Monday, January 16, 2017

100 Days!

I'm still working on the second part of our day at Epcot, but I wanted to pop in and celebrate today for a moment--our 100th day of school!

I would love to say that homeschooling is effortless and easy and always peaceful and serene, but that would be a lie. Ha! There are days that I look around the table and get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Then, there are days when chaos seems to reign--no one is listening, Grace pooped in the tub (hey, just being real!), Luke spilled his milk all over the table and floor, and I wonder why in the world I would want to teach 3 children to read, write, and do 'rithmetic. Luckily, the warm and fuzzy feeling days win out and I grit my teeth and persevere through the not so good days. As a reward, I get to hear them read their first words in a book, see their eyes light up as they realize they've finally done it, talk them through their frustration because they just can't write that letter correctly, and watch their brains working as they try to add and subtract. Well, that, and a host of other things.

Anyway, 100 days of school is something to celebrate! We did a few cute activities I found on Pinterest after we finished our morning notebooks and Bible time.

The first thing we did was 100 exercises. The boys' eyes got big when I told them we were going to do 100 exercises, but I told them we were going to do 10 different exercises and do each one 10 times. Then, we counted by 10s to make sure that 10 x 10 was 100.

I didn't take any pictures because I was exercising with them, but they had to do 10 jumping jacks, 10 sit ups, 10 push ups, balance on their left leg for 10 seconds, balance on their right leg for 10 seconds, jump with their left leg for 10 seconds and then the right leg, do 10 ski sliders, do 10 kick boxing kicks with each leg, and touch their knee to their chest 10 times. They loved this and it got the wiggles out. Score!

Next, we did a 100 drops of water experiment. They had to predict how full a jar would be if we put 100 drops of water in it. Kade thought it would fill almost all of the jar and Luke thought it would be completely full.

Even I was surprised at the amount of water in the jar once we had squeezed in 100 drops. In fact, I couldn't even get it to show up in a picture, so you'll have to look at the boys' "Actual" picture to see how off target we were.

See how surprised Kade was?!

Next, we colored a 100 chart to make a picture. Actually, I printed a blank one off for Kade, so he had to fill in the squares with every number from 1-120. If you've never done one of these before, they're pretty neat! They come with a key so that you can tell your student (or give it to your student to use) which numbered square to fill in with which color. I knew what picture Kade and Luke's chart was going to turn out to be, but I didn't tell them. This activity was especially good for Luke, since we're working on number recognition with him.

It was a rainbow! I'm going to have to find some more of these for them to do.

After lunch, we celebrated some more by going outside to play in this unseasonably warm, over 60 degree weather! It was glorious!

Happy 100 days to us--and here's to the rest of our school year!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Disney trip report: Day 3

Epcot is my second favorite park over Magic Kingdom. I've heard plenty of people say that Epcot isn't a good park for kids, but we always spend a day or two there! There are so many things to see and do and learn about.

We got to Epcot, went through the bag check, and headed straight back to Test Track. If we had really thought, we would have headed even farther back to the new Frozen Ever After ride, since all the Fastpass + were gone by the time we booked our trip. Next time!

We really like the interactive features they added to Test Track a couple of years ago. While, you're waiting, you get to design your own car--every feature of it, from the shape, color, engine, and all that kind of car stuff.

The only disappointing part of this feature (especially for kids) is that when you get to the loading dock, everyone rides in the same car that looks nothing like the car you just designed. On the upside, as your car goes through the various tests, the ride rates the cars people designed based on how well they perform and shows it on screens along the track.  The boys always get excited to see if our car will get 1st place. And of course, the most fun part is at the end, where your car bursts through the doors onto the outside track and goes from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds. Hold on to your sunglasses!

We hadn't had breakfast yet at this point, so I grabbed a latte at Starbucks and then we walked towards The Land building to grab a bite to eat and see what the wait time for Soarin' was. I had a chocolate croissant and Michael had some kind of breakfast platter, with eggs, potatoes, sausage, and french toast. 

After I finished my coffee, we decided to ride Livin' With the Land. It always has a relatively short line, if at all (though I just saw a picture from Christmas week where the whole thing was completely filled with people waiting). Livin' with the Land is a boat ride that takes you on an educational journey, learning about innovative ways of growing crops and controlling pests in various climates and other situations. It might sound kind of boring, but we think it's extremely interesting and always get lots of ideas for our home garden (that we never actually get around to trying).

We still had a little time before our Fastpass+ for Soarin', so we exited The Land building and walked over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends. We rodethe Nemo ride, which is basically a ride in a clamshell through the Finding Nemo story.

There are quite a few aquarium tanks in this building, but we thoroughly explored them in February with the kids, so we decided to do Turtle Talk with Crush, which is an interactive experience with Crush the Turtle from Finding Nemo. The kids ask cartoon Crush questions and he talks to them. Very neat!

Next, it was time for our Soarin' Fastpass, which was back over in The Land building. On the way there, we stopped to take a couple of pictures of each other.

It was a beautiful day! We got onto Soarin' pretty quickly with our Fastpasses and got ready for a ride around the world--over the Hawaiian Islands, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Wall of China, the Sahara Desert, Sydney Harbor, and a couple of other places, ending at Epcot. I will always love the original Soarin' that only flew over California, but I daresay I like this version even more.

Having done almost everything we wanted to do in Future World, we decided to head over to World Showcase, which is the part of Epcot with all of the countries. 

First, we hit up Canada, where I stepped into a phone booth and we took a picture in front of Disney's version of Niagra Falls. Not quite as magestic, eh? 

The United Kingdom is next. We popped into a few shops to look around.

We even spotted the practically perfect Mary Poppins!

Continuing on and over the bridge, we came to France, but I don't think we even stopped. We were getting hungry for lunch and decided to eat in China at the Lotus Blossom Cafe.

I think we both got orange chicken and rice, with a side order of egg rolls. 

The kids video called us while we were eating, so we chatted and made kissy faces with them for awhile. They had gotten Happy Meals for lunch, so they weren't jealous of our orange chicken at all.

What will do next? Come back and see!