samantha liz

Archive of ‘home free’ category

Room with a view.

Today was a good day.

Thomas decided that he was ready to move up to the next level in his dance classes, which meant he’s now in the larger front dance studio. I stayed for his first time around and worked on some website updates for a client… 20130110-224347.jpg {Okay, fine. I may have also stayed to maybe sneak peeks every once and a while on how he was doing.}

Everytime I looked in, he was smiling from ear to ear. I call that winning.

On my birthday.

With the cake in the oven and the kids making decorations to hang, I am reminded that plans are of little importance to life. I would have never imagined being where I am at right now, but it’s exactly where I need to be.


Hola Dino, soy Lupi!

We signed up for a two week free trial to Speekee TV yesterday and I have to say, the kids have really been loving it. It’s a video-based Spanish immersion program with a 40-week suggested lesson plan accompanying it.

Yesterday, we watched “El parque”. When I say we watched it, I mean they must have played it at least 5 times and then we watched the little excerpts that go along with it at least a dozen more times.

Especially the puppets Lupi and Dino.

The lesson plan suggests that day 2, you are to make puppets like Lupi and Dino. Yeah, we were all over that today.
We gathered our supplies and made our puppetsThe kids ran around the house collecting items they thought would make for perfect puppets, and we came up with these cuties.

They then begged to make a video with them. They had one specifically in mind, so they went right to work, watching it, and practicing their parts.Practicing their parts.

Without further ado, here it is.

Oh yes, the kids are really loving Speekee TV. You will certainly be seeing more of our adventures with it here! So stay tuned.
Silly puppetters.

Disclaimer: Speekee TV has no idea who I am, and didn’t pay me to write this. We just truly enjoyed it so much that I felt like I had to share the love. šŸ˜‰ Te quiero.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science Recap.

On friday we ended our Dinosaur study at the DMNS! The kids were super excited when daddy stayed home on a WEEK DAY and we got to drive down to Denver to see real dinosaur fossils.Obligatory Prehistoric Journey Signage Pose.

The kids happily posed next to their favorite prehistoric creatures. I’m totally not surprised on the ones they chose.DMNS Prehistoric Journey

We also saw volunteers working on the excavation of a Mammoth body fossil in the Earth Sciences Lab, Thomas was enthralled with the Mammoth fossil that they had on display that was already uncovered.Mammoth Spotting.

As we were nearing the end of the displays, Molly spotted these and ran to them. “I want to take a picture with the PONIES!” She didn’t once mention that they were, um… fossilized prehistoric pony bones, so neither did I.Molly saw these and ran over. "I want to take a picture with the PONIES!" She didn't once mention that they were, um... fossilized prehistoric pony bones. ;)

Not too long after we were posing with Stenomylus, circa Early Miocene, 20 million years ago. {While daddy got a shot of Thomas with Daeodon, a prehistoric warthog}Posing with Stenomylus, circa Early Miocene, 20 million years ago.

Then we headed over to the wildlife exhibits where the galapagos tortoise gave Thomas the creeps. Marcus, on the other hand, just kept pointing and calling, “Tuttle!”The galapagos tortoise gave Thomas the creeps, Marcus, on the other hand, just kept pointing and calling, "Tuttle!"

Molly spotted the insects exhibit, or as Molly said, “OOhh! Butterflies!”DMNS Insects, or as Molly said, "OOhh! Butterflies!"

A quick potty break for the kids was in order by then, and I caught this lovely self portrait in the bathroom mirror as I was waiting, you know, to prove that I was actually there too.Proof I was there. ;)

From there we decided that it was time to explore the cosmos. On we went to Space Odyssey. Where, appropriately enough, Molly spotted the Butterfly Nebula.Butterfly Nebula

…and the Spiral Galaxy. Spiral Galaxy

Marcus loved the astronaut on the ceiling as we explored the Space Odyssey. Thomas and Molly even got to make craters by dropping large marbles into sand.DMNS Space Odyssey

Our last stop was the Gem and Minerals exhibit. Although it was super dark in there, I can’t help but post these shots of Molly. DMNS Gems & Minerals

All in all, it was a great trip. While we were there, I asked the kids to pick something to cover next. Thomas said, “Hmm, well, I guess canaries would be cool.” followed shortly after by Marcus yelling, “BIRDS!”

Okay then! Bird Week it is.

Dinosaur Week{s}!

Seeing how the dinosaurs measure up.

We are over halfway finished with week two of “Dinosaur Week”. The kids really took to it, so I really ran with it. Today we’ll be making a volcano and tomorrow (if the stars align, because we’ve tried twice before in the past two weeks to get there) we’ll be headed down to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to see actual dinosaur fossils.

Yesterday, we made our own.
Body Fossil CreationWe used pasta and mixed up some whole wheat flour baking clay to make some super awesome body fossils.

We baked them and they had a fossil hunt outside.The kids wanted to put them in our garden to “trick people in to believing we had unearthed some real body fossils”.

Color matching dinosaursMarcus has been enjoying his dinosaur color matching.

Marcus doesn't believe me when I told him he was having dino nuggets for lunch.However, he really didn’t buy it when I told him he was having dino nuggets for lunch.

