Thursday, April 30, 2015

Princess, Knights and Dragons Preschool--- Learning when NOT at our best

I realize I am so very NOT up-to-date on documenting our preschool, book club, and after school activities. This is sad for numerous reasons, most of them only important to me, but especially for extended family who never got a chuckle out of seeing my kids doin their educational 'thang'. So, for the grandmas. And anyone else that doesn't mind going BACK a couple months. This post about dragons, knights, and princesses is for you!
Dragon week was right around Lunar New Year (otherwise known as Chinese New Year, but that smacks of exclusivity for a holiday celebrated all over East Asia and parts of SE Asia and, frankly, my Korean sensitivity forbids me from using that phrase!).  Our dragon week was NOT about the holiday, though we DID read some books about it. Gwen really likes How to Train Your Dragon and I knew her Toothless obsession would play well into fun 'generic' dragon activities. We were ill in one form or another for about 3 weeks, so I didn't take as many pictures of all our adventures. But here's a skimming of our activities! 
We used 3Dinosaurs free printable medieval (includes lots of dragons) pack to play a little ABC game together. 

of course the rainbow writing

 Then we had a button sorting activity. The black and green were dragon scales, the red and orange were dragon fire. The girls loved doing this simple, simple, simple (basically no prep) activity!
 We made our very own dragons out of TP. Originally I wanted to do a plastic cup version because they are so much cuter, but in the end, I opted for cheap (free). 
 first the painting

 Gwen was meticulous with her painting.
glue on a little tissue paper fire and you're done!
 They didn't 'blow' their fire quite the way I'd hoped, but the girls loved them anyway!
You've got to check out this video to see the jewel details Gwen put on her dragon and to see what Caroline decided her dragon looked like!
 ha ha! squid! (she's right, though! Don't you agree?)

 Caroline's dry-erase coloring of a 'water' princess. Every day she drew a few different 'themed' princesses. It was fun to see what she came up with!

 We did some jewels on the ABCs (focus on phonics that time) bc princesses need their bling!
 Then some jewel patterns, which were a big hit with both girls.
 Gwen was very proud of her 'advanced' patterning.
 For 2 out of the 3 weeks, we had to cancel book club because of illness. So for the 3rd we kind of did a 'combo' dragon-knight-princess theme and our friends came dressed up as one of the three! See the cute dragon to the right, there? And on the left you've got a 'knight-ninja'!!!
handprint castles that we made. Idea credit goes here

 The girls begged Eric to dress up as a prince and play with them. He's such an accommodating daddy! :)
 Caroline's origami frog became 'queen' and held court with her retinue... that's when you know your kids really enjoyed the theme!
You see the amazing crown-bed Caroline designed for...

...princess lizard! 

We survived the less-than-ideal three weeks of illness and managed to have some fun along the way. It was during one of Gwen's 'sick' days that she had to stay home from Kindergarten and got to play with us. Apparently it made a lasting impression, prompting this journal entry months later:
(translation: "I like to be at my sister's preschool. I like to draw pictures. I also like to put jewels on letters.")

and THAT is why I love preparing learning activities, even when it would be easy to say 'not today'. Carpe diem, right? Keeping up preschool when we were all so tired--- and tired of each other--- for all those weeks was challenging. But seeing Gwen's opinion book made it all worth it. Now if only I could go back in time and take more pictures. But we were not at our best, so I am grateful for the pictures we got at all. :) Hope this inspires you (and me!) to keep up the learning activities when we'd rather just plop em in front of the tv! 

(though we do that too). 

The Winnings

Congratulations, Tricia! 

Hope you are enjoying your new sweet baby bows! 
My personal favorite is that purple flower. 
I ended up making one for my girls too, I loved it that much!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Family Lip Sync

Our ward (church congregation) hosted a fun lip sync party!

We rocked out to "Final Countdown" by Europe!
We LOVED getting decked out for the occasion: bright eye shadow, silver face sparkles, huge gold jewelry, crazy zebra shorts, huge puffy hair, lots of sequins and tons of hairspray! Gwen even had crimped hair! I scored on our attire from Goodwill. Eric's wig was almost as epic as his mop twirling skills. Our kids were so excited--- Gwen asked every day to practice our "rock out song" and even Caroline was "SO es-size-ick, mom!"
Only Emmett was less than enthused. He wasn't on stage with us, maybe that was the problem. He wanted in in the action! 

