Thanksgiving

My little one had the week off of school and we have enjoyed it. I have been doing a lot of cleaning this week, all of the stuff that normally gets put off until later. It has been nice to learn and be together without doing all of the book work. This week we did two small crafts and she had a ton of fun.

We bought a turkey decorating kit from Target for only $1. It ended up being a cute little center piece for the table. My little one was able to put it together for the most part by her self. When she was building the body the wings had to be put into the legs and that didn’t seem to work. They kept popping out. We ended up using a little bit of tape and the turkey was able to stand.

Then she decorated it with a lot of stickers. I like the finished project.

This was a fast craft that didn’t make any mess, I am going to have to check out the dollar section at Target more often. They seem to have a lot of crafty items. I also got a 10 pack of foam shape hands there too. We used those for another craft.
First she glued the hand to construction paper.

Then she cut out feathers from construction paper and glued them onto the fingers. She cut out a beak and glued on a googlie eye. Then she gave it some feet and decorated the page with some of the left over stickers from the turkey craft. She ended up making a card out of it and giving it to her grandma.
 
Next week it will be back to more school work but I was glad we were able to have a little bit of fun. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving!



Habit Burger Grill

While we were in Aliso Viejo for my little ones gymnastic meet we had lunch at the Habit Burger Grill. The restaurant was extremely clean and the service was fast. The cashier was friendly and very efficient. The atmosphere in the restaurant was nice as well.

I ordered a cheeseburger and a garden salad. The cheeseburger was moist, juicy and cooked just right. I was expecting a small salad but I got one that was big enough to share. The cheeseburger was $3.45 and the salad was $3.95.

 I feel it was well worth the price. My mom ordered the pastrami meal which came with french fries and a medium drink for only $9.50. She couldn’t even finish it because it was so filling. She said it was a very good sandwich.

My little one ordered the grilled cheese meal. Boring, but it is what she likes. It came with fries, a piece of candy and a drink. She chose milk, but after she took a drink we found out it was sour. The switched it for juice instead. Her meal was only $3.95. After we ate we stopped in the restroom. I have to say outside of Disneyland I have NEVER seen a cleaner public restroom. I was very surprised to see that.

We all enjoyed our food and the prices as well. I would say that their cheeseburger would rank amongst an In and Out one and you can’t top that in my opinion! I wish that there was a restaurant closer to us but unfortunately there isn’t.

Weekend Get Away

 
We had a long drive to my little one’s championship meet so we decided to make a weekend out of it. The hotel that was closest to the meet and was giving discounted rated was the Renaissance ClubSport Hotel in Aliso Viejo California. We left Friday afternoon and had an adventure. I had printed directions to the hotel off of mapquest. I use that site a lot and normally it is fine. This time however the directions included toll roads which we had never used before. To top that off we forgot the GPS at home! We didn’t mind paying to use the toll road, but we didn’t know what we were doing or where we needed to be. It was a tad bit stressful but after two toll roads we made it to the hotel.

When we arrived we were greeted by a very nice lady in the lobby. We had a little issue because we don’t have credit cards just a debit card. I guess that they can’t put a hold on the debit card and charge it at the end of the stay like every other hotel we have been to. We got that little situation figured out and then headed to our room.

 
Now to be fair I am a member of the Disney Vacation Club and have not had to pay for a hotel in about five years. We always stay in a Disney hotel so this hotel was a bit different. It would not be our choice of a hotel as it was more of a fitness hotel. Two handicap adults and a child don’t exactly fit in at that type of hotel. That being said we did enjoy our stay.


The room looked very nice when we arrived. We stayed in room 418 it was a handicap accessible room.

 
 It had two full size beds, a desk area with a very comfortable computer chair, and a rolling table. The bathroom was beautiful.

 
 
The only complaint with the bathroom area would be that they didn’t give us enough towels. There were three of us but only two towels. That was an easy fix though. The shower was our favorite part. It had a seat that could fold down or be pushed up out of the way. The water stayed nice and hot and because of the seat I didn’t have to stand on one foot the entire time. (I still have a cast on my leg) There was also a TV, a closet area and a coffee maker. The view, although it was of the parking lot, was rather nice. The main thing missing from the room was a small refrigerator. That was disappointing as we have medication that needs to be kept cold, but the ice chest worked pretty well. Another thing that we were not too happy about was the coasters; they were used already and looked discussing. We threw them away.

