Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Counting Pumpkin Seeds - One to One

Yesterday Busy and I carved a pumpkin and I saved the seeds for a math activity that we did this morning. At school, she is working on one-to-one up to five. I made a grid up to 6 and gave her a cup full of pumpkin seeds. I demonstrated what I wanted her to do by counting out 1 seed and putting it in the 'one' square and counting out 2 seeds and putting it in the 'two' square. I cleared the grid and let her try. It was quickly very apparent that I need to make another grid with higher numbers, and maybe a grid with the numbers out of order. 

Grid up to 6

Getting Rid of the Snoofles

A few weeks ago I posted about how I got rid of the crazy foul smell that was taking over my house (and my nose) by putting vanilla extract in the oven. It worked like a charm so I decided to try the same trick for a different problem.

Everyone in our house has been suffering from allergies and now we can go ahead and add seasonal colds to our ailments :( Last year during cold and flu season, Busy and the Beans got the snoofles. He was only a few months old so instead of coating him with Vicks, I picked up some eucalyptus oil at Whole Foods. He was still in an infant tub, so I filled the regular tub with a few inches of water and put a few drops of oil in, too. He was able to breathe the vapors (he didn't touch the oily water) and it worked amazingly!!! With Busy, and now with Beans as well, I fill the sink with water and put a few drops of oil in and shut the door. The vapors fill the bathroom and just as before, it works great!

Now for my new trick. Since it isn't realistic to spend the day in the bathroom, I decided to try putting the eucalyptus oil in a coffee cup and stick it in the oven on 350 degrees, just like I did with the vanilla extract. I put about 30 drops of oil in with a little water and within 15 minutes the entire house smelled nose-clearing fantastic!!! Success!!

Jack-O-Lantern Oranges

You can now see them on almost every doorstep of houses with children, they come in all sizes and now, they don't even have to made out of pumpkins. That's right. Jack-O-Lanterns!!! You can make them happy, scary or silly and they can be impersonators of your favorite character or be carved with any scene. And you can't possibly have a Halloween themed party or meal without one! Which brings me to the ones that I made last night for Beansie's school teacher appreciation brunch. I made them last year but decided to get a little more detailed this time around. Last year I used a black sharpie marker to draw on the face, but this year I used a knife to "carve" the face.

I cut the top off, scraped out the orange insides, rinsed them, carved them and filled them with fruit like blueberries, raspberries, bananas, grapes and pineapple. Put the top back on and serve chilled. This was my own idea from last year, but I have recently seen this on Pinterest that puts a slit in the top and puts a small green spoon through (like a stem, I guess). 

disclosure: getting the orange insides is harder than it seems and takes the most time. Otherwise, this is super easy and would be super cute to send to school for a snack :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

On A Rainy Day

Today has been a very rainy day :( Usually I welcome rain, but today it was cold too. I had planned on running some errands with the kids in tow after Beansie woke up from his morning nap, but the rain kind of put a damper on that idea. There's not much worse than getting in and out of the car with two small kids in the rain! So we hung out at the house... the entire day. By noon, it was time to pull out my bag of tricks, new and old. Here are some of the things we did...

Spaghetti Bath

A while back I bought a few packages of spaghetti at the dollar store for this very activity. I had just never gotten around to actually doing it. 

1. Cook spaghetti 
2. I colored some of the noodles with food coloring.
3. Put on swimsuits (we did this not only for picture purposes, but also so the noodles didn't get into, um, crevices. 
4. Get in the tub and dump noodles in as well!!! 

Yum! It makes a nice snack too, apparently.

Beansie absolutely did not like the sensation of a noodle bath! Poor thing.
So he sat beside the tub playing with water in a bowl (one of his favorite things to do).

Clean up was a bit tedious, but well worth it. Busy really enjoyed it! 

Ice Diving

Ice diving is something that we have done before. It doesn't last long in a warm bath, but is still a lot of fun! And we were in the tub already anyway so...

You have to have thought of this one ahead of time.

1. Make ice the old fashion way: water in an ice cube tray (with food coloring).
2. Dump ice in the bath and "dive" for it. Busy tries to catch it with her mouth and the Beans uses his hands. 
*You can make all colors or just make one. It's also fun to make red and yellow cubes and have the water turn orange or red and blue so the water turns purple... you get the picture. 

Fizzle Pumpkins

This last one was awesome! I got the idea here. We have made an erupting volcano a bunch of times, so it was nice to use baking soda and vinegar for something else for a change. 

