Thursday, March 24, 2011

Project 365: Around the House & At the Zoo

March 15
We're in birthday planning mode, and Sis and Dash wanted to try on potential costumes for the event. They also had a very fun half hour of imaginative play outside, going after the "bad guys."

March 16
Dash wanted me to take their pictures wrestling. So these are all total pretend action shots.

He wasn't even hitting her. It was all acting. I thought it looked pretty real. I promise: no children were harmed in the filming of this scene.

March 17
Though still not really warm enough to swim, that little fact didn't stop these two today.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

March 18
Tornado, Sissy, and I made cookies today while Daddy and Dash spent a lot of time cleaning out and washing both cars.

She is shrieking something like, "He's getting too much!"

March 19
Daddy took the kids to the zoo for fun and also so that I could have a "catch-up" day on my own.

new penguin exhibit

I'll have to finish days 20-24 another time. Shew. Not good to get so behind.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Preschool Corner: Mermaid Week

Through no pre-planning of my own, somehow this week became filled with mermaid activities. It all started when Sissy pulled out this Mermaids sticker & activity book I'd bought awhile back at Dollar Tree. She found it and requested we start working in it.

I didn't get pictures of all our activities, like cutting out the mermaid puzzles and gluing them back together. There are also games like this one.

We also tried out a veganized version of the Starfish Cookies recipe.

It was a bit of a challenge since a lot of the measurements were like 7 oz. or 2/5 cup. They turned out very tasty, nonetheless.

We saved a couple for Big Brother to decorate and eat later.

We used our India Tree natural food coloring and sprinkles. I put some chocolate frosting in a baggie and let them try their hand at piping faces onto their star fish.

They made fish out of paper plates, sequins, and googly eyes. The top one is Dash's, and the bottom two are Sissy. She really got into this simply because of the "shiny" sequins.

Tornado made the top picture while I gave instructions to Sissy for the bottom picture. I would tell her one step to complete at a time like: Color water at the bottom of the page. Draw a rock on the side. Color blue at the top for the sky. Add a sun. Add mermaid stickers. Glue on shells, etc.

It was a coincidence that two of our newest books are about mermaids. We'd just picked up the Ariel book at a consignment sale, and Grandma Nona bought her the other mermaid book a couple of weeks ago.

I set up a water tub for them to play with downstairs. I added some bubbles to the water.

It also just so happens she had gotten a Little Mermaid play set and a small My Little Pony mermaid for her birthday, so we added those to the tub. We gathered all of the other plastic fish and ocean creatures we owned plus a little pirate (a "nice" pirate) to be her friend. I'm definitely going to do the water tub more often. It was a big hit.

I got the idea for this Mermaid snack from Ziggity Zoom. I cut a banana in three sections for the head and body plus pieces for the arms. I used our non-dairy cheese shreds for her hair, chocolate chips for the eyes, a piece of strawberry for her mouth, and flattened freeze-dried cherries for her bikini top. I used cut up kiwi for the scales and star fruit for the flippers, with a couple of star fruit slices on the side.

Mermaid Week wouldn't be complete without some princess dancing in the Ariel dress she got for Christmas.

She loves the princess playlist I made for her birthday party, which includes Part of Your World, of course.

Sharing our fun at Preschool Corner!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Studies

I planned the beginning of our Ireland studies to begin the week of St. Patrick's Day. We'll continue doing more St. Patrick's Day and Irish activities over the next couple of weeks. We really like this holiday around our house, especially because both of our sons have very Irish names. (They think it's fun to spot their names in Irish books.) And probably because we're so happy to be surrounded in green by this time of year. And we like to put on our pretend Irish accents. Well, I do, at least. (It actually might be a mix of Australian, British, and Irish.) They squeal for me to stop.

I was so excited when I found this old bulletin board set in an old bunch of posters I hadn't looked through in years. I like that it has the flag...

and the map for them to become familiar with.

The Books
Some of the St. Patrick's Day and Irish-related books we've checked out so far: Leprechaun Gold, Mrs. McCool and the Giant Cuhullin, St. Patrick's Day, The Luckiest Leprechaun, Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka, St. Patrick's Day...

...Cultures of the World: Ireland, Crafts for St. Patrick's Day, St. Patrick's Day in the Morning, The Leprechaun's Gold, Lucky O' Leprechaun, and Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato.

*The kids especially like The Luckiest Leprechaun: A Tail-Wagging Tale of Friendship by Justine Korman and Mrs. McCool and the Giant Cuhullin, an Irish tall-tale about the giants, Cuhullin and Finn McCool by Jessica Souhami.

Shamrock Hunt
This afternoon, we walked around our neighborhood, looking for clovers. Even though we looked high and low, we couldn't find any! We live in a very wooded neighborhood; we don't even really have grass at our house. (And, yup, that's an inside-out Spiderman costume he's wearing.)

