Author: Ashley
•6:35 PM
I am getting so bad about posting. It doesn't help that our schedule has been all over the place. Plus we have gotten into such a routine with school that I don't have to sit with her as much anymore (which is when most of my blogging took place). Either way... things are still ticking along. Little Bit has really done amazing! She can read most any Level 1 book and does really well on Level 2. I am continually amazed! She has also done fantastic in Math. I think it is still her favorite. I understand that, though. She doesn't like to be wrong and Math typically has a black and white answer with no opinions or guessing. She still struggles with just trying to get finished and not trying her best but I'm 28 and still do that, soooo...

Little Monster is enjoying preschool. He hasn't surprised us a bit with his ability to fall over his own feet. It is really a miracle the boy hasn't been more seriously injured. He fell last weekend and hit the toy box and ended up with a black eye. A kid hit him on the nose with an ice pack a month or so ago and he has 2 probably permanent scars down his nose. And that's not to mention all the bumps and bruises we endure daily. He handles it pretty well, though. I think I am going to start working with him on reading after the first of the year. I am not going to push him or anything but he's trying. He is continually looking at words and sounding out the letters. I know he is only 3 and it isn't "time" for him to learn to read but I'm going to have to teach him eventually anyway. I guess I might as well work on it while he is interested.

Christmas is DONE...well, the shopping part anyway. And it doesn't appear that anyone is coming over so there's not much cooking to be done. I know I have to do a few desserts and there's still one that I am waiting to find out but I'm happy that the bulk of the "work" is behind me.

I got a new computer (this has also been an excuse not to blog). My old computer decided that every time I turn it on it needs to give me a blue screen and "dump" my physical memory. So I broke down and bought an iMac. So far I love it. It is taking some getting used to and Photoshop is going to be the hardest part but I will eventually get it. Thankfully, the old computer didn't call it quits until I had almost all of my Christmas photo shoots finished. I can't imagine being in a huge time crunch and having to learn this computer at the same time. I hope to get to post some new pictures on here soon but that requires a little more time than I have right now. I will get to it, soon, though.

For now and until next time, Merry CHRISTmas!
Author: Ashley
•6:39 PM
*This week has flown by. Actually this whole year has flown by! I was so excited about having a week off from school and it went so fast I couldn't enjoy it. I did enjoy thanksgiving though.  Little Monster had his t'giving program the tuesday before t'giving which was great. He does such a good job "performing". Other kids were crying and getting down but he just sang and did his hand motions with no problem. They wanted him to be the pumpkin in one song but he wanted nothing to do with that.

*Little Bit and I got a lot of pictures edited and food cooked. We made some yummy pioneer woman mac and cheese (although I've ruined my poor children with kraft mac and cheese so they wouldn't eat it) and some SUPER yummy Jacques torres chocolate chip cookies. They did eat those :)

*Our friends from Ohio came down to visit family this week so we got to hang out with them one night. The funny part about our friendship is my husband and her husband grew up together but her and I are closer than they are. I know women are generally closer than guys anyway but the only common ground we had to start with were those 2 who only talk about once a quarter. Her and I have a standing phone date every weekend to discuss the past week's events. I don't know what I would do without her sometimes.

*B had his last rickshaw gig for the year. I am very thankful for that job but equally thankful when it is over. I hate it when he is  gone on the weekends.

*My photo shoots are still holding steady. I have had several clients move over the last year so I am a little slower than normal but I guess I could go out and try to drum up some business. I am so busy, though, that I am happy with what I have.
*I went black Friday shopping Thanksgiving night. I was gone and back home exactly 15 minutes. I saw the line and turned around. I enjoy a good deal but I enjoy my sanity more. I am basically finished Christmas shopping. That makes me happy.

