Thursday, April 24, 2014

Slow and Steady: Week 35

For Age 0, Week 35 of Slow and Steady Get Me Ready the activity is to introduce your baby to bubbles!

I love the idea of blowing bubbles for my baby. But what if it's too cold or windy outside? Slow and Steady has a great idea: do it in the bathtub! I loved this idea, and when outside proved to be too windy for the bubbles to stick around, we moved to the bathroom. Unfortunately, Lady Bug did not care for these strange things flying around her.

I tried catching one to show her, but the bubble solution I was using was too easily popped. Also, I think she was cold and unhappy just sitting in the bath tub in a diaper.

So I gave her a break from the bubbles and set up some warm water to splash in the bath tub. Once she was warm and happy again, I had to figure out what to do about the bubbles.

Since we were in the bathroom, the solution presented itself: baby shampoo! J&J Head to Toe Body Wash to be exact. I poured some out in a dish, tried it, and it made excellent bubbles! It was easier to make only one or two at a time with, so she wasn't overwhelmed by too many. And they stuck to her instead of popping right away. That way, Lady Bug was able to see what happens when you touch a bubble and practice intentionally popping instead of it happening on it's own.





I'd say the second attempt was a success! And very little soap was wasted, because we used it for a bath once we were done making bubbles.

I like that in the bath tub the wind can't blow the bubbles away, so baby can have more contact with bubbles. But I'm sure she'll like bubbles flying away from her, too, now that she's had this experience.


















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 Slow and Steady Get Me Ready has a preview available at Google Books. It can also be purchased at Amazon.com (the picture of the book is an affiliate link.)

I don't get paid for reviews; all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spring Skirts

 photo 10168476_10203438920031722_589797705_n_zpsa7ec0b76.jpgA few years ago I made the personal choice to wear just skirts. I was sick of spending hours trying on every pair of pants in the store (it seemed,) only to find nothing I felt comfortable wearing. My shape just always seemed wrong for the pants that were made for mass consumption. My shape kept changing too, with shifting weight gain and rare loss, which made it even more frustrating. One summer for a ladies' weekend retreat I packed one pair of pants and two skirts; only to find out once I was there that the pants didn't fit! I spent the weekend in just skirts and...it was so comfortable! That was it for me, and I haven't gone back. I currently own zero pants that are fit to be seen outside of the house, and one pair for around the house that I rarely wear.

I also have chosen for myself to mostly wear ankle length skirts. That way I don't have to worry about having a Marlyn Moment, or bending over, or have to worry if I've shaved recently enough. It has been so freeing for me. The trouble is, sometimes it's hard to find a skirt that fits my personal preferences. I tend to also think fuller skirts flatter my figure more than straight up and down, and that's not necessarily in high demand. Which means less availability and higher prices. So when Dusty from To the Moon and Back asked me to share about my skirts for her blog hop, I was happy to help others looking for similar to what I like. (And hopefully be pointed in the direction of some new skirts!) Here are four skirts for spring:

Picture by Builder Boy


Picture by Early Bird
This purple skirt I actually have also in navy blue and in gray. I purchased the purple one and the gray one last year around January after I became pregnant at Kmart, and the navy blue two years before that. So it's probably something they sell every year. I think they sell it in the fall/winter time (because it's long.) They are generous enough in the elastic, and I was so sick with my pregnancy, that they fit through the whole pregnancy, and fit just fine now. It's a great casual skirt. It's not as full as I usually prefer, but for less than $20, it's a good deal. Sticking around the house, I wear it with a t-shirt or long sleeve shirt, depending. For leaving the house, I like it with this ruffle shirt that was a gift. Since it's still a bit cool here, I add the....I have no idea what this is called. It's a white.....button-less sweater? I picked it up at Walmart last year. Come fall this year I'll be heading back to Kmart to see if they're selling this skirt again in another color.

