Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pumpkin Spice blog train kit!

This kit is part of a collaborative Pumpkin Spice blog train and includes 7 papers, 3 frames (1 glitter), and 5 elements as shown. Be sure to pick up all components of the kit at the following blogs!

Follow the blog train!
CMB Desings http://twocutiesmom.wordpress.com/
DigiDream Digitals http://digidreamdigitals.wordpress.com/
Eden Lane Designs http://edenlanedesigns.com/?cat=1
Gifted Goose http://giftedgoose.blogspot.com/
Hurricane Ranch http://hurricaneranch.blogspot.com/ you are here!
Kat's Creations: http://princessk316.blogspot.com
Krissy Jo Designs http://krissyjodesigns.wordpress.com/
le pingouin designs http://www.lepingouindesigns.blogspot.com/
Man in the Moon Designs http://maninthemoondesigns.blogspot.com/
mommatrish designs http://mommatrishdesigns.blogspot.com
My Little Flutterby http://mylittleflutterby.blogspot.com
Princess Kate Designs http://princesskatedesigns.blogspot.com/
Sava's Scraps http://savamama.wordpress.com/
Shanmomto4 designs http://shanmomto4.blogspot.com/
Spinky Dink Scraps http://spinkydinkscraps.blogspot.com/
TDesigns http://tracysdesigns.blogspot.com
Un-Leash-ed-Scraps http://unleashedscraps.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 8, 2008

school time! 1st day Aug 18th

I'm going back in time a little bit but I decided I wanted to add every day of lesson plans for our school to look back on and to share with others! To highlight, our first day was August 18th. Alexei is 7 and in 2nd grade with Florida Connections Academy (FCA), a virtual school. Basically we homeschool using a private school curriculum (Calvert) that is funded and overseen like a public school (i.e. we're still responsible for marking daily attendance, have to make adequate progress and take tests/receive grades, have a teacher we can talk to and must call once a month, and must take state testing starting in 3rd grade). It's a great program with a lot of flexibility and we love it! Alexei did FCA last year and I don't have enough good things to say about it. Ibis is 5 and being homeschooled in kindergarten (due to FL's changing laws she may not be allowed to enter a virtual school without attending a year of public school first - that is never going to happen! We are using Harcourt materials for Ibis.

Alexei - week 1 lesson plans
Monday :
math - completing addition wheels
science - reading about an ocean explorer and seeing how objects look on land versus water
lang arts - writing parent/student goal for reading for the year
art - taking a line around a page and coloring in the shapes

math - adding single-digit numbers with sums greater than 10
soc stud - learning about The Star Spangled Banner

math - counting up to ten and addiing the difference to add single-digit numbers
science - reading about science safety (during experiments, observations, etc)
soc stud - learning days of week/months of year and # of days in each month; studying a calendar

math - adding using doubles (plus or minus one)
soc stud - overview of 5 themes of geography (location, place, human/environment interaction, movement, regions)
lang arts - read Len and Linda's Picnic and learning how to predict, decode phonics, clarify

math - using week's strategies to add
science - learn how to use meter stick, thermometer, and magnifying glass
lang arts - go over spelling words (ask, sat, fan, map, hand, cap, sad, fat, bat, as) and create a journal entry
art - draw an outline of a human figure

week 2 lesson plans
math - review addition facts to 12
science - learn the steps of a scientific investigation
lang arts - reviewing beginning consonant sounds/consonant clusters

math - counting back to subtract
soc stud - learn about land/water forms (island, lake, river, valley, hill, mountain, plain, ocean) and create a land and a water collage
lang arts - digraph sounds (ch, sh, th, wh) and practice writing complete sentences
edu tech - practice keyboarding numbers/letters

math - subtraction patterns (5-0, 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, 5-5)
science - test
soc stud - human/environment interaction (clothes for seasons, how people use the land)
lang arts - review short vowel sounds, trace hand and write one idea about yourself on each finger, then write a draft composition about yourself with a sentence for each finger

math - counting up to subtract
soc stud - quiz
lang arts - putting letters together to make words, word bank (bought, kitchen, roll, front, until), edit and publish draft
edu tech - keyboard letters along rows

math - related subtraction facts (9-4=5, 9-5=4)
science - learn about roots, stems, & leaves and how plants get water
lang arts - spelling words and journal entry
art - draw forms of transportation

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

TS Fay, moving?!, and sleeping woes

We are on day 3 of the darned longest tropical storm I've ever seen! Rain bands from Fay started up on Monday, and lasted all of Tuesday with winds and showers. All day Wednesday as well because this baby likes to stick around. We're still getting rain and wind and it's Thursday! Craziness.

We are also expecting to move at the end of the month. That leaves us 11 days to organize, pack, clean, move, and arrange all the details like boxes, a moving truck, utilities, phone, cable, blah blah blah... We are really excited to be moving to a house with a HUGE stinkin yard, from a house with essentially 20 feet of weed patch and no access. I am really in the moving blues though. Not looking forward to the process, or the change of landlords, or (as much as I hate to admit it) leaving this little house behind. We've been here for almost 4 years and even though we really want out, at the same time it's been our home and safe haven and the thought of leaving it is really hard! Luckily we'll be in the same general area so we won't be looking at new stores and parks and stuff too, but I still have this half-swallowed lump in my throat and a nervous gurgling in my stomach!

