Thursday, October 20, 2011

Is it pay day yet?

We are working hard to teach our kids the value of a dollar.  And working hard to teach them that hard work pays off.  Each Fall, we reassess their chore charts, rearrange and reassign chores, and set a new allowance.  Pay day is Friday, and you have to do your work to get paid.

Instead of the same dry erase (laminated) sheets we make every year, I decided that this year we would make something I found in Family Fun magazine.

The girls enjoyed the process, we were all involved (including Dad).  We made a chart for Punky, too.  She is supposed to tidy her toys, make her bed and play with the animals each day.  She's not a fan of the first two, but does a lot of torturing playing with the animals.  :)

We're still working on actually using the charts.  It's not always easy to remember to move the sliders over.  We have a slider for each day of the week, but a few chores only require completion a couple days each week.  I let the girls choose scrapbook paper, which is kind of busy and makes it hard to read the charts, but they're fun!

Sunshine and Belle working on their charts:

The final products.  Punky has colored hers with crayon and 
pulled it down so many times that it now sits atop the others.  :)

Another completed Pinterest project!!

Several weeks ago, I published a teaser post with some craft supplies.  Pretty soon after, I showed some of the fun dice I made for use in math games.  After that, things got busy and it took a while before I could complete the next project, which was a little more involved.  

One of our sweet friends had a birthday, she turned TWO!  She has four older siblings, so she inherits a lot of fun toys.  I saw this project on Pinterest and knew I wanted to make it for Punky, and thought our friend *S* would enjoy it, too!  The original inspiration for an "on the go" coloring tray came from Joy's Hope.  Then, I decided that by leaving the paper off the top of the tray, it would be a great magnet board for use with these magnetic quilting pieces.  

I set off in search of supplies to make my own.  I made two sets of magnets, and that worked well.  Punky enjoys playing with hers, and every once in a while I have to add more mod podge to re-glue the material onto the magnets.  I started with rectangular baking sheets for the tray, and attempted to spray paint them a nice almond color.  However, I could only find non-stick trays, which evidently don't hold spray paint.  I didn't want to give a toddler gift with a "don't eat the paint chips" disclaimer, so I opted for an unfinished tray.  The pizza pan/disc just looked fun.  :)  

The quilt pieces on the pizza pan.

I also added an icing container with magnets on the bottom, 
which holds triangular crayons—ideal for toddlers, plus they don't roll!)

The complete gift...hopefully will provide plenty of peaceful entertainment!

Young artists at work!

We try to take our kids on as many field trips as possible.  That is yet another perk of homeschooling.  Until this year, most public school children in Texas took two field trips a year.  Many schools, due to significant budget cuts, have cut back to one (or none).  We feel very fortunate that we have the opportunity to attend cultural events multiple times throughout the year.  

Two times each semester, the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas has a homeschool seminar that is free. The girls have been before (when I was pregnant with Punky) and really enjoyed it.  When I got the email about the fall seminars, I signed them up immediately.  I wanted to make sure we had a spot!  

The title of this seminar was "Art in Depth" and the kids compared 2-D and 3-D art.  Then they had a chance to create their own works.  It is something they really enjoy, and definitely forces us to explore different venues.  
(Plus, it's always entertaining to see how nervous we can make the 
security guards with a toddler in the building!)

This sculpture was made entirely out of dice.

My young artist, so serious.

This is the only picture I have of Sunshine, studying the faces.  Can you see them?

Here's one!

This one was hard to resist talking into...waiting for the echo-o-o-oooooo.

This glassware is not adhered together.  There is a diagram that the apprentices can follow as they're placing each piece back together, but it is not put together the same way twice.  
If an item is broken, it is reworked into the piece.  

Welcome home, Butterscotch!

We have been talking about adding another cat to our zoo.  I knew it had to be *the* cat...that I had to know this cat would be friendly and tolerate the other members of the zoo (2 and 4-legged).

One afternoon, while Callie was at a Robotics meeting, I took the 2 younger girls to Petsmart.  I happened to know that a pet rescue organization would be there that day.  I told Belle that we would look at the cats, but that I wasn't making any promises.  Although, I had already told my hubby that I had a feeling about that day.

