Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Timez Attack

Joseph has needed a little extra work with memorizing multiplication (not surprising, since we skipped second grade).  I bought MathBlasters for him - but what he really enjoys is a freeby called Timez Attack.

It's make by Big Brainz, ( and has a free version, as well as a couple of levels of paid versions with extra stuff.  So far the free version has been enough to keep Joseph fairly happy when I tell him to go practice math!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Snowflake Pancakes

This morning we got our first real snow of the season.  To celebrate, I make snowflake pancakes for breakfast.  They really didn't take much extra work, and the kids thought it was a party!

To make pancakes:

Use your favorite pancake recipe.  Mix it until it has no large lumps left.  Put the mixture in a squeeze bottle (these can be purchased for around $1.00 each).  Squeeze a circle on your griddle, then six or eight small lines around the perimeter.  Add a dot more batter to the end of each line.   The ones pictured turned out looking more like suns, but you can be as creative as you like!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dating on a Dime part 2 - TP Bowling

TP Bowling Creations
Action Shot!
 Friday night was another dating on a dime adventure. Good thing we planned for a home date since we had sick kids.

So bowling digressed to kicking and throwing (dollar store rubber ball) and stacking was just as fun as knocking down. We even named our creations. We created the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and lady with a skirt.

The grand finale was a spontaneous indoor snowball fight which ended out of concern for our financial investment (the TP was starting to come unraveled).

This would also be a fun family activity. Maybe we'll do that this week. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

2 x 4 Kids Turkey Craft

I recently hosted a craft day to gather opinions about the crafts I'm preparing for a Fall Craft Show. I had a kid craft kit that is so much fun I thought I'd share. The tutorial or instructions for the 2 x 4 Turkey Craft are on my craft blog

Since you don't have the advantage of buying a kit from me (I'm not shipping 2x4s folks), you will need:

a square piece of 2x4
the end of a 5 gallon paint stick (for the turkey neck and head)
5 wide popsicle sticks (buy the colored ones if you can find them)
2 wiggly eyes
and a little creativity to create the beak and waddle (or contact me and I can ship you some vinyl beaks for cheap).

Stuff not included in my kit but needed:
brown paint and paint brush
glue (school glue works fine)
other paint colors if your popsicle sticks are not colored

My crafty email is southpawcrafts at gmail. I'd be happy to make your custom beaks. I do other vinyl-y things too :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sight Words and Spelling at Dinner

Popcorn Sight Words

Super Secret Spelling List - because it's under cover! Hee hee!
Here at the South house the kitchen table truly is the center of the home. It's probably even pretty close to the literal center of the home too. We eat there, we talk there, we pray there, we do homework there, we craft there, and we eat some more (my 3rd grader would be impressed with my runon sentence).

Since the table is so frequently used I bought some fairly thick plastic (2 yards from JoAnn's using a coupon of course) to protect the table. I trimmed the edges to match the oval shape and even used painters tape (another household staple) to tape the "tablecloth" in place. We love this table and it is my Grandma's table that her family loved and used for years. We want it to have a long life in our family too.

I was recently struggling to remember to quiz my beginning reader on his sight words. The brilliant thought came to me (after some prayer and meditation) to put the sight words under the "tablecloth." Now before and during every meal I ask him to read the words closest too him. For the older kids I started asking them to put their spelling word list under the plastic. I think it is helping on the reading front and this week's spelling tests will show whether or not it's helping with spelling too.

Happy Birthday MOM!!!

Happy Birthday wishes to the world's best mother! Not only is she the mother of the five frugal sisters, she is also the mother of the five brothers of the five frugal sisters (thus the 7 frugal sisters with the potential for more :).

Mom and Dad as newlyweds
Love ya lots!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hemming Jeans = pocket money

Lately several people have asked me to do minor alterations or mending for them. It has been a learning experience. I knew how to hem things, but I have to admit this was my first time hemming a lined pair of women's dress slacks. It wasn't hard, just had multiple layers.

The jeans were a different story. I wanted to keep the decorative edging, but I didn't really want to recreate it. Thanks to google and the magic of the internet I found this tutorial. I had to do it a little differently (take in a small bit of the leg so the cuff width would match the leg width and take out the extra fabric because there was quite a bit of it. But I think it looks great and will work well.

Maybe next time someone asks me if I can line their lace sleeves I'll be brave enough to figure that one out too.

Monday, October 8, 2012

1st Grade Alphabetizing - Vertical ABCs

Another mother shared this tip with me so I'm sharing it with you - kids can learn to alphabetize easier with a vertical ABC chart.

I'm struggling with 1st grade homework this year. Mr. Z. is perfectly normal but isn't the strong reader that his older siblings were in 1st grade which means I have to read the instructions to him and sit down and do it with him. At least he gets 1 on 1 time with me that way.

I used an old set of preschool flashcards and taped them onto the wall (painters tape - a staple around my house). Then I wrote out each of his spelling words and had him place them next to the corresponding letter. Then all that's left is to write the list in his homework notebook. Success!!! (No the prettiest home decor, but this is a working house not a showroom.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Spray Paint Salvage

This morning I was going to spray clear gloss sealer on some of my crafts and discovered that my can was still half full, but nothing was coming out. The Fantastic Father of the Frugal Five saved the day with his suggestion of unclogging with a bobby pin, but then I realized I could test whether the can was clogged or the lid had the clog by switching out the lid!!! The picture above shows my clear sealer can with the blue (chair color) spray lid on it. Presto it worked. (And now I'm too lazy to clear out the clear lid.)  Happy spraying to me!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dating on a Dime - Table Tennis/Ping Pong

Behold, the table (it might have been more exciting if we had left dinner on the table)!

The ping pong master in action. He beat me, but we didn't keep score we just had fun.

The Souths are trying hard to do more "dating" and sometimes that means more creativity is required. Thursday night after the kids were in bed we had our table tennis/ping pong date. I wonder what my grandmother would think about us using her table this way, but it worked wonderfully. The salvaged 2x4s were the net. Kids plastic plates were the paddles and we already had ping pong balls. Total expense for the night $0 and more fun than I've had in a long time!

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