Monday, August 31, 2009

Super Summer Swap part 2


I've been forgetting to post about this for the past week and a half..... It's sad. The boys got their packages. They have loved them.

They got 2 postcards, a picture of their friends. They had to take the picture to bed so they could have their friend near them.

They also got a cool book of mazes and a dry erase marker to use them. It helped me remember about how wonderful page protectors are for turning anything into a dry erase board.

They also got an I spy bag. It's a bean bag with one side being made of clear plastic. It's stuffed with lots of rice and pasta letters and different things to find. They've been having fun looking through it and finding stuff. I'll have to remember this for future car trips.

We had a blast swapping with everyone, and are looking forward to the next time we do this.

Our Preschool Week in Review

Sigh, copying actually works a lot better if you copy the silly thing....... I'm a little late getting this posted because they've not been napping as much, combine that with cleaning for the in-laws to come, and you get not much computer time.


Here's what we did:

We've started a fun Bible study with our kids from Bible Study Guide. It's going to be a multi-year Bible study, and I like the fact that it can grow with my kids. Right now we're studying Joseph, and learning all sorts of stuff about him and figuring out how to apply this to our lives. I'll write a thorough review of this alter, because I know lots of you want a great Bible study to do with your kids.

Our theme for the week was moon, so we talked about the moon a lot. I don't think they really quite got the concept, but at this age it's just a lot of exposure. Unfortunately our timing was bad because it was a new moon and a crescent moon last week, so.....

However the most popular game for the week was naming the phases of the moon. I drew the 4 different phases (crescent, quarter [half circle], full, and new [blank paper]) on black paper using white crayon. This especially intrigued the kids because they previously thought the white crayon was broken since it wouldn't draw on white paper. Then each person was passed one card. We'd take turns flipping it over and telling what moon we had. If the person was right they got a button. At the end we all counted our buttons and cheered for our buttons. Simple, easy, fun.

We continued with our calendar time. We also continued to work on patterns. The've gotten the AB pattern mostly down. I'll try it for another month just to be sure.

General School Readiness
They randomly decided they wanted to feed the pig again..... It's still a good fine motor skill activity, so I'm not complaining. Here's the link on how to make the pig.

We did some worksheets from Learning Page. I have a bit of a paradoxical philosophy on worksheets. I don't like them for everything, but they're helpful for the preprinting skills like tracing and such stuff. That and my kids like them.


We continued in our Nursery Rhyme book with Hey Diddle Diddle

We read lots of books.

The high point for me came when my in-laws came down to visit for the weekend and Superman very proudly wrote his name on the sidewalk. Batman then had to do the same thing. Apparently if I want them to do well with writing, it needs to be on a larger scale...... Like 1 foot letters. Seriously.....

I actually think we'll start trying to make letters like that, they enjoy writing with chalk, and that gets them outside. Besides the temperature has become an almost chilly 90 degrees these past few days.

Field Trips

We went to Zilker Botanical gardens. They have a Prehistoric gardens, because a few years ago when they were going to expand the gardens, dinsoaur footprints were found. While we were going through the gardens my boys found a dinosaur bone buried in the ground (in reality it was a tree root, but who am I to spoil their fun?).

We also found a spider web in the bushes. We had lots of fun talking about why the spider makes a web, and how the web catches the water droplets. It was a blast overall.

I also took insanely large number of random nature shots to create a photo scavenger hunt for us to do since I knew we'd be coming back in about a week with the grandparents. I'll talk more on that in a day or so.

For more great Weeks in Review go here.
To find more fabulous preschool ides (seriously, I get so many great ideas for these) go here

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cool new site someone else found

As I was ramlbing through the We Made it Friday posts, someone said their craft had come from this site. It looks to have lots of super cute and easy crafts. So all you people who say you could never do crafts, check out this site, and maybe you'll find some you like.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What we read this week

So, sadly I returned the library books before I wroet down what all we wrote, but here's the really big hit of the week:

Dance by the Light of the Moon- this was incredibly popular, I read this more times than I can count.

Other great books about the moon, some we read this week, some are just great classics

Me and My Place in Space- just like last week, it's still a fun read.

Goodnight Moon- I'm gonna be lazy and not write a lot, but a great follow up activity to do with your kid, that we ran out of time to do is make your own good night book. You could use pictures, or clippings from magazines, or your kid's drawings.

