Monday, August 30, 2010

The Letter I

It was a good thing that today was Monday because Summer wanted to go to school, we almost couldn't finish our breakfast because Summer was so eager to start. Last week we finished W and Q, this week we start with the letter I. Before we actually started I had to send a birthday card to my aunt and I had Summer sign the card. I would draw the letters in the air and had her write them out on the card.

Notice her S looks more like a 2, and the U is upside down. The M has three humps instead of two. Her E was pretty awesome, the R was almost there. I was really impressed at how well she did.

During class I gave Summer 6 letters, an S, U, M, M, E, R and they were scrambled up and I had her pick the letters in order to spell her name. I wasn't sure if she could do it but she did it, it was easy, I was impressed!

We started the letter I by watching two cute videos: and

Then I got out the worksheets, letter I tracing, finding the letter I's, etc. I brought out a ruler to teach Summer what an Inch was, I didn't think she would get it but she was very good at measuring. I am not sure if she completely understood but she knew how to measure the lines in inches.

I found an online story book about ice fishing from PBS and downloaded it and read it to Summer. After we read it Summer drew a picture about the story. She drew a bunch of colorful ice cubes. Then we decided to make an igloo with ice cubes.

She told me one was a door and one was a window. We then put an ice cube in a cup and poured hot water over it and learned about ice melting and freezing. We took 2 ice cubes out front and set them on the bricks and forgot to go back later and check on them. Maybe we can go look tomorrow :o)

I took out the globe and we looked at the different islands and learned how islands are surrounded by water.

We made an ice cream cone with sprinkles. Yesterday I cut out a cone shape and 6 scoops and had Summer glue them on the paper, then I let her use glue to stick on some real sprinkles. She had fun with that exercise.

Initially I was one of those letters she had trouble with but after today I think she got it. I had her draw an upper and lower case I on the white board and she had no problem. Tomorrow I plan on working with sounds and the whole vowel idea.

We are also still working on the number 6, I keep trying to sneak that in there too.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jump Jump Jump

What kid doesn't like to jump?

Summer likes to jump.

She thinks jumping is fun.

Summer can jump really high.

Summer be nimble, Summer be quick...

Friday, August 27, 2010

The first week

We finished the first week of school. I am not sure if it was easier or harder than I thought it would be. For one we aren't doing as long, I was originally thinking 2 hours, we are lucky to get in an hour. However the amount of work we get through in one hour is a lot more than I thought, and planning for that hour takes me at least an hour. I guess I am spending about 2 hours a day on school, 1 hour of planning, usually during naps, and 1 hour of actual school.

Papa is completely on board with school. He and Summer went to a teacher's store in town and bought an alphabet wall. I like it, it will help me teach.

Summer enjoyed pointing out the letters to me, or as she likes to pretend she is teaching me. I don't mind at all :o)

Today we finished the letters W and Q. Summer no longer calls a Q a W. We started the morning by tossing some quarters. Q for quarters. Tossing quarters, not really helpful hehe, Summer didn't find it as interesting as I thought she might. Then I said a few words that started with either Q or W and had her tell me what it was. Overall she did really good with that exercise. I drilled her again with the flashcards, showing her the W and Q and had her tell me which was which, and she aced it.

Then we did some actions, I had her Walk, Walk like an elephant, Wiggle like a Worm, Wave to me, Wish upon a star, Quack like a duck, talk very Quietly, Walk very Quickly, you get the idea, actions that start with the letter W and Q. She had fun doing those.

I decided to try a story for fun, since it was Friday and all, we watched a story about meeting new people and judging them. I found it on this site, it was great the first day I watched it but this morning it was really laggy so I don't know if I will use it again. Since it was about fish I decided we would use a paper plate and make our own fish. That wasn't very hard and didn't take much time, Summer had fun for the few minutes it took her to make they eyes and decorate the body.

I am still torn on to home school or send her to school eventually, part of me realizes that I can teach her much faster at home but do I want her to learn so fast? I loved going to school, will she miss it? Does she need the stress that schools create these days? Will I enjoy spending so much time teaching her? Only time will tell but at least I will be prepared to answer before she has to actually start in two years. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Letter Q

Today we learned about the letter Q. We first watched a video about the letter Q, I really liked this one. I will probably use these videos in the future for all my letters. I also drew a letter Q on the white board, well actually it was a Mrs. Q and her baby q. Mrs. Q asked Summer to draw a Q for her and she did. Then I got two flash cards, the letter W and the letter Q and made sure Summer knew the difference. I would hold one up and she had to quickly tell me the letter. Yesterday I cut out some letter Q's and W's and gave Summer a piece of paper, she had to glue the W's on the W side and the Q's on the Q side.

