Monday, January 31, 2011

End of Month 'Kid Picks'...And Some Mom Picks Too!

First of all, the credit for this idea goes to Joy. She said that at the end of every month we should pick our favorite thing we made that month to show off to all the Grandparents on our blog. Of course picking just one thing is much easier said than done and a whole month of projects to choose from is a little overwhelming...I found that the picks this month happened to be some of the most recent creations and the ones that were still hanging up.  :) Next month maybe we can put a little more thought into what our favorite thing we want to share will be, a month of projects can be a little hard to remember when Mom doesn't have room to keep them all on display for the whole month. Anyway, here are some creations that the kids picked to 'show off' to all of their Grandmas and Grandpas for January...

Joy of course, following her own rule of choosing one creation to share, chose exactly one...
This is her straw art she made at co-op during art week this month. She said they moved the paint around  by blowing through a straw.

Joshua had a bit of a harder time choosing just one. He's really enjoying his 'Draw Then Write' book that shows you simple steps for drawing different objects or animals and then you are suppose to write something about your picture underneath. Often times he just dictates to me what he wants to say about it and I will write it for him, but he does the picture part all by himself and he's been quite proud of some of his drawings this month. This one here is his colorful Hippo...
And here is Leo the Lion. About 99% of the time that Joshua makes up a story about anything, it involves a superhero of sorts. Even his animals are heros and are often saving someone.  :) For this one, he made up his story and I wrote it down for him....
But I will not be writing all of it for him anymore! I discovered this week that this boy can have beautiful handwriting and writes quite comfortably when properly motivated. Most of the time he appears to really struggle with handwriting and would much rather give me answers verbally. I do make him do some handwriting everyday, but not  too much and many of his school activities don't require that much writing, except for things like this Draw Then Write book.

This is how it happened....The kids were making birthday cards for some upcoming February birthdays when Joy made some remark about hers 'will be better because Joshua can't even write his letters the right way.' Joshua shot right back, 'Yes I do! Just watch, MMMMIIIIINE is going to be the BEST!' And so the competition began. After a quick talk about not putting each other down anymore and encouraging them to use their words nicely, I noticed what Joshua had just written, very quickly and neatly in awesome printing (in my opinion for a 4 1/2 yr. old)...
 Seriously!? I said, "Joshua that looks great! I can read your letters perfectly! How did you do it so fast and so nicely?" (When he doesn't want to write something but I've asked him to, it can take FOREVER...so I usually put it away until he's more in the mood to practice, since he's not even in Kindergarten yet I don't want to push it too much.) His response, as serious as can be, "Well, I just wanted to do better than Joy so I decided to try my BEST."....then he whispered his jab..."and I knew MY best would be better than hers. (giggle, giggle, giggle)"  Of course we had to talk AGAIN about using kind words and then about trying our best all the time, especially on our school work when he pointed out to me, the wise 4 1/2 year old that he is..."Mom, don't you think my writing on Dad's birthday card IS more important that my schoolwork paper that just goes in my notebook?".....Hmm, he's right. But I can see some new Joshua challenges in my future. :)

This is another one of MY picks, because this was just TOO cute not to share...
I LOVE the fact that we're all holding hands and that we have big circle shoulders! So cute, definitely one to save! :)

And last, Faith Elaina wanted to show off one of her many rainbow paintings...
And her perfected purple letter 'F'. She's been writing it on everything and is getting quite comfortable with her name letter. :)
So that's it for the 'Kid Picks' this month, Grandmas and Grandpas - They will be looking forward to your comments! :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weather Experiments

This month we had the opportunity to get together with friends and do some fun science experiments that were weather related. The kids had tons of fun....everything is more fun with friends! The first one was all about clouds. The kids learned about Cirrus, Cumulus and Stratus clouds and even got to make 'clouds' in a bottle!
First, we put all the right ingredients to make a cloud in the bottle. You can't see it in the picture, but when we would change the air pressure by squeezing the bottle and then let go, a little puff of white cloud would appear. It was really neat! :)
Later we made a cloud mobile with examples of the three kinds of clouds we learned about that day.
Here, our finished mobile found a home!
The second time we got together for a weather experiment I didn't get any pictures because our experiments were all in the dark! We learned about lightening; how it was discovered, how hot it is, the different kinds and much more. Then we set out to create some electric charge of our own. We found that after a balloon is rubbed on your hair, if you touch it to the end of a lightbulb, it will create a little blue spark (best seen in the dark). It was very exciting! :) The other thing we did that I didn't know was possible, was make a spark in our mouths with a peppermint lifesaver! We watched in the mirror of the dark bathroom as we chomped our mints with our mouths open and it really did spark, so cool! :)
We plan to do more weather experiments with friends next month too, so there will be more to come!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun Friday and An Amazing Company!

