Saturday, March 24, 2012


Molly is looking at a snowy egret.
We went birding this week with our co-op group. We visited a nature preserve near the bay with a guide from the Audubon Society. She took our group on a little hike into the wetlands so see some birds.

Henry is spying on a Night Heron taking a nap in the weeds.
It is actually hard to see the birds in the pictures since I purposely pulled back and tried to put the kids in the pictures. But we saw a Snowy Egret, some cinnamon teal as well as mallard ducks, sand pipers, swallows, turkey vultures, and bunches of others. I believe the kids kept a count of all the different species they saw and they got up to 29.  That included the mocking bird and hummingbird we saw while waiting for the group to begin the walk.

Here are some American Avocet that were doing a little dance for us. Evidently it is breeding season and court by dancing.

Molly looking out over the Slough. Lots of coots and sand pipers down digging in the mud.

Here the kids are getting to touch and handle some wings of a barn owl that the ladies from the Audubon Society brought along.

Last night my husband and I watched a birding movie. My husband had put it on our Nexflix queue and the disk arrived yesterday by coincidence.  The Big Year is all about some men who are trying to see and count the most birds in one year.  It ended up being a much better movie than we anticipated.

So I had my fair share of birding yesterday.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Our First Rain Gutter Regatta

As part of this months pack meeting the cub scouts and each of their siblings got to make a little wooden boat and then race it down some rain gutters.  You would have thought this was the most thrilling things in the world to do.  All three of the older kids and even Molly had a boat and attempted to puff, puff, puff it down to the other end.

I am assuming the cubs do this every year, so I am sure we will see many more little wooden boats.  Cub scouts sure has added some fun times to our schedule!

They each brought their little boats home and couldn't wait until they could paint them. They pestered and pestered me about it so finally I let them paint them. They are planning to modge podge them next so they are sealed and will be sea worthy a little longer. Or at least that is the plan.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We took a little time to do some artist study today.  It has been sadly lacking of late. I don't know if it is just me being lazy or me be busy but I just never seemed to get to it.

We have had Linnea in Monet's Garden on our shelf for weeks. I found it on the used book shelf at the library for 50 cents.  I couldn't pass it up especially since it was hard back and in perfect condition.

My kids sat around me as I read the narrative and we all poured over the pictures. There are illustrations, some of Monet's actual paintings and photographs from Monet's garden in Giverny scattered throughout.

It really is a lovely book to read through. I also happened to put the movie of the book on our Netflix instant queue so after we read the book we watched it. The film didn't include all the book but it included a few extra paintings and different pictures that aren't included in the book so it was nice to watch. The kids were a little disappointed that the film seemed to cut off just before she actually got to see the water lily paintings.

So what good artist study would be complete without an art project. So I got out the paints. I read about this project done just a few days ago and thought it would be perfect for my kids to attempt.

We taped down our paper (I really wish I had had some good watercolor paper or sturdy paper. I just used cardstock but it ended up a little flimsy when it became saturated with paint.) and got started on laying down a fluid, water like  background. I had a really hard time getting them to not just make is one solid block of blue. I kept telling them to leave some of the green and blue and brown showing but in the end each paper looked pretty much blue with little to break up the monotony of the color.

I took them outside for a short bike ride to get them out of the house while their backgrounds dried. I knew they wouldn't be able to wait if they were sitting waiting for the paint to dry.

When we returned we added the water lilies and finishing touches to the paintings.
Henry didn't want to do the water lilies on a separate paper and then glue them on. He wanted to paint his one just like Monet did. So after he had his whole blue painted paper dry enough he added his own water lilies and vines and things to his painting. It actually turned out better than I thought it would. This kid usually goes overboard with the paint and it becomes a massive mess.
Ian almost always goes with the simple.
Here is Sophie's finished product.
And even Molly got into the action and did a painting of her own. She of course required PINK. She can't paint without her favorite color.
My kids are very proud of their finished works. They can't wait until I say they are fully dry and they can hang them on their walls.

