Chocolate to my ears

Kandi California Leave a Comment

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Last year I had decided to be involved in 2 different co-ops.  Well becoming involved in those things prevented me from participating in previous activities that I loved with the kids.  Specifically, my church hosts a gym/music type of event, very gym-boree like.

I really missed it.

Now that I have with trepidation wisely paired down our schedule, we now have time to go back to playing.  IMG_6856

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It felt really good to simply play with my kiddos and enjoy them.  Hearing their sweet giggles is like chocolate to my ears.  At one point Mini Man was literally running and yelling “I’M HAVING A GOOD TIME!”  I laughed so hard I thought I’d bust a gut.

This is why homeschooling rocks.  Who wants to miss this?

*please excuse the poor quality of pictures.  I only had my phone*

 

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Double the birthday cake

Kandi California, family Leave a Comment

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We were blessed to be invited to another birthday party recently, this time it was for my sweet little niece.  She turned 7 and since she is 1/2 Filipino, it is customary to have a big celebration of this particular milestone.  She had her party at the Science Museum which was a great field trip.  Counts as school right?  Right???  lol

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Here is daddy and Ariel checking out how high you can project a tennis ball.

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It soars in the air!

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Here is Miss Ariel pulling a giant lever

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PULL baby girl!

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Next we played with wheels to see how fast they go

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Weeeeeee!

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But the real treat was the ‘special guest’ Elsa who took pictures with each and every one of the kids who wanted to, told the Frozen story, and even sang the hit song Let It Go (which was highly impressive given that she was accompanied by a measly cd player and surrounded by a pleather a of professional musicians).  She did a lovely job.

Grandpa Music Man’s birthday was just 2 days later, so we all piled into my brother in laws house and took over for a lovely family dinner and celebration.

Happy Birthday just got bumped up a notch with an entire family of musicians.

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Hello…. there’s a violin involved!

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My man….  *swoon*

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And the birthday boy himself… taking a picture of his own cake.

Family time is always so sweet and this was a lovely time.

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Shame is hot

Kandi California, humor Leave a Comment

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It’s been quite the whirlwind of activities recently.  I feel like the energizer bunny, always going going going.  And after looking through our pictures I realize that I might have to break up our recent adventures into a couple of posts.  We have been very busy!

Here was a birthday party at the local ice skating rink (when it was over a 100 degrees outside so it was pretty awful getting dressed up in warm weather gear, but boy was it lovely inside!)

These two were really excited to put on ice skates for the very first time ever.  (Hey they are California kids after all)

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Daddy did a great job

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despite the fact that Mini Man hated every second on the ice

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Even big sister is trying her best to encourage him… and show off some new skills of walking/skating backward.  She’s already way ahead of me on the skills list!

Here is Little Rascal waiting patiently for his turn with skates.  He’s learning his abc’s while he waits.  That counts for school right?  Right???

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Momma also hanging out with this sweet bundled up little guy

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Ok its now Little Rascal’s turn!

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Despite that raging 90’s mid-drift, he loved it!  Daddy was proud.

Ok, so it wouldn’t be exactly right to not tattle on myself and the big blunder I made during our outing.  While Music Man and children were out on the ice, I was casually hanging out with my little guys.  As you can see above, at one point Little Rascal was playing with daddy’s phone.  Daddy comes off the ice to drop off a crying kid (#2) and got back out there.  In that quick span of time I look back and realize that LR no longer has the phone.  I FREAK OUT.  I’m practically in tears after a solid 10 minutes of “where’s the phone Little Rascal?  No seriously, where is it?!?!” and looking everywhere I can think of in the tiny area that we were in.