 
The first night we didn’t do much. We took a shower, watched some television, ate dinner and relaxed.

 The next morning we slept in and then began our day. We brought along some food with us and ate breakfast in the room.

It was fairly cool that day. We went to find the gym that was hosting the meet, and it was good that we did because we got a little lost on the way. After figuring out where we needed to be the next day we were hungry. Since we didn’t have the GPS and didn’t know the area we didn’t go too far. We found the town center that had everything and looked for a place to eat lunch. We ate at The Habit Burger Grill. I had never been to one before but it was very nice.

Then we stopped at a few stores and decided to head back to the hotel.

 

When we returned to the hotel we were very disappointed at the state of the room.


 Again there were only two towels, the coasters that we had thrown away were back on the counter, the beds looked like they were made by someone who didn’t know what they were doing, and they didn’t leave any ice bags.


We called and got more towels and new bags for the ice bucket and decided to do a little school work.


After a while we headed down stairs to explore the hotel area. We found the gift shop closed it was only 7pm but it was already closed. We explored a little and found a sauna, work out room, and basket ball court. We didn’t use any of them. Then we looked at the restaurant. Unfortunately it was not our type of food. Everything was very high class and had a lot of sauces. With my food allergy I need to know everything that is in the food, so we couldn’t eat there. We went back to our room and ordered pizza from Porky’s Pizza. It was very good.


While we waited on the pizza we worked on some science lessons. She learned about worms, sponges, leaches and other creatures. After a few science lessons we played a few hands of UNO.


She won every hand and had a fun time.


The best part of being at a hotel to her though, is getting ice.


She loves to use the ice machine.


Our pizza arrived, we ate, and then got ready for bed. We packed up our stuff and got a good night sleep.


The next morning we checked out very easily and headed to the gymnastic meet.


Overall I would say the hotel was nice. It didn’t seem to be too kid friendly. House keeping left a lot to be desired but customer service and friendliness was excellent. We enjoyed our stay however it is not likely we would ever return. For those that enjoy working out and who want to spend time getting massages it would be a great fit. I think we will stick to Disney Hotels though.

 

Gymnastics

The fall season of gymnastics is over for the year so our life will be a little less hectic for a few months. Well less hectic with gymnastics anyways. Our weekends will not be taken up with meets. My little one is on the level three competitive team and they just competed in their championship meet last weekend.

It was the fourth meet away from the gym for the season and overall she had a great season. Where we live the level three gymnasts don’t receive actual scores for their routines, they are given a ribbon that represents a score within a certain range.
Green – Below 7.0
Blue – 7.0 to 7.475
Purple – 7.5 – 7.975
Hot Pink – 8.0 – 8.975
Rainbow -9.0 +

This season she received mostly rainbow and pink ribbons with only two purple ribbons on the bars.

The bars are her weakest event, she is working on her arm strength and hopefully her bar routine will improve. On the other hand she is great on the beam.

She received a rainbow ribbon all but one time on the balance beam. Her floor and vault vary, some meets she would get a pink ribbon and other meets she would get a rainbow one. A lot depended on if the judges were judging extra hard or not.

The girls don’t receive scores in an effort to keep the competition down. They don’t compete against each other but against their self. I like that idea but wish that they were given an actual score. My little one receives the highest ribbon on the beam most of the time so she feels like she doesn’t need to improve on any skills, but in reality she does. If she knew she scored a 9.1 she might work to get that score to a 9.5. On the other hand if she knew she was only .1 away from getting a rainbow on bars she might take her coaches corrections more seriously. Either way she had a lot of fun this season and did a great job.

She has a great coach who works with her very well. She is hard on her when she needs to be but doesn’t push to hard. My little one loves her coach, she has been working with her in some way for the last four and a half years.

She loves to compete, but this is my little ones favorite time at gymnastics. They are no longer practicing routines, but they are working on new skills. This is also the time of year that I won’t always stay at the gym and watch her. Having her home with me all of the time makes Christmas shopping a tad bit difficult so I have to grab every spare moment that I can. This year has gone by so fast. I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is next week. The good news is that my little one has the week off of school so we might be able to do a few fun crafts for the season. This will be the first year trying to make a corn free turkey dinner so wish me luck.

