Sunday, July 31, 2011

Water Play

Somebody who must have small children once said, "I'm not asleep... but that doesn't mean I'm awake."  That pretty much sums up the sleep at our house this week, so you get an uninspired entry.

At the beginning of this month I made red hearts and red flowers from water and food coloring and forgot about them until this past week.  I took them out and put red things that float and as the ice cubes melted it turned the water red.  The Wee One liked throwing the ball into the water, but it was Ladybug who enjoyed the water play the most. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Summer Treat

Early this summer we stood in front of the popsicle freezer section looking for popsicles.  Ladybug and Mister were pointing and telling me which ones they wanted and I would read the ingredients.  All but one had high fructose corn syrup and a whole host of ingredients I wouldn't want in my body.  I finally settled on a brand without high fructose corn syrup and we went home.  Two months later the box of 12 popsicles has 10. 

After the popsicle failure we have been experimenting with making our own popsicles.  We did red popsicles for the Wee One and they turned out great.   
  • fresh pineapple - a little overripe
  • frozen strawberries
  • a squeeze of lime
Blend them up and freeze.  Real ingredients, no added sugar, and a wonderful treat.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Case of the Lazy

Slowly I have been making each room a bit more Ladybug, Mister, and Wee One friendly.  They have always had access to any cabinet or drawer except the cleaning supplies and medicine, but they haven’t had any bins to call their own.  This creates messes beyond you want to see, but when they pull the books out of the built-ins and play library or laugh hysterically at the Nutty Professor DVD cover, how can I get mad?

Every night I sit down and look at these two bins and tell myself I should really clean those out.  I try to convince myself by saying it will only take 10 minutes, but I am tired by the time 8 o’clock comes around.   I look at the bins and tell myself tomorrow.  Well, tomorrow finally came.  Our library books have a home and there are writing supplies ready to go.  I used the lowest shelf and Mister and Ladybug have no problem getting out the bins.  Now if I can only find some seating and get a small basket for the Wee One we will be set.  I will get on that tomorrow or when the Wee One starts sleeping through the night. 

Also the dirty dish into the sink problem has been solved and for $1 and some change. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Women belong in the house... and the Senate." Unknown

And in trees and boys belong on Pinkalicous bikes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mud Pies Don't Have Sugar!

One day my father was marvelling at his recent thrifty find and asked my mom who was thriftier than him?  My mom replied that my husband was thriftier and my dad said, "John?!  John isn't thrifty, he is cheap.  John is the cheapest of the cheap."  Do you know what happens when you marry someone who is thrifty?  You become the same way.  So, every timeI look at the Little Tikes Mud Pie Kitchen I know we don't need to spend money when we have the same thing right here.

While I was digging out to put in some edging, I had Mister and Ladybug put the dirt into their green bucket.  Not only did it keep them busy, but they loved getting their ingredients for their mud pies.  I set up the pool in and gave them their cookware.  I sat back and watched for an hour as the three of them cooked muffins, a pie, and mud soup.
  • a pie pan
  • a muffin tin
  • an old spatula
  • an old wooden mixing spoon
  • a watering can
  • a bucket

The next day we reviewed our making mud pie pictures.  I had Mister and Ladybug tell me the steps to make a mud pie.  They each drew the picture and I wrote their steps.  I encouraged them to use order words.

Monday, July 25, 2011

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

One of these things is not like the other.  Can you find the one that is different?

We have our first and second broken cup.  I could not believe that it already happened because we have had them less than a week.  What I couldn't believe more is that I broke both of them.  Apparently I need a less on being careful.  I brought home the new cup and not 5 minutes later, I broke another one.  Good thing they are $.49 at Goodwill.

These are our new place mats made from cardstock and had them laminated.  I think they turned out pretty cute and they wipe down. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Boom! Boom!

Last week I told Mister and Ladybug that we were going to make firework art.  When they looked at me with a big question mark I realized they had no idea what fireworks are.  My sweet children have always been in bed before the fireworks start at 10:20. That's when I was thanking You Tube for helping me out.  We watched a few firework videos and then we were ready to make our art.

I think I saw this in Family Fun.  You put drops of paint on black paper and use a toothpick to draw lines through the paint. 

And to show you that arts and crafts often do awry with the boy.  His paper was a big streak and his clothes were worse.  It's washable.  It's washable.  It's washable.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How Do You Solve A Problem

Mister and Ladybug have access to nearly everything in the kitchen thanks to our Learning Tower. And thanks to the Mister who generously handed over some money from selling his scooter to pay for this little gem.  Anyway, we use this everyday and it really  makes them feel like part of the cooking process.  It is also their job to set the table for dinner throw the placemats, napkins, and forks on the table for dinner.  So, here is our first problem: they don't know how to set the table even after showing them numerous times. 

Our second problem is table manners or lack of table manners.  While visiting some friends this past weekend it became clear that I am raising floppy cows.  Her child was so well mannered at the table that I vowed to make a change.

How do you solve a problem like little ragamuffins without being a nag?  You get them involved on their level, you make it fun, and you make it relevant and that is how I finally got around to preparing the kitchen.

