Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tie Dye-Final Project!

I'm the coolest mom ever...I'm so proud of myself and the kids did an awesome job. Total brag!!!!!!!!!!!!

101 Tie Dye Fun

Tie Dye Spiral T-shirt
Jacquard Dye Kit Golden Yellow, Magenta, Bright Blue
100% cotton T-shirt (pre-washed)
Soda Ash-comes in the kit
rubber bands
3 squirt bottles
Plastic tub
rubber gloves
paper towels
walmart bags or gallon size zip lock bags
1. Disolve the Soda Ash in hot water in the sink. Soak cloth items for at least 20 minutes.
2. After soaking shirt for 20 minutes...wring dry and lay flat on the table. What I did is called the finger twist. You grab the center of the shirt and twist clockwise to make a tight spirl shape and bind with rubber bands.
3. Now, the fun part... I decided to contain the mess by using a shallow rubbermaid tube lined with several layers of papertowels. I would recommend starting with the lightest color. This is the order we used was yellow, blue, and end with red. You will need to dye both sides of the fabric. The colors will blend together. The yellow and blue will turn into different shades of green. The effect is very cool.

4. Make sure to squeeze the dye down into the folds of the fabric.

5. You can use a different color for each wedge or you can use different colors for the front or back side of the tshirt.

6. Even the littlest kids can do this project with close supervision. Leah decided to help herself to the dye. If you look closely at her hands. She barely has the gloves on. I tried to help her but she wasn't happy about me butting in. She ended up doing a fairly good job.

7. After applying the dye...I just wrapped the shirts into walmart bags or you could use gallon size ziplock bags. One item per don't want them to touch each other or the colors will bleed on each other.
8. Wait 24 hours...rinse the bundles in the sink until the water runs clear.
9. Take off the rubber bands.
10. Make sure to wear gloves or your hands could become turn colors.
11. Throw into the washer machine on rinse cycle.
12. Throw into the dryer.
Once done in the dryer you will have an awesome tie dye shirt.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chinese New Year

The New Year is just about to's a good time to introduce the kids to the Chinese New Year which really isn't about to happen for a couple more weeks but it's a good time to explain to the little ones about how in western and eastern countries observe different new years.

We started off the day by Tie Dying which has nothing to do with the Chinese New Year which will be another post. We spent this whole afternoon reading about Chinese New Year, Chinese Culture, Picking up Fireworks, and Eating Yummy Chinese Fried Rice for dinner.
Book Time
Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn (This is one of my favorite books-the message at the end of the book is very powerful!)
Sam can hardly wait to go shopping with his mom. It's Chinese New Year's day and his grandparents have given him the traditional gift of lucky money–red envelopes called leisees (lay-sees). This year Sam is finally old enough to spend it any way he chooses. Best of all, he gets to spend his lucky money in his favorite place — Chinatown! But when Sam realizes that his grandparents' gift is not enough to get the things he wants, his excitement turns to disappointment. Even though his mother reminds him that he should appreciate the gift, Sam is not convinced — until a surprise encounter with a stranger. With vivid watercolor paintings, artists Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu celebrate the sights and sounds of festive Chinatown streets. In her picture book debut, author Karen Chinn tells the affecting story of a child who discovers that sometimes the best gifts come from the heart.
Notes: I read this book to the kids tonight in hopes of introduced them to the Chinese New Year and about the importance of giving. I'm happy to report that the kids got the message, learned about giving and appreciation, as well as were introduced to Asian culture.
Ms. Frizzle's Adventures-Imperial China
From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5–Ms. Frizzle is off to Imperial China in this spin-off series in which she travels through time to bygone cultures. During a Chinese New Year's celebration, the teacher; a Chinese-American student, Wanda; Wanda's older brother Henry; and the ever-reluctant Arnold travel back in time 1000 years and arrive in a farmers' village. While there, they learn to grow rice, eat with chopsticks, and make silk. Ms. Frizzle is as curious and irrepressible as ever as she and her students travel north by barge, cart, and foot to the Great Wall and finally to the capital city. The endnotes explain which aspects of the story are historically accurate and where the author and illustrator have taken small liberties. The cartoon illustrations, done in a mix of pen and ink, watercolor, and colored pencil and gouache, continue the frenetic, zany humor of the Magic School Bus series. Small panels on each page highlight facts about Imperial China, such as items first invented in China, how to bow, and the basics of writing. Like previous books featuring Ms. Frizzle, this one is destined to find an avid audience and may spark interest in Chinese culture.–Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR

Notes: My boys are huge Magic School Bus fans, we came across this new series last year. We were so excited when we located the book at the library. I love Ms. Frizzle's new adventures books are very similar to the magic school bus books instead of a bus changing its a watch that send her back into time travel. The book does a great job talking about Chinese New Year and her travels thru ancient China.

Cooking Time

Fried Rice
2 TBPS oil or butter
3 cups of cooked cold rice
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 c. frozen peas and carrots
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 eggs
1 cup of diced ham
1 tablespoon butter in skillet or wok
Scramble eggs in butter, breaking up the cooked eggs into small pieces.
Set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet or wok.
Saute onions and/or green peppers in butter for 3 minutes.
Combine eggs, onions, rice, and meat.
Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil until color of rice is uniform.
Stir in carrots and peas.

Eating Time

Everyone at the dinner table enjoyed the dinner. A kid friendly and super easy dinner to make that only required one dish to get dirty. The kids really wanted to eat dinner with chop sticks but we weren't able to find any at the store next year I will plan ahead a little bit better and pick some up at the Chinese restaurant in town.

Dessert Time

A fortune cookie is a crisp Asian American cookie usually made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and oil with a "fortune" wrapped inside. A "fortune" is a piece of paper with words of faux wisdom or a vague prophecy.

The evening ended with the kids opening up their fortune cookies. Landon pulled out his slip of paper and was confused by what it meant. The fortune stated he would succeed. He was so mad because he didn't know what that word meant...once I explained that the word succeed meant a good thing it meant he would accomplish what ever he set out to accomplish.

Leah really struggled to get her fortune cookie to open up. As you can see she had to really work at it. Her fortune said that she would make a name for her self but I wasn't surprised. Leah always makes a huge impression on people. I'm not sure it's aways in a good way.

I ended up learning just as much as the kids about the Chinese New Year...Look'n to do something different with the kids. Pick a culture, grab some books, and make some ethic food. Turns into a fun learning experience and the kids don't even realize you're trying to teach them something.

p.s. the boys decided at the last moment that they want to make their own great wall of china out of paper. If they decided to make it...I will post pictures later.

Also, when Logan gets older he wants to travel to China to see the great wall.

We will be setting off the fireworks on New Years Eve!

World's Largest Snowball

Gotta love another dusting of snow last night. It wasn't much but it was enough to get the boys excited about playing in the snow again.

As you all know the boys are obessed with Genisis World Records. Logan is constantly asking what he can do to break a world record. The boys decided it would be fun to go outside make their own biggest snow balls.

Here's Logan's attempt...also Landon made a square snow ball using my kitchen knife which he didn't ask for promission to use. No wonder my silverware keeps disappearing.

Well, you know Landon has to be the best of everyone. He made this really big snowball. I'm so proud of him. Look at his about being proud of himself. The little guy is so amazing. I'm not just saying that becuase I'm his mom. My guy is so AWESOME and so is Logan.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

He did it!

A whole new world just open up for Landon thru the wonders of reading books.
I did it!
I did it!
Come and look
At what I’ve done!
I read a book!
When someone wrote it
Long ago
For me to read,
How did he know
That this was the book
I’d take from the shelf
And lie on the floor
And read by myself?
I really read it!
Just like that!
Word by word,
From first to last!
I’m sleeping with
This book in bed,
This first FIRST book
I’ve ever read!
~ David L. Harrison ~
(from Somebody Catch My Homework)

My little independent reader.

Yes, Landon read his very first chapter book! Look at the smile on his face...doesn't it reek with confidence. The little guy is so proud of himself!

