Friday, August 31, 2007

Great Libray finds!

Yesterday was our library day and since we are starting Egypt next week I decided to look for some Egypt books. I didn't want just books about Egypt but some fiction, story books, as well the non-fiction. In the catalogue I found this book and it just happened to be there on the shelf so I took it home. We read through it yesterday afternoon and just loved it. This is a great book for Chapter 3 of the Story of the World where they talk about the first writing. They kids get to decipher some ancient writing. Just know that you are going to need a piece of paper and a pencil and you had better have some peanut butter and jelly handy for a snack afterward! My kids asked to read it again after we finished our sandwiches. This morning I found Sophie copying out the "Cuneiform". Very fun book!

This book was also a big hit with my kids this week. It is one recommended to go along with this week's Story of the World Lesson about the Earliest people. My kids love Tomie dePaola books so they were excited to read it. They loved it and were laughing and laughing. Without me telling her this went along with the history lesson, Sophie recognised that they were early people and that they lived in a cave. She said "Oh, look, they are Nomads". She loves that word!

Does anyone else know of any more good go-along books for Ancient History?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Everything becomes an Art Project

This week we have been studying the early humans, nomads. Sophie has really taken to this word and uses it a lot lately. Yesterday we listened to the chapter on Story of the world CD, we read/looked at a few other books about early people and what they did and how they lived. Sophie requests a project every day. We broke out the markers to make our own cave paintings. I cut up some large paper grocery bags and taped them up under the counter so it would feel more like a cave. We could have used paint but I felt safer with markers and since we don't use markers very often this was a special treat.

The kids had a great time tracing their hands and just coloring all over the paper. Henry particularly loved doing this project he did most of the drawing. He was working on this one for a long time.

Here is the finished project. Nothing like the ancient cave paintings we saw in the books but it was fun!

Today I thought I would try to do a Math project. We don't have a formal math program we just do little projects and everyday math kinds of things for now. I have a book called Teaching Math with favorite picture books and today I picked one of these projects to do. At the Library today I picked up Eric Carle's book Draw me a Star. While we read it, Sophie immediately noticed that it was a creation story. We had read the creation story this week as part of our study of the ancient times. The Math lesson was supposed to be on estimation but we never got to it instead we just practiced drawing stars. Sophie has always had trouble drawing stars and this book showed her how. She still isn't great at them. After we drew stars we discussed the artwork in the book and how Carle uses collage to make the illustrations. We broke out the construction paper, scissors, glue and crayons to create our own collages.
This was a big hit. Sophie and Ian loved each having their own bottle of glue and scissors. Sophie actually got the idea of making a picture out of the pieces of paper not just glueing them onto the paper.
These are a few of the colleges that Sophie and Ian did. Henry was asleep, thank goodness, for this project.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back to School

This is the week that most public schools in our area start their school year. I drive by an elementary school (the one my kids would go to If they went to public school) three mornings a week as I go to the YMCA for my Water Aerobics class. I love this class! It really helps me clear my head and I just feel better after I have gone. I feel like I can face the day so much better after having this hour of exercise. Today I really needed this class. I think we all woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Lots of grumpiness around here, me included!

Today while driving by the public school, the street was lined with cars. I was following a whole stream of cars as they stopped to drop off kids. I made the mistake and answered my cell phone when it rang. Evidently I was distracted enough to not fully stop at a stop sign and a cop just happened to be there to see it. So I got pulled over and the cop took 20 min. to fill out the ticket and tell me that school had started and that I need to drive more carefully. He also didn't like the fact that my husband and had neglected to change our address with the DMV when we moved earlier this year. oops!

So in the end. I didn't make it to my class. I am still grumpy, maybe even more so, and now I get to go to Traffic School (sometime within the next few months). Gotta love that! I guess it could have been worse.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Top Ten Tuesday - Kids movies

Sophie had her ear tubes put in this morning. She did great! The doctor said everything went as planned and that we should let her relax the rest of the day. She is a bit woozy still. So we turned on her favorite movie and let the kids sit and watch a movie. This doesn't happen all that often. Maybe once a week do the kids watch a full length movie. We do watch our half hour of Signing Time or Bob the Builder most afternoons but a whole movie is a treat. I thought today I would share some of my kids favorite films. These are the ones that we watch over and over again.

