Thursday, June 28, 2012

homeschooling info

I wanted to point out that I have added a new page.  If you look under the picture of the girls on the blog header, you will notice there is a tab that says "Homeschooling Info".  Click on it to lead you to a little bit of information.

I'm not an expert by any means.  Just wanted to put some resources in one spot for the few people that have asked. 

If you have anything that you are curious about, feel free to send me an email ( or submit a comment with your email address and I will respond.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

chalk faces

The girls aren't hard to entertain.  It doesn't take much to get them tickled with something.  The other day Jorge made their day when he sat down by the chalk board and asked the girls if they wanted him to "paint" their faces.

Of course they answered a quick "YES!".

He didn't do anything fancy, but to the girls, they thought it was super cool.  Take a look at a few pictures.

First order of business, a mustache and goatee.

And, back to the drawing board to create another look.

Since Emily got her whole face covered, Bella decided to go back for a little more coveage.

I'm just glad that Jorge got out the chalk to do their faces and not the paint!  Chalk is much easier to clean off.

It seems that Jorge introduces the best things to the girls.  Check out why I prefer the chalk to paint.  Here are some old pictures of him "showing" the girls to paint themselves.  I guess that is what daddies are for.

Aren't daddies the best!?  :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

organization in the girls' room

There is a constant battle with the girls when it comes to them cleaning their room.  Or, I should say, the lack of them cleaning their room. 

I know, I know!  They are only 4 and 5!  And, I had a crazy, messy room when I was younger.  My mom will tell you that.  But, I can see in their room from the living room.  Heck, I can stand in the kitchen and look into their room.

There have been many benefits to having an open floor plan while the girls are young.  But, I can't stand to see a mess!  And, the girls are pros as making a mess.  I tell them over and over that if they are going to play with something, that is fine.  Just put it up when they are finished. 

Back when we painted and re-arranged their room, I bought a storage unit that I thought would help with the cleaning up process.  It did somewhat, but I think the problem was there were too many places to put things, and everything got mixed up and then they never knew where anything was.

I think I fixed it all on Saturday.  We are having major success with the girls putting things back where they go since I went through all their toys, got rid of stuff, threw away stuff, and organized the rest in bins with labels.  Now, they have a visual of where things are supposed to go.

First, I re-arranged their room, again!  I just can't help myself.  Plus, the girls LOVE it when I re-arrange stuff.  It must seem like a whole new room to them.  Since it has been hot, we put the couch cushion on the floor in our room and they sleep there since our room is the coolest in the house.  Sunday morning, the morning after I did their room, Jorge gets up and doesn't see Bella.  She, her pillow, and blanket were gone.  He found her sleeping in her room.  She told him that she liked the room so much that she wanted to sleep in it.  Even though it was hot in there.

So, here is what their room looks like now.  I know it is hard to tell with just photos, but things are moved around.  The only thing that stayed in the same place is Bella's pink dresser.

Before I go into what I did, I want to point out that one way I try to help maintain a cleaner room for the girls is by not having certain types of toys in their room.  We have the area by the green table that we call our "classroom".  That is where we keep all the toys that have parts and pieces.  This helps TONS with keeping all the parts together.  Things that go into their room are pretty much considered lost.  Games, Mr.Potato Head, puzzles, blocks, dominoes, Legos...  All the stuff pictured below the girls know have to stay in our "classroom".

We keep them all on this shelf. 

I took out that storage unit that held all the little colored bins.  I placed the bins around the room and put a picture label with the word so they can see what goes in the bin and where the bin goes.  The door on the sink wouldn't stay closed, so I took it off.  Here you can see I put two of the bins inside.

Here is a close-up of the bin with the photo and word of what goes in the bin.  You can see the out-of-focus label that is on the shelf.  That way they know where that bin goes.

The below picture shows you the matching label on the shelf.

Inside Bella's dresser are shelves.  I put the dress-up clothes in the bins and labeled them for each girl.  It would be easier if I just had a room for each one of them. But, I don't.  So, we try to keep their things separate.  It helps cut down on how many fights there are per day.

This shelf I kept all the toys that get played with together.  They have all the dollhouses on the top.  In each of the containers on the shelves, there are: people, horses (My Little Ponies), animals, and furniture.  Since they play with all of them in the dollhouses, it just made sense to keep them all close to each other.

I did the same with the labels here.  I put one on the container and I put it's matching label on the shelf.

They seem to be more willing to put things away.  I think they think it is neat that the pictures are everywhere.  It might seem like a game to them.  I just hope they keep it up!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

school time

Since we got a late start to the school year, we are still in session.  We have a little over a month left until we are finish.  Even when we finish the curriculum, I plan to keep going so we don't stray off course. 

