Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Scream, You Scream...

WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM!!!! It is summer and boy, are we enjoying it! For a treat the other night, Brendt and I let the kids get ice cream from the Ice Cream Truck (which comes around EVERY night in the summer). Here are some pics of the kids enjoying their ice cream.

By the way, I purchased my own ice cream sandwiches the other night from Kroger, as the Ice Cream Truck is a bit too expensive for us. It was a fun treat though!

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Look what finally came in the mail last week.....

A few weeks ago, in anticipation of our summer-long insect study, I purchased a Butterfly Garden kit from a local toy store. This kit included a coupon for three caterpillars. Finally, last week, our caterpillars arrived!
Here is a pic of M with his caterpillars. He is really loving this.

This has been a great project for us this summer. I made M a Butterfly Journal (found here) and we have been using this to mark the progress of our caterpillars. We spent a few days measuring our caterpillars and watching them eat (boy do they eat a lot!) and now that they have formed their chrysalides, we are just waiting.

I will take some more pics when our butterflies emerge.

I wanted to add that this Butterfly Garden, along with all kinds of other insect things, can be purchased online at Insect Lore.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Potty Time

I posted earlier about getting the potty out for not-quite-two-year-old O. It sat in our living room for a few weeks and while she liked to sit on it with her pants on, she refused to actually try to use it. Until tonight...

Big brother was in the bath tonight and O found a 4 pack of toilet paper that she started carrying around. I explained to her what big kids use toilet paper for and told her that if she would take her diaper off, she could try it out. She immediately took her diaper off and sat on the potty! I was so proud...I thought that maybe this was the beginning of something. But no big deal.

After M got out of his bath, he was putting on his underwear and O kept saying that she wanted underwear (she has a thing for her big brother's underwear!). I told her that big kids who pee pee in the potty wear underwear. You will never believe what this kid did (well, you probably have an idea). She got off of her big brother's bed, walked to the little potty, sat down and peed in it! M and I were amazed. We clapped and clapped for her (she was quite proud too).

After her amazing feat, she went back into M's room and proceeded to put on two pair of Diego underwear. She kept pulling more underwear out of his drawer and tried to put more on, but I made her stop at two.

And that's not the end of it...this all happened pretty late (about 9 pm or so - we were out playing later tonight) and for the next hour or so, she kept asking to go potty. She probably ended up peeing on the potty about 10 times tonight!!! Every time she sat on the potty, she would go a little.

So I finally put her to bed with promises that she can use the potty again first thing in the morning. Oh and I can't forget to add, she fell asleep with two pair of size 6 boys Diego underwear over top of her diaper. What a sweetie!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Caterpillars and Butterflies

We started our Insect Study last week and began with a favorite bug book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Our first activity came from Homeschool Share. Since The Very Hungry Caterpillar talks about the days of the week, we worked on the days of the week by printing these sequence cards. I then made up my own days of the week cards and printed them. M and I had fun going through the story and talking about what the caterpillar ate each day of the week

The next activity will be ongoing as M learns to read. I got this idea from the Five in a Row Message Boards. By myself, I created Mr. Reading Bug. I introduced Mr. Reading Bug to M by telling him that I had a HUGE surprise for him. Of course, M is only 5, so he was extremely excited by my HUGE surprise. I brought out Mr. Reading Bug and told M that Mr. Reading Bug is a very special bug. Right now, he is small. But he has a very big mouth. I told M that Mr. Reading Bug will need M's help to grow big and strong. Did M want to help Mr. Reading Bug? Yes, Yes!!! The only way that Mr. Reading Bug can grow big and strong is to eat the words that M knows how to read. So far, M has only read one word on his own...that word is BUG (is this a surprise to anyone?). So I wrote bug on a small circle and attatched it to Mr. Reading Bug. Slowly but surely, Mr. Reading Bug is growing.
M with his new friend, Mr. Reading Bug.
Mr. Reading Bug ate his first word.

Next, with our new-found understanding of the word BUG, we worked on reading this book together - Zug the Bug. This book is part of a series of books by Dorling Kindersley. Each book in the series focuses on one of the short vowel sounds. The entire series can be found here. Once M figured out how to read the word bug, he realized that he could also read the words: tug, lug and hug. Lots of fun! So next, we will move on to another vowel sound.

We finished our day with a combination of the two things that M loves most - crafts and painting! I found a very cute wooden butterfly at the Dollar Tree (LOVE that place!) and I gave it to M, along with a small pack of paints and a paintbrush. For those of you who know M in real-life, you won't be surprised to see that he painted the entire butterfly purple!

