Quick Update

The kids and I have been super busy with them playing and checking things off their summer bucket list and me working on their school stuff.

Which, scary, school starts in two weeks. I don’t know if I’m prepared to take on two kids fully. Oy. We’ll see how this works.

Let’s see what have the kids been doing on their bucket list…

they hung out with their cousins for the 4th of July at Grandma and Grandpa Newman’s,

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they made boomerangs,

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painted some pictures,

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had a water balloon fight with their daddy,

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and Turbo was finally able to take the Putt Putt out after his daddy changed the oil and the city finally mowed the weeds in the empty lots near us.

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They also played on the slip-n-slide, made paper airplanes with their Uncle Douga, had a sleepover, made strawberry short cakes and a bunch more things.

This week, part of their bucket list was to go Berean Baptist VBS and last night was their first night there. I hope they are having fun!

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Until next time!

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Tye Dye Shirts

Last week I mentioned our Summer Bucket List and all the fun we’re going to have in our short short summer vacation. Wha?? Yep,the boys and I have 51 days left, we start school on August 10th. Sad, I know.

This last Tuesday was supposed to be a rainy day all day (but it wasn’t), so I dragged the boys to the store to get supplies for a fun activity.

In case you couldn’t tell from the title of the post, we made tye dye shirts.

We did pretty simple designs for the kids’ shirts just because the last time I tye dyed a shirt was my sophomore year in college and that was 12 years ago. Even then I didn’t know what I was doing.

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I only did the big kids just because I wasn’t sure I’d find a plain white tee for Chunky Monkey.

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Turbo waiting to make his shirt.
Turbo's shirt all done.
Turbo’s shirt all done.
String Bean working on his shirt.
String Bean working on his shirt.

I think the hardest part was the waiting for the end result.

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I liked the way they turned out.

And I’m definitely going to do this again. Maybe make one for myself ;) .

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Bathroom Re-do

As I mentioned in my previous post, the big boys went down to Grandma and Grandpa’s for the week for VBS.

I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to a.) surprise the boys with something when they came home and b.) to check off a project that I’ve desperately wanting to do since we moved in, PAINT! I know Mr. N, I’m sorry I pester you every summer to do this.

In case you hadn’t guessed. We painted. More specifically we painted their bathroom.

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That’s one of the colors we picked for it.

I love that color!

We used Pittsburg Paints from Menards, we’ve had pretty good luck so far with them.

The main color of the bathroom is called Thin Ice and the border color we chose is called High Dive.

Of course we decided to paint the bathroom when it wasn’t exactly cooler out and a room with absolutely no windows in it and only one light source. Which we turned off so we can paint around the light fixture. We used this huge light and every time we went in there to paint it felt like a sauna. I bet I lost 12 pounds just by being in there. And probably gained it all back when we went to pick up the boys from Grandma’s because she has amazing food.

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Those pictures there? I took them. Yep I did.

And that towel thingy, Mr. N crafted that guy.

I loved how it turned out.

Sorry the quality of pictures isn’t that great, it’s kinda hard to take pictures in a bathroom.

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Summer Bucket List

Last week the big boys went to Grandma and Grandpa’s for VBS at their church. They had a blast. And I’m sure they wore out Grandma and Grandpa.  :)

That meant I was home during the day with just Chunky Monkey.

One day while the Chunkster was napping my bestie texted me with a picture of a project her and her big girls were working on that day.

A summer fun list.

Honestly, I had been thinking of doing something similar prior to her texting.

Every summer it seems String Bean gets bored of just playing with his toys. So this year I’m going to put a stop to that early enough and make a fun list of things we are going to do.

Introducing, summer bucket list.

All I really did was think of things we can do for free or for very cheap and wrote them down on a piece of tagboard that I had stashed away in our classroom and post it up in their room.

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There are some pretty simple things on the list like, make s’mores, playing hopscotch, playing in the sprinklers.

Then there are other things where we have to make things like suncatchers, bird feeders and so on.

I also have ideas for places for us to go to, like Cow Interrupted (ice cream place in town), the library, the free zoo and other places.

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When the boys came back this weekend, I showed it to them and already on Monday String Bean was begging to do something on there.

He decided he wanted to build a Lego castle.

And that he did. ( I apologize, my children have a ton of Legos and they are never put away)

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He worked on it for a couple hours.

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Granted it’s not the most elaborate Lego castle but he had fun making it.

