Monday, September 16, 2013

Time to Catch Up {Photo Style}

I haven't posted many regular posts for a while. So I have decided to catch you up on what has been going on around here using photos. It has been a CRAZY few months!
Monkey and Ladybug spent their birthday money at IKEA. Monkey bought trains and Ladybug bought art supplies.

Monkey beat MarioKart Wii and played a lot of Wii Fit.

I became a Thrive Independent Consultant.

Flash vacuumed the floor.

Frackle mopped the floor.

Our old washer and dryer died so we had to get new ones.

A HUGE storm came through!

A leak in the wall during the HUGE storm.

The tarped roof because we lost more than 70% of our shingles during the HUGE storm.

Another leak during the HUGE storm.

A huge moth that Ladybug found.

Monkey loves to learn!

Taking care of Frackle.

Hanging out with Flash.

Monkey finally overcame his fear of floating on his back.

Monkey loves Happy Handwriting.

Watching them load shingles onto our roof.

Working on the roof.

Swimming with Frackle.

Swimming with Flash.

I became a Norwex Independent Consultant.

Ladybug finally got her swimming party.

Monkey loves Math.

Monkey starts Kindergarten

Ladybug starts 2nd grade

Unicorn starts 9th grade

Ladybug learning cursive.

Monkey working on Calendar Math.

Unicorn working on Oceanography.

Unicorn gets glasses.

Ladybug's creative sentence.

Monkey learning even and odd.

Cleaning/organizing/unpacking (after 17 months in the house) the school room area.

View from My Desk.

Another view from My Desk.

Another view from My Desk (this area will be Unicorn's new room).

The little kid's learning area.

Unicorn at work.

A ninja with a samurai sword.

Another ninja with a samurai sword.

Unicorn's new English excited for this one!

Termites! (not cool)!

Sink or Float Lab.

Ladybug's paper cup pyramid! It was almost as tall as her!

Unicorn's new room! Just needs walls!
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where were you? I still remember.


It is hard to believe it has been 12 years since that horrific day...I can still remember it like it was yesterday! I still get a knot in my stomach, an ache in my heart and tears in my eyes. My voice still cracks when I try to talk about what happened or where I was. When I think back to that day, I realize that God had me in that place for a reason. Let me explain...

I was born in Minnesota, I grew up there and in Washington State. After college I moved to Arizona, got married and had a baby and quit teaching to stay home with her. Then in January of 2001 my husband got laid off of work and I had to go back to work. I had recently earned a Master's Degree in Educational Counseling and wanted to pursue that avenue rather than go back to teaching. This meant we had to move. I was offered a position as a Guidance Counselor for 5-8th grade in a small town in New Jersey.

In late August, my 18 month-old daughter and I moved to NJ with the help of my sister (my husband stayed in AZ to try and sell our house).

September 10, 2001 ~ Unicorn and I took my sister to the airport in NYC. We looked up at the World Trade Center and other landmarks and talked about taking a trip to NYC soon to view the sights. That afternoon my sister flew back to Seattle.

September 11, 2001 ~ I dropped Unicorn off for her FIRST DAY of daycare and went to work. At 8:30 am I went to met with the principal in his office. The next thing I know a parent comes in screaming that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers.  (A little background here: The city I worked in was a commuter city for NYC. Of the 500 students in the school at least half of them had a family member that worked at the WTC. Also, the city is only about 45 min. from NYC).

As the events of the day unfolded it became clear that it was not an accident and that the US was under attack. I wanted nothing more than to grab my stuff and get my daughter and go home and cuddle with her. As a school counselor, that was not an option. The school went into lock-down mode. I was allowed 5 minutes to call my family and let them know that I was ok. The ONLY member if my family I could reach was my dad in Idaho. He was then tasked with getting in touch with my husband (in AZ), my mom (in Canada at the time) and my siblings (both in Seattle, WA). He was also able to confirm that my sister had arrived in Seattle safely the night before.

