Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Craft - Crayola Color Explosion

This weeks craft was out of a box.  I know, the shame of it.  It was $3.50 on sale and I had a 30% off coupon.  So for 8 kids (I had to buy 2 of course) it was $4.90.  Pretty decent price right?  Wrong.  There was a reason these were on sale.

The pros: It was easy to do even for little kids.  All prepackaged ready to go. Cheap.

The Cons: Smells horrid. Stains terribly.

It has a ton of warnings on it about the staining.  Don't let it touch anything.  And why oh why if they knew it would bleed did they give us paper that it could bleed through?  It even says not to let finished product touch just about EVERYTHING.  So what the heck are we supposed to do with it once done?  I hung mine up anyway figuring we can throw them out tomorrow.

It does not however have warnings about how badly these things smell.  And it doesn't go away when it dries.  I have such a headache.  My 9 year old won't go anywhere near them.

Aren't you glad I bought these before you did?  Awful things.  Do not recommend.

Fort Verde, Arizona

Last week we visited Fort Verde, an Arizona State Park.  Its about a 90 minute drive from the Phoenix area.

There is the main museum where you pay admission.  There is a video in the last room and artifacts from the Fort throughout.  Of course my kids, being the boys they are, they loved the guns.  I wanted to stop and read all the biographies of the people who had served there but my kids kept pulling me away to see this gun or that gun. You also get stuff for the kids to do.  A type of scavenger hunt and when you have found all the answers you get a pin.  

There are also 2 buildings you can walk through.  Be prepared for some steep steps!  I wonder if they used baby gates back then.  It was very educational for the kids.  The last time I went I was 16 or 17.  So it was neat to see this from a mothers perspective this time. There were a few things only a mom of many would appreciate.  For one their tiny kitchens.  There were no cabinets.  They stored all their pots and pans at the stove.  Each size pan sitting neatly in a larger one.  The creaky boards used as flooring, would be great today to listen for sneaking kids.  Those made a lot of noise as my troop tramped over them.

Overall, we really enjoyed ourselves and hope to go back for some other activities like their ornament making class in December.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

An Apology

Frequently, when we go out altogether, people want to talk to us.  I know there are so many questions, from our religion to their ages; and even more stories about their own children or upbringing.  I do love to talk to each and everyone who is curious but so often I am unable.  Those precious children you are curious about?  They are ready to knock down a display rack or push the buttons of a nearby unattended cash register.  While they aren't bad kids, they are kids.  And they will act accordingly when they are out.  So, for the sake of the rest of the patrons, I must forego polite conversation to turn my attention to the spilled water that is about to send someone hurling into the air.  I am not intentionally being rude, I just figure you and I would rather not end up cleaning up whatever it is my son is trying to pull off the shelves.

Thank - you for your understanding!

I wonder if I can have this made into a business card.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Whats on my Night Stand or Book Review October 2011

Once again joining 5 Minutes for Books for their monthly Whats on your Nightstand post.

This month I read The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived as well as The Broken American Male.

101 was rather annoying.  It was written by a few different people so as you went from one fictional person to another the writing style changed.  One was even written from a dogs point of view.  They also interjected political opinions into some of the essays, and not in any way to enhance their essay.  It was just cheap jabs, and I didn't appreciate it.  However, there was some good information in the book and it was a fun and easy read. Out of 5 stars I would give it 3.

 The Broken American Male is a must read even if you don't have a Broken Male in your home.  I learned just as much about myself as I did men in America. His respect for women is refreshing, I wish every man could read this book and realize what true respect is.  As a parent I walked away with great ideas on how to help my boys become wholesome men and not broken men.  A great book.

For next month I have already started on Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush, and hope to fit in  Adventurous Women.  Spoken from the Heart has so far been very enjoyable.  I was actually sad she had to leave her childhood and grow up.  It was simple and beautiful, calm.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Craft: Window Craft

My youngest daughter found days craft in The Halloween Book pages 8 and 9.

You need Tissue paper, Construction paper, pencils, scissors and tape.

Draw your panned window on the black construction paper (or other color if you prefer something more cheerful for autumn).

Cut out the panes and tape the tissue paper to the back.  You can use different color tissue paper for a more natural look.  Orange for pumpkins, blue for sky, yellow for lights.

Tape the finished product in the window.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why I Make My Kids Change Diapers

So when they become parents they actually know how to change a diaper.  I know, its such a stretch.  Teaching a kid to do something so when they become an adult they know how to do it.  Thats like school or something.  And you know what else I teach them?  How to cook, and do laundry and clean and exercise and eat healthy.  Its a very simple program, its called chores.  Amazing right?!

To be fair, I do not MAKE my kids change diapers.  They can do it if they want to but they HAVE to learn how.  And for the most part I do the cooking but my kids help.

What are parents for if not to raise children who can be productive members of society?  To give back instead of take.  To care of themselves and others.  What are parents for if not to keep them healthy and safe?  So they will live long healthy lives with which to serve others. When my children leave the home I want to look at them and see that all the work I did was good.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sacrifice or Responsibility

When we were struggling financially we had to cut back on everything.  That meant any luxury had to go: cable/satellite, home phones, eating out, etc.  It felt like such a sacrifice.  Like we were missing out.

When we were able to afford those things again we indulged.  To be sure we don't need any of those things.  Life was fine with out it, except in our mind we weren't enjoying ourselves as much.

