Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hope you all are celebrating with the one’s that you love! I love that in Mexico they call this day, The day of Love and Friendship. It really helps me expand my mind to be sure I make a special effort to send hugs and good wishes to all those that I love and are important in my life.

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To celebrate we started our day with some raspberry filled muffins (Vegan! Guys, cook some brown rice with a bit too much water and substitute it for the eggs…great texture!) and almond and pear smoothies (yes, we dyed everything pink!).

Then the kids searched for all the paper hearts hidden in our living room. Coordinated by favorite color, Engineer had orange hearts, Fiesta had pink and Elf had purple. On each of the hearts Marvel and I wrote reasons we loved them. Then they matched up their hearts to the ones in the puzzle (aka: the same paper we cut them out of…J) and above each piece was a letter. Engineers letters were scrambled but the girls just had to write the letters down in order and read it to find their Valentine’s gift. We try to give them a book or game with a small treat for each holiday.

We had another crazy day but found time to make some Valentine’s and Jam-Print cookies for friends and Valentine’s videos for Grandparents. Probably would have been even more crazy if the kids hadn’t been happy to do Valentine’s worksheets, I LOVE the internet. We are not big worksheet advocates, but they are a great way to do school on holidays and then the kids think it’s a treat!

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Almost forgot…..5 Top-rated Activities of 2012-2013!

ImageWe’ve been so focused on getting ready for this school year that I almost forgot to give reviews on how last year went! When I was going back over my kids portfolios and writing up their “Letter from the Teacher” (an overview of their progress for the year) I began to reflect on our favorite activities of the 2012-2013 Homeschool Year. It’s hard to narrow it down but I think these were our Top 5 Picks:

1. Reading Camp-outs: This was sucha a hit that I wrote a whole separate post on it. You can read all about it here: https://2livelovelearn.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/reading-campout/

2. Author Your Own Book: This project was so fun- we want to do it again this year! First we talked about story basics. Then over the course of about a week the kids made up their story, illustrated it, and we glued and stapled and Voila! A book was born!  More to come on an upcoming post!

3. My Favorite Book Week: Each of the kids picked a favorite book and we based many of the school activities off of that book……more to come in an upcoming post!

4. Monarch Field Trip: This was probably MY favorite of the year. To finish a unit in science on butterflies we went to see the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries in Morelia, Mexico. FANTASTIC! You can read and see more about our trip here: https://2livelovelearn.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/monarch-magic/    AND HERE: https://2livelovelearn.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/fear-team-spirit-and-mountains/

5. Service Projects: Although not as many as we would like, we did some service projects that I think really stuck with us. I think our two favorites were building toys and puppets for an orphanage and making goodies for some families we knew were having a hard time. We did the second one several times but here is a post on one: https://2livelovelearn.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/serve-up-some-sweetness/             We are really hoping to find creative ways to do more of these, it’s a bit more complicated with small children…..So any input and ideas would be very welcome!

Laws of Parenthood

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Don’t get me wrong. I love being a mom. It has always been my career of choice since childhood. Every once in a while though I think, “Can I really handle this?” It was just such a day that I started laughing at myself, reminded myself that I’m not in charge, and wrote this post.

The Laws of Parenthood

Children will only try your patience when you have none left.

Friends and associates won’t stop by the day AFTER cleaning day. No, they stop by the day BEFORE.

Your “quiet” child will only yell in the middle of church.

If you have more than one child you will have a least two that have opposite personalities.

Children have a certain quota of “why” questions they must ask each day, with most kids it comes to about 15,435,986 questions per day.

Your child will not do it; if they think they can get YOU to do it for them.

Children will always try their new tricks out when you have company or are trying to leave the house.

Your child will not sit down or take a nap when they become overly tired, they will become running, yelling, disobedient little trolls.

When your baby starts to sleep better your toddler will start waking up more.

Your children will decide to only make a fuss about food when you’ve spent at least an hour preparing it.

Your children will remind you of things you’ve forgotten when it’s too late to do anything about it.

If you have children you will always have a built in honest appraisal system, they’ll usually try to be tactful, “Mom, your butt is kind of big!”

If you have more than one child it is an irrevocable law of the universe that you cannot have ALL of them OR ALL of your home clean simultaneously.

If you have at least three children and a spouse, odds are that EVERY meal, SOMEONE will not like it.

Children will push all of your buttons only when you’re tired, hungry, and have to go to the bathroom.

