Tag Archives: books

Fish Wish

24 Sep

My son’s portfolio is due to his school this Monday, so I have some catching up to do.  This past Thursday we read, “Fish Wish""” by Bob Barner.  It’s a simple fun book about sea creatures.  The pictures are so colorful.  There are so many things you can do with this simple book.  Together, we created a graphic organizer of all the underwater creatures featured in the book.From there, he decided on three animals that he wanted to sculpt with this non-drying clay.  I’m not sure what I think of it.  It’s definitely harder to work with than play-doh (great for strong hand-writing fingers).  I do like that compared to the $1 colored clay we normally buy from Wal Mart, the color does not get on your hands or other things for that matter.I don’t like the colors much.  This is green.  I was hoping for more of a grass green.They are really pretty when you see it like this.  But that pink in there is actually red.  Oh well.  He enjoyed it.I love that after he made his trumpet fish, he wanted to measure it.  Don’t mind the rusted measuring tape.  It’s one of the perks of living in Hawai’i.These were his final creations.   Now off to organizing his portfolio!






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Sunlight Dancing In The Leaves With Watercolor Pencils

12 Sep

We were reading, “Little Red Riding Hood” today and came across the phrase, “the sunlight dancing in the leaves of the trees.”We stopped to discuss the metaphor and came up with all kinds of ways to say things like, “the wind is racing through the air” and some other crazy ones that didn’t make much sense.  Anyway, after the story, we went outside to find sunlight dancing on leaves.  Here’s a picture of what he found right away.He’s been dying to use his new Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils"".  I’ve been dying to use them too!  They are so cool.  If you weren’t aware of the capabilities of watercolor pencils (which I wasn’t), then watch this video.  Anyway, those leaves with sunlight dancing on them were the inspiration for his drawing/watercolor.  It was so fun!

Look at all those fun colors.
Here he is looking up at the leaves to make sure they look “just like” his drawing.
Here’s what it looked like before he added the water.He’s blending the colors now with a dab of water.And now for his finishing touches (clouds and sky).  He was very careful to keep some spots white to signify the “sunlight.”If you’re wondering why he’s using such a tiny piece of paper, it’s because watercolor paper is very expensive.  When we got his colored pencils, they came with this free pack of Artist Trading Cards"".  We thought it would be a good idea to use those now and save the big papers for his bigger and more art specific projects.I didn’t get to use them as I was busy trying to keep the human tornado from attacking the pencils, but it was so fun watching him blend the colors with water.  Hope you have a chance to try these!

Kindergarten Math Manipulatives With Addition

8 Sep

I was so excited to use the blocks that I bought a LONG TIME AGO.  I had no need for them at the time and today was the day that they became useful.  There should be a term for that day.  The day that you end up using that thing you’ve purchased or have been saving because ONE DAY, you’ll wish you had it.  These little wooden blocks that I got for buck were awesome!Instead of teaching the math “formula,” I believe that it’s more important to become familiar with how numbers and concepts work in a more unstructured setting BEFORE learning the formula.  Then, when they make practical sense and the concept has been manipulated in a variety of ways, moving on to the formula not only makes a lot more sense, but it comes a lot easier.  It now has purpose.

Here’s the activity:

I gave him 10 blocks to start.  I just had him write the number 10 on one side of these cards I cut out.Then, he was to come up with two numbers using all the blocks, that made up 10.  This is six and four.There were no addition or equals symbols and it didn’t matter where or how he put the numbers.  This is not a handwriting lesson.  It’s always important to remember the objective and stick to it.  Like many of you, backwards numbers really irritate me!!!  But, as with my other kids, they do eventually turn them around on their own.  It’s just a funny thing kids do because their brains flip it for some reason.  Ever try writing your name as a mirror image?  It’s really hard.  Kids do it all the time.  It’s different than simply writing a word “backwards.”  I’m always amazed when kids write mirror images of words.

For the activity, he just had to provide written evidence that what he knew in his brain could be translated on to paper.  My main objective was for him to practice and understand that a variety of number combinations can have the same value as a particular number.

The numbers below from left to right, 5:5, 8:2, 4:6, 6:4.  On the third card, 4:6, he actually did 4:5.  When I had him “check” it, I had suggested that maybe he could just change the back number to nine since four plus five equals nine.  Instead, he thought it would be more cool to convert the number five to the number six.

After I felt like he was solid with the process, we moved on to number nine.  (Please pretend his fingernails aren’t that long or that dirty.)He intentionally wrote an “e” with an “x” over it to signify that it was a “9” and not an “e.”  That cracked me up.The great thing about doing this is that he was able to create three groups.  Learning that concept on paper would have been a lot more difficult.That translated into three numbers that when combined, have the same value as nine.  Of course, I couldn’t resist a “mini-discussion” about three times three.Here are his numbers that took him to nine.Finally, he wanted 20 blocks and he surprised me.  He did a great job.And he didn’t even realize how much “work” his brain was doing!

Recommended Math Resource:

About Teaching Mathematics: A K-8 Resource, 3rd Edition"" by Marilyn Burns

Pigs Love Potatoes…And Baked French Fries!

