Tuesday, April 22, 2008

EARTH DAY!

Happy Earth Day!

My family still has a long way to go to be green but we are trying.
Today in honor of Earth day I am giving up soda. I will not buy anymore bottles of soda! This is HUGE for me because I do enjoy drinking soda but I know all it does is add calories to my diet, cost money I could spend on something better, and put a plastic bottle in this world that doesn't need to be here. I don't like plastic bottles but some things my family buys is in plastic containers. We often buy milk, juice, yogurt, and other things that are packaged in plastic but most of them I feel I need for the children's healthy diet. Soda for myself because it tastes good isn't the same as a glass of milk for my growing children so I am going to try to never drink soda again. I will let you know how this goes.

Other things we do is
Cloth diaper I have cloth diapered all of my children.

Turn my heat down in the winter (around 62 drives my hubby crazy).

Turn the heat down even more at night (family is sleeping so they don't notice).

I keep the air off most of the summer.

When my hubby turns on the air in the summer I watch for him to leave the room and then I turn up the air temp setting to 70 when he isn't looking. Often when I do that he doesn't notice.

I hang clothes to dry. I would like to say all our clothes hang to dry but when I am behind on laundry I use the machine.

I wash and rinse clothes on cold (except diapers because they need hot water to clean and sanitize).

I cook many meals at the same time. I put bbq chicken, shake n bake chicken, honey mustard chicken, and seasoned chicken all on large baking dishes and cook them all together then freeze them to warm up when needed.

I try to keep junk food out of our house (my hubby does sneak in a bag of chips in on occasion).

We have replaced all our light bulbs.

I use vinegar a lot instead of cleansers.

I use my steamer instead on chemicals to clean floor, tub, toilet, sink, toys, and other areas I want to kill germs.

I use a non powered bissell broom on our area rug so I only have to plug in our electric vac once or twice a week.

We have no carpet in our house. I can sweep it all with a broom and run a damp mop over it all.

I don't buy paper towels or other paper products. We do have to pick up paper towels every so often for a school project (I don't know why so many school projects say you have to use paper towels) but other than when something like that comes up we use microfiber towels that we wash and reuse.

We are growing some veggies. We hope to have a large garden this year.
We have 4 chickens and 1 bunny.

Our bunny is a French angora rabbit. He gives us his warm fur.

I spin yarn. I use my rabbit's fur and wool from a local farm to spin yarn.

I have learned to knit so I am using my yarn to make things.

One of my favorite things to do is take old clothes and cut them up and sew them into new stuff for my girls. I have fun taking a pair of jeans or a top that don't fit me anymore or worn out and make several little things for my children.

I don't drive much. My hubby does our shopping for us. He picks up all food, clothes, electronics, and even goes in the craft and fabric stores for me. He works in the city (OK larger town) so he makes stops on his way home to pick us up whatever we need.

We don't cut the grass to all of our yard. We own over 15 acres and most of it we just let it alone. We do cut the grass around the house and an area in the back to run, play, and have fun in but most of our land we leave for the deer, groundhogs, foxes, and other country critters.

I have the TV off most of the day..

I am getting better at unplugging things. I plan to take a good look at what we have left plugged in this weekend. I want to unplug the coffee maker and toaster oven next. I wonder what Rob will say when I do this. He is very supportive of what he calls my "tree hugging ways" as long as I don't make life difficult on him. He might not like having to plug in the toaster oven or coffee pot so I might have to leave them plugged in on his day off. I will unplug them the rest of the week.

I can't think of anything else so I will try to write more when I think of other things.


Here are a few pictures of the girls.
Zee having a happy day.Travis built a huge house with the blocks. He went out to play when he came back in his house was torn apart. LOL!
Zee had lots of fun taking apart the block house. I was able to make Demi an outfit when Zee was tearing down the blocks.
Once Zee was done destroying the blocks she took a nap.
I made Demi a matching sister outfit but she didn't keep it on for long.
Once I got this pink outfit done she insisted on wearing her pink princess outfit and didn't want to be dressed like her little sister anymore.

Demi and I played soccer a bit in the yard. She is very good kicking the ball.

Here she is singing and dancing. She is such a silly and fun child!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Playground pix







Friday

Yesterday we met my friend Vicky and her children at the playground. My little Demi is growing up so fast! She is sprouting up. Here are all the children together playing nice.



