Homeschool Adventures

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Greetings from the islands!  It’s been awhile!

I hope you’ve been well and busy with wonderful new adventures!

We’ve been keeping very busy here with a new adventure of our own…Homeschooling!

My oldest son is 5, my daughter is 3 and my youngest son is 1, so we are VERY new to the homeschooling universe, but we’ve been going strong for about 9 weeks now and it’s been a heck of a ride!

I’ve gotten a lot of questions from friends and family about the curriculums I’m using, how I’m using them and supplies I’ve purchased so I thought the easiest way to answer those questions would be an all encompassing post.

Let’s start with the curriculums.  I’m currently using 2 different programs that I fell in love with during my research…

The Playful Pioneers

Exploring Nature With Children

The Playful Pioneers is faith-based.  If you know me, you know that I am not a one-religion-fits-all kind of gal.  I don’t read the Bible or sing hymns and that’s OK!  What really grabbed my attention about this curriculum was that it was organized exactly the way I was trying to organize my own material for homeschool.  When I saw a preview of the Playful Pioneers I was thrilled that it was so simple (a HUGE deal for me).   I choose to skip the religious blocks and start the day with our read aloud and then I incorporate nature study.

Exploring Nature With Children is a year long curriculum that you can fully commit to or simply jump in and out of when it suits you.  That’s what I loved.  I knew I wanted to incorporate nature study so this made perfect sense.  The program is beautifully done and has been the highlight of homeschool for me personally.  The kids are so happy, so joyful when we’re on a nature walk, looking for specific things, listening for sounds of mini-beasts, etc.

Here’s a quick look at a typical school day using Playful Pioneers program with my own changes/additions:

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Poetry and copy-work are included with both curriculums as well as a book list and weekly supply list.  The curriculums are digital downloads, so you’re responsible for printing and binding.  I utilize my Big Happy Planner to house all of my homeschool content.

Math:

Math Lessons for a Living Education

Neither curriculum includes math, however The Playful Pioneers offer recommendations on a few different programs.  As math (numbers in general) seemed to frustrate my 5 year old more than anything else, I decided to look for something that wouldn’t “feel” like a math program.  I found what I was looking for in yet another faith-based program called Math Lessons for a Living Education.  This program utilizes story-telling to teach math.  And as the story is set on a farm, it aligned perfectly with our Playful Pioneers read aloud of Farmer Boy and the Little House series.  We’re only a quarter of the way through our Math program, but the improvements in counting, recognizing numbers, writing numbers and WANTING to learn more has been astounding.  I’ve had to re-write a few lines here and there in the story that are just a bit too religious for me, but that’s simply my preference.

Science:

I don’t have a specific science program that I use because there is so much science covered in Exploring Nature with Children.

Supplies for our Homeschool:

A good book stand!  I love the one I purchased on Amazon!

A good watercolor set.  You can definitely get away with buying the super cheap kid sets (which is what we did at the start) but we’ve since graduated to a slightly better quality set and it really makes a difference.

A small notebook for nature journaling and a good set of color pencils!

A notebook of some sort to hold all of the copywork and artwork.  I purchased a Happy Planner hole punch and extra rings to make my own notebook.

One series of books that I’ve also stumbled upon for helping my 5 year old with his nature journaling is the Draw-Write-Now series.  They have copywork and easy instructions for drawing that my son has taken to quite well!

Because we’re in the process of a move AND I’ve become more of a minimalist at this stage of my life, we have very few toys.  The toys we DO have serve multiple purposes.  They’re used for free play, they’re used to play out scenes from our read aloud (which really helps the kids remember what happened as well as improving their oral narration) and they’re used for counting and sorting.  Because our read alouds are all about farming and the woods, a bucket of farm toys and some woodland creatures made the most sense for us.  We also have some peg dolls coming that we will try to paint ourselves to be the main characters of our read alouds (wish me luck!).

A nature pack for the little ones is essential!  All it needs is a magnifying glass, a clear cup and spoon for capturing and exploring mini-beasts, a few baby wipes to clean up messy hands and a bag of some sort for collecting things on your nature walks!