1. Alice in Wonderland - This is Sophie's absolute favorite film. It is currently playing in the background as I type.

2. Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 - My kids love these films. Sophie can tell you the name of and the composer for each of the songs. We even have the soundtracks so we listen to them all the time and the kids tell me what would be happening during that song in the film.

3. Toy Story 1 & 2 - Ian's favorite films. He loves Buzz and Woody and even has a Woody doll that sleeps with him.

4. The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, and Cars - Can we just say we love Pixar films.

5. The Sword in the Stone - My boys love this one. Knights and swords are always good to entertain boys. Sophie loves the parts where Merlin and Arther turn into fish, squirrls and birds.

6. Mary Poppins - What kid wouldn't love this film. Great songs and fun story. A little long so we tend not to finish it in one go.

7. Winnie the Pooh - this was the first Disney film we ever bought and Sophie used to watch it a lot. Ian loved it for awhile and now Henry picks it. This is one we usually watch in the car when traveling to Grandma's house.

8. Sound of Music - We don't usually watch this one in one sitting but my kids love the music. This is another one that we have the soundtrack for and listen to quite often. The kids usually just want to see the songs and skip the rest.

9. Singing in the Rain - This is one of the films I have introduced to the kids recently and I think we should get the soundtrack for. I have caught Ian "Singing in the Rain" while in the shower. I have been trying to introduce some of the old musicals to the kids. I grew up watching them. Plus I don't want my kids to turn their noses up at old movies. I love the classics.

10. Spy Kids - Sophie saw this film when we were on our cruise. They showed it in the kid zone one day. We happened to own it. We must have found it very cheep a few years ago. So now she watches this one. I don't really care for the sequels but the first one is good.

Monday, August 27, 2007

What a weekend!

We went to the Beach this weekend. Not just for the day but we actually went camping. We have had tents for years but had never actually used them. We, as well as a bunch of our friends and their children, all pitched our tents at a campground near the beach. We cooked hot dogs on a stick over a fire. We roasted marshmallows to make smores and then fell asleep on the hard ground listening to the waves. It would have been peaceful except for the hard earth under us and the kids waking up a few times in the night for what ever reasons. Next time we camp we will bring our air mattress.

Our kids had a great time playing with all the other kids that came with us. It was a bit difficult at times to keep them from burning themselves in the campfire or out of the poison oak that was near our campsite. By the time we were ready to head home we were all very tired. It took us all day Sunday to recoup from our one night camping trip.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Our Week

Here is a quick run down of what we were able to accomplish this week.

We rowed Daniel's Duck this week. The kids enjoyed learning about Tennessee, the seasons and log cabin life. They loved the activity where we carved soap.
This was Ian's soap fish. He was so careful with the carving. He was also willing to get a little help. Henry destroyed his bar of soap but had a great time doing it. Sophie had a melt down when hers didn't go as easily as she wanted, and refused to let me help her, so she had to cool off in her room. Henry ended up stealing her bar of soap and breaking it into small pieces so Ian's carving is the only one that survived. We tried another bar of soap with Sophie but it wasn't the soft Ivory Soap so it was too hard to carve. Maybe the next time I remember to buy some Ivory soap we will give it another go.

I started Story of the World with Sophie this week. I broke down and bought the CD's and Activity book which I am very glad I did. We usually listen to the section on the CD and then read other library books that go along with the topic. This week just went through the introduction. We discussed "What is History?" and "Archeology". Sophie at first balked at the idea of adding more school into our day. (This is a usual reaction which is why I add things to the schedule one thing at a time) We did History 3 times this week and by the 3rd time she didn't resist me so this is a good start. She really enjoyed the lessons once we got started each day. Plus it helped to tell her we were going to read a Magic School Bus book as part of the lesson.

To go along with our studies we created a wall timeline that we will continue to add to as we go.
I hope the picture is somewhat clear. We put the timeline down the narrow hall. It was hard to take a picture of the whole thing. We just strung string between two thumb tacks. One string/row for each time period. We added a few events to the timeline to give Sophie and idea of what we would be doing. These are just index cards with a picture and Sophie wrote a short description on them.

We also made a short timeline just to show Sophie's history. And I printed out a few photos to go along with it. She loved the day we did this because we looked through our scrapbooks and talked about when Sophie hit each milestone.

