Friday, July 30, 2010

20 Days! (and other random stuff)

Can you see them??


Our neighbors invited us to come over and pick peaches off their tree today.
The tree was bent over all the way, partially due to all the peaches, and partially from the bad storm we had this week.




We got a bucket overflowing full!
Katie loved them, Noah tried his obligatory bite and passed on more.


I am not a huge fan of peaches, but these don't taste exactly like peaches you buy at the store. They are more crunchy and the flavor is very mild. I am thinking they need to sit a few days. I need to find some good recipes to try for all these now!


Our bird feeder is staying VERY busy!
Every morning, there are about 4-6 different birds (that we can actually see and tell apart anyway) that fly back and forth eating seeds.


We have a very good viewing spot from our couch in front of the window. But, my camera battery has been dead for a while and I can't find the charger when I think of it, so all these pictures are taken with my phone. (the ones above too). I think taking through the window really pushes the ability of my phone camera! ha ha.

I am not sure exactly what kinds of birds these are, but we will look them up soon in our bird guide. We also have to put bird seed on our shopping list because they finished it off this morning! For about 45 minutes or so, it is crazy busy...lots of flittering and flying, landing on the rail of the porch and the nearby bushes. At one point there were three birds perched around the edge on that bird feeder. Seems impossible!

And now...20 days!

We finished our TWENTIETH day of school today, and it gives me a complete sense of peace and accomplishment to have that already under our belt! Only 160 to go! ha ha.
It has been a very fun 4 weeks...and I am impressed with how much they have accomplished, as it has been a very productive month for learning new things.

Tomorrow, Corey and I have a "date day." This is where we are going....


We will be attending the Southeast Homeschool Expo at Cobb Galleria in Atlanta. We attended before we started homeschool the very first year, 2007, ...when Katie was 4 and Noah was 3. I can't believe it has been that long! Needless to say, it was very fun to go that year, but not a lot of the booths were relevant to our homeschool adventure at that time. ha ha. I am very thrilled to be going this year and I have previewed the exhibitor list to make note of companies I definitely want to check out while we are there. I also have a short list of workshops to attend.

I am so very thankful that Corey is going with me. He really seems interested in checking it out with me, and attending the workshops. I guess if he secretly doesn't want to, then he is doing a great job of pretending for my sake, ha!

I am very much looking forward to our day tomorrow and can't wait to see it all!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

10 Things to Do in the Car on a Roadtrip! (Repost)

This is a repost..in honor of the fact that this contest ends this week! If you want to enter, there is still time, and there will be TWO CASH PRIZES! :) Go see their blog and enter today!

I am participating in a blogger contest held by Cabins For You. Cabins For You specializes in cabin rentals located in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN. For more information about cabins, events and attractions please visit their blog.


We travel as a family quite a bit. Usually we only take one big vacation every year, but with my husband's job requiring some travel, we have recently been able to accompany him on some business outings as well. Now that I have convinced him that our kids are old enough travel well and not slow him down, I have to keep up my end of the bargain and come up with ways to keep them entertained. These are just ideas...some I have tried and some that...well...may just be imaginary things I have thought of that I wish I could do. ha.

1. Treat bags with prizes. I first did this in 2008 when we first took our kids to Disney World. It was the first long car drive for them and I was obsessed with bringing plenty of on the road entertainment. I scouted out the dollar store and Target for cheapo toys and "wrapped" them in brown paper bags marked with mile numbers. Every 100 miles on the way and on the way back they got to open a new prize. Each one entertained them for about...5 minutes. ha. Actually, I want to point out that the on the way home prizes are probably even more important than the on the way prizes. Infinitely so.

2. Electronic Games: I love some electronic games for the road. Some people find it hard to read in the car because it makes them carsick. Nothing like wasting the hours trying to serve all your customer tables on Diner Dash, or making yourself feel smart with an electronic version of Sudoku that offers hints. You will make it from home to destination in no time with your mind preoccupied with the endless distraction of portable video games. Oh, and kids love it too! (Don't forget plenty of batteries/games/adaptor for charging the battery in the car!)

