Tuesday, January 31, 2012

No Camera = No Posts!

We finished up letter O and are working on P in school at the moment, BUT... I left the camera card at Grandma's house in the midst of the snow/no power for 6 days craziness =( 

Once I get it back (this weekend) I'll have posts galore on all of our learning fun!  Stay tuned!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fun while stranded at Grandma's house

We are on day number 5 of no power at our house and being stuck at my parents house.  So to break it up a bit, today I printed out some activities for the bigger kids (Lucy and Keanan to do) and some other crafty type things for the little kids.  We stuck with a snow / ice theme and I used a bunch of printables from here:

Here's our fun:

ABC Matching Game

Colored Ice Cube Painting

Princess Kyla's Castle

Marshmallow Snowman

Snow Melting Experiment

Roll a Snowman Game

Hoping we can get back to our house soon!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snow (and no power) days

A major snow storm dumped 12 inches of snow at our house on Tuesday night, followed by freezing rain on Wednesday.  With the weight of the snow and ice we had branches and trees falling all over Western Washington resulting in thousands without power.  Including us!

Zac's work was canceled on Wednesday due to the snow so he was able to stay home and play with the kids.  This was a double blessing since I had been up the night before puking and it took me all day to recover.  We lost power at 7pm on Wednesday night - and it's still out (as of 4pm Saturday) with no clear time of return.  After we got the kids into bed on Wednesday Zac and I covered all the windows with blankets and sealed up the living room and upstairs from the rest of the house (where the gas fireplace is), knowing we would be without power for a while.  We slept in the living room that night and spent most of Thursday there.  Unfortunatley, our propane was running low so Zac ventured out in the truck to get more.  This took a while since he had to use the chainsaw to move downed trees to even get out of our road and driveway!  There was no propane to be had until Tacoma, so he came back home, we packed up, and made the trek to my parents house in Graham.  There power had been out for a short time, but was on again, and they have a wood stove.

And here we are, still in Graham, with no idea when we will be able to get back home.  I'll catch up on my normal posts when things return to normal.  Praying that all are staying safe and warm! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our Trip Around the State!

For Christmas Keanan got a wonderful book from Uncle Casey and Auntie Jess, "E is for Evergreen, A Washington Alphabet".

Zac was reading to them from this book today, full of fun facts, when he came up with a BRILLANT idea!  As a family we will go to or do each thing in the book for each letter of the alphabet!  This will end up being a year long study of Washington State - with our last trip being the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma =)

Since I know you are so intrigued, here are the letter assignments and the activities we will be doing!  Some of them we will combine (for example, going to the ocean and flying a kite) so it has worked out to about 17 trips or activities.

LetterObject / DestinationActivity
Aappleeat one in eastern WA
BBoeingMuseum of Flight
CColumbia Riverview when in Goldendale
Ddragonflycatch one
EevergreenHoh rainforest
FFishFishing with Grandpa
GGoldendale observatorygo to Goldendale
HHorsesRide with Jess
IIslandsride ferry to an island
JJusticesvisit supreme court building
Kkitefly at the ocean
LLadieswomens history museum?
MMother Josephgo to nunnery service
Nnuggetspanning at the river
OOlympiavisit the capital
PPacific Oceango to the ocean
QQuinaultvisit tribal headquarters
RRainiergo to the mountain
SSpace Needlego up in it
TTri-citiesgo to Tri-cities
UUS Navyvisit shipyard in Bremerton
VVolcanoesvisit St. Helens
WWestern HemlockHoh rainforest
XJimi Hendrixgo to EMP
YYakima Vallygo Yakima
ZZoogo to Woodland Park or Point Definance

We will be completing these in no particular order over the next year.  Before we go, the kids and I will learn about the activity in school.  While we are there we will take pictures to create our own Washington State ABC book!  So excited!

First stop: Boeing Museum of Flight!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Letter N and Our Shelves This Week

N is for nest and net this week!  We were stuck at home ALL week since the kids have been randomly puking (fun times).  I think the three of us have cabin fever, but we did a lot of school!
On this shelf: number puzzle, BOB books and God's Big World magazine (we are loving this!), pom pom transfer with tongs (Kyla was really good at this!), sandpaper letters, fake money jar, stickers (a Kyla favorite), numeral beads with counting cards, car parking lot number match (Keanan did this every day and LOVED it!)

