Friday, August 31, 2007

T. the builder.

Can he build it???? I think the answer is YES! BUT!!!! Only if his parents keep running out getting all the needed supplies!!!

T. is driving me up a wall all week! All he wants to do is build. His request for building supplies is so long I think it will cost a lot of money to get it all. First on the weekend he wanted long boards, scrap pieces of wood, nails, hammer, screws, screwdriver and paint. We gave him lots of all of that then Rob and I told him he needed to wait a few days for us to add anything else to his supply list for that building project. The next day (Monday) he needed tape, paper, a wall, and for me to cut up soda bottles (for a new project). Then (Tuesday) he asked for clear tubing, PVC pipes, and craft foam (I didn't get any of that for him yet). I don't know what he was going to do with that stuff. Then (Wednesday) he wanted dowels, spools, wooden wheels, and tiny flat wood pieces (I did pick up a little of that today)! Thursday we didn't spend much time at home so I don't know if he asked for much. NOW tonight he wants cups, pulleys, rope, spoons, thin flat boards, weights, wire, and a chain! Let me say first I am very proud of him! I think it is amazing how he at the age of 7 can understand how to build with supplies like this. I think it follows right along with his science for this year. BUT!!!! The lists of needs keep coming! I can't keep up! I feel bad because a lot of this stuff is stuff I could get for free or just a few dollars but I know if I give him all he wants then tomorrow he will have another list. On the other hand, I think if I kept getting the supplies he wants that in a few weeks or a month he would be able to build something that would impress everyone (not only his parents). If I quit giving him the supplies will I be taking away a wonderful experience for him? I don't remember my parents telling me no when I was trying to create something. I wonder if he will end up loosing all interest in building large things because his Mom wouldn't provide him with what he needed to build the perfect machine???? I am so confused!!! My hubby works for Lowe's so he can bring home anything that T. needs. I can help T. work out any problems he has with building (I can look up how to build stuff online or ask my parents so i can help him if he runs into trouble). I just wonder if giving him everything he needs even if it is just a small piece of plastic tube is that overindulging a child or is it being a good teacher and letting him learn on his own when he has an interest? Rob is on his way home from work so I will be able to talk this over with Rob when he gets here. I think he will pick up some of the things to keep T. going with this but I don't know if he will bring stuff home every day for the next 6 months! I don't know that we are the kind of parents that will let him take over the entire house with a machine he built. We do have a lot of land and some large out buildings (even an empty barn) so I think we can easily find a way to let him do this. I just wish his list of needs for his projects didn't come at me so fast!

I did come up with an idea that "might" help a bit with this problem. I went out to our garage and got one of the old tool boxes we have. I cleaned it up and put some "building supplies" in it for T. I Don't know if T. is old enough to picture in his head how to use all the supplies like how a pencil can work the same as a wooden dowel or string can work like a belt or chain. I might have to explain things like that to him.

Below is the top shelf of the box. I have magnets, bottle caps, string, pencil, chopsticks, tape, cups, clothes pins, golf tees, plastic spoons, coins, thread spools, and glue (a few things I added after I took the picture). I think some springs, gears, small pulleys, and tubes might be useful for him. I will look into adding them sometime soon.

This is the bottom of the box. it has cardboard, foil, and bottle parts in it. I plan to add some doorbell wire and wire cutters soon as I find what I did with them. Does anyone know of other good building supplies I should add to this box?

OH! One more thing I did today. I am kind of impressed with myself that this worked! T. asked how to make a tool to drop a marble and have it come back up to pick up another marble then drop that one down and so on. I somehow knew a simple way to do this. OK, it is not rocket science but it is something that I would think I would have a hard time figuring out. Maybe I did this in school and it was in my head without me knowing? Anyway, I got a measuring scoop (first toy spoon I could find). I got a marker (first dowel I saw) and I taped the spoon to the marker on the back side of the handle just below the scoop part. I then got some coins (first thing I saw that would work as weights) and I taped them on the back of the scoop down at the very end of the handle.