I desperately went up to the random guy who had previously “ooooh”ed and “aaaahhh”ed over my sweet peas with his family.  I saw that he had a phone that looked exactly like everyone else’s Music Man’s.  I desperately blurted out “hey is that our phone?”.  I didn’t mean to imply that he had stolen it, but rather that he might have seen that it had fallen on the ground and he was a good samaritan and perhaps had picked it up.  It was his.  He told me so a couple of times to prove his innocence.  I felt like a JERK.  He then began looking with me.  I finally found an employee and asked if they had a lost and found (despite the fact that I had lost it within a 10 minute max time span, but I was desperate peeps).  After practically being in tears (ok ok so there might have been one tear that had made its way out of my eye duct), and half shouting to my kids “your dad is going to kill me!”, Music Man casually strolls in.  I finally confess that the phone is nowhere to be found.  He cocks his head and dramatically says “I told you it was in the diaper bag”.

Oh yah, the only place I didn’t look.

I went back to the nice non thief guy and uttered my sincerest apologies for even suggesting that he might have taken my phone and thanked him for his help.

I really couldn’t have left there fast enough.

In case your wondering shame is a hot feeling.  So it was nice that we were at a freezing cold ice rink.

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A beautiful reminder

Kandi faith, family Leave a Comment

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With our new set of routines (if you can call it that) and new things we are doing, its very easy to not see what’s really going on.

I usually ask Miss Ariel how her day at school went.  She goes to a drop off Art and Science class with our church and gets to experience new people and learn new things.  She and I both love it.

What she told me next blew me away.

“Mommy, there is a girl and she asked another girl if she could play, but that girl said no.  I went over to her and asked her to play because I thought she was sad.  She said yes.  I even asked her what she wanted to play.  [The new friend] found a ball and she threw it to me and then I threw it to her.  Maybe she can come over and play with my princess dresses!”

Did you catch all that?  My girl, the youngest and littlest baby girl saw that another girl was rejected by a potential friend and took the initiative to be thoughtful and friendly.  Ariel didn’t even dominate what game they played [which she often does at home with her younger brothers].

My precious pumpkin was kind.

And thoughtful.

And a peacemaker.

My daughter was another girls hero.

To say I was proud would be an understatement.  She put into practice everything I had been trying to teach her.

This quote came to mind.

Don’t let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid, that you forget you already have one. — Glennon Melton

I saw in motion that I already have a good child.  Better than good, great.  A great little person.  Thank you Lord for this beautiful reminder.

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Sometimes my grass is greener

Kandi homeschooling, lessons learned, life 4 Comments

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Ever since we have begun even the thought of homeschooling, my first reaction was “Oh no.  They will miss out on         ” (fill in with many many different things).  I realize that comparing myself or my family to others is at its worst downright sinful and at its best a joy thief.

But sometimes….. sometimes you get a glimpse into the other side and realize that perhaps you have it good.  As in “my grass is greener” kind of good.

This past weekend Mini Man and Ariel tried a free class of gymnastics for the first time here in California.  They have been to this facility several times, so the comfort level is high, but neither kid actually took classes here before.  They were thrilled and I was excited for them.

I was a proud momma watching them high five their new coaches and tumble and roll on big fat play equipment.  I was among the huge bubbling over Saturday morning crowd of fellow happy mommas.  Well, some of them were happy.  In the middle of this joyous parental feeling I wound up in the middle of a conversation between two other moms whose children go to the same school.  The conversation was mostly positive, but often directed its ugly head to the negative Nancy side of school politics.

This wasn’t the first time I had heard this exact type of conversation.  It was just the most recent.

A few nights before I left Minnesota, I was lucky enough to hang out with a few girls that I got to know over the summer.  Several of those moms have kids in the same school.  The conversation veered towards gossip about the principle and his extra marital affair.  Everybody had a different reaction to this scenario and the fact that we were even discussing it.

I however whispered that I was glad I was homeschooling.

And I am.

Instead of comparing what me or my kids are missing out on, I began basking in the joy of what I do have.  Or rather what I don’t have.

I don’t have to worry about competition (momma or kid wise).  I don’t have to worry that my daughter will love her teacher more than me.  I don’t have to sign up to be apart of the political minefield that is the PTA.  I don’t have to go to parent/teacher nights and be sad that I missed it when she made that project.  I don’t have to worry about carpools.  I don’t have to get up super early or wake up my napping infants to drop off/pick up my kids from school.

