Monday, April 27, 2009

happy april

My goodness how time flies!! When I sat down to blog I couldn't believe I had to go all the way back to before Easter! It feels like that was soooo long ago. Really it was only a few weeks. I think the very nice warm weather has made the very cold unpleasant weather (which really only ended a week ago) seem like a distant memory...

We had a nice Easter. The last school day before Easter we made some pretty wind socks and had a small egg hunt with the Resurrection Egg set that tell the story of Jesus death and resurrection through symbols that are in the plastic eggs. The kids really enjoyed it.

The night before Easter we colored eggs. I really like coloring eggs. I like it so much that I hate to waste the dye and had to think of other things to dye before I could through it away. I dyed lots of past and some rice too. We'll use it for crafts later. It's pretty :)

Easter morning the kids looked adorable in their Sunday best (thanks to my mom!) They were very proud to go to church to hear their Daddy give the Easter message. Our pastor was on vacation and he asked Jason to fill in for him. It was a great message. You can listen to it by clicking here and scrolling down to the Easter Sunday Message 4-12-09. After church we had a delightfully relaxing family afternoon.
Ian's birthday was a few days after Easter. I can't believe my baby is 4!! I was still in slacker mode and trying to work out all of the details for getting the new van (and replacing the washer, and getting Jason's truck was a crazy week) so Ian's birthday really snuck up on me. Since it fell during our school vacation week we didn't have school so we went up to visit Seven, Nova and Mika and they threw Ian a little party. I was so grateful!! They made him a special yellow cake that Nova decorated with Easter Eggs. It was very exciting.

We decided to take Ian to the driving range for his birthday (because he has been asking since October to go again). He loved it. He really has great form when it comes to swinging the club. His little pose at the end as he watches his ball is really priceless. He has great follow through :)

When we got home we had a special birthday dinner and another birthday cake. He couldn't decide what he wanted and asked me to surprise him. I chose the Hungry Caterpillar. It's one of Ian's favorite books, plus he's always hungry (and truthfully it was really easy for the slacker mom to accomplish quickly).
The weekend after Ian's birthday we took Madilynn home for the weekend. It was such a great time! I loved having that little munchkin around for 2 whole days! She reminded me how far removed I am from toddler days. She kept us all on our toes and running non-stop. She is a little bundle of energy!
One chilly evening last week the boys helped me make a new batch of laundry detergent. I have experimented with a few recipes. I think I like this one best so far...unfortunately I forgot how much of each ingredient I put in. It's simple to make though, washing soda, borax, ivory soap and water. It makes a lot for very cheap and works very well, even in cold water. If you are interested in trying it there are many laundry detergent recipes at this website called Tipnut

The next next week we heard that Ben and Jerry's was giving away free ice cream cones. It's free cone day on April 21st every year to celebrate their anniversary. I haven't eaten sugar in a long long time but I decided that if Ben and Jerry's is giving away free cones, that is a reason to eat sugar. Earlier that day I had read that the average 6 year old laughs 300 times a day and the average adult only laughs 15-100 times a day. I also read that laughing keeps you healthy. I decided that I was going to look for more reasons to laugh in a day and going to Ben and Jerry's w/ my three adorable kids gave me lots of reasons to laugh. Ian's chocolate Go-tee was particularly amusing to me.

Weather has been nice so we have had some fun adventures at the parks lately. We found ourselves at a local park last Wednesday and it was loaded with litter. The kids don't like that so we picked it up. This not uncommon but since it was earth day on Wednesday, I took pictures of them picking up trash and decided it was blog worthy.

During our April vacation I did manage to tame the slacker beast within a little and I planned and printed everything I needed for school from now until our last day in June. We were going to study Australia but I changed my mind at the last minute and we are doing the 50 states. We had 50 days of school left and 10 weeks. Since there are 10 regions and 50 states I thought it would fit nicely. I like it when things fit nicely. Each week we will focus on a region. Talk about each state in the region, find it and color it on our maps and read a story set in one of the states in that region. This first week was really cool. We read a story called Letting Swift River Go by Jane Yolen. It was about a little girl who lived in one of the towns that was flooded out so the Quabbin Reservoir could be created and Boston could have water to drink. The thing that made it extra cool was that my parents live in a house that was in one of those towns!! It was moved to Monson from Enfield MA which no longer exists. The personal connection to the history was really neat for the kids. I got to show my kids some evidence that my parents house was taken apart and put back together it must have been a LOT of work, its no small house as you can see below. We will be taking a trip to visit the Quabbin soon. I haven't been in years so I am looking forward to it too. We are also going to eat cuisine from each state that we focus on. Since we were focusing on MA this week we had Boston baked beans and Boston Brown Bread. Both were delicious. I was surprised at how healthy the brown bread actually is and how easy to make. The kids really liked eating round bread that was cooked in a can. We ate it with cream cheese and it was delicious. If you click on the names it will bring you to the recipes we used.