After we left the playground we went down the road to another playground/park so Travis could try again to ride his bike. He met a boy who gave him some of his 10 year old wisdom on how to ride a bike. He added the boys advice with the advice from yesterday and added in a desire to ride. Then got on his bike and away he went. He said that he is done with training wheels because he found his bike now goes nice in grass and gravel. He said his training wheels never worked in grass or gravel. We have had him riding many times in the past without his training wheels. He was always a bit unbalanced and never got good enough to permanently give them up. Every spring he would insist to get them back on. Here is a video clip. He needs a bigger bike we are working on that. Rob and I didn't want to waste the money on a bike this season if he wasn't going to give up the training wheels. I have no idea who the lady is in the video. She was just a mom at the playground.

video

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wed. and Thurs.

Wed.
Daddy was off yesterday. We spent the day outside.




This picture is NOT my best side! Rob took it when I was helping Travis on his bike at a playground later in the day.
Baby enjoying the fresh air.


Thursday.

It was beautiful outside today! We got to get out and have a get together with friends at the park. A friend of mine and her son taught Travis to ride a bike. HOORAY! My friend Kcaarin is an amazing person! She was so kind and understanding with Travis. I was ready to put the training wheels back on or put the bike away for the day (our normal bike routine). I am not good at working with my son when he thinks something is too hard to do. Kcaarin has a wonderful way with Travis she told him what to do in a direct way making it seem almost like he had no choice but to do it. BUT at the same time was encouraging and didn't loose her cool. I am not ever direct or firm enough with the things that Travis struggles with (I know that is a big reason Travis keeps getting the training wheels back). I often have my son quit for the day when he gets frustrated and emotional. I guess to me it is easier to quit than make him push ahead. I am so excited and thankful he is doing so well this early in the biking season. He is still asking when will we put his training wheels back on. I told him maybe in a few days. I don't plan on putting them back on but I have said that before. I will let you know how it goes. BTW. I am only writing down my friends way of working with my son so I can use that method next time something like this comes up. I see it is a very effective way of working with him when he is frustrated. I don't have pictures to share (I didn't think to ask permission to share pictures of her children). You will have to trust me when I say she has 4 beautiful, polite, and wonderful children. Our children play so nice together! I had such a wonderful day! Her oldest boy Travis calls his "best friend". Her two younger ones are 2 and 3 and they played with Demaris. It was so fun watching Demaris play with other children. She had as much fun as Travis!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Letter A-make your own colored sand

A was for art-make your own colored sand. Maybe it should have been a is for Are you ready to make a huge mess? Poor Heather! I feel that must be what she is thinking right now!


I feel bad because Heather's boys did the colored sand craft and they colored themselves. I think when Demi adds water to her sensory box of colored sand she might turn herself rainbow colors. I spent a little time thinking about this and how to solve this problem after the children went to bed tonight. I started thinking how children's paints will run when they get wet. I know this because I use that method to make my children paint dots to paint pictures. I started thinking that maybe my craft acrylic paints would work. I got out a small yogurt cup of sand and added a small squirt of paint and mixed with a plastic spoon (one I use for crafts). I ended up with wet purple paint. It felt sticky wet and did get on my fingers. I let it dry and it ended up clumpy (you can see a lot of clumps in the picture). The clumps broke up very easy in my hand and when I put some purple painted sand in water the color did not run, come off, or make any type of mess on my hands. I did have some mess in the cup I mixed it in and I had to set it out to dry the paint but if I did this outside in the sun on a warm day I wouldn't have any worries with large messes. Using acrylic craft paints gives a lot more choices of colors but I wouldn't do this if I had children who like to eat sand. My two older children don't eat sand (anymore) and my baby isn't old enough to get into our sensory table. Using food color I think would work wonderful if you have dry sand, dry hands, and want to do sand art in jars, bottles or sprinkle on spots of glue on a paper. I think it would work well if you layer sand in a small glass jar and add a small candle in the center (for gift giving). Using paint I think will work well if you like to use wet sand to play in and have children that don't eat sand. If you try this please share with me how it works for you! I would love to know how it works for others! When I do this with my 2 year old I will have her put the sand in an old plastic bottle and I will add the squirt of paint. I will help her put the lid on and let her shake it up to mix the color. I will pour it out of the bottle and put on a tray to dry. I will make sure the tray is out of her reach because the painted sand could make a large mess if a 2 year old plays in it when it is wet! Heather, I feel so bad knowing I got your children all messy with food dye! I should warn everyone I hardly ever look up directions on how to do crafts. Most of the time I try out things to see what happens. I don't spend much time thinking about what I need or what might go wrong. I do have lots of crafts that flop or make large messes! Did you all notice the large mess on my table with the dyed rice and flour glue? I am still finding some rice on my floor and I have cleaned it up several times already! I don't rent and we live in a very old farm house so it is OK when messes happen in our house. I save all of Travis's old worn out/stained play shirts for painting/crafting tops for Demi so she doesn't ruin all of her clothes with all the crafting we do. My house has no carpet so crafts are easy to clean up. I hope I didn't cause a ton of parents and children to cover themselves in food colors!

