Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sidewalk Rhyming Practice

What I hope was our last snow of the year is almost gone, and we purchased new sidewalk chalk after using all of ours painting our trees. Naturally the girls wanted to use it right away! Isn't that what you are supposed to do with new art supplies? Which was fine because they sure weren't do well sitting for schoolwork!

So while they were opening and trying all the new colors (we found a box with 48 colors), I had an idea to practice some reading with them.  I took some different colors and wrote some rhyming words with endings we had been working on on the sidewalk. I started with -ay and -ow and ended up adding -ie and -oy.  I used 4 words with each ending spaced randomly.

Then I had the girls read me the first word and jump to the next rhyming word until they reached the end. Then they went to the beginning and chose a new ending to jump through.


I was amazed at how willing Bria was to do this. She thought it was great fun and made most of the jumps easily. I don't even know how many times she jumped through them all.

Nadia went through them once, but then she went off to build a snowman with the leftover snow.

If you couldn't tell it is a snowman toasting a marshmallow over a bonfire. Bria added the marshmallow and bonfire; Nadia made a point in saying it was a pretend fire so the snowman wouldn't melt from it.

Even without the snowman the girls, Bria especially, had a good time practicing reading without even realizing it! We will definitely have to try it again with different words!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Eggshell and Air Dry Clay Art

Remember our Rhyming Eggs guest post? We saved the eggshells to make some art with, and we finally got it done!  I had the girls peel all the eggs (after we dyed them; I did not hold onto eggs for two week...ick).

Then I made some air dry clay to play with with our eggshells. To make the clay I combined 1 C of cornstarch, 2 C of baking soda, and 1 1/2 C water in a pot and cooked over medium, stirring constantly.   Once the mixture gets to boiling it takes no time at all to combine into a lump of clay! Seriously start to finish it took maybe 10 minutes!(For more complete instructions and pictures visit Growing a Jeweled Rose.) You will want to let the clay cool in a bowl covered with a damp cloth (so it doesn't dry out).  The girls picked out an assortment of cookie cutters, a rolling pin and a meat tenderizer (to crush the egg shells better). Then they went to work. 

Eli was most excited about the "fffssshh" (fish for those who don't speak Eli) cookie cutter. He played until he decided the clay was for throwing.  The girls rolled and cut and decorated over and over. They finally decided on a few things to make and got to work on them.  They kept telling me the eggs shells were "sparkles."

Once they were done we just left their creations on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet to dry.  It took a couple days before they were done.  NOTE: If you want the shells to stay on they have to actually be pressed into the clay; it took a couple reminders to get the girls to do this! 

I made this bowl by actually mixing the eggshells in the clay.  The girls had tried it and thought it was too pokey.  It isn't really pokey as long as the shells are fine; big pieces do hurt a little.

I am sure if we want the shells to stay on long term we will have to put some sort of clear coat on the top, but we haven't tried that (at least not yet)!  The girls certainly enjoyed adding "sparkles" to their clay creations, so don't throw out those eggshells! Use them for art!

Mom's Milk Boutique

 Another of my lovely affiliates is Mom's Milk Boutique, and online supplier of cloth diapers and breast feeding products. This is where I have purchased almost all my cloth diapers and wet bags. It is also where I continue to buy my laundry detergent. They have such great customer service as well as great prices, monthly deals, and a customer reward system! They carry cloth diapers, cloth diapering accessories, Eco-friendly laundry detergents, breast feeding accessories, teething necklaces, baby carriers, and more!

If you are a NEW customer  (sorry to those who have ordered there before) I have a coupon code for $10 your first purchase with Mom's Milk Boutique if it is $75 or more. Unfortunately due to manufacturer restrictions it does NOT include bumGenius, FLIP, Econobum, ERGObaby, Thirsties, Sakura Bloom and Beco Baby Carriers. And again it is only for NEW customers!

Coupon Code: MMB10

If you have shopped there before you have probably already seen the great deals and wonderful customer service, and I encourage you to continue to shop with them (because I love them and you will too). 

Oh, and if you are new to cloth diapers they offer trial packages!

Come on who can resist a baby in cloth!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mom's Library (#13 for me)

Welcome to Mom's Library!

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Fun Features this Week!


Ready-Set-Read is having some gardening fun with a jellybean.

Craftiments shared a cute way to practice numbers and colors and learn a little about Pi!

Enchanted Schoolroom has some great suggestions for aromatic letters.

Learning and Growing the Piwi Way has a very colorful way to explain why puddles disappear.

If I have featured you please feel free to grab my featured button!

For more great features visit my fellow Librarians (Please follow them too!): True Aim Education and Chicken Babies.

Want to see all the great posts added last week? Click HERE to see the whole collection!

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parents as teachers

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Monday, March 25, 2013

K is for Kennel Worker

Our second Community Helper for K is Kennel Worker. This is a job I know well since it is the first job I had at a vet clinic. It is an overlooked job that I would say most people would not want! Luckily I was able to make it fun for the girls. We talked about what animals (dogs in particular) needed; they need food, water, exercise, and love.  I provided the girls with 5 different sized stuffed dogs, 5 different sized boxes (for cages), and an assortment of dishes for food and water.

