Projects

Mr. 3 gets a splinter

I only noticed the splinter by the time the finger was swollen and inflamed. My husband was working from home that day, so I called him up to help. Together he and I spent 10 or 15 minutes discussing with Mr. 3 the need to remove the splinter so that his finger can heal.

Continue reading “Mr. 3 gets a splinter”

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Daily Lessons

New Leaf

I’m feeling much better! I still have frequent headaches and need to nap every day, but I am feeling mostly better!

I’ve been directing my newfound energy and willpower to my kids, and I am noticing their response.

First, I have started offering open art activities again. We are staying simple, because that is what they like best, and also it is easiest to set up. We have done chalk on construction paper, and watercolors with permanent marker pictures. We also made more flags because Mr. 3 has been interested in racing and racing flags. (He asked for this himself, and that made me SO happy!)

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Mr. 3 has reached a new art milestone. A few months ago he was drawing circles that were… circles. Now he draws circles that are “train tracks” or “rocket ships with windows that are train tracks” or “elephant intestines”. He’s telling stories with his art, which is new and exciting. It means he feels he can express his interests, even if it’s just the same circles!

Mr. 1 makes one type of movement (horizontal line to the right) so I think changing up the materials will help keep him interested.

Second, I’ve been getting on the floor to play with them every once in a while. They are fairly independent players but I want to show them that I am interested in their games and I ask questions about what they are doing. I ask questions when I lay on the couch, too, but it feels so distant.

We’ve been reading as much as ever, which I am happy to do. I’ve included some Halloween books to help get the kids excited about the holiday.

Mr. 3 has been asking a lot of questions that make me feel like he is really trying to learn reading and math. He asks “how many train pieces am I holding?” and “what if I put two down?” and when we walk by stores or signs he asks, “what does that sign say”? This has been a recent change in his questions which usually are more “Why [repeat whatever Mommy just said].”

I hope things are going well for you, too!

 

Science

Pileated Woodpecker

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We saw this little guy climbing on the electric pole right in front of our house. We identified him as a woodpecker and confirmed he was a Pileated Woodpecker using our Animal Encyclopedia.

We learned that woodpeckers eat insects, fruit, and nuts. They even peck for insects in dead wood, as we got to witness first hand.

We watched the red head bounce up and down the pole. The kids seemed especially fascinated with how well he climbed.

The reason they can climb so well is their zygodactyl feet. With four toes, the first and fourth point backward and the second and third point forward. The grip is strong enough to allow them to vertically walk up tree trunks.

I didn’t learn until later that a woodchuck is actually a groundhog, but I went ahead and teased the boys with the following tongue twister. They thought it was funny, but didn’t attempt to say it.

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? He would chuck all the wood that a woodchuck could chuck if he could chuck wood. 

Now I want to go to the library and check out Peck, Peck, Peck which is an adorable and funny story about a baby woodpecker learning to peck.

Science

Nature’s favorite building blocks are…

Quarks!

When I think of “Quark” I think of the creamy sauce my mother makes using (I only guess here) sour cream, dill, chives, garlic, and parsley. She used to serve it with boiled potatoes. I would consider doing the same myself, as I remember it being delicious, but my husband has put his foot down about serving potatoes too many times a week, and therefore I don’t have enough of an excuse to dress them up. He wouldn’t eat it anyways. *grumbles about picky eaters*

If you were thinking the answer to the question “What is nature’s basic building block?” was ATOMS, you, my friend, are sadly outdated. Apparently, nature now builds with Quarks which stick together to form Atoms. Actually, I think nature has always built with Quarks, but we just didn’t have the knowledge or a cute little name to call them. Now we know!

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This book, Baby Loves Quarks!, has explained the concept to me in a way I can understand. It has super cute and colorful pictures and simple sentences that even I can understand the concept. It also expands outward and explains protons, neutrons, atoms, and elements. I highly recommend this as a fun read for both parents and baby geniuses. (My normal children seemed to enjoy it too.)

My FAVORITE science joke EVER is:

Two atoms are sitting in a bar. The first turns to the second and says, “I think I lost an electron!”

The second atom asks, “are you sure?”

The first atom replies, “I’m positive!!”

Teeheheeehahahahaha. I love that.

I was trying to write my own joke for this post, but the best I could come up with is:

What are ducks made out of? Quarks! (….because it sounds like Quack. I’ll show myself out now.)

About

August

The month is almost over! It seems to me that the older we get the faster time seems to go by. You also get a speed boost for each child you have. When I had only 1 child it felt like I had a handle on the passage of time, but with two children I sometimes wake up and realize the month is over already.

