Monday, Funday

We woke up to our first bit of Montana snow this morning. It had started around 8 last night as what was reported to one of my friends by a cashier as The Storm Of the Century. The wind was howling and the snow was coming sideways. In the end there was only a thin layer of snow on the ground this morning. If that was the storm of the century this is going to be a nice calm winter and I’ll be so happy.

Somehow after getting over her initial excitement about the snow Lil’s attitude deteriorated and we spent the first almost 30 minutes of the morning in tears (hers) and grumps (again hers) and frustration (both of us) so I decided to change my plans for school today. I was originally going to do language and reading practice and some math in the morning. I changed my mind to do fun creative art type stuff. Lil is so creative I figured the creative outlet would help get rid of the grumps. It worked like a charm.

First I gathered some snow in a 9×13 cake dish and set up Lil’s water paints.  While she molded the snow into a snowman (shocking) and then painted it I worked on making some playdough. She loves painting snow and spent quite a bit of time making a whole scene out of the pan. The she decided to see if she could make ice out of the snow by putting it in water. We talked about the science of what happened when she put her snow in the water and it was very interesting.

I was trying out a new playdough recipe and was still working on it when she finished her painting. She proceeded to dance around the kitchen counting to 118 for me and then counting by 10 and then singing the days of the week. This is the stuff I love about homeschooling Lil. Even when we aren’t doing a real lesson there’s still learning happening all day everyday, it’s awesome.

I made this huge batch of playdough by the recipe because I wanted to see how it worked out naturally. Let me just say I should have gone with my intuition and made a 1/2 batch or something because I have a huge mountain of orange playdough with orange glitter. Normally I make my playdough plain and then separate it into smaller amounts and then add the food coloring to it before I knead it. This works fine with my normal recipe, but like I said I wanted to make this recipe the way the author intended first. So I only made one color and Lil chose orange. I should mention that this is a 5 cup of flour recipe, it really did make a mountain of dough. Before I kneaded it and it became smooth it looked like someone had dumped a bunch of sweet potato mashed potatoes on my counter (and added glitter). I really do like the texture of this recipe and will be trying it again, but my way to see if it works out. Of course my way ends up with me having very colorful hands for a few hours, but I’d rather that then so much of one color.

With Thanksgiving being around the corner I decided to have her make a playdough turkey. I cut a (really bad) turkey body out of brown construction paper and she added to it. She loved it!

Then she made a turkey in her hand, I think it’s suppose to be like when you do a hand outline to make a turkey. That’s my best guess.

Then she made a dog.

After the dog she asked me what to make next. I don’t know where it came from, but I told her to make a ostrich. She said she couldn’t because she couldn’t remember what they looked like. I pulled up Google on my phone and found her some pictures. I think she did a great job with it.

He’s hopping if you couldn’t tell. I think she made a hippo in a pond and a bunny that I didn’t get pictures of. I’m sure more playdough fun will be happening soon.

Homeschooling, we’re 1 step closer

We may be one step closer, but it feels more like a huge leap closer.

While we were in Montana a few weeks ago I talked to one of my friends that homeschools her girls and she got me really motivated. When we got home I started researching more of what I had read about in the past. I had heard of K12, in fact one of my friends from California homeschools her kids with K12. Even though I knew a good deal about it I hadn’t given it much thought. Well I went to their site and started to read about it and realized that with K12, you can sign up with a local school, virtual or private in most cases, and once I found this out I started checking out the local virtual school. Well as it happens that very night they were having an in-person meet and greet type of thing. We registered and rearranged our night so we could go. We wavered, well I wavered a bunch on going to this thing, but in the end I felt it was a good thing to do. Boy was I glad that we went. I learned a ton of very useful information and now I’m really excited about signing up for K12 with IDVA (Idaho virtual academy).

Since Lily’s birthday is in December she can’t start kindergarten until next school year, so this year we’re going to do the preschool program that K12 just adopted. Lily and I have been doing learning stuff forever when the opportunity presents itself, I guess you could call it unschooling; nothing too structured, just following Lil’s lead. But I want a more structured learning thing to start happening so that we are prepared for kindergarten.

