Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let's Be Friends!

What a sweet award!

Isn't it amazing how you can connect with people through their blogs. There is a sense of understanding between Moms, especially between Christians. God wants us to be around others who will encourage us and lift us up. Today, I received an award from my new bloggy friend over at Lollypops and Lizards. Thank you Michelle. I am going to pass it along to some of the friends I've made through blogging as well as new friends!!

"The Let's be Friends" award stands for this: These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers."

I'm breaking the rules and posting 10 friends! There are so many wonderful people out there in the blogosphere! I'm such a people person, so it is even hard to choose just 10.

Jennifer at Ramblings of a Crazy Women
Bobbi at Casa Camacho
Masked Mommy at The Masked Mommy
Trish at Preschool Playbook
Elizabeth at The Parenting Pink Blog
Melody at Merrie Melody
The Blonde Duck at A Duck in her Pond
Lynnie at Way Up High in the Monkey Bread Tree
Amy at Artwork by Amy Short
Momma Snail at The Snail's Trail



Bye Friends!

Keep Smiling!

Jen

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: See What I Have to Put Up With!



Do you ever feel like you have one extra kid in your home?
I actually love his playful spirit; just wondering if any Mommas out there can relate!

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit 5 Minutes for Mom

Have a great day!

Jen

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to Create a Nature Journal

Nature Journals are wonderful keepsakes for this time of year. There is so much change going around us and journaling is a great way to record this beauty. Not only is it preserving memories, but it is a valuable tool to help with beginning writing and reading.

Last year, the girls created a picture nature journal. After many nature walks, they illustrated their journals to show their discoveries. My eldest labeled her pictures and wrote beginning sentences. This year, we are going to do a photo journal. They are going to help Mom take pictures and then organize them in a journal. Sunshine will be able to write more about her discoveries this year and Peanut will be able to label her pictures.

My former students also enjoyed getting outdoors to explore nature. For my students' journals, I organized each page so that there was room for them to sketch as well as record facts about their discoveries. Designing their own covers personlized each journal and gave the project ownership.

An illustrated and photo journal can also be combined. Your child can add photos or illustrations throughout different times of the year. Nature Journaling is a great long-term project for your children, because they can add pages to their project if necessary.

To learn more about planning a nature journal for your child, visit Connecting-with-Nature.net.

Also, great post over at the Camp Creek Blog on nature journal supplies!

Please feel free to share ideas for natural journaling or experiences that you've had with your children. To see some of our nature finds, visit my post Slow Down and Enjoy the Beauty.

Have a wonderful day!

Jen

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Do I really have a 7 year old?

Time flies! I know parents tell you this when you first have your baby, but boy is it true. Do I really have a 7 year old? It is so hard to believe! She actually turns 7 this coming week, but we celebrated yesterday- Camp Rock style!
(Just in case you didn't know- Camp Rock is a Disney movie more for older kids, but my daughters are so into music, that they were dying to see this film- rated G, don't worry!)

Here's a peek at the decor!


I used a flag to decorate the wall and tied balloons on the flag's tail. I'm happy that we can reuse this decoration!


Glittery streamers that I recycled from last years Hannah Montana birthday party.
The "pack rat" in me paid off this time!


Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting made by Momma- Mmmmmmm! They rock!

And last, but not least- The Birthday song:
video

Enjoy your day! Cause you rock, you rock on!!

Jen

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Travel With Us to Africa!

Last week, we were in Australia studying Aboriginal art and Australian music. This week, we "flew" over the Indian Ocean and landed on the continent of Africa. So far, we learned about different types of African masks.




Sunshine designed her own animal mask based on the African Elephant.




She is also studying the Meerkat and started recording facts about this African creature. Aren't they cute?
She had fun learning about the Meerkat over at Animal Planet.
I made a little booklet for her to help her focus her research. So far she has found out about the meerkat's diet, anatomy, and predators. We also enjoyed reading a folk tale from Africa. Next week, we will be exploring African music.
We are so lucky that she has an awesome art and music program through her Cyberschool. Her meerkat project is enrichment that I had planned for her to correlate with her other studies. She explored a variety of African animals and chose her animal based on her own interests.