This has been what we have done for formal schooling this week. We always have a bunch of other things that we learn and study about. We have read extensively about birds and we are also reading a lot of alphabet books with Ian working on letter recognition. Sophie learned how to sew up a little rip in one of her stuffed animals. Henry just sits through everything and loves to feel like he is a part of everything.

All the kids are learning some sign language. We get new Signing Time DVDs at the library each week and usually end up watching one every day. Henry is communicating so much better now. It is always so cute to see him make the signs for things.

Once we get settled into doing history maybe I will start Math or First Language Lessons. But for now this is enough for us for now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

4 Things about me

Four (paying) jobs that I have had in my life:

  • Marketing Specialist/Artist for a .com - Made Powerpoint presentations, updated website, went to trade shows.
  • Hertz Rental Car - I don't even remember what the position was called but I did a lot of paper work and a lot of driving around.
  • Waited Tables at the Brick Oven in Provo, UT.
  • Telephone Surveyer (I was actually really good at this for some reason)

Four places that I have lived:

  • California - Born and raised
  • Utah - College
  • New York City - Mission
  • Costa Rica - Exchange student

Four Countries (I’m changing it to cities) that I have been to on vacation:

  • London, England
  • Paris, France
  • Venice, Italy and up in the Italian Alps
  • Mexico, Cruise to a number of ports. I have also visited Cancun

Four of my favorite foods:

  • Chocolate - I go for it in just about any form.
  • Bread - Another that I can take in any form or flavor. But best right out of the oven with a little butter.
  • Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream but any Ice Cream is good for me
  • BBQ - Chicken, Steak, Hamburgers, Hot dogs. Everything tastes better off the grill

Four places I would rather be right now:

  • On a Cruise where someone else does the cooking, cleaning and even makes my bed. I don't even care where it is bound
  • England - Two trips to England and still so much to see!
  • In a house that I could call my own
  • Curled up in bed watching a good BBC Costume Drama (Pride and Prejudice, Wives and Daughters, Jeeves and Wooster)

Four people that I am tagging (as with all tags, you are free from obligation to respond):
  • If you read this and you would like to participate consider yourself tagged.

And be sure to check out the gal who tagged me–Kristiana at La Scuola d’Argento.

We Have Visitors

About 2 weeks ago we bought a bird feeder. Since we are studying birds we thought it would be a good idea to get a close up look at some. We filled it with bird seed and waited. Within a week the feeder was empty but we hadn't seen any birds. They were clever and ate when they knew we weren't looking. Well this week we have been visited many times by birds and they actually stay long enough for us to come and look at them. We still can't open the blinds all the way. The feeder is close to our front window. They must be able to see us or at least movement within and then fly away. At one point we actually saw three birds at once perched on the feeder. Getting a picture of the birds on our feeder has been difficult by the time I go get the camera they are gone.

The birds that are visiting aren't the most colorful birds so we are having trouble identifying them. They are just small little finches I think. We have looked in our field guides and that is about the best we have come to naming them. There are some that come that are shaped a bit differently and have more speckled colors but we have yet to find it in our books. But we are enjoying the visits of these little guys.

We are also being visited by some unwelcome pests. All summer we have been battling ants. The little black "grease ants" as my husband calls them. We have done everything we can to get rid of them and just when we think we got them they just come in from a different way. Usually through outlets or little cracks in the mouldings. The best method, we have found so far to get rid of these guys, is some liquid ant bait. We put it down near where we see them and they swarm around it for a day. Then next day they don't come out of that hole. That trail seems to have closed down. But they do come back full force from somewhere else.

This morning I went out to the kitchen and they were all over the kitchen counter where there were a few bread crumbs that hadn't been cleaned up last night. The kids and I had fun watching the little guys go for the ant bait when I dripped a bit on the counter where they were swarming. We also got to see first hand how one ant can carry a huge crumb. There was an especially big crumb carried all the way across the counter by a team of ants too. That was interesting to watch.

See we don't need an ant farm we live in one.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Park Day - MUD

Wednesday is the day we go to the park with friends. We rotate around to different parks in the area. My kids love it! Today's park was one of Sophie's favorites. This was the park Sophie always asks to go to.

I am always amazed at those kids who are always spotlessly clean after playing at the park. There is a boy in our group who will play in the sand and even the water but never get dirty. I don't know how he does it. When we go to the park my kids end up so dirty and wet that they often end up going home naked because I have to strip them before they get into the car.