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By the looks of it, Hulk is there to protect the back of the castle where I believe that is a jail. Just in case prisoners escape. :)

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Mini Meatloafs

Oh. My. ‘Lanta.

Warning. What you’re about to read is dangerous to your waistline.

No joke.

Seriously.

My good friend  best friend sent me this recipe for mini meatloafs, like 2 months ago. I, with the mommy brain that I have, kept forgetting to make it.

Until now.

MUAHAHAHAH!

Ahem.

So these mini meatloafs, in case you haven’t guessed are AH-MA-ZING!

To be honest, I was a bit skeptical at first, but none the less I tried it.

So, glad I did!

Let’s make this shall we?

To the kitchen!

Assemble the ingredients.

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You’ll want to make the stuffing before you mix up the rest of the ingredients so it has time to cool.

Grab your favorite BBQ sauce. Ours is Countryside BBQ sauce from Algona, Ia. I believe. I know it’s from Iowa.

DSC_0387We get it from Hy-Vee, and I think they distribute it to the grocery stores in and around that area. We have to travel 30 miles to get it, but it’s so worth it.

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Throw a couple of tablespoons of the bbq in a bowl. Add in a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, an egg and 1 cup of warm water in to the bowl and mix ‘er up good.

At this point you might want to mash up your beef with your hand so it’s crumbly before you mix it in with the other ingredients. I feel like if you don’t, the meat isn’t going to get incorporated well and then you’ll have pockets of meat and that’s just wrong.

Add in the stuffing!!

Then the meat, I added in a little bit of onions to give it a bit of flavor.

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Smoosh the mixture into greased muffin pans and pop those suckers into a preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes top with some yummy yummy cheese and bake for a couple minutes or until cheese is melted.

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Then look at your masterpiece of yumminess.

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And be prepared to eat more than one. Believe me, you will.  They’re just that good.

Mini Meatloafs

1 pound ground beef
2.5 cups stove top stuffing (chicken)
1 c. warm water
3 T. BBQ sauce
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
Shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 350°. In large bowl mix water, BBQ sauce, worc. sauce, and egg. Stir well. Add stuffing and combine. Add beef and combine. Smoosh into greased muffin pan until level. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Top with cheese, bake for an additional 2 minutes.

Enjoy!!

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LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!

Yesterday was String Bean’s last day of school!

HURRAH!

I make it a tradition now (I guess) to make an end of the school year dessert for all the hard work he (and myself) does.

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This year I made an Oreo cake for his job well done.

While he was finishing up on some work, Turbo and I worked on his cake.

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After String  Bean was done, he helped make double chocolate chip cookies.

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I’m glad school is done.

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Reading Challenge

At the beginning of the school year I challenged String Bean to read 100 chapter books throughout the year. This was to try to get him to want to read and love doing so.

I got the idea from The Teacher Wife. She is a teacher and she uses a paper chain type deal to have her students keep track of their reading. I did the same only with one student instead of 30.

So I just printed off the page that is used for the paper chain and hopped to.

For my benefit I kept track of what books he read, because let’s face it, once that paper has been rolled up into a circle, it’s almost impossible to read and it’s a third grader with his daddy’s handwriting skills that I have to decipher.

From August 18, 2014 to June 2, 2015 this kid has read 43 chapter books. Almost half way to the challenge. I’d say that’s pretty impressive for a 3rd grader.

Here’s a breakdown of the books he read:

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29 Boxcar Children books

4 Duck Dynasty books

2 The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict books

1 Laura Ingalls Wilder book

All seven Harry Potter books. –which he started February 18th and finished May 24. So if you do the math he read all of those books in 3 months and 7 days.

Also, at the beginning of the year, when his Grandma Newman got wind of this challenge she told him that she would give him a quarter for every book he read and 4 quarters for the bigger books. I think he came out pretty well with her. :) 

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Making Baby Food!!

It’s time!

My baby is starting baby food!

So with the other two Mr. N and I used jarred baby food. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, if you don’t have the time to commit to making your baby’s food, or you just don’t want to, that’s all cool by me.

This time around I’m making Chunky Monkey’s baby food. I gotta admit, it’s not that difficult. I thought it was going to be this long process…nope, well, it takes a bit of time but not a whole afternoon.

Alright. So. Making baby food. Like I said. Pretty darn simple.

