Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sleeping Situations

Well, we finally did what I have been putting off for awhile. We moved Judah to a toddler bed and moved him into Maddy's room on the same night! Let me give you a little background information. Ruth had this little stint of getting up in the middle of the night and being up for 2-3 hours almost every night. This lasted for weeks. Sometimes she would be screaming, and sometimes she would be perfectly content. But she did not want to be in her bed. So I was exhausted. She was also waking up when we would go to bed, which was frustrating. So I had the brilliant idea to put our mattress in the living room. Well, Ruth started sleeping so much better, and I loved being able to watch tv, talk to Tad before bed, and not have to tip-toe when I went to sleep. But the flip side is that the mattress always seemed to be in the living room, taking up the whole living room walking space, and when Tad got up early in the morning for work, he couldn't turn on any lights or really make any noise without waking me up since I was still sleeping. I loved having our mattress in the living room, but Tad mentioned that he didn't like tripping over the mattress everyday. So one day, in a moment of craziness, I decided to surprise Tad and do this big project before he came home from work. I was going to transition Judah to a toddler bed, and move him into Maddy's room. Since I wanted to surprise Tad and get the whole thing set up, where we had our own bedroom, Ruth was in Judah's bedroom, and Judah and Maddy shared Maddy's bedroom, I just decided to do the whole transition thing (Judah to a toddler bed and moving to Maddy's room) in one night! Crazy, I know!
That night was the usual transition time where it was cool at first, but then he was up for awhile talking to Maddy, bugging her, and not wanting to go to sleep. But over the next few days, he really adjusted very well! I have been very pleased! He barely ever gets out of his bed, and in fact, he would wake up and ask if he could get up from his bed!
We still do have our issues, though. The main issue is that he used to sleep in until 8 or sometimes 9, and now he is getting up at 6. I know that Maddy wakes up pretty early, so I'm trying to iron out if she is waking him up, or if he is just waking up that much earlier. During nap time, Judah gets his own room, Maddy sleeps in our bed, and Ruth has her own room. So if I nap, I just sleep on the couch, and everyone sleeps great during nap time!
So, that's our latest big transition! We are still working through it, but overall, we have been pleased! Now, if I could just get them to sleep in a little later than 6, I would be ecstatic! Yawn!
And here are some of the most recent pics of the kids! They are getting so big!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Classical Conversations Weeks 5 and 6

I am so sorry I didn't get a CC blog post out last week! It has been a crazy week! So I will include ideas for both weeks in this blog post! I can't believe that we just finished week 6 yesterday! It seems like just yesterday that I was preparing for the first week and wondering how it would all go! And now we are already done with Fine Arts/Drawing! Our location is actually swapping Orchestra and Tin Whistle since our Orchestra teacher will be leaving in December since they are moving. So for those of you who will be doing Tin Whistle next, I won't have any ideas for you until January!
Also, I need some fresh, new ideas for classroom management. I have tried some different things that have worked, and some that haven't. I am realizing more and more that 3 hours of intense classroom time with one break and a lot of memorization for littles can be a challenge! But granted, I am so impressed with these little kid's characters, manners, respect, their obvious work on the material at home, and how quick they usually are to get back on track if I have to call them out on behavior issues!
From the first week, I printed off just a printer paper with their name on it, and made a little book out of it. Each week they get several stickers to put on it when they are all being good. The first several weeks, I would do it during class time, but they were taking too long to pick out stickers and missing the new grammar, so I moved it to snack time or times that certain ones were finishing up (drawing or something else) so that no one was missing anything important.
They also each have a sticker chart and each week if they are good throughout class, they get a sticker and every other week they get to pick out of the treasure box if they have gotten stickers for those 2 weeks. So that is good motivation for them too.
I need some new ideas for some "ice breakers" or times to get their wiggles out and take a couple minute break. It is a long time to sit and work on memory work! If I get some new ideas, I will share them here! Or other tutors/parents can share them here! It would be much appreciated!
So, here are some ideas for week 5 and 6...

Timeline: Say and use hand motions
History Sentence: Split of the Roman Empire: I found this great worksheet on CC connected where the long sentence is in pictures and really helped the kids to learn it. Fall of Rome: I found pictures on Google Image of taxes, slavery, unemployment, and diseases and the song certainly helped! I always use the songs for history!
Geography: I printed out individual passports for each child, and each week they get to glue a stamp on their passport and I just write the name of the new empire we are learning. Then we use our plastic fish/dinosaur/racing car to find our old/new geography and they color them in with dry erase markers on their laminated maps.
Math: Last week we used a worksheet off of CC connected where they just wrote in the numbers under the number that was already printed for them, then they could bring it home and practice. This week, I printed off number charts for them and put them in page protectors and they used dry erase markers to circle the 11's and 12's and it was fun because they could see a pattern as they circled them, and then we all said them together. I just play the math song during this time on repeat.
Science: For invertebrates, we did hand motions for each one and pictures for each one and they really helped them remember it! For vertebrates, we just looked at pictures of each one and said them. I also showed them the acronym FARMB to help remember them.
Latin: Used the clip art charts from CC connected (I think? I am using a book my director put together and I think she got them from there) that shows pictures that go along with each ending. We use the song, sometimes I sing the song and stop and ask which one comes next.
English: We use hand motions for all the prepositions. But we sing ours to the tune of Yankee Doodle, which is what our campus uses. One of our tutors sent it out so we all have the song. It's slower than the CC song!

