Saturday, May 12, 2012

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

As most of you know, we are doing preschool at home. I thought I’d share one of the more exciting things we’ve done this Spring.  The preschool curriculum we loosely follow had a unit on caterpillars and butterflies, so after reading a ton of books, and doing a few crafts (see below), we sent away for our very own butterfly garden.

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We ordered from insectlore.com, which is a fantastic site if you’re not familiar with it. I was a little skeptical about getting “live larva” in the mail , but sure enough, they arrived alive! 5 painted lady larva came mailed to us in a  little cup with the food on the bottom.

There really wasn’t much for us to do at first-we just watched them eat and get bigger every day. It really was fascinating to watch them them grow. They quadrupled their size! It became customary for the kids to check on the caterpillars every morning before breakfast and report the changes.

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Once they got big enough, they attached themselves to the lid of the cup and became pupas.

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Once all had transformed,  we took the lid off of the cup and pinned it onto the butterfly garden.

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Then it was a waiting game. We waited about 10 days for the chrysalids to turn into butterflies. It was a very exciting time around here!  Then one morning I happened to glance over during breakfast and there was a butterfly!

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My 3 year old was so excited that he hugged me! We were all jumping up and down in excitement.  Even this “not a fan of bugs” mom was pretty darn thrilled. Just like we read, they stayed attached to the lid for about 2 hours so that their wings could dry. We tried so hard to see one of them pop out in front of our eyes, but it seems they were a little shy because every one of them decided to do it when we weren’t looking.  We fed our butterflies daily with sugar water and fresh orange slices. It was fun to watch them land and eat with their proboscis.  Finally it got warmer, and we were ready to let them go.

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It was a big day! They thought it was pretty cool to reach in and let them sit on their finger. Although I was ready, it was kind of bittersweet to let them go. We had given them names and everything!

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Goodbye pretty painted lady butteflies! You have been fun to watch! Come visit us soon.

(* I highly recommend this site! Of our 5 larva, 4 became butterflies. The instructions that came with it were spot on, and it was an amazing experience watching this through the eyes of my children. They also have ladybugs and ants…maybe we’ll try that next. Okay, probably not the ants :-)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Where oh Where Have I Been?

I realize it has been a VERY long time since I have updated. I guess I kind of forgot about it in a way, or is it that I just knew I should be spending my precious free time in so many other ways? And yet there is something very soothing about getting my thoughts down, and also connecting with some super ladies that I have recently met in cyberspace (giving a shout-out to Erica, Jessica, and Kristin!). You all have inspired me to continue blogging. And so…

So what have we been doing? Ahhh…getting used to life as a family of 6 I suppose. These little people are such blessings, but do require lots of my tender loving care, as anyone in this phase of life well knows. It seems my days are plum full, and sometimes I can’t even say what I have gotten done except feed everyone and clean up their messes (and sometimes not even that!) But we are surviving. In fact, we are more than surviving. We are happily surviving. Most days I can go to bed and say that I still have my sanity, the kids are clean and fed, and I feel good about the day. Yes, there are “those days”(don’t we all know it!)  but overall, we are a busy, happy, BLESSED family of 6. I wouldn’t want to spend my days doing anything but loving on these precious little people, and the one precious big guy in my life.

And so if you are visiting for the first time, here we are. Colin (3)is my fun, sporty, make me laugh little guy; Austin (18 mo.) is my chatty, loud, love to be into everything little writer (yes, he can sit for 30 minutes at a time with a pencil in his hand, holding it correctly, and just “write” on paper; Lila (6 months) is my sweet, sweet little pumpkin; and Garrett (5) is my bright, sensitive,  loves to cook and read guy. So now you know us. Feel free to look around and leave a comment. Thanks for visiting!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What do you do all day?

To be honest, some days more than others.  I thought the few readers of my blog  might appreciate an inside glimpse of what we do to fill our days.  We happily started “preschool at home” on September 1st and I must say, having a routine is a welcome change from the lazy days of summer.

Here are some things we focused on for the first week.

-identifying and writing our names
-the letter A
-the colors red and green
-apples

And now in no particular order…

1. Our day usually starts with doing calendar. We talk about the month we’re in, count the numbers to figure out what day it is, talk about any special days coming up, sing the days of the week song, put up “today”, “tomorrow” and “yesterday” cards, talk about what season it is, sing the weather song and put up the appropriate card, graph how many days we’ve had of that kind of weather, review our address, phone number and 911.

