Chasing Cheerios

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Learning to Sew

IMG_9150 (Large), originally uploaded by omamom16.

My mom stayed with us for a few days last week, and we were able to get some sewing and crafting done on Friday and Saturday. O was very excited when she saw Guh-guh set up the sewing machine, and she was eager to help. She also ran to get her sewing block so that she could sew along with us.

Comparing and Contrasting her Duckies

A couple of times a week, O takes a shower with me. I shower while she sits on the floor of the tub and plays with her toys. Then I wash her. Quick and easy. A couple of nights ago, she was talking nonstop while she was playing, and I wasn't really listening. Suddenly, I started to listen and was amazed by what she was saying... She was holding two duckies, and this is what she was saying:
"This ducky have tail. This ducky have a tail."
"This ducky have on a hat. This ducky have on a hat. Both have hat. This ducky hat backerds (backwards). This ducky hat NOT backerds."
"This ducky have sunglasses. This ducky have sunglasses. This ducky sunglasses boo (blue)..."
My 1st thought was "where did she learn this?" Then I realized that she was comparing and contrasting her duckies in the exact same way that we compare and contrast the pictures on the same/different pages in her Highlights High 5 magazine. I thought that this concept was above her level of comprehension because she always says "mama do it" and won't say a word while I talk about the pictures. Evidently, she really WAS listening!
I'm so thankful for my blogs so that I have a place to record moments like this :) I've really got to start working on turning my blogs into books!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

You May Have Noticed...

that things on this blog have slowed down a bit lately. However, I do have a really good reason, I promise! O is going to be a big sister!!! She is SUPER excited, and she has already decided that I am having 2 babies, and their names are Mimi and Buddy. She is planning on nursing the babies (although I REALLY think it's just 1!). She loves to hug, kiss, and pat my belly. She has a great stethoscope, and she loves to listen to my tummy. She tells me that she hears the baby laughing and crying, and she says that HER belly says "All aboard the choo-choo train." Silly girl :) I've been extremely exhausted for about the past 5 weeks and very sick for the past 3. Hence, the slow down! O has done a great job taking care of me. She loves to do little things to "make mama feel bettah."

Helping Daddy

IMG_9159 (Large), originally uploaded by omamom16.

O had the greatest time helping her daddy put together a fishing rod stand yesterday. She insisted on only using the "niney" screwdriver :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sorting Toothpicks

IMG_9169 (Large), originally uploaded by omamom16.

The idea for this activity has been on my mind for a while, so I was glad to finally pull it together this weekend. To complete the activity, O turns the dial on the side of the toothpick dispenser. Either a red or blue toothpick comes out, and she puts it in the appropriate toothpick holder. She LOVED this activity, and she did it at least 3 times in a row. I planned on also having yellow toothpicks, but I used tempera paint to paint the top of the yellow toothpick holder, and it immediately peeled right off. Another annoying thing is that the toothpicks are not uniform in size. Some go in easily, you have to put forth a little effort to get some of them in the holes, and others won't fit at all. I guess I should have tried each toothpick before introducing the work to O :( This will replace the plastic ice cube color sorting work on O's Montessori shelf. That work was too easy for her, and she was totally uninterested in it.

"School" with her Grandmama aka Duh-guh

My mom keeps O on Thursdays while I work, and they had their 1st school session together this past week. At first, I didn't plan on having my mom do "school" with O, but then I realized that my mom REALLY wanted to do it (she's a teacher who has had some Montessori training), and I was curious to see how O would do with her. I was happy, but not surprised, to hear that O did a fantastic job! She worked for about an hour, and her behavior was perfect. My mom was very impressed by how carefully O carried her work to her rug, and then cleaned it up when she was done and returned it to the shelf. O chose several activities that she's never chosen with me, which I thought was interesting. She chose: phonics pouches, water transfer with a sponge, shape sorter, animal/picture match, nesting dolls, jars and lids, and the mystery bag. After school they made homemade whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. Yummy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thrifty Thursday

I haven't done a thrifty Thursday post in a while, so I thought today would be a good day to start back. Last week I was too sick to stop at the thrift store after work (and you know I must have felt bad to not stop by at least for a minute!), and the week before that I took a trunkload full of donations and did not buy a thing! That felt good! Today I bought 4 children's books. At least one will definitely be for cutting up and using in projects, and I know that won't be a problem for me (I HATE to cut books) since it is scribbled in and a few pages are torn. I made sure it was in bad enough shape that I wouldn't mind cutting it up :) I also bought a baby doll car seat for O. She's REALLY into baby doll care lately, and she's going to love it. I can't decide if I should go ahead and give it to her or wait for Christmas. My last purchase was a potty seat with steps, so she can get up on the potty independently. I think she's going to love this, too!