On this shelf: both kids workboxes, wooden animal matching game, ice fishing with number fish (we all loved this!), magnetic shape winter picture match, yarn measuring and sorting.

And the action shots!

Linked up at: Living Montessori Now, No Time For Flashcards & I Can Teach My Child

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Homemaking Binder

A few weeks ago I saw this post from Keeper of the Home about creating a homemaking binder.  I thought it was a little weird and overly organized at first, but then I thought "hey, I'm a little weird and overly organized - this is perfect!"  (Seriously, that's what I thought).  So during my new years planning retreat (another Keeper of the Home idea) I spent some time making my binder.  I was really excited about it and made Zac look at everything in it (he is not the super organized type, so he thought I was a bit crazy).

I have held off until now to post about it because I wanted to see if it was actually going to work for me.  I can proudly state that these last two weeks have been some of the most productive and enjoyable in 3 1/2 years!  I have been focused about having quality time with my kids, been off the computer when they are awake, and the kids have been happier because there is a plan.  So, here is my binder: (sorry, cell phone pictures)

On the cover is my verse for the year =)

The inside pocket holds different papers that need to be dealt with (which would usually just sit on the counter).  The first page of the binder is our weekday routine - it has been so wonderful to have this laid out!  This has really kept me on track and not wasting time during the day.

Right behind the routine page is my 2012 goals.  The next page is actually a tab and then my daily to-do list, but I took the to-do list out for the picture, so I wouldn't have so many pictures!  The to-do list sheet has 6 sections, one for each day Mon-Fri and than Sat & Sun combined.  It is limited to only 6 items each day.  This has been so helpfully in actually getting things done!  I was getting very overwhelmed at the LONG to-do lists for the week, but I can do 6 things in a day!

I have a bunch of blank to-do list sheets in there to help me spread out tasks to other weeks.  After that is a sheet protector with my major house cleaning list.  Secret: I only clean my house once a month! (gasp!)  I roomba, clean the bathrooms, clean the kitchen, mop, and do laundry every week (some of those are every day) - but anything else is done on one day a month.  This has been such a stress reliever for me!  Our house is not at all dirty, but it is lived in.  Zac would much rather have things this way than deal with a crazy stressed out wife =)

Next is another tab which I keep meal plans behind.  I plan our dinners out a month at a time and then go grocery shopping once a week.  This system really works for me and save me tons of time.

Lastly is a page proctor to keep other non-pressing items of paper (which would have been floating around the counter).  The back holds bills which all get paid once a month.

There you have it!  I am totally in love with this system.  Administration in one of my spiritual gifts (as is teaching and hospitality =) ) so this is the perfect thing to help me keep our house running smoothly!  Do you have something similar that works for you?

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Great Wolf Weekend!

We just returned from the Great Wolf Lodge and had a blast!!

Our wonderful weekend started on Saturday with Keanan and Zac going for a run / bike ride and Kyla and I having a girl grocery shopping trip.  After naps and dinner we played games in front of the fire on the living room floor.  A great, relaxing family day.

On Sunday after church we came home for lunch and naps and then drove about 45 minutes to the Great Wolf Lodge!  This place is huge!  We checked into our room and then drove about 1/2 a mile down the street to a Mexican place for dinner (although there are plenty of places to eat at the lodge).  Our room was the "Wolf Den" where the kids section looked like a cave with bunk beds in it!  They loved this!  There was a queen bed for Zac and I in the main part of the room along with a sofa sleeper.  We changed into our swimsuits and walked down the hall to the giant indoor water park!

The water park was much bigger than we had expected, with something for everyone - infants on up!  Keanan was not big enough to go on the super huge waterslides, but he did go on a couple that were a good 2 stories tall!  We were very proud of him.  Zac had his leg off and was using his crutches in the evening, so he didn't do any of the big slides (someone would have had to bring his crutches down), but when we went back to the water park in the morning he left his leg on and was able to climb all the stairs and do some giant slides.  You ride inner tubes on all of them so he just tried to keep his knee out of the water as much as possible.  I think Kyla's favorite thing was the wave pool - she loved "swimming" in the waves with her life jacket on.

