Friday, February 28, 2014

Breakfast with Friends... Disney friends

 I've  been working on these Breakfast with Lilo and Stitch Disney pages for three days.  I'm not sure why it's taking me so long but I finally finished a few of them! 

I think this one is my favorite!  Alec only wanted to meet Lilo and Stitch so I didn't have a ton of photos with him in it.  I was able to assemble a single page for his book.  I had this brown sandal/ flower paper and I loved the colors in it.  I mounted each of the photos onto blue and then orange.  I added a blue title cut from my Life's A Beach cartridge.  I cut two more titles in orange and gold to get the layers for the flower on the title.  I then cut three flip flop boarders out of blue, orange and gold also to get my flip flop embellishments.  I also cut two Plumeria flowers; one orange and one blue and then used the layers feature to cut out the gold and orange and blue enhancements.  Once I had assembled all the flip flops and flowers and had them on my page in a way I liked I went through and added a bit of shading using my two way markers.  I love how much they pop now!
Evan's Lilo and Stitch page looked adorable with the bright sunshine paper behind each of the pictures that I layered on the orange paper.  I cut a gold bar to go across the photos at the bottom and used the From My Kitchen cartridge to cut out the breakfast title in orange.  I finished off the page with a few Lilo & Stitch stickers.  

I was not happy with this double page spread but could not figure out what else to do with it.  I had given up on it and put it into the album when inspiration struck.  My Life's a Beach cartridge was out & the book was open on my desk.  I noticed that the picture showing was the same leaf as the ones on Lilo's dress.. 

so I cut out 8 white leaves in a size 3 and tucked them in among the photos and stickers.  I LOVE the page now.

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Epic Mommy Adventures

Using Learning Games in Our Homeschool

I'm always looking for new and fun way to reach my boys.  Games and hands on activities are vital to our homeschooling days.  Today I decided to implement a few new games and thought I'd share them with you.

Catch a sight word--- I wrote a bunch of sight words on a small beach ball and Evan and I played pass.  Wherever our hands landed we had to read the words under our hands.  Not surprisingly his brothers wanted to join in too!

Our ball

Evan playing the game and reading his words
Clothespin drop game-- remember playing fun party games when you were a kid and you had to try and drop a clothespin into a bottle?  I took this fun kids games and turned it into a subtraction game.  I gave Evan 10 clothespins to start with; I had him count how many he had and then I had him try and drop them in a bottle.  He had to subtract the ones that fell on the floor and tell me a number sentence to go with what happened  (such as: 10- 6= 4 in the jar!)

counting his clothes pins

dropping his clothespins

counting them up to come up with his number sentences
Division Bang-  While Evan was working on subtraction his brothers worked on division again.  Using the same idea as the sight word Bang game that Evan and I played the other day I made up a multiplication bang game.  I took a bunch of Popsicle sticks and wrote various division equations on each sticks.  They had to reach into the jar pull out a stick and if they got it right they got to keep the stick.  If they got it wrong they put the stick back in the jar.  If they got the stick that said bang they had to return all their sticks to the jar.  I've also seen it where people have written Zap or Buzz on their sticks as well so it just depends on what you want to call your game.  We set a timer for this game and the one with the most sticks at the end won!

Our sticks

our container all ready for our game

Alec is so happy to be winning for once!

The boys amazed themselves with their understanding today 
 Evan thought the boys game looked like so much fun that he wanted to play sight word bang again so we pulled out his container of words and we played a game.  He did great with most of these 20 words that we've been practicing.  He told me that next time (Monday) he wanted to play memory again using these words AND the bang card and if you flip over a bang you get to take a card from one of your opponents.  I think that sounds like great fun and we'll definitely have to try it.

He beat me again in Sight word Bang!

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Hip Homeschool Moms

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Craft Day with the Homeschoolers

We get together with our homeschool group a few times a year for a crafting day.  Each family is asked to bring a crafting project that we can share with everyone.  

It's not always easy coming up with crafts that are simple enough to do with large groups of children who span a large range of ages.  We're also asked to pick activities that don't require much in the way of drying time-- so no glue or paint!  

We had so much fun for the next few hours crafting and visiting with our friends. 

We made bird feeders-- 2 different kinds

  • For bird feeder no. 1:  we spread honey all over a toilet paper roll and then rolled it in bird seed.  We strung some shoelaces through the toilet paper roll so they could hang it from their trees when they got home. 

