The Kid’s Easter Peep Show Diarama

We painted our boxes out back last week. Since it rained all day yesterday the kids got their boxes finished. I’m really happy with the way they turned out. We did end up helping them some for things like typing the spaceship to the ceiling of the house, making signs, and drawing/coloring pictures (When Roro refused to color her pictures in). They did all the painting and planning. Everything was their own ideas and they thoroughly enjoyed it! Now they sit behind me on the floor playing with the craft box trying to make other creations.
Hmmm…this project based schooling idea might be worth looking in to!

Painting boxes outside

Painting boxes outside

Aiden’s box was based off his Turbo book that he carries around everywhere. Then he thought it would be a good idea to mix that with Disney cars and planes!
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Aiden’s words about his project: “One orange snail come to a purple snail, a black snail, a green snail, a yellow snail, a blue snail. Theres so many snails. A red one. The End.

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Roro’s project was based off a book titled “Mr Wuffles”. It’s an almost wordless picture book about some bug sized aliens who have somehow managed to get into a house, and are then chased by Mr Wuffles, the family cat.

The making

The making

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The ants, who come to help the aliens escape

The ants, who come to help the aliens escape

Roro’s words about her project: ” The book is about a cat and some aliens. How many aliens? 5. How many cats? 1. The peep show begins with a great start. The end. I told you to write GENIUS. Roro loves that cat. Write it.”

Mr Wuffles can't resist those aliens! Ladybug is trying to help them escape.

Mr Wuffles can’t resist those aliens! Ladybug is trying to help them escape.

Thanks to secularhomeschool.com for having this “Peep show”! Haha! The whole family has had a lot of fun with this. Aiden is playing with his “snails” right now (ew). Ours have yet to get hard! Wonder how long that takes? We can’t wait to see everyone else’s diaramas!

Favorite Kid Apps #2

So much for sticking with it. I missed a day! Feeling terrible for disappointing my many readers…. ;)

My second favorite app for kids is…..

Reading Rainbow!
Anyone remember that show as a kid? You can download the app for free, but pay a subscription fee of $9.99/mo or $29.99 for 6 months. There are over 500 books in here! I had looked at this before, but I bypassed it because there just weren’t that many reviews on it. I’ve downloaded apps like this before and I was really disappointed with the types of books offered. NOt with this. Right off the bat I found the picture book biography series that I had JUST purchased (Ex: A picture book of George Washington). Ahh!!! There are National Geographic reader books on here, KinderMusik books, and more.
The app has themed islands including Animal Kingdom, National Geograhpic Kids, Genius Academy, My Community, and more. Once you’re in an island, you can scroll through books relating to that theme. Once you pick out a book, you can download it to your backpack. Your backpack can hold 5 books. This is really helpful for us because our Ipad only has WiFi. Once our 5 books our downloaded we can enjoy them anywhere. Once you’re done with a book you’re rewarded with a sticker for your sticker book and you can even play a game. Then you simply return the book and look for more!
In the parent dashboard there is a search for book option which I have found very useful already.

The app also features video field trips with LeVar Burton.

I think this is an awesome app that not many know about, or they may be turned off by the cost. This is totally worth it here for the quantity and the quality of the books you have access too.

http://www.readingrainbow.com/rr-app

Our favorite Apps for homeschooler kids!

I’ve been thinking of doing this post for awhile now. I’m going to write about apps that we love, one daily for 5 days.
Please check back and let me know if an app works out for you and your family. I’d also love to hear other peoples’ most used kid apps.

Favorite Apps Post One
We use our Ipad frequently for learning, and Roro is picking up SO much from it. She’s actually remembering and spitting out facts days later. Last night after looking through our telescope she stated, “The sun is ACTUALLY a star!” Our use of the Ipad has shown me that she has an interest in the human body, which I would not have known otherwise.
A really good app on the Ipad can really save us if we’re eating in a restaurant and Aiden all-of-a-sudden declares loudly, ” I’M DONE!!!” We all look at him like a deer caught in headlights, then quickly pull out the Ipad. Whew, close one! If an app can satisfy him for 10 minutes while everyone else finishes their meal, AND it’s educational, then it’s gold!

It can be really hard to find a good kid’s app. I have downloaded many, some terrible that were deleted right away, some glitchy, some too hard to navigate…but I did find a couple of needles in the haystack.

Here’s our favorite and most used as of right now:

#1. BrainPopJr. Winner
This is my almost 5 yr old daughter’s favorite app. She asks to watch these everyday, and she remembers what she learns!
Brainpop and BrainpopJr are websites that feature animated educational videos for kids. BrainpopJr is for kids grades K-3. However, my 3 yr old will take his turn picking out a movie and will watch alongside Roro intently. After each video, you can choose to take an easy or hard quiz, read a funny comic strip relating to the topic, or hear a joke. You can also see related videos at the bottom of the screen. The videos feature a girl named Annie and her friend robot, Moby. Most videos are around 4-5 minutes long.

