Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kanani and Hawaii Lapbook

Sophie loves the American Girl books. She received the Girl of the 2011 year, Kanani book for Valentines day and quickly read through it and has talked and talked about Kanani and Hawaii ever since.

I asked her if she would like to do a book report on Aloha Kanani in March. She decided she didn't want to just do a book report but that she would do a whole lapbook about the book and also about Hawaii.

I showed her how to look for books on Hawaii at the library. She brought a few home and read through those to gather information.

Setting to work on the report was a little difficult. She didn't know exactly how to start. She had all sorts of ideas of things she wanted to include but didn't know where to get started.  I really wanted this to be her project so I tried to stay out of it as much as I could. She got a bit frustrated when I wouldn't give her the folder and paper to make the lapbook yet. I told her before I could give her the paper and such she needed to come up with a list of the things she waned to include and then we needed to go online and find images of things she needed to cover the topics she wanted to include.

Once the outline was made she really wanted to paper. I relented even though I knew she wasn't quite ready for it. Again she got upset when she started cutting and pasting things and then they didn't turn out quite right or things got lost or didn't fit. So we started over again this time I had to help her think through each topic and come up with a way we could display the information that would be organized and look fun. 

I think it turned out pretty well. And I know she did most of it all by herself. She chose the topics and the information that went into it. I just helped with the display a little. It was still mostly entirely her project.
I know in these photos it is hard to see the details. But on the left flap there is a mini book about Monk seals. And of course she has a map of Hawaii. On the right are the Hawaiian words she learned.
Here are the insides of the flaps. Monk seal information.
Kanani goes to a Lua'u so the top of the next flap is information and pictures about what a Lua'u is.
The next page and the back of it is her report on the book.
Under the report are two more flaps. One that describes some Hawaiian foods.
The other flap has some fun facts about Hawaii that Sophie learned.
She was fascinated by the number of islands and also that each has volcano.
My kids couldn't get over the pictures of the black sand beaches.
And the trigger fish just had a really long Hawaiian name, Humuhumunkunukupua'a.

Here is a close up of the Hawaiian words. My favorite is Ho'opono which according to the Kanani book means "to do the right thing". We interpreted that to mean "Choose the Right". But I guess it means more about making things right and asking for forgiveness.

Here is what Sophie wrote for her report.

Aloha Kanani is about a girl named Kanani Akina. She lives on the island of Kaui, in the town of Waipuna with her parents.  Her cousin, Rachel is coming to stay for the Summer. Rachel is from New York and is probably going to think Waipuna is prehistoric. Kanani tries to get Rachel to feel at home and finds that she couldn't do it really well.

Kanani took Rachel to a Lua'u and when the dancers ask Kanani's table for some volunteers Kanani says that she would go up and dance the hula

Later Kanani thinks she sees a monk seal but its only a tree trunk. Rachel didn't make fun of it and infact comforted Kanani. The next day Kanani really sees a monk seal pup. It was wrapped in a net. They called the nonk seal rescue which sends a volunteer and a marine biologist. After the rescue, Kanani and rachel went paddle boarding and ha a lot of fun.

At the end of the book Kanani was sad when Rachel has to go home to New York. 

I know the report is a bit rough and we need to work a bit more on it but she was so thrilled with her entire project. 

Sophie really wants a Kanani Doll now so she can do her long hair in braids. My boys just really want to go to Hawaii. When I asked them if they would rather go to Disneyland or Hawaii they all said Hawaii.

So perhaps our plan for Disney next year will change and we will save our pennies so we can take a trip to Hawaii. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

High Diving Horses

Tonight I showed my kids a movie I remember watching many times in my younger days. Wild Hearts Can't be Broken. I remembered this story as one that took place during the depression so put it on my Netflix queue. It arrived the other day. I am not surprised that they loved it. (except for the kissing part "Do we have to watch the kissing parts?) They thought it was a lot of fun and got even more excited when they found out it was a true story.  I even had a book on the shelf that I had picked up at the library about Sonora and her high diving horse. We of course had to read it right that minute.
I really enjoyed reading some more about Sonora in the book. The author's note and the dust jacket filled in a bit more about the story. And after doing a little internet search I found out the movie isn't very accurate (but then when is the movie ever true to the real story).  It is still a fun story to read and watch.