I’m really excited and will continue updating here with more info as life goes on.

Sticky walls for Spring and Easter

I found the idea to use contact paper (sticky side out) on a table on Pinterest and Lily loved it. I have since tried it on the wall and Lily loves it even more.

I had thought at first to buy Lil some pattern blocks because I saw on some blog that her kids had fun with it, but keep putting off actually buying them. One day I decided to see if Lily would even like it and took some craft foam sheets that I had bought but didn’t really have a use for and cut it into different shapes. Lil went crazy for it.

Sticky wall

Since she like doing abstract shapes so much I thought I’d try using the craft foam to celebrate the seasons and holidays.

First up: Spring.

While Lil was downstairs playing with Waldo’s parents I started cutting foam sheets up into flowers and a sun and some clouds.  Lil walked in and saw the stack of foam sheets and went straight to the drawer where I keep my exacto knife (well covered so the sharp end isn’t a danger) grabbed it and the cutting board it came with and proclaimed I needed to make her more shapes.  First off I have to say that I didn’t know she even knew my knife was in the drawer of my craft dresser-thing and I’ve since moved it and secondly holy crap I guess she liked the sticky board even more than I though.

Spring sticky wall

I showed her what I had already made her and asked what else she needed. Lily decided that we needed some red and orange clouds, a tree (which I thought was an awesome idea and couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it), a bird (see ‘a tree’), a butterfly and a snowflake (from a pre-cut winter foam sheet set we had).

Spring sticky wall

The spring board was a huge hit and is still up on the wall.


Second sticky board: Easter bunnies.

We aren’t religious people and do a very secular version of Christmas and Easter. It’s all about family, fun, crafts and being together. That’s just so you know why there are never any crosses in my art with Lily. 🙂

We stopped at Michaels last weekend so I could grab some pastel paint for our eggs. Let me just point out here that I found it very hard to get pastel paint anywhere, do you have a secret place you get it from? Anyway we were looking around and I grabbed some foam sheets cut like eggs and I figured I’d do another sticky wall with them or a mobile or something. I also grabbed a spring colored collection of foam sheets. The more I thought of the foam eggs the clearer a craft idea became. Of course in the end it only barely resembled the grand plan in my brain, but it was fun none the less.

Thursday I gave Lily the foam eggs and some puffy paint since she loved it so much last time and she went to town.

Decorating foam eggs for the sticky wall

I showed her how to make lines, she was one happy girl after that.

Decorating foam eggs for the sticky wall

I know she looks really bored, but I checked and she's just concentrating.

Decorating foam eggs for the sticky wall

Decorating foam eggs for the sticky wall

The green is just craft glue that I added some green dye to for fun.

Decorating foam eggs for the sticky wall

I wasn’t sure how long the huge globs of puffy paint was going to take to dry so I planned to do the rest of the sticky wall on Saturday instead of Friday.  I’m really glad I did, the largest globs weren’t dry till Saturday morning.

After I put Lily to bed Friday night I started getting everything ready for Saturday morning.  I put a new piece of contact paper up on a free space of wall (I’m running out of free wall space in the family room very quickly) and figured out how to make a very simple basket. I normally would let Lily put everything up on the sticky wall, but I wanted a few things “just so” on this particular wall so I did a few of the items.

Bunny sticky wall

I put a little easter grass in the basket and set to work on making my bunnies.  I honestly had no idea how I was going to make them when I started looking around the family room for inspiration.  I initially thought they’d be pretty small, but ended up using one of the foam eggs as a template for the belly portion so they are bigger than the eggs and that worked out just fine, thankfully.  After cutting two body portions out of craft foam I grabbed one of Lil’s tiny tea cups and used it to trace a circle for the head. I free-handed the ears and then decided that they needed some additional dimension and added a little almost round piece to the belly, a muzzle on the face and inner ear colors. I loved my little bunnies. I took them in and showed Waldo, who tried really hard to not roll his eyes too much.  I then decided they needed arms and legs and this was almost the end of my cute bunnies.  The arms and legs got very cartoonish and long and at first I hated it, but Lil ended up using only the arms and it worked out great. I know that I’m the only one that the arms and legs being weird would bother, but I worked hard on my little buddies bunnies and wanted perfection.

