Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween and A Trip Down Memory Lane

Halloween 2009
Here is Lia in our Tigger Costume. She wouldn't put the hood on. She told me quite defiantly, "No!". I am hearing quite a bit of this from her these days. But she did pose and smile. And, she is awfully cute!

Halloween 2003
New baby Emily. What a smiley face she was. We would always say, "Emily smiles with her whole face!"
Halloween 2004
Our neighbor Caroline, in Austin gave us this ballerina costume. We spent Halloween in Dallas to celebrate a baby shower for my cousin Nichole.

We didn't do much Halloween 2005 because David had just been born... Emily was 2... and didn't want to wear her costume.

Halloween 2006 Emily is 3 and David just turned 1. Yes, the Tigger costume is the same one. Our poor 3rd child has to rummage through the costume bin... but at least she has choices!

Halloween 2007 Emily is 4 and in my old Flapper costume. David is 2, but won't tolerate his Giraffe costume for longer than a few minutes. I remember him telling me, quite defiantly (of course), "Off"!

Halloween 2008
Look at all those teeth coming in! I remember that pumpkin was as big as she was!

And 2008, was Lia's first Halloween. I think Emily put together a princess costume from her dress up clothes but I didn't get a picture of that. David was 3 and I remember he expressed no interest in dressing up - which was fine by me. I am quite sure I was feeling overwhelmed that year! Lia got to wear Emma's flower costume... so cute!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Our M&M Pumpkin Cake

I saw this recipie at the YMCA in a Family magazine and thought my kid's might enjoy this project. A little ambitious....? Probably. The process took 2 sessions. We prepared and baked the cake on Monday. It is really fun that it uses a can of pumpkin puree! Emily proved to be my little master baker because she held the hand mixer to beat the butter and sugar... and the whole dry/wet/dry ingredient routine. As you can imagine, she LOVED this... and yes, like all our activities it made quite a mess! My kitchen smelled divine as this cake was baking.

We were too busy on Tuesday to work on the cake due to Emily's choir party... but last night we decorated our cake! I think it came out really cute. Emily insisted on the green for the middle of the eyes... "He looks kind of spooky that way!"
And here are my little helpers... A lot of M&Ms were consumed during the decorating phase.
We'll start eating our cake tonight!

Monday, October 26, 2009

All Saints Parade at the Farm

The kids were so excited to go out to the farm for the All Saints party and parade. Our "pot luck" dinner contribution was Red Beans and Rice.... the yummy recipie from the Gumbo Shop my Mom gave me a while back. We will secure the crock pot a little better next time... we had a leak when the crock pot tipped over... but not a castastrophic spill... just some juices off the top. We're working on the odor issue. But luckily all the good stuff stayed in the pot since it was secured with a good rubber band. Ahh.. memories. Anyway , we made it to the farm just in time for the parade. You can see the finished harp and shield in the pics below. We added a lot of glitter. Note to self... glitter and small children makes a BIG mess... but it really did make their costumes look special. Emily had a great idea to add some of the flowers from her lei to her harp. It came out awesome!
David LOVED his costume. It was fun to see him sword fighting with some of the other "warrior" saints. He also informed anyone who would listen that his dragon was "dead."

And Emily was very excited about her beautiful harp. She is so big now. She found friends her age right away, lined up for the parade, played all the games, served herself at dinner, had good conversation with her friends and rode the hay ride all on her own.

All lined up for the parade.

Lookin' a little nervous... I think David is standing next to St. Francis (see the bird on his shoulder) Love the beard!

Our family hosted a Matching Saint Card game... like Memory. My Saint cards came out beautiful and I laminated them and everything. Unfortunately, the breeze blew the cards when we tried to play. Luckily, the wind died down later in the evening and we were able to play it with all the kids. Each family hosted a game (based on the Saints) and it was really fun.
And on our way out... the road was completely blocked by about 8 cows... My pictures from inside the car didn't come out too well... but you get the idea. It was kind of funny.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

David and Emily's All Saints Day Costumes

The kids picked out Saints to learn about and dress up as for an All Saints Day Party tomorrow. We are very excited about this party because it is at a homeschooling family's beautiful farm where we went last spring to pick blackberries and make pie. There will be a Parade of Saints, each family will host a game based on the Saints, and there will be lots of treats and goodies for the kids. Our inspiration for David's costume came from the picture below of St. George slaying the dragon.