Picture by Builder Boy (in a rush)

Later that day
This floral pattern skirt is one of my all time favorites. I love the way it flows and swirls! I love the sound of it swishing, the fell of it trailing behind me coming down the stairs....this skirt makes me feel like royalty. I also get complements on it from strangers when I leave the house in it. It's pretty enough for special occasions, but the fabric is washable enough that I'm comfortable wearing it around the house any day. I got it on Amazon.com from a company Skirts 'N Scarves and sadly, at the time of writing this they're sold out, but they do have similar skirts for around $20. So far I just wear it with solid color, nice t-shirts. I have not yet found the shirt style that is my favorite like skirts are, so I go with what I have that is simple.


The skirt that started it all.
This beige/tan skirt was the skirt that convinced me that I could go skirts-only. The cloth is stain resistant and durable, and is great for things you shouldn't do in a delicate skirt like gardening or deep cleaning the bath tub. I wish I had several more of these. I originally got it 3 or 4 years ago, on sale at the end of a season at Old Navy (maybe $10 on sale?) I've got back once or twice since then, and bought a different ON skirt, but they didn't have any more of these at the time. But I'm going to keep looking, because having more than one of these would be very useful. Because it's a neutral color, I can wear it with any top I have. It is actually a size or two too big for me. I have to wear it with the elastic folded over a belt to keep it on. (It fit better when I first bought it.) I knew it was a bit big when I bought it, but I didn't mind the extra fabric. It's been comfy when my weight swings up, and I can always keep it on with a belt. Better too big than too small! It was the only size they had (clearance sale.)

Picture taken by Principal Daddy
My fourth skirt I'm sharing about I have mentioned before on my blog. This is my favorite special occasion skirt. It's the Sakkas Raw Edge Tiered Ribbon Gypsy Boho Long Cotton Skirt / One Size that I found at Amazon.com for $25. I wore it for Easter, and probably wear it once a month to church. And sometimes at home, when I'm not going to be doing on my hands and knees cleaning and want to feel extra pretty or need a pick-me-up.

I have not been successful at finding a comfortable, ankle length skirt, in a pattern I like, in my size at a thrift store. And I've looked; a lot.




This post is my contribution to the Seasonal Skirts Blog Hop. Check out the other skirts at the following blogs:

Dusty at To the Moon and Back
Erin at For Him and My Family
Laura at Raising Soldiers 4 Christ
Kyndra at Sticks, Stones, and Chicken Bones
Selena at Look! We're Learning!
Mrs. Warde at Sceleratus Classical Academy
Cynthia at Cynce's Place
Melissa at Life Off the Paved Road
Dawnita at Fogleman Forerunner
Hilary at Our Homeschool Studio
Annette at In All You Do

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Three Sisters: Day 1

This is what your back yard looks like when you neglect it for a year.
The seeds are in the ground! Well, in the dirt mound on top of the ground. I am starting to suspect that this is not going to be enough room for the Three Sisters, a pumpkin vine, and a cantaloupe vine. But if we didn't get them started when I had the energy and drive to do it, it was never going to happen. So, this Sunday, we got the seeds in. The boys have been bitten by the gardening bug, and I'm trying to let them do as much as they can on their own. My information was mostly based on what I read in a book last year, and some reading here.

From the book idea we made a raised, circular(ish) mound and planted two seeds in four parts of the circle in a square.  Once they've sprouted and are 4 inches high we'll add the beans and then the squash. My book did not say what kind of beans or squash, so I picked something labeled "Garden Bean: Kentucky Wonder" for my bean and Dark Green Zucchini for my squash. I've heard that zucchini is easy to grow, so here's hoping.

I'd also heard that pumpkin is easy to grow, so we planted two seeds in another dirt mound. We also planted a spot with two cantaloupe seeds. (Two seeds in case one doesn't sprout. If they both sprout we'll trim the smaller sprout.)

I probably should have done a better job getting rid of more of the grass in our selected area. I foresee a lot of weeding in our future. But I was nervous about waiting any longer. Of course, no I'm worried that I planted too soon in the year! This is NOT my comfort zone. But I know it's going to be a great learning experience for they kids.

Oh, yeah, and I also planted some already-started cilantro. Because.....I love cilantro.




















