30 August 2014

CC cycle 3 Week1

Can you believe its that time again. Well this lil one has not made her appearance yet. Someone please tell her that she is supposed to get out at 40 weeks. Although this year we have been blessed in our CC group to have another mom join us (she's a teacher, yea!!) who's daughter will be in the class that I normally tutor.  So she will be starting off this year while I try to figure out how to get this baby out and how to navigate life with 3 lil ones. By the way did I mention that my husband has to leave again right after this one is born. The Navy is being nice and letting hom stay with me a lil longer till after princess 3 is born then he will be whisked off. Yep its trial by fire for all this year. Not sure who is getting the better end of the deal me or the new mom that has agreed to take my class till I can.
Anyway I am going to continue to post my break down of what I intend to do for each subject each week. Even if I am not the tutor I still have to plan for my 2 princesses here at home, so here goes.
First is Geography, and guess what my favorite Utube mom is back and she has started this year off with a bang. She has come up with a song for weeks 1-3. Yea!!
Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iKxlmevnzQ
Math: Since my oldest princess is continuing with times tables I found this worksheet sight that has a new twist(yes pun intended) on skip counting.   
2 times table
But for my lil princess at home I will just use the skip counting maze.
Grammar: My girls love to sing and especially try to rap, and I do mean try. So this is more than likely how I will tackle this one. 
Science: I will be using hand motions along with showing my girls this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzWMAbTYNbg&list=PL166B7E06026603DB&feature=plcp&context=C3d135a6FDOEgsToPDskJaAkYdCqSf14klu7VX36http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=K8iIjAg7K9w&list=PL166B7E06026603DBJ7
It is a adorably cute video that will have both my girls in awe, and more than likely wanting to make their own video, sigh. Yes I can see the future. 
Well hopefully this lil one will make an appearance soon so I can get back to normal. I cant wait to meet her. Its so hard for me to sit and just wait, but I refuse to have a c section so here I am. 
Till next week.
post signature

11 August 2014

A To Do list with priority listing.

So with baby #3 on her way, I have become a bit of an organizational freak. One day I had so much on my mind and to do "plate" that I couldn't focus to get one thing done. For those that have been pregnant you know what I am talking about. I am convinced that my precious princess suck away at my brain cells while they grow inside me, and I am not entirely sure that they ever come back. But that is a discussion for a different day. 
I knew I had to get everything down on a list but I also needed to prioritize that list so I could focus on one thing at a time and get the most important stuff done first. That way I wouldn't lay awake at night feeling like I didn't accomplish anything, you know what I am talking about. I need to feel that my days are purposeful and not just full. Anyway so to Pinterest I went in search of such a to do list, and you know what. I couldn't find one. I was stunned I know they have to exist but I couldn't find any. So I settled down and designed my own, and yes I will share. Hopefully this will help someone else as much as it helps me. 
So here you go, please let me know if this helps or if you have any ideas on how to improve it. Its nothing very fancy, kind of plain actually but I was going for functionality not beauty.

I hope you enjoy.

post signature

08 August 2014

Journals that are Fun, and Pretty and it makes your kids want to write in them.

At our house writing seems to be the most disliked activity. Although during our home school walk I have become a firm believer that you need to read to be a better writer, and write to be a better reader. 

There is tons of data to back this up, however I saw it first hand with our oldest in Kindergarten. She loved to read everything and anything, however she did not like to write. I made the mistake of putting writing on the back burner, which made us both happy, for a little while. Then when she started First Grade and was required to write more she was stumped and got easily frustrated, which did not make either of us happy. She had no problem reading her spelling list but could not for the life of her spell the words themselves. It was then that I realized how important they are to each other. So entered keeping a journal. 
***Side note did you know "journaling" is not a word, yes it is not a word, look it up. I learned something new today.
Journal writing was not something that was met with a lot of excitement. So this year summer I decided to take a different approach. Especially since princess 2 would be starting more of a formal education. Shes right in between preschool and Kindergarten this year. I wanted her to get used to the idea of keeping a journal in hopes of having less resistance in following years. I can hope right.
So what did I do? First I downloaded a whole bunch of silly pictures and some pictures of stuff that we would be covering this year in history,then I gave their journals a makeover. 
Here is some of the pictures

Now to the fun part, the makeover. I started with a regular primary journal and a sketch book. For my older princess I chose the primary journal that is half lined so she could paste our silly pic in there or draw her own picture to illustrate her story. For princess #2 I chose a sketch book since we are just working on letters, letter sounds and just a few sight words. This way she could draw her "story" then I have her dictate to me and I write. I let her fill in words that she knows or that we are working on, with the hope eventually she will write most of it and I will just help where needed. 

