Friday, January 24, 2014

5 Random Things ~ Back to Normal

We're back in our regular routine. Not very much interesting going on, but you know it's never boring with little ones.

1. Math


We are having more fun learning addition and subtraction than I knew was possible.

I made a giant number line out of 12 sheets of regular paper taped together. The kids start at what number I say. Then I give an addition or subtraction sentence. If I say plus, they turn themselves towards the bigger numbers b/c they know that plus means to add and the sum will be a larger number than they started on. Same with the subtraction. If I say minus, they turn themselves towards the smaller numbers b/c they know that minus means to subtract and the difference will be a smaller number than they started on. Then they jump to the answer of the math problem.

The 2nd game pictured here is called Free Fall. I divided a piece of paper by drawing a line down the middle. The kids dropped small pasta shells onto the paper. They wrote down how many shells landed on both sides of the line on the paper. Then you can add or subtract those numbers. Easy peasy and the kids keep asking to do it again and again. 

That certainly beats boring worksheets. I mean, we still have a worksheet or 2 to complete, but playing the math game before we do the paper work is so much more fun!

I love it!

2. Surprises!
The kids know how to put their clothes on hangers and place them in the closet. They usually grab the step-ladder to accomplish this task.  Little Man, who is all boy, decided he was going to get creative and tackle this chore in a different way. 

Yes, that is his dresser in the closet. I hid it in there for I thought he may get the idea to climb on it sooner and more often if I left it out in the bedroom itself. I guess I should find a different place for that piece of furniture.  *wink* 

3. DIY
I am domestically challenged. 


What can I say? 

I discovered how to make your own powder laundry soap a while back, but I just made some of this last week since I've been trying to use up the store-bought stuff I already had. So I'm down to using the last bit of it and decided to make this homemade cleaner. Let me first say that it smells really good. It's super easy, and ya'll know me... it's gotta be easy for me to have success at anything! Ha! 

I'm sure you already know how this works and all (b/c you know, I'm behind a bit), but for the sake of journaling on this blog, I'll share how I made this super-money saver. 

     *1 bar Fels Naptha soap - I've heard you can use Ivory or other natural unscented soap
     *1 Cup Borax
     *1 Cup Washing Soda (not regular baking soda)
     All these are found in the laundry isle. 

     1. Grate up the bar of soap
     2. Add the other 2 ingredients
     3. Mix well.

*Secret spoiler*
I know my picture isn't very good, but can you see how fine the powder is? I used my food processor for this project. I washed and dried it and repeated right after I was done grating and mixing. At this point I cannot say that I've used my processor for food yet. 

Hu-hem! Anyway.....

I bought 3 bars of the Fels Naptha (at only $.89, who could resist?) and made 3 batches of this recipe and it fills a one-gallon ice cream tub over half full. The lady on the website I found this recipe on says she only uses 1 Tbs per load of laundry. {Is that enough?} If that is an adequate amount to use, then my bucket of soap should last a little while. Don't you think? 

Anyway. I'm a little bit skeptical (only b/c this is new to me), but I'll try it. So after 2-3 more loads of the store bought detergent, I will start using my homemade powder and will report back how well it actually worked. 

4. Crafting 
I am loving my wreaths! Remember the felt flowers in my last post? Here they are on my new wreath.


That is a wreath form covered in... get this.... denim from an old pair of jeans! 

Clever, eh? 

Maybe not. 

But I have all this denim and wanted to give it a whirl. That is so thinking outside the box for me. LOL 

I've not decided if this wreath is actually done or not. I thought that maybe a bow would be too much b/c of the flowers, but it does seem like something is missing. Do you crafters have any suggestions for me? 

5. Home Economics
My little darlings are learning how to wash and rinse the dishes. Pretty soon they'll be able to do it all by themselves.  


Happy Happy Happy! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

5 Random Things ~ Adventure is Out There!

It's been a few weeks since I've written a "Random" blog post. 

Happy New Year! We had lots of fun this past Christmas/New Year's break.  

1. Traveling Museums: The Columbus Ships


The Columbus Foundation has built replicas of the ships that Christopher Columbus and his crew traveled in on his discoveries in the 15th century. The Nina and the Pinta are traveling museums visiting ports all over the Western Hemisphere. The crew says they have the Santa Maria as well, but it's too big to travel in the rivers. They also told us that the Nina is replicated to the exact size of its original and the Pinta is bigger than its original. Two times bigger I think? Anyway. It is bigger than the Nina. 