I'm up at 12:08 am in part because I'm a night owl and I'm nervous about this move, and in part because Coral has decided she's not going to sleep until 11:30 every night. I've never seen such a young toddler in such protest of sleep! I'll finally get her to sleep because she'll pass out on the living room floor or in my arms. She refuses to nurse to sleep, and shakes her head vigorously no if I try to sign to her (can't blame her there!) She knows that warm milk and soft songs and a glider are sure to send her to dreamland, so she resists them with all her might and attitude. Finally Coral will lay on the floor and her eyes will roll back in her head and she'll be out for the night. I'll get her into bed around 11:45, and she'll wake sometime between 2 and 5 to nurse and be back out. Then she'll awaken around 7 for more nursing and if I'm lucky she'll go back to sleep until 9 or so. Then she's up for the day! I can barely get her to nap anymore. Two nights ago she fell asleep in her feeding chair at dinner! I picked her up and put her in her crib and she lasted 30 minutes and was raring to go until 11:30. Where does this baby find the energy? It's like she can't stand to miss a moment!

Friday, August 1, 2008

made a big mistake last night

I made the BIGGEST mistake last night and watched Hopkins - if you haven't heard of it it's a true-life show where they follow doctors and patients around Johns Hopkins hospital and watch what unfolds. I used to love shows like Trauma, Life in the ER and such, and especially the baby shows like Special Delivery. The more serious the situation the better. I haven't been able to watch one of those since Coral was born. I've seen some preemie situations on the fictional shows like House and stuff but nothing where you know you're looking at a real baby and real family.

Wouldn't you know on Hopkins last night there was a 30-week preemie just like Coral and the baby died :cry: He had lung issues and they knew in advance that he probably wouldn't make it but it was SO sad. The parents were all prepared for his birth and very matter-of-fact about how he probably wouldn't survive, but then he was born and the mom was saying, "I hear him cry!" and "Thank you Jesus!" and "My baby!" over and over again. They took the baby to the NICU and tried to save him but his lungs were too badly damaged and in just a short time they had to give up. I was bawling watching it.

I stayed up past midnight because I couldn't stop thinking about it. That sort of stuff just takes you right back. I can't imagine how I EVER liked watching that stuff. I'm crying now just thinking about it. I didn't let go of Coral for a long time last night - there's not a moment where I'm not grateful that she's here and healthy.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

my letter to our school superintendent

Dear Sir:
It came to my attention yesterday morning after a phone conversation with your Director of Educational Choices, Dr. Sonia Esposito, that Osceola County has chosen not to take any action to ensure a virtual school opportunity for the 08/09 school year. While I understand the confusion and hesitation surrounding a new teaching product, I do not feel that this decision is in the spirit of the new virtual school bill that recently passed.

Our right as parents to have an educational choice was stripped from us with no forewarning - myself and many others followed the process in April and May of this year to enroll our children for the upcoming year in our statewide elementary virtual school choices, Florida Connections Academy and Florida Virtual Academy. We made plans for our children and were unprepared, much as you are, for the new virtual school bill and its ramifications. Even today, less than three weeks before the start of school, most of us do not have a concrete answer.

I'm not sure I understand why Osceola County would choose inaction for the 08/09 school year. Families from Celebration, Kissimmee, Poinciana, St Cloud, and everywhere in between with students who were prepared to enter virtual school will be faced with the choice of homeschooling their children or sending them to a traditional public or private school. Most parents I have spoken to will now have to send their children to public school; a few will homeschool.

What benefits can denying a contract with FCA and FVA have for Osceola County? A virtual schooled student is not draining resources such as transportation, administration, janitorial services, or any of the other ancillary expenses that go along with a brick and mortar education. A virtual schooled student has the opportunity to attend an A rated school regardless of their zoning. In our personal experience with FCA, a virtual schooled student has the opportunity to excel at his or her own pace and grow from an emerging reader to reading above grade level in just a few short months. Why would Osceola County want to deny its residents an exceptional educational choice that is top quality, has been active and successful for multiple years, and that will ultimately save the county money?

I urge you to consider your choices again for the 08/09 school year. Hillsborough County has posted on their website that they have accepted contracts from both FCA and FVA for this school year. I urge you to speak with Hillsborough's superintendent and ask them how they made their decisions.Osceola County still has the opportunity to do the right thing and let its students attend the virtual schools they've already grown to love.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

another fruitless day

I am so sick of looking for rental houses! We desperately need a bigger place with a yard the kids can be banished to...err, I mean, go out and play in. I don't even care about the bigger part at this point, I just want the yard! We have done drive-bys of literally hundreds of houses and the select few that have fit our needs and budget seem always to be snatched from our grasp just as we find them. Sometimes I hate Florida with a passion. I don't understand why it's okay - even preferred - to have some big ugly square featureless monstrosity of a 3000sf house jammed on a teeny lot of dead grass, sandwiched in a neighborhood of 500 houses just like it with your neighbors, who you'll likely never even meet,  just 5 feet away. When did that become "luxury living?" I don't get it. I know it's hot here, but if they didn't flatten every tree on site to build these homes there'd be some shade and everything would be great. But I guess when you're both working 2 jobs and the kids are in daycare all day and you only see each other over a dinner of KFC, a fight to get the kids to bed, and cleaning, shopping, and trekking to Disney on the weekends, you don't really need a yard. How did we come to this?

The sad thing is that the house owners and property management groups by and large are a worthless lot who don't even have the courtesy to call you back when you inquire about a house. You'd think this casual attitude would just be on craigslist, but it's actually rampant in the real estate circles as well. Way to score some business! This is a time of absolute starvation for realtors with the housing market so dismal - you'd think they'd want the quick money a rental has to offer.

My other option is to go buy a second car (that runs). If DH had a car that got better gas mileage and we took the Blazer, we could go to places like the park and store during the day and being stuck at home wouldn't be as much of an issue. But there's just something about having a real yard where you can set up a swingset for the kids and have a garden and a dog and it all is just a step through your door. It's such a tough decision because we don't really have the money to do both if we want to save anything for buying a house a year or two down the road. I hate decisions like this!