Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Welcome Home Baby!! (and a freebie!)

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the extended absence, but there is good news...Baby Rosalee is happily with us at home!

On Wednesday, February 23rd, I woke up at 5:30 with a contraction. I continued to do so every ten minutes until I finally gave in and got out of bed at 8:00. I was positive that it was "Baby Day"!

I called hubby to warn him that he might expect a call to come home sometime through the day. Luckily, that gave him enough time to prepare for someone to cover his classes, but I didn't have to make him skip out! I worked through contractions getting steadily closer and stronger until 7:00pm when we finally got our things together and headed for the hospital.

After only 4 hours at the hospital (compared to 40 with the first and 14 with the second) we had a sweet little baby girl with us!! At 8lb15 and 53cm, she was right between the sizes of her two sisters at birth.

We were fortunate enough to get a fantastic doctor who, being from Egypt and working at a VERY busy hospital, had delivered over 20,000 babies. 

We had a good stay in the hospital with no complications, no recovery pain, and a visit from big sister (other big sis had a cold and stayed home). 

So now, as a thank you for reading about our newest addition, here is the printable I made while in labour! It's a set of ABC exercise cards/Dramatic play cards. Very exciting! Open them up and you'll see what I mean...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mommy to the Rescue!

To Whom it May Concern:

I am not indestructible. I am not Super Woman. I don't get nearly as much done in any given day as I would like to. I'm now almost 38weeks pregnant and at almost any given moment I can barely keep my eyes open.

But there is good news...


Yes, that's right, my mother comes on the 16th to rescue me from my crazy tiredness! Nanna to the rescue. I couldn't be luckier. I have such an awesome Mommy. She is coming on the 16th and staying for several weeks while we have the baby and get through the first little while.

Thanks, Mommy!

On another note, all of this being insanely tired has got me thinking again about how I can be more organized. See, my problem is that I'm REALLY good at planning - not always so good at execution. That has been getting better, but there is still room for improvement. The other problem is that I often try to take on too much at once, so my new plan, which I have been implementing slowly, is to add one or two things at a time.

Here are some of my future plans to keep the house running smoothly and as we would like it:

1) Stick to my routine of doing our calender time and workboxes each day.

2) Continue doing my learning goals for the girls.

3) Have a system by which hubby and I do other fun things together in the evenings besides "watch TV" and "watch more TV".

4) Get some music organized so we have a variety of music to listen to throughout the day (Christian, world music, classical, etc.).

5) Start doing "Once-A-Month-Cooking". Seriously. No matter how hard I try to plan my menus, I fail terribly at sticking to them. I think that taking one day out of my month each month would be MUCH more convenient. I mean, would I even be able to cook a meal every night with three under 30 months?!

I'm sure there are LOTS more things I could be doing, but those are the ones that pop into my mind right away.

So, what are some things that you do to stay organized and on top of things?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Workbox Wrap-up!

This post is a little late, but better late than never!!

As  previously mentioned, we started workboxes last Monday. It was such a great success that I wish we would have had them for the first week of our Polar Regions unit as well!! We got SO much accomplished in one week and I am please to announce that we reach almost every one of our 68 learning goals for a two week period (the ones we didn't were my fault for just not introducing them.

For anyone who doesn't know what workboxes are, it's basically a homeschool organization tool by which you place 12 activities in boxes each day and that's your day's school work. It keeps things on track, helps you to vary the content, and helps the student visually see the end nearing. There's a lot more to it, I'm sure, but there it is in a nutshell. is a peek into our workbox week:

Here are two of our days worth of workboxes. Just to give you an idea of what a day looks like, day 1 had:

- Coloured Paper Camoflauge game
- Arctic/Antarctic animal flashcards
- World Geography cards (for use with the large wall map)
- Bears on a Balance activity
- Sorting Bags
- "at" family initial sound matching game
- "The Caterpillar" poem basket
- Arctic Animal sight word game
- Chinese and French picture books
- Artist of the Week Painting Flashcards
- Candyland
- Stamping with Samll Stampers and Inkpad

And here are some random snippits from the week's activities:

 Lily sorting seashells by type of shell. We also sorted bears by size, animals by species, toys by color, etc.

