Monday, November 23, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday--Thanksgiving

This weeks Muffin Tin Monday theme was Thanksgiving. Since we will have 2 Thanksgiving dinners this year already, I opted to try to avoid the foods we will have for those meals. And I added in some fun, too!

muffin tin Monday

Here is Kiddo's:
muffin tin Monday

Top row: pretzels, teeny turkey sandwiches, edible Indian corn
Middle row: pretzels, butternut squash, caramel to dip apples in
Bottom row: apple chunks

And Kutey's:
muffin tin Monday

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Glow Stick Magic

One of my kids favorite things to do is show off their dance moves. Neither DH or I are big dancers, but we try to encourage the kids to dance freely :). I sometimes wonder when we lose that freedom and become so inhibited.

The only thing that they love more than a good dance party night is a good dance party night with glow sticks. You can often buy a tube of 15 bracelets at the dollar spot at T*rget. It only take one per kid, and you have a hit, which stretches that dollar! Cheap, fun, family entertainment. It doesn't get much better. Oh, unless you add in a few long exposure photos...

light fun

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our Classroom Today--November 17

In Minnesota, you have to enjoy the nice weather while it is here. We can be trapped inside for months with weather that is just too cold to do much outside. Especially for little ones. So we are extra appreciative of the beautiful November we have been having. And of the fact that our Tuesday group has been able to enjoy the great outdoors for a little bit longer than we anticipated! We returned to a nature center we have previously enjoyed this week, and enjoyed it immensely again.

Today we walked all the way around the lake. There are several places where the path is a boardwalk which gets you right into the middle of the cattails. Because of this, the cattails were within reach (especially with the assistance of the hook stick Kiddo found). I guess I have never really explored cattails. I love to photograph them. But I guess I never actually touched them before. They bloom in your hand. The seeds literally puff off as you touch them, and it keeps going and going. There are thousands of seeds packed on there. A little tip, though. When you are holding a cattail for a child to touch, make sure you are up wind. Though being covered in cattail seeds does lend itself to a lesson in seed distribution.

Our classroom

Muffin Tin Monday--Thankful

The theme of this week's Muffin Tin Monday was "thankful." So I asked Kiddo what foods he was thankful for. His list was long. The kid likes to eat. So we restricted it a little. For example, melon isn't really in season here right now. You can get it, but they are not the best always, are often expensive, and may have had to travel a lot to get here. So we skipped it, even though it is a favorite food in our house--Kiddo and Kutey could and would eat half a melon in one sitting.

Instead we came up with this:
muffin tin Monday

It could also have be the letter P muffin tin, as we could make everything start with the letter P.

Here is Kutey's:
muffin tin Monday
Top row: Pizza goldfish, Pomegranate applesauce, Plain bagel (with whipped cream cheese and jam)
Bottom row: Peanuts and Pretzels, Plain yogurt, Pepperoni.
There were many other food they were thankful for, this was just my selection of what we had on hand that fit in a tin well.

Here's Kiddo's:
muffin tin Monday

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mill City Museum

classroom,historyWe visited another historical site/museum today! Kiddo's fascination with history is teaching me a great deal!

Today's outing was The Mill City Museum, a museum "built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill." The mill closed in 1965 and was all but ruined in a fire in 1991. I remember the fire, it was obviously huge news--it was a huge fire. Thankfully, someone saw the historic value of the building and made it into a museum. Mostly it was destroyed, but there are still pieces that are valuable and they have done a great job of making it into a museum. They brought in items to round out the history, too.
There is a kitchen where they do cooking classes for field trips, and a water lab where they explain how water was used to run the mill through interactive water tables. We didn't participate in the kitchen activities, but we did have time in the water lab. It was very cool.
It was, however, one of the few times with a homeschool group where I felt the groups were poorly divided--but it was entirely our own fault. Our group had one child who was considerable older than the rest. She really wanted to direct the other kids. Given that everyone else was younger than Kiddo, they had a little bit different idea of what they wanted to do and how they needed to do it. There were a few moments of frustration, on both sides. It was OK, but could have been better. The kids really did enjoy it, for the most part.
The highlight of the visit is the "Flour Tower," a media presentation in an elevator that culminates with a visit to the 9th floor roof with breathtaking views. It was fabulous.

