Greatly Blessed

Greatly Blessed

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pipe Cleaner Play

There's something fun about the simple things.  I think in our keep-up-with-the-Pinterest-mamas world, we tend to forget that.

I saw a craft that I wanted to try out on my kids because I was thinking of taking it to share with other mamas & kiddos at a homeschool co op that's trying to get off the ground.

I wasn't terribly impressed with the original craft idea, but I'm glad I saw it, because it inspired me to do a little shopping.  (Not that it takes much to inspire me, unfortunately.)

In addition to the green pipe cleaners, or should I say, "chenille stems," I got a pack of rainbow pipe cleaners, too.

And after the craft flopped, the kids played with them.  Oh yeah.  That's the idea.

I need to remind myself that I'm not supposed to guide their every project.  That's creativity comes from free expression.

That's the beauty of homeschooling.  My kids don't have to make exactly the same craft as 30 other kids in their class are making.

They can find their own sweet spot.

Brianna did these, adding pom poms to the mix.

I should have used this as a tree in Hannah's diorama for her Tiger report at school.

Eli's got a guy, a leprechaun, a rainbow, and a pot of gold going here.  

For Katie, I set her to work poking beads on a pipe cleaner as a fine motor skills activity.

You know, one of those moments where I think she might struggle with something because of her hand differences?

Silly mommy.  Katie can do pretty much whatever she wants.

Although it's not a great picture, she *loved* the bracelets she made, and wore them for days.

Even Hannah made a couple, when she came home from school.  Notice the trays?  I don't remember which catalog I ordered them from, years ago, but these are similar.  We use them ALL the time.  For paint, for sorting, for all sorts of things.

Coming full circle, the big kids saw how much fun the girls were having with the pony beads and ended up spending a couple days creating with them while we did our read aloud time.

I know for me, we tend to have a lot of the open-ended play/craft supplies on hand.  It's a matter of getting them out, making them available to the kids, and then letting them take them in the direction they choose.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekly Wrap Up - The One With The Flu

This week's pictures come from both the end of last week and the end of this week.  We lost a few days in between when I was sick.  Surprisingly, we still managed to get through most of our goals!

We made Greek coins.

We cut them out of cardboard and colored them with silver and bronze Sharpies.  We have gotten a surprising amount of use out of the metallic Sharpies, so I'm glad I got them.  You can usually find them with the gift wrap around the holidays at Target, or they're available on Amazon, of course.

We drew owls on one side, and Greek letters on the other.  I was surprised to learn that Greek coins once featured owls, thinking that they'd have had heads on them like ours.

Miss Katie showing off her new shirt.  I'm so glad I'm *finally* capturing some decent smiles on camera!  She's such a cutie, and usually makes the most awful camera faces.

Hey, look, Brianna's got a new Disneyland shirt, too.  You can sort of see Jack's Pirates of the Caribbean shirt above.

Miss Hannah broke her pink Hello Kitty glasses while we were gone, so she's wearing her backup pair until she goes "off track" at the end of the month.  I'm planning to get her in to the ophthalmologist and both girls in to Shriners while she's out of school.  I think the bug we're checking out was a baby dragonfly.

We're really enjoying doubling up on ART!  Our regular curriculum includes art, and we're doing additional art for a review, and it's been fun to let the children embrace their creative sides.  I can't wait to show you what they've been making.

This week we learned about Daniel.  Did you know he was about 85 years old by the time he was thrown into the lion's den??  Somehow that escaped me before now.  Must be all the picture books that show him as a young man.  Next week, we'll be learning about Esther.

Did you take a minute to enter our Travel Journal giveaway??

Also, has had some cool stuff this week.  Search "science" and see if they still have Snap Circuits and tons of other interesting STEM learning toys/projects for kids.

Linking up with Great Peace Academy and:
For the Display of His Splendor

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Inspired Travel Journal GIVEAWAY

Summer vacations are coming up quick, and I've got a giveaway for you!

Shortly before our trip to Disneyland, I received this Vacation Journal for review from Kabuki Helps.

I tucked it away without mentioning it, and brought it along on our trip.  When I whipped it out in the airport while we waited to board our flight, Eli was initially skeptical of having to "do a review" on vacation.  But it turned out to be pretty fun after all.  

At the hotel, I asked him to write down the rides we hit on day one on one of the blank pages in the back.

Of all the modes of transportation there are, it seems we only hit 3 in our travels.

You can tell that a lot of thought went into the design of this journal.  It's hardback, to provide a sturdy writing surface on laps, but it's also spiral bound, to lay nice and flat.

The journal by itself sells for $16.95, or comes as part of a kit in a backpack for $29.95.

While we waited for the bus to the airport, Eli had plenty of time to write.

His two favorite things about the journal were the cute monkeys, and the handy back pocket for mementos.

Even after we got home, he still had things he wanted to include about the trip.

Now it's YOUR turn!  Kabuki Helps is generously giving my readers 10% off any of their books or games with the coupon code Blessed, and they're giving away a travel journal!

To enter, please leave a comment telling me what state you're in, your email address, and where you're going (or would like to go!) this summer.  I'll have one of my lovely assistants draw a name from the entries on 4/25.  If you don't leave your email, I can't contact you with your prize, so be sure to double check it for accuracy, or I'll have to draw another winner.  Thanks, and good luck!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Zoobean: Handpicked Books and Apps for Kids

Yippee!  New books!  We received a 3 mo. Hardcover Membership, worth $49 from Zoobean via Sverve campaign for review.  Zoobean is a new service that provides books, or book and/or app suggestions, based on your child's information.

Sign up was super easy, as I was led through a few quick screens to select my child's age, gender, and interests.  I selected Hannah to be the recipient of the books, since the curating service is for kids 0-8 years.  After that, I received 2 emails, a welcome email, and a thank you for your purchase email.

While awaiting our first selection, I started poking around the site, wondering what we'd get, and I discovered they have a whole section of adoption books!  I contacted Zoobean to see if we could request certain books or catagories of books, and on the flip side of the same token, if we could exclude certain books or kinds of books.  Not every book is a good fit for every family, right?

The response I got from Zoobean was quick and personal.  No, the curated books don't come from the adoption section.  They are from more general interest areas, such as "Not So Pink Girls."  So be sure to check out the library area, in addition to the curating service, for hidden treasures such as these.

Hannah's first book to arrive was The Monster Princess, which Daddy read to the girls.

Hannah is a beginning reader, and she took the book to bed with her that night.  I could hear her practicing reading it to herself.

The second book Hannah received was Silly Lilly, which she also enjoyed.  The Vampire was funny, but Hannah and I agreed, Candy Taster would be the best job.

The husband and wife duo that run Zoobean are parents of two children.  They met while teaching 7th grade.  The curators at Zoobean are all parents and educators/librarians, so you can be assured the people at Zoobean understand what appeals to kids.

There are two features I want to emphasize in talking about Zoobean.  The Smartlist, which is a web-based option for parents looking to get personalized resources without guess work.  They send weekly, personalized recommendations for books and apps, along with the literacy guides.  Here is an example book literacy guide and an example app literacy guide so you can see for yourself how comprehensive a service Zoobean is.  There is a 60 day free trial of this service!  With the Smartlist, you can either order the books from Amazon or another online retailer, or request them from your local library.

The other option is the home delivery option, like we received.  This is available in either paperback or hardcover versions.  The books show up on your doorstep with literacy guides.  So convenient!  My readers can use the promo code:  SmartyTwoShoes to save $5 off any premium purchase.

You can connect with Zoobean on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, for literacy ideas, specials, articles, and more!  Wishing you many happy storytimes with the children in your life.

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