Saturday, October 31, 2009

Books of the Week – Oct. 31, 2009

books of the week button
One of our very favorite books is Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina.image We found it at the library this week and have been reading it every day. We’ve had it before too – and we normally keep re-checking it out for as long as we can. I know, we should really buy it. It is “A tale of a peddler, some monkeys, and their monkey business”, as it says right on the front of the book. This is truly a classic and I think there are so many creative things we could do with this book. If you haven’t read it or shared it with your child, I highly recommend that you do!
We also checked out this fun little book:imageThe Cow That Went OINK by Bernard Most. This was a recommendation from Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns, and M loves it. He laughed out loud several times – big belly laughs – the first time we read it, and that definitely means it’s a keeper. This is about a cow that says “oink” and a pig that says “moo” and how they help each other out while the other farm animals are busy laughing at them (neigh-ha, baa-ha, hee-haw-ha, etc. – pure silliness). It’s a lot of fun, and any book that gives my boy the giggles is a favorite of mine too. :)
We also picked up One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey.imageThis book features Sal from Blueberries for Sal (one of our absolute all-time faves), who is now a big girl with her first loose tooth. This is a precious, adorable story. This book speaks to children in their own language, and reminded me of how magical a time childhood is and how sweet our innocent little ones are. Sal’s loose tooth falls out while she is helping her dad dig for clams; she can’t find the tooth so she wishes on a feather instead, and even makes a wish for little Jane on an old sparkplug (you’ve GOT to read it to understand). This is just a very sweet story and I’m so glad we picked it up!
For more book reviews go here!
Have a beautiful day! :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Penny Drop Game – motor skills and just for fun :)

This was one of M’s shelf activities this week since we were talking about the letter P.

I found an old egg carton and grabbed 18 pennies, one for each little section.  We took turns standing straight up over the egg carton and, with our arms bent at our waists, dropped one penny into the carton at a time.  The goal was to get one penny and only one penny in each section.  It is easy at first, but once you are close to the end of the pennies and there aren’t many open sections left it gets a bit more difficult.

penny drop

You can see M does not have the proper stance in this picture. :)  That’s ok, I let him cheat once in a while. ;)

He had so much fun with this super-simple game and played it several times each day, even getting Daddy in on the action a couple of times.  Sometimes he (M, not Daddy!) even played it by himself.

In a week or two I’ll bring it back out and make it more challenging by putting “X”s and “O”s  in the sections.  Then each player will have to try to hit only his sections. 

Have a fun and beautiful day! :)

