Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fitness Friday Assignment

This week's assignment will have you sitting at the computer for a little while. Hope you can make time for that!

Give us some inspirational, funny, helpful, or informational websites regarding fitness. Remember, that can include health, eating, dressing well, spiritual health, etc. There are lots of parts of being fit.

I need some helpful, informational links.

I'm hoping for inspirational links.

I really want to see funny links. (Remember the Mom Jeans?)

Have fun! See you here on Friday!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Leaving Little Behind

Sweetheart is 9 years old. Actually, she is 9 1/2. She'll be 10 in August and will start 4th grade this year.

She isn't exactly little anymore.

She isn't exactly big yet.

She's very in the middle.

I know other 9 year olds who seem very mature and grown up compared to her. She's a "young 9" if that makes sense. Part of the reason she seems younger sometimes is her birth order. When she was in first grade, I was her Bible class teacher. All the other first grade girls in my Bible class were the youngest in their family and had much older siblings. Sweetheart was the oldest in her family and had a baby sister. Her friends LOVED coming to play at our house because we had a play kitchen and a home center and baby dolls and all this other "fun" stuff that had long since left their house. They had older siblings who sat around and played handheld games. There were precious few toys left in the house. I have decided not to do that to my youngest child no matter how ready I am for the toys to be out of the house! :)

Anyway, her world is a world of little kids. Her sister is little. The kids in our small group are little. There are not that many children her age at our church. She gets along very well with little kids. She still loves to play. She still loves to watch younger shows on TV. She's a happy kid.

Our concern comes with expectations. In our small group, we meet at people's homes. The adults sit in the living room and have a Bible study while the kiddos go to another room and have a short Bible lesson and then play or watch a movie. S and I think that she is getting too big to go play during the Bible study. We'd like for her to start joining the adults in Bible study. That will probably begin after her birthday because that just seems like a good time to make that transition.

I know she LIKES going to play. I also know she's capable of joining in the Bible study. And I know which one is more important. In other situations, she will be sent to be with "the children." She's kind of in the middle now.

I've watched other parents deal with their children at this age. I've seen parents who shoo their children away to "go play" or "go in there with the other kids" so they can visit with their adult friends. And certainly there is a time and place for children to be with children so the grown ups can talk. I've seen kids complain that "everyone else is younger than me" or "they aren't my age." I don't want my children to feel "too good" to go be in a room with younger children (and frankly, that's not much of an issue with homeschooled kids), but I can also see where there is a need for these middle-aged children, if you will, to be allowed to sit in with the grown-ups. How are they going to learn how to be adults if they are never even around adults?

In days past, children sat through dreadfully boring dinner parties or afternoon tea while the grown-ups visited and all they were allowed to do is use their good manners and not fidget. There is a time for our children to be included and invited in and not always segregated off with "the little ones." It's confusing for kids though. Am I a "little kid" in this situation or am I big? Yesterday you let me sit at the table while you talked with Mrs. Smith, now today you are sending me off to the playroom while you visit with Aunt. Which is it?

OK you experienced moms out there. Tell me about this transition from being a little kid to being a young lady or young man. This is new ground for me.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

So, Is It Handwriting U See or Math Without Tears?

If you know these curriculum choices, it helps. If you don't, allow me to share.

Handwriting Without Tears uses "Mat Man" to teach the pieces that make all the capital letters. All the letters can be made with big lines, little lines, big curves, and little curves. And if you add the mat that you make the letters on, and a few accessories, you get this:

Mat Man! This picture is from the HWT website. Little Bit and I have been making Mat Man in the living room for a few weeks as a part of her Kindergarten curriculum.
And I've already shared that Sweetheart is using Math U See. Math U See uses these blocks to teach all sorts of math concepts.

This is a picture of the blocks from the Math U See website.

So last week after Sweetheart finished her math review, what did she make?

Why Math Man of course!

Oh come on. That's funny.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Keepin' Kool in the Kitchen Edition

Oh. My. Word. It is so hot and I have been thinking all week about getting your great suggestions for ways that I do NOT have to turn on the oven. For some reason, our laundry/sewing room that is right off the kitchen does not have an air vent. So, we added a little window unit out there. That helps, but when I turn on the oven, the kitchen is hot for 2 hours and that window unit is killing itself trying to help cool off that half of the house and I suspect that does not help our electric bill.

Plus, the oven is really near S's chair where he would like to relax after supper and not sweat.

We have pretty compact house. The oven does not help.

I loved JulieMom's idea of using the crock pot. Honestly, I think of the crock pot as a winter thing. I don't know why? I guess I only know how to make soups and roast and stuff in there.

