Showing posts with label boys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label boys. Show all posts

Friday, September 9, 2011

Family Fridays: (Not) Back to School Pictures

Our boys aren't really going back to school right now because we are always trying to learn at home! But there are so many cute back to school pictures of kids this time of year, so I wanted to share a couple of pictures of our boys.
Enjoying the end of summer
Feeding the fish
"A Tow-tow" (Toby the Train)
All the boys reading together
Aaron likes his new backpack
A lot
Now I can carry my books around!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dinosaur Themed Preschool Activity: Dinosaur Sensory Bin

I haven't done much with sensory bins for the boys before, in part because I just heard about them not that long ago, and in part because our little boys already love to explore everything with their hands anyway. Playing outside and eating seem to give lots of opportunities to explore with their senses, without making anything special, but this dinosaur unit seemed to lend itself well to a sensory bin, and we already had everything on hand. It really didn't take any time to throw the dinosaurs, fossils we made and hunted for, and some plastic shovels in a tub with sand after all.

Preschool (or Tot-school) Activity: Dinosaur Sensory bin

  • A bucket or bin with some sand or rice in it
  • Dinosaur fossils, plastic dinosaurs, or even dog bones
  • Small shovels if desired
Arrange the items in your bin, and then call the kiddos over to explore it. We put this on the balcony so sand wouldn't get all over the house. We practiced naming dinosaurs for a while and talking about other things like the different colors in the bin as well. The boys played for much longer than I thought they would with this simple set up. Andrew played with it for about 1/2 an hour, and Aaron spent almost 2 hours straight playing with the bin the first day I put it together. They kept asking to play with it for quite a few days afterwards too. Perhaps I should try sensory bins more often, as they had so much fun with it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dinosaur Themed Preschool Activity: Archaeological Dinosaur Dig

In August, we studied dinosaurs and did so many fun projects that I haven't had a chance to write about them all yet. For this project, we took the dinosaur fossils we made to the park in our apartment complex and buried them in the sand, and then the boys got to dig through the sand to find them.


Preschool (or Tot-school) Activity: Dinosaur Fossil Dig

  • Dinosaur fossils, plastic dinosaurs, or even dog bones to dig up
  • An area of sand or dirt to dig in
  • Small shovels, rakes, and/or pails to dig with

  1. Hide the "fossils" in the sand.
  2. Have the child dig through the sand or dirt to find them. Tell them how many they are looking for, so they can count them and be sure to find them all.

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    Family Fridays: Family Fun

    Nate's summer break has flown by. Both Nate and I had important projects that we had to work on for part of it, and finished those early this week. We've done lots of fun things with the kids over the summer too, but wanted to make these last few days of our summer break family fun days. Some grandparents wanted to still be able to spoil the boys from afar and sent some extra fun money too, so we used a little of that for some special fun things for the boys too.

    Thursday we went to KFC and got ice cream and chicken nuggets. Sadly, the play place was out of commision because they were cleaning the floor that day and the mats hadn't been put back together, but I think the boys had almost as much fun playing with the automatic sink and hand dryer. We also let the boys ride some of the little play vehicles behind Walmart and play a game of wack-a-mole. They both really like these rides and this game, although Andrew would rather play with the moles than wack them. After that, we had to do some grocery shopping, but we got a small set of lego-like toys at Walmart. The boys have been having lots of fun building towers and cars with their new blocks.

    On Friday, I made pizza for lunch and sloppy joes for dinner. Nate wanted to eat all of the coleslaw by himself in one sitting, but managed to restrain himself. We also got some popcorn and popped it on the stove for our family movie night. We had lots of fun watching Piglet's Big Movie together. We like that it weaves in some of the original stories by A. A. Milne that Aaron loves to read to over and over.

    We've also just spent lots of time playing and reading together around the house. We'll see what other fun things we are able to do as a family before Nate has to go back to class on Monday.

