Friday, February 26, 2010

Fairy Rose

image from the - one of the many roses I love, but not the one I love the best

Do your children beg for you to tell them stories? Does this make you panic?

I used to answer "yes" to both. I usually tried to redirect with , "I'm not good at stories, but I'll read you a book." I like books. I read well. Seemed like a much better plan. Ethan went along with this. On the rare occasion he persisted in the need for an actual story, I managed to drum up a lesser known Bible character or fairy tale. I slipped through the early years of Ethan and Anna Kate this way.

But not Rose. Rose the snuggler. Rose the "will you lay down with me for just a few minutes", then inevitably, "will you tell me a story?" child. Now what?

There is a lovely storybook called Rosy's Visitors (I just bought it for a penny plus shipping - you can too!) about a little girl who hauls her treasures in a wagon to a hollowed tree and prepares to entertain many magical guests. The name and concept, not to mention the whimsical illustrations made this story stick in my imagination, and was, I believe, part of the inspiration for what happened next.

I said, "okay." And I began the Fairy Rose stories. I thought I was just telling a story called "Fairy Rose" about a little girl who found a magic fairy tree and twirled around inside and turned into a fairy. From there all sorts of little adventures have been possible. Initially, Fairy Rose's adventures were based on my girlhood daydreams of being able to turn into a fairy and sneak into homes and leave things for people who were sad or in need. Fairy Rose has done those things. One day she gathered butterflies to fly to the garden outside the window of a sad shut-in she visited earlier that day as the girl Rose. But sometimes she just has fanciful adventures.

Tonight we were reading a book of children's prayers. One illustration showed children sliding down a rainbow. Rose, in all seriousness, asked how you can slide down a rainbow (she has a gift for seeing these things as realities), and thus provided the inspiration for tonight's tale of a lake fairy named Misty who always had the best secrets. And today Misty showed Fairy Rose and Fairy Anna the secret of how to slide down a rainbow.

So the one who was unable to tell stories has become (at least in her daughters' eyes) a master storyteller. For me the secret was to take an imagining that both they and I could relate to, and then keep making up stories about that one thing. That way, I feel like I'm sort of telling a story I already know.

What stories do you tell?

this is, of course, copyrighted by Alicia (just in case I ever write a book)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Walking a Lenten pathway?

Here are some ideas for focusing hearts toward the story of our redemption.

  1. Mark the days on this printable Lenten calendar for children. Yeah, I'm starting a day late too - it's okay. For me, it's about teaching my kids to have a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Jesus' sacrifice and building momentum toward the greatest celebration on the church calendar - the Resurrection!
  2. A box of repentance - I love the imagery of this idea - and I believe that my children would benefit from this object lesson.
  3. Why not plant some Lenten grass too? This activity definitely falls into the "building anticipation" category. I have grass seed that I bought last year. I think this time it might happen...
  4. I'm suspending our normal daily wisdom stop in Proverbs for the short Bible lessons in Before and After Easter: Activities and Ideas for Lent to Pentecost.We'll also be taking on Isaiah 53 for memorization. I have a book that illustrates it verse by verse, but it's location remains allusive. I probably put it in the Valentine decorations box that remains lost from the reflooring of the attic. Perhaps, we'll do Psalm 22 - a verse a day, instead. I think I'll give myself 24 hours to locate that book, then go to Plan B.

graphic courtesy of Crystal Cloud Graphics

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Warning: Killer Roses

A few minutes ago, Anna Kate started yelping that she's stepped on one of my roses. My roses? I'm trying to figure it out as she continues yelling about her foot. Did she bring a branch in from the rose bush in the backyard yesterday and it suddenly appeared on the floor? No, she tells me, it's from those roses. The roses from my Valentine bouquet. And sure enough, I pick up from the floor a long stemmed pink rose whose petals immediately fall off in bud form. Who took this rose out of the vase? No one.

So, after she finished howling, Anna Kate sat at the table to eat something. I told her that she better watch out for the roses. That since no one had dropped that other one on the floor, they must be killer roses. They might jump out at any moment and throw themselves on the floor for unsuspecting victims to step on.

She said that she'd heard of that on a commercial. A commercial? Yes, she said, don't trust roses that come in a box. You don't know what they might do. Give a bouquet yourself.

Now we know.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter Olympics

I'm so excited to be covering the Olympics with my kids! I just wish the best stuff wasn't on so late at night. I'm trying to pick out the best ideas the web has to offer without staying up all night, so I'm posting them here for both of us.

First, I got this fantastically priced Olympics lapbook. It is going to be the centerpiece of this study.

Printers have been the bane of my existence this year. Last week was no exception.

I'd found this Cool Country Poster printable and thought that it would be really neat to choose another country from this list and have each kid do a report ahead of the Olympics, so that they would have a second country to cheer for when the U.S. was not a medal contender. I think we're still going to try to do that this week. Originally, Anna chose Italy, and Ethan, Sweden (he wanted South Africa or a South American country, but apparently those countries don't particularly excel at winter sports.) For some reason, though, we are never seeing Sweden and always seeing Norway, so I think we're going to make a swap. I just hope I can get a new set of library resources fast!

I'm making a preschool version of an Olympics lapbook because Rosie wants one too. Printing some saved documents through windows photo gallery automatically allows me to reduce things to 3x5 or 4x6 so that I can fit lots of things on a folder. Do a google search for coloring pages for your child's preferred sports. How about some of these? Homeschool Share has so many lovely resources for the Olympics here. The Canadian Animal Cards & Pocket and the Canadian Flag pages are perfect for Rose. I've got a good head start now on that.

