Thursday, April 17, 2014

Creative Animal Reports

I love these animal reports!

One of the ways my kids can earn money for our student store is by doing an animal report. They do these on their own time & only if they want to. Mr. T chooses to add creativity to his reports. These are made entirely by him, with no guidance from me. He researches his animal using books and google then makes his report.

Raccoon on a tree stump

Red Kangaroo with the info on the joeys.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Weight Loss Results - Week 15

This is my first post after finishing the original 12 week goals & coming up with new goals. I've been a little more lax these 3 weeks. I was getting quite frustrated with worrying about every little thing I ate, feeling like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing & not seeing the results I was hoping for. So, I've chilled out a bit & am trying not to worry about each little morsel of food.

A couple weeks ago I changed my daily net caloric intake from 1200 to 1350. Since then, though, I've only logged my food twice. I'm really losing interest in logging.

I'm trying to stick to the same sort of meals I ate for the first 12 weeks & hoping that same method works for a slow, but continuing weight loss. If I start gaining weight, maybe I'll start logging consistently again.

My new goal is to exercise 5 times per week. This chart shows the days I ran on the elliptical & how many calories I burned. Obviously, it is not showing exercise 5 times each week. That is because we've been having beautiful spring weather & most of my exercise has come in the form of yard work. I have know idea how many calories I burn pulling weeds & digging dirt, so I'm not logging it. These are the times a fit bit would probably come in handy.

I'm not sure if the yard work will help or hinder my goal of a 1:30 quarter marathon time next month. But, I'd rather work outside than run inside on a machine.

  My exercise came from digging, hoeing & raking this weedy mess into a beautiful heather haven.

My arms have gotten the best workout they've had in years doing all this digging. I'm changing this area that has always been a problem into a pond.

I'm so happy to see this graph with a downward line.
Some how my layed back approach these last 3 weeks worked for me. I lost 4.8 pounds! That's the most I've lost since the first 3 weeks.

Weight Loss
Week 1: Starting Weight
Week 3: -5.2
Week 6: -3.4
Week 9:  -.4
Week 12: -2
Week 15: -4.8
Total: -15.8 pounds

I can officially add the 15 pounds lost badge! This is the one I've been waiting for since the beginning of January. It took me a little longer than I hoped, but I did it!

I'm Down w/the Sisterhood

I have realized slow & steady is what works for me. I don't have a weight loss secret or huge numbers to show off. I've been eating better, cut way back on my terrible soda habit & have been exercising. It took me 15 weeks to lose the 15 pounds.

My next goal is to lose 1.2 pounds. I know it's not much. But, when I reach that number I will be out of the obese category & into overweight for my bmi.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Seaside Aquarium

Back in January, Princess K & I had a girl's day & went to the beach. We went to Seaside, which is a beach we don't often go to. It's very touristy with an arcade, a carousel, bumper cars & tons of little shops. There is also a small aquarium - the Seaside Aquarium.

The aquarium is right on the promenade & I remember going here as a kid.

The highlight is feeding fish to the seals & sea lions. Many visitors must have come through before us because the seals didn't seem very hungry.

The aquarium is basically 3 rooms - the seal area, the room with the rest of the underwater animals & the gift shop.

Most of the animals are found locally, but I'm not thinking this lobster is one of those.

The aquarium isn't very big, but it does have two of my favorite Pacific NW water creatures, the Wolf Eel...

and the Giant Pacific Octopus.

Well, that's pretty much it for the aquarium. It doesn't take long to explore.

We also rode the carousel, went to a candy shop & had an old time photo taken.

One of the fun things about Seaside is the swings on the beach.

The Turnaround, with a statue of Lewis & Clark.

Anybody else remember these as a kid?
Princess K & I ate lunch at a pizza place that had one. I even gave her a quarter to get an egg just to see it spin & hear it squawk.

I love going on outings with my kids. But, these one on one days are especially special.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Grilled Cheese Grill

I have heard only good things about The Grilled Cheese Grill, a food cart downtown.

When I first heard about it I knew it was a place I had to take the kids. Of course they all like grilled cheese sandwiches. But also, my oldest son is intrigued by double decker buses. So, one day when the kids & I were in Portland we ventured there for lunch.

We ordered here.

Our number was Madonna. The kids had no idea who she is/was, but I thought it was fun.

We ate in a double decker bus.

We sat on the top level, of course.

Stairs leading to the top.

The floor on the top level.

The entire bus seemed rather rickety, but that added to the charm.

The kids all wanted a regular ol' grilled cheese. Which, by the way, was good.

I tried the Moon Dog, which had pepperoni & salami between the cheese. It was really good. I see why this place is popular.

The table we sat at was covered in year book photos.

Looking out the window while eating our sandwiches.

Before I had kids, I worked downtown. I never once ate at a food cart. I usually brought my lunch, but when I did eat out it was at well known fast food restaurants. I think I was afraid to eat from a food cart. Silly, I know.

Because of where we live, my kids are very sheltered from city life. They're even sheltered from suburban life. They don't get to head outside to play with the neighbor kids or ride their bikes to the park. I'm not saying it's good or bad. It's just a different way of living.