And I'd really like to share a bunch of recipes where you don't even have to use the stove, but I don't know any.

Except hot dogs. And other microwave food.

And I'm not really sure that qualifies as a "recipe" for "cooking."

So, you will have to use the stove for this one. But that's better than the oven, right?

When I got married, my college roommate's cousin was recovering from surgery and sat in her bed and wrote out their family recipes for me. It was one of my favorite wedding gifts. I knew her whole family so it really was a treasure to have her Mama's, and Granny's, and Aunt Shirley's recipes.

Italian Chicken Cutlets (her cousin's recipe)
4-6 chicken breast halves
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup flour
1 (80z) envelope light Italian salad dressing mix
2 teaspoons dried whole Oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola though)

Combine breadcrumbs and next 5 ingredients. Dip chicken in eggs and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. (or use a Ziploc baggie) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown, adding extra oil if necessary. Drain on paper towels.

Yes, it's kind of fried chicken, but it's healthier---I promise! My family LOVES these "chicken strips" as they call them. They really are good.

In the summer, I would serve this with fruit salad (chopped up and mixed with vanilla yogurt or Cool Whip), or a green salad (also no cooking). And then I would zap a veggie in the microwave.

And of course tea. That went without saying, right?

I sure wish I had more cool recipes for you, but JulieMom added that pesky little word "healthy" in there so that excludes my Pink Pie recipe---EVEN THOUGH there is no cooking involved. (If you want the recipe, I'll give it to you! Shh!)

Now head over the JulieMom's place today or tomorrow or even Sunday if you need to....and share your cool recipes with us. My husband and our electric bill will thank you. (Thanks for hosting JulieMom!!!!!)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Whatever the Opposite of Zen Is....This Is Your Daily Dose

Seriously? This was our living room at 2:30 today.
What can I say? We live here. I mean we REALLY live here!!!
But about 30 minutes later......with the promise of swimming (or the threat of NOT swimming):

Ah. Much better.
Tomorrow, we'll lather. Rinse. Repeat.

The Heat Is Keeping Me Busy

First of all, judging from our electric bill, our home is probably not the most energy-efficient home out there. We have to work really hard to make sure our electric bill is not astronomical by August. It's already doubled. We have ceiling fans on, we try to keep the air at 78 or 79 degrees, we keep the blinds and curtains closed (which I hate), we added lined drapes to the sliding glass door this year, I shut off lights constantly.....it's a battle and I don't think we ever really win it. But just imagine what our bill would be if I DIDN'T do those things!

Also there is the bunny house. We moved that big honkin' thing across the yard--just S and I--so that it would be by our house and get shade in the afternoon. We have a system set up in which we put an ice chest in their house with them along with a frozen bottle of water. They love laying in that ice chest by the ice bottle. But lately I've been having to give them the ice earlier and earlier in the day. Now I'm putting it in there by 8:30AM! AND we're having to replace the ice in the afternoon. And I go out and hose down the roof of their house too. It is just SO hot.

Today we have some errands to run and I'm wanting to leave to get them done within the hour. I don't even want to be out later when it's 104 degrees, OK? It is infathomable to me that people lived in this town in the 1800s without A/C. And wore huge dresses with long sleeves and petticoats. And worked outside. Whew!

Well, I better get to cooking breakfast before the heat hits. Even plugging in that waffle iron is going to raise things a few degrees more than I want it to!

I think my great-grandmother would be shaking her head right now. Wimps.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today....

After 5 days of running, we are finally home today. We've had so much fun on Friday through Tuesday, but it's really nice to have nowhere to be today. I found myself happily cleaning the bathroom so you know I am glad to be home.

When I reminded the girls they had to do 2 workboxes before lunchtime, Little Bit said, "YEAH! Workboxes!!!" So you know she's glad to be home too. She told me yesterday she was ready for Kindergarten and wished it was starting "tomorrow." What a change from even a month ago when the thought of starting school still brought tears to her eyes! She's learned to swim in the last 2 weeks---all on her own with no one even suggesting it or showing her how. (There she is recently playing dress up)
One of her workboxes today included the letter projects from Totally Tots. (Today we painted ants on the A's) I know she's 5 1/2, but remember that I am leaning towards a "retro kindergarten", so letter activities are perfect for us. She knows her letters and the sounds, but this is great reinforcement and paired with the Kindergarten Handwriting Without Tears--it's exactly what we need for this summer.

They have watched a fair amount of TV today too, but that's OK because we have been SO busy, they need some summer down time. And this day just seems really long. I guess because I haven't had this much uninterrupted time in a while. So I guess I really need to get busy.

