Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sitting Pretty

We came home yesterday and found this box waiting for us on the front porch. R and I have been waiting for this new seat for months and we were both so excited! C has the Clek Booster seat and I love it, but R is not big enough for a backless booster. When I found out that Clek was releasing a full back booster, I ordered it immediately. They changed the release date and we have been waiting patiently, but it is here and we are in love with a Snowberry Clek Oobr.

R had to try it out immediately.

Installed in minutes (I LOVE the latch system). R can even buckle and unbuckle it herself. She is so proud to be in a big girl seat!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Owls are incredibly interesting, in my opinion. Every fall, I have intentions of going to the raptor show at our local Audubon society but it never seems to happen. We missed it again this year. Maybe next year.

We are having fun learning about owls this week. In addition to learning about their diet, habitat, and anatomy, C and R enjoyed reading a few fiction books and making an owl craft.

Good Night Owl! by Pat Hutchins is a cute book about an owl who cannot sleep one day because of all the noise around him - bees buzzing, crows croaking, etc. I love the 1970s illustrations!

The Sleepy Owl by Marcus Pfister is about an owl who oversleeps and sets off in search of someone to play with. She makes a new friend who helps her find playmates.

Our favorite owl book is Owl Babies by Martin Waddell. It is the sweetest book about three baby owls who wake up to find their mother gone. Will she come back? The little owls are anxious and miss their mother. This is a great book to read if your child is experiencing separation anxiety.

I found this owl craft at Kids Craft Weekly. It was very easy.
  1. Glue mini cupcake liners onto the flap of a brown paper lunch bag for eyes, and use a marker to color pupils in the middle.
  2. Draw a triangle beak on the flap of the bag.
  3. Cut strips of paper in different colors to fit across the front of the bag as feathers. Then cut them like fringe and glue in place. We used tissue paper, but you could use construction paper. I discovered that you have to start gluing the strips at the bottom and work your way up to create the layered look.
You could make three owl baby puppets and a mommy owl puppet and retell the story of Owl Babies. How fun would that be? The story is perfect for this type of play.

This was fun. If you have any owl books or crafts that you love, please leave me a comment.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just a Mommy

A while ago I read an article about a woman who hated the fact that her children saw her as "just a mommy". She wanted them to see her as something more than that. I understand where she is coming from, but I am content with my children seeing me as "just a mommy". When people criticize me for going above and beyond for my children, for teaching my children, for hugging them when they cry, for giving them all of the energy I have, for making three different dinners at one mealtime, for checking on them in the middle of the night, for letting them sleep with me when they are afraid, for tying their shoes, for worrying about little things, for crying when they head off to school........I take it as a compliment.

I have had titles. I can place the word Esquire at the end of my name. I have a license to practice law. Do you think my children care about that? No. They care that I am the person who rocked them to sleep, watched their first steps, heard their first words. They take comfort in the fact that I watch their soccer games and read them bedtime stories.

My oldest child is twelve. It all happened so fast. There are no second chances or do overs. I am not claiming to be the best mommy, or even a great mommy, I simply want to be the best mommy I can be and I strive to be a better mommy every single day. So, if my children see me as "just a mommy," I will smile and proudly claim the title.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Knot Fairy

I was so excited to win The Knot Fairy by Bobbie Hinman in a giveaway on Growing and Learning by Leaps and Bounds. Since receiving the book a few days ago, we have been reading it with great regularity. The book also includes an audio CD of the story narrated by the author and an original song.

The book is about a little fairy that flies into children's rooms while they sleep and tangles their hair. The story is cute and the illustrations are adorable. R was a tiny bit nervous about any kind of fairy (or anything) coming near her while she sleeps. She had this same fear when she was preparing for the tooth fairy a few months ago. This little bit of fear, however, has not diminished her love for this book.

The author also wrote The Sock Fairy and The Belly Button Fairy. I haven't read those, but I hope to find them at the library. They are definitely in the back of my mind for potential Christmas presents.

R seems to like fairies quite a bit, but I think I like them more than she does. The idea of little fairies causing mischief is just so sweet. I really like the magical element. Maybe I'm trying to relive my childhood through R. Is that so bad?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy 235th Birthday

Today is the anniversary of Johnny Appleseed's birth. He was born John Chapman in Leominster, MA, and was an American pioneer. He had a vision to plant apple saplings and seeds across the country so that no one would be hungry as they settled the West. He traveled for nearly fifty years, planting seeds and caring for the trees. He became a legend. Today, we will read his story to celebrate his legacy.

R and I made this super cute and super easy apple necklace in honor of Johnny Appleseed.

I super glued two leaves that I cut out of green foam on top of a red pom pom. I then super glued a green pony bead on top of the leaves. The bead is the stem of the apple.

