Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer... so far!

We've been on summer break for a whole week now, and we're having a great time.  We're busy all the time!

Here's how our days go.

We wake up around 7:30 or 8 and start off with breakfast.  As soon as breakfast is done, we do our school work.  When that's done, we go on to chores, and lastly we get to the music practice.  We're usually done with that around 10:30, and at 10:45 we have to leave for swimming lessons (just this week and next).  After swimming lessons are over, we go to my mom's, who lives down the street, to visit for a few minutes and have some lunch. Then the rest of the day may or may not be free.  Tuesdays we stick around because we have hula lessons for the girls in the same town as my mom's house, and with gas being what it is, I don't like to drive back and forth from my house to her town.

We haven't had time for a lot of fun yet, but we did get to the zoo last weekend.  It was raining, but it was still fun!  Speaking of rain, we keep trying to have a garage sale, but every Saturday's forecast calls for rain!  Once again, it has been pushed out another week.  We're trying to make money for our family vacation, and we're hoping we have the garage sale before we actually have to leave.

Some pictures of our summer so far...

Here are Rose and Uriah looking at the clouded leopard cubs.  They were so cute and playful!

 Hipster Lacy and the Budgie Buddies.

 Rose at the Rose Gardens at Point Defiance park.

 First day of swimming lessons!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A popsicle Summer

We have a great method that I've been using for a couple years now that works really well for my disorganized self.  I write down different chores or other things that are necessary on popsicle sticks and have the kids draw from the jar instead of simply assigning chores.  I just went through last year's popsicle stick chore chart and made a few more and took out some of them (like dusting, which they really shouldn't do, unfortunately, due to their dust allergies, which all 3 kids have), and I created new ones for school subjects.  This year, I also put school subjects on colored popsicle sticks and they're going to pull probably 3 of those every day, maybe 4. School's not out yet, so I haven't yet decided!  For chores and subjects already done that week, I'll reserve the popsicle sticks and put back in the next week.  Some school subjects and chores I'll put back in every day.  This is a fun way for them to do chores and I'm hoping it works for our summer school program as well.  Plus I add in things like jumping jacks, go down both slides, sing a song, call grandma, etc to make it fun!  And I have fun school subjects in there too- knitting school, cooking school, science experiments, etc.  I'm using one color for all the school subjects so that they can tell them apart from chores, but not remember their favorite subjects and always go for those colors!

I'm actually revising as I'm writing this blog post.  I'm putting weekly subjects on red popsicle sticks, and multiple times a week on yellow.  They'll draw 3 yellows and 1 red each day.

Yellows- 2 workbook pages, do a math worksheet, story of the world lesson, First Language Lessons, Brainquest time!, Read to Mom, and Listen to read alouds (these are educational read alouds, such as The Golden Goblet, and not the books I read to them at bedtime).

Reds- music appreciation, knitting lessons, arts & crafts, cooking class, science experiment

We're going to have pretty strict TV rules as well- no TV unless all chores, music practice and school work is done, and no TV at all on "T" days.   This keeps a good balance in the home during the summer. I'm considering being even more strict than I usually am- I'm thinking about TV hours (maybe just for a few hours in the afternoons) or having a totally TV-free summer (which my husband suggested).  If we decide to do that, in order to keep them motivated to do their chores, we won't be allowed to go to the pool to go swimming unless all chores, music and school work is completed.  Since the pool is 2 blocks away, it's really convenient to go and we can go many times in a week, possibly every day.  It's not a backyard pool, but it's still handy, and as long as I have my dinners planned well in advance, I might just take them every day.  It's too soon to tell- summer vacation begins on Friday, so we may still adjust all this to suit our needs as the summer progresses.

Back to the popsicle sticks- I first started using this method when Lacy was a new violin player 2 years ago. It was hard to get her to do everything she needed to do to practice, so I started writing down all of them on popsicle sticks.  We no longer do that now that she's in the minuets, but Rose will be starting violin lessons this fall or late summer so we'll start that up again for her.  It worked really, really well, so I decided to incorporate it into summer chores.  And now I'm expanding it even further!  I  noticed last summer that other people were using similar methods, but I didn't get my idea from those blogs.  I don't do any fancy printouts to glue to craft sticks, I just write on them with pen and stick them in a jar.  That way I can add and subtract at will.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Allergies and Us

We have all the allergies.  Food.  Hayfever.  Dust and mold.  Pet.  Medication.  I did everything I could and researched up a storm to do the best I could to keep our kids from having allergies. I was very careful.  Despite my best efforts, all three of the kids have allergies.  According to the allergy doctor that we see, with Dave and my allergies combined, we have an 80% chance of passing those allergies on.  I guess genetics are a lot stronger than the other factors such as infant feeding method, introduction of solids, allowing your kids to play in the dirt, ect.

So now we have to learn to deal with it and now I'm on a mission to keep their allergies at bay using the least invasive methods possible.

In the meantime, at least the food and pet allergies are easier to avoid.  It's the hayfever and the dust and mold allergies that are difficult.  All three kids have dust allergies of varying degrees.  All three children also have food allergies.  Each child is allergic to egg whites.  That is Uriah's only diagnosed food allergy.  Lacy is also allergic to milk.  Rose is also allergic to banana, yeast, pecans and almonds.  And, because there is a child in her class with a severe peanut allergy, that means I have to rethink her lunches.  Fortunately, the food allergies are mostly mild to moderate.  Rose might have asthma. All three have eczema. And I'm afraid Uriah has the worst allergies of all three.  Because he's so little, there wasn't as much room to do tests on his back, and blood tests for two year olds are notoriously inaccurate.

So, we need to make a lot of changes.  I'm on a mission to keep my family healthy while staying away from as many medications as possible.