Saturday, August 30, 2014

Just a jot for "J week"

I forgot to add jingle bells to this.. but.. oh well, it has enough in it.  I'm not great at scenes with angles like this so I asked my husband to help with some of the basics and he did most of the jeep too.

After a few days my older girls suddenly said, "We forgot to put Jonathan on the chalk board!"  Jonathan is their uncle and my little brother who is very special to them so we added him jogging.  I didn't quite have room to write "Join the jog with Jonathan".. it's amazingly harder to write with chalk than it is to draw with it.  Also, I wanted to write "Jelly Fish Justice" like it was "Jaws" or something scary.. made me laugh, but ran out of room with that too.

A random moment from our school day.  Playing some "" logic and strategy games.

Sewing juggling balls out of felt!

Ta da!  She is also making her own design that is a heart instead of a ball.

Trying to juggle!

You have to start with one and be able to catch it!

And here's my unflattering picture while juggling too!  Yes, I'm the only one in the family that can juggle.  The Daddy has been practicing this week though and is up to 5 tosses I think.  I drop them a lot, but I can do it relatively decently.

We've been enjoying this candle often.  In the mornings especially when we eat breakfast and I sometimes read to the girls at the table while they roast mini marshmallows over it.  :)
 This week (after a Monday with a super cranky 3 year old) I was taking note of our "low tech Tuesdays" and how they effected the girls moods and mine and how taking all the screens away (even from myself) for one full day a week for 3 weeks in a row just helped me see where we needed to keep them off and when it was a good time for them to be on.  The girls didn't like the new plan of not getting to watch any cartoons in the morning before school time, but it has been so helpful this past week.  No more bleary eyes and tiredness before the day even starts!  No more whining and begging to watch something (at least not as much since there's a very specific time when they can have the screen on.)  I don't know that we are doing more school type things, but I think their minds are less distracted and they are free to begin the day with their own creativity and imagination rather than being imposed on by someone elses.  Each day this past week has rolled along more smoothly and felt like less of a struggle.  The plan now is that from about 3 to 6 is the only time we get to have shows on or video games.  That would include my own stuff too like old movies or musicals that I like to turn on when I'm sewing and want to listen to something while I work.  It's a nice little girls time of snuggling or resting or playing Super Mario together.  Anyway, this rolling through the day of chore time and then brunch and school and reading out loud and projects and so on that we do through the day wouldn't work for everyone, but my goal is to give them space to be creative and a framework to learn in (where the workboxes and chores come in) and enough fun and rest to keep our days enjoyable and with as little stress as possible.
We had to make "Flap JACKS" one day of course to go along with "J week"

My 8 year old has been going to town sewing and crafting this week.  The 6 year old is following right along and I've been just trying to stay available for when they need a thread tied or a hole mended while I try to make the equivalent stuffed animal for the 3 year old so that she can join in the play when everything is sewn.
" Crafty Creatures " Product Detailsis the name of the book we are using from the library.  LOTS of fun animals to make.  Some out of felt and some knitted and some sewn by hand or on a machine.
I also got some random pictures of where our cat "Fluffy" enjoyed hanging out.

Ridiculously comfortable.  ;)

Some of the juggling balls that we made and filled with beans or rice or lentils.  The heart was made by the 6 year old and the ball on the right was by the 8 year old.  I had to go over the seams when they were done to make sure there weren't holes for the rice to slip out, but they sewed all of it before I re-enforced it at the end.

She doesn't even care that someone put a fabric hat on her with scraps.  Oh, and see that blue cat-shaped pin cushion?  My oldest made that as well.  I love it!  She now has her own pin cushion.

Some school time play with the 3 year old was invaded by the cat who didn't even mind when we put the felt dolls on her like she was part of the back ground.

Making some yarn octopi while the cat looks on.  She was a little too interested in the yarn actually.

The one that I made for my littlest with her choice of yarn.

The 6 year old showing off her creation.  The girls all named their octopus a "J" name.  This one's name was "Jelly" I think. 

