1John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Moving Along

Adam and I have been working on getting our kids to do more work around the house.  I'll admit- I am a "do-er" of everything.  I have got to stop that and delegate some things to the kids so they can learn some work ethic.  This means letting go of control, which is a huge step for me. Our kids always help haul and stack the firewood every year, but we have been making sure to delegate more chores their way.  Weed pulling, dishes, window washing, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming and taking garbages out are just a few of the things they have been doing.  
Here is Ethan, our middle child, plugging along.  The wood was stacked in no time. 
Our delivery guy returned last night to complete our cord of wood.  I have more stacking to do this morning.  I love seeing the firewood pile stacked and ready.  Thank you God for allowing us to purchase firewood this year-- we will be nice and cozy this winter.  This makes me so happy!  If you know anyone who wants to sell their chainsaw, we are looking to purchase one.
The veggie garden is coming along.
The sugar snap peas are abundant this year and I've been harvesting them daily.  
Here are some testers-- it still amazes me that the kids will eat the veggies straight from the garden, yet if I put them on a lunch plate, they won't even try them.  I'd say about half of the kids like to eat the snap peas.
We've got 3 small pumpkins that are doing well.  The kids can't see one of them easily because it's tucked in the middle of the corn stalks.  
We took a close look at this sunflower plant yesterday.  It has five buds on it!
Here is what it looks like as I am typing this.  I LOVE that fiery bloom!!!
Smudge is still doing a lot of this lately.  He has been exceptionally sociable and lovey lately.
I am thrilled to pieces that the green bean vines are producing quickly now.  These are good to eat raw, too.  I love the variety! Kentucky Blue Pole Beans. 
♥♥♥Happy Thursday!♥♥♥

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Feeling Productive

Yesterday we used up a set of old summer projects that had been in the pile of  stuff I'm trying to use up.  The kits contained foam pieces for a summer raccoon.  The kids each created the type of ground needed based on what their raccoon was doing.  She is creating land and water.
I gave the older kids the instruction page for how to put together their art.  The goal was to let them figure it out.  It was a good thinking project. 
They sure turned out great! The kids used glue sticks.  
I found some felt at a yard sale Saturday and got to work cutting out shape sets for the kids to use on the felt board.  I already had the apples in the photo above, but I was so happy to cut out a tree and some leaves. 
They now have some stars....
A set of evergreen trees...
Some ghosts...
Last, but not least, some fish.  I also created a couple of snowman sets.   I suppose I need some more colors and will have to go to the craft store soon. 
There will more than likely NOT be a blog post for tomorrow.  This pile of wood is what I will be working on today.  It's that time again!  
♥♥♥Happy Tuesday!♥♥♥

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sensory Bins

Is it still July?  Will September EVER arrive?  Yesterday I picked up a couple of bins at Fred Meyer to create some sensory bins.  I chose this size,  (16 QT) because of the height.  I didn't want the bins to be too long, just the right size for two or three small sets of hands to share.  The bins came in a pack of two for around $8.00.   Rice was going to be put inside and  the sides of the bins should be tall enough to accommodate pouring and containing. 
There has been a lot of  pinning on Pinterest about coloring my own rice, but I realized that I really don't want to do that.   Instead, I took the high road and ordered two pounds of colored rice from Discount School Supply.  It will be enough to mix that in with some white rice.  The result is great!  There is just enough color in the rice mixture to make it exciting.  Many of you know how frugal I can be, so buying that rice was painful.  The white rice came from Fred Meyer, and I paid $2.89 per bag.  I only poured two of them into the containers because I am sure that at some point I will need to add more.  It's not too expensive to create a simple sensory bin!
 It's soothing and addicting to run my hand through it.  That's the effect I hope it will have on the kids.  I don't often schedule in a sensory time.  This is the type of thing we use as a tool of diversion- for when we are all trapped inside due to torrential rain and the kids need a distraction.  Here is what I am excited about- ADDING SEASONAL ITEMS!  (Nerd alert, but I'm not apologizing.)
My second bin not only contains the rice, but I added one bag of beans and another bag of split peas for color.  In September, we can add some felt leaves, small plastic apples, small sticks, rocks, anything that represents the change of a season.  October will be my favorite- spider rings, small jack-o-lantern toys, real jack-be-little pumpkins.  Every month we can add something to keep these bins interesting. 
I was thinking it would be fun to put some notecards and small cars in a bin.  The notecards can stand up in the rice and create walls that a car can maneuver through or around.  Need other ideas?  Add blocks, pom poms, cotton balls and clothes pins, measuring devices, feathers, paper clips, marbles(age appropriate), bouncy balls, dinosaurs, army guys.  Anything small!  Time to remove items from the bins?  Kids LOVE to do stuff like that.  Many hands make light work.
Something else that I keep as a diversion is a collection of homemade matching games.  I have seasonal sets.  I just printed off clip art from my typing program and laminated each card with contact paper.  See Smudge?  He was following me around all morning.  Anyway, the sets each store nicely in a ziplock bag and the sets together in a bag that was used for a toy set at one point.   
Each set has 12 cards.  This is a short game designed for 3 year olds.  5 year olds enjoy playing it, too!  This set is the summer theme.
Here is the Fall theme.  We also have Spring, Winter, Halloween, Christmas and Jesus sets. 
Come on, September!
Song for today is called Sunrise by Norah Jones.  My daughter and I were yard saling Saturday and I found a few CDs for .50 each.  Metallica, Norah Jones and Michael Jackson.  How's that for variety? 
♥♥♥Happy Music Monday!♥♥♥

