Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Trip To The Dentist

Max & Jensyn had their first dental visit last fall.  (That was Alex’s second visit.)  On that visit, my mom came along to lend a hand (thanks, Mom!) since I wasn’t sure how well it would go with all three kids having dental appointments at the same time.  The boys did great, but Jensyn had a very hard time.  She had to lay on my lap, and she cried and fussed through the cleaning and exam.

Well, it was time to go again.  This time, we were on our own – no grandma to lend a helping hand.  I was a little concerned about how it would go, but everything was GREAT!  We went on St. Patrick’s Day, so all three kiddos are wearing green.  The hygienists were all wearing green antenna headbands, which made the kids smile.

The little girl who was fearful six months ago had NO FEAR today!  She climbed right up in the chair all by herself, happily put on the cute pink sunglasses, and cooperated with EVERYTHING!  She answered questions, smiled and laughed, and just did an AMAZING job!  What a difference six months can make!  (The hygienists also commented on how CUTE she was…always nice to hear!)

2014-03-17 13.55.492014-03-17 14.03.59

The boys did well, too.  I tried to stay mainly with Jensyn, so I wasn’t right there for everything that went on with the boys.  I was able to grab a quick picture of each of them.

I guess Alex had trouble with x-rays; he was a little nervous without Mommy or Grandma at his side like last time, but in the end they were able to get the images they needed.  Otherwise, he did a great job. 

2014-03-17 14.17.47
Max was upset that they didn’t have any green toothpaste (his favorite color) to clean his teeth, and he had a brief grumpy moment, but otherwise he cooperated very well.  He thought that the water and suction straw-thingy were absolutely hilarious.  I tried to catch him in a giggle, but my phone’s camera delay only got this…the somber face after the big giggle.

2014-03-17 14.23.32

No cavities – they all got to sign their names on the “No Cavity” wall.  It’s a chalkboard paint wall, which they erase at the end of each month.  They also each got a prize token to use in the prize machine at the end of their visit.  All 3 kids chose a bouncy ball.  Jensyn, who had a GREAT visit with no tears, ended up crying hysterically when her ball came out.  She wanted a pink ball, and she ended up with a black/white ball.  Alex came to her rescue, and her traded his green/yellow ball for her black/white one.  That fixed the tears, even if it wasn’t pink. 

I was AMAZED at how smoothly this visit went!  It looks like we’ve reached a point where Mama can take all three kids to the dentist without an extra set of hands!  Or at least this time…who knows what the next visit will hold Winking smile

Thursday, March 20, 2014

February Photo Dump

(The post in which I ‘dump’ all the pictures that really didn’t merit a post of their own…)

Cinderella is sweeping my kitchen…by choice Winking smile

apparently my children felt the need to document the mess in the living room & master bedroom…posting these for the sake of honesty – our house is not always clean Winking smile


Alex took a picture of his favorite sweatshirt.

blue tongue selfie of Alex

We made homemade raspberry marshmallows (we used raspberry instead of strawberry) & homemade chocolate graham crackers for Valentines Day.  YUMMY marshmallow sandwiches!!!



We also made homemade granola bars b/c we couldn’t find any inexpensive & peanut free options…they are SOOOO soft and delicious, and I love knowing exactly what ingredients are in the bars! (I added a little extra oats & crisped rice as a sub for the almonds.  Next time, I’m going to sub coconut oil for the butter.)

This is my kitchen counter on a typical Wednesday.  We’re a thirsty bunch! Open-mouthed smile

Nana’s 94th Birthday party

Just a typical day at our house - Cinderella is holding Buzz Lightyear and chasing Woody, who is holding Woody.


using construction trucks to eat their animal crackers…IMG_0426

First family Uno game…LOTS of fun! Smile

2014-02-16 19.13.53Max made brownies with Mama…and wore a lot of batter Winking smile
2014-02-24 18.17.21

Alex’s team at the final Upward game of the season
2014-03-08 14.00.41

Alex during his last Upward game of the season…he has REALLY improved over the season.  By no means is he a basketball pro, but he grew in skill and confidence, and he had a lot of fun along the way.!
2014-03-08 14.03.382014-03-08 14.23.24

Monday, March 17, 2014

Little Hearts For His Glory, Unit 21

This year, we are using Heart of Dakota’s Little Hearts For His Glory curriculum.
It is adaptable for children ages 5 – 7.  To read more about our choice,

Let’s start with a moment of honesty.  It’s embarrassing to post a pic like this, but I think that homeschool blogs can often (yet unintionally) leave readers with the feeling that other moms can ‘do it all’ while they can’t manage to keep it all together.  So…confession time…THIS was my kitchen last week Tuesday morning.  This is what my kitchen USUALLY looks like on Tuesday mornings.  So if your house is a disaster at many points throughout the week, you’re not alone! Smile

After a busy weekend where family (not cleaning!) is the priority, we have our homeschool co-op on Monday.  I prep my co-op lesson, pack backpacks, make lunches and take care of all those other last minute things on Sunday night before bed.  On Monday morning, we’re rushing to get out the door at 7:45 AM.  By the time we get home on Monday, I am EXHAUSTED.  It’s often 3 PM or later, and I still have to unpack our co-op stuff, figure out what’s for dinner, get a toddler down for a short nap, return a few messages, and collapse in a heap.  On this night, we were eating a super-quick dinner before running out the door to Alex’s Upward Basketball Awards Night.  Hence, the crazy kitchen on Tuesday morning.

Now that my confession is out of the way, let’s get back to the point of this post…

LHFHG Unit 21

Among other topics, we learned about the Native Americans this week.  Even Mommy is learning so much from Little Hearts history!  We used the globe to trace the path that the Native Americans likely used when they first came to the Americas.  (I had never before even THOUGHT about how the Native Americans originally came here.)

