Monday, June 28, 2010

Educational Bath Time!

I like to think that every moment of the day has the potential to be educational. I also happen to think that paying $20+ for foam toys to play with in the bathtub is a little insane. My solution? DOLLARAMA! (Isn't it always?)

So, today, as Little L sat in the bathtub, I found myself thinking, "What a wasted opportunity to learn!" Out came my dollar store bought outdoor placemats for some tub-sticking bath shapes:

What You Need:

- Outdoor placemat or shelf liner (see above)
- Scissors
(Yup...that's it!)

What You Do:

1) Cut the placemat into shapes.
2) Wet and stick to side of tub.

I free-handed my shapes, but if you need a good template you can use these coloring pages from Fisher Price.

Little L had a blast sticking these to the side of the tub, to Nana's leg, to her own tummy. Just be sure to talk about the shapes you're using and, VOILA!, educational bath time!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

News and a Giveaway!

Well, sorry (once again) for the lack of posts. We were on the road to visit family "Out East" and have arrived safely. I would like to take this opportunity to thank God for my two wonderful little girls who didn't make a peep of complaint on our twenty hour drive. Also, for my fantastic husband who did all of the driving! Speaking of thanking God, on to the good news:

YIPPEE! Baby number three is on the way! At least that explains why I was having trouble staying up past 10:00! I'm not sure just how far along I am, but that could potentially be three just under two. What a blessing and a great adventure!

Now, as I don't like to post without leaving you with something, here is my favorite chart of baby milestones from Baby Center - Very comprehensive. I like to print it out and write on the back when they actually achieved each milestone.

Oh! And I mentioned a giveaway, right? I currently have a very small and sad following soooooo...once I reach 25 followers I am prepared to have an AWESOME giveaway. I won't tell you what it is yet (do I even know?? Maybe not...) but I will tell you that it would be awesome! So...follow me!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

FREE Children's Yoga Cards

I am so excited about my latest find that I just had to quickly share - ABSOLUTELY FREE yoga cards for children!! You can buy children's yoga decks on Amazon...

...but these awesome cards from Montessori by Hand are full colour actual photographs with a live child model!

Meg from Montessori by Hand suggests that you have them printed, mount on cardstock, write the name of the pose beneath the photo and laminate.

You can check out her post with a link to her photos here and her post about how to use them in the classroom here.

I can't wait to start this with Little L!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Flashcard Links

I don't know about you, but we love flash cards around here! Little L started identifying animals and other things from flashcards at 7 months and has learned much of her vocabulary from them ever
since.The first flashcards we used regularly were a generous gift from her Omi:

I have since discovered, however, that there are tons of FREE flashcards available online! Here are some that we've enjoyed:

Animal "trading cards" with great photos and lots of information from Learning A-Z. These can be used to trade, as flashcards, or to play card games:

Insect flashcards that also teach the orders of insects.

A variety of flashcards from Lesson Sense, many of which are colour photographs:

Feel like learning Chinese? This was really important for us, since Little L was born in China:

Montessori landforms cards which will soon be turned into an awesome tactile experience for us!
You can also find lot of other free printable Montessori cards here.

We're big on music around here. We practice our rhythms with these Rhythm Cards from Layton Music. Take a look around - they also have lots of other great printable games and such!

So, there you have it - some of my fun finds for our kiddies! Tell me...what are your favorite online printable flashcards?

Monday, June 14, 2010

ABC Quiet Book

Okay, we get a double post today - that is my offering for disappearing for so long...

I'm making a wonderful, lovely gift for Little L right now. Is it because I'm a awesome, cool Mommy? Not's mostly for self preservation reasons! You see, long car trips and restaurant visits are getting to be a little trying for Little L. I've decided that she needs something to keep her busy in these situations and a nice Mommy-made quite book seemed just the thing.

In case you have no clue what a Quite book is, here are some great examples from other Mommy bloggers:

A beautiful and imaginative book by Homemade By Jill:

Some very cute ideas from J Squared Plus K:

Of course, you could just buy one:

But, for me, the fun is all in making it!

I started with all sorts of nifty ideas and wondered " can I do all of these?" and then it hit me - ALPHABET BOOK!!

