Chasing Cheerios

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Matching Cats Tray

The idea for this work came from the Montessori n Such catalog. I LOVE that catalog! When I was at my mom's house last weekend, I found this cat tray and tiny cats. I knew that I had to make a Montessori work out of them! 2 of the cats are sitting and 2 of the cats are standing, so I showed O how to match the sitting cats and match the standing cats.
She did a great job, and she loved it! I need to find a few more cats because 2 pairs is just not enough!

O's Number Puzzle

O was thrilled to work with her number puzzle this afternoon. I'm just happy that I found this wooden number puzzle for only 25 cents :) I am a bit disappointed that I couldn't get the pen marks off of it. Does anybody have any ideas for getting pen marks off of wood?

Matching Lids and Jars

This a simple activity you can do with jars from around your house. We have lots of jars since we can't recycle glass here. O was VERY excited when she saw me setting this up, and she couldn't wait to get started. I found as many different sized jars with lids as I could. I took the lids off and put them in a basket and put the basket to the left of the jars. O immediately got to work, and she did really well. I was afraid that I had too many jars, but it was the perfect number :)
After she finished matching the lids to the jars, she immediately starting taking the lids off and putting them back in the basket. She was ready for "more game" as she calls it! I think this girl is ready to start back with our school work!

Matching Scents

I was very excited when I found these salt and pepper shakers in the dollar section at JoAnn's. They are stainless steel and perfect for the scent matching work. I'll put matching scents (vanilla, almond, coffee, etc.) on cotton balls and put them into the shakers. There will be stickers on the bottom, so O can check to see if she has matched the shakers correctly. I can't wait to have my new Montessori shelf, so we can start school! I have VERY high hopes that this new shelf is going to be the answer to all of my organizational and storage problems :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fun with Thank You Notes

I've been trying to think of a way to have O involved in writing the thank you notes for her birthday gifts, and I figured it out today! I wrote Thank You on her chalkboard (she helped, but I erased her "help" before I took the pictures!) and had her stand in front of the board with the gift while I took pictures. I had her say "Thank you, Guh-guh" (or whoever the gift was from) as I took the picture. This was a lot of fun, and O seemed quite proud to be taking pics for "tank too notes." Unfortunately, the lighting was a bit off, and we'll have to take a few more pics tomorrow (I was hoping to have the notes sent tonight!). I am uploading the pics to Snapfish, and then sending them out as postcard thank you notes. For the gifts that I didn't want to take outside and the gifts of money, I used pictures of O from her birthday party. Obviously, this isn't a picture that we'll be using :) I added her name after I took these pics, and I actually got few shots of her looking at the camera!

Animal Soundtracks

My mom gave O this fantastic game, Animal Soundtracks, for her birthday. We have had a GREAT time playing it! To play the game you listen to a cd with different animal sounds. When you hear an animal that is on your card, you put a dot on their picture. Its a simple game that is great for toddlers and preschoolers. It's great for increasing attention and auditory comprehension skills :)

Finding Rocks in Putty

My mom had this great therapy putty left over from her teaching days, and she let O and I borrow it. O had a great time finding the rocks in the putty. The putty is similar to silly putty, but its much firmer and requires a good bit of effort to find and pull the rocks out of the putty. I was impressed with how focused and determined O was during this activity :) This activity is great for increasing hand and finger muscle strength and fine motor skills, and it's great for teaching persistence and determination!

Mixing Colors in a Bag

For this activity you need cornstarch, sugar, water, a ziplock bag, and food coloring. Mix 1 cup of cornstarch, 1/3 cup of sugar, and 4 cups of water. Fill about 1/3 of the bag with the mixture. squeeze the food coloring into opposite sides of the bag, zip it closed, and squeeze to mix. We mixed yellow and blue to make green, and then we mixed blue and red to make purple. It was a quick, fun activity, but O was a little too fussy to really enjoy it :( It was also a great way to reuse the old ziploc bags that I just can't stand to throw away :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mommy/Daughter Arts and Crafts Time

I've decided that since O is a little older (2) and is getting more independent that it may be fun for us to sit down at the table together and each do our own separate arts and craft activity. It worked well today and was fun! O colored with markers and decorated herself with "da-doos" (tatoos) while I worked on a scrapbook paper memory game. Then she played with a little troll doll that her Grandaddy Harry brought her yesterday. Check out that cool forehead "da-doo"! She's VERY proud of it!
Here's her other masterpiece!

