We interrupt this broadcast…

for a J and Buzz Lightyear Christmas announcement…

Ready, Buzz?

PSAJ and Buzz want to remind you to fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child (drop offs are this week! You can locate various locations around your area by going online).

PSAWe picked out items for a box for a boy and items for a box for a girl. My favorite part of picking the items with the boys was picking out Hello Kitty socks (“We’ve got to get those, you love Hello Kitty” A said) and also that the boys picked out a race car for both boxes (“What if they play together?” A asked…”won’t they both want to race a car?”). True story, A.

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Storybook character day

This week is storybook character day at A’s school, and last year we just kind of threw together a “Luke Skywalker” homage, so this year I really wanted to step it up. A’s very favorite books right now are The Magic Tree House series, and his favorite book of the series is Night of the Ninjas (I think he has read it three times at least). I took that book cover as my jumping point and this is what I came up with:

Magic Tree House Storybook Character[1][2][3][4]

I think it turned out great:

Storybook Character Jack

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The week so far…

Our week has been filled with work, school, homework, and baseball practice. And with that jumbledness comes a hodgepodge post of the latest…

Starting with…you know you’re a Mom whose kid loves Minecraft when you are totally pumped to find this guy:

Minecraft Happyas the guy in the “random Minecraft hanger bags”. And you send your husband a text saying “oooohhhh snap!” and he responds with “sweeeeet!” Cause you get each other and why that’s a sound find. By the way, sitting on the floor of a Barnes and Noble trying to decipher if the bag I’m picking out is one A doesn’t have is not something I thought I’d ever be doing. It’s almost as fun as trying to figure out what Lego figure is in the Lego figure bags. One time we got THREE unicorns. Seriously. Now you understand my excitement.

This weekend A and I spent some time counting by 2s using mini M&Ms:

Counting by 2sA declared it “a delicious choice for math work!”

And after completely taking apart J’s room:

J's Room Re-doElmo looks panicked by the disorganization.

Calm down, Elmo. I finally got it put back together and re-did the wall by his bed:

J Room Re-doIf your thinking “oh how nice she lined up the peeps for the picture”, you’d be wrong. J did that. Yes, seriously. He even patted each one when they were done and said “now you’re nice and neat”. If only he’d use that commitment to orderliness in other aspects of his life. Like his shirt at dinner time.

On a side note, you’ll notice there is no headboard, and indeed I talked about getting a headboard a few weeks ago. While we were initially considering several different headboards (one was an inherited one and the other was the Pottery Barn one we were looking at), we decided to wait. Our inherited one was to small for the height of the bed, and I couldn’t decide if the Pottery Barn one would be too dark in his room. For all of our on-line shopping capabilities, I still have a need to actually go to the store to see stuff like that. And it’s not like he’s saying “hey, where’s my headboard?” HA!

However, my biggest victory was that I was patching some spots and needed a quart of paint. I could remember every other paint color name in the house, but J’s room. Finally B said “hey maybe it’s on your blog”. And sure enough it was. Pretty sweet.

And finally I’ll leave you with this kid:

Silly ASometimes I sit at night hoping that one day, A will have a little more personality. HA! Silly boy!

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Lots of rocks

WSW: RocksMy nephew is fascinated by rocks & my sister had brought a kit of items to make pet rocks, so this Wacky Science Wednesday seemed like the perfect time to discuss rocks. We watched our standard Bill Nye episode (you can probably check it out from your local library…it’s Rocks and Minerals), and then spent the rest of the afternoon making pet rocks.

I had great plans to make a chart of the different types of rocks and the layers of the Earth, but we spent a lot of time on our pet rocks and it’s summer. Worksheets, be gone!

WSW: Pet rocksThe boys could hardly sit still from their excitement about making their pet rocks. We went from one a piece to each of them making four.

WSW: Pet RocksTo make the pet rocks you really only need simple supplies: rocks, glue, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, pom poms, feathers, and pipe cleaners. We painted ours as well, and I found that to get the paint to dry you need thin coats, and it will take about two-three hours (we painted them in the morning, then decorated them in the afternoon). It was a little messy, but worth it! Only one more Wacky Science Wednesday before the boys are back in school! I can hardly believe it!

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Bugs and Plumbing

WSW: BugsI almost had to call this the Wacky Science Wednesday that wasn’t, because as we were labeling our bugs (ladybug worksheet), a nice little old lady came to our front door to inform me that our yard was flooding. And by flooding I mean water was shooting out into the street from the main water line to our house. Amazingly, while I was turning off the water, calling B, my parents, and a plumber, the boys labeled their ladybugs! On their own! Amazing!