  • For bird feeder no. 2: we strung cheerios onto some pipe cleaners.  It was fun to be able to shape the pipe cleaners into different shapes for the birds.  I think a bunch of them strung on one tree would be really cute!

One family brought their rainbow loom and some rainbow loom bands for bracelet making.  Their daughter was great at demonstrating and teaching the kids how to make bracelets!

Another family brought pipe cleaners, clothes pins, coffee filters and markers for making paper butterflies.  

  • The kids would draw on the coffee filters with markers, spritz it with enough water to make the marker colors blend and bleed and then once dry we'd crumple them up slightly to make wings and clip them in the middle to make little butterflies.  The pipe cleaners made the perfect antennae.

One mom brought a stack of paper, some markers, and some rulers and taught the kids how to make 3-D drawings using lines and bumps. 

One family brought an iron and some Perler Beads.  

The kids had so much fun creating all sorts of shapes and patterns with the tiny beads and watching them magically "glue" together with the use of the hot iron (which the mom did for them all).

We had a family that brought lots of foam stickers and some papers for the kids to make sticker collages. 

Our final family brought paper with heart stencils, star stencils or drawings of flowers on them with little strips of colored tissue paper and watered down glue for the kids to make stained glass pictures.

Often simple projects work best but we're always amazed at how well the kids adapt and pick up on the craft projects.  Older kids help the smaller kids and it's great to see them all having fun together.   

Quick and Easy Dumbo Disney pages

This weekend I worked on our Disney album.  I worked on our Dumbo pages.  

My two younger children agreed to ride Dumbo with me and we snapped some great pictures that day.  I made up three pages; one for our family album and one for each of the boy's albums.  

I had one sleeve of Dumbo themed stickers that I had bought a few years ago and I combined them with some printed papers.  

My favorite is the top layout.  

I love the contrast between the white and the dark royal blue paper and I think all the tiny boxes along the bottom are just darling.   

 I also pulled together one really quick teacup page. 

For this layout I mounted all the photos onto white paper and then backed them with a dark royal blue color.  I had enough left over to make the title strip and used my Stampin Up! phrase starters stamps and my Almost Amethyst pad to print the title.  I tied a bow around the bottom of the page and added 5 small boxes (2x2") along the bottom putting just a sticker or two or in each box from the Dumbo sticker set. 

I'm not sure why the colors came out so weird in the photo but I used the Disney scrapbook paper that was preprinted with Dumbo, Huey, Duey and Louie.  I mounted my photo on some matching cardstock and used the rest of that cardstock and my Animal Kingdom Cricut cartridge to make the title.  I embellished the title using my white marker. 

For the last Dumbo page I used some circus paper. I found some red cardboard letter stickers to make my title and mounted my photo on dark red cardstock.  I used my last few remaining Dumbo stickers to finish off the page.

I used a blue paper for my background paper and pulled in some dark rose paper that I cut into a smaller square to hold my photos.  I cut a printed light green paper to hold my journaling and added a large Alice sticker.  I cut out the Tea Party words using my Wrap It Up Cricut cartridge and then I finished off the page using two little sticker teacups that had come with the Alice image. 

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bang! And other fun games for learning

I love best when we can tackle a lot of learning concepts and ideas through games and playing.  When we can keep learning light, fun and engaging, the boys are willing to work longer and harder.

I decided to start teaching the boys basic division.  And even though the boys already have a basic understanding of division I did start with a very simple activity.

I gave each of the boys a muffin pan and a pile of beads.  I gave them each thirty beads and asked them to divide them into one group, two groups, three groups, etc.  Until we had divided them into 12 groups and we ran out of muffin tin spots.

We talked about remainders, equal groups, and relating our findings to multiplication problems that they already knew (like 30 divided by 5 equals 6 since 5x6 equals 30).

 They pointed out that the more groups we broke the items into the fewer pieces each group had.  It was a great lesson with just enough challenge that the boys had to think pretty hard but not so challenging that anyone broke down into tears.

two equal groups of 15

With 7 groups we can only have 4 in each tin with
2 left over
Evan has been doing really well with his addition facts and so we went on to some more subtraction practice.  We started subtraction a few weeks ago when we were playing with the plastic cups and Nerf guns.

For today's lesson I pulled out the same cups and gave him a ball.  We played subtraction bowling.

I set up the cups in a triangle shape like at the bowling alley and had him roll the ball at them.  He then told me how many cups he knocked down and how many he had left.  I helped him say his equation as a subtraction sentence.

