My grandmother

My grandmother, Anna Marie Williams, img_1177passed away a few days ago.  I wanted to just take a moment to share some memories to celebrate the life of someone who meant so very much to me.

My Grammy was spunky and loved to laugh.  She loved young people and often complained about all the old people around her being “BORING!!!” (I wish you could hear the high pitched ringing way she used to say this, never once acknowledging that she herself was one of those old people).  When our family would go to the beach, she used to body surf with the older grandkids and play in the sand and water with us younger ones.  She even used to play Atari with my brother and sister which made her pretty darn cool.

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My Grammy was a huge part of my life.  We shared a birthday–something I didn’t really appreciate as a kid but cherished as an adult.

Grammy was the one who taught me how to sew and together we made an ugly blue jumper I wore with pride on my eighth birthday.  She was the one who gave me back my “blue blanky” when my parents took it away to get me to stop sucking my thumb.  She was the one who made me soup and cottage cheese every single day even in the summer because that’s what I loved to eat for lunch.  And she was the one who played Sorry! with me in the afternoons and didn’t let me win just because I was a kid.

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I know that she had a life beyond being my grandma.  She was born on an orange farm and lost her mother when she was young.  She was a writer and went to junior college.  She had adventures and worries and troubles.  But to me she was just Grammy.  She was the one who took care of me and who loved me.

Grammy Child
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Grammy is in the center canoeing with her friends

Grammy is in the center canoeing with her friends

 

Grammy & GrampyYou really can’t talk about Grammy without talking about my Grampy.  They were married in Georgia while he was in boot camp getting ready to head off to World War II.  It’s the stuff family legends are made of–her train trip out with her soon to be mother-in-law, the few days they had before he headed off to war, never knowing if they would see each other again.  Luckily my grandpa survived being shot and came home so that they could have my mom and two aunts who went on to have all of us.  They were a so incredibly in love and so much a part of one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My grandparents babysat me img082every single weekday while my parents worked for the first 10 years of my life.  They took me on outings and chaperoned school fieldtrips.  We did crafts and grew tomatoes together. One summer my grandpa even helped me build a giant tent house in their backyard with dropcloths and my grandma would bring my lunch out to it.  I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

 

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My grandparents taught us all how to live with integrity and joy.  Grampy passed away 19 years ago and yet he is still very much a part of our family’s life.  As my grandma was dying she talked about dancing with my grandpa–I have no doubt that they are dancing now together again.

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The woman my daughters have come to know as Great Grammy isn’t quite the woman I have described. But I am glad they knew and loved her. Great Grammy didn’t go places and build things the way my Grammy did. But she listened to the girls, watched their “shows” they did for her, took them to lunch at her nursing home, and showed them her cat. She even helped make them hats out of the cloth napkins the last time we visited her.

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I can’t wait until my children are older and I can tell them these stories and they can appreciate who she was to me as much as they appreciate who she was to them. And as I look back through pictures of her with the girls I am touched by the big smile and look of utter joy I see on Grammy’s face in every single picture.  She loved her family.

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Towards the end of her life, Grammy used to love to say, “It’s all because of me.  Well, and Thurman.  If it wasn’t for us none of you would be here.  It’s all because of the two of us that you are all alive. I just love thinking about how we made all of this.”

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I loved my Grammy very much!  I am so grateful of all that she did for me and all the happy times we shared.  Until we meet again Grammy, good bye!

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My Little Pony Printable Cut-outs

Our family LOVES My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic!  I am sure at some point there will even be a blog post professing our love in more detail.  I’m actually surprised there hasn’t already been one…  Anyway, back to the matter at hand.  Season 5 is FINALLY starting and so to celebrate here are some MLP printables for the kiddos to color and cut out.

My Little Pony Color and Cut

He originally designed these back when the girls were practicing their cutting.  (Now we are wishing they would use the scissors a little less often.)

Twilight Sparkle

We usually add a craft stick to the back and turn them into puppets.

My Little Pony Puppets

You can also glue them to a background.

Cutie Mark Crusaders

Or even add them to a bag to make goody bags for your MLP birthday party.

My Little Pony Treat Bags

We have all the mane six–Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy–as well as all kinds of other characters–Spike, Discord, Zecora, Shining Armor, Princess Cadence, Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, the Cutie Crusaders, Big Mac, and Queen Crysalis.

Download My Little Pony Cut Outs

Mane Six Coloring

Word Wall Ball

Last week  I put on a Word Wall Ball for our military homeschool group and it was… word wall ball titleAWESOME!  Okay, I know that is totally braggy but I’m just really happy with how well it went and how much fun we all had.

So what is a Word Wall Ball you ask?  Well, my sister gave me the idea from something she observed in a kindergarten class.  The idea was that kids would have their list of sight words on their word wall when they have learned all of them they earn a ticket to the Word Wall Ball.  Really we just celebrated everyone’s accomplishments in reading, whether it was learning sight words or starting to read for the first time or finishing a grade level.

