Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Jazzy

I thought of you with love today but that is nothing new
I thought of you yesterday and the days before that too
I think of you in silence - I often speak your name
All I have of you are memories and your picture in a frame
Your memory is my keepsake with which I will never part
God has you in his keeping, I have you in my heart -

That is the poem that I started my eulogy with this week for my best friend, my sister.

I will be taking some time away from blog writing to focus on my family and myself. I have met some very wonderful people while writing on here and plan to be back soon, I just need some quiet time giving my kids lots of hugs.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Shake, Rattle and

Buttered Roll!!!!

For my cooking blog I made some good old cornbread in a cast iron skillet so I took the opportunity to make some homemade butter to go along with it.

And the boys had a great time helping me.

First we poured some heavy whipping cream into an old, cleaned and dried pimento jar and added a pinch of salt. Then it was shake, shake, shake....
and shake, shake, shake....
(NO, the little guy is not suffering some baby version of "Herpes Simplex Something", nor is that the biggest "cold sore" in history, he fell face first on the concrete and put his tooth through his lip the other day and it is still swollen, bruised and painful (but one good outcome is that he his having a heck of a time with his pacifier, oh well!).

First the cream will thicken slightly, then turn more into the thickness of whipped cream and then a ball will form, a beautiful ball of butter...just pour off the "butter milk" that separates and enjoy!
We like to throw ours in the fridge for a while to firm up a little more.
See it melting beautifully on the slice of cornbread?!?!

The big guy asked if we could make butter every night for dinner. Of course I said no BUT it would be a nice thing to do for the holidays and it is such a simple thing for them to do together and practice taking turns.

P.S. Make sure you watch the little ones, they got a little over zealous with their shaking and the big guy hit himself in the head with the jar!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Help, My Son's Pant Are On Fire!!!!

It seems as though my big guy started a new hobby but unfortunately his new pastime has also made him the recipient of a new nickname,


Unfortunately, within the last week or so I have personally caught my son telling numerous "fibs". They started with "I have to go to the bathroom" and then using that time to rummage through closets and bedrooms without supervision, then came along the random "little brother did it" even when he was not in the room and now we are up to "Mommy said I can have ice cream now, etc".

At first it was once a day and now the frequency is at least 5 a day. It makes me sad to think he could be so devious and scheming - in my eyes he is still my innocent baby. I just thought older kids do this to test boundaries but not 4.5 year olds.

Is this common?!?! When does it usually start? What advice do you have?

Due to his PDD-NOS he has a hard time understanding social cues or social standards and although we have had many talks about not telling the truth and he has had many of his toys taken away, he still continues on...

I need to help him find his inner Jiminy Cricket!!!!!

I am on my upstairs to go through our Davey and Goliath boxed set to see if there is an episode on the subject (yes, my father bought him the boxed set), will be renting Pinnochio today and going to the library or bookstore because I think there is a Berenstein Bear book but do any of you have any suggestions???


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Flat Stanley Project

The big guy and I are so excited to be participating in a "Flat Stanley Project" based on the love-able, adventurous character from Jeff Brown's books, that is being hosted by Gabby at The Work of Childhood.

If you are not familiar with Flat Stanley, Stanley Lambchop was a boy who was flattened by a bulletin board. He soon finds out it can be fun to be flat and travel the world by mail having many adventures along the way.

So here is a picture of our big guy and his Flat Stanley, who will be travelling the "world" ready for some real fun adventures. In turn, we will be "hosting" other Flat Stanley's as they travel the world and end up in our mailbox and promise to handle them with care and truly show them a good time with lots of activities and fun planned.

Notice the "pocket pants" ?!?! My son is a big fan of cargo pants and asked that his Stanley have a pair... so I obliged by drawing them on.

Although my son needed some reassurance that he would be safe, we eagerly mailed our "Stanley" to his first visit in Tennessee. How exciting!!! Can't wait to see what he gets to see and do while he is there.

Since the big guy (and our little one for that matter) is a huge fan of mail, I am sure he will be checking our mailbox daily.

In the mean time, since school is starting for us next week, along with soccer and karate, I think we will suspend our postings for Tot School and use THIS wonderful opportunity for learning.

I will search tonight for a perfect map of the United States and show my son where we live and work with his little brother on learning our address since the big guy already knows that. Then when we get our first "Stanley" to babysit I will show them where he/she came from and plan our lesson from there.

Thanks again Gabby, we are so excited to participate!

Happy Labor Day Weekend

and End of Summer!!!

Sorry if you have checked in lately and have not found anything new posted especially for Tot School, Preschool Corner, Wordless Wednesday or CVS Challenge. The last few weeks of summer have been getting the best of me along with some health issues so I am wiped out!