And may I just say that not having a digital camera is really cramping my bloggy style? I have had so many things I would like to show you guys and no way to do it. Ug. Not to mention the fact that I have missed many cute things the girls have done in the last few weeks. Must. Get. A. Camera. Soon.

Oh, and the only thing that has happened on the great (as of yet non-existent) girls' room makeover, is we changed out the purpose of those underbed storage boxes. When they had their own rooms, each girl had a rolling Rubbermaid or Sterilite or something plastic underbed storage box. Very nice. We stored videos and DVDs in them. I found another place for those movies and gave some away! Now, their boxes are used to store art work and papers they want to keep, which are plentiful and also blankets. Both girls sleep with a variety of blankets and lovies, etc. and even when their beds are made, they don't look neat because of the pile of sleeping stuff on top of the bed. I told them they could throw their current pair of PJ's in there too. I like this solution.
Hope your day is productive too!

Let's Go Visiting

This week's Fitness Friday is being hosted by JulieMom! I asked her to host because with all the business of summer, I am finding it hard to do every week. So, I thought we'd share the love.

JulieMom has an assignment for you and everything. Check in with her today or tomorrow and see what it is. (Not sure if it's day or night in South Africa right now!) And even though she loves us, I doubt very seriously if she is willing to stumble over to the computer at her 3:00 AM just so we will have our assignment at the right time, you know?

I'll see you there on Friday!!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Making Time for Creativity

Yesterday my family went to the museum. It was very fun to have Grandma and Grandpa, Sister and her girls Gnat and Moose, and S and our girls all along. It was especially a treat to have S be able to take off of work and go with us. We had a picnic lunch together and the whole day was just great.

Everyone had their "thing" they wanted to see at the museum. Little Bit--of course--wanted to see the dinosaurs. Gnat and Sweetheart were all about the Native American floor. As you walk through, you see areas on each kind of Indian, from the Plains Indians to the Southwestern ones. As we looked at all the intricately carved hand-made items on display, a thought occurred to me.

Most old things are very ornate. Even everyday objects that weren't just for "show" but were just used everyday in the course of life were lovely. The carvings and beading and decorations on things was amazing! And it isn't just the Native Americans. Go to any museum and witness the details given to things a long time ago.

I got to wondering---why aren't we that artistic anymore? Why would ancient people, who had to work SO hard just to survive, take the time to carve and sew and design such intricate pieces? I suppose that because they did have to work so hard, any down time would be spent doing something enjoyable like carving or sewing. I suppose that was relaxation to them?

If we have any down time it is completely sucked away by media and technology. It just makes me want to start cross-stitching again! Or quilting. Or painting. Making things with your hands really is important.

Don't even get S started on this subject. He has an entire "sermon" on the loss of American values via the hand-made quilt. We no longer make quilts and the country is going to pot. Well, he has some valid points in his speech. We've let go of several things that I think we might not should have let go of.

And I know some people, who believe that we evolved from monkeys or pond scum or something, are amazed that ancient people had the abilities to do such things. But God, the creator, created us in his image. Man was made with intelligence. With creativity. Maybe we shouldn't forget to use it!

So....that just leaves me the task of straightening up the sewing room. And THEN maybe I'll be able to get creative! :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Illusion Edition

OK people, teach me to dress slim!!!

After I had Little Bit, I bought a book that I have since loaned out and never seen again. I remember learning a few things from that book and I went shopping right after. The outfits I came out with ALWAYS fetched me compliments! It was a nice perk to going back to work. OK--it was the only perk. Sitting on the floor of a closet that was 3X4 feet pumping milk was certainly the opposite of a perk. Although I was thankful to be able to do so.

Anyway, I don't remember much about what I learned and I need some tips. So my post will be brief.

I hope you all have a great weekend.....now let's have those tips!! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How I Crossed Over to the Dark Side

I know I said I'm a trendsetter, but this is one trend I'm a bit late on. I read a lot of decorating blogs and it seems everyone is grabbing up old furniture and painting it black. Just look how darling black and white can be:

bathrooms (this might have been where I started sweating b/c I NEED some black in my house!)

I'm loving the black and white.
But here's the thing. My husband sort of thinks there is something really wrong with painting wood. If we found an old table at a yard sale, he would want to sand it down and stain it....NOT paint it. He loves to work with wood and has built me furniture over the years. I agree that wood is beautiful., but how am I gonna get me some black and white in this house?

Plus, it doesn't really GO with my house. I always lean to deep red. Maroon. Ruby. Garnet. It's all over my house and I don't even remember how it got here.

