A Little Summertime Fun!

We have been having a lot of fun getting out over the last couple of weeks after a little stretch of just hanging out at home.

We joined our neighbors and friends at the local water park for a day.  In all the years I’ve lived in this area, I had never been to it.  Though there are obviously lots of big water slides, they have an awesome little tot pool with mini slides and a lazy river.  Lala had a great time bobbing in the river with a life jacket.  Tbear wanted to just be left to do his thing in the tot pool.  It was a long, fun day!  I put my phone away and left my fancy camera at home to keep them from being lost or damaged…  and didn’t end up getting a single pic!

My alma mater sponsors free outdoor concerts for 6 weeks every summer, featuring local bands, watermelon, popcorn, cookies, lemonade, bounce houses, and face painting.  It’s an awesome, relaxed, family ‘picnic.’  We are hoping to go every week this summer.  The first one was rained out by a dramatic thunderstorm, but the band has been rescheduled for an additional date in August.  We have been having a great time and look forward to more fun, beautiful evenings!

Lala loves to jump in the bounce houses.  Interestingly, although he loves going to the bounce house place, Tbear won’t go in them at the picnics…  Kids…!?!


Tbear got his first ‘tat’ last week!  🙂


We also had fun this weekend bowling at our neighbors’ birthday party!  Both kids had a great time, but Tbear was having more fun that anyone else in the place, running around hollering ‘my turn’ over and over, jumping up and down after he rolled his ball, and supervising all of us.



I think the kids are ready for Mic’s next company bowling party!

A trip to the lake was a wonderful interlude from a busy weekend of house chores.  We only live about 30 minutes from one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and still don’t go very often!  Such a fun family time.  We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, milk, and strawberries for dinner!  We prefer to go up in the evenings to avoid the crowds and the burning sun…



We stayed to watch the sunset and the stars come out.  The moon reflecting on the water was magical.


We hope you have been getting out to have some fun and make some memories this summer!  I think we can mark at least 3 things off of our list of activities we wanted to do this summer.  Better get on the rest of them!  If you are looking for a few ideas, please check out our post: Searching for Summer… 12 Sizzlin’ Suggestions for a Sensational Season.  Here’s to enjoying a sizzlin’ summer!


Painting a Starry Night

We had a blast painting our own “Starry Night” masterpieces to go with our “Solar System and Pluto” theme last week.  I set the kids up with some poster board type ‘canvases’ to start and we moved on to construction paper.  We used plain brushes and washable kid paint.

The beginning of Lala’s masterpiece…


Tbear creating a beautiful painting…


Lala experimenting with mixing colors..


Two beautiful works in progress…


Running out of steam…


A wonderful interpretation by Tbear…


Tbear’s second masterpiece…


Another colorful representation by Lala…


Lala’s gorgeous creation…


I even got in on the fun and painted one of my own.  I had such a great time!  I can’t remember the last time I painted my own picture!


Check out van Gogh’s original painting at the Google Cultural Institute.  I found a couple other great resources for art lessons related to Starry Night also… (Links will open in new tabs.)

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh for #PlayfulPreschool! via The Preschool Toolbox Blog

Van Gogh’s Painting Style Lesson Plan: Painting for Kids via KinderArt

I hope you will consider trying a little painting with your crew.  You can get the supplies fairly inexpensively.  We used the following (Amazon affiliate links.  If you use these links to make any purchases, we will receive a small commission.  For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page.):

We used paper we already had around the house. When we use up what we have, I am considering getting some of this (Amazon affiliate link):

I purchased the little paint trays at Dollar Tree…

Unlocking a little creativity through painting was very refreshing to me and the kids greatly enjoyed it!  Lala often says painting is her favorite activity.  I see more painting in our future!

Body Safety – A Critical Topic

Body safety is a critically important topic, especially for young children.  It has been on my mind for a while and I know I need to do more to address this issue with my kids.  (All links in this post will open in new tabs.)

I came across this blog post recently and really appreciated its perspective:  Why We Don’t Keep Secrets In Our House {Child Abuse Prevention} by Melissa M via the Denver Metro Moms Blog.  I liked the suggestion to create a list of “Body Safety Rules,” discuss them regularly with your children, and post them in a visible place in your home.

Then, I saw a post from A Mighty Girl recommending the book: No Means No!: Teaching Children about Personal Boundaries, Respect and Consent by Jayneen Sanders.

(Amazon Affiliate link.  If you use these links to make any purchases, we will receive a small commission.  For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page.)

I decided to order the book, as well as a couple of others recommended by Amazon…

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We are going to be reading and discussing these books once they arrive this week.  Then we will create our family’s own “Body Safety Rules.”  Children who are educated about their bodies and understand they have the right to refuse physical contact with other people, whether a hug from a relative or an approach by a predator, will be much less likely to even be targeted by abusers.   Mic and I will be continuing to educate ourselves and our children on body safety for some time.