After the first example he just took off on his own and I noticed that he wasn't even counting the remaining cups after just a few rolls.  He'd tell me that he knocked down three and has 7 left or that he knocked down 2 and had 8 left.   I'm amazed at how fast his number sense is developing.

The ball mostly moved then around and didn't knock that many over

Finally managed to knock down 4 cups with 6 left standing
We watched a Bill Nye the Science Guy movie today for science and learned about genes.  I picked this particular movie since there has been a lot of talk about genes in our house lately.  I can't remember exactly how it came about but the boys have started asking questions about genetics and I hoped that this movie would make it all a bit clearer.

They talked about where they got their blues eyes from, who can roll their tongues and why.  We related the move back to the strand of DNA we watched being extracted from the strawberry at our last science fair.  It was great.  I never thought they'd be interested in or really even understand such complex science ideas.

 Evan and I played a sight word game called Bang.

Using the sight word flash cards I had printed off for our memory game and a few additional yellow cards that just say BANG on them we started our game.

It's very simple to play; just put all the cards into a container (not see through) and then  take turns pulling out a card.  If you can read the word keep it and start a pile, if not put it back in the container. If you pull out a BANG card all of your cards have to go back into the container.  The one with the most cards left at the end of the game wins.

I've seen this game all over Pinterest using anything from number and letter recognition to sight words to addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts.

I plan to have the older boys play division Bang tomorrow (I'll write up the facts on Popsicle sticks instead of flash cards just to change it up a bit).   Evan has such a ball with this game and asked me to save it again so we can play again another day. He didn't even mind that he got Bang! three times in a row; of course it probably helped that he ended with 8 cards and I got a bang!

His pile is growing; look at all the words he knows now!

While Evan and I played Bang I had the older two boys working on some Mad Libs with one another.  We have many to choose from and the boys just love how silly the stories come out.  I love that they're learning part of speech in such a fun way that they don't mind or complain.  They also practice a lot of spelling and reading skills when playing too.

 All in all I think we read/worked on at least 5 different Mad Lib stories.  I think my favorite was the story of the pirate Purple Beard who had a parrot that sat on his eye and jumped.  The boys were shrieking with laughter.  It was wonderful.  They continued to play long after I left their rooms.

At any time during the day if someone was waiting for me to finish up helping one of their brothers I had them work on our family puzzle we set up or else play with our Q-Ba marble maze.  I'm trying to pick a few different things each day to have set up around the house that they can play with in between our subjects.

Evan and Ian were working together and Alec was working by himself and they were arguing over who had the most pieces.  We put real life division into action.  

I read from the box how many total pieces there were of each shape and the boys decided it was most fair to divide them into two equal groups.   Some of the answers were easy; like 20 balls into two groups were 10 each but they really had to work hard to figure out 36 into two equal groups!  Once they had them all divided Alec asked me to go to Q-Ba's website and print off some plans for some marble mazes.

They continued working quietly and nicely and Alec made his butterfly.

Evan and Ian's small maze

Alec's Butterfly maze (boy! were those instructions hard to understand!)
We played a new geography game today called GeoDice.  We LOVED this game!

Geotoys - Geodice - Geography Family Game & Educational Game - Best Board Game to Learn Countries of the World

Evan was even able to play with me acting as his writer.  There are two sides to the game board and you can play with learning the names of the countries, the names of the capitals, or both-- since there are five rounds in a game we used both sides of the board.

I made each boy add up his own score.  Evan was able to help me add using fingers/ counters but before we even added he knew he had won since he had been one point behind Alec and he ended up getting two more than Alec in the final round.

Hard at work during the game searching for names
our final scores-- pretty close game!

It was actually a pretty relaxing day and we all dropped what we were doing when we saw a family of deer crossing the ice.

I love the freedom we have in homeschooling.

To take breaks and watch nature, play with "toys" like blocks, the Q- Ba maze and even to watch a bit of TV or play a few rounds of video games while getting some schoolwork done is really freeing.

Most of the time we have a nice laid back and relaxed kind of day.

Learning happens in fits and spurts and they get to take breaks frequently.  Somehow the boys managed to watch the movie UP!, watch several TV shows, and accomplish all the other schoolwork listed on the blog today.

They're getting really good at multi- tasking too.  They ate snack while working on math, they watched movies and TV while building elaborate mazes and buildings out of blocks, and they worked on coloring while filling out Mad Libs. 

Evan hard at work
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