Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Star Counting (to 100)

Last week we practiced some Skip Counting by tens up to 100.  This week we counted to 100 using stars (we sort of have a space theme going on).  The first way we did it was using a piece of paper with numbers 1-100 written on it.  I then had the girls count each number as they put a star sticker on it (they love stickers).

The second way we counted was using star shaped beads and egg cartons.  I was hoping I had 10 egg  cartons saved for each girl, but I didn't.  So each one had a single egg carton cut down to just 10 holes.
I had them count as they placed one bead in each hole.  Then I had them repeat with each set of 10 until each hole had 10 beads in it (100 all together).  Then we could skip count using each hole as a set of ten.

Of course the girls wanted to use the beads for necklaces, so I let them each make a necklace after we had counted.  The only catch was they had to make a pattern with the beads rather then randomly stringing them on like they typically do.

Sorting beads by color to make necklaces.

They were pretty happy with them, and Bria put hers in rainbow order. Rainbows always make me smile too. :)

Letter A Sensory Bin

This week we are talking about the letter A. The girls already know the letter A and the sounds it makes, but we did more practice on writing and talked about some jobs that start with the letter A. Even though Eli is pretty young, I made him a letter A sensory bin. I put a few foam A's of various sizes, a magnet with the letter A that says the sounds A makes, a book about the letter A, and several objects that start with the letter A. I had the girls help collect the objects; we found airplanes, an apple, an anteater, and an alligator. Bria helped show him all the stuff in it; she really enjoys teaching.

For more sensory fun (including all previous letters) visit my Sensory Page!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Inspires Journey to Other Side of the World

TAMU Press authors Walt and Isabel Davis could not have known that the contents in their book Exploring the Edges of Texas (Texas A&M University Press, 2010) would inspire an adventure taken halfway across the world. One particular reader, Christopher Poteet, found certain interest in a story about the Red River Meteorite, which was found in Texas in the 19th century. As legend goes, chunks of the Red River Meteorite somehow found their way to Calcutta, India. Fascinatingly, reader Poteet was traveling to Calcutta the following week, and decided to try and track down the missing pieces of rock.

As Poteet explains in an email sent to the Davises: " . . . thus an adventure was born. And so, using your research as a road map, I contacted Yale University, gathered a little more info, and was soon on the teeming, filthy, glorious streets of Calcutta in search of a sacred rock stolen from an indigenous tribe in Texas almost 200 years ago. I had very few leads and no actual contacts, but with a sense of purpose and a capacity for drinking lots of milky sweet tea, I was confident that I would close this Circle. (Though the actual logic of why I was looking for this meteorite, and what exactly this Circle was, got more twisted with each telling.)
And so, to cut to the chase; Mission Accomplished. Pics attached.”

Poteet found what he was looking for, and authors Walt and Isabel Davis can take the credit for inspiring his adventure!

--Madeline Loving

Happy Halloween Campers!

Halloween is almost upon us and our campers braved ghosts, ghouls and a promise of Suzie's pumpkin soup to be with us today.  We had lots happening with old favourites like the bouldering room and something new in the form of the zip wire and a new spin on bush craft with pumpkin carving (for the record all pumpkins were free range and not battery pumpkins).

The climb to the zip platform was a challenge and a half with everyone climbing the pole, stepping onto the platform and waiting patiently for their turn, the best advice was don't look down and the first step is the worst.  Our bush craft was set in a tranquil camp deep in the estate, the peace was soon shattered with the arrival of our potential celebrities who had heard hints of a bush tucker trial.  No one shouted "Get me out of here!", and everyone tackled the challenges making fearsome pumpkins, scary shelters and sampling the hot chocolate heated on an open fire with crispy marshmallows to follow.

We had a few brave souls for Phoebe's bush tucker trial, we many ahhs, a few oooos and definitely one chunder chirp but the weird and wonderful concoctions went down a treat. (It's whether they come up again we have to worry about).

Don't look down

If you're taking a photo, whose holding the rope?


The long walk

Peace and quiet


Creepy residence, for sale if you want it

Pumpkin's front and centre

What's cooking?

Not What I Planned

I frequently complain when something is not what I planned.  Really nothing is ever like I planned, and I should be grateful it!  I have a long history of things not going according to MY plans. Both big and small plans get interrupted. Let me explain just how my BIG life plans have been changed.  The how and why is unknown even to me, but I am happy they changed.