Grammar Review:
For review, I have been trying not to single out any kids to ask them questions, because it just seems like some kids really know their memory work, and it is more of a struggle for others. So I don't want some kids to get left behind if they don't know past work perfectly! Also, I know that some of my kids might not be able to read, so it is a struggle to find games for new grammar and review without doing any reading!
Last week, we did a human board game. I put the kids into 2 teams with a parent as facilitator on each team. I made squares from 1-10 for each team, and we went back and forth and I had them answer questions, and then they got to "move" on their squares. They could work as a team, with moms helping to cue them and help them come up with the answers.
This week, I put them in teams again, and had them sit in chairs facing each other, in teams. I went back and forth, for example, the first team said the first commandment, the second team said the second commandment, etc. Or I would do the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, and they would go back and forth. It went really well!

I always save time at the end for a book or a devotion, cleanup chores (which they are all assigned to on the board, and they love!), and the treasure chest if we have it that week. Yesterday, we ended up being done really early and one of our helpers led the kids in some quiet games. I really need to have some games in my back pocket for when we have extra time like that! Or more ways we can review!

And as always, feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, or things you have found helpful in your teaching, parenting, or coaching your child along in their memory work!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Raspberry Cream Scones

I have been waiting to post this recipe for a long time! It is one of the best things I have ever made! I love scones, and finally found a recipe I love! Yes, I have already posted a recipe for mini scones, but this recipe is much better! And you can really cut them into any size! I also love sharing recipes out of cookbooks, since they aren't so readily available on the internet for everyone to use! I recommend dipping them into whipped cream! Or putting jelly on them, or butter, or if you're really authentic and English-like, you can somehow find or make clotted cream! Which I have yet to do! These definitely aren't gluten-free, so Tad won't be having any of them, but I actually made these and took these pics during the summer, so he did get to have some!

Raspberry Cream Scones
The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook
Food to Live By
Myra Goodman

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into bits and chilled
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream, plus 2 tablespoons for the glaze
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
3/4 cup (from 1 half-pint) fresh raspberries or frozen (unthawed) unsweetened raspberries

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
2. Place the flour, 1/3 cup of sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine well. Add the chilled butter. Using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingers, blend the butter into the mixture until it is crumbly and well combined.
3. Place the egg, cream, and almond extract in a small bowl and whisk to combine well. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just barely combined. Gently fold in the raspberries. Do not overmix the dough or the scones will be tough.
4. Turn out the dough, along with any loose dry bits, onto a lightly floured work surface and pat into a disk about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut the dough with a knife into 6 pie-shaped wedges and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
5. Brush the scones with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and sprinkle them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
6. Bake the scones until they are golden brown and firm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the scones cool for about 10 minutes. Serve the scones warm or at room temperature. The scones taste best the day they are made but, if necessary, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat them in a microwave for about 10 seconds or in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Cookbook suggestions: You can substitute 2/3 cup of any kind of fruit or nuts for the raspberries. You can use fresh blueberries, strawberries, chopped nuts, dried fruits like apricots, cranberries, or cherries, and you can also substitute vanilla extract for the almond, or orange zest for the lemon zest!!  And they also freeze well! So you can freeze the dough, transfer them to an airtight bag or container, and thaw them overnight on a baking sheet before you want to serve them, and glaze them right before you put them in the oven! Ah, possibilities!!

You will seriously drool over these scones! These are perfect for a brunch, shower, or having your friends over for tea!  Or in my case, coffee!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 4

