Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Reptiles or Bugs?

This is Big George:
Big George is an alligator that resides at the Edisto Island Serpentarium in Edisto, South Carolina.  He's over 11 feet long, but that didn't intimidate Sedona when she was barely 2 years old and the size of a snack for Big George:
She stood right at the fence and yelled, "BOO!" to him.

Not long after that, she was also amazed by this rather large anaconda:
Up close and personal with another alligator?  No problem.
Petting snakes?  Don't mind if I do (we're not holding her to make her do it, we're making sure she doesn't suddenly grab the snake)
Kimodo dragon?  Awesome!  New friend!
When we were headed to my grandparent's ranch, she excitedly asked if she'd get to pet snakes.  No, not so much.  There's a significant number of rather large diamond back rattlers like this one down there:
She was very excited to check out these two (shot and dead) snakes though.

She chose this book at the library not too long ago:
She thought it was awesome, Sierra would barely touch the book to put it in our bag. 

She's always trying to catch small anoles and she's still carrying around the leftover plastic lizards she gave out at her last birthday.  She's repeatedly asked me to show her pictures of different lizards online and wants me to buy her an iguana (no, not happening.  Maybe a bearded dragon when she's older).

She also loves bugs.  She's the one I had to remind not to pick up spiders after I saw a very large black widow because running up with her hands cupped and gleefully saying, "look at the spider I found!" is just the kind of thing she would do.

She's the one that would always pick cucumber beetles off my plants and feed them to the chickens.  She was constantly toting around "callapitters".  I've repeatedly had to tell her to take a cup of captured ladybugs outside and set them free.

She also likes things that are bug-like without strictly being bugs
She's highly interested in all types of animals, but seems to have an especial affinity for reptiles and arthropods.   She went through a phase of being so fascinated with rocks that I thought she'd end up being a geologist, but now I'm wondering if she'll somehow come up with a research project that merges the fields of herpetology and entomology.

So it really wasn't any surprise the other night to find she had left this in our bed:

I can only hope she continues to stick to the toy, plastic version and leaves the real deal outside.

Sugar and spice everything nice cold blooded, right?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Free Study Guide: Rats of NIMH

The latest homeschool freebie is here!  This is a set of worksheets I created to go along with Sierra's latest reading assignment, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.  I broke the book in nine sections, each three chapters long.  For each section, there are vocabulary words, questions about the plot, critical thinking questions and an enrichment activity.  Many thanks to my friend Stephanie for the idea of increasing vocabulary retention by turning vocab practice into a fun drawing activity.

These worksheets are free to download and print as needed.  They may not be re-posted anywhere on the internet and any links must direct to this page, not directly to the worksheet set.

Free Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Worksheets

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Good Riddance Winter

So I set that goal of blogging at least three times a week.  As you can see, that is going swimmingly. 

I would say life has been a whole lot of ups and downs lately, but we're trending on the down side, I think.  There's been a lot of "just get through the day", which means there's just not anything to blog about that I'm willing to make public.  It certainly doesn't help that while my children pretty much sailed through the time change this year, it has completely messed me up.  More often than not, I find myself still awake, staring at the ceiling at 3am.  As you can imagine, that makes the next morning absolutely lovely.

There are many small blessings in the day.  Sierra is growing up and helps out when needed without being asked.  She and I also signed up for a 5K, so we've been going jogging together and having some time alone together on a regular basis.  She's just started rehearsals for a production of School House Rocks at her theater, so she now knows the preamble to the constitution and all about conjunctions and interjections.  Sedona is the family clown who's turning into a little intellectual.  She is past the terrible 2, 3, 4's and generally fun to be around.  She finished her Kindergarten math curriculum and gleefully begged to start first grade math.  Yesterday, she noticed her reflection is right side up on one side of a spoon and upside down on the other and figured out on her own that it was because one side is convex and the other is concave (though she said poofed out and sucked in).  Secora still has a lot of sensory issues that can make days difficult, but she's so lovey with all us that she's constantly refilling the patience she just drained out of us.  She asks for kisses and if you don't make the smack sound when you kiss her, she sighs and says "work" and makes you kiss her again.  When you do smack, she smiles really big and says, "work!!!"  We were around a bunch of extended family last weekend she didn't go to anyone, but she didn't hide, which is big.  She willingly let my brother pick her up and carry her around for the first time. 

Spring is here and the sun is out, which is always a good thing.  Despite my intention to stop gardening for the time being, I'm thinking we'll end up putting in a spring garden after all.  We haven't started redoing anything in the new house yet.  There have been a ridiculous amount of car expenses in the last 6 months and we're thinking about a big vacation at the end of the year rather than doing anything major on the house. 

Also?  Kids, a golf cart, and open spaces? Big win.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Making Cute Patches For Jeans

Yesterday was a mending day around here.  The kids are finally staying one size long enough to tear the knees out of their jeans before they outgrow them.  I'm a big fan of hand me downs and making do, so it was time to start patching. 

Patching jeans is easy.  You can buy iron on denim patches at any store that sells basic sewing supplies and they take about 2 minutes to slap on.  Since my goal is for my daughter to continue wearing these jeans though, I figured my best course of action would be to make a cute patch.

First, I trimmed the frayed edges and found a cookie cutter that would cover the hole.  A plain circle or square might be easier if you haven't done much sewing.
I happened to have denim on hand, so I used that as the base of my patch.  Another (easier) option would be to use the denim iron on patches. 
Trace the cookie cutter with marker. I had to cut inside my line to end up with a patch that would fit between the seams of the jeans I was working on, so I also made a little mark to help remember how far inside the line to cut.
Double check to make sure the patch will fit.
Next, I let Sierra pick out a fabric she wanted on top of the patch.  She chose fairies.  Specifically the fairy with a blue dress and purple wings.  A heavier weight fabric would be more durable, but these jeans are already handed down from my niece and I mostly need them to last the spring, so I let her pick whatever she wanted.
Next, line up the fabric on top of the denim and pin the two together

Sew around the edge of the top fabric.  You want to use a zigzag stitch with the stitches set close together and wider that normal.  If your machine has a satin stitch, that will work well too. 
Next, the patch needs to go on the jeans.  If you used an iron on patch, just follow the directions on the package to iron it on.  If you used plain denim, this is the really tricky part. 

Pin the patch to the jeans and slide the jeans over the sewing machine.  They may fit better if you roll up the leg of the jeans.  Do the same zigzag or satin stitch around the edge of the denim. 
Sewing the edges along the sides, near the seam of the jeans, is difficult, to say the least.  You will need to twist and turn the jeans a lot without moving the patch (pins are your friend for this project).  You will also need to stop about half way through and turn the jeans around, putting them on the machine from the waist instead of the leg.
Here's what the finished project looks like from the inside.  The  edges will fray over time, so you can go ahead and trim them if you want, but I chose to leave them for now.  If you're using an iron on patch, the patch will hold the edges of the hole in place and prevent fraying.
And from the outside, a cute, kid-friendly patch!


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