Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Attempting monthly photos

When Meredith woke up from her nap on Monday, I grabbed the owl and bear and attempted her 14 month photos.  I did ok with the owl pictures although I had my aperture set to low in the beginning, so the first few photos are a little out of focus.  Of course those are the ones that she looks the cutest.  Note to self: always check the camera settings before taking a single shot!

She LOVES her owl! 

After about 10 owl pictures, I put the owl on the ground and put the bear in the chair.

"Uh, what just happened?"

"But, I love my owl."

"No more pictures!!!!"

The water works stopped as soon as I put the owl back in the chair!

"I LOVE my owl!"

I think we'll be taking some new pictures today!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gak = fail

I bought liquid starch several months ago with the intent of making Gak for Mackenzie.  I had pinned the recipe on pinterest thinking it would be fun for Mackenzie to play with.  So, while Meredith was sleeping the other day, I pulled out the glue, starch and food coloring. 

Mackenzie thought it was pretty cool to pour the glue into the starch.
But that's about it. ;)  Mixing it wasn't fun for her, especially if she was going to have to use her hands.  Imagine that!  Mackenzie not want to get her hands dirty?! ;)

In the end, I don't think it came out properly.  It didn't really stick together and I had to drain a lot of the starch off so that it wouldn't be like soup.  I finally put it all in a ziplock bag thinking that would be the best way to throw it away and of course, that's when she decided she would play with it.

I'm torn between making her do stuff like this to get her used to having her hands dirty and just accepting the fact that she's like me and that's just not our thing!  Although, there is one exception to our liking dirty hands.  If it involves food, then we are ok.  I mean who doesn't like to lick their fingers covered in chocolate?  Below is a picture from March, but it is proof that getting dirty is sometimes ok! ;)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Some things never change...

Mackenzie went into her closet this morning and pulled out her dress shoes to wear around the house.  According to her, it was time to play "let's go to church" and she still had her pajamas on. 

As soon as she put on the shoes with her pajamas I flashed back to 3 years ago when she used to love to put her dress shoes on with whatever she was wearing.

Somethings never change!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

MST 365 - 1 year

It's been one year since I started My Spare Time 365.  I started it with the intention of making sure I took plenty of photographs of Meredith so that she wouldn't be the "second child with no photos".  My initial goal was to take 200 photos in 365 days and I'm happy to announce that I exceeded my goal and have a picture for 325 days out of 366 in the past year!  I'm so glad I stuck with it and took so many pictures.  I love looking back and seeing the random day to day pictures I took.  Most of them are of the girls, but some are food or crafts or even me!  That one of me isn't the greatest, but again, I'm documenting our day to day stuff.

I'm going to continue trying to take pictures every day through the end of the year, but starting in January, I'll start with a new count.  This will make it easier for me to remember beginning and end dates and when I make these into blog books (because we all know I will), it will be a little better organized than just saying "October 11, 20xx to October 10, 20x1".

There is a link to my picture blog above my blog roll on the right hand side.  I usually upload about once a week, but sometimes it's less often than that.  For instance I haven't uploaded pictures since the 11th, but I did take them.  So if you haven't done so already go ahead and check out MST - 365.  Oh, and I highly recommend doing this for yourself.  It's fun to see what you did in the last year, especially in the thumbnail layout blogger has.  Even if you don't blog about it, try to take a picture of your life every day!  I dare you! ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Focus Time

