Thursday, October 31, 2013

Our hectic life...

   The boys were content to watch some more Magic School bus episodes and Evan even convinced me that Treasure Buddies is educational because it teaches him about Egypt.  In case you all haven't noticed, it's pretty much anything goes around here this week.  Things have been pretty hectic around here and juggling schoolwork, house work, and life isn't always easy.  I try to cut us slack on weeks where it seems like we aren't getting anything done because I know we have other weeks when we marvel at all that we do accomplish.  In the end it all seems to even out.
     I called Evan over and we read the book Soap Bubble Magic together and then I read to him all the facts we had written about soap bubbles so far.  As we read through each page of the Soap Bubble Magic book  I had him stop me and tell me facts about soap bubbles to add to our list.  We had a list two pages long by the time we finished and then we printed it out.  Evan then went through our homeschooling pictures and picked out pictures of himself making bubbles to add to his display board.   We added pictures of our snake bubbles, of our frozen bubbles, of Evan standing in the giant bubble at the Ecotarium, of our large glycerin bubbles, and giant bubbles made using our homemade bubble blowers.  We did a search for bubble solution recipes and ended up printing out a list of possible recipes to try.  Once we affixed everything to his board we cut out a title using the Cricut and glued that on too.  I was amazed when we stood back and I realized we had another science fair project done!  We will have to make up some bubble solution next week for his hands on/ craft project.  We decided to bring bubble solution and lots of bubble wands and let the kids blow bubbles.  Evan has his board all done, books to display and lots of various wands all packed and ready to go.

      While we were on a roll I also had Alec make up a prototype of his hands on craft to bring the science fair. We found these adorable paper plate Panda bear masks that we adapted.  Using a large circle punch we cut out two ears and glued them onto the plate.  We cut out eyes and Alec used a crayon to add the black circles around the eyes as well as to make the panda's nose and mouth.  I then used my hole punch to make a small hole on either side and threaded some yarn through.  I figure one day next week Alec and I can punch out a bunch of black ears, punch the little holes and add yarn to the plates and then the kids can each cut out their own eyes, affix the ears, color the circles around the eyes, and draw a mouth and nose.  Once we do that Alec is completely finished.  His board is done, we have a huge stack of books to put on display as well as his two stuffed animals to bring with us.  He has his snacks all purchased so the only thing left is to finish prepping his craft.  Yippee!  2 down, and only 1 more to go! 

   Our reading about bubbles got the boys all excited, and since I really wanted one last picture for Evan's board, we pulled out glasses, water, Joy dish soap and some straws.  The boys started blowing bubbles in the glass and watching them blow over the sides onto the table.  They decided to break out trays and toys and practiced blowing multiple bubbles, enclosing toys inside a bubble, blowing a bubble inside another bubble, and so much more.  We observed all the colors found on the bubbles, we noticed what shapes they took when multiple bubbles were blown at once and on and on it went.  They played for an hour-- with soap bubbles!  I never in a million years would have thought they'd be so entertained but they really were.  They were having a ball and learning all sorts of wonderful scientific facts.  It was wonderful! 

all the boys participate

       I sewed Alec's new patch on his uniform and he reminded me that the Korean flag has the red sun on top of the blue ocean so that I'd make sure to sew it on the right way.  The boys each practiced their student creeds/ tenants of Tang Soo Do.  Alec has been reading a book we picked up out of the adult section of the library simply called Tang Soo Do in hopes of learning the names of the moves.  He has learned that all of the kicks end in the same word so that it must be the Korean word for kick. The boys are so eager for class and Evan asked me multiple times today if they had karate again tonight. 

      The boys played on the computer, outside, and in their rooms for parts of the day too.  They occasionally watched a few TV shows.  I sat down and took a nap this afternoon (I know I was pretty amazed too!) but as I was napping (and being continually woken up) I was also watching American Pickers with Ian and learning quite a bit about American history.   It was a very nice low key day.  We enjoyed it, but I couldn't help feeling guilty.  We were in our Pj's watching TV for 90% of our day!  I can't let this continue but I wasn't going to complain today.  I am exhausted and wondering how on Earth I'm going to finish everything on time.  I finished everything on my to do list today but realized half way through the day that there were more things to add to my list I had forgotten about.  I still need to clean the downstairs, iron clothes for the rehearsal dinner, do groceries, make some breakfast food for Saturday morning, paint my nails (I really wanted a mani/ pedi but Halloween really is messing up my plans!), wrap my sister's gift, go to a funeral, start Ian's science project... eek!  I start to panic every time I think about all I have left to do so I try not to think about it. 
       Ian has been reading a book about rollerblades, scooters, and skateboards.  He was eager to share part of his book with me last night as I was turning out his lights.  There are two men who managed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro while wearing roller blades!  We read how they managed to accomplish that and why they decided to give it a try.  He read all about how to maintain and clean his scooter, how they perform tricks, and safer ways to practice.  Alec and Ian have also been reading a book written by The Weird School author about writing called My weird Writing Tips.  They are really enjoying it and learning a lot about the process an author must go through to write a book.    Evan, who still insists he can't read, has been reading very short one or two word books to me each night.  His new favorite books are called Yes and Tall.  I have now started asking him how to spell the words tall, small, and fall before we even start reading. 