Halloween

We were running a little late on Halloween and I didn’t know if we were going to have time to carve my little one’s pumpkin before it got dark. Then when we walked down the Halloween aisle at the store and I saw these pumpkin dress up kits. They only cost $4.88 and when I asked my little one what she thought about them she was excited to try them out. The package said it would decorate 6 small to medium size pumpkins, and I think it really would have. It came with two different masks, different sized googlie eyes, pipe cleaners, pom pom balls, glue, and a lot of different glittery stickers.


After looking at the package she decided that she was going to make a cat out of her pumpkin. 

 It was a very easy way to decorate a pumpkin. The only thing I had to help her with was tying the string onto the mask. 

 Everything was provided except for scissors, but the only time we needed those was to open the glue. 

This was her finished pumpkin. We still have a lot of stuff left over that we can use on other crafts, and this was the easiest and cleanest pumpkin decorating we ever did. I know that a lot of the fun is in the mess of the pumpkin and digging out the seeds, but this year that just wasn’t able to happen. She had a lot of fun decorating her pumpkin this way. We might buy a kit like this next year. She could decorate it like this earlier in the month and then carve it a few days before Halloween. Twice the fun for not much of an extra cost.

 After her pumpkin was all finished she dressed up in her costume. and waited for it to be dark enough to trick or treat. It didn’t get dark in our area until 6:30. Then she when trick or treating around my grandma’s neighborhood. 

Showing off her tail.

Fixing her bow tie before we left.

 She had a blast trick or treating. We even stopped by a church that was handing out free hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy. After a while though, her leotard alone was too cold. We stopped back at grandma’s and put her long sleeve shirt on under the leotard.

 On the way home we stopped to get something to eat at Carrows. The waiter gave her this little cauldron with candy. She got a ton of candy. 

  

 This is a photo of all of her candy. Way to much for her, and I can’t eat the majority of it.

After we were home we looked on the computer and found out that her little team mate from gymnastics had fallen off of the monkey bars at school and broke her arm. She was at the hospital and didn’t get to trick or treat. She was okay, but won’t get to do gymnastics for about 6 weeks. The first thing out of my little one’s  mouth was, “I need to give her some of my candy.” We told her that was a nice idea and were expecting her to come out with a few pieces. Nope, she filled up one of the buckets she had from Mc Donald’s and gave it to her today. We asked her if she was sure she wanted to give her so much and she said, well she is my best friend and since I have a lot and she didn’t get any candy I need to give it to her. It was one of those proud moments knowing we are raising her the right way.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!

We Made It Through!

We made it through the first quarter of school! My little one worked very hard and completed all of her assigned lessons and her study island lessons too. We had planned on taking it a little slower and putting more fun into school, but that didn’t exactly happen. Our teacher wants the work samples for the second quarter turned in within the first two weeks of the second quarter. That means the lap book we were going to do for science is out because with our work samples she has to do all of the worksheets and any projects that are in the lesson exactly as they are written. We will have to do that lap book on another unit. Our school requires 1 work sample per subject every quarter, but our teacher requires 2 from each subject every quarter. My little one has been working on it for a week and has completed her samples for; math, history, language arts, and art. The only ones she has left is science. Halloween is just around the corner and I wanted to throw in some holiday fun. Hopefully in the next few days we can squeeze some in. We have her pumpkin and her costume all ready. She is counting down the hours until she gets to trick or treat. This is the first year that she won’t be a princess for Halloween  She finally out grew the dresses at the Disney Store so we had to pick something different. Luckily she is easy to please and decided to be a cat. Her costume only cost us $4.96 and is really cute. I will post pictures after Halloween. I hope everyone has a safe Halloween!

