Chalkboard Hearts

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jillian Michaels 30 lbs Shred!!!!

WOW!!! What a GREAT workout!! My sister gave me this new DVD of Jillian Michael's from the Biggest Loser and I love it. I have been getting up in the early morning, I do love the time I get to spend with the boys (who by the way have dwindled down on their early waking), but it is hard to get up and out. So I decided to try this video today. WOW!!! Between the jumping jacks, weights, and cardio... all in 20 or so minutes. I was done with time to spare. I got to make my coffee, check my emails, and have some water before I had to go upstairs to wake the kids and shower for the day.

My sister has been such an inspiration and so has Julie from My Life With Boys, I am not the only one who has to do this. I know I'm not the only one who hates to exercise and Jillian Michael's makes it quick, and maximizes your efforts. I don't know how to put in the shortcuts to where I found it the cheapest if you want to buy it and have it delivered, but that is where I found it.

I also got two of my girlfriends to join me in a weekly weigh-in. Like Weight Watchers. I can't afford to go to the meetings right now, as my hubby is out of work. I want to do it, but this is the next best thing. We can be accountable to one another and come up with some great recipes to exchange... what works for me, what works for them...etc... I think it will be good.

I will continue to workout at the YMCA 2 to 3 days a week, I don't want my body to get used to what it is doing and hit that plateau. I have lost 10 lbs and am kinda stuck where I am at. I know it is because I haven't really watched my portion sizes, but now that I have kicked myself into high gear again, I think I can lose those last 10 lbs before my Sister-in-law's wedding. I'm sorry I know I can!!! And I will continue to work on those flabby arms of mine so I won't be embarrassed in that spaghetti strap dress...

I hope all are doing good out there and if anyone want to buddy up and exchange recipes or support please let me know... I would so love to have as many people as I can to be accountable to!!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


What is it about losing weight for women?? It seems to be a daily battle for so many of us. I wish that our food supply was not laden with preservatives, fat, chemicals, and whoever knows what else. I have been really trying to keep up with my AM walking, but have started to fall off the exercise wagon. I think that sleep is getting the better of me. Plus, I have started to lose some weight and am feeling better, so I think, What the Hay!! But I also know that I will hit a wall and just start gaining again. I wish I could just get up and do it without it seeming like a chore. I hate to EXERCISE!!! I wish I loved it like so many people, but I don't and wish I could eat what I wanted (within reason) and stay slim and healthy.

There is an up side to this weight loss business, my boys are so happy for me. They still get up and walk with me some mornings and have made comments that I have been playing with them more and keeping up with them better. WOW!! Boys are good for a Mother. They have been also helping me to eat healthy, they are trying new things and not making those terrible faces when I put asparagus on the plate... or the brussel sprouts that I love and they hate. They keep pushing it around their plate until I say they can be excused, but don't complain... at least not to much.

Dessert is the hardest time for me. I wish I could say the kids help me here, but they don't. And neither does the husband... it is cookies, ice cream cones, or something else just as enticing. They have this EVERY night!!! Then they need a snack before bed. That at least is cheese, an apple, or something healthy. But it is the hardest part of my day. I try not to use the, "I Deserve It" speech to myself, but sometimes I feel like I do. Not a good excuse though huh :)
I try to keep my desserts to fruit, yogurt, or nuts. I will have something from the Weight Watchers dessert collection a few nights a week, but no more. I could just keep eating if I did.

Well, I need to get these kids up from nap. We have snack to prepare today (strawberries) and toys to pickup. I will keep plugging along and get this weight off, even if it takes longer than I expect :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tot School: Week in Review

Tot School... Week in Review!!!

We have been very busy practicing our Spring Program this past week, so I didn't get to many photo's of work time... We actually didn't have a whole lot of work time time week now that I think about it. We just practiced and tried to go outside and run as much as possible. I wish I got photo's of the kids playing house, but I was to wiped out after practicing The Very Hungry Caterpillar with the 2's, 3's and 4's that I decided I would just push the swings and call it a week. I did manage to get some photo's though... enjoy!!!

