Monday, December 31, 2012

Getting Things DONE during the Holidays

So this past week was actually pretty good.

Iron Man had his first speaking part!  Our practice at home paid off.  I wasn't sure how he would do with individual lines, but he came in on cue and said them word for word.  He did awesome!  Well, he was wiggly, and got a little silly when his three year old brother got silly, but he did awesome on his lines.  The little one however:  he ran away during the opening prayer, stripped his costume off and refused to go up with his class.  Although he did swipe the microphone long enough to say one of big brother's lines.

After that, I finished up all of my online coursework for the quarter!  I'm so relieved to be taking a quarter off, even though I only have two classes left.  I didn't think it was a good idea to attempt to start classes at the same time the baby was due, so I'll resume in the spring and finish my degree then!

I spent the morning baking cookies with the boys and I got another freezer meal put away.  I would have had some cranberry muffins put away for me--except I forgot about them while they were baking.  They were worthy of the trash.

Then we celebrated Christmas with my husband's family.  It's always a blessing and we have such a good time!  There are 12 cousins on this side of the family, and the only three girls are teenagers, so I think there's some excitement about having a baby girl in the family again.  The last few times we've seen my husband's twin brother and his wife, she has another ADORABLE outfit for us.  This is the most recent!  Is it not too cute!?

So needless to say, some of my time is being "wasted" drooling over teeny-tiny outfits that her auntie is bestowing on her.

I enjoyed Christmas day with my husband and kids.  It was the first year we've stayed home by ourselves, and it was so relaxing.  I made extra pancakes for breakfast to freeze for the boys, for after the baby comes.  Pancakes are easy, but this eliminates the mess.  The husband and I tried to get all the "stuff" put away and the packages broken down and disposed of, just to get it out of the way.

I made Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast, at the boys request.  Then the rest of the Christmas ham was either sliced or diced to freeze along with the bone for a nice pot of beans.  I also spent some time packing things for me and the boys for our temporary move, as well as things we'll need for the baby's birth.  The husband is in charge of packing a small overnight bag for when he gets the call.

It's a two hour drive to my doctor's office, so we tidied up the house and headed out early.  After my appointment, we stopped at the store to get most of the things I'll need for me and baby.  I have been hesitant this whole pregnancy about buying baby girl clothes.  Perhaps it comes from lack of experience (two boys, remember?), but I have put it off.  Now that I NEED to go into the baby department, I can't avoid looking.  Target had some baby things on clearance already, and well...the husband and I couldn't resit these two pieces!

Spent the day resting, doing much of nothing.  I think that's allowed occasionally, right??

We walked through a little bit of snow to visit mawmaw and pawpaw for breakfast and spend time with them.  Wouldn't you know, we're back "home" where we're used to getting about five times as much as everyone else, and this time we got nothing, but dad got a few inches at our new house!  Needless to say, I have two little boys that have been disappointed with this situation.  No matter which house we're at, the "other" house gets more, and they aren't liking this one bit!

My husband, who is awesome, is also helping me put up freezer meals while I'm not home.  He has sent me pictures of lasgana roll-ups and this HUGE pot of vegetable beef soup.  He said there was enough to put up three separate meals!

I think he's also in the "nesting" stage even more than I am, because he spent an entire day cleaning house.  He put away all the Christmas decorations, put away all the clean laundry I had stacked up (laundry is my enemy lately) cleaned out all the bedroom closets, stripped the sheets and made the beds, cleaned out our utility room and I couldn't tell you what else.  Things have been non-stop since we moved, so parts of the house were a jumble until he stepped in.

All I can say is that I am so glad to have a husband who is supportive and helpful!  Having him spend an entire day devoted to helping me get the house organized and make things easier on me after the baby is born is so motivating.

The Next Goal
{Aside from having the baby} is to actually implement a "plan" if you will, for homeschooling over the next several weeks.  While I will be full term in just two days, I'm not technically due for 3 weeks, which means we could be away from home that whole time.  Then of course, I have to have a plan for after the baby arrives.  We're still in holiday mode, and my 6 year old is asking why we haven't been doing any school work.  Love his heart!  So I need a plan for him, more than anything.  If I can get it on paper, the husband and I should be able to get it accomplished!