Monday, April 21, 2014

Tips for Taking Your Kid to the Dentist


I call him Principal Daddy on our blog because I consider him the honorary principal of our home school. But Principal Daddy is actually a dental assistant extraordinaire. The kind that does more than just suction spit. He's been working in the field since I was pregnant with Builder Boy, and has almost 8 years of experience working with kids in one of the most kid (and adult) feared professions. I myself suffer from dental phobia, and that is not something I want to pass on to my kids.

Because the kids have a dental assistant for a father, before last week the kids had never been examined by a dentist before. But they had been to Daddy's office many times. I believe that familiarity with the surroundings helped them a lot. Builder Boy did very well, but Early Bird still had some reservations.


The panoramic x-rays were a problem for him. Principal Daddy says, because this is the least invasive x-ray, he's never encountered such resistance before. He suggests doing only what x-rays your young child is comfortable with. If they're not comfortable with any of it, then don't do any. The goal of the first visit is a good experience. It is not necessary to push through the first time.

Early Bird wasn't quite thrilled with the chair. (I hate them, too.) Getting the chair back and in position and then letting him get on helped with that. In the past we've let them "ride" the chair up and down, just to get them comfortable with it; but it had been a while.

One of the things that really seemed to help Early Bird was that we brought our tablet with his favorite game. When he got too stressed out, we handed him the tablet and let him take a break. It really helped to calm him down. And it was great for the in between waiting times. Builder Boy was content with the in flight movie, but Early Bird wasn't into it.

When it came time to do the actual work, it helped that Early Bird knew the guy working on him. Principal Daddy has practiced with them, flossing their teeth with them lying down with their heads in his lap. They've also been getting practice with a buzzing sound in their mouths by using an electric toothbrush every night. When it came time for the buzzing tooth polisher, Early Bird had a little bit of trouble, but once it was started, it was familiar enough to his usual toothbrush that it was okay. He did complain about the sound; I wished I'd had muffling headphones for him. It also helped to let Early Bird touch the buzzing polisher with his hand, with him in control, before putting it in his mouth.

Thanks to Daddy being the one who brushes and flosses their teeth most nights (yes, even the 7 year old) there were no cavities to be dealt with. After the special cleaning it was just a quick check by the dentist and some fluoride and we were outta there! Familiarity helped a lot; many offices will let you bring your kid in before their appointment to meet, walk around, and observe to get comfortable with their surroundings. If you find an office willing, several "getting to know you" visits and tours might be a good idea for an extra nervous kid.

Builder Boy Chillin'
So here are the

 8 Tips for Taking Your Kid to the Dentist


  1. Familiarity is extremely helpful.
  2. Find someone who is good with kids and will work with you.*
  3. Start at home by using an electric toothbrush so they're used to something buzzing in their mouth and floss their teeth with them lying back so they're used to being worked on in that position.
  4. Bring a distraction/something that calms them down and gives them a mental break.
  5. If they tend to be sensitive to noise, bring noise canceling headphones or a music player with headphones. 
  6. For sensory sensitive kids, I have been told that a wet, cold washcloth on the back of the neck can help distract the brain. (Disclaimer: I have no experience with this.)
  7. If information helps your kid: give it to them. Builder Boy is fascinated with the "bugs on his teeth." But if your kid is not like that: Principal Daddy recommends keeping things vague.
  8. Don't be afraid to bribe. We used dinner at their favorite restaurant. And cookies. And the treasure box the office had.
 


*For parents of younger kids: find out what the age restriction is for seeing a pediatric dentist for the first time. With some states or insurances, if you don't see the pediatric dentist for the first time before they are 5 or 7, they will not be covered. Once they're being seen by one they will be covered until they are quite a bit older, but if you try to see one for the first time after the limit, it's no good.

For this week only, Principal Daddy is willing to answer any preparing, non-medical questions asked in the comments section. He will not be able to give medical advice, but any questions about how to approach situations with your child will be addressed within his experience.