I decided it was time to challenge Landon to the next step towards becoming an independent reader. I told him he could earn points he could use towards playing on daddy's Wii. He decided right way to take on the challenge.

His very first chapter book called "Night of the Ninjas" from the Magic Tree House book series by Mary Pope Osborne. He read the whole thing in less than two days. He also read the whole book from front to back without any help. He told me that when he came across a word he didn't know he would just sound it out.

I'm so proud of my little guy. This is a huge step. Every day he is growing more and more independent. As soon as he was done reading this book he picked up the next book in the series called "Dinosaures Before Dark." I love that fact he loves books and he loves to read.

Frozen Noses

Last year around this time of the year. We made Faux Snow and made little snowmen. I decided it would be fun to make the project again but a little bit different this time.

I came across this book called Frozen Noses by Jan Carr at the library. Leah felled right in love with this book. I could barely get it out of her hands. We started off the activity by reading this fun book about a couple of kids playing outside in the snow.

We ended up getting snow for the first time ever on Christmas Eve...we still have some snow left outside. I decided it would be fun to bring some inside. I asked the kids all kids of questions on how snow is made, where it comes from, what it tastes like and the kids made little snowman out of the snow.

After playing around with the snow...we read "Frozen Noses" by Jan Carr. Super cute prefect for younger kids.

Half way thru the book we came across this page where the children discover a snowman with coal eyes and carrot for a nose. Once we finished the book we moved on to make our Faux Snow. The thing about this project it's good for all ages. It's about science, fine motor skills, and just plain fun.

You will need:

*1 bar of Ivory soap
*1 roll of toilet paper
*a cheese grater
*a baking dish or foil roasting pan
*a medium sized bowl or container

*large measuring cup with warm water
*craft bits like pipe cleaners, felt, glitter, etc. optional

The first step in the project is to take a bar of soap must be Ivory and grate the soap up.
The next step is to take a roll of toilet paper and tear it up into little pieces...another fine motor skill and any age over 3 can easily do this part. Now, you don't need to tear up a whole roll of t.p.

The next step is to add warm water to the t.p. and grated soap. Now, this is the fun part. The kids need to use their hands to mix it up. Keep adding paper and warm water until you get the right texture that you want.
Now, keep making and adding until you get the desired firmness. It's good time to ask the kids what will happen if you add to much or little water, paper, or soap. The kids loved this part. The mixture feels really warm to touch its make for a really fun activity.
Now, the boys were suppose to make snowman but the boys decided to make their own little Antarticas. It's amazing what little boys will think up. Landon did try to make a snowman but he added too much water to his faux snow and it wouldn't hold it's shape.

Here's the snowman. It kinda looks like an overstuffed bird.
The best part is dressing up the snowman...We used left over xmas candy for buttons, I cut up a carrot for a nose, googley eyes, and pom pom for a hat.

Monday, December 28, 2009

On A Cold Wintery Night

A decided to take a couple of snap shots of the family tonight. Well, the weather has finally taken a turn for the worst...Winter is finally here. I'm still hoping for it to warm up again but it might be awhile. So, this is what a typical evening looks like in our home in the evening.


At the library today...I came across Beverly Cleary book section. I remember that we had read the first two books in the Ralph series about two years ago. I'm not sure why we didn't finish the series but I decided it would be fun to read in the evening with the kids.

Ralph S. Mouse ends up going to School in this final book. Now, I'm not going to lie doing read aloud with all three kids is hard. Landon loves to be read to and will sit by myself listening to each and every word fully immersed in the book. know Logan. The Logan will wonder around but he is listening. He really likes to look at the pictures. Leah enjoys it but she likes to cause trouble. She always wants to sit on my lap and hog the book which usually leads to lots of fighting with her brothers over the book. It's not easy but I know for the fact the kids will benefit from regular read aloud session.

Independent Reading Time

Proof that reading aloud to your children will turn them into good readers and help them develop a passion for books. Yes, if you can see from this book. Landon can read a book all by himself. He decided to sit by the fire and read his chapter book. Yes, he just started to read his first ever chapter book tonight. He has read all eight chapters with zero help from me. Okay...reading and looking at books is another thing the kids like to do in the evening.