I can't believe we just finished week four of Classical Conversations!! Each week is a unique with different challenges, ups and downs, and creative ways to present the material. I hope my parents are being patient with me as a first year tutor! I'm still working through the kinks of classroom management, taking care of Ruth and Judah (sometimes Judah has been in our class if he's sick or really sad without Mommy, and some moms have really stepped up in helping with Ruth!), coming up with creative ways to present the material, and coming up with ways to get the kids to start to memorize that week's memory work. It is all a challenge! I was spoiled this past week because my husband, Tad, was off and will be next Tuesday as well, so he gets to come help take care of Ruthie and watch our classroom! Extra bonus!
I am noticing that the time is long without much of a break for that age of kids. I might need to break up the subjects or come up with some ways to help them get a little energy out. They definitely are starting to get more of the wiggles in class, which is understandable! Tad just kept saying that that was a long time for that age to be in class without more breaks. But that is the way CC is set up, and there is a lot of material to get through in a "short" amount of time! But they are doing great! I am really impressed with the kids, and I can tell they are working on their memory work at home! It's not easy material! It takes all week for me to memorize all of it to present it to the class!
If any of the moms from my class, tutors, other tutors out there or anyone else ever has suggestions for how to creatively present material, please comment below! I have gotten kind of repetitive with a lot of the material since we build with hand motions and songs, and I want to try to do some different stuff next week, especially with the review time!
I have yet to get on CC connected, and once I get on there, I think I will have a lot more resources that will help me in my planning!
So, without further adieu, here is this week's schedule:

Timeline: Say and learn the hand motions
History Sentence: Say and learn hand motions with the song
Geography: Use fish/dinosaur to travel around to our previously learned locations, learn new location and color/trace on map with a dry erase marker (used acronym HATAC to remember the areas of the Hittite Empire)
Science: Used a diagram of the parts of a plant cell, tried to get the kids to remember that there are 6 parts of a animal cell, and 8 parts of a plant cell and to distinctly remember the 2 that are added to the plant cell
English: Used these hand motions, but at our location we are using a song that one of our tutor moms sings to the tune of Yankee Doodle. Since it goes pretty fast, I just sing it slower with them as we do our hand motions, instead of playing it in class. The parents have access to the song if they want to use it.
Latin: Review of singular and plural declension noun endings, used the clip art pages and sang the song, also sang and stopped at some points to see if they could tell me the next sound.
Math: Skip counting the 7's and 8's, sang the song and passed a ball to each other like a "hot potato" while slowly singing the numbers.

Presentations: Tell me something about the Ten Commandments

Next week: Tell me about your favorite toy

Drawing/Fine Arts: Abstract Art

Science Experiment: Pollution

Grammar Review: Had them pick pieces out of a bag with names of subjects we would review

Timeline: Used the timeline song and did hand motions
History Sentence: Used previous songs/hand motions
Geography: Named previous empires if drawn out of bag, we always review our past geography during Geography
Science: Just stated the questions we have learned and how we learned them
English: Reviewed the whole Preposition song (to the tune of Yankee Doodle) with the motions we know
Latin: Review
Math: Reviewed the previous songs if they drew that card out of the bag

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bogged Down

 Well, it happens to me every once in awhile. I feel overwhelmed. I have so many new things on my plate, and with CC just starting, and in full swing with 1st grade, I feel exhausted at all my responsibilities. I keep saying I remember the days when I was a new stay-at-home-mom and I actually felt bored and lonely. I didn't know what to do with myself! Ha! I kinda miss those days.
I'm not the best at keeping up with everything. Honestly, I'm the worst with finances. And paper clutter. I feel like I have paper coming out my ears. Mail. Flyers. Calendars. Scratch paper. School papers. Coloring pages. Instruction manuals. Papers for baby, kids, CC, events, receipts, articles from magazines, recipes, artwork from the kids, and on and on. I don't know what to do with it all! I keep coming up with these "systems" to keep everything in it's place. But it seems like as soon as I go through a stack or box of papers and organize them, there is another stack! It's constantly growing! In my head, my systems work, but in the busyness of life, it just gets out of hand and the system gets lost in the shuffle.
CC takes a lot of prep work. I feel a little behind on Maddy's 1st grade stuff, but she is getting a lot of school in besides CC! And she is doing great! Everything kind of fell on me at once! Responsibilities at church, the beginning of the school year, and with all these responsibilities I have had less sleep (partly my fault for going to bed too late, and partly because Ruth started waking up and staying up more in the night) and Tad has been working doubles constantly so I feel like I have been going at it alone. He doesn't have the time or energy to really help me with my load of responsibilities.
So I guess at this point I really need to ask myself what my top priorities are. I can't do it all. And at the end of the day, I don't have that much energy to start 5 tasks before I go to bed. That's my relaxing, chill time. And my only time with Tad minus the kids.
I have been working at a bunch of schedules for chores, school, planning CC, morning tasks, afternoon tasks, evening tasks, and a reading schedule so that life can flow a little more smoothly and I can get things done throughout the week.
And also, life isn't perfect. I'm never gonna have a perfectly cleaned house, all the laundry done and folded, all my tasks done, etc. and the most important thing in my life right now needs to be my relationships. I can't be so busy that my marriage or relationship/time with my kids suffers. There will always be tasks to be done. But this precious time with my kids who are growing up so fast is fleeting. I want to enjoy this time, and not just try to "get through it."