Today was no different. After being at the park maybe 5 min Henry headed over to the sand area where the water faucet was stuck on so there was plenty of puddles in the sand. First thing he did was jump into the center of largest one, shoes, socks and all. He obviously didn't get wet enough because he started doing belly flops into the puddles. I just watched him and thought of all the sand that would be in my car and down my shower drain, of all the laundry I would be doing later, and the screaming I would have to endure to wash all that sand out of his hair.

The other two didn't wait long before joining Henry is his jollity. They too found great pleasure in getting as dirty as they could. I used to fight this kind of play and try to keep them from the sand areas of any park. I gave up and just let them play now. I have spare towels in the car and extra water bottles in the car to wash a little. I get a lot less frustrated when I just let them have their fun. They really aren't doing anything wrong as long as they don't start throwing the wet sand.

It is good for kids to get down into the dirt and play, right? My kids sure do love it!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Top Ten Tuesday - Games

Last night for Family Night I got to choose the activity. I went to the game closet and quickly picked one that I knew we could all play together. I picked the game of Uno. We had a great time playing the game. Even Henry had his cards out in front of him and he would put the cards on the stack when it was his turn. Ian did great matching both colors and numbers. As all good home schoolers do, we saw a learning opportunity. So as we played we taught the children how to say each of the colors in Spanish and German. After playing a few rounds we saw that it was time to start the bedtime routine so put the cards away. Ian broke down in tears. He said "I didn't get to win, I want to win". We tried to distract him and move him along to pjs and such but there was no distracting him. He was inconsolable. He didn't care that others won but he just wanted his turn to win. So in the end we broke out Candy Land and made sure Ian made it to King Kandy first. Then we could all go to bed.
We Love to play games in this house. You can learn so much from playing games. So for today's top 10 list I thought I would mention 10 that own and play often. There are many more that we would love to own and hope to play one day. But these are what we play for now.

1. Uno - A great easy game for the family to play. Kids can match colors and numbers pretty early.

2. Sum Swamp - My kids love this one for some reason. Sophie can do the math but Ian can't yet. They love that the markers are a frog, snake, turtle and snail. This is great one for adding and subtracting practice.

3. Sequence for Kids - This is one I picked up when it was on deep discount awhile back. Sophie has been so excited about animals that I thought it would be a good one for her. The kids can play this without me but forget that the goal is to get 4 in a row. So I have to remind them or hope that it just happens.

4. Candy Land - We play this one a lot because it is one the kids can play without too much help from me. They can see the colors and move their markers along the path with no help on my part. Also the game doesn't usually take too long.

5. Checkers - Can't beat the old standards. We have played Checkers a few times recently and Sophie and Ian are starting to learn the rules. Mostly they just like to say "King Me". There isn't much strategy going on yet but it will come with time I am sure.

6. Pattern Blocks and Tangrams - Not officially a game but we consider it a game. We have the books Patternables and Tangramables to give us some great problems to try to solve. Sophie often takes the pattern blocks and starts to make her own pictures too.

7. Pretty Pretty Princess - I know there isn't a whole lot of educational value with this one but it is good for learning to take turns. And the boys love this one because they get to wear a crown, ear rings, etc. Ian seem to request this one a lot when it is his turn to pick a game.

8. K-9 CapersThis game is a memory game but with a twist. You have to collect cards in numerical order. My kids love to play this one because you get to roll the dice which is always fun but also the silly dog pictures make them laugh. I look at these gamewright games all the time and know of a few more that we will be adding to our collection around Christmas time.

9. MancalaThis is one we are working on at the moment. I am teaching the rules to Sophie. She hasn't quite grasped it yet but she will shortly I am sure. Can't beat these classic games.

10. Boogle Jr. - I am actually a little disappointed in this one. I think that the regular Boogle game is much better than this Jr. one. Sophie plays this every now and again but it isn't that much fun since you play it alone pretty much. She does like the challenge of spelling the words but looses interest quickly if I am not right there to watch her do it.

There are a number of games in the game closet that are there gathering dust waiting for the kids to be ready for them. I look forward to playing Settlers of Cattan and Upwords in a few years when the kids can play with lots of small pieces without losing a bunch. My husband can't wait to play Monopoly and Risk.

