Monday, November 30, 2009

A Shoebox & Playing Cards

This idea came from my friend, Melissa, at Chasing Cheerios.  Ella really seemed to enjoy this simple game.  We cut a slit in the top of a shoe box.  Then, I handed her a pack of playing cards.  She slipped the cards through the slot and into the box. 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Pictures

We went to Andrew's brother (Pat) and sister-in-law's (Julie) house for Thanksgiving.  We had a wonderful time with great people and great food!
around the dinner table

before we left for Thanksgiving dinner

making funny faces on the way to dinner

sitting with Uncle Todd

Grandma & Papa

Uncle Pat

walking on Uncle Todd's feet

playing Go Fish!

Ella's new trick


playing animal charades (she's a duck)

playing animal charades (chipmunk)

poor baby ran a fever on and off all day

I realized I didn't take that  many good pictures, including no pictures of the food.  We had a fantastic meal of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, yams, homemade rolls and my mother-in-law's famous cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pies, cheesecake, chocolate caramel bars, and oreo turkeys. Yum!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tiny Turkeys

My new friend, Amy, sent me this link to make these tiny turkeys.  We made them tonight.  Aren't they adorable?  Thanks Amy!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Unplug Your Kids: Thanks

This week's theme at Unplug Your Kids is Thanks.  We were going to go the Thanksgiving theme way, but the kids needed to get some thank you cards out, so we went in that direction instead. 

It's been a while since Arin has practiced her sewing skills.  I punched holes in a card and handed it, along with a plastic needle to Arin.  She picked the colors of thread that she wanted to use.  She wanted exactly no help with the sewing.  Normally, I would have guided her a little more on a project, but this was her thank you card, so I let her go with it.

Once, she was done sewing, Ella lightly colored the inside. 

Next, Arin and I looked through magazines and found the letters T, H, A, N, K, and S.  I cut them out because it is still not Arin's strongest skill. 

Then, I gave Arin a glue stick and showed her the order to glue on the letters.

Arin was pleased with her finished work!

Blanket Time and Clothespin Drop

Today, I am thankful for the simple things that keep my little Ella entertained.  We have recently started training Ella to stay quiet during Blanket Time.  This is an idea that I learned after reading the book The Duggars: 20 and Counting.  The concept is that you train your child to sit on a small blanket and quietly entertain himself with a toy or book for a duration of time.  We started this training last week.  The first time, Ella sat on the blanket for two minutes, while I sat beside her and trained her - meaning, if she started to get up, I would coach her to sit back down, etc.  The second time she sat for five minutes, which seemed like a long time for my busy little baby.  I sat beside her and encouraged her to stay quiet and stay on the blanket.  The rest of the week was hectic and I didn't think about it on the weekend.  This morning, I decided to pull out the blanket again.  I spread the blanket on the floor and to my surprise (remember this is only the third time of introducing this concept) Ella sat right down on the blanket and quietly waited, while sitting still, for me to get a toy ready for her to play with. 

Today's toy was a jar and a pile of dollpin clothespins.  Ella loved this.  She would put the pins in the jar, first one at a time, and eventually getting much more efficient and picking up several at a time to put in the jar.  Then, she'd empty the jar and start all over.  She was so cute, knowing that she was not to get up, she'd stretch as far as she could when a pin would get out of her reach.  I did not talk to her today because it wasn't necessary. I still sat beside her the whole time and occassionally had to pick up the jar which would roll off the blanket.  Basically, my interaction was next to none today.  I let the timer run down the five minutes, but did not let it ring.  Instead, I stopped it and started it counting up just to see how long this activity would keep her entertained.  An additional four minutes went by before she ever tried to stand up.  My goal was five minutes today, but I was delighted to see that she was able to sit-down and quietly entertain herself for nine minutes!  After that time, I folded the blanket and put it and the jar of clothespins away for another time.

Friday, November 20, 2009

M & M Math

We recently read the M&M's Counting Book.  Arin loves this book, which is not surprising since it is about two of her favorite things - counting and candy.  I found several activities to go along with the M&M's book on Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Arin also followed along in her book using her candies the way they did.  The hardest part about "M&M school" (as she called it) was waiting for the lesson to be over before sampling the goodies!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Florida: Oranges

Florida's state flower is the orange blossom flower and their state beverage is orange juice.  So we worked on oranges for the state of Florida.  We were spoiled when living in Florida because we had a wonderful navel orange tree.  We miss it.  A couple of days ago, Arin said, "Mommy, our grapes are all gone, are we going to plant oranges now?"  Looks like she also misses the convenience of fruit growing in our yard.

We bought a bag of oranges from the grocery store - I never recommend doing this, but we had no other options.   We had planned to juice some of the oranges, but most of them were dried out, more like end of the season oranges than beginning of the season oranges.  Very disappointing!

We read:
An orange in January by Dianna Hutts Aston
Oranges to Orange Juice by Inez Snyder
From Oranges to Orange Juice by Kristin Thonnes Keller
A Star in My Orange by Dana Meachen Rau
We made orange cream cheese cut out cookies.  To go along with fall, we made them in leaf shapes.  The recipe tells how to make frosting for them, but we prefer them without the icing.

We also did a couple of experiments with oranges and orange juice.  First, we cut the ends off of an orange to see if one end is sweeter than the other.  The blossom end is sweeter. 

After tasting the orange ends, we cut the oranges up and had them for a snack.

Next, I poured water in one glass and an equal amount of orange juice in another glass.  I told Arin that we were going to put 1 teaspoon of baking soda in each glass.  I asked her which one she thought would bubble when the baking soda was added.  She guessed the water.  It was actually the orange juice.  This is because orange juice is an acid, which when mixed with the baking soda, it releases the carbon dioxide from the baking soda.  We also tasted the new "orange soda".  It was terrible!

For our last experiment, we filled two glasses halfway with orange juice.  I told Arin that we would be adding half a teaspoon of baking soda to one glass and half a teaspoon of baking powder to the other.  I asked her which she though would bubble more.  She said the baking soda.  This time she was right.  This is because when you add baking soda to the acid (orange juice) you are upsetting the balance of acid and alkalai, actually adding more acid to the mixture.  We learned our lesson and did not taste these mixtures!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

World Map Floor Puzzle

There was a lot of excitement around the house today.  We were walking out of the house this morning and there, on the porch, was a gift that had come in the mail for the girls from our good friends, the Sardinas.  Unfortunately, we had to leave at the moment, so they were not able to open the gift right away.  Arin talked about the present, wondering what it could be, the whole time we were running errands.  She couldn't wait to get home.  We got home and her and Ella opened the gift.  They were so excited (as was I) to see a world map floor puzzle.  We immediately started putting it together.  It's a large puzzle (96 pieces) but I was thrilled to see that Arin could find many of the pieces on her own.  Ella had a great time putting the pieces back in the box and she also tried to help put the puzzle together.  This puzzle shows the different continents, countries, flags, time zones and oceans.  We are so excited to have this awesome learning puzzle. Thank you Lynn, Jon & Tyson.  It was a great surprise and Arin has continued to talk about it all day long!