Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Comparing and contrasting American flags

Legend has it that Betsy Ross was secretly commissioned to create the first American flag in Pennsylvania. The first flag had thirteen stripes (seven red and six white) and thirteen stars in a field of blue.

C and R counted out seven red stripes and six white stripes andthen counted them all together to discover that 7+6=13. They counted the stripes on both flags (the Betsy Ross flag and the current American flag) and discovered that they have the same pattern of stripes.

We then counted thirteen white stars and placed them in a circle on a blue piece of paper. C and R quickly pointed out that the flags were different because our current flag has stars in rows while the Betsy Ross flag had a circle of stars. After thinking for a minute, C recognized that the stars are white on a blue background on both flags, and all of the stars have five points.

So, learning about Pennsylvania has also provided us with a great opportunity to learn about our flag with a bonus mathematics lesson.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Subscribe to my blog via email

If you look on the left side of this blog there is a new feature. You can now subscribe to my blog and receive all of my posts via email. You don't have to worry about missing a thing because my posts will be delivered to your inbox. So, if you like to read my blog please consider subscribing.


Q is for Quakers and quilts

The fifty states project has landed us in the state of Pennsylvania to learn about the birth of our country in this week leading up to Independence Day. After finding the state on our maps and placing our Pennsylvania quarter in our collector map, we talked briefly about William Penn and that "Pennsylvania" translates to "Penn's woods". William Penn was a Quaker and Quakers made beautiful quilts so C and R designed their own quilts. C used stencils to create his design while R made a patchwork quilt featuring the letter "Q".

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Message for the Super Summer Swappers

Hello swappers! Thank you to everyone who signed up for our first swap. I have never even participated in a swap before so it has been a learning process for me. We (The Dairy Queen and myself) were both surprised by the turnout. I do apologize for any errors that I made. Also, I know that we were not able to accommodate every special request, but I hope that you are still happy to take part in the swap. Please contact your swapping partner as soon as possible to exchange information. Remember to send things that your child would like to receive and please don't spend more than $15. All packages should be postmarked by August 3, and we will post a Mr. Linky for you to share your photos with the rest of the swappers. Finally, if you have any problems or questions, please feel free to email me at superheroesandprincesses@gmail.com. Happy Swapping!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


We are having fun learning about whales and thought we would share some of our favorite whale books.

Whales by Gail Gibbons: This book is full of information about different types of whales. It is probably best for children age 6 and older. We looked at the illustrations together and I chose to read the information that I thought C and R would understand and enjoy learning. I do this often with books that are too old for them.

Giant of the Sea A Story of a Sperm Whale by Courtney Granet Raff : This book was perfect for C and R. It is a fictional account of how a pod of sperm whales work together to defend the youngest member of the pod from a hungry killer whale. While this book is a work of fiction, there are a lot of great facts about sperm whales in the book. Also, the book comes with a small stuffed sperm whale (this was a huge plus, of course).

Water Beds Sleeping in the Ocean by Gail Langer Karwoski: This book explains how marine mammals sleep in the ocean in a very soothing way. There is a great educational section at the back of the book to further extend the learning. I really like this book and think it is a worthwhile investment.

Ocean Seasons by Ron Hirschi: Seasons change in the ocean, just as they change on land, and this book describes how the ocean changes. This book also has a nice educational section that can be photocopied or downloaded from the publisher's website.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville (adapted for young readers): We have an adaptation that was compiled by the City of New Bedford, MA in 2001, I have not seen it available on-line. This book is for older children (probably age 10 and older) but we enjoyed the illustrations. I am adding this book to T's summer reading list; he is twelve.

If you have a favorite book about whales or the ocean, please let me know.

Here is a link to the whale craft we did last week. We started learning about whales during our Connecticut portion of the fifty states project, but C and R were so fascinated by the whales that we just extended our learning; that is a great thing!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Counting to 100

C is getting really good at counting to 100. Occasionally, he will forget a number but more often than not he gets from 1 to 100 in perfect order. So, how did he learn to count to 100?

First, we count everything. If there is a pile of an item, it is counted. We count stairs as we go up and then again when we go down. Counting is a fun way to pass the time too, waiting in line or at the doctor's office.

