Monday, February 28, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Unit Study - Day 5

St. Patricks Day Pinch & Traditional Symbols
Back in the "olden days" (1700s) in Boston Massachusetts, people thought if you wore green, it made you invisible to the Leprechauns, which was good because the leprechauns would pinch anyone they could see! So the pinching is to warn and remind you about the Leprechauns.
So, many years ago, playful children thought it was a lot of fun to go around pinching people who forgot to wear their green on St. Patricks Day!  Now it is a tradition to have a St. Patrick's Day pinch!

Do a St. Pat's Craft while listening to Irish music!
We made this cute little leprechaun out of a paper plate and construction paper!

We also read this book:

And then planted our own Shamrocks!  (I found this cute little kit at Barnes and Noble!)

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...

I don't know why?

I found this adorable Old Lady template on!  They have a lot of really cute ideas on there!  Check it out!  Kayley thought it was pretty funny to read along with the story and move the characters through the old lady's tummy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A little light reading...

Seriously...Maggie thought I might enjoy this article.  
It reads:  Give Mom the Simplicity she Deserves.  
If only.  :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Unit Study - Day 4

Day 4 - Leprechauns & their pot of gold!

Leprechauns, in Irish tradition were little old men who enjoyed making mischief and getting into trouble! Leprechauns spend all their time busily making shoes, and store away all their coins in a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If ever captured by a human, the Leprechaun has the magical power to grant three wishes in exchange for their release.

Read:  The Story of the Leprechaun by Katherine Tegen (I was unable to get this book)
or The Shoemaker and the Elves (a decent substitute).

We added the Leprechaun tab to the folder:

And the "If I had a pot of Gold" tab...
Can you get over how cute the pictures are?  Kayley said if she had a pot of Gold she would "use it to buy another baby."  I told her that you "couldn't 'buy' babies".  She said, "well, adoption costs a lot of money!"  (So true).  I explained a little about how the money is used for homestudies and such...not to buy the baby.  She was ok with that and said she would be glad to use her money to get another baby for our house.  Aww!  She also wanted to buy a big house, socks, shoes, and a lamp.  ;o)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Unit Study - Day 3

Day 3.  Learning about St. Patrick's Celebrations

We were originally going to do this unit 4 days a week-Wednesday's off- but Kayley really wanted to do more today so we are now 1 day ahead!  That's ok though!  One of the beauties of homeschooling is flexibility to jump on your child's interest and run with it.

Vocab- celebrate, bagpipes, jig, parade, kilt

celebrate = to participate joyfully in an event.

bagpipes = an instrument that uses a windbag to blow air through the pipes to create music!

jig=a traditional FAST irish dance set to rhythmic music!  (You think you don't know a jig?  Think again!  Pop Goes the Weasel is an Irish Single Jig!!!  Sing it and dance up a storm!)

parade=a large group of people marching down the street to celebrate something!

kilt=a skirt worn by MEN in irish usually has a "tartan" (plaid) pattern.

People celebrate St. Patricks Day in a LOT of different ways.
Most towns have a parade that is filled with Bagpipe bands, men wearing kilts, Irish Dancers and the "wearing of the green!"  People wear green on St. Patricks Day to show their love for Ireland.

People also celebrate by eating traditional Irish foods or, for fun, food that is colored GREEN!

Read:  St. Patricks Day by Mari C. Schuh
We added the green tab to our book...Kayley glued a picture of herself as a baby wearing St. Pat's dress and drew a picture of Maggie inside wearing green!  
We also added the celebrations tab.  We glued in some small pics of kilts, bagpipes, marchers in a parade and drew in several other things we discussed that celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Unit Study - Day 2

Day 2 of the St. Patrick's Day Unit Study!

Vocab:  Legend and tradition

Legend = a story that people tell as a true story, is hard to say if it is really true or not!

Tradition = something you believe, or something you do, that has been passed down to you from your Mom, Grandma or society (place you live).

St. Patrick  was a hero in Ireland.  There are many legends that surround him and because of his legends--we have many traditions!

