Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring has Sprung!

Warning: super long blog ahead with many wonderful pictures. I just switched Internet providers and now have much faster upload for pictures so maybe I will be inspired to blog more often rather than waiting for a month to pass...maybe not. I would be brief if all this blogging was for the entertainment of others but since it is for me to preserve memories and document school, brief I may not be.

Since I last blogged many wonderful and exciting things have occurred, as usual. Going back a month or so, my sisters and I took the kids to see Nemo on Ice. That was sooooo cool. Unfortunately I only had my cell phone with me so this is the only cheesy picture I got and my sister Kimmy never put hers on Facebook so I couldn't steal them for the blog. All in all, Nemo on Ice was quite an adventure. We were having some rather treacherous weather that evening and I was just about to back out of going when Daddy stepped in and saved the day! He offered to be our chauffeur. He drove us all the way there in the bad awful icy snow, dropped us off, sat in Barnes and Noble for a few hours, then came back and delivered us safely home. The trip was grueling in my snow-hating opinion and our 1 hour trip took almost 2 each way but we made it and it was worth it.
My little mermaid finished off her swim season with a bang! She had worked so hard all season to compete in breast stroke. It's a tough stroke to compete in because you are easily disqualified if you don't do it exactly right. This last event of the last swim meet of the season Isabella shaved almost 10 seconds off her time and won the heat ribbon! I could pour on and on for paragraphs about how proud I am of her for her amazing attitude and hard work. Now she is taking some swimming lessons to work on some stroke techniques and she is counting down the days until the summer season starts.

We finished up our study of the Winter Olympics. The kids loved watching the events (although I was so disgusted by some of the commercials in between I couldn't let them watch alone!!). The boys were particularly into the snowboarding and Isabella liked watching the figure skating which never seemed to be on until midnight! To wrap up our unit we made ourselves some silver medals (because I didn't have gold tinfoil) and Olympic torches. We also charted all of the medal winners for each event on a huge chart. It was great fun. Everyone is bummed that they have to wait two years until the next Olympics but it was a great math lesson because they figured out how old they would each be for the 2012 summer and 2014 winter Olympics.

March 2nd was Dr. Suess' birthday. We ate the Cat in the Hat's hat in honor of the occasion. It was sooo yummy!
Of course, we also had green eggs and ham.
We finished up our science unit on plant life and learned about plants that don't need seeds to reproduce. We started a new spider plant, a new christmas cactus, a new ivy, and a potato.
We also started a new math unit on fractions for the older girls. It will give us a chance to apply our multiplication and division skills in a less "threatening" way. They were all getting a little sick of tables and long division so fractions are like a breath of fresh air for all of us...and we have cool manipulatives which makes it even better!

We, of course, had a TLC St. Patty's Day celebration. Hannah was our token Leprechaun for the Day. She went all out w/ the green! We had Lucky Charms for snack and a traditional Irish meal for lunch (ham, cabbage and boxty which are potato pancakes that we decided we aren't that fond of). We discovered that corned beef and cabbage isn't even really traditional Irish food. Beef would have been for the wealthy only. They don't even have a special meal that they eat on St. Patrick's Day in Ireland.
We did all kinds of fun St. Patty's Day activities and at the end of the day we made these pretty rainbow cupcakes. Nothing healthy about them, loaded w/ coloring...but pretty.

For our most recent book club we read the book "Gooney the Fabulous" by Lois Lowry. It was a great book. The kids all love Gooney Bird and all the funny voices I make reading the book. This particular one was about fables. Our activity for book club was to write our own fables and act them out for each other with the animal masks that we made. It was so cute. The animals in the fable had to begin with the first letter of each child's name and, of course, it had to have a moral. Hannah and Lexie worked together and did theirs about a hippo and a leopard, Isaac and Ian did a fable about two impalas, Corey and Samuel did a crow and a snake and Bella did hers about a baboon.

