Saturday, November 26, 2011

I can officially listen to Christmas music... that we've had the turkey and done the shopping! That's the law that the hubs lays down. We have to get through Thanksgiving before we start decorating and everything. The music is all part of the "and everything." :)

Thanksgiving dinner with part of the family went well on Thanksgiving day. By 830pm I was in line at Best Buy, lol (even though I had ordered what I wanted to wait in line for from their website at 630 that morning!). It was actually a fun night. There were tons of people, so the people watching was fun. They had an outdoor screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 while everyone was waiting, and that was pretty cool. When we were finally let in at midnight, things were going VERY smoothly. Much more so that I expected. They were letting people in by groups of 30 so there were no trampling issues and they had maps they passed out beforehand of how the check out lines were going to work and where they started. We were impressed.

After Best Buy, we hit IHOP and found ourselves at Walmart by about 330am. It was basically dead and everything had been picked through, and I was on my way home (with seasons 3, 4 and 5 of Supernatural, yay!) by 4 or so.

Now, we are on the way to my parents for the weekend where we will have dinner and fun with them!

Next week is the boys' last day at Masters until after the New Year. After their last day on Thursday, the Masters' kids are in a parade of lights in town...that should be fun.

We are officially on break, so I don't really have any plans for them as far as school goes. At least not right now. Reading and spelling, but that's about it. We are going to look into which of the homeschool writing courses we are going to sign Bailey up for in January. I really wish we had done it sooner, but time and money are always factors in everything. At his grade level, they have courses in mechanics, paragraph writing, essay writing and more. I'm sure he will be taking more than one, but finding a good one to start with is important. Fortunately, we have a writer in the house (Shameless plug for the hubs: You can totally go download his ebook from Amazon for only $.99 right now! :) Click here: Celadonian Tales Vol: 1 Blood and Brass), so he is going to have a good bit of input on where to jump in.

I didn't know that the same website offers elementary online writing courses too. Even though it might be a little too much for him right now, we are going to toss around the idea of signing him up for the youngest course they have...if nothing else to help with grammar and sentence structure. We'll see. :) for more turkey! I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving with their loved ones! :D

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vocabulary, Thanksgiving and Black Friday!

This week was a good week for us. I'm still sucking with my time management skills, but the boys had a good week. My grandmother had a couple of doctor appointments that I helped her with, and I spent all day Wednesday at our first tax meeting of the season (Aaaaahhhh, it's already tax season?!?!), so the boys, and the hubs, had a good trial run of what things are going to be like while I'm out of the house for those six weeks or so I'm at the office.

This week is our last official week of school, as we are on track to take our winter break from Thanksgiving until right after the New Year. We never do nothing for those few weeks, but it's entirely different. We focus on holiday studies (like mini unit studies) rather than our normal curriculum. They will work on spelling, but I will only ask them to play spelling games rather than do their normal spelling lists. They will still do their independent reading, but will more than likely spend that time reading holiday stories.

I have no idea what Bailey will read over the holidays, he hasn't decided. Braeden is going to tackle The Polar Express. He has improved SO much lately with his reading. We are loving it! Things are just clicking for him, left and right. A lot of the improvement came after we focused on helping him with his reading vocabulary. He concentrated on sight words in spelling, and played a lot of vocabulary games online.

We also tried to continue the vocabulary focus when we were away from computers too. One way we did this was by playing word games in the car (we spend A LOT of time in the car, lol). We started playing our own version of "The Alphabet Game." Most people play where you follow the alphabet...for instance, Bailey starts and he uses the word "ant." Then it's Braeden's turn and "b" is his letter so he uses the word "bat." And it keeps going. Sometimes you can lay down restrictions, like the words can only be animals or can only be foods.

We play that way, but our favorite variation is where one person starts with any letter of their choice but the next person's word has to start with the last letter of the previous word. So Walter uses the word "skill" and then I'm next and use the word "love." Then Bailey's next and he uses "eat." And so on. When Walter and I play, we don't try to choose only words that the boys know. We use whatever words come to mind and if they don't know what those words mean, then we explain them and use them in a sentence. So we're helping Braeden, but Bailey is benefiting too. :)

This coming week is going to be kinda hectic, much as it is for the majority of the country, lol. Tomorrow I am taking an entire Saturday for myself. Horrible, I know. I am spending the whole day, from about 9am until midnight, with Tracy and her SIL Jen. We will be scrapbooking at Archivers. I love these ladies, and Jen lives in Connecticut so I don't get to see her as often as I would like. I haven't really scrapped in a long while, and I'm so looking forward to it!

The rest of the week will honestly be leading up to Thanksgiving. We will be cramming in last minute school things before our break. Thanksgiving day we will have dinner with my grandmother and that night Tracy, her husband Scott, Jen and myself will head out for Black Friday shopping!!!! It's going to be so much fun! Best Buy is handing out tickets for something we are getting the boys as gifts, and they will start handing out the tickets at 10pm. Doors open at midnight and the frenzy begins. Last year we didn't really hit Best Buy. We did the Walmart thing. I wasn't going to buy anything, but I ended up with over $200 in $5 and $10 Blurays. This year, I'm not even going to pretend I'm not buying anything other than the boys' specific gift items. I'm almost as excited for the movie buying this year as I am about their gifts we are hopefully getting. Scott and I are the Bluray/movie addicts, so we already have our lists of what we want to fight over! ;) Once we are all shopped out, we'll go eat at IHOP and deliriously laugh over what we saw and how excited we are with what we bought, lol.