I get to stay out of the drama.

Really there is a lot to be thankful for as a homeschooling momma.  Things might change and that will be ok.  I’ll adapt.  But for right now I’m going to be thankful.

You can’t steal my joy.

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Teacher, Mommy ?

Kandi Uncategorized Leave a Comment

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I envisioned my kids going to school.  That’s what I always believed that I would be doing as a parent.  I went to school, my husband went to school, and practically everybody I knew went to school.  Made sense.

This is probably why I am creating a space that resembles a traditional preschool.  I know, I know, I really should stop this because its not in the spirit of homeschooling.  But the thing is, it is working for everybody.  The kids take me more seriously when we have “school”; blanket time which consists of weather, songs, bible, and a story before we move on to the activity and/or craft.

In fact, Ariel even calls me teacher during school time.  It cracks me up every time.  Although I probably should correct her, but what’s the point.  I am her teacher.  I am her mom.  I’m both.  It’s weird.  But its also great.

So here are a few morning manipulative fun times.

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Tweezer/Color sorter

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Bug sorter.  The boys were especially excited at the idea of playing with bugs, even if they were just plastic.

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Someone is a perfectionist and a lover of working monochromatically.

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Uh, make that two somebody’s.

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We used our blanket as our “sea” and went fishing.

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“I caught one mommy!”

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And lets not forget about this cutie pie.  He likes to join us on our fun up until he lets us know that he ready for his nap, which is highly helpful to me.

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Friday fun day

Kandi California, homeschooling Leave a Comment

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Last week I started a Friday fun day.  I introduced the paint for the easel that Little Rascal got for Christmas.  Yah, they had never actually used it for its intended purpose.  Why?  Well, like most moms I’m not a fan of messy play.  Lately I thought, there will be no other chance for the kids to do messy play, because they are home with me ALL.THE.TIME.

So messy play on Fridays, like painting or play-doh or whatever, was born.  Its been a big hit.

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Even Bat-man is interested in what’s going on

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She was ‘eating’ a play-doh pie

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This has been great for them and for me.  It allows room to breath in the week.  It gives us all a chance to relax.  I can be in my pajamas and drink coffee and catch up on whatever I want (laundry, emails, blogging, reading, etc.).  This time has been SO needed.  I’ve been putting my whole self into this new found ‘project’ of homeschooling that I’m finding it takes up all the space in my brain and body.  I’m constantly thinking about it, constantly doing something for it.  Its exhausting.  And I’m sure there are plenty of people who say “oh just relax and let them have fun.  They will eventually catch on”.  Um, NO.  Well, yes and no.  Yes, its important to play, which I’m happily allowing ample time for them to do that, but its not true that they will just ‘catch on eventually’.  I have seen several middle schoolers and high schoolers who homeschool and struggle with their reading and writing.  Education is important to me, if it wasn’t I wouldn’t be putting my whole heart and soul into trying to educate my children.  But life can’t always be about drills and workbooks (don’t worry, we don’t do that that much anyway).

It’s important to live life too.  And not get burnt out.

 

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A is for Apple

Kandi California, homeschooling Leave a Comment

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We decided to mix things in honor of “fall” starting.  Instead of studying S for Sun, we will be starting with A for Apple  I say “fall” because we are just pretending here.  The temperature is nearing the center of a volcano.  Triple digits while the rest of the country is cozying up with their adorable scarves and pumpkin lattes.  Why yes, yes I’m jealous, why do you ask?

To get out of our heat-stroke funk, we headed down south for some apple picking.  We started off with our annual mini apple donut tradition.  Amazing as always.

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Even the baby got a taste (while mommy wasn’t looking)

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We found ourselves on a day where another school came for a field trip so we jumped on board on the learning train

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The lovely lady who showed us how to make apple cider the old fashioned way.  Yummy!

