Friday, December 31, 2010
One of my favorite moments from our extended family Christmas get-together this year happened during our annual Christmas Eve Journey to Bethlehem dinner. After we had finished eating, one member of our family started telling M and G the true story of Christmas. After about 3 or 4 sentences that person stopped, and the next person picked up where they left off. We continued this way around the table until we had finished the story.
I think it was easier for M to pay attention when the story was told by multiple storytellers, and it was an opportunity for all of us to really focus on what we were celebrating. Hearing my brothers and sister (who do not yet have their own children of their own) simplify the story down to a 3-year-old level was an especially unusual treat!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
These are some ideas I've used for past and present years. (I'd love to hear more ideas!)
1. Make an edible gift and involve the preschooler or toddler in the process. This year, we made peppermint bark, and M helped me open the peppermint candies, crush and sprinkle them.
2. Involve the child in the gift-wrapping process. Let them use stickers to decorate an already- wrapped present, color a white sheet of wrapping paper with markers, or use paint to make hand or foot print wrapping paper. Use a little craft that they've done as the "bow."
3. Help the child memorize a little poem for the recipient. Here is a cute one for grandparents.
Grandparents Are Nice
Grandmas and Grandpas are everything nice.
Like presents and candy and raspberry ice.
And chocolate fudge sundaes, with cherries on top.
And popcorn and peanuts and grape soda pop.
In winter or summer, in rain or in sun,
Grandmas and Grandpas are wonderful fun!!!
4. Make a coupon book full of coupons to be redeemed for hugs and kisses from the child.
5. Help the child make a little jar full of things that they like about the person.
6. Have the child do little chores around the house for money to buy a small gift.
7. If the recipient is long distance, make a video of the child doing some of their favorite things and include a personal message from your child to the recipient at the end.
Hmmmm, that's all I can think of right now...any other thoughts? Also...if you know me, pretend you didn't read this post come Christmas day :-)
Monday, December 20, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
M and I just kept saying "This is so interesting!" to one another as we tried different colors. After we painted the rock, we tried an old plant pot. That worked nicely too; you can see that when the colors mixed together it created a nice marbling effect. Unfortunately, the marbling effect became less pronounced as some of the wax got absorbed into the dark pot.
I was only willing to do this activity with M because she is an especially cautious little three year old and I could trust her not to touch the rock. It was hot! Also, next time I will make sure we all wear painting clothing. The sleeves on M's shirt don't look so good, and I don't think it's going to come out...oops.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
The Bazoongi Kids Special Edition Bughouse Play Tent is unique and looks like lots of fun. It can be used indoors or outdoors and looks to be a perfect hideaway for little "bugs." I can just imagine the fun M and G would have crawling through it, peeking through the windows, and pretending to be bumblebees. :-)
To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment on this post (and make sure to leave an email address so that I can contact you if you win!).
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This giveaway ends at midnight on December 13th when I will choose a comment using random.org and email the winner!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
In the course of two baby girls, our house has accumulated a mountain of unmatched baby socks. The other day, I had a big show down with all of them (spread them all over the living room floor and hunted for pairs).
Chasing Cheerios talked about a while ago.
After deciding on some distinctive smells (vinegar, almond extract, my hand lotion, etc). I covered two cotton balls with each scent, stuffed the cotton into two random baby socks, and tied up the tops. M's job was to smell the socks and find smelling pairs. I worried at first that maybe the different appearances of the socks would distract, but it didn't seem too. She successfully matched the smells, and then we were able to have a quick little chat about our favorite smells.
After that one last use, I didn't feel as badly laying the socks to rest in the trash can. I do have quite a few more though. Anyone have any ideas of what to do with them?
Saturday, December 4, 2010
1. Soak raw almonds in water overnight so they'll be nice and soft when you process them. Use 3 cups of water for every one cup of almonds.
2. Use a blender or food processor to blend the almonds with all of the water. (I used a food processor, and itworked fine).
