Monday, June 24, 2019

My First 5K to a Healthier Lifestyle

Growing up, particularly in my teen years, I wasn't athletic.  I did what was required in Physical Education, and I participated in the active games at camp.  I swam because we had a pool.  I just didn't play sports or hike for fun. I can't say that I wasn't good at anything, because I never cared to find out. I was the girl with a book, after all.

So when my husband asked me if I wanted to take a 5K training class with him, I may have laughed.  Or scoffed.  Or otherwise responded incredulously.  His sister started running a few years ago, and she was leading her first class. It would be a 9 week class to lead up to running a 5K, and she recruited him easily.  He wasn't particularly athletic as a kid either--he did a couple years on and off of marching band--but he's been active on and off the last few years at the gym, so he already had a head start over me.  I decided to at least do the class.  I would have several weeks to decide if I wanted to register for the race, but for the time being, it would be one evening a week for us to try something new together.

Long story short, we both signed up for the race and loved it!

Video by an experienced runner in our class who finished ahead of us.

Our goal was to cross the finish line.  We just wanted to do something we promised ourselves we could do and had worked hard for.  I estimated it would take me 45 minutes, based on my last few runs on the farm.  Training on the farm driveway (slight hills) is more difficult than running in a mostly flat neighborhood, so my pace was actually better than I anticipated.  As we rounded the corner and could see the finish line and the timer, he said "Let's get it under 40:00" but we crossed at 40:06 and 40:07.  (We might have made it had we not slowed at the water station.)  When we saw the final results though, our chip time was just under - mine was 39:46:00 and my pace was 12:55 which was better than any training sessions!

While it might not be anything to write home about, I was happy with the results for my first time doing anything remotely athletic.  Neither of us "placed" in our age division, but our overall place was better than many that did place - so I didn't let that discourage me!  I know that if he is consistent with training, he could wipe the floor with me, but we're both looking forward to more running!

©2011-2019 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Washington, D.C.

Several weeks ago, we had the opportunity to travel with my husband for work.  It was an impromptu thing for us, and we decided to do a little "side trip" to Washington, D.C for a few hours after his meeting.  Since it wasn't planned, we basically just walked around and enjoyed the monuments.  We didn't do any tours or museums, but we definitely have plans to return and do more! 

We started out with a quick, unhealthy lunch of hot dogs and potato chips! 

Then we just started walking, looking at monuments, statutes and buildings on our way to the White House. Kids insisted we start there!

We'd already been walking awhile, and it was warm, so we were a hot mess.  Eloise and Emory said the White House was their favorite stop.

I believe Elliott was most excited about viewing The Washington Monument.  That was the first thing he asked to see when we found out we were going.

It was breathtaking to walk out of the Lincoln Memorial and see the Washington Monument from that vantage point.

Eloise asked Daddy to take her picture . . . she was dancing and posing and had people laughing.  She actually did a little dance through the park while listening to some jazz music, and had people laughing then too.  It's amazing sometimes, to watch a 4 year old without a care in the world!

Then she wanted to take a picture! We thought she meant of the monument, but no, "everyone get together now!" I think she did well.

We visited the Vietnam Memorial.  My father-in-law is a veteran and while he doesn't talk much about the war, he did talk a little about the wall with us when we returned, and mentioned some names he'd have had us look for, had he known.

Part of the Korean War Veteran's Memorial.

 We came into the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial from behind the "mountain of despair" but this is another magnificent monument.  On the way out of DC we had the kids listen to his I Have A Dream speech.

They wanted to sit for a minute and rest, and Eleanor wanted their picture taken.  Eloise insisted I join, but I'm not sure what the face was all about.

Then it became clear. She later told me she just wanted to be the star of the pictures! I don't doubt she was telling the truth!

There was a lot more we looked at of course, and the boys got a kick out of seeing the Secret Service up close (more frequently around the White House of course) and we had ice cream and just enjoyed people watching. We walked just under 8 miles in the few hours we were there. It was a lot for the girls, because we aren't really long distance walkers or a family of hikers or anything . . . but everyone came out unscathed! We headed back to the hotel for pizza and a swim and everyone crashed that night!  We can't wait to go back, but next time we'll go with an itinerary!

©2011-2019 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Five in a Row: Little Nino's Pizzeria

This is such a fun little book to row if you love pizza!  My kids love pizza - and one kid will eat any recipe with the word pizza in it, so "pizza" meals are a regular on our menu.

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Little Nino's Pizzeria, at first glance, appears to be a simple book about a pizzeria. However, if you look past the simple text, the themes about family and "wanting more" are important concepts to discuss with all ages, and as always - there are so many academic topics wrapped up in a children's book! 

