Preschool: Us


Hah! I finally remembered to put the button on. I decided to actually make a document to save all of the buttons I should use on a regular basis in it, so I can just go there and copy it. Hopefully that’ll help me get these things better.

I’m decided to slow down on trying to get them blending. I’m going to keep showing it to them, but not push it as much.

I’m also going to do it more like I did back when I was teaching, this worked really well with my class and was popular, so I’m going to do this rather than, giving the kids a word and saying sound it out.

Here’s what we’re doing. I give them a pile of 6 or so letters. Then I say a word, “cat,” and together we figure out what letters are in cat. Much more popular.


We continue our Nursery Rhyme book. After we’d put our project together i had them find all of the “d” they could find. And no, you can’t find R or W or whatever other random letter you want to find. Today, we’re just looking for D!

I might of had to say that a few times.


We also played this game….. I’ve saved milk bottle caps for months, with lots of not so subtle hints from my husband to “do something with them.” Well, I finally did. I wrote the 4 sight words to work on for this week, words that are about “us,” our letter being U….. We put them in a bag, and they took turns pulling out a word. If they could read it they kept it, if not they put it back in the bag. There was also a bottle cap that said milk, if you got that one, you had to put back all of your caps.

I think they might have done better with more practice on the words first, but they enjoyed it.


The big hit of the week:

Magnet Math- I already wrote a bunch about this here, but we’ve repeated this activity a bunch of times since then.


We also continued to count days of school and days of the month. I made a break through on our days of school book, when I made a template for it, and they had to put one sticker in each square that didn’t have an X in it. This works much better than them randomly sticking them on and saying “Mom, do I have enough yet.” Of course it loses the charm of the random placement…..

And, notice lightsabers make great pointers.

Social Studies


We finally got to continue with Me on the Map, and made a map of our upstairs. Next step to make a map of the downstairs on the opposite side of the poster.


I also finally got our US map put together. I found an old bulletin board that had been in the sewing room, and glued the map on it. We’ve spent a lot of time reveiwing where Texas is each morning. Okay, really a lot is like one or two minutes a day. But, they now know they’re from Texas, and can sometimes find Texas on the map. They know their cousins who visited last week are from Colorado.



We learned about bones, a lot about bones. They were more interested in that than anything else we might have done. So we played bone games and looked at chicken bones. To read a lot more about this go here.


And we found this guy in our front yard.


Okay, so I know praying mantis are cannibals and all, but still they look cool. And besides they eat “bad bugs,” so in my book that makes this a “good bug.” Which sadly is what my kids call pill bugs, good bugs……



I don’t usually include this, not because we don’t do it, but because I don’t usually have pictures, and it seems kind of silly to just keep repeating: we read Bible stories, this week we read more about Joseph. But, the thing I think is SUPER cool, my kids ask to do Bible study, and they get disappointed if we tell them no. So, we go through it at a random rate. One week, we don’t do all that much, and the next we do lots and lots.


This week we ate ice cream and talked about how Joseph was nice to his brothers even after they’d been mean to him.


MOST COMMON QUESTION IN OUR HOUSE: Princess, where are your clothes?

Her answer: “They were wet.” That’s all the explanation we get, just they’re wet. I’ll find them later and I can’t find where they were wet.

I just keep repeating to myself, “She will outgrow this, she will outgrow this.”



They had lots of fun watching me make their Halloween costumes, I still have to finish Princess’, I left hers for last because I got her first costume mostly done and she changed her mind. I’ll hopefully get a post up about this.

Princess got a new stepstool for her room. Here’s how the construction went once she woke up.

Me: Don’t touch the blanket, there’s wet paint.
She then proceeds to sit right next to the edge of the blanket, and loses her balance falling onto the blanket.

Me: No, you can’t touch the blanket.
She looks at me with pouty eyes, and then proceeds to roll around the floor around the blanket. Never quite touching the blanket…… That girl.


We played at the park, and Mommy learned lots of patience, and then more patience, and then yet more…….. Why did they insist on hanging on me, when there was an entire park to hang off of?


