Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bean's 1st Birthday Party

Yesterday we had Bean's first birthday party! Her birthday was actually almost two weeks ago, but Ruben was out of town then, so we waited until he got home to celebrate. We invited 10 families and originally 6 had RSVP'd as being able to come but 3 ended up not being able to make it at the last minute. It was still a lot of fun though!
I'm not a big fan of birthday parties in general (throwing them at least, attending them is fine) so Buzz and Boo only had first birthday parties and we do something special as a family to celebrate every other year. I wanted to make sure that Bean got a special party just like her brother and sister though! We ate snacks and played with our friends. Bean and her friend Jack (three months older than Bean) walked around taking food off of everyone's plates. They're just too cute to say no to :)
 When it was time for the cake Bean wasn't too sure about the whole thing. She just looked at the piece of cake sitting in front of her for a minute before Buzz finally smashed her whole hand into it. She still didn't eat it until she saw all of the other kids chowing down on their cake and then she realized 'hey maybe this stuff isn't so bad after all' Needless to say, she ended up enjoying the cake very much!
The party was very low-key, spending time with friends and eating- just our style!

And because I never got around to posting about Bean actually turning one, here are a few extra pictures from the last few weeks for you to enjoy:
We love you sweet girl!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Birthday Theme Week

This week's theme was birthday. I thought this was a fitting time to have some birthday fun seeing as how everyone in our family has a summer birthday (two just in the past week!)

The birthday sensory tub came out A LOT throughout the week.

 We used printables from Musings of Me, 1+1+1=1 and Homeschool Creations

 I also made a few things myself: Skip counting cards (5's, 10's and 100's)

Spelling out birthday theme words with alphabet beads

Buzz and Boo practiced wrapping. They both used this tray but they also took wrapping paper and tape into the playroom and wrapped a bunch of toys for Bean to unwrap :)

I only ended up getting around to taking pictures of two days this week but we did lots of fun birthday things! Balloons were also a big one: balloons volleyball, hot potato and putting a marble inside a balloon and blowing it up (have you done this? the kids thought it was great how its movement was so unpredictable). Pretend play was also a big one, going to the "store" to buy birthday gifts for each other, having a surprise party, making birthday cake. Of course we ate cupcakes for dessert too. This theme provides so many fun ways to learn and play!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Birthday Sensory Tub

Our theme for this week was birthday!
This tub is filled with:
Sparkly pom poms
Mini bows
Spiky balls
Birthday themed buttons
Cardboard/felt birthday cake
Mini bags with tissue paper

Everything was either purchased at Michael's or already in my sensory tub stash

Buzz and Boo spent a long time just exploring the tub, mostly filling the little bags with treasures.

Then they got to work sorting everything.

Of course once everything is sorted it's time to break out the play money and play store.

The game went something like this: "pretend I own a birthday store and you're my sister but you don't recognize me and I don't recognize you. You're here to buy me a birthday present."

They crack me up :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Princess Sensory Tub- Bean Style!

In the last month or so Bean has really enjoyed getting in on the action of exploring our sensory tubs with Buzz and Boo. Last week she woke up from her nap while the big kids were still in quiet time, so I scooped her out of bed (hence the bed head) and brought her to the living room so that she could have the princess sensory tub all to herself and a little one-on-one time with mommy. She had a blast!
She loved wearing all of the necklaces

She practiced pushing pom poms and beads through the hole in one of her stack and roll cups

"Hey, where did they go?"

Trying to put the necklace on all by herself

"I love sensory tubs!"

4th of July Sensory Tub

So I know it's way after the 4th but I wanted to post about this tub anyway. Let's face it, there's only about 5 people who ever read this anyway (Hi Mom!) so it's more for my own benefit so I don't forget :) Boo and I worked as a team to put it all together and she had so much fun! She wanted to put in everything she could find that was red, white or blue!
In the tub are:
red, white and blue sparkly pom poms
red white and blue pony bead
red buttons
red plastic bracelets
star confetti
"firework" picks
blue golf tees
patriotic pinwheel
flag pail
mini flag

 Testing out the pinwheel

I also gave them a styrofoam block to stick the picks in

Boo spent a lot of time making "centerpieces" as she called them

Buzz stuck the golf tees in the styrofoam and balanced marbles on top

Bean played a lot with this tub too (closely supervised of course)!
She loved the texture of the pom poms and had fun taking them in and out of the pail

Saturday, July 9, 2011

2010-2011 School Year in Review

I know that most of you have been on summer vacation for a while now but 1. we don't technically end our school year until August because we school year-round and 2. public school just let out two weeks ago here. So let's agree that this review isn't really all that late, ok?
We'll start with Buzz-

Phonics and Language Arts: Buzz started off the school year in September being in lesson 12 of The Reading Lesson. He was able read some simple books (like Bob Books) but reading still wasn't coming easily to him yet. In October when he reached around lesson 15, his reading just took off! All of a sudden he flew through the rest of the lessons left in the book and could read just about anything that we put in front of him. He went from reading Bob Books and easy readers to reading The Chronicles of Narnia in a matter of weeks, pretty amazing!

Halfway through the year he started Explode the Code as an add-on for phonics. I ordered him books 2 and 2 1/2. To be honest they are too easy for him, but I didn't know that they would be quite so easy when I ordered them and they serve as a good review regardless. He finished Book 2 and is about 3/4 of the way through Book 2 1/2.

