Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Button Tree Art

This idea has been floating around Facebook and Pinterest for a while now, and over spring break, the girls finally had the opportunity to try it! I ordered stretched canvas and random assortments of buttons on Amazon, and used Aleene's Tacky Glue to make the buttons stick...for life. This stuff is strong! Tempera craft paint from Michael's stuck to the canvas just fine.

By Mercedes, age 7

The girls spent a full afternoon painting their canvas, another day sorting through buttons and 2-3 days gluing the buttons for each of these projects. I love how unique each one is. There are unlimited possibilities for button tree art. I have 2 of them hanging up in our living room and the girls gave the other 2 to their Gramma for a birthday present. She hung them in her bedroom. They are a simple but beautiful way to decorate a room, and make great gifts! Whether they are done by a kindergartner or an adult artist, the results will be stunning! 

By: Emerald, age 5

By Mercedes, age 7

By: Emerald, age 5

Pottery For Kids

Mercedes has been very interested in ceramics the past couple years. Last year she used some birthday money to buy herself a pottery wheel for kids called Pottery Cool Studio. It's made of plastic and has a battery powered switch to make it spin. It comes with air dry clay that's very easy to mold and sculpt. It also comes with paint that looks shiny when it dries. The finished product looks just like something you could make at a real pottery studio. It's been the perfect way for Mercedes to practice and experiment with beginner level pottery. She is planning on taking a ceramics class when she's a little older!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Life Update (Spring 2018)

I have definitely taken a break from blogging since Dominick was born. Adjusting to life with a 3rd child has been more challenging than I could have imagined. Life is good, and to be able to enjoy it as fully as possible I have had to cut out some extra, time consuming things. Blogging is one of them. As school winds down for the summer and Dominick becomes increasingly independent, I will be able to catch up on some posts I've been wanting to write! 

This year, Mercedes and Emerald (age 5 and 7) enrolled in Lawrence Virtual School as K and 2nd graders. There are so many positives and negatives about LVS. We really enjoyed the K12 curriculum and all of the online supplemental resources available. The girls loved the online games that helped them learn vocab, phonics, spelling and math and I was really impressed with all the books, stories and articles K12 provided for their Literature program. It was really nice to have all the lessons already planned out, and it was really easy to keep track of our progress online throughout the year. I was impressed with the challenging curriculum and the girls really learned a lot! K12 through LVS is considered public school, so we received a TON of books and materials for free (other than a small school fee). As for the negatives, the worst for me was all the glitches on the K12 website that made it impossible to do the online work more often than was acceptable. Successfully homeschooling 2 young girls with a toddler is challenging enough without also having to rely on a faulty website a lot of the time that would cause the girls to not be able to complete their work that day. It was very frustrating. The other down side, and this is just my personal preference, but the work load was excruciating at times, to the point where we would often be doing school from breakfast to dinner time. This was mostly the first half of the year while we were getting the hang of everything, but even now with only a few weeks left of school, I am still frustrated with the lack of time I have had to do crafts and projects and read books with the kids just for fun. Mercedes has been missing out on her artwork, reading graphic novels and writing stories, and she is often craving "free time" so much by the end of the school day she is too burnt out to want to help me cook dinner, something she normally loves. All of these things I would normally incorporate into our homeschool day as  I feel they are essential for the growth and development of my children, but LVS has left me no time for these extra activities other than holiday breaks. 

In conclusion, I'm glad we tried LVS for a year and I think it was a good experience for the girls, but we won't be re enrolling next year. I'm looking forward to starting a new school year next fall that includes a Christian curriculum as well as all the fun activities that we love to do and have been craving so much.

Other highlights of the school year:

The girls are finishing up year 3 on their dance team that includes marching/riding in a parade, a Christmas themed sleepover at the dance studio, winter competition and spring show. Every year they grow in grace, skill and confidence. I LOVE watching them dance their little hearts out and they are enjoying every minute of it! They each have class twice a week.

We are involved in the church we have now been attending for a little over a year.

Emerald got her tonsils removed last fall.

We spent 3 days at the Great Wolf Lodge in February, our fun mini vacation for the year.

My husband bought me a bike and Dominick a pull behind wagon so we have been going on LOTS of bike rides to parks and along the river!

Mercedes has been losing baby teeth like crazy, while Dominick is working on cutting all of his.

Ben switched jobs 6 months ago, and while he is unfortunately still commuting, he gets weekends off and a lot more time off for holidays. It has been amazing having him home more!

We are all looking forward to the summer, a little bit of a breather from an intense school year, and lots of new activities, crafts and projects to blog about!