Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Practicing Gratitude - Gifts 176-200!

I have many simple gifts to list this week, but also 2 that are particularly special to me:

176: My goddaughter was tentatively diagnosed, and then quickly UNdiagnosed with an adrenal tumor. This little girl means the world to me, and I cry with relief every time I think about the fact that she is ok.
177: A beautiful story of breastfeeding success for a friend of mine.

178: Time to play with Crumpet.
179: Houseplants
180: I've finally learned to distinguish between 'friends' and friends, who will drop everything and help you out when you need them.
181: Thanksgiving is over. It was fun, but exhausting!
182: The Thanksgiving leftovers are gone. The scale can stop going up at an alarming rate...
183: I got a new military ID. And it was easy.
184: The picture on the new ID is decent.
185: I was warned that Crumpet is in danger of losing medical benefits if I don't bring in a copy of his social security card - before he actually lost benefits...
186: Kind, observant government employees.
187: Homemade pizza
188: Audiobooks
189: We are getting lots of rain.
190: Most of the rain is coming at night, so it doesn't affect our daytime plans.
191: Training wheels.
192: I managed to pay the mortgage on the house in Georgia without taking money out of our savings account.
193: Good neighbors
194: Extra large bath towels.
195: Cable t.v at the gym
196: I finally got an e-mail from Crumpet Sr. I was starting to worry...
197: Scratching posts
198: Hand-me-down clothes.
199: Great craft ideas from other blogs
200: Quiet weeks for playing catch up.

Once again, no pictures. Quiet weeks are great, but it means that there's not much to document with photos... I'll have to remember to just take a few random ones next week...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Preschool - 11/26

This was a very quiet week around here. It was so nice! We spent the time getting ready for Thanksgiving (which was wonderful), and playing, and getting a little bit ahead on our school work. I'm hoping to take a few weeks off when Daddy gets home...
We actually sat down and did school work on 3 mornings this week, which was my goal. Woo hoo!
Math:We finished our unit on clocks, and Crumpet is now pretty good at telling time to the hour and reading the time when it is written.
Reading: We started a new Progressive Phonics book. The style of teaching in the phonics books has changed a bit for this level, and we like it. It involves some repetition, but they make it fun, so Crumpet doesn't mind. He is now reading entire pages. He also did his first word search puzzle in his McRuffy workbook, and he thought that was a lot of fun.
Science:We finally received the Scholastic Book order I place 2 months ago, which included a set of Magic School Bus books. My plan was to read one at a time and make a science unit out of each. Crumpet has other plans - he loves them, so we are rapidly working through the box. I guess we'll reread them and make science units out of them at some other time! We performed the balloon inflating experiments from Tired, Need Sleep here. These were so fun. Crumpet was a big fan of the baking soda and vinegar one that threatened to explode all over the kitchen. "Again again!!!"
Science/Art: I bought some sun print paper at the contemporary art museum last week. We had used this an art class in Georgia, and I think it's really neat. This time, we used sunscreen on one sheet and left the other one alone. I had heard that sunscreen would let less light through and the designs would not be as bright. You can sort of tell which paper had sunscreen (the one on the right)...

And can you believe the only other pictures I took this week were of the giant goose egg on Crumpet's forehead? He slipped and fell face first on our hard linoleum floors. Ouch.

I hope you all had a great week, and a wonderful Thanksgiving! For more preschool posts, head over to Homeschool Creations!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Practicing Gratitude - Gifts 151-175

It's Thanksgiving week, and I'm feeling very grateful for so many things. In fact I'm kind of soppy and ridiculous right now.. I'm grateful for:

151: A wonderful, fun get together at a friend's house, just when I thought I could not handle being a single parent with no adult time for another second..
152: The delicious homemade pasta and Cheesecake Factory dessert that were served at the get together.
153: The host's fabulous 11 year old daughter who takes such good care of Crumpet so the adults can play games and chat.
154: Crumpet is learning to do his chores well, and he will be doing them without help from me soon!
155: Crumpet is learning the value of money. Twice in the last week, he has gone to the store with money to spend. He found that there was nothing worth wasting his money on though, and chose to save for something better. It made him cry, but he made great decisions!
156: I remembered to praise him for his good decisions, and to take his sadness seriously.
157: Crumpet is reading at the same level as his 7 year old friend in first grade.
158: Crumpet is beginning to show confidence in his reading and to be proud of himself, which is helping him enjoy it more.
159: Blackout curtains.
160: Our great property manager in Georgia.
161: I have a wonderful extended family that lives all over the world, and yet stays close.
162: One of those family members is in Africa working as a nurse in a missionary hospital. I feel that I've grown closer to her through e-mail and blogging during the years she has spent there.
163: I have learned to count my blessings even more after her stories of sadness (and also joy) from Africa.
164: All but one of my 6 grandparents lived until well into my 30's, so I had a chance to get to know them well.
165: 3 of those 6 grandparents are still living.
166: I have great in-laws.
167: Facebook, which I hate, but also love, because it helps me keep in touch with old friends.
168: My college roommate, who is my very best friend.
169: All of the friends who have stayed in touch through my many moves.
170: Crumpet seems truly relieved that we are finished at the preschool.
171: I made the decision to homeschool before ever sending Crumpet off to school. If I hadn't, we'd be reeling now, and desperately trying to figure out how to homeschool...
172: I have so many homeschooling friends who have made this seem like a do-able, normal option.
173: I found an awesome new pair of sunglasses, cheap.
174: Exploring the world with my little boy.

