Saturday, June 2, 2012

I'm Back!

I keep thinking I should write a new blog, and then I don't. Something happens and I don't. I sit down to write and get sidetracked, or interrupted and many times a combination of the two. And as I wrote those two sentences someone knocked on the door to try and pawn their religion off on me. That proves my point right there!

It's finally the end of the year (for school, that is). I feel like these past few months have dragged on since we finished quite a bit of the curriculum early, and I've been stretching for things to do and learn. That takes up a lot of time figuring out what we've done already, what should come next, what do we have planned, what can we plan, and what can I either get through the school or do for free. For now, I am (and I know the kids are) going to enjoy the break for June and July- before school planning starts up again in August. I'm also giving myself a huge pat on the back for surviving the year of homeschooling 3. We sure tried a lot of different things, and my dream of having everyone work quietly in one "schoolroom" has flown right out the window.

So since I am celebrating the end of the school year, here is a brief bit of what everyone learned this year.

Genius- Finished 5th grade. Learned Video design, C++, Multimedia Fusion game making, to Multiply/Divide 3 digit numbers, Early American History, Completed the Reading Plus college level in reading speed and accuracy, can write very good paragraphs, and can play all the sports offered very well.

Daredevil- Finished 2nd grade. Learned to play the drum set, read 8 notes and multi-bounces, to add and subtract 3 digit numbers with carrying (in his head too), to read words up to ones with silent-es, is starting to write and spell on his own phonetically, learned about famous Americans, and is done with the lower-level sports classes.

Princess- has learned her letters and can write her name, can follow the directions given by me (which was by far the hardest part this year), can add and subtract up to 10, can count to 30, has learned about the neighborhood and how things were different long ago, to tap dance and ballet dance, and learned to play soccer, football, kickball, dodgeball, track and field, volleyball and basketball.

Doorbuster- can sit and color quietly for 15 min or so, can identify vehicles, can count to 10 and backwards from 5, says Please and Thank you every time, to identify animals and uses 2-3 word sentences.

Oh and I forgot Science. Science is our favorite subject. We did flight, bubbles, space, moon, fossils, dinosaurs, circuits, electricity, and took trips to the Observatory, the Science Museum, the Hoover Dam (I'll do a post on that later), and had tons of fun.

It was a busy year.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

After-School Activities

We are so busy with our after school activities. 

All that rushing from place to place. Thankfully, we don't have much of that. 

When "school" is done it's time for fun, and fort building. 

The new toy I was waiting for is right there. I can now see what I am doing and I'm not squinting at little type anymore. My hubby is so thoughtful in his choices. He picked it out, and it had everything I needed and then some! 

The kids least favorite activity, shopping. They did get a kick out of this trip when I told them we needed to buy 15 frozen pizzas. I usually buy 3 at a time, enough for one meal. Buying 15 was a treat. Plus, I got a redbox rental with each one, making it an amazing deal (I got each box for $.53 each). 

We are just passing time until it's hot enough for the waterpark and beach!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

One More Disney Day

We attempted to go to the One More Disney Day on Feb 29th. Unfortunately, so did most of Southern California. Disneyland was full by the time we got there. It took us close to 2 hours to roll the mile to the park in traffic, get a parking pass, and decide to turn around and go home.

I save the parking passes, and we have a collage of parking passes and pictures from Disneyland on our walls. I have a 05/05/05 pass, and now a 02/29/12 one. I also keep them so I can count how many times we have been.    Crazy, I know.

We went back to Disneyland the next day, and it was perfect. Not too busy either, just 30 minute wait times.

It was a perfect day, blue skies, warm weather. I really don't like super busy days. If we would have made it into the park on the 29th, it would have been pretty miserable, and we would have been really tired the next day. God works in funny ways! 

We love to ride space mountain. I like to ride with my hands up. Sometimes I close my eyes. Sometimes I look at the ceiling. My hubby used to work close to Disneyland and he'd go ride Space Mountain during his lunch break. How cool is that?

What better way to learn about Physics then to ride some coasters? Princess is sad she is not yet tall enough to ride Screamin' yet.

California Adventure has come a long way from what it was. It's almost as enjoyable as Disneyland now. Almost. Cars Land will go a long way in improving it. We actually ate at California Adventure. The BBQ pizza was so good! It's on flatbread, with BBQ sauce, chicken, applewood smoked bacon, different kinds of cheese, and onions. It was so good! Normally we don't eat at the parks (who wants to buy overpriced theme park food?) but for this pizza I will make an exception! The pizza was perfect for me and Hubby to split, then we bought two more pizzas for the kids to split.

