Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tree and Leaf Nomenclature Cards

I love the look and idea of Montessori botany puzzles and nomenclature cards.  And I’m really trying to incorporate more Montessori elements into the activities I do with M.  Autumn is on its way (many people aren’t excited about that, something I just don’t understand.  Autumn is glorious and I love it.  It’s not autumn’s fault that winter follows close behind!) and I know we’ll be talking a lot about trees and leaves… so I whipped up these little nomenclature cards for trees and leaves.

The idea is to print two sets, then match them up while learning the names of the various parts.  Each card has a different area highlighted in color, and there is one non-highlighted card titled “leaf” (or “tree”).

Eventually we’ll use these as 3-part cards too, and I’ll cut the labels from the second set of cards so M can try matching up the words in addition to the pictures.  For more info on how to use 3-part cards, see this great blog post.

Of course I’m sharing my little creations!  They were very simple to make and not too time consuming.  I hope to make more printables along these lines in the weeks ahead.  The links for these are below:
Tree Nomenclature Cards Leaf Nomenclature Cards

Have a beautiful day! :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

CSN Giveaway Winner


#73 is LINDSAY! :)

 Lindsay said...

I need a toybox and have been eying this one: http://www.csnstores.com/KidKraft-14121-KK1017.html with our last name on it :-)

Congratulations, Lindsay.  I’ll make sure I have your email and will send it to CSN!

Have a beautiful day! :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

4 Years

Matthew mar 2 011

My sweet boy,

Where have the last 4 years gone?  Sometimes I look at you and I am startled to see you looking like a kid instead of that chubby little laughing baby.  I feel like you are still brand new – and every day I’m thankful that we have you.  I don’t think a single day has gone by where I haven’t been amazed to realize you are really here, after all those years of praying and waiting for you.  You are such a blessing, and your name, which means “Gift from God” is a perfect fit for how we feel.

matthew february 2008 025 (18 mos. old – the sun was shining through your window and captured your profile perfectly on the wall – look at all that curly hair!)

Well, you really are here, and you really are going to be 4 years old this week.  You are such an interesting little guy, and there are so many things I never want to forget about you at this age…

You make noise from morning till night.  If you aren’t asking (hard!) questions about how things work or what something means, you are either singing, saying nonsense words and cracking yourself up, humming, or simply making various noises with your mouth.  You blow raspberries on just about anyone and laugh because it sounds like a “toot”.  What a boy.  You give your silence-loving mama a real patience workout.

You are a clown and love to make people laugh.  You tell off-the-wall jokes in your “stage voice” (about an octave lower than your normal voice) and no one really gets them, but you get the laughs and that’s all that really matters.  You still like to pretend you are a robot and have to “recharge your head” in the mornings.  You call your hands your “Crazy Little Things” and they do crazy little things for sure… recently I found a couple of cuts in a pair of your shorts and I asked you if you had cut them with your scissors.  You said, “My crazy little things did it.  I kept telling them to stop, but they just kept on cutting until I finally took the scissors away.”  Whew – what a windjammer, as your daddy would say!aug 2010 092

You are baby-obsessed (is it something in the water we drink?  I think we are all baby-obsessed) and have started taking care of a little stuffed bear – putting him to bed, being so gentle with him, talking to him in a sweet little voice, and even feeding him his “baby ba-ba”. :) 

You love to fly like a bird or a superhero, depending on your mood.  And we’ve had more than one trip to the emergency room because of this.  You must stop climbing on the furniture and jumping (sorry, flying) across the room.  I really mean it this time.

Your favorite word is “hanky”.  Why, oh why, is this the word you say all day long?  Daddy comes home and you say, “Hi Daddy Hanky-head!” (or Hanky-legs, or whatever else you come up with).  You yell “hanky” over and over at the top of your lungs in Target and your poor mama starts looking for a hole in the ground to crawl into.  The cashier says, “hi” to you and you say, “hanky!”  Sometimes while you are playing alone I hear you singing, “Hanky Doodle went to town, riding on a hanky…”.  Good grief.  aug 2010 091

