Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Growing a Garden of Gratitude

blooming flowers (6) 

My friend Kim has been writing lists of things for which she is grateful, and I always feel inspired by her posts.  I find my attitude changing… no longer focused on the micro, but on the macro… regardless of how a day is going or how tired or frustrated or discouraged I feel, I know that I am grateful for this life and the many, many blessings I’ve been given. Thank you, Kim for your beautiful posts! ;)

I’m hoping to keep this list going, and plan on posting it a couple of times a month.

I am grateful for…

  1. Lilacs bloomingblooming flowers (5)
  2. Bleeding Hearts bloomingblooming flowers (8)
  3. Virginia Bluebells bloomingblooming flowers (13)
  4. Lilies of the Valley blooming (and smelling delicious)blooming flowers (1)
  5. A happy boy with dirty face and hands (the dirtier, the happier, it seems).
  6. Being able to stay home and spend my days with my favorite little person in the world.
  7. My husband’s job, and his hard work there.
  8. My little home.
  9. Good friends that go check on our house, unasked, after a tornado, when we are out of town (such good friends).
  10. That my son has a tender heart, and feels ok crying over a favorite tree coming down in said tornado.tornado damage (1) tornado damage (7)
  11. That the tree landed on our doorstep, and not on our house!tornado damage (3)
  12. My steam mop.
  13. Supportive girlfriends.
  14. Supportive bloggy-friends.
  15. My sister’s fiance, a really wonderful guy (who was homeschooled, I might add ;) ).
  16. People who listen without judging.
  17. Toys lying around outside, making our lawn look messy colorful.
  18. Back rubs.
  19. Cupboard doors and walls full of colorful artwork.
  20. Coffee on quiet mornings.
  21. Dandelion bouquets and the kisses and love that come with them.
  22. Our wonderful neighbors.
  23. Spring breezes and open windows.
  24. Plenty of food in the fridge and pantry.
  25. Michael’s coupons. ;)


Here are a couple of photos of the fallen tree, in case anyone is interested in seeing just how tall this baby was.

tornado damage (5) Bottom half of tree

tornado damage (6) Top half of tree

This was the same tornado that went through North Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon.  It kept going north and went through our little suburb.  Homes a mere 400 yards away were damaged pretty badly.  We were fortunate that only one tree came down, and our home was undamaged.  We had shingles and insulation in our yard (along with lots of debris from trees) that came from who knows where.  My heart goes out to all the people in Joplin, MO (a town I’m familiar with) and the other areas that have been so devastated, and our prayers are with them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The New Art Cart

art cart car This little car {I’ve been told it is a car} is one of the first things M created with his Art Cart supplies.

Have I ever shown you M’s little “desk”, as he calls it, in our entryway closet?  Here’s a shot:art cart and desk area (8)It is a simple shoe shelf.  This is where the coloring books, crayons, stickers, and such things live.  There’s even a mini-garbage can, which he seriously loves (you can see the top of it in the lower right corner).
collage deskHe can often be found here, happily cutting out catalog pictures for collages.  (By the way, those Christmas toy catalogs are entertaining year-round; what kid doesn’t want to look at toys?!)  

The closet doors close, and any mess is hidden.  It’s really perfect.  M loves it, and sometimes closes himself up in there with a flashlight.  Such an adventurer. ;)

I’ve realized recently that M has become familiar with just about every kind of art supply I have to offer him.  Of course there are still new ideas and new techniques to explore, but most of these will be planned out and done together. 

He’s just gotten bored with the same old stuff in his Art Box week after week, and has taken to asking for things he knows are stored away. 

The Art Box is old news, apparently.

And I’m tired of fishing things out for him that he wants, that were just put away!
A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a garage sale and found an old 3-drawer plastic storage unit.  The drawers are about 12"deep x 9"wide x 8"high. 

So we cleaned it up and then we raided the craft room.  To be honest, he wanted more than would neatly fit into the drawers, yet at the same time seemed a little overwhelmed with all he was given. 

So into what is quickly becoming the “Art Closet” went the little Art Cart, right next to his little desk.
Here’s a shot of his new art area, all labeled, because I like to do nerdy things like that. :) diagram

In the Art Cart…
Top drawer:art cart and desk area (13)It’s hard to see everything – there are cardboard ribbon spools, cardboard tubes, stamps, a storage container of beads, feathers, sequins, googley eyes, dyed macaroni, and some more bits and pieces for gluing along with pipecleaners in a small bucket.

Middle drawer:art cart and desk area (14)Watercolor paints, acrylic paints, gel pens, porcupine balls (to use with paint), dot painters, roll painters, glitter glue, craft sticks

Bottom drawer:art cart and desk area (3)Papers – construction paper is on the bottom, fun foam, crepe paper, tissue paper, coffee filters, and a long roll of white paper.

There is a black bin on top of the cart that M uses to transport messy things to the kitchen table.
Inside the other containers (sorry no photos)

The tote: scissors, mini coloring books, markers, tape, stapler, glue sticks, glue bottles

The collage box: magazines and a box to hold the cut-out pictures (he loves to just fill it up with clippings, then collage with them at a later date).