At 8pm the kids and I got jammies on and then went to the lobby for story time!  All the animals at the clock tower came "alive" and sang songs and then it "snowed" in the building!  It was sooo cool!  I think that I enjoyed it more that the kids!  The two wolf mascots came out with an employee who read a bed time story and then we went back to our rooms for the night.  Everyone slept pretty well after playing in the water.

We had a wonderful buffet breakfast at the "Loose Moose" in the morning, and the kids were free!  Zac hauled all of our luggage down to the car and then we went back to the water park until we were done, about 11:30am- but we could have stayed and played until 9pm!

Definitely recommend this place for families!  It is a bit pricey, $280 for our room for one night and the waterpark (not including food or anything else), but we had some Christmas money that was just for this =).  We decided to ask for this as a "present" again next year and will surely be coming back!

We didn't hardly take any pictures because we didn't want to take the camera in the waterpark, but here's a few:
 Kyla in her swim suit and pulling her suitcase down the hall =)
Keanan in his "wolf cave" in our room!

Friday, January 6, 2012

School this Week: Letter M and Our Shelves

M is for m & m's this week!  Yum!  Over our Christmas break I was able to buy some trays to better organize the activities on our shelves.  This reduced how many things we have out at one time, but I decided to switch it up every week instead of every 2 weeks - so I think the kids won't get tired of it.
On this shelf: farm puzzle, BOB books and God's Big World magazine (I'll post more on this in the future), bead sorting with tongs and tweezers, sandpaper letter cards, dominoes, snowball counting game, snowman counters with numeral beads, "snow" (white with glitter!) playdough!

On this shelf: both kid's worboxes, alphabet exercises, "walk the line" (string to make into shapes on the floor), word puzzles (Keanan was telling me all the letter names!), magnet puzzle

Some action shots!

Linked up at: Living Montessori Now, http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/ and http://www.icanteachmychild.com/

Monday, January 2, 2012


About a year ago this was the container for all of my crafty / school stuff: 
As we transformed the extra room upstairs into the school room, all of the supplies traveled to the closet - and grew, and grew, and grew!  Until they were all over the floor in a jumbled mass.

Now, thanks to my wonderful husband, THIS is the storage space for all of our craft and school stuff!
I can actually find things!  My life has just become a little bit easier =)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Four Words

Dream, Inspire, Battle, Bloom

About two weeks ago I read a great post about taking a New Year's Planning Retreat from a wonderful blog, Keeper of the Home.  I was finally able to have my "retreat" time today to sit for a few hours talking to God and making goals for myself as a disciple, wife, mother, and business owner for 2012.  Part of this time was praying for a word for each of us for this year.  It is a focal point for my prayers, a theme for 2012.

Zac: DREAM  My husband is a visionary.  I love this about him.  I pray that God gives him many dreams this year and the wisdom and abilities to follow them.

Jen: INSPIRE  I want to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and by God's word in order to then inspire my husband, my children and others on towards Christ.  As I teach my kids this coming year I want to inspire them to develop a love of learning.  As I work with mothers-to-be I pray that I can inspire them to believe in themselves, their bodies, their babies, and the wonderful miracle of birth.

Keanan: BATTLE  When God placed this word on my heart I did not understand at first, but then saw how it fit so perfectly.  Keanan knows right from wrong and Zac and I see the battle raging in his mind and heart every day of which path to take.  I pray that he fights these battles with courage and truth as he becomes God's mighty warrior.

Kyla: BLOOM  She is becoming her own person, moving from baby/toddler to little girl.  I pray that God gives me wisdom to nurture and guide her as she grows into His beautiful princess.

In addition to these words, God laid some verses on my heart to guide and direct my path this year:

Proverbs 31: 25-27 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Welcome 2012!  I eagerly anticipate all the wonders that God has in store!