March 9, 2015

Are You Gonna Go My Way--Lenny Kravitz

I have worried a lot about curriculum. Like, A LOT. I know I should be praying more and worrying less, but the Caldwell genes are strong with this one. (PS We're worriers.) What's weird is that I haven't worried so much about pre-K curriculum, I am "borrowing trouble" for kindergarten. Pre-K has been an easy decision.

I am part of several Facebook homeschooling groups and they pretty much unanimously agree that no real curriculum is necessary for pre-K. You can get preschool workbooks just about anywhere. Walmart, Dollar Tree, etc, but my favorite place is Ollie's Bargain Outlet. If you don't have an Ollie's, think of it as like a cleaner more organized Big Lots. The best part of the whole store is the book section. It is huge! There are tons of kids books under $5! You can get giant workbooks for under $5, too! I just supplement with bible stories. I could pay for a Christian pre-K curriculum, but for ages 3-5 I do more teaching from just walking down the street pointing out things than from a book anyway, so why waste the money?

I never know what I will find, so I stop in every time I'm up that way. They even have educational computer games!

February 13, 2015

Online--Brad Paisey

On lazy days, we do video school. We watch Leap Frog movies on Netflix or The Doozers on Hulu. We also watch YouTube.

So far, Tristan's favorite is Cosmic Kids Yoga. It is SO imaginative. So far we have looked for a Dodo and been on safari. Today I found one where she acts out the entire movie of Star Wars! It took 25 minutes, but he was in heaven. Here's a little peak:

YouTube Video

Like is said, imaginative.

We also watch HooplaKids videos, especially The Phonics Song. Tristan had forgotten some of his sounds, so this is a gentle way to remind him. Be warned, though, 25 minutes of different variations of The Phonics Song and IT WILL be stuck in your head. Fact.

I'm always looking for new videos, so feel free to let me know about good ones in the comments. Here's to him getting old enough for School House Rocks!

February 6, 2015

Reunited--Peaches & Herb

What's that, you ask? "Doth mine eyes deceive me?" Not at all, yall! I really am blogging!! I've decided to restart the blog with a major revamp. I will still include some of our life and some of my soapbox rants (I'm still me, after all), but I'm going to mostly focus on our calling to homeschool.

Yes, we feel it is a calling from God. Our kids deserve the best, Christ centered education they can get. We just don't feel they can get it in a public (or even private school).

I should start by saying that when I started to feel this calling, Tyler did not. I honestly think he was letting the stock he puts in education (and what we have been told by the education system) overshadow what is truly best for our children. I mean it is a HUGE step of faith to decide that everything you know about the education (and therefore the future) of your children isn't what you thought. I prayed for God to change his heart and, through teaching in public school, he has. Every time he has a student refuse to do their work, is unable to share his faith while being subjected to things he's morally opposed to, has a 9th grade student get pregnant, is unable to give an F to a student who should soundly fail...well, I could go on and on, but the point is that all of this has allowed God to soften his heart to homeschooling.

I am currently researching homeschooling methods and curriculum. I have had a really hard time finding anything comprehensive to make homeschooling decisions like this easy, so I want to chronicle the whole process. Thanks for the read and I'll be back soon!

June 3, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

What's that, you ask? Wasn't my birthday in April? Why yes it was, but I only wanted one thing for my birthday: a trip to bd Mongolian! So today we dropped the kids off with Mim, loaded up with Brittany and Timmy and headed to Easton. Yes, we drove 3 hours each way to eat, DON'T JUDGE ME! bd is pretty much my favorite restaurant on the planet and Columbus and Dayton have the closest ones.
For anyone unfamiliar with Mongolian barbecue, you choose all the raw ingredients you want and the cook it on a huge Mongolian grill.

bd is a chain, so they have everything from super Asian to more western ingredients like the agreed upon favorite: kielbasa. The are different levels of order from the single stir-fry bowl to unlimited with soup and salad. We chose the unlimited. For my first plate I tried something other than my usual. I made kind of like teriyaki chicken lo mien...yum! For my second bowl I went with my old stand-by, fajitas. Yes, fajitas. They have a fajita sauce that you put in your spice cup (added to your bowl near the end of cooking). I added chili powder and seasoning salt. Here it is waiting for the grill:

Add cheese, tortillas and sour cream? ¡Delicioso!

