Good-bye Summer

Only 1 more day until school starts back!!!  Yay!!!!

Y’all, I might have overdone it this summer. Hmmm, Israel, Washington, D.C., trips back and forth to my parents’ as well as Alan’s parents’ house, camps, and the beach!!???

Who does that?

It was wonderful, and yet it was also like eating way too much at an all-you-can-eat donut buffet.

I definitely over-packed this summer with fun activities.

Lesson learned. Schedule more down time. Of course, next summer is a moving summer, so all bets are off for that one.

Daniel with his Vacation Bible School goo.

Good-bye, somewhat-dear summer.

You’ve actually over stayed your welcome. It’s time for fall to arrive. You were a well-behaved summer, the most exciting summer I can remember. There was so much rain that the temps stayed out of the 100s. Thank the Lord for that. We will remember you fondly.

But I need regular life to become more…well, regular…again. So please take a coat with you as you go because last year winter never showed up for work, so it sort of felt like you never truly left us. We’re hoping that won’t happen this year. I happen to like winter.

Goodbye dear summer, thank you for reminding me how much work referee-ing 4 youngsters all day long is when it’s raining outside every blessed day. I do love reminders, but really it is time for you to go.  You really must be leaving. Australia is waiting for you.

All right, hon, you go get cooled off now. Send us some of that rain this winter in the form of snow.

Shut the door, and lock it. I over planned this summer, and I need it to end now.

School supplies are purchased, Open House was last night, and the big day is so close I can taste it.

We received an email the other day saying that the first two days of school will only be half-days, so no school lunch will be provided. I still have to feed them lunch. But I’m not going to let that kind of negativity drag me down, y’all. I bet if I leave ’em up there until 3 with granola bars in their backpack they will just think I got confused……

Kidding. I’m kidding. I will behave.

In all seriousness, we DID have an incredibly fun summer with no mishaps that I can recall. That in and of itself is enough to make anyone thankful. Plus, we went on about  3 different vacations. Amazing.

Yes, this summer actually was quite Disney like.

Here are a few photos of the highlights:

Still one of my favorite places in the world: Destin

Jesus hugging a soldier statue, at a church in Destin.

Some of you will be proud to know that Joshua always makes sure we go to church while on vacation.

 

This is the first time we let them stay up late enough to watch the movie at the pool. It’s always 8:30 before the movie starts, so that it will be dark, and in the past we always had babies.

 

Us in Jerusalem. Wait. Jerusalem? What am I whining about? Best summer ever!!!!

 

Alan’s cousin married one of the most beautiful brides I’ve ever seen, and their wedding was in this incredible building that used to be a Catholic Church.

We danced!

Nonna and DaddyO took the kids back to the hotel around 9, and Alan and I stayed out dancing until 10 or so!!! There should be more weddings. It was so fun to be dancing. More people need to get married and hire a deejay, and then invite us so we can dance.

They danced too.

Also, we taught the boys the YMCA song/dance on this trip.

my clingy sweetheart John David…This boy defines clingy.

By the way, those are the BEST high heels ever. I’ve had them since 2007. I wore them when I walked down the aisle at Amy’s wedding, 9 months pregnant. These are my official wedding shoes.

Just think, in 2001 this was a family of 4.

Washington, D.C. was a bittersweet trip because it made us miss D.C. all over again!!

Hanging with our friends at the Lincoln Memorial

Caleb has studied this giant Megalodon mouth for YEARS, and we finally got to see it in person. *Dreams coming true*

A beautiful day for touring the National Mall

The Capitol

Caleb’s birthday lunch at McDonald’s. Yeah. We’re fancy.

We gave Caleb his choice of places to go on his birthday in D.C. He chose our old neighborhood pool.

Birthday supper at Dairy Queen.

Caleb’s favorite birthday gift…..a Star Wars space ship to build. Anyone who knows Caleb knows he’s a hard core Lego fan.

Movie time with my boys that day my back didn’t work.

It looked this awesome for an hour….and then the strawberry juices ran, and strawberries started sliding off the cake. I just can’t make pretty food!!

The Ultimate Bubble Bath

Family Game Time

Nonna and Aunt Janet took the boys to see the Noah’s Ark replica.

…..and the Corvette Museum

Meanwhile, Sam’s started selling MY FAVORITE gluten-free bread. All other store-bought versions are disgusting. I love THIS stuff.

a house that Caleb built

Hard at work to earn money for a Nintendo Switch. It may take them a while, but they are off to a good start.

 

Yes, okay, this might have been the best summer ever. While I cherish the memories, I have now regressed to “Oh it’s raining, and it’s the last day of summer….Just watch t.v. all day…Yeah, sure, play 3DS too.”

So it’s definitely time to go back to school. Some of the boys were even wishing school was starting back today! Me too, y’all. Me too.

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2a time to be born and a time to die,

 

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

 

3a time to kill and a time to heal,

 

a time to tear down and a time to build,

 

4a time to weep and a time to laugh,

 

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

 

     Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

 

 

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A Parent Review of ABCmouse: Keeping Our Brains Working Through Summer

Parent Review of ABCmouse

 

Like most moms, I TRY to keep my children from letting all of their knowledge fall out over the summer.

Any “book learnin'” my four boys accomplish over the summer is typically solely because I forced them to do it. Maybe your kids aren’t like mine, I don’t know, but my children never ASK me to do workbook pages and catch up on their reading logs.