Once you’re in the app, you can see the movie of the week (free). Photos were taken with one ipad, of another ipad, in not-so-good quality. =)

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Once you click “All Movies” at the bottom, it takes you to the subjects:

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Science, Health, Reading and Writing, Social Studies, Math, and Arts and Technology.
After you pick a subject there are several sub-categories to choose from.
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For example, the sub-categories for science are: Animals, Plants, Habitats, Conservation, Land, Matter, Forces, Energy, Weather, Space, and Science Skills.
Let’s pick Animals.
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Now we can choose to watch a video about butterflies, camouflage, classifying animals, fish, food chain, frogs, hibernation, or migration. There are tons of videos, and I hear more are being added!

Pic of the butterfly video

Pic of the butterfly video

You can download the app for free. The movie of the week is always free to watch, and there are also a few other free movies you can watch. I suggest trying it out to see if your kids like it. I personally, did NOT like the voice of Annie. I was thinking, ” Yeah…this isn’t going to hold their attention.” I couldn’t have been more wrong. Both kids love it.

For homeschool access on the brainpop website, it’s $145 for a year. However, please check the homeschoolbuyersco-op.com frequently for deals. I paid $69/yr for ours, and I’m running it on two Ipads. Even if I had to pay full price, I would still get this one. My kids have learned more from this than anything I have tried so far. Even if you don’t buy it, download the app! Your kids can still watch a different video every week with the movie of the week. We did this for awhile before purchasing and it was something they looked forward to every week!

Is there an app you’ve found that your kids love? Let me know, I am ALWAYS searching for new and different apps I have yet to discover.

Pre-K and K Workboxes

Note:
I have included links here, but they won’t show up. :( Anyone know why?

Ok, SO it’s been awhile since I’ve wrote here. I have so many things to write about, and so little time. I figured an easy way to get back into writing would be to do a super easy post about my workboxes.

Right now we school when we feel like it. I’m leaning toward the unschooling lifestyle, but I guess you would truly label us eclectic. We’re very laid back and most of my kids days are spent playing with their toys, which I think is very important. I don’t dare interrupt them when they are playing with their legos or playmobil figures.

When we do go out to the schoolhouse, I go to my workboxes because they are the quickest way to get started.
I currently use one workbox system for both kids-this upcoming year I might change that-but right now, this is the easiest.

Boxes
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My actual boxes are Ikea Trofast. I LOVE these so much I have them in each kid’s bedroom as well.
My categories are:
Reading/writing
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math
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I bought this math workbook a few yrs ago from Timberdoodle.com. We use it periodically and are actually almost through with it now. I just ordered right start math for this upcoming year and I’m also planning on using the mathstart books.

history/geo and science (sometimes both, sometimes one or the other)
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For science we are reading the Lets Read and Find out Science Series.
I found a book series that I love on Amazon that we are reading for history. The books are called American Symbols and topics include: The American Flag, The Bald Eagle, The Liberty Bell, the White House, The Great Seal of the United States, and so on. I got mine from Amazon.

art/craft
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This is a Watch Me Draw book I found at Hobby Lobby. They actually make several different ones, and we have quite a few. Why? Because they are for ages 4 and up. They’re very simple and my kids can easily follow along. There’s stickers that you place once you have completed the drawing ‘lesson’ and practice pages in the book as well.
extra fun
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These are lego duplo pieces with the instruction cards. My kids are playing with regular legos now, but they still enjoy building with their duplos.
behavior and safety
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This is one of the Learning to Get Along books. We own several of these books. There are lots of activities in the back for further learning, which make these books totally worth owning. The actual books are a little short, but we read them slowly and take in every picture.

I find behavior and safety important to teach. Roro has acquired a little attitude lately, and is not very good at sharing. Aiden, however, will give her anything of his that she asks for. Sometimes she can take advantage of that! I have to make sure he doesn’t give her EVERYTHING. =)
Safety involves learning what to do in case of a fire, learning how and when to dial 911, memorizing family member’s phone numbers, saying no, and very light stranger safety.

Other
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The kids have their own art station set up where they can color/ draw as they wish. Roro does her whenever she feels like it. Both kids will watch several brainpop jr videos daily and we enjoy Dr Suess books on the Ipad. We try to spend our afternoons outside exploring and playing. They usually take a nap around 2 and our nights are filled with playing legos, Monopoly Jr and Catan Jr (HIGHLY recommended-especially if YOU’RE bored of “kiddie” games).

If you know any good board/card games that your whole family enjoys, please let me know! We are always looking for more board games.