       Alec has been practicing his spelling and math skills while playing words with friends.  He has challenged family members to play and has amazed me with the words he has been coming up with.  He has a great strategy for play and looks for ways to score the most points.  I couldn't believe when he showed me the word "Jinx" today.  He made sure the J landed on a triple word score!  He always figures out how much each word is worth before he plays it and usually tries to figure out the differences in scores too.  Between his sudden passion for spelling, writing, reading and karate I'm really beginning to see the benefits of delight directed learning! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Karate kids

     Today I started my day by making the boys breakfast and telling them I was going to start cleaning the upstairs.  They sat down to eat and I marveled at their wonderful spooky Halloween stories they were taking turns making up and telling one another.  There was such expression, wonderful sound effects and moments of real terror.  I marveled at how far their story telling skills have come even though we rarely (if ever) write stories.  I do feel that story telling is great practice for writing stories and encourage them to tell stories as often as they like.
      They finished breakfast, cleaned up their dishes, got all ready for the day and settled in to watch a few episodes of the Magic School Bus.  Ian got bored after a bit and decided to watch the last episode of Popular Mechanics for Kids.  I was so grateful that they had taken it upon themselves to learn some science today since I felt like I had once again dropped the ball in finding any time to plan or implement lessons. 
     I really wanted to at least get one of the boys started with their science fair projects.  Somehow I had thought we had two additional weeks in which to get these done, but we don't!  Yikes!  After lunch,  I asked Alec to come over to the computer with me and dictate some facts about Lesser Pandas and Giant Pandas.  Next thing I knew we had 6 printed pages! We glued them to his board, printed out a coordinating map showing both animals' territories, affixed a title to the whole board and now all we need is to print a few pictures of the animals and we're done!  We also settled on a snack to make/ take with us as well as a craft project.  Now if I can only work this quickly and efficiently with the other two boys we'll be all set. 

Alec actually decided to try riding a scooter today!
    We left the house to run some quick errands-- mainly picking up printer ink and supplies for the science fair crafts and snacks.  I promised the boys time to play at the park when we were done errands.  Ian was kind enough to pack up the car with helmets and scooters, he even offered to pack his old scooter so Alec could ride too.  The boys had a fun afternoon racing each other on scooters, watching the older boys on their scooters doing tricks and jumps. They ran, climbed and played on the slide and playground until it was time to get ready for karate.

    The other two boys decided they wanted to take karate too so it was Ian and Evan's first day.  I wasn't sure Evan would really participate but he did and he loved it!  Both boys had an awesome time and did really well.  They memorized the one student creed they needed to each earn their white belts.  Alec managed to earn his second patch-- the second patch in two weeks!  They all can count to five in Korean already!  They recognize the Korean flag and know that the red color goes on top.  I can't believe how passionate they are about karate and how much they have learned in such a short amount of time. 

Evan jumped right into class, not at all intimated! 

Practicing kicks

Ian practicing his punches

Alec's new patch! 

Walking on Eggshells And Elephant Toothpaste; Fun with Science

We did have a few science experiments planned a few weeks ago that we had never gotten around to doing so I suggested to the boys that we take advantage of our time at home and work on those today. 

We walked on eggs!

I was so nervous to try this experiment but the eggs we bought for it were about to expire and, just in case we didn't break them, I really wanted to be able to use them in recipes and not let them go to waste.

The boys started by squeezing an egg in their hand as hard as they could.  They were pretty surprised when they couldn't break them.

Look how white his fingers are from squeezing so hard!

We then laid out a dollar store shower curtain on the kitchen floor and two dozen eggs.  The boys took off their socks and with assistance took turns gently stepping on one carton of eggs.  They made sure to apply even pressure and gradually shift their weight to the other foot.

The eggs don't break! 

Success!  We were completely successful both times.  Alec chose to watch and not participate since he was afraid the eggs would break and he'd have to have another shower. 

After the egg experiment we moved the curtain to the table and pulled out the stuff we needed to make elephant toothpaste.

We put 4 oz. of a highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution (like the kind hairdressers use, not the kind you can buy at the grocery store!) into a 2 liter bottle of soda.  You can purchase the peroxide at beauty supply stores but I bought mine here on Amazon.

Clairol Professional - Pure White Soy Complex Crème Developer

Adding the peroxide to the bottle using a funnel
and latex gloves
We added a few drops of liquid dish soap and food coloring and then gently swished it around to mix them.

