Friday, March 27, 2015

{around here} Week 12/52: Week of 3.23.15


A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.  At the end of the year, I'll publish them into a keepsake to treasure.

Around here, I have been:


in shock how fast this week went!  I blinked and we're already here at Friday.  The days are only going to get busier for us too - soccer starts next week!  


running outside when Mark gets home.  I love every minute of those four mile runs...I can be in my own head for a little bit, which I'm finding is necessary as an introvert with five loud kids.  Saturday is scheduled for seven miles, a distance I've never done before.  I'm excited and nervous.

decluttering like a crazy lady.  I've been trying to be very aware of the things entering our house, so how do I still have so much stuff?  It's a little overwhelming, but I'm taking it one closet and plastic bin at a time.  

finishing Where'd You Go, Bernadette (I liked it!) and still working through Overcoming Dyslexia

planning Easter: finishing up baskets, choosing outfits and making a menu for dinner.  Simple but special is my motto.

working on Sophie's room and I'm almost done!  Her headboard arrived and it is just how I pictured it.  I still need to find a lamp and some throw pillows, plus a few other odds and ends, but I'd say her room is about 80% complete. 

homeschool notes:
+ In science, we started our space unit.  We did a general summary and then watched a few Magic School Bus episodes.   
+ Our Greek study started in history.  We made Grecian vases using a scratch technique, which was really fun for all of us. (I made one too!)  Yesterday was the highlight of the week,though: we made Mycenaean shields and helmets from cardboard!  
+ M has been flying through beginner chapter books, so we decided to let him try something a little harder.  He is now reading Detectives in Togas and loves it!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

{currently} Mamma's Journal // March


a letter to my children, every month in 2015

M // Daddy taught you how to cook eggs and you have become the official breakfast chef.  I love hearing you call from the kitchen, "Who wants eggs?  Scrambled or over easy?"  You also make your brothers and sister hot chocolate.  I am so thankful for your help!  This month, you have become a reading machine.  You even read two beginner chapter books in one day!  I hope you always have a love for learning.  

D // You, my friend, are a card shark.  We still have Crazy Eights on heavy rotation, but have also expanded to War and Go Fish.  You are competitive just like me, so we have many, many rematches.  If you ever make it big in poker some day, remember that it all started with your mama.  This month, you have also become so creative with Legos.  You played with Spinjitsu spinners at a friend's house, then came home and created something similar with the blocks we own.  You are amazing.

J // You are at such a fun age and I laugh at something you say almost everyday.  My favorite memory of you this month was the day we went to the park.  It seemed like all the mamas had similar ideas because there were a lot of kids there too.  You would run off to play, then come back around and tell me little stories.  My favorite was, "I said hi to that girl lady over there.  She waved...and then ran away." 

S // Your vocabulary is growing more and more everyday and we love listening to your sweet little voice.  Although it changes all the time, my favorite thing you say right now is "shanks" (thanks).  You play right along with the boys, playing everything from ninjas to sword fighting.  And yet you are the most caring, gentle mama to your baby too.  I think you are the coolest girl around.

TJ // Six months old and I just can't believe it.  You are rolling over, sitting tripod-style and have two little teeth.  You are such a happy little guy.  You are mama's joy and we all love you so much.       
  
Love you all to the moon and back again, Mamma

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

{12 months of kindness} February & March: Gifts for the Food Bank & a Classroom


Time for a double dose of 12 Months of Kindness!  

In February, we decided to help a teacher through Donor's Choose.  With so many worthy recipients, how could we ever pick just one?  As you know, my great-grandmother (the inspiration behind this blog) was a passionate school teacher and had a love for learning that spanned her entire life.  I like to think that she passed that love for reading on to me as well.  So when I read this description, I knew it was the perfect choice for our donation:   
We are a high poverty area and many of my students live in very challenging circumstances, with little or no access to educational materials at home. They develop an appreciation very quickly of their school library and all that it offers them, including excellent children's literature. They soon love to read because of this easy access to a wide variety of wonderful books! But sadly, some of our most loved stories are now worn, torn, and taped. They must be discarded because they are falling apart. Please help us replace them AND add newly released Caldecott winners to our collection! Our students deserve to read and enjoy these books in the sparkling way that their gifted authors and illustrators intended.
Strega Nona, Corduroy, Go Dog Go, The Very Hungry Caterpillar...these are all classic books that my children have read and love.  It breaks my heart that other children may not have the same opportunity.  We donated to Ms. Daugherty's cause and I hope you do too!  The last time I checked, she still needs $520 to reach her goal.



This month, we decided to support our food bank.  Do you follow Aimee on Instagram?  Months ago, she posted a photo of a handful of canned goods with this description: 

Y'all.  I am seeking to build better habits in a few areas.  I have a new goal to buy 10 canned goods and a 5lb bag of rice every week at Aldi and then drop it off at our local food bank...I don't want to simply live with good intentions but with real patterns of generosity and community care.  I desire for my children to build habits of service and care and that modeling begins right here with me.

