Monday, March 30, 2009

Math by Chocolate

Last week we borrowed The m&m's brand chocolate candies Counting Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath from the library. C and R had a lot of fun with this book.

You only need 12 m&m's, but you do need specific colors so plan ahead if you want to avoid dumping more candies than necessary for your child. I did not plan ahead and C and R had too many m&m's in front of them, but I was able to remove the leftovers without any complaint once I told them they could each have 12 at the end of the book.

The book teaches the numbers 1 through 12 and simple math like addition and sets of 12. The directions were simple enough for R (3) to follow.

It also teaches three primary shapes: the square,

the circle, and

the triangle.

The best part of the book for C and R was the subtraction. Subtraction is taught by eating the m&m's. We had a lot of fun with this book and C and R only ate 12 m&m's each - well worth it for the math lessons!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Counting and color sight words

C loves to use stickers for counting practice. This week he used smiley face stickers to make this chart from 1-16. I used a large piece of construction paper and folded it into 16 boxes. I always outline the boxes with marker to make it easier for him to stay within each box. This time I numbered the boxes myself, but sometimes we use number stickers or stamps for each box. C did most of this by himself. He asked for a little help on the last four boxes, but I think he could have completed it himself.

C enjoyed matching color words with this Easter basket full of eggs from Making Learning Fun.

C also loves these number mazes. He does really well counting to 39 and then he gets stuck on the tens. He's getting there though. I'm very proud of his determination.

Tot school March 22-28

Tot School

R and C went hiking with Dad.

R turned three on the 20th so we have been spending some time focusing on the number three. She made this sticker collage with three of each sticker.

We played Lucky Ducks for a shapes/colors review.

R spent some time riding her trike.

R made this pape plate bunny mask.

R and C made these Easter wreaths.

We just bought this game last week. R and C enjoy playing and it is great for teaching letter and word recognition, spelling, and fine motor skills. I have always been a fan of Cranium games.

As you can see, I decided to post photos that actually show the faces of my children. This was a dilemma for me, but I really didn't like the photos with the chopped off heads. I am much happier now that I can see their beautiful faces.
See you next week for more Tot School.

Monday, March 23, 2009


If you have ever lost a pet, then you know how difficult it can be. We lost our Icelandic Sheepdog, Chloe, in September of 2008. It was the first day of Middle school for T. C and R were home with me when I realized that the gate was open and Chloe had left the yard. This had happened before and she never strayed far so I wasn't overly concerned. I called for her a few times. Then the phone rang; it was my husband. He received a phone call from my mother-in-law who was on her way to work when she saw Chloe in the street. My mother-in-law tried to get to her but didn't make it in time. Chloe was hit by a car and her little 25 pound body could not handle the impact. We had her cremated and still have her ashes. We thought about spreading the ashes somewhere, but decided that Chloe would rather be home with us, her family. Chloe was only 5.

Chloe's death was more difficult than I ever imagined it would be. T had a rough few days. C had several meltdowns and could not grasp the reality of the situation. R looked for Chloe constantly. I was most surprised at my own reaction; I cried a lot for at least a week. Chloe has been gone for over six months and my children still talk about her EVERY day. We recently got a puppy and the children often talk about how they wish that the puppy, Kelly, and Chloe could be friends.

Anyway, we did a few things to try to make the loss of our beloved pet easier:

1. We placed photos of Chloe in frames around the house so that we can never forget her;

2. We read a lot of books about losing a pet. Our favorite book about losing a dog is Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant - this is a fantastic book with wonderful illustrations that helps children feel good about what happens to their dog after death. I think it is comforting (even to adults) to believe that God is taking care of our pet and that she is having fun in Heaven. We still read this book regularly, especially when C and R start to miss Chloe. There is also a version of this book called Cat Heaven.

3. C (age 4) dictated stories about Chloe and I wrote them for him. He then illustrated his stories. I am going to put them together in a book for him; and

4. I am not afraid to talk about death with my children. My husband and I weren't going to tell the little ones the truth in the beginning, but we realized that they would never be able to move on if they didn't know what happened. Also, we thought it was important for them to grieve.

We love our new puppy, Kelly, but she is definitely not a replacement for Chloe. She is simply a new member of our family. Chloe will always be in our hearts.

An award for me!

I was not expecting this at all, but Shannon at Teaching Tiny Tots gave me an award! I feel so special! It took me a while to figure out how to get this little picture posted but it's here so I can finally comply with the rules of the award.


1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!
I would like to nominate:

Adventures in Mommydom

Storytime and More

Tiny Tots Learning and Growing

Friday, March 20, 2009


The printable and idea for this super simple craft came from The Knack.

R made a few of these butterflies and they have been fluttering around our house the past few days.

Happy Birthday R!

