Friday, May 30, 2014

Kid Photographers - Marble Run

Last installment of kid photographers this month, I promise. Granted today is almost the last day of the month so it's not much of a promise, but I work with what I have. hah One of the favorite Christmas gifts this year (yes, 5 months ago) was a large marble run.

Sweet Son building a new run
Photo by Sweet Daughter

Sweet Son's finished run
Photo by Sweet Son

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Kid Photographers - Art

We use many things to decorate the walls. Removable stickers in the kids' rooms, the kids' artwork in the playroom, family photos in the living room, etc. Here are the photos the kids have taken of these decorations.

Paintings made by the kids
Photo by Sweet Daughter

Removable Stickers in Sweet Daughter's room
Photo by Sweet Daughter

Part of our "circle time" area
Photo by Sweet Daughter

Another view of the "circle time" area
Photo by Sweet Son

I want to bring your attention to the calendar in the bottom two photos. While many people use this to practice counting and number recognition, I also add in patterning. Each day they have to predict which color and number will come next. We started with simple AB patterning. We have continued to increase the difficulty as they master one. In Sweet Daughter's photo it was the beginning of an ABAAB pattern. In Sweet Son's photo it was an AAB pattern. The most challenging one we have done so far was AB AABB AAABBB AAAABBBB. It took 2 months, but they finally got it. Not bad for a couple of preschoolers.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Kid Photographers - Kitchen

The next stop on the tour of my house as photographed by my 3 year olds is the kitchen. For a room we use multiple times a day I was slightly disappointed to see it from their perspective.

Making chicken nuggets
Photo by Sweet Daughter

Always the last to finish
Photo by Sweet Daughter

I love the mixer, but I didn't realize it would rank higher than the refrigerator! 
Photo by Sweet Son

So that is a tour of our dirty kitchen. When I take photos I try to get at least most of the mess out of the photo - the mess certainly still exists. My kids don't have that same "vision." haha You know the more I look at the last photo, the more I think it might have been of the tissue box and not the mixer... priorities and all.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Busy Life and Power Lines

Sweet Son's current obsession interest is power lines. He loves seeing how they are attached to poles and what they are connected to (lights, other poles, etc). A few days ago he ask why our neighborhood doesn't have any, after all we do have lights. I explained they are buried under the ground here. He seemed fine with that. Today we were driving past some large power lines. He ask why our power lines are under the grass. I said that it's safer. He ask why these (pointing outside the car) aren't under the dirt. I said it's cheaper to put them up than to bury them. He paused for a few minutes and just when I thought the conversation must be over, he said, "How much cheaper? It must be a lot in order for them not to want to be safe." I love that connection. It must cost a lot more in order for them to want to sacrifice safety. I did explain that these are still safe, just not as safe. I explained lines breaking and weather problems that can make them not AS safe, but that they are not something we need to be afraid of.

Everything is wrapping up for the school year. Their school only has one week left. I am so happy to have more time to spend with the kids. I hate spending hours every day driving them to/from places.

Sweet Daughter is doing great. She's slowly starting to learn that she isn't in charge of the world. It's a difficult lesson to teach when almost everyone does whatever she demands without question. I don't care how cute she is, she is 3 and doesn't get to make the rules. She has recently decided she likes playing the piano - to a point. She still tells me she's going to switch instruments when she turns 6. I think that's probably a good choice. I could see her being more into musical theater. She needs something dramatic. haha

Friday, May 23, 2014


Our last day in St. Thomas was the day after the wedding. We went to brunch with many of the people who attended the wedding.

This was the small breakfast of yogurt and granola. Not how I would define small!

A photo with friends from Chicago

Two of our friends had these great hats that the kids loved. The kids ask to borrow them and were immediately obliged.

Then Wonderful Husband told them to hold their hats upside down and ask for things. They came back with sugar packets and business cards. Wonderful Husband said, "No, tell them you need cash." Less than 2 minutes later they both came back with cash. We did make them give everything back, but now they have a skill to fall back on just in case. haha

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Wedding!

After days and days of posts about St. Thomas, I'm finally going to post about the wedding we went to while we were there. The entire reason for the trip.

We sat in the back because we have young children. This seemed like a good idea.

After the entire wedding party made it to the front, Sweet Son ask when the dancing was going to start. Of course everyone around us started laughing. What we didn't learn until later was that the microphone for the video was also in the back. Oops!

After the wedding with the newlyweds

The reception was at the same area. We enjoyed the fresh fruit drinks and had just sat down to dinner when Sweet Son wanted to cuddle. This is not normal, but we figured he was hungry. Then he threw up all over me. All down my dress, all over his clothes, and on the floor. The event staff was wonderful about helping us get cleaned up and packing up food so we could take it with us. By the time we drove back to the condo he was feeling better. He perked up, ate all of his dinner and wanted to dance. We missed all of the fun at the reception, but at least we didn't miss the wedding and he felt better quickly.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dressed to Impress

As part of our welcome to the wedding celebration, we were given gift bags from the bride and groom. One of the items included in the bags was sunglasses.