On the dust jacket the author tells how the horses loved jumping so much that when one of them got out of their stall they ran up the ramp and jumped all on its own.  I just don't think we would see an act like that these days. I certainly wouldn't want to do the jumping off of a 40 and sometimes 60 foot tower into a pool of water.

My kids of course then had to do some horse dives.Luckily there tower was only 2 feet high. But they laid out the blue blanket so it could be their pool to land in and took turns being the rider and announcer.

My kids just never seem to have any fun!


 On Mondays there tends to be a large amount of laundry to fold.  There is often loads and loads of laundry that goes through the washing and drying process on Saturday but just never gets folded until Monday. Yesterday while we set to work on 5 baskets of laundry to fold. I couldn't help but see that my children's personalities come through in the way that they attack this chore.

Right after breakfast I pulled out all the baskets and started to sort it into piles. Each the kids does their own clothes as well as extras that I throw into their piles, like towels, sheets, Molly's clothes and such.

The moment Ian saw that I was sorting the clothes, without me even saying anything, he came over to his pile and started folding. He isn't the best folder. Sometimes his clothes look more mashed then folded. I usually remind him to take his time and do the job well. He redoes the clothes that I tell him need a little more effort. He puts everything mish mash together in one pile. So pants, shirts, under ware, socks and such all end up in the pile according to the order that they were folded. He  then takes them to his room and stuffs them on his shelf. It does end up a bit of a mess and his shirts and pants aren't put on the proper shelves but they are put away and his is done. I do often have to remind him to put the towels and sheets that he has folded away but for the most part he doesn't need me to ride him too hard to do the job. I am hoping one day he will fold a bit neater and get the clothes on the right shelves but for now he is doing a pretty good job.

Sophie usually waits until I am totally done sorting the baskets into piles. When I start folding my clothes she figures it is time to come and fold hers. So we sit and fold clothes together talking about this or that. She folds her clothes pretty much as I have taught her. They aren't quite as exact as I usually fold mine but she has her little stacks of shirts, pants and things all separate that are ready to take to her room. But she usually gets distracted a few times in the process of creating those piles and ends up with a book sitting next to her that she is thumbing through as she forgets she was folding.  I have to bring her back to the task to finish folding and then also remind her to take her piles to her room. She takes one trip and gets distracted and leaves a few other piles waiting to be removed to their proper places. Eventually, with several reminders, the job is done and all her socks and shirts have made their way back to her shelves.

Henry is told to fold clothes when the piles are ready and he will quickly tell me that he hasn't had enough to eat or that he needs to run to the bathroom. So he runs off to do whatever it is he has decided to use to stall the inevitable. Usually he doesn't surface again until most of the others have already folded their things and have them put away. I remind him again that his clothes are waiting. He throws a tantrum and complains that his pile is too big or that the others aren't folding clothes.  I go through the ritual of telling him that he has a lot of clothes because he puts a lot of items in the laundry. He changes his clothes a lot during the day for different reasons so often his pile is bigger than the others.  He tells me how unfair it is and tries the "I'm too little to do this" tactic. He has been folding clothes for years so this doesn't work but he always tries it. He continues to complain and cry while he slowly folds a few pieces in his pile. He is actually the most accurate folder of all the kids. His piles are the neatest and he actually matches his socks while the others tend to just dump them all in their sock drawer to be matched up as needed.

Ian is usually done the quickest, 10 minutes tops but his clothes aren't very precise. Sophie would be fast except for the distractions and her clothes are done satisfactorily . Henry takes forever, 2 hours to finish his pile yesterday. He also lost previleges because of his stalling and tantrums but I know he will do the same thing next time when asked to do anything. He does end up with nice crisply folded clothes but it is a lot of work to get it done.

