Friday, May 27, 2016

How Our Family Uses-and LOVES-Audible!

I love reading, but if I'm honest since college I haven't read nearly as much as I'd like. Life is busy. Whether it's work, kids, extracurricular activities or laundry, by the end of the day turning on Netflix seems easier and let's face it easier is appealing at the end of the day. I kept hearing about people using Audible either for themselves as they commuted to work, or for their kids, but thought, "I don't have a commute, I'm a homeschooling mom." Or "I can read to my kids" and I do, but I cannot tell you how much I love Audible. 

In December I saw a deal on Living Social or Groupon that was similar to this one and decided to give Audible a try. We had three months to see if it would really be useful to our clan. We're now 6 months in and it has decidedly changed how I spend my time. But I'm getting ahead of myself! 

Honestly what pushed me over the edge was the busyness of life. I wanted to be reading aloud to my kids more than I was and they wanted me to be reading to them more, and I saw this as a way to meet that need without having to rearrange my schedule. Since I homeschool them and we're all together nearly 24/7, we have quiet time daily from 2-3:30 pm. During this time, everyone goes to their own space-a bedroom or the basement-and plays quietly by themselves. They have often used this time to listen to Adventures in Odyssey or Jonathan Park or books on CD from the library, but now they are bringing a Kindle or iPad and listening to Audible instead. They have gotten so wrapped up in an audiobook that they will stay past 3:30 and are often found listening other times of the day. 

The first several months I used our credits on children's book collections (the Ramona collection, Henry Huggins collection, etc) but would pick up other books with our Audible membership discount like A Cricket in Times Square, The Jungle Book, Blackstart of Kingston, My Side of the Mountain and many others. I love knowing that they are listening to books that I have chosen and then hearing one child recommend one to another child. Sometimes more than one of them is listening to the same book at the same time on different devices. It's really been wonderful to see them diving more deeply into books they might not have picked up on their own. 

Personally I wasn't sure it was going to be very useful, but I was content to use Audible to be filling my children's heads with good literature. However in April I was trying to read a Jane Austen book for book club and was not finding as much time to sit with my nose in a book as I had hoped and saw that I could get the audio version for less than $2. I spent the next few days listening to Emma as I prepared dinner, washed up pots and pans, folded laundry, drove to the store, and more. I followed that with a few other Austen works and just recently finished three of the Anne of Green Gables books that way. I have always wanted to read them, but have never actually done so until now. I just started David Copperfield and plan to check off many other Bucket List books this way. My favorite thing to do at night now is to crawl into bed, click off of Facebook or email and onto Audible, stick my earbuds in (my hubby falls asleep within minutes of his head hitting the pillow), and play 10 10 while I listen to someone read to me. It's really quite delightful. 

If you've ever considered Audible and have any questions, please let me know. I am no expert, but I am thoroughly enjoying it and highly recommend it! 

For more helpful information, this blog post is very helpful: http://www.plumfieldandpaideia.com/audible-reading-with-my-ears/

Birthday Boy 5

Will turned five back in November. Yes, you read that right, November. As in 6 months ago...that's the kind of mama/blogger I am. Life is busy and full and I have not been here often. I'm actually okay with that. You see in November Will got very sick. Like I was afraid for his life sick. I will blog about that another day. Today I just want to talk about this fun boy who had a less than exciting birthday, but LOVED it anyway-because that's who he is! 

We started the day with breakfast and presents and he was thrilled to get lots of Lego sets and 2 pairs of boxing gloves! (We decided one pair wouldn't be wise because he wouldn't be able to box with anyone, thus two pairs-one for Will and one for a friend!)
He spent the day building Lego sets, boxing, and playing Wii with his brothers. All that sounds super fun, however despite the fun, he was still not feeling right. He wasn't hungry enough to eat much at breakfast or lunch, and he fell asleep multiple times during the day. It was really pretty sad. I was so glad we hadn't planned a big party. In fact our plan had been a trip to the Aquarium because he was super into aquatic life at the time. Shortly after his birthday he switched gears and doesn't care so much about marine life anymore, so we decided he'll just get to have a fun birthday party next year. 

Will's current favorite color is red, so when I saw this shirt online, I knew I had to get it for him. He adores it. In fact he wore it today. He calls it his "Birthday Boy 5" shirt. I love it!



My parents came over to celebrate with us that night and he perked up enough for pizza and cookie cake. :)




Here's the birthday survey:
~What is your name? Will, William James Gross
~And how old are you? 5
~How does being 5 make you feel? Funny
~What do you want to learn this year? How to swim good
~What was the best thing about being 4? Play Wii
~How did you celebrate your birthday?
~What was your favorite gift that you received? 
~What is your favorite color? Red
~What is your favorite food? Pizza
~Who is your favorite person? Mom <3
~What grade are you in? Pre-K
~What is your favorite thing to do during school? Veritas (history)
~What is your favorite game to play? Super Mario 3D World
~What do you like to do with Daddy? Play Battleship
~What do you like to do with Mommy? Hug you!
~What do you like to do with Jon? Play Legos with him
~What do you like to do with Sam? Wrestle with him
~What do you like to do with Maggie? Play guns (ha!)
~What’s your favorite thing to do with the whole family? Movie night
~What’s your favorite store? Target
~What’s your favorite place to eat? Chick-fil-A
~What’s your favorite book? Elephant & Piggie I Really Like Slop
~What’s your favorite song? Everything is Awesome!
~What’s your favorite thing in the Bible right now? David and Goliath
~What do you want to be when you grow up? A Ninja 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

We Have a Threenager!

Maggie turned three 6 months ago! I can barely remember what we did that day, so I decided I had better blog about it before I can't remember at all! 


There were two things that she asked for: a "jump-o-line" (Trampoline) and roller skates. We got her the trampoline and her grandparents got her the roller skates, plus her brothers got her some stickers and some girly Legos, her other grandparents got her Doc McStuffins dress up outfits, and her uncle got her some Doc McStuffins stuffed toys. All in all she was thrilled with her gifts.



She wanted to go to Target and to help me make purple cupcakes. What the birthday girl wants, the birthday girl gets! :)

She LOVED being sung to and blowing out her candles. I'm not sure why the picture below turned out the way it did, but it cracks me up.

Maggie is growing up so quickly and is becoming quite the fun girl. She makes up songs all day long and loves, loves, loves to be with people. I am so thankful for my Maggie-girl and can't wait to see what she'll be up to next! <3