Sunday, May 31, 2015

Family Photos

Just home from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We vacationed at Club Med with another family. So much fun. Had photos taken while we were there since they had photographers everywhere. Maybe a little disappointed that we didn't get a "perfect" family shot, but thought that I'd share anyway...
Good but not "perfect"

Love both these shots of my girl!
And I also love this guy -
even if he can't quite do a good "photo smile"
(it is improving!)
We look awfully cute together!
And this is going to be my new Facebook profile picture
And this one is going on the family photo wall 
But the girls look cute again!
I love all of our expressions, but
I'm just not so sure about the whole stacking thing.
A little concerned that this could show up
on that awkward family photo site...

Friday, May 22, 2015

Right Now - Puppy in the Park

No kidding it has been raining here nonstop for 3 weeks. So happy to see the sun today! Tripper & I have missed our long walks. Got one this evening before the rain started up again
9 months

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Homeschool Plan - May

I know I've sorta disappeared the last month. We had a bit of a rough transition back into "real" life after Hawaii mostly because of a flu-like virus that took us all down and seemed to linger. I've also been on a kick (again!) about simplifying life. Reading the book Essentialism while in Hawaii has really impacted much of life. I'm looking at everything through my "essential" lense including homeschool.

Sometime in April, I cleared everything out of the homeschool room except for what I felt was (mostly) essential. No more bookshelf full of books and curriculum and activities that I want to do "sometime." Just the basics that we are currently doing. I thought about what the basic elements of school for us are and came up with reading, writing, spelling, and math. We now can focus on those and add in just a subject or two as we want. Takes the daily pressure off.

I think I'm also going to try adding a daily "choice" activity. Things like OSMO, Tricky Fingers game, math games, iPad apps, etc. - all stuff that is valuable but not necessary to do daily.

  • MathUSee - continue Epsilon for Kate - would like to see her through Unit 3 this month; continue Delta for Jack - would also like to be through Unit 3
  • Times Tales DVD (Jack) - view a few times/week
  • Other Math thoughts: I would still like to get back to Life of Fred
Language Arts 
  • Scribblers online writing class (Kate) - Kate currently enrolled in Grammar 3
  • Tutoring (Jack) - 3x/week
  • First Language Lessons Level 4 - finish the "extra" few lessons
  • SpellingUSee - continue Modern Milestones (Kate) and Wild Tales (Jack)
  • Independent Reading
  • Comprehension/Vocabulary/Book Reports - EdHelper questions/worksheets/vocab as applicable to reading plus book reports
  • CNN writing - the kids write daily about something they watched on CNN Student News - Jack a few sentences, Kate a paragraph
History/Social Studies/Geography/Biography/Religion/Literature/Art
  • Story of the World Vol II - IR/audiobook - continue to listen and do activities
  • Audiobooks
  • Shakespeare study - using How to Teach Your Kids Shakespeare, Usborne Illustrated Stories form Shakespeare, library books, Netflix & Amazon movies - this month plan to cover A MidSummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night
Science - science packets as time allows

  • Speech therapy (Jack) - 2x/week while in town
  • CNN Student News - 5x/week
  • - 5x/week
  • Keyboarding Without Tears
  • Homeschool Enrichment Program - weekly
  • Swim Team 3-4x/week plus dry land training weekly
  • Field Trips

The simplified homeschool bookshelf!
(the before picture would have had
those shelves stuffed full
of books/workbooks/papers)
March-April Homeschool Review - what we did and where we are as of the end of April

  • MathUSee - Epsilon through unit 2 (Kate); Delta through Lesson 18 (Jack)
  • Times Tales DVD (Jack) - view a few times/week
Language Arts 
  • Scribblers online writing class (Kate) - completed Writing the Short Story and started Grammar 3
  • Tutoring (Jack) - 3x/week while in town
  • First Language Lessons Level 4 - completed all the main lessons plus have done a few of the extra lessons
  • SpellingUSee - Kate is through Lesson 6 in Modern Milestones and Jack is through Lesson 7 in Wild Tales 
  • Spelling City and OSMO Spelling (Jack)
  • Independent Reading - 
  • Battle of the Books team - Kate read 19 books on the list and competed in the local competition
  • Comprehension/Vocabulary/Book Reports - EdHelper questions/worksheets/vocab as applicable to reading plus book reports
History/Social Studies/Geography/Biography/Religion/Literature/Art
  • Story of the World Vol II - IR/audiobook - through ch 14
  • Reviewed past poem memorization notebook
  • Audiobooks - The Shakespeare Stealer
  • Read Aloud - Ramayana Divine Loophole by Sanjay Patel; The Odyssey by Gillian Cross; 
Science - nothing formal planned in March