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Family Fridays: Open House Garden Tour

    Mother's Day 2011 by the pond
    I already showed you the inside and outside of our apartment here, but I thought I'd do one more quick photo tour of the gardens and parks in our apartment complex. We are very blessed to live in a complex with nice grounds, as it makes it easier to live in such a big city. Especially, living here with two very busy and active little boys.
    Mother's Day 2011 in front of bamboo

    Andrew walking around the complex

    On a bridge over the pond

    Mother's Day 2011 by the palm trees in front of the pond

    Father's Day 2011 throwing sticks

    Playing in the meadow

    "Rock climbing"

    More "rock climbing"

    Complex park

    Little friend

    Getting dirty

    In the sand


    Playing with little friends outside

    Throwing flowers by the exercise park

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Family Fridays: Open House

    Living Room
    Hi everyone, come on in! We're having an open house today. In celebration of getting the last of our furniture, I got the house (virtually) completely clean and took pictures of it all for you to see.

    To your left, you will see the living room. We finally decided to get regular couches after we kept searching for a comfortable, affordable, and not hideous looking foldout couches and finding none.
    Aaron playing in the front Window
    We got the couches at the second hand furniture market. They are quite comfortable and seem to be in really good condition. All of the covers come off and can be washed separately, which is a really nice feature. The couch is way more comfortable than most beds here, so we'll just get air mattresses or foam mattresses when we have more than one visitor.

    Living areas from the front window
    The boys love to play in the front window, especially on sunny days. It does make it a little like living in a fishbowl though, when everyone looks in at us through the big windows all of the time.

    Here is the view from the window looking back at the living and dining rooms.

    Here is the kitchen. I really appreciate that we have two gas burners, a large toaster oven, a fridge that is about two-thirds the size of a standard US fridge, and a double sink. Each of these features is double the capacity of what we had in our last apartment in China. Except for the sink, which is infinitely more (because previously we had no kitchen sink). It makes cooking much more convenient. Also the fact that there are cabinets and they are somewhat attractive is a feature that is very nice and somewhat hard to come by here as well.

    Cute Andrew reading in his room

    Boys beds
    Here is the boys room that we painted "little boy blue." They like it a lot and have lots of fun playing in there.
    Boys' toys and computer

    Pink sink and me in the mirror
    Shower, washing machine, toilet

    This is the bathroom. Unique special features in this bathroom are a western toilet, a shower that isn't open to the whole room, a small tub in the shower stall, a place to hook up the washing machine, and an extremely pink sink (but we like it because it does have some storage underneath, which is almost nonexistent here).
    Nate working

    The last room to show you is our bedroom. Nate has his computer desk in here as well.

    Bed and hallway
    Well that's it for now! Come back another time, and I'll show you around the the backyard and the gardens in our apartment complex.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    August Unit Study: D is for Dinosaur

    The boys love dinosaurs, or as Andrew calls them, "bump, bump," so we decided we'd try to learn more about them for our August unit study. It turns out there are lots of people who love dinosaurs, so there is tons of stuff available online to put together your own unit study.

    We like the cute book D is for Dinosaur by Ken Ham, and the video that goes along with it is good as well; albeit the graphics are now a little cheesy. We also like My Creation Bible and Dinosaur, Genesis, and the Gospel and Creation Adventure Team videos that are also put out by Answers in Genesis as well. They have some other great free resources, including answers to common questions and free audio and video talks as well.

    This month, I wrote out our memory verse (Job 40:15, 19) and made a calender with a quick facts about a dinosaur for each day. For simplicity, I used info and pictures from Enchanted Learning to put it together quickly. This site has some good resources for teaching about dinosaurs and so does the PBS Dinosaur Train site, but they are from an evolutionary perspective, so the content can take some wading through.

    Since the boys went through worksheets and activities so quickly last month, I needed to come up with a way to make them last longer. We bought a book full of clear page protectors, and I put all of the worksheets and small pieces for activities in separate sleeves. This is working very well as they can write on the pages with a dry erase or washable marker, and then I can simply wipe them down and they are ready to be used all over again for the next day. Putting the puzzle pieces and cards in separate page protector has also really helped to keep them organized and not all over the kitchen. This workbook is sort of a mini workbox system. The boys can do all of the worksheets and then move from one activity to another, hopefully getting the first one put away before getting the next out. We probably will need to get a second book for next month though because Andrew wasn't as thrilled with the small worksheets I laminated for him. If his brother had small cards it was fine, but if Aaron has a big workbook, Andrew surely wants one too.

