Thursday, September 22, 2011


It's still Wednesday in my mind because I haven't gone to bed. I'm going to try to sleep after I post this Wordless Wednesday pic...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Artists at work!

Oops...fell behind again! I'll try to do some catching up over the next few days. Maybe if I would just stop taking so many pictures...if we would just stop having so much fun! :)

Two Fridays ago, we attended our first art club, a new group that a member of SAIL started. The girls were very excited about this new opportunity. We were told the day before that we'd be learning about Michelangelo and fresco secco. Since I was curious about this process, myself, I decided to search on YouTube for some information about the process and the artist. The girls eagerly watched the video with us and could not wait until the next day!

They were delighted to find out that the process they were using that day was exactly what they'd learned about on the video. The club leader decided not to have the kids break the plaster and then glue it back because of time constraints and messiness in transport, so we finished that step at home. The girls are thrilled with their work. I am still looking for just the spot to display it, and we'll post a final pic later.

After the meeting, we headed to the park across the street for a quick playtime with our friends. Everyone was able to burn off a bit of energy and enjoy a beautiful day. We've earned this beautiful weather we're having after the heat of the summer, and the kids LOVE every moment we can spend at the park—especially with great friends!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fun dice!

I found these great ideas for math games on Pinterest (notice a theme lately?). I just had to make them, and I knew it would be a quick project. We're already having fun with them!

Googly Eye Dice (use in place of regular dice in any game)
Paint wood cubes any color. I was going to use white but forgot that I lent out my paint, so my options were limited. Then, using E6000 glue, adhere the appropriate number of googly eyes to each side. I ran out of the same size so I started using various sizes, which actually made it fun. For example, on one die the "1" is a huge googly eye.

Telling Time Dice (Have kiddo roll dice, then practice writing the time digitally, or have them use movable hand clock to show that time. I have a clock face stamp, and Belle likes to use the stamp and then draw the corresponding time on the clock. Anything to make clock reading fun!)
Paint wood cubes preferred color. Use scrapbook stickers (or any stickers) to label clock times on each face of the dice. You could also cut paper and adhere it to each face, or simply use a marker. I also used Mod Podge over the entire die.

Crafting preview!

I've been pinning like a mad woman on Pinterest, and decided to get busy creating the great things we've found. Here are a few pics of some items I grabbed at Michael's last week. My preview...I'll definitely be busy and will post updates with pics of the completed projects!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Our young chemist

Sunshine is taking a chemistry lab this year though our homeschool group. We are very excited about this opportunity, especially because I get to learn all about chemistry again. (It is definitely not my strong area.) Last week we began working through the text book that goes along with the lab. Her first assignment was to learn about and create atoms out of playdoh. Fortunately, her dad was home to help out. Oh, and Punky joined in the fun, but only to draw on the white board with her *special* markers...the ones she's ruined by pounding on the table. ;o) Never a dull moment!

And here's Punky...first in her chair at the table "working" hard. And then admiring her reflection in the microwave. Stinker!

Feeling free

Punky spends a lot of time hanging out around the house, sans clothes. On this particular day she felt like making some music. I think she has been secretly hanging out with Matthew McConaughey. :) She loves playing with this box of musical instruments. We have been learning how to use them correctly, and discovering the new sounds they make when used "incorrectly". However, we really feel like music is music, and we like making it, no matter the style! :)


Ten years have passed. Seems like yesterday, seems like an eternity.

I have been doing a lot of research about 9/11 so I can remind myself of the details (not the ones we all remember, but the numbers and such). I felt like, at age 11, it was time for Sunshine to know a little bit about what happened in her toddlerhood that forever changed everything in her world.

I read a statistic that says 20% of Americans know someone who died that day. I'm not sure if I agree with that statistic, or maybe it's denial. I did not personally know anyone who lost their life that day. For that, I feel blessed. But it doesn't make the day any less important to me.

My blood pressure rises, even now, when I think of that day. I was teaching 4th grade in small-town Texas at the time. It was the beginning of the year and I will still getting to know my kiddos. We started each day with math, and they were doing their warm up. The grade level aide knocked on my door and motioned me out to the hall. She told me that our country was under attack, that terrorists bombed the WTC, and that she would come back in a few minutes to update me. And then I had to walk back into my classroom full of 9 year olds, and try to stay composed while a million thoughts swirled in my mind.

First of all, what in the world was she talking about? Attack? Why? Who? And...then she came back to tell me more. Basically, she kept walking up and down the halls telling everyone what was going on. We had computers, but we couldn't sit and read the news all day because we were responsible for maintaining normalcy for our students. They had no idea what was going on. They had no idea what the buzz was about, no idea that our country had been rattled to its core.

