Thursday, April 18, 2013

Summer Can't Come Soon Enough!!

So...are you ready? I'm going to share with you something I have worked WEEKS on and let you download it for yourself! For FREE! Yes, I love free and I love giving things to people so it's a win-win.

I have a wonderful friend, Lara at Overstuffed, who does a summer reading thing with her girls every year. See? I have loved this idea! But Karate Kid and Little Miss? Ha.

This year is different though. Karate Kid was recently diagnosed with Aspergers. I And? We learned that a schedule would help our family out immensely! I have played around with the schedule idea and I think I finally found what works and maybe it will for you too!This has had a BIG impact on our family. We now "get" it...sort of. We're "getting" it, anyways. 

Like I mentioned yesterday, with much inspiration, I decided each day would be a theme....a  less stressful theme! lol 

Settle Down Sunday - Our family likes to go for walks, walk on the beach, and spend time out in nature on Sundays after church. It helps our family and it's a nice touch after a refreshing church service. : )

Make it Monday - I thought it would be fun to make something - edible and non-edible alike. We could be baking cookies, ribbon wands, salt dough, or comic books! 

Take a Trip Tuesday - I just want to make sure my kids get out of the house! And me too... 

Wonderful Wednesday - This is the day I set aside time to do our book related activities. More on that later.

Thinking Thursday - My kids like to figure things out and sometimes learn a lot....sometimes. So, I thought it would be fun to ask questions - get them to ask questions anyways, and find the answers out! 

Friends on Fridays - After chores and lunch, we will go pick up friends and bring them back for activities and fun play!

Silly and Serving Saturday - I felt it was important for my kids to get used to serving. I planned for a fun family activity as well as something every week we can do for someone else. Love it.

Here's a look at Monday's schedule as an example.

 My kids ALWAYS get up at 7:00 a.m. I don't make them, they do it naturally. lol Some of you parents are cringing. I just know it. Yes, it's not always convenient, but they are a lot happier sometimes. Also, there are "May Do"s and "Must Do"s. 

May Dos are fun things like playing with playdough, reading, coloring etc. Must Dos are chores and things that need to get done around the house. I have made a bunch of each and they will go in these cute re-purposed containers I have.  They will draw the needed amount - usually four each - and then they will have the ability to CHOOSE when they would like to do it, within reason. For instance, on our Monday's example, I chose "Folding Laundry." I can choose to fold the laundry at 8:00, 9:00, 2:30 or 3:30. I wanted to give the kids a choice, yet limit it to times when I can be the support.

I am planning on laminating the schedules and putting velcro on each May Do and Must Do spot to make it easier. I tried to include outdoor time since I often forget to send them out and my kids aren't always gung ho to go outside. Weirdos. 

Below are the links to download each day's schedule as a powerpoint so you can manipulate it as you'd like and that works for your family! Tomorrow, I will post all about my book packets that go along with our weekly schedule! Aren't you EXCITED!?!?!?!?!

*Note - Don't worry about the dropbox preview, it won't look like that when you download it! haha 

Also, here is the link to download my list of May Dos and Must Dos:


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring SUCKS so it's Summer instead!

I don't know if many of you notice or not, but spring hasn't come to my part of the world. We have a Winter Storm Advisory with an expected 14 inches. Are you serious? Totally. It bites the big one. Totally up a creek without a paddle. So, instead of worrying if Spring will EVER come, I've decided to focus on Summer.

Last year, my totally awesome plan to do weekly themes with science experiments and art projects galore went totally bust. The kids revolted and refused to do anything. See this picture? They're potato stamping. They threw a total fit before and their dad sat them down and talked to them about how hard I worked on these activities and that they needed to do them. Great. It all fell apart from there.

This year, I thought I needed something well balanced so that the kids don't sit in front of the tv the whole time or become zombies playing Mario Party 9 all day every day. I LOVE activities but obviously, last year was too much. It was forced play. Not fun. What to do!?

Well, I researched until the dogs came home and found some totally amazing sites.

