Monday, March 30, 2009

New crafts

This is Cyan's newest doll that she is making. She is really excited that she has finally gotten good enough with hand sewing that she could make a doll like this. :)

Alex made a Adobe Ruin for his school work today. He is studying the SouthWestern states. His clay arch was perfectly made with a keystone and all. :) I was really proud of him.

Isn't that neat? I thought he did a great job.

Here is my newest crafty project:

It is an egg shell herb garden. There are two of them with peas in them, and the rest have herbs: thyme, oregano, chives, and parsley. My hope is they will be started for an Easter gift for my dad's girlfriend.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Logan's first art

Logan decided that he wanted to draw pictures yesterday at my friend Kristan's house. So I pulled out some paper and a pencil and was sitting at the kitchen table chatting while he was drawing. It took about 6 or 7 minutes for me to get back to him... and he started telling me this whole little tale about his picture. About how these bits were 'doodles' and this one was a 'hat' and this was a 'snake'. It was the CUTEST thing! But the craziest part was that each piece looks like what he was saying he made it to be. It certainly took me by surprise.

It reminded me of Alex when he was a toddler actually. Just before his third birthday he made me a picture. It was a bunch of circles with other circles inside of them to make faces and mouths. There were about 5 of these faces on his page... and when I asked him what they were, he said "these a bunch of guys". I wrote it down, just like that, and it is tucked in his baby book.

These are the moments I collect.

Writing success!

Today we started our writing program from Small World. The kids LOVED it! We decided to make our first writing journals out of dollar store comp books covered in some of my wonderful scrapbook paper I keep for decoupage.

The first lesson was a ditty about nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Both kids wrote silly sentences and were in stitches before they were done. Purple kittens and sly harmonicas ran wild in their imaginations for a while.

Tomorrow, words that make you feel COLD.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A trip to the Zoo

One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish

The first part of Logan's Easter Basket. :) These will have stainless steel rings sewn to the ends and then a magnetic fishing rod will be given along with it and a basket to hold these things for the shelf.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Easter Ideas

I am collecting Easter ideas to make for our handmade/WAHM holiday. I have gotten some great ideas and some wonderful links so far and I really wanted to share as early as possible so others can get into the mood.

Here is a link I got from Sarah in the Forest Room that has tons of great ideas for a more earth friendly and budget friendly Easter basket:

And here is one of my personal favorites. Every year I make eggs like these. An online friend of mine, Danielle, brought the idea of making the eggs even more fun and magical (and less potentially dangerous as the Cascarones are meant to be smashed over someones head. lol!) by putting tiny fairy treasures inside!

The 'How-to' is simple, although time consuming:
  • ~ Blow out a bunch of egg shells, being very careful to keep the holes small (make quiche. ;) )
  • ~ wash out the egg shells and let them dry completely (about a day)
  • ~ cover one end with a tiny piece of tissue paper and painted with watered down white glue
  • ~ let that dry
  • ~ make a funnel out of a piece of card stock and add some confetti or glitter into your egg shells
  • ~ Tuck a tiny treasure down into the egg (ideas for tiny treasures include beads, seeds (scarlet runner beans are real pretty), charms, tiny crystals, etc.)
  • ~ put a bit of tissue painted with the white glue over the other hole
  • ~ let it dry
  • ~ When the ends are all dry and the stuff is inside, cover the whole egg with tiny scraps of tissue paper and paint with watered down white glue. You have to do one side at a time as you have to be able to set them down, so try to let them dry over night for each side. While they are wet, add some super fine glitter to the outside for special effect.
And voila'.... you have made fairy eggs. Now the real trick is, to do this without your kids finding out... then the fairies can leave these treats around your house on Easter morning.

More to come.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday!

So, this is my first Muffin Tin Monday, but we will be doing more, because the kids absolutly LOVED it! Even the ones that arn't preschoolers. :) The theme this week was 'rainbows'... so Cyan and I came up with:

Red: Sweet Red Peppers
Orange: Carrots
Yellow: Fresh Pineapple
Green: Avacado
Blue: Frozen Blueberries
And of course, dip for the carrots and peppers.