That happened to me at the old house with blue and yellow. One day I looked around and nearly every room had blue and yellow in it.

And then it hit me.

The homeschool room!

When we originally moved in, that room was going to be a home office for my husband, who was part-time youth minister at our church at the time and really needed a place to work. (He still needs a place to work but there are no more places.) I started getting black accessories, mainly inspired by some curtains I had seen in a magazine. I made those curtains out of muslin and black ribbon.
I can't believe that's the best picture I have of them.

And I got my beloved black shelves from IKEA.

And I bought a black trash can. And spray painted some baskets black to go in the shelves.

And THEN.....we turned that room into our classroom. So, you already have black in the homeschool room, right Brenda?

Right.

So what's missing?

FABRIC!!! PATTERN!!!

See, I was making a male office. It was plain. Sterile. (read: boring). But now that it's a classroom, and I find myself in there several hours a day......

...shouldn't it be fabulous?

I think so too. I'll share more of the dark side when I get it done!

So Here's The Problem

What I want to do and what I need to do aren't jiving with each other. Let me show you:


I NEED to clean, organize, and straighten up the homeschool room.

I WANT to re-cover the chair I found in the trash in a lovely black toile, help the girls paint their chairs, rearrange the room, and....well, decorate it.

I NEED to clean up the sewing room/bill paying area and get all of our paperwork in order and organize everything out there.

I WANT to just step over everything and finish sewing the girls' dresses.

I NEED to put about 100 pounds of laundry away.

I WANT to go shopping for fabric for the girls' room re-do.

I NEED to concentrate on cleaning the house and de-cluttering.

I WANT to paint the play room and sew new curtains in there.

Hmmph.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fitness Friday Assignment

We've been focused on health so much lately, let's go back to vanity for a while, shall we? :)


Just kidding.


Someone told me at church on Sunday that the bigger the earrings, the slimmer you look. I did not know that. So this week, give us your best tips for dressing slim and fit. You can include pics (you or from the web) and links if you like. Please keep in mind, my life is very casual. I do not need to know how to dress slim for a dinner party. My life is NOT like a soap opera. Boy do they dress up on soap operas!



And also, give us an update on how you are doing! If you don't have any tips, you can just give the update!!!

See you Friday!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Great Summer Plan....

...is actually working! I think I need to finish telling you about it.

So I got the workboxes all fixed up and each day (except Tuesdays, that's cousin day. Except today because Little Bit has fever so I've got to rearrange everything!) the girls do 3-5 boxes. I don't have a set time for them to start on them, I just expect them to have at least 2 done by lunch time.

Here is what you might see in their workboxes this summer:

  • They each are doing Handwriting Without Tears this summer as handwriting simply does not get done during the school year. This only takes 10 minutes or so.
  • Sweetheart is alternating between the Math U See online drill (15 minutes) and Math U See worksheets. We've GOT to keep up with her facts. She needs to have this daily practice.
  • They each get a book or books in their boxes. I read with them. This week's theme is First Aid so Sweetheart is reading an easy biography on Clara Barton. She really got into it! I was very surprised.
  • They each get a theme-based activity in their box each day. Today's activity is playing "pharmacy." I'll credit sister for the beginning of this idea and then we got to talking and added to it a bit. They are going to fill orders by counting pony beads into old medicine bottles and applying labels to the bottles. The "prescriptions" will say something like, "10 Blue Pills". It's mainly an activity for Little Bit, but I know it will launch pharmacy play with both of them.

Those workboxes have done wonders to stave off any thoughts of "I'm bored." Sweetheart told me she was bored yesterday afternoon and I reminded her she had workboxes to complete. She brightened right up--especially when she saw that one of them was her first piano lesson!

The other part of the summer plan is the chores. Their "morning chores" that they do every morning have been put on wooden door hangers. I got the idea from this site. Aren't they cute? So that allowed me to be very specific about their morning and bedtime routines. (I skipped the clip art for Sweetheart's sign.)

Then, each day they have a specific area of their shared bedroom to concentrate on. This is hanging on the wall and has pictures as well as words.

Monday--clean off headboards (My word, they collect crap there!)

Tuesday--clean off top of dressers (includes dusting)

Wednesday--straighten bookshelves

Thursday--straighten closet

Friday--clean doll area

They are always expected to pick up their things in the bedroom and pick up everything from the floor, but this way specific attention is given to areas that get to looking really bad otherwise.

