Saturday, October 22, 2011

World geography

I love maps, so when I saw this panel at the fabric store it was an easy decision for me. I had no idea what I would do with it when I bought it, but then it occurred to me that I could make a very easy lap quilt/play quilt for the kids. What better way to teach the kids some geography than to cuddle under a world map?  

I machine quilted along the latitude and longitude lines, added a small border and made some matching bias, and it was done! Faye was thrilled when it was done and sat and named off countries for quite some time. Alex only wanted to know what the red parts were(red being his favorite color), and Drew just looked over at it, "eh", and went back to what he was doing. Maybe another day he'll actually look at the map.

Monday, October 17, 2011

1st swim lesson

Alex had his very first swim lesson this afternoon.  He was not excited about going, even though he loves swimming.  He has absolutely no fear of the water, which is why I wanted to get him into class as soon as possible after he turned 3.  When I take him swimming, he'll just jump right in and expect me to be there to pull him back out from underneath the water.  Its a little scary - for me anyways. He usually seems to enjoy himself.

The classes at the Y are usually ridiculously small, maybe two or three kids per class.  There is a reason for it, the pool is old and quite disgusting. Next spring they will open the new YMCA in southwest Champaign, and while I look forward to it, I think there will be a huge jump in numbers.

There will only be one other little girl in Alex's class, but she wasn't there this afternoon.  So, yep, it was just Alex.  He was very nervous and didn't want to get in the water. But eventually he did get in, swam around a little on his own, avoiding his swim teacher Emily as much as he could.  She was very patient and followed him around while talking to him.  He kept giving her strange looks, but never did talk to her.

She told me she's been teaching for 11 years(she is a really great teacher so I'm glad we got her) and has never yet met a kid like Alex.  No kidding.  This child is the most stubborn child you can imagine.  Wonder where he gets that from?

Staring down his teacher

Jumping in

Jumping in the leaves is a favorite fall activity for my kids. Unfortunately we have only a very small tree in our front yard, and a walnut tree in the back.  But our neighbor has an elm tree that hangs into our yard, leaving us with just enough leaves that it doesn't take terribly long to rake, but enough to make a pile for jumping.

But what is even better than jumping in the leaves?

Getting buried in the leaves! 

See them?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Another sign

Faye made another sign for her room. This one she colored and taped on the outside of her door.  Life with two little brothers can be difficult at times(I sometimes wish I could tape a sign on my door too)! Too bad one of them can't read, but I think he's been told several times what it says.  I did notice there is a girl on her sign as well, so maybe I am also banned from her room? She is crazy about reading, comes home from school, goes up to her room, closes her door, and reads. She'll stay in her room all afternoon/evening reading if we let her.  She actually gets in trouble for reading sometimes - there is such a thing as too much reading!

I try to keep the boys busy with things to keep them out of trouble - and here is one thing we worked on last weekend.

Drew got this Mario puzzle from Grandma for his birthday.  He was driving me crazy asking me when we could put it together, so we finally dragged our card table upstairs and we started working on it.  I don't think he understood that it would take awhile to make it, being 550 pieces.  But with all the bright colors, it only took us two days to complete it.  He was really good at picking out the right pieces, and it kept him busy for several hours, so we may try another puzzle. Or if I know Drew, he'll want to put this one together again.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What I've been up to

Last weekend we had our very first frost.  I decided I had better get busy and get the plants I would like to keep for next year inside; my rosemary, hibiscus tree, and stevia.  The rosemary did great inside all last winter, so we brought that back inside.  It is about double the size it was last year, so I'm thinking that by next winter it might just be too big to bring inside.

I also brought in two basil plants, and we made pesto with the rest of the basil.  Basil really doesn't like to be cold, so I don't think it will last long in our house, but I figure it is worth a try. It was droopy for a couple days, but it appears to be perking up a bit.

This is the first year I've grown stevia, and it didn't do great, but it survived.  I wasn't sure if I should bring it inside or just chop it down and hope it comes back in the spring.  I decided to bring it inside and I am going to try to start a few more plants. I've read mixed reviews about the health benefits/concerns of stevia, but overall I'm really not concerned.  I don't plan to use it as a replacement for sugar, I just think it is really awesome to pull off a leaf and taste the extreme sweetness (Faye loves it too)!

I finished an ABC crewel sampler last week, and framed it on Sunday. It was designed by Alicia Paulson, and you can buy the pattern here. (I started reading her blog years ago, but just recently learned that she used to live on our street!  Its such a crazy world!) Faye asked me to hang it in the playroom so her and Alex can practice the alphabet. She is wonderful playing with Alex and teaching him!

I thought I was doing great stretching the fabric evenly, but as I'm sure you'll notice the 4th line down is really stretched to the right.  I didn't have the time or ambition to redo it, but it will have to be done at some point. Unless I just decide to leave it all wonky.  

After the frost last weekend, we are now having a warm-up, which we are loving!  Alex and I met Andy at the park for lunch yesterday. Alex didn't eat more than a bite of his food, but he really had a good time.

Andy showing Alex how to swing