Chasing Cheerios

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Panning for Gems

We took panning for gems this afternoon, and she had a great time. She chose a blue shovel ("boo" is her favorite color), and she shoveled the sand and gems into the screens. Then she (with the help of daddy and grandaddy) shook the pan to loosen and wash away the dirt. She was excited to see the beautiful gems left on the screen. Her prettiest find is an amethyst geode.

Hiking in the Mountains

We hiked to a waterfall this morning, and it wasn't a very long hike, but it felt long since I had a 26 pound toddler in my sling! My sister borrowed my Beco for her California trip, since I was sure I wouldn't need it in the sweltering heat of the Bahamas :) Thank goodness, I had the sling! O loved touching the rock walls. We talked about whether they were rough or smooth and hard or soft. She was excited about seeing her first waterfall, but her favorite part of the day was exploring a cave. I recited several lines from one of our favorite books, We're Going on a Bear Hunt, while we searched the cave for bears. What fun!

Having Fun on the Road

Since our Bahamas vacation didn't work out, we decided to try again with a long weekend in the mountains with Elliott's parents. We were on the road for about 6 hours, and we stayed busy!
I was SO glad that I brought O's sewing block, so she could sew "ike mama." I'm making her a needlepoint "paper doll" that I bought for $1.50 on the clearance rack at WM. I'll post about it if I ever finish it :)
O loved playing with playdoh. She and dada made playdoh spaghetti.
O had the most fun playing the copycat game with dada. He spontaneously started copying everything she did, and she LOVED it. This went on for quite a while, and she kept asking for "more, more" whenever he stopped copying her.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Toddler Activity Bags in Action

We weren't on the plane long enough for me to get out the toddler activity bags, but O enjoyed drawing on her magnetic board for a few minutes. She was so tired that she closed her eyes, but she kept on drawing! She didn't like it when the plane dipped, so she held her daddy's hand for a while.

We were lucky that we had a lounge to hang out in, while we waited at the aiport for a couple of hours while waiting for Uncle William to come pick us up. We did a few activities while we waited.
O wasn't too impressed with the color sorting bears activity. She did it perfectly at first, but then she started pouring all the bears together. She was ready to put the bears back, and try something new.
She was very impressed with the "niney" Potato Head. She was especially excited when she saw that Mrs. Potato Head has "tap-tap" shoes!
O had fun dancing with Mrs. Potato Head!

We're Back!

Our 5 day vacation to the Bahamas turned into a very scary 30 minutes in a very small plane. As we were taking off from the airport, I was thinking that we were crazy to be taking our small child in this very small airplane. After about 15 minutes into our flight, I noticed that we were turning around. Shortly after that my FIL told us that the alternator was out, and we were turning around. We lost all electric power on the flight, so there was no way to tell if the landing gear was down. Elliott made about 30 calls trying to get through to someone (cell coverage isn't the best in the air) to see if they could tell us if the landing gear was down and to call the airport to let them know we were coming in for an emergency landing with no electric power. We weren't able to find out if the landing gear was down, but we were able to notify the airport that we were coming in. I wasn't terribly concerned until I realized that we were having trouble maintaining altitude. Then it was time to land. As we were coming in for a landing, we still didn't know if the landing gear was down. We were all hoping, praying, and wishing that we would touch down with the landing gear and not the belly of the plane. O was in her car seat across from me, so I just held onto her feet. I can't even describe the relief that I felt when we touched down...we made it! I think we're done with small planes. It'll just be commercial flights for us from now on!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thanks for all of the input!

Thanks for all of the input on the toddler activity bags! I forgot to mention that I'm taking a small baking pan for O to use as a tray which will help contain the playdoh. I've decided to leave the finger puppets, magnets, sorting wacky mac, and noodle necklace at home. Tonight when I was gathering more stickers to put in the collage bag, Elliott told me that I didn't need to worry about taking anything to entertain O because he would entertain her. Hmmmm. Evidently, he doesn't read the blog!

