Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

It has been a great Christmas day so far. We have been very blessed in many ways this Christmas. So thankful for all that we have including the gift of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is such a beautiful thing, and I'm so thankful we celebrate it.

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Christmas eve started off with us eating a super fancy dinner of pizza and pop. I even got the fancy place mats and napkins out for it!  Then we had our first annual Christmas pajama race which I didn't get any pictures of because it all happened so fast. Instead of just the usual opening of Christmas eve PJ's we had a race. All the pj boxes were placed in the middle of the living room floor, and on the signal everybody has to race to find their package, run to a designated area for boys or girls, put their pj's on and run back. It was so fun, and I think all the kids liked it. Oh, and the winner is the one who makes it back to the candy cane first (a plastic candy cane with candy inside). The winner this year was Aaron, and he shared his candy with everyone.

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I did get a picture of Alex with his new Star Wars pj's on in front of the tree before bed.

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All the kids coming out Christmas morning! They sure are getting big!

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Stockings...

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Presents...

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Alex playing with his new police car
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Alex opening presents

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Aric got these tsum tsums for April.

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Aaron's new water speakers. Trying them out.
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One of Aaron's most favorite presents, a stir crazy popcorn popper. "This thing is awesome!" is what he kept saying.
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Decorations...

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I put our perler bead nativity on our wreath after seeing a friend put some perler beads creations on hers.
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I picked up this nativity at Target last year. I like the colors of this one.

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Our tree on Christmas morning.
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April took this picture of a snowflake on our tree.



















I wish you happiness and peace on this Christmas day, and I hope you are having a wonderful day with your families.
























Tuesday, December 22, 2015

H is for happiness

I was pondering this today as I was thinking about the instagram  challenge for December, and today's challenge was "happiness is...". I spent a lot of the morning trying to decide what it was that I should take a picture of, and really it's no big deal if I don't come up with something. It just seemed like a good day to participate. I thought of a lot of things that happiness isn't as we tried to make our way through the day.

Then, we decided to get out of the house for a while. One of the stops being a bookstore. I love bookstores, and we will often go just to get out of the house for something different. I didn't realize until we were sitting at the bookstore reading that my grumpiness was starting to melt away which led me to thinking about how happy going to the bookstore made me. There it was! "My happiness is..." picture!

Thankfully I had my ipad with me to snap a few shots. We read some fun books, the older kids would bring some interesting books by and look at them for a bit, then they'd go find something different.. Bookstores are fun because they have a lot of new books that libraries don't have. But, oh darn, you have to sit there and read them (because they are pretty expensive!)

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It's not always easy to find your happiness, especially day to day.  It got me to thinking tonight about what exactly is happiness? And, where do you find it?

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For me a lot of my happiness is just finding joy in what's right in front of me. Not always easy, and maybe sometimes not even doable, or so it seems. At the beginning of this week I was kind of bummed about the lack of activities on our calendar. I was wishing it were a week of family and fun festivities. But, no. I had a week with practically nothing written on my calendar. I let that get me down at the start of the week. But, today I realized that there must be a reason for it. I need to slow down, and this must be a blessing, and I need to be happy with what's in front of me. As soon as I started to turn that around I was happy about it. Then, I realized we will have our fun family gatherings starting on Christmas day, and we'll have Daddy home for a whole week.

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Happiness really does come in the simple things in life. Through the simple moments. Especially when we slow down enough to see and enjoy them. I didn't think, we should go to the bookstore because that's my happiness. The thought never crossed my mind. But, when I got there and I saw the special moments we were having, it brought me happiness.

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I am blogging through the alphabet with Through the calm and through the storm



Thursday, December 17, 2015

G is for Get moving!

Have you ever had a problem getting your homeschooler to move? Well, we have, and we're working real hard to fix it. I took the kids to a trampoline place, and this is what they did...

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Way too much sitting! Really, this isn't normal for them when we are at a trampoline place. But, the problem here was that they didn't have any friends to jump with, so they were "BORED". I wanted to see more of this action...