If you ever need suggestions on planning your own mini-research project with your kids, let me know! Also, there are so many ways to demonstrate learning through a variety of products. For example, poster, puppet show, mural, etc.

Have a great day!!

Jen

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pink and Polka Dotted!!

I love the new polka dot background! What do you think? I found it over at Shabby Blogs and it seemed to fit perfectly with my design.

Thanks, Shabby Blogs!!



Have a great Friday! I'll be doing party planning today! Seems like that is all I've been doing lately. Tomorrow is my almost 7 year olds' "Camp Rock" party!

"Cause we rock, we rock, we rock on!"

Jen

Thursday, April 23, 2009

5 Just for Fun


Last night I was thinking about some of the things that we've done or learned this week and decided to share our top 5 just for fun things that we did this week.



1. Walked on stilts.

2. Ate Astronaut icecream.

3. Learned that a Beaver's teeth never stop growing.

4. Played a game online about Meerkats and learned about this adorable, African creature.

5. Wrote Acrostic poems.


What is your top 5 Just for Fun??

Love to hear what you are up to in your homes!

Have a creative and fun day!

Jen

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Home Security


With summer right around the corner, I get a little bit nervous about the crime rate increasing. I don't think that I mentioned the problems that my neighbors and I have had in the past. Since living in my neighborhood, I have had my car stolen, have had graffiti sprayed on my garage numerous times, have seen possible drug interactions outside my window, and have had items stolen out of my car.

Our street is filled with lovely people, immigrants, and also elderly that enjoy being around my girls. Living in a house that is over 100 years old, we love the character, but not the crime that surrounds our home. Unfortunately, we are close to an area that is a nuisance to our community. I go back and forth between feeling safe and then not. At times I have thought about getting an ADT Security System, but have been concerned about the monthly costs. This has made me feel guilty- that I would risk my girls safety. Recently, I did have some security measures that are less expensive put in place. I'm constantly setting it off, though. That would be a major concern of mine- that I'd be calling the police and fire department daily, because I would forget to turn it off.

Do you have a Home Security System? Any opinion about ADT Security? If yes, have you ever had any mishaps with your kids and the system? Setting it off, etc. I'd love to hear your ideas and stories!

Take Care!
Jen

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Inventing Day!

Get your kids thinking "outside of the box" by celebrating Inventing Day on Saturday April 26th. Today, I discovered a fun contest for the kids. They had to sketch an original and creative invention. They truly enjoyed this activity and finished their ideas today. (Thank goodness, because they need to be submitted by this Saturday.) Even if you don't have time to enter the contest, it is still a great activity to do to encourage creative thinking.

Visit www.meddybemps.com to learn more about Inventing Day!

Take a peek at my girls' creative ideas! A little far fetched, but great for their imaginations! On the other hand, most inventions were thought to be crazy at one time or another, but have come true to life. So you never know!


The Magic Springboard
"Tell the Magic Springboard what you want and it turns into the equipment that you want to use."


The Lots of Stuff Robotic Turtle
"The Lots of Stuff Robotic Turtle has a remote control. You can also use buttons on the turtle to control it. It makes ice cream cones from it's tail, plays tag with you, can make puzzles on its back, and turn into a stuffed animal at night."



Inventing Online Resources:
Enchanted Learning: Inventors
Invention at Play

Children's Literature


The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle: And Other Surprising Stories about Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson (Author)








Imaginative Inventions: The Who, What, Where, When, and Why of Roller Skates, Potato Chips, Marbles, and Pie (and More!)
by Charise Mericle Harper






Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

by Catherine Thimmesh (Author), Melissa Sweet (Illustrator)



Weird & Wacky Inventions by Jim Murphy










Have fun inventing!!

Jen

Great Book for EarthDay!

I'm hoping to be able to find the book, The Wartville Wizard by Don Madden, in my stash of books that are strewn around every room in the house or possibly packed away with my teaching paraphernalia. When I was student teaching in Kindergarten, I read this book to my students during our Earth Day celebrations. The kids were surprised to see me enter the room with Doritos bags and candy bar wrappers and pop cans taped all over me. Well, my motivation worked, because the kids couldn't wait for me to read the story so that they could figure out what I was up to. The Wartville Wizard is about a man who isn't happy with the trash that everyone is throwing around the community. He casts a spell on anyone who litters. When they litter the garbage will come back and stick to them. Everyone in the town is walking around with garbage stuck all over them. Will the Wartville Wizard reverse the spell? This fun book teaches a good moral lesson about taking care of the places that are important to us-our community, our towns, our Earth!