After shopping, we're heading to my parents where they host a huge Thanksgiving dinner that Saturday. About 50 people huge. It's crowded and crazy, but fun and there's tons of good food.

I have so much in my life I am thankful for, and each year, even through the craziness, I love being able to spend this time with family and friends and give thanks. I hope each and every one of you have a fabulous Thanksgiving with your loved ones!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Little Bits of Random...

In reading some blogs this week, I came across a blogger who had a "random" post. She took many things she wanted to say, and just said them. Randomly. This idea intrigued me because so often, I have so much I want to say and I can't find a way to work everything into a post that flows. So, this week, I'm not going to try. I'm just gonna be random. ;)

* I can't believe it's November and I'm perusing the Black Friday sale ads. How crazy. Where have the last 10 months gone?!

* I loved, loved, LOVED this week's episode of Glee. 

* The boys did really well with their online subjects this week, but fought me at the handwriting worksheets. Shocker. 

* Speaking of handwriting... what does everyone think of teaching cursive writing? Still necessary, or gone the way of the Dodo?

* We're visiting my parents and MIL this weekend. Looking forward to seeing everyone. Getting some holiday pictures made with the boys and my niece. 

* I don't sleep at night. I would like to say I don't know why. But the last two months, I blame it on Gilmore Girls. I had never seen it, but I have blown through seven seasons since Labor Day. :)

* I'm a sandwich meat snob. 

* I'm making my own Christmas cards again this year. Every year about this time, I am very excited. I think up a design, pick up needed supplies and pat myself on the back for going through so much effort for my holiday cards. Then, about 4 days before Christmas, I'm cursing the damn cards and I'm swearing that I will never make my own again. Finally getting them all in the mail, half of them running a good chance of getting to their destination after Christmas, I calm down and pat myself on the back again. Heh. 

* We have been talking about signing Bailey up for homeschool writing courses for a while, but as usual, I have procrastinated. We are finally going to let him start his first one in January, when I start the tax thing this year. January is a tough month for us because we are coming off a nice long holiday break AND trying to adjust to me being out of the house again. Hoping the writing course is a good thing; introducing something new to take the monotony out of things. Now, to find something similar to help rejuvenate and motivate Braeden...

* We have several movies we are looking forward to seeing over the next few weeks. The Muppets, Arthur Christmas, The Muppets, Happy Feet Two and finally, The Muppets. What? :P

* I try and start Christmas shopping early every year, but inevitably, my first purchase is on Black Friday. However, this year, I have already started and have 3 gifts ready to go under the tree. Yeah, 3 isn't a lot. But it's a start!

* It's no secret that I'm a rabid TV watcher. Some of my favorite shows are guilty total teen angst drama crap that I wait for every week but I never tell anyone about. My favorite teeny show? The Vampire Diaries. There is a whole lotta pretty in that show. :D 

* I love the seasonal flavors of coffee creamer that are out right now.

* Next week, (one of our favorite resource sites) is hosting it's first ever Virtual Book Release Party. I have never been a part of a book release party, virtual or otherwise. Looking forward to it. If you check it out, you may even win a Kindle copy of the books being released.

* While thinking about books...I cannot believe that there's a new Sherrilyn Kenyon - Dark Hunter AND a Janet Evanovich - Stephanie Plum novel out that I haven't read yet. Darn Gilmore Girls. Guess I won't be sleeping much the next few nights either, lol.

* I love my iPad. Best gadget EVAR. 

* I have thoroughly enjoyed my randomness this week. I would expect to see more little bits of random from me every few weeks!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Music, Art and School Pictures!

This week we had our field trip to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Art. We had a GREAT time! Honestly, I was surprised at just how much we enjoyed ourselves, even if we did have to wake up at 6am (that's 6am in normal human speak, but that's the middle of the night in Katie speak!). Neither experiences were something that we had done before and it's quite possible we've found new interests to explore as a family. 

At the Orchestra, we got to sit in the front row. This was super cool in so many ways, but it was a little limiting as far seeing the whole orchestra. Still, it was fabulous for the boys to say they were in the front row, lol. Besides getting to hear beautiful music, we learned a lot too! I had no idea a double bass was so big, what the difference was in a viola and a violin, or why being the "Concertmaster" is different than being "First Chair." After the performance, we toured the High. It was really cool...they were showcasing the artists Picasso, Pollock, Warhol; as well as few others. No, I don't remember all the names. Yes, that's shameful. Moving on... :) Our experience on Wednesday led the boys to come home and Google quite a bit. They wanted to see other pieces of art by the artists we saw, as well as more information about the orchestra. They also played some art and music games online. Yay for learnin'!

Thursday, the boys got to have their first official "school photos" made. I can't wait to see how they turned out! The photographer took several different shots, all outdoors. I love that there will be signs of fall in the background. We always take our own Christmas card photos (there's nothing wrong with that at all!), but I'm looking forward to being able to gift a different style of picture this year.

This week proved to be hectic, as I knew it would. Next week things will be as normal as normal is for us. The boys are going to work on a Veteran's Day mini unit study, which they are looking forward to. They have been playing a lot of science and math games lately, so I think I'm going to assign some different games...just to throw them off, lol. ;) Some geography games and some health games sound good. 

I hope everyone has a great week!