Welcome to Whit's World

Welcome to the randomness that is my life. You can usually find me wandering around somewhere in my head trying to figure it all out. I blog about the loves of my life, my two boys, our new homeschooling journey, and anything else that moves me. I find that writing is the best therapy. Thanks for stopping by, and Be Blessed!

Friday, September 30, 2011

First Month: Homeschooling Fun and Frustrations

Well today completes our first month of our homeschooling journey...phew!  It has been great fun and everyone has learned a lot, but we have definitely run into a few frustrations along the way as well.

Let me begin by saying how incredibly proud I am of J!  He came into this journey completely open-minded and so excited and eager to learn that it makes teaching him such a joy.  He absolutely loves Geography and can now name and point out all 7 continents, 5 major oceans, the Equator, Prime Meridian, Lines of Latitude and  Lines of Longitude on any map or globe.  We have also learned all about the water cycle in science and have now moved on to talking about the phases of the moon.  Grammar has been chocked full of nouns, proper, common, possessive, specific, etc.  He has successfully written two paragraphs following the writing process.  We are studying the fruits of the spirit for our daily Bible time.  His spelling skills are rapidly improving with our daily spelling rules.  And we have mustered through reading and math with fewer and fewer grumbles as the weeks progress.  J's retention of knowledge is absolutely incredible!


I would be lying if I didn't say that there have been several frustrating factors throughout the first month though too.  With J's Asperger's kicking into overdrive some days, I feel like I am talking to a wall.  The blank stares and reluctance to acknowledge anything I say can be aggravating, but I have to step back, take a break and then come back with a new approach.  Sometimes it helps, and sometimes it doesn't...it's all dependent upon the day.  The frustration with Math began day one when there was a total melt-down of epic proportions over adding double digit numbers.  We immediately took 3 steps backwards and are slowly easing into the world of math now, hence the fewer grumbles.  Reading has probably presented the most head butting in the classroom.  This kid loves to read and has been reading chapter books for two years now, but has not retained one thing from any of the reading.  We are learning how to slow down and actually read now.  I have been giving J very simple short stories with not a lot of detail to urge him to read and retain the words.  There has been a huge improvement within the month on this front, but still a lot to work on.


So all in all I am still thrilled with the decision our family made to homeschool J.  I know that every day, week and month will hold lots of joys and frustrations from here on in, but we are learning from each other how to handle it all.  So our journey continues...

Be Blessed,

Whit

Thursday, September 29, 2011

So Many (S)Milestones!

My little man, L, will be 17 months old this coming Monday, and me and my husband are standing here wondering what has happened to our itty-bitty baby boy?!?!

This is L at about 5 months.
 Every time we turn around now, he is doing something new and exciting and I need to be better about documenting it all.  I slacked off majorly with J after I hit that one year mark and kick myself in the butt about that now...I am bound and determined to keep up with all the milestones with L!

And what better way than an occasional blog post?!

First of all, I must say at this age it is so much easier to take him places now that he is big enough to partake in all the fun.


But, he is hard to keep up with the majority of the time now too!  Constantly on the go, never a moment's rest.


He is really starting to talk clearly this week out of the blue.  Me and Daddy fell over in the kitchen last night when he said "HOT"!  (He's heard it enough) And now is really working at perfecting "ELMO"!


He is Mr. Independent, he thinks he can do everything on his own...until he can't.  Like, do not hold my hand when I walk to the car Mom, I can do it myself!


He enjoys reading books and doing puzzles and takes such pride in doing both.


He loves to imitate and communicate right now as well.  Most of the time it's just plain fun, but the tantrums that come with this age and constant head shaking when he doesn't like something get in the way from time to time too.


What a true joy it is to watch my boys learn and grow!  

I don't think either one of them will ever outgrow the snuggly, cuddly, lovey stage, so we will enjoy all the milestones along the way...no matter how much it breaks my heart from time to time.

Be Blessed,

Whit

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Best Buddies

They may be 7 years apart, but they are most definitely best buddies! Warms my heart and soul every time I see the love.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Imagine Toys: Little Labs Weather Experiment Kit (Review)


Our family is now entering our 4th week of this brand new homeschooling journey and we have learned a lot and had a bunch of fun along the way already. Thanks to Imagine Toys, our entire first month of science has been completely taken care of!   If you have not heard of them or been to their website, please go!  They provide educational, imaginative, creative and classic toys for all ages.  Right now they have 50 toys under $10, you seriously can't beat that!  They sent us the Little Labs Beginner Weather Experiment Kit to review and it fit perfectly into our first science topic discussed: the water cycle.


