Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Surprise Award!

Last week I received an invitation in the mail from the school that I attended last Summer. The invitation stated that I had been selected for an award and I was invited to a luncheon where I would be presented the award. Hmmm? We thought. Interesting... My other thought was, NICE: An afternoon away from the kids with Leif and Lunch, Perfect!

During the luncheon I was presented the:
Certificate of Excellence for Outstanding Achievement in Creative Writing
for Mohave Community College
Very Neat!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Update: Jakob's (and Caleb's) Home Schooling

We are starting a new routine during our school time these days. For the last several months we have been working on the packets that I put together for the times that I would be down sick in the early pregnancy. THANK HEAVENS for the foresight and preparing of those packets!! They Saved Jakob's whole school year!

During those months Jakob mastered the alphabet (writing, recognition, and the sounds of the upper and lower case letters.) He also worked on writing and recognizing the numbers up to twenty. Of course he can count higher. But I felt it important that he be able to write them down as well as count. So it worked out well.

We've moved on to a few new things. The first may seem very basic and routine. But in our family it is something we take very seriously. We hung an American flag in our living room and the first thing we do to open "School Time" is to say The Pledge of Allegiance. Jakob, Caleb, and myself all stand together and repeat those very stirring and all important words. Often times after saying the pledge we will discuss different topics that go along with America and our heritage. The latest topic stemmed from the question Jakob asked, "what do the red and white stripes mean on the flag?" Good Question! Here is the answer.

Starting next year we will begin something I am VERY excited about!! It is called "America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty" It is a series of lessons covering the History of the United States from the very beginning. Throughout the lessons there are four themes that resonate through the lessons: Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility. We are very Excited! Check it out HERE.

We have also started working more with math then just counting and recognizing numbers. We have found an AWESOME website for this and the best part is that Jakob enjoys it!! It's called IXL Math. It is a website that goes along with the State guidelines for math. They provide lessons for your child following these guidelines. Jakob's favorite part is their awards system. Every time he works on his math he is working toward a certain goal and receives fun little awards to continue to encourage him. So far it's been Great!!

And Finally, it's time to begin the process of helping Jakob learn how to read. On a scholastic level we use (including and a series of flash card games to help Jakob with the sight words and phonics. We have also included a spiritual approach to this subject. During school time Jakob and I read from the children's version of The Book of Mormon. He points to the words and I read, unless he recognizes a word. It gives him a chance to "practice" reading. But of course my favorite part is the chance we get to talk about the gospel! In the evenings Jakob gets to read the last verse of our scripture studies. While reading he earns a sticker for every word that he clearly recognizes on his own and reads without help. Last night he earned his top number of stickers, five. I am realizing that this will be a long process, but worth the effort.

In the end of "School Time," I believe both Jakob AND Caleb have come away learning something new. A very Good Feeling!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring Projects

We've tried to enjoy every bit of sunshine that we received this last month. I can't say I've done a lot, but I've tried. Leif on the other hand has scored big time! Here are a few pictures telling about all the fun we've had lately.

We've cleared out the garden plot and Leif tilled it up. We're planning on planting most of our veggies in Earth Boxes this year. So we actually spread wild flower seeds throughout the garden area.
From Spring Projects

We needed a fence in front of the yard to keep Caleb and Lady Bug in the yard. Leif and his brother worked hard and put one up for us. It sure has been nice! Lady has calmed down a lot and loves to run around. I love that I feel that the kids are safe.
From Spring Projects

The kids kept digging in the garden. It's far from sanitary. So Leif and I finally looked around the yard at the scrap wood we had and Leif built a sand box frame that includes a lid (to keep animals out.) It is AWESOME! We found sand for a Great Deal! So that is even better! Once everything was built Jakob and I went to work painting the Sussex Chicken Coup and the Sand Box. It was a lot of work, but a good accomplishment!
From Spring Projects

From Spring Projects

From Spring Projects

I have mentioned before how much I miss having a bathtub. Well, we found a huge box at the town wood pile. It was actually carrying a light weight fiberglass bath tub in fine condition. So, we brought it home. Leif built a frame to set it in to stabilize it. We patched up the drain, bought a white hose and a shower attachment, and there we have it, A Bath Tub! Yes, we use it. No it's not perfect. It will be fine when we get a good pump to pump the water out quickly. When the tub is not in use, it is a very much loved reading/make believe play room! Love It!

