Friday, June 24, 2011

Splish Splash

We have been enjoying some time outdoors with water this month.  It is officially summer, which means we are now in almost perpetual heat advisory mode until September.

A few weekends ago, we had a giant water play date with cousins.  We gave the kids squirt guns and water balloons.  We turned on the sprinklers, thinking they would like to run in them, but it only scared them and they ran away.  They did like being squirted with the spray attachment on the hose however.  Mr. One and Mr. Two have asked several times if we can do this again.

Mr. One and Mr. Two took a session of swim lessons at one of the city pools and are making progress.  At least they only cried one day instead of the whole time (like last year) and they started gaining confidence in the water.  This was a huge step for Mr. One, who has been very afraid of the water.  He had a sweet high school aged boy as his teacher who was incredibly encouraging and helped him overcome some of his fears.  He even ventured away from the wall in the deep end and tried to swim a little bit out to his teacher, which is something he wouldn't do last year and was very worried about doing this year.  I truly feel like he had the perfect teacher for him.  That was a huge blessing. I'm going to try and get them into at least one more session this summer.

Earlier this week, we went out to Tempe Town Lake to their splash pad.  I love this place!  It was just big enough for the kids to wander and have fun, but small enough for me to keep a good watch on them.  There is a small water slide, some waterfall features and lots of puddles and squirting water.  There is a large shaded picnic area nearby for eating.  There are lifeguards on duty as well.  I only wish there was a bit more shaded seating for the adults right on the edge of the water part.  My older two boys loved playing and I had a hard time getting them to leave. 

Mr. Three didn't like it so much (I guess it was too much like a giant shower for him), and he fell and hit his little noggin pretty hard on the ground.  He was much happier being carried. 

Next time, I'll wear my suit and cover up so I can get wet and help Mr. Three better.  We'll bring lunch too, so that we can stay longer and play.

I have a feeling we will be spending more time this summer playing in the water!

* all pics from Tempe Town Lake Splash Playground

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Make a Match Game

Here's details to one of the games we played together during our game day from my previous post:

I found the original idea for this game in this book, to use with the funtastic frogs* bucket.  I have adapted the game to play without a game board and to use more manipulatives.  It can be played as a partner game or with more players (2-4 players would be best).

Take a small handful of frogs and count out 10 frogs.  Put the rest back into the bucket.

The first player places one frog on the table.  The second player has to make a match with one of their own frogs.  You can match them by color or size.

Players continue to match one of their frogs to the last frog played.  If a player does not have a frog to match, their turn is skipped and the next player can match their frog.

Play continues until either both players cannot match any of their remaining frogs or a player matches all of their frogs.

* If you don't have the frogs, don't worry.  You can adapt this game to use a variety of items you have on hand, just make sure that the objects you are using have two attributes that you can match them with.  (Size and shape, color and shape, etc.)  Here are some things you could use:  buttons, colored pasta shapes, plastic beads, or foam shapes.  This was a game that was fun for both my six and three year old to play.

-linking to ABC and 123 Show and Tell

Game On!

Last week, one of our activities was to create some new game boards and play games together.  I have several game board pattern books from teaching.  I had the boys look through the books and choose a game/ game board they wanted to use, then copied them.  I had them switch game boards, so that they worked on making the game for their brother.  They colored and then we played together.

Mr. One liked making Mr. Two's board, but Mr. One wasn't so thrilled with the coloring job that Mr. Two did on his board.  We had to have a talk about being appreciative and encouraging.

Mr. Two's board was simply a matching activity (they matched the same colored and sized frogs on the board).  Mr. One's board was a race track with two lanes that you could play a variety of games on (more on this in another post).  The third board was one I chose, and it was a matching and critical thinking game that I thought would be appropriately challenging for Mr. One (more on this in the next post).  Mr. Three enjoyed a nap while we played.

The boys had so much fun making new games and playing.  We will have to repeat this activity.

Monday, June 13, 2011

While Mom's Not Looking...

This is what I saw as I walked into the kitchen after hearing an eruption of giggles from my older two boys:

Seriously, that baby is so fast at finding chocolate!

Note to self:  Don't ever leave the pantry door opened when Mr. Three is awake.  Or step away from Mr. Three while he is awake.  Or leave chocolate within reaching distance of Mr. Three while he is awake...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Computer's Down!

You'll have to be patient with me. Our computer is down.  Hopefully it'll be an easy fix and will be up and running this weekend.  I had a few simple repurposing tutorials and activities to share, but they'll have to wait.  In the meantime, I'm sneaking in a bit of computer time at my parents' house while the kiddos play with cousins.  I have our 10th anniversary this week to celebrate and lots of cleaning and projects to work on... Fun times!  Hope your summer is full and fun so far!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cupboard Capers

Yesterday we jumped back on the cleaning wagon, starting with the kitchen cupboards.  The boys giggled as I let them actually get inside the the cupboards to clean.  This may have defeated the purpose, with little feet planted on the shelves, but I tricked them into thinking cleaning is a grand adventure yet again. 

