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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Jack Attack!

This is my newest little boy, Jack. Everything went perfectly and we are already home and loving it. The boys are adjusting nicely so far. Drake doesn't like to see me nurse:) He pulls down my shirt and says "No".
I thought I would share what I did to prepare the boys for Jacks arrival in case anyone else is or will be in a similar situation.
Since words are lost on young ones I got out a baby doll and all of the gear to introduce the idea of a baby. I showed them how I would change the baby, nurse the baby, dress the baby, and how they would hold the baby with a pillow on their lap. It also gave them the opportunity to learn where not to touch the baby (eyes and mouth). It was a great time to talk about gentle touch with out endangering a real baby. This worked so well for the boys that I plan on doing it before every baby.
I'm off to rest now:)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Off to have a baby!!!

I won't be posting for a little while because I will be having a baby today!!! I have a scheduled C-section for 3 o'clock today! I am so excited!!!! I will post pictures soon after but I don't know how long it will take me to get back to the computer:) Wish me luck:)


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Color Drawers!

I've seen people make little drawers of letters and my little guy Drake loves drawers!!! I made this one and used colors instead of letters and Drake really liked it. He opened all of the drawers and mixed up the contents. Caden enjoyed it as well and he recognized the color matching and was able to put them in the correct drawers.

Water Fun!!!!

I made these sponge balls from this blog via the Crafty Crow!
The boys loved them!!!!!! They were so easy and cheap and reusable! The boys threw them at each other and squeezed the water out on each others heads.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bowling Bottles!

I can't even begin to tell you how much fun Caden had with this activity! My husband had bought a six pack of Diet Dr. Pepper bottles and when I looked at them I thought of bowling pins. I decided to make three primary colored bowling pins! All it is water and food coloring but I might add some glitter! I'm sure the idea of using bottles for bowling is not a new concept to most but I loved the colors! I drew three matching circles on the side walk with chalk so that Caden new just how to set them back up. It made it so much better. I plan to use the other three bottles to make green, orange, and purple and then make a matching mat for Caden to set them up on. The bottles looked so pretty in the sun too!
The ball I used was a rubber band ball that Nate made when he was a kid! Too much Fun!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More Muffin Tin Fun!

This is another idea I've been holding on to for summer time. I wanted to wait for a nice hot day and bring out a bunch of colored ice cubes to play with. I was getting the boys ready for a bath and I thought, "Hey, why not toss some in the tub!". I put six muffin tin ice cubes in the water and the boys loved it. The ice immediately started melting and the colors started swirling in the water. The boys had so much fun fishing the ice out of the water and having it slip away. It was also a great opportunity to talk about colors, melting, warm and cold. Warning: the water in the tub will be a funky brown by the end of the bath:) I've got a gallon sized zip lock bag of them made up in my freezer, ready for the next hot day or warm bath:)
To Make: Fill the muffin tin with water and add a drop or to of food coloring to each muffin hole. I did this with Caden and he really enjoyed watching the colors appear.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

So Simple!

When my two nieces were coming over I already knew that they were sick so I decided to make each of the kids one of these cups. I bought a pack of Take and Toss straw cups and used letter stickers to spell each of the children's names. I also put the first letter of their name on the lid. I only did this in hopes that the sickness wouldn't spread (it didn't work! my boys got sick anyway), but I found a surprising side effect. They all started to talk about the letters and their names! They thought it was so cool that they each had their on unique letter. Even little Drake started saying "D, d, d, d, d". It was so cute! I loved hearing Caden point to each letter and get so excited, "C-A-D-E-N... Caden!!!". I am going to keep using these cups as their water cups so that they will continue to recognize their names but this has really got me thinking about some other activities! I want to nurture Caden and Drake's excitement! I'll let you know what I come up with:)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ice Fun

When I was a pre-school teacher I came up with the idea to put marbles and buttons into ice cube trays and then pour all of the cubes into our sensory table. The kids loved using the warmth of their hands to melt the cubes and collect the treasures. I new that the boys would love this activities but I new the cubes would go right into their mouths and then they would pose a choking hazard. So I came up with a toddler safe version. I used a muffin tin and these ocean themed linking rings. Fill the tin half way with water if your object floats, after that layer freezes then fill it the rest of the way.
When it was time to play I knew the boys wouldn't have the patients to use their hands to melt them so I put out a pan of warm water. The boys loved this activity and next time I plan to talk more about ice, water, melting, cold, and warm. This time it was just for fun and we talked about colors too!

The Strap in Action

From Left to Right: Caden 28 months, Drake 16 months, Pitty and Lolly(not real names:) 30 months. We took a very long walk like this and it made it so easy on me!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Alone With 4 Toddlers!!!

Help! Just Kidding. My sister just had her baby and I have her two twin toddler girls! I've had them here since Saturday morning and will still have them till Tuesday night! Here's some of the ways I have been handling it...

Couch Time: Twice a day I have them clean up the toys and then sit on the couch with books. They read books so that I can get some of my chores done and get their next meal ready. They aren't aloud to get off the couch till I say so. It's the only way I have gotten anything done!

Long Walks: I put Drake in the umbrella stroller and then let the three older toddlers walk holding the straps. It was great to be able to walk without holding any hands. This was only a half mile walk but it took us an hour because we looked at flowers, colors, letters, animals and all sorts of other things. They loved it and they were nice and tired for bed time!

Indoor Playground: While the kids were having couch time I cleared of the living room carpet and put some outside toys on it(fold out slide, trike, push toys, dump truck, balance beam, and cars) The kids loved the change and played for a good hour and a half.