The pencil box: pencils, colored pencils, erasers, pencil sharpener
art cart fun - painting with watercolors and markers

Need some new art for your walls?  We have plenty to spare. ;)

Linking up to abc button
Have a beautiful day! :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Learning by Heart – Spring Fever

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom”
– Henry Ward Beecher

first tulip at our house 
~M is 4.5 years old~
We continue to play our little word sound games, as detailed in this post, and M is progressing well through the first set of Bob Books.  He is not crazy about the story line in these, heh.  But really, any first reader is going to have plots like Mat had a cat.  The cat sat on the mat.  The End.  :)  I am happy that his desire to read stems from the joy of a story, and his comprehension of a complex plot continually amazes me.  Yet, we have to start somewhere – he can’t begin with Mark Twain or Charles Dickens, haha.  I am slightly concerned that his interest in reading on his own is waning as we go through such simple stories… any ideas?

Math got a post of its own this week. :) You can read the review of what we’ve been doing (mostly) in math, here.

We’ve been enjoying the outdoors and learning about plants, flowers, trees, and birds over the past few weeks.  We’ve used a lot of our 3-part cards (click on the images if you are interested in downloading any of these sets)…
Bird identification:imageWe have new little bird friends in our backyard this year – a sweet bluebird family in one of our birdhouses, and some yellow-rumped warblers.  We normally only see the warblers for about a week as they migrate through, but this spring at least one has stuck around, and is welcome to stay as long as he wants. :)  Most of our bird-learning has been done spur-of-the-moment style, and we race to our favorite bird identification book a lot:
We are also reading The Bird Book for Children, by Thornton Burgess.If you can get your hands on this book, it’s well worth reading.  There’s a lot of information packed into this little book about birds: what they look like (beautiful illustrations), what they eat, where they nest, how many eggs, etc.  And it’s all written in story form to appeal to the young child.  M loves all of Thornton Burgess’ books; each one really is exceptional. (A side note – Burgess was a naturalist as well as a great story teller.  Each of his books is packed with information about animals and nature, and M doesn’t even know he’s learning because the story is just so good.  I am tempted to make lap books to go with each story for next year, since M is already talking about reading all of these again.  We’ll see…)
Flower identification:image
Parts of a flower:image
Parts of a tree:image
Parts of a leaf:image
And M has been tending little pots of marigolds and forget-me-nots (kits found in the Target dollar spot):
sprouts (1) forget-me-nots, just beginning to sprout
plantsforget-me-nots, beginning to grow!
sprouts marigolds, just beginning to sprout
plants (1) marigolds, beginning to grow!
He will have his own little garden outside this year, and already has big plans (bigger than the plot will be, to be honest) for vegetables and flowers.
Two books about plants that we’ve enjoyed reading are:

Making seasonal arrangements is one of M’s very favorite activities.  I set out a dish, some florist’s foam, and a few seasonal items on picks or wires, and he is happy for a good 30 minutes.  Here is his spring arrangement – flowers, foam, and bowl were all from Dollar Tree; the birds were from some Christmas decorations:  spring boquet (1) 
spring boquet (8)
And M has been mowing the lawn:riding the tractor (4)Hahaha – just kidding. ;)  He is steering the lawn mower in the above picture, but the blade is up for safety, and no actual mowing is going on.   And Daddy is keeping him very safe (note the ear muffs to protect his hearing; I think they are so cute!).

Painting outside is always fun.  M and I had a blast painting on an old roller shade out in the grass:nicole 2011 009
nicole 2011 013trying out some splatter painting
And painting a new birdhouse:nicole 2011 007
All finished:birdhouse, painted
birdhouse, painted (1) 
M made this bright and cheerful flower garden in an egg carton:image

And we’ve been enjoying some new spring-themed songs.  Our favorites are Robin in the Rain, and this one:
With a drip, drip, drip,
and a drop, drop, drop,
See the rain on the pane,
Will it stop, stop, stop?
With a wink, wink, wink,
And a blink, blink, blink,
Will we ever see the rain,
Do you think, think, think?
And M has been watching, and loving, this:

I’m linking this post up to Preschool Corner and Weekly Wrap-Up; be sure to check them out!
Have a beautiful day! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flower Nomenclature Cards (free printable)

imageI recently made some 3-part flower nomenclature cards for M.  These are very simple, and label only the stem, petals and parts on the inside of a bloom.  I’ve made two cards with the petals highlighted; one is labeled “petals”, and the other is labeled “corolla”, in case you want to be scientific. :)  Personally, we use “petals”.  You can find other sets online that label the leaves and sepals (the little green cup that encases the petals, then cups the bloom”), and other parts too.

But these are free.  Heh. ;)

M just loves 3-part cards – what is it about them?  I really don’t know, but they definitely appeal to him, and he enjoys working with a new set as soon as I have them done.

You can download this set by clicking on the image below:image 

Please remember these are for your personal use (classroom or homeschool) only.  You are welcome to link to this post, but please do not offer this printable on your website.

Enjoy!! :)

Have a beautiful day! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...