When I was a little girl, I LOVED doing workbooks, but that is not my kids. I can’t even fathom that.

Have we read this summer? Yes, tons. Have I recorded half of those books on the required reading logs? Um, no. Like I don’t have enough things to remember to do.

So at the end of the summer, I’ll basically stand there with the boys, wracking my brain, while begging them to think back, to remember what all they read this summer so we can fill out that bless-ed log.

Reading is the perfect start to keeping our minds active all summer long, but there are other skills to focus on in school too, and for that I have been looking for a good phone app that I can put my younger boys on!

After years of hearing of ABCmouse.com, I finally decided to download it and let my younger boys (ages 6 and 4) try it out.

I am happy to tell you it is everything I had hoped for, which means that they cover both letters, numbers, and other topics, and they can even play it unassisted.

You do need to help them at first, so they know where to find all the different things the app or website can do.

Actually, if your child is new to iPad games or is preschool age, I would help them the whole first week that they use it, just so you can guide them to less frustration and point them to the games that they could benefit the most from.

John David is 4, and I sit down and basically just watch him use it, and say things like, “Great job!” as he zips through a map (which is like 6 mini-lesson activities). After that, I turn him loose on it, and he can play with it however he chooses.

It’s a big deal to him that we do it together, and he cuddles in my lap while he works on his activities.

Daniel is 6, and he requires no supervision on the app at all.

My favorite thing about it is the sight word games. I also appreciate that each lesson is age appropriate. Too often, game makers over-estimate the finger dexterity or involvement of the parents.

Daniel’s favorite thing: Getting to play games on my phone

John David’s favorite part: Puzzles!!!

I went through today’s lessons for John David and Daniel and screen-shotted to show you what to expect with this app, a sneak peek if you will.

Actually, I should clarify that ABCmouse.com is not just an app. This entire program can be done on a mobile device or on a computer.

What to Expect

 

A Parent Review of ABCmouse

This puzzle sentence was on a K4 lesson. John David had no trouble dragging and dropping the words into place.

A Parent Review of ABCmouse

This is found on the initial preschool/kindergarten screen. Once you past this puzzle, you get a new one. We focused on puzzles because they were JD’s favorite.

 

Both of my boys love an app where you can color.

 

I forget what section this game was under, but Daniel had to choose the starting letter of each picture to spell the word.

 

There are many books in this app, which they read to your child. As the story is read, they highlight words as they go. This particular one was a lesson on the letter b.

 

In this sight word game, you get to smash the bugs with the correct sight word. I thought this one was so fun that I could have played it myself. Not even kidding.

 

An important lesson!

Choosing Your Kids’ Level

I goofed when I signed Daniel up, and I started him on Kindergarten lessons. When he opened it up to a lesson on “Aa”, he got insulted and put it down, so be careful what level you choose! Haha!! He is in 1st grade now, so I switched it to the 1st grade level.

It was very simple to sign in as the parent and switch his level up one, and then he had better lessons.

John David, on the other hand, is not accustomed to playing games on an iPad, so I put him  on K3 so it would be super easy while he learned how to use the app. Once he got used to it, I upped him to K4 lessons.

John David LOVES these games. He’s already amassed hundreds of tickets, which he can use to buy all sorts of little digital things for his ABCmouse avatar and room. He was even excited to earn his avatar a pair of blue pants. “Oooooh! Blue pants. I wike blue pants!”

I know you’re wondering, and I was too! How much does this cost???

The first month is FREE. Afterwards, it’s $7.95/per month. Nice!

 

me and my little scholars

 

“Mom, can I pway dat game on your phone?” Batman is quite a fan of ABCmouse!

I wish had discovered this website years ago because I feel like it’s truly going to help the boys to keep ahead this summer!

Now, y’all, if you decide to try it out too, PLEASE click on my links in this post or on my website to take you to the ABCmouse.com website because I do earn a small fee for each referral I send them who signs up.

Let me know if you try it and what you thought! Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments!!

 

 

Want MORE marvelous, helpful parent tips and reviews??

Sign up below to join the Stories of Our Boys newsletter, which goes out every other Thursday, and receive this free e-book about tween parenting! This is a compilation by 30 bloggers, and I wrote a chapter of it, about my favorite 2 books to encourage good character!

 

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10 Tips to Save Money and Hassle on Your D.C. Vacation

10 Tips to Save Money and Hassle on your washington, d.c. vacation

our 10th anniversary

Last year, we went to Disney World for vacation. This year we need something more affordable, so we are going to Washington, D.C.!!!!

Alan has been after me to write a post about how to save money and hassle on a D.C. vacation for a while now because it’s something we loved. When we lived in the D.C. area, we had so much fun taking our friends and family around to see the monuments and Smithsonian museums.

So I finally got around to it. I wrote an article for Monterey Premier about Saving Money and Hassle on a Washington, D.C. vacation.

Here’s a snippet:

#8. Most importantly, buy a Metro pass, and you will be fine.
The Metro is a perfectly safe form of transportation, and it is the most affordable way to do D.C. There are even buses that run between Metro stops that you can hop on with your Metro pass.
I used to walk around D.C. with my Metro map, but now that everyone has smart phones, you can give your Google Maps app a good work-out on this trip! Which leads me to my next tip…..

#9. Download the Metro app!!!……..

Click here to read more!

10 Tips to Save Money and Hassle on your washington, d.c. vacation

10 Tips to Save Money and Hassle on Your Washington, D.C. Vacation

 

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