Thursday, July 28, 2011

This is How We Do It - Mommy School Edition

We've hit the pause button on Mommy School this week since we've been in Vacation Bible School. The hiatus has given me time to 1) rethink how we've been doing it and improve 2) clean my house, but that's another post.

This summer I've made a weekly 'plan' and then both girls and I have sat down together. I've gone back and forth between the girls to explain their work. We've never been able to get the timing just right so someone was always waiting on me. We would end school with the girls feeling like they never had my attention and me feeling like I could pull my hair out.

Starting next week: I've pulled the entire weeks worth of work into one basket. Each girl has a file folder labeled Monday through Friday that contains all they need for the day, I even put a sheet of paper in the day that there is a "quiz" so that everything will be ready for them (Kendall gets quizzed on site words). I like this idea because now if we decide to have school at the library or outside I can just grab the day's folders instead of finding all the workbooks or papers that we'll need. The basket will also hold any supplies that we need for the week as well as "busy work" which I'll detail below.

First we'll sit down to work on a project together, I have a lesson planned that is age appropriate for both girls (this week we're learning about maps, map symbols, and directions). Once we've finished that for the day one girl will work on busy work and the other will have Mommy School, then we'll switch.

The basket holds some general busy things: a new $1 section puzzle, a Highlights magazine that they haven't looked at yet as well as some things that will switch each day.
Monday - a new drawing book with paper, colored pencils...
Tuesday - sewing basket: yarn, plastic needles and other sewing gear.
Wednesday - farm stuff: a wooden farm that the girls love mainly because I don't take it out often
Thursday - large paper to draw roads and bldgs on and cars to drive through their city
Friday - play doh, google eyes, pipe cleaners and Dr Seuss books for inspiration

I'm really hoping our new system will help me give each girl some one on one attention.

PS The girls are in Vacation Bible School and their preschool teacher and principal are both teaching there (it's not at their preschool they just happen to attend the church where VBS is held). Kate's teacher mentioned that they like to reorganize and change up the preschool room every year. This is the room that helped to sell me on the school (among other reasons) it is FUN! I really had to restrain myself to keep from begging to be allowed to come help! Is there a "teachers planner" job? I would like that part, the room and activity planning.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wishin and Hopin

We have a big birthday coming up! After a lot of nagging by me, Jack finally made a wish list. He has just been too busy trying to climb the stairs, learning to wave, play patty cake and saying "All gone" (which actually sounds more like "ahhh gah"). Anyway, I was able to pin him down and bribe him with pieces of my breakfast, lunch and dinner long enough to gather a few suggestions from him, phew.

This Radio Flyer Walker Wagon great for the toddler on the move. He pictures himself pushing trucks around and maybe terrorizing his sisters with this.

This Car Box Set because a boy can never have too many cars, especially ones he can tote around.

Car Carrier. I'm beginning to see a theme here.
Jack would really love a Tee from Honey Bee Tees, he thinks their stuff is cool (and the girls that make these shirts are pretty cute too). I think his favorite is the long sleeve bird dog shirt in size 2.

 for the record Kendall and Kate's favorite is the Just Crusin pink shirt (size 4 & 5).

He has been giving some thought to his fall and winter wardrobe lately, you know these Paper Chick boys they're into looking snazzy. Jack has declared that Gap is his current clothing line of choice and he is really disappointed that Crewcuts isn't making clothes in his size right now. That doesn't stop him from wearing his "Jack of all trades" Crewcuts shirt though.

At this point of the wish list idea exchange I ran out of food and Jack went silent. The boy sure does love to eat, no amount of snuggle promises or attacks kisses from his sisters could get him to offer any more suggestions. Pity, he seems to have good taste for an almost one year old!