I just ordered a telescope, microscope and the kids a computer desk for the upcoming year. I’m very excited about summer nights looking up at the sky, and I’m hoping to spark some interests.

So, that’s it for my easy peasy post. Sorry for the upside-down pictures! Hopefully next time I can make more of an effort!

Average size barbie- Will she fit in?

Lammily, a take on average size fashion doll.

Lammily, a take on average size fashion doll.

https://www.lammily.com/average-is-beautiful

I recently preordered a Lammily doll from lammily.com to be shipped this November. Hopefully just in time for Christmas. This is a project I feel really good about supporting and encourage others to do the same. You don’t have to buy a Lammily, you can also make a $1 donation.

So, why am I excited?
I would not consider myself a girly girl at all. My childhood was spent catching snakes, lizards, and frogs and then hiding them in my closet. Most of my time was spent outdoors with animals. I love to explore the woods around our home. I could go into the woods and become the world’s greatest explorer and get “lost” for hours.

However, on rainy or cold days I was stuck inside. What did I play with? Dolls. It started with Barbie when I was around 3 and when I was around 7 I got my first American Girl Doll. I also had an affinity for baby dolls. I can honestly say, that from all the toys I had, Barbie was played with the longest. From getting my first Barbies at 3 to becoming very upset when my mother gave them to my young cousin when I was 14. That’s 11 years worth of play! If my mother had not given them away, I might still have thme to this day. Dang, mom!

But was there a problem with Barbie?
In a plastic bin under my bed there lie Barbie upon Barbie. I’m sure there were over 30. Back in the 90’s, Barbie was a good and cheap gift to give. That usually meant you ended up getting them from family and friends for Birthdays and Christmas. If I was sick and in the hospital, it would be easy for my mother to find a $5 Barbie to cheer me up. The Barbies added up fast, and although each one came with different outfits and a supposed theme, they were all the same. All my dolls were blonde. All had the same length hair and the same body type. I think there was one Ken to 30 Barbies (sounds like our Bull to 30 heifers!) and he was also blonde! Most of the clothes my Barbies owned were pink. How can I take a veterinarian seriously if she’s dressed in pink? Her car was pink, her house, her furniture. All the pink was overwhelming. My group of barbies looked like a group of clones going to the pink factory, and Ken their creator.
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Barbie’s Size and Shape
If you take off Barbie’s clothes, of course she has breasts, without nipples, and these breasts seemed very large to me. Usually there are molded in panties below a tiny waist. Her feet are in a permanent high heel position. Did I notice that when I was 3? Definitely not. Barbie served as a role playing toy for me to act out my imaginative ideas. I could make my dreams come to life through Barbie. She could be an explorer ( though with all the pink, I’m not sure how she could blend into the forest), a veterinarian, a zoo keeper. Did I notice Barbie’s size and shape as I became older? You bet I did. Surely I am to develop breasts one day as large as Barbie’s. Her waist is tiny, that must be the norm. I do not have to do anything special to look this way, it will just magically happen as I blossom from girl to young woman. I will wear high heels because that’s all that’s in Barbie’s wardrobe.

11 YEARS of playing. Some people say, ” Well, it’s just a doll.” If you had a child look at models in a fashion magazine for 11 years I’m pretty sure it would affect them. Well, I had a “fashion” doll of the ‘perfect woman’ that I played with for 11 years.

My daughter actually has this Barbie, complete with it's own tiny waist.

My daughter actually has this Barbie, complete with it’s own tiny waist.

The problem?
The problem is I don’t have blonde hair, though I have dyed it many colors throughout the years. I don’t wear a size D bra. My hair is not long, it’s short. I despise wearing high heels. There might be one pink outfit in my wardrobe. My waist is not tiny like Barbie’s. How many people actually do look like this? And if we all got our wish and became this, what would happen? We would all be Barbie clones, running off to the pink factory. We would all be the same, and that would be boring, right?

My Daughter’s Dolls
I didn’t think my daughter would ever gravitate to Barbies, and frankly, I was happy about it. From 18months, she was obsessed with animal figurines and acting out her own stories for them. Every once in a while she stated she WANTED some sort of doll and we would get her one, but it always sat on the shelf collecting dust while the others toys got played with daily. She has three or 4 Barbies that don’t get any attention. Then, one say in the toy store, she spotted Monster High. She convinced my mother to buy her one, and that was the start of it. She was PLAYING with dolls. My daughter is almost 5 and has quite a collection of Monster High dolls along with several other brand fashion dolls.

Why Monster High?
Barbies are boring. Really, once you have one that’s pretty much it. Unless you want an army of clones like I had. Every Monster High doll we have is different. Each is unique. Due to their “darker sense of style”, she has donned them her “Bad Barbies”.

Each one of our "Bad Barbies" is unique. No clone army here.

Each one of our “Bad Barbies” is unique. No clone army here.


