Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oh Michael

You are stinking cute.

Another Homeschooled day

I didn't leave the house today. Not once. I stepped 3 feet out my front door to grab a package from the postman because it was raining, but other than that...I was home all day long. I don't mind. I like being home. We were busy, not bored in the least.
Dominic did go to wrestling today, just I myself....did not leave the house (or Penny or Michael).

Dominic has quite the weekly list of things he has to get done for the week for school. He chooses what he wants to do and when (though I usually dictate the breaks) and then marks them off on the checklist that I give him every monday. Its pretty extensive, I think, and every week I'm so proud of what he is able to finish. This week we had a breakthrough in his writing and reading comprehension skills thanks to a new text we started using. I was so proud of him as it was something that 4 weeks ago he didn't have the skills to do but he's been diligent, even though its his least favorite subject, and he's making great strides. He really is learning by leaps and bounds this year and I know he would be learning if I sent him to school too, but I feel this time with him is so rewarding and beneficial to our whole family that we wouldn't want to do it any other way at this point. He's already told me that next year he wants to home-school again. That makes me feel good. Not only is he learning in this environment, but that he's enjoying it also.
Not bad for a first time home-schooler. I am one proud parent/teacher right now.

So, while this assignment looks kidish and silly, its part of a life science skill about learning that all organisms are classified into different phylums.  He doesn't know that's where we're going with it yet, but this activity will help him understand that when we get there. It will give me a reference to teach him from. Then he proceeded to get out the stretchy cord we have and make me a button necklace. It was actually kind of cute and I'll probably wear it once or twice before we need the buttons back to play with.

He has taken up guitar lessons and I'm very proud at how well he is doing. His teacher wants him to learn using a guitar pick and this has been quite the adjustment for him....he prefers his fingernail....but he's getting it.

When he learned to type earlier this year, he quickly learned that if he could break his old habits of where he thought his fingers should go and where his fingers should actually go on the keyboard.....he could type quite fast. He's pretty quick now....not as fast a typer as I am, but not far behind. He already told me that he knew that it would get easier over time (just like typing) but that for right now, its really hard to use the pick and slows him down and is sometimes frustrated with it and has to play a few songs without the pick. I love that he's thinking that way.  We, of course, did a million other things for school too. I'll have to take pictures of a typical WHOLE day for him. He would probably enjoy seeing that someday.

Keep up the good work Dominic, I tell you all the time but its here in writing too for you to read several years from now too: You are going to do amazing things in this life, and its all happening and being built upon right in front of my eyes. I see it in you. Can you see it in yourself? You are amazing.

Penny has TAKEN OFF in her reading. She finished the hooked on phonics Kindergarten set about 3 weeks ago and I have not been able to keep enough books around from the library for her to read on her own. Its a hard level to get books for. She can read, but she can't read everything.....but once she learns a word, she rarely has to re-learn it. So, I found this awesome template online and immediately printed and laminated it last night knowing exactly how I was going to use it today. So, I took a library book that she hadn't read yet, that had tons of words that she knew, but quite a few that she didn't know also, and put all the unfamiliar words on that back in permanent marker (you can wipe it off later if you go over it with a dry erase marker or with rubbing alcohol). These words are from the book right next to it.

Next, we took each word, one at a time and read it, built it (with bananagram or scrabble tiles) and then had Penny write it with a dry erase marker. She loves this part! We then wipe the board and go to the next word.
Read, build, write.
Its so simple, really. Genious who thought of it! I can see how this will really help with spelling too. I wish I had done this with Dominic.

I thought we would get through like 3 or 4 words a day and then come back to it the next day......but she did not want to stop and did the first 5 words in one sitting and brought it back to me later in the afternoon and did another 7 words.

Each time that we did another word, we went over the "old" words we'd already done, reinforcing them in her mind again.

