Thursday, October 10, 2013


So you all know that Spawn has some issues in school...I'm super excited today though because I received an email from k5 offering me a trial of their program!  I'm excited to give it a show and see if it help Spawn and Cute Boy (who struggles a bit as well!  So look for updates and a review soon!

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students.  I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program.  If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their  open invitation to write an online learning review of their program. - See more at:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Time to settle into the routine once again...

Summer is coming to a close.  The Goobers start school in one week from today.  We FINALLY got their teacher assignments and bus numbers today.  I really love our school, but hate that the district waits until the last minute every year.

Spawn is heading to the middle school for the first time.  And he's starting it off with a pretty heavy course load for a 5th grader.  They can chose what they want to do for music; just a regular class, chorus, band, orchestra or a combination of the 3.  He's chosen orchestra (playing the viola) and chorus.  Not to mention all the regular classes, plus his extra reading class.  And to top it off, he gets pulled from a regular class once a week for his orchestra session, so he's got to take it upon himself to go and check into class and get the assignments and make up the work.  He's determined to put the work in and make it work, so I'm behind him the whole way.  He's also thinking about signing up for sports and clubs as well. The only shock so far is that he's getting the bus an hour and a half earlier than usual.  We live just down the road from the elementary school, so our bus stop is the last one in the morning, and the first one in the being on the bus for awhile will be interesting.  It looks like we're one of the last stops on his morning run since they pick up about 15 minutes before the first bell, and we live about that far away.

Sweet Nut is headed into 3rd grade and is excited, at times.  He reminds me a lot of myself at his age, where the concepts being taught were easy to get, the work can be knocked out in no time, but just doesn't want to do it.  We had a talk the other night about not talking too much in class, so we'll see what happens.  I was told numerous times by his teacher last year that he's very easily one of the smartest in the class, but it just takes him forever because he talks or tries to get out of doing the work.  Reading-wise he's chomping at Spawn's heels...which frustrates Spawn to no end.  Spawn will read something and then Sweet Nut will read the same thing and remember more.  Just shows how different kids are.  I know towards the end of the year last year, Sweet Nut was already on a mid-3rd grade level for reading and Spawn was early/mid-4th grade level (slightly behind, but A LOT better than he had been).

Cute Boy just finished his summer reading class at school and is excited to be a 1st grader.  He had 2 teachers on his list that he wanted and he got second choice.  He is also behind in reading and received some help during the year last year, so I'm excited for him to be full day this year and have access to more help and services.  I'm not sure what he's looking forward to most, eating in the cafeteria every day, moving up to the bigger playground, or spending the day at school.  My once shy little guy can not wait for school to start.

Chunk finished up his first year at daycare and loves it!  We found an in home daycare that does a prek program when Cute Boy was heading to prek, and when Cute Boy graduated out, Chunk took his spot.  He is thriving there, and has graduated up to a big boy chair at mealtime and a big boy mat at naptime.  This year he'll start participating in more of the learning activities.  They incorporate learning into everything, but the toddlers, they know have a short attention span.  I do know that he'll be learning to recognize his name and the letters in it, in addition to the letter of the week program they do.  By the time he heads to K in a few years, he'll have his letters under his belt!

As for me, I'm looking forward to getting back into a routine.  Summer, while fun, throws me off in all kinds of ways.  I'm looking forward to getting back to the working 3 days a week, homework at night, meal plans each week, etc...wait, did I just admit that I enjoy that?  LOL.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer 2013 Plans...

So, in the midst of our elementary school making me cry every other day...darn 4th grade music receptions and their kindergarten pictures lining the hallway...and yearbooks with wishes of good luck in middle school...and Kindergarten Picnics/Graduations.  Not to mention a 2 year old and a 8 year old celebrating birthdays.  This June has been pretty emotional.

And to top it off, the Goobers have been asking what we're doing this summer.  Like I even have time to think about it :D.

So here's what we came up with.  I know we tried this last year and didn't get too far so hopefully we will this year.

Definitely hitting the Bronx Zoo.  No other zoo we have been to compares.

Possibly hitting the Museum of Natural History.

Maybe heading out to the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk and the Stepping Stones Children's Museum.

Taking part in some of the summer offerings at the library.

Participating in the summer reading program at Barnes and Noble.

I'm thinking a smaller list will let us be able to accomplish more.  Plus we plan on doing LOTS of Tot School with Chunk this summer.  We're working on him using more words and getting him to talk more.  And if he's anything like Sweet Nut and Cute Boy, we'll regret it in a few months when he's talking non stop :D  We already tried a few things, so there's some posts in the works, plus we have a whole Pinterest board of toddler ideas.

