Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Practicing Gratitude Gifts 251-275

This week I am grateful :
251: That Crumpet Sr. was actually home for Christmas, after nearly being shipped out at the last minute.
252: We had a wonderful Christmas day, and we were all spoiled rotten.
253: We had good friends over for Christmas dinner.
254: For silly games.
255: The rain may have stopped for a few days.
256: The water covered our porch, but never came in the house. (Much of Oahu flooded over the last few weeks.)
257: Crumpet Sr. let me have 2 wonderful days to myself.
258: One of those days was a peaceful day with a book on the beach.
259: One of those days was my Christmas present - a morning at the spa. Ahhh...
260: I went back to yoga class this week.
261: I am motivated to get back to healthy living. I have been terrible lately...
262: We have fun plans for New Year's. This will be the first time in years that we will actually be awake at midnight... Sad, I know!
263: We got to see the wonderful lights display in Honolulu.
264: We took the trolley into town to see the lights, and Crumpet loved it!

265: The dirty laundry basket is empty!
266: A haircut, at last!

Ok, I started this post before the New Year, and am finally able to finish it after the New Year. So, I am grateful:
267: That I was here for the last year that personal fireworks were legal in Hawaii. It was something to see: Hawaiians LOVE their fireworks and the whole island was covered in smoke by 1am. Seriously, we were in the parking lot of a football stadium, and couldn't see the stadium.
268: I'm glad it has rained so much lately, because it was too damp for the island to go up in flames...
269: I'm also glad this was the last year of legal fireworks - that much smoke just can't be good for the planet.
270: I'm grateful that we are back to a normal school and life schedule.
271: Our first full school day went incredibly well.
272: The spring season of children's plays is about to begin here.
273: We can go to the pool and play in the water in January.
275: Crumpet has been a whole different (happy) child since Dad came home.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Slow Return to Normal

Phew, Christmas was a blast! Crumpet was so much fun this year, and he really got into it. And he got totally spoiled. He would have gotten too much anyway, but he got extra because of the craziness that is the Navy. Three days after Crumpet Sr. came home, his boss called and told him to pack his bags because he was redeploying the next day. Sigh. We were crushed, and felt terrible for telling Crumpet that Dad would be home for Christmas. So, Dad went out and bought a super special toy to ease the pain. And then, his boss called and canceled the trip. So Crumpet got Daddy AND the 2 foot tall Star Wars AT AT on Christmas. Not a bad day at all!
I decided to ease slowly back into school by spending a day doing fun science experiments that I've been saving from other blogs. Sadly, most of them didn't work. You can learn things from failed experiments, too though... We tried to make confetti dance by rubbing a balloon on our heads and then waving it over the confetti. No luck.
Then we tried to stick the balloon to the wall with static electricity from our hair. No luck. I looked it up, and it turns out that you can't create static electricity like this in Hawaii. It's too humid. Especially right now, when we've had non-stop rain and flood warnings for weeks. So it was an interesting study, but not a lot of fun..
We did one quick unit in math and we created our own thank you cards for friends that sent Christmas presents. I had Crumpet read Dr. Seuss' Hop On Pop to me. He can read almost the whole book, and it was good for him to discover that he can read real books, not just school phonics books! It was funny to watch - at first he was struggling with simple words, because he was sure he couldn't do it. When he realized he knew all the words, he whizzed through the book.

We finally went to the Pacific Aviation Museum which is right here on Ford Island, across the street from our house. Crumpet has been asking to go for ages. To be honest, it's pretty small, and not too thrilling, but we were glad to finally check it off our list... This is the tower seen in the movie Pearl Harbor.
Here is Crumpet in the gift shop, which was probably the most interesting part to him!
I always worry about getting back into school work after a break. Sometimes it's a struggle, but this time it has gone pretty smoothly. We'll do a full week's worth of work next week and see how we do..
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Happy New Year!
For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Practicing Gratittude: Gifts 226-250

This was a very good week!

226: Crumpet Sr. is home!
227: Crumpet is far more cheerful now that Daddy is here.
228: We finally decorated for Christmas!
229: Hubby's car started after being jump started a second time, and it has consistently started since then...
230: Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.
231: Several nice meals out.
232: The presents are wrapped.
233: I am finished with the post office for the season.
234: I heard from my brother at Christmas for the first time in, well.. for the first time ever!
235: We will be hosting Christmas dinner for the same people that came for Thanksgiving. I guess they had a good time!
236: Old Christmas ornaments with lots of memories and meaning.
237: Photo Christmas cards of friends' children.
238: Crumpet Sr. brought back an awesome present from Japan for my Dad, the worst man in the world to shop for!
239: Christmas movies.
240: Funny Hawaiian Christmas songs.
241: Traditional Christmas songs.
242: Daddy and Crumpet had some good bonding time at Chuck E. Cheese.
243: Crumpet has become a good hiker.
244: While hiking, we saw humpback whales from the shore. They spend the winter here, and it is amazing to watch them!
245: Christmas packages make for happy cats.
246: Command hooks.
247: Folded laundry.
248: Toilet paper.
249: The submarines and ships in Pearl Harbor are decorated for the holidays, and they are really fun to see.
250: We have new tenants in Georgia already!! We never thought someone would move in before Christmas. Phew!

