Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Family Dinner Conversations

We are in the stage of life where having family dinners together is really easy. No one works late. The kids aren't involved in anything after school. It's natural for us to just be together every night.

We're trying to use this time to practice having conversations. Of course, we have conversations all day, everyday. But when we're all sitting around the dinner table, the talking can easily swirl into crude talk (fart! poop! blah blah!), complaining (because kids are super tired), or "adult" talk (since Jake and I have a lot to tell each other about our individual days!).

So, to be intentional with these 20 potentially golden minutes, we've been using various conversation starter books to help guide us. After we pray and as we begin to chow down, one kid says, "Hey! What about the book?" which is code for, let's ask a question. Here are two that we have enjoyed:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Teachers Change Lives

I hadn’t always wanted to be a teacher.  When I was five I wanted to be a baker ballerina.  Because, you know, that’s an obvious career path. But by the time I was in high school, I was pretty sure I wanted to be a teacher.  In part this was an obvious choice for me because I have always had skills in this area, but one big factor in my decision was some of the awesome teachers I had along with way.  I really like the "tag line" of the Adopt-a-Classroom campaign - Teachers Change Lives - because they do.

How many adults do you know who could still remember the causes of the Revolutionary War?  You know, the ones you learned in high school American History class?  Well I can, and I’m pretty sure it’s because my history teacher was totally amazing.  In his spare time, he liked to participate in historical reenactments, and he also served as an extra in historical films. It was pretty cool to be watching a film about the Alamo and suddenly there is your teacher getting shot at (apparently he got paid extra to “die” in the water because there were snakes in there).  One day he dressed up in a civil war uniform and took us outside to show us how a soldier would have set up camp.  Then there was the class period we spent the whole 45 minutes picking seeds and sticks out of cotton, which he had had mailed to us from down south so that we could understand just a little bit better the life of an African American slave.  Oh and who could forget the class period where he spent the whole time talking about all the different ways that colonial Americans died?  (Apparently colonial life was pretty dangerous.) Mr. C made learning fun and exciting.  All his students knew that he really cared about them and he was willing to go far beyond the bare minimum to make sure that we really learned in his class.  In fact, the awesome teacher in the video below kind of reminds me of him.

Monday, April 21, 2014

{Review and Giveaway}: Character Mix-Up Magnetic Set

We have some serious travel plans this summer. We'll be spending more than a month away from home  (total), and I've been on the look out for stuff to do in the car AND toys to bring with us that are a lot of fun but take up a small amount of room in the trunk :).

Manhattan Toy Company has a really great line of products out called imagine i CAN, which includes pet rock kits, beginning knitting, sewing, eraser-making, and a ton more!

One of the items that particularly caught my eye was their newly released magnetic play sets. I'm not sure what it is about magnets, but we love them around here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Celebrating the Joy of the Resurrection!

We've spent the last two months writing about the many different parts of Passion Week, and how we can teach our children about these important events.  Today it's finally time to talk about the most exciting event of all.  The resurrection of Jesus!

Here's what we've covered so far:

“The Lord has done great things for us, and 
we are filled with joy!” 
Psalm 126:3

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Top 10 Late Night Snack Ideas

Most nights I stay up way too late. By 8p, my kids are all in bed, but my night is just beginning. Around 10p I start feeling pretty hungry-- dinner was 4 and a half hours ago! I don't want to eat a meal, but I do want to eat something that has substance. Here are a few ideas for your next late night snack craving.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

{Review and Giveaway} The Magic School Bus Engineering Lab

“Mommy can we do a science experiment?” is actually a more common question around my house than you may think.  My boys love learning new things and I want to nurture their excitement as much as possible.  The Magic School Bus Engineering Lab is a great tool to encourage them on their journey as young scientists.

First of all, can I say, the box is adorable.  My kids were chomping at the bit as soon as they saw the cute yellow bus with all the characters on it.  Most of the materials you need for the science experiments are packed inside the box, and they even use some of the included cardboard, so don’t throw anything away!  There’s also a journal for your young scientist to take notes in about his or her observations, and you’ll find a packet of cards that contain instructions for the experiments.

Excited much?

Monday, April 14, 2014

DIY Confetti Eggs

I used to adore these eggs when I was growing up, so I thought that it would be a fun (and free!) addition to our Easter baskets this year.

Bonus: They are super simple to put together.