Friday, July 15, 2011


Tonight after the kids' bedtime Brian and I were sitting in the family room and we hear Kate get out of bed to go to the bathroom (we know it was Kate because she is incapable of walking anywhere-she actually RUNS to the bathroom and then RUNS back to her bed). A little later we hear a "squeak" from upstairs so Brian goes to investigate. He never even leaves the foyer, I hear him ask, "What are you doing??" I didn't hear the answer but I did hear Brian's chuckle and his call, "Mommy, we might need you." Now, this isn't an uncommon phrase from Brian. Basically it's his way of saying, 'This is going to get messy and I would rather you handle this.' It can be a bloody nose, a dirty diaper or even a chipmunk floating in the kiddy pool so I really didn't know what to expect. This is not what I was expecting:
I know they say not to laugh at your kids when they get themselves in these kinds of situations but I just could not help myself. You can bet I was yelling for Brian to get the camera immediately.  It only took a few minutes to figure it out and I imagine her little ears may be a little sore tomorrow but I bet she doesn't sneak out of bed tomorrow night.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jersey Shore

We love Ocean City, it's the perfect family vacation. You can ride bikes or a surrey in the morning, grab some apple cider doughnuts (soooo good) or freshly squeezed lemonade. This year was extra special because Memaw AND some of our best friends all came as well. Gram, Pop, aunts, uncles, cousins were all there this year too.

Kate had an interesting way of transporting the water to her sand castle this year. Yes, that is a tablespoon and she took more then one trip to the ocean to sprinkle water on her creation.

Pop, Gram, Kim, Dan and Nicole all spent more then their fair share of time helping the girls "jump" waves. Aunt Kim took quite a spill with Kendall on the boogie board, Kim ended up with a stiff neck and Kendall still has a little bruise on the side of her face. 

Jack had a blast. I remember Kendall's first year in Ocean City, her feet wouldn't touch the ground. She spent all her time in SpongeBob chair not letting her feet touch the icky sand. Jack was a bit different. He was everywhere and into everything. He had to taste each bit of sand, crawl through the waves, check out every nook and cranny for something to get into.

He also took his first merry-go-round ride with Dad.

The girls ventured out of the kid's ride area and tried some of the bigger kids rides. The climb/slide "ride" was a new favorite.

And Gram even went so far as to ride the "belly ride" with the girls. Of course, I didn't get a picture of that. They're lucky that I didn't see the ride going before the got on or they wouldn't have been allowed on it. Basically they were laying on the stomach flying around in the air. Kendall and Kate BOTH loved it. Me, not so much and I only watched!

We also celebrated Gram and Pop's 40th anniversary while we were there!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

This is How We Do It

That blog title brings back memories of 90s music, am I the only one?

I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the vacation photos right now so I'll save those for a later post. Here is a short little post on how we've been handling chores lately.

 We have these cute little jars with popsicle sticks in them. Each stick has a chore written on it and a colored sticker on one end. At the start of the day the colored ends are all on top. As the girls finish each chore they turn it over so that the colored side is down in the jar. To have the jobs listed on the sticks is nice because I can switch them between the girls' jars or just flip one over if it doesn't need done that day. It's also easy to add in another chore if needed. These were made with things I already had on hand. We've tried dry erase chore charts with magnetic "stickers" and they were way more of a hassle then they were worth. This seems to work well for us at this point.

The girls work on them throughout the day and I'm trying not to remind them. Usually if there is down time in the morning I suggest they start and then I let them do it on their own time. Once they finish all the chores for one day I've let them add a sticker to their chart. This chart is pretty massive and I use it to encourage them throughout the day. If I notice especially good behavior we'll add one or when they finish a day's worth of "mommy school" they get one. We plan to do a fun activity once it's full: movie, golfing...
Kendall's (6 years) chores each day:
Clean room
Clean sinks in kids' bathroom (she uses little Lysol wipes)
Dust Family Room
Empty dishwasher (she is only responsible for silverware and kid dishes) this is by FAR my favorite of the chores because it really does help me a lot
Mommy's Choice --I pick anything that needs to be done. Sometimes it's cleaning her desk, other times just random things around the house that need to be done.

Kate's (4 years) chores:
Clean room
Clean step stools in the kids' bathroom (there are three so this is no small fete, ha)
Dust foyer
Dishwasher (sometimes her job)
Mommy's Choice

Jack doesn't have his own jar but he's anxious to start helping