I don't want my kids to be nervous in the city. I especially don't want them to be afraid to try new things - like eating at a food cart. So, occasionally I try to do things that are out of the ordinary for us just so they can experience it. This was one of those times. And, the experience was great.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

3rd Quarter Wrap Up

Another 9 weeks, another quarter complete. We chugged along with curriculum, enjoyed a few snow days, attended extra curricular classes & went on a couple field trips.


Princess K continued learning tens & ones place value. We expanded on that idea using dimes & pennies.

Princess K learned new numbers & added them to this wall each day. Towards the end of the quarter we made it to our goal of 100.

I didn't get as creative as I would have liked with Mr. T's math this quarter. Pretty much I taught him the lesson for the day & he completed the worksheet.

Capt. N's math is fairly independent. He uses his Saxon book to learn the lesson. Then he does the problems from the book. That's usually the way his math goes. But, if he doesn't understand the lesson, he can watch a DVD with an instructor teaching the new concept. If he still doesn't get it, we go over it together.

Just to mix things up a bit & reinforce a concept, I occasionally give him pages from other workbooks too.

Language Arts
This quarter we used snowman pieces as our reading reward system. Each day they read, the kids added a piece to their snowman. After their snowman was complete they earned fake money for our student store & then started a new snowman.

Capt. N & Mr. T read chapter books, as well as short stories from Reading A - Z.

Each of the 3 kids are working on Literature Pockets from Evan-Moor. These are some of the projects that go along with the stories.

The boys do various worksheets with grammar, paragraph editing & reading comprehension. Most of the pages come from Evan-Moor or Scholastic.

We use All About Spelling. Each week the boys get new words, then they spell them with tiles - which is my favorite part about the program. The AAS instructor books come with sentences that include their new words & also review previous words. I read these sentences to the boys, they write them & we immediately go over any mistakes. Most weeks, I also have the boys independently write their words 3 times & come up with their own sentence. I'm hoping writing the word engraves the word in their mind & the sentence helps them understand the meaning of the word.

Princess K is still in the beginning stages of spelling. During this quarter we finished up the 26 Letters of the Week. We also worked on CVC words, sight words & sounding words out.

Princess K saw a robin outside & wanted to spell it. With very little guidance from me, she spelled it on the white board. These moments are my favorite.

I use these Monthly Idea Books from Scholastic for a variety of activities for the kids. Last summer I saw them as 3 packs at Costco for 7 or 8 dollars. I bought 3 different packs. I haven't used everything in the books, but I feel like I've definitely gotten my money's worth.

We used those Scholastic books to make I Have a Dream mobiles. The kids & I had a conversation about how we could make things better for our community, our country & our world.


We did a variety of snow themed crafts.

We had a small Valentine's Day party at home.

We played many rounds of Guess Who? Mix 'n Mash. I think I love that game as much as the kids.

For some strange reason the boys decided they wanted to sleep outside one night. It was the beginning of March & still quite cold.

They brought out a flashlight & night vision binoculars to search for frogs in the pond.


We found a few geocaches & our first Travel Bug. The travel bug we found didn't have a specified goal, so we got to place it in any cache we wanted. I chose a wetlands area since it's one of our favorite places to go.

While we were hiding the travel bug, Capt. N found an owl pellet with a mouse (I think) skull. A totally awesome find!

Venomous Reptiles
The kids & I went to a reptile store that we hadn't been to before. Inside the store was a Venomous Reptile Museum. It was pretty amazing. There were many kinds of cobras, rattlesnakes, vipers & more. I have never seen many of those snakes in person. I'll admit, it was a bit unnerving. I enjoyed it very much, but was slightly nervous the entire time.

The prettiest snake, to me, was the Green Mamba. It was beautiful. Pictures I've seen since then just don't do this snake justice. I would have loved to take a photo of the one we saw, but photos were not allowed. I learned later that it was the most venomous snake the museum had.

The museum also had a Black Mamba, which typically is a more venomous snake than the Green Mamba. But, it's venom glands were removed. The guy at the store brought them out to show us.

Roller Skating
The kids got invited to a roller skating birthday party. We haven't been skating much. It was fun.

We went to the Oregon Zoo a couple times this quarter.


Mr. T is continuing to work through the first book of the Suzuki Method for violin.

Mr. T is in a poultry 4H group that meets once a month. In March, one of the activities was to see how many pounds of pressure it took to break an egg. They tried a variety of ways - just the egg, an egg in a carton, an egg in a carton covered with bubble wrap. All the kids loved doing this. The most amount the egg could take was around 85 pounds.

Princess K does gymnastics twice a week. She's no Gabby Douglas, but she's motivated & continues to improve. The girl can do awesome push-ups.

The boys, including my hubby, go to taekwondo twice a week. They competed in a tournament in February & all came home with medals.

Cub Scouts
In January, the kids made cars for the Pine Car Derby race. This is always fun. I love seeing what the kids come up with for their car design.

Capt. N earned his Arrow of Light & is now moving on to Boy Scouts.

...On to our last quarter of this school year.

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