Friday, December 31, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday - 10 Week Challenge - Week 10

Oh My! I'm not sure I am ready for this post. Ten weeks ago, today seemed sooo far away. But as I look back now, I see nine posts already done. This is it - the final week, the final post of the 10 week challenge.


I have really enjoyed participating in Fit Mommy Fridays and definitely intend to continue, but this challenge was especially fun! I feel stronger and have progressed toward my goals.

This week's exercise:

Friday - nothing

Saturday - nothing

Sunday - 40 minute walk in the woods

Monday - 1 hour on Wii Fit Plus

Tuesday - nothing

Wednesday - 1 hour on Wii Fit Plus

Thursday - 1 hour training session



My original goals were as follows:

1. To add one more day of exercise to my current 3 days per week. I will be starting with a goal of 10 minutes on that day and intend to work up to 30 minutes by the end of the 10 weeks.



2. To lose 10 pounds by the end of this challenge. I have only lost 2 pounds since June, so I am setting this goal low so I don't get discouraged!

Here are my final results:

Goal #1: This week I did meet this goal, but as I look back over my progress and I am seeing that I only met this goal 4 out of the 10 weeks.

Goal #2: I lost a total of 8.5 pounds.

So…No, I did not meet either goal, but I definitely have improved and am very pleased with my results. I have some success to encourage me and just this morning I received a simple, beautiful compliment from my 15 year old son. He mentioned that he had noticed that I have had a lot more energy since I have been exercising. He is proud of me!

Check in with the other Fit Mommy participants by clicking here to go to the Got Chai blog.


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Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...Winter???

As long as I have lived in this part of Texas, I should have learned not to expect snow in December. Unfortunately, my hopes were raised when we saw some actual snow flurries on Christmas Eve 2009. Still, realistically, I know we won't have snow in December. But days like this just completely dash my hopes for snow!


Today was gorgeous…that is - gorgeous if it were a sunny spring day…but it isn't, it is WINTER!!! These pictures were taken today (Thursday, December 30th).




I suppose you notice that no one has a coat on? No gloves or hats either. Oh, and if you could hear their little voices, you would know that they are asking me if we can turn the water hose on and make a mud puddle to play in. I don't really think it is quite that warm, but when you are six and four I suppose mud sounds good in any weather.





The first day of winter dawned a lovely 65 degrees and later warmed to 83 degrees. Today was in the mid 70's and tomorrow is supposed to be warm as well. (OK, I admit -  we had some cold days in between - but I am not really in the mood to think about those right now!)  One of these days maybe I will accept the lack of snow and cold in an East Texas winter, but it may be another (almost) forty years before that happens.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday - Week 9

Fit Mommy Friday on Monday Tuesday! I am a little late, but I haven't been on the computer since the 23rd. This was such a busy week that I do not remember at all what exercise I might have done. Thankfully, I wrote it down in my calendar! I did exercise Sunday evening and Tuesday afternoon, but that is all.

Dad got home Wednesday! I did not tell the kids he was coming so they were very surprised when he walked in the door around 5 pm! He left West Texas around 9 am so they would have been on pins and needles all day if they had known. He was off for one week after Thanksgiving, and has been gone since then except for a couple of quick trips home - twice for a few hours and 3 times he was home overnight.

I share that because it definitely affects my exercise and eating habits. When he isn't home, I do not sleep well or enough and often don't eat well or enough either. In addition to that, I had to handle the Christmas shopping as these were not planned trips and our planned shopping 'dates' suffered.

So, even though I did not do much planned exercise, I did take each of the four kids on a individual shopping date which involved quite a bit of walking as well as one shopping day to myself (still more walking). I am within a pound and a half of my challenge goal so hopefully I will see that goal met!

And finally, you will have to excuse my 3 weeks of lack of sleep for the rambling nature of this post!

One more week (and it's half over!) to the end of this Fit Mommy Friday Challenge.

Check out Got Chai for this last week's check in.


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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

East Texas Oil Museum

Saturday was my birthday. Dad and I had talked about how to celebrate and I mentioned that I wanted to go to a museum. The kids have been asking to go to the East Texas Oil Museum lately and it's an easy drive from our home, so that was the plan.

