Thursday, March 26, 2009

Laughing Out Loud

Ok... I was laughing at myself last night. I was turning the lights out and I thought I saw this huge spider on the floor. So I started beating it with Dave's shoe. After beating it senseless, I saw that it was just a fly from our game earlier today. Ha!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Girls Day Out

Being a SAHM it is a treat to get out for some girl time! Last week was Sarah's birthday and her best friend, Christie, came from California for the celebrations. They invited me to join them for a girls day to lunch and loads of shopping!

Let's just say they whooped me! I haven't done mall walking like that since before Ethan was born! It was so much fun to window shop and help Sarah spend some birthday money on clothes! I found my new favorite store! Was so inspired by it that I have already created a top on my own! (I love Becca for letting me borrow her sewing machine!)

Here we are (minus Becca taking the picture of course) at the Woodburn Outlets. We went there after lunch, Bridgeport Mall, and then afterwards went to Becca's for a movie and yummy birthday cake! I got home at 11:30pm! All I have to say is that I need to do it more often! It was loads of fun! Thanks girls!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Photos of the Week

Here are some of our photos of this week's art projects. To see details of the projects go here.

Ethan stamping away!

Painting his little piggies... not his toes, the paper. ;)

We Love You Mom and Dad!

The day before yesterday was Mom and Dad's 36th anniversary! I had been planning something special for their day since October. When I was working on the family project for Thanksgiving and collecting photos for their book, they had mentioned that the wedding photo they let me borrow was the only one they had.

I took several boxes home of photos that Dave's grandma had in her home before she had passed away. Jack and Sharon had kept them in a closet and haven't been through them. When I opened one of them, the entire box was filled with negatives. All of the negatives were labeled from before she passed away to as far back as the early 1900's!

The best part was finding all the negatives to Mom and Dad's wedding! So I used Scan Cafe and had all the negatives scanned, restored, and put on a DVD for Mom and Dad!

These are my favorite two pictures of the wedding. You can just see the love in their eyes! I cropped these and made them black and white. I am so glad that I got a copy of the DVD too because now I have these pictures and can use them for any project, not worrying that I will hurt the original!
Mom and Dad of course... cried. Well, Mom cried and Dad kept on repeating, "You did good girl." It was so nice to bless them with pictures that they hadn't seen in 30 years!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tag - I guess I'm It!

OK... you know how much I dislike "tagging" games but Becca is having me play and no one likes a spoiled sport. ;)

Here are the rules of the game:

1. Take a quick photo of yourself and then post it on your blog.
2. List three unusual things about yourself we probably don't know.
3. Then you also tag three to five of your blogger buds to play along.
4. Don't forget to include links to your friend's blogs so we all can blog hop too!

So, here's my photo. Actually it is a sketch of what I probably look like today. Actually, the sketch is a lot better. Have you ever tried and made your hair beautifully messy... yeah, um... bed head doesn't count. On a side note... remember when Becca had that beautiful long hair with a perm, while she worked at Heritage Heart? I was so jealous cause she would get up in the morning and her hair looked amazing. Yeah, that's what I don't look like today!

1. Something that I wish everyone knew about me is that I am not a picky eater. In fact, I only won't eat three things: Lima beans, peas, and gooseberries. I wish my husband would remember that and not make peas for dinner. ;)

2. I didn't pass Tadpole swimming class 4 years in a row. I was the only teenager in the class with preschoolers. Humiliating...

3. I haven't picked up my sketch book in 12 years. Becca encouraged me to practice drawing my girls like I use to in high school. She was trying to get me to practice painting faces again for my dolls. Dave likes to read before he goes to bed. In fact, he can't fall asleep without reading for about fifteen minutes. Me? No... I lay my head on the pillow and I am out. Unless there is a light on in the room... so, no sleep for Jen until Dave is done reading. So, this week I picked up my sketch book and started drawing while Dave reads. It is actually very relaxing.

Those that are tagged are:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I can't wait until warmer weather! We had two days of sunshine and during Ethan's nap I was able to get a little yard work done. I transplanted a lot that needed to be moved and separated. Here is our patio.

I moved all the climbing roses to the arbor. It was Mom's idea and when she told me I thought, "Why didn't I ever think about that?" Then they can all grow up and over the arbor. The best part is that we could have a beautiful view from our french back doors.