We're debating doing a summer challenge again.  I'm thinking yes, but want to talk it over with the Goobers to get their feedback on it.

All in all, while dealing with that Mom feeling of the babies are growing up, I'm excited to try some of these neat things for summer.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

So it's Memorial Day.  Which means that my kids get super excited because they get to watch the parade with firetrucks and candy!

So we cart out our chairs, water bottles and sippy cups to the curb out in front of our house.  We waited until the time the parade was supposed to start, because in our town, they never start on time.  We learned that the hard way last year.  Even still we were waiting awhile.

But, a man came up and was talking to us.  It wasn't a total stranger.  We knew him from Freecycle (his granddaughter is now using a bunch of Landon's baby equipment) and he's part of the Fire Dept, so the kids recognized him from school.

He asked my boys (Sweet Nut and Cute Boy...Chunk was too busy with his lollipop and Spawn is at the X's for the weekend) if they knew why there was a parade today.  They said, Yep, it's Memorial Day.  I'm sure he thought that they were just parroting me saying it.  He asked them if they knew what Memorial Day meant and Cute Boy said that It's the day that we spend time with our families remembering the soldiers who died.  Sweet Nut went even farther and said that we need to pray for all the soldiers who are fighting now and for the families of the ones who have died.  The man asked if they knew anyone who was a soldier and Sweet Nut said yes, we know some who are soldiers now and that Grandpa(my grandpa-the boys call my dad Pa) was a soldier.  The man asked if he knew if Grandpa was ever in a war and Sweet Nut said yes, he was in the Army Air Force in WWII and that my uncle was in the Navy in Vietnam.  The man told him that it was great that he knew that and that he hoped that when the boys got bigger they would never have to go to war and Sweet Nut said, it's OK.  I'm going to be a soldier because I want to be like Grandpa and be a pilot.  The man said he can do that without being a soldier, and Sweet Nut said, but regular pilots only fly regular planes.  I want to fly planes and protect the world from bad guys.

Who knew my kids actually pay attention when we talk about things that go on.  And I'm super impressed that Sweet Nut remembered about Grandpa and my uncle, and what they did.  He learned about it for a project over a year and a half ago.  I guess I should prepare for him going into the armed forces now, because it's not the first time he's mentioned it.

The one thing that made me sad was that when the parade was done, both the boys noted that there were not a lot of people there, that more people were there for the carnival parade.  And then my ever so wise goobers said "Mommy, more people should come to this parade.  It's shorter but at least the soldiers can look down from heaven and see that we still care."

Yes, boys, you are right.  All the soldiers, on earth and in heaven should know that we care.

Friday, May 10, 2013

What a crazy few months.

Sorry for the blog silence.  We've had a rough few months, but I think we're on the other side of it least I hope so!

A few quick updates:

Spawn is uber excited for middle school.  He's signed up to play the viola in the orchestra and will be signing up for football next week.  We're still working on some of the areas he struggles in at home, but all in all, this has been a successful year.  We've also dealt with a first crush and the first letdown when she became someone else's 'girlfriend'.  He's working his way towards earning being allowed to walk/ride his bike to school for the rest of the year, so that's been something good.

Sweet Nut is getting to the age where school isn't 'fun' anymore.  He's a smart kid, but hates to write, so that's becoming a problem.  We're working on writing at home and on penmanship, since he tends have a lot of assignments that need to be redone because they are sloppy.  Content wise, he's a great writer.  But it's getting him to actually write that is the problem.  He just had a pretty bad bout of some form of the coxsackie virus.  He had a throat full of blisters making talking and eating pretty painful.  Not fun.

Cute Boy is doing ok in K.  He's got a few areas he's struggling in as well, so we are working on that at home.  Sight words are giving him the same trouble that letters were, he's having a hard time remembering them.  He's just taken the training wheels off his bike so he's been working on that as well, and is pretty good, but has taken a few good spills.  Also he made a 'greenhouse' at school and has 2 bean plants he's growing, and hopes to transfer to the big garden.

Chunk is doing great.  He loves daycare, even though he won't talk there.  At home he's getting more words and is putting words together.  It's our 3rd time around with a late talker, so I'm not too worried yet.

