Friday, January 31, 2014

Homeschool: Week of 1-27

This was week 2 of first grade for Keanan and letter T week for Kyla.  We are getting into the groove of our new school routine with our new curriculum, it's so much fun to see all that they are learning!

Keanan's science activity this week was investigating soil.  He put a scoop of dirt in a jar, then filled it with later, put on the lid and shook it up.  In about 24 hours we could see the different layers of the material that makes up our soil (you can see them even better with a flashlight), so neat!

One of the library books I read to Kyla was Toads on Toast.  We had fun following the recipe at the end for "toad in a hole" - it was yummy!!  Don't worry, there weren't actually any toads in it ;)

This is a BIG weekend coming up for us!!  Saturday is Kyla's ballerina birthday party and Sunday is our trip to the Great Wolf Lodge! Many pictures to come!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mico-Birth the film

Please take a few minutes to watch this video.  It is fascinating and scary at the same time.  I am passionate about birth as a professional (childbirth educator and doula) and a parent.  But it is so much more about just the moment - there are lasting effects that are impacting our society.  Please pass this along!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: Clutter Free with Kids by Joshua Becker

Want to reduce the clutter in your home but have no idea where to start?  Overwhelmed by all the "stuff" that accumulates with your kids?  This is the PERFECT book for you!

I was blessed to receive a review copy of "Clutterfree with Kids" and quickly read the whole thing.  Even after making the shift to a more minimalist lifestyle about 18 months ago, and recently purging the house of Christmas clutter earlier this month, I gleaned some great tips from this book.  New to the journey of simplifying your life or having already been on the road a while, you will find very few books that tackle minimalism / simple living with children.  It gets a little trickier, but, as Joshua proves in this book, not impossible.

The book itself is split into 3 sections: 1. Change Your Thinking, 2. Discover New Habits, 3. Free Your Life

The first section explains the idea of and benefits to simple living (minimalism).  This was a review section for me, but very well written.  You can find more info in Joshua's book "Simplify"

The second section was my favorite!  Each chapter was a different topic (toys, clothes, gifts, photos, artwork...) with reasons why (many with research backing them up) it is good to reduce clutter in these areas and helpful tips on how to beat the clutter and keep it at bay.  The schedules chapter really hit me - removing the clutter from our schedules, not just the physical stuff in our homes.  We have a rule of only 1 activity per kid at a time, and only 1 night out a week for me (birth stuff, friends...) to keep our focus on being a family and doing life together.  This chapter really reaffirmed our rule.

The third section of the book tied it all together, the knowledge and practical tips and how to keep it going.

I highly recommend this book if you have kids!  And if you don't, or want to learn more about minimalism, check out "Simplify"

Friday, January 24, 2014

Homeschool: Week of 1-20

What a fun week starting up our new curriculum!  Kyla is doing a mixture of Raising Rock Stars Preschool and All About Reading Level Pre-1.  This weeks letter was L and her verse: "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16 (verse craft is pictured above)

She also "read" a book as part of her school this week all about the sight word See and the letter L.  She was SO excited and tells everyone that she can read now <3 p="">

Keanan jumped right in to My Father's World First Grade and had a great week of reviewing letters A - L.  He also worked out of his math book every day, read to me, and worked on his BOB book sight words.  His favorite part so far is his new science books.  We work on science while Kyla is doing ballet, then complete the experiment or activity when we get home.  This weeks activity was to place some boards on the lawn with rocks on them.  In a few weeks we will lift the boards up and hopefully find some worms and other cool creatures. He LOVES learning how the world works!

Our additional activities this week were Lego Club for Keanan, BSF, ballet for Kyla, Esther's birthday party, and a trip to the river for the weekend with Grandma, Grandpa, Lucy and Kate (no parents!).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

We have a Ballerina!

Kyla started ballet classes today - she LOVED it!!  She was too cute to not take a picture :)  Much dancing will be in our future!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Homeschool: Week of 1-13 (the one where we finish Kindergarten!)

This week was Y for yellow: thank you God for this beautiful world!  We had some color fun melting crayons and mixing food colors as well as reading lots of color themed books from the library.  This was a busy week with book club, BSF, visiting the dentist, and a trip to Grandma's house to hang out with the cousins.

But the BIGGEST news this week: Keanan has now officially finished Kindergarten!!  He started mid-February last year and after 11 months of fun he has completed the curriculum.  I am so proud of how his has grown mentally, emotionally and physically in the last 11 months.  Kyla also finishes her first round of preschool this week!  She loves school time and I am really excited to do some more intensive preschool stuff with her this coming year.
Look at all we learned about!

To celebrate both of their hard work we took a family trip to the Hands on Children's Museum last weekend, and they get a special dinner and a movie night at Auntie Jess' house tonight!  Way to go Keanan and Kyla!

First grade (for Keanan) and PreK4 (for Kyla) start on Monday!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Homeschool: Week of 1-6

This week we were on Q for Quail: I don't grumble or complain, I am thankful!

One of our activities for this unit was making pine cone bird feeders.  They were messy, but fun!  We also got to watch the old Disney movie "Pollyanna" (goes with the no complaining theme).

On Friday our school assignment was writing letters and drawing pictures to send to friends.

Kyla's requirement was that she write her name on her own - she did a great job!  Her reply to my praise was "I can do it since I'm almost 4."

Next week is the last week of Kindergarten!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Things I've Learned From the Daniel Fast

For the last 7 days I have been participating in the Daniel Fast - taken from the book of Daniel in the bible where Daniel refuses the King's rich food and instead eats only fruits, vegetables, and water to drink.  So, essentially, I was vegan for 7 days with no sugar in any form and only water to drink.  Here's some things I learned:

- the vegan life is NOT for me.  I could probably do vegetarian, but not vegan.
- for me, this partial type of fast is not effective in making me hunger after God more since I was never really hungry!
- "deny self" becomes very real when you are making scrambled eggs with bacon and cheese for your family that you can not eat.
- an already anemic person needs to be really diligent about getting their iron and protein if deciding to be vegan, or they might have some unpleasant side effects - lesson learned.
- if you want an effective colon cleanse, do the Daniel fast - enough said.
-since I already eat really healthy (whole foods, no processed anything, coffee only once or twice a week, lots of produce and herbs, very little sugar...), removing meat, dairy, eggs, all sugar, and my tea isn't really going to "detox" me of anything
- guaca-hummas with rosemary olive oil flat bread is awesome.  Tofu is not awesome

My goal when I started was to do this fast for 10 days, but the side effects that I mentioned from being anemic where getting unhealthy so I stopped at 7 - and I don't feel guilty about that at all.  In hindsight, I should have planned out my meals better to ensure I was getting enough protein and iron.

Will I do the Daniel Fast again?  Probably not, at least not the way I did it this time.  But I do plan to incorporate a traditional type of fast on a more regular basis.  Jesus really makes it clear that fasting is not an optional activity for his followers, with the goal of listening too, petitioning, and drawing nearer to God.  And that is the thing I want the most!