Monday, October 26, 2009

Nature Park Pics

Our day that was predicted to be "sunny" turned out a bit cloudy. So I had two challenges: catching the peaking sun for the best pics, and not losing all the good shots to blur from Bella's happy bouncing in the sling. Next time, Brian's going to have to carry her :^)

She decided to lay down for a pic

So Anna had to too :^)

Yep, I'm taking your picture again, babe

our Bella Grace, "beautiful gift"

We were on a mushroom hunt - Rosie, especially,
likes to hunt for mushrooms

Never know how many more of these pics
I'm going to get. I'm holding tight to and savoring
every bit of little boy that's left.
Anyone know what these are?

This one makes a pretty desktop wallpaper.

Pumpkins and Halloween

We've started working on simple craft projects while the kids listen to our read-aloud. They love to draw and paint and it is a great opportunity for them to do lots of simple projects. I can do the more complicated ones on our Art Day (Thurdays). They listen better and longer when their hands are busy too. :^)

So heading into Halloween week, here are some links I'm using this year:

  1. abcteach has a pumpkin page full of fantastic stuff - I'm thinking about making Rose a new seasonal set of letters. ( I love that it has lower case letters to print for a fun matching game too.) I envision Anna's copywork this week being in the Bat and Pumpkin shapebook. Some simple projects for read-aloud time will include the cut and paste jack o lantern faces, the lacing card, and the paper bag puppet. We might even squeeze in the Paper Bag Pumpkin on Art Day. We may use the Experiment pages too, at least the one for describing their pumpkin - I really want to start nature notebooks and this would be perfect.
  2. Crayola comes thru as always. This time I have my eye on the halloween message game to work on during read-aloud time - I think we're going to have to read a lot this week :^). Maybe Farmer Boy will get finished after all.
  3. On Art Day we'll be using colored pencils to color in a picture of Van Gogh's Sunflowers. (He's our "artist of the month"). Then I'm planning to have them do a thumprint pumpkin patch and glass jar jack 'o lanterns (sorry, can't find links for either right now).
  4. For Music Day we'll be using the fantastic Classics for Kids again. This time a program of spooky Halloween music complete with quiz and activity page.
  5. Instead of memorizing a new poem this week, we'll be reviewing the ones we've learned and memorizing bones instead. Test your knowledge. I'll also be pulling out Rattle Your Bones: Skeleton Drawing Fun .

We were supposed to tackle Magnets and Electricity this week too, but I can't get to the library until tonight. We'll have to see if we can squeeze it in between the pumpkins. And did I mention that we have free tickets for a pony ride at the equestrian park that expire this week? And Anna has some extra reading to finish so that she can get her "Book-It" Pizza Hut voucher. We'd better get a lot done this week!

Friday, October 23, 2009


I finally got my sewing machine set up! (actually my mother-in-law got it set up - don't ask how many years I've had it).

Tonight I made Ethan's Link tunic and hat for his costume. Tomorrow I need to make his boot shoe covers and a cape for Anna Kate's Goldilocks costume. I also need to get bows for Anna and Bella and a blingy jacket for Rose. She needs a jacket anyway, but I can't find the right one. Denim would be perfect - I can add the bling - I just need it to be cheap.

But I'm picking up scarves at the Dollar Tree asap. Because as soon as the Halloween costumes are out of the way - my next project are dollar baby legs. I found this fantastic blog called Dollar Store Crafts tonight and she linked to this project. I checked out the Dollar Tree website and I'm hoping that mine has these, because I've been wanting to get some Baby Legs for Bella, and these are definitely a better buy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One Thousand Gifts

Anne shared this quote day before yesterday:

"If anyone would tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness and all perfection, he must tell you to make a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you.

It is certain that whatever seeming calamity happens to you, if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it into a blessing.

If you could work miracles, therefore, you could not do more for yourself than by this thankful spirit. It heals and turns all that it touches into happiness."

William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life

I was convicted and decided to renew my attempt to list my many gifts. As often as possible.

