Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Is Coming!

Somebody we know who lives far away is about to get a very unexpected Easter Surprise!

Thanks to Jo at Jo, My Gosh! 
for the great idea of  sending an Easter Egg Hunt through the mail.

Ours included all kinds of candy, pencils, small toys, and
12 egg-filled messages about Easter.

If any one is interested in the 12 religious-themed messages and symbolic treasures we used,
 let me know.  I'd be happy to share!

We can't wait to find out our friends in North Carolina have received their surprise!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Where, Oh Where, Has My Tablecloth Gone?

What do you use to protect your crafting and activity areas? 

A few years back I attempted to make my own re-usable shopping bags out of vinyl tablecloths.  That project failed miserably and I was left with more intact cloths than I'd ever need for picnicking. That's the day vinyl tablecloths became my go-to crafting area cover-up.

There should be a cute picture, here, huh?  
That's the problem, my tablecloth is missing...

You have, of course, seen our table protectors before.  They've made appearances in picture we take for this blog.  Here are a few examples to refresh your memory...

Our old pink striped tablecloth
Our current fishy table cloth
I love that they cover the entire space (unlike place mats we've tried in the past) and are waterproof so paint spills and globs of glue don't leak through to the table.  When we're done I simply pull it up from the corners, take it outside for a good shake, and toss it in a drawer for use on another day.  

Sure, they get paint all over them, but that's the point, isn't it?  On the cloth and not on my table.  One extra nice thing is never having to scrape play dough off my table; throw out a vinyl table cloth and clean up is a breeze!  Every now and then I throw it in the wash for a little scrubbing power, but I just don't stress about keeping it too clean.  

Unfortunately, today my kids and I are driving each other a little crazy.  I have a fun painting project for them to do, but our fishy tablecloth has gone MIA.  I remember it hanging on the front porch railing for drying after it's last wash, and now I have absolutely no idea where it has ended up.  I have a small suspicion another adult in our house may have thrown it away, but as soon as I openly accuse him I know it'll show up in that really clever spot I decided to put it.  

I guess the painting will have to wait.  Maybe I'll try to entertain the kids with some baking.  And head out to Ross or TJ Max (they have super cute ones for $2-$3)  to replenish my vinyl tablecloth supply first thing tomorrow morning! (Watch for pictures next week of the new cloth and our painting project)

What do you use to keep your tables clean?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

He Thinks He's A Tiger

My husband and I found quite a sight when we woke up this morning...

...I've since then re-hidden all the Sharpies.

He promises me he only wants to be a tiger until the day after tomorrow...

Mail from...Oklahoma

I've talked a lot about creating lessons from the random things my kids sometimes happen to be interested in.  (see motorcycle sidecar racing and underwater worlds for examples).  This week we put a little twist on that theme-this time it was something random that I happened to be interested in.

It started while I was reading  Into the West: The Story of It's People.  The book's not that great, but it did talk a little bit about the Oklahoma Land Grab and that piqued my interest.

I found some great information on the Oklahoma Historical Society website and this clip from the movie "Far and Away."  (I ended up checking this movie out at our library-not for the kids, of course-and really enjoyed watching it.)

After talking about the Native Americans in Oklahoma, and a little bit about homesteading, I helped my boys participate in their own land grab.  They had to decide what to take with them...

Clothes, toys, books, and snacks.

I wanted them to think carefully about what they'd need in the wilderness, but when I turned around they'd emptied their entire dressers into their sleds and filled their shoes with nuts.  It was a good time to just smile and let them be.

Next they had to think about their mode of sled has a string on it, so that worked perfectly.  We had to transfer supplies from the second sled into something a little more manageable...

I put 6 land "markers" in the yard...

...and then it was a race to see who could collect the most "land"...


My teenage neighbor came out at about the time as this video and looked at us very strangely.  It's like he's never seen kids running around with sleds and coolers full of clothes and snacks before...

My kids loved the running around part of this lesson, 
and it was so rewarding to share with them something that was intriguing to me.  

What was the last spontaneous lesson
 you and your kids shared?

You thought I forgot, didn't you?
The Oklahoma state bird is the Scissor-tailed Fly Catcher.
I'll bet you've never seen one of those!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mail from...New Mexico

Here is a state that our family knows A LOT about.  And we absolutely love it.  Every October we make the 9+ hour drive to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  And while we're there we cram in as many amazing sites and attractions as possible!  Some of our favorites are, of course, the Balloon Fiesta itself...

In New Mexico it's impossible to ignore the history of the Native American people, so for our lesson we looked at examples of Native American artwork. We looked at the patterns in Navajo rugs, the different shades of turquoise, and horsehair pottery (my favorite, crafted by burning horse hairs onto the finished piece).

We attempted making Indian hieroglyphics and learned a valuable lesson to scrunch the paper before you do the drawing.  By the time Beck got done scrunching his drawing 20 times it had all but disappeared (which did drive home the point of erosion and aging, but made him pretty mad).  

 And, of course, Beck got excited learning about New Mexico's state bird, the road runner.  Raise your hand if you had no idea that the road runner was more than just an over-intelligent animated character.  I certainly didn't.  But here's a random fact for you:  The commuter train between Albuquerque and Santa Fe is called the Road Runner after their unique feathered friend.

Sadly, my kids had never seen a Road Runner cartoon, so we watched a few of those, too.  In case you've deprived your children, like I had mine, here's a little taste to whet their whistle...

Can you tell we really, really love New Mexico?  


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