Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy LEAP day!

We had a LEAP party yesterday, full of leaping activities. :) The boys each made a necklace with beads, carefully picking out each beauty and stringing it for mom to wear. They made handprint stamps and Dinoguy had his face painted like a dinosaur. While the temperature was in the 80's, the wind was blowing pretty hard. We're all sunburned and windburned from me not paying attention. We had a great time playing and enjoying our friends at the park, even surviving the short onslaught of some school field trip that overwhelmed the park for 20 minutes before returning in an orderly fashion to their buses. Is it bad that we all shuddered and groaned when the buses pulled up? ;P

If I get some fun pictures from friends, I'll add them later. :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Behind the Scenes at the Movies

We went on a tour of a movie theatre, getting to see all the behind the scenes stuff and learn lots of cool stuff. No photos - I've been forgetting with the camera. Highlight was when the guide ask the kids what their favorite movie they saw at a theatre was and Dinoguy answered: "We don't go to movies. We're from Utah." I managed to laugh about it with the other mothers, but I was embarrassed! I didn't even understand the comment, much less how to respond to it. Kids are awesome. And for the record, we DO go to movies, just not often - we usually watch them at home!

Cool Things I learned:

1. The sound to the film is on the same film as the pictures!
2. It takes 24 still images to make one second.
3. The film will melt if it doesn't move past the 2000 watt bulb quickly.
4. The theatre employees still have to splice together the trailers, ads, and movie reels. They keep track of which trailer goes with which movie on a white board. The entire film is over a mile long, all rolled up on a giant circular table.


Cool things from the kids at the theatre:

1. You can make bunny ears on the big screen while standing in the projection booth and have a lot of fun with that.
2. Video games with guns or steering wheels are just as fun when turned off as when turned on.
3. Tours at the movie theatres mean free popcorn and candy!
4. Brothers make great horses for playing cowboy.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Cloudy weather blahs bring updates

It is cold and cloudy today, at least compared to the warm sunny weather we've had for the past week. Add to that the fact that we've just completed a rather busy last week and I wanted to work outside in the yard but am a wimp about this 40 degree weather, and I've got the blahs. Perfect time to finally update the blog. :)

I spent yesterday morning cutting down "junk" trees and branches in the back yard that were annoying me. It is so much fun to cut & chop stuff! Dinoguy joined me in the destruction, while Sarge happily chewed up several of the larger sticks.

I've read and heard its not safe to let your dog play with sticks, but my dog will chew on live trees if he has to. I just hope that the larger trunks/limbs are less dangerous and won't cut his mouth.

Getting rid of the little spindly trees that had grown all around the perimeter of the yard already has it looking tons better. I hope it helps with the gardening too because we are ready to garden! We went to the nursery today and are getting ready to put stuff outside.

I've been reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and it just helps ignite that fire to work in a garden that much more. It is such a beautifully written book, full of lovely imagery and fun helpful tips and stories. It really makes eating local & growing a lot of our food seem that much more obtainable to me. Learning about asparagus at the beginning was fascinating, and the whole book is like that overall. I am eager to try making my own mozzarella cheese too.

My cooking blahs that accompanied the move seem to have past overall. I have been trying lots of new recipes again, but not finding much time to blog about them on my food blog. Oh well. It's still tasty food!

We've been reading many non fiction books about trains & dinosaurs & volcanoes lately. We exhausted the library supply of fiction picture books on these topics and have happily moved on to the non-fiction supply which is still mostly full of pictures luckily, as those are just as fascinating as the words they include.

Being gentle these past few weeks has mostly been about meeting our needs for sleep, nourishment, learning & social activities. I have been pondering gentle thoughts with regard to how I think about myself and choosing positive and happy thoughts as peaceful and gentle and warm and fuzzy.

Here's hoping my mighty knight dinoguy and king trainboy bring you some warm and fuzzy gentle thoughts. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Day of Love

For fun this week, we had a valentine's party at the park nearby with friends. There was plenty of sugar for consumption and lots of other fun things to do. We were there so long, we got minor sunburns on our necks! Oops. :)

Here are my boys at the cookie painting/decorating station. The kids had some fun frosting and putting on sprinkles on cookies. Trainboy made a big collection to take home while Dinoguy made 2 and ate them right then.



We also had card making with markers, crayons and lots of cute love themed foam stickers. A few of the kids made a lot of cards for friends at the park, relatives, stuffed animals at home while others made one or two and headed off to do more important things like play!