Sunday School on Friday – Jonah and the Whale

jonah and the whale We finally got around to doing another Bible story with actual activities to go with it.  We’ve been reading the stories and talking about them, but I’ve just been completely out of creative ideas to go with any of them.
And, just an FYI, with Advent beginning soon I’ll be preparing for a daily (quick) Bible story with M up to Christmas.  After that we’ll try to get back in the swing of things with a weekly story… my current plan is to start with creation and go from there.  This is what we’ll be doing in Advent too, but after Christmas (or possibly New Year’s) we’ll take more time to do some crafty things on a weekly basis for each story.  Gosh, I hope that makes sense.  My mommy-brain needs some serious sleep. :)
So, last week we talked about Jonah.  Good old Jonah, who is a lot like M in many ways… mainly in the saying “No” way and running the other direction when asked to do something. ;) 
We read two books about whales throughout the week, and the first time we read them I casually mentioned Jonah and his *adventure*.  M was fascinated.  He hadn’t really learned about whales yet, and loved hearing how big some of them can be and that they don’t chew up their food, they just swallow it whole.  Gulp!  For whatever reason, he found this fact astounding.  And Jonah getting spit out?!  Well, you can imagine how cool he thought that was. :) 
imageThe first book was Whales by Gail Gibbons – an excellent book for learning facts about these creatures.
imageThe second book was Baby Beluga, by Raffi.  You have probably heard this song… the book is basically the song with illustrations.  This one was also well-liked. 
Then we read the story of Jonah from our favorite toddler Bible:image
And I just (today) found this flannel board set:imageIf you are interested, click on the picture and it will take you to the site.  The pictures are about halfway down the page.  I’m going to make this for M so he can “do” the story on his flannel board.   Of course I searched high and low for something to make at the time we were actually talking about this story and couldn’t find anything… this would have been (and will be) perfect!
Our craft was so much fun for M.  He LOVED it.  I can’t stress that enough.  I thought it was so simple that I would be lucky to get his cooperation for the whole thing, but he really, really loved it! (I like it when that happens!) 
First, he did some color mixing – periwinkle blue and a tiny amount of yellow to make a sea-green (pretend it’s sea-green, ok?) background.  He painted this onto a piece of white cardstock with a square piece of sponge:jonah and the whale (4)
I found a coloring page here, printed it on cardstock and cut the whale out.  M colored Jonah with a crayon.  Then he mixed white and purple paint and painted the whale and an oval piece of cardstock that I had cut out.jonah and the whale (2)
We let everything dry overnight.  The next day he glued the whale to the sea background, and we attached the oval to the center of the whale with a paper fastener.  This is the whale’s flipper.  I know most whales don’t have flippers right there but this one does.jonah and the whale Matthew asks everyone who enters our house, “Do you wanna see Jonah in the big whale?!?” and he flips up the flipper and there sits Jonah, on his knees praying, just waiting to be spit out. :) 
Jonah did the right thing in the end and did what God asked him to do, but I’m not entirely sure that lesson made it’s way into M’s brain exactly the way I hoped it would.  However, I would say this story definitely made an impression on him, and he really does like it – a lot.  And hopefully, eventually he’ll understand the moral of the story too. :)
Have a beautiful day! :)

ABC Book – Letter Pp

We worked on the letter “P” this week – it went well with all the Pumpkin activities we had planned.
M worked on his Pp collage page (I had it as one of his shelf activities):letter P (2)
And we did his Pp craft page:letter P (5)
The big P has a pumpkin glued to it with a vine running down the side.  He had a green stamp pad and used his fingerprint to make leaves on the vine.
M glued a picture of a pumpkin pie to the small p and then glued a fork on the side. :)  I thought it turned out pretty cute.
Here it is all finished and in his ABC book:blog pics 001
Here’s the collage and tracing pages:blog pics 008
Have a beautiful day! :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Craft Time – Pumpkin Mosaic and a Sensory Lesson

M loved the way this project was set up:pumpkin mosaic (1)
“What do you have there for me, Mama?”  (Being called “Mama” is rare these days, which I can’t dwell on because it makes me oh so sad.)
He loved the idea too:  Put glue all over the pumpkin then put the little squares on it like a collage.  We’ve done mosaics before, but not in a while.  With this one we talked about how the foam pieces were squishy, the felt pieces were soft, and the paper pieces were smooth.  There were also light and dark orange foam pieces, so we talked a little about that distinction.
pumpkin mosaic (2)
What he really loved, though, was the glue.  Pools and pools of glue.  He used up the last 1/3 of the bottle.  I tried, really hard, to hold my tongue, but after the 5th glue pool for one tiny orange square, I took the glue away.  I helped him spread out the copious amounts of glue already on the pumpkin with a sponge brush so he could put on more squares. 
He put on maybe 3 more.  Then he was done.  His attitude was, the glue is gone, this isn’t worth doing.  What is it with glue and this kid?!?
We did this Monday.  The glue was finally dry on Wednesday.  Finished artwork:pumpkin mosaic
I ran across something similar that he made last year around Halloween:2008 halloween
I guess my brain is rotating ideas without me knowing it. :)
Have a beautiful day! :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Craft Time – Misc. Projects from Apple Week

