Sunday, May 30, 2010

Science Sunday - Caterpillars

We have been observing caterpillars over the last two weeks.  Below you can see how small they were when we got them and how much they grew in just one week! 

They are now in the chrysalis stage.  C and R love to look at them with a magnifying glass.

R drew a picture of a chrysalis after observing them for a while.
 C and R can both explain the life cycle of a butterfly now.  

We have read a lot of books about caterpillars and butterflies over the last few weeks, but our favorite book about the life cycle of a butterfly is Are You a Butterfly? by Judy Allen.  I like this book because it does a great job explaining the life cycle in terms that a young child can understand.  I also enjoyed the way it is written as if the author is speaking to the reader.

I am happy to be linking up to Science Sunday this week.  If you would like to read more science blog posts, visit Adventures in Mommydom.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I recently hosted a preschool story hour at a local coffee shop.  The theme of the story hour was PIZZA!  I read two books:  Hi, Pizza Man! by Virginia Walter and The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges and Amy Walrod.

The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza is a fun rendition of the classic tale. Hen, having decided to make a pizza, repeatedly sticks her head out the window and asks her friends for help.  She gets the expected response, of course,: "Not I," said the duck, the dog, and the cat.  So, the Little Red Hen goes to the store to buy the things she needs and makes the pizza herself. The plot takes two nifty twists at the end-and this Little Red Hen is not quite as punitive as in the original story.  The hen is kind enough to share her pizza with her friends, and in return, the friends wash all of the dishes!

Hi, Pizza Man! was a big hit with this group.  The story begins with a little girl who is hungry and anxious for the pizza man to arrive.  Her mom asks her what she will say to the pizza man when they open the door.  When the young girl tells her mother that she will say, "Hi Pizza Man," the mom asks what she would say if it was a pizza woman, pizza cat, pizza dog, pizza cow, etc.  The kids all thought it was hysterical that different animals may be delivering pizza and it was a good opportunity for all of them to participate.  They could tell me what they would say to each of the animals:  "meow, woof, moo, etc.".

After we enjoyed both books, the children made their own pizza slices.  I had cut triangles out of cereal boxes.  If you are not using cereal boxes for crafts, you should be.  The cardboard makes a great canvas for painting, coloring, and just about anything else.  You paid for the box, so you might as well get a little extra use out of it!

First, the children colored on their pizza sauce.  (This boy must like pesto sauce instead of tomato sauce on his pizza!)

Next, they glued on the cheese (yellow yarn cut into small pieces).

Then, they added pepperoni (red coding label stickers) and meatballs or sausage (small brown pom poms).

Their pizza slices look good enough to eat, don't they? 

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Birthday T!

Today is T's 13th birthday.  I cannot even believe that he is a teenager.  How did that happen? 
Happy Birthday T!  I hope you have a wonderful day and many more wonderful birthdays.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Squiggle Drawings

I'm a copycat this week.  I saw these squiggle drawings on the Just Playin' Around blog a couple weeks ago and I knew it would be a hit with my kids.  Well, it was a home run!  We have been making squiggle drawings all week!  One of us will draw a little squiggle and then challenge another family member to make something out of that squiggle.  This is a great idea for waiting rooms and restaurants! 

The idea for squiggle drawings came from the book, Star of the Week by Barney Saltzberg.  The main character is star of the week in his class and shares some of his favorite things with his classmates.  It doesn't go so well in the beginning, but when Stanley's love of drawing results in squiggle drawings, the entire class wants to make their own squiggle drawings.

This is a great book, and I love the lesson that is incorporated in the story line - "It's really important that you finish what you start."  When things were not going well, Stanley wanted to give up and stop sharing his favorite things, but his teacher encouraged him to continue. 

Here are two drawings C and R created from squiggles I drew:

Go ahead and try squiggle drawings; I bet your whole family will have fun!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Swallow Your Bride

C and R love the song Lean on Me.  We have a Billy Jonas CD that is always on in the car and they have learned all of the words to Lean on Me from that CD.  Well, one day this week, C was singing the song while eating breakfast, and then he looked at me (completely serious) and said, "Mom, why would anyone swallow their bride?  I don't want to swallow my bride."  HA!  The correct lyrics are, "Please, Swallow Your Pride".

