Wednesday, January 14, 2015

All By Myself boxes (Weeks 1 & 2)

I saw this idea on 1+1+1=1 and KNEW right away it would be the perfect activity for Tanner.  He could spend hours with sensory boxes, sand boxes, and even water at the sink.  

We went to Walmart and got 5 large containers and 5 smaller containers.  Right now I am planning on switching the contents of the boxes every two weeks.  But when he gets a little older (next school year, probably), I will switch them out every week.  

Each box will have a sensory item, a puzzle, and a game of some kind.  I will start adding to this as he gets older. 

Monday- Purple rice, ABC letter "A" find-it pieces, school bus puzzle, foam puzzles.

Tuesday- Dried split peas with fros, plastic geometric shapes, A-E two-piece puzzles

Wednesday-Mini ABC pasta with a magnifying glass, Guidecraft puzzles, lion puzzle

(The Guidecraft puzzles)

Thursday- Dried kidney beans with All My Family counters, lacer cards, ABC puzzle

Dry pasta with shoe laces and pipe cleaners, stamps and paper, and unifix cubes

Tanner always has this "tool bin" available for the boxes, as well

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

First Week of Preschool! Letter A

First week of Preschool! Yay! Like I mentioned in a previous post, this first 26 week plan is mostly play based.  Tanner really loved it!  The Preschool Journey eBook that I am loosely following does not go in alphabetical order, but the first week is the letter "A" (next week is "C").  

Along with The Preschool Journey I am doing Quiet Boxes/All By Myself boxes (idea from 1+1+1=1).  These were a HUGE hit! I will be writing a post about these boxes next.  I gave Tanner a box each each day to play with independently while I was getting Wesley down for his naps.  We would also get them out after Wesley went to bed and before Tanner went to bed, sort of a wind down activity.  

Each week we will be working with our sandpaper letters. We will also make a craft-a picture of the letter out of construction paper.  

Who knew glue sticks changed the color of construction paper?!

And some magnets.

I picked a few apples and put them into a bucket.  I loosely talked to him about graphing. 

He just had to taste each color.  His favorite was the Gala.

I planned on making homeade applesauce at the end of the week, but since I had so many apples with a bite taken out, I decided it was a good idea to go ahead and make it earlier.

He did some apple stamping.  He ended up making a birthday card for his daddy.

He did a few other random activities that all tied into the letter A.

He showed me his "A" while he was playing with his iPad.  Proud momma moment. :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Preschool plans

I am of the mindset that it is better to wait a little bit before starting kids in school.  I'd rather my boys be the oldest in the class vs the youngest.  They will be going to school for so long, and then working.  Why not leet them have a little bit more time being a kid, with less worries.  That being said, I think it's also a good thing to follow the lead of your child.  That is why I am going to start homeschool preschool with Tanner next week. I believe he is ready for a little something more. I have the next 2.5 years roughly planned out. 

Starting January 2015 I will be doing the plan from the ebook The Preschool Journey (written by Angela Thayer from  I feel like this is a wonderful way for both of us to get used to the idea of "doing school" at home.  It's very much play based. Crafts, sensory, games, etc.  She has everything planned out for me already, along with a list of books to incorporate.  I will add in a few extra activities here there to incorporate holidays and special events.  I also have a plan to incorporate Bible studying and "All by myself" boxes from 1+1+1=1.  Tanner really thrives doing sensory play (marbles, sand, rice, pouring water...). 

Starting in September 2015 I will do a mix of Carisa's curriculum (from 1+1+1=1) and Erica's curriculum (from Confessions of a Homeschooler).  And when Tanner is ready I will add in Becky's reading curriculum from This Reading Mama

This should be a good foundation for us all before getting into actual Kindergarten curriculum.  Each year will get progressively less play based and more teaching focused.  But like I said earlier, this is all roughly planned.  I know I will follow Tanner's lead and what works for him.  We will change things up if need be when the time comes for it.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Homeschool.  What do you think of when you hear that word?  Is it a positive or negative thought?  Maybe extremely conservative and/or socially awkward children?  Eh, I never really thought about it much. Until I had kids of my own.  

I suppose it was only normal that I was headed in this direction after doing tot-school with Tanner.  I thought it was because I wanted to teach him his basics and incorporate play, you know, to prepare for school.  That morphed into thinking it was ridiculous to pay for preschool when I can teach him everything he needs to know. (And yes, I can STILL socialize my kid and not have to send him to a "structured" class setting).

And then I started researching.  Oh researching.  I feel like I've spent a quarter of the past 4 years doing that.  Along with trying to get a child to sleep and stay asleep, playing, and nursing...

I had gathered plenty of information to sway me more towards homeschooling my kids.  I'll save my reasonings for myself, because there are so many, and this post would be ridiculously long.   Until we visited our close friends I was probably around 80% sure I was homeschooling.  (Preschool was a definite 100%).  My friend's mom (a 30+ year experienced public school teacher and administrator) pretty much said "Do not send your kids to public school", in the nicest way possible, of course.  She completely validated every single thought I had and then some.  Every fear I had she just squashed it! I left our friend's house that day feeling like God was trying to send me a message.  For the few days before I was still trying to sort the pros and cons in my mind and feeling overwhelmed.  It was an incredible feeling!

