O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalms 43:3

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. D&C 88:118

The kids

The kids

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Birthday Party

I don’t do young child birthday parties. I just can’t handle them. However, as my kids have gotten older, I have allowed them to hold their own birthday party. I figured once they were old enough to plan and execute their own party and I wouldn’t have to be super involved in it/entertain the kids the whole time, I could do it. As they get older, I think it is good for them to have some friends over, so it works for me. As as result, I told them 10 years old.

Butterfly was so excited to plan her own birthday. She planned it for MONTHS. She had lists, pages, agendas, schedules, friend lists, mock invitations, etc. Originally she planned “10 friends with 10 activities for her 10th birthday!” I had to limit the number of friends and advise her that scheduling 10 minutes of day dreaming probably wasn’t going to happen at her party given her list of friends. Some of them would have happily engaged in day dreaming, but the rest probably wouldn’t have. In the end, she settled on a tea party and making shrinky dink jewelry with all the girls in her co-op classes. What really happened was a tea party, fort building outside, and shrinky dink jewelry. Butterfly planned the decorations, wore her favorite dress, made tea sandwiches, and asked for spiced apple cider to pour out of the teapot she made. I also cut up fruit for the party- pineapple, strawberries, and apples.

It was so funny to listen to the girls having their tea party. They giggled and plotted. One sweet girl kept reminding the others that they were “ladies” and should practice their best manners since this was a tea party. Another little girl told them that since they were just kids they should just have fun.

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After tea, the girls decided they wanted to play outside. During their tea, they dreamed up the game they would play, “Yard Kids.” Everyone created their own persona. Apparently Yard Kids is a game of house except all the kids don’t have parents and they live outside… The game actually started before the tea party when Butterfly, Pumpkin Pie, and a friend were playing together outside on a different day, but then it expanded to the whole group.

The yard kids went to work building a fort. IMG_1008IMG_1009

Eventually, they got cold and came inside. Then, despite the fact that there was only half an hour left of the party, they decided it was time to delve into the shrinky dinks. Moms arrived and the girls were still hard at work. Butterfly had a grand time and I think her friends did too.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Snow Day

Last week we had a snow day! We really haven’t had much snow this year, even the little bit we got didn’t stick around long. The big kids ran off to play leaving B and I with Strawberry and Little One. We bundled up Little One, put on a pair of snow boots that are tad too big for him, and headed out. February 2014_0050Unlike the rest of my kids, Little One enjoyed poking his fingers in the snow and even didn’t mind trying to walk. I remember both Pumpkin Pie and Strawberry at about 15-18 months and they hated the snow and clunky boots. They just sat and fussed after about a minute. Little One laughed. After struggling to stand up a few times, he took off and didn’t care that the snow was slippery and hard to walk in and his boots were too big and stiff.February 2014_0045February 2014_0047February 2014_0048February 2014_0071February 2014_0065

Strawberry enjoyed making lots of snow angels.February 2014_0058February 2014_0060 February 2014_0064February 2014_0059

As we walked home from our walk, the big kids were staging for a snowball attack… B was ready for them though.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

KinderBach- Schoolhouse Review

Kinderbach Review

With two older sisters learning to play piano and a brother who also plays, Strawberry has been clamoring for piano lessons of her own. I was offered the chance to review The KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Membership with Teacher Corner from KinderBach. KinderBach online membership is intended for children ages 3-7 and costs $95.88 per year at the time of this review. Normally it costs $130 per year. A membership to the KinderBach online program includes 6 levels of video lessons, each with 10 weeks of 4 lessons each (about 240 lessons), appropriate workbooks, and the teacher corner. KinderBach videos are viewable on many different platforms. I only used it on my PC but according to the website, the videos associated with the online membership are also viewable on iPad, Android Tablets, Kindle Fire, and Nook. The lessons are taught by the KinderBach founder Karri Gregor. 