Bike.All the talk about how dinosaurs lived and roamed even caused an impromptu bike yesterday to explore our neighborhood.

I think it’s safe to say that dinosaur week is a success. Excuse me while I get back to it!

Making fossils. {take one}

As you know it’s dinosaur week, and you can’t talk about dinosaurs without bringing up fossils. Today was our first soiree into the world of making our own, so we discussed how they form and about several different kinds of fossils. How did we do this you ask? Well that’s easy; by making fossil cookies of course!

Full disclaimer: I had originally taken photos with the intention of doing a little tutorial of sorts. You see, I had gotten the idea of making fossil cookies from Martha Stewart, however I did not follow the recipe. I had the wonderful idea of using my mother’s amazing time tested peanut butter cookie recipe; because 1. I knew they were tasty, 2. We hadn’t had them in awhile and I was craving some peanut butter, and 3. I didn’t have a whole ton of walnuts on hand.

I modified it ever so slightly to include some flax to make the cookies a little more rocky {shh… that’s what I told the kids when I added it, I didn’t tell them about the Omega-3 essential fatty acids, protein, and good fibers}. I arranged out my ingredients on the counter and meticulously photographed them like any good Pioneer Woman wannabe would.
The cast of characters.

I then followed with a quick witted statement about how there are unusual attendants to todays baking…
The dinosaur guests.Giggles and merriment ensued.

Of course, I photographed the kids measuring each ingredient and looking adorable while doing it.
Obligatory cute kid photos making.

And finished it all up by including some mixing action.
Additionally obligatory mixing photos.

However, that’s all you’ll see of the actual cookie making, and I won’t be including my recipe, because, well, it didn’t exactly work out as planned…

We did have fun measuring and mixing, and we did make some shapes that we thought best resembled rocks. I even told the kids about different kinds of fossils. For example trace fossils; where we looked at the feet of the dinosaurs and determined that they actually looked different.
Talking about identifying dinosaurs by tracks alone.

We then came to the conclusion that we could “trace” their tracks back to identify which dinosaur had made them.
Making trace fossils.

**There may have also been talk about other trace fossils such as eggs and dinosaur poo, but we agreed that it was best to keep any sort of fossilized poo off our cookies.

Then, we talked about mold fossils. We took the smaller dinosaurs and replicated what it would be like to have cavity shaped fossil.
Making mold fossils

I have to say that it was all very fun and educational, and smiles were all around…
And they looked like this when we were done.

That is… until we put them in the oven…

And I remembered why there was a 2. on my list before…

I had blocked out the memory.

Turns out, Mom’s tried and true peanut butter cookie recipe was for lovely Jiff peanut butter, with it’s ever so lovely partially hydrogenated oils, keeping it’s lovely self together…

Unfortunately, this is not so true of the stir and refrigerate peanut butter that we use now. After googling, I found out that they are NOT interchangeable and the natural counterparts tend to spread and flatten…
And baked.
Yeah, I probably didn’t need to google to know that.

But we are not discouraged! Molly even said, “Well they are yummy, even if they aren’t fossils!” As she and Thomas both ate two straight from the oven. Also, as I typed this, I went back downstairs to check on the kids and found that bowl up there? Gone.

Tomorrow, we are on to discussing body fossils. {I’ve heard that there might be potting soil and pasta involved, but it may just be a dirty rumor.} Stay tuned.

Hello Dinosaur Week!

The kids have been really interested in dinosaurs lately, so we declared it dinosaur week. To kick it off, we set up this week’s trays.

  1. Fun dinos to play with and identify with our 3-part cards.
  2. “Dino”cabulary words I downloaded from K-3 Teacher Resources.
  3. Color matching and sorting dinosaurs. There are two of each dinosaur of color and kind as well as matching color tablets. Marcus is identifying and saying colors lately, so I thought this would be a fun way to reinforce it.
  4. Dinosaur 3-Part Cards I found onĀ jojoeb’sĀ flickrstream.
  5. Marcus “helping me” set them all up. This has become one of my favorite parts of Monday.
  6. Adding three numbers together with dinosaur bones {popsicle sticks}. Basically, the kids roll the dice, lay out popsicle sticks representing each number andĀ Plus gathers the dinosaur bones together and brings them to King Equal, and we count them up for the total number of bones.Ā Then, as an added bonus, they can use the wood numbers to write out their answers. Convoluted? Sure. A hit with the kids? You betcha.
  7. Measuring in centimeters. How long are these tiny dinos? I included a ruler with both metric and standard and a little measuring tape with centimeters to measure the dinosaurs. Ā I included a dry erase tablet so they can draw the dinosaurs along with their measurement findings.
  8. A dot exercise for Marcus.
  9. Examining rocks closely with a magnifying glass. We are talking about the three kinds of rocks and how they form. Geology is one of my favorite sciences.
To see them up close, you can head over to my flickr page by clicking on the picture of Marcus below.
All of our trays for dinosaur week.

There’s a lot more fun coming this week as well. From building dinosaurs to creating fossil cookies, we’ve got it all…Molly, practicing her mad writing skills.
That, and worksheets. The kids always love worksheets.