A Bag a Day While Mom is Away

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This past summer I went on a much needed trip to visit a friend that lives in Germany.  I have never traveled without Ben and the boys and I was feeling a whole range of emotions.  I was feeling guilty that I was getting to visit Europe, when I knew Ben and the boys would love to go too.  I was feeling very nervous as this was my first trip by myself...ever!  I was worried about leaving the boys for 12 days. The longest I had ever been away from them was for 3 days and I have not spent much time away from our youngest son.  I knew Ben would be completely fine taking care of them, but he does not have all three of them on his own that often.  I was starting to feel like I should cancel my trip, especially after just getting home from our time in Malaysia and dealing with Britton's accident.  Let me just say...I am so glad I went.  It was just what I needed!

I decided, always being a homeschooler, that while I was gone it would be a great time for the boys to learn a little about the places I was going to be visiting. Of course, they needed reminders of their mom everyday, right?  Don't want them to forget about me!  So, I planned out a theme for each day I was going to be away and had it all  packed for them to open while I was gone.  This was what I came up with.

Somehow my picture of day 3 disappeared, but I had a package with water balloons for the boys to have a balloon fight.

I am so glad I did this.  Ben told me it was the first thing the boys wanted to do each morning while I was away.  It didn't take me that much time to put together and it was a great way for me to stay connected with the boys while I was traveling.

I would love to hear what you have done for your kids to make it easier on them (and you) while you are apart.

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Week in Review: Week 8 September 22-26

Morning Routine: Calendar, Virtue, & Chores

This week the boys worked on being gentle.  That is a hard one for three boys to work on.  There is always rough housing and loud voices going on in my house, so we worked on having a quieter voice and keeping our hands to ourselves.  This one will probably be in a work in progress until they all move out! They have also been slowly adding stickers to their "100 Days of Virtues" poster.  Hoping we can get to at least 20 next week!  Britton has mastered the days of the week and the big kids have mastered the months of the year and the 50 States. We worked on all three of those tasks during our morning calendar time.  

Theme of the Week: Five in a Row


Over the past two weeks, Greyson and Lincoln have been working on Owl Moon by Jane Yolen .  This is a sweet story about a little girl who gets to go out with her dad (without her brothers) to go look for owls.  We learned about Owls over the past two weeks and had the excitement of dissecting owl pellets, studying nocturnal animals, and thanking their Dad for working so hard and taking care of all of us.  We had a great two weeks reading this book. 


Britton worked on Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown over the past two weeks. This is a classic book that most American kids have read to them when they are little ones.  To be honest, I have never really liked this book, but I enjoyed it so much more this time reading it through with Britton.  We learned about the moon, went over right and left, learned the nursery rhyme "Hey Diddle, Diddle", and played with some fun erupting moon sand. 


Greyson and Lincoln studied owls all week long.  We learned where they lived, what they eat, why they are protected animals, and finished the week with dissecting owl pellets and the end of unit test.  The boys loved the dissecting the owl pellets.  I was grossed out. Mostly, because I have a very irrational fear of mice and both of our pellets had mice in them.  Both of the boys started off strong, but once it really sank in what exactly it was they were dissecting, they started to lose their interest.  They also both finished out the week with perfect scores on their science test!

Britton joined in a lot of our science lessons this week.  We watched a Magic School Bus on nocturnal animals and I think he can teach a lesson about nocturnal animals now!  We watched MSB "Going Batty" and "In the City" episodes.  We also worked a little more on mixing colors by using two jars of colored water and have them mix on a paper towel.  This didn't exactly work for us, so we just switched the paper towel around and then the colors started mixing.  Britton liked it even though it didn't work out perfectly.  

100 Book Challenge

This week we are reading The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katheine Patterson.  The same author who wrote The Bridge to Terabithia.  This book does not seem to be grabbing the boy's attention like her other book, but we are pushing through.  I think it is a great story with a really great lesson to be learned.  I have had to edit the book a bit.  We are hoping to finish it up next week.

Math, Reading & Art

All the boys are doing great with their math.  Greyson just moved up to his 4th grade book and was very excited about that!  

The boys have also been adding quite a few stickers to their reading charts.  Lincoln just finished up his 2oth chapter book for the year! We are trying to find another series that Greyson will be interested in.  We have previewed quite a few, but I just can't seem to find one that he likes.  So, if you have any suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them.  Britton is now reading two-three sentences per page in his readers.  I am so proud of how well he is doing!

We worked on clay owls in art this week and Britton made a cute moon scene to go along with Goodnight Moon. 

Story of the World

For the past two weeks we have been learning about India.  We studied the Ganges River and learned why it is so important to the Hindu religion.  Our friend, Mala, taught us about henna and bindis.  

We also learned about Buddha and Buddhism.  The boys know quite a bit about this religion since we live in a Buddhist country, but it was interesting to learn more about who Buddha was.  We read a few Jataka tales, that are lessons from Buddha.  We will continue to learn about Buddha next week.  

