Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

For Father's Day, we surprised sweet hubby with tickets to an event that I knew he'd love.  He was totally surprised when we told him he'd be playing with baby tigers at an event called 'baby tiger playtime'!  He's a big-cat fan.  

We traveld to a place called Wildlife In Need.  It's in Charleston, IN.  It's north of Louisville, almost towards Cincinnati.  It's a little on the pricey side, but it's a fundraiser and it's a unique experience for sure.  

First we got to play with a Capuchin Monkey.  They had a few babies, this is Harryanna.  She promptly stole Bee's glasses. 

She liked Lou too.  She stole his sunglasses.  Oh man, she was a cuddler. 

Her sister later sat oh Bee's head.  

So once you're in the playtime room, you sit on the floor.  You can sit, lay, crawl, whatever, as long as you stay low.  They first brought out some of the other baby animals, wolf cubs, boar, red fox, and some others.  They let them walk around and play while they talked about them.  

Then they brought out the tigers!  They got their bottles and then they were ready to play!  They moved so fast, but I think there were six in the room, and about 25 of us guests. 

For about 45 minutes, they just walked (or ran) around the room. They'd get distracted and stop and play with a toy for a minute, chase their tail, pounce on their friend, lay down for a belly rub, and just do baby tiger things.

Hubby clearly enjoyed himself! 

Lou's back was favorite perch for several different babies. 

The more animated and lively you were, they more you attracted them.  So, the kids were not without a tiger very long.  This white guy was our favorite. 

We are super glad we got a chance to experience this!  This was one of those things where I thought about it for days and went back and forth... it's too expensive, it's too far to drive, it would take most of a whole day on the weekend... In the end I decided those were all excuses and we need to make sure we're giving the kids experiences with us that they'll remember.  I don't think it's my job to necessarily entertain them all the time and make every day is a party, but I do want them to look back and remember that their childhood was pretty fun.  I think tigers fit the bill perfectly.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

baby shower- the sewing part 2

Yesterday I talked about my little sister's baby shower.  Here are the sewing projects I worked on for her.  I was off of school for the summer and I couldn't start packing the house for the move, so I just sewed! 

She sent me this inspiration picture months ago and I said it was not a hard pattern and I was excited to get to work on it.  I don't know where this picture came from, she just texted it to me. 

source: unknown

My mom made the curtains and I made up the quilt.  I misjudged the size of my quilt squares and ended up with tons of tiny squares.  The ones on my mom's curtains are the size we originally discussed.   They better match the inspiration picture.   

She had some crib sheets she liked delivered to my house and I used them and the inspiration picture to fabric shop.  I went to Joann's to shop since my mom needed to be able to pick up the same fabric a few states away.  I ended up using one of the baby sheets for the back of the quilt along with a strip of squares of fabric from the other side, which I like to do on my quilts.  

I don't know the finished size.  I just kept adding squares until it seems about right.  I think I could have gone just a touch wider.  

I've been seeing these bandana bibs on friend's kids and loved them.  I found a free pattern at White and Bright.    It was easy to follow and really a simple little pattern.  I used up fabric I had on hand.  

 I think we all decided that the lumberjack one was our favorite.  My dog has a matching coat- we call it his hunting jacket.  Pretty sure these are my new go-to baby boy gift. 

I've been waiting for an excuse to crochet edge something after seeing pictures of vintage baby blankets.  I guess this edging was popular int the early 1900's.  I like the juxtaposition of the modern flannels and the vintage edging.   It looked like for awhile that we were purchasing a house built in 1901.  I was looking at pictures getting ideas for decorating and ended off on a tangent. 

I looked for patterns online and ended up experimenting with them and tweaking them to find something I liked.  I sewed two pieces of flannel right sides together, flipped them, then did a zig zag stitch around the outside to help them lay evenly and to use the stitches as my spacing guides.  I used a number 7 hook and number 10 crocket thread.  I made a hole at the bottom of each zig zag stitch.  I could only do one or two at a time or the hole closed up as I was working.  I did two single crochets in each hole.  I had to poke the holes with my little sewing scissors and this proved to be a time consuming process, but it was a great project to take to soccer camp! I Then I did another row of stitching alternating single and double crochet stitches.  I tried a little scallop, but it looked feminine.  