3. Car Bingo: It is great when your kids get old enough for classic car games. I found some great printouts that take the "I Spy" license plate game to a much more fun place. I mean really, I can barely identify the states on the plates anymore until we are smack riding their bumper, especially with all the donation/cause tags out there now. These games have you looking for various construction/road signs, types of buildings, and airborne items. The plus side to these printable cards is that even small children can enjoy looking for them without having to read, and they are FREE to print! Also very useful if you aren't going to be around a lot of traffic on your way to rural Pennsylvania or similar locale.

4. Food: Why stop and eat in a restaurant when you can use that time to drive further on and keep the kids occupied? No waiting around forever for them to finish four nuggets while you mentally begrudge all the miles you could be moving along instead. I have found that the drink carriers provided by some gas stations have perfect little compartments for dividing out fast food fare, or cooler food. It makes a great lap tray so food doesn't end up everywhere, and they are reusable for several meals (as long as you don't squirt condiments out on the actual tray). This is a great win/win for the kids and the adults. That way, when you DO stop to stretch your legs, they can actually run around like crazy instead of having to accomplish eating a meal at the same time. Added bonus: You know that they will be screaming to go the bathroom about 36 minutes after you get in the car after stopping to eat......mission accomplished: maximum miles and entertainment...plus minimum time wasted!

5. School Work: We are homeschoolers...a great bonus that allows us to travel more than we would if our kids were on a school system schedule. But, this tip is great for any family. If your kids need help with a certain subject or need to study, then bring along something they can work on in the car. It will pass some time, they will learn a little, and they can be rewarded when they are done with something obnoxious that isn't on this list, like watching a DVD on a portable DVD player. Yeah, it's not on my list, because I despise having to listen to their shows really loudly up in the front and/or not be able to listen to the radio while Elmo serenades our trip over and over and over and over. Our kids are now 7 and 6, so maybe its time to give that one a try again...ours broke several years ago and was never replaced...I guess Spongebob would be a little less annoying?? nah....
(Oh, and whoever thinks that headphones would help, has obviously never watched a tv show with a 6 year old.)

6. Have a GPS: Your children can be immersed into the foreign language world of the GPS teacher for hours at a time! We didn't know what a great entertainer for the kids the GPS lady would be until our children started imitating her and asking questions like, "What does motorway mean?" and giving advice like, "You are supposed to turn left Dad, left in 1.2 miles." I just know they are becoming geniuses and will be able to intuitively tell distance by bumps in the booster seat or how many trees go by or something in a few years. Oh, and you get to model civilized adult conflict management skills when you "discuss" how you still got lost while using the GPS.

7. Travel Brochures! You don't even have to visit iffy looking places to pick them up anymore! I recently ordered travel guides for about ten different states. The quality varies by state, but many of them are beautiful, colorful, and actually helpful, rather than just being an ad for such and such tourist trap. If you google "the state you want travel guide", you will get a link somewhere for a place to order these via snail mail, totally FREE. From the time you leave the house, you and the kids can preview little known things to do, state parks, and attractions for the place you are going, without having to wait till you get there to see pics and read reviews. Several of the cities that I ordered guides for, featured a "free" section, that highlighted, yes, free things to do. And not all of these are lame... many of them are little known "free days of the month or week" to certain big attractions like childrens museums and zoos! Yes, I am aware that all of this information can be found online, but for car entertainment, this is a perfect idea!

8. Clean the Windows: I haven't actually tried this one, but I can't believe I never thought of it till now! Let your kids clean the windows....and everywhere they can reach for that matter! Just get some kid safe cleaning wipes or paper towels dipped in your natural cleaner of choice, and let them at it! I could see my kids loving this, as they are way past eating the paper towel, yet still at the "big" chores are fun stage. I bet that sticker grime on the window would be totally gone in about....2 hours of hard scrubbing, max! :)

9. Looking out the Window: Take your kids back to the original method of in the car entertaining. Tell them it's cool and retro and they will too. Right? Seriously...I think we skip this step way too soon sometimes and pull out the full blown entertainment, thus running out of things to do early on in the trip. Sometimes it's okay (because you are the parent) to say, "Look out the window! It's fun, see what you can see... When I was little, we didn't have -fill in the blank high tech car entertainment-" It will kill more time than not looking out the window, I guarantee it!

