Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Magic Math Machine

A while ago my sister introduced me to the book Mr. Base Ten Invents Mathematics.  My boys loved it because it was a very concrete method of introducing the concepts of multiplication, division and subtraction that even younger kids could understand. The boys and I have been slowly learning the multiplication table. I made a Magic Math Machine to make doing flashcards a lot more fun. 


Start with a box and cut some slits. Mine are about 3 inches by 1/2 inch. 

Then I cut a piece of card stock....

...so that it fit in the box like this.

Then I creased the ends and taped them to the outside. 

On the inside it should look like this, a "rainbow". 

For a little extra support I added a card stock "wall" around my "rainbow". 

Then decorate!!! 

I made some flashcards that were long, about the same length, but skinnier, as the card stock I used for the "rainbow". If the flashcard is the same width as the hole (like the one above) you'll have problems getting it to come out the bottom. 


...and the card goes in the top...

...and the answer comes out the bottom! 

Voila, the Magic Math Machine!! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Marker Monday - Chorin' with Connie

We have a friend who lives about 5 miles out of town that raises bucket calves that are born on the feed lots out here. Cowboys can't be bothered with a bunch of newborns on a feed lot so our friend Connie weans them and then sells them at the sale barn. 

 A few times this summer the kids and I have headed out to her place early in the mornings to help chore. 

I grew up on a little 40 acre farm doing chores every morning, summer and winter, and though I grumbled a lot about chores when I was a kid I sure miss them now. I wish my kids were farm kids. 

They enjoy helping and they are good hard workers. And I think it's good for them to get out and see animals up close and messy, not just at the zoo or a county fair. 

I'm sure Connie could get her chores done quicker without us around but she sure is gracious by letting my kids have this great experience. 

Calf #47 is a sucker and my kids love sticking their fingers in his mouth! 

It's good too for them to learn not to act scared of large animals. Most of the time there is more to fear from smaller animals...even cattle. 

I'd call myself an accidental town girl. I love living in the country and I sure miss it, mess and all that it can be. Ah well, who knows what's in my future. Maybe I'll get out to the country again someday. Till then thank goodness for Connie who is willing to share her messy chores with us! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Week 25 - COLOR

I'm a wee bit later posting my weekly photo than usual, but not behind! 
Still on track, and can you believe it, next week I'll be halfway through this project? This has been so much fun, I think I want to do another 52 week project next year, who's with me? 

Anyway, this week's theme was COLOR and I decided that I wanted to look for one color and how it popped out in a scene. 

Earlier this week when Yip was painting his sign to sell his Captain America Shields I loved how the early morning light was coming through the lattice blocks but the red paint wasn't completely washed out. 
(He's still selling his shields by the way. He's made $15, enough to buy a real Captain America Shield off Amazon.) 

1/100 sec., f10, ISO 1600

I did overexpose this shot so I did tweak the brightness on this one slightly. 

And look, Yip again. It's not often that he's the subject of my photos. Yap and Yahoo are usually my camera hams. 

1/100 sec., f9, ISO 1600

More red. 
They don't mind getting their pictures taken but they don't usually want to sit still for very long or in a certain place to get a picture taken. 
My kids are not good "posers". I wish they were. 

Next week; 
Week 26 - Eat! 
Maybe one of my goals next week is to shoot someone eating other than my own children, hmmm, we'll have to see how that one works out. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Foody Friday - Spicy Potato Dip

I love potatoes. Seriously I think I should be 100% Irish rather than 100% German because I could eat them everyday. Nothing fancy either. I'm a fan of just cutting up potato wedges, throwing on some salt and baking until brown. 

But I found a fabulous dip for my potatoes that turned out so much better than I expected from the book 100 Things for Kids to Make and Do.

Spicy Dip

2-3 T olive oil
6 T mayonnaise
2 T plain yogurt
1 t. curry paste
(I didn't have curry paste, actually I don't even know what it is. 
I used 1 t. of ketchup and a good shake of curry instead.) 
1 T roughly chopped cilantro

Mix together and dip in some french fries, potato wedges or anything that suits your fancy! 

The ketchup worked great and I can adjust the curry to suit everyone's taste buds. I just love finding new ways to eat potatoes :) 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Facebook Family Forum

My boys love to hear stories about their relatives. One of their favorite stories is the time their uncles broke the toilet. Their uncles were teenagers at the time and Uncle J was trying to paint Uncle C's toenails while their parents were gone. Can you imagine two teenage boys wrestling over that? Well their fight moved into the bathroom where, somehow, these two teenage boys broke the toilet off....at the floor! Water everywhere. Luckily my brothers, the uncles,knew how to turn off the water to the house and avoided a major mess! My boys just love to hear that story. Probably because they like to imagine their uncles getting in trouble.

Since hearing that story they kept asking to hear more. Frankly I have a lousy memory and was running out of stories to tell. The other night I sent a Facebook message to my siblings and couzins asking for any family stories they could remember that my boys would enjoy hearing. Boy, did my family come through! We were sending messages back and forth on Facebook for hours!

