Monday, August 31, 2009

36 Months

Dear Matthew,

You turned 3 years old last week.  You are such a big boy now, and you are quick to remind us of that fact.  We are so very proud of you. 

There is hardly anything of the baby about you now. 

I’m so thankful for the rocking chair that you aren’t yet ready to give up.  Even when it’s the middle of the night and you want me to rock you, I do.  Because, although you would never admit it, you are still my baby and I know those precious moments are numbered. 

You had a wonderful birthday!  Balloons, noise-makers, pizza, presents… all the good stuff that a little boy wants.  And a cake from your mama that was built according to your specifications: dirt, a road, a fence, some trucks, some m&m’s, and lots of “shiny” parts (frosting). :)

blowing out birthday candles

You received your “dream machine” from Grandma – a push lawnmower that you’ve had your eye on all summer:

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You’ve been a handful lately, but you’ve had a lot going on.  3 looks like a lot of fun, but we know it can be difficult too, don’t we?  There’s a lot expected of you, so many new things to learn about, endless questions that Mommy doesn’t always know the answers to, and rules, rules, rules! You are not a big fan of all the rules! :)

But, you know what?  You are doing a great job, and we will always love you and help you when you need us.

Your spontaneous hugs and kisses are so sweet.  Your silly faces and absurd jokes are so funny. 

You bring so much more joy to our lives than we ever expected.  Thank you, Sweetheart, for being you.  We love you very much.



Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tot School

Tot School

M is 36 months old

Despite having a crazy-busy week, we were able to slow down enough for an occasional tot school activity. Here’s a little of what we did…

It’s been raining a lot here lately, and M loves to open the windows and feel the rain and talk about it. He actually went out to play in the rain twice, but his silly mama forgot to take any pictures.


He watched Daddy plug a hole in one of the tires of our truck, then pump more air into it. This was fascinating for M.

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We found some moon sand at the Dollar Tree. I was really excited about this because I’ve been wanting to get some for M, but it just seemed so expensive for… sand. At the dollar store it’s called Magic Sand. :)

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I made a new flannel board set – have you ever heard Raffi’s song about the Little White Duck? That’s what this is based on. I found the pattern here. I’m telling you, Matthew LOVES his flannel board. He is so into it I’m going to have to do a separate post about it.

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I printed out this hot air balloon and gave M some m&ms to put on it. He loved this of course. He is such an m&m kid. I got the idea from Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

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I also printed these “magnet pages” and M practiced one-to-one correspondence by putting glass pebbles on them. I did not think this was the most original idea ever, it was just something we did on the spur of the moment. However, it was one of M’s favorite activities that day. tot school aug (13)

We used our pocket chart to do some ABC matching:

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More matching with this heart matching game, from

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I used these dog pictures for another game. I put 4 different dogs on the tray (these are magnets, and we used a cookie sheet to stick them on), and we talked about them. Then he would close his eyes and I would take one away. When he opened his eyes he would try to remember which one was missing. I think this was a good idea, but it was a little too difficult for M. I’m going to try the same thing using other items some time soon.

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M practiced his fine motor skills with some lacing cards:

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And practiced his scissor skills too. Does anyone recognize this scissor practice printable? I can’t recall where I found them. I added the stickers to help guide him.

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My favorite activity this week (and M liked it too, but I don’t think it was his *favorite*) was this:

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I used foam stickers to make these, and M had to recreate the shape combinations that I had stuck to the bottom portion of the grids. I got the idea here; click to see the full tutorial. He did great with this, and I was so proud! It is not as easy at it looks because he had to determine which shape was on the bottom and then place the second shape on top of it.

I hope you all had a great week of tot school! Go here to get more ideas from other tot schooling moms!

Have a beautiful day! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Open Ended Art – Yellow and Crayons Theme

The theme over at Teaching My Little Bookworm for open ended art this week is yellow and crayons. Check out more artwork here.

One morning this week I set up a piece of newsprint and crayons for M.

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Have you ever seen these crayons? They are made by Elmer – the same company that makes the glue – and they are called Color Slicks.

