Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Family Update & Field Trip–trick or treating at the zoo! October 17, 2010

Filed under: Family updates,Field trips,Saving the Earth — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 7:43 pm
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Because of multiple food allergies, we don’t usually trick or treat around the neighborhood (well, that, and there are no other kids in our neighborhood currently…that kind of puts a kink in the plan! 😉 ).  We usually throw an allergen-free Halloween party for the kids on Halloween, but we do take the kids out trick or treating at an area zoo.  This year, instead of going to the Columbus Zoo, we went to the Cincinnati Zoo to meet up with my sister, her fiance, and my nephew.

A lonely little rose at the zoo.

Monkey as a Pumpkin. This year, we decided to go eco-friendly on the costumes (of course!). All of the costume pieces were either reused, consigned, or bought handmade from Etsy with the intent to repurpose (the hats the girls wore can be used for winter, and the tutus can be used as regular clothes).

Jedi as Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget--this was totally his choice. Not sure what's up with the plaid shoes, but those were also his choice. 😉

The lovely bamboo that was everywhere at the zoo.


The rhino was coming straight at us

Bitty Bug was a ghost.

Jedi was really into character, being all mysterious why watching the animals.

Wild horses (obviously not wild at the zoo. 😉 )

Petting a big snake.



Bug lovin' the zoo!

Bug and Monkey discussing their trick or treating loot

The zebra really close to us

Polar bear

Beautiful pheasant that was loose at the zoo

Asian Elephants

Bug was really into trick or treating. We liked that it was mainly stickers, coloring books, and tooth brushes with 2 or 3 pieces of candy. That way they didn't get too sugared out.

My sweet little baby bug.


Montessori Monday–Snack Table August 2, 2010

Filed under: Family updates,Preschool — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 6:49 am
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Jedi is 6 years 7 months old, Monkey is 3 years 5 months, Bitty Bug is 18 months old.

Last week was another low key week as we are trying to enjoy the last couple weeks before Jedi heads back to school.  We’re still doing some Montessori work, but not really much formal stuff in the school room.  Monkey, Jedi, and I were also spending last week preparing for our belt tests for Tang Soo Do–I tested for my green belt, Jedi tested for his orange belt, and Monkey’s testing Wednesday for her white with black stripe.

 One of the things we did this week was start a snack station.  I feel like most of my day is spent making food and then hearing the kids complain that they are still hungry!  Then I get them another snack, and later notice that most of it was wasted.  I decided to try a snack station where the kids can pour their own beverages and get their own snacks, any time of the day, whenever they want it.  At first glance, I’m sure it seems coddling and a recipe for overeating.  However, after a week of it, I’ve learned a couple things:

-Almost every option on the snack table is a fresh fruit or vegetable, with a small amount of gluten free pretzels and homemade trail mix also available.  So, there really isn’t a high calorie or “bad for you” snack.  The kids are basically spending their day grazing on fresh produce.

-The kids seem to understand that the snack tray is to be used throughout the day, and once it’s gone, it’s gone for the day.  Every day this week, the last couple pieces of food on the tray were eaten shortly before dinner time.

-We use “pinch bowls” for the kids to put their snack in–they are very small bowls, and the kids seem to do really well filling the small bowl and then being done for a little bit.

-LESS food is being wasted!  They take only what they want, instead of starting an apple, and then throwing away half of it.

-There are less tantrums.  When the kids have the independence to choose when and what to eat, not only do they have control over this aspect of their lives, but they don’t have to get to that “hungry” stage that produces tantrums. 

-I still have complete control over what types of things they’re snacking on.  I created the tray and I make it as healthy as I can.  Then I know the kids are choosing good snacks.  They choose what on the tray they eat, I choose what goes on the tray in the first place. 

The beverage options. I always have out an ice bowl, a small pitcher that is easy for the baby to pour (either water or coconut milk). Then I have two larger pitchers which have either water, coconut milk, coconut milk kefir, lemonade, or diluted fruit/veggie juice. There are always 3 different drink options out.

One day we'll get a different table for this, but for now, this works. Next to the beverages, there is a fresh produce tray, small jars of dried cranberries, gluten free pretzels, and homemade trail mix, along with some pinch bowls to put the snack in.

And some other random pictures from this week…

Monkey, Bug, and Jedi helping to bake

Bug puts this basket on her head and goes around the house yelling "I'm a ghooooooost!"

The kids outside painting

I'm pretty sure Bug put more paint on the rocks (that were just keeping the papers from flying away). She painted herself pretty well too. 😉

Jedi takes his art process very seriously. He's always been a serious artist.

Monkey painting

The kids walking in the park

Jedi at his Tang Soo Do belt test

Jedi doing front kicks at his test

Jedi's super awesome flying side kick.


