Friday, June 24, 2011

Keeping Busy

Late June is always the busiest time of year around our house and this year is no exception.  Steph is finishing up another year of school (a Senior next year – YIKES!), dance pictures, dress rehearsal, getting ready for recital and then Nationals.

Steph also attended her Junior Prom this week with her boyfriend Feyi. 


Georgie spent the week on vacation with Granny Franny so it was just us girls all week.  Vicki and I did play games and have some fun girl time, but mostly I spent the week preparing all the printable games I had from the various Scholastic Dollar Deal ebooks I ordered, and reorganizing some of our older games from Kelly’s Kindergarten. 

We school year round but a little lighter in the summer.  This year we are also going to be staying with my parents while our new house is being built so I need to avoid large projects.  Games, field trips and lots of reading is the plan for this year. 

The printable board games are easy – they are laminated into file folders.  The card games are harder.  I’ve been storing them in zip-loc baggies with the directions taped to the front.  But I didn’t like how I had to look through all of them to find what I wanted and the cards would curl or get bent.  So, I used cardstock and made boxes for the card games, with the directions printed on the lid.


They now store nicely in a shallow plastic drawer along with a variety of dice. 

As we play the various games, I’ll try to feature how we play them, any modifications we make for Vicki and where they came from.    We now have about 20 printable games which work on skills such as sight words, CVC words, letter sounds, following directions, counting and addition, as well as a couple of generic gameboards.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Let’s Bowl!!

A few weeks ago I signed the kids up for the Kids Bowl Free program.   Our local bowling alley has a homeschool league and I figured this would be the perfect chance to see if the kids would be ready for it in the Fall.   It’s also a good place to hang out when it’s raining or just too hot to be outside. 

This was their first experience bowling outside of the Wii.   We started out really strong – Vicki got a spare her very first frame and it didn’t even bounce off the bumpers.  She pulled off another spare her last frame but had a little extra help by then.


I was actually surprised that both kids were able to throw the ball hard enough to make it down the lane.  Georgie’s technique consisted of tossing the ball and falling to the ground.


After about 5 frames we started using one of the ramps the bowling alley provides for little kids to use.  Vicki would place her ball on the top, take a few steps back and run up to give it a push.  She actually scored worse with the ramp but I didn’t think the kids would be able to handle throwing the ball for two whole games.



Their favorite part of bowling was running back after they threw their second balls to watch the videos that played on the overhead screen.  When the player knocked over less than 5 pins total it played a video showing the pins marching out of a jail cell while the ball snoozed to the side.  That one was Georgie’s favorite.  ;-)

I’ve only been bowling once or twice in the past 7 years (since I was pregnant with Georgie) but before that I was on a league with George Sr.   Our company bowling league is actually where we met.   I had pretty decent scores – 129 the first game and 158 the second game (finished up with two strikes, a spare then two strikes and 9 in the tenth frame).   I swear I didn’t use the bumpers at all.  ;-D

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Opening Day at the Pool!

Sunday was the Opening Day Pool Party and BBQ for our neighborhood pool.  Despite an air temperature of barely 73 degrees and a water temperature to match, the kids had a great time playing in the water with Daddy.  (Mommy was sitting on the sidelines wearing a sweater!)


The kids can both reach in the shallow end of the pool this year and Vicki had a great time paddling around wearing floaties on her arms.  I think this is going to be a great year at the pool – the first that I won’t have to spend the whole time holding one kid or the other.

Right next to our pool is a nice shallow part of the river that is great for searching for crawfish, river mussels, snails and other interesting critters.  (One kid found a dead turtle with a cracked shell – yuck).  Vicki enjoyed the river much more than Georgie, who didn’t care for all the mud.



We finished up with more swimming, than hanging out by the bonfire listening to folk songs sung by one of our very talented neighbors while having some tasty treats.


It’s official, Summer is here!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Searching for flowers

We finally had some beautiful Spring weather – not crazy hot and humid and not torrential rain.  We decided to give up on book work for a day (or two) and head outside.   We went back to our local county park for another try at the Wildflower Trail, where Vicki enjoyed playing with a large leaf from a marsh marigold and checking out the xylem ….


while Georgie used my camera to take lots of interesting pictures of rocks, moss and ferns (this picture just happens to have all three).


What we didn’t see, despite extensive searching, were flowers.


The kids were really disappointed so we decided to take a trip over to Frelinghuysen Arboretum where we saw lots and lots of flowers…





a cross-section of a tree with information on how to read tree rings and numbers to coordinate the rings with specific years….





an astrolabe sundial that the kids really found fascinating….


a fountain pool that the kids found it impossible to resist splashing in.


We left the formal gardens for a walk in the woods and saw lots of Chinese Dogwoods….


the kids flopped right down in a nice shady patch of soft grass (our yard at the moment is a mixture of dirt, rocks and weeds)….


and we scared a groundhog into running across a meadow.


There was a fern path that had informative signs telling about how ferns have been around for over 300 million years.  A great tie-in to our prehistory study.

IMG_6450  We finished up with a visit to the Carriage House inside the Education Center.


The Arboretum ended up being a lot more fun than I expected.  I have only been there once in the last 14 years (we went for Steph’s 3rd birthday) and that was in the middle of Winter for a Gingerbread House exhibit.  I can see this being a very useful resource when we next study plants.  They offer “backpacks” that you can rent which contain activities for kids to enhance the arboretum experience.    We will definitely give them a try next time we visit.