Transferring Water with a Sponge

IMG_1073 (Large), originally uploaded by omamom16.

O has really enjoyed transferring water with a sponge. This is an activity that we've done in the past, but we haven't done it in a while. After seeing Laura on My Montessori Journey's post about a similar activity, I realized that this would be a great work to put on our Montessori shelf. It was immediately a hit!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Making Music

IMG_1087 (Large), originally uploaded by omamom16.

O had a great time making music on her banging wall this morning. We've had a beautiful week, and we've been spending about an hour or 2 outside each morning after "school." I LOVE fall!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Melissa and Doug Latches Board

IMG_1062 (Large), originally uploaded by omamom16.

O LOVES her Melissa and Doug latches board! I've wanted to buy it for a long time, and I finally bought since I had an Amazon gift certificate. I'm glad that I went ahead and got it for her because after only having it one day, she's already pretty good at unlocking all of the doors (except the 2nd one which requires more strength than her little fingers have :) I introduced the board to her yesterday and put it on her school shelf this morning. It was the 1st work that she chose during "school." O asked if she could "play school" this afternoon (and of course I let her), and the only thing she was interested in was this board :)

Unschooling Fun

Now that O is talking nonstop and asking lots of questions, we're having a lot more opportunities to "unschool." Before she was talking, we told her about everything around us, etc. but now we really know what she is interested in, and that is so much fun. Her two favorite questions to ask are "What is it? or What's that is it?" and "What does that mean?" She is NOT satisfied with a simple answer. The girl wants DETAILS! Here are a couple of examples that I'd like to document just so I can remember to tell O about them one day :)
She asked Elliott what a light switch was. She wasn't satisfied that it was just a light switch, so he went into great detail telling her all about electricity. He took her outside and showed her the power lines and told her all about voltage and where the electricity comes from (he works for an electric company, so he was thrilled with her interest in this subject). I'm sure most of this was way over her head since she's just 26 months old, but she was really listening and paying attention to him. Since then she's talked about electricity quite a bit. This morning she told me about daddy showing her the power lines, and she said "daddy buys electricity at his office." She definitely has an understanding of not wasting electricity, which is something that she hears often when we make sure all of the lights are off when we aren't using them. When we were at her grandparents house this past weekend, she worriedly told me that they'd left a light on upstairs :)
O has also been interested in her veins in her wrists lately. Elliott also went into great detail explaining what her veins are and what they are used for. He must have also told her about bones, because she's been talking about her bones, too. This new questioning stage of her language development is SO much fun!
Oh, one more unschooling story...O LOVES for us to tell her her birth story, and we probably tell it at least 4 times a day. I realized last week that although O knows that she was born at X:08 pm (although she usually just says Xpm when asked) on a Sunday, she did not know her actual birthday. Oops! I told her that her birthday is July XX, and she has proudly been sharing that information with everyone she sees ever since then. She also adds in that July XX is her Guh-guh and her cousin, Emily's, birthday, too. Although she's a little confused about her cousin Emily, since she has two Auntie Emily's :) I've also told her that she was born in 20XX (I made sure to tell her this since I am always amazed by how many children in elementary and even middle school who don't know the year in which they were born!) O won't say 20XX, but she will fill in the X if I say 2000... She loves it when I ask her questions like this (She gets a sweet little proud grin on her face), so I'm trying to think of more. Let me know if you have any ideas :) Thanks!

edited to delete personal info at Elliott's request :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Crayon and Silicone Ice Tray Puzzle :)

IMG_1060 (Large), originally uploaded by omamom16.

O has a great time putting the number crayons BACK into the silicone number ice tray. I would never have thought to use the tray as a puzzle, but she did and she loves it!

Montessori Homeschool- Day 5

IMG_1048 (Large), originally uploaded by omamom16.

