Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Beauty and the Beast

Yesterday we saw the play, Beauty and the Beast, at the Children's Theatre. The kids really liked it and I thought it was good too. I love that the kids have opportunities to experience live performances and we're looking forward to enjoying more shows this season.

Before the show, we read Snowbear Whittington: an Appalachian Beauty and the Beast and Beauty and the Beast adapted by Jan Brett. We then compared the books to each other and the play.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Universal Orlando

My son has been asking to go to Universal for a long time. He's seen the signs when we've been to Florida. Boys love superheroes. We love Walt Disney World though and just never took the time to go anywhere else while there. We also weren't sure if there would be much for the girls to do there.

A few months ago, we found out that we would be in Orlando. We spent two weeks at WDW in January so this seemed  like a good time to try something different.

I think it was a good time of year to go. It was still hot, but not too bad and not crowded. Most waits were 5-10 minutes. On Saturday, it did get more crowded, but still manageable. I'm glad we tried it and we had fun. It was nice to see new characters and the theming. I think it's a good park for 2-3 days. The kids weren't too interested in Universal Studios, but they really liked Islands of Adventure (mainly Seuss Landing and Marvel Super Hero Island).  

Things we did at Universal Studios:

  1. Jimmy Neutron: kids liked this and we did it twice; for some reason, it scared Molly so she and I got stationary seats the second time and she liked it better.  

  2. Shrek 4-D: not sure why, but Caleigh wouldn't do this; Chad saw it with the other two

  3. Jaws: Chad, Colin, and Molly rode this; Colin thought it was a little scary

  4. Animal Actors on Location: kids all liked this show

  5. Curious George Goes to Town: small waterpark that the kids would have stayed at all day if we let them

  6. Woody Woodpecker's Coaster: Molly loved this; she and Colin rode it 3 or 4 times

  7. E.T. Adventure: they all liked this; Molly kept saying let's go back to see Little E.T.

  8. Men In Black: Chad rode this with Colin and Molly; they said it was similar to Buzz Lightyear

  9. Characters: Scooby, Shaggy, Madagascar (penguins & lion), Shrek, Donkey, Woody Woodpecker, Curious George, Man in the Yellow Hat, Bart Simpson. We also saw Fiona, Spongebob, and Dora, but didn't meet them.

Things we did at Islands of Adventure:

  1. The Cat in the Hat: loved this and did it many times

  2. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: they really liked this and did it many times

  3. Caro-Seuss-el: just a carousel, but it did have some unique animals and they liked it

  4. High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride: the girls really liked this; the first time we rode it was the best because it told the story of the Sneetches (really good since Chad didn't know it), but all the other times it just did a rhyming thing that none of us liked as much

  5. If I Ran the Zoo: small play area

  6. Spiderman Adventure: this scared Caleigh a little even though I wouldn't have thought it was scary for her; Chad and Colin rode it 3 or 4 times

  7. Storm Force Acceletron: this is just like teacups at WDW so the girls loved it

  8. Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges: Chad, Colin, & Molly did this twice; they got soaked

  9. Me Ship, the Olive: the girls liked this play area, but it made me nervous because they would slide down and it took me a while to get down the 2 flights of stairs to get to them

  10. Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls: one time on this was enough for Colin

  11. Jurassic Park River Adventure: Molly and Chad went on this and later took Colin. It was funny because Molly kept telling Colin what was about to happen and trying to reassure him it wasn't going to be scary even though she was holding onto Chad as tight as possible the whole time. Caleigh loved standing in the splash zone of this ride. She got wetter than the people on the ride.

  12. Jurassic Park Discovery Center: We saw a dinosaur hatch here. Colin was chosen to give the baby a name; he couldn't think of one and so it was named after me. He got a certificate for naming baby Sarah.

  13. Characters: Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, Thing 2, Grinch, Sam I Am, Spiderman, Wolverine, Captain America, Storm, Rogue, Cyclops, Betty Boop

We also did a character breakfast at Confisco Grille. The food was pretty good and the characters were great, especially Spiderman. He really took the time to talk to the kids. The funniest thing happened when we arrived at the restaurant. Spiderman was perched on the railing. Colin assumed it was a statue and reach out to touch the leg. Just when his hand was almost there, Spiderman said, "Watch what you're touching, kid." Colin screamed because he was so surprised. The girls teased him and laughed about it for days.

I'm sure we'll be going back again sometime. My sister says we have to go with her when the Harry Potter section opens and I know the kids wouldn't object to that. 

Here are a few pictures (there are more on my facebook for those who are my friend on there):

This is where Spiderman was when he scared Colin.

That Cat in the Hat was a big hugger.

The girls loved these shirts and started talking about themselves as if they were really the Things.

Chad is a Grinch fan. Not sure the feeling is mutual though. In some other picutes, he's holding his nose saying Chad stinks.

Another Colin funny. He didn't know what to think when this guy grabbed him.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When I Was Young in the Mountains

I chose this book because Colin was studying mountains. We only spent a few days on it, but we will stay with similar subject matter for the remainder of the week and next week.

Geography: Appalachian Mountains and West Virginia

Math: count animals in book and make a graph showing the information

Social Studies: occupations (coal miner, traveling photographer)

Science: snakes, mountains

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Disney Halloween Party

We're on vacation in Florida to go to Universal Studios, but we couldn't pass up a chance to go to Disney World when we're so close. I've always wanted to go to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party so we decided to give it a try. We all had a really great time. We were happy with what we got to do and got a little taste of Disney to hold us over until the next time. '

The party is officially from regular park closing at 7 p.m. to midnight. They will allow you in at 4 p.m. with your party ticket though. We got there a little after that with our costumed children. Colin's costume was very hot so we convinced him to take it off. To accomplish that, we had to buy him a shirt and hat. He still ended up putting the costume back on once the party started. He was very happy that many people knew he was Jango Fett.

