My Son is 8!

My, how time flies…

He loves, loves , loves having his birthday also be Halloween 🙂

Last night he got an early present from his sister- 2 African Water Frogs with special gravel, bamboo, and rocks for their habitat. She picked out the purple gravel because it is his favorite color.

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Today he woke up to presents from J. and I which included the Lego set he has been asking about for months, some Pokemon cards, “Jabba’s Math Game Galaxy” for the PC, and “Sugar” from my last post.

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The kids immediately set to work on the Lego set and then took a break for awhile to decorate cupcakes.

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Swimming Fail

Swimming at our local pool was supposed to start back up today, but unfortunately when we showed up we learned that the pool’s heater had just broken and been repaired and the pool was only up to about 70 degrees. The other famillies agreed to play at our house instead. Thankfully, the weather cooperated with us and we were able to go on a walk, play on the climbing dome, jump in a leaf pile, and other stuff. I didn’t get any pictures from the walk, but the girls got to explore one of the city’s excavators, sitting inside the cab and inside the shovel.

Back at the house, my daughter brewed potions with a new friend.

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Favorite Things

My son was asking me what my favorite Pokemon were tonight. When I started to tell him, he said “Hold On, I am going to make a list” and ran to his room. Then he asked me for a notebook so he could take notes. He wrote very carefully. Then my daughter came in and he made a list of her favorite things- me, J., her brother, Tom, and “bed” because he didn’t have much space left on the line and needed a short word, LOL.

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She decided to jump in on the favorites stuff too and made pictures and cards for the rest of us. Here is my pile full of love. Everything came in a big envelope that she wrote our phone number on, so I have covered that bit up.

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Monkeys and Bananas

My daughter really wanted to make a new game tonight based on a tiny monkey figurine inside a plastic ball (from a toy vending machine). She decided that bananas should be used for scoring points, dice would be used for moving, and cards would be used for some tricky banana stealing action. J. helped her make the cards and she figured out the rest. When she was ready, we played. I won by 2 bananas!

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More TMBG

My son picked out “The Greedy Triangle ” for one of our books before bed last night. It is a cute book about a triangle who is dissatisfied with his role in the world and keeps asking for more sides and angles. The book is good by itself, but last night it led me to singing about “Triangle Man” and then searching for this song from my past…

We went to bed singing and making up our versions like “Dad Man” and “Toilet Man”. Good Times 🙂

Today, we will be searching out videos for their greatest hits.

As a side note- I originally picked up “The Greedy Triangle” after checking out a bunch of “living math” books listed on a great website, LivingMath.net, where storybooks are listed and linked to the math topics they cover.

Kratt’s Creatures

The kids loved the Kratt’s Creatures game so much last night that I needed to make a second login so they could play at the same time!

The game is pretty cool. You get to search for different animals all around the world and learn about their habitats too. You can answer quiz questions and try out various skills (like echolocation) to earn video clips about the animals. You are also on a mission to match up certain clues with the animals they relate to in categories like eggs, skulls, sounds, babies, markings, and tracks.

I was amazed at how easily my son knew which animals all the skulls belonged to. What I thought was a crocodile jaw, he recognized immediately as a dolphin’s. He also pointed out the rodent skulls, which he figured out from our owl pellet lab. The chimp skull he said looked almost like a human skull. The squat skull looked like a wombat’s.

Both kids knew a bunch about the other categories as well. I liked the way the game tied things together. They knew the largest egg belonged to an ostrich and also knew they had to look in Africa to find it. They found the baby koala’s mom and headed right to Australia. The anaconda was an easy trip to S. America.

The game also has a place to hear jokes and view new videos about animals, as well as a place to try out your own video editing with their clips, screen frames, and more.