Language Arts
I did our own thing for Language Arts with this book.  I printed two different pages for the girls.  One straight coloring page for Eloise, and P is for Pizza for Eleanor.

"A Pizza the Size of the Sun" by Jack Prelutzky
The webpage for the printable was unavailable this time (I used it with the boys) but we listened to his performance.

Social Studies
Relationships - Father & Son 
We talked about why we love Daddy, and some of the fun things we do with Daddy - some of her favorite memories!

  • Get Ice Cream
  • Huggies (big hugs)
  • Play Outside
  • Great Wolf Lodge

Character - Servant Heart
We talked about being helpful, and ways we can be helpful to other people!

Measurements & Fractions
The lessons in the book discussed counting and measurements of weight, which happen naturally during the cooking lessons.  However, I can't figure out why there wasn't an additional lesson on Fractions, given that pizza lends itself so well to introducing or reviewing fractions!  We didn't do much with it formally, but we played a Pizza Fraction Game.

Arts & Crafts
While I'm not a huge fan of crafty-crafts, Eleanor is, so I oblige from time to time.  We made a "paper plate pizza" except I didn't use paper plates, just card stock.  This way it would still fit in her notebook.

She also loves to draw, so I found a fun drawing video - How to Draw a Funny Pizza from Art for Kids Hub!

 She did two of these - at her request - one for her notebook and one for her room!

Then this was just a pizza she drew in her notebook.

Henry Matisse
There were several art lessons in the book, but I decided to focus on Henri Matisse with Kidzaw Master Kits The Red Studio.  I had actually bought this when it was on sale (because we loved Van Gogh's The Starry Night when we reviewed it) and it tied in to this lesson well . . . although we didn't love the finished product nearly as much as The Starry Night.

Food and Food Groups; Cooking
We talked about food groups!  I found this Food Groups Sorting Activity, and we discussed all the food groups. Discussing yeast is a great option when you're making pizza crust too, but husband does that with them anyway.

We order pizza regularly, and make personal pizzas occasionally anyway, but that week we also had Pizza Sandwiches--a grilled cheese style sandwich but with mozzarella and pepperoni inside. For Taco Tuesday we had Taco Pizzas, which was just naan bread with our favorite pizza toppings.  We also had pizza lunchables for a treat that week.

More Fun . . . 

Both girls played pizzeria that week.  We have had this Melissa and Doug Pizza Party set for a few years now, and just like our other M&D sets, it is a favorite! It's also great for discussing fractions, but of course they just like to have us order our favorite toppings and to serve us.

Reading Rainbow!! Amazon Prime, Season 4 Episode 5 features pizza and specifically, Little Nino's Pizzeria!

While watching the episode, the book What Happens to a Hamburger was featured, and when I said "Oh we have that..." she of course wanted to read it.

It was a great, casual row, but as always, so many topics explored!

©2011-2019 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Hey Mama! Homeschool Planner {review}

It's that time of the year again. As the formal homeschool year winds down, I'm already thinking about next year. I can't shut my mind off when it comes to homeschooling. If I'm not actively homeschooling, I'm reading, researching, and planning. Luckily, we were given the opportunity to review the new Hey, Mama! Homeschool Planner for 2019/20 Year. Published by The Old Schoolhouse® and written by Gena Suarez, this is a great planner for a variety of moms!

Hey Mama! Planner

This is a simple, but gorgeous planner designed for an average homeschool family (of up to 5 students) following a traditional school calendar.

It includes a "year at a glance" calendar for 2019, 2020 and 2021, followed by twelve sets of devotionals, monthly note pages, and monthly calendars. These run from July 2019 to June 2020. This accommodates a summer or fall start the best, because even those who start their formal academic year in August or September typically count all the educational activities and experiences (camps, VBS, family trips) that happen during the summer.

While the notes page and calendar are a great place to write down monthly goals, objectives and appointments, the Hey Mama! devotional from Gena Suarez shares encouragement, verses and gentle reminders for the homeschool mama's heart!

Hey Mama! Planner

Following the monthly calendars, you will find the core planner pages. The weekly pages are undated, which is nice, because if you take a week off for break, you can pick back up without "losing" space in your planner. The five columns are labeled Child 1, Child 2 . . . Child 5.  You could choose to write their names underneath.  The seven rows are all blank, so you can label by subject or book, or day of the week, or however you choose.  I only have four children, and only three will be formal school age next year, so I could use at least one of the Child columns for Family Subjects like nature study, picture study, folk songs, etc.