You are also a thinker.  You got a double dose of this trait from Daddy and me.  But I think you could out-think both of us anytime.  You think about how the car works, and you are obsessed with the gas gauge.  You tell us if we have “half a tank”, a “quarter of a tank”, or need to fill up soon.  Once, when the clock in the living room was pointing straight up at noon, you said “Look, it’s half a tank full!”   You are also obsessed with batteries.  You think about why metal conducts electricity but plastic won’t (Seriously?  Can’t just knowing it’s that way be enough?).  You wonder if there’s a lion in our woods just waiting to come out and poke a hole in your inflatable pool.  You think just maybe the deer that really do come will think your pool is a real shark (it’s shaped like a shark) and will be afraid to come near Daddy’s tomatoes and he won’t have to spray them with the smelly stuff anymore.  Think, think, think.

You make me tired.  But even more, you make me happy. :)matthew 069(4 month old baby feet – so sweet!)

You are loving and affectionate when the mood strikes you, and thankfully it does fairly often.  You love to give kisses and hugs and you say, “Mommy, I love you” in a serious little voice that makes my heart fill with joy.  Sometimes you blow kisses and then tell us to open our mouths so it can go all the way down to our hearts. 

My favorite time of day is bedtime, and not only because then it will be quiet, but because you turn into my baby again and still want me to rock you in the rocking chair for a few minutes.  I love the feel of your head on my shoulder and your hair on my cheek, and all 40 pounds of you strung out over me with legs and arms seemingly everywhere.  That poor wooden rocking chair creaks and groans. :)  But still I won’t stop as long as you want to cuddle with me because I know soon it won’t be this way any more, and I’ll miss it so much.  I love you, baby boy.  And I’m so very, very proud of you.



Last day for the Giveaway!

Don’t forget to enter the CSN gift certificate giveaway!  The deadline for entering is midnight tonight.  I’ll announce the winner tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I’m getting a lot of comments on the Calendar post that went up earlier today.   I actually wrote and posted that post last December.  The internet  and Blogger went all wonky and somehow it was put in Google Reader as a new post today .  I tried deleting and apparently only deleted the pics, which so very, very many of you have been kind enough to tell me. ;)  The entire thing is deleted now, thank you.  You can find the old post here.

Don’t you love how much FUN blogging can be?!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Book Review – Whisper on the Wind, by Maureen Lang

I received an advance copy of this book on Thursday evening and finished reading it Friday night.  It is 300 pages of compelling action and drama, from the very beginning right through to the end.

Set in Belgium, which is occupied by German forces during World War I, this is the story of an underground newspaper named La Libre Belgique (“Free Belgium”).  The secret newspaper brings encouragement and hopeful news of the war to the citizens of Belgium, who are otherwise given only the biased views of the German government’s newspaper.

This book was interesting on so many different levels – it is a thoughtful commentary on the power of words to fight oppressive forces; a small lesson that love will not wait until a convenient time; and just an all-around good story of suspense and intrigue as the main characters work to keep the newspaper going while knowing their lives might be the price paid.

(Warning: spoiler ahead!)
The characters are nicely developed and of course I always enjoy a good romance, especially one where the hero, finally realizing his feelings,  rescues his love from the firing squad.  Really, what more could you want?  ;)

This book will be released in September – be sure to put it on your reading list!

Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book to review.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Math Printables

I’m in an ocean of cardstock, printer ink, and laminating pouches here.  And, for the most part, I’m loving it!  Never fear, I am planning lots of fun, active, non-paper activities to do with M this fall, but still… a girl needs a reason to use her laminator, right? ;)

The first printable is a set of autumn-themed playdough number mats.  A long enough title, no?  These are for help in learning numeral formation, practicing counting, and developing fine motor skills.  Laminate them (or put them in page protectors, which is probably what I’ll do) and then use with playdough.  Roll “snakes” to form the numerals, and roll “balls” to place on the objects on each page.  As the number gets higher the circles get smaller, so those fine motor skills get a good workout.

Autumn Number Play-doh Mats


Also, I made this quick little chart to count with and introduce graphing.  Place small items – beans, plastic counters, little stickers – in the boxes below each number.  The number of items placed should match the number at the top of the column.  Make sure to have 55 little items available as a control of error.  The child should have just enough to complete the grid.  M has already been doing this – once with beans and once with Tigger stickers. :)  He loves it and loves pointing out that stairs or a triangle (or a piece of pizza, as he says) are formed when the page is finished.

