Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer Goals - Part 1


That's right! Teach Academy has finished our first year of homeschooling! Just in time too! I have the kids signed up for some really fun summer camps! I will do a retrospective post later this summer about our first year. We also have some graduations this year, so I'll post that soon too!

I, myself, have quite a few things I want to get accomplished this summer. Here is the first part of my SUMMER GOALS list. I say first part because I am stealing borrowing an idea from my friend Bethany. She does a Summer Fun List (to see hers click here), of fun summer things their family is going to do. I read her post and I was inspired to do one with our kids. Thanks, Bethany!

So here is what I, personally, want to get accomplished this summer and I will post our one with the kids soon!

1. Finish a yearbook for the kids - I have been working very hard on it this week and am getting close to being done. We have yearbooks from all our years at parochial school and I didn't want the kids not to have one because we are homeschooling.

2. Organize my curriculum - I have to put away all of this year's books keeping it somehow labeled so I can find it again when the next child needs it. I haven't figured out a systems for that yet, and would love to hear what other homeschoolers do! I also have almost all of next year's curriculum. I bought most of it at a huge homeschool conference I attended this spring. I have one subject left to order (add that to my to do list), and I ordered my Catholic religion books this week. Funny side note, I switched companies this year and I had to ship them to my priest! They wouldn't let me ship them to a private home address! I guess the answer keys in teacher manuals of religion/ Theology books for grades Preschool, 2nd and 4th are hot on the black market???

3. Finish unpacking - um, little embarrassed to write that one. Tomorrow is June and later in June will be the one year anniversary of being in our new home. And yes, I still have boxes. Worse, I don't have a single picture hung! If you know me well, you know I am a photo addict! I love getting the kids pictures taken, taking them myself and covering my walls in them. Still, not a one is hung yet! And yes, it is driving me crazy.

4. Purchase Homeschool Tracker ONLINE. I am going to go tech-savvy and get the newest program that Homsechool Tracker offers. HSTOnline. I am intrigued by the idea of it updating itself whenever needed and excited by the fact that if my computer kicks the bucket I will still have all my info out in "the cloud." I am a big fan of organization and I am super excited that once I enter in all the kids subjects and sections that I can just pull from that master list weekly or monthly, whichever I choose, to do lesson plans. I first started researching programs because I used a paper book planner this year (My Well Planned Day), but I don't want to be digging for old lesson plan books when my kids each reach the year in school of an older sibling. I will post later in the summer how it is working for me.

5. Organize my homeschool area of my house - I went to IKEA and bought some of their TROFAST systems. I am excited to get them put together and organize, organize, organize!

Monday, May 27, 2013

H&H Assignment: Music Mondays in May - My Childhood

Week 4 of my blog group H&H friends challenge to one another - Music Mondays in May. I did mine in reverse order, so this last Music Monday in May post will be on my childhood.

When I was very little, I can remember my parents listening to music. A lot. My dad played records all the time. My music love for the 70's music must be from hearing it all the time as a kid (or being brainwashed, lol).

For this post, I have decided to highlight 3 songs, from 3 different artists, for 3 different people.

The first song is for me. This is a song I heard a lot growing up. It is the "Sweet Melissa" by the Allman Brothers:

Per my gals request, I have a photo this time. It's not a great photo as I couldn't get the scan of it loaded to the computer, so I went the lazy way and took a photo of a photo on my iPhone and let the cloud do the work, lol! This is me at age 3.

My second song is for my mom. One of her favorite artists is Carol King. I also love her because of my mom. This is one that I remember her liking and dare I say even signing ;-)

Finally, for my dad, I picked Jim Croce. Again, a great artist that I now love because my parent did. I picked "I've Got a Name:"

You can find my other weeks' posts here:

Also, be sure to check out the posts of my fellow H&Hers here:

Next month, our posts will be about FOOD! Yum!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dollar bin of education!

I am a big fan of Target. I LOVE shopping there! Today, in the dollar bin I found some great items for homeschooling, summer enrichment, or just for fun! Of course, I wanted to share my finds!
You can't beat the price- $1!

Looking at Nature Books
These are really neat. I got these with Zoe's K4 in mind to use as a supplemental. Again, each book was only $1.

There were also quite a few of these My World books. In the top photo, you can see a few social studies ones I picked up. I like this one on the food chain as a science supplemental book too.

This book is called Brilliant Reader, it is basically a log for books read with a little bit of Q/A for the child to fill out:

 I liked this book because it is not as labor intensive as a book report, but gives me the opportunity to see what they have read and what it was about. My kids also like to draw, so I like the draw a scene from the book part too! I think I will assign these weekly next year.

