Mar 31, 2009

It was out like a lamb!

Here is the results from our weather watch -

The old saying seems to have held true here in New England!!!

Mar 29, 2009

Revamping the blog -

Spring is all about rebirth and renewal and I think that over the last year my blogging has lost it's way a little bit and I am going to get it back on track. I am going to be focusing only on our homeschooling and life as it pertains to learning around here! Of course their maybe some parenting along with it as this is all a part of learning and growing together.

I have been debating starting another blog for all of the other stuff, fitness goals and such, but I am not sure when I will be getting around to that. For now our focus HERE will be on our educational pursuits!

I will be continuing with our crazy holidays as KM really likes them and I have gotten a lot of feedback about how useful they are! If there is anything that you all would like to see here - let me know! I would love the input.

Mar 27, 2009

Nearly Done - Prehistoric Study

We have just about finished our prehistoric study...
KM is very proud of the lapbook that we created from various sources...

The bottom pocket holds this Pangaea puzzle which shows how the continents shifted.
This bar graph is on the back.
We have a HUGE map that I printed out from Owl & Mouse -
I love that you can print them in all different sizes, this one is 4x4.
We covered it with clear contact paper so that we can stick things to it
and use dry erase markers on it.
KM researched where the different fossils had been found and then posted them.

We got lots of printables from Learning Pages - their site is mostly designed for Pre-k to 3rd grade but you can tweak a lot of the cut-outs and murals to fit older age groups or to use with multi-age/level kids ~ which is what we did hear.

KM told SC a story as they placed the different species on the different areas of mural.

We will be ending this area next week with a special trip to the Museum of Science to spend the day going through their evolution outline. We are also going to spend a good deal of time that day studying the tamerians! I will let you know how it all works out!

Fitness Friday - UGGGHHHH

Usually I type out my Fitness Friday post on Thursday night, but I was so crazy busy last night and had this awful wave of exhaustion hit me at about 7:30, that I forgot to do it. As it turns out that wave of business and exhaustion all caused me to break my running streak - I totally forgot to even do my body test yesterday! I had this perfectly filled month and now I have to see that one blank spot---staring at me! But I will get past this, I will not let it get me down! I will continue to fill it up for the rest of the month!

I have had a good week other than that little debacle - I have been get a lot more exercise in on and off the wii. Now that the weather is warmer we have been outside a lot. Over the weekend I did a 30 minute workout each day and have continued doing using the handweights and have started to incorporate them into the yoga and strength exercises as well. I am still doing the kids yoga on Mondays and my yoga class on Tuesdays. We went on a Maple Sugaring Field Trip on Wed which had a short little hike attached to it, but the weather got so warm that day that when we got home we didn't want to go inside so we went for a long walk through the conservation bogs in our neighborhood. Thursday we had the little one and she wasn't feel to great, so we had a low key day and I think that is what made my afternoon and evening so hectic.

Anyway I have been breaking a lot of records and will reconvene on my final new records next week as I have a few more days to push them even higher! Hope you all had a great week!!!

Mar 26, 2009

Maple Sugaring Field Trip

We went on a fabulous Maple Sugaring Field Trip today with our local homeschooling group!
We learned where witch hazel comes from!

and that the first sign of spring in New England is the Skunk Cabbage ~
which you can make perfume from!!!
The syrup bubbling smelled SOOOOOO good!
They also had llamas and the kids had a great time feeding them!

The weather turned out beautiful and we had our first picnic of the season!!!
It was such a great day and we were all very happy to be able to support such a great local resource!

Mar 24, 2009

Acknowledging Changes

As most of you well know by now I am a neurotic planner! I need to know what is going on, where we are going to be, how we are going to get there and every stop we are going to make in between! I have been looking ahead to all the wonderful things we have planned to do and getting lessons plans ready for our spring and summer sessions. As I was doing this I realized that we have been homeschooling for well over a year now and it amazes me how much KM has changed during that time. We were discussing what subjects we were going to be covering and how our schedule was going to be changing the week after next and she is so excited about it! It amazes me that when given the choice in what she wants to learn and how she wants to approach it, how involved and truly engaged she becomes! The spark that I thought was going to be gone forever has been fully reignited!