Here we did a tempra paint picture with all sorts of tools... even a few winter stamps in there to I must admit... but they loved it and had fun experimenting with all the different tools. Some of the kids liked their hands and others didn't want a speck of paint on them... Curious, as when they are outside they all run for the nearest mud pit and love it :)

Here a 2yr 3m works with the Alphabet Zoo Animals... All the letters match an animal, and let me tell you the Newt was a hard one to figure out... even for me!!! Little S loves to take them out and try to match them up, but she gets a little overwhelmed by the shear number of them that she usually loses interest pretty fast and walks away. I always bring her back and we complete it together and then put it away... sometimes one of the late 3's or 4's likes to help her, but she can be very 2 sometimes and is hard to work with.

We borrowed the this toy from the lending library near my house. They sort by color and then from smallest to largest. We all get the hang of the color sorting, but the smallest to largest hasn't really come into play yet. I am trying to give them lots of exposure to small -vs- large, but since there is more than one they get confused. We'll keep working.

Ahhhh... here is my Dear A... he loves the dog. He is 2yr 3m also and is very gentle and wants to be near the dog all the time... I love this picture because it captures the two friends together... both very content in this world of theirs.

I live close to the Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, NC. This week was Speed Week due to the 2 races here the past two weekends... so we took a little time out for a quick field trip to see the race cars on Speed Street. Here R is pretending to be a race car driver... very cute.

The After-Schoolers brought home their "year books" and the little kids loved looking at all the pictures. They loved picking out the teacher's they have seen, older kids that live in their neighborhood (or mine), and especially their older siblings... it was very cute and the older kids felt very important.
Well, that was almost all we did this past week... it was a fun, exhausting week and I look forward to another. Hopefully the rain will stop and we can spend sometime outside and continue to practice our show. I really love this age and all the adventure we get into each week, sometimes I think... "Wow, it's Friday, what did we do all week?" and this blog let's me see how wonderful our weeks really are, and how much learning goes on, even in the daily mundane things we do... Have a Great Week Everyone!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tot School

This weeks Tot School was Great!! We were outside a lot enjoying the weather and summer temperatures, to bad it has been freezing this week. We have been working on our outside play space a lot this Spring and finally things are coming together. We have our sandbox up and running and the Stumps one of my families donated are a huge hit.

We have also been practicing for our Spring Program, where our parents can see what has been happening at Tot School since Christmas. We had a cute Christmas Program that the parents loved, so I decided to do one for Spring too.

Here are some outside shots of the kids climbing, jumping, and exercising both those large muscle groups and their little minds. They had to concentrate because some of the stumps were a little wobbly. Some of the kids decided to crawl on them, sit on them, and my braver ones jumped or walked from on to the other.

Here one of my 3yr 1m girls was very brave, especially with flip-flops, and trying to walk to each one. She eventually crawled the end of the way, but I was proud of her for trying.

We got the water/sensory table out. We like to bring a lot of our work outside, but I always kept it to sensory table, balls, catch etc... but after reading Carisa's blog @ 1+1+1=1 I have started to take out puzzles, tray work, and mostly work that can't blow away. The kids love it and it provides a whole nother dimension to their work.

Here is a shot of the sandbox being used. We have kids in there from 24m to 38m. They really love it and since I have added the tree blocks, cars, trucks, and the ability to access water... the sandbox has taken on a life of it's own. Many great worlds are made up and played out in there and much discussion goes on.

Here 24m old takes out tray of water colors. She has gotten very competent at taking the work out, setting it up, and putting away. The actual "doing" of the work isn't really important to her right now. She enjoys it, but will do one or two strokes of the brush and then say, "Cween up, right Shell" I think she likes that best :)

Our magnetic "Paper" dolls from Melissa & Doug were a huge hit this week. I bought the ballerina a long time ago on clearance at TJ Maxx, but couldn't find another one. I felt there should be two so the kids could play together or alone (but the dolls would have someone to dress up for). I found the princess (huge hit with the girls) at a little country store in Boone, NC for $8.99. I grabbed it up wishing there were more.

We also did some traditional learning trays... color sorting & counting.