Second, C enjoys mazes and dot to dots. These counting by ones mazes are fun for C and they help him practice counting to one hundred and work on number recognition at the same time.

Finally, who doesn't love m&ms? We have enjoyed counting with m&ms before, and this week we counted to one hundred with the yummy chocolate candies. We read The m&m's Count to One Hundred Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath and used m&m's candies to count along with the book. The book explores the different ways you can count to one hundred: by ones, twos, fives, and tens. Currently, we are focusing on counting by ones so we did not spend any time on skip counting but it will be useful practice in the future. C thinks it is fun to count with m&m's, and for that reason I am happy to use this book.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Friday's Gracious Giveaways


I love giveaways! I bet you do too, and now you will be able to find a bunch of great giveaways at the weekly blog carnival hosted by Susana at Our Homeschool Fun. Susana will be hosting the carnival every Friday beginning tomorrow!

If you have a giveaway that you want to link to her carnival, here are the rules:

1. You must always link back to her blog, Our Homeschool Fun, on your
"giveaway" post.
2. You may choose to use the "Friday's Gracious Giveaways" button in your
post, but do not have to.
3. Your giveaway must meet ONE of the following criteria to be linked:
homeschool/education related, children/baby related or Mom/family related.
4. Please enter your "Friday's Gracious Giveaways" post link and not your
front page blog link back to the "Mr. Linky".

Please email Susana at customblog@gmail.com with your giveaway details if you
would like to be featured in the upcoming weeks!

If you don't have a giveaway to post, but just hope to win something cool, then be sure to follow her blog and enter to win those giveaways! How cool is this?

The Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy stopped by our house to claim Princess R's first baby tooth. R was so good about having her tooth extracted that the Tooth Fairy felt she had to reward R with a generous monetary gift and an adorable butterfly necklace. Rumor has it that the Tooth Fairy is very fond of Etsy and found the butterfly necklace there. The little tooth fairy box came from the Hallmark store; R placed her tooth in the box before bed and woke up to find her special gifts in the box.

The real reason for this post, however, is to share a book that we read to prepare for the Tooth Fairy's impending visit. The Night Before the Tooth Fairy by Natasha Wing is another great book in this series of "The Night Before" books. We really enjoy the books we have read from this series and definitely recommend them. The books are inspired by Clement Moore's Christmas poem.

You can read about the projects we did when we read The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing in this post.

Just in case you are wondering, R had no interest in placing her tooth under her pillow. She was not thrilled with the idea of a complete stranger (even if it is a beautiful fairy) coming anywhere near her while she sleeps. The little tooth fairy box sat upon her bureau, and obviously, the Tooth Fairy did not seem to mind.

Super Summer Swap

Thank you to everyone who has signed up for the Super Summer Swap! I never expected to have such a wonderful turnout! We are very excited and hope you are too. Please bear with us as we work on matching up all of the participants. You will hear from us with more information over the next week. The swap is closed and we will not be accepting any new registrations.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Goodbye tooth

R is having her front tooth extracted this morning. If you are fairly new here, you can read this post to find out why. So far, the most difficult part is that she cannot eat breakfast.

Update: R did great this morning. The oral surgeon and his assistants were impressed beyond belief because she was so cooperative and only required a local anesthetic for the extraction. The whole process took less than ten minutes. R is happily feasting on popsicles and looking forward to a visit from the Tooth Fairy! Thank you for your comments, thoughts, and prayers.

Super Summer Swap

We extended the deadline to sign up for the swap until today at noon, so if you haven't signed up yet, you still have a chance. We will be in touch with all of the participants very soon.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yankee Doodle Dandy

"Yankee Doodle Dandy" is the official state song of Connecticut. The song is thought to have been composed by an English army surgeon in 1755 as he watched a group of colonial soldiers pass by. The soldiers were so poorly dressed that they stuck chicken feathers in their caps to create a more uniform look. "Macaroni" was a slang term for a sharp dresser, or a "dandy" so the song was actually mocking the shabby appearance of the soldiers. The word "Yankee" came from the Dutch word for Johnny, and Dutch soldiers used it to make fun of English settlers. Eventually, the word became a nickname for New Englanders. As much as I have tried to explain this to C, the word "Yankee" is unacceptable to him; we are Red Sox fans!