That’s about it!

I wanted to keep this school year (especially since it’s our first official year) as simple and as fun as possible.

So far, it’s been an incredible adventure!

We’re extremely blessed to be able to do this.

If I haven’t covered something here that you’re interested in, please do let me know!  I’m happy to talk about everything we’ve been up to!

 

 

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And then there were three…

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Our third little miracle is here!

I can hardly believe I’m typing this (on my phone using the WordPress app for the first time because I honestly don’t remember where I last placed my laptop).

This pregnancy was a miracle.  A surprise.  A truly magical and equally exhausting experience.  For the first half of this pregnancy I was in denial.  I had truly believed I would not be pregnant again.  I would not watch my belly grow with life inside again.  I would never feel kicking and stretching from within again.  I would not have to endure labor and delivery again.

Fast forward to the third trimester and I was no longer in denial but in a state of quiet panic.  I could no longer pick either of my children up to hold them.  I couldn’t lift the weekly groceries from our already crowded minivan.  I felt I couldn’t manage my household day to day.  I was already sleep deprived.  I was so big I couldn’t put my own socks and shoes on.  If my almost 2 year old daughter decided to suddenly take off in a parking lot I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch her. I felt extremely inadequate.

All of that said, I had the very best support system in place that insured a safe family and a safe pregnancy. 

I had my husband and I had my Mommy and Daddy.

I honestly don’t know how I would’ve managed without the constant help from these beautiful souls.

I also don’t know how I would’ve stayed sane.  You see, the other thing I never thought I’d have to do again was to worry about making it to the hospital in time.  But here we were again.  Living on the side of the island with the worst traffic, worst road work schedules, mistimed traffic lights, etc.  A plan was needed every day.  If Jody was at work, my Mom was the closest and would come get me and rush me to hospital.  If Jody was home, he was on call. If Jody was surfing and Mom was at work, Dad was on call.  If everyone was at work I would try to plan being out with the kids close to hospital or Jody’s office.  It was exhausting having to think up a new plan every day.

I experienced Braxton hicks contractions fairly early into the 3rd trimester this time and I felt real contractions around 34 weeks.  My son and daughter both arrived early (2 and 3 weeks) so we thought this babe would also make an early entrance.  

The history of my two previous deliveries made this one a bit more stressful simply because we “thought” it would play out in similar fashion.  With the way I was feeling, we expected this baby as early as the end of April, he arrived mid-May, so it was a long couple of weeks.  Every night for 3 weeks I made sure my bag was packed for the hospital, I did my best at keeping our pantry and fridge stocked, I kept reminding my Mom to have a bag packed so that she could simply grab it and head to our place once my water broke, we kept clean towels in the car, etc.

At 36 weeks I was 1cm dilated.  At 37 weeks I was 3cm dilated. At 38 weeks (the longest I’ve carried a pregnancy) I was still 3cm and only 50% effaced.  I was so stressed by this point because traffic issues were happening non stop on our side of the island and we knew my labors were quick.  I had been feeling loads of contractions but they weren’t consistent. I was so frustrated by the lack of progress that I texted a few friends and family the following:


I took that photo just after scheduling another weekly appointment with my dr.

The rest of that day was spent shopping for groceries with my Mom and kids, battling with my son over nap time, and trying to relax at home.

Jody and I still hadn’t settled on a name and while making dinner we decided on it and joked that baby could be born now that he had his name.

A quick dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup was had and I spent the rest of the evening sorting through baby clothes in the guest bedroom.  Around 10 pm I brushed my teeth and settled down for the night. Jody had fallen asleep shortly before I got into bed.

Every night for those 3 weeks I expected my water to break once I settled into bed.  And every night, nothing happened.  This night was different. I had finally accepted that this baby was going to arrive when he was good and ready and that I had no control over it.  I had just fallen asleep when I heard my daughter wimper on the baby monitor.  I turned to look at the monitor and felt a trickle.  “Oh.  Uh…..”

Jody immediately woke and sat up.  “What’s going on???”

I didn’t feel anything else so I wasn’t sure if it was my water.  “I’m not sure, maybe…maybe my water?”

