Friday, July 31, 2009

Leezard, leezard, leezard

Of course, I wish I could remember where that came from, but I distinctly remember someone saying that in a movie somewhere......

Superman: That's a good lizard

Superman: Princess is looking at the good lizard

Batman: feeding the lizard
Superman: we're putting grass in there

Superman: You knocked over the bottle, Mommy
Batman: You're letting the good lizard out.

Superman: There's the good lizard, and he went on the side

Superman and Batman: the good lizard eats grass and bugs. He eats bad bugs.

This descriptive post of the lizard we found in our house has been brought to you by Kid Friendly Friday.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Zilker Musical: Music Man

I love the Zikler Summer Musical. This has been a tradition to go see it, since I've been in college. The great thing about my birthday being in the middle of summer is I can make everyone go see it for my birthday. This is the second year we've included the kids, and they had lots of fun at it too.

We got there way super early and set up our blankets, then after hanging around for an hour or so waiting for more blankets to adequately have room for 11 people we set off for the playground and the train.

Poor Princess is just like her Mom and Mimi, she turns red when she's hot. That is not a sun burn, she is plastered in sun screen.

First Batman insisted he needed his picture taken next to the statue. I'm raising a ham I tell you.

* Important side note, anytime you're spending a long afternoon in the hot sun, pack a couple of spray bottles. They are a great way to entertain little kids and help cool you off. Okay, end of side note.

We got to ride the last train of the day. We rode it a few years ago when I made Mother's Day books for the grandmas, and so Jeff recognized things as we drove by.

Sadly, there's no pictures of the musical, what with not wanting to make the dancers fall as they dance across the stage, but we had lots of fun eating chicken nuggets and apples and drinking large amounts of liquid (did I mention it was hot?). At the end of the night Princess was out, and had decided she'd had enough and she was sleeping.


She's been shot!

And then Uncle Sean decided to have some fun.....


Sigh....... at least it was only Powerade.

Anyone else wish they lived in a musical?

Seriously, I want to do that......

Monster book

I thought I had posted about this back when we did it a few months ago, but as I was looking for the post to send off to ABC and 123, I couldn't find it. So, if I did I'm posting it again, but this time I have the printable for you to share.

Here we are working on it.

You can adapt this to whatever theme you're studying. Just make one page per number and put at the top 1 monster, or apple, or whatever. We used stickers I had made with my sticker maker, but obviously you can glue or draw.

I've also figured out since making this, that while little books look super cute. In reality it works much better to have bigger books, so I've changed the document to reflect that.

Monster Counting Book

Another book we made on monsters was to describe the monster we made. These are very simple books, but I'm basing this off of what we used to do when I taught first and second grade. These are great helps to early reading skills. So we make lots of books in our house. Sadly the pictures of us making these books have been eaten by the computer monster that lives in my computer, but I have it on good memory that they were very cute and filled with lots of green, blue, and pink (favorite colors in this house).

Oh, and I use construction paper as covers, it's a bit more sturdy than copy paper and add a bit of extra color for visual interest without having to color the whole page.

This is My Monster

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Real quick post

My brother is the student pastor at the Hutto branch of my church. His work was just featured in the local paper on the FRONT PAGE! Here's the link to the article:

Hutto News

Very cool!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Children's Museum this month

WOW it was crowded, so we didn't hang around too long, but we did find some fun activities......

We made throwies. To make at home get an LED light, a 3 volt battery (think oversized watch battery), a STRONG magnet and electrical tape.

If you look closely at Princess' hand she is holding the LED you'd need.

Yeah, I was going to try and link the parts, but truthfully while I could construct one I don't know the specific name of the type of LED. All we had to do was slip the connectors on either side of the battery, put the magnet on, and put large amounts of tape.

After they made it, they went into the "light cave," and everyone got to throw them up in the air and watch it soar up to the metal plate. This was wildly popular.

Scrapblog,Scrapbook,School Days

As always, shape sorting was very popular (So was the restaurant, but no pictures this time, did I mention the crowds).
Superman sending bolts downstairs

Batman built a car.

PhotobucketThe only part of the new traveling exhibit they were excited by. Playing with scarves and making things fly. They're just a bit young to try and make most of the activities there. But, it's perfect for elementary age.