In a separate cup we mixed a packet of dry yeast with 4 tablespoons of very warm water.

Once the yeast was mixed well we poured it into the bottle and watched the yeast react with the peroxide.

The reaction starts immediately
It bubbles and foams and eventually makes it way out of the bottle.  The bottle gets warm since it's an exothermic reaction and Ian and I discussed how it works.

It took a while to reach the top of our bottle
It was really neat to watch.  The boys were a bit disappointed that not a lot of foam made it's way out of the bottle.  We should have used a 1 liter bottle like the recipe called for, or else doubled the other ingredients, but it was still a lot of fun and frankly it was less messy this way!

Such a fun morning filled with science!

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Falloween at the Aquarium

The Aquarium was celebrating Halloween and fall with their Falloween celebration and we decided to take a family trip yesterday to see what it was all about.

With having trick or treated at the zoo twice last week, having attended our homeschool Halloween party, and having had a costume party Saturday night the boys were pretty costumed out.  Ian decided not to wear any costume at all.  Alec wore his costume suit without the mask and Evan ended up wearing his whole costume for the entire day... I had to ask him to remove his gloves and mask for lunch even! 
Filling out scavenger hunt forms
decorating trick or treat bags
We had a great day at the aquarium.  All of the exhibits were decorated and decked out.  The kids got a real kick of seeing skeletons in the Piranha tank, gravestones in the Amazon exhibit, and jack o lanterns all around.

They participated in a scavenger hunt (though my kids knew all the answers and didn't have to hunt around at all!), they made trick or treat bags, watched a very neat juggling show and got to use the remote control boats in the water.  We watched an all new pirate themed sea lion show.  We learned that if you turn on Pandora and hold your phone up to the glass the Beluga whales will come over to investigate and "dance."  It was very cool!

pirate sea lion show
Ian got to pet the sting rays and we watched divers carving pumpkins underwater.  They carved a pumpkin in the shark tank and then two other divers carved pumpkins in one of the fish tanks.  The fish loved the pumpkin and went crazy for it!  Alec made a friend and they kept comparing notes and facts about sting rays, rays and sharks.  It was great to see he's not alone in all this animal trivia he knows at such a young age. 

divers carve pumpkins

the kids loved watching all the fish swimming so near

all decorated for Halloween

The whales listen to music
Love this picture!!
watching the sea lion feeding and training

Map storage

Anytime we go to an amusement park I try to save some park maps to use in scrapbooking.  I love that in the past 8 years or so that we've been traveling off and on to Disney that we have been able to see the parks change a bit here and there. 

It's a great keepsake but I always have a bit of trouble finding a cute map storage layout... well not this year! 

I LOVE my map pages so much I only made two versions (even though I did make four pages!).  I try never to copy my designs from one album to the next but I seriously loved these pages so much I didn't care! 

I wished I could've used my Cricut for his shorts too but my Cricut only cuts up to a 6" shape so I freehand drew the shape on the back of the red paper before cutting out... makes Mickey look a bit chunky but I still love it!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sometimes You Just Gotta Lego! Scrapbooking the Lego Store in Downtown Disney

My boys love Downtown Disney-- mostly because of the Lego store.  It is pretty amazing and so much fun too!  Here are a few pages I made for the boys albums. 

These amazing characters are all made out of tiny Lego pieces! 

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Halloween celebrations

We made an adorable monster fruit salad to bring to our homeschool Halloween party (and I'm not trying to toot my horn by saying it was a huge hit at the party!).

Our monster fruit salad-- saw this on Pinterest and had to give it a shot!  So super easy!! We carved
a giant hole with teeth at the bottom of the melon, scooped out the melon, cut up all the fruit and spooned it coming out of the mouth.  We then used toothpicks, orange slices and half- grapes for the eyes.  I did cut a slice of the melon off the bottom to make it nice and flat for standing up too. 
We packed up some art supplies, paper goods, and treats, donned our costumes and headed out.

The boys played musical chairs, limbo, pass, bowling, and had fun running and playing.  We had a huge turn out for our party and the boys met a few more homeschoolers.  They played with moon sand and made a few craft projects-- Ian's skull drawings came out amazing!  We were reluctant to leave, we were having so much fun.
the craft table

A group shot-- look at all the amazing costumes (many moms and
kids made theirs)

musical chairs

getting down to a final few

Moon sand was a big draw for all the kids

eyeball/ spoon race!  (just like an egg race but with small eyeballs
one mom managed to find!)

How low can you go?

Find directions and templates here for this project

our completed skulls
We ate a quick dinner, got back into our costumes and headed out for what I was hoping would be a great, fun night!  We were heading to a Halloween laser light show.  We went last year and loved it.

The boys saw so many of their friends, listened to some fun and funky Halloween music and watched all the neat Halloween images projected onto the screen.

Perfect way to end the day!

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Party in Your PJ's