Monday, November 30, 2009

Active Alphabet Giveaway!


Kylie at Our Worldwide Classroom has an awesome of an Active Alphabet set going on.  Check it out here!

MckLinky is up and working now

Oops - I had a problem with the dates! You can link up your art box posts now, please do!!

Have a beautiful day! :)

The Art Box – November 30, 2009

November 30, 2009

blog pics 003 In the Art Box last week: scrap paper (including patterned paper, half a paper plate, construction paper scraps, tissue paper), some car pictures torn from a magazine, sponge, craft leaves, bubble wrap, glitter glue, glue in a bottle, gluestick, watercolors, foam stickers, paint brushes, scissors, flat piece of styrofoam, watercolor pencils, and tempera paints.

I know this sounds like a lot of stuff. I just pick up whatever catches my eye when I’m going through my art and craft stashes. The truth is M was interested in very little of it this week. I thought it might be neat to paint on the styrofoam, but he just wanted to saw it up with his toy saw. :)

And he only wanted to pop the bubbles on the bubble wrap. After he popped all of them he did put some stickers on it for a funky collage:blog pics 033 I always get a laugh from how this kind of thing keeps him occupied… so I just let him keep at it.

He experimented a little bit with my watercolor pencils. He didn’t have great success with this, I’m wondering if I should get him some watercolor crayons. Do any of you have them? Here’s what he made with the pencils and a little water: blog pics 017

He was very into painting this week. He was producing one painting after another. Some were watercolors: blog pics 036 blog pics 039

Some were tempera: blog pics 014 blog pics 015 blog pics 016

I found a way to have a small amount of tempera paints in his box for him. I bought this at Dollar Tree:blog pics 001 It’s a pill organizer. We take off the entire lid (instead of one section at a time), and M has this:blog pics 002 It’s perfect for his box. It has enough room for all the primary colors and an extra spot for white. He was very excited to see this.
Show us what your little artists did… Link up below!
Have a beautiful day! :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Called to Worship by Vernon Whaley

This book was written to provide answers about God’s plan for worship, what worship is, and how to go about worshipping in a Biblical manner.
The author does a very good job of presenting worship practices from the Bible in an easy-to-read style.  He takes the reader through both the Old and New Testaments as he examines  recorded examples of worship.  
While I feel that there is quite a bit of good information to be taken from this book, the overall tone of the author was a bit off-putting to me personally.  The writing seemed a bit contrived, as he tried (too hard in my opinion) to speak in a familiar tone, often sounding as if he were explaining his ideas to a small child.   He also used many Wikipedia citations, which caused me to question the depth of his research.
Also, it seemed to me that much of the same information presented in this book could be found simply by reading the Bible on one’s own. 
While the author did stress the importance of obedience as the beginning of true worship, I felt he often confused praising God with worshiping Him.  Praise certainly has its place in worship, but the words are not entirely interchangeable. 
Sacrifice was a part of worship in the Old Testament, and the sacrifice of Christ was the main focus of worship found in the New Testament.  Sacrifice was very seldom mentioned in this book, which I felt constituted quite a large oversight.  Songs of praise, private prayer time… these things have their place in our times of worship, but they are not in and of themselves worship.  The apostle Paul tells us,
 “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” – Romans 12:1 (NAB) 
All in all this book was easy to read and did a good job of presenting stories of the Bible pertaining to worship.  However, I felt that a crucial element was missing – a look at how offering our lives as a sacrifice to God, day in and day out – in everything we do – is at the very core of worshipping Biblically.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers (  for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

Tot School – November 29, 2009


This was a pretty light week for us… and we enjoyed it!  We didn’t try to do too much, and just had fun.

Fine Motor Skills

M cut strips of green and red paper with the “zig zag” scissors, then we made a chain of loops and used stickers to close them up:advent paper chain He was very interested in this activity, and caught on to the fact that we were making a pattern.  This was a real breakthrough because in the past he hasn’t gotten the whole *pattern* idea.  I expected lightbulbs to appear over his head and bells to ring, but he just calmly said, “it’s a pattern, we need green next.”  Ha ha, this kid always amazes me and makes me laugh. :)

He spent a LOT of time popping the tiny bubbles on this bubble wrap, such a great activity for strengthening those little fingers:bubble wrap


He put pipe cleaner “branches” into the holes of a salt shaker, then added fall colored leaves (pony beads).  He loved this, and thought it was hilarious to call them branches and leaves.  We got this idea from the Schafer Family blog.pipe cleaners and beads (tree)


And laced up some Autumn themed lacing cards:lacing cards



M used tongs to sort fruit and vegetables from his supply of pretend food:sorting fruits and veggies

And we sorted truck cutouts onto a color wheel:color sorting

Math Skills

We played “store” with M’s pretend food and a cup of pennies.  We both had so much fun with this and M had a smile on his face the whole time.  I don’t know why we haven’t done this sooner.  He told me later in the day, “I had fun playing store with you, Mommy!” :)  We set up his fruit and veggies on the loveseat and he picked the items he wanted and I told him the price.  store It was perfect for counting practice, and when he ran out of money we had a short conversation about why we can’t always have everything we want.  This great idea came from Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns!