Family Update: Our 4th of July weekend! July 6, 2010

Filed under: Family updates — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 10:27 am

Here’s post 3 of the 4 blog posts I have to make today to get all caught up. 🙂  I wanted to drop off a few pictures from the 4th of July weekend that we spent in Michigan.  This post will have things from the first 2 days, and then the pictures from yesterday are coming up in the Outdoor Hour post later today since it was more of a nature study-type activity.

The first day of our trip, we went up to my dad’s house in Hillsdale.  We got there late in the afternoon, so we spent the rest of the day just chilling out and hanging out with my dad, one of my sisters, on one of my brothers.  Then on Sunday after mass, we headed up to Grand Haven to Lake Michigan with my sister and her husband.  The kids had a blast on the beach!

All ready for church...our little firecracker!

Running for the water

Bug watching from the shore...she had just woken up from her nap and was a little groggy

Jedi & Monkey enjoying the water

Bug eating lunch at the beach

Someone else who wanted to partake in Bug's lunch...

Bug and her daddy playing in the sand and water

Swinging at the beach playground


Beautiful 4th of July day at Lake Michigan

After the beach, we headed to Grand Rapids to watch fireworks over the river.

Exploring the plants at the park near where the fireworks were

The bridge we were sitting on to watch the show

Walking down by the river

Bug was the only one that was with me while we were walking on the river. Monkey and Jedi were walking the other direction with their dad.

Having a snack and watching the boats near sunset

The bridge lit up before the fireworks started

And just a cute picture of Monkey and her aunt drawing in sketch pads


April 21, 2010 April 21, 2010

Filed under: Family updates,Preschool,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 9:48 pm
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Today was a busy day for us!  First off, a big congratulations to Jedi, who had a belt test in one of his two martial arts classes.  He did awesome!  Now he’s a white belt with yellow stripe.

In the montessori room today, it was Monkey and Bitty Bug.  Most of what was in the room today was the same as Monday.  I did put a second set of knobbed cylinders out, as well as a basket of nature-themed items with some magnifying glass.  Monkey really enjoyed the nature basket–I had some grass seeds, tree seeds, grass, dirt, dandilions, and a few other things I found around the  yard.  Bitty Bug enjoyed looking at these too.  I also brought out the color box 1 and both girls were practicing matching the colors.  Monkey is great at matching colors but can’t name them, so we were working on naming the colors as well.  Because of her processing issues, she has a very hard time remembering them.

Both girls decided they wanted to explore the musical instrument cabinet and the animal/insect puzzles today as well.  The instruments were a big hit and both girls were really into them. 

I did notice that Monkey is not willingly choosing the pink tower.  I am keeping it out for her for when she chooses it, but for now, she’s really into exploring the nature basket, sink/float, magnets, and knobbed cylinders.

I did put a bunch of toddler things out for Bug, which Monkey also decided to play with as well.  Both girls really liked the wooden rainbow–Monkey even tried to make a tower out of it!


We still exist! March 22, 2010

Filed under: Family updates — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 4:31 pm

We’re still on break from homeschooling as the house is still piled with boxes.  We are finally in the house though, which is great.  Unpacking’s going ok, but slowly as it naturally would with three kids 6 and under.  The kids are doing well, or as well as kids who hate change can do with change.  Jedi’s actually handling it the best…he had a few days of some pretty massive tantrums, but he’s back on track and excited to have a room to himself again…even if it looks like George Lucas’s entire Star Wars collection exploded all over the place. 😉  Monkey’s doing  ok, but her tantrums and defiance has hit epic levels this week.  Adjustment has never been her strong suit, but I think once we get her schoolroom unpacked and can get back into her routine, she’ll be ok.  Bitty Bug is actually handling it the worst, which is surprising.  She’s become very clingy and whiny, but she doesn’t really understand…she woke up in a new house with furniture she hadn’t seen (we packed it up when she was less than 6 months old).  She’s getting lots of extra cuddles though and that seems to be helping.

All of the kids love playing outside at the new house though….5 months of apartment life and they’re ready to run again. 🙂  With the exception of today (it’s cold, rainy and windy), they’ve been spending 3-5 hours outside every day.  They met the only neighbors in the subdivision (it’s a new subdivision and only one other house is there so far).  They loved playing with the new kids, which in itself was shocking…our shy little ones came out of their shell with the neighbor girls.  So, it was nice to see them running around having fun with other kids.

So, that’s our brief update…we should be back in the schoolroom sometime next week. 🙂


Family update–the new house! March 10, 2010

Filed under: Family updates — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 11:51 pm
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 A brief family update…

For the past year, we’ve been in the home building process.  Today was the final day of construction before the final inspections can begin (they still have to paint the outside, put in the driveway, steps, & sidewalk, and do the final grade but that all has to wait until the weater is constantly warmer and the ground is not so muddy.  So they’re moving ahead with the final inspections so we can move in before then. 

Here are some pictures of the house, as well as some of the kids playing at the house today….