Friday, January 28, 2011

Project 365: Valentine's Day Sensory Tub

January 27
While cleaning out the pantry, I found an unsealed tub of rice. I decided to make it into a Valentine's Day Sensory Tub.

I added large heart sequins, checkered wooden hearts, wooden Valentine ladybugs, and red, pink, and white heart buttons. (The Valentine's additions were marked down at Hobby Lobby.)

January 28
The kids were excited to find it this morning when they woke up. They have been playing with it on and off all day. I knew Sissy would love it. The boys loved it just as much. They used funnels, a measuring cup, a scooper, a measuring spoon, plastic cups, and a chemistry set vial. And the mess has stayed pretty contained, thank goodness.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yet Another Example of My Middle Child's Crafty, Sneaky, Disobedience

January 26
I locked the door of the homeschool room because he had lost his computer privileges today. When I came downstairs, I found this chair in place where he must have tried to reach the lock, which is at the top of the door. At least he didn't try to stack two chairs on top of each other, like previous times.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 25

January 25
Today, Tornado came home from school with this picture in his backpack. At the bottom of the page, it read To: (his name) From: (her name). When I asked him about it, he had a very big, sweet smile on his face. It was from a girl in a different 4th grade class than his. As I worry and pray about him fitting in and being loved, this did my heart good.

Monday, January 24, 2011

MOPS

January 24
Another aspect of our busy "school" year is MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). This was my first year to join this organization. Since I have social anxiety disorder (well, sort of, anyway), this isn't an obvious choice for me. I do it for the kids, though. It's like going to a free school twice a month. They get to play with kids their ages and take part in a Bible story and craft, etc. (think: Sunday School). The Mom part of the program is highly organized and efficient. There is always a speaker (topics might range from aromatherapy to science activity ideas for kids to spiritual training), a Mom craft, small discussion group time (oh, how I loooove that part :0), and a devotion from a Mentor Mom (and breakfast, too, if free food is your thing). Sound fun? If you have a baby, toddler, or preschooler and a MOPS in your area, I recommend it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tornado's Art Galleries

January 23
Tornado is always drawing pictures and setting up what he calls "art galleries" around the house.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blooming Tea

January 22
I just wrote about our "blooming tea" on my vegan blog.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Picture A Day Is Harder Than I Thought

January 21
Tornado, eating his second supper of the night,
and watching World Girl with his little brother

This picture a day thing is harder than I thought it would be.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 20

January 20
Look what it did today.

Look who was happy to be a homeschooler today.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 19

The girls got groomed today! (I wish they would leave the ribbons in their hair all of the time.)

This is the before shot.

Poor things could barely even see.

It's a whole new world for them now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 18

What a sweet face, right? How could this sweet face be capable of wreaking such havoc on the first day of the Thinking Skills class I taught at his homeschool co-op? Running around, declaring he didn't like the lesson (I'd so thoughtfully and excitedly prepared.), throwing crayons...

Mix that with over an hour of Sissy crying after she woke up too early from her late nap this evening...I'd say this headache of mine is well-deserved.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Project 365: sleeping "baby"

Sissy and her blankie

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Project 365: scrapbooking

January 16
SOMEHOW I've managed to complete about 10 pages the past week or so. Another one of my New Year's Resolutions is to scrapbook more. (Probably scrapbook more, blog less.) I need a little creative outlet for myself, and I think my kids are getting tired of looking through the same scrapbooks (um, especially Dash and Sissy since they're mostly pictures of Tornado!). Check out the very cute picture of Captain America that Tornado drew over a year ago.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Project 365: The Igloo That Almost Was, Green Smoothie, and Packin' Up Christmas...finally

January 13
My dad used to make these amazing igloos for us when we were growing up. But that was Missouri, and this is Arkansas (less snow, more sun); it didn't get finished, but the kids still thought it was cool.