Now, I've seen some cloth alphabet books that look really pretty, but don't really do anything. I want this to be a serious keep-the-baby-busy kinda' book, so each page has to be interactive. Based on the things Little L is interested in now, here is what I've come up with:

A - Africa - A giraffe with removable spots, a "taggie" tactile lion, a lift the flap rock hiding a snake.
B - Bears - Bears holding blocks with a number of dots to be matched to a felt number.
C - Clock - Clock with moving hands, pouch with time cards with times to move the hands to.
D - Dressing - Cloth doll with clothing to dress in. Clothing hangs from clothesline, held on by tiny cloths pins.
E - Eggs - Patterned eggs - match one half to second half.
F - Farm - Animal finger puppets inside lift-the-flap barn.
G - Garden - Button-on flowers, lift the flaps for insects, butterfly with movable wings.
H - Hearts - Match felt hearts in colours by pair.
I - Ice Cream - Sequence largest to smallest scoops.
J - Jack-o-lantern - Make faces with felt pieces.
K- Kangaroo - Kangaroo with baby in pouch, moving tree climbing koala, lift-the-flap platypus with. eggs.
L - Letters - Match alphabet letters to shadows.
M - Map - City map with toy car to drive.
N - Name - Button-on Name.
O - Outer Space - Moving rocket ship, astronaut, moon, stars.
P - Pond - Frog with velcro tongue to "catch flies", lift the flap pond creatures.
Q - Queen - Braid-able hair, removable jewels on crown.
R - Robot - Elastic limbs, LED eyes, zipper.
S - Shapes - Match shape to shadow.
T - Telephone - Removable receiver, family phone numbers in "phone book" to practice.
U – Under the sea - Octopus with snap tentacles, tactile coral/seaweed and creatures, lift-the-flaps.
V - Vegetables - Mini vegetables to pull from "dirt" and collect in basket.
W – Walk - Match animals to the tracks they make.
X – X-ray - Lay skeletal system pieces over felt doll.
Y – Yarrr! - Pirate with flip-up eye patch, tactile parrot, treasure chest with mini lock.
Z – Zipper - Unzip a clown's shirt to find pieces to make various faces.

So there you have it! I know it seems a tad ambitious, but I think I can to it!

What would you put it your Quiet Book?

Tot School - Weeks 2-4

To School Weeks 2-4 Overview: Little L - 17m, Little V - 3m seems I disappeared; I disappeared from Blogland for almost two whole weeks! I may not have even noticed, but it seems I have a small following - they alerted me. So, why did I disappear? Did my computer break? Did I go on vacation? Was I so deep into craft mode that I simply had no time? Was I abducted by aliens eager to learn my mad crafting skills? No, I just didn't have anything very interesting going on. Also, I couldn't seem to make myself stay awake past 10:00pm and any blogging I do is done way after that!

But, as it turns out, what a wonderful day I have chosen to return! My placemat game has been featured on Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!


Now, I have a purpose!

So, a quick update on some of the Tot School things we've been doing:

Water Play at a playdate
      Pool time with "Uncky"

 Learning our foods by feeding Elmo

Ending sounds worksheet - doesn't she look like she's thinking hard?

Park time. Not educational, you say? You'd be amazed how much vocabulary we work on while playing!

One-to-one correspondence with rocks and a mini muffin tin

Little L "reading" her farm book to her baby sister

Here are some of the books from the set above.

I can't recommend them enough. In the farm one pictured above, each set of pages is dedicated to one farm animal. On one page is a beautiful illustration and on the other a paragraph about the animal and gray-scale illustrations of several breeds of that animal. You the find the colored stickers in the middle of the book and match them to their illustration. Little L has been having a ball with these books!

We've also been working on:
- Lots of flashcards
- Learning about North American birds
- Reading small words (so far Little L has read "hat", "cat", Mommy, and her own name!)
- Co-operative reading (we have 5 books now that Little L helps me "read" by filling on words when I pause)
- Poems (I start and leave out the last word of each line, Little L fills it in!)
- Evening prayer (Much like the poems, I leave out the last word of each line for her to say. She also says, "Amen", as usual.

I'm sure there's more, but that's enough of an overview to make me not feel like an un-fit Mommy. Really, I'm new to this blogging stuff! I will try harder to make my tot school posts once a week!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Save the Hats!!

These are some of my oldest child's hats.

Yes, some. My big girl has probably a dozen hats (mostly gifted second hand) and if it were up to me, she would have six dozen more! I love babies in hats.

See...wouldn't you buy a bunch of hats too?

Anywho...I love hats on little people but I have found one small problem. Come on, moms, can you guess?

You see, hats on little people have a tendency to get tossed on the ground. "No big deal," you say, "...just pick it up off of the ground!" Well, if only it were that simple. In our family, the hat gets tossed waaaaay at the front of the big double stroller and then, long after, someone realizes that it's missing, resulting in us going backwards for the next ten minutes.

One such incident happened last week. It was a precious hat. One of those hats that not only has a matching outfit, but who's outfit also has a matching sibling outfit and hat. Can't lose that one, right? Well, as we were just entering the park fifteen minutes from our front door we realized it was gone. Slight panic attacks followed. We retraced our footsteps while praying for the best. As it turns out, it never left the driveway but it got me can I make sure none of our adorable hats ends up trampled on the sidewalk?

This is what I came up with. It involves ribbon, velcro, and an old negligee...?