AND...(I'm not through yet!) they have chore cards. These are just google images I grabbed off of the computer, printed onto card stock and cut up. I was planning on picking three chores a day for them, but I think I'll leave that more flexible. We were busy yesterday, so I just had them pick one. These chore cards are all things that would serve the whole family--not just chores about my kids taking care of themselves. I didn't want all of their chores to be about them. I did the "pick a card, any card" routine yesterday and they kind of liked the excitement about what they might get! Sweetheart had to straighten the blankets in the blanket box and Little Bit had to clean off the lamp table in the living room. No big deal. Also, these chores are age-appropriate for each girl.

I have all of these documents and if you are interested in seeing any of them, just give me a holla. I'll be happy to share.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Rocket Science Edition

Since realizing this post could very well go down in the annals of science, I feel totally unprepared. I also realize that my original concerns for starting Fitness Friday have changed. Maybe I'm just tired, but it's really not so much about what clothes size I am wearing anymore. Now I just want to be healthy.

I'm getting old.

And thinking about fitness all the time can be really tiring. There is WAY too much information out there to process. I had two grandmas, both of whom would be around 100 today if they were still alive. One was very thin and one was....thick. :) Do you think they sat around worrying about their figure and cholesterol all day? So not. They were too busy. Busy serving their families and others. Busy cooking and cleaning and working.

That brings me to my #1 thing:

Eat food that your grandmother (or great grandmother) would recognize.

I read that sometime last year and it has stuck with me. Especially when I notice how many boxes of food are on the conveyor belt at the grocery store. The less processed stuff and the more "real" food---the better.

And my #2 thing:

Work hard and don't be lazy.

My grandmother (the thicker one) raised five kids and fed at least 10 people three meals a day. Her in-laws lived with them as well as a brother-in-law, she and her husband, and the five rug rats (my dad being one of those). They lived on a farm and my grandmother worked HARD. I remember my dad buying Nanny a radio to sit by her chair. She fussed about it being too nice and how he shouldn't have done it. He said, "Mom, you worked all day for us kids and worked in the fields too and if I want to buy you something now I will!" :) I knew the lady who sat in her chair quilting and watched soap operas, but that wasn't who she was when she was younger. The Bible has a lot to say about being lazy too. So....get up and work!

My number 3 item comes from something I read online a few years ago. It was from a diet that I'll not link to today, but this line just cracked me up. After some introductory comments, and before the explanation of how to fix it all, the author said this:

"You eat too much and you eat the wrong things."

You know, thank you. Let's be honest here. Multiple cokes a day, plus Little Debbie's snacks are not on the road to fitness. We all struggle with some level of denial. Look at that skinny girl, I ate the same amount of food she did at dinner--what's up with that? or I really don't eat THAT much! Yeah. You know what you are doing wrong and chances are it's perfectly fixable. I'm talking to myself here.

So that's it. My three things to remember. Fitness ain't rocket science. What are your three?

(This the only Mr. Linky available to me right now. Just click the image below and do the same thing we always do.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Summer Plan

I bought the materials for The Workbox System in the spring. I tried it for a few days to see how I liked it before next year. If you don't know what I'm talking about, please take the time to google "workbox system" or "workboxes" because there is simply too much out there to link to. Here is the really short explanation: it is basically an organizational system that aids whatever curriculum you use and encourages independence on the part of the student. There is much more to it, but that's the short answer.

I think I've visited every single blog that shares about workboxes and I got so many great ideas from them. I did purchase Sue Patrick's e-book and there is no doubt---it is a great organizational system. But a few days after we tried it, I just had the feeling that something was wrong. I couldn't put my finger on it, but something nagged at me. I finally figured out what it was--I didn't WANT to be that organized.

Now let me explain. I have been learning about the benefits of organization around here and that is another reason I am excited to organize our homeschool day a bit more. But not THAT much.

See, I LIKE spontaneity. I like the kids to get to pick the order they get to do things sometimes. Will they pick all the fun things first and be stuck with all the hard work at the end? Probably. What a great lesson though! Yes, they need to learn to follow instructions, so MOST days they will probably follow the system in order. Maybe Fridays will be "you pick the order" days.

To be fair, Mrs. Patrick developed this system for her son, who is autistic. There are definitely kids, and families, who need that structure. But I don't want to give up the freedom that homeschool affords to become slaves to a schedule, you know?

There was something else though. Twelve boxes are WAY too many for our school day! The system suggests 12 workboxes for each student. When we tried that in the spring, the day seemed to go on forever! If we can finish school in a few hours, then I want to! I considered using the workboxes for just extra work for the kids to go to when they were waiting on me or to use as an assignment every now and then.