175: I have time to read tonight, so I'm off to go do that! Have a grateful Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Preschool Week of 11/19

Well, this was an interesting week! We finally quit the Parent Participation Preschool. It got to the point where Crumpet refused to go in, even on the day he was line leader. Normally, he loves to be line leader, so I knew we were done. That was Monday.
Tuesday, we delivered Meals on Wheels, and it went great. People knew us from the week before, so they were less shy, and they all love to see Crumpet, even though he won't talk to most of them yet.
Wednesday is normally a preschool day, and I intend to keep Monday and Wednesday mornings as school times. We got tons of work done at home and it felt good. Crumpet's reading is coming along in leaps and bounds. This process is truly amazing to watch. We started telling time to the hour in McRuffy math. This is mostly review for Crumpet, and he did well. In McRuffy science, we completed a topic called "Clown Attributes". This is a unit dealing with many differently dressed clowns. The child has to sort them according to a variety of rules, and at the end, they sort them using Venn diagrams. Crumpet wasn't exactly focused during a lot of this, and I think we may repeat it at the end of the year...
For science, we also did an experiment that I found in the book Science Crafts for Kids: 50 Fantastic Things to Invent & Create by Gwen Diehn and Terry Krautwurst. One day when we were at the beach Crumpet asked "How do waves be made? Fish bubbles?" This book explained how waves are made, and taught us how to make a wave in a bottle. I don't think Crumpet cared at all about the waves, but he enjoyed adding food coloring to vegetable oil and seeing how it reacts. Then he added raisins to see if they would dance like they do in Sprite... You just never know how an experiment may end up around here...
Wednesday, we also went to the Contemporary Art Museum in Honolulu. This was a really neat field trip. Some of the art was wacky, but we enjoyed a lot of it. There are beautiful gardens, and the cafe has wonderful chocolate cake!
Thursday, we went to the zoo with friends.
It was a nice week. I'm looking forward to having fewer scheduled events around here, and being able to get some learning done at home. For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Practicing Gratitude - Gifts 126 -150

Some more reasons I feel blessed:

126: Pandora.com
127: Sunrise
128: We get to spend 2 1/2 more years in Hawaii
129: We've been budgeting as if we have no tenants in the house in Georgia, which is good because our tenants are leaving early, and we have no replacements yet...
130: Cartridge world - they refill your printer ink cartridges at a huge discount.
131: Crumpet played at a friend's house today without trouble
132: Free days at art museums.
133: Ceiling fans
134: Phone chats with old friends
135: Freedom of speech
136: Friends of friends are moving in down the street from me. They are also homeschoolers, and seem nice.
137: The above friends are coming for Thanksgiving so I will get to know them better.
138: Days when Crumpet is happy.
139: We got to see an amazing guest storyteller/musician at the library.
140: The storyteller made Crumpet smile, and he even participated a bit.
141: We went grocery shopping for Thanksgiving a week early. This is lucky because the store was a madhouse and I'm sure it will only be worse next week!
142: Sidewalks.
143: My grandmother and I talk on the phone more and more often. I cherish the times I have spent with her.
144: "My" dog, who now lives with my parents, is no longer limping.
145: A good friend's dog is doing well on chemo. The dog is her baby, so I'm happy they will have more time together.
146: A clean car!
147: Homemade bread.
148: Reusable shopping bags.
149: Alone time to watch junk t.v., drink wine, and cross stitch.
150: A joyous heart.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Preschool - Learning about Service to Others