KinderBach teaches six areas of music ear listening skills, note reading, rhythm, hand position, singing, and composition with incremental and age appropriate music, pictures, and stories. Ear listening exercises include activities like discerning high or low pitch as well as loud and quiet and recognizing and duplicating rhythms. Note reading includes recognizing patterns, simple chord symbols, notes on a staff, and knowing the letter names of the keys on the keyboard. Note reading progresses from reading pictures on a set of stairs to reading notes on a staff. Initially, KinderBach uses the Piano Pals for note reading. The “Piano Pals” are cute characters to help a young pianist learn where the notes are on the piano and get to know the keyboard more fluently. Eventually, these characters make way for actual notes. Rhythm lessons includes recognizing the beat value as well as how to count the beat and time signatures. Hand position lessons includes numbering fingers, left and right hands, and proper hand position. Singing helps with learning to play by ear and is also included in some of the lessons. During the time of the review, Strawberry experienced all areas of music except the composition area. Each of the lessons include activities like coloring, singing, clapping, dancing, and playing the keyboard.

The Teacher Corner allows a parent to download all materials for a class easier. Included are manuals, worksheets and workbook pdfs, and other resources. In order to utilize KinderBach, it is essential to have at least a keyboard with regular sized keys, rhythm instruments of some kind (but this could be a plastic cup and a spoon), glue, scissors, crayons, paper, cardstock and a printer.

The Teacher Corner is not something I really used. It is primarily geared to those who want to teach KinderBach to more than one student. Some of the resources includes a Lesson Plan Book (about 25 pages), Teacher Aid Book (color pictures and charts to print and use in your lessons), Teacher Guide, Audio MP3 files, Student book, goal book, and certificate. Not every resource is available for all levels, and nothing is yet available for Level 6, but they are being added. There are also some resources available for Level 7, although there are no videos for level 7 in the lessons. Additionally, there are coloring pages, music, and story books available to download and use. The coloring books and storybooks include the stories about the piano pals and excerpts from lessons. The music will allow a child to play music right away, even before he or she knows how to read music.

Overall I really like KinderBach. I like that lessons are really short- usually under 5 minutes. This is perfect for a preschooler. It also allows them to repeat a lesson several times without taking too much time. I like that all of the lessons are engaging and hands on. The music and songs encourage involvement and most of them didn’t grate on my nerves the way some preschool music does.

The first day I opened KinderBach, Strawberry asked to do several lessons in a row. Some of them multiple times. Every day she asks for her piano lessons.When B comes home, she proudly shows off her coloring pages and tells her dad what she has learned.

Each time we did a lesson, we clicked on the appropriate lesson and Strawberry participated. In the following picture, she was practicing discerning high and low pitch with her body. When the music was high pitch, she stood high. When it was low pitch, she crouched low. Frisco, the character seen in the picture also danced to the music to help the child see what to do. IMG_0961IMG_0959

I love that each lesson has both the associated worksheet with the lesson as well as what the lesson purpose is listed underneath the video. This helped me to know what materials would be needed as well as to get the right pages printed even though I didn’t print every single page. Alternatively, the entire lesson book is available to print from the Level screen if you desire to print the entire book and bind it.  Since I found that it was not necessary to print every single worksheet, I preferred the option to print from the lesson.  Kinderbach Review

Kinderbach Review

The attention to details is fabulous. Each week has an intro where all the materials for the coming week are noted as well as what will be covered. Then there are four lessons during the week. One great example of the attention to detail was found in an exercise where the children were distinguishing loud and quiet sounds. There was one bubble left in quiet and none in loud. The host pointed out that she could still do something loud and then the child would need to draw a bubble in the loud side. I loved that since it helps to keep kids engaged and not just assuming the right answer.

I also like that when the kids are asked to do something, KinderBach gives ample time before revealing the answer. Strawberry felt like the teacher was really talking to her and would answer the teacher’s questions during the lessons. I also like that many of the materials needed are common. For example, when rhythm instruments are needed, it can be as simple as two sticks or pencils or in the picture below, a new unsharpened pencil and Strawberry’s hand. The teacher in the video used a milk jug and stick to make music in addition to more traditional rhythm instruments.

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The biggest con I found was that initially the videos are small and sometimes when they are blown up to full screen they are a little blurry. This isn’t true for all of the videos, but for quite a few it is. I also would have liked to have an easier way to remember where we were in the lessons. The lesson area does not keep track of progress at all.

The first two weeks of lessons are available for free to try. We have really enjoyed KinderBach and will continue to use it for music practice. I am really grateful that we were given this opportunity and give this product a thumbs up!  
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Saturday, February 22, 2014

White Belt with a Gold Stripe

Strawberry had her first Little Dragons Test a few weeks ago. It is fun teaching her class and being her Sensei. I love getting to present belts to my family, but this is the first time I got to have a picture of the new belt with sensei and be the sensei in the picture!

