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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Power Outage FUN!

We had a scheduled power outage today. Did mommy remember this when she was putting together this week's lesson plan? OF COURSE! Rather than book work and computer activities, we decided to take a field trip. The theme for today was "using your education for life". First, we compiled a list of all of the errands we needed to do:

1. Swing by Josh's unit to chat with his 1SG.
2. Swing by Josh's office to chat with his Commander.
3. Swing by the YMCA for some much-needed fun time (and study time with electricity for mommy).
4. Swing by the grocery store for food!

While we were compiling our lists, I was explaining the importance of writing the list down to SJ so we wouldn't forget an errand. I explained to her that in order to understand what our list says, we need to practice our handwriting skills and know how to spell and read. This brings our lessons (reading, spelling, and handwriting) full circle for her to embrace their importance. Then, I told her that we should organize our errands in a specific order so we aren't spending a lot of time in the van driving all over the place. Since she doesn't know her way around town, I did this step.

Our first errand was to chat with Josh's 1SG. Josh's unit has a potluck every month and I'm on the organizing committee. (I love taking SJ with me when I do most of my volunteer work. It shows her how important giving our time and talent is, and that we can always give a small part of ourselves to our community.) Each month, a different section in Josh's unit "hosts" the potluck. Basically, they pick the month's theme, set up for the potluck, and clean up afterward. I make the flyers that tell what the theme is, offer "menu suggestions" for people if they want to bring something that goes along with the theme, and all the other fun stuff! Josh's 1SG chose this month's theme to be "Mardi Gras", and my creativity has basically been all used up in my college courses so I went by his office to brainstorm any menu suggestions and decoration ideas he had floating around his brain. Since an Army unit's office is basically as much fun as two dead flies for little girls, I brought some toy strollers and baby dolls for them to play with while 1SG and I chatted. This was quite a hit for the girls!

Next, we decided to have a chat with Josh's Commander. She is of cajun descent. She is very knowledgable on the topic, and was very happy to let me pick her brain on menu ideas as well as the history and the significance of Mardi Gras. After our chat, I have decided to add this wonderful information to SJ's future studies during school time at home. Since the potluck is at the end of the month, we'll make it her "end of unit party". She'll be able to show off all of her special knowledge to Josh's co-workers, and know what she's celebrating as we attend the potluck!

After our chats at the unit, we made our way to the YMCA. They have a deliciously fun children's area for the girls to enjoy. For SJ, they have a large climbing apparatus with slides and tunnels for exploration. Christina's area is full of oversized foam blocks, smaller slides, and plenty of toys to keep her engaged and entertained. We get 2 hours of child-watch privileges each day as a part of our membership, and I normally utilize those hours for my workout time. Today, however, I decided to use the time for my studies and to make the flyers for the potluck. It was quite wonderful! I could focus on my studies, and know that the girls were having a blast!

Our last errand was possibly my favorite. We went grocery shopping. Since we went in the middle of the day, the store was pretty much ours. I love this specific Kroger because they have child-sized shopping carts, and each child decided they would have their own. Check out our fun:

My little shopping helpers. They loved having their own cart to control so they weren't bored.
In the Produce Department, I only get veto rights. I do get to act as a consultant when discussing price (since they don't grasp price per quantity and price per pound quite yet). The girls pick all of our fruits and vegetables. I have stopped making a list because we go off of what they're interested in trying out (squash, radishes, cabbage), and what they know we must get (bananas, carrots, etc).
Samantha takes a "Sniff and See" approach to picking her vegetables.
Christina, on the other hand, takes a "Feel and See" approach. Both are great, in my opinion!
They both love raw bell peppers, and these super pretty red, orange, and yellow peppers were just calling Christina's name!
They love having pretty much free reign on choices!
Christina saw a lady pulling her cart rather than pushing it and she decided to give that technique a try!
It wasn't all business. At one point, Christina decided to sit down and watch as her sister spun her cart around in circles. The lady at the end of the aisle stood there and enjoyed the show for a good two minutes.
Sitting on the floor did give Christina the added benefit of finding one of her favorite snacks: black olives! 
Samantha's job was to pick which tortillas we would use for our quesadillas this week. She never paid attention to how many different sizes and flavors they come in.
For a lesson in math, we discussed the prices. Once she picked the tortillas that she liked, she had the task of ensuring they were the least expensive ones on the shelf. She did great!
Who can ignore the oversized bear balloon and stuffed roses on the display shelf? Not these girls! We stopped to admire the colors and different shapes, and moved on without adding them to our cart with no melt-downs!
We don't avoid the toy aisle when we make our way to the registers. It's a great lesson in want vs need. They were happy to take a moment to see "what's new", but didn't mind leaving the aisle without picking out a new toy.
I honestly think this is the first time either of them have actually taken the time to see what is in the grocery store (except the Produce Department, they have always had free reign there).
Some of our healthy and economical purchases. They did a great job!
They were even happy to load the purchases on the conveyor belt so mommy could pay! I grabbed the quarts of soy milk for Christina, but SJ lifted the gallon jug of cow's milk on her own, without complaint!
I must say, the candy stand that sits right across from the registers was quite the temptation for Christina. We even almost had a tantrum over a chocolate bar. But as soon as the cashier rang up the bananas, I quickly grabbed one for each darling angel as their reward for being such big helpers, and the chocolate bar was quickly forgotten.

Groceries picked out, payed for, and ready for transport home. I had so much fun on this field trip, I may start doing my shopping in the middle of the day on Thursdays!
The best part of our trip to the grocery store was that we came in $8 under budget! Who says taking kids shopping increases your out-the-door price?

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