 You can't see it well here, but this is Lily doing her camouflage activity. I cut out animals from various colours of paper and Lily matched them to the place the would camouflage best after a discussion on what camouflage is.

 Lily doing her Canadian map puzzle. I got this at the Dollarama and I swear it's the best two bucks ever spent!! She LOVES it and will do it many times in a row!

 Violet playing with the worms she scoffed from Lily's sensory bin. Why worms? We haven't changed our bin since Halloween!

 Violet entertaining us with a little guitar music while we work.

 Lily doing her "The Caterpillar" poetry basket. I got this idea from Counting Coconuts.

 Lily learning to collage with scrap paper. This was actually an improptu activity after doing an activity from her "I Can Paste!" book. She wanted more and I just couldn't say no! Look how intense she looks!

Doing balancing/Weight prediction activities with Daddy.

There were LOTS more activities during the week, but I don't intend to make a mile long post every week. Some of our other favourites, however, were:

- Camoflauge I Spy: I made an all white scene with all white animals hiding in at an laminated it. Lily then had to find the hiding animals. 

- Fabric Strip Sequencing: I made various lengths of cut scrap fleece and Lily sequence them by length. She was obsessed with this. She wanted to do it every day.

- Secondary Colours Experiement: We mixed together the primary colours to get the secondary colours. Great fun! Especially painting with the coloured water on coffee filters afterwards!

So, that was our week! This week we're on to birds and we have lots of fun things in our boxes!! Do you have workboxes too? What fun activities are in your boxes this week??

Does "Beans and Wieners" Count?

Yet another edition of Menu Plan Monday!!! (though wait, it's technically Tuesday by a few minutes...I'll just pretend I'm in Alberta...Anywho...

Last week turned out really well. Where I do have to admit that I made some substitutions based on how I was feeling that particular day, having a menu in place actually help ensure that there was a meal on the table everyday. Well, except that day that we had corndogs for dinner. I can't, in good conscience, call that a meal. But we just won't talk about that, k? Oh, and then there were the "Beans and Weiners" that I laced with ten tonnes of veggies. But that was a request from hubby. By the way, I have NEVER made beans and wieners. Ever. It's a miracle it tasted good- I threw everything in there!

I hope to have similar, or even greater, success with the menu plan this week, so here's my plan:

Monday: Leftover Spaghetti
Tuesday: Jambalaya (This recipe isn't exactly how I make it, but still extremely delicious!)
Wednesday: Baked Ham, Mixed Vegetables, and Extremely-Mushroom-Heavy Scalloped Potatoes (mushrooms were on sale and Lily LOVES them)
Thursday: Thai Peanut Chicken
Friday: Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup and Tomato Avocado Sandwiches with Vegan Mayo
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Veggie Burgers

As you can see, I was still not brave enough to add in lunches and breakfast. Maybe someday. Maybe.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Excuses, Excuses...

I feel terrible for not posting more often. I know I shouldn't - this definitely shouldn't be anywhere near the top of my priority list (sorry guys) - but I do. I feel bad. I know there are people watching for post and I'm not making them. It makes me a little sad. I have excuses...babies, pregnancy, husband, school, cleaning...but really, what's 30 minutes a day to post? So, I guess I'm going to try to make a blogging schedule much like I schedule everything else!

This is my proposed plan:

Monday - Menu Plan Monday
Wednesday - What's in the Workbox Wednesday
Weekend - Weekly Review

...and whatever else I happen to post. Maybe this will work, maybe not.

In the meantime, you'll find my learning goals for both girls for tis week here. I really felt like Violet was getting the short end of the stick, so I made some for her too!

I'm going to try really hard tomorrow (or sometime in the near future...) to make a post about our Arctic Unit and the success of our workboxes. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Evil Tot Schoolers...