Read:  St. Patrick's Day by Gail Gibbons
The end of the book has several legends associated with St. Patrick.  I had Kayley draw them in the "Who was St. Patrick" book.  The legend of the snakes, the poison-turned-ice, the fireproof cloak, fish, sunset and the shamrock.  Plus we glued in a small pic of St. Patrick.

Monday, February 21, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Unit Study - Day 1

Today kicks off a 12 day unit study on St. Patrick's Day!  St. Pattys Day is one of my favorite holidays so I had a really fun time planning this unit study!  I'm happy to share it!  We will be lapbooking this unit, reading several library books, watching dance, listening to music and a couple of fun crafts!
I have planned to do this on Mon-Tues-Thur-Fri.  
It will take us right up to Thursday the 17th of March!  
Have fun!


Day 1:  Ireland

Vocab:  Island & Emerald

Find Ireland on the map...  It is an Island.

Island = land with water all around! 

Ireland is called the Emerald Isle because it is so green and pretty just like the Jewel.

Emerald = a priceless green jem!  (Show a picture)

St. Patricks Day is celebrated on March 17th every year. 
It is a holiday to celebrate Ireland and its people!
But, you don't have to be Irish to celebrate...anybody can have fun on this holiday!

Read:  St. Patricks' Day by Carmen Bredeson

Here is what Day 1 lapbook looks like!  (oh, by the March calendar is NOT a 2011...but I didn't take the time to find a cute little current one...I copied this one out of a book)

If you are interested in participating in this unit study, here is the book list that I am using if you want to request them from your library...

St. Patrick's Day by Gail Gibbons
St. Patricks Day by Mari C. Schuh
The Story of the Leprechaun by Katherine Tegen (prefer)
or The Shoemaker and the Elves (classic version) if you can't find or get Tegen's
The St. Patricks Day Shillelagh by Janet Nolan
Small Beauties: the journey of Darcy Heart O'Hara / by Elvira Woodruff

Our music:
Dance of the Celts
Celtic Dreamland
The Sound of Harp
plus-I have an enormous collection of other Celtic music
that I torture my kids with on a regular basis!!

Lord of the Dance

and our chapter book:
Kathleen: the Celtic knot by Siobhan Parkinson (an American Girl Adventure)

Most of my printable goodies came from this free site here:
Check it out!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A day at the zoo.

We headed to the zoo on Saturday to spend some time outside and take a few pictures.
I was sorely dissapointed that we were unable to get better photos.
I really need a better camera!  Or a personal photog to follow me around.  Haha.
The zoo has some great places to get in some good pictures.

Not bad for a timer shot...

Kayley striking a pose.

Cute girls!

My winning photo...  Sweet Maggie.

Kayley took this pic of us.  No really!  She's a good photographer.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Maggie's Birthday Pictures...

I know this is so late!  And it is all my fault.  I just hadn't gotten around to uploading Maggie's 1st birthday pictures.  First of all, Thank you, thank you, thank you to my good friend Christina for taking and editing the awesome photos of Maggie! 

To see more of Christina's photos - or to get your pics taken - check out her photo blog here:

Monday, February 14, 2011


I was cooking...then making cookies...(hence the NOT very clean kitchen floor because it desperately needs to be mopped)...Kayley was doing school work, Maggie was playing on the floor.  Suddenly Kayley was shouting, "Mom! Mom! Look!  Maggies walking!!!!"  Sure enough I turned around and there she was.  She repeated it 3 times for good measure!
Way to go Maggie!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Adoption Update

After our 30 day recess from the court, we still didn't have the documents we needed and now have to go through a 6 month court-mandated "waiting period" before we can finalize our adoption.  Nothing is wrong, nothing to be overly stressed about, it will go through...just Missouri does things differently than Arizona...and Arizona didn't have some documents (because they are not required by AZ) that MO requires.  Since the documents didn't exist, we just have to wait.

Looks like we won't be able to finalize our adoption until June or July.

