Era Uma Vez

DSCN4211 We’ve been getting quite a bit of snow lately, and a while ago, while Baby E napped, Mr E took Little E out to build a snowman. When I went out, this is what I found! A Mr E sized snowman!

DSCN4210Little E loves building snowmen, and playing in the snow in general. Later I found out that he was disappointed in the big snowman, though. We were at the grocery store and Little E saw the bulk carrots in the produce aisle and wanted to buy one so we could make “a E-sized snowman.” Because he couldn’t reach the face of the big snowman he had made with Mr E. He wanted to make a snowman that he could reach so he could put the carrot in on his own. Cute kid.

A few weeks ago, Little E wanted to build a snowman, but there was no snow outside. Then he asked for a big carrot, which we also didn’t have. Then I told him I could make him a carrot. So I pulled out the construction paper and made carrot noses for the babies. It took a little convincing for them to let me tape them on, but after they figured out that it wouldn’t hurt and they would look like snowmen, they consented.

Then we sang this song:

http://judahhimango.com/FlashAudioPlayer/player.swf

DSCN4301DSCN4300Era uma vez um homem de neve (Once upon a time there was a snowman)
Um homem de neve alto assim (A snowman tall like this)
O sol derreteu o homem de neve (The sun melted the snowman)
Até ficar bem baixinho assim. (Until he was small like this)

 

You do the actions and stand up really tall, and then crouch down on the ground as the snowman melts.

Here are the words in English:
Once there was a snowman, snowman, snowman,
Once there was a snowman, tall, tall, tall!
In the sun he melted, melted, melted,
In the sun he melted, small, small, small.

There is something magical about snowmen and playing in the snow. Maybe because it only lasts such a short time (unless you have below freezing temperatures for a week or more… then it sticks around for a little longer). Maybe because it brings out the kid in us. Either way, we love the snow, and Little E can’t get enough of his snowmen!

 

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Posted in music, outdoors, pretend play, seasons | 1 Comment

Borax Snowflakes

Well, we actually did this project back in December as part of our “winter” theme (I say theme very very loosely… we haven’t really had a distinct theme for a while. We’re still kind of in survival mode. But I think things are getting better.

So here’s what you need to make Borax snowflakes:DSCN4177

  • -Borax (of course)
  • -a pot of water
  • -a glass jar (I didn’t have glass jars, and I guess since it’s not really canning season, they don’t sell them at the grocery stores, so I went with a glass measuring cup)
  • -a stick to hold the snowflakes in the liquid (popsicle sticks, skewers, dowel, etc)
  • -string
  • -pipe cleaner (any color will work, really, though white probably makes the best snowflakes)

 

DSCN4186DSCN41871. Cut the pipe cleaner into three even pieces. Cross them all at the middle and twist them together to form a six pointed snowflake. You can get fancier than ours were, but, well, I was working with and impatient toddler and a perhaps less patient preschooler, so we just did ours quick. Tie a small loop of string around one of the spokes of the snowflake.

DSCN41882. Suspend your snowflakes from a stick across the jar. Most people do just one snowflake in each jar. Like I said, I was miserably unprepared and had no jars, so I just did all four in the measuring cup. I had to check on them to make sure the crystals didn’t grow together, and I had to knock them apart a few times, but it worked okay. I would definitely suggest using multiple jars.

Now it’s time to make the magic juice! (which is really just science – a fascinating subject of discussion for older kids. My 3 year old didn’t really understand the concept, and my 1 year old just wanted to drink the stuff – not a good idea, by the way…)

3. Bring the water to a boil and start dissolving the borax in the water.  You can do a google search for Borax snowflakes and find a little more precise instructions, but I just kept dissolving the borax until I was pretty sure I couldn’t dissolve any more.

DSCN41904. Pour the saturated solution into the jars (or measuring cup, in my case).

5. Stand back and watch science happen. We started ours before nap time, and by the time dinner rolled around, they were already well on their way to becoming snowflakes for our tree!

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I’m bummed that I didn’t get pictures of the finished project. They looked great, and were pretty sturdy! I wish I had sprayed them with shellac or mod-podged them or something, because the little hands got a hold of them and crunched a few, but they still look great, and are now a permanent part of our Christmas decor!

Sorry this was so late – I’ll post a “reminder” link when it gets closer to Christmas this year.

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Wednesday Wanderings – Toombstone, AZ

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Mr. E was doing some job training in Arizona last year (we came down on the tail end of the training). We went with some friends out to Toombstone. It was fun. Little E got to shoot a genuine Colt revolver. He got a kick out of that (literally!) – the bullets were filled with paintballs, and you got to shoot at targets across the room. DSCN3863I think it was $3 for 6 shots, or something like that. Not too bad for a tourist attraction. And Little E loved it! Baby E didn’t seem to mind the noise too much, but she’s used to her brother making lots of commotion.

 

DSCN3868At one of the many gift shops, we bought some little $.99 horses which Little E and Baby E held on to for the rest of our visit. They loved those horses. I think one has since been lost, but the other one is still around and gets played with, so I’d say I got my buck’s worth out of it.