I then had to look around for a few minutes to find something to put this on to work. I got an empty baby wipe container and set it on the scoop and then I let T. experiment with it. He was amazed that his mom made him such a cool tool! LOL!!!!

Did you see that???? It really works! Shhhh! Please don't tell my son that I wasn't sure it would work! LOL!

I would love any advice you have on the building issue! I have to say that in the past we always found a way to get stuff ASAP for T. to learn with when he had an interest in something. I think my biggest problem with this is he is now at an age that he can picture how to build something with wood and tools in his head and a few minutes later get an idea in his head to build with paper and tape. Then the next day want to build with wheels and ramps. A few hours or a day later build with wire and foil and string. I do think using lots of mediums to experiment with are wonderful learning opportunities BUT I think we should have some limit (like a waiting period). Like when he gets to go in the store and get a dollar toy I only allow him that ONE toy for the week. He then has to wait a week to pick another. KWIM? MY heart is telling me BUT THAT IS A TOY!!! NOT HIS education! He is clearly asking to learn right now! I am so confused! Does anyone have any advice? This is new territory for me! It might not even be a problem. Remember I am very pregnant and very tired. I have a hard time thinking and figuring out the smallest things anymore. I would love to get some advice with this! It would be WONDERFUL if somehow a person who is like my son or a parent that has a child like my son comes across this silly blog and has the time to lead me along with this one! ANYONE??? LOL (hey, it could happen).

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Magic art

We didn't spend much time at home today so I am using pictures from the other day. I know I have shared this with people in the past but because this set of pictures are the only ones I have left I will share this project with you all again. This is what we call magic painting. We use a white crayon. When we run out of white crayons we use candles or other wax to draw a picture on paper. The white crayon is the most used crayon in our crayon box. This set my hubby did for the children using a small birthday candle to draw them. He drew different things for the children then later in the day (after morning school work) the children got to do the magic painting to "see" the surprise secret messages Daddy made them. The wax on white paper shows up light so an older child (like T.) can see it if he looks hard at it and lets the light bounce off the paper. My 2 year old never sees it until she paints with watercolors over it.

Picture of both of them starting to paint. I don't know why I cut the heads off in the picture. Sorry about that!

This painting says Demi. She stained her shirt black when she did this I am still trying to get it out! This painting is still wet so it isn't easy to see but it is a toilet, Elmo, pizza, and ice-cream (my daughters favorite things yes she has some strange favorite things like the potty).

This is a tree and I love you.This is how my hubby draws a dog.
And that is it for our magic art. We don't always use this with just pictures. We often hide "school lessons" on the papers. Things like shapes, numbers, letters and such for our youngest. Math facts, spelling words, secret messages, and such for our oldest. My children also like making the pictures with wax themselves then painting them up.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Marble Run.

T. insisted I post good pictures of the marble run so to make him happy I am doing this. LOL!

They are all pictures from yesterday. This is a picture of the entire thing. Not everyone decorates a kitchen with 1/2 a roll of masking tape. LOL!

This is T. standing at the start putting a marble in.
This is the spot the run changes direction.

A close up of the "open" part of the run. This spot needs to be fixed a lot. The paper doesn't hold up well to all the marbles. I think it is a good learning spot for T. He has to think to get it working when the paper bends.

The clear funnel. This is D.'s favorite spot. At first she would grab the marbles out when they got this far. LOL! T. would get MAD when she did that.

This is T. pointing to the second funnel.
This is the plastic tubes I made for him. I did NOT add them or put all that tape on the wall. LOL!

This is the end! LOL!

If this works it will be a video clip of my very active children playing with the marble run. They are loud and very active. Our school days look a lot like a lot like this play time! Sorry I didn't post anything from our day today. My hubby is waiting for the computer and I have to get the children to bed. I have to do school with my children tomorrow morning, I have an afternoon Dr. appointment, then Travis has soccer tomorrow night so I will not be around until Friday. I hope to catch up then.

101 things about me.

I saw this on Daphne's and Yasmina's blogs. I decided to give it a try. WARNING! I am a very dull person! I think this list will put everyone to sleep!