10. Nothing: Sometimes when we run out of things to do...we actually end up doing nothing. We will find ourselves.... talking to each other.... laughing.... singing...discussing where we are going and what we want to do there.... SOMETIMES, my husband and I actually get to have an uninterrupted conversation and our children do the same... for example...one time my husband and I were talking and I heard a tiny voice squeal, "Mommy!!!" and I said, "What?!?!" and my daughter's regular voice reponded..."Oh, I'm not talking to you, that's my foot calling Noah's pencil."

It can happen!

Do you have any other ideas to add to my list? We have an 11 hour drive to Chicago coming up... and my kids are going to grow wise to the window washing and nothing before too long!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Alpha-CHECK!


Katie finished her Alpha level book for Math-U-See today! I am so very proud of her!

She now gets to move on up to Beta!!!! YAY!!!!

This level of Math has proved to be our first real challenge as far as school work goes. Although she can technically do some things that are more difficult than this level, we started it in February to reiterate and relearn some methods that will make math easier in the long run. So, toward the end of the level..the last 4-5 lessons or so...it got to a spot that was extremely frustrating to her and me! But, after some encouraging words from a friend (experienced Math-U-See user with a child older than Katie), I relaxed and moved on. Turns out that when we moved onto the same concept in what was supposed to be a more difficult application, it finally clicked and she breezed right on out of the book! I gave her the "final test" today to make sure she retained the info over a full weekend, ha ha, and she passed with flying colors! The Alpha level covered single digit addition and subtraction, and time. Doesn't sound like a lot, but Math-U-See pretty much teaches all the way to algebra with it, so she was even doing solving for an unknown value and two step story problems using the single digit adding and subtracting.


Beta covers quite a bit more material. Some of it she has already been exposed to, but others not so much... so we'll see how it goes. I had hoped to be starting into Beta last week according to my plans, but we're only a week behind...totally fine considering we now have 32 weeks to finish 30 lessons in the Beta level. I am finding it a little easier to breathe now. :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Inception


from imdb:

"Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb's rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible-inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming."

Doesn't exactly sound like my kind of movie does it? Well, Corey went to see this last week and claimed it to be one of the best movies he has ever seen in his life. And, he is a huge movie critic. He claimed that it wouldn't freak me out too badly, and after reading a complete plot synopsis I decided I could give it a go, if we went not too close to bedtime. ha ha.

It actually isn't nearly as creepy as it sounds from the description. And, contrary to what I thought from reading the not terribly revealing, but extremely confusing synopsis, it wasn't that difficult to follow. But maybe that was in fact due to the fact that Idid read the entire story before going in, ha ha.

The movie has an interesting premise..the whole dream sharing thing. It is a neat concept that they explore through various "jobs" people have in the dreams...the dreamer, the architect in charge of creating the world, the person in charge of supervising and waking them, etc. But, it doesn't cross the "too strange" line for me in that it becomes some kind of crazy world takeover or twist thing.

It is definitely a "to see" movie, and a good one for the big screen. The story is deep, the characters are interesting, and it has a good ending, but if you hate open ended conclusions you will hate it. I generally hate open ended conclusions..this one wasn't too terribly annoying, but if you must have closure you won't get it.

One more thing: this guy from Third Rock from the Sun is an adult now...also in the movie. Did you know that?? That must mean...I am one too! ha ha ha!!!! (he was born the same year as me just found out on that link) It is SOOO weird to see child actors all grown up...especially ones that I never heard much of between then and now.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

DVR Confessions....

Nikowa, over at Quirky Mom, posted today about five shows that are on their DVR right now. I thought it was such a cool idea and a fun thing to share and see how much you know someone, or how much you have in common. The two of us have no shows in common that we are listing! :) Too funny!
So...here are the top five shows listed on our DVR right now....no editing or deleting before sharing. ;)

1. Burn Notice. This is a spy show. Corey got me to watch it last week and I didn't hate it. It's one of several attempts at a Lost replacement for him. ha ha.