January 14
Trying to keep up with all of my New Year's Resolutions: eat even healthier, put less salt on my food, drink more water, drink more green smoothies as a meal replacement, complain less inside my heart, etc.

January 15
We used to tease (harass) my Mom when we were growing up because some years the boxes of Christmas ornaments would sit in the back of the living room until February. Well, it's not quite February, and my location was the upstairs hallway, rather than the back of the living room...but all the same, "Sorry, Mom, for ever underestimating how hard it is."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lexington, Virginia and Stonewall Jackson


On the road trip home from New York, we made a few stops in Virginia (including the Booker T. Washington National Monument and Home). We also spent the better part of a day in Lexington, Virginia.

I loved Lexington! Ryan and I really loved walking around the town. We both agreed to add it to our "short list" of places we'd like to live.

It has a very quaint Stars Hollow (the fictional town of Gilmore Girls) feel to it.

It is a town rich with historical significance and military background. It is home to the Virginia Military Institute, which was founded in the early 1800's and played an important role in the Civil War. This picture was taken on our walk around downtown.

Our main objective was a visit to the Stonewall Jackson Home and Museum. This picture was taken from behind the house. It is located right on the cute street in the pictures at the top. Photography isn't allowed inside the home. We enjoyed our tour, though, from the nice young man who shared many tidbits of trivia about Stonewall and his life.

the kitchen garden

We didn't get to go inside, but this is the Robert E. Lee home. The Washington and Lee University, a liberal arts school is located all around here, as well. Lee's (and Traveller's) grave sites are located on the campus.

"The Last Home of Traveller, through war and peace the faithful, devoted, and beloved horse of General Robert E. Lee"

We walked to the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery.

This is his burial site and monument. Interesting fact: his amputated left arm is buried elsewhere. Here is another fact I found interesting:

Who shot General Jackson?
Jackson died as a result of "friendly fire." He was shot at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863, by an unknown member or members of the 18th North Carolina Infantry Regiment; he died on May 10. The order to fire was given by Maj. John D. Barry, and many of his men fired at the same time. Jackson was struck by three smoothbore musket balls. Barry died two years after the war at the age of 27; his family believed his death was a result of the depression and guilt he suffered as a consequence of having given the order to fire.

I was curious why there were lemons lying around so I googled it while we were there. Apparently, it is a myth that lemons were his favorite fruit, and people leave them here to honor him. There is no documentation to prove he loved lemons more than any other fruit; he was just seen eating them several times during the war as they were easy to come by.

We bought this antique-style ink bottle and pen at the gift shop. I thought it would be fun for the kids to play with.

We also bought these ink tablets. They are non-toxic and actually more environmentally friendly than regular ink because they are made from sugarcane. You just add water.

There were no instructions, so I'm not entirely sure I added the right number of tablets to the right amount of water. Even so, we got to practice what it was like to go without the modern convenience of plastic ink pens. There are lots of youtube videos to explain how to make your own pen and ink, but our bag of ink tablets were only a few dollars. That's my 5 year old's hand.

Sissy was very exact at first, practicing her letters and even pretending to write in flowy cursive.

Then she realized she could use it as "splatter paint," and that kind of took over.

Tornado was trying to draw a picture from his magazine, complete with his "To Mom" that he writes on almost all of his drawings. They had more luck using wooden skewers, rather than the wooden dip pen, which takes some practice.

I'm really looking forward to us reading these books I ordered:


JIM LIMBER <span class=

Both books are written by Rickey Pittman. Stonewall Jackson was known to be a friend to all people, regardless of color. He went against the law to teach slaves to read and write, and he stood up against backlash he received when starting a Sunday School class for slaves. And yet he owned a few slaves, believing that no matter how he felt about it personally, it was ordained by God. The same with Jefferson Davis, who apparently even welcomed a mistreated slaved to live as a part of his family. It's an intriguing (and baffling) topic to me, as is the entire Civil War. (I love the aspect of homeschooling that provokes me to learn so much myself.) Joining in on the Geography/History Link-Up at Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn, stART (story+art) at A Mommy's Adventures, Read, Explore, Learn at JDaniel4's Mom, and Field Trip Friday at Live the Adventure.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Project 365: What Sissy Did Today

If it looks like this is just a mess, I assure you that every piece of Play-Doh was very strategically and methodically placed, blended, and stirred.