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Alex was happy as a clam to be jumping all over the place, and eventually the big kids got going on their jumping. By the end they didn't want to leave! Unfortunately, these PE outings are expensive so we can't always go out to a trampoline place. Or, roller skating (which they all love)...

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Sometimes we have to just do something quick at home, or at the park. We are looking for more creative ways to get them moving not only because we want them to get PE where they learn to move their bodies but also to have it as a part of their lifestyle. We want them to keep moving, and enjoy moving. It's going to be something we have to live by as well, so that means that we will have to keep moving too. It really becomes a family thing!

Since we are trying to move more, I thought I'd do a little round-up of exercise ideas to keep the homeschool kids moving this winter (and anytime really):

Of course some of those options do cost money, so if you need a quick free option YouTube can be a great free resource for some very kid friendly workouts. We have been using these a lot lately.

Here are our favorite YouTube kids workouts:
I have been turning on something in the mornings before we get started with our school work just to get the wiggles out. it has been great at getting them ready to sit down and focus for a little bit.

First we have Cosmic kids yoga! These are so fun, and it's like story time too. My boys don't do these as much as the others, but I still wanted to share this great resource. I love them, and almost want to do them instead of the regular adult yoga. This is a shot of the Harry Potter episode on our TV. We can run YouTube right to our TV.
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Next up we have the "workout kid". This one is a favorite of Aric's. He's a fun kid, and the boys like his personality. I think it's a great series because it's all outdoors at the parks, and includes a lot of nature-y stuff too. He also makes Aric laugh.


The last one I'll share is Fitness Blender. It is a fun work out for Alex. He can do this one pretty good, and it moves at just the right speed for him.

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Alex doing fitness blender


Something new for us this school year is a Kroc center membership. We decided to give the family membership a try since April was getting a membership through her charter school. We try to go as often as we can, but the barrier for us not using it more is the distance. It is a little drive, and that keeps us from going more often.

We have enjoyed using the fitness equipment though, and have had a few date nights of just going and working out. I also take the kids to the fit kids program. We have used the pool a few times as well for family swim nights. I just wish it had more actual exercise choices for kids, and homeschoolers.

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Try to build exercise and movement into your homeschool day, or regular day if you don't homeschool. Even if it's just 15-20 minutes. A short burst of activity and movement can help anyone throughout the day. It clears the mind, and gets the heart pumping. Now, to get that high schooler moving...




I am linking this up with Blogging through the alphabet at Through the Calm and Through the storm.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Trains!

Trains. Boys. Non-stop. Need I say more?

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Ever since we took out the Thomas model train set out (because Olaf delivered some new track on the first day of Christmas) this boy has been all about the trains. He has played with it for hours. All the boys have enjoyed having it out, but Alex has really been like this a lot for the past 2 days. It will go perfect around the Christmas tree when we finally get it up!

Olaf bearing his gift of train track, hidden in the garage...

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I linked up with Tots and Me...Growing Up Together!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Salem Youth Symphony concert and Sunday gratitude

Well she did it! She survived her first youth orchestra concert today! Actually, she more than survived. She did beautifully. All of the orchestras did. It was very enjoyable to watch, and I sat there a very proud Mama. I cannot begin to put into words how grateful I am for all she has accomplished in her musical talents.

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Sunday gratitude...

...I am thankful for all the teachers and lessons that April has had to help her come this far, and that we've had the means to be able to pay for all of it.

...I am thankful for a full weekend of recitals and this concert

...I am thankful that we got a portion of the garage cleaned out this weekend.

...I am thankful that our home is not flooded and that we don't live in an area that was too badly affected by the crazy wet and rainy weather we have been having.

...I am thankful that we get to do something special for a family this Christmas season.

...I am thankful for Christmas cards, both giving and receiving. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Outdoor Mom's Journal: Vasquez rocks

I am longing to get outdoors more, but it just isn't happening as much as I'd like in December. However last month we visited a really beautiful place while visiting California, the Vasquez Rocks natural area. The kids climbed all over these rocks! They were just in heaven. I'd like to say that if we lived close to this it would be a place we'd hike/play around often.