Finally, thread some ribbon through the bead and proudly wear your new apple necklace!

Did you know that some of the trees that Johnny Appleseed planted are still producing apples?
I found all of these facts in The Teacher's Calendar Almanac.

Friday, September 25, 2009

U is for Unicorn

I originally thought that we would make umbrellas for the letter "U", but R loves unicorns so it just made sense to go with what she loves.

The idea for the design of the unicorn "U" came from No Time For Flash Cards. R painted the "U" gold because Goldilicious by Victoria Kann is one of her favorite books. She tried to make her unicorn look like Goldie.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Feeling Blue or Red or Green

Dr. Seuss is one of our favorite authors and we always enjoy reading My Many Colored Days. As a matter of fact, we have done this project before, but since we have been talking about feelings, I thought it would be appropriate to do it again.

How are you feeling today? A little blue? Yellow? I enjoyed talking to C and R about the way different colors can express moods and emotions. C remembered reading that Koko the gorilla used the color red to express anger. If you are not familiar with Koko, she is a gorilla that communicates with people through sign language.

After reading My Many Colored Days and discussing the colors/feelings connection, C and R painted their own colorful pages of emotion.

Look at C finger painting. This may be a first. I almost fell over when he told me he was going to finger paint.

R never hesitates when it comes to finger (or whole hand) painting. She has no problem getting messy.

R was feeling pretty cool; green, blue, and purple.

C was in a warm and fuzzy mood with lots of red, yellow, and orange.

This week, I am linking our book project to A Mommy's Adventures where Michelle hosts stArt. The idea is to combine a story with an art project. If you are interested in reading about stArt projects, visit A Mommy's Adventures.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Open ended art - Earth mosaic

We participated in the open ended art project at Growing and Learning by Leaps and Bounds this week. The project is a clay/play doh mosaic. After looking through our play doh drawer, and discovering a plethora of blue and green, I decided that C and R could make Earth mosaics. I cut out circles from cereal boxes, but everything else was done by C and R.

I gave C and R blue and green play doh and they cut the play doh into small pieces.

Then, they placed the pieces where they wanted them on the cardboard circles.

The finished product. They both thought it was funny to hold the planet Earth in their hands.

Finally, we placed them on black construction paper just for the effect of being in space.

This is C's project.

This is R's project.
We also read two books to go along with this project: Me and My Place in Space by Joan Sweeney and Looking Down by Steve Jenkins. Me and My Place in Space is a great introduction to our solar system. Looking Down is a wordless picture book with cut-paper illustrations that depict the many levels of the universe. R was not really interested in the books, but C enjoyed both of them.

Visit Shannon at Growing and Learning by Leaps and Bounds to see more artwork.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

An Emotional Roller Coaster

Sometimes we are up.

Sometimes we are down.

That's life. If we didn't experience different emotions, we would be incredibly boring.

C, R, and I have spent quite a bit of time discussing emotions and how we should respond to our own emotions and the emotions of others.
There are many great books on this topic, but two of our favorites are When Sophie Gets Angry -- Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. Both books provide a great opportunity to discuss how the characters were feeling and what they did about their feelings. I also think the characters experience things that are easy for my children to relate to.

I know that many people are bothered by the fact that Sophie (the main character in the Molly Bang book) runs out the door. I have read the complaint that this teaches children to run away when they are angry, and I disagree. Sophie is not running away, she is simply running. We all need outlets to deal with different emotions, and running is a great way to calm down. If your child needs to run off his or her anger, what is wrong with that? Like everything else our children do, we as parents are surely capable of placing limits on where they may or may not run. Problem solved.

C, R and I worked together to make a list of things to do when we are feeling angry or sad or even happy. We also spent some time role playing different situations. C and R have so much fun role playing. They also love to do book dramatizations. Do you teach your children to deal with anger (or any emotions) in a specific way?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Silly, Sad, Jealous, Mad

Can you guess what we have been working on at home? Feelings, of course. Why we feel angry or jealous or happy, etc. and how we should behave when our feelings are not positive. One of the books we read is The Way I Feel by Janan Cain. I like that this book addresses feelings that are not typically in books for young children. For example, there are pages devoted to disappointment and frustration. Both of these feelings are common for young children, yet they are often left out of books for this age group.

While reading the book, C and R used their teddy bear emotions puzzles to create a teddy bear with the expression that matched the feeling on the page we were discussing. This was a great way to explore the different emotions.

Stay tuned for more posts on this subject.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

He Paints Again!