2. Glee. I am not sure why this is recording right now. It is not new during the summer I don't think. I'll have to check to see what episode this is.

3. Wipeout. Wipeout is pretty crazy funny. But, we got slightly burned out so we have 3 episodes currently recorded to watch. At some point when we're in a silly mood.

4. Modern Family. Also not new right now. I can't decide who the funniest person on this show is.

5. Fairly OddParents. It's great since the kids learned how to record things. You never know what will show up on the DVR. The other day Noah asked if the DVR would just record part of a commercial because he wanted to record the preview segment/commercial for the upcoming Phineas and Ferb special. ha ha! By the way, when they are watching and recording, they are on their own special menu of preapproved kid channels... :)

So...confession time! What's the top five on YOUR DVR??

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Do!

Loving my new hair!
I had not had it cut or colored since February-ish.
I was sooooo in need of a haircut!
In the past 5-6 months, my hair had gotten pretty long! I usually only have it as long as my chin in the front. But, I have grown to love the option of a good pony tail and up dos, so I decided to try and keep the length this time.


I have come to the conclusion that I can deal with longer hair, IF it has some color so it doesn't look all drab.

New hair with glasses....


And.... the actual way you will see my hair right now most days. Still in a pony tail, but now with some depth and interest with the bang thing going on in front.
I SUPER love it !!!!














And, here's a photo of what my husband sees when he looks at my hair.

The top of my head.

Why do I even bother?
ha ha!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chicago!


"The Bean"
A giant statue we want to see...


A "Chicago" style hotdog. Something on our list to eat!

I've been busy on the internet recently...
researching, planning, reading....
about our upcoming trip to Chicago!
We know we want to do the hop on/hop off bus and trolley tour. It's just the easiest way to get around and see it all in a short amount of time.


We know we want some pizza! Chicago style of course!


AND definitely have this on our to-see list: Lego Discovery Center!
It's like a mini theme park...all lego! It's in nearby Schaumburg where we think we will stay because.... it has this...


A HUGE three story mall...where Katie and I can browse, hang out, get our nails done.... while the boys do this....

See the Braves and the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The real reason we are doing this trip to begin with! :) They will have a blast and so will we!
It will also be the weekend that our first baby we lost would have been due. I can't believe it is already almost here! How time flies!
I am truly looking forward to a great time... and hopefully I won't drive Corey too crazy with planning things. I try to get as much seen in as little time possible for as little cost possible! :)

And if all that weren't enough...I made another discovery today....
about halfway between here and Chicago...ON our route...
is the Creation Museum, in Kentucky.


I heard about the Creation Museum a couple of years ago and have wanted to go ever since. But it is kind of in the middle of nowhere we would usually go..near Cincinnati.
I am hoping that we can hit it on the way home..since coming home always takes longer we may want a neat place to stop about halfway??

Monday, July 19, 2010

Quill Pens



We made quill pens today!
This is something I have always thought was interesting and wanted to try. And thanks to our handy dandy science curriculum, Homeschool Science Adventures, we finally did it!

We are completing our unit on birds right now. We already looked at and learned the difference between "flight" and "down" feathers, and what they are used for. We have also explored our bird handbook to complete a puzzle and find particular kinds of birds and tested our field of vision to see if it is more like a songbird or an owl. Now, we got to use the flight feathers (included in the kit!) to make quill pens. We mixed a small amount of water with powder paint (paint included in kit!), shook it up, and practiced dipping the feather (which we cut the end properly to create the pen) into the paint and writing.
Noah only completed his name, then wrote a few things on a wrinkled up ("old") piece of paper before he decided it was too annoying to use the feather pen. Katie stuck with it. She drew a picture on another piece of paper before pronouncing the entire process "messy" and "hard." ha ha. They agreed that it would be much more difficult for kids to learn to write using a quill pen.

Have I mentioned that I love my "all in one" science kit?!??!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Week

It's been an entire week since I blogged and I guess it's because I have just been too tired to do much of anything at the end of the day.


