Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring!

It's the first day of spring today so I thought we'd celebrate by making new things.  First was the addition of a new throw pillow.  My wall in the living room is ORANGE (and I love it!) and I wanted a little something new for the brown couch that is against it.  After having priced out new pillows I rejected the idea of buying a new one and instead recovered an old ugly one. 

I found this awesome material in my school room that I had planned on using to recover my office chair.  Yeeeaah....that never happened, so I dug it out and sewed it over the drab pillow.  I love how it turned out.  What makes it even better was that I did it in under an hour.  (Is that obvious?)  What makes it even more better is that I don't own a sewing machine, nor have I ever taken sewing lessons.  (Unless I count that one summer my mom and labored over these ridiculous pj's.  She insisted that she teach me to sew, because who knows if I'd ever be in dire straights and need to make my own clothes, right?  I love you, Mom.  Look what your sewing lessons taught me!) 

This pillow now makes me happy. 

The kids and I also made our very first beet bread of the year.  It had to be beet instead of just plain 'ole wheat, because beet bread is pink.  Pink means spring.  We enjoyed warm bread for dinner tonight with a pot of pea soup.  Don't judge.  It's still a mite cold here.

Happy first day of spring, my peeps!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Opening Day!

Yesterday was Opening Ceremonies for Little League.  William is in t-ball this year so he was a part of the festivities!  All players had to come to the stadium in full uniform (minus cleats, so unfortunately my pictures of him are in tennis shoes).


I guess there was something more interesting to look at on the ground instead of the camera... 


...and in his glove...or in the air...there never seems to be any eye contact with the camera unless I resort to groveling or pull Dad into the picture to give him a pinch.  I kid.  Abby really wants to play ball as well, so thankfully she also has a glove so she can feel a part of things as well.






















I simply love this picture!  Abby's little friend's expression is completely priceless!  Actually all three of them have completely different expressions that you're not sure if the events surrounding them are horrifying, happy, or just completely bewildering!  Ha!

After all the older kids' teams were announced (major, minor, farm, coach pitch) then it was the t-baller's turn!  There are the Hot Rods jogging out onto the field!  It was cute...all the teams had to walk down the aisle stairs and then out onto the field.  There was quite a delay when the Hot Rods were called - the boys are so little that negotiating the stairs took quite some doing! 

William and his two friends, envisioning their future baseball careers! 

Go Hot Rods!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

We are finished with all the official BFIAR books that I had planned to do.  There are so many other good books out there with a myriad of corresponding activities, so I picked a book from our bookshelf and got to work finding some.  I settled on The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  I wanted a book that had activities geared more for Abby's level (she's 2.5 years old) and this book seemed to fit the bill.  The book goes over numbers, days of the week, colors, and even has some repetition in it so after only a few reads, the kids are able to "read" the book themselves.


Poetry/Song:
The Fuzzy Caterpillar
(tune: The Itsy Bitsy Spider)
 
The fuzzy caterpillar
Curled upon a leaf.
Spun her little chrysalis
And then fell asleep.
While she was sleeping,
She dreamed that she could fly.
And later when she woke up,
She was a butterfly!
~ Author Unknown
 

There are so many ready-made activities out on the internet for this book that reinventing the wheel was not necessary.


I made this die and printed off the corresponding graph.  They each took turns rolling the die and coloring the correct square.  This activity was much more fun than I had anticipated, that's for sure.

   Abby traced the caterpillar to the food almost perfectly!  I really can't believe how good she is at holding her pencil and following the lines.  William then took her finished tracing sheet and showed her how to cut along the lines.  After he cut them he got some tape out and taped them back together for a sort of make-shift puzzle.


video




I printed out some caterpillars in varying sizes and had her practice putting them in order from smallest to largest, and vice versa. 

She was so proud of herself when she was able to get them all correct!

Abby will be making an alphabet book as well, so her first letter she started with was capitol C.  I cut out some circles and both kids took turns gluing them into the shape of a caterpillar C.    


Here is the final product!  The kids wouldn't give me a serious smile, but they are both actually quite happy in this shot.