What You Need:

- Your favourite hats
- Ribbon
- Needle/thread/scissors
- Adhesive velcro
- Scrap fabric, preferably in a matching colour to each hat

1) Sew a length of ribbon to your hat.
2) Attach two strips of hook velcro on either side of the ribbon.

3) Stick fabric (in my case, fabric from and old negligee) to back of loop velcro.
4) Bundle ribbon between pieces of hook velcro. Place loop velcro on top. (You are now in "I don't want the ribbon dangling while I run around" mode)

5) Secure ribbon to stroller or shirt with clip or safety pin.

 Version A has the ribbon sewn on and wrapped around the already existing bow.

Version B puts the ribbon on the inside of the rim instead of on the outside of the hat. This is my favourite variation!

Long live baby hats!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tardy Blogger - Recipe Re-Post

Wow...time sure does fly! I've looked back and it seems that not only have I not posted for four days, but I didn;t write anything about Tot School week two - and we're already in to week three! Ooops...lazy Mommy. The real reason is that I can;t seem to get my toddler to bed at a decent hour and I can't seem to will myself to stay awake any longer than 10:00. Well, guess what...? You're not getting anything original tonight either! I do, however, have a yummy recipe for you! It's from a post on my personal blog from our days living in China. Just for fun, I'll give you the whole post:

Thank God we Brought a Med Kit!

Have you ever had a Capsicum burn? For your sake, I surely hope not. Let me tell you the tale of my day from h*ll...

Today, for lunch, I decided that I would make a Cream of Vegetable and Rice Soup. I proceeded to put my rice on and chop my cabbage, green pepper, tomato, and onion and put them all on to boil. About ten minutes later, after putting the finishing touches on my soup, I began to feel a strange sensation - one I had only felt one other time in my life. My hands began to burn like hellfire...much like they did the first time I ever cut up hot peppers and didn't know that I should wear gloves. Although I had touched no hot peppers or chili oil of any kind, this was a very recognizable pain. I proceeded to run my hands under water, wash thoroughly, submerged in ice water, submerge in milk, and dab with freezer-chilled wet clothes... All of which provided little to no relief.

Daniel came home as I was sitting on the bed, with my hands out in front of the fan, meditating away the pain. I told him my terrible story of woe while trying to deduce where the pain was coming from. First, I thought that perhaps one of the vegetables I had used in my soup had travelled with some hot peppers and gotten oiled. But I quickly remember that it was the inside of the pepper that was the problem. And then it came to me. Perhaps my green peppers weren't green peppers at all. My current terrible cold would keep me from telling by smell while cutting them up...

Daniel then went to eat his lunch and confirmed that there were, indeed, chili peppers in the soup. So, mystery solved; problem not-so-solved. My hands still felt like I was holding them over a Bunsen burner. I browsed the internet for ways to treat a hot pepper burn (cause by the oil Capsicum) and came across a suggestion of using rubbing alcohol to soothe the pain. At that moment, I was ready to try anything. I went to our med kit containing about 100 alcohol wipes (which I swore when I packed them that I would likely never use) and got to rubbing. And "VOILA!" it did cut some of the pain. Lucky for me, the burning mostly subsided within a couple of hours. It seems a burn of this nature can often last up to 24 hours.

So, I went about my business, booked our holiday trip (more about this is my next post), and came home to get some more soup. While carrying my soup, my gimpy and still somewhat burny hands failed on me and my soup made it all over the kitchen floor. Although I did wear gloves while cleaning it, it still managed to seep through and my hands began to burn once more. This time, a soap and water scrub and alcohol swabbing did the trick quickly.

Later, it was time to make supper. I chopped and put potatoes on to boil and, while reaching for the cover of the pot, lost my grip resulting the glass cover flying across the room and landing in tiny pieces on the floor (and in my potatoes). This would not have caused me too much strife until I suddenly noticed that familiar sensation. My hands were, once again, on fire.

I though to myself, "What the hell?! I was only chopping potatoes!" and then I realized that in my haste to ease the pain of lunchtime, I had not washed the cutting board. As a result, my potatoes picked up the leftover oil and transferred it to my hands. This time, the alcohol trick did not work. Nor did a good washing. So, here I sit, typing with hands of fire.

The one good thing that came from this experience, was a wonderful soup! For anyone who would like to try it, here is the recipe:

Hands of Hellfire Soup (Clever, eh?)


2 tomatoes
1 cup cabbage
1 medium onion
1 medium sized green chili pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 250ml bag of milk (could be substituted for canned milk if you're not in China!)
1/2 tbsp thyme
1/2 tbsp pepper (or to taste)
1 1/2 cups cooked white rice

Chop all vegetables and garlic. Combine chopped mixture and just enough water to cover in pot. Bring to boil on high heat. Add milk, thyme, pepper, and rice. Turn to low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve.

Contrary to what my story may portray, the soup is actually rather mild and very tasty. So, for all of you soup lovers - Make and enjoy. Just remember...wear gloves!