Then, Friday - Dad was told that he would need to be in West Texas by 9 Saturday morning. So much for birthday plans. As soon as he called me with the news, the kids and I began making plans. Kirk checked out times for the Oil Museum and we decided on a birthday dinner. Okay, maybe not decided today - I have been having the same birthday dinner every year since I was probably 5 years old (the kids want you to know that that was a looooong time ago!). But we did check the fridge to be sure we had stuff to make my Mom's homemade taco recipe.

We slept late and played the morning away. Then we ate out for lunch and headed to Kilgore to the East Texas Oil Museum. Of course, I forgot my camera. But it was so fun.

We haven't been in 5 years but things haven't changed much. In fact they haven't changed much since I went as a child (and you might remember that that was a looooong time ago). The museum is not very big, but it has the neatest exhibit! You enter the museum to see traditional museum-y things: an old vehicle, kitchen items from the 1930's, school desks and books. Then you come to a set of double doors and upon entering are transported back in time.

The sky is cloudy and a little gray - it looks and sounds like it could rain any minute. The street in front of us is a muddy mess with old cars and a wagon pulled by donkeys stuck in the mire. A man is in the middle of the muddy road trying to coax his team of donkeys around the stalled car in front of them. The engines of the stuck vehicles are sputtering as we walk along the wooden sidewalk - grateful that we decided to walk to town today.

Our first stop was the General Store. Prices were up today - apples 14 cents a dozen and potatoes 22 cents for 10 pounds. But the shop owner had plenty of toys for Christmas gifts and lots of sugar for cookies. We wandered on down the street and watched the man in the machine shop working on another tool for the oil field. The barber shop is full and all anyone is talking about is another oil well gushing in. We didn't even stop at the movie theatre. With the rainy day, that place was crowded.

At least the pharmacy was quiet. Well, except for the juke box playing Christmas tunes. I wish we'd had the money for a soda from the fountain. Our last stop was the newspaper office. We bought a paper and it was full of news about...yep, about the oil field. We walked slowly home passing more stuck cars. The donkeys still hadn't got past the stalled car and their owner sure looked fed up and was covered with even more mud if that was possible.

Ok, so I have an imagination. But walking through the Boomtown, USA has always been my favorite part of the museum. I haven't seen anything like it in any other museum. There is one other especially fun part of the East Texas Oil Museum and that is the "Elevator to the Center of the World." Two marionettes: Professor Rockbottom, Geologist and Hank take you on a ride with frequent stops to view the rock layers found in the East Texas area. When you reach the level where the oil is trapped and drill breaks through and they race you back to surface to escape the gusher!

MT was a little nervous about the old town area, and the "Elevator to the Center of the World", but FRitW was completely fascinated. We had to go through all the town buildings twice because he just wasn't ready to leave.

It was a fun birthday activity and maybe just a bit educational (Shh!).

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sky Watching

Tuesday's schedule: school, gift wrapping, hair appointment, workout with trainer, some final Christmas shopping, and a long nap. I don't know how I am going to fit in that nap, but if you call our home that day, you will be answered by a sleepy voice because we are not planning to sleep much Monday night.

In fact we plan to fit in some schoolwork during the night. Sure, waking the kids up around 1:30 am seems a little extreme just to fit in some Science - but I have no choice. Because shortly before 2:00 am CST during a full moon on the night of Winter Solstice, a lunar eclipse will begin. The entire eclipse should be visible in the contiguous United States, assuming the weather cooperates.

The last time a total eclipse took place during the Winter Solstice was in 1638. The next one is predicted to by 2094. That makes this a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of us. In addition the next total lunar eclipse that will be entirely visible in the contiguous United States will be in 2014, so I do not intend to miss this one.

Here are some sites for information about the eclipse:
http://www.livescience.com/space/etc/lunar-eclipse-winter-solstice-meteor-shower-101219.html

I sent an email to our local news station's Chief Meteorologist requesting peak viewing times and information about where and how to view this event. I plan to gather the telescope and some binoculars so we can get some really detailed views!

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

We Used To...

The main road into town from our home is being completely remade. So if I forget to find an alternate route, we sit in line for 15-20 minutes. Since I am usually running late barely on time not super early I try to remember to find another way into town. My favorite alternate route is beautiful with tree edged lanes and few houses. Driving along that road so much lately reminded me of things we used to do.