Wow, I'm 1/4 of the way to my 1000 gifts! Have a great week!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Preschool Week of 12/17

We got another full week of school in, just in time for Daddy to come home on Wednesday.

Reading: Crumpet moved up to McRuffy's second set of readers. The lesson plans are pretty much the same, but the books are much longer. This week, the spelling words got a bit harder - fall and doll were included, and we are still struggling with spelling these correctly, since they don't make easy phonetic sense...
Math: We began at the very beginning of subtraction. This shouldn't be too hard for Crumpet because we've always talked about addition and subtraction during daily activities. Lately he has been adding and subtracting small sums in his head while playing, with no prompting from me.
Art: I actually convinced Crumpet to do a few Christmas craft projects with me this week! A true Christmas miracle! Here's one of my favorites:
Geography: We are still making our way slowly through the Spanish speaking countries of the world. This week, we took a look at Chile. Crumpet had seen pictures of the moai statues on Easter Island before and was fascinated, so I hoped including them would boost his interest in Chile.We read quite a few general information books about the country. We also read two stories:
The Day the Stones
Walked by T.A. Barron is a book about the moai and the day they came to life to rescue a boy from a tsunami. The statues were believed to be the ancestors of the people on Easter Island, and it was said that they could come to life in times of trouble. (As a side, science note - for some reason, talk of tsunamis has been included in every book or movie we've seen lately, so Crumpet is all about tsunamis... Please don't tell him they sometimes happen here!)
The second book was Mariana and the Merchild by Caroline Pitcher. This is a Chilean folk tale about huge storm waves bringing a mermaid baby to shore (more waves!).
We made a rain stick using the directions at Enchanted Learning here. Don't you just love the stunning decoration? NOT a crafty day, but he did put a face on it...
And we made some delicious peach empanadas for lunch one day.
This was a fun little study, but I couldn't find as much to do with it as some of the other countries we've 'visited'. After seeing some of the landscapes in the books, though, I need to visit Chile in person someday. Gorgeous.

Science/Nature: Crumpet found the book Sand to Sea: Marine Life in Hawaii by Stephanie Feeney and Ann Fielding while we were at the library. This was a great book describing many of the creatures we were examining last week at the beach, and others we've seen while living here. A really great find! He has now decided he's going to work at an aquarium. When he's not working at his other jobs as a police officer, a snake catcher, and a litter collector... ;)

So, as I said, Crumpet Sr. comes home on Wednesday. He has to go into work for the first couple of days that he's home, so there is a tiny chance we'll do a bit of school work, but I'm thinking we're on vacation until January. I'm sure I'll post something, sometime, but just in case, Happy Holidays!
For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Preschool Week of 12/10

This week, we accomplished most of what we wanted to with our book work, and also managed lots of fun outings. I'm finally getting into a routine, just in time for Daddy to come home next week!

As far as book work is concerned, the only really new stuff was working with dimes in our math unit. We began last week, and went further in depth this week. We practiced counting by 10's using dimes, and started counting out specified quantities of money using dimes and pennies.

Art: We made a welcome home banner for Daddy, and Crumpet really enjoyed using paint for the first time in ages:
He was so inspired that he created this work of art, that he says is the Mermaid Lagoon from Peter Pan:
Household Helper: Crumpet decided he would help me vacuum this week. It started out fine...
Then he started getting silly...
And then, of course, he had to vacuum his face...
Outings: We went to the beach mid-week, which was amazing because there was no one there. We spent hours studying the crabs and fish that we came across. We also went to the North Shore of Oahu to explore some new areas and saw some of the big winter waves.
The Honolulu Zoo had its Christmas lights event for members. We went with all of Crumpet's friends. It was not as good as some similar events we've been to at other zoos, but it was a chance to get out.
We also went to the lighting of Freedom Tower on the air force base. While we were there, we checked out one of the planes on display:
They had some crafts and free food, and then they lit up the tower. The lights change color and dance to music, which is fun. We can see them from Crumpet's bedroom window at night.
We hope you all had a good week too! For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Practicing Gratitude - Gifts 201-225