And someone was sitting on my computer and checking out the fish. 
 Note the ladder in the background of that picture?  We had workers in our house all week fixing a leak that they've tried to fix before and have never fully gotten totally fixed.  Turns out they had to pull out the whole tub and re-tile all the tile and fix the floor to get it finally right.  The tub wasn't level and it moved slightly so the grout between the tile was cracking and the corner of the floor that was the lowest had all the water filtering down to that spot that created a leak that dropped down into the dining room.  I've been having to deal with this for a full year and got pretty tired of having to keep bringing this SAME problem up.  Hoping this is the last time I'll be without the use of the tub for days on end.  *blah*  Also, stressful having people in and out of the house while I'm trying to do our normal stuff.  The mess from all the crafts was something I was constantly having to tidy up and the mess from the workers was another thing I was having to clean up every day as well.  Grout stuck on someones shoe that they'd tracked up my carpeted stairs?  *groan* Vacuum, sweep, mop, too many times every day.
The little introverted snuggly shy 3 year old was stressed out the first day especially with 3 workers coming in and out so I made her a little tent with the rainbow blanket so she could listen to books on cd while her sister crafted.


My oldest didn't stop sewing basically and the middle one went from sewing some to playing some and the little one just wanted to keep playing with someone.  :)

A moment from their workboxes.  This was actually the 6 year olds, but they kept joining in with each other's workboxes and so, hey, they got twice the amount of practice done right?  This is a fun card thing from the dollar tree where you just match up the three card puzzle and read the three letter word then flip them over and read the sentence.  We also changed it up when they were playing with the puzzles and making the dog "shorter" by taking out the middle - now read the sentence and see if it makes sense? 

Physical movement is so undervalued in our school systems, but balance and hand eye coordination is so important in a child's development.  Here the girls are doing "Wii fit plus" that we have and it's on their workbox schedule that after they do their three boxes for the day they get to do a little "bonus" thing and it's either the Wii fit or leapster Explorer, or tag reader games on their tag maps.  All great learning or review that is fun and something they can do on their own. 

My three year old in the picture before this was stepping on the Wii board to make the bike peddle while my oldest was steering for her (She's a little too young to do both yet) so that they can collect all the flags on the Wii island.  Working together is a pretty big deal in our days and in everything we do.  We take turns or find a way to compromise or work together, but our house is too small to let any fights simmer for long.

Another sewing project.  Fabric ponies that you can doodle on with permanent markers.

She was so delighted to get to scribble on her own and pick out the eyes (she loves the really big buttons!) So even though I made this for her technically it was her very own creative choices-- and her own scribbles.  ;)

Playing with the cat, random moment.  ;)

One morning when I took out the garbage I found this giant box by the dumpster and it still looked clean and fine so I brought it back where the girls quickly turned it into a club house and played in it for at least an hour.  Hey, being crafty doesn't have to be expensive. 

It started to rain so the box came inside and then turned into a covered wagon like in the "Little house on the prairie" books that I'm reading out loud to them.... only this one is being pulled by a smart car that only the three year old can fit into... she liked the wheel that I made for her because she could turn it.  
The one on the left was the one I had fun making.  Her name is "chocolate truffles" or just "Truffles" for short, and the one on the right is the 3 year old's who she named "Zoo zoo".. it was fun to finally get to do the fun creative part of making something finally!  I'd only been helping and helping them all week so I got a little crazy doing the doodles on the doodle elephant since I finally got to go with my own ideas.

the 6 year old's is on the left and the 8 year old's is on the right.  Note though that I sewed the left one on the machine and the one on the right was all done by hand without ANY help from me AT ALL.  She cut out her own pattern by tracing it from the book and sewed it and flipped it and stuffed it and sewed on the eyes and threaded her own needles and tied her own knots.  I can see her skills and mind growing as she keeps at these things.  Soon, we will be lacking in the stuffing and felt supplies but they've gained a LOT of skills that many people don't possess.. not to mention some fun toys to play with. 