Today was day 5, and O did great! She was excited to have her daddy here for the 1st part of school, and he joined in when we did the mystery bag. We worked for about 45 minutes, and she chose: Mystery Bag, transferring water with a dropper, shape sorter, sound cylinders, and sewing block. She only stayed with the sewing block for a few seconds. I think I'm going to move it off the shelf and bring it out when I am sewing so we can sew together, and I'll replace it with a bead stringing activity which she loves. O did a FANTASTIC job with the sound cylinders, which surprised me since she didn't really seem to "get it" last time. The only negative behavior occured when O accidentally knocked over the glass of water when transferring water. She'd taken the top off the dropper and was trying to put it back when she knocked over the water, and she became frustrated and threw the dropper. She immediately picked it up and cleaned up the work. (Thanks, Christina, for the advice to not end school at this time. You made a great point!) We're working on her expressing her frustration with words, and she's definitely getting better, but she forgot today :) We finished on a positive note, and we're looking forward to tomorrow :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Montessori Homeschool - Day 4

IMG_1041 (Large), originally uploaded by omamom16.

We took an unexpected and unavoidable week off from our Montessori homeschool, so we didn't have our 4th day of "school" until today. I was expecting O to continue "researching" the limits :) However, I was shocked when she THREW the lentils pitcher during the pouring work! What is going on with this girl? She was clearly doing it just to get a reaction, but I'm VERY consistent in my reactions (very calm, firm, etc). I'm a trained behavior therapist for goodness sake :( I just don't understand why she feels the need to continue "researching" the limits. I've made them VERY clear. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr
I'm holding out hope that this behavior will resolve itself once we are on a consistent school schedule, but I'd love to hear any advice that any of you might have :) Thanks!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Little Cleaner

IMG_0945 (Large), originally uploaded by omamom16.

O LOVES to use her window washing kit to wash EVERYTHING! She sprays down the tables, doors, floors, etc. and then wipes away the water. She even tried to clean a birthmark off of my leg yesterday! She saw it and said "don't move, mama!" Then she ran to get her water sprayer and squeegy (sp). She seemed a bit perplexed when she couldn't get the birthmark off of my leg. Silly girl! While she cleans she often says in an exhausted tone "O's been cleaning ALL day long!"

Artwork and Photos at O's Level

IMG_1037 (Large), originally uploaded by omamom16.

I've been planning on hanging O's artwork and pictures at her level for a LONG time, and we finally got around to doing it a week ago. I bought lots of these cheap acrylic frames from Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off (so they were REALLY cheap). I hate to use so much plastic, but I didn't think it would be safe to have glass frames down low since she likes to take them off the wall and hold them. O LOVES the pictures. She walks by and says "O likes this one and this one and this one..." She especially loves the baby pictures since she is REALLY into babies right now :)

Painting with Kitchen Utensils

IMG_0954 (Large), originally uploaded by omamom16.

I gathered several kitchen utensils for O to paint with a week or so ago. She had a great time mixing the paint with them, but she wasn't too interested in actually putting anything on paper :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Making Art and then Bubbles

I recently purchased Young at Art by Susan Striker, and it has inspired me to encourage O to make more art :) Lately, she'll draw for a couple of seconds, and then she wants me to draw for her :( I think there's been too much drawing for her by her daddy and grandparents which seems to have inhibited her creativity. This wouldn't have occured to me before reading the book, but I've definitely noticed that after someone draws "for O," she's VERY unlikely to draw for herself. So... I just kept telling her that it was O's art, and if I drew for her then it would be mama's art. I've also noticed that she's much more interested in creating when I offer her many different options... In these pictures, she's using crayons, markers, and dot painters. She also used our homemade watercolor paint, but I didn't get any pictures of that.

After art time, she had a great time making bubbles with this super cool bubble blower :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Family Memory Game

Family Memory Game, originally uploaded by omamom16.

I made this memory game for O for Christmas, and I know that she is going to LOVE it! To make the game I cut a piece of balsa wood (from Hobby Lobby) into 10 equally sized pieces, sanded the edges, and decopaged the wallet sized pictures to the boards. The hardest part about making this game was choosing the pictures. I planned on choosing 5 pictures from each year, but I've got 5 pictures here from O's 1st 4 months! I ran out of boards long before I ran out of pictures. I hope to buy more boards soon, so I can finish this game and mark it off my list!

Sorry for another off center picture! It looks perfect in draft form. I don't think that blogging through flickr is going to work out :(

Monday, September 15, 2008

Making Shapes

Making Shapes, originally uploaded by omamom16.

Since O is still learning her shapes (she knows most of them, but she does need to practice!), I thought this would be a good activity for her. The idea for this came from Lapaz Home Learning. To make this activity, you need tongue depressors, stickers, and a pen. I didn't make a control shape at 1st, and O had a bit of trouble making her triangle. She did MUCH better after she had a model to look at so that she could check her work. I originally planned on glueing the control, but then I decided to use velcro to connect the tongue depressors so that I could take it apart for storage. I've also made a rectangle and plan to make a diamond.