Number Stamping Chart 1-10

Have a beautiful day! :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

CSN Giveaway! - CLOSED

CSN has anything and everything you could want in over 200 hundred online stores.  Anything from lights to library shelves, or toys to tables. :)  They’ve got it.  I love CSN stores.  If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have been able to provide so many high quality, educational, and fun toys for M for his birthday (coming up soon!).  Their prices are very competitive and the selection is unbelievable.  And, I have to say, they’ve got the best customer service!  I’ve been waiting to review a product from them because the wagon I wanted was unavailable, and after a couple of weeks they emailed me a 15% off coupon to use on a purchase… just because I had been waiting!  I can honestly say they’ve got my business and loyalty.  They are the first place I go now to find good prices on what we want and need.

Now for the really good part - I have a $60.00 gift certificate to give away to one lucky reader! :)  This giveaway is open until midnight next Thursday, August 26th.  I’ll announce the winner on August 27th.  For your first mandatory entry, you must be a subscriber or follower of Tired, Need Sleep, and leave a comment letting me know. 

Extra entries (leave a comment for each one):

  1. Blog about this giveaway
  2. “Like” CSN Stores on Facebook
  3. Tell me which item(s) you’ll buy with your $60 if you win

Good luck, everyone!!

Have a beautiful day! :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Blog Stuff…

Bear with me as I’ll be in and out of blogland for the next few weeks.  I’ll have some posts, but predict that they’ll be pretty sporadic.  I’m putting the Monday Art Box posts on hold for the next month or so – M is too busy enjoying summer to care much about it and that’s fine with me.  I think if his Art Box disappears for a while and then reappears once Minnesota cold starts setting in, it will be very popular once again. :)

I’m in the middle of some minor home remodeling that started with tearing up the living room carpet one morning (my husband  loves when I do this kind of thing – you can imagine just how much), and I’m trying to plan our preschool activities which we’ll be starting mid-September.  I want things fairly organized and ready to go so I’m not just winging it like I tend to do.  These two things are taking up any and all spare time I have.  And that’s not much now that M is going to bed later and hubby is home more evenings in the summer.  I love them very, very much, and am grateful that we are spending so much time together.  We’ll just leave it at that, shall we?

I have a million posts (really good posts!) swirling around in this head of mine, but none of them seem to be writing themselves.  ;)  Stick with me and sometime in September things should pick up again and be a bit more lively in my little corner of blogland.  Hopefully this will also mean that I’ll be able to read and comment again on some of my favorite, but neglected, blogs. :) 

Have a beautiful day! :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Biggie Fuse Beads

I bought a bucket of these a couple of months ago and put them out on M’s shelves as a fine motor activity.  He is crazy about them!  We also bought the set of two clear plastic pegboards, and he places the beads on the little pegs.  Once he’s made  a design he likes, I iron it for him (with the included ironing paper) and they melt together.  I’m sure most of you have seen the mini version of this for older kids, but the Biggie version is a great way to start those little fingers out!

At first M made his own designs, like these:art box (3)Going clockwise from the top – a square, ,a wagon, a truck, and dragon bones. :)

But just recently he became interested in using the patterns that came with the peg boards.  Then we found more patterns for them here, which was very exciting, and I was told to print them all out. :)  *Note: the patterns for Biggie Beads start at the bottom of the page that I’ve linked to

His collection so far:july and august 2010 027Honestly, I think that photo shows only part of what he’s made; we’ve gone through 2 buckets so far, but I’m not sure where he’s hoarding the rest of his creations.

This has ended up being a fantastic activity for him – it works those fine motor muscles in his hand, works on the all-important tripod grasp, has helped him develop some patience and perseverance as he sees each pattern to the end, matching up the beads just right to the pattern.  It has expanded his attention span also, and gives him a good sense of accomplishment and pride in a job completed.  Wow – all that from a bucket of beads! :) 

M will be 4 soon, and once we finish up our most recent bucket of Biggie Beads, I’ll see how he does with the smaller version. 

Is there a product out there that you and your child have fallen in love with?  Share it in the comments – I would love to find more great products like this!

