Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Fun Day 67 - Frozen Ocean Pops

These are sort of like the gummy bear popsicles you might have (or is that may have?) seen on Pinterest, or around the blogosphere, but with a maritime makeover.

We started by filling popsicle molds about 3/4 full with lemon-lime soda...

...stirring a drop of blue food coloring into each mold...

 ...then filling them with fruit snack sharks and... fruit snack diver for each popsicle.

In retrospect we could have added one or two drops of food coloring right into the soda bottle for a lighter color blue.  Then, we could have placed our sharks and divers into the molds, and poured the soda right over top. Either way though, a frozen ocean is a fun summer treat.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Fun Day 66 - Sight Word Sewing Cards

Just because it's summer, doesn't mean we can't throw some second grade spelling practice in with the fun.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Fun Day 65 - Wordless Book Bible Tabs

Last week, as I was teaching Vacation Bible School, I was reminded again of how much I like using the Childhood Evangelism Fellowship's Wordless Bookfor explaining the plan of salvation to children.  The visual of the colors is simple, straightforward, and easy to remember.

Unfortunately, the Bible references, that go along with each verse, are not.  The basic concept?  Yes.  The gist of each verse to back up the colors?  No problem.  But, where are they found and which ones do I personally like to add in, or change around a bit? I have to look up at least a couple of them every time.

Finally, I decided to get wise, and mark them in my Bible, in a way I can't forget - with file tabs.

I picked up a package of the stick on kind, that came with yellow, blue, red and green edged tabs... all I had to do was color over one of the tab edges in black, trim another off, so the tab was all white, cut the sticky part down to the size...

...of my Bible's margins...

...and I was ready to print the verse references onto each tab in a corresponding colored ink (although one color would probably work just as well)...

...stick them onto the proper pages, in descending order down the page from yellow to green, and underline the appropriate verse on the page, again with the matching color... I'll have them at my fingertips, whenever I need them.

Of course, this would work just as easily with the Roman Road, the ABC's of salvation, the Four Spiritual Laws, or any of the like.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Fun Day 64 - Taking Time to be Thankful

We were thanking God this morning, after a beautiful, but very smokey sunrise (above) due to a couple of forest fires we'd glimpsed the beginnings of yesterday (below)...

...when the wind shifted, and we were treated to, at least, one more clear day.

The girls were thankful to harvest their first cucumbers - enough to enjoy in our salads, and sandwiches, with a few slices left-over for their facials.

We (mainly D and I) were thankful for the albino (leucistic?) dove (pigeon?) we spotted on a couple of different mornings headed to VBS.  We had no idea that doves could be albinos or leucistic.  That one little bird, we "just happened" to drive by, opened up a whole new world of learning, and an even greater appreciation for the wonders of creation.

And of course, we were thankful for an exciting week of VBS.  The younger children were thankful for new friends.  I was thankful for the opportunity to share the ABC's of becoming a Christian with an enthusiastic group of children.  And, as a mother, I was very thankful to see my older children (and their friends) stepping up into leadership, and assistant leadership rolls, with hearts for on fire for Christ, and a real love for the children...

...if not for the camera.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

In case you were wondering - the roller coaster did survive, but the Man of the House convinced me, with eight children under our roof for the next few weeks, the last thing we need is a large cardboard monstrosity of a toy taking up space.  I was sad to toss it out, but looking around my living room today, I'm extremely thankful for a husband graced with sound judgement.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Summer Fun Day 63 - Paperclip Pals

The children did all kinds of great crafts at VBS, this week.  My favorite was a paper clip bookmark, with yarn hair, tied in knots across the top of jumbo (3.5'') paperclips.

I didn't get a chance to ask the "craft ladies" where they got the idea, but it's similar to one featured on, except that ours have a piece of clear tape wrapped around one section of the clip, just below the top, for the children to affix their googly eyes onto with heavy duty glue dots.

It's a great craft, one that's easy enough for 1st through 6th graders (really all the way up to adult) to enjoy, and be able do pretty much on their own - but still flexible enough to allow for a lot of personal expression.

My youngest two (ages 7 and 8) were distraught, though when they realized I had removed the piece of masking tape the craft ladies had wrapped around their clips for the children to write their names on.

Apparently, they had decided that was supposed to be a shirt for their crazy haired guys.

I stuck the clips into books to show the girls how they were supposed to work, but they were unconvinced. To keep the peace, I wrapped fresh pieces of masking tape around the middle of their clips, and then was asked if I couldn't add masking tape skirts and arms while I was at it too, please.

