Friday, October 3, 2014


This school year has been different because Chloe Jo's teacher rarely gives out homework. Last year, we had homework every Monday through Thursday and we had a reading sheet I had to sign off on for every evening. This year, her new teacher doesn't send anything and we also rarely even get the work that she did at school. It is just very different than it was last year. Not bad, just different. Because of this, I have been lax in reading in the evenings and practicing letters and numbers with Chloe Jo. Because of this, I decided to make a schedule for us to follow.

Last week, Chloe Jo's teacher did include a few things to work on in the weekly newsletter so that is where I started. She encouraged us to create flashcards and make mini-lists of letters to work on every day. We didn't need to create the flashcards because we already had a set.

The first thing we do is go through each letter in the list and Chloe Jo tells me what the letter is and what sound it makes. She is actually pretty efficient in this so we don't have to work on it for very long. Each list has around 5 letters (there are upper and lower case lists). Sometimes we play a game with the list. She especially loves No, No Peeking. I lay out the cards and she covers her eyes. Then we say "No, no peeking. No, no peeking. No, no peekiiinnnnggggg. PEEK!" When she opens her eyes, I have taken a few of the cards. She has to remember which cards I took and tell me the letter and sound. Then I put the cards back and we do it again.

Alphabet Mini-Lists
 After the mini-lists, we work on Hooked on Phonics. I have a program for my iPad and it has been great. She loves playing it and it helps her learn to read. Each Hooked on Phonics lesson has 2 songs, around 4 games and a story to read at the end. I am surprised at how fast she picks it up and can read the story. We do one lesson a day. If she struggles with the story, then we repeat the lesson until she can read the story without problem.

Hooked on Phonics
 Within our homework time, we also read books. Sometimes we do it at the beginning. Sometimes we do it at the end. It just depends on what Chloe Jo prefers that day.

The last thing (or sometimes the first) thing we do is the calendar. Our friend, Tia, gave us this calendar and we love it. It is perfect for our needs and Chloe Jo likes it because there are a few extra magnets that she can play with (a bird, worm and apple).

This is a Melissa and Doug Calendar
 To help keep me accountable, I decided to print out this calendar. I write down which mini-list we need to work on for the week. Then I record which Hooked on Phonics lesson we did and I add an arrow if we get to move on to the next lesson. We also have been working on writing our numbers this week so I have recorded which number we worked on.

Just a few more random things for this post.

I went to the Children's Orchard the other day and came away with a great haul. I was thrilled with the trip! I found Chloe Jo 2 pairs of jeans. One pair is Levi's and the other is Mudd, new with tags. I also found her a rain jacket that doesn't look like it has been worn at all. Then I found her a Juicy sweatshirt, new with tags. The Halloween shirt was a splurge as she didn't need it, but I thought it was too cute. I had a gift card from when I sold them several items and ended up only paying $5 out of pocket! I called the Halloween shirt a splurge because I wouldn't have had to pay anything if I hadn't bought it. I was thrilled especially since 2 of the pieces were new with tags!

Chloe Jo had picture day at school last week. I thought she looked so cute! She is wearing her new skinny jeans from the Children's Orchard haul and I love the cute little owl shirt!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Spirit Week

A few weeks ago Chloe Jo had Spirit Week at school.

We love to participate in all of the activities at school and this week was no different. This was a 4 day week so that is why there are only 4 pictures and not 5.

Lazy or Athletic Day

Neon Day

Camo Day

Extreme Spirit Day

I love all of these extra activities to help the kids have fun in school!

Chloe Jo is doing much better at morning drop-off. We have gone a few weeks now with no tears. Last week I was able to sub 4 times in her school (for the same class!). She loved getting to go in with me, but it made for a rougher morning today. She didn't cry, but she really wanted me to go to school with her again. I don't have opportunities to sub every day and I didn't get a call this morning. She sat in the back seat and sighed (obnoxiously) all the way to school. *eyeroll*

I can't believe that Wednesday is the first day of October! Where did this year go?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Beginning Another Curriculum

This week has been crazy busy for my little family!