This little box comes with a 20 page full-color bilingual guide, a knowledge wheel, a weather station kit complete with rain gauge and a wind gauge, a thermometer and a mirror. J is a very hands-on learner, so for him the individual parts of the water cycle did not click until he saw them come to life before his very eyes through these experiments. The guide has illustrated instructions so it was very easy for him to follow along and set up the experiments with minimal help from me.


We started off simple and set up some water evaporation experiments:  one outside for an afternoon and one inside for 2 days near a window.  At the end of the specified time period, J measured water levels and recorded his observations in his science journal.


Next, J pieced together the weather station so we could go outside to determine and record the wind speed and direction.  Unfortunately, we have not seen much rain in these parts lately so the rain gauge has not been  useful as of yet.


We decided to set up the thermometer outside and record the temperature readings 3 times a day over a week and then discuss the patterns we saw at the end.  Hot, hot and more hot ended up being the conclusion.


We looked at how condensation forms by pouring ice water in a glass and watching the process in real time.


Our latest experiment was definitely the most fun, and in the end the most educational so far.  We set up our own miniature environment in an old spaghetti sauce jar with a weed with the roots in tact, soil, a small medicine cup with water, and topped it off with saran wrap and a rubber-band.  J sat in the classroom all afternoon watching the water vapor turn to clouds and then rain inside the jar.


We still have 3 experiments to do which involve rainbows, different types of clouds and lightning when those topics arise.

I had no idea how involved this little kit would be when it showed up, but I found it as the perfect home school tool, resource and actual curriculum through our water cycle study.  The greatest thing about this kit is that it can be used over and over again too.  We can pull out the rain gauge when it comes back around or the wind gauge on an extremely windy day.  Also, J goes outside at least once a day still to check the temperature with the thermometer.  

I would recommend the Little Labs Beginner Weather Experiment Kit to anyone, homeschooling family or not!  It is a really fun way to teach and learn with your kids over and over again.  I found another science kit on their website that we would like to try out next:  http://www.imaginetoys.com/stepping-into-science-set.  Holly from Imagine Toys hit the nail on the head when she sent us this one.  Be sure to go on over and check them out on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/imaginetoys and Facebook: facebook.com/imaginetoys for lots of fun, jokes and even great giveaways from time to time!

Thank you Imagine Toys!

Disclaimer:  I was sent this product for free for the purpose of this review.  All views and opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Get Out and Play: Clorox2 Play 2Day Pledge

It's fall, the weather is gorgeous...get out and play!

I went over to http://clorox2play2day.com and took the pledge to play outside this morning.  I pledged to spend 2 hours each day outside with my children 7 days a week.  What will you pledge?

It has been hard to do that with the intense summer heat and super dry conditions we experienced in Central Texas this year, but it's a new season and with that comes some gorgeous fall Texas weather.  As a homeschooling family, it is important to get the boys outside for some play throughout the day.  They love to go in the front yard to get their wiggles out after a long morning of learning inside and it's a great way to break up the monotony of school every day.  We usually take two 30 minute play breaks during school time, and weather permitting, spend them outside.  So there is the first hour that I pledge to spend outside with!

You can tell it's fall when grass is replaced by leaves!

What about the second hour, well, every evening when their Daddy gets home from work, he takes the boys out to ride bikes while I cook dinner .  This is usually about an hour long event on a daily basis.  They come in stinky, hungry and worn out just in time to eat a good healthy dinner, bathe, and drift of to dream land.  This may just be everyone's favorite time of the day too:  Daddy gets quality time with his boys and vice avers, and Mommy gets some peace and quiet for the first time since I opened my eyes.  It's a win win for everyone! 

Notice they are not moving!!  We put a helmet on the baby when they are!!

Another family favorite past time is taking long walks around our neighborhood when the weather is cool and enjoyable.  The oldest will usually scooter along, I push the toddler in his stroller, and Daddy walks the two big dogs.  Talk about exercise!!  This is one of our kids' favorite things to do so we squeeze in long walks a couple times a week during the beautiful fall and spring seasons here.



What do you do to get your family outside and playing?  Do you have a favorite outside activity?  How do you foster outside play for your children?

I encourage you all to go Take the Clorox2 Play 2Day Pledge today!  

Disclosure:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Clorox2 blogging program, for a gift card worh $40.  For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: It Finally Rained!


It finally rained!!!!