DSCN3879We also took the kids to one of those shoot out shows. We ate some lunch and watched some cowboys shoot blanks at each other. Baby E was a distracted by her horse for the most part, but Little E loved all the guns and shooting. It was a little too much for me, and I don’t know if I would have taken them after seeing it myself. Mr. E probably would – he’s not as opposed to Little E watching violence as I am. We do try to teach E about the value of each life, and that it’s always a very serious thing to take a life (or give life, for that matter). But you’ve gotta give a little in a marriage, and I guess this is one place where I give a little – I just make sure we’re reinforcing the “every person is worth something” so Little E doesn’t just go around thinking he can shoot people (or slice their arms off with a light saber… but that’s another story…)

Ratings:

Value 2star Maybe it would be a better value for older kids and adults, but taking my kids there wasn’t really worth the money I ended up spending on food and entertainment. Although we did end up in a reptile exhibit that was free and we talked a lot to a really knowledgeable lady. That was cool. And free. So that part gets five stars. Vincente loved the snakes and tarantulas and other creepy crawlers. We learned a lot about some of the reptiles and insects native to Arizona.

Location3star Kind of a long drive from Tucson. And boring. Through the middle of nowhere. Once you get closer to Toombstone there are some cool mountains/rock formations, but other than that, pretty lame.

Fun Factor4starIt was pretty fun, I have to admit. There were people dressed up in character all over, there were photo places (where you can get your photo taken all dressed up like you’re in a western) and stagecoaches and horses all over the little dirt roads. Just the feel of being in an actual Western was pretty cool. I half expected to see John Wayne walking down the streets.

Your Turn! Go write a bout your Wednesday Wanderings and link up here! Here’s the html for the button to post on your page:

Wednesday Wanderings

<a href=”http://rowleypoly.blogspot.com/search/label/Wednesday%20Wanderings&#8221; target=”_blank” title=”Wednesday Wanderings”> <img src=”http://lh3.ggpht.com/_enTqG9B6DwE/TNLiY9vRmeI/AAAAAAAAQus/3F0xC1xuxt8/s800/wedwandslayers.jpg&#8221; alt=”Wednesday Wanderings” /></a>
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Winter Break

Sorry we went on winter break without telling anyone! I doubt anyone missed us, but we’ll be back next week with more exciting adventures!

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Sock Snowmen – Tutorial

DSCN4166

The snow has been melting today, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a snowman! Today we listened to this song and made these sock snow men. They were fun and easy, and I thought I would share so you can make them with your own little people.

What You Need:
 

DSCN4131a white sock (all white is best, but it’s okay if the toe and heel have another color – they won’t show in the end)
batting to stuff your snowman
a white rubberband
white embroidery floss
a ribbon (any color – for the snowman’s scarf)
pipe cleaner (orange for a carrot nose – and you could use brown for the arms, but I only had Halloween colors left over from our spider project – it was orange, purple, or electric green – I think you’ll agree I made the right choice)
black felt (for the top hat!)
black beads (for the eyes and mouth, and you could use some for buttons – I didn’t have enough big ones, and the little ones ended up in the carpet…thanks to my little helpers)
black thread and a needle (I know I have white thread in this picture, but I wasn’t thinking straight, and I ended up using black)
How to Make It:
 
DSCN41321.) Gather the tow of the sock and wrap a rubber band around it. (I put a rock in the toe before I wrapped the rubber band around – Here’s where I would have done something differently – instead of sticking a rock in the toe of the sock like I did – to add weight to the bottom so the snowman would stand up alone – I would have just gathered the toe of the sock and put beans in with the batting inside the bottom section of the snowman. The rock turned out not to be stable enough, and DSCN4133you have to move it around a bunch to make the snowman stand up right)
 
Turn the sock inside out, so the bottom looks puckered in.
 
 
 
DSCN4134
 
DSCN41362.) This is the part where I would have put a bunch of beans in the bottom of the sock, and then started with the batting. Stuff the sock with batting (great job to assign to your little einstein!) – just keep going until you have enough to make a big ball at the bottom. Then tie off the bottom with some DSCN4137embroidery floss. After the first one, I got smart and twisted off a part (like making balloon animals) and had Little E hold it while I tied the floss. That seemed to work better.
 
Stuff some more batting DSCN4138in, tie that part off, then stuff some more and tie off the head. When you’re done making all the balls, cut off the rest of the sock. It will look like your snowman has an 80’s hair do, but don’t worry, you’re going to cover it with a top hat.
   
 
 
3.) Now for the hat. Cut a circle out of the black felt, then cut a circle out of the middle of the big circle. You should have a donut looking piece, and then the “donut hole.” Now cut a strip that is the same length as the circumference of the inside circle. You don’t actually have to measure the circumference – I just cut a strip and then rolled it around the small circle and made sure it was about the same size.
 
The donut part is the brim of the hat, the strip will be the columnar part of the hat, and the small circle will be the top of the hat.
 
