Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reading around the web

I have been reading a lot of blogs again, and finding a great many new places to glean crafts and the like for school. Here are a few of my current favorites:

4 Crazy Kings -- SO much fun. Crafts for kids, crafts for me. Lots of great ideas, and cute kids, too!

Flip Flops and Applesauce -- What a great blog name! She has a bunch of fun activities to do with the younger set along with educational games and the like.

My Montessori Journey -- I have found a ton of ideas here. Really great Montessori stuff, and lots of the supplies are thrift shop finds or from the dollar store! Gotta love great ideas that don't break the bank!

No Time for Flashcards -- oodles of ideas, mostly for preschoolers, but some of the crafts can be used by early elementary kids, too.

One Pretty Thing -- This isn't a blog, but rather a craft round-up. They have TONS of ideas for both kids and adults. Just scratching the surface on what is linked from here!

Seriously, these people find the time to do a lot more than I do! Very inspiring!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Kutey has been sick since yesterday. She has a cold, so she has been tired all day and spent the better part of the day watching movies and falling asleep on the couch. Her nose is raw from wiping. She can only breathe through her mouth. She has been miserable. But you can't keep her down. Kiddo is currently outside where Kutey would LOVE to be. She is an outdoor girl. Telling her she can't go outside is one of the worst things you can do. But she is sick, so I can't let her go out. Instead, her wonderful brother is playing a basketball game in front of the window where she can see him, giving her frequent updates on his status in the game, and making sure she is included, even though she can't be out. In return, Kutey is sitting in her little chair right at the door cheering him on against his imaginary opponent. They are each having a great time with their part. It is times like these that I am grateful for children who get along so well!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday--Under the Sea

Today's Muffin Tin Monday theme is Under the Sea. A fun challenge! Here is what we came up with:
muffin tin Monday

muffin tin Monday

and Kutey's:
muffin tin Monday

Clockwise from the upper left:
Tapioca--Fish Eggs
Hot Dog--Octopus
Apple--Turtle (or the Loch Ness Monster, whichever you prefer)

We also got some good reading out of this! I used the white board to write up what each thing was (mostly because I was forgetting!) and Kiddo read it several times and used it to help me make sure I had everything. He was very pleased to be able to help!
muffin tin Monday

Does anyone else notice it takes their kids longer to eat when they are eating Muffin Tin meals? Mine take FOREVER! They like to be able to see it all for as long as possible. Our apples were browning by the time they were eaten today!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Slow school week

It has been a slow school week around here. I have been super busy with a fundraising event, so I haven't had much time to pull things together. We did attend The Works homeschool day on Wednesday. It was about earthquakes. While their programs are always good, this one was my least favorite so far. They had an "earthquake" machine to simulate an earthquake. The kids built towers out of K'Nex, then put them on the machine to see how their building stood up to the earthquake. But they all stood up to the earthquake. So there was very little interesting to see. Few of them even moved, other than sliding back and forth on the machine. I have never been in an earthquake, thank goodness, but it just didn't seem like a very good representation to me. And they talked very little about earthquakes before they got the kids started, partly because building the towers takes a lot of time.

I have several things in the works to post, including our eggsperiment, a review of SpellQuizzer software, and a few other tidbits here and there. Hopefully things have calmed down for the time being...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday--AWOL

This week "Muffin Tin Monday goes AWOL." I had hoped to take ours outside, to the playhouse, to the park, somewhere. The weather today, however, is less than accommodating. It has been rainy and cold for 2 days. So instead, we had our lunch in a muffin tin on a picnic blanket in the living room. A big treat for the kids, since we rarely eat anything there, and I am not sure we have ever done an indoor picnic!

So here they are!
Muffin Tin Monday AWOL

The kids loved their picnic! I'll have to remember that next winter!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Science Fun

Kiddo loves to do science experiments. We usually have something festering processing on the kitchen window sill. It is one of the reasons we love the Works so much. So I am always on the lookout for new ideas and resources. I own a couple of books, mostly second-hand, and we pull things from there regularly. Recently, however, I stumbled upon a fabulous site on the web: Steve Spangler Science. It has an entire section of experiments broken down by what they cover (chemistry, energy, weather, etc.). What a tremendous resource! Pictures, step by step instructions, and videos of some things! We'll be visiting often, I am sure!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A great new game!

We received an unexpected package in the mail last week. We have a relative who occasionally sends us fun packages and we never know they are coming. We opened it and found this inside:

Double Shutter

I had never heard of Shut the Box, but it is such a great game! It says for ages 8 and up, but Kiddo loves it. Basically you roll the dice and then flip down shutters to total the total of the dice. The objective is to flip down all the shutters. There is a bit more to it than that, but that is the general idea. We play a little bit modified for Kiddo, we only add two numbers together to get the total..more than that is just too confusing for him right now.