Okay, first we're supposed to be learning about our countries. You can explore other countries at Time For Kids Around the World and National Geographic Kids People and Places. That will give us a head start on those library books (our library has an inservice day tomorrow.)

Next is Ancient Greece and the Olympic games. All of the information necessary for filling in the lapbook is part of the document, but Mr. Donn's Ancient Greek Olympics site looks excellent. We will definitely be viewing this video he linked to about Olympia. I've also placed a library request for some Magic Tree house books, Hour of the Olympics (Magic Tree House #16), Magic Tree House Research Guide #10: Ancient Greece and the Olympics: A Nonfiction Companion to Hour of the Olympics, and the books on CD set that includes this book. Ethan likes to listen to stories when he goes to bed. Or they can listen while drawing and doing art projects, since he's already reading a book set during the Civil War, the topic that we are momentarily breaking from.

Next is a page on the Olympic mascots. They're really too cute. I look forward to checking out the videos and games with the kids, and I've already downloaded new wallpaper for Ethan's desktop. If you don't care for the mascots, you can download regular Olympic wallpaper.

We'll also be learning about several different sports, and also recording which country won the gold medal for many of the Olympic events.

And here is our spelling list:

  1. Olympics
  2. ski
  3. luge
  4. skate
  5. skating
  6. Canada
  7. Greece
  8. medal
  9. hockey
  10. torch
Thanks for joining me on my planning run for this week. Hope you found something that you can enjoy.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Making the most of your southern snow days

I have to start this post with some dressing tips. I know that most southern kids don't have snow suits, but I also know that with a little thought, they can do better than hoodies and sweats.

The first thing to remember is waterproof. So if you have running pants, please use them. Put sweatpants or pajama pants under them, but if you have something nylon, put it on top. Same thing for the top. A nylon windbreaker is a better jacket than a hoodie. Put on an undershirt or pajama top, another top, a sweatshirt, then your waterproof jacket. Even if it's a thinner jacket, the waterproof layer will keep you warmer in the long run, with layers underneath. And then, shoes. That's a little trickier, but still the same principle. Plastic bags can be tied over shoes and tucked under pant legs. Put a hat on your head. Put at least two sets of those cheap little stretch gloves on, and have a dryer ready with a couple of towels to absorb moisture and dry those babies fast during cocoa breaks.

Okay, now that you're dressed to enjoy the day, here are some more ideas:

  1. Make snow cream or sugar on snow. We tried sugar on snow last year and it was a hit! I've managed to not replenish our real maple syrup, so we're going to giver snow cream a try this year.
  2. Make a snow turtle or other snow sculpture. Snow snakes are even easier.
  3. Have a snow ball battle.
  4. Make snow angels.
  5. Eat icicles.
  6. My kids love to make a mini snowman and store it in plastic in the freezer. It would be fun to retrieve for your Fourth of July party. Family Fun suggests using empty egg cartons to store mini snowballs in the freezer. :^)
  7. How about some snow games?
  8. Scatter seed on top of the snow for the birds. They will thank you.
  9. No sled? I think that some of your summer pool inflatables will work. Just be prepared to replace them. Let me know in the comments, what other sled substitutes work. We have sleds and saucers, so we haven't experimented much beyond that. Family Fun suggests finding an intertube at Pep Boys and has a great plan for making a snow slide.
  10. Spray paint the snow.
  11. If you really have a good bit of snow, you can use these snow fort ideas.
  12. And when you're building your snowman, keep this idea in mind for a photo op.
  13. If you're planning ahead and like a good project, how about catching a snowflake and keeping it forever?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

NCIS Los Angeles quote

"Sam sees the glass as half full. I see it as half empty. That's why we make a good team. Kenzie, on the other hand, just drinks right out of the bottle. Nate wonders why it has to be glass, and Eric usually breaks the glass by putting his feet up on the table." - "G"

Our Valentine this Year

Bella feeds herself with a spoon: Joy to Anguish

Monday, February 08, 2010

Gluten Free Ice Cream cakes at Friendly's

I've been wanting to share this with my gluten free friends.

We were in PA with my gluten free family at Brian's birthday. I didn't think ahead far enough to request a specially made ice cream cake, so Brian and I were heading to Walmart to get ice cream sundae materials or something similar. But I decided to stop at Friendly's first on the off chance that they had an ice cream cake that was "cake"less.

We ended up with two or three flavors, the crown of which was a Reese's peanut butter ice cream cake covered in chocolate. I was so pleased to be able to have something special to share with my gluten free family members without a lot of effort. So, if you have a Friendly's nearby check out their current selection of ice cream cakes and rolls (click on individual cakes or rolls for ingredient and allergen listings). I wish we had a Friendly's here, but at least a know that I can get them when we go home to PA - or on vacation. :^)

Oh, and by the way. The cost was very reasonable. I've paid for ice cream cakes at other places and they can be quite pricey, but I think that the cakes were $15 and the rolls $8 or $10. I'm sure it varies by store.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

One Thousand Gifts - Nature in Winter

10.) A real snowfall
11.) Children sledding all day
12.) Hot chocolate in cold hands
13.) Cardinals in icy branches
14.) Snow crunching underfoot
15.) Magnolia leaf shaped icicles
16.) Chickadees at the feeder
17.) The birds finding the front porch window feeder
18.) and off topic - Baby being delighted to see picture of herself and Daddy on facebook this morning

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day!

We enjoyed these activities with some books and a dvd from the public library that we shared with out friends today. Have a great time!

Monday, February 01, 2010


I overhear Rosie talking to her rainbow goldfish crackers. "I need to eat you so that you can have a party in my tummy..."