Here we have the kids playing in the creek/rocky area near a bridge. This is one of my boys favorite exploration areas, and a great reason to bring entire changes of clothes to the park. Thank goodness it was about 60 degrees outside!









There was a big sandpit sometimes referred to as a volleyball court, and one mom brought a big bin of sand toys to play in. I did not get a great picture of the kids playing in the sand though you can see it in the distance of this picture of Trainboy riding a bike! He has just recently learned to peddle so quickly on his tricycle, and transferred the ability to this bike quite easily.






We also fed the ducks a little, though I mostly chased them away from our snack & crafts tables. We had such a wonderful time at the park playing and doing crafts and snacking, we did not want to head home. It was inevitable that little boys need naps though and he was asleep within 2 minutes of leaving the park.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Grandpa!

Grandpa the Fun Actuary came to visit! We had a lovely long weekend with Grandpa the Fun Actuary. The boys showed off some of our new tricks to Grandpa the Fun Actuary, including a sampling of all of Dinoguy's favorite TV shows. This was fun because it allowed for lots of good cuddling time with Grandpa the Fun Actuary.





We also took him letterboxing with us, visiting a fun park.

Here comes Trainboy, racing toward the letterbox, counting stripes in the road as part of the clues.











Watch out for that speed bump!














What the world looks like when you are short? Dinoguy's camera skills are improving quickly, most of his photos are in focus now.











We also spent some time doing family history. We found a group of relatives who lived about an hour north of where we live now and a library that had indexed all of the local obituaries for 80 years. (I love local libraries!) Then it was off to a small local cemetery filled with more interesting names.




Can you spy Dinoguy in this photo? He's hiding. ;)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Volcano Magic

We've been talking about volcanoes lately, so we decided to make one. Here are the directions we used.















First we rolled out the volcano dough.















Then we painted the volcano.

First Eruption.

Second eruption.

Third set of eruptions. Dinosaurs watch the explosion.

Next set of eruptions where we start changing the color of the lava.

When Dinoguy decides to put dinosaurs on the volcano and see what happens.

The dinosaurs take a bath in the volcano lava.

We erupted this volcano for about an hour before having to get ready to go to a playgroup. It was a magical time for me to see the magic of the volcano eruption thru the eyes of my kids (and later, the kids we played with.) I learned so much from my kids in this and had a magical day.

Later, I got more chance for release and understanding of magic for kids in simple play with the colored play-dough. I haven't ever liked mixing colors, (maybe the lack of order?) but some gentle souls in these children showed me the beauty of it and shared their discoveries with me and sculptures and let me take pictures to try and capture some of that magic I found to remember later.





Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Stock Show


Did I mention I'm a city girl? Born & raised in the suburbs really. I have country aspirations sometimes, but not a clue about many things country. Fixitman was raised in a small town of 900. He grew up doing farm work for his after-school job. We have had many conversations when visiting his parents where he laughs at me for things I find odd. Like burning garbage & diapers, or letting dogs run loose. (Apparently there aren't leash laws in the country?) The fact that roads apparently exist wherever you drive a car, whether or not it is paved or even maintained and visible. That irrigation canals can be used for swimming and games...but I digress.

The boys and I went to the stock show in Ft Worth last week. We saw a bunch of animals and a bunch of people who are real cowboys and such. I felt like a city slicker more so than I have in a long time. Funny movie. :) The kids got to pet a pig, a horse, and other "real" farm animals, I got to see a cowboy riding a horse while text messaging on his phone. I also got to eat a funnel cake. Mmmmm.....funnel cake. We probably spent just as much time playing on the John Deere tractors and new Chevy trucks as we did watching the pole bending races and walking past all the baby animals. My boys love machines I guess. :)

During a warm up period at the pole bending races, one of the riders came over and let the kids pet her horse and listen politely to them tell her all they knew about horses. It was a good time with friends and an entertaining day.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The labyrinth


Letterboxing, our newer hobby of printing off clues and going off into the unknown to search for hidden boxes with a stamp inside is taking us to interesting places. One of those places is this labyrinth. For a boy who loves mazes, couldn't be a better place in the world right now. Dinoguy loves mazes. He loves to try to do them, maybe part of that is the awesome books by Roxie Munro.

