Friday, September 30, 2011

Puddle Stomping and a Rainbow

The girls and I played outside in the rain last weekend.  We had been playing outside when it started to drizzle, so we hurried up and went in the garage.  Then we saw the neighbor girls flying down the sidewalk on their scooters, so I thought, why not?  We got some umbrellas (which didn't last very long) and we tried out the wagon with the roof (which also didn't last long) and then we gave up and just enjoyed getting wet.  Puddle stomping was our favorite activity:

Then the sun came out, and we saw a beautiful rainbow right over our house!

And then we got cold, and went inside to take warm baths, put pajamas on, and have PJ Pancake dinner night (stay tuned for a delicious pancake recipe!)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Going on Vacation

Amelia decided that she and Daddy were going to go on vacation this morning, and apparently it is required that one dresses up while going on vacation.  So, here are Amelia, Ben and Megan on vacation in the family room:

Yes, Ben is wearing a purple fro wig and a vampire cloak.  Awesome look.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Apple Picking.... Again

We went apple picking again on Saturday so that Ben could come with us.  He wanted to buy unpasteurized no-preservatives apple cider to make hard cider, so we went to Deer Creek Orchard, which David had recommended to us.  In addition to apples, they have pick-your-own raspberries.  Ben and Amelia went to pick out a picnic table by the pond, and Megan and I went to pick a few raspberries to eat with lunch.  I held Megan and the little basket in one hand, and picked raspberries with the other.  After a few minutes picking, I thought maybe I had enough to eat with lunch, so I looked over at my basket and realized it was completely empty.  And then I looked at Megan:

Yes, Megan had been eating the raspberries out of my basket as fast as I could pick them.  So, I handed her off to Ben and picked a few more.  The raspberries were the highlight of our picnic lunch:

I did go back and pick a basketful to buy and take home, and the girls enjoyed eating them the next few days.  We will definitely have to go back to pick raspberries again next year.  We also picked three kinds of apples: Empire, Cortland and Greening.  Amelia had fun picking apples from the low branches.  Megan had a good time picking apples off the ground (we didn't take any of those home, because they charged $0.70/lb for dropped apples and I thought that was too expensive.)

But the highlight of the trip for the girls was feeding the sheep.  We pulled up long blades of grass, and the girls could feed the sheep through the fence. Both Amelia and Megan loved this!  Megan is such an animal lover, and even Amelia wasn't hesitant about this.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pizza Chicken in the Crockpot

Okay, I don't have a photo of this recipe because I think it is hard to make crockpot meals look good.  But, make this anyway, because it was SO easy and tasted SO good.

Pizza Chicken
(serves 3)

3 raw chicken breasts
1 jar pizza sauce (14 oz approx)
20 slices turkey pepperoni
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.

Layer in crockpot.  Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7 hours.  Serve with breadsticks to dip into the extra sauce.

See, how easy is that?  You could add your favorite pizza toppings, but I like mine best with plain pepperoni.  I think next time I will add the cheese towards the end of cooking instead of at the beginning because it disappears a little.  But it still tasted good.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sun Catcher

Amelia made a sun catcher two weeks ago,and it is finally dry enough to hang in the window.  I cut the bottom off a clear plastic brownie container, leaving a 1/4" rim.  Then I let Amelia fill it with regular Elmer's glue.  She had fun drawing pictures with the glue.  Here is her picture of a ghost with arms and legs:

Then I pulled out the beads, sequins, and glitter and let her go to town adding sparklies to the glue.

Then, let it dry for 14 days on top of the fridge, punch a whole, and hang it in the window.  It did dry mostly clear, and the color leached out of some of the big sequins, but it looks really cool.  Of course, since it took so long to dry, Amelia had pretty much forgotten about it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Shape Hop-Scotch

After we read "Mouse Shapes", I thought it would be fun to keep talking about shapes in different ways.  (Plus, my friend Jane is trying to put together little at-home preschool units for her 3-year-old daughter, and I told her I would put together a few shape-related activities for her to copy).  So, when Amelia wanted to play with chalk outside, I invented Shape Hopscotch.  I drew all kinds of shapes on our sidewalk in every color chalk we had - circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, parallelograms, trapezoids, diamonds, crescents, hexagons, octagons, half-circles, hearts and stars.  I drew the triangles in different orientations, and made different types of rectangles.  Next time, I will draw arrows pointing left and right so we can practice those, too.

The rules are easy.  Amelia starts at one end of the board, and I tell her what to hop to, like "blue square".  Sometimes I make her do tiny little hops, and sometimes great big hops.  She likes the great big hops best.  Sometimes I even try to trick her by making her jump behind herself, but she's a clever girl and always figures it out.  We played this with energy and enthusiasm quite a few times, until it got cold and rainy.  Boo.