This reminds me of a song that T used to like to sing when he was younger.  The lyrics were "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" but T sang, "Shake it like a poto roy pig jar".  He insisted that his lyrics were correct and mine were wrong.  I guess that is because he had no idea what it meant to shake a Polaroid picture!

Kids say the craziest things!

My Handsome Boy


We successfully moved all five chrysalises from the cup they were in to the butterfly habitat.  Phew, it is always a bit stressful moving them. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Goodbye 3 Year Class

R was very excited to go to school today.  Actually, she is very excited to go every day, but today was her last day in the three year class.  She will be one of the big kids in the four year class in September, and that is a big deal to R!

This is a picture I took in September on her first day of preschool.

This morning, I took a few pictures of her to remember her last day of her first year of preschool.

She is wearing my necklace!  It is so funny to me that my four year old is already "stealing" my jewelry!  She would wear my shoes too if they fit her.

The sun was in her eyes, so I didn't get the greatest pictures, but she still looks adorable!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake

Yesterday, we celebrated the birthday of a special someone who prefers to remain anonymous.  I made strawberry shortcake and it was incredibly delicious.  Click here for the recipe I used.  If you decide to make it, read the reviews.  I followed the recommended variations.

Remember the birthday plate I received from CSN?  It looked pretty and worked wonderfully.  It spins and plays "Happy Birthday to You."  I love it.  We will be using it again soon because there is another birthday coming up in our house.

On another note, we recently learned that "Happy Birthday to You" was written by two women in Kentucky.  They originally wrote it as "Good Morning to You" for their Kindergarten students.  By the time we complete our Fifty States Project, I may be prepared for Jeopardy or, at least, Trivial Pursuit.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

52 Great Reads About Great Places

My sister sent me this great link and I thought that you might be interested in checking it out.  Here is the summary from the site: 

Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress's Center for the Book during the National Book Festival. Why not read the book suggested for your state or district and then learn, through these books, about the other places that interest you?

Click here for 52 Great Reads about Great Places!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Funny Faces

R, Kelly, and I had a picnic in the park yesterday.  R is in love with my camera, so we took turns taking pictures.

We had fun, if you couldn't tell!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Counting on the Woods

We finished our Kentucky state project with this beautiful book.  Counting on the Woods is a poem by George Ella Lyon with photographs by Ann W. Olson.  The photographs were taken in Appalachian Kentucky where the photographer lives.

You will love this book.  Not only is it a fun counting book, but the pictures are beautiful and definitely bring out the nature lover in all of us.  I love the way everything is identified in the book.  For example, the page for the number five shows five nests and they are identified as Bald-face hornet nest, Acadian flycatcher nest, Broad-winged hawk nest, Tent caterpillar nest, and Eastern bluebird nest.  This makes the book even more interesting and educational than if there were just five nests.

The poem is simple enough for a preschool aged child to enjoy, but it is also an interesting book for older children and adults!

I am always searching for books for our Fifty States Project.  This book was recommended by Shannon who blogs at Welcome to our Wonderland.  Thanks Shannon!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kool-Aid Play Dough

Kool-Aid Play Dough is so much fun!  The color is vibrant and the play dough smells SO good!  This week, we made cherry Kool-Aid play dough.  Here is the recipe:

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
3 small packages of Kool Aid unsweetened drink mix (3.6 grams each package), we used cherry
3 TBSP oil
2 cups boiling water

  1. Mix together flour, salt, Kool Aid, and oil.
  2. Add boiling water and mix until the dough is cool enough to touch
  3. Knead until smooth
  4. Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag in the fridge

C and R used alphabet cookie cutters to spell words and animal cookie cutters to make a farm.

They played with this dough for most of the afternoon!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Caterpillars - An Update

The caterpillars are growing so fast! 
I read that if a human baby grew as fast as a caterpillar, the baby would weigh about 8 tons at two weeks of age!