She even mastered how to write an S today.....something that has been hard for her for some reason. =)

After we did a bunch of the words, we read up to that point in the story. It was amazing. She knew all the words we went over without having to avoid them by being silly and distracted. This was her method of letting me know she doesn't know a word ......she stops reading and acts silly. Then we sound out the word and move on. Though sometimes I push her to read a book because she hasn't read one to me in a day....she is usually the one begging to not stop.
*update: She finished the word list in 3 days and then read the book all the way through. She still had to sound out a few words, but rarely was it one of the words we had worked with on the list. This gets an A++ in effectiveness and we'll definitely keep using it.

Michael played close by with his tea set. He loves to pretend to drink out of little cups. Sometimes, if he insists, we actually put real water in them and sit him on a towel. Oh the fun he has!

He then thought he was pretty clever to dump out the Mr. Potato Head's and put his whales and mickey mouse (did I mention he added another stuffed animal to his collection? Yes, its now 2 whales, 2 angry birds AND Mickey Mouse.....and actually at bedtime this evening he begged to have Penny and Dominic's angry birds also so he's in his crib with 2 whales, 4 angry birds and Mickey Mouse. Silly boy.)

He found it funny that he put the lid on them.

He LOVES to get inside of containers. Doesn't matter how small. He has stuffed himself into some pretty small ones though.....the funny part is that he usually asks Daddy to get in with him.

While I started dinner, Penny and Michael colored together. She was cute in that she said, "I'll just share Thomas with him because if I get my color-by-number out he'll just try to color in mine and that will make me sad. He doesn't mind if I color in his with him though."And they colored like this for a good 20 minutes or so. Amazing.

Another thing Penny learned how to do today was blow up a balloon! I wish I could have gotten the reaction on her face with the balloon in her mouth when she finally was able to push air into it. Her eyes were huge with delight!
She then blew it up over and over and over and over and over till finally the last time she blew it up, she asked, "why does it look like its all wet inside?" 
"Hahahahaha.....uh, well, because it is Penny, thats your spit."
"Ewww, gross. I think I'm ready to tie it now."

Eva, seriously, how did I get your child?

One of the many times she let the air out. I love this picture.

The she drew me on the balloon. hahaha....does my nose really look that big?

Then she drew Daddy on another one.

And she wrote a note to him. She asked me how to spell Dear......I love her handwriting.

And of course, with the curls.....she drew herself. I love that she draws eyelashes on herself....she definitely has them.

and a message to herself. So cute.
So we had a busy day at homeschool today. Just the way I like them.

Here's a funny video of Penny at dinner. I showed her this trick and she immediately had to try it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend at our house...

Saturday was a very busy day. It wasn't especially nice out or anything, just busy. We had had a busy evening the night before visiting the Sportsmans Expo at the Cal Expo Center with all the kids (plus Stella and a friend for Dominic) for a few hours on Friday night in the pouring rain. The show was indoors, but it was a good quarter mile walk to get there (thank you to the 6 umbrella's that I had in the car!) I reminded Sean of the fun adventure it would be to run to the show in the rain with 5 kids in tow. Adventure was a good word for it. We also got asked a jillion times if all the kids were ours. Hee hee. That was kinda fun actually, They are all about 1.5-2.5 years apart so it was possible that they could have been. We didn't take a single picture while we were there......but I wished we could have gotten one of us all running in the wind and rain to get to the car after we were done. It would have been a site to see. Thank you double stroller for keeping the youngest two dry!

So anyways, Stella stayed for the weekend and our Saturday started with a 9am basketball game followed by the girls going to G-Grandma's to play. Michael and I came home for a nap and Dominic and a friend played while and Sean worked (love you sweety) in the garage on the business. That was dreamy. I don't always get a nap, in fact I rarely get a NAP. Sometimes I get a rest on the couch, but rarely a nap. I needed it.