We have far fewer arguments and they RARELY have anything to do with her lessons ~ they generally involve chores, room cleaning and telephone usage. Our family is a much more cohesive machine that truly works together to make our lives happier. We have time to spend together doing things that we like to do, as well as having time on our own to pursue things individually. We have been so blessed to have such a wonderful homeschooling support network around us and to have made so many extraordinary new friends. I think it is so important to really acknowledge changes in ones life, to reflect upon it and to thank those that have helped you get to where you are!

The three of us truly feel this is the life we were meant to live! To all the people who have given me encouragement, who have advised me and helped me be courageous enough to make this leap and to continue on this journey, I thank you! I thank you more than you can ever imagine! Each and every person who is in my life now is here for a reason and has allowed my family to grow into the stronger unit it is today!

Mar 20, 2009

Ostara Blessings to All - updated

Ostara celebrates the Goddess of Renewal. The spring equinox brings renewal in so many forms. It is time to get our houses and yards in order so that we can enjoy the warm weather to come!

If you have anymore to share - please do we will be working on spring things all week around here!!!

We had an extremely productive day!!!
I collect all the remaining winter items that were around the house to be stored in the attic

I attacked and conquered our craft and future curriculum closet!!!

Everything is in a box or on a shelf exactly where it is suppose to be!!!

We made a trip to the library and remembered to stop and grab -

but to KM's delight I had forgotten to check them and there was one that was slightly cracked on the top so of course she ...
to experiment with it.

Her favorite part was when she realized that the sack really went all along the shell, but you could seperate it from the shell without breaking it.
She spent a good 35 minutes examining the shell and yolk!

CJ got home just in time to color the eggs with us and we had dinner while they dried.
We each did three eggs and after dinner we went through the Runes book to choose which symbols we wanted to wish for -
We make 2 each to go in our Ostro on the mantel.

and one each for our family basket!

All and all we had a very blessed Ostara!

Mar 19, 2009

Fitness Friday Week 8

This week went SUPERBLY!!!

Here is my breakdown -
Fri - about 30 minutes on Wii Fit - started a new routine of yoga and strength doing one row of yoga and the complimenting strength exercises and then rhythmic boxing, hula hoop and step. I also played Wii Sport for almost an hour with CJ later in the evening.
Sat - just aerobics on the Wii Fit and then did the Wii Sport training session.
Sun - full routine on Wii Fit for about 45 minutes inc
luding all the balance games, my high scores are TOTALLY IMPROVING!!! Some of them that I thought there was no way I was going to increase have - Yippee for Mii!
Mon - taught Yoga Kids class in the morning and then did about 30 minutes on Wii Fit in the evening.
Tue - was not feeling too hot, so I only did one set of advanced step and a few games to total maybe 15 minutes, but I did push myself - because I had already paid for it - to go to my yoga class. By the time I left there my throat was on fire and my legs felt like they were not going to get me to my bed!

Wed - I was feeling better by the end of the day and I didn't want to break my full calendar goal so after dinner I decided to do my body test, then I did advanced step, beginner rhythmic boxing ~ which with those squats is actually pretty intense for the quads! ~ and then did wii fitness on wii sports and I got my Wii age down to...Thu - busy busy again, but I did manage to get in 25 minutes after the opera and before the homeschooling support group meeting!

To intensify the workout a bit I have been using the 1.5 lbs hand weights every time I do the step aerobics and when I am doing the rhythmic boxing I do a full squat for all the blocks. My weight still goes up and down, up and down all week. I am very consistent about doing my workout within an hour window from the previous day, so that is not a factor. I actually have been getting dinner started and then going to do my workout, by the time I am done, it is usually time for me to finish up the meal or on quick cook nights, I do all the prep, then the workout and then cook. Works really well into my schedule this way cause KM is usually ready for her alone time by then as well!