The girls had bought some colorful duct tape at our last AWANA store night, and I knew it would be perfect for this project. 
I used plain paper on the inside and outside since the printed duct tape was kind of transparent. It also made a nice inside cover that we could use for pictures of the girls during that year.

Next I just layered strips next to each other to cover the front and frame the inside. Yes I wasn't to perfect and there were some wrinkles in the tape, but the girls don't seem to mind and I was to tired to try and re-do it. I was about 7 months along with princess #3 and I am suffering from lack of energy, and brain power. So please excuse any grammatical errors in these posts. 

We started this as a summer journal but I believe we will continue to use it during the school year. The girls really love writing in these.

I will keep you posted as to how they do with this type of writing. I do want to mention that I do not correct any spelling in here. This is their free space to write as they wish. I do this for 2 reasons. First my oldest is now in second grade and has tons of other writing and spelling to do that I have to correct and grade. So this gives her a free space to not worry about if she is right or wrong grammatically or with spelling. She can just get her thoughts down and have fun with words. It also serves as an indicator to me as to what she needs to work on. Right now it is story flow and details but I wouldn't know this if I didn't let her free write. 

What tips and tricks have you used to help your children write? I would love to hear other ideas. 

post signature

27 June 2014

Its Summer time at our house, time for a new schedule.

The other day I shared my command board with you. Well at least what we used during the last school year. Now that summer is here its time for a change. Since I will be having a baby a little after this next year school starts, I decided we would take 7 weeks for a summer break then we will start back to school. Which is a few weeks earlier than the girls friends and the public school, but I figure that I will have to slow down when the baby comes. So we will start early and hopefully not be to far behind at the end of the year. I want to take the time to enjoy and learn about our new family member and for us to enjoy our time together with her. The newborn stage goes by so fast. Sorry I am rambling on, ok back to summer. 
So here is a link back to my old Command Center, just in case you missed it. 
I didn't change to much in the way of design just in the function. Here is an overview.

Now the break down of each one. 
1 Is my pretty part, again not to much has changed. 

2 and 3 

These are our summer plans. In the first frame I have our summer morning routine. This includes breakfast, chores, (I talked about my view on chores here) and daily reading(which happens everyday, more on that in a little bit). The other frame lists our themes for each day of the week. 
I decided to do light stuff on Monday, Wednesday and Friday so that we can do a little bit of learning. This is primarily a review of what they have learned during the year through worksheets and games. I just want to keep their brains engaged so they don't dump what they have learned. On Tuesday and Thursday are our big days, we do all day events here, after their morning routines are done of course. 
So I did the days themes this way:

Monday-Make it Monday, we do a new craft or sometimes mom sneaks in science projects, messy ones of course. 

Tuesday-Take a trip Tuesday, since we are in Japan and most places are crowded on weekends this works out great. I have also found that most Japanese amusement parks offer discounts during the week. 

Wednesday- Water Wednesday, we do some sort of water play this day. Some times its a trip to the pool, or just playing outside with squirt guns and water balloons. Lately its been water crafts or art crafts involving water. We are in the rainy season here so outside play is not always possible.

Thursday- Thankful Thursday, on this day we bake something special to give to a friend with a little note thanking them for being our friend. Savannah wants to do a bake sale to raise money for the food shelter, and this gives us an opportunity to see what we can come up with to sell. Plus its good for the girls to learn their way around the kitchen.

Friday- Friend Friday, this is when we either go hang out with some of our friends like on a play date or we invite some friends over for some play time. It really depends on how mommy is feeling. 

Saturday is our free day, just to hang out or do what ever we decide to do.

Most of my ideas that I have gotten are from Pinterest, you can check out my board and see what I have planned. I have a special board just for summer time.

Moving on, the next 2 board are the girls new "chore" chart.