I have been adding this into our school day as fun math practice. Kiddo will play several rounds of it without tiring of it. I am anticipating a travel version with cards (lay down cards 9 to 1, then lay cards 1 to 9 on top of them). It would also work really well for a workbox, I would bet!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday--Themeless

There was no theme for Muffin Tin Monday this week, and I was feeling a bit rushed, so I didn't theme ours on my own, either. Still, lunch was consumed from muffin tins :). In the days before I discovered Muffin Tin Monday, this would have been called hodgepodge and it was a meal consumed regularly!

muffin tin monday april 13, 2009
A closer picture:
kiddo's muffin tin 4-13
From the upper left: cheese cubes, next row: butterfly cupcake, hardboiled egg, banana slices, next row: more cheese cubes, yogurt, ham cubes, bottom row: grapes, carrots, grapes.

I don't usually put treats in the tin, but the cupcakes were leftover from Easter and fit so well. The kids were very good and ate everything else before they ate the cupcakes.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter crafts

We have been busy this week. Busier than I would like in some ways. We have been out of the house more than I like, which leaves us with less time to get the things I have planned done. Kiddo has also been a wee bit unmotivated, so we are getting less done for that reason as well. Still, we have done a few things this week that were fun!

First, we painted watercolor egg pictures. I got the idea here. So simple, but I just didn't think of it. While I didn't set up a whole station, I did have Kiddo set up the table to paint. And he did the clean-up afterward, too. Here is what they painted:

watercolor eggs

We haven't done watercolors before, and I think it shows. I also have very cheap paint, which I don't think helped. I also can't explain why they chose to paint their eggs Halloween colors! It was a very simple craft to add to our day. I hope to do more, and perhaps have better success with the watercolors...any tips?

We also went to a MOMS club gathering and made these great dioramas. Well, we cut a hole in it and put the stuff inside and sort of decorated it. The eggs were already made (the hostess made 25 of them...and they took a half hour each...I can't even imagine!)

Paper Mache Egg diorama's
Do they look a little like alien heads, or is it just me...

The kids lost interest in this after a short while, we needed slightly better supplies (she had glue dots, but I think glue would have been more practical for things like sequins). You can't see it, but there are 2 chicks, 2 eggs, and a bunch of sequins in all the grass. The sequins were to go on the outside, as was the ribbon. We just never really got around to finishing that. They don't stand up particularly well, either. Still, they are very pretty!

I had lots of other plans for this week, but we have had unexpected visitors twice, and the kids have been getting up 2 hours earlier than normal, which means they are too tired to do much of anything! Hopefully we'll get to some of them next week, too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday--Easter/Spring

It's Muffin Tin Monday again! (ALREADY!) I will admit that the theme this week scared me a little. Easter/Spring? With food? How am I gonna do that? Here is what I pulled together:

Kutey's Easter/Spring Muffin Tin
This is Kutey's. Clockwise from the upper left: ants on a log, Bunny hard-boiled egg on baby spinach, applesauce (I didn't get a picture with it open, but it was a nice purple color to add), strawberry flower on baby spinach, yogurt with a honey flower, and carrot flowers on baby spinach.

Kiddo's Easter/Spring Muffin Tin
This is Kiddo's.

I made the bunny ears using post-it notes so that they would stick to the egg shell easily. The bottom of the ears is the sticky part. I cut the noses out of post-it also (gotta love post-it notes!). I drew eyes and mouth on to the eggs. You can hardly see them in the picture. If I had been farther ahead in lunch prep, I would have had the kids do that part themselves.

Easter week ideas

I have been pulling together ideas for this weeks activities. What started out looking like a very quiet week has gotten much busier. We had no outings planned until yesterday, and now we have 2. Go figure. I might also try to get to the zoo to see the baby farm animals. They are always a treat! Here are just few of the things I am pulling together!

I LOVE these Handprint Lilies from Family fun! You can see some completed by actual children at My Blessings from Above. That is where I got the idea.

My Montessori Journey has a bunch of interesting Easter themed educational ideas. I especially like rotten egg and the Easter counting game. I hope to pull my own versions together today!

4 Crazy Kings has a bunch of crafts, too. With limited time, however, we'll probably only get to Easter Egg suncatchers or Bunny place cards. I would love to make these tulip favor cups, but I just don't think we are going to have time! Maybe we can make them as May Day baskets.

Today is also Muffin Tin Monday! Check back this afternoon for pictures of our Muffin Tin lunch!

Go Here!

Debbie over at The Architect and the Artist is having a Spring Cleaning giveaway! She has some great homeschool items, go check them out! I never win these things, but I enter them anyway. I'd love some pattern blocks! If I don't get them, I'll probably have to buy them as I think Kiddo would like them! Good Luck!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New favorite book

Yesterday Kiddo read There is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems. How did I not know about these books before? This one was perfect for Kiddo, just his style. The illustrations are super simple, but the story is HILARIOUS! And the illustrations fit it so well. And the animals are so expressive. Just a fabulous book. Even more gratifying was the fact that Kiddo could read it sounding out only one or two words. His speed and fluency are improving!