Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bobbing...Apple Bobbing

This is one of my favorite YouTube videos...it makes me laugh every time and it's so catchy my kids will sing it all day long!

And here are my boys trying out this apple bobbing...


Hope you have a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mail from...North Carolina (Part 2: Flying Machines)

See that cardinal in there?
 Apparently 7 states claim the cardinal as their state bird.
Did you know only the males are bright red?
We haven't received a postcard from the official postcard swap participant living in North Carolina, so it was perfect timing for Beck's friend to mail us this one as soon as he arrived there.  We used it to spend two days studying Orville and Wilbur Wright and their flying machines.

There are a couple things I had no idea about when I started preparing for this lesson.  First, the Wright brothers did not live in North Carolina.  They grew up and lived in Ohio.  They had their bicycle shop there and that's where they created their flying machines.  So how did they end up on the beaches of Kitty Hawk?  Three reasons:  
  1. They needed wind and Kitty Hawk was the sixth windiest place they could find
  2. They wanted to be away from the public until they knew what they were doing
  3. The sand made for a little bit softer way to land
It makes me wonder if Ohioans hold a grudge about all the recognition North Carolina gets when 5+ years of the work was done up north and 12 seconds of flying happened when they travelled down south.

Picture of Wright Glider
Wright Glider  Source
Notice above that I said "flying machines"? That's the other thing I didn't know.  There wasn't just one airplane that miraculously took flight.  Coming up with one rendition a year for 5 years, the brothers tested different body styles, power options, and turning mechanisms.  The first machine was merely a kite that they controlled from ropes on the ground. 

There is an undending amount of information online to put together a lesson on the Wright Brothers, the history of flight, and the evolution of aviation.  These are the resources I drew from to intrigue my kindergartner and keep it interesting.  Click the images to be taken directly to the credited website.

The 1899 Kite
U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission Sights and Sounds
8 short videos explaining each year/machine and the progress that was made
Downloadable Power Point directed towards 1st graders.  Great!!
The Wright Brothers Poster
My favorite!
Link is to a PDF of worksheets that accompanied the video series.
We chose out 6 that were on Beck's level, could easily be used for a range of grade levels.
The end of the Power Point listed above leads your child to create their own flying machine.  Here's a look at the new way Beck has for Santa to deliver his toys...


New to Eating the Nibbly Bibs? 
 Check out the story behind "Mail from..." here

A few other links I liked but didn't use in my lesson:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mail from...North Carolina (Part 1-Friendship & Moving)

Recently my boys' best friends moved with their family to North Carolina to be closer to their grandparents.  It was a sad day for us all.  Driving home from their house the night before they would leave Beck and my husband had a tender conversation about how life changes from time to time.  It was one of those parenting moments when we wanted to wrap our arms around our little ones and protect them from all things sad that happen in the world.

The truth is, it was sad for me to.  You see, I am supposed to be the one who moves away.  I do the leaving.  Working in the seasonal hospitality industry, it was routine to move somewhere, make 2-3 close friends, and then wave good-bye as our contracts ended and we went on our merry way.  There are a few people I've kept in contact with over the years, but the reality of distance and time usually take their toll.  Thinking back on the wonderful people I've been blessed to know makes me smile and hold back tears simultaneously, but it's the life I had become accustomed to.

So when I tell you my boys' best friends moved away, I must also say that one of my good friends has moved away as well.  And it's a very new feeling to be the person left behind.  Not because there aren't other people to hang around with, and not because I needed that relationship to validate me, but because it represents everything new and changing in my life as mom of 4 settled down in American suburbia.

Beck, Peyton, and I of course have other friends.  Those old friends came into our lives when we joined their Joy School (which is where I first embraced Teaching Your Children Joy).  And now we've joined a new homeschool play group where we're getting to know a brand new group of people.  Our lives will go on, just not be quite the same.

How have you helped your children deal with a close friend leaving?    

Come back tomorrow to see our study
 of North Carolina and the history of flight!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vacation Brings Awards!

We took time off last week for our annual trip to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, and what a welcome home surprise to open my email and find this:

Thank you, Julie, at Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk!!

I looked around and discovered that Liebster means "dearest" in German.  The award is shared with new-ish blogs having under 200 followers in hopes of giving them a boost of support and recognition.  What a great little welcome home treat!