I will admit, I liked having the Accelerated Reader program when my kids were in traditional school. It was nice to have a pretty little printout that told me they understood the content of the book through the short quiz and kept track of how many words they read. Just FYI, last year Grace read over half-a-million words! It's pretty cool to see that on paper. She devours books even more this year, so I am sure she has easily read a million words this school year. Grace doesn't really like to journal on weird random topics I select, but I think she will really enjoy doing these as she gets to write and draw about the books she is enjoying.

Monday, May 20, 2013

H & H Assignment: Music Mondays in May - Falling in Love

This is post 3 of my blog group H & H: Homesteaders and Homeschoolers. For May, we decided to do Music Mondays in May. For this week, I decided to do the songs from when Brian and I met, dated and were married.

When we met:

We actually met at church! We met on August 15th, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. Since this is a Holy Day, it is an easy anniversary to remember. I don't have one particular song from that Mass, but really any songs about Mary could be selected here. I picked Ave Maria because it so beautiful:

When we were dating: 

Brad Paisley had just released his debut album and "We Danced" was one of the big songs. We actually saw him in concert in a tiny little town and at a fair both! I picked this song because I remember Brian asking me to dance to it DURING the concert. :)

When we were married:

Of course, for when we were married, I have to pick the song we first danced to as Mr. and Mrs.
It is one of my favorite songs for that very reason :-)
"I'll Still Be Loving You" by Restless Heart

You can read my other Music Monday in May posts here:

Check out my fellow H & H bloggers Music Monday in May posts here:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cian's trip to Eris

Cian journals daily as part of our homeschooling. Yesterday, his assignment was "IF I WERE AN ASTRONAUT.... "
I am sure he was super excited as he LOVES the planets and space! He loves to read about them and has a goal to make a model of them. (Summer project, perhaps?!)
Well, as you can see below, Cian wants to be the first astronaut to go to Eris. Huh? I thought. Eris?? No planet is called Eris, what is my boy talking about?? Okay, after a quick check of the mnemonic device: My Very Educated Mother Just Served UNine Pies (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and [back then] Pluto),  followed by an embarrassing google search by me, I discovered that Eris is a dwarf planet! Of course, I and everyone else heard about Pluto being demoted to a dwarf planet, but I totally missed this one completely! So, I'm glad to be learning alongside my little ones!
And yes, this is not the first time I have been schooled by my 6 year old, lol!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Music Mondays in May - Mother's Day

Okay, starting with a disclaimer, I DO know the days of the week. Last week I ended up with "Wait for It Wednesday" so why get it right now, lol. I am doing my music choice this week about motherhood and since today is Mother's Day, yep, I am posting my Music Mondays in May post on Sunday, Mother's Day. Sorry fellow H & H bloggers: Laura, Jen and Carla. I'll try to get it right (on Monday) next week. ;-)

Motherhood - as you probably guessed from last month's blog assignments of my homesteaders and homeschoolers blog assignments- I believe is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I cherish my children and am so humbled to get to be their mother. I wanted to pick a song for this week about my children. When Grace was born I had this great idea to make a video of her pictures and the "Isn't She Lovely" song by Stevie Wonder. Well, it didn't happen. So this is the perfect opportunity to pick and recognize a song that brought me to tears when holding my little baby Grace, our little "gift from God."
Yes, "We have been heaven blessed."

And to all FOUR of my loves, this other song is for you all. I have been so blessed to not have "my life's one miracle," but my life's FOUR miracles.

Thank you for these beautiful cards today:
From Zoe - age 4

From Cian - age 6

From Grace - age 9
Ellie's gift today was sleeping in until 7:15!

Thank you God for these beautiful children.

If I could hold you forever, I would. Just like a kangaroo can only hold her baby in her pouch while they are young, you are all growing way too fast for this sentimental momma! Always know though, I will hold you in my heart my whole life no matter how old you are.

For my children:

That's "Z" End

Zoe has made it through the entire Confessions of a Homeschooler Letter of the Week Preschool!

Since I use D'Nealian handwriting, I have supplemented the course with handwriting worksheets from other websites and workbooks. I also follow the D'Nealian suggested order of letter presentation which would have "z" as second to last. Well, since Zoe starts with "Z," I switched the last two and we ENDED WITH Z!

In addition to eating zebra cakes and an awesome field trip to the ZOO, here are some cute pics from this week:

Zebra Graphing from

Zoe did them with a "Z" rubber stamp

Here it is!

Zoe in a Zoe shirt

(Notice the big shiner Zoe has in the picture. She took on the corner of the kitchen counter.... I think it won. It gets even better, she had her dance recital that night! Ugg!, shiner in all the pics!)

Zoe books we read this week
Zoe liked that this one's title was "Zoe's Z Book" for Zoe's "Z" week!

