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Friday, August 29, 2014

An "Exciting" Week

We've had quite a bit of excitement here in Plankerville this week, not always of the desired kind but I can honestly say there was never a dull moment.  Here's to hoping the weekend has a bit more of the good stuff and a minimal amount of the uninvited variety.  

Exhinit A:  This snake that Mickey in our driveway...


...thankfully it's not poisonous and is actually quite rare.  It's a yearling coachwhip.  Cool, huh?  Glad Mickey found it first and let me know not to worry if I encountered it.

Exhibit B:  Tuesday morning story times features...


...we had a water theme.  Story Time is always the excitement of the good variety...even when the music isn't working and we have to sing Cee Lo Blue's rendition of the itsy bitsy spider A Capella...haha!

Exhibit C:  Clearance Spider Man Masks...


...the boys have no clue I went back and bought these for them for Christmas.  Can't wait to surprise them!

Exhibit D:  Lunchtime with Dad... 


....this was the happy part of our day on Wednesday before everything went south fast.  We love getting to see Daddy most days for lunch.

Exhibit E:  Mason's big accident... 


...somebody got pushed off the big bed while roughhousing and it didn't end well.  This is the kind of excitement I could do without in my life.  Thankfully his fracture on his clavicle is a closed one and should heal up just fine with time.  We actually found out from the orthopedic doc that we don't have to use the sling any more, we just have to take it easy for the next 5 weeks.  We'll be having lots of inside, quiet play, something that will likely be a struggle for us when our favorite activities include bike riding, jumping on the trampoline, roughhousing, and going to the playground.  Prayers are appreciated!

Exhibit F:  Wednesday Night Story Time...


...it was pretty exciting to be able to be in and out of urgent care in enough time to make it to see my story time friends.  Shout-out to MedStat for getting us in and out in an hour.  They rock!  That's got to be a record.  Mason stayed home and cuddled with Daddy while Colton and I rocked story time with some fun stories.

Exhibit G:  Exciting recipe finds...


...I had success with two new recipes yesterday.  The first was a delicious Fried Egg and Sweet Potato Noodles with Bacon & Vegetable Hash  that even got a thumbs up from my meat-loving husband.  He was skeptical of the eggs with his dinner but devoured it with rave reviews.  

My second recipe success was with a new kale chip recipe.  I love Rhythm Kale chips but don't love the price and was thrilled with the result of this copycat recipe.  I subbed almond butter for the sunflower butter, soy sauce for the coconut aminos, and just used regular balsamic since that's what I had on hand.  I think we'll be trying the sauce on some chicken in the near future.  It's SOOOO good.  It's amazing that something with no cheese in it can actually taste cheesy.  So cool!  
FYI...mine took about 9 hours to dehydrate in my oven rather than the suggested 3-5 hours.  Maybe I need to spread them out even more next time.  They're worth the wait though.  YUM!

Time for some quality time with my kiddos hopefully consisting of good excitement if any at all.  I'd actually be A OK with a totally mellow day.  Have a lovely day and weekend filled with excitement of the good variety.  




"a" week

We're into week 2 of our homeschool adventure and still going strong.  This week, we're continuing our letter A theme with a focus on lowercase a.

We kicked off our week with a lowercase a apple craft...


...Colton was more into playing games with the markers than coloring.   "Look mom, they're all twins... 


...and I can color with two hands at once...and did you know these markers double as stamps...


...I'm realizing coloring is really just not his thing these days.  Looks like patterns are though :-). I'm going to follow his lead and let his interests guide our activities.

Here are our finished products...


...like I always say, process not product.  I had a good gut check with this one in trying to decide if the colors of the apple were important.  If it's art, blue apples are totally appropriate.  If it's supposed to be realistic, blue isn't acceptable.  I decided to let this one go into the art category this time.  This is such a learning process for me.  

We also had some fun with some letters and play doh...


...we simply used the plastic letter magnets like stamps in the play doh and the boys had a great time with it.  I see some spelling fun in our future with this activity.

We took two field trips to the library this week.  On one visit, we had fun with the big magnetic letters...


...see the patterning thing he's got going on these days?  They've also been having fun with things like the number 6 and the letter M and all the other letters that are other symbols when you turn them upside down.  They had fun rotating the sandpaper letters as well to see what other letters they could find.  Lowercase b and d were fun ones :-).  

Coloring may not be high on his list of favorites, but Colton never turns down a chance to paint...


...he had fun mixing yellow and blue to make green.  This one's for you, Oma!

The boys surprised me on Wednesday and were very into working on their tracing skills...



...I took a cue from their interest and let them have at it.  I'm not sure how much to stress proper handgrip and don't want to make it feel like work to write but don't want them to develop bad habits either.  I need to look into that more.

Wednesday also found us playing with some play doh...