You see growing up I never saw myself getting married and having kids.  I was going to be a vet and that was all that mattered.  Even into college I didn't want kids; school is what mattered.  Though I frequently changed my end goal (equine specialty, oncology, theriogenology, mixed animal), it always started with getting into vet school, getting through vet school, and going through a residency.

Once I was in college I decided I did want to get married (Oh, look that wasn't what I planned). In fact, I met another ore-vet student and got engaged.  That ended when he cheated on me (didn't plan that either).  Yeah, I don't put up with that.  So I decided again I was better off on my own.  It was the middle of my third year, and I had just been accepted into vet school for the following fall. I didn't need a guy!

I decided it was time to do something I wanted to do, no matter how weird, and took a fencing class.  The kind of fencing you do with swords.  Then for some reason I decided to go to a tournament, very out of character for me.  In order to go I needed to join the fencing club.  I did, and that is where I met my husband.  I rode with him to the tournament and realized at that time I would marry him, it was a little, well very, weird (also not what I planned).

We started dating in May of that year, and I started vet school in August.  Still intent on getting through, but not as interested in spending the extra years in a residency (changing plans again).  It was still a possibility for sure, but 4 more years was already seeming like a long time.  At the end of my second year, Nathan and I got married.  It was literally the middle of finals week; I took a final the day after the wedding at 7 am.  By this point we had agreed on 2 kids at some point, but I needed to get through school first (seriously, what was I thinking; changing my mind again).

Of course when the thoughts of having kids came, the thoughts of a residency left completely.  I went through school and graduated just before our 2 year anniversary; I was so thankful to have completed this life long dream!  We had bought a house where we would be close to church, yet I would have room to look for a job.  There really weren't a lot of jobs open in the area, but somehow I found one.  A part-time one (not what I had planned). It really worked well though as I was wanting kids and this way I could just work part time while they were little.  We started trying to have kids.

2 years later, no kids (well, I know I didn't really want kids before, but now I did, so my plans weren't really working out).  After 2 and a half years of trying, we finally got pregnant and had a miscarriage.  I was devastated! Why couldn't anything work right?!?!

We quickly got pregnant again with Bria, and I quickly learned after she was born that I really didn't want to go back to work and leave her (WHAT????).  Of course student loans meant I had to continue working; which wasn't too bad because I did like my job.

Then she was joined by Nadia 15 months later.  At this point I decided I wanted more then 2 kids; I just wanted a few years before I had more (So now I went from 0 to more then 2; why even plan?).

Still working part time, the girls start getting older, and by the time Bria is 2 I am already dreading sending them to school.  This is when I start to think about homeschooling (Wasn't I going to work full time when they got in school?).  Then a surprise pregnancy right after Bria turns 3 which ends up being miscarriage number 2.  Of course I was upset again, but I decided it was still best not to try for any more kids yet.  However, I got another surprise  just a few months later that turned out to be Eli (Well he was a year earlier then I planned).

So somehow my plans have changed from no husband or kids just full-time work (which I am sure would have been very satisfying work) to a husband, 3 kids (at least), and a desire to homeschool (which I think would be more satisfying).  And these are just the MAJOR things that have changed! I have to say this is not what I planned, but I am happy God planned it for me. I really can't imagine life without Nathan or any of the kids.

How many of you have had interruptions to the like you planned? Have you found the good in God's plans?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Moon Sand Gone Wrong = Sandy Oobleck

I attempted to make some moon sand (based on this recipe from Domestic Charm) for a solar system sensory bin, but it went horribly wrong.  I added 4 cups of sand, 2 cups of cornstarch, and a cup of water like it said, and all I got was soup.  So I added 4 more cups of sand and 2 more cups of water.....still soup.  I let it settle a bit and poured half a cup of liquid off the top! Still it was more like sandy oobleck then moon sand.  Apparently my sand was much too wet for the moon sand.  I suppose it was a good idea, but it seems too messy to add anything to.  I will come up with something else for our solar system.  However, this sandy oobleck would not go to waste!

After I drained off the excess water.
Of course I let the kids play with it! Nathan played with it a bit too; although he kept saying, "It's so weird."  Eli especially seemed to enjoy picking it up and having it run through his fingers.  It was certainly a lot coarser then regular oobleck, but it maintains its original properties.

The "hangers" were stuck.
I think Eli would have played all day!

I guess it turned out pretty fun anyhow!

Its that time of year

You know the one. The clocks have gone back. You drag home half the park in your buggy wheels. And you're on cold no.3 in so many weeks.