I meant to include these in my Tot School post over the weekend.  We did these last week, but I didn’t feel any of them deserved a post of their own; it was mostly ideas from other people.
Anyway, I thought I’d share them here.  Maybe I will start doing an Arts and Crafts This Week weekly post or something… I’ll have to think about it…
So, last week was Apple week here.  M and Daddy went to the farm and picked apples from the orchard.  They brought home 8 brown grocery bags FULL of apples, and said there were tons more that they didn’t get to.  I’m thinking M will have to start a roadside apple stand when he’s a little bigger!
So we made mini-caramel apples:mini caramel applesWe put sprinkles on just a couple.  I really can’t stand sprinkles, the crunch just startles me every time, but of course M loves them.  This idea was from Michelle.  They were pretty yummy!
We also did some fall-colored cookie cutter prints with our new cookie cutters:blog pics 043 blog pics 045
This idea was from Ten Kids and a Dog.
And we made a pretty apple suncatcher:blog pics 023 blog pics 025 This idea was from Izzie, Mac & Me.
These were all fun projects!!
Have a beautiful day! :)

Art Time – More Color Mixing Fun

I was just going through my pictures and realized we’ve done a few color-mixing lessons with paint in the last few days that I haven’t posted about. 

M loves to run his cars through paint “puddles” and make tracks.  This is what he asks for most often when it’s art time.  I don’t always post about it, because there’s only so much you can say about running cars through paint. ;)

Anyway, last week he asked for red and yellow paint and discovered that they made orange (I totally let him make the discovery and tell me about it).blog pics 050

Yesterday he asked for blue and yellow:color mixing with cars and paint (2)After he painted for a while, I asked him what color they made when mixed together.  Here he is staring at his hand, trying to figure out exactly what that color was:color mixing with cars and paint He wasn’t sure but finally said “dark green”.  Apparently royal blue and yellow do make a brownish-green color.

And here he is seconds before being thrown into the bathtub, after he discovered (once again) that all the colors mixed together make “mud”: painting mess (1)And, in case you are wondering, running cars through “mud” is the most fun of all. :)

Have a beautiful day! :)

Craft Time – Votive Holder and Color Mixing Lesson

I’ve been wanting to make a votive or tealight holder with M for ages.  And of course, when I’ve finally put it on our schedule (yes, I am that nerdy), I realize we are completely out of orange tissue paper.  And I’m not running to the store just for tissue paper.  And, yes, it must be orange.  What other color is there the week before Halloween??

It ended up being pretty neat, actually, that we didn’t have orange, because we DID have red and yellow! :)  I asked M what he thought red and yellow make when mixed together.  “Green!”, he said.  Because of this.  Apparently green is what ALL colors make now when mixed together.  ;)  That is how the mind of a 3 year old works.

So I held the red tissue paper up to a sunny window and then put a yellow piece over it.  (M really liked this, and it has given me a great idea for a future color mixing activity.)  He was able to see that they made orange.  I think the fact that the “mixing” didn’t involve any real mixing (as with paint) was very interesting to him.  I could see the wheels turning in his head.

So, we got a small jar I’ve been saving just for this, some red and yellow tissue paper torn into small pieces, a foam paintbrush, and some decoupage glue.tea light and color mixing with tissue paper (1)You can use plain white glue thinned with water too.  Paint glue on, then a layer of tissue, more glue, and a second layer of the other color of tissue.  Finish with a final layer of glue.

This was a messy project so I didn’t get any pictures – it was definitely a joint effort and I can’t hold a camera and paint glue on a jar at the same time.  Here’s how it turned out: tea light and color mixing with tissue paper
Have a beautiful day! :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Raccoon Shapes Craft – printable :)

So, tonight I had two hours of uninterrupted internet time. I was going to write 3 posts for later this week, comment on all your lovely posts out there, and maybe even play some sudoku.:)

What I ended up doing instead was creating this little guy:image Isn’t he cute?

Next week our theme is autumn animals – think owls, squirrels, bats… and raccoons. I found some great raccoon books at the library today, and wanted to make a fun workbox activity for M that went along with them. We haven’t done much with shapes lately, so I came up with this. He’s entirely made of shapes. Well, except for the googley eyes we’ll be putting on him and the whiskers (probably black yarn since that’s what I have on hand).

I looked all over internet-land and couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, so I *had* to make one from scratch (oh, darn!). DLTK has a cute one that is entirely made of hearts, but M, being very manly, is not into hearts so much. ;)

If you are interested in making one, or if you ever do a raccoon theme, you can print out the template and instructions from here. I’ll probably cut the shapes out and then use them for a template on black paper. I’ll let M color the shapes on the second page gray. If you have a kid who is good with scissors, they could do a lot of the cutting too.


Have a beautiful day! :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pay it Forward Giveaway - Update

Your packages were put in the mail this morning, Ladies! :)  I hope you enjoy them!!

Have a beautiful week! :)

New Blog is Up :)

Last week I mentioned that I would like to start a regular prayer request post on a second blog.  Well, I’ve got it up and running.  The first post was just published earlier this morning.  I plan to publish a post there every Monday morning.  That will be the only posting on that particular blog (at least for now; I can’t tell what the future may hold).

If you are interested, you can find it here.

Thanks!  And have a beautiful day! :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tot School – Oct. 25, 2009

image M is 37 months old

We continued with a few apple-themed activities this week that we weren’t able to get to last week…

First Two Little Apples in an Apple Tree poem and mini-flannel board:blog pics 024 M has always loved this poem! :)

We read 10 Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss (such a great book!!), and did a cute flannel board activity putting apples on a picture of M!blog pics 003 They are numbered 1 to 10 and size sequenced too. I have seen this in a few blogs lately, but I can’t honestly say where I saw it first. It was before I started keeping better track of that sort of thing!

We also read The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree, by Gail Gibbons. With this book we used these apple life-cycle cards from Montessori for Everyone. I made them into a little flip book so there would be no end or beginning to the cycle as we went through them a few pics 001

We also did a fun activity matching apple patterns on a boy’s head. The cards and patterns are from Making Learning Fun. We made them into magnets and did them on a small pan. I saw this at Izzie, Mac & pics 047

Notice that green visor? It was in our “pay it forward” gift package from whisperingwhispers at Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn. I put it in one of M’s activity containers this week and he had a lot of fun putting race car stickers on it. He wore it for a long time afterwards too! :)blog pics 038 blog pics 040

He did his first dot-to-dot page:blog pics 011 an apple! I think he did pretty well! It’s in a page protector and he used a dry-erase marker and a piece of felt for an eraser.

We did an A activity for his new ABC book too! Check it out in this post.

M also used his dry-erase marker on a zoo page from a workbook and tried drawing straight pics 009

He got in some more fine-motor-skill practice putting this button board together:blog pics 030

And the big hit of the week was this:blog pics 052 I made some 3”x3” cards from construction paper, used a black marker to write a letter on each one, and put it in a box with some toothpicks. M picked a letter and a toothpick and, working on the carpet, poked holes along the letter. This was a lot of fun for him and was good for letter identification, letter formation, and fine motor skills (again!). We held them up to the window and saw the light shine through the little holes. I got this great idea from prekinders – that site is full of good ideas! And so many of them are super simple like this!

We learned a fun new song (tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”) from

Once a little appleseed

was planted in the ground.

Down came the raindrops

falling all around.

Out came the bright sun

as bright as bright could be

and the little appleseed

grew up to be an apple tree!

We added motions to it and M wanted to sing it several times. is a great place to find poems and songs!

That’s it for us this week! Next week we will be having some pumpkin fun!! :)

Check here for more tot school posts.

