Wednesday, September 29, 2010

5 Favorites.

1. This chapstick/lip balm.

A few months ago when we first moved here I all of a sudden had the most horrible chapped lips. I've had issues with chapped lips my whole life, but this was something different. I could not get them to get better. I kept lathering on this cheap chap stick I got at Target. (Target brand) It would be better for a while, and then it was like burning. Like I had a million little cuts all over my lips and someone kept dunking me in salt water. Yeah. It was awful. I don't know why it took me so long to figure out, but apparently there was some sort of chemical in that cheap stuff that I was allergic to. I did a google search for the best chap sticks/lip balms and found these Yes To Carrots lip balms. They are fantastic! 98% Organic. Which doesn't really mean anything to me except that they don't have any weird chemicals I can't pronounce and they don't burn my lips! I have the minty one. It goes on super smooth, has a nice fresh scent and leaves your lips a little shimmery almost like a lip gloss.....but with out the nasty stickiness. AND you can get them at Target. SCORE! Oh and yes, I feel these are much better than Burt's Bees. I know that is the popular all natural, organic lip balm...but Yes To Carrots is way better in my opinion.
2. Essie Nail Polish.

I've heard/read a lot about these nail polishes for a while. But you had to go to a specialty shop or a salon to buy them. No thanks. That is until now...I recently saw them at Bed Bath and Beyond and then the other day I noticed they were at Target! SCORE! Yeah, I like Target. Anyway, they've gotten a lot of hype in the blogisphere so I decided why not? Yep. It's kind of the best nail polish I've tried. I got this color Soiree Mauve. (it's SUCH a color my mom would choose!) I've warn it on my fingernails for the last week, taken showers every day, washed dishes, pulled weeds, washed little girls hair, got hot glue all over my hands,'s not chipped. Like, at all. When I walked out of the Target that day I thought to myself did I really just buy nail polish for 16 dollars?? (i bought 2 colors, they're 7.99 a piece!) Totally worth it.
3. Honey Crisp Apples.
I'm so addicted. I'm pretty sure I first heard of these from Kal a few years ago on her blog. They are truly the best apples ever!! I ate all the ones I bought in 2 days (6 apples I think). I went and made a special trip to Safeway just by apples. They're that good.
4. My kid reading.

Last year he pretty much hated it. It was a chore. And boring. And hard. This summer we worked really hard. I joined the local library and we've been going every other week since we moved here. It really is true what they say about reading TO your kids and reading WITH your kids and exposing them to all different kinds of books. I think it really does instill a love of books and reading for them. Over the summer we started reading the Magic Tree House series. I highly recommend them for kids in 1st-3rd grades. They're easy chapter books filled with lots of history and science. Anyway, we'd been reading these books together, but just last week Jake picked one out all on his own and started reading it in the car on the way home from the library. He finished it on his own in 2 days! It really did feel like we'd finally jumped over a hurdle. Now he begs for me to read to him, and asks all the time for new books. He's pulled several books off the shelf in his room and read them on his own too. I'm just so proud of him. Oh and while we were at the library last week I picked up this book. Bunnicula. Do you remember that one? Oh I loved it as a kid. I've been reading this one to him, since it's a tiny bit over his reading level. He just loves it.
5. Megan singing.
It's the funniest thing. I catch her singing to herself all the time. I remember Jake doing this at this age too. She just makes up a melody to anything. And sings for like 5 minutes straight. Then asks: did you like my song? do you want me to sing it again?
It just cracks me up!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I drove my kids all the way across town to the special splash pad park because its a bazillion degrees and we have no A/C at home. And my kids are the only ones playing on the jungle gym. Weirdos.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just when I thought it was safe....

