Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Mother's Reward

My friend R said something the other day that really resonated with me. She said that she

"finds no personal validation in knowing what my salary would be if they totaled up what it would cost to hire someone to do my daily tasks. I watch my children walk after I walked them, speak after I spoke to them, read after I read to them, pray after I prayed for them, sing the songs I sing to them, have faith, serve, and love because they saw it in me. . . How much does that cost these days?"

So true!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Animal Conglomerates

This activity for 3-9 year-olds has one of the best hassle to enjoyment ratios of any craft I know. It's something that my mother and sister put together years ago and has been sending kids into fits of giggles ever since.

After printing out the sheets of animals, all that's left to do is to:

1. Cut each sheet down the middle,

2. Stack the half sheets together, carefully aligning the vertical lines,

3. Staple along the top,

4. Let the kids color their animals,

5. Cut through the vertical lines up to the staples.
From there the kids can have lots of creative fun pulling up the flaps to make animal conglomerates (and then of course naming them). This post is part of Works for Me Wednesday!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Homemade Baby Book: Animal Counting Book for Older Siblings to Make

The last time I made a book for little G, her older sister was very interested in the whole procedure. Later, when I found her clipping little pieces of paper and gluing them together she said that she was making a book for her little sister.

My mother decided to get some materials together to let her do just that. She mailed her a blank board book that she had titled "G's Animal Number Book." Tucked inside of the book was a sheet of animal stickers. Each page was labeled "one dog," "two cats," etc. M's job was to find the right stickers to illustrate the words on each page, (and then to take the extra stickers to decorate the front).This task turned out to be just the right level of difficulty for M. Once the book was completed, she was very eager to show it to G. It was very nice too that the book was simple enough to where M could actually "read" the whole thing to her herself.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Birthday Prank

Since my daughter's birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, I've had birthday party planning on my mind. That put me in remembrance of a fun memory from years ago.

When I was a teenager, my aunt, siblings and mother collaborated to play a birthday trick on me. They cut two sponges into the shape of a double layer cake and frosted the thing with real, chocolate frosting. They handed me a knife to cut the cake- which of course, turned out to be an impossible task. My siblings' eruption into laughter I think was my final clue that this was no ordinary cake.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Tradition: Letter to Children

Last year I began a Father's Day tradition that I hope to continue each year. As Father's Day approaches I mull over one of my husband's positive qualities and write a letter to my children about that trait. I try to flush out what that characteristic looks like in real life and why it makes me glad to have married him. I finish the letter with a story or two from our relationship thus far that illustrates the characteristic.

On Father's Day I give the letter to R to read and then keep a copy of the letter in a binder for each of my children; some day when they are old enough I will give the collection to them to keep.

I'd love to hear about other Father's Day traditions- serious or silly! Please feel free to share in the comments section.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day # 1 in the Kiddie Pool: The Floating Tea Party

It is a well-tested fact that when children are involved a little bit of water can make just about anything more fun. Even one or two inches can add enchantment to an everyday activity. Since we were recently given a nice kiddie pool for our backyard, I think the summer can't help but be full of enchantment on the basis of that fact alone!
Here's M as excited as she can be about her floating tea party. You'll notice that the pool is hardly filled at all, but she is fascinated by her tea tray gliding around her and her ability to easily fill and pour out the teacups. Some other day we'll revisit the idea, but next time we will fill the pool up so that the tea tray floats around her chest and neck. Don't you think that if you were a little girl again that you would enjoy that?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Simple Word Flip Chart

This is another activity for which M isn't fully ready. I showed it to her this afternoon. She needed a lot of help with each word, and I can tell that the word stem concept hasn't clicked with her yet. I think exposing her to the idea occasionally will be helpful. After she figured out each word we took a moment to act it out- which made it enjoyable.

I used cardstock, vinyl sticker letters, and a glue gun to make the chart. For the next word stem, I think I will use lower case letters.

Upcoming Review: Puerto Rico

Be on the look-out for an upcoming review on the family board game Puerto Rico. The company giving me an opportunity to review this game is CSN Stores- which is actually a network of online companies. Besides being able to buy a wide variety of board games and toys there, you can also purchase of decor and accessories for your child's bed.

Puerto Rico, from what I hear is a complex German board game supposedly enjoyable to the same crowd as enjoys Settlers of Catan (and our family loves that one! see my review of Settlers here). Our family is very interested to try this new game.

Have any of you played Puerto Rico? I'd love to hear about your experiences!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Non-toy Toys for Babies

Radiator Vent: G loves the sound and feel of running her hands over the vent.Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl: Makes a wonderful long-resonating sound when she plops toys in or bangs with a spoon.
Tin pie plate: Great drum sounds, and mirror effect!
What other non- toys have your babies turned into fun toys?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Homemade Book: Baby body parts flap book

G's favorite page in Pat the Bunny has long been the peek-a-boo page (the one that uses a cloth flap to cover Paul's face), but it only recently occurred to me that it would be easy and fun make a book filled with peek-a-boo flaps.I used pieces of felt (because they don't fray) and glued them on with a glue gun (so they would stay put). There is a place to purchase blank board books here.