Have a beautiful day! :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Art Box – August 9, 2010

Last week the Art Box was left untouched.   We had a busy week with play dates and errands, and then there was that one morning when I decided to tear up the living room carpet… :)  Pictures of that, hopefully soon (although lately I can’t promise anything when it comes to blogging). 
M did manage to get in some artsy time with his cousin S on Friday.  I set up the little outdoor easel, put out a (muffin) tray of paints, and a selection of stamps, several brushes and sheets of newsprint:july and august 2010 038 july and august 2010 036
and they went to work:july and august 2010 032
Paint a little, play a little, paint a little – all day long.july and august 2010 034july and august 2010 046  july and august 2010 035We had stacks of artwork by day’s end.  Summer is so much fun, isn’t it?july and august 2010 050

If you have a kid's art post, link it up below! Be sure to link back here somewhere in your post.

Have a beautiful day! :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summertime Art – Leaf Printing (in your swimsuit)

july 2010 044

I’m trying to do one planned and structured art project with M each week.  He gets in plenty of self-directed art with his art easel outside and his little art box inside.  MaryAnn Kohl’s book, Preschool Art has been a great source of ideas and inspiration, and this little project came straight from its pages.


We both enjoyed this activity… M loved the process, and I love the beautiful result.

To do this, you will need a sturdy piece of cardboard or cardstock, glue, paint in the colors you want (M chose green, yellow, and blue), a small paint roller (ours is from the craft section at Walmart), a small tray or dish to roll the paint in, and some sheets of plain paper. july 2010 030You’ll also need newspaper to put under your project if you are working on a surface that you don’t want painted.

Next, you need to go find your leaves!  This was a really fun part of the project for M – he hunted and hunted until he found the perfect leaves.  Yes, we did take a few straight from our shrubs or low-hanging tree branches, but we found a lot just lying on the ground too.  You’ll need fresh, flexible leaves, not ones that are dry and apt to crumble when they are being rolled with paint.

Arrange them, face down, on your piece of cardboard.  You want the lined and veined surface on the underneath to be face up.  Once you are pleased with your arrangement, glue them in place.july 2010 031

Put some paint in your tray and roll your roller through it.  We started off with green and yellow (mostly green), then for our third print we added in a little blue.

july 2010 032 (Like how the newspaper appeared under his work?  Suddenly I realized I didn’t really want a green and yellow picnic table.  And do you think the people listed in those obituaries minded that we were using them for this?)

Gently, gently, roll the leaves with the paint:

july 2010 036 Oh my heavens, my chubby little baby has turned into a skinny big boy!

Once every leaf is covered with paint, place a sheet of plain paper over the top and rub it, again gently, all over.july 2010 034  
Lift it off and you’ve made lovely leaf prints!july 2010 037july 2010 038july 2010 039
I have these hanging in my kitchen now and sometimes I just stop to admire them.  I’m thinking of framing them and hanging them in our breezeway (like a 3-season porch that runs the length of our house).  They make me happy. :)

Have a beautiful day! :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Art Box – August 2, 2010

My beloved laptop was having some issues last week and my not-so-beloved-but-normally-reliable camera was malfunctioning.  Ugh.  You can imagine my horror and anxiety, right? ;)  Everything seems to be back to normal now, and the internet did not go away during my absence.  Thank goodness.  Um, not that I need the internet, or my laptop, or my camera for that matter…  that would just be silly, wouldn’t it?

So, I only captured one lovely piece of artwork made from the Art Box and this is it:art box Yes, I know it looks like he poured glue on a piece of paper and then dumped a bunch of random stuff on it.  However, it took him a good half hour and he was very intentional about all, or at least most, of it.  He even stuffed things into the noodles. :) 

To be honest, sometimes I think the Art Box has turned into more of a tool for me to keep M busy while I “get something done”, than just something for his enjoyment.  However, he really does enjoy the freedom of being able to make whatever he wants whenever he wants.  And he is always so proud of each and every creation.  So many are made with a specific person in mind (to give it to), and I love to hear him talk about how much he loves them and how much they are going to love their special gift.  He is definitely expressing himself through his artwork! 

If you have a kid's art post, link it up below! Be sure to link back here somewhere in your post.

Have a beautiful day! :)


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