Hope everyone has a GREAT Spring weekend!!!

Mar 18, 2009

Things have gotten in the way...

of everything lately! I am soooo sorry to all my faithful readers who have been popping by and finding that I have really not been posting anything in a while. I know I have had my regular crazy/weird/odd holiday postings and my Fitness Fridays, but I realized that I have not made an actual post in quite sometime! To everyone who has sent well wishes and thoughts for my family I thank you all so much! I have also not popped around to other blogs in quite a while and when I started to do that this afternoon is when I realized I need to sit down and do this! I always feel better when I have - it is my lack of taking time for me that gets me so crazy because I just let everything else get in the way. So I thought I would go through some recent pics and post a quick summary of some of the things we have been doing...

KM went out Jeeping with CJ and I got an entire day at my house with SC all to myself!!! So we baked...
she is very patient and listens so well!
she likes to look through the big book of recipes - I know she can't read, but for some reason she likes to look and look and look!
She even likes to help clean up!!

I love seeing her and KM interact with each other, but I really like having her all to myself sometimes as well!!!

We had a fossil dig when we started our prehistoric study...
It was not your average dig site, but I REALLY DON"T LIKE MUD!!!
and they REALLY got into it!
KM identified all the parts as she found them, what type of foods it would have eaten based on it's teeth...
guessed what it's ancestors may have looked like before the evolutionary stages.
and now has T guarding her "clicky" pencils, that SC seems to be stealing all the time!
SC spent the rest of the morning playing with the peanuts!

In preparation for spring...

We have been decorating!!!

These springs are so festive and easy to make! The kids paint them however they like and then they ~ or you ~ cut a spiral shape in them and ....
waalaa...instant spring!

I am not a huge fan of TONS of TV time, but it would be nice if every once in awhile SC would watch a little PBS or something for a few minutes during the day when we need to get something done. However she never wants to be in a different room either, but I have found the solution...

she LOVES my laptop and the headphones! Here she is watching Elmo, It's Potty Time!
She also really likes these story sites -
Story Place
Looky Book
Might Book
Silly Book
Storyline Online

That is a bit of what has been going on around here! I will be sure to hop around to some blogs and post more consistently again!

Mar 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Here are some great games and print out links for your little leprechauns!!

I will swing by later and let you know what we have gotten done!

Updated - I have not felt my best today so we kept it kinda quiet. SC was here, but we managed to get a good amount of schoolwork done rather quickly because she was watching an Elmo Potty Time video and then we painted some leprechaun's, did a St Patty's day word search and crossword puzzle and then all nestled together and watched "A Very Unlucky Leprechaun".
That was about it. I didn't even get the camera out - which is SOOOOO unlike me! SC will be home with her mom tomorrow so KM and I will be hiding out in bed getting lots of work done while I rest up for our Field Trip to the Opera on Thursday!!! Can't wait it is going to be sooo much fun!!!
Hope you had a very Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Mar 12, 2009

Fitness Friday Week 7 - Jillian Micheals' Fitness Ultimatum Reveiew

I got this game about a month and a half ago and I was SOOOOOO excited to try it out.
Here are the game features that led me to wanting the game...
  • Uses the Wii balance board
  • 4 Workout types, strength training, weight loss, intervals and hill climb
  • motion based fitness activities such as ladder climb, rowing and monkey bars
  • track personal data and progress
  • Unlock lifestyle tips from Jillian
I tried to ignore all the reviews that I had read and I had read a TON of them. I thought for sure that since it was Jillian Michaels it would HAVE to be good. I tried the game out in spurts here and there, but felt like I just could not get into it. I was reminded last week that I was going to be the featured writer for the Wii Mommies Fitness Friday so I said to myself - hey that would be a great topic!