Making Bread

I have always loved fresh bread (who doesn't?). And I love the idea of making my own fresh bread. But I have always really, really disliked kneading the dough. I guess I am just a weakling! So that is why I love the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg MD and Zoe Francois. (again, my links are messed up - I am working on this)

I am not a cookbook-girl. I have friends who LOVE cookbooks (hi Janelle!), but I have just not ever gotten into them. However, this book is different. It is definitely written so that beginners can understand it (a big plus for me!), but I think it also appeals to the more "seasoned" cooks out there (again, hi Janelle!). It contains many different bread recipes, but also other recipes as well, such as sandwiches, salads, pizzas, dips...really anything that goes with the bread.
The beauty of this book is twofold (in my opinion): 1. You don't have to knead the bread. You just mix it up in a giant bowl with a spoon and that is it; and 2. You make up a giant vat of dough and then proceed to bake a fresh loaf of bread each day for the next 3 or 4 days. You could even make your dough go longer if you wanted to make a double batch. Your dough stays fresh in your refrigerator until you are ready to use it (some recipes can stay for up to 14 days!).
I started out making the "master recipe" which is really just a boule bread (meaning ball or round). The master recipe is very simple and uses plain old white flour to make the yummy dough. Now, I have moved onto another recipe, called Light Whole Wheat Bread. Here is a pic of the loaf that I just pulled from the oven.

No, it is not beautiful (I am working on it!), but it is yummy. As I continue going through the book, I am going to work on my bread "presentation". Maybe I will have a prettier picture to show soon.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Insect Study

Since we will be schooling year-round, my plan is to do a fun "theme" each summer. Who knows if I will actually do this, as this is my very first time homeschooling, but it is my plan just the same. So, in light of M's current obsession (actually, it has been his obsession for most of his life), this year's summer theme will be INSECTS!!!

At the top of this post you will see a bunch of insect books, as well as a few activities. First of all, those aren't ALL my books. I did get some from the library. But we do own quite a few insect books (including our new Bug Dictionary, which is a huge hit at our house!). Have I mentioned that I love books? I truly, really LOVE books. I especially love buying children's books. I could spend hours on end at Barnes and Noble. But really my favorite way to buy books is to get a deal. I love my library's semi-annual sale...I love Half-Price Books and I even love a local consignment shop that sales kids toys and books. I have gotten tons of great deals there!

Back to school, because we enjoy doing literature studies so much, we are going to use several picture books as our way to study insects this summer. Here are the books that we will be using:

I found ideas for how to use these books all over the web, but my starting point was This site is fabulous...and best of all, it is FREE! Definitely check it out if you are interested in trying literature-based unit studies. Truman's Aunt Farm is a Five in a Row book, so most everything we do for that book will come from my FIAR manual. And if you Google "insect unit studies" - boy will you be overwhelmed! There is so much information out there. I really had trouble narrowing it down.

As we do each book, I will post and talk about the specific things we are doing. I also hope to post pictures of our Insect Notebook, which we should have completed by the end of summer.

Before I go, I want to mention that I am just learning how to post pics of things in my blog. As you can see, the links for the books above aren't working (when you click on the picture, it should take you directly to that book at Amazon). I am not computer savy and frankly, I am proud of myself for having a blog at all! Hopefully, I will figure this out and fix the links in this post and going forward.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Little Mommy

From the time that she could sit up, O has always loved babies. When she wants her baby, she will seriously say "baby, baby, baby" over and over again until you find her baby for her. And she HAS to sleep with her baby (the Leigh Middleton one that Grandma got her). We have spent countless hours searching for Baby so that O could go "night night".

This morning, after eating her own breakfast, O decided that she needed to feed her baby too. The baby that she chose to feed is the one that we affectionately call the "Naked Baby" because for some reason O refuses to allow us to put clothes on her.
(Side note: What is it with little girls and taking the clothes off of dolls??? I had heard that they would do this, but I had no idea that it would be so frequently - and at such a young age!)
Here is O at her play kitchen getting everything ready for baby's breakfast.

And here is Naked Baby...ready to chow down!

And finally O is going to feed her baby. She really is a little mommy, isn't she?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Boy and His Dog

The other day while I was working, Brendt walked into the living room to find this sweet site.

Brendt and the kids (Bernie the dog too!) had a busy morning that day. When Brendt came downstairs from putting O down for her nap, he found M asleep with Bernie.

It is so funny because M is always talking about how he wants a pet. Since Bernie was already here when M was born, I don't think M considers him to really be a pet, but instead just another member of the family. Too cute!