Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Window Up-cycle

Last week we had a few very warm, spring-like days which were pretty unusual for January around here.  We took advantage and rode our bikes to the park to enjoy it.  On the way home I spotted a treasure on the curb side - six old windows, just waiting for the garbage man.  We hurried home to get the car in a race to beat the garbage man before he swept away my windows.  (Both the neighbor and I forgot that garbage wasn't coming until the next day because of a holiday.)  The kids thought I was a bit crazy and I had to explain to JR why it was okay to take something left on the curb.  My mind was racing with all of the exciting possibilities for up-cycling the find.

After a few days of consideration I decided that one would be the perfect addition to our dining room/ home school room as a unique white board. I have been fighting as hard as I can to keep our dining room from looking like a kindergarten classroom, but as our timeline grows and the printed-out memory verses increase, I fear I'm loosing the battle.  Plus, I just got tired of dragging out and putting away our calendar board each day, so now it hangs on the wall as well.  My new goal:  Classy Homeschool/Dining Room.

I gave one of my new windows a fresh white wash (I like old, but not dirty old), used a staple gun to add some fabric I already had to the back, and nailed two picture hangers to the frame.  My dear husband was not too pleased to add new holes to the wall with the anchors required to hang it, especially after hanging my new map on the same wall after Christmas, but he helped anyways and I love him for it.  Voila!  Adorable little white board ready for my classy classroom.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dear EM

Dear EM,

Yesterday was your seventh birthday, which sounds like such a big number to me!  I keep asking you to try and stop growing for a bit, but you doesn't seem to be trying very hard.

You were surprised when you came downstairs to find more gifts!  You thought you opened them all yesterday, but we saved the one you were really hoping for to give you on your birthday.  It was a cage and everything you need for your very own pet, a guinea pig.  I'll bet you felt like it took a century for the pet store to open!  We thought it would be fun for you to pick which guinea pig you wanted.  After holding each one with careful consideration you chose a caramel-colored little guy.  He squeaked when you held him and it seemed to be a perfect fit!

Daddy and I took you and JR bowling as a special treat for your birthday.  It was so much fun watching you!  Both of you did great for your first time bowling, even if the ball weighed half as much as you did.  You even rolled a few strikes!  I love being able to do fun things with you now that you're getting older.  I really enjoy your company!

When it was time for bed Daddy was at a meeting and JR and LD were already asleep, so it was just you and me.  We decided that instead of reading a bedtime story we should look through your baby book together.  This is one of your favorite things to do; you love to hear stories about when you were a baby.  It feels like a lifetime ago that you were a born and a blink of an eye at the same time.

Lets make a deal.  This year I will try as hard as I can to say "yes" and play fashion show with you when you ask, not think of the more productive things I could be doing when you ask to play Guess Who AGAIN, and invite you to a tea party or two.  If you try as hard as you can to not grow up too much this year.

I sure do love you and I am so blessed to have you in my life!

Love you to the moon and back!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Reflections and Ramblings.

Although this is is our first year homeschooling, it feels as if we've been doing it forever.  It came much more naturally than I expected and without most of the things I feared.  I have gained confidence in the last few months in my ability to educate my children as they have each grown and blossomed in their own way.  I don't think the old saying "quality not quantity" is true in the case of our family.  One of my favorite parts of always being with them is that I am a witness to each success.  Remember how amazing it was to see your child take her first steps?  It's equally as exciting to watch your preschooler finally "get" rhyming and hear the silly words he makes up.  He just might be the next Dr. Seuss! 

I knew it would take some time to find our groove, but we're improving every day.  A few things I've learned:  Having a routine is key, and so is knowing when to throw the routine out the window to go play in the newly fallen snow.  They are in preschool and first grade and we have lots of years ahead of us to learn about the solar system and the Revolutionary War; they might just learn more building forts and pretending the couch is a ship than they would reading a textbook.  After all, they do need time to socialize.  *wink* 

As for myself, I'm taking a deep breath.  I'm allowing myself to use the wonderful curriculum designed and planned out day by day for me.  There are so many great and amazing things I want to do with the kids that I was getting burnt out trying to do it all!  Instead I'm allowing myself to use all of that extra energy and time to enjoy my family and seize teachable moments when they present themselves.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pine-cone Squirrel Feeders

In Science this week we have been learning about a few different kinds of birds, so I thought it would be a fun project to make some pinecone bird feeders!  This seems like an innocent enough project, right?
EM really enjoyed getting messy.  Her pine-cone had almost an entire jar of peanut butter squished into it.

JR didn't want to have to wash his hands, so he used a spatula to spread the peanut butter.
We also made these cool garland feeders.  

Dad getting in on the action.

Josh hung the peanut butter treats outside where we could easily watch them from the window. The next day, I was lucky enough to spot a brave little squirrel trying to get a hold of that which was meant for those with wings.  The kids and I had a front row seat to watch the acrobatics of the determined little guy.
"Why are those berries growing in mid-air?"

"An easier target."

"Still stuck on the tree."

"Success, it's free!"

"Now, to figure out how to get those berries down..."