In the end, I decided that 6 boxes per child were plenty. Here are our boxes:

You can barely see the green number stickers on them. Sweetheart's are on top and Little Bit's are on the bottom. I had affixed the downloaded numbers, printed on blue card stock, to the shoe boxes already. But when I saw these I decided to spruce things up a bit. Great inspiration. I haven't ripped off all the old tags yet, as you can see.

Here are our boards where the numbers go when they complete the box.

(Their names are in the green sticker letters as well.) These were just made from scrapbook paper, good, thick laminating from an office supply store, and velcro.

When the board is full--you're done with school. I love that. It's my new motto. We just have so many subjects that we do together and curriculum that requires me to work with them--6 boxes work well for now.

Hmm. I talked a lot and never got to our summer plan so........to be continued! :)
P.S. The shelf was $15 from Target's laundry section and the shoeboxes were $1 each, also from Target. Some folks have done it cheaper. Google the blogs peoeple--there is a wealth of info out there!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer Theme-a-Week: Watermelons

Since our digital camera bit the dust a few weeks ago, I won't have an opportunity to share many pictures this week. My dad let me borrow his camera yesterday, but he's going out of town tomorrow and he's taking his camera with him. So.....I'll share what I have.

This is our first theme of summer 2009. Sister and I thought "Watermelons" was a good way to kick off summer! Plus it's a pretty easy theme and we knew we wouldn't be at the top of our game this week. I was right--I'm not. I've been in a mad scramble to get organized for this week, but it looks like it might be next week before I truly get it together like I want to.

Anyway.
We read several cute books this week. There are a lot of watermelon books out there, but our library didn't have that many. We have two favorites this week:

Peter Spit a Seed at Sue
Very cute!
And also Watermelon Day, which made me really hungry for watermelon!

We had such big plans, but we are scattered and brain-dead from the school year and just flat forgot to do some of this. Plus the kids were busy playing and we were busy visiting and we weren't too worried about it. But just in case YOU want to have a watermelon theme at your house, here they are:

Estimate the circumference of a watermelon, then measure.
Estimate the weight....
Estimate the number of seeds....
Float or sink experiment. We truly intended to toss that watermelon into the pool, but we forgot. Oh well, we may have to just get another watermelon!
Make play dough with watermelon flavored Kool-Aid or Jello.
Chew watermelon gum. (We did this one!) Also, watermelon Jolly Ranchers are to die for!
There are TONS of watermelon recipes online.

We did watch this little informative video. We also sang and listened to several watermelon songs we found. It was a fun day, and there are still a few days left. I intend to cut paper plates in half, let the girls paint them like watermelons and glue watermelon seeds on. And maybe some other things if I can pull myself together. I mean, look at my coffee table!


I'm sure you can imagine the rest of the room....or house.

But we did have fun yesterday. The girls finally talked Grandpa into swimming with them and then we all had a seed spitting contest. Here are some pictures from our fun:



Hope you are having a great week too!
Tomorrow I'll share my summer plan with you. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Rocket Science Edition

Edited to add: OK ladies, I got an e-mail this morning letting me know that this post had been added to the "Directory of Science." It's a real thing. So let's break this down....my Fitness Friday assignment post has been added to a directory which includes posts with such titles as "Science and the European Elections", "The Best Way to Reduce CO2 Emissions", and "Evolution of Computer Viruses."

We better make this good, huh? :0


We just make things so complicated sometimes, don't we? There are so many ways to clog up our brains with fitness and nutrition information and it always seems there is a new study coming out proving that some certain thing is good for you and some other certain thing is very bad for you.

But really, it's not rocket science. Or, as I like to say, "It's not rocket surgery." Man I love the Fail Blog.

So let's keep it simple this week. Tell us your top 3, or top 5 if you so desire, tips for health and fitness.

If someone were to remember only these 3 (or 5) things, what would be the most important things for them to know?

Come back Friday and share!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

NOT In Over Our Heads

I know you are more than tired of hearing about this, but I am so amazed. Here's how our weekend is shaping up:

Friday night: had friends over for Bible study in the evening
Saturday morning: Home Depot kids' workshop and then home to make meal plan and grocery list. I hate making meal plans and grocery lists.
Saturday afternoon: I had lunch to cook for everyone and then S cleaned up from lunch. Including sweeping!!! :) Girls and I shoot to Wal-Mart for the groceries. While I'm there, I get a phone call from S.

The preacher is sick and guess who is filling in tomorrow morning? Plus he already has to prepare for the Sunday night Bible study he leads. I begin teaching the new 2 year old's class at church tomorrow so I have 400 things to do for that. Plus I am finishing aprons this weekend which must be mailed on Monday. Plus I want to get the girls' summer chore charts ready to begin on Monday. Plus I am beginning summer workboxes on Monday and need to prepare those. Plus I really wanted to work on labels for the play room this weekend before the cousins start coming over this week. Plus, S has a meeting at 3:00 tomorrow afternoon and has to research and prepare a document for that meeting.