There were stories about Grandpa's many dogs who never seemed to like anyone but him. There were the Easter egg hunts where Grandma hid candy in the trees, she lived at the very edge of the woods, and we often found candy from the year before. The fireplace built from rocks collected from the cornfield. Mushroom hunting. Being bit by fire ants in Oklahoma. Camping, family reunions...there were so many memories and stories that we were bouncing back and forth. It was great.

Although I have easily embraced technology, there are many old traditions that I regret haven't survived the passage of time. Oral history for example. One of my favorite memories growing up was simply sitting and listening to the older generations talk. Not only were the stories interesting but I am related to some wonderful storytellers. I really miss that experience.

Facebook has restored my faith a bit that just because technology has taken over our lives that old traditions can't survive. Thanks to Facebook I have a permanent record of the stories my cousins and siblings shared with me the other night. Perhaps it's not the best storytelling but, A Facebook family forum...the best way to bring together family from 1000 miles away.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Little Entrepreneur

My son Yip LOVES superheroes! Wolverine is his favorite and he's watched XMen numerous times. So of course when Captain America and Avengers came out he wasn't going to miss the chance to see them in the theaters. 

He thought he could make a Captain America Shield. Pretty cool son. 
Then he went to the grocery store, bought a pack of heavy duty paper plates and made them all into Captain America Shields.

He's given some to his brother and sister and friends. They are especially good at repelling water gun attacks!! 

Yip decided that he needed to branch out though. So yesterday he painted a sign, with minimal help from me, and sat up business on the sidewalk. 

God Bless him!! 

Yip was outside for a couple hours in the morning and a couple more in the afternoon selling his shields. 

I want to give a big shout out to all friends and neighbors who stopped by to buy a Captain America Shield from him! Boy, did you lift his spirit. There was an older couple who bought one who I KNOW have no little grand kids to give it to. They bought it to brighten my boys day! He sold 6 yesterday! 

What a wonderful little town I live in where friends and neighbors go out of the way to encourage a little boy's creativity! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Fathers are wonderful people
Too little understood, 
And we do not sing their praises
As often as we should...
But fathers are just wonderful
 In a million different ways.
 And they merit loving compliments
And accolade of praise, 
For the only reason Dad aspires 
To fortune and success
Is to make the family proud of him
And to bring them happiness...
And like our Heavenly Father, 
He's a guardian and a guide, 
Someone that we can count on 
To be always on our side. 

(Author Unknown)

Malachi 4:6 
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, 

and the hearts of the children to their fathers; 
or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.

Proverbs 3:11-12 
My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.

Psalm 127: 3-5
Children are a heritage from the Lord,

    offspring a reward from him.
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
 Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them. 
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.

Happy Father's Day!! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

More Swim Lessons....

Yap and Yahoo just finished their swim lessons. 
Wait a minute? Don't I have three kids? 
Why didn't Yip take swim lessons you ask? 

Yip was signed up to take lessons with his brother but an hour before their very first lesson he decided to play with a pocket knife (that I told him not to touch!) and he cut a big gash on his knuckle. The doctor said no swimming for a week. Therefore Yip will be taking lessons during the next session. Yip just can't make life easy. 

On the upside though Yap was able to do something without his brother. Being twins can be tough when you are always thrown together with your brother. 

I love the instructor they had for this session. She was great with all the kids; I sure wish she would teach lessons all summer. 

Not only does Yap LOVE going off the diving board.....

....but he loves doing it his OWN way! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Foody Friday - Hobo Stew (or Poor Man's Stew)

My garden is coming along well. 

And I'm putting my kids to heavy toil harvesting and eating the vegetables. 
Eating some of those veggies is the hardest part. 
Summer squash...blech! 

Our purple beans have done really well. 
I love purple beans because I can actually see them when I go picking them. 

I think my mom called my favorite fresh green bean dish Hobo Stew. (Correction: My mom just let me know that my Grandma always called it Poor Man's Stew.) I just always remembered it as "the dish we always ate right after we picked the beans" 

Put diced potatoes, fresh snapped beans, salt, pepper and cooked ground sausage in a pot. Cover with water and boil until potatoes are soft. 

I love the way my purple beans turn green :) 

Serve hot!! 

There is nothing better than eating veggies straight from the garden. 
What is your favorite way to eat fresh produce? 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Weeks 23 and 24 (I'm caught up!)

I went out yesterday morning determined to get all my photos for 52 Weeks caught up. I've been running around like crazy this summer and my photo homework has slipped my mind :P But I'm caught up now!! 

Week 23 - Coil 

1/50 sec., f6.3, ISO 1600 
I did a little editing to this one to give it a subtle vintage quality. 

1/100 sec., f11, ISO 1600

Obvious editing on this one :) 
I love this sign, my grandmother gave it to me a couple years after I became a mom.  

Week 24 - Stop

On these following two I only increased the contrast slightly. 

1/100 sec., f10, ISO 800

1/100 sec., f11, ISO 800

Yip has been making tons of these paper plate Captain America shields. (More on that later:) But I just thought it was cute how Yahoo was playing with one and pretending to stop the bad guys. (Yes, we are big Avenger fans!) I liked the stop sign behind her as though the bad guys needed another reminder! 

Next week, 25, is COLOR!! 

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