Saturday, July 31, 2010

One Unit Study Down!

So. I have started planning out our calendar for Caiden's schooling next year. Here is what we are doing:
*Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for Reading- also practicing the letters they introduce in sand, rice, on paper, in paint, water and paintbrush on the sidewalk, making words with foam letters in the bathtub, etc.
* Rod and Staff's Bible Curriculum with Coloring book supplemented with our new Preschool Bible.
* Unit Studies for Math, Literature, and Science

The first unit study we will be doing is on transportation. First we will be visiting the Orlando Science Center (and you can bet we'll be asking for memberships to this place for Christmas this year because it's such a great hands-on resource!) in order to create an interest about all things transportation. Their second floor is dedicated to transportation preschool-style: just their size! I can't wait!

Next we'll be visiting the Library and gathering all of our literature resources.

Here's my outline:

Concepts to Introduce:
*Traffic Signs and Shapes
*Transportation vocab: Conductor, Pilot,Captain, caution, R/R crossing, turn signal, address, right lane, left lane, sidewalk,
runway, train tracks, train station, marina, train related vocab, and any vocab from literature.
*Colors related to transportation signs
* Beginning to memorize her address and phone number
*Distance vocab/concepts: means of transportation for various distances.
*Methods of transportation on our own: walk, run, jump, hop, skip, walk backwards (sideways) tip toes, climb, slide, swim, swing.

Lonely Bus Driver 
 One lonely bus driver all alone and blue 
He picked up a passenger and then there were two. 
Two people riding, they stopped by a tree 
 They picked up a passenger, and then there were three. 
Three people riding, they stopped by a store 
 They picked up a passenger, and then there were four.

 Four people riding, happy and alive,  
 They picked up a passenger, and then there were five. 
Five people riding open swung the door 
 Four passengers got off the bus,  
The driver's alone once more.

This is a choo-choo train (bend arm at elbow)
Puffing down the track. (rotate arms in rhythm)
Now it's going forward,
Now it's going back.(push arms in appropriate directions; continue rotating motion)
Now the bell is ringing, (pull bell cord)
Now the whistle blows (make sound)
What a lot of noise it makes Everywhere it goes!(cover ears)

Taking Off - Mary McB.Green
The airplane taxis down the field
And heads into the breeze
It lifts its wheels above the ground
Skims above the trees
It rises high and higher
Away up toward the sun
It’s just a speck against the sky
...and now it’s gone!

Down By the Station...
Down by the station (down by the station)
Early in the morning (early in the morning)
See the little pufferbellies (see the little pufferbellies)
All in a row (all in a row)
See the station master (see the station master)
Turn the little handle (turn the little handle)
Puff, puff, toot, toot (puff, puff, toot, toot)
Off we go! (off we go!)

Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Wheels on the Bus

*Origami boats/ airplanes *Make train, boat, etc with construction paper shapes (pre-cut)
*Large Boxes- paint, decorate to make trains, boats, airplanes, buses, etc.
*Egg Carton bus *Clothes Pin Airplane
*Floating boat

*Red Light, Green Light *Transportation Puzzles
*Block runway/tracks/road *Order trucks from smallest to largest
*Mother May I? (Option #1: crawl, jump, hop, step (front, back,side, big, small), run, skip etc. Option #2: “Mother May I move the bear?”- use prepositions- under, over, in, out, beside, on, off,
*Dot to Dot *Lacing cards- home made or transportation cards from G-Ma
*Bicycling *Sand table with cars
*Obstacle course runway for children: crawl in the tunnel, run, step through a ladder on the ground, jump, climb stairs, slide,
*Sidewalk chalk road with traffic signs: travel by foot, bike, wagon, or skateboard
*Geo Boards- Shapes, then move to boat, bus, train, etc.
*Geometric Shapes -make transportation vehicles
*Sorting vehicles by land, air and water
Worksheets for on-the-go:
*Patterning with pictures of cars/boats *Street Sign Shapes- cut and paste
*Transportation shapes and counting *Vehicles: Color, cut, sort and paste

Crews, Donald- Freight Train; Trucks; School Bus; Flying; Sail Away
Watty and Piper- The Little Engine That Could
Potter, Marian- The Little Red Caboose
Scarry, Richard- Cars and Trucks and Things That Go
Roy, Jennifer Rozines and Gregory Roy- Shapes in Transportation
Lenski, Lois- The Little Train; Davy Goes Places;
Barton, Byron- Airport
Rockwell, Anne- Good Morning Digger; Trucks; Ferryboat Ride
Hillenbrand, Will- Down By the Station
Burton, Virginia Lee- Katy and the Big Snow
Eastman- P.D -Go Dog, Go!

