Thursday, February 28, 2013

Creation Museum Weekend Part #1

Last weekend our family took a little homeschooling trip. I'm hoping it was the first of many learning and exploring trips our family will take.
After hearing that the Creation Museum in Cincinnati, OH (actually it's right across the river in KY) was offering homeschoolers a discount for the months of January and February, I thought, "Why not?" and began researching the opportunity. Here's what we came out with:
On Friday as soon as my husband was able (around 10:30am) we hopped in a neatly packed car and headed toward Cincinnati. We enjoyed the beautiful drive and the kids used the time to watch a little Magic School Bus science on the human body as well as play a bit on the Kindle. After a packed lunch (something like these) and a quick dinner ($16 at Wendy's) we stopped at our first destination: a BIG surprise for the kids.
CocoKey Indoor Waterpark!

Turns out that Friday nights are a special deal--from 4pm-9pm the cost is $10/person. So we took the plunge and it was well worth it! There were four large water slides that looped around outside the building--2 for tubes and 2 body slides. The daddy and the big kiddos went straight for these. The youngest needed a little build up. So we started with those small yellow slides in the second picture, worked our way to the wading pool kid slides and then she was ready for the smaller tube slides--
And that blur is my usually afraid but steadily growing up youngest!
And then there was of course the huge bucket (2nd pic) that dumped every 20 minutes or so. That was always fun.
But the best part? Definitely the hot tub! It had a little doorway to outside in the 40 degree weather, so that you could escape the noise and crowds for a while and just sit in the hot water with the sky above you. 
I also tried out one of the tube big slides, by the way, and really enjoyed it. It was a mild and exhilarating ride.

After CocoKey, we headed back to our hotel. We were able to get a reduced upgrade, so for about $100 a night, we got a suite with two rooms. I thought the kids might crash from being at the water park for three hours, but no such luck. They were very wound up and eventually went off to sleep around 10pm. 
Stay tuned for part 2...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Moxie Jean

I have discovered a wonderful secret! You no longer have to spend hours tagging those old kids' clothes for those consignment sales! You are FREE!
(Can you tell that tagging was not my favorite pastime?)
Moxie Jean is your ticket out!
And what is Moxie Jean? Well, it is a brilliant online consignment shop. It only accepts the best brands and the best quality. But the best part? No tagging.
If you hop over to Moxie Jean's website, you can "order" a free mailer bag. Just put it in your cart and check out--there will be no cost.

Once you receive that, stuff it carefully with your best kids' clothing. Take it to the Post Office or leave it for your postman. The postage is already paid.
Then, in a timely fashion (I know because I've already done it once and two more mailer bags are sitting on my counter ready to be filled.) you will receive an email with a list of the clothes Moxie Jean will accept from your mailer bag and the amounts that they will give you for each. Any clothes not accepted will be donated.
After that you have an option: You can use your newfound funds to buy clothes on Moxie Jean or you can ask them to cut you a check. And then it's done. Simple as that. You receive a check in the mail. Hoorah!
Happy NOT tagging! And happy shopping too. 

(All these thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone. I didn't receive a cent from Moxie Jean for sharing all of this with you--I'm just excited that there's something like this out there. And I guess I'm a little tiny bit upset that I didn't think of it myself.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Freezing Avocados

Did you know you can freeze avocados?
And since avocados were $.33 at Aldi (!!!) a few weeks ago, I felt like it was a great time to give this a try!
Most of the time Aldi's avocados are pretty firm, so I let mine sit on the counter in a pretty little bowl for a week. Then I got industrious. I scooped out all the wonderfulness of the avocado, mashed it well and added about a tablespoon of lemon for each avocado.
Then I filled some baggies with enough for guests and some baggies with only 1 1/2 avocados for just our family. I closed the small baggies carefully, pushing out any air and then put all the little baggies in a big baggie.
We've already pulled out a family sized portion and let it thaw on the counter before mixing it with salsa to make some yummy guacamole!
I could also use this as an avocado mayo for sandwiches or mix it with pasta as a very healthy sauce.
Avocado makes pretty much anything better!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

We are celebrating around here again!
(bonus: sneak peek at the dining room makeover)

You can even make them pink with beets!

