Monday, February 29, 2016

Introducing Zipper

Apparently it's just not home until there's a small furry to share it with.

I always thought I'd get another pair of rats after the girls passed, but standing in front of the rat cage at the pet store I almost had a panic attack. Apparently I'm not ready yet.

But this little guy... he's already brought so many smiles and warm fuzzies to my heart. :)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Goodbye Zinnia

Zinnia was miserable after Zhiva died. I was heartbroken seeing her so lost, and I thought it would make it easier when she eventually passed, knowing that they'd finally be together again, but it didn't.  :( Goodbye my sweet girl. You were so loved and I miss you terribly.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

It's Been A Long Week

And my heart hurts. :(

Oliver, 2000-2016.
16 in human years, 112 in dog years.
During every one of them you were beloved.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Things, Lately

- Taking stress breaks by looking at pictures of fennec foxes and degus and hamsters and guinea pigs and mice and rats with clever paws and tiny whiskered faces. (I miss Zhiva and I think I'm ready for a new pet.)

- Also otters.

- Finally caving and buying a subscription to GoSwim and spending nearly every moment that the kids are sleeping watching Steve Haufler videos. I love Steve Haufler.

- Lesson plans. Writing so many lesson plans it's insane... Writing swim lesson plans for my Station 7's and my Station 9's and everyone in between - my two 7's who haven't swam in a year, my two 6's who are swimming with the 7's because I've run out of room for them in the regular program, my lone 8. wtiting lesson plans for the triplets - not just for next month, but also looking ahead to next year when we start homeschooling. And also trying to reconstruct the spring semester lesson plan for lit class. I'm losing my mind.

- Also: we hit a new enrollment high at swim. We saw it coming last month and it stressed me out to no end because I thought all the problems we've been having lately were growing pains and there wasn't anything I could do about it. Once I realized that very few issues were in fact related to our numbers, and I could solve (or at least tackle) the rest, I was much less stressed. And while I was off "tackling" we reached and passed our new goal and I didn't even notice til several days later.

- Making: pork chops in the crock pot; a frittata with zucchini, sausage, and orange pepper; portobello mushroom caps stuffed with leftover pork and parmesan cheese; steamed salmon with spinach and quinoa; fresh mango.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

January Craft Round-Up

This month was a little unusual for us; we didn't get to everything on our lesson plan in January because of a snow storm (I lost three days of work), and we also did more activities and "process art" than we normally do (so we didn't have a lot to show for all our efforts other than pictures and memories, lol). Still, it was worth it because some of these activities were just too much fun. :)

Some of our themes this month were ice, snow, cold (we talked about temperature in general) and winter. We worked on recognizing the colors blue and white (with limited success lol).

We started off the month remixing one of our favorite crafts from last month: sensory jars! This time we made them snow jars. The kids had a blast.

One day we did a slew of snowman activities.

First we practiced rolling the dice and counting out the same number of pompom "buttons" onto our snowmen...

... then we practiced building snowmen out of Styrofoam balls (cut in half so they'd lay flat) and construction paper arms, boots, and hats.

And finally we made "melted snowmen" with white glitter paint, googly eyes, and construction paper pieces. The kids did this one all by themselves and their mom and I got a kick out of seeing how each one turned out!

We painted on giant ice cubes (I used the freezer A LOT this month lol) with watercolors.  This was so much fun and I sort of wished I had made one for me, too. At first the paint went onto the cubes like regular paper, then as the water melted it changed until towards the end as soon as you put some paint on the cube, it changed the whole hue of the painting. Very cool.

We also tried painting on snow one day, inspired by this pin. It was a total no - go lol. Pinterest fail!

I also made ice cubes filled with glitter and confetti and let them go at them with paintbrushes and warm water. It was a good chance to talk about melting, freezing, hot and cold.

We did ice chalk! I've been too intimidated to try making my own sidewalk chalk for awhile, but somehow ice chalk seemed less scary. Since it turned out well (and the only significant difference between sidewalk chalk and ice chalk is drying vs. freezing), we'll probably be doing that sometime soon. This was a fun activity! Definitely part sensory activity, as it got rather messy, but fun. It went on like fingerpaint and dried like chalk. Lucy enjoyed "stamping" with the blocks.

We tried making silly putty with cornstarch and Dawn dishsoap, and it failed miserably. I ended up adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that and making it into "snow dough" instead.

I rigged up a makeshift clothesline between the front and basement doors and we worked on some fine motor skills and matching by pinning pair of mittens and gloves. It took everyone quite awhile to get the hang of it, but once they did they had a blast!

That was our month. Of course, there was also a lot of playing in the snow, outings, and play. :) I'm definitely looking forward to warmer temperatures and getting to do more outdoors activities again!