Friday, September 9, 2011

Rainbow Day

For the last two weeks my preschool class has been doing "color days".
Each day was assigned a different color and the kids would wear that color to school and bring an item of that color from home to show their friends. Today was our last day so, of course, it was rainbow day!

We did several really fun activities including painting with all of the colors:

We also did a really cool activity with unflavored gelatin.
We had been having colored jell-o each day for all of the other colors, so today we "painted" some clear jell-o. We started with a bowl of unflavored gelatin that I had made the day before (this was trickier than I thought! The first batch we made was waaaay too hard so we melted it down in the microwave and added more water. We were pleased to find that it re-set nicely in the fridge, but bummed to find we had added a little too much water and it didn't hold it's shape when we took it out of the bowl. Third time was the charm! It took wiping the inside of the bowl with a little veggie oil on a paper towel and making sure to dip the bowl in HOT water for about 15 seconds before tipping it over.)

Step 2 was preparing our "paint". We filled these paint trays with a little bit of water in each well (probably about 1-2 Tbsp.) and then I had the kids name what colors they wanted to add. I used Colorations Liquid Watercolors - a.k.a. The Best Classroom Art Supply EVER. They are a definite must-have for any early childhood classroom. You will not regret the money you spend on these!
tip: the more concentrated the color the cooler it will look, but you don't want to use the liquid watercolors undiluted because then you'll end up using A LOT of them in order for you to have enough for the kids to be able to get in their droppers.

Step 3 was using plastic pipettes to inject the watercolors.
It was super fun to push them into the gelatin and watch the color squirt out!

Eventually the gelatin started to break into chunks from all of the injecting. We also cut it into sections to see what it was looking like on the inside. Eventually, I pulled some of the chuncks off and put them on a separate tray so we could look at how they had been stained by the paint. They looked like jagged jewels. 

 Once I figured out how to turn the camera's flash on, I took this one which shows all of the cracks and punctures from the pipettes.

We also ate rainbow snacks (candy corn and goldfish crackers) and sorted them by color before eating them... but really, after the whole gelatin injection project, popcorn and goldfish are kind of lame. ;-)

We did one other super cool project that I've been dying to try after seeing it all over the crafty blogosphere:
melted crayon canvas art!!!

I had the kids help to find the colors and put them in the right order.

Then I hot-glued the crayons along the top of the canvas...

 ...and turned on a blowdryer on the highest heat setting.

They started off pretty slowly, but once the wax started to heat up, it flowed really nicely.

 This was our finished product!

A lot of the pictures I've seen of similar artwork online have the wax covering more of the canvas, but my favorite part is the drips, so I kept a lot of drips and didn't melt as much of the wax as I could have.
I would have had the kids help with the hairdryer part, but by the time they sat through the process of finding and sorting the colors and waiting for me to hot-glue them on, they were ready to move on and go play. They all loved the finished piece though and were mezmorized by the drips.

As much as the kids loved it though, I think my favorite was the reaction of some of the adults in the building who saw it. Eyes bugged and jaws dropped and many people just asked "Where did you get that idea???" To which I responded, "Blogs!"

So thanks to all my bloggy friends who have done this project or posted pictures they found of other people who have done it. I'm definitely going to do more of these in the future and perhaps even a few for my house. Some of the ideas that my fellow teachers and I were discussing were using metallic crayons on a black canvas or experimenting with adding another layer of crayons over the first after it dries.

It's been a really fun two weeks in preschool.
Now I have to figure out what we're going to do on Monday...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Strange Pets

My cats like to sleep in strange places.

Exhibit #1: Charlie with his face in a croc.

Exhibit #2: Emmett deciding that the only thing that would make sleeping on my lap more comfortable, is using Maddie as a seat cushion.

Oddly enough, Maddie didn't seem to mind.

Exhibit #3: I turn the corner into the family room to find this scene on the recliner.
I don't think a description is necessary.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


On Sunday afternoon I was privileged to see the Omaha Voices' 46th annual performance of Handel's "Messiah" at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
It was absolutely beautiful and a little bit magical. My sisters and I grew up listening to Handel's Messiah at Christmas time and I can't ever hear those familiar notes and words without my heart being warmed and a smile stretching across my face.

