Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm back....temporarily

Thanks to a VERY generous friend, i am back online and able to blog regularly (temporarily). I really have missed being able to regularly record the things that we have going on around here. Anyway, I will enjoy blogging for however long I have access.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Just needed to share this...

70 degrees today! That is all. (I figured it would be fitting to share this immediately after my snow day post.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow Day

Snow in Mississippi is like some sort of urban legend. Everyone knows someone, who knows someone, whose sister's neice's half brother has seen real snow in Mississippi. This past week dispelled the myth of Mississippi snow! We got snow. Almost eight inches of snow at my house and it stuck around for a couple of days. The girls finally got to build their first snowman. And we found a really good use for loaf pans (well, other than making warm delicious bread).

We were a snow fort making MACHINE! Three loaf pans and a couple of hours in the snow and we had a fairly unstable, but totally fun snow fort.

There was quite a bit of snow consumed by all (except Jena is WAY too cool to eat snow).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Free Range Kids

One of my favorite blogs of late is Free Range Kids. It's basically a site dedicated to the freeing of our children and allowing them to be kids rather than being guarded 24/7. I love reading the positive storied of parents whose children are independent and responsible. I am a big fan of my kids being "free range". I think it's very important that they learn how to navigate the world without constant adult direction. We live in a town that could be seen as half and half. Half free range parent, half hover parents. You can see it on the average trip to the playground. There are the parents that sit and talk to one another while their kids play with other kids and there are the parents who are two feet behind their 4 year old on the way to the slide. Some people may be thinking "I'd rather look silly on the slide than have anything happen to my kid." And I can respect that, but that's not my philosophy in life. Kids (just like adults) learn from mistakes. They have to be allowed to do some things wrong, go the wrong way and sometimes, god forbid, hurt themselves (gasp)! Kids fall, my kids fall, your kids fall, all kids fall, but from that fall they learn that if you run too fast before you make the leap you'll be moving too fast when you hit the ground! Slow down next time. A valuable lesson. For example, when it's warm, I go walk in a park near our house. The kids ride their bikes. Bijou (who was three at the time) loves riding her bike down the hills. Yes, I could jog along next to her in case she tips, or find a new route with less hills, but she LOVES the hills. This particular day she was riding down one of the longer hills, squealing in excitement the entire time, and something in her mind said "hey if I wobble the handle bars as I go it'll be EXTRA fun!" I saw the fall coming from the top of the hill. Needless to say, she fell and scraped her elbow pretty good. I don't even think she cried. We washed the blood off at the water fountain and she rode her bike the rest of the way around the park and we went home. The next time we went to the park she rode down the same hills and squealed with the same delight, but she hasn't wobbled the handle bars since! Lesson learned.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Winter wonderland party and other stuff

Okay, here are some pictures from Bijou's birthday party. It turned out exactly the way I pictured it. Well, I pictured it in a nice clean room, painted a nice soft blue, with maybe just a fireplace with a mirror over it or something. But it was just as nice in our rather cluttered school/dining/multi purpose room. I lost my camera in the house halfway through the party, so there are no pictures of Bijou blowing out the candles. But here are some birthday party pics and some other stuff that has happened over the past few weeks.

The morning of Bijou's birthday. I made her birthday shirt the night before. I stenciled the sneaker and ironed some rhinestones on (the girls loves her sparkle).

These are the goodie bags from the party. They included the crayons (from and earlier post) and a handmade finger puppet (either owl or fox).

I made shortbread cookies with lemon icing for the kids to decorate. We had snowmen and snowflakes!

The cupcakes were chocolate with vanilla buttercream frosting. I used snowflake stencils and sprinkled cinnamon over them to create the shapes on top. Everyone had their own mug for hot chocolate with a little tag with their names on it.

I love between meal parties (after lunch before dinner) because I don't have to try to prepare food. We had popcorn, pretzels and hot chocolate!

The bigger girls helped cut snowflakes out of coffee filters to decorate the windows. We pulled a branch from the backyard and hung snowflakes from it. This was a VERY low budget party.

Okay, off of the birthday party.... the dollar store had these piggy banks! YAY! So I bought one for each of the girls...

...and let Bijou go wild with Sharpies. The older girls painted theirs.

And this was my latest cool Goodwill find. Zion rides it around the house and I don't have to worry about having to push her around on the tricycle anymore when it gets warm. This on is just her size. It was $7 well spent.


Monday, January 3, 2011

A new year...

It's a new year and we started it off with a bang....well, not really a bang. Bijou's winter wonderland party went off without a hitch (pictures forthcoming). Unfortunately half of her friends were sick this weekend (she and her sisters were all sick last week) so there were only half of the expected guests, but it was fun all the same.

Today marks the first day of our 2011 school year. Technically the older girls started 3rd and 4th grade work a couple of months ago, but we still like to treat January like a fresh start to a new school year. Today was Bijou's first day of kindergarten though. She's been eager to become a part of our school day. I will figure out to how to handle three different grades as I go I guess (but if anyone has suggestions I'm open!!!). This year we are going to tackle some long term projects. This is what we have planned:

1. A monthly newsletter/newspaper - The girls will each write an article on a topic that they will research, an article on a current event, a creative writing piece (story, poem, joke, etc) and include any artwork or photos that they may have created over that month. We'll print our one for them to keep and maybe email it to family.

2. A quarterly biography - They will have three months to study and learn about a significant person of their choice. This person can be living, historical, a family member or whoever they want. Each quarter they will create a trifold display for their person of choice.

3. A monthly book report - We started having a book of the month to encourage the girls to read more books from our own personal library (which has hundreds of kids books). They read a lot from the library, but our personal library was being neglected. So they have to choose one of our books each month to read and write a very simple book report about.

4. A short animated movie - Jena has been very interested in making an animated movie, so we decided that she and Ashni should write a story and create some characters and we will work with my cousin to create a short animated movie. They are excited about this one.

So the rest of the school day is pretty much the same. I will juggle a few things to make time to work on the additional projects, but I think it will be good for the girls. I also think we will spend a little more time with science this year. The kids LOVE science but it always gets put on the back burner for math and reading and writing. So this year, MORE SCIENCE - more experiments, more machines, more nature and animals and biology and habitats. More of it all. We'll see how it goes, but right now, our schooling future looks bright! (Oh, yeah and my friend from Senegal who is a fabulous musician and fluent in several languages has offered to teach the girls french AND give them guitar lesson! YAY!)