If you need a reference as to what kinds of baby foods baby can eat at specific ages I kinda went off this chart and stuff I remember from baby’s first foods we did with the other two munchkins. Obviously if you’re not sure or new to solids with your baby, talk to your pediatrician and they’ll let you know what foods are good to start with.

With this post however, I’m using carrots. Yay for carrots!

Supplies you’re going to need for baby food making:

  • blender or food processor. Now you can get all fancy schmancy and get a baby bullet, I opted not to since this will be our last child.
  • a food steamer or a metal colander to put the food in to cook.
  • ice cube trays or containers to freeze the baby food. I use the trays, you can probably find them at garage sales or the Dollar Store for pretty darn cheap!
  • Freezer Ziploc bag
  • sharpie or something to mark the bags with

Start out with your carrots, wash ’em. peel ’em, and cut them up in to small pieces, because you’re going to be steaming them and if you have them in larger pieces it’ll take you forever to get them cooked.

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After you’ve got your carrots all washed, peeled and cut up, throw them in your steamer or colander with boiling water going.

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Cook those guys for about 20 minutes or until they are soft and can break easily when pierced with a fork.

Then you’ll want to throw them into your blender or food processor with the cooking water and puree them.

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Once they’re at a nice baby food consistency, spoon them into your ice cube trays or container that you’re using and toss them into the freezer.

WP_20150430_14_50_23_ProThen when they are nice and solid, toss them into a freezer baggie, label them with the date and put ’em back in the freezer until you need them!

Then when you need some for your little one, grab one or two pop them in the microwave for about 20 seconds and let them “enjoy”. If they are a little runny after warming them up, toss a little baby cereal in it.

See, so easy!

Little Chunkers enjoying his carrots!.

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I want more Mommy!!

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Mother’s Day Gift

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I have a Mother’s Day gift idea right here folks!

So if you’re my mother or mother-in-law you need to stop reading this now.

I mean it.

Leave.

Ok.

My thought behind this gift idea was, what can I get them that they’ll both love from the kiddies that they already don’t have a million of. Like jewelry or pieces of pretty artwork from the kids. I thought, hey, gardens. They both love gardening, why not get them something for their gardens? I bring you, stepping stone. It’s a cool and fun activity for the kids to do, and adults too. :)

The things you’re going to need to get are:

  • concrete mix–this is the kind we used
  • 5 gallon bucket (for mixing concrete)–can get at Home Depot, Lowes, Menards
  • something to mix concrete with–Mr. N used a drill with a mixing paddle attached to it to mix ours, but you can probably use a heavy stick.
  • pretty stones to decorate with ,coins, old keys or anything you want to stick in the concrete. We used something similar to this
Photo Credit: JoAnn Fabrics
Photo Credit: JoAnn Fabrics
  • stepping stone mold or plastic plant tray or metal pie plate
  • you can add in a color mix to the concrete to make it more pretty, we opted not to.
  • you can also use these little stamps to add in your words, totally optional, we didn’t use them.
  • and your kids!

Now you can get all these things or you can take the easy route and get a stepping stone mix that you can find at Hobby Lobby or any craft store. I think buying the individual items is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying the kit. The concrete cost about $2.79 at Menards, the plastic trays were $2.99 at Hobby Lobby or you can get the plastic plant trays, they’re probably $1 if that at your local gardening supply store, and the stones we bought were $8, but there are the little round ones you can get in a bag for about $3.In all we paid $16.77, compared to the $19 or more for the kit and you only get one out of the deal, where as we made 4 of them and still have concrete and stones left over, and the trays are in still good condition.

Steps:

Mix the concrete in your 5 gallon bucket. I grabbed my hubby because he’s the handy man and knows all the things with tools and things. You’ll want to put the concrete mix in the bottom of your bucket and then add in the water. You want to end up with concrete at the consistency of cake batter.  Too much water, and the concrete will fail to cure.

After its all mixed up, pour into your trays.

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Allow 20 minutes of drying time before you attempt to write your name or a witty slogan in  your stepping stone and decorative pieces. If the imprint fills with water, then simply smooth it out and wait an additional 5 minutes or so and begin again. Allow 30 minutes of drying time before adding hand or foot prints.

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And then wait for it to harden. You’ll want to wait at least another 24-48 hours to fully dry. I have no patience so I took it out of its mold after 24 hours.

Ta-da! It’s finished!

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See, so easy to make!

