Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sweet Endings

Children sleeping in their beds, iced mocha in our hands, and our minds wrapped around a new game.

A sweet ending to a perfectly lo-o-ong weekend.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Little Red Wagon

I've had this little wagon for a long time. Long before children. In fact, long before I was even married. I held onto it hoping that one day I would have a little girl who would pull her little dollies along in it. Guess what? I got the little girl and (suprise!) she's never really used it much. She wanted to be pulled in it. (and found it's too small.) She used it as a stepping stool. (and it rolled out from underneath her.) The only times she has put dolls in it was at my suggestion. Frankly, she just doesn't have much interest in playing with dolls. She'd prefer art supplies and a blank canvas over a doll any day.

So, now I've got a little boy and guess what? He uses it all the time. He loves this little red wagon. On a daily basis, he can be seen hauling his latest treasures around the house in it. So what if it's not filled with dolls. It's filled with Lego's and dumpees. (That's construction trucks for those who don't speak almost-2-year-old-eese.)

I snapped this picture this evening as I was heading to bed and it just made me smile to see the remnants of his play setting there so peacefully. It was a precious reminder of the lesson that I continually need to learn... to allow my children the freedom to express themselves without letting my preconceived ideas get in the way of their natural creativity.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Our Springtime Visitor

There has been a lot of activity under our deck recently. We've seen a Robin flying in and out making numerous trips a day with a variety of natural items clutched in her beak. My daughter has been fascinated by this and has eagerly anticipated the baby birds that will be born here.

Her nest is in the perfect spot for a curious 4-year-old to observe. It is several feet away from our outdoor toy box that we use daily this time of year. Yet, this mama bird was wise enough to put the nest just beyond the reach of those curious hands.

Several times a day, we sneak over (not too close, of course) and check on her and listen for the sounds of the babies chirping. I couldn't ask for a better observation and prediction activity for my bird-lovin' little girl!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Inspired by Art: Van Gogh

I just have to share my favorite homeschool activity that we have done so far. This was such a great activity and my 4 year old LOVED it! I am so happy with how it went... we are definately going to continue this activity with other artists.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine (who is a homeschooling mama) called me from an estate sale. There was a set of 16 Time-Life Library of Arts artist books. She knew I would be interested. The price was $40. That's $2.50 a book. Not a bad price but not a steal either (in my opinion). Another problem - I only had a $20 bill and a few singles on me. We were in the car and the sale was in the direction we were headed. My hubby and I had a few minutes to discuss whether or not it was worth the investment. We hemmed and hawed and finally he suggested seeing if they would take $20 for the set. One problem - I hate to dicker. No sooner had I let those words out of my mouth and the phone rang again. Same friend is on the other end and she says, "Because it's raining, they want to shut the sale down. They'll take $20 for the set." I said, "SOLD!" We drove there immedietly and picked up our set of books! I love it when a friend does the shopping AND the dickering for me!!!

For our first lesson using the books, we studied Vincent Van Gogh. She loved looking at the pictures of him when he was a boy and then again as a man. The picture below is of Van Gogh when he was a year older than I. When I told her that, she said, "He looks much older than you! he looks like a grandpa!"

She loved hearing about what his interests were and discussing with me how she was like Van Gogh and how she was different.

Here are a few of the similarities and differences that she noted:


  • Blue eyes
  • Liked collecting beetles
  • Liked looking for bird's nests
  • Was good at inventing games
  • Loved to read
  • Loved to paint
  • Had a flower garden


  • Boy
  • Red hair
  • Freckles
  • Had younger brothers and sisters
  • Painted naked people (this she found very funny)

Finally, we took one of his paintings that already hung on the wall of her playroom and we looked at all the details in it. The piece is called Field With Cypresses - Champ Aux Cypres. We hypothesized why type of medium she thought he might have used. Her responses were much like this, "I don't think he used markers because the colors aren't bright enough." Without much prodding, she came to the conclusion that he used paints. We looked for the brush strokes throughout the painting and guessed at how he might have created the different parts of the piece. Then she collected what she would need to reproduce a similar painting and set to work to create her own Field of Cypresses. She diligently worked on this until she had her completed work. The pink and purple flowers: She said that a yellow field just isn't as pretty! I love that she was willing to make the picture her own by adding those colorful flowers.

This was such a great activity for my little artist. We will definately be doing more activities like this!

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Raindance and a Buzzing Surprise

It was a beautiful evening. The clouds were rolling in. The storm was fast approching. As a family we went out on our deck to welcome the rain.

The kids did a rain dance. The oldest one even sang a song to encourage the rain to fall. Midway through the song, it did indeed start to rain. To which she exclaimed for the whole neighborhood to hear, "It worked! I can't believe I made it rain!"

What was to later turn into a storm, began as a drizzle. We continued to dance in the rain. The deck got slippery and the littlest one slipped and fell flat on his back. Boy, did he cry! We whisked him inside and set him on his changing table to figure out the extend of his injuries.

As we hugged him and checked his body for injury, he kept trying to say something. In between tears, he would blurt out "eeeeeee!" We thought he was saying "me," in response to our question of what hurts. Finally, he trust his clenched fist up towards my face and said it again. As I opened his fist, I learned that it wasn't the "m" that was missing in "eeee;" it was a "b" as in B-E-E!!!

He had a honkin' big Carpenter Bee clutched in his palm!!! It was still ALIVE. His fall and our search for injury had hindered him from showing off his precious treasure! That's why he was crying. He wasn't hurting at all. He was simply proud to share his find with us and we weren't letting him.

Thankfully, male Carpenter Bees do not have a stinger and the females only sting if provoked. I'm pretty sure this was a male since the bee was all squished up in my little guys hand. The bee was still a-buzzin' and the kiddo didn't get stung. Whew!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Children's Book Week

This week is Children's Book Week. I thought it would be a good time to post a link that I found a while back...

I found the list really interesting. There are a lot of really great titles on the list. My favorite from the list is Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. Both of my children have LOVED this story. We read it over and over and over again! There are many others that I haven't read and I look forward to reading real soon! This list is coming with me on our next trip to the library. With one of my kiddos starting Kindergarten this year, this is a perfect list for our summer reading.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Pony Express

So, I was sorting through a box of old stuff. You know, that stuff that has no where to go so it finds it's way into a box and gets tucked away and forgotten? I'm sure I'm the only one with that problem, right? Hmmm.

Well, I came across a book of stamps. Considering the rate went up yesterday to $.44, I think I'm gonna need a few 1 cent stamps to get me through. That's 12 one cent stamps to be exact - for each stinkin' envelope. Gag! I need 240 one cent stamps to go with this one book of 20 stamps. Yikes!

They sure are pretty though. Perfect for spring!

D' ya think the Post Office will give me matching 1 centers since the whole envelope is gonna be covered by the 13 stamps needed to mail it?!?!?

Perhaps I should just hang onto these for another year or so. With the speed at which the post office has been increasing their rates lately, it won't be long until two of these oldies will be at the going rate. How long do you think it will be before it costs $.64 to mail a letter? I hate to admit it but I'll probably be around to see that day. I'll look at the young whipper snapper mail carrier and say, "Back in my day, I remember when one of these beauties was all that was needed to mail a letter." The mail carrier will look at me and imagine I'm talking of the days that a rider on a pony delivered the mail.

That, you see, is how my mind wanders. A box of old junk brings me to the Pony Express. So, the lesson here is that I need to deal with my junk in a timely fashion. Oh, but stuffing all that junk in boxes is just so much easier that dealing with it!