Monday, August 30, 2010

Its hot, beach day

Ugh, its hot today. We took our van to the shop, and a friend drove us to the beach. Its was beautiful weather. We had a great time. There were 5 moms and 15 kids! We had a section of Acme Beach on the East Traverse Bay to ourselves.

My daughter played with a tube, and floated everywhere with her friends. My son wore his life jacket and floated on a kick board. They couldn't get enough of their friends and the water. My beach umbrella (first time using it on a beach) broke. I am not a sun loving person, because I burn. But, there was a nice breeze, so I made the best of it and kept my t-shirt on so I wouldn't burn.

After the beach, we got ice cream shakes at McDonald's and I ate grapes. I do not eat sweets or junk food anymore, but the grapes tasted very good. My friend drove us to the repair shop, and they asked me more questions about the problem my car is having.

At 7 PM, I called about the car, and there was no one there. Hmmm, so I wonder if they figured out what was wrong? I have no car, but more importantly no information on whether or not it needs a repair. I more day until our vacation. It would be nice to know if we get to go on time!!

It is very hot in the house. My son cried tonight because I would not let him wear flannel pajamas to bed. Am I the only one who thinks 85- 90 degrees isn't the right weather to wear flannel? He also told me that he did not need a shower tonight, because he got clean at the lake. Hehehe, I made him bathe anyways. No swimmers itch in my house (if I can help it)!

My Apologia Science kit arrived today, and so did one of my daughter's books for language arts. Chicago, here we come! Hopefully. And then school begins!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chicago attractions

I spent last night pricing and reading about things to do in Chicago and closer to our hotel, as we will be an hour north. There are so many choices! This will be fun!

The Illinois Railway in Union, IL (trains running all Labor Day weekend)

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (free military admission)

Museum of Science and Industry

Chicago Botanical Gardens

Shedd Aquarium (sister-in-law says this is great)

Morten Arboretum (Discount on Wednesdays)

Jelly Belly factory (silly, but they give tours)

Millenium Park (concerts and outdoor stuff)

Sears Tower Superdeck (military discount?)

Lego Discovery Center (ooh, build with legos)

I think we will skip the Field Museum. It seems expensive and very environmentally and evolutionary based- plus its expensive. The Alder Planetarium is also really expensive - especially to see the shows. Plus, the show for my children's age includes "Big Bird" and I am sure my daughter would not like that, I wonder why its rated up to age 8?

The pet arrangements are made, Scotty will go to a kennel, and Bobo will be watched by a friend. I might get his wings clipped before we leave, then he can sing on Chad's shoulder. I think they would both enjoy that.

Tomorrow afternoon, the car gets an oil change and inspected for that weird problem it gave me last week. Then, we should be good to go!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Going to Chicago?

This summer, my husband has gone to the Chicago area twice, because the CG opens an Air Facilities there during the summertime. Twice he has gone, and twice he has returned early from his temporary duty assignment. The second time, we were going to join him, but we found out that he was coming back to TC, the day before we were leaving. I had just boarded the dog, and was ready to take our bird to a friend's home.

So, now, he is going again. It was a last minute decision, and he is leaving this afternoon. We will try to join him again. Guess what that means for school? We will postpone it for a week. We will start the day after Labor Day, just like the rest of Northwest Michigan.

It is a nice surprise, but also complicates things. I need to find a sitter for the pets. Scotty has ear drops every night, and he fights me when I put them in. He isn't easy to deal with. He got an infection during our summer vacation. I have already rearranged doctor appointments and commitments. Our car needs an oil change, and a check-up, as it acted up earlier in the week. That appointment is on Monday. So, I think we will leave on Wednesday - earliest.

I want to see my husband's sister Tina, and her husband Tim. We have tried to visit them twice, and cancelled twice. Once the snow flies, it is not a great idea to drive to Chicago, or Wisconsin for that matter. They have a flock (seriously, a flock) of birds, and great ideas to make the kids visit fun. The kids and I haven't seen them in a couple years.

School. I am resisting the urge to start school on Monday and Tuesday, only to go on vacation for a week. It sounds like a perfect invitation for unhappy children. They won't like it, and I won't like the tantrums.

So, I will concentrate on great things to do in the Chicago area, as it will be the last time for a very long time that we will get to visit that area.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Clean Home!

The chore schedule is working! The house is clean! I love it! Today, it was hard to get my kids moving on their chores. I gave them the weekend off. I haven't decided if I will make them do chores on the weekend or not. Perhaps, I will delay the timetable. Maybe, they can do chores at 10 or 11 AM, or something. I have to give this some thought. On Sunday, it would work out great to stay on schedule, because we leave for church at 9:15, so maybe I just won't require chores on Saturday.

My daughter tried out the new vacuum. It is a dust buster model, and 12 Amps. It is very very loud. She wore earplugs. But, she did a lot of vacuuming. My son loves the swifer wet jet. I need to buys some extra bottles of the cleaning spray. He goes a little bit overboard. I would like to teach the kids to wash the windows, but I am uncertain of using windex. I think my daughter could handle the task with gloves. Maybe, I will use something organic and less poisonous, like vinegar or water.

