Anna’s Solar System

Anna is very into the planets and space right now and loves to read books to learn about the planets.  I love when she comes up to me with some random fact like “Did you know that even though Mercury is closer than Venus to the sun, that Venus is the hottest planet?”  Who knew?  I sure didn’t.

Today we read the book “The Planets in Our Solar System” by Franklin M. Branley and learned all kinds of fun facts about the planets.  This book was written back in 1998 when Pluto was still considered a planet, so it talks about the “9 planets” several times throughout the book.  Every time I said “9 planets” Anna made sure to correct me…. “There are only 8 planets! Pluto is a dwarf planet!”

After we read the book, Anna wanted to paint the solar system (minus Pluto). This is what she came up with.  I thought she did a great job!

If you click on the picture to see it bigger you can see that she even added details to Earth and added the red spot on Jupiter, though that is pretty hard to see since she used a darker orange for the planet color.

Tych Panel

I love this new collage making plugin I just installed in Photoshop.  It’s called Tych Panel and you can download it here.  It makes creating collages super easy and fast.  I just did this one in just a few minutes.  So fun!

Fun at the Beach

We drove out to Ocean Shores, WA today and had a great time.  It was a gorgeous day (though still a bit chilly at times with the wind blowing) and Anna had a blast.  I’m still going through all of my pictures, but here are a couple of animated images I made from series of photos that I took.

This first one is of Anna doing a kickover (because gymnastics on the beach is FUN!).

Next up…Dan and Anna racing.  Anna won, of course!

…and another running one..

Finally, here’s one of Anna running after the birds and then striking a pose at the end.  Hah!

I’ll post more pictures later.  I took a ton and got some really good ones!

Sugar Cube Pyramid

We’ve been studying Egypt in geography for the past couple of weeks and one of the activities we did was to build a pyramid out of sugar cubes. This was a lot of fun, and pretty simple, but did take some time.

I took the above photo before I actually tried to glue the sugar cubes together.  Elmer’s glue does not work. We ended up using my hot glue gun.  I put the glue on the cubes and Anna put them in place. It would have been nice to have her do the whole thing herself but I’m not quite ready to let her loose with my hot glue gun yet…

We started off with a 9×9 base..because after calculating out how many cubes we’d need if we started with a 10×10, we were about 8 cubes short.  Oh well. Though after getting started and realizing how much time it was going to take, I was glad we didn’t start with a 10×10 square.

Here we are after finishing the base:

One nice thing about the hot glue gun is that it dries super fast, so there was no waiting around for the glue to dry before being able to pick it up.

Working on the second layer:

A little less than halfway done:

She had to pick it up and hold it after we completed each level to see how much heavier it was getting.  By the end it was fairly heavy to pick up.

Here’s the finished product:

I think it turned out pretty neat! She enjoyed marching little lego people up and down the pyramid after we were done.

I also used our building time to work on some pre-multiplication by having her tell me how we can figure out how many cubes were on each level. We had already talked about the bottom layer having 9 rows of 9 cubes, but I was a little surprised when she didn’t really have to think about it and told me that we’d have to add 9+9+9…nine times. After she added that up in her head while I kept track of the 9’s, she came up with 81.  I then told her that 9+9+9+9+9+9+9+9+9 is the same as saying 9×9.  So just a little early multiplication introduction for her.  She totaled the 9×9 and 8×8 layers, but I’m also going to have her total each of the other layers and then add them all together to see how many cubes total we had to use to build the pyramid.

So it wasn’t just an art or history lesson, but a math lesson as well!  I love being able to incorporate multiple subjects into one activity.

Postcard Update

I’d had a little more activity recently with our postcarding through Postcrossing.  Since my last post we’ve mailed out 14 postcards around the world. We’ve sent cards to Belarus (2), Taiwan (2), Canada, Finland (2), Poland (2), Netherlands, Malaysia (our 1st one there!), Turkey, China and Russia.

We’ve received 5 new postcards since the last post.  The first is this pretty postcard from China. The sender told us that we are the first ones she’s sent a postcard to through Postcrossing. She told us that this postcard shows a beautiful view from the city of Guilin in the southern part of China. She said that there are lots of mountains and rivers there.

This next one came from the Netherlands. This is the second cat postcard I’ve received from there recently.

Next up was this pretty postcard from Taiwan showing a field of flowers in the city of Puli.

Next we received this one from the Netherlands. I love this one! The writing on the front translates to “Without a computer homework would be a disaster.” …which is basically saying that kids are so used to having computers around these days.  It’s hard to imagine life without computers anymore.

This last postcard came from Russia.  The sender took this photo of a playground near her house, laminated it and sent it to us.

That’s it for this postcard update.  Stay tuned for another post soon!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I hope everyone had a nice, green St. Patrick’s Day. We’ve never really done much for the holiday other than to make sure we wore something green, but this year I read all over the place about people making Leprechaun traps. How long has this been going on? I’d never heard of this before. I thought it looked fun, so Anna and I looked around online and she found a design of a Leprechaun trap that she wanted to make.  I thought hers ended up looking really cute!

