Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer Time Happenings - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Summer is definetly here in Arizona as the heat is on!  We are winding down with some things and gearing up with others.  Workboxes are going well except for the fact that I was sick for two days last week and they didn't happen.  (Very frustrating). But I will post more about them later.  Also Anastasia got her walking boot off.  Yeah!!!

As I mentioned before we are going to keep schooling thru the summer.  The  weekly plan is this-  Mon-School, Tuesday- Basha pool with friends, Wednesday--School, Thursday--School, Friday---Harkins Summer Movie Fun, Library and any special projects that go with our unit studies.  Jay only has 8 more days at UOP and then will be full time with the church.  It is exciting and will be challenging all at the same time.  Our budget is going to get really tight again but God has blessed us so much I know it will be fine.

We also have two birthdays and two graduations to celebrate this summer:  Natasha will turn 1 in June and Alexa will be 3 in July.  Joshua will graduate Kindergarten and Jay will graduate college in July we are going to have to plan a big celebration for our guys!!!

In the midst of all this we will go camping at least twice hopefully, have the girls dance recital, and participate in our church's VBS.  I will also be busy planning the start up of AWANA's at our church.  I am so excited and overwhelmed at the same time.  I am going to be a co-commander with another lady and we plan on starting in August.  I love Awana's and there is a lot to get planned.

So that is our plans for the summer.  What are yours?  Do you take the summer completely off of school?  Do you school year round?  Have any trips planned?

I am also looking for any good camping websites that have activites and such for kids to do while camping.  If you know of any let me know.

Also one more thing....I am planning a unit on the 4th of July and really want to do it up this year.  We always go to fireworks and such but outdoors during the day is really limited here it is usually extremely hot so what do you do to celebrate this special day with your family?  I am going to plan some crafts and such any ideas???

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13

We had a nice relaxing Memorial weekend.  We spent some time talking with the kids about soldiers and war and our family memebers who are serving right now and have served our country in the past.  I just found out I have a cousin who was just deployed to Iraq about a month ago.  We also just spent time as a family cleaning out the garage (that is always fun! ) on Saturday.  Then Saturday night we had a cook out on our fire pit.  We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.  The kids loved this.  Sunday was busy with church things and then we were all so glad to still have Jay home on Monday even though he had to spend most of the day working on a school paper.  Papa and Grandma came over for lunch and visited for awhile and then we just had a quiet relaxing evening.

Here are some pictures of our fire pit.  I didn't take any pictures of cleaning the garage.  LOL but we can now park the suburban in there just in time for the summer heat!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our Last Co-op for the year - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more


 Monday was our last co-op for the year.  What a wonderful and enriching year it has been for both my kids and myself.  We have made such great friendships and learned a lot.  The kids were actually sad that it is time for summer break and want to make sure they can get together over the summer with their friends.  It has been especially neat to watch Joshua's friendships blossom.  One of his best friends is Ethan and when Joshua was packing his lunch for co-op he asked if he could bring an extra apple and carrots because Ethan had a loose tooth and he wanted to help him get it out.  How cute is that!!    One thing I really like about co-op is now for next year they just don't move the kids up to the next grade.  They really try to keep classes together because of these friendships.

Anastasia is losing a good friend this year due to them moving to Flagstaff.  So that has been hard.  But Flagstaff is great to visit both in the summer and winter.

I didn't get many pictures this month but Anastasia's class was studying Botany, Joshua was studying space and Savannah was studying plants, summer fun and seeds.

Savannah's class made picnic plates and played water balloon games during their picnic class.

Anastasia sprouted a lima bean in a wet paper towel and then moved it to a pot and now it is growing like crazy.

Between Anastasia and Savannah we now have a garden starting on our window sill.  The kids love checking on them each morning and see how they are growing.  We need to go get some bigger planters to do some transplanting.

Joshua learned all about planets, and space ships.  I didn't get a picture yet of him in his space helmet.  It was really cute.  Below is a placemat I found at Wal-Mart and got for Joshua.  (They have great placemats there for only $1.00 we have quite a few of them.)


We had a wonderful year and the kids are already asking when is September!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Joshua's Last T-Ball Game

Joshua had his last t-ball game on Saturday and his team did great.  They have really improved over the season!  Joshua liked playing and wants to play again next season along with doing soccer, swimming, karate and boxing!   I told him the only boxing he would be doing is on the Wii!  LOL

Year end pizza party.  Way to go A's!!!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Our first two days using workboxes

The kids and I love these workboxes!!!  It really is helping us stay focused and get work completed.  I also found 2 yahoo groups for discussion of workboxes and all sorts of forms.  These ladies are great for sharing ideas with.  The groups are:    and

 We started the workboxes on Thursday.  The kids started with our group time which I listed the activities (pledges, prayer, calendar, story and Bible verse) on the white board.  Then when we were done with those I had them come sit in front of the boxes.  They were so excited.  I explained whose was whose and how they had to work in order.   So I sat in the middle of the floor and monitored and helped them.  They like to work on white boards when doing worksheets and stuff so they can sit on the floor by me.  As they finished a box they stacked the boxes in a corner and turned in their work in another bucket I have under the table.

Workboxes disappearing from the shelves.



 Empty workboxes stacked in the corner.  (At the end of the day I have one of the kids put the empty ones back on the shelf.  It saves me time and it is great number recoginition for them) 

Turn in tub on the floor. They place all completed work in here. 

 Alexa was so excited to have her own computer time.

Joshua posing for a picture doing his reading.

These are the work box forms that I fill out each week to plan what goes in each box.  I color coded them to match their colors on their boxes so it is easy for me to see whose is whose.