Hey Mama! Planner

Although the very front of the planner has a transcript form, most of the planning and record-keeping forms are in the back of the planner.  Enough forms for five children, each set of forms starts with a lined page for your own notes/thoughts, a Curriculum Planning page, attendance form, Books Read This Year, Yearly Goals, First Semester Goals, and Second Semester Goals.  The goal pages go beyond educational goals--they include spiritual, life skills, financial and more! This allows you to really think about your child as a whole person and what their future may look like. The separate goal pages are great for allowing you to assess progress mid-year.  An older student should be involved in setting and assessing goals, so this is a great way to teach them how to prioritize and reassess as necessary!

For the unschooling/relaxed homeschool family, you may just choose to write down what you did after the fact as a form of record-keeping. The planner is flexible and can be used however suits your needs. Larger families will probably find it hard to personalize, as will those who start in January or other non-traditional months, since the planner is dated. Otherwise, I think it can be personalized to many homeschooling situations.

Homeschooling comes with a lot of planning and record-keeping.  Depending on the level of record-keeping required in your state, the planner can be used as part of your legal documentation, as a supplement to a portfolio assessment, or just for your own records. Some moms need a planner to keep them on track, and some just like jotting down notes afterwards for their own satisfaction. However you need to use it is up to you, but the Hey Mama! planner can help with a variety of situations!

As of now, they have sold approximately 98% of the print planners, and will not be printing more once they are sold out, so if you are interested, now is the time to buy one!

This graphic explains my disclaimer in accordance with FTC regulations.

©2011-2019 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Literature Fair and Before Five in a Row: We're Going on a Bear Hunt

When my 4 year old wanted to participate in the Literature Fair at our homeschool co-op, because her big siblings were, I decided we would do something simple with a fun Before Five in a Row book!

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We chose We're Going on a Bear Hunt because I had seen a cute idea on Pinterest that would be easy to implement with her.  It just required a little cutting, minimal painting and some glue, and we were able to take our own miniature bear hunt!   She loved it!

For the family, I googled something along the lines of "We're going on a bear hunt coloring page" and found a coloring page of the siblings, reduced the image, and printed it.  She worked pretty closely at making their clothes match the colors in the book.

She also colored another bear and watched the video Michael Rosen performing We're Going on a Bear Hunt.  It was all very simple, but at barely four years old, that is my desire!

Picking up her project after a busy day at co-op!

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Literature Fair & FIAR: The Giraffe that Walked to Paris

When I asked the older kids if they wanted to do participate in the co-op literature fair, a certain little Kindergartner chimed in that she wanted to participate!  So when we started planning for the Literature Fair, I knew I wanted to do a Five in a Row book.

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The Giraffe that Walked to Paris is a great book, but it is a long picture book, and not exactly fun to read five days in a row.  I decided that made it perfect for this project.  One or two readings would get us enough information for a small project.

I wanted something simple and attainable for a Kindergartner, and also something she could manage on her own for the fair.  I know trifold boards are the default, but I was relieved when our co-op director shared links for ideas that included lapbooks, small posters, cereal box reports, dioramas and other ideas.

We settled on a simple file folder.  Basically, she did a cute giraffe craft, painted outlines of Egypt and France, colored their flags, and gave me a "retelling" of the story. The retelling was, I think, more CM friendly than the dissection of "characters" and "plot" and such, especially at her age..  We also included a map of the giraffe's journey.  It was simple, but totally appropriate and fun for her age.

She also informally covered several of the topics found in the FIAR manual, even though we didn't "row" in the traditional sense.  She covered social studies through geography, science was giraffes (she watched a video on the Disney junior app about giraffes), and math was a by-the-way discussion about giraffe heights.  She also did this cute Crayola Giraffe Craft, and we printed the cover of this free lapbook for the cover of her folder.

Simple and "plain jane" but that's how we roll around here!

She's looking a little rough here, after gym class, but we were picking up her project at the end of the day.

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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Literature Fair: D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths

Our co-op director announced there would be a Literature Fair, and I knew at least one of my kids would be interested.

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Emory chose D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths, as that is his current interest.  He knew he wanted to represent the origins and the setting through the Nine Worlds and the tree.  He knew he wanted it to be 3D.  I showed him an idea with a trifold board, but it wasn't quite what he had in mind.  Trifold boards seem to be the default for literature fairs, but I didn't require it because it wasn't required for our co-op.  Our director shared links to a variety of project types-lapbooks, dioramas, etc and said the projects could be as simple or elaborate as desired.  Emory ended up being somewhere in between.

He and his dad shaved down a cone-shaped piece of styrofoam to be thinner and more tree-shaped, and they put tree branches in it, and covered it in clay.  Then he painted wooden discs to represent each world. We used thin gold wire to attach a few of the disks to the tree, hot glue for just one, and some of them we just laid flat.  The roots were just a thin twine that was in a box of craft supplies.