The church we are members of is having a Gospel Meeting this week and we are housing the visiting minister. It was been a wonderful meeting so far. Tonight is the last night and I am looking forward to getting Chloe Jo back on her regular sleep schedule. Gospel Meeting weeks mean that she goes to bed at least an hour past her bedtime. This usually makes for some not-so-great mornings, but this week she has been a champ. No crying at drop-off all week!!! YAY!!!

During the summers, our congregation has a summer series on Wednesday evenings. That means that those of us who teach on those evenings get a break all summer. Breaks are much needed for the 4 of us who are willing to teach because we all teach Sunday morning and Wednesday evening without breaks throughout the year.

I teach the 2 year olds on Sunday morning and the 4 and 5 year olds on Wednesday evening. It just so happened that I basically started new material for both classes at the same time. So far, I am completely thrilled with both curriculums that I chose!

After VBS, my 2 and 3 year old classroom really needed a revamp. We usually keep decorations up for a year and then change out. VBS just happens to be a great time to change out decor since we are redoing the classrooms for that weeks theme anyway.

I don't do the 4 and 5 year old classroom, but I did have full reign over the 2 year old classroom. After searching for ideas, I finally decided to go with a bee theme. I love the way it turned out and, best of all, my little students love it, too!

My door says 2's and 3's, but I actually only have 2 year olds right now unless we have a visitor.

I added 8 felt squares to this wall and created a timeline. Each felt square has pictures that velcro to it so the kids learn the order of the stories we talk about.

Oriental Trading was great for this theme. I bought the little bees, the bee posters and the bee hives from them. I love them because they ship fast and they are inexpensive so I don't feel like I have to preserve everything.

We are really working on learning the books of the Bible and some basic Bible facts. I bought the kids pointers and I have them point to the different things on the board. They love the pointers!
I'm so happy that my kids love the classroom as much as I do. It is so bright and friendly when you walk in and I know my little students love being there!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Russ and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary today!

It is insane that it has been 10 is also insane that it has only been 10 years.

We are looking forward to many more years together.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Birthdays, Holidays, and House Repairs! Oh my!

Hi Friends!

My weekend has been pretty great! I have about a million things to do this week, but I wanted to put up a blog post before going to bed.

Russ and I both turned 32 last week! Russ is almost exactly 24 hours older than me and it is so fun to share birthday celebrations with him. Well, I say celebrations, but really we didn't do much for our birthdays this year.

We ended up being very practical with our gifts.

We bought a new kitchen faucet. Our old one had given us problems since the day we moved in. It leaked around the top. It leaked around the bottom. Russ was constantly having to repair it. So this week we finally picked out a new faucet and Russ installed it. We love it! I'm so glad we finally replaced it! I purposely chose a tall one so my stockpot could fit under it.

We also decided to buy a new vacuum. I know, I know...we're living on the birthday edge. Our current vacuum is several years old and losing it's suction. It just really needed to go. I ordered this one from Amazon. It is a Bissell and it had 4 1/2 stars from over 1,500 reviews. I am so excited to get it!

Friday evening, I decided to trim Chloe Jo's hair. It was getting to be a mess. I had been planning on taking her to get it trimmed, but I hate paying $20 for a child's hair cut so I just did it myself. She was so funny afterwards. She kept running her hands through it and telling me that she loves it. It's not perfect, but I'm really not that worried about it since she likes it so much.

On Saturday morning we just hung out around the house for a while. It was the perfect way to spend my birthday morning. By the way, did I mention that we had to take the back off of Chloe Jo's carseat? Girl child is getting so tall. She was actually big enough (by height and weight) to take the back off in April, but I wanted to keep it on as long as possible. Well, the 3 inches she grew this summer made taking the back off a necessity. She loves just using the booster!
I love my little family!
 Chloe Jo was sorely disappointed that we did not have any birthday cake so we decided to make cookies. I had 2 chocolate bunnies left over from Easter that hadn't been open. I put them through the food processor and used them as the chocolate chips in the cookies.

Chloe Jo loves helping me in the kitchen!

The cookies ended up looking less like chocolate chip cookies and more like oatmeal since I didn't use real chocolate chips. They tasted delicious, though!

 We ended up taking some of the cookies to a friend's house that evening.

