish it.

"That's fine," I thought to myself.  Several days later, Samuel needed something to do during quiet time, so I said, "I have just the thing!" and gave him the book to read.  He, too, later told me he couldn't finish it.

So it was with a little trepidation that I picked the book up to read myself.  I needn't have worried.  It drew me in, and I read more than the "Just read the first chapter tonight," I'd talked myself into.

If you've read W.E.B. Griffin or Tom Clancy, this book is the same genre.  The action *does* jump around a bit, like those books, but an adult reader can still follow what's going on.

Author Ronie Kendig does a great job, creating guys who are not only soldiers, but 3 dimensional characters, as well, with feelings and demons and relationships and personalities.  I'm happy to share that this is Book 1 of the series The Quiet Professionals, which means hopefully we'll be seeing many of these characters again soon.

Don't miss the first book, Raptor 6, in Ronie Kendig's new Quiet Professionals series. Ronie combines a dangerous romance and explosive action for a thrilling and satisfying ride. "Lock and load for this Spec Op, fighting under God’s 'rules of engagement.'" —Bob Hamer, veteran FBI undercover agent and award-winning author

Ronie is celebrating with a Kindle HDX Giveaway!


One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 15th. Winner will be announced June 16th on Ronie's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Ronie's blog on June 16th to see if you won.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Preschool Fun: Katie's Tot Trays for May

So many people wonder, "What do I do with my little kids while I'm homeschooling my older ones??"

Well, there are as many answers as there are families, of course, but I'll share what we've been up to, to give you some ideas you might want to try out at your house.  I'll even include helpful affiliate links, for your benefit.  (wink)

I'm always anxious to include fine motor skills activities for Katie (and Hannah) because of her finger differences.  I want to make sure she's managing well (which, she is, of course).  But even typical-limbed preschoolers benefit from fine motor skills exercises.  Not only in terms of manual dexterity, but also in helping them learn to focus and stay on task.

Look at that cute face!  So proud of her success!

There are lots of wooden lacing beads out there.  I picked these because they're cute, and because they have the wooden "needle" at the end of the string, which makes it easier for beginners.

In addition to stringing, you can also see how many your child can stack in a tower, or make a picture scene, or sort by color, or sort by type.  These are more open ended than round beads.

I was recently cleaning up the school room and ran across these colored wooden shapes.  Aha!  Perfect for a tot tray!  I was thinking "mosaic" when I put them in front of her.

But it looks like she was thinking "sorting/matching" instead.  That's okay!  It's all good.

Now, some of you may be thinking, "What's a Tot Tray??"  Well, I'm hardly the first to coin the phrase.  A Tot Tray is simply a single activity, in a container, designed to facilitate learning for your little one.  It can be a directed activity or an open ended collection of objects.  It lasts as long as it holds your child's interest.  Some trays hold their attention longer than others, and it's not always the ones you think!

The red tray shown came from Lakeshore Learning, as did it's fellow trays, which hold all sorts of fun things in the school room:

It works better for us to have these things in stacking boxes than in all sorts of random shaped containers.

I offered Lukey the light blocks the other day, but he wasn't interested.  I thought he might try to see if they were food, but he wouldn't hold them at all.

Katie, on the other hand, loves the light blocks.  She likes to pick 2 large ones of the same color and hold them up to her eyes to look through them.  She built this and then told me, "Mommy take a picture my blocks house!"

I recently ran across some printable dot marker pages, so I put some of those and some dot markers in Katie's tray one day.

Next, I pulled out the buttons and lacing bag and added 2 laces and the very biggest buttons, to see how she would do with those.  I'm starting out simple, knowing I can add more, smaller buttons later, if she succeeds with the big ones.

We don't do a tray every single day.  I pull one out when Katie needs a change of pace.  If the girls are bickering, or she's getting hungry/tired a little before lunch, or after she's fallen and hurt herself.

Having a tray set up and ready to go means I don't have to spend a lot of time digging up something for her to do, I just open it.

It also eliminates the "Do you want to read a book?"  No!  "Do you want to do a puzzle?"  No!  "Do you want to play blocks?"  NO! phenomenon.  Sometimes toddlers, preschoolers, and even mommies, are cranky and contrary, and will say no to anything presented to them.  (Katie's not usually like this, but I've certainly had kids who were.)  Presenting the tray as a done deal instead of an option is working really well for us.

Tot Trays don't have to be expensive.  You can use things you already have around the house.  You can also re-purpose stuff that would ordinarily be thrown away.  I've been saving pouch lids from Luke's baby food to add to a tray, so watch for those in next month's Tot Trays post.

Linking up at Homeschool Creations Preschool Corner and Mama's Blog Central.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rush Hour Brain Fitness game

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

When we received the Rush Hour Brain Fitness game to review, I was surprised to discover that my kids already knew how to play it!  Turns out, they had played it in Nevada while Paul and I were in China last summer.

Rush Hour, from Think Fun, is a solo player game, for ages 8 and up.  The object of the game is to free the red car.  Each "challenge" shows you how to set the board up.  There are 4 progressive levels of play, and 80 challenges overall.  To play, you slide the vehicles that are in the way forward and back, in their lane only.

Eli likes the game, and he says, "It makes you think!"

Rush Hour has a retail price of $19.99, and is available on the Think Fun website or on Amazon.

Bri turned to the back of the book and did the hardest one.  She says, "It's fun, it's frustrating, it's calming... and strangely addicting!"

You can connect with Think Fun games on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  They have lots of other fun games available, too.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

While you're here, don't forget the $1.50 coupon from Cottonelle!

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