Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mid-day shower

Picture this:

Mom puts sippy cup full of water into her bag.

Mom puts bag over her shoulder.

Mom instructs boys to put away toys and crayons from the nursery floor.

Mom bends over to pick up crayons.

Very shortly, Mom feels water between her shoulder blades, dripping through her hair and onto the floor with the crayons right under her nose.

Mom quickly stands up straight again.

Mom may not be too bright, but she's got awfully quick reflexes!

Monday, September 27, 2010

When Imaginations Play

It is good to send your kids outside to play often.  It is even better to go out with them and listen in, or maybe even play along.  You might stumble upon things like the following:

This game went on and on.  Fish were caught and cooked and eaten.  Campsites were visited.  Babies and Mamas were camping neighbors.  Here's an inside peek...

Mr. Thomas and Mr. Jeremy Fisher Go Camping

Hello, Mr. Thomas.  Hello, Mr. Fisher.  Let's use this for our boat.

I'll add it on right here.  Now we can go fishing, Mr. Jeremy.

Ok, Mr. Thomas.  This will be my fishing pole.

Look at the big fish I caught, Mr. Thomas.  We'll cook it for our dinner, Mr. Jeremy!

Nah, I think I'll throw it back, Mr. Thomas.

Goodbye, Mr. Thomas.  Goodbye, Mr. Jeremy.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up - Week 6

 Monday - 6-month checkup at the transplant clinic.  All day affair, so no school.  I liked the new artwork on the walls, so I took a picture of it to remember to tell my mom about it.  Worked out nicely for blogging purposes.  (Hey mom, check out the artwork they've got going on: it's got fabric and paper and other stuff.)

Tuesday - Fishing for names, as suggested by Hubbard's Cupboard.

 One website in the whole internet incorrectly said Tuesday was National Mini Golf Day.  And guess which site I used to mark my September calendar?  Mmmmhmm.  But we played made-up backyard mini-golf anyway.  Even though Mini Golf day is in MAY. 

 You can make up your own rules when you play backyard mini-golf.  Especially in September.

After we finished all that goofing around we made 3 different types of Native American homes.  And ended up eating one of them.

Thursday - Five senses.  Played blind-folded Guess That Sound.

First day o' fall - painted fingerprint fall leaf trees.

Friday - County Fair.  Tyler meets a cow...

Alan visits the goats...

and Dale admires the rabbits.  Personally, I like the baby bottle sticking out of Dale's pocket.  With no stroller and no bag there wasn't much else to do with it.  It's all for one, and one for all around here, friends.  Just the way I like it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Native American Dwellings

This Friday is Native American  Day.  

We're celebrating all week, highlighting a different aspect of Native American culture each day.

Today we talked about the many different kinds of homes Native Americans built, and made 3 different models.

First up was a wattle and daub.  That was a new one for me.  They were basically wood framed, filled in with mud, and covered with a grass roof.  Need a wattle and daub dwelling of your own?

Start with drink cartons, opened up, and the bottoms cut out.  It would be a good idea to go ahead and cut a door at this point.  We forgot and had to do ours later.

One can't make a mud house with no mud, so go ahead, get messy:

While your mud-coated carton dries in the sun, cut a circle from construction paper.  Cut out one-quarter of it, and tape it shut in a cone shape.
Snip upward into the cone to produce a grass fringe.

Once the mud has dried set cone on top for the roof.  A person could glue dried grass on at this point for a more authentic look, but this person had already done mud and didn't want to go hunting up grass.  Attach the roof to the carton with tape on the inside of both.
One option is to make a smaller cone or two for a layered roof.
Dale was loving his Indian dwellings and decided they needed a dweller:

Second Type:
We went for a good ol' stereo-typical, traditional tee-pee.  

A fun story to read about teepees is included in this bookZeb, the Cows on the Roof Again!
The story is about a 12 year old girl that accidently destroys her family's teepee and must replace it on her own.  The author walks you through the entire process, through the eyes of a child.

We cheated and skipped the entire pole portion of a teepee.  We're a young 'class' and I figure we have years ahead of us for more realistic models.

If you're a cheater like us, then this project's for you. 

Trace a circle on a piece of construction paper.

Fold in half and crease.

Fold in half again, creasing just the point, to mark the center of the circle.

Unfold.  Draw a line down the center of the circle, about a 1/4 inch to one side of the fold.  Just before the center point, slant across diagonally to finish the line 1/4 inch on the other side of the fold.  Eyeball it, it doesn't have to be perfect.

Cut apart on the line you just drew.
(Yeah, this one's yellow.  We made a whole village.)

Decorate the tee-pee.  We talked about tee-pees often telling stories of great hunts or great battles.  Once the decor is done, swipe a glue stick down the top half of the tab: the area shaded in pencil here:

Roll up into a cone shape and press the glued tab to the inside of the cone.  Fold the overlapping piece up for a door.

And finally, an igloo.  Of sorts.

One apple.  Peanut butter.  Marshmallows.

