Adventures, Math, Science

Garbage Trucks and Sensory Bin Experience

If you’ve been following my instagram, you may have noticed that my kids love garbage trucks. If they hear one coming, they drop everything and run to the window.

Today, we finally did what I have been meaning to do, I took them to the dump! (According to all the signs, it is called a Transfer Station.)

I told Mr. 3 we were going to go and he put on his big  Blippi persona and was so excited that he even went potty without resistance. 

We arrived at the North Transfer Station at about 10:45 and went straight to the special public viewing area. We were there for nearly 2 hours, with only a quick potty break.

Mr.1 ran back and forth from window to window to watch the trucks dump and then be weighed and leave. Mr. 3 nearly drooled on the window when they brought out the monster front loader.

I promised them that we could come back because we didn’t even make it to the playground. I want to find out if they have a recycling sorting facility, because Mr. 3 loves the part in the Blippi show where they sort the recycling. 

They fell asleep in the car ride home; Mr. 1 right away and Mr. 3 shortly after getting a super cool side view of the I-5 bridge. I took this opportunity to calm my hungry stomach with some Starbucks and get the kiddos an easy lunch. For 5.45 you can get 1/2 pbj sandwich, cucumbers, carrots, cheese stick, apple slices, and chocolate covered raisins. Yum. I don’t buy them lunch often, but this one makes me feel good.  

After lunch, Mr. 1 dragged the big plastic box inside. I decided this meant he wanted to play with water. He loves bubbles so I added some dish detergent, and put the box on the patio. This kept the boys busy for nearly another hour. 

I definitely recommend checking to see if you have a local Transfer Station because it was a lot of fun!

By the way, did you know that the large garbage trucks weigh 64,000 pounds WITHOUT garbage? The more common medium size ones we saw today were about 34,000 pounds.

Daily Lessons, Science

Busy Bees

Hello! We have been busy here, doing nothing and everything. Here are some things that I think I know, gleaned from our everyday activities:

A helicopter weighs 10,000 pounds, or approximately 4 school buses! (I overheard this on Mr. 3’s Blippi show. Although Mr. 3 told me it was 1,000, but that doesn’t seem like enough. He does not yet understand the difference for such big numbers.)

A dandelion, with its jagged leaves and yellow flowers, has no business in a strawberry bed! This caused my strawberries to be teeny tiny and very few. When my friend pointed it out, I pulled it out right away and since then the strawberries have been proliferous.

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The kids love going to the garden each morning to help me water and see what they can eat. Mr. 3 and Mr. 1 worked together today to water the apple tree which is across a small creek and takes careful aim to water. Mr. 1 may have gotten sprayed in the side of the face. Mr. 3 then pointed out the bright green leaves as meaning the “apple tree is growing SOO much!”.

Side benefit of having playdates is that your friend can teach your things about your own garden/house or anything, because everyone’s knowledge base is different.

There are 6 different breeds of Giraffe, whose noises cannot generally be heard by human ears.

A difference between a Crocodile and and Alligator is that the teeth stick out of the mouth of the Crocodile. The snout on an crocodile is longer and narrows more to a point. As my husband likes to say the Alligator mouth is “all short like”.

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I hate to jinx it, but Mr. 3 is devoting a lot of energy to being Blippi, from his favorite television show. And he’s “not a baby Blippi, a BIG Blippi”. My favorite thing about this is the fact that he is wearing underwear today and so far has kept it clean and dry. He went to the potty 3 times yesterday, and 4 the day before. I’m trying not to get too excited, but I think he’s finally ready! I will gladly look at imaginary snow chains on the imaginary garbage truck 47 times a day for this. It’s definitely worth it.

Some other things we have been working on that I may share with you later include, keeping a daily homeschool log, and my husband trying out a new work schedule in order to give me a break.

I have been reminded that parenting can be really, really, hard, but it is a beautiful thing to watch your children grow and learn.

 

 

 

Projects

Last Minute Birthday Surprise

When all you have at home is Christmas wrapping paper, being invited to someone’s birthday party can be stressful. Especially when you’ve forgotten about it, and now it’s the morning of the party.
Here is what you will need:

2-3 gently used books your kids don’t especially love anymore. Don’t give away just awful books, that is not fun either!