WHEW!!!!

But you know what? It's going to be OK because we have a kitchen full of food and a plan for the meals. It's going to be OK because I did laundry all week and, while there is a bit more to do, everyone has enough to wear. It's going to be OK because I have been doing my checklist all week and the house is no where near perfect....but perfectly acceptable to ignore for now.

Before, we would have been eating out all weekend because no one had been to the store. Before, we would have been getting clothes ready at midnight before church the next day. Before, the house would have fallen completely apart while we attended to all the things we need to do.

I love organization. It's my new BFF. :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fitness Friday--The Talk On Edition

My busyness is your gain. You get open posting again! I'm just too busy kind. I did give a suggestion for a topic and you are perfectly welcome to hit that topic.

I'm not. :)

Today I want to let you know how very much organization has affected my fitness plan. I am sitting here with my mouth open, let me tell you. I would have agreed with this statement before:

Being more organized will help you achieve your fitness goals.

But I didn't REALLY "get" it. Now I do.

Since I have been working on being more organized and using my new checklist, I have noticed several things.

1. I have what I need for meals so we haven't been out to eat yet.
2. The kitchen is clean so I can prepare meals. (Yes, we have gotten fast food before b/c the kitchen was such a mess. A few times. Once or twice. cough cough cough)
3. I actually do have time to exercise.
4. Housework, when you do enough of it, is WORK!

I am very happy with how the week has gone and how much I have accomplished. Today's checklist says, "spend time on a craft or hobby." I couldn't be more delighted and with everything I've done, I know it's OK for me to do that one today.

Hope your week is going well too! Can't wait to hear from everyone!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

School's Out!!! (Well, Kind Of)

Sweetheart officially completed 3rd grade yesterday!!! Yeah!!!

Here's the strange thing about homeschooling---you decide when they are done. Some moms set a date and wherever they are in the curriculum by that date, that's it. You know, in public school we never once finished a text book so it's kind of like that.

Other parents live in states where they have to count the days so when they reach their allotted number---done! I decided we would be done when we finished math and history. We finished math last week and history yesterday. Yesterday was also the last day for a lot of kids around here so it worked out well.

Since we sort of just fizzed out, finishing one subject at at time, there is no dramatic feeling of "wow! we're done!!!!" So I decided to have a special dinner to celebrate the end of 3rd. I found this free certificate and printed it on nice paper. We are having Sweetheart's favorite meal. I'll also give her the certificate that comes in the back of her Math U See book. And THEN, she will officially be a 4th grader.

Sniff. My baby will be 10 soon!

We are planning to have a great, fun summer. I am going to start using my workboxes in a modified way as I try to figure out how I'm going to use them next year. We will have a theme each week, just like last year.

This year we have chosen:

watermelons--to kick off the summer

First Aid--we wanted to do some biographies and Clara Barton and the Red Cross came to mind. Probably because I did book report on her several different years when I was in school. Why read a new book if you have a new teacher, you know? Plus it's a good thing to study First Aid at the beginning of the summer.

butterflies--there are so many art projects to go with this, we couldn't resist! We will be attending a butterfly display at the museum too.

dolls--this one evolved from a lot of ideas and we mushed 'em all together. The girls love their dolls, there are dolls in every country of the world and throughout history little girls have played with dolls....this is coming up around the week of Independence day.....we have American Girl dolls....why not dress the dolls up in 4th of July costumes and celebrate with them? Whew!

dogs--My niece Gnat loves dogs right now but sister and I didn't really want to focus on "dogs as pets" as Sweetheart wants one really badly but is not getting one anytime soon and neither are her girls for that matter, so we decided to focus on working dogs and famous dogs.

artists--art as a career, famous artists...plus we will try out every kind of art we can think of. Sculpting, painting, etc.

imaginary creatures--My other niece Moose is still on her mermaid kick and the older girls wanted to study horses--again. We said no more! So we decided to study unicorns (our horse alternative), mermaids, fairies, etc. We will be focusing on the imaginary part as some of these things are presented to children as being real.

So every day a theme activity will go into one of the workboxes. In the other boxes will be math practice, handwriting, astronomy (not quite through with that one yet), and fun stuff.

So, what are you doing for "summer school"?

Fitness Friday This Week

Hi Ladies! I see Mr. Linky is behaving again so hopefully we will be able to have a regular Fitness Friday where it is easier to visit each other and offer encouragement!

