Sunday, February 28, 2010

Indoor camping

Saturday night my husband decided to set up our camping tent in the living room. The kids thought it was the best thing ever! We had our little lanterns and flashlights and turned out all the lights.

You know what else is so fun, for adults and kids alike? A head lamp. I had given one to my cousin's son for Christmas along with a few books (tried to maybe make reading extra cool for an 8 yr old boy) and my husband decided he needed one too. As you can see, my children quite enjoyed it as well. We got ours for like $10 at Target.

Doesn't Aidan look just mean in this picture! His face is kind of squished together by the way the lamp is sitting on his face. :)

We were going to let the kids sleep in the tent and maybe do some fun things like make s'mores in the microwave, but sadly, we had some little people making poor choices that night so the tent fun had to end. Hopefully another night though.

Has anyone else done some indoor camping?
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

52 Week Challenge

Week 18 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

I was good this week! I have three cute pictures to share of me with my kiddos. The first is me with my Ella cuddling and watching a movie during our family movie night. She just has the best smile, doesn't she, even when it is upside down!

I was taking some pictures of the big kids doing their art projects and decided to try to turn the camera on me and Livi. I think I got a couple of good ones. :) Poor thing fell on Ella's dollhouse and scraped her forehead really good, and then later fell and bumped her mouth on something else, cutting her gum and giving her a fat lip. Being newly mobile is so hard isn't it? She's one tough cookie, though!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Star Punchout

Thanks for the space ideas that some of you have shared with me - keep 'em coming!

This one came from my mom today. I was telling her about Aidan's new interest in space and she said we should draw a star outline and then use something to punch out along the lines. I had actually just purchased some kids plastic yarn needles, so we used those. Toothpicks would work great too.

Please excuse my terrible excuse for a star. Yes, I drew it, not my son. I was feeling a little rushed as he wanted to do this because I was on and off the phone with our realtor (our house finally sold today after 8 months!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!). So we'll just ignore the sorry excuse for a star and focus on the project. :) Aidan did draw the asteroid and punch it out though. :)

While at Hobby Lobby today to get the materials to make this, we found some planet shapes to add to our storytelling bag. When we got home he asked for a flashlight. He took the flashlight and the planet shapes (Earth and Saturn) up to his room. He came back a few minutes later and told me to come see his solar system. He had closed the shades in his room making it really dark. He turned on the flashlight and had the planets sitting on the floor about foot and 2 feet away from the light. The flashlight was his sun. He of course later added his star and asteroid to his universe and was delighted to see his star patten on the wall when he shined the flashlight through it.

So those are just a couple new things we tried today. Punching the holes to make the star is excellent fine motor practice!
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Will you help me?

Hello friends!

As you know, my son has been obsessed with dinosaurs for quite some time now. Recently he has become interested in space and planets and moons, etc. I have been searching for some good, quality resources and activities I can do with my four-year-old that would be interesting and at his level. I plan to put together some things to help him learn about his new obsession, but I thought I would ask all of you if you had seen anything (books, blogs, websites) or done anything with your children that you think my Aidan would enjoy as well.

Thanks everyone!

Here are a couple of fun things I have found so far:

Coloring page of planets

Very cool pictures showing the size of the planets relative to each other

Solar System Trading Cards

Solar System in Motion song

Space Lapbooks - soooooo much info and links on this page. Still sifting through it all, but it looks awesome!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Friday Finds

Just a few things that caught my interest this week:

Teaching Word Families - this is something I have been working on with Aidan lately as he has shown a lot of interest and I love these new ideas.

Olympics - Head on over to Dresses 'n Messes for a lot of different fun Olympic ideas.

New Favorite Website - I don't know how I came across this awesome site, but Kim of Mom Tried It is just pure genius and has so many fun and clever ideas to share. Just this week she has inspired me to sign up my son for a Lowe's Build and Grow clinic, shared a fun way to get kids to eat rice cakes, and if only I wasn't trying to sell my house - I would now have plastic bugs on all my light switches. You need to click on the link to find out what I am talking about there. Seriously, go check out all her fun ideas!

