Monday, June 28, 2010

4th of July Shirts

Can someone please tell me where the month of June has gone and how it is possible that this coming Sunday is July 4th?  

We couldn’t let the holiday go by without making some 4th of July crafts so I pulled up one of our favorite websites, Family Fun, and let the kids pick some fun things to make.   After a quick trip to Michaels, to get t-shirts we came home to start on our first project ~ Fireworks Shirts.  

What You’ll Need:


  • Plain t-shirts
  • Glittery fabric paint (we used red and silver)
  • Newspaper
  • Paper plates
  • Pipe cleaners

 What You’ll Do:

  1. Spread some newspaper down on the table.
  2. Place a piece of newspaper (we used construction paper) inside the t-shirt so the paint won’t bleed through.
  3. Create a fireworks stamp, for each color paint.  Arrange three or four pipe cleaners in a bunch, pinch the center, then bend the ends over your thumb and twist them together a few times, forming a loop. Spread apart the ends and bend up the tips.  (There is a video here if you want to see the instructions.)

  4. Dip the stamp into the paint and press it firmly onto the fabric.  IMG_2965

  5. When you are finished, hang the shirts (far away from little hands) so it can dry thoroughly.

Our finished shirts.  IMG_2968

Emily’s IMG_2969

Aiden’s   IMG_2963

The shirts turned out super cute and the clean-up was easy!

If you are a regular reader you know that Aiden likes to sneak off when Emily and I are working on projects together.  Today was no different.  I heard water sloshing and giggles coming from the bathroom.  This is what I found.   IMG_2966

Aiden sitting in the bathroom sink (in his swimsuit), giving his baby doll a bath.  He is going to be a good daddy some day!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Nature Shelf

We recently borrowed the book Anna’s Table by Eve Bunting from the Library.  During the past week this book has been read over and over and it has become one of our favorites.  The book is about Anna, who collects wonderful nature treasures and displays them on a table in her room.  Each item has a story and cherished memory tied to it.imageDid you collect nature items as a child?  I did ~ dead bugs, feathers, and rocks were a few of my favorites. 

My daughter also has a collection of nature finds, most of them tucked into boxes in her room.  Treasures that Emily decided needed to be displayed.   We have a small house and while we didn’t have room for a table, we did add a shelf to her wall.  She pulled some of her treasurer out of hiding and carefully arranged each one on her new shelf.


Some of her treasurers include sea shells and a picture of dolphins,IMG_2877

small sea shells found during our early morning walks on the beach,IMG_2879

lavender she picked at Grandma’s, IMG_2882

a rock collection,IMG_2878 

two beautiful rocks painted by our neighbor, who is an artist, IMG_2881

and her newest find, a dead horse fly.IMG_2957

Each item displayed on her nature shelf has a story and memory to go along with it, just like Anna.  She can recall with detail where she found each item, who was with her, and anything she has learned about it.

The next time my kids bring me yet another rock or bug I’m going to stop and take the time to listen to them.  To look at their treasurer as they do ~ with wonder.  To listen to their story.  It just might be a cherished memory in the making!  


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fun Activities with Glow Stick Bracelets

It was HOT today and the kids just didn’t know what to do with themselves so I pulled out some glow stick bracelets that I got from Target’s dollar section.   Here are some of the things we did with them:

We made letters,image

sorted them by color,IMG_2900

counted them,IMG_2901

and talked about small, medium and large.IMG_2903

Feeling satisfied that Aiden and I did a little school, I handed over the bracelets and let the kids play.  They put some of the bracelets together, making a big circle, and took turns tossing the bracelets into the circle.IMG_2905

They made facesIMG_2904

and jewelry.  This is Emily all decked out in the dark IMG_2906

and the kids sporting their jewelry with the lights on.

                 IMG_2916 IMG_2918

The kids have played with the bracelets all evening.  Who knew  glow stick bracelets would occupy them for so long?


Monday, June 21, 2010

Homeschool ~ Summer Plans

We have enjoyed a few weeks of NO SCHOOL!   Although I don’t plan on doing much with the kids this summer, there are a few things we are going to work on.


Math:  Games ~ lots of games!  Emily’s favorite game right now is Monopoly Junior.  I would like to find a game that works on telling time.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Language: We started using First Language Lessons in the middle of the year so we need continue doing a couple of lessons each week in order to catch up.

Spelling:  We switched to All About Spelling after reading all of the wonderful reviews ~ so glad we did!  Emily actually loves spelling so we are going to continue doing at least one lesson a week. 

Science:  I really want to start doing more nature studies and drawing with the kids.  We are also going to be doing some FUN science experiments.


This summer our plans are to read, read, read, and play.   I’m working on some printables  ~ will see if Aiden is in the mood to do them!


The kids may not be doing much this summer but I have a LONG list of things to do. First thing on the list is to organize our school/playroom and finalize our curriculum choices for next year.  

What do have planned for the summer? 


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fun With Sticks

Want to know what we have been doing for fun at our house?  We have been making things out of sticks! 

I sent the kids out into the yard to gather as many sticks as they could in one minute ~ and they found a pile of them.  Then I got out my handy dandy glue gun and started creating!

Emily helped me make a chair and table.  She found some curved sticks and suggested that we turn our chair into a rocker.     IMG_2870

Mighty cute isn’t it? IMG_2872

Emily decided that since we had outdoor furniture she was going to make a small cottage for her dolls out of an oatmeal container.  She covered it with Crayola Model Magic and added small stones.  Then we hot glued some dried grass to the roof.


