Friday, September 28, 2012

This blog has MOVED!!!!!!!

Okay, guys...I suppose this will be my very last post here.
We have officially MOVED!!

Please redirect your subscription to my newest blog:

This is where I will be posting from now to stay updated on my family life, plus info and news on homeschooling, homeschool videos, book and curriculum reviews, and a podcast just for Christian homeschool moms, you'll want to go there...


Hope to see you over there!

God bless.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Christian Homeschool Moms

When I looked back on the last date I've posted to this blog I could hardly believe I've let that much time lapse, and yet I don't feel that I have really.  Mainly, I've been busy uploading loads of videos on YouTube which has kept me pretty busy...and I started a new website for Christian Homeschool Moms- an info and encouragement website for homeschoolers.
I'll most likely be posting there more often, so come check it out when you can.
I haven't decided if I'll keep posting here from time to time or not...but I do know for sure that most of my energy will go toward the new web project.
There, I plan to host a podcast (let me know if you'd like to be interviewed), send out encouragement newsletters, and just pretty much be as much of a positive resource as a I can to the homeschooling community.
So I hope to see you over there?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Absence Explained...and A New Project!

Oh my word!!!  Has it really been since JANUARY since I last posted????

Okay, I have an excuse.  Actually, many excuses.  :-)

First of all, I FINALLY got to go back to Alabama and visit my family for a few days.  I'm so glad we went.  It's definitely helped with the homesickness and now I'm definitely glad to be back in California and moving forward with the new life God has for us here.  I still miss my friends and fam back home but I feel so much better having gotten to see them again, even if just for a few days.  That first year was just especially tough because it was my first time away from them with thousands of miles in between.  My parents and I were very close.  We were not only great friends, but we were neighbors.  That said, I am finally at this new place in my life here where it feels okay to be here.  West coast life is beginning to feel very much so like home, but a "new" kind of home, and it feels right.

After our trip down South, we had Easter/Resurrection Day.  And boy do I have loads of pics but just haven't gotten around to it.  Sorry!!!!!

Here's my other excuse for not being around lately:  I've been YouTubing a good bit about our homeschool.

And while busy with that I'd been praying about an outlet besides blogging (and as if YouTubing wasn't enough) to keep me happily busy helping others with home education.  So, the Lord gave me an idea about starting a community-based website for christian homeschooling moms.
Still working on the site, but I hope to have it up by mid-summer.

And I am SOOO excited about this project!  I loved podcasting back in '05-'09 and I miss it.  I enjoy people- talking to other women, encouraging women to keep on going through life...that sort of thing.  I also love learning about other cultures or even just other lifestyle within a similar culture.  My quest for learning about people really helps when it comes to podcasting because I LOVE asking questions!!!
On the new homeschooling website I plan to create a  podcast, and I'm hoping to find some candidates to interview.  If you're a homeschooling mama and love to talk (or answer questions about your lifestyle with homeschooling), I'd absolutely love to have you be my guest on the show.

More about that on this vid...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Letter C and muffin tins

This week in our preschool we are learning about the letter "C".

We read the book "Caillou Tidies His Toys"

It's a fun little, cute book and encourages my preschooler to clean up.  OH yeah...clean (starts with a little C).

As you see, we're getting some good use out of our cookie sheet for our projects. 
All I did was draw the letters on construction paper.  Then my daughter is using cotton balls to glue along the outline of the letters.

We could have used beans or glitter or any number of items to glue on it, but when I realized "cotton" started with "C"!

Also, I  got the idea of using  muffin trays for my kids' lunch from two of my favorite bloggers, Muffin Tin Mom and A  Mommy's Adventures.  Muffin Tin Mom has tons of different meals and tutorials.

This particular meal idea is purely- whatever was in our fridge at the moment.  So, we have ramen noodles, carrots and dip, and grapes.

I'm also working on a student binder for my preschooler so she can proud of all her work this year.  I'll share that with you once I've got it together.

That's it for now!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Creative storage bin and preschool flannel board ideas

This week has been full of changes in our home school.  I feel that I am finally (after months of throwing my hands up in the air) beginning to make sense of our home life and start to rebuild (after the moving).  Settling in has taken time and I am so glad that I didn't put the kids in school like I was tempted to a few months back.