I then made whole wheat (white wheat, have you ever used it? Just as nutritious as red wheat but without the strong flavor. More like using white flour....but its not, its whole wheat) rolls to go with our home made tomato basil soup that I was brewing in the crock pot all day. Dominic ended up being sent to his room before dinner even started. He's never been good at keeping his mouth shut about dinners he doesn't like and I've only as of late realized that he just doesn't have to join us at the table when he decides to be like that. It always ends in him ruining the dinner atmosphere because of his constant complaining about what we're eating and how much he has to eat and how he.....blah blah blah. It effects how Penny and Michael eat and I've had it. So he was sent to his room while we ate and then re-invited to the dinner table to eat by himself after we were all done. He didn't like that.....and it happened again tonight (with one of his favorite dinners) only two nights later. I excused him from the table and sent him upstairs (not in trouble, just away from the rest of us so we could eat in peace without the constant complaints about something in his dinner). I hope he's getting the picture and I don't feel bad because I'm not starving him and telling him he can't eat......he just can't eat with us when he acts like that.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyways. There were some pictures in this post. When I make bread rolls, there is usually a little bit leftover from this recipe (see link for yummy recipe) and Michael and Penny LOVE to play with it. Since Penny wasn't back from Gma's yet, Michael got to play with it all by himself (she got her turn when she got home and he was all done with it). This dough got a good 3 hours of playtime before it went in the garbage. Well worth not making it into rolls.

And yes, thats baby #4 inching his/her way into the picture. 

I love his busy face and that he knows what to do with kitchen utensils. He helped me make the dough, pouring cups of this and that into the bowl. Playing with rice and beans has made him quite the expert pourer.
Lately, this is the face you get if he notices that you have the camera. This is his "cheese" face. I. Love. It. Is it the flash that makes him think he needs to squint his eyes? Hee hee

I could seriously eat his cheeks. He liked it when I rolled it out nice and flat for him, but I had to use the big roller.....the little roller was his. I tried to use his and he took it away and said, "No, dat My pin. Dat yours one. Dat one mommy's."
Yes sir.

I remember loving the taste of raw bread dough as a child and taking snitches. He takes whole bites.

Then he found the faces and decided to color a little. He likes to use the green and draw boogers on everyone. He thinks its quite funny and....well, it is.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand then after dinner, I got out the sugar cookie dough I had made earlier and had chilling in the fridge (see why I needed a nap?) to make some cookies for the YW at church the next day. They are much easier to transport when they have sat undercover overnight and the frosting doesn't stick to the touch. These are the most delicious sugar cookies I have ever had. I got the recipe from my sister and they are to die for! They almost taste healthy as they aren't super sweet because they have sour cream in the batter. My kids love it when we make these (and so do the YW).

Michael got out the rollers again and went to town, though I'm not sure what happened to "his" roller.

Stella and Penny were cutting out shapes like mad-women. There wasn't quite enough room for Dominic to be at the table yet so he was playing x-box and came in and cut his out when the girls were all done. Penny had a lesson in starting at the edge of the dough instead of cutting them out right from the middle. Great Grandma was over for dinner and the cookie making.

Still busy. We had just about every holiday covered with our cookie cutters.

And then Michael tasted this dough and all the "mmmmmmmmm, so good." comments commenced. When he says this, he requires a response so if you don't say something back, he keeps saying it until you do. He was so vocal. It was pretty yummy.

Another cheese face.

These two girls were so goofy with each other and excellent sharers. I loved hearing them ask each other to, "please pass the star cutter," or whatever it was that they wanted. It was music to my ears.

Mouth full cheesy grin.

Penny is ALWAYS crossing her eyes and making silly faces. She's the comedian around here lately.

Stella loves to pose for the camera. Such a pretty girl.

Hahahah.....don't you want to eat the cookies they are making?
Frosted and ready to go for the next morning. Sean ate one the next day and then realized that I probably made them and covered them for a reason (like, so that nobody would eat them). He could not stop laughing as he told me he ate one....only because he knew how ridiculous it was that he didn't think of it BEFORE he took the first bite. Its a good thing I stinking love him. It was pretty funny....but perhaps you kinda had to be there.

So, by Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in the evenings, I was experiencing sciatic nerve pain. I look back on my weekend and think.....uh, no wonder. We did a lot. Today (Monday) I had none. Guess this mama is just gonna have to slow it down a little and do more from the chair instead of on my feet. Like, maybe I could have asked Sean to come grate the soap for our laundry detergent since my grater wasn't wanting to stick to the counter. You know, the little things. Thanks for taking a picture babe. You're always there for me.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

More Randoms!

