Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Olympics Lapbook

Well, I can hardly believe it myself, but after months of being lapbooker-wanna-bes we have finally finished our first lapbook. Now this is not the first lapbook we've started, mind you, but it is the first lapbook we've finished. I'm very excited indeed!

It was at my husband's request that we do a lapbook about the Summer Olympics and since they were very fast approaching, I was on a time crunch. However (and to my dismay) we have nearly thrown out completely my very meticulously planned out summer lessons since Baby L was born, so we had some free time on our hands.

I used both an Olympics Unit Study from Grace bound books and a free Olympic lapbook from Homeschool Share. SO without further ado...

The whole family worked on the lapbook together, which worked out much better than trying to make individual lapbooks for everyone. A6 colored the front cover. We used two file folders folded into a shutterfold and then cut slits in them to connect them.

It looks like this when opened. We included an Olympic Timeline to the far right. We located Beijing on an outline map of China in the middle. And to the far left we made a semi-mini book that lists all the countries that are participating in the Summer Olympics this year. Look below to see why I've called this a "semi-mini" book!


I never would guessed so many countries participated. This was a really cool effect to add to the lapbook!

This is the left side of the lapbook opened up completely.

This is a close-up of a pocket folder that I made to add some of the word puzzle worksheets that the kids did. You can see, that I just cut the worksheets down and put them on different sized cardstock to layer them in the pocket. G7, A6, and E4 each did a different worksheet.

Here is a close-up of the pocket folder I made to keep the printouts of all of our family's names written in Chinese. Everyone loved this! Find your name written in Chinese here.

This is the right side of the lapbook completely opened up. We learned about many of the symbols and traditions of the Olympic Games, including the motto, anthem, and flag. The kids also made matchbooks with info about many of the sporting events.

This is the back of our lapbook. I googled "Torch Relay Route" and found a website that had a map of the Olympic Torch's route around the world. We had a blank outline map of the world. So G7 would first locate the correct city on the map on the computer and we would place the dot in the correct location on our map. Then we just connected the dots. Our finished project is below...

Photobucket Pin It Now!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Kids' Chore Chart

I was recently flipping through my Rainbow Resource catalog and was drawn in by the section on chore chart systems. I have been desperate to find a chore system that works for our family. G7 and A6 are definitely old enough to be of real help around the house. And with six kids, I'm in need of real help! However, after attending the CHEK conference (particularly the vendor hall), I am now FORBIDDEN to purchase any more homeschool related items for the upcoming school year. So, it was time to get creative...


First, I have been wanting to create flip charts for the kids for some time. I made one for each of the kids to use for their morning routine and bedtime routine. I wanted them to be able to follow the routine without me having to tell them what to do each step of the way (and without them "forgetting" important parts of the routine...like teeth brushing). I found these index cards already hole punched and on a ring for 75 cents at Wal-Mart. I just printed out some clip art and pasted an activity on each index card. Once they complete the activity, they flip the card to see what to do next. Below is what I included:

Morning Routine
Make bed.
Get dressed.
Put dirty clothes in hamper.
Put clean clothes away in drawers.
Open blinds.
Put water cup in sink. (The kids keep water cups by their beds at night.)
Brush teeth.
Brush hair.
Read Bible.

Bedtime Routine
Put on pajamas.
Clean playroom.
Brush teeth.


Next, I made a family chore chart. Basically, E4 and H3 switch off daily between 4 chores: One of them cleans the family room and is the kitchen helper (helps Mommy prepare meals and deliver them to the table) and the other wipes down the table after meals and is on Clutter Control (simply throwing away dirty diapers and picking up any trash that "magically" appears on the floor).

G7 and A6 switch off daily between the following tasks: One does dishes after lunch and folds laundry. The other actually does the laundry (putting in/taking out of washer/dryer), puts the dry dishes away into cabinets, and is the babysitter (helps me with the 2 little ones throughout the day).

We also have Saturday Chores (listed on the back of the chart). G7 wipes down the bathrooms with Lysol wipes and vacuums. A6 dusts and cleans windows/mirrors. E4 sweeps the porch. And H3 wipes off the walls and baseboards with a wet cloth.

I decided that the kids would earn points for doing their chores (mostly it is too expensive to give an allowance to everyone in our large family!) They earn one point each day if they do all their chores for the day. Saturday they earn two points (one for their regular chores and one for Saturday chores). And Sunday we rest which means no chores and no points. They can use their points for certain "rewards". We have a whiteboard in our pantry where we keep a tally of points. So far, these are the rewards they can use their points on:

10 points:
Invite a friend to stay the night.