Special Moments

On Thursday this week, I needed a day to get caught up.  I was getting behind in all of my planning and decided to switch the day around for the boys.  Greyson and Lincoln played a long game of Monopoly, we baked some pumpkin bread, and Greyson worked on an estimation project to figure out how many people live in our little section of our neighborhood.  I was quite surprised to find that over 1000 people live in our little part and up to 10,000 people live in our whole neighborhood!  

The boys also decided all on their own to make fitness calendars, so they can work being healthier.  This was something they came up with without any suggestions from me.  It has been cute to see them come with  their own fitness plan and makes me happy to see them want to take control of their health.  We also made delicious Nutella pastries (this was before the fitness calendar started!) We also found pumpkins at our local market.  This is the first year I have seen small orange pumpkins here.  We also saw a cute little frog in our front yard. 

Next week, we are moving on to all things apples!


Erupting Moon Dust
Moon Craft
Moon/window craft
Clay Owl
Color Mixing
Nutella Pastry

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Top 10 ( mostly free) Things to do In Kuala Lumpur with Kids

Thursday, September 25, 2014

We ended up staying 6 days longer in Malaysia than we had planned. (Read why HERE), so we found many great thing to do in Kuala Lumpur with the kids.  Here are our top 10 favorite things to do.

1. Petrosains

When checking out other blogs and asking for suggestions on what to do in Kuala Lumpur, everyone suggests Petrosains, the hands ob science center.  The center is focused on the science of petroleum industry. It does focus on other areas of science too, but the main focus is everyday use of petroleum. The science center is located in KLCC Suria shopping center (the mall by the Petronas Towers.)  The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday 9:30- 5:30.  It costs RM 15.00 for adults, RM 10.00 for youth 13-17 years, RM 5.00 for children 3-12 years, and 2 & under is FREE.  

My boys loved walking around on the model of the oil rig.  They were so excited because they had just found out that their aunt was going to be working on an oil rig in the United States and they were getting to see what it would really be like living on a rig.  We had a great time at the museum and spent a few hours there.  One tip: Eat before you go to the museum.  There is a small snack bar, but it is way at the end of the museum.

2. KLCC Suria

This is the mall that is connected to the Petronas Towers.  I think we made a visit to this mall every single day that we were in KL.  There is a lot to do there.  We ate dinner at Chilis one night and had a window seat.  We were able to watch the light & fountain show from the window.  The boys loved this!  Make sure to ask for a window seat if you are at Chilis at dusk!

We checked out a movie while we were there.  The movies are MUCH cheaper than in the States.

We went to the Petronas Art Gallery, free art museum, that is located on the floor of the mall.

We stopped at Kinokuniya Book store a couple times and sat around and read.  I really miss good book stores and this one was amazing.

We ate at the great food court a few times.

Really, this mall has tons of things to do at it.  I usually hate malls, but I really liked this one.

3. Central Market

The Central Market has been open for over 100 years.  It is also called The Centre for Malaysian Culture, Heritage, Arts & Crafts.  This is the best place to shop for souvenirs to take home.  This market is great because it is indoors and air conditioned, so if it is too hot or raining, this is a great place to go for a bit.  There are places to eat and tons of great shops to look at.  Make sure to find a great batik to take home.  We found batik place mats that we loved.  My boys liked dressing up at the Chinatown shop!

4. National Mosque

We have been to Wats, Temples, Synagogues, and Churches, but we have never been to a Mosque. One thing that is great about living in another country (or even in a big city in the States) is being able to do our own world religion courses with the boys.  I was a little nervous about visiting, as I always am when I visit a new place of worship, because I did not want to do anything to offend anyone.  Some religions you are not supposed to touch the opposite sex or you need to remove your shoes or wear certain clothing and I wasn't sure what to expect.

 As soon as we made our way to the line to go into the mosque my nerves were calmed.  Everyone was so kind and helpful.  Women do need to be covered and will be given a robe with a headscarf. Men should be dressed in pants and children can get away with a little more.  My boys had shorts and t-shirts on.  We learned a lot about the Muslim religion from the guides that were there and met some wonderful people.  Our trip to the mosque was a highlight of our trip.  My boys loved it.  Greyson could not get over how beautiful the mosque was.

Just remember to be respectful.  You are a guest.  This is not just a site to see in the city, but also a place of worship.  We watched a few very large tour groups try to pose in the praying position to get a picture.  It was rude and made me uncomfortable to watch.  Make sure to check out the website for visiting hours. The mosque is closed during prayer times.

5. Planetarium

We stopped at the National Planetarium or called the Planetarium Negara for an afternoon visit.  The place it not really all that big.  We probably spent about 1 1/2 hours there.  We learned about life on the International Space Station.  They had a model of it and the boys were able to see how the astronauts sleep and even use the toilet. (Of course, a favorite of the boys and made lots of giggles.) They tried on gloves and tried to preform tasks like the astronauts have to do.  They had a model of a space shuttle that you could sit in.  It was very informative.  They also have a few shows during the day in the planetarium.  We watched one The Voyager Show.   The movie was geared more for middle school students and up, but my boys all enjoyed it.  The cost for the Planetarium is free but if you want to view the movie it is 12.00 RM ($3.70) for adults and 8.00 RM ($2.50) for children 2-12.

6. Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens are located on the same grounds as the Planetarium and also very close to the National Mosque.  The gardens are huge. You can hop on a tram to get to and from each section if you cannot walk the whole thing.  We only explored a small section of the gardens.  The gardens are very well cared for.  They do have a small enclosure with animals in it.  They have a deer sanctuary and  houses for some rodent type animals.  We walked over to the massive Brazil Nut Tree and had a little picnic under the tree.  We only spent about an hour there, mostly because we were melting from the heat, but it was a lovely place to visit.

7. Chinatown

Our first attempt to visit Chinatown left me a little confused.  There were no stalls set up, just huge tables and a stage.  I just couldn't figure out where all the stalls and vendors were.  It turned out that Chinatown had been closed for the night due to a huge reunion!  I figured we must have visited the only night of the year when it was closed.  I didn't think we would have time to make it back, but we were able to sneak a quick visit in later in the week.  This is a great place to buy shoes, clothes, purses, watches, etc., but not souvenirs or art work. Go back to the Central Market if you want those. It was a fun place to see, and we left before it go too busy.

8. Playground 

The first night we were in Kuala Lumpur we headed over to see the Petronas Towers.  This was what the boys had been most looking forward to seeing.  Right outside of the towers is a massive playground.  It honestly went on forever.  The boys kept finding new sections to play at.  There is also a free splash pad/fountain to play in.  We decided against the water since Britton had a cut and injection marks on his arms.  I wasn't sure how clean the water was, but it looked like great fun. We went around sunset, which was a great time because it was much cooler out.  The park is not shaded, so it gets very hot during the day.  The boys loved playing at the playground.  We miss going to playgrounds in Thailand.

9. Fountains

Once it gets dark, head back over to KLCC Suria to watch the light/fountain show.  We had a lot of fun watching the fountains.  They were beautiful!

10. Gallery

I love getting a little history of a country when we are on a trip and a great place to learn about Kuala Lumpur is the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery.  The first part of the building goes over this history of the city. This building is also home to ARCH, which is a model making company.  You can watch the builders make the wooden models and also see the largest model of the entire city of Kuala Lumpur. They also have a beautiful gift shop.  The gallery is free.

We had an amazing week in Kuala Lumpur.  We saw way more than we had planned and had to scrap a few ideas due to Britton being injured.  Hoping next time we visit we will make it to the Batu Caves and the Firefly tours.  We all loved this city and hope to go back again!

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27 Days of Halloween: An Activity a day

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It is no secret that I love holidays.  Any holiday will do.  I love going all out for every special occasion.  I never used to be like that before kids, but after we had kids, I wanted to make each holiday memorable for them.  I also think it has to do with homeschooling the boys and trying to re-create some of the fun holiday parties they would be having if they were in traditional school.  So, here is is again...our countdown to Halloween.  We will only have 27 days because we will be out of town for a few days and I know that I won't get to any projects while we are at the beach.

I found this super cute Countdown Calendar from Kristen at Yellow Bliss Road that I will be printing out.

1.Make Pumpkin Garland

2. Toilet Paper Roll Bats
Flying Bats Craft

3.My boys love a good joke, so I was excited to find these great jokes.
halloween ideas

4.Make Rice Krispie Ghosts.  So cute & EASY!

5. Decorate pumpkins

6.Make Pop-up cards for friends & family
DIY Halloween Pop-Up Cards •

7. Halloween Rock Magnets

8. Bat Paintings

9. Decorate Bathroom door
Mummy Classroom Door Decoration Idea

10. Ogre eye cocoa & Graveyard pudding for a snack
Ogre Eyes Hot Cocoa Recipe

11. I found this fun site with movie & treat ideas.  We will be watching Hotel Transylvania & making Bat cookies.

12. Ghost Pencil toppers
Ghost Pencil Toppers

13. Monster Prints
Monster Marker Prints ~ Coffee Filters and marker Art

14. Make homemade Candy Corn
Homemade Candy Corn :: Recipe and Tutorial on

15. Marble Rolling Spider Webs
Marble Rolling Spiderwebs - A Halloween Craft Project for Kids

16. Masking tape mummies
halloween craft

17.  Bottle cap spiders
Bottle Cap Spiders.  A fun kids craft with

18. Watch Ghost Busters & make Ghost milkshakes
How to make ghost milkshakes

19. Candy Corn Garland
Halloween Party Candy Corn Banner

20. Halloween playdoh
Halloween Playdough Activity- Perfect for a Halloween Party! ~

21. Make Halloween Muddy Buddy Mix

22. Watch Hocus Pocus & make Witch Hat cookies
Witches Hats Recipe

23. Tape Resist Pumpkin

24. Make Pumpkin Cookies

25. Make Hershey Bar Treats for friends.
candy bar wrappers

26. Pumpkin Pie Shaving Cream
Scented Shaving Cream Pumpkin Pie - This fall sensory activity allows kids to create a play pumpkin pie using sand and shaving cream.

27. Halloween Party All Day!  I will share later our theme meals and how we will celebrate Halloween.

I would love to hear what Halloween traditions you do or how your family celebrates Halloween! So excited!!

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