Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Summertime fun

After spending time cleaning my car with sponges and a bucket, my kids were HOT! They wanted to play with water!
(For those of you concerned with the drought - the other end of the hose is connected to the water butt)
It doesn't give much the pressure is only what the gadget can provide, but it was enough to satisfy them!

Friday, 25 May 2012

School Sticks

As usual, my pinterest obsession is paying off again!  I am always looking for new and exciting ways to keep my kids occupied and happy with EDUCATIONAL activities all summer long.  I will NOT let my kids end up with summer brain drain.  Each summer, I sit down each day and make a list of things for them to do...ok...maybe weekly; not daily.  I try to include science, math, reading, writing, vocabulary, social studies, critical thinking and art.  Some of these are weekly tasks and some of these are daily tasks (reading and math are DAILY tasks!)'s what I've decided to do with my kids this summer....

Reading, Writing and Math - School Sticks  - I'll make these up for Little Lady (grades 3-6) and Little Man (grades 1-2) and they will pull 2-3 sticks per day and do these things (monday - friday)

Reading - they will still get read to at night each night.  I read 1-2 chapters each night to them.

Social Studies - I will be starting Susan Bauer's Story of the World series with them.  We'll do one -two tasks per week (more if we're having fun) listening to the audio and then completing the task.

Science - We will be doing one or two long term science experiments over the summer, and one short term science experiment each week.  we will write everything down in our science journals to keep track of it all.

Math - we will do 1-2 cooking and baking lessons each week.  The kids will measure and read recipes by themselves.

Vocabulary - We will be completing Wordly wise for each of their grade levels (one chapter per week) and looking at the picture vocab cards weekly to increase our vocabulary.

Critical Thinking - I'm adding this into the School Sticks pile - Critical thinking question 1 - 40 (just like the math ones).  I'll be pulling these questions out of the Mind Benders and Dr. Dooriddles books that I have purchased from the Critical Thinking Company.

Art - we will be completing art work each week that fits the "in the style of 'x' artist".  This requires the children to read some books and find information out about each artist and then we figure out what supplies we need, make a list, purchase those if we don't have them, and then work on the art work itself.  

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Car travel games - update for British

To update my Car Travel Games set, I have included a British Version of the Street Sign Tic-tac-toe
and my own creations of British licence plate game and vehicle country sticker game.  If you live here in the UK, you'll have seen these stickers all over cars, and it designates where the car comes from (or sometimes where it has travelled before)

Monday, 21 May 2012

Little Man cooks breakfast.

Little man LOVES chocolatel chip pancakes.  He likes to make them almost 
as much as he likes to eat them.  This morning, as I was going through some boxes we still hadn't unpacked from our move here nearly a year ago, he found his chef hat and apron.  He decided that in order to put them to good use, he HAD to make breakfast for everyone!

Little lady didn't want to help him, so she decided to gather pots and random things
and make a 'stew' of her own.  I think it's lolly pop and eraser flavored...

Friday, 18 May 2012

Weekly pics

This week's pictures:  Tuesday - Friday
Theme:  Family  

Need: Pictures of Daddy and Oreo (kitty)

Tuesday's picture:  My baby girl.... tired after fetching the ball so many times!
Wednesday's picture:  She likes to sleep in the sinks of the rooms that I'm working in that day.

Thursday's picture:  Back to school at last!  This tree is Little Lady's  favorite... can you guess why?  
Friday's picture:  Hm....  not 100% better yet.  maybe my uniform will make a good pillow?
This was taken upon wakeup on Friday morning.  He moved from his bed to the floor....

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The beginning of organized

Little Lady is still sick.  Her cough is horrible and keeps her up all night.  When I went in last night to check on her, I stepped on 100 things!  This morning after I dropped her off at school; I decided enough was enough!  Her room NEEDED to be organized and cleaned out.  

I started with her books.  This pile is only what I took OUT of her room!  
Guess who decided to camp out in the bathroom sink while I worked?  
The beginning of the clothing piles... one for donations to a friend's daughter, another for Oxfam donations, the stuff on the bed gets put back into the closet...

I was so excited and happy with myself, that I decided to do Little Man's room tomorrow!  

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Current favorite learning apps

We happen to own Apple products, not Android, so all the apps that I will mention exist on Itunes and I have no knowledge of them on Android.  However, it is my understanding that most anything that exists in Itunes exists in the Android marketplace as well.

Here is a list of my (current) favorite educational apps for kids.

A life cycle App 

 Brittanica Kids

 Brittanica Kids

Geo Walk HD 

I love science apps!  Getting kids to look at the world around them and to see how it works is amazing!  Take a walk through the life cycle of a butterfly (or now, a ladybug! in A life Cycle App), or spin the world and click on a random place,learning something new about it (in Geo Walk HD).  The Britannica kids collection are reference books, but the high color photographs are so interesting, my kids keep going back to them.

Kid Klok
World map Puzzle 
United States Puzzle 
Stack the States 

Stack the Countries 
For some reason, my kids are HOOKED on the United States Puzzle and Stack the States.  They play them over and over again, and I love it!  As they are cementing their learning of time, Kid Klok is great app for helping them to learn this concept.

