Monday, February 28, 2011

Turning 8 is Great!

Erica turned 8 years old two weeks ago on the 13th! She couldn't wait to turn another year older and have a birthday party. Erica got to invite 5 friends over to spend the night the Friday before her birthday.

The girls came to the house at around 5 o'clock and the giggling didn't stop until 10:00 the next morning. They enjoyed eating pizza, drinking pop, and eating all sorts of junk food. They played the Wii, played board games, and danced.
This Mom broke the party up the first time at midnight and said that it was time to lay down. Then I returned downstairs at 1:00 a.m. and said that it was really time to go to sleep. They quieted down and then all woke up around 6:30 a.m. and started playing again.

If you ask the girls, "Who the best dancer was at Wii Dance Party 2?". The answer would be ME. The girls laughed at me when I danced, but I scored the most points and isn't that what counts.

Justin didn't like some aspects of the party. This was his reaction when there wasn't anywhere for him to sit at the table and eat cake with the girls. He got to leave the party for awhile with Keith which was a good thing because he was causing too much trouble. We'll see how he does at the next party.

Take care,

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cheer Camp

Last Friday afternoon Ashlin went to Cheer Camp sponsored by the high school cheerleaders at school. We didn't have school last Friday so this was a way for Ashlin to have fun and not get bored or fight with her sisters for the afternoon.

The girls learned a cheer and learned a dance to be performed that evening at halftime of the boys varsity basket ball game. Each girl received a t-shirt, hair-tie with ribbons for their hair, and a pom-pom.
Since Ashlin is in Kindergarten, she got to stand in the front row. She did a great job on the dance and the cheer. She may be a future Knight cheerleader.

Take care,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Readers Theatre

Erica participates in Title I Reading at school. Erica does not read at current grade level, therefore, she gets extra help from Mrs. Ericksen at school. Erica goes upstairs to Mrs. Ericksen's room and practices her reading every day. Erica also gets extra help from Mrs. Peister, a para-professional, every day at school. Mrs. Guenther and Mrs. Johnson also have helped us find ways to improve Erica's reading. We cannot say enough good things about these ladies that help Erica every day at school. They have helped her gain confidence in her reading and they have also helped her start to enjoy reading.

All of the students that participate in the Title I Reading Program had a Readers Theatre a few weeks ago to show off their reading skills. Each student read a poem for the parents, teachers and siblings in attendance. Erica did a great job reading her poem!

Take care,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Is it time to mow?

I thought that this little boy's obsession with mowing might fade a little over the winter. But, last week when the weather turned warm and the snow started to melt, Justin was ready to go outside and mow with his bubble mower.

On Wednesday morning after we got home from the Y, Justin headed outside to mow. He loaded his mower with new bubbles and took off. At first he was disappointed because he had no one to mow with him. First he wanted to mow with Daddy, but Daddy was at work. Then he wanted to mow with Ryan, the neighbor next door, but Ryan was at work. Then he asked if Alice (Ryan's wife) was home and if she would mow with him. But, Alice was at work too.
He had to settle to just mow by himself. Today the weather has turned cold again and there is a chance of snow showers. Our 50 and 60 degree weather from last week has gone away. That little glimpse of spring was needed around here.
Take care,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Projects #5 & #6

Project #5 was to decorate a tin can for a craft project that involves recycling an item.

There was a variety of sizes of cans and colors to choose from. Cara chose a small blue painted can and she added the snowflake foam pieces to the can. We haven't decided if we are going to find a candle to fit inside or use the can for something else yet. A fun and easy project completed.
Cara's last project was a tote bag that you decorated with paint. First you had to cut the inside out of a paper doily. Then position the doily on your canvas tote bag with spray adhesive.

Next step, pick out a color to sponge paint the holes of the doily. Cara chose yellow paint for this step.

Then you picked what you wanted to paint in the center of your doily. Cara decided to use her finished tote bag to carry her piano books for lessons. Therefore, she chose to paint some musical notes in the center of her doily.

Cara's finished tote bag. After letting the paint dry for 24 hours, we ironed the paint design on the inside. Then after another 24 hours of setting, we washed the bag to get rid of the glue adhesive. Cara and I cannot wait for the next project day to complete more items. But, now I have to figure out the steps for her next project which is going to take some time. I am going to have to complete a sample first and then let Cara complete one of her own. Hopefully, this project will not take me that long to complete. I have the supplies purchased. I just need time to sit down and get started.

Take care,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Project #4 - Wordle

Another one of Cara's project was a computer program called Wordle. In this computer program you type in words. The more times that you type the word, the larger the word appears. Cara typed in words of activities that she participates in and words about her family. Then she picked out what font she wanted the words in and what color palette the words would be in. Cara had done this project before at school in her computer class. She enjoyed creating a Wordle for her room.

Take care,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Project #3 - Envelope Pillow

Project #3 is an envelope pillow. This was Cara's most challenging project because it involved sewing and she has only sewn one other time. I was confident that she could sew four straight seams and complete the project without too much help.

Step #1 - Pick out what packet of fabric you wanted to make your pillow out of and then pick out 3-5 pieces of applique to coordinate with your pillow. Cara chose a stripe fabric for her pillow and then 3 diamond shaped appliques. The best part about this project at this point was that the fabric and appliques were already cut out for the 4-Her.

Step #2 - Iron the large square of fabric so that it had no wrinkles. I should also say that Cara has never used an iron either. Personally, I don't iron very much either.
Step #3 - Decide where to position your appliques on your big square of fabric and iron then in place.