One of those things was to visit historical sites. Along my favorite route there is a Civil War Prison Camp. Only recently (maybe the last 10 years) has it been developed, so now there is a kiosk with historical information, a small log cabin and a walking path. It is less than 15 miles from my home, but I haven't ever taken the kids to see it.

Driving home from town one day, I just pulled in the parking area and we hopped out. There never seems to be a perfect time to go, but we went anyway. We read the information at the main kiosk and explored the little cabin. We only stayed for about 15 minutes but now I know we will go back and walk the whole trail.

That fifteen minute experience reminded me of how much I and the kids enjoy history in the form of museums, displays, and parks. It reminded the older kids that we haven't visited places like that in a few years. After FRitW was born we did quite a bit of exploring around our state. But by the time MT was born, Dad wasn't traveling for work as much and we began to stay home more. I wasn't quite ready to venture out as much with four children (-two in diapers). But my little guys are growing up. No more diapers and everyone can walk - so look out 2011! Our family will be out and about again!

So what about your family? Have you explored the history near you?

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday 10 Week Challenge - Week 8

Only two more weeks of this 10 week challenge and I am getting very excited. As my trainer and I sat on the floor between ab exercises, she asked me if I'd checked out a scale lately. I was so excited to tell her that YES! I had and that I had lost a full 10 pounds since I began working out with her (that's only 8 for this challenge, but still excited!). She mentioned some changes she's noticed and I'm seeing some definite slimming going on!

My walking partner and I decided to shake things up a little so we tried a step class instead of walking. Tired. That's the only word I have for how I felt afterward! It was fun though. One of the other moms in the class had to bring her 2 year old boy in since there wasn't childcare that day. He had one of those cars with the friction motors - you know, the type that keep going when you push them off? Well, it went under my stomach when we were doing planks, under my knees during crunches, into my ankles during stepping. The mom felt terrible, but I just laughed. Having three boys, that's nothing new to me! He really wasn't doing it on purpose, he just wasn't fast enough to grab it.

I did exercise 4 times this week, but one was super short so I'm not sure it counted. I haven't checked the scale today, but it had dropped another pound earlier this week - so I think I'm right on track.

Go over to Got Chai to see the Week 8 check-in and take a minute to comment on each Mom's post. I think everyone could use a Congratulations! or a little pep talk.

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TOS Homeschool Crew Review: Tiny Planets


Tiny Planets is an online universe created so children can play in a safe environment. Tiny Planets main focus is to encourage children to learn more about space and be ecologically responsible.

Tiny Planets is the home of Bing and Bong, two little fuzzy white aliens that fly through space on a souped-up couch. There are six areas to the website:


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My Tiny Planets - "Cadets" earn their own planet. The planet has limited atmospheres and foliage until the cadet either earns or buys more things for his planet. Stars are earned by playing games or maneuvering around space. The planet parts that must be purchased may be done with 'keys' which must be bought by parents.

Tiny Planets TV - This area is for watching Tiny Planets television episodes. Many of them correlate with Tiny Planet Books and Lesson Plans.

Tiny Planets Labs has a number of games that require critical thinking.

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Tiny Planets Learning includes lesson plans using Tiny Planet TV and Books. There are printable worksheets to strengthen counting and letter sound skills.

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Tiny Planets Books has online story books about Bing and Bong.

Tiny Planets Fun has games and puzzles. Bong's Corner has printable comics, mazes, puzzles, and coloring books. Bing's Corner has online interactive games.

Tiny Planets has a number of child safe policies in place. There are no advertisers and all material is designed to be child friendly. If you choose to create cadet accounts for your children the names are created by the site to avoid inappropriate name choices. If your cadets choose to "chat" with other cadets online, they must choose from a list of preprogrammed questions or emoticons on the site. This is to prevent inappropriate language or exchange of personal information.

There are free books, TV, and games throughout the site, but some things are available only with the purchase of 'keys'. Keys are available through the parent account.

Key prices are as follows:

10 keys - $1.95

25 keys -$3.95

85 keys - $9.95

250 keys - $25.95

600 keys - $49.95

Books and TV episodes seem to average around 10 keys each. Items to add to your planet were 2 to 5 keys each. Once you purchase something, it is yours to keep. Don't forget that some items can also be purchased for stars which are earned by the cadet.