Sorry, not really super a lot on books this week. We read lots, but I don't remember what, it's been one of THOSE weeks. To see what other people read this week go to Well Read Child.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What keeps me from cleaning

A good bubble bath

A good book

Goofing off on the computer

The latest project on my sewing machine (that's not the current one, but I didn't want to search for the photo).

Sigh, I hate cleaning. But, it's getting closer, slowly, very slowly. It'd stay a lot cleaner if I didn't have 3 kids, just saying. A lot of the mess is theirs. Okay, not really.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Quick Tip to stop fights

Choose a helper for the day. I use this for our schoolwork, and to decide such things as who sits on my lap. It has cut down on arguments and crying ENORMOUSLY! I just printed out 3 pictures of the kids, and I just rotate through the pictures. Whoever is on top is my helper for the day.

For more great tips go to We are that Family.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cool new book bag out

For all of you who are doing "Me on the Map," September's Book Bag is about my community and the world around me. I don't have a freebie of it this time, and haven't bought it yet, so I don't know exactly what's on it, but I have yet to see a product I didn't like yet from them.

September Book Bag

Just thought I'd let people know, for those who are looking for some great products.

Hey Diddle Diddle!

The Cow jumped over the MOON!

See, it relates to our theme for the week.......

Supplies needed as we did it: paint, printout, your nursery rhyme book, brad, glue, markers (or crayons), fun foam or construction paper

Supplies for a simple version: printout, glue, markers, construction paper

Here's what we did, this is a multi-step project, so be prepared to take breaks.

Put a big glob of green paint at the bottom and blue at the top. Spread all over with your fingers.

Then when your child refuses to touch the paint with his hands, and just sits there and pouts, spread his paint around. Try not to grumble to yourself too much about silly boys.

Then think calming thoughts after your son ignores your directions and closes the book with the paint wet. Admit after you've calmed down that it really does look kind of cool. Then your other two children will think it looks cool, and do the same thing. Remember, this is their project, repeat that over and over in your head as they giggle hilariously.

Have very disappointed kids when you tell them, no they are not going to take a bath, but instead will just wash their hands.

Now wait a long time for the paint to dry, because Princess needed half a bottle of paint on that paper. In reality, we came back to the project in the afternoon.

Come back and color the printouts. Notice how much happier Superman is now that he's had a good nap?

Cut out and glue on. In the ideal world, all of the characters are put on the grass on the same side of the page, and the kids glue the words on another page. In Batman's world they go where ever he wants, and he took particularly nasty delight in breaking up the dish and the spoon.

While the kids are excitedly cutting and gluing like crazy cut a quick little circle out of the yellow construction paper or fun foam. Cut out the cow and leave a little stick underneath him. Poke the brad through the cow and the moon, and then glue the moon on the page.

Here's our completed versions:

Notice Superman's doesn't have a brad, becaue he decided he didn't want his cow to move.

Princess doesn't have a discernable sky or grass, because she was too busy having fun with the paint. Oh and the moon is lower than the rest of the stuff.

Batman probably has the closest to what I envisioned, but not really. Sigh, this is what happens when the kids direct the art.

For the simple version: Color the pictures, glue the words on one side of the page, and glue the pictures on the other. Cut out a moon and glue it down.

Hey Diddle Diddle

I'd recommend printing out the cow on cardstock for durability, that's what I did for us.

This is our project for Open-Ended Art Mixed Media. It may not be completely open-ended because there was a sort of plan, but I let them lead the way with a little guidance.
And for more great crafts go check out We Made it Friday!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Six Flags Fiesta Texas!

WOO HOO! We were lucky enough for Jeff's work to be sponsoring a family day there, so we got to go for half price! Score! And free lunch, it just gets better!

Scrapblog,Scrapbook,Scrap In Style "Rockabilly"
We stayed the night in San Antonio and got there about a half hour before it opened. The kids spent the time happily running around in circles. Jeff and I spent it amazing at the different people. Maybe it's just me, but I can't imagine wanting to come there with a newborn. Princess is about the youngest I'd want to bring.

Scrapblog,Scrapbook,Scrap In Style "Rockabilly"
The first ride we went on is the smallest roller coaster there. The boys and I went, and they were exactly tall enough at 42" tall. We spent a lot of the day measuring them. They could technically go by themselves, but that led to a bit of a panic attack. Mixed reviews for the roller coaster, but everyone like the ferris wheel. My only complaint is it takes longer to get everyone in and out than the ride is. I can't imagine what it would be like on a day there are actually significant lines. No fun.