Tyler's second plate was ALL steak!
After we stuffed ourselves there we walked a couple blocks to Jeni's Splended Ice Cream! Holy moly! I tried Salty Carmel, Queen City Cayenne (chocolate ice cream with cayenne pepper, hot!) and Dark Chocolate. I went with Salty Carmel and Dark Chocolate (which I'm pretty sure is the best ice cream flavor I've ever had) in a waffle cone. SO good. As a matter of fact, I'm going to The Wild Ramp tomorrow to hopefully get some Dark Chocolate for home, I hear they have it. Here's Britt and I, after our glorious ice cream cones, in our signature pose (I have pics of us at every major event of our lives like this).

June 1, 2013

Interview with a Scarlett

Since Scarlett is technically too young for the interview, I figured I'd just give a rundown if the things she knows, says and does:
Milk! Today was actually the first time I've been able to get her to drink more than a single sip of juice.
Puffs, I swear they're like crack to kids!
Playing with/following Tristan.
Her thumb (she only sucks it when she's ready for bed).
Throwing balls, well anything really.
Grown up food, seriously, she likes everything.

People leaving the nursery at church. She's fine to stay as long as no one leaves.

Stage 3 pasta baby food, too much rubber to chew.
Development Milestones
She can walk behind her push behind stroller walker.
She can crawl.
She gives "sugars" to pretty much anyone who asks as long as she wants to. She's stubborn.

She loves on her baby dolls.

She self feeds and drinks from a sippy cup.

She says a ton of things including sentences:
Hi Momma. Hi Dada. Thank you (tant to). Momma, night night. (When she's ready for bed.)
She also says bite when she wants one (started out "dite" but this week changed to "bite-a") and brings me her cup when she wants milk.
I feel like she'd be even farther verbally if I had more one on one time with her, but Tristan is a full time job by himself! I'm making it a mission to work with her more.

May 30, 2013

Birthday Girl

I just realized I haven't blogged in 2 months exactly! My slacking skills are well established, haha.
When last we met our heroes it was Easter. Boy have times changed. The biggest news: Scarlett turned 1!

She is seriously the sweetest thing ever! I wanted a picture of her on her birthday morning. Of course it was after a bottle, don't get between a girl and her "coffee".
I made baked ziti for dinner and bought cupcakes to celebrate. I think she liked hers...

She loved it and would have eaten the whole thing if I had let her.
Her party was a few days later. I wanted to have it outside since it was garden themed, but Tyler convinced me it was too hot.

My dear friend Shelly has insisted on making the cakes for all our babies at church (they will all be 1 in another month).

Here she is with Timmy. I'm pretty sure they are going to be inseparable, just like Tristan and Addi!

(Tristan was mad that he couldn't eat a cupcake be we sang Happy Birthday!)

Despite being sleepy, she was a good little hostess.

I just love how her tutu looks in this one. I did a good job!
She LOVED opening presents! She especially loved the singing Minnie Mouse card from Kaydin. She crawled around for days after singing, "La la la" just like Minnie.

I can't believe she is already 1!

March 30, 2013

Easter Parade--Judy Garland

Today was the annual Breakfast with the Bunny at church. I actually had to get the kids up early, because neither of them are usually up at kicking at 9am. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, bacon and/or sausage and pancakes, but let's face it, kids don't care that much about the breakfast part. It's the Easter Bunny they want to see!

I didn't get pictures of Scarlett by herself or the two of them together with the Bunny because I was trying to get her to smile for the photographer. As usual, though, she was happy on his lap and didn't want to let go when I tried to get her back! She looked SO sweet in her little outfit, though.

After the Easter Bunny, we had our Easter egg hunt. We do it in the dark gym with flashlights! Since we have so many babies, I came up with the idea to get a rug from the nursery for the babies and to lay some eggs out on it. Turned out to be a great idea!

We had a great day with the Easter Bunny and our friends.

March 21, 2013

A Freebie and a Giveaway!

Do you have a preschooler and an iPad or iPhone?  Then Agnitus is the app for you! It is, in my opinion, the best preschool app by far and best of all...IT'S FREE!

To unlock the full free version, you only have to post about it on your Facebook wall!  They even email you a weekly report.  Tristan loves playing his "school game."

To get the word out on this AMAZING app, Agnitus is giving away a FREE iPad Mini and 25 tshirts!  Simply click this link and enter:

Download the app while you're at it.  You won't be sorry!