Christmas in New York City

Just a few more trip posts; I promise! I had always wanted to visit my favorite city at Christmastime. It was actually the time around Thanksgiving when we visited, but New York is already alive in celebrating Christmas, as well. Here are a few of the highlights:

We went to Cirque Du Soleil's production of Wintuk. This was the final season of the show.

We went on a Sunday because it was Kids' Day, and there were activities set up in the lobby. There were also performers milling around to meet the kids.

They got face paintings.

We got there fairly early, which was good because soon after we arrived, the crowds came pouring in. The lines for every activity were horrendous. It wasn't too bad for us, thank goodness.

They got to decorate winter-themed frames.

I had always wanted to take the kids to a Cirque du Soleil show since we choose to not attend regular circuses. I wanted them to see all of the tricks and acrobatics. The show was definitely fun. I don't know that it would have been a show that Ryan and I would have wanted to see by ourselves, but we were thrilled being there with the kids. They couldn't take their eyes off of it. The boys loved the cycling maneuvers, and Sissy was happy as can be when there were girls dancing.

The finale was beautiful. Thousands of paper snowflakes came floating from the ceiling over the entire audience. They loved that and were gathering as many as they could catch.

The other show we watched with the kids was the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

The lobby of Radio City Music Hall was decorated beautifully. Unfortunately, they confiscated my camera at the entrance because it had a telephoto lens, and I only had my phone during the performance.

I LOVED THIS SHOW. We all did. Sissy, of course, said she wants to be a Rockette one day. I hope her legs grow longer than her Mamas.

I know some people make it a tradition to attend the show yearly, and I can understand why. I certainly would if I could. LOVED IT.

The sets were amazing!

3D glasses come with the programs, and you are instructed to put them on during one act at the beginning. There is a huge animation that shows Santa arriving in NYC, and he's FLYING fast through the streets, passing by many of the city's attractions. The 3D effect makes you feel as if you are riding in Santa's sleigh, too.

Fortunately, there was even a spectacular nativity scene included.

Afterward (when I got my camera back), I took about a dozen pictures, thinking this would be a good shot for our Christmas cards. If you didn't receive one of our Christmas cards this year...don't worry; nobody else did, either.


There was also a spot where the kids could write a letter to Santa and put it in the mail.

Afterward, the kids took their picture with Santa Claus (picture shown here if you missed it). My PLAN was to take them to see Santa at Macy's (on 34th street), but the longer we were in NYC, the more tiring it was to even think about dragging the kids to another location. Since they've never seen Miracle on 34th Street, and it would have only been special to me, we opted to stay here with the Radio City Music Hall Santa (who was very cute, anyway).


Since we started our drive home the day after Thanksgiving, we missed a lot of the lights and fancy store window displays. However, there are still a lot of Christmas decorations up in November, and more were being added daily.

I already mentioned that Dash and I went ice skating one night at Rockefeller Plaza. (That's us, sort of in the middle)

This is the view from above the rink. The rink is smaller than I thought it would be. We had hoped to ice skate at Central Park, too, but we just ran out of time to do everything we wanted!

I didn't get a picture of the shops at Bryant Park. The area is set up as a holiday market, with over 100 merchants. I didn't buy anything, but Tornado and I had a lot of fun walking around one day during the rest of the family's naptime. There is actually a free ice skating rink at Bryant Park (through the end of February), as well, and we enjoyed standing there watching the skaters for a few minutes.

I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the weather was in November. There was only one day that was really cold, at the end of the trip. I definitely recommend a trip to NYC during the holidays.