Pear (or peach) boats with pretzel masts and sliced cheese as the mainsail.
Apple trains stuck together with soy or almond butter, banana wheels.
Banana planes with graham cracker wings and raisin windows.

Field trips:
Mount Dora Train Ride
Science Center second floor transportation room
Disney- Monorail, boat, bus
Lake Mary Historical Center model train display
Sanford Marina

So. There you go. The rest of the year is in various stages of development, but I'm having a blast! Thoughts? Additions? Great ideas? Please share! Thanks! =)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More gifts

It's been way too long since I've written a post about all of the gifts we have received. Today I'm especially feeling the need to cultivate a thankful heart. Our AC went out yesterday while the girls napped. It's been an interesting 24 hours. Hopefully it will be resolved before today's nap time!

255. For a typically working AC
256. For when the girls AREN'T screaming at each other - those sweet quiet moments can easily go unnoticed because they don't demand as much attention. And, for the moments I do catch them and make them a bigger deal than the other.
257. That the screaming phase is just that- a phase.
258. That the girls are playing together in Caiden's room- I love to hear them communicate together.
259. For our Library that is SO close
260. That Addison is running around the house with a bell from one of Caiden's games saying "Tinkle bell, tinkle bell" =D
261. For the extra time to read A LOT to the girls (about 25 books a week)
262. For intrinsic relevancy- the reason Caiden decided she wanted to learn to write her name- to write to her pen pal Emma!

263. For my hands on, snuggle bunny, tactile child who needs to be hugged, tickled, wrestled with and held. It's fun for everyone!
264. For two little girls who are enjoying the no AC dress code for Littles: diapers and panties only (perhaps for the first extended time). If I had known they would enjoy it this much maybe I would have let them do this sooner!
265. For Addison saying: "it's okay" as one word.
266. For time during yesterday's nap time to work on a list of unit studies and activities for the Fall. It's a work in progress. We're going to have so much fun!!
267. For the really well written and inspiring books we've found at the Library recently. One of Caiden's favorites was Ox Cart Man. She wanted to learn to sew like the little girl in the story. So, out came the lacing cards. When those are mastered, I have yarn and a plastic needle. The goal? To make Christmas presents this year. Her idea. We'll see. ;)
268. For fun afternoons writing letters in rice, sand, chocolate pudding, red jello-paint, cool whip, and painting with water on the side walk.
269. For Addison learning to count just by hearing her sister: One two, free (me: four) five (me: six) seben, (me: eight) nine, TEN! Just about knocked me over last night- Jeff is my witness!
270. For fun new music that both girls love. Even Addison has learned some of the words in just two days- amazing!
271. When you ask Addison a question and she says, "I dunno". Makes me smile every time.
272.That God is providing resources, connections, ideas, support and like minded moms for our venture into home preschool.
273. That we made it through a week without Daddy and that he had a good mission trip with the youth group.
274. That Jeff is HOME!!
275. For the morning to play in water with buckets, paint brushes, and lots of splashing.
276. For the trees in our back yard, and the breeze that blows through the preserve and over the creek that kept us cool all morning.
277. That we have A/C again!!!! (Thanks to B & L A/C Services!)
278. That it didn't cost as much as we feared!
279. That I have learned to save money couponing- hard work, time consuming, but so worth it!
280. For time to do little things- like blogging.
281. That a beautiful butterfly kept us company this morning in the back yard. It was quite a treat.
282. I spent the morning pretending with Caiden and was thrilled to see her imagination, her vocabulary, and how she really COULD entertain herself with just a stick and water.
283. For Caiden's imaginary eagle friend who apparently moved in with us this afternoon and is named Mary. She is very helpful and "brought us berries while we were in the backyard all morning." =) (We've made a lot of progress in the name department. folks! Until a few weeks ago, all of her made up characters in her stories and her dolls had made-up names that sounded Arabic. =)
284. For the Spanish/English Signing Time videos my Mom bought and am delighted that Addison asked for Agua and signed "water" this morning. Having children that could eventually be trilingual- now THAT would be amazing!

That's all I have time for now. And it was just what the Dr. ordered. My perspective has shifted and I'm feeling a whole lot more cheerful. Thanks for listening! =)

Friday, July 16, 2010


Inspired by a few friends of mine who have been sharing their couponing success with the world on Facebook, I decided to do a little studying myself and figure out how to play this game. I have found a few websites that have really helped along this journey. I will share them with you so you can jump on the bandwagon too. But first...

