Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Time for Baby

Actually, it's not quite time for baby - I'm only 36 weeks along - but, much like his big brothers, he seems interested in getting to the party already. The doctor started me on Bentyl last week which has all but stopped the contractions without most of the side effects from last time. It does cause insomnia though...just when I need my rest!
Admittedly I'm ready to see this little guy. My friend Claire, who was due on the same day as me, is already getting to hold and play with her new little guy. He was 5lbs and 9 oz born at just 35 weeks! I can't wait to see pictures!!!! (Claire, that's a hint!!!)
I am getting a lot done in these last few weeks. I've finished almost everything on my list from cooking for the freezer (now I just need to organize it!) to packing a hospital bag. I still have a few things to pick up or have delivered (the new carseat for example - hope it makes it on time!), but most of the plans are in place so I can sit back and relax a little:) Perfect timing since Casey's work hours have changed and we're trying to get used to a new schedule.
Well, that's the update. We have lots of other things on the back burner - our homeschool group is taking off and I'm planning a Medieval Times class to teach at our co-op this winter. We're finishing up our first school term for this year - it's gone really well so far but it will be nice to have a little break from planned lessons. I'm also trying to plan field trips for the year and wondering just how much I'll be able to juggle! I guess I'll have to wait and see.....

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Time for School

It's that time of year again when everyone is getting back to school. We've actually been doing school for a couple of weeks already and it's going really well. It just makes more sense for us (especially this year!) to start a little earlier when it's too hot to do much of anything anyway and then take off some extra time in the fall. This year our fall break will double as my maternity leave and the kids will get to spend time with daddy and visiting grandparents.

Levi is a 2nd grader this year and Brenna is doing 1st grade (she's just five but she just really loves school!). Jack is doing a small amount of preschool stuff and sitting in with us for most of the reading. Christian is learning too - how to make more messes, faster. In that particular area, I clearly have a genius on my hands:)

I started planning what to study way back in the spring. Once I had books in hand, I spend a day at my church having my own little planning retreat, drafting schedules and making copies. Time very well spent! We use The Well Trained Mind as a basic guide, but one of my very favorite things about homeschooling is personalizing the curriculum to fit us just right.

For history, Levi and Brenna are both using Story of the World, vol 2 - The Middle Ages. Brenna listened to most of the reading we did last year on the ancients so I don't think she's missing anything by skipping ahead in time just a bit. I'm also going to teach a class in our co-op on the Middle Ages so we should be able to fit in lots of fun projects.

I'm really enjoying teaching Saxon Math this year - much better than last year! Turns out they don't have to complete every single problem on every single page - Levi will probably finish Math2 by Christmas and Brenna is zipping through Math 1. And this year, they like it!

Language Arts is no longer called Grammar in this house. Levi did not care for grammar at all, but he likes Language Arts just fine:) We switched to First Language Lessons this year from English for the Thoughtful Child. I really enjoyed Thoughtful Child, but Levi was just bored to tears with it. And First Language Lessons works well because Brenna and Levi can both work out of the same book - it covers 1st and 2nd grades.

Levi is also using Spelling Workout again this year. I skipped the B workbook though and went straight to C. He's just really an exceptional speller (which he did not get from me!). I'm probably going to start Brenna on workbook A later on in the year, but for now she's working on phonics and learning to read. We're using the Starfall program and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. She loves Starfall but TYCTR can get kind of dull. It's very good though so we just take little bites:)

For science, we're studying the earth and space this year. I like to use the Usborne First Encyclopedias as a spine, but we do a lot of reading and projects to supplement that. We're planning a lot of stargazing this year with the telescope my parents bought us last year. I'd like to spend a lot more time on nature notebooks this year. I'm just really not a nature girl at all, so I'm hoping to get together with some other homeschoolers for this - I need a little accountability!

For Bible study, we're using Veritas Press The Gospels. It has a good bit of art appreciation built in to the study and lots of optional activities. This is the main part of our "Circle Time" - the only part for right now. "Circle Time" is still in development - it doesn't even have an actual name yet. "Circle Time" is "too babyish" for some of my little students so we're working on something that sounds a little more mature:)

We'll be going to homeschool co-op classes again this year, but those don't start until September so I'll probably post a little more about them later. Brenna is still crazy about the Kumon workbooks so I keep a few of those on hand, too. And Levi is begging for a robotics kit from Lego...until then he keeps busy building everything out of legos. Maybe he'll be an engineer.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Cooking for the freezer

Finally, I feel like I'm getting something done! I really wanted to have the freezer packed with meals before the baby gets here (5 1/2 weeks, tops!), but I just knew that there was no way I'd be able to work in even one big mega cooking day. So I've just been making one or two extra things a day, usually just doubling whatever we're having for supper. Also I went ahead and invested in disposable pans and ziploc bags on our last trek to Sams. The pans worked out to be about 30 cents each. Compared to what we'll save by not having to eat out as often, that's not a bad deal.
Here's what I have in the freezer so far (numbers refer to how many meals worth, not individual servings).
  • 1 chili
  • 1 hamburgers
  • 2 meatballs
  • 3 grilled, sliced chicken breasts (for fajitas, chicken salads)
  • 3 chopped, grilled chicken (for quesadillas)
  • 4 browned, crumbled hamburger (for tacos, sloppy joes, emergency Hamburger Helper!)
  • 1 spaghetti sauce
  • 1 chicken pot pie
  • 2 banana streusel muffins
  • 1 twice baked potatoes

Still to make? Some of my favorites...tortellini soup (add the tortellini just before serving), the meat for Marlboro Man sandwiches, lasagna, and cinnamon rolls! Plus granola to take to the hospital with me.

A great cookbook for making food that freezes well and still tastes good - The Best Make Ahead Recipe Cookbook.