*My mom, my husband, me, and Little Bit got sick this week. I don't know who has had it worse. Little Bit's was almost just a bump in the road. The rest of us didn't fare so well. B seems to have felt the worse. My voice has been gone for 3 days now. The weirdest part is that the virus was basically just a fever and achy yucky feeling for about 24 hours. The after effects have been the worst!! I have to say, I love my Zumba classes, though (and TurboKick). I whispered to them all that I had lost my voice and they told me not to worry about it, they could just follow me...and follow me they did!! And not only did they follow me, they were even calling for me. My front row divas (who I love) would randomly yell out "Keep your arms up" or "Don't stop moving". It was awesome and makes me smile inside and out.

*Last but not least...I ordered an iMac. It has been on my list for a few years but the prices have always put me off. Well, I have seen the "dumping physical memory" blue screen on my PC more times than I can count this week and I broke down and ordered it. It should be here Wednesday. Thankfully, all of my stuff is backed up. I finished editing my last shoot today (which was a slow process b/c the computer kept blue-screening me) so now I just have to wait...and then learn b/c I have NEVER owned a Mac. The only apple product I have is an ipod that is probably 5 years old and only cost me $10.

A few kid funnies:
*Little Bit told me she is getting Papaw grocery money for Christmas b/c everytime they go spend the night he asks if she brought some.
*Little Monster had the following shopping list today: A noodle for Mrs. Jean, Super Mario Bros for the gym, and a Christmas tree for Skylar's birthday. Little Bit asked him "Who is going to play with a Christmas tree??" his response..."Skylar"
*You all will be happy to know that Bowser was at Kroger today and ripped it down but "the people" fixed it (their pretend world is so funny to listen to)
*In the car the other day Little Bit was saying something with a sad voice and Little Monster responded by saying (with a big sigh) "Yeah, no one ever picks a pepper." Not sure how Peter Piper fit into that story but I love the randomness of it.
I know I am missing one but I will have to think on it and post it later. Until next time...
Author: Ashley
•10:46 AM

Our last 2 weeks have been slow. It is just the calm before the storm, though. Last week involved testing for reading. Little Bit did ok I guess. Her actual scores weren't that great (about a 78) but she knew everything that she missed so I think she's just not thinking. I remember having problems on tests when I was little. I guess it is a developed skill. One example of her not thinking: yesterday I planned a fun activity for what we are thankful for. We don't have to do this extra stuff but it is a fun break. Or it should be anyway. The questions were similar to "what are you thankful for that is round, green, yellow, etc" I wanted to slam my head against the wall. Her answer for round: "thanksgiving." followed by "I don't know what round is." Soft: "a scarecrow."  green: "the leaves changing colors." I finally gave up. I know she's 6 but I just wish she would use some common sense. And unfortunately I can't teach that.

Little Monster is sick today. He runs the highest fevers! It is really crazy. And scary. Tonight daddy and him (he?) were playing the wii and when I went to check on everybody I could tell his fever was up. I checked it and it was 103.8!! CRAZY! It took a good hour and a half to get it down. It still isn't normal but it is better. He kept telling me this morning "I just want you to watch over me." It was rally sweet and mildly creepy.

Christmas shopping is going good/almost done! I think I have 2 more things to buy for the kids plus make a hooded towel for Little Monster and a quilt for Little Bit. Oh and I guess I need to shop for B. A lot of people are getting homemade gifts from us this year. And they are neat homemade gifts too!

My cat Quincy has been sick. He vomited 5+ times Saturday morning and we ended up at the vet with him. He has some majorly bad ear stuff going on but they can't tell what b/c his ear canal is swollen to the point they can't see his ear drum. I have no idea what we are going to do about that. Maybe Obama should pass pet insurance law. For all the good the new healthcare law is doing our family other might as well have been a pet insurance law.

My cat Gracee is licking her fur off. She's on meds for that.

Little Bit is currently using an eneuresis monitor. She had her first dry night last night. We have been getting up with her 2x every night when it goes off. But it seems to be helping. I will be glad to get a full night's sleep again. 

All in all, it sounds like we are falling apart over here (and trays not mentioning my issues) but it could always be worse!