Life Lessons

Tuesday’s and Thursday’s are very busy days for us. On those days my mom, my little one and I take care of my grandma. We do all of her shopping and running around, go through her mail, and basically take care of anything that is needed. My little one also has gymnastics for two hours each of those days. On those days we don’t get a lot of book work done, but learn a lot about life.
My grandma has the onset of alzheimers and is very forgetful. Being exposed to that I feel is a learning experience in its self. Learning to answer the same questions over and over, to help her find things that we found just a few minutes a go, and learning how to be helpful but not too helpful. That is one are we are working on. She likes to be too helpful and sometimes grandma gets upset with that. I feel she is also learning that family should take care of each other and that you can’t always put yourself first.
On another level she is learning a lot of school type things in our weekly adventures. When we go shopping she helps to compare prices between name brand and generic items. She helps to see if it is a better deal to buy the bigger or smaller quantities of merchandise. We work on rounding skills, and estimating. With the produce she has learned all about how to read the scales and how to pick good fruit. One day the manager of the produce department saw her weighing the apples and she read the scale wrong, so the lady helped her read it and explained what everything meant. Ever since that day she loves to weigh the produce.
As far as socialization, she talks to everyone. She has conversations at the store with the cashier and other employees. She talks to the waitresses at the restaurant we go to for lunch with my grandma. She talks to people so much that when we walk into the restaurant they all tell her hi. It kind of reminds me of Norm from Cheers. She pays the bill at lunch and figures out how much change we should get and has learned how to figure out what we should leave for a tip.

After we take care of grandma we head to gymnastics. On top of the physical benefits she learns many things here as well. She learns team work, respect, and dedication. She has learned to take turns, and how to get along with kids that are not exactly the friendliest. She has learned to get up when she falls and to cheer for her teammates even when they fail. There are countless lessons that she has learned at the gym.

We are in the car a lot going from place to place and when we are, my little one loves to play her Leapster. She has logic, math, and science games and loves them all. We also practice spelling words or multiplication facts as well. We have to do extra lessons throughout the week to ensure we stay on task, but I feel she learns a ton on our busy, on the go days.

Where Are We Now?

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Last year we were always ahead in every subject. We flew through spelling and vocabulary and didn’t even have to touch the math book very often. We did school four days a week and life was great. This year it is a different story. My little one is in fourth grade and the work load has gotten a lot harder. Vocabulary that should only take 40 minutes ends up taking over an hour, spelling is requiring a lot more practice time and science has become a lot more in depth. To add to all of that I was working overnights and then had to get a cast put on my foot again so our schedule has been up in the air. A lot of the “fun” aspects of school have had to be pushed to the back burner in order to get all of the main workload finished. We are behind for the first time. Not by a lot but I feel like we are playing catch up. The end of our first quarter is in a week and we are working steadily to get all of her assignments finished before that time.

One of the WONDERFUL requirements with CAVA is Study Island. It is an online test prep. She is assigned 10 topics in language arts and 10 topics in math each quarter that she has to earn a blue ribbon in. She has to go on and answer questions, usually 10 to 15 and if she scores high enough she gets a blue ribbon. The math is not a problem except they are testing her on subjects that she has not learned yet this year. She hates to read so the language arts part is like pulling teeth. The stories are very long and often there is a different story for each question. I don’t feel that this test prep is necessary, but it is a requirement so we grin and bear it. Luckily she finished the last of her study island ribbons today.

I have been working a lot more with her spelling words. She writes them more than required, plays games on the computer, and she is finally grasping them. Her favorite thing to do is write them on her white board easel. She also practices them while doing jumping jacks or stretching. We don’t do the workbook pages for the spelling curriculum because the were frustrating to both of us. In her spelling program she has to learn how to spell all of the States and learn the capitals and location of each. To help with that she is doing a lot of puzzles and completing two workbooks that I found at Target in the dollar section. They are a little young for her, but she is learning and having fun so it is fine with me.

Vocabulary has been a headache. The words and definitions are giving her problems and I do not care for the book. We are sticking it out and working on it daily even though she only is assigned it 5 times every two weeks. Practice, practice, practice is all that we can do. We will get through this.

She has been working hard in history. This year history has a lot more writing. With the curriculum we have, if the student understands the concept and can pass the test she doesn’t have to do any more work for the lesson. We tried that last year, and it didn’t work. She needs to write down the answers so that she has something to come back and study before the unit tests. Since writing is her subject that she needs the most help with writing about what she learned sometimes takes a while. It has gotten better as the year has progressed. She just finished her unit test on the constitution, American Revolution , and French Revolution and passed it with 93%.
As I said, science is a lot more in depth this year. We just started the unit on the human body and we are going to try lap booking this unit in order to bring some fun into it. She is expected to learn a lot in this unit. She normally takes notes for science but I think getting to make a project will be a lot of fun for her. It will be our first attempt at lap booking so wish us luck.
Math is her best subject. She is working on measurement right now and doing a lot of word problems converting units. She is understanding it and I don’t foresee any problems in the future.
In literature we just finished the Bible stories and now we are reading Robinson Crusoe. She has read the first six chapters and so far she likes it. Maybe we have found her type of book. She seems to like the adventure type. I just wish that she would enjoy reading as much as I did. I hope that it will come with time.