One of my more important goals as a parent is to teach Crumpet about service to others. I want him to understand how blessed we are to have so much, and that it is our duty to help others who are not so fortunate. I've thought about this for years, but it took me a while to find just the right starting activity. It's hard to find a volunteer activity that is appropriate for young children, especially one as shy as Crumpet. I think I've done it though, and this week we began delivering for an organization which provides Meals on Wheels!
This is perfect because Crumpet doesn't have to interact too much with the seniors we deliver to until he gets to know them better. At the same, they get to see a young child, and that made everyone's day. Due to poor communication, we ended up delivering several routes instead of just one on our first day. It took a long time because we didn't know where all of the houses were. Through it all, Crumpet was a superstar. He never once complained, even though he climbed in and out of the car 18 times.
Fortunately/Unfortunately, our first delivery was to the friendliest woman we met all day. She was delighted to see Crumpet. And, she gave him a little McDonalds stuffed doggie as a present. This was good because Crumpet warmed up to her right away and decided he loved this volunteer stuff! He kept talking about how she was 'too kind'. However, he was a bit disappointed when no one else spoiled him with presents. It led us into a good discussion about the fact that many of these people can't afford meals, or don't have the ability to get to the store to buy food or presents, which is why we are visiting them. It gave Crumpet a lot to think about.
We will be doing this every week, and I'm excited to see how we progress.
In addition, we will be making 75 pb&j sandwiches and brownies next week for a 'feed the homeless keiki (Hawaiian for children)' program. I'm not sure how much Crumpet will be able to help, but it will be another chance for him to see the adults around him being active in the community. This is also the week we will pack our box for Operation Christmas Child, and I'm taking Crumpet shopping to help fill the box tomorrow.

In other news, we went camping at the beach with friends. Spending 24 hours in a small cabin with other kids was a really great chance to work on socialization skills! And of course, we got to do lots of nature study, and we got lots of exercise.
We tried out a peddle bike. This is hard work and it was really too bad the boys have such short legs - they couldn't help!
We got really really wet!
And we were treated to stunning views.
For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Practicing Gratitiude: Gifts 101-125

More of my many gifts:
101) We were invited to an amazing Lego birthday party last weekend.
102) I have a big spacious house so...
103)I'm hosting Thanksgiving but...
104) Someone else is bringing the Turkey!
105) Playdoh eventually comes out of the carpet
106) I'm getting really good at networking.
107) The woman across the street, who spends a lot of time swearing at her kids at the top of her lungs, is moving in January!
108) The library system here has an annual book sale that is incredible.
109) The color green.
110) The weather is cooler so I don't have to water the garden every single day.
111) Saturday night dinner parties.
112) The time doesn't change in Hawaii.
113) Crumpet played with the little neighbor boy for hours this week. They used to fight constantly.
114) Sea turtles
115) We started delivering for Meals on Wheels this week.
116) Crumpet was great during the delivery process.
117) We found everyone on our route, despite the crazy roads here.
118) My Wildtree foods order came in - I love that stuff!
119) Crumpet slept until 7am today. That is nothing short of a miracle!
120) We have enough to be able to share with others.
121) I was reminded of Operation Christmas Child in time to pack a shoebox.
122) My husband will be home in about 6 weeks. I am ready.
123) I cured the fungus on the hibiscus flowers with a milk and water solution
125) My car gets great mileage.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Preschool Week of 11/5

A few pics from this week...
There was Halloween:
More Halloween:
And more Halloween:
And we went to see a Russian opera, The Legend of Rusalka, which is a version of the Little Mermaid. It was 45 minutes and a perfect introduction to opera for children. Both of the children we went with loved it!

We completed a geography unit on Mexico. You can read about that here.
We read a couple of good science stories:
Where's My Tail? by Susan Schafer is a cute story about a lizard who loses his tail. He finds out about the reasons other animals do or don't have tails, and he learns that his tail will grow back.
Tracks of a Panda by Nick Dawson is a story which follows a baby panda's through his early months of life. This book has beautiful illustrations and we learned a lot about pandas.
We started on L blends in Progressive Phonics. And we played!
For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Practicing Gratitude: Gifts 51-100