I don't know exactly how to help Ian fold his clothes more neatly. I remind him and have him redo them but he still rushes. I don't know how to keep Sophie focused on her task. She is so easily distracted by anything around her. Henry, I hope, just needs to grow up and get past the tantrums. We have been saying it is just a stage for years now. We keep waiting for this stage to pass but it seems to have gotten worse.

These descriptions pretty much sketch out each of these children's approach to life and any task put in front of them. Ian gets the job done but isn't interested in the details. Sophie does a good job but just can't keep her head in the game to finish without someone to bring her back. Henry just fights everything. But when he is forced to do the task it is done well. It is rather daunting to think I have to figure out how to encourage each of these children to work when each has such different methods. Each has difficulties to overcome and each has a different strength to promote.

It will be interesting to see what Molly's style will be.

Friday, March 25, 2011

World War

We finally made it to World War I in our history studies. I can't say we did an intense study of the war. There really isn't a whole lot in the children's section of the library about this particular war. We had already read the Christmas book about the Truce at Christmas time. And there just wasn't much else I could find to really make this time period come to life. There wasn't even a You wouldn't want to.... book from this war. This surprised me a bit. I have already picked up the two for WWII.  Perhaps I need to write the publisher and complain or at the very least make a suggestion for a topic they havne't covered.  You wouldn't want to... be in the trenches,  or be in "no mans land". I am sure there would be enough to fill a book!

We did really enjoy this particular book.
We found Going to War in World War I much more interesting than the DK Eyewitness WWI book.

We listened to some music from the time period. I even found a great CD that was the music that was played on the Titanic. So we were able to listen to music from before the war and then another CD of wartime music. They really loved the Edwardian, Titanic music. We were dancing and waltzing around the living room.

We also watched A Bear Named Winnie. It is about the bear that inspired Christopher Robin to rename his bear Winnie the Pooh.  My kids loved learning some of the background story of the bear that comes from Canada and ended up in a London Zoo. 
The fact that it was WWI soldiers that did it was just a bonus. I like to think the movie helped them understand a little of what it was like for those soldiers to go to war and live in trenches and such. It didn't really show a whole lot of the war itself which is fine since my kids are still a little young to see such things. But I think they did take away something about soldier life and how this war changed warfare.

I had thought we should memorize the Poem In Flanders Field but it didn't happen and my kids are ready to move on. So perhaps we will save that for the next time WWI rolls around. We did go over and assemble the activities included on our Time Travelers Unit as well so I feel like we covered this topic pretty well.

Next week we are going to spend some time in the Roaring 20's and learn about Jazz. I am excited to read all the story books I found at the library this week and listen to some of the fun music. I will have to share some of our favorites at the end of the week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's great to have girls!

Do I take a lot of pictures of my girls? I know Molly certainly gets a lot of photos taken of her many antics. Perhaps that is because she is the youngest and the baby so I am treasuring each little thing she does.

Sophie gets lots of pictures because she is the oldest and does everything first. In either case my girls tend to get lots of attention.

I guess I need to at least try to give the boys equal time!

Friday, March 18, 2011

March So Far

 For the Record.. this is a basic run down of what we have done in school the last few weeks.

 Scripture - New Testament Stories. Should finish it next week and the kids want to start Church History Stories next.

Memorization - The kids love to... or perhaps I should say are getting used to going over all our memorization pieces each day after scripture time. We have our two Psalms, 23 and 100, which we have added to our Articles of Faith. We are now up to the 10th A of F. We also added back in some poetry too. We know the Christina Rossetti Poem, Who has Seen the Wind and this week added Emily Dickenson's  I Haven't Seen a Moor.  Both of these are very short so were rather easy to memorize. We also try to review The Living Christ a few times a week since it isn't staying in our memory as it should especially those last few paragraphs. We just didn't have the weeks and weeks of review on those like we did on the earlier paragraphs. So it has returned to our Memorization reviews too. 
 Latin  - This isn't or hasn't been a regular feature of our days yet but we get it in at least twice a week or so. This means we have a few new Latin words added each week. This seems alright for now.