All of our Bad Barbies have different hair colors and styles. Most have different skin colors. They are truly DIVERSE and ORIGINAL. This also makes them fun to collect for my daughter.
Daughter's collection of cat type Bad Barbies.

Daughter’s collection of cat type Bad Barbies.


More Pros to Bad Barbies
Some have removable wigs
All have removable body parts that can be interchanged to create a truly different doll
body part packs are sold
Movie specials and webisodes
some dolls come with pets and diaries
male dolls (though we don’t own any)
furniture
stands are with most dolls, enabling you to display
Cons to Bad Barbies
Can’t stand on their own.

If you take a Monster High doll’s clothes off, you will see that her body is even tinier than Barbie’s. Her body, to me, looks anorexic. I was disgusted by this the first time I had to change my daughter’s dolls’ clothes. The body looks alien-like.

Barbie's body looks damn good compared to Monster High aka Bad Barbie.

Barbie’s body looks damn good compared to Monster High aka Bad Barbie.


The breasts are smaller, but so is the waist. At this point I think it would be easier to strive to look like Barbie rather than Monster High. Can’t we find a happy medium?

My Little Pony Dolls

My daughter's MLP collection.

My daughter’s MLP collection.

My daughter had been wanting these all last year, and my mother gave her the whole set for Christmas. She already had My Little Pony figures and has seen some of the shows/movies, including the one that shows the ponies as girls.
What my daughter says about MLP dolls
“I like how you can change their outfits. I like how you can play with them, imagine with them, and watch shows about them.”

These are the second most played with dolls we own. Why? Because she had seen the show. She knows the characters and has the pony figures to add to the play.
MLP Pros
Dolls have a molded in tube/tank top, no breasts are shown
Bodies are made slightly chubbier, with not many curves
Has a show/movies
already large fan base from the show and figures
Dolls can stand if you place them carefully
MLP Cons
Clothes are all short skirts/dresses

Whole feet are taken off when changing shoes. This freaked my daughter out the first time we did it. Feet are also very hard for kids to snap back on, even for me sometimes.

No boy dolls yet (that I know of)

Disney Dolls

Disney Dolls are rarely played with.

Disney Dolls are rarely played with.


The Disney Dolls don’t see much action here at our house. They are usually wanted after seeing the movies and played with for a few short days after. If we watch the movie again, they might see a little play.
Pros
That they go with a movie, of course

It’s easy to find male dolls
Cons
The male dolls look striking similar to the movie characters, while female dolls look completely different. Our Merida doll looks nothing like the true character of Merida. She is also sold in the gown that she HATES in the movie.

Other Dolls

Novi Stars, Pinkie Cooper, and off brand fairy doll

Novi Stars, Pinkie Cooper, and off brand fairy doll


We have just a small handful of other brand dolls. I actually really like Novi Stars, but my daughter becomes frustrated that the arms keep coming off. Their clothes are also hard for a young girl to put on. Pinkie Cooper is a wonderful doll, and my daughter’s only reason for not playing with her more is that she doesn’t have the friends to go with her yet. =) Pinkie Cooper’s ears/hair can be removed and traded out. Other ears/hair are sold in clothing packs for these dolls.

Different doll brand's body types. Barbie, Monster High, Novi Stars, Pinkie Cooper, and My Little Pony.

Different doll brand’s body types.
Barbie, Monster High, Novi Stars, Pinkie Cooper, and My Little Pony.

What do girls want in a doll?
The most obvious answer here is clothes. Girls love to change dolls’ clothing.
A coordinating dollhouse, vehicle etc.
I think I speak for most girls when I say, ” I want a doll that can stand on it’s own.” I know it frustrated me as a child that my Barbies could not stand up without assist, and it frustrates my daughter with her dolls.

Realistic animal companions. Most girls love animals, some even aspire to be veterinarians. Let’s give them some realistic looking animals to role play along side their doll.

A doll that looks like them. You want to relate to your doll, you want it to look like you or an actual person you know.

What do parents want in a doll?
I want a doll that I FEEL GOOD ABOUT GIVING. I want a dol lthat is making a POSITIVE IMPACT ON KIDS.

I want a doll that is not centered on fashion, but imagination and education.

I want diversity. I want to see different skin types, hair LENGTHS (short hair rocks!), body types and sizes.

I want to see male dolls that BOYS WANT TO PLAY WITH.

I want to see dolls that are POSITIVE ROLE MODELS.

I want to see dolls in MODEST CLOTHING. Let’s teach our girls to dress respectful and have respect for ourselves. No, modest clothing does not mean BORING CLOTHING.

I want to see “career/hobby outfits” for dolls.

Outfit Ideas
Let’s see outfit packs sold for dolls that are inspiring and educational. Encourage our girls that they can change the world!
I want to see educational materials with each outfit pack- perfect for learning and for setting the foundation for imaginary play.

