Chasing Cheerios

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Egg Carton Spiders

O and I recently made egg carton spiders. I cut the cups out of a cardboard egg carton. O painted the spiders and glued on the eyes. I cut slits in the side and put the pipe cleaners through them for legs. O had fun playing with her spiders in the rice pit.

Salt Dough Halloween "Cookie" Magnets

O and I made salt dough Halloween "cookies" a few weeks ago and finally painted them on Tuesday. We plan to glue magnets to the backs of the "cookies" and give them to her grandparents for special Halloween gifts :)

To make the salt dough you need 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of flour, and a half cup of water. Mix the salt and flour and add the water in slowly while stirring. Knead the dough and roll it out! We had a lot of fun making the "cookies," but O's favorite part of the activity was playing with the dough. She loves to experience different textures :)

Halloween Transferring Activity

O enjoyed this Halloween transferring activity since she really likes skeletons (while in the car last night she said "when I turn my head, my skeleton moves, too!). She used the chopsticks to transfer the squishy skeletons from one bowl to the next. The skeletons are in a bowl with black beans, and the beans tended to stick to the skeletons which was annoying. I've really enjoyed doing Holiday themed activities with O this month, and I'm looking forward to starting a few new non-Halloween activities soon :)

Patterning with Beads

We used Halloween colors to make bead patterns today (my bag of 1200 pony beads didn't have any black beads!). I made two patterns on pipe cleaners with the beads, which O copied. Then she created her own pattern on the 3rd pipe cleaner. This was a fun activity that helps strengthen fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination, concentration, and attention to detail.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Sticker Story

O has enjoyed making "art" with her Halloween craft foam stickers. After she made this picture, she told me a story about it. I typed and printed the story for her. One day I'll put all of her stories in a book for her.

Balancing a Broom

We did it! After seeing this balancing broom trick on Pink and Green Mama, we decided to give it a try! After a few tries, the broom balanced perfectly. We left it up to surprise Guh-guh, and she WAS surprised!

Halloween Lacing Cards

Here's another fun activity to do with greeting cards! I cut the covers off the cards and punched holes around the edges with a hole puncher. Done! O had a great time lacing the cards :)

Back to Work

I went back to work on Thursday for the 1st time since Ema was born (I work one day per week as a School Psychologist). It was much harder to leave the girls than I expected. I woke Ema up to nurse her before we left for work, and I started crying as soon as I picked her up. She was so warm and cuddly, and she nuzzled her sweet face into my neck. The girls had a great day with Guh-guh, and I had a good day at work. I was so glad to come home to them. O and I read a chapter of Pippi Longstocking before cuddling and singing before she went to sleep, and Ema has spent the last 4 hours either nursing or sleeping on my chest. There's nothing better than mama's arms!

On a side note...Ema pooped in the potty today!!! O and Guh-guh took her to the potty and cued her and she pottied. My mom said that O was THRILLED!!! We love EC!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Number Sequencing

This activity was inspired by a similar activity on My Montessori Journey. O put the numbers in order from 1 to 12. She used the number line to help her since she is sometimes still unsure of her numbers (she couldn't remember what a 4 looked like today). She really enjoyed this work, and I plan on making the same activity using leaves (just like the one from Laura's blog) after Halloween. After she completed the sequencing activity, she pointed to each number as she counted in English and in Spanish.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Greeting Card Puzzles

I presented O with this tray of 4 greeting card puzzles, and she really enjoyed putting them together this morning. Elliott bought the cards from Dollar General (2 for a dollar), and I cut the front off of the cards and used my scrapbook paper cutter to cut them into puzzle pieces. This was a quick, inexpensive way to make holiday puzzles, and I'm planning to make a few for each holiday!

Our 1st EC Success!!!