We had an account for each of our four children. Since this was the first time we had ever played on a site like this, we were hesitant at first. Each of us tried different portions of the site and there is definitely a learning curve. We never did chat with anyone, although I finally discovered how to. We found out that the ship shooting at FRitW repeatedly was actually sending him messages, asking him to come visit his planet and just saying hello. Unfortunately, FRitW cannot read so that limited his conversation skills!

Many of the games did not have clear instructions. We did figure out some games, but some we just gave up on. This may be a result of Mom being technically challenged or a lack of familiarity with gaming sites but it was frustrating especially for Kirk and Maggie (and me!).

Overall, FRitW enjoyed the site more than any of the other kids. MT just didn't understand what he was supposed to do on the games, and he didn't want to sit still to read the online books or watch the TV episodes. Kirk spent some time exploring but felt it was too childish for him. Maggie played several games in the Fun area and the My Tiny Planets area but mostly helped FRitW navigate the site. FRitW definitely enjoys Tiny Planets - and is in fact rather impatiently waiting for me to complete this review so he can have access to the computer to play some more. He, with help, explored and enjoyed far more of this site than anyone else.

I think that the free portions of Tiny Planets are sufficient to see if this site is a good fit for your family and if you enjoy it, the cost for keys is very reasonable. Personally, I appreciated the scripted comments for chatting and other security measures. I found several printable games and puzzles I think the kids will enjoy and I think that FRitW and maybe Maggie will continue to visit the Tiny Planets site.

Several of my TOS Crew members also reviewed this site. Please click here to see what they had to say.

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**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Monday, December 13, 2010

TOS Homeschool Crew Review - ALEKS Math

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We have been trying something completely new in this house. For the first time ever, we are using an online math curriculum. As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a free one month trial of the ALEKS website, with student accounts for myself, Kirk, and Maggie. (You can also get a one month free trial - just click on the button on my sidebar to register.)

ALEKS or “Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system that uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course.” – I’m not sure that I fully understand this quote from the website, but after using ALEKS for the last month, I am truly impressed.

I assigned Kirk and myself to the Algebra 1 level and Maggie to 6th grade math. The first time we each signed in we were given an assessment. This is a 25-35 question quiz to determine the student’s understanding of the chosen course. Upon completion of the assessment your "Pie" is set.

The pie gives you a clear picture of your progress. To begin learning a new subject you simply click a slice of your pie to choose a type of problem to learn. Once the problem appears you can choose to see an explanation of how to complete this particular problem or attempt to solve the problem if you think you understand how to do so. Once you complete 2-3 sets of that problem correctly you are given credit for that subject. The next time you log in to ALEKS the problems you completed are added to a review list so you can confirm your understanding. As your knowledge builds and your pie fills, new subjects become available.

A few particular things we like about ALEKS:

The written explanation for each problem - Remember hearing "Show your work" in math class? Well that is exactly what this is, but with written explanation as well. This can be printed out or simply read and it is specific to the problem you are attempting.

Everytime you practice a problem it is different. The system constantly changes the variables so the problem is new, but still the same type.

The problems are very specific types. For example, in the Algebra 1 pie there is a slice for “Exponents & Square Roots” and within that slice one of the problem types is “Square Root of a rational perfect square”. When you select this you will be taught exactly how to find the square root of a rational perfect square and nothing else. For me this was much easier than being presented with 3-4 similar problem types and receiving explanations for all of the types then having to try to apply it to the correct problem.

ALEKS offers quizzes and worksheets tailored to your student. You can allow the ALEKS system to choose questions based on recent work or create your own quiz from available problem types. You can choose the number of problems on the quiz as well as the points earned for each problem.

The system is easy to navigate. It is so simple: just log in, click on a pie slice and answer the question.

I loved the report system as well. From my Master Account I was able to see exactly how much time Kirk and Maggie spent in ALEKS and how many topics they attempted or completed. I also printed out a progress report with a detailed breakdown of the subjects studied and understood by each student. From this I was able to see where each child is struggling or succeeding.

ALEKS users can receive college credit for completed courses at colleges that accept ACE credit courses.