Since the rose bushes were moved I moved the wishing well that Dad made me. I can't wait to continue filling the flower bed around it. I planted some day lilies and transplanted several irises around it. I would also like to get a few more lavender plants to fill in around and behind it.

The front yard just got cleaned up and I added my stepping stones. I moved them from the roses to here! They look like they were meant to be. Wait until I post pictures in May! This whole garden will be filled in and beautiful. I can't wait!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Be Inspired...

I have been wanting a bit of a blog change for a while now... quite a bit of change. Can you tell? I have had friends and home school parents ask for help or ideas for their kids. I have been giving them our family blog address.

I realized that I would like to do a lot more with the teaching and art inspiration that I come up with, but I want to keep Ethan safe. I have been wanting to post quite a bit more about my art projects but realized that our family kind of gets lost in the blog. I want to focus our family's blog on the happenings of our life and keep my creative mind channeled! ;)

Teach Often is going to be a site dedicated to ideas to help you and your kids have fun (in school or at home)! Create Often will keep my art pieces and ideas managed! Hopefully all this means is that Dave can look on his family's blog and find pictures of his family and the rest of you will still be inspired!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pigs in the Mud

I got so excited yesterday when I went into the attic and pulled out my "spring" and "farm" boxes! It was like Christmas all over again. I haven't looked in the boxes for a year and I had forgot what was inside!

One of my favorite centers is "Pigs in the Mud." I found these little piggies at the dollar store years ago. I make "mud" from my favorite play dough recipe that I got at a conference about eight years ago. I love to use my liquid watercolors to color my play dough because the colors can be so vibrant and beautiful. But you can use food coloring and it will do the trick just fine! (Look below for the recipe).

I loved watching Ethan play... he kept on pushing the pigs in the mud yelling, "Oh no! Ahhh!"
This recipe was given freely without copy right. The teacher believed that all should gain from her work... there are so many good ones!
Sauce Pan Play Dough
This play dough is quick and easy to make. It is smooth and requires no kneading. It makes a small quantity and may be doubled or tripled but it can be hard to stir.
1 Tbs. oil (I use baby oil)
1 cup water
1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 tsp. alum
a few drops of food coloring
Process: Mix dry ingredients in a sauce pan. Add food coloring, water, oil, and vanilla. Mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes (really!). As it is cooking the mixture will change from a milky color to a translucent color. Remove from heat. Let it cool for a minute. Roll to form a ball and release the heat. Store in a sealed container.

Drawing "I"s

I couldn't help but take picture of our craft, yesterday! Ethan made it so fun. I traced his hand onto orange paper.

I think this was his first time to have his hand traced and cut out in this way. When I finished cutting out each hand, Ethan used a glue stick to glue them onto his bird's body as wings.

I then gave him his crayon and told him to make "eyes" on his bird. He thought I meant "i"s and so that's what he did.

We hung it from the ceiling next to his collection of art. We are getting quite the gallery.

We moved our bags off the window onto the cupboard. I don't know how many times the bags fell off because of the cold weather. They haven't come off once in their new home and are growing nicely.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

"Here Mama..."

If you think it's been quiet over at the Evans' - you're right! We have all been sick. I caught that nasty stomach flu. Tammy and Jess had it several weeks ago... maybe it takes several weeks to make make it out here in the canyon. ;)

Actually, that's the first smile I could mustard up in the last three days. Dave asked me yesterday if I was mad at him. When I asked him why he thought so he said, "Normally when I come home you talk my ear off." Ha! Wow! Learned a lesson last night for sure!

Ethan has been feeling a bit better today. I am a little slow but feeling better to get some cleaning around the house. I just let the house go - I couldn't even get off the sofa! Ethan was a great helper. He would get me a blanket and say, "Here, Mama..." while patting it on me. What a sweetheart...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Just a Touch of Spring Fever...

Ok... now that March is here I have a touch a spring fever! It is so funny how at the end of the month I always look ahead to the next month's activities almost in anticipation of what is to come - no matter what month it is! March is one of my favorites in the curriculum I am following (my 2003-2004) because when I created this lesson plan I was in a classroom that had beautiful windows facing a courtyard, which was a bit neglected. The birds didn't seem to mind that it was neglected and made their home there anyway. This lesson plan, for this particular school year, we planted something everyday for the first week and a half! We hung beautiful art birds from the ceiling; hung plants from recycled materials in the windows; and did my favorite growing project and hung them on the bulletin boards. It was so green in our room.

