Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice Painting

On one of our several days stuck in the house, we tried ice painting. I saw this idea on No Time for Flashcards and thought it looked great for an icy day (or a hot one, too). First, put paint in an ice cube tray. I just used plain old tempera paint--the kind you can get in a big bottle really cheap at Hobby Lobby. Fill the tray with water and freeze.

The next morning, the paint cubes looked like this. I took them out and let them melt for a few minutes before we started painting.

I did think that Jack might not like holding the ice, but he really enjoyed it. At first, most of the paint came out looking like watercolors, but as more of the ice was melted away, the colors were bolder.

This painting of Santa and his reindeer was Jack's favorite.

Back When Mama and Daddy Were Little...

Though Jack is only four, I have found myself telling him many times something about "back when Mama and Daddy were little..." Today I added a new one: Back when Mama and Daddy were little, we would never have gotten a snow day if the roads looked like this! Here's an observation, school districts: If I can get around town (yes, even in the neighborhood) in my Corolla, I'm pretty sure that the buses and the SUVs can make it, too. Sheesh.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Good Morning

This morning we stopped by McDonald's before hitting the road back home. We all got our regular orders and started on our way. Jay and I were talking and Jack was making sounds in the back seat. We weren't really paying attention until we noticed he was saying, "guh-ooo-duh" and then, "goooduh" and finally, "Good! Does this say good?" He held up his hashbrown wrapper, and sure enough, right there on the sun is printed, "Good morning!" Jay and I looked at each other, pretty surprised. "Did you just sound that out all by yourself?" "Yes." Oh. Of course you did. Pretty cool.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rule of Life #73

Don't skip the park on any January days where the temperature is above 70 degrees. That would just be wrong.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Senate Bills

I don't usually get political here, but I have been asked by several people if I've heard about Senate Bills 308 and 472. I have, and I've emailed my state senators and the education committee. I'm linking them here, though, so you can read about them if you haven't already. Not only am I opposed to these bills as a homeschooling parent, but as a former teacher in the public schools here, I have to wonder who in the district is going to be responsible for dealing with all of this new paperwork? Probably someone who is already drowning in unnecessary paperwork. If you are against these bills, please contact the appropriate people listed on the links. If you support them, please don't mention it to me! ; )

Krispy Kreme

This morning we went on a tour of Krispy Kreme. I am not really a Krispy Kreme fan. I like my donuts less hot and less gooey. I discovered, though, that they smell an awful lot like funnel cakes, so if you just imagine you are eating your own miniature funnel cake the experience is a lot better.

After a tour of the back to see how the donuts were made, the kids got to make their own donuts dipped in chocolate...

...and covered in as many sprinkles as they wanted.

Afterward, we delivered some to Jay's office!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History and Color

No, this isn't going where you think it is. I turned on the inauguration coverage this morning and tried to get Jack interested, but it wasn't going to happen. He was much more concerned that his Planet Heroes would like the menu I was trying to plan for the next two weeks.

Tonight we began reading Farmer Boy aloud at bedtime. We looked at some of the pictures and talked about how this was a story about a real little boy who lived a long time ago. The story went into how Almanzo's mother made his clothes from the wool from his father's sheep, and it included a sentence that sent Jack into a tailspin. Are you ready?

"His underwear was creamy white, but his mother had dyed the wool for his outside clothes."

As soon as the sentence was out of my mouth, I heard, "What??"

Me: His underwear was white, but his mom dyed the other clothes different colors.

Jack: It was WHITE?? (This was accompanied by him grabbing my head and turning me to look him right in the eyes. Surely your mom can't look in your eyes and lie, right?)

Me: Yes.

Jack: Why?

Me: Well, his mom probably didn't want to go to the trouble of messing with his underwear when she had a bunch of other work to do.

Jack: It was white?

This went on for about five minutes. He still didn't seem to believe me, but I tried explaining that sometimes people do wear white underwear. Not everyone has a dinosaur on their backside each day. Shocking. And now we know: Sometimes color does matter.

