Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pajama Monsters

I saw this pattern and couldn't resist.  Each kiddo now has a Pajama Monster to sit on their bed and eat their day-old pajamas.  They're nice enough to give them back at bedtime for a 2nd night of wear.  Cute, eh? 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Halloween decor

I opened facebook on Thursday morning to find this fun crafty blog post linked by my friend Courtney.   I couldn't resist a little impromptu crafting.  I put school on hold for an hour, dug in my fabric stash until I found some plain white, grabbed my whole box of acrylic and fabric paints, and set to work hand printing the children.

I added googley eyes and drew on the rest of their features,

and turned it into a seasonal throw pillow for the entry way bench!

The kids also got into the spirit and painted some pumpkins this week.  I tried to convince them to use black and orange paints, but no.  This was more fun. ;)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: October 8-12

Last summer, when I was previewing the Five in a Row curriculum for use in our homeschool this year, I checked out every book that was available in the New Orleans and/or Jefferson Parish libraries that had a unit in FIAR.  I brought them home, read through them, selected the units I wanted to do this year, made notes, etc. I told the kids that the big pile of picture books was "Mommy's research" and I did my best not to read them to them (yet).  There was one story that stands out in my mind from those weeks.  The Salamander Room.  Charlie pulled The Salamander Room out of my research basket and begged me to read it.  I gave in, and the minute I read the last word, he shouted, "Again!" This was a first for us.  We are re-readers.  Like typical preschoolers, my kids enjoy hearing their favorite stories over and over again.  This book was the first in my memory that anyone had wanted to hear read again immediately, though.  It was destined to become a favorite.  Because of that, I had really been looking forward to this unit, and as I expected, it has not disappointed.  

The Salamander Room is about a boy who finds a salamander in the woods and brings him home. He imagines what his new pet would need to be happy in his room.  As he imagines providing an appropriate environment, his room (in the illustrations) is transformed into the forest.  It's a sweet, magical type of story. 

The first thing we did with this book was talk about salamanders, and amphibians in general.  We did a little craft on the life cycle of an amphibian (frog, since no one makes cute printables for the life cycle of a salamander).  My kids can tell you all about how a mama frog lays her eggs in water, the eggs hatch tadpoles, who breathe with gills and swim, how those tadpoles eventually grow legs and lungs, lose their tails, and then live on land as adult frogs.  

We went outside and pretended we were frogs.  The kids hopped from lily pad to lily pad, to show which vowel sound they had heard in the words I called out.  If I called "cat" they jumped to "a" and so on.  Very fun, and an excellent wiggle break.  

I made a sensory bin for the life cycle of a frog.  I put water beads and some frog life cycle toys into it  with a couple of craft foam lily pads.  The kids had a blast playing with them all week long!  

We went to the zoo in search of a salamander.  We found one on the door handle to the snake house!

That ended up being the best one we saw, too, since the only one on display was well hidden.  We saw a portion of his bright yellow and black tail.  We think there's a decent chance of seeing a salamander at the aquarium, where they have tons of frogs, but we haven't made a trek there recently to find out.  

The next day, we had a fun surprise in the mail--caterpillars! We are going to raise and observe the life cycle of some painted lady butterflies.  These caterpillars have more than doubled in length since we got them 3 days ago.  We expect them to begin to pupate next week sometime.  Once they each form their chrysalis, we'll move them into the large mesh butterfly enclosure that came with their kit and wait for them to emerge.  After we've watched them as butterflies for a few days, we'll release them.  So fun!

So that we could learn a little more about our new caterpillars, we read a story about the life cycle of a butterfly, and then made a little craft using pasta and rice.  Our pasta caterpillars formed giant chrysalises because I wasn't specific about what size pasta shells I needed for the project, and my sweet husband did the shopping. ;) This was my first time to dye pasta, which was very easy, and very satisfying.  I want to do more pasta-dying crafts now!

We continue The Salamander Room next week, studying the body parts of an insect, making a diorama of Brian's room, and taking a field trip to the insectarium.  Should be fun! 

Arguably more exciting than any of the above, this week we finished our pre-K reading readiness curriculum!  I can't believe we are actually finished!  I feel so accomplished, and SO proud of the kids.  They are all in a really good place for learning to read now (and some are well on their way, already reading short 3 letter words).  If you have 3-4 year old children, I cannot recommend "Ziggy School" highly enough.  We have loved it.  Don't they look proud?

As always, thanks for reading!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Halloween 2012

Hazel requested an owl costume to go with her owl hat that I crocheted last fall.  I gathered some ideas form here and here.  Then we got to work.

I sewed felt oval feathers onto felt wings and the front of a yellow t-shirt.  The wings attach with a ribbon around the neck and with hair rubberbands tacked onto the end of the wings to slip over her wrists.  I got a partial picture of her trying on the wings and hat, but didn't have the feathers on the shirt yet.

Here's the full get-up, but not on the girl.

I guess you'll have to wait for Halloween to see the whole thing!

Weekly Wrap Up: Oct 24-28

a week late!

We finished our Madeline unit, and then promptly left for a week in Houston and I forgot to catch up the blog.  Better late than never?

You may recall that we spent our first few days with Madeline focusing on Paris.  We spent our days this week focusing on the other parts of the book--surgery, human organs, and Madeline's appendectomy.

Madeline has an emergency appendectomy in the story, so we spent some time learning about our major organs (including finding that appendix--which I learned is just a small part of the large intestine).    We made wearable bodies, which was the coolest project EVER!  Everyone had so much fun inflating their lungs.

We also dropped a little piece of candy down our esophagus to see it land in our stomach.

Still inflating those lungs!
When I asked the kids what their favorite part of our Madeline unit was, the unanimous answer was when we pretended surgery.  We got out the doctor kit toys and the play doh tools and pretended to operate on one another.  We had appendectomies and tonsillectomies most often.  Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of this.  I was too involved in the play acting. ;)

For math with Madeline, we used counting bears to be the "Twelve little girls in two straight lines" and experimented with questions like, "What if Miss Clavel asked the girls to line up in four straight lines instead?"  Nice little lesson on the factors of 12.  

A little girl stole Madeline's hat!

Our Madeline art lesson was on symmetry.  We did that art project where you fold a piece of paper in half, squirt a blob of paint on one side, close it up, squish it, and then open it up to see a symmetrical image.  They loved it!  Jono said his looked like seahorses.  I agree (when you turn it upside down)!

We ended our Madeline unit with a trip to the zoo, specifically to say "Pooh, pooh!" to the tigers.  Zoo construction made it hard to get to the tigers, so we said it to the lion instead.  Good enough.  Another fun week at Casa de Wallace! Thank you for reading!

thank you for keeping us cool

now, I'll help keep your heads warm!

Quick pic snapped at my MOPs table before I handed them off.  I forgot to take a  good one. 
I did these two hats for my friend Lacey's kids, as a thank you gift for lending us her window unit a/c during those long power-less days following Hurricane Isaac.  We sure were grateful!!