She had no problem with it so I am convinced she knows the difference, now if she will quit calling the letter W a Q we will be good to go.

We also made crowns for a queen out of toilet paper rolls. Then we painted the crowns with q-tips. Get it, Queen and Q-tips both start with the letter Q!

I also found 2 quarters and had Summer trace around it and rub it through the paper. Well, sorta, that was a little too hard but she had fun with it anyway.

I printed out a few Q worksheets, I found some new sites I like, the Nick Jr. site has some great alphabet packs, I really like how they print too.

Yesterday I gave Summer some homework. She wasn't that excited yesterday but this morning she actually finished tracing the W's. Since she did so well I gave her another worksheet for Q's to do today.

Overall I am happy with how school is going. I think I will do 2 letters a week and recap them on Friday. I am also doing a number a week, this week we are on the number 6. I am trying to get her to understand how a 6 and a 9 look the same. Most likely I will continue with 6 next week. We did some math with 6 earlier this week so I will focus more on writing the number 6 and counting with it.

I will admit this is much harder than I anticipated. I easily spend an hour or more getting ready for the next day. It will probably get easier the longer I do it. Let's be honest, her attention span is short, I have to make the activities quick and exciting or she loses interest. If we are lucky we get an hour in each morning but I try to continue the learning throughout the day. She also likes teaching me so I let her, which helps her learn too. As long as we are both having fun with it I will keep it going.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

3 Year Well Visit

Today Summer had her 3 year well visit. I told her before we went what to expect, the doctor would check her out and make sure she was healthy. I also told her I wasn't sure if she would get immunizations but if she was lucky she might. Since Papa is diabetic I don't think shots are that big a deal, but it didn't matter because she didn't get any.

The nurse helped us first. She had Summer take her shoes off and stand on the scale, 38 pounds. Then she measured her, 39 1/2 inches tall. She is on a great growth curve, and appeared almost off the line so she is 95-100% for her height and weight. The nurse also took her blood pressure, well she actually put a band around her arm and let it hug her over and over. Summer sat so still while the band hugged her. Her blood pressure was really good, like 112/72 and her pulse was just at 100. I didn't even know they took kids blood pressure.

The nurse did a vision test with her in the hall, I think Summer was a little shy because people kept walking by, she did ok, it was apparent she could see but she kept repeating some of the same things on the wrong picture. We will make sure she doesn't squint but we aren't too worried about it.

Summer got a book and while we waited for the doctor to come in we read it to her. The doctor asked her a few questions, like what kind of milk do you drink. I whispered for her to answer 2% lol, which is what the doctor wanted to hear. She also asked Summer if she sat in a car seat or booster, to which Summer said car seat. She asked her if she brushed her teeth and Summer told her she did, twice a day. She had Summer jump around and then lie on the table. Summer was so good, she did not move while the doctor examined her. The doctor looked in her ears and said they looked good, into her nose, her mouth, turned the lights off and looked into her eyes. Then she listened to her heart, had her breath in and out (or inhale and exhale) which kinda amazed me, I didn't know she knew how to do that.

Everything was fine, Summer is a healthy little thing. We somehow started talking about school and we mentioned home school and the doctor was really all for that, which surprised me for some reason. I am sure we bragged more than we needed to, the doctor could clearly see that Summer was happy, healthy, and very smart.

When the doctor was finished doing her exam Summer wasn't - she wanted to be examined more. It was cute, how many kids enjoy visiting the doctor as much as she does?

We don't go back again unless Summer gets sick I guess, or if we decide to get a flu shot this fall. I am glad it was such a fun experience, too bad we can't go more often.

The Letter W

Q? For some reason Summer called the letter W a Q. I have no idea why but those two letters confused her. We spent about two hours over the last two days learning about the letter W. Tomorrow we will spend time learning about the letter Q. Hopefully by the end of the week a W will be a W and a Q will be a Q.

This is how we learned about the letter W.