Here a 3yr 4m old tries to put the number blocks and pegs in correct order, she couldn't find the self correcting paper (which is a large narrow paper with the correct boxes for the blocks, the kids put the block on the corolating box by matching the number on the block to the number on the paper... but we couldn't find the paper... must scout out my 8yr olds room) We fixed it together, but I forgot to take a picture of the corrected work... Sorry :)

Another popular work was this Brio Construction Set I picked up at a consignment sale. The kids love it and the boys (3y 5m, 2y 4m, 3y & 4y) played with just that for one whole work period... about an hour.

Here a 3y 7m is using the painting tray. I found a variation of this on Laura's blog, My Montessori Journey. The kids have the ability to do painting whenever they want. I provide 2 colors to use, and everything they need is on the tray. They again enjoy cleaning the little paint pots and brushes at the end almost as much as the painting itself. I found these brushes at the education store near my home... I thought they looked fun and the kids love them.
We also did bubbles outside, practiced our Spring songs and stories for the Spring Program, cooked special goodies for snack, and had our circle time... Oh and our "butterfly" came out of it's cacoon finally:

We were very excited to see that our butterfly came out of it's cocoon on Wednesday. One of the kids found him stuck to the side of his habitat and started yelling that he hatched... It was very cute. We watched him for a few hours then brought the habitat outside and set it up so he could fly away when he was ready. We checked on him on Thursday and he had flown away. We talked about how he got out, what he was doing, what bushes he may have visited, and what he may be doing right now. It was a great impromptu lesson... we all loved it!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Love My Life

This is me at The Great Wolf Lodge with my youngest son... This is the only picture we took of me there. Yup... Mom won't take photo's, especially in her bathing suit. What can I say... I am overweight and am lucky I went down some of the slides with them...
I joined the Y so I can begin to lose some of this weight for my sister-in-laws wedding. After posting about that I realized how exciting that is, but that isn't the only reason I am doing this. I want to take photo's with my kids, I want to RUN to the next slide at the water park and walk the 50 million stairs to the top. I want my 4 boys to know that a healthy body should be the norm for everyone, and not an overweight one.
I do have to Thank my sister-in-law though for the incentive to start me on this path. If wasn't for the love she showed in WANTING me in her wedding (fat and all) I would never of had the motivation needed to start exercising. Also, my sister was the best at convincing me that waking up tired at 5:45am is the same as waking up tired at 7am. She texts me every week day morning to wake me up and pump me up to get out there and walk. If I feel to tired, she some how senses it and will send me a quote or some words of encouragement and up I go and am so energized to meet my day!!!
Another bonus, my 11 yr old son will wake with me at 5:45am a few mornings a week (that's all we allow or he'd be exhausted) to walk with me. It is such a joy to have him with me, we laugh so hard sometimes we are afraid of waking some of the sleeping people with their windows open. We take our dogs with us, and oh it all makes for a fun time. I never would have imagined in a million years saying that. That being awake at dawn, walking with my dog and kid would be fun. Huh...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gem Mining

We went to this GREAT Gem Mine in Boone, NC after my 8yr old son made his 1st Holy Communion. We really loved that they had their flume inside, as it was quite rainy and chilly the day we went. An added bonus was that "Doc" the owner was opening up that day. We were one of the first people to be able to enjoy his store.

Here is his new sign. He is located at Mystery Hill Lane, Boone, NC. Right next to Mystery Hill and Tweetsie Railroad. If you ever get a chance to go to Boone, NC it a must go to.
Here we are in the shop go through our bucket of dirt. We found some really great gems and crystals. The kids didn't even care that some of them were worth something... they just like finding them and looking at them after they are done. One thing about Doc's that we like, he doesn't go through the dirt when it comes in. He has the load dumped into the "cellar" and just fills the buckets from there. That way people actually have the ability to find some really great gems and he can cut them down into polished stones for you.
Here I am helping my youngest son go through his bucket. He loved the dirt, water and stones. What a combination for any boy!!! When you have four boys this place seems like Heaven to them. We spent about 3 hours there. Even the youngest loved it and didn't get bored.
Here Doc explains to my 4yr old what he has. He helped him pick out a special gem for Mom for Mother's Day... I got the most beautiful Amethyst stones for earrings. I know it was his first day open, but he really took his time telling the kids what they got and if it was worth cutting into a polished stone or not. Usually we have someone quick throw the stones where they belong on the paper telling us what they are and off we go. At Doc's we felt appreciated... that he didn't take our patronage for granted.