What I learned from this experience? I inherited a total lack of 'shame' on stage (thank you to my mom and dad who are both hams) and apparently, so did my children who suffered from NO stage fright whatsoever! I also learned that I'm married to a man who is comfortable with himself and not afraid to rock a crazy wig and tight white jacket! 

In other words... 

I'm part of a crazy family AND I LOVE IT!!!!

Saturday, April 18, 2015


I reached OVER 1000 followers, so there IS a winner! The winner for the Pinterest giveaway is... 

Tricia M!!!!

She has already been contacted about her lucky win. Once I've completed her handmade item, I'll post pics here. I'm excited to get to work on a personalized gift! 

Congratulations, Tricia! 

Thanks to EVERYONE who follows me! Wish I could make you ALL a gift! (but that would take way too much time...)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Robot Birthday

Our Caroline turned four a week ago (which is crazy to me!). Just so happens that 4 is one of our big birthdays (4, 8, 12, 16) that gets a friends party. Caroline was ecstatic to have her first 'real' birthday party! I asked her what kind of party she wanted and her fast response was "ROBOTS!!!"... but I didn't want to get halfway through planning and have her change her mind to princesses, fairies, or dolphins, so I probed further. Her second response was, "ummmmm....SNAILS!!!" (and I started picturing snail impersonation games of slow motion...) so I said, "let's go with robots!" ;)

 She got to invite 4 friends since she was turning 4. My plan was to keep things as simple and budget-friendly as I possibly could. I made the invites in Word bc I didn't want to purchase custom ones. I used free images and fonts I found online and designed it to print 4 to a page so I only had to print 1 sheet of paper. I'm sure if you have better design programs and know-how you could make this way cuter, but it worked for us!
Guests were greeted with this DIY robot welcome sign (one arm broke off before I got a pic)

We played fun robot games--- no winners, just fun!--- like pin the button on the robot
our robot after he got 'buttoned' by all the guests multiple times
We also played a robot pickup game (un-pictured) with those toy robot arms (found them at Target) and various small balls we had around. 

The food spread was simple because I wasn't serving lunch and I figure the kids aren't going to eat THAT much anyway. I hate throwing away platefuls of food. I labeled the food with DIY labels (all in blue, so it used up the remnants of my printer ink. Perfect. Anyone else always use up the yellow first? What's up with that? :) We had nuts and bolts, gizmos, computer chips, bio-cyborg implants, and a robot refueling station. 
Caroline had to be coerced into giving me this meager smile. 
Good thing I caught that one, because all the other faces were blurry dancing pics. :)

Emmett got to try his first birthday cake... verdict was pure joy!

All our little robot friends also made their own costumes. I loved their various designs!
and funny tidbit: if you look closely at Caroline's robot dial plate, you'll see she drew a snail. So I guess she got a snail birthday too! :)
I made magnetic robots using pipe cleaners, milk jug lids, and various nuts/bolts for our friends to take home and also included a robot coloring page and some robot stickers. The tags say "thanks a bot"... hee hee, I amuse myself!
 Items that I purchased: plates, napkins, tablecloth, straws, balloons, green and blue wrapping paper, silver spray paint, nuts/bolts/screws/washers, orange cake mix, cream cheese for icing, peach rings, blue chocolate balls, chex mix, cheetos, tang, carrots/broccoli/cucumber, 3 sheets of scrapbook paper for the gears on the wall, robot stickers for treat bags, set of 10 headbands and 2 robot arm toys.

Items I already own, so it didn't cost but used up some supply: cardstock, printer ink, ribbon, pipe cleaners, foam hearts, star stickers, googly eyes, magnets (the free kind that come in the mail from businesses trying to solicit your patronage), milk jug lids, boxes, cans (from fruit and veggies), toilet and paper towel tubes, hot glue, silver duct tape, ziploc sandwich bags, and paper grocery bags.
Total: about $55
I'd say it was about as cheap as I could make it! 

