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.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Katie's August Tot Trays

August has been the Back To School month, and as such, we've been trying to figure out our routines.  There haven't been as many focused learning sessions with Katie as I would like, but I still have some pictures to share.

Brianna and Katie, performing their acrobatic balancing act.  It's so cute to see Katie's arms stretched out as she stands on Bri's legs.

You may have noticed Katie wearing pop beads in the Neighborhood Night Out pictures.  She loves pop beads.

They're also very good fine motor practice for her.

Sometimes she needs help with them.  We're working on saying, "Help, please," instead of whining.  Not just with pop beads, but with other areas, as well.

Katie has some of her colors down, but we're still working on them.

These pouch lids are great for matching, stacking, sorting, games, etc.  

Onward to September!  Time to print out coloring pages with apples and autumn leaves.  I enjoy the changing season.

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Squeasy Snacker GIVEAWAY

We recently got the opportunity to try out Squeasy Snacker, a reusable food pouch from Squeasy Gear that comes in 3 sizes:  3.5 ounce, 6 ounce, and 16 ounce.  We reviewed the 6 ounce pouch.

The Squeasy Snacker comes with a removable insert that can be used for thin liquids, to keep the pouch spill proof.  This is good when you use the pouch for juice or water.  I've mostly used the pouch for thicker things, without the inset.

I like that I can stick just about anything in the pouch.  Instead of just plain yogurt, I can add things to increase the nutritional value of the snack.  This is great for us, since we need to be proactive about getting healthy foods into Luke.  I've put peanut butter in with other things before, and the squeeziness of the silicone makes it super easy to squeeze it out.

A huge bonus for me is that instead of pricey and sugar filled single yogurt tubes or bottles, we can buy big tubs of regular yogurt or applesauce and still have the convenience of a single serving on the go.

Although I initially was thinking only of Luke when I signed up to review Squeasy Snacker, but once I started using it, I realized it would be a great way to send yogurt to school with Hannah.  Through trial and error, we learned that if I fill the pouch half way with yogurt and freeze it the night before, I can add refrigerated yogurt the next morning, and the whole pouch is just the right temp--not too warm, not too frozen--at lunch time.

Squeasy Snacker works great for applesauce, pudding, custard, tapioca, baby foods, congee, mashed potatoes, and anything of similar texture.

The Squeasy Snacker comes in 3 different colors; green, pink, or turquoise.  One blog reader will win  their own pouch in the color of their choice!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out this video telling more about Squeasy Snacker.  You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!  

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Our First Week of School

On Monday, school started for Samuel and Brianna, and we started homeschool with Jack and Eli, as well.

This is Brianna's first time in school since kindergarten, and freshman year is quite a bit different than learning to write your name and stand in line without touching anybody.  We seem to be through the locker troubles and changing of schedules, though.

A couple hours after the big kids went to school this showed up at our house.  Lukey has different drivers in the morning and the afternoon, but they both seem pleasant.

On Wednesday, after Katie popped out of the house to check out the bus (she loves buses!), the morning driver asked "how many kids?" with a vague wave at the house.  I said eight.  She said, "So this is a daycare?"  Um, no.

Eli was my photographer for Luke's first morning on the bus, and he hopped on to get a pic as she was strapping down his chair.

Bye bye, Lukey!  School seems to be going well for him.  He made some contented noises over the weekend.  The teacher and aids seem to like him, and there is another student (for a total of 2) in his class now.

As for homeschooling...  We're having a great time!  Still trying to get into the swing of things.  Math and writing are not "fun" for the boys, but we have plenty of things that are fun.  Like making this "library" of books of the Bible from matchboxes.  This helped the boys understand the types of books and the groupings within the 66 books.

Even the tiger found this concept fascinating, apparently.  

The boys got new t-shirts on the first day of school.

And Katie did a color matching activity with a bus printable and the bucket of pouch lids.

On Monday, we cut cardboard and glued it together for a frame.  On Thursday, the glue was nice & dry for us to make faux wax tablets like those used in Roman schools, by pressing non-hardening clay into the frame.

The teacher's manual calls for sharpening a chopstick in a pencil sharpener to use as a stylus, but we used bamboo skewers instead.  They worked great!

Eli's written the time period we're learning about in Roman numerals on his tablet.  He also brought a piece of PVC pipe inside to use as a rolling pin to smooth out his tablet between uses.

The boys messed with their tablets through most of the morning's readings and while we listened to our exciting new audio book (review coming soon!).

by Eli

We learned about Hannibal, leading Carthaginian troops over the Alps to attack Rome from the north, and that they brought elephants with them.  We also learned the origin of the word Europe.  I'm still dumbfounded that we have an entire continent named after the good rope made by people to the north of the Roman Empire.

I gave the boys each a blank Lego guy printable and told them to make any guy they wanted.  They could then cut him out and add him to a background, as Eli did above, with his race car driver, or...

...they could write a story about their guy, as Jack did with his Crook!  It was actually quite a story, too.  A bank robbery involving a mine.

We played a game one morning, more on that later.

And Eli came up with a tasty new snack:  Duck lip sandwich.  Made from Pringles and rolled salami.

One of our science books has gone missing.  Please pray that it turns up, as I don't want to buy it again, and I don't want to get horribly behind while we wait for it to reappear.

It's good to be getting our school routine going.  We have 2 weeks to go until Hannah goes off track (no school for 3 weeks).  Katie will be happy to have Hannah home to play with.  I'll be happy to not have Hannah's homework every night!

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Home To Chicory Lane B&B Getaway GIVEAWAY

Home to Chicory Lane, book one of the Chicory Inn Novels by Deborah Raney is an entertaining read.  Mom and Dad are empty nesters now, and they've converted their home to a bed & breakfast.  Their children, including spouses and grandchildren come for the opening weekend.  Only one of them is not eager to leave.  Daughter Landyn has left her husband after he makes a large decision without consulting her.  Landyn and Chase need to learn to communicate better if they're going to work things out.  And there's someone else to consider now--their coming baby.

One of the bits of wisdom I appreciated from the story was on page 62 when Landyn's sister, Corinne says, "Being married is the best thing that ever happened to me, Landyn.  But that doesn't mean it's easy.  You're going to make selfish choices and self-centered mistakes, and you're going to hurt each other sometimes."  True words, and a good reminder for us all.

Brianna also read this book, and even at 14, caught on that Landyn was pregnant before it was admitted in the book.  But there are some plot twists and surprises, which I appreciate.

The first book in Deborah Raney's new Chicory Inn series, Home to Chicory Lane, introduces us to Audrey Whitman, a mother who has launched all her children into life and now looks forward to fulfilling some of her own dreams during her empty-nest years. However, not all of her children are ready to stay out of the nest quite yet.

Deborah is celebrating the release of her new series with a $200 B&B Weekend Getaway and a Facebook author chat party.

  One winner will receive:
  • A B&B Weekend Getaway (via a $200 Visa cash card)
  • Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 9th. Winner will be announced at the Home to Chicory Lane Author Chat Party on 9/9. Deborah will be hosting a heartfelt book chat, giving away prizes, and answering questions from readers. She will also share an exclusive sneak peek at the next book in the Chicory Inn series!

So grab your copy of Home to Chicory Lane and join Deborah on the evening of September 9th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 9th!

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