Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Picture Perfect

Sometimes....I feel like our daily life is the blooper reel.  You've all seen the cute pictures of cute kids holding up the letters to spell "Daddy" in pictures.  Well, 2 things: 1.  I am not a photographer....not just not a professional one...I'm just plain not A photographer.  2. My children...well, I'll let the evidence speak for itself.

This week is our D week in school, and I wanted to do the Daddy pictures and email them to his work as a special surprise...because boy could he use it.  That's another post for another day.  Anyway, I will have to pick from these somehow.  Here are the pictures from our photo shoot.  I'll spare the total meltdown ones of both children.

And yes, my daughter needs her bangs cut or she needs to keep a clip or pony tail in...pretty much a losing battle these days.  I don't know what to do with it...maybe that's another boring post, but I don't know if I really want to go the bangs route.  Mothers with daughters, help a girl out!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More Table Time Activities

...or sprinkle activities ...or floor activities (because the days we did these we were on the floor).

My kids do better when there's some structure.  They certainly have their fair share of free play time, but there are times they need some intervention before the house comes crashing down.  Or, does that only happen in my house?

Here's an old stand-by: Hide puzzle pieces in a bin of dry beans.  Here is an ABC puzzle the kids found the letters to.  (Sorry about the picture quality.  I don't think to take pictures till after I set them up, and they're usually in a bad spot.  Oh well.)

Today, I got out our counting blocks from the Dollar Tree and cut matching colored circles to put in the bottom of a muffin pan.  Sort the blocks according to color!

 Stevie must build towers when blocks come out.

 Rearrange the colored circles in the bottom or make patterns on the floor with the circles and or blocks.
 We must also always include trucks...these are perfect being light weight to lift with his skid steer and put in his wagon.  He can also dump the blocks into the muffin tin. Way more fun than fingers!  If you don't have a skid steer like Stevie, you can use plastic tongs for more fine motor work.  I need to pick up a pair at the dollar store.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Preschool, Letter C Week

Our verse was, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."  We used "The Memory Bible" by Stephen Elkins for our verse, lesson reference, and verse song on Day 1, and the cd was used through the week.

We made our letter C crab.
We read "The Cow Loves Cookies" by Karma Wilson (2 of Stevie's favorite C things).  We ripped and glued the cow's spots, and he helped me draw and color cookies!
 We read books about cars.  I especially liked "Cars: Rushing! Honking! Zooming!" by Patrcia Hubbell.  He drove his cars on the laminated C...we pretended there was a bridge at the end of the C and lifted the car up to start back over at the top of the C.

Stevie is in love with "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle, so we made a fuzzy caterpillar with a clothespin, pom poms, and google eyes.  I made a simple leaf, laminated it, and punched holes for the caterpillar to follow either on top or chomping with the clothespin.  I tried to make the holes in a C shape...always reinforcing our letter.
 You could also give your child some leaves to punch on their own. This is a great fine motor task, but Stevie isn't quite ready for it's too frustrating still to use the puncher.
We also have colored circles of construction paper.  Make long caterpillars and count the circles, or make patterns.

Of course, we had to do more with cookies!  This was a cute book, actually a big book I snatched from a garage sale for 50 cents!  These children make goes through the process and ingredients.  It ties in with the C theme and also "creating"...our C word "created" from our verse.  After reading, we made our own chocolate chip cookies and enjoyed them!

Here are most of the items in our C box that were explored throughout the week.  This is still one of Stevie's favorite parts of our school routine.

 This was our pocket chart for the week that included our verse stick and pocket flashcard...I took our C families out of the picture for privacy. :). The sticks are now in our Abc verse and prayer pail!

Sprinkle C Activities:
*Cutting play food/veggies.  We have some plastic veggies with velcro to cut, another win from a garage sale.
*Play-doh to create and cut. Also use cookie cutters.
*Snack on animal crackers and crackers. (...or cookies, cupcakes, cake...)
*Have a celebration
*Cook pretend or real meals together
*Look for real caterpillars
*Notice all different colors of cars
*Practice being caring and compassionate
*Make cards for C friends we prayed for
*Brown construction paper circles with numbers beside or below them.  Stevie puts 1,2,3,...chocolate chips on the "cookie."  At the end, he got to eat the chocolate chips!
The idea isn't to sit down and check all of these off my list one by one.  I have these ideas that are easy to sprinkle in our day when we need an extra activity, or they just happen spontaneously, and we make the C connection.  That's what it's all about. Finding and practicing what we're learning through everyday life-living and through things...and using some other inexpensive ways to have fun learning our letter and God's Word.  This is one aspect I'm loving about homeschooling.  I know exactly what he's learning, and it just flows through our whole day.  It's awesome!