I blame that perpetually snotty kid at play group. There's always one. Slobbering the toys you just know your little one is eyeing up for a good chew. And its just not good mummy manners to give it a sneaky wipe first. Especially as your baby has now been tagged and will take his turn as chief slobberer next week.

So, what to do. Here's our five top tips in the Baby Vs Snot battle.

sooo many tissues
  1. Fruit. Lots of it. Forget vitamin supplements. Mainline kiwi fruit. Just be prepared for nappy fun with this one. At least you know its gone in I guess!
  2. Mummy milk. If little one is too young to scoff fruit then some magic mummy milk with all those vitamins and nutritional goodies will no doubt aid the recovery process. You may need a stash of biscuits to cope with your little milk monster for this one. Good excuse to hide away for extra snuggle time... Particularly if little one has kindly shared said cold.
  3. Pain relief. Not that I like dosing little one but nothing beats it for bringing down a temperature. We found before bath time was best, can wash off the excess from our sticky battle with the spoon - and hits the spot before bedtime feed...
  4.  Saline spray. We like the Sterimar one. Well I do anyway. Bubba is indifferent until a spray shoots up one nostril. Then he considers what exactly mummy has just done - gives me The Look and wails like a banshee. Mean Mummy braces herself for round 2. This is not as straight forward as it sounds. A serious amount of flapping ensues and most ends up in his eye. How much would you hate it if someone tried to do that to you?! Only after lots of apology snuggles when little one can breathe a bit easier does it feel at all worth it... Not sure why its always me that has to do this bit, whereas -
  5.  Chest vapour rub. This is the part that I have a willing volunteer for. Rubbing that soft little bundle of warmth with nice smelling rub. I get to have some too, so bubba can breathe it in when he feeds. I don't seem to get anyone volunteering for that bit either. Clearly am only useful as Baby Feeder for the moment... 
tasty box... shame about the contents...
 Once you have completed the above nightly rigmarole you can be safe in the knowledge that by next week, or the week after if you've managed to avoid The Slobberer you can begin the whole process all over again. Who was it that said Autumn was their favourite time of year!?

 What are your top tips for surviving the cold season?
shh... don't wake the baby...
We were given Sterimar nasal spray to try for the purposes of a post. We were not paid for the post and all views and opinions expressed are honest and my own, as always.

Keeping Busy

This past week started off with  Nadia's Mermaid Party.  She was so excited, and she seemed to have a great time!  I was pretty happy to get it over with.  I enjoy planning the parties, but they sure are stressful to carry out!

We kept ourselves busy the rest of week.  I finally made the girls some baked sight word cotton balls to squish (Squishing Sight Words).  Since I had seen the idea a couple months ago I had been wanting to try it. The girls recently finished going through a set of sight word worksheets, so this was good review.  They seemed to enjoy squishing them too.

We also had some fun with book activities.  We made a Skippyjon Jones Sensory Bin Wednesday when it became apparent that our Parents as Teachers person had forgotten our appointment (It had to be rescheduled from the previous week when we were sick).   This at least kept them busy for a while.

Bria and I also made some paper sack puppets to go with "The Little Red Hen." Nadia enjoyed playing with them too; even if she didn't get to help make them.

We also tried to spend some time outside while it was nice.  Who wants to waste 80 degree weather in October? We practiced some "Skip" Counting one evening.

Nadia also found a nest in the tree above where we found our little Crackle.  We are assuming it is his nest; we just couldn't find it when all the leaves were on the tree.

Then right before it got cold again I tried to get some pictures of the girls in their mermaid tutus.  I put together a little pirate outfit for Eli, but he really wanted no part of it.  The results were NOT what I had in mind.  I hope we get a chance to try again before they grow out of them!

At some point this week, the girls worked together to complete the 100 piece puzzle Nadia got for her birthday.  I figured they would get bored with it as they normally don't sit too well for puzzles, but they didn't. They had it together it no time!

We also went to art class again Thursday evening.  This time they were talking about warm and cool colors. Bria wanted to know why there were no hot colors, and Nadia told her red was hot because fire was hot.  They they made some prints with leaves. Neither were too interested in making prints. Bria was distracted by the toys, and Nadia just wanted to paint with a brush.  Maybe we will try again here at home.

Overall it was a pretty busy week (as they all seem to be).  This next week I am going to try something new with the girls (I hope; organization is not my strong suite).  They have become very interested in what other people do for as a job, so I am hoping we can start exploring that a bit more.  I guess we'll see ho wit works out!