Thursday, January 28, 2010

Texas snowman

This winter has already seen the most snow of any year since I moved to Texas, but even our stunning white Christmas didn't produce enough snow for a real snowman.  So we decided to make our own instead.

I folded over a large sheet of craft paper, then sketched and cut out the snowman figures.  The boys each decorated one.  Nate wanted me to help him, but really I just kept a hand on the marker and he did most of the drawing himself. 

Noah's snowman

Nate had to add mittens and feet, just like Noah's.

Noah stapled them together most of the way around, and then we crumpled up some newspaper to stuff the snowman. 

Don't make my mistake--after I took this picture, I realized we'd never be able to reach all the way to the top.  I had to take out some of the staples on the side to be able to stuff the head.

I tried to get the bottom flat enough and full enough that Frosty could stand on his own.  He's not quite independent, but close.

Now we just need to break out the cotton balls and have another indoor "snowball" fight.

My special floor wax

Every once in a while, when the floor gets extra dirty, I let the boys give it their special treatment.  I fill a bucket with soapy water, give them some rags, and let them go at it.  The floor ends up completely soaked, but at least it gets clean(er).

They always end up taking off their clothes as soon as they get wet (so, basically as soon as they get started).  This last time, I was in the laundry room when I heard the gleeful sounds of brothers going nuts.  I thought I'd find my living room had turned into a lake.  What I didn't expect was to find it had been turned into an ice skating rink, with the boys sliding around it on their bare bottoms.  I guess you could say they were buffing it in the buff.  Works for me!

So if my floor seems to have a certain unusual shine to it, now you know why.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Quiet Time is working!

Ever since Noah gave up his nap, around this time last year, he's had mandatory Quiet Time while Nate sleeps.  He's required to spend half an hour by himself in the bedroom.  Mostly this is so Mommy can have 30 minutes to regain her sanity, lest the afternoons be filled with yelling and hair-pulling and general grumpiness, but also so Noah, who typically hangs on our every movement, could have a chance to learn to play by himself.

So for months he would pop out every five minutes or so, wondering if quiet time was over YET???  He would take books to read, because reading is just about the best entertainment ever, but he never wanted any toys, since if he can't play with Mommy or Daddy then it's just no fun.  Half the time when I'd go to tell him quiet time was over, he'd be sitting on the bed staring dejectedly into space.  The guilt was extreme, but how else to keep from losing my mind?

The past few weeks, though, it's changed.  Now when I go to check on him, he's got his nose stuck in a book and ignores me for a quarter of an hour.  Or he's built something elaborate:  a utility truck/helicopter, a rocket/apartment building, or today's creation, an ice cream factory, complete with conveyor belt and delivery van.  He's having fun!  By himself!!!  And I get to sit and center myself for half an hour guilt-free, and then go enjoy pretend lime sherbert with my big kid.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More Pick and Draw fun

The creator of Pick and Draw, Rich Davis, thrilled me by showing up on my post about his game and leaving some great suggestions on how to extend the fun.  I loved the idea to use the faces to illlustrate and dictate a story, but Noah couldn't be pinned down for that one.  He was, however, game for making some puppets, so that's what we did.

I cut a page of cardstock into 6 pieces and let him go at it.  We glued the pictures to popsicle sticks, and voila!  Simple puppets.

Nate at some point decided that his guy, Dem, was eating a brownie, and then a pink brownie. 

Dem is quite the messy eater.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

3D bird masks

As a teacher I was terrible at coming up with my own ideas, but I could always steal others' ideas and make them work for my own situation.  Homeschooling seems to work the same for me.  This fun 3D bird drawing went over great with the boys. 

I folded the paper as directed, then stapled the beaks to paper plates.  The boys saw this and immediately turned them into masks.  They decorated a bit

and then a bit more

and then we spent the next half hour flying them around the house.

Mine says "tweet" and eats berries, Noah's says "quack" and eats worms, and Nate's makes airplane sounds and eats oatmeal (of course!). 

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Growin' Owen at Two Months

Owen is two months old today.  Already!  Watch him grow:

at the hospital

1 week old and passed out at the dinosaur exhibit

almost 2 weeks and WIDE AWAKE for formal pictures

3 weeks and just almost smiling at big brother

4 weeks--Mommy sure is cozy

Hanging with the guys at 5 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks--Merry Christmas!

8 weeks and discovering what a wonderful thing a fist can be

2 months old today and happy as can be

Pick and Draw

Mommies Little Artist is hosting this giveaway of Pick and Draw, a cartoon-face drawing game.  Noah and I tried it out today, and he absolutely loved it!  He did the sample game dozens of times--I thought he'd get bored with it, but he seemed to enjoy doing the same one with just slight variations each time.


Mommy's version

This was a huge hit, and did exactly what I hoped it would: give Noah a head start (ha!) to really getting creative. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Glittery snowman

Today Noah announced that he wanted to do some glitter art.  With glitter glue and glitter and sparkles.  And I think, hmmm.  I've really tried to give him space to create as he will, but it sounded like he just basically wanted to make a mess, and at 5 mess-making with our nicer materials is just getting old. 

So we talked about respecting our art supplies, and we talked about what his plans were.  At first there were none, but with a little prodding he came up with making a snowman scene.  His eyes started lighting up, as a vision of his project launched itself in his head. 

Maybe I need to push a little more structure onto our open-ended art.  He looked so excited have a direction in mind.  I'm still calling this our glitter-themed Open Ended Art, as it was really all him.  And it turned out so cute.  No pictures this time, since halfway through this Nate woke up and threw a still-tired, snotty-nosed fit for the next 20 minutes.  Sigh.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Why I never make the beds

Nearly every day, this happens:

or this:

or this:

Letting them pile up every blanket and pillow we posess buys me up to an hour of this

nearly every day.  And all I have to do is keep being lazy. 

I win!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Planning, Planning

Tree's put away, decorations packed.  Toys are even almost organized--a minor miracle.  Time to get back into the swing of things. 

Ambitious plans are afoot.  Beyond this blog, there's the preschool art group I'm working towards too.  Plus the inevitable overplanning of day-to-day stuff.  I plan too much when I'm paid to teach; why should homeschooling be any different?  Nice thing with that is:  leftovers!  Love them for dinner--now I just need to organize better so I can use up the leftover activities too.

It's a work in progress, and that's okay.