I realized once I was done, that if I had moved the shorter curve of the clip out of the way, and only wrapped the tape around the longer piece, the girls "dolls" would still be able to clip onto things - which would be even better.

In my brain-dead, post-VBS, state of mind however, it was all I could do to figure out that I had to wrap a loop of tape, cut in half down the center, around the metal of part of clip, to create arms, rather than trying to stick the tape arms directly to the tape shirts - from which they would slip off.

The girls were happy to have more dolls to color...

...and didn't care whether their paperclip pals could clip to the front of their notebooks, or not.  So, it was a win regardless.  And, I have to admit, the end result of their idea turned out to be pretty cute.

Tip:  When coloring on masking tape, use ballpoint pens.  It shows up better than colored pencils, and won't rub off like washable marker.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Fun Day 62 - Creative Problem Solving or How to Make "Cow Spot" Patterned Ice Cream

Our dear, 13 year old, friend (and house guest), K is crazy about cows, or at least anything covered in a cow
spotted pattern.  So, when she mentioned, that when she grows up she'd like to open an ice cream shop, and specialize in cow spotted ice cream, I thought it might be fun to get her started with a creative brain storming session.

What is the best way to create a chocolate cow spotted pattern on vanilla ice cream?

K thought perhaps it would be best to pipe out melted chocolate chip spots, and then place them onto the ice cream, after they had hardened back up in the freezer.

Her spots turned out to be a little large for a scoop of ice cream though, and there was the problem of placing flat shapes onto the curved surface.

I had a little better luck piping the melted chocolate chips right onto the ice cream, achieving a spotted, though perhaps not exactly cow-like effect.

G tried to pour out "magic shell" spots onto the ice cream.

That worked okay, but the "magic shell" type topping comes out of the bottle as a very thin liquid that's difficult to control as you pour.

A, had even less luck with chocolate syrup...

...though J (K's older brother) managed to do pretty well with the same syrup (somehow I lost the picture of the finished product on that one - but it was good).

T declared the whole project ridiculous, and made himself a free-style sundae instead (there always has to be one naysayer in the bunch).

Meanwhile, the younger children were taking in all of the creative problem solving, and the group dynamic/ teenage silliness going on around them, while standing by ready to eat up any mistakes, or mishaps.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Fun Day 61 - Grab-A Bubbles, Bubbles You Can Touch

I was telling the store clerk (in Montana it's normal to have long conversations with the clerk and other customers in grocery store check-out lines) about our bubble stations, and that if I could find edible bubbles for sale (sadly they don't seem to sell those in the United States anymore) I would set up sensory bubble stations for the children with colored bubbles (bubbles you can see), scented bubbles (you can smell), and edible bubbles (you can taste).

She asked me if I'd seen the Grab-A Bubbles they'd just put out - for bubbles you can touch.  The Grab-A Bubbles turned out to be a Ja-Ru toy, which I was very happy to see, as that gives me hope for eventually finding more of their great fossil toys at the super market, too.

I picked up one tube's worth to give them a try.  They were fairly inexpensive for a supermarket toy - under two dollars, and they turned out to be lot of fun.

Since I never did locate edible bubbles, I saved the touchable bubbles for when the older children were away, as something special for the younger ones.  One 42 mL tube was more than enough to keep the four of us entertained for an evening.

They really are a different sort of bubble experience.  The bubble solution has a corn syrupy consistency, but the bubbles are more like drying glue.  They hang in the air, and sit on hands, grass, hair, or whatever they land on for an unusually long time.  Then, they gradually deflate, leaving behind a sort of sticky shell, that can be rolled, or brushed off exactly like dried glue.

If you have a child who does not like sticky things, or getting dirty, they might enjoy watching the bubbles in the air, but I wouldn't let any land on them, or have them try to blow the bubbles themselves.

In reality, they are not all that messy - though it seems like they are when you are playing with them, and I was a little worried when the wind picked up, and started carrying the bubbles over our fence, towards our neighbor's immaculately clean windows.  Happily they got caught in an updraft and swooped right on over their roof.

Our tube of bubbles came with a prism  on top, for viewing the bubbles with rainbow halos, as well.  Our hands were too sticky to make that practical while we were playing with the bubbles.  However, once we were all cleaned up, and back inside, the prism viewer did prove to be quite a bit of fun for looking through at our lights.

It's great to be a homeschooler.