Camera phone picture, I am occasionally a nice Mommy and do carry her. Sometimes….

My downstairs as I cook dinner as seen from Superman’s eyes

How’s that for a ridiculously complicated title?


So far I’m getting he thinks Batman is super important, both the person and the toy.


I also think he finds random shots interesting.


He linkes to annoy his sister. That’s another important thing to do with a camera





This is Princess’ stepstool, I just finished putting it together before he got up.



Oops, randomly didn’t edit it to the right size, but I’ve given myself 1 hour to get all of my blog posts for this week done, so I need to keep going. HA! It’s not happening, but I’m going to do my best.
And this is with me deleting a bunch of pictures of tile…..



And then I took away the camera, and he cried mightily. This was all in a 5 minute picture taking spree. Seriously, there’s another 15 I deleted, and another 20 I didn’t even bother to upload.

It’s crazy.

Actually Yummy Chicken and Dumplings

I have a love hate relationship with Chicken and Dumplings. I remember going to a friend of my Mom’s house and having it there, asking what it was and LOVING it. Every time we go to Cracker Barrel I order it, completely forgetting that I don’t really like their version, nor do I like their Chicken Pot Pie. Why? The dumplings are horrible.

My Dad taught me a super easy way to make chicken and dumplings, where the dumplings are essentially Pilsbury biscuits torn up real small, so it was with trepidation that I set out to make


Someday I will learn how to change the font size. Not today, I’ll add that to my list of things to do after Halloween, which is coming WAY tooo fast.

1 small chicken cut up (I didn’t notice the small part and got the biggest I could find)
1.5 cups water (I added another cup, see big chicken above, and it wasn’t going to make anywhere near enough broth)
1t salt
1/2 celery stalk, diced (don’t like celery cooked, left it out)
1C flour (I didn’t see where this got added, so I never did)
1/4C chopped onion (I used 1/2 of a large onion, so more than 1/4 C)
oh and I added some poultry seasoning, it seemed like it needed some seasoning.

1C flour (I added another 1/4C, because it was way too sticky, even then it was borderline)
1t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/2 C skim milk

Chicken Directions:

1. Place chicken in stockpot, along with the water, salt celery, and onion. Simmer over low heat until chicken is fully cooked.

2. Increase heat to bring chicken mixture to boil.

2b. At this point I noticed you are never deboning the chicken, and I was kind of thinking having random huge chunks of chicken just sounds gross. So, I took the pieces out and shredded them. I did NOT end up returning all of the chicken back to the pot, it would have totally overwhelmed the broth.

3. Add dumplings and boil for 8 to 10 minutes (we did 10 minutes).


1. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Cut in the shortening.

2. Add milk to make a stiff dough and knead until it’s all mixed together.

3. (This is where I just ignored it, and dumped in small blobs) Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch think and cut into diamond and rectangle shapes that you drop into the soup.
Seriously? Diamond and rectangle shapes that are 1 inch think. That seems like ridiculously a lot of work.


Jeff and I loved it, we both got seconds. The dumplings were actually yummy. The kids complained it was too hot and added about 10 ice cubes to their dinky little bowls. Then they complained it was too cold. I don’t know what was up with that.

As far as the actual recipe goes…… Here’s my problems with it:

1. I think they should have added some spices.
2. Nowhere near enough broth, I love broth, and probably if left to me would have added still more.
3. Why the heck aren’t you removing the bones? I think that’s an oversight on the recipe’s part. Really, who wants to get their bowl of soup and get a whole chicken breast bones and all.

Oh, and as a side comment, I was very tempted to call the kids over for them to see the different guts that were included, but thought that might have been a bit much…..

Go check out other yummy recipes over at I Blame My Mother.

Nursery Rhyme: Diddle Diddle Dumpling

I’ve had this one stuck in my head for a while, so I figured to make it with the kids to help with it being stuck there.

That didn’t work, especially since for some reason I printed up a slightly different version from what’s stuck in my head. Why did I do this? I have no idea.