Kiddo, of course, wants to go back. We read as much as we could, but we took the train in and I wanted to get back out before we hit too much of rush hour, when the train is much more crowded. We'll have to find another time to go, so he can explore more.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our Classroom Today--November 10

After visiting several area nature centers, today's outing took us to another zoo!
Our classroom

The Minnesota Zoo is great. We have been members since Kiddo was a toddler. One of the major benefits of being a member is that we never feel bad about only visiting for a couple of hours at a time. We try to go early and leave just before the kids get too worn out for it to be any fun anymore. We can go back any time we want to. Since we went with our Tuesday group, however, we stayed much, MUCH longer than normal. We got there at 10 and we weren't headed toward the door until 3:30 or later. I have never before heard the announcement that the zoo is closing, but we did this time!

One of the best parts about the Tuesday group is that there is never a rush to make sure we are getting enough in. Even though we were there for over 5 hours, we didn't see everything. The kids soaked it in. They ran as a pack and looked at the animals. They ask awesome questions. They remember a ton. And they share what they know with each other. So much fun.

One of the newest things at our zoo is the Grizzly Coast exhibit. It is so well designed! They have 3 grizzly bears, all of which were found alone as cubs and would not have survived in the wild. The great thing is that their exhibit allows them to come right up to the people. The kids were touching the bears paws--with a large piece of glass between them, of course. It just gives you a much better sense of just how big they are when you can get that close to them.

On this trip, in particular, we were blessed with a plethora of awesome volunteers. They answered our questions so nicely! When they didn't know what the huge horn on the hornbill was for, they went and found out, then came back into the trail and found us to tell us! (It is just for display. The one pictured is a male, hence the huge horn). They also pointed out the Victoria Crested Pigeons on their nest. We were amazed to see the baby already had the crest. We probably would have missed it if the volunteer hadn't pointed it out. We also learned how they transport our giraffes (they are only here in the summer because we don't have good winter housing for them. They have to be moved twice a year in a 19 foot tall horse-like trailer with hydraulic sides that can be lowered temporarily if they have a low passage they can't go around. Who knew?!), that the sea otters are the most expensive animals to feed (because they eat restaurant grade seafood), and that the bears are not actually fed raw meat, but are instead fed fruits and vegetables along with a hefty serving of dog food. We learned there are 3 amur leopards at the zoo, 2 females and one male. The females are sisters. At least one of the leopards is on loan from somewhere in Europe for an unknown period of time. Oh, and of the 3 bears, only one knows how to fish, but he only gets to eat about a third of what he catches because one of the other bears takes away the fish if he can. All of this we learned from the volunteers (the bear stuff was a staff person, I think). What a wealth of knowledge, and kindness. Thanks zoo volunteers!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Did you know...

Free Rice now has subjects other than vocabulary? I love the vocab, but I am super excited about all the other areas! Geography? Math? Chemistry? Art? WOW! So many good things, and feeding the hungry to boot! Check it out!


Today is one of those days that I dread. We had Lego league in the morning, a quick stop at home for lunch (and I mean QUICK!) then off to art class. Kiddo is always exhausted at the end of these days--which always makes me wonder about the kids who are in school longer than the time he is in these two activities.

At any rate, while Kiddo is in art class, Kutey and I "run errands." She loves this. She loves that she gets to go shopping with me and have my attention for an hour and a half. I'd love to spend the time doing something more with her, but that would require advanced planning, which I haven't been too on top of lately. So we run errands and chat. Today I had nothing I needed to do, so I asked her what she wanted to do. "We could go to the thrift shop!" That was her response. That is my kind of kid. So off to the thrift shop we went.

I didn't need anything. That never stops me. We spent the entire time at the thrift shop. And got some great things!

I bought 3 cds--2 Magic Tree House audio books (the kind you can get free in W*ndy's Kids meals), the two we missed the last time around. I also got an Usb*rne "Stories of Princes and Princesses," which I hope Kutey will enjoy. Each was 80 cents. I picked up a few books, 60 to 80 cents each. Nothing spectacular, mind you, but fun none the less. And they occupied Kutey in the cart the whole time. I got Kiddo a new Vikings sweatshirt for $3 (he likes to wear his sweatshirt on game days, but I sometimes don't get it washed in time for the next game). I also got a bag full of PRANG colored pencils in hopes of using them for our field bags. I bought a box of them a couple of months ago with the same purpose in mind, but Kiddo has taken them hostage. And I bought Kutey two fleece baby blankets to use as curtains on her bed, a project I will hopefully post about later. Not bad for not needing anything!

