Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pigs in Space

The best laid plans...

For Pigs in Space week we had great plans that fell short. I blame it on Cub Scout Camp - also a great, time-consuming adventure.

So, here are my ideas for last week's theme. Great ideas and pictures that we'll get to... eventually...

Craft Ideas:
  • Moon phases painting project from DLTK
  • Space book from an idea found here
  • glow dough from a recipe found here

Sensory Boxes:
  • moon sand - Mix 8 cups of AP flour with 1 cup of baby oil
  • pea gravel and black beans


Pigs in Space YouTube Clip:

First Space Encyclopedia by Caroline Bingham
The King of Space by Jonny Duddle
Toys in Space by Mini Grey
Space: A Visual Encyclopedia DK publisher

Field Trip:
The local planetarium is closed for remodeling, so we are planning a trip to Houston in July to check out NASA's Space Center. Woo hoo!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Enchanted Rock


For Father's Day, the hubby wanted to spend the afternoon at Enchanted Rock. It's a great spot to do a little hiking, exploring, and let the little peeps enjoy some rocky fun. We took the Summit Trail. It's just over a half mile, 425 foot ascent from the valley floor to the peak. Little A was able to walk the entire trail and J was using his amazing spider-man climbing abilities to leave the rest of us in the dust. If you're into bird watching, be sure to ask for the bird checklist when you pay the entrance fee. (I love a good checklist!) And if you're into overcoming childhood fears of heights and steep slopes, it's a great place to do that too!

Photo from Enchanted Rock State Natural Area website. Doesn't that look like a lovely, cool day?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Deep In the Heart

Theme of the week: Deep In the Heart

I love this theme because we get to explore all the great things that make the state of Texas great!

Sensory Bins:
  • Pinto Beans with stars, cups, Barbie boots, plastic armadillos, pecans in shell
  • Rainbow Rice with blue plastic gems, cups, stars, plastic butterflies, silk bluebonnet-like flowers
Printables about Texas symbols and coloring sheets from KidZone (there are free coloring printables for all the state symbols - great site!).

Field Trips: The Alamo, Canyon Lake, and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. (It was a busy week - nothing beats hands-on learning!)

  • This is Texas by Miroslav Sasek
  • Is This Forever, or What? Poems and Paintings From Texas pub. Greenwillow Books
  • Bubba The Cowboy Prince: A Fractured Texas Tale by Helen Ketterman

  • Texas Chili
  • Dutch oven cornbread
  • King Ranch Casserole - I love this recipe by Baked Bree - no cream of anything needed. But I like to add fresh hatch and poblano peppers. And maybe a bit of chipotle.



Rainbow Rice

Our first summer project was rainbow rice! I've seen several blogs cover this, but my favorite is at Good and Hardy.

You'll need the following to get started:

  • Gallon size Ziploc bags
  • lots of rice - the cheaper the better - 4 cups per color
  • food coloring
  • rubbing alcohol
  • parchment paper or wax paper
  • large cookie sheets or lasagna pans - 1 pan per color
1.  Line each pan with parchment or wax paper and set aside.
2.  For each color I used 4 cups of rice, 3 Tbs rubbing alcohol, and whatever amount of food coloring I had left in the bottle (sorry - not real precise - maybe 1 - 3 tsp?). Combine it all in a Ziploc bag and seal tightly or your floor will be hot pink for a week.**
3.  Shake and smoosh the rice until the color is evenly incorporated and then dump onto your paper lined pan. Place in the sun (or on the counter) until dry.
4.  Done! Dump all colors into a larger container and add dinosaurs, measuring cups, or whatever else your little peeps can find to move colored rice from the container onto the floor.
** My five year old was in charge of mixing the colors. Turning the bag upside down to shake is not a good way to go about this mixing business. My linoleum floor really needs to be replaced anyway.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Welcome to Summer

Looking over last year's summer posts, I'm quite impressed with myself. Go me! Especially when I realize how much we did, but didn't document. This year I'm trying to simplify things (haha). Using weekly themes really did wonders for me trying to stay focused week to week, so this year I've come up with another list of themes. I was originally going to pre-assign weeks, but the kids really liked choosing the theme of the week, so they'll have a smaller jar to choose from. I've also started incorporating sensory boxes and busy bags to keep the youngest peep interested.

This year's themes are:

It's a Jungle Out There
Meet the (Art) Masters
Pete the Cat: Rocking in My Summer Shoes
It's a Big, Big World
Deep in the Heart
Land Before Time
Under the Sea
Seussically Speaking
Pigs in Space
The Adventures of Captain Zucchini

I've set aside up to 2 hours a day to work on theme activities and projects. Of course, the main objective is to relax and enjoy our summer, so I will ultimately plan more than I have time for!

Meanwhile, a year later...

Wow! 1 year since the last post. Nice!

Where to even begin????

In the words of Inigo Montoya...

Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up...

Our family has increased by one adorable little boy, Little Man A. He came to us through foster care and we will be officially adopting him no later than September. He is a feisty, active, adorable 2 year old and we can't imagine life without him. It would certainly be boring. The other little peeps are a year older, wiser, and funnier. The oldest peep is looking forward to the last 2 years of high school.

Time is racing forward and with high hopes of being faithful to my little blog, I take up the cause again of documenting some of our family's favorite recipes, adventures, and overall awesomeness. I hope at some point to fill you in on the happenings of the past year - it's been a crazy roller-coaster ride.