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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Feeding the Birds

We went to a duck park near my sisters house to feed the little guys some old bread. My sister had bought way too many sandwich bread rolls so we took them with us. We showed the kids how to pinch off little bits of the bread with their thumb and index finger. It was great pinching practice and so fun!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Family Photos

I just had to post these! I love my little family so much and just want to show them off:)















Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spooning Marbles

My dad gave me these foam packaging things and I used them to have the boy spoon dollar store marbles in to. I gave them 1/4 teaspoons to scoop with. Caden was very engaged at focused at the task and Drake loved it but used his fingers for the most part. This activity was more for Caden but Drake wants to do everything that Caden does so I've learned to just let and watch very closely!



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cloth Diapers

I love cloth Diapers! Every night after we put the boys to bed my husband grabs the diaper pail and takes it down stairs. He tosses them in the washer and when they are done I take them out to the back yard and string them on my "clothes line". My clothes line is actually a retractable dog leash:) As I'm grabbing the diapers out of the washer I string them on to my arm and then while holding the end of the dog leash I push them on to the line! In the morning they are are dry! Some people may not like the idea of running a load of diapers every day but it save me the money of having to buy twice as many diapers. Just look at these pictures...

That is just one day of diapers! 14 on this particular day! 6 for Jack 6 for Drake and 2 For Caden(nap time and bed time). I feel so good every night when we hang them out that I just prevented 14 poo filled diapers from going to a landfill! That's 98 diapers a week! 420 a month! 5096 a year! I highly recommend any one who is able to use cloth diapers! I bought mine from Costco.com and they are the Bumkins All-in-ones. I love them:)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Number Puzzles

I loved this idea from Spinner's End Nursery. I can't wait to try them out with Caden and Drake! The only things I did differently are the stars (I used a star punch out) and I did 12 of them. Oh, and I didn't have pre-cut numbers so I had to cut them my self.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Dollar Store Finds!

I found these "Party Hoops". I guess they are supposed to be party favors but I use them for sorting. Caden does it really well and Drake loves putting them on but doesn't match the colors.

I got Caden's first pair of scissors at the dollar store and he loved them! He cut a lot of strips of paper that we will use for a collage later.

This next one was at the dollar store as well. I guess it is supposed to be a game but I don't get it I painted the tray so that it could be a color matching activity. We also used the beads for this.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Another Way to Use the Color Wheel

Organizing Clothes in a Small Space!

I've had this dresser since I was a teenager (not that long ago, I'm 23). You might already know that me and my little family are all living in one room right now. Space is tight so I've had to find ways to compact things. This dresser is a lot smaller then a big wooden one. I also put labels on the front so that the boys can put their clothes away themselves eventually. Caden does a great job with putting his clothes in the right drawers and Drake wants to do it himself sooooo badly. I love his desire to help out and do things for himself. I take out his drawers and put them on the bed so that I can help him sort his clean clothes into them. He loves it.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pretty Stones

While traveling I stopped at a truck stop and found one of those big bins full of rocks. You know the deal where you can fill the bag for a certain price. Well this was a year and a half ago and I had the foresight to get two of each kind to "One Day" use as a matching activity. Caden did the activity with no trouble at all so I thought that it would get old quick, but he loves it! Drake loves it too but mostly putting them in the bag. The thing that I like about this activity is that the stones are not identical. Caden had to look at their similarities (texture, color, patterns) to make the match.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pattern Strip

I only made one of these because when I was laminating something else, I had left over space. It's just a pattern strip. Caden did it so quickly that I didn't get a picture of it completed but Drake spent quite a bit of time with it.


Counting Cards

Ever since we did this, I have been wanting to make some counting cards that were permanent but I didn't want to laminate because that would be a little to expensive for me. SO I've had this pack of craft foam from the dollar store for a while and decided to use it to make these...
They are about the size of a half sheet of paper and I just used a sharpie to draw them. I also wrote the written word of the number for later down the road. Here is a picture of Caden using our cool stones as counters. I'm hoping that each time we practice counting I can put a new item out and that will get him excited about it!
Other ideas to yous as counters:
  • rocks from your yard
  • little dinosaurs
  • coins
  • office supplies
  • erasers

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Busy Book Tutorial!!!