There are a few in the closet that we could probably pull out and give a try. The game of Life is kinda fun. We also have a number of card games like Skip-bo and Rook that are also fun.... we need to play more games I can see.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Book Review - Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

I don't usually write book reviews but it is something that I think I should do more often so here are some of my thoughts on the book Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler.

First of all I don't consider myself an addict really, but I do love Jane Austen's work. I have read all 6 novels and many of her unfinished works, seen every movie adaptation and visit The Republic of Pemberley almost every day. I have also read a number of prequel, sequels and fan fiction that others have written about Jane Austen's characters and novels. Some are really good and some are not worthy of Jane Austen.

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict is one that really isn't worthy of Jane Austen. I read one review that called it frothy. I think that word is just about right. It describes this story nicely. I probably shouldn't have finished it but I was intrigued by the plot. I found it kinda fun that it was a modern girl that goes back in time to live the life of a regency woman. It was entertaining to see how unglamorous yet at the same time luxurious the life was for the wealthy. So I finished the book and I am glad that I did because the character learns a great lesson at the end that is was good for me to think about.

So yes It wasn't up to Jane Austen's quality of writing but it was an enjoyable read. I didn't like the characters like I love Elizabeth Bennett or Anne Elliot. The men certainly weren't Mr. Knightly or Mr. Darcy. They just weren't fleshed out enough perhaps. The main character isn't a person with any morals so therefore isn't someone you can respect. But by the end of the story she learns to see things a little differently which is a good thing for a modern girl to do.

If you love Jane Austen's novels there are many much better books to read if you want to read more about these characters.

I loved Darcy's Story by Janet Alymer and An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aiden. This is the first of 3 books that she wrote to cover the Pride and Prejudice story but from Mr. Darcy's perspectitve. I personally didn't enjoy the 2nd book (to me it didn't fit Mr. Darcy's personality) but loved the 1st and 3rd.

I loved Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken. This is Emma but from the perspective of Jane Fairfax. I love Jane Fairfax and see her totally differently now that I have read this backstory of her. This is one I actually own now because I love it and read it again almost as often as I read the other Austen books.

I also really enjoyed Emma Watson (no not the girl that plays Hermione in the Harry Potter films) by Joan Aiken. This is Jane Austen's unfinished novel called "The Watsons". Aiken finished it and it felt almost like a Austen novel. Not quite as polished and witty but a good story.

I also liked The Third Sisterby Julia Barrett. This is a continuation of Sense and Sensibility and focuses on Margaret the other sister. It is interesting and you get to see a little more of Elinor and Marrianne.

Anyway... there are a few of my suggestions. I am kinda neutral about recommending "Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict". Unless you are a big fan, there are a lot of better things to read.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

"The Jabberwocky"

Sophie and I read Alice in Wonderland about 2 years ago. We reread it again earlier this year along with Through the Looking Glass. While reading the 2nd book Sophie became fascinated by the poem Alice reads called "The Jabberwocky". We printed out a copy of the poem and she has been reading it over and over again. She listens to this Alice in Wonderland story that we found on Kiddie Records. Alice recites the entire poem on this record.

Tonight was our church Talent show and Sophie decided that she wanted to recite the poem as her talent. She practiced it a few times today and then tonight she got up on stage and recited it word for word. We were thrilled that she did it so well. She hadn't been able to get all the way through it during practice and we thought we would have to prompt her. But she made it.

For those that don't know this poem... Here it is.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

We are so proud of our girl!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Birthday Party Season

We have a birthday party we are going to this afternoon. We have another tomorrow afternoon for another friend. We also have birthday party next week for another little boy that we know. We went to 3 birthday parties in July. And it just doesn't stop for us. Henry turns 2 the first week of September and then Sophie will be 6 a week later. So now I get to plan a birthday party. Sophie has her heart set on a party this year. She wants an Alice in Wonderland party. She has loved that story for years now. I don't know exactly what I am going to do for it yet but I had better start thinking seriously about it. Any suggestions or ideas would be very useful.

To make present shopping for all these parties that we are invited to easier on myself I get kids magazine subscriptions for the gift. We pick one that we think that child would like and order it for them. We usually make a homemade card with pictures of past magazine covers and tell them that we subscribed to the magazine for them. This isn't the most exciting gift for kids to open. Usually the moms have to prompt the child to even look at it. But I have had a number of moms come up to me months later and tell me that their children love the magazine that we got them. So I guess it is a fun gift when the kid gets them in the mail each month. I usually purchase subscriptions on ebay. Some magazines are half the price on ebay as on the actualy magazine's website. I haven't had any problems with any of the ebay sellers (cross my fingers that it will stay that way).

