Monday, May 31, 2010

100's club

Birthday pictures will have to wait until tomorrow. We are exhausted (bouncing will do that to you) and have another day of fun tomorrow. Lou is lucky to have his birthday on memorial day weekend- it makes for a whole weekend of celebration and fun. Some of us will need a sugar detox.

Here's a math activity we are working on this summer. It's called 100's club. I first starting doing 100's club when I student taught 2nd grade. At first, I thought it was just busy work and a time waster. Don't be deceived by the seemingly simpleness of 100's club though. I have since decided that there are many teachable moments and useful features to this simple activity. Like most things this summer, I am adapting it to a (brand new) 3 year old, a going to be Kindergartner, first grader and third grader.

Here is what it is: a blank hundreds chart

Here's how it works. Kids fill in the numbers on the blank 100's chart.

Kids: oddly love it, they love to count to 100, flip it over and keep going. Can they get to the 1000 club? It can be fun and slightly competitive if you have a whole room of kids working on it.

Here's how I use it:
Young math students can learn very basic skills. Here are the numbers 1-10, lets practice those. See what I wrote, lets copy those. Lets count the dots to count to 10. Basic basic. (I held his hand as we wrote the numbers, then he wrote some things on his own. Mostly an H, a N and L). Starts the thinking of counting and working left to right.

Next step up: Lets work on writing 1-20 or 1-30. Lets look for patterns. When you get to 10 that should be the end of the row. Did you forget any when you get to the end of the row? It's like a little self check. See how the whole second row starts with a 1 and then the number. Intro to ones and tens. See how the third row all start with 2. Look at the columns. See how all the 4's are lined up? 4, 14, 24. I plugged in some numbers for additional self check. Again, there is also the element of working left to right and then starting at the left of a new row.

step up: Lets count 1-50. Are things lined up right? Are we getting the 10's all in the last box of each row? (we didn't today!) Let's look at this and count by 10s, 5, 2s. Let's look at odd numbers, even numbers. See the patterns. Lets get this 1-50 down, then we go on to 100.

The advanced version: She's off and running. She wrote her numbers quickly. We could use this to work on multiples. Lets color the multiples of 4, etc. Next time, she flipping her page over to start at 101 and keep counting. This is where lots of my students have had trouble in the past. They can go to 100, but getting over that hump, 101, 102, and seeing how the pattern continues in the other hundreds. There is the element of self check too, how far will they go go once they make a mistake before they catch it. Lets talk about ones, tens, and hundreds. There are lots of patterns to spy out too.

So, that's how is all works. Simple, but with lots of teachable parts and possibilities for spring board activities. -The reason my pages say M&M 100's club is because the old team I used to teach on was called the M&M team. We all had silly names. Anyway, the kids got such a kick out of 'personalized' pages.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

weekend stuff and a must make for teachers

Lou's birthday party festivities are today. I'll just say it involves a bouncy house and a snow cone maker! Hopefully I'll get pictures loaded up for tomorrow's post. Good grief, the boy is three on Monday! In the mean time, I'll taking someone special to the fabric store to help me pick out some fabric for a fall birthday gift. I have my version sketched up already and it is going to be one of the more involved and detailed projects I've done. I'm super exited. As a teacher (or former, whatever) I will attest, that this will be a much coveted bag! See my inspiration here on So You Think Your Crafty- the tutorial section. I love that blog! Here are all of the entries for the teacher gift week.

To get ready for this weekend, I made up a fresh batch of our favorite granola, a chocolate cranberry version of these granola bars, blueberry waffles made from our favorite pancake recipe, and a nice batch of mall style big soft pretzels. Oh, and this delicious drink will be made up this afternoon right before guests arrive... otherwise I'd drink it all before they came.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

time to quilt

The butterfly quilt is all appliqued and pinned. It's time to quilt it. I'm using the meandering stitch which is my favorite style.

Here, I tested out two colors of tread. The white is too white and the cream is too cream. This is my 'free' quilt made entirely by scraps and supplies on hand, so I went with the cream. I'm going to have to keep my stitches tidier. They will show much more.

Friday, May 28, 2010

making sentences

School is out for Bee, but school is pretty much what I've been working on for the past couple weeks. We plan to do school at home over the summer. I'm shooting for an hour each day. We have two neighbor girls over for a good part of the summer, so they are on board too. I had intended to start next week when the older girls are out of school, but as soon as they spied their school totes full of stuff, they got pretty excited and wanted to start. For the past two weeks, after they go to school, they come over and we all get started on my school stuff. I love that kids love to learn.

So I have a preschooler (Lou), a kindergartner (Bee), an almost 1st grader and an almost 3rd grader. I was planning on sharing each persons work from each day, but that's a lot to write about. Instead, I'll just share in general the different strategies or activities that we will repeat throughout the summer.

Here's one called 'making sentences.'