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Friday, September 7, 2012


image credit
 My sister-in-law has been doing Zumba for awhile now! She kept telling me I should come visit a class, but honestly, the thought of doing a "class" kind of scared me. I'm not in the best shape, and I usually don't attend classes. When I go to workout, I usually stay in the cardio area and run on the treadmill, do the elliptical, or do some other weight machines I am comfortable with. I didn't really know what to expect with Zumba. Although, I kept hearing about it.
So, one day, my 2 sister-in-laws were going to go, so I decided I would go with them. But wouldn't you know, they both ended up not being able to go! Well, I had already planned to go, so I decided to go anyways. It is like an aerobic class, where you follow the instructor, but the dance moves are set to Latin/current pop music. It is a blast! I felt pretty lost the first day, because the moves go pretty fast and I didn't know any of them. But the more I have done it, and they repeat a lot of the songs, the more I feel comfortable with it and can anticipate some of the moves. It is a great workout, and a really fun way to workout, I must say!
 Here is a sneak peek!

I don't think it burns as many calories as the other workouts I have done, but I am definitely sweaty and tired by the end. About halfway through the class, I can always feel myself getting tired and losing energy. Of course, the classes I do are in the evenings, and by then I have had the kids all day by myself, and have done school with Maddy, and hopefully have cleaned the house too!
So, I go when I can. I usually can only fit it into my schedule about once a week. But I hope to try to go more! It is so much fun, and a really nice break in my day after Tad comes home from work. I have been bringing Maddy to the Y with me, and she has a little class called "I-zone" where she can play the Wii (doing dance games) and do other things to get her energy out! I think I might even bring her in my Zumba class tonight when I go! The instructor said she can come as long as she isn't in and out! So if she gets too tired, I will just put her in her class which is right around the corner!
I am looking forward to my workout tonight! Does anyone else out there Zumba?

If you would like to read more about Zumba, click here!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 3

It's fun getting into the third week! With 2 weeks under our belts, it's fun to have review time and see how much we have stored away in our brains! And the kids love doing it, especially when there are hand motions to go along with what they have memorized! That's why I have tried to find hand motions for so many of the subjects! And of course, I will include the link to the hand motions that I have found for the subjects!
The age of kids that I have is adorable! I do have to try to keep their excitement at bay because at that age, they just want to blurt out anything that comes to their minds regarding, well, anything! You get to know what they are interested in pretty fast, because they will tell you!
Being new to CC, it is very impressive to me how much these kids can retain and say each week. When I first looked at the weekly material, I thought, "How is Maddy going to do this?" But she was interested in it right away, and I'm so glad that she loves the praise she gets when she does good at memorizing it! And thank goodness for the music that goes along with all the memory work! Where would we all be without the music? Once you hear something put to music, it's hard to forget it! Here is week 3!

Cycle 1 Week 3 Lesson Plan

Timeline: Say timeline and learn hand motions for this week: on Pinterest, on YouTube
History Sentence: Say, listen to the song, play instruments with the song (trying to find the beat)
Geography: Use the fish/dinosaur to find the new geography and past week's geographies on the map, color/trace
Science: Used a picture of an animal cell and pointed out the different parts, used an acronym: Nine Silly Veggies Made Sausage Gravy (Nucleus, Cytoplasm, Vacuole, Mitochondria, Cell Membranes, Golgi bodies(I used the "s" sound for the "c's" since they make the "s" sound, especially since I have some non-readers!)
Latin: Passed out a handout and used it to learn the sounds; the handout had pictures that represented the sounds for noun endings, listened to the song!!
English: New prepositions, learned the motions from this song, but we are going to use another song as sung by one of our own tutors, the prepositions to the tune of Yankee Doodle
Math: Used the songs to skip count the 5's and 6's, passed this week's "stuffed animal" to each other as we said the numbers
Presentations: Persuade us to play a game/sport
Science Experiment: Blending and Ground Temperature
Drawing/Fine Arts: Upside down image

Grammar Review: Have the kids draw pieces of paper out of a bowl with the names of different subjects from past weeks/this week's material (we just drew out of a hat until we ran out of time, we didn't get to each of these subjects)

Timeline: Review all the week's timeline with motions
History Sentence: 10 Commandments song/Greek/Roman gods song
Geography: Say the areas belonging to each Empire
Science: Review the weeks in the fun ways we learned them
Latin: Bean bag toss for noun cases, song for noun endings
English: Preposition game (the kids love!! ): they stand in a circle and turn around saying A preposition relates a noun or pronoun (turn around and jump and yell:) to another word!!!
Math: Review songs for skip counting

 I'm constantly trying to come up with new ideas to learn the information in a fun way that gets the material in their head quickly! I have found that hand motions and songs really help! So if I've used hand motions I have included the link here for you! Hope you enjoy learning this week's material!