As part of our Connecticut studies, C and R made Yankee Doodle Dandy hats. I let them choose different colored tissue paper and used masking tape to fit it to their heads. They decorated the hats with stickers and feathers. C and R marched/galloped around the room on their "ponies" while singing Yankee Doodle Dandy.*The facts in this post came from the book, N is for Nutmeg A Connecticut Alphabet by Elissa D. Grodin.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A boy and his dog

I couldn't resist sharing this photo. Now that is love.

Kool Aid

When I was a kid, I drank Kool Aid. Did you? My children don't drink it, but they create beautiful Kool Aid paintings!

We used three different kinds of Kool Aid. I put one packet into each bowl and mixed the powder with 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well and then paint!

When the paintings dry, they smell delicious. If the smell fades, simply scratch and sniff the artwork.

Warning: You are almost out of time!

Today is the last day to sign up for the Super Summer Swap. Please join us. The swap is open to preschoolers, grade schoolers, home schoolers, public schoolers, bloggers, and non-bloggers anywhere in the world! You don't want to miss out on the fun so sign up today!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tot school

Tot School
R is 39 months old

Primary colors and color mixing were lots of fun during tot school this week. R knows how to make orange, purple, and green but she really just enjoys mixing all of the colors together and making "art".

We spent some time reviewing opposites with R's Dora opposites cards.

Cranium Hullabaloo is a lot of fun and great for practicing listening skills, color recognition, shapes, and more.

R is learning how to spell a few words because she loves to play Polar Bear A-B-C.

The water table was a lot of fun on the one sunny day this week. We have had so much rain and cloudy weather this spring.
R enjoyed learning about whales at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

We also started learning about Connecticut this week. Stay tuned for more CT posts this week!

Reminder: The last day to sign up for the Super Summer Swap is tomorrow so please join us. We have had a wonderful turnout so far but we would love to have more participants! Your children will love this, I promise.

The Spectacular Spider-Man season 2

Do we have any Spidey fans out there? I'm sure you can tell by the title of my blog that superheroes are a pretty big deal in our house. C has been a fan of Spider-Man for as long as I can remember now, and he really enjoys watching The Spectacular Spider-Man on Disney XD.

We are very excited for the premiere of season two airing Monday, June 22 at 7PM with two back to back episodes on Disney XD. Beginning Monday, June 29 the show will air in it's regular time slot at 7:30 PM.

You definitely want to check out http://www.spideytv.com/ to learn more about the show, play games, and find downloads.

About the show:

The Spectacular Spider-Man journeys back to the web-slinger's junior year in high school, when a not-so-typical 16-year-old named Peter Parker struggles to conceal his secret identity, endure the pressures of teenage life and combat never before seen Super Villains. In Season Two, things aren’t getting any easier for Peter Parker. While he struggles to sort out his feelings for Gwen Stacy, Liz Allan, Jane Watson and Black Cat, the challenges for Spider-Man are piling up. In addition to the arrival of the Master Planner, whose rise will lead to a gang war with Tombstone and Silvermane, throw in the return of a host of familiar villains including Rhino, Electro, Vulture, Sandman, Doctor Octopus, plus new opponents like Mysterio, Kraven, Tinkerer and Molten Man, and Spidey’s plate is pretty darn full. And in case that’s not enough, wait until Venom resurfaces to reveal Pete/Spidey’s secret identity to the rest of the world! All this and the truth about the Green Goblin!

We will definitely be watching, will you?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another super cool giveaway!

Hurry on over to Our Homeschool Fun and enter for a chance to win a really cool Funky Artist Paint Set by Alex. The paint brushes look so cool; I really want to win this one!

Color mixing

This week, C and R have been learning about primary colors. We read three books that introduce primary colors and color mixing: Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh, Warthogs Paint by Pamela Duncan Edwards and Henry Cole, and Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni.