1. I have always lived in PA.

2. I am a creative person.

3. I am not a deep thinker.

4. I admire my hubby and son for being deep thinkers.

5. I wouldn't mind giving up some of my (maybe all) of my creativity and gain smarts (deep thinking ability). After all lots of creative people share the creative ideas they have online for free.

6. I have wonderful parents.

7. I had a perfect childhood.

8. I want to give my children the childhood I had.

9. I often fall short of being as good at parenting as my parents.

10. I thought being married would be easy.

11. I LOVE colors.

12. I don't wear a lot of colors. I stick with wearing earth tones but don't know why.

13. I talk all the time.

14. I loved public school.

15. I never thought I would homeschool my children.

16. I love to do laundry,hang clothes on the line outside, and washing dishes.

17. I am often intimidated by people with lots of very strong opinions on how I do things.

18. I love being outside.

19. I want to learn to sew and follow a pattern.

20. I enjoy spinning wool into yarn.

21. I use to work in a factory making disposable diapers.

22. I often let people tell me what to do.

23. I try to make people happy.

24. I sometimes feel some people demand a lot from me knowing I will try harder to make them happy I try to view that as a challenge and work hard on it (for the first 6 months or so then I get cranky and sad when I find I can't bring them any happiness).

25. I love being a wife.

26. I love being a mom.

27. I would love to have some time to myself someday.

28. I love playing on the floor with my children.

29. My children are so fun they bring me more joy than I thought I could ever have.

30. I see in pictures. I can't think in numbers or directions it has to be a picture in my head or a feeling for me to understand things.

31. I don't often take the time to read instructions.

32. I am afraid to ride or drive in traffic (I only feel OK on back roads).

33. I live on a road that has more farm tractors and dirt bikes than cars.

34. 1 live around an hour away from the closest shopping mall.

35. I loved shopping when I was young now I never go shopping.

36. I have learned many lessons the hard way.

37. I had a job serving Pizza for over 10 years of my life.

38. I am an oldest child.

39. My hair was very long until it got very hot this summer I had a friend cut it off for me.

40. I am very pregnant.

41. I can't sleep anymore because I am so pregnant.

42. I am afraid to give birth.

43. I want to meet my new baby so much I cry at the thought of it.

44. I have a baby girl growing in my tummy kicking and hitting me around the clock.

45. I am a very attached parent.

46. I am so large I can fake labor pains and people would RUSH me to the hospital expecting me to pop out a 10 pound baby.

47. I get car sick the entire time I am pregnant.

48. I can't eat hardly any foods anymore (the baby doesn't like anything so I am sick a lot).

49. I am so tired!

50. I want to learn how to knit.

51.I believe a busy child is a well behaved child.

52. I love all children.

53. I get hurt when I see children saying or doing things to hurt others.

54. I think when children are bullies (with words or actions) it makes them look very dumb and keeps people from seeing how wonderful and smart they truly are.

55. I never got bullied as a child.

56. I even love children who hurt my children. I am not happy they hurt my children but still love them. I don't get anoyed easily with children. I find the way they see the world amazing.

57. I make up games for my children's birthday parties that EVERY child wins so I don't make any child cry sad from loosing or have to reward (or confront)one child that cheats.

58. I don't like excluding people.

59. I am a bit OCD and it drives my hubby bonkers!

60. If clean laundry hit the floor (even a just washed floor) I put the clothes back in the hamper to wash again (good thing I enjoy doing laundry).

61. I make lots of lists of things to do each day.

62. I don't often get my long list done by the end of the day.

63. I feel if I want something done a particular way I need to do it myself and not get mad at others.

64. My daughter saying "WHAT" 100,000,000 times a day to everything I say drives me nuts! BUT still makes me laugh a little.

65. Last month hearing the word "WHY" all day long drove me bonkers!

66. I now wish I could go back to hearing "why" all day long!

67. I think my 7 year old is smarter than I am.

68. I think my 7 year old can do 100 math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) faster than I can (I hope he never finds that out).

69. My daughter and I are a lot alike we are both dreamers and love playing pretend.

70. I don't get upset often but if someone lies to me, says something to hurt someone, or tries to be real nasty I EXPLODE!