I really love the way it turned out and it was a mindless project, which is nice sometimes.  If you need better directions, I started my research at Sew Chic. 

My sister asked me to sew a boppy cover and even sent a link to a pattern at Vanilla Joy.   Another easy to follow pattern.  The blue checkered fabric was a baby crib sheet from Lou.  The red chevron was from the quilt I made and the other's were picked up at Joann's. 

I ordered a wooded teething ring but didn't like the fabric once it came so I copied the little ear shaped and made a new one.  The other side is one of the red prints.  I think wooden teething rings are precious. 

I found some old PLU fabric from the days of sewing for my babies and knew a wet bag would be an easy little project.  She's not going to cloth diaper, but I think every diaper bag needs one.   

My former go-to baby boy project  is this little crochet newsboys hat.  I bought the pattern years ago from someone on Etsy.  I don't even see her shop anymore.  It's another fast project.  I've printed off the pattern and have it in page protectors because I don't know where to get it anymore. 

The last project was last minute, but easy and fast and might be the most practical gift.  This is a combo item.  Here is the general shape. 

It's a combo car seat cover (light weight), nursing cover, and shopping cart cover.   It's made out of super stretchy fabric that was a little tricky to work with, but at the same time, super forgiving.  Joann's only had five different print/color options for this super stretchy fabric but I do like what I ended up with.  If I make it again, I might go to the nicer fabric store in town and see what they have. This is an item I wish I had had years ago.  I found the tutorial at do it yourself divas.  

As she opened gifts and as I helped her unpack things in the nursery, I realized she doesn't have a baby carrier of any sorts!  It's a travesty! I'll be looking through my patterns and will sew a sling and mei tai carrier.  Because sewing is better than packing up the house! 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Baby shower and lots of sewing part 1

My little sister's baby shower was this weekend.  The kids and I drove up to the farm to stay and got to join in the fun.  And I got poison ivy... I always take a treat home from her house! 

Littlest siter, me, mama to be, Bee, sister in law

sister in law, me, little sister, our mama

It was a fun shower, hosted by her mother in law.  I planned two games and brought the punch.  I was happy to host again if needed, but was so glad when she offered.  We're trying to get ready for a move and I had a lot of sewing projects I wanted to get to for the baby.  I did the bridal shower last year and was glad to share the party planning! 

Isn't she cute?  And she feels super.  It's ok to hate her a little.  She's having a boy- I think I felt worse with Bee than Lou... I just remember I was sick a lot.  All day.  For months. 

I'll share my sewing project tomorrow, but my mom and I teamed up on some goodies for the nursery.  I did the quilt and she did the curtains.  It's a precious little room! 

Lou went, but announced it was mostly for cake. 

The two games I planned were a baby food taste testing and a name that tune game.  I just used a pre-made song compilation I found online. 

We also got to celebrate my mom's birthday.  It's not for two months, but she's moved so far away (11 hours!), we won't see her then.  

My kids always go right for the swing in the tree.  Can you see her- the tiny little thing flying through the air?  I think our new house can have a tree swing! 

My brother and his sweet wife drove down from Michigan and we always enjoy a visit from them.  My brother taught us a new card game he's been playing with his students- exploding kittens.  Here we are learning with our hands showing.  It's was complicated and a little weird, but my kids learned it the next morning and really liked it! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

escape the classroom- science edition

I'm super excited to tell you about a really engaging activity we did in my classroom.  It started with my trip to the escape room in town and just how much I loved it.  Then I made my own kids an Easter hunt 'escape' style.  I was thinking there had to be a cool way to bring it into the classroom.  There's at least one company out there making ready made 'escapes' on different topics.  I tried one of theirs and then decided I could make my own that would suit our needs even better, I'll tell you about them at the end of this post.   Admittedly there was a good deal of time invested in the creation and then in the set-up, but the rigor, engagement, and fun levels were all so high, it was absolutely worth it.  High rigor, high fun, high engagement are a sought after trifecta in the classroom.  I have used that word twice in a week here.  Score. 