- We watched a few W videos on youtube.
- We traced and drew the letter W.
- I bought a lot of ABC stickers, I took all the W's off and Summer put them on a piece of paper.
- We got on the floor and moved like a worm - get it, (w)orm. We also colored a worm on a piece of paper.
- I cut out some pictures of things that started with the letter W, a watch, a wand, washing, from old magazines and Summer glued them on a piece of paper.
- We tried to (w)histle.
- We painted a watercolor.
- I found boxes and canned food that started with W, took them out and had Summer find the letter W on them (whipped frosting, white wine vinegar, etc).
- We tore a piece of paper into 4 long pieces and made the letter W with the scraps.
- We watched videos about whales and listened to the sounds they make underwater (science).
- We used the marker board to draw a W several times. That little w is what Summer wrote. She prefers to make them extra large so I was happy to get a small one out of her.

She knows that a W makes the wah sound and you draw it by going down up down up :o)

- She colored a watermelon the correct colors, and stayed in the lines pretty good too.
- We waved when we heard words that started with the letter W (though not very successfully).

Today I gave Summer a homework paper, a W worksheet. Is it homework if you are home schooled? Anyway she has until tomorrow to finish it. She was rather excited about it but hasn't done it yet so we will see. I am excited about tomorrow and the letter Q, I have a few ideas ...

We are also doing the number 6 this week. We did a few 6 worksheets and I bought these colorful triangle blocks. I told Summer to pick out 6 triangles. Then I had her pick out 4 red triangles and 2 blue triangles and asked her what 4 + 2 equaled. Then we did 3 yellow and 3 blue, 1 red and 5 green, you get the point. She wasn't interested in tracing the 6 so we will work on it more over the next few days.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Time for School!

I decided to become my daughter's teacher and today was the day. We actually started a week early because she woke up an hour early so we had extra time. I was not prepared but winged it. I figured I would go over the basics and see where we were. First I had Summer say her ABC to make sure she could say them all, she did that just fine. Then I got the ABC flash cards and determined which letters (uppercase) she did not know. 20 out of 26, not bad, we have to work on W, N, V, H, G, and I. Then I had her count as high as she could, she counted 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18 - so I had her stop and figured she is good to go through the number 13. Next I looked to see what numbers she knew and didn't know, she can't quite recognize the 6, 9, and 7 yet. We also went over the calendar a little, days of the week, months, day, etc. We talked about her address and phone number. After about an hour and having her call me teacher the entire time, her idea, not mine lol, I would say we had a successful first day of school. I can easily spend an hour if not more on it each day. We also did some drawing, she got a new crayon box and it has colored pencils so she drew me a person and a few other things. Tomorrow I am going to focus on a letter a day, starting with her trouble letters and go from there. I hope to get a bit more organized tonight, now that I know what I am in for.

I didn't take any pictures because it was very last minute and we were both still in our pajamas, maybe this week I can try to incorporate some pictures into the mix. We have a really busy week this week, we start cheerleading tomorrow and we have three more soccer classes on Wednesdays. I am also going to a ballet open house on Friday night to see how that goes. Who knew being a mom could be so busy, of course I have to work at it, but so far so good. Now I need to go get the camera out and take pictures of something, there has to be something cool around here that needs to be seen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Braids and Feet

Braids and Feet go together like Pigs and Igloos. I don't know, it was the first two things that came to mind, which means they really don't go together but when you decide to take pictures sometimes odd things just stand out, and for me, on this morning, it was braids and feet.

I know what you are thinking, you are wondering how I am so talented and able to get that hair in cute little braids right? No ... ok, then you are probably thinking that the morning light coming in makes for great photos. Not that either huh. Fine, her feet are dirty and she is on my bed, and it is in the morning so how in the world did her feet get so dirty so soon? I don't know, I am going to guess she ran out in the garage without shoes because nothing dirties her feet faster than that floor does! Sheesh, like your feet are always clean, anyways I like dirty feet remember! I like dirty foot too!

But serious, I am not kidding about morning light, if you want some neat looking pictures take them first thing in the morning. Open the window and let the natural beauty of the day do the work for you.

While you are trying to eat dry cheerios and watch cartoons of course!

