Sunday, November 25, 2012

Countdown to CHRISTmas

The last two years we have counted down to CHRISTmas by doing readings and activities from Discover Christmas. We loved it but I am going to mix it up a bit this year! I have everything (I think) pinned on Pinterest HERE. I am going to post as we complete each activity but just in case you would like to follow along with us here is my plan:

~24 Days of Mormon Christmas (even if you are not Mormon you may enjoy the songs, stories and activites...just tweak as you see fit)!
~Advent Calendar (you could also just make a chain to count down to CHRISTmas)

For the rest of the activities wrote the activities down and 
put them in envelopes for the kids to open each day.
Dec. 1 ~ Grinch Dinner  and Grinch Cookies and Grinch Movies night (we will watch both versions)
Dec. 2 ~ We will watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional
Dec. 3 ~ Make and Bake Clay Ornaments
Dec. 4 ~ Make an edible Christmas Trees
Dec. 5 ~ Paint ornaments from Dec. 3
Dec. 6 ~ Make mini-wreaths
Dec. 7 ~ Make paper snowflakes
Dec. 8 ~ Read a Christmas book (I just grabbed a couple I had on our shelves but you can always head to the library if you don't have any of your own.)
Dec. 9 ~ Go to the Mesa Temple Christmas Lights (If you live near Mesa, AZ I HIGHLY recommend this)!!!
Dec. 10 ~ Christmas in the Book of Mormon Family Home Evening
Dec. 11 ~ Dollar Store shopping (I will give each child a couple dollars to buy a CHRISTmas present for each of their siblings at the local dollar store). I think we will also take advantage of our Zoo Membership and head to Tucson for the Reid Park Zoo Lights!
Dec. 12 ~ Read more Christmas or holiday books
Dec. 13 ~ Snow globes (still figuring this one out)
Dec. 14 ~ Paper Ornaments
Dec. 15 ~ Make sugar cookie and gingerbread doughs and our Church CHRISTmas Party: A Night in Bethlehem
Dec. 16 ~ Bake cookies
Dec. 17 ~ Decorate cookies and deliver them to some neighbors
Dec. 18 ~ Watch a holiday movie (we will be watching "The Muppet Christmas Carol")
Dec. 19 ~ Read more books!
Dec. 20 ~ Make an edible Nativity
Dec. 21 ~ Gather toys, games, clothes etc. to donate
Dec. 22 ~ Read more books
Dec. 23 ~ Read more books
Dec. 24 ~ Road Trip...we are going to check out all the CHRISTmas lights in the neighborhood
Dec. 25 ~ CHRISTmas
Dec. 26 ~ Watch The Polar Express and make edible Trains

Just a side note: You may want to check out the MyMemories tab at the top of the page. There are 3 FREEBIES that you may enjoy. Until Dec. 10 it is a 3D paper star project.
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 22


Today I am grateful that I am NOT hosting or cooking anything for Thanksgiving this year. 
I am grateful that my mom is hosting and that she and my husband will do the cooking. 
I am grateful that my in-laws and my sister and her husband as well and my grandmother will all be in attendance this year. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 21

Quiet Mom Time

Today I am grateful that I got a couple hours at home by myself.
I was able to catch up on a couple shows and do some organizing in the school room.
As a homeschooling mom this is a very rare and cherished occurrence!
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow!
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 20

Answered Prayers
 Ever since I started homeschooling almost 3 years ago I have been searching for a curriculum that is all laid out for me, can be used for ALL my children at the same time, includes history (the history in chronological order and starts with creation), geography, science, literature, art, music and, most importantly, incorporates the Gospel of Jesus Christ (LDS Doctrine) in to each lesson! I was beginning to think that what I desired didn't exist, and it didn't, at least, until this year that is! Yesterday, I got an email from an LDS news organization and there was an article about Latter-day Learning and their Family School curriculum! I spent hours on the site yesterday learning about their curriculum, downloading the scope and sequence and sample lesson plans, and reading their mission statements, FAQ's, blog and exploring their networking forum! I am so excited to finally find what I have been searching for. Now, I need to save up some money so we can purchase it! :)

Click the Graphic below to learn more!
In a Nutshell
Complete Year Pre-Printed Version: $390
Complete Year Download Version: $285
Includes: History, Geography, Science, Literature, Art and Music 
Not Included: Math, Phonics/Reading and Spelling
Christmas Coupon Code: GIFT2012 $40 off good through 12/31/12
If you join their network please mention that I sent you. Thanks!
{Disclaimer: This is not a review. I do not own this product (yet) and I have not received anything from the company. I am just sharing this information because I am grateful that I have finally found what I am looking for!}

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 19

 Today I am grateful for books! I love me a good book! ;)
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 18

March of Dimes
 Yesterday was World Prematurity Day. Two of my children were born premature. 

Unicorn was born at 33 weeks and was 3 pounds 11 ounces. I had eclampsia (I skipped over toxemia and pre-eclampsia) and started having seizures. Her father found me unconscious on February 29, 2000 at about 3:00 pm and called 911. She was born via C-section around 5:30 pm. I woke up 2 days later. I was in the hospital for 5 days and she was in NICU for 15 days. It was a terrifying experience that I will probably never remember. She is now 12 years old and happy and healthy. She has only one health concern that may be related to prematurity! I am grateful we both survived!

Ladybug was born via a scheduled C-section at 38 weeks and was my only "full-term" baby and my biggest at 6 pounds 4 ounces! Her birth was nice and uneventful (other than the 4 1/2 months on bedrest)!