I'm still trying to decide if I should just have our Kindergarten curriculum shipped here, or save a few bucks and have it shipped to my mom's house.  I want to implement a year round school year.  I think it seems like it would be more effective, especially for little ones.  We can then do three days a week and not feel guilty about skipping days here or there.  And, we eliminate any review time.

Anyway, just thinking out loud.  The girls seem to be retaining the alphabet and numbers fairly well.  It is funny to see how easily one of them picks up on certain things and the other not so easily.  But, their age difference (14 months) doesn't seem to be any issue.  We are just doing basic stuff.  But, I don't see a problem keeping them on the same level of work.

When we start our school day, I get out the flash cards and review the letters and number (and shapes) that we have already went over.  We go through all the letters and numbers in order, then I mix them up and we go through them again.  After that, we get out our little chalkboards and I say a letter/number and the girls have to write the uppercase and lowercase letter/number on the chalkboard.  As you will see in the picture below, I put a tray between the girls so they can't see what the other one is writing.  (We have discussed cheating, but the tray just makes it easier.)  We eliminate wasting paper and ink doing it on the chalkboard.

We still do some printouts.  I need to buy a couple binders to store all their work for the year.  I mean, I'm their mom, I can't throw away all their hard work.  Plus, I think they will enjoy looking back at how far they have come.  I got the idea of how to organize from this pin on Pinterest.  Just need to make a trip to Office Max.

Here the girls are drawing their favorite farm animal.  They draw very similarly.  Kind of funny.  Emily is getting a lot better about drawing in details. 

I can't believe we are almost done with our first year of homeschooling.  For all the worrying I did before we started, it hasn't been all that bad.  I do sometimes wish that there was an English school that I could send them to here.  But, I guess I will have to do.

Friday, June 08, 2012

40 lbs down!

I am 40 lbs lighter than 4 months ago!  I'm feeling pretty good, but still have quite a ways to go.  Over the past year or so, I gained quite a bit of weight and didn't realize it.  I mean, I noticed my pants were snug, but didn't really know how much weight I had gained.  When I stepped on the Wii fit board those handful of months ago, I was SHOCKED at the number that it said I weighed!  That number is what kicked me into gear on my weight loss journey.

I haven't really talked about it much here, other than the occasional post about "healthier" snacks and my occasional mention of how much weight I have lost.

Every month on Facebook, I post how many pounds I am down.  And, it never fails there is someone that asks me how I am doing it.  I figured I could share it here.  Not that it is something complicated or anything.  It is actually very simple.  I have been doing it the only way it should be done.  Eat healthier and less and exercise.  A pretty simple combination.  It just takes some dedication.  Some days are easier than others.

I have been using the Wii Fit with the board for my exercise.  I do it 70 minutes a day, 6 days a week.  I don't really enjoy doing it, but I feel really good after I am done.  And, it doesn't hurt to see that number drop on the scale a few times a week.  I have been averaging 10 lbs a month by exercising and limiting my caloric intake to 1200 to 1400 calories a day.  I usually hover towards the 1200 calories a day, but if I go over, I don't freak.  I know this is going to be a long process, so I just go with it.  And, I drink around 8 to 10 cups of water a day.  I stay away from any other drinks.  Every once in a while I will have a diet coke.  But, that might be one time a week.

I am a routine person.  I love things that are constant.  So, I created routines in my day that have become habit.  I eat the same breakfast 80% of the time.  I switch up what I have for lunch, but it is usually something light and fast, and usually no meat.  For dinner, that is one thing that hasn't changed much.  Jorge isn't into light eating, so I make "regular" dinners and I just try to pick healthier dinner choices.  And, I practice portion control. 

I allow myself to eat what I want, I just measure out my portions.  And, I write everything down.  I use a website for keeping track of the food and exercise.  Guess where I found it?  You are right!  Pinterest!  It tracks goals for you and shows you where you are in order to meet your goal. Here is a screen shot of tracking my food today.

Here is my typical breakfast.  A cup of Kellogg's Special K and 1/2 cup of milk. 

For lunch today, I had 6 oz light yogurt with 1 cup halved strawberries and 1/2 a small banana, a small carrot, a tomato with basil and balsamic vinegar.  And, a piece of string cheese!

I find that cutting up my food makes me feel like I have more of it.  Also, it takes longer to eat and tricks me into thinking I had more food than I actually did.  I know, I am weird!

In between meals, I snack.  I snack on string cheese (love that it is already portioned out for me), fruit, vegetables, a small sweet snack (whatever is in the house), popcorn, etc.  If I have the craving for something, I eat it.  I think that finding my balance in what I eat has allowed me to be so successful.

Not sure if this post interested everyone, but I thought those who have asked, well, now you know what I am doing to lose my weight.