Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

This is our second Halloween to celebrate in Singapore. We went up to Woodlands again, and it was just as crazy as last year, if not more so.

My Buzz and Woody.

Woody and Buzz with Granddad at the Singapore American School

The MADNESS that is trick-or-treating in Woodlands!

Granddad got a balloon! (Feels a little like "Where's Waldo?" doesn't it?)




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Friday, October 08, 2010

The Post Where We Pretend Fall Exists

The boys and I stole this idea from my friend, Erica (a friend from college who is a children's book author! So proud of you, Erica!). I can be crafty, but I am not creative on my own, so I'm always up for stealing other people's ideas!
The directions are here for the pumpkins. It's so simple, and the boys enjoyed stuffing the fabric into the rolls of toilet paper. We went and bought fabric today (not as easy as driving to Hobby Lobby, but not terribly difficult, either), and the rest of the stuff we just improvised with stuff we had on hand. No sewing, no glue. My kind of project!
Starting the process with my monkeys:

Caleb with his finished product:
What a 3-year-old does when you are taking too long helping his brother:
The finished "pumpkin patch" (and apparently whatever was outside the window was more exciting than me taking the picture):

We stuffed some tissues between the toilet paper rolls and the fabric so you couldn't really tell they were made from rolls of TP!

A fun, easy-for-the-kids project. Thanks, Erica, for letting us steal your idea.


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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Dinner Conversations

Tonight at dinner Justin and I were getting fed up with the amount of potty talk going on. (Our kids are 3 and 5...I had no idea it started so early...and it is CONSTANT! They're big fans of using "poo poo" in various sentences and attaching it to people's names. It gets old fast.)

I told the boys that if they said one more potty word they would get into trouble.

Caleb then made a noise that Justin also included in the "no potty talk at the table" rule. Levi told me that Pierce makes that noise all the time.

I said, "I don't care what other kids do. These are the rules for our family."

Levi then, rather indignantly in a stern voice and a frown on his face, said, "We're going to Pierce's family."

I think that's the toddler version of, "I'm running away." Look out, Camille! If you see two little boys walking down Farrer Road with their little suitcases in tow, please give them shelter.

Never a dull moment around here.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Grace Academy Homeschool

When people first find out you homeschool your children, there are a variety of responses, which I will outline for you here:

1) "Wow. I could never do that."
2) "Why did you decide to do that?"
3) "Did you not like the schools here?"

and, by far my favorite, a response I have only received once:

"Wouldn't it just be easier to send them to school all day?"

Why, yes, it would! But we do not make decisions on something as important as education based on what is easiest for us.

My sweet friends are always asking how school is going, and I always tell them it's going well, but it's challenging. Keeping Levi occupied is by far the most challenging part of my day. He wants so badly to do everything his big brother is doing, but his ability is just not there yet. I've been searching for things that will make Levi feel like he's doing the same work as his brother and be less frustrating for him.

We're about 3 months into homeschooling now, and we're already tweaking our curriculum. I started with a full purchased curriculum because I don't know enough about my kids' learning to design a curriculum on my own yet (and the options were completely overwhelming), but I have already learned some things we like and some things we really don't. Caleb loves anything he can create (drawing, painting, cutting, pasting, etc.); he is constantly grabbing the scissors and blank paper to make something. (His love language is also gift-giving, so most of these creations are made for someone, usually me.)

I am really enjoying spending so much time with the boys. It has been a wonderful change for all of us.

Here are some pictures from our school time:

Today we read The Story About Ping:
Then we made lapbooks to go along with our study:
We learned about China, where The Story About Ping is set. We cut and pasted the China flag and various maps of China:
Then we found where China was on our world map. The kids can now point out Singapore, China, Russia, Canada, and the United States. Today we learned that there are two countries larger in area than China (Russia and Canada):
Here's our reading corner in our school room. This is where we usually do our Bible reading and read-alouds for the day. Sometimes we switch it up and read on the couch or someone's bed:
So proud that he did this ALL by himself!
Two of our memory verses:
Another book we love and read often is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom:
We made a lapbook for this one, too, and have been putting each letter of the alphabet in the pocket as we study them (this is mostly for Levi since Caleb knows all the letters):

We've been having fun. Homeschooling is not easy, but it's definitely what is best for our family. Now I'm looking at what we're going to do in the Spring. I need to find a new math curriculum (or some supplements) for Caleb since our current one combines writing and math, which I'm not a big fan of since Caleb's not ready for so much writing. His math skills are above where we are in the book, and I need to find some math activities that allow him to work on his math skills without writing numbers.

I want my kids to love God, to love learning and to love reading. So that's what we're focusing on...making learning fun.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Bali-Even More Pictures

Another "guard" in our courtyard wall:
"Skooby" burger joint. We didn't eat here, but Justin took this picture for the kids. :-)
The beach.
I wish I could own a villa like this and retreat there all the time! So peaceful!



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Bali-More Pictures

These guys guarded our outdoor shower (and there were lots more around the pool/courtyard area):
The two of us (one of us got a lot of sun...the other one of us was at the spa!):
You don't need much luggage when you are traveling without children! We didn't even need this much, but we brought the computer so Andrea could contact us if the kids needed something, etc.
The boys with the pirate ship kite we bought them. I think that might be Caleb's pirate face. Not sure. :-)

Thanks SO much to Andrea, Anna, Tommy, and Jakeb for keeping our boys while we were away. We'll be returning the favor when Tommy and Andrea go to Bali next month, but I'm certain they got the short end of the stick! You guys are such a blessing to us!!


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Bali

Justin and I were able to get away to Bali this past weekend (only a 2.5-hour flight from Singapore), just the two of us. It was wonderful to be able to focus on being "Justin and Jennifer" and not being "Daddy and Mommy" every minute. It was a fantastic getaway from the busy city, and we enjoyed not having a schedule at all!

Here are a few pictures of our villa.

Looking from the door of the courtyard toward the villa:
Looking from the villa at the courtyard/private pool:
Breakfast. There was no restaurant at the complex, so they brought the meals to us. They cooked our eggs/sausage/bacon right in our little porch kitchen. We had quesadillas for dinner and they were amazing. Room service means something completely different in Bali!
Justin relaxing! We were only in Bali a little over 36 hours, but it was a peaceful, restful time. It was a great mini-vacation with my handsome man.



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