We had a busy weekend last weekend..... a shopping trip to Costco, and came home to a broken air conditioner Sunday afternoon. We had to abandon ship Sunday night but were blessed enough to have it all fixed by Monday lunchtime. Which of course, got our school week off to a rocky start.


School has been taking more time than it has in the past. We've hit a road block with Math... something we're not used to around here so I really can't complain. I am sure we'll get back to moving right along with that soon.

Every night has been so full and rushed I just collapse into bed EXHAUSTED after we finally get the kids down.

I just can't explain how tired I am. Every time we leave the house the heat and humidity are just instantly draining....it takes everything in me to drive somewhere, get out, get back in the car, and just drive home..the heat is just horrendous!!!

So, that's it. Nothing exciting....nothing major.... just heat and hot and July: summer in the south. Glad we have school to keep us accomplishing *something* because otherwise we would be totally useless human beings right now! ha ha.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hair Hair Hair!

"Morning Hair" twins!!!! ha ha ha ha!!!
I noticed this a couple of weeks ago and snapped a picture.... isn't it cute??

And....this is me....


After spending a ridiculous amount of time straightening my hair. There is tons of it... I know it doesn't look like it in this picture with it being all straight and smooth, but that was after shampoo, conditioner, and biosilk applied, then over an hour of straightening to achieve the desired level of straight. I can't believe how long my hair is! You don't notice it when you've been doing something else for about 4 months..


If you've seen me in the past 3 months or so, this is probably how my hair looked.
It all started when my hair stylist went on maternity leave, before I actually needed a haircut. Then, it became me being able to pull it in a ponytail or do this all the time, so I kept putting it off anytime I had the cash.
I keep saying that I am bringing back the Jane Austen everyday up-do.

I have actually grown quite attached to the style, especially with summer being so hot and wanting it up off my neck anyway.

It's kind of messy but dressy. And SO easy to do! I never have to wash and fix it, just dry any old way, air dry, no worries of bed head....
I just grab my immense supply of bobby pins and start pulling back hair, and sliding them in. Criss-cross over sections of hair after twisting it around in a messy way. Fool proof and no wrong way to do it.

I am going to need to get a trim soon though..it is getting to where it takes about 20 minutes to take all the pins OUT of my hair at the end of the night, and there are about 30 or so in there at a time..it's just getting to heavy for even this.

I do think I will keep most of the length...just take off some of the top weight. I'm not ready to give up this style option any time soon!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mutual Love

Katie took a pic of us before we went out tonight.
The one where I was all the way in the picture was blurry, ha ha.


Corey surprised me!!!! Yep, he pulled it off! I got an evite from Open Table yesterday afternoon inquiring if I would like to have dinner with Corey Thompson at the Melting Pot tonight at 6:30pm. Would I!!!!! I was definitely surprised because we had already planned an overnight getaway at the end of the month in Atlanta, the night before the homeschool expo. So, he finally surprised me! :)

I am so happy that Corey and I have a mutual love for The Melting Pot. A lot of guys don't like it because it's a little pricey and you have to cook your own food. But Corey and I have always loved it since our first visit. (by the way, our first visit was with Andy and Bethany, on our mutual 5th wedding anniversaries, they got married two weeks before us, can you believe that has been FOUR years ago now?!?!) We LOVE cheese fondue, Corey loves the variety of meats he gets with his entree, and I simply just plain adore chocolate fondue!

When we were seated at the table, I had a beautiful bouquet of roses/flowers waiting for me at the table! SO not something usually would do, totally surprised!!!!

We usually do the "Big Night Out" which is a special assortment of their current special flavors/meats/salad/dessert, but I wasn't crazy about the Pacific Islands theme, so we went a la carte instead. We got the classic cheddar cheese fondue for starters. The salad special was lettuce wraps which Corey got an actually ate all of!!!, and I got the California salad. Corey chose a signature platter of meats (steak, shrimp, salmon, chicken) and I got the vegetarian entree (artichoke hearts, portobello mushrooms, asparagus, two different raviolis, tofu, and onion slices). I should have taken a picture of the plates of food when they came out, it definitely looked like "his and hers." ha ha.

