Friday, June 25, 2021

Bucket List Update!

 We have been BUSY BEES around here this summer. It's already almost half over (HOW?!) and because we are currently trying to sell our house, we have stayed on the go as much as possible. Hence, we've done a lot of things! We still have a pretty long way to go, though. The boys are headed to Lake Oconee this weekend. The move is impending, but renovations are not finished yet. (We are SO hoping to be in there before the end of the summer so the boys have some playtime with friends!) We've been documenting a lot of our travels over on www.thesouthgeorgiafamily.blogspot.com. If you'd like to follow along there as well, please do!
















Sunday, May 16, 2021

Summer Bucket List

 Well, I am 16 days behind on this, but here it is! I have made a Summer Bucket List for close to a decade now. Sometimes we complete a lot of it and sometimes we don't, but it's fun to dream about things we can do and get ideas for days that we don't have much going on. The older the boys get, the more often that we don't have much downtime, but we are going to try to squeeze in as much as we can anyway. We have a BUSY summer ahead. We are already signed up for Baseball Camp, Tennis Camp, VBS, Pickleball Camp, and Church Camp. Goodness. That's five of our ten weeks already! We are also moving SOON and lots of the details on this list are getting that process wrapped up. The boys enjoy checking the items off each summer and I'll continue this tradition as long as they'll let me.

They'll finish school on Friday of this week and we could not be more ready. To say we are worn down, exhausted, and frustrated is an understatement. It's been a tough year for all of us. We are looking forward to a more relaxed pace of doing what we want to be doing! I can't wait!




Wednesday, February 17, 2021

How to Eat Fried Worms

I've shared a few times recently about our Boys' Book Club and the books we have read. You can see Stone Fox and Winnie the Pooh.  We also read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but I didn't host those so I don't have pictures or activities to share. (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would be EASY and fun! I know the mom that hosted used those candy buttons as the lickable wallpaper!)

Our next turn to host was after reading How to Eat Fried Worms. I learned a few lessons with this one. First, the kids that attend really NEED to have read the book beforehand for it to be fun (I know this should be common sense...). Second, there IS a limit to the number of boys you should have. HA! They were way less interested in this because they just wanted to go outside and we had enough that there were some arguments.

BUT...the book was fun and hosting was a lot of fun, too!

Snacks were the best part...



I had some ideas for looking at the parts of a worm and talking about the book, but we had a fair few that hadn't read and they were restless so we turned on the movie instead...


The boys thought this one was HILARIOUS. It's a good read for elementary kids who will be delighted by the disgusting topic!


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Winnie-The-Pooh

I've been doing recaps of our Boys' Book Clubs of the past because I'm not sure I ever shared them here. We've been doing a lot of reading together at home during our pandemic lives and it made me think about these...You can see our Stone Fox post HERE and our The One and Only Ivan post HERE.

Our second book for Boys' Book Club was Winnie-The-Pooh by A.A. Milne. An old classic, and one I wasn't sure 3rd graders would be interested in, but they actually liked it! This one was less labor-intensive with not so many activities (the snacks are always the best part and then they really want to play), but they loved it! 



We ate Honeycombs cereal and Teddy Grahams, "Tigger Tails" (puffy Cheetos) and "Pooh Sticks" (pretzel sticks). I can't remember if I had honey sticks or not, but for some reason I *THINK* we did.

After we fixed our snack plates, I read Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick. If you haven't read this, RUN out and get it right now. It is such a precious story of the details behind Winnie-the-Pooh. I love it and I almost cry every time I read it. (I read it last year to James' 4th grade class and even they loved it!)

I also bought "Pooh ears" for the occasion and thought they'd NEVER wear them. Well...



And finally, we purchased and watched The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which follows many of the stories in this first Pooh book.

Another successful Boys' Book Club was enjoyed by all!

Thursday, February 4, 2021

The One and Only Ivan


The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is one of our FAVORITE read-alouds ever. It is just such a beautiful book! Based on a real-life gorilla that lived out his final days at Zoo Atlanta (I visited him many times growing up), Ivan is a "shopping mall gorilla," that is on display in a glass enclosure in Tacoma, Washington. A very fictionalized version of his real-life story, we meet Ivan and some of the animals he is friends with in his lonely existence. 


