Sunday, August 24, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up – August 10th-16th

Aaaaah…the annual bash is behind us once again, and the summer is beginning to wind down.  Life will soon begin to fall into more of a routine…but only after Hayden attends 2 weeks of “summer camp” at his charter school and Steve spends a week in Michigan visiting his family and attending his 25th class reunion!

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Alas!  It’s Tuesday, August 12th, and at 5:14 PM, Hayden is officially 15 years old!  Happy birthday, my dear son!

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And of course, his birthday would not be complete without his favorite pineapple upside down cake with 15 candles on top!

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Hayden began his school’s summer camp activities this week, so he was gone until noon with that.  I’m so glad the rain caused them reschedule their original plans for this date, or else I wouldn’t have gotten to spend most of Hayden’s birthday with him! 

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He had to get his little “helpers” to finish blowing out the last couple of candles, LOL.

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Hayden got to do some really fun things this week in his summer camp at school.  They took the whole class to Williamsburg on Wednesday and gave them a tour of William & Mary College.  Then they spent the afternoon at Busch Gardens just having fun!  The school paid for everything.  Because they are a charter school, they get to apply for lots of grant money the rest of the school system doesn’t get access to, and it has to be spent directly on the students.  So they get to do fun team-building activities and things they wouldn’t otherwise get to do.  On Thursday, they went out to the new Adventure Park located at the Virginia Aquarium.  They spent 3 hours doing rope courses up in the trees.  The school paid for that in full, as well.  Hayden was thrilled!  He said it was one of the most fun things he’s ever done, and he’d love to go back again someday.  He said they did 3 of the 12 courses available at there.

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Then on Friday night, we went out to Ocean Breeze Water Park for the dive-in movie.  Unfortunately, it was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen…The Goonies.  It was so bad, and it was so cool out, that the kids even got tired of being wet and cold, so we left before the movie was even over. 

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I regretted investing an hour and a half of my time into the movie that I could never get back, but at least we beat the crowd home.

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Haylee’s new math program for next school year (6th grade) showed up in the mail.  I pored over my options for several weeks before settling on this program. 

Because her current workbook-style math ends with 6th grade level this school year, I knew we’d have to switch to something else for the next 3 years before high school.  She really likes colorful workbooks, but she’s getting so she could use some extra help, too.  That’s what got me thinking about this program again.  I’ve reviewed No-Nonsense Algebra from the same author in the past and used it with Hayden, and we were both fairly impressed with it and the wonderful video instruction that’s included. 

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Haylee will need a 7th grade-level math program, and Mastering Essential Math Skills: Book Two should be a good fit for that level.  She and I had looked at it together in a bookstore recently.  I could have purchased the downloadable version and still gotten free online video lessons with it, but I thought she might like to have the portability of a DVD.  It runs about $32 for the physical set with DVD, so I hunted around online and got it brand new on ebay for just $13 shipped.  Not bad at all!  I told her I’d put it onto colored paper for her when she works the problems so it won’t be all black and white.  I like that it’s just one page per day for 20 minutes, and it includes daily mixed problems so she doesn’t forget past concepts.  That’s important for her.  So I’m hoping this will be a good fit.

If it goes well, she can move into their Pre-Algebra Concepts book for 7th grade, and No-Nonsense Algebra in 8th grade, and then she’ll be ready for high school.  It was important to me to find something that would flow throughout middle school so she knows the layout and what to expect.  I don’t want to keep changing her math since it’s the subject she struggles with the most.

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On Saturday, the latest Bark Box arrived for the dogs!  Lilly and Teenie absolutely LOVE their monthly surprise box.  It’s filled with organic, made-in-the-USA treats and high-quality, very sturdy toys.  We signed up through a group deal (I’ve forgotten if it was Groupon or Living Social or some other daily deal site) for a 6-month subscription, and it has really been worth it.

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They’ve amassed a nice basket full of toys, and we leave it out for them so they can choose a toy and play tug-of-war to their heart’s content!  For the most part, the toys have held up well, and the treats have been very nutritious, natural snacks.  They include a price list for each item so you can reorder if you desire, and I’ve price-matched and found the prices to be accurate.  The monthly cost is well below the actual value, and even more so with the group deal I got, so I’m very happy with it.  My dogs are vastly different in size, so I chose the box for the largest size dog for the sake of the durability of the toys, and I just snap the snacks into smaller pieces for my little dog.  It has worked well for them!

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That’s a wrap!  Steve headed off for Michigan on Wednesday to enjoy a weeklong visit with his friends and family there, so we’re enjoying a little less hustle and bustle at home, and a little less of an evening routine than usual.  I took the kids out to breakfast on Friday morning, and I’m sure I’ll take them out to lunch one day next week.  The summer will be over before we know it!

See you next week.