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We wound up befriending someone who we think was the owner (we know for sure she and her daughter work there and she lives on the property).  We felt like we got the special treatment.  It pays to married to someone who honestly loves old ladies (and old men too), because “they know stuff!”  Good for me, since one day I too will be an old lady.

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Mr. Sunshine had a great time too.

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Here’s the gang ‘surfing’ to go find our 2 bushels of apples to soon make our applesauce.  Guess that California blood runs deep.

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I love that we got a full family day and could count it as legitimate school.  A great and yummy day indeed.

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Morning Manipulatives

Kandi homeschooling Leave a Comment

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Ever since I’ve come home from Minnesota, its been an absolute whirlwind with my mind and body going a mile a minute for all things homeschooling.  As I mentioned before, I should have done the prep work earlier this summer, but never got the chance.  I’ll be doing things differently next year.

It is what it is, and we will be going on with a happy heart.  I hope.

And speaking of happy, in the last couple of weeks I have found a new happy place.

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If you don’t already know, this is a teachers store where you can get SO MANY supplies.  Its overwhelming and exhilarating all at the same time.

For my first time, I was also dealing with this…

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So my brain was a little fried before I walked into the air conditioned teachers paradise.

I LOVED IT.

In fact, I loved it so much that I pretty much blew my budget out of the water pirate and canon ball style.  My receipt was spectacular.  I wasn’t so sure my hubby would be that pleased, but thank goodness he didn’t flinch.  It comes in handy that this homeschooling idea was his in the first place.  😉

Along with the items I had come for, a white board and book holders (one thing they didn’t have!), I managed to find a plethora of items that I just had to have.

After noticing my shy guy, Mini Man, gravitate towards the manipulatives at our co-op (which we are still on the fence about— more on that later), I decided that buying many different types of manipulatives would be a great way to incorporate the Montessori style of preschool that I had envisioned.

It worked like a charm!  Mini Man was especially thrilled at this new hands on learning adventure!

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Hard to tell, but for him, this is happy.  *please excuse the crazy mess behind him*

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They are loving their patterned stringing necklaces.

I won’t bombard you with endless pictures of their morning manipulative magic (I’ll spread the love through out the week).  But I will say that not only is this great for fine motor development, but its also great for independent play.  I put one type of manipulative game out for the little munchkins to learn play with, while I continue to get ready/prepare the lesson/drink my coffee.  This has become a win/win for sure.

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Post Prep

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I’ve been a bit obsessive.  Ok a lot obsessive.  Homeschooling is on my mind constantly.  It’s honestly all I’m doing right now.

The reason why I’ve been non stop homeschooling momma is because I did ZERO prep work during the summer.  This is a major bummer about living in two different places.  Like regular public school teachers, homeschooling moms do their school year prep during the summer.  This is a brilliant plan that I am really wishing I had done.  Unfortunately I had all of my curriculum sent to California while I relaxed around on the farm.  Next year I think I will be doing things differently.

However, this isn’t next year, it is this year.  My first year.  A pivotal year.  An extremely important year.  A make it or break it year.

Can you hear me hyperventilating???

I’m starting my year while playing catch up, which means I’m working non-stop.  I’ve fallen asleep while sitting on the couch several times this week.  And I’ve gone to bed HOURS earlier than normal due to my narcolepsy.

On a positive, I’ve been able to bust out some of my fun crafty tools that I have never even used before like my laminator.  And oh boy, have I used it.  If my laminator could talk it would say “Goodness woman, please stop!”

Even though its been A LOT of work, I actually have been enjoying my time.  Parenting feels more intentional.  More purposeful.  Instead of constantly trying to figure out ways to be by myself (which is still awesome), I reassure myself that they need me more than ever, because I’m now teaching them.  Teaching them everything.  Holy cow.  Its intimidating and daunting.  But rewarding.

So with that being said, I’ll talk to you folks shortly.  I have some laminating calling my name.

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