Logan couldn't even wait for me to take the picture before he dug in. This is the way traditions are born. ;)

Alex quote

When faced with the fact that his play for his poetry final may not have all the characters he wants, or that he will not have a real metal sword for his part in said play... my dramatic son responds with;

"Mom! My imagination has. left. me."

I was nice and waited until he stomped out of the room to laugh my head off.

Early Ed ~ Montessori for Logan

Logan is not quite big enough for this type of play yet, but I wanted to try it out to see if he could possibly play with the colors. If he really isn't ready, I will give this to a friend of mine who has an 3 year old and I will make another set for Logan in a year or so. I got the idea from here... this lady has some amazing ideas and I thought it would make a good 'unplugged' project for the kids to do as well. These are free paint swatches cut into star shapes. The one is glued on paper, and the other is glued on a clothes pin so the child can match them up. Pure genious for $1.19 in clothes pins. *glee*

The fun star shapes just added charm for me. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thinking Ahead ~ Easter

I have been thinking about Easter baskets for a while now. I like to make them good. The kids always get one movie (this year it is going to be Mary Poppins because when our VHS died, we lost that one. Unacceptable!), and a few play things along with the traditional sugar addiction. So far, my ideas are a felt fishing game for Logan with magnets, and an herb garden for Cyan made out of egg shells for her windowsill. I am out of ideas for 12 year old boys. Maybe a homemade card with $10 in it? He would love that! lol! But seriously, I need some ideas...

I have put out a few feelers to those ladies that I know are frugal and kinda crafty. ;) I am hoping we can really throw some ideas back and forth and get some good Easter baskets for our kiddos for little or no cash.

Up for it?

Interesting Reading about Reading

Opening up the world

During the first half of first grade, Cyan and I were talking about maps and I asked her to draw what she thought the places she knew looked like. The picture above is what I got from her later that day. I thought it was adorable! Esp considering that each area is separated by water. Apparently, we all lived on special islands only known to her. ;) I love kids.

Yesterday, she brought me this map. She said it was of the whole world. I found it VERY interesting to look at how much of the world and world shape has opened up to her this year. There are still some quirky things... like all of Europe is labeled "Kazakhstan". The UK, Spain and France have apparently been taken over by Borat's people (no, my daughter has NOT seen that movie...). And Africa is strangely missing. But her scope and world view has changed dramatically from 6 to 7...

For a second graders view of the world, the things she hasn't learned about, she really can't 'see'... you know? It was just really interesting how far she had come.

Fun websites

These are some websites I found last week that have been really helpful in our current lessons. Enjoy!

(This one is the blank map from the left bar of the site above, you can get any blank map)

Alex and Geometry

Alex's illustration of what the Pythagorean Theorem looks like. He definitely gets the idea. :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Photo Friday

Donna Young

I LOVE DONNA YOUNG! I loved her handwriting stuff last year and I just found this today. This website/woman is amazing and I am thrilled to pass this around to all my friends and fellow bloggers. She is a wealth... that is for sure.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Excited about writing!

Alex has his first ever book report (due to me anyhow) on Friday. He has been reading the assigned book (to which he is hooked, as I knew he would be) for the last two weeks and finished it yesterday. I gave him a 'how to write a book report' along with a page where I had him define words like 'thesis', 'antagonist', 'setting', etc. This page really helped him understand the instructions better. Now he is on the writing portion and is getting a bit boggled. Not that he can't do it... but he is feeling... anxious. So tonight, I was looking for ways to get him a bit more 'into' writing.

Looking through the internets I found this page: Small World's Intro to Writing

It is a step by step fun creative writing course laid out on line by a mama who is really good at teaching creative writing. I will be doing it with Alex of course, and I have been thinking that Cyan may just join in, although her writing will be limited, but it is never too early to have a fun time with words.

I also just found this site: Design A Study Her fun with Movies as Literature are particularly fun, and I may have Alex write a bit on those sometime soon. I think he would like doing something like that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St Patrick's Day!!

Cyan's version of Ireland. :) For Mrs Sarah.

Alex's new view

Explanation here.

But apparently, I have been doing something right. :) This was left on my desk two days ago.