Kiddo had a great art class, learning about perspective, the horizon line, and the vanishing point. I am so grateful for an excellent art teacher for Kiddo. She is great at what she does, and Kiddo loves it.

We came home to two packages in the mailbox. One is a cd I ordered on the advice of a friend, I'll tell you more once I listen to it. The other is a book. I'll tell you more about that, too. So this evening I playing with my new toys--sorting colored pencils, listening to cds, and washing blankets to hang as curtains. All while the kids play quietly and watch some Electric Company--they are so tired!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Storytime with Miss Rosa

outingI let my kids watch some TV. Generally only PBS, and generally not a lot. When I heard Miss Rosa was coming to our area for storytime, I signed up immediately. Kiddo is admittedly a bit older than the target market for this event, but Kutey goes to things that are targeted for him all the time, so I figured he could go once to an event for her.

Miss Rosa did not disappoint. She is full of energy and enthusiasm. She knows how to connect with the kids, and barely batted an eye at the interruptions that inevitably come from a roomful of children under the age of 5. She read 2 stories: My Truck is Stuck and Way Far Away on a Wild Safari. We have read both of those, we own the latter, but that didn't matter. She kept the kids actively involved in the stories, and active! She had props and actions to go with the stories. There was no getting bored, because there was too much action!

After the story time, there were activities around the children's area of the library. Kiddo and Kutey did them all while we waited for the line to shrink so we could get Miss Rosa's autograph and have pictures taken with her. Even that she fabulously. She met every child where they needed to be met. She accommodated pictures in parents arms, she did pictures with my kids one on each side of her--first one, then she leaned over to the other one--because they wouldn't move any closer to her so I could get them all in one (in hind sight, that was actually a much better plan! They each have their own picture now, which makes more sense). She was just fabulous!

If you have one in the under 5 set, and you get a chance to see her, it was an outing well worth the time (and the $10 in parking!).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Our Classroom Today--November 3

Our classroom

Ah, Tuesday. I love Tuesdays. And as Kutey has been battling crud for a couple of weeks off and on, making our Tuesday outing even more important. We had to miss a few other outings we had planned last week and at least one was canceled due to the rain. We were ready to get out. We were ready to play. And it was a great day!

We hit yet another nature center in our area. We are lucky to have so many about. Again, I had never been to this particular one, and it is great. We started at the large playground, where the kids had a blast. Then we pulled out the jump ropes! New for my kids, Kiddo picked it up quickly, Kutey needs to practice just jumping in general, but she'll get there. Our friends O and M picked it up quickly and were quite good! Then it was time for lunch and a walk in the woods. The walk was short, as we found holes in trees that were perfect for making fairy houses. I need to find a small chair to carry with me, cause I could have sat down for the amount of time the kids spent building these fairy houses. They had fun, and worked together, though, so I can't complain!

We also saw: 6 or so wild turkeys (more than once, and rather close--so close, in fact, that I had to remind the kids that they were wild and that if they felt threatened they would come at them), a huge hawk that flew low over the jump roping, a squirrel (Kiddo's sighting, and he loved that it was camouflaged with the log it was sitting on), a couple of woodpeckers (Kutey and I saw them when we went to wash her hands after an unfortunate tumble on the playground), and black-capped chickadees on the bird feeders outside the center. The turkeys were particularly fun to watch, since they didn't seem to care too much that we were there, and were in no hurry to walk away from us. It was also fun for Kiddo, Kutey and I to watch them literally walk down the path we were planning to take, all in a row. If you look carefully at the picture, you can just see them on the path.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Backlog

As I add posts, I am going to be backdating them to reflect the time when the events actually transpired. Because of this, I will try to keep a list here of the newest posts I have created.

Bert and Ernie, goodnight!

Muffin Tin monday--Outer Space

We were actually on theme again with our muffin tins for Muffin Tin Monday! No small accomplishment for us these days.

muffin tin Monday

Top: Pizza Space Sauce
Next row: Milky way yogurt, cheese stars
Next row: meatball planets, pepperoni saucers
Bottom: Grape asteroids, marshmallow martian

Here is Kiddo's:

muffin tin Monday