May the love of God bless you richly this year!
Other Valentines posts:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Attitude Jar

This little beauty has revolutionized our time together homeschooling.
When we started back homeschooling, we had a really hard time with attitudes. I'm including myself in this, and I really think the attitude jar has helped me too!
I bought this little vase and stones for a fish tank at Walmart. I set it out with a few less stones in it than you see here. Each day I look for willingness to do what I ask, cheerfulness during school, quick response to direction, etc. I reward this kind of behavior with another stone in the jar.
The opposite of that behavior can result in removing a stone or two from the jar. 
I like this because I don't have to fuss or spend any time at all on the discipline except for reaching over and taking a stone from the jar.
When the jar is full, we will pause from our schooling and go out for ice cream!
I have seen that it doesn't take long for bad attitudes to take root in our little classroom,
but I have also seen that it doesn't take long before
good attitudes can become the habit.
This could work in any situation with preschoolers or chores or I've even seen adults rewarding themselves for chores remembered or tasks done in this way!
It's amazing what pretty stones piling up in a clear vase can encourage us to do.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Homeschool Update

School is going well this semester.
We've enjoyed implementing many of the plans I made at the beginning of the semester.
We've added a few things, taken away a few things and we're learning how to work together a little better.
During each week:
1. The oldest takes 2 hour horseback riding class
2. The boy reads at least one book aloud to me. He is also reading Tin Tin books on his own.
3. The youngest does writing and reading worksheets and reads books aloud with me.
4. We finish five math lessons in Saxon. I've learned that our lessons go much (MUCH) more smoothly if I pick and choose a bit and don't make the kiddos do every problem. We still get all the skills, just not quite as much repetition.
5. The youngest has two days of pre-school at our church.
6. The oldest and the boy and I are learning so much about Africa! We have all of the Africa songs (Kathy Troxel Geography Songs are wonderful!) memorized and we're learning about the countries as well. (Did you know that the USA doesn't really know what to do with Western Sahara? Some claim it's an independent country, but Morocco also claims it's theres. We just try to stay out of that argument.)
7. We are learning Philippians 2 and reading other Bible verses each day about "having the same mind as Christ Jesus"--being servant-like and humble, obedient and loving, thankful and peaceful.
8. We are continuing to work through the catechism questions--not worrying so much about memorization as understanding what we are reading.
9. The hubby is reading about Christopher Columbus's time each morning.
10. The oldest and the boy have choir on Wednesday evenings at our church.
11. All three kiddos go to Kid's Club on Wednesday evenings at our church.
12. The oldest and the boy are taking a speech class taught by a local college student for kids 
ages 6 to 14. They will learn how to give different kinds of speeches to their homeschool group.
15. We have joined with a neighbor/fellow homeschooler for an art class. The other mom is teaching it and it's great! She chose to start with early Renaissance painters, which lines up neatly with our time period in history.
16. The boy is working each week on a Wordly Wise list of words and the girl is using the 4th grade K12 list of spelling words. 
17. They are each writing/drawing in a journal weekly.
18. We are visiting the aquarium for classes monthly. Our first one was on sea horses. (Did you know that sea horse daddies are the ones to carry the babies?) Next comes otters. (Otters have pockets! They carry food and their special stone for breaking shells in their pocket!)
We're using a wonderful little attitude jar to make our times together more pleasant (and Christ-like). I'll be sharing about that soon!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Cookie Cutters in the Snow
One of my oldest's brilliant ideas!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Dining Room Re-do

When we moved into our house 5 1/2 years ago, the existing window treatments were left for us. They had been there when the couple before us moved in, and they were happy to leave them to us as well. They are beautiful and well made, very expensive, and the ones in the dining room exactly matched all my Chinese art that had been in the dining room of our old house.
So we have used and enjoyed and loved our dining room decorations for many years.
Through birthday parties
and Valentines days

and Christmas and more Valentines days and more birthdays and and Easters and dinner parties...
And well, now it is time for a change.
I got a wild hair a few weeks back and took the curtains down.
When I told my hubby that I wanted to go all white with the room, he looked at me like I was crazy. I was taking down very nice, very expensive wonderful curtains to try out a hair-brained idea of inexpensive IKEA curtains?! But my husband is very generous and spoils me, so he said and uncertain, "OK," and left me to my dreaming.
So here's where our dining room stands now:  
2 sets of white IKEA panels     $20
4 sets of allen and roth curtain rings     $44
white table cloth from Walmart    $10
I have also bought primer and very, very light grey paint to paint the yellow wall paper   $50

This weekend my mom is coming to help me paint, and I'm going to try to figure out some kind of wall art. We also might paint this shelf 
a nice grey (?) maybe.
I'm also thinking about this grey rug from
A 7 1/2 by 9 1/2 rug would cost $200 with the sale they're running. A little bit more than the $25 Craigslist rug we have right now, but it's something worth thinking about.

I'm excited about going from a beautiful but busy and colorful room to a calm, clean white.
Are there any suggestions out there for the wall art for a white, calm room?
Happy decorating!