So why is it that we decided to do without again?  Because even though we can afford it, we don't need those things.  The best way to keep your money is not to spend it to begin with.  Not to mention there are few things worthwhile on tv, eating out isn't that good for you and I don't even talk on the phone so having 2 is worthless.

A surprising thing happened when we got rid of stuff again.  I didn't miss it.  I didn't feel like I was missing out.  The extra money in our bank account is nice too.  Instead, I feel responsible.  I did the right thing.  And some other benefits: you can buy or watch your shows for free online minus all the commercials.  Especially all those commercials which kids probably shouldn't see.  No more sales calls at all hours disturbing sleeping kids or school.  In the pursuit of food as good as a restaurants, I have become a better cook.  A skill I can then  teach my children.  And in all things we have gained more time.  Time is valuable you know.

Yup, I feel responsible. I feel good that I made a good decision.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Craft: Mosaic Pumpkin

My oldest came up with this craft, and I should have taken pictures because I don't have a link for you to follow today.

She used 8 pieces of paper and drew a giant pumpkin and raven on it. Just the outline in black marker.  You can do whatever you like but the point is that its one big thing split into smaller pieces.  We used 8 pieces of paper for the 8 kids who would color but if you have 4 kids do 4 pieces of paper or 20 kids do 20 pieces of paper.

Next you need to number each section and assign a color to each number. That way the kids know what color to make that section.  She wrote the number/color combinations on the white board.

Once everyone has colored their sheets you need to tape it altogether for the big reveal.  What will it be?  The kids got so excited since they had no idea what they were coloring.

My 9 year old said this has been his favorite craft.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Atmosphere for Learning

My home is less of a showpiece and more of a classroom.  My decorations consist of maps and posters of the alphabet.  My dining area is where we do our school. Its also the main room we host parties in.  I felt a little bad that its not very formal.  I don't know how guests feel when they come over and eat while staring at a multiplication table.  Its probably not the most relaxing environment, most likely reminding them of their own school days.  But isn't that the point of homeschooling?  That learning happens everyday, in every place.  We never stop learning.  6 Things Every Smart Home Needs was an article in USA Weekend today, talking about just this thing.

I was happy to see, based on that list, we are 6 for 6.  Some of my kids favorite toys are dominoes, our walls are plastered with maps (not to mention the quizzing globe), and our entire living room is designed to allow for a quiet reading space.  We have no TV in our living room, with plenty of seating (not necessarily NICE seating but its a place to plop your butt) and a nice ottoman where numerous kids can put up their feet.  Also the only toys allowed in there are baby toys.  And do they ever take advantage of the area.  It has become the go to place for not just myself but my kids as well.  You are almost always certain to find someone in there reading.

So while guests might not get why my home isn't like theirs, I feel confident knowing I am providing the best atmosphere for my kids to learn. And learn all the time, not just at school time.  (if you don't want your pics to look like mine, don't let your baby slobber on your phone...just a suggestion)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Signs your Toddler is Ready to Potty Train

Runs into your closet and squats behind the clothes.

Yells at his older sister to "Change my diaper.  Change my diaper NOW!"

Tries to go on the potty (AFTER he pooped in his diaper thus smearing poop all over the toilet).

Can get his own diaper on.

Can actually verbalize his disgust of diapers. "Do I have to wear this sweaty diaper?"

Has gone from playing with poop to finding it disgusting, what a relief.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday is Craft Day

We are trying to be consistent with our Arts and Crafts this year.  Every Monday is craft day and this year I am letting the kids be responsible for one craft a month.  They pick it, assemble the parts and teach it to the other kids.  I figure that way at least once a month they get to do a craft they want to do.

Today we made Pumpkins.

Its actually a great craft if you have a big family, because there is always an abundance of toilet paper rolls around.

Unlike last weeks craft this one involves tape.  Which is less fun but also less messy.  It also means you either need to have enough rolls of tape for everyone or you need to take turns or you need to give everyone enough tape for theirs.

You can string these together and hang them in a window or out front as decorations.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Autumn Craft

To celebrate the cooling temperature (we are below 100!) we made an autumn craft today.  I saw something similar on All Kids Network .  But I don't have enough scissors for the kids to use, that never turns out well.  So instead I cut everything out ahead of time and the kids could pick and choose what to put on their picture. My daughter made some witches on brooms and some black cats as well.  You can cut out some black ovals for hollows of a tree.  The leaves can be all wiggly or triangles, they don't have to look like leaves but if you are really patient and want to cut out leaves you can do that too.  

 Next, have the kids all glue their pieces onto a blue paper.  What I do is put 2 plates at either end of the table, pour some glue in the middle and let them use tooth picks to put the glue on their papers.

 Make sure they put their name on it.  My Ewan here spelled his name Wean!  Hes 4, what can I say? My 6 year old went through a time when he refused to cross his "A".

Its amazing how each childs came out so differently even though they all used the same parts.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Finally Back to Normal

The 2nd week of September a cold started to go through our house.  While the dh is still coughing everyone else seems to have mended for the most part.  I am finally all caught up.  Caught up just in time for my dishwasher to get clogged today and I have no idea how to unclog it.

While I was sick I made sure I complained a lot.  When I couldn't talk because I had laryngitis I texted and imed everyone to tell them how awful it was.  I told everyone how annoying my sore throat was and how awful my cough was.  I told them my sinuses hurt, especially when I blew my nose.  Yesterday, the dh told me every little symptom I had he is now experiencing.  See, this is why its important to complain when you are sick.  Its a public service so everyone knows what to expect.

I think everyone should complain, its just thoughtful.