Happy 5th Kiley!

5 years old.  I can't believe Kiley is 5 already.  This is her first big milestone birthday.  I supposed turning 1 was an important year.  Congrats kid, you made it out alive for round one.  Anyway, we tried to make this an extra special birthday for Kiley.  And from the get go she wanted a mouse party.  ??? The kid loves cute little mice.  White ones at that.  I made invitations with a couple cute little mice that I drew.  For the cake Kiley told me she wanted a step cake.  Later I figured out she meant a tiered cake.  She wanted it to be chocolate with pink frosting.  We found a yummy bakery downtown, Topper Bakery, that did an awesome job on it.  It was super delicious and came out super cute!
Since Kiley is a winter baby we had them add eatable snowflakes and give the frosting a sparkle like snow looks in the sun.  

Kiley really wanted a mouse topper for her cake.  I had a time finding one.  I did find a cute one on etsy but the chick from the UK wanted $80 US dollars for it.  Sooo, I'm pretty handy with clay and made her clay mouse myself.  :)  We also added a sparkly purple K. 

Kiley loved it and that's what we were aiming for.  

Decorating was fun.  Kiley and I went back and forth on ideas, but after finding this cool colored paper we decided to go rainbow style and make streamers out of it.  We've liked it so much that we have pretty much just left it up.  

Kiley wanted to have a sledding party.  We planned on going to Monte Cristo or someplace local for all the girls to sled.  But there was no snow :(  

So, Plan B came into effect.  Kiley ended up playing with her friends at Toads, which is a fun park that has putt putt, games, go carts, etc.  The glow in the dark putt putt is pretty fun.  

I think it was a success.   Kiley said she had a fun time and gave us hugs.  It was extra special too because Pepoq and Granma flew in for the party. 

The morning of Kiley's birthday was on a Thursday and we wanted to do something special with her before Robert left for work.  Robert picked up a few donuts, we sang happy birthday and let Kiley open a couple of presents.  Which was a Nano we got her full of her favorite music and a few movies.  Plus cool headphones Aunt Debi got her to go with it.  

Big thank you to all who came, celebrated and sent gifts to make her big day extra awesome!

Bryce Canyon, Utah

Since we weren't with family this Thanksgiving (they are all in Texas and Louisiana) and so many cool places drop their rates for down season, we decided to take a quick family trip for the holiday.  Bryce Canyon is in southwestern Utah and has a large national park.  It is a very beautiful place with giant natural amphitheaters, hoodoos and lots of trails that take you right down into a whole other world. The weather was pretty chilly.  During the day it warmed up a little, but at night it was freezing!

Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip:
Click on photo on enlarge.

Queen's Garden Trail

Sunset Point View

 Navajo Loop Trail

Thor's Hammer-Navajo Loop Trail

 Sunset Point View

 Queen's Garden Trail

 Fairyland Trail

 Navajo Loop Trail

Yep, we hiked all the way up that switchback
Navajo Loop Trail

 Queen's Garden Trail

 Inspiration Point View

 Queen's Garden Trail 

We had so much fun and the scenery is beautiful!

Thanksgiving Lesson Plan

I did my best to research and teach my child all about Thanksgiving. Why we celebrate it and all that happy jazz before the Native Americans got practically wiped out and everyone was still friends.  I also learned a few new things myself. 

Thanksgiving Story
I didn't find a book I liked at the library to read on the subject, so after reading a couple of  historical accounts of the pilgrims voyage, meeting the Wampanoag tribe, and the first thanksgiving feast, I put together a story for Kiley that would be fun and easy for her to understand.  Even came with colored pictures!  It worked out really well and helped set up all our learning activities for the week.

We took a day to learn about the pilgrims.  Who were they?  Where did they come from?  Why did they leave their home in search of a new one?  What did they wear?  What kind of chores did the children have?  I found a cute pilgrim boy and girl cut out on google images.

We talked about what the pilgrim's took on the boat and what Kiley would take if she moved far away.  How long was the voyage? What did they eat? A couple of articles I read said they brought beer to drink because they thought it would hold up well during the long voyage.  Since that was the main drinking option, it's what the kids drank also!