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I Love our Library! And Books in General…

Not only do we have one of the best libraries in the country, but as an added bonus we also have some of the nicest library staff. Whenever I go in with the kids, they are excited to hear what we are up to. They also cut me really good deals on books and other materials that are for sale 🙂

Today, there were a bunch of early readers and craft-type books for sale to raise money for the Library Friends. We didn’t have enough time to browse because we had stopped in on the way to the dentist, but they held back some books for me and we went back after the dentist. This is what we found:

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I love going there!

Also this month, one of the moms in our homeschooling group opened up the Scholastic Book Club to our group. I adored the Scholastic Catalogs as a kid and thankfully my parents supported me by letting me order from them. Our kids liked looking at the catalogs just as much! Snakes and Sharks and Faries, Oh My! We have just placed our first order and I am looking forward to getting our new books 🙂

Lovely Fall Weather

It has been fantastic for being outside and opening up the windows again 🙂

The kids have been playing outside more too. Yesterday was all about riding bikes and pretending to be Goombas and other things.

Today, we played in the backyard and read books on the swing. Then my daughter turned into a monkey and both kids climbed the dome in search of bananas (yellow leaves)…

I wish this weather could last forever!

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Foxes

They seem to be the theme here tonight. We watched a recorded episode of Kratt’s Creatures and it was on the Ethiopian fox. While they were watching, the kids drew pictures. My daughter drew this fox.

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As I type, the kids are pretending to be a fox and a rat. The fox (my daughter) is chasing the rat all around as it escapes into a tunnel. Now she is heading to her den.

Updated to add: The show is actually called “Be the Creature”. It is hosted by the Kratt brothers, who also hosted Zoboomafoo for those who remember it (It used to be on PBS). We have recently been watching old episodes of Zoboomafoo on Time Warner’s “Preschool on Demand”.

I just found a website game for “Kratt’s Cratures” on PBS Kids GO.

Coincidentally- because it is on PBS Kids, it uses the same password that we use for EekoWorld, which my son was playing earlier today. He finally earned all of the possible creature parts by answering questions about the environment and other PC stuff 🙂 He started playing it back when he was 4 and today was showing his sister how to play and make creatures.

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My Son’s Imagination

Today my son came up with a story he illustrated and then acted out using “Scratch“. It starts out with an evil twin killing someone, then planting a gun on his brother just as the police show up. The brother pleads his innocence to the cop, telling him it was his evil twin. The cop says “Sure it was…That’s what they all say!” and then “Tell it to the judge!”. That is the evil twin hiding behind the tree.

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In the next scene, the guy is in his jail cell getting used to his surroundings. He rests on the bed and brushes his teeth before being led to meet another prisoner.

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This prisoner has been in jail for 17 years and talks about how bad the food is, but warns the guy not to say anything bad about it or he will get in bigger trouble because the judge makes the food.

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The judge finally hears his case and decides that it was the evil twin and lets him go home to his mom. The judge bangs the gavel as he makes his decision.

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The guy goes home to his mom (who is a weird Yoshi) and plays checkers and tells her about what has happened.

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Then he goes outside to cut the grass.

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The End.

I love Science! And Music!

And happily my kids do too 🙂

Lately we have been listening to the new “They Might Be Giants” album called, what else?, “Here Comes Science“!

The songs are catchy and cover lots of fun topics like the elements, the planets, the color spectrum, and more. (You can see and listen to samples if you click on the above link)

Tucking my son in last night, he asked if we could sing some of them together. Unfortunately without the music playing along with us, we still had a lot of “la…la…hmmm” moments. One song however is particularly short and sweet. It is about shooting stars and is sung in the round on the CD/DVD. At first my kids seemed a bit confused by the singing of multiple phrases over the top of one another. Tonight, my son and I sang it together, still faltering a little due to the newness of the words. Then we tried out “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat” in the round and it worked out perfectly!

2 thumbs up for this CD/DVD!

In addition to the TMBG science last night, we also looked up a bit more on owl pellets. That led us to this website where you can dissect a virtual owl pellet. Of course, we did just that. From there we followed the link to Froguts.com and started a virtual frog dissection.