Art - We look the picture of the day from the Metropolitan Museum's Calendar each day. That is about it as far as art study. Some days it just isn't something we are that excited about and some days we talk about the picture for awhile.

Math - Boys are plugging away at Singapore Math. Sophie is enjoying Life of Fred Fractions. Everyone seems to be doing fine and doesn't fight it too much.

Language Arts - Sophie is doing really well with Writing with Ease. She loves that the quotes used in the program are almost always from books she has already read. It makes me feel good to know we have read so many great books. We usually do two weeks worth of lessons each week. She is doing level 2 quickly to sort of "catch up".  I can tell she is getting much better about writing narrations. She doesn't like letting me write them for her. She likes to do it herself.  She also isn't having to much trouble or help from me writing a report on the American Girl Kanani book.

The boys are still working through Explode the Code. Ian is ready to move into more advanced things so will be doing Writing with Ease soon. Henry is improving in his reading and has the neatest penmanship of all the kids.

History - Very slowly going through our Time Travelers unit. We are up to WWI finally but just don't seem that excited about it.  There just aren't nearly as many great picture books to make this time period come to life a little more. We have stuck to a lot of biographies. But we are moving along and are revisiting American Girl Kit already. We found her audio book at the library and have already started to listen to her stories again.

Science - One day we will get back to doing something science related. I know they read a lot of science books. That is what they seem to always check out of the library each week. They have books about simple machines, animals, space and energy coming in and out of the library bag each week and I see them read those books so I guess they get science, just nothing formal right now.

Reading - We seem to make it through lots of books. 
Ian is reading The Lighthouse Family. I suggested them as a way to increase his confidence in reading. He reads well but just didn't feel ready to tackle a chapter book yet. Magic Tree House books are next!

Sophie reads anything and everything she can get her hands on. I wouldn't even come close to try to  list all the books she flips through each day.

Read Aloud -
The Tree in the Trail was a very quick enjoyable read. They boys sat cuddled in the chair with me and looked at the pictures and kept wanting to turn back to the map as we read through this one.
Stone Fox was the book picked for their co-op book club.
The 21 Balloons was a great audio book.
Halloween books - Henry knows how to find all the Halloween books at the library and that is what he chooses to fills his bag. So I have read quite a few Halloween books lately. He loved Good night Goon and Furious George.

Music - The boys are learning to play Indiana Jones on the piano. I can tell Ian is starting to learn to read the music. This is good since I haven't tried any formal music lessons with him at all yet. Henry just memorizes where his fingers need to go rather than try to read the music.

That is about it. I can't say it is a complete list but it is what I can remember at the moment.

We are of course still working on chores and other domestic things which are just as important as academics in my book.

Henry is getting very good at being the floor man. He vacuums and sweeps regularly. 

The older two have no problem emptying in the dishwasher but hate having to load the dirty dishes. They say it is gross. We are working on that one.  Beds, room and laundry get cleaned up when I remind them to do it.  Lots of room to improve here!

Until my next "weekly" report......

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Broken Record

Put your peels in the garbage.
Put your plate in the dishwasher.
Cup and silverware too.
Hang back up your wet towel.
Get your clothes on.
Take your dirties to the laundry.
Don't hit your sister.
We don't need to yell.
Use a softer voice.
The dishwasher needs to be emptied.
Wipe the table/counter off.
The laundry needs to be changed.
The floor still isn't swept
Your clothes still aren't folded.
Put your clothes away.
Put the books back on the shelf.
Clean up after yourself.
Shoes in the shoe place.
Don't jump on the furniture.
Don't whistle in the house.
Your jacket is just sitting on the floor.
Sticks don't come in the house.
The house has to be clean before we can _________ (go to the park, have legos down, go for a bike ride).
Flush the toilet.
You don't need to use that much paper.
Now you get to clean the floor. 
No you can not play the wii.