71. I always thought being a parent would be harder than it is.

72. When I was younger I never thought I would like being a mom.

73. Now that I am older I would love to have a house full of children (10 or so).

74. I am too old to have 10 children.

75. I love hearing about other peoples best childhood memories.

76. I love trying to give my children all the wonderful memories everyone else has had and told me about.

77. I often think it is my job to try and make everyone in the world happy.

78. I cry when I see I can't make some people happy.

79. My motto is why do people who expect the most from people do the least themselves.

80. I rarely expect anything from anyone (even my children). That way when they do something for me I can be all excited and happy (I get to be happy a lot).

81. I am allergic to milk.

82. If I am having a bad day I often try to pretend it is going well (I tell my hubby I am in my happy place in my mind).... yes he thinks I am nuts but this method often gets everyone in my home even the children happy and kind again.

83. I LOVE masking tape, hot glue, paints, and other craft supplies.

84. I have fond memories of the craft box my mom had for us when I was young.

85. My favorite thing in my mom's craft box was a roll of foil.

86. I give my children a roll of foil to create with so they can think I am a good mom with the best craft box.

87. My husband and I are complete opposites.

88. My son and I are opposites.

89. I think my son often thinks and acts like my Dad.

90. My dad is an engineer.

91. I am trying to show my son different things engineers do so he can see a lot of the stuff he does for fun he could do for a living someday if he wanted.

92. I am nothing like an engineer!

93. I don't follow instructions often (making engineering impossible for me).

94. I am OK with being wrong. I don't feel the need to be right.

95. UNLESS it involves something that can affect my children's life. then I will stand up and debate to show how my view could be right. I only do this with my hubby for the most part. I find debating exhausting and no fun so I don't do it often.

96. I don't understand WHY people get so hung up on grade levels and academic achievements. I often wonder why use that method to judge another person? If my children couldn't learn to read or write I would love them just as much as I do now and I think the type of person you are can matter a lot more in this world than how you score on test papers. I don't feel my son is better than any other child because he is a little ahead with school work. I think by graduation most children are given a chance to all learn the same stuff. (this is just my view on life and remember I am not a very smart person).

97. I am very thrifty.

98. I drive my hubby nuts with how thrifty I am.

99. All summer long when my husband turns the AC to 65 and on high in our house. I turn it up to 70 and low when he leaves the room and isn't looking (just so we can save money).

100. I now read more children's books than adult books.

101. I am maybe the least exciting person in the world.

I hope I didn't put everyone to sleep!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I am going to try to post things on this as we move along with our day and then publish it at later today. I think adding a picture or two at a time during the day might save me a lot of time at night.

More Montessori materials...

I "think" this is something I saw in a Montessori book and convinced Rob to make one. I am not positive it is Montessori. My hubby made this up for T. several years ago that is why I can't remember. I thought D. "might" be able to use it. She is able to use it and she is very good at it! Her fine motor skills always surprise me (T. always had a hard time with stuff like this when he was little). Right now I have her using her fingers to put the nuts on and off. Next I will give her wrenches and have her match them up to the right size nuts to put on and take off the nuts. I have extra nuts in a yogurt cup. I have a small basket I am going to use but I don't remember what I did with it. For now the yogurt cup will work. I had to take the picture outside to get a good picture. My 7 year old is finding this activity new again so it is not just something for a 2 year old! I just found my little wicker basket to put the nuts in but I don't have the time to take and upload another picture.

ABC center/toy.

OK, my "toys" are not real toys but they seem to entertain and teach my children. This is an old metal coffee can. I cut a slot in the top.
I have the slot large enough for the largest letter to fit in.
Inside the can you can see a it is full of several sets of letters and numbers . This is a jumbo coffee can almost full. It has numbers along with upper and lower case letters in it. The letters can be stuck on the outside of the can or on our "magnet wall".

Below is a picture of our "magnet wall" LOL! Our heater never gets hot even when running it is only warm (can't burn fingers) so it is safe to use year around for a magnet wall.

Another Montessori activity we used today.