If you would like to learn more, here are some other resources I have found to be helpful:

Is Your Child Off Limits? {Child Sexual Abuse Prevention} by Feather Berkower, LCSW via Denver Metro Moms Blog

Parenting 101: How to Teach your Kids about Body Safety by Jill Starishevsky via Momeo Magazine

Body Safety Skills For Kids by Jayneen Sanders via The Good Men Project

Do Your Children Have Body-Safety Rules? by Feather Berkower via Dr.Greene.com

We are just getting started on this learning arc.  Stay tuned for more information.

A Start On the Family History Project!

I’m so excited!  We finally got started on the Family History Project! We intend to take the idea of creating a ‘family tree’ and expand it to collecting information, pictures, videos, stories, and other information about as many family members as we can.

I created a gmail account to give us a place to coordinate our communication with family and friends.  I also started a website on WordPress.com to compile the information we gather. Some parts will be visible to anyone. We will utilize the password protection feature to make other parts accessible only to family and friends.  The ‘bones’ of the site are done. Now I am eager to start adding information!

I am creating a ‘Personal History Questionnaire’ with many questions to help family members get started recording their lives and those of their deceased loved ones.  We eventually hope to include stories from friends and family, pictures, and other information. It’s a huge project that will take some time, but we are very enthusiastic about it.

I have already used several resources and am sure I will find others. Here is what has been helpful so far…

About.com – Fifty Questions for Family History Interviews by Kimberly Powell

About.com – How To Interview a Relative by Kimberly Powell

Deseret News – Genealogy: 150 questions to ask family members about their lives by Barry Ewell

Family Search – 52 Questions in 52 Weeks: Writing Your Life Story Has Never Been Easier by Steve Anderson

Family Tree Magazine – 20 Questions for Interviewing Relatives

The Armchair Genealogist – Family History Interview Questions

UCLA Library: Center for Oral History Research – Family History Sample Outline and Questions

One of the first histories we will be working on will be for Mic’s mom, who passed away unexpectedly two years ago. Tbear never got to meet her. We want her descendants to know who she was and what her life was like.  Here’s to getting a start on recording our family history for all of us to enjoy now and to pass on to future generations!

Prepping for the Week of July 27, 2015 – Romeo and Juliet

The wait is nearly over!  Every summer, our local Shakespeare Festival presents a children’s adaptation of the play they are performing.  This year it’s Romeo and Juliet!  I want to get the kids excited for the play, so I have been doing a little research into adaptations.  I found some really cool things!

Movie – Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss – This is currently streaming on NetFlix! – I found this fun review of the movie over at Or What You Will, a blog about Shakespeare:  Romeo and Juliet for Preschoolers.

I came across the website: Kids Love Shakespeare.  It has lots of great information and adapted scripts available for purchase.  Check out their page on Romeo and Juliet – scroll down and click on the Romeo and Juliet Summary for a great one-page description of the play.

We recently scored a second-hand doorway puppet theater.  I am excited to see what the kids think about putting on a show…  Maybe even working on writing a little story to perform…  We’ll see how it goes…  I hope this gets them excited about the play!


Letter of the Week – D
We are going to use some old magazines we have to do a letter “D” search and make a collage!

Ongoing Activities

Check out our posts about these ongoing topics…  🙂

Spanish – Aprendamos español – Let’s Learn Spanish!

Gardening – Dirt, Digging, and Dreams…

Safety – Safety Series

Music – Musical Mayhem…

Mascot – Hamiltina the Hamster!

Bring on a week of drama!

Musical Mayhem…

We are a ‘somewhat’ musical family…  I play the piano (having taken lessons as a child) and dabble on the violin and mandolin.  Mic plays a little guitar and banjo.  My parents play bluegrass music.  Life is busy, so we don’t make time to practice much these days…  It’s time to try to change that!

A while back, I started occasionally having ‘music time’ with the kids.  We have a fair collection of child-friendly musical instruments.

I also purchased The Best of Wee Sing by Pamela Conn Beall and Susan Hagen Nipp –  Book and CD.  (The images below are Amazon affiliate links.  If you use them to make any purchases, we will receive a small commission.  For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page.  Links will open in new tabs.)

With the enthusiasm of a new parent, I bought Lala a tiny violin for her first birthday…  🙂  We have played with it a little bit and I fully intended to start working with her using the Suzuki method when she turned 3…  She is now 4 and a half…  Best laid plans and all…

Here is what we have…  Mendini 1/32 MV300 Solid Wood Satin Antique Violin with Hard Case, 2-Bows, Rosin and Extra Strings (Amazon affiliate link) – It’s so tiny and cute!