1. Mix your paint with baking soda in bowls. It takes about three parts baking soda to every one part of tempura paint. Your paint should have a lot of baking soda in it, but still be liquidy enough to paint onto a surface. You don't want it to be clumpy or powdery.
2. Cover your pumpkin with lots of colorful paint.
3. Once the pumpkin is painted, put it in a shallow dish and use a straw to transfer some vinegar from a bowl and squirt it onto your pumpkin.
4. The paint should fizzle and bubble where you squirt the vinegar as it reacts with the baking soda paint.  
5. Once the fizzing has stopped, you can add more paint to your pumpkin and then squirt on more vinegar.
6. Once your pumpkin is sufficiently covered with paint and vinegar and it stops fizzling, put it somewhere to dry.

This is what ours looked like once dry.

Number Rubbings

Today is a math day! Busy woke up this morning and immediately we began counting. We counted how many steps it took to get to the bathroom, we counted how many jumps it took to get to the living room, we counted the cereal pieces as they went in the bowl (up to 20, then we just dumped them in), and we counted the number of dance outfits she has hanging in the playroom. We spent all morning counting anything that can be counted as we went about our business. Then when Beans went down for his nap, Busy and I sat down for a math activity.

I did the first one to show Busy that the lighter she colored back and forth, the better the number would show up and explained that because the number was raised, when the crayon hit the "bump" it naturally made a darker line.

Hers were a little harder to see, but she was very proud of her success! She tried coloring hard on some numbers just to see if I was right :) And I was.

After she was finished with all of the number rubbings, we talked about each of the numbers and what those numbers could represent. For example, she thinks there are 7 giraffes at the zoo, she has 1 brother, she has 20 freckles and so on.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


There are certain responsibilities that Busy has had for a while now. She is responsible for putting her shoes in the shoe box and hanging her ballet bag and school bag on the hooks when she comes in the front door. She is responsible for bringing her plate to the sink after dinner. She is responsible for cleaning up her toys when she is finished playing and right now also cleans up Beansie's toys while singing the clean up song to him :) Well, it's about that time for some more "big girl" responsibilities. I am a firm believer in visual prompts so I went online and found exactly what I was looking for at Homeschool Creations. I printed everything and headed to Kinkos to hard laminate it all! After cutting out all of the chore cards, I attached velcro dots and hung the chart on the fridge.

There are 3 morning chores and 3 afternoon chores along with the possibility of 2 money earning chores. That's right, I said money earning chores. In my opinion, at this age there are some responsibilities that are expected of a child, and some that are a bonus. The chores that we have chosen as expected are things like make your bed, clean your room and pick up your toys. Chores that are money earning include those that may be a little more difficult or new to the chore chart like setting the table, feeding the dog and helping me put away your clean clothes. So, she gets one penny for completing one of those chores, but has to have completed all of her regular morning chores in order to get that penny. So far it has worked beautifully :) She actually loves checking the chart in the morning to see what she has to do that day (there are enough cards to rotate so the chores change daily) and once completed, she gets to check it off with a dry erase marker. Ah, responsibility is a good thing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Representation - Cork Painting

Represent - to stand for or be a sign of.

While painting today, we talked about how we can use various shapes to represent different things. For example, I drew a picture of a tree and we painted different colored fall leaves all over it. We talked about how the painted leaves were exactly that: leaves. Then on another tree she used corks (which have a round shape when painting) to paint the leaves. We discussed how the circles she was painting using the corks represented the leaves on a tree because they weren't actually leaf shapes like in our first painting. As she painted we talked about other ways we could represent leaves on a tree. She came up with using smaller dots, stickers, stars and glued on macaroni! I quite liked the macaroni idea so we may be doing that one soon :) 

Here are the results. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week in Review

We have been getting geared up for Halloween at our house this week! Busy adjusts the spooky spider webs on our front bushes every day to make sure they look just right, we hung some pumpkin pictures that she painted at school in the art gallery, she made glitter pumpkins, has been singing 'The Five Little Pumpkins' and even played a nice little prank on me (sneaky little thing). Busy and The Beans both like going two doors down to walk around the neighbor's graveyard, too! Every time we pull in the driveway, she asks "May I run to Brie's (the dog) house to see the spooky decorations?" She's one brave 3 year old.

I got to sit in on the last 15 minutes of Busy's ballet class, and Beansie keeps amazing us with his super sophisticated palate (for a 10 month old). Busy sings all of the time, we stumbled on a bug themed playground, walks have begun to evolve, and the Beans finally got some teeth!!!. So here, again, is this week in review through pictures...

Nibbling on some broccoli (no butter, no salt, just plain broccoli)

Salmon, rice and green beans. He LOVES fish and meat! 

The prank Busy pulled on me...I'm gonna get her.

Giving Lizzy a bath with Beansie's toothbrush.

Yay! I got teeth!!!

What some of our walks look like now.