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2. For name practice, I bought 2 of those swimming noodles at the dollar tree and cut them into approx. 1-2 inch slices. I wrote a letter of their name on each piece and then had them string their names together using nylon rope.

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3. For letter A practice, Garrett practiced his A’s several times with different colored crayons on this “bubble” paper.

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4. For science, we talked about what would happen to an apple if we left it out, versus brushing lemon juice on it. Here they are brushing the lemon juice on. 

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5.  I got this bag of glittery, foam letters at Michael’s and dumped them into a container.  We threw a blanket out on the lawn and they had to find as many A’s as they could. It kind of morphed into a game as Garrett wanted to hide the letters and make me find them.  The cool part about this is that I will keep the letters and repeat for every letter!

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6. Coloring things that are red

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7. Making a mosaic apple. Basically, the just tore pieces of red construction paper and glued them to an apple cutout. Good gluing practice for Colin.

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8.We read the book Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss and made these headbands.

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9. We played with unifix cubes. Normally I would throw some counting and pattering in with these, but this time I just let them play.  Austin was happy to be in on the action :-)

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10. This is an apple grid game.  It’s hard to see, but it’s just a piece of paper with 20 apples on it.  Each player would spin the spinner and then put that many cubes on the apples. Teaches 1:1 correspondence and counting  in a fun way.

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11.  Finger painting. They learned that blue + yellow = green!

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12. Apple prints.  Cut an apple in 1/2, stick a fork in it and have them stamp apple prints. When they dry, we will draw stems on them.  If I were organized, I would’ve had them glue real apple seeds on them too. Oh well, maybe next time…

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13. Here is a random depiction of the work they do in their “workboxes”. It’s meant to be independent work, but at their young ages, it rarely is!

Garrett is doing pre-writing practice with a dry/erase marker and Colin is sorting objects into cups according to color.

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Garrett happily finished an alligator puzzle while Colin worked on his cutting skills.

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Garrett doing a rhyming matching game and Colin doing a hot/cold sort.

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Garrett doing an apple counting game. Count the apples on the tree and find the correct number.

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And what is Austin doing during all of this? Well, either this…

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or this!

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So there you have it-some, a random spattering of our first week. I must say, the days are not going at all how I envisioned them, and that’s okay. With the nice weather we’ve had lately, I’m fine with taking a break and enjoying the outdoors. Or if somebody invites us to play at the park, we go. I have a general plan on what I hope we’ll accomplish in a day (and by day, I mean a few hours), but I think almost every day, that plan changes. In October, that plan will really change :-) But we’ll go with it and hopefully learn a few things along the way.

Thanks for checking in on us!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Pics!

Today, I braved it and ventured out to Sears with all 3 of the boys to get their pictures taken.  Specifically, Colin’s 3 year pics and Austin’s 9 month. Thank God for my mom, who saved the day by taking the kids to the play area and getting them a snack after the shoot.  Overall, I’m pleased.  Not the most creative pictures I’ve ever seen, but I think we got a few good ones. Let me know what you think! If the grandparents are viewing this, feel free to let me know exactly what you’d like because I still have to place the order and I’ll get you the pose you like in the size you want.

My Handsome boys:

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Colin:

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Austin:

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Done for another…oh 2 1/2 months until Austin turns 1 and the new one needs newborn pics!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag

I’ve always wanted to make homemade ice cream with my kiddos, but have always been scared that it just plain wouldn’t work. So I was thrilled when our PAT educator came today with a tried and true recipe and all of the ingredients to make it! I thought I’d share this one because it is SO easy and you probably have most of the ingredients anyway.

What you’ll need:

* 1 tbsp. sugar
* 1/2 c. half and half
*1/4 tsp. vanilla or cocoa (see note below)
* 6 tbsp. rock salt
* 1 pint size plastic bag
* 1 gallon size plastic bag
* ice cubes

How to make it:

1. Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt.  Seal the bag. (the pic on the right is Katie teaching Garrett to figure out how many tbsp. is half)

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2. Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, and seal it.

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3. Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.

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4. Wrap a kitchen towel around bags. Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes.

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5. Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully. Enjoy!

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NOTE: We skipped the vanilla in the original recipe and used a tsp. or so of cocoa instead. The result was kind of like a chocolate Frosty.

Also, don’t go cheap on the plastic baggies. You do not want any leaks for this one!

This recipe makes about 3 Dixie cups full of ice cream.