You can go here to see a much better example of how it is 'supposed' to look and see where I got the idea.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Deja Vu

I am busy tonight getting ready for a clinic visit at Children's tomorrow.  I have been gathering up baby food and cheerios, bottles and pacifiers, diapers and toys. 

It all seems so familiar.  

It seems almost right in an odd sort of way for Children's and babyhood to go hand in hand.

But this time the baby is not the patient and the 'patient' is no longer a baby.

Blessedly, the 'patient' no longer seems much like a patient anymore either.

Even as he left his babyhood behind, we also left behind the days of surgeries, and scary fevers and frequent labs.  At least for now... and hopefully forever.  

The twice-daily medicine and every-other-month pokes for blood-work have blended into the background of family life so that we hardly notice them.  The caution of hand-washing and avoiding wintertime crowds has become habit.

And an all-out gather-everybody-and-your-gear and head to Children's trip has become out of the ordinary.  An event instead a routine.

It is one of the many things I am thankful for.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Blame It On the Rain (Yeah, Yeah)

So here it is, 7pm and I haven't got a blog post up.

Well you see, there was this storm.  With lots of wind.  And rain.  And we lost internet.  And electricity.

So I couldn't blog.  

The end.

Except for I wasn't at home for any of that.  I was one of the numbskulls out driving in it, trying to get home.  All 5 of us.  In 2 vehicles.  

My poor judgement aside, I still can't use the storm as an excuse, now can I?

I spent my limited internet time today productively, though.  

I did some interesting reading about the Duggars.

Which got me nosing around on their website, where I found this handy chart of character traits, defined.

I also spent some time researching for a project I'm working on.  And came up with this little list:

Basic French / English words:

Oui (wee) = yes
Non (nong) = no
S’il vous plait (seel voo play) = please
Merci (mair -see) = thank you
Bonjour (bong-zhoor) = hello
Au revoir (oh rer-vwahr) = goodbye
Excusez-moi (ex-kewzay mwah) = excuse me

Does anybody speak French?  How'd I do?

I also learned there are about 3 different ways to say excuse me, depending on if you have interrupted someone, stepped on their foot, or committed some other offensive behavior.  

And now if you will excusez-moi, my baseball team is on tv.  They've won 5 in a row, and my guys are all gathered around.  I think I'll join them.  And enjoy the rain that is still pouring down.  'Cuz the rain don't care.  Yo.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My One Day Confiscation Policy

I came into the boys room just as we were starting our morning clean up time to find Alan changing pants.  When I inquired as to the reason for this wardrobe change, he informed me he wanted to wear shorts with a pocket.  

Fair enough.

Then I learned the reason for his pocket need: a toy cell phone.  And, of course, cell phones belong in pockets.  At least around here they do.

As we worked our way through cleanup time, it seemed every time I looked up Alan was fiddling with his cell phone instead of the task at hand, so I told him to leave it in his pocket or I was going to take it.  I felt a little harsh with that statement, more like a school-teacher than a mama.  But in case you haven't heard, wishy-washiness isn't exactly recommended in parenting, so I let my edict stand.

We got through the rest of our cleanup and a good bit of school before I saw the phone again.  Turns out Alan's phone was too big for his 4T pockets and kept sliding out.

Alan saw me observing his trouble, and bless his little heart, he laid his phone up on the counter where I was making lunch:

"Here mama - you can just take it.  It won't stay in my pocket."

Thank goodness  I knew he was tired of messing with it - otherwise that sweet submissiveness might have been just too much for my heart to take!

I tried to talk him in to keeping his phone, but it sat there on the counter for a better part of the afternoon while Alan happily went about his business... cell phone free.

I sure love that boy!

(And I am pretty certain there is a lesson here about laying down our burdens instead of letting them become distractions, hm?)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up - Week 4

This week we:

 - Read about Grandma Moses and looked at some of her work. (Tuesday was her birthday).  While this attempt at an artist study didn't seem to grab my boys in and of itself (am I doing something wrong?), it did inspire them to make art of their own.  Dale built a bridge with his blocks, sketched it, and then painted his sketch, adding lots of color and a good bit of detail.  So, whether he fell in love with Grandma Moses or not, it was time well spent.  And we kept the books about her to do some more next week, so stay tuned.

- Went around looking academic:

 - Learned about synonyms.  And how to pronounce the word 'synonym'.

 - Put up a 13 ft model of the solar system.  

 - Listened to Dvorák.  His birthday was Wednesday.

 - Read about the sun and stars and constellations

 - Did NOT go outside to do any nifty sun / shadow experiments or observe constellations due to days and days of rain courtesy of a tropical storm / hurricane.  Where will that thing be when we're studying weather in a month or so?  That's what I want to know.

- Did some baby-wearing:

 - Made soap bubble paintings.

 - Read many, many books, including the story of William Tell and the first few chapters of book 1 from the Sugar Creek Gang.

