Thursday, March 31, 2011

butterfly palace

The coolest thing we did while visiting my mom was go to the Butterfly Palace.  This is in Branson, MO.  I'm sure there have to be similar places around, but this was just really neat.  It's mostly pictures today, all ones from our visit.

I think this first one is called a paper kite butterfly. 

This guy with the eyeballs on his wings is the same as the blue one a few pics down.  They were deceiving.  I think it's a blue morpho.

Hubby was the most patient and the best butterfly 'catcher.'

Bee tried and tried to get one to land on her. 

Lou only caught them on accident.

Here's my mom with the kids.  Bee is pretty mad that another little girl had many on her.  She was picking them up off the feeders, a clear NO NO for anyone that read the signs.

Bee is still hoping to catch a butterfly. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

preschool - Butterfly day

This week we talk about butterflies. I was pretty happy that it was my turn to teach. How fun are butterflies?   You can't talk about butterflies without reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  I usually don't choose the books that the kids have probably heard a hundred times, but they did have a lot of fun with this one.

I love this big book.  It was a gift to Bee when she was just wee from my brother and his wife.  I think that it is from Barnes and Noble though, if you are interested.  The little puppet can even fit through the holes.   The kiddos all really liked it.

We did a little sorting and counting with this little felt set I made up to go with the fruits from the story.  I love having these fabric numbers to use with varying counting activities.

This is actually the first thing I showed my little three year old friends.  They are butterfly pictures that I took this past week when we went to The Butterfly Palace

This is the first book I read to the class.  It's From Egg to Butterfly by Shannon Zemucka.  This was a good book, I would have read any short non fiction with real pictures though. 

I picked up this life-cycle model set at Toys R Us recently.  I  know they will get used a lot.  I used this set while we sang the Butterfly Song by Dr. Jean.

We looked at some additional butterflies and caterpillars on these flashcards.  I bought them at Target in the dollar section a few summers ago.  I love punching a hole in the corners and ringing them up.  They get looked at and don't get lost.

Of course I showed the kids the butterfly in a jar.  Several wanted to show their parents at pick up time.  The teachers loved seeing it too. The kitty was happy that I got it out again.

With just learning a few signs, the kids easily signed along to the song Caterpillar Dream from Rachael Coleman of Signing Times.  It's on the Great Outdoors DVD and CD.   Then, we used little butterfly finger puppets to move and dance along to the following song:   (I'm apparently too lazy to type out what is in the picture tonight- actually hubby and I have a bet as to whether I can finish this post in the time I estimated.   If I loose I have to go make us both frozen hot chocolates.  I'm thinking I should loose on purpose.)

I planned for us to to this song/activity with the puppets, but we didn't get to it.

Here are the little finger puppets.

It's felt wings hot glued on to...

the finger tips of yellow rubber gloves.  I picked them up at the dollar store.

We also made this little book, which didn't turn out logistically as I had thought.  It turned out ok though.   

The first page is:  A little egg lay on a leaf.   (a finger print is the egg)  I actually typed lays.... I never got that one, lays, lay, lie... I don't know which is right.

 (I think you can see the text now...I'll stop reading it for you)  A full finger print is the caterpillar.

The kids upside down hand in a fist is traced for the chrysalis.

Traced hands are the wings and the fingerprint is the body of the butterfly.

The parent that brought snack brought these cute butterfly snacks.  

They are made with a clothes pin and a snack size zip lock.  They are like the ones we made last year

I set this out after snack.  It is the brochure from the butterfly place we went.  I google imaged several of the butterflies from the brochure and made cards.   It's just a little matching game.  If my kiddos were writers, I could have numbered the cards and had them write the names as they identified them.

We also had on hand a Melissa and Doug bug puzzle which had been a gift to Lou and a bug pattern/matching set which was a garage sale find.

Last year we hatched butterflies, but I'll probably get them again next year.  We get to talk about butterflies in the 4 year class too.