We've have been cuing and watching Ema's potty signals since she was about 3 weeks old. Today I held her over the big potty for the 1st time. O and I cued her and she pee-peed! We were so proud :) O was especially excited! Click here to learn more about EC. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in using this method with your baby. We were lucky that our local library had a copy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Paper Plate Pumpkin Craft

O had fun making a paper plate pumpkin this morning! The idea for this activity came from My Montessori Journey. I gave O a paper plate, strips of orange construction paper, a glue stick, scissors, and a green pipe cleaner. I told her she could use either side of the plate, and she chose to use the back. She also had the option of tearing or cutting the orange strips, and she chose to cut them. She really enjoyed cutting the paper and glueing the pieces to the plate to make her pumpkin. I made a hole in the top of the plate, and she threaded the pipe cleaner through the hole to make a stem that doubles as a hook for hanging. Quick, fun, and easy!

A Footprint Ghost Wreath

Last year we made footprint ghost cards, and this year we made a wreath. The idea for a wreath came from My Montessori Journey. Adding in Ema's footprint was a last minute decision, and I'm SO glad that we did. I LOVE this wreath, and I hope that it will be a lasting Halloween decoration for the next 30 years or so :) O was excited about making the wreath and was proud of her ghosts having only one eye each!

Another Halloween Puppet

I'm SO glad that I stocked up on these Martha Stewart puppet kits after Halloween last year. O LOVES making the puppets, and it's SO nice to have a quick and easy activity ready to go at any time :) She doesn't play with puppets that much after they are made, but she really enjoys the process of making them. We accidentally left her cat puppet at Guh-guh and Grandpa's house, and she was SO upset because she wanted to show it to her daddy :(

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lots of Unschooling this Weekend!

O is obsessed with all things medical, and she LOVES to play "first day" (first aid). We were on vacation this weekend with her grandparents, and she was thrilled to play "first day" with her grandaddy for hours and hours. Her grandaddy is a volunteer fire fighter who has a well stocked first aid kit. O had a great time "organizing" it, and she taught Ema all about gauze, blood stopper, sterile bandages, eye irrigation, thermal blankets, etc. I have to admit that I was a little surprised when O excitedly asked to play "heart compressions!" She often plays "broken leg, broken arm, and having a baby," but I'd never heard her ask to play heart compressions. Funny girl!

She is also VERY interested in learning about electricity, so she was thrilled to wake up on our first morning at the beach to find a bucket truck working on the power lines directly in front of our house.

There were lots of other fun learning experiences this weekend, but these were the highlights!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Playdough Storage Update

We've recently discovered that storing playdough in the metal IKEA containers is NOT a good idea, and I thought I should let everyone know... The playdough dried out on the edges, and the homemade chocolate playdough had some kind of strange chemical reaction with the container. It turned black in a couple of spots and seemed to burn a hole in the bottom of the container somehow. Very strange. I guess it's better to store playdough in plastic containers after all :(

Halloween Patterns

O was VERY excited to do this patterning activity. She said "I WANTED to do patterns!!!" when she saw it :) The idea came from my 5 year old niece, which is why O was so excited to do this work :) I cut strips of laminated contruction paper and put foam Halloween stickers on them to create a pattern. I left the last 1 or 2 spaces blank, and O filled in the correct sticker to complete the pattern. Next time we do this work, I'll provide O with a blank strip so she can create her own pattern after completing these patterns.

Friday, October 23, 2009

We're Going to be on the Rachael Ray Show...

on Monday! I was contacted by someone from the Rachael Ray Show a few months ago (when I was 37 weeks pregnant) about making a video of O and I making artwork using the salad spinner and food coloring. We had a lot of fun making the video, and it will be on the show on Monday. Watch it if you can!

Life Cycle of a Pumpkin

O enjoyed doing this life cycle of a pumpkin work this morning. I downloaded the pictures from Montessori for Everyone.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween Playdough

O and I made Halloween playdough last week using this recipe. I'd forgotten how quick and easy it is to make playdough. We definitely need to do this more often!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chasing Cheerios Sponsor... Fat Connection

I've been reading Pauline's blog, Fat Connection, for a while, so I was excited when she contacted about advertising on my site. Here are a few words about her shop from Pauline...

"I started sewing after the birth of my girl. It's so much fun to sew for my little one. After much contact with sewing, I fell in love with Japanese fabrics. Japanese fabrics are always so cute and sweet, and you do not have to doubt their quality. It's always a pleasure to sew with Japanese fabric."

