May 31, 2011

One New Niece + One Holiday Weekend = Photos, but No Time to Post

My first ever niece was born on Friday!
(I do have a sweet crew of nephews, but it is fun for E to have another girl in the cousin posse.)
Introducing: Iris Corine

The kids got their passports.  Colin joked that if ours don't arrive, we'll still be sending the kids to Northern Ireland in July with their grandparents.  I'm sure we'd find some way to use those two weeks alone!

Sunday afternoon we picnicked with Colin's folks and friends.
The adults enjoyed food and being sedentary in the heat while the kids tore it up on the slip 'n slide!

  Monday morning E and I ran in a 5K in my hometown that my brother had invited us to run with him and his son, Wyatt.  So fun!  This was a first for Elizabeth and she clocked 37:24.  It was beastly hot, even at 8:30am, but we all survived and my parents treated us to a wonderful brunch at their house afterward.

The crew of little runners in their award t-shirts!

Cousins clearing a large branch from my parent's yard.

Iris with her eyes open!

My dad took us for ice cream (right before dinner, yeah!)  It was hot in the place and things melted fast.  Brian has yet to learn the art of neat ice cream eating. 

 As for the other two, they did fine, though we have other things to work on.  E and Wyatt were the two that placed first in the race for the boys and girls 11 and under, and as they got into the backseat of the van to go home from ice-creaming, Elizabeth said, "This is where the champions sit."

Humble pie, anyone?

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.
We're kinda melting here in Pittsburgh....

May 24, 2011

Art with Kids: it's easier than I thought

This spring we joined a Tuesday afternoon homeschooling group for their final six week session.  The kids are split into two groups, 1st-3rd grades and 4th-6th grades, that spend an hour on one subject and then switch subjects for the second hour.   This spring it was art and soccer.  Soccer was pretty straight forward, but it's the art class format that I'd like to share!

Julie, the teacher, shared a little about an artist and one of their primary styles of art, then she had an activity planned that allowed the kids to try out the artistic method.  So simple, so genius!

Above, you can see a sample of some of Elizabeth's renderings: Picasso/Cubism, Seurat/Pointillism, Escher/Patterns (two projects), and Van Gogh/Impasto (thick chunky paint that they mimicked with clay on cardboard).  Sadly, Elizabeth missed the watercolor week.  If you like that art display rod, it's a wire curtain rod you can pick up at Ikea for $12.99; Colin gets the credit for that great idea!

13 Artists Children Should Know

Our group has adjourned for the summer, but it occurred to me that I could continue with Tuesday art appreciation and projects!  I got the wonderful book to the right at the beginning of the school year, but haven't really used it ... until now.  Wa-hoo!  Embarrassingly, there are project ideas in the book I could have taken advantage of.  There's a brief two-page description of an artist including examples of his/her work with suggestions of how you might try it out.  This book in conjunction with Julie's art class have taken away the feeling I need to be an expert in art to teach or share it with my children.

Today we read about Henri Matisse and gave a some free-hand silhouette collage a try.  Elizbeth really got into it, while Brian mutilated a piece of black paper with scissors and then glued and taped a piece of yellow construction paper into a wad ... completely missing the point of the lesson while thoroughly enjoying himself in proper two-almost-three year old fashion!

There are so many beautiful art styles out there using such a variety of media!  You can get online too, and do a Google image search of an artist's work, even if you can't get to a museum.  We'll have to save our field trip to Matisse's museum in France for another day, but that didn't mean we couldn't enjoy him this morning!

May 23, 2011

Three Signs that Summer is at Hand!

1. Yesterday Brian and I had some Rita's I-talian ice, and sat in the shade to beat the heat ... a little.

2. I felt it was finally safe to plant things in our mini garden plot today.  I know nothing about gardening and have low hopes for our "crops."  But it is fun to dig in the dirt and watch things grow!
itty-bitty zinnias

itty-bitty carrots

Now we've just got to get a weed whacker
for the rest of the space!

3. This afternoon, Elizabeth asked about getting out our sprinkler elephant.  I wanted to say no, but had no good reason not to give it a shot.  I'm glad she suggested it; they had a blast!

It's not officially summer yet, but these last few days have me looking forward to it!

May 22, 2011

Her 7th Birthday Party

The last of the birthday posts!
We prepared the house just an hour before the party, because I lost track of time.
Fortunately decorations were up from the day before.  Phew!

We got the tables ready and blew up balloons.

Guests came and we did a pin-the-tail type game (of which I took no photos), then got into the sugar cube building competition.  At the end the kids and adults voted for their favorites and we gave 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons.  I should have gotten pictures of their creations.  Oops!

We ate cake.

And finally the gifts.  I love how excited kids get about giving gifts!

This year Elizabeth was old enough to help with MUCH of the party preparations: reading the directions and preparing the cake, writing on the cake to decorate it, blowing up balloons, arranging tables, chairs, etc.  This growing-up thing is really fun, watching your children mature and change.  Yep, I like it.  Sure, I miss bitty-baby Elizabeth, but as my wise friend once said, "I love every stage!"  Elizabeth was tiny at the time and I didn't believe her.  Um, yes, now I humbly admit that she is SO right.

May 21, 2011

A Birthday Girl

Yesterday afternoon, we got ready to party with family -
our first family party in our own place in Pittsburgh!
One the menu: make-your-own English muffin pizzas.


 Everyone came!
We ate, sang, had cake, adults talked, kids played, and E opened gifts.


Do you notice any resemblance?
My mother couldn't resist getting these dvds.

*     *     *     *     *

Today is her actual birthday!
She requested strawberry pancakes for breakfast;
I can now recommend this recipe.

E was the last of us to wake up, with last night's late partying.
Colin and I were really excited to have her open her gifts.
He's taking her to the ballgame tomorrow afternoon,
and now she's the proud owner of a pink Wii controller!

This afternoon we party with her little friends, My Little Pony style!
More photos to come.