We played a sensory game with a few matching pairs of items and a small pillowcase.  One of each pair went into a small container and the other went into the pillowcase.  M had to pick an item from the plastic container, then try to find the matching item in the pillowcase using his sense of touch only.sensory game with pillow case I held the bag for him, but he was on his own here just so I could take a picture. :)  He did great with this and had so much fun we did it again right away.  Here are the items we used:sensory game pennies, pinecones, wooden blocks, megablocks, clothespins, glass pebbles, pipecleaners wound into a circle, craft leaves, and spoons.



Here’s a picture of our finished Thanksgiving tree:blog pics 002

We had so much fun with this and we will definitely be doing it again.  What a great way to list our blessings and what we are thankful for.

We went to our Nature Center again for our weekly class and while there the kids drew pictures of what they are thankful for.  Here’s M’s:nature center thankful for Apples were first on his list, you can see it in the middle.  Other things were his family, building a snowman, and going sledding when it snows.  He had a great time scribbling… I was surprised because he has not shown that much interest in crayons at home.  At the nature center he was still coloring when all the other kids were done!

I printed a turkey out from here, and M painted it with his watercolors, then cut the tail feathers apart:watercolor turkey



M has a tiny teddy bear that he’s been calling “baby” lately.  (He wants us to have a baby so badly!)  He made a little bed and “baby” slept in it:baby bed Then “baby” woke up and wanted to be rocked (someone else wakes up and likes to be rocked sometimes too).rocking baby What a great daddy!! :)  (No, that isn’t quite the same way I rock M!)

For more Tot School posts, go here.

Have a beautiful week! :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Books of the Week

November 28, 2009

Let’s Go Home, Little Bear, by Martin Waddell
imageMartin Waddell has written a whole series of books about Little Bear and Big Bear, and we love them all.  I’m not sure why I haven’t written about them before; they are definitely in our list of  top favorites.  When we picked this one up at the library yet once again, I realized I need to write about this series.
The books usually revolve around some insecurity or fear of Little Bear’s.  Big Bear reassures him and provides comfort and there is always a happy, cozy ending.  In this particular book, Big Bear and Little Bear are walking home through the woods.  Little Bear keeps hearing strange things and Big Bear is right beside him, helping him understand the many sounds of the forest, and providing the security Little Bear needs.  Finally, tired Little Bear gets a piggy back ride back to their cozy cave and falls asleep in the “bear chair” listening to Big Bear tell the story of their adventure that day.  I really recommend these books for any child who might be going through a phase of being afraid or timid.  (We especially loved Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? when M was going through a phase of being afraid of the dark.)

Another definite favorite this week was Duck and Goose, by Tad Hillsimage This is a cute and funny story of a duck and goose who find a ball and assume it’s an egg.  They fight over whose egg it is going to be and both end up sitting on it waiting for it to hatch.  What started as a rivalry soon ends up as a friendship as the two learn to work together.  Of course a sweet little bluebird comes by and disillusions them about the “egg”, but they are both able to admit their foolishness and enjoy playing with the ball together.  This is a great book to use as a starting point for talking about sharing and cooperating with others.  This is the first Duck and Goose book we’ve read, but apparently there are many more.  We will definitely be checking them out!
For more book reviews, go here!
Have a beautiful day! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!


For flowers that bloom about our feet,
Father, we thank Thee.
For tender grass so fresh, so sweet,
Father, we thank Thee.
For the song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky,
Father, we thank Thee.
For pleasant shade of branches high,
Father, we thank Thee.
For fragrant air and cooling breeze,
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For this new morning with its light,
Father, we thank Thee.
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank Thee
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Super Easy Sticker Scenes

We have had some great fall and farm themed puffy stickers lying around the house for several weeks now and I’ve been waiting to use them because I just wasn’t sure what to do with them.  Then I saw this in the Oriental Trading Co. catalog:imageAnd I thought, that looks so easy to make!  So, I made some. :) 

There aren’t a lot of fall and farm stickers, so I didn’t make a full page sticker scene.  I thought about doing that and adding it to M’s homemade sticker book, but decided against it.  Instead, I made them with ziploc bags. sticker scenes (5)

Simply cut construction paper however you want, then layer it using double stick tape.  Make sure it will fit into your bag, and pop it in.  Seal the bag so all the air is out (as much as you can).