Sweet Daughter was thrilled that the sunglasses in her bag were yellow with blue that perfectly matched one of her dresses that we brought on the trip.

Here the three of us are dressed up in front of our condo in our coordinating sun glasses.

Monday, May 19, 2014

St. Thomas ocean fun!

We couldn't just spend time on the beach looking at the ocean, we needed to swim! There were only very small gentle waves and the water was so clear we could see the fish swimming around us as we went farther out.

The dark spots you see are coral. The boat in the background had snorkelers.

In the condo we found the inflatable ring and a kickboard. This allowed us to go out for longer than if we would have made the kids swim on their own the whole time - or had us holding them the entire time.

Clear water and palm trees in the background

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Current Educents Deals

As most of my readers know I'm an educents affiliate. This means if you click on any of my links and make a purchase I get a small credit to spend at educents. There is no cost to you and I highlight many free products!

I bought this deal the last time it came around. 3 games for $36 - that's 40% off.

So far we have only played two of the games - Animal Tracks and Sci-ology. We played the Animal Tracks game like Memory and quickly the kids were able to tell the different types of footprints based on the type of animal. The Sci-ology is played like Old Maid where you try to make sets of 4. Without realizing it my kids were learning the different branches of Science. I know once we play Math Explosion my kids will never want to play anything else, so I'm putting that one off for a bit.

While we don't use Saxon Math, I have many friends who love the program.

Through the end of today it's 15% off the first three levels. Each is only $27.99 and includes all worksheets, assessments, and flashcards you will need for a year.

Some free deals that are currently being offered include:
Field Trip Performance Task - A real life application of problem solving. Students get to figure out how much money it will cost, how much class time will be lost, how many chaperones will be needed and more.
Noise Level Warning System - You can print different posters to remind students of the appropriate noise level for different activities.
Spring Coloring Book - Coloring and Writing sheets for young students.
Alexander Graham Bell - 16 pages perfect for 2nd-4th graders

Friday, May 16, 2014

St. Thomas Beach

Just steps from our condo was our private beach. Ok, it wasn't really our private beach, but no one else there gets up early to go to the beach so most mornings we had it completely to ourselves.

Look at the clear water! It's shallow and with a very gentle slope into the ocean.

Look at all of the beach toys we found in the condo. See the condos in the background?

Hi friend! This was clearly taken in the afternoon because there are other people on our beach.

Just relaxing in the sand watching the sailboats.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

St. Thomas Condo

We rented a condo in St. Thomas for our stay. It had a master bed room, kitchen, living area, dining area, a small area for sandy stuff, and a front and back porch. The best part for us? They had two beds that folded out of a closet for the kids!

This was in the living room and we left the doors fully open rather than folding them back which made the kids feel like they were in their own little room. Exciting! At least it blocked some of the light and encouraged them to sleep.

They also had games in the cabinets for the kids to play. They immediately picked up the games they recognized that Daddy plays on the computer. Scrabble.

Chess. Only, the kids kept pronouncing it "chest" which makes for an entirely different conversation.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The best pilots ever

Our kids are experienced fliers. They have the process down and can almost perfectly recite the safety instructions. Yet the flights to St. Thomas stand out in more than one way.

As we were boarding the plane from DFW to Miami, we are walking down the jet bridge and Sweet Son is asking if he will get to see the co-pilot. He dreams of being a co-pilot when he grows up. He's always excited to see the pilots and get a glimpse into the cockpit. The pilot overheard this and invited both kids into the cockpit. This is the first and only time this has happened to us. The kids were enthralled. We also learned these would be our pilots from Miami to St. Thomas as well.

The flight from DFW to MIA was easy. On the way out the pilots remember our kids' names and said they would see us on the next one. Seriously, I didn't think the pilots could impress us any more. The flight from MIA to St. Thomas started fine, but there was bad weather in St. Thomas that made it more interesting. We started to land and at the last moment, the nose pulled up and we continued flying. The pilots assured us they had plenty of gas and we would fly around and try to wait out the weather. It's not like St. Thomas has more than one airport. Every time we would fly into the storm the plane would have dips and twists at unexpected times. Many people on the flight were scared and/or sick. Our kids were saying things like "Weeee!" and "Do it again!"  Every time we flew out of the storm our kids were disappointed. I was thrilled they weren't sick as I tried ignoring my motion sickness. After about an hour, we were told that we were cleared for landing. The plane landed safely and everyone cheered.

The plane landing safely would normally be the end of the story. However if you remember from yesterday's post, the St. Thomas airport doesn't have jet bridges. We had been in the air for a lot longer than expected and for the last hour and a half the seat belt sign had been on. Everyone wanted off the plane quickly, so we let most people exit before we even tried. It was still raining hard outside and we are trying to figure out how to get the kids with their backpacks and the adults each carrying a suitcase with a car seat strapped to it down the wet metal stairs. As we got to the front of the plane, I'm telling the kids to hold onto the rail and walk slowly and carefully down the stairs. The wonderful pilot pictured in the first photo, asks Sweet Daughter if she would like to hold his hand. She immediately agrees. After a few steps on the stairs, the wind gusts and she starts to slip. He picks her up and carries her down the rest of the way. At the bottom he waits with her until Wonderful Husband gets down. Then the pilot comes back and helps carry my bag/car seat down the rest of the way. How amazing is that? We wrote a letter to the airline about our experience. I hope he got a bonus or a big raise!