I am feeling like I just spit out the same phrases over and over again, day in and day out. I must not be doing a very good job at getting my kids to do anything or help me around the house. They work but I have to ride them the entire time. I feel like the slave master with a strong whip. Am I expecting too much to think that my kids could actually do a few things without me having to remind them 50 times?!
My husband has told me that I seem to always be in a bad mood. Somehow I am expected to get my kids to work and do it with a smile. Or else I just have to do all the work myself and be happy about it. I guess I am just not that patient and good humored. I get tired of being the task master and I have a hard time enjoying the life of the scullery maid, housekeeper, governess, cook, washer woman all in one.  I am not very good at it either because our house seems to constantly be a mess.  I just don't know how to get results. My kids are used to working. They have been taught how to do the tasks. It isn't a new experience.  They are capable, they just require reminding and reminding... and usually reminding again.

This broken record is worn out!
Maybe that is why my hair is turning so gray.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


While on my Mission I cut my hair short. I had some roommates, "the Spanish sisters" or "Las Hermanas", convinced me to cut it like one of the models in a L.L. Bean catalogue that we had received in the mail (Yes those even come to Missionary apartments). Up until that time I had always had my hair bobbed. It was short or sometime left to grow a little past my shoulders. I sometimes had bangs or sometimes let them grow out with the rest of my hair. So this change to very short layers was quite a change for me. A few months later it was popular for the Sister Missionaries to add highlights. My companion and I bought a box of do it yourself high lights and played beauty shop one preparation day and both ended up a lot blonder. I had never dyed my hair before. It would go lighter in the summer because of sun, and when I was little it would sometimes go greenish because of so much pool time, but that was the extent of my hair color changes.

The trouble with highlights is that they grow out and then you have to do them again. So a month or two later I had to fix my roots again. And each time I did this my hair seemed to get lighter and lighter. I wouldn't call my hair dark. It is brown and has gotten darker over time until now I can't even claim to be blond at all (unless I add hightlights) I went home from my mission looking pretty blond.

While at BYU during that year after mission I couldn't afford to buy hightlighting stuff so I let it grow out and before long I had just boring old brown hair. I kept it short and layered. I did pay for haircuts but only when I couldn't stand my hair any longer and finally broke down and paid for it to be done. I just hated the hassle and expense of dying it. I haven't dyed my hair since my mission.

Now it has been 13 years and 4 kids later and this is now the color of my hair.
I can't even pretend I just have a few gray hairs. It is starting to look somewhat frosted. I certainly look like I have highlighted but instead of blond it is with gray. I don't really notice or think about it on most days.   I really should dig out the curling iron everyday but I usually make due with just a round brush and the blow dryer. Sunday is the usually the only day I take the time to curl it. When I have that fat curling Iron with chunks of my hair in it I really see the many different colors in my hair.

So what do I do? Most people color their hair and hide that pesky gray. I really don't want to do that. I have visions of 70+ year old Sister Gray (that was her actual name) when I was a child suddenly coming the church with black hair. My Sister and I jokingly asked my Mom if we should start calling her "Sister Black". I don't want to be one of those ladies that continue to try look young when they really should be embracing the change into seasoned woman. Now I am not that old and still have young children. I don't want to be mistaken for their grandma.

So do I cover my grey and try to look younger than I am? Or do I just let nature take its course and watch my hair go from frosted to hopefully snow white. That is what my Grandma and now my mom have. It is lovely white hair. That is one of the memories I have of my Grandma. I was sitting behind her in a Relief Society Meeting and looked at her beautiful white hair. I remember thinking... "I hope my hair looks like hers one day". I just don't know if I am ready for that day to come too quickly.

For now I will just continue to go gray gracefully. I am sure nobody will even think twice about it. My husband is almost completely gray and starting to really thin out. So I guess we will match! Not the thinning part, I hope!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"I Liked that Movie"

When I was a kid we watched a lot of old movies. AMC (American Movie Classics) was one of the channels that we seemed to always have on. As a result I grew to know most of the stars of the 30's and 40's as well as many, many of the classics of the Golden Age of Movies.

We limit screen time a lot more than my parents did but I still like to introduce some of these classic movies to my kids. I throw them into the mix now and again. My kids almost always complain because they want to watch Star Wars or Harry Potter for the 100th time. My kids are rather skeptical about new movies. I have to convince them that I know how to pick winners.