Leaving you with picture of the rottenness I live with. This is what my cat Gracee begs to do ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY!! It looks so sweet right? Well after about 4 minutes of it, not so cute and sweet. Much hissing ensues (and that's not to mention all the noise she makes)

Author: Ashley
•7:47 PM

My son never ceases to amaze me. Yesterday, I randomly wrote a row of capital letters and a row lower case letters and he drew the lines to match them. I didn't have to help him once. We also talked about the words "cat" and "dog." I wrote them out yesterday and then tonight he asked me how to spell them. I sounded out each letter, he told me what it was, and then wrote it by himself. My favorite part was when he told me he didn't know how to write a "g" and then wrote it with no problem and no instruction.

I gave both of them octopus pictures today and asked him to put the correct number of dots on each leg. He never asked a question and got them all right. He also told me he was going to color something and everyone would "be so impressed."

Little Bit drew pictures of Peach, Luigi, and Yoshi. I love them. She also had to take a math test today and did a great job. She only missed writing the number 200 (she wrote 220) and reading one of the clock faces. I was impressed. It amazes ne how far she has come in 2 months. Hard to imagine where she will be at Christmas. Little Monster will probably be graduating from college by his next birthday.

Speaking of birthdays- Little Bit is supposed to have a party in 2 weeks and I can't get motivated. I think I might have too much going on in life. Just maybe.

Author: Ashley
•2:00 PM

My daughter turned 6 last weekend and we celebrated the weekend before with a big shindig. It is crazy how you invite a "few" people and there ends up being 16 kids and a bunch of adults (didn't count those). I guess all those friends and their siblings add up. They had a blast, though. Like every other little girl in America, my daughter loves Tangled so we had a Tangled themed party. A week before the party I wasn't motivated to even have one but thankfully I pulled it together in the end and put together a few cool things. Flynn Rider's wanted poster was posted on the front door. A friend's child got a Rapunzel toy a few months ago and I saved the small print on the back of the box. I used that as a guide and drew a bigger copy on posterboard. For her Fairy party last year I bought a TON of paper lanterns with the battery operated tea lights and never used them (didn't even remember that I had them until the party was over and they were the one thing that spurred the Fairy/Garden party idea). But I did use lanterns this year. Not all of the ones I had but a few. 

We hung posterboard on the fence and let the kids go to town with washable markers. I think this should be a staple at all parties and I plan (assuming I don't forget) to do this at every party from now on. If there's not an activity going on, just send them the fence to draw. We do have some marker on our fence now but it should clean off with a clorox solution. And if not, it adds character. Another option would be to use sidewalk chalk straight on the fence. I think I might go to our local newspaper and buy some unprinted paper. They sell the ends of the rolls for about $5 (and it is a ton of paper). Ok, back on track now--I am going to punch holes in all of the poster drawings and make a "book" for her. 

Trampoline, balloons, and children under the age of 6. Nothing more even has to be said. And I'm not sure if Little Monster is thieving the balloons here or taking back escaped balloons. I have a feeling he was thieving. Maybe we should have dressed him up as Flynn Rider. 