I don't have a single photo of her looking at the camera, but here you can see how high she can jump:

Kim did an activity like this at the same time, but she made her shapes farther apart and added actions other than hopping.  So, she might say "Gallop to the red circle".  Great idea, Kim!  I am totally stealing that next time it is warm enough to play with chalk sometime next May.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sunset Walk

We took a walk after dinner last night and saw some beautiful clouds.  I think everyone on the block thought I was crazy because I kept stopping in the middle of the street and taking pictures of the sky, but I was amazed by how many different types of clouds we could see all at one time.  What do you think?  Isn't this pretty:

I was also sad that the sun was starting to set as we finished our walk.  I'll miss the long days of summer!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Apple Picking

The girls and I met up with a new mom's group to go apple picking yesterday while Ben was at work.  We went to Jerry's Orchard, and picked 4 different kinds of apples - Gala, Jonafree, Bonnie Best, and Golden Russet.  They had lots of different varieties that I had never heard of, and now I want to go back to pick one of each different kind and have a taste test to determine which is the best.  The girls were fascinated by the pumpkins, so I let each one pick out her own small pumpkin.  Amelia was insistent that Megan's should be a tiny baby pumpkin "because Megan is a tiny baby".  Maybe we'll go next week if the weather is nice.  And we'll definitely go back later in the season to pick out pumpkins for carving.

Amelia says her favorite kind of apple is the Jonafree. 

Now Megan, it's going to be very hard to take a bite out of an apple when you only have 3 teeth!  Although now Megan technically has 4 teeth, because the other big top one just poked through on Tuesday.

It was hard walking on the uneven ground with all the dropped apples, so Amelia decided to help Megan.  Aren't they sweet?

Jerry's Orchard also had animals - a rooster who roamed free (I think this was the first time my girls had heard a real rooster crow), four donkeys, three sheep, five goats, two dogs, one cat, and Sun Prairie's own seer of seers, prognosticator of prognosticators Jimmy the Groundhog.  (Bonus points for the movie reference, although it is very easy)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Schuster's Playtime Farm

While Jeff and Jane were here, we went to Schuster's Playtime Farm.  It was opening weekend for their fall season, but there were hardly any people there.  The weather was perfect, and everyone had a great time.

We got there right as the pig races were starting:

Wait a minute, you say, those don't look like pigs!  Amelia thought it was pretty funny that ducks were racing.  Both girls liked to watch the pigs running on the track; since it was the opening weekend, the pigs didn't really understand what they were supposed to do, and they kept stopping to eat the grass or to run backwards.  It was pretty cute.  Here are the girls watching the real pigs racing:

They had all these neat wooden play structures, including an ark with a slide, and a fort with a sandbox in the middle.  Here's Megan trying to crawl up the sloping floor of the fort.  She liked to explore, but then thought she could turn around and slide down.  Good thing Grandma was keeping a close eye on her!

Megan discovered a pumpkin cutout.  Here's my sweet punkin' pie!

Ben got to shoot a small pumpkin cannon:

Megan loved the corn bin.  She helped us bury her legs in corn kernels and then tried to find her toes.  Amelia wasn't as thrilled with the corn bin this time - but she did play long enough that we found corn kernels in her underpants when we got home.

Amelia's favorite thing was the jumping pillow.  She and Ben had it to themselves for at least 20 minutes, and they jumped and jumped and jumped.  Megan got to try it out for a few minutes at the end, and she thought it was fun, too.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mouse Shapes

We recently checked this book out from the library, and have read it several times already.  We were first introduced to these mice in "Mouse Paint", a short little story about three mice who paint with their feet and mix colors while trying to hide from a cat.  Amelia already knows her colors and understands basic color mixing, but she still sometimes requests this book because it has a cute story.  Anyway, I thought she would like this book, too, and I was right.

After reading this book to Amelia, it occurred to me that it would be fun and easy to make related art projects (I love to tie art projects in with books).  Amelia first wanted to make one of the scary mice from the book.  So, I cut a few shapes out of construction paper, and she glued them on a sheet of white paper.  She liked it so much that she wanted to make more scary mice the next day.  Here's her best mouse:

Isn't cross-eyed Fred a cutie? She had a few choices of colors and sizes, and these are what she chose (I do not know why Fred has one blue and one orange arm.  Who can fathom the mind of a 3 year old?)

Here are the scary mice in the book, so you can see what Fred was modeled after:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Megan's first day at home by herself while Amelia is in preschool

La la la, I'm going to go inside the house and play with some toys.  Here's my one little chair and my one little person that I get to play with in Amelia's room.

What's that?  She's not here, you say?  Does that mean I get to play with THE ENTIRE HOUSE?

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!  Look at all the fun I get to have by myself while Amelia is in school!  AH HA HA HA HA HA!!!

Ooooo - and look, here's some of her mail!  I'm going to read it and learn all her secrets.  (Boy, I can't wait until she has a diary for me to read...)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rain Walk

We had a nice gentle rain in the late afternoon one day last week, and I decided it was time Amelia and I went on a rain walk in our new neighborhood.  We looked for big puddles to splash in, but apparently the drainage in our subdivision is too good.  Bummer.  But we did find some small puddles for jumping in, splashing in, and running through:

When the rain stopped, we waded through the tall grass to pick some wildflowers.  Amelia particularly likes Queen Anne's Lace and clover, but we also picked some small black-eyed susan type flowers and some dandelions.  She likes to put her bouquet on the bookcase in her room.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tea Party

Amelia wanted to have a tea party using her super fun color changing tea set, and this is the first time that Megan has been old enough to be included.  I think Megan needs to work on her tea party etiquette:

 No, we don't drink tea from our fingers.

It helps if you put the cup all the way up to your mouth.

 Good girl!

Amelia likes to fill the tea pot with ice and water all by herself, and she has a tendency to fill it to the very tippy top.  Then she likes to pour it all by herself into the tea cups.

We ended up with two happy girls and a tea tray, tablecloth, table and floor covered in water.  :)