These ships were on display down on the coast, so we traveled down to take a tour and learn a few things. As you can see, we went on a cold rainy day, which the crew said was a good time to tour the ships because then it was a realistic lesson of how it really was on those ships. One interesting fact is the original boats and crew members were wet most of the time. The moisture-absorbing salt from the sea water kept the sailors clothes wet, so they welcomed the fresh water rain so they could rinse the salt away. 

This little adventure was pretty interesting and I hope the children remember it. Since these ships are a traveling museum, I hope they come to the coast again. 

2. Creative Door Wreath
I saw this very creative why-didn't-I-think-of-that wreath for the winter months idea online. It's so easy. The internet version I saw had you put 3 different sized wreaths together and add a real hat and scarf to it (stick arms and mittens too). Their snowman wreath fills the entire bottom half of the door. As you can see, mine isn't so big... maybe I should've went bigger? Anyway. So my version is actually 2 different sized wreaths and cone-bottomed basket that when turned upside down looks like a hat over top the face. Instant head! So I attached the wreaths and basket together with floral wire and made the scarf and "hat" with burlap ribbon. I attached red lace with hot glue. And there is my own snowman wreath...  

Maybe I should add stick arms......

3. New Year's Countdown

East Coast Mommy Blog gave me a great way to count down the new year with the children this year: Countdown Bags!  So I put together 8 bags for each child. The kids had a bag to open every hour beginning at 5pm all the way down to midnight. I just used regular brown lunch sacks with a homemade paper clock attached to them.

I'm going to try to remember what the bags contained. It was all simple silly stuff, but the kids looked forward to opening them:

5pm had a construction paper cookie with the instructions "Bake Cookies" printed on it. We then proceeded to bake some giant pumpkin cookies from store-bought dough.
6pm had supplies to make their own party hat, as you can see them wearing in the picture above.
7pm was sand art. I had a little sand art activity that I had purchased for Adelle a year ago that we hadn't done yet.
8pm was a few little party necklaces from the dollar store and 2014 glasses.
9pm was play Trouble - the board game.
10pm was some little blower things and balloons.
11pm were some noise makers (yes, I saved those 'til almost last to save our insanity!)
12am midnight was a cup for some alcohol-free sparkling grape bubbly and a giant pumpkin cookie that we baked from earlier.

 4. Monopoly
I can't really remember a time playing Monopoly where 1 person actually owned half the board, complete with hotels and everything. Good thing he didn't pull that card that said pay so much for each house and hotel. He might've lost then.  Ha! 

5. Felt flowers

I came across these oh-so-easy felt flowers about 6 months ago or so. My good friend gave me a bunch of felt when I asked around back then. I finally decided it was time to try them out. Look how beautiful they turned out! These are going on my next wreath. 

I'm serious guys. I am NOT a crafter. These things that I have made were possible only b/c of the simplicity of them. I have no patience and no talent for anything beyond what an elementary child can do. 

Have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Math Games ~ Restaurant and Store

I just realized that I haven't written about the fun games we are playing to learn addition and subtraction like I had previously promised! 


Better late than never, right?

So a few weeks ago, our curriculum gave us the idea to play "restaurant" and "store" to help the children practice addition skills. 

For restaurant, I served lunch as if we were at a restaurant.  (No pics for this one. Sorry!) The lunch menu had a few selections on it priced from 1 to 9 cents. The "customers" had only 10 pennies at a time to "buy" their meal with. {In the future when we are learning bigger number addition facts, they'll have 20 cents to work with.} So they choose 2 items from the menu at a time. The "waiter/waitress" writes the 2 amounts down on a "guest check", adds them and asks for the payment. The "customer" then gives the payment. Of course the food is served and we all eat. Each one of us takes turn being customer and waiter/waitress. The kids liked that. 

For store, I took items out of the pantry and wrote prices 1-9 cents on each item and set the items up on the counter.  {Now I've been saving food boxes and containers as we empty them so we can play with those.} Again, each "customer" has only 10 pennies. The "customers" go "shopping" choosing 2 items to "purchase". They take their items to the "clerk", who writes up a receipt adding the total amount each customer needs to pay. We each take turns being the customer and clerk. 

Adelle and Jonathan both have fun with these activities. I have fun not giving the clerk or waitress enough money and they have to tell me how much more I need to give them.  {How clever of me!}

We alternate playing these games on different days. 

I love it when the children are learning and they don't realize it!