funny sight

I feel like I either entertain my neighbors (make them laugh) or I make them feel ill (sick to stomach). I have always had this crazy idea that Travis needs someone to have recess/PE with every day. I have found many ways to give him exercise without exhausting myself but lately I have run short on ideas. He LOVES soccer and he wants someone to play soccer with him every day but Because Demi doesn't run as fast as him, or kick the ball as well as he does, I have once again become his playmate for recess time. This is something I love/hate about homeschooling. First let me let anyone who doesn't know I am NOT thin or in shape in any way (regret to say I am the opposite of in shape and thin)!!!! My son is VERY active and non stop on the go. I am in my 30's going on 40's. Now picture this (or don't if it makes you ill) me running up and down the front yard kicking a soccer ball to my son. I am NOT about to let him know how out of shape or tired I am when I do this. I try to hide my heavy breathing and I try very hard to smile when when I want to cry or complain about how hard it is. I always muster up a grin and say "Wow! You are a wonderful soccer player. Travis this is so much fun. Do you want to do another 4 times up and down the yard?" I really am thinking I am so happy we only have one set of neighbors. I feel a sharp pain running from my leg, tush, and up my back. I can't breath. I hope Demi calls to me from her sandbox needing my help for something or the baby will wake up and cry so I can end this early! I know shame on me! I am human and very out of shape so honestly this is what I think. Please don't let my children know this I would like to keep this between us until my children grow up a bit more. I feel when they hit teenage and want to sit and watch TV or play video games and have no desire to run and play for hours at a time I will then let them know that I have felt like that AND I got up and did things just to make them happy.

Every day after our soccer practice I will take a tiny break to check on Zee and spend some time playing with Demi (catching my breath). When I play with her it is in the sand or I will kick a ball to her and she will run to go get it that takes very little work from me. After playing one on one with Demi, Travis always asks for a light saber fight. I always try to get Demi to have one with him but for some reason she doesn't want to do that anymore (I think I can change this by making her a princess Leia cloak). The look on his face is one I just can't say no to and leave him on his own fighting the air so I get up and pick out a sword and head out into our front yard (praying nobody will see me). The battle isn't just clanking of swords. My son likes to show me his new "moves" and then..... He asks me to show him my new jedi moves!!!! Yes! To keep the smile on his face I come up with my own special moves. My moves are full of jumps, kicks, spins and such. This story gets even more entertaining. He will NOT loose a battle against me. In order for me to end the fight I have to pretend he hit me and I am injured. I need to moan and dramatically fall on the cold, dirty, and damp ground. I have been keeping this outside play time a secret for weeks now. I have been much to embarrassed to admit I do this outside in my front yard (and look so bad doing it). I am happy to say we only have only one house near us. They did raise 5 children and 3 of the children are boys so I hope they understand (or not look at what I am doing). I do feel like they are peaking out the window laughing so hard they can't breath when I am in my yard playing with my son. In case you wonder why we use the front yard, we use it because it is near the porch . My baby sleeps and Demi likes her sensory table both on the poch. I can see them both and know everyone is safe.

Now over the last few weeks my back, legs, arms, neck, tush, and hips have ached. I thought at first I could play in pain and pretend it didn't hurt and the pain would just go away. For all this time I have woke up each day in more and more pain too embarrassed to tell anyone. Finally I emailed a friend the other day asking to get our children together once a week (she has a boy my son's age). I told her about my silly recess/PE secret. I felt better after writing about it. It felt good to tell someone else about my struggle. I don't want my son to know our play time is hard on me but I think telling someone else feels good (I can talk about my problems and not let my children know I feel fat and old). I talked on the phone with her and she said she laughed when she read about my wearing myself out trying to play like an 8 year old. I felt good giving her a laugh and I didn't feel so silly because she didn't say anything making me feel like I was nuts or doing something strange.