3. When the almonds are finely processed, place a dish towel over a large bowl and rubber-band it into place. Strain the almond milk through the towel. (I ended up having to strain the milk twice because I accidentally plopped some of the pulp into the milk at the end.)4. Once most of the liquid has strained through, gather up the corners of the towel and squeeze the rest out.5. Add a couple of pinches of salt, and some vanilla and honey to taste to make it extra delicious!
6. Don't throw away the almond pulp!! That stuff is useful! Spread it out on a cookie sheet and bake at 275 degrees until it is dried out and a little roasted. This almond meal can be used for all kinds of things; you can bake with it to make pie crusts or muffins, or use it like bread crumbs (maybe coat some kind of white fish in it for a tasty breading).
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
And...for some reason I'm particularly excited about Christmas this year so look for lots of Christmas-themed posts in the next few weeks. (Hopefully I'll find time for posting them!)
Advent Log with candles, Scripture reading and singing (If you would like me to send you a copy of the list of Scripture passages, symbols, and corresponding hymns we sing each night please feel free to email me at kmagill1212 at gmail dot com)
Journey to Bethlehem Dinner
Christmas Present Store
Aromatic Christmas Counters
Hand and Footprint Wrapping Paper
Monday, November 29, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
One afternoon, M and I gathered colorful fall leaves from around the neighborhood. (I think the ginko and aspen tree leaves have an especially pretty shape) We pressed them in an old book so that they would have a chance to thoroughly dry out and to flatten.
A couple of days later, I cut a strip of wax paper to fit this large glass vase ($5 at Walmart). On one side I scattered the pressed fall leaves and covered them with mod podge. Once they were dry, I sponged mod podge all over the vase and pressed the wax paper onto it. Once I pressed the air bubbles out of the paper, it was finished.It was such an easy craft and made such a pretty effect that I think I'll have to experiment with some variations. Maybe a nativity silhouette scene for Christmas?
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
This may be one of those things that I've just discovered that lots of people already do naturally, but I've been tickled lately to meet with good success teaching my 15 month-old alphabet letter sounds by treating them like animal noises. Everybody knows that toddlers can't get enough of lions roaring, and monkeys chattering, but it never occurred to me until now that she would love it just as much if I threw in a letter here and there instead of an animal.
Now I ask her, "G, what does a pig say?" then "What does the letter A say?" etc. We also get practice in at mealtime, alternating between "Here comes the piggy," as I oink loudly with the spoonful of peas entering her mouth and "Here comes the letter C!" as I "Cu-cu-ca" with the next spoonful.
Has anyone else found this to be a good trick or had success with similar ideas?
Thursday, November 18, 2010
11 x 17 piece of construction paper
2 or more sheets of Autumn or Thanksgiving Scrapbook paper
Laminating paper or contact paper
1. Trace around a plate, glass, knife, fork, and spoon with a pencil on pieces of scrapbook paper.
2. Cut out each piece.
3. Have your preschooler cover the backs with a gluestick.
4. Show the child where to put glue each piece (maybe taking the opportunity to talk about where items belong at a place setting)
5. Laminate or cover with contact paper. (Make sure the lamination extends a couple of centimeters beyond the construction paper because you don't want to risk the construction paper getting wet)
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
If you are interested in possibly starting this tradition in your family, you might take a look at these blog posts from families who have done the Jesse Tree in their homes. I think it's really interesting to see how each family has tailored the basic idea to fit their family's personality.
Also, at the end of this post you will find a collection of resources (printables, devotions, etc) for help in making your own Jesse tree.
A list of Scripture readings and description of the tradition from CRI
Devotions for Children with corresponding questions from the Reformed Church in America
Patterns for the Symbols and directions for making the tree also from the RCA
Ready to Print and hang ornaments
Calendar with suggested additional activities
Friday, November 12, 2010
This morning I let M draw colored pencil paths between a cluster of flowers, a bee hive, and a pot of honey. I drew a quick sketch of a bee, cut it out and taped it to a paper clip. Then I held the cardstock while M moved the magnet under the bee from place to place and made up her own little stories about the honey-making process.
