Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Small Success

6 loads of laundry washed, hung out on the line, folded and put away and every pair of socks had its mate. In my book that's a success. How has your day been successful?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cute Comments

with one big breath
Lou: We had so much fun at the stable I fell off Silver and was trampled and I jumped Silver over a log and it was so much fun and I was trampled and it was so much fun.
pure irony
Lee: Mom, we should start having oatmeal for breakfast because I need the can to make a rocket.

Later in the day while playing grocery store with the oatmeal it was bumped out of his hands, landed on the floor with the lid popped off and spilled more than half the oatmeal on the floor. He couldn't be any happier.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Weekend Notes

We had a full weekend with birthday parties, sleepovers and First Communions. No laundry, dishes or yardwork done and no school plans written. Needless to say this morning was a little hectic. The laundry room/bathroom was covered in piles and piles and piles of dirty laundry including a large pile of grass stained clothes from yesterday's First Communion parties. The kids played hard at both parties, lots of football, wiffle ball and light saber fights. Temps are predicted to reach 70 today so I had one little girl asking to dig through the bins of clothing in the basement because she has "nothing to wear". Does that sound familiar ladies? Another wondered if they had to do all the math problems. Another snuck outside again. And yet another pooped out the top of his diaper, put his hand in it and ...I'll just stop there. But, everyone is now done with math. Three loads of laundry are done and lunch is in the roaster. Off I go to tackle some yardwork.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tot School - Pond Edition

As our real pond comes to life this spring, we've been doing a little indoor pond study ourselves. Mostly with Sam, but the other kids join in, too. It always amazes me how the big kids love listening to the little stories, too. Basically, we started by painting a piece of tag board blue. Then cut out the shape of a pond. Gradually, we read stories and then added animals to our pond. We've painted a lot, which isn't that messy if there's a real purpose behind the painting. With the tag board we used two shades of blue and one paintbrush. I squeezed a dollop of each color right onto the tag board and instructed Sam to spread it around all the way to the edges. Easy peasy and virtually no mess. I've also taught him how to really rinse out a paintbrush. The old way: turn on faucet full blast, stick paint covered paintbrush directly in water stream about 2 inches below faucet head, watch and laugh as colored water sprays all over kitchen window, counters, sink, faucet, self. The cleanup can be messier than the actual painting. I just got a little smarter and decided to teach them how to rinse out the brushes. First, place the paint covered paintbrush in the kitchen sink with the bristles touching the bottom of the sink well, turn on water half way, dab and swirl the brush in the water at the bottom of the sink until the water runs clear. Dab the paintbrush on a paper towel or even the closest washcloth to see if any color is still left. Repeat entire process if needed. Whew! That was a lot of words for a simple procedure.

Back to tot school. Really my tot is not a tot, he's 4 3/4. We read Life in a Pond while the paint dried. Then every couple of days read another pond book and added the appropriate animal.

In the Small Small Pond - 16 colored (with crayons) fish

Scoot! - egg carton turtle

Frog Counts to Ten - paper plate frog

The Noisy Egg - footprint duckling

At the Totally Tots site you will find downloads for the fish and turtle templates and directions for the other animals as well. I used the Totally Tots site as a guide, but did not follow it to a tee. Check out the whole site; they have great ideas for learning the ABCs, bible study, books and online games for tots. Very useful indeed!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Getting it Done

After our long morning of rummaging, everyone had to buckle down in the afternoon to get all the school work done. Grace and Lee got theirs done without any complaining, but Lou was a different story. She snuck out after lunch with her pioneer dress on to play with the chicks we picked up yesterday. She and Ray played for about 1 1/2 hours outside, riding bikes, checking on the chicks, playing in the little woods, watching dad work. When she came in Grace was just settling down to watch an espisode of Christy and when I told Lou to grab her books and head back to Little J's room to do her schoolwork you would have thought I'd asked her to eat a bowl of worms. She was so mad and fussing loudly. After a couple of long time outs she gained her composure and buckled down. Still, I was feeling bad because she really does enjoy the Christy movies and with her track record, she'd most likely be doing math for the next two hours. Amazing how missing her new favorite show makes her work extra hard. Within 10 minutes she had her math done and every problem correct to boot. Great next up reading. Usually she reads so slowly I just about fall asleep between page turns, but not today. She read so fast I could barely focus on the page before she turned it again. She'll have no excuses come Monday, she proved that today.

Sometimes I struggle with motivating them to work quickly and diligently. They always get the work done, but sometimes they'll limp along well into the afternoon. It's hard to find something they really value other than movies. Usually the rule is everyone has to be done in order to watch something, but I think allowing the one done to start a movie is rewarding to that child and motivating to the others. Maybe we'll try this tactic for a while.

Rummaging for Deals

I love rummage sales and so do my kids. We love to get up early and head to the sales, never knowing what we might find. Today was the season opener for us. We hit a 5 home neighborhood sale and then a loner. I think we bought something at every one. For under $28 (including what the kids spent out of their own pockets), here's what we got:

1 purse
2 pair jeans
1 infant sun hat
4 shirts
5 pair socks
8 kitchen utensils
4 tiki torches
1 filet board
1 wooden youth chair
1 set of play golf clubs
1 mini tractor
1 belt
2 necklaces
2 rings
2 pair clipon earrings
5 3-ring binders
1 travel case filled with brand new crayons
2 pair shorts
1 piano book
1 antique glass jar
1 farm game
4 chocolate chip cookies
4 rice krispie treats
4 cups Kool-aid
1 teacher book filled with math games for little ones

Looking back at that list I think we did pretty well. I've read at so many blogs about job losses and financial stress. Rummaging for deals is one way to really make the dollar stretch. It can be tempting to buy unneeded items just because they are so cheap. My best advice is to have a mental list of what you are looking for and let the kids know; they are experts at pointing out things on my list they find while browsing the sales. Happy Thrifting!