The cake was fun to make. Two weeks before the party I had decided to just buy cupcakes or a cake from somewhere. A week before the party I decided to ask my mom to help me with it. And 6 days before the party I decided I just needed help with flowers. Those are not my specialty but my mom is amazing at it! Hints on decorating a tower cake: use a dense cake (ex...I used THIS TRIPLE CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE...oh so amazing!! Double the recipe though...maybe even triple it), use the the inner tube of a roll of aluminum foil to stack the doughnuts on (it is a great size and really strong cardboard. I wouldn't recommend a paper towel roll since the cardboard is kind of flimsy), use moldable chocolate for any other figures that need to be created (I didn't even do a Rapunzel...just had her hair flowing out the window. Of course, every child wanted to know where Rapunzel was but I just told them she was hiding inside), and use dense doughnuts for the tower. 
I'm not sure where this tradition started but I always get something for the sibling of the birthday child (my parents and one of my friends do as well). Little Monster has been having fits wanting the Mario/Sonic Winter Olympics Wii game. I found it cheap on ebay so that was his present and I don't think anything else could've made him happier. I wish I had his reaction on video. We probably could've won money off of it. But here he is examining the game with Papaw   
After the party was over we drove to a park to release real lanterns (just like the movie). These were so stinking cool! I got them off of Amazon and they were worth every penny. We only released 2 (which means we have 8 more fun flying lanterns). A few people were really afraid of them catching on fire but they work just like a hot air balloon. So if there's a flame, they float up. When the flame goes out, they come down. I wouldn't suggest doing them around trees b/c they could catch a tree on fire but after they are above the trees, there is no worry (well, maybe birds?).
Author: Ashley
•1:12 PM
I have great memories of soft pastels. I don't have messy memories but whoa! Mess was everywhere when we ventured into the soft pastel world yesterday. Little Bit's assignment was to draw something she enjoys doing. When I came to check on her I saw a picture of a princess going home to her castle (bottom). Now, I love her drawing but seriously?? How do you teach a child to follow directions? So then it was the principle of the matter and she had to do another one. That one ended up being her playing on her swing set (also--soft pastels are hard to do neatly...not just the mess they make but trying to color with a rectangular block of...stuff). Little Monster wandered in and drew a "cominent." A comment? Nope. A cominent. No clue what that is but I asked him again last night and he told me the same thing. I'm not questioning it. It must make sense in his head.
p/s--can't get the font size to go back to normal. It looks like I'm super excited about this post but in reality I just can't work the computer.

Author: Ashley
•8:51 PM
...brings on the beginning of the next--the "holiday season!" I am semi-excited about Christmas but still not where I need/want to be. I do feel good about the jump start I've gotten on buying/getting/making gifts. And if nothing else, I have a pretty good list of things for the people I haven't already bought for.

Tonight was trick-or-treat night. The kids had a blast. We went with 2 other families so there were 7 kids total. Little Bit (also known as Princess Peach) had another girl her age (which made her the happiest child on the block) and Little Monster (also known as Mario) just ran with the crowd. He sticks close to his sister, anyway.  I only got to see them hit about 4 houses because I had a Zumba class to teach but the great thing about T-or-Ting is that once you see one house, you've pretty much seen them all. I mean, how much different can it get? One difference that I didn't know about until after T-or-Ting had started is that Little Monster decorated his bag with every sticker he could get off of a sheet that he found in one of his workbooks. I didn't even take them off :)

School was good last week and so far so good this week. This is a big grocery shopping week so I've decided that school is having to be shifted around for that. We are couponers (not the crazy extreme people but one of the normal coupon families just looking for a good deal) and Kroger has a GREAT ad this week.

I'm not sure what is going on with the Android software but I am having issues with photos that I take "disappearing" from my devices (whether it be my phone or my galaxy...which are both Android devices) so I had pictures of the kids doing their school work dressed up but they are MIA. If they return, I'll be sure to post them. Here are our pumpkins. We carved Rapunzel and Perry the Platypus this year. I think pumpkin carving is such a waste. I know it is fun but surely there is a more cost effective activity. I'm such a stick in the mud.

Here is our watercolor art from 2 weeks ago. The one on the left is Little Bit at her friend's birthday party. It is her on a waterslide. The yellow thing is the deck with a table and the cake on it. The blue is the slide and she's in the pink bathing suit. Little Monster colored the pumpkin I drew and then made his own lines and squiggles.

