Playing Catch Up!

We’ve had kind of a strange week around here, with both kids having some kind of low grade sickness that we thought were allergies, but seem to be a cold, but we can’t really tell and it is causing lots of runny noses and coughing…. uggghhhhh. Ready for cold AND allergy season to be over.

Before the sickness set in, we did manage to get in some strawberry picking at our favorite farm. We got lucky with beautiful weather and enjoyed some ice cream after filling our bucket.


We spent mother’s day weekend at the beach!

On our way home we stopped at a state historic site that none of us had been to before. It was the Governor’s home in the late 1700s. We explored the gardens and took a tour of the house.

Seeing inside the home was neat, because we recently started watching Sofia the First and I was able to relate things to that… i.e. “This would have been Baileywick’s Office” and “This is where Amber and Sofia would have had their tea parties.” It actually kept Maribel’s attention really well.

In the kitchen Maribel got to try her hand at grinding cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper. We were all exhausted by the time we left, but it was a cool experience!

We need to get back on track this week with our letter of the week. We moved on to I last week, but didn’t do much at all… just some flash cards and one worksheet.

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H is for Hiking!

We moved on to letter H last week and got to do one of our favorite letter H things… HIKING! Twice in one week!

On Monday we were supposed to meet some friends at a state education forest, only to discover they are closed on Mondays. As one friend said, “Who knew you could close a forest?” Apparently you can. So we headed a few miles down the road to this nice, but much less shady greenway along a river.


The kids enjoyed running down the greenway and checking out the river. We stopped in the shadiest spot we could find for lunch and tried to get a group picture with a ridiculous number of kids!


Then on Thursday at our kindergarten readiness program our teacher had a nature hike around the school planned for us!


We had these cool little scavenger hunt cards to help us find things in nature.

We found almost everything on our card!

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We have gotten into the routine of having a craft or art project to go with each letter. This week’s was easy peasy since we had bunches of heart stickers left over from Valentine’s Day!

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Fun on the Farm

We are fortunate enough to have a local vet school nearby that opens up their training facility once a year for school groups to come and visit the animals. Homeschools are welcome! We were certainly not the only ones to take advantage of this event, as I was blown away by the number of people there! We did have to wait in some lines, but overall it was worth it.

Maribel got to pet a goat, and saw sheep, turkeys, pigs, horses, and cows!

She also got to try her hand at milking a “cow” ..although back in my day they let you try it on the real cow! We were able to watch a presentation by a dairy farm about how cows and milked and got to watch.

There were 8 or 10 tractors out for the kids to climb on and check out. That was a big hit!

Maribel loved our visit to the farm! And Wesley wore his overalls for the ocassion 🙂


We went straight from the farm to our kindergarten readiness program. We lucked out that animals were the theme and Maribel got to stamp and spell out several animals.

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A weekend adventure! (with the letter F)

I had to travel for work this past weekend, so we made it into a fun family trip. We do wish the weather had been a little better for the beach in Virginia, but since it wasn’t we were able to squeeze in some other really cool activities instead of hanging out on the beach.


The first adventure was the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center. We saw all kinds of marine life… fish, rays, crabs, snakes, turtles… SHARKS!

And we got to touch some too! I was so impressed that Maribel didn’t hesitate to stick her hand in the pool of rays or in the horseshoe crab tank. Brave girl!


We made sure to keep our eyes open for F words throughout the aquarium… including this photo panel with fish, fox, flower, and frog!


There were some neat interactive exhibits, including this one where she got to see which was heavier – brackish, salt, or fresh water.


This family selfie from the aquarium cracks me up because clearly me and daddy didn’t get the memo to stick our tongues out!

We also got to check out the Old Coast Guard Station on the VA Beach Boardwalk.

And got a little (freezing) beach time in.

We also got to visit this lighthouse in North Carolina and learn a little bit about life on a lighthouse over the river in the late 1800s.

A stop for a picnic lunch at the Dismal Swamp State Park was a highlight of the trip for Maribel. We saw some turtles on a log, so she started calling it “turtle swamp!”

One thing is for sure… we sure do know how to pack a lot into 3 days!!!

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Slow week at home: no letter!

We had a lot going on last week, so homeschooling got put on the back burner. Work for me is entering busy season, which means a lot more phone calls, emails, and meetings in the evening. I was very grateful for some beautiful weather that kept the kids occupied outside while I worked!


On top of that, we were packing and getting ready for a weekend trip. We managed to fit in a few fun things though…

Maribel has gotten into numbers and wanting to do math a lot here lately. This puzzle goes up to 20, but she can count easily up to 30 now because of practicing with our wall calendars in the play room.

