Thursday, January 28, 2010

Craft Corner: Baby Longies Set

I am so pleased with the way these turned out. A super cute, gender neutral, newborn baby longies and hat set for a friend of mine.

I want to knit newborn longies all the time! They are so quick to finish. These took me 4 days total, hat included. And if I hadn't had to work two 4-9pm shifts in the last two days, they would have been done sooner. Working until 9 makes me too tired to stay up and knit.

Total Time: 8 hours

Hat - Umbilical Cord hat from Stitch 'N Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook by Debbie Stoller
Longies - Sheepy Pants from Sheepy Time Knits

Yarn: 1 skein each Cascade 220 in Citron (8910) and Cascade 220 Superwash Paints in Spring Meadow (9863)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book Drop #1: One Fish, Two Fish

I have finally gotten around to making an activity to go with the book One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. This is for my very first book drop, through Our Random Acts of Reading. I am so excited! I made a simple little coloring book, and I am going to include the coloring book and some crayons in with the copy of One Fish Two Fish in my book pack. Now to find a great place to do a drop! I am thinking a playground or something. It's been cold, but I still see kids out playing in the afternoons. Since we are expecting snow here tonight, I will wait a few days before I do my drop.

I am trying to figure out how to upload a document to blogger so I can share my coloring book with you!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tot School

Tot School
E is 24 months old.

I am rather picture-less this week. It seems my memory card in my camera is full, so I didn't get a lot of shots of the things we did this week. I have also been battling some pretty severe back pain, so most of the activities I had planned did not end up happening! But the life of a toddler is always pretty exciting, and E found her own things to explore this week.

E received a wood train set for her birthday a few weeks ago, and has been having a lot of fun putting the pieces of track together and taking them apart. She really loves it when I help her create a track for the trains, but I left her mostly to herself this week, as getting down onto the floor has been hard for me.

Along with trains, I brought out her Mega Blocks, and she had great fun lining up all the people. Once she had them in a line, she would start a new one in a different direction and move all the people over to that one. It was pretty cute to watch.

She also spent a lot of time stacking blocks into towers.

I work part time at a gym daycare and was asked to find some craft ideas for the kids to do there, and I found some cute snowflakes made from macaroni. Basically, you draw an x, then draw a vertical line through it for the snowflake. You put some glue down on the lines and let the kiddos cover the glue with macaroni shapes. E helped me make one for the example, and another to put on our fridge. Then she had lots of fun playing in the bowl of pasta. I gave her a measuring cup and let her scoop and pour to her heart's content.

Another new favorite activity is to unstack and re-stack the paper cups leftover from her birthday party. She usually fills the pantry with these as I am trying to get dinner ready, so that it is impossible for me to get any ingredients out of the pantry.

We have been going around looking at Montessori preschools lately. One we visited let her work with one of the older girls on some practical life activites while I spoke with the directress. She had so much fun putting pom-poms into separate holes, using a latch box, and trying out some different kinds of tonging activities. I am still on the lookout for inexpensive tongs that are her size to use at home.

Since I have basically been stuck on the couch this week, we have been reading lots and lots of stories. Favorites this week included:

Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
Elmer Takes Off by David McKee
A Good Day by Kevin Henkes
Old Bear by Kevin Henkes
Ella the Elephant (Wild Animal Families) by Jan Latta
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

The biggest thing we have been working on this week is potty training. And it seems to be going pretty well! I am happy with the progress she is making. It's amazing what a month or two will do, I tried starting her on the potty a few months ago, and while she was interested the first day, she wanted absolutely nothing to do with it after that. This time seems to be working - so far!

Picture of the week: I FINALLY got pigtails in E's hair!

To see what other moms and tots are doing, visit Carissa's blog 1+1+1=1.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tot School

Tot School
E is 24 months old

Another week, another Tot School post. I have been doing more and more research into Montessori and I'm trying to start incorporating more Montessori activities into our Tot School routine. I'm even starting to look at schools, as E will be 2 1/2 by the start of next school year. I need to decide if she's going to go to a school, or if we'll be doing it at home. Either way, I've pretty much made up my mind that it will be Montessori. Yay for decisions!

Tot Trays/Learning Toys:

Shape puzzle

Sorting and stringing different colored beads

Shades of yellow matching - she did a lot better with this than I thought she would!

We worked on our monkey letters like last week, we got through all of them this week! (without walking backwards)

Counting bugs and butterflies - E did this activity with my mom, so no in progress shots.

Alphabet/Book Basket:

Our letter this week was R. We did a couple of Tot Tray activities with it, like sorting capital and little R/r's. E loved to say "capital."

We used some new dot painters to paint letter R pages, both capital and lowercase. By the way, these dot painters were AWFUL! I didn't want to order the do-a-dots, so I bought something cheap at Michael's. I guess you get what you pay for!
We had our letter of the week playdate, where we read Rainbow Fish, made beaded rainbows, and played with our rainbow rice tub.

Montessori Practical Life:

E tried sweeping this week. I need to remember that she loves her little pom poms too much to do anything other than cuddle them. I did get her to sweep long enough to take a picture, but next time I'll be using beans or some other manipulative.