    To fill the workbook, I used free printables from all over the internet. Home School Share has a free creation based dinosaur unit study and lapbook printables. 1 Plus 1 Plus 1 Equals One has dinosaur tot pack with lots of free printables. 2 Teaching Mommies has a free preschool pack with lots of dinosaur themed activities for practicing basic preschool skills. Confessions of a Homeschooler has a Pre-K Letter D unit with lots more dinosaur printables. I found so many great resources that one of the hardest parts was choosing which pages to use from each.

    I even found some dinosaur themed beginning math activities. Mathwire had a simple dinosaur racing game to print which uses a die to learn about odd versus even numbers. File Folder Fun has a couple of matching dinosaur bones games to practice simple addition and subtraction. Learning Page also has dinosaur worksheets, including a few simple math ones.

    We have a few other dinosaur books including one with a dinosaur for each letter of the alphabet that the boys like a lot. And I found a few new silly storybooks about dinosaurs free online. Tyrone the Double Dirty Rotten Cheater, Tyrone and the Swamp Gang, Dinosaurs I Have Known, and I Am Tyrannosaurus are a few that are very fictitious but kind of funny. Again not everything on dinosaurs is written from a completely creation perspective, so parents may need to edit and explain the truth carefully to avoid confusion.

    The boys enjoyed coloring a T-rex and a dinosaur pop up card from Paper Toys. If we get time, I'd love to try to make some more of these dinosaur crafts. The boys boys love to glue things. And if I can find something to represent dinosaur bones, maybe we can have an archeological dig. Combining dirt and dinosaurs, the boys would love that!

    We'll see what we do this month and save the rest for another time.

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Mandarin Mondays: 双胞胎

    My most used foreign language phrases have always surprised me. In high school, I took Spanish for a couple of years and learned lots of useful words and phrases. However, for a long time my most useful Spanish phrase was not learned in the classroom or a book. I was amazed to find myself saying over and over, "these fish like to eat other fish," as I worked in a pet department through high school and college.

    After I graduated and began working as a nurse, this phrase wasn't nearly so useful, but it was replaced with another Spanish phrase that had to be learned on the job: "nursing or bottle."

    Now, neither of these phrases, or any phrase in Spanish, will be that helpful to me.

    I do use a lot of standard Mandarin phrases here like "hello" (nǐ hǎo, 你好), "goodbye" (zài jiàn, 再见), "thank you" (xiè xiè, 谢谢), and "how much is that" (duō shǎo qián, 多少钱). Although we haven't kept a tally or anything, quite possibly the phrase I say the most when we are out walking around is yet again a very unusual one, that can't be found in any beginning Mandarin books. I find myself saying over and over, "they are not twins, (bù shì shuāng bāo tāi, 不是双胞胎)."

    Almost everyone we meet automatically assumes our boys are twins or asks if they are. Even though are boys are 18 months apart and very different sizes, in China most people are only allowed to have one child, especially if the first child is a boy. And for those who are allowed to two children, like minorities, they usually wait at least six or seven years between kids, to space out the school entrance fees (which can be thousands of dollars).

    Ben and Nate
    And I will agree the boys look fairly similar. Also, together they both look so much like their daddy and uncle's baby pictures it is amazing, and I guess even people in America sometimes wondered if Ben and Nate were twins.

    Perhaps if you didn't know them and saw pictures of Aaron and Andrew at the same age you might wonder if they were fraternal twins.
    Aaron 19 months
    Andrew 19 months
    However, one is a head taller than the other. How many twins are that off in size?

    We know someone who raised two boys 18 months apart in China and she got this question all time too. In fact she said that she got so tired of it that she started saying that they were twins, she was just doing an experiment and only feeding the bigger one. She was joking about saying that, I think.

    Aaron and Andrew
    So when we go out I just get to practice my Mandarin by explaining yet again that no they are not twins, (bù shì shuāng bāo tāi, 不是双胞胎). The "older brother" (gēgē, 哥哥), or the "bigger one" (dà de, 大的) is "three years old" (sān suì, 三岁), and the "younger brother" (dìdì, 弟弟), or "littler one" (xiǎo de, 小的), is "one and a half years old" (yī suì bàn, 一岁半).

    Sometimes it people still don't believe us or just think we didn't understand their question. But more often than not they just smile and give us a thumbs up. I think that translates the same here as in America.


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