Art Gallery Display - I want to make one of these! What a great, pretty, easy way to display children's artwork!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

52 Week Challenge

Week 17 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

I know I already posted this picture this week, but it is the only good one I have on my camera from our fun water park weekend. My mom took a ton of pictures, but I always forgot to bring my camera with me, and I also forgot to bring my little cord to transfer the pictures from her camera to my laptop (which I did have since I am an internet addict). Oh well, it really is a fun picture of me and my boy. We had a lot of fun riding the lazy river together.

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Storytelling Game

When I saw this idea over at Chasing Cheerios, I had to run out and get a bunch of these little wooden cutouts. I always eye them when I am at Michaels or Walmart, but make myself leave them alone until I can think of a use for them. But now I had a reason! So off we went to the stores and let the kids pick out a bunch of different shapes.

The storytelling game that Chasing Cheerios made is just to take turns with your child pulling a piece out of the bag and using that "character" to add to your story.

It might be fun to also just have one in the bag at a time and have your child reach in and feel the piece and try to guess what it is.

Or (since I went WAY overboard and bought a ton of the pieces) we could use them to match with some letter cards to find the beginning sound of each item. So match "E" and Elephant.

And now I have an alligator to sing along with the 5 Little Monkeys Swinging In a Tree song. We already had the 5 little monkeys.

Can you think of any other fun uses for these little wood pieces - cause I love them and now we have a ton!
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Monday, February 15, 2010

A winter break

That's right folks, we took a little break from all the white snow and went to a water park! Of course we were still in Iowa and if we felt like looking out the window we could see all the nasty white stuff (including another few inches falling) but who wants to do that when all you need is inside!

We went to Honey Creek Resort State Park in southern Iowa. Any locals, go check out the website, the resort is brand new, and a perfect water park for little ones! We had a lot of fun! Besides the water park, they had many activities planned from crafts, to family movie night to presentations from the DNR (Department of Natural Resources - we got to meet a 4 month old snapping turtle and touch his bumpy back).

Here is my boy and I hanging out on the lazy river. :)

My parents actually gave us this getaway as a Christmas present and they went along as well. Which was awesome because they were such a help with the kiddos and my hubby and I even got away for a date at the restaurant.

My mom brought along a couple fun things for the kids to do, one of which was these squirt bottles for them to play with in the water.

The mommy in me was like, "Oh fun, squirt bottles! They will like this!". The teacher in me was watching and thinking of the different learning components of using the squirt bottle. Twisting the cap on and off, filling, dumping, using the trigger, twisting the nozzle to adjust the spray. All kinds of problem solving and fine motor skills working!

Do you ever have moments that the teacher part of your brain starts making connections like that?
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

52 Week Challenge

Week 16 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

I actually have several pictures to share this week, thanks to the fact that my in-laws were visiting this weekend and my mother-in-law takes lots of pictures! Thanks Jane!!!

This first one is me and my girls checking out a dinosaur book a friend let us borrow to see if it is one Aidan would enjoy too. Her son is also obsessed with dinosaurs so we like to share tips!

Me, Ella, my hubby, and Aidan , making homemade pizza at my brother-in-law and sister-in-laws house. I think that is a pretty good shot of 4 of the 5 of us!

Olivia is 3 1/2 months older than her cousin Mason. She is all over him - he is quickly gaining on her weight wise, so she better watch out when he gets mobile here in another couple months!

My and my Ella bear reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see?

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Just some fun things

This post is just a couple of random things we have been doing the last couple days.
First off was painting with heart shaped cookie cutters. Just put some paint onto a paper plate and use the cookie cutter as a stamp.

They weren't really into the cookie cutter painting- they felt more like finger painting. So I grabbed the corn syrup and some food coloring, mixed them together and let them finger paint with that. Sorry I didn't include a picture of the actual painting, Ella's facial expressions sticking her hands in the "icky goo" were much more fun!

This morning Aidan read his first little booklet. We have worked on reading "at" words before so I printed off the beginner "at" word booklet from Hubbard's Cupboard. He was so excited he could read all the words and learned a few new ones (the, in, my). He read it about 20 times today to me and it was the first thing he wanted to show daddy when he got home. I was soooooo excited to see him so excited about reading!