The first thing the girls had to do was find an appropriately sized cage for each dog. This meant they had to order the dogs biggest to smallest and place them in the correctly sized box. I also reminded them how they needed to handle the dogs. Although these were stuffed, I tried to make sure they were carried nicely rather then by an ear or a tail!

Then they got to feed them (we used dried oatmeal to represent food) and water them. This required pouring the oatmeal and water and using the right sized dishes to fit in the cages.

I found a couple leashes and let them walk the dogs. After all dogs need to go outside for exercise and to potty!

They continued walking, feeding, and watering the dogs for over an hour, I actually had to stop them, so we could make it to gymnastics! 

Prominent Figure in New TAMU Press Book Receives Overdue Medal of Honor

 After 60 years and through the determination of prisoner of war friends and author William C. Latham, Father Emil Kapaun will be posthumously receiving a Congressional Medal of Honor next month.

In 1953, when their guards finally released them, POWs walked south carrying a grim-looking, hand-carved, almost 4-foot-long, hand-carved crucifix, from North Korea to South Korea. First they were debriefed by Army officers. Then they carried the crucifix to the war correspondents standing nearby. They said they had a story to tell. They talked for a long time, holding the crucifix like a relic. Within hours, people all over the world heard about a daring and resourceful priest from Kansas who had been murdered by the Chinese guards. His name was Emil Kapaun.

Kapaun’s father was a Czech farmer from Kansas. Before Kapaun joined the Army as a chaplain, he was a priest in his little hometown of Pilsen. Kapaun was recklessly brave on many battlefields, dragging wounded soldiers through machine gun fire, getting a tobacco pipe shot out of his mouth, saving dozens of lives in the battle of Unsan, where he was captured. Kapaun saved hundreds of lives in the camps, making homemade pans so prisoners could boil water to stave off dysentery and stealing food from the guards to feed the starving prisoners.

On Jan. 16, 1954, a story in the Saturday Evening Post brought Kapaun’s heroism to a worldwide audience. But this was not enough; years passed, old soldiers began to die, and people began to lose hope.
Around 2002, Bill Latham entered the picture. Latham began noticing the name “Kapaun” in papers he collected. At reunions, Latham thought there was something wonderful about how soldiers talked about him. They said to him that Kapaun should have received the medal. The old soldiers’ passion for their friend touched Latham. After he heard about Todd Tiahrt’s failed application, he called the congressman’s office. Tiahrt’s staff told Latham that in 2002, Tiahrt had recommended to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that Kapaun be awarded the medal. Rumsfeld rejected it because of lack of “substantiating evidence.” Latham suspected there was plenty of substantiating evidence. He now went to find it.

Read more on how the story unfolds here. For more on Latham’s new book, in which Fr. Kapaun figures prominently, click here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Poppin's Book Nook #1 - Princesses, Knights, Castles, and Fizzing Rocks


Welcome to the first edition of the Poppin's Book Nook! Our theme for this month was Princesses, Knights, and Castles, so we chose to read The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.

We have read this book several times before, and the girls really enjoy the story. After all the heroine, Princess Elizabeth is a very strong and independent character. She outsmarts the dragon to save her prince and then realizes he is too shallow and not worth her time. I can only hope my girls can be as discerning when they get into relationships! 

I have tried to teach my girls that the outside is not the important part about people, but at 4 and 5 they are still enthralled in how pretty all the princesses are rather then how they behave.  So I wanted to use this fizzing rock experiment to show them that the outside doesn't tell you anything about the inside.

I started by mixing baking soda with some food coloring and a small amount of water, just enough to make it moldable. If you add too much water, just add more baking soda!

Then I molded it around a variety of things trying to make sure some of the prettier colors had worse treasure, like rocks. I threw some money in the mix too, but I made sure to put more of it in the colors I knew my kids didn't prefer. It was a bit over exaggerated, but I think the point came across better that way.

I even sprinkled them with glitter and put little jewels on a few!

After letting them dry for a day or so we were ready to see what was inside. They each chose their favorite rock and used vinegar in a spray bottle or a bowl to uncover what was inside.

As suspected, they chose the "prettier" colors with the jewels. One found a rock and one a marble.

They continued spraying and dunking, spraying and dunking.

Fewer "pretty" rocks remain. They started finding coins after this which caused a great deal of excitement! Of course they were still finding some marbles and erasers and such as well.

The last rock remains. I had no idea which rock was which once they were placed on the plate, so  was really fortunate that this rock had the largest amount of money (a quarter), but it was chosen last.

After we had found all the treasure (and used all the vinegar), we discussed what we found. We talked about how there was no way of knowing what was inside the rocks just by looking at them and how the "prettier" rocks didn't always have the best treasure on the inside.  We talked about the characters int he book and how Prince Ronald looked good on the outside, but his behavior showed he was not very pretty on the inside. And we talked about how real people are like that too. How the prettiest people on the outside aren't always the prettiest on the inside, and you have to get to know the inside of the person to really know how pretty they are!

Make sure you visit all the participating blogs to see what Princess, Knight, and Castle book they chose and what they did with it! I can't wait to see all the creativity! Then come back and link up your related posts!