Our family is so pleased with ALEKS that we already purchased a 6 month extension on our accounts. ALEKS appears expensive at first glance:

$19.95 per student, per month

$99.95 per student, per 6 months

$179.95 per student, per 12 months

But ALEKS offers family discounts for each additional child and you can use all of the courses available. Many homeschool math curriculums are comparably priced for just a one year curriculum.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a one month free trial ($19.95 value) available by clicking the button on the sidebar of my blog. If you go to the ALEKS site you will find a free trial there, but it is only good for 3 hours of use within a 48 hour period so this is a wonderful opportunity!

Also take some time to read the reviews of my fellow crewmates by clicking here.


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**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday Challenge - Week 7


Thanks to some encouragement from my husband and kids I made good progress in my goals this week!

I excercised 4 times this week for a minimun of an hour each time and I am really seeing the results. As of now, I have lost 7 pounds toward my 10 pound goal!

********I am cheering for myself! ********

Go over to the Got Chai blog and check in the other Fit Mommy Challenge participants. Be sure to cheer them on too!


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Apologia Review: Good Morning, God

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I love to read with my children. There is just nothing like cuddling with one of the little boys and sharing a book. We read the same books over and over. When they choose a favorite they don't tire of it easily. One of those that Dad and I will be reading frequently is Good Morning, God.


Good Morning, God is written by Davis Carman and Illustrated by Alice Ratterree.  The first time I read it to MT he was captivated by the illustrations. They alternate between black and white pencil drawings and full color artwork. The book is simply beautiful.

PhotobucketWe loved the active little boy - jumping, running, and climbing through the book. He does the same things our little boys do: plays with his brother and sister, looks through a magnifying glass at a ladybug, rides his bike.

The book is written to cover each day in a week, beginning and ending with Sunday. Good Morning, God is wonderful to share with your children as a simple bedtime book, but it can be much more as well. The front of the book has a page of suggestions for how to use this book. At the end of the book are questions and activities for each day of the week. There are activities appropriate for ages 1-8 years ranging from drawing a picture or reading scripture to simple discussion questions.

You don't need anything else to enjoy this book, but your children might enjoy the coloring book Apologia Press has created to go with it. It is $4.00 and you can find it by clicking here.

Good Morning, God is available through the Apologia Press website. It is a sturdy, lovely, hard cover edition priced at $14.00.

Other TOS Crew members also reviewed this book, click here to read some of the other reviews.
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**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Irish Step Deer?

Last year Dad found these little bendable reindeer. This one is Maggie's:

She has it posed doing a "Cut" - one of her Irish Step Dance steps!
It brought a smile to my face.
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Vacation of Work!

I have been so neglectful of my blog lately. I can't promise to be better about posting yet, but thought I'd at least let you know what we've been up to!

As you may or may not know, we built our home. I should probably phrase that differently...We are building our home. It is a work in progress. We began the structure when we had two children and built it with that in mind. by the time it was complete enough to move in - FRitW was on the way.

Long story short - FRitW's 'nursery' had to be our intended closet and our intended master bathroom became our closet. Temporarily -  or so we thought. Fast forward through 6 years ---- another baby, closet remains a bedroom for 5+ years while we build an addition - Kids finally move into new rooms,  --- to last week when we finally get started on our 'Master' bathroom.

Dad's vacation has been put to good use. We aren't done yet. I hope we will be by Christmas, but here are some pictures so far:



I only got one picture of Kirk doing demolition. He was done before I got back in the room!

Really bad photo - but FRitW worked so hard to mop up the sheetrock dust I had to include the photo. He mopped, then I mopped, then MT mopped, then I got a brush and scrubbed on my hands and knees, then we gave up!



Next all of the nails had to be pulled out. Dad and I had lots and lots of help with each step. (Hmmm...wonder why it isn't finished yet?!)




Soon to be a shower!



More help...

Tiling the floor

Progress! The floor is complete (except for cleanup) and the walls are started.



Finished wall tiling.



One of our splurges! Glass and stone mosaic tile on the shower wall. So Pretty!!!!

No guarantees, but hopefully I'll be back with finished photos soon. I will be back later this week with a couple of reviews: Aleks Math on Wednesday and a beautiful book from Apologia on Friday. Have a wonderful week! 
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday - Week 6

Another check in for Fit Mommy Friday's 10-week Challenge! I have definitely upped the amount of exercise I am doing each week, although not quite in the way I originally planned.

