Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fun with Presidents, Geography and Math

Ever since the election, Brian has become obsessed with the presidents. I have had to find coloring pages of each of the presidents...he carries them around with him. He has conversations with them. I've gotten a book, Yo, Millard Fillmore from the library based on some recommendations from the 4 Real board. He now knows the presidents in their order. His favorite president is Andrew Jackson; followed by Martin Van Buren (b/c his mommy did a report on him in 4th grade), and Ronald Reagan (one of his daddy's favorites). He quizzes people on who their favorite president is. He's actually moved on to the vice-presidents and can't understand why there aren't any coloring pages available for these guys. Can you tell he's a little obsessed?

So I have decided to capitalize on his enthusiasm. I created this little game today that combines the presidents, some geography and wrapped up with a nice little bow of math.

I started with a blank wall map of the U.S.A that I picked up at our local Education Station the other day. I printed off a list of all the presidents with their home states. And with these items in hand, we began our fun!
You can see some of Brian's coloring pages at the top of this picture. As he told me which president came next in line, he would pull the coloring page out. We then placed a sticker on the state a president was from when he was elected. The boys knew a fair number of the states just by sight, but those that they weren't familiar with, we had our trusty place mat map which they found the state on and then matched it up to the big map.

Brian and Sean showing off their good work (and some coloring pages to boot!)
Of course Colin didn't want to be left out of the picture taking - he's saying "Taft"!

After putting all of our stickers on, I had Brian identify the state and tell me how many presidents came from that state. We then placed the states in order from the most presidents came from that state down to counting how many states have never had a president come from them. The highest number of presidents was 7 from New York - although as a caveat to this, we counted Grover Cleveland twice. Ohio and Virginia were next in line with 6 each. There were 12 states only boasting 1 president each, and 29 sad states that have never had one of their sons lead our country.
Here's Brian showing off his map, his tally sheet and yet another president coloring page. The great thing about today is that the boys learned a ton of stuff, but if you asked them, I bet they would say they just had fun!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Feast of the Annunciation

Elizabeth reminded me this morning that today is the Feast of the Annunciation. Whew! This pregnancy brain is really working overtime! So, I whipped together some yumminess for an afternoon tea time.

I had thought about making an angel food cake (for Gabriel) and blueberries (for Mary), but with not feeling well, having a sick husband at home, and absolutely no desire to drag 3 small people to the store with me, I settled on what I had in the house.

I made a butter cake but we dyed it blue - or as blue as you can get when you start with a yellow cake mix!. And added whipped vanilla frosting. We also read Mary by Brian Wildsmith (ties in nicely with "W" week as well).

Getting ready to eat cake. Say "Mary!" - and the actually did!And finally, the fruits of our labor. A "blue" cake to represent Mary, frosted with whipped white icing, to represent the Angel Gabriel and the purity of Mary's soul. The boys enjoyed the cake, and listening to the story of Mary's life. A fun time and a special way to celebrate.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Food news

Yesterday was a good food day in the Kelly household - well, as good as it can be. We don't have kids like my niece Kelsey.

For lunch yesterday, I offered Sean the choice between a peanut butter sandwich (a daily staple) or a turkey sandwich. He told me he wanted a roast beef sandwich. When I explained that I didn't have any roast beef, he said, "Okay, I'll have a turkey sandwich." Well, I've heard this before and then had a fit pitched when I placed said item in front of them. This time, however, Sean took a bite of his sandwich and proclaimed "I like turkey!" Woo Hoo!!!

Then for dinner, I made some slider hamburgers (just like Aunt Lori so that Brian might eat them). Sean didn't touch the burger, but Brian did actually eat some and biggest surprise of all - Colin chowed down on his burger. If I had made this comment 18 months ago, it wouldn't have been a surprise since Colin was a fabulous eater. He's unfortunately following the cues of his big brothers and has begun to survive on only air. He just kept piling the hamburger in his mouth. It was great to see.

Small success - I'll take 'em.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

St. Joseph's Feast Day

St. Joseph is a pretty neat guy. He had an incredible role in the life of Christ, and is a wonderful role model for all men. So, in honor of his feast day, I decided we would celebrate Italian style.

Now, Chris' mom was 100% Italian and I have always heard stories about the wonderful Italian food that his mom and grandmother made. Needless to say, I've been a little intimidated. But I have conquered my fear of making the meatball, and I moved on to making homemade sauce. Having Italian in my heritage should help, right?

I asked my friend Elizabeth for her grandmother's recipe for Bolognese sauce. And then the cooking began.

I started with the carrot, celery and onion chopping. And according to my friend Trish, Tuttorosso tomatoes are the only way to go in Italian cooking.
While I was chopping away, the mild Italian sausages were browning in Chris' grandmother's pot.
After the sausage was good and browned, I threw the veggies in and sauteed them up.
I added the sausage back into the pot, and then threw in the crushed tomatoes and let it bubble and boil for almost 3 hours. Made the house smell really good. :-)And instead of just putting this delightful sauce over noodles, I decided to incorporate it into a lasagna. It was delicious! Hope you had a wonderful Feast of St. Joseph!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

This St. Patrick's Day was extra special in the Kelly house. Not only did we have the traditional Irish meal of Corned Beef and Cabbage - which Brian and Sean BOTH tried and even admitted they liked!!! Not only did we talk about St. Patrick, read Patrick the Patron Saint of Ireland, color pictures and play a St. Patrick's Day game.

This year Gramma made Brian, Sean and Colin special shirts with her special sewing machine. They were the talk of the town. Thanks Gramma!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Super Soccer Saturday (Sort of)

Saturday started out promising. Both Brian and Sean were dressed in their new soccer uniforms. Shouting "Soccer!" as I took their picture, smiling, laughing and ready to start their season.

However, the day didn't end up quite as much fun as it started out.

Brian had a ball. Let's just contrast that with the picture of Sean at his game. I would say that a picture can do this much more justice than words.

As you can see, happiness, joy and glee in Brian's face. Pouting and mad on Sean's face. At one point, Sean's coach (a high school soccer player) picked Sean up, carried him onto the field, plopped him down on the center line, and there Sean stayed - arms folded, pout on the face. It was pretty maddening at the time, but funny to look back on it now.

Needless to say, I have a few more pictures of Brian's soccer game seeing as how he actually played soccer. Enjoy the slide shows.