Thursday, May 29, 2008
I think the best plan of attack is to plan ahead by making a tight list, checking sales prices and clipping only the coupons you'll need for that trip. That's why I like the couponmom's tips. My favorite place to shop is Kroger and there is a new program available where you can preload your Kroger Card with coupons and they automatically get deducted at checkout when you buy those products...yipee no paper coupons to shuffle through!
If you do intend to keep your paper coupons (I doubt I'll totally give them up ;) check out the couponizer.
Another site I like is the grocery game. The plan here is to stock up when prices are low and you have coupons. You slowly fill your pantry with staples, buying at the lowest prices and over time your weekly bill dwindles as your supplies increase. The site has a low membership fee, but you can make your list online and the site is updated with the sale prices each week (for most retailers). It's worth a look.
Now, if only I could occupy the octopi long enough to pick up everything I need, I'd be golden.
There is a newly launched website, standup2cancer.org, that was created by the big 3 networks, ABC, NBC and CBS, to raise funds for cancer research. They have banned together to light a fire among the public and raise money to find a cure. With government dollars for research dwindling, it is time for all of us to get involved. Imagine our children inheriting a world in which cancer and cure go hand in hand.
At standup2cancer.org you can find research news, make a donation, and launch a star to honor someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. Special programming is also scheduled on the three networks for September 5th at 8PM.
For more information check out the American Cancer Society site or the National Cancer Institute.
What does this have to do with homeschooling? When I thought about posting this to my site, I hesitated thinking it didn't fit into my theme, nor is it a topic on which I have much expertise. But, my overwhelming feeling is that this disease has devastated far too many people and getting the word out about this new effort may help the fight. Our philosophy on homeschooling is that learning is a way of life. It's part of every day, not something you do for several hours 5 days a week. And children are not exempt from the effects of cancer. Education and early detection are important parts of the battle. This issue can be broken down to age appropriate levels. And, rather than being trivialized or clouded by whispers it should be openly discussed and carefully examined so that it can finally be eradicated.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I never realized I was such a creature of habit....but now that I think about it, it's so true. I don't buy ice cream much in the winter, but once the weather warms up it's a staple. My new favorite is Kroger's Private Selection Lite Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. It's loaded with chocolate chips (chipped chocolate not the squirted kind) and balls of cookie dough, and it has only 4.5 grams of fat per serving! Of course, that means I eat twice as much. Yum! My all time favorite, however, is Blue Moon ice cream from the House of Flavors. I only wish they sold it here.
Check out this link to lessons involving the sweetest treat around. And, if you're a lover of the cool cream, don't miss this chance to win a year's worth of Ben and Jerry's and Redi Whip.
So today we did the parade in Olde Towne. It was another gorgeous day, the weather was perfect. The parade was fun and the kids loved seeing the fire engines and horses. Jackson actually slept through the first 15 minutes or so, until the bagpipes came through.
Afterward we headed home for lunch and the kids finally twisted dad's arm far enough that he blew up their pool. They flopped and splashed until their lips turned blue. After dinner they played with the neighbors and have planned a "kids parade" for tomorrow using their "Flinstone cars" and wagons. Should be a hoot.
We're all pooped puppies and it's about 12 degrees hotter in the house than outside, even with the windows open and fans on. So the heat is adding to my exhaustion. I'm refusing to turn on the AC though. We'll suffer through to pinch our pennies. I don't know which is worse, milk or gas at $4 a gallon! Sheesh!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Brynie always likes to read before bed. Apparently this particular book didn't hold her interest for it has quite literally put her to sleep (pun intended.) Perhaps it wouldn't have worn her out so quickly had she not been reading upside down.