The 3-Year-Old

He hasn’t worn a diaper since the beginning of the month, and I am trying to learn to trust him and not nag him so much about “Do you need to pee? Do you need to poo?” I know it is frustrating to him to be asked these questions constantly, but he does still forget to take care of himself sometimes. Still, I am so relieved he has finally made the leap and is mostly accident free, even at night.

He is obsessed with Blippi the TV show. In fact he spent nearly 2 hours watching Blippi on the Kindle today.

I did not let him watch TV until he was nearly two years old, but his brother (who is 1) will follow him around and watch the show with him for as long as it is playing. I’m torn between enforcing limits for the two and letting him learn his limits on his own.

I try to think back to when I was young and single and lived in my own apartment. I watched a lot more TV but I usually only watched it while “studying” or doing homework. I also played a lot of video games. Yes, he is 3, but part of me thinks he should still get to play the games he wants to play.

I had him pause the video and told him how watching too much television wasn’t good for his brain or his body. That he needed to play games and run around so his brain can form new connections, so that he can learn new things, and so that his muscles and bones will stay strong and healthy. Then I took his brother for a nap.

20 minutes later he came into the room and laid down with me. It turns out the Kindle ran out of battery. I told him that made me happy and I reminded him why watching too much television wasn’t good for us. Then he asked me to read 9 books (always 1 more!) and fell asleep pretty quickly after the read-a-thon.

The 1-Year-Old

Mr. 1 has started doing board puzzles.

My favorite is Melissa and Doug Farm Wooden Chunky Puzzle, and his favorite is Melissa & Doug Vehicle Sound Puzzle.

He still has a little trouble turning some of the bigger pieces when they have the little peg, because he insists on using the peg, but he has shown great improvement over the last week.

He is also becoming more independent and wants to do everything himself. Unfortunately, he is also easily frustrated and spends a lot of the time shrieking when something goes wrong. He is trying, and he knows how to ask for help, so I try to be patient and let him learn.

<35> Week Old

It is still early. In fact, I was supposed to get my period today. Instead I have:

  • Nausea and gas
  • Fatigue
  • Fuller, more sensitive breasts
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Constant thirst and increased hunger

I don’t know if it’s related, but sometimes my spit turns to glue in my mouth. It’s pretty weird.

Mr. 3 keeps asking if I’ve been to the hospital yet, and I have to explain that it will take a while for the baby to be fully grown. Mr. 1 has no idea what’s happening.

I hope you all had a satisfying month!

Daily Lessons, Language

I want to be a Contractor when I grow up. What does a Contractor wear?

My 3-year-old is all about putting on a costume to assume a new persona. Although he doesn’t have a costume for his “Snowflake the Horse” personality. Or his “concrete mixer” personality which he has been using most of the last few days. He likes to argue too, “I can’t wash my hands, I have WHEELS.” or “I can’t go in the potty, HORSES pee on the GRASS”.

Well, it’s been interesting at home the last few days because we have a contractor who is tearing down our old deck and building us a beautiful giant new deck. Monday they tore down the existing deck, and both kids just watched the process almost entirely without distraction.

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Yesterday they dug giant holes in the yard where they will be putting the support beams. I wonder if there is a proper name for that? I almost wish the contractor would talk to them every morning and explain to them what he’s doing!

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It is just INCREDIBLE how much dirt comes out of those holes.

Having a contractor do work around your house is expensive, but there is an added benefit that your kids will probably be fascinated by them. Yesterday was the most productive day I had in 3 years. I vacuumed the entire upstairs, cleaned the bathtub, laundry, dishes, scraped the stove (this took a long time since it hadn’t been done in months) and more.

How is it that a day later all those things need doing again?

The contractor is now waiting on inspection so I have to entertain my kids myself today.

Mr. 1 is learning so much lately, and is really trying to become his own independent person. He no longer wants to be picked up and set down in his high chair or car seat. He has to climb and try to buckle himself in. This can take a lot of time and frustration. But he’s also trying to jump and get his feet off the floor, and he’s saying more words out loud. Today’s new word was “Throw” which he saw in his favorite book, My World, My Words.

Honestly, though, it is hard to say what their favorite books are because they read SO much. Take a look at the right column in my home school journal. Those are the books we read over those few days and probably doesn’t even include the books my husband reads to them during “Mommy time”.

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My own personal favorite kids book right now is the Gobble Gobble Mooooo Tractor Book. It has such cute pictures and is a lot of fun to read. It is about some farm animals that are pretending to drive the tractor and make their interpretations of all the necessary noises.