You are probably noticing how there are a lot more activities this week.  Stevie is just loving school.  I still focus on 2 organized school days, but he asks for school every day.  Since he does, we keep it short and simple, and I have to have a lot of ideas on stand-by.  I didn't mention it earlier, but we're still including prayer, the calendar, and the weather chart with songs.  Stevie loves using a pointer!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Preschool, Letter B Week

This week focused on the letter B.

We started each time with prayer, weather song and chart, the calendar, and our B pockets with the flash card and B sticks...our verse and B friends to pray for.  Our verse this week (always shortened), "On my bed, I remember you." Psalm 63:6

Our letter box is always Stevie's favorite!  Here are some of the things that were in it this week in addition to the pictures in our pocket chart:

Then we read together.  The first school day, we use a Bible lesson for our verse, so we read about David the shepherd boy who wrote and sang praises of thanks to God out in the fields...and at night to bring him peace.  We used His Jesus Storybook Bible for the lesson.  Another resource I use and will be using quite a bit is The Memory Bible book and cd's by Stephen Elkins.  This book goes through the alphabet twice, Old Testament first and then New Testament, with verses.  The book gives the verse for the letter, a little preview devotional, and the Bible story reference and paraphrase to study when learning the verse.  Then there is a song to learn the verse at the end.  The cd's read the text for each day by Kirk Cameron... and then sing the song for you to learn it.  I will be using this book quite a bit, but for last week's week A, I chose a different verse and story, so I didn't use it.  That may happen sometimes.  But, the songs sure get stuck in my head and are a great way to memorize.  I had gotten it for a couple of bucks on Amazon last year when I was looking for verses put to music.  We play the story and song on repeat while we do our craft/project/prewriting practice.  So, we used the book for our first day's story/lesson this week and used the song on cd all week during table time.

Stevie wanted his foot in the picture, and why it's sideways, I have no idea.  I neeed my laptop running again.

Then we made our letter craft...a bumble bee you all heard about.  We close in prayer, including our B friends.

Our 2nd school day, we read this book and did this project, bear and blanket.

And our 3rd day (because he asked for it) we read this book and made a bear with a basket book (different b things in it's basket) from a teaching book I had.  Does the bear look familiar? Ha.  Then we made him a little boat...because he had to have a boat after the book.

Here are some sprinkle B activity ideas I had on-hand (We were able to do most of these at some point through the week, and Lydia is easily included and entertained by them as well):
*Play with mega blocks (these blocks are only brought out once in awhile)
*Read more books about bears, backhoes, buses, bridges, etc. While snuggling in his blue bean bag chair
*Play with backhoes and trucks in dry beans
*Blow bubbles
*Make and eat banana bread
*Look at bugs
*Watch Bob the Builder
*I have a Take it to Your Seat game to make patterns out of a Bears buttons.  It's cute, but the pattern concept is still ahead of Stevie, so I showed him some patterns and mostly he played with the buttons making train tracks and roads.
*Basketball is a must!
*Bouncing on a big exercise ball
*Bike rides
Just trying to reinforce that words are all around us, and they use the letters we are learning!

Friday, September 7, 2012

3 Year Old Stevie Memories

This is a big milestone for both of us.  I get to record some of the funny, memorable things Stevie says (and does).  I longed for the day I would hear sweet words we could understand.  Here are some lately:

"Mommy, I want apple."  This is him saying he wants to do school....the first week was a lot about apples, so I guess that's what he thinks about.  Hopefully, it will make more sense to him as we go on.

Calling bees "beans" ...still cracks me up.

"Up-up truck" is pick-up truck.

During A week of school, we learned about ants.  I quiz him a bit with pictures of things that start with our letter.  Every time I showed him an ant and asked him what it was he said, "Umm, a bug."  "Well, yes, but it's called an ant. Ant, Stevie."  He'd repeat.  "Now what is this?" "Umm, a bug."  I think I may need to start posts including school bloopers.

He all of a sudden has a fear of thunder.  I think it was those fireworks that did him in a few weeks ago.  So now, when I tuck him into bed for naps or the night, he says,"What's that noise?"  "What noise, Stevie?"  "Noise in the sky."  I reassure him there is no thunder tonight, and we are all ok.

Yesterday, he was busy jumping on our bed (that may or may not have been a sprinkle B activity), and he was singing some of his verse song with me.  "On my bed, I remember you..."  Just this week, he has been singing a word here or there almost everyday, and one day he was singing several words!  Well, I had also gotten out the mega blocks that day in the kids' room as an occupier (and another B activity).  Lydia was busy with the blocks, Stevie was enjoying our bed yelling, "Goo Stevie!" before each cannon ball, and I was trying to put laundry away.  I kept asking Stevie if he was going to play with the blocks.  He'd tell me no, but a few minutes later, I just barely caught this mumbled jumbled sentence come out of his mouth, "2 more minutes and go play with blocks, ok, Stevie? Ok."  Ha!  I had to ask him if that was what he just said, and he said yes, smiling.  We have to give him a lot of warnings to help with his transitions, and here he was doing it for himself.