Supplies: printout, coloring supplies, glue, extra: fabric for a blanket (we didn’t do this because of time constraints)

Diddle Diddle Dumpling My Son John


1. Color your pictures. This takes immense concentration, do not ask me questions right now Mommy!


2. Cut it out. Notice the matching bandaids on my sons’ heads. We are now at 1.5 weeks from a major head injury. Three weeks from last ER visit.


3. Then decide that he needs another bed. I’m not quite sure why. All three of them decided there was something else needed.

4. If you want glue a blanket to the bottom of the bed, so you can make his bed. We didn’t do this.

Not a particularly inspiring post, but it was fun and easy and the kids enjoyed it. Next week we make pumpkin nursery rhymes. I actually have a couple of projects planned (including one I just thought of as I’m sitting here)

What happens when a 4 year old unloads the dishwasher


Superman quite proudly got a chair pushed it up to the counter. Then he got out my plastic glasses, and happily started putting them up there. I very carefully watched him for the coffe cups, but after a while started working on putting away other dishes.

Then a day or so later, I noticed. When he ran out of room, he didn’t know what else to do, so he piled them on top of the coffe cups.

Hey, at least he wanted to help.

Me on the Map, my house

This post has been a while in coming. Why? Because it took me this long to find a map of our house. I didn’t want to freehand it. Finally, I remembered we had one in the binder we got when we bought our house.

So far we’ve only done the top floor. Here’s what we did.


1. Send your kids all over with the camera to take pictures of the different rooms. Have them take turns, otherwise you will regret it. You get weird pictures like this.

2. Print off the pictures, I just used my printer, didn’t want to bother with going to the store to get them. Cut out the pictures and have a map of your house handy.


3. Hand each kid a picture or two. To keep peace I made sure each kid got a picture that was related to their room, and then another they weren’t as thrilled about. What picture did they argue about most? The bathroom. *

*On a totally unrelated note, for some reason one of my sons decided it would be funny to urinate on his sister. His reason: “I needed to go potty and she was sitting on the potty.” EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. Glue the pictures down, talk about where they are and such stuff. Have them practice finding rooms.

Now, here’s the game:

Use a button (I thought about being silly, and claiming this was my button craft for Mama Jenn, but really…..) and put it on your map (you can see it on the picture above).

Then have the kids run to that room.


This was the best game ever according to them. Much better than the game I’ll write about later this week. Boring reading game.

Oh well, we’re one step closer to getting through “Me on the Map.” We still have the downstairs to do, but that’ll be next week.

Science Sunday

I really have to sit down and figure out how to make a button. I’m thinking that might happen after Halloween. I still have to make Princess’ costume, and a couple of other projects.

So, this past week we were studying “All About Us.” I was all set to do a bunch of experiments about the five senses, when I discovered my kids had absolutely zero interest in this.


What did they want to learn about? Bones. More bones, what do bones do, why do we have bones, where are our bones, who else has bones….. And then more about this.

Luckily, some of the books I’d checked out from the library covered some of the stuff they were wanting to talk about. So, we read a few books, and then talked about our bones and how we’re put together. Now comes the two fun parts.

First experiment, this is what made me decide no more senses.

Materials: blindfold, something that makes noise, we used a couple of pencils.


1. Blindfold your child. This is what they really hated, I didn’t think about how hard it would be for them to be blindfolded.


2. Have another child make noise.

3. The blindfolded child then points to where the noise is coming from. Further variations are to have them cover one ear, and try to decide if it’s easier to find where the noise is coming from with one ear or two (if they’ve done it right, it’s easier with two, but kids aren’t that good at covering their ears)*

*except when they don’t want to hear something, then they’re very very good.

This next one is a game I found.


Skeletons in the Closet– This is set up for four players. There are several different levels, my kids just did the below easiest level of spinning the spinner and getting the pieces they needed to finish putting the skeleton together. (Sigh, my copy was much more expensive at the silly teacher supply store)

Truthfully, my kids are not ready for this game. They don’t have the dexterity to put the skeleton together on their own, and they don’t really have any clue how you’re supposed to play it. That being said, they LOVED it. After they finished putting the skeletons together and learning that you have to play carefully with them. They had a lot of fun playing with the different pieces and moving their skeletons.