I cleaned out a cabinet and made it all their own.  On the top shelf are snacks and on the bottom are the things they need to set their table.  The utensils are in a a popsicle mold, the pitcher is from Ikea, and the plates and glasses are from the Goodwill.  All the items are placed on nonslip mats.  You will notice that everything is breakable because I want Mister and Ladybug to take care in handling their things.  I want them to know the consequence of being flippant.  What I did not do is set up the space according to Montessori from the Start, but I am sure I will be forgiven.

 In a closed cabinet, they have their cleaning supplies.  In the bottle is vinegar and water for spraying their table.

 In the bottom shelf of the fridge, they also have food that they can choose. 

These are Mister and Ladybug's placemats to help them remember how to set the table.  My good scissors are missing (I put them in a really safe place), so I used a permanent marker to trace the utensil patterns I found on Google.  I will probably making new wipeable placemats until they get a little better at not spilling.

And here are my children eating at their new table.  Ideally their feet would be touching the floor, but the funds are zero for a new table and I can't bare to cut the legs off my childhood table.  I am already regretting I painted it green.

After they finished eating, I realized I need a system for dirty dishes.  It is an always evolving process.

P.S. Grrr I can't bear it.  *Sigh* Homonyms.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Flag Art

I am not an artist.  I was often asked what I was drawing by my students.  I would tell them and it would leave many of them scratching their heads.  In college I had to take a teacher preperation art class and the instructer's comments were along the lines of "interesting..."  What I lack in ability I make up for in enthusiasm.  I love art and I love making art with my kiddos.  Mister and Ladybug love to finger painting and really most kids enjoy making a mess.  Recently, the days run together, we made American flag art.

To begin, I presented the American flag to Ladybug and Mister and we talked about the flag's characteristics.  Then, I gave them paper and red and blue finger paint and asked them to make an American flag on their paper. 

A few days after we did our art, I showed them six American flag paintings.  I put them out on the rug and let them think about what they were seeing. 

When they were ready, I asked them what each one was.  Mister and Ladybug knew that each one was an American flag.  We talked about how they are alike and different.  Ladybug and Mister worked together put the flags into a group that looks just like the American flag and a group that looks like the American flag.  We discussed realist or concrete art and abstract art and if the art they made looks more realist or more abstract. 

I have left the American flag prints in a basket on the shelf if they want to continue to study them.

Monday, July 18, 2011

July - My Community

Our July theme is My Community with a little United States of America mixed in.  These are some of the activities Mister and Ladybug have on their shelves right now.

This was our before list.  After I defined community, I had them list all the things they knew about a community.  We are adding to the list as we go.

We looked at and sorted Community Cards


These were purchased from Target's dollar section


Flag counting

Practical Life

After sticking in the pinwheels, Mister and Ladybug love to make wind to see how many they can get to go around at once.


I found these at Target's dollar section too.  They are little overwhelmed having all the cards and I have had to give them ideas how to organize their work. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Three Red Bottles

A few nights ago I decided I needed to make a red discovery bottle at almost 10 pm.  No, it couldn't wait until morning because I needed instant gratification.  So I made this bottle.

I loved the way the corn syrup ran down the side and the red stars floated in it.  What I didn't like was how heavy it was.  It was perfect for Mister and Ladybug, but I knew the Wee One would have a hard time.

Then I made this bottle.  It is the perfect size for little hands, but the corn syrup didn't move the same way.  It was dull, drab, boring.

While I was nursing and rocking the Wee One for a nap, I had a brillant idea.  I would use a white wine split.  It is the same shape as the large glass bottle but  light like the plastic bottle.  So, here is my red discovery bottle.

You know what this means?  It means I am going to need to drink more wine.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Right Said Red

Three years ago I bought color boxes from Lakeshore.  The teacher in me told me I HAD to have them.  The mom in me now knows that I could have done just the same for a lot less money. 

I like that the box is small and she can carry it around.  What I don't like is the top is difficult to take off.  I think a flip top or an open red basket would work better. 

Originally the boxes came with 4 items, but I have gathered a few more to put in her red box.  She has had a great time pulling items in and out of of the box.  So far, the ball and the car have been her favorite red items. 

When I introduced her red box, I put it on her mat and let her explore.  After 2 days, I presented the box on the floor with three items.  I picked up an item and said, "This is a red ____."  I repeated it two more times..  She explored the three items and I said, "Wee One, can you please give me the red ____?"  If she didn't give me the correct item I would hold up the item I had asked for and said, "This is the red ___."   The whole time it was kept light and fun with no pressure to be right.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Play With Your Food

The Wee One had her first painting experience using plain whole fat yogurt dyed red with mashed up raspberries.  I could have used red dye, but I like to try to keep things as natural as I can (aside from the Oreos I am eating now).  I can't think of a better medium for a new 1 year old because it's edible, the raspberries give it texture, and it's a little cold. 

You want me to do what?!

Ladybug and Mister did a similar activity at 1, but with pudding and paper.  I was so grossed out that it took a lot of thought to do it again.  I think it helped there was no paper involved.

Of course Mister and Ladybug had to get in on the action.  It would only be fair, so they practiced writing letters on a plate of yogurt.