Friday, January 13, 2017

Make and Play ...

There is so much to each box of Mother Goose Time! 

So I want to highlight one of our favorite activities we do in this post. 

It's the Make and Play!

 A Make and Play activity consist of three parts:

1. a card showing an example of what the project could look like
2. supplies to make the project however the child would like to
3. an activity for the child to do with the project they made

I love the Make and Play activities! These allow the child to focus on making something and then to use the energy they've been saving up while sitting still to use their creation in action. 

On Monday we made Fishy Cups. 

Kohen seems to always surprise me when we do school. Each day this week I started each lesson by asking Kohen and Khloe if they knew of any animals that carried their babies like .... whatever way we talked about that day. On Monday, I asked them what animals carried their babies in their mouths.  Immediately Kohen shouted out fish! Um, totally admitting here that I had no idea fish carried their babies in their mouths until I opened up the packet for Monday. I love being surprised by all that he knows! 

What is it about markers that children love so much? I mean crayons are fun and all, but markers? It's like the jackpot! They took the tops on and off, on and off. And they colored their cups all different colors, we added the fins and tails. We took a bag of Goldfish, one of our favorite snacks, and counted them out into our Mama Fish's mouth. And then of course, we ate them after we "swam" around the house carrying our babies around.

On Tuesday we made Turtles.

When this girl gets focused, that tongue comes out! And I love it because I catch myself all the time with my tongue just like that when I'm concentrating! Ha, like Mother like Daughter. 

After we made our turtles, we let them dry while we tried carrying objects around on our backs like Mama Turtles carry their babies on their backs. This was hilarious and it was a great opportunity to incorporate our word of the month, GENTLE

Once their turtles were dry, we took them to the backyard and made habitats for our baby turtles or hatchlings

On Wednesday we made Kangaroo Pouches.

Here is another great Make and Play activity we did this week. Kohen and Khloe sat and colored their baby kangaroos or joeys and colored their pouches. We put them together and they spent the rest of the afternoon hopping around the house like kangaroos! I even caught Khloe trying to feed hers a bottle. Such a sweet Kangaroo Mama! 

This Mama is thankful for another great week with Mother Goose Time!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Gave ...

2016 gets my emotions all kinds of crazy, all kinds of hormonal, all kinds of mixed up. Sometimes I can't even go there about 2016. I want to scream at it and tell it that it was terrible. I want to tell it that it stole too many people that I loved dearly. I want to tell it that it hurt my husband's heart more than it will ever know. I want to tell it that I shed more tears this year than in so many others combined. I want to tell it that I am so glad it's over. I want to be angry at 2016 and dismiss it and never think of it again. I want to tell it that 2 cousins, a close friend and a mother is too much for one year. I want to hate it. 

And then I look at Krozby. I look at that sweet face and think as much as 2016 stole, it gave too. 2016 just kicks me right in my emotional department. I want to be mad at it, but I know deep down that even in the midst of so much tragedy, confusion and heart ache, 2016 was still good and gracious. It almost makes me cringe to even give it credit.

But as much as 2016 took, it gave.

I remember walking into my cousin Bradley's funeral, standing there in the foyer. My Dad's side of the family is pretty good in size, I have a lot of cousins. We all stood together, a front you could say. It's a sad thing to say, but before that day I couldn't even remember the last time we were all together. I remember when my cousin Michael walked in the door. I remember hugging him, a little tighter than I would have in the past. That would be the last time I'd ever wrap my arms around that scrawny boy. 

I remember walking into Micahel's visitation just six weeks later. I watched my aunt come in the room, scanning it, looking only for her Mama. She found her and laid her head in my 85 year old Grandma's lap and just cried. A Mother's love is the strongest and in that moment, I was reminded of two things: my own strength and my own needs. I am a mother who is strong for her own children. And I am a child who sometimes needs to just cry in her mother's lap. There is no other love like it. 

I remember that Sunday morning in July, being a part of the group that filled the ICU waiting room. Between David's Family and Friends, not only was the waiting room full but so were the hallways. I remember standing next to Travis in David's room. The room was filled with people who loved him so much, none of us wanting to say goodbye, all of us still praying deep down for this to just be a dream. The time came for the "see ya later"s. I froze, unsure of myself, a complete mess. Travis let go of my hand and walked over to David's bedside. He held his hand and promised him that he would take care of his family. That we would always be there for his wife, his children, his grandchildren. I watched the gift of such a sweet friendship unfold and be promised to go on regardless that one of them was leaving earlier than the other. We sat in the waiting room telling stories of David's life, laughing because no story of David didn't lead you to laughter. David was one of the most hilarious people I have ever known. To know him was to not just love him, but to crave his presence. I hope he knows that everyday he gifts us with sweet, precious, hilarious memories. 

I remember sitting in the ICU room with Travis in October, his Mom hooked up to so many machines that it was overwhelming to look at. And when it got to be too much, to listen to, we looked at Krozby. We would hold him, talk to him, smile at him. Krozby made life in those tragic moments a tiny bit more bearable. Babies are good at that you know, bringing peace in times of trouble. 

