Thursday, August 17, 2017


When I put "Read 100 books" on our summer bucket list, I got a few "wow" type comments.  In reality, our "summer" was 6 weeks.  That's only 2 to 3 books a day, and that is more than doable for us.  I didn't necessarily want a challenge but more of a group goal and reminder to keep at it.
We've done library summer reading programs in the past, but it seems to be getting more and more complicated.  So we ditched that for our own little program.  The rules were simple.  The book had to be read aloud, and no matter how many times you read the book, it only counted as one "entry".  (Olivia read one of the Mercy Watson books out loud at least 5 times!)

We had to take down our little caterpillar from Kindergarten to make room for our time line.  So I just moved the little head to our hallway under the kids art display.  I told Olivia that for every book she read aloud we would use a purple circle.  All of the other books were read by me, Michael, or my mom when she was visiting.  There are exactly 100 circles up there, but I'm positive we read more than our 100 goal.  (I was just sick of cutting circles and keeping up with it! Ha!)

I started collecting children's books during my freshman year of college!  I always knew I was going to be a teacher and I would need books for my classroom.  We have hundreds and HUNDREDS of books!  They've always been an important part of our home, but as I dive more into the homeschool world I realize more and more how life changing they can be!

We regularly max out or library card (50 books at once!).  Olivia is flying through chapter books faster than I can request them at the library.  Oh... requesting books from the library!  This has become a favorite thing of mine.  I can go into our system, search for books, request they be set aside for me, and when I walk in there is a plethora of goodness waiting for me on the hold shelf.  It is magical and amazing for this busy schooling mom!

I get my books lists from multiple different places.  

First, our curriculum leans very heavy on living books.  Each teacher's manual is chocked full of ideas for every week of the year.

Second, I love, love, love the Read Aloud Revival podcast.  If you have children of any age, then you should check it out.  Reading aloud to our kids is not just for the little toddlers who haven't learned to read yet.  It is so good for children (and teens, and adults) of all ages.  And if you just cannot bring yourself to read aloud yourself, then I highly suggest listening to audio books.  You should hear Olivia read!  The expression, voices, and fun she puts into reading is something she learned from listening to amazing and professional people read the classics!  It makes a difference!  

The podcast itself is amazing, but Sarah MacKenzie also has a website where she has multiple book lists to choose from.

Third, is the book Honey for the Child's Heart.  If you listen to the podcast, you'll actually hear multiple people reference that book and others like it.  My copy actually came with our Kindergarten curriculum.  It is a reference type book comprised of different types of quality books for children.

Fourth, if I'm on the library website and I need a quick idea--Pinterest always has a few good lists.

Go ahead--use that library card!  Read a good book.  Or call Olivia up.  She'll gladly read a book to you. :)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Round Rock

Michael's cousin and family live in Round Rock, Texas, which is a suburb of Austin.  His aunt and uncle retired and moved there within the last few years.  They invited us down for a weekend visit, so that was our one summer trip.

Initially we had planned to get to Austin around noon on Friday and just do our own thing.  We thought about the children's museum and a few other landmarks.  Unfortunately, this is right around when Logan was sick, so we got a late start.

So instead of heading into Austin, we just stopped at a cave that was on our way to Timmy's house.
We have never been to anything like that with the kids, so we knew they'd find it fun and interesting.

Ready to start exploring!

We did an hour and a half tour.

We were thinking it would be cool since it was a cave, but it was still rather warm and very humid.  Our guide told us it was unusually humid that day.  Just our luck! ;)

The kids liked the new experience, though.

Logan didn't feel great the whole time we were there, but he had fun playing with Ian.

On Saturday we went to Barton Springs, which is a natural springs.  So even though it was 106 degrees outside (literally!), the water remains around 68 degrees.  The kids had fun playing in the water.  Michael and I did not have the right kind of shoes, but we managed.

Timmy and Julie have a kayak, so we took both of the kids out. That was a first for every member of our family!  We paddled all the way through the creek until you could see the Austin city skyline.  It was really neat.  We also saw a lot of turtles!  It was a fun little adventure for us, and I am glad we got to do it!

The kids also love jumping on the trampoline!

Gianmarco is a typical teenage boy.  He spent most of his time in his room, but Logan wiggled his way into his heart. ;)  Logan LOVED him and couldn't wait to show him his picture from church.

After church we went over to Uncle Tim and Aunt Vi's house for lunch.  It was delicious! The kids love it there, too.  It's so nice to have at least a little family close.

One of the things the kids remembered and loved from their Thanksgiving visit was the golf cart ride.  So Uncle Tim gave them a ride.

It was a quick little weekend trip, but it was just what our family needed!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Back to School--First Grade

Six weeks of summer was plenty for us.  We were able to do all sorts of fun things, and I think we were all ready to get back at it.

We didn't go back to school shopping this year.  First, because we didn't need a single school supply.  Not one!  Second, because it was the middle of July when we went back to school, so thinking of shopping for fall clothes didn't really make sense. So I figured we'd just do a "Back to School" (homeschool) alternative and make some special shopping day in the fall when the rush has died down and we actually need a few things.

We did stick with our tradition of having ice cream for dinner the night before school.  Of course this is a tradition that both kids love.

We also did our back to school pictures.

I went back and forth for a while trying to decide on curriculum.  I taught first grade for 6 years, and I love everything about it.  So picking and choosing would have been a lot of fun for me.  Ultimately, I kept being drawn back to My Father's World.  I'm still keeping an open mind each year, but for this year, I think this is really what God wants for us and our family.

Some of it is still on the easier side for Olivia, but I really want her to know all of the rules and not just skip it because she's a good reader.  So we are learning the  phonics rules (even though she's reading at a second grade level) and then just challenging her with other things when we feel it necessary.