I remembered there were plenty of clovers growing outside our homeschool co-op, which is only a couple of minutes from our house so we drove over there and picked some.

I used to be obsessed with finding 4 leaf clovers when I was young. I could always find them quicker than the rest of my family, and I had a book full of pressed ones. When we were getting ready to get back in the car, I thought to myself, "If I find a 4-leaf clover first, then good luck is coming my way," which I wanted to feel after having received some bad news yesterday. (I don't want you to think I believe in "luck" - it's just a fun idea. And I think of it as a synonym for blessing.) When I spotted this 4 leaf clover, it put a big smile on my face.

The Art Project
They glued some of their clovers to the card stock.

I made copies of a "dancing leprechaun" reproducible that is a part of that Carson-Dellosa Bulletin Board set, and the kids colored them, cut them out, and glued them onto their paper. The legs aren't glued, though; they are attached with brads so they can "dance."

They decorated their pictures with rainbows, etc.

Sensory Tub
The kids have been playing with this for a couple of weeks. I bought a few bags of Great Value split peas to use instead of rice this time. I added measuring spoons, black paper cups as "pots" for the gold, shamrock cookie cutters, and even a cute little leprechaun.

I also put in tiny craft shamrocks and larger soft shamrocks, gold jewels, clear stones, jingle bells because they seemed "leprechaun"ish, and a few Irish Blessing coins for the kids to dig out. And since leprechauns make shoes for the elves and fairies, I added a pair of shoes from one of Sissy's dolls.

They love it!

stART (story + art): A Mommy's Adventures
Homeschool Creations: Preschool Corner
Red Ted Art: Kids Get Crafty
JDaniel4's Mom: Read, Explore, Learn

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Project 365: Kid Stuff and New Stuff

Tuesday, March 8
Not so good behavior lately in the 5 year old department of our family.

March 9
Sissy had been brushing her hair with the hairbrush that is, of course, in her purse. Then she said - I kid you not, "Do I look amazing with my hair brushed?" I can promise you she has never heard those words come out of my mouth, so I don't know where she learns to feel these things.

5 year old little man has been making noticeable improvements with his behavior. Despite his insistence that he "just can't" behave, he has been trying and had an almost perfect day. We got a lot of schoolwork done, the two little ones and I cooked together, and they played outside a lot. All three of the kids and I also went on a super fun hike. We're trying the "smother him with love and attention" route, which works with him better than anything leaning toward the negative.

Not that we want to bribe or reward behavior that is expected...but we were willing to try anything at this point. Daddy brought home a new DS game for him to let him know that we are proud of him. They spent a lot of time, cuddling together while he played.

March 10
The most exciting part of our day was getting a new rug for our cold, hard concrete floor! And that it was seemed sort of free because I finally took back some random stuff we had left over from building our house. And the guy HUGELY discounted the rug because it was the hanging display, and the rug is now discontinued.

March 11
This was just one of those nights when the kids were getting along famously. They were running around together, playing make-believe, and wrestling for so long. This made my heart and their father's very happy.

I like these pictures, too, because they show how Sissy runs the show. She is constantly directing, ushering, narrating, and planning.

I think she'll always keep the family on task, engineer plenty of fun and celebration, and make sure everyone is following the rules (her rules, of course).

See? They don't mind. They love it. Men need a woman's help in knowing what to do, right?

March 12
First soccer game! Good to be back in action.

The other big news of the week...we said good-bye to a member of our family: Ryan's '98 Delta Oldsmobile. So...we aren't really materialistic (despite what my daughter portrays with her fuzzy red purse), and we wait too long to get new cars. My husband is a good steward of our money and frets over purchases. And we just don't like to be tied to our earthly possessions. Therefore: see Car #1 above. However, Car #1 above was really no longer safe to drive (and was also wrecked and made a LOUD CUUUREEEEAKKKK sound when the passenger door was forced open...and also a general ding-ding-ding-ding sound while in use).

That's why we're so happy for Ryan (seriously...everyone I've told about Ryan's new car has said basically, "Oh! I'm so happy for Ryan!"...that's how everyone feels about my great husband) and his new purchase. He got a Volkswagon Gulf (black car on the looks small next to the Delta), which he thought would be a great car for commuting to work. It's low-emission, running on clean diesel, and although maybe more costly upfront, it should pay off in the long run with gas prices. Apparently, he will be able to drive around 24 hours without refueling, and he doesn't have to take it in for an oil change until 10,000 miles. We'll let you know how it goes!

March 13
Another really great day. We got lots of homeschooling done and worked on several projects. (We aren't an 8-3, M-F homeschool family. We get a lot of schooling done when Daddy is home, too.) Daddy took Dash out to run errands and go to the park to play soccer. Googie and Papaw stopped by, and we enjoyed our visit with them. The kids completed their night by eating their homemade pizza on the boys' bunk beds while watching a movie.