Wampanoag Tribe
We took another day to learn about the neighboring Native American tribe.  The pilgrims new friends, especially Squanto, were key to teaching them how to grow corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish and keep away from poisonous plants.  Which was very helpful since about half of the group recently died of scurvy.  What kind of homes did the live in?  What was their culture like?  How did they dress?

Later on that afternoon we went by the Ogden Nature Center.  They were having a special class that day talking about bald eagles.  They brought in the center's very own eagle named Des Ta Te which had been named by an Apache after spending some time with the bird.  The center adopted Des Ta Te when she was very young.  When she was about 3 months old she had been found with half of a wing shot off.

Fun facts about eagles:
-In old English the word balde meant white.  So, when the pilgrims came over they called the eagle a bald eagle, due to it's white head. 
-An eagle can squeeze 1,000 lbs in their claw!  That could crush a deers skull.
-When diving for fish, an eagle can get up to 70 miles per hour.

Thanksgiving Feast
What was the celebration for? What food was served at the feast?  Who all came?  How long did it last? What kind of food do we eat at our dinner?  Why do we celebrate thanksgiving as a family?  Come to find out, quite a few articles I read said that turkey wasn't even served at the first thanksgiving. 

I found another blog that they made a thanksgiving story bead bracelet.  Each color represented a part of the story. Kiley had fun making the bracelet and it helped to review the story we read from the beginning of the week.

How can you go thanksgiving without at least one turkey art?

Due to a couple good days of snow fall, we were able to go sledding up on Powder mountain with some friends.  It was already very deep that we kept sinking in it while climbing up the side.  Fresh powdery snow made for fast sledding and a lot of snow in your face!

Halloween 2012

The week of Halloween was full of fun.  We did some crafts, drawings, carved a pumpkin and made some yummy goodies.  We also visited the Nature Center and learned about creepy creatures found in our own back yard.  They brought out a gopher snake and Kiley was all over it!  She went right up to it and pet it, put her face close up to it's face and asked a lot of questions.  I've never seen her so interested in a snake before! 

Halloween Night!  Kirby & Heather put on a Zombie Prom for the youth at church so Greydi came trick or treating with us.  Kiley had so much fun!  Her and Greydi ran to each house and took turns ringing the door bell.  They scored lots of candy!  Lots of chocolate, candy bars, root beer and even some toys.  We were gone almost 3 hours before they pooped out and were ready to go home.  Which they then dumped out all their candy on the floor and proceeded to eat bunches of it. 

Kiley smiling with cheeks full of candy.  :)

This year Kiley designed our pumpkins face.  She drew out on a piece of paper what she wanted it to look like and then we drew it on the pumpkin.  I cut out the face and Kiley helped me gut it out.


Halloween Art:
 Pumpkin girl with Kiley

Puppets.  Kiley drew a skeleton, pumpkin, cat, Frankenstein, mummy, rainbow ghost, witch & kitty on a broom stick and a zombie.

I didn't help with this one at all. Kiley was downstairs at her art desk drawing and after a while she brought this upstairs to me. Cut it out and glued it together all by herself.

Haunted house with monsters, spiders and bats.  

Read about what else we did this month on October 2012

October 2012

This October was jammed packed full of fun.  Kiley went to at least 3 different trick or treating/carnival events.  All over town, numerous days out of the week, every week of the month, some kind of Halloween themed event was going on.  We found out it's a pretty popular holiday in Ogden.  So naturally I have a lot of photos to share.  

   First up, Little Bear Bottoms in Wellsville, Ut.  Has a pumpkin patch, huge corn maze, hay fort, and spooky trail ride!  
   Heather and I took Greydi and Kiley there for a girls day out.  We had so much fun!  The corn maze was massive.  We spent a good deal of time in there, not once, but twice and could never find the other end.  We kept ending up back where we started.  The girls had fun running around and Heather and I had fun chatting.

   As you can see, it's a pretty big corn maze!  And it's not like you can stand on top of the fort and see which way to go.  Most of all the twists and turns are hidden.  Our second attempt we did do better and made it further out into the maze, but still kept circling and getting no where.  We weren't the only ones though.  Kept passing another set of kids with their moms. The website did say it takes about an hour to an hour and a half to complete. 