Besides buying the curriculum, I think the only other thing I did was add a bookshelf.  I needed something taller than the cubes to hold my teacher's manuals.  Also, the kindergarten caterpillar came down and a line of painters tape went up for our (history/Bible) time line.

Logan has 3 trays to choose from, or he sits at the table with us and does art type stuff--stickers, dot art (his favorite), water painting, coloring, scissor practice, etc.

Let the fun begin!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Potty, Preschool and Pink Eye

One of the BEST things that happened this summer is that Logan is potty trained!! WOOT!

It kind of happened on a whim.  It was a Tuesday and I only had about 5 diapers left, and I didn't want to buy any until I went grocery shopping on Friday.  Plus, do to the remodel my store is going through, we had very few diapers available that week (long story!).  Obviously I could have gone to another store, but I just didn't want to.  So I decided I would just put him in underwear and use the diapers for night time only.  We have done the pee thing so many times that I knew he could do it just fine.  It was the poop that was the problem.  I basically just put him in underwear and treated him like he knew what he was doing. I did very little fuss.  I just said, "let me know when you need to go."  He had zero accidents the first 2 days, but he also didn't poop.  He had a little situation while I was at work one night where he had a painful poop on the floor.  I think he realized that he didn't want to do that again.  So the next day he tried to go in the potty.  It took FOREVER, but he did it.  After that he only had about 2 accidents.  I took him out in public in underwear, everything.  And when it was time to buy diapers, I bought some pull ups for night time instead.

He's been potty trained for over a month now.  We haven't had a single problem.  He's even decided that he doesn't need the kiddie potty anymore.  He goes on the regular toilet with no extra seats or bells and whistles.   I still help with wiping, but other than that he is good to go all on his own!

He does wear a pull up to bed, but he wakes up dry about half of the time.  He even gets himself up and goes directly to the bathroom and takes the pull up off.  He'd prefer not to wear them at all.

The other fun thing that happened is that we registered Logan for PRESCHOOL!  He was on a wait list and they called and said he was next on the list.  I had gone back and forth about whether to even send him or not.  Ultimately, I think it will be good for him, and I didn't want to keep him home just because I didn't want to pay the $200 a month. :)  Olivia went when she was 3 and 4 and I think he needs a little independence from us.  It's at the church right by our house (where we usually do VBS, etc).  He will go on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 2.  I think he will love it.

So those are the 2 good things that happened to Logan this summer.  Unfortunately, he has been plagued with illness.  First, he woke up one morning with his eyes crusted shut.  Technically it wasn't (viral) pink eye.  It was a bacterial infection.  We barely got him well from that and he ended up with a very painful week long bout with hand foot and mouth disease.  We are blessed that this was our first ever experience with it, and I am hoping and praying our last. UGH.  Maybe he was just getting his immune system ready for school. ;)  He's been healthy for the last 2 weeks.  Hoping we can keep it that way!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Summer Photo Dump

If you remember, our summer goals were to use what we have and spend less.  We didn't do all of the activities I had in mind (like using all of the felt in the garage), but we did use a lot of toys and craft supplies that hadn't been seen in a while.

Sunday afternoon naps?!? ;)

My kids spent an entire Sunday afternoon changing their clothes and get ups.  This was fun for them. ha!

Olivia got these LAST YEAR for her birthday.  She was almost finished with one, so she completed it.  Then she started on the second one she got.  Logan played with all the play doh!  He loves play doh!

Just when I'm ready to get rid of a toy, they start playing with it again.

Yes, she is wearing one of Logan's 2T shirts...
Playing with buttons and beads.

We made cloud dough.  Olivia enjoyed helping measure and make it, but she only played with it for about 2 minutes.  Then she was over it and went to play in her room.  Logan, on the other hand, loves sensory type things.  He played with it for a very long time and then asked for it every day for a week until I hid it because I was tired of cleaning up after it. :)

Watching a butterfly come out of it's chrysalis

The city next to us has a giant fourth of July event the weekend before the 4th.  It's huge and they are suppose to have some of the best fireworks around.  We aren't fight the crowds and the heat type of people, so we skipped the actually event.  We just drove over in our pajamas right before the fireworks show.  We got an accidental great spot in a school parking lot.  We sat in the back of the mini van, ate some cookies and drank some juice boxes and watched the show.  It was perfect for us.

I think this was Logan's first fireworks show.  Or at least the first one he could appreciate.  He did go to one as a baby.

A Logan selfie :)


We did a quit stop for a few vegetables at a store near our house.  They had kiddie carts and Olivia was in heaven helping me out.

I love that she has a desk calendar.  It's so Olivia.  And her decorations are always the best.  If you can't tell that's Flag day, Michael for Father's day, the first day of summer, and Moana for her birthday. :)

We heard about this youtube channel called "Draw So Cute" where they teach you how to draw Disney princesses (and many, many other things), so we gave it a try.  Olivia has fallen in love.  She will sit and draw for as long as you let her.  If you have a budding artist, you may want to check it out too.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Perot Science Museum

Michael took off a day while my mom was here, and we headed to the Perot Science Museum.  Again, we hadn't been since Olivia was 2, so it was like a whole new experience!

Working on patterns

Shopping at the farmer's market

We spent a good portion of the day there and saw everything there was to see.  A few things were over the kids head, but for the most part it was fun and interesting.  A lot of it reinforced things we had talked about in school too, so that was nice.

Without really planning on it, we basically had a Dallas museum staycation. :)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Dallas World Aquarium

My mom came and stayed with us for a week.  She treated us to an afternoon at the Dallas World Aquarium.  Olivia and I had been when she was a baby, but she doesn't remember, so it was basically a new experience for our family.

Apparently I didn't take that many pictures, but we did have fun!

Thanks mom!