I tried to think of a concise way to do this review so I forced myself to try it over the weekend and I planned out a system to try to get all the features covered. Since you can use the wii board or you can just use the Wii Remote and a nunchuck, I thought I would try it out both ways. First here is my opinion of the features listed above after trying the product out -
  • Uses the Wii balance board - so you can use the Wii balance board or not. Some of the games are easier to do without it while others are IMPOSSIBLE to do without it! Grenade Toss was one that I spent a VERY long time trying to figure out what I was doing incorrectly while I was only using the nunchucks and still don't know that answer to it. While when I was using the balance board it was extremely simple to master.
  • 4 Workout types, strength training, weight loss, intervals and hill climb - while this is true, I could not tell a difference between the workout types. No matter which one you choose the workouts are broken into segments that include running, a randomly chosen exercise, running, another randomly chosen exercise, running etc... until the allotted time is up. You are constantly brought back to the running which I personally HATE more than anything ~ but more on that part later.
  • motion based fitness activities such as ladder climb, rowing and monkey bars - okay this part I had MAJOR issues with most of these were truly a joke! it was literally as if you could just sit there moving the remote back and forth at warp speed and get credit, but if you actually did it at the pace that was demonstrated for you they did not give you any credit at all.
  • track personal data and progress - while this part is true the stats (especially the weight) was completely off from what Wii Fit was tracking me at. The calories burnt calculations could not be accurate either since, as I mentioned, it was not accurately reading the motions.
  • Unlock lifestyle tips from Jillian - these tips that you are enticed into unlocking are LAME! The tips that are given in the little blurbs during the commercials for Biggest Loser are more inspiring than the tips that are unlocked here.

So on a scale of 1 to 10 - 10 being the greatest I have to give this product about a 3. I am not trying to be totally down on the game, but the only thing that I really liked about it was that you had the option to customize your workout and that you did not have to fiddle with controls at all during the workout!

Here is my list of the top three worst aspects of the game:
  1. I hate running, hate, hate, hate it and unless you did the custom workout 2/3 of your workout was running the same boring tree lined path. The worst part of the running was that you couldn't even just swing your arms while you were running, you had to have them punching at a speed bag rate in order for it to register.
  2. There were no real instructions on how to do anything!!! You got a picture of a person swing there arms a certain way or bending just right, but when you did it the way you were shown you didn't get any credit!
  3. For those of you who frequently read my blog, you may remember when my back went out about a month ago - HERE - in this post, I truly felt like it was a great game I was so excited by the fluidity of the program, however now that my back is better and I have retried all the games I realized that the reason my back went out was the GAME!!! The rowing to be specific. The only way to get the game to recognize what you are doing is to move at a very ERRATIC rate. When I started to do the rowing last weekend, I was astounded at how quickly I felt my sciatic nerve pulling again.
So I did Jillian's game Fri, Sat & Sun and then I returned to my regular Wii Fit schedule of at least 30 minutes a day for the rest of the week. I will also admit that Tuesday morning I sent CJ to Gamestop to trade in the Jillian game for ANYTHING ELSE! I was seriously worried I was going to throw my back out again with the things so it HAD to go!

I have completed a body test and at least a 30 minute workout everyday for the rest of this week. I also taught the kids yoga class at our coop on Monday morning and MADE myself sign up for the 6 week session at my favorite yoga studio. I paid ahead so that I am more apt to FORCE myself to go. I love going, I REALLY NEED to go and I just have to remember that it benefits EVERYONE I am around when I do go!

This coming weeks goal is to continue with my 30 minutes a day on the Wii Fit! I WILL HAVE A FULL CALENDAR BY THE END OF THE MONTH!!! I would also like to try to get outside a bit more, as the weather is finally beginning to look like spring might actually arrive!


Mar 10, 2009

National Organize Your Home Office Day!

The 2nd Tuesday of March has been declared as “National Organize Your Home Office Day.” I thought I would share this as I know a lot of my followers work from home and/or have an office at home.

I am neurotically organized - as most of you well know - but I have been slacking a bit lately with everything that is going on and I have a TON of files that I should probably get organized. I also need to pick up a new shredder and get office supplies in check again! So that is what I am going to be doing this afternoon.