For example:
A veterinarian outfit pack- REALISTIC vet outfit and accessories, with a small book with information on animal care and a story of doll as a vet.

A firefighter- REALISTIC outfit with a book on fire safety and perhaps an inspirational story of a female firefighter.

A birdwatcher- Realistic outfit and accessories with a North American bird field guide

Scientist- Realistic outfit and book of science experiments and inspiring story of women scientist.

Chef- ” Outfit, recipe book, tips on healthy eating. Realistic healthy doll play food.

Paleontologist- ” Outfit, realistic doll size fossils, book on fossils and/or women paleontologists. Perhaps dino experiment?

Swim suit- Instead of a a bright pink bikini, doll clothes consist of swim shorts and a sun shirt. Accessories can include common sea creatures/ shells found on the beach and come with a beach field guide. Also story of waste/trash on beach and how it affects animals, along with what you can do to help. Facts on skin protection from sun.

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You get the idea. The sky’s the limit here. Let’s give girls REAL LIFE WOMEN that they can look up to. Let’s focus on WHAT WE CAN BECOME, instead of WHAT WE LOOK LIKE. Teach girls that they can be and do anything. Give girls confidence to succeed. Teach girls diversity and individuality. Let’s strive for modest clothing and self respect.

Doll House/ Furniture Ideas
Can we see a GENDER NUETRAL doll house? Something sturdy and completely customizable? Girls love customizing and making something their own. That can be kind of hard to do when most doll houses sold are mostly pink and purple. Realistic décor in a dollhouse doesn’t have to be boring. Perhaps different wallpaper for your dollhouse can be printed or bought, giving you a doll house that is truly your own. Maybe your doll is a veterinarian and wants the bottom floor of her doll house to be a vet’s office, while leaving the top floor for her apartment.
Furniture packs could be sold such as a large chefs kitchen, veterinarian office complete with realistc pets, a desk, pet crates, and an exam table. A girl who aspires to become an artist could fill her dollhouse with easels and paintings.

Monster High House: Flimsy and no room for customization.

Monster High House: Flimsy and no room for customization.

Positive Difference
One reason Monster High and My Little Pony dolls are so popular: The shows and movies. Do I want another doll line with webisodes, shows, or specials? NO. What I want is a doll line with books that make a positive difference. A story on bullying. A story on changing the world. Stories about girls making a difference. Stories that inspire us all, not just children.
American Girl already does something similar.

What does Lammily need to succeed?
She needs lots of clothing. She is made bigger than Barbie, so even if you have lots of Barbie clothing, it surely won’t fit her.
She needs more dolls in the line, of different colors, hairstyles and sizes. She needs an exciting aspect, such as careers/hobbies that girls can aspire girls and that they can relate to.

What my Daughter says about Barbie
Me: Do you like regular Barbies?
Her: No, I mean, I do. Just haven’t felt like palying regular Barbies. They’re more like decoration. I like how I can change their outfits and that’s all.

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Conclusion
Fashion dolls still have a long way to go. But Lammily is heading in the right direction. Is she perfect? No. Are we going to throw away our Barbies, Monster High, and other dolls once Lammily arrives in our home? Heck, no. Diversity, remember? There’s place for all these dolls in our play and Lammily will add to that diversity in a positive way. She will definitely be the most realistic doll we own. My hope is that Lammily will quickly evolve into a multitude of skin colors and feature modest outfits that girls don’t consider “boring.” That’s not too much to ask right? It’s a definite start.

Please support Lammily at https://www.lammily.com/average-is-beautiful

Lammily, a take on average size fashion doll.

Lammily, a take on average size fashion doll.

It took me awhile to write this blog post, so if you made it this far reading this, please leave me a comment, follow me, or pass this post along to someone you know. It will mean a lot to me and I thank you for reading my opinions and ideas. =)

-Kate

It’s been awhile…

Well, we are finally over our sickness. I’m finding it hard to find time to blog. We’ve been doing a couple of fun things lately.
The kids have been playing with their wooden train set more lately. I was browsing the internet and came across a blog that showed how to make a zoo layout for your wooden trains.

http://play-trains.com/diy-zoo-train-set-for-wooden-trains/

playtrainzoo

( A photo from her blog)

Well, the kids have lots of Playmobil zoo animals so I thought we’d give this a try. Of course, I did not have anything on hand and I didn’t want to do to the store. However, my husband paints miniatures so I did have some of his leftover grass terrain and some brick blocks to build with. We used rocks and sticks for the rest.
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Sickness…

So the kids and I have been sick with the flu for the past few days. It’s been especially hard with kids that don’t know what it’s like to be sick. I can’t remember the last time they actually got sick before this. That’s one benefit to not going to pre-k or daycare-we hardly get sick. But when we DO, its awful. The days have been filled with Tylenol and benadryl, humidifiers, sore throat lollipops, and vick’s vaposteam. I’m not one for medicine but I really believe in the vaposteam for our humidifiers. It really help when the kids can’t stop coughing at night. Pour some in and they can sleep peacefully without coughing.

the kids are playing right now on the living room floor with blankets and stuffed animals.

