SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego has been a favorite of my family for many years. From the hands on exhibits to the amazing shows and wonderful viewing areas, it’s a must do for any family. We were recently able to take our children as a follow up to a week’s worth of lessons of the ocean. I was so amazed to hear my children reciting to me what they had learned at home and how they were able to apply that to the new knowledge they were gaining by being surrounded by these magnificent creatures.

When planning your day to SeaWorld, purchase your tickets online for a discount. Also look into the interactive experiences that are a small fee extra. You can swim with dolphins or belugas, take a private tour or spend time with the penguins. All of which are wonderful experiences for you to enhance your trip.

A Day At SeaWorld San Diego

Enter the park and you will feel the excitement and wonder coming from all of the children and adults. Place your hand in a pool of Cleaner fish and watch as they gather around to eat off the dead skin off your hands and arms. imageIt is daunting at first because you don’t know how it will feel but the small tickle is well worth the smooth hands that emerge. imageThere are also pools of sharks and crabs that you can reach in and feel. Standing around the pools are educated staff that can answer any questions you might have about any of the animals. If you have ever wondered what a baby shark looks like while developing in its sack, SeaWorld has a tank set up where you can see inside of the sacks. It’s amazing watching the little ones move inside. I was fascinated by this exhibit!

SeaWorld has a beautiful viewing area for you to see the majestic Orcas. Their color is mesmerizing, my children would never be able to see this beautiful species up close, if it were not for SeaWorld. imageWatch them swim from up above or down below. You can also catch the Shamu show, where a trainer will teach you facts about Orcas, all of this while you get to gaze at one or more of them from your seat.

When you get hot and crave a cool down, find one of the water rides. All of which are a ton of fun! There is also a splash pad for the little ones. It definitely can get warm and sometimes all you need is a quick splash to get you re-energized.

Dolphin and sea otters are a highlight because they are so active and playful. Everyone that stands around admiring the dolphins has a moment of wow and the otters bring out an awe in even the toughest of grown men. The Manta Rays are spectacular and hands on. Feed them or just glide your hand along their back. Listen to the employee as he uses his microphone to spout all the information you could ever want about them.

Head over to the sea lions for a chorus of barks. This is my husband’s favorite part of the park so we spend way too much time laughing and staring at these animated creatures.image Also, Don’t forget to head into the shark lagoon where you can walk through a tunnel where you are surrounded by sharp teeth and large fins. There are plenty of aquariums to mosey through and see fish like piranha and blue tang’s.image

When your feet need a rest, find a show you would like to watch. All of them are well choreographed and show just how smart and fun these animals are. imageOur favorite is the Sea Lions Live Show. Biff is a hilarious host and the animals are so talented. Make sure to get there early if you want a seat up close, they fill up fast.

I am well aware that these animals come from the wild, they were not put on earth to live in cages or tanks. I also know that my love for the ocean and conservation began at SeaWorld. It is an amazing and unique place where I can sit my children on a bench in front of any of these amazing animals and teach them all the spectacular facts about them. Seeing my children’s faces light up when they can go point out the shell on a sea turtle and the blow hole on a real life dolphin is amazing. Hearing the sounds that a beluga makes and watching a penguin eat his lunch are all memories my children will be able to talk about and remember for their lifetime. Without Sea World, none of this would be possible. My children and yours would have to learn out of a book or on a movie.

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imageIf we had more questions about a certain animal or topic, there was always a very knowledgeable staff member nearby to answer for us. My children came away with more knowledge than I could have ever hoped for. SeaWorld is a must do field trip for home school children and families alike. I thank SeaWorld and all their staff for their efforts in conservation and care of these beautiful animals and I hope they will be around for a long time.

Keep a look out for our oceans lesson plan ideas, being posted at the end of this week! For More information about Sea World, visit their website at https://seaworld.com/

DIY Desk for under 60$

DIY Desk for under 60$




In our home, having kids means having no space to ourselves. So when I started my blog, I knew it would be hard to get any work done without taking back some space. The only space that came to mind was our master bedroom.

A bazillion ideas flowed through my mind but the biggest idea was a DIY desk. I wanted it to be cute, funky and one of a kind. I enlisted my husband who is the builder of the family and together we came up with a simple, inexpensive DIY desk that anyone could make. It has storage space, amazing functionality and only took a couple of hours to complete.

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I will be giving you step by step directions on how we put mine together. Please feel free to use them to make your own. Add your own twist to it to show your personality just as I have.