No worries.  The biggest frustration is the part where, we can't start a NEW profile for a 3rd placement until after we finalize.  And 6 months -- a whole 1/2 of a year-- is a LONG time in the "adoption waiting world."  Considering we will probably be waiting a couple (maybe more) years for a placement...I want that 6 months back!

All will be well eventually.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Angel in the Marble

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free...

I just read a really great book this week called "I Saw the Angel in the Marble" by Chris and Ellyn Davis.  The book is a collection of essays on homeschooling.

What I love about this book is that it has really got me thinking...

There are so many different methodologies and approaches to homeschooling that finding which one is going to be a good fit for our family has been really difficult.  They all have things I like but they all have some things that I don't.  And there are SO many!

For example:

Charlotte Mason
Thomas Jefferson Education
Unit Studies

Oh...and that's just naming the few that were in the forefront of my mind.  
There are more!
Some are convenient for Mom, some are NOT!
I see MY learning style and preference in a few of them...and some of them look awful based on how I learn... I wouldn't like it.

Of course, how I learn, isn't necessarily how Kayley learns.
(Or how Maggie learns for that girls could be a lot different!)

Makes me realize that Micheangelo has it right.  Look for the angel in the marble and carve until you set him (or her) free.  It won't matter what methodolgy I pick...if it doesn't work for my is the wrong choice.  My child is a unique individual who has her own way of doing things.  So, I've spent a lot of time over the last few weeks just watching her learn and grow, discovering her preferences to things, and to try and determine which approach will help set my angel free.
 I'm curious--other homeschoolers--how did you decide which approach to use with your kids?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Homeschooling...

 In light of the recent "snow days" I thought it might be fun to give an update on what we have been doing.  We started homeschooling off and on last fall, we puttered in and out of preschool..and then dropped preK completely in favor of homeschooling.  We are loving it!    

Kayley has already worked about 1/3 of the way through Kindergarten...and she is really having fun with it.  I don't have to push her to do school work, she actually ASKS to do it.  "Is it time for school yet Mommy?  Are we ready to start now?"  She has enjoyed school so much and wants to keep going long after we are done that I ended up creating an "independent work file" (We are using the workbox system-more on that later) for her so that she can reach in the file and grab something to do. 

We also have our daily chores to complete... and Kayley does a pretty fair share.  She can clean windows, sort laundry and help empty the dishwasher!  Hey!  Home Economics!  It counts!  And, it is good to contribute to the family...If we are going to stay home together indefinitely, then it is necessary for everyone in the family to pitch in and keep the house clean.  I won't have a chance while the kids are out of the house to I need help! 

 I think I had mentioned a long while ago that we are using Bob Jones University Press Kindergarten.  I did buy the "kindergarten in a box."  Honestly, it felt like the easiest way to get started and see what we even thought about homeschooling.   I know there are a LOT of different methods to homeschooling, and I am still actively researching all of them (more on this later too) and there are a lot of people who do NOT approve of the "school-at-home" method...  And I'm not sure I am 100% fan either...but...Kayley is liking it right now and since she enjoys it so much, it has bought me a lot of time to really watch her closely and see what learning styles she enjoys the most to help me as I research all of the different homeschooling approaches.

We are really enjoying the flexibility that homeschooling is offering us.  I'll admit I'm still nervous about the start of Kindergarten coming and going...and Kayley NOT going.  But, the more time we have been spending together, and learning together, the easier it is getting. 

 There is a definite plus in planning a vacation in February while everyone else is in school or, instead of missing a ton of school during "snow days" the last 2 weeks...we will wait and take "sun days" while the other kids are in school this spring... 

We are just enjoying the flow of homeschooling.  We have not used the videos as much lately, Kayley claims that she likes Mommy's teaching better...(I'm flattered) and the video is so slooooowwwwly paced that Kayley gets frustrated waiting for the video teacher to catch up.  We get done a lot faster and easier when we just sit down and work on it together.  Our favorite part is reading time.  We spend easily 30 minutes just reading and discussing books together.  In fact, Kayley has become proficient enough to take turns reading with me. 