So, here's what it takes to accept the award:

11 Facts About Myself
  1. I have 2-month old twins, making a total of 4 boys for our family
  2. I come from a family of 6 girls
  3. My husband is #10 of 15 kids 
  4. Our twins are grandkids #56 & #57 in his family, but the 1st set of twins!
  5. Definitely a night owl!
  6. I LOVE cooking, but HATE baking.
  7. I knew in 5th grade I wanted to play the bassoon, but had to wait until 7th grade to give it a try
  8. I vividly remember singing, "Jimmy Crack Corn" for music class in 1st grade
  9. I took my baby sister as my show & tell in 3rd grade
  10. I plan on taking a 1-year round-the-world trip before my kids are too old to want to go
  11. My dream home is made of glass along the entire back side.
Answer 11 Questions from the Blogger Sending the Award (Aye, aye!)
  1. Who is your favorite superhero of all time? I already told you I grew up with all girls-I seriously know very little about superheroes!
  2. What is your favorite book? Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov
  3. Which book have you read to your kiddos so many times you know it by heart? The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
  4. If you won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Can my anywhere in the world include everywhere in the world?  I guess let's start with Scotland...
  5. Favorite Outdoor Activity? Night-time glow-in-the-dark Frisbee
  6. What Is Your Most Valued Possession?  My passport
  7. Favorite Family Tradition?  Biking to the local donut shop for breakfast before hiking on National Trails Day (always the 1st Saturday in June)
  8. Do you still have your wedding dress?  Yes, in a plastic bin somewhere.
  9. Favorite Bible story?  Christ's Visit to Mary & Martha
  10. What is your earliest memory?  Being chased by a top-notched goose across our country backyard.
  11. What was your first car?  Ford Tempo
Create 11 New Questions for the Bloggers I'm Going to Award & Recognize
I can't wait to get to know the 11 of you a little better!
  1. What's the most memorable place you've vacationed?
  2. Favorite thing to do with your little ones?
  3. What is your most favorite chore to do around the house?
  4. Paper or plastic?
  5. What is something from your childhood you want to make sure your kids know as well?
  6. In high school was it sports or music for you?
  7. What is your creative outlet?
  8. You have a night free from the family-where are you & what are you doing?
  9. Live Theatre or Movie Theater?
  10. What is the best advice you've received from another blogger?
  11. Do you hide the mini Frosty that comes in the Wendy's kids meal so you can have it for yourself? (My kids have no idea a yummy frozen chocolate treat comes along with their hamburger, fruit, & milk)
Choose 11 Blogs to recognize with the Liebster Award 
Please be sure to check out these amazing blogs!

(Are you one of the bloggers I've sent the Liebster Award?  
The rules are simple: Do the things listed above 
and be sure to let your bloggers know they've received the award. 
Remember, this award should go to blogs with under 200 followers. 
And feel free to link back to this blog as well!)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Not So Spooky Pumpkin Patch

For some reason, book learning has really been a struggle this week, so today I decided to let my boys do a little hands-on creating.  They were excited the moment they saw me pulling out the "painting sheet." (Painting Sheet=cheap vinyl tablecloth I started using for craft-time a long time ago.  It protects the table and makes for super easy clean-up.  It was cute today to see the kids relate the tablecloth to painting without me saying anything.)

Drawing inspiration from an egg carton craft project I saw a couple weeks ago, I gathered the supplies and sat down with my kids to make pumpkin patches!

Usually I choose crafts that don't require a lot of preparation by Mom beforehand, but today I decided the headache I could avoid by doing some of the work myself seemed worth it.  Those steps included:
  • Cutting a 12-egg carton in half so each of my boys would have 6 "pumpkins"
  • Cutting a green pipe cleaner into 12 short pieces
  • Poking a small hole in the top of each "pumpkin" where the "stem" will go
  • Hot Glue the "fence"
The boys got to:
  • Paint their "pumpkins" and their "fences"
Okay, so Beck got a little confused and painted his paint plate
 before I re-explained it to him
  • Push in their stems 

  • Draw on their faces
We were running out of googly eyes,
so each boy got one pair and  then  drew the rest of their eyes
  • Pick, cut, and glue on the straw
You could use craft straw, but we had an adventure outside finding dry grass we could use instead.  On the way back home from the field down the street, we had a close call with a snake and barely avoided stepping right on top of it.  The boys LOVED that!
  • Choose the best place to display their pumpkin patches for everyone to see.  They decided outside on the front porch so that Daddy would be spooked when he came home.  