Now this week I am working on getting all my file folder and center games that I bought laminated.  I will post about them as they get done.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

I had a wonderful Mother's Day and am so blessed to be a mother.  My Mother's Day actually started Saturday evening.  Jay had the kids for most of the afternoon and when he brought them home they had flowers and gifts for me.  Jay even bought steak and cooked it for dinner.

Joshua got me a coffee cup.  It was so cute because a couple of weeks ago he was helping to unload the dishwasher and he accidentally droped and broke my favorite cup.  He felt so bad and I reassured him it was okay.  So he told Jay that is what he wanted to get me for Mother's Day.

Then Sunday the kids and I stayed home from church because Anastasia wasn't feeling well so we just relaxed and all took naps when Jay got home.  Then he went to the grocery store and got ice cream for all of us that night.

Thank you Lord for blessing me 6 times over on this day!!!!


Saturday, May 9, 2009


I am so excited about workboxes. About two weeks ago I was reading another blog and they were talking about them. Well my curiosity was peaked and I started "googling" away. Sue Patrick developed this system. Be sure to visit her site and I would recommend buying her book. I bought the ebook for about $18.00. I always do ebooks so I can have it instantly . It is a quick read and very informative. Also when you buy the book you then get access to forms and such on her website.

I love this system because it is very similar to Worshop Way which I used in my class room when I used to teach and also used some with Anastasia. The best thing about the workboxes is that you can use them with any curriculum you have and it allows to add in all that fun extra stuff that we tend to never get to.

Here is the set up:

I got two shoe racks (found in an orange box in laundry/storage area at Target) 12 clear plastic shoe boxes on each shelf. Joshua will have 12 activities each day and Savannah and Alexa will share a shelf for now and each have six. Anastasia really likes the way we already do her lesson plans and will be using Switched on Schoolhouse next year so she is not going to use this system.

This is the cards on their lesson plan.

Sue also suggests having the students "clock" in and out each day. I thought this was really neat and would motivate the kids. (Sue has clip art already done for this but I made up my own) I used Library pocket cards and made two for each child. One is Time for School and the other is finished. Then they each have a book mark with their picture and cute clip art on it. I laminated everything and they move their mark from one to the other.

What I like about the system is the break up of activities. Joshua has 12 boxes and for example here is what will be in each one on Tuesday:

1. Handwriting wkst.

2. Two Wrap N learn cards (This is an activity we have had from discover toys)

3. Math workbook with his lesson marked

4. File folder game (math)

5. Computer disk to play a phonics game for 20 min.

6. Practice cutting worksheet

7. Reading book with pages marked (this box will also have a work with mom card)

8. Phonics worksheet

9. Color in some of his Dinosaurs

10. Lap book activity for Dinosaurs

11. Phonics Center game

12. Activity bag.

The boxes vary from sit down work to fun activities that he can see and will keep him motivated. When all the boxes are done he is done with school for the day.

I also just got some books from our local teaching store:

Take it to your seat Phonics Centers Level A by Evan Moor. This has 13 full color centers that I just have to put together and laminate.

Take it to your seat Science Centers PreK-K

and File Folder Games for Language Arts and Math.

I am so excited to start this. The girls will each have 6 containers and Alexa is not quite three yet but she wouldnot want to be left out so she will get puzzles, activity bags and tracing activities and some file folder games to do with me.

Here is another blog Walking by the way of a mom who is using this system and she has links to other blogs. So check out her blogs, Sue's site and then just google workbox homeschool.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Our New School Room and Workboxes

I know most of you are winding down for the school year and getting ready for summer but we are getting ready to gear back up.  With packing and moving and unpacking the kids have just been barely doing the basics for the last month and a half so we are going to continue schooling this summer.  It is way to hot to go outside anyways except for swimming.  I also want to school this summer because we will be taking a week off in September for our Disney trip and the new baby is due the end of November which means we will be off school from Thanksgiving thru Christmas.  I have to say this is such a great benefit of homeschooling is deciding and fitting our schedule around our family needs. 

So we finally got the school room painted and my bookshelves painted thanks to my great hubby.  I love primary colors so the walls are yellow and the shelf is red and blue.  I have another white cabinet that I would eventually like painted green.  Our school room is right off of our family room and kitchen.  I doesn't have a door just an open arch way.  So we keep the school stuff all in there and work in there but also the kids "spill" out into the family room. 

I have so many books and curriculum (what homeschool mom doesn't? lol) and I don't use them all all the time but I can't part with them.  So I put them into banker boxes and on the front of each box I put a number.  Then on a piece of paper I listed what was in each box.  Now as long as I don't lose that paper  I can find the stuff in the boxes easily.  I put these boxes on a shelf in the garage.

Now I have a place for everything and everything in its place. Although this is a great saying it never works with a two year old in the house!!  Here are some pictures of our school room and I will tell you all about the workboxes in my next post.  They are soo cool and you might even want to incorporate it into your schooling next year.

 These two pictures are just to show you what the shelves looked like in our old house.  (The white shelving in the back of the pics)

And here is what they look like now after some spray paint and a handy hubby:

I just love them!!!  Inside the red cabinet I have paper, centers, activity bags and what ever else I could put in there. 

Now I will do a seperate post about the workboxes.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Natasha's Eleven Months

I know I probably say this everymonth when I post her pictures but I can't believe my baby is getting so big.  She is going to be a year old already next month!!   (I need to start planning a party )

Here are her pictures with the bunny.  She was wiggly and wanted to touch the bunny.



Wanting to share her spaghetti!