Here are a few things that have changed the way I shop: sales come around every 4-6 weeks. In between then the items have mini-sales. The best price is to get the biggest sales. For example: Yogurt may go on a 60% off sale, but it may have a 30 or 40% off sale in between. So, when they have the greatest sale: I stock up so i can make it until the next time that sale comes around. What really makes this a good deal is if Publix has a BOGO sale or you can find a coupon in addition to the sale. This week Yoplait Probiotic yogurt was on a BOGO sale and then I had a $0.50 off and $.60 off coupon for those items, so I paid $1.40 for 8 cups of yogurt.

Tip: Notice I said when Publix has a BOGO sale, and you have a coupon- you can use a coupon for BOTH items. That's REAL savings!

Do not have brand loyalty. It's much easier to save money that way. Believe it or not, I can saved a lot more money buying the brand name items vs. store brands- and in some instances the taste difference is REAL. The reason I can save more is because they don't have coupons for the store brands, nor do they go on sale as often.

Okay, here's my routine. On Sunday I go and get a newspaper. Sometimes two if the coupons are good. I check out the store inserts for Publix, CVS, Walmart and Walgreens. Then I look at the coupon and sale match ups. Then I check out a few coupon websites for printable websites:,, and print out anything I need now, or could possibly use later. There are some websites that help in the sale/coupon match ups. They are,, and

Then, based on what staples we are out of, and what is on sale, I make my grocery list. Sometimes it's unclear whether sale prices are better than I can find on stores brands at Walmart, so I will to to Walmart first to make sure I can't find anything cheaper.

For example: at CVS this week they had advertised BOGO on 12 rolls of toilet paper making it 24 rolls for $10.49. I happened to have coupons for that brand as well. ($1.50 off total) And some left over CVS extra care bucks. (-$4) making it $5 for 24 rolls of toilet paper!! YAHOO!! =D There really is a trick to working CVS and Walgreens, but that will have to be a different post.

So, this week at Walgreens, Walmart and Publix I paid a total of $85.54 and saved $40.87. That's nothing to sneeze at, but it's not as impressive as some of my friends have pulled off. I'm a work in progress! So, want to join me? Let me know what you have saved!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Princesses Have Left the Building

...But we are hoping and praying that the one that matters will return to us soon!

You know that your Three Year Old is understanding her boundaries when she will willingly explain them to all who will listen: in the grocery store, at the Dr.'s Office, to family, at church....=)

We have been hard core struggling with Caiden's behaviour recently. I know- it's hard to believe. But it's true. It's been AWFUL! We have tried everything we could think of and were unsatisfied with the results. Until...there was finally a brainstorm that resulted in something promising. Until she was able to behave like her beloved princesses, we were going to have to take away everything Princess. Movies, clothing, dress up, name it. (It's almost frightening how many "royal" things we own!) It began with the obvious offenders, and then she willingly started bringing us Princess items. A random Barbie Belle shoe, Jaq, Gus and Suzie mini toys from Cinderella, Barbie Aurora's brush, etc. She was very serious about these miscellaneous Princess items and insisted that they be removed as well. Well...okay. So, we have been Princess free for about six days now and we are seeing glimpses of our old Caiden. Not because she wants to earn them back, but honestly, I think it's because she isn't consumed with eating, breathing, LIVING Princess stuff. I mean, it was getting bad- it was all she would talk about. It was all she was concerned about. It was becoming obsessive. It's almost like she needed to clear her head. I know that sounds dramatic, but I'm telling you folks, I'm dead serious. It was like a 7th grader's obsession with their new cell phone. Sometimes you just need a forced sabbatical.

So, we're using this time to read a LOT of Library books. I went and found about 14 of the newest Caldecott and Newbury Award winners that our Library had and we are enjoying those. I'm trying to expand her horizons past the imaginary world (that had become oh too real!) and into the present. I'm trying to pull her out of her head and listen to all of her ruminations. We're spending more time outside; which works well for Addison since she could live outside 24-7 if I allowed it. But most importantly, we're focusing a lot on character development. You know, actual character traits and a lot of Scripture to back it up. We're talking about the Fruit of the Spirit. And we're doing more "time-ins". We sit down, try and get to the heart posture and why she's making these choices, what she's feeling etc. We look at the ugliness, really look at it- not just scold about it, and talk about it. And then we forgive it.

So, I'm tired. Really, really brain tired. But, I know in my heart that this is something that pays off in the long run. This is what my Father in Heaven does with me. And I'm hoping someday to become more like Him than when I started. And honestly, parenting in the midst of these non-Princess days is what will probably be my most efficient vehicle toward that "becoming". So, we're digging in. We're slowing down. We're taking time. We're committed to doing whatever we need to do to train her up. So, pray for us!

And pray for sweet Addison too, as she isn't sleeping well due to SIX teeth coming in at the same time- four of those being molars. =( ...That also could be why I'm so tired. ;)