That was all Jody needed.  He got up and started getting dressed as I made my way to the bathroom only to feel the gush halfway there (luckily I was wrapped in a towel).  This was it. It was go time.

Jody called my Mom and then my doctor. 

When my water broke with my daughter, my Mom was already at our house, we already knew about lane closures on the highway and we made a 45 minute drive in 23 minutes.  But i was shaking, I was scared the entire drive, I thought we’d have that baby in the car.

This time was completely different.

My Mom showed up a few minutes after calling her, we kissed the kids (already fast asleep in their beds) and off we went.  

For some reason I was very calm this time.  I didn’t feel scared.  I trusted my body and myself to know what was happening.  No red lights were run this time.  We even turned the radio on.  Fittingly, the song “I’m coming out” was playing and Jody and I laughed….a lot.

We made it to the hospital in 45 minutes and once again had to use the ER entrance.  Apparently when you do this it is hospital policy to have ER staff take your vitals.  After answering a few questions I was quickly wheeled to labor and delivery (no vitals taken).

Let’s go baby #3!!!!!


We had an amazing team of nurses, I got an epidural in time and my doctor made it just in time for pushing.

Our head nurse told me that we’d do one practice push before the real pushing started.

I was in no pain at this point.  Even the pushing didn’t hurt this time. I was truly blessed.

We did our practice push, and then a real push.  For some reason I can’t keep my eyes open when I push (kind of like when you sneeze).  After the first “real” push I heard Jody say “oh my god I can see his hair…” and I pushed one more time.

And just like that, I was able to send out a new text…


What a different experience this labor and delivery was, and I thank this little miracle every day for being so good to me.

And then there were three…


My heart is full.

So much for blogging…

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Epic fail.

I was challenged to blog more, I have failed.

I just don’t have the time, or energy, or brain matter.

So I’ll let this blog hibernate for awhile and hope that I come back refreshed, renewed and ready to write again.

Hope you’re all doing well and I’ll catch up with you soon.

Just call my house the Scone Factory

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Blueberry scones with lemon glaze

It’s been just over a year since I made my first batch of scones.

Sweet, savory, simple, I’ve loved scones since the first time I had one, but I’ve always been intimidated to try making them.

I suppose I have blueberries to thank.

Last year, blueberries (which are normally quite expensive in Hawaii) went on this freak sale at Costco and I found myself with more berries than I knew what to do with.

I started Googling.

I found a blueberry scone recipe that didn’t seem too overwhelming and then I found a lemon glaze recipe on Youtube.

Oh my heavenly goodness.

I haven’t stopped making scones since.

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Peanut butter chocolate chip scones

My family hasn’t stopped asking for them either.

My 3 year old has developed a love for scone making too, which is adorable.

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iPhonebackup_Nov2014 132As a Happy Scone Making Anniversary gift I am sharing my absolute favorite scone recipes if you want to dive into this delicious habit:

Blueberry Scones – after letting these cool, you’ll want to mix confectioners sugar and lemon juice until you get a nice, thick glaze and then top the blueberry scones.

Peanut butter Chocolate chip Scones  – if you have left over peanut butter glaze, jar it and later mix or blend it with vanilla ice-cream to make your very own peanut butter blizzard.

Pumpkin spice Scones

Spiced apple Scones

Mango Scones

Time to update The List

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UPDATED: My Life Tourist List