His costume really came together... much better than I expected! I got a $2.50 black T-shirt and a $.29 piece of red felt at Michael's. I cut out 2 red crosses and stiched one to the t-shirt and glued the other to his cardboard shield. Peg graciously let us borrow the red pillowcase for a cape... and you can't quite see it but I had a small red cross pin to secure it around his neck. He's carrying Chris's old Zorro costume sword... and the slayed 'dragon' is tied around his waist with a red sash (from an old pirate costume). David LOVES his costume... which is really fun because he has really had no interest in dressing up for Halloweens in the past. It also helped that we had been reading Saint George and the Dragon from The Children's Book of Virtues so he was familiar with the story. Don't look too close though... the dragon is really a dinosaur puppet but you get the idea. ;-)

Emily chose Saint Cecelia from the same book, An Alphabet of Saints. Saint Cecelia is the patron Saint of Music and loved to sing to God... just like our Emily.

Her costume came along really nicely as well. We made the harp out of cardboard and yarn. Tonight, we are going to add a lot of glitter to it so it is "more beautiful.". I used rubber bands and brads for the strings, but the rubber bands warped the cardboard so I tried again with yarn which worked much better. I found the pink flowers for her hair at HEB in the party section... a flower lei for $1.50 (score)... and she already had the pink dress and pink ballet slippers.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Big Wheel!

Here is our big 4 year old on his new big wheel! I think he is very excited about it! We had a great time visiting with his Grandparents and Godparents at Northshore Park. Everybody had a fun time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

David is 4 Years Old!

Happy Birthday David!!!

David turned four yesterday, October 14th. He wanted a brownie cake to decorate like we did for Emily. So we spent the afternoon doing just that. And licking the spoon is the exclusive priviliege of the birthday boy. We will have another celebration on Sunday with his Grandparents and his God parents... and maybe even some presents!

Monday, October 12, 2009

More Drawing Lessons

More from Drawing with Children:

The Lion from lesson 2 - 1st attempt.

The Lion from Lesson 2, second attempt. The book shows you how to draw the basic lion shape in simple steps. The coloring and creativity is all Emily's. I think it is impressive that she is drawing with markers and can't erase.

And the bird from Lesson 1... this was the second attempt as well.
Note to Nana - all drawings went in the mail to you. You should have them in a few days. Our little artist is very proud of her work.

Pics of Lia...

The change in the weather got me digging through our bags of clothes. I found these hand-me-down jammies from Emma. Lia couldn't look any cuter in them! Thanks Peg for sending them our way.

And she looked awfully cute tonight, mopping my floors!

A little Nature Time

We are all feeling better... Thank goodness. Last week we ventured out to the pond for some nature time and tried not to breathe on any of our neighbors. David and Lia really liked this pink dragonfly.

I like this library book we got called, Grandfather and I. It talks about how everybody hurries but not this little boy's Grandfather...

But Grandfather and I

never hurry

We walk along

and walk along

and stop...

and look...

just as long as we like.

. Here is the beautiful white bird that hangs out at our pond.
And the always hungry, very agressive ducks that David likes to terrorize.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Drawing Lessons

This post is primarily for my Mom because I thought she'd be interested in the "formal" art lessons I started giving Emily today. We began my discussing the 5 elements of shape... the dot, the circle, the line, the curved line and the angle. The purpose of the book is to train your eye to recognize these elements of shape so it is easier (less intimidating perhaps) to draw. We looked for each example around the house... like angles in the floor tiles, curved lines on the grandfather clock, open circles on Daddy's crocs...

This first excercise simply has the student copy the shape she sees in the top box to the box below. This is the level 1 excercise. You can see Emily got most of them right. She drew a horizontal line through her concentric circles when it should have been at an angle... but other than that she whizzed right through it. She looked at the Level 2 excercise and decided she wanted to stick at level 1... no use jupping into the deep end, right?

The next excercise had the student look at the shape on the left and find its match on the right. She had to look carefully, but Emily had no trouble with this either.