Be sure to check out Susan's most recently accountability post, Unexpected Do-ings, to see how others are getting things accomplished.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wondrous Works of God (review)

Wondrous Works of God

Wondrous Works of God
Written by Starr Meade
Illustrated by Tim O’Conner

Wondrous Works of God is a chronological compilation of various Bible stories for children.  Each story is clearly labeled with a title, and the verses it covers.  Then, in each story, Starr Meade talks to your children, and tells them a story.

Each story is accompanied by a verse or verses, and though they may not be directly from the set of verses the story covers, they do correlate.  At the end of each story is an application titled “As for me and my house…” with questions for discussion.

The illustrations are cartoonish, and personally, I like children’s books to have life-like illustrations that children can relate to, but that is a matter of preference.  The illustrations are tasteful and are appropriate for children.

If you are looking for simple, straightforward retelling, this may not be the book for you.  Meade interjects with thoughts, opinions and interpretations.  She does this in a friendly, non-threatening way to children, but I understand this can be a hot topic for some parents, so it should be brought to attention. 

The stories are short; only about 3-4 pages in length.  There are 90 stories total, so it is not a comprehensive coverage of the Bible, but it is a good start for young children.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crossway Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced in any way.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

DO-ing Challenge: Preparing for Baby

This accountability link-up has been good for getting me motivated to get things accomplished.  That, and knowing there's only a few weeks left until the baby arrives.

We took the boys to get their hair cut so they're good for Christmas.  Although right before we left, we spent some time making phone calls, and had to add a stop for new glasses for Iron Man, since Hulk decided to rip them off his face and bend them like a pretzel.

Baby Planning/Nesting
At my appointment this week (35 weeks) there was talk of "naturally" inducing me as early as 37 weeks.  So needless to say, I had to get busy.  I mentioned a few weeks ago that this giant tote of clothes needed to be washed, sorted and put away.

Done!  After doing that, I was able to see what size/season combinations we will need.  I also washed the car seat and cover and they are ready to go.  Then I made a list of all the "stuff" I still need to pick up for me and the baby so I can pack our bags for the hospital.  The husband cleaned out the utility closet and moved all the Christmas totes out of her room too.

Meal Planning/Freezer Meals
I remember how hard it was to cook dinner with a toddler and newborn (one certain little boy was very demanding for the first 6 months...and still is for that matter), and now that we're two hours away from family, I realized I won't have any meal support at all.  So I decided I would try my hand at freezer meals.  My goal was to look for recipes that included ingredients we already had on hand--I got a late start and did not desire to go to the store the last weekend before Christmas.

So far I've made breakfast burritos, homemade meatballs, chili, cranberry orange bread, peachy balsamic chicken, and brown sugar and basil pork chops.  Some are oven-ready, and some are crockpot ready, and I'm using the disposable aluminum trays or double bagging freezer bags for easy clean-up.

I have more ideas in my head (baked ziti, vegetable soup, leftovers from Christmas dinner, muffins) that I hope to get put away the day after Christmas.

Easy DIY Toy project
The boys had this Star Wars ship toy thing that was meant to store those little Mighty Beanz in, but it didn't get played with much.  So while lying in bed one night, it struck me that I could take the plastic trays out and they could use it to store their Star Wars action figures and accessories, which needed a "home" of their own.

I spent more time looking for a tool for those weird screws than I did taking the toy apart.  With both plastic trays out, several action figures fit in there, it still closes nicely, and it is now used for play too.

Upcoming Goals
Th beginning of this week will mostly be spent celebrating Christmas and enjoying family.  The second part of the week will be cleaning, trying to prepare more freezer meals if possible, and packing.  Now that my prenatal appointments are weekly and I am close to delivery, the boys and I are temporarily "moving" back to our old house until the baby is born.  We will be close to family for help if needed, and close to my desired hospital, which is a comfort when winter weather can be unpredictable.  So I may not be online much over the next couple of weeks, but when I come back, I will have sweet baby pictures to share!

Be sure to check out Susan's most recent Getting Things DONE post to see how she and others are making goals and getting them accomplished.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The New Mother's Friend: Perdue Oven Ready Chicken

The reason I say these are "The New Mother's Friend" is that I am getting close to delivering baby number 3, and after trying out this product, I plan to add some to our freezer for quick and easy meals after she arrives.