Here's my unsocialized homeschoolers where they belong. Just kidding! We went to toontown so Doorbuster could ride Gagets Go-coster. His first time on he was fine, the 2nd time they said he was too short and couldn't ride, because a map fit between his head and the height stand. Go figure. If you have kids that are barely touching it, be warned- a lot of the height things are off a bit between the one at the front of the line and the one at the entrance.

Genius, Daredevil and I got stuck on Indiana Jones when it broke down, and got to ride part of it with the lights on. I wish they'd do a annual pass-holder night and let us ride all the rides with the lights on. It's neat to see how they do certain things. It makes you really appreciate the work that goes into making the rides so special.

So that was our One (sort of) More Disney Day. I would say I'd go again next time, but I'm pretty sure that next time they'll make it an extra, ticketed, event. But the day after- perfect!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Making Laundry Soap

This post is dedicated to the Avocado Farmer's Wife. And to anyone else who wonders why I make my own laundry soap. A special thanks to my friends who showed me the error in my ways of using expensive laundry soap!

According to a article I read about how Tide is making new laundry pods (gee, just like we use for the dishwasher!), 32 loads of Tide cost about $15. That's about $.47 a load of laundry. The next popular one they list- Arm & Hamer with Oxyclean, costs $.23 cents a load. Making a 5 gallon bucket of laundry soap costs me about $1.50. Maybe a bit less. I get roughly 80 loads out of my bucket, since I use 1 cup per load. 1 cup is probably overkill, and I could more then likely use a 1/2 cup and be fine. At 80 loads, my cost per load is $.02.

That $.21 cents a load adds up pretty quick when you do laundry for 6 people and their towels, sheets, blankets, jackets, messes, etc. Making my laundry soap is quick and easy.

First, I grate a bar of soap. I usually use fels-naptha, but you can use zote, and I've heard of people using a bar or two of ivory. There is a great post over at Make Your Own Zone about using different soaps. I usually do this while I am watching TV. I think the only reason I ever get to watch TV is because I am grating soap or cutting coupons.

Then, I heat up some water (a few cups), and melt my grated soap to make soap soup. I usually let princess do some stirring to help out. The most expensive part of the recipe is buying the bar of soap. It costs $1.

Then I get out the next two ingredients, washing soap (not baking powder!), and borax. I've found these at Walmart, and it's pretty rare that Target carries them. Both boxes cost about $2.50ish each, and I'd imagine you can get quite a few loads out of them. I am about half way though both boxes and I've made soap about 5 times with them. 

I mix my soap mixture once it's melted, with one cup borax and one cup washing soada, into my 5 gallon bucket. I use the tub to fill the bucket up with more hot water, and stir it really well. 

Then I take my bucket out of the bathtub and put the lid on it tightly. Then I haul my heavy bucket over to the garage to sit by the washing machine overnight. This is when the magic happens. What starts as soapy water turns into a gel. 

Then you know your soap is ready to be used! The Duggar's dilute it in half with water, I just use it as it is. I think it's more of a what works for your family deal. I'm afraid to start diluting mine since it seems to work great as I make it. 

Dump a scoop into the laundry machine, let the water run for a bit, then add your clothes. You can add a bit of vinegar if your clothes are a bit stinky, or even some scented fabric softener (but, that will add to your cost). I use fabric softener sheets so I really don't worry about it (I get them pretty cheap with coupons). 

I wash my laundry at home, so I don't have to lug my bucket around. You could put it into a laundry detergent bottle, or a jar, or something else if you had to go to the laundry mat. I always sign up for free samples, so I have a stack of free sample detergent for laundry mat trips. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Battle of the Palm Fronds

I strongly dislike palm trees.

They don't serve a purpose, aside from taking up some room, and being the tallest thing on the horizon sometimes. They don't give fruit, they don't give (hardly any) shade, you can't put a tree house in them. You can't turn them into firewood (well, I've never tried). They are just there.

You also can't throw away the palm fronds (that'd be the "leaves") in the green waste bin.

They aren't recyclable either, so I'm guessing they must go in the rubbish bin. That's rubbish, because they are green and grow on trees and should go in the green waste bin.

We have this squat, short palm tree next to the dog run. We don't have a dog, so we use the dog run to stack the cans for recycling. Except whenever you take a bag of cans out, you have to battle the stupid, short, bushy palm tree that's taking up the planter right next to it. Finally, Hubby trimmed it. It makes that side of the yard look so much better.

But what to do with the palm fronds?