Scrapblog,Scrapbook,Scrap In Style "Rockabilly"
The boys all rode the Wagon Wheel together, another thing they were exactly tall enough for. Then we went over to Wiggle Town which had the most number of little kid rides. Now, here's what I don't get: How come they are tall enough to ride a roller coaster by themselves, but they can't ride the airplanes in these pictures by themselves? You have to be 48" tall to ride by yourself, but you can't be over 54" unless you're accompanying someone who is less than 48." Is anyone else's head spinning at the ridiculousness of this?

Scrapblog,Scrapbook,Scrap In Style "Rockabilly"
Princess got the most pictures because she wanted to ride with me most of the time. I tried to make sure she rode with her Dad some of the time, but do you know how hard it is to reason with a whiny 2 year old? "No! Mommy!" I heard that a lot.....

Scrapblog,Scrapbook,Scrap In Style "Rockabilly"
Here's the fun pictures of the boys. They loved the rides they could do by themselves. We didn't get to do bumper cars because we needed another adult. Stupid rule. But, I'm sure they would have loved it.

Scrapblog,Scrapbook,Scrap In Style "Rockabilly"
Okay, am I the only one who has fond memories of the car rides? You know, where the car is on a track and you can kind of steer it, mostly to make it bump into the metal post the car is driving around on? I remember there being one at the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz when I was growing up in California, and I loved going on it. That and the carousel were my two favorite rides as a kid. Sadly, we didn't get to go on the carousel this trip. I love carousels.

Scrapblog,Scrapbook,Scrap In Style "Rockabilly"
As we walked around we saw all the carnival games. Most of them we didn't want to even try, why pay $5 for the kids to throw a basketball and miss, when they can do the same thing at home? But, they had all sorts of win a cape games, $5 and everyone wins a cape. So towards the end of the day we let them go play the game. It was a huge hit. I was surprised because the boys both chose Batman, and Princess chose Flash. Okay, Flash doesn't have a cape, come on people.... Okay, end of my comic geek rant.

Scrapblog,Scrapbook,Scrap In Style "Rockabilly"
Getting the capes gave the kids enough energy to ride the big train one more time and run around like madmen while waiting. Which greatly amused an older couple waiting for the train as well.

We never saw Batman, but we did get to have our picture taken with Robin and Wonder Woman. Amusingly enough I could only get one kid to come pose with me. So I was thrilled that Batman posed with me however grudgingly.

So, my general rating for Fiesta Texas? I'd say it was lots of fun, we probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if we'd paid full price. It was very frustrating to see lots of great rides we couldn't do because we needed an adult for each kid, rather than one riding in the same car. That being said we had more than enough rides for the amount of time the kids were able to last. One ride that was really fun, but I didn't get a picture of because it was indoors, that I highly recommend: Scooby Doo. You're riding in a mine car or some such thing and you have a little gun to shoot the ghosts, and when you do they do stuff. At the end you get a score, very cute, and nice because it was inside and air conditioned.

So, we learned that we really do need a third adult for these things. That and get the giant refillable cup earlier in the day, that was a huge life saver.

I'll hook this up to Kid Friendly Friday, when it gets here, because this was definitely Kid Friendly!

Digital scarpbook pages are from Photobucket's generic freebies, and I'm still waiting for them to have a turn this into a photobook option..... Sigh.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Our Preschool Week in Review

We had an unbelievably busy week studying the sun, here's what all we did.


We did a science experiment to measure our shadows.


Princess learned to protect her eyes from the sun.

We learned about the Itsy Bitsy Spider.


We played with friends outside.


I was an evil taskmaster and made them mop the floor.


We went to our first ever theme park for Jeff's work fun day!


Why is she picking leaves? I really don't know, but she's happy.

We used several cool worksheets from the Alphabet Nook to make a couple of minibooks. And for those who want to do some fun space related worksheets go here (it's a free site, you just have to create a login name, trust me lots of great sheets to use). I discovered them after I'd finished up the sun, but while I was still doing the moon.

That's our week in review. For more preschool weeks go here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Very Own Poetry Collection

My Very Own Poetry Collection: 101 Poems for Kindergartners

I got this book back when I was teaching 1st grade, at the time I don't know there was a 1st grade collection, but we had a lot of fun with this one. It covers many of the topics covered in Kinder and 1st: transportation, seasons, all about me, so on and so forth.

It's printed on perforated pages, so you can easily tear pages out to make copies. I took all the pages out and put them in page protectors and made copies of the sentence strips on cardstock and put it in the same page with the poem it goes with. Here's how we use it.