This blog post was my contribution to the GHF blog hop. Click here for more great blog posts.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Three Sisters: Step 1

Bit of earth selected.
Definition of an optimist: a person with an absolute black thumb, who keeps buying seeds and plants every spring anyway. (Or is that the definition of insanity?)

Last year I was so sick that the plants have all done whatever they wanted to do. The boys absolutely LOVE the field of dandelions that is our back yard right now. So there's a lot of catch up work to do. And I've never been in charge of landscaping before....in my entire life.

This year, we are FINALLY going to attempt the Three Sisters set up. I've got the seeds, and a yard to plant them in. I just, you know, need to plant them.

So yesterday I got my butt in gear and started the process by de-weeding an area. There were these awful, prickly plants growing that had to be gotten rid of. They poked me thorough my gardening gloves! I'm glad the dirt was very dry; that made it easier to pull out the root. And the special tool that my aunt bought us last year was a lifesaver!

20 minutes later

A LOT of weeds!
Today while at the store for better dirt than the stuff that's....in the ground.....outside, my kids expressed disappointment that we were not planting any flowers. So I let them each pick one and we de-grassed an area in the front yard and planted some pretty flowers, too.

Stay tuned for more developments! (I hope.)































Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Slow and Steady: Week 34

For Age 0, Week 34 of Slow and Steady Get Me Ready the activity is to introduce sizes with mixing bowls and measuring cups.

The idea is to line them up, (their) left to right, smallest to biggest. Use the words "small," "middle," and "large," to identify, and put them inside of each other. If you do this often enough, eventually baby will start doing it themselves. Or, if they're teething, like they probably are at this age, then they'll probably just put them in their mouths.

Ether way, it's starting to build understanding vocabulary, encourages observations, and free new toys! (Assuming you don't actually need them for baking.)

At this age I like to place object just a little bit out of baby's reach, so they have to stretch to get it. Once they're comfortable with reaching a little bit, I put it a little bit further. This is intended to encourage movement and eventually crawling.























We'll keep doing this for a week and see if she starts putting them in each other. And I'll enlist the boys to show her, too. They love helping teach "baby school."
________________________________________________________________
 Slow and Steady Get Me Ready has a preview available at Google Books. It can also be purchased at Amazon.com (the picture of the book is an affiliate link.)

I don't get paid for reviews; all opinions are my own.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Supplementing FLL1, Lessons 71-80

A continuation of how we're adding to First Language Lessons Level 1 to make it more kinetic learner friendly. (Click here for my posts on previous lessons.)

I actually did not add anything to any of these lessons. There was nothing specifically new that needed it. We've been breezing along with this, avoiding the copy work optional activities because we are also doing Writing With Ease 1 now. Lately FLL1 seems to be going quite smoothly for both boys.

Nothing else to report for this block of 10 lessons!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Happy Birthday, Early Bird!: A look back

A few weeks ago, Early Bird turned five years old.

Gosh, I love this kid! He's crazy and imaginative and sweet and loving and flat out ridiculous at times.

1 month old/ -1 month corrected age
He was my first preemie, and I learned a lot from that experience. He's doing so well health wise. I'm so grateful because I know a lot of kids born at 32 weeks end up with lasting issues.

He's also my early learner; my early reader. Two years ago I was freaking out over my not-yet-3-year-old learning to read. It took me a while to get over the shock and then the consuming worry that I was going to somehow screw this up. It's hard to believe that two years have passed. It's been easy and hard all at the same time. Once again, we're blessed because unlike many gifted kids, Early Bird has not manifested any of the often accompanying issues and difficulties. At times I've struggled with treating him like his age rather than his reading level. But the older he has gotten, the less this has been an issue. Having an older brother to emulate, he is maturing faster than Builder Boy did. Which makes me a little sad. He was little for so little time and then BAM! reading and all sorts of other developmental intellectual advancements that just made him seem so much older than he actually was.

I recently guest posted on Dusty's blog, To the Moon and Back on how we adapted curricula for an early learner. Except for math and handwriting, Early Bird is doing everything Builder Boy is doing school-wise. Which means he started 2nd grade work when he was 4 1/2, but we're calling it kindergarten.

