Welcome to TwoCowgirls, the blog about our crazy life in Downtown Saint Paul!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Neighborhood Friends, Lil' Biologist Class, and Play Practice

This is the week where *almost* everything came together perfectly.  I have my own personal studying schedule under control, and we only had two outings this week.  Perfect!  The only thing I didn't "squeeze in" is treadmill time.  Ugh.  Clearly I have to make it more of a priority.  

Here's what we did this week:


Martin Luther King day!  We weren't going to take the day off, because we never do.  Millie found out from the neighbor kids that school is off on MLK day, so Millie REALLY wanted to have the day off, too.  She decided to do all her work on Sunday evening so she could play.  The girls played outside all day with their friends.  Their cousins even came over for a while!  The played Pokemon and had cocoa between adventures outside.  I think the highlight was making forts in a hill.  


City day!  Millie had piano in the morning.  It was her first lesson after the recital, so she got all new pieces.  Yay!  After that, we went to the condo for lunch, and to kill time before playgroup.  At playgroup, the big girls played up in one of the girls bedrooms, and Elise played on her tablet the whole time.  Her friend wasn't there this week.  I think in the future we'll probably skip playgroup if there isn't anyone for Elise to play with.  I feel so horrible that she always plays the waiting game, while Millie has classes, plays with friends, etc.  She's such a good sport about it, but it makes me feel really guilty.


 We woke up bright and early to get Millie to her Lil' Biologist class.  She learned about mammals in winter.  She brought her animal tracks book, which turned out to be really handy when they saw fisher or mink tracks!  While she was at class, Elise and I had a mall date.  We did a little window shopping, picked out the gift she wants to give her friend for her birthday, and had a little treat at Starbucks.  When we got home, the girls did their 3 R's, and I did homework.


An at home day!  You'd think I could have found time to use the treadmill on our at-home day, but I didn't.  Blah.  Instead, the kids did school in the morning.  In the afternoon we learned about Jamaica.  As soon as the neighbor kids arrived home from school, my girls were out the door.  I love living in the 'burbs!  I think Millie is going to have major suburb withdrawal when we move back to the condo in April.  


Today the girls did their school work in the morning.  This week we based our 1st grade fun on Frog and Toad Are Friends, so today we watched a really good video about the frogs life cycle.  Here it is:

In the afternoon we ran errands and went on a nature walk.  In the evening, Millie's first play practice! 

I'm excited to start planning for next year.  We're going to study ancient history and earth science.  I've mentioned this before.  I seriously want to start, but I'm forcing myself to wait until Summer.  

Find out what other homeschoolers were up to this week, here.

Friday, January 16, 2015

SciGirls, Nature Study, and Back to School (For Me!)

The weekly reading list

This was kind of a selfish week.  My days normally revolve (very much) around the kids.  This week, I had to focus on starting school (for my first time in 18 years!).  It kind of threw me for a loop.  The huge influx of assignments all at once was a bit of a shock to my system.  It took nearly all week to figure out how to manage my time.  I *think* I have things under control, now.  I have an uncanny ability to put more and more "stuff" on my plate, and manage just fine.  So, here I am, a teacher and a student.

Here's what we did this week:


Piano was rescheduled this week, so we got up bright and early on Monday for piano lessons.  When we got home, we got right to school!  The girls finished quickly so we could do a little nature study in the afternoon.  It was the first of a 52 week project.  We went into the woods to make observations.  Millie picked out a tree that she's going to learn all about over the next year.  I left the kids in the park when we were done so they could sled with friends.  When they got home, Millie made dinner (Chinese pork chops)!  It was delish!


All of our fun Tuesday plans were thwarted by my own personal school orientation.  It was kind of a bummer of a day.  The girls spent most of the day at the condo watching TV and playing with their tablets while I was getting school stuff ready.  The good part of the day is that I got all my school books!  Squeeee!


SciGirls!  Our favorite day of the month!  This week the girls learned about physics and friction, and ended the class by ice skating together.  It was so much fun :)  While Millie had SciGirls, Elise attended nature study class with dad.  She "sort of liked" class, which is a huge improvement from the last time.  The best part was when they found a set of coyote tracks tracking a set of bunny tracks.  It was pretty cool.


This evening was my first class, Earth Science!  It was so much fun.  I'm really looking forward to this class.  My plan is to teach the girls Earth Science next year, so I'm brushing up on my skills ;)  During the day, we just did school, and hung out at home.


Another day that was "ruined" by my schooling.  Millie had a fun sledding event to attend, but I needed to stay home and get my school work done.  I'm so close to being done, and I really don't want to have to think about school over the weekend.  So, we stayed home.  We managed to make some time for a nature hike.  We learned about and looked for animal habitats.  

That sums up our week!  Find out what other homeschoolers were up to, here.

This weekend will bring a piano recital  and play practice for Millie.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

Here We Go Again!

We're back to school after a lovely Christmas break.  We've made one major change since we started our break.  We temporarily moved out of our condo, and are now house sitting for the winter in the suburbs!  The kids love it, of course.  They have neighborhood friends, a sledding hill in the backyard, and a LOT of space to roam around this huge house.  I like it too, except I'm realizing that there are things I love/miss about condo life; endless hot showers, instant hot water, warmth, and being able to walk to the grocery store.  Ha!