Some brown paper or paper bag that can be cut to fit. And some tape to hold it all together.

Some markers/crayons and stickers!

 Once the present is safely wrapped, you can set your little minions on it to be decorated to their hearts content.

I actually loved the way they used the stickers on this. It may not have been intentional but on the end product, the 3 year old had managed to make a very large heart outlining my pictures I drew, and the 1 year old had clustered his stickers together in the shape of/and covering one of the flowers I drew. 

This was fun for everyone involved!

Parenting

1 Small Change

My 3-year-old brought his Safari/Monster Truck into the bathroom with this morning and said something to the effect of, “he’s a bad monster truck. He is mean, he tears the toilet paper and bangs into the door!”

The way Mr. 3 said this made me feel like he was talking about himself, and that he feels like he is a bad or mean person just because he sometimes does bad or mean things.

In that moment I said, “maybe he is just grumpy, and needs a hug. Just because we do mean things doesn’t mean we are mean people.”

Later, as I spent more time thinking about it, I began to think that his attitude is caused by the way I react when he does bad or mean things.

For example, when he pushes his brother I would normally say, “Stop! Do NOT push your brother, that is not a nice thing to do. That is mean! You could hurt or scare him!” I sometimes have even said, “You are being mean to your brother!”.

I would like to change my town and words to reflect his actions, and not his overall attitude. I would like to start saying, “That is not how we do things here. We say, “M– could I have my train back, or ask mommy for help.”

I hope this helps him realize that he is not a bad person. I worry that if he feels like he is a bad or mean person that he will start doing bad and mean things just because he thinks that is what he is supposed to be. A self-perpetuating cycle. I feel that he has been pushing more lately, and I hope that by changing my response we will see a difference in his responses.

I did get this inspiration from the John Holt book, Teach Your Own. I finished reading it, and you can find my review on my other blog.

Adventures

Pike Place Farmer’s Market

Last week we went to the Pike Place Farmer’s Market.

In Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling he says to be wary of going on field trips for field trips sake. He emphasizes that your children will learn more and better if it’s something they or you are interested in, or if it’s necessary to go.

(I’m still working my way through the book, but it is not quite as inspiring as I found Learning All the Time to be. This is because some of the anecdotes are the same and Teach Your Own is less John Holt and more just letters from parents to his Growing Without Schooling magazine. )


Well we had to go to the Farmer’s market at Pike Place for two reasons:

1. That is where Bavarian Meats, the only German store and deli that I am aware of in this area is located.

2. We needed to buy some local honey.

Also as a bonus reason, we were out of fruit at home.

The boys both enjoyed the trip.

We parked at the Target because it is free if you spend at least $20 at Target, and we needed towels and underwear for Daddy.

Then we walked one block and found ourselves at the market. First stop was the honey, which was quick and easy.

Next, we threaded our way through the crowds (even on a weekday morning) to the other end of the market to find the German store. We stocked up on wieners, Knackwurst, and Bratwurst, and pretzel bread. I also got some Grießbrei pudding mix.

The ladies at the store are super sweet and they gave each of my boys a wiener, and then I received a smoked sausage as well.

Then we walked by the Beechers cheese shop where you can watch them making cheese in large tubs. Mr 3. was fascinated with this and we watched for quite a while.


Then we pushed our way back to one of the fruit markets and purchased some beautiful blueberries, raspberries, and a bunch of bananas. The boys were still hungry after the sausage so we went to the waterfront viewing area to eat some of the bananas.  The viewing area was really just 4 windows that looked past highway 99 to the water. The boys enjoyed watching the cars and trucks on the highway.


We finished up our trip by going back to Target. At this point Mr. 1 fell asleep in the stroller and Mr. 3 got really grumpy. When I was paying he refused to walk forward and wandered away toward the cereal. He then caused a scene when I insisted he listen and get in the stroller, resulting in my losing my place in line and forcing him into the stroller. 5 minutes later he was asleep in the car.

