Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Saturday LAUGH-ternoon

Looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend? Here's a NEW activity from Fishful Thinking that we did this past Saturday. The kids are already asking when we can do it again...

Laugh Night - We can teach our children to value and savor positive emotions by creating a ritual that shines the spotlight on a positive feeling (love,humor, inspiration, interest, gratitude, joy, serenity, hope, pride or awe.) Positive emotions not only feel good, but they fuel creativity,contribute to resilience, and strengthen relationships.

We kicked things off that afternoon by watching The Slumber Party episode from the first season of The Cosby Show - the one where Rudy has EIGHT kids sleep over, and Dr. Huxtable does the Bucking Bronco thing on his knee with each one of them. Hilarious. Abby and Noah thought it was really funny too. (How I love that show.) We made giant pancakes for dinner and used fruit to make funny faces on them.

We wore silly hats (Pat - Santa hat, me - Mickey Mouse ears, Noah - fireman hat, and Abby- K graduation cap) at the dinner table, and I even told the kids they could have a bubble blowing contest with their milk! They loved that. I couldn't resist blowing a few bubbles too. I also read them some jokes from a kids' joke book and got a couple of laughs - it was pretty cheesy. After dinner, I wrote some silly things on index cards - do the chicken dance, make a fish face, pat your head & rub your belly, etc...- and we played a game where we had to pick a card and do what it said. That was probably the highlight of the evening, well, that and an online episode of Wipe Out. I tell ya, Pat and the kids can't get enough of that show. They were cracking up.

We'll have to do it again soon, and maybe watch a funny movie next time. I can only take so much of Wipe Out. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Photo Story Friday - Before and After

I wasn't sure if I would be able to pull it off. Bare white walls, a giant futon that takes up way too much space, and don't even get me started on the huge eye sore of a TV (with video game cords spewing out everywhere) in the corner. It felt like I was doing a jigsaw puzzle trying to figure out how to turn THIS into a school room for the kids...

But AMAZINGLY enough - adding a little of this and that ( I found these corkboard squares at Staples perfect for hanging artwork & such), asking Pat to put up a curtain rod and reign in the electronics, and working until 1 in the morning - the room finally came together!!!

The kids were SO excited on Monday morning when they saw the room all done up for the first time. They both kept saying " This is so awesome!!!" " I love it!" over and over. You would have thought it was Christmas morning.

I still have hopes of getting rid of that futon and adding a white board somewhere eventually.

It's a work in progress as this whole process/experiment is - learning more about homeschooling, getting into a routine, figuring out what techniques work best with the kids (especially Noah - crazy nut), but I think they will learn a lot this year. And so will I.


*Fishful Thinking facebook question of the day - What is your child's favorite color? Why do you thinking they like it so much? Join in and share over on the Fishful Thinking facebook page!

*I'm playing along with Cecily and Lolli today -
Give Me Your Best Photo Story Friday!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Operation Organization & our Homeschool Experiment

It's still a work in progress, but I've been in the midst of what I'm calling Operation Organization - aka trying to get my house in order.

My main motivation? (Besides the fact that the clutter is driving me crazy?)

A little something I am calling our Homeschool Experiment.

After much thought (probably too much thought) and prayer (lots of prayer), going through my teacher stash of materials (I didn't realize I had so much stuff), talking to other homeschool moms, searching out homeschool groups, organizing closets, bookshelves, and cabinets,visiting our local education store a half a dozen times, and doing a few test run activities with the kids...

...We've are excited to test the waters of homeschooling for first grade!!! I secretly fantasized about the idea while Abby was at school seven and a half hours a day, five days a week last year. I missed her, and Noah did too. I would mention the idea from time to time that if she ever wanted to do school at home with me and Noah to just say the word. But I didn't ever think that she would. She LOVED school. She had a great year and really learned a lot.

When Abby came to me back in June and said, "Mom, I have something to tell you that is going to make you very happy..." Never in my wildest dreams did I think she was going to say "I want to do homeschool with you this year!" I had to hold back the tears. I was overjoyed.

I'm not sure what did it - maybe having more time together this summer, or that we know quite a few kids who homeschool, or that I was going through some of my teaching boxes in the garage and it finally clicked for Abby that "Hey! Maybe Mom could really teach me something." :) Whatever it was, I am grateful for the opportunity to have more time with her and be more involved in her education this year.

Noah is excited about doing ""preschool homeschool" -as he calls it - too. Who knows? Like I said, we're experimenting this year, but it may end up that this really works for our family. I have high hopes!

Fishful Thought of the Day - Hope & Goal Setting

Hope isn’t just passively wishing and waiting for something to happen. Hope leads to the drive to set and pursue goals, take risks and initiate action. Hope fuels problem-solving and helps children develop personal strengths and social resources. Research shows that high-hope people are excited about the future and set goals for themselves. Fishful ThinkingSM gives parents tools to teach their children how to set positive goals, develop a system of appropriate rewards, and promote strategies of thinking that will enable children to go after whatever they want out of life.

Activity idea: With the school year just around the corner (or just getting started), check out this video about how to create a Goal Road Map with your child. There's a cute printout you can use too!

*For more "Fishful Thoughts", check out
the Fishful Thinking facebook page!
A new question is posted each Thursday! (How's about that?)
Add a comment & share your thoughts too!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Makes My Monday - First Lemonade Stand

The kids were so excited about having their very first lemonade stand this past Friday evening. (It's been SO hot - 100 + - that I decided early evening would be best.) Abby and Noah worked hard to get those signs ready -

Like I posted a couple of weeks ago - we were making our stand to benefit The Cure Starts Now foundation & "put the squeeze on pediatric brain cancer!" Noah kept yelling out - "Lemonade! Get your lemonade!" He was too funny. Gotta love that kid.

Abby was so cute pouring the lemonade and taking the donations. I couldn't help but give her a squeeze too. :)

I had originally hoped to put up our stand at the local Farmers Market, but they already had a vendor selling lemonade. So we decided to do one in our front yard instead and put up signs around the neighborhood and invited friends to come by.

It was a neat experience. The kids have already asked when we can make another lemonade stand. Even at this young age, they understood that this money was going towards helping children who are sick.

Kids helping kids - it doesn't get much better than that.

Most definitely Makes My Monday!

*To donate to the cause, visit or make a stand of your own!