In every one of these tragic moments, God gave me a little something. A reminder to hug a little tighter, a reminder of how strong we mothers truly are, a reminder to friend a little harder, a reminder to laugh in the midst of sadness, a reminder of how redeeming a baby's life can be. 

So yea, 2016 was hard. And it took, but it gave too. 

I'm looking forward to this year. I am looking for all of the little gifts and never forgetting the ones that I was reminded of in 2016. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Jumping Back In With Mother Goose Time ...

Jumping back into school in January can be the worst. It's like wrangling a bunch of cats and trying to get them into water. Trying to pull them away from their new Christmas belongings and their warm beds that have been occupied a little longer in the mornings can be a real good time. To keep my own sanity, I always like to ease us back in. Usually by the beginning of the second week, we're back in full force.

Kohen is the least hardest kid though to get to the table. That unopened box of Mother Goose Time goodness drove him crazy over Christmas. 

Toward the end of the break, I opened up our box and dove in to see what would be in store for this month.

Our theme is Baby Animals.

 We'll be tackling the letters Gg, Qq and Yy, the numbers 5 and 15, the hexagon shape and will talk about what it means to be gentle (Lord knows we need that around here with all these boys). 

Our weeks will go accordingly:
Week One: Waiting For Baby
Week Two: Carrying Baby
Week Three: Keeping Baby Safe
Week Four: How Babies Change

Each week we start out with asking what We Know about the subject and what We Wonder about the subject. This is the perfect way to introduce anything to kids. By asking these questions, we get the wheels turning in those brains of theirs and get them excited. This gives us the opportunity to celebrate what they already know and to recognize that there is so much more out there to learn! 

This week started out with a bang! We talked about all the animals that grow in Mommy's bellies and how they nurse from their Mommys when they're born. Well, y'all know we have Krozby here and he nurses and oh how quickly Kohen was to ask if Mommy was like a pig then. Um, sorta? I guess?

Oink. Oink.

Regardless of me being compared to a pig, it was fun to watch Kohen use his Pig Counters to see how many piggies could nurse from the Momma Pig he made with his PlayDoh. Along with Imaginative Play, we also use these counters for math. These are great for doing addition, subtraction, making patterns and sorting! We also talked about litters and how many baby pigs a Mommy Pig can carry in their tummy at one time. Imagine the look on Kohen's face when I told him they could carry 8-12 at once! 

Further into the week we talked about baby animals that grow in eggs! 

Our Theme Poster is down low so Kohen and Khloe can explore as often as they'd like to, not just during school hours. 

We opened up the conversation by allowing Kohen and Khloe to point out the animals on the Theme Poster that grow in eggs. We talked about what the temperature might be like inside the egg and how long we thought it would take for an egg to hatch. 

Mother Goose Time includes something called an "Invitation to Create". I love these! Sometimes kiddos just need some motivation to get their own creative juices flowing and this does just that!

We used crayons and watercolors to design and decorate our eggs. Even the big boys got in on this project! For us, doing a discussion while their hands are busy helps them to retain more. So we did just that. They worked on their eggs and we discussed more about baby animals, the patterns that are shown on the eggs in the photo and the "wax technique" they were using to create their designs. 

Good start to a great theme!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bringing Back Mother Goose Time ...

Hey Y'all! Remember Mother Goose Time? That adorable preschool curriculum we used a couple years ago? Well, we just started back up this month and we're a little excited about it. 

Kohen making his Owl.

Just in case you don' know about it, I'll fill you in. So we get this amazing box every month filled with 20 days of pre-bagged bliss for any preschool aged kid. And it is so organized for us Mamas, so it's bliss for us too. Each month there is a different theme and this month we are talking all about Winter In the Woods. 

There is so much included in each month's curriculum. Art activities, themed music, activities for number and letter recognition, manipulative toys, a planner and a scheduled month for us Mamas. There is also everything needed to learn about days of the week, months of the year and the weather.

Right now, we are homeschooling through 4th, 3rd and 1st grade - y'all know this Mama needs all the help I can get when it comes to making our mornings as easy and smooth as possible. MGT does just that for us. 

Kohen is obsessed with animals. 

All of them. All the kinds. Ocean animals. Woodland animals. Dogs, cats. Even beavers and turtles. So when I saw this month included days that were all about animals that lived in the woods, I got excited. 

The first week was all about different animals we would find if we took a stroll through the woods right now. We learned about deer, bears, hedgehogs and owls. 
There is always an opening question to start that morning off with and I may or may not have died when I asked Kohen what he knew about deer and his response was, "I know I just ate one at Poppie's house!"

 One of my favorite things about homeschooling is being able to watch my children use their imaginations, to watch them play, to watch their little minds go to work - so learning about bears this week was my favorite. We took a little walk in our wooded backyard and collected items that a bear would use to create their own den. Kohen and Khloe picked up leaves, pine straw, sticks and bark. Each of them were given a bowl as their den and they covered their bear's home with all of the items they collected. We had so much fun! Each of them had some of the Counting Bears (manipulative toys sent from Mother Goose Time this month) and used those as their bear families.