We read about how the first people in America worshiped spirits, as they didn’t know the truth about God.  Alex also learned WHY the Native Americans were called “Indians”.

We also made our own Indian villages using printable teepees and Indians that we found online.  All 3 kids had to get in on this project!  You can print these in color or b&w at SmartyPants  Fun website.  I would love to have gotten even more creative, but this was a nice pattern for a mom who wasn’t feeling like building mini teepees from scratch!


Just for fun, we also printed these color by number Native Americans
(Scroll down on the page for the Native American GIRL page.)
Other lessons this week included Christopher Columbus, Balboa (the first European to see the Pacific Ocean), Ponce de Leon, and Pizarro and the king of Peru.  We had fun using a cottonball as a ‘ship’ and blowing it off the end of the world…or end of the kitchen table.  We then used the cottonball to ‘sail’ around the world on our globe.  Aren’t you glad that the world isn’t flat, and we can’t sail right off the end and into oblivion? Smile


Alex has been working on memorizing Psalm 96:4-5.  He didn’t quite memorize this one before the unit came to an end, but he understands it.  We’ve talked about the powerless gods with a lowercase g versus the true God who created the world.

We are working through All About Reading level 2 this year.

After a break of several weeks, we restarted AAR 2 on our last day of Unit 21.  We’re working on lesson 5, which is mainly about breaking words into syllables in order to sound them out more efficiently.  Alex had GREAT fun using the hatchet to ‘chop’ words right down the middle.

2014-03-12 15.18.17

(Please keep in mind that I have the older version of LHFHG, and if you purchase a new guide, your math will follow a different sequence than what we are doing.  I created my own spreadsheet to match the math activities in the older version of LHFHG to the lessons in Singapore Essentials.  It’s not perfect, but it will work for us!)

In this unit, Alex has been working on one number and its fact combinations each day.  In the pictures below, he is working on the number 7.  I gave him seven “sixlets” candies.  With a sheet of paper divided vertically down the middle, he is splitting the candies between the two sides of the paper.  He then writes a math problem on paper to show the fact he just made with his candies.  (For example, he put 3 candies on the left and 4 on the right.  Then he wrote, “3+4=7”)  After his math lesson, he gets to EAT the manipulatives!


We used a similar activity for the number 8, and then we used cheerios in circles (shown below) for the number 9.  I gave Alex nine cheerios, and he had to determine all the ways the cheerios could be arranged in the two circles & then write the math facts on the page.


No pictures Sad smile 

The science activity is to ‘build’ the Panama Canal out of playdough in a tub of water.  Sail a small object (ship) through the ‘canal’, pointing out how much shorter of a journey it is than sailing all the way around.

We are using Happy Handwriting and Rod & Staff ABC series.


We’re currently continuing through our review of a new spelling program,
and Alex is still enjoying ‘Finding The Answers’. 

Both boys and I are working our way through Chatterer The Red Squirrel.  Alex can barely handle the shortness of the chapters – he desperately wants me to continue reading each day to see what happens next.  It’s a cute story, and I love the way that HOD ties in character lessons and simple Biblical connections to the Burgess stories! 

One thing I’ve definitely learned about Little Hearts For His Glory is that “artistic expression does NOT mean, “fun crafts to hang on the wall”.  Occasionally, there might be a project that is worthy of hanging, but that is definitely NOT the goal of HOD’s artistic expression each week.

Unit 21’s project was a great way to remember the history lesson, but it seemed more like dramatic play than art.  We folded a piece of paper to represent the room in which the king of Peru was held prisoner.  Then we filled the room with cheerios to represent the gold that he used to (he believed) buy back his freedom from the explorer Pizarro.

We added a Playmobil king and throne to make it more authentic.


Ideally, you’re supposed to use yellow playdough rolled into small balls, pressing a coin on the playdough to imprint the money picture on it.  I think that’s where the ‘art’ comes in.  We don’t have any yellow playdough, and I didn’t have time to make it on this day…so we used the ‘plan B’ present in the manual – cheerios.


This goes along with our reading about Ponce de Leon, who buried a helmet and a cross by a fountain that Indians showed him.  These were found many years later. 

We learned about archaeological digs, and we made our own in a container of (stale, expired) cornmeal.  We divided it into 4 sections, making a grid to keep track of where we dug.   When Alex wasn’t looking, I hid a Playmobil helmet and a small rock with a cross drawn on it.  Then he had to use his “tools” (a stick and a paintbrush) to find and clean the items he found.


I cannot even begin to explain to you what a HIT this project was with my boys!  Max soon came running over to see what was going on.  Before I knew it, they were taking turns being the explorer who buried the items & the archaeologist who dug up the items.

I was getting frustrated because our school day was going on FOREVER, but then I realized something:  my boys were ENGAGED IN LEARNING!  Isn’t that one of the main reasons for homeschooling?  Let’s make learning COME ALIVE for our kiddos.  Let them learn through play, let them get excited about projects and derail our school day.  What’s better?  Cutting short his play so we can finish up our math & phonics, or allowing him to fully invest himself in a project that will help him remember his history lesson for a long, long time?  At that point, I took a deep breath, busied myself with some cleaning in the kitchen, and allowed the boys to spend another 45 minutes digging in cornmeal.  (Because my first picture in this post should make it ABUNDANTLY clear that I had plenty to clean in my kitchen, lol!)

I will not even begin to explain how much cornmeal was scattered around the table, chairs, and floor.  But I limited them to kitchen table, and I brushed off their clothes before they could leave.  It was worth the time and the mess! 

{Disclosure: This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links.  When you make a purchase after clicking through this link, our family will receive a small percentage of your purchase price.  Thank you!}