William, then, had this great idea to make trees and leaves for the caterpillars.  The opening page in the book shows the caterpillar egg lying on a leaf, which when the egg hatches the small caterpillar promptly eats through the leaves...and a bunch of other food items.  So each child made a tree (I made Abby's tree, but she did all the gluing) and William made his tree completely by himself (and signed his name at the top!). 
Here are their final products.  I printed some caterpillars so they were able to glue one on to their leaf as well.

Imitating Eric Carle Art





I really love the illustrations in the Eric Carle books, so I decided that we'd try to see if we could make butterflies in the style of Eric Carle.  This project took two days to complete, and several attempts.  I first tried tissue paper with water colors.  Abby did great with it, but I thought the colors were too light and boring. So I chucked it.  I then gave the tissue paper to William, along with finger paints.  I also tried this, and for me it worked perfectly.  Not so much for a four year old.  The tissue paper bunched something fierce and just frustrated him.  So I chucked it.  I then got out some card stock along with the finger paints.  Major success!

Every time we paint I always instruct them NOT to mix the colors, always to clean off brushes/fingers  before going on to a new color, not to smear the colors on their papers...but this time all those rules were thrown out the window.  I told them to mix away, getting the colors all swirled together to create as many different colors and textures as possible.  We read many Eric Carle books over the week so they knew what sort art style we were going for.  Let's just say this activity was a huge hit.

Here is William's finished paper.  Abby had one quite similar.  I did "fix" this up a little, making sure the paint went all the way to the edges of the paper.  We then laid the out to dry overnight.  In the morning we had a little conundrum with the paper curling, but we laid heavy books on them for a few hours and by the afternoon they were ready to be cut.

I cut out templates for the butterfly and William did all his own cutting.  I cut out Abby's.

Here are their finished butterflies.  (Abby's is on the left, William's is on right.  Eric Carle's is on top.)  I have to say I'm SO proud of this art lesson!  The kids did such a great job!

Food
I also made butterfly snakes for the kids one day using Ritz crackers, peanut butter, pretzels, and chocolate chips.  It's hard to tell in this picture that they are butterflies - I should have used regular pretzels instead of pretzel chips.  Either way the kids thought my idea was ingenious.  Heh. Heh... 

Other Sources: 
* DLTK's Book Break

I'm planning on a garden unit for this week, since yesterday we started planting.  I have one garden box pretty much planted already with the early spring veggies, and need to plan for the other ones that I will plant in April.  They are so excited to continue working on our garden this year!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

T-ball

We are starting our first "real" sport with William.  (T-ball counts as a real sport, right?)  Anyway, last Friday he had his first practice and boy, was it fun to watch!  His team is called the Hot Rods, named after a Class A minor league team out of Bowling Green, KY.  They are a farm team for the Tampa Bay Rays, but the the important thing to know is that the colors are red and black.  John made sure William's practice outfit matched the official team colors! 

Abby was so excited to use her bunny chair outside of the house.  She didn't actually do much sitting in it, since her friends were there and she'd rather socialize, but at least she had spot to park her little bottom should her legs need a rest!

The boys are literally starting from scratch, so knowing what hand to put the glove on and what hand to throw with are big-deal lessons.

Here they are (most of them, anyway) in "ready position". 

Hitting off that little tee is challenging!  He was able to give some of the balls a good whack into the field, though! 

Tonight is Hat Night at a local pizza joint and the kids couldn't be more excited about it!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Prayer for a Child

We are on the last of our Before Five in a Row books.  Last week we rowed Prayer for a Child.  Here are a few of the highlights. 

William is really good at determining the beginning sound of a word.  I really liked the "P" page simply because he wrote his name at the top. 

The book is about a little girl saying her bedtime prayers and telling God all what she is thankful for.  The kids each made a page for our notebook with little pictures that told what they were thankful for. 

I'm really surprised at how well Abby traces.  And holds her pencil, now that I'm looking at this picture. 
I may be a little remiss on taking pictures these days.  Possibly because my camera battery has died.  I will be charging it tonight, however, since tomorrow is William's first tee-ball practice and pictures are a must!  I've been wanting to take a few more pictures of him doing his gym class, but alas...my camera simply won't work without a charged battery.  Go figure.

And...for a comparison later, (and for me to keep track a little of this pregnancy) here I am a few weeks ago, around 17/18ish weeks.

William took the shot so squint your eyes and I assure you it will come into focus.