As you can see from the majority of the content here at Teach Cook Love, I am really big on "homeschooling" my children. Now, my girls are only 25 months old, 11.5 months old, and not-quite-yet- born. This doesn't stop me. Not at all! In fact this is the best time to teach our little ones. Their tiny little brains are like sponges! AND it gives us the opportunity to show them that learning can be fun!

So, where am I going with this? I tend to blog about my activities with the girs as well as make regular Facebook posts about our time together, so my views on early learning are certainly no secret.Well, recently I had a very well meaning friend of the family take it upon herself to send me a message about the dangers of my practices. Now, if this was someone with whom I had a long-standing "Facebook Relationship" by which she posted to say things like "Happy Birthday to the girls!" or "Congrats on the pregnancy!" I would not mind. This however, was not the case. She had, in fact, NEVER said ANYTHING to me on Facebook before! This is what she decided would be our first FB correspondence:

 "...i know you mean well but they are just babies and are only little children once. both you and they should just enjoy their childhood."

I tried to write back to her saying,

"Hi *****! We only do learning activities when it's fun
Violet cries when I stop and says, "More! More""
Don't worry, I'm not a total nutcase drilling them so they can be geniuses."

She, of course, did not want to have an ACTUAL conversation about it, so she disappeared. I then updated my status to read:

...wants to clarify for all of those people who think I'm a nutter stealing my children's childhood by teaching them - it's all play for us! We stop when they are not interested, but normally they BEG for more. Violet cries when I try to stop, Lily yells, "Wanna learn more, Mom!" Rest assured, I am not tying them down and propping their eyes open with toothpicks while I show them flashcards! 

Maybe it was petty, but it made me feel better!

Seriously, people, what could you even DO with a young child that was not educational?? I can't even imagine how that would be possible. Seriously, please do tell. Enlighten me!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - and FOLLOWERS!

Well first let me say that I am extremely excited to enter my blog today and see that my very tiny following is growing! YIPPEE! I still stand by my promise that as soon as I reach 25 followers I will host a giveaway so keep watch!

As most of you know, I LOVE to cook. Somehow though with the children, preparing things for homeschool, spending time with hubby, and being tired and pregnant, we still manage to somehow order take-out far more than I am confortable with. Okay, it's really less than once a week but that is WAY too often for me. I though that, to combat this craziness, I would start menu planning again. I have planned out our meals for the next four weeks (assuming baby #3 doesn't make her arrival before that) but will post them one week at a time. it goes, my first "Menu Plan Monday"!

Monday: Mushroom & White Bean Alfredo
Tuesday: Tunori Sandwiches and Mushroom Barley Soup
Wednesday: Goat Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Chicken with Herb Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
Thursday: Chickpea & Spinach Curry
Friday: Jambalaya
Saturday: Perogies
Sunday: Leftovers

A few things to note about my menu this week:

- I haven't gone as far as to plan out breakfast and lunch as well. I may decide to add that in next week if I'm able to stick to my plan this week.

- You will notice that there are a lot of meatless recipes. We are not vegan, but we do eat vegan or vegetarian meals several times a week.

- There are very few links to recipes. Unfortunately, I mostly make it up out of my head! I will, however, try to write down some of the better recipes as I go so I can share.

As a side note, our schooling efforts are going really well! We started on the Workbox System this week and it's going very well! More on that later!

Monday, January 17, 2011

An Amazing Day!

I have to say, I'm pretty sure your children are capable of more than you think they are. Why do I say that? Because I think my children (and all children, for that matter) are very capable little individuals and they STILL manage to suprise me at least once everyday! Today, of course, was no exception.

I think the most amazing thing that happened today was in the aftermath of doing a geography lesson with Lily. I finally put our large wall map up at Lily's level (after 4 months of having it sitting in the corner...bad Mommy!). We did our geography lesson in which she pointed out 20 countries. That was impressive enough, but then...