I had an oatmeal container that we used to wrap paper around, though a soup can or something similar would work just as well. I had her measure a piece of green paper and then cut it out and then helped her tape it around the container. She then traced around the top of the container to measure out a circle for the top and cut that out.  She crumpled up some shiny, gold paper (origami paper!) to look like gold, because Leprechauns love gold, and then also stuck some jewels on top as well to entice the Leprechaun to climb the ladder and fall in the trap. We then made the buckle and glued some shamrocks to the hat.  She also wanted to glue that sparkly piece of ribbon around the hat…and why not?

Next she cut out a circle for the base and we glued the container to the piece of paper. She put one piece of tape on the top circle so that when the Leprechaun climbs the ladder to get the gold and jewels the top would collapse and he’d fall into the container.  The ladder is made out of those Bendaroo things.

She sat the trap out on the floor the night before St. Patrick’s Day (because if we put it on the table the Leprechaun might be too little to reach it..) and hoped to catch that sneaky Leprechaun.

Unfortunately, the Leprechaun was too smart for our trap, though he did leave some goodies for Anna.  (Apparently, Leprechauns usually leave gold coins, but our Leprechaun must’ve missed the memo on that…)

Anna was really excited with her candy loot and those little blue “jewels” that he left for her.  She also found it hilarious that the Leprechaun had to stop to relieve himself in our toilets.  I didn’t take a picture, but the water in two of our toilets was bright green the next morning!

Earlier in the week, Anna, all on her own, made some St. Patrick’s Day jewelry including this awesome headband. We were at a craft store a few days ago and she wanted to buy some supplies to make a surprise, and this is what she came up with.  I thought it was awesome!  She also made a bracelet and a necklace that I didn’t get a picture of.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Postcard Update!

We just got back in town from a ski trip to Utah and had a wonderful time.  I’ll post some photos and videos from there soon, but in the meantime I thought I’d update with a few new postcards that we’ve received lately. I haven’t sent many lately, so therefore haven’t received many internationally either.  I’ve only got 4 international ones to share and then a few others that we’ve received from family.

Since my last post (which was far too long ago…) we’ve sent postcards to China, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, Belarus and Ukraine.

One user from Australia sent us two postcards, which was so nice! Both cards have Australian animals on them which Anna loved. The lady who sent them lives in Toowoomba, a city in Queensland.

This next card came from Taiwan. The person who sent it said that the tall building is a big landmark in Taipei and it was once the tallest building in the world. A quick Google search told me the building is called Taipei 101 and, like the name says, it has 101 floors. It is currently the 3rd tallest building in the world.

This next card came from the Netherlands. The front of the card translates to “Where is my mouse?” The lady who sent it lives in Nymegen, which she says is the oldest city in the country.

These next two came from my mom and my sister. The first is of St. Bartholomew’s Chuch in New York City.  The second is just a fun one that my sister sent with the names of a bunch of colors.

My mom sent this next one that shows pictures from Mt. Hood in Oregon. We skied there a few years ago. We love to drive down to OR every now and then. Mt. Hood is beautiful!

These last two are two that I picked up in Park City on our ski trip last week. I meant to buy more from the various places we visited but I forgot!  Oops!

(Click on that last one for a larger view of the trail map.)

That’s it for this post. Stay tuned for more!

Recent Postcards

Here are a few of our favorite recent postcards that we’ve received.  In the past couple of weeks we’ve received postcards from Germany (2), Japan, Poland (2), Singapore (our first from there!), Ukraine and 2 from my sister from the US Virgin Islands.

Here’s one from the Ukraine that I LOVE. I actually saw this very card that someone else had received on Postcrossing and marked it as a “favorite”. The person who sent it to us saw that I favorited it and was able to find the same one to send to me. So cool! I love this one.

This next one came from Japan. I love the simple map and statement on it.  Nippon is how the Japanese say “Japan.” The statement refers to the Japanese staying strong after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated areas of the country.

This next one we received today from Germany. Germany doesn’t have any wild zebras that I know of but I really thought this was a cute card.  Anna loved it since she really likes Zebras.

And then there’s this one from the US Virgin Islands. All I can say about this one is that this is really where I would like to be at this very moment.

The First Tooth!

Anna lost her very first tooth today!  She’s so excited.  Ironically enough, she had a dentist appointment today and she was very concerned that the dentist was going to pull it out and that it would hurt. It was barely hanging on by a thread.  She was in the dentist chair for about a minute, and the dental hygienist hadn’t even touched her yet and she said “Mommy! My tooth!” She had pushed on it with her tongue and it popped out in her hand. She was thrilled and the Drescher & Cohen DDS dentist office staff loved that she lost her first tooth there.


Hey Girl.

I seriously can’t stop laughing.  Someone in my homeschool group on Facebook posted a link to this “Homeschool Ryan Gosling” website.  Some of you (all of my 3 readers, that is) may have seen some of these very random Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” websites pop up lately.  I’ll admit that I really didn’t get it……BUT….then I saw the homeschooling one and Oh. My. Gosh.  Hilarious!  Especially the one posted today:

Oh and this one too:

So funny!  So readers, do you homeschool?  Do you find these as funny as I do?  Be sure to click through to the website and read the others.  They just started the site so there aren’t a whole lot yet. It won’t take you long to read through them all.