We own Mouse Paint and Little Blue and Little Yellow, but we borrowed Warthogs Paint from the library after I read about how much Emily at A Mommy's Adventures enjoyed the book. I definitely recommend all three books.

I cut white paper in half and gave C and R each three pieces. C painted one piece red, one piece yellow, and one piece blue and then painted over each of those with another color to create orange, green, and purple. If you ask R how to make orange, green, or purple, she will give you the correct answers but she was more interested in mixing all of the colors together than trying to create specific colors.
We also mixed blue, yellow, and red food coloring with water in glasses and used medicine droppers to transfer the colored water and create new colors. They could have done this all day long.
I am so happy to be linking this post to the Preschool Corner. Be sure to check out the other posts.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Awesome Giveaway

My bloggy friend, Shannon, at Teaching My Little Bookworm is having an awesome giveaway on her blog. You can win a Preschool Activities in a Bag ebook! Head on over to her blog right now because the giveaway ends on Monday, June 22nd at 9:00AM.

Super Summer Swap now has a button!

Check out our awesome new button for the Super Summer Swap on my sidebar! Please grab it and sign up for the swap. Click here for more information.

Blogger scheduling not working

Is anyone else having a problem with scheduled posts not going up when they should?

Update on Blogger:

Scheduled posting is currently unreliable for some users. We're looking into this and will post and update when we have more to share.

Thanks for your patience.

Connecticut whales

Connecticut is the next stop on our learning adventure.

The sperm whale has been the state animal of Connecticut since 1975. C and R were excited to make these adorable stuffed paper bag whales. You can find the complete directions at dltk's crafts for kids. We altered the directions a little by using pipe cleaners for the water coming out of the blowhole.

Materials: paper lunch bag, newspaper, rubber band, blue paint, googly eyes, blue pipe cleaners, blue construction paper

1. Rip and crumple newspaper and stuff it into the lunch bag (leave some room at the end to make a tail). This is a great activity to develop the hand muscles, and that is important for pre-writers. So even if you don't do this craft, have your little one practice crumpling newspaper into a ball with one hand.

2. Wrap the rubber band around the stuffed lunch bag to create a tail, and then paint the whale blue. C used dark blue and R used light blue paint. 3. Once the paint is dry, add googly eyes or draw eyes on your whale and draw a mouth.
4. The DLTK directions instruct you to use paper for the water coming out of the blowhole but C and R cut pipe cleaners and just stuck them in and bent them a bit. I think they look cute, and cutting the pipe cleaners was great for that hand strength. I was actually surprised that our child scissors cut the pipe cleaners, but they did!
5. Finally, cut out some flippers and tape them to the bottom of the whale.
C and R drew waves on a piece of blue construction paper and we glued the letter "W" for waves and whale onto the paper. (See the photo above)

This craft is also great if you are talking about Jonah and the whale with your little one. You can even make Jonah and stuff him into your whale. (This idea came from DLTK too!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Field trip to the Whaling Museum

I grew up in New Bedford, MA. If you have read Herman Melville's Moby Dick, then you know that New Bedford was once the whaling capital of the world and served as the setting for Moby Dick.

New Bedford has a beautiful whaling museum, and C and R enjoyed their first trip there this week.

C and R were amazed by the size of the Blue Whale skeleton; it is 66 feet long.
C is steering the whaling ship.

C and R learn how to raise the sail on a whaling ship.

This is the view from the observation deck at the museum.
The museum has an amazing collection of items related to whaling that C and R were not interested in at this time, but they both enjoyed the visit and look forward to going back soon.

Art group

I love the Artful Parent and was so inspired by her that I recently started an art group. I am not an artist and our projects will be pretty simple, but the point of the group is to get some moms and kids together to have fun and leave with a craft or piece of art. The children range in age from three to five, but older siblings will probably join in when school is finished.

There were four moms and eight children present for our first art group meeting. The kids played for a while and enjoyed these amazing pumpkin chocolate chip muffins that my friend, Julie, made. Then, I was thrilled when one of the children asked if we could do the craft. I wasn't going to push the craft if the kids would rather play but they were all so excited to get crafty.

Our first craft was for Father's Day. We did a scissor skills project to work on those fine motor skills while creating something for Dad. The final product was a tie and I got the template here. You could easily draw it yourself though.