We just have birthdays on the brain here at the moment. Once my kids know there is going to be a party they can't seem to do anything but count down the days, hours and minutes until they can go. We even get to dress up for the Princess Party we are going to this afternoon. Ian is excited he is going to wear his armor and be a knight and Sophie as a princess dress to wear. Henry will just go as Henry I think.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Easy Readers

There are usually three things I require everyday from Sophie before she can play a computer game or watch a movie.

1. She has to read me a book
2. She has to color me a picture related to the book we read (This is a form of naration)
3. She has to write a short phrase or do some copy work

Today she read me The Storm by Cynthia Rylant. (Only half the book today we will finish it tomorrow). This was a book I picked up at the library last week because I saw them listed here on Cellista's blog. This is the 2nd of this Lighthouse series that Sophie has read aloud to me and we have really enjoyed them. I like that the words challenge her. And that it is getting ever so close to being a "real chapter book". This is what she calls the books I read aloud to her. We picked up 2 of these Lighthouse series books at the library today. She got reallly excited about The Octopus. It will be difficult to get her to finish The Storm tomorrow rather than start The Octopus.

While at the library I was looking through the easy reader section and realized that there are a whole lot of choices out there and some of those that we have brought home just haven't been that exciting. While others are fun but demand much by way of vocabulary. We started with ones that I remembered reading as a kid. Like Frog and Toad books. She loved these for awhile but they got to be too simple for her. She wanted more substance to the stories. Ian likes to have these read to him.

We also really love Nate the Great. These are fun reads and Sophie is always trying to figure out the case before Nate does. My kids also relate to Nate's love of pancakes. Ian will sit and listen to Sophie read these to him. We usually end up with one or two of these in the library bag each week as well. These are also short enough for Sophie to read the entire book rather than just a few chapters.

One book series that I had never heard of and I don't remember exactly who told me about them was the My Father's Dragon books. We checked out one book from the library that had all three stories in it. Sophie and I took turns reading aloud with this one. We read these last year at Christmas time just when I was starting this required book everyday. So we took turns reading each page. She loved these stories. We even bought them to give as a birthday gift for a friend. Another great introduction to chapter books.

I haven't been able to convince Sophie to read a "real chapter book" aloud to me. I know she can read them because I often find her sitting in front of the bookcase with one in front of her. I know she is reading it too, not just looking at the few pictures, because she tells me about what the book is about and asks me questions about it. I know when I read aloud to her she sits and reads along with me often. She will point out words when I mix them up or point me to the correct place when I get distracted for a moment (Henry in the sink or bathroom again usually). I guess I shouldn't complain. She reads! And for her age she is doing REALLY WELL!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sophie's Task List

One of the things I have been working on with Sophie recently is teaching her how to do the everyday things around the house. Chores in other words. Things that are beyond just the get yourself dressed or brush teeth but jobs that are for the good of the family. I tend to just do the chores because I can do them faster and better but I really need to let them do them.

A few months back I created a list of about 15 chores or tasks that I felt she was ready to learn how to do properly. I tried to list tasks for each room of the house. So for her bedroom she has to learn how to make her bed, as in put new sheets on and everything. Cooking wise she has been learning how to make and flip pancakes. She also is often asked to make the sandwiches for lunch. She even gets to clean the bathroom by emptying the garbage and wiping counters, mirror and toilet. For some reason the bathroom is exciting for her. Maybe because it was always the forbidden room and that fun little toilet brush was always taken out of their hands. She also is asked to sort and fold laundry.

Maybe a Task list isn't necessary for other people but for a long time I just did everything and never had the kids help me much. But then I realized that it is very important that they learn some of these basic life skills. Plus whenever she asks me for something to do or if she ever says she is bored then I point out that mom always has a long list of things to do and then point her to one of these tasks that would be helpful.