Since he wasn't doing a traditional project with plot/theme/character analysis, I did ask him to narrate something about the project or why he chose it.  He ended up talking about the creation of the tree and the norse gods, and we typed that up -- that is what is in the little "card" in the box.  (I feel this is more CM than dissecting the book, and it worked out for a book that is more short-story in nature anyway.)

Overall, he had fun and was proud of his project.  Here he is picking it up after a day at co-op and gym class!

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Clay Center & Leonardo da Vinci-The Genius

I like to look at museums within driving distance when planning day or quick overnight trips to see if there's anything of interest.  When I saw that there would be a Leonardo da Vinci exhibit called da Vinci-The Genius, at the art/science museum The Clay Center in Charleston, WV, I knew we had to go!  We studied da Vinci last year for picture study, and Emory has studied that time period this year (though we had already chosen the Michelangelo biography from AO) so it was an excellent field trip opportunity for the kids.  The Clay Center is a member of the ASTC Passport Program, so it makes a great option for traveling families.

This was the first time we'd visited The Clay Center, so it was a new experience all around for us.  There is a planetarium and performing arts center that we did not check out, but also the Avampato Discovery Museum and the Juliet Art Museum.

Avampato Discovery Museum
This is an interactive science museum spread out over three stories.  My kids are 4, 6, 9 and 12, and I'd say there was something for everyone!  The younger kids learn through exploration, while the older kids get more out of the actual science behind it.

We went into the WaterWorks exhibit first, and my first thought was - we should have saved this for last!  We actually ended up making another stop there by special request before heading out.  You could use gears to raise balls to the top of the structure, then they would roll down a ramp and back into the other end of the water table.  You could build on the LEGO platform, or make "dam" like structures. Lots of fun ways to play with water!

The Music Studio was a lot of fun too.  You could conduct the orchestra with a Wii remote . . .

Or "play" these instruments and watch the sound waves on the screen.

The digital harp was a hit with my kids.  The "strings" would light up when you touched them.

There was a lot going on in the "Healthy Me" exhibit, which focused on the human body in motion, but I didn't get a ton of pictures.  The kids could measure their heart rate, or test their pitch speed while throwing a ball.  They got to examine the human body systems on a large touch screen table, or check out the skeletal system at work!  As you cycled, the skeleton did too . . .

There were three or four of these with different resistance on them, and you could try to pull yourself to the top.

This Climbing Sculpture was a lot of fun for the big kids.  It has a height requirement, so wihile the big kids did this, I took Eloise into My Town.

My Town was set up like a real community.  You could sit at the governor's desk, go to the bank, the mechanic, or other businesses, and of course ride a police motorcycle!

You could also climb into a firetruck and drive or climb up to the back to use the hose to put out the fire!  They even had costumes throughout the exhibit . . . but I'm not keen on sharing clothes and hats.

Eloise also spent a lot of time at the vet clinic - there were several cages full of a variety of stuffed animals to choose from (dog, cat, snake, rabbit, etc) and you could take them around the room to bathe, examine or take x-rays.  It was cute, but she was on the go the whole time and there were many children in and out, so I didn't end up getting any shareable pictures.

Measurement Rules! was really neat, and I think a temporary exhibit to look at many different forms of measurement.  There was a huge balance scale in the middle, and they could move cans of different items (feathers, lego, etc) to each side to balance it.

This one measured . . . how far or how fast you ran.  I can't remember.

This one tested the "1 Mississippi = 1 Second" rule.

Then this one turned you into cubes to measure volume.  Emory really liked it!

You could measure your height in apples, spoons, pennies or old fashioned milk bottles.  You could test the speed of a ball and rearrange the "maze" to test it again.  You could measure how many scoops (with different sized measuring spoons) it took to fill a container.

This had a lot of fun stuff, and we spent a lot of time in here, but it was one of the busier exhibits.

Juliet Arts Museum
The Leonardo da Vinci exhibit was upstairs in the art museum.  It was a large gallery with replicas and facsimiles of his works.  There were large size replicas on display . . . .

Smaller displays . . .

. . . and even several that were hands-on.

There was a room with da Vinci paintings and The Last Supper projected in a slideshow/movie style onto the wall.  Since it was ART and not hands-on science, it wasn't quite as kid-friendly (with a very active 4 year old) so we had to watch little hands and moved through a bit quicker.

Another area, Art Space, was much more hands-on.  There were tables with different types of blocks and building materials, magna doodle type toys, a "mobile" where you hang shapes to balance it, etc.  There was a wall that turned your movements into pixels.  It had a lot of neat stuff, but I didn't get many pictures here either, because we were all exploring together!

There was also a reading nook area with a variety of art books!

Overall, The Clay Center was a nice place to visit, and I would definitely return!

©2011-2019 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.