Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Yes, it really is magical!!

It removed some all too carefully done marker or crayon (not sure which) that a certain 2 year old boy had applied to our masonry on our hearth. He even managed to stay in the lines of the cement.

Of course, since cement and the Mr. Clean are not meant to be used together, we did go through 2 sponges. Since then I have taken stock in 2 more boxes.

I am sure that this is not the end of the artist formerly known as Houdini.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Dinosaur Unit Study

Knowing that many of you reading this are homeschooling as well, I thought it might be fun to share our self-made unit studies from time to time. That way, we can share a whole week's worth or two sometimes of lesson plans.

I opted to do a dinosaur unit with Katie for the last week and a half. I planned for just a week, but since she was so interested, we continued a little longer.

Here are some of the titles I used for good coloring pages, ideas, and sorting/ matching cards:

Learn About Dinosaurs Coloring Book published by Frank Schaffer.
Dinosaurs from the Primary Theme Series by Creative Teaching Press.
The Mailbox January book for grades 1-3 by The Education Center.
- this book also has ideas and pages for Martin Luther King Day, whales, polar animals, and penguins. We will next be doing a unit on Arctic animals, so it will come in handy again.

Books to read-aloud:
Fossils Tell of Long Ago by Aliki
Digging Up Dinosaurs by Aliki
What Happened to the Dinosaurs? by Franklyn Branley
Did Dinosaurs Have Feathers? by Kathleen Zoehfeld
Dinosaur Bones by Aliki
Dinosaur Hunters by Kate McMullan
Dinosaur Babies by Kathleen Zoehfeld
Dinosaurs Big and Small by Kathleen Zoehfeld
Where to Look for a Dinosaur by Bernard Most
It Could Still Be a Dinosaur by Allan Fowler
Dinosaur Time by Peggy Parish
My Visit to the Dinosaurs by Aliki
The Day of the Dinosaur by Stan & Jan Berenstain
Dinosaurs Beware by Marc Brown
Dinosaur and other Prehistoric Animal Fact Finder by Michael Benton

Craft Ideas:

We sculpted dinosaurs from Crayola Model Magic. And also made fossils with seashells and other objects in flattened model magic.
We planned to do dinosaur dioramas, but Nick broke the shoeboxes, so maybe we will make Arctic habitats once I can get my hands on some boxes.
We made dinosaur tracks by taking dinosaur toys and putting their feet in paint and then stamping on paper.

Other ideas:

We played matching games with dinosaur cards that I reproduced and then colored.
We also sorted these cards into dinosaur categories: plant eater/ meat eater. Small/ big.
We had a map where we marked where various dinosaur bones were found.

We played lots with dinosaurs that we had in the house. Katie liked grouping them by type and giving the bigger mommy dinosaurs matching baby dinosaurs.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Thy Will Be Done

I've had a lot of time on my hands to do some thinking and praying recently. With Nicholas' end to nursing, I have spent my nights, rocking him quietly in his room until he is relaxed, and what a perfect time to be thankful for my many blessings.

With all the sickness that has been passing through this house the past month, I found myself praying each night that nothing else would happen. That my children and family would become well. That everything would all turn out okay. But I also found myself thankful that we were having nothing more than ear infections and stomach viruses.

I have pondered the words of the Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done", over and over, and truly wonder how many times I have said them and not really meant it. For me, control is a big issue. I have this need to control all parts of my life. How hard it is to give that control up to God. Yet, I know that in order to find that inner peace and ultimately relax more, I need to leave what happens up to God. He won't test me beyond what I am capable of handling. I know this.

So for now, I am continuing my nighttime reflections. And especially focusing on those 4 difficult but special words. For me, this is a challenge, but a worthwhile one.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The First Big Snow


After several wintery months, we have had our first major snowfall of the season. While Katie greeted the snow with great JOY, Nick was less than thrilled with the white powdery stuff on the ground and flying in his face.