Trees Pro HD

Leaf Snap

The Elements: A visual guide to the periodic table 

I love the idea of my kids browsing through the amazing photographs and reading a bit about the elements.  XE (while pricy) is the BEST application on my IPAD.  It was SO worth the money.  I spend time looking at the elements and being able to see them, in their native form, as well as learn all about them is just the icing on the cake.  Leaf Snap and Trees Pro HD are nature apps that I can't do without.  Take a walk in the woods with your kids and finally be able to answer the question "what type of tree is this from?"
Star Walk
Solar System for the Ipad 

Solar and Star programs are great!  I love sitting outside with my kids and peering up into the night sky and using these apps to tell me what planets and constellations are in the sky above us.

Spell  Board 
Math Board

Spell Board and Math Board are daily applications for us.  We put each of the kids spelling words for the week into the database in Spellboard and they quiz themselves from there.  Mathboard is so versitile that the kids can take timed quizzes right from the IPAD and I can narrow the operands and questions to what they are learning.  Or I can expand it out and encompass all that they have learned so far.  We truly couldn't function as well without these two apps.  


 You might ask why I included Scribblenauts in my list of favorite educational apps.  I'd have to ask you... have you played it?  Yes, it's drawing, but it's also naming, and coming up with vocabulary to describe what you want.  The game is amazingly intuitive and takes so may different answers for what it might be asking for, that you can't help but be fascinated with it. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Travel Car games- in dvd cases

You know how I love car travel packs to keep the kids busy, right?  

I've made a bunch of my own, and (thanks to Pinterest) I've come across some other awesome ones!

Have you seen Prepared Not Scared's version?  Check out these links...  ( I didn't use these, as I'm lucky, my kids are great in the car and are in no need of bribery to be good in that instance!)

Aren't these the most adorable things you've ever seen?

So, here's what I decided to do with them.... I've printed off 3 sets (many of them have 3 sets on one printed paper, as you'll see if you download them from her website).  One is for Little Lady, one for Little Man, and one for my nephew, as he's got a long journey ahead of him in a few months.  

I had to think long and hard about what I wanted to put these into...  a mini photo album, as suggested?  Hm..  no, I think maybe a dvd case!  Have you seen those travel games they do on Pinterest in the DVD cases?  I think this is the perfect house for this project, don't you?

So, first thing I cut and laminated all the games that I wanted.  I then found 3 dvd cases that were not in use anymore.  I got rid of the cover piece, and inserted the two that I printed from Prepared not Scared.  

I will be making British versions of some of these; so that I can have a set in the US and a set here.  I"ll update the blog when I'm done with those.

I also included the Project X cards (my kids love Moshi Monsters and play with the cards all the time).  They also own several of the Oxford Reading Tree Project X books.  I got them (the cards, not the books) free from

As for the dvd cases themselves.  I used an exacto knife to cut out the middle of the dvd holder bit (one of mine snapped off with my fingers, but the others had to be cut).  I then cut black construction paper to fit inside the circle and glued it down.  I cut sticky backed magnet pieces and glued 9  around the circle.  I put magnet pieces on the back of the tic tac toe-ken pieces (9 of them) and also cut tiny ones and put them on the tic-tac toe board.  This way the toe-kens stay put and won't slide when the car moves.  I agree with the earlier blog that magnetic paper would have been great for this, but I didn't have this is my work around.
the dvd part cutout, black paper put down and some of the toe-kens added with magnets.
The tic tac toe game with small magnets on the side that don't cover the pictures

I'm also considering making the following two dvd travel cases (2 of the coloring ones, and 1 of the checkers one)
If I was REALLY over productive, I could make a set for each vehicle.... hmmmm....  I guess we'll see how much materials I have, and how much time I have to sit at home and make these while Little Man is home from school with tonsillitis.  

The finished products...  the back of the case, the inside of the case, and the front...

Like it?

Monday, 14 May 2012

A photo a day

So.. In my spare time, I've decided to take a few online classes.  One in photography and one in Corel X4.  (which is interesting, since I only own X2 and have to substitute some of the things to learn...maybe one day I'll upgrade! )

So..  with that said, I'm going to be taking a photo a day; starting today.  Either with my phone or my camera, something that sums up the day as it is....  I'll post them on here on a weekly basis, so that you can see what I've been up to.  Maybe you can guess what I'm learning that week?

To kick off the the project, I give you two photos...  and if you know me at all, you know what the first one's about.  The second one.. well.... he's been sick and out of school for for a week now.. my poor baby!  Little Lady's also been in and out of school... sad part is, it's SAT's week.... ugh!  Have to figure out when to make those up!  They are on antibiotics too, but I forgot to take that med out of the fridge to include it in the photo..

And, of course, what week wouldn't be complete with insane amounts of board games to keep us house-bound rats occupied?  

To my wayward prego friend who just moved to Germany....  We've not heard from you at all!!!!  Where ARE YOU?