Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Princess turned 4 and boy what a party it was

022As you saw in my earlier post, Princess had a My Little Pony party, and it was a lot of fun to get ready.


Everyone had fun coloring their pony homes, which I neglected to mention make up into a bag.


All of the kids had a blast playing outside for a while after they found their ponies (or cowboys and Indians for the boys).


Well, all that is except Princess.


Who for some unknown reason decided to sit there and pout.  Really, she had all of her favorite people there and she decided to pout.






We ate pizza, opened presents, ate cake.  All in all it was a wonderful birthday party.

How to host a My Little Pony Party


1.  Create a way too cute pony cake.


2.  Buy everyone a couple of ponies from the dollar store (score when you find little ponies that are 2 for $1, now you have Mommy and Baby).

Reagan coloring

3.  Cut out 18 inch squares of canvas using pinking shears (so it won’t fray).  Cut slits all around and string ribbon through the slits.  Have kids color their “pony house” as they arrive so the ponies they’re about to get will have a home.


0254.    Send the mob of little kids out to find their ponies.  One Mommy and baby pony for each kid.





5.  Create a way too cute house full of My Little Ponies bought off Craigslist and ebay for your Pony crazy little girl.

Thanks to Jackie over at Blessings Overflowing for sharing her version and the link to the tutorial.  I enlarged the pattern slightly to make it big enough to fit the ponies.  It’s overwhelmingly pink, but it’s been carried around nonstop stuffed full of stuff since she got it.


Now, I’m trying to think if I feel up to making one for each of the boys……..


Stay tuned later today for how the party actually went.

I'm going to link this up to Show and Tell.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A great way to spend an icky morning

First you pop some popcorn on the stove.

Then you very carefully pour the melted butter on and mix that in.

043 037 038 039
Then enjoy a leisurely morning of schoolwork in our pajamas.  I personally like Superman’s drawing of Wolverine (that guy with claws, whose costume has been added to the growing list of costumes I’ve been asked to make).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Science Sunday: Insect records


We’ve slowly been working our way through insects because I wanted to be able to do butterflies much earlier this year, leading us to follow our science book backwards, but I digress.
Princess discovered about 4 or 5 lessons worth of life cycle printables I’d discovered and printed off.  Mostly for insects we hadn’t discussed yet, but a few for ones we had discussed.


She was super excited about them and proceeded to cut it out and put the whole thing together with a little help from me.  Since it all follows the same life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, adult), she mostly got them put together on her own, with only a little help.

Now, it’s not cut out quite as prettily as the ones I did by myself, but I’m much prouder of these.  Because my THREE YEAR old did it all by herself.

Doesn’t that make your mommy heart sing?

I know it does mine.

For those who are interested, here’s links to where I found these.

General list of insect resources
termite (who my boys really liked because the boys actually got to live in the colony)
ladybug (Princess’ favorite one)

Admittedly a lot of those you can find on your own just by following the chain of links once you start on the first one, but it’s handy sometimes to have it all listed together somewhere.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankfulness list something to something

I don’t remember what number I’m on, but I’ll make it short and simple


I’m thankful for my wonderful family and for how they love on each other at difficult times.  And I’m a rather inclusive person when it comes to the definition of family, and there are several people I would consider family that are not biologically related to me.



And to my many many wonderful friends out there in blogland:



Now, I’m off to bed, and hopefully I get to sleep quickly.  Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, followed by several more busy days………

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

oops 49

49.  that Jeff’s surgery went well


50.  that the nerve block is wearing off

Thankfulness list 31-???????

31.  The fact that Princess really wants to be a superhero.


32.  That Princess wants to be a Mommy when she grows up.


33.  Batman really truly believes he can grow up to be Ironman.


34.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer-  which I am watching right now thanks to Netflix.


35.  Netflix- it is awesome and I get to watch so much fun stuff.


36.  Being a nightowl.  This is also not good because I stay up way too late.


37.  my puppy.  he’s cute


38.  Chuy’s- I love that restaurant


39.  I’m so incredibly thankful for my small group.  They’re incredibly awesome.


40.  My brother and sister-in-law who are keeping the kids tonight.


41.  sleep, you know the thing I”m not getting right now.


42.  Harry Potter


43.  I could list a lot of book series, so maybe I’ll be lazy and say books, I like books.


44.  mice, I think they’re cute.


45.  my van, I like my car.  I didn’t want a van, but I like it now.


46.  Tara, she’s been there for so much


47.  horses, they’re pretty


48.  animals.  animals are good.  I need sleep, so maybe I’ll stop here

Monday, November 22, 2010

I’m thankful for 1-??????