This is for the youngest three. We start a sentence together. This is one we tried a few weeks ago just so they could learn how it works.
  • We wrote together, "Easter is fun because..."
  • We read it together and one at a time they completed the sentence.
  • I wrote the sentence out and I read the sentence to them pointing to each word.
  • I wrote (or you could type) out the sentence on a sheet of paper.
  • We cut the words apart.
  • They reassembled the sentence, using clues such a capital letters, punctuation, words they know, etc.
  • I check it.
  • They read it to me.
  • They glued it.
  • They read it aloud.
  • They illustrated their sentence.
  • We reread them all again.

Next time we go to work on a sentence, we will review the past ones as well. After a few of these guys, I will assemble them into booklets with each child in their own booklet.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

another gift I want to keep

It wouldn't do me much good to keep this pajama set for myself though. They are about a size 6 girls. Bee is going to a little birthday party for a little gal from her preschool class. It's at the children's museum so that should be fun. This flannel is from a tub of fabric my mom sent over.

Bee helped me select a picture from the scene on the flannel and I made that into an applique. The sheep on the shirt is made from flannel and jersey knit, just stuff I had on hand. The edges of the flannel with fray a little, but I think that will look cute. There is talk of a zipper pouch in this style, you know for her over night essentials, but we'll see. This is Lou's birthday weekend and I have a few things to do before company comes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

a weekend wedding

I updated yesterdays post with what I hope is the answer to my problem.

My old college roommate got married this past weekend (we're not old, that's just what you say). It was a beautiful day! The weather had been really cool in the 60s, but it was perfect on Saturday.

It was outdoors in a gazebo. I love outdoor weddings. My camera takes such better pictures in good sunlight. It makes me happy.

Bee was as excited as could be to be there, Lou on the other hand, hid the whole time.

They left in her dad's cool old car.

Hubby got to hang out with his best friend from high school, who married my best friend from high school. She and I were room mates our first year in college and then she went off and got married. The kids were helping the guys scratch off lotto tickets. Lou assured everyone that he knew how to do that (perhaps that's what he does when I'm working in the garden). Our table assignments were in these little envelopes with stickers that said "lucky in love." We weren't lucky with out lotto tickets.

Here's my other college room mate. She and I lived with the bride in a 'triple.' It was the best room on the whole campus. The bride spent one whole semester in France, so we had so much space. It was the hang out place for sure.

After the wedding, Bee asked, "What is she to me?" I told her that she wasn't related to us, she was just a friend. Bee said that didn't seem right and maybe someday she would be. I can't think of any future situation where she would be related to us, but it sure would be fun.

Bee was really hoping to catch the bouquet! She did not.

This is the old gang. We have not been completely together in some time. I can't even really think of when it would have been. It's been several years though.

Bee danced and danced!
And danced and danced (here with the mother of the bride). We had to take a break when "I like big butts" came on. She was shocked. I tried to get her to laugh about it, but she just stood there. Luckily you could not understand the actual words other than the 'big butt's' part. We decided to check on the boys.

This was pretty much Lou and daddy all evening. Lou did not like the music or the people. He didn't like that Bee and I were out dancing. He only raised his head to eat. They served pizza and beer and cupcakes. I had a delicious cherry coke and the kids had a sprite. It was a crazy time after all.

Probably the best part of the weekend was a surprise at the hotel. The kids really wanted to swim. The hotel has a water park with slides, lazy river, and spray area, etc. That area was an extra $20 a person! We instead went to the regular hotel pool (free) for a little bit. As we were leaving, this woman said that she had to leave and wasn't able to use her three passes for the water slide area for the day. She asked if we wanted them. Lou was free since his birthday is not until next weekend so we had plenty. We had nothing that we had to get back home for, so we spent a couple hours on the water slides and lazy river! That's a good surprise!

It was such a fun weekend. It was a long weekend. It was a lot of time together. A lot of time together in a car. I tried, but did not make it up and off to the gym at 4:30 monday morning. Not a chance.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

calling all gardeners and pest control agents

I have wedding pictures to share, but they will have to wait until tomorrow. Something crazy is going on in the garden! Here is the zucchini. All of the zucchini are like this and most of the cucumbers are getting there. What in the world? It also seems to be on the acorn squash, but not as bad yet. I can't see what's doing this.... although this weekend, they had a feast.

There seems to be a small worm that likes the cauliflower and broccoli, but I'm all over him! I think I'm on top of him enough and am not worried really.

Other than that total destruction.... things are going well. We are eating snow peas by the handfull. There are new little tomatoes showing everyday. I have to remind Lou not to pick them. We lost a few little green ones before he caught on.

Look at the broccoli go. I see it in there now.

Another interesting note, I noticed out by the compost pile today, there are about a dozen tomato plants and a few cucumbers coming out of nowhere. We'll see what happens. Maybe the little bugs won't find them.