Another fine motor activity

Our finished Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree!
You might notice a couple kiddos spelled their name on the tree. ;-)


X- cited!

Here's a couple little pictures I took of letter X week from Zoe's preschool:This is a printable from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Zoe put bones on it for x-ray.


Zoe making an "X" with her body
Ellison, not wanting left out, making her "x"

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Music Mondays in May - My Current Love Song

This is my Music Mondays in May post number 1. My blogging group of friends, Homesteaders and Homeschoolers have given ourselves a May assignment. We are doing Music Mondays in May.
Yep. I realize it is Wednesday. My bad. I'm calling this first post:

I'm going to do my music posts a little backwards. Since we have 4 Mondays in May we will be posting on, I'm going to do mine in reverse. My first post will be a current love song in my life.

I LOVE music, but am stuck back in the 70's. It has always been my favorite decade for music. (More on that in later weeks!) I do like current music, but unless it was on Glee, American Idol or The Voice, I've probably not heard it. My husband however, loves music and loves to find the next big song before it's super big. He is always listening to new artists and playing youtube videos of groups I've never heard of yet. Then, a few months later the song is on Glee and I have heard of it, lol!

My song for this Wait for it Wednesday, Music Monday in May is one of those. It was a song my husband played for me forever ago, told me he thought of me when he heard it and told me who sang on it: Adam Levine. Well, I was like, you had me at Adam Levine. Just kidding (a little bit), you had me at "makes me think of you."

 It is a running joke between my husband and I my 'love' for Adam Levine. My husband calls him my boyfriend. 
So, I picked the song featuring my 'boyfriend' because it makes my husband think of me, lol! If you have ever been around me, this was my ringtone all last year until my iPhone died a couple weeks ago.

My 1st Music Mondays in May song is "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes (still not convinced that sounds like a real group) featuring ADAM LEVINE!

Check out my fellow H & H bloggers Music Mondays in May post at their blogs:
Carla at Our Happy Chaos

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Behavior Chart

My kids are ready for summer! However, we won't be done with school for a little while. Most things we will finish in May, but a couple will go into the first week of June! One thing we have finished is Grace's ENTIRE Saxon Math book. That's right, an entire book finished and not just stopped because it was the magic school dismissal date ;-)

Since they are getting a bit of spring fever, I decided to create a behavior chart. Schools often use some variation of these, but I thought making one might also work on a few homeschooled kiddos with spring fever, lol!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

H & H Assignment: Highs and Lows of Pregnancy

This is post two of the Homesteaders and Homeschoolers blog assignments we decided to do. :-)

The highs of my pregnancies were the same in all of them:

* To know that we were receiving a gift from God- the blessing of a child to love and raise.
* Feeling the baby move for the first time- that butterfly-like flutter.
* Feeling those soccer kicks as they got bigger.
* Finding out the gender each pregnancy I was having a girl, boy, girl, girl, respectively.
* The 8th month. The only month where I didn't have morning sickness anymore, but before the last month when I was so big and uncomfortable constantly.


We found out we were pregnant with Grace when we were in Ireland. We had been trying and I held the news a couple days and told Brian on his birthday. I had bought a baby bib that said Daddy's.... and gave him that as a birthday present to tell him. Since we didn't have kids, we had also gone to Paris, France on that trip so Grace was quite the LITTLE jet-setter!

One of the lows of ALL my pregnancies was horrible morning sickness. Being pregnant was a great "diet" for me as I lost lots of weight the first trimesters. I puked a lot! There was no "morning" sickness, it was constant sickness. With Grace I was just so happy to be pregnant and they say the sickness is a good sign that all is going well, so I was okay with the constant puking. My OB was not. I had hyperemesis gravidarum. She put me on Zofran. She also had me get IVs of fluid during that first trimester. I remember commuting to my teaching job, (an hours drive) and puking on myself on the way there. A lovely visual I know. After that, I'd be sure to not leave my house without a barf bag! I'd also start to teach and then run down the hall to get sick all day long. I had my own office that had a bathroom in it so that was a very fortunate thing!

 I still threw up liquids a lot the 2nd trimester, but kept food down pretty well and that ended the IVs. It was a really weird thing- I couldn't keep down water AT ALL. If I tried to drink it, I would then ALWAYS throw it up. I ended up drinking Mountain Dew after my first trimester and did okay with that with the Zofran most of the 2nd trimester.  Around my 6th month, my OB also wanted me to get off the Zofran though. :-(

I like to joke that my girls were all high maintenance before they were even born. I had to be induced with all 3 girls, but all for different reasons. With Grace, my blood pressure was high, I had headaches, I was "seeing floaters", and I had swelling. Basically preeclampsia signs. She was due on March 15th, we were hoping for March 17th since my husband is from Ireland! She was induced on March 10th.