We are taking a break from school this week, while I focus on higher priority items.  They include: household chores, playing with the girls, and my health and well being.  I'm not physically sick, but I do feel like I need to focus on my spiritual health as well as being more active in my lifestyle.   I think the summer break combined with planning the girls' party helped me to forget how to manage my time properly.  In the last few weeks, I've found myself spending way too much time on the computer.  Me on the computer also means there has been way too much inactivity for the girls and lots of TV time.  Shame on me.  My focus will benefit them as well.  Obviously, I'm on the computer now since I'm blogging, but we are all eating lunch and I'm limiting my time to just my lunch break or after the girls' bedtime. 
As far as the household chores are concerned, the house stays picked up, for the most part, but it is desperate need of a deep cleaning!  I'm giving myself all week to clean the house because with Mackenzie and Meredith around, it will take that long.  Between Mackenzie asking me to play with her and Meredith sitting in my lap while I was trying to clean the shower door, it took almost the whole day yesterday, just to clean the shower and counters in our bathroom!  I also managed to clean the playroom too.  I cleaned it all up to vacuum, but by this morning, it was already a mess.  At least I know it was dusted and vacuumed for a few minutes.  ;)

Besides deep cleaning, some parts of the house need special attention.
 This is the last remaining area still decorated from the party.  I'm hoping to "un-decorate" today.

Our poor office desk pretty much looks like this every 2 months.  I'm sure I'll clean it all up this week and by Christmas it will be a disaster again!  It doesn't help that I hardly go into the office, so I don't see this area very often, which is why it doesn't really bother me that it's that messy.  If this was my kitchen bar, it would drive me crazy!
Can you tell in the areas where I did un-decorate, I followed the dump and go rule? ;)

And of course the most important focus - playing with the girls.  I need to focus on enjoying their company.  I can't play with them all of the time, but every time I feel the need to get on the computer to look at Facebook or Pinterest, I need to train myself to think of them instead.  All of those other things will still be on the internet later, but my girls will only play with me for so long! ;) 

So with that, my lunch break is over and it's time for me to FOCUS! ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Preschool K3 - Unit 4

I'm slowly catching up.  I take so many photos of what we do and want to document it all on the blog for my own memories, so it takes a bit of editing and let's face it - there's just not enough time in the day.  Every time I think I have a chance to pull up some photos to edit, something happens and I get distracted and then its two hours later and no photos have been edited, let alone blogged about! ;)

Anyways, Unit 4 of school focused on the story of Noah's Ark.  I added a rainbow theme to bring home the concept of God's promise.

Noah's Ark: 
I found this verse activity from 1+1+1=1 and since that was our memory verse, it was perfect.  She glued it together to create an accordion memory verse.
We made a paper plate ark with popsicle sticks animals that she seemed to really like.  Although it took a little patience on her part to wait for the glue to dry.
I think I got this next ideas from  We made an obedience ark.  I wrote down different ways she can show God love (she gave me half of the answers) and we built an ark with our popsicle sticks.

Rainbows: had this cute mini book that she colored one day.  This particular school day took place on the floor because I had a terrible headache, but she really wanted to do school.  No matter how bad I feel, I can't resist her when she asks to do school!
Making the fruit loop rainbow was probably one of her favorite things we did in this unit.  I put the glue down for her, but she did all of the rest.  The background sheet is from 1+1+1=1's rainbow pack.
She learned a few color words by matching the words to he corresponding rainbows from Confessions of a Homeschooler.
Also from COAH was a number matching game.  She worked on these while I cooked dinner on this particular evening.  She insisted that I look at each match she made, so I had to stop every few minutes to go look at her new match.   Another example of how we fit school in whenever we can!
Another project from the headache day - roll a rainbow!  She always has fun rolling the die and then getting to use the markers is also fun! ;)  I took the top right picture because she explained to me that it was okay that she colored outside of the lines with the blue, because it made indigo.  So creative...

Letter R:
She found all of the letter R's in this activity from Confessions of a Homeschooler.
She chose to do this dot sheet from 1+1+1=1's rainbow pack on the refrigerator rather than use the dot paint markers or a cookie sheet.  Whatever makes her happy!
Also from 1+1+1=1's tot pack was this letter maze.

Sight Words:
Our sight words for this unit were did and two.  Depending on the day, coloring can be a bit of a challenge for her (or rather me).  She sometimes loves it and moves right through it and other times, it's like pulling teeth to get her to color 6 letters! ;)  But either way, I'm going to continue to use these color by numbers from 1+1+1=1.