The actual experiment……. Yeah, you’re probably going to be grossed out by this.

Those of you with a weak stomach stop reading now…..

Have I peaked your curiosity yet? I know as soon as I’m told to stop reading I keep reading.

We studied a whole chicken. I went to the store and got a whole chicken to cook for dinner, and thought this would make a great science experiment. Not a whole lot of pictures because I didn’t want to get the chicken gunk all over my camera.

Oh, and for those who are worried about any germs or contanimation, after each step we used hand sanitizer.


First we touched the skin, and talked about how our bodies are covered in skin, and how our skin protects us.


Then we removed the skin and touched the muscles, and talked about how we use our muscles to move. (When I post what we read this week, I’ll have some great books for this age range on this subject).

Finally, we felt the bones on the inside, and felt some of the bones on ourselves. If you’re ridiculously skinny like my kids are, you can feel your rib bones.

And anyone who thinks I’m starving my kids didn’t see how much Batman ate tonight….. He ate 3 helpings of steak, salad, and noodles. By the end he had eaten more than me.

I’m scared of my grocery bill when these kids become teenagers. I’m taking donations now…..

I can’t wait to see what else people have done. Some of my upcoming themes are going to be harder to find definite hands on ways to cover science. So, I’m hoping to get more ideas.

I think I’m addicted to Grosgrain

Two Cool Giveaways over on Grosgrain……

Owl and the Pussycat– did anyone else like the poem as a kid? If I don’t win I might have to follow the directions on how to make. My kids may not love them, but I love those masks.

How Much Fabric– I really want to do some more sewing, the problem I have blogging is taking up a lot of my sewing time. But, then so does cleaning the house.

Crazy Kid Fun in Ikea

Notice, how there’s lots of capitalization in the title, that’s so you notice it’s SUPER duper fun! Yeah, I know a little about writing.

I’m not even going to claim this is anything but my posting lots and lots of pictures, but some of them might get funny captions. Maybe, but this is how I make my Mom happy, and I get to be lazy and print this out someday and pretend it’s a scrapbook. Yeah……. THat’s my excuse.

How do you get 5 kids in 3 picture holes? You stuff 2 of them in the same window and have one crying behind everyone else saying I want to do it too.

I think this is the only picture of all 5 cousins where they’re all looking at the camera. Okay, so they’re making faces, but it’s progress. I had to take 6 pictures under the tree and still didn’t get everyone looking.

I love all of their little showrooms, my kids love them too as a way to play house in many different situations.

So, here’s what they were doing here. They’d hide in the shower and giggle like madmen. Then they’d run over to the toilet pick up the lid and say (I mean shout) “EWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s so gross!” This was hilarious, until I put an end to it so they didn’t accidentally break something.

After this afternoon, I came to be known as the mean aunt…… Oh, and “You’re not my teacher.”

They all ran into these cabinets, but I couldn’t fit all of them into 1 picture, so I go the first set of 3 with Princess, Batman and Older Cousin (I’d call them by their first initial, but they both start with C…….).

And then of course Superman ran off before I could get a picture of him and Younger Cousin.

The always popular, “Mommy carry me.” And this is where I’m a Mean Mom, I usually say they’re too old to be carried. This is self defense. They’re heavy, and they all want a turn being carried.

I’m sure the rest of the people in the store thought we were all crazy. Oh well.

I mean these are cute pictures. REALLY cute. Just ignore the price tags.

Look! I got to be in a picture!

So, they all liked trying out the many different beds. It’s rather like Little Red Riding Hood. As a side note, it was in this area about a year or so ago that Princess scored a stuffed animal by getting a rather bloody lip when falling off a bed.

Yes, I can identify many places where my children have received rather bad injuries. I can now add the sushi restaurant to that list.

