Friday, July 31, 2009

Theme Week - Last Day - School Day

Today we are practicing for school! Devin will be going into Junior Kindergarten (JK) and he will need to be able to do a few things he doesn't right now. For starters, he needs to work on putting on his own shoes and doing up his jacket. He doesn't have to be able to do these things, the JK classes have student helpers who do come and help the teachers get the kids dressed and ready, but it would be ideal if he could put his runners on by himself. He can do most of it, but usually can't get his heel in; he can however put his sandals on by himself, even with the back strap. He can put his own coat on, but can not do up the zipper. Next he needs to be able to wipe himself after going #2! Jasmine's stools were... well formed we will say, while Devin's not so much, so this process is much harder for him to learn and much more important (you know they are gooeyer)... anyhow enough about poop! He can actually wipe himself now, except he doesn't seem to be able to fold up his toilet paper and he just prefers us to do it, so now we take turns and it seems to be working! Another thing is his pencil work or lack there of. He has no interest in writing, drawing or coloring. Well, he has started a bit more scribbling in coloring books the last few weeks, but his attention span is short! He can recite his alphabet and count into the teens and he can recognize likely over half the alphabet, but he does not do any printing. He can do a circle and a line and we have really been working on the "D" for Devin, but it's not great and it's huge! From nursery school we know that Devin loves circle time and loves playing and exploring. He is a very hands on kind of kid with great gross motor skills, jumps from very high, climbs up the stairs carrying heavy objects and rides a scooter like a crazy! He also needs to work on his conflict resolution - still, ongoing!

Jasmine on the other hand has to be able to go to school for a full day and she has to be able to feed herself 2 lunches due to our balanced day. I will also need practice in packing her lunch. It is suggested that I pack and label 2 seperate lunches or a breakfast and a lunch. They eat once at 10:25 and then again at 12:50.

Okay, so on to our day. Our day started outside with our backpacks on and we took a pretend walk to school. Put all our bags against the wall of the school and played outside until school started. The bell (a triangle instrument we have) rang and the kids came running in, had to change into their indoor shoes, hang up their bags and grab their show and tell and meet at the circle!

During circle we had calendar time where we counted up to today, talked about the names of the months that we knew and then Jasmine sang them to us "en francais". We discussed what summer was and the sort of activities you do in summer. The girls did great, Devin however thinks you go to the store in summer and have a fight - he needs some work I guess! As part of circle we had music time and each of them chose a song for us all to sing and then we tried doing a round with 3 songs that are all the same rhythm.

After music time was over we did some table work. I made them each a little stapled booklet last night, it had a maze, a number page, a letter page, a page with directions (like draw a line between the matches or circle how many) and then a coloring page. We worked our way through the first half of the book, but with Devin it was tricky! He did better than I expected though.

We were ahead of schedule and they were ready for a break, so they had free play in the basement until nutrition break #1. Jasmine had to know which snacks to eat and Grace and Devin got to practice opening containers and putting away their garbage. Then it was time for recess, where we played in the back yard. The kids had fun with our new patio swing - Thanks Cynthia!
After recess it was art and the kids got to make whatever they wanted with all our craft supplies. Devin glued many buttons and googley eyes onto paper, Grace glued sparkly flowers and feathers and Jasmine cut foam and stapled pieces together to make a train (all her idea - I was impressed).
Then it was time for gym and we headed outside to practice sports of all sorts. We started with throwing a beach ball and catching, then moved onto teeball, throwing a football into a pool of water, soccer passing/shooting on net/goalie, basketball, frisbee and duck, duck, goose. PHEW! I would say the collective favorite was teeball, although quite a few baskets were scored! And of course they LOVE duck, duck, goose! We came back in for nutrition break #2, with a hot meal program (Ichiban noodles) being served in addition to their snacks. We leave on holidays tomorrow, so my fridge is pretty much empty, making 3 snacks for 2 meals was a challenge! We had indoor recess next down in the basement for free play and then story time followed with nap time. (We will be travelling tomorrow, so I figured we needed to fit that nap in.)After nap the kids had time to work on math. My good friend Cynthia used to teach kindergarten and had boxes of counting supplies. When she moved she was going to throw them away, along with the patio swing above, so we took them off her hands. Kids did patterning with screws, bolts and washers, adding with little rubber chickens, color sorting with many different shades of buttons and on and on.