That's all for now:) I probably won't post again till they are gone:)

Friday, March 6, 2009

At the Car Wash!

My nieces are sick right now so I have been trying to give all of the boys toys that the girls had played with a good washing. I saw that Caden's cars were filthy so I set up a little car washing station for him. We put the dirty cars to one side, soapy water in the middle, and his wagon with a towel in it for drying them. He loved it! It was a great opportunity to teach him top and bottom. I would tell him with each car, "Get the bottom, top and the wheels". After a few cars he didn't need my to tell him. I loved hearing him narrate his work. "Top, Bottom, wheel, other wheel, other wheel, other wheel, all clean!" It was adorable! When we do this again I am going to add a rinse bucket.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fill and Spill

I've seen a lot of these fill and spill bottles on blogs and I thought Drake would like it so I set one up for him with a powerade bottle and these little dog and cat counters. It was his brilliant idea to crawl into this toy bucket to play with it! He played right at my feet while I was on the computer and when he would spill the bottle they would all stay right in the tub! He's a smart little guy:)

Traveling Activity Map!

I've seen activity place mats in stores before but I never liked any of them. I have been thinking of making my own and I wanted it to be: Small so it could travel to restaurants, educational, able to grow with the boys, sturdy, and interesting to both of the boys. So this is what I came up with:

(Be sure to read the bottom of this post to see variations for kids who aren't into cars or letters:)

I decided to play to Caden's two favorite things Cars and Letters. I used construction paper to create a little roadway scene and then cut out letters and numbers from construction paper as well. I loved using the primary colors! It turned out so pretty!

I cut the green papers to 81/2 by 5 inches so that they would fit in my laminator with out wasting any laminator sheets.
Once I lightly glued everything down I sent them through the laminator in the positions that they would need to be in to fold properly.

For the middle fold I used clear packing tape(Tip: Make sure to fold the packing tape over the edge, don't cut it. It makes it very strong and very unlikely to rip at the seam.)

Here is what it looks like when it is folded and unfolded.

I let Caden play with it for a little while but I am going to save it for restaurants and church from now on. I like to save things like this for those times because then they are more exciting.
I did the car side because that is Caden's favorite thing but if he liked:
  • Horses-I could have done a little pony farm
  • Farm Animals- a Farm:)
  • Dinosaurs- A Jungle with a volcano!
  • Princesses- A ball room??
  • Bugs- An ant hill with a little under ground maze
I can't think of what else kids would like:) Caden has loved cars since he was 12 months old so I have that on the brain:)
I think every mat should have the letters on the back and here are the activities that I am going to do with Caden while we are at a restaurant:
  • Find things on the table and talk about what letter they start with, then place them on that letter (ex. Salt, Pepper, Jelly, Water, Ketchup, Honey, Crayon)
  • Simple Finding Games (Ex. Can You find the letter...A? Can you find the letter that says Ssssss? Can you find the first letter of the word Boat? Can you find the letters of your Name?)
  • Have them drive the car to different letters (ex. Can you drive your car to the letter... P?)
  • You can also use the sides of those cheap crayons they give you to make rubbings of the letters. In the picture I used a colored pencil but I think a crayon would work a lot better.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The BIG Busy Book

For those who have asked about the Busy Book:
First, thank you for all of your kind words. I have felt very uplifted these last two days. Second, I do plan on selling my busy books once I move in to my own house. Third, I know a lot of you want answers now so you can make your own, so I am going to post, very soon, a break down of each page. Please be patient with me! I taught my self to sew so I do not know all of the proper terminology. I will most likely make a YouTube video showing the tricks I learned along the way and then post it here! I think that would be the easiest thing for me. So stay tuned! As soon as I get a video together I will post it:)

Painting Outside

Today we decided to try some out side painting. Caden is really not an art guy so I try to make it new and interesting. Today I put a large sheet of butcher paper up with heavy magnets on our screen door. It kept Caden's interest for about 2 whole minutes but Drake stayed for about 10. I then took it down to the ground so that they could step in paint and walk all over it. Caden liked this a lot! He even put his tummy in the pain to make tummy impressions! All in all it was fun and the clean up was easy because it was washable paint and we were out side:)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Green Smoothies

Don't let the looks deceive you! You can't even taste the spinach!
I want this blog to be about more then just activities so I am going to share a tip on nutrition! It's getting warm here (Arizona) so we have started making our smoothies again! The most important part of our smoothies is the green stuff! Spinach! The smoothie above is:

2 fresh pineapple spears
1 nectarine
3 spoons of apple sauce(unsweetened)
5 frozen strawberries
1 handful of blue berries
3 generous handful of spinach!
A little cold water to get it flowing (a very little bit!)

This is not a recipe I repeat every day or ever. It is simply what was on sale and what I had left in my fridge. This made 36 ounces and the boys each had two 9 nine ounce glasses!!! Do the math and you'll see that there was none left!

Another great thing about making this for breakfast was that Caden got to be totally involved. We counted out fruit and he got to pluck them in one at a time. We also talked about colors and how good these things were for our bodies. He loved it and I didn't have to hear him whining for his breakfast! If you want a real recipe just search online using "Green smoothie" in the search bar. There are so many recipes out there.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dino Land

My Dad is really into computers and he orders all kinds of little parts and things. These "things" come in some pretty nifty boxes! I turned this one in to a dino play yard for Caden. Just added some gravel and TADA! He liked it for awhile but then decided to replace all of the dinos with cars! Caden LOVES cars. They are also fun for painting on or using as a mini doll house!