The Product
Recently I received a coupon for a free Perdue's Oven Ready Chicken.  They are pre-seasoned and come in a cooking bag for an easy dinner.  I actually ended up trying the package of 2 Cornish Hens, since the first store didn't carry any Oven Ready products (the guy in the meat department said they did, but didn't have any at the time) and that was the only product the second store carried.

The prep work was so easy, because there is no prep work involved!  I literally opened the bag, removed the Cornish Hens, which were in their own separate bags and put them in a baking dish.  The individual bags already had all the seasonings, and I just had to cut a 1-inch slit to help the bags vent during the cooking process.  For these, I only had to cook on 375 for about an hour since they were not frozen.

The Result
The kitchen smelled sooo good while it was cooking!  The skin browned up much more than I expected, although it did stick to the bag slightly.  The husband immediately commented on how the meat just fell off the bone.  It wasn't infused with flavor, but it wasn't bland or dry.  The excess juices can be used for a gravy, and there's a recipe is on the bag if you need one.

I'm feeding two adults and two children (3 and 6) and one hen was enough for dinner.  I had a little leftover, so that and the second hen made our favorite "leftover chicken" casserole dish the next night!  Bonus!

Clean-up was easy, because even though my bags leaked a little when I opened them, the juices weren't "baked" onto the dish, which means it washed out very easily with no soaking required.

The Recommendation
On sale and with a coupon, these would be a great deal, especially for busy households!  They are certainly convenient.  They are grab-and-go, since there's no dealing with raw chicken or perfecting the seasonings, and they can even be cooked from frozen.  This is great if I forget about dinner or get home later than expected.  The only real work is whatever side dishes I'm preparing with it.  I'll be keeping Perdue Oven Ready products in mind for after the baby is born or other busy seasons of our life.

Disclaimer:  I am a member of Bzz Agent (a word of mouth marketing program) and received a coupon for a free Perdue Oven Ready Product.  I am not required to give a positive opinion; all opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced in any way.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Read Aloud Challenge: Christmas

I've been meaning to get back into reading chapter books aloud to the boys, but I wasn't sure which one to read next.  I had purchased The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson earlier this year, probably for about $0.50 at a book sale.  However, I wasn't really sure about reading it to my 3 and 6 year old. Then another homeschooling mother mentioned that her six year old enjoyed it again this year, so I figured we'd go ahead and give it a try.

I remember reading the book at some point as a kid (though I'm not sure if it was independently or in class) but what I didn't remember is how some of the children are so crass with language and behavior.  However, that is sort of the point of the story, and those make great teaching points with the boys.  So far they are enjoying it.  The book is short, only 7 chapters, and although I have to break them up a little, I aim to finish it by Christmas.  We have a mini-trip this week for my doctor's appointment, and another trip on Christmas Eve, and both times the two hour drive down will definitely be in daylight, so we should definitely get some reading accomplished.

Picture Books
We've read most of our Christmas picture books already, but I have a few more I want to read over the next week.  I have several versions of The Christmas Story, so I'll go through and choose a few of those.  I also want to read The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.  This one will be a possible movie night, although we've already seen it a few times.

Of course, we'll have to read The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore for fun too.

What are you reading to your kiddos?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

DO-ing Challenge: Week 2

Last week, I shared how It's Time For Change, and this week went nothing like I planned.  Isn't that how it always goes?

We had a...technical difficulty...with the house.  It wasn't pretty, and I lost a whole day whining and bemoaning the situation, but it ended up being a relatively easy fix in the end.  The next day I was sore from running errands two days in a row, and just wanted to sit and do nothing.  This pregnancy has been so different.  Not an excuse, but despite that, I did end up getting a few things accomplished that I would normally put off a little longer.


  • Christmas Shopping is finished
  • All gifts are wrapped, except the husband's, since the boys want to help.  This is one of those things I put off, so to be almost finished is a relief
  • Christmas cards are almost finished. This is another task that I generally put off  
  • I helped the boys make their chosen homemade gifts for each other.

homemade crayons

Around the House

  • Baby's room is almost finished--just need husband's help for a few little things
  • Christmas totes cleaned out and extra stuff boxed up to donate
  • Spent about 3 days supervising/helping the 6 year old with his 684 piece Lego kit (!)