This wednesday kicks off the true Halloween season with the first of many Halloween parties. Make sure you check back next Sunday or follow me on Instagram to see all of the fun!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Shaving Cream (and Sensory Bags)

Busy came home from school today all geared up for an art project! She had made a "Big Green Monster" in class out of playdoh and scraps and was ready for some more fun. Lucky for her, I was already prepared for some fun :)

We sat down to first made Beansie's sensory bags. Busy helped me fill two bags with shaving cream. In one bag we put red food coloring and in the other we put red and blue. I sealed the bags and put on a strip of clear packing tape for extra protection against popping open under the squeeze of baby hands. Busy showed The Beans how to squish and mush the shaving cream to mix the colors in the bag. He took the other bag and in true baby boy fashion tried to pop the bag open! Good luck, mister. That is why I use packing tape and not just your run of the mill scotch tape!
She isn't too happy in the picture because she was ready to play without the bags.

While he was playing with his new sensory bags, Busy got to work with her bag-less sensory activity. She squirted the shaving cream on the tray. (The same tray we use for a lot of our art projects. It contains mess quite well.) After she played with the cream for a bit, I started adding food colors one at a time and used craft sticks and a paint brush to play as well. It got messy and she had a blast!

She used her fingers and craft sticks to write letters

Painting More Pumpkins...with glue?

Because we have an abundance of small decorating pumpkins and because we like to paint with just about anything, we decided to tackle an idea that I saw on TV this morning...paint a pumpkin with glue and decorate with GLITTER!!! Now let me tell you that although I love making a mess during the learning process, I really don't enjoy the mess that always accompanies glitter. Glitter leaves a different kind of mess that is crazy hard to clean up no matter how many times you vacuum. With that said, you can't deny a girl a little glitter time! So we gathered our materials and got to work.

You need any size pumpkin (we used a small decorating pumpkin to save glue and glitter), clear glue, a paint brush and some glitter. I would also suggest using a tray with a short lip to contain mess. I got mine at The Parent Teacher Store. It came as a tray for finger painting paper but I use it for a lot of our art projects.

All you have to do is pour a small amount of clear glue in a small bowl and paint the glue on the pumpkin. We talked about how much to use so the glue wouldn't drip down the sides of the pumpkin, wasting it. I asked her what she thought would happen to the glitter if we sprinkled it over part of the pumpkin that didn't have glue. When she had the amount of glue that she wanted, we held it over a trash can and sprinkled pink glitter all over it and put it back on the family table. I think it makes the table beautiful!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When Busy Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry...

A few months ago I posted about what we do to keep anger outbursts at bay with our calming jar, and that still works great, but around here we need variety. And what better was to get out your "anger itches" than to stomp them out on the stairs?! The other day Busy and the Beans were playing together. Beansie was playing with one of the golf clubs (not his daddy's clubs, don't worry). Busy decided she wanted it, so she took it. He got upset and when I stepped in to remind her that we don't take things from anyone, she got angry - really, really angry. The tell, tell signs were there: clinched teeth, fisted hands, slightly bent knees, leaning forward at the waist just a bit, marching foot and the oh so pleasant grunt/screech. It's not a pretty sight nor a pretty sound, and if you step back and keep your cool, it's really kind of funny. As long as you don't laugh out loud. That open up a new can of angry worms :(  Because she tends to stomp her foot (her right one in fact) I led her to the stairs and told her to stomp as hard and as loud as she could all the way up. So she did...

And when she got to the top, this is what happened...

Mission accomplished!

Kandinsky and Oil Pastels

I have noticed recently that Busy likes drawing circles. Big ones and small ones of all different colors using all different kinds of writing tools. Yesterday as she was drawing I was taken back to an art history class that I took in college. I remember doing a study on abstract artists and I was hit with an idea to try an artist study with my 3 year old daughter. Wassily Kandinsky was the name of the artist that I remember from that class that created a piece called 'Concentric Circles' that reminds me of some of the circles that Busy has been drawing. I did some looking around at some of my favorite mom blogs and found that some of these moms have done this exact study already but it seams that they all have older kids. No matter, I know she can do this!

I started by sitting on the floor together and beginning what we call a "family conversation." I asked her "do you know what an artist does?" "Yes, an artist paints pictures, or draws them." We then discussed some art that artists might draw or paint. Then I showed her a picture on the computer of 'Concentric Circles' and we talked about what shapes and colors she saw. I told her the name of the artist and a little bit about him. At the table I set out some paper and oil pastels and we did a quick reminder lesson about the differences and similarities between crayons and pastels. I gave her a halved piece of paper and we got to work on making our version of Kandinsky's circles.

 This is the reminder lesson comparing oil pastels and crayons. The pastels "smudge better and the crayons won't rub off if you fold the paper." 

We also talked about how Kandinsky put his circles inside of other circles then colored a background on the pictures. After each picture she made, we talked a little about it and how it was similar and different to 'Concentric Circles.' 

You can see how her pictures evolved as we discussed each one. (The one on the far right is mine.)

We glued the pictures on a larger piece of paper and hung it in her art gallery for all to see :)