I let them sleep in the car, and when they woke up I made quesadillas and let them enjoy the berries. A colorful market lunch.


Overall it was a fun time, and we will go again in a few months for more German food.

About, Parenting

Teach Your Own – John Holt – Chapter 2

I am reading another John Holt book, so I have a lot I want to talk about. This book is Teach Your Own, the how and why of homeschooling. John Holt originally wrote this book in the 60’s, but the book has been updated in 2003 by Pat Feranga.

Chapter two addresses the common homeschooling questions of, “how will my children learn enough”, “how do I teach my kids for x number of hours a day,”. More importantly it provides some background and studies on what it takes to be a good teacher, and to be successful at homeschooling.

Continue reading “Teach Your Own – John Holt – Chapter 2”

Adventures, Health, Science

Imagination and Curiosity

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something using these links, I may receive a teeny percentage at no extra cost to you.

Imagination and curiosity are two traits I admire and value. I love to see my children grow more confident and detailed in their games. I also love when my children ask questions about things that they are interested in.

My 3-year-old has recently developed a really goofy giggle and he will ask me a question such as, “Do baby dogs come from the MAMA dog or the DADA dog? Heeeheheh”

Curiosity

There are two books from the library that have really inspired the 3-year-old. Especially when he is trying to delay nap time, he will ask me questions upon questions, upon questions. 2017-07-12_14-10-16_959

The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss. I borrowed this book because it is not always easy getting my children to brush their teeth. This book has some examples of why we need teeth and what we shouldn’t do with our teeth. It’s not terribly educational, but is rhyming and fun.

This book has inspired such questions such as, “why do beavers chew on trees?” and, “Do they really chew the trees down?” And after discussing beavers and their dental issues, “Do our teeth keep growing and growing? Do we need to go to the dentist to cut our teeth shorter?”

It’s NOT the Stork by Robie H. Harris. We’ve been trying for baby #3 and my 3 year old has had a lot of questions about babies and where they come from. This book is geared toward children 4 years and older, but I thought we would try it out. It’s a very straightforward but detailed book about “Girls, Boys, Babies, Families, and Friends”. I felt a little shy reading this to my 3-year-old, but he kept wanting to read more and more.

Now he asks me questions such as, “Does M- have a penis or a vagina?” “Where do baby giraffes come from?” “Does the daddy giraffe put sperm inside the mommy giraffe’s eggs?” “Why are dogs not people?” “Where do baby dogs come from?”

I had to try really hard not to laugh when he asked me if I went to the toilet and dropped him into it when he was born. I explained that generally people go to a clean hospital, and that I had to have a cesarean to have him and his brother. I explained the process and showed him my scar. Then he asked about his brother. Then he asked me if giraffes go to the giraffe hospital to give birth.

The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington recently announced the birth of  baby giraffe there. We haven’t seen it, but I’m starting to suspect that he’s interested.

Imagination

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I think a lot of us are familiar with the long list of benefits of children growing up with pets.

1. Having a friend.

2. Building a child’s confidence

3. Teaching them empathy and responsibility

4. Exposing them to allergens and dust early can reduce the numbers and intensity of allergies that the children may develop.

Parent magazine has a great article about this. Yet, there is a benefit that isn’t mentioned in the article, and this is fueling the child’s imagination. My children spend a significant amount of time playing at being dogs. They like to climb into the crate, run around barking at delivery people, rolling on the floor, and just generally do what little puppies do (except sleep all day long, unfortunately).

2017-07-09_10-39-10_320Sometimes this imaginative play takes place in public areas. The dog park was especially fun for the 16 month old. You can see him rolling around on the rocky floor when I pointed out that our dog was getting tired and was laying down.

I took him to Magnusson Dog Park north of Seattle because this is the biggest and coolest dog park for the northern suburbs. It is enormous, has a beach, shaded areas, open field, little dog area, walking trail, wooden bridges. Also there is a playground next to the parking lot, which is where daddy and Mr. 3 spent their time.