This week, my parents had to euthanize Bosco, the dog we left with them in May.
I am grateful:
201: To have known him for so many years.
202: That he gave my parents 7 months of pure joy. They adored him.
203: That he got to spend the last months of his life in a home where he was the center of attention, and the center of the universe to those who cared for him.
204: That he suffered only briefly.
205: That we humans have the power to release animals from suffering when the time comes.
Bosco was a wonderful dog, and he is missed by many.
On a happier note, I am also grateful that:
206: My husband has a return date and it is next week!
207: I spent a very special day at the beach with Crumpet today.
208: My Christmas cards are sent.
209: I survived one trip to the post office and only have to go back 2 more times before the holiday.
210: We have a beautiful live wreath on the door. (We are not decorating until Daddy comes home, but I allowed myself this!)
211: We have new flowers to greet my husband on the front porch.
212: Crumpet and I made Daddy's welcome home sign, and we like the way it turned out.
213: My husband enjoys so many of the same activities that I do.
214: The weather here is incredible right now. Low 80's during the days, and upper 60's at night. It almost feels like fall at night, which I love!!
215: People have their Christmas lights up in our neighborhood and Crumpet and I take the sweetest walks at night to look at them all.
216: I found some good gifts for hubby.
217: I survived many Christmas shopping trips with Crumpet.
218: Our tenants in Georgia have moved out and they left the house immaculate.
219: I finally got to see Harry Potter while a friend watched Crumpet, and I loved it!!

And I am grateful for the little things:
220: Yummy smelling shampoo
221: Bubbles
222: Magic Erasers
223: Waves
224: Sand
225: Jumper cables - oops, the boys were playing in Daddy's car and must have left the lights on... Wouldn't Daddy be happy to come home and discover that???

Have a great week!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Preschool Week of 12/3

Hurray, we had another productive week! Here's a quick summary:

Math: We started working on skip counting by 10's. Crumpet picked this up pretty quickly. However, it has come to my attention that he actually can't count from 1 to 100. He gets stuck at the 10s, so we're working on this the same way we worked on the alphabet. He walks along saying numbers and turning over index cards. For each 10 he gets right, he gets an M&M. He can get to 60 now - chocolate is a huge motivator around here!

Reading: For a change of pace, we printed out a series of stories from Progressive Phonics. We're working through that, in addition to our usual reading work.

Science: We completed the McRuffy unit on special attributes. This unit was about the things all living things need to survive, special adaptations animals have to help them survive, and food chains. Conveniently, one of our Magic School Bus books was about food chains.
Also, we have been watching the series of documentaries called Life, which was narrated by Oprah Winfrey. These have some phenomenal video footage, and show some amazing adaptations that plants and animals have developed to survive. Crumpet loves these shows and talks about them all the time. You should be warned that there are some scenes with animals eating other animals, and some mating scenes (which so far have looked like animals fighting...). I spend some of the time fast forwarding past scenes which show carnivores being carnivores for my vegetarian son. But overall, GREAT shows, and we're learning a lot.

Handwriting: I have laminated a lot of simple Kumon mazes for Crumpet, and he enjoys doing a few at a time. This week, I gave him a new book of the mazes and he went wild. He did 22 mazes in one sitting - it must be something about the feel of a real book in his hands?

History: A friend gave us several Magic Tree House audiobooks, and we've been listening to them while we go on our Meals on Wheels routes. Crumpet LOVES these. He won't get out of the car at home until the CDs are finished. And he re-enacts the stories over and over. I have reserved more from the library and can't wait for them to arrive, because we know our 3 discs word for word now...

Religion/Culture: We learned about Hanukkah this week. We read the book This is the Dreidel by Abby Levine. I found this at a book sale and I wouldn't really recommend it, but I couldn't find anything better... It does cover the basics of Hanukkah in a sort of poem form, and it tells about the history of the holiday at the back of the book. I made a paper dreidel from a template I found at Enchanted Learning. We played the game for a little while, but Crumpet got bored before we finished. We learned about the menorah, and we ate latkes. I love them; Crumpet tolerated them.
For Christmas preparation, we made a chain of Hershey's kisses to help us count down the days til Christmas. I saw advent calendars at our military grocery store in October, and foolishly didn't buy them. I have not been able to find any since. Fortunately, I saw this cute idea here at my friend Debbie's blog, Hallelujah Harvest.

Nature: We did some hiking and swimming, and we discovered these amazing flowers, which smell like ginger. I don't think I'll ever stop being awed by Hawaiian plants...

For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations! Have a great week!