 So far December in our preschool world has been lots of fun! If you have a preschooler at home, I encourage you to take a look at Mother Goose Time. You'll be impressed at how much goodness can fit into one box ...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sweet As Sugar ...

I simply cannot believe I am already planning Khloe Ruth's Second Birthday. Like really? She has been with us for two whole years? 

I find myself thinking all the time how I thought I knew what it would feel like to have a Daughter. I thought I knew how much fun it would be to get lost in the Little Girl Department in Target and I thought I knew how my heart would pitter patter laying in the bed twirling her hair in my fingers. I thought I knew how great it would feel to call out "Good Morning Princess" every day. And I thought I knew what it be like to watch Travis have a little girl.

Truth is, I really had no idea at all how all the feels would feel.

It's just so much more y'all. 

Mushy mushy. 

Anyway, in the spirit of planning her Second Birthday Party I wanted to share the photos from her First Birthday! 

Only a year late, right?

During Khloe Ruth's First Year with us, she was quickly nicknamed Sugar Lump. I have no idea who started it or how it got started, but it stuck. And to this day we still call her Sugar Lump. 

So naturally the theme was Sweet as Sugar!

My Mama and I had so much fun with this! And I won't even tell you how long we spent on that wall back there. Measure, cut, fray, tape. Repeat. 

It came out so perfect though!

We had so many yummy, sugary goodies! If it was dippable, we dipped it! I think my most favorite was the Nutter-Butter Cookies made to look like ice cream cones! There wasn't a dipped thing left in the house!

Khloe Ruth's beautiful cake (and the Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes and the Reese's Cupcakes) were made by none other than Aimee Baker with Baker'z Joy. She has been making our cakes for years and has never disappointed us! They're as yummy on the inside as they are adorable on the outside!

We had Homemade Lemonade on tap and with those cute straws ... We also added some Popcorn and ChexMix too. We all know everyone needs a little something salty with all the sweetness!

Adults and Kiddos alike had fun with this game! I'll never forget when Mrs. Marie got it exactly right! 

I would love to say she devoured her cake, but she didn't. She ate the dang Nutter-Butter Cookies the whole time instead. 

Whew. I cannot believe she is about to be Two! We've already started the Party Planning, my Mama actually started months ago. And this year's theme? You'll have to wait to see! Hopefully not a whole year though ...

Sweet Dreams Y'all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

All Them July Babies ...

If you know us at all, you know that apparently the Husband and I spend a little too much time together in the month of October. Or at least we did in 2007, 2009 and 2011. Because we have birthdays to celebrate on the 9th, 11th and 13th of July. This year Kolt celebrated his 8th Birthday, Kruz celebrated his 6th and Kohen celebrated his 4th. 

Because their Birthdays are so close together, we try really hard to make each of their days special. Sometimes we're able to make the whole day about them with going to spend their Birthday Money and going to their place of choice to eat. And then there are years like this one in which we were consumed with the passing of a very special friend the day after Kolt's Birthday, Travis' School Schedule, attending the funeral on Kohen's Birthday and having our Kid's Crusade at church every night of that week. So this year we kind of just did what we could.

Kolt's Birthday fell on the same morning of the Party, so he chose to make a Dunkin Donuts run with his Daddy and blow his candle out that way. We were all starving after the Birthday Party so we ran off to a new Mexican Spot here in our little town. And since we were out, we took him to Academy to spend some of his Birthday Money. 

On Kruz' Birthday he requested a trip to the "same store as Kolt", GameStop and Toys R' Us. He is very methodical with how he spends his money. If only all 6 Year Olds were like that, right? So we headed to GameStop first for Fifa 2015, because in his words, he knew he could get the '15 Version cheaper than the '16 Version and really they're the same thing. He went to Toys R Us for a new 3DS game and to Academy for some new Nike stuff. And after church that night we went to the pool for a night swim and enjoyed the Birthday Cake he picked out from Publix earlier that day. 

And on Kohen's Birthday he asked all day when his friends were coming over for his party. I tried over and over to explain to him that we already had his party, but he just wasn't having that answer because "this day is my Birthday Mommy". We had this conversation a thousand times. My heart only broke into a thousand pieces when we got to our church for the funeral service for David and he saw so many of our friends and he asked if this was his Party. Bless it. I was so thankful this kiddo was content with some cupcakes at the end of the night when Daddy got home from work. 

And of course, there's the Big Birthday Celebration we had! I believe I counted 38 kids here, not including my own. It's always a fun time with the water slide and all of the families that we have over. 

This year I decided not to feed the crowd and just have snacks. It was perfect! I took advantage of the Buy One Get One Free sales at Publix and scored a ton of variety snack packs. At the end of the day, we went through 80 bags of chips and 38 bags of snacks like Cheez-Itz and Animal Crackers. 

We cut up some watermelon, had popsicles ready to go and had a cookie cake from Great American Cookie and drinks. Bam! Done! Easiest way ever to keep a ton of kiddos content while they wore themselves out! 

I would say Miss Khloe enjoyed that cake too! 

I always look forward to celebrating my babies' Birthdays and always so thankful when it's all over too! Now here's to planning Miss Khloe's Second Birthday ...