Lesson Plans
Litter Lessons
www.learningtogive.org

Resources

For Other Earth Day Book Suggestions, click here!



Happy Reading!

Jen

Monday, April 20, 2009

Discover Rocks and Minerals!

We had the most fun exploring land and some of its natural resources- rocks and minerals. To motivate the kids, I started the unit with a rock walk. My curious kids collected a variety of rocks while we explored the neighborhood. We also discussed how rocks and minerals are used as a natural resource and looked for examples of such during our walk.
Enjoy coming into our home and taking a look at the fun we had with Rocks and Minerals. Activities included mineral hunting, breaking open Geodes, collecting soil samples, reading books, and more!


Sunshine exploring her special rocks


Peanut exploring her discoveries




The girls couldn't help but be creative with their rocks. This is what I found at their work stations.




"I'm goin' on a mineral hunt..."



>

"I'm cracking open my first Geode. It was quite the disappointment-no crystals."

(I would recommend buying more than one Geode to increase your chances of getting crystals. We did it a couple of weeks later and she found her crystals!)


Well, Sunshine just being herself.


Rock Art (I've always loved painting rocks when I was a child. I remember trying to sell them to the neighbors.)


RESOURCES:


Eyewitness Workbooks: Rocks and Minerals
by Helen Whittaker


Magic School Bus Inside the Earth (Magic School Bus Series)
by Joanna Cole, Gary Ed. Cole, Bruce Degen (Illustrator)

A couple of items I borrowed from my own Usborne inventory! Perk to selling awesome books!





Have fun exploring rocks and minerals with your kids!

Jen

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wowie Wow Wow!

Wowie, Wow Wow! (as Junie B. Jones would say!) Wait until you get a peek at the new award that I just recieved last week from one of my new favorite Mommy bloggers!



And the best part of this award given to me by the Masked Mommy is that I get to share the love with others!!

And the recipients of this Super D Duper award (ok- now I'm quoting Barney- scary)are:
Flipflops and Applesauce
The Snail's Trail
5 Orange Potatoes
Just for Fun
Frugal Family Fun

Now that you've recieved this Super Award, have fun passing it along to other Super Bloggers! Here are the "rules":

Tape it up on your blog somewhere.
Pass it along to 5 fellow super bloggers, and comment on their blog to let them know how lucky they are today!
When you present your Super Blogger awards, link back to the super blogger who gave it to you.


Congrats to the above bloggers!! If you haven't been to the above blogs, be sure to check out their great work and awesome ideas!

Have a great day!

Jen

Friday, April 17, 2009

Shoe Shopping?

If you were a shoe, what shoe would you be? I love shoes, but I'm not much of a shoe person, probably because I can't afford to be. I would be a shoe that is reliable, comfortable, simple, and cute. Sounds a little bit boring, huh. I'm pretty outgoing, too. So it would have to be a shoe that's not too plain.

My Sunshine girl on the other hands would be a bright and glittery shoe- the more sparkle, the better! I shouldn't have been surprised that she chose this shoe to describe her personality!

Peanut, hmmm, probably something simple and sweet.

We found all of the shoes at Zappos. Zappos is a huge online store for all ages that sells shoes, handbags, sunglasses and more. While looking over this website, I was impressed with the selection that was available and the variety of styles. Zappos has everything from bridal shoes to sandals for summer. Some of the higher quality merchandise is out of my price-range, but it is fun to dream! This is one of the things that I had to sacrifice to stay home with the girls. There isn't much left at the end of the month for fancy shoes or purses. But if you have the cash, this looks like a great place to shop.

If you enjoyed this review or if you get a chance to stop by the site, let me know what you think. Also, I'm dying to know- Did you decide what type of shoe you are yet?

Have a great night!

Jen

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hubby in Action!