Today was a kind of a lazy Friday. We normally have co-op on Friday's but we didn't today. The bulk of our homeschool studies we do Monday thru Thursday, so it was nice to have a day without too many 'to do's'. Faith Elaina hasn't been feeling well, her usual struggle to get through these germ ridden winter months. So we passed up an opportunity to go on a field trip to the Children's museum up in Seoul, which left some of the Adams children a bit disappointed. I had to quickly find a distraction that would bring the smiles back....so we built a really awesome fort. :)
Our fort took over the living room for the day and the smiles came back. They quickly forgot about the field trip we were suppose to be on and enjoyed playing all sorts of games and pretend inside our creation. 
Here is the long tunnel to get in. Even I  had to crawl in this way...it was the 'rule' according to Joy.  :)
We still did manage to sneak in a little learning and enjoyed some time exploring our World map. We talked about direction and named the different continents and oceans and found several countries.
Joy is still amazed looking at the map at how far away we moved to South Korea....I think I am too!
Later in the day Daddy came home with some packages from the mailbox! One of them was from All About Learning, a fantastic company with awesome products and with even MORE amazing customer service!! We own their original 'Bee-Hive' reader and All About Spelling Level 1 and have loved it the past couple of years. When we first got it, I use to read it to the kids and we'd all enjoy the beautiful pencil sketch art work inside of it as well as the fun stories.
Then Joy started reading, and has read all of the many stories in the book several times over again. She has really enjoyed it and now Joshua has begun to read it on his own as well.

When I heard back in the fall that they had a new reader out, I had to get it. So I put in my order for the next book and didn't think about it again until after the new year when I got word that another new reader was coming out. I realized that I never received my book. I promptly emailed and asked about my order and got back a response within hours that they would like to mail out another book to me at no charge and a second note that they had also tried to call me to confirm my address and such. Our number is an international number and is a little tricky to figure out how to call from the States.

The next day my phone rang and it was Mr. Greg Rippel himself who had worked very hard to figure out how to call me, clear over here in South Korea. He was calling to confirm and correct my missing order. He was so nice and so helpful and never once made a big deal about the fact that it had been months since I first put in the order and was only now letting them know that it never made it to me. I decided to go ahead and order the newest book and have them both sent together since they were reshipping my last order anyway.  :)

Well, they shipped them out right away in a priority box and they arrived today! And what a perfect day it was to receive them...it being a 'fort' day and all in our house today. When I showed Joy and Joshua, they each took one into the fort and started pouring over the pages, getting excited about the new stories to read and admiring the artwork. Both of the books are just as great as the first one, only each is a little more challenging than the one before it.
Here is Wolverine Joshua enjoying the 'Run, Bug, Run!' collection of stories, reading aloud to Mom.
And Joy is reading to me from 'The Runt Pig' collection...
So we ended up reading A LOT today. The big kids both read aloud several of the new stories to me and I read several of them to all the kids. Even Faith Elaina, who's only just about to turn three, loves to hear these stories and see the beautifully detailed, but still pleasantly simple pictures drawn inside. All this to say, I HIGHLY recommend these books, their All About Spelling curriculum and the All About Learning company in general! My experiences with them and their products have been wonderful and I will definitely buy from them again because of it. (...No, I did not get any compensation to say that.)  :)
If you sign up to receive their emails they will notify you when their products are on sale and helpful teaching tips as well.

*My favorite moment of the day...when Joy, Joshua, Faith and I all crawled into the fort and snuggled up to read our new books together. It was one of those sweet moments with your kids that you hope they'll remember as much as you know you always will.* 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snow Painting!