"Fat Connection is a place where I share my sewing goodies with people who love to sew and craft like me. And from time to time, I will also add to my shop my handmade items for people who do not know how to sew."

Readers of Chasing Cheerios can get 10% off* until the end of November. (put Chasing Cheerios in the note to seller to get your discount)

*Exclude items under the following categories... books, magazine, and fabric bundle sale

"Building" a Skeleton

O is very interested in bones and skeletons, and she asked me to make her a skeleton. I was excited when I found this skeleton to print. I printed it on cardstock, laminated the pages, and cut out the bones. Now we have a fun skeleton puzzle to "build."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween Cheerio Treats

O, Guh-guh, and Grandaddy had fun making Halloween Cheerio treats! (I planned to participate, but I was nursing and rocking the baby in the adjacent room while they were making the treats). To make these easy and delicious (but not so healthy) treats you need 4 cups of mini marshmallows, 6 cups of whole grain cheerios, 2 tablespoons of butter, and candy corn. Melt the butter and marshmallows in the microwave and stir in the Cheerios one cup at a time. Add in the candy corn and stir. Press the mixture into a glass dish and chill in the refrigerator before cutting. I LOVE these treats, but we rarely make them since they not very healthy :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our Favorite Toys

A reader recently asked me to write a post about our favorite toys, so here it is! I love to research and find really wonderful toys for O (and Ema!). I admit that I'm a toy snob, and I prefer for O's toys to be well-made, open ended toys that inspire creative play. I try to buy toys that she'll play with for years instead of growing out of in less than a year. I try to avoid plastic toys and toys with characters...however, I DO make exceptions :) Here are the toys that are most often (daily or almost daily) played with at our house:

Playsilks!!! Playsilks are definitely the most played with "toy" in our house. O uses them in almost every aspect of her play...they make great capes, skirts, hats, scarves, baby doll blankets, baby doll diapers, picnic blankets, bags, shirts, etc. The possibilities are endless! We bought our silks from Dharma Trading Company and dyed them using Kool-Aid. However, they are on sale for another day or 2 at Let's Explore, so you might want to check them out :)

Unit Blocks- O has this set and this set of Unit Blocks. These blocks are very well made and will last forever. O plays with them all the time, and I'm sure she'll play with them for years to come.

Baby dolls- O is a little mama, and she loves her babies. Baby Emma is one of her favorite baby dolls.

Dress-up Clothes- O LOVES to dress-up! She has fairy costumes, princess dresses, ballerina dresses, dr. scrubs, construction worker outfit, etc. The scrubs and construction worker outfit are her newest costumes and therefore the most used right now, but she wears all of her costumes fairly frequently. For Christmas last year we gave her a suitcase full of costumes and accessories :)

Play kitchen and play food- O loves to cook in her play kitchen. She spends a lot of time mixing up crazy concoctions with her wooden and felt food.

Art supplies- O creates various forms of artwork everyday at her art shelf. She has markers, crayons, paint, scissors, tape, glue, and lots of various collage materials availabe to her at any time at her art shelf. She creates some interesting artwork!

Spinny Speller- We all love the spinny speller! We take turns making real and nonsense words to sound out and read. (I'm planning on writing a review of the spinny speller soon).

Playdough & Silly Putty- We love homemade playdough and therapy putty. O LOVES the homemade silly putty, but I prefer the therapy putty because it's not quite as sticky as the homemade putty.

O also has several great toys, games, and puzzles that she plays with occasionally (weekly or monthly). Here are our favorites...

Beleduc Your Body Girl Puzzle. O loves this puzzle, and she has learned so much from it.

Bilibo- The bilibo is so much fun and is so versitle. O was calling it her "turtle shell" a few days ago :) It also makes a fun cradle, a nice chair, an oversized hat, etc.

Latches Board- This Melissa and Doug latches board is lots of fun, and it's great for developing fine motor skills.

Buddha Board- O enjoys painting with water on her Buddha Board. This is also a fun way to practice writing skills. A mini Buddha Board would be great to have in the car...this may be going on O's Christmas wish list :)

Twig blocks- O loves to create different designs and structures with these amazing blocks!

