Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tot School – Feb. 28, 2010


We took it very easy with school this past week.  I just brought out some random things that were easy for me to put together for M.  He is very into elaborate pretend play now and I’m trying to give him plenty of time for that.  If he’s involved in something like that during the only time I have free for a little school, well then no school.  I’m totally ok with that, although I have to work hard not to compare myself with other mommies out there.

So, in no particular order this week, here’s what we did (no action shots)…

A corkboard and push pins to outline the little pictures with.  I had several of these left over from the last time this activity was out.  He really enjoys this one!feb (5)


Our newest puzzle from our toy lending libary:

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Pegboard game with shapes, also from the toy library:



A new puzzle from mama (I’ve got scads of these stashed around the house; he just loves a new puzzle challenge).

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The good old Lite Brite, which is always fun.  He likes to pull the shades in his room, close the door and get it as dark as possible when he plays with this:feb (4)


Our foam puzzles – numbers and ABCs.  He still likes to hammer these guys in with his little wooden hammer!feb (7)


The first thing he goes for every week is his letter cutting/collage page.  He did S this week:feb (1)


The sand tray and his soft pipecleaner letters.  feb (2)


And, he checks his little sprouts every single morning.  It’s looking like we are going to have lots of shamrocks and forget-me-nots.  We’ve been counting them and he’s so good about taking care of them.  I really need to thin them out, but they are like his babies, so I’m not sure exactly how to go about doing that. :)blog pictures 028


I know we’ve done a lot more than this, but if I don’t take a picture of it I just can’t remember anything.   Actually, that’s true about a lot of things, not just tot school! :)

Go here to see other tot-schooling mamas.

Have a beautiful day! )

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Books of the Week – Feb. 27, 2010

We recently went to a church festival and one of the activities was a book fair. We found so many great books, most of them written in the 30’s, 40’s, and 60’s. I felt like I won the jackpot! :) I just love the look of older books!
My Box and String, by Betty Woods was written in 1963. This is such a cute book, written in rhyme, about a boy who makes a *thing* with a box and some string and then doesn’t want anyone else to play with it. Yet, he isn’t sure what to do with it himself. Finally, with the help of a little girl’s wise words, he realizes the fun was in creating his box and string. This is a great little book about the fun a child can have with simple, everyday objects. And it is a great book about using one’s imagination too, since several animals, as well as a boy and girl, come up with all kinds of creative uses for the box and string creation. We all love this book!
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Another great find was Everyday Animals, by Gertrude E. Allen. This book was written in 1961 and is a non-fiction chapter book. It has wonderful black and white illustrations and each chapter talks about a different animal… rabbits, chipmunks, mice, skunks, porcupines, and gray squirrels… animals a child knows and probably has seen. The text is great and the author did a great job of writing about things that small children will truly find interesting. For instance, this part from the rabbit section:
“When Mother Rabbit is expecting babies she finds a spot under some tree roots or bushes or in tall grass. She digs a hole and lines it with grass and bits of fur. She makes a blanket from grass and fur and tucks it over the babies when she leaves the nest.”
Or from the chipmunk chapter:
“Chipmunks look odd when they swim. They hold their tails straight up in the air!”
Ok, obviously I love this book and so does M despite it’s length. We’ve been reading one chapter at a time, and he has really enjoyed learning all the little things about these animals.
Click on the button at the top of the page to see more reviews on great kids’ books!
Have a beautiful day! :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Science Time… Color Changing Paper

Well, I can’t remember what number science experiment we are on, but this one also came from our Mind Blowing Science kit.

First, we filled two cups with a little water.  M added baking soda to one and citric acid to the other.  We labeled them A for acid, and B for base.  We also marked two q-tips so we wouldn’t accidentally put one of them in both the base and the acid.

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Then we took out some “goldenrod” paper that came in the kit.  M dipped one q-tip into the acid cup and drew a little on the paper.  At first it simply looked like a darker shade of orange, but as we watched it turned into a deep pictures 014

When M dipped the other q-tip into the base solution and drew over the red, it erased the red and the paper was goldenrod again (really, why can’t they say dark yellow or light orange?).

And then we had fun drawing invisible pictures with the base solution and making them appear with the acid solution.  M expected more of a “wow” with this experiment and was a little disappointed that it was only changing to one color.  However, he still had enough fun with this that he played around with it for quite a while.

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So, here’s the deal… goldenrod paper has a chemical in it that is an acid indicator, and it turns red when it comes in contact with acid.  The base solution of baking soda neutralizes the acid and erases the red marks.  Apparently you can do this experiment with cranberry juice too!  Hopefully we’ll get around to trying that one sometime soon.

And then, of course, came the dumping everything in the tray and watching it foam up.  And then a half hour of playing with more baking soda and a little vinegar.  It really never gets old does it? :)

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Well, it doesn’t if you are three years old. :)

Check out more science at Ticia’s Science Sunday post!

