Friday, July 29, 2011

Curious George and paper boats

curious george rides a bike
The Curious George books are one of Daniel's favorite series. So after reading "Curious George Rides a Bike," we decided to make our own paper boats like George does in the book.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to Raise Boys Who Read

Another article from Pete's parents. This one is from the Wall Street Journal, the link can be found here.

How to Raise Boys Who Read

Amen to all of that! It goes along with what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be." Have your kids read books that will teach them something and that will help them become the person you want them to become. And as for video games and other forms of electronic entertainment... I feel like it's a touchy topic for some, but I agree with everything this guy said. Just last night I saw a commercial that advertised a free Xbox 360 for students who bought a PC. Nice job Microsoft. Let's encourage our young minds to fill their time with something other than books and learning.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homemade playdough

My friend shared this playdough recipe with me last year and we have LOVED it. It's quick and easy to make, and I have found that it doesn't dry up as fast as the "play-doh" brand.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Painted rocks

I've been wanting to do this project for a long time now and finally got around to it last week. We used rocks we had collected on our camping trip, washed them off and let them dry. Then as soon as Joe was down for his nap we went for it. Decorated them with acrylic paints, then after they dried put mod podge over the top to give them a glossy look. This was a fun project not just for the kids but for me too! I made letter rocks that have uppercase letters on one side and lowercase on the other, number rocks, tic-tac-toe rocks with an "x" on one side and an "o" on the other, and a few rocks with shapes and pictures. The options are endless. Get creative and try it out!

painted rocks-closeup

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Morning distraction: zip line

On these lazy summer days we haven't had a whole lot going on in the mornings. Nowhere we have to rush off to. And it's on mornings like these that the kids tend to drift to the TV or computer to fill the time. Unless there's some kind of distraction. I'm not completely against the TV or (educational) computer games, but I do think that too much of anything is a bad thing. And to be honest, I don't love starting our day with them. So I have found that if I have something ready for them to play with, a toy they haven't seen in a while, a game, a picture to color, etc., I can easily avoid the screens. One thing we tried this week was building a mini zip line that I found on the blog Made By Joel. Love this blog. So many fun ideas! The kids loved watching buttons, lego guys and whatever else we could attach to the paperclip zip down the line. Kept their attention and excitement for 3 or 4 mornings. Then, like any other toy, it started to get looked past. On to the next distraction!

zip line

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nature bags

We went camping last weekend and I decided to make these "nature bags" to bring along with us: a little bag for each kid to keep his treasures in. This trip we were on the search for cool rocks. The boys liked having their own bag they could open and shut and fill with whatever they wanted. They'll definitely be coming with us on future adventures!

Nature pouches-J&D

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A little structure

It's been a relatively relaxing summer. Not too much going on and a lot of time to fill. I know some people prefer to have a lot of scheduled things going on to fill up the day, but I love those days when I wake up, look at my planner, and we have absolutely nothing that we have to do. It's on those days that I can go with the flow and do whatever the kids want to do (within reason). But just recently I decided to try adding a little more structure to our weeks. Structure that will help me do all the things I want to do. I gave each day of the week a subject to focus on: music, arts & crafts, cooking, reading & nature. We don't spend all day focusing on it, just an hour or two that we fit into our loose schedule. And it has proved to be really fun! It gives the kids (and me) something to look forward to doing each day without taking away the freedom of summer.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Ready for battle

We made this for John's birthday from things we had around the house: carboard, aluminum foil, black tape and felt. Surely it won't pass the tests of time, but hopefully the memory of making it will!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Flag t-shirts

I got this idea from my sister and thought it would be so fun to do for the 4th of July. I used old material I had on hand, cut out the sizes of strips I wanted, ironed the edges under then sewed them on. Put buttons on for stars, then walah! A unique flag shirt that can be worn for the 4th and all through the summer.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Nesting Box

Pete's parents gave us a copy of this article from the Deseret News a year or so ago. Pete and I couldn't stop laughing when we read the part about the one little rabbit struggling at the bottom of the nest, but eventually fighting his way out. It reminded us too much of Joe who is constantly at the bottom of the wrestling pile. It turns out having kids who tease, wrestle and argue with each other might not have it so bad. In fact that might be what helps them survive!

Nesting Box

Pine cone bird feeder

Yesterday the kids and I made bird feeders. John had made these in preschool and I thought it was a fun idea. We first tied yarn around the pine cones, then dipped them in peanut butter and bird seed. We hung them in some trees in our backyard and look forward to watching the birds!


Surviving the grocery store... with 3 little ones in tow


A few weeks ago after a very long, tiring, patience-testing trip to the grocery store, I swore I would never take all three of the kids with me again. I guess over time the pain of the experience wore off, because I decided to try it again. But this time I was more prepared. I decided to try and get the kids more involved instead of having them do their own thing and me my own thing. I assigned Dan to be the helper and and gave John the responsibility of crossing the items off my detailed list as we got them. I was more than surprised by how eager they were to help! Dan helped pick out the fruit, carry the milk, decide which yogurt to buy, where to put things in the cart, etc. while John sat in the cart with clipboard in hand, making sure everything got crossed off the list. Then about halfway through they decided it was time to switch jobs and try something new. And Joe? He got buckled in tight and I was more thoughtful about the toys I brought for him: magnets to play with on the cart, a small toy that plays music that he likes to dance to, and a book. I'm not quite ready to give him the freedom the older ones have yet, he's not very good at staying close and obeying me. But he didn't seem to mind staying put this time. Finally a shopping success! No one was crying by the time we got to check out!
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