This was TONS of fun! The kids loved it! I brought in a bucket of snow from outside and divided it up into three big bowls. They were REALLY excited to have snow in the house! :)
First we did some basic color mixing. I gave them each one color to be in charge of while we made the rainbow...
We used both paintbrushes and a medicine syringe to get the snow really soaked with color.
After our color mixing in the snow, they each had their own bowl of snow to paint. It actually lasted much longer than I thought it would! I thought for sure in the warm house that it would melt quickly, but it didn't. :)
Joshua enjoyed spattering the paint on and watching the snow soak it up.
Joy made a very interestingly colored snowman!
When I asked her why his eyes and mouth were on the top of his head she said,"He's praising the Lord!" :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One of Mom's Favorites

This is one of my favorite recent pics of our little 'class' at home....
I took it yesterday when they were all doing their parts on the calendar board. (Samuel doesn't have a job for the calendar yet, he just likes to get in on the fun! :) And I'm REALLY enjoying my easel that my Love got me for Christmas! It's coming in very handy for this and my white board! I love that it will adjust to be low for them to reach or go up high for me to comfortable stand and write on, it's awesome.)

Ketchup!

The big kids all LOVE painting and with water color, literally for hours... if the paints don't run out before then. Samuel is getting big enough to know that he wants to be a part of whatever is going on up at the table, especially when everyone else is gathered there. So this day I decided to let Samuel paint with the big kids, but I wasn't up for him getting covered in paint. He has painted (not planned) before with food items many times and one of the kids' favorites for us all to do is pudding painting. But  I decided to try a new one this day and he seemed to enjoy it very much. We started with Ketchup and a paintbrush on wax paper taped down...
Then we added a little yellow mustard and he quickly threw the paintbrush and dove in with both hands creating a beautiful smeared mess of color! He thoroughly enjoyed it, but sadly, I didn't get more pictures than this because I had to put the camera down to keep him from rubbing his 'paint' all in his hair.
Faithy is really into using EVERY color in the box right now and keeps making tons of beautiful rainbow covered pictures. My kitchen cupboards look like an art gallery!...I Love it. :)

Winter Games and Story Art

Earlier in the month we did a unit on bears and hibernation and other winter time things. After playing several winter themed games, the kids had a lot of fun enjoying all things bear!
Faithy had lots of practice matching snowflakes...
Counting colorful 'snowballs'...
Counting and making patterns with shape buttons on the snowman...
Our library is pretty small here, so it's good that I'm a little addicted :) to children's books and brought our collection with us when we moved. (I think it was the heaviest thing we brought!) This month we pulled out all of our snow, winter, and bear books and had quite a basket full to enjoy with our unit. (There's even more than what are showing in the picture. It really is kind of crazy how much I love kid's books!)
We had to, of course, make some bear crafts. One of the kids' favorites were these simple paper bears we made and stuffed with cotton. I think they just really enjoyed building them. (They'd get a kick out of that Build-A-Bear store someday, I'll have to remember that!) 
I got a chance to use my fancy circle cutter tool that my sweet hubby got me for Christmas. It worked awesomely for all of our circle needs on our  paper bears.
They were very detailed on the faces...
Faith Elaina drew THE CUTEST swirly belly button on hers all by herself! All Mom helped with was the mouth because she wanted it just like the bear in one of the books.
I loved how each of their bears looked so different when they were done!
One of my favorite things to do is to pick a book and do some activities directly related to that. The kiddos picked the awesome book, Bear Snores On, to do this with. So on another day, we read it for probably the 100th time and they each brought one of their special beary friends to enjoy the book with them. They each gave their bears names (since they seem to change often!) And the chosen names were; Faith: Sally, Joshua: Brownie and Joy named hers: Ron Churchill! I got a good laugh out of that since I didn't know that she knew Grandpa's first name. When I asked her about it she said, "I read it on Facebook!"  :)  (No, she doesn't get on Facebook on her own! But she enjoys sitting in my lap while I'm looking through pictures and updates and I guess she's paying attention to more than I thought!)
We built a 'cave' under the little Korean table for the bears to hibernate in...
They joined their bears in there for a bit...
It was a quiet 2 minutes!! :) Then Joshua declared, "Hibernating is BORING!"
Then they used their 'cave' (blanket fort) to retell the story. Between the two of them (Joy and Joshua) they got almost the whole thing - many parts, word for word! (We must really read that book a lot!)
Our snoring bears...(Ron Churchill and Brownie! Ha! Ha!)
I found another mom blogger that enjoys doing projects inspired by books and hosts a place for other blogger to link up and list their ideas to go with specific books. I thought I'd attach the link incase anyone else wants to check it out. :)