Have a beautiful day! :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Art Box – Feb. 22, 2010


I am not really here.  I’m still on break, but here’s the MckLinky for all of your little artists out there! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Time for a Breather

I took a little week long blogging break before Christmas when my stress level was skyrocketing, and that one little week did so much for my perspective and peace of mind!  So, when the new year began, I resolved that I would take a week long break from the blog (and internet in general) every couple of months just to have time for all the *stuff* I ignore when I’m having fun blogging, thinking about blogging, planning to blog, reading blogs… you get the idea. ;) 

Lent begins this week and so it seems like a good time for me to take a little break and, I don’t know… maybe clean the house, talk to my husband,  or some other crazy thing. :)  Really, it’s good for me to refocus and rethink my priorities on a regular basis so that’s what I’m going to do.   I’ll schedule out a MckLinky for the Art Box on Monday, and then I’ll see you all on Wednesday or Thursday. 

I hope you all have a beautiful week! :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Review – The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

I recently received this book and I am so glad I did! This was an excellent read, and I enjoyed it very much .
I am a fan of British literature and Jane Austen happens to be one of my favorite authors. Julie Klassen has been compared to Jane Austen, and normally I do not enjoy books that are written in imitation of someone else’s writing style. I have to say, though, that Julie Klassen is a fine author in her own right, and has a wonderful style all her own. She has a good understanding of the time period about which she writes and the characters in this book were extremely well developed and “real” to me. I could hardly put this book down and ended up reading it within 2 and a half days of receiving it!
Olivia Keene is fleeing from her hometown and a secret involving something horrible she believes she has done. In the course of finding her way to a new home she overhears a secret regarding Lord Bradley of Brightwell Court. Lord Bradley discovers her and after some thought (and an incident in which Olivia is nearly strangled and thereby temporarily loses her voice) decides to place her in his home as a servant so he can keep an eye on her. She is ordered to remain silent and all the other servants believe she is a mute.
This book is full of mystery regarding Olivia’s past, and this is interwoven into the mystery surrounding Lord Bradley’s birth. The mistrust that the two initially feel for one another eventually turns into something quite different as their secrets bring them together.
I enjoyed the suspense, the mystery, and the romance of this book very much and look forward to reading more books by this talented author.
Thank you to Bethany House Publishing Company for sending me this book to review!

ABC upper and lower case matching cards – Printable

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Sometimes I like to play simple little games with M.  We print out a grid, or a do-a-dot page, or a magnet page, and I print letters or numbers or whatever we are working on in the spaces.  (You could do it for sight words, simple math equations, colors, shapes… lots of stuff.) 

I’m always stumped though, when it’s letters we are working on, about how to make this into a game, because a game is the best way to get M to participate in just about anything. 
I could just call out a random letter and have him find and stamp it out on his page, but this isn’t very engaging for him and he hasn’t been interested when I’ve approached it that way.  I wanted to find some ABC cards that had separate cards for upper and lowercase letters.  There are a lot out there (and they look great!) that have the upper and lowercase letter on the same card (where you can match up two halves of the same card in a matching game)… but that wasn’t quite what I was looking for.  I want to be able to work on lower case and upper case at the same time… or not… or match a “mama” letter card to a “baby” letter card… or just whatever!

Anyway, here’s what I came up with:abc cards
Now when we play our little grid games I just plug in the letters I want to focus on.
Sometimes these are all lower case letters, sometimes they are all upper case, and sometimes they are both!  Then I go through the cards and pull out the ones we’ll be needing.  I shuffle them, M cuts them :), and we take turns drawing one from the top of the deck and then find it on our page.  Whoever gets all their spaces filled in first wins.  It’s a great, fun game, and while M is enjoying himself I know he’s much more likely to retain what he’s learning!  

We also use these to play matching games.  Having the same picture on the big letter and little letter cards is a nice help in being able to match up those mamas and babies. ;)
We’ll use these for other things too… phonic sorts and who knows what else.   I’m open for suggestions too, as always!

If you are interested in printing these for your own use, you can download them here.

Have a beautiful day! :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Art Box – Feb. 15, 2010

Somehow I never got around to putting a new art box together for M last week.  I had hopes that he would make more valentines, but I guess he only had one week’s worth of valentines in him.  :) 

He asked for stencils and paint and did, oh, maybe a hundred paintings just like these:stencil painting

He has this super-ability to fixate on one thing and do it over and over and over again.  And then… again, one more time.  I’m not sure if this is normal;  it may just be he’s picked up a bit of his mom’s craziness.  ;)

I cured him of his stenciling spree by buying him another paint-with-water book.  He did it, the entire book, that afternoon.   blog pictures 030So, we didn’t have the artsy-est  week ever, but he really did enjoy himself and I enjoyed the fact that an 89 cent book gave me a half hour of quiet.   

Link up your Art Box posts below!  Remember to link back here in your post so your readers can find art box ideas from other great linker-uppers. :) 

Have a beautiful day! :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tot School – Feb. 14, 2010

image M is 41 months old.