 

Adventures

Big Truck Day

Yesterday in Redmond, Washington, it was Big Truck Day. I found out about this on my local homeschool Facebook group when I asked for ideas to satisfy kids obsessed with trucks. 

Just as an example of how much my 3-year-old loves trucks is that he feeds himself with his front loader and dump truck instead of using the recommended utensils.

Big Truck Day was like a dream come true for both of my boys and they would run from one truck to another scream laughing in excitement. 

There was a garbage truck, and I am super surprised that Mr. 3 didn’t go “Blippi” on us. (His favorite show which talks about trucks and things.)

Next was a ladder fire truck with its ladder reaching to the sky. The fireman gave Mr. 3 a fire truck he’s been wearing a lot.

There was a bus, and Mr. 1 tried to close the doors on everyone. Whoops!

There was a dump truck where Mr. 3 spilled water on the drivers’ seat. I think this was his favorite as he came back to it twice!

My personal favorite was the moving truck by Two Men and a Truck. These guys went above and beyond by turning the back of the truck into a miniature playground with tunnels and inflatable balls. 


Everyone else just had their doors open and an empty truck… like UPS truck with empty shelves. 
My phone overheated or just rebelled against me halfway through so I couldn’t get pictures of the cat adoption van, cupcake car, ice cream truck, backhoe(another favorite), tractor, and many other trucks I don’t even remember the names for. 

It was so much fun for the boys and we caught a short tractor ride before we headed to the bathrooms and then the car to go home. 

When we got home, after naps in the car, the little ones built their own truck show.


It was a beautiful and exciting day and I am definitely going to keep an eye out for similar events!

(Although it was scary when the boys ran in opposite directions, it was totally worth the stress to see them so excited!)

Daily Lessons, Parenting

Being Helpful

My kids love being helpful. I know it can be frustrating when they start sweeping the ceiling, or that vacuuming takes 8 times as long. And yet, it is in our best interest to let them help! They are learning important lessons such as helping and caring for others, taking care of themselves and their belongings, teamwork, problem solving, fine and gross motor coordination, and SO much more.  Continue reading “Being Helpful”

games

Game: What am I making?

This is a game that works well with play dough. Both my children enjoyed this and took turns guessing. The concept is simple and the game can last as long as there is interest.

Make your play dough into different forms and have them guess what you are making. You don’t need a special talent. If they are having trouble you can use noises and motion to help them guess. I don’t have pictures but some other things we made included:

  • horse
  • people
  • kite
  • rocket ship
  • airplane

My 17 month old even plopped a lump on the table and made the rocket ship motion and noise. I think he was trying to make his own rocket ship! My three year old did not make any shapes but seemed to enjoy guessing.

If you have older children you can play that the first person to guess correctly gets to make the next item.

What is the coolest thing that you or kids have made with play dough?

 

Adventures, History, Science

Cancelled Plans – It’s Okay

Well, we were GOING to go to Tug Boat Story Time aboard the historic Arthur Foss, but apparently the 200 year old tug boat needed repairs. Still, we have visited the story time a few times in the past and it has most often been very engaging and lots of fun. If you have littles in the Seattle area, I would encourage you to check it out.

Well we had already parked the car before we found out about the cancellation, but we didn’t cry and pout. We walked around and looked at the other boats at the Museum for Wooden Boats. We discovered that the whole South Lake Union park was a large construction site, and the monkeys just ran around and climbed on things.

Honestly, sometimes I forget how little these kids need in order to be entertained. The world is a beautiful playground!

Did You Know that we didn’t make paper from wood fibre until 1885? And the first Western Mill to do so was in Washington on the North Bank of the Columbia River, mashing the wood to pulp with big stone wheels like the one pictured above.

This stone was in front of the Museum of History and Innovation. In case you were wondering what paper mills had to do with boats, its really just that these museums are right next to each other.

Well, we had a good time, and after some coaxing and cajoling, I finally got the 3 year old to take a nap. The one year old was asleep before we even made it back onto the highway.


This morning, Mr. 3 asked me where glass comes from. I found an interesting and short video on YouTube that explained the process of turning Sand into glass using heat. They use Soda Ash and Limestone to lower the temperature at which the sand melts, but it still takes a hot hot hot 3090 degrees Fahrenheit. They pour the molten glass over melted tin to get it to cool flat into giant panes of glass that are later cut down to size. The glass and tin have a water and oil relationship and the glass hardens much sooner than tin because tin has a much lower melting point.

Really fascinating.

Mr. 3 also asked me if horses have boogers, but I have not researched that. My guess is that, yes, they do have boogers.

What have your kids asked you lately that’s made you think?