For dessert we chose the cookies n cream chocolate fondue...with pound cake, rice krispies, cheesecake, brownies, marshmallows, strawberries, and bananas for dipping. Mmmmmmm! It was so good!

We had a very yummy dinner, and on top of it all, when we left, Corey had arranged for me to get chocolate dipped strawberries to go! Here's a pic!

Great anniversary dinner, even if it was a day late! :) I can't believe at all that it has been NINE years!!! I am so not old enough to have been married that long!!!!!!! Yay for us!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nine Years and Counting

Celebrating 9 years with my goofy..uh..great husband! :) It has been a fun journey so far, and looking forward to the rest of this married for life thing.


(If you want to see pics for yesterday's post, scroll down, I updated.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First, um.... Second Day of School..... (now w/pics!)

One of my friends in particular, will be happy to see where we spent most of our school days the past two days...ha ha...on the couch! :) The kitchen table was used for some writing work too.
Side note discovery: magnet clips stick to the side of my cart! yay! the possibilities are endless!

I usually blog after our first day, but after the day we had yesterday, I was in no mood.
We were so excited and ready to start our day! I had everything ready, organized, and planned out.

But.... the day started with whining and a break down by Katie. Then it was followed with me not being able to find our first day of school papers that I had so neatly and proudly organized previously. I have the first nine weeks planned, filed, and ready, and I couldn't find day 1 among all the other week 1 stuff.


Cute little pencil boxes they decorated with their names.

Then...after lots of annoying setbacks (I'm hungry, I'm tired, I need a sip of water,etc.) we get ready for science..the most anticipated subject of the day.... and I didn't have the materials I needed. Ironic right? I order this science set that has ALL the supplies for the experiments, so I wasn't thinking. There are a very few things you do need to supply...and of course a soda bottle to make a recycled material bird feeder is one of them. :(

Funny, it was a lesson about birds and recycling, yet we had to go purchase a bottle of soda in order to even have a bottle to use! ha ha.

Since we weren't planning on going out I was aggravated that we had to all get dressed and ready to go buy this soda, so I decided we would go by the library while we were out and get some books about birds as we haven't been to the library since before our beach trip. We find our library book bag and head out, but I remember before we even get out of the driveway that the library was CLOSED for the holiday Monday! UGH UGH triple UGH!

We get the soda bottle anyway and head home. Right after we get home, Corey comes home early for the holiday as well and probably wishes he had just stayed at work, because there is just a house full of tired, cranky family here.




*Sigh*

We did get the bird feeder made, and Corey finally got it hung (another ordeal in itself).


Dinner was great, we watched a new Spongebob, then finally time for BED!!!!

I didn't sleep well, but I was determined to have a better day. I had spent the early afternoon reorganizing my materials so today could go a little smoother.

And, it has.

First of all, there was NO tv allowed until after school work was finished for the day. I think that helped me go ahead and get started on everything. We also did our math lessons first which was a great switch as well. The transitions between their two lessons and individual time with me was a lot better and less crazy empty time for them to get restless (distracted, playing) in between getting their work done.

I guess after three years of picture perfect first days of school, we are allowed one that didn't go as well. But- day two went great, so bring on the remaining 178, we are ready!



I picked up these two tiny composition books for doing spelling practice in. I thought they would like something that was a little different for writing in and they actually do! They are working on putting their spelling words in alphabetical order, then writing them in their little notebooks.


I had the first letter already written on the page for Noah to help him out since he hasn't really learned abc order yet.



Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thompson Family Rules

The time has come! We have always gotten by with simple correction and short time outs, but with the attitude of one particular Thompson child pushing the limits and our patience almost daily, we decided it was time to finally establish a set of official rules for the household, and consequences. We know that establishing rules and discipline actions way after the fact isn't a very affective method, especially if something in particular has already become a habit...so I guess what I am trying to say is we wanted to get a system in place before bad habits are formed and harder to change.

I've already established earlier in my blog that we have chosen to not use spanking as a discipline method. We just don't like it and will continue doing other things that have worked just as well for us.