From Spring Projects

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Our Caleb Is Two Years Old

My Precious Little Caleb is two years old. He's still my Bright Eyes! Oh how we love him! Right now it's just he and I in the house and he's content to play with his toys. Well, almost content. He does get quite frustrated when the toys aren't doing just what he wants them to do. Being patient is NOT his favorite thing to do right now. Now Laughing, that is definitely a favorite. Wrestling, another favorite. Teasing, ahh, he's very good at teasing! He is still willing to snuggle with me in the morning when I get him out of bed too. For that I am grateful.

So far, Caleb has a language of his own. Oh the stories that he tells. He'll go on and on, laughing and carrying on as if we understand every word. It's priceless! He's mastered a very few words. But no worries. My little ones take a while to talk. Then, it's all I can do to quiet them...

Caleb is standing at my desk begging me to do something with his shoes. Caleb LOVES shoes! The problem is keeping them on. The only shoes I can keep on his feet are his Robeez. They are leather moccasins. I have had to apply duct tape to the soles one then one time. I finally broke down today and bought a new pair that has rubber soles. They are EXPENSIVE ($30+) Ugg! But the elastic around the tops make it hard to pry them off for some reason. I sure hope these new ones work like the worn out pair he now uses.

And now, I turn my head and see Caleb following through with yet another interest. This one is VERY annoying. He has a pen and is decorating his toys with it. If I don't watch him, he and everything else around him will be covered in ink. PAPER! We keep trying to get him to stick to drawing on PAPER! OHHH!! He got to my shoe!! Stupid Pens!

Well, he's two, right!? That excuses everything, right!? I WISH! So, anyway I'll go back to the LOVE this kid part. I do!! We all do! Happy Birthday Little One!!

From Collages

Saturday, April 03, 2010

General Conference With Our Little Ones

It's that time of year again. Spring General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am thrilled to say that Jakob (5 years old) was actually anticipating and excited for these next couple of days. Not for the same reasons as Leif and I of course. But it's a start.

General Conference is a series of 4 general sessions of speakers. Each session is two hours long spanning two days. So as you can imagine, it is not easy to sit through every session, let alone sitting in a room full of little ones. So I have taken it upon myself as the mama to try my best to make it an uplifting experience for everyone. My goal is to keep the spirit of the Lord in the home throughout the sessions so all can be edified in one way or another. My next goal is to train my sons to eventually get to a point where they will sit quietly during the conference and Listen to the words being spoken. Leif and I take this quite seriously. It's not every day that you are able to sit at the feet of prophets and apostles and be taught the word of the Lord.

So here are the few things that we do to help us all pay attention:

The night before the first session of conference we set up a "Conference Tent." This gives us boundaries and guideline of where we are "sitting" during conference.

This year I found "Apostle Flash Cards." Each Apostle had a picture as well as a fun description about them. As Papa set up the tent, I sat with the boys and we read about each Apostle and the Prophet. Jakob loved learning about their military career as well as how many children they all had. He thought it was AMAZING that someone could have 12 children. He also learned that he and Elder Hales share the same birthday. (Caleb enjoyed looking at the pictures and sitting on Papa's lap.) In the morning I taped each of the pictures up. Jakob earned a treat every time he recognized when one of the Apostles were speaking (with some help of course.)

From conference 2010

I was also able to find a great "General Conference Packet" this year that was made especially for Junior Primary children. I printed it out and Jakob's enjoyed it so far.

From conference 2010

Of course we always have a "Conference Bingo" game going which includes WAY too much Candy. This year Jakob turned to Leif and I and said, "I remember last conference I ate way too much candy, I was SICK!" So, I have taken that into consideration.

This next session we'll put the candy away and I have a fruit platter with a cool whip/yogurt dip, trail mix, beef jerky, and Chex mix to keep our mouths and stomachs occupied.

So far, So good!

From conference 2010
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