Lou also needs reminded not to pick the blueberries.

So, back to the destruction. What's a girl to do? I haven't used any spray up to this point, but I'm not wanting to loose the whole plant, which is what's going to happen.

EDITED TO ADD: This is what I used today. A fast thinking neighbor stepped in. We'll see if it works for whatever is in my garden. It says it's for organic gardens and is made from seaweed. We'll give it a shot.

Monday, May 24, 2010

a gift I want to keep

Do you ever get a gift for someone and the longer it sits at your house waiting to be gifted, the more you want to keep it for your very own? That's the case with this cutting board I purchased for a wedding gift. It's not that I wanted the wedding canceled, but I was daydreaming that the bride called and and said, "Please don't bring a gift, whatever you have for us, keep it for yourself." Didn't happen... probably has never happened in the whole history of weddings.

A local friend, Brett, makes these cutting boards himself. His brother installs hardwood floors and Brett collects the leftover scraps that would be otherwise tossed or burned. The other boards I've seen of his have been tiny pieces, like 2-3 inch chunks. He asked what kind of wood I wanted and I really didn't know. I told him to just have fun with it. This is what I got. I love it. It seems like it's made up of 9 or 10 different woods. This one hasn't been oiled yet. He didn't want me wrapping and them traveling with an oily board. I'll have to stop by the newlywed's house soon just to see it oiled. It's a good thing was last weekend because I don't think I could have had it sit on the counter another day with out oiling it up and calling it mine.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

mandolin- the non musical type

I've been needing to do my product review for my new mandolin but I've been waiting to try it out with a number of foods. I was really hoping I'd figure it out better too. I was allowed to select a product from probably a million items to test and review on my blog. What a sweet deal! I've been thinking about looking at food slices like this for some time. Here is the mandolin I selected from the CSN stores:

ok- looks good. the blades are in a box and there are several of them. There is a large cover that you hold onto so your hands are not close to the blade.

The first thing we tried was zucchini and yellow squash, which we grilled. There is a dial on the sides to allow for varying thickness of slices. Getting the food item in the holder and getting it to slice was a tricky at first, then I read the directions. It still is a little tricky.

The slicing was fast and smooth, when I was doing it right.

I can cut vegetable and certainly don't mind getting out the cutting board and a knife. The thing that really interested me with the mandolin was cutting potatoes. I hate cutting potatoes. Hubby would eat potatoes at every meal if I made them. I hate cutting potatoes, so we rarely have them. There is even a french fry blade. Perfect, hubby and the kids love oven fries. This was very hard to do. I called in hubby to use some muscle with it. It took one of us to hold onto the base and the other to pull the top down with some really force to cut the potato.

Just a few slices produced a lot of little fries. After that, we gave up and I pulled out the old knife and cutting board. The kids did really get a kick out of the more french fry shape oven fry. I also tried some apples thinly sliced which they thought was a really fun snack.

The clean up is ok. There are several pieces and they are all dishwasher safe. I usually just wash things in the sink so it was too many pieces for me, compared to a knife. I think I'll use the mandolin if I have lots and lots of vegetables to cut or something needs to be extra thin. Otherwise, it won't be worth dragging out another kitchen tool when the knife is right there. This is the first mandolin food slicer I have ever used, so I suppose as far as food slicers go, this is a fine one. I did like how my hand was not too close to the blade. That's important for someone clumsy. I wouldn't know anyone like that though.

Overall, I would say this is a nice mandolin as far as they go. I however don't find a mandolin in general practical for my everyday meal prep. It is now in the bottom cabinet, the one with small appliances and kitchen gadgets that don't get pulled out much. They console each other in there, I'm sure.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A neighborhood of Mothers Day gifts

So back closer to Mother's Day, I mentioned that we had several neighborhood girls working on projects at our house. It was so fun working on these with them.

We selected hoops, then traced them on paper. They drew little pictures in the circles.

I traced their pictures onto muslin.

They selected from my stash of embroidery floss- acquired at a garage sale for a seriously low price. seriously low. They might not have know what was in the gallon bag because it was so ridiculously low.
When we first started, I thought just the 5th grader would be able to do it. Her stitches were really good!

Then the 2nd grader wanted to join. She wasn't bad either.

Finally the kindergartener got it. I was really surprised with how quickly they all caught onto sewing with a back stitch. This silly gal pulled her needle off the thread with each pass through the fabric. It was a lengthy process with me re-threading it repeatedly.

Of course Bee had to start one too. Her stitches weren't bad either. She struggled with going from front to back. She wanted to always poke from the front. Her thread got wrapped around and around the edge of the hoop.

We were only able to work on it for a few minutes each time. After that all the sitting still and concentrating after a long day of school got to them and the swing set seemed a better choice.

The next ones I make for myself are going to be pillows! I saw this lovely one here at Noodleheads. My couch pillows could sure use some love'n.