Apparently the stuffed animals are sick too. Aiden is almost over his sickness, he has been playing hard since yesterday. I’ve never seen a kid play so much. Now they are huddled together reading stories to their stuffed animals. Yesterday was a rough day for Roro. She laid on the couch all day and would barely eat or drink. I did manage to get her to eat some pediasure Popsicles. We both slept on the couch and I’m glad to see her up and playing this morning.

I still feel pretty bad. I haven’t gotten hardly any housework done. I did manage to take out the trash yesterday though. :) Cody had bought me a new iPad, our 1st still works but wouldn’t support a lot of the kids games and was slow…the new one came yesterday. That was a little highlight in the day. I downloaded the kids reading eggs app and some other fun apps I found, then a few kids books since we will be stuck inside for awhile. Aiden had fun playing some of the games, especially MarcoPolo ocean, but Ro felt so bad she wasn’t able to enjoy it. I’m hoping to play the games and stories with them today. We also downloaded our abc mouse to the new iPad, and from what I saw, it works MUCH better on this iPad.

I really hope we’re all better by Thursday for Roro’s ballet. I had gotten candy packs and valentines for all the girls in her class for valentine’s day. We also got a thing of chocolates for the instructor and her sweet little assistant. Roro will be so excited to hand them out. Thankfully she doesn’t know I bought the classic candy. At least this way if we have to miss ballet she won’t be disappointed about that.

My best friend is 39 wks pregnant and has her dr apt today at 3. I’m pretty sure they’re going to induce her this afternoon. I won’t be able to see the baby for awhile since we’ve all been sick. Knowing she’s having another baby and seeing all the cute baby clothes when I picked out a gift, has made me want another baby. It brings back memories of Roro and Aiden as babies. It goes by way too fast. I can’t believe Ro will be 5 this year. She’s so much taller than other kids, even taller than my friend’s six yr old. I would love to have a baby again, but I went through so much trouble with the birth of my two kids. I’d love to adopt, but wouldn’t want to go through the process. I am probably just missing the past, that stage that you only have for a short time that you’ll never get back. The stage where they actually WANT to be held.

I requested another sprout kit on my Sproutkin.com account. I’m hoping we’ll finish the rest of the books in our current kit in a few days. I know we are going to keep at least 3 of the books in the current kit. How can I say no? I won’t be able to do that every time, but maybe this first time will be ok. I get 10% off the list price! which isn’t much! but anything helps. We read Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs last night, which wasn’t one of my favorites.

I saw last night that The magic School Bus is on netflix. Four seasons! I was planning on using those episodes and the books, and projects from theyoungscientistsclub.com for our science. I might get the kids to watch one episode today to see if they even like it. If it goes over well, I’m headed to books a Million this weekend to pick out the picture books I want for it. They’re having a buy 2 get 1 free sale right now that I can’t pass up. I did try to check out the lots on eBay, but most contained chapter books when I only want the picture books.

We’ll, I’m off to draw the kids some Pokemon to color.

IT CAME!!!! Sproutkin!!!

Our first Sproutkin box came yesterday! We were all super excited to get this in the mail!
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What is a Sproutkin box?
This is copied from the Sproutkin website:

Receive Sproutkit. Each box includes 10 carefully selected books all centered around a central theme. Included with the books is an activity card (or “Sproutcard) which includes discussion questions and activities relating to the books and theme.

Read books. You no longer have to carve out time to scour through children’s books at bookstores and libraries – we’ve done the work and have chosen the highest quality books for you. Take 1 week or 4 weeks to read through the books – it’s up to you.

Engage in guided discussion and activities. Use the Sproutcard to help your child understand the stories and overarching theme. You and your little one can make moon sand together with the recipe included in our ”Earth and Beyond” Sproutkit, or help your child pretend to be a new superhero in our “Imagine That” collection.

Return books (or keep what you want). Keep the books you want (for 10% off retail price) and return the rest. It’s easy – use the same box and prepaid postage label included. You can even pre-order your next Sproutkit online so that you’ll never be without books. Or, simply return your books and we’ll send you a new set right away.