Grandma Stephie brought over a new book called “No More Cookies!” In it, there was a recipe for Silly Monkey Bananas. They made the recipe, which was good practice for following directions (something we’re really working on right now), counting, and measuring. I think Maribel’s favorite part was eating them 🙂


We have a friend who just moved out to the country and got some baby chicks. We have some other friends with full grown chickens that we’ve been to see many times, but I’m pretty sure this was Maribel’s first time seeing the little chicks.

And finally, I thought this was a neat idea for the sensory bin at our kindergarden readiness program. Little plastic pots and fake flowers with shovels and potting soil for the kids to “plant” their flowers. They loved getting dirty!

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“B is for Bunny”

Our letter this week is B, which is appropriate since it is also Easter week and we have an abundance of Bunny books! (I didn’t do that on purpose, but let’s pretend I did!) We have also had this little visitor outside our kitchen table window every night this week! Always in the same spot chowing down on clover. He has been fun to watch at dinnertime.

I want to say this has been another busier-than-usual week for us, but I think I may just need to realize that we always have busy weeks. I would like to have a regular morning routine down where we do similar things in the same order each day (or at least as many days as we can). On Mondays we introduce the new letter of the week, write it on the chalk board, and search the playroom for things that start with the letter. I’d like to follow that up with flashcards and/or a letter worksheet. Then “DEAR time” (leftover from my camp counselor days… Drop Everything And Read) where we read books related to our letter, plus seasonal/holiday and general alphabet books. This depends a bit on baby’s morning nap time though. Then music/songs, weather wheel, calendar review, and something Maribel chooses. She is constantly asking me to play with her and so often I have to say no (feeding baby, cooking dinner, working on the computer, etc…). It would be nice to have designated play time just the two of us while baby is sleeping.

On Monday morning she pulled this puzzle out of the box for us to do together. I found this in a grab bag of baby toys on a yard sale site and it was such a great find.

It is great for recognizing patterns and matching, as well as recognizing textures (the “furry” card is actually furry, etc…”and that morning I also used them as flash cards. I covered the picture and held up the cards just showing her the words. Several of the words she recognized immediately (cat, pig, frog, fish) without even needing to sound them out. These will be great again later when we get to adjectives and nouns.


We did a few “B” worksheets and I got a kick out of this one. The directions said to color in the items that start with B. Maribel told me, “I’m going to color in the bubbles, but not the man, because Mmmmm Mmmm Man starts with M.” Very literal!

Later that day after quiet time we worked on a few thank you cards for birthday gifts. I pre-wrote the message in the cards and was going to let her decorate with crayons and stickers. She surprised me when I opened up one of the cards and pointed right at the word and said “that spells love!” That was one I didn’t know she knew… maybe that was from all of our valentine’s books from GG!

We practiced writing her name on the cards and other than running out of room (hehe) I think she did pretty well!

Wednesdays are “Grandma Stephie” days and today was a special one… dyeing Easter Eggs! Maribel doesn’t exactly have the terminology down. She kept saying, “Is that egg going to die?” LOL! We used a few techniques including rubber bands and crayons to get different patterns on the eggs. And of course it was a good lesson on color mixing, but since Grandma Stephie was an art teacher, Maribel has got that down!

The plan for after nap is a special spring nature walk to find flowers we can press for our spring board. Maribel is very excited and asked if she could bring along her magnifying glass!

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“A is for astronaut” 

As I suspected, I planned way too many activities for each day and only about half of it got done! It was an especially busy week for us anyway, so that didn’t help. The good news is that Maribel LOVES our school activities and asked several times while out and about or in the car, “can we do more school stuff when we get home?” 🙂   

 Friday was busy with dance class then her 3 year well check, followed by me working in the evening. So on Saturday we picked a few odds and ends to close out the week…

We talked about astronauts and space, watched a Sid the Science Kid short video on PBS Kids website about astronauts, and did an astronaut coloring sheet. Maribel also went through a pack of sight word flash cards with daddy and really impressed us with the number of words she could sound out. There are a few she has started to immediately recognize without sounding them out.

Plan for the coming week… Definitely keeping the “letter of the week” format, as Maribel really enjoyed that. She told random people while we were out that A was our letter this week. And she enjoyed spotting As “in the wild” and pointing them out to me. 

We’ll have a focus on spring and Easter this week in our activities and crafts, since today is the first day of spring and Easter is a week from today. Instead of assigning things to particular days, I’m going to just have a list of what I’d like to cover and when we have free blocks of time pick what will work best then. 

Our teacher at our kindergarten readiness program is wonderful about letting the kids lead the way. She has activities planned and we have our classroom routines that stay the same, but if the kids request a certain song or activity she is happy to adjust her plans. That is the approach I’m trying to take with Maribel. I may have my list of activities I’d like to cover, but I want her interests and curiosity to lead the way.

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