We tried to do most of the rides we wanted before the party.

Rides We Did:

  1. Mad Tea Party
  2. Winnie the Pooh
  3. Dumbo (the girls and me)
  4. Splash Mountain (boys)
  5. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (boys)
  6. Peter Pan's Flight
  7. Snow White's Scary Adventure
  8. Buzz Lightyear
  9. Astro Orbiter (rode this during the party)
  10. Magic Carpets of Aladdin (during party)
  11. Goofy's Barnstormer (boys during party)

Characters We Met:

  1. Cinderella
  2. Belle
  3. Sleeping Beauty
  4. Pooh (Super Sleuth costume)
  5. Eeyore (dressed as clown)
  6. Minnie (witch costume)
  7. Mickey (magician costume)
  8. Mad Hatter (we just missed Alice; she took a break when we were almost there)
  9. Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, & Drizella (Cinderalla's step-mother and step-sisters) '

We saw a lot of other characters out that the kids either didn't want to see or the lines were too long. I would have liked to have seen Snow White since she had all seven dwarves with her, but the line was long and the kids weren't too interested. We are usually able to see her and Dopey on every trip. I really wanted to see Piglet since he's not out much and he was dressed as Tinkerbell, but we just didn't get to it.

They had two dance parties with the characters. Colin, Caleigh, and I were able to dance with Donald Duck (in pumpkin costume) and Daisy (princess costume). Later, Caleigh and I went to the other party with Goofy, Stitch, and Pluto (all in costumes, but I can't remember what they were).

It started to rain right around 7:00 so we were afraid it would ruin the party. We decided just to go on and do things anyway. We got the girls pictures in front of Cinderella's carriage. I really wanted to do that since Caleigh was dressed as Cinderella. At first, she wasn't happy to be getting wet, but she did good and we got a nice picture. Then we did some trick or treating. We ended up getting a huge bag of candy even though we didn't even stop at all the spots or go looking for them. The rain didn't last too long and we all started drying out.

The fireworks were really good and we all really liked the parade. Many of the characters were in costume. At the beginning, the headless horseman rode through.

We left the park right at midnight. The kids did well staying up. Molly fell asleep in the stroller on the way out. She was very upset when she woke up as we got to the truck. Once we got to the hotel and everyone changed, they quickly went to sleep.

I'm really glad we decided to do the party. It was cheaper than a regular one day pass and we still got 8 hours in the park. We enjoyed many of the party events. It was fun seeing characters dressed up. The kids had fun getting dressed up in their costumes too. I know some girls dress in princess costumes on regular days, but we've never let our kids so it was a big deal for them.  They thought it was neat to go trick or treating there too.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Angus Lost

We finished our ocean study this week. Colin worked more on ancient Greece.

He also studied caves for science. Since we only had a couple days left in the week, we did a Before Five in a Row book, Angus Lost. The dog wanders away from home and ends up spending the night in a cave. He finds his way home the next day by following the milkman.

We read Angus and the Ducks. It's another story about the same dog.

We read the book, Dogs, by Gail Gibbons, which shows many different breeds of dogs. Then we read a couple other books with dogs as the main character.

We learned about the milk making process by reading The Milk Makers by Gail Gibbons and watching a DVD about the book that included showing how to milk cows.

Lastly, we all climbed into a cave. We used a fabric tunnel we have as the mouth of the cave. We climbed through that to get into the the closet. Once inside, we turned off our light and discussed what it would be like inside the cave. We talked about the darkness, whether plants would live inside, the dampness, and the animals that would live in the cave.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Night of the Moonjellies

Last week we rowed the book, Night of the Moonjellies.

Geography: New England states

Social Studies: responsibility

Math: money (Caleigh)

Art: drawing with pastels, draw ocean animals using Draw Write Now

Science: oceans, jellyfish

We located the New England states on our map, talked about which ones were included in that, and discussed why the area is called New England.  We read books on oceans, coral reefs, jellyfish, crabs, starfish, money, the beach, and kids working.

Notebook Pages (this is Caleigh's; Colin's doesn't have anything different) 

 On the left is her drawing of the cover of the book. She used pastels and then watercolors.

If you open, the U.S. map, it looks like this:

 Most of the books came from homeschool share. There are the jellfish ones (anatomy, predators, protection, and how the get food). There are also some that have to do more directly with the book (responsibilities of the boy in the story, list of food from the restaurant, and map showing New England states). The drawings book is their drawings from Draw Write Now.

Here is a picture of Molly's pastel/watercolor drawing. She insists it looks just like the cover of the book. I had to show it because she was so funny. She held it up to the book as if that would definitely prove it.

We made our own jellyfish. We cut 3" styrofoam balls in half, painted them, sprinkled glitter on, waited for them to dry, and then taped streamers to the bottom.


Finished jellyfish:

The kids painted some sea creatures I found in the dollar section at Target. They played  a game called Leap Around. It's like Twister, but with sea animals. 

For snack time, we made oysters using vanilla wafers, frosting, and mint balls.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Apple Orchard

We're having some really great weather this week. The temperatures have been much cooler making us excited for fall. We decided to take advantage of that and take a trip to the apple orchard.

We had a wagon to haul the apples while we were picking. Molly had wanted to ride on the wagon, but I wouldn't let her. When we stopped to take this picture, she insisted that she at least get to sit on the wagon.

We got a whole bushel of apples. The kids loved picking them. I had to tell them to stop once the basket was full. Now we need to figure out what to do with them all.

Colin was very happy to get an apple cider slushie after we finished. The girls weren't sure they wanted one until they had a sample. Then they decided it was good and needed one too.