We keep one of her maze books checked out from the library most of the time. This is since last January really when in the co-op preschool we used to do, I decided randomly to do the topic "mazes" for the letter M and checked them out. The kids were fascinated, especially my kid. And with a few short breaks, we've kept renewing them from the library. We really should buy copies.

So we ran around this labyrinth for a while before going to find the cool stamp hidden nearby. Trainboy loves to search for hidden treasure and use his train stamp, Dinoguy loves to open the box and pull out the stamp and make an image in his notebook. What an awesome exploring hobby. :)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Nash Farm


On a warm, but extremely windy day, we went to Nash Farm to pick cotton this past week. Though it was almost 70 outside, the 30 MPH winds made it feel pretty chilly and threatened to carry us away. Hence the coats in the photos. Bet you didn't think we ever used them huh?

But what an awesome educational experience! I don't think I've ever seen cotton up close, and they had a patch they grew specifically for people to come learn about this former cash crop of TX.

We learned all sorts of interesting things about cotton from talking to the friendly guides and picked cotton as much as we wanted, and took home as much as we wanted (it still has the seeds in it and such, so isn't great for much besides lumpy pillows and decorations) but it is SO cool!

The boys loved the cotton but then there were also old tractors and other farm equipment nearby to play on and that was just as cool. Then they found the sheep and started feeding their fingers (ahem, I mean grass pieces) to the sheep, who was luckily very used to kids and friendly.

We had a lovely day with friends, learning all about cotton! It was a great day, and has led to many interesting discussions about how cotton and other materials are used to make clothes and other things.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Moon sand

Or Move Sand, as Dinoguy calls it, is an interesting toy where you get perfectly moldable sand that never dries out and a cute little floaty to "contain" it. Yeah. Right. There was sand everywhere, especially when we tried to "share" it when playing. Really this is a 1 person toy, but it was fascinating to play with and a great present Trainboy got for his b-day a while back and then I hid since we were about to move, and I didn't want to deal with it.

It does present a storage problem to some extent, the floaty container is currently just sitting on a high closet shelf, b/c the containers it came in were not reusable and I had no idea what to do with it.

This was our first activity in a lovely long Sunday afternoon of game playing. Last Sunday of course, b/c I procrastinated scanning in the Chuck E Cheese pictures for a week and a half so I have a back log of things I want to blog about and not enough time to do it all at once, so the back long continues.

Note the difference in the background between the two photos. The first one is framed so you can't see the messy cart or the disarray on the shelves, but sadly, I like the second photo better for the kids faces, even though it shows that my kitchen is not clean. Oh well. Life happens right? :)

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun we have had with the moon sand - building a castle and then destroying it and then repeating. The boys really enjoyed it, at least, they did once we started taking turns, alternating between that and making patterns with the connect 4 board. (Which we have yet to actually play according to the actual "rules". There are just too many other fun ways to play with it!)

Lastly, another picture of Sarge, who wasn't sure what I was doing with the camera and tried to shake paws with me when I took his picture too, when he barked at me for taking the kids picture. It's a pretty good picture though he looks worried in it, I guess the flash freaked him out?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Goodbyes

Saying goodbye to a wonderful man, a prophet of God. I will miss you. You were an amazing example and wonderful leader.

Thank you for your wonderful messages of hope and faith. Thank you for your wonderful life which was lived with such integrity and virtue. You were a wonderful example and inspiration to me. One of my favorite quotes of yours was "Things will work out." I have found hope and faith in repeating that to myself in difficult times. Thank you.

In memory of Gordon Bitner Hinckley, June 23, 1910 - January 27, 2008

Friday, February 01, 2008

Chuck E Cheese

Drawings
We met some friends at Chuck E Cheese on a cold day here and had a blast! I hadn't been to a Chuck E Cheese since I was a little girl, and wasn't sure what to expect, but we had such a great time!














The boys had so much fun exploring and trying out various arcade games, Fixitman joined us for a bit at his lunch break and had a ball too. The thing I liked best was that it was just 1 token for every game, and I had great coupons for cheap tokens!

We stayed almost all day playing and having fun with friends. I forgot my camera, but luckily my kids liked the ride that gave a souvenir photo and so we have a bunch of those as well as the novelty drawing photo machine that we tried out. Trainboy rode the photo car ride at least 11 times, though he played on it more than he took photos . He wasn't really aware of the photo being taken most of the times.







Dinoguy liked the photos he saw of other kids and tried it out a few times. What's better than a car ride photo with a mouse named Chuck? Good times.


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