March 7, 2013

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Every now and then I like to interview Tristan to see his favorite things. Since he just turned 3, I thought it was time:

Favorite Book: "Star Wars: Use the Force Luke!"
It's a phonics book he got from Santa for Christmas.
Favorite Movie: "Um...Star Wars."
Favorite TV Show: "Bobby." He watches Bobby's World from 1990 with his daddy on Netflix.
Favorite Food: No hesitation, "Chicken and fry fries and ranch and ketchup."
Favorite Toy: "It's a...guitar."
Favorite Song: "It's still I Want to Be a Christian."
Favorite Thing to Do Outside At Home: "Golf, golf, golf. My favorite is golf."
Favorite Thing to Do At The Park: "Swing, mommy, swing!"

Here's my big boy last night at AWANA. Cubbies are in charge of holding the Bible for the pledges and it was his turn. Instead of holding it down like usual, he said he had to hold it up so the kid could see it, haha.

I'll finish up with some recent quotes from Tristan.
"Mommy, your shirt has holes in it." The trim around the neckline is like a looped ribbon. He sticks his fingers in the holes.
"Mommy, the holes have boobies in them!"

"What's wrong GG?"
"Oh, honey, GG doesn't feel good."
"I'll pray for you GG." So serious.

"Mommy, when it gets warm I'm gonna go to Uncle Butchie's house and ride the commoda!" He meant Kubota! Uncle Butchie has a farm and Tristan likes to go riding with him when we visit.

March 2, 2013

Déjà Vu--(2006)

When I was a little girl I had a Barbie house. My brother, Jared, would take his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and attack my Barbie house. They rode Barbie's horse and he tied ropes to them to repel over her house.

Flash forward to today. Scarlett was playing with her Little People Disney Princess Palace.

Here's what Tristan did:

Can you see it?

Yep, Spider-Man was there to protect the castle. Talk about déjà vu!

February 23, 2013

On Bended Knee--Boyz II Men

So this happened yesterday:

YouTube Video

Yep, I've got a crawler! She's been close for a month now and even shuffling her knees for a couple weeks, but she finally took off yesterday. It only took one day for me to catch her on her feet and hands! My mom says neither my brother nor I crawled for very long.

February 21, 2013

Carnival--Natalie Merchant

On 2/9 my sweet boy turned 3! We went to Billy Bob's to celebrate on the actual day, just family and the Arthurs (we had to invite Tristan's best friend!).

On Saturday we had a joint party for Tristan and Addison (she'll be 4 on the 26th). It was a carnival theme and boy was it fun! Addi wore an adorable clown costume and Tristan was the barker!

I'm not sure what she was mad about, but this was the best pic of the two of them together.

We had a bouncy house, ring toss, beanbag throw, face painting, tickets and prizes, everything you need for a proper carnival!

For food we had corn dogs (my favorite carnival food) and chips and broke out the church's popcorn maker and made up bags of popcorn!

Tristan was trying to talk me into a white cupcake with red icing before the party even started and at cake time that's what he told Brittany he wanted, he didn't forget!

After cake, there was one more surprise, Brittany's dad had bought a piñata and filled it with $40 worth of candy and prizes! The kids went nuts! We let them try to hit it by age, so Tristan was first.

He connected on all three of his hits, hard too! The last kid finally knocked a hole in it to where things were falling out, so Timmy smashed it open. The kids all got several treats for their gift bags!

Last was presents. Tristan LOVED everything he got! I love this picture because we all three look appropriately excited about his gift card, haha.

Thanks to everyone who came and showed us parents and the kids love!

January 26, 2013

The AWANA Song

January 16 was special. Our church brought back the AWANA program which was special because we had AWANA when I was a kid. I was actually saved on an AWANA night during revival. AWANA stands for "Approved workmen are not ashamed" and is a program that teaches children the gospel and scripture as well as discipleship. It is from 2 Timothy 2:15:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Somehow, I was made the leader of Sparkies (K-2nd grade). I feel woefully unprepared, but God's got a plan.

Tristan is a Cubbie (3 & 4 year olds). He was supposed to be a Puggle (2 & 3 year olds), but Helen thought he was ready to go ahead and start Cubbies because he's already good at scripture memory (he knew John 3:16 before we even started AWANA!).