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We went on Thanksgiving day in the morning. It was a little chilly, but not too bad. The skies were mostly clear, and pretty perfect as far as weather. We weren't prepared that morning to really go on a long hike, but the kids went pretty far still.

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All the rocks were just so neat to admire.
 This part was pretty steep. I didn't want to go up too far with my camera, and I might of gotten a little weak in the knees at the thought of going up that high. Someday I hope to be over my fear of heights! But, it wasn't this day.

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 There wasn't much greenery, but this was fun to find in the midst of all the rock. Not sure what it is. I might look it up sometime.

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 April loved this place. This is her kind of place to explore!

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 We were there with cousins. That makes it even more fun! Love these kids!

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Whoa, good thing I wasn't around when this picture was taken. My heart might have skipped a few beats. Probably not as bad as it looks, but this kid has no fear.

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Friday, December 4, 2015

Our week: Christmas activities galore!

Well, I wasn't exactly sure what we accomplished this week when I started thinking about my wrap-up for the week. I thought I might not have much to say, and I really don't when it comes to book work. We did math a few days, but other than that it was mostly Christmas fun, and life. We returned home from our trip on Saturday, and then I got sick, and a few of the boys got sick so it was a matter of survival the first few days of the week.

I knew I had to get some sort of Christmas countdown together on Monday, so I threw this together with a pack of socks that I bought for Alex which didn't fit. I let the boys color them with sharpie markers, bought some stickers, and put our countdown activities in them. One is a Charlie Brown Christmas felt board. The other is Truth in Tinsel.

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This may not be the prettiest countdown, but the boys sure had fun coloring all those socks! I'm sure there is some way to decorate them super pretty, we didn't have time for that this year.
One day for math Alex got to make these Star Wars finger puppets from his Star Wars Preschool number fun book. We did some counting with them, but mostly he just liked playing with them.

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Our first day of truth in the tinsel. I love this ornament, it always turns out so pretty!

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We finally made these gingerbread houses from a kit that we picked up before our vacation. Aric really wanted to do them before we left. I think they are cute, but I'm pretty sure I don't ever want to buy a kit again. I really want to do homemade again, and make them big for each kid. I love how Chocolate on my cranium does them.

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Aric carefully working on his.

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So, April started a new science class at schoolhouseteachers.com, and had 3 experiements at the end of the lesson. She did NOT want to do the diaper one! This picture doesn't look very pretty, but it is a test to see how much the diaper can hold. It is actually something I wanted to do as a science experiment for a while, which is why I happened to have a pack of diapers on hand. So, I did the experiment for her. She was officially grossed out. Alex however was fascinated, and helped me pour the water. Then, we cut it open to see what holds all that water in the diaper. Alex was the only one brave enough to touch it. Honestly, that stuff kinda grosses me out too! That was the end of that experiment.

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She happily did the other 2 experiments. A bird balancing one... that Alex wanted to try too.

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The last experiment was dropping water on a penny to see how many drops it would take before the water overflowed off the penny.

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Our co-op day was pretty fun since it was a Christmas theme spirit day. Everyone dressed in something Christmassy, and we had a yummy taco bar lunch. Alex wore those Santa pj's all day. We had trains in his class, and these boys played with them the whole time!

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Aric was finally able to go to Taekwondo to pick up his sparring gear. He was super excited.

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He and his brother had fun playing together "rough housing" with it on.

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We spent our usual Friday morning at the library with our local homeschool friends. We had a little lesson on Wassily Kandinsky, made some Kandinsky circles, and visited and played games in the kids' area. This picture below is when I was trying to take a picture of him with his art, but he just wanted to get too close to the camera!

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We had several days of rain this week, so the sun was calling us outside today (Friday)! We made our way over to the farm to play for a little bit.

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That's our week!

I'm linking this up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers


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