I've also enjoyed the many variations and performances of the "Hallelujah" chorus that I've seen in email forwards and facebook posts. My favorite are the "flash mobs" that surprise people in public places (like shopping malls and department stores) with amazing performances of this timeless piece. Others are a bit silly, but still fun.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Shopping Mall Food Court

A Macy's in Philadelphia

Silent Monks

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Homemade Halloween

It's a bird!

It's a plane!


That's right. My husband is a pastor-dork who thought it would be a great idea to dress up as a made-up character, "Absolution Man".
Because he's a pastor and part of a pastor's job is absolving people of their sins.

So, being a highly supportive and creative wife, I made him a costume... without a sewing machine! Thank goodness for iron-on fusible tape.

I dressed as a bag of jelly beans.

While both of our costumes were a big hit at the party we attended, neither of us won the costume competition. It went to another couple from our church who came as a bride and her mother. (The husband was the bride and his wife was the mother of the bride. She fussed over him all night fixing his bra straps that kept showing and reminding him to put his legs together and sit like a lady. Hilarious!)

Can't wait til next year!
...maybe by then I'll have a sewing machine.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Loess Hills Autumn

Last weekend, Seth and I decided to take an afternoon drive around Glenwood and Mills County to enjoy the beautiful fall colors. It was an amazing afternoon and I was thankful that I was able to capture some photos what we saw.

I started in our front yard. It turns out that our three little trees along the driveway are absolutely gorgeous in the fall!

We started out heading south of town.

Seth took me down a rather treacherous road that he had discovered on a previous drive (he loves to drive around and explore country roads).

Notice the evergreen tree leaning precariously DIRECTLY over the road. YIKES!

It was strange and amazing and I loved it!

It led to an adorable little bridge and a clearing in the woods.

We continued along past some incredible views of the terraced farm land.

We saw these in several places - dark windy branches with bright red leafed plants growing up between them.

We ended up at the end of the road at a little cemetery. Some of the stones had been replaced with newer ones.

And some looked to be the originals.

Seth and I are fascinated by old cemeteries.
Headstones like these never fail to break my heart though.

"We loved this tender little one
And would have wished his stay,
But let our Father's will be done
He shines in endless day."

We passed through another "tunnel" road on our way out.

And passed a front yard that housed a long horn!

These are some of my favorite things that we saw along the way.

Signs like these:

That stand before bridges like this:
(notice what is... or isn't... on the other side)

But best of all:

That's right. "Quackenbush".
Why oh why can't that be the name of our street???

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Harvest Open House 2010!!!

On Saturday, Seth and I hosted (what will hopefully be our first annual) Harvest Open House!

The weather was gorgeous and the leaves started changing color just in time.

We had festive decorations inside and out.

Some that were borrowed from Seth's mom who came down Friday night to help us get ready.

Since the house was the cleanest it's been since we moved in, I went ahead and took some pictures around the rest of the house.

This is the office (a.k.a. "Kate's Jewelry Room"!) ...or at least the prettiest corner of it. I tried to take pictures of the whole room, but the sun was coming in the window and none of those pictures turned out. Perhaps another day...

This is the former storage room/current guest room/future nursery :-)

Master Bedroom

Bonus Room (addition off the kitchen/dining room)

We had tables set up in the garage which my wonderful sis-in-law helped decorate!

Aaaaaaaand most important - THE FOOD!!!

We had lots of yummy baked goods... like cream cheese brownies, cinnamon roll cookies, caramel apple bars, and pumpkin muffins that my MIL made. YUM!

Then there were pinwheels, spanikopita, mini quiche, bourbon bbq lil' smokies, veggies, cheese, crackers, etc.
All delicious!

And don't forget the super yummy apple cider punch!
With carved apple leaves thanks to!

After 5 hours and about 80-90 people, the party was deemed a success.
Everyone loved seeing the house and enjoyed the food.
I couldn't have done it without the help of my mother-in-law, Colene, and sis-in-law, Liz.
They were awesome... and I think they already have it marked on their calendar for next year.
I know I'm looking forward to doing it all again 12 months. For now, I'm all partied out!