Tonight we decided to watch a movie and I got to choose. Or perhaps I should say I insisted that I choose. And I picked Meet Me In St. Louis. My sister and I used to make fun of the hair styles in this movie and usually fast forwarded through some of the songs but I thought it would be a good one to introduce to my kids because the story takes place in 1904 which is the time period we are studying. Not that it is exactly true to the turn of the century styles, there are some 1940's that creep in for sure! but I thought it would give them a taste of what life would be like at that time. I think it did the trick. They were glued to the set and watched the entire film (even the songs I wanted and itched to fast forward through but didn't). And at the end of the film Henry turned to me and said "I liked that Movie".  I told him that I knew he would and that I can almost always pick a winner. 
A few weeks ago, on the drive to Grandma's house, I made my kids watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. They hadn't ever actually seen it but you can't help but be familiar with it if you spend any time at Grandma's house. Aunt Julie loves this movie and plays it quite often, between showings of Back to the Future or Home Alone.  Seven Brides is one of those shows I think that I know every line of dialogue, every note of music and can picture every facial expression. I hadn't seen it in years but could still sing along to all the songs as we traveled down to road to Grandma's house.  My kids laughed and giggled all the way through it. They especially loved the big fight in the middle where the brothers knock down the barn that they are supposed to be helping to raise.
It makes me happy to know that my kids enjoy these films. We don't spend a whole lot of time watching movies and t.v. but these classics are such a part of my history it would be hard not to share.  I think I am going to try a Fred and Ginger movie next.  Those are in black and white so may be a little harder to sell to the kids. But who can pass on Swing Time or Top Hat. There is always Thoroughly Modern Millie. All great films that take place in the time period we are studying. We can count this as history right?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Not Sick, Just Busy Doing the Usual

I have been rather silent this week. I guess I just don't have a lot to share. We are not sick. We are not going anywhere out of the ordinary. We aren't doing anything except the normal stuff. Life is good and just seemed to flow this week without too many hang ups.
The living room did tend to look a lot like this. The kids felt like they really needed the trains, blocks, playmobiles, and legos all out at the same time. I was surprised that clean up was actually easier than when they only have one box of stuff out. Each was given an assignment and they did it and each night the front room was ready for school the next day.
Molly actually really loves to play trains. Sophie LOVED Thomas trains when she was this age. The boys played with the trains but didn't get that excited about them.
Our tracks are very beat up and many of the pieces have, in the course of years, made their way to the trash because they get abused and broken. So our set has dwindled quite a bit. But there are still enough to make a little track and that was all Molly needs right now.  Notice that popcorn on the floor? Molly still insists on a bowl of popcorn each day. She goes to the cabinet and gets out the popper all by herself when she feels it is time. One morning she got it out for breakfast. 
While we are on the subject of Molly.... She is starting to really communicate. She has a number of words that come out more or less clearly but she is picking up signs for things quite easily. One night she was pointing out all the dogs, cats, birds and flowers in a book and making the sign for each of them.
Lest you forget there are other children that reside in this house I will include a few pictures of the older kids.  Who ever said that the younger children never get any pictures is totally wrong. Molly is certainly in the majority of the photos I snap each day.
Each of these kids has such a strong personality and are so different from each other. It love getting to see them develop in all the different ways.  I am glad they are such good friends (most of the time) too.  They certainly enjoy playing together and they have so many thoughts, ideas and schemes that they share together I am overwhelmed by all their excitement.  I just wish they would think and plan a little less about Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and Wii games.  They don't get to play the Wii all that often but they certainly talk about it a lot!

I keep meaning to write up our weekly school report (We do fit a little study time in each day)but everyone else's posts that I read always sound so much more impressive. I feel good about what we are able to accomplish each day yet there is always that nagging feeling like I am not doing enough or I guess I should say requiring enough. That is when I remember the principle of inspire not require. I already require quite a bit academically from my children. They do need time to just read books and play without me directing it all.

I think we are doing alright!