And, we did in the end have to buy 2 new throwies for the boys to make at home. They're hanging on my frig now, and a week later are still glowing.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Trees, or the drive of a million questions

They're all really into questions right now, here's how our drive down to the Children's Museum went:

What makes the road Mommy?
What makes the trees?
What makes the houses?
What makes the clouds?
What do clouds do?

As you can see it was a nonstop supply of questions, and some of them were repeated after being answered another couple of times. They really latched onto my answer for trees though.

I explained that God made the trees, but trees need water, dirt and sun to grow. Then I said we'd learn more about it when we got home (as I frantically thought, now what will I do).

Luckily the answer came in the e-mail. I've been chosen to be a tester for Teacher Bookbags, and they're new August book bag was available for preview. I opened it up and the first theme was trees! SCORE! So, I printed off the sheet that perfectly fit what I needed.

So, what I really loved about these activities, they were already set up for different cutting skills. The boys had a vaguely oval shape around the tree to cut out, and Wendy had a square. Perfect for their skill levels. We had lots of fun talking about what trees look like for different seasons. The only problem (and this is in anything showing a winter scene), we don't have snow, but it led to a whole different discussion about snow.

Now, back to that whole who do trees grow thing. There was a paper for that too!

According to Princess rain goes up. She was quite insistent that her rain cloud went on the ground and pointed up. Fine, that works.

My addition to the project was to have them glue dirt on the bottom of the page. I was very impressed with the boys very carefully putting glue only on the line that had been drawn on the page to represent dirt. I think they're skills have improved a lot recently. It used to be these were just big blogs of glue.

look at that skill

I'm looking forward to using the rest of the August theme, but I don't know if it'll make August activities, the ideas perfectly compliment themes for later in the year. All in all, I'd have to say it's a great buy for about $3, and there's that whole instant gratification thing of the download.

*I have not been compensated for raving about this in any way, I was lucky enough to be chosen to get the freebie, and I'm perfectly happy to tell about products I love. That, and I now have some cool new books to add to my book list.

As a side note, I'll be doing more with trees in a month or so because our theme in a few weeks is "leaf." I just happened to do this activity now, and thought it was really cool.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Preschool Corner: our plans for the year

This year I'm actually using a curriculum. I've bought the "My Father's World" Kindergarten to use with my kids. It's intended for ages 3-6, so Princess is a little young, but I'm doing it more for the boys. With her I'm going to have her play along and she'll do different workbook activities. I don't think they're ready for a super hard core kindergarten with lots of workbooks or something, but this seems like a good way to step up what we're doing a little.

Here's our list of themes for the year:

Nest (animal homes)
Us (five senses)
Goat (farm animals)
cow (farm animals)
horse (farm animals)
elephant (wild animals)
penguin (wild animals)
kangaroo (wild animals)
zebra (wild animals)
butterfly (life cycle)
frog (life cycle)
quail (birds/contentment)
yellow (colors)

I like that it includes a list of books and some activities, it also has a very good plan for getting kids to read. It kind of reminds me of "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons", I've seen people rave about this book, but it didn't work for me personalitywise. I'll also be supplementing with any and all cool activities that I've found on various blogs (I've become quite the Evernote addict). My plan is to post about what we've done a week later, rather than trying to frantically post that same week.

We'll probably start up with sun in a week or so, it's a boring post, but I thought it could be helpful to know what we're up to in the near future. Or, at least I like to know what other people are doing.

For more great preschool ideas go to Homeschool Creations
For what other people are doing this year go to Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Friday, July 24, 2009

Open Ended Art: yellow and painting

We were going to start talking about the first day of Creation and how God created light and dark, so these dove-tailed together perfectly. I told them about how on the first day of Creation God created light and dark and separated them. Then I gave them yellow and black paint and let them paint their own masterpiece. They could use any of our painting materials. So we got some interesting ideas from it. After they finished their first piece I let them have as many colors as they wanted. The other artworks will be saved to use for wrapping paper.

Princess experimenting with a brayer

Batman used mostly black for his first painting with this small little spot of yellow. He explained it was the dollar store. They're obsessed with it right now because that's where they get to go for being dry all night.

Superman's second piece was this super cool multi-colored masterpiece that was completely covered. His also was the Dollar Store.