DSCN1720We held it at the community center on base and everyone brought a potluck dish to share for lunch.  I said for the kids to dress fancy for them–whatever would make them feel special–and boy did they dress up.  I had helium filled balloons floating around with strings long enough for the kiddos to catch them and then other balloons on the ground for kids to bounce around (if you know me IRL you know what a big deal this was for me because I HATE balloons).  When they entered I had royal music playing (alright, it was just the march from Sleeping Beauty) and as soon as the kids came in and saw the balloons and everything they started screaming and bouncing around and dancing.

In addition to the balloons and dancing, we also did a cake walk.  If you haven’t done a cake walk, you are seriously missing out.  Think happy musical chairs with cupcake prizes.  We had sight words cards for our spaces.  When the music plays the kids walk around the circle.  When the music stops, we call out a word and the child standing on that space gets a cupcake and leaves the circle.  Add in a DSCN1686new kiddo and begin again.  We just played until everyone got a cupcake. (Okay in a real cake walk it would be cakes and then you would start with a whole new group, but I really like it this way.)

Download the Sight Word Cake Walk

 

I also had out scratch out for the kids to do.  Such an easy craft–just set out the supplies–but such a big hit.

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And we had a photo booth!  I think I love the pictures even more than the kids loved taking them. 🙂

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I found my props online; then just cut them out and added shish kabob skewers.  I recommend using an exacto knife for the eye holes and other fine details.  And before sure to glue the skewers with the pointy end against the paper piece so no one gets hurt.  So many are for weddings or adult parties but I found good ones for the kiddos at Accent the Party (a great list) and Creative Juice.

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But the best part of all for everyone was recognizing the children’s accomplishments.  On the walls I had a img074book for each kiddo celebrating their achievements in reading.  I had the parents write me with what they wanted to celebrate and then I just copied and pasted them onto the book stencil.  At the end of the party we gathered the children around to acknowledge each of their accomplishments.  After announcing the child’s name, I would read their “book” to the group and we all cheered.

I am uploading the book template as a powerpoint file so that you can make adjustments and add your text.  I am also adding it as a pdf in case you can not open the powerpoint.

Book template powerpoint

Book template pdf

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In homeschooling kids can miss out on public recognition of their achievements.  While we shouldn’t do things just for the applause, it certainly is nice to be celebrated.  I think all the parents were surprised at just how much it meant to our children to recognize them in front of the group.  You would have thought they won the lottery when I called a name.  We will definitely be doing this again in the future.

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That night the girls told me how proud they were of themselves.  Looking at those smiles, I know that the greatest part for them was getting recognized for their hard work.  And one of the greatest parts for me…  Mia ran up, gave me a giant hug, and said “Thank you Mama!”

P.S. We used the plain scratch art paper that I actually cut in half sheets and it worked just great. The kiddos loved creating their own designs. But if you are looking for something a little more fancy or structured, there really are all kinds of great options.

Will it Freeze? Experiment

As part of our Frozen-themed unit we did an experiment to see how different liquids freeze differently.  Our question was “Do all liquids freeze the same?”  States of matter are one of the girls’ favorite science topics lately so this experiment was right up their ally.  I loved that it was such a quick and easy experiment that they found interesting.

First we gathered a bunch of different liquids…

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Need ideas?  Here’s what all we used:

  • Water
  • Orange Juice
  • Olive oil
  • Sprite
  • Tomato Juice
  • Corn syrup
  • Shampoo
  • Ketchup
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Windex
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Milk
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Wine
  • Apple Juice

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I made these worksheets for them to use as we went through the experiment.  I thought it was interesting that the girls each had a different hypothesis–one saying they will all freeze the same and the other saying that they will freeze at different times.  The ice cube tray diagram allowed us to keep track of which liquids were in which spot.

Freezing experiment

We then placed our ice cube tray into the freezer.  Then at our set intervals we would take out the tray and record our observations.  I just had them make an F in each square that was frozen when we checked.  After doing the experiment I realized it would be better if we had checked after 10 minutes, 1 hour, and then 4 hours so I changed the worksheets to reflect that.

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Click here to download Will it Freeze? worksheets

The girls were able to come to the conclusion that different liquids freeze at different rates.  We were also able to introduce the idea of viscosity since they were able to see how it affects the rate of freezing as those with a high viscosity froze more rapidly than those with a low viscosity.

 

New and Improved

Very excited about the new layout for my blog!  Really I’m just excited to start blogging again.  I know it’s been pretty spotty, especially since our little man joined the family but I’m excited to get back into the groove.

When I started my blog I never really expected anyone to read it.  I just thought it would be a fun thing for me, so I’m really surprised that I have had more than 110,000 views.  I know that’s not a lot for the blogsphere but it’s a lot for me.  Especially since I don’t know 100,000 people so it can’t just be my friends being nice.  (Although I certainly don’t mind if my friends look at it just to be polite–I’ll take it.)

It’s crazy to think of how much our life has changed in the last few years.

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My girls when I started

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My girls now…

 

We’ve moved cities, Ed has changed jobs, we decided to homeschool the kiddos, and we added a child!

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The newest member

And along they way we’ve been having fun and laughing a lot!

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