Please excuse the off center photo. It's another problem that I'm having when blogging through Flickr :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day 3 of Montessori School

We had a GREAT school day on Wednesday! We worked for about 45 minutes. O chose different work today, which was fun. This is what she chose: wooden shape sorter (Melissa and Doug), Mystery Bag, transferring water with a dropper, jars and lids, sound cylinders, phonics bags, sorting colors into cups, and red rods. We had LOTS of fun with the Mystery Bag and the phonics bags. The red rods were the last work, and she carried the 1st one to the rug wonderfully, but then she threw the 2nd one (several times!). I was shocked, but I did not show my shock. I quietly, but firmly had her pick up the red rods, return them to the shelf, turn the shelf around (school was over), and then I took her to time out. O likes time out, so she wasn't upset, but I think she got the point. When I went to her room at the end of time out, she apologized, hugged me, and said she wouldn't be naughty anymore. She wanted to do more "school," but I decided that we were done for the day. I can't wait until school isn't "new" anymore, and she no longer feels the need to "research" the limits!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Our 2nd Day of Montessori School

We had a quick school session on Tuesday morning because we had an unexpected appointment. O was VERY excited about school, and she was proud that she turned the school shelf around "all by self!" She did the following work: transferring water with a dropper, pouring lentils, red rods, and marbles and frog. She didn't like it when I corrected how she was holding the lentil pitchers, and then she started throwing marbles. This is VERY uncharacteristic behavior, so I think she's still adjusting to "school." After she threw the marbles, I made her pick them up, finish the work, and put the work back on the shelf. Then school was over. She was upset and cried when I told her that school was over. I am definitely putting the frog and marbles work away for a while since they seem to inspire naughty behavior :)

Glue, cotton balls, and toothpicks collage

collage, originally uploaded by omamom16.

I recently bought O blue and red glittery glue, and when she saw it she HAD to use it right away! I quickly grabbed a piece of construction paper, cotton balls, and toothpicks so that she could make a collage. She liked playing with the glue and mixing the red and blue glue to make purple, but she was done with her collage very quickly. Lately, art activities are not holding her attention for very long... I guess that's just part of being 2 :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blogging Through Flickr

I'm experimenting with blogging through flickr (since I'm running out of space on blogger). The problem is that I can't figure out how to save my posts as drafts instead of posting them immediately. I really prefer to do most of my blog posts at one time and then posts them once or twice a day. So...if anyone has any tips, I'd really appreciate it! Thanks!

1st day of "school"

1st day of "school", originally uploaded by omamom16.

O and I had our 1st day of real Montessori homeschooling on Monday! Up until Monday, we've done lots of Montessori inspired work, but its been in a very laid back, unstructured format. Elliott and I finally finished our Montessori school shelf, and I've been reading this book to help me prepare (thanks for the recommendation, Stephanie!). O was very excited when I told her that we were starting school, and her eyes were bright with excitement when we turned the shelf around (it stays turned with the shelf to the wall when we are not having "school"). Here is the list of activities that she chose during Monday's session: transferring water with a dropper, placing marbles on the frog, red rods, matching tiny animals, putting clothes pin in an ice cube tray, pouring lentils, and matching cats tray. I presented each work to her (even though she was familiar with many of them), since we haven't done them in a while, and I wanted to be very precise and careful in my demonstration. She did a fairly good job and seemed to enjoy herself. However, she also seemed to be trying to be intentionally naughty. She let out a little squeal and quickly checked me for a reaction. I just quietly reminded her that we only use inside voices. I reminded her that I wanted her to use her nice, school manners, and she said "not naughty manners." I had to remind her to only pick up one clothes pin or one marble at a time, and she laid on the floor and said "O take a deep breath." I have no idea where that came from, but it was pretty funny. When I told her that we were finished with school, and we would have school again tomorrow, she said "O not be naughty morrow." So... she was just "researching" to see what she could get away with during school :) It was very interesting to observe her!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thrifty Thursday

The addiction continues... I bought 18 children's books this Thursday and 15 last week. I can't seem to stop myself. I'm VERY choosy, but there are just so many that I can't resist. Another problem that I have is that I intentionally buy books that aren't in the greatest shape, so that I can cut them up for various projects without feeling too badly about it. The problem is that I STILL can't bring myself to cut them! I bought 2 books that I wouldn't normally have bought since they weren't in near perfect condition, and we've already enjoyed reading them several times. I don't think they'll be making it to the cutting pile :(

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Backyard Birdsong Guide

O and I gave Elliott this book for his birthday, and it is VERY cool! It has 75 different birds with 130 different sounds. We all love this book, and I'm sure it is going to be a wonderful learning tool for us!