The topic for this escape was as a cumulating review for the measurement science unit I teach.  I teach it four times in the year to each of the four third grades, so I was thinking time investment wise,  a science activity would get the most play in my classroom.  Bang for my buck. 

To put the kids into their groups, I passed each student a popsicle stick. Because this is not my first rodeo, I had pulled one stick of each color in my hand and handed it to a student I felt like could be a leader for that group.  I also had one stick of each color in the back of the pile in my other hand and handed it to students who needed spread out.  If you're a teacher, five kids immediately came to mind.  

The first challenge was to get into the color group you were handed and build the puzzle.  Once the puzzle was built they waved me over and I gave them the first challenge card and sent them after their supplies.  Each group needed one cup of water, one syringe of water...

and one bucket of supplies. We do four types of measurement in my science unit, length in cm, capacity in ml, weight in g, and temperature in C.  I wrote cards for the first three and have the option to add a temperature card at a later date.  I didn't want the pressure of having temperature sensitive setup elements.  I also was concerned about time. 

Card one had three questions.  The number choice next to the answer they selected were the numbers for the first lock, a three digit lock.  For example, question A's answer was 2.  20ml.  The first number in the combination was 2.  Should they have answered it correctly on their first guess, they were able to open the lock.  Every group but one ended up back at their desks trying to figure out where they went wrong. 

The question about measuring the water in their syringe was tricky for some because I filled them with 20 ml water and 30 ml air.  Few groups remembered that they needed to get rid of the air.  I did not expect that to be a tricky element. 

The first lock was on an old wooden art kit that I added a flip style locking piece to. 

Inside was card two.  There was one card in each location for each group.  The groups had to relock the remaining cards back up for the next group.  I found that I was needed to circulate around and help with locks and the relocking was a bit tricky.  

Card two required them to set up and balance the scales and then do a little weighing.  All the pieces needed were in their buckets.  

A few groups had to go back and reweigh their items.  I gave very little help and allowed them to make mistakes and have to go back and start again.  It was interesting who in each group was the real problem solver, who was too bossy to listen to their team mates, who went for the fast and easy answer and then wasn't right and who was slow and patient and careful  in their work. 

Card two gave them a four digit number that was the combination to a four digit lock that I had placed on one of our lockers.  

Inside that locker was card three. 

Card three required some measurement in centimeters.  And careful reading of the directions!  The lock was a five digit lock that was actually 4 digits and a numeral at the end.  I had to made some last minute adjustments to the card to make the work. 

That five digit combination opened the last locker where I had placed the awards.  There was a pile of first place awards that the first group took, second place awards that the next group took, etc.  I was able to do this activity with my final quarter science class and then with my homeroom the next week as well and both times the winning group was not the group I had guessed would win.  Slow and steady wins the race. 

One helpful hint should you choose to create your own is that  I added a card for myself that had the lock information,  and the supplies listed clearly organized.  When I se this up next year I know exactly what to program the locks to and what materials to set out.  

I've been messing around with locks for a few different things in class and have quickly learned that the cheap ones I ordered on amazon to start with were just that.  They broke the first activity.  They were a non-descript black lock with three digits, 2 for like $7.  I ended up slowly collecting locks from target and really like this programable Masterlock style that is $7-8.  I've picked up all different colors to help me distinguish the locks on my set-up sheet. 

Also, the kids found it helpful to have a little tutorial using the locks before we started.  Most had zero experience with using a lock.  

I've also decided that as I create different activities using the locks I need to make sure to always set them back to 0000 when storing them.  Otherwise, I might not remember what card they went with last and end up having to trash them. 

I mentioned that I would tell you about the company I tried out that makes escape workshops.  They are called The Escape Classroom.  They are pretty new and don't have a lot of workshops out yet but they do take requests.  I will say that I tried their perimeter and area freebie and it was good. It was geared for 4-6 grade I think and I used it with my 3rd graders.  It was challenging, but doable.  I let them use calculators because we hadn't learned multiple digit multiplication yet. It took them 2 hours, but they loved every second.  I had some feedback for the company and they were great to work with.  They replied super fast and took my comments to heart and made some changes.  They sell their workshops for $15 each, which is a little steep for my teacher's checkbook.  If my school would pay, that might be something to look into.