OPENING THE BOX!
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These goodies were bundled!
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SO WHAT WAS IN THE BOX?
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Our theme was Imagine That! The books we got for this theme were:
1. Stega Nona’s Magic Lessons
2. I Need My Monster
3. Silly Street
4. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
5. Zack’s Alligator
6. Harold and the Purple Crayon
7. Where the Wild Things Are
8. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
9. How to be a Supervillain
10. Father Bear Comes Home
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Sproutcard!
The cover of our Sproutcard says:

The characters in these books create their own worlds in which their whimsical imaginations allow them to thrive, laugh, and learn. Let these books inspire and stretch your child’s imagination- you will be surprised and charmed by the sometimes delightful and oftentimes creative connections children make.

Sproutcard’s inside cover
Questions! There are several questions listen that go along with each book. An example of one of the questions:

In Zack’s Alligator, Zack imagines his alligator friend. If you could have a talking animal for a pet, what kind of pet would you have? What would you do with it? What would you name it?

Sproutcard’s inside back cover
Activities! There were ten different activities listed! These activities had all to do with imagination, not the books themselves. An example of one of the activities:

Have your child place his/her fingerprints on a piece of paper, and use them to create pictures. Note: Fingerprint paint can be made by crushing and straining 1 cup of any colored non-poisonous berry and adding a tablespoon of salt and vinegar.

There were also suggestions on what to make out of the fingerprints and information on making a scene with fingerprints.
The activities really looked age appropriate for 3-6 yr olds.

Sproutcard back cover
The back card lists all 10 books included with your kit.
SproutkitPreschool

What did we think?
We loved out Sproutkit! I was expecting several books to be sent that we had read before. Surprisingly, we had not read any of these books yet! HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON! You would have thought that we had read that. Nope. I really underestimated that book. I had assumed it was a board book that had one sentence of each page. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, all the books we got are a little ‘lengthy.’ Which we like!
We have not read all the books yet but we already have some favorites:

How to be a Supervillain My daughter’s favorite. She loves superheroes and comics so this was right up her alley. This is of course, about a villain. This story is pretty long, but it has its funny moments along the way. Did I mention the author is/was 15? Wow! Great illustrations as well.

I Need My Monster I couldn’t believe that in this box, there were things that appealed to both my daughter AND son. This is definitely his fave. He is a big monster inc fan and he is often seen carrying around his monster inc sticker book or his monster inc lift the flap book. To him this was another monster inc book! The story is about a boy who has a regular monster under his bed ( to scare him to keep him IN his bed at night). His monster has left a note stating “Gone Fishing”, and on come the substitute monsters. The boy rejects them one by one for not being scary enough. In the end all is well when the boys regular monster returns from his fishing trip before the night is over.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
Ok, this is my favorite. We are probably going to keep this one. We’ve read it twice so far. It’s also my daughter’s second favorite. My son will listen through the story but I’m not sure he understands it. He’s just patiently waiting until we read “I Need my Monster” again.
This story was about a donkey who collects pebbles. One day he finds a shiny, red, magic pebble. It grants wishes! Ah, he’s so happy! He’s rushing home to tell his parents when suddenly a lion appears in front of him. Not thinking, he quickly wishes himself to become a rock so the lion will not eat him. But the magic pebble only grants wishes if you are holding it. How can a rock hold a pebble? How will he ever turn back into a donkey?

Strega Nona’s Magic Lessons
We read this today. I have always wanted us to read these books but never had a chance until now. This story was about a baker who left her job to seek advice from Strega Nona. Strega Nona told her she would teach her her magic. But Strega Nona’s farm hand wants to learn the magic too! But only women can be stregas…

I really liked this story but it required a little explaining to my daughter. A 5 or 6 year old would get it. Aiden was a good little boy and listened along, who knows what he thought! Roro’s comments on this one were:
“It was a good story, but it was a little crazy.”

Harold and the Purple Crayon
After reading this my kids wanted me to pull out my big sheets of paper and they took purple crayons and makers out, trying to draw everything that Harold drew in the book. They did this for about 30 minutes! Woohoo!

All of this is $24.99 a month! If I went and bought 10 books…well, you can imagine how much that would be. The cool thing is that if we get attached to some of the books, we can just keep those and get 10% off each title we keep. And you can keep your Sproutkit box until the next one comes! You just go to your account and “request” a new kit. This was shipped from Ca and we live in Al- I think it only took about 4 days to get here. In fact, it was predicted to get here Saturday and arrived on a THURSDAY (via usps)! And I don’t have to pay to ship the boxes back!

Referral
If you refer someone to Sproutkin and they join, you get $5 off your subscription!
So, hey, let me Refer You and then you can refer your friends!

https://www.sproutkin.com/join?ref=5841416039170048

You’re a Stay at Home Mom When….

When….
You can’t remember the last time you “pooped” or “pee-peed” with the bathroom door closed.

You use the words “poopoo” and “peepee”.

No one wants to talk until you’re IN THE BATHROOM.

