Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Two Awesome Websites

I don't have much time today because I have a meeting at church. But, I wanted to share two websites that Caleb and I have been enjoying thoroughly lately.

Starfall -- This is a fun phonics reading program. Caleb fell in love with it. Chris was working on my computer and I was trying to keep Caleb content. I had read about Starfall but never tried it with Caleb. I pulled it up and Caleb was smitten from the first click. He had to go to bed but he wanted to keep playing. I promised more Starfall tomorrow. ;-)

Worksheet Works This awesome website helps you generate your own worksheets. There are generators for Language Arts, Math, Puzzles, Geography, etc. Right now I am creating Letter Recognition pages and putting them in a folder. Caleb carries his "Letter Book" in the car and reads off all the letters he sees. (Note: I don't make him do any of this. He LOVES reading letters and if that makes him happy, it makes Mommy happy and a happier car ride.)

Enjoy your Tuesday!!

Monday, January 05, 2009

B is for Bear, Butterfly, Baker, & Bat

My intention when starting this mini-preschool program with Caleb was to start a new letter on each Monday. I would have all the books and the little notebook ready to go by then. Well, the library is not cooperating or maybe I'm not getting my holds in on time. My goal is to not spend any money at this level of homeschooling. All the books are being checked out of the library and to get them I am having to place holds all over our library network. Thankfully, I can do all this online. Some of the books are taking FOREVER to arrive at my local library. I guess I will try to have the little notebook ready on Monday and then read the books as they arrive. Whoo! Mixing things up is the spice of life isn't it?! Especially with a two-year old. ;-)

Go Here to see the Letter A.

Notebook pages:

Cover Sheet

B is For Bear
Bear Coloring Sheet
Butterfly Coloring Sheet
Life Cycle of a Monarch Butterfly
B is For Baker
Baker Coloring Sheet
B is For Bat
Bat Coloring Sheet
0-5 Coloring Sheet
6-11 Coloring Sheet
Benjamin Franklin Resume (cute)
Benjamin Franklin Coloring Sheet


As you saw from the previous list I listed all the books one by one right in the post. I have decided it would be much easier to just link to my Amazon Store so you can actually see the covers and not have to keep clicking over. The link is below.

Go Here to see Letter 'B' Reading List

Note: I have been using the booklist from Brightly Beaming Letter of the Week Curriclum as a springboard for finding great books each week. Go Here to see the entire list.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year, Holly Sprigs

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Have You Ever Turbo Jam'd?!?!

As everyone knows the coming of a New Year brings all kinds of changes and for me that means changes in my schedule. I will be taking my niece during the day three full days a week instead of 2 half days and one full day. I used to just stay home all day on Wednesdays and then hit the gym every other morning. I'm thinking that I may not get out quite as often as I used to. I was searching for a workout I could do from home.

My sister-in-law had been trying to get me to try Turbo Jam ever since she got it. She has used it to get back in shape after having her baby. I didn't doubt that the workout worked for her but I was feeling a bit too self-conscience about Jamming in my living room. Going to a spinning class was pushing it for me when it comes to group exercise. At least our spinning classes are in the dark.

I finally gave in and agreed to trying the first couple disks in the Turbo Jam program. Yes, I felt like a FOOL when doing some of those moves. I almost gave it up when Chris came home one day unexpectedly and caught me punching and kicking in my severely uncoordinated fashion. But, I was sweating and feeling the burn. The kicker (ha ha!) was when I woke up and realized that I was sore in the abs, etc. Hmmm! Maybe this workout really does work! I decided to give it a more thorough try.

I can now get through the 45 minute Cardio Party on disc 2 and live to tell the tale. I feel like collapsing at the end but I finish it. My sister-in-law and I will be switching discs soon and I will get to try out the other workouts. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Sickies and Such

My poor sweet Caleb is sick with a cold this week. His nose is running like a waterfall and he can't seem to stop sneezing. When I woke him up yesterday he was acting like he was hungover or drunk. I hadn't given him any medicine so I figured the sickies in his head were making him feel woozy. Thankfully, he has been more willing than usual to get to bed on time and take good long naps. I am sure he will back to his normal, crazy self in no time.

I was a little unsure about starting Caleb's little preschool yesterday due to the cold but we did have a soft start. I introduced him to his "A" notebook and he found it fascinating. He just wanted to look at it and discuss the pictures. He then informed me that he wanted to color his "A's." He got cozy in his chair with his crayons and notebook and went to town. I think he colored a little bit on each page. As he did that I read to him from the Johnny Appleseed book and we both had a great time. I would count the first day as a success.

When Chris got home, I asked Caleb if he wanted to show Daddy his "school notebook." Caleb grabbed the notebook from me and ran to his Daddy. He opened it up and showed Chris all the A's. He even took Chris' hand and had him trace each A on one particular page. Oh, be still my heart! Chris is very happy with how things are going so far and he likes how I am doing the notebook and reading time.

I know we have only done this for one day but here is how I think the days are going go for at least a little while. Caleb and I will get the notebook out and he will color the pages while I read to him during that time. It looks like I might have to print out more coloring pages and check out more books to get through a week. I am not pushing for anything formal right. He is only 2! I want him to have fun and hopefully look forward to our "school time" each day. It is so much fun watching Caleb grow and become so interested in the world around him.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Week 1--Letter A

Books we are reading this week:

The Apple Pie Tree
Life & Times Of The Apple
Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend
Tiniest Acorn: A Story to Grow By
Dot & Jabber and the Great Acorn Mystery (Dot & Jabber)
The Escape of Marvin the Ape
From Acorn to Oak Tree (Welcome Books)

Go Here to see all these books in my Amazon store.