Superman showing off his dry diaper

PART 2 of creation book.

Kid Friendly Friday: Summerfest

To explain what Summerfest is, back when I was in high school our church started Backyard Bible Clubs. For the first two years as follow-ups they did sports camps, but decided that wasn't what they wanted to do, and ended up with Summerfest. It's a street carnival held in the church parking lot (or in the case of the church plants in parks or school parking lots). They have bouncy castles, carnival games, music, a small show of some sort, and food. The only thing that is charged for is the food. But, I love a place where my whole family can eat well for under $10, so it's not a lot for the food.

This year my particular church opted not to do a Summerfest, so we went to Hutto's (my brother is the youth pastor there). My kids had a blast.

So, here's what my kids spent time doing there.

Finding bugs in the sandbox. You had to find 10 bugs then you got to pick a prize. I made my kids bring their backpacks so I wouldn't end up carrying all their "treasures."
Princess: "I digging"


Catching ducks in a butterfly net. Princess tried very hard to catch every single one of the ducks in her net.
Princess: I catching fish




Batman putting a ring around the "pin." I loved that most of these games I could duplicate at home.
Princess: That BATMAN!




Superman petting the rabbits. Does anyone else have kids that stay in the petting zoo FOREVER?
Princess: The animals are eating



Seriously, Princess was in there for at least 30 minutes chasing the different animals and petting as many as she could.
Princess: "Them going 'No!'"


Uncle Sean singing with the band.
Princess: "Uncle Sean playing that."





Riding the kid train. But, really I could post that picture by itself and then get turned in for child abuse for locking my kids in a cage and letting them drink sodas....
Princess: "That a train! driving"


A view of the train itself. The kids had fun in it, but then wanted to go back to the games. I mean what can be anywhere as exciting as getting large amounts of little plastic trinkets and candy?

Oops, made this one smaller than the others. View from the other side of the bean bag toss. That seemed like it could have been such a cool shot.
Princess: "I not know" Hey if she's going to insist on sitting on my lap she might as well help with the post.

But, seriously, check out the newspaper and local bulletin boards I"ve found lots of great free or cheap activities by looking through things like that. For more great Kid Friendly Activities go to I Blame My Mother.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Organization and me

Or this could really be the "How I pretend to be organized."

I know what to do to be organized and I can get it amazingly organized, and then a week later it will be horrible.

But, here goes. First I'll go through the ones that are working and are staying up to date so far.

Legos- I'm really laughing this is the picnic talk for the week, because I just wrote on this yesterday. We use hardware tool organizers, and it works great.

book organization

books- I bought a bunch of magazine holders (the link is to the ones I bought at Ikea). I separated out my books by category and let them have access to 1 or 2 boxes at a time. Otherwise our floors would be a carpet of books. Of course I'm going to have to redo the categories now that I've got my themes for the year figured out. That's another post later.


toys- I'm using the cubbies from when I was a teacher to organize our toys right now. I also use these to organize the kids craft supplies. I may reclaim the toy one for my nefarious crafting puproses at another time, but right now this is working. The picture is of the craft supplies because right now the kids toys are scattered all over. As you can tell, it's not foolproof. Still working on it.


my books- ummmm..... my husband and I are both bookworms. We have about 8 bookshelves like these and the bottom half are filled with games of various sorts. The problem is we grab large numbers of books, but don't return them to the shelves. Someday someone will read an article about a couple that was killed by the books falling from their nighstand.


fabric- I organize by color or theme (the only theme is kid fabric) in baskets. I can always tell the colors I gravitate more towards because those are the ones that have overflowing baskets.....


buttons and ribbons- these last two categories are works in progress, but I've got them here. I'm slowly sorting out my buttons and putting them in old baby food jars.

For more great organizing ideas go to Picnic Talk

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Legos and how we play with them

I've mentioned before my love of Legos and how happy I am my kids have gotten big enough to use the little Legos, well now let me post for you what we do with our legos that makes it work for me.


Step 1: Sort them out into different types of pieces with pictures of what is in the drawer. We had a similar sort of thing growing up but it was divided much more. I didn't want to overwhelm my preschool kids. So it's divided by number of spaces or what it is supposed to do. That's the first step to making Legos work with preschoolers.


