Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pink Taffy Designs Giveaway

 I love to decorate my kids rooms.  There are so many fun and playful things you can do in a kids room that might not work in other rooms of the home.  One thing that I love to do is have a statement piece spelling out the child's name (or their initials).  I have done this for each of my kids in various ways.

One great way to do this is with wall letters.  Not everyone is a DIYer so its great that there are baby boutique sites that offer the cutest things to help you decorate your baby or kids rooms. Posh Baby Blog is having a giveaway- the winner gets a set of their hand crafted wall letters!  You can enter via the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chester's Way - DIY Story & Craft

One week I used Chester's Way as inspiration for our class.  I found this great printable from Live Oak Media that had lesson plan ideas and discussion questions.
For our craft I decided to keep it simple and had the kids make "disguises" like Chester, Wilson and Lilly wear in the book.  I had little mouse faces that I got at the dollar store and the kids drew their own disguises on them. 
Then I pulled out what I thought would be the exciting part.  I had mustaches for the kids to have their own disguises.  Sadly they were less than excited.  But as you can see from the photo, my teacher's helper and I were excited about the mustaches.  ;-)  Oh, well... not every idea is a home run.  But that is ok.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Julius, Baby of the World - DIY Storytime and Craft

The next Story/Craft at our homeschool group is inspired by Julius, the Baby of the World.
The riotously funny Lilly, last seen in Chester's Way (Greenwillow), thinks her new baby brother, Julius, is disgusting -- if he was a number, he would be zero. But when Cousin Garland dares to criticize Julius, Lilly bullies her into loudly admiring Julius as the baby of the world.Lilly knows her baby brother is nothing but dreadful -- until she claims him for her own. "Henkes displays a deep understanding of sibling rivalry and a child's fragile self-esteem....Lilly is a superb and timely heroine." -- Publishers Weekly. "

Lily wears a crown most of the time so we made and decorated cardboard crowns for our craft.  The kids loved being able to express themselves and of course, what kid doesn't like to be able to wear their artwork?  ;-)  They seemed to have a great time. 

So much of this semester is working out the kinks in all of this.  I feel like by the time I get the hang of things its over.  So, I volunteered to teach the same class to another age group in the next semester.  We haven't gotten the schedule made for the spring yet but I'm looking forward to feeling like I have it together... even if it is an illusion.  ;-)

Monday, October 08, 2012

Fall Update - Nate

A few nights ago Isaac was tucking Nate and Joe into bed.  Joe was getting a little rough and Isaac was reminding Joe to be gentle... and Nate said: "Joe must be a Jew... because he's not very Gentile."  Omigosh!  I was cracking up!  That kid is too smart for his own good!

We are having a pretty good school year.  We certainly have had our fair share of stubborn days.  But for the most party we are moving along well.  I'm making some modifications to our curriculum here and there to make our days run more smoothly.  We seem to get hung up most often on writing projects.  So, some days we do more things orally and that seems to help.  Nate is still reading up a storm (which always makes me feel better about the days when we have abbreviated school days).  He devours books like they are candy.  We've had fun breaking out some classic books-turned movie.  He has recently read Indian in the Cupboard and loved both the book and the movie.

Nate is excited to have two new cousins born within the last month.  Aiden and Isabel are now in the stories that Nate makes up.  He named a recent story "Nate the Great, Wyatt and Isabel's Adventures".  ;-)  His imagination never ceases to amaze me.  He is constantly creating whether it be stories or Legos... his mind is always in motion.  He has been rather attention seeking lately.  I have had a lot going on and Nate is quick to remind me that I spend too much time on the computer.  I'm trying to do better, but I just finished editing some wedding pictures which was rather time consuming for awhile.

Anyway,  I know its hard for Nate to be the oldest with two special needs sibs.  I try to make him feel special often.  We do get our "Nate Dates" from time to time and I love the time we get to spend one-on-one. It is so neat to hear how his prayers have changed over the past couple of years.  We are impressed with the profound things that he includes when he prays: praying for his new cousins, thanking God for time spent with friends and family, asking for help with learning this or that. He is always faithful in ending his prayers with "and thank you for my 17(or however many it is now) Lego sets".  What a special kid he is!  I love him!