Cleaned Out My Purse
I'm sure I don't even need to tell most of you women how good it feels to remove excess toys and crayons, throw away old receipts and gum wrappers, and reorganize my purse.

I also went through all of those random gift cards I pulled out.  I marked their value, throwing away those with empty balances.  We had a few restaurant gift cards in the mix, which will be nice when I'm in a I just had a baby and don't feel like cooking kind of mood!

For the Blog
I found several book reviews in draft form that got "lost" during the move, and I'm trying to get those posted as soon as possible for the publisher.  I apologize for the excess of reviews coming through, but I only have a couple of recently received books on my to-do list.

I also started a Facebook page for Mom's Heart so that readers who prefer Facebook can keep up that way.  Be sure to "like" Mom's Heart!

This post is part of an accountability series, and you can read other participants accomplishments from this week at Susan's post, DO-ing the Next Thing.

The Deposit Slip {book review}

I admit, I was drawn to this book because it was about a mysterious bank transaction, and I used to work in a bank.  Erin Larson is a young woman who, in the process of going through her estranged father's estate, finds a deposit slip in his safe deposit box.  That tiny piece of paper represented big numbers though, in the amount of ten million dollars.

Knowing nothing about her father having any significant amount of money, she went to the bank to find out more.  They denied it was real, and Erin was forced to hire a lawyer to find out the truth.  Except no lawyer would touch her case, and any one who did quickly dropped it.

She was left with one option.  A young lawyer who left his job at a big firm to go out on his own.  Jared Neaton was struggling, and taking on this case would be a huge risk that could ruin him, but winning could also make his problems disappear.

The author, Todd Johnson, has 30 years of experience as a lawyer, and this is very obvious in his debut novel.  It was very interesting to read a book from a legal perspective, as this is not my typical genre, and of course I liked seeing how the banking side played out in the story.  I did think the ending seemed a little rushed, and there was one plot twist towards the end that I found somewhat unsettling, but that was definitely personal preference.  Overall I enjoyed this book.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own, and were not influenced in any way.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Being Kind and Caring: Biblical Wisdom for Kids {DVD review}

Being Kind and Caring: Biblical Wisdom for Kids (Paws & Tales)

The DVD Being Kind and Caring:  Biblical Wisdom for Kids, is part of the Paws & Tales series.  The series is designed to teach Biblical truth to children in a way they can relate.

We received this DVD several months ago, and watched it right away, however, somewhere during my morning sickness and the move, the review got "lost" in draft form.  I feel terrible for not getting this published sooner, but here it is.

There are two episodes.
1.  The Hullaboo at Hunker Hill
2.  The Great Go-Kart Race

Both episodes revolve around the theme of go-karts and present a predicament in which the children must decide between a "good" or "bad" reaction/response when handling the problem.

The characters weren't exactly nice, caring or forgiving throughout, and although the story ends with a moral/Biblical principal, I believe it can sometimes send a mixed message when children aren't seeing those qualities displayed the entire time.

My boys will watch just about anything I allow, but they weren't impressed with this.  My oldest liked it, but didn't ask to watch it again.  Perhaps because of the simplistic animation, I'm not sure.  However, we are learning Spanish in our homeschool, so I think he will appreciate watching it again in Spanish.  Overall, it is a decent children's cartoon with a good message, and any negative features I see can be used for teaching how I believe we should handle situations.  I do think my youngest will grow into it a little more, so we will be keeping it to watch again in the future.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of this DVD from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own, and were not influenced in any way.

The Widow of Saunders Creek {book review}

The Widow of Saunders Creek - Tracey Bateman

The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman is not your typical contemporary Christian fiction.

The book is about a young woman named Corrie who grew up in a life of luxury, but set that aside to follow her love; her military spouse, Jarrod.  However, when her husband dies a hero, Corrie finds herself wallowing somewhere between sorrow and anger.  Yet she moves back to a family house that came to her through her husband's inheritance.  She decides she will renovate it, just like they had planned.