  • Speech therapy (Jack) - 2x/week while in town
  • CNN Student News - 5x/week
  • - 5x/week
  • Keyboarding Without Tears - Jack will work on Level 3 at his own pace, Kate will start Grade 5 
  • Homeschool Enrichment Program - weekly while in town
  • Swim Team 3-4x/week plus dry land training weekly while in town
  • Ski School plus fun skiing - few days in March
  • Field Trips - Hawaii!

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe Attempt

I have a lot of clothes. Probably not as many as some women but still much more than I truly need.

I've been toying with the idea of a capsule wardrobe since I first heard about Project 33 multiple years ago. I just wasn't ready.

So I have slowly been cleaning out my closet a few pieces at a time. Our no-buy year in 2014 helped a lot since I didn't add to my closet except for a few gifts.

About 6 months ago I happened upon the blog Un-Fancy (unfortunately she just stopped blogging!) and the idea of a capsule wardrobe began to take root again. Only this time it seemed like more of a possibility. But I did nothing other than clean out the closet piece by piece (and add a few things once 2015 hit!).

Then I went to Hawaii with a carry on suitcase and a small backpack. For 3 weeks. And was perfectly happy with just a handful of clothing items. I had my very favorite items and was happy to wear the same things over and over. I remember feeling this way last year in Hawaii as well as on our Europe trip 3 years ago.

When we got back from Hawaii, I did a really huge clean out of my closet (sent a bunch of stuff to Twice and to a local outdoor consignment store) with the idea of trying a spring capsule wardrobe.

Only it was a bit overwhelming. I just could not bring myself to narrow my clothes down to 30-something items.

But I still find the simplicity of a capsule wardrobe so appealing. So even though I can't do it in one swoop, I've decided to work towards a capsule wardrobe in steps. Here's what I am doing:
  1. Not worrying about decluttering fitness clothes, outdoor hiking clothes, outwear, nor fancy clothes.
  2. Ignore simplifying all accessories - belts, scarves, shoes, bags, hats, jewelry
  3. Moderately simplify bottoms (jeans, shorts, pants, skirts) - this is the toughest part for me - I can't imagine going down to just 10 bottoms! I have 10+ pairs of jeans alone!
  4. Pick my absolute favorite tops that seem spring-like. Some short sleeve tops, some long sleeved tops, some light sweaters, etc.
  5. Put the truly out of season clothes like heavy wool sweaters and summer clothes in easily accessible storage (just in case!)
  6. Put all the maybe clothes on the left side of my closet (behind my fitness clothes so they are a bit out of view). If I want/need them, I can easily get to them. If I end up wearing anything on the maybe side, it can then move to the capsule side. (FYI there are about 50 items on the maybe side of the closet - goodness gracious!)
  7. I put my favorites on the right side of the closet to be my "starter" capsule wardrobe. I'm going to try to pull my outfits from just these items. 
  8. I'm also using the turned around hanger trick to see which items I don't wear at all. You know this one? You hook the hanger on the rod from the back. When you wear something and return it to the closet, the hanger goes on normal. That way you can easily see what you have and have not worn.
My starter capsule wardrobe ended up including...
  • 6 short sleeve shirts
  • 8 long sleeve shirts
  • 6 sweater tops
  • 5 cardigan or vest sweaters
  • 3 skirts
  • 6 dresses
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 6 pairs of jeans
  • 5 pairs of colored jeans/pants/capris/leggings
That's 48 clothing items. Way more than enough. I did this last week, and so far it is going really well. I'll take another good look at my closet in June. And maybe I'll be ready to try a true capsule wardrobe for summer...

Right Now - Lovebug