We are still having fun and learning lots of new things, I have just run out of time to write about them. Hopefully next week when the big guy starts school again, I will have some more free time.

I have been cooking a lot and trying lots of new Pioneer Woman recipes for my other blog which you can read here . \

and the boys are very excited to start their Flat Stanley project which I will be writing about real soon!!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WFMW - "Salad" Gift Basket

Themes, are what work for me!

I love themes, keeping with a theme helps me plan so much; parties, homeschooling my little ones and most importantly presents. I love to give themed presents and gift baskets.

For instance, when checking a relative's gift registry for her bridal shower I saw that she was registered for a salad bowl, so I made this -

Here is a close-up of the "salad"...

I couldn't just give a salad bowl!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Giant Pretzel Jar - Ideas Wanted

Any Ideas?

Well, we just finished our gigantic jar of pretzels and now as I sit here staring at the empty container I can't bring myself to throw it out. I keep looking at it, thinking that there has to be something I can use it for...
Something crafty for this kids or myself, a toy for the dog, a giant "ocean in the bottle" or a giant "I Spy Bottle"??!?!?
Any ideas?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tot School - Dinosaur Theme

This is my fifth week of participating in Tot School by posting my learning activities with my two boys who are 29 and 52 months of age. Through reading the posts from Tot School I found a wonderful blog called Homeschool Creations who sponsors Preschool Corner.

Since I usually work with both of my boys at the same time and there is a two year age gap, I realize that some of my content my not be age appropriate for some of the tots in Tot School and would be a better fit for Preschool Corner so I figured it would be okay to post to both sites at the same time (I hope that is okay with everyone).
Since this is my first post for Preschool Corner I would formally like to introduce myself. Please feel free to read my first Tot School post here to read about my boys and what my goals and plans for teaching them are.

Dinosaur Theme Week

The little guy worked all week on a little dinosaur song that we learned from Kid Soup about colors and dinosaurs. I also printed the dinosaurs from there (I never did have a chance to properly cut them out or laminate them).
Also from my Kid Soup membership, I printed counting mats with pictures of dinosaurs with numbers for the big guy. We used our dog's biscuits as dinosaur bones (I wanted to paint them white for a better dinosaur bone effect but was afraid that my dog would get a hold of them).

The big guy tried his hand at tracing objects for the first time using our old Discovery Toys Place & Trace. He still needs a little more coordination with using markers before he can master the task.

The little guy worked on the "puzzles", especially the dinosaur one.

When the boys were sleeping I traced the dinosaur templates on black construction paper with a thin line of Elmer's Glue when once it dried made it very hard to see the images. In the morning I told the boys that there was "fossils" on the paper and gave them chalk to rub on the paper, revealing the dinosaur shapes.

The big guy made a paper plate volcano as a prop for his plastic dinosaurs.

This by far was the kid's favorite book of the week as David Carter pop-up books usually are. This book usually shows up at bedtime several times a week. Both boys love it.

I hid these "Treasure Stones" in our garden for the boys first to find, then break open to find little dinosaurs inside. To see my whole post on our Treasure Stones go here.

We played alot with our dinosaur counters this week,

I photocopied pages from the booklet (and laminated them) that came in our bucket of dinosaur counters for the big guy to use as sorting mats. I thought he was going to have trouble with it as he really had to sit and look hard at the line drawings and match the plastic counters to the pictures but he sailed right through it!

The little guy sorted them by color.

Here are some of the other books we focused on this week:

I still have lots of dinosaur themed things planned but unfortunately ran out of time this week. I will save them for the next time that dinosaurs come into out rotation. In the mean time, if you are interested to see what other parents are doing to teach their kids please stop by Homeschool Creations and 1+1+1=1.

Treasure Stones

I know that there have been loads of posts on various blogs on how to make "Treasure Stones" but some recipes differ slightly so I figured I would post how we made them.

First, I started with small plastic dinosaurs...

Then I mixed together:

1 cup flour

1 cup "used" coffee grinds

1/2 cup salt

1/4 cup sand (taken right out of the kid's sand box)

1 cup water

I would recommend adding the water slowly until you have a nice dough mixture, I added in the full cup of water and it made the dough difficult to work with and very hard to dry thoroughly.

I found it best to spoon a small amount in my hand, place my trinket in the middle, slide it on to a cookie sheet and add another glob right on top to close in the trinket.

From the different recipes that I read you can either bake in the oven or dry in the sun for 3 days. I opted for the oven (125 degrees for 20-30 mins, fingers crossed that I did not melt my dinosaurs). As I mentioned above, I think I added to much water as they were not fully dried and had some soft spots and were definitely not rock hard so I put them outside in the sun for an additional day.