When she gets there, she can't shake the feeling that Jarrod's presence is there, surrounding and protecting her.  This old house is in a small town, and brings her into constant contact with her husband's family, most of whom believe in the mystical and witchcraft.  Everyone that is, except Jarrod's cousin, Eli.  He's a preacher, and he believes dark spirits will only harm Corrie.  At odds, Corrie wants to reach out to Jarrod, while Eli is trying to "save" Corrie from her misguided beliefs.

There was something odd a bout this book, though.  Batemen's writing is good, and the emotional connections were there, but something about the story line itself was just not right.  There was an imbalance between the mysticism and the Christian beliefs, and I felt like the underlining theme of the story was never properly settled.  Overall, I probably wouldn't pass it on intentionally.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher as part of the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced in any way.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Grant: Savior of the Union, by Mitchell Yockelson

Grant:  Savior of the Union
By Mitchell Yockelson
Published by Thomas Nelson

Grant Savior of the Union, is part of "The Generals" series, which attempts to humanize those names in history that are either lost or glorified.  I chose Grant because he is one of the more significant men in the Civil War and US history, yet I knew little about him.  This book, however, gives you insight into how Grant entered the military, information about his life leading up to the war, military life, and obviously his role in the war, as well as other aspects that a budding war enthusiast might find interesting.

I'm not sure how a history buff or Civil War historian would feel about the approach this book takes, but no book can please all, and for someone just interested in a different perspective, this book is a good start.  As someone who doesn't truly love history, it got a little dry for me at times, however I do think it is a good addition to a homeschool library for middle/high school students.  Textbooks can be so boring, and as real book about a real person, also known as a "living book," Grant:  Savior of the Union, can certainly add something fresh to any Civil War study.  I'll be holding on to it until my boys are a little older.

I review for BookSneeze®

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Book Sneeze in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own, and were not influenced in any way.

My Stubborn Heart

In My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade, we meet Kate Donovan, a fiery woman looking for love, yet falling short every time. Her dating life is a wreck, and the job she once loved is crushing her spirits. When her grandmother asks her to travel from Texas to small town Redbud, Pennsylvania, to renovate the family home she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance for a change of pace. Approved for three months off work, she packs up and hits the road.

Kate's grandmother, lovingly referred to as "Gran" in the story, has hired a local contractor, Matt Jarreau, to handle the renovations. Upon meeting Matt for the first time, Kate is drawn to his good looks, but there is something else about him that mesmerizes and confuses her at the same time. He's brooding, quiet and unreachable. Matt is hiding from his past and determined not to repeat any mistakes, so he prefers to keep to himself and shut out the world. Stubborn and determined, Kate won't take no for an answer though, and in the beginning is almost annoying at her perky attempt to make conversation.

Yes, it's a romance novel, and as always, the ending was fairly predictable.  However...I don't read romance "smut" so when I picked up this book under the precept that it was Christian fiction, I was a little surprised at what I found. None of the characters had foul mouths, but there was still some course language I found inappropriate.  I would be wary of letting younger audiences read this, for this reason.

The characters were likable and the story (aside from girl meets brooding guy) was fresh. The story offered more with Gran and her senior friends, the antiquing and the household renovations. The story unfolded nicely, and there were times I felt the emotion between the two running deep. Kate knows she's only in town for a few months, so she keeps reminding herself that Matt is just a friend, but as she finally starts to break down his barriers, she wonders if there could be something more. I think almost everyone has had a "summer love" and knows the feeling the two face as their friendship tries to become more. However, there's an underlying message that God puts us where he wants us, when he wants us, and only for his time.

There are also some notable downsides to this book.  There is a heavy focus on body image and physical attributes.  The words hot and hottie were extremely overused.  Not just by one character either.  They all used the word, every time they looked at a handsome, good looking, attractive (I can come up with more synonyms if necessary) person.  I quickly became annoyed at the fashion statement the author was making, whether purposely or not.  Every time someone walked into the room we had to read about the brand, color and style of their clothing, or which catalog they stepped of that day.

Other distractions were the friend who acted like her children were burdensome monsters. I don't know about other moms reading this book, but I felt like she was really down on her young children. There is gambling--the seniors had Friday night poker, which to me came across more as a casual bingo night than hard, addictive gambling, but could be offensive to others. The scene with the alcohol did catch me by surprise, but I also have to remember that person was not a practicing Christian.  