5 points:
Stay up 30 minutes late.
Pick a candy at the grocery store. (This is not a special trip to the grocery store to get candy, just if we happen to be there.)

3 Points:
Pick out your own movie at the movie store. (Again not a special trip and our movie store has free movie rentals for kids.)
20 minutes video/computer game time.
Play a game with Daddy.
Special Arts/Craft time with Mommy.

1 Point:
One piece of candy/special snack.

Right now has been a good time to start all of this because of the flexible summer schedule. It allows me the time to actually train them in all of the chore areas. They're picking it up quickly. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mini Vacation to Indy-Day 2

Well... surprise, surprise, we woke up late on Monday morning (day 2 of our trip to Indianapolis). What's up with those heavy, light-blocking draperies anyway?

Plus, I decided that I couldn't go another day without purchasing a baby sling for Baby L. This is one of those things that allow you to wear your baby hands-free like an accessory...very cool, both Baby L and I were very happy with the purchase! However, it meant we needed to find the Babies R Us which took even more time.

As you can see, we did eventually make it to the Children's Museum.


The kids observe a collection of blown glass by looking up!


The museum currently has a dinosaur exhibit. In the bottom picture you can see the bones (the ones that are pictured black)that are actual fossils. I was surprised at how many were the real thing.

Here A6 touches a real dinosaur bone. This one was found by a 20 year old man named "Bucky" on his family farm in South Dakota. They also found several bones from a t-rex there. I couldn't help but wonder how much they were paid for their buried treasure. It makes you want to grab a shovel and head out to your backyard, doesn't it?



I thought this exhibit on Miniature Rooms was so cool. We bought A6 a dollhouse kit 2 Christmases ago and still have not taken it out the box. I'm inspired now, though...so hopefully you'll be seeing some pictures of that soon!


Another traveling exhibit...this one featuring Comic Books. Yes, that is the real Batmobile and it's actually drivable.

E4 tries his hand at animation.

G7 makes a stop-motion animation.

Ok, this doesn't say much about the museum, but isn't E1 adorable? Pin It Now!

Mini Vacation to Indy-Day 1

Hubby had a couple of days off, so we loaded the kids up and headed to Indianapolis. Overall, we got to do a lot of fun things though lack of planning resulted in a few ... um, frustrating conversations.

We started only about an hour later than we wanted on Sunday morning. We made a pit stop at the IHOP along the way for some yummy pancakes, since we don't have an IHOP near where we live. (Yes, I think it's a shame, too.) Once we got to Indy, we passed the exit and it took us another hour to realize it, reroute, and get back to where we were supposed to be. We finally got to our hotel, where we picked up tickets to Conner Prairie and the Children's Museum (we did one of those package deals).

We went to Conner Prairie ( www.connerprairie.org )first , which was just the coolest place! It is an outdoor living museum set in the 19th century. I'll let the pictures do the talking...

Inside the museum center, the kids dressed in period clothing. As usual, getting 6 kids to cooperate for a group photo was a very stressful experience.

Here we stop to talk to a woman on the street who shows us the socks she is knitting and keeps in the basket she's carrying.

We visited a one room schoolhouse where the teacher told us that he expected to see G7 and A6 in December. E4 said the flag looked funny and we were told that the 26th state had just become a part of the U.S. "today".

1824 Spelling book by Webster...Interestingly enough, used by many wise homeschooling moms today.

At Lenape Camp G7, A6, E4, and hubby all participate in a Tomahawk throwing. Above G7 throws and misses, but does better on his second throw which bounces off the top. This is the best out of the group as no one else comes close, especially hubby *grin* (below).

Sack race at liberty corner.

H3 pumps water and A6 tests it out.

On our way out, we happened upon a watermelon seed spitting contest. Hubby spit his 13 feet! Unfortunately, I was tending to E1 and missed out on all the seed spitting fun (and the photo-ops).

If you are ever in Indy, don't miss out on this attraction! We are considering a family membership even with the 2 1/2 hour drive.

After dinner we spent the evening at the hotel swimming pool. Well, I spent it in the hot tub.

I'll post pictures of Day 2 tomorrow...typing one-handed while nursing takes a while! Pin It Now!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Upcoming Homeschool Events

Before Baby L was born I was working furiously on planning for the upcoming school year. Now that I have taken a much needed four week hiatus from "all things school" I am definitely ready to jump back in...I think I'll start tomorrow ;-).