We crammed them into the green waste and put it by the curb. It didn't get picked up, and there was a note on it. I was expecting the note to say "No Palm Fronds". No, it said that our trash had to be out on the curb by 6am. Which it was. So the next trash day we put it out the night before. Again, they didn't pick it up.

So then my Hubby took the brick stamper downer thingy, and smashed the palm frawns down, and then tucked all the little pieces sticking out into the trash can. Nope. I guess the trash man is onto us.

I'm guessing our next plan will be to try and dump some of it into the rubbish bin. Our rubbish bins have some weeks when it is full, and some when it's pretty empty. Or we'll come up with a plan B.

And I think I'm going to offer up these awful trees on craigslist. One of us has to win this battle, and it wont be the tree.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Simple Woman's Daybook

It's time for another Daybook! A somewhat structured way of rambling! Join the linkup at The Simple Woman's Daybook if you want to join in! 

(Is it awful I've neglected this blog and just spent a few minutes wondering if I did this on Tuesdays or not?)


Outside my window... We are back to the perfect, sunny, 70 degree weather. It's perfect for bike rides and going to the park. 

I am thinking... I am kind of sad that we aren't going to Disneyland this week. We went the last two weeks and everyone wants to go again, but this week is just too busy. We are going next week for 24 hours (plus probably the next day), so I just need to practice patience. 

I am thankful... For a nice house to live in, for food in the cupboards, for the bag of bread flour I just bought, and for children who behave 80% of the time. 

In the kitchen... My kitchen is still recovering from the weekend I sort of took off. I need to finish getting the stuff that has accumulated on top of the counter. Everything needs to be returned to it's homes (like the blender). Then I am going to make bread and cinnamon rolls.

I am wearing... cleaning clothes, you could say. An old shirt, old shorts, and socks since my feet are cold. I have a bad habit of bleaching things and touching my clothes. 

I am creating... A clean and calm house, and working on getting rid of some clutter. I have a feeling this weekend I'm going to have to spend a day in the boy's room to purge a bunch of stuff they don't play with. 

I am going... Nowhere special this week, since we are getting extra schoolwork done before next week. Just doing our usual stuff. 

I am wondering... If I can manage to get some boxes up into the rafters. Will I be tall enough if I stand on the ladder? Will I manage to get the kitchen cleaned up so I can do a post on laundry soap? 

I am reading... I just finished reading The Hunger Games trillogy for the 3rd time, now I am going to start on some books my Mom started reading- the Janet Evanovich series. 

I am hoping... that my Hubby gets his raise and back pay in April so we can maybe take a trip to Vegas. The kids think Vegas is the greatest place aside from Disneyland. I think it's just the fun of a trip. I guess if that happens, I am also hoping we can fix the dvd player that goes in the car. 

I am looking forward to... Next week's Disneyland trip, since Hubby and a lot of our friends are going. I'm also looking forward to spring and warmer weather, we are ready to spend our days at the waterpark. 

I am learning... to load the dishwasher after lunch, and after dinner. My kitchen is 10x cleaner when I run it more often. My electric bill may go up a bit, but it's worth it to not have dishes waiting for their turn. 

Around the house... I finally got the Christmas sticker off the floor in the living room. I want to do some spring cleaning and decluttering, but the more we get closer to summer, I may save that until school is done. It's enough to keep up with regular stuff then to add in big projects. 

I am pondering... rearranging stuff, a rug, curtains, material, sewing, and what do I want to recover the kitchen chairs in. 

A favorite quote for today...  I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it. -Groucho Marx

One of my favorite things... A clean, mopped floor. 

A few plans for the rest of the week: more cleaning, more laundry, more schoolwork, more lessons, more practice, more studying, more visiting. 

A peek into my day...

Copying his big bro

Playing trains while wearing a tap shoe.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Sounds of Letters

I'm sitting her trying to come up with something to blog about, listening to Daredevil do Lexia (a very, very good reading program). After him struggling and struggling with reading and letter sounds, I have been hearing the most wonderful sounds out of him.

Grrrrr. Pppppuuuuh, Puuuhhh, thhhhh, shhhhh. Nnnnnnnn.

He's sounding things out!

It's taken months to complete the section of Lexia he is on. Some weeks we are lucky if he would creep up a bar on the chart. He does Lexia for 30 min a day, M-F. Plus we read books, do I See Sam books, Tumblebooks, and it seemed like something just wasn't clicking.

But now, it sure looks like something is. I couldn't be prouder. I have a deal with him that if he finishes the last two bars of the level, we are going to get ice cream. It's a huge step for him!