Yesterday, we had to go to the bank.  There once was a time for Stevie when going anywhere was a bit of a thrill.  Now, he'd rather play with his toys...unless it's going to someone's house!  He will often bring a toy with him when we go.  We usually encourage a small toy.  One day a couple of weeks ago, he wanted to bring his Cars folding chair, haha.  Oh my sweet boy.  He's never tried that before, and I didn't have the heart to try to change his mind when he carried the thing out, down the steps, opened the front passenger door of the van, put it on the floor, and said, "There." with a heavy sigh after all that hard work.  So, the chair rode with us.  Well, Stevie was playing with matchbox trucks, and I said he could bring them to the bank.  I went upstairs to grab something, came back down to see Stevie ready to go at the door with a different truck in his hand.  Whatever.  I pick up my purse, and I see his matchbox trucks inside, haha.  "Stevie, what's in Mommy's purse?"  "Sire trucks!"  (working on the f sound)  I guess so!  His fire trucks went to the bank in my purse, and he never asked for them.  I guess they were just along for the ride.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Brought to You by the Letter B

I'm a fan of learning in a natural environment.  Well, I used to be.

I promised I would put a post up that wasn't about homeschooling.  And, this isn't really about homeschooling.

We are learning about the letter B this week and made the letter into a cute little bumble bee (more on that in another post).  Well, lately Stevie hasn't been a big fan of bugs.  It all started when we tried to make use of our picnic table outside one night, and the little fruit flies were everywhere, so we had to move back inside.  Stevie said, "Mommy, bugs out of control!"  He had just heard Matt say that and was repeating, but it was funny nonetheless...and I'm still in awe of his speech progress.  Matt had been very annoyed by the bugs.  Stevie picked that up.  So, everytime we went outside after that, he was telling me about bugs.  "Oh no, a bug!"  He now won't step foot in a swimming pool if he sees something floating on the water (not too bad of logic to live by in some cases).

Anyway, I don't think I've helped with the bug deal today.  Every year, we get yellow jackets on our front porch around this time.  They just started appearing, so we were going to get the bee killer spray later today.  We had to leave for a well visit for Lydia at the Dr.'s this morning (which we never ended up seeing the Dr. because of insurance junk I just don't even want to get into...story of our life the past 2 years).  I ran the kids out, literally.  We made it safe.  Beforehand, I explained a bit to Stevie, hoping he wouldn't dilly dally, that we needed to go quickly to the van because of the bees.  Stevie kept talking about the bugs and the beans...bees are beans.  Well, I forgot the wipes, so I had to run back in the house.....should read, "I had to run through the bee tornado" because that was my reality.  I know, I know.  Ignore them and they won't bother you.  I've tried it all people and been stung way more times, mostly in my youth, by following such ridiculous rules.  I also could've just said nuts to the wipes and left without them, but you all know, Lydia would've pooped at the Dr's, and we'd all be sorry and in a bind.  On my way out, wipes in hand, running to the van, I hear the terrifying buzz.  I start screaming.  I hear the buzz near the back of my head, way too close for comfort.  I run to the van, doors open, hoping the bee has flown off.  My hair was still down, slightly damp from my shower this morning.  It's there!  I hear it!  I fling my head down to shake out my hair, and the thing ...things, how many were there??...nails me several times on my neck and finger.  I'm screaming, "Get out!  Get off!!" with other horrified screams because the thing is not gone and clearly it's going to eat me alive while my children watch from their car seats.  I finally shake it out of my SHIRT!  I jump in the van, trying to figure out if it's really gone.  Stevie starts asking, "What happened?" and mumbles on about a "bug"...and the "beans."  He doesn't seem to scarred from the incident, but time will tell.

So far I'm doing ok.  It bled...never had blood from stings before, not like this anyway, and we'll see how it swells.  Mine usually get large and itchy.  A big red bump should work to top off B week.  But really, I'm so thankful the kids are safe, and the bees better not come near them!!  Matt should have them toasted when he gets home.  We'll be watching Bob the Builder safely inside.

Next year, let's make a cute craft of a backhoe instead because a letter B shape made into a can of bee killer spray would probably be seen as inappropriate by some.  And if we made a cute little B bear...I'd probably be attacked by a bear (although we're doing more on bears later in the week.  Fantastic!).  A backhoe seems a pretty safe choice.  It's just going to take a little creativity that's all.

C week should be much involves cookies.