Here my 4yr old hold up his "Loot" for us to see... Doc already took out the "good" gems if we want to get them polished and cut later on down the line.

Two very happy customers!!!
We enjoyed our stay up in the mountains... we can't wait to go back to Tweetsie Railroad next time!!! Moving to NC has proven to be a real delight, with lots to see and such beauty!!! We can't wait to continue exploring all that it has to offer.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Weight Loss

I went to the YMCA today. It was nice to spend some time on myself. I got to spend some time exercising and learning how to do some of the cardio equipment. I made an appointment to learn how to do their circuit training... I am a little nervous, but I need to get these arms ready for the sleeveless dress my Sister-in-law picked for the brides maid dresses. I am excited but worried I will be the one with the wiggly arms and pouchy stomach. So off I will go to the Y as much as I can, learn to lift weights, and keep trying to lose this weight.

Tonight, I went to my good friends graduation party. I ate a little more than I wanted, and had some wine... OK, maybe a little more of that than I wanted too :) but I didn't totally over due it. Now I will have to really work it off and pay attention to what I eat in the next few days. Hopefully I will be able to learn how to use the circuit training machines and it will help me burn some of those calories.

I found that our YMCA really has a lot to offer for families with young children. They even have a homeschooling gym time. I think that is really great, but we can't participate since I am only a Home Daycare and not an actual home school. But I will take my own kids and they can swim while I workout. The Little Guy will have to go to Child Watch, but I think he will like it. Being with me all day, every day has to be hard for my Little Guy. Maybe being with other people and kids will be good for him. We will see. He will start swim lessons this week, and I think he will like that... and be exhausted at bedtime... that way he won't be up until midnight talking and playing. I think it will be good for us all.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tot School

We had a fun filled week this week. We have begun practicing for our Spring Program (as none of my daycare kids will go off to Kindergarten, we won't have a "Graduation" until next year.)
We also did a lot of fun activities, where the "big" kids had fun "teaching" the smaller kids. It was fun to watch and really goes a long with our Montessori philosophy.

A little fun with play-doh. We have been trying to make snakes with the play-doh in preparation for play-doh alphabet mats. I got the idea from Handwriting Without Tears and Making Learning Fun. We still have a tough time making the snakes to form the letters so we will continue to practice... and what fun we will have!!!

One of our favorite toys is the Leap Frog Letter Factory. The kids choose a letter and put it in to hear the letter name and sound of the letter. They like it and use it often.

Another favorite... opening and closing containers. I thought this work would get boring fast for the kids, especially the older 3's and 4's, but I was wrong. They continue to take it out and I will add beads to it or small pom-poms and it is like a whole new activity for them.

We received these sandpaper letters in a Morning Circle Time Center I purchased from Lake Shore Learning, they are so not true Montessori, but since it is all I have right now we use them a lot. We are practicing the sounds and then the kids each had a turn to do a crayon rubbing. We then stapled their "books" together and wrote words on the back of the page that coincided with the letter. We look forward to next September when we have more of our Montessori materials at hand.

Well, that is all the photo's I got this week, although we did have fun with Dot Markers, the Magnetic Maze, Tree blocks, Transferring Beans & the Sensory Table. But I must have not been able to find my camera, or was so engrossed in helping the kids, that I didn't get photo's of those. I will try harder next week.
Bye for now... have a great week!!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's Day

Well, the kids and I have been busy trying to complete our Mother's Day gifts by Friday. We have made the cutest fingerprint vases I found from Kaboose, it was tricky to keep the enamel paint off the little ones clothes, but it was worth it. We then made tissue paper flowers to put in them. I remember making them from when I was a kid, I think we made them everyday it seemed like.

We then made our stick photo frames with some pictures we had taken during our Tot School time. The kids had fun with the decorating... and they loved gluing the frames together, but that was a little nerve racking for me. I had to keep straightening them. In the end, I think they came out pretty good.