I was feeling much better talking about my pain. After I got off the phone I went out Monday and gave it my all. I felt like I could keep playing for over 30 minutes of fast running the soccer ball non stop! I don't know what I was thinking (I think I was thinking weight loss) but I tried to keep up with my son on our soccer field. I felt a strange feeling in my hip, a pain up my back, then I twisted my ankle a little (got my foot in a dip in our yard when I was running/kicking the ball). None of this felt like serious injuries. They felt more like aches from an older large mom trying to act like a thin, energetic, 8 year old boy! I did somehow muster up enough energy and strength to finish up with our sword fight but I didn't add in any "new moves" I fell to the ground (faking my death) in under 10 seconds. I told Travis he was a fierce Jedi and so much stronger than me. He smiled ear to ear, happy to win a battle so quick and that ended another day of recess/PE.

Last night my hubby called on his way home from work. It was late at night and my entire body ached from head to toe. I could hardly get up to answer the phone! I said I had to tell him about this because I really need his help. I told him about how when he is at work I am running the soccer ball up and down the yard with Travis. I told him about how we have Jedi matches every day. I told him about my "special moves" and he laughed saying he wanted to see that. I told him how I didn't want my children to see me as an old, overweight, tired, unfun, mom in lots of pain all the time. Yes, I guess I am all of those things but I would prefer it if my children don't notice that is who I am. KWIM? I told him I am in a lot of pain. Not so much I need to see a doctor. It is more like pain from a person pushing themselves a bit more than they should. I asked him if he could help me by filling in for me by doing PE and recess on his next day off. I told him I know we are older parents but I would like to hide that from our children for a few more years if we can. I don't mind if they figure out we are old but I would rather them not think of us as parents that are too old and fat to play and have fun with them. My hubby is not in the best shape, he is a bit older then me (only a year), and he is not a thin man so I know this will be hard on him but I feel so much relief knowing he will help me out some! I am sorry to say I took today off from PE/recess. I set Travis up with things to do on his own (running kicking a soccer ball around cones). I NEEDED a little time to rest my large, tired, old body! I will get tomorrow off because hubby will fill in and I hope to meet up with with a friend on Thursday so our children can play together. I hope after a 3 day break I will be ready to hop back into our PE/recess routine and be able to smile because it is FUN instead of smiling to hide my pain!

After much thought and prayer I decided to share this honest and bit embarrassing story with you. It is OK to laugh. When my body isn't hurting I myself laugh at the thought of what my Jedi battles must look like! I never felt silly in the yard before. Then again I was never this large when not pregnant before and I guess playing silly with little children comes natural for me. When they hit 8 and I have to work at keeping up with them it doesn't feel natural (feels like work). By the way, if you are wondering NO I have not lost any weight doing this! (sniff sniff). I hope to have pictures of my hubby running in the yard with Travis tomorrow to share with you.

Funny!

The same day we painted bugs my hubby brought us home Chinese food for dinner. I was taking a picture of our harry, runny paint, sort of sad looking bugs when I opened up my cookie. I laughed when I read it!
I didn't feel it described our sad looking bugs!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Science

Travis is doing a science project that Demi isn't joining in on so this is her project. I have been reading on many blogs that lots of children are busy doing this same thing right now.

Demi planted some more veggies today. Rob planted many seeds with her a few weeks ago. I was surprised to see that she remembers how to do it. She didn't need me to help her or tell her how to do any of it. She was able to do it all herself.

She didn't want to wait for them to swell up with water so I gave her a spray bottle to keep her busy. She sprayed them with water only to take up time and to feel she was doing something.
I took her outside to play for a little bit because she wanted to plant before the tray was ready. When we came back in she planted her seeds. She doesn't call them seeds or by the name of the plant. She planted "Bob" today. She cried to plant some "Larry boys". Yes she does like Veggie tales. She was singing songs from that show when she was planting her seeds.

Food noodle/rice crafting

Unplugged group project-food
I wasn't going to post this because I didn't get time to look at all the unplug projects others did last week, I was having a bad day today, and three my project is not what I had planned.

I have decided that I am going to post this and I will check out people's unplugged projects tonight or tomorrow. If I get busy and run short on computer time I will catch up on my husbands day off this week (I think that is Wed).