And it felt so good!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Daily Time with HIM...Inspired to Action


So while browsing through tweets on Sunday two hashtags kept flying by that intrigued me:  #hellomornings and #mym.  So I started looking into it and following the streams.  They lead me to a website called Inspired to Action which was started by moms for moms.  I got swept away reading new posts, old posts, and all about the new Maximize Your Mornings challenges and the Fruits of the Spirit study.  This challenge and study are just what I need to get my booty in gear with Him!

I have been looking for a bible study for a while that I can do by myself, but let's face it, with everything in my busy day, I kept putting that part of my list off.  Why?  Not really sure, but I do recognize what a total cop out that is on my part.  I can make time for television, stitching, house cleaning, organizing, but can't make time to spend with the Man upstairs on a regular basis...really Whit?!

Well I made a promise to myself and to Him...no more excuses!!  I must make time daily to sit quietly in reflection with the Bible and the Holy Spirit in order to be who I need to be for my family.  I embarked on the 13 week Bible study yesterday morning.  We began with Galatians 5:16-26.  What a powerful and passionate message Paul delivers to all in the land!


Each week we will look at a new scripture passage and Monday-Friday throw ourselves into really studying that one particular verse.  This helps me a ton, because honestly the first time I sit down to read any scripture, there is no retention.  I have to read something several times and go back and look at the context of the passage to only begin to understand the Word.  It is my hope that this study will be the catalyst to dive into my own study of the Bible when this is done.  I know that the Fruit of the Spirit study will discipline me to explore the Word and His desires for me, and I cannot wait to see what comes from it all.

The other incredible thing that  Inspired to Action has done is to set up "small groups" through Facebook so that we can encourage one another, pray for one another and discuss what we are all discovering through the daily study.  God places us all right where we belong!  Several of the groups were full and a new one had just opened up when I went to sign up...I have been placed in a group with numerous other homeschooling mommas!  His timing and placement seems to be perfect as usual.  We are all holding each other accountable to get up in the morning and have our quiet time with our Lord before we start our day and lift each other up in prayer.

All of this inspired me to incorporate the Fruits of the Spirit study into J's homeschooling lessons over the next 13 weeks too.  He had also been asking to do a study of the Word and again I kept "looking" for the right one.  This will be perfect for him!  This week he is drawing pictures to represent the fruits of the spirit and reading the scripture daily too.


I look forward to seeing the fruits of the spirit working in my life, my family's life and all those women who are taking the 13 week journey as well.  It is time to start getting brutally honest with myself and with Him...it has been put off way too long!

Are you currently doing a study?  Do you lean on others to hold you accountable?  Is quiet time with Him a part of your daily routine?

Be Blessed,

Whit

Monday, September 19, 2011

Guest Post Over at Getalonghome Today

Good Monday morning to you all! I hope you had a beautiful weekend abundant with the fruits of His spirit! I did a guest post over at

for one of my Twitter buddies about beginning our homeschooling journey. She was such a doll to give me some great advice when I decided on this journey so I was thrilled to be able to do this for her. Head on over and check her site out, she rocks!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Day in the Life of Whit's World...As Told by Pictures

So Jill from Baby Rabies had a fabulous idea this week...document a day in your life with pictures.  Nothing extravagant, just ordinary day to day routines.  I was in the moment I read it and furthermore, I think I will begin doing this a couple times a year.  What a fun way to document our lives and our growing boys!  So here is a day in Whit's World as told by pictures:

7:00 A.M.

As I wipe the sleep from my eyes, I cook breakfast and pack a lunch for the hubby every single day (okay, well I take Friday's off, but who wouldn't?)  Today it's breakfast tacos and tuna.

7:45 A.M.

Daddy is out the door and L is still wiping sleep from his eyes too.  We catch the last few minutes of Sesame Street...and in our house the best part: Elmo's World! I love my snuggle time with him in the morning.

9:00 A.M.

Everyone is dressed and fed, off to the grocery store.  My second home is our neighborhood HEB.

10:00 A.M.

School Time!  Notice how calm everything looks at the beginning of our classroom time.

11:00 A.M.

We are still in the classroom, L has begun getting a little restless.  Time to grab him a snack and redirect his attention.  J and I still have to go through our Math problems and record observations for our Science project.

12:00 P.M.

Lunch time:  roast beef and sharp cheddar cheese wraps with chips.  My boys are such good eaters.

12:30 P.M.

Nap time = mommy's quiet time.  I settle in to do a little cross stitching on the Christmas stocking I am making and turn on the boob tube for a minute.

1:30 P.M.

Just like clockwork, exactly one hour later L awakes.  He is the grumpiest kid for about 15 minutes every day after nap.

2:30 P.M.