When we walked in, we saw her...her foster mom had named her Peja.  She and her brothers were found, in a plastic bag inside a dumpster, at 5 days old.  Her foster mom (who happened to be walking by the dumpster that day) heard their cry and rescued them.  She fed them, with an eye dropper, around the clock for 3 weeks.  Can you imagine?

Needless to say, her story amazed me.  She was found on June 6th...the anniversary of D-Day and also my hubby's birthday.  Those two things, being close to my heart, sealed the deal.  She is very affectionate, comfortable with everyone, and is a tortoise-shell (my fave).

As soon as we had her in the car, we began discussing name changes.  After a few days, we decided that she needed to be named after our tortoise-shell that I adopted during college.  She was our family pet at the beginning of our marriage and when the big girls were tiny.  Her name was Butterscotch, because she looked like she'd been splashing in a puddle of the confection.

Welcome home, Butterscotch!  ...a.k.a. Scotchie Lotchie ;)

Park play!

With the weather finally cooling off, the girls have enjoyed getting back to the park.  I think it's cute (and kinda sad) to see them running around, checking the temperature of the slides and swings.  They know not to put too much skin on the plastic without first making sure it doesn't feel like a stovetop on high.  ;)

During one of Sunshine's recent soccer practices, Belle and Punky enjoyed playing at the neighboring park.  

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pappy's birthday

September 16th was Grandpa's birthday.  It was a pretty emotional day.  We were busy with co-op, but made time that evening to drive to the lake and send him balloon messages.

For most of my childhood, Grandpa and Grandma lived at a lake in Indiana.  Most of my memories at their house revolve around fishing trips, so it seemed only fitting that we spend our time remembering him at the lake.

The lake we chose is close to our home, but because of the severe drought it was difficult to gain access.  The majority of the parks are closed because the water level is so low.  We ended up driving for about 30 minutes, trying several parks, before we decided to park outside the gates of one and release our balloons.  The girls wrote messages to Pappy (the name his great grandkids used) and we sang "Happy Birthday" before releasing them.  At that moment it started pouring rain.  How timely.  If I could have called him, I would we could talk about the weather.

I miss you,'re lookin' good!  


I couldn't decide so there are two.  Captions, anyone?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Homeschool Co-op!

Our homeschool group's co-op began again in September.  The girls are enjoying their classes.  I snapped these pics the first day.  Unfortunately, I do not have any classes with my big kids.  :(  I do enjoy my days with Punky and our friends!

Sunshine's classes this semester:
Pasta-palooza, Ancient Numbers, Music Theory, Story of the World (world history)

Belle's classes this semester:
Magic School Bus, Astronomy, Around the Globe (geography), Story of the World (world history)

Punky's hanging out:
Bookworms (storytime), Transportation Fun, on the playground, "rest time" with Moma :)


We took a quick field trip with some MOMS Club friends to The Heard Museum (here in town) to visit their butterfly house and garden.  We also spent some time inside their facility excavating dino bones!

Belle and Punky dig for dinos!

Daddy & Punky on the trail to the butterfly house & garden.

Looking for fluttering insects!

Punky and her friend checking out the live animals.

Punky posing in front of the mural wall.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Goin' to the lodge!

We enjoyed another experience during homeschool week at Great Wolf Lodge.  They have special activities during the week, but we can't pull ourselves from the waterpark long enough to check them out. So much fun!!!

We saved even more by bringing all of our food from home...except breakfast food.  Here are our chicken taco fixins.  :)

Playtime!  It was really hard to get pics of the big girls.  They were too cool to hang out with me most of the time, and they don't like to play in the regular the only "action shots" I have are of them splashing out of the slide chutes.  They had fun, though!

9/11 Ceremony

This was our third year to attend the city's 9/11 memorial ceremony.  We appreciate all that our city does to commemorate the lives lost on that day.  The pictures speak volumes...

Punky sleeps through the ceremony, even the rifle shots.  :)

 The flag suspended between two ladders.

A flag was placed in the ground in memory of each life lost.  This was just a portion of the flags.  It was overwhelming to see.

The girls with Papaw in front of a piece of steel from Tower 2.  This will be used in the memorial that is under construction in McKinney.

The girls wanted to have their pictures taken with heroes, so we asked these two men.  One is a firefighter, the other a police officer...and they're brothers.  Don't you know they have proud parents?