I've been on an organizing kick around here and obviously that doesn't leave room for me to give you an assignment on time. Ahem....

You guys had such a great time with open posting last week that we will continue that this week. There is so much to talk about, isn't there? But if you want some direction, here's a suggestion:

Literary Encouragement

Tell us about a book, or portion of a book, Bible verses, whatever....something in print that has encouraged or informed you during your fitness journey. Please share!

See you tomorrow unless you have just shrunk away to nothin' since last week.

As that is not the case with me, I'LL be here. (sigh) :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Becoming Organized, One Check Mark at a Time

Today is my 3rd day using the Motivated Mom's planner. The list of things to do every day never changes, and then there are 4-6 different things for each day. I have 2 friends (one real-life friend and one e-friend) joining me on the checklists and that is very comforting. It's nice knowing that others are suffering through doing the same things I am.

Today's list was VERY ambitious. We nearly died when we saw it! So I find myself cleaning out 1/2 of the top cabinets in my kitchen this afternoon. This something I would have argued in a court of law was not necessary had you asked me earlier. I mean, how can I do something that doesn't even show when there is so much obvious stuff that needs to be done??? (toy room, homeschool room, sewing room...it hardly ever changes)

Well, turns out the cabinet I picked (which I thought was the easy one) was VERY GROSS once I climbed up on the stool. It may take time, but doing small things every day is going to add up to a BIG difference one day. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to do something big and noticeable before S gets home from work, but reality is, you don't often finish an entire room in one day.

Small steps. Little check marks.

And there is still time to do the important things like help the neighbor carry her garage sale stuff inside before the rain starts. And wash the doll clothes that go with the doll Little Bit got from the garage sale. And help Sweetheart paint the horses she got. I may not get every check mark done each day, but I feel like I'm getting more done than I used to.

OH! And the best thing is--one of the daily tasks is "Exercise." I haven't made/had time to do my new DVD yet, but each day I have been able to check off that box (swimming, driving range...). How cool is that?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Insert Catchy Title Here

Remember a while back our girls were lamenting their poor surroundings and wishing they had a "rich house"? Well, that topic came back up yesterday. I probed a bit further with Little Bit and asked her what makes a rich house. Are you ready?

1. Rich houses have flowers (I think she means in vases)
2. Rich houses have stairs.
3. Rich houses have brown floors. (I pointed to our laminate flooring and she said, "but they don't have carpet." We have carpet in the living room. We are sooo trashy.)
4. Rich houses have plants.
5. Rich houses have fancy cars.

Nice to know. I asked her if rich houses have messy toy rooms and that was the end of the conversation.

I'm going to have to watch that girl. Yesterday S swam with the girls after supper while I finished the dishes and ran to the store for some essentials. (Cokes and something chocolate--FF ladies, please ignore that statement. I was providing for my family.)

While they were in the pool Little Bit suddenly announced she was going to go under water. We haven't encouraged her to do that in summers past because of her $2,000 ear tubes but last night she did. In just a few minutes she was not only going all the way under, but swimming down to touch the bottom of the pool and seeing how long she could stay under. S said he got a little nervous at one point because she stayed down a pretty long time.

I can just tell how teaching her is going to be. She will not do a thing for a long time--won't even consider doing it--and then one day she makes up her mind and that's the end. She's a watcher. She watches, listens and absorbs for a long time and then she just does it herself one day. There is not a process of day by day getting better at something for her. It's going to be interesting.

Yesterday my new checklist from Motivated Moms went really well. It was a lot to get done all in one day! I have been wandering around putting out fires for so long, having an organized list of things to get done felt strange. I did things that, to me, could have waited. For example, yesterday's list had on it to clean off the top refrigerator shelf. Well, it wasn't that bad. The homeschool room needs to be sorted, the toy room looks like a tornado went through, and the sewing room floor is missing, but I cleaned off that top shelf because I know if I continue with the checklists, order will begin to creep in. Before I would have never done some of those things because how can I when there is all this mess around?? See? I got not so much done because I was distracted by how much there was to do.

And so I'm off to get started on my list for today. We already cleaned the bunny house out. Ug. And guess what I have discovered? Little Bit is all about cleaning. She LOVES to help me with housework. Sweetheart, not so much. She does her chores, but more often than not her work is sloppy and has to be done again. Cleaning and housework just doesn't really appeal to her (mostly). But when we are dealing with the pets--Little Bit is strangely absent and Sweetheart is right there in the middle sweeping up poop with a smile on her face. Maybe she should marry that farmer when she grows up like she plans to. Kids are so different from each other.

Have a great, productive day Ladies!!!