Shining Pennies

O and I shined pennies this morning. It was fun, quick, easy, and educational! If you do this activity with a child under age 3, please be very careful since pennies are choking hazards for kids who still put thing in their mouths. First, we mixed a 1/2 cup of white vinegar and a tablespoon of salt and stirred it up. O usually holds the measuring apparatus while I pour in the ingredients, then she pours them into the bowl.
Dropping the pennies into the vinegar and salt mixture.
Drying the pennies and admiring their shininess.
Here are our clean and shiny pennies! They actually don't look that great in the picture, but they are MUCH prettier than they were before we started. We also dropped a few quarters, nickels, and dimes into the mixture and talked about how the chemical reaction that cleans them only works with copper. That's probably over the head of a 2 year old, but I thought it was good to expose her to new information :)

Tray Tuesday

I didn't intend to do a Tray Tuesday post today, but O asked to eat from her muffin tin and it was dirty. Luckily, the tray was clean, and she was excited about eating from it. She had cucumber sandwich triangles, rotisserie chicken and banana pepper strips, avocados and black olives, and whole grain goldfish and raisins. Its very similar to yesterday's muffin tin!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Muffin Tin Monday

Here's O's muffin tin for today... avocado, rotisserie chicken, cottage cheese, cucumbers and bell pepper, whole grain goldfish and raisins, and organic applesauce and half of a banana. I'm very happy with my new (to me!) muffin "tin." My sister and friend, Becca, convinced me that it was time to retire my old muffin tin (I was already leaning in that direction), and I couldn't figure out what to get. I didn't want O eating out of anything coated with teflon, and I also didn't want her to eat out of an aluminum tin. I was thrilled to find this silicone muffin tin for only 25 cents at a yard sale this past weekend. Best of all...silicone is BPA-free, so I can feel good about using it to feed O!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Our Great Deal

My mom and I woke up early on Saturday morning to go to several yard sales. We had a GREAT time and got several great deals! I was most excited about buying this car. O's friend has one like it, and O loves it. So when I saw this car for only 5 dollars, I couldn't resist buying it. O was thrilled! I also bought about 10 children's books, a pitcher (for O's playhouse), a new muffin tin (yay!), a window box (for O's play house), an egg poacher (for sorting), a granite mortar and pestle (for outside), a birdfeeder, and a wooden number puzzle. I bought all of this for around 9 dollars! I wish I could go to yard sales every weekend!

Our Fun Morning

Our cousin, Anne, called last night and asked us to meet her out at the horse farm. O was SO EXCITED. We met Bucky and patted his velvety nose, but the highlight of the trip was meeting a newborn (about a month old) foal. O couldn't wait to see the "niney" horse, and she was excited to see the baby drinking his "milkies ilkies."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Party Food

I finally got the pictures of the food from O's party from my mom, and I wanted to share a few things. These apple "cupcakes" were a big hit, and they were healthy, too! We'll definitely make these again next year! The idea came from here. (This picture was taken after a few of them were knocked off the cupcake tree, and we didn't get them back on quite right!)
Yummy Cheerio Treats (whole grain) with sprinkles.
Cheerio treats, vegetable tray (grape tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper), forgotten cookies with Andes mint chips, sugar cookies, and pimento cheese spread with whole grain Ritz crackers.
Apple "cupcakes" and whole grain goldfish. O's birthday cake was a delicious carrot cake made by her grandma, and we had homemade ice-cream sandwiches. The ice-cream sandwiches were delicious, but lots of work. Next year, I think we might just buy ice-cream sandwiches, unwrap them, and roll them in sprinkles. Yep...I'm already planning next year's party!

Edited to add: I realized after I'd posted this that I hadn't given my mom nearly enough credit! In addition to making O's birthday cake, she made the cookies for the ice cream sandwiches, the sugar cookies, the forgotten cookies, and the cheerio treats. O helped with everything, and I was busy cleaning, painting O's chalkboard, painting O's playhouse, and finishing the pinata. O's grandmother made the pimento cheese, and my friend, Emily, decorated O's cake and the apple cupcakes. We are so lucky to have such wonderful family and friends!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Buddha Board

O's grandmother gave her a Buddha Board for her birthday, and we LOVE it! Its a lot like an aqua doodle, but MUCH cooler! It looks a little like a laptop, which is fun for O. It comes with a paintbrush, and you simply paint and draw with water. O is learning to use a "light touch" because the lines are much darker and smoother if you use a light touch. She was VERY excited when she discovered that she could dip her fingers in the water and draw with them, too. I also really like drawing on the Buddha Board, and I've actually used it a lot more than O over the past few days. I highly recommend this product! Thanks, Grandmother!