Hmm...what else.  Oh, we are working on a garden this year.  My grandpa always had one growing up and nothing tastes as good as when it comes out of the garden.  So we're working on getting a corner of the backyard tilled and cleaned up.  We're going to cheat this year and buy plants, but I think the goobers and I might try to make a small greenhouse box like my grandpa used to for next year.  We don't really have the space to start plants indoors, so I figure buying them is the next best option.  The lilacs are blooming, so we'll start planting over the next few weeks.  Spawn did have a few seed packets that he got from his dad that he planted a few weeks ago, so we'll see how they do.

Also, I was approached by Reading Eggs to try out 2 of their apps and do a review and giveaway, so we're playing with that and the review will be coming soon!  I'm so excited!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

{Pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken

It's ba-a-ck.

I've done this once...maybe twice. But I love reading them. And in my quest to document the Goobers because they aren't getting younger, I'm going to try it up each week. Try. No promises. Feel free to yell at me if I miss though :D

So the idea is to post a picture of a pretty, a happy, a funny and a real. Simple right? It's started by the ladies over at Like Mother, Like Daughter. Click the button above if you haven't read their blog before. Pretty interesting stuff over there

Anyways, lets see here...


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Homemade chili. Homemade corn bread. Homemade guacamole. Yum.


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My view last night. Homemade cakes mixed, baked and decorated by Goobers, who insisted on candles, singing and Are you 1... 30 has arrived, and I couldn't be happier :D


I have a few funnies this week. The first two are of my rock stars after my birthday concert they put on in our living room...

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And this I found on my phone when uploading pictures tonight. Pretty common for there to be surprises on my camara. So here's Spawn.

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This was after Kindergarten Bedtime Stories. The kindy classes do it every January, go in after dinner in your pj's, with your blanket and stuffed animal and they have about a half hour of stories read by their teacher. So far all of the Goobers have had this awesome kindy teacher, we're hoping she'll still be there in 3 years when Chunk starts.

So that's my pretty, happy, funny real this week. What's yours?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Routines...they really do work!

So, sometimes with Chunk I feel like a new mom all over again. I suppose I can say that with all of my Goobers when they do something new.

You would think though after being a mom for 10 years, I would have gotten the memo about sleep routines sooner.


Just got it last week.

Well, let me correct that. I got it way back when. But when you work in a restaurant or in retail, you don't exactly have 'routine' hours. So it was hard.

Being home almost all of the time now though let me finally give it a shot, so we did last week.

We started with Chunk since he is the littlest. Backtracking a bit here, we took him out of the crib and into a pack n play because the big kids decided they were going to climb into the crib and play with him and bent one of the metal things that allows you to set the height of the mattress. Then when he was super sick we moved him into bed with us because we were using a nebulizer on a very strict schedule, including through the night , and it was just easier to do it when he was sleeping then wake him up for it. We tried to go back to the crib when he got better and we got the replacement piece, but he would scream. I've let my kids cry it out at bedtime before but this kid will scream for hours. Seriously. So we were stuck with him in bed.

Then he started daycare in September. And after a few days, he would go down for naps in the pack n play there. So I had the brilliant idea last week to pull out the pack n play at naptime and give it a shot. He whined for a few minutes but took his nap. Same at bedtime. Yay! Now he goes down for his nap no problems...and as long as we keep the big kids downstairs, bedtime is a breeze for him too.

Even The Chef yesterday was surprised that when they put Cute Boy on the bus that Chunk came home and laid down on the couch and took a nap. I was at a meeting and told him the routine, but you know how men and listening skills can be sometimes.

So since I was excited about the success with Chunk, I moved on to the big kids. Sweet Nut wasn't much of a problem, as long as no one bugs him, he's always been the best sleeper of the 3...but he can't have anyone awake near him or he turns into a clown. Cute Boy surprisingly has gotten better. It still takes him awhile to go to sleep, but he does. Spawn still takes for.ever.

The biggest thing with them is that since they all share a room, we have to wait until one is asleep before sending spin the next. So bedtime takes awhile. The plan is one day to at least have 3 bedrooms, one for us, and then split the boys between 2 rooms so we can send the little ones at the same time and once they are asleep, send the big ones. Unfortunately, that is probably going to take us moving out of the area, or hitting lotto. Rent is just crazy expensive here. One day though, it gives us something to work towards.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

They work hard for their money...

So hard for their money.

Ok. I'll stop singing now.

Anyways, we're 3 weeks into our new allowance/chore system and its going surprisingly well!

I mentioned in my last post that we've been trying to figure out the whole chore mystery for years.

Thanks to Pinterest, I found a lot of different systems that people we using. But none of them really worked for us. Then I had the brilliant idea to combine a little of this with a little of that and lo and behold, we got a keeper.