Now I am really starting to catch the zeal for teaching my kids, investing in my family, and raising up Princesses for God.  It is actually an exciting journey (this homeschooling one), though it is a LOT of work to plan and prepare.  But the work I have put into preparation is worth every minute of the fruit I am beginning to see in my kids.  SO I love my job as a homeschool teacher.
Cubbies I made out of 6 storage crates I got from Walmart

Those crates above were purchased at about $4/crate.  I tied them together with yarn and stacked them on their sides to create a locker/cubby storage area for the girls' school work.  Here's  a YouTube video I filmed to show exactly how I did it.

I've also been busy creating a flannel board for what I hope will be the beginning of a new experience for my preschooler in our home - complete with "centers" and a "flannel board".  I have that all in quotes just so you know that this is not something that came natural for me in the beginning.  Over the past few weeks, though, I have really been turning it up on making our school at home something my kids can be proud of.  I think the flannel board will be loads of fun for my little Z.  Just so you know, I am planning to print out the pieces on card stock, laminate them, and put velcro on the back for pieces.  I am definitely not cutting out and creating individual pieces out of felt.

So here's a brief look at what I did.

All I needed to create my flannel board is:
  1. a poster board (from the Dollar Store)
  2. felt material (from WalMart)
  3. a hot glue gun
  4. scissors
Basically, all I did was:
Cut out the flannel to fit around the poster board
    Hot glue the flannel onto the board's corners

    Secure and dry

    You can also watch my video tutorial on how to create a preschool flannel board on YouTube.

    Lastly, this week has been a growing experience for me as I am tapping into my past work with preschoolers and learning to apply it to my own kiddo!  Here we are doing magnet letters on a cookie sheet, learning to piece letters together to make words.

    She loves her Curious George puzzle

    Bible Memory was loads of fun, and we got this for $1 at the Dollar Store too!

    An Evan Moor consonant sounds folder game

    CandyLand- more fun!  Colors and counting.

    We've also been doing more music together.  Ny loves to practice piano and wants to get better at playing.  I'm doing my best to help her until she passes Level 3 or so in the John Thompson's.  In my next post, I'll show you a clip of Ny and I singing a song together...

    Until then...

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Preschool Story Starter Cards and Spinner Wheel- Free download

    I just created some story starter cards and a spinner wheel for preschoolers.  Feel free to download and use for your own students!  Enjoy :-)

    Story Wheel

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    A is for "Apple"

    Today's preschool unit is the letter "A".

    Book we used:  "Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie"

    I let my daughter point out the letter A's in the book and we talked about how apple has the short A sound.  We also talked about other A words, like Alligator, Adam (as in Adam and Eve), and Ant.  But today's focus was the apple.

    Our craft project was really simple. 
    Here's what we used:
    1. 3 popsickle sticks
    2. construction paper - red, green, and one other color of choice
    3. glue
    4. Dot A Dot Art Makers
     What we did:
    Just  take one of the popsicle sticks and cut in half.  Have child form the letter A on the construction paper using all 3 popsicle sticks.
    Then glue onto paper.
    Using the Dot A Dot Art maker, have child dot-paint the letter A. Then using the red and green construction paper, cut out an apple and stem.  Have child glue it onto the paper beside the letter A.
    That's it!

    gluing the popsicle sticks

    "Z" forms her letter A.  She is very pleased with her creation!

    Dot-painting her letter A

    Apple and stem already glued and more dot-painting.

    Our A was a little sidways but we thought it just had character! "Z" proudly displays her work of art.
    We continued with the theme of "A" by attempting to bake an apple pie.
    We got this far:

    Ok, so we did bake a pie--- BUT let's just say it wasn't perfect.  But oh, was it fun! :-)


    Yesterday was a day of wonders in our home.  Why?  Because my kids are finally learning to help me around the house!  Yay.

    Right before breakfast, my 9 year old decided she wanted an egg omelette and that she could very well cook it herself.  And I agreed.

    So she did.

    And here it is:

    My 9 year old's first omelette (made by her!)
     Need I say how DELICIOUS it was???? Good stuff.

