Archive | June, 2011

Handprint Sunflowers

24 Jun

My husband Ben, coaches high school baseball.  Did you know that on your resume for coaching you need to indicate whether you “spit seeds” or not?  I guess it’s a prerequisite for coaching the sport of baseball, who knew????  Well baseball season is over, but for some reason, spitting season is not.  Just for the record, I am not a fan of seed spitting.  I will, however, tolerate this as I live with four dudes and I’d much rather they spit seeds then spit ANYTHING else…  Needless to say, the seed spitting habit has brought about a few questions around our house… Where do sunflower seeds come from?  Where do sunflowers grow?  How big do they get?  Should we pick some?  As you know, I like to use every opportunity I can as a teachable moment, so  Daddy’s “habit” was turned into a quick lesson on sunflowers.  This project came about after our lesson!  To duplicate the project you will need:

white construction paper

Yellow & green tempera paint & brushes

white glue

sunflower seeds

I simply painted my boys hands with the yellow paint and lightly pressed their gooey fingers on the paper to make a hand petal!  I repeated this four times in opposing directions to mimic the shape of a flower.  I then let them paint their own stems and leaves.  Once our pictures had dried we used white glue to attach a few (don’t worry Daddy) of Mister’s sunflower seeds to the center of our flowers…  Viola, handprint sunflowers!  I think we’ll keep these up all summer, they are so sunny!

Bath Paints

22 Jun

Are your kids filthy?  It seems like we are taking so many baths now that summer has arrived.  I mean between sunscreen, bug spray and chlorine, we have to rid them of all chemicals on a daily basis!  To spice it up a little bit I found this “recipe” for bath paints that I thought would be fun.  Basically you mix shaving cream (you might want to use sensitive skin/unscented) and food coloring together. I did it in a muffin tin just for ease, but you could mix them in little bowls too…. I just filled the tins with foaming shaving cream and then added one to two drops of food coloring.  I know, I was a little worried it would STAIN my tub, but it didn’t. I know you are thinking, “but when I drip a little on my counter it is hard to get off…”  I thought the same thing…  Even as I was mixing this last night, my hands turned green!  Why does the green always leak???? My theory is this:  Food coloring loses its staining power once it is mixed with something…  You see, play dough doesn’t stain, frosting doesn’t stain, colored water doesn’t stain, and shaving cream doesn’t stain… It didn’t stain our tub and the boys had a blast!  By the end of bath time they had covered the walls, their brushes and their belly buttons with shaving cream!  I had to empty the tub in order to give them a “real bath” once they were done.  It was so worth it, however, because they played in the tub for a good hour + (so I took this fine opportunity to clean their bathroom, YUCK).  This morning they woke up asking if they could paint in the tub again…  I am going to try another bath paint recipe this week just to mix it up for them, but I assure you, this was a hit!

Garden Labels

21 Jun

Summer in Minnesota is amazing…  The weather, the lakes and the gardens!  I just love it!  This year the boys have had a great time planting and watching (well it’s just sprouting) the garden! Last year we didn’t plant as many vegetables because we were part of a CSA, but this year we have a large garden at the lake!   Shaeffer definitely has the “greener” thumb, planting all of the corn and cucumbers(his two favorites) himself, but they are both interested just the same.  I also just love their names for the veggies.  For example, cucumbers are “pickles”, watermelon is just “melon”, corn is “corn on the cob” even if it’s just corn, and onions are “youngyons”.  Today was a little bit of a rainy day so I gave the boys some note cards and had them make labels for the garden.  I insisted they use crayon for no other reason except that I think kid drawing in crayon is adorable!  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE their depictions of the vegetables and they insisted that “pumpkin” has two p’s in it…  I love that!  We mad a ton of cards and still don’t have enough for all of the rows…  I am planning to laminate the cards (so they hold up better in the rain) and nail them to the stakes that mark each row. This is a picture of  a few of the cards and I will try to snap one of the rows with the finished product attached once I laminate them!  I think they turned out rather cute!  You could even attach them to popsicle sticks and plop them in the dirt of a potted plant or container garden!  Either way, the boys were busy for about an hour trying to “remember” all of our plants, insisting we had broccoli (which we don’t), refusing to do asparagus (YUCK) and needing bribing for tomatoes (but you love ketchup)…  We forgot about rhubarb, peppers, and cantaloupe, but we can always do more!   That is the luxury of an easy project!  Let me know how yours turn out!

Summer Journal or Life Book

9 Jun

So many parents have asked me how to keep up the academics over the summer.  One idea that I have came from my own classroom.  I used to job share 2nd grade with my dear friend Kim and we did this with our students.  It really can be adapted for any age or academic ability and it’s super simple!  Here is how it works……  Each day take a picture of your child doing something.  Maybe you’re at the zoo or maybe you are playing with the hose in your back yard.  Maybe you are on a family trip to Mount Rushmore or doing puzzles on a rainy day.  What ever it is, snap a quick picture and print it off…  Tape the picture to a piece of paper and have your child write about what they are doing in the pic. If you don’t have the ability to print the picture, just show it to your child and have them write about it.  You can always add the picture later.   Its’ a great way to remember your summer and practice your writing while you’re at it.  Younger children may only write one or two words where older children may chronicle their day in paragraphs.  You can bind your “life book” together in a binder and have a collection of summer memories to look back on.  We are starting our Life Book next week and I can hardly wait!  It will be fun to look back at each summer and not only see what we did each day, but see how our writing has improved.  You can do a journal entry each day, every other, or even just a couple times a week….  Adapt it to fit your family!

A Great Day for BUBBLES….

1 Jun

Homemade Bubble Recipe

2 Cups Dish Soap (I have found Joy works the best, but any are fine)

6 Cups Water

¾ Cup White Karo Syrup   or 2T glycerin (available at drugstore)

Combine, shake, and let settle for 4 hours before using.  Again, we’ve used this right away I just don’t shake it as much…

Store covered in the refrigerator to extend suds shelf life. Then allow warming before using.   I store it in my garage and it seems “perfect”

Bubble Tips

• Do not stir wand in suds, this avoids foaming.

• If foam develops, scrape off with stiff card.

• Keep suds clean, avoid dirt, grass, bugs etc.

• Use a 9×13 cake an or pizza pan for suds.

• Bubbles are best on humid days

• Joy and Karo syrup work best. Other brands will work, just maybe not as “awesome”

• Direct sun light weakens suds.

• If bubbles get in eyes, Rinse with water

BUBBLE WAND:  Bend a metal hanger or even just a pipe cleaner into desired shape (but the bubbles will still be round)…For small wands tie a twist tie to a straw.

Who doesn’t love bubbles?

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