Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Juan and I decided that every year we will get the kids a stuffed doll from Build-A-Bear as a Christmas gift from us. This year the Grinch came out. We conned the kids into thinking we were just going "window shopping" and we'd quickly peek in Build-A-Bear so they could look around. They were surprised and thrilled when they found out the truth!

Building their Grinch dolls

 "Washing" him

This Grinch doll is adorable! His heart "grows" three sizes. We also added a part of the Grinch song into each doll.

Can you tell they are happy?


Monday, December 17, 2012

Solar System

Our last co-op we learned about the solar system. 

Annmarie read a story called There's No Place Like Space while the kids listened.

 The kids crowded around a model solar system that Annmarie made.
 Then Larissa explained how the world spins, creating day and night. She also read a story (forget to check the name of it!).

The kids then stood up and acted like planets (rotated) while Larissa held the flashlight (representing the sun) and demonstrated nigh/day.

Larissa also explained constellations
 The kids made little planets with their worksheets and play doh.

And finally, they made a solar system with construction paper. They never got to finish this so we will be making another one.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Our tree!

I love all holidays. I love to celebrate anything I can. October-March is my favorite time of the year. We have Halloween, Cait's bday, our anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my birthday, Valentine's day, Juan's birthday, and Jayden's birthday all back to back. I get all corny, sentimental, and ridiculous during this time. So I'm warning you, there is some pretty cheesy stuff here!

We recently put up our Christmas tree. My house smells like pine! I love it! It really gives us that "Christmas" feeling.

Getting our tree

 Time to decorate!

All done

Playing music by our "fireplace" (see the screen on my desktop? LOL)
We blasted Christmas music and drank hot cocoa.

Hanging out by the tree
Rudolph the Red Nose "Reindoor" (Note my clever word play! LOL)

Isn't this a-door-able? I know, corny!
Frosty the Fridgeman
I tried to convince everyone to go caroling with me in the hallway but for some reason no one wanted to join me! Perhaps next year! LOL!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Much needed playdate!

Jayden and Caitlin have been asking for a playdate for a while now. Last week Vanessa invited us over and our kids were so happy to see each other! 

Food, music, and toys! The kids came home and were so exhausted they actually ASKED me to go to bed!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Time4Learning Review

As a blogger, forum user, and homeschooling mom, I often "run into" a lot of people seeking a complete curriculum. Curriculum can be expensive, so it's hard to buy a prepackaged set without knowing whether or not it will work for your family.  Whenever I see/hear this question, I immediately suggest an online curriculum called Time4Learning.

At first I was skeptical of an online program. I took the plunge because my son loves computers and games. I saw that the program was interactive and that was something I knew my son would need in order to keep his interest. Another must for me was a secular program. So far we have not encountered anything that would conflict with any religion or non-religion. As a parent you have your own login so you can review the lessons prior to your child going through them. Another must for me.

We have been using this program for nearly a year and we love it.  This online curriculum offers hundreds of activities for all of elementary school up to 8th grade, in all of the core subjects. Apart from the regular lessons, parents can access worksheets as well as answer keys under the parent login. While some lessons have worksheets, not all do. This is easily remedied by Google searches though! You can find worksheets or even make up your own if your child needs extra help.

I *LOVE* the fact that parents can login under a separate section and can access everything the student has done (or not done). I can check to see if Jayden has completed the entire lesson, passed the scored activities, and passed his quizzes/tests.Jayden is in the first grade so I am not sure if there are more quizzes/tests in every subject later on, but right now there are enough for me to see what areas he needs help in and what areas he is understanding the concepts being taught.

I love that each lesson is animated and has interactive activities, which break down the work in simple terms. Jayden is learning SO much. I can download detailed daily, weekly or monthly reports. Reports can be broken down by attendance, subject, type (lesson, quiz, test) or viewed altogether.

Time4Learning allows students to have access to three grade levels. You pick the level you want and you have access to the year before it and the year after it.

I also love that you have several options when it comes to memberships. You can have a monthly setup ($19.95) if you fear the commitment, or aren't 100% sure you want to keep the program. This past summer we went for an annual membership which saved us 3 months worth of payments! Time4Learning is a more affordable curriculum.

Now I have to admit there are a couple of cons.

One, I don't think there are enough lessons in science and social studies. We have our own separate curriculum for those subjects. Technically, we could "beef" up what Time4Learning already offers. We could probably make month long lessons out of their subjects. But we don't. Jayden easily retains the information that they have set up so we just have a separate curriculum for those subjects.

Two, I don't like how the Language Arts sections has the same story 3 times per section.  I find this to be a bit repetitive. This could be because Jayden is beyond this level, but he dislikes it too. I am hesitant to move him on to the second grade for LA yet because I want to make sure he understands the concepts being taught before we move on.

For us, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I find that this program helps me stay organized, helps Jayden go at his own pace and is lots of fun! We definitely plan on continuing this program. 

*Disclaimer: As a member of Time4Learning, I have been given the opportunity to review their program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. For more information, check out their standards-based curriculum or learn how to write your own curriculum review.

Christmas Tree Lighting

A couple of weeks ago we went to a Christmas tree lighting. We had cookies, crafts, and live Christmas music!

Here are some of the ice sculptures they were making right in front of us.

Hanging out on the sleigh

Getting sugared up at 6pm!
 Making Christmas ornaments

 Gettig Christmas tattoos

 Kids on the naughty list! Haha!

Live Christmas music
More cookies!

The huge Christmas tree that Santa lit
 My girl loves music! She had to stop eating her cookie and feel the music.

Then Hayzel asked Caitlin to dance.

At first Jayden was embarrassed. Then he decided to join in.