Supply List

  • 4 Large wood crates that measure 12 by 18 inches, we purchased ours at Home Depot for around 10$ each but I know they have them at Joann’s, Lowee’s and Michael’s.
  • 1 Desk top, we used a white laminated wood, size 48 by 24 and 3/4 inch thick, which was 13$.
  • Your Choice of Paint for the Crates, 1$ at Walmart.
  • 2×4 piece of wood measuring 36 inches long costing 2$.
  • 6 inch and a half wood screws.
  • 4 three inch wood screws.
  • 8 one inch wood screws.
  • Screw Gun or Drill.
  • Level.
  • 8 white plastic screw caps.
  • Mollies, if you are putting it in a place where there is no studs in the wall.

Step One

Paint the four wood crates and the 2×4 in the color of your choice. I got my paint from Walmart for 1$. I chose to only paint the front of them an off white because I liked the look of the natural wood. You can also use wood stain which would look nice if you have other wood stained pieces in your home. Make sure they are dry and then move to step two.

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Step Two

Lay out supplies in the space you will be putting the desk. If you must put the desk together in a different room than where it is going, make sure that your doorway is large enough to fit the desk through.  You will have to play with the wood crates to get your desired height. I placed my crates with one horizontally  on the bottom and one vertical on the top, which stacked up to be 36 inches high. Connect the wood crates using the 8 one inch wood screws by placing one in each corner, this will secure the two crates together. Make sure they are flush and square before securing. These are going to serve as your front legs of the desk. You will not have back legs, the back of the desk will essentially float on the 2×4.

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Step Three

Secure your 2×4 on the bottom of your chosen desktop. Screw the 2×4 to the back edge of the desktop using two of your 3 inch screws. The 2×4 and desktop should be flush with one another.  Make sure it is centered, with 6 inches of desktop left on each side. You will not be able to see the 2×4 once the desk is secured to the wall.

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Step Four

You will need a helper for this next step. Have your helper hold the desktop over the crates as you position them where you need them, make sure the desktop and the crates are flush on the front and sides. Using your inch and a half screws, connect the two together. We placed two each in the front corners and one each in the back outside corners of the crates. you could add more if desired but i wanted the cleanest look possible.

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Step 5

Don’t let your helper go just yet. Now it’s time to get your desk squared and level. Find your studs in the wall, and position desk at your desired location. Have your helper hold the desk with a level while you crawl underneath to attach the 2×4 to the studs with your remaining 3 inch screws. Continue to check that your desktop is level before each screw, you definitely want your desk to be level.

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Step 6

Place plastic screw caps on top screws for a more finished look. Step back and give yourself a pat on the back. Place your desktop items in and on your new desk and watch it come together. You now have a cute DIY desk that has lots of storage, lots of desk space and was made with your own two hands. The desk is sturdy and strong, you will never have to worry about it tipping over or breaking.

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You can always add a cat for extra points. My little Penny cat loves the new desk and has claimed one of my crates as her own napping space. Since she is so cute, I will leave that area just for her! I just hope our other two cats don’t get any ideas because I don’t think I could sacrifice two more crate spaces!

I will be writing up where I purchased my desk chair and desk supplies on my post “creating my blog space.” So keep an eye out for that information! Comment below with your opinions of this desk design and if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing from you!





Oak Glen, A Unique Mountain Town

Oak Glen, A Unique Mountain Town

My family and I took a day trip today to Oak Glen. It’s a beautiful community in the mountains that’s name to fame is apples. Its busiest time of year is between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, which is when the tree’s are full of delicious apples. Most of the orchards are only open on the weekends and only during peak season but there are a few that stay open through the year. I have been visiting Oak Glen since I was very young and have been bringing my children here since they were babies. Whenever we think about taking a day trip, Oak Glen is at the top of our list.

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My goal was to find home school lesson plan ideas by wandering some of these establishments and I did find teaching moments but I’m not sure I could create a whole week of lessons with Oak Glen being the field trip, it was still a ton of fun none the less.

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Riley’s Farm

Our first stop was Riley’s farm. It’s the first orchard you come to when you are driving in from Banning. Riley’s farm is always busy and has many activities for you to do. On the property you can visit a bakery, a restaurant, gift stores, a few you pick options, which depend on the season.

At Riley’s Farm you can learn about the Revolutionary war as well as Civil war. This includes reenactments and character involved activities. They have many places for your to walk around (watch out for snakes) and take pictures, including colonial type buildings. Being the history buff I am, I was thrilled to have options to take tours and see history re-enacted, only to find out that you have to book far in advance and have to be in a group of 30 or more. So as far as coming as a home school field trip, this venue was scratched off the list.