Very sweet.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Photo Friday

Art days

Alex has been working very hard on origami. He is getting so good at it that he has decided to make 1,000 cranes and string them up on a branch we found in the back yard. I think it will be a beautiful project and I am really enjoying watching him be self motivated to do a project like this. He is truly an amazing kid.

This is another one of his recent fun origami gifts to me... isn't it sweet?


Cyan could hardly contain her self as we got ready to paint. I haven't let them paint in years now and she was just beside herself! She sat there for the next three hours and painted pictures.

Alex's softer side came out at first with the painting, then we resorted back to the blood and gore that is more his current style.

This was Logan's first painting experience at home. He loved it and was quickly asking for more colors and trying to get the words right for each one. So far, he has blue consistently. ;)

Quote from this week

Alex: "Mom, when you were in school, what were the continents shaped like?"

Me (after a second): "They were all smashed together. It was called Pangaea."

Dh: "We didn't go outside much, because we were afraid of the sun."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

There once was a man named Montessori....

... and in this earth based education method, the children played with pine cones, watched no tv, and had lots of interesting math manipulative's.

Say what?

I have been reading about Waldorf and Montessori teaching methods at the same time. I have about 6 books out on each subject. I didn't think I would get all of these books in at the library at the same time, but I have. It got confusing for a couple of days. Even the pictures in the books were mixed up in my head as to which one went with which book.

I have studied both subjects before. But never together. And though that they are both beautiful, child based learning structures that have tons of benefits. I have always leaned more towards Waldorf than Montessori because it is more like my personality. Nature based, rhythm based, etc. But looking at Montessori methodology it is easy to see that it is an amazing way to teach your children... and honestly, aside from the more sterile seeming atmosphere (which seems to be based on personailty of the teacher), there are a lot of similarities in actual practice. And a lot of differences in philosophy.

The biggest thing that I have gotten out of these are the rhythm's. There is a rhythm to the day, a sequence to the lessons and to the story hour, and in the case of Waldorf, even rhythm to the stories and aloud work. These rhythms are something I really want to bring into my teaching practice.

Another thing I kept seeing over and over that I would like to bring into my teaching practices was more venues of art. My kids draw. They draw all the time with good quality materials I keep them stocked in. But that is about all the art that I allow. The habit of limiting art was mainly started by having a very destructive toddler (Cyan) and then moving into a tiny house for the next 4 years. I stopped having markers around. I stopped letting them paint... ever. I stopped allowing the clay and the fabric I have to be used without direct supervision. And then I got pregnant with Logan and Don went to academy... and the 'direct supervision' things dropped off the radar as well.

I don't know anyone that has a real distinct teaching style. There is always a mix of methodology and ideas. Even some of my online friends who were die hard a couple years ago, have now seen where different children need different methods and have adjusted like the amazing teachers they are, to incorporate some of those methods for that child. It is amazing to watch as one child gets older, what will work and what just won't for their individual learning style.

At this point in my life, if I were to classify my teaching style I would say it was a unit study based-Charlotte Mason-Waldorfy type style with a bit of unschooling thrown in because we like to go off on tangents that we are interested in and we count random field trips I found educational in our curriculum. lol...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fundamental Differences

Some people say that there are no differences between girls and boys.... that it is just the enviroment they are in. This may be true, but I don't believe it. These are pictures my two amazing children drew yesterday.

Cyan, age 7, titled; Grandma's Flowers:

Alex, age 12. This one is simply titled 'WAR!':

And this one 'Aftermath':

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My cutie... 25 mos

My darling Logan... He is SO cute right now! Like beyond cute. His language skills have burst from him like a rocket. It is amazing what he can say now. Tonight, I was washing his face, hands and feet like I do most nights before I put him to bed, and he started laughing... and then he said "Mama! 'Dat. It tickles." With a cute little giggle in his very baby voice. Usually he says tickle very fast together... so it sounds like "tickatickatica". But not tonight. Tonight he was VERY clear.

He has also taken to saying "Awe man!" When he doesn't get his way... this I WILL someday get on video... because it is the cutest thing ever to hear come out of his mouth.