I am happy that they were able to get a little art study in today.

Sunday Morning

I know it is Tuesday morning but I thought I would share some photos of Sunday morning. We had about 5 minutes where we were all dressed but didn't need to leave yet for church so of course I broke out the camera to take some pictures.

 Everyone's hair was wet from bathing that morning and all were dressed in the Sunday clothes.

I had to get a picture of Molly in this very cute dress. With the weather changing I put this winter dress on her today thinking she may be too big to wear it again in the Fall. It isn't easy to watch my little girl get big so fast.
And speaking of little girls getting big. Where did this beautiful young lady come from? It is crazy how fast they are growing up.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

More bags!

My kids have kept me busy making them bags.  I have now made this pattern 4 times.

Here are the first three. The grey one on the right is mine. It has a purple zipper and the inside is made from an old shirt that Ian wore but was ruined by sending it through the wash with a bright yellow piece of paper in the pocket.  Since it is one the inside I didn't care if the plaid fabric has a little yellow stain on it.

Ian's bag is the one in the middle and his has a blue lining. Sophie's bag I think is my best one yet. I made it out of a faded pair of black pants so it looks dark grey. Her lining is some fabric that I had in my stash and thought looked feminne and fun for her. I liked the red contrast to the grey.
I cut up yet another pair of pants for Henry's bag. I am not so sure of his. It was a light khaki color and I have a feeling it will quickly look really dirty.
I don't think he cares if it is dirty. He just loves having a bag of his own. I have another one cut out already. It is navy blue and a blue and yellow plaid lining. I don't know exactly what I am going to do with it yet. I may keep it for myself or give it away.  I am just really getting good at this pattern and think the bags turn out so cute.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Henry's Gap

Henry has had a wiggly tooth for a few days but last night it decided to finally come out.

In Henry's words " I like missing my tooth. I hope to get  tooth fairy money. $1.50 would be great! It does make it harder to eat my cereal though."

Henry forgot to put his tooth under his pillow. He was so excited last night. So hopefully the tooth fairy will come tonight and leave a little something for this big grinning boy!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Whos Idea was this?

Yesterday was my band's Children's Concert.  This is the second year we have put on a spring concert directed to children.  The idea is to play music with highlights different instruments or music that the children would recognize and find fun.

My children attended and were all, even Molly, pretty well behaved. They even said they enjoyed it. This is a big improvement on the things I was hearing when I told them they were going to come and hear my play.  I had tried to convince them that it wouldn't be torture by telling them we would be playing Star Wars music and some Cartoon music along with a few movements from Carnival of the Animals. They reluctantly came with my husband.

One of the things our band decided to do this time was hand out Kazoos to all the kids who attended.  Last year we handed out recorders.  Each of my kids came home with their own musical instrument. I have spent the last few hours hearing everything from the Indiana Jone theme song to Popcorn Popping all played on these lovely humming Kazoo. At the moment the song of choice is Big Rock Candy Mountain. All three of the older kids are playing the song and Molly just blows into hers.  I know it is fun for them to play but my goodness I don't know how much more of that sound I can take.

We will have to see how long these things last. I had hope that it would end when one of them ran water through theirs to clean out all the spit and the little membrane was ruined. It wouldn't play anymore. But they figured out a piece of wax paper cut to fit in there acts as a great replacement for that membrane. 

I am going to go to band practice this week and tell them Kazoos were a hit with the kids but the parents may never bring them to another concert!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thankful for Fish

Today I got to teach my favorite lesson to the Sunbeams (the kids who are three years old). It is entitled "I am Thankful for Fish."  I don't know why I like this one so much.  I used this same manual for Nursery when I was the Nursery leader for a few years. So I have now taught this same lesson at least 4 times over the years. I am almost sure I have taught it more than that however. It is just a fun lesson.

I prepared some fish (I used some Christmas ornament hangers and pushed them into the paper) and a fishing pole (with a magnet on the end of the string)  so the kids in the class could do a little fishing for one of our activities. This was a big hit!