Mr. 1 loved walking over the wooden bridges, and throwing rocks, and most of all 2017-07-09_10-47-29_473meeting all the variety of dogs. Big ones, small ones, brown, white, black, spotted, golden, shy, loving, playful, quiet, and loud dogs.

If you haven’t taken your child to a dog park, I would put it on your to do list. There is so much to see and talk about. You may need to give them a bath later, but it is well worth the mess.

What inspires the kids in your life to use their imaginations in play? 

Language, Projects

Sing along art

Another simple craft brought to you by me.


We used chalk and construction paper because I like the way it feels and because it’s different from the crayons and markers they use more frequently. You may use whatever medium you have at hand.


Basically, with the child sitting on your lap, you sing a nursery rhyme or favorite song. While you are singing you and your child can draw about what’s in the song. 

I sang Old McDonald Had A Farm for both kids and let them choose which animals or things were on the farm. 

My 3 year old wanted a mommy and daddy and baby cows and pigs. 

I also drew La La Lemon by the barenakedladies. The band name sounds inappropriate but this song is totally fine and absolutely hilarious. La la la was one of the first noises Mr. 1 would make consistently so we sing this a lot.


I’m clearly not the best artist, but the process of doing this together was a fun connection building activity. The young kids got to participate in the art even if they didn’t want to draw.


Some other songs that are great for this would be:

  • Green grass grows all around (there was tree… and on that tree there was a limb,branch,nest,egg,bird,etc)
  • Mary had a little lamb
  • Farmer in the dell

Basically anything that gives you time to draw simple objects that your children are familiar with.

This activity brings their favorite songs to life.

What song would you draw?

Adventures

Thunder Knob Trail – Hiking with the Family

Happy 4th of July!

Today we took a day trip to the North Cascades National Park. Specifically, we went Thunder Knob Trail, which was 10 minutes north of the North Cascades Visitor Center.

This national park is located a 2 and a half hour trip north of Seattle. The drive is just beautiful. 2.5 hours in the car is a long time, especially with little kids. Mr. 1 fell asleep for about an hour, and Mr. 3 just looked out the window the whole time.

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You are surrounded by mountains and follow several rivers along the way. The Skagit river and the Sauk river stood out to me the most. I even bothered to learn their names on this trip, because they were so pretty. The Sauk river was nearly bright blue due to the mineral deposits coming off of the nearby mountains.

When we arrived at the parking lot, we had a quick picnic and were on our way.

Thunder Knob Trail is a 3.6 mile hike round trip with an elevation of 425 feet. The National Park Service describes the trail as great for kids. I think older kids would do great with this, and we saw several families with children older than the age of 10 speed by us.

The path had a mild incline and a few rocks to stub your toe on, but overall it was a really good trail. It was wide enough to hold hands at most places.

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Mr. 3 and Mr. 1 walked for a short while, but Mr. 1 kept walking back down the path or off of the path altogether. Mr. 3 kept asking to be picked up because he was tired. We rested a few times and enjoyed views like the one above.

I love my Ergo baby carrier. The biggest problem with it is that it only holds one child. It’s hard to know how far you’ve walked on a hike like this, but I carried the 45 pound toddler for about an hour, and the 25 pound toddler for most of the rest of the 2 hours. My shoulders are a little sore afterwards, but who wouldn’t be carrying that weight for 3 hours?

We finally made it to the top to enjoy this spectacular view.

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Special shout out to the nice family that gave us a bottle of water at the top of the hill.

Here is a hiking tip I learned today: Put your extra water bottles in the backpack, NOT the car. They are not helpful in the car because you will not be able to drink them.

The hike back down was easier, since Mr. 3 did a fair bit of walking by himself. At the bottom by the stream he resumed his favorite activity of throwing rocks and pinecones into the water.

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Overall, I’d say that we all had a good time and got a lot of good exercise.

Some other things I learned today:

  • Oso is spanish for bear, according to my husband.
  • Pack more food and water than you think you need, because walking makes you hungry and thirsty. (Also, save the cheerios for the car ride home! We don’t normally let them eat in the car, but it was such a long drive and eating cheerios saved us 30 minutes of crying on the last leg of the journey.)

Do you have any pro hiking tips to share?