Monday, October 31, 2011

How to make a mummy doll

Because it’s scary, or I could claim it’s to study mummies from the Egyptians……..  But, we made the chicken mummy………  So, I guess this is just for fun.


Supplies: medical tape, fabric cut into strips (for a small doll I cut 1 inch wide strips, and for the bigger doll I made 2 inch strips), stuffed toy




  We found it was easiest to first tape the strip of cloth to the doll and then start winding around and around, and tape it at the end.  It took several strips per doll, but Batman found this to be a delightful way to spend an afternoon.






This is of course aided by a cute puppy hiding in the ball game.


Finally draw a face on your mummy with marker, because it needs one…….Maybe it’s the funeral mask.



Eventually Superman wandered up from his sick bed (he’d been sick that day) and joined in.  And we got treated to a skeleton giraffe, and with plans of a skeleton snake.


I suppose if you want a book to go with this you could read “Skeleton Meets Mummy” for the scary factor or for the educational factor “Miss Frizzle’s Adventures in Ancient Egypt.”


I present “SCARY!  Batman doll mummy!”

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Science Sunday: Pumpkin and other fruit science

Science Sunday

Though now that I think about it, I’m not sure that a pumpkin is a fruit………


I got this unit from Currclick, and was going to do all of the projects, but just ran out of time between going out of town and Superman being sick this past week, we only got to the pumpkin one…….


It has 5 experiments for the price of 35 cents, that’s right less than a dollar.  This is where I start having a hard time paying a lot for things, between the freebies on blogs and deals like this………. By the by click on the picture to go to the product.


Well, the pumpkin one, was the traditional “does the pumpkin float” experiment, and measuring it with a nice little printable.  We did that a few years ago, and I was curious to see if they remembered the results.  They did, so the wow factor was kinda gone……


But, there’s a twist:


Based off what you learned from the pumpkin, will the other fruits (and vegetables if you’ve got them easily findable) float?




They had a suggested list, but I forgot to get all of the things they suggested, so instead we tried: apple, orange, and tomato as well.


We did an initial guess and they decided the orange and pumpkin would float.




Once we got to actually recording our predictions they changed their hypothesis about what would float.


They ended up predicting that all of them would float.  This was also a great opportunity for me to review the terms hypothesis, theory, and prediction with them.



No pictures of the actual floating Afterwards we drew a picture to show what actually happened.  SURPRISE they all floated!


Have you ever repeated an experiment with your kids?  Did they remember the first time you did it?

Colonial America: presentation time

A couple of weeks ago we finished up our study of “Life in Colonial America,” and now we’ve moved on to the American Revolution…….

Princess and Youngest E talked about the clothes people wore.  Princess did pretty well over all because she knew what she was talking about and could mostly name all the different layers of clothes……….


The boys talked about colonial punishments.  They did a great job for their first presentation (and I’ll spare you the 5 minute video of it).  They remembered most of their topic, and were able to explain what the different punishments were for.

The most hilarious point came when Superman was asked how long someone could be in the stocks.  Batman said “100 hours!”  and then Superman said, “Until you die!”  The reality of it being only for a few hours was a little disappointing, but they did make sure to point out that you got to throw food at the people in the stocks.

Oh, and here’s our takeaways from our first attempt at presenting (for all ages and kids):

1.  Make them write out what they want to say, especially the older kids.
2.  Make sure they’ve rehearsed it out loud, not just take their word for it.
3.  Prepare visual aids better.  The boys ones worked well, but Princess’ kept trying to fall off.
4.  Did I mention practice?
5.  Assign out the topics, which we’ve already done.

Any suggestions for better presentation for our kids?  This was their first time doing it, and overall they did good, but we could see some room for improvement. 

Now, head on over to All Things Beautiful for some more history/geography projects.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review: made to play!


I’ve said this before, and I’ll probably keep saying it, but I love the books I’ve been getting from Shambala publishing.  Each of them has been a hit with me, but they also seem tailor made to the way I want to live and be a parent.


Reading this book I now understand how people feel reading craft books that don’t sew.


He has several woodworking projects in here that I would LOVE to do, but I don’t know how to carve wood.  But now I want to learn.  I’ll add that to my rather long list of things I want to learn to do which also includes crocheting and a few random paper projects.



There are several different projects in here that I’m itching to try out, none of them really require patterns, but there are some included for making them.


Before anyone starts thinking that significant craft skill is required, I think only the woodworking ones require that, and there’s several other projects in there.


Projects on my new to-do list, color coded according to type:

kid project, sewing, craft supplies needed, recycling

1.  Make a paper animal zoo

2.  Make a play blanket (can be used for the zoo or any other playscape), this is the simplest play blanket I’ve seen with lots of ability to adapt it to your new play ideas.

3.  Dollhouse projects

4.  doll sleeping bag and wooden doll

5.  slotted building discs (so VERY cool)

6. modular headband and leg bangs

7.  explorer utility belt and cape


All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I love the variety of crafts in it.  Most craft books I’ve tended to pick up have been one particular type of craft (cough sewing cough cough).  Many thanks to Shambala press for this book.