 Lets not forget Maggie!  Children are learning from birth, and Maggie isn't left out.  She only plays in the highchair for 15 minutes or so (we only homeschool for 2 hours while Maggie is awake), but I have a designated "Maggie basket" for her to play with during school time in kitchen.  We move to the living room and find a 'comfy cozy spot' for reading time with both girls.  The rest of the time, Maggie can putter around in her walker, play in "baby jail" or even her room.  She comes back toward the end of our schoolwork to enjoy a snack...then we wrap up and have lunch. 

We do Kayley's reading time after Maggie goes down for her nap.  (Baby Loo is just WAY to distracting for Kayley to concentrate...)  I am so pleased with the progress Kayley has made and I tell you, she LOVES being able to read!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Almost Walking...

Max Lucado: Cast of Characters Book Review

I have always enjoyed the writings of Max Lucado and his new book, Cast of Characters: Common People in the Hands of and Uncommon God doesn't disappoint!  Thought provoking and well written, in this book, Max Lucado introduces the reader to many of our favorite biblical characters, pointing out how each person was a very ordinary person, just like you and I.  Faced with trials, challenges, pressure and frustration, this book demonstrates how God was able to use each person for His divine purposes by allowing these normal, ordinary and imperfect people to accomplish extraordinary things.  We can see ourselves in these people and as Max Lucado insists, they are our ancestors.  They are us and we are them.  By understanding more about them, and recognizing the hand of God in each situation, we can see a bigger picture.  Ultimately we can realize that, if God had an extraordinary purpose for those ordinary people...he definitely has an extraordinary plan for us too!  Through a deeper understanding of these characters we can come to know and feel Gods love for each and every one of us and begin to chart a course to discover Gods plan for us.

Each chapter begins with an excerpt from the scriptures and ends with a list of several items for deeper reflection, continued introspection and discussion.  Including additional recommended reading and suggested study, this book is ideal for a self-study of biblical characters, couples or small group bible study.  I highly recommend this book!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kayley & Mommy and horrible, no good, VERY bad day.

Yesterday was quite the day.  There is nothing quite like a really bad day to take all of my good intentions and flush them down the toilet.  Yesterday started out ok.  We took Maggie to the Dr because she was having a little reaction to her MMR vaccine...she was running a fever and had developed a red, hot knot, on her leg.  Afraid it was an infection (since she received the vaccine 10 days about delayed reaction!!) I took her in just to be on the safe side.  I perplexed everybody in my husbands clinic, but doesn't seem to matter now...since it all seems to have resolved itself and she was feeling a lot better by last night.

Then we headed to town to drop off and pick up some books at the library....

Then, since we were in town, we went by the used book store since they were having a 40% off sale.  Argh...things went down hill all day from that point.  Kayley -- gotta love her -- is so friendly, and she was actually "introducing herself" to these other children and kind of just getting in their families personal space...  She is cute and very sweet, but I had to go extract her from bothering this nice family.  Within minutes she was back over there...and some how these kids were now getting loud...and running through the book store.  Several "stop it!" and "shhhh" and 1 failed time-out later...I left the bookstore a little frazzled.

On the way home we hit Chick-fil-a.  One of my favorites...and it was GROSS.  The waffle fries were, like, yesterdays leftover waffle fries...the dribs and drabs from the bottom of the bag.  Not to mention my drink was vomitous.  Blugh!

We got home...we did our schoolwork (Yay! We got something right!)...Maggie went down for a nap.

  Within 20 minutes I found Kayley playing in the kitty water dish.  Argh!  Now-mind you-Kayley (seriously--gotta love her--) has been in trouble easily 10 times over the last 4 months for playing in the kitty's water dish.  I had a mini-mommy-meltdown...made her clean it up...talked about how "we know better, don't we?"  and moved on with our afternoon.  

About 1 hour later...Kayley was picking on Maggie in her walker.  Not a big deal, but a "we know better, don't we?" kind of thing...which warranted a time out.  A time out that started at 4 minutes, but lasted 15 for all the 'resetting of the timer' involved for each time Kayley wandered out and continued to pick on Maggie (from time out) and then sat on a cat (in time out) -- poor Pink Kitty.