Around the same time that he started Explode the Code we also started First Language Lessons. I really like this book! It's a gentle approach to grammar and includes poetry and narration as well. While I wouldn't say Buzz loves it, he doesn't complain about it either. The book lasts for two years. We made it though the first half of the first year and will keep going next year.

For creative writing I cut a hole in a shoe box and filled the box with slips of paper with random words written on them such as helmet, cow and castle. Buzz (and Boo) would draw a slip of paper from the box and dictate a story to me that contains the word on the paper.

Spelling: Buzz didn't use a formal spelling curriculum this year. Each week I made a list of ten spelling words. The first day of the week he would practice writing the words. The second day he would write sentences for each of the first five words on the list. The third day he would write sentences for the last five words and on the fourth day he would take a spelling test.

Math: He also didn't use a math curriculum for most of this year. We did a lot of math games and activities and I made worksheets with word problems to go along with our read-alouds. A couple of months ago he started Mathematical Reasoning. He'll be working on it through the summer and will finished early in the next school year.

Bible: I don't consider Bible a "school subject" so a lot of our bible time is separate from school but we did read a section from Day by Day Devotions most days at the beginning of our school time.

Social Studies and Science: At the beginning of the year we rowed a title from Five in a Row almost every week so our social studies and science lessons were built in to that. About halfway through the year we started focusing on other things and stopped doing FIAR. For the rest of the year both our social studies and science were mostly interest led or based around themed units that we were doing.

Boo tagged along with just about everything that Buzz did except for doing her own phonics and math.

Phonics: Boo showed interest in learning to read around Christmas so we started The Reading Lesson in January. She is currently in Lesson 15 and her reading has taken off much in the same way as Buzz. She is currently reading every American Girl book that she gets her hands on as well as The Doll People trilogy.

Boo started Explode the Code at the same time that Buzz did. She finished Book 1 and is working through Book 1 1/2.

Math: We started the year with Boo working through Skill Sharpeners Math for grade K. When she finished that book she started Mathematical Reasoning for kindergarten.

Read-Alouds: Our read-alouds this year were:

A Bear Called Paddington
Because of Winn-Dixie
Elmer and the Dragon
Encyclopedia Brown
How to Train your Dragon
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
My Father's Dragon
Nim's Island
Owls in the Family
Paddington at Large
Prince Caspian
The Borrowers
The Doll People
The Dragon in the Sock Drawer
The Dragons of Blueland
The Meanest Doll in the World
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
The Mouse and the Motorcycle
The Runaway Dolls
The Tale of Despereaux
Toy Dance Party
Toys Go Out
Zoo School

 We also read many Magic Tree House, Judy Moody, Stink, A to Z Mysteries and American Girl books aloud but since they are such quick reads I didn't include them in the list.

Buzz's favorite read-alouds of the year were Mr. Popper's Penguins and Zoo School.
Boo's favorites were Nim's Island and all three books in The Doll People series.

This year was a big one for both Buzz and Boo in that they both learned to read (really well!) this year. We started the year rowing a Five in a Row title almost every week. We all really enjoyed rowing but when we moved to our new house in January we stepped back from FIAR and transitioned to a more workbook centered approach. This probably would be misery for a lot of kids but mine both love workbooks and worksheets and I think we all really enjoyed the second half of the year even more than the first. I didn't (and still don't) dislike anything about FIAR, I just felt like a change. I plan to get back to rowing next year, just not every week, all year long. We found some great pieces of curriculum that we plan to continue with. Check back latter this summer to see my plans for next year!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sunny Day, Chasing the Clouds Away...

Over the long weekend we decided to take the kids on a mystery trip. We packed lunch, loaded up the car and took off. Buzz and Boo were excited to find out where we were going and even more excited when we pulled in to... SESAME PLACE!
We had been to Sesame Place before but it hadn't been warm enough to do any of the water rides so it was fun to be able to check out both the wet and dry attractions this time. Boo loves rides and was very excited to ride the roller coaster. Ruben got Buzz to ride it too which I was surprised by because he doesn't usually like fast rides but he said that he enjoyed it.

Ruben likes rides a lot more than I do so I only rode one with Buzz and Boo. He took them on the rest of the rides while I hung out with Bean.

Buzz and Boo love the nets climbing attraction and Daddy tagged along

As soon as we got to the park Boo noticed the swing ride and really wanted to try it. I thought it looked kind of big and scary for her (yeah, I'm a wimp) but she insisted!

After the swing ride we headed over to the wet attractions. Buzz loves the water and had a great time at the water attractions!

It was a great day!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Boo's First Real Haircut!

Boo has been asking to get her hair cut in to a bob since before Christmas but we agreed that she would wait until after her dance recital so that we would be able to pull it up and out of her face. My mom was in town (along with my dad) for her recital so we made it into a girl's day and headed out to get her hair cut and to lunch the day after her recital. She was so excited to be getting her long awaited hair cut that she was practically giddy while she was sitting in the chair at the salon!

The most exciting part was that her hair was long enough that she was able to donate it. We talked about what a blessing that her donation would be to someone else and she seemed very proud.

 The braids that she donated ended up being just over 8 inches long!

She loves her new 'do and I think she looks cute as a button!