From about 9:30 am until 5:45 pm, I made phone calls and went to each classroom to explain what had happened. We had to call the families of every student who had family members that worked in NYC (approx. 250) and then to talk to each student and let them know that their moms, dads, aunts, uncles, etc. were ALL ok! It was a miracle. Not one of our students had a family member die that day. Unfortunately, we were not so lucky with the staff. One staff member lost a family member in the WTC that day.

At 6 pm I was finally able to go pick up my daughter from daycare and take her home and cuddle with her.

I know that I was there that day to help the staff and students through that day. My ability to stay calm during a crisis and to think clearly was definitely useful that day. I grew and changed that day. I would not be who I am if I had not been so close to that tragedy. I also wouldn't have been as needed had I live elsewhere. September 10, 2001 was the first and last time I ever saw the WTC towers. My little family moved back to AZ after that school year. It is the only time in my life that I have ever lived out east.

I will NEVER forget where I was that day? Will you?
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Monday, September 9, 2013

The Chore Solution: Making Families Better by Working Together {Review}

Do you ever have trouble keeping (or getting) your house clean? 
Need ideas on how to get your children involved? 
Today I am reviewing a book by Jason and Ann Cowan that just might help!
The Chore Solution: Making Families Better by Working Together
 Jason and Ann are the parents of 4 boys of varying ages. They wrote this book in response to their own challenges as parents. They were tired of house always being a mess, there never being enough clothes, and the kids always wanting the latest toy, DVD or video game.

The book starts off by posing 7 Challenges and then help you work through those challenges in a way that will work best for your family (they even included pages at the end of the book for you to record your thoughts and solutions to the challenges). By the end of the book you have developed a chore solution for your family that doesn't require you to do all the work or buy all the latest toys/gadgets!

My Thoughts:
I love that this is a quick read that helps you develop the perfect system for your family. We already had a system in place but after reading The Chore Solution we have made modifications that give the children more responsibility which gives me a cleaner home with less effort! Jason and Ann pack a ton of useful information into this short book. It is also a book that can be revisited as family dynamics change and kids get older!

In a Nutshell:
~Available in ebook, paperback and hardcover
~About 50 pages
~Helps you create a customized chore solution for your home
~Includes pages for recording your answers to questions posed throughout the book
~Website has downloadable/customizable forms
~7 Challenges (chapters) addressed
~Published by Mixed Up Books

Amazon (Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover)
Barnes & Noble (Paperback, Hardcover)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Contact Information:
Publisher Website

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

EEME {Mosaic Review}

Today's review is Monkey's favorite so far (and technically he is a little young for it)! 
He absolutely LOVED making the Genius Light by EEME
Read all the way to the end for a special offer!
From the Website:
EEME makes hands-on project kits paired with an online video curricula to teach 7-12 year old kids electronics.
Our goal? To nurture the curiosity & critical thinking kids need for the science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) opportunities of tomorrow. 

In a Nutshell:
~Monthly Subscription: Basic: $18.95/mo and Pro: $29.95/mo (pro includes a new project cover each month)
~Projects build upon each other (new parts and knowledge are added to prior parts and knowledge)
~Designed for ages 7-12 (my 5 year old LOVED this and my 13 year old enjoyed it as well)
~Only 1 kit needed per family
~Kit arrives monthly and you log on to the site and watch the videos and build the project
~Frequently Asked Questions
~Videos are free to watch (check them out and see what you think)
Contact Information:
Our Thoughts:
We really wish we could afford a subscription but it is just not an option right now (maybe a grandparent can get this for Monkey for Christmas). This project was very cool and we all learned a lot. Monkey loved putting the Light together and seeing how it all worked. The girls enjoyed it too but Monkey wanted more! This is something that my kids probably wouldn't learn without a program like this.
Special Offer:
Sign-up (using THIS LINK) before September 16, 2013 and get your 1st month (the Genius Light Project) FREE!

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