Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Getting a Head Start on Curriculum.

We are moving along with school lessons and the kids are doing well, although there are a few places we are struggling with. But I don't let that keep me from planning ahead. With a major homeschool conference coming up in May here in my city and another Catholic conference in June, I want to be fully prepared for what I will be needing to purchase for each child.

Of course, being the kind of person that I am, I am constantly curious as to what others are doing. I love being able to call a friend and ask questions about history or math, knowing that they are using the same curriculum. But we can't all be doing the same stuff, as all our children's personalities vary. In effort to share with others and trade ideas, however, I am trying to host a small curriculum and idea "swap." Pretty much this will just be an opportunity for friends to come over and see what books I've got and for me to see what books they've got (with drinks and desserts all mixed in!). Sounds like fun to me!

If you've ever hosted something like this, please leave a comment!!! I'd love to know how others have done this. As I come closer to my planning stages and decisions on curriculum, I'll make sure to post.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

School Supply Shortage.


So you will probably keep reading my complaints on how I'm missing so much of our stuff...school stuff in particular. Today is pattern blocks. I accidentally packed our math manipulative's away and I'm at a loss as to what to do when our lessons call for them. But I guess I'm not too worried. Isabella's work is what is requiring them and she is a whiz at using pattern blocks. Since the tender age of 2, she's been working with books such as Patternables and she can pretty much match pattern blocks to shapes in record time.

Now my dilemma is skipping ahead lessons and trying to adjust our lessons to the materials we actually have. Moving time can't come soon enough!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Missing Our Crafts.

This whole buying and selling a home has recently gotten me in the dumps. Of course, you have all the usual stresses that come with these events...keeping your house spotless for last minute showings, worrying about competition, stressing about your upcoming closing, packing, moving, etc. etc. But what has really sent me overboard is not being able to craft and learn with my kids.

This time of year is a big one with Lent and Easter. It's as big as Christmas time in regards to how much we usually do with crafting! But with all my supplies neatly packed away and the need for our current home to stay completely clean and clutter free, I feel like we are missing out on all our usual fun learning. No completed crafts to hang, no decorations to go on the walls, and no messy supplies spread across the table. I'm in craft withdrawal!!! And as I read about all the neat stuff others are doing, I'm feeling a bit envious.

Luckily, I know that what matters most is that we celebrate this time with our families with sharing what we have in our hearts. Our Lord will not mind if we don't dress our homes with colorful decorations, but he will mind if we don't prepare our hearts for his coming. In all, this has been a difficult lesson for me and not my children. But I suppose the timing is all right. We have gone without the excess in every sense this Lent, and the emptiness that it created was filled with what should always be there....the love of Jesus!!!!

So it's been hard to live with just the basic homeschool books and nothing more. But Easter is on the horizon and things will change. We will be able to celebrate our Lord's resurrection and we will have come away from Lent having learned so much more than we thought when this all started!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Morning Offering.

As a child, my parents would always tell me to compare myself to the "smart" kids, to aim high, and to not be afraid to ask for help. As I've journeyed through life, it is something I've kept in my mind always. Being all grown-up hasn't stopped me from taking this advice either, especially on matters of faith. I still try to compare myself to the "smart" kids (the saints), I aim high (with heaven as my goal), and I'm never afraid to ask for help (with prayer as direct connection to the One who can help with anything!).

With that, I leave you with a morning offering prayer. If you are "smart," then you probably already know this prayer and say it every day as you wake up or with your family. If you are like me, you still need reminders now and then. ***And by the way...it was a very smart lady who inspired me to do this every morning with my kids before our rosary (Thanks, Ellen!!).

Fatima Morning Offering

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings, all that this day may bring, be they good or bad: for the love of God, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for all the sins committed against the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

******************************************
And here is a very cute image I found suitable for kids. You can order the Morning Offering Cards from Little Shepherds of Fatima for a super reasonable $5 for 25.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Little Sunshine!


Thanks for the award, Allie!! And it's so fitting since we are having such a wonderful, sunshine-filled week!! Now to pass the torch...


Rules:

1. Post the award on your blog.
2. Pass the award to 12 bloggers (I only did 6, however!!!). Link the nominees within your post.
3. Let the nominees know by commenting on their blog.
4. Share the love and link to the person who gave it to you.


  1. Wildflowers and Marbles
  2. Waltzing Matilda
  3. Shower of Roses
  4. The Polka Dot Chair
  5. Catholic Icing
  6. In The Heart of My Home

Friday, March 19, 2010

American Girl Club.


We just recently started an American Girl Club with all our ARCH friends. Isabella had been wanting to be a part of a girls only club for a while, so this little group is a perfect fit for her. A huge fan of American Girl, Isabella loves the dolls, accessories, stories, and shopping at their stores! I must admit, I love it too and feel wonderful that it is something we can share as mother and daughter.

The meetings started with the Josefina books. This Thursday, the girls read book 1 and got together for crafts and snacks. At the end of it all, they made a rebozo and tortillas. She had a wonderful time!! The meetings will continue on a weekly basis until all the Josefina books have been read...then it's on to the next American Girl!