1. Each kid gets a copy of the poem to glue into their poetry notebook.
2. We take the sentence strips (these are one line from the poem) and work together to put them in order on the pocket chart. If you didn't have a pocket chart you could just do this on the floor. At this point, this is just a matching the same letters activity, not reading yet.
3. We also say the poem together everyday.

Here's other things you can do with these poems, or other poems, or nursery rhymes:

1. Look for sight words.
2. Look for the letter you're studying for the week. This can be more challenging if the letter is in the middle of the word.
3. Make actions to go with the words.
4. Find rhyming words.
5. This is a higher level skill, but look for a rhyming pattern.

Friday, August 21, 2009

What we've been reading this week

I'm joining up with this blog hop, because we read a lot, and I like to see what other's are reading, and besides this forces me to be somewhat organized, and that's always a good thing.


Sun Up, Sun Down by Gail Gibbons- awesome informational book about the sun, and how it affects us. Written right about preschool/early elementary level. I highly recommend any Gail Gibbons book you see, she has yet to make a bad one that I've seen.


Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes - I hadn't realized when we checked this out that it was about 3-d shapes, and my kids aren't quite ready for that. So, they enjoyed it, but not enough to want to read again.

sun - A little girl goes in and out changing her clothes as the weather changes. No one was super duper wanting to read this lots, but it's cute. We have another version we own that I like better about a bunny.


Bear Shadow - This is the big winner of the week, and was what got me thinking about our shadow experiment. I personally really loved it when today, one of my boys started retelling the story only changing it to being about his shadow.


The Sun - meh, not great, not bad. I like the Gail Gibbons more. But, if you want some great real photos this book is for you.


Me and My Place in Space - I have loved these books for years. And when Our Homeschool Fun started talking about geography books for this age, I immediately thought of this series. I love all of the books in this series, and realized my kids are ready to enjoy these too. This book does a great job picking up where "Me on the Map" leaves off, it starts at Earth and goes out to Universe level and then back down. My kids love it. Probably not as much as me, but that'd be hard.

So, that's what we read this week. For more great posts on what people have been reading go to the Well Read Child.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nursery Rhyme: Itsy Bitsy Spider

Do you know how hard it is to find a nursery rhyme about the sun? There are none in the traditional, you can sort of force one to fit, but not really. So, here's ours:

Supplies needed: yarn (about 12 inches), a piece of felt (one piece will do for several kids), construction paper, scissors, glue, markers, stamp pad (or paint or a dot marker), nursery rhyme book

Mommy prep:

Take your piece of felt and cut a circle about the size of a jar lid. Now cut a wedge out of two sides. It should look like this:


Now, take each of those sides, and cut it so there are 8 legs total, 4 on each side. Then in the body cut two small slits. This is to feed the yarn through. Feed the yarn through an tie a nice strong knot. Obviously older kids could do this themselves. Another version would be to cut a smaller circle and 4 long skinny rectangles. The 4 rectangles could be tied on the bottom after you cut the slits. That just seemed more work, and a good way for the spider to lose a leg.

Now to what your child does. First print out the words

The Itsy Bitsy Spider Went Up the Water Spout

Now cute the words apart at the sections. Now glue to the top of two facing pages.


Draw a line on the construction paper dividing it roughly in thirds. Have your kids cut along the lines. For one of the thirds cut it into two roughly equal pieces. These are your water spout.

Glue one of the larger rectangles on the side going up the page. Glue the other large rectangle on the other page. Use the small rectangle to form the bottom part of the spout. It should look like a slightly wonky capital L at this point.

Batman stamping away

Here's where what supplies you have on hand come in handy. You can make the rain many different ways. We had "Do a Dot paint" markers. So my kids used this. Last time we did this we did fingerprints from paint, you could also use stamp pads for this.

On the other side draw a picture of a sun. You could also cut a circle out of construction paper. My kids were losing interest, so I skipped that step.

Now get a spare piece of construction paper, and glue the other end of the string to the paper. You want this nice and strong, and want to caution your kid not to be excited while it's still drying.

Now happily act it out as Batman is doing.


I'll try to get a McLinky up next week. So everyone can share what they've done. I've never done one before, but would love to see what everyone else does.

For next week, we're doing "Hey Diddle Diddle," keep an eye out for brads (they're usually in the school supply aisle, it might take some finding), and stock up on construction paper while it's on sale!
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