We will also be using some leftover Pinto Beans to work on counting, basic adding, and "building" letters.

It is 6 AM and I am Already up Blogging...Finding a New Normal

Here I am at 6 o'clock in the morning, sitting at my desk, drinking my coffee, and writing in my blog. I am even dressed!! How in the world did this happen?? Let me tell you how this will be my new normal.

Right around the time my blog went by the wayside I started taking care of my little niece during the day. She stays with me when Mom is at work and Dad is either at school or work. It is a way for me to make a little money and a way for her to stay out of daycare. It has been a major adjustment having a baby around but I guess you could say it is training for when we have another little cutie. Blogging took a hit as I was adjusting to her.

Then Chris' job as a loan manager in a mortgage company he ran with a partner finally started taking a hit due to the economy. For awhile, our little county was in a bubble and Chris' company was closing enough loans for us to live quite comfortably when other companies were closing their doors. Chris and his partner weren't closing their doors but they were feeling the pinch.

Chris and I bought a house in a really nice neighborhood because we got an insane deal on it. We moved-in in mid-November. This house is smaller than our older house but it is most definitely an upgrade. Boxes everywhere and tons of stress to get it all done.

We moved in on a Saturday and on Monday Chris found out he had lost his job. It was just too much to stay open. Aaaaahhhhhhh!!! We both panicked for awhile and then we got busy..trusting in the Lord. Chris got to work looking for a new job, a new career and I got to work supporting him and making sure he moved forward with confidence.

After about a month of trying different options, Chris has a job with a water treatment company. He is on the lowest rung right now but the potential to move up and move up fast is great. He has to be at work at 6:30 am and it is a 45 minute drive. The radio goes off way too early at 5 am and we sleepily get out of bed. I make Chris a travel mug of coffee, he eats breakfast, and he heads out the door. I make my cup of coffee and come in here to blog. Caleb is still sleeping for probably another hour. Even though I am struggling to stay awake right now, I confess the alone time this early in the morning is almost refreshing...almost.

Now that the holidays are behind us, Chris and I are looking forward to establishing a new normal. Finding a new routine. This should be an interesting year. Please join me!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas Tree

We are leaving for my family's Christmas celebration as soon as Chris gets off work tomorrow. I will be enjoying my family during that time and probably avoiding the computer. I will be back December 29th. See you then!!

The Boy Wants to Learn!!

As Caleb grows older he is displaying an absolutely insatiable desire to learn. He will play with his Letters and Numbers for hours on end. He wants us to sing with him non-stop and the reading, oh the reading. He wants us to read to him all day long. Sweet Boy! We are kindred spirits.

The only problem is that this constant desire to learn can also get to be a little pesky at times. Sometimes Mommy needs to get housework done or get dinner on the table. I found myself pushing Caleb's requests to the side way too often. I never wanted to squelch his spirit but I also couldn't let my other responsibilities go to pot.

While I was putting together our New Year schedule, I decided to schedule time each day for "school." For one hour each day we will go over his letters, numbers, reading, etc. in a more formal fashion. The learning won't stop after that scheduled time but at least there is a time slot that is dedicated to it each day. I have always considered homeschooling Caleb, but I never thought we would start this early. We will be starting Dec. 29th. Here we go!!

So, what will we be doing? I have created a little notebook that will cover a letter a week. We will work our way through that little notebook during the week. I have made the notebook in a way that Caleb can color throughout and hopefully grow to love it. (I will have another post with links to all the pages in the notebook including links to the books we are reading that week.) Each notebook will hopefully cover the letter, letter sounds, science, numbers/counting, history, and art (coloring). Feel free to come back each week to get ideas or snatch the pages I'm using.

Disclaimer: I am VERY GREEN at this. Caleb is my first child and the first child I've ever homeschooled. There is a large learning curve. But, I would love to have company on this journey. Join me and let me know what you think!!

Yes, I am Back, But...

I am back in the blogging world after an insanely long break. But, I want to make something clear before I move forward. Please see below. I found this manifesto awhile back and was intrigued how it liberates me and how I blog. This is how I see my blogging now.

* Because you shouldn't have to look at your blog like it is a treadmill.

* Because its okay to just say what you have to say. If that makes for a long post, fine. Short post, fine. Frequent post, fine. Infrequent post, fine.

* Because its okay to not always be enthralled with the sound of your own typing.

* Because sometimes less is more.

* Because only blogging when you feel truly inspired keeps up the integrity of your blog.

* Because they are probably not going to inscribe your stat, link and comment numbers on your tombstone.

* Because for most of us blogging is just a hobby. A way to express yourself and connect with others. You should not have to apologize for lapses in posts. Just take a step back and enjoy life, not everything you do has to be "bloggable".

* Because if you blog without obligation you will naturally keep your blog around longer, because it won't be a chore. Plus, just think you will be doing your part to eradicate post pollution. One post at a time. . .
I am back and I am happy to be back. Please join me!! We'll have a great time.