Steps 2 and 3: I have a designated Lego play area. We lay out a blanket on the floor, all Legos are to stay on the blanket. Step 3 is have a large board to play on. The one I have I found at the local toy store, it's a Duplo board on one side and a Lego board on the other and is AWESOME!

Actually, I do have one step before this. They have to ask to play with them, most of their toys they can get out whenever, but toys that take a while to pick up or have lots of small parts (and Legos fit both these categories) need to be asked before they get it out or they can't play with it. This ensures a couple of things: 1. I know they're playing with it 2. I can make sure there is time to pick it up before the next activity 3. less lost pieces.

Step 4: Make them put away the Legos at the end, and put them away in the right drawers. For my kids this is not an independent activity yet, but I think it will be in a few weeks.

For anyone who's interested here's my lego label pictures. I printed it out on normal paper and ran it through my sticker maker, but you could also print it on sticker paper or just tape it on the drawers.

Lego Label Pictures

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Swap activity one: Texas Book

We had a blast last week working on our Texas book to get ready for the Super Summer Swap we're doing!

First they traced the letters on the front. I'm teaching them to write capital letters first, from what I've read those are easier to teach (mostly straight lines and they all start at the same place).

Princess treated this more as a color like crazy activity, but since I'm not concentrating on her writing now just including her in the boys' activities I'm not worried about it.


I'm fairly sure that is Batman coloring there...... I think.

Batman's two fisted coloring. He does it just to make me take pictures and then he grins at me.

Now they got to color the different pages. I used this as a follow directions and identify colors in a huge tub of lots of colors activity. I said find blue and color the flowers blue........ Etc..... Also, we used it to work on the fine motor skills of coloring a large area. Superman is doing much better at this than Batman, but he's also the one in our family who loves to color. He takes his time and colors it all.

Oh, and I've rediscovered that coloring with crayons is so much better. You can still see the lines that give details, but it is nice and bright. Yes, I know that markers will cover more ground more quickly, but I like crayons. What can beat the smell of a new box of crayons?

And, here's the sheets we used to make our Texas books, for anyone who wants them. Included are the different information pages I made up, and an early reading game to color, cut out, and put in order (and for anyone who's curious, these are from when I was teaching first grade).

Wow, these are taking forever to upload......
Texas State Info

Recommendations needed

I want to make a new underskirt for my noblewoman's costume, and a new shirt. Any recommendations on colors or fabrics?

another picture of it

Right now I've got a white one. I'm thinking of potentially either black or maybe a cream. Any other ideas of what might go? I just know last year the white was filthy at the hemline by the end of the day.

Kids Clubs

Last week our church held kids clubs in local parks. We had them at mealtimes and served meals to the people who came (kids and adults), many of these kids are on free and reduced lunch at schools, so this is a big help to the families. We sent any leftover food we had with them, and mostly we just loved on them and let them know about how God loves them.

Kids clubs are a tradition started back when I was in high school as Backyard Bible Clubs, and they're taught by the youth group at our church. They spend a week in training learning the curriculum, the games, and the crafts. After this many of the kids are going to different countries to minister to people there. I can't wait until my kids are old enough to go with me as I chaperone these trips (Hi, I'm Ticia, and I'm a mission trip addict).

So, without further ado, here are a bunch of not particularly great pictures of our week (my camera was hiding up where we'd been doing crafts upstairs, and I just found it again yesterday).

Preschoolers having a party because they found the lost coin.

Making wordless bracelets. If you want to know the whole story of the bracelets I'll happily let you know.

Eating ice cream

Batman carrying buckets and Princess bringing coolers for water day. We were very blessed to have a hose to be able to fill our buckets and such for all the games.

preschoolers having fun with crafts.

Princess showing off her party hat

usual water day craziness

everyone listening to the stories

And at the end of it all, Princess is so tired that she fell asleep at 4:30 and didn't wake up until the next morning at 8:00. We tried to wake her for dinner and she just cried at us, rolled back over and went back to sleep. It was too cute. Each of the kids did this at least once in the week.

And for me one of the coolest moments was seeing a family from our clubs that I know didn't go to church before at our church on Sunday. That says to me we were successful. Coming in a few days Summerfest! What a great way to celebrate the end of kids clubs than going to a street carnival.
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