More blessings that I've been grateful for this week:
51) Music
52) Cool breezes at night
53) Airplanes
54) Coffee
55) Fancy creamers for coffee
56) The community gym in my housing development
57) Yoga
58) Waterproof mattress covers
59) Clean bathrooms
60)Papaya and avocado salads with honey and lime dressing
61) Exotic Hawaiian fruits
62) Kisses from Crumpet - there is nothing sweeter
63) Our fantastic library
64) Our children's librarian who has won awards for what he does
65) The library story hour, run by the above librarian
66) The right to vote
67) Great children's theatre
68) My Christmas shopping for Crumpet is done
69) Crumpet was incredibly polite on Halloween
70) Enough candy to feed us for a year
71) New friends
72) Blog friends who offer advice and support when I need it most!
73) My laminator
74) Our zoo pass
75) Crumpet has 3 living great grandparents and he met a 4th
76) The Harry Potter movie is coming out soon, and I have a babysitter for Crumpet and friends to go to the movie with!
77) My husband's port calls so we can talk via Skype
78) My grandparents are all computer literate so I can send news and pictures easily
79) I found the perfect wedding gift for our most recent house guests
80) Crumpet was wonderful with the little dog that came with our house guests
81) I have time to cross stitch these days (well, some days)
82) Stain stick
83) The smell of plumeria flowers
84) The military commissary, which makes food affordable in Hawaii
86) Payday
87) Topical flea prevention for the pets
88) 1-800 Pet Meds, where I found said flea prevention for 1/2 the price of the pet store!
89) Free prescriptions through our military health insurance
90) Homemade chocolate pretzel granola bars, oh my...
91) I remembered to put out the recycling bin just in time today
92) The election is over so now the ugly billboards will come down.
93) The election is over so now I will have my e-mail inbox to myself again.
94) I found a pair of shorts to purchase. Even though it will be at least 80 degrees all winter, stores are mostly selling winter clothes right now...
95) Crumpet has an amazing imagination.
96) The pumpkins lasted through Halloween and didn't rot in the heat
97) Hubby was just in port for 3 days and we got to speak with him more than once each day.
98) Hubby will back in port in couple of weeks for more phone calls
99) Near perpetual sunshine.
100) I found canned pumpkin and stocked up - apparently it's hard to find here around the holidays!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Geography Studies - Mexico

We're using our geography studies to explore the Spanish speaking countries of the world right now, and this week we visited Mexico! We had a really good time with it.
We got a quick overview by looking at the website Mexico For Kids. This is a really cute site put together by a class of second graders learning Spanish. We looked at the Mexican flag and talked about the legend that led to the design. We read the Mexico section in Children Just Like Me, and we read Look What Came From Mexico.
I pulled a couple of crafts out of Mexico: 40 Activities to Experience Mexico Past and Present by Susan Milford. This is an awesome book, with lots of educational information. I can't wait to use it again when Crumpet is a bit older and ready to go further in depth with our geography studies!
We created some yarn art. I drew the butterfly outline and Crumpet painted on some watered down glue. Then he placed yarn over the glue. He really enjoyed this, as well as our other crafts of the week. Hurray!
We talked about the Mayans a little and built a step pyramid out of Legos.
We played our castanets and maracas.
We also read the book Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis. This is the true story of a man witnessing the birth of a volcano in his field in Mexico. There are lots of pictures of daily life in Mexico. Crumpet was fascinated by the volcano, as I knew he would be.
Today happens to be the Day of the Dead, which is a day for remembering and celebrating loved ones who have passed away. Most of the books we were able to reserve at the library were about this festival, and Crumpet was excited about all of the skeleton and ghost decor that goes along with the celebrations. It took some effort to convince him that this is actually a nice holiday, and not something spooky like Halloween. Mostly, we made a lot of crafts for the day, and we talked about Crumpet's Nanny, who passed away in January. I've decided that this is a lovely holiday, and we need to celebrate it every year - it was nice to remember and talk about the people we miss.
We made this cute, wiggly skeleton. The marigolds on him are the flower of the dead:

We made cute ghost necklaces out of glue. You make a ghost shape using glue on wax paper, add eyes, and a paper clip for a hanger, and let it dry for a couple of days. Then peel of your ghost and draw in a mouth! These were also perfect for Halloween.
We always eat a lot of Mexican food here, so Crumpet is familiar with the cuisine. We did bake polvorones, which are Mexican sugar cookies with cinnamon in them, for the first time. We made them in Halloween shapes for a dinner gathering we had. The cookies disappeared in minutes!
We read several books about the Day of the Dead. The best was probably The Spirit of Tio Fernando by Janice Levy. This is a book about a little boy learning how to celebrate the holiday while remembering a favorite uncle, and is written in both English and Spanish.

Jolanthe, at Homeschool Creations, has an excellent post on Mexico studies, with lots of great links. You can check that out here.

I know we tend to jump around a lot, and we don't go very in depth with our geography studies yet. For now, I have 3 purposes for our geography work:
1) To have fun!! This is the time when we do most of our crafts and baking together.
2) To teach Crumpet that there are many, many other cultures in the world and that it's important to accept and learn from our differences from others. And that those differences are what make life so interesting!
3) To inspire a love of travel and exploration in Crumpet.

For more Geography posts, visit Children Grow Children Explore Children Learn!