I am linking up to some of these fine kiddo related parties:

Wednesday's A story + art = A Great stART  @ A Mommy's adventures,   Wednesday's Kids Get Crafty @ Red Teg Art's Blog, Tuesday's Show and Tell blog hop ad ABC and 123, 
Tot Tuesdays at Delicious AmbiguityFor the Kids Fridays @ Sun Scholars

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

homemade laundry soap

I have finally used up all the laundry soap that I stockpiled when I was ordering from a place where I was getting 'natural' cleaning products. Prior to that, I had made our laundry soap for a good while. I use the sludge recipe that seems to be the standard recipe out there for 'liquid' laundry soap. When I saw that my sister in law's sister in law (what does that make her to me- sister in law twice removed?) made some dry powdered laundry soap I did consider make that version, but went with the sludge. Next time I'll try hers. (She just started a blog called Thrifty Craftin' Mama- stop by and say hi.)

3 bars of soap (ivory, homemade, felsnaptha, whatever)
1 c. borax
1/2 c washing soda
water (total 3 gallons + 5 c.)
optional- essential oil- few drops

You can half this recipe.  I believe that's what I have done in the past because other measurements were written all over my copy of this recipe.  Today I had everything on hand.  It's a benefit of being a collector.  Shave soap bars.  I use my big cheese grater.  That's probably ok, right?   In a 5 gallon pot, boil soap in 5 c water  (2.5 c if you are halving this recipe)

Add 3 gallons of hot water (1 .5 gallons or 24 c if you are halving- but you can do simple math).  Bring to almost a boil- or at least really hot.  Add washing soda.  Give it a good stir.

Add borax.  Give it a good stir.  Add essential oil if you so desire. I added lemon oil.  I love lemon.  Let it cool enough to pour into a big old bucket or smaller buckets. Let it sit overnight and it will gel up.

Mine ended up with some wateryness on the top.  That's a real word, wateryness.  I have since scooped that out.

You'll need to add 1/2 c - 3/4 c sludge to each load.  I prefer to add it to the washer and let the water run a bit before adding the clothes.  I feel like this helps dissolve the sludge. This will last darn near forever.   I'll let you know when I run out.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

freak out

A quick post today before I get back to things as normal this week.  We are glad to be back home and in our regular routine.  

Here's a freaky/funny thing from our week visiting my mom.   

{Here's a bit of back story:  My mom works at a senior living facility (not like a nursing home but more like apartments sort of).  Anyway, she and the other managers live on site.  So, when we go visit, they have some rooms for us to stay in.  It's fun, the kids love eating in the dining room.}

Ok, so one night hubby realized that he'd forgotten something in the car and ran out.  When he came back in the room he was clearly freaked out.   He brought me out into the hall to see this. She hadn't been there earlier in the day.  Freaky.

He thought it was Bee, which wouldn't have made sense;  it was late, she was sound asleep.  Of course, he investigated to see what had given him such a startle.  Freaky.

I ran back in the room and the next day we took the kids to investigate. Freaky.

It's just a doll.  She had moved in with the resident that moved in that day.  It's the same doll my mom said she had when she was little.  It's still freaky.  My sister's trip overlapped with ours by two days.  We made sure to show her the freaky doll when she got there too. 

Here's something not freaky.  It's a new project.  It's going to be the project that never ends.  I always say that though.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

break time

I guess I'm taking a break this week.  I had planned on keeping up with the ol' blog while we are traveling, but the work I thought I'd done, apparently didn't save or maybe I dreamed it, or maybe I wanted to believe I'd already done it...  anyway, I'm away from my computer and not able to do much about it.  I took 300 pictures today, so I'll be getting right on that when I get home.   See you in a few days.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

observation books

I am all about any opportunity to throw a little science into our lives.  I love having kids make ongoing observations to record changes or growth.  We planted a bulb in this little pot and decided to note the growth in some simple little observation books. Both kids have them, Bee's are more presentable.  We just stapled a few pages of copy paper together and made a little cover. 

Note our special scientific measuring system stuck in the pot.  It's a pencil, the most accurate of all measuring devises.

We aren't recording each day, although if you were using something other than a pencil to measure, you sure could.  We are doing every few days, specifically when there are notable changes.  Here's one days notes.  Sometimes we just draw, other times its a drawing and a sentence or two.  This can totally be adapted for any age or grade. 

Last year we watched caterpillars grow into butterflies and made observations of that.  You can see more of that hereAnd here too.   We plan to do that project again next year.  Later this spring, I am hoping to get some tadpoles.  I was hoping that nature would have taken care of it and we would have tadpoles in our swimming pool cover but I checked today and there nothing but dirty water and leaves.