Sunday, August 28, 2011

Can she do it? Yes she can!

There are four months until my next birthday.  And only 9 things left on my 29 things to do before I turn 29 list.  This is nothing short of amazing. I've already completed more than any other year.  Here's what I have left:

4. Open an Etsy shop - this feels overwhelming and stressful but I don’t think it should. I just need to make a few things, take pictures and post them. I get freaked because I make myself feel like this would have to be my entire life’s work outside of raising my kids of course. This is still freaking me out.  I had a bunch of skirts cut and ready to stock for summer but that season is over.  Now I have a bunch of girl's Halloween skirts cut and ready to sew...if I can get them done in the next two weeks I can open shop ready for the holiday.  I'm having such a hard time catching up my every day regular life that adding this is hard.
7. Make living room curtains- with the fabric I’ve had that’s just waiting for me to cut into it…peach and green and brown… The fabric is mostly cut and ready to sew! Trying to decide to sew these or work on etsy stuff or more sewing projects for other people.
8. Knit something, anything…it could be a potholder…I just want to give it a try. I may put this off for another year.
10. Read at least half of the Newberry Award winners since 1922. I think I'm close but haven't counted in a while..
14. Do the Financial Peace University stuff with Grant. At least once a week we discuss that we want to do this.
18. Figure how to make a buttonhole with my sewing machine.
21. Tie-Dye! I have a craft playdate set up for October so hopefully we will do this with friends!
27. Try a bottle of the Middle Sister wine that I found at Target but haven’t purchased. Maybe I'll try it with my sister's the next time we are all together...

I'd also like to add: Lose 20lbs.  Yep, it's out there now.  I haven't been taking care of myself as I should.  I have not been putting on my oxygen mask before helping others.  I've been stress-eating whole pans of brownies and bowls of ice cream.  I've been snacking on junk crackers and not drinking enough water.  And drinking waaaayy too much diet coke. I have been walking a few times a week but I should/could do more.

80% of losing this weight is going to be diet.  I've started to plan my meals better.  I freezer cooked a bunch of healthy breakfasts today.  I have to plan so that I don't get caught up in eating on the go. 

I'm also looking into figuring out how to make some gym time work for me during the week. 

I think I should probably start a food journal but I'm not sure how to work that out.

Mostly I want to make sure I'm focusing on healthy changes and never mention the words, fat or diet- especially to Zola.

Things that would NOT be helpful for me to hear:
Why are you worrying? You don't need to lose weight!
Oh just enjoy life and eat what you want!
Look at these brownies I just made for you!
Good to hear you're finally doing this.
I noticed you'd gained some weight.

Things that would be helpful for me to hear:
I've been trying to lose weight too, want to encourage each other?
I want to go to the gym too, want to meet up there?
I found some healthy recipes that I love, want me to share?

4 months until my birthday.  Lots of goals. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Inspiration Today:

Meet the Crunchy Catholic Momma.  I was introduced to her a couple weeks ago by my wonderful friend, Holly.  I am in love with the Crunchy Catholic Momma's lifestyle...leaving the city to live a simpler life in the country.  This is probably my husband's number one dream. (Right, babe?)

But it's her post that I linked to for today that is rolling around in my head.  We have a daily life flow...but I would consider it more of a loose schedule than a rhythm.  But I want a rhythm!  I've tried something like this before but only centered around chores and it didn't last long. 

I think my kids would love this.  I think they would love knowing what we are going to do each day.  I think they would love not being quite so sporatic. 

My issue, because of course I always have some issue with everything, is that I am an all or nothing kind of personality.  If I create a rhythm and then something comes up like planning for a party or a trip and I get thrown off then it is sooooo hard for me to reconnect with my plan and start again.  We have a velcro wall calendar that I like to use with the girls.  You can always tell when something has come up to throw off our mornign circle time because that's where the dates stop and it may stay on June halfway through August before I try again.

For today I will think on what our weekly rhythm should be...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back-Talking 3 Year Old For Sale.

I love this kid:
This is her riding at horse camp a few weeks ago.

But today she has refused to do anything I ask of her.  She's yelled "NO!" at least 12 times.  She refused to get out of the car in 100 degree weather.  She refused to get dressed. She refused to share with her sister.  She refused to go the bathroom even though she was doing the 'dance' and I knew she had to go.  She refused to take a nap.  She refused to let me hug her. 

Days like this are trying and make me wonder if my sanity will survive homeschooling.

But we are going to keep trying and hopefully Zola and I will hug and make up when she's done taking a break in my room.

I need about 2 more solid hours of planning to get ready for this year.  Zola has been working on some worksheets in her binders, so that's good.  But I need to break down all of our lessons into weekly agendas so I have a timeline and a goal.

I am also still feeling that simplification bug itching me.  We are putting so much time and energy into picking stuff up.  Some days I feel so frustrated with myself because I'm cleaning and organizing and picking up and I know my girls just want me to sit down with them. But if I take a day and just play with them then I the cleaning stuff builds up and takes more time later.  Where is the balance?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Teacher Planning Day

Officially I am still in the cleaning out process... unofficially I am totally annoyed by it and stuck for the moment so I'm moving on with my life and keeping plans to clear out more stuff as I figure out what needs to go. But I must add that we've found the less stuff (toys, etc) we have out in the living space the more the girls actually play with their things. Good to know but hard to live out. It's also interesting to see the things they most play with- a box of wooden shapes and sticks from the craft area, blankets and pillows, books, dolls and stuffed animals, art stuff and dress-up.