Monday, January 19, 2009

National Popcorn Day

January 19 is National Popcorn Day! Okay, maybe this is not the most legitimate holiday on the calendar, but it's a good reason to eat some popcorn. This afternoon we read Tomie dePaola's The Popcorn Book.

I had this idea that when I went to WalMart this morning I would find about seven different varieties of popcorn for us to try. I don't know why I thought that. I came back with three:



Cracker Jacks
Maybe the Cracker Jacks were a stretch, but I was just wanting something simple, and they're just so tasty. Jack liked the butter flavor the best, I liked the Cracker Jacks, and Jay liked the cheddar.

After we chose our favorite kinds, we settled in for a new movie! Happy Popcorn Day!

Happy Anniversary!

Today is my mom and dad's 41st wedding anniversary. The lucky couple gets to spend the week with their first (and no doubt, favorite!) grandchild. Have fun!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Seeing is Believing

Today was the day of the big ultrasound. I have been extremely nervous about it for the last week or so. With both pregnancies, the babies have not been big movers early on, so while I have felt little movements, there have been no huge kicks or anything yet. Also, when I was pregnant with Jack, Jay was still doing OB and we could go in and do ultrasounds pretty much whenever we wanted. He was a very photographed baby, even before he was born. This time, though, I haven't laid eyes on the baby since November. The small movements and lack of updated visual evidence led me to decide last night at about 3:00 that I wasn't actually pregnant, and instead was suffering from false pregnancy. "Wow," I thought. "Not only will I have to tell people that I'm not really pregnant, I'm going to have to tell them I have a serious mental problem, too. This isn't good." So imagine my relief when, lo and behold, the ultrasound showed that there is actually a baby in there. Phew. That was gonna be awkward. And now you all have further evidence that pregnancy messes with my mind.

It looks like this one is a thumb-sucker. All appeared well, and they did not write the baby's sex in my file, so I don't have to worry about my doctor blabbing it. For the record, though, my guess is a girl, born on June 8. 20ish more weeks and we'll know for sure!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


We spent last week learning about pirates. After the early days of pregnancy and then the holidays, it was nice to get back to actually doing something. I was starting to feel a little guilty about all the time off, and when I would tell someone we were homeschooling, in my head I was always adding, "If by 'homeschooling' you mean 'lying on the couch trying not to toss my cookies while my child watches the entire PBSKids lineup from dawn till dusk...'" So now we're back on track.

The books pictured above and linked below are the ones we read over the week.

Sunken Treasure
If You Were a Parrot
Pirates: Robbers of the High Seas
Pirate Pup
Parrots: Colorful Birds
Roger the Jolly Pirate
How I Became a Pirate
Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC
Pirate Pete
Pirate Pete's Talk Like a Pirate
Tough Boris

We also used this great resource. I am thinking I will have to re-check this one because it has all kinds of neat crafts.

I found this game at the Mardel sale last week and got it to work on counting larger numbers. We have used it more often for memory, though, so it's actually four games in one, not three. Originally we were going to move on to ocean animals this week, but now we're thinking about going to Sea World next month, so I'll pull it out again then.

We made our own treasures with this idea from Family Fun.

At abcteach I found patterns for puppets.

To wrap things up, we had a pirate dinner (aka fish sticks) and pirate cake. You have to check out this cupcake blog. You have never seen cupcakes like these!

Jack is still decorating the cover of his lapbook, so soon I will post pictures and links to the places I found the activities.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bubble Bath Day

Did you know that today is National Bubble Bath Day? I didn't either, until I read it on Dawn's blog the other day. Jack is celebrating a little early this evening since we are going out to watch the game. He got some new Transformers bubble bath today at the store.

It makes some good bubble beards!

A Year Ago

Jay left. I'm really glad he's not going anywhere this year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy Bobey Day!

Today was Bobey Day, so I made a cake.

You can tell Boris was thrilled.


Today we went to an exhibit on shipwrecks and pirates.