He has decided that books are his favorite things. When he wants us to read one, he, very politely, throws one at us. Yes. It gets old very fast. He can take a hint though. I started putting whatever book he threw at me on the floor and never reading them to him unless he asked, with words, about a week ago. Now he has started to pound me with the book instead of throw it at me at least half the time. I just can't decide which I like better.

Logan is also becoming a lovey. Cyan and Logan really never cuddled. In fact, I knew that I had to get that cuddling in really early with Logan because it wasn't going to last. He stopped being cuddly about 6 mos old. Last year it got even more extreme. He stopped nursing right before Christmas because he didn't want to sit still for that long. But I think it is finally coming around again... he has been sitting with me like in these pictures for full minutes sometimes in the last couple weeks. He even will cuddle with me in bed in the morning... for about 10 minutes... before he jumps up, pulls the covers off one or both of us and drags our hands around the side of the bed trying to pull us up to get him breakfast. But I have been surprized at how huggy and cuddly he has been for the last couple weeks. Maybe he knows I have been sick. Maybe he knows it makes me happy... and it does. So maybe it is a win/win and I should just take it.

Finally, a NOT sick day!

I still have a sinus infection.... but I don't care. I am getting back to my life if it kills me!

Today we had a great time during school hours. Our schedule switched again this last week, which means we do school F/S/Su/M for the month of March. Lots of weekend school hours.... but fun ones. :)

In the last three days we have been studying United States holidays. The lesson in MBTP very quickly moves on to traditional holidays in other cultures, but the kids were SO interested that I decided to stick with the US for a little bit. We read the Declaration of Independence and then I read it again off this site (a bit clearer for the little ones). I printed out United States Symbols from EdHelper for Cyan and she colored the booklet while I read. We moved on to other traditional holidays and I read different stories for each one that were based in history... then she made a holiday booklet that included the ones she remembered the most and she colored little pictures and wrote sentences of what they mean to her. I loved Valentine's Day:

"On Valentine's Day we celebrate peeple we love! YUE!"

So cute!

We got in a bit of science today as well... the kids built volcano's! They did every bit by themselves, including making the shopping list so we could have enough salt and 'all purpose' flour. Just to make it that much more challenging I had Alex split the recipe in half so Cyan could make a little one... where Alex's was made with a 2 liter bottle, Cyan made hers with a little 20oz bottle. They loved it!

Cyan's dough for the outside.

Decorations with our neighborhood friends who came over for the blow up.




Alex's volcano:

I loved that they had completely different ideas of what would make their bottles 'mountain like'. Alex picked twigs and branches as 'trees'. Cyan was convinced that hers needed to look like it was made of dirt because "all mountains are made of dirt".

Time to explode!

It was a great day. :)

I have decided that my house needs to be more messy. I know that sounds weird, but I have continually bordered on being 'clean', but not really, because I love my children to express themselves and be able to do art whenever they want... and I don't really have enough time left in this house to worry about finding the perfect spot for everything as I did in the last house... so it is just going to be dirty. And I have decided that I just don't care. Bring on the paint and the paper mache! I am ready!

Monday, March 2, 2009

On the road

What a sick and crazy week it was! Yesterday was our first day out of the house in 8 days. We went to the zoo and out to lunch at the Ram down by the water. It was great! We got to watch them feed the tiger, which was really interesting, and then the otters (4 of the 7 are babies this year) were wrestling with each other and knocking each other off rocks. We were at those two cages (they are next to each other) for about an hour, just watching the otters, and then hearing the tiger growl and go running over there to see what he was doing. What a beautiful beasty he is!

Logan was especially cute at the zoo. This was the first time he has gone when he has been old enough to really run around and be out of the stroller. He would run up to everything... even the fish tanks, and peer in at the critters and say "hello?" which of course, when you are newly 2 comes out as "he-woe?" It was pretty much the cutest thing EVER!

We were all worn out by the end of the day and came home and took naps. I think even Alex slept until dinner, but we were SO excited to have gotten outside! I told the kids that we had to take it easy today, but tomorrow they are even allowed to play with friends after schoolwork.

Getting back to normal! YAY!