And today is Teacher Planning Day! My first one ever for homeschool. I am loving it and hating at the same time. My table is covered in notebooks, folders, lists, curriculum, workbooks, pens, craft magazines, cups of green tea, calendars, page protectors... I'm getting there but I think it's going to take more than one day.

I started out by creating a list of subjects and goals within those subjects- things I want to work on with Zola this year. (this year means from now until next August) I am trying to set a pace for us but I've never done this before so I guess I won't see how it works until I'm looking behind us- and that is a very scary thing. I want to be able to say that if I do A, B and C then she will read and know how to add and grow a flower and recite the 50 states. But really all I can do is take into account what I know about Zola and come up with lessons that fit her and hope she will learn. It's frightening and thrilling at the same time to know I am responsible for the things my kids are learning.

Once I had the goals made I made a list next to each subject of materials to use...

Goal List for Zola August 2011-August 2012:

- Vowel Sounds
- Sight Words
- Blending Letter Sounds
- Word Families
- Letter Writing
(Hooked on Phonics Pre-K Level 1 and 2, Kindergarten Level 1 and 2, BOB books from library?, worksheets, WYKNTK)

- Count to 100
- Simple Adding and Subtraction
- Measuring; bigger vs. smaller, etc.
- Patterns
- Sorting
- Writing Numbers
- Money Identification
(Cooking with mom, Block Manipulatives; use number stickers to order and count, pattern art, mazes, worksheets, WYKNTK)

- U.S. and World Maps
- North, South, East and West
- Presidents
(wall maps, president and flag flashcards, money, WYKNTK)

- Baked Clay Statues
- Famous Paintings
- Weaving and/or Knitting
- Sewing
- Circle Time Music
- Seasonal Activities
(WYKNTK, Art manipulatives, monthly self-portrait)

- Growing Plants
- Seasons and Weather
- Animal Needs
- People Needs
- 5 Senses
- Protecting Our Planet
- Magnets
(WYKNTK, nature journal, experiment journal?)

I have no idea what I'm doing for this yet... We have The Jesus Storybook Bible and love it but I feel like I want to do something more specific using the stories and I'm not sure if I have the energy to create it all myself. So....this is still an argh for me.

WYKNTK = What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know I was introduced to this book by my lovely friend, Ann, who did pre-k homeschool with her daughter this past year. It's a whole series and I had been checking them out from the library but just found my own copy at Border's going out of business sale. The preschool version is good but we've already done most of it on our own so I'm using the Kindergarten book as jumping off place for us this year.

This is not an exhaustive list but it gives me a place to start. We can add or take away as needed. And our co-op hasn't had a planning day yet so I haven't included those units but I'm hoping they will coincide with my goals to make our months cohesive.

I have two 3-ring binders for Zola. One pink and one purple and each as a Hello Kitty folder in it. I'm going to let her decorate the outside with paint, markers and stickers and one binder will be for math worksheets and the other for reading and writing. She will be able to do worksheets each day and as she completes them she will get stickers and then she can take them off the rings and put them in the folder.

For myself I have a binder with my yearly planner (I tried but I just can't get used to a digital one..I need it in writing) and my lesson planner and a folder for things I want to try or lists of curriculum or whatever.

In my lesson planner I'm going to break down the Hooked On Phonics and list the lessons to do each week- then we can decide as our schedule dictates if we do more than one in a row or one every other day or whatever. That way it will take us about 12 weeks to complete the Pre-K levels and hopefully we can start the Kindergarten levels in January. I think she's going to love being able to read. She's already sound-spelling words when we talk so now we need to connect those sounds to the visual words on a page.

We've been doing math around the house and Grant started adding and subtracting with her and she's catching on pretty quick so we'll work with manipulatives for more of that.

History and Geography is going to be new for us. We do some map stuff with our hallway wall maps and we talk about places when we go on trips but I'm excited about doing more of this and curious to see how she catches on. And history is just more story which we do love in this house so I think it will be fun.

Art and Music are already constants in our daily life so this seems like it will be easy to continue. I would like to do more planning so I have a list of activities and supplies in order. This will lessen the last minute stress of wanting to do something but not knowing what or not having the supplies on hand.

Science is mostly about nature and being outside this year. Hopefully the weather will cool off soon and we get outdoors! I know our co-op is excited about doing this together.

Bible...until I decide what else to do we will continue with our praying together and talking about God and learning some songs and stories...

Zola has also started helping plan meals and cook more. Last week she made pancakes for dinner- she mixed, poured and flipped and she loved that made it for all of us. I would like to find more recipes she can do herself to keep her interested.

I also made myself a binder of arts and crafts activities. Now when I see something fun online or in a magazine I can just print it or cut it out and put it in there and then instead of paging through a stack of books every time I want to find a project I have an easy visual of a bunch of age-appropriate things we can do. This should make planning easier.

Now that I have my goals written out I want to create weekly lessons for the next few months to keep us on track and give me less to do on a week to week basis.

Oh! And a great site I found today for my homeschool and other teacher friends: Donnayoung I read through it today and am using some of her charts.