Our big guy opted to use Daddy's tools instead of the kid set which made me a little nervous. ADULT SUPERVISION IS REQUIRED WHEN USING "BIG BOY" TOOLS, as you can see in the next picture how close he came to cracking his skull instead of the "stones".

Daddy stepped in to help the little guy.

The boys had a great time, digging and excavating for their dinosaurs!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tot School - No Theme Week

I am sad to say that our "Dinosaur Themed Tot School" week was a bust this week!

First, it was my son's last week of actual district pre-school so there was lots of things planned outside of the home for the week.

Secondly, I bought two new games for the kids at the beginning of the week which quickly became favorites in the house and was all they wanted to do when we were inside.

And last but not least, I ran out of paint to make "dinosaur bones" for our paleontologist dig I had planned and the coffee grinds that I had drying to make dinosaur stones got moldy and grew "hair" so I had to throw it out.

The good news - the boys played wonderfully together with their new games, took turns, were not sore losers or winners for that matter and almost everything is reading for dinosaurs next week!!!!

Here are some pictures of the boys playing with their new games.

Hiss by Gamewright was by far the favorite of my two year old and it is an excellent game to reconfirm colors and to work on visual discrimination and orientation!!!!

The second game was "Feed The Kitty", again by Gamewright. It was a cute game too but the big guy had a harder time with winning/losing with this one.
We did get in some Occupational Therapy while playing with Perfection. You can see my original post on the Perfection game here and some name spelling with our "magical rocks"

To see what other had planned for their tot's this week click here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My New Blog

Concrete Cowgirl Cooks...

I would like to introduce you to my new blog, Concrete Cowgirl Cooks! Please stop by when you get the chance and follow me along my cooking journey with Ree Drummond, also known as The Pioneer Woman. I plan on working my way through her delicious recipes one at a time just like the now famous "Julie/Julia Project" but with Biscuits and Gravy instead of Boeuf Bourguignon!

Unlike Julie from the blog, book and movie, I have NO real "joy" of cooking, actually I do not like it and I hate cleaning up from making dinner even more! I also lack ambition and cooking creativity and since I am truly a baker at heart, lack any confidence to shake things up a bit.

Why Ree - her recipes are approachable, her skill of writing invites you to try, while her photography "holds your hand" as you go along.

No, I am not trying to get a book deal or movie (especially since I don't know who the perfect star to play my part would be)...I am just learning to make some delicious meals for my family to work into my now non-existent repertoire so we are a not stuck with Meatloaf Mondays, Turkey Tuesdays, etc.

I hope in the end, I can really "WOW' my family, friends and myself with my cooking...wish me luck!

I Am a Member....

I am so giddy with excitement!!!!!

Kristen from the awesome blog "We are THAT Family" just posted a little snippet about my blog and has officially inducted me into her "society"!!!
I am so happy you would think I won an Academy Award.

If you are ever in need of a good laugh, stop by Kristen's blog for some real honest family humor! Her blog always puts a smile on my face and I am proud to be a part of her clan!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fun Dinner With The Kids

"Hairy Hot Dogs"
I love the fact that because my husband is a fireman there are plenty of occasions that he works nights, especially because I can get away with making this for dinner!!!!

The boys and I had lots of fun putting the hot dogs on to the spaghetti.

Just throw in a pot of boiling water and here is the result (sorry for the overly bright picture - my flash was a little screwy tonight).

I originally saw this done on the blog Plum Pudding.

But we jazzed them up a bit by adding some of the Velveeta cheese sauce from a package of Kraft Velveeta Shells and Cheese (I saved the pasta shells for an upcoming dinosaur project that we will be making).

The boys loved them but I got a little nervous that it might be a choking hazard for my little guy so I cut his up, which did not make him to happy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Calling All Women....

I have a question to ask....

Every time I see the commercial on television for the Clear Blue Easy brand pregnancy tests, I always seem to giggle when they make the following statement -

Clearblue® Easy Digital Pregnancy Test –Unmistakably clear results in words Did you know that 1 in 4 women can misread a traditional pregnancy test result?

I am just curious if this is true because I personally never had a problem, have any of you?????

The kids are still napping, can you tell that I am bored?!?!

WFMW - The Perfection Game and Fine Motor Skills

I am always on the look out for cheap ideas to teach my sons especially those items that are great multi-taskers. This week it is the Milton Bradley game of "Perfection" that works for me.

We use it as a puzzle to practice fine motor skills since the little shapes can only be picked up and placed in using a mature "pincer grip", great for shape recognition, eye-hand coordination and when I tell my 4 year old to start at the top left and work across each row he is practicing a great early literacy skill while training himself to think left to right, top to bottom!!!! All that and we have never even turned it on yet!
Now that is a great multi-tasker!!