Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tree Decorating: December 2009

This is the only photo that even remotely turned out!

And Quinn takes out Gabe with one final blow!

Dress Up!

Puppy dog Quinn. Photo taken Dec 1, 2009 (age 16 mos)

Who could this be?

It's a Super Mario Brother! It's Luigi!
Photo taken Nov 2009, age 4.

Preschool: Farm Unit coming to a close!

Monster Munchies!
He likes to eat a very specific diet. Only objects that begin with a certain letter! What will the letter be today?

Just in time for Thanksgiving! We made a turkey out of a paper plate. I was astonished when Gabe showed me his final project: an exact replica of the turkey in the project photo. A perfectionist in the making.....oh no!

Quinn says: "Gotcha camera!"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Family Harvest Party!

Family Harvest Party!
Today was so much fun! We raked leaves, jumped in the piles....took a bath! We carved pumpkins, and made caramel apples. Mommy and Quinn's is the maple leaf, Daddy and Gabe carved a Goofy pumpkin. Tomorrow we will probably roast our leftover pumpkin seeds!
Below: Lapacek's Orchard in Poynette, WI

Gabe quickly made friends with the animals. He especially liked "Martini," a little grey cat who followed him around.

Gabe daringly rides the big-wheel down the hill!

Quinn enjoys a chilly swing ride.

Pumpkin hunting!

Mommy and her boys!

Preschool Weeks 5, 6, and 7: cows, goats, and sheep!

Rhyme Hunt: we took our laundry basket around the house, looking for objects that rhymed with "ball." Quinn's' favorite was "call;" he would not put the phone back into the basket...

Gabe's sheep, named "Little Lamb."

Our updated farm mural! Each week our art book gives us a step-by-step process on how to draw a particular farm animal. After we draw it, we cut it out and add it to the mural we created during week one. Yes--most of the animals on the mural happen to be mommy's creations...Gabe does such CUTE drawings but still REFUSES to put them on the dining room mural! So I took photos of his animals (below), which are currently hanging in his bedroom, safe from Quinn tearing them.

Gabe's "cow" drawing.

Another one of Gabe's cow drawings.
Circle painting!
During week 5 we learned about COWS, and our kitchen experiment was making homemade ice cream! Yum!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Quinn's FIRST haircut!

Age 14 months.
Quinn does not look too thrilled about his new-do.

Hinchley Dairy Farm Tour, October 1st, 2009

Gabe milking a cow!

Gabe is thinking: "there is NO WAY that I'm letting this calf suck on MY finger! Mom--YOU do it! (I did, it was awesome)

Gabe holding a baby chick; the two became close friends. I was amazed watching how gentle my rough-and-tumble boy was!

Is that a rooster on your head??

Mrs. Hinchley gave each of the children a corn cob to feed to the chickens, ducks, goats, and whoever else was roaming the barnyard! Gabe took the corn off one kernel at a time. AND--We got to see BLUE chicken eggs in the hen house!

City kids!
The Hinchley Farm Tour (through FISH, our homeschool group) was such a blast. We got poop on our shoes, smelled crazy smells, got rained on while we picked pumpkins...it was a great experience (REALLY!) We will love to go back again someday. I have great admiration for farmers. The highlight of my day was when we entered the milking barn, about to milk a cow for the first time ever--Gabe buried his head in my sweater and said, "I want to get out of here, Mom! It smells awful!" What a NEAT, NEAT tour--a very good glimpse of farm life, left me wishing I could raise a few chickens in our backyard. Thank you, Hinchleys, for the opportunity to show my kids where their food comes from, and to pretend--at least for a few hours--that we were farmers, too.

Gabe READ HIS FIRST WORD! Age four, October 3, 2009.

That is Gabe's first official read-it-all-by-himself word!
He was working on his letter Bb book this week, when he began to sound out one of the words all by himself. I wasn't watching--I just remember hearing him sound out B-i-G--and then yell, "BIG! IT SAYS 'BIG!'" I turned around and started to scream--he DID it, he sounded out a word all by himself:) How appropriate, the word BIG. My Gabe is getting so...BIG!

Preschool Week Four: Who Lives On a Farm?

Gabe rides his horse, "Assy."
What we are learning: this week we focused on the letter Bb.
We also learned a little bit about horses. Our art project finale was making a horse to ride around the house (see top photo). Gabe named his horse: Assy (I did not stop laughing). Later he changed it to: Sassy Cow Creamery. Ahhh...so Assy was short for "Sassy." Now it is making sense! We also made stick puppets this week (bottom photo). I made one, and so did Gabe. His was Charlie, and mine was Lola! But Quinn peeled the eyes off of Lola by the end of the day, so Lola is currently blind. Our field trip this week was visiting Hinchley's Dairy Farm, I will attempt to post that seperately!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Preschool Week Three: "A FARM PROVIDES FOOD"

This week we learned quite a bit about hens. We played "Who's Hiding My Egg?": the 'farmer' would hide a plastic egg in their lap and the 'hen' would have to guess which person was the farmer with the egg. It didn't last long as it was just Daddy, Gabe, Quinn, and mommy playing. Quinn did not make a good farmer--he can't keep a secret and would hold the egg up high to give it back to the hen! Above is Gabe's paper plate hen, our finale art project for the week. It was supposed to have tissue paper feathers, but Gabe refused to glue any tissue to his project...he adamantly drew the feathers instead. Strange...since he rarely refuses a project involving glue...

Our farm mural update this week: we added a hen! Mommy helped:) Gabe's other hen went straight to his bedroom art wall. He has been refusing to attach his animals to the mural; he wants them in his bedroom instead! (I don't blame him, as Quinn has been known to rip the mural animals off from time to time...we now have a headless rooster on the mural).