I had plans to put apples on the apple tree and roll out "snakes" to turn into letters but quickly found we needed work on making balls and snakes out of clay first so we spent most of our time on that instead.  I'm sure it's good for their hand strength and fine motor skills to tackle those tasks.  We'll keep working on it.  


Part of our daily routine includes a devotion.  In case you're in the market for a good devotional book for your little ones, we're really enjoying this one...


...the boys and I are working on praying for others each day too.  Their little prayer requests are so sweet.  We pray for our cat each day :-), our family,  and our little friend who's moving to Texas.   

Other highlights of the week included legos with Dad...


...lots of books, and lots of car play.  We've also had some fun with ABCMouse on the Ipad and a leapfrog DVD...
Today I play to let their interests be our guides.  I'm hoping to get in a nature walk, lots of reading, and some tangrams.  We've also got a trip to the grocery store planned which always lends itself to lots of conversation and learning as well.  The world is our classroom!   



Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend Update

We finally got a "relaxing" weekend here in Plankerville and I have to say I'm feeling quite refreshed as I type this on Sunday night.  

Yesterday morning kicked off with a fantastic run with my running buddy who is moving to Texas this week.  I'm so sad that I'll be losing her but I'm looking forward to our virtual running dates and can't wait to hear what her future has in store for her.

With my workout out of the way, it was time to feed the boys love meter a little with a trip to Lowes for one of our favorite Saturday morning activities...


...they made some pretty cute alien robot puppets.

We ran some errands, had some downtime at the house, and tackled some chores with the rest of day and then got to spend our evening out on the town having a blast with some great friends...


...nights like this one don't happen nearly often enough...


...and Jen, it was a great idea to split up the guys and gals...


It was so much fun to catch up, eat some yummy food, drink some yummy drinks...


...and spend time with great friends...


...I'll spare you the dance floor photos...haha....but I'll let you know it was a fun time.  

We had a lazy start to our day today and spent the entire day around the house which was completely fine with me.  Our entertainment included some sidewalk painting...


...bike rides, pool time, a movie, a great Piyo workout, some delicious BBQ ribs, and quality time with my kiddos and husband...pretty much perfection if you ask me.  Now I'm feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the week.  Bring it on!





Sunday, August 24, 2014

"A" Week

Last week we officially kicked off our homeschool year here in Plankerville.  That's right folks, Planker Academy is up and running.  We're still working out some of the kinks, like what routine works best for us and what activities get the most bang for their buck, and I KNOW it will be a learning process but I'm grateful for the 3 year old year to play around with it and see how it works for our family.  

Last week our theme was the Letter A.  Since we went through a little trial and error with lots of stuff, and I still have lots I want to get to, we're continuing the theme this week with lower-case a.  I figure two weeks for each letter still isn't too much.  I'm still trying to decide if we're going to follow the order of the alphabet or mix it up...like I said, lots of trial and error.  Thank goodness for a play-based approach and very inquisitive kids since I feel that makes it a little easier to bump and roll.

The A is for Alligator craft was a big hit with my boys...


...they love anything that involves animals and glue.  We're planning to create an alphabet book with our creations over the course of the year.  

The apple painting was also a hit...


...my mantra continues to be "process not product" :-)...


 They had a blast stamping with apple slices and eventually getting to snack on some apples too.  

Something that's really new to me but seems to be very important is the sensory bin.  It didn't disappoint...


...this one was filled with airplanes, apple cards with numbers, army men, letter As, and rice.  They had fun making "mountains' out of the rice for the army men to crawl on.  Matching up the number of toys with the number on the apple cars was also a success.  

I tried to work on some writing with them and that was successful for about 30 seconds.  I'm going to hold off on that for a while or just save it for when they seem interested in trying it.  I don't want school to feel like a chore to them right now so we're sticking with the things that engage them.  

We spent LOTS of time, as usual, with books, blocks, and puzzles as well...all important learning vehicles as well.  

Our "circle time" routine has been quite engaging for them so far.  We start our school time with the pledge, the calendar...


...some songs, the weather, and a devotion.   That routine seems to be a winner at least so far and I continue to be pleasantly surprised with how much they like it.  

Over the weekend, we whipped up some play dough with This Reading Mama's recipe...


...and I'm looking forward to doing some activities with it this week as well.  

Last week's field trip, totally unrelated to the letter A but still totally fun was to the Norton Museum for the Wheels and Heels exhibit... 


...the boys loved spotting toys they have at home thanks to their dad's hand me downs...


....Mickey apparently has some collectors items...


It was our first experience playing with tracks along with the hot wheels cars...  


...I have a feeling it won't be too long before our house includes some tracks too... 


They had a TON of fun!  

I couldn't resist talking them into climbing into the box...


...they have no clue what Barbie is but it sure made a funny picture if you ask me :-).  

They were suprisingly interested with all of the other artwork there too which was fun for me.  We especially liked the Chihuly ceiling... 


...stunning, right?  

I'd say our first week was a success.  Wish us luck as we tackle week 2.