This is a much longer book review than I would normally write, but I felt like conservative readers should know what's in the book. I was able to read it in one day when I wasn't feeling well, but I'm not sure I can recommend it to very many people. I liked the story enough to consider another of Becky Wade's books, but if they all carry the same tone of language, body image and fashion statements, it would be my last.

Please note:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Homemade Sibling Gifts

Elliott puts a lot of thought into gift-giving.  He has such a big heart and loves giving to others.  He really enjoys shopping for others, and is not content until he finds the "perfect" gift.  Believe me...we spent a lot of time coming up with great ideas for daddy.  However he also loves making things for people too, and he wanted to make a Christmas present for his little brother.  It made my heart melt to see his excitement over something so simple.

Now, keep in mind that I'm not talented at artsy, crafty, handmade stuff, and I wanted it to be very kid-friendly.  It's definitely about the process for him.  So we talked about it, and since Emory loves to play I Spy, we came up with an I Spy Bottle.

Emory's favorite color is green, so we went with a green theme.  We colored the rice green and added green beads, buttons, sequins, pompoms, toys and various other odd and end items.  We also went through our alphabet beads to find the letters to his name.


I'll print out a picture card and laminate it, and then Iron Man can wrap it up for him.


I knew he would be so excited to give his brother his special homemade gift, but I also knew he would be equally excited to receive something "special" from his little brother too, so I racked my brain for a homemade gift that Emory could help make.  Yes, I knew going into it that I would be the one doing most of the work, but I also knew I had to come up with something.  So after some brainstorming, we decided that since big brother loves all-things-art, we would make some fun shaped crayons.  We have way too many broken crayons again, and it's something little fingers can still help with:  sorting out the broken crayons, peeling off the wrappers, sorting by color and even breaking them into smaller pieces.


This year's method was much easier...I just melted them in the oven (about 250) in aluminum cupcake liners. I could just throw the liners away, and that is sooo my type of clean-up!  We picked some fun shapes from our small cookie cutters that are used for playdoh.  The small size meant less work crayon melting to get a good thick crayon, but they're still flat for texture rubbings, which is typically how we use these fun shaped crayons.  When I popped them out, I broke the candy cane, but we put the rest in a cute little gingerbread man tin.


Oh, and we won't be forgetting the dog!  We'll be waiting a little closer to Christmas, but she will be getting some homemade dog biscuits.

Mom's Heart is on Facebook!

It's about time, right?  I have finally taken the plunge and created a page for Mom's Heart on Facebook.  I know everyone has their own preference for how they prefer to follow blogs, so I wanted to make sure those that prefer Facebook can still keep up with Mom's Heart.  Be sure to Like Mom's Heart for homeschooling articles, curriculum reviews, freebies, giveaways and other things you might find interesting!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's Time for Change

You may already know this, but if you don't, I'm a slacker.  Things that need to get done, I put off until the last minute.  Things that I want to get done...well, I just put those off indefinitely.  I don't know why I do this.

Then I read  Less Planning and More Doing by Susan, a fellow Crew member.  In this very honest post, Susan describes how she struggles with this, and how she wants CHANGE!  It was like reading a description of myself and my life.  I have things planned out in my head.  Sometimes simple ideas, sometimes elaborate plans.  I just have no execution and follow-through, and these unfinished projects get in the way of more important things.

Susan is creating a weekly link-up for those of us who struggle with this and need accountability.  Our first assignment is to really examine things, to figure out our goals, determine which projects we wish to accomplish, and decide how to accomplish those.

The first projects I want to work on this week:

Clean The Storage Closet in the Utility Room  
This one is actually quick and easy.  My husband already said he will remove a few heavy boxes for me, and then I can clean out the corner.  I'd like to eventually add an overhead shelf to maximize space, but for now, I just need the floor space so I can move on to the next project.

Finish the Baby's Room
She is due in just a few short weeks after all.  (ahhh!)  This one actually won't be too hard either.  The husband already has all the furniture assembled.  We just need to move some totes into the storage closet mentioned above.  I need to get the car seat ready.  I already have the newborn and 0-3 months clothes washed and put away, but I have a tote full of slightly bigger clothes to sort and put away.