Pasta and rice art.

Homemade paste, dyed pasta, and rice.
Cardboard from cereal box and 2 children to craft.
Yes that is tons of tiny rice and glue all over the table.



The one below Travis did. I thought it turned out nice.below is one of many Demi made.


We then came up with the idea to make some noodle critters with pipe cleaners.


We made many strange critters below is a picture of several of a few of them. The baby started fussing so I didn't get a picture of them all.

The how and why of what we did.

This week I wanted to do some potato prints shirts or cards, baking cookies, food ABC's, ice-cream making, bean mosaics, and tons of other fun ideas. I didn't have supplies or time to do any of the projects I wanted to do. I dug around in our food shelves. All I found in food supplies to craft with is pasta and rice. I have this huge bag of white rice that is just for crafting. I use it to make beanbags, sensory play, writing trays, and other school/play stuff but I couldn't think of anything to do with rice at first. After finding several boxes of pasta I decided to dye pasta so we colored some of it by tossing a few handfuls in a small coffee can and add a splash of rubbing alcohol and some food color. We then shook the containers to color all the noodles. I was worried that the noodles might be a bit large for art on paper so I decided to give coloring rice a try. I wasn't sure that dyeing rice would work because I had never heard of anyone doing it but in a panic for a fun craft I felt I should give it a try. We put some rice (1 or 2 cups) in a coffee can, added a small splash of rubbing alcohol (about 1 or 2 tsp), and a few drops of food coloring (about 5-10. Then shook it up. I ended up with very wet looking rice. I didn't want to wait until tomorrow to do the project so I turned my oven on and once it was preheated to 250-350 I shut OFF the oven, dumped our wet rice on a cookie sheet and stuck my rice in the warm oven (I did the same with the pasta). I was worried that I might start a fire putting rice covered in alcohol in the oven if the oven was on so I made sure it was turned off. Putting it in a warm oven worked out perfect. In a very short time (under 15 minutes) we had dry colored rice to craft with. My next problem was how to attach them to paper. I was worried that Elmer's glue wouldn't be thick enough to hold pasta to paper. I decided to make up some homemade flour paste. I just tossed a few cups of flour in a bowl, added a little water, mixed with a whisk to make a thick paste. It looked like a thick pancake mix when I finished. I then was worried that paper would be to thin to hold this paste and pasta. I decided to cut up food boxes to do our art on. Travis and Demi covered the box pieces with paste by spreading it on thick with a spoon. Then they decorated with noodles and rice. It turned out a lot better than I would have ever guessed. My children don't know I didn't plan this craft. They had so much fun the crankiness went away and we had a fun afternoon.

OH! After the noodle/rice mosaic we cut some pipe cleaners and used the noodles to design some critters. We just stuck noodles on pipe cleaners and bent them to make strange looking pets. Demi had fun playing with her little critters after we finished making them all. Travis made some but I didn't get any pictures. He joined in the critter making late and the baby was fussing so I didn't get to take pictures of his.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday

A bit of our weekend.

Demi wanted to give her animals a drink. I told her if she sorted out her animals I would give them a drink. I gave her 2 trays and asked her to put farm animals on the green tray and put zoo animals on the butterfly tray. I gave her some Easter grass for hay for the animals and a cap of water for them to drink. Demi added the queen to her farm. I wondered why a farm would have a queen. She told me it was princess Demi on the farm feeding the chicken just like she does at our house. I would have put the birds in the zoo group but she thought they are birds like the ones at our feeders. I will have to point out the birds on our next trip to the zoo.

Wonder why the farm has no farmer?

I guess Zee also wanted to play farm.

Here is Demi playing in her sensory box outside. I let her add all our colored sand to her box so she has fun colorful sand.

Here is Zee trying to get to Demi's motorcycle. She did get to it and pushed it around for a bit. She yelled when she pushed it so hard it rolled away on her.

Demi is learning to drive. If you are in our yard and you see her on the tractor step WAY BACK!! She isn't very good at steering or at slowing down!

Zee on the porch.

Demi using our landscaping timbers as a balance beam.

Travis chasing Demi

Demi making cookies. I was going to make baking cookies our unplug project but I forgot to take the pictures of the finished cookies. The baby got fussy and I forgot what I had planned. The yellow on Deim's hand is from food coloring. I let them color more sand outside today and when I went to pick up the baby Demi decided to help herself to the food colors to add more yellow to her sand.