Again, two ones of anything are a hit for Michael. He also cannot eat without a fork...no matter what he is eating. I love his "just woke up" face and hair. This is by far, one of my favorite ages.

We had a friend in town for the week and he come over after business every day, late at night, and slept in our livingroom. The kids LOVE this blow up mattress. I can pretty much bribe them to do anything if I tell them they can blow up the bed. Afterall, its so fun laying there while it smooshes you just before it picks you up off the floor.

I don't know what I did with the buckles for the high chair, but they are missing. Michael takes full advantage of that fact. He's never fallen out.......but he sure does crazy things.
I love this dress. I found this dress probably 3 years ago at a thrift store with tags still on it. She's been wearing it for the last 2 years and its one that I seriously LOVE. She looks so pretty in pink...and its a good thing too, cuz more than half of her wardrobe is PINK.

Silly girl.

Making cookies has definitely become a WHOLE FAMILY affair. We need a bigger kitchen.

These robot blocks are so fun. I'm glad I bought a few packs of them. The kids can really build quite high with them. We have 3 sets and have found that any more than that many packs would be higher than you could build......and anything less and you don't have enough to share. Penny always insists that I take a picture of each of her creations.

Dominic wanted to do a soap carving. What cracked me up was his preparation.  He prepped his area, got out his knife and then proceeded to stick out his arm and slowly trace a circle in the air with the back of his knife (covering the blade with his hand). I asked him what he was doing and busted up laughing at his very frank, "duh" like response.......wanna know what it was? hahahhahah "Blood zone mom, I'm clear to start carving." Dominic, please don't stop being you, I just love you.

He's also started liking to do his hair in a faux-hawk. Not sure where it came from really, just out of nowhere he started coming downstairs with his hair done. So cute.

This kid loves his 49ers helmet. I love the chin strap that comes with it. Too much.....seriously too much cuteness inside that helmet. Also take notice that he's wearing his sister's Sunday Dress shoes. Nice tough there bub.

Penny decided to make a cheese and graham cracker sandwich. She at the whole thing but then said, "I think I'm just going to have a normal graham cracker now." Silly girl.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Face Templates

Yet another great idea I found on Pinterest. Okay, I know I resisted the site for quite a while, but have actually found that I don't spend any more time on the internet than I did before because when I find something cool like this...I immediately jump off the computer and do it! If anything, it has given me so many great ideas on how to create wonderful things to help my kids create a learn......and I used to scour the internet for all these ideas and then save them in an e-mail and it was so hard to find them again later. Now I have a place to PIN them. Once I caught that vision...it all made sense.

So, I found this idea on pinterest and immediately searched through Picasa to find the perfect pictures, cropped them to 8 1/2 X 11 size, printed them out on cardstock, laminated them and set them on the table with dry erase markers and gathered Penny and Michael for the invitation do do whatever they wanted with them.

Penny was busy and wasn't really interested right away, but Michael loves markers and couldn't believe that I was giving him one to play with outside his high chair. He immediately started to scribble on the faces and name parts of the face; ears, eyes, nose, hair, chin, cheeks, etc.

He giggled  after the got them all done and then ran across the living room to the easel, grabbed the eraser and then holding it over his head like an orangutan, ran back to the table. So hilarious.

Penny finally joined in once she saw how much fun Michael was having (Dominic was still upstairs playing with legos). She liked to outline the shapes of the parts of the face. It was fun to see their different developmental stages. They kinda did the same thing, explored each part of the face, but there were differences in how they did it because of their age.

I did some silly ones on Michael and Penny which gave her some more ideas.

She put a flower on Daddy's head and are those braces? Not sure. =)

Dominic even came down after we all went upstairs and left a gem. He gave Daddy hair coming out of his nose and wrote the words "loaded diaper" on Dad's forehead. Such a boy.

I love this one that Penny did of herself.....just lots and lots of bows in the hair.

I can see that these are going to be loads of fun over and over again.
Thank you Pinterest, I love you!