E is also learning to drink from a cup this week. Resulting in her wanting her shirt changed every 10 minutes or so, but I think she's picking it up.

Arts and Crafts:

We did fingerpainting this week. One picture we did all yellow for our color wheel project, another we did yellow and blue and discovered that they make green when you mix them!

We also did some color mixing activities at our letter of the week playdate.

Picture of the Week:my little princess

Thursday, January 14, 2010

R is for Rainbows

This morning we hosted our bi-monthly letter of the week playdate. If you have been following my blog, you know that some weeks we do a simple story and a letter to hang on the fridge. Other weeks we do a fun craft. This was a craft week! I had several fun rainbow activities to go with our letter R theme for the day.

We read the story Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.

We did a rainbow craft I saw over on somebody's Montessori blog, please help me if you know where - I forgot to bookmark it, and I can't find it now!
Basically, you cut styrofoam balls in half and stick different colored pipe cleaners in them. Then you thread on beads of the same color to each pipe cleaner. Bend the pipe cleaners in an arc and stick the other end into the other half of the styrofoam ball. I ended up hot-gluing the styrofoam halves to a paper plate, so they would keep their arcs. This is a wonderful exercise for color matching as well as working on those fine motor skills! And the beauty of pipe cleaners and styrofoam is that you can take them out and do it over and over again!

We mixed secondary colors with ice cubes, as seen on Monkeyin' Around.

I put too much color in my ice cubes, and had to fill the jars up the rest of the way with water so we could really see the new color, they were just too dark, other wise. I would advise using only a couple of drops of food coloring for each ice cube.

We ate letter R snacks, like ravioli, raisins, roast beef, and reeses pieces.

And we played with our rainbow rice sensory box, always a hit. And I have pictures to prove that you CAN have 5 kids all playing at once and very little mess to clean up. Putting a tarp down first did help . . . but the kids were really, really good!

We had a fun and busy morning, and now E is passed out in her room and I am ready for some well deserved quiet reading time!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Birthday Cake

A Very Hungry Caterpillar

A very hungry E

What is this green stuff all over my hands?!?

I guess I'll have to eat it with no hands!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Random Acts of Reading

I came across Random Acts of Reading today and thought, what a great idea! Basically, Random Acts of Reading is like a toy drop. You pair a book and an activity together, and put it somewhere in your community for someone to find, take home, and enjoy! Laura, the blogger behind this idea, is trying to collectively make 2, 010 book drops this year. She has provided labels for you to download as well as posts about her book packs she has made for drops. I love that she links to the places she got the activities from, as well. That way I can use them with my munchkin as well!

I think this is awesome, and I can't wait to try a book drop in my community. I'm making a goal to try to do one a month.

Spread the love of reading with your community! Practice Random Acts of Reading!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tot School: Back at it!

Tot School
E is 24 months

I am so glad we are doing Tot School again on a regular basis. I was so happy to have my shelves finally, so E can really practice getting things out and putting them away. I've been reading up on Montessori lately, and that is one of the things I just LOVE about it - the care the children are taught to have with all the materials. E is definitely learning. I am waiting for the day it caries over to her toys . . . . .

We didn't get quite as much done this week as I had hoped, but SOMEBODY had a birthday and turned 2! So we had a bit of celebrating to do. And completely unlike me, I left the preparations for her party until the day before, so I had a lot of work to do!

Tot Trays/Learning Toys:

E practiced using a spoon by transfering stones from a bowl to an ice cube tray. She was very adamant that she only have the blue and green stones. I had to take all the other colors out!

We working on rolling and cutting with playdough. Cutting with scissors is still a little beyond her, but I like to put the playdough sicssors out for her to work with if she wants to. She'll never learn if I don't give her an opportunity!

Stacking up our tower of alphabet blocks. She got it pretty tall this week!

E put together her felt snowman again this week. It has been COLD here!

I tried a fun game with our monkey letters. First we layed all the cards out in order and E told me their names. Then I handed her another set of letters (still uppercase) and had her match to the ones on the floor. She did the first one great!

Then it got extremely boring and she decided she'd rather show me how she can walk backwards.

Alphabet/Book Basket:

In our book basket this week, we had letter F books and books by Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar was the theme for her birthday party)

Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins
Feathers for Lunch by Lois Elhert
Swimmy by Leo Lionni
The Wide Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner and Jonathan Lambert
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle
Head to Toe by Eric Carle
Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See? by Bill Martin, Jr.

E's favorite this week was Hooray for Fish. This has been a favorite book of hers for a while, but it is very popular, and almost always checked out from the library. She was so excited to see it and it was perfect for our Letter F day. Mommy's favorite was a tie between Swimmy, because we did a neat activity with it, and The Wide Mouthed Frog. I love pop-up books! I used this one when I was an elementary music teacher to teach high and low. The frog has a big low booming frog voice until the end, when he scrunches up his lips and uses a screechy little high voice to say "Oh, you don't see many of them around, now do you?"

We did a letter F for feathers to put on our fridge.