My son is now asking for a subscription to Froguts and at $30 for the year, we will probably buy it.

Revisiting Old Favorites and Finding New Ones

The kids have been doing lots of different things around here lately. I don’t really have enough of a story to make individual posts out of these, so a compilation it is!

The kids have been into Kaleidodraw again.
My son made this one called “Chili Pepper Symphony”.

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Both kids (and some of their friends) have been playing “City of Heroes” and making characters.

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My daughter has been making more drawings.

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Both of them have started playing with their Leapsters again after probably almost a year break.

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My daughter has been playing with Polly Pockets both new and old and making things for them.

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My son has been setting up mock battles.

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My son has been loving this wheel with information about underwater animals and the puzzle that came with it.

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He has also been playing more “Scribblenauts” and wanted me to get him a more advanced Dictionary. This is the next step up.

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Crafting together

My daughter and I spent a day last week crafting together while I worked on a crocheted tree and she worked on a felt bear.

This used up the last of my Homespun which has already been made into 2 hats and my daughter’s owl bag…it is still waiting for me to finish off the green yarn ends. I am hoping to turn them into vines.

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Here is the bear she made. She used glue this time instead of sewing it because the pieces were so tiny.

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Darn U.F.O.

“Unfinished Object” for those of you not in the craft frame of mind.

I started these socks for my daughter while trying to avoid starting on my son’s Birthday gift. I bought only one ball of this yarn assuming that if 2 could make a pair for me, then surely 1 could make a pair for her. Wrong! I don’t know why I assumed that a self patterning yarn would actually FINISH the pattern repeat, but this yarn did not. If it would have, I would have had them done minus the heels, which could have been some coordinating sock yarn. As it stands, I now will wait until someday when I have enough yarn to order to get the discount and the free S&H to get another darn ball.

Of course, she loves them.

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Skeletons in our closet- For Real :)

Animal skeletons that is…from our owl pellets.

We decided to look though them for bones after dinner. When I read the instructions, they said you could either do it dry by pulling off tufts of fur or wet by soaking the pellets to get the fur off. We chose the wet method because it sounded easier. If you ever do this, stick with the dry method! Trust me!

If was interesteing, yet at the same time incredibly disgusting, to be fingering through some dead animal’s fur in a bowl of water feeling for bits of bones. The kids stuck with me through several water changes as it got really murky very quickly. J. couldn’t even be in the room because he was so grossed out.

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In the end, both kids found skulls and lots of other bones. My son’s skull bone and 2 lower jaw bones looked just like the diagram that came with his pellet. We are assuming it was a vole. My daughter’s skull had a full lower jaw (actually she found a few of them), so we aren’t quite sure what animal it was from.

After the bones dried, we tried to figure out what we had.

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Then we put them in a baggie in my daughter’s closet, LOL.

Museum Day

My daughter has been contemplating dropping out of gymnastics lately, so we decided to skip this month to decide if she really wanted to stop and to figure out which day my son wants to go on in the future if she is indeed done. The great part of this is that we are gaining an extra “free day” in our week without a scheduled class or activity. Today, we decided to make the most of it!

We started off this morning playing “Totonka”, a board game themed around Native Americans. It is basically a silly, light-hearted game where you chase your opponents around trying to steal the feathers off of their heads and then must return them to your tipi.

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We played a few rounds and then decided we were going to head to the Natural History Museum.

We had been meaning to go for over a month becasue they had an exibit of artwork of the Galapagos showing many paintings of sea life all done by an autistic young man who began painting after taking a class at the museum. Given my son’s love for all things underwater, I thought he would enjoy it. When I looked up the info this morning, I was a bit sad to see the exhibit ended yesterday and that there would be a new exhibit on dinosaur movement instead. We were pleasantly surprised to get to see both exhibits as they were in still in the process of taking down the Galapagos one.

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We also checked out the rest of the museum and the outside animals.

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We wound up, in the end, at the museum store and left with 2 new stuffed animals and 2 owl pellets.