So, here I sit at Barnes and Noble as Jeff is going through surgery.  I have a self imposed time limit of 15 minutes more here before heading back to see if there’s any news from the doctor.

I’ve seen everyone putting up their Thanksgiving posts all month long, and I decided to put it all in one week with more than one thing a day.  I’m going to put these in as I think of them, and not necessarily in order of what it means to me.


1.  Free wi-fi at Barnes and Noble.  Aww, heck let’s just say Barnes and Noble.  I spend way too much money here.  I’m thankful for the train table at my local store which has allowed me to spend many a happy hour browsing through books as my kids happily play at the train table.


2.  my faith.  I’ve been so amazingly blessed to be raised in a Christian family and raised in a good strong church.  They have blessed me so much and helped me through more things than I can easily count.


Dritz Pressing Ham By The Each3.  pressing ham.  What is a pressing ham you ask?  Only the most awesome pressing tool when you’re sewing.  I use it every time I sew something beyond a quilt.


4.  blue jeans.  I practically live in them.


5.  digital cameras that are nearly indesctructible.  Really, I think it has Superman’s powers.


013 6.  On the subject of Superman.  I’m thankful for Superman, that mischievous little sprite that he is.  He’s well named.  Honestly, there are times that I regret naming my kids the names I gave them.  In most fantasy books and many religious traditions names have power, and I’m beginning to take it more seriously as my kids take on the characteristics of the people and characters behind the names we gave them……


7.  Comic books.  Yes, I still read them, and no I don’t think comics are just for kids.  As a matter of fact some aren’t for kids.

8.  libray

9.  comfortable chairs

10.  HEB- seriously I love my grocery store.  Maybe someday I’ll write an ode to HEB.

11.  my lap-top.  It’s small and little, and the keyboard is a bit too small, but it fits perfectly on my lap, and I’ve done so much lesson planning on this during car trips.  And now I’m creating my AWESOME Christmas unit.


12.  Christmas.  It’s my favorite holiday.  There’s music and decorations and PRESENTS!


13.  Muppet Christmas Carol- I can probably sing word for word almost every song in that movie.


14.  Dr Pepper.  “It makes my mouth feel happy.”


15.  Those old Budweiser frog commercials.  I downloaded the sound from them onto my computer ages ago and so they randomly come up on my playlist.  They make me laugh.

16.  Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” routine, love it.  People have tried to repeat the magic but it isn’t quite the same.

17.  Bill Cosby Noah.  Have you heard it?  It’s pure genius, and now my kids listen to it and LAUGH!  At this point that’s almost funnier than Bill Cosby.  It totally cracks me up listening to my kids attempt to do the act not really understanding why it’s funny.

18.  The Cosby Show-  I loved that show and grew up on it.


19.  Nick at Nite- you know the classic Nick at Nite from the 80s back before they had TVland when they’d show stuff like the Dick Van Dyke show and I Dream of Jeanie…..


20.  Star Trek!  Yes, I was that weird kid who went to Star Trek conventions, they’re so much fun.


21.  Jeff- like I said this is a random list as I think of them.  I can and have written whole posts on what I like about Jeff.


22.  Music- after writing that last one, I got the song “What I like about you” stuck in my head.


23.  My memory- I have a fairly good memory for random useless details and minutiae.  This makes me very good at Trivial Pursuit for categories I have any interest in.  Jeff finds it hilarious to play Star Trek trivia with my family.  My brother and I know all the answers and my Mom who watched all of this with us sits there and looks somewhat confused.


24.  Spellcheck- it catches the spelling errors I make.


25.  Being a good speller.  Hey, what do you know speller is actually a word.  But that takes away my joke about making up a word.


26.  My quirky sense of humor.  I know, what sense of humor?


27.  Google- that monolithic creature that it is and it’s amazing search engines that get me so much information for schooling my kids.


28.  Being able to homeschool.


29.  My sewing machine.  Crazy workhorse that it is.  Did you know it still worked despite my then 2 year old boys stuffing about 20 pins into it?  They still tell the story in the local Bernina store to this day.




30.  My 4-H sewing teacher who put up with so much from a rather bratty middle schooler.  It lets me make cool presents for my kids and have a blast making all sorts of weird stuff.


And with that I’m back to the surgery center with a cool new pattern from a magazine to make a dress for myself in all my spare time.  Oh wait I don’t have spare time.

Two completely unrelated things

But, I thought I’d share them………


First, Jeff’s having shoulder surgery today.  The kids are staying at a friend’s house and Mac is staying with Aunt Tara in practice for her to get a dog.  Yes, I did spread the dog disease……..