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We did pick strawberries, made candles and then enjoyed the nice weather on the lawn while I taught my children of the use of candles and the history behind the revolutionary war. There were many employee’s dressed in colonial attire and played to that era when they spoke with you. We found all the employees to be cheerful and helpful.

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Snow-line Orcahrd

Our next stop was Hudson’s Snow-line Orchard which is our favorite. It’s off the main road but there are signs directing you back. They have pick your own raspberries as well as apples. Snow-line has been the focus of an episode of California’s Gold by Huell Howser. It is famous for its old-time cider press that makes the most delicious apple cider we have ever tasted, you must take a moment to watch them use the cider press.

Snow-line is the only ones that make apple cider mini donuts. If you do not get there early, expect to be waiting in line to place your order. As you wait you can watch them make your donuts right in front of you which will have your mouth-watering, if it wasn’t already from the sweet smell as you enter the building. Make your way to the back of the building for apple wine and hard cider tasting. New this year they will be selling apple cider slushies, we got a first taste and I must say it was divine!

Snow-line has wonderful spots to picnic and usually a DJ playing old country music. We could spend all day here but we decided to move on to the center of town. Since apple season has not officially kicked off yet not everything is open but a few restaurants and shops were open and the deer were out and active. A corn dispenser is next to the deer fence and only costs 25 cents for a small cups worth. My children said this was their favorite part of their day. We have seen many deer in the wild and through our other adventures but to be able to feed them and touch the was magical to them.

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I enjoy going to Oak Glen before and after their peak season because I’m not a huge fan of crowds or not finding a place to park but anytime you go, you will have a great time. There is two ways to get into Oak Glen, one route coming from Yucaipa and the other from Banning, both meet in the middle. We love that within 15 minutes from leaving the freeway, we can be up in a mountain community, surrounded by nature. From bed and breakfasts to antique stores, there really is something for everyone in Oak Glen. It’s a place to stay cool, get away from the city and be one with nature.

For times and up coming events to the orchards mentioned, visit their websites at

Riley’s Farm

www.snow-line.com

 

Field Trip Activity Ideas

Field Trip Activity Ideas




As I have said in my previous posts, I am a firm believer in hands on learning. That is a huge reason we chose home school. While dreaming up what my preschool lessons and beyond would look like, I knew there was going to be a lot of field trips, my goal would be once a week but we all know life doesn’t always allow for that. These field trips would give us wonderful family time and learning experiences.

Through the next year I will be taking my children on learning field trips, writing an activity up for each subject, and sharing them with you. I hope you will find this helpful and that you will be able to teach your children some of the amazing lessons to be learnt out in the world, not just in a classroom.

My activities will be catered towards preschool, since that is where my children are at right now but all of them can be adjusted to your child’s learning level with a little research. Since most of us will be in a home school program from kinder up, I suggest adding these field trips as extra learning time.

Most of the places we visit will be generic enough to find somewhere similar in your home town but if not, California is a great place to visit! I will be placing the field trip posts in the travel category and then linking them to their coordinating activity ideas in the home school category. I will also have all the supplies I used for the lesson. Please contact me with any questions or comments, I would love to hear about your experiences.

Teaching Your Child Their Site Words

Teaching Your Child Their Site Words





After your child has mastered their alphabet and letter sounds, it’s time to begin teaching them sight words. I have listed the site words I use below, I group them in groups of 7 words and I do not let my child move on until they have learnt every one of the words and can repeat them to me with no help.

Site words should be practiced everyday that you are schooling with your child. I keep notes on which words my child is struggling with, I spend a little extra time with those words. I would suggest  you purchase a Scotch Thermal Laminator Combo Pack, Includes 20 Letter-Size Laminating Pouches, Holds Sheets up to 8.5″ x 11(TL902VP) and buy extra laminating sheets in every size, this is a great investment for every home school mom. I also recommend stocking up on Mead Index Cards, Ruled, 3 x 5 Inch, White, 100 Per Pack, 4 PACK because they can be used for so many things but especially for site words.

In order for your child to learn their site words, you can teach them using flash cards, I make all mine myself, that’s where the laminator and index cards comes in. This is a great way for them to learn, but I believe that using the site words in games will also help with their memorization. This is a list of 5 of my children’s favorite ways to practice their site words.

  1. Flash Cards
  2. Turn Site Words into a Puzzle
  3. Go Fish
  4. Say It, Spell It, Clap It, Shout It, Whisper It, Say It
  5. Matching

We are on group 4 of site words and my daughter is already starting to read on her own. She still needs help with the large words but I always have her attempt to sound it out before I give her the answer. Her favorite book to read is Mittens at School (My First I Can Read) and she just picked out Pinkalicious Phonics Box Set (My First I Can Read) as her reading reward. Site words are such a huge base for your child’s reading future, so make it fun and watch your child glow as they read their first book.