Psalm 127:3-5  Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Fall Update - Christine

Christine continues to progress with her therapies.  She is steadily getting closer to catching up with Joe developmentally.  Some of the goals that they are currently working on are similar. Physical Therapy includes gross motor, balance, core strength, mobility, etc. Occupational Therapy works on feeding skills, fine and oral motor skills, grasping object permanence, balance and kind of whatever she feels like doing that day (you'd have to meet the OT, she's something!). Speech Therapy works on her communication skills, encouraging her to make sounds and signs, oral motor skills. Developmental Therapy overlaps some of the other therapies.  The DT works a lot on fine motor skills, motor planning, etc.

The most exciting thing to happen lately is probably Christine getting the hang of crawling!  It seemed like she was on the verge for quite awhile.  She would get up on her hands and knees and rock back and forth, she would transition in and out of sitting, onto all fours... and then within the past three weeks or so she has really taken off!  We're still getting used to keeping things out of her range now that she is mobile.  Check out this video of Christine crawling! 
She needs a little work on her "form" but its exciting to see her get around, its gotten her much more interested in her surroundings now that she can get from point A to point B on her own.  She's so proud of herself and so are we!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Triple D

Even though we don't have cable anymore I still enjoy finding Diner, Drive-in and Dive restaurants to visit.  Recently I found a couple near home that I hadn't seen before.  So of course we had to try them out!
A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I met at Jersey Cafe in Carmel during her lunch break at work.  Its a philly steak sub place so we figured we would have plenty of time to go there before she had to get back to work.  We were not impressed with the service at all.  We felt ignored by the staff, it took forever to even get the waiter to take our order and then an hour after we got there the food was just coming out.  We had to get it in a to-go box because we both had to go.  We really wanted to dislike the food after such disappointing customer service experience.  But the philly sandwich that we got (one of the Guy approved items on the menu) was really amazing!  Even eating it out of a Styrofoam container fifteen minutes later it was still a great sandwich.  So, we have decided if we ever have a whole day free we'll go back and give them another try! 

Then there is The Tamale Place on the westside of Indy.  Its very near where our homeschool group meets for classes so Nate and I stopped by for breakfast last week.  Yes, we had tamales for breakfast!  I had tried their food before but its been years and it was someone else's take out.  I loved the open kitchen where you could see them making this wonderful food that smelled like my grandma's cooking.  It was hard to choose from the many delicious sounding flavors but we ended up sharing two tamales: a pork with green chili sauce and a pineapple/raisin. Nate insisted that he was not going to like either one and ended up loving them both!  I was surprised at how good the pineapple/raisin one was.  The chips and salsa are also particularly good!  The food is so good that we went back with my dad just a couple days later!  ;-)

Then, when Nate and I were in Lafayette for the Feast of the Hunter's Moon I took him to Triple XXX Family Restaurant in West Lafayette.  They have some good food!  Both Nate and I ordered burgers but they also serve breakfast all day.  I love the old diner ambiance and history behind the restaurant.  I love to see family run businesses do well over the years!

Check out Nate's "Guy Fieri" face.  ;-)  I love being able to have special outings with him. I am constantly amazed by this kid!  He is so fun to be around when we get one on one time.  Its so precious!  Need to put another "Nate Date" on the calendar soon!

I'm getting ready to take a trip to Florida and Georgia in a few weeks. I found Flavortown USA: a website by Triple D fans that has the restaurants featured on the show mapped out.  I'm doing a search for the areas we'll be going through to pick out a few places to stop along the way!

What are some of your favorite places to eat?  I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Chrysanthemum - DIY Storytime and Craft

Last week in our homeschool group preschool class we read
Chrysanthemum.  She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. "I'm named after my grandmother," said Victoria. "You're named after a flower." Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn't improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed....

I have used this printable guide to for of  Kevin Henkes' books.  It helps give me ideas for discussion questions and activity ideas. For our craft we helped the kids bead their own name bracelets.  We had to work out some kinks along the way because the stretchy plastic string would not hold a knot.  But then another mom came in at the end and saved us with a special knot that worked.  Though for the life of me I cannot remember what she had us do.  But the kids had a good time.  And that is all we can ask!