During our study of farms we have been also talking about orchards. We created an "apple tree" out of an old cereal box, some popsicle sticks, and some magnetic tape. We also made an apple basket (labeled with an "A") to hold the apples (made out of red pom poms). We hot glued magnetic tape to the pom pom apples, to make them stick to the apple tree. In theory! It didn't quite work as planned, the magnetic tape wasn't strong enough and it took a lot of work to fill the tree with the magentic apples. We were able to play one game using the apple tree project though. We would roll dice, and whatever number we rolled was the number of apples we would "pick" off the tree and put into the apple basket. Whoever picked the last apple from the tree lost the game! (By the time the last apple was picked, neither one of us felt like getting all those apples back on that tree--they just didn't want to stick!)

Week 3 letter of the week: Ff
Here we drew the letter F, and then would add to it to form it into a picture/object that started with F. Ok, most of the objects started with an F, anyway! Our character of the week was "friendly Fred," who helps us remember that this letter only says one sound! Gabe is flying through his letter recognition, most of these letters are just review. Gabe is beginning to sound out short words, but it goes something like this: "D-o-g.....Golf!!" He gets so excited at the last letter sound in the word, that he just shouts out anything that begins with that letter! I'm just glad he has an interest in sounding things out:)

Friday, September 18, 2009

WEEK TWO: New Days on the Farm!

This week we added a BARN to our farm mural, along with some animals. We also explored the concept of time. Gabe follwed me all over the house, showing me "what time it was" on his giant wrist watch that we made from an old plastic container cover. He would say things like "It's sixty o'clock!" or "now what time does it say?" or "what do we do when the clock says this?" Our letter of the week is Aa, and I think the highlight was doing a cupboard search party. I allowed Gabe to take a pen and circle (on any pantry item) all the Aa's he found. At one point I had to chase after Quinn, and came back to find that my little preschool artist had gotten carried away with the pen. But I still smile when I take out a box or can of food and find a scribbly circle around the letter Aa! Did you know that the letter A has THREE sounds??"Astronaut Abe from Alaska" is our mascot this week.

Check back next week to see what's in store for our mural! And to see pics of Gabe with his new haircut! (he can finally see again!) On Sunday we are going on a field trip to Sassy Cow, a local organic dairy farm.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gabe's first week of home-preschool!

Gabe stands beside our Farm Mural, the latest work of art in the Mueller home. For the next 9 weeks we will be adding a farm feature to our mural on a weekly basis. Check back--I will try to update our blog as we go along!
Our first unit of study is: The Farm.
This week was an introduction to farm life, including a historical view of farms in America.
We played animal charades, sang songs about God's wonderous creation, and did a collage of items found on a farm (my favorite was the woman Gabe cut out of my Real Simple magazine and pasted on the collage--he had me lable her "Erica." ??? That was right next to the cut and pasted picture of a glue bottle and a scissors, and a large Hummer. Ummmm...I need to plan a field trip to a farm!)
One of our favorite moments is lunch time, when I read aloud to Gabe and Quinn from our chapter book titled Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Gabe LOVES this book! It chronicles the life of a young boy on a farm long before electricity or running water, when school teachers stayed with local families and children of all ages did school together in one-room.
We are using an excellent curriculum this year, by Winter Promise. Yay--I no longer have to spend hours each month preparing my own ideas! This curriculum has been a true blessing, as now I can concentrate on just having fun with Gabe and fostering in him a love for learning:) Today he said to me, "Mom, preschool was SHORT today! That's not fair! Why can't it be longer?" I felt the same way! Tomorrow we will be making a barn for our farm mural (above) and learning more about how we read from left to right and top to bottom.

Quinn is walking!

Target: Yogurt Container!
Quinn took his first steps on Saturday, August 22nd. Age 13 mos!
Quinn is a cautious child. He has been taking mini-steps (one foot forward, the other safely planted) for quite awhile now! We knew it was a matter of time! Then it happened. One day, just after returning home from the Madison Farmer's Market, Quinn saw an empty yogurt container on the table and he went for it--throwing caution to the wind! He must have been HUNGRY! Once he had that container in his hands, he was so proud. I even let him play with it for awhile, despite the fact that it was dripping all over the floor. I had to let him bask in the pleasure of that coveted container! He still isn't sure about this whole walking thing--he takes a few more steps each day. Truly baby steps! Now, a few weeks after those first steps, he is bravely toddling across the living room every once in awhile. But still preferring to get places quickly by crawling!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More Door County Pictures

Quinn enjoys time outdoors! The campfire pit is in the background of this photo--many smores created there. Although Gabe decided he doesn't like his marshmallows "mushy." Mental note: if he asks you to "toast" a marshmallow for him--this is code for put it on a stick and pretend to hold it over the flame. Hand it back to him raw. It's all about presentation!

Gabe takes a break from frisbee to pick mommy a wildflower.
("Hold on Daddy! I have to pick this for my mommy!")

On your mark, get set, GO!

Gabe discovers nature and makes friends with a caterpillar. He spent the latter part of the evening preparing a fresh leaf salad for his new friend.

We had pure sunshine for 5 straight days! We used lots and lots of sunscreen, didn't we Quinn?

Door County June 2009


"cabin"=a small house of simple design or construction
hmmmmm.....lets try its synonym:
"cottage"=a small, modest house at a lake, etc., owned or rented as a vacation home.
Truth be told, this was a PALACE--rented at a cottage price!
(Photos: Daddy and Gabe playing cards and frisbee.)