So powerful, right?  I recently remembered that photo and we are hoping to start something similar with our own family.  Even on a tight budget, it's still possible to add a few things to our cart and help others in the process. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

{around here} Week of 11/52: Week of 3.16.15


A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.  At the end of the year, I'll publish them into a keepsake to treasure.

Around here, I have been:


trudging through a hard week...there has been a lot of bickering and tears among the older kids.  I know it has something to do with the long winter days stuck inside without sports or friends, but it's still so draining.  I've also got an adorable but clingy, teething baby.  Another reason I'm feeling like a burnt out mama.  Some weeks are like that.

surprising the kids on Monday with a trip to a new park.  We were all so excited to be outside in the spring-like weather and I even extended the celebration by getting ice cream cones on the way home.  D declared that it was "the bestest day ever".  Unfortunately, the warm weather didn't last long and we're even supposed to get a rain/snow mix today!  

reading Overcoming Dyslexia (this book is so fascinating, but I can only read small chunks at a time in order to digest it) and I just started Where'd You Go, Bernadette.

shaking my head at my slightly dramatic daughter.  She fell down in our yard and somehow scraped her thumb.  It was minor, so I put a Bandaid on and thought that was that.  Oh no.  She has been walking around all week with her hand clung to her chest saying, "Oh Mama...me hand hurt."  Her pathetic little voice kills me, but the act is getting old.    

researching how to fit four boys in one bedroom.  We need two sets of bunk beds, but can't decide what to do.  Go for the more affordable option with a shorter lifespan or invest in better quality with the higher price tag?  

baking chocolate chip cookies and I even ate a few too.  It's been that kind of week.

trying something new with a cucumber facial mask.  I am an Influenster member and I received a handful of samples to try for free.  So when I found myself with a window of free time (Mark was at church and the kids were all asleep...can you hear the angels singing?), I figured I'd see what this was all about.  After I applied it on my face, it hardened and I was able to peel it right off.  It was the weirdest feeling, but my skin felt awesome afterward!      

running three miles three times a week and a long run on Saturday.  I'll be running six tomorrow and I always get the nerves and butterflies the day before.  Trying to remember that I am stronger than I think.

homeschool notes:
+ History was all about early Crete this week.  We learned about bull jumpers and even found a short video to visualize it.  The boys' favorite was listening to the story of King Minos and the Minotaur.  We worked through a few mazes and then pulled out a Lego game that fit in with the theme perfectly.  We'll be rounding out the week with a volcano eruption!
+ In order to expand M's reading, I've issued a challenge: read 100 books and he'll get a prize at the end.  We printed off this chart and he colors in a circle after he reads a book and can summarize it to me.  Beginner chapter books (which I am encouraging him to read) count for one circle, but if he wants to read picture books (also encouraged, especially when he reads aloud to Sophie), he needs to read four.  He loves it!
+ In Kindergarten, we ended our work on uppercase letters and are headed back around to look at the lowercase ones.  I have seen so much improvement in D's recall - so exciting!
+ We practiced our uppercase letters by "painting" them with water on our chalkboard wall.  Everyone got in on the fun. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

{book report} My Latest Reads // March


The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
How do I describe this book without giving too much away?  It is about a teenage girl who witnesses a shocking event and then lives with the secret until adulthood.  Fast forward to present day and with her mother close to death, she is determined to figure out the reasons behind that day.  There were lots of twists and turns to keep the 480 page book moving.  And the ENDING!  I never saw it coming.  So good.

The Boxcar Children #1 by Gertrude Chandler Warner

I recently found my old set from childhood and thought M would enjoy them like I had.  I was right, he loves them!  He begged me to read them again too so obviously, I started with number one.  Let's just say, reading these as an adult is way different than reading as a kid.  Back then, I thought these books were awesome...now?  Meh.  

Everyday Sacrament by Laura Kelly Fanucci
I won this book in a giveaway.  It's filled with small stories that connect parenting to the seven sacraments.  Laura's message is that God is always present, even in the messiness of motherhood.  The book is a short read, but I found the content thought-provoking and wise.  It's a great choice if you're feeling burnt out as a mother and need a reminder that you are doing great work! 

It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell
I received this book from Blogging for Books to review, which was timely since I had recently come across Mitchell's TED talk in January.  She lost incredible amounts of weight and this book follows the process, as well as how she established a healthy relationship with food.  While I felt like some parts were a bit wordy and a few others totally off-topic, the message of the book still resonated with me.  I am six months postpartum, dealing with my own weight loss issues (albeit minor in comparison), and this book really made me look at my own relationship with food.  Do I see food as fuel for my body?  Do I use food as stress-relief or to self-soothe when I've had a hard day with the kids?  Thought provoking.        

What have you been reading lately?  Any good ones I should I to the list?
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