After cleaning, we sat together and read, starting The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.  This was one of the books Mike enjoyed as a child, and I loved the Ramona books by the same author.

After a successful evening of swim lessons (Mr. One was the only one in his class that night, so he got lots of one on one instruction), we had Summer Chicken Salad (with avocados and cherries) on croissants with watermelon for dinner.  (So. Yummy.)

P.S.- We only cleaned two cupboards before Mr. Three awoke from his (much too short) nap.  Maybe we can actually finish today...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer So Far

Here's a little listing of what our summer has entailed thus far.

Friday through Sunday was a family filled adventure camping up on Mt. Graham.  My boys were covered in dirt, from head to toe and they loved every minute of it.  I enjoyed the company, games and food, but mostly, the long shower when we got home.  If I get some extra time, I'll post some more pics and details later...

Monday was Memorial Day.  We spent our day moving my little sis into her new apartment, cleaning out the fridge (that was work I tell you!) and dining room, and looking at new dryers. 

A fun little unplanned activity was finding a ladybug in hibernation mode in the fridge and watching it thaw out and releasing it onto our rose bush.  The boys were fascinated and delighted by this little visitor. 

Sadly, we didn't do anything very patriotic, and we ate Pasta Roni for dinner, not even a BBQ.  We did manage to squeeze in an after dinner trip to Cold Stone (I had a coupon), where the boys got cotton candy ice cream with gummy bears (yuck!), and Mike and I tried the fruit sorbets (yum!).

Tuesday we bought a new dryer.  I cannot even tell you how excited I am for this.  I have been researching and comparing and pricing for so long now, and we got a great deal.  Fingers crossed this reduces our electric bill and makes for faster laundry days. 

I took the kids to the library to sign up for the summer reading program and lucked out because they were doing a fun bubble activity upstairs.  The kids could blow bubbles in a giant kiddie pool filled with bubble solution, color bubble pictures, and they even had a pool set up where the teen library volunteers used a hula hoop to make a bubble around the kids.  Mr. One loved playing with the bubbles.  Mr. Two would have nothing to do with that, but had fun coloring.  We checked out a large pile of books to read together and headed home for lunch and an afternoon of laundry sorting and folding instruction. 

In the late afternoon, I told the boys to get on their swimsuits and get ready to swim.  They were so excited.  After they were securely buckled in, I gave them the rest of the story:  they were going to swimming lessons, not a pool party.  Mr. One cried and Mr. Two refused to get into the water for the first 10 minutes.  Did I mention my kids don't like swimming lessons?  By the end, they seemed like they were almost having fun. 

I actually cooked a real dinner (Thai Peanut Noodles, strawberries, and Pot Stickers), which my kids hated and Mike and I loved.  The boys had peanut butter and honey sandwiches and went to bed with little complaint.

Wednesday was movie day.  The local theaters run kid-friendly movies each week in the morning for a discounted price.  A friend with two boys close in age to mine and I bought summer passes.  Each Wednesday, we stuff our purses with treats and head to the movies.  This week was Clifford's Big Movie (a snooze for adults, but great for the kids).  I forgot to bring water bottles and the popcorn was way over-buttered and over-salted.  Mr. Three lost his shoes before the movie even began and insisted on walking the stairs barefoot for the last 20 minutes of the movie because he was done with the snacks and bored.  We also had to wait an extra 10 minutes or so after the movie ended for the theater lights to come back on and find his missing shoes.  During that time, the kids ran up and down the theater and Mr. Two peed his pants.  Awesome. 

After the movie disaster, we ate lunch at Grammy's and headed grocery shopping.  For the most part the boys are good little shoppers.  They like helping to pick out produce and steer the cart.  However, they weren't cooperative the whole time.  My kids also managed to run around the stores, point and make shooting and sword swishing noises at passing people with their little fingers. Mr. Two even voiced a few impolite shout outs to the "little old ladies" at the store.  I would have hid if there was anywhere to hide.  (We will be working on politeness and manners this week.) 

I walked into the house with bags of groceries and felt an ant bite on my foot.  Looking down, I saw my kitchen SWARMING with ants, as well as the garage.  What?!!!  I just mopped the night before.  Poor Mr. Three had to go into the high chair for 45 minutes while I sprayed, swept, squished and silently cursed the swarming ants.  I had "clean out the pantry and kitchen" on my summer to do list, but that really wasn't the plan for Wednesday. 

I took the kids to swim lessons with Mr. Three protesting (he was fed up with being held and restricted by this point, but you can't let a baby wander a public pool area).  The boys actually cooperated at lessons this time.  We had hot dogs for dinner.

Today, we get to pick up our new dryer and hopefully do some reading and kitchen cupboard cleaning.  So far, we aren't even finished getting dressed and it's past 11:00...  Wish us luck!