Anyone have a craft book they really enjoyed?  What about kid craft books?  Any favorites there?


Legal Mumbo Jumbo: I wrote this review in exchange for a copy of the book, they did not give me anything else but a copy of the book.  The opinions as badly or as goodly written as they are, are my own.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Momsense

When MOPS international asked me about reviewing their latest book I leaped at the chance.  I have a couple of their books and have loved each of them.  Their chapters tend to be short and to the point and always have something I can relate to in it.


So, what is this newest book about?  It’s about developing your Momsense and how to best do that.


The first section is about defining and looking at where you came from, what was your Mom’s parenting style like, and what are the areas you want to improve.  At the end of each chapter there are questions for you to answer and look at for how you can improve your mothering.


003The second section takes some of the things every book about mothering agrees you need, and gives some practical advice and also some humorous or touching stories about other moms.  And, they’re not all stay at home, or the perfect family moms.  Some of the moms work full time, some of them are the accidental mother who now loves being a mom, others are single, some are the mom who has 5 kids, another is the mom who has one little girl who she loves with a passion.


For me the best part of the book is reading the testimonial of the other moms on what they did.  Jeff at one point had to ask what I was reading as I was chortling over the chapter on joy.  I won’t spoil the story for you, but if you’ve been reading the blog long enough you know I would get a big kick out of a child’s accidental trouble over bringing the wrong kind of “cool looking box” to school.  I then had to read the story to Jeff, and talk for a long time with him about it.



I would encourage any of you moms out there, and I know that’s a significant portion of my readership to pick up a copy of this book.  It’s a nice easy read, and it’s tempting to blaze through it, but I’d recommend you just take a chapter a day and actually read it slowly and answer the questions, which I’m going to be going back and doing soon.


I’d also encourage you to find a local MOPS group to join if you have a pre-schooler.  I was in for two years as the Creative Activites director, and I really enjoyed the group.  My group met at night and was over half working moms, which made for a fun mix.  I learned so much from the speakers and the topics we covered, nutrition, parenting styles, personalities, solving conflicts, on and on and on.


So, that’s my two plugs.  Now for the giveaway:



1.  You must be over 18 and leave me a way to contact you, international is okay since I’m doing the shipping and I’m feeling generous.

2.  How to enter:


REQUIRED:  Tell me your definition of Momsense.  What is it and how do you use it?


BONUS:  You can get up to 3 bonus entries:

1.  Go to the MOPS international website and find the closest group to you and when does it meet.

2.  If you’re a follower that’s another entry.

3.  And ummmm….  I’m feeling a lack of creativity right now, so just add another comment for the third bonus entry.

Giveaway ends on November 4th, a week from today.



I’m gonna link this over to my favorite resource of the week, because I really enjoy a good parenting book, and that helps me in my homeschooling.

Favorite Resource This Week

Thursday, October 27, 2011

T-Rex Trick or Treats


This is a super cute book about a T-Rex who is trying to figure out a scary costume for Halloween, and tries on all manner of costume before finally deciding on the scariest (I’ll leave you to read the book to find out what).


Apparently this is part of a series of T-Rex holiday books and I plan on keeping an eye out for the others.




After reading it I had to have the kids decorate their own T-Rex deciding on a scary costume…….


I let them use whatever supplies they wanted and they happily created their scary T-Rexes.


Princess heavily applied glitter glue and dot markers to hers, and then disappeared with her “pretty” T-Rex upstairs.


The boys happily and quite proudly cut theirs out and glued them up to our Halloween mural.  Which is sadly lacking in much of additions this year, just too much going on this October…… I’m thinking to carry it over to Thanksgiving.


Can you figure out what the scary costume that both of these T-Rexes are wearing is?

Shibley Smiles

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bible Alive: Abraham and Lot

This week we talked about Abraham and Lot.  There are three different stories involving Lot and Abraham reacts differently for each.  I talked about this a lot with my 3rd/4th graders, but not so much with my kids.  With my kids we mainly talked about the consequences of not following what God wants.


First is the story of Lot’s men and Abraham’s men fighting.  The solution Abraham comes up with is to let Lot choose where he is going to move.

Abraham reacted in faith here.  He knew there was a chance Lot would choose the land God had promised him, but he was gracious and let Lot choose first.


The second story Lot has been captured because he moved into Sodom and someone attacked Sodom.

Abraham is a man of action in this story.  He sees what needs to be done and he does it.  Afterwards he gives thanks to God and gives an offering to God.  But, he didn’t sit around and wait to decide what was right.


The third story is of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Here God tells Abraham what he plans to do.  Abraham knows his nephew is in Sodom, and he prays to God asking him to protect his nephew and to change his mind about the city.

As a side note, what does it say about the wickedness of Sodom if the angels are not able to find 10 good men in the city, and that includes the people in Lot’s house at this point.

After reading this with my kids we talked about how there are consequences if we don’t follow what God wants us to do, and sometimes those consequences are terrible and can’t be reversed.