 - Totally slacked on planned preschool activities.  Alan stayed plenty busy doing cool stuff, but I left his column of my planning sheet blank and filled it in as we went.  In other words, I didn't plan.  I just wrote down what we did and then checked it off.  Not sure I want to keep this up long term, but I also know he wasn't enthusiastic enough about some of the sit-down stuff I was giving him to make it worth all my planning and prep time.  We'll find our groove, I'm sure.  It's just going to take a few weeks.

 - Abandoned our detailed schedule I spent weeks planning.  Yep.  After 3 weeks of living by the clock I had enough of being the grumpy drill-sergeant and only posted a list of what needed to be done.  

Two main results from that:
#1 - Mama Buffalo was much more relaxed.
#2 - We didn't finish up our list of things to do until a couple of hours later in the afternoon.  I am ok with that because, well, see #1.

I am torn about what to do next week.  I like the structure of a schedule, but I don't like the pressure of following it.  I think the only reason we got away with tossing the schedule this week was that after following it for 3 weeks and one day (Tuesday) we were able to coast the remaining 3 days.  I imagine that if we leave the schedule completely we'll end up in a downward slide into unproductiveness.  Of course, the worse that could happen is that we start scheduling again for a while, right?

Do you schedule your days by the clock, or follow a checklist?  How do you make sure everything needed gets done, and in a timely fashion?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lesson of the day:

...tells you a project is going to be messy...

... believe her!

(But go ahead and do it anyway!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Solar System in our Hallway

My boy is a visual, hands-on learner.

I, apparently, am a slow learner, because I am still always pleasantly surprised when projects like today's resonate so well with him.
Gathered 'round our book.

For our model we didn't worry about the accuracy of the size of the planets.  We made Jupiter the biggest and Mercury and Pluto the smallest (yes, we counted Pluto as a planet) and arranged the rest in the middle.
From the sun on the left, through Jupiter on the right edge.

Where we got out our measuring tape was for relative distance from the sun.

Handily, we had the sun Alan made a couple of weeks ago when he was learning about creation, so we started with that.

From there, we measured: 
2 inches for Mercury
3 inches for Venus
4 inches for Earth
6 inches for Mars
1 foot, 9 inches for Jupiter
3 feet, 2 inches for Saturn
6 feet, 5 inches for Uranus
10 feet, 1 inch for Neptune
13 feet, 3 inches for Pluto

Our hallway is the longest stretch of wall in the house, and since we're planning on painting it sooner or later anyway, we just stuck our planets up with scotch tape.

Not only did this visual help us get just a tiny bit better understanding of the vastness of our solar system, it turned out to be a fantastically fun play scene.  
As crowded as it was near the sun, look how far Pluto is!

Long after I had seen all I needed to, we still had astronauts in taxis and all other manner of spacecraft zooming up and down the hall, to infinity and... well... you know the rest.

The idea for this project came from a great little book from our library:

This little winner is copyright 1987.  In it you will find facts about the sun and each of the planets in our solar system.  Their orbits, sizes, etc.  You will not find any nonsense about big bangs, the passage of billions of years, or anything else of the sort.  While it would be great to find such a factual book that also includes the true creation of the solar system, after sorting through so many big-bang-books I found even the neutrality of this one refreshing!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up - Week 3

We've finished 3 weeks of school.  Really?  Just 3?  Feels like it ought to be 6!

Dale covered Exodus and Leviticus in Bible this week.  Monday, after reading an overview of the first 18 chapters of Exodus, I had him imagine what he would experience for each of the 5 senses if he had been there.  My favorite was his answer for sense of touch: darkness you can feel (9th plauge - Exodus 10:21).  

Monday also began our unit on bridges.

Alan learned about Adam and Eve this week and did lots of activities with the letter 'A'.

Tuesday I got out a handful of toothpicks for Alan to practice making A's.  We ended up spelling lots of words out of toothpicks, and seeing Dale get into that along-side us reminded me to get him away from pencil and paper more.  So when spelling test time came around on Thursday, we got out our letter tiles and Dale spelled his words that way.

That wasn't the only one of Alan's activities Dale was interested in.  Our number-hop game intended for a preschooler to have fun identifying his numbers turned into a great way for a 2nd grader to practice his math facts!

In science we started our unit on space.  This week we covered the planets in our solar system.  Each day I had Dale read a few selections from the plethora of space books from the library and our own collection.  He narrated information on 3 planets a day.  On Thursday I typed up his narrations and printed them for him to illustrate and make into a book.

After hearing Dale tell about Venus having acid in its atmosphere, it occurred to me that he had no idea what acid is, so we did a basic introduction with the vinegar / egg experiment:
One egg.  Add vinegar.

See the bubbles?

They do!

This morning our egg was soft!  We're going to let it keep sitting over the weekend to see if it will get down to just the membrane, like it is supposed to.  

As always, Friday meant library day.  We sorted our books into 'keep' and 'take back' and headed off with our list for next week.  As usual, I checked out more than I brought back!

Dale, however, missed library day this week.  He has spent the day helping Gramps mend fences, literally.  Knowing my bundle of energy and future young man spent his day out working with Gramps makes me glad we follow a four-day week, and incredibly thankful for homeschool!