I really haven’t been blogging as much about our school stuff lately. Then again, I haven’t been really blogging much at all. 😉 We’ve just been really busy with trying to get our condo super clean, and packing up stuff to store at relatives’ and friends’ houses. So, I’ll update a bit right now. 🙂

We’re almost finished with Little House on the Prairie. Once we’re finished, dh will read Beverly Cleary’s “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” and “Ralph S. Mouse” to the girls. I’m currently previewing “The Tale of Despereaux”, and if I find it decent enough, I may try to purchase our own copy to read to them this summer. They really seem to enjoy hearing about and seeing rodents, and we’ve also been picking up books at the library about how to take care of their little ratty friends.

With the snow storms that hit our area in the past few weeks (including my birthday, on which it has NEVER snowed that I can remember!), we have also been studying winter. Munchkin and I cut out vellum snowflakes from a scrap pack I picked up at Big Lots this past fall, and we hung them up in the living room windows. During the first snowstorm this month, I took the girls outside in boots, coats, thermal undergarments, hats, scarves, and mittens, and we played. We went next door and asked if our neighbors’ dog, Bingo, could come and join us, and she did (as well as our neighbor). Munchkin learned how to make snow angels, and both girls got a big kick out of making a snow man, who didn’t end up very big; we were out for about 45 minutes, and the snow changed from a nice, wet packing snow to a dry crumbly sandy snow. Apparently, the temperature dropped a degree or three and all the fun stuff changed into stuff that we couldn’t really do much with, except lay down in it and make more snow angels.

With the snow storms came some monstrously huge icicles hanging down from our eaves. The ice was so bad, that the gutters were full of ice blocks that had risen about 3″ above the top of the gutters, and the icicles themselves ranged from 1-5″ in length. One night last week, we were getting the girls ready for bed and dh opened their window to inspect the icicles. Munchkin said she wanted to touch one, so dh grabbed a huge one, broke it off the gutter, and pulled it inside. We took pictures, and this thing was a little over 4″ tall, which is definitely taller than Munchkin! After we all inspected the icicle, and touched to see how cold it was, and took more pictures of the exploration, dh put it in the bathtub. Then, he grabbed a second icicle and we repeated the process. The next day, there was a change in the air. The temperatures hadn’t really changed a whole lot, but things felt different. The day after, the icicles simply melted away. Needless to say, the girls were sad. 😦

Both girls have also been fascinated by princesses (then again, I don’t know of many girls who had not been fascinated by them at one time or another! 😉 ). I remade a tutu skirt for Munchkin out of tulle (the rats had eaten her first one), and made both girls crowns out of elastic head bands, large pieces of felt, and ribbons. It is really fun to watch the girls dance and practice ballet/tap moves while wearing their skirts and crowns! Also, we went back to the library and picked up various princess books. Last week, I picked up books by Gail Carson Levine, who wrote “Ella Enchanted”, and also rewrote various fairy tales (btw, I think I’ve found a new favorite author!! Check her out–the only thing that is a tad negative is the occasional magic that is performed by a fairy or two; no one dies, or swears, or has “intimate relations” in these books). I have spent the past few days reading the books I chose, and may use the shorter ones as read-alouds to the girls while they’re working on their afternoon projects. I think we’ll end up doing a small study (I know, I know…Charlotte Mason would frown upon this, but this is going to be fun! The girls will end up learning a lot, and I ‘ll also be kicking in a lot about how God is our King, and Jesus is our Prince, and we need to behave as the sweet princesses God wants us to be!) on princesses: how to behave as such, bible verses that talk about how we are children of God, as well as a few “twaddle-ish” projects here and there, like building a cardboard castle, watching a few princess movies (Disney has a few, and Munchkin seems to be enamored with the movie “Ella Enchanted”, which I highly recommend–the only scary part in the whole thing is when the ogres come on the scene), reading a few princess books, and a few other things that we might come across. It would be great to go as a family up to the Piatt Castles in NW-ish Ohio as a follow-up or even to continue this path of study. As far as handwork is concerned, Munchkin will still continue in her embroidery (a very princess-ish skill, don’t you think?), learn to crochet (she almost has the chaining down), and we’re still continuing our cooking and baking experiences.

We are all looking forward to better and warmer weather! We want to begin going back to the Metroparks and attending science classes, going for nature walks, and sitting down and just enjoying the day. We (er, I) want to begin letterboxing this spring (check out letterboxing.org for more information), and perhaps plant one or two by the summer. One of the main premises behind letterboxing is that you take time and smell the roses, enjoy the views, and get out and explore new places of which you have never been. We hope to explore some new parks (and, hopefully, playgrounds 😉 ) and maybe make some new friends.

Last month, I took the girls to visit my folks. My mom had been given a couple Ellison-type machines, like a Cuttlebug, a Sizzix, and a mini Ellison, as well as probably a couple hundred dies to go with them. She very generously cut out a bunch of people shapes, clothing shapes, flowers, and a whole bunch of other things for us, and let me borrow the mini Ellison and some plates to go with it. The girls loved sitting at their table and gluing their people with different types of hair and clothing onto pieces of cardstock that I had on hand. Just a few days ago, I took out the mini Ellison and cut out a bunch of lower-case letters from teal, orange, and black scrapbook paper with a neat little project in mind, which I am now going to share with you.

LETTER MAGNETS

What you’ll need:

  • Letter stickers, or
  • a die-cutting machine with letter/number plates and paper to go into it
  • Clear glue (I used Aileene’s Clear Craft Glue, with a pointy tip)
  • Clear, flat glass, um, thinga-ma-bobbers that folks might put into fish tanks or clear vases in their floral arrangements (I got mine at the Dollar Tree–have I ever mentioned that I love that store?)–it doesn’t seem to matter if they are just clear or if they’re irridescent; both worked fine for me.
  • 3/4″ disc magnets (Make sure the magnetism is strong, but not too strong. The ones I picked up have a level of 6 on the scale, and that’s a tad too strong–they slam together so hard that they have a tendency to pinch little fingers that may be playing with them! So, perhaps a 3 or 4 should be adequate?
  • A metal tray, pie plate, cookie sheet, etc. to set finished magnets onto that can lay flat horizontally while the glue is drying. If you don’t have anything like this, make sure you have a lot of space, because the magnets will pull toward one another if they’re closer than 2″ away, pushing the glass bead things out of line.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Make your letters, if you aren’t using the stickers (the stickers would be less time-consuming, I think, but I didn’t have any 😦 ), and sort out what you want to use. I chose 2 of every letter except the usual suspects z, q, v, and j (think Scrabble). I also made 3 of “a” and “e”, but only 2 of “i”, “o”, and “u”.

2. Spread glue on your first magnet–enough to cover the top of the disc, and place a letter in the center. Press a glass bead on top, squeezing tightly for a brief moment to push out any air bubbles. Set aside to dry for a couple hours.

3. Repeat with the other letters/numbers.

4. After a couple hours, the glue should be firm and set, but not dry. Squeeze each magnet one more time to push out any excess glue and air bubbles. Let the magnets rest overnight. Next day, test each magnet to make sure the beads do not fall off.

5. Let your kids play with the magnets! 🙂

These magnets could also be used in other ways, too. Scripture references, names, words, etc. can be made using the above instructions, as well as pictures, artwork, etc. There is no end to the creativity with this project! Enjoy!

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