To put all the kids summer clothes away, summer showed up in Oakland. Of course! It's ok though, I'm not complaining. September has been absolutely gorgeous! Wonderful weather. If this is what fall is like, I'll take it. Plus around here fall means all kinds of fun stuff! Like pumpkin patches and apple orchards, and fall festivals. Oh and Halloween Camping!!!! Yes, we're doing it again this year and we are SOOO excited!! We haven't been camping this year at all so we're happy to be going, and extra happy that it's Halloween camping cuz...dude, that was so much fun last year. AND......AND !!! We just booked our trip to DISNEYLAND for November!!!! Is it wrong that I'm so painfully excited that we're going to Disneyland? Seriously, I'm 99% sure I'm more excited than my kids are. And the other cool thing? We're staying here. Oh YEAH! Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. Have you seen this place? Click over. I'll wait............................Um yeah. It's kind of fantastic. I've always wanted to stay in a Disney Hotel but never had the chance to do it. Usually, they're pretty outrageously expensive. We usually stay at the Embassy Suites, which we all love. The breakfast, the room, the free drinks and snacks at 7 every evening. Oh and the Koi pond. The kids love the Koi pond. The only bad thing was having to take the shuttle to and fro the parks. That wasn't horrible, but it would be nice to be closer to the least walking distance. So I started looking into our options when we decided we were definitely going to go. Turns out during "off season" they give super awesome deals on Disney trips. This hotel is usually way, way WAY out of our price range. But since it's off season, they took a giant 30% off. It made it only slightly higher than the Embassy Suites. And it's inside California Adventure. Can't get much closer than that! Yes, there is an unhealthy amount of excitement inside me right now! You can laugh, it's ok.
Thank you for all your kind words about Nacho. We are all doing much better now. And we're not considering getting another dog any time soon! One is fine and we're loving her and caring for her more than ever now.
And that's about it. Here's some pics I took of the kids last weekend because every post needs a pic or two. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tragedy strikes.

Our dog died last Saturday. It was awful. AW. FUL. Nacho was always kind of a strange little dog. But we loved him anyway. Friday night Jake went out to feed the dogs and Nacho came out of the bushes looking all weird. Weirder than normal. He had been digging (obvious from the dirt all over him) but his eyes also looked kinda wiggy too. I can't explain it. But he didn't look right. I just kinda shrugged off though and said he was fine and to just go ahead and feed him. Well about an hour later I walk by the back door and notice him still standing over his food bowl, but not eating it. And then snapping at our other dog when she walked by. He never does this. And usually the food is gone in 10 seconds anyway. I just thought maybe he doesn't feel good and again I just passed it off as nothing. A few hours later I walked by the door again and decided to go check on him and he didn't come. He always comes. They both do as soon as the door opens. I called him. Still nothing. Finally after a few more calls he came stumbling out of the bushes with his head down. I just wasn't sure what to do. I knew something was wrong, but...what?? He slowly made his way back to the bushes and hid and I could not get him to come out. Oh and I should mention that Pete was not home all weekend. He had a group of hunters and would not be back until Sunday afternoon. I've had enough animals in my lifetime to know that when they go hiding in bushes and won't come out, there's really something wrong. But what could I do?
I went to bed that night and just hoped that he would be better in the morning.
When I got up Saturday, I went to the back door and saw both dogs cuddling together on the patio. I figured Nacho must be feeling better because that's how I find them most mornings anyway. And, well, he wasn't in the bushes so I thought that was a good sign.
I went about my day normally. We got dressed, went to the store and ran some errands. We got back home around 1 that afternoon. I went to the back door and noticed only Maggie was at the door. No Nacho. My heart stopped for a second. This could not be good. I called for him. Nothing. The kids and I both went out on the patio and called and called. Finally, Jake says "mommy! he's in here!" Oh thank goodness I thought, he's just lying in the dog house. But oh, it was just awful. Nacho was lying in the dog house, just barely hanging on to life. It was the most horrible sight. To see an animal suffering like that, and knowing there just wasn't anything I could do. I quickly rushed the kids back in the house. They are a total MESS at this point crying and sobbing. I'm panicking, not sure what to do. I mean, what am I going to do? THERE IS NO HUSBAND HERE TO DEAL WITH THIS! And I couldn't just leave him there.
I quickly pulled myself together and went back into the house. I gathered up the kids and did the only thing I could think of to comfort them and myself. We said a little prayer, and hoped that God would take Nacho to heaven quickly so that he wouldn't suffer any longer. It was the most pitiful prayer. The kids just wailed and sobbed.
I made them lunch and then waited with a pit in my stomach.
But God seriously answered our prayer, and quickly. I checked outside after a few minutes and it was evident that he had passed.
Thank goodness my neighbor was home. I felt horrible, but I had to ask him to come and assist with the burial. I felt horrible. I mean who asks their neighbor to bury a dog? I do. I just could not have done it myself. Thank goodness for good neighbors. He used to work at a vet so he knew just what to do.
We figured Nacho had eaten something bad...There's all kinds of critters around here. And it was pretty evident by the way he expired, that he had either eaten poison, or eaten something that had been poisoned. It is a terrible way to go.
I can't help but feel guilty some how. Or negligent. I knew he was sick. I just didn't realize HOW sick until it was too late. There was nothing I could have done. But still. I still feel horrible about the whole situation. It's one thing when your dog is old and you kinda know he's getting on in years and the end will come soon. It's another thing when they're young and just acting weird one night and then GONE the next day.
And poor Maggie. She just seems so sad now. We've all been trying to give her extra love. We also went and did a major cleaning up of the back yard. I DO NOT want it to happen again.
Luckily Maggie is getting older and isn't too interested in eating things she's not supposed to anymore.
Anyway. So that's the drama that's been going on around here.
A more lighthearted post to come soon.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Flying by the seat of my pants.