Step #4 - Pin your large square of fabric to two smaller rectangle pieces of fabric creating an envelope in the back of the pillow. Cara at this point sewed four seams - one for each side of the pillow. This was a very challenging step. She practiced making a sewing a seam first on a piece of sample fabric. Then on her first seam on her pillow the underside wasn't sewing properly because the machine tension was off. I ripped out the seam and we started over. Then after completing two seams, her bobbin ran out of thread. Cara was ready to give up at this point, but I told her that she was almost finished. Then she turned her pillow right side out to look like the pillow above.
Step #5 - You could either finish your applique seams with the sewing machine or with fabric paint. Cara opted for the fabric paint since she is not an experienced sewer. This is her finished pillow with the fabric paint drying.

Take care,

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Project #2

Another project that Cara chose to complete was to decorate a large wooden letter. She wanted to decorate the Letter "L", but they couldn't get any "L" letters. Therefore, Cara decorated Letter "C". This project is going to hang in her room.

First, Cara chose a piece of scrapbook paper and traced the letter onto the paper. Cut out the letter and use spray adhesive glue to attach the paper to the wood. Cara loved the polka dot paper because one wall in her room is polka dots. Then she chose a coordinating ribbon to glue around the outside of the letter. Ta Da!!! Project complete! I did realize later that we have to come up with a hanger for the letter, but not a problem. Tune in tomorrow for her most challenging project of the day!

Take care,


Monday, February 7, 2011

4-H Project Day

Anyone that has known for me for a long time knows that I was an active 4-H member. My brother and sister were also both active members. My Mom was a 4-H leader for years. I think 4-H turned me into a better person. Through 4-H I learned many valuable lessons in cooking, sewing, baking, crocheting, gardening, etc. The list goes on and on. My Mom admits that she never would have taken the time to show me how to do all of these things.

I could not wait for Cara to be old enough to join 4-H. But, when Cara was old enough to join, she chose to join Girl Scouts. This was fine with me because she was learning skills that would turn her into a better person. This year, however, Cara chose to not be in Girl Scouts any longer and joined 4-H instead. I was so excited because I know a lot about 4-H and I knew nothing about Girl Scouts.

When Cara and I went to the County Extension Office and signed her up for 4-H Project Day, I was more excited than Cara. Project Day was from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. You could sign up for as many or as few projects as you wanted. There was a fee for each project. Cara signed up for six projects for a total fee of $32. I left the office thinking about how at the end of one Saturday Cara was going to have six items ready for the fair and I had only spent $32. All of the supplies with directions and help was supplied by the County Extension Office.

Secretly, I have been counting the days until Project Day. Cara and I packed a lunch because I knew that we would be there all day working on her list of projects. I am going to share one project each day with you.

Cara picked this sand art project because we knew that it would be easy and look cool in her room. First, Cara had to pick a container and what color combinations of sand she wanted to use. Then decide what color of sand you want for the bottom layer. Hold the funnel inside the neck of the bottle with one hand and slowly add sand to the jar a little at a time. Pour enough colored sand in to cover the bottom of the jar and be visible on the sides. Continue layering the colored sand taking care not move the bottle around too much or too quickly. If you do, the colors will mix together. When the sand got higher, Cara used a tool to make the sand blend.

She had fun choosing the colors plus she completed a fun and easy project. She was very pleased at the finished project. Tune in tomorrow for another fun project.

Take care,


Saturday, February 5, 2011

A+ For America Catholic Schools

The theme for Catholic Schools Week this year nationwide was "A+ For America Catholic Schools. We feel very fortunate that our children are able to attend a parochial school in our small city. Our children attend a parochial school, not a private school. I am amazed at how many people think that only "rich kids" can attend a parochial school. No student is turned away from attending because they can't afford the tuition. Yes, it is a price to pay to send your child to a parochial school, but it is a sacrifice I would make any day of the week.

All of the students were given bookmarks this week for Catholic Schools Week and on one side of the bookmark was the following:
Top 10 Reasons why you should send your child to a CATHOLIC SCHOOL
1. Catholic tradition & academic excellence in a community grounded in faith.
2. Balanced curriculum that includes art, music & fitness.
3. Emphasis on moral development, service to others & leadership skills.
4. A 99% graduation rate.
5. Strong preparation for further education.
6. Safe & disciplined environment.
7. Exceptional faculty who help students reach their highest potential.
8. Individual attention in a caring community.
9. Commitment to technology use to enhance education.
10. Good stewardship of resources.

Take care,

Friday, February 4, 2011

Eating lunch with the BIG kids

One of the activities for Catholic Schools Week was eating lunch with a class that you normally do not eat lunch with. The Kindergarten, 2nd Grade and 8th Grade ate lunch together on Thursday at the grade school. The kids all had to mix up with a few students from each grade at every table. You couldn't sit by your friends like you regularly do. It was a great activity for the students to interact with other, meet someone new, and find out what was going on in their classroom.

Erica eating lunch with a fellow student in 8th grade.

Ashlin thought that these 8th Grade boys were funny.

The senior class and sophomore class came over to the grade school and ate lunch with the 5th grade class. Cara's 4th Grade class ate lunch at the high school with the another class. They are trying to find more ways to get the students from both buildings to interact more. Lunch was a fun time for all!!

Take care,

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Day Baking

The kids and I have a snow day today and no plans to go anywhere. The weather is just awful. Last time I checked the temperature was 0 degrees with a minus 22 windchill. The wind is gusting at about 40 miles per hour causing drifting. We didn't get as much snow as they forecasted, but the wind is freezing. In honor of our snow day, we baked cookies. Following is the recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

2 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup baking cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 pkg peanut butter baking chips

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Beat in vanilla and eggs. In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture. Stir in peanut butter baking chips and nuts, if desired. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly cracked.

Take care and stay warm,