055And then, here’s where my plans got silly.  I wanted an activity to do with the story, and my brain was fried from everything that week, so I let them build a box city, and they threw boxes at it and destroyed the city.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s a great activity.  The kids really enjoyed destroying things, but I don’t want them to think that destroying a whole city is fun, or that this was something done lightly by God.

065So, in terms of the kids this was a big hit.  In terms of understanding the point of the story, this was a big fail.

But, let’s face it this is a hard story to explain to kids, even if it is an important story to understand.  There are consequences to sin, and we want to make sure our kids know that.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ten Timid Ghosts

Or maybe I could say it’s one of the other ghost books we’ve read recently.  But, that’s the one I remember the title for.



After reading it, I forced the kids to paint their hands white and get handprints, because I’d seen a ghost handprint on Pinterest and remembered my plans to do it.  That’s right forced them because they didn’t want to get their hands dirty.  So, Superman didn’t really have one.




Well, we decorated away once the paint was dry, and in Princess’ case this meant adding large amounts of glitter glue.


In the boys, it meant making their ghosts look scary…….


Yes very scary.




And then Batman remembered the ghost he’d cut out of paper a few months ago.  He fished it out of his drawer and taped it up with a scrapbooking sticker border he’d found amongst their crafting supplies.


This would be why I never get away with getting rid of anything.  Three months later they suddenly remember their desperately wanted item and will hunt it down.  Nothing is forgotten here.



I will die with my house filled to the brim with paper scraps, because my kids will remember this “treasured” story from 50 years ago.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Science Sunday: My First Magnet Kit

I got this a few years ago when I had a coupon to a children’s museum.  It’s a neat little kit, and it’s been sitting in my closet waiting for the best time for it.

Well that time came when I needed magnets for digging up the Hunley.

And the kids loved it, and played with it for an hour afterwards.  I did have to split up the set into 3 sets and rotate the kids around the different ones to cut down on arguments.  It was insane on that matter, but otherwise a well spent hour.
This time was mostly free form experimentation, what could I do with them, what couldn’t I do type of thing.  Eventually we’ll actually get to the experiments in the book.  But, for then it was a great type of playing around.

So, I wrote this post a few months ago, and now I'm finally getting to post it.  I'm feeling kinda lazy and rather tired after this past week.  It's amazing how much you take for granted comfortable beds and the ability to send your kids to their room or outside for a few minutes of quiet.  I'm looking forward to getting home and sleeping in my own bed. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Favorite shots from the trip that haven’t made it into posts

Because I want to, so there.

IMG_3619 IMG_3518 IMG_3497 IMG_3618 IMG_3388

Looking at my favorite shots that didn’t get included yet, I’m noticing that with the exception of the really cool carousel shot they’re all rather indicative the kid’s personality.


Princess is larger than life and wants to be the center of attention.  It cracked me up so much when she stuffed those two animals in those little bitty pockets.


Superman has a smile that will light up the world.  And he loves to tell you a story and more jokes than I care to think about, though they only make sense to him.


Batman and Princess are like two peas in a pod as far as personality goes, which is probably also why they’re the two most likely to be fighting…..  You wouldn’t believe how often he asks to have his picture taken, that boy is a natural camera hog :)

Tombstone, the town too tough to die

I have to admit I love the movie Tombstone, it’s a fun movie to watch and I remember going as a kid (okay teenager) to Tombstone, AZ and thinking it was ok, but not super exciting.  I think since then they’ve built it up some and put more into it.  It also helps this time around that we came during a big weekend for them so there were all sorts of people in costume all over town.



We all really enjoyed seeing the reenactment of the gunfight at the OK Corral, and they also had a really cool “Historama,” which I’d show you pictures from but they don’t allow pictures during that show.  The live one they do, so I got to take pictures and I have a few short videos to show you from it.  One of the videos won’t upload onto my computer, so you’ll have to wait for that one.  This video is a monologue by Doc Holiday about his premonition………….

Doc Holiday waxing poetical

Afterwards we wandered around town and had fun poking our heads into the different stores and the bookstore, where I had a lot of fun talking with a local author and the bookstore owner about children’s history books and how hard it is to find a good one.  I’m still on a search to find a picture book about Tombstone, but there doesn’t seem to be one so far.  The best I’ve found is this book, and it’s more of a 2nd/3rd grade level.

IMG_3616 IMG_3607

IMG_3614 Afterwards the kids had fun playing with some of the various things there, a cow roping exhibit and a “horse” to ride on.  I alternated between checking on them and reading some of the exhibits.  I learned about the theoretical origins of the phrase red light district, and interesting things about “the world’s oldest profession,” and about the area’s history in general.  It made me want to get a few books on the subject and read up more on it, but as you can imagine that is not all that uncommon.  Oh and I have a real hankerin’ to see Tombstone again soon.

But, all in all I can’t wait to come back to Tombstone with Jeff, and spend more time there, we didn’t get to go into the Victorian costume museum there, and that would have been SOOOOO cool.  Okay, I would have loved it and the kids would have been bored to tears.

I asked the kids later what was their favorite part.  Batman said the gun fight, Princess and Superman both agreed:



Now head on over to All Things Beautiful and check out other geography and history posts.

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