I think a child should always know what is expected of them and know the consequences ahead of time, no surprises. God did that for us, right? A child should be able to enjoy consistency and love with their discipline as well. If we know ahead of time where the "line" is and what the "action" will be, then we will not be at our wit's end as early on, and have something to help us not "react" but to calmly and logically discipline and/or punish as needed.

Corey and I talked this afternoon to establish what we thought were the biggest needs for rules and establish the consequence that would go along with each one. Then we invited the kids to give out some ideas for rules they thought we needed. The suggestions they gave were quite funny...don't litter, no poofing (pooting), no punching in the face, don't light the house on fire, be nice, be loving, do things for others, no chanting, read good books at night before you go to bed, don't watch scary movies, no annoying sounds, no side kicking people, and no spending forever in the bath or at the table.

The suggestions for consequences were also funny....get grounded by losing a toy, get hit by a water balloon, and time away from the tv.

I have read a lot about making the consequences fit the action, and I think it is neat to be able to do that, but all offenses don't fit into an easy "eye for an eye" pattern, and I am sure what we have come up with will work just fine. It does leave room for us to do whatever we think is necessary anyway.

We then talked about their suggestions and how they fit into these categories and established the "rules" of the house. Here is what we came up with so far, and of course, we can always call a family meeting and change things if they don't work. Our main area of problem is whining/complaining, and being respectful.

Thompson Family Rules
1. Use Kind Words
Kind words will not include whining, complaining, or hurtful words toward others.
2. Be Respectful of yourself, others, and adults.
Being respectful includes waiting to talk, asking permission before using someone else's things or entering someone's room, responding politely to grown-ups, stopping what you are doing if someone asks nicely, and being considerate of other people's feelings and space.
3. Obey
Obey your parents, teachers, and the Bible (God).
4. Be Nice
Be nice to others and don't annoy people on purpose.

Consequences
If you break a rule you will get one warning to stop the behavior. After your warning you will get three strikes:

Strike One: 10 minutes of time out and a spoken apology to the person you offended. Time Out = sitting or standing alone, no talking, moving, singing, or interacting.

Strike Two: strike one penalties and 5 additional minutes of time out (15), plus a written apology to the person you offended or write out the reason your behavior is bad for the family.

Strike Three: strike one and two penalties and 5 additional minutes of time out (20) AND 1 complete day of no "screen time" and or/the loss of a toy or privilege that mom and/or dad choose, or additional chores for the person you offended. Screen time includes tv, video games, movies, and computer.

Exceptions:
Strikes can be erased throughout the day by mom and/or dad if extreme remorse and/or making up for the behavior is seen for a long period of time. Every day is brand new with no strikes! :)

So those are the rules....we'll see how it goes. The atmosphere of the house has changed just from discussing everything. I really and truly don't anticipate needing strike 3 really ever, but on extremely rare occasions. We made it this far with nothing at all in place except short talks and time outs. And, we do plan to talk and pray each time a consequence is needed. We want to emphasize a fresh start and a chance for redemption throughout the day. But, there are times that we as parents just needed something we could go to...an agreement from them on what is expected and an awareness of the predetermined consequences so they aren't surprised by what happens when they make a choice of bad behavior vs good behavior. The emphasis has always been on their choice and not us as parents just being mean and in control. There are reasons for rules...logical reasons. And when everyone abides by the rules/good habits then everyone is happier!

If we are away from home or in a place where any of the consequences cannot be immediately taken care of, then we will just keep track and discuss/take care of things once we can. Our kids are old enough now that it will work just as well.

In about a month, Corey and I will be attending the local homeschool expo. One of the exhibitors that will be there has some great resources for Biblical based discipline and other home organizational stuff, like chore charts, etc. They have a great resource I have seen in the past called a "blessings chart." It has specific good deeds and "blessings" you can do for others that have promises from the Bible connected to them. Then, the parent picks a specific reward for each good behavior that they can give the child. We plan on buying one of those at the expo and begin using it. We will have had time to establish some better habits by then and can add on some rewards at that point in time for going above and beyond the minimum expectation.

Tomorrow we start our first day of school for the 2010-2011 year. I am anticipating another fun year! More growth in all areas of our lives!