Zingo- We love to play Zingo! Zingo is a great game for Family Game Night.

Rainbow Tunnel Stacker- O received the rainbow tunnel stacker when she was 15 months old, and she played with it almost every day for probably a year. She still plays with it frequently. It's a wonderful toy that can be played with in so many ways...a tunnel for mini cars, bracelets, anklets, rockers for baby dolls, sculptures, etc.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween Spooning Work

The idea for this fun Montessori spooning work came from Itty Bitty Love. Sifting the spiders from the rice is fun and takes a lot of concentration (so you don't spill the rice!). I haven't introduced this work to O yet, but my 5 year old niece really enjoyed it!

A Fun Language Experience Activity

I've wanted to start writing letters (with O dictating) to our family and friends for a while, but I've never gotten past the thinking stages...until yesterday. I realized that email was much more doable :) I created an email account for O, and she dictated letters to her daddy and grandaddy (we'll write "real" letters,too...eventually). I prompted her with questions and helped her decide how to say things, but it was basically her own words (and occasionally things didn't make sense to me, but that was just makes it more fun and unique). O has enjoyed receiving letters back, and I'm sure this will be a fun weekly (if not daily!) activity.

As an added bonus to this activity, I plan to print the letters that O sends and the letters she receives and bind them into a book. This will be a wonderful keepsake for her to have. I keep a journal of letters to O and Ema, but I've always wanted Elliott (and O's grandparents) to do something similar. I've never been able to get them started on a journal for her, but I think this will be the answer. Both girls will have wonderful keepsakes of their early letters and their family members' letters to them :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

A GREAT Deal on Children's Books

I recently ordered this set of 12 hardback children's books from Weekly Reader for O and Ema. It's such a great deal that I couldn't resist! I was won over by each book coming with a cd of the story. We had a great time listening to 3 of the stories while traveling to my mom's house (How I Became a Pirate is my favorite!), and I hope that O will also like listening to the stories as she goes to sleep at night.

The books included are:

•Corduroy Lost and Found
•Curious George Goes to a Costume Party
•Do Your ABC's Little Brown Bear
•Henry's Show and Tell
•How I Became a Pirate
•The Little Engine That Could Goes on a Class Trip
•Mirette on the High Wire
•Raggedy Ann's Wishing Pebble
•Tops & Bottoms
•What Grandmas Can't Do
plus 2 bonus books

They only cost 24.95 plus shipping! I thought there must be some catch to this, but there doesn't seem to be :)

Halloween Tweezer Transfer Activity

O REALLY enjoyed this Halloween tweezer transfer activity. She picked up one porcupine ball at a time with the tweezers and placed each one in the dish. She was very focused and purposeful in her actions :) The porcupine balls came from the Halloween section at Wal-Mart, and the dish came from the craft section at Wal-Mart.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day...remembering our baby who would have been 5 months old this month.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Glowing Monsters & Jack O' Lantern

Here's an easy handmade Halloween decoration for you! Head over to Not So Idle Hands for directions and to download the faces. These were easy to make even with a baby in one arm (although I made most of them while she was napping!). Have fun!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Floor Time

I realized that all of my posts have been about O lately, and I really should include Ema a little more :) We've started having floor time in her room in the mornings, and we are all enjoying it. O is a little Mother Hen, and she LOVES her baby sister. She loves it if I need the room for a minute, and she always assures me that she will babysit while I'm gone. "Baby Sister" loves O, and she especially loves it when O sings to her. She even cooed at O a few days ago when O was singing to her. It doesn't get any better than that!!!

I will eventually post pics of Ema's semi-Montessori bedroom. You can see the floor mirrors in this picture. It appears that Ema is looking at herself in the mirror, but I don't think she can really see them at all. I need to lower them. She was laughing in this picture. I love that she has started smiling, cooing, and laughing.

Edit to Add: Several people have commented that they are surprised that I use "Ema's" name...don't worry! Her name is NOT Ema :) I didn't want to use 2 initials because I find it annoying when I read something and EVERYONE is called an initial. "Ema" is our baby's blog's a play on her "real" name :)