A couple hours after we had done our lesson Lily went down for a nap. Violet was just waking up from hers, so I went to retreive her from the bedroom. As we passed my the map in the hallway, she began to reach for it. I though, "Why not...?" and held her in front of the map and asked, "Violet, where's Russia?" and SHE SHOWED ME!! I continued to do that with *14* other countries and my 11 month old baby knew where all of them were just from watching her sister! Aren't children just amazing!?

I am in the midst of making country flag cards to use in our geography lessons but, in the meantime, check these ones out:

Aside from our amazing geography journey, we managed to complete about 10% of our learning goals for the next two weeks in just one day. I'm so excited to say that today was such a success that I think it may keep me motivated to keep up the momentum for the rest of the week!

So, the moral of today's story is simple - never assume that your child is not capable of doing something! Let them try and the may just surprise you!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I'm Back!!! With Learning Goals!!

Wow...June? Really? I'm such a slacker. But now I'm back with a renewed vigour! Maybe you should ask me if I still feel that way in a few weeks when I have THREE babies under 26 months...

The two we already have are sure getting big!

Anyways, I am really trying to be deliberate and organized with my homeschooling, especially for Lily. In an attempt to accomplish all of the things that I would like to in a given time span, I have decided to make two week lists of learning goals.

So, here is our list of goals for this week and next:

  • Understands how polar bears keep warm
  • Can identify/name basic Arctic animals
  • Can identify/name basic Antarctic animals
  • Can sort Arctic and Antarctic animals
  • Understands what camouflage is
  • Is familiar with how several Arctic/Antarctic animals camouflage
  • Knows at least one fact about each Arctic/Antarctic animal studied

  • Can locate Antarctica on a map
  • Can locate the Arctic circle on a map
  • Can locate 25 countries on the world map
  • Can locate all Canadian Provinces on Canada map
  • Is familiar with appearance/homes of Arctic peoples

  • Can identify the widest/wider/narrowest/narrower of a pair or group
  • Can sequence narrowest to widest
  • Can identify the thickest/thicker/thinnest/thinner of a pair or group
  • Can sequence thinnest to thickest
  • Can predict which of two objects will be heavier or lighter
  • Can choose the group of items with more/less/most/least

Language Arts
  • Can recite “The Caterpillar” by Christina G Rosseti
  • Can define “noun”
  • Can define common nouns, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, and cousin.
  • Can identify the letter (the capital) that makes a noun a “proper noun”
  • Can read 20 sight words
  • Can say the sounds made by the letters b, c, f, h, m, p, r, s, and v.
  • Can read all cvc “at” family words (bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat, vat)

Foreign Language
  • Can say the Chinese word for “cold”
  • Can say the French word for “cold”
  • Can name 5 objects in Chinese
  • Can name 5 objects in French
  • Can sing one French song
  • Can sing on Chinese song
  • Can sign “cold” in ASL
  • Does the ASL actions to “Humpty Dumpty” (wall, fall, horses, men, together, again)

  • Can name the first man and woman God created
  • Can name where the first man and woman lived
  • Can tell why Adam and Eve had to leave Eden
  • Can tell who told Eve to eat the apple
  • Can recite Genesis 1:1
  • Can recite James 1:17
  • Says evening prayer alone at least one time

Music Theory/History/Appreciation
  • Can tap one simple rhythm
  • Can choose between a C and F when hearing the notes played
  • Can identify portraits of Beethoven and Bach
  • Can choose composers portrait (between Beethoven and Bach) based on recited facts
  • Is familiar with the music of Beethoven
  • Is familiar with “throat singing”

Performing Arts
  • Can perform three basic tap dance steps
  • Can perform the basic Cha Cha step
  • Can play one guitar chord (Em?) while holding guitar in proper position

  • Is familiar with the works of Van Gogh
  • Can name at least three Van Gogh works
  • Can identify Van Gogh From a portrait
  • Knows at least three facts about Van Gogh
  • Knows what secondary colours combined primary colours make

Phys. Ed.
  • Can do three yoga positions when named
  • Can play one game on the Zippity

  • Can play a basic mouse control game
  • Can differentiate between left and right

Wish us luck! I'm sure we will need it!