Time to throw my mountain of dishes into the dishwasher (can you tell this is my least favorite chore of all?)  Gotta vacuum, fold laundry, make beds, etc.  Good thing I have my little "helpers"!

3:30 P.M.

Mommy treated her boys (okay and maybe myself too) to Dippin Dots ice cream.  Yummy, but oh so messy in the end!

4:30 P.M.

A little play time to work off some of that sugar!

5:30 P.M.

My new Black and Decker Steam Mop just arrived thanks to the awesome ladies over at Baby Center!
We had to try it out right away...I'm in love!  Just add water and a clean mop pad, that are reusable, and you are ready to roll.

6:15 P.M.

Got all cleaned up and feel much better now, ready to play some more!

7:00 P.M.


Making chicken and steak fajitas for dinner with left over homemade black beans.  I smoked everyone out of the house even with all of the windows open, but I am getting much better at this whole cooking thing.

8:00 P.M.

Dinner was delish!.  J is getting cleaned up for bed and L is very ready to nurse and drift off into sleepy bye land.

8:30 P.M.

Everyone is down for the night and I am going to watch the last 30 minutes of Project Runway!

9:00 P.M.

Dishes and laundry again, ugh, and sit down to draw up tomorrow morning's lesson plans.  Fridays are fun days in our homeschooling world.

10:30 P.M.

PHEW!! I'm exhausted, but can't calm my brain enough to attempt to lay down in bed at this point.
Maybe a small little drink will help, CHEERS!

Time to start it all over again tomorrow.

I told you it wasn't anything extravagant or glamorous, but that's a day in the life of Whit's World.
This was a lot of fun to do and encourage everyone to do it once!

Be Blessed!

Whit




Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bright Starts™ Having a Ball™ Cluck & Learn Barn™: A Review


I was super excited when I received the opportunity to review the Bright Starts™ Having a Ball™ Cluck & Learn Barn™.  L was more than excited when the big box arrived so quickly from the company factory.

We couldn't get the box open quickly enough!

And when he saw what was inside, excited is  not even the word!
Look at that face!
We are always looking for new fun and educational toys for our busy little man, and The Cluck & Learn Barn™ was the perfect addition for L.  We have already enjoyed many hours of entertainment playing with this one.


Please visit Bright Starts™ at http://www.facebook.com/brightstarts to see what all of the fun is about.  They are a great company with some great products for the little one in your life! Be sure to Like their page for some great giveaway opportunities too!

The Cluck & Learn Barn™ brings learning about animals and ball drop surprises together to spark laugh out loud fun!  Your toddler can drop balls into the chicken to activate fun barnyard sounds, and then watch to see which barn door they’ll pop out of!  Pressing the buttons teaches animal names and sounds while ball dropping fosters counting, playing and coordination all at the same time!

Here are some of the Cluck & Learn Barn™ Features:

  •  2 ways to play:
    • Silly Sounds Mode
      • Drop the balls into the top of the chicken to activate silly animal sounds
      • Balls will activate more silly sounds as they roll out of 2 different openings in the barn
    • Learning Mode
      • Press the 3 light up buttons to learn animal sounds and names      
      • Learn counting skills as balls drop through the barn
      • Open and close barn doors for funny barnyard sounds and to learn opposites
      • Clucking chicken will encourage toddler to play again and again
  • Includes 2 AA batteries
  • Includes 4 character balls
  • Balls can be stored inside the barn
I have to say that my absolute favorite feature of the Bright Starts™ Having a Ball™ Cluck & Learn Barn™ is the noise/volume level!  Most toys in our arsenal have two settings:  loud and louder (you know the type).  The Cluck & Learn Barn™ has one volume setting that you can hear the television, a conversation or even the phone ringing over the fun noises and sounds.  I have to thank Bright Starts™ from the bottom of my heart for that added bonus feature!!  

If you have an upcoming baby or toddler gift to buy or just want to spoil the little one in your life, the Bright Starts™ Having a Ball™ Cluck & Learn Barn™ is definitely a must buy!  Remember...I know I'm evil, but it's never too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts either.  You can get the Cluck & Learn Barn™ here:  http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11807209 for only $24.99!!  That is a bargain in my book all day long!  I know that we will enjoy playing with the Cluck & Learn Barn™ for a very long time to come.  Thank you Bright Starts™ for making such affordable pure quality products for our babies and toddlers!

My little monkey loves his Cluck & Learn Barn!



Disclaimer: I received the Bright Starts Cluck and Learn Barn from the company for the purpose of this review. All words and opinions are my own.