A Day in the Life: Playground Hop

Our “First Day of Spring Playground Hop” celebration ended up getting postponed. Winter did not want to give up this year. Yes, the forecast for snowfall on Friday and Saturday actually occurred. So, I decided that a few days later, when the temperature was a high of 40, was when we would celebrate the first day of Spring.

playground hop

The plan was to hit four playgrounds in 3 towns, spending about an hour at each and half an hour for travel time. At 9 was park #1 which is literally down the street from our house. At ten leave and go get coffee and a beverage for the kiddos for a treat. I figured we would arrive at the next park a little before 10:30 because it is in the same town. We would head out by 11:30 and make a pit stop at Target which is on the way to the next playground. We would get to park #3 by noon and sit at the table under the pavilion for lunch. Then leave around 1:30 to get to the next park for two o’clock. Park #4 is the furthest away and highway travel is involved. I thought this would be the perfect time for a nap for the toddler. And finally I wanted to head for home by three so that we would have time to settle down for a moment before needing to start making dinner.

Here is what our Playground Hop Day actually looked like:

6:32 I am awakened by a small voice “Mommy, did you forget that today is playground hop day?” “No honey, it’s still early, we won’t be leaving for a little while.” I reply with a smile.

6:35 Out of bed and get ready for the day.

8:00 Made oatmeal for breakfast. I wanted to make sure we had full tummies for our full day of fun.

8:35 Dawdling ensued, even though we were getting ready to go to four playgrounds!

8:47 Started the car and scrambled to get out of the house.

9:06 Left the house.

9:09 Arrived at Park #1.

9:50 Left the first playground. We got to play with a friend from church. By far the coldest part of our day. The playground was still covered with snow.

10:11 Went through Dunkin’ Donuts drive thru to get hot coffee for mom and an apple juice for the kids to share.

10:18 Arrived at Park #2. We finished listening to our audio book (The Moffats) because it was so close to being finished.

10:28 Played Tag and Hide and Seek. This playground was much warmer and a lot of the snow was melted around the play areas so it was easier to run around.

11:02 Made new friends. Elle and another little girl became instant friends and were running around and giggling like crazy.

11:30 Homeschool group friends came by to play. I got to chat with homeschooling mom friend, when Finn wasn’t climbing the curved ladder meant for much older kids.

12:28 Time to move on. We headed out and I gave the kids their sandwiches to eat in the car.

12:46 Arrived at Target for a bathroom break.

1:01 Arrived at Park #3. Finn fell asleep. I stayed in car and ate my salad for lunch. Elle played for 10 minutes on playground (in my sight, in a fenced in area).

1:12 Decided to move on, so that I could give the toddler time to finish his nap.

1:20 Turned around. Missed my exit.

1:37 Turned around again. Realized I really did forget how to get to the next park. It had been since last summer. Finally typed the address in my phone for directions. Oh well, more nap time. 🙂

1:52 Arrived at Park #4. Walked to ducks. Kids got to feed ducks because a lovely older couple was there with a loaf of bread and kindly gave the kiddos a slice each.

duck pond

2:15 Walked back to playground area. Elle found two girls to play with.

3:00 Time to head home.

3:28 Arrived at home.

4:05 Served an easy dinner of chicken nuggets. It had been a while since I ran around all day, I was a little pooped.

4:20 Relaxed with a movie “night.”

6:00 Bath time and got ready for bed. (This is much earlier than normal but the kids were pooped too, this was a great way to relax before kids got cranky.) Then talked and played with the hubby.

7:00 Finn went to bed.

7:30 Elle went to bed.

9:00 I went to bed with a book and shortly after fell asleep.

Would you ever take your kids on a playground hop? Do you have any First Day of Spring traditions?

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Friday’s Top Five Finds from the Library (3/27)

Here are this week’s finds from the library, these books are full of FUN!

top five 3.27

Little Green Peas by Keith Baker – This is a lively book about colors. We like to look at all the different peas and see what they are doing. Also fun for mom to ask the little ones to find the pea who is flying a kite or the pea who is skiing. This read can spur on a great conversation.

When the Cows got Loose by Carol Weis – Twenty six cows are on the loose and it’s Ida Mae’s job to fetch them. I attempt a country accent when reading this book. Zany, silly, and ridiculous describes where and how the cows are found. Check it out. Ard Hoyt’s illustrations are bright and lively and really make this a fantastic read.

Giggle, Giggle, Quack by Doreen Cronin – We love these books! So playful and funny, we always get a giggle out of these wonderful and zany books. This one is about the time Farmer Brown goes on vacation and leaves his brother in charge with the instructions to “keep an eye on duck.”

Mouse TV by Matt Novak – This one is from our personal library, it was my sister in law’s book when she was little. We read this one a few times this week because it’s one of Elle’s favorites. A mouse family loves watching TV, each family member has their favorite channel. But one night the TV doesn’t work, so they have to find other activities to keep them busy. And they learn a valuable lesson.