Second, I’m trying to put together a Christmas Around the World Unit, and would love suggestions of books or activities, or traditions you know of.  I’m trying to decide if I want it to be a craft type project or book driven or paper/lapbook.  Knowing me it’ll end up being a combination of lots of those things.


Stay tuned later today for the first in a series of “Things I’m thankful for.”  I’ve been seeing these in the blogging world all over, and been loving reading everyone else’s.  My plan is to sit and write several of these while I’m sitting at the hospital with nothing better to do than worry.  Well, that and plan my Christmas units……..

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Science Sunday: Mystery edition

And today I have an extra button because our activity is inspired by this AWESOME series of posts on All Things Beautiful.

science mystery button

So, one of my friends from way back when I was a young whipper-snapper is also homeschooling and lives just up the road from me.  Her kids are a little older than mine and so this makes it a perfect arrangement for things like this.


So, we all got together, and I set up the first three weeks of experiments as different stations throughout the house.  Here’s the general set-up we had.

First I read through the introductory information and what all was going on and the different witness statements.  Then after each witness statement the kids gave me what information they had gathered from this and their theories.  My kids theories had a lot to do with Scooby Doo, and not so much to do with the actual mystery……



Next they splut, or maybe split up into teams at the different stations.  There were two that were observation and writing, solving whose footprints were in the paint (and if you click on the button above you’ll know what I’m talking about).  And figuring out who the hair and fiber samples belonged to.


step 1

Next they used chromatography to figure out what the ransom note was written with.

For anyone planning on doing this, learn from my mistakes.  1.  You can dilute the ink it does not need to be straight food dye, which for some reason I was thinking wow that’s a lot of food dye for this.  2.  Do not trust your almost 4 year old with the bottle of ink, she will drop it all over the floor and your jeans and your formerly white shoes.



Then they proceeded to figure out the white powder, which was probably the most popular experiment of them all, since it didn’t require patience like the chromatography does.



Afterwards the older kids did have some pretty insightful guesses as to who it is.  Our general agreement is the cook did it.  But, the evidence so far is not conclusive, and I personally think she might have had an accomplice.


We’ve had a blast with this, and are looking forward to completing it after Thanksgiving.


So, has anyone ever does a science mystery like this?  I know Phyllis obviously has since she’s organizing this fun shindig, but anyone else?  I did one time back when I was teaching, and it was a blast!


PS:  Other kids faces are blacked out because I forgot to get permission to put their pictures up here……  Oops.

CSN Store Giveaway!

In honor of Princess’ birthday I’m hosting a CSN store Giveaway.  Going to their sites is like digging through my bathroom cabinets, you can find almost anything.

This is for a $65 gift certificate to their stores, and there are more stores than you can shake a stick at.

To enter:  visit their sites and find something you think Princess might like as a birthday present.

For extra entries:

1.  tell me about your favorite birthday memory
2.  be a follower or subscriber.
3.  like me on FB.
4.   get my blog by email.
5.  extra entry for being a regular commenter

Well that gives you her age plus two in possible entries.  Stay tuned next week to see all of the cool stuff we did to get ready for this EPIC party!

Oops, neccessary stuff:

Winner will be announced on December 1, approximately, make sure I have a way to contact you.

Only open to US and Canada residents

Princess, you are one of a kind…..

006 002 003 004 005
Sorry, for they’re being dark, but I only had my cell phone.

I love these, it’s so her.  She’s all set to go in her Princess gloves, bathing suit, hat, and shoes.

You’re one of a kind girl.




You have such a fun spirit.  You love to sing.  All THE TIME.  You invent little songs.  Most of them are praise songs to Jesus, which so warms my heart.  I love listening to them as I drive the car.


You are so strong willed, which later on will be a good thing.  Right now it’s a bit of a challenge at times.  But, I wouldn’t change a thing about you.



You absolutely adore your brothers and are determined to do everything they do.  You don’t want to be called Princess now, you’re Batman, or maybe Aurora, or a pony, or a Mommy.  It’s so much fun to see you grow and mature.




Here you are one year ago, and you’ve changed in many ways, and in some you’re the same.  You’re still a mop top.  I’m doing good to get you to stay still long enough to brush your hair most days.


Sigh, you still take your clothes off at the drop of a hat.  Really, your clothes were not wet, no matter how much you think they are.




Here you are at two, your hair is still in your eyes.  I think it’s an inherited trait.  If you look at all of the pictures of me as a little girl I look exactly the same.