I am starting this post with a disclaimer: I am not a professional sewer. I don't know all of the words for the stitches and things on the sewing machine. I am sure you can modify what I am going to show you to your liking. If you have any questions after this post just email me and I would be glad to answer them:)


Also, If anyone makes one, please send me a picture!! I would love that.

The first two steps are the most important...


1.Observe the child you are making it for a while. Figure out the things that really interest them and that keep them engaged. Busy books CAN be pretty and cute BUT that is not the primary function. For instance, Drake loves the buckles but the zippers and buttons are boring to him.


2.Leave room for growth. You want each page to have something that they are able to do and something that will challenge them. ex. Drake can buckle but not unbuckle, and can put the key in but can't turn.


Once you have observed you child and decided what pages would be engaging for them you need to come up with your plan.


3. How big do you want the book? Drake is doing really well with the size of his book 6 inches tall and 8 inches wide.


4. Choose you number of pages, The bitty busy book has 8 including the front and back.


5. Cut out 8 pages from a sturdy fabric. Leave a half inch seam allowance. If you want a 6 by 8 book then you should cut 7 by 9 inch rectangles.


6. It's time to start creating your pages! Here's a video of me explaining how I put together each page in my books.



7 After you have created all of your pages follow the steps in this next video.



You're Done!!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Blocks Again!

Look what Caden built!!! With no prompting from me he got out his blocks and cars and built this!!! I know it doesn't seem like a big deal but I have big dream of block structures covering the floor and Caden and Drake lost in play! *sigh*

After he got bored with his tunnel/bridge(you can see it abandoned in the background) I asked if he wanted me to build a bigger one. Below is what I made and when I tried to drive a car under it my hand wouldn't fit. Caden said, "Oh Mama, train cars!". He then lined up his cars and used the back ones to push the front car through! I was very impressed with his problem solving!

This next picture is an example of what I learned while I was a preschool teacher at ASU West. Our class room always had blocks out that never changed. What we did change is what enhanced the block play. For instance, we would put out cars and the play would turn in to building roads and cities, dinosaurs:caves, farm animals: pens and barns, little wooden people:house. The possibilities are endless and every time we would change out the surrounding toys, the block area would be the most popular place again! In the picture Caden is making the dinosaur walk up the red "stairs" that I built:)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blocks Update and Trains

Caden has built a "road" about ten times since I showed him how but he hasn't gone beyond that. I did two things with him.

First we played a game of copy cat. We sat across from each other at his table and I gave him 5 blocks and gave me the same five blocks. I began by saying "Watch Mommy." I put two red squares standing up and then a yellow rectangle across the tops of them. "Can you build like Mommy". Caden then built the same structure perfectly:) I did two more that he copied and then gave him a turn to build something so I could copy him. We both really enjoyed this and even showed Grandpa (he always needs to show Grandpa when he thinks it is really cool). We will definitely be doing this again.

Second, I asked Caden if he wanted to play farm with me. He did. I told him I was going to build a home for the horse and used four long rectangles to make a square. I put the horse inside and we continued to build homes for the rest of the animals together.

It will be interesting to see if any of what we did shows up in his play. Meanwhile I tried something similar with Drake...

Me and Caden loved playing trains together but, sadly Drake just wants to kick them all over like he is Baby Godzilla:) I decided that maybe a scale down would benefit him as well so I put out 8 curved tracks(enough to make a circle) and five train cars. I quietly sat down and started building without telling Drake anything. Caden and Drake are so different, Caden can be invited but Drake has to think it was his idea:) After playing by myself for a little bit and making plenty of train sound effects Drake wandered over and went to kick my trains around:( I quietly took him in my lap and said "Mommy's playing with these". I played for about two more seconds and then said, "I'm all done, I'm going to clean up" I put the trains back in the box, put them on the shelf and then walked away. Sweet Drake stood there looking at the trains. He walked over, took them off the shelf and started putting them together in a wavy line and putting the trains on the track! After nap time I built a circle and started playing with the trains again. This time, when Drake came over I said, "Do you want to play trains?". He happily sat down and played. I was very excited about the results and I wonder how often I bombard the boys with too much too soon? I'm going to try this approach with more activities and see how it goes:)