June 30, 2010

Vacation Update and Traveling Games

Right now our family is on summer vacation in the beautiful Chicago! I can't believe it's been 2 years now since we moved to the Houston area.

It's so good to be back. We love living in Texas and are making really good friends there, but a big part of me still misses life in Chicago.

I'm glad this time around we took a long time to be here (19 days!) so that we can spend a lot of time with family and friends and also have a few days left to "tour" the city.

This is probably our firth time to do a road trip between the two cities but for this trip we decided to make a stop at St. Louis for a few days. We got a chance to visit their zoo which is AMAZING! Undeniably one of the top zoos in the nation and it's FREE! I also got to visit my dear friend Olga. We've been friends since childhood and it's just fun to catch up with an old friend after all these years.

I've been having internet issues but soon I'm hoping to post pictures of our trip.

So far we've seen most of the family and many beloved friends from Harvest (our church here). It was great to worship at Harvest this past weekend too. I love our church in Katy but sometimes I still miss the simplicity of the Harvest Niles service and the way people engage just unashamed to express emotions toward God and to humble themselves in prayer and praise. I'm praying our current church will grow to be this way as well.

Our driving here was a bit difficult with lots of thunderstorms and traffic but the kids did very well. We allowed time for frequent stops and of course had our DVD player and a fun pak for each kid with new simple dot to dot books, Usborne sticker books, dry erase board and of course flower, birds and rocks field guides with binoculars and magnifying glass for my nature lovers.

We also played some car games, here's two that were a hit. Feel free to try them and let me know how they went. :)

#1 Noisy Clue
Whoever starts the game chooses something on the road they can see for others to guess (just like "I Spy"). Every time that one thing appears, the player chooses a noise to make. The noise should not be obvious.
For example, if the persons thing is cows, he should not make a moo noise. But instead, can choose to make a honking noise or cough, etc.
All other players try to pay attention when the noise appears until someone can guess correctly what the object/animal was.
This was such a simple game but fun for all. We laughed a lot with the noises each person chose and with the things spied.
#2 Very Hungry
One player beings by saying "I'm so very hungry, I think I'm going to eat a ____(chooses something to eat). The next person continues by repeating the same thing the first player mentioned but adding a new item to eat. Each player will continue to say "I'm so very hungry..." and each time repeating what all other players have said (in order) and adding a new part.
Players get eliminated when they miss a part.
We also played this by adding as a requirement the items where in alphabetical order. It made it easier to remember but harder to come up with a food item.

June 22, 2010

Geography with Five in a Row

This Spring I did a pretty poor job at blogging about our school time so now I will have to catch up because our fun with Five in a Row it's just too good not to blog about.

I'm just amazed at how much the kids learned this year! We completed 17 unit studies for our winter/spring school session. I'm planning to resume our school after our road trip and continue with the few volume 2 stories we have still to enjoy together.

One of the things that encouraged me the most was to see how much geography they were introduced to. We've been faithful at taking down and putting back on the story disks and every time I ask the boys to name where the story takes place and to tell me what they know about that country-region-city and they can always recall many facts about them.
Here are some pictures of our maps and list of the places we learned about with the FIAR stories.

World Map Disks: Ungava Bay-Canada, Germany, Poland, Paris-France, Venice-Italy, Madrid-Spain, England, Scotland, Egypt, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Russia, China & Japan.
US Map Disks (looking to switch to a larger one): California, Boreal Forests Regi0n, Prairie Lands, Southern States, Plantation Region, Appalachian Region, New York, Ohio and ALL the New England States.
And lastly, our Land Of Make Believe Map: because Mary Ann, Katy and Harold deserve their own "place" too. ;-)
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June 21, 2010

Ending our first preschool season...

This is a little sad for me but Noah is definitely moving on and ready for more academic work in our school and he is officially done with preschool. Well, truth is he has been doing Kindergarten work since last February but still had hopes of another preschool year for him.

I know this probably sounds silly but I really want my boys to enjoy being little. I don't want to rush my kids into academics. With Caleb I was able to do 3 years of preschool. But for Noah just two.

At the same time, I'm so thankful for his initiative and his desire for learning and his excitement about having his own real math workbook, etc.

That's the beauty of homeschooling. We can stop or go ahead as our child needs change. So we will still be doing hands-on activities just because we all love them but Noah will join Caleb in core studies of all subjects in the fall.

The good news is...Sarah will start Tot School soon!!!

Now that she is close to 18 months I want to begin a more structure (but short) time 0f exploration and learning. And after that, she will be a preschooler! How fun! I will get to do this all over again. :)
My goal is not to go crazy buying things for her but to be creative with what we already have at home.

Still I couldn't resist to purchase her a few things to get both me and her excited, including this Lauri set. She immediately fell in love with it (I love Lauri products!) and played with it for around 15 minutes.

That's my girl!

June 19, 2010

A LONG Awaited Family Update

Well it's been a while since I had a chance to post a family update. May is always a busy month for us and this year June followed just as busy.
Right now, we are getting ready to begin our road trip back to St. Louis to visit my childhood friend Olga and her family and from there to Chicago to be with our family and church friends there.
I will be tweeting like I did last year from the road and posting picture of what we encountered. I have a lot of packing to get done before leaving but trusting God to keep my temper cool and the kids in harmony for the next few days left.
We also just finished a wonderful week of VBS at our church. I was blessed to be Caleb's teacher, along with 22 other 2nd graders in our class. It was a new age group for me since I usually work with preschoolers at the church but I had a great time. You can see lots of VBS pictures here. See if you can spot us! :)
We are also enjoying lots of pool time. The boys are becoming confident swimmers and I'm amazed at how much they have improved this year in their skills so we are bringing them to the pool as much as we can so they can continue to develop. Plus, we want to make good use of our association annual fee, right?
And now for our May recap....

Noah finished his very first soccer season! We are so proud of him, he was such a good team player and turned out to be really good at soccer. We can't wait for him to do it again next fall and Caleb will join once again.

He also turned 5! (sniff...sniff..).... and we celebrated it with a super fun and long expected Chuck E Cheese birthday party! He was the happiest kid that day.

Brad also had a birthday this month and we celebrated with his family here in TX (Brian, Debbie & Leia). We ate at one of our favorite sushi places Japaneiro's in Sugar Land's Town Center. And then enjoyed some outdoor family time in the town square.

Brad was also ordained as deacon in our church and we were part of a blessed time of prayer with our church's pastors and deacons. It was truly an awesome moment. There's just nothing like the prayers of the saints, together calling out to God to pour out blessing over your family. We are so humbled that he was even considered being so "young" and I'm so excited the Lord has given him this way to serve the body of Christ.
Caleb had his WAM spring musical and did a great job. He had a lot of fun and knew all the songs and motions very well. We are proud of him too!

And sweet Sarah just loved being part of all the fun and it's growing to be more independent and learning to do and say new things every day. More pixies of our princess soon.
I think you are all up to date now! Next I'll be looking back at our school semester-year. Lots of updates to share with what work, what didn't, what were our favorites things and more.

June 14, 2010

Sailing with TOS Review Crew!

I have a lot of catching up to do here but wanted to take a minute to share with you all that I was chosen to join the The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew for 2010-11!!!

Starting July, I will be receiving products from different companies to try at home and will post here the reviews. I'm looking forward to a fun year of trying new things with the kids and share with you all our thoughts.

I will keep you all updated as I learn more about our year long voyage.