To the point that you saw a picture of me when we brought my brother home and exclaimed “That’s Princess!”




At one you were quite determined to keep up with your brothers.  Nevermind they’re almost two year older than you, and you still have that same determination.





Oh, and your ability to make an incredible mess with very little has not changed in the three years since I took this picture.


That was ONE M&M.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

stART: space, the final frontier

These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.  Her five year mission, to explore brave new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before!

Bother, can’t find the video I want, curses foiled by laziness, and wanting to keep to a time schedule.

Supplies needed: 2 liter bottle, white acrylic paint, knife, sharpies, foam core board or cardboard


1.  Paint the outside of your soda bottle (by the way thanks to our MOPS group for drinking large amounts of soda, and letting me take these home, saved me shoving large amounts of soda down my kids’ throats).
PS: in theory this could be really cool looking swirling around paint on the inside.


2.  Cut a hole in your bottle (McDonald’s toy optional).  If your kid desires you can then tape the door back on to make a hinge.

Then of course, your kid can decide he needs to randomly put some tape on their space shuttle…….


3.  Decorate it with the sharpies.

Meanwhile at some point while the kids are distracted or because the kids won’t leave you alone until their rockets have wings.  Cut a wing shape out of the foam core board or cardboard.


4.  Glue the wings on using a hot glue gun because the kids do not have patience for regular glue to dry.

The kids have been very excitedly playing with them ever since we finished them.

Problem I’ve got is Batman desperately wants to shoot his rocket up in the air.  You know like a real spaceship, with fire and all……..

Books inspiring this:
Astronuats, Launch Day,

Okay, so opinion question ya’ll.  I’m having a moral quandry.  I’ve read several different articles talking about Amazon carrying books and images that encourage pedophilia (this one they removed), but I read another article that says there is still some on their site.  But, the second article I’m having a harder time finding evidence for.  So, has anyone seen any further information on this?

I don’t want to use Amazon or provide links to it, until I’m sure this is resolved (and yes I know there is a “free speech” issue here, but there is also a moral issue of not exploiting children that to my mind trumps free speech).

I’ve applied to be a Barnes and Noble affiliate, but I don’t know if they’ve got an interface like amazon has.  Sigh, so much to think about.

Okay, now head on over to A Mommy’s Adventures to see more cool book and art related projects.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How to create a state study for little guys

To start I first got them familiar with the concept of different sizes of locations, to do that we read the book Me on the Map (hyperlink goes to the activities we did), which I love.

Then we started with our home state of Texas.  I firmly believe that kids are incredibly self-involved and they will remember more if you stick as much as possible to what they know.  I thought about what I think would be important for a little kid to know about Texas.  I decided I wanted them to know about our state flower, some of the local animals, and the state symbols.  If I had been able to find an age appropriate book about the Alamo I would have included that, but I couldn’t find it.

As we progressed on to different states I look at each state based on how I can get a hook in for my kids.  So, next we studied Wisconsin, because their Dad grew up there.  After that we studied California, where I grew up.  And slowly we moved to different states for different reasons (other family members, we traveled there).

Now, we’re getting to the point where we have no real tie-ins to the state we’re studying.  At this point I’m letting them look at the United States map and choose a state.  Currently we’re studying Florida.

Now, here’s a step by step of places I go, and what I want them to know about each state.

1.  I go to the state’s website and look up their state symbols and see if they have any useful printables about their state.  Here is a complete list of official state websites for kids.  While I’m there I look for interesting history bits or facts that my kids might enjoy.

2.  I check my evernote page for blog posts I’ve read about that state.  Some blogs I read that regularly have geography post about the 50 states: Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn; Just Playing Around; Superheroes and Princesses; Layers of Learning; and Great American Postcard Swap.  Often those blogs will have studied it before I have and it might give me some ideas to play around with.

3.  I look up ideas at my local library.  Anything that is related to the state.  For instance looking up Washington does not get me much about the state of Washington at my local library.  But, if I look up Mount Saint Helens I get some great books about the eruption and the volcano.   A lot of times my further activities come from those books.

74.  Then I start making any printables I want to use for that state that I haven’t found so far.  I always make a printable about the state’s symbols and one about one of the local animals.

5.  After that I see where their interests lead us.  So, when we studied California, the kids had a lot of fun with the idea of finding gold, so we did a treasure hunt with “gold.”

For those who are curious, here’s the states I’ve completed so far:

Missouri (will go back to, this is mostly from our traveling there)
New Mexico
North Carolina

Their memory of each state isn’t perfect, but they’re enjoying what we’ve learned and are having fun with it.
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