And my fears? Well, he's learning whether I'm teaching or not. I learned that during my pregnancy with Lady Bug. He's picked up a few things incorrectly, like the pronunciation of "jalapeno," but we're correcting it without too much hassle. His reading grew in leaps and bounds beyond what we've done in our reading curriculum, but I'm still going over every single lesson so that there are no gaps. We've found one or two gaps, so I'm glad we are doing that. And thankfully he doesn't mind that the lesson is super easy and takes very little time, since it's so far behind him. While at times I think I should be stretching him more, I'm happy with his progress.

Happy Birthday, big boy. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lady Bug is Eight Months Old!




Wait a minute, eight months old? That can't be right! This past month seems like it barely started, and now we're at another new one. Lady Bug has done what seems like a lot of growing this month. She is sitting up all by herself very well now. She hates being on her stomach, so we don't do as much tummy time as we probably should. Which means very little rolling over. Since she's my third child, I'm not worrying about it too much. I know I'm babying her a bit, seeing as she's going to be my last, but I'm challenging her a little bit at times, too.

We had a bit of a developmental scare over her eating. She's eating a bottle just fine (15 lbs, over three times her birth weight!) but wasn't taking solid foods. We started trying here and there since she was five months developmentally (she was born a month early) but she wasn't taking to it. We figured she just wasn't ready and didn't push it. We tried once a month or every three weeks, but nothing stayed in and went down. It all came back out. I started becoming concerned and tried giving her just what she gets in her bottle in a spoon to see if she was capable of swallowing and she was just spitting out the applesauce (or pear, or rice cereal, or everything else I tried) because she didn't like it. That came out the front, too. I mentioned it to the pediatrician at her check up and she felt Lady Bug should be evaluated by an occupational therapist to determine if there was a problem. The doctor was concerned that if Lady Bug did not start on solids soon that she would develop a texture aversion and refuse food when she got older. We made the appointment, I attempted to feed her in front of the therapist just like I had done at home and, what do you know, she did just fine. We received instructions to try every day for two weeks and then go back. It's been a week and she's doing awesome. The little stinker.


Other than that, she has learned how to clap this month and is very proud of herself. She has also started the stranger anxiety stage, which has turned my smiles-at-everyone little girl into a hides-her-head-when-someone-smiles-at-her baby. Which is perfectly normal, and a little bit cute.

Despite seeming very small for her age, I've started putting her in 6-9, 6-12, and 9 month clothes. (Baby clothing sizes over the brands is a pain.) That 9 month white sleeper I've been taking her pictures in fits perfectly now! This was also the first photo shoot we've done that she actually played with the bear. It was so cute how she smiled at him. She's very interested in making all sorts of sounds with her mouth; raspberries, clucks, slurppy kiss sounds. Once in a while a consonant. Sticking her tongue out also happens a lot. Lots of swollen gums, but no teeth yet. Over all she is happy, healthy, and the sunshine in our lives.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A peek inside my brain 10 minutes ago

Mommy/sleep deprived brain: Ugh. I just want a nap. The baby is sleeping, I should be sleeping, too.
COFFEE: No sleep! I'm wide awake! Let's get something DONE!
Gifted brain: Oh! I want to clean and organize the play room! Or finally put together the Ikea shelves! But first I have to clean up the living room and wash the walls and....
Depression: I'm not doing any of that crap; too much effort. I'm just going to stay in bed.
COFFEE & Gifted brain: Well, we should at least BLOG!!!
Anxiety: But I don't have anything to blog about, I haven't done anything special. And I'm back logged on the series I'm working on. And the guest posts I promised other blogs. It's been almost two weeks, how do I explain my absence? I'm not ready to write about homeschooling with depression; I don't have any helpful advice. Just putting stuff down isn't good enough; no one's going to want to spend their valuable time reading that. And I don't want to be a total downer; then no one will want to ever read my blog again.

End result: nothing gets done, not even a nap, and I'm more emotionally paralyzed than ever.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat
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