One cool thing Little Monster did today was try to write words. Little Bit did her journal entry about going Trick-or-Treating so Little Monster decided to write it too. He wrote "I M G" and to translate--the M is "am" (but you say it more like 'em') and the G is the beginning of "going." He wanted me to help him with the rest but when I asked him what he thought was next, he proceeded to just draw lines. This is the beginning of learning to read. Again...just something else I haven't taught him. I have no idea where he comes up with stuff. One thing is for sure--he is constantly listening and absorbing everything we say!! When Little Bit was in preschool and I asked her if anyone got in timeout and what they did her response was almost ALWAYS "I don't know but at least it didn't happen to me." If I ask Little Monster, his response is "well, I was standing in my chair and Brody was on the floor beside his chair, and Caroline and Chandler were under the table but they had their hands on the table and we were supposed to sit down and so we got our apples flipped (their equivalent of a green/yellow/red system)". It is so funny the details he notices and remembers.

Author: Ashley
•3:48 PM

This week is affectionately known as the "week from hell" in my circle of friends. Seriously it is so BUSY! There is a fall festival, trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, a pumpkin patch field trip, another fall festival, and my daughter's birthday. Can we fit anything else into this week??? Oh yeah! How about a home game so B will be gone rickshawing all day Saturday. Crazy! But crazy or not, it is part of parenthood (my autocorrect almost put "priesthood." sometimes I feel like I'm training for priesthood).

Little Bit had her birthday party last weekend. She got money that she wanted to buy a Rapunzel doll with. When she asked what Little Monster would get I told her he didn't have money so she wanted to use some of her money for him. She can be so sweet. She can also talk to him like a dog when they are playing games together. That's normal tough I guess. Last week she got points to "spend" at the AWANA store and used half of them to buy something for her brother.

Interesting story from last weekend. Our church service talked about how media can influence children. B kind of scoffed and said he didn't agree. Less than an hour later we were at home and Little Monster was building a "combination" I asked him what that was and he said a gun. I told him we don't pretend to shoot people and he said "Daddy does on his gun game." It was awesome...

We went to the pumpkin patch and picked up 2 more pumpkins. I'm not sure what the point is because we don't eat it and we have already carved them but it is preschool field trip so we go. Daddy is on vacation this week so he got to enjoy the fun as well. I have pictures to upload but they are all on my computer so that will have to come at a later date.

Author: Ashley
•8:51 AM

Little Monster has been out of school this week. I have loved it! It definitely gets frustrating when he interrupts me 10 times during school but I love not having to interrupt my day going to pick him up and drop him off. How lazy is that??

There isn't a lot to update on. We are doing art today so I can update that later. I posted last week's stuff but didn't move the pictures around on my computer. Sorry for the crazy format. I will fix it the next time I'm on my computer. If it wasn't for editing pictures I would never get on my computer. This is so much easier.

Author: Ashley
•8:46 AM

Ok. I hate to admit this but I am in love with the recipes on chocolate covered katie's website. Seriously. All of the 3 people that read this blog know 2 things about me: #1--I am the world's pickiest eater and #2--I love chocolate. I mean LOVE it. This girl uses chocolate and makes amazing desserts that are healthy. Her fudge babies-amazing! I made the brownies tonight. They're also amazing! I will admit they have a slightly different taste than a boxed brownie mix but they are still so so good. I did cut the salt in half and I baked mine for about 13 minutes and should have done about 5 more but the beauty is that there are no raw eggs to worry about :)

Ok, onto the other beans in the family. Little Bit and Little Monster are in desperate desperate need for some time outside. Tropical storm somebody has been parked over us for a few days so they have been stuck inside. Little Bit is silly and wild. Little Monster is whiny and pitiful. He's bored with the wii, she's not focused on school. And on and on. I'm hoping for a sunny day tomorrow. Or at least less rainy. I feel like I've gotten a lot of things done, though. I don't feel like the house has a mind of its own anymore (maybe a little bit but not as bad).

Here are the paintings Little Bit did last week and also the rainbow Little Monster drew. We skipped art today. It is my favorite but after the frustration of my wild children, I had to quit.

We also drew pictures of what they want to be for Halloween. I finally got Little Monster to agree to be Mario! yay! He drew this almost by himself. I just told him where to draw the lines. He did the rest. Little Bit is going to be Princess Peach. She drew hers completely by herself.

