Hot Chocolate and a Chiminea Fire

We bought a chiminea last summer with hopes that on cold winter nights we would sit around it on our patio while we drank hot chocolate. That finally happened tonight. Isabel had a stomachache and fell asleep early so she was not able to be there.




Webkinz School and Obstacle Course

While I was putting Christmas away, Luke played his new Game Cube game, Isabel rode her new scooter and Sylvia ran around “helping” me. Luke and Isabel then played online with their new Webkinz pets. I don’t want to explain what Webkinz are for two reasons, one, that’s just more typing for me and two, who ever is reading this is probably more clued in than I am and already knows all about them. Just click on the link if you don’t know. All I have to say about them is, inexpensive and educational. They are great! Maybe my Sabrina School can be changed to Webkinz School. Every morning I’ll just tell my kids, “Here’s your stuffed animal now go to the computer and have school.” Kidding.

Since we live in Las Vegas, it rarely snows, but it does get pretty cold. Even though there is grass and blue sky’s outside, it’s difficult to convince myself to get out there with the kids. So today I set up an obstacle course in the backyard. You don’t need much. Joey had bought us some little orange plastic cones and hula hoops and in the garage I found some left over 2 by 4s. The course was to jump over the parallel cuts of wood, walk across the balance beam, jump rope ten times, run around the cones and then hula hoop two times around your hips (we are amateur hula hoopers.)


The one thing I DO need for this obstacle course is a good hand held timer or stop watch. I kept having to run into the kitchen and set the timer on the microwave. The kids liked seeing how fast the three of us could make it through the course. Afterward Isabel liked moving the cones,wood, etc. around to make her own course.

Recap, Restock, Reorganize and Reevaluate


Wednesday we got our Math and all of our work done, finished reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, and read an Usborne Young Reading Edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. That afternoon we made sugar cookies. All the kids loved that of course. Later, my parents came from California, so the rest of the evening was spent listening to Christmas music, talking, opening some Christmas presents, Luke preformed his Christmas songs on the piano and Isabel sang and did hand motions to The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Thursday, Luke and grandpa played chess on his new Shrek chess set. They played for I don’t know how long while my dad taught Luke about strategy etc. and Luke LOVED it. Isabel practiced her spelling words with grandma and Sylvia played with her new toy grocery cart.

Friday, grandma and grandpa went home, so I took the kids to the park to drive around Luke’s remote control truck. It was too cold so we weren’t there for very long. We then went to the library and picked up our The Muppets Christmas Carol we had on hold. At home we played a Thomas the Train board game, took a spelling test, then watched The Muppets Christmas Carol during which I sneaked in a nap.

Next week we wont be doing ANY kind of formal school, worksheets, Math, etc. It will be a good time for Joey and me to restock our school supplies, reorganize our schoolroom and reevaluate how and what we are teaching Luke, Isabel and Sylvia.

I think in another post I will go more into my reevaluating thoughts.

Cleanliness – A Charlotte Mason Habit

I mentioned earlier this week that I found the Charlotte Mason Approach to Homeschooling interesting. Habit training is a key part of this approach. We are currently working on the habit of cleanliness. Tonight we cleaned Luke’s room. This included clearing off his desk and dresser (which hadn’t happened for a while), wiping off said desk and dresser, putting all toys in their proper place, vacuuming, etc. When we were done I gathered the kids in the middle of the room and we talked about how nice it is when things are clean. We talked about how the best way to keep things clean is to put them away after using them. I know this is a habit that won’t come right away but if Sabrina and I continue to talk about it in the weeks and months ahead, we can all develop this habit.


The Gift of Lights and Self Confidence

Last night we went out for pizza with some friends and then went to The Gift of Lights. We had never been before. It is a park that is loaded with eight million Christmas lights and you drive through in your car. I think the kids really liked it and I really liked how it was a family activity that Sylvia could be buckled in for (I wont even tell you about her at the pizza place.)

This morning we went to our MOPS meeting. We got to do a service project. We put together kits for women in a shelter. We then had a speaker on self confidence. I jotted down some tips she gave us for helping our children have confidence…


-Tell them your stories and experiences (successes, failures, embarrassing stories, etc.)

-Set a good example

-Enforce rules

-Love unconditionally

-Show affection

-Express your belief in their abilities

-Supply challenging chores

-Teach problem solving

-Establish a safe environment (at home)

The speaker also said that a study was done of 1,700 families that had confident kids and three things were always the same,

1. The children were loved and appreciated.

2. The parents were more strict and disciplining.

3. The parents demanded accountability, responsibility, and self control from their children.

Christmas Comics and Funny Magazine People

This morning I had Luke and Isabel make Christmas comics. I used a piece of poster board and marker to make sections. They then had to draw and write a consecutive Christmas story. By the way, I am just adding the picture to show you how I did it. Obviously I am not a perfectionist and this was a last minute idea. You can have your children use a comic strip format for…

-Retelling what they read (book reports)

-A story board for any story ideas they have

-Making up jokes

-For younger children you can illustrate a simple consecutive story, cut it up and have them place it in the correct order.

Luke’s had to do with “Super Luke” an abominable snowman and Rudolf. Isabel’s was Santa coming down the Chimney and a girl getting a doll for Christmas.


Luke then had to write his spelling words in sentences and Isabel has the colors for her words this week so she had to copy them down in their own color. Did that make sense? Isabel then studied seven more words in sign language and Luke read an article from his Ranger Rick magazine. Luke then had to tell us about what he learned and Isabel taught us her new words.

I then cut out heads and bodies from old magazines and let them glue them together to make funny pictures. I don’t really know what that project taught them, but they sure thought it was fun.


We then finished up our coloring of the Twelve Days of Christmas and taped them to the wall. We practiced singing and Isabel and I even made up hand motions for each day. Luke was not so into that and thought we were annoying. They then watched a Bill Nye the Science Guy on Amphibians. Tonight they will do Math with Joey.

Pretzel Yummys by the Vinoldham Company

A big thank you to Liz for her chocolate covered pretzel how to. Yesterday after lunch I tried making them with my kids. I am not very good chef or baker, so when I find something that is easy, not very many ingredients, fun to do with kids and delicious, I am thrilled.

Luke and I were the dippers and Isabel decorated. Sylvia was the taster I guess. While we were making them, Luke and Isabel planned out how they would sell their pretzels and make money. Instead of telling them the hard truth, “Your pretzels are very sloppy looking and no one would buy them except for your grandparents out of pity”, I told them that for Christmas we would just be making them for fun to give out to friends. They came up with the name, “Pretzel Yummys by the Vinoldham Company.” Luke gave a bag full to his friend Aden and Isabel to her friend Morgan.