Thursday, July 22, 2010

Reading logs, science project and art project

Hi again!  Are you dazzled by the rapidness in which these posts are coming these days?  I'd like to say I can keep this up, but don't know that I can!

We are getting ready to go back to school!  Yep, school starts on July 26th, and this year, I have four kids going!  The twins start kindergarten this year, and they are looking forward to it.  I have to keep after Brianna and Brittany to not ruin it for them...they keep trying to tell them that school's not that fun.  Sigh.

Towards that end, we've been doing some prep this summer.  We practice writing our names the "kindergarten" way, which means a capital letter first, then lower cases letters.  I have wall charts showing letters and numbers.  I have a list on the refrigerator of words that they can read themselves.  And yes, I'm getting Katie in on it too. 

We've also visited the library a lot in the last 5 or 6 weeks.  The county library system sponsors summer reading programs for all ages, which I think I mentioned previously.  For adults, they read a book, write a review, and are entered into a drawing.  Babies Madison's age have 16 word play activities: picture books, nursery rhymes, clapping games, etc. in their program, and then receive a board book.  For kids ages 2 through 5th grade, they have a game board with 45 boats on them.  For every 20 minutes of reading/being read to, they mark off one boat.  After 23 boats, they get a halfway prize, after 45 boats, they get a big prize.

Last week, we went to the library.  Madison was finished her game, and received the board book "Hip Hippos".  Katie picked it out for her.  The other girls received their half way prizes:  a sticker, a ticket to the local space and science center, and a ticket for a free soft pretzel from Auntie Anne's.  I decided that to make it a little more special, I would take each girl separately for her pretzel, and that's what we did. 

For the first time EVER, I had one-on-one time with the 3 of them.  First Abby and I went.  She got her pretzel and I got pretzel sticks.  We shared a cheese dip and a cherry lemonade.  Next was Emma.  All was the same, except we shared a strawberry lemonade.  Finally was Katie, and we shared a blue raspberry lemonade.  It was wonderful.  (Well, not so much the lemonade...the fruit flavors made it too sweet!).  We tend to see these girls as a group, and it was really fun to get to see them as individuals, even for just a short time!  I hope to do more of that as we go on.

As of my writing this, we have 2 boats left!  And we still have some library books we haven't read yet.  Too date, we've read 71 different books, and some we've ready multiple times.  I've written them all down, as well as their authors and illustrators.  I'm not sure why, but it seems like a good idea, some how.

A few weeks ago, Don brought me home 2 bouquets of flowers.  As I always do when he brings home flowers, I cut the ends off and put them in vases.  As they always do, the girls asked me why I cut them.  So, I decided a science experiment was in order.  I bought white carnations, and divided them up into 5 bunches, one for Katie, one for Emma, one for Abby, one for Brittany, and one for me.  I let each girl choose a color, and we added food coloring to the water in some jelly jars.  I cut them stems, and we put them in.
Emma chose pink, Abby chose purple, Katie chose blue, Brittany chose red, and I left mine white, for comparison's sake.

By the end of the first night, Katie's flowers were turning blue:

It's slight, but you can definitely see it.  No one else's had done anything yet. 

Can you see the blue at the edges of the petals?

The experiment is over now, and although everyone else's flowers had the faintest tinges of color, Katie's blue was the most dramatic.  I wonder why?

And lastly, we did an art project.  Going to the beach right now is next to impossible.  The beach would not be fun for Maddie at this stage, and it is a 2 hour drive, one way, to a fairly decent beach.  So I decided we would make "permanent" sand castles, using a recipe I found in Family Fun magazine for sand clay.  Brittany mixed it up for us, and the ingredients are sand, cornstarch, powdered alum, and water.  Simple, right?  Brit says it smelled really bad!  We divided it into 3 chunks, and I gave the girls a bowl of mixed shells I bought at Michaels.

Here is Katie and her creation.

This one is Emma's.

And here is Abby's.

They aren't exactly castles, but they are really neat looking.  They did a much better job than I expected, and it kept them occupied for quite a while.  At the time that these pictures were taken, Abby and Emma were upstairs putting on their bathing suits.  Katie was ready, so she got to be in the pictures.  They were getting ready for a "Backyard Beach".  Basically, they play in their wading pool, run through the sprinklers, and play in the sandbox.  Works for them, works for me!

(There is a cartoon on the Disney Channel, called "Phineas and Ferb", which all of us kind of enjoy.  Phineas and Ferb are 2 boys on summer vacation, and they pull off all of these outlandish schemes and engineering wonders.  Their older sister, Candace, is always trying to bust them, only to have everything vanish before Mom can catch them.  In one episode, the boys build a beach in their back yard: beach, ocean, surfing, video arcade, the works.  Each episode has a really catchy song.  Check out "Backyard Beach"'s been in my head all week!)

Talk to you soon!

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