There was a bit of complaining and some nagging (by me) today, but the kids did very well. I got some chores done too. Tonight, after showering (they are independent, except for adjusting the water temperature) they cleaned their bedrooms, and the playroom. My husband did devotions with them, and we said our prayers. My daughter loves being able to read in bed till 8:30 PM.

The pup has an ear infection. It is from swimming in the lake(s) on our vacation. It was so much fun, so I guess it was worth the vet bill, and putting ear drops in his ears as he tries to gnaw my hand off, for the next two weeks. He was good at his appointment, as were my children. The vet and receptionists all commented on how pleasant my family was to be with. They love our Scotty and my kids. That is always a welcome thing to hear!

Tomorrow is our Traverse City day. Good night to all!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I decided to try this again

I haven't felt like sharing my life via the internet or a while. I don't know why, but I just didn't feel like I had much to share. Well, I am going to give it another shot. Maybe its the summer coming to an end, and school around the corner? I am not sure.

I have one more week of teacher prep and fun with the kids before we go "back to school". I am actually over joyed that my kids aren't really going back to school! They will be getting a great education - often without stepping foot out the door.

I remember a homeschool family who used a set of drawers to organize school subjects for each child. There is actually a name for doing this, but I can't tell you what it is, for I have no recollection. But, the idea isn't mine, its borrowed from some other wise mother or father. I found a set of plastic drawers for my kids at Target, and now each subject has its own spot, so the kids can be more independent. Last year, I rearranged the house to stage it for sale, and all the school supplies got carted up and down from the basement in a crate, each day. Ugh. This year, my children will get their own books and put them away when we are finished. And, I purchased chore charts. Dinosaurs for my daughter (7) and David and Goliath for my son (5). Christian Book Distributors has some great choices. You can use a wipe off marker for up to 10 chores, and the kids can check them off as they complete them, each day.

We started chores a few days ago. It is awesome!! At 7 AM, my daughter wakes and watches "Arthur" on PBS kids. Then, she comes upstairs and starts her work. Here is what she has been doing: Feed the dog, eat breakfast, clear the table, brush teeth, get dressed, put pajamas in the hamper, make bed, unload the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, fold the laundry, vacuum her bedroom, and empty the trash. Her brother wakes a little bit later, but by 8 AM he is at work: Feed the bird, eat breakfast, clear the table, brush teeth, get dressed, put pajamas in the hamper, make bed, collect the laundry, sort the laundry, put clothes away, dust, and sweep the floor.

When they finish, they earn 50 cents. However, if they refuse to do their chores, tantrum or complain while doing them, they do not earn their allowance, and during a school break they will be required to complete the missed chores before taking a break. This has not been put to the test. So far, everyone is quite cheerful, learning their jobs, and both are very excited about the money.

My plan is this, instead of me doing all the chores and starting school later in the morning, we will all get this place in order by 9 AM and then get right to work on school. I am a perfectionist, I want the home to be in good order before we start school work, and this did not work very well last year. So, for three days, we have one this, and we are ready to go on time. We will do this again next week, and start to make it a habit, even before the "school bell rings" on August 30th. I have one remaining step to put in place. I must get in the shower when my daughter gets up at 7 AM. I cannot role over for a half-hour. I love sleeping in, so very much, but I need to be more disciplined.

My husband has been talking about this for a couple years. But, now that my son is 5, it seems like the right time. I have tried in the past, but this year it will work!!

Another change is bedtime. We put the kids to bed at 8 PM. I am going to allow my daughter to read quietly in her room until 8:30 PM and then turn out the light. She started to read books aloud (or at least I noticed it) while we were camping this summer, and I like this habit. My son still needs the sleep, and he cannot read yet.

Here is the Fall schedule:

My daughter is in 2nd Grade

1) McRuffy Reading and Phonics (1st Grade- includes Spelling)
2) Sonlight World History 1
3) Sonlight Read Aloud (real literature that I read)
4) Read Aloud (books daughter reads to me)
5) Wordly Wise 3000 (1st Grade Vocabulary program)
6) Saxon Math 2
7) A Garden of Bible Stories New Testament Workbook
8) Apologia Astronomy
9) Handwriting Without Tears (2nd Grade) and various writing projects

My son is in Kindergarten

1) McRuffy Reading and Phonics (Kindergarten- includes spelling)
2)Read Together- varied books
3)Wordly Wise 3000 (Kindergarten Vocabulary program)
4)Saxon Math Kindergarten
5)Varied Bible Stories
6)A Beka Social Studies (Kindergarten)
7)Handwriting without Tears (Kindergarten)

Absent from our schedule: Art, Music, and Physical Education (Well, some Health and Science too, but that is because I will get to them in the winter or spring) I have decided that it would be better to not label these things "school" nor do we need a formal curriculum to do them. They are just a normal part of being a family and having fun. We sing and dance, make stuff, ride our bikes, swim etc.

Hooray "Back to school"! Glad we won't be again!