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Glorious Homeschool Day

One of the things I want my children to experience is theater. On Tuesday I took the kids to see Pinocchio. It was a new take on the show- we arrived and the set looked like a painters workshop. Knowing the theater we were in, I was a bit surprised to see such an off set. I had expected a woodworker’s shop! The premise was a bunch of painters telling the audience who won’t leave the story of Pinocchio. The use whatever painter materials they have on hand to tell the store. It was so well done. It was especially fun because our play last week had the children playing children playing other characters. I thought I had a picture of the set but maybe I only thought about taking the picture and never got around to it. Anyway, we went with some friends. So fun.

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Then, one family joined us on an expedition to the spice store. We started out by riding the monorail. It was raining and really cold. Even though there was a roof over us, all the kids were gathering under the umbrella.


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Once we got to the other end of the route, we ran down several blocks in the rain to the spice store. Then we ran back to the monorail. The kids loved it, even the running in the rain. Butterfly was kind enough to share the inside jacket with her brother who forgot his jacket at home.

Then, we went to the Science Center.

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Tiger took Little One to play in the tot area for a little bit and then ran off to explore other areas himself. Meanwhile, Pumpkin Pie and Butterfly explored the tide pools and learned all about the animals that they were touching. The docent was fabulous. February 2014_0158February 2014_0157

Little One’s walking abilities meant he wasn’t content to hang out in the carrier. He wanted to play too! Thankfully there is a little tots area. He loved the water table. Silly boy hates baths but likes splashing in puddles.  February 2014_0160He also had fun climbing on the play structure.  Finally a place where he could climb without being taken down or stopped. February 2014_0163February 2014_0165

After we got home, B helped Strawberry and Pumpkin Pie sort the spices and sort our jars.

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Know we would be gone all day, Tiger took his books he was reading for class in the car with us and did almost all his readings on the way to the theater and back. Way to use your time Tiger!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Breathing a Sigh of Relief

My regularly scheduled Make It Monday was interrupted this week with the home stretch play production. On Saturday the kids performed with their co-op in our annual play. We performed a story about children shipwrecked on an island. While they wait for rescue, they tell each other Greek Myths. It was a great success. I am so proud of all the kids. They worked hard. I am so grateful for all the moms who helped out back stage from set and prop design to cueing lines to helping kids get on and off stage. There is no way that this play could have come together without all their help. 7 weeks of intense prep…

One great thing about our play is that we structure it so that all the kids, even our PreK/K kids can do something. They didn’t get added until the dress rehearsal, but they got to play a part in it too.

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Isn’t that cave fabulous! Our set director named it Catawampus Cave.

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Now that our play is over, I will be teaching a class at Relief Society on making lip balms and lotion bars- look for that in a future Make it Monday. I will also be teaching another class on making herbal products as well as a time management class to the middle school age students at co-op. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Gates, Doors, and Boxes- Welcome to 11 months

Little One is now 11 months old. He has 4 little teeth and is starting to enjoy frozen peas, potato chunks, avocado chunks, tomato chunks, beans, apple pieces, red peppers, and he loves some mango kale applesauce squeezers from Costco.February 2014_0109February 2014_0106Little One should have a different name- Busy One! He is BUSY. He has been walking now for a month and a half and is quite steady now, although he does tend to bonk his head frequently still. Usually because he tries to stand up under a table or something. He is also extremely curious and loves to open doors, cupboards, drawers, boxes, and anything else he can get into. He will dump the contents of any container given the chance.

He also likes to explore and frequently will be doing something near me and then wander into another room. TROUBLE. I have taken to closing doors, barricading certain areas of the house, and I created a fence across one room to contain him at least part time while we are downstairs. The worst problem we have is when children don’t close the bathroom door… He hates bath time but finds the toilet incredibly fascinating and will play in it any chance he gets… Sad smile

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When we get our produce box each week, he attempts to unpack it for me. Usually he ends up grasping some oranges and sucking on them!


Little One loves to grab glasses too. IMG_0981

He is so full of grins and makes everyone smile. He is still struggling to sleep sometimes. He is doing better than he was though. I am trying to figure out if it is a food sensitivity.