Well, M is still feeling camera shy.  For this reason, I took a lot of pics of the activities as they were set up.  I love action shots more, but I’ve realized he really needs my attention to be on him when we are spending this precious time together.  I hope you all don’t mind the boring pictures!!



lacing heart This was a quick, simple activity to put together – I just punched some holes around a heart cut from fun foam and set it out with a lace from some lacing beads.


hair binders on jar For this activity I set out a jar (filled with glass pebbles to keep it from falling over while M worked with it) and some elastic ponytail holders.  He stretched each one out with his hands, then manipulated it over the top of the jar and slid it down.  He really, really, really enjoyed this and it was definitely a challenge for him.  I got this idea here.

heart beads M made these sweet little beaded hearts for the grandmas.  Each one was made with a 3” length of pipecleaner and pony beads.  Once the beads were strung on we formed them into tiny hearts. 


heart button snake This was a great idea found here.  I cut slits in some red and white felt hearts, sewed a button onto a length of ribbon and M made a button snake.  He really enjoyed this once he started it.  Sorry there’s no “after” picture!



size sorting btb M enjoyed doing his Bob the Builder truck size sorting activity. 

pom pom tweezing onto valentines I turned these little valentines from our most recent  High-Five issue into pom pom counting cards.   M used the tweezers to put the correct number of pom poms on each card.


shape matching We played a memory game with our shape sorting cards.  This was a little more difficult than a regular game of memory because we weren’t matching pictures, but shapes of items.  M did very well with this and really enjoyed it much more than simply sorting the cards into shape categories.



spring plants We bought some tiny seed starter kits at Target and planted some forget-me-nots and a shamrock plant. :)  M has been checking them every day to see if anything is growing yet.


valentine playdough (2) We made a batch of valentine playdough – pretty red with glitter in it and a dash of cinnamon too – yum!  M wanted to make a snowman like we did with our white playdough in December… so that’s what we did!  I called them *Valentine Guys*.  M just called them red snowmen, heh.  valentine playdough (1)

Then he made me the sweetest little playdough valentines (“These are just for you, Mommy!”):valentine playdough

And here was the big hit of the week… a tissue paper sensory bin.tissue paper sensory binWe actually used our old baby bathtub for this because our regular bin was being used for something else.   We had fun tearing it up, feeling it, and hearing how crinkly it is.  Then we tossed the pieces in the air and watched them float down.  M thought they float “probably because they aren’t very heavy”.  :) tissue paper sensory bin (1)Then we had the best time blowing them up into the air and across the room.  Finally we just took handfuls and threw them at each other.  We both had a LOT of fun with this!  Thank you so much to April, who gave us this idea with her great post.  Visit her blog if you haven’t already, she is full of good ideas and has the sweetest little girl! :)   tissue paper sensory bin (3)  


Well, there were actually 2 big hits this week and this is part of the second one:elise (1)Our lovely friend Elise sent us these tumbling goannas in a little package.  They stick to the fridge or window or wall and flip flop their way down, sometimes tangling each other up.  We’ve been having a lot of goanna races lately, they are so much fun!   Thank you, Elise, Savvy, and Blake!!  This was such a treat!  More about what else was in their package in a little while.

We also found out this week that our town has a toy lending library.  What?!?!  This is something I’ve read about on other blogs and I’ve been soooo jealous!  Well, it turns out we have one too and I’ve lived here for 10 years without knowing about it.  Not that I would’ve cared more than 3 years ago, but still.  So of course we went the very day we first heard about it.  M brought home this cool building toy set.  It’s mainly wheels, bolts, nuts, and some yellow connecting pieces.  We’ve made a cart for his pretend grocery shopping and a truck!  It’s really cool and I’ll hate taking it back.lib bolts toy 

He also picked out this fun bulldozer floor puzzle.  I’m really looking forward to making the toy library part of our weekly or bi-weekly routine!

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Ok, here’s the other part of what we got in Elise’s package.  Really, she was so generous and she is truly one of the people I’m most thankful for having “met” via blogging… she’s a great mom, full of energy and fun ideas, and just has such a cheerful outlook.  I’m always inspired by her.  I want to move to Australia and be her next door neighbor. :)   Oh wait, would that be weird at all? ;)

She and her sweet children sent M these great Australian animal flashcards and the BEST cd of music.  This is such a good cd; we’ve been listening to it pretty much non-stop since receiving it and, honestly, I’m not tired of it yet.  I’m actually really enjoying it and that says a lot!  It’s fun to dance to and we are just having a great time with it!



Speaking of music, here’s what I videotaped one day this week.  Check out M’s bedhead. :)  (But please don’t look at the messy background.)   This cracked me up and I thought you might get a kick out of it too.  I apologize in advance for my obnoxious laugh (sorry!)…  the reason I thought it was so funny is because M normally does not have such a serious frown on his face when he’s singing, and his sweet little voice is not at all like this.  I don’t know what he was thinking, but he was adamant about making a video. :)  Enjoy…


For more Tot School posts go here!

Have a beautiful day! :)


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