Saturday, February 26, 2011

Playing With Fire

One night after an early supper, Emma and I decided to play with fire.

This was the result.

Crayons and a candle. I got the idea over at Craft Knife. I love that site. 

Emma and I had a blast mixing the colors together, making valleys and rivers of hot wax, and drawing with the partially melted crayons. We will be doing this again. 

And I am excited to add it to the list over at Ordinary Life Magic's Saturday's Artist link up.  Another site I love :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fun with numbers

A few months ago Emma and I started playing with numbers. It is a game where we make up math questions. This game and the rhyming game are two of our favorites.

Off and on and in odd places, Emma will ask if we can play either one.

Lately it has been getting much more complicated.

The other day;

Emma- "Mama, if I have 5 piles of 4 rocks, how many rocks do I have?"

Multiplication! I was a little intimidated. I hate math. Oh well.

Me- "You would have...(counting four times on each finger on one hand) 20 rocks."

Emma- "So if I have 5 piles of 4 rocks and we take 2 piles away, how many do I have now?"

I counted out the 20 again, then we counted out 2 'piles' to subtract, then counted how many we had left.

Might not be the best way to go about doing it, but she understood and enjoyed it (and surprising enough, so did I).

I also explained to her that she just did a math equation. She wanted to do more.

Emma- "If I have 5 horses, I give you one, then you give me three, how many do I have?"

For the last 2 days, it has been this is how we have played our number game. It really is fun, and easy or hard, depending on what we are in the mood for.

Amazing that my child is the one to teach me that math can be fun.
A blast from the past. Emma and Grampy (my dad) reading a book together in 2008.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Budding Reader

I have been noticing over the last few days that Emma is reading a lot more. She was sitting on the floor yesterday with a Bone comic book, sucking on a lollipop, reading.

Every few minutes she would read a word or two out loud, then keeping doing her thing, then read a few more words out loud. 

I was trying to take a sneaky photo through my hoop weaving project, but the red eye reduction gave me away. 

Eventually she stopped caring that I was taking pictures. 

When we went to Chili's today for lunch, Emma was reading all the words on her cup, as well as the "Food To Go" sign that was right over our table. 

It is so much fun listening to her read!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Emma's New Room

Her room isn't really new, but with Operation Uplifting Sleep, we couldn't leave the rest of the room a mess.

A few weeks ago I installed the tracks for adjustable shelves. For the first day or two we made do with bits and pieces of lumber for shelves. I realized that the bits and pieces really didn't give Emma much shelf space. I went out and bought 2 8' shelves.

It made a big difference.

When we ran back to Lowes yesterday to pick up the missing piece of lumber, we also picked up two more 8' shelves.  

Now I am happy.

So are Emma and Da. As I write this, they are in Emma's room doing puzzles. I love when they play together.

I also spent much of today creating a comfy reading area under Emma's loft. After all the work we did yesterday and today, I was a little tired. So when I sat down to test out the chair placement...
I fell asleep. Emma and Icky (the dog) were happy to just hang out while I dozed. 

The shelves (one is designated specifically for horses), and her easel. She gets great light almost all day long. And at night she gets an awesome view of Luna (the moon).
(Jared's head-He and Emma are getting set up to do a puzzle) 

Emma checking out her options with the shelves set up and organized.

Re-positionable horse stickers (grouped by family, her favorite way to group). Plus a few butterflies that I didn't notice until I took this photo :) Emma played up in her bed while I was trying to figure out the bookcase add-on below deck. It was so much fun listening to her play up there with her stuffed animals.  

The most up-to-date photo. 

The bookcase (to the left of the flower chair) was made using left over 2X6 boards. I would have filled it up with books, but I ran out of steam. 

I doubt it will stay looking like this for very long. Aside from her room turning into a disaster zone, we have grand plans to collage all over the bed with anything we can get to stick. 

I am not usually one for on going projects, but at least now when she complains, I can tell her to go glue things to her bed. 

p.s. Be sure to read yesterday's post for a few photos of the assembly process. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Operation Uplifting Sleep

I have finally gotten around to a project I have wanted to do for a very long time.

The bonus is I managed to find something to do with all the pages from the books I turn into purses.

(please excuse the crappy photos. My camera battery was dead, so I used Emma's camera and apparently there is something wrong with it.)

We made Emma a loft bed!! 

We all went to Lowes last night to pick up the lumber and hardware. Joel, (one of the guys working at Lowes) was super nice and super helpful. He grabbed all the lumber for us (he even dug through to make sure we got good pieces), then made all the cuts for me. It ended up being over 20 cuts, but he didn't seem to mind. 

While I was hovering around the wood cutting area (I wasn't sure what I was suppose to be doing while Joel cut the wood, so I felt like I was hovering), Emma and Jared ran around throughout the rest of the store. By the time the wood was finished being cut, it was way past Emma's bed time (although to be fair, we didn't get to Lowes until 7ish, which is when Emma goes to bed). Jared looked more worn out then Emma did. 

Once we got home, the only lumber we brought in was the plywood piece that goes under the mattress. It made the trip home strapped to the roof of the car and we didn't want to leave it outside all night. 

Operation Uplifting Sleep 
(Jared's code names are way better than mine: Operation Loft Bed)

Laying out the lumber made things a bit easier. Glad I did, as I realized we where missing one piece of lumber. It was an important piece, but not necessary for me to run out and replace it at that moment. 

Got the first few pieces put together and realized I have no idea when the best time to take pictures during a project is. 

Emma was a big help. When I was measuring and marking the drill holes, Emma helped me find the numbers on the tape measure. When we where ready for the screws, she was in charge of handing out the correct number. She placed the washers on all of the larger bolts while counting them. 

When she wasn't helping, she was busy playing in/on/around all the lumber :)

I even put Jared to work. 

A lot. Well, it looks like that because I was the one taking the pictures, but I did actually do a lot of work too. So much that I got a blister that popped in the same day (hour?) it showed up.

At this point in the project we realized that a few additional tools would make the rest of the work go by a lot quicker, and seeing as I still needed to pick up the missing piece of lumber, we headed to Lowes.

Once back home, we worked for a bit, stopped for dinner, then finished assembling the bed. Start to finish, including our trip to the store, took about 11 hours. 

Here is the assembled bed. 

I wasn't sure how I wanted to finish the bed. Did I want to prime it, stain it, seal it? If so, what color?

I like this color :)

A little (ok a lot) of Modge Podge and some book pages that needed a purpose. The pages will make the perfect back drop for horse collages, drawings, writings, stamps, stickers, pictures, and whatever else we might decide to stick to the bed. 

Who knew making your bed could be so much fun?

*edited 19Feb11*

 Here is a picture of Emma enjoying her new loft bed the morning after we finished it. She is replacing the horse wall stickers that we had to take down to make the bed. 
I love making things for Emma :)

p.p.s. For more updated photos, check out Emma's New Room.

p.p.s.s. I almost forgot to mention that I am sharing this post over at Ordinary Life Magic's Saturday's Artist.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Swim Lessons

Emma LOVES swim lessons. She loves them so much I am tempted to enroll her in two swim lessons next session so that we can go 2 days a week.

Maybe. It's kinda expensive.

Although it is cheaper then doing gymnastics and swimming.

We will have to see.

After swim lessons we went to a place called The Playground. Emma enjoyed it when we first got there because the number of kids was pretty low. Once preschool started letting out though, the place got packed pretty quickly.

Lunch at the new Olive Garden in Ankeny followed. Emma at bread sticks and some beans from my minestrone soup.

I pigged out on salad. Oink.

Then we opted out of groceries (we have milk and cereal, all is good) and came home.

Emma played on the computer, then had some fun with glitter, then watched the last few kids shows on PBS before the adult shows come on.

A quick, right-before-bed dinner (of rice crispies with soy milk) and a popsicle for desert.

Da gets home, time to brush.

"Wait, can I sit with you so I can warm up?" followed by a few bites of my crockpot chicken, potatoes, and carrots dinner (I waited for Jared before I ate), brush, potty, pj's, and clean off the bed.

A chapter of the latest Bella Sara book (#4), Nike's Great Race while snuggling.

Hugs, giggles, tickles, and kisses then lights out.

It was a good day.

Emma and Da putting together a giant floor horse puzzle last night.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Writers Block

I am sitting here, staring off into space, trying to think of something witty or intelligent to say when all I really want to do is show you some pictures of Emma's latest master pieces

I guess instead, I will just tell you about her art.

The other night when I was needle felting Emma's newest hat, Emma asked if she could needle felt also. She was in the process of getting ready for bed, so I told her that she could needle felt in the morning.

And she did. I set her loose with some bigger scrap pieces of a black wool sweater that I had felted. I also gave her the roving I had used on her hat, some commercial roving (it is more processed then the stuff on her hat), some wool yarn, and a bag full of bits and pieces of felted wool sweaters.

When she was done, we had a bunch of odd shaped pieces of needle felted art work. When I asked Emma what she wanted to do with them ( because I really had no idea what to do with them), she informed me she wanted to put them in picture frames and sell them.

It just so happens that we have a ton of picture frames around. And it just so happens Emma's art looks AWESOME in them!

This one is my favorite. 

As soon as we got the first one in the frame, I wanted to run to the store to create another picture wall like the one we had in our home in Tucson.

If you look past the cute kid hamming it up for the camera, you can see one of the shelves we had on our picture wall. Made changing pictures out easy (with no holes).

Now I have to decide if I could actually part with them...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What We Did - Feb 6-12, 2011

It is so good to be home.

This week has been busy, but we are still finding time for learning and crafting, our two favorite things to do.

While I was gone I got a deal through Groupon for a $20 gift certificate to for $10. A deal like that is a no brainer (especially when I have a wish list with about 150 things on it).

After agonizing over what I should get Emma, I settled on a balance scale (or Pan Balance). Emma got it yesterday and was really excited to try it out. I know a $20 scale  isn't going to be super accurate, and it is off just a tiny bit, but I am happy with it. 

The two things I like the most about it are the big pans, and the easy set up. The scale does have little weights on the top so you can adjust it to make it more accurate, but I haven't bothered with that yet. 

A fun project idea I got from Ordinary Life Magic. Emma got a little frustrated when some of the buttons kept spinning around the wire, but she got the hang of it. She liked the project, but has not desire to do any more :)
I really enjoyed it. I think I might have to start keeping an eye out for cheap buttons. I like the idea of making some sort of button ornament like this for each season/ holiday. It was quick, easy, and relaxing (until I realized we where about to be late for a Dr. appointment-oops!). 

Another cute, but not as quick project that we did (also from Ordinary Life Magic). I still need to finish up with a mane and tail, but this is as far as we got today before we both got distracted by shiny things.

We did some cooking this week. Well, I do some cooking every week, but Emma helped this time. She will be helping more often now. We are in the process of switching over to a gluten/ dairy free diet (I will explain more about this later in the week) and I think having Emma help me cook the foods will make her more likely to at least try the foods.

She did enjoy helping me. She loves to crack eggs and is getting pretty good at it. When she cracked the second egg for this recipe she didn't get any shell in the bowl. 

Although we enjoyed making these, we where not particularly happy with how they tasted. I think it is because of the fritos. We will try it again with a different coating (probably next week).

We made some gluten free brownies right after this and she had fun with that too. They actually taste pretty good!
I used up some scraps and made this hat. Emma claimed it as her own. To read a bit more about it, check this out

We did some computer time. Lots of computer time. Emma now has her own little desktop and it is the first thing she does every morning. Here she is playing Super Why.

