Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Busy, busy, busy

Sigh, I am SOOOO working on trying to organize my life for better time management. I feel like I spend too much time cleaning, doing dishes, and cooking and not enough time teaching, playing, sharing with you, and just enjoying! Isn't that last one what a good life is really all about? Appreciating and enjoying everything you have been blessed with?

So what have we been doing lately? A lot and nothing all at the same time. We abandoned formal curriculum for the year because Baby Monkey is just too crazy right now. Honestly, I don't think Big Monkey has missed it much. Me? Well, it has caused me to have to actually do a little more work than printing out all those printouts and sitting and doing those with Big Monkey. Why? Well, because I'm still trying to teach him skills and life lessons without a formal schedule or any mappped out aids. I'm having to come up with it all on my own!

Recently I found 2 lists that I really find useful. The first is a list of 71 things your child should know before kindergarten. I found this very useful for myself since I had no idea what Big Monkey needed to know for kindergarten vs. what was just an added bonus if he did learn. Now I at least have some guidelines on what to focus on in the next 2 years. I think this list would be a great thing for those of you with kids in a traditional preschool as well. It will allow you to see how your preschool is preforming. Not saying you have to leave them if they aren't, but at least you'll have an idea if you need to supplement with some stuff at home. We all want the best start for our little ones in school, right?

The second list is a life skills by age list. Man, was this helpful! This list let me figure out if I was pushing Big Monkey to do things that really he wasn't ready to do (or didn't need to be doing). Haha! In reality, I mostly wasn't pushing enough. So now we're working on stuff from the age 2 category and starting on the age 3 category. This is mostly what we've been working on lately. The first list is more for my reference as I am planning our "curriculum" for next year.

The boys have been enjoying some fun activities though. Unfortunately, we've missed out on a lot of our fun playdate options lately because of 1)weather, 2) flat tires on the car - blah, or 3) unexpected illnesses in Mama Monkey, Baby Monkey, and extended Monkey family members. Everyone seems to be on the mend now though. Some of our activities though have been:

Painting Mama Monkey's bathtub with shaving cream. For about a week they wanted to do this almost every day for about an hour at a time! Since the tub is right next to my shower (I can see right into the tub) I was able to shower, dress, and dry/style my hair completely guilt free! No TV in order for me to get a shower, no tears from anyone. Woot! Then Baby Monkey got Roseola and didn't want to be in cold in the tub and they just haven't been as excited about it since.

They thought that painting each other (mostly Baby Monkey) was a blast. The added benefit is that they both got clean in the process and didn't need a bath that night.

We've also spent a lot of time building pillow forts or castles as Big Monkey calls them. I'm getting tired of picking up all my couch pillows three times a day though. I'm also afraid they are not going to hold up to the 2 boys. The backside of the couch is already not looking so good - the leather is peeling. Ugh... So I dug out some "play pillows" for them to use instead and put the couch pillows on off limits. Think that one through before you let them do it the first time or it's a fight to get them to switch.

Lastly, we've been doing a lot of gardening! We pulled up tons of weeds from the garden area around the playground and tilled all the dirt to make it soft. Then we're filling the planters with soil and putting up a railing to keep the kids from falling into the garden while they play. This is going to be a fruits, veggie, and herb garden that will hopefully bring down our grocery bill during the growing season! Can't get more organic than home grown. Between our garden and all the stuff my in laws grow and bring over, we may not have to ever buy fresh produce again. Um... well, I guess first I should see if my green thumb is really that good or not.

Here is Baby Monkey helping Daddy Monkey move dirt from the truck to the garden beds. Big Monkey usually catches a ride too. This is too much for me to handle with a load full of dirt. Hmmm.. he sort of looks like a baby chipmunk instead of a monkey here.

 Big Monkey showing off our first plants of the season - strawberry plants and asparagus roots. Not sure if we planted the later correctly or not. Guess we'll find out if they grow. The instructions were a bit confusing. More plants to come!

Our banana tree (or stick). The leaves will come back once the warm weather returns. 

We also spent some time exploring what we found in the front yard this week. A big hit was the small rocks in the front planter. The brought me rocks we different textures, colors, and sizes. We talked about them all and even Baby Monkey was feeling their textures and pointing to the different colors. Now if only we can get him to have some vocabulary...

And soon to come - lessons in the kitchen. Our sourdough starter arrived today and is in the process of being fed! We're going to try out some homemade tortillas and sourdough bread. Yum!

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