On the Moon

We recently read On the Moon by Anna Milbourne.  This book combines great illustrations with actual NASA photographs of the surface of the moon.  The text is simple and yet informative.  C and R both enjoyed the book, but this book is definitely for preschool aged children.  

After reading the book, we decided to make some moons to look like the pictures in the book.

I traced around a bowl and cut out circles of white paper.  C and R dipped cut up pieces of a sponge into brown, yellow, and white paint and sponge painted the paper to look like the moon.


Once the paint dried, they glued their moons onto black construction paper.  C finger painted stars in the background and R used a white crayon to make stars.  

It is hard to tell, but the sponge painting makes a cool crater-like effect.  

Monday, May 17, 2010

Kids Cook Monday - Pancakes

We are happy to be participating in Kids Cook Monday.  If you have not heard of Kids Cook Monday, the people behind the Meatless Monday campaign ( have added this new weekly challenge.  Challenge yourself to get in the kitchen with your kids!  The website contains kid-friendly recipes and videos of parents cooking with their kids.  If you are interested in participating, visit the website or email jenbrite (at) gmail (dot) com.

C and R love to cook and bake with me.  When we work together in the kitchen, I try to incorporate a few lessons.  I always tell them how much of each ingredient we need, and I explain why we are going to whisk some items and stir in other items, etc.  R is much more open to trying new foods than her brothers are, but maybe they will come around some day!   

We make plenty of sweet treats, but I also try to involve them in making healthy foods.  If they help to make the food, they are more likely to eat it!  Last week, we made whole wheat pancakes with a mixed berry sauce. C and R both helped make the pancakes and the sauce.

Top your favorite pancakes with this sauce for a sweet and healthy treat.  We put 4 cups of unsweetened frozen mixed berries in the blender until chopped.  Then we put the berries in a small pan over low heat and added 3 TBSP of pure maple syrup; heat until warm.  The sauce is delicious and it goes a long way.  You can also mix it into oatmeal or pour it on top of frozen yogurt!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Leaves and Caterpillars

We love Eric Carle's books.  When I saw the leaf shaped paint samples at Home Depot (thanks Valerie!), I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them.  Does this page look familiar?

That is a page from The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

We took our leaf paint samples and punched some holes in them.  (R is in love with her new helmet; she does not like to take it off.)

We glued the leaves onto white paper and drew a stem and tree branches. C and R finger painted the caterpillar using green paint for the body and red paint for the head, just like the caterpillar in the book.  
They also added legs, antennae, and faces.  This is R's finished picture:

C made one too, but he decided that he did not want his art photographed, and I respected his decision.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A New Bike

R got a new bike today.  She is doing so well riding it, and if it was up to her, she would be out there riding all day and all night! 

A Visit to C's Classroom

Recently, R and I visited C's Kindergarten classroom.  We had SO much fun, and now R is very excited about going to Kindergarten (she still has a whole year and a few months to wait though!).  I love C's school and, as I have said several times before, I adore his teacher too!  While I was there, I read Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson to the class.  Fletcher, a silly fox, thinks that the blossoms falling in the meadow are snowflakes and he runs to warn all of the animals that they have to prepare for snow.  After reading the book, I helped the children make their own trees with blossoms.

I painted one hand and arm brown for each child and then placed it on light blue paper.  To make the tree trunk wider, I rolled the child's arm on the paper.  The children used red and white paint mixed together to finger paint the blossoms.

This is the tree that R made:

Here is C's tree with blossoms and a little Fletcher the fox in the corner:

This is the second book project we have done with this book.  Our first book project was done just over a year ago and C and R drew their own trees and background, but still finger painted the blossoms.  To see the first one (it is very similar) click here.

I really love this book.  If you haven't read it, add it to your list of must read books!  We also love Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by the same author!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Plasma Car Fun!

We won this very cool Plasma Car and the helmet from a giveaway on the Frugal Family Fun Blog.

R LOVES it!  C does too, but I got video of him (no pictures).  If you are thinking of getting one, I definitely recommend it.  No batteries, no pedals, you just have to use your body to make it move.  LOTS of fun!