I will have to take a picture of her completed project, which she loves wearing and is using to carry her Bitty Baby doll. Also, please note the new haircut on Isabella. She was very excited to look like her latest American Girl doll, Chrissa. Of course, she now wants to add Josefina to her collection!








Thursday, March 18, 2010

Paperwork.


I feel exactly like this guy looks. Tired and overwhelmed. I must say that buying a home nowadays is not as easy as it used to be. There are loads of paperwork!!! With a fastly approaching deadline, I've been up late copying, faxing, emailing, etc. Not my idea of fun.

So bear with me as this time in my life sloooowllly passes! I'm anxious for this period to be over and for us to be in our new home. Now if only I didn't have the sale of our current home hanging over my head and knowing that I must have it constantly ready in case of a showing, maybe I wouldn't be this stressed out!!!

Blessings to all and hope you had a happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Video.

I like to send videos to my hubby that make me think of him. Here is one by Green Day (I'm a big fan!!). Reminds me of our dating days back in high school when he had never heard of Green Day and I introduced them to him. Enjoy and dedicate it to the love of your life!


Friday, March 12, 2010

St. Patrick.

Saint Patrick's Day is coming up next week and I thought I'd post some links to some activities, lapbooks, and coloring pages in case anyone wants to spend the weekend doing something fun with the kids.

We are constantly in cleaning mode around here; having your house ready to show is lots of work, but I'm thankful that we've decluttered enough to make cleaning up easier. With all the packing, however, we are missing TONS of our usual school supplies. We are working with basics around here...paper, pencils, a box of crayons, a few markers, and some glue sticks. So although I'm hoping to make some fun stuff with the kids, I'm not sure exactly how much we'll be able to do!

On to the link!! If you have yet to make a lapbook, why not start with a St. Patrick's day lapbook?!? Below are links to some FREE lapbooks.

Not wanting to try a lapook this time around? Here are some more links to other activities.
*Please note that I have not gone through these pages in detail.

I'll be using some of these sites and reading some books over the weekend all about Saint Patrick. I'll post about that later!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Allie.

I have an 18 year old niece that just started her own blog, Through The Alley. Visit and you will see that she's into shopping! But I love her!! She is smart, eccentric, unique, creative and just plain nice. We don't get to see much of her, unfortunately, since she is in Dallas; but, my, how she has matured and changed even just recently. College is good for you!!

She posted "100 Things" and I'd thought I'd follow. It's a list of things to do and you highlight all that you've already done. Read my list and then copy to your own blog!! And don't forget to visit her blog and see what finds she's made while thrifting.



1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David (well at least a really good replica in Florence)
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the changing of the guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100.Loved your life

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

For Sale!


It's true. Our house is officially on the market and we sit on pins and needles waiting for someone to come on over and say, "I love your house! I'll buy it!!" Well, we are hopeful that will happen at some point. For now, we are on day 2 of having the sign out in our front yard.

It's been a long process getting to this point. The hardest thing was to get past making the actual decision to move. But we are busting at the seams and our growing family needs more space. Thankfully, we are not leaving the state or the city, so that will make things so much easier.

The new carpet is in, the walls are painted, and we've been busy as bees decluttering and moving things out. It's just the basics for the next couple of months! But living so minimalistic has it's good points. First of all, it doesn't take me all day to clean up. Give me an hour and it's done! No more toys stuffed in crooks and crannies, no more closets busting open with too many clothes. Even our school room is non-existent as a lovely "grown-up" study has taken it's place. The TVs are packed away (we weren't using them anyways) and the kitchen cabinets have been slowly emptied.

Now we just wait and pray. We know someone will move into this house and create as many (or more!) wonderful memories as we have. It's all so bittersweet. After 6 years here, this house has seen so much. New babies, broken bones, celebrations, and growth charts. So much! But in all the sadness of thinking that this will be left behind, we remember that we get to take our memories with us to a brand new place that's waiting and that was made just for us. New memories are in our near future and the anticipation of it all makes us giddy with excitement!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Family Update.

I thought I'd post a quick update on the kids for today. There has been a lot going on lately in our house...updates will come eventually, but only after this month is over.


Put a video in and this is the scene! BTW, they moved little Jimmy next to them so they could all sit together.



Marco is continuing with his hip-hop classes and loves them. I suppose one of my kids had to have a dancing bug, since I enjoy it so much!! He's also still taking piano. Most recently, however, he did his Sacrament of Reconciliation (yesterday!!) and has been feeling wonderful about it!! He's looking forward to his First Communion with great anticipation and joy.

Brother and sister showing off their smiles and missing teeth!!


Isabella still has her cast on her broken arm. This Tuesday, they will be removing the pin that was inserted into her ulna. Unfortunately, these past couple of days have been the most difficult since she has been intensely itchy. But we are getting through it. Her latest accomplishment has been gaining great control of her left arm. I'm almost daring to say she is becoming ambidextrous. She is extremely tenacious and still completes all her schoolwork, independently, with her left hand.