I want to re-create that here at home and today was the first day to start! I have had a few friends ask what is our schedule here at home when do our curriculum. The activities start with our Writing Time. Each day of the week we work on a different skill. Tuesdays (our Mondays - since Dave has Mondays off) we do Phonics or Letter Sounds.

Anything that doesn't require writing we use crayons because "crayons are for coloring and pencils are for writing." A good thing to say when Ethan starts scribbling with his pencil.

Our next activity is PE or Jamboree Time, whatever you want to call your time to work on gross motors. Ethan likes to call it "E-ser-size time!" Today we did a bit of aerobics - or should I say I did it while Ethan watched. It was new and so it is going to take a few times before he starts to participate.
Then, we did our craft early today, since we are making a trip into town this afternoon. We are going to be learning about God's creation all month. So, today I cut out magazine pictures of grass and the sky.

When we glue, I give Ethan a disposable cup and a Q-Tip. It is great for their small motor skills to grasp the Q-Tip and place the glue on the paper! If you give any toddler or preschooler a bottle of glue it is more of a sensory experience than working on their small motor skills. They think it the coolest thing to watch the glue come pouring out of the bottle when they squeeze it!

He is a little young to know where to put the glue on the magazine cutouts. So, I have him put the glue on the paper first, then add his pictures. When he grasps that concept, we will move on to gluing on the back of the pictures.

I think his art turned out great! It is hanging on the fridge with a caption typed from the computer underneath that says, "God made the sky and grass."
My favorite bulletin board project was this next activity that we did today. All you need for this project is a Ziploc bag, bean seeds, dirt, water, and tape.
Ethan took his dirt and placed it into his Ziploc bag. He then added several seeds. You want to make sure you put a few inside just in case some don't grow. It also would be a good idea to do a few of these. I have learned in the past (chemistry class in high school!) that trial by error happens a lot - and more so with me, for some reason... So, make a few extra just in case one doesn't work you have a few that will.
Hang your bag in a window. My classroom had so much light that I was able to hang these right on the bulletin board! We also hung a measuring tape to help teach height/length and how to read a measuring tape. I loved coming in the mornings and finding that the beans had grown one to two inches over night! We had sprouts touching the ceiling!
Ethan and I hung ours high enough so that he couldn't pull it down but low enough to be able to see the seedlings grow. We are going to add our measuring tape soon.

We added our caption and Ethan was able to read it! So amazing!

I also started something new in the last week. We now have Reading Time. I felt like I needed to help Ethan grow in this area since he is trying to read everything right now. I got our "Bob Books" down and we started with the first one.

Last week, Ethan was a little concerned when the character "Mat sat on Sam" in the first book. So when I brought out the first book again today Ethan cried and said "No!" So, I got the second book in series one and he read it all by himself! Amazing!
I am looking forward to sharing all that we are doing for this month! Maybe it will inspire you or maybe you will just get a touch of spring fever. Either way, have fun!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Peace at Last...

This post won't be long because even though it is only 8pm... we are heading to bed! The last three days Ethan has had an asthmatic cough. His home treatments weren't working so I called the advice nurse yesterday and she told us to go into the ER.

Let me tell you... the emergency room is not for two year olds. By the time we got there, checked in, saw the nurse, and went to sit in the waiting room it was Ethan's bedtime. When we were finally given a room (I think it was three hours later) it took another hour to give Ethan a breathing treatment (almost the same thing that we had at home), have the doctor come in, then out, and to tell us that they want to test him again. They already told us that Ethan was in no danger because his lungs were good, he had no fever, and there was no wheezing. So, why were they keeping a two year old past midnight when there was a kid in the waiting room that needed stitches for the back of his head?! We begged them to just let us go home and told them that we would call our doctor in the morning. They weren't happy with us but they finally discharged us. The doctor gave us two prescriptions (one Tylenol) that we would of had to wait in line for another several hours at Walgreen's. We got in the car and five minutes later Ethan was asleep... poor guy...

Today we saw our doctor and they gave Ethan a medication in the office that would last 48 hours. Within four hours the coughing stopped. Oh, and our doctor frowned when he saw the prescriptions they gave us and said, "Yeah, I wouldn't fill those at all."