6 Sep

Today, we read the book, “Pigs Love Potatoes"".”  It’s a really fun counting book.  As we were reading, my son was starting to recognize the numbers in “words,” so that’s really exciting.  After we finished the book, we located Idaho on the map since that’s where lots of potatoes come from.  We put my good friend’s picture on there because she’s from Idaho.  I’m sure she’s thrilled to have her head on our wall :).

After that, we made some homemade baked fries.  He cleaned the potatoes and I let him peel one of them.  I wish I let him peel earlier, because he did such a great job.I found some recipes online and took a little of each to come up with our concoction.  First, I cut them all to look like “french fries.”Next, we put it in a huge bowl and added olive oil,paprika,salt,chili powder,pepper,and garlic powder.This is how it looks.Then, I had the chefs stir it all up.When we were finished, we decided that instead of running the oven twice, we’d just hold off until dinner time to cook it.  We baked it at 400 degrees at true convection (425 with standard baking) for about 20 minutes.  Really, I don’t measure if I don’t have to, so I just guessed how much to put in.  When you bake things, you can use a bit more seasoning that you normally would because they lose some of the taste in the bake (I learned that on the internet).  In keeping with my habits, I usually determine bake time by how it looks.  So, when it was a little golden, we pulled it out.I didn’t get a “final” picture because the hubby had to run off to a meeting so we were trying to hurry and get dinner on so we could eat before he left.  The kids loved it.  My oldest boy told me that it was much better than McDonalds because I put love in it.  He’s such a charmer.

Back to the lesson.  He was dying to use his new set of Prismacolor Colored Pencils"", so he did a “real life” drawing (and coloring) of a potato.  He noticed that it kind of has a “greenish” tone, so he put a lot of green in there.I thought it came out great.  It’s a simple drawing, but he thought it was so cool that his creation looked just like the real thing.  Sometimes, we get so in to the lesson that forget about the other little person.  She was hiding in the cupboard with her finger in a jar of Nutella!Never a dull moment.


Review: Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones

27 Jun


My Friend Melissa is super thoughtful.  So thoughtful that when she saw this book, she thought of me and grabbed me a copy.  I’ve always wanted this book…mainly for the diaper bag pattern.  But I couldn’t justify the price tag.  Thanks to Melissa, you really can’t beat FREE!!!

This cover alone makes you want to open this thing up and start sewing!

This envelope on the inside cover holds all the patterns.  Very handy dandy!

I’m just dying to sew the diaper bag.  It’s so perfect…so stylish and definitely usable after diapers and bottles.

Aren’t these blocks adorable?  I’m thinking that by the time I get to these, I’ll have to fill them with sand (or rice) as my kids will be old enough to want them as bean bags.  Having these darling babies as models makes all these outfits and accessories enticing.Here’s an example of the diagrams used in place of actual photos.  Many of the patterns don’t have any diagrams and most just have a couple.  Also, notice the nice spiral binding to this hard cover package.

I love the practicality and cool-ness of this diaper changing station.

I am currently working on this little book.  This project requires the use of printable fabric paper.  The fabric paper suggested does not come cheap.  I found this super cool tutorial online for creating your own fabric paper using freezer paper.  Someone suggested soaking your fabric with a borax mixture (5 gal water, 1 C borax) as it will release a lot of the fabric agents making it easier to take the ink and make it more permanent.  I also considered just stitching regular photos instead of fabric for this one.


Bed Bugs!  The name alone makes you want to create these.  I have no use for these and my kids would probably never play with them.  I wonder what it took to get this baby to look like she is enjoying them.  But aren’t they cute?  Don’t you want to make them?  Just because!
I love the stitching in the ditch-ing on this quilt.  And that laundry bag!  Wouldn’t it be fun to take that bag grocery shopping?!My final say…

I love all the great pics that this book has to offer.  The pictures alone are inspiring and make you want to whip up these heirloom-ish baby things.  That being said, most of the pics included will not help you when actually sewing the item together.  The author uses diagrams.  I think she probably could have at least doubled the amount of diagrams in the book and it would have made the book more accessible to sewers on any level.  If you don’t have sewing experience, you may find yourself frustrated with a variety of patterns.  On the other hand, if you do have sewing experience, you will probably be improvising with techniques that you already use to accomplish the specific task.  You might even eliminate some steps.

I would recommend taking her patterns and drawing/copying them and reading through the instructions at least once…possibly twice.  There are a few instances where she calls for more fabric or materials than you really need.  She also uses a wide variety of materials (i.e., different types of interfacing).  This can crank up the cost of your overall project…sometimes making it less expensive to just purchase the item.  On the other hand, all her items are VERY well made.  They are all of very high quality when complete.  Definitely high-end boutique worthy.

For me, I would’ve definitely purchased this book had I viewed it this in depth before it was gifted to me.  There are so many unique ideas in here I just wish I had more time to do them.  If you are used to sewing with online tutorials (there are a number of us in the blog world who do that), you may have to adjust for the lack of detail and pictures for each step.  Anyone receiving any of these gifts will definitely appreciate it (except maybe those darling bed bugs).