The 6 year old's chalk board choice for this week to match the letter.
Oh right.. "J week"  .. I'm afraid I didn't take many pictures of "J" things, though we did throw the juggling balls around a lot and even in time to each other.  We listened to music often this week...even some Jazz which goes too.  We read this book of course -- That had some fun "J" word games at the end

Product Details 
I didn't get a chance to go to the library for more random books that started with a "J" word because of the workers coming in and out so much, but we are getting caught up reading all the other random library books that I'd gotten from several months before and kept renewing!
There were also a few "J" related things in the middle's workboxes that I failed to photograph, but they are really just wanting to get this week and next over with so they can go to "Lego Land" for "L week!"

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"i week" inspirations

My 6 year old posed for the eyes and head on the bottom left.
 "... I imagine an invisible hat and immense shoes so I will look like I..."
It's extremely hard to write legibly this much on a chalk board, but hopefully you all can read it.

And the Iguana with the itsy i on its side.

Ice cream play dough tutorial
Now if you actually follow that link for how to make "ice cream play dough" you will see some amazing pictures of someone who probably only has the one child with perfectionist ideals and too much time on their hands.  Seriously, amazing pictures and idyllic and of course when I went to make it the "ice cream" turned a little greenish.  The 3 year old was still delighted though and made a lovely mess on the table while I read from "Little House on the Prairie" while knitting.

I used koolaid and baking soda for this and the girls had fun feeling the texture and playing with it while I read.

Picture of the 6 year old.  She lost interest in it the quickest but probably because she didn't like the messy feeling.  ;)
We made these ice balls by filling water balloons with water and food coloring.

I think the little one was upset because she broke one, but then her and her older sister had lots of fun throwing and smashing the ice balls.  My 8 year old lost interest in these the quickest, but the younger two had fun for the short time the ice balls lasted.

Ice color painting - how to.
The girls seemed to enjoy this project.  Fill ice cube trays with watercolor paints  and toothpicks so they can paint with ice.

It didn't work terribly well, but it wasn't bad and they seemed to enjoy trying it at least.

 Melting ice experiment
This was probably one of the favorites as they messed around with this for over an hour.  Freeze all different sized bowls of water and then sprinkle salt on the ice blocks.  Then drip water color paints onto the ice to see where the salt melted through.

The blue was the prettiest.

Notice all the ridges in the edge where the salt melted the ice? 
Afterward my oldest enjoyed melting the blocks in the sink and watching how quickly hot water would melt it.  "I see a 'C' in the ice."

Home made ice cream using bags - tutorial

A chalk board creation by the middle one.  :)
Their absolute favorite activity for "i" week was making ice cream in bags!  Lots of shaking.
The first time we made the bag ice cream was when we were all out in the pool with Daddy and Grammy.  The grown ups did most of the shaking, but it was super fun to eat the cold ice cream right out of the bags while we were in the hot tub.  In this picture the girls were playing with a big ice block that I froze for some swimming fun.  They played with it and noticed how heavy it was and how fast it melted and delighted in the bubble frozen in it.  ;)
The three year old shook the ice cream while jumping on the trampoline for a bit.

But the best part was eating it!  This day was the second time we tried this and we did three different bags of ice cream.  One with milk, one with half and half, and one with cream.  They all tasted good, but were slightly different textures and we made note of that and which we liked the best.

Felt ice cream tutorial
I found this tutorial for felt food, but the girls were more interested in making felt animals.  I thought I'd post it anyway though in case someone else is interested in using it.
The blanket that my 6 year old commissioned me to do.  It's very stretchy and represents a lot of reading out loud to them while I did it.  :)  She is so excited about it!

Caught them at a cute moment.

My 8 year old spent almost all of today sewing little felt animals.  She's now able to trace the pattern and cut it out on her own and thread the needles and tie the knots and do the whole thing without my help!  I'm so impressed that the girls are making their own toys.  I read out loud for about 3 hours straight today because they kept asking for more and kept wanting to work on projects while listening.
I still have a few library books to read to them tomorrow with titles that had "I" in them somewhere.  Pretty hard to find, let me tell you, but I found enough to make it fun and different.