The next excercise had the student draw the mirror image of an object. Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain (or was it Left?) was quoted in this book and I remember seeing my Mom doing these excercises when I was still at home. As you can see these didn't stump Emily...

This one was a little bit more challenging for her. She drew the curvy "bubbles" and the triangular shape at the bottom inward instead of outward. She realized right away that it didn't look right and gave it another shot. She figured it out on the 2nd try though!

And last, because she still wanted to keep going... she copied these drawing of familiar objects and recognized they were just groupings of the 5 elements of shape.... and nothing to be intimidated by.

And then she wanted to know if we could have Drawing lessons every Saturday with David.

Pumpkin Placemats

My Aunt Val sent us a care package with 8 beautiful pumpkin placemats. To make it even more fun, she included some black iron-on fabric that we could use to make faces for our pumpkins. We used the pumpkin game on Starfall to come up with the pumpkin design and then I helped sketch and cut out their creations. I think they came out great!

Pumpkin heads!

And yes, Lia designed her own pumpkin on Starfall too. She completely understands how to use her pointer finger to tell me what kind of eyes, nose, and mouth she wants for her pumpkin. I thought it was funny she chose to make a "mean" pumpkin. I had a little trouble getting her to let me take a picture...Emily thinks this picture is hilarious. The big kids follow instructions for our photo shoots a little better than she does.

When Chris does the shopping...

Since I was sick, I had to send Chris to the grocery store a few times. It is really funny what he comes back with. Here is what he brought us on Saturday:

Fancy Wine - well that was for him
Exotic Fruit #1 - Crab Apples (childhood memory - neighbor had a tree)
Exotic Fruit #2 - Pomegranate
Exotic Fruit #3 - Pluot (Crossover plum/apricot)
Peanut Brittle (craving...?)

The kids really like to try new and strange fruit so they get a kick out of Daddy doing the shopping. They didn't care for the peanut brittle but I liked it. He put together fabulous dinners for us on both Saturday and Sunday and I am very grateful for that.

Sick Family - We think it's the flu.

David got it on Wednesday, Emily on Thursday, and I got it on Friday. We all ran high temperatures (102+) for 2 days and have maintained a low grade temperature throughout the weekend. Yes, what fun. Since the high temperatures have subsided, we will probably not see a doctor and determine whether or not we all had swine flu... but I hear it is going around, it is highly contagious and our symptoms match all that I have heard described.

I can't speak for my children, but running a 102 temperature is really uncomfortable. All I can say is that I have a wonderful husband who literally took over for me on Saturday which was my worst day.

Being sick isn't all bad though. We all stayed home and spent lots of time reading books, doing crafts and art lessons... I'll post that stuff next.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Update the Calendar

David and I are falling into some good routines in our efforts to do preschool at home. Since we're not enrolling him in a formal preschool program, I didn't want him to "miss out" on anything and I have been teaching him at home in a more formal manner. As parents, we are always "teaching" ... just going through our day to day routines they learn a lot but I have felt compelled to do more and I am so glad that I have. It is so easy to engage David in these activities and his desire and capacity to learn humbles me. He's sick right now but it isn't slowing him down. He was chomping at the bit to get started this morning at 9:00!

I have heard a lot about "calendar math'... the schools seem to make a big deal about it so I got a calendar. Since it is a new month, we clear the old one off and he puts it back together for me. We use the one from the Starfall website as a reference so he can see what day of the week the 1st falls on. Then he puts the numbers on the calendar and marks special days. We are going to start marking at least one feast day so we can learn more about the Saints too. This is an excellent activity for number recognition as 12 and 21 are still kind of confusing... as are the 6 and 9. We talk about what today is, what was yesterday and tomorrow, etc.. Sounds like calendar math to me!

Emily lost her 2nd tooth!

For the last couple of days, there has been a very wiggly tooth in Emily's mouth. Last night, it came out. Not sure if you can tell, but she has lost the two bottom center teeth. It is so funny how exciting this is for her! I don't know if I mentioned it, but she had no interest in putting the first one under her pillow so we kept it in a little bag for her. This go round my big girl realized the monetary potential of these teeth... so she put both of them under her pillow. The tooth fairy left a whole dollar! Very exciting.