The flights back were rather boring, thank goodness. The kids were disappointed that we had different pilots. The kids spent the flight doing their favorite things - listening to music and drawing. I love that our kids are such great travelers. Then I remember how they are on car trips. I love that our kids are great at traveling on planes at least!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Playing at the Airport

Our good friends decided to get married in St. Thomas and there was no way we would miss it. Of course before any flight - or set of flights in this case, the kids need to run off some energy.

This is one of the play areas in the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. It's tucked away with only one entrance/exit which makes it easy to monitor. The other great benefit of it being tucked away is that most people don't find it, so it is rarely crowded. 

The St. Thomas airport is a bit smaller. Ok, it's a lot smaller. There aren't jet bridges much less play areas. However, there are large windows that provide a view of all of the planes taking off, landing, boarding, taxing and everything else.

Friday, May 9, 2014


During piano practice today (their next recital is in June) Sweet Daughter actually focused and tried. She's really good for a 3 year old. As in, better than most 5 year olds with the same amount of instruction. Her only problem is she usually doesn't want to try because she's not as good as Sweet Son and she believes everything is a competition.

Sweet Son playing a song that teaches a descending scale.

Sweet Son also focused and tried during piano practice, but that's not unusual. What is unusual is that today he decided one of the songs is too easy (it's in 3/4 with syncopation, but only uses the right hand) so he picked out what he thinks makes good "left handy stuff." When playing Do, Mi, or Sol on the right hand he plays Do and Sol together on the left. When playing Re or Fa on the right hand he plays Re and Fa together on the left. I am impressed. Yes, it's simple music theory, but he's 3 and hasn't exactly been taught a lot of theory.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Active Kids

Our kids have too much energy. I know it's not just our kids, so I thought I would share some of our favorite gross motor activities that we do at home.

Yesterday I posted a photo of this with the needed elements. Here is a video of the "dance party." It's mostly just running in circles to music, but they will do this for 30-45 minutes continuously.

The ladybug is from Ikea and we love it. The big blob is our crash pad. This is another favorite activity. It's also great for core strength.

What activities do you pull out when the kids are going crazy with energy? I'm always looking for more ideas!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Take one bounce house, turn it upside down, extend the air tunnel, add music, and now you have a "dance party." Come back tomorrow for a video of this awesome experience.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

General State of Exhaustion

I got back last night from an out of town conference. The conference was wonderful and I was looking forward to having this morning to get somewhat "caught up" at home. I dropped the kids off at 8:35 (yes, we were already running late). I got the call at 9:02 to come pick up Sweet Daughter because she was throwing up. There went my plan. I had a huge list of things I needed to go do (trips to stores, etc) that I couldn't do with a sick child. Fairly quickly I also had a great deal of extra laundry on top of my trip laundry and the laundry left from everyone else over the weekend.

Did I mention we leave town on Friday for a wedding and can't be sick? This better not pass on to anyone else.

Sweet Son woke up from nap and told me he NEEDS to learn more about Galileo and Archimedes. I told him he could, but ask why he wanted to. He said he likes planets and Math and that seemed like a good place to start. I can't argue with that, I just didn't expect it from a 3 year old.

There are days I'm amazed the kids have survived this long because they really seem out to kill themselves. Then there are days when it seems like they should be much older because they don't act like 3 year olds. Either way it would be easier to deal with if I could get 8 consecutive hours of sleep.

*** Remember this blog is kept a year in the past. I won't actually be out of town this weekend. :(***

Monday, May 5, 2014

Montessori Style Work

My kids love showing off, so when they work hard, they ask me to take photos. Hands-on, child-led learning at it's best! Here are some of those photos.

Look I spelled 3 words!

I love it!

Sweet Son made this number. 3 red hundred squares, two blue tens sticks, and 5 green one beads.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Water Cycle

Most kids learn songs like She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain and I've Been Working on the Railroad. However, after my college experiences, I can't really sing either of those to my kids.

This is what happens when your mom is a teacher:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Tale of Two Beds - Part 11

Once again, here are the links to the previous 10 tales. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Frustration, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10

We have tried many different things to get our kids to sleep - preferably in their beds. However, this almost seems futile.

After both kids telling us they like sleeping in a tent or box, Wonderful Husband made each of them a personal canopy. You can see it there on Sweet Son's bed. Clearly it didn't solve the problem though.

The next complaint was the bed is too long. Um... it's a toddler bed that was converted from a crib. Plus, when you sleep in it like that why does it matter how long it is?

She complains that she needs more blankets because she gets cold at night. Hmmm... wonder why.

He wanted to sleep closer to the door at nap time. Silly boy!