A close up:sticker scenes (4) These are quart-size bags.  Stickers go in the back:sticker scenes (3)I made these last weekend and put them on M’s activity shelves this week.  They were super simple to put together, and quick too!  I’m pleased with how they turned out and I hope he likes them too. ;)

Have a beautiful day! :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Crafts from Christmas Past

As I’ve mentioned before, M is in a no-crafts kind of mood lately.   Right at the beginning of craft-heaven season.  Sigh.  It may be pointless, but I’m still trying to come up with some fun crafts to do with him this year for Christmas.  I’ll talk about my plans in another post (soon, I hope!), but I thought it might be fun to show you some things M made last year, pre-blog.
In case these inspire you with any ideas of your own, M was just under 28 months old when he made these.
A Rudolf made with a cut out of M’s foot and two cutouts of his hands, along with a pom-pom and some googley eyes:xmas crafts 2008 (5)
A wreath that he painted and glittered (cut from a paper plate) and then put stickers all over:xmas crafts 2008 (1)
Some salty snowflakes… if I remember correctly, this was just tempera and salt mixed together.  He used blue and white paints, and we hung it up as a mobile (the salt made them somewhat sparkly, but you can’t see it here):xmas crafts 2008 (2)
A cotton ball snowman, which was a huge hit (like the backward nose?):xmas crafts 2008
And a Christmas tree decorated with colored pasta, which we hung up in his room:xmas crafts 2008 (4)

Have a beautiful day! :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Art Box – Nov. 23, 2009

**Update**This post originally had a few link-ups and comments and then... well it got deleted. There's a long story behind this that isn't very interesting, but would explain to you how blog-ignorant I am sometimes. :) I finally was able to re-post this post, but all the comments and links to other art box posts from other bloggers are gone forever. (Sounds so very sad, doesn't it?) We will try again next week! Just wanted to explain in case any of you are wondering why your links aren't showing up!

art box (4)

In the art box last week: Do-a-dot painters, coffee filters, new stamps and stamp pads, glitter glue, feathers, cotton balls, craft sticks, cardboard tube, Elmer Color Slicks, construction paper, newsprint, “zig-zag” scissors, scrap paper, paintbrushes, a couple of pictures with watercolor strips (craft?), and q-tips. (All put together on Mommy’s bed, the secret art box center.)

M is still enjoying his art box, and went to it or asked for it at least once a day last week.

He still loved the zig-zag scissors and cut up a storm – no pictures this time. Really, a pile of cut paper one week looks pretty much like a pile of cut paper the next week. ;)

He loved seeing the Color Slicks out. We haven’t used them for a long time, and with good reason… they are extremely messy. They make beautiful, brilliant colors and draw even more smoothly than oil pastels, but ugh. Chunks break off and stick to things and then you step on one and track color through the house… and well, you get the idea. Here’s his lovely picture:art box (9) They are so much fun, but I can’t recommend them. If they bother me because of the mess, believe me, they are REALLY messy. I actually took them out of the art box halfway through the week.

I added a little something I found at Michael’s over the weekend:art box (10)Now, this is not completely child-directed art, but I don’t feel it’s a “craft” either… these coloring pages of animals have strips of dry watercolors along the bottoms. I showed M how to dip a q-tip in water, rub it on a color, then paint the picture. I feel that one “fun” thing to find in his art box that he can do by himself can add to his enjoyment and teach him something new. He’s never painted with q-tips before and he thought this was a lot of fun.

He actually asked for his watercolors (which I was happy to trade for the Slicks) and throughout the week made these paintings:art box blog pics 056 art box Water colors were definitely the big hit of the week, and he has really progressed with his knowledge of how to make them lighter or darker. I love it when he learns something all on his own! He was especially fascinated with the black paint.

He loves the do-a-dot painters, and I was hoping he’d pair them up with the coffee filters, but for whatever reason he wasn’t interested in the filters at all. He used the dots on newsprint:art box (11) He did enjoy seeing what some of the colors made when they were put on top of one another.

He asked for foam stickers too. I guess he had his own ideas of what he wanted in his box this time! He made this little collage with some glitter glue (still a huge favorite, and almost completely gone):art box photos Well, apparently that photo was taken pre-glitterization. I’m not taking a new one now, so you’ll have to use your imagination. :) Sparkly!

He did make a collage with some paper. I think he was experimenting with the glue here… remember the product isn’t the point (thank goodness!):art box (14)

And that’s it for the week. I thought he’d do something with the cardboard tube, but all he did was cut it a little bit and stick it on the railing on the basement stairs like a sleeve. :) No picture of that either, although he was very proud of himself for doing it! Silly boy.

I can’t wait to see the art your little ones made!! Link up below!

Have a beautiful day! :)


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