They are so much more vibrant than regular crayons, and they remind me a little bit of oil pastels. We haven’t had them out much lately, and we have been coloring with regular crayons a lot, so I decided these would be more fun for his special theme artwork.

He loves these, but apparently he loves the yellow one least. :) I had to encourage him to use that one, and he made a yellow “tunnel” with it, then went back to the other colors. august 2009 011

I gave him some cotton balls to see if he could smudge the colors, and it worked.

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He wasn’t crazy about the effect though – I think he didn’t understand.

Here’s his finished artwork:

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Have a beautiful day! :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Craft Time – Rainbows Galore - #2

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Because the Gluey-Jello rainbow turned out like it did, we did another rainbow craft.
I gave M a piece of white cardstock and this rainbow painter we found at a discount store ages ago and have never used:
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He didn’t really paint in a rainbow shape, but I didn’t necessarily intend for him to. I just wanted the whole paper covered with rainbow colors.
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I also had him put his hands together like this (to make a dove) and drew around them on a light beige piece of cardstock:
august 2009 014 (Oh, how I love those chubby little hands!)
Then we mixed white glue and very fine silver glitter together on a saucer:
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He painted the birdie:
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I wish you could see how sparkly it turned out. I have had great results mixing glitter with paint (or even just plain white glue) to achieve a sparkly effect. The key, though, is to use the finest glitter you can find. It’s way less messy than letting them sprinkle the glitter on.
Once the rainbow paper was dry, I drew a rainbow shape on the back and cut it out:
august 2009 028 Glue the dove onto the top and you’ve got a pretty little reminder of the story about Noah’s Ark.
august 2009 029Nope, I didn’t make him hold it front of his face, that’s just what he did.
Here’s a close up of the sparkly dove:
august 2009 033 It turned out very pretty – the pictures don’t do it justice.
Have a beautiful, sparkly day! :)

Craft Time – Rainbows Galore – #1

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I wanted to do these crafts as part of our Noah’s Ark theme last week, but we simply ran out of time.  They are pretty fun to do though, and I like the results, so I’m sharing them here.
The first idea I got from Making Learning Fun.  I printed this template, then circled the color names in the appropriate marker color so M could do this on his own a little bit.  Then I put a muffin tin out with different flavors of Jello powder – cherry, orange, lemon, lime, blueberry, and grape. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?
august 2009 008 (Please pretend you can’t see my rusty old pan.)
M put glue on each stripe of the rainbow (he needed a little mama guidance with this, so no pics), then used a small spoon to *sprinkle* (dump) the powders on.
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Here’s the finished rainbow, and it smelled delicious!
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There are a couple of things you should know before you do this with your little one though…
1. The paper becomes very heavy with this on it, because it gels when it mixes with the glue.  We used cardstock thankfully, or it would’ve been a disaster.
2. It gels when it mixes with the glue.  So, you know, you have gluey Jello  which, while it smells pretty and looks pretty, is really kind of gross.
3. Ants may come calling when they realize there is gluey Jello nearby.  For this reason M’s artwork ended up in the garbage early the next morning, the evidence covered up with lots of paper towels.  Thankfully he has not asked about his pretty, smelly rainbow yet. :)
So, if we do this again… and it was truly a LOT of fun for M (kept him occupied for a good 45 minutes) we’ll use sugar free koolaid. 
Have a beautiful day! :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gone for a While…

Whew, we have a hectic week ahead of us.  Dentist and doctor appointments, taking dinner to a friend and seeing her new baby, play date with a bunch of other mommies (and kids) on Wednesday, and a 3-year Birthday Party with the Cake of M’s Dreams on Thursday.  Not to mention all the cleaning, cooking, laundry, and errand-running that should be done too.  I feel like I should put brush my teeth and shower on the list too, because I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to get them done otherwise. 

This is a week when too much has been planned, and though most of the things are something enjoyable, a little of the joy is taken out by the sheer amount of energy it’s all going to entail.

I’m pretty sure blogging is going to have to take a backseat this week.  I’m not sure we’ll get any tot school in; maybe if I’m organized I can get a couple of things together in case M asks and we have free time. 