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Great Day

We had group time yesterday.  It's something we skip during the summer if things are busy in the mornings.  Since we have had rain, we haven't been having afternoon story times outside.  This has led to us having lots of library books that we still haven't read, and they are almost due to be returned.  It was time to read some books!  The kids were happy to have story time.  It's funny when I take photos and they aren't smiling.  I think it's because they are so used to seeing me with the camera pointed at them that they just don't care to "ham it up" anymore.  Look at the guy second from the right.  Maybe he thinks if he just shows me his teeth I will stop taking the photo?  I don't know, but the face made me laugh this morning. 
We had a quick lesson about "criss cross applesauce" sitting.  This helps to avoid accidental kicking of the neighbor, kids playing with shoes or banging feet on the floor.  There can be so many distractions with story time.  The way a story is read makes a difference, too.  I get much more animated with the kids than I have ever been around adults.  It keeps the kids interested in the story.  If it's a spooky story, I act scared and the kids coax me to turn the page.  If there's a spaceship launching, I launch the book up into the air and make sound effects.  If it's a bed time book, I might pretend to fall asleep.  The kids love to "wake me up".  The looks on their faces let me know that they are imagining things.   Children's books are precious to me.
Something wonderful happened yesterday!  A parent came for a tour about the spot we recently advertised. When I feel ready to fill a spot, I give the whole thing over to God.  I don't always have all of our spots full.  Sometimes it feels comfortable with less than the max.  Having a parent tour the house can make me nervous because I'm basically advertising myself.  What I try to remember is that God is going to place who He feels needs to be here and I am not in charge.  This really helps to put me at ease.  I don't like to advertise unless I really feel ready for another child, and when that time comes, I just tell God that I think I'm ready.  Then I usually pray that there isn't an explosion or something crazy when the tour takes place.  The kids have caused havoc before.  There's something exciting about a visitor.  They all get an extra spring in their step, a need to be involved in the conversations, and more often than not-- they start breaking rules to see what I will do.   
(Insert eye roll HERE.)
ANYWAY, praise God that we have filled the vacant spot, and the timing is perfect! 
We cut our art time short due to the visit and created some beaded pipe cleaner necklaces.
Just a quick little project.  Making a necklace with pipe cleaners requires three pipe cleaners per child.  I let them bead one full pipe cleaner, and then attach the other two to lengthen it to fit around their heads.
I completely forgot to take photos of the finished products!!  It was a wonderful day.  We've had a really great week, rain and all.  I see the sunshine this morning!  I think we will have a free morning and get out in it.  I'm sure we've got some snap peas to harvest.
♥♥♥Happy Friday!♥♥♥

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rainy Days Rock

It was written into our schedule to go to the park yesterday, but due to the unending rain we had to come up with something else to do.  Rainy days can be a challenge, especially when we haven't had one in a while.  We can all end up feeling like a herd of animals, trapped inside together with not enough room to run around.  The easiest way for me to keep everyone happy is to just tighten the reigns and follow our usual preschool schedule.  This keeps us all busy and happy.  I pulled out some t.p. tubes and prepared some binoculars for the kids to decorate.  We would play a good game of 'Find Superman'. 
The kids glued some tissue squares.
Next, concentration tongue in position-- decorate the binoculars with markers and write names on them. 
"Can you see me?"
Binoculars complete, we all lined up for a group photo.  I can't resist.  We learned the rules of "find Superman'.  The goal was to keep the binoculars on our eyes the entire time.  If they leave the face, the kid is disqualified.  That's right, someone could lose.
Superman was in place.  Here he was, reversing the Earths rotation in order to turn back time and rescue Lois Lane.
They did a very good job using their binoculars!  Only a couple had to be disqualified the first round.
Next, Superman laid down for a nap.  The coaster was just the right size for hero blanket.
You would think it would be easy to spot him, but remember, they could only look through the binoculars. 
They did eventually find him!  It was a great time killer.  
Next on our list of rainy day stuck inside events: Glow sticks in the dark.  This will never ever get old.
Everyone had two glow sticks. 
When the noise level gets loud, it's a good indication that the kids need to blow off some steam.  I turned the music up and we had a glow stick dance party.  The rain ensued.
Bustin' a move.  He was awesome!
It was really a great day for being stuck inside.  (Of course we could always go play in the rain, but I wasn't feelin' like that yesterday with the LIGHTNING and all.)  It was an incredible storm!  The rain is still here, my flower garden is suffering as it lays on the ground, waterlogged.  As long as the sunflowers stand their ground, I'll get over it.  Today will be a little bit like yesterday-- I've just got to keep them occupied. 
Throwback Thursday photo-- my first two kids at Henle House, February 2009.  Our youngest, Aiden (3 years old)  on the left and my niece Alexis (2 years old) on the right.  We took a field trip to the hardware store to get some bird food and a bird feeder.  The birdfeeder still hangs from the apple tree today.  It was a time when we just weren't sure if Henle House would be a success.  Here we are five years later and running strong.  I'm so thankful. 
♥♥♥Happy Thursday!♥♥♥