    Then she just kept right on helping me around the house.  I told her she was my assitant trainee and that she would learn how to run the entire home on her own one of these days.
    loading the dishwasher

    wiping down counters

    cleaning the garbage can
    I think we might be moving towards an increase in allowance.  She never asked for one, which makes it all the nicer.
    I am working on creating systems within my home so that everyone knows what is where and how to pitch in.  It's something that I have been working on all my married life but has just now become a necessity and the sooner I can pull this together the better.  I have willing and helpful family (as you can see) but I am working on getting organized so that it's easier for them to help me.

    I accrued a pretty large library fine a few days ago *gasp* and I vowed to never let it happen again.  The thing is, I know that it's simply the result of my not staying on top of things- system wise.  I am thinking of a few different ways to keep organized with our libary books.  My hubby gave me some good advice (using my cell phone calendar alerts).  I also like to see something visual on my wall, too, but not take up too much space.  And I most definitely cannot fit the titles of 15+ books (yes, we do need that many) into the small calendar spaces alotted.

    So...any ideas?

    For now, I'm going to use the cell phone idea from my husband, and keep on coming up with systems that help us run our home better.

    A free color gradient printable

    I just created a color gradient preschool printable.

    1. Simply print it out on cardstock and cut the "color chips". (You can also laminate them if you prefer).
    2. Then have your child arrange each gradient row from dark to light or from light to dark.
    It's free to print out and use.
    Thanks for stopping by!

    Shape Gradient 1

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Our first day of school, 2012

    Yesterday was our first "official" day back in school for 2012.  It was a FULL day, to say the least...but felt really productive.  Maybe because I'm getting out of bed a little earlier?  Or actually have a plan this week?  Maybe that's it.
    So we start our morning with Ny helping with breakfast.  Here she is scrambling eggs.

    Right after breakfast we had "chapel".  We are learning one old hymnal per week, plus doing a bit of worship with "Shout Praises Kids".  Our hymnal for the week is "Just As I Am".  We do this right after breakfast- me on piano, the girls singing with me.  Ny likes to harmonize, which makes it all the better.
    And for our modern worship session, here is the DVD we use:

    Next we head upstairs for our remaining school time.  We start with reviewing our Classical Conversations work from our Monday meeting days.

    I've learned that putting everything on the board for the entire week helps her memorize the material better.
    Next: card memory... 
    Z learns her numbers using Dollar Store cards.  Ny learns her CC material.

    Geography is next.  We are working on states and capitals.

    I do a bit of Abeka Health with Ny, and then send her off to do her Saxon math lesson.  Meanwhile, I work with Z.
    Z is officially a "Preschooler", and now at 4 years old I am reminded of how much more she could do if I will just work with her on certain skills a bit.   So I decided this year to set up a preschool type area in our office/classroom with centers and lots of manipulatives, story nook, things of that nature.  We just needed the change and I felt she would embrace the hour(s) of learning with a more organized and attractive room, geared just for her interests.
    Our block center

    During centers (free) time, she chooses a rhyming game.

    I made these little sorting cubes.  It teaches arrangement in color gradient order - high to low/low to high.

    One to one number correspondence.  She finds the number  "2" card and adds two paperclips.

    Labeling her "Centers" bins helps her with word recognition.  I just made these in MS Word and cut them out with cute scissors.

    More labels.

    I made this pattern game in Word.  Z enjoyed this one a lot so I'll probably be making more.

    Z loves to cut.  We like to use Kumon workbooks for this.  Here is a cheeseburger.

    Ny concentrates on math.

    Then we got a surprise visit from a neighborhood friend- an awesome homeschooling family whom we've spending a lot of time with over the holidays.  They were heading over to a ranch and invited us to come with them.  
    So we spent the afternoon on a farm!  
    That was our surprise science and some P.E too...

    Overall, I'd say we had a pretty good first day of school!  
    I look forward to 2012...

    Happy homeschooling!

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Hair days- play days

    I spent the morning doing my youngest daughter's hair so we could go out and have fun at our local homeschool playgroup.

    Here's what I used:

     After washing, I made big parts. Total time so far: about 30 minutes.

    I applied a thick, white cream moisturizer and combed it through before parting.

    Clipped into three sections

    I parted small sections in the back to make cornrows
    Lastly, I bead each braid.
    Total time: about 1 hour.  Whew!

    Now, she is free to play!

    Our Homeschool Play Group:
    Meet and make new friends- and learn Spanish too!

    Climb, climb, climb.

    Toss a ball.
    Even the big kids have fun
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