Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Polar Bear Ate My Computer...

Beware to all  homeschooling moms who are planning to teach a polar bear unit: Some polar bear printables are NOT FRIENDLY. There is one out there that is down right dangerous - the one that I clicked on and immediately received a notice that 12 VIRUSES had infected my computer and that my security program had been compromised as well.

WHAT??????????

I was freaking out. Ready to pay $129.99 to the virtual virus clean up guys to save my computer - namely the hundred of pictures of my kids. 

I called my husband in panic mode not knowing what to do.

Luckily, the kids and I had already planned to meet up with him at lunch so he told me to bring my computer so he could take a look at it, run a scan, talk to his IT guy at work if necessary...but that everything should be fine.

HUGE relief.

And lo and behold, my husband wrestled that polar bear to the ground and SAVED my computer.

My HERO!

Now to find a printable that is not dangerous so that we can glue cotton balls all over the thing, do our KWL chart (Know - Want to know - Learned),  and start reading our Animal Close-ups Polar Bear book that I found in my teacher stash.

* For more fun winter homeschool ideas, check out Melissa's January post. I'm playing along with her "Show Off Your Homeschool" link up party this weekend too with this previous post showing our schoolroom - Before and After

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fighting those Winter Blahs with "BORED GAMES"!

Wouldn't it be great to be a bear and hibernate through the rest of this unbelievably long winter? I am SO READY for spring. Did you hear that, Punxsutawney Phil? No shadow!!!

In the meantime, there is a whole slew of NEW activities on the Fishful Thinking site to help keep our spirits up and focus on "what is controllable" (because this cold weather stuff is definitely out of my hands). This activity seemed to CALL OUT to me -

BORED GAMES : Tired of your kids spending all of their time playing video games, i-chatting or watching television, but dread the inevitable "I’m bored" chorus (or in Noah's case - incessant whining) whenever you make them step away? Try creating a list of "Bored Games."

First, help your children explore some of the things they like to do - cooking, reading, drawing, learning to play an instrument, etc. Then, once you have a good list, put each activity on a slip of paper and place them in a "Bored Jar." When the time comes and your kids get bored, they can draw a random activity out of the jar.

Examples of Activities that reinforce Fishful Thinking:
Resilience
  • Puzzles
  • Stacking cups (See how long it takes to stack and unstack plastic cups in the form of a pyramid)

 (How my boy loves to stack cups!)

Emotion Awareness
  • Creating knock-knock jokes (Noah loves this one too!)
  • Giving mom or dad a fashion makeover (I've had a few of these already. Dad? Not so much.)
Goal Setting
  • Painting
  • Baking (Homemade chocolate chip cookies always brighten my day!)
Optimism
  • Bake cookies for a neighbor
  • Draw a picture for a grandparent or someone special
  • Plan a funny surprise for one of your family members (The kids love the rubber band around the kitchen sink sprayer trick.)

Empowerment
  • For curious kids: reading a mystery book (Abby is very into The Boxcar Children right now.)
  • For adventuresome kids: making an indoor obstacle course
 (cardbox "tunnels" courtesy of Daddy)

Here's hoping these "bored games" keep 'em busy - at least until Valentine's Day. (What are some of your kids' favorite boredom busters?)

Friday, January 21, 2011

And so it begins...

Right at this moment, my baby girl is over at a friend's house for a movie night. Her little friend called my cell phone yesterday - asked for Abby - and asked her if she could come over to eat pizza and watch a movie. You should have seen her eyes light up! She was beyond excited! First  - to get her first phone call from a friend (since Mom usually sets up the playdates) and even more so at the thought of going over to her friend's house tonight for THREE whole hours...without Mommy or Noah.  

Next thing you know she's going to be asking about sleepovers. (gulp!) I am not ready for that - at all. 

It's hard to believe that in just a few months, Abby will be seven years old. SEVEN! When did that happen? I know that I have to start letting her be a little more independent - that it's okay for her to go and play at the neighbor's house across the street - or go to a friend's house for pizza and a movie. I know the parents. I know she's safe. But I still have this bit of anxiety - obviously, as I am typing this and watching the clock, waiting for her to come home.

Can anyone say "overprotective"? Geez...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Welcome to Hollywood!!!"





Hollywood Studios (in Orlando, FL), that is!

A Ryan Seacrest look-alike, three judges with Randy, Paula, and Simon (complete with the black t-shirt) personas, and three contestants who went through the "audition process" earlier that day. It was really cool!

Just goes to show that Disney can pretty much pull anything off!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Storyland Yoga to the Rescue!

For awhile now, I have been on the lookout for a fun fitness dvd that the kids and I could do together. This winter weather has cramped our usual style of being able to take walks, ride bikes, go to the botanical gardens, etc...so we've been feeling a little stir-crazy all cooped up in the house.  I've always heard about how great yoga is for the mind and body, but I'd never really thought about all of  the benefits it has for kids until this dvd caught my eye -

Being a children's dance and creative movement teacher, I use a story format with my students while we are stretching on the floor during class, so I was really interested to see yoga taught to children using this same type of approach. And let me tell ya - Storyland Yoga did not disappoint! Abby and Noah have loved going on "Condor Treks" to return baby Condor eggs to their nests. We've also ventured to the ocean to help save a beached whale  - the second story on the dvd. The scenery is absolutely BEAUTIFUL for both stories. Sunshine, green grass, tall trees, sparkling ocean, crashing waves...I'm a little partial to the "Save A Whale" story just because it feels like you are at the beach in your living room!

The instructor, Ahmed Fahmy, is great too. He genuinely engages with the kids in the dvd and makes the viewer feel like you are right there with them. Not only is it a good workout (for both mom & kids), but the yoga stories also stretch the imagination as the kids do different poses to become dolphins, mermaids, crocodiles, snakes, mountain lions, bears, and tall swaying trees...


Who knew yoga could be so interactive and fun? Storyland Yoga has definitely helped rescue the kids and I from the winter blahs by getting us moving, playing, and "saving whales" together. We've really enjoyed it!


*Disclosure: I received a free Storyland Yoga dvd  from Playful Planet in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No sleds? Break out the SWIM RINGS!

"You might be a redneck if..." you let your kids use swim rings to go sledding in the front yard. :)

video

(Our sleds got left behind in our move so I had to improvise during this week's winter blast - 8.5 inches! Whatever works, right?)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Inspiring Word for 2011 - Contribute

"You are good. But it is not enough to be good. 
You must be good for something
You must contribute good to the world
The world must be a better place for your presence. 
And the good that is in you must be 
spread to others."

- Gordon B. Hinckley

For the past couple of years, I have admired those who have picked a word for the year. An attribute to aspire to and develop. Being the over-thinker that I sometimes can be, I've never been able to decide on just one word, but after reading this quote, it pretty much hit me over the head. 

Contribute good to the world

And I'm hoping that with the help of this little book right here, our family will be able to do just that...

"By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." (Alma 37:6)