I printed up the templates on card stock and cut construction paper into strips ahead of time. The children cut the strips into smaller pieces and then glued the pieces onto the tie. Then, the children cut the tie out after they were finished gluing. I didn't photograph any of the other children because I would never post pictures of children without the consent of their parents and I would hate for parents to feel obligated to say yes. I think it's easier to just post the pictures of my own children.

Art group was a success and I think all of the Dads are going to be thrilled!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mexican Brownies

The night before T's fiesta in Spanish class, he informed me that he had volunteered me to make something for the party! I won't say another thing about that, but I will tell you that I googled Mexican brownies just hoping that something would pop up, and sure enough there is such a thing. Well, I had to share this recipe because the brownies are ridiculously delicious and I would hate to keep this recipe a secret. So, if you like chocolate and cinnamon and feel like baking, make Mexican Brownies! You won't be sorry.

Don't forget to sign up for the Super Summer Swap!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Super Summer Swap

Have you been waiting anxiously for the big announcement from The Dairy Queen and me? The wait is over. We are so excited to announce our plans to co-host the Super Summer Swap!

What is the Super Summer Swap you ask? It is a fun way for children to make some friends this summer. The participants will put together little packages to exchange with other children of similar age.

Why should your child participate?
1. What child wouldn't like to get some mail?
2. It will be a fun summer project.
3. Your child can learn a little bit about another child from another state.
4. Pen pals are always a possibility if the children want to continue the friendship.
4. Why not?

So, here is how it works:
1. It is open to all children through elementary age.
2. Sign up between June 15 and June 22.
3. We will match children based on age and partners will be notified by June 26.
4. All packages should be mailed by August 3.
5. When you receive your package, write a post about it and we will link to all of the posts.

Packages should include a minimum of three items from your child; here are some examples: 1. A postcard or brochure from where you live, 2. a lapbook or scrapbook or something handmade, 3. a photograph or drawing of your child, 4. a special gift that will allow your child's new friend to experience a hobby or interest that your child has or enjoys.

You do not have to spend any money, but please DO NOT spend more than $15.00 on the items that will be exchanged.

You can sign up through comments or email on this blog or the Dairy Queen's blog. Please include the following information when you sign up: your email address, name(s) of child(ren), age(s) of child(ren), and the state in which you live.

Please feel free to ask questions, and PLEASE blog about this so that we can get a lot of people involved. This will be more fun if we have a lot of participants!
IF you don't want me to post your personal information, please email me at superheroesandprincesses@gmail.com
You DO NOT have to have a blog to participate!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tot school

Tot School
R will be 39 months old on the 20th

This pink spray bottle is from the dollar store and it is one of R's favorite tot school toys. Did you know that spray bottles help develop important pre-writing fine motor skills? Using the spray bottle helps to develop hand muscles. R uses hers to wash soap or shaving cream off the walls in the tub, to clean the kitchen sink, and to water trees and flowers outside. We have even put watered down washable paint in our spray bottles and created fabulous works of art on large pieces of paper. She never tires of her spray bottle.
R loved feeding the ducks near our house. The only thing I don't love about feeding the ducks is cleaning off our shoes when we get home.

R helped C build with these castle blocks. I loved that they were playing so well together. They later added princesses and knights and there was a lot of talk about getting married.

The water room is always R's favorite place in the Children's Museum and this visit was no exception.R made this bug mask because we are learning a little bit about Rhode Island as part of our 50 states project. Check out this post if you want to know what a blue bug has to do with Rhode Island. I want to take a moment to mention a conversation I had with a mother the other day. She thinks my children are too young to learn about the 50 states and commented that they would never remember any of this. I beg to differ. Age does not matter when it comes to learning about anything; it is all about how you present the material. We are doing fun projects to learn about our country and my children already amaze me with their ability to remember things they learn. If you avoid teaching your children about something because you think they won't understand or won't remember the information, then you are missing a wonderful opportunity. My children love this project and look forward to learning about our wonderful country.

Thank you for visiting and don't forget to check out what other moms of tots are doing for tot school.