We did manage to get a few sled rides with him, as well as interest him in a little shoveling before he wanted nothing more to do with the hat on his head and declared he was ready to go in. So lucky mommy, got to take him inside where he immediately stripped down to his long underwear and happily watched THE WIGGLES!

Daddy and Mommy got to have some fun sledding down our nicely sloped driveway as well. Even Hodge got a turn, a little unwillingly. The true meaning of the phrase dog sled!!!

Later while Nick took his nap, Katie had lots of fun playing in the backyard with the neighbors and making snowmen, snow angels, snow balls, and more sledding.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

More Illness!!

It seems like we will never be well again. After suffering through the stomach bug the first week of the New Year, we have now branched out into the land of ear infections and viruses.

Katie started a fever and runny nose on Friday. Nick had a follow-up on his ears on Monday. The doctor checked them both and said so far no ear infections but both kids had fluid in their ears. If they continued to run a fever over 100, bring them back on Wednesday.

Guess What??

Fevers continued between 100 and 104. So today we marched back to the doctor's office. Katie has an ear infection in one ear. Nick again gets a double whammy. And to add to the feeling of hopelessness that he will never get better, he is scheduled to see an ENT on Friday to see if he needs tubes put in. After all, it has been about 5 months of ear infections.

So now it looks like he may be having a double surgery in February. The good news being that they will only have to put him under the one time, and they should be able to do both surgeries at one time.

Poor Nicko!!

So we continue on here, with both kids on antibiotics, and both parents trying to fight off the same virus that knocked out the kids.

Hopefully better news will be coming soon.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Finally!! An Update

We have been busy around here. Not just busy, but BUSY!!!

First we had the pre-holiday mad dash to get presents finished. I stayed up late several nights, finishing some homemade gifts that I will BLOG later with pictures. And of course, there were all those yummy Christmas cookies to be baked - and eaten. Presents to order and presents to mail and presents to wrap...

After Christmas, my parents stayed until Thursday, which the kids very much enjoyed. Nick still asks for Grandpa and Grandma several times a day, and can't figure out why they left the dog with us. He thinks Grandpa forgot his dog.

Then the following night we went out for pizza at the mall, and some light shopping. After putting the kiddos to bed, we were alerted to Nicholas crying around 10:30. Not an unusual occurence since he hasn't ever slept all night yet. I found Mike in the bathroom with Nick and lots and lots of throw up everywhere. Needless to say, he was hit by the stomach virus and hit hard. He continued for 3 days unable to keep much of anything in his system. 4 pounds lighter and very weak and lethargic, I finally called the doctor's office New Years Eve and got some advice as well as the welcome news that their Urgent care clinic was open until 8 that night. Turns out we never needed to go. He slowly came back around and now is making up for lost time by eating everything he can get his hands on. He had some goldfish, a bowl of cereal, and 6 oz. of yogurt this morning before 7:30. We have finally branched out of just starchy foods and have put everything back in his diet again.

This also means that since he wasn't keeping anything down for 3 days, we quickly ended his nursing. He had a hard time while sick, but I couldn't give in or he would be sick again. So FINALLY, after 26 months, he is done. I was always willing to nurse him until he was 2. Extended nursing is highly recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors, and any people knowledgeable about the subject. Unfortunately it is also highly frowned upon by the general public. I always felt weird when people found that I still nursed him, but it was his way of settling and going to sleep. It was a comfort thing. And while I still take the same time every night to cuddle him and rock him until he is almost asleep, I can't say that I don't miss it in some ways.

Moving on... Now Katie is sick with some version of a cough, cold, and fever.

I think I am going to take out stock in tissues, tylenol, cold medicine, clorox wipes, purel, and soap.

While I try to contain the latest illness for the New Year, here is hoping the rest of you have managed to start 2007 healthy.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christmas Celebration

Katie with one of her many, many presents.

Nick with one of his GeoTrax, that he loved.

Nick on Katie's scooter from Santa.

Pre-Christmas pics

Katie in her pre-Christmas spirit.

Nick waiting for Christmas.