Every week I make a plan for the next week regarding our homeschool. I make a pretty detailed lesson plan including what we'll do every day in Language Arts, Math, Science, History/Geography and Extra/Life Skills/PE etc... I go through each of our textbooks reading the lessons, making copies of worksheets, deciding if there might be a field trip we could go on that would go with science or history. I usually try and plan some sort of art or craft project. I try and make sure there are plenty of outings and at least one day a week we get together with our neighbors.

I do all this, yet most days I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I use my lesson plan as a road map, but almost daily I'm finding ways to enrich our learning even more. See all my notes everywhere? :) I fell like we're learning good stuff, but it's just little spurts of information and then that's it, we quickly move on to the next topic. One of the things that always intrigued me most about homeschooling was the ability to really dive into a subject and truly study it. I'm not sure we're quite there yet. The curriculum I chose (for English, and Science especially) is mostly standard based. So, kind of like public school, you move through it rather quickly and I'm not sure how much of it is really retained. I like the idea of the short, concise lessons, but I also like the idea of lots of hands on projects and experiences so that you (your kid) really remembers the subject. I think I've done okay at adding things in, but I'm already thinking that next year I might look into a more comprehensive program, especially for science. (since both kids seem to enjoy it so much)
It's all a learning experience, right?
I did find this fantastic History through literature program. So far I am really loving it. It's from a company called Beautiful Feet Books. We chose the Early American History pack. The program is supposed to go through about 2 years of school. It IS Christian based material so our charter school would not fund this. {Religion is not my focus with our curriculum, I feel like my kids get a lot of it at home anyway, and of course at church and Sunday school, but I thought this particular program was really well put together and that's why I chose it} It's not cheap. What I ended up doing is buying the first 2 or 3 books on my own on Amazon along with the lesson manual. When I finish what we have, I'll go and order more books. Side note: have you tried Amazon Prime? it's 70 bucks a year and on most items you get FREE 2 day shipping. Ok so it's not free, but it pays for itself quickly if you use Amazon a lot. I bought all my Christmas presents last year this way and it was awesome. Totally worth the 70 dollars.
So back to Early American History..... We're currently reading the first book in the series, Leif the Lucky. This book is about Leif Erikson, the person believed to first discover North America about 500 years before Columbus. (I had no idea. See, I'm learning too!) Leif is a Viking, his father originally from Norway. The lesson materials don't really go into detail about Vikings, so I thought it would be good to study these people at little more in depth. I thought...wouldn't be cool to make our own model of a Viking ship? I looked up model ships online. Wow, they're pretty intense, even for an adult, and um...expensive! So I nixed that idea. I thought, ok....maybe we could just color a picture of a Viking ship. So I googled: free viking ship coloring page and found this.