About 2 hours later...I discovered about 100 dollars worth of Mary Kay (yeah--from our makeover) smeared all over my sweet Kayley...and my not-so-sweet bathroom counter and floor.  Not to mention, the ugly gouges that were taken out of my new makeup...and the colors all mixed together... I moved on at this point from mini-meltdown-mom moment to the full -- I am going to blow Mom-Mega-Meltdown...  

In fact, when I picture in my mind what I must've looked like...I think my head would've looked something like this:

 You know--one of those spinning fireworks that squeals loudly and sparks fly?

Anyway--I yelled, I ranted, I raved!  Argh!!!!  AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!  I said! ARgh!
I let my anger get the best of me.  I got so mad, that I got in the face of my 4 year old and yelled and screamed.  "What were you thinking??"  I had yelled at her.  "Why did you do that?!"  I had screeched at her.  "I don't know" she had answered pitifully.  And for good measure I added " ME NEITHER!!! but STOOOOOOP!!!!  GRRRR! Go to your ROOM!!!"

About 15 mintues later...  
Kayley was in her room...waiting with see what I was going to do.

I was laying on my bed, feeling horrendous. 

Oh boy.  Mommy-Tantrum.  Within seconds of cooling down I had felt AWFUL.

Then I cried.  
I lamented my poor example.  
I feel like the crappiest Mom on the planet.  
I asked God to forgive me for being so weak.  

And then went into Kayley's room.

I told her I loved her very much.  
And that I was so sorry that I yelled in her face.  
I told her that today was a No good, very bad day...  
And that tomorrow would be better.

She told me "I know!"  And then "Can I have a string cheese?"

Totally forgiven by my sweet 4 year old.  Just like that.

I went to bed last night wondering what my idol, Michelle Duggar, would've done.  I mean, surely she has dealt with at least 1 of every issue in her house with her 19 children.  I wonder if even the soft-spoken Michelle has ever become enraged at one of her children and screeched at them like a spinning firework?  Maybe...  Nobody is perfect.  But, she probably would've had some soft response that involved scripture quotation.  How does she do that?
I certainly have a lot to learn.
For today--I just want to love on my Kayley and see what kind of mischief she will make.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bag Ice Cream!

Have you ever made ice cream in a baggie?  We hadn't tried it, but we have been snowed so much over the last 10 days that we needed some fun stuff to do.  It turned out great!  I just found a basic recipe off the internet and went for it.  After a lot of turned out yummy!
Try it sometime!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Our Mary Kay Makeover!

I have used Merle Norman makeup for a decade...  Maybe even more!  I have always loved their products, but recently found that, for whatever reason, my make up was making my face itch!  Weird I know!  So, I headed down to Merle Norman to talk to them about it...and the day I went the 90 year old lady (I swear!) was busy giving this other 90 year old lady a makeover.  Their make up was on so thick you could chisel it off.  Seriously!  Merle Norman hasnt seemed to change much with the times...I think the ladies that were working there 20 years ago are still the ones working there today!  I needed something fresher.  I left and decided to try out something new.  
So!  I called Mary Kay.  Or actually...Shelly.  
Shelly, the Mary Kay lady, who ACTUALLY drives a pink car!
I know right?  Kayley wants one.

Any how.  She was super sweet, and gave me a makeover.  
And Kayley wasn't about to be left out.  So we both tried out some MK.


We look lovely!  
So, I'm sold!  
Mary Kay is pretty awesome!  
Kayley had a blast trying on makeup samples... 
I told her I didn't think that lipstick was her color.  LOL!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

More snow!!

 We woke up this morning to MORE snow!!!  It was so beautiful!
 3.5 inches on our deck overnight!
 I don't think the trash man is coming...what do you think?

We built this awesome snowman!

 And Mrs. know...the syrup lady!
 Kayley built her own little snow-kid.
 Then we built a slide.
 And then we buried Kayley up to her waist in snow... lol!  
Just kidding...she is standing in  a littel snow fort!
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