After reading our book, we invited a friend over for our first-ever Boys' Book Club experience. It was SO FUN. We had book-themed snacks...

(Chocolate donut holes are "Me Balls." Me Balls are Ivan's name for poop. As gross as that is, the boys thought it was HYSTERICAL.)

(Grapes and Trail Mix, which consisted of popcorn, Froot Loops, Circus Peanuts, and Animal Crackers.)

Will dressed for the occasion!


(One activity was to design Ivan's domain. There was a LOT of description of Ivan's shopping mall home and I asked the boys to draw what they thought it looked like. You can find this worksheet HERE. Will's TOTALLY impressed me. When we did this, he was only 6 years old. He is NOT my academic child, but he is super creative. I wish I'd labeled everything he added to the domain below, but you can see that he is on a tire swing, he has bars, there are banana peels, I think there's a red blanket, etc. I was SO PROUD and impressed! The big boys added one or two things and then moved on. LOL!)


We also did Ivan handprints. These turned out so cute! I love a cute piece of handprint art!

Finally, we showed the boys some documentaries I found on YouTube of the REAL Ivan. Similar stories HERE and HERE. This was before the movie was made, but you can also find Disney's version of this on their streaming service. Katherine Applegate has also written a sequel to the story called The One and Only Bob about Ivan's canine friend who lived with him in his domain.

If you haven't read this, it's an EXCELLENT one to add to your library and share with your children. It DOES have some sad moments, so be aware, but the story is just so beautiful.

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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Stone Fox

Several years ago, the boys got interested in my Book Club meetings and decided that they, too, wanted to have a Book Club. We dubbed it Boys' Book Club (so creative!) and asked a friend to join us for the first meeting. We met a few times following that, but when the pandemic hit last year it definitely got put on the back burner. The boys and I have continued to read together, but we didn't do another "Book Club" until we began reading Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner this month.



I knew NOTHING about this one going in. Generally, they're books that I've read before (I'll share more about our Book Clubs in another post), but this one stumped me. It kept coming up as a good read aloud and that's what the boys chose. I knew that it was a book about dog sledding, but beyond that I was clueless.

The first thing we did was to head off to the library for books about dog sledding and winter. We found plenty! Our favorite was Togo by Robert Blake. We haven't seen the movie and I had NO IDEA what the story was about, but it was so good! A diptheria epidemic emerges in Alaska in 1925 and it's the true story of a man and his team of dogs who helped delivered the serum needed to control it. The dog that became famous from the story is Balto, who got the serum to the location it was needed, but Togo's team (and Leonhard Sepppala) was the team who traveled the longest to get it where it was going. We also checked out Sled Dogs Run by Jonathan London, Dogteam by Gary Paulsen, and Wind-Wild Dog by Barbara Joose.



Next, we read the book, chapter by chapter, over the course of about two weeks. It is a quick, short book, but we just did one chapter at a time. We also read our picture books to supplement AND I found several movies and documentaries to add in so we could learn a little more about something we knew NOTHING about.

We have already enjoyed Iron Will, a movie about dog sledding that I watched over and over in my childhood. We've found several documentaries about dog sledding that have been interesting. James watched a movie called Kayla earlier this week. Togo is going to be on our list for Friday night!

The culmination was an Escape Room that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers. My only job here was cutting the pieces out and monitoring the boys as they put it together. They LOVED this. It was SO FUN. The average time to finish said 45 minutes, but mine easily finished and "escaped" in under 25 minutes. I will look for these again in the future. This one had a section on plot, characters, vocabulary, and solving the secret message. It was easy entertainment for a rainy afternoon.



We started a new book last night that I'm working on activities for. I hope to finish that one sometime in February and share here. I'll also try to go back and compile our other books we have done previously. It's an EASY way to read together as a family (even if there's sometimes grumbling!)  and squeeze in some learning. I love it SO much. Hopefully we will be able to have friends join us again soon...although we are nearing middle school and our time is limited on this, I know!!!

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