Luckily when I checked my inbox, I received a link to Cindy Rushton's Let's Get Organized for the New School Year Virtual Conference that's taking place this weekend! Cindy's Virtual Conferences are so convenient...I love listening to homeschool veterans share their great tips from the comfort of my own home and in my pajamas! I am hoping Cindy will get me re-motivated. You can join in, too... just go to the following link to find out how:


I'm also excited about the upcoming CHEK Conference. (Find out more at www.chek.org .) I think I'm addicted to homeschool conferences as a whole. I love the speakers. I love the vendor halls. And I LOVE the freebies! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Mommy Wisdom

As you know, I have recently come home from my sixth two-nighter at the mother/baby ward of our local hospital. While this is certainly no Hilton, I have always enjoyed my stay...I mean coming home with a new baby beats those miniature bottles of shampoo any day! And since I have frequented the mother/baby ward nearly once a year for the past several years, I've come up with a list of tips to help the newcomers. So if you've recently lost sight of your toes due to an ever growing midsection and your reservations for the labor and delivery room have already been made (or if you're simply curious) please join me as I impart my ...er, um...wisdom (AKA random thoughts on the matter).

My first tip is to pack light...especially when it comes to packing for the baby. I love how all the baby magazines tell you to pack onesies and blankets and diapers and wipes. This is ridiculous. The hospital provides everything...plus you will likely be receiving even more of these things during your stay by the onslaught of sightseers, I mean friends and relatives, who will be visiting you and showering you with yet more baby stuff. You really only need to bring your baby an outfit to wear to take their hospital photo and one to wear home. (As a side note, I will admit that this time was the first time I didn't bring a "just in case the ultrasound was wrong" outfit.)

As far as packing for yourself goes, there are a few "must-haves". First, I always pack a robe. I don't know where you draw the line in terms of the modesty issue, but the paper thin, bottom exposing gowns that the nurses give you to wear just don't cut it for me. And considering that you will not only be expected to host visitors, but will also have at least 245 pictures of you and your new bundle of joy taken in the very flattering hospital gown, I can assure you will want to be wearing a robe.

Next, pack your own underwear. Trust me, you'll thank me later. These should be comfortable, granny underwear...not the pretty ones, as they will definitely be getting messy. But anything will be a vast improvement over the mesh ones (yes, I did say mesh) that the nurses will give you and actually expect you to apply a maxi pad to. While we are on the subject, I also bring my own maxi pads as I am a firm believer in ultra-thin with wings.

If you have a body pillow, I would recommend bringing it. I know this is kind of a big thing to bring for just a two night stay, but you'll be glad you did. When you are first transferred from the labor and delivery bed (which can only be described as a piece of thick plywood with a sheet over it) to the bed in the mother/baby ward, you will actually think that it is the most comfortable bed you've ever laid in. This is only an illusion. By about hour 6 or 7 of lying flat on your back, right about the time all the visitors leave and you can actually get some rest, you will be very uncomfortable indeed.

Lastly, pack some sweet smelling bodywash and one of those scrunchy sponges. I know this one is the weirdest of all, but it is the most important. When my first was born, my sister actually gave this to me at the hospital as a gift. Believe me, when you are finally able to take a shower after giving birth, you will be so thankful to pamper yourself even just a little. Again, while we're on the subject of showers, I've also learned to take a shower as soon as the nurses allow it. There is nothing that will make you feel better after labor than a shower. I remember laying in bed, feeling crampy and sore. I was so exhausted, but I desperately wanted to take a shower. It was 5:00 in the morning, but I kept going back and forth trying to decide if I should sleep or bathe. I finally decided to get up and after showering, I felt and slept so much better!

Also, if it is possible, have your husband stay with you the entire time. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I've visited many friends in the hospital whose husbands were at home with the older kids or off running errands and such. Not only do I not feel guilty when I ask my husband (instead of my nurse) for my 800th can of Sprite, but it has always been a sweet time of enjoying and getting to know our new baby together. Because we have so many little ones, my husband has not stayed the night with me for the last four visits, but he always stays with me till after 9pm and I make him promise to be back by 9am. I love getting to experience the newness of our little one together with him.

Of course, rest as much as possible, but most of all just praise God for the new blessing! Enjoy your precious baby...count her toes and memorize the curve of her face...fall in love, because this is just the beginning! Pin It Now!


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