We also spent time practicing our writing. We wrote our cards out... each child got to decorate with some die cut flowers, color their vase (which most of the kids punched out, with exception of our littlest kids) and then they each got to write their names, and I Love You Mom. They did a great job. I don't think you can see the writing on the side of the vase, it is in pencil so it is a little hard to see.

Lastly, we made calendars for each of our parents. The kids got to help position the pictures and pick out their favorite ones. We rushed to get them all finished and when we went to spiral them to make them into the books, the store was closed until Saturday!!! ARGH!!!! So, now I need to run to the store on Saturday morning and then drop each calendar off to the families that are closest to me. I don't want them to not have them for Mother's Day... the kids worked to hard on them. I will try to post a picture of the calendars when they are complete.

Now, I must get off the computer and clean up the kitchen for tomorrow and sterilize the playroom so no one gets sick. Something that occupies a lot of my time lately.

Monday, May 4, 2009

1st Holy Communion

Well, we finally made it... Our 1st Holy Communion!!! As you can tell from this picture he was so not happy about being dressed up... even for God & Jesus!! This is my athletic, baseball loving, very sensitive and when I say sensitive I mean..."Mom it's BOTHERING ME!!! IT being ANYTHING, socks, sneakers, tags, buttons, etc... you know the type. He wears track pants and t-shirts all day, every day... so this was a hard day for him. We have been preparing him for it for a long time, but it didn't matter. In the beginning he hated it and let us all know it!!

We finally got on the road and made it to the Church on time... he finally was dealing with the suite and tie, he even let me take his picture near the banner. See, we worked on his banner only a few days before and it had to be perfect... so I was excited to see that he loved the end product when he saw it on the end of our pew.

When all was said and done my son really was happy to have taken this sacrament and accepted God into his heart and soul. He felt very grown up and even said after, "Mom, I think I feel different..." I was very proud of him, even after all the chaos we went through to get here.

Three down, just one more to go. Hopefully the Little Guy won't be so sensitive to anything on his body, and if dressing up on this day was any indication, he will love his 1st Holy Communion.

He felt very grown up too, he wanted to be just like his brothers and Dad. He even made me find him a tie, which thankfully I had an extra one from when the twins went to a wedding with us when they were 4. When he saw that tie, he was so excited. To bad the neighbors garbage bin was in the background, I need to think about those things when I take my photo's, he was just so darn cute, I kept taking his picture.

I will end with all 4 of my boys, the one time that I rarely get to see them clean and dressed up. I will enjoy looking at this photo and remember this day, because I probably won't see it again until the Little Guy is making his 1st Communion.


Last Weeks Tot School

This week's Tot School was busy... we spent a lot of time outside exploring Springtime!! We got some old stumps from one of our families and they were a big hit, even before we got them in place. Here is some photo's of them being "tried" out by some of the kids. Now we need to decided where to put them... It took us a week to decide where the sandbox would go... I am sure it will take a while to make this decision.

Don't ask why my son is wearing mittens, but he is!!!

We worked with the magnetic maze, a real popular work with all the kids.

We love working with water of any kind, but colored water is the best!! We were working on mixing blue and red. The fine motor exercise squeezing the dropper was just an added bonus. It is nice when they don't even realize they are learning and getting ready for writing at the same time.

Another pincer grasp activity. We found this activity from Laura at My Montessori Journey. Every time I go to the Thrift Store or Dollar General I try to find material to make up some of the trays Laura makes for her Montessori Classroom. She is very imaginative and we love her ideas.

We spent some time outside since we had beautiful weather. The kids love the new sandbox and spent a lot of time digging, playing and just hanging out with each other. I didn't realize it would be a quiet time spot, but the girls love just sitting with their feet in the sand.

We also checked on our Butterfly. We are anxiously awaiting its arrival. We check it each day during our Tot Time. We are hoping it makes its way out during the week and not on the weekend, as I may have to let it go before some of the kids get here on Monday. We will keep praying it waits for us all to be here.
Well, I have found that I took about 100 photos this week and want to show them all, but don't want to bore everyone. We have such fun and now love to spend our Tot School Time together. The kids also love asking for their picture's to be taken. So it's not hard to get photo's for my blog. I love it.