I found out I was pregnant with Cian on Grace's birthday! What an awesome present- to get to be a big sister!! I knew pretty quickly that I was having a boy. I had morning sickness, but it was not as quick to set in and not as bad. Perhaps something different with the hormones  I'm not sure why. I still had to be put on Zofran, but I think I only had one IV the whole pregnancy. It was just different and I had guessed I was having a boy and a few months later we found out I was right!

My pregnancy with Cian was pretty uneventful thankfully. He was due in late November. Since I was induced with Grace, I was very nervous about knowing what labor starting would feel like. (With Grace I was induced, and given Pitocin to start labor.) On his due date, he had STILL not arrived. The next day, I decided I was not going to just sit and wait and be bored. Solution- drive to a outlet mall half an hour away. So, I went shopping and on my way home my water broke. (I was thankful to Cian that he let me finish my shopping!!) 

My OB doctor was in a group practice with a couple other OB doctors. In that practice, there was only one doctor that everyone felt was "C-section happy." Yep, I got that doctor since it was my doctor's day off. He decided I "needed" pitocin to "hurry it up" since I had my water break, but wasn't too far dilated. I am forever grateful to the nurses I had as they also knew of his "style." The allowed me to push for quite a while before calling him. I think had they called him, he would have been bored and sent me for a C-section. I pushed for over an hour. Finally, Cian arrived. We then learned why he took his sweet time getting here: he was 9 lbs. 13.9 oz! Yep. A few weeks later, it was back to the outlet mall to return all the NB size clothing I bought, lol!


My little diva Zoe. Poor thing, she was unfortunate enough to be in my belly when I had a jumbo kidney stone. As she grew, I kept having pain on my left side and couldn't figure out what was going on. When she was in the 3rd trimester, especially the last month, it was excruciating. I begged my doctor to induce me. My OB felt it was in the best interest of the baby to hospitalize me on the OB ward and give me a morphine drip instead. That happened twice. Finally, I begged and cried for her to stop drugging up the baby and just get her out! Zoe was due on January 22nd. I finally got my way on January 17th. She was perfect! My pain subsided quite a bit also. I had an x-ray a couple weeks later and they found stones in both kidneys. Both were partially obstructed and one stone was 8mm. I was breastfeeding exclusively so needing surgery with a tiny nursing baby did not excite me at all. The doctors weren't super breastfeeding friendly, but I did my research and found surgery antibiotics that were safe to cross and a way for it to happen. I had a really great urologist who agreed to do my surgery under a spinal instead of anesthesia. I pumped enough milk to be at the hospital all day, but she had never had a bottle before so I was a little nervous. I had the lithotripsy while wide awake and my doctor turned one of the big t.v. screens so I could watch! He said, "how many people get to see inside their bladder?" LOL! I chose not to take any pain meds, so it was a little rough, but thank goodness as Zoe HATED the bottle and basically was starving when I got home that day. My urologist said he was going to use me as an example as men constantly complain about the pain even while on strong meds, and I used nothing for the pain or the stint removal etc.. I found that funny! Of course, men never act wimpy when sick, lol!


Ellison decided to give me scares throughout my pregnancy. First the hospital ultrasound tech told me it looked like I had placenta previa. I didn't. Then, I was so dehydrated with her (I should have received IVs and I didn't), that my amniotic fluid was really low. Another ultrasound tech when we did a 4D made sure to go tell my OB and she decided to "just keep an eye on it." However, near the end of my pregnancy, when doing kick counting - she was not moving much. I felt her every hour like only once. I kept making sure I felt her, but in hindsight, I wish I had just gone to the ER. It was a Sunday night and I was scheduled to see my OB the next morning, but that was just stupid on my part. Both Brian and my mom tried to get me to go and I didn't.  Knowing what I know now, Ellison could have just as easily died that night. If anyone ever has a baby not moving that much- PLEASE go see your doctor or go to the ER. I got a lecture that next morning from my OB doctor that we (patients) are not bothering them (doctors), they want us to tell them, and if the baby stops moving (dies), it is too late. I told my OB she was moving minimally as soon as she walked in the room and she sent me over to the ultrasound tech and they did a Biophysical Profile test. It measures 5 things: heart rate, breathing movement, body movement, muscle tone and amniotic fluid level. Each item should get a normal score of 2 for a total of 10 on a perfect score. (Below 6 is when they worry.) Ellison scored a "2" total. Hence, my 3rd daughter needing induced. 

So, some amazing, wonderful moments. Some not so great moments. Some simply terrifying moments. Overall, the best 4 things to ever happen to me in my whole life.