After visiting the Stockley Gardens Arts Festival last weekend and watching the kids line up for face painting, Aiden decided to open his own face painting business. He was very resourceful in finding brushes and Sidewalk paint...and his first customer. Notice the sheer delight in her expression.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
In addition, we have read almost all of the books in the Five in a Row curriculum, which I highly recommend. We are currently reading a set of chapter books by Holling Clancy Holling, which are fantastic and lead into great discussions about all sorts of things (geography, animal species, travel, mapping, culture, illustration, etc., etc.) I was introduced to these wonderful books when Aiden received them for his sixth birthday, thanks Dad! If you come across them pick them up...you won't be disappointed. We are now finishing Paddle to the Sea. Both my 6 year old and almost 3 year old have loved them.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I'm into kits these days. It makes life so much easier to have everything together in a box ready to go. With 3 young kids running around, shopping for anything has become a big hassle. The fewer supplies I have to track down the better! Steve Spangler has some neat stuff that can be ordered online and delivered to your door (no wrestling kids into car seats needed :-) And, you can sign up for his newsletter with ideas and specials delivered to your inbox. I also like Atomic Elephant and they offer a homeschooler's discount -there's a link at the bottom of their home page. For some earth-friendly fun see Planet Pals.
If you are looking for lesson plans the National Science Foundation has some interesting things to peruse. Science Net Links also has an extensive list of detailed lesson plans for all grades. Also check out Try Science and The Science Page.
For older elementary and middle school kids try Bill Nye the Science Guy and Mr. Wizard's World (remember him?).
Now get out your protective eye gear and get cookin'! There's nothing like a few minor explosions to tickle a child's intrigue.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
For some reason Max has been a little anxious. He's paced the house all day with his pillow in his mouth. This is normal behavior when there's a storm brewing, or construction nearby, but today it's a mystery.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
- As I mentioned before, today was the season's last soccer game. Aiden didn't score any goals today, but he played great defense. Last week however, he was in the zone and scored three goals. After his third goal, in his typical exuberant fashion, he exlaimed, "Yes! I'm a scoring machine!"
- A few days ago, after her nightly bath, I dried Bryn's hair with the blow dryer - this was a first. She usually hates having her hair brushed, so I doubted she'd last until her locks were completely dry. But, I was trying to avoid the usual morning tangles so I was very encouraging about how beautiful her hair was turning out as I dried it. To my surprise, she enjoyed the whole experience and afterward looked into the mirror, smiled, and then pranced through the house singing, "Hooray, I bid dirl, I bid dirl!"
- Dh recently planted some grass seed in the front yard to fill in some sparse areas. Aiden and his new friend Maddie were playing in the yard a day or so later when he pointed out the seeded areas to her and told her we were growing baby grass and that she mustn't step on it. Well, about a week later Maddie was again playing in the yard with Aiden and remarked, "Your baby grass has grown a lot." To which Aiden replied, oh so matter-of -factly, "Yeah, now it's teenage grass."
Friday, May 16, 2008
Another favorite is freerice or what I call fun for nerds. And then there's Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, a good all around trivia game.
Play these and you'll be in tiptop shape to show off your sharp wit and keep hubbie and the kiddos on their toes. Enjoy!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Off to steal some sleep now........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Since I brought up free, check out these coloring pages. They are true works of art. These are the coolest alphabet pages I've come across. We're going to make a book with them. They would even be cool to enlarge and paint to hang on a child's wall.
And for mom (or dad)...who couldn't use a free cuppa joe? Try Seattle's Best. Yum!
Monday, May 12, 2008
Online games have a place in our eclectic learning too. My 6 year old loves to play the Lego games, which teach mapping skills, and strategy, as well as enhance memory among other things. And my 2 year old loves anything Diego. She's become an animal lover and has learned about many endangered species, plus her computer skills (fine motor) amaze me for her age. So, I don't mind them playing games now and then. I think it can add variety and fun to learning. And with technology advancing faster than the speed of light, they are developing skills that will help them keep pace in a high tech world.
A site I like for preschool and kindergarten is Kindersite with links to games, music and stories. Registration is free. Primary games also has some fun stuff. For older kids the History Channel site has some fun games and quizzes. I like to print the quizzes and stash them in the car for long trips or traffic delays...an impromptu trivia game helps pass the time. Another great site, iknowthat , lets kids create their own page featuring their favorite games and pictures they make online.
There are more game sites under my favorite links and tons more resources online. I'll continue to add favorites as I come across them so check back often and play!