Have a beautiful week! :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Books of the Week – Oct. 24, 2009

books of the week button
We have found so many good books lately, I honestly don’t know where to begin.  I try to keep these posts short so they’ll actually get read, but this one may be a tad bit longer. :)
My favorites this week:
image image
In the Woods: Who’s Been Here? and Around the Pond: Who’s Been Here?, both by Lindsay Barrett George, who is also the illustrator.  These are both fabulous books if you have a nature-lover in your home.  They feature a brother and sister who take a walk in the woods and around a pond (which is also quite woodsy), and find different signs of wildlife.  Each page has a beautiful picture, (for example, of a white feather floating) and the question “Who’s been here?”.  The following page shows the answer (a great blue heron).  They are just beautifully done and hold M’s attention very well.  They appeal to us grown ups quite a bit too! :)

M’s favorite this week:image
Bumpa Rumpus and the Rainy Day by Joanne Reay and Adriano Gon.  This is a book for when you are in a silly mood; it’s a lot of fun!  Bumpa Rumpus wakes up on a very, very, extremely, rainy day and listens to all the sounds the rain makes – plup-plup from the gutter, tik-tik from the glass, tom-tom on the roof, and ta-toosh on the grass.  Every page is filled with fun sounds and it has an overall great rhyming rhythm.  It’s pretty fun to read out loud!  I have to admit I’m happy when M picks this one. :)  There is a fun *sorta-surprise* ending too!!

And one more!  This is the one I’m most excited about because I bought it from the sale cart at our library for 50 cents!!!imageWe’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.  I should mention, anything by illustrated by Helen Oxenbury is sure to be a good book.  I haven’t found one yet that we didn’t absolutely love.  This is a classic, and I’m sure many of you have read it.  If you haven’t, read it as soon as you can!  This adorable family goes on a bear hunt through tall, wavy grass, a deep, cold river, some swampy mud, and on and on.  Each part of their trek has a great sound effect that goes along with it - “squelch squerch” through the mud.   And of course, they are not afraid, not one tiny bit… until they actually see a bear. :)  The ending is just terribly exciting if you are a 3 year old boy!  This is on our top ten list and I’m so happy to have found it at such a bargain!
Go here for more book reviews!
Have a beautiful day! :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Prayer Posts – good idea?


I have had this thought going through my head lately… actually plaguing me at times because it wasn’t something I was sure I wanted to take on.  I also wasn’t sure how well-received it would be.  So here goes… give me your feedback, please!

I’m thinking of having a weekly prayer post – somewhere that anyone who wishes can link to or leave a comment with their prayer requests, and know that others will pray for them.

Sometimes it’s just easier for some reason to confide in online friends than in “real life” friends.  Sometimes the emotions are just very raw, and the typing it all out helps more than actually speaking the words.  Sometimes it’s just nice to have one more place to go to ask for prayers, even after having asked people we know to pray for us.

Here’s the format I have in my mind, but I’m totally open to suggestions too!  I’m thinking of having some scriptural quote or possibly a passage from a book – mainly having to do with motherhood, wife-hood, and/or just basic Christian life; some sort of food for thought.  Then listing my prayer requests for the week.  I will probably be able to keep this fairly short (think bullet points) most weeks, but of course we all have weeks where we need extra prayer for crises or special circumstances.  Then I would either open it up for people to leave prayer requests in the comments, or if there’s enough interest, a McLinky for others to link their own prayer posts to. 

This would be for prayers of petition, intercession, thanksgiving, etc.

(And I PROMISE to not be long-winded in them! :)  )

I’m also thinking of actually setting up a second blog to use specifically for this once-a-week post.  I like the name “Where Two or Three are Gathered…”.  What do you think?  (It’s a reference to a Bible passage about prayer.)

So… any takers?  I feel like this is something that’s been laid on my heart; I am a *pray-er* and I know many of you are too!  Let me know your thoughts!

Have a beautiful day! :)


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