R, my baby girl, is three today! She is a beautiful little girl who loves all things pink, purple, and girly. Princesses are her favorite characters and dancing is her favorite activity to do at home. From the day she was born she has always been "little miss independent" preferring her personal space and always wanting to do things for herself. R makes me laugh every day and I am the luckiest mother in the world to have such a precious little girl.

Happy Birthday R!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Today, March 20th, is also special because it is The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day. This wonderful book by Eric Carle turns 40 today. We had our own celebration.

I found these wonderful printables at the First School site. C colored all of them a while back. I had actually planned to do a project based on this book months ago and these printables have been sitting in an envelope already colored for quite some time. I forgot I had them until my sister told me about Very Hungry Caterpillar Day.

We read the book together and C and R both enjoyed helping tell the story. C knows the days of the week now and this book is a great way to reinforce his knowledge.

Egg cartons, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes were transformed into these adorable caterpillars.

This one was made by R.

This one was made by C.

C and R colored butterflies.

I found a song called Butterfly Cycle (copyrighted by Suzy Gazlay) sung to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and we sang this a few times.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of our favorite books and we definitely had a lot of fun with it this week.
Today we will be making more butterflies and I will post the photos later!

This is a very short video of Eric Carle talking about The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Beads and Patterns

I have seen this done so many times but we finally got around to putting beads on pipe cleaners. R made a bracelet; I was surprised at how well she did with this on her first try.

C made a necklace for me. He is such a sweetie.

I bought this bucket of foam Easter stickers and we used some of them to make patterns.

R made this pattern. I placed the first three stickers and had her finish the pattern.

C made this pattern. Again, I placed the first three stickers and he completed the pattern.

C then worked on his own pattern.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Alphabet bean bag games

We played two alphabet bean bag games today. First, I dumped the bag of alphabet bean bags on the floor and we each took turns pretending to be different animals. For example, I chose alligator and we would all pretend to be alligators while looking for the "A" bean bag. Once found, we put the bean bag in a line. We didn't go in alphabetical order; we just picked animals and then found the letter. As we found each letter, however, we did place them in the correct order. We had quite a few duplicates and that was ok; we still found the letter even though it was already in the line. Also, I had to help them come up with animals for a few of the letters. R will be three on Friday and her job was to look for letters. C will be five in August and he was in charge of placing the letters in order. I gave them each a specific job because C has known all of the letters for years now and letter recognition exercises should be geared toward R. C, on the other hand, has to think through where each letter goes in alphabetical order.

The second game we played helped C and R clean up the bean bags. I chose one of the letters and had them do an activity to get to the letter and put it in the bag. Some examples: hop over the H, kick the K, bounce to B, jump over J, zigzag to Z, slide to S, etc. If I couldn't think of an activity for them to do then I would have them act like an animal that started with the letter.

C jumping over "J"

They both had fun while learning, what more can I ask?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tot school - March 15 - 21

Tot School

R got her own computer for her third birthday this week. She loves playing with it (Fisher Price) and it is helping her with letter recognition, phonics, and more.

We found this puzzle at WalMart this week and had to buy it - Bernese Mountain Dogs, just like our puppy, Kelly.

R building an "O" with the manipulatives from the book How to Build an A by Sara Midda. We love this book.

My Little Pony Memory is one of R's favorite games.

R and C retelling The Very Hungy Caterpillar.

R's egg carton caterpillar.

We also worked on the amazing The Very Hungry Caterpillar Tot Activity Pack made by Carisa at 1+1+1=1 (the host of Tot School). R enjoyed all of the activities in the pack, but was especially fond of matching the colors to the food items.

R's first attempt at placing beads on pipe cleaners - she did really well.

R made this pattern with foam Easter stickers I bought from A.C. Moore.
I don't have a picture of this but R is learning the days of the week. Every morning we change the date on the felt calendar (Lillian Vernon catalog) and we sing a song about the 7 days of the week. She is starting to remember the sequence!

R received this Fisher Price Digital Arts and Crafts Studio for her birthday and she had a lot of fun creating paper crafts, dot to dots, and just seeing her scribbles show up on the computer screen. The recommended age is 4-9, but she just turned 3 and is having a lot of fun with this. C (4) and T (almost 12) also enjoy creating things with this toy.

This is our box of recyclables for crafts. R, C, and T always have access to this box when they are feeling crafty!

R had fun outside with her new ball from Target.

Another fun week of Tot school!

A little more green

We did not get to all of the St. Patrick's Day crafts I had planned this year but we did manage to fit in a couple more activities today.

This pattern activity is from the First School website, and C and R both enjoyed completing the patterns.

I bought these Shamrock cut outs and stickers from Oriental Trading Company for R's birthday party this past weekend and we had a few left so C and R completed them today.

We are ready to move on to Spring activities and hopefully some warmer weather!