She kind of struggles with these sight word path sheets from 3dinosaurs, not because they are necessarily difficult, but because she look too far ahead and skips over part of the path to get to the word she saw toward the end.  When she does these sheets, I have to be sure to slow her down and help her focus on only the next word on the path and this seem to help tremendously.
She did very well with the See, Build and Write activity from COAH.  The writing with the 3 lines is still new to her, but she's slowly learning that the lines are there to help her.

One of the new things we did this week was use the USA powerpoint from 1+1+1=1.  Since we aren't doing the powerpoints like we did last year, I think she has actually missed looking on the computer for school stuff.  She loved seeing the different states and asked every time what the state bird and flower are.  I can't help but get giddy that she LOVES this kind of stuff like me! yay! ;)
We continued to practice writing our numbers.  You can see in the picture how she traces just fine using the 3 handwriting lines, but when it's a free write (at the bottom), she doesn't quite understand.  I helped her after I took the picture, but again, it's just going to take practice and getting use to the guides.
Remember the letter sorts last year and how I said that it took her FOREVER to complete because she talked completely?  Well, those letter sorts had nothing on the amount of time it took her to complete the spoon match up!  I think I edited pictures while she was doing this and it's not that she couldn't find the matching letters, its just that she talked for at least 2 minutes with each match.  It really did take almost an hour for her to finish this activity!  Ahhh!
My mother in law has bought us several fun school worksheet books for preschool and/or kindergarten and I finally looked at each one in depth to see what we could do at this level.  I decided I would introduce her to money just as an extra activity every once in a while. 

I also didn't feel like making copies, so she is going to have her own activity book on money.  (I'll just buy another one for Meredith in a couple of years if this one goes well.)  The book has about 6 activities each for pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters.  We started with the first few pages which taught her about pennies. 
We'll use the book over the course of the year and eventually it talks about adding the money together, so it will be even more fun by the time summer rolls around.

Anyways, another "week" documented.  (She's pictured in 5 different outfits, but we never do school 5 days in a row!)  We are still trying to finish up our current unit, so most likely I'll blog about it next week.  Until then, happy learning!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Christmas is coming!

Christmas is 70 days away!  Brandon's family has already planned the gathering dates and we've drawn names for gifts.  My family has yet to schedule a date for our family gathering, but we are working on it.  I just sent my mom a list of dates that we are not available because the holiday schedule is already being filled with other parties.

I love this time of year!  Gathering with friends and family is so much fun and because it requires some planning, this crazy girl loves the chance to pull up excel to help keep me organized.  The past few years I've used the same excel sheet to plan the Christmas gift needs, ideas and budget.  This year I was smart and saved last years list so that I could remember what we bought people and won't repeat gifts.  I already have ideas listed for half of our family, but I haven't bought any gifts yet.  Even though I'm a planner, I have a hard time buying Christmas gifts before Halloween. ;)

Yesterday I made an excel sheet for the adventures of Tiny, our elf on the shelf.  I found that last year it helped to have the ideas already planned so that I wouldn't have to think of a hiding place once Mackenzie was asleep.  There are so many great ideas on pinterest, so I'll have to look at all of them and decide what will work for us, but for now the sheet is set up with the December dates just waiting for me to fill it in.  We'll start with our North Pole breakfast again because she liked that so much last year, so at least that part is planned.  Now I just have to narrow the hundreds of ideas down to 23.