Arts and Crafts:

We started our color wheel project this week with the color red. I had a lot of activities planned for it, but all we got to was the shades of red painting.

Color Wheel Project: Red

We are working on putting a color wheel together with Mommies Little Artist, and this week was red. I had great intentions of doing at least three projects using red. We only got to one, it was E's birthday this week and between celebrating with family and planning and preparing for the birthday party yesterday, time just got away from me.

Anyhow, the red project we did was a lot of fun. We painted with different shades of red on our new easel that E got for Christmas.

I put red paint into three cups and added white to one, black to another, and left the third alone.

E helped me mix the colors up. I labeled the colors for her dark red, red, and light red. (Pink, Mama!)
I put a separate paint brush in each cup, and turned her loose. She told me she was painting fishies. Ok, cool!
When we have completed all the colors, I will be cutting out part of this masterpiece to make a pie for the color wheel.
For more open ended art, be sure to visit Mommies Little Artist

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Won an Award!

Wow! I am so surprised! I won an award today for my blog. Thank you SO MUCH to Debbie from Our Cup of Tea for giving me the Lemonade Stand Award. It is an award for a blogger who shows great attitude and gratitude. I have only been blogging for a few months, so it's super nice to be recognized. If you haven't checked out Our Cup of Tea, please do! It's a great blog!

I get to pass this award along to 10 other blogs that have great attitude and gratitude and inspire me. So I am choosing to award:

Fun with Mama
Home with the Boys
itty bitty love
Pink and Green Mama
The Home Teacher
Mozi Esme
Muffin Tin Mom
Life With my Giggly Girls
A Mommy's Adventures
My Family Life

Thank you for your wonderful posts that inspire me! I get such wonderful ideas from all of you, and you all write so beautifully! I hope if some of you haven't seen one of these blogs before, you will check them out.

The Lemonade Stand Award

The rules for accepting theis awards:

- Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
- Pass the award onto 10 bloggers.
- Link the nominees within your post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

E has discovered how to play with the cats.
Thanks to Grandma for the kitty toy that lets her play without getting her hand clawed off!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Word for 2010

I've seen several blogs writing about having a word for the new year. I have loved reading about what each author thinks is the most important thing for them to think about right now. I especially connected with my friend, Erin, and her post about PRIORITIES in 2010. Erin, I'm right there with ya, girl!

I think my word for 2010 needs to be FOCUS.

I need to stop trying to do twenty things at once, and instead focus on doing one thing well at a time.

I need to put God at the focus of everything I do more often.

I need to focus on supporting my husband.

I need to focus on raising my daughter the best way I can.

Everything else is just extra, but a lot of the time it can get in the way. I have a feeling this is going to be a challenge for me. I am someone who always needs to stay busy, I don't know what to do with myself when I have fewer than five projects going at any time. But they don't always get completed, and when they do, it's often not to the best of my ability. I am looking forward to the challenge of FOCUSING on one thing at a time.

What's your word for 2010?

Monday, January 4, 2010


One of E's favorite toys are her playsilks. I'm definitely a Montessori mama - I haven't done much research into Waldorf, but these silks are so beautiful and offer such a variety of creative play that I am hooked. I even dyed some myself for E's birthday this year.

I bought the plain white silk handkerchiefs from Dharma Trading Company. They had so many sizes to choose from - I got 4 medium-ish ones and 2 larger ones. And because I was a new customer, they gave me a small one for free!

I looked around and around on the web for quick, easy, and beautiful silk dying directions. I opted for the more quick and easy as opposed to the most beautiful, and I think mine came out quite beautiful themselves, anyways.

I ended up using Kool-Aid to dye the silks. Wow - makes you think twice (or three or four times) before drinking any more of that! The silks dyed such vibrant colors!!

Here's what I did:
1. soak the silk in hot tap water for about 20 minutes.
2. pour in a couple good glugs of plain white vinegar.
3. add the Kool-Aid - I used three pouches per silk.
4. stir carefully for about 5 minutes.
5. microwave in the bowl for 2 minutes, rest for 2 minutes.
6. repeat 3 more times for a total of 4.
7. let silk sit in the bowl until the water turns clear. Give it a good bit of time. No rush.
8. rinse in cold water and hang to dry.

E already had a blue silk and an orange one, dyed beautifully by a fellow swapper on Craftster. I used lemon-lime to make a lime green silk, cherry for red, grape for purple, yellow food dye for yellow, and I made a dark green with one packet of blue Kool-Aid and green food dye.

I tried to do pink with strawberry, but it did not turn out pink, just red. So I added orange to it and made it a brilliant red-orange color. I used 2 strawberry and 2 blue packets to make a lavender silk. I didn't stir it quite long enough, so it has patches of blue and red in it along with the purple, which I love!

E loved opening the present and finding her new silks. And yes, that is baby wrapping paper. I need to use it up, and I ran out of happy birthday.

Silks are so much fun to throw up in the air! And one of the few toys where throwing is allowed!

And it's really fun to cover up Daddy with them!

I even left the little one white. She balled it up in her hand, gave it to me, and announced it was a snowball. Best snowball ever!