Here are her Polly Pockets relaxing by the fire, roasting marshmallows and enjoying a girls getaway.


What else can you make with sticks?  I used an old pickle jar to make a vase. 


Aiden asked me to make a truck out of sticks.  I think I’m going to need a lot more glue for my glue gun!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Reading ~ Magic Tree House Series

Emily and I recently started reading the Magic Tree House series.  I had heard really good things about the books ~ now I know why.  We are both LOVING the books!  If you are not familiar with the books they are about a brother and sister, Jack and Annie, who discover a magic tree house where books transport them to all kinds of places and adventures.  The series has a great mix of history, mystery, and adventure. 

To keep track of our travels I printed out the Magic Tree House Passport to Adventure.  After reading each book Emily can earn a passport stamp by answering trivia questions about the book.


Would you like to win a Magic Tree House for your own backyard?  The Magic Tree House is having a Passport to Adventure Essay Contest and the grand prize is an official Magic Tree House worth $5,000.  How cool would that be?    The contest is open until October 31st ~ for kids ages 7 to 14.  You can learn more about the contest here.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Being Still

We returned home safely from vacation Sunday evening.  I was feeling recharged and ready to go so I started making a VERY LONG list of things to do over the next few weeks.  This week I was going to to plan menus and work on some new printables ~ it didn’t happen.  Monday night my Husband found out that his Mom passed away.  Tuesday morning his bags were packed and he was heading to Georgia.  After much prayer and discussion we decided that it would be best if I stayed home with the kids ~ a very tough decision.  We knew that this week was going to be emotional for the entire family because one year ago today my Dad passed away after having a massive stroke during surgery. 

My way of not dealing with my emotions is to stay busy.  I jump from one thing to the next ~ not really getting anything accomplished.  I end up becoming agitated and short with the kids.  Sad to say I have not been much of a comfort to my family.   I’m sure God is sighing and shaking his head as I write this!   This is something God and I have talked about and I continue to struggle with.  After reading a WONDERFUL post from (in)courage about refueling your spirit, I decided I need to STOP and BE STILL.  So today the only thing on the “To Do List” is spending time reading my Bible and hopefully getting a few minutes of silence. 

I’ll be back to normal posting next week.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Children ~ The Teachers

Our week of vacation will soon be coming to an end and although it started out a little rough, the remainder of the week has been wonderful.  We have relaxed, played and just enjoyed being together as a family.  During the week we have been lucky to see so many amazing things:

  • Pelicans ~ diving for a fish dinner.
  • A river otter
  • Two snakes
  • At least three pods of dolphins playing in the water
  • Beautiful seashells
  • Crabs peaking out of their holes at us
  • A rainbow that looked close enough that if we ran to it we would find a pot of gold at the end

My husband and I were talking about everything we have seen this week and he pointed out that the last time we came to the beach,  we just didn’t stop to look at the things around.  We were childless and wrapped up in ourselves and each other.  You know what ~ he was right! 

I bought this sign the other day because it grabbed at my heart.


This week my kids have taught me many lessons about what life is all about.

  • They have taught me to stop and look at every shell, rock, crab, and wave with a sense of wonder.   Never before have I noticed all the different colors of shells!
  • They have taught me that giggles are contagious ~ if I take the time to stop, listen, and look at the joy on their faces. 
  • They have taught me that being serious isn’t always appropriate ~ sometimes I just need to be silly and drop my guard. 
  • They have taught me that it is more fun to have a swimsuit full of sand then it is to sit on the sidelines worrying that I might get sand in my pants!
  • They have taught me that schedules can be good and sometimes those schedules just need to be pitched!
  • They have taught me that some of the behaviors I don’t like in my kids are learned from me! 

I teach my kids about life.  I educate them and hopefully I’m teaching them to be God loving children,  yet I have learned so much from my kids!  


Friday, June 4, 2010

Our Newest Addition and Sad Goodbyes

Introducing the newest addition to our family…..Buttercup the hermit crab.   Don’t you just love her pink shell?


I really had no intention of buying or bringing home any critters from the beach but after receiving some very upsetting news on our first day of vacation I caved and let Emily get a hermit crab.   We found out Monday morning that our cat, Jasper, who I have had for over 13 years passed away.   Our first day of vacation was filled with lots of crying.


I’m thankful and upset that he passed away while we were gone.  Thankful that the kids did not find him curled up on the bathroom rug ~ upset that I didn’t get to say goodbye!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

North Carolina Aquarium

We checked off the only thing we had on our “Places We Have To Go While On Vacation List” ~ which was visit the North Carolina Aquarium.  The kids were very excited to actually see some of the fish and ocean animals we have been learning about. 


Emily and Aiden kept coming back to the touch tank, there favorite thing at the Aquarium, where we got to touch sting rays and a guitar fish.  


Some fun pictures!





Wednesday, June 2, 2010

At The Beach


We made it to the beach and the kids have been having a great time discovering sea life and treasures!

Emily has entertained herself for hours digging up Mole CrabsIMG_2694 

and Aiden has discovered how fun it is to chase crabs into their holes.


We have gotten up early to walk on the beach and the kids have found LOTS of treasures.  IMG_2706_edited-1 

Some of our favorites include a mermaid’s purse, which is actually a skate egg case,


a jaw bone


and lots of beautiful shells and rocks.IMG_2709IMG_2710


The kids have also spent lots of time just playing in the water.

             IMG_2661_edited-1 IMG_2656


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