So, while I normally like to take time to comment on everyone’s tot-school posts and especially those that comment here, it will most likely be several days before you hear from me!  I have a couple of posts that were written over the weekend scheduled for the next couple of days, but I won’t *really* be here. ;)

If I’m good about taking pictures this week though, I’ll have a lot of blogging material for the future. :)

Have a beautiful week!  :)

Tot School

Tot School

M is 35 months old.

I felt really behind all week, nothing was planned (and I am nothing if not a Planner), and both M and I were a little cranky.  Sigh.  Motherhood isn’t always pretty I guess.  Anyway, we did only a few things…

We played with M’s foam bath numbers and he matched the number to the correct pile of erasers that I set up:

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He did this pretty well, with only a little guidance from me.  We switched it and he put the number of erasers down next to the appropriate foam number (does that make sense??)

One day he wanted to “do school” when I wasn’t able to, so he got out the little erasers, a pair of tongs, and a bowl from the kitchen and did this all on his own :

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I found a copy of the Moveable Alphabet here, printed it out and put it in our pocket chart (from Target dollar spot – you knew I’d mention it at least once, didn’t you?!).  Then M matched up his letters from his See and Spell.  I thought he would have fun putting things in the pocket chart, but he really was not all that interested.  I do think I’ll try it again though, it could’ve just been that we had a bad attitude all week. ;)august 2009 028

M matched paper clips to colored pieces of cardstock.  He did great with getting them on this time, something he’s really had a hard time with in the past:

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He did some scissor practice using the pages I printed from here:

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We did a dolphin puzzle, which was a real struggle… I know he can do this puzzle, he just lost interest halfway through.  I made him finish it, but I’m really not sure why.  Normally if he isn’t having fun we just skip something. 

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We made a blue, yellow, blue, yellow pattern with his blocks.  I did this with him and kept asking “what comes next?” and he kind of got it eventually, I think.

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We finished up with an activity that’s always fun and puts both of us in a good mood.  We got out his songbook and we played his instruments and sang several songs.  You can’t see his box of instruments in this picture; we have a harmonica, a triangle, a shaker bottle (pictured), jingle bells, tambourine, and the bowl and wooden spoon (pictured) that he uses like a drum.  august 2009 058

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I’m hoping to make next week a little more fun and interesting!  I hope you all had wonderful weeks with your tots!!

Have a beautiful day! :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sunday School on Friday – Noah’s Ark

I have found that M seems to gain more from our Bible story times when we do activities and talk about the story a little bit before actually reading the story from one his children’s Bibles.

So, on Thursday I let him watch a short (3 minutes) video about Noah’s Ark on his Read And Share Toddler Bible DVD. He really enjoyed this.

There are so many inspiring ideas online for a Noah’s Ark theme. We almost weren’t able to fit everything in!

Friday morning when he woke up, this was waiting for him:

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The printout is from Making Learning Fun (a fantastic site, by the way).

M got right to work:

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Later we talked about all the colors of the rainbow as we did a little color mixing:

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Next we had fun playing “Sink or Float?” in our kitchen sink:

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M came up with some pretty interesting things to drop in. :) We made a little boat with a sponge, straw, and foam sail, and tried to see what we could carry on it and what would make it sink.

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We talked about the ark and how God kept Noah, his family, and the animals safe on it.

I found these story cards on Sparklebox (another fantastic site!). M has never done sequencing with story cards before, and I wasn’t sure he was ready for that challenge, so I simply told him the story with the cards, and then we did it a second time while he told the story (with me giving some prompts).

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I made up some game mats by printing this template out on colored construction paper, and we played an animal matching game. The game we used is one we’ve had for a while, but as we found matches, we got to put our animal couples on our arks. Whoever had the most animals on his/her ark won. :) Very simple, I know, and it was really unnecessary to print out ark game mats, but simple things can make a difference. M felt like it was a brand new game. And he won. ;)

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We didn’t end up actually reading the story about Noah and the Ark from M’s Bible until bedtime that evening!

I had a craft planned, but we just didn’t get to it. However, I do still plan to do it with M, and I’ll create a separate post for it. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun!

Have a beautiful day! :)


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