You will have uninvited dinner guests on the day you decide to make bread and the kids decide to make mud-pies…..yes, in the house.

Though you may have times when you cannot get your child’s attention, DON’T WORRY! Your children will ALWAYS find a way to get YOUR attention.

And last but certainly not least:

When you first hold your own little baby in your arms you begin to understand the love that God must have for you.

Nailpolish, Puddles, and Sprinkle Tea

ImageDo you know how hard it was to take this? Haha, three little wiggley girls and newly painted toes!

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I was so busy having fun playing in the rain that I forgot to take pictures! But you can see that there was enough rain to have some good wet, muddy fun!

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Rose hip tea with star sprinkles! Warm and ready for bed after puddle-jumping!

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I always drink my tea and play in the dirty laundry, don’t you?

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My daugher is a better photographer than me!

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Even the baby loves this book!

Today was a good day as long as I think of it in terms of priorities. If I think of my long list of “to-dos” then I start to feel discouraged. This summer break I was determined to be more involved in my children’s adventures rather than just organizing and monitoring them. It doesn’t come easy for me. I’m a list-maker, task-oriented, work-aholic type. So I started by making a list of fun things I knew we could all do together, trying to focus on easy, economical activities. Then I started a mantra to myself, “What am I missing out on?” The truth is my kids will not be little forever. There are even fewer years that they will find such joy in little things and WANT to be hangout with me! So today I once again started on my list of to-dos but I kept my mantra in my head. Maybe I didn’t get the floor mopped and the rest of that shelf organized but I did some “to-dos” that were much more important and much more fun.

Instead of insisting that my 3 yr. old go back to bed when she woke me up this morning (before 4am) I went to her bed and let her fall asleep on my chest like she used too when she was a baby

We went to the park and everyone took turns getting dizzy on the merry-go-round

We had a pedicure party and painted all the girls toenails (mine too)!

I stopped what I was doing so I could read to my oldest daughter from the Wizard of Oz for the 40th time(O.K, O.K….so maybe only the 10th)

We went swimming in the freezing (well, cold to me anyway) pool and my daughter and I sang the Wiggles World theme song while she showed me her dance moves

We played in the rain, complete with puddle jumping and floating boats

I stopped what I was doing to let me son tell me his latest jokes (which I think are funny just because of the way he laughs at them)!

We all jumped on Daddy when he got home and gave him a proper welcome

We stayed up a bit later to read the next chapter in our read-aloud book just cause we love it so much

So, when I think of it that way…memories were made and bonds were strengthened…maybe we did get a lot done today.

 

 

Multi-purpose

DSCN6954DSCN6943DSCN6946DSCN6930DSCN6960                                                                  So what is it? A tulip? An airplane? Mathmatic or color practice? A rainbow? A caterpillar? Well, they started out at plastic colored clothes-pins but became all of those things and more (I wish I had pictures of the “hair-clips” and “fingernails”!) Love the imagination of kids!

Reading Campout

ImageSo I read about this idea somewhere ( I wish I could remember where!) about having a “Reading Campout”. The family I read about used their actual tents and set them up in the living room and read all day.

Since I’m always on the lookout for ways to encourage reading I thought we would try it out. We don’t own a tent at the moment so our first attempt was with a blanket tied to our dining room chairs. Now we’ve “graduated(?)” to taping a sheet to the wall, lean-to style. Our little inventors I’m sure will keep coming up with new ideas for our tent!

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We do our “campout” on the last Friday of each month. Since Friday’s are also our “cleaning day” the campout is a great incentive as well! We spend an hour or so with our opening exercises, devotional, a bit of review for my daughters, and a math lesson for my son. Then we spend another hour or so with our cleaning projects, and then set up our tent!

ImageThe kids pick out all of their favorites from our “library” and we try to have one or two new books ( usually thanks to Grandma!) to make it even more fun. They spend an hour or so reading to themselves and each other while I finish up a few of my domestic duties. Then we have lunch (something “camp-ish” of course!) and then I spend an hour or so reading to them from their favorites. Sometimes it lasts nearly all day, sometimes a couple hours is all they’re up for, but they love it every time!

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Lately we’ve also started taking advantage of the setting to teach some outdoor survival skills, such as shelter building, fire-building, outdoor cooking, etc. We try to end the day with a family BBQ outside and then the kids always use their tent that night to have a sibling sleepover. Maybe not a lot of sleeping, but certainly a lot of fun!

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