I did 3 actual workouts this week. Each was an hour of muscle building with some cardio mixed in. This is definitely more than I was doing at the beginning of this challenge. My goal, though, is to add a fourth day to the mix - and I almost did this week, but instead I worked on tiling our bathroom floor and was too tired to do anything else!

However, I have seen the scale drop a little lower. I won't say how much yet, because I'd really like to see it stay lower before I count it as loss - but I'm excited to see it moving in the right direction.

The Got Chai blog released a list of prizes for this challenge - and all I can say is Wow! Denise and Mrs. White have put together an amazing and encouraging challenge and the prizes are going to really help someone continue this challenge into the new year.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday - Week 5

I'm checking in again with the Fit Mommy Friday 10 week challenge. It is week 5 and you can click here to head over to Got Chai and see what the other Fit Mommy's are up to.

As a quick reminder (for me!) my goals are
  1. To continue my current 3 day a week exercise schedule and add a fourth day.
  2. To lose 10 pounds.
Goal number 1: I have only exercised ONE day this week - Aaargh!
Goal number 2: I have lost 2.5 of my 10 pounds! Yay!

So, mixed results this week. This week I am going to need to focus on getting some exercise in!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2010 Gratitude Challenge Day 23

I am back to celebrate 30 days of gratitude with Brenda at Garden of Learning.

I probably should call this Random Gratitude Posts 2010 because I have not been faithful in posting! That is ok though, because I am thankful that this blog can remain a fun outlet for me and can be put aside when I have computer problems or am having fun with my family.



But my real thankfulness for today is Kirk.  Kirk is our oldest and is definitely leader of the pack. If it is mechanical or has a motor – he’s the guy to talk to (he named our first cat  Black Dodge Pickup Truck - uh huh seriously! That was always fun to explain at the vet's office - especially since it was a girl cat!) . I love his sense of humor and his creativity, but watch out for his pranks! He can read faster than anyone I know and can grill a mean steak. Oh, and it turns out he can also set up a secure wireless network. Yay!


Need a Gratitude boost? Check out Garden of Learning here.


 

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday Week 3 and 4

This hasn't been the greatest fitness week, but I think I'm still doing ok. My personal trainer is out of town this weekend so I worked out Monday instead of Friday. But I will exercise with her Tuesday and Friday next week so I don't go 10 days between workouts.

My walking partner is out of town too (hmm, I wonder if there is something fun going on that I am missing??!) so we only walked once. I forgot to weigh at the gym and I found my scale broken last week so I haven't checked for weight loss.

Wait, wait, wait - Stop the presses! While I was writing this post (it was a lot longer before I deleted some stuff) I realized that the week wasn't over and I could still exercise and count it this week. So I got up and did a Leslie Sansone Fast 2 mile Walk DVD!

However, after doing the DVD I had to leave the house for Step Dance and football practices and forgot to ever post this, so here it is a week late!

SOOOOO...
Here is my post for week 4:
I had a much better week of exercise this week. I worked out with my Personal Trainer on Tuesday and Friday for an hour each time. I asked her today if she gets coal in her stocking each Christmas - 'cause she is MEAN! ~grin~ Seriously though I am so thankful that she pushes me (and yes, I have told her that) because I love the way I feel when I can do an exercise easily that I struggled at a month ago.

I also walked on Tuesday. Our walking is going to be sporadic for the rest of the year due to Holidays and family visits, so we are planning to walk when we can and commit to getting back on a regular schedule at the first of the year.

I exercised some everyday this week though, because we bought a Wii system last weekend and all of us have had fun playing with the Wii Fit Plus. In fact, Tuesday I did an hour throughout the day on the Wii in addition to my workout and my walk. I was so tired Tuesday night. In fact I was a wee bit glad that our Thursday walk was cancelled because I overdid it Tuesday and wasn't smart enough to take it easy Wednesday. Tired, tired, tired!

I'm proud of myself for exercising, but a little disappointed that I haven't lost more weight.

Check in over at Got Chai to see how everyone else is doing with the 10 week Challenge and click here to see a little sneak peek at the prizes for the winner of this challenge!