Here is Sophie's list

Help make bread
Make peanut butter sandwiches
help make pancakes /flip them herself
Help make cookies

Sort dirty clothes
Load washer and dryer
Fold towels
Fold shirts and pants
Sort and fold socks
Put clothes away

Room clean-up
Pick up books and toys
Make bed / put on new, clean sheets
Vacuum rug
Sweep floor

Kitchen clean-up
Set table for dinner
Clear and wipe table after dinner
Wash dishes in sink
Load dishwasher
Help unload dishwasher

Bathroom Clean up
Clean toilet and empty trash
Wipe off counter and mirror

I have this list on a spread sheet with ten boxes next to each chore. I mark them off as she does them and I check that she has done it properly. After she has finished each task 10 times to my satisfaction she is given a small reward. So far she hasn't made it through all 10 for any one chore. She is really close on a few of them and she reminds me to let her do some of the chores that are on her list when she sees me doing them.

I haven't made a list for Ian yet. He doesn't seem to need an actual list. He tends to want to help or do things without me having to do anything to reward him. He already does some of these chores better than Sophie does. Sophie get frustrated very easily. She is a bit of a perfectionist and when she can't do things just right the first time she gives up or throws a fit. Sometimes I am able to get her to try again but often we just have to walk away and let her calm down and try again next time.

I would love any suggestions in other age appropriate chores your kids do or ways that you have taught some of these basic skills.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Top Ten Tuesday - Bollywood films

We are going out for Indian Food tonight with one of our Indian friends. We are taking the kids too. We will see if they like curry. Our friend was really surprised that we, my husband and I, watch foreign films. I guess it is a habit formed from years of watching International Cinema at BYU. We have no problem watching a film while reading subtitles. It is amazing how many really good films are made overseas only to be turned into a hollywood film. The hollywood film almost always pales in comparison to the original foreign film. So in honor of our friend who is going to take us for real indian food tonight I came up with list for this tuesday

If you have never seen a Bollywood film you are in for a treat. They are always musicals. The main characters break out in song through out the film. Some of the musical numbers are amazing. Bollywood films are very colorful! The plots are all kinda cheesy. They love romance in India. These films are usually long so plan to either spend 3 hours in front of the T.V or just stop when it comes to the intermission and watch the finish the next day. One of the things we really appreciate is that these films are very clean. In Hindu culture they can't kiss or do anything more then hugs so there is no reason to be embarrassed by seeing "too much". So today I thought I would share my top 10 Bollywood films.

1. Laggan This was one of my first introductions to Bollywood films. This movie taught me a lot of Indian/British History but more than anything else this movie taught me the rules of Cricket. I have never understood the rules until I watched this film. The music was so beautiful that I now have the soundtrack as well.

2. Veer-ZaaraThis film's story was different than so many of the formula films. Great love story. The ending is worth sitting through the entire 3 hours.

3. Kuch Kuch Hota HaiThis was the first film I saw Shahrukh Khan in. I think he is the Tom Cruise of Bollywood. This is a cute story and fun to see modern mixed with the traditional.

4. Bride and PrejudiceThis one is a little bit of hollywood mixed in so be warned. I would say it is PG in stead of G like most Bollywood films. But a great retelling of the Pride and Prejudice story. Any Jane Austen fan out there will love this one. This one had us laughing and laughing.

5. Kuch Naa KahoThe opening of this film is one of the things I remember. It is very creatively done. The story is much like many other Bollywood films but it is still a well done film.

6. I have found it - This is another retelling of a Jane Austen story. This is Sense and Sensibility retold Bollywood style. All the things you love about Bollywood mixed with a great Jane Austen story. What could be better?

7.Hum Saath-Saath HainThis was a movie that one of our Indian friends gave us to watch. It was a fun film that really showed the family relationships and some of the traditions of the culture.

Ok... so that is all the ones we have watched that we can recommend. There have been a few we have watched that we just didn't like the story or that are getting too Hollywood.

So to finish off my list here are 3 that are on my netflix queue. We will be watching them sometime in the next little while. I make no guarantees with these but they are given good reviews on amazon and netflix so they should be good.

8.Straight from the heart (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam) Aishwarya Rai is one of the most famous Bollywood actresses. You will recognise her in many of the films on this list.

9.Maine Pyaar kyun KiyaSalman Khan is another famous actor. He too is in many of these films.

10.Dilwale Dulhania Le JayengeAnother Shahrukh Khan movie

My old toys.

I am sorry I haven't had much to say the last few days. It has been a very ordinary few days with nothing that sparked me to want to blog about it.