Devin says he wants to go to real school and being friends with his teacher, I know it will be a whole lot more fun than today's book work and twinkle, twinkle little star! I will caution you though Lisa, he did bite Jasmine today in their outside conflict - 1st one in a long time, but I will say I was preparing the hot lunch at this time, so was not readily available to hear what was happening and assist the conflict as usual! As for Jasmine, I know she will be quite good at school and I am friends with her teacher, (hi Natalie) as well, so am not worried about her at all, it's when she gets home that concerns me. She'll be so tired and temper tantrumy that I might go crazy! We are working on weaning her from her naps and teaching her strategies to deal with her tiredness and frustration, but when she is tired she simply doesn't care to use them!
All in all, it was a great, but BUSY day!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Theme Week - Day #4 - Beach Day

You'd think my camera was broken or had no batteries, as I am pretty much always thinking to take a picture, but there just wasn't anything to take a picture of today. Well, there was the swimming pool, but it was tricky enough to ensure 3 children didn't drown without the camera.

The kids ran around in shorts and bathing suits all morning and played everything from cats and dogs to superheroes to Jesus and God, yep you heard right - our house was heaven in fact! Nice!

For snack we made some chocolate chip cookies (which we were supposed to make yesterday for PJ day, but the dough didn't thaw in time - what can you do?) and we made fruit smoothies and ate frozen mango.

We headed for a play outside, I picked weeds and they played tag and threw rocks on my deck (and then had to spend about 15 minutes picking rocks off my deck). Somehow they ended up running through the sprinkler naked again, they really liked that! Actually what they like best is sticking their butt right on top of the sprinkler - guess they are getting a good cleaning or an enima of sorts.

After lunch we headed to the local poop, I mean pool! They did have a pool "fouling" as they called it and so the large poop, I mean large pool was closed! This meant the kiddie pool was packed and it didn't help that there were 3 camps worth of kids in there - crazy! Jasmine is swimming like a fish. She spends more time under the water then above now or I'd say at least half the time. Both Devin and Grace tried to drown themselves once, well slipped underwater unintentionally and they did not like that one little bit!

We came home to ... NAP! All 3 kids crashed within 10 minutes and they all slept for 2 hours. So I read, ahhh! I started re-reading the Twilight series and New Moon is calling my name, but I am scared to start it before we go on holidays as I may not put it down. I also started re-reading the Harry Potter series. I have never re-read a book in my life and I have to say so far I am enjoying both! Who knew!

Last theme day tomorrow and then holidays begin! Can't wait to see my husband again - he's so busy with work right now that he plays with the kids when he comes home, we chat at supper and once the kids are in bed, he works again! It's getting a little tedious and we are all ready for a break from that! Bring it on!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Theme Week - Day #3 - P.J. Day

P.J. Day was selected for today because the weather forecast had predicted chance of thunder showers all day. Well, we did get a mini storm for about half an hour, but that was it all day! It actually didn't look to bad out this morning, but we wouldn't know as we never left the house.

The kids love Pyjamma Day, I'm not sure why, because, well we don't really do anything. I love pyjamma day, because I don't have to do anything! They played for a little while and then watched Grace's movie pick, A bug's Life. For our morning snack the kids prepared a teddy bear picnic and brought down stuffed animals of their choosing, along with pillows and blankets. After snack, we had reading time and they all read books in the pillow filled area.
For lunch, we had to have more breakfast so we enjoyed pancakes and for dessert more pancakes except with chocolate chips, too! After lunch, the kids free played for a long time and then we did a craft. The girls had fun making their own little families with a stamp set and then we spelled their names with a font set! While we were in the basement the power did flicker out and we were in the pitch black for about 5 or 6 seconds. (I went up to get the flashlights in case it went out again, as that was a little frightening down there - totally dark!)
We were ready for some exercise by then, so we did some dancing even though we couldn't find our Barenaked Ladies CD to find the Popcorn song, which would have been fitting for our last movie and popcorn snack!

Grace is peeking out from behind the couch because she thought there was going to be a scary part, but it ended up being funny - we were watching Monsters Inc. this time - Devin's pick!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Theme Week - Day #2 - Adventure Day

Adventure day was basically a 3 1/2 hour... well adventure! We packed up the backpack with snacks and water, greased ourselves with sunscreen and bugspray and headed off. but we took the long playful version. We walked through the woods with our bug house and nets - we did manage to catch 2 ladybugs (one red and one silver) and a dandy long legs. Below Jasmine is trapping the silver ladybug and it eventually climbs onto her hand.As we walked through the woods they pretended to be scared and that monsters were chasing them. Grace was fond of shouting, "Run for your lives!". And then they would pretend to take a nap on a rock, I can't figure these kids out! They LOVE climbing on rocks, under trees, through trees, anything but the normal way to walk.
We stopped at a few different parks on our way through the adventure, but besides the wooded areas, I would say their next favorite was the open fields and they would just run and chase each other.