Her reading has come a LONG way. I think making her practice reading everyday was a good decision. I've been contemplating some kind of reward program for when she reads a certain number of books and/or having her read to different people and have them sign off on her reading. I need to work on that some more.

Author: Ashley
•11:57 AM
I am the worst at coming up with titles to these posts but I get tired of looking at the page and it saying "untitled." So I think I might just post whatever pops into my brain.
This weekend has been pretty good (so far). Yesterday I just needed a day off and that's  what I got. Don't get me wrong- I still put up 11.5 quarts of pears, did some grocery shopping, did some laundry, did some MUCH needed cleaning, cooked dinner (with B's help), and entertained my kids. But I didn't HAVE to be anywhere. It was awesome. I also worked on The Help a little bit. I have already read this book once but after all the hooplah started with the movie, I decided to read it again. I haven't seen the movie but the book is really amazing.
We also found a turtle yesterday. Brian and I saw one about a week ago so I think he may live at our house. I was in the middle of my pears so I went ahead and cut him a piece. Not only did he eat that,  he proceeded to eat almost the entire thing. I think he was hungry. I named him Bruce and marked him with orange fingernail polish so we will be able to tell if its him.
At ballet Thursday Little Bit (and maybe me too) played with angel wing flags. The teacher told me they were homemade and so another project was born in my head. I can't finish one without 10 more starting. So here are my wings. Please done look at the stitching. I pay no attention to detail so I'm not the best seamstriss--seamstress--sewing girl. After I was finished with one, another project presented itself. How do you protect some masculinity for the son that has an incredibly girl older sister and wants an angel wing flag? You make him a flag out of the only slightly masculine fabric that you have. And you make it a rectangle because that's less girly than a semicircle.  It's what I'm telling myself anyway.
Author: Ashley
•9:16 AM
I am so so tired! I have no energy and all  want to do is eat. Seriously. We have done a lot this week though. I canned another 8.5 quarts of pears. Writing that makes it seem like I didn't do much. So let me expound on that-I washed, peeled, cut, cooked, and sealed 8.5 quarts of pears. That's more like it. And I have 2 huge bags left. My kids will eat pears all winter and my friends will have them for Christmas. I'm also doing vanilla for Christmas but after making my list yesterday I think I need another bottle of vodka to start. I won't have any for myself if I don't get one. 

*art was a still life today. I think I need something to help inspire Little Bit. She seems to be drawing the same thing over and over. I'm pretty sure that's normal for this age but her art all looks the same. Maybe after we move out of this section things will change. Anyway she drew one of her cabbage patch dolls and a snow globe.
*she also wrote sentences yesterday (not because she was in trouble but because it is fun). She made them up and did a pretty good job with spelling. It also gave me a chance to work on punctuation with her.I took a picture but it has their "real" names so I'm not going to post them. And, honestly, the sentences don't make much sense without their names :)

*A friend of ours is on a mission trip in Guatemala for the week so we talked a little about their culture-including worry dolls. A friend of mine gave me one of these tiny things when I was in high school and I still have it. The "belief" is that you tell this doll your worry, put it under your pillow, and the next morning your worries are gone. Mine is about 1 inch long but we made ours out of clothes pins. It was a good opportunity to talk about why our friend is there (to teach them about God) and how God is who we tell our worries to. That also led to a good segue into Matthew 6, where we are instructed not to worry.

*here is a sideways picture of my quilt. I'm too lazy to put it on my computer and rotate it. 

*in science we have been learning about colors. We have learned that blue and yellow make green and to prove our theory we separated the colors. I don't know how it works but you put a strip of newspaper with a green food coloring dot on it in a jar of water and other separates the colors. It takes a little while but is pretty cool to watch.

Author: Ashley
•9:27 AM

A few days ago I was asked (not so nonchalantly ) when I was going to update my blog. So here's an update plus all the reasons I haven't already done it this week.
*art was postponed until Friday this week because of all of the events we had occurring.  We learned about portraits and that our arms are more than sticks. They have dimension. Here is Little Bit's friend SK dressed up in her flower power costume.