Aren't those the cutest "spooky" pumpkins you have ever seen?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mail from...New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a beautiful state!  Who could argue that when this is their state bird...

state bird
Purple Finch

I visited there in a long ago October when the granite mountains were on fire with changing autumn colors.  On that trip, I got to see the Old Man of the Mountain.  I'm so glad I did, because in 2003 the profile collapsed and changed the face of the mountain forever.

New Hampshire state emblem
Before and After 

Much to my surprise, this pile of crumbled rocks held very little appeal to my boys, so, thinking on my feet, I pulled out the paints to create our own representations of the New Hampshire autumn leaves.  We used Q-tips instead of brushes and I demonstrated how to carefully dot the paint onto the paper.  It did not make any sense to my kids today.  Surprising myself again, I didn't over-react and try to correct them.  I just let them be and worked on my own dotted painting...

So, New Hampshire did not bring about a super-memorable postcard lesson.  I'll have to put "visit New Hampshire" on our to-do list and see if that doesn't turn out to be more inspiring.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mail from...Texas

I spent many, many summers working in Alaskan hotels, and so have heard my fair share of proud Texans try to incorrectly assert that they live in the largest state in the nation.  And, while, I've driven through Texas several times and would agree that it is a massive amount of open space, my alliances have to stick with my northern roots on this one...nonetheless, Texas is a great state and I was very excited to introduce it this week in kindergarten.  

Since the Texas state bird is the mockingbird, and we already studied it during Arkansas/Apple Week, I decided instead to focus on the Texas state mammal (how many other states have a designated state mammal?).  If, like me, you've done any driving in the Lone Star state, you know it's not just a stereotype that the same animal could also be designated the official state roadkill.  And as roadkill goes, I'm going to declare that the armadillo is absolutely the most disgusting!

Photo: Close-up of an armadillo

For the lesson, we looked at armadillo pictures and learned that armadillos like to burrow into the ground and use their noses to hunt for bugs.  We learned about the many different types of armadillos and then more specifically about the nine-banded armadillo which is the only armadillo native to the United States.
Photograph of the Armadillo
Texas State Mammal: Nine-Banded Armadillo
Beck's favorite was the Pink Fairy Armadillo which appears to be green and pink-two of his favorite colors. It also happens to be the smallest of the armadillos.

Unfortunately I had no time to get to the library this week, but I did find this online story about an armadillo named Arturo.  It wouldn't have been my first choice, but Beck liked it and it did teach how armadillos defend themselves in scary situations.
Clara and the Armadillo
My new favorite website is learn create love because it's full of printable cut-out templates and this is the one we used today...
Armadillo Printable from learn create love 

I really do love Texas.  I'm really glad I didn't go the cowboy route with this week's postcard.  I'm really glad Beck had so much fun learning about this odd little creature.  And I'm REALLY glad I'm not going to have to look at any more photos of this creepy little mammal for a very long time!

Have you been to Texas? 
 What is your favorite thing there?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shaping Up the Way It Should Be

When Beck and I started doing kindergarten together I had a small concern about what I was going to do with my two-year-old.  I still haven't figured out how to work the Teaching Your Children Joy activities into our new twin and school-filled days and I was worried he'd get left behind.  Then we did this shapes lesson and I realized that we were going to be just fine.

Instead of putting Peyton down for his nap before starting Beck's lessons, we've started doing the craft or activity parts while he is still awake.  He LOVES drawing and coloring and painting and gluing and all things getting messy, and he LOVES getting to do whatever his big brother is doing.  

Recently, Beck's official curriculum was set to teach him the basic shape names and numbers of sides.  Seriously?  They're a couple years behind.  Instead we had a little learning fun by getting out the blocks and building towers.  

Look at all those different shapes!  After building, I had Beck draw his tower, thus getting great practice at drawing all his sides and corners.  

And while he was busy drawing and coloring, I had free time to sit and work with Peyton.  I held his hand and helped him draw rectangles, triangles, circles, and squares.  And then I had time to just watch as both my boys concentrated completely on what they were doing.

So sweet-Helping little  brother draw his circles
A pretty fair representation
We got a little color lesson in with it as well
I love having the time to work with both of my boys.  Their little minds are always going and it's inspiring to see the light come on every time they learn something new.  And if it takes an afternoon of building a tower made of blocks and coloring, I'm glad I embraced patience and had my priorities in order for at least that part of our day.


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