4 and 5

As I have talked about before I don't pay them for normal everyday things, I expect them to do these because they are part of this household and we all work together. Besides this is stuff that needs to become second nature to them, like making their beds and brushing their teeth after breakfast, things like that. Now if they go above and beyond those and do
extra" chores then I am willing to pay.
Sundays are paydays in our house. After getting paid they are expected to divide it up into, their offering for church, some for their piggy banks, and the rest can go into their wallets for spending. This is something else that I want to become second nature to them. I did not have a chore chart for Sara but she likes to check things off as she does them like big sissy so I made her one and she loves it. More importantly she uses it everyday.
Let me explain a little more about what each one has on it. I pulled these off line and then edited them to fit our needs.
Big sister has the most responsibility, of course she is the oldest. I have listed the things that she needs to do everyday as a member of the family. Then she has "extras" that she can earn money for, when she does these extras and mom has approved her work. She can then mark how many she has done that day at the bottom of her chart so I know how much to pay on Sunday.
Lil sis has the same thing except she does not have extras yet. She learns/helps big sissy when sissy does her extra chores. She has her normal things that she needs to do like get dressed, make her bed, and brush her teeth. Then she can help big sis, of course learning how to do it along the way.
Lil sis only gets $3 a week, one for church, one for her piggy bank and one to save in her wallet. The requirement is she has to help and have the right attitude while she is helping in order to get paid.
I have found this to be a great lesson for both girls. Big sis learns how to teach and gently guide her lil sis along. Then lil sis by the end of the summer can take over big sissys chores and big sis can take on bigger chores so she can learn more about caring for a household. The ultimate goal of course is that by the time she is a teen these things will be second nature and she will be ready to run her own household. After college of course.
On to 6 and 7

Is just a magnetic, cork, white board that I use to pin notes and write messages on. Its kind of a catch all for all the "other" stuff.

7 Is our reading log.

I actually decided to do a chain instead of a log. That way it is a lil more visual. Every time that Savannah finishes a book she gets a chain. Sara gets a chain for every 30 minutes that she reads. Reading for her is looking through her books or listening to me or sissy read to her. We are doing this along with the summer reading program at our library on base. They get special prizes for each reading block they do or activity at the library. Between the two I think we will be reading a lot this summer. I have offered a ice cream party for when their chains reach the floor, which had both of them scrambling to get a book. Time will tell if they can earn it. 

So now that we have gone through the summer command board I will tell you I already am working on changes for the start of school next year. I plan on completely redoing it so that it is more family usable. Since I will have a newborn around at that time it will be up to the rest of them to keep it up. This will include new chore charts for both girls, they will be more age appropriate fr this next year. 
Plus I have had this design for a while so its time to change.  

post signature

18 June 2014

Moms Command Center

This is the brain of my home. This is where I keep our schedules, chores, to do lists and anything else that I need to keep track of.
Here is a picture of how I had my board set up during the school year.

First yes I have pink tile all over my walls, its in the bathrooms as well, floor to ceiling. I like pink but this is to much even for me. So I am not working with the prettiest of walls to start with. However it works and I know someday I will have a house that I can paint and design what ever I want. Until then it makes the best sense for us to live in government quarters. 
Anyway let me explain what I have on the wall for you and then in my Summer Plan post, I will show you what changes I made for the summer and tell you why.
Also I am sorry for the lousy pictures. I usually don't get around to doing my blog till after the girls go to bed. Night time pictures are never great and there is a counter right across from this wall that makes it hard to take a strait on shot. Ugh! Someday right. Do I hear other military wives out there sighing with me, "yes someday".
So lets start at the top.


I love sunflowers so of course this is at the top of my wall. Yes it clashes with the pink but I dont care. I made it for my "someday house" and it makes me happy. I cut the letters out with my pazzles, I love that machine. Then my mother-in-law sent me this really beautiful sunflower card. It has sat on my counter forever so I decided to hang it here. I plan on framing it, lol, someday.
Then moving down

2, 3 and 4

2 This is my monthly calender with my to do list. Which includes my shopping list, phone calls I need to make, emails that I need to send, reminders and even a place to write down future plans/crafts. That way I dont forget later on. 
3. This is my daily chore list for me and when to do it. Example in the morning I needed to put laundry in to start it washing, and take the meat out of the freezer. Our morning routine is mostly the same but it gives myself and my big princesses a check list to follow, so we can make sure we got everything done. I will explain a lil more about her chore chart in a min. 
4. Is my week at a glance. I used my phone to keep my apts in however it was nice for me to have them all laid out like this so I could more easily see if I needed to shift school or reschedule something. Some days it just wasn't possible to do school because we were to busy and others there was nothing planned so we could do all those "extras" that as a homeschooling mommy I want to do. 
All of these were print outs, I found most of them on line and edited them to fit us or I created them myself. They are all placed in a cheap dollar store frame that way I could write on the glass and then just erase it at the end of the week and start over, or cross it off when we did it.
I like to have Sunday dates with myself so I can plan ahead for the week. I don't always get them especially when daddy's gone on deployment but I still try. 
Now on to Savannah's chart.