Bath Scrunchie Painting

The idea for using a bath scrunchie for painting came from No Time for Flashcards. A couple of days after reading her post, my mom mentioned that she needed a new bath scrunchie, so I rescued hers from the trash can (it was clean, but a little torn). O was excited about this new way to paint, but she kept looking at the bath scrunchie and was concerned that it had paint on it.
Here's her pink masterpiece :)

Showing Growth

In order to show O's growth, I decided to take a picture of her each year in my wedding dress.

O in 2007

O in 2008. I think she thought I was a little crazy, but she was excited about wearing my wedding dress. She kept saying "too big, too big!"

The idea for this came from Family Fun magazine. A reader had her daughter wear an old fashioned bathing suit every year for a picture until it finally fit her at around age 15. I tried to think of something meaningful that O could wear, and I realized that my wedding dress would be perfect :) I'll eventually put all of the pictures in a book together to show her growth from year to year.

Texture Boards

I made a few texture cards for O about a year ago using old cereal boxes, fleece, bubble wrap, and aluminum foil. She wasn't very interested in them, and they fell apart quickly. I was disappointed, but didn't think too much of it. When I saw these texture boards, I decided it was time to try again! I bought 2 pieces of balsa wood from Hobby Lobby and cut each piece into 9 rectangles using a hand miter saw. I sanded the edges, and then got to work :) I made 2 of each board so that we can do a matching game using touch only (O will wear a blindfold). The boards in the picture are covered with hot glue gun swirls, craft foam squares, lentils, velcro, fleece, paper clips, bubble wrap, and toothpicks. I ran out of wood, but I plan to make many more of these boards. So far I'm thinking of using popcorn kernels, beads, pipe cleaners, pea gravel, mesh, aluminum foil, velvet, flannel, lace, noodles, pennies, etc. I'd love more ideas, so let me know what you come up with!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bubble Wrap Fun

Our Let's Explore goodies came with LOTS of bubble wrap, which was thrilling for O and M! O immediately spread a long piece out in our hall, and we took turns hopping down it. Then when M came to visit, she made a "maze" in the den, and we all had fun hopping and popping! We also plan on doing more bubble wrap paintings, and maybe bubble wrap pillows (recently seen in Family Fun). I hope Amy will be glad to see that her shipping materials are being put to good use!

Decorating Another Present

We put our Let's Explore shop shipping box to good use! I put Elliott's birthday presents in it, and O and my niece had a great time painting it! M was especially proud of her artwork, and she described her art to Ell before he opened his gift :)

Making Crayon Letters and Numbers

I recently purchased the silicone number and letter ice trays from the Let's Explore Shop (among LOTS of other things!), and we are very happy with them. The first thing we've made were crayons! I shouldn't say "we" since I had nothing to do with it other than providing the trays and crayons :) Unfortunately, we used cheap crayons, so the wax floated to the top and the color sank to the bottoms. It was a learning experience, and we've gotten Crayola brand crayons to use next time :) My mom, sister, O, and my niece had fun peeling the crayons (right, Melanie?) and putting the crayons in the tray. I'll show the finished product after I make the next batch :)

Toothpicks and Styrofoam

Thanks to Montessori Mama for this fun activity! I handed O a sheet of styrofoam and a container of toothpicks and showed her how to stick a toothpick in the styrofoam. She thought it was great, but we quickly ran out of toothpicks. Luckily, our guests arrived at the same time that she ran out :) I'll have to find more toothpicks before I let her try this again!

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

O and I made this sign for Elliott last year for his birthday, and I thought I should share it since it was a fun activity and a wonderful keepsake! (Elliott's mom just laminated it for us, so we can use it every year without worrying about messing it up. Thanks, Grandmother!) To make this sign, I took pictures of O holding each letter spelling out "Happy Birthday Daddy." My mom had the stuffed letters that worked perfectly for this project. I then printed the pictures as wallet sizes and glued them to a posterboard. I also traced her hands and cut them out for added decorations! Elliott loved it, but I think I love it more! O also REALLY enjoys looking at the sign and "reading" it :) I'm not sure where this idea came from, but I *think* that I saw something similar in an issue of Family Fun years ago.

At the Park with Daddy

O and Ell had a great time at a nearby park a few days ago. She was very excited to tell me that she saw an alligator!