Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Special Night at Marbles Kids Museum

Well, we are back into school full swing.  I'm working hard on planning things for Eliana this year too and that is taking some time.  I do find though that with good planning, we are able to get more done.  Not a surprise at all!  This is one of the things that I've loved about using workboxes.  I'm combining a lot of things for Eliana to make a "curriculum" of sorts for her.  I'll share more on that in a different post when we actually have done a bit more.  :-)

Our days are full and I'm still working on a good routine for all of us that includes schooling, chores, exercise and fun.  It's probably always going to be a work in progress  All that to say, this is part of why I've been neglecting my blog.  Hoping to get better.

One of the local museums opens several nights of the year to families of kids with special needs.  Its free.  We went for the first time and it was so much fun!  I had to coerce one of mine (who shall remain nameless) to go.  He had a blast and I encouraged him to remember that next time he was fighting me on something that I told him he would enjoy!  I want him to just learn to trust me on things!  Makes me wonder how often God feels the same way about me.  Relax.  Trust me.  You will enjoy what I have planned for you.  Love it when the parenting lesson ends up being something that I learn from too!

This little girl just oozes delight, doesn't she?
So many fun places to pretend and interact with things.

We were surprised to see our princess on a huge banner there too!  Can you spot her picture?  (Upper right with the blue hat on.)  There were some tables there with information from various groups in our area.
Love the life-size things to play on and with in the museum!
A couple of my little chefs had a great time in the kitchen.

Doesn't it just look like a fun place to play?!
You can't see this whole display, so let me explain.  There was a wall of mirrors in front of Eliana.  There were some large buttons beside the mirror.  When you pushed a button you got music.  Eliana liked the latin music and she LOVED shaking the pompoms while looking at herself in the mirror.  It really tickled me and was so much fun to see her having a blast here.
You could pretend to play hockey - and even dress in some of the gear.
Surf as you try to balance on the surfboards.
A window that overlooked the street and sidewalk.
Everything is so well done at this museum - from displays to play areas.  Creative and tons of fun!
Pizza delivery bike.
Assembling felt pizzas.  There was an oven too.  Then you could put them in boxes for delivery.
Under the sea.
Aboard a pirate ship.

What a great time!  We'll definitely be going back.  If any of you are local or in the area, we do recommend Marbles Kids Museum.  I'm also really impressed that they are willing to put on a night like this for kids with special needs.  A very sweet way to reach out to this part of the community.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beyond Co-op: Sarah Plain and Tall #1

We had our first co-op today.  I like hosting the first one.  It's such a fun group and for a number of us, this is our 3rd year co-oping with this group of kids.

We started with a group picture.

Next was a devotion.  We talked about the letter writing done in the book and also how God writes letters to us.  He wants us to know about Him and more importantly to know Him.

We also talked some about our memories and some of the children shared some stories of early memories that they had.  We then moved to an extended art project.  A number of the lessons in this book involve learning about the prairie and also the sea.  We thought it would be fun to make journals to record what they had learned.  They made an art piece for each side of the journal.  One for the prairie and one for the sea.

 They had a lesson colors - analogous colors were going to be used in today's sea project.

 For the prairie project, they gathered leaves, flowers or grasses.
 They placed these on a board then covered them with muslin.  They pounded the plants so that the natural colors from the plants would come through onto the fabric.

 While half of the group was pounding, the others were working on painting with watercolors.  They learned to mix colors and experimented with various techniques.  One of them was adding coarse salt to the project.  What a fun thing to add to a sea painting!

 When the fabric was finished, they applied modge podge to a notebook and added the fabric on top.  This made one side of their notebooks.
 When the finished one of the art projects we took a break for a snack.  They were given baggies in which they could make their own "prairie mix".  Ours included corn chex, popcorn, raisins and sunflower seeds.
 After snacking, they switched projects.
 These are the completed prairie journal sides.  Don't they look great!

Our last activity of the day was a lesson on whales and seals.  This was done game show style.  The children first listened and learned facts about these animals - then they were quizzed.  

 The winning team got to select which animal they wanted to draw.  What they didn't know is that they were to draw a life sized version of the animal.  The winning team choose a 100 foot whale!  They raced to the cul-de-sac to draw.
 First measuring the length of the animals.
 Then drawing.
 The seal.  (Kind of hard to see.)
 The whale.  (You really can't tell how far down the street it goes!)
 Eliana taking a peek at the sea life displays.
In order for things to dry, we waited to add the water color paintings to the notebooks.  They are so beautiful!  I really hope the children will enjoy using them this year.  This picture really doesn't do them justice.  I took it in the house and perhaps should try again tomorrow outside.  They are beautiful.  I love the textures and details.

I'm always delighted to see the various talents and interests that each of the children displays when it come to art.  As always, it was a wonderful day.  I thoroughly enjoy this group of families and am thankful to be sharing school time with them!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A praise and a request

We have results back from Joshua's testing ... NORMAL!!!  Thank you God!  I'm so thankful that we don't have to prepare for more meds at this point!

As a quick request, Eliana will be going to get an x-ray tomorrow/Wed.  It is to rule out an instability in her neck.  (Atlanto-axial instability for those that are curious.)  This is something that occurs more frequently in people with Down syndrome.  Would you pray for clean and good results?  We would also love prayers that the appointment goes smoothly.  Eliana has not been enamored with doctors lately and after the blood drawing fiasco, I'm not sure how she will respond.  I'm not expecting easy and would love to be wrong!

Thanks for praying.  I just really don't want her to have anything else, kwim?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Firsts this week

After our failed first attempt at a back to school breakfast, I decided to try something spontaneous the next morning.  It wasn't all that I would have wanted if I had planned it - but everyone was happy and we had a fun time.  When the children got up, I asked them to get dressed and not eat.  Then we went to Chick-fil-a to have biscuits.  I got hash browns for Eliana which were gluten free (though she was fussy later).  She did love them and called them nuggets.  This could be a good compromise.  
The second part of the surprise was heading to Walmart to pick out some new school supplies.  We didn't need much, but its still fun to pick some things.  I enjoy seeing what delights them too!  A picture of my "students" for this year.   
 Our cleaned up school room - ready for a new year!  I haven't finished all of my organizing yet and perhaps I'll post more about that - if it ever gets done!  LOL  You can see my new Ikea shelves on the back wall.  I am loving them!
 Rebecca chose sparkly and pretty folders and a fun pencil sharpener/holder.
 Angry birds folder was popular with a couple of mine.
 An electric pencil sharpener.  He was so excited about this - and has been loving making sure all of our pencils have a nice point.
 Cars notebook was his top choice.
 Eliana chose a new lunchbox - something we can use to keep her GF snacks in when we are out of the house.  I also had things for each of them to enjoy too!
 A better look at my shelves.  Did I mention that I'm loving them?!  LOL  So much more useful than the lovely china hutch that was there before.

We also had our first field trip with our Five in a Row group.  It was so much fun to be together again with friends!  We welcomed some new families to our group as well.  Our first outing is typically just a park day.  A relaxing time to reconnect and have fun.  One of our members also arranged for us to have a class on  

butterflies.  What a great addition to our morning! 

We had a lively and knowledgeable presenter.  She brought with her live caterpillars and butterflies which added to the fun!

We watched the butterflies being released.
Afterwards, we had picnic lunches and played.  Eliana and Rebecca both spent time taking pictures.  Rebecca does a great job - and Eliana surprisingly gets some good ones too!  

 Fun days.  A great way to start off our school year!