These pictures?  I got them for the baby's room, and they've just been sitting here for the last few weeks.  I just need to decide where to hang them, and husband would gladly do it for me.   (I would do it myself, but I'm too off-balance right now to climb up and down step-stools!)


Her room should be fairly easy once I start.  It's just making myself get to that starting point.  I am determined that by next week's post, I will have at least these two small projects finished.

Accomplished This Week...
I did get one of my "to-do" book reviews written.  My husband's grandmother released her third book this summer, and I've been wanting to write a review for it on Amazon for her.  I did get that finished this week!

Be sure to check out Susan's Becoming Do-er's post and get motivated to find a project in your house to finish!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: This and That Christmas

It's birthday week!  This week was my Iron Man's birthday.  It's so hard to believe he's 6 years old!  We took him to one of his favorite restaurants, then out for dessert, but I'm having trouble getting my favorite picture transferred from my phone.  *sigh*  We're traveling today for my doctor's appointment, so we'll spend the night at the other house and have his family birthday party on Saturday.  Star Wars theme!

Anyway, this post is a bit of random of things we've done over the last couple of weeks, since I haven't posted a weekly wrap-up lately.

Iron Man is in Kindergarten
Hulk (3) is doing an informal Tot School


Singapore Math
I ordered Singapore's inexpensive Kindergarten curriculum this past spring.  We ended up skipping Book A because it was too easy, and we just did a lot of living math for awhile.  We've finally picked up with Book B and he is flying through several pages a day at his request, because it is easy review too.


Telling Time
Iron Man has been informally learning to tell time for awhile, but he basically asked if he could learn it for school.  (He found the Judy clocks in a math drawer.)  We skipped ahead in the Singapore book, but it only had a couple of questions related to clocks.



He insisted on more questions.  So I dug out this little workbook that I bought for probably $0.50 and he did some of the activities in it too.

Hundreds Chart
He asked for some more Hundreds Charts, so I gave him Santa's Suit and The Grinch, both from Lil' Country Kindergarten.  These are good "I'm bored" activities, because he can work on them independently, stop when he wants to take a break, and return whenever he's ready.

I don't know a little boy that doesn't love rubber bands, so when he found a big bag of them, I quickly found the geoboards.  I don't need him aiming the rubber bands at his little brother!

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Literature and Art
I'm not an artsy person, so it's easier for me to tie in activities to a book than it is to just offer art.  So we've been focusing on our Christmas book basket recently.  We did a Christmas for the Snowmen Art Project as a literature tie-in recently, and this week we did some science and art and craft activities with The Candymaker's Gift.

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Just for Fun
A little Christmas freebie on the iPad.

I found this little wooden coloring craft in the $1 spot at AC Moore, so I grabbed one, since I already had one sitting in our Christmas stuff that never got colored last year.  I was surprised he spent so much time working on it.

Even More Coloring
Just look at those eyelashes!
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Language Arts
I promise we're doing reading lessons, I just don't have any pictures.  It's much easier to get pictures of him doing independent work.  We're still doing PAL, and he is doing GREAT with it, I just work more closely with him on it than I do math.  This week we mostly spent reviewing and reading beginner books.


Pattern Blocks
Hulk enjoyed several Christmas Pattern Block Mats (from PreKinders), and I'm going back to print some more.

Of course, there was some independent creations (and messes) too.

More Building
As always, you can find Hulk stacking.  And in his character pajamas.
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Peg Games
Hulk likes playing around with the traditional triangle peg game, but I have some seasonal ones too.  I have two from last year, and I picked up Tic Tac Toe this year, all three from Dollar Tree.  They're great for counting, sorting, patterning, and fine motor skills, but big brother is also trying to teach him the rules to to the games as well.


Arts and Crafts
Hulk colored his wooden craft, but he didn't spend very much time on it.  He's always on to bigger and better things!  Oh, and don't worry.  Iron Man promptly told me it was crooked and fixed it for me.


He also colored a Santa page with us.  Can you tell he was amused with himself for coloring it the "wrong" color?

Of course he did some Snowman Art and his own Marble Painted Candy Cane Collage with big brother.
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It's been a quiet couple of weeks, but things are about to get crazy with doctor's appointments and Christmas.  I can't wait until my classes are over for the year and I can mark one thing off my list!