 

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Homeschool year 2015-16

Textbooks

Yep, you read that right folks. The school year for 2015-16. Because that’s how we roll in the Shire.

Since I homeschool I want to be prepared for what’s to come the next school year.

“But, but, this school year isn’t even over yet.”

You are correct, at least not for us–hoping this kid will be done by the end of May!!

In the meantime, I’m planning for next year. Since you know, I’ll be doing two of them full time now. *I can do this. I can do this*

So the reasoning behind me planning this early is a.) already mentioned above with homeschooling the two older boys and b.) we are switching back to the Lifepac curriculum that we used before this school year. As I mentioned in this blog post last week, I hate Switched on Schoolhouse. Why? Because my eldest child needs supervision in order to get his work done. So when I would walk away to deal with Turbo or Chunky Monkey or do various other things about the house, I would later find out that he only got little of his schoolwork done. Which is sooo not cool. And c.) I feel like if I don’t plan out the majority of it now, of what I can do because I don’t have String Bean’s curriculum yet, I won’t feel so overwhelmed when it does get closer to when we start.

The nerd in me–although my bestie doesn’t call it nerdiness, she calls it organized, I’m still a nerd :)–got pretty excited about things and started making binders for the boys’ school stuff.

What’s in this binder you ask?

Well, lemme show you!!

First, gotta get a binder. I chose the kind that comes in the white option and has the clear front pocket do-dad. So I can do this —>

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It’s soo pretty. I mean, it’s a pretty cool looking–dealing with boys here, it can’t be “pretty”–**ahem* binder cover.  I stumbled upon another homeschooler mom’s website and that’s where I found cover for my binder. She has a ton of them to fit your personal style. She also has back covers for them, but I only opted for the front. The one that’s pictured is the one for String Bean’s binder. This cover is the one I chose for Turbo. She has this seven step homeschool planner that she offers on her blog and has all sorts of printables for you to make your own curriculum planner.

On the inside…

I’ve got these pocket dividers for each of the kids’ subjects that they are tackling that year. The pockets are great for papers to stuff in for the specific subjects.  Fantastic!

There’s a full calendar of the school year that I got from Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus blog to show what dates we will be having school and when we have breaks, i.e. Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, etc. I also have a monthly calendar to break down the school year. I believe I made this calendar in Word…not entirely sure, its been awhile, I’ve used it probably since String Bean was in 1st grade.

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So if there’s a test that I know is going to happen, I write it down on that date and that way I can let String Bean know when he’s got a test coming up. Also, I don’t know if you can see it in the top corner but I’ve used highlighters to mark each subject when something happens. For example, when he has a project or a test I can just write “TEST” and highlight it yellow,green or whatever color it is depending on what subject it’s for. 

I also have in there a snapshot if you will of the unit topics of what will be covered in his curriculum for this year.

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I found the topics on the Alpha Omega website and just looked at the scope and sequence for his grade level and typed it up. I figured he would be doing a unit every month, give or take. Obviously there will be some flexibility as we might have sick days or something comes up where we might not be doing any school work on certain days.

There’s also a lesson plan that I made up for well, obviously lesson planning.

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All the binder stuff that’s listed above is what is mostly in String Bean’s binder. Turbo’s on the other hand is a tad different. He still has a monthly calendar in there, and the pocket dividers but I’m adding in his curriculum Science and Bible studies, since it isn’t in his Kindergarten curriculum. I’m sooo excited!!

I found this pretty neat idea for, I guess ideas for each little unit I’m going to do for his science studies. Basically, if you find something interesting on Pinterest you can take the little image of that pin and print it out and glue it to paper to stick in your binder. But I thought, why waste so much paper? I just took the images and copied it into a Word document with the unit title above it and date of when we’re doing the unit and printed that bad boy out. And voilà–>

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This way I can jot down notes of things I want to do with this unit and other things.

I’m pretty much done with the binder, I just need to figure out how I’m going to work this homeschooling two munchkins instead of the one. I’ve heard from other multiple-child homeschoolers when they have younger ones, they have a rotation where every so many minutes one older kid plays with the younger ones while the others are being taught, and then they switch. Or here’s another idea, I can do chunks of time, so that we do everything together like the lessons during a 2 hour period and then do any experiments and activities after lunch.

I don’t know, I haven’t decided yet. I guess I still have time!

How do you homeschoolers schedule multiple children and have little ones yet?

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