If you are considering homeschooling, or just starting out, my first advice is to join a local group or listserve for your area. You can gather a great deal of insight from veterans and find out about events happening near you. Try Yahoo Groups or AIM Groups by AOL. You many want to just lurke on a list for a few weeks and read about what others are doing. Most lists have links to helpful information about state regulations and forms, etc. For homeschool by state try HLSDA. Also, check out my Favorite Links for homeschooling resources, discounted curriculum and fun ideas.
There are online homeschool social networks for meeting other homeschoolers and joining discussions on hot topics and national groups such as the National Home Education Network for support and information.
You'll also want to visit a local homeschool store or book store to browse curriculum before you buy. There are many to choose from and lots of groups organize swap days or host used curriculum sales. You can find used items for less online too. There are also correspondence schools and some folks, like me, make their own curriculum by using unit studies, the library, the internet, field trips, etc. Gather all the information you can and then choose what seems most interesting to you and your child.
This in just a brief introduction to home ed, but I hope it helps you get started on the right foot. Remember, you are not alone. There is a whole homeschool community to guide you and help you. Most homeschoolers are all to happy to share their experiences with a new family and offer support. Homeschooling is an exciting family journey...enjoy the ride!
Here's a video of a Robin family in the nest (this is a different nest than in the blog).
More info on American Robins. And, American Robin facts and worksheets for preschool and elementary students.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Also found tons more Mother's Day crafts...for last minute gifts! and links to lots of unit studies, if you are into those. Check out A to Z Theme Lessons for many resources.
Here's a site I found for making paper toys including vehicles, dinosaurs and lots of cool stuff. Some of these are complicated for early elementary ages and will definitely require mom or dad's help. But they are lots of fun...could be great for travel entertainment.
One more cool thing I discovered today...Lego lessons. We joined a Lego League group this year and Aiden has gone Lego-mad. He loves building Lego fire trucks and fire stations, rescue helicopters, etc. And plays with them every day. This site has lots of cool lessons using Legos. Some of these are a little advanced for Aiden, but would be great with older kids and could probably be adapted for the younger set. If you have a Lego-lover, you will have to bookmark this one!
What started out as a poopy (quite literally) and spilled cereal kind of a day turned out glorious. It was sunny, breezy and warm. A gentle play-outside kind of a day. We made Mother's Day cards, played soccer in the front yard, built an ice castle on the back deck, painted the sidewalk...and driveway...and basketball hoop, went to a new playground, visited the library, played with a neighborhood friend, washed the toy tractor and car, played Lego fire and rescue, blew bubbles, and baked brownies. Jackson worked on a new tooth. I'm totally worn out, but have a smile on my face. And the kids are grinning through their sticky chocolate lips.
PS...I just found out that PBS has a new educational site called PBS KIDS PLAY with games and activities geared toward math, science and literacy that feature PBS characters. It is a subscription site ($10/month or $80/year) but they offer a free 15 day trial-no credit card required. This site is built for preschool, kindergarten and first grade kids ages 3-6. It's worth checking out. The only drawback is that it is currently only Windows compatible...too bad for us Mac-lovers.
Memorial Day was originally named Decoration Day. The holiday was first celebrated on May 30, 1868, when Union General John A. Logan declared the day an occasion to decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. The name was changed to Memorial Day twenty years later when President Richard Nixon declared it a federal holiday in 1971. Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday of May. Through the years it has become an occasion to honor the men and women who died in all wars.
Check out more historical information and the official General Order here. For interesting images, videos and war maps try this link. I also found some cute craft ideas for creating some patriotic decorations (most of which would work well for the Fourth of July as well) and some poetry and rhymes too.
My kids love to cook...and eat...and what would Memorial Day be without a bbq? There is no shortage of great recipes and I'm sure you have some family favorites. At our house, these are always a hit. And lets not forget the treats and desserts! Plus, the kitchen is an ideal place for sneaking in a few math and chemistry lessons so cook up some fun!
Also, try this favorite picnic recipe for mom and dad, yum!
Blue Cheese Potato Salad
5 pounds red new potatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 pound blue cheese, crumbled
5 green onions, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
Place potatoes in large pot. Cover with cold water. Boil until tender. Drain. Cool slightly. Peel potatoes. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Transfer to large bowl. Add wine, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cool.
Combine all remaining ingredients. Mix with potatoes. Adjust seasoning. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.)