Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Driveway Math

We were doing math on the driveway this morning, playing estimation games. I told each kid to grab a handful of Cheerios and then estimate how many they had. Sarah grabbed the biggest handful she could, made no attempt to estimate, and said, "Can I eat them?" I should know by now not to use edible manipulatives with her. I told her she could eat them if her estimation was within 10 of the actual amount. She tried very hard and got close enough to receive the reward.

Then I had them each take a handful of toothpicks and estimate how many it would take to make a line that reached a certain point on the driveway. After that, I got out the phonics tiles. They are little squares (about half the length of a toothpick) with various letter combinations on them. I asked the kids to estimate how many they would have to line up to reach the same point on the driveway. Noah studied them for a long time and then compared their length to the toothpicks and made a very intelligent estimate based on that information. It's such fun to watch their brains working!

We ended up seeing how many phonics tiles we could stack up before they collapsed in a heap. It was 64, in case anyone wonders. We probably could have gone higher if the wind wasn't blowing. We're going to try it again in the house to see.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Apple Trees, Duct Tape, and Sheets

As my parents' apple, I have surely fallen far from their tree. My mom washes her sheets regularly. I only wash sheets twice a year, unless somebody pees on them or bleeds on them (and sometimes not even then, since Noah has so many nosebleeds).

Today is my biannual sheet changing day, taking off the flannels and putting on the cooler ones. I stripped Noah's bed and discovered a huge rip in the plastic mattress protector, so I decided to duct tape it. Which leads me to the next way the apple has fallen far from the tree...

My dad is a professional duct-taper. He can (and will) duct tape anything with ease. Now here's a secret about me that I don't think anyone knows: I'm duct-tape challenged. I have trouble cutting it, using it, even finding it.

This morning I found it right where it was supposed to be, so I was off to a good start. But it was all downhill from there. I spun the roll around a few hundred times trying to find the beginning. Finally found it, couldn't pry it up. Finally got it started, pulled some out, and stabbed at it with a utility knife. It didn't cut like it does when my dad does it. It sort of bent over and stuck to itself and didn't come off the roll. I decided scissors would be better. I put the end of the tape in my mouth and pulled out a nice long strip, which got stuck in my hair.

Eventually, I did get the job done, but it took a long time and a lot of wasted tape. Another exciting day in my life! I can't believe anyone even reads this...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Firecorn and S'mores

My mom gave us a campfire popcorn popper, so we tried it out this morning in our fire pit. I burned the first batch, but the second batch turned out pretty good. Then I realized I could cook other things in it, so I cooked some bacon over the fire. I popped some more corn in the bacon grease, and that was really good.

After all that, there were some embers in the pit just right for roasting marshmallows, so even though it was only ten o'clock in the morning, we had s'mores. I didn't really think about how unhealthy it was until the kids were telling someone that they had popcorn, bacon, and s'mores for breakfast!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Rights and Wrongs

Sarah put on her princess dress and was twirling around and dancing. Meanwhile, Noah was assembling a Lego car. Sarah asked, "Noah, will you be my prince?" He said, "No, because right now I'm a mechanic." She ignored his remark, grabbed his arm, and started tugging him out to the dance floor. He resisted, pulled his arm away, and launched into his American Rights speech: "Here in this country I have rights...." Sarah interrupted to say, "But you're not doing rights; you're doing wrongs!"

Elevator Etiquette

We just got home from our trip to Indianapolis, where Sarah made lots of new friends at our hotel. She's completely oblivious to the unspoken commandment: "Thou shalt not speak in an elevator." The elevator doors would open, we would squeeze in, and Sarah would look around at everyone and say, "Hi! I'm Sarah. I'm 5 years old. We're going to the 8th floor, because that's where our apartment is. We just had breakfast, and now we're going to the zoo!" or something similar.