Growing Up Duggar: It’s All About Relationships by Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar – This was fun for me to read. The intended audience seemed to be teenage girls, however, it was great to see the perspective of girls who grew up in a Christ centered home. And as a parent, hearing their stories was inspiring. I should have taken notes, seriously, I think sometime down the road I’ll be reading this again with a notebook and pen in hand.

What fun books have you found this week?

Top 5 Reasons to attend a Homeschool Convention

It’s that time of year… Homeschool Convention time! Yay! I have been looking forward to attending our nearby convention for the last few months.

homeschool convention

Here are my top five reasons why I attend:

1. Workshops/Lectures – Listening to the speakers, whether it’s the general session or a lecture I choose from the list, is always a great way to learn something new. I love that there are so many choices. Last year my husband and I even split up and attended a few of the classes on our own. Later, when we rejoined we shared our notes and had plenty to discuss.

2. Vendor Hall – Oh the joy of perusing curriculum! As a new homeschooling mom, I find it helpful to see all the different available choices. I like to touch and flip through all the books. It really helps to see if it is something that I may want to consider. Another great perk is that often the vendors will offer a “convention discount,” which is fabulous for the newer sets of curriculum you may not find at a used curriculum sale (like the Logic of English I have my eye on). Also for those materials that are one time use (like the notebooks that go along with Apologia’s young explorer series). Looking around last year allowed us to be introduced to Singapore Math. We had never heard of this approach so after returning home and doing some research we decided that we want to go this route for teaching math.

3. Restoration and Rejuvenation – We all get to that time of year where we want to give up; we loose our oomph. We begin to forget why we are homeschooling. I feel that the convention helps to restore my faith in my decision to homeschool. I feel so rejuvenated afterwards and I get into homeschool hyper mode. I begin researching everything I can. I start deciding on curriculum for the following year, not the upcoming year, but the next (told you – hyper mode). I read all I can get my hands on regarding methods and ideas. Then I’m looking for the perfect planner. I stay revitalized for a good couple of months. I’m sure as I become more seasoned as a homeschooling mom my excitement will wane much quicker. But for now, I am really looking forward to feeling that burst of homeschool excitement energy!

4. Meeting new friends – This is one place where you know that there are people who think the same as you – at least in the fact that they are choosing homeschool for their family too. It’s always fun to strike up a conversation: learning what other parents are doing and listening to their ideas. Maybe you’ll make a connection with someone and now you have a great resource or someone with whom to share your struggles and triumphs or even someone who lives nearby and you can plan field trips together.

5. Time away with my husband – The convention is a great excuse to get away. We use this time together as a mini vacation. We get to spend the whole day together! It’s also a great opportunity to discuss what’s next for our family in the way of home education.

So there you have it, my top 5 reasons to attend a homeschool convention. Can you tell I am super thrilled to go!?

Why do you go to the homeschool convention or what most excites you about going?

Our Family Rules – and printable

My quest for a set of rules began a few years ago when Elle was about three years old. That was about the time when she was telling me “no” and being quite willful and disobedient. She needed to know what was expected and how to behave. And, I needed something to help me be consistent and something to refer to when disciplining her.

road rules

Just Google “family rules” and there are so many options. It seems that 90% of the images are of rules listed in really cool fonts and sizes on a chalkboard background and images that are meant more for decoration. I like a lot of these ideas but it wasn’t quite what I wanted.

I wanted something that was easy to read and simple. I did not want a “decoration” on my wall. I wanted something that was Biblically based. Then I came across this poster of family rules. It was perfect! I got out my markers and a plain white sheet of printer paper, wrote down the rules, and posted it in view of my youngster.

It was the quickest way to get a set of rules into play. If they didn’t work or I found a set of rules that I thought would work better than I would change it. Well, it’s been a couple of years now and the rules are still posted. However, it’s time for a makeover… I typed them up, all nice and neat, and I added a written verse instead of just a scripture reference. And, I want to share them with you! Click here to download Our Family Rules.

Our Family Rules 3.20

1. Love God & Love Each Other

2. Listen & Obey the 1st Time

3. Use Kind Words in a Kind Voice

4. Be Honest & Loyal

5. Have a Servant’s Heart

6. Ask Permission & Forgiveness

When disciplining the kids I like to ask them what they did wrong and what rule they need to be following. This set of rules is great because they are a little more general, you can fit a specific wrongdoing into any one of the rules. If your child is calling names, teasing, or using bad language then rule #3 can apply. If your child is refusing to do his chores or responsibilities or is not being helpful then you can use rule #5 to remind him how to act.

I recommend “assigning” a discipline for each rule. It helps me to be consistent and for my kiddos to know what to expect when they do something wrong. The type of discipline will depend on your child’s age and motivation. And the form of discipline will change as your child grows older. I really like how Doorposts.com explains what discipline looks like. Ultimately, you know your family best and what works best for you.

Please feel free to share any discipline ideas in the comments.

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