My blog mostly focuses on the kids and their creative and curious spirits, so it isn't that often that I talk about my husband. Although, he does a lot to inspire them. I see my blog as more of a mommy blog, I guess. But today, I came across this video of my husband and I had to share! What a fun Daddy! He is so funny and the girls just love being around him. Take a peek at my wonderful husband in action! Please refrain from laughing at him. He, He!
video

I hope that I made you smile!

Jen

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Good Riddance!

"Club Libby Lu was an experiential/experience-based retailer for preteen girls ages five through twelve. Founded by Mary Drolet, a former executive at Claire's and Montgomery Ward, in August 2000, the store chain operated 98 stores in 28 states in the United States before closing in early 2009." Source: Wikipedia

Preteen? Between the ages of five and twelve is considered preteen? Disturbing.

Thank goodness this chain closed down. Good riddance! Maybe I shouldn't write that being that I've never stepped foot in the store, but after reading about it, it doesn't seem like something I'd be interested in. I'm all for make-believe and dress-up, but not is treating your girls like they are older.

Even though the battle to save our little girl's innocence is tough,I'm glad to see that other's are finally waking up. I'm tired of advertisers and companies trying to sell "sexy" to our little girls! My daughter's beg for Bratz dolls and other items in the stores that promote this. The My Scene dolls from Barbie are starting to follow suite. Peanut just got one from a preschool friend for her birthday- lots of makeup,extremely short skirt, high heels-basically the doll looks like a street walker. Just in case you think that I'm exaggerating, here's a pic of my Peanut's new toy.




My girls are only 5 and 7! This is crazy. I'm trying so hard to protect them from this (not just a doll), but it is everywhere. How do I explain that it is inappropriate for them to act sexy, when they don't even understand what sexy means? They want to dress like these dolls and act like teenagers already. The more I try to explain that it is inappropriate, the more they want it. Big Powertrip. Help!

I know this isn't the usual type of post for Creative and Curious Kids!-usually I'm bit more positive, but it has been a major concern of mine.

What are you doing to protect your children from becoming sexualized at such a young age? Would love to hear from you and any suggestions on how you are dealing with this issue.

Take Care!

Jen

Driving a Mini-van?

The Mini-van. The Queen of all Mommy cars. Do you have one? Recently, I purchased my first mini-van. Honestly, I don’t mind being a soccer mom. In fact, my macho husband drives it even more than I do. I was concerned at first when we got rid of his old Jeep to get a mini-van. Was this equivalent to neutering a male dog? Besides, he already has to live with three girls with lots of pink and polish- now he has to give up his masculine car for a mini-van. Luckily, it wasn’t an issue. It didn’t hurt his male ego one bit. If I could choose my vehicle of choice, I would choose a VW bug! I’ve always loved those little cars.

Isn’t it great that with just one click on the internet, you can research the car of choice? Being a great tool for researching safety, price, etc., I’ve used these sites when searching for my new and used vehicles. One great site that my girls and I were exploring today is called TheCarConnection.com. They had fun exploring different types of cars and selecting their own car.
I showed them a few different vehicles and then got their opinion about each car. Peanut liked the Toyota Yaris because the model shown is “shiny and blue.” Great reason to buy a car. He, He. Sunshine on the other hand, chose a more expensive model, a Lincoln MKS. “Do they have it in a convertible? I want a convertible.” She better start saving now for this pricey car. On the other hand it did get a better rating than the Toyota Yaris. Lastly, I showed the girls information and photos of the Chevrolet Cruze. They both gave this model a thumbs down. It wasn’t “cool” enough for them. Car "window" shopping with them is too funny!

If you are in the market to buy a new car, be sure to check out TheCarConnection.com or if you want to have fun dreaming like me with your curious kids, you can do that, too!

Take Care!

Jen

Wordless Wednesday: The Birthday Pics!


"It's my birthday, so I'll be cute if I want to...."


The Decor!


The Birthday Chair


Tea Party Heaven!


Mmmmmm! Cupcakes with Strawberry icing!


Happy Birthday to you!!


My crazy sis had fun!


I love my present from my big sis!


Oooops! I lost my blindfold.

A "berry" good time! Interested in throwing your own Strawberry Shortcake bash? Be sure to take a peek at yesterday's post: How to Party Strawberry Shortcake Style.

For more Wordless Wednesday, be sure to visit: http://www.5minutesformom.com.

Have a great day!

Jen

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