Sorting activity. D. is sorting pony beads in an ice cube tray. I LOVE having a lot of little things like this nearby to keep her busy when T. needs help with his school work. She pinches them with her fingers and drops them in the ice cube tray. When I first started this with her I only used 2 colors. We worked up slowly. I couldn't get a picture of her doing this because I was teaching T. at the same time. I am finding it very hard to work with 2 children teach them both 2 different things at the same time and snap pictures. LOL!

My daughter loves paper dolls. They don't last as long as they do with older children (because she is only 2 years old) but they do keep her busy. Today she was on a pony kick so I printed her out My little pony paper dolls. She likes taking off the clothes and putting them back on. She gets mad when she gets the tabs twisted and the clothes will not go back on so I have to stay nearby or the screaming will get T. off track with his lessons.

D's magnet doodle was another big favorite for today.

The pictures below are for Yas. This is what my little one did today when I left for 5 minutes to wash a few dishes! I think it was less than 5 minutes but I didn't time it. I am happy that it only takes me 2 or 3 minutes to pick this all up. Below is some samples of her chalk art she did today. She did all of this and more in under 5 minutes. I went to the kitchen (room right next to the living room) to heat her a piece of pizza for lunch (4 minutes in the toaster oven) this is what I found.

This is the coffee table.

Wood beam.

Here she is cleaning it up!
This is her cleaning off the coffee table. She doesn't get it all clean but she is good at cleaning most of it.

She got the walls, TV, floor, couch, her toys, and anything else she could reach!

I am glad it is just chalk and it cleans up quick with a damp cloth. We now have her clean it up but she thinks that the cleaning is just as much fun as doing the writing. This happens EVERY DAY! We spend most of our days outside and she still finds time to do this and a lot more! Yasmina, I just wanted to let you know you are not alone!!!

I wanted to add pictures of the marble run and a video clip I took earlier that showed up a lot better (easier to record in the daylight) but I am getting tired so I don't know if I will get that done tonight. It is after midnight and my children get up early (5 or 6 am). I will try and add them tomorrow.

Monday, August 27, 2007


D. painted some shells to keep busy when her brother was doing his spelling lesson this morning.
T. painted some shells after he finished his morning subjects. I need to thank my MIL who brought us back a HUGE bag of shells from her winter trip to Florida. I have a year supply of shells to keep the children busy.
T. made some pencil toppers to dress up his new school supplies and to give him something to fidget with when he is thinking and doing his school work. If he doesn't have something to fidget with he often falls off the chairs when doing school work. If he can fidget with his fingers he has an easier time keep his rump in place. LOL! Crazy YUP! BUT it works for us!

I was such a good mama today! I gave my children some new toys! LOOK! LOL!
YUP! Pop bottles cut up! I gave 2 pieces to D. and the rest to T.

D. now has a new funnel AND a new way of making sand castles! Not every child has such fancy sand and water toys. LOL! BTW The next soda bottle I get I plan on poking holes in the bottom of and making it a sand sifter/ water sprinkler. My children are very easy to please!T. used his new toys in his new invention. I will start at the beginning to explain his new invention. T. asked to build a roller coaster today with cardboard tubes. We don't have enough wrapping paper, paper towel, and tp cores to do that (well to make on the size he wanted anyway). Instead he decided to downs size his invention and use paper and my favorite school supply MASKING TAPE! I know everyone who knows me KNOWS that I think masking tape is at the top of my must have on the school supply list! I don't know if I will ever run out of uses for masking tape. My son is following in my footsteps. Rob brought home a new roll of tape for T. tonight and he jumped up and down and squealed with excitement. He was more excited over this roll of tape than he is on his birthday in front of a stack of gifts. LOL! He LOVES tape! Anyway, this is what he came up with.

Picture below shows the first few tubes taped to the wall.
This next one shows a ramp that lets the marble go a bit uphill if it is rolling fast then it goes down the second slope. I had to show T. how this could work. He tried many times to find a way to get a second ramp going down to work. He first put tape at the end to block the tube off and the marble would stick and not work for him or he would make a big drop down to let the ball drop near the ground. He got a bit frustrated not being able to think of a way to get it to move the other way without a big drop (he wanted to keep lots of wall space open to keep the run going.Funnel was added to watch the ball swirl around.
Then another funnel and the ramp goes back to the left again. The green is the tubes made from the soda bottle centers.