7. Black crows on colored maple against blue sky

8. Grocery shopping that is finally done (at least for a day or two)

9. Bella sleeping quietly

And Rosie's list :^)

1. A mommy and a daddy

2. A big Jesus

3. Brothers and sisters

Yummy Dip

Try this Mexican Style Refried Bean Dip. I made it yesterday for Ethan to take to his first football practice tailgating meet and it's delish!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Have the World's Best Eight Year Old!

Bella woke up from her nap, so Ethan went to entertain her while I finished Rose's music lesson. He just brought her out. He'd changed her diaper and dressed her!

A little while later he said, "And she was poopy too! That's the grossest thing I've ever done."

Orionid Meteor Shower

This is the annual meteor shower from Halley's comet debris. The best part? It peaks at 6 AM EST, so you can watch it and get sleep. :^) Check for more details.

View from the Other Side: Paper Towels

Okay. Here's my new series. Ever wonder what "those people" in the corporate or manufacturing world are thinking? Ever wish you could ask them or tell them what it's like over here? Well, they may not listen, but I'm going to tell them.

First up: paper towels.

Dear Sparkle,

It's so nice that you have new prints. I especially like the fall print that looks great in my kitchen, and the seashell print that is perfect in my bathroom.

But I don't understand why they all come in muliple packs that always include a spring print. Don't you think that if I like a print, I might really just want the same one?

You're not selling any more paper towels this way, because I don't throw the spring one out. In fact, I'd be far more likely to stick with your brand if you always had my favorite print available without having to buy the other ones.

I'd buy lots of seashell paper towels, Sparkle. But if I have to keep ending up with teakettles and spring flowers to get them, I'm going to switch to Scott's plain white ones. (I know you have plain white ones too, but I'm bitter.)



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bath mat saturation

Anyone else have this problem? Found any good solutions? I sent a certain young one out to hang up the now-saturated mat on the back deck rail a few days ago, but now said mat is caught in a rain-dry-rain-dry cycle that may render it "never heard from again". I'm thinking a retractable clothes line over the bathtub - that could come in handy for drying out other things too...


After singing several songs including "There is a Fountain" and "Nothing But the Blood", we read a chapter on "God is Holy" from Leading Little Ones to God. One of the the end of chapter questions was "How do we know that we are sinners?"

Ethan quickly answered, "Because the Bible tells us so." Rose quickly added, "And our mamas." Ethan smiled and responded, "Mamas are good blessin's!"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Calling All Tag Lovers

Does your baby love tags? Then he or she will probably adore these. Bella's love of tags has already manifested itself and she was thrilled when I pulled a couple of these out for her.

Our Kids Speak in Song Lyrics

Brian picked up Bella and said, "Baby, Baby."
Ethan, who was sitting nearby asked, "Do you love her with the sweetest of devotion?"

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Sweetie Bell

Don't Miss This Homeschool Post (Even If You Don't Homeschool)

Anne at Holy Experience has shared "A Day in the Life of Homeschooling: 7 Rungs". Don't miss this. If it was a book, I'd give it 5 stars and tell you to buy it - so go read the article that will only take you a few minutes, okay? Then tell me if it doesn't renew your vision.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Homemade Costumes That I Would Choose For My Kids If They Had No Opinion (e.g. My Favorite Easy Ideas, courtesy of Martha Stewart)

Martha Stewart's website has a ton of great ideas for costumes.

  1. I first saw these 6 Hair-Raising Ideas in the Marta Stewart Kids magazine that sadly doesn't exist anymore. My two favorites are the Rose Garden and the Ice. I think they might have a real chance with my kids in a couple of years when they're past the regular "dress-up" phase.

  2. She also has some cool family costumes. My picks are the Outer Space and Woodland Creatures (instructions here).

  3. And how sweet and easy is this Leaf Garland Costume ?


Well I thought that I was going to have a theme going this year. The Family Fun issue came a few weeks ago and had sea costumes. Ethan decided that he wanted to be an octopus, Anna the jellyfish, and Rose the mermaid. So I bought a lobster outfit for Bella at that weekend's consignment sale. I had a feeling that some or all of them would change their minds.