When…
You haven’t held an adult conversation in so long it causes you to talk to the telemarketers.
You no longer get calls from telemarketers.

When…
You don’t have time for bras or makeup at home. Yes going out is a different story, but it can be a challenge!

When…
The mailman, or ANYONE, for that matter, rings the doorbell, you quickly gather all children and hide in the shower or closet.
Shhhhh..Quiet now, Mommy’s not wearing a bra today or makeup. No, no time to put one on!”

Your children yell out alerting the mailman of your presence.
Shhh….We’re not home, we’re not home.

You have your husband pick up all your packages due to your braless lifestyle.

When…

Actually getting mail in the mailbox (jackets on, remember, no bra!) is an exciting part of your day.
Leave the mail, Mr Mailman, DO NOT APPROACH ME WHILE I’M ON DUTY. Or in fact, ever.”

When..

Grocery day is actually an exciting day for you. As long as there’s time to put on the bra….

When..

You can’t remember the last time you watched an adult movie.
NO, not that kind of movie.

When..

You hesitate to have an active love life, because as soon as you commit to that- you hears screams coming from the bedroom.
No, not your bedroom. Nightmares have the worst timings don’t they?”

When..
You give up on the idea of sex after the children are put pack to sleep.
Nah, too tired anyways.

When..

You look for a pen but can only find crayons.

When..

Your paperwork was filled out in crayon.

When..

The last book you read was titled “Pete the Cat.”

When…

You really enjoyed Pete the Cat and look forward to the next book.

When..

You start a blog to follow the other internet moms!

When…

You wash countless loads of clothes and sheets a day.
Is there ever an end to the clothes??

When…

You throw out piles of clothes from your closet. Just to somehow tame the laundry problem?

When..

You have all kids consignment sales on the calendar.

When…

You are one of the main ‘suppliers’ of kids items at the consignment sales.

When..

You are constantly searching for lost sippy cups.

When…

Sometimes you wish you had never found the lost sippy cups.
Ew, that was hidden there for how long?

When…

You can often be found sipping out of various Dora, Diego, Ninja turtle cups.

You are banned to the Dora cups because you have broken several mugs while being suddenly awoke from sleep while sitting on the couch.

You have no memory of above incident occurring.

When…

Your glasses not only serve to better your eyesight, but also serve as a means of protection.

When…

Your dining room is now a play room.

When..

The playroom has ventured in to part of the living room.

When…

There isn’t a single room in the house that isn’t occupied by some sort of toy.

When..

You give out treats for poopoo-ing in the potty.

When…

Your daughter points out your newly sprouted chin whisker and proceeds to call you Bearded Lady!.

When…

Bearded Lady has made its way into Barbie doll play. Yes, pull the ponytail down under the chin…voila

When…

Your chin whisker is another excuse not to answer the door.

When…

You forget to pluck your chin whisker.

When…

Your body jerks and randomly awakens throughout the night. They can wake up at any second!

When…

You have learned how to deal with the constant calling from children throughout the night.
Knee your husband.
Hey, he hasn’t been here all day, right?

When…

You husband’s body has become accustomed to the kneeing throughout the night. Now all it takes is a gentle nudge.

When..

Your husband knows that a “gentle nudge” is NOT a cue for sex.

When…

5:00 Arrives and you and your children watch out the window for daddy to arrive, while constantly checking the time.

When…

It’s just ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL when “daddy” brings home pizza.

When…

You get to see the people you love more than anything in the world everyday and experience all these moments you can never get back.

The schoolhouse in progress

We don’t school in our house. We have a seperate building behind our house that we use. I’ve been slowly adding things here and there, and a lot of things usually find their way from the house to the school house.nature and school 060
The picture shows one end of the schoolhouse. I bought the table and chairs from a school supply company last year with some tax refund money. I had seen the table on another homeschooler’s blog, though unfortunately I can’t find it anymore. I really like the idea of us all sitting together at a table instead of putting the kids at individual desks. The storage units are housing random materials right now, but I’m planning on converting two of them into workboxes and the other two are going to hopefully get organized soon. These are called Ikea Trofast and I’m in love with them. I also have them in my daughter and son’s rooms. If I could get more, I would! The great thing about them is that I can sort all the toys into the bins, and whenever my kids want to play with a set, they take the entire bin out and carry it to wherever they want to play. I no longer have to spend the day searching for tiny figures or hotwheel cars.
My bookshelves are just plain and cheap walmart shelves, and are in dire need of some organizing. There is a new whiteboard I picked up for around $12 at Hobby Lobby on top of the Trofast that is yet to be hung.
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The reading Nook
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This is where my big totoro lies amongst the books. I’m thinking of putting a small kids couch here and moving him to my daughter’s room.
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This is the block wall that totoro hides behind. You can also see a space poster I got on sale at a teacher supply store that went out of business.