His first verse was John 4:10 "...God...loved us and sent his Son." He knew it for this week and passed his first section! Here he is in his club vest:

He was so excited!

We are working in section 2 of his entrance book. He's got part one down! "A is for All. Romans 3:23 '...all have sinned...'"

January 12, 2013

364 Days to Go--Brad Paisley

Ok, ok, I know that next Christmas is technically closer than that (!!!), but I bought everything to fix one of my favorite desserts ever around Christmas. Between trying to make sure 2 kids got the full Christmas experience and 3 of 4 household members getting miserably sick (including me), it just didn't happen. Since Tyler and I are kicking into high health mode next week (to renew his Army contract for him and because I'm woefully out of shape for me), I made a batch of Christmas Tree Bark to enjoy this weekend.

Some background first before I get to the recipe. For 14 years, my dear friend Shelly has had a Christmas party on the first Saturday in December. The party is potluck, but she always makes several things herself, one of which is Christmas Tree Bark. It is a well known fact that I hoard all the bark. Last year she didn't get around to making it and brought me a bag at church! Every year I ask for the recipe at the party, but never actually make it. This year I finally wrote it down and decided I was really going to do it...then the plague struck!

So last night, I decided to make it. It only takes a few minutes, but I'm always a nervous wreck making a new recipe. What if Picky Pete, aka Tyler, doesn't like it? What if I mess it up, which is time and money down the drain? Nervous and scatter brained means I only remembered to take 2 pictures of the process, but without further ado I present Christmas Tree Bark.

1 stick butter
1 stick oleo (margarine)
1c sugar
1 bag chocolate chips
Enough graham crackers to cover a jellyroll pan (about 1 1/2 packages)

Set oven to 350°
Spray pan with nonstick spray and arrange graham crackers.
Boil butter, sugar, and margarine for 3 minutes.
Pour mixture over crackers and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle on chocolate chips.
Spread chips with spatula until fully melted and covering crackers.
Let cool completely.
Die happy ;)

Shelly said she usually sticks hers out on the deck to cool and harden, so I stuck mine in the freezer for a bit since we've got 70° temperatures here right January!!

There you have it, my drug of choice. Go ahead and make it, but you've been warned of its addictive nature! Bon appetite!

December 30, 2012

The Gift--98 Degrees

I am so blessed with my church family, but nowhere more than Tristan's Sunday School/Junior Church/Kid's Club (Soon to be AWANA) teacher Helen Arthur. Helen was youth director when I was a kid, but I never dreamed I would call her my friend. To say we are blessed to have her is an understatement. She always has a million ideas for any project, EVER.

A typical lesson from Helen includes a craft and some sort of practical thing a preschooler should know: ABC's, colors, shapes, numbers, etc. the Wednesday before Christmas they read "Santa's Favorite Story." Essentially there's a big storm and the North Pole is in a uproar because Christmas might be canceled. Santa tells them that won't happen because Christmas isn't about him, it's about Jesus! Here are Helen and her "babies" reading their story:

Tristan is kissing her shoulder!

Helen comes by it honest. Her mom, Mrs. Greybeal/Virginia/Mawmaw Jenny was my Sunday school teacher in 3rd and 4th grade (I think). We always had a craft to do every week. From fans made of old greeting cards to butterflies from unused church bulletins to a stone church made of cardboard and rocks. She was one of the sweetest and kindest people I ever met and I like to think she and my Granny are BFF's in heaven because both loved The Lord so much! I remember on her deathbed Mrs. Greybeal didn't recognize everyone and was very week, but I went in to see her and she not only recognized me she told me she remembered when I was in her class and we took a "train trip" to the Holy Land. I promptly told her we couldn't get there on a train. Once she convinced me that the special train could cross the ocean we got to pick our own stops along the way. I picked Hawaii (still my lifelong goal) and Brittany and I got of and did the hula!

I'm rambling. To the point, the Sunday before Christmas, Helen brought me an angel they think her mom made (it certainly looks homemade and like her handiwork). She told me her mom would be so proud of how I've become a worker for The Lord and it was an angel to watch over our new house. I'm not saying this to brag or anything, mind you, just relaying the story. Needless to say, I'm sobbing as she gives it to me and she's crying (if anyone cries more than me it could be Helen ;) and my mom who witnessed it was crying. It meant more to me than probably even Helen realizes. Her mother was SO special to me!

Without further ado: