Sunday, July 31, 2011

Aquarium Trip

Water Fun Week is technically over today but I still have a bit of posting to do before we move on to next week's theme.

We finally made it out to the Oklahoma Aquarium on Friday and we all had a blast. We hadn't been since Kinsley was barely walking so it was about time to visit again. Both girls had an absolute blast looking at every single fish in the entire building. I was surprised at how enthusiastic Kaitlyn was about the whole thing. She adored the tropical fish and would protest every time we left a tank until she saw the next one, the yelled "WOW" every time.

Aquarium Pic 6

Aquarium Pic 1
The touching tanks were a big hit although Kinsley was a bit apprehensive at first. Once she saw the other kids doing it she warmed up, a little.

Aquarium Pic 5
Then she got to feed kelp to the turtles.

Aquarium Pic 3

Aquarium Pic 2

Aquarium Pic 4
"IT'S NEMO!!!" Obviously this tank was a favorite with every kid that I saw, mine included. We've been watching Nemo all week so this was perfect and of course great planning on the aquarium's part. The tropical tanks were beautiful and Kaitlyn's very favorite (and mine too). They also have several exibits that are designed to be like the "local habitats" and they had HUGE catfish. Kinsley could barely contain herself she was so excited and those were the first things she mentioned when we got home. And they were huge, it makes me a little nervous about all the time we spent swimming in the local lakes when we were kids.

The biggest reason Kinsley wanted to go to the aquarium was to see the sharks.

Aquarium Pic 8
She talked all day long about seeing the sharks and when we first walked up to that giant tank she was speechless. Her sister didn't share the quiet amazement, she screamed. And cried. The poor tiny was terrified of the sharks and wouldn't go near the tank.

Aquarium Pic 9
The aquarium has the shark tank set up where you can walk through a tunnel and be surrounded by the sharks, they can even swim overhead. Of course we had to go through the tunnel for Kinsley's sake but poor Kaitlyn just hid her face and cried. Needless to say we walked through pretty quickly.

Aquarium Pic 7
They both enjoyed playing in the dive cage though.

It was a great trip and I can't wait for their new exibits to open so we can go back again. Though I think I'll take a helper along next time just to make it a bit easier.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Garden Fail

I am so disappointed in this year's garden. I was so excited to get everything in this year since we really didn't do a garden last year and even though we got a bit of a late start I was staying optimistic. Then it flooded, twice. And we replanted, twice. Everything started to take off and I thought we would be in good shape. We were very proud of our first ever strawberries and things were looking up then summer came. Wow did summer come. This is the most ridiculously hot and dry summer that I have dealt with for sure.

Dry Corn Pic 2

When the corn started to look like this I was a little bit sad. We've never had good luck with corn it seems but we kept right on watering and hoping for the best.


We didn't win. The drought won this round for sure. At this point we are watering just the tomatoes, watermelons and pumpkins and hoping we can keep them alive long enough for fall. Everything else is done for and we just can't keep up with the watering, and the water bill is scary high.

I was really hoping our corn would do well this year because this baby loves some corn.
Corn Loving Baby

(And yes I realize that she is half naked in pretty much all the pictures lately. It's HOT here and I don't see any since in her being miserable. We do have to use a diaper cover of some sort though or she'd be completely naked.)

It's hard to explain why it makes me so sad that our garden just isn't making it this year. There will be no blackberry jelly, no apple pies from our apples, no fresh salsa... I was so looking forward to canning so much from this year's harvest. But I know that there are others who are affected so much more by this drought. Families that depend on their harvests to feed their family and provide income. Hay pastures are burning up and cattle being sold simply because it's too expensive and there is nothing to feed them. Our entire state needs rain so very badly, and I am sure we are not the only one. My heart goes out to these families who are being hit so hard and I just keep praying for rain. In the meantime I will be happy for what little productivity I see in my garden and maybe I'll pick up some strawberries today from the grocery and make some jam. It is something at least.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Smart Summer: Baby Doll Bathtime

We're getting closer to the end of Water Fun Week in the Smart Summer Challenge but we still have a ton of activities lined up. Thanks to MaryLea at Pink and Green Mama for the inspiration to do a little baby doll washing.

The girls have two baby dolls that they adore that just happen to be made of plastic so this is a perfect activity for them. I will admit though that it irks me just a bit that the two favorites right now are storebought plastic dolls and not any of the cloth dolls (bought or handmade) but that's life so I try to let it go.

Baby Doll Wash Pic 1

I wasn't quite as brave as MaryLea so I didn't give Kait the opportunity to flood the house and instead set the girls up with a washing station outside in their water table. It was a good way to enjoy the evening before bed and the girls could get as wet as their babies if they wanted. Kinsley would have been fine with this activity indoors though so if your kids are quite as young as my littlest it would be fine for in the house.

I simply filled the water table with clean water, gave them some baby shampoo and small crocheted washcloths and let them do the rest.

Baby Doll Wash Pic 2

Kait was, as usual, not terribly impressed with our plan and didn't really care if her baby was dirty or not.

Baby Doll Wash Pic 3

This was pretty much the extent of her participation, a baby under her arm and the washcloth in her mouth. Oh well.

Baby Doll Wash Pic 4

Kinsley did a very thorough job of washing her baby "Lola". For the longest time this doll was known as "K-O-O Baby" we have no idea why but suddenly one day her name became Lola.

This was a great activity for Kinsley because she loves to imitate everything that I do. She did a terrific job and it was sweet to listen to her talking to and comforting her baby during the bathing process. I'll have to start letting her do this more often.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Smart Summer: Cardboard Roll Goldfish Kites

I was searching Pinterest for some good ideas to go along with Water Fun Week when I came across this post over at Lightly Enchanted and knew they would be perfect and easy for Kinsley to complete on her own.

Goldfish Kites
All you need are some empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls, a package of streamers and some glue. Total cost just at $1.00, not bad.

Goldfish Kites Pic 2
Put a strip of glue down the length of your cardboard roll.

Goldfish Kites Pic 3
Wrap your streamer around the roll. I put a little extra glue around the rim just to make sure everything stayed in place.

Goldfish Kites Pic 4
Cut several lengths of streamer for your tail, make them as long or short as you would like. Ours are about 16-18" in length.

Goldfish Kites Pic 5
Put a strip of glue inside the rim of the roll and glue your tail pieces on.

Goldfish Kites Pic 6
Here is where you can give your goldfish some eyes and decoration if you want. We used pom poms for eyes just because we had them handy and couldn't find any googly eyes. You could also use paper, felt or even just a marker. Then just punch a couple holes in the mouth and tie on a string for flying.

Goldfish Kites Pic 7
Ta-da! Your own flying goldfish.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Boys

I'd say we had a perfectly wonderful reason for skipping out on last weeks themed activities, I got to see my nephews! They have grown SO much just from the last time I saw them, I swear as your kids get bigger you forget how quickly babies grow. I tried to convince my sister to move closer but I get the feeling she's not a live in the middle of nowhere type. Gives me an excuse to travel to the "big city" I suppose.

Andrew has turned into SUCH a chunker, I love it! I'm not sure he was thrilled with my sticking a camera in his face every 5 seconds but I think he better adjust quickly. He's too cute not to take a million pictures of.

Andrew Pic 2
Especially when I can get him to play and laugh with me. Melt.

Mister Braeden is growing like a champ as well even if he has a bit to go to catch up with brother. Excuse the up the nose shot, he is even less fond of the camera.

Braeden Pic 2
He has the BEST smile EVER! Seriously, this is only a quarter of his awesome smile but I could not get it on camera. He smiles so big that he scrunches up his whole face and it is the most adorable thing ever. He reminds me of a little Christmas elf. So stinkin cute. I have assigned my sister with the task of getting a full smile in picture.

They have come such a long way from where they started. I can't wait until they are big enough to really get into some trouble.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Smart Summer: Water Fun Week

We've reached week #5 of the Smart Summer Challenge and this week's theme is Water Fun Week. There are so many ways that you can go with a theme like that but we're choosing to learn about the different types of creatures that live in the water both locally and in the ocean.

I think what has surprised me the most about this challenge is how much fun we've had just in getting ready for the new week to start. Searching through our own items here at home to find things to fill our weekly basket has been a lot of fun for Kinsley (and I've had a blast coming up with new activities). This week we pulled out some of our favorite fish themed books:

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Ten Tiny Tadpoles by Debbie Tarbett

Crocheted Whale
Kinsley also gathered up this crocheted whale I made her a while back following this pattern at Bittersweet. A very quick and easy project that you could whip up to go along with the theme this week.

She also found an origami sea life kit, their whale bathtub toys and of course The Little Mermaid and Nemo movies for us to watch.

We have several activities lined up for the week but of course we may add to or subtract from the list as the week goes on. We're nothing if not unpredictable around here.

  • Cardboard roll goldfish

  • Egg carton sea turtles

  • Rainbow Fish on tinfoil

  • Color sandpaper starfish

  • Sea life magnets

  • Painted wooden fish

  • Go on a fishing trip

  • Paper plate jellyfish

Hopefully we can squeeze in a trip to our (somewhat) local aquarium this week too. We haven't been since Kinsley was very small so we are due for a visit.

Should be a great week!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Smart Summer: Feeding the birds

Birdseed Hangers Pic 1

We didn't get nearly enough of our activities finished for Forest Friendly Week due to a last minute trip out of town to visit family but we had a great time on our trip so it was worth it.

We did manage to make some homemade bird feeders before we left though. We followed along with this post over at Alpha Mom but used the recipe that she mentioned in the comments. I was worried about them not sticking well enough so we picked the recipe that used less water just to give ours a better chance.

Birdseed Hangers pic 7
You can see that you don't need many ingredients for this easy project.

Birdseed Hangers Pic 3
We used a variety of different cookie cutters for our feeders. The larger cookie cutters without much design did better than the more intricate designs. The leaf didn't not fare well at all but honestly we should probably have let them sit quite a while longer or put them in the freezer to speed up the drying process.

Birdseed Hangers Pic 2
We still ended up with several to hang so it wasn't a total wash, thankfully.

To fill the time while we were waiting for our birdseed ornaments to harden we decided to make a different type of feeder. I pulled out some pipe cleaners and Cheerios and put the girls to work.

Birdseed Hangers Pic 5

Birdseed Hangers Pic 8
Just have the kids string the Cheerios onto the pipe cleaners and they can bend them into any shape they please. Easy peasy. Even my littlest girl thought this was a great activity.

Birdseed Hangers Pic 4
Though I don't think she realized they were to feed the birds and not her. This might not be a bad snack idea afterall. Ha!

There are tons of homemade bird feeder ideas all over the web that you could try. I have this popsicle stick feeder and this orange peel feeder bookmarked for us to use this fall.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Smart Summer: Forest Friendly Week

We checked the calendar last night and were excited to see that we are entering Forest Friendly Week of the Smart Summer Challenge. This week is going to be perfect for my two little nature loving girls and I can not wait for all the fun activities we have planned. We'll be getting out and learning all about nature, insects, animals and the great outdoors this week. I made a quick list of some of the activities we'll be doing this week...

Making a fairy garden
Homemade bird feeders
Making Binoculars from cardboard tubes
Painting animal and insect rocks
Listening for animal sounds in our own habitat
Making some forest animal finger puppets
Putting on a puppet show
Playing animal charades
Learning about animal tracks

This list certainly isn't set in stone and I'm likely to add several things to it as the week goes on and I see all the other great activities going on this week on the Smart Summer Challenge Facebook page.

And I'm happy to say that I finally came up with the perfect use for my new basket.

Book Basket
I picked this basket up at a yard sale a couple weekends ago for the incredible price of one dollar! I knew it would be perfect for holding something but hadn't come up with the perfect collection, until today. As I was pulling out a few books that went along with this week's theme I spotted my basket sitting empty across the room. Perfect! It's the perfect size to hold books that can be rotated out depending on our study theme or the changing seasons. Not bad for a dollar, not bad at all.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Art in the Park

Following along with the nature theme this week for the Smart Summer Challenge today the girls and I did a little art in the park. We loaded up the wagon with a quick and easy breakfast, our art supplies and we were off.

First order of business was a quick breakfast to give us the energy we needed for a morning at the park.

Picnic Breakfast
We had some whole wheat tortillas with a little peanut butter and wrapped around a banana, blueberries and grapes. Perfect picnic breakfast.

Then it was time to get our art out. Last night I printed out the outline of the numbers 1 and 3 for the girls to create with their found items. The scoured the park looking for bits and pieces to glue to their outlines.

Art in the Park
Kaitie's number one was an easy task and really she was more interested in throwing the rocks than playing along.

Serious Art
Kinsley, however, took her artwork very seriously inspecting each thing very carefully to make sure it would work for her.

Art in the park Pic 2
She was very proud of her finished product. She especially liked the tiny little feather and was SO excited when Daddy surprised us at lunch time and she got to show off her artwork.

After all that creativity it was time to cut loose and play for a bit.

The only downside was the mosquitos, they are awful this year and nothing seems to keep them away.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Asiah's Birthday

Today was my neice's 8th birthday (goodness I can't believe she's so old already). She came over to the house and while she was here she mentioned she wished she had some of her Grandma's chocolate cake. While mine isn't exactly the same I told her there was no reason we couldn't make chocolate cake and I put the girls to work.

Baking Cake
They measured and poured and mixed until a good looking cake was made. They could hardly wait to dive in but I made them wait until after dinner. I'm such a meanie. Of course we ordered pizza for dinner so it wasn't that bad of a wait. I didn't get a picture of the finished cake because everyone devoured it so quickly and I was not about to get between those girls and their cake.

Making Hats Pic 1
While we were waiting on the cake to finish i pulled out some plain white canvas hats that I picked up at Michaels and let the girls decorate their own sunhats to wear outside. Kaitlyn was less than impressed but the big girls had a good time.

Making Hats Pic 3

Making Hats Pic 4

Then the birthday girl requested movie time so we made a 'port' and watched The Little Mermaid until it was cool enough to play outside.
Snuggle time
(This is a common scene around our house this summer isn't it.)

Even though it was still pretty warm out we couldn't wait any longer to have a Silly String Fight. Kinsley had never seen the stuff before but Asiah was beyond excited.

Silly String Fight Pic 1
Turns out the cans were a little harder to push than we thought they'd be.

silly string fight pic 3
This was the best picture I could get of the birthday girl. You'd think she was afraid I'd spray her or something. Silly.

silly string fight pic 2
This girl took the game very seriously.

I'd say everyone had a pretty good day and I know we're all exhausted after. Happy Birthday to my littlest neice.