*In reading we learned more about homophones (pail/pale, mail/male) and continued reviewing our time, money, and place values in math. We are working on colors in science so we mixed colors and saw how a color became more rich if we mixed more color into it (I.e.the more blue you add to red, the more rich the purple becomes).

*Both kids said their verses at AWANA  and Little Bit even got her wings and her first red jewel. I think AWANA is one of the best programs our kids could be involved in. After a bout of disobedience a few days ago, I was explaining to Little Bit why we tell her not to do certain things and why it is important she obey. She ran (unprompted) to get her Sparks book and find where she knew there was a verse that said "children obey your parents". I was proud of that.  Obviously something is working.

*Our week's adventures:
-spending about 5 hours at my grandparents' house learning to put up pears.
-putting pears in brown bags so they'll ripen and I can put up more.
-making a t-shirt quilt
-bringing home more pears
-ridding my computer of another Google redirect virus
-taking pictures of my husband's race team
-watching the movie Courageous
-baking 3 loaves of homemade bread
-and investigating/purchasing stuff to make my own laundry soap because my son has such sensitive skin.

Author: Ashley
•3:59 PM

that my daughter doesn't speak with a lisp anymore! Hallelujah! I was concerned that we would end up having to do speech therapy but I've been listening for 2 days and haven't heard even a hint of it.

In school news--handwriting is the bane of my existence. Little Bit's handwriting isn't "bad" but isn't quite right either. It tends to lean and she definitely doesn't hold her pencil correctly. So now we are moving onto that. The difference is AMAZING when she does hold it the right way but it requires a constant reminder.

She has read me 3 books this week that are not part of our school curriculum. That is awesome too! I just help her with the words that she definitely doesn't know (i.e. overerjoyed). My new rule is she doesn't get a book until after she reads it to me (I have a secret stash) and the cool part is when I hear her reading it to herself. I think it is helping her self confidence in reading. Prior to this rule her excuse was "but that's not a learning to read book." Now I think she realizes that a book doesn't have to have that little "level" stamp in order for her to read it. Tonight she said she wanted us to read her a book but didn't want to read it herself. I wonder how long it will be before she doesn't want me to read to her. I get a little sad thinking about that.

So to lighten the mood: in the car tonight Little Bit asked if she had obeyed this week so far (the requirement for a Friday night sleepover). Unfortunately for their sleepover  plans, she slammed her brother's foot in the car door yesterday and lost that privilege (and might I add that the door-slamming-in-the-face thing has been an ongoing battle AND I was telling her not to do it as she did it anyway). Little Monster was minding his own business and coloring during this conversation but without skipping a beat (or a crayon stroke) told us "I always do the correct things." I almost wet myself laughing. Thank you, 3 year old angel. His language cracks me up. A few weeks ago I was taking somethin to goodwill. He wanted to know what it was so I told him coffee cups and he said "those are fragile." I really don't know where he picks this stuff up.

Author: Ashley
•4:08 PM

that artist woman! I love her ideas for teaching art to little ones. Most of her stuff seems geared toward ages 7+ but I can adapt it for my little ones too. So we are skipping our "formal" art lesson this week and talking about the fall leaves.

We started yesterday with watercolor backgrounds and continued today using ink and a straws to make our trees. Little Bit's is on the left and Little Monster's is on the right. I like how Little Monster follows directions (i.e. "don't paint blue below the line" and yet somehow we have a small pond that blossomed on the right side of the paper). After the trees were dry, we followed up with acrylic paint and q-tips for the leaves. I did one of my own and honestly, I like the kids' versions better. I don't have a picture of the completed work but you get the idea.

Author: Ashley
•1:37 PM
This weekend has been really great! I have enjoyed some time to do things that need to be done (clean out our office space), want to be done (nap), and have to be done (daily life with 2 children). The weather has been awesome and the kids are LOVING the new deck! I think they would move out there if the weather would stay like this all the time.