With Monkey I went into labor at 34 weeks (April 15, 2008). I was given a shot of turbutaline and had an allergic reaction. Since the only other medicine that can stop labor has to be administered through an IV I was immediately admitted into the hospital where I spent the next 2 weeks on magnesium and in labor. At 36 weeks the doctor did an amniocentesis and determined that Monkey's lungs were fully developed and that it was time to deliver. He was born at 36 week and was 5 pounds and 8 ounces. He is now 4 years old and happy and healthy!

I am grateful for the March of Dimes and their mission to help prevent premature births!

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 17

French Fries and Chicken Nuggets

I am grateful that we have a deep fryer and that potatoes are fairly cheap so we can have homemade French Fries a couple times a week. Unfortunately they disappear faster than I can snap a photo! I am also grateful that my hubby makes awesome chicken nuggets! Yummy!
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 16

Unexpected Blessings

The other day my husband came home from work and said that one of his co-workers (a single woman who is taking care of her niece) needed to find someone to watch her niece while she was at work and asked me if I knew anyone local who might be willing. He told me that this young woman is taking care of her niece because the little girls father is making some decisions that are not conducive to taking care of a child. She also lives in a neighboring city, drives to another neighboring city (thirty minutes out of the way) to drop her niece off at a daycare and then drives to our city for work. The cost of gas alone for that kind of daily commute is enough to break the bank and then she has to pay a weekly rate for daycare even though she is a teacher and has many days off. I told him to have her stop by after work and if she was comfortable with it that I would watch her niece.

Long story short: 
She gets to save money on gas and childcare (because she is only going to pay for the days that I watch her niece) and I get to make a little money and Unicorn gets to practice babysitting! 
Win - Win - Win!

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 15

Diet Dr Pepper

Yep, a little trivial but helps keep the headaches away!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 14

Generosity of Strangers

Had a really neat blessing/experience on Saturday. 

I went to Old Navy to check out their clearance items to see if I could find some clothes for the kids for Christmas. I found a few things for the girls and went to check out. While I was pulling out my debit card to pay I saw that I had some Old Navy "money" and pulled it out. Under my breath I mumbled that it was expired and put it back into my purse. The cashier asked to see it and then called the manager up. I told her she didn't need to accept it but she said that it was ok and that they usually will still give the customer at least half of the value. Well, the manager didn't give me half the value...she gave me the entire $20 off my purchase! I was in is tight (as it is for most people) and I have NEVER had this type of thing happen to me. 

So very grateful for the generosity of these two strangers!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 13

Camera Timers and Cheesy Smiles

Without the Camera Timer this shot would not have been possible!

Cheesy Smiles!


You want me to look where?!?

Someone please stop this one from growing! I can't believe she will be 13 in 3 1/2 months!

Hubby and me

I LOVE this one!

They did a little rock climbing after our photo shoot!

I love sunsets in the desert!
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 12


 I am grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 11

ALL who Serve and have Served our Country

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 10

Rain (and Rainbows)

Living in the Arizona desert we don't get a lot of rain so it is a real blessing when 
we get rain and it is not monsoon season or our "rainy" season! 
It rained twice this week and one day we even got a double rainbow!
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Friday, November 9, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 9


I am grateful for the nights that I get good sleep. Until about a year ago I was unable to sleep through the night. My children were not good sleepers until about a year ago so, since my oldest in almost 13, I have spent the better part of the past 13 years sleep deprived. Now I because of my Fibromyalgia even when I get to sleep uninterrupted it is not usually good, restful sleep. This past week (other than Tuesday night) I have actually gotten some good sleep and I am very grateful for it!

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 8

Electric Bill

Now I am sure you are wondering why I am grateful for a BILL but I am...for the past 6 months our electric bill has been huge ($400-$600). It was our first summer in a new house so we had no idea how inefficient our air conditioner was. We live in Arizona where summers can get hot (like 120 degrees hot) and a/c is a must. So we have been taking measures to lower our bill but the break in the weather is really the only thing that allows us to turn off our a/c. So getting an electric bill around $150 today is something to be grateful for! Now I am off to pay bills and save the extra for a new, more efficient air conditioner!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 7


Today I am grateful my husband is employed.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 6


I am grateful for this country and the freedoms we have. 
Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to my opinions and beliefs
and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 5

Follow Me on Pinterest
I am grateful for all the technology (social media, computers, tablets, etc.) that helps me stay connected with family, friends and even my homeschooling buddies (the ones I haven't ever met)! I am also grateful for technology that helps me organize my life.
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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 4

Backyard Blessings

While I was composing Day 3's gratitude post I was blessed to watch a hawk land next to our pool.
In the early summer I was blessed to see this little guy checking out our pool!
We have also seen many lizards and even an owl!
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Saturday, November 3, 2012

An Unexpected Surprise...

I don't know who nominated my little blog for the Homeschool Blog Awards this year but 
I was at the site voting and was very surprised to see my blog nominated for Best Nitty-Gritty Homeschool Blog and Best Homeschool Methods Blog. 
Click the button below to see other nominees and/or to vote! 
Thanks again!

Join Me at The Homeschool Post!

The Polls will open November 4th, 2012 at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time (PST) and will close on November 16th, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time (PST).

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Gratitude Challenge ~ Day 3


Chalk Drawing Book Cover: The Wizard of Oz
Swimming everyday after school work is finished!
Science experiments
Learning about the Skeletal System
Writing Stories
History and Geography
Learning how to ride a bicycle!
Camping, Fishing, Hiking (Nature Studies & PE)
Learning sounds
Spelling, Technology and Conservation (saving paper by uploading worksheets onto the iPad)
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