Then a clear tube (clear soda bottle) and a cup (bottle bottom) at the end to catch the marbles.D. thinks this is HER new toy!!! LOL! She screams and cries I need beans! She thought marbles are beans. We told her they are marbles and now she screams and yells marbles. T. and her had so much fun playing with this tonight! I know D. will break it tomorrow and T. will build it a new way. I hope to get a video of how cute the 2 of them are with this! They can be so nice with each other.

I know this is NOT a true invention (but I will not tell T. that). It is just a marble run. Now I want you to know he has a NICE marble run set made out of wood but that is not what he wanted today. It is true we have lots of homemade toys made with paper and tape but he does have real toys also (giggle). He wanted to make his own invention himself today. Well, I did have to make the clear tubes from the center of the soda bottles at the bottom (I didn't think they would stay stuck shut with masking tape. I used duck tape to make them into tubes for him. This project he worked on off and on all day. He would have spent more time on it if he didn't have to do school but I told him he had to do his school work! We did agree that he could add 1 tube after every 5 math problems. It seemed to speed up his math. Before I agreed to that he kind of sat in front of the math book looking at the tubes just thinking about what he wanted to do. I know this is NOT the perfect way to teach a child but he did get his work done and I didn't have to deal with the daydreaming he was doing before I agreed to this. I think of it as a win win situation not a naughty child and bad teacher one like some might see it. I do hope to someday have my children sitting well at desks or a table and working hard on stuff with no noise or bouncing around but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. For now I will keep doing what works for us.

Below is a video of his creation earlier in the day. I tried to take a video of it tonight but it was so dark it didn't show up well. This does not show all of his tubes he has going right now. It is my voice at the end. I often call T. buddy.

T.'s Marble run.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

See-saw and wood sculpture

T. and Daddy worked together on the see-saw the real one not the tree log one.
This is T. learning to use the drill (with his dad's help).Look at my BIG BOY! He is growing up so fast!

Look at my Big GIRL! When she spotted the hammer she picked it up and said "LOOK MOMMY!" I asked her what she had and she said "This hammer, I hammer look at me hammer." She did! she hit the nails on the head 10 or 20 times! She is always watching everything we do. If we don't include her she will wait until we are not looking then she will try it herself!

T. using a screwdriver. I am surprised at how well he can use a screwdriver and a hammer now!

T. trying out the see-saw.

Later in the day.....

T. asked me if he could build with the scrap wood we had left. I said yes and left him on the porch with some wood, nails, hammer, screwdriver, and screws.

5 minutes later I look out and find this!WOW! That is a BIG PINE board!!! I was wondering how he could think that was a scrap. LOL! I thought he was ONLY using the small scraps of outdoor lumber we had on the porch. T. pointed out how he NEEDED the large board. How else could he build the big bridge he needed with just the little scraps of wood. He then explained how the scraps are all needed to hold up the bridge. I could then "see" what he was doing and I was proud that he had put so much thought in doing this. I could see how this project was putting his mind and fine motor skills to good work (and keeping him busy on a Sunday afternoon) so I let him go.

His project got larger,
and larger,
What is it????
LOL! We are not sure what it is. He isn't finished yet. I have to stay away from this project. Every time I went out to check on him he would tell me what he was doing and then sucker me into digging him out more wood! I think he has plenty of wood so I am going to step back and see how it all turns out.

We have let him use a hammer and screwdriver on and off from the age of 2 but he always had a hard time with it. I am so happy to see that he now can put a screw all the way into 2 boards all by himself! I guess his hands are a lot stronger now!
Look! Even the nails he gets all the way in!

I will have to let you all know what this becomes. Right now Rob and I are calling it the huge wood sculpture. LOL! I don't think T. has much more wood laying around to use. I hope he shows us what this thing is soon. I think I will have to keep you all updated on this.