We started school on Monday.  Here's what we did:


We did school in our new environment.  It went great!  The kids finished their work promptly in the morning, we had lunch, and then we had Girl Scouts in the afternoon.  It was a special "Happy Birthday Samoas" Girl Scout meeting.  Fun stuff!


Tuesday was errands day.  Millie had piano bright and early in the morning, and we spent the rest of the day running around prepping for our next days activities.


Wednesday was the BEST. DAY. EVER!  We had a DIY.org club meeting at the house.  It was a badge-in-a-day event, where the kids completed 3 challenges to earn the Yeti badge.  At 10, our friends rolled in, and got started with their first challenge:  Make stew.  It was so fabulous to sit with my mommy friends, while the kids worked hard cooking in the kitchen.  We didn't do a thing, the kids did it all themselves.  While the stew simmered, the kids made fire starters out of wax, a wick, and pinecones, and also made "snowball launchers."  It was too cold to go outside, so they used marshmallows in liu of snow ;)  It was a really fun day.

DIY Minecraft challenge

Another stay at home day!  It was great.  The girls did their school work in the morning.  In the afternoon we were supposed to start a big one year project that the girls are going to be working on, but it was way too cold to go outside for a nature study.  Instead, they ended up working on their DIY projects.  It was kind of disappointing (for me), but we'll make up for it this weekend.


Today the girls did their school work in the morning.  In the afternoon, we did something totally new!  Millie joined a group called "The Mix."  It's a group of middle school homeschool kids that get together to work on challenges together.  Millie seemed a little nervous to go, but when we got there, she found that she knew 5 girls from SciGirls, plus a couple other friends.  She loved it!  While she did that, Elise and I hung out at the library, and picked out books.

It was a great first week back!  This weekend will bring 4-H play auditions, Chinese food, and Sunday school (for the first time in 3 weeks!!).

Find out what other homeschoolers were up to this week, here!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Journey As A Girl Scout Juliette: Happy Birthday Samoas

Happy Birthday Samoas!

Today was a special Girl Scout meeting because we celebrated the 40th birthday of Samoas!  It was super fun to have a preplanned activity (I ordered the Birthday Party in a Box).

We started out by saying our pledges, and then the girls dug right in and started frosting their cupcakes.  Aren't they cute??  Of course, the girls had to eat one (well, two, actually.  He he).

They made the bracelets that were included in the kits.  While they crafted, Elise and I talked about Vi, and being kind and considerate.  We discussed rules for being kind, including smile, use sweet words, volunteer to help, give compliments, and be thoughtful.

We also talked about Zinni, and being a sister to every girl scout.  Elise made a cute crown showing girl scouts holding hands and being sisterly ;)

I read another chapter out of Elise's Journey into the Flower Garden book.  She loves these stories!  It seems that that's the only Daisy journey she'll complete in her 2 years as a Daisy.  I'm learning so much as I go along, and learning how to plan and do things differently.  I'm glad my kids don't mind (or know) when my organizational skills are lacking.  Ha!

While she did that, Millie and I talked about stereotypes for the "speaking out" portion of her aMuse journey.  We talked about common stereo types including "throw like a girl," "homeschoolers stay at home all day," and "kids don't like broccoli."  For her project, she's going to make a public service announcement about something she's passionate about (not sure exactly what it'll be yet), and post it to her YouTube channel for all the world to see.  

She also started researching foods for her cooking badge.  She's super motivated to complete this badge now, because she's going to be doing the food revue for 4-H, so the projects will intertwine a bit.  

That sums up our January meeting!  It was really fun!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 Year End Reflections

2014 has come and gone.  It was a year filled with mixed emotions.  We created lots of memories together as a family, and I somehow managed to homeschool the girls through an odd, uncharacteristic slump.  Before school starts back up tomorrow, I will reflect back on 2014.

5 Highlights From The Year:
  1. Working our way through the Top 10 Waterfalls in Minnesota list.
  2. Being able to finally leave the girls home alone for an hour while I get coffee with a friend.
  3. Millie tested above grade level, despite my failure to teach the last three months of the school year.
  4. Feeling like the old Leslie "If I want it, I'll go out and get it" mentality is back.
  5. Continuing to build a strong family unit that I love.

5 Disappointments:

  1. I didn't stick to my weight loss plan, at all.
  2. I didn't pay down our debt as I would have liked.
  3. We're still living in the condo, that I vowed to move from nine years ago.
  4. My big "slump of '14"
  5. I haven't concentrated on our personal business as much as I would have liked.

2 Game Changers:

  1. Going to the MACHE conference last Spring changed the way I do everything in my homeschool.
  2. Remembering that the only person who can bring change to my life is me.
2 Things I Focused On:

  1. Making sure this school year would be better than last.
  2. Doing less for my children in an effort to foster independence. 
2 Things I forgot:

  1. To read.
  2. To focus on improving myself.


I certainly don't think 2014 was a bad year.  It was pretty great.  I imagine 2015 will be even better since I'm making a big effort to make improvements.

Here's what I'm doing in 2015 that will improve my life:
  1. Going back to school in less than two weeks!
  2. Using the treadmill every weekday.
  3. Cutting sugar out of my diet.
  4. Create a realistic budget
  5. Pay down debt
  6. Move into a house (please please please)
  7. Spend one-on-one time with the girls before bed (pillow talk)
  8. Increase production for our business
  9. Spend more time in nature.