Bunnys for the sticky wall

I put the bunny parts together and just placed the eyes on the tray so Lil would be able to see what they were, but would be able to customize.  I shouldn’t have been surprised that she put them all together just about exactly how I had them laid out. I mean Mr. Potato Head has only one suitable configuration, oh well.  I stayed up very late to get my bunnies all finished and make sure everything was ready for when Lil woke up in the morning.  I find it funny that most Mom’s would stay up late on Saturday night to make it look like the Easter bunny had been busy with baskets and eggs for Easter. I stay up late Friday night so that Lil can do a fun easter craft instead.

Saturday morning bright and early Lil woke up and we started our day.  She didn’t disappoint me with her reaction to my bunny craft.  We spent a little time gluing the eyes on and then she got to work.

Bunny sticky wall

Bunny sticky wall

I love that she used poof balls for feet, unfortunately poof balls don't stick to contact paper very well.

The bunnies got moved around a bit before Lil was totally satisfied, but once she was it was all perfect.

Bunny sticky wall

Bunny sticky wall

I love making sticky walls for Lily with craft foam shapes and other items we find around the house and craft closet.  She has a lot of fun with it and learns along the way too.  Most of the time the foam sheets are repositionable, but sometimes they get totally stuck and you can’t move it without ripping.  Such is life I guess and we all move on.  I have a sticky wall idea that’s forming involving fish, I can’t wait to see how it works out.

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Calling Dr. Lily Bean

A few weeks ago I found a pin on Pinterest about playing veterinarian during pretend play and since we had just been to the Vet twice in the last few months I thought Lil would enjoy it.

I wrote out a checklist and put it through my laminator (I love a good excuse to use that little thing) and made a stethoscope out of pipe cleaner and walked Lil through the whole thing. She enjoyed it, but I didn’t think she really cared about anything but writing on the checklist. The next time we were out thrifting I found a little doctor set that included a stethoscope and grabbed it up. Today Lil begged me to play Vet. I was so happy. I grabbed the checklist (so glad I saved it) and the doctor stuff from the toy shelf. Lil grabbed Clifford and we went to work on him.

Calling Dr. Lily Bean

Calling Dr. Lily Bean

Calling Dr. Lily Bean

Calling Dr. Lily Bean

We went through all of the items on the list I made and then Lil came up with a whole list of her own.  Most of her items involved Clifford stinking.

Calling Dr. Lily Bean

Then it came time to make him better, so I kept asking Lil what she suggested.  For his bad fur she brought him plates of new food.

Calling Dr. Lily Bean

She used the reflex tester for a eye dropper to fix his stinky eyes.

Calling Dr. Lily Bean

His tail got stuck in a bucket, because you know it was stinky too.

Calling Dr. Lily Bean

His ears stunk so Daddy gave her the funnel and bowl to pour medicine in.

Calling Dr. Lily Bean

The blanket covering him is to make his back better and the funnel/bowl medicine didn’t work for the stinky ears so now she’s trying the toy tweezers.

Dr. Lily Bean's patient

In the end Clifford is going to be healthy soon and he was a very good patient according to Dr. Lily Bean.

I’m playing along with Nanette from Say it, don’t spray it and her Pinteractive linkup.


Sticky Table Play

I saw an idea on Pinterest that I thought Lil would really like.  I’ve seen a few different variation of this same idea, I like Allison’s best.

It really couldn’t be more simple.  With some blue painter’s tape I taped some clear contact paper to Lily’s little bench with the sticky side up.  I have her a bunch of different things to stick to it and she went crazy.  We talked about how it was sticky, well I talk to her, she ignored me and stuck things to the contact paper.

Sticky table

Sticky table

She really liked it and I think it’s going to become a part of our play routine.

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