Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tot School- Planning It Out!

So, I feel Brennan is actually ready to begin some sort of gentle introduction to the alphabet. He has finally progressed his vocabulary far enough that I feel he would actually enjoy & remember (and have LOTS of fun!).

I'm following Carissa's Tot School (over at 1+1+1=1) plus using other resources from around the web. All of Carissa's printables are available for free for individual use. . Whenever I post I will try and link up to ALL the resources I've used. I'm starting to print them now so I can get ready for the beginning- at letter "A". Mostly, the exercises will be lots of repetition. , coloring, cutting, tracing, and many many crafts and activities to keep him entertained. I don't have a lamination machine, and unless I feel that he will significantly benefit from lacing the letters, I am simply letting him do that on plain copy paper with thread. He really enjoys lacing activities, so I can see that we might need to go out and get them laminated.

For the letter "A" we will begin by using the packet provided at 1+1+1=1 which has four main objectives:

Letter: Aa
Object: Apple
Color: Red
Vocabulary: Fruit

I also selected a craft, and two additional worksheets that I felt provided additional opportunities for learning. Both of these activities were selected from Erica's blog, Confessions of a Homeschooler, Letter Aa site. For me, I selected the Apple Cutting page, and the Apple PreWrite. Although, i will say the one thing I did not like was that every section of the PreWrite page had the URL of the blog. I would think once on a document would be enough.

We will be doing an "A" for Alligator craft from No Time For Flash Cards, which is a very simple paper craft. This is just an outline of the things we will be doing during the week, for planning purposes. I look forward to starting Tot School.

Be aware that navigating these websites is like falling down a rabbit hole. There is so much good information, and so many ways to do a "Tot School" that no one way is the "correct" way.

Till next time,

  coahbutton       1+1+1=1     totally tots     No Time For Flash Cards

"Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" Coconut Tree

So tonight, Matt and I hunkered down and started making our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree. We will be using this as an aid when we start to teach Brennan the alphabet. It will have the added benefit of being large and colorful, so it will be a nice wall decoration as well.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is Brennan's favorite book, so I was so pleased to come across this idea to make a coconut tree!

I grabbed a bunch of construction paper and laid it out on the floor in a general "coconut tree" shape. This is what I got here.

Don't you love the single coconut??

Well, making a bunch of pretty coconut leave is harder than you think it is (especially for a perfectionist) so it took about an hour and a half to get the leaves in an "okay" shape. I am still not 100% pleased with them. Here is the updated coconut tree!

Well, it is still not done. I still need to finish the trunk, and the coconuts. Matt wanted to help out, so he made a couple of small egg-shaped coconuts. But at least once I get all the outline done, I can see about adding some different colors in with some paint. I will keep you all updated on the progress of the tree as time goes on.

How are we hanging the tree? Well, the tree will be mounted onto posterboard (two separate pieces), then laminated together as one big tree.

I also printed out letters from

Friday, January 20, 2012


Finally- A Hobby!

For several years now, I've said I wanted to start a new hobby but I could never bring myself to spend the money necessary to begin such an undertaking. Well, I finally bit the bullet. Just two days ago, my brand new sewing machine was delivered to my house. I am so excited, but I am having trouble finding a good couple books to purchase so I can begin to learn to sew. I have not yet decided what I really want to do with the sewing machine- but I am hoping that inspiration will come as I learn to use my new machine.

I'm also re-doing this blog to see if I can make it a little brighter- the dark maroon colors no longer suit me (or this blog). Hopefully a more appealing color scheme will help me to update the blog more often!

Till next time,

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Change

Well, no change at work. I'm still stuck. I changed my course schedule for the next semester so I will be able to spend more time with my kids even though it will take me an extra semester to finish this way. Matt still hasn't found a dream job- or any well-paying job of any kind. So, we wait.

I'm beginning to coupon again. Since I started at T---- I have been spending a lot of money eating at work, or buying random things. For example, I spent $50 on a pool. A freakin pool. We don't even have a yard, but I, yearning for something better- so I bought a pool. All I can do is hope we get to use it next summer or else I promised Matt I would sell it. I really got a good deal on it - 75% off, but it's still hard to justify such a random expense. Oh, what did you do today? I bought a pool.

If we could afford for me not to work, I would leave my job. But there is no way to make $$ appear to pay our bills by magic. There is no way to guarantee that Matt will find a job in the next year. So, I am stuck. Stuck. My only consolation is that I will get to spend more time with my kids... just another eight months until I am done with school and then I will have a LOT more time to spend with my kids. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Being a Working Mom

Being a working woman, a student, a mother, and a financee certainly has its limitations. My day has the same 24 hours that we all get. Except for 5 out of 7 days, I spend 8 hours at work. I work a "low paying" retail job to help make ends meet while my fiance is between jobs. Then, because my shift changes every day, and week to week- so do my days off. It's hard to plan to go grocery shopping. As a student, I am taking three classes this semester. One blended course, which means its mostly online but we have occasional evening classes... I am currently supposed to be doing research for my speech which is due at the end of this month. The other course is a weekend-only class that meets for 3 hours every Saturday. There goes half my weekend. The last class is online-only, and gets the least of my time. I am lucky to spend 2 hours doing my homework for that class, and it's just because the 9am Monday deadline comes around too quickly. Somehow, I am pulling A's in all three classes so far. As a mom, I deal with my kids whenever I can- I try to have fun with them whenever I can- and I try to help them grow whenever I can.... and the one who comes last is always my finance, Matthew. By the time him and I are done with our days, we usually sit down and watch some TV together, before we head to bed- only to catch too little sleep and get up and do it the next day. Actually, I guess what I should say is he's not last- I am the last person I take care of. I want some "me" time to do the things that I want/need to do- to do what things are important to me- but they always get pushed to the side.

Being a working mom means prioritizing and sharing the load...and carrying other loads for other people and above all, making sure my kids are #1- whether that means making sure that my dear fiance is giving them their vitamins and brushing their teeth, or making sure that the daycare provider has enough pediasure for my daughter... it has different meanings. Above all, through all the struggle, I am thankful to have something to be fighting for.

One more semester until I am done with my associates- and then I can decide where I want to go next. I can work until Matthew lands his dream job, and I'm able to go back to being a frugal stay-at-home Mom. I miss being able to hug and kiss my kids good-night every night. But this fight is leading to something- something just out of reach- and I can't wait to grasp it firmly.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back of Meal Planning

We quickly realized our limitations with freezer meals. It requires freezer space. I love the idea, but it is just not applicable until we get more freezer space. Right now, Matt and I are working on a 7-day meal "theme" and we will be planning out two weeks worth of meals at a time. The themes will help mix it up, and keep it simple and easy to make dinner. I am still planning on using some of the great things I learned from all my research into freezer meals and planning.

Here is our current plan:

- Pasta (with meat, or without)

- Chicken

- Beef

- 30-min or less meal (my favorite kind!!)

- Meat-free

- Slow-cooker (for lazy days)

- "U Pick" includes picking a main dish and side dish from one culture for two meals every two weeks. Various cultures will be included. This will also help diversify our future meals as Matt loves to experiment.