I don't like the thought of chores per say, I feel that they should clean their room, care for their pets, and do self care themselves because these are things they need to learn. Not just do them because they are getting paid to do them. So when I started off doing chores for Savannah I called it her responsibility chart instead of chores. She had a list of things that she had to do everyday because she is part of this household and we work together to make it a home. 
I am here to care not serve them. God's word says we need to work together as a team just like the different parts of our body work together. Now on the flip side of that I wanted her to learn that doing work can bring rewards so after her responsibility's are done she can choose to do a chore. At age 4-5 she got 1 dollar a day if she did an extra chore. So at the end of the week, paydays are always on Sundays, she would get $5.  Each day on her chart there was a different room to focus on and sometimes I just asked her to do a certain one. So below her chart I attached 2 envelopes, one was squares with different chores printed on them. I used both words and pictures so she would know what to do. The other envelope was for her to place them in after she had done them so I would know how many she had done, and know how much to pay her. By the way it never occurred to her to do more than one a day. That was just because of her age, if I did the same today she would do all of them over and over every day to get more pay, lol. So you will have to chose how this will work best for your child.
Hanging behind the frame is 3 envelopes. One is for the churches donation plate, one is for savings, and one is to be spent or saved, which ever she chooses or wants. We tried to stick to 1 in church, 2 in savings and anything left went in her spend envelope. However their were weeks that she only earned 2 or 3 dollars. Those weeks we sat down and talked about why and how we were going to split it up. There were many great lessons and discussions during these weeks. Now she is using a different system that's adjusted for her maturity level, ie, more responsibility/chores and less daily routine since now she has those down. It comes as second nature to her now to make her bed, get dressed, brush hair and teeth, those kinds of things. I will talk about that a little later in a different post more in detail, we are still tweaking it a little and I now have added a responsibility chart for her little sister. 
On to the last part of my command center. 
6. (Sorry no close up pictures)
The last is just a simple magnetic, dry erase, cork board. This allows me to write notes, pin receipts even clip coupons that need to be used on it. This way I can see everything and nothing gets lost on the counter. 
 Like I said this is how I had it set up during the school year. I changed it recently in anticipation of summer. Its nice to have a change in the house to mark a change of seasons. This is what it looks like now. 
I will share these changes in my Summer Plan post. So check back soon. 
I hope this helps. Do you have a command center in your house? What do you have on it?

God Bless you and yours, 

14 June 2014

Check out this lil angel.

When I came to Japan I promised my husband and children that I would not take on any photography shoots while we were here in Japan. Well not to many anyway.
However its hard to pass up lil angels like this one. Also being the mom of 2 about to be 3 girls, this was a rare chance to capture a baby boy.

Isn't he adorable. 
Here is a link to the rest of his shoot.

I cant wait till this princess makes an appearance so I can add her to my gallery.

God Bless you and yours, 

09 June 2014

Fathers Day Craft Book- makes a great gift.

Once again Daddy is on the boat for Fathers Day. Yes we dont actually get to spend this holiday a lot with him. Which means mommy and the girls have to get creative, so that we can show him that even if he is not here he is loved and missed.
So this year I saw a really cute book on Pininterest, of course. lol. Anyway you can check out the original idea here and get the print outs as well if you would like to do one. Her original idea involved a 4x6 lil photo album. However in japan they don't have a picture size that is 4x6 its more like a 3.5x5, well sort of. Anyway needless to say I couldn't run out to the store and get one and I didn't have any lying around so I made a paper bag album in stead. I used the bags for the inside(that way the girls could put thier own drawings inside  and then I recycled a cereal box for the covers.

I am going to try to take you step by step with pictures but forgive me it was late at night so some of the pictures were not the best. I also forgot to take a picture of the girls drawings inside but I think you can figure out how they go in.
So here we go.
 So first I printed out the sheets for the book.Then I cut the front and the back out of a cereal box making it a quarter inch bigger than a folded paper lunch bag. Covering one side of the cardboard with glue I attached some scrapbook paper to it. Leaving enough on the edge to wrap around the edges.

I then used a complimentary color paper to cover the inside, I dont want hubby to know that I ate cocoa pebbles while he was gone. Yes its not the kids its mom, but what do you expect I am 7 months pregnant. lol
So it looks something like this.

I punched holes in the cover then used it as a guide to punch the back cover and pages. 

If you notice I cut a lil extra off 2 of the bags. I wanted to sandwich a lil bit in the layers of the cover. Just to add stability.