When the kids were "pooped out", as they would say we went to a convenient store and bought ourselves some lunch... Ice cream, Smarties and Cheetoes - yummy! Don't worry, Pam I did buy them so real food, too, but we did eat the ice cream first as it was melting!

Theme Week - Day #1- Castle Day

This week we have our God daughter staying with us during the day as her daycare is closed for the week. So this week is THEME week and we started it all off with castle day. We would call it princess day, but Devin is here so we refer to it as castle day and then he can be a prince or a knight if he likes, although he usually chooses the lizard costume or a pair of high heels... go figure!
For lunch we had fairy wings, which were mini bagels spread with either peanut butter or cream cheese with sprinkles, cut in half and turned around to look like a pair of wings. They love it! And then we had chicken noodle soup and veggies as well, it's not like they were prisoners in the dungeon only getting a scrap of bread for their meal.

After lunch we played Cinderella which personally, I LOVE! If you have never tried this game with your little girls then it is a must. You pretend you are the evil stepmother and they are Cinderella or Devin's case he was Cinderfella, and then you boss them around and make them clean your house. Seriously, it works! Jasmine and Grace went up to her bedroom and cleaned it up and made the bed, then they folded the blankets from the front room and tidied up the shoes by the front door, soooo much fun for me to watch! Below is the picture I took when I told them to pretend they were the evil stepsisters! So funny!
Then the evil stepmother told them there was a contest that we had to win. The contest was to build the highest tower with Lego. They enjoyed this, but did need some help getting the tower to be taller than they were!

After nap time, which was basically 3 kids in 1 bed laughing and telling each other stories for 1 1/2 hours, I did the girls hair and make up for they royal ball. They danced around and played and another little squire by the name of Simon joined in on the fun until Grace had to go home. A great day at Quirk Castle!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Salad of the Week

Couscous Feta Salad

This one also came from the cheese magazine I talked about last time, but it was much better! In a frying pan cook a chopped pepper, a chopped onion, 2 cloves garlic and 3 sticks chopped celery with a little olive oil. To this add half a can (28 oz.) of diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup vegetable broth and 1/2 cup orange juice and a dash of pepper, salt and hot sauce. Once boiling add 1 cup couscous, cover and remove from heat - let simmer for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add a can of chickpeas (19 oz.), 2 tbsp of fresh chopped oregano and mint, oh and as much chopped feta as you like! This made lots and because of the chickpeas has good fiber and protein in it! We had it along side barbecued chicken breast and cooked green beans! A yummy meal! Although my kids didn't love it, our little friend Simon ate all his!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Good things growwwww in Ontario!

For those of you who don't live here, it's a song that gets stuck in your head, but the song is true and this weekend we proved it!

Our first outing was to Oven's Berry Farm with our friends the Dixons. We made a special trip to this farm because they grow Saskatoon berries (did you know other provinces and states call them service berries or SHAD berries - I thought that was cool because my maiden name is Shadbolt, anyhow...) As you will see from the pictures, Devin REALLY likes Saskatoon berries! Saskatoon berries are a huge item in Saskatchewan, in fact they flew in Saskatoon pies from Saskatchewan for the Univeristy of Regina reunion when the Saskatchewan Roughriders played the Ottawa Renegades a number of years ago. We went to the game, just for the pie ;) While we were at the farm, we also picked raspberries as they were practically falling off the bushes. Today we made a honkin' fruit salad, as well as Saskatoon muffins and for breakfast Saskatoon pancakes with fresh raspberries on top. We froze the rest for now and will make some crumbles and pies when we have an excuse to entertain!

Today's adventure led us to Thistle Springs Trout Farm upon suggestion of our friends, Bronwyn and Rilla. I can't remember how many fish they caught, but I don't think we came close with our two. It worked out well though because I caught the first fish and Jasmine was helping me and Jay caught the second fish and Devin was helping him. So, both kids got to have a chance. It was a good experience, but it does test a little kids patience. Jasmine said the best part was feeding the fish in the tanks at the beginning and Devin said his favorite part was the fishing rod and catching the fish. The kids didn't love the process of getting the hook out of the fishes mouth, but they still didn't have a problem eating the trout for supper!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Neighbourhood party!