My mom gave me the Suzuki Method books she had purchased when I was a little girl…  I briefly took violin lessons when I was four, but ended up not continuing due to the usual complications of life…  So, these books I am looking at are about as old as I am…  🙂

The Suzuki Violinist by William J. Starr (Amazon affiliate link)


Listen and Play – Book 1 by John D Kendall  (Amazon affiliate link)

I’m finally getting started reading The Suzuki Violinist.  I am finding the concept of teaching children by the ‘mother-tongue’ philosophy or as they learn language –

  • without lessons, drills, or exercises
  • before they know how to read
  • because they are driven to communicate

to be fascinating!  I have so much more to learn.  I may need to get a newer book with accompanying CD, but want to do some more research first.

If you would like to learn more, I have included a few resources for additional information below.

Suzuki Method Resources:

I also found this article on What is the Suzuki Method? from Violinist.com to be very interesting.

Now to implement the daily listening and playing activities recommended…  There’s always a tricky part!  😉

New Chansen Academy Resource Page – Books We Love!

We have created a new Chansen Academy Resource Page…  Books We Love!

We love books here at Chansen Academy and wanted to share our favorite ones!  They range from traditional choices to hilarious new adventures…  🙂  Here are a few of the selections.  (The images below are Amazon affiliate links.  If you use them to make any purchases, we will receive a small commission.  For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page.  Links will open in new tabs.)

Good Night Galaxy by Adam Gamble – This is one of my favorite books in the Good Night World Series  – This amazing series highlights some of the interesting features of each book’s title topic.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss – This may honestly be my favorite book…

When I Grow Up by Al Yankovic  – Really cute book, especially if you are a fan of Weird Al!

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – I love the language and cadence of this scarily sweet story of naughtiness, naps, and never-ending love.

To see the rest of the books we enjoy, check out the Books We Love! page.

As we find new ‘books we love,’ they will be featured in one of our Friday “Book of the Week” Facebook posts and added to the Books We Love! page.  Check back often for new additions!  Please send us any suggestions you have and we will take a look at them!  We love books!

Mascot Update!

Hamiltina has been proudly representing Chansen Academy for nearly 3 weeks!  She is quite the character. She doesn’t sleep in her ‘hide hut,’ but rather makes her own little nest…  She will get the bedding piled up around herself to the point you can’t even see her!

She got a fresh clean cage tonight. Lala has been doing a great job making sure she always has food and water.

A few days ago, we ordered her a ball from Amazon. She is delighted with her new-found ‘freedom’ to run all over the house. It’s hilarious to watch her.

The kids are having a blast with our new mascot. Lala is still asking for a bunny, or a kitten, or whatever creature strikes her fancy any given day, but I’m guessing that desire will never be satiated. And perhaps we will eventually have one of everything…  I’m personally not in favor of any pets that need live food though…  😉 We will see what the future brings!  In the meantime, a hamster just ran by me… Life is fun!

A Month of Heat and Thundershowers In the Garden

The last few weeks have been fairly hot, with lots of thundershowers. The garden has been growing like crazy!  Frankly, the weeds have gotten away from me…  😉  We finally did get to harvest some yummy veggies!  Peas, beans, and carrots!



We’ve picked quite a few more carrots!

Bean plants…


Tomatoes!  (And weeds…)


Peas and carrots…



It’s certainly not the most amazing garden ever and needs some serious weeding, but it’s the best I’ve done in years…  so, I am pretty happy.  And we have plenty of room for improvement next year!  Now…  bring on those tomatoes!!!  Yum!!!!!!

A Little Bit of Fun With Spanish! – ¡Un Poquito de Diversión con Español!

Life gets so busy for everyone these days.  We haven’t been able to spend any time with our Abuela for several weeks.  But we were finally able to see her again over the weekend.  The kids greatly enjoyed her visit!  They played games, sang songs, and watched a little bit of Cars and Frozen in Spanish.  It was a great time!

To keep moving forward on our project of learning Spanish, we have been watching Little Pim videos.  For more information on the Little Pim Program, check out their website.  (All links in this post will open in new tabs.)  Right now, several of the DVDs are streaming free on Amazon with Prime!

If you don’t have an Amazon Prime subscription, it’s worth looking into.  We love ours!  (Amazon Affiliate link – If you use this link to make any purchases, we will receive a small commission.  For more information, please see our Legal Stuff page.):

Though I know we will spend some time watching more of the Little Pim videos this week, I’m going to have to find some new activities…   Tbear covered the colors poster I made with stickers…  🙂


This post on 100 (Free) Ways To Learn to Speak Another Language from Te@chThought has some great resources for learning many languages.  I’m going to check out some of the ideas for Spanish.  🙂  The adventure continues!