 Yes I had to re-punch one side because the bag slipped. Did I mention it was late and I am pregnant. Anyway then using brads I sandwiched all the layers together and then glued the printed pages inside on the bag "pages".

Ta da!!!!! All done, the next morning I had the girls fill out their perspective pages and we then mailed it off with a few of Dads favorite treats.
Happy Fathers Day hunny!!! Miss you.

Till next time,
God Bless you and yours,

02 June 2014

Getting ready for Baby series, How to Organize Ribbon - for free

Ok so I say free but this is assuming that you have a few items on hand. Most people I know do. If not then I am sure you can find them or borrow them easily enough.

Wire hanger
Wire Cutters
Pliers or jewelry tool
lots of ribbon

First you need to separate out your ribbon. Decide how you want to organize them, some people do it by size, some by brands. I like color so that is how I separated mine. Come to find out I have TONS of pink ribbon. I guess with 3 lil girls in the house that shouldn't be a surprise huh.
Next you will need to cut your hanger on one of the sides about half way down with the wire cutters. Then using either pliers or a fancy jewelry tool bend back each freshly cut end into a hook.

Here is a close up of what it looks like when hooked. I bent one hook to the side and one up. That way they would be more secure.

Almost done, whew this is hard work, lol. 
Next comes the fun part. Start threading your spools on. Two things I learned, first some of the spools holes are not big enough so you will have to tear or cut them a little bigger to fit over the hook and around the bend of the hanger. Second have all your ribbon pinned/tapped so that it can't unroll, it makes a mess. Also hang them so they roll out the same way. 
Kind of like the argument over which way the toilet paper roll should roll, you will have to figure out which one is best for you. 
By the way does anyone else have that argument in your house, about the direction that the toilet paper should roll. I say it needs to roll up over the top and hubby says unroll in the bottom. Ugh! men. Anyway, sorry I got sidetracked. 
Here is what it should look like when you are done.

Now you can hang them on hooks on the wall, which will make a very nice display. Or you can hang them in a closet to keep them out of sight but handy. I like to see what I have so everything is out where I can see it. Once I am done redoing the baby's room I will hang them on the wall. For now I am just leaving them on my rack. Which looks very pretty by the way, minus all the junk around. Why does it seem like when you are trying to reorganize you first have to make a big mess then go back and clean it up. Does this seem counterproductive to any of you? 

Have fun, I would love to see how you "display" them.

God Bless you and yours, 

This is part of my "Getting ready for baby" series. Click here to view the whole series.

22 May 2014

"Getting ready for baby" series, Building Bunk Beds for the girls.

So as I had wrote about before we are about to welcome princess #3 in the next 3 months. And since we live in an apartment that is a lil over 1000 square foot home, we needed to redo a few things.
So if you look back at this post you will see that we made a to do list as a plan of attack so we can make room for lil princess.
First on that list was to get rid of the girls twin bed and make more room in their room.

This way we could move all the toys out of our "playroom" and turn it into a nursery. Well and maybe a small corner for moms scrap booking. But that's another post.
So we cleared the room headed down to Viva Home, which is the Japanese version of Home Depot and got started.

Yes that is a lot of "stuff" under the bed. That was the good thing about having 2 twin beds. Lots of stashing stuff room. And yes I had to organize all that stuff and make room for it somewhere else in the house. That will be in a different post later on. 

By the way did I mention that I have the best husband ever. I showed him this picture from The Handmade Dress blog. They have the blueprints if you would like to make one yourself. 

Anyway he looked at the picture, then we talked about how to make it work for us, and we modified it so it would work in our small home. We originally had the idea of using one of the princesses dressers as an end. to the bed. That way we could free up some of the closet space that was currently used for the dresser and it would make a wall for a nice little nook underneath the top bunk. We however ended up using a book case at the end instead. My mommy mood kicked in and I was a lil uncomfortable with the end of the top bunk open. I could just see someone falling out. So we changed them out. Lucky they both were the same width. 

The girls had to help of course. We used it as our lesson that day. Dad did a good job at adding in math, science and even a lil writing into the lesson of building bunk beds. Way to go Dad. 
Finally the girls got their bed, after a lil paint now all that's left to do is mom to decorate. That job might have to wait a lil bit. 

One check in the block done. On to the next task. 
Click here to view the whole series.

**Update I got some decorating done while my girls were out today. What do you think. The curtains underneath can be lowered so that it makes a nice lil hang out. Also a great place to play with a light bright or tell scary stories in the middle of the day so they are not so scary. Thank you bubble guppies camping out episode for the idea. 
Anyway, let me know what you think.