Friday, November 30, 2007

Goodbye Fall Decorations!

It's time to get out the Christmas decorations! Before we do that though, we have to put away the fall decorations. I LOVE the thanksgiving stuff around the house! It's with a fond farewell that the little Indian boys and handmade turkeys are getting packed away. In the box with the fall decor, I also put in a file folder with our fall worksheets or instructions for projects. Also, I include the books specifically for fall, so that next fall when I need the Thanksgiving storybook, I know where to find it! Always a plus in my house. The kids are itching to get started on the Gingerbread House Kit, so I've got to finish packing away the pumpkin pictures and leaf border. So long for now!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Our School Area

We use our dining room for our school work.

My 5th grade son likes to spread out and use the big table.

I use the markerboard a LOT
for teaching and playing games on.

Beside the board, on the right, is our calendar,
clock, and phonics cards.

Under the board is where we keep centers and
activities we are using, like magnets, stamps, legos, etc.

My 1st grade son likes to use his smaller desk for his school work.

Of course, we like to do our reading snuggled up on the couch!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Making a Daily Schedule

Instead of responding with fear and dread to the thought of a schedule, I usually maintain an on/off relationship with my schedule! Some days I chuckle and thank myself for thinking ahead, planning it all out, so I KNOW what to do next. Other times, I get frustrated and think this is definitely NOT what I want to be doing right now, or this doesn't "fit" right now.

Since the beginning of this school year, I have planned out our daily schedule several times. I needed to work things a little differently than in previous years, so there was quite a bit of tweaking involved in the process. In my mind, it made sense to do one boy's Language lessons then let him do his busywork while I work with the other one on his Language lessons. Then, do the same with math, reading, and whatever else we decide to toss in. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it? The trouble was, it just wasn't working! There was too much back and forth that caused lag in projects, thought processes, and work being done (or not done!)

Finally, nearly two months into our school year, I found it. I found the rhythm we have been needing in our day, the order of events that seem smooth and natural to us. I give my 1st grader some workbook pages to work on and direct him to different activities he can do when he's finished with the pages, like blocks, playdough, castle guys, reading, or drawing. So he does that while I teach my 5th grader all Language Arts subjects (English, reading, spelling, writing) and Math. Then the 5th grader finishes up his math and language pages while I teach 1st grade to my other son. It's working for us!! We have a break to play around then eat lunch. After lunch we will do science and social studies together.

Our Stick Family

Meet our stick family!
You can make your own stick family here:
I loved this idea! Too cute!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kitchen Tips!

I'm sure you've heard these a million times, but here are a few things that I actually DO and that help me in the kitchen. I'm really looking forward to hearing what helps all of you, too!

When I make meatloaf or our favorite soup, I always make 2 or 3 times more than we need and freeze the leftovers.

I brown 2 lbs. of ground beef when I only need 1, then store the other in the freezer, and it's ready to go when I need it! I used one tonight for dinner.

I taped a plastic sheet protector to my fridge, and I put each week's menu in it. Making a weekly menu is also a big help.

I made a sandwich basket. It's just a small, square-shaped basket that holds the lunchmeat, cheese, and lettuce and tomato prepared and in baggies so that when it's sandwich time we just pull out the basket from the fridge and everything is there. My hubby loves this basket! lol

Another big help for me in the kitchen is that my 10 yr. old son unloads the dishwasher every morning. Yee haw! I also remember the day I realized my boys could fix their own cereal and make their own sandwiches! That was a big help, too.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Time for gardening?

I'm a very new gardener. This past spring was my first big gardening adventure. Now that I'm into all the research about it, I'm finding out that fall is an important time for preparing beds for spring. What great info to find! My big challenge is...... where?? If you could see my backyard, you might think the same thing. Off the back of the house is a big deck, roomy and it should have potential. Then the yard. UGH. Two years ago we had a precious family member help us get rid of tons of overgrown plants and trees. It just looked like such a huge mess, not to mention the chiggar infestation was so bad we couldn't go out there! After taking out so much we still have 30 trees back there. The yard is so shaded that I couldn't get my vegetable garden to grow, and I still fight mosquitos that seem to think I'm dessert. Where do I start, I wonder? Take out more trees? Seems like a waste though.

After trying to envision my dream garden, I feel confident to get started. The big bushy plants, which I think are gardenias, will look nice in the front yard. I need to transplant those this weekend. That's at least a starting place! Then I'll decide which trees deserve to stay, and which ones I could actually remove. Several are just too large to remove, but the smaller ones might be moved or taken out. I need to research what to do about all those mosquitos! We live in East Texas, and I don't know if it's even possible to get rid of them.

OOooh, I found the book "The Way We Garden Now" at the library, and it's going on my wishlist. Awesome info. that's totally on my level. I can't wait to get started.