You may have read that C had sworn off painting due to the messy/sticky factor. Well, I don't know what happened but he decided to make a pumpkin and he did all of the painting himself! I was so happy.
We made pumpkins as part of our Fifty States Project. The pumpkin is the state fruit of New Hampshire.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lunch Box Stories

C is attending full day Kindergarten and since he is gone all day, I came up with something to make him smile each day. It also gives him something special to look forward to at the end of his school day. Every morning, I tape a different picture in his lunch box. He doesn't see the picture until he opens his lunch box at school. When he comes home, we sit together and make up a story about the picture. He looks forward to this time, and I enjoy knowing that he may be smiling at lunch thinking about the story we will share.

Currently, I am using eeBoo story cards for the pictures in his lunch. I will definitely mix it up though. The picture may be something cut from a magazine, a drawing by me (HA!), a photograph, or simple clip art. Anything will work for this project. My goal is to get C more and more involved in the storytelling and write our stories in a book.

Your child doesn't have to go to school or use a lunch box for this activity. Try leaving a picture in the same place each day: next to his breakfast plate or on her pillow. Storytelling is a great way to create memories together.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Counting Colors in the Morning

Our routine has been a bit chaotic this week, but we have found a way to have a little consistency each morning. I recently purchased Counting Colors: A Seek and Find Book by Roger Priddy. Every morning, after everyone is dressed and ready to go, C and R pick a page in the book. Each two page layout features a different color. The color word is written across both pages (great way to work on spelling color words) and it is surrounded by many different items of that color. There is a list of things to find, for example: "1 big scaly lizard, 2 tree frogs, 3 farm tractors"; there are ten different items to find in each color. We take turns finding the items, and sometimes we continue looking for items of that color around the house.

This is a great book to use for teaching colors, counting, and sorting. I love that this book can be used in so many ways. The youngest child will enjoy looking for items while older children can add or subtract items from each group and spell the color words. Most importantly, C, R and I are finding time to sit together each morning for a little bit of I Spy book fun.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Day!

C had his first day of Kindergarten on Monday and he thought it was great! I am still adjusting to him being gone all day, but I am happy to know that he is enjoying school.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Hampshire Pumpkin

The pumpkin is the official state fruit of New Hampshire, our current state of study for the fifty states project. R made this simple pumpkin craft.

  1. Stuff a paper lunch bag with crumpled newspaper
  2. Wrap a rubber band around the top to create a stem
  3. Paint the stem green and the body of the pumpkin orange (as you can see, R got tired of painting so there are quite a few blank spots)
This craft is perfect for the season, and I would love to tell you that I planned it this way but I just happened to luck out.

If you are wondering where C's pumpkin is, he decided that he is not painting anymore because it is too messy. I am hoping he changes his mind, but I can't say that I am optimistic because he will not use glue or eat maple syrup simply because of the sticky factor.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Granite State

We have enjoyed learning about the state of New Hampshire.

Good Night New Hampshire by Adam Gamble and G is for Granite, A New Hampshire Alphabet by Marie Harris are the books we read. C and R were surprised to learn that the windiest spot on earth is at the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. A wind speed of 231 miles per hour has been recorded there. You can find this fact, and many other great facts about the most extreme places on Earth, in the book, Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest by Steve Jenkins.

Since that fact was so appealing to C and R, we conducted our own wind experiment.

R covered a piece of cardboard with petroleum jelly. There was no way that C would ever touch something that slimy and sticky.

We hung the cardboard from a tree limb on a windy day and left it there all day to see what might be blowing in the wind.

It is not easy to see, but there were seeds, specks of pollen, and even a few insects on our cardboard. Hmmmm.....C and R were not the least bit impressed with this experiment.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday - Apples

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

The theme for Muffin Tin Monday this week is apples. I was not very creative this week, but I was very pleased with the results. C told me he was not eating any apples, but once he saw the muffin pan, he happily ate every bite and asked for more!

Our muffin pans had three varieties of apples (Macoun, Golden Delicious, and Gala) and three sauces for dipping (peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate).

The Flat Stanley siblings were happy to be invited to Muffin Tin Monday.

I thought it would be fun to incorporate an art project into MTM this week. Apple prints sounded fun and simple. Well......

Look at his face. C pressed the apple into paint and got a little on his hand. Well, that was the end of that. He was not going to do this and there was nothing I could say to change his mind.

While I was busy with C, R started eating her apple half. Then she pressed it into the paint and we got this:

I felt the need to actually have some apple prints, so I made these:

After everyone cleaned up, we read I Am an Apple by Jean Marzollo.

Finally, C and R helped me make Apple Pecan muffins using this Ellie Krieger recipe. This is one of my favorite muffin recipes and it is relatively healthy, as far as muffins go anyway.

To see more muffin tins, visit Her Cup Overfloweth.