It all started, once again with the science experiment book. This activity was called, "Mystery Meeting Map". You've all seen it, as kids we used to write invisible notes with lemon juice and then heat them up in the oven to show what had been written. Well, this was the same idea and we started by drawing a map of the neighbourhood. Of course, I ended up doing all the artwork, but it was good for Jasmine to see where things were located and how to visualize something from above. She helped me decide what to put on there and where it should go. The instructions in this book have you use baking soda and water to make your invisible ink. We did our own experiment and tried a little bit of what they said and then we tried the good old lemon juice as well. In the end we liked the baking soda better. It seemed to leave a nicer trail and with less residue (just a slight sparkle from the dust), while the lemon juice stained the paper just slightly yellow. We delivered the maps to our neighbours with a time and the event, but they really didn't know who it was from until they decoded the trail and knew whose house the party was at. (Well, some of them did because they knew my writing, but whatever, it was still cool!)

Jasmine had her heart set on a BEACH party, so we got some water balloons ready, the big beach umbrella, laid out all the kid towels, had the bubbles ready to go and Jasmine even drew a bunch of pictures to hang up on the wall to help give it that summery feeling. Of course the weather was a bit hard to read: cloudy and a bit breezy, but the kids didn't seem to care. They splashed around the pool, burst balloons and got wet anyway!

After the water games, the girls played camp out, boys played board games and the little kids played dress up and then ... climbed up the back of the treadmill and flipped over the back of the couch (yes, I know we let our children do bizarre and dangerous things, but they love it and I pretend it is like their gymnastics time).
It's always a bit tough for the parents to just sit back and have a good time at these events. You always have to keep an eye on your children: make sure they are safe, not freezing from being too wet on a cloudy day, not getting sunburned when the sun does decide to shine, not fighting with each other or throwing a watermelon rind into the neighbours yard (that was too funny, and no those neighbours weren't invited) ... but all that said, we did manage to get in some nice conversations and our kids not only had a good time, but got to be closer neighbours and I love that. These kids will grow up living on the same 2 streets for potentially years and what better way to do it than by being good friends! Here is to more summer fun!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Salad of the Week

Havarti Fish Salad

This one came to me through a Cheese Magazine I received in the mail. Obviously the purpose of this magazine is to sell more of their product, cheese! I did love the cheese and I loved the salmon, but the dressing was ... eek, terribly tangy, ludricously lime, sickeningly sour.

The dressing was basically olive oil, lime and cayenne pepper. As a baste on the salmon, very nice, but as a dressing on lettuce, cucumber and tomato - woah, toooooo limey!

We used a base of small noodles in the shape of rings, kids loved the rings! Added the veggies mentioned above with the dressing, then topped the salad with the grilled salmon and havarti cheese.

Next time, I would simply make the salad, use the dressing on the fish and then use a balsamic dressing or something on the salad part.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rainy days are keeping me busy!

Due to the on and off rainy weather, the crafty mom in me has had to come out! Thanks to my girlfriend, Pam we had homemade play-doh to entertain us this morning. Thanks to some of my students I had free money at Chapters, so one of the books we bought was a science experiment book. We are working our way through the book and I think are on experiment #4 now. One of which was making shadow puppets. If I use the flash all you see is the puppets, like in the bottom of the 3 pictures below, without the flash they are pretty blurry, but you get the idea! We used them in Devin's bedroom with his car flashlight, then we also made some huge ones on the ceiling - very fun! Plus of course, you had to make them first.

Yesterday we did finger print experiments. It says to use paint, but when you have as many stamp pads as I do, I just couldn't bring myself to do it! So we used ink pads... of course that stain, wouldn't be any fun otherwise. Notice Devin's stomach (glad I took off his shirt first, just knew that would happen) and yep for swimming lessons today the ink was still there, too funny, anyhow... We first made fingerprint people. Jasmine did so well copying from the book for her first 2 little men, then the 3rd one she did of her own creativity. (this was her 3rd attempt before she got it perfect, but I honestly couldn't tell what was wrong with the first two papers, guess she has high standards). I copied the examples from the book and had a great time - I love stuff like that! AND, I actually got Devin to draw a "D" for Devin on his paper - halleluia!

After this we tried to be detectives and dust for fingerprints, but we had little success. Sidewalk chalk just doesn't seem to cut it for dusting purposes. We made up litte crime sheets, but you can't see the fingerprints on the tape really at all. Devin's crime was eating the toothpaste and Jasmine's was hiding toys. Mine, which the kids decided, was yelling at the kids... I don't even do that, geesh ;)