  • adopt a wild animal
  • attend a laughter yoga session
  • bathe in a tub of flowers
  • be a dancing sign holder for an hour
  • be called the most beautiful and amazing woman
  • be on television
  • be painted
  • build a sandcastle
  • bungee jump
  • challenge someone to a duel
  • change a flat tire
  • climb a mountain
  • conquer my biggest fear
  • dance in the rain
  • dance in the snow
  • discover the meaning of my life
  • experience a white Christmas
  • find buried treasure
  • flash a stranger
  • get a tattoo
  • get married
  • get so drunk you don’t remember it
  • go on an African safari
  • go through a drive-thru in a stretch limo
  • go to a dinner theater
  • go to a Drag Show
  • go to a Flugtag
  • go to a James Taylor concert
  • go to a sumo tournament
  • go to an Eagles concert
  • go to Disneyland
  • go to New York City
  • go white-water rafting
  • graduate college
  • have a man sing to me
  • have children
  • have my own paparazzi for a day
  • have something named after me
  • have tea with a Geisha
  • herd cattle across a State or two
  • high-five a walrus
  • hold a python
  • hold hands with an Orangutan
  • learn another language
  • learn how to ballroom dance
  • learn to play taiko drums
  • learn to play the violin
  • learn to trapeze
  • look into the eyes of a King Cobra
  • love someone more than myself
  • make a difference
  • make a hole-in-one
  • make a snowman
  • make someones dream come true
  • make the front page of a newspaper
  • meet Kate Winslet or Emilia Clarke
  • mud-wrestle
  • own my own business
  • own my own home
  • participate in a Muddy Buddy race
  • pay tribute to Saucy Mary
  • pierce my belly button or get a monroe piercing
  • plant a tree and visit it 10 years later
  • record a song
  • ride a camel
  • ride an elephant
  • roll down a big hill
  • run a marathon
  • save someones life
  • see a ballet
  • see a Hippo in the wild
  • see a komodo dragon in the wild
  • see a meteor shower
  • see a whale breach
  • see and erupting volcano
  • see blooming cherry blossoms
  • see Jack Johnson in concert
  • see Ramesses at the Cairo museum
  • see the Aurus Mountains’ Africa Rock in person
  • see the Rosetta Stone in person
  • see the running of the bulls in person
  • set something free
  • sing in front of an audience
  • sing in Les Miserables
  • skydive
  • spear a fish
  • spend the night in a bookstore
  • start a food fight
  • stay at a bed and breakfast
  • stop a fight
  • swim in a lagoon
  • swim with a turtle
  • take a booze cruise with Jody in our 80’s
  • take a cruise up the Nile
  • take the most amazing photo
  • teach someone something
  • throw a dart on a map and visit that place
  • touch a cloud
  • visit Abu Simbel
  • visit Australia Zoo
  • visit Ireland
  • visit Okinawa
  • visit Scotland
  • walk barefoot over hot coals
  • write a book
  • write and publish a poem
  • zipline through a jungle

I’d better update my passport.  There are quite a few places I still need to see….

Commitment Issues…

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Well, I obviously have some commitment issues regarding this blogging thing.

Apologies for being M.I.A. for so long!

It’s now been over a year since I posted about our very special arrival.

Life with twosies (my word for having 2 children, lame, yes) is so, so different.

I’d had many friends and family try to prepare me for the new level of exhaustion, the guilt of giving more time to one child over the other, the tantrums, etc. but nothing could truly and fully prepare me.

I’m SO TIRED.  =)

I say that with complete enthusiasm.

Life is incredibly busy and yet I sometimes feel like I’m not being productive on any given day.  And that’s OK!

In the last year we’ve had so many amazing visits from family and friends, we’ve celebrated birthdays, we’ve discovered scones (more on this in a future post), we’ve island hopped (more on this later too), we’ve become addicted to Octonauts, we started Geocaching, we rapidly hit baby and toddler milestones, we’re trying to master the art of Gyotaku and we’re just enjoying the time we have here.

Speaking of our time here…(in Hawaii) it’s already half over!  We’ve been here over 2 years now!  How that happened, I know not.  What I do know is that we already need to start planning for our return to Virginia.  And that is blowing my mind.  There is SO MUCH to do.  I thought after packing up our lives in Virginia and moving here, we could accomplish anything.  But now thinking about doing that all over again to get back to Virginia and all of the repairs we’ll need to complete on our home there and selling our home here and figuring out where we’re going to live on this end and that end, well, it’s not helping me slow the greying process.  On top of all of that, K will need to start school soon!  Ah life, you are officially cray-cray.

Speaking of cray, I’ve been encouraged and challenged by my BFF to blog on a more regular basis.  So in between planning the move, the twosies and everything else, I’ll attempt to write as much as possible.  =)

Wish me luck!  I’ll need it!