Keeping the paper clip moving along the right path takes a certain kind of hand/eye coordination. I think just letting your preschooler draw curvy paths on a piece of cardstock and then letting them try to keep the paperclip on the paths would be a fun little challenge in itself.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Do you have any simple advent traditions that you have found meaningful for your family at this time that you'd be willing to share?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
"There is an Inventor's Box in our garage filled with the kind of junk most people love to get rid of. Two coffee cans, a bicycle chain, an old eggbeater, and a broken thermostat from the newly repaired furnace are the latest additions. The box is used year-round and has generated everything from doll furniture to intricate contraptions that magnetically close doors.
You may have similar inventions ingredients (disguised as junk) in drawers and under beds but not collected together and called an "Inventor's Box." That's the secret. By placing the items into our box, the rules of function are eliminated and the bits can be reinvented into something new. Children, with their unburdened perspective, are naturally equipped to discover new uses for familiar objects.
When you clean out the garage and junk drawers to create your Inventor's Box, keep in mind that almost everything has potential for invention. Grand ideas are hidden in the pieces of an old game, the innards of small appliances, cat food cans, and rubber bands...
The act of creating cultivates creativity in children, not the creation itself. Our spirited four year old reminds me of this often. He thinks invention and adventure are the same word. "This is for my wire adventure," he declares one day, holding up a trio of rusty coils. And, of course, he is right."
Monday, November 8, 2010
We have this set at our house and really like it. The blocks are just the right weight and size (small enough for little hands but big enough to build nice, tall towers quickly). These would make a great gift; even a good gift for a family that already has a set (two sets mean even MORE creative potential :-)
To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment at the end of this post. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win!
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The giveaway will end on Tuesday, November 16th at midnight.
This giveaway is open to all US and Canadian entrants.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
If you are not sure how a yes/no riddle works, be sure to check out the explanation here.
The solutions are listed at the end; so if you want to be on the guessing end of these sometime be sure not to peek!
1. Tom and Mary are thirsty for some peach juice. Mary says that she wants two glasses of juice, and Tom wants just one. When the waiter comes, Tom orders five glasses of peach juice. Tom takes the three glasses off of the waiter’s tray and tells him to take the others back; he doesn’t want them. Why did he order five glasses?
2. A black dog walked down a black road in a town painted black with streetlights that were broken because of a recent power outage. A car came by driving 45 miles an hour whose headlights were both broken; it swerved and narrowly missed the dog. How did the car avoid hitting the dog under such conditions?
3. It is the middle of July. Detectives arrive on the scene in the middle of a park in Miami, Florida where there is a dead man lying in a slight depression in the grass. The medical examiner said that the man froze to death. How did the man die? And how did he get there?
4. He was lying there, in a puddle of blood, shattered glass all around him, curled up in the too small space, a bucket of water standing outside. He was obviously very dead.What happened to him? Where is he? And why the bucket?5. The two victims, father and son, were rushed into the ER. The attending physician pronounced the father DOA. The son, however, was obviously still alive. He was rushed to the operating room. The surgeon came in, and prepared to save the young man's life. But when his face came into view, the surgeon started, and announced: "I can't operate! He's my son!" How can that be?
1. Tom has a speech impediment. He can’t pronounce the letter “r.” He orders five glasses because it does not require him to say the letter “r.”
2. It was daytime.
3. He had attempted to smuggle himself into the States by stowing away in the wheel bay of an airplane. Unfortunately, those bays area not heated, so he froze to death at 30,000 feet. When the landing gear unfolded over the park in Miami, he fell out.
4. The man was in a phone booth, calling his wife after a morning fishing. The bucket with his catch is outside. Bragging about his enormous catch, he spread his arms wide, accidentally smashing through the glass in his enthusiasm and cutting his wrists.5. The surgeon was the boy's MOTHER!