Ethel M Chocolate, Cactus Tour, Town Square

Somehow I thought it would be nice enough to do some fun outside activities, like going to Ethel M, having the quick tour, walking through the cactus garden, then heading over to Town Square and play in the park. I was wrong, it was way too hot, even if we did start at 10:00 am in the morning. It was also very humid which is not really normal and made it almost unbearable. None of the children complained but do they ever? None of the moms complained either, however you could tell that we were all very hot and not happy to be outside sweating in places we didn't even know we had. We managed. The kids seemed to enjoy themselves, especially when we got to the park. As hot as it was they had an awesome time and all got wet (yay), even Summer, luckily she has come around to water features, it could be an age thing, or maybe a hot over 100 and humid thing.

Ethel M Chocolate - not as impressive as I thought. In fact by the time we arrived no one was working on anything so we walked through and just looked at a bunch of big machines. We all got a piece of chocolate near the end, and walked through the gift shop. The kids were looking at a large piece of chocolate shaped into a sculpture or something, I guess they were impressed, of course we made them stay there longer than they normally would so we could take pictures.

No doubt the cactus garden is pretty neat, but when it is so hot in humid, not so much. No one really wanted to look at anything except the path that led to the exit. We will have to go back just to check out the garden when it cools off, but until then, eh it was really hot. The kids didn't seem to mind, they kept running down the trails and stopping to sit at every bench we encountered.

Oh they did see a lizard and thought it was pretty neat I guess.

Next we headed over to Town Square, a huge shopping center with a pretty awesome kids park. The park has several large kid buildings to play in, a maze, slides, and a water feature. I think this was the best part, they all had a blast running around and just being a kid. We are going back as soon as it cools down a bit.

After we played for a while we went and had lunch at Whole Foods. By then it was nap time so we headed home and Summer happily crashed. It was a hot but very nice day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Learning ABC's and Numbers

I am determined to teach my child. I loved school, I loved teaching, I should have become a school teacher but maybe it wasn't meant to be, maybe I was suppose to have a cute little girl and teach her. Most of the time I turn our play into learning, I somehow sneak letters, numbers, reading, counting, into how we play. "If you take one princess away, how many does that leave?" Today was a great day, after dinner Summer wanted to go outside and since clouds blew into town the weather dropped at least 10 degrees if not more. It was late, about 7:00 pm, but we headed out front and grabbed the bucket of chalk. I was tempted to get the camera because I can barely resist chalk smudge pictures but I didn't, instead I drew pictures with Summer. A good 20 minutes into our chalk time I started writing numbers in boxes and turned it into a learning game. I told Summer to stand on number 1 then move to the next number, 2, 3, 4, etc. Then I had her hopping to certain numbers and jumping to other numbers. Then I had her put her left foot on the number 3, right foot on the number 4 and so on.

By the time I did go get my camera to take a picture it was pretty dark out, we actually just came in, but here is our number game.

After I made the number game I figured I had to make an alphabet game or two and do the same thing, start on the number A and follow it through the alphabet. She easily knows her alphabet but this game was challenging, she had to stop and think about the next letter, with a little help. She knows her letters A-I pretty good but it also helped when I would just call them out and tell her to step on the certain letters.

She still confuses her G and H so by calling them out, she had to really remember which letter was which. Then I got a great idea that didn't end up being anything like I thought but still worked - I made a circle and put letters in boxes around it, told her to stand in the middle and when I called a letter she had to quickly run to that box with the letter. Then I had her stand in a box and I told her I would only call a letter on either side of her and I had her moving back and forth around the circle.

A little hard to see but I think you get the idea. Somehow we incorporated a shark and she had to hurry before the shark got her. She is only barely 3 and her attention span lasted a whole 15 minutes before the learning got to be too much, or maybe it was the fact that it is kinda late, but I feel like I added a bit of learning in with our fun play time, what more could a mom ask for?

If you like my ideas and give them a try, let me know, and if you create a different variation let me know that too, we are always playing with chalk and she really enjoyed the games I made.

So darn hot

Las Vegas is a desert. Las Vegas is very hot. Lately it has been hotter than normal, at least it seems like it. Probably not, probably because the summer is dragging on and I am almost ready for autumn. Not yet, but almost. I mean, I do love the heat but I wish we could go play at the park, and right now that isn't going to happen, the equipment would scorch little soft legs. However will are still spending a lot of time outside, just short amounts of time. We are finding all kinds of fun things to do to help finish off the summer.

Water hose fun in the front yard.

After we kicked around the soccer ball.

Sprinkler in the front yard with Chloe.

Sitting out back on the swing making goofy faces.