I Heart Organizing is amazing. Seriously, you'll spend all day. But, I loved this post on summer schedules.

 A Mom with a Lesson Plan is awesome too! A lot of creativity flowing here! She gives some great tips here on how to lay out your schedule. She also does "invitations to play." Something I am going to include this year as well.
The Imagination Tree is my new favorite place to hang out! This gal has got so many ideas on "invitations" to play, create, learn and more! Check it out! Also check out Play at Home Mom for more ideas on "invitations!"
Simple as That has these awesome summer reading printables! You'll love them! I've used them with my books for this year. Check it out here.

Somewhat Simple is what really got my ideas for my summer schedule off the ground. This post had the weekday theme ideas and I just loved that. Of course, I adapted it for my own family.

Other people have similar ideas. Just type in Summer Schedule in Pinterest or Google and watch the ideas flow!

Here I've given you all of this information and I haven't even shared MINE with you! lol That's ok. I understand. I spent DAYS on these sites, people. Really. My husband thought all I did was sit at the computer, and he wasn't too far off! Here's a teaser below. I'll post more soon!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Still Too Much Snow and Progress Inside!

So we still have a TON of snow even though we have had a few melting days. At one point I gave the kids water bottles filled with food coloring and let them run like crazy banshees on the snow. Yes... that is the TOP of our trampoline frame. Lovely huh? At one point this winter, the snow actually covered the whole thing so you couldn't even see it. Scary.

Also, since the outside world was so depressing, we decided to continue on with the inside. We were beyond thrilled to start painting again and Honey LOVED my idea for brown and it turned out AMAZING! Just look at that rich chocolate color? It's so nice, I can't even tell you. We still have to paint the wall with the computer on it, but that will come. Progress is progress!!! The shelves we got from IKEA. That's when we took our spur of the moment trip to Minneapolis, MN and got them. Aren't they lovely?? Love it.

Also, the room above the kitchen is getting the love it soooooooo desperately deserves. Well, at least a little....more to come soon.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mall of America Part 2

So after we did the whole aquarium thing, we took the kids to the theme park, Nickelodeon Universe and took them on rides. This was a great idea except for two things. 1. There were a ton of people there and it seemed way more crowded suddenly... and 2. The kids were afraid of the rides.

After going on a few rides, we decided to take a break and get the kids their surprises and then head back to the hotel (we had all day passes to the theme park). Our first stop was the LEGO store! We did not tell the kids we were going to buy them something. Karate Kid and Honey were looking around and my husband asked him what he wanted most....and he got it.
The second stop was to the American Girl store. Little Miss has BEGGED and BEGGED for a doll, but they're DANGED EXPENSIVE! Don't get me wrong, they're great, just $$$$$! lol But, we decided it was time, much to Honey's chagrin.

Saige! The Girl of the Year for 2013
Back at the hotel, the kids attacked their gifts! It was fun to see. Everyone was happy and daddy passed out on the bed. I was doing great until Chickie flung herself backwards and landed squarely on my nose. That hurt for WEEKS!
Me, checking for bruising.
After all that, we got our shelves from IKEA and made it home that Sunday. What a fabulously random vacation! The kids have asked us to do it again next year! lol We'll see!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spontaneous Trip to Mall of America....Part 1

I told you I was going to drag it Anyways, we decided on a Thursday night that we were going to take our family to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Roughly 7 hours away...which is closer than anything else.

When we got there, the kids finally figured out that we were staying the night...and the next day when we went to the mall, they were over the moon! First we went the the Aquarium, which is in the basement of this huge mall. I know.... a claustrophobic person's nightmare, for sure.

It was awesome though. The kids got to touch Chocolate Chip Starfish, see Moon Jellyfish and Manta Rays, Sharks and more! The loved it....until Karate Kid got upset at the idea that there might be a possibility of the sharks getting THROUGH the glass. Then it was not so fun. It took a while to convince. Sorry for blurry pics, there was no flash allowed!

Dad's Cayman shot!