Jack was excited to see the treasure!

A pirate and a parrot!

They had a hurricane exhibit where you could get inside a tube and experience hurricane-force winds. Just after Jay took this picture we were knocking on the door for him to let us out. It was getting hard to breathe and Jack was really not sure about the whole thing.

Jack got to practice steering a ship.

Jack and Jay were trying to figure out what was in the different treasure chests.

Some of the items recovered from a shipwreck

Fearsome pirates!

Running around in the big open space upstairs

Jack loves the treehouse!

After several hours at the museum, we went out to lunch and then home for some Bobey Day fun. Jack was worn out and fell asleep almost immediately at bedtime!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ten Years Ago

A couple of days ago I got a friend request on Facebook from a former student of mine, and I realized that it was ten years ago that I started teaching! I graduated in May of 1998 and then did my student teaching the following fall. I lucked out and got a job right away because a teacher was taking a job in another city and was leaving at the semester.

My first week was hard. The heater was broken in my room and it was so cold you could see your breath. So guess who got to spend her first week teaching in the library? That is, all of the week until school was canceled because it was just so insanely cold. It got better after that, and when the next year rolled around, I couldn't believe how much easier it was to start with your own class rather than taking over from someone else.

I loved this school from the beginning. This was the school my mom was teaching at until she left to have me. Two of the teachers went to high school with my dad, the principal was my eighth grade algebra teacher's daughter, and the teacher down the hall was the daughter of my third grade teacher. What's strange is that I really don't come from a very small town. Anyway, I loved the staff and the families there and it was very hard to leave when we had to move to Omaha. I remember going back to visit several months later and getting so excited when I walked into the office. Later, the secretary paged me on the intercom, and when I came into the office, she told me how much she liked doing that.

A year after I left, the school shut down and the staff was spread out around the district until the new school was built. It's sad that everyone is all over the place now, but in a way, I'm glad. I think that if we moved back and it was still open, there would be a temptation to go back. I'm sure that would wear off after about one day, though! I am definitely not cut out for getting out of the house before 7:30 anymore. So here I am after all these years, still teaching and it's still freezing, and this time I'm not even getting a paycheck. Today I did my job in my jammies, though, so I think that makes up for it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

This year we spent New Year's Eve in (not unusual for us) and did Hour Bags. We started at 5:00 and each hour we opened a bag which contained a surprise or activity. Jack was eager to try to stay up until midnight, but I assured him that if he couldn't make it he could still open the rest of the bags later.

A lot of people do a much fancier job of this--themes, rhymes, etc. Since this was our first time, I kept it pretty simple:

5:00 Make a Happy New Year sign with stickers (picture below)

6:00 Make homemade pizzas and cookies for dessert

7:00 Make noisemakers (picture below)

8:00 Play a game Jack had a new Madagascar game in the bag. We didn't really follow the directions, but he had a good time anyway. Even Bobey seemed to enjoy it.

A little before 9:00 I convinced Jack to put on his jammies--just in case--and we took a picture with the New Year's sign he made earlier.

9:00 Enjoy a new movie--Scooby-Doo Meets Batman

10:00 Popcorn

11:00 Jack had a hatching dinosaur egg in his bag!

12:00 Confetti! We watched the local countdown on TV and then shook our noisemakers and...

...threw the confetti!
We were surprised, but Jack made it to midnight. I got him in bed pretty quickly after that, but he woke up while I was in the shower and was asleep in my spot in the bed by the time I got out. FYI--A queen-sized bed is not big enough for a tall man, a pregnant woman, and a four year old who likes to flop all over the place. Really. This morning he was up at 8:45, so I am hoping that bedtime tonight will be easy.

We also discussed our resolutions for the upcoming year: Jay is going to revamp our diet, I am going to try to be more prepared, and Jack is going to work on his drawing. Really, though, if we make it through the upcoming year with a small shred of sanity left among the three of us, I am going to consider it a success. Happy New Year to you and yours!