Yes, this means I now have 3 kids with major head wounds. I’m such a proud Mommy…..

Would this make a good robber’s mask?

Wouldn’t you just love to have food cooked by this group?

And what finishes off a good meal better than a rousing round of trains complete with arguments over the cars?

And if you look at Superman in the background you can see his current head injury. Someday they’ll learn to put their hands out when they’re falling and we won’t have so many head injuries and worries about concussions. That was not the day.

And the always popular little see saw. Complete with tendencies to fall over randomly if you balance wrong!

And Princess cleaning her face. She insisted she didn’t need a napkin, because she was going to lick her face clean. That didn’t work so well, and I think she ended up cleaning her face on my clothes.

And I leave you with this last picture: “Give it to Uncle Sean, he’ll eat anything! He did! He ate it! EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!”

Okay, and thus ends my post of lots of pictures. The kids had a blast in Ikea, I got some more magazine organizers to further organize my books, and a new stepstool for Princess’ room.

Crispy Chicken Bites, also known as deep fried dinner

So….. I looked at Brian Boitano’s recipes and went wow those sound fancy, and then I saw Crispy Chicken Derby Bites. I can do that, it sounds kind of like chicken nuggets, so my kids should like it. Let’s give it a try.

4 strips bacon (ummm, only used if you make the sauce, but you do use the grease)
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons hot sauce (I discovered as I was making this that I was out, so I just added extra chili powder and paprika)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups canola oil
Derby Dip:
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 cup blue cheese, room temperature, cut into small pieces

How to make

1. Cut up the chicken into little bite sized pieces. Check.

2. Make up marinade, mix buttermilk and hot sauce together and marinate the chicken pieces for at least 2 hours. Ummmm, how does that work if I want to have dinner ready in about an hour? Sigh, well I guess we’re doing chicken and dumplings tonight, and we’ll do this tomorrow. Dump chicken and marinade in a dish, and stick it in the refrigerator.

3. Pull out the chicken mess. Get a large plastic bag pour the flour into it, use tortilla flour because you’re out of regular flour, and let’s face it, I’m never going to make homemade tortillas. Add the other spices in. Just dump in something that looks like the right amount.

3b. Throw the kids in the backyard, because they’re running around being crazy. This is a very important step. Make sure to repeat the rule “No hitting your sister on the head with a shovel,” before sending them outside

4. Grab a handful of chicken, let the marinade drain off, and then put it in the flour mixture, seal and shake a bunch.

5. Repeat until you’ve coated all of the chicken. You’re supposed to repeat this a second time dipping the chicken back in the marinade and then in the flour again, but about halfway through the chicken mess I stopped doing that.

6. Oh, while you’re doing this cook some bacon until it’s really crispy.

7. Now finish reading the directions and decide you’re going to ignore what he says and use the deep fryer you have, because it sounds easier. Really. Directions are for wusses. Exception when building things or making Legos, then you follow it religiously and freak out if the piece is missing.

8. Heat the deep fryer to 350 and add some of the bacon grease.

9. Cook handfuls of chicken for about 4-5 minutes. Take the chicken out of the fryer and pry it out of the cage with your knife. The batter kind of formed around the wire and would stick to it. I guess this is why he wasn’t using a fryer. That and not everyone has one.

10. To go with it, get out your “apple peeler, slicer, corer,” and peel and cut a potato with it. Voila, instant homemade potato chips. Or they will be once you fry them.

11. Can you see why I called this the deep fried dinner?

And then in theory you mix together the other stuff to make a dip. Or, in my reality dinner is running late because it never takes the time the recipe says it does to make it, and you just throw food at the kids and say “EAT! No you can’t stand on the chair… Now get a towel to clean up the milk you spilled because you were standing on the chair.”

Overall, recipe yummy. Lots of work, but it’s good. A nice alternative to most chicken nuggets, and it makes lots. Really, I mean lots. We have a fair amount of leftovers.

To see the other Brian Boitano recipes everyone else made head over to I Blame My MOther.