In art she is currently working on a nine patch quilt. I will post about it when she is finished with it. (It may be a while)
So we have a week to get everything done. I know we will do it, and once we do I plan to bring a little more Fun into school again.

Art

Art through the k12 program isn’t just coloring and gluing things. It is a lot of art history. In forth grade she is learning about famous artists who painted President George Washington and about scientific art. Below there are two of the projects she worked on. In the first one she had to draw an insect that was symmetrical. She couldn’t get the picture the way she wanted so we changed up the lesson. She cut a butterfly out of construction paper, and then put drops of paint on one side. She folded the butterfly in half and rubbed her hand over the paper so the paint would spread. Then when she opened it she saw that it was symmetrical on both sides. After it dried she glued it to another piece of paper.

The next picture is a replica of Washington Crossing the Delaware. She had to study the piece and then do her best to make her own. I think she did very well. Although I really enjoy the art program, there are times when I wish she would get to do more kid friendly projects. That is where supplementing with my own crafts and projects comes in.

Oak Glen

Living in Southern California gives us a lot of options for day trips. We have numerous theme parks, beaches, mountains and fun places to visit all around us. We decided to take a trip to Oak Glen. Up at Oak Glen there are apple farms, unique shops and restaurants and a lot of fun entertainment. We have been to Oak Glen a lot before so we have our favorite places. The people are always friendly and the atmosphere is great. We went the day before the season started so not everything was open yet. There is a lot more to do but this is how we spent our day.

We started our trip at Snow Line orchards. There we tasted different kinds of homemade apple cider and different types of apples. They had apple cider, raspberry apple cider, and cherry apple cider. We love anything cherry flavor but the whole family agreed that the raspberry flavor was the best. Everyone had a favorite apple and it was neat to see how one fruit could have so many different tastes. They also sell homemade doughnuts and sell a lot of old fashion toys. You also have the chance to pick your own raspberries. When we went we paid $12 and got to fill three baskets full of the raspberries. A kind gentleman took us to the raspberries, showed us how to tell if they were ripe and helped us pick a few. Then we were able to pick as many as we could fit in the baskets.

My little one didn’t enjoy this part too much. There were a few bees around so she didn’t want anything to do with picking the berries. It was a lot of fun though. Good thing she wasn’t born on a farm she would never make it. After we picked the raspberries and bought a gallon of cider we hopped in the car and drove down a little farther to Wildlands conservancy. We didn’t do much here but shop. We found chocolate covered sun flower seeds and nuts.

My little one found a few little trinkets that she liked too. After we shopped we sat in the rocking chairs in front of the store and enjoyed the view. Then it was off to the Oak Tree Village.

The Oak Tree Village was not completely open for the season when we went, but it was still and enjoyable experience. We started with lunch at Apple Annie’s. That day was endless fish and french-fries. I couldn’t eat the fried fish but those that did say is was so good that it melted in your mouth. I can’t drink soda and can only usually order water at restaurants, so it was nice to order some apple cider with my lunch. Lunch tasted great but it was a little on the pricy side.

After lunch we looked in a few of the shops. Then we decided to go in the animal park. It cost $3 a person to go in and look at the animals. We saw a lot of goats, and birds, and pigs. Then there was an area that we were able to go in and pet the animals. We petted goats and a lama.

Let me tell you the lama liked me a lot it ripped a chuck of my hair out and kept biting at my clothes. After we left the petting zoo area we continued down the trail and saw Johnny Apple Seed’s cabin. We saw a big barn and a lake.

 The view was gorgeous and the air was crisp and clean. We felt our three dollars was well worth it. Once the season officially starts, there is also a place to mine for gold and fish. Both of those cost an additional fee but I don’t know about the prices.

It had been a long day so we headed home after stopping at our favorite fruit store, Mom’s Country Orchard. They sell all kinds of jelly, jam, and syrup along with fruit. I love this place because they always let you taste the fruit before you purchase it. Their fruit is so fresh and juicy that even though you pay a little more than you do in a grocery store, it is well worth it. We had a fun day in the good out doors.