We have had a nice summer, the weather might be so darn hot but we are making the best of it and having a great time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hiking with Friends

Hiking with friends is a lot of fun, hiking with friends with small children - even better! Why? Because hiking is hard work and small kids slow you down, and that makes it easier :o)

We went hiking with two friends today, Rachel & Rachel, and their kids, Bradley (9), Isaac (5), Carissa (4), & Noah (2). We had a great time, we managed to squeeze into one van, drove about 30 minutes, had a picnic under a tree, climbed some stairs and hiked! This was another trail at Mt. Charleston, an easy trail, 1 mile round trip with a waterfall waiting at the end. The trail was rated a 1 for difficulty, 1 out of 5, so basically this was the easiest hiking trail they make. For a 1 it was extremely steep, but mostly flat. If the kids didn't keep stopping to climb onto rocks to take pictures it might have been a lot harder. We saw a few people who were having trouble breathing so we felt good that we actually made it, and with 5 kids in tow!

Here are some pictures from the hike - Little Falls hike, the kids did so good, I was so proud they made it!

Not only did they do good on the hike, they did great posing for pictures! We had a lot of fun, a few falls, quite a few in fact. Near the waterfall were a bunch of big slippery wet rocks we had to climb over and we lost about everyone once or twice, but no major injuries. Right before we made it to the falls Summer was struggling to keep going and was about ready to call it quits, it was a little steep but luckily we were so close and we hit a shady spot that seemed to make it ok. She was also very snacky on this trip, and afterward in the car on the way home, and tonight, so she must be going through another growth spurt.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dirty Little Secret

dirty heals - balance, originally uploaded by ~jesca~.

Love has no boundaries when it comes to precious little girls. Girls are fun, clean, beautiful, princesses, and often dirty. Of course they are dirty, look at her feet! Running around outside without shoes goes without saying - girls just wanna have fun. Yes I grew up listening to Cindi ... I am that old :o)

I have a soft spot in my heart for dirty little feet. I remember when I was a little girl, not nearly as cute or precious, and I would run around outside and get my feet dirty. I remember pulling stickers out of my feet, stickers so sharp they made me bleed, and yet I still preferred to be shoeless and free. Getting dirty is fun and exciting and builds character, at least I like to think so, and since my girly girl likes it as much as I did and still do, I guess maybe she really is my daughter after all.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It Rained!

It doesn't rain very often in Las Vegas but when it does we take full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy it. I bought Summer a pair of rain boots several months ago. They were so cute and colorful, but they were a bit big. Today was a perfect chance to try them on again and guess what, they fit! At least they fit enough to splash around in the puddles, we had a lot of rain and it made for some big splashes. At first I got Summer a pair of pants, funny how she has outgrown most of her 3T pants already, the only pair I had in her drawer, well they just fit, nice and snug. Then I thought about a jacket, I had no clue where any were which was ok because it wasn't even cold out. In fact the temperate with the rain was about 80 degrees, really nice!

Summer took her umbrella and headed out onto the driveway. It quit raining right after we got outside, luckily it had rained enough that the running water down the street was enough to entertain and the umbrella was quickly forgotten.

Look mom - a puddle. Jump in it Summer!

I really didn't think she was going to do it but not only did she do it, she did it with dedication - after a few tame jumps.

She ended up soaking her pants, I guess the shoes don't work as well as I thought, no worries, we came in and changed back into shorts and then it started to rain again so we went back out and watched from the safety inside the driveway.

Next time I will pull her hair back, that might have been nice :o)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Olive Garden

Yesterday we decided to go to "Olive Garden" or as Summer likes to call anyplace we go that has food, "The Food House". We really love their food, the new Parmesan-Polenta Encrusted Steak is just delicious, more than delicious really, very yummy. Kris always gets the fettuccine, normally chicken but last night he got the seafood. We sat near the door where the servers, waiters, waitstaff, whatever you want to call them, come out. Summer was happily eating and watching them buzz around the restaurant and looked at me and said "I love the "food takers". So now we are at a food house being served by food takers. I love it :o)

I made Kris take a photo with his iPhone, a picture of Summer eating her plate of cheese, her salad, breadsticks, carrots, she shared our dinner and ended up eating a ton of food. She liked my cheese raviolis, ate a few pieces of my steak, and devoured daddy's fettuccine noodles.

If only every night was an Olive Garden night, or a food house night, after all, when you are there, you are family!