Drawing on a piece of poster-board. Practicing those left handed skills!


Christian getting in the picture. Please ignore the dirty carpet. New carpet is being installed tomorrow, so I didn't bother with vacuuming today!


Finished picture. That's red paint from our dining room walls that Isabella made part of her drawing. She apparently likes clowns.


Anthony is progressing through his preschool year wonderfully. In a month I have been able to see him improve by leaps and bounds! I love seeing those "AHA" moments where he grasps a something new!! Truly such a huge benefit of homeschooling.

Anthony holding his deck of Pokemon cards. He is such a big kid now!!



Christian is still a rambunctious 2 year old. From climbing on everything to drawing on the walls, he's keeping us on our toes! His speech has also greatly improved and is talking more than ever. It's quite entertaining! He has lately developed a love for singing as well, and I love hearing him make up little songs as he plays with his Thomas trains. Of course, he is also catching on to doing school like the older kids and has mastered holding a pencil correctly, drawing lines and circles, singing the ABC song, and sitting down quietly for story time.

Our little trouble-maker, Christian. He's a sweetie!!



Oh Baby Jimmy!! He's our little angel and is such a joy to have!! The kids absolutely adore him and he is never without someone to entertain him. He is also growing faster than I'd like him to. He recently started eating solid foods and the kids love taking turns in feeding him. We are so blessed to have him in our family!!



Bouncing baby Jimmy and having a first meal.


Friday, March 5, 2010

More Math.

I guess I'm on a math roll as of lately. I've been trying to keep things fun around here and we needed a little break from the usual Saxon. We are still doing our regular math lessons from Saxon, but I've been mixing in a little of this and a little of that.

As I posted earlier, we have been reviewing and learning multiplication facts. Our multiplication lapbook was a great way to get Marco to review, but I know you can't just do a lapbook and expect success. So I've incorporated some other things to shake things up.

First of all, if you haven't heard of FlashMaster...you need to check it out! The FlashMaster is a $50 little computer that helps your child master his math facts. Overall, it's an electronic version of flashcards. You don't need to get fancy when teaching facts, but Marco likes using this and it's a great way to test and review.

Looking for something online? Try Multiplication.com! I found this website while perusing the Homeschool Buyer's Co-op. Multiplication.com is a free website that helps kids learn their facts. With pre-tests, interactive games, evaluations, and resources...it's well worth a look!! If anything, the games are a great and fun way for kids to practice their facts. We really enjoy it!!

Lastly, another great website for learning math facts (not just multiplication) is KidsNumbers.com. This website is mostly math games but also offers a worksheet generator and a free 12 week foundations program that is supposed to help kids focus on math skills needed to succeed. I haven't personally tried the program, but the games are fun!

Hope I've helped some of you on your journey to make math a little more interesting and fun!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Where Did My Books Go??

To think that it had been over 3 months since we last took a trip to the library. A place where we used to visit almost twice a week! This past Tuesday we headed out in the chilly weather and spent the morning reacquainting ourselves with new books and old favorites. We even made a pact (the children and I) that we would come back every week, just like we used to. I like that! Interested in our finds? Here are this weeks favorites!


Take Care, Good Knight has fastly become a favorite with the kids. A story of three little dragons who are given the responsibility of taking care of some kittens. A hilarious book for my children!!



Scary Fright, Are You Alright? has not been put down since we checked it out! We've been reading this book a good 2-3 times a day and that's not including the times that Marco has read it to the younger kids. It's a small chapter book with great characters. I see this book becoming part of our permanent library at home!

Isabella is also enjoying some readers she picked out all by herself and has been carrying them around since we got home. It's amazing to me how independent she's becoming at reading. As for the boys, Marco is working hard and reads to Anthony and Christian. My only complaint is that for some reason, my boys are so attracted to non-fiction and I'm the one sneaking in all the wonderful picture books.

So there you have it! A new found love for our public library!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Multiplication Lapbook. Update!

Well, we've been slowly working on our math lapbook and still have some math facts to go. But I thought I'd post how far we are along so you can see what we've been up to. Eventually, we'll have a fully finished product.

You can find many of these folds here. Just print them out and fill in what you want!! Lapbooking is as easy or complicated as you want it to be!!





Here is a brief explanation of what folds I used for each times table. You can click on some of the description and it will take you to that particular fold on Homeschool Helper.

2 times table: petal fold
5 times table: 10 section wheel or circle petal (created this through Word)
6 times table: layered book
7 times table: flashcards held in an envelope
4 times table: flap book (created this through Word)
3 times table: flap book
10 times table: fan fold (or accordion fold)

As you can tell, we are missing the multiplication tables for 1, 8, and 9. No rush here!! This lapbook will probably be around for a long while!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Good Morning!!

This is what baby Jimmy wakes up to 90% of the time around here. Four kids hanging over his crib making googly noises at him and saying "Good Morning!!" The love in the room is electric and I feel so wonderful witnessing how much sibling love goes on around here. My kids were meant to be a part of this family!!!