The boys like it because they aren't stuck doing the same old thing all the time and I like it because I'm not much.

So let me walk you through a Sunday afternoon at our house.

After lunch we pull these out:

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That's our chore box and our family bank binder.

They take turns pulling chores. Each of them gets 5. And the chores a mix of things that have to be done every day and once or twice a week.

We jot down who has what...and every once in awhile there's a trade worked out between brothers. Then we pull their log charts. These are up on the fridge and they get marked each day when something is done. We add up what they earned- daily chores are worth 25 cents. Weekly chores are worth 50 cents. We add them up and they write down what they earned in their bank register as chore payout.

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Then they either work with Mom using the calculator to figure out what 20% is, or Spawn gets a piece of paper and does the multiplication by hand. This money goes into their savings. They can't touch their savings. (Eventually when they get enough saved they'll go with MaMa (my mom) to open a savings account.). The rest is theirs to save or spend. Right now we have them convinced to save for our Disney trip.

Starting tomorrow, we're getting rid of the check sheets and making it electronic. I found today (thanks Pinterest!) a website called We played with it today and it is pretty awesome!

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You set up your account and then add your kids and assign them jobs. They earn points rather than money (each point is equal to 1 cent) and you can set what the jobs are worth. You can set rewards they can earn, there are general ones and they also link to Amazon, so you can put a specific toy or something (right now theirs are filled with skylanders.)

After the kids earn their points they go to their store where they can organize their points to savings, organizations to give to and rewards. Once they feel they have enough points in one of those sections, they can 'spend' it, which emails you to let you know what they want, so you can either put it in the bank, donate, or buy it.

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So far the boys like it, I figured they would, because its electronic. We have it linked on the iPad so they can just click and open it. Once they do that they click their picture and enter their password to get into their account.

So thats's how we have chores worked out.

Allowance is a whole different animal. We started this month giving them a dollar for their age, so for example, Spawn got $10. Again, they have to save 20% of that. We're actually going to start tweaking this too this coming month. A friend of mine does this with her boys and we're going to give it a shot as well. The goal is to correct behavior and have them behave, but also to make you look for the good and compliment the positive. There's a mason jar for each kid and a jar of marbles/stones. Each time they get caught doing something good, you compliment them and add a stone to their jar. At the end of the month a full jar is worth $10. They can't lose stones, because remember, you are trying to be positive. She says since they started it she's noticed a change, so I'm anxious to see if it works on Goobers as well.

So far so good.

Just a note. Although I talked a lot about, they don't know who I am or that I wrote this. I just found it and thought it was neat and wanted to share. Best part is that it's free...well, the site is free...the kids will eventually expect money :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


So here we are, the beginning of another New Year...and we're making lots of changes!

First, if you read the last post you know we're working on building our savings. It's been a rough few weeks but the budget is in place and we're starting to use it.

Second is food wise. I desperately need to lose weight as I've watched it get closer and closer to a super scary number. One day I'll share but not yet. Spawn, Sweet Nut and The Chef can stand to shed some pounds as well. I decided to dive in head first with meal planning. This is our first full week and so far so good. I made the menu on Saturday and went shopping Sunday. The plan is to make at least a weeks worth of menus (ideally I'd like to do the whole month, but I have to work up to that) and to shopping once a week. There are times where I'm in the grocery store once a day or more, and we start buying junk food we don't need just because its there. By forcing myself to only go once a week, I'm hoping it helps keep the junk food out. We're also trying some new recipes and we're going to be adding some sort of salad or raw veggie platter to the menu every day starting next week.

Our other big change is our new chore payout/allowance system. I've been looking for a new system for awhile and I've taken some components of what I've read and made up one that so far works for us. Each Sunday the big 3 draw 5 chores out of a box. Those are their chores for the week. We list them on the fridge next to their check sheets. Each Sunday before we draw new chores we have chore payout. Then on the first Sunday of the month, we give them their allowance...$1 for each year they have been alive. We're on our second week and its going pretty well.

And one of the big reasons for our new system is that we are planning to head down to the House of Mouse at the end of April. Yep, we're heading down for a week at Disney. So we've told the boys that they can certainly spend the money now, we strongly recommend to save it for Disney, because we are not giving them money. And it's been working.

So that's what's been going on around here. Oh and Spawn hit the big ole 10!!! Chunk was getting over the flu so we just needed the wheelchair.

Hope the New Year is treating you well so far...what resolutions or changes are happening with you?