Sophie has always been excited for me to give her one of my toys. My Mom packed away some of my toys from when I was little and I have claimed them and given them to Sophie to play with. She has never been that excited about dolls so my Cabbage Patch kids have always just been put with all the other stuffed animals in their bin. For some reason the last few days Soph has been bringing them out. I can't really say she plays with them. Usually she just holds them and asks me what I did with them when I was younger. When, where and for what reason I got them. She thought it was funny that these dolls were so popular and that I would even take one to school with me or over to friend's houses to play.

Carebears were also really popular in my house when I grew up. Me, my sister and brother each had a few so we ended up with quite a collection. We have since divided them up and given them away to the nieces and nephews so we only have a few floating around our house now. Sophie has been taking them guys to bed with her the last few days.

Just a fun little trip down memory lane with my old toys!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Eggs and Birds

I usually pick a science topic for general study for a few months. We have studied Mammals all 2006. All last fall and into winter we studied all about sea creatures and Sea Mammals. Sophie loved learning about whales and even requested a book about whales for Christmas. She can tell you more about whales now and just by looking at them tell you what it is and where it would be found in the world. Then in 2007 we looked at bugs and insects. Not my favorite topic but my kids loved it when we caught some bugs out in the yard to look at more closely.

I recently decided that for the fall we are going to study birds. I have been checking out, from the library, books about birds the last few weeks. I got a great suggestion for a book from Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect.
We picked up this book today when we went to the library and pored over it when we got home. It has beautiful illustrations and is filled with information. Both Soph and Ian loved looking at all the different colors birds eggs came in. I think we were all fascinated to learn all the different parts of the egg and what they are for.
One of the best features of this book are the front and back inside covers. The front inside cover has all the eggs and then the back cover has all the birds and a few insects and other animals that come from eggs. So we spent a long time matching each egg to the animal.
This book reminds me of Ruth Heller's book called Chicken's Aren't the Only Ones. We love Ruth Heller books here. We have read this one many times. This book is also one that Henry seems to bring me a lot. He loves to look at all the different animals. Sophie learned the word Oviparous from this book and has used in public to amazed eyes of those around her. This is a great way to learn science.
One of the things we have started doing with Sophie is a nature journal. I gave her a box of colored pencils to use in a sketch book and she is looking at pictures from the books and trying to draw them. She is actually getting better and better at the drawings. I have been trying to get her to really look closely at the picture to see the shapes in the image rather than just "draw a bird". We actually taken this notebook/journal out side yet but I think it will be fun to go and sit outside and have her draw some trees, plants etc. For now we do what we can.
So we have been spending a lot of time talking about birds. Yesterday when we were at the beach Sophie noticed all the bird prints running around on the sand. She also loved looking at all the seagulls. Today at the library we picked up a field guide for birds in our area. Hopefully we will be able to spot some. I think we will get a bird feeder so we can attract a few.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Photo Journal of our Trip to the Beach

Sophie had been looking forward to our trip to the Beach today. We don't go as often as she would like. Our little park day group planned a trip to one of the beaches in Santa Cruz. While we were there today I thought "This is a lot of fun. Why don't we do this more often?"
Sophie couldn't wait to jump right into the waves.

Henry wasn't so sure about going into the water

He really didn't like the water.

He held onto my leg for dear life or I had to hold him if I was out in the water watching Sophie and Ian.

One of our friends found a bunch of sand crabs. Sophie was more then happy to hold them and show them to everyone.

The boys spent most of the day digging in the sand

Ian and I built some sand castles. He loved sticking seaweed into the tops to make birthday cakes.

Henry just loved filling buckets.

We brought our kite to fly too. The kids all took turns holding the string. They only let go once and we had to chase after the string to rescue our kite.

Henry loved being in charge of holding the kite.

Sophie had a great day playing in the water and gathering kelp that washed up in the waves.

As we walked back to the car I was reminded of why we don't do this more often. All three kids were crying and screaming because there was sand in their shoes or that the small little bag I had them carry was too heavy. That was a REALLY long walk back to our car. I ended up carrying all the bags and one of the kids and listen to the others cry and cry the whole way. NOT FUN. Now I have the washer going cleaning all the towels and clothes and such that we took with us. We all need to apply a little aloe lotion to our slightly red faces and arms. Overall it was a great, fun trip. Just not something I plan to do again tomorrow.