Now for the random:
*Crayola's colored bubbles are on clearance for a reason. They were a lot of fun but made a HUGE mess. It did wash out and I wasn't too stressed about the mess but if we had been at home on our new deck or in our driveway, I might have had a panic attack.

*This is how we found Little Monster yesterday morning. They had a sleepover and Little Bit woke him up before the sun. He decided he needed to hide from Mommy and Daddy and fell asleep waiting for us to drag our lazy booties out of bed (at a VERY late 8:40am). He was behind the curtain and all you could see were his feet...too funny!

*This is how we found Perry (who Little Monster will now tell you is his best friend).

*Oh my mirrors!! I love them. Some advice to anyone attempting this project: The liquid nails is amazing but works FAST and is thick. It will mush around (for lack of better terms) when you press it on so it is essential to put it low enough on the trim that it doesn't push to the top (see 2nd photo). Otherwise you will see the reflection of it in the mirror. A wet rag is also good to have on hand in case this happens. And speaking of reflection, it is also important that you paint the edge of the backside (also see 2nd photo). Otherwise you will also see that reflection. Oh yeah! and a miter box (sp?) is also essential. The circular saw cuts too much of the wood because the blade is thick and it causes your corners to be misaligned. Of course, caulk will fix that but...
Author: Ashley
•4:09 PM
After learning time and greater than/less than, we have moved on to measuring. We haven't started with a ruler yet but are using our centimeter cubes. And with measuring comes graphing.  Seems weird to think about graphing already but I remember using graphs a ton in school.

For all you pinterest lovers--I have completed several projects over the last week and have several in the works. I love that I have found easy, cheap things to do tray make my house look better. I will post pictures soon.

FYI: a bad week at home must equal no posts because I haven't even attempted to finish this post I started 5 days ago. Yeah. We had a rough week. I think the issues have passed for now, though, and if not my sweet daughter will lose all of her toys on th next go around.

In art news--we talked about landscapes this week. This is the landscape in front of our house. It is definitely a loose translation but that's what art is sometimes.

I ran across some really cool teacher blogs this week and have thoroughly enjoyed learning from their experiences. I know it is a different setting but the ideas that have to be taught are the same. While I was perusing, I ran across a chart showing examples of how to make your coloring work your best. So I made my own. Little Monster enjoys coloring and does try his (3 year old) best. Little Bit on the other hand just wants to get the color on the paper. She doesn't care how it looks when it gets there. I was/am like this but I am trying to help her overcome a little of that. It would have saved me a lot of mistakes as I was growing up.

I also found a Tic Tac Toe game that involves spelling words. I don't have a link to either of these projects but you can google them. Basically, you pick a row off of the board and each space in the row has a different activity to do with your word (examples: write in rainbow colors, write in silly letters, write them 3 times, etc). It was a fun way for her to practice a few words that give her trouble without it being such a monotonous task. I remember having to write my spelling words 10x each. It wasn't the most fun activity.

Stay tuned for a pinterest update. I need to get photos uploaded before I can post them :)

Author: Ashley
•1:22 PM
We are not pushing hard this week. I think the 5 day break we had made Little Bit forget her stuff. We have had to review a good bit this week. We have also run into a severe case of the silly. Well, she thinks it is silly but it just sounds disrespectful to me. So we are working through that too.
We officially have a deck on the back of the house. We unofficially have a mud pit too. So, next on my neverending list of things to do is to go buy sod to lay down.

Pintrest has given me so many good ideas. I bought shutters yesterday and had B cut shelves for them. Those will go in Little Bit's room for her books. I bought 2 windows that I will put pictures in, and I also bought drawer pulls that were on clearance to hang our keys/backpacks/sunglasses etc on. Oh, and I decorated our plastic homeschool drawers using scrapbook paper and modge podge. I love having projects to do :)