This week we are working on the mid Atlantic region and reading a book called Aunt Flossie's Hat and Crab Cakes Later by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard. We are focusing on Maryland and of course we had crab cakes for lunch today. Not great ones because crab is expensive so I bought the cheap stuff in the can but yummy none the less. I really wanted to make them soft shell crab because that is one of my favorites but generally gourmet seafood just isn't in the TLC lunch budget.
Lots of field trips coming up in the next week. I'll have lots to blog about soon. I'll be sure to post more frequently to avoid these marathon blogs.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

signs of spring

The slacker beast within is growing to preposterous proportions. I am such a procrastinator sometimes. I am realizing that if it doesn't NEED to be done by tomorrow I certainly won't think about it today. That pretty much goes for everything. It should probably change. I do better when I make lists for myself. This morning I made a to do list. Blogging was on it so I am blogging because it's been awhile. My to-do list has lately been filled with the joys of dealing with the insurance company. Jason and the kids were in an accident a little over a week ago. No one was hurt (thank you Jesus) but the van was totaled and we are now in the market for a new minivan. If you have any suggestions for us they would be much appreciated. Looking for a new mini van is unfortunetly on my to-do list today too and has been for a week. I looked at one today but I just want more for less...who doesn't I suppose.

Although we've still been experiencing the occasional flurry or snow shower the signs of spring abound around here. We've all been getting outside more which is a very very good thing. The boys in particular want to be out everyday playing w/ their new truck. I got a great deal on it from my friend Alison (thanks again Alison!!). It was particularly adorable when they showed their new toy off to their friends.

Another thing that may be becoming a spring tradition was finishing and submitting our stories for the Reading Rainbow Contest. Everyone did such a great job. They all went through the same detailed revision process that Bella did last year. They brainstormed and wrote drafts and planned out their illustrations and then put it all together. Each story was very different and they really captured the personality of each kid. Hannah's story was about a Chair named Four-legs and she used photographs that she doctored up on the computer for her illustrations. Bella's story was about a lion in the jungle who learns a lesson about obeying his mom. She used "peek-a-boo" flaps in her illustrations. Nova's story was about a starfish and a crab that were best friends. She did her illustrations Eric Carle style by painting paper and then cutting it out int he shapes of her characters. Isaac's story was about a dog, cat and mouse who went on a fishing adventure. He drew all of his own illustrations (very well I might add). They were all very proud of their hard work and so am I!

The stories aren't the only things we've been hard at work on. Isaac and Nova started their new set of phonics books from the Explode the Code series. They really breezed through their last books and are being a bit more challenged by these but they are excited about working hard and doing a great job! While they are busy with phonics, Mika has been honing in on her scissor skills. The cuts little tiny pieces of paper and makes confetti all over the kitchen. I'm amazed at the focus and attention she has sometimes. She was cutting pieces of paper for more than a 1/2 an hour the other day!
We've also been doing some fun things with poetry this month. I have been reading lots of poems to them (they love the funny ones by Shell Silverstein of course) and we have been re-writing poems by changing the nouns, verbs, adjectives and prepositions. It's funny to see what they come up with. We've been doing lots of mad libs to reinforce the parts of speech too.

We had a great time visiting a local dairy farm. The farm is called Cricket Creek and they sell raw milk and cheese. They also make their own bread (which is super delicious) and have free range eggs. Isaac liked the raw milk so much he drank almost our whole 1/2 gallon. He's never been much of a milk drinker so it surprised me. I will make it a point to get some every so often. If I could afford it I would buy it all the was pretty delicious. The farm was very quaint. The kids loved seeing all the animals, especially the baby cows. They had fun chasing the free range chickens and they made butter at the end of the trip.

I can't believe this weekend is already Easter. I am so unprepared. The week after we are going to take our April vacation from school. It's well needed. Hopefully I can tame the slacker beast and get some things done!