Some silliness happened (lots actually, but not a lot of pictures to prove it). Da has a super heavy coat for his uniform. When he got home from school one day, he said to Emma, "Do you want to see something really silly?" 

He can actually see through the faux fur. 

I hope you have had a great week also!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Favorite Games

One of my favorite blogs to stalk right now is Ordinary Life Magic. They are an unschooling family and I find a lot of inspirations, guidance, and just plain fun stuff over there.

They are also pretty crafty, which is right up my ally.

But right now, they are hosting a  Game Giveaway. I love the idea of winning a game (ha!), so I decided to write up a quick post about our favorite games.

After sitting here and thinking about it, I realized we actually don't play very many games. We have a ton, but we just never seem to be good about playing them.

Here are the few we do play.

Emma does understand the concept of the game, but she tends to get bored before the game is over. She really enjoys making fun shapes out of the pieces. 

I just blogged about this in my last post. We don't play the way the rules tell us too (unless it is just Jared and I playing), but we have a blast with it. 

I almost forgot. Emma got Pony-Opoly for her birthday. We have played once (then I was gone for what felt like forever), but I think I know what we will be doing tomorrow:)

Sadly, that is about it. We use to play chutes and ladders, and candy land, but (and I hate to admit it) I am a horrible mom. I can't stand to play these two games. To make matters worse, when Emma plays with her Da, he lets her make up the rules. I am getting better about it, but I am all for the rules. Anyway...

Those are about the only games we play lately. Now that I realize it, we may have to make a few changes around here :)

A few games I have had my eye on are :

A fun card game that produces fun cartoon type drawings

There are a few more that I have wanted, but of course, I can't remember what they are!

Oh well. 

Today was a fun day of lounging around in our pajamas. Emma played lots of Bella Sara and PBS Kids today. She did some reading, sounded out a few words, and did a bit of crafting. 

It was a very nice, relaxing, non-demanding day for both of us.

I love how clear this photo turned out, just wish there wasn't so much clutter!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Finally Home

Wow, that was a longer trip then I had planned. Lucky for my I have awesome in-laws, and didn't have to spend any of my time worrying (more then usual) about Emma. She missed me, but she had a great time with Gramma.

The newest and most exciting thing going on around here (for Emma anyway), is she now has her own computer. It is a mini desktop that we have set up in the living room, and she has her Bella Sara, PBS Kids, and an few other website set up for her.

She is playing Bella Sara right now. I really like Bella Sara for the many different things she can do with the game. She can take care of horses (groom, feed, pet, etc), she can play mini games, or she can play the main adventure. I also like that there are no other people who play the game on line with her so I don't have to worry about creepy people trying to chat with her.

One of the things I don't like is that Emma only got a few adventures to start out with, and to get more adventures, we had to buy Bella Sara products (horses, trading cards, puzzles, etc). I think we may have finished all the adventures :( Think about creating a new account...

Emma's reading has been going well. She is still doing great sounding out words in her environment. She even asked to play 'Scrabble Slam' last night. Normally it is a fast paced game. The players decide on a 4 letter word and then see who can use up their letters first by creating new words. We don't play for speed. Mostly we create words that rhyme, but Emma is finding it interesting that we can make new words that don't rhyme.

The rest of the day is pretty busy. 

We are going to see a play, Three Classics by Mercer Myer.

Then we have to do groceries. We have recently discovered that Emma is lactose intolerant, and I have a suspicion that she is also gluten intolerant as well. So, all of our gluten guilty foods are boxed up and we have some major groceries to do today.

After that we will have time to come home, put the groceries away, grab some lunch, then head over to hang out with our friend Landon, while his mom and dad are at work.

I am not sure what the plan is for dinner, but I do know that I will be printing up another photo assignment for Emma to do today or tomorrow. Just one this time though :)

Emma at gymnastics 2 weeks ago.