Do you have fun ways to teach site words? Leave them in the comments below!

Group 1: the, and, I, it, said, up, is

Group 2: to, a, you, in, for, look, red

Group 3: go, little, can, not, my, big, where

Group 4: we, down, see, one, me, come, orange

Group 5: jump, here, make, play, find, funny, was

Group 6: away, help, two, run, three, he, yellow

Group 7: that, on, but, with, there, be, am

Group 8: she, they, at, all, out, have, green

Group 9: do, what, get, this, yes, are, no

Group 10: did, so, like, will, went, now, blue

Group 11: came, into, want, pretty, saw, ran, who

Group 12: ride, good, too, four, well, eat, purple

Home School Field Trips

Home School Field Trips

Most kids do better using the hands on approach to learning, so the more you can get your child out to learn, the better. When making my lesson plans, I choose a theme for the week. For example, Oceans, Space, Farm, Transportation and more. With each theme I find a local place I can take the children to have the hands on learning experience that corresponds to that theme. Living in southern California, I have many choices of field trip venues but the list I have compiled is generic enough that most towns should have something similar.

  1. Aquariums
  2. Space Museum/Observatory
  3. Farm/Dairy
  4. Train Station/Train Ride
  5. Police/ Fire Station
  6. Nature Hike
  7. Factory
  8. Bakery
  9. Zoo
  10. Pet Store

All of these locations have worlds of knowledge that the kids will not soon forget. I suggest a small scrap book that the kids can put pictures from their adventure and write what they learned as well as their favorite memory. Keep an eye out for my lesson planning blog to see how to incorporate these field trips into your plan and activities leading up to the big day!

Toddler Learning Toys

Toddler Learning Toys

In our school day schedule I always make time for free play. The children are allowed to play with any of the learning toys that I have placed out for them. I will usually pick up to 4 and change them around often. Letting them make the choice gives them the independence they want and we know they are making good choices.

Manipulatives are wonderful for free play because they can use them to build, to count, make shapes, learn colors, make patterns and so much more. My children like the 50 Counting Bears with 5 Cups, it allows them to sort and of course use their imagination while they use them as figurines. They also enjoy using Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards. Placing the geometric shapes on the pictures is great for improving fine motor.

Another ideal free play activity is giant floor puzzles. Your child will be so proud of themselves when they see this large picture that they have created. There are many brands and pictures to choose from. I like to go along with what theme we are using for the week so we have the Melissa & Doug Solar System 48 pcs Floor Puzzle out now and the Melissa & Doug Alphabet Express Floor Puzzle is always an option.

Memory games are very inexpensive or can be made at home. I have a few different memory games but the kids always tend to want to play the ones that have their favorite characters on them. Disney Classic Characters Matching Game is a wonderful choice and this will help build their memory and taking turns with others if you have more then one child you are teaching.

Kids Construction Table Duplo & Lego Compatible w/ 2 Chairs (VIEW ALL PHOTOS) is fabulous for kids to create on and when their free play is up, they do not have to take apart their items that they just worked so hard to build. Duplos are large and come in many different themes. We use new packs of duplos as rewards, they have large sets and small. Check out this beginner set LEGO DUPLO 10572 Creative Play All-in-One-Box-of-Fun or this smaller set LEGO DUPLO Creative Play 10573 Creative Animals both great for your little ones!

I think most toys can be used as an educational device so be creative and let your child’s mind soar!

Learning to Read with Toddler Books

Learning to Read with Toddler Books

Home school preschool began in May for us. We are doing a minimized schedule through the summer to get the kids adjusted. A large focus has been placed on site words and learning to read. I love board books, because they are much more durable and easy for toddlers to hold. I also don’t have a huge library in my house to store all my books. So paperback is usually what I end up buying. There are many learn to read books on the market that I find are equally awesome but we enjoy the My First I Can Read Books. They all use basic site words that your child will be learning through preschool lessons, they all have wonderful illustrations and all of them have themes your child will love to read over and over again. Oh and did I mention they only cost anywhere between 2$-4$!!! That’s a score. We love Pete the Cat but you can also get titles like Pinkalicious, Little Critter and more. These books are wonderful to read together and eventually your child will be reading all by themselves.

We order all of our books from Amazon and with Amazon Prime you can get them within two days or less! Click Pete the Cat Scuba Cat and it will take you directly to Amazon where you can shop the whole I Can Read collection!