For some reason I was worried about how Nick would think about it.  But he shares every thought I have on the topic, as well.  He knows the public school education is not the same as it was when we were in school.  And he knows how much potential our kids have to becoming something great.  We don't want them to lose that spark and the capability of becoming a leader.  My biggest fear was that I would fail my children as their teacher.  But a friend of mine said it perfectly-we believe public school will fail our children. So we will be a homeschooling family!  (I do want to add that learning the location we will be moving to next was a big player in this decision, as well. So in the future, if we were to move to a location with an amazing school system we may change our minds.)

Homeschooling has come a long way since the 80s and 90s.  More and more people are doing it because of personal beliefs and the government's Common Core curriculum. (Once again I am being fairly vague on this as to not "offend" anyone).  There are huge communities of homeschool families.  They have their own extracurricular activities, field trips, and even prom! I'm not saying we will homeschool all through high school, just that there are a lot of options out there.  

My next post will be on my plans for preschool.  We are starting a curriculum plan the first week of January.  I plan to document everything here (to have for memories and to reference back when Wesley is ready to start).

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Maybe next year.

Today is the 3rd Squadron Holiday party (out of 3) that we've missed. I feel bad even thinking about being sad and feeling like we are missing out. I'm thankful for the reason I have to stay home. But I do feel sad. I miss a lot of squadron functions. 

Tanner is old enough now that I could potentially get a baby sitter for him. But there is absolutely no way it would work with Wesley. He is very high needs. He does not sleep well, and he still nurses a ton. He does not have very long stretches of time where he is happy. And he is difficult to lay down to sleep. 

There is no real point to this post other than to whine, I guess. Although I know this time in my life is so short in the grand scheme of things. Before we know it the boys will not be dependent on us at all. And I will long for these days again. Like right's 1:10am. Haven't slept yet. And nursing the baby for the third time so far tonight. Thank you, Lord, for creating the coffee bean. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tanner's 3rd Birthday Photo Dump

Tanner's birthday isn't until December 8th, but with so many squadron parties and Christmas activities on base that weekend we decided to have his party on November 30th.  After going through a bunch of different party themes on Pinterest with Tanner sitting in my lap, we picked a car theme.  It was so much fun!  Here is what I've been so busy with the past few weeks!

Tanner has talked about birthday hats for months.  I knew that was one thing we HAD to have for him!

Pin the wheel on the truck (It was supposed to be a car but my drawing didn't turn out right.  So I improvised and made it a truck).

We had a "color the wooden car" station.  And then they got to race their cars on the track.

 He had fun, and that's all I could ever hope for his birthday party! I was so worried his friends wouldn't be able to come because it was the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, and two of his best friends have recently moved away. :( But it turned out great! I'm so thankful for everyone who came, and for Nick! He helped so much, even though he had so much to do with his schoolwork. 

He didn't want to blow out his candles.  He knew once he did they would be gone. So his friends did it for him.

And then he realized he wanted to do it after all.  So I relit them.

Darn camera focused on the wrong subject! This would have been a GREAT picture! hehe

A happy boy!
And it's always a dangerous thing when a toddler (ahhh!) preschooler disappears.  Especially in a rented facility.  Luckily he was just helping us clean up...

Happy almost birthday big guy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Preparing for a new adventure!

I seem to have fallen behind again.  But really?  It's not really something new.  But to be fair, the past few weeks have been jammed packed with, well, everything. 

Halloween snuck up on me real quick.  I planned on making the boy's costumes and when I realized Halloween was in 1 week I panicked! I originally planned on making them Charlie Brown and Snoopy, but that idea fell apart rather quickly.  Tanner wasn't interested in learning who Charlie Brown was.  And Snoopy only has one spot (on his back) and knowing Wesley was riding in the stroller he would just look like a white dog.  So I just made him a white dog with black spots. I asked Tanner what he wanted to be.  He said, "maybe a monster! Or a dragon! No! A SPIDER!" So after a trip to Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx, I got started on their costumes.  

What else has been happening? Tanner has been playing soccer.  I've been planning his third (WHAT?!) birthday party. Researching and planning Tanner's homeschool preschool (we will begin in January).  Wesley turned 9 months old. I've lost 20 pounds! Nick got his name on his jet. And possibly the most exciting news...

...we got our next assignment!

Nick received his list of possible planes and locations about a month ago.  We rack and stacked them, ranking them 1-26.  And HOT DOG (too much Mickey Mouse?)! We got our FIRST choice!  We are so incredibly excited!  

Ever since April of 2009 when Nick got his pilot slot we've been daydreaming about what plane he would be flying and where we would be living.  In 2011, when Tanner was born and Nick was in pilot training, we decided staying here and having Nick become an instructor pilot was the best for our family.  Thankfully we got our first choice then, as well.  And now that this assignment is almost over, our next adventure is going to begin. We still have several months, but we can start planning and imagining.  

I don't feel comfortable flat out saying where we are going or what Nick will be flying (yet), but we will be near some family.  AND THE OCEAN! Hallelujah, no more land locked state! We are so blessed.  And oh so thankful!