Immediately after bookclub I headed down to my sister's castle to help prepare for Princess Madilynn's 3rd birthday. It was a gala event. All the princesses wore their finest gowns (that my mom got us at the goodwill haha! except for Angela who wore her old prom dress 5 months after having a baby grrr...I won't go there lol!) and a few knights and princes joined us as well. All in all it was a delightful event and I really enjoyed playing dress up with my favorite princesses and princes. It was so much fun. I am looking forward to dressing up again in July when my friend Megan has a wedding dress birthday party! I have just lost 20 lbs and I have 20 to go by July to get back into that dress!! Princess Madilynn requested a castle cake with her picture on it so I did my best...

Prince Ian had a delightful time decorating his golden box of treasure...he loves golden things...and treasure!
Princess Madilynn was stunning in her Cinderella gown.
Isaac was not so into the whole princess party but he humored me by putting on his knight attire for a few minutes.
Princess Bella and Princess Annika were a stunning pair.

Here we all are dressed to impress hahaha!
The very next day after Madi's party was our huge family St. Patty's Day celebration. Corned beef and cabbage for almost 30! That's a lot of beef. Annika kept distracting me from my cooking duties w/ her adorableness.
I mean seriously, who could get anything done with that cutie around?!
While we were preparing the meal, Isaac was outside with his papa building the new swing set! He's pretty handy with a drill. When Jason arrived on the scene too, they had everything together in now time!

I found these two green beans peering through the grass...maybe they were searching for a leprechaun.
Next on the agenda was Jason's 35th birthday! I made him a chess cake. The board was pretty sloppy because I was sort of in a rush but the chocolate pieces came out cool...although rather time consuming.

Last thing to report is that it's short story contest time again! We brainstormed and wrote and revised and wrote again then drafted illustrations and revised and finally completed our stories! The long, time consuming, arduous process sure does give the kids a great sense of accomplishment when they are done. They final products were so wonderful.

Lexie's story was called "Finding Tracks." It was about 2 girls who find some mysterious tracks in the woods and they discover that a mountain man is making them to hunt animals.
Isaac wrote his story in the first person point of view. It was called "The Camp Out Mystery." It was about a boy and his brother and his dad who go camping and find that the fire is mysteriously relighted after they put it out at night. The boy discovers that it is a nice fire breathing dragon who relights the fire to keep them warm.
Hannah's story, "The Attack of Fastfood," was about a cheeseburger, fries and a milkshake saving themselves from the disastrous fate of being eaten in the fast food restaurant. It is an action packed attack with riveting illustrations and a happy ending.
Ian's story, "Bunny and Mouse," was about a bunny and a mouse who run away from Bunny's parents while playing. They go swimming and eat berries and take a nap in a field. Then Bunny's mom and dad find them and scold them for eating berries but give them lollipops because they are happy they are OK.
Isabella's story was entitled "The Undersea Adventure." It is about two twin girls who live in Hawaii and discover someone has polluted the coral reef that they scuba dive at. They confront the polluters and everyone helps clean up the reef.
We worked for a solid three weeks on these great stories and celebrated their completion with a pajama/game day last Thursday. Now it's back to our European countries with a study of Russia through the book Rechenka's Eggs and with materials that some of our friends who are missionaries in Russia sent us awhile back.
Spring is here, lots to do...I'm sure I'll have lots to report again soon!


Kimmiek said...

sweet learning!
Princess & princes alike are grown & gorgeous!
What a beautiful batch of cousins ::

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Bella! That's excellent! As always, it looks as if you all are learning so much and having so much fun doing it! I continue to be amazed at all of your wonderful ideas to help teach the kids different subjects in such fun and interesting ways!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Wonderful to read everything thats been happening. I am sorry I never uploaded Nemo on Ice!! I will get the pictures up asap. The kids stories sound just fabulous. I would love to actually be able to read them and look at their wonderful illustrations. Is that possible?!?! Love you all, keep up the great, inspiring work :) your awesome-Love Kimmie