We watched our standard Bill Nye episode (You Tube bug video), and came away with the important information that 1) insects have six legs, 2) arachnids have eight legs, 3) bugs are gross. So, definitely important scientific learning.

Since several of the Wacky Science Wednesdays haven’t always had things for J to do, I decided to incorporate some reading into our WSW, and was inspired by this Momfessionals post (there are SO many ideas in this post, you could spread them out over days if you find your kids super inspired). I checked out Eric Carle’s The Grouchy Ladybug from the library, and the boys (ALL of them…I was impressed…remember I have a 9 year old nephew) loved it…although I had to warn my sister when she arrived that they ran around yelling “HEY YOU! WANT TO FIGHT?” for about fifteen minutes after reading it. Bet Eric Carle didn’t think about that reaction when he was penning that tale. We had a second talk about the trouble the ladybug got him (or her…it’s not really apparent) self into by yelling that throughout the book.

Then we made our own grouchy faces:

WSW: BugsSeriously my nephew J…cracked me up. “I only smile for pictures,” he said. HA!

And then we went to work making our paper plate lady bugs:

WSW: Bugs WSW: Bugs WSW: BugsI didn’t have metal brads, so I punched a hole through the two plates and connected them using a pipe cleaner. A little variation, but still cute!

WSW: BugsAnd you can see little grouchy faces when you lift up their elytra (that’s right, that’s what it’s called!):

WSW: BugsA WSW that almost wasn’t, but we managed to pull off through our main water line getting fixed. Success! We love bugs!


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Lego sculptures

On Tuesday the boys were spinning their wheels, I was out of activity ideas, and I decided that we needed an excursion before it got too hot to be outside. I threw together snacks, a thermos of water, and my camera in a backpack and we headed to go see the Lego sculptures at our local Botanical Gardens.

Lego Sculptures Lego Sculpture While we may have gotten turned around a bit without our expert navigator to help us (that would be B), the boys had a great time and we used up all our energy for the morning!Lego Sculptures Lego SculptureHere are the boys favorite sculptures from the day (a BUNNY!):

Lego SculpturesJames’ favorite was of course, the bunny, A loved the butterfly, and my favorite was the bison and calf in the middle of the wildflowers. A loved that each sculpture had a written description with it and the number of Legos it took to build it. He is currently at work putting together some re-creations of the things he saw. Morning mission accomplished! Now to find something to do after nap time…

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When life gives you lemons…

WSW: Battery CreatingCreate a working clock.

WSW: Lemon Battery WSW: Lemon BatterySo there have been weeks where our Wacky Science Wednesdays have been well planned and the boys have done a lot of different things. And then there are weeks where I run out of time. Which was this week. However, we still learned something! We watched a short clip on electricity, and then pulled out our back pocket science activity (from my nephews’ kitchen science kit) to create a lemon battery. And it worked! We couldn’t set the time, but we at least got it to turn on.

We also spent a good deal of time making block houses and towers:

WSW: Battery CreatingMaybe not a typical science project, but still a lot of fun!

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Shaving cream painting

Shaving cream paintingAfter pinning several different ideas to Pinterest (here and here), I decided to try out shaving cream painting with the boys. I was trial running it with my boys to see how messy it would be if we did it with my nephews here as well. The verdict? Super messy. CRAZY MESSY. But lots of fun.

My recommendation? Use Crayola’s ink sets that they have for their marker makers. A got one for Christmas and they are more washable (not completely, I would still wear old clothes) than food coloring, ink, or nail polish. I also would go for an unscented shaving cream. We had scented and the papers are fragrant…four days later.

I also can’t guarantee that a shaving cream fight won’t break out. Which is the reason that I have absolutely no pictures from the actual activity. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my camera or phone for that craziness.

However, here is a picture of J displaying one of his favorite prints:

Shaving Cream PaintingHappy color creating and mess making!

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Energy and Waves

WSW: Energy and WavesThis week’s Wacky Science Wednesday was all about energy and waves. Since the boys had recently been to the beach, waves were fresh on their mind. We watched an excellent Disney You Tube video on energy, and then we did some writing about it:

WSW: Energy and WavesThen we recreated my third grade science project, which was putting colored water in a bottle with a marble to see how waves move the marble back and forth (as pictured above). I also demonstrated with the boys how a hair dryer makes waves in water, just like the wind energy makes waves in the morning.

I think the boys’ favorite part though, was watching different videos and gifs like this:

Big WaveEnergy & Waves. A totally cool combination.

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