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Archive for April, 2010

Imagine a water table, a sand box (well, a sand pool really), and half of the yard quite soggy because someone – ME – left the sprinkler on the garden running all night. To a little boy it means mud! Translated from little boy that means heaven!

Except when Momma had you in a long pair of shorts that were a little big too big…

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“Mommy! My pants fell down!”

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“Mommy, pull my pants up pwweeeeze!”

Whoops. Sorry about that little dude.

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or the wanna-be gardeners of the group, such as myself…

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We didn’t have Dance Party Fridays when I went to Bloomingdale High School but man, I wish we did!! Please indulge my moment of alumni pride and check out this awesome lip dub by my alma mater. Get your groove on!!

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The Gigantic Turnip is an awesome, fun book that is great to read straight through or to stop along the way and talk about the animals and count everyone on the farm.

For a craft, I thought it would be fun for the kids to make their own group of people and animals that will pull their own big turnip out of the ground.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

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Scissors
Glue or tape
2 pieces of green or brown construction paper
several strips of construction paper in a different color
This pdf: Gigantic Turnip Craft

I am all for scissor practice but this would be way too much cutting in one sitting for the little guy. So, I did all the cutting myself.

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First, secure three of the edges of the two pieces of construction paper with glue or tape, making a big pocket.

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Cole calls this ‘making raindrops’. Thank you preschool!

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Then you need to plant your veggies! Glue or tape the veggie squares along the bottom of your pocket.

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or if you are a 2 1/2 year old, you have the option of laying on the floor with your blankies and milk….

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Not really fair when Mommy tries to get you involved with a craft right after nap time.

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We went through the book and counted how many of each animal we needed in our line up.

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Then we attached the animals along the strip of construction paper.

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The last step is attaching your old man to the turnip. Make sure its on tight! Its going to have to withhold a lot of pressure!

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Now your kids can pull out their own gigantic turnip!!!

Happy gardening!

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Holy Hail, Batman!

As I’m sure you all have heard on the news, there have been some prettty bad storms over East Tennessee in the last two days. So, I got a double shot – a picture of the bridge my husband made that goes over our new dry creek bed and the crazy hail that was coming down this afternoon.

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I was very, very appreciative of my wonderful roof at that moment.

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I have a confession to make. I have not heard, seen, discussed anything related to Homer since high school and back then it didn’t interest me much. Honestly, I think it was all those long Greek names. Way too many syllables. The Adventures of Odysseus by Hugh Lupton and Daniel Morden and illustrated by Christina Balit has changed things for me though.

I should have started with this version when I was a kid. Okay, okay… so that might not have been possible since this book was published in 2006 when my first son was born.  This is not your grandfather’s Odyssey. Its not even your great-great-great-GREAT grandfather’s. Did you know that The Odyssey wasn’t written down until around 800 B.C.? It had been handed down through oral tradition for many generations before that. I can’t even count how many grandfathers that would be.

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This version of The Odyssey is separated into clear chapters that make it digestible for the young reader. The writing is fluid, beautiful, and still appropriate for the elementary student. The mosaic-style illustrations beautifully accompany the story while not being gruesome. Do you remember what they did to Cyclopes’ eye? Or when he sees his dead mother?? This guy has had a few rough years!  What’s really amazing is the lessons imparted by Odysseus’ journey are as applicable today as they ever have been.

Like this one:

Don’t make the goddesses mad. Everyone knows that when Momma is happy, everyone is happy.

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Here’s a lesson for the playground or the boardroom. It’s not nice to brag as Odysseus did to Cyclopes. Boasting can definitely backfire.

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A more poignant message is learned in the Shipwrecked chapter when Odysseus lands on Calypso’s Island. Don’t become complacent with life because you are tired or its not what you had always dreamed. I think we learn little bits and pieces of this message as we get older. Life isn’t what you dreamed? Okay. That’s fine. Make a new dream based on what you know now.

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When Odysseus finally makes it home to Ithaca, think of all the soldiers around the world that are finally home after the experiences of war and hardship. Coming home is wonderful and joyous but difficult as well.

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To me, the most important lesson is this – life is about the relationships. Its really that simple.

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Read with each other!

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We always have one project or another going on around the house. This is the spring of dirt and rock moving. We pulled up the grass in part of the back yard to make way for my new garden which created a massive pile of dirt. This dirt will be moved to the side of the house where we will be building a retaining wall. Then, we dug a massive trench along the backside of the house to create a dry creek bed and we moved all that dirt over to the side of the house as well. And now, we are moving rocks from the flower beds out front to put in the trench in the back.

Whew.

Are you tired yet? Ibuprofen works well. I highly recommend it.

Good thing that we had a little help.
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See? I told you it was little.

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We also had some slightly bigger help…
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Such fierce determination.
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This is hard work!
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Then they decided they had put in enough hours, okay, minutes, and headed off.
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Cole wanted to practice his golf swing. His daddy was bursting with pride. Especially when Cole stepped away from the ball so he could focus on his swing.

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I guess golf is hard work too.

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Little man prefers baseball, and since we didn’t get that out, he decided that he’d much rather gather the golf balls and lay them out in the shape of a triangle.

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Whatever works for ya, kiddo.
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Mommy loves you just as you are.
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