The other crazy list I made was sort of a bucket list of things to do with the girls during December.  Again, there are so many ideas on pinterest for crafts and activities to do, that I had to go through them and narrow it down to fit in 24 days.  Some of the items on my list are:
  • watching a Christmas movie
  • make a handprint Christmas tree
  • eat breakfast for dinner
  • make hot chocolate
  • bake Christmas Cookies
  • decorate a Gingerbread house
I'm hoping we can add a couple of service projects this year like visiting a nursing home or doing a couple of random acts of kindness.  We'll add all of this to our Jessee tree daily devotional, preschool and general daily activities.  It will be busy busy, but I'm so excited!  I LOVE this time of year, so bring on the madness! ;)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Outside Play

I'll be the first to admit, I'm not much for outdoors activities unless they involve a swimming pool.  Maybe it's because Houston is soooooo hot and humid for 8 months out of the year and I just don't care to be in that weather.  Or maybe it's because for 31 years I was indoors for most of the day - school, work, college, work, etc.  All I know is that my weariness for being outside has sort of been passed down to Mackenzie.  Actually, she likes to play outside but she has to have me right next to her.  If we go to a playground, she has to have me in her eye sight with in 20 feet. :(  Of course that makes me not really want to be outside even more, if I can't just relax and watch her play.  Since it is getting cooler (high 80s' instead of high 90's), I'm going to try to take the girls outside more.  Monday we went to local playground, Tuesday we walked to our neighborhood playground and Wednesday we went to a playground with the group from Ladie's Class.  With the exception of Wednesday's trip, Mackenzie did run around and play, but again, she had to have me right there next to her.  We'll get there, it just takes practice, right? ;)

Meredith on the other hand, is the exact opposite of Mackenzie and would rather be going in the opposite direction of me.  I had kind of been avoiding the outside while Meredith could only crawl because I didn't want her crawling all over the concrete and trying to eat rocks like she did at the beach pool thing we went to this summer.  Now that she's walking more confidently, I decided she would love a trip out to see my grandparents and play outside on their property.  She had a blast outside and with the exception of keeping her away from the pond, she was able to walk around wherever and explore without any worries about getting in the street or falling off playground equipment.

"I love it outside!"
She looks so cute in these jeans!

 Mackenzie liked running around too!
Meredith was a little unsure about walking on the grass.  This is her second try.  The first time, she put her foot down and then moved back to the concrete.  I guess she thought it was too unsteady for her.
But, once Papa helped her walked, she got the hang of it and quickly learned to pick up her feet a little higher to get over the grass.
 Mackenzie and Granny waited for Papa to bring the fish feed around because you can't go to Granny and Papa's and not feed the fish! ;)
Meredith wanted to copy whatever Mackenzie was doing, so she sat down to do Mackenzie's stretches too!
We also took a few group pictures.  I don't really like how my shirt is lying, but since both of the girl are smiling, I'll keep it!
This was the hardest picture to take since Meredith really wanted to move around, but at least we got one fairly good picture.

Just to prove that not all of the pictures turn out like you want them to, here's what happened when I asked Mackenzie to smile...
Oh, thank you sweetie - that's just the shot I wanted! ;)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


We are discussing "feelings" this week in school and I found this really cute set of feeling flashcards on 1+1+1=1.
 After laying them out one by one and talking about each one, I asked Mackenzie to pick them up one at a time and imitate the feeling.  They were so cute that I didn't want to wait for the Unit 5 blog post.  First of all, she skipped "feeling cold" because she didn't like that it was blue.
She said, "I don't turn blue when I'm cold". ;)  She also skipped exhausted and asked why his "head was cracked".

My answer to these daily kind of questions is always "that's just they way someone drew it."

Now onto the cards that she did do!

Angry...this is truly her angry face.  Now can you see why Brandon and I laugh at her when she gets mad at us?  So silly!
Goofy...she was moving her tongue back and forth.  Apparently this is as goofy as she gets when she's trying to hold a paper.
Tired...she was keeping her mouth open because the picture shows flies going into this smiley face and she thought that was funny.
Hot...makes me smile.  I wish that's all that happened when you are feeling hot. ;)
And lastly, she got to draw how she was feeling.  She chose "happy" and drew her smiley face complete with cheeks. 
So, how are you feeling today???
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