Free Play Time

Leah decided to pull out her new Melissa and Doug Cookie set. I love their all wood products. Leah and Logan are really good about pretend play. The kids decided to start up their own cookie shop.

Don't you just love the fish aprons...Okay, you can't see them very well but the kids had fun. The evenings are usually spent with these two running around chasing after each other and getting each other in trouble.
Wii Time
Finally, the night usually ends with Leroy playing with his new Wii. Landon is earning points during the day which he can turn in to play on the Wii. I'm not crazy about it but that's life.
Well, we will try to end the night with scripture reading and family prayers. I will be honest that doesn't always happen.
We don't have cable but the kids are great about entertaining themselves either with imaginary play or reading books.
Also, I remember growing up we would sit around a lot and watch lots of tv in the evening. I really don't want that for my kids. It takes a little bit of work on my part but the kids are really good about being responsible for themselves in the sense of not being bored. If they are bored its because they make the choice.
I'm going to put the kids to bed...get busy reading the Count of Monty Cristo. I'm already on chapter 5. I only have about 1,000 pages to go. I can't wait!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gett'n Ready

No sugar cookies for Santa this year. The kids left out Sour Cream Twist and Coconut cookies and a big glass of milk for Santa. We decided to watch the movie Elf tonight. Landon commented on how in the beginning of the movie the daddy elf was saying how the parents eat the cookies and drink the milk. I thought for sure Landon was going to put the two together but he didn't. He was like isn't that crazy to think that the parents eat the cookies...ha..ha... He still believe's in Santa. The little guy is alreay fast asleep...I can't wait to see the kids faces in the morning. I'm going to have to get busy tonight.

A Christmas Eve Tradition...

Part of the fun of celebrating Christmas is all the wonderful activities and traditions. Every Christmas Eve we make a batch of my great grandmother Locke's Sour Cream Twist. This is one treat I only make once a year. The kids are finally old enough to really help me in the kitchen. This is the original recipe! Now, over the years...I have decided to try different methods of making this recipe. The directions aren't exactly clear.
Sour Cream Twist

1/4 cup warm water
1 pkg yeast
3 cups flour
Stir in 3/4 cup sour cream (lukewarm)
3 T. sugar
1/8 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 large egg
2 T. soft butter

Turn dough onto lightly floured board, knead until smooth, roll into a oblong shape, spread with soft butter, sprinkle with mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. Fold dough in half (press edges together) and cut into 1 inch wide strips. Hold strips at both ends and twist in opposite directions and place on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until light brown, 12-15 minutes.While warm, frost with icing made from the remaining sour cream and powdered sugar (add powdered sugar to sour cream until right consistency)

First tip: I used to kill the yeast every single time I would make this recipe. Not anymore. If I like to get my water straight from the tap. I just turn on the water on the hot side and get it as hot as possible. I put 1/4 cup of water in the mixing bowl and add the yeast. I set the timer for five minutes to make sure the yeast proofs.

Second tip: Also, when mixing the dry ingredients into the wet. I found the dough to be really dry. I just add a couple of teaspoons of warm water to help mix of the dough better using my dough hook on my kitchen Aide Mixer.

Third tip: When it comes to cutting out the strips. I just use my pizza cutter....easy!

Nothing like a Sour Cream Twist screams Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I decided it would be nice to spend FHE as a family watching this video called Joy To The World...I don't remember ever watching this video before but the kids ended up really enjoying it. We talked about the real meaning of Christmas being about the birth of the Savior. We also talked about Christmas is also about the fun stuff like making Gingerbread houses. It's all about balance. If you haven't seen it before this is the first installment of the video. You can go to YouTube if you want to watch the whole movie.

Landon and Logan decorating the gingerbread house together.
Almost the finished product..The kids had a blast...Leah enjoyed eating the candy right off the gingerbread house and she hasn't stop. I finally had to put the house up...It was about to be eat'n right up.
Building memories with the kids...This is the three year building a gingerbread house together.