I LOVE the internet!!
And can I just tell you, the Crayola Website is seriously awesome!! Where have I been?? There are free coloring pages GALORE. Free games and activities. VIDEOS. My kids love the videos. There are a lot of really great craft ideas. I've bookmarked it and I have a feeling I'll be using this website a LOT in the coming months. Especially for rainy days.
Anyway, I don't intend on making this a homeschool blog, but since it is part of our daily life, I will, from time to time, post about certain things. Especially cool things!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Vacation best and worst.

Best: Spending time with family, just the four of us. I've been to this little cabin many times before, but always with my dad. This time it was just us. And though I love coming here with my dad, it was really kinda cool to just have the place to ourselves. I felt like a grown-up.

Best: Doing absolutely nothing. Really. There are lots of places to go and things to do around the area. But we chose to just hang out. The farthest we went was the beach.

Worst: Pete somehow got a stiff neck the first night we were there. So he kinda just layed around all day Saturday. It was ok though. I just felt bad for him.

Best: Blueberry Struesell french toast. Oh my word, YUM! I kept seeing this bread at Target (it's their Market Pantry brand, I think) and thought, hey it's vacation, I'm going to get it. I had the idea right away that it should be made into french toast. I was so right. Man, it was good! I only had a few bites though, cuz ya know, I'm still watching the figure ;0) They also have an apple fritter flavor, that I think would be good too. Oh and don't forget to use heavy cream in your custard mix. I'm positive it made all the difference. (it will make all the difference on your hips too)

Best: walks to the park and around the town with my little people.

Worst: Jake dropping the $5 mini pack of Tylenol I bought for Pete at the little mini-mart somewhere between the store and the beach and then having to back-track to find it. We did. Eventually. But I was kinda mad for a minute.

Best: Sunny afternoons. When it's cold and foggy at the beach, it's pretty miserable. But man-o-man when the sun comes's like heaven! Just awesome.

Worst: Almost being submerged in the freezing cold Pacific Ocean.

Best: My husband knowing better than to do that and putting me back down. :)

Best: Knowing that now, him picking me up to throw me in said ocean, will not give him a hernia.

Best: Spending Sunday with our friends Joe and Carolina. They are a little younger than us and so far have no kids. But they are really fun to hang out with. They're both with great with kids, and don't seem to mind being around them all day and doing kid things. They just came down for the day, but we had a great time with them at the beach. Joe dug Jake a giant whole in the sand and put him in, and then filled it up to his neck. Jake loved it. Carolina walked Megan along the shore looking for sand crabs and shells. Carolina saw dolphins in the wild for the first time ever. She was totally amazed. It was pretty cool, they were so close to shore and gave us all a show.

Worst: Waking up Monday morning to warm sunny skies. Technically, this is an awesome thing. But it kinda sucked because we had to come home. That always seems to happen...we get the best weather on the day we have to leave.

Worst: Pukeage one exit away from home. Is this my lot in life with these kids? Vacation=Puke?? Please tell me no! Seriously, less than 5 minutes from home Megan barfed in the back seat.

Best: Being only 5 minutes from home after aforementioned pukeage. I have to say, that that is definitely an advantage.

Best: Leather seats.

Best: easily removable and washable car seat covers!

Worst: the Graco Booster with the back attached...I really hate this thing. She's still little enough that she requires the booster to have a back. But the back comes off very, very easily. But for some reason (mostly because I'm retarded) it is a b*tch to put back together. Do you moms know what I'm talking about? Is there a trick? What am I doing wrong? I about threw the thing off a cliff today. I'm not kidding, ask my kids. They're still hovering in the corner. ;o)

Worst: Having to get back to school work today. We're all just kinda blah today and it was hard getting back into the swing of things. The morning was great, but we petered out pretty quick. 4 days of no school is kind of a lot, I guess.

Worst: Laundry, laundry, laundry. Oh my goodness, the laundry.

Obviously, the good far outweighs the bad.