The hay fort was so much fun!  There was two, the one pictured above is the largest one.  Inside the fort was dark tunnels weaving you all through it.  I helped the girls climb all the way to the top.  We then jumped off numerous times onto the big mattresses below.  At first they were wary of going down the big tube slide, but after one try there was a lot of "Let's do that again!"  The hay fort was awesome.  Only downside was the itchy hay kept making it's way into your underwear!  

   The Dinosaur Park Carnivore Carnival was the first Halloween carnival we went to.  Our neighbors have passes and were able to get us in free!  Kiley had a great time with her friend Embrie.  She played lots of games, won candy and little toys.  Went to the craft room and made a pumpkin picture and hat.  Our friends got her a cool glow bracelet.  Since it was still early in October and I hadn't started on Kiley's costume yet, we had to throw something together.  She wore her Rapunzel dress, a masquerade mask and I glittered her up.  It was cool walking around the park at night.  They had spooky lights spotlighting the dinosaurs.

   Creature's of the Night at the Ogden Nature Center was the other carnival we went to.  This time Kiley was all dressed up in her Halloween costume.  She decided to be a hoot owl.  And she sure did go around hooting.  The Nature Center had two shows.  An owl show, where they brought out 3 different owls to view.  And then a snake show with 3 kinds of snakes you could touch.  There were lots of games, candy, crafts, a spider web crawl and a spooky hike. Greydi, Kirby & Heather also joined us and Greydi spent the night afterwards. 
Here is Robert helping Kiley make a wooden box.  Kiley was pretty good at using the hammer and had a lot of fun with it!

Check out our Halloween week fun + pictures click: Halloween 2012

Little Toot Lesson Plan

This weeks lesson plan was on the book Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky.  I picked it up at the library and Kiley told me that she had read the book with Meme at night before bed.  At the time I didn't recognize it, but once we started reading the book, I remembered it.  When I was little I remember Disney having a cartoon version of the story.  (Which I found on youtube!  That was a special treat to watch again!)
Little Toot is a cute story about a little tugboat who comes from a hardworking tugboat family.  But Little Toot loves to act silly and scoot around making figure 8's.  No one takes him seriously and often pokes fun of him.  Little Toot ends up being the only tugboat able to save a big ship stuck on some rocks.  Showing himself and others that he has what it takes to be a great tugboat like his dad and grandfather.

Family Tree
In the book it touches a bit on family lineage and Little Toot's grandfather likes to tell him "back in the day" stories.  Kiley picked out pictures and made her own family tree.  She was pretty proud of it and put it up in her bedroom.  Last time we went camping, at night we'd sit at the fire and tell stories about when Robert and I were little and when we met.  Kiley loved hearing the stories and asked many questions.  We think it's important for Kiley to experience this from her family.  So many of our family members received email's asking them to share a story.  Kiley has received a few so far and has enjoyed them. The idea is, to put all the stories in a book for Kiley so she can have them to always remember.

Bodies Of Water
The tugboats work on a river and in the ocean.  We have a river in Ogden.  Not an ocean, but we do have a huge salt lake!  I declared Wednesday field trip day for the week and we went around learning about bodies of water in our area and the difference between each.  First we went to the Ogden River over by the park.  The river goes all through the canyon, travels through Ogden and makes it's way all the way to the Great Salt Lake!  Second we went to Wheeler Creek trail, hiked up a bit and then climbed down to the creek. We played in the water for a while, which was super cold! 
Thirdly we went to Pineview Lake, which was close by.  It's a freshwater lake and happens to be the one that Kiley caught her first fish out of!  Our last visit was to The Great Salt Lake.  There is an island on it called Antelope Island.  It's about a 7 mile drive over the water from the shore to the island.  We found a beach and had a nice picnic lunch.  Then we drove around looking at the scenery.  Antelope Island has a lot of buffalo on it.  We found them everywhere!  The water was a pretty blue color with a white shoreline.  It was kinda smelly the closer we got to the water.

I found a cool website that talked about tugboats, had a tugboat coloring page to learn all the different parts and a tugboat tic tac toe game to print out.  Kiley learned to play tic tac toe.  She likes it most when she wins.  Robert gave her some tips and after that she kept beating him and just laughed and laughed.

We talked about wind, what it is, what it does and how it effects ocean water.  To see the effects of wind for herself, Kiley made her own pinwheel out of paper, a pencil and a nail.  She was very excited to see it spin in the wind.  

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