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KB Teachers - Worksheets and More

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Need a customized handwriting page or a activity sheet to enhance your math lessons? KBTeachers has that! KBTeachers is a website that allows you to choose and create a variety of worksheets for use with your children. Printable pages are divided by subject categories such as English, Math, and Science so you can quickly locate a subject of interest. There are pages for a variety of ages as well, with Math pages starting at simple counting and money recognition and progressing into some basic Algebraic problems.

I rarely use worksheets, but I spent some time exploring the site looking at the offerings and found lots of fun pages for my little guys, my favorites being Fall themed counting pages. I discovered I could also create a counting and adding page with animals or vehicles. This was a definite hit. FRitW and MT particularly liked counting motorcycles, tractors, and tigers. This was left to right counting practice for MT and FRitW loves to add groups of things, so it was good for him too.

I could also generate worksheets with words and letters for FRitW to trace and copy. Handwriting worksheets could be made in a typical stick and ball manuscript or cursive. This may be a problem if you use an italic form of manuscript.

So far most of the things I found were for the little boys, so I made it a point to search for worksheets for my older two. I really didn't find anything I would use for Kirk (although there were some history worksheets specifically geared to highschoolers), but I found some activities that Maggie might enjoy. There were some human body worksheets for labeling bones and muscle groups and some math pages addressing order of operations, ratios and fractions.

Another interesting concept offered by KBTeachers is Webquests. A Webquest is a worksheet with clickable links to study a specific topic. Included are questions to answer after reading the internet based information. Topics for November included Marie Curie, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Charles Schulz. I like the idea of a Webquest and found some that interested me but found several links broken or incorrect. So before turning this over to your student, be sure to check out the links.

One thing that is important to remember about KBTeachers is that it is not a curriculum. It is a resource for activities to supplement your own curriculum.

The Premium membership fo KBTeachers can be accessed for free with a 10-day trial and has a 30 day money back guarantee. (See the home page for details.) Premium membership is $29 for 12 months and $49 for 24 months and gives you access to everything on the site. You cannot save the worksheets to your hard drive, but you may print as many as you need.

See what other TOS Crew members thought about KB Teachers.com by clicking here.


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**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Patchwork Quilt from Corps of Re-Discovery

Maggie and I have been busily sewing on our Pioneer Patchwork Quilt from Corps of Re-Discovery.

Clockwise, from top right: batting, precut squares and bobbin of thread, backing fabric with blue yarn to tie the quilt, and instructions.

This Quilt Kit, which retails for $14.99 (but is on sale right now for $11.99) contains almost everything you need to create a doll sized quilt. Above is a photo of our quilt kit - aren't the colors pretty?

We supplied sewing and yarn needles,scissors, and a fabric marker to complete our quilt. All of the squares are precut and there are a few extra squares so you can create your own design. The instructions were clear and simple.

Maggie began by laying out all of the squares in a pattern until she was pleased with the design. Then she used the fabric marker to draw a line 1/4 inch from each edge of the squares. This was suggested in the instructions, but is not necessary, just helpful. We did it to give her a clear line to follow as she hand stitched the squares together.

Maggie and I both sewed squares together, chatting as we stitched. I have always loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and Maggie has recently read through the series, so Laura came up often in our discussion. The sewing reminded Maggie about how fine Laura's sister Mary's stitches were, even after she went blind. It was fun to try to create tiny even stitches although ours were probably more like Laura's than Mary's! Imagine sewing all of your clothing by hand!



There are six 9-patch blocks in our quilt and it only took about 20 minutes to handsew one block from start to finish. We spread our project over several days.

Here is Maggie tying her quilt:

This was a quality product. I have been sewing for most of my life and I was happy to see decent cotton fabric, good heavy thread, and clear, easy instructions. This would be a wonderful supplement to any study about Pioneer times, or even a great handmade Christmas gift.


Personally, I enjoyed spending time with Maggie, chatting and teaching her the stitches my Mom taught me. I highly recommend this Quilt kit for any age girl or boy that is interested in learning to sew. Even a young child could do this with help and input from a parent.  

Other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed this kit and several other kits from Corps of Re-Discovery. To see what each member reviewed and what they thought of their projects - click here.
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**Any products reviewed by me as a member of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.