O's 1st Pattern

O played on the screened porch while I fixed breakfast this morning, and when I went out there I saw these shoes that she lined up. This picture is actually upside down from the way we were looking at the shoes, and the last red one (the 1st red shoe in the picture) was not lined up. I told her that she'd made a pattern (we've never talked about patterns before!), and I asked which shoe came next. She said red, and put the shoe in its place. You can't ask for a better material for making patterns than crocs!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Homemade Christmas

I've been reading about people getting ready for Christmas on several blogs lately. At 1st I was surprised, but now I realize that I REALLY need to get started if I want to have everything made in time without a lot of stress. I wasn't planning on starting until October, but I realize now that is too late! Here's my list for O: baby doll cradle (Elliott will help with this one), baby doll quilt, baby doll diaper bag (my mom will help with those), playdoh (pumpkin pie scented, cinnamon scented, and gingerbread scented), memory game (using scrapbook paper decopaged onto wooden pieces), frog and lily pad game, a couple of books, felt play food, etc. I also plan on making (with O's help) gifts for her grandparents and aunts and uncles. I can't list them here since they all read this blog :) What are you planning on making for Christmas gifts this year?

Paper Plate Tambourine

The idea and instructions for this activity came from this blog. 1st O painted 2 identical paper plates. After they were dry, she put penne pasta on one plate, and I gave her the 2nd plate to put on top. After she put it on top, I stapled them together. Easy, quick, and fun!
Now she has another piece to add to her bowl of music!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Coloring with a Friend

O was VERY excited when we came upstairs this morning and saw that her cousin had left her baby doll here. The doll (whose name is Cindy Lou Who, but O calls her Madeline) played, colored, and ate with O this morning. They had a great time!

Phonics Pouch Swap

We received our package full of phonics swap goodies for our phonics pouches a few days ago! Our favorites are the tiny food (O and her cousin loved feeding the food to their tiny dolls!) and the paper ball. I also love the bag! Thanks, Jo and Olivia!
Here's the link to O's phonics bags, and these are the directions for introducing them to your child.

Tray Tuesday

We forgot about Muffin Tin Monday, so we planned to do it on Tuesday. My sister didn't like the looks of my muffin tins, so we decided to have Tray Tuesday! Its not quite as fun as Muffin Tin Monday, but it worked for us! O had stewed grape tomatoes with bell peppers served on brown rice, crab and pasta salad, tomatos, cucumbers, avocados, and banana peppers, and grilled chicken and yellow squash.
My niece had basically the same thing, but she also has dip-dip for her cucumbers and tomatoes and for her chicken. I added O's dip-dip later.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Making Chalkboard Paint & Slime

Since we have a new chalkboard, we thought it would be fun to make chalkboard paint. We used these instructions.
O practiced her pouring skills by 1st pouring 1/4 cup of cornstarch into a bowl. She then poured in 1/4 cup of water. She stirred a little, then I helped her mix it together well.
She chose to make her paint blue since its her favorite color. I thought the blue was really pretty when she was stirring in the food coloring.
My niece also joined us in this fun activity.
The kids had fun painting on the chalkboard, but the red paint was the only color that really showed up.
After painting for a while, we poured more cornstarch in a dish, added some water, and had LOTS of fun making slime. I think my sister and I may have had more fun than the kids :)
These were definitely activities that you want to do outside! We just used a garden hose to rinse everthing off, so the cleanup was fast and easy.

Here's their artwork. Beautiful, right?

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Few Birthday Party Activities

I had several different activities set up around the yard during O's birthday party.
O's birthday ring- I LOVE her birthday ring. It makes me happy to just look at it :)
O is decorating her hat and bag with fabric markers. The kids used the bags for their pinata prizes.
Playing in the sandbox was fun!
The kids loved the pool. They floated and fished with a magnetic rod and reel fishing set that I bought from Target (for 4 dollars!).

DIY Gigantic Outdoor Chalkboard

One of my goals for O's birthday party was to make a huge outdoor chalkboard. I barely made it...I was still painting it at around 12:00, and the party started at 3pm. It was fairly easy to make.
1st- buy 1 piece of treated plywood and cut it to the desired size
2nd- paint the plywood with primer. You may want to sand it first. I painted ours with 2 coats of primer, and it still had rough spots that I filled in outdoor wood filler. Then I had to wait for the wood filler to dry, sand it, then paint another coat of primer. After 3 coats of primer, I painted the board with chalk paint
3rd- I taped off a border with masking tape, and then painted it with 2 coats of chalkboard paint.
4th- After the chalkboard paint dried, I pulled off the masking tape and painted the border red. I painted 2 or 3 coats on the border.
The kids loved drawing on the chalkboard at O's party, and its also lots of fun erasing the chalk with water using paint brushes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Baking for the Party

My mom came to stay with us for a few days before O's party to help us get ready. Thanks, Guh-guh! My mom and O are baking peanut butter cookies to use for the ice-cream sandwiches
Mixing up Cheerio treats with sprinkles
Making #2 sugar cookies
O was very proud of these cookies, and she definitely know the number 2 now! She kept asking for "more number 2 cookie, please."
Decorating the cookies.