The library windows were covered for an event, so the principal asked our librarian to set up a t.v. and told all of us that we could spend our planning period and lunch in the library, trying to make sense of the reports we'd been given all morning. I called Dylan as soon as I could get to a phone. He was a flight instructor at that time and was, of course, grounded until further notice. He was at his apartment watching the news, but said he would come over as soon as I was out of school.

The day dragged on and on. Nobody knew if we should tell the kids what was going on, or send them home and let their parents tell them. We were so worried that latch-key kiddos would get home and turn the t.v. on, see the news reports, and be scared and not understand. Many parents started picking their kids up early and taking them home. We decided not to tell anyone and just pray that they would be greeted by an adult.

Finally, as soon as the kids cleared out after school and I finished my prep for the next day, it was time to head home. I remember walking outside and noticing how blue the sky was: not a single cloud, nor a single airplane (I always noticed the airplanes overhead because Dylan often flew that way with his students). It was quiet. It was surreal.

Ten years eternity it seems...and still surreal.

This morning, as I sat and watched my kids sit and watch the news, I realized that I will never forget even the small details of that day in my world. They are still clear in my mind. And today, I took this picture of the beautiful, cloudless blue sky.

God bless America. Never forget.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday Thoughts...

Friday Thoughts...I haven't done this in a while...not since August 1, 2008!

Wrote this early today, forgot to hit that pesky "publish" button! :)

~Outside my window: The sun is shining brightly and the sky is clear and blue.

~I am thinking: It's going to be a busy but fun day, and Dad is coming this evening!

~I am thankful for: My family and my home.

~From the kitchen: Need to spend more time in there. Need to make time to spend there.

~I am wearing: Pajamas. It's early.

~I am creating: New crafty projects for my kids that I've found on Pinterest.

~I am reading: Priceless, In a Sunburned Country, Five Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter, Labor of Love: A Midwife's Memoir

~I am hoping: That everyone wakes up happy, that I can carve out nap time for Punky, and that I can finish laundry.

~I am hearing: Morning silence.

~Around the house: Need to tidy up and get rid of some more clutter (always). And take the vacuum to the shop so I can use it again soon!

~One of my favorite things: The laughter of my children.

~A few plans for the weekend: Today is Fun Friday, then soccer tomorrow, Girl Scout leader training, 9/11 ceremony Sunday...busy weekend!

A picture thought I am sharing: Let the rain come down!!!

Friday, September 09, 2011

A home for the t.v. buttons

We have 4 sets of t.v. buttons in our family room. They became the t.v. buttons when Sunshine was a little bitty, and we needed a very literal description of them. Mostly so we could say, "No, you must leave the t.v. buttons in here. The t.v. buttons are not a toy. You cannot use the t.v. buttons to call ____ (insert grandparent name here)." She's not a little bitty anymore, but they're still the t.v. buttons.

The t.v. buttons float around the house and get lost easily. I decided that in our new living room we needed a special place for the buttons. A special place that grubby little fingers couldn't disturb. A basket!

I was on the search for a long & narrow basket that would fit all 4 remotes. I also wanted one that was dark in color. Ha! A tall order, especially since I cant' rationalize paying $20 for a basket. Instead, I picked up this simple basket for $3.99 (plus a discount):

I added a little spray paint leftover from another project:

And ended up with this, which is a tad darker than I expected, but I really do like it! I think the dark color makes the basket look like it cost more than $3.99.

"Oh, Dini!"

Punky loves the kitty cat. She's always loved him. He's...not so sure about her. He tolerates her for a short while. Unfortunately, he doesn't feel the need to get up and walk away, so he nips or scratches and sends her running. STINKER! We're trying, not always successfully, to encourage healthy interaction. Punky doesn't like to play gently and Dini is a delicate flower. haha!

As she's loving on him she continually says, "Oh, Dini!" and then giggles. L-O-V-E!!!

A little of this...and that...

Tuesday, while driving to preteen classic movie night (homeschool activity), Sunshine told me a cute story that really made me laugh. Earlier that day, I was getting ready for an event at our house. Punky had just finished her midday bath (after the yogurt painting) and Daddy was getting her dressed. He decided to let her pick her own outfit...anything to convince her to actually wear clothes, right?!? (We don't mind her desire to wear only a diaper unless we're having company over or leaving the house.) While he was helping her get dressed, Sunshine overheard her daddy say to Punky, "This will be funny. Everybody will look at you and know that I helped you get dressed today. Let's go see what Moma says." And this is what he brought to me...

During our activity, Daddy took Punky for her first official wagon ride ever! When they came home, she refused to get out of the wagon. He brought it in the house, where she set it up as her chariot and let her servants (a.k.a. big sisters) pull her around...

