Thursday, January 31, 2013

Adorable Aliens

     I never loved science as a child. I don't blame my mother, I'm not sure why I never had a fondness for it. However, Josie loves science, and I try to foster that. I think science in the younger grades is about exploring and having fun. I try to do occasional unit studies to give my kids a better understanding of certain subjects. For the past three weeks we have been studying the solar system. Since our books are due back to the library tomorrow, I decided to end our unit with something fun: aliens!

No, I don't believe in aliens, and really they have precious little to do with science. But I came across these adorable "Alien Adoption Certificates", and I couldn't resist!

First, we "studied" aliens. I had never heard of  "Aliens Love Underpants"-but it was such a cute book! The kids laughed over all the aliens antics with various undergarments. Josie has been studying symmetry in math, so we discussed how all the aliens in the book are symmetrical. Even Carson really understood how  if "you cut an alien in half down the middle you have two of the same pieces!".  

We then cut out our own symmetrical aliens! The kids folded construction paper in half horizontally and traced half an alien design (I helped Carson with the cutting and tracing). Then they colored them and filled out their certificates. Carson named his "Buttercup Stripes" and said that Buttercup looked sad because he missed his mommy and daddy.

Josie named her's "Beauty" and said Beauty looked like a tooth! Josie traced and cut her own-even cutting out a mouth. She said Beauty's mouth is "open in surprise because she is being adopted." We have been working on paragraphs, so this was good practice for that, too.

Carson was insistent on adding underpants to his alien. He also told me to put that Buttercup "only has stripes in the middle".

Josie was thrilled that I could make underpants to fit her alien (it was trickier than you might think!). She did all her own writing.

They even made me make an alien! I named mine Hoopdy Hoop.;) Josie said I needed a picture with my alien, even though I didn't make a certificate.

I love when I can find projects that work for both of them, and are fun, too. This project had math, reading, writing and grammar-but not really any science. I'm okay with that though, if aliens did exist, it would be in outer space! If you want to check out some of my other inspiration for the real science part of our unit, check out my Solar System Pinterest board.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Book Basket

My kids love going to the library. I, on the other hand, don't. It isn't that I don't love books, but the library that is closest to us is teeny tiny and my kids are often more interested in playing on the computers than actually reading. I also realized the other day that we have quite a few quality children's books that are sitting on the shelves *in our house* that my kids have never read.

So, while cleaning out their bookshelf, I decided that I would "promote" our own books. I found an abandoned basket and filled it with what I decided would be the theme for February: of course, love!
I didn't necessarily just chose "Valentine's" books- "The Kissing Hand", "Guess How Much I Love You", and some of the others are simply about love between parents and children. We have read some of these books and some we haven't, but my hope is that we will have found a few new favorites in there by the end of February.

My plan is to change the selection at least monthly, and it won't always be holiday related (I don't have ANY St. Patrick's books!) but I am pretty sure that I can find enough variety to follow a theme each time. I think even if I only find 5 or 6 books that are on the same topic that will be enough.

I put the basket in the living room, too. Since we don't normally keep leisure books in there, I think that will help pique their interest. I figure we can pull out one or two every day, and enjoy our very own wonderful books!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ready (or Not)

 So, I wanted to post these photos of my cute little New Year's decorations on New Year's Day. And the day after. And for several weeks after. But I use Internet Explorer, and for reasons completely outside the realm of my non-existent understanding of technology, I could not upload photos to my blog. I googled, one of the few things I can do on a computer, and found some suggestions that I upload Mozilla Firefox. I did that, and things seem to be back to normal. But please understand-that was the equivalent of a kindergarten running a marathon. It taxed every little corner of my brain.

    That has kind of been my year so far. I know we are only a few weeks in, but it just seems that 2013 is bent on finding my limits. Nothing drastic has happened, but it just feels like I am trudging through mud-it doesn't seem that hard at first but the further you keep going, the weight gets heavier and you get dirtier. I have accomplished precious little it seems-beyond needing a bath!

   I'm sure it didn't help that I spent last weekend sicker than I have been in a long time. Thankfully, I am on the mend now, but I am playing catch up like you wouldn't believe. My house is longing for some TLC and that is where I am headed as soon as I am done here. But one of my New Year's goals (I don't make resolutions-those seem to be asking to be broken to me, but I suppose it is all just semantics!) was to blog more frequently. Inspiration hasn't struck, so you are left with broken dried-out crumbs of ideas. Just pretend it is the 2nd, and then this will all seem really fun and new, okay?

I found these absolutely adorable printables here. I know, you won't  be able to use all of them this year, but the blogger has posted New Year's printables for the last couple of years, so check her site next year and I bet there will be cute new stuff!

    I am loving the frame over my table. I switched out the Christmas printable for this one, and it made it feel so fresh. I take down my Christmas decor within a day or two after Christmas day, so everything seemed a little bare. I love that, but we were having friends over for New Year's Eve, and it needed a little "something".

I whipped up this little arrangement with wooden kitchen skewers, hot glue, scrapbook paper and my trusty circle punch. It took approximately 10 minutes. The flags are also from the "Less than Perfect..." printable set. I used some of the paper from my New Year's wreath, and the cute striped and dotted yellow ones are from a paper pack from Hobby Lobby.

I love to re-use, so you may recognize that yellow bucket from the "Super Hero" baby shower. I have floral foam that I bought at the Dollar Store FIVE years ago that I use all the time. Definitely a good investment! I shoved it all in and covered it with Mylar strips (also from the DS).
 I put up the banner (printable again! Seeing a theme?) and that pretty much completed my endeavors. It took me about an hour to print and cut everything, but I was so happy with how festive it was without being overwhelming. And the banner can be used again!

My mom has long promoted the tradition of a pinata for NYE. Since we were also having some smaller guests, I thought that would be fun. There were no seasonally appropriate ones at Wally, so we agreed on this monkey, and Josie added a sign so he would be more in step with the occasion.

The kids had a blast beating the stuffing out of him-literally. It was a nice low-key night. I was hoping it would be a forecast of things to come. I am finding out not so much. I am hoping to get my feet back under me soon, I am tired of feeling completely unprepared. I know the stress of worry over the current state of our nation isn't helping. I know I wasn't quite ready for the beginning of this year, but I am not going to give up. So I am thankful that January is a whole month for starting over, not just one day!


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