DSCN4143Start with the brim (the donut part) and the strip. Put the donut part over the funky 80’s do on your snowman, and then start in the back of your snowman sewing the strip to the brim, as in the picture. You’re going to do a back stitch to attach the hat to the brim and the head of the snowman, all at once. To start, tie a knot in the end of your thread, and go through the sock on the head of the snowman, then up through the brim. DSCN4145When you go back down, go through the strip of the hat, through the sock, and back up through the brim. do this all the way around the hat.
 
DSCN4144After you get to the back of the hat, use the same stitch to sew the strip shut in the back of the hat, then use the same stitch again to sew the small circle on top of the hat. I even let Little E pull the needle through (on a few stitches – it was faster for me to just do it myself…)
 
You can also just hot glue all the hat pieces together and then hotglue the hat onto the snowman, but I think sewing is a little more durable, and I know my kids are going to be playing with these things.
 
DSCN41504.) Now you can stitch on the eyes. I sewed through the sock where I wanted to put the eye, then tied the thread around the sock (it was easier than tying knots in the thread), then I threaded the bead on the needle, and went back through the bead in the same direction again. Then I stitched through the snowman’s face to the other place I wanted an eye, and threaded that bead on. I did the same thing for each of the smaller beads that I used for the mouth.
 
DSCN41555.) For the scarf, just tie a piece of ribbon/fabric around the snowman’s neck. I attached the scarf with a little stitch, as you can see in the picture.
 
 
 
 
snowmannose
 
6.) For the nose, I used a piece of orange pipe cleaner and shoved it through the sock where I wanted the nose. It took a little convincing, but eventually I got it through. Then I bent the end of the pipe cleaner that was inside the snowman to make a sort of anchor so the pipe cleaner couldn’t be pulled out. Trim the nose to the desire length. I did the same thing with the arms, and shaped the ends of the arms into little hands.
 kidswsnowmen
 

There you have it. This is the first time I’ve posted a tutorial on my blog, so I’m sorry if it isn’t very coherent. I usually just post recipes. That’s not as hard. If you find this tutorial useful and make some snowmen yourself with your kiddos, please link up in the comments! I would love to read what you’re doing with your little ones!

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Cooking Day

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A while ago I read this article that was featured in Simple Mom’s weekend links. I was really inspired by the article. When Little E was a baby, I used to let him do everything with me. Laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, you name it, he was “helping” – and loving it. I have a million excuses why I haven’t been letting my kids help in the past year or so – two is harder than one, life got crazy, we moved three times, etc – but none of them are very good reasons for stunting my children’s growth and development.

The article from the Kitchen Stewardship blog was kind of like a slap in the face for me and the motivator I needed to start letting my kids experience the real world through play. Remember when we were kids and work was play? I’d like to capitalize on that right now, while my kids are still young. I feel like I may have soured the opportunity though – it takes more than I thought it would to get Little E (who is only 3 1/2) to empty the dishwasher. And Baby E just likes to take stuff out and throw it on the floor. When Little E was a baby, he would actually help – most of the time. Baby E’s desire to throw stuff around a destroy things I explain with the fact that I haven’t let her so much as touch anything in the kitchen since she was practically born (the moving around had a little to do with that).

DSCN3959As you can see from our pictures, we’ve been trying to remedy that mistake. The kids enjoy helping out a lot more (we’ve got a long way to go!) and I am feeling like their ability to “play” doing “real world” things is making a difference. Little E already knows how to cut vegetables and hold a knife and the veggie so that he doesn’t cut himself. Sure, the chunks come out a little uneven, and the cuts are more often crooked than straight – but Little E is learning how to cook (and not just Mac & Cheese!) when he is 3. By the time he’s 30, he’ll be a gourmet chef, right?

Well, making gourmet chefs is not our goal as parents – but raising children who aren’t afraid to try “real world” things is. We want to expose them to all the wonderful things life has to offer, and not just “shield” them by letting them play with “fake” or “pretend” things – we want them to get down and dirty and figure things out.

Like the article at Kitchen Stewardship said: “Let us also live real lives and teach our children how to do real work, trusting that they, too, were created for more than just pretending.DSCN3958

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Thankful Turkeys

DSCN4104A few days before Thanksgiving, the kids and I made “Thankful Turkeys” – I traced their hands, and then they drew pictures of what they are thankful for on the feathers. I let them glue the feathers however they wanted (and draw their own pictures). Baby E doesn’t talk much, so there was no telling what she’s thankful for, but Little drew some pretty good pictures (one of some airplanes – good stuff). He said he was “thank you” for: lizards, his family, birds, airplanes, water, the sky, family (yes, he said it twice), “all my stuff I put in my drawer”, going to the ocean, going to the museum, hills, and snow.

We also kept practicing our song and after family prayer each night we would all tell something we were thankful for (or, in Little E speak – ‘thank you’ for).

We’ve had a great holiday season, with much to be grateful for. I am especially grateful for the opportunity I have to teach these two beautiful children about the world around them and how to be grateful for the things Heavenly Father has blessed us with.

And now, in the spirit of Thanksgiving:

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