My parents came down Saturday evening to spend the holiday with us, also. They arrived late so Chloe Jo had to go to bed soon after since we go to Bible class and worship services on Sunday. Sunday evening, our congregation had an ice cream social. Yum! We had 3 flavors of homemade ice cream, a ton of toppings, cookies and brownies. I took more of the chocolate bunny cookies we made on Saturday. My recipe made about 3 dozen so I was trying to get rid of them left and right!

Monday was spent hanging out with family at our house. My sister and her family came over and we let the kiddos play in the pool. My dad, Bro-in-law and Russ did some home repairs. We had found some dry rot on our siding so they had to rip out the siding, some of the board underneath and replace it all. We desperately need to repaint our house, but we just don't have the funds right now. Our plan is to do it in the summer. I'm going to try to do some touch ups around the house this week to hold us over until we can do the whole thing.

While Russ was waiting for caulking to dry so he could paint, he repaired part of our fence. We had a couple of slats that were broken on the bottom. Luckily, the homeowners before us left a nice pile of fence slats in the attic when they moved. Yay for repairs that don't cost anything!

While the guys worked outside, Mom and Chloe Jo did a few crafts. I had found 3 craft kits and a puzzle at the Dollar Tree last week so we got those out. Chloe Jo loves crafts! Girl after my own heart, I tell ya!

She loved her new jewelry! The multi-colored bracelet has sand in it. I may go get a few more of those. It was Chloe Jo's favorite thing we did today.

Tomorrow, Chloe Jo goes back to school and I have some shopping I need to get done. I have a few orders for the shop that need to be completed this week. Our 10th anniversary is on Thursday and we are wanting to go to The Melting Pot, but we aren't sure what we are going to do with CJ since my sister and her family are going to be out of town. Then we have a town event to go to on Saturday. I'm kind of tired just thinking about how busy we are going to be over the next few days.

I don't know what the weather is doing everywhere, but we are in the midst of severe thunderstorm warnings and a few tornado warnings (although our area has only gotten thunder and lightening so far). If you are in the area, be ready to hunker down.

Have a great week, friends!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Busy Busy Week

I have had a busy week. With Chloe Jo starting school and wanting to/needing to get some things done around the house, I feel like I have been going non-stop.

Chloe Jo did great in the drop-off line at school on Wednesday and Thursday. I admit that I bribed her. Wednesday just happened to be the day she finished her 3rd punch card so I told her that if she was really good getting out of the car, I would have a prize waiting for her. She would rather have a toy then the allowance. On Thursday I just told her that she would have a surprise after school (I took her to help me pick out a couple of wind chimes for the house). This helped her be better, but I can't give her a surprise for good behavior every day. She has to learn to just do what needs to be done. Suck it up, Buttercup. This morning was a different story, though. We were back to uncontrollably crying and being crazy. Sigh. At least we had 3 good drop-offs this week.

Thursday's school outfit

While Chloe Jo has been at school, I have been getting things done around the house.

I made a double batch of slurp (strawberry jam).

I made salsa. We had Mexican on Tuesday and are having it again tomorrow. I also made taco seasoning, but didn't get a picture.

It was time for a new batch of laundry detergent. I love making my own!

I cleaned up the garage. I had several things I needed to put in the attic that had just migrated to the garage. I finally got it all up there, organized a few things and swept it out. I love driving into a clean garage.

I also swept the porch off. It looks so much nicer without a bunch of grass, leaves and dead bugs all over it! We never use the front door (unless we have company) so we just don't realize how bad it gets. Out of sight, out of mind and all that.

The biggest project from this week was the yard work. I filled in a few holes from trying to grow trees. Our yard hates trees and kills them all. We have tried to grow 4 different kinds of trees and they have all died. Anyway, so we had some low spots where we had planted and put mulch down. I filled those in since we are destined to be tree-less. I also trimmed up our rose bushes and the big green bush (I have no idea what it is called) on the corner. I then put down new mulch and added flower pinwheels to the are that didn't have plants (because I can't keep anything alive...especially when Russ thinks everything is weeds and pulls it all up). It looks so much better now!

We started soccer practice last Thursday. Russ and I are coaching this season. Eep! I never played any sports in school and have never been athletic so this is definitely outside of the box for me. We have done 3 practices so far and I have been enjoying coaching. I'm really just assisting, but I love it. I think we have a good team and we are going to have a great season.