These pics are from Wed night when we gave Caroline our family gifts. 
Can you believe I found this Melissa and Doug art easel free on the curb? The girls love it and it is still in great (not perfect, but it is for KIDS, so who cares?) condition!
She loved her gifts! In her own words, "I love today that is my birthday!"
Emmett was pretty stoked about the crackle-y wrapping paper

I love my little big girl Caroline! She's part monkey (gymnast) part barnacle (those hugs--- girl's got a grip, I tell ya!). Caroline we love your enthusiasm and affection, your generosity and sensitivity to others, and how willingly you GIVE to your sister without prompting. Love how much you adore Emmett, love your confidence (flips on the gymnastics bars unassisted? I'm astounded!), and love how much you enjoy eating (no coercion necessary to get you to down your dinner. meat and veggies and all!). LOVE your honesty (admitting your mistakes is a gift!) and LOVE how much you love talking about Jesus (every ray of sunshine that breaks through a cloud you declare to be Jesus). 

 Happy birthday stinker--- our family would truly not be the same without your vibrant energy to keep us on our toes. We love you!

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Handmade (by ME!) Giveaway!

Guess what? I've got nearly 1000 followers on Pinterest! Crazy, right? 
I've been brainstorming what to do to celebrate when I reach that milestone... and it just seems appropriate to do a thank you giveaway! 
When I reach 1000, I will use to choose one of YOU to receive a handcrafted by me item *of my choosing! I'll enter all followers (exceeding 1000 is fine with me--- don't panic if you are follower #1001!) who follow by this Friday, April 17th (Or til I have 1000 followers, whichever one comes last). Not on Pinterest? Sorry, this is definitely a Pinterest giveaway. Wish it was Instagram? Sorry, I'm not an Instagram gal... yet...:) If you follow me on Pinterest already, never fear: you're already in the running. If you DON'T follow me, jump in folks! I will contact the winner personally to notify them of the win and get info for the prize!
*I plan to tailor the item to the winner individually, so please allow me some time to make it. Don't be checkin your mailbox for at least a couple of weeks!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

7 months Lizard

By lizard, I mean 'lizard tongue'. Emmett's resting facial expression these days is reminiscent of a little lizard tasting the air. Cuteness!
At 7 months, Emmett is eating tons of solids (pretty much everything besides the most common allergens), rolling all over the place, occasionally experimenting with going up on hands and knees, and even beginning army crawling forward. So far he definitely prefers rolling as a means of transportation, but he is pretty eager to reach stuff he sees, so forward army crawl is quickly advancing in appeal.

The latest update is actually about 1 week AFTER his 7 months (I post after the fact. sometimes LONG after the fact! that is how I roll. :)-- he is sprouting his first 2 chompers on the bottom!
Favorite things: dry erase markers and box, paper and crinkly plastic (he is devastated when I have to take them away from him!), pulling strings on shirts and mommy's hair, his sisters, tickling, being tossed in the air, and having someone make silly 'doh doh doh doh doh' noises at him. In other words, why do we buy toys for kids? :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Microscopic Milestones

Ever feel so great about a goal you've accomplished...
Only to realize later that compared to what you've STILL got to do, this was a minor accomplishment?

I reached a weight loss milestone Easter Sunday and was pretty stoked! Rewarded myself with a new shirt to wear and bragged to Eric so he could give me a big congratulatory high five and hug. I love how proud of me he is.

And then that night we video chatted with family... and when I caught a view of myself all the wind went out of my sails. The urge to share my 'accomplishment' with everyone fizzled. Because I don't LOOK like I reached I milestone. I don't LOOK like I've done diddly squat! And that is so extremely frustrating.

Eric reassured me that it is all mathematical equations. That when a sphere has lost half of its volume it has only decreased its radius by the tiniest percentage. (Yes, isn't my nerdy husband the cutest/sweetest thing? Who brings up math to comfort their wife? Oh, my man does. ha ha Love him!) Ugh. Thanks dear for helping me accept my current state... but you DO realize that only makes the future look even more daunting? Because by the same logic I've got a TON of work left to do before I see what I want to see in the mirror. So. Here's my pep talk to myself and any of you seeing only the long road ahead:

You've got this. Don't give up now. You're not alone. Be proud of what you've done! Gird up your loins because the next portion of the mountain climb is a steep slope... but remember the view at the top will be worth it!

And go ahead. Brag about your 'minor' milestones. :)