Here are some great sites to check out -

Mar 6, 2009

Fitness Friday Week 6

Okay so I did AWESOME this week!!!
Toot Toot!!!

I really truly did and here is what I did...
  • Friday - I did nothing...I was REALLY tired and was still trying to catch up with everything from the week before, but hey whatever.
  • Saturday - 31 minutes
  • Sunday - 33 minutes
  • Monday - 42 minutes
  • Tuesday - 26 minutes
  • Wednesday - 30 minutes
  • Thursday - 30 minutes
I did a lot of rhythmic boxing this week and I really like it because you don't have to fiddle and you can just go for the full 13 minutes. I have also been doing a full swat when it says to "block" and this is giving an added quads workout. On the advanced step I have started using 1.5 lbs weights to add a little intensity to that one as well. Again I like this one cause I don't have to stop.

I had planned on trying to get through the yoga and strength combos at least 3 days this week and although I did not get through all of them at once because that was just taking far too long, what I did was to start out in yoga and do one full row with the accompanying strength exercises at the same time. This work out great!!! I also found that if I did this first, I got much better scores than when I did the aerobic things first.

My weight has done nothing but fluctuate again this week...

My new goal is too keep my month full - I like how it looks with no blanks. So as long as I at least check in everyday for the body test, I will be able to keep it looking great! I also got a new stamp - look it is mii!!I was thinking that I would also like to list some of my high scores here and see if I can increase any of them by the end of the month. Here they are...
  • Soccer (advanced) 348
  • Boxing (expert) 1132
  • Ski Jump 319
  • Advanced Step 505
  • Basic Step 292
  • Penguin Slide 65
  • Running 47%
  • Basic Hula 297
  • Deep Breathing 86
  • Half Moon 78
  • Single Leg Twist 87
  • Warrior 92
  • Lunge 100
  • Tree 77
  • Single Arm Stand 73
  • Sun Salutation 83
  • Side Leg Lift 61
  • Standing Knee 90
  • Single Leg Extension 73
  • Dance 72
  • Palm Tree 78
  • Rowing Squat 86
  • Chair 80
  • Torso Twist 78
  • Triangle 75
  • Push Up & Plank 58
  • Down Dog 8 - I have a perfect down dog and I honestly don't know how they get theirs to work at all!!!!
  • Plank 41
  • Arm & Leg Lift 58
So STAY TUNED cause next week I am the Wii Fit Mommies Featured Fitness Friday Writer and I will be doing a FULL review of Jillian Micheal's Fitness Ultimatum 2009.
I am going to work out with this program all this coming week, starting this afternoon and will let you all know how I TRULY feel about it next week!!!

Mar 4, 2009

Prehistoric Studies Resources - all secular resources!!!

We are in the midst of a wonderful Prehistoric Study which is our first attempt at using real-life resources instead of a textbook or unit study put together by someone else. I went searching and searching trying to find a resource that we could use, but nothing really covered "EVERYTHING" that I could think of in one source. So I thought I would share our list of resources that we are using. We have used a very wide range of reading levels and some more graphic videos than others, so please be sure to check content before sharing some of these resources with younger kids. I have included some links for items going through Amazon, but I got most of them through our library networks.

Video/DVDs -
Websites -

I will keep adding to this list as we come up with more great finds and PLEASE let me know if you have any great resource ideas as well!!!

Mar 2, 2009

In Like a Lion...

Let's hope for the Lamb!!!

March came roaring in with a wintry storm that called off our coop classes for the day! So I thought we would start wishing for spring around here...

We started by making a calendar to track how many wintry days and how many springlike days we have this month.

Then we decided to make some flowery wreaths and garland strands to hang all over the house using some recycled tissue paper - HERE is a great link for tissue paper flowers of all kinds!

Here is a rather interesting elementary level art project lesson plan.

Here is a cute little play from Scholastic.

On another note there is only about 18 hours left to register for World Math on March 4th -Be sure to Go here to register and challenge people from all around the world!