Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day Out With Thomas

Because of Jackson's love (or obsession) with Thomas we decided we needed to do the "Day Out With Thomas" this year in New Haven, Kentucky. Grammy, Grand-Dad, Uncle Dan, Aunt Dorothy, Heidi and Holden also joined us the first weekend in June for the fun.
 Thomas puffing into the station shortly after we arrived
 We had a hard time getting our family lined up, looking at the camera and happily posing for a picture with Thomas...
 Jackson was much more interested in watching Thomas pull up and then patting the side of the large engine.
 The girls waiting at the station for Thomas
 Once we were on board the kids enjoyed seeing "Mr. Conductor" collect our tickets

 Enjoying the train ride

 Besides the trainride there were numerous other activities going on to celebrate Thomas the Tank Engine. One was being able to watch model trains while waiting in line to meet Sir Topham Hat.

 They also had these large motorized animals the kids could ride around and around on

 They had an Imagination Station (is that right?) set up where they had many train tables out for kids to play with. Jackson thought the ratio of trains to little boys was completely unacceptable and we ended up in more than one screaming fit. It also doesn't help that Jackson tends to be just a little possessive of anything Thomas related. As such, we decided it was probably time to leave and we let Jackson choose a couple new trains (Paxton and Norman, both Diesels and a special Day out With Thomas Car) on our way out. Jackson thought new trains that he didn't have to share with anyone was a significantly better idea! :)
 We also passed Thomas one more time before we left and thought we might make one more attempt with only slightly more co-operative children. :)
 Conductor Reagan
 Conductor Heidi
 Conductor Kennedy
 Grammy and a very happy boy with his new engines
 Miss Heidi and Missy Reagan hugging each other good-bye
Thank you everyone for sharing this day with us! We had a fabulous time and were thankful for everyone's flexibility in working this out even though I totally messed up the dates!

Weekend Fun with Grammy and Grand-Dad

Here are a couple of pictures of some fun we had the first weekend in June when Grammy and Grand-Dad came to visit. In case you haven't noticed, I love using our firepit for hotdogs, brats and 'smores. LOVE it! I would do it every weekend, maybe every night, if given the option. Tim says he's certain we eat more 'smores than anyone else in the neighborhood. :)
 Jackson enjoying dipping everything (including marshmellows) in his ketchup with Grammy's assistance
 Dad and I don't typically sit around the fire with our computers, but for some reason we both had them out there and I thought this was a funny picture Tim took. :) 
 Sunday morning after church and before we headed to see Thomas we made a stop at Krispy Kreme for a donut snack. The kids enjoy watching the process of fresh donuts being made and whenever and where ever we go out to eat Grand-Dad is always awesome at chasing our munchkins around.
 A very excited Reagan with her donut holes - a recently discovered favorite. The donut shop guy in Cookeville really likes Reagan and when we go in he typically gives her some free donut holes. I think this is how her obsession with them began but in anycase it's nearly always her preferance now.
 A very messy Jackson - for the last month or so when he gets anything on his hands while eating he begins franticly telling us "Ma (or Da) Mess! Mess! Mess!" He keeps going until you give him a napkin or wet wipe to help clean him up. He typically gets cleaned up, takes the next bite and starts in again with "Ma Mess! Mess! Mess!" Poor guy! lol :)
 A wide-eyed Missy K enjoying her chocolate milk. Kennedy has been wanting me to take pictures of her with her big eyes lately. Sometimes the pictures get a bit crazy but for the most part they're pretty cute and I sure love my silly Missy K and her big eyes! :)
Thank you Grammy and Grand-Dad for the fun weekend! :)

Halloween Sneak Peak

The girls discovered the beautiful new Disney Princess dresses for Merida from the new movie "Brave" and had to take Grammy to see them. It was quickly decided we had found our Halloween costumes for this year. I think these are the prettiest princess dresses Disney has made yet. Can't wait to dress them up on the cruise! 
 Princess Merida (aka Reagan)
 Princess Merida (aka Kennedy)
 The shoes are even beautiful!
 I had the girls turn around so I could get a picture of this wild hair as well as the back of their dresses.
 Jackson decided I needed to take a picture of the back of his new "Cars" pajamas Grammy got for him. He refused to turn around for a picture and was determined I should take a picture of his back. What a little nut!
 Kennedy wanted me to take a picture of her new "Brave" pajamas Grammy gave the girls too.
 Autn Dorothy and Uncle Dan gave Jackson some "Cars" for Easter and he has been loving them. Grammy added to Jackson's collection since she was giving the girls all the "Brave" things. He takes these everywhere with him and they may even be replacing "Thomas" as a favorite toy. It's definitely a toss up at this point...
Thank you Grammy for the fun Disney Store shopping spree! We can't wait to celebrate Halloween this year!

Glow in the Dark Playdate

We kicked June off by having our homeschooling friends Maddie and Travis (and of course their mom Kelly) over for a playdate. It had been a while since we used our black light for glow in the dark activities and the girls had been asking about it so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity. I'm not sure the kids were as interested as I thought they would be but we had glow in the dark paint, playdough, books and even some glow sticks. It's hard to catch pictures (the kids have to stay still) of these activities but here are my best shots!

Thank you for coming to play with us we look forward to having you back soon! :)

Building A Ziggurat

Another project we had while studying Hammurabi and the Babylonians was to build a Ziggurat. While these structures look a bit like pyramids, especially step pyramids, they served a different purpose. While pyramids were tombs for kings, Ziggurats were temples built for gods to use to descend to earth. They typically had between 3-7 levels which were meant to be stairs for the gods to use to reach earth. We found boxes of various sizes (toothpick, baking soda, cereal, Krispy Kreme donut), wrapped them in brown paper and used tape to stack them to build our Ziggurat structure.

The top level was meant to be a resting place for gods after they descended from heaven and before they continued their journey to earth. Both girls liked the smallest box (because of it's size) and we had a little disagreement before deciding they could put it on top together.
After completing our structure, we mixed our paint. The white you see the girls mixing into the paint in this picture is actually cornstarch. It gave the paint a great texture for our "mud brick" Ziggurat. We had two color options for our Ziggurat. The first was to use a reddish-brown color to simulate the look of dried mud bricks. We also read that they were sometimes painted bright colors. I gave the girls the option and to my surprise they wanted to use brown. I was sure we were going to have a vibrant Ziggurat but I guess this color seemed more realistic to them. 
After completing their color and texture mixture they began the process of painting the Ziggurat.

In order to complete our Ziggurat we also needed stairs the priests would have climbed to reach the different levels. To do this we painted the back side of cereal boxes and put them aside to dry.
The following day was beautiful and since we still had a table set up on the deck from our Memorial Day celebrations we decided to do some schoolwork outside. To make the stairs, the girls cut 2 inch (approximately :) strips off their painted cereal boxes and used a black marker to draw steps for our Ziggurat's staircases.
We started using tape to attach the steps but because of the texture of the cornstarch and paint the tape would not stick at all. We switched to Elmer's glue and that worked slightly better. The girls did a good job working at this but it was a little tricky and something like hot glue would probably have been a better option because of the texture.
Our completed Ziggurat
Kennedy was so adorable hugging the Ziggurat I couldn't resist snapping a picture! :)
The girl's favorite book from the suggested reading for the week was "Abu Ali: Three Tales of the Middle East" by Dorothy Van Woerkom (Crown, 1976). There were three funny stories about Abu Ali and the silly situations he gets himself into. I wish this book wasn't out of print because it is one we would like to add to our own personal collection. I highly recommend checking your local library for this fun (and funny) book!