And these were just some fun little things I found in the dollar bin at Michael's the other day. I put them in their mailboxes today and they had a ton of fun painting their pictures. You just dip a paint brush or cotton swab in water and then in the paint palette at the bottom of the page and paint! So simple, not messy (unless your 2 year old spills her cup of water) and only a buck!

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Paper Plate Snowman

This is another little art project Aidan brought home from preschool. Cute, simple, and you can decorate your snowman any way you want. I think I am going to make a three paper plate snowman with the kids at home and maybe use some pipe cleaners for arms, maybe even make him a Valentine snowman and make his eyes and buttons and everything heart shaped.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Haiti Relief Fundraiser

I know there are a lot of different fundraisers out there for Haiti right now. And that is awesome! I wanted to share one more with you all. I just saw that my husband's cousin's wife (that seems like a run-on relation as I type that!) has her own Etsy shop. And she has made a bunch of adorable necklaces from reclaimed Scrabble tiles. 100% of the proceeds will be going to help people in Haiti.

See, isn't that a super cute necklace? And she is selling them for just $7-$9. Go check them out here, get an awesome new necklace and help a great cause!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cute Penguin

Yet another super cute art project that Aidan brought home from preschool. I just had to share this little guy. The teachers gave the kids a penguin outline, some beans, orange glitter and glue. Sorry I don't know my beans at all otherwise I would be more specific on what kind of beans they are! I am sure you are all smarter than I and know exactly what they are. But he is cute, isn't he?

A couple of penguin books we enjoy:

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Finds

Giant geoboard - I have made the little version, but this is genius! I want to make one!!!!

Doodle Chalkboard - How completely adorable is this?!!!!!!

Crayon Valentines - This is what Aidan and I are making for his preschool friends and she has printable cards you can attach the crayons to, LOVE IT!

Lip and Moustache Lollipops - If I didn't already have 24 crayon hearts made, this is totally what we would have done for valentines - what fun!

Chocolate Survival Kit - And this is what Aidan's teachers will be receiving for Valentines. :)

Heart People - so simple, but oh so cute!

Drawstring bags from khaki pants - Too cute!

President's Day coin polishing - Aidan has been counting his coins a lot the last few days, so when I saw this, I thought he would love it. I was right! He polished his coins from his piggy bank to a shine and learned about the coins in the process!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

52 Week Challange

Week 15 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

We did a little impromptu photo session this afternoon. My son was being quite the ham. But my mission is complete for another week!

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dinosaur Alphabet

I saw these cute little wood shapes at Dollar Tree the other day and wanted to get them. However, I made myself walk away from them until I could think of a good project.

Then I saw this idea over at A to Z Phonics.

"Make alphabet popsicle sticks. Buy 26 popsicle sticks and 26 wood cutouts, such as flowers, that you can glue onto the sticks. With a black marker pen, mark each cutout with a letter of the alphabet. I made these and played all sorts of games with them. Each day, my son would 'pick a flower' to be the letter of the day - then we would go on a Letter Huntaround our home!"

I decided that would be perfect for these cute little shapes! And of course I had to get a flower set for Ella and a dinosaur set for Aidan.
The kids helped me paint them. We did the flowers in red, orange and yellow, and the dinosaurs in green, blue and purple.

We sponged the paint on because I thought it might give a slightly scaly, textured look to the dinosaurs. It did a little bit, although not quite how I thought it would, but oh well. Sponge painting was still a super fast way to paint 26 little dinosaurs and 26 little flowers!

After the paint was dry I put some alphabet stickers on each of the dinosaurs and flowers and glued a craft stick to the back. I have lots of ideas for what we will be doing with these little beauties. Stay tuned......

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Snake ruler

This weekend Aidan was walking around measuring EVERYTHING next to his stuffed animal Snake. He measured himself, mommy, daddy, the TV, entertainment center, etc. Then we tried lining up cars and dinosaurs next to the snake to see how many cars long the snake was. I thought the snake was as good a measuring stick as any and very creative of my boy! Inches, feet, yards - these don't mean much to him at this point. But he can see how long the snake is and test it next to different objects to see how they relate to the snake and thus how they relate to each other in size. Good thinking Aidan!

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