Ginger is afraid of Houdini. Maybe because Houie is so cat-like and stealth, maybe because Houie bathes Ginger...often. Maybe because Houie has a reputation. Here's a glimpse into Ginger's in the world is she supposed to walk down the hall if Houie is standing just around the corner?

We had another meeting of our American Girl Club (homeschool activity). We learned about secret codes, spies and the Navajo Code Talkers. The girls made up secret codes and learned to write with invisible ink. Sunshine really enjoyed writing in code:

Just because she's soooooo cute...

You could lose a whole kid in there...

drought   [drout]
1. a period of dry weather, especially a long one that is injurious to crops.
2. an extended shortage: a drought of good writing.
3. Archaic . thirst.

This ground is thirsty. So, very thirsty. I took these pictures where Sunshine has soccer practice. She practices on a field next to a school playground. These cracks were in the grassy area between the play structures. Where kids play. Little kids. You could lose a whole kid in these cracks...or at least lose a foot/leg and end up with broken bones. It's crazy.

The ground pulling away from the parking area.

This poor tree is without leaves, but this time of year it should be full of life!

Miss M goes to preschool!

Last year, my sweet friend and her then 2 yr old daughter, M, brought us a special treat on the first day of school. They were completely unexpected and a very special treat.

This year, M started preschool. We wanted to find something fun and creative to make for her first after-school snack. I have been feeding my Pinterest addiction lately, and figured that was a great place to find a treat. I was right! Not too different than what they brought us last year, but different enough and just as fun!

Food fingerpainting!

Punky is a typical 21 month old: very hands on! This includes eating, playing, showing affection, etc. She is also really refining her eating with utensils skills. It's pretty funny to watch! She loves using a fork and spoon, but if she's impatient she will pick up the food and put it on the prongs of her fork, then into her mouth. When she's REALLY hungry and impatient, she goes back to her original utensils that sit at the ends of her arms. The best is when she is using them to shovel yogurt into her mouth. And then she uses yogurt as face cream, hair conditioner and fingerpaint. All of this is followed promptly by bath time!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Breakfast, anyone?

We have a pretty set morning routine...Punky wakes up, comes to our bed, has nino besh, and then pounds on the wall until one of her sisters comes to get her. (That's when I pull myself out of bed and stagger to the kitchen for coffee...not a morning person!)

Earlier this week, it was Belle who came in to get Punky. It was taking me a few minutes more than normal to get up, but since our bedroom backs up to the main part of the house I could hear their entire conversation. Belle asks Punky, "Would you like Clifford cereal with your banana?" Punky replies by pouring entire contents of said cereal on her table. Oops! :) It was all okay, because Daddy helped Punky scoop it into a big bowl and then pour an acceptable serving into one of her little, purple bowls.


Hello, blogosphere!

I love blogging, because it is a great way to connect with family and friends all over the world. I know some people regularly read these blog posts because they've been linked to other places or they've asked for my blog url. And, I know there are people who read the blog because I have a sneaky widget that tracks who comes in. Well, it doesn't tell me who you are, just where you are. Again, I can track some of these because I know only a few people who live in certain places...such as Gilbert, AZ and Saskatchewan. ;)

A couple people have asked me specific questions about our homeschooling life, or how we've changed our lifestyle to be more earth-friendly. I would love to address any specific questions people have, or any interests. Let's face it...we like to see the pics other people post on Facebook and other social media. We love the glimpses into others' lives. We're not nosey, we're curious. Right?

Please feel free to leave a comment now and then and let me know what you think about my post, if you have questions, or if you think I'm insane (somedays I think I am). I really love the feedback...and affirmation that I should continue using this blog. (This is also directed to my awesome hubby!)

Image credit: [Schnutinger]

Science Investigations!

This year, I was able to find a science book for Belle at Half-Price Books. It is a Texas textbook that's just a few years old. It is on her grade level and full of great information and FUN science investigations (with each lesson). We are doing as many as possible, and her science notebook is quickly filling up!

Last week we ended up doing two investigations in one day. We love to stay busy! Currently, we are studying plants and their needs, and also classification. Our first investigation required that we take a nature walk around our yard and collect various types of leaves and then find different ways of classifying them.

The second investigation that day required a quick field trip to the local nursery. There, we picked up two small flowering plants. When we got home, we labeled them "water" and "no water" and placed them in a sunny window. We have learned that some plants need more water than others, so we're using these to see how long it will take for the plant that's not getting water to change. After almost a week, the "no water" plant is starting to look a tad droopy. I'll be sure to get more pics so we can update you, but right now the difference are very difficult to detect. ;)