I was right.

But I think that we mostly have it nailed down now.

Ethan saw a cape with sleeves that came with a freaky skull mask. Why do they have to make everything so freaky?!?!?!? It was really the sword (Not included) and cape that he liked. He's kind of getting a bit too old for the kiddie costumes. He was Anakin last year, but he's pretty much past the dressing up stage. Yes, my little boy who a few years ago was always in costume has pretty much given up that game.

Soooo... We looked all around the costumes and for a while a vampire type cape and pumpkin mask (freaky one) held some promise as a not-too-macabre headless horseman. Understand, he's not out to be macabre, although it doesn't bother him, it's just the cool stuff all comes with those kind of masks.

Finally we ended up with an adult size hooded black velvet cape. He's going to wear it with a slow in the dark black t-shirt with green neon rib cage that I'd bought him. And green light sabre, or glow stick daggers. Whatever. I just don't want him scaring little kids.

I actually, finally, (after looking the past couple of years) found a pattern for a Link costume that I could actually pull off. I was very hopeful that we could return the cape and go for that, but he's kind of attached now. Arrgh.

Rose decided pretty early on that she wanted to be Hannah Montana. She spends her whole day dancing and singing (to the point that Ethan was almost in tears last evening begging her to please stop), so I couldn't really object. Especially when I knew that Hannah wigs were on clearance at Walmart. I snagged one for $3, along with two Hannah denim hats and 2 ribbon headbands for $1 each. Last night we added a bright pink petticoat skirt and a singer set of purple inflatable guitar, huge microphone, headset and hair clips for a total of $10.

Anna Kate chose Goldilocks somehow. She already had a green pioneer-type dress with pinafore, so we added a $10 pair of shiny lace up boots. I'm pretty sure her main motivation for choosing this is that she loves to have pillow curlers put in her hair. My worry is that it will rain and they'll immediately fall out, or that she'll have to wander around all day in curlers, but she's happy. Brian and I will have to wear bear masks, although I'm hoping to find some kind of headband. And if I can find a cute one at a good price, Bella will be Baby Bear, otherwise Anna Kate will use a build a bear bear.

Because the lobster costume is on the small side and not really what I would have picked to begin with.

So what are your kids going to be for Halloween? If you don't do Halloween, do they have a favorite dress-up outfit or are they hoping for a new one from Halloween clearance?

P.S. A commenter on the Walmart website said that she bought ribbon to lace up the boots and they looked like boutique boots. So that is their destiny. Won't they look cute with read ribbon laces at Christmas?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I love the way Rose talks. She just told me, " I am going to play the drums and sing, and lou [you] are going to play the pinano, because you are good at that."

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Today we had to do our "apple day" to go along with our apple-picking trip this past weekend.


We headed to our friends house loaded with supplies. She made supper - and apple crisp.

First we made wormy apple finger puppets. I printed a few of these apples for the younger crafters.

While they worked on that I read:

A Day at the Apple Orchard

Apple Farmer Annie

Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains - one of my favorite books!

Then I passed out these hidden picture puzzles, and Dara read Johnny Appleseed .

Next we apple-stamped some vinyl tablecloths. You can see one drying in one of the photos - I'm hoping the fabric paint will be permanent on the plastic tablecloth - I was too cheap to buy fabric tablecloths for kid art.

We were going to do more apple-stamping on cardstock, but the kids were stamped out - unusual for them.

So we moved on to making mini candy apples. We used butterscotch chips (which won hands down), cinnamon chips (also good), and crunchy peanut butter rolled in mini chocolate chips.

I invented an "Old Maid"-style math game last week, where you try to get matches that add up to "10" or any other number you choose. I printed these on red construction paper to play together. But I forgot about it.

Some days I'm really glad that my head is attatched.

Trip to the Orchard