I also had a coloring sheet which they could color, cut out and then glue to another page. I have forgotten how difficult cutting is for these kids. I did most of the cutting but they really loved the gluing and coloring.

The  baby oil and  blue water "ocean in a bottle" that my kids and I made a few years ago was also passed around so the sunbeams in the class could make the plastic fish  slosh around in the waves.

I of course started the lesson talking about the creation of the world and reviewed the things we have been talking about the last few weeks about what Heavenly Father created for us on this earth. So we talked about the Sun, moon, and stars, water, plants and finally we talked about the sea creatures and fish in particular.

I then quickly went through a few of the stories in the scriptures about fish.  I told them the story of the loaves and fishes feeding the thousands so Jesus could continue to teach them. I shared the story of Jesus calling his apostles and how some of them were fishermen.  I then pulled out some flannel board figures and went through the story of Jonah.

I never know how much of any of this goes into these little guys heads but we sure have a lot of fun in class and I am always amazed at how quickly the hour passes.

I do go home tired afterward. It isn't easy being the song leader, lesson teacher, and arts and crafts guide all in one. Luckily I have only had about 5 kids in class each week.  They are a boisterous bunch that have a hard time sitting still. We have a good time each week.

So I don't know exactly why I enjoy this lesson about fish. I think it strikes me as funny to be teaching such a topic at church. The lesson does bring in some gospel related stuff but for me these very simple lessons are such a great reminder for me to be grateful for each part of this beautiful world Heavenly Father created for me.

Next week I get to talk about animals.  Not birds or insects.... they are for the week after that.  I better get my thinking cap working on more fun activities to keep these kids busy while still teaching them and sharing scripture stories.

Can you tell I am enjoying my Sunbeam calling!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Yet Another New Bag

My boy loves his bag. I have posted about this before. He really does wear it everyday and almost everywhere. It quickly looks rather worn. His poor pitiful bag was looking very gross so I decided to make  him yet another bag this weekend. I didn't make the same made up pattern that I had made before. I made him one that took a whole lot more effort on my part. This one actually required a pattern and zippers. I bought this pattern about a month ago, after hearing about from this blog. I tried it out and made a bag for me. He loved it so much he has been pestering me about making him one.

For my bag and also Ian's new bag I have used some old pants. So the fabric is recycled. I try to reuse things as much as possible.  My husband's pants that he wears to work each day tend to fray around the cuffs but the rest of the fabric still look good so I figured they would make a good sturdy bag. I had to use two pairs of of pants for one bag but the pair used for the lining could be used again to line another bag.
The small inside pocket found on one side of the large main pocket is perfect to hold his little first aid kit and a pencil or pen.
He loves all the pockets in this bag. He was very excited that it had zippers as well.
It is a bit larger than the bag he is used to wearing. The pattern says it is big enough to hold an ipad. I don't have one of those to see if it is true but it certainly will hold a book and my boys stash of sticks and such that he carries around in his bag all the time.  I hope it looks manly enough. I tried to pick colors that would be neutral and boyish which wasn't hard since I made it from his father's old pants. I know he loves it because he has already started wearing it full time.
This bag is a little more complicated than I usually undertake but it turned out so great and went together very easily. I am not a seamstress and do not claim any talent in sewing so if I can make this and have it turn out looking anything like the original it must be a good pattern. The directions are very easy to follow and the pictures are very helpful!  I think more patterns need pictures of each step of the process. I need that!

I have a whole stack of pants to work with and I bought a bunch of the hardware needed for the strap so I have a feeling I will be making more of these little bags. Sophie is already demanding one of her own. And of course Henry has decided he needs one too.  I may want another one myself so I can have a few in different colors.  We will have to see how it goes.  Hopefully I will get quicker and better at this pattern as I repeat the process. I am sure I will be making another one for Ian in a few months.  When you wear it non stop every day for months it does get worn pretty quickly.

Don't look at the Lego mess all over the floor. It is the weekend and my kids do nothing but play Legos every weekend. I spend two days stepping very carefully through the front room.