Best of all, Chloe Jo has been loving it. She has improved so much from when she started. Maybe she will even score a few goals this year!

 Last, I made this bed pocket for Chloe Jo's room. I wanted a place to put her devotional book and her electronics and saw a few of these on Pinterest. I really liked the idea, but wanted to make my own version. I had the grey fabric and quilt batting so all I needed to get was the pink bias tape. I love how it turned out and Chloe Jo thinks it is pretty great, too. I'm loving the quilted look especially. I believe I will do that on more items in the future.

We have a busy weekend planned. Today is Russ' birthday and tomorrow is my birthday. We are having company coming tomorrow and they are going to stay through Monday for the long weekend. Then Russ and I are going to celebrate our 10th anniversary on the 4th. I'm definitely going to get some sleep tonight!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Transition es no bueno

This morning did not go well. For this school year, this was the worst morning so far. I'm just so frustrated. I have to keep perspective, though. Last year, it took Chloe Jo several weeks to be okay in the morning. This morning, as soon as she started boo-hoo-ing, I told her that she needed to suck it up and be a big girl. Then she wouldn't get out of the car. I told her that if I had to park, she would get a spanking. I had to park. I pulled her out of the car and gave her two swats. Mornings like this just ruin my day. I am upset with her for being crazy and I am also worried about her because she was so upset. She just can not handle transition well. I love her so much, but she can be so incredibly frustrating. Parenting is no joke.

This picture was from yesterday morning.

 Did you notice the insane bush behind her? We trimmed it down at the beginning of the summer because it was out of control. It was shorter than Chloe Jo after we got finished with it. Apparently, it really liked the trim because it blew up in a matter of weeks and is now up to our roof. We will have to trim it down again yesterday.

Last Friday evening, we went to my sisters house to visit and I noticed that Brianna's stroller was in bad shape. I took the lining and made a new one for her. When Chloe Jo saw the new lining, she decided she wanted one just like it. There was nothing wrong with the lining in her stroller, but I had the fabric so I went ahead and made one for her, too.

This is the before. The lining was fine, but it wasn't the best quality. I think I did fix one of the loops one time after a certain little nephew of mine decided to sit in it (hence the reason my niece's lining was torn up, I'm sure).

And the after. I just used the hardware from the old lining. This one is sure to last!

I have another project going today that I am hoping to finish up before going to pick up Chloe Jo from school.

Have a good Tuesday, friends!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Day of Kindergarten

Yesterday was Chloe Jo's first day of Kindergarten!

My girl is growing up so fast. *Tear*

Unfortunately, she decided she didn't want to go back to school on Tuesday evening. She made up all kinds of excuses not to go. "I'm shy." "I'll cry." On Wednesday morning she tried throwing a fit and she was very disappointed when none of her antics worked.

Russ and I were allowed to walk her into the building and sit with her in the cafeteria until time to go to her class. She was so nervous. We gave her kisses and hugs and left, but Russ looked back and she was crying a little bit. :( I hope she eventually grows out of the nervousness and shyness.

G-Jo bought her a backpack this year. Chloe Jo is a little obsessed with the Disney Fairies right now. She loved that her backpack came with a matching lunch box.

Here she is in her first day of school outfit. I loved making this one for her. I think it is so fun!

She thought the survey was great this time. She loved answering all of the questions.

And for comparison:

This is the outfit she wore today.

This morning did not go near as smooth as I wanted it to. I explained to her last night and this morning that she would go in the main doors and go sit in the cafeteria until time to go to her classroom. This is not what she did last year and I knew it might be an issue. She does not adapt well to new things. I went through the car drop-off line and pulled up to the curb. As soon as the teacher opened the door to let her out, Chloe Jo grabbed onto me for dear life and started sobbing. I ended up having to park and walk her to the sidewalk where the principal picked her up to carry her inside. It was heart wrenching to watch my darling so distraught and having to leave her there, but I knew it was the best thing for her. It took her several weeks to get used to going into the school building by herself last year. I am just hoping the transition is a little shorter this year. I would hate for the principal to have to carry her in every day!!!