Mommomto2pumpkins- I'd LOVE to hear more about your 37 activity bags! I would love to make more for O, and I'm always looking for new ideas :)

Thanks again, ladies!

Painting a #1

My mom started a tradition of painting a wooden number of the girls' age with my niece last year. We realized that she had to paint a #1 with O very soon, or she'd run out of time! They painted the #1 after supper tonight. O and Guh-guh had lots of fun. O chose pink and blue and mixed them to make purple. Mixing the colors was her favorite part, of course!

She's 1!

A Pocketbook Full of Fun!

In addition to the activity bags, I also filled an old pocketbook with fun items for O to explore during our trip. The pocketbook has lots of zippered pockets, and I put at least one item in each pockets. The items are: 2 playsilks, a compact with a mirror, a tiny Winnie the Pooh, a calculator, another small mirror, a waistband key thing (Elliott has his work key on one of these, and O loves to play with it when he gets home from work each day), a small flashlight, a harmonica, 2 velcro bracelelts, silly putty, and a small brush. O is really proud of her "bockbeckbook!" She puts the strap on her shoulder and walks arounds saying "ike mama," which is pretty funny since I can't stand to carry a pocketbook!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Toddler Activity Bags

After reading Megret's post about Preschool Activity Bags, I started thinking about making toddler activity bags. Since we are going to the Bahamas on Friday in a small, 6 person plane I decided that I better go ahead and make a few bags to take with us. I got a little carried away! Once I started thinking of ideas, I just couldn't stop :) Here are the ones I've made so far:

Photo magnets
finger puppets
Sorting wacky macaroni
Putting miniature babies or smooth stones into individual boxes. This activity teaches 1-to-1 correspondence, and I think O will LOVE it since she loves babies and all things "niney."
Collage bag- glue stick, foam paper, note cards, stickers, paper punches, strips of construction paper
Stringing noodles to make a necklace. I added a pipe cleaner "needle" to the end of the shoe string to make it easier for O to use.
Mini containers of playdoh and a few playdoh tools
Miniature Mrs. Potato Head. O is going to be so excited to see a "niney" Potato Head!
Mini, reversible felt board
The other side of the felt board
Color sorting with bears
Open and close activity bag.
Puzzle activity bag. These puzzles came from a cutting book for children. I laminated the pictures then cut them out to make puzzles.
The last bag is not pictured. It contains a box of washable crayons (I don't want her coloring the plane walls!), notecards, and sticky notes.
Here's the hard part...which ones do I take with us on our trip? Clearly, 13 is too many. The flight lasts anywhere from 3 hours to 4 and a half hours depending on who I ask, and O will probably sleep at least an hour or two. I'm also taking books to read and snacks to eat. 5 or 6 activity bags shoud be more than enough. I just can't decide which ones. What do you think? Which bags do you think your child would enjoy?

Releasing Ladybugs

We released about 400 ladybugs onto our tomato plants tonight in the hopes that they will eat all of the aphids. We are crossing our fingers that this works because our tomato plants look great, but they are COVERED in aphids. I've sprayed them with soap and water, but it doesn't really seem to help. Thanks, Guh-guh, for sharing your ladybugs!

O's Dollhouse

O is finally showing an interest in this dollhouse! I bought the dollhouse, lots of furniture, the dollhouse family, and a wooden doll car all for 30 dollars from a 2nd hand store before Christmas. I was super excited and decided to give it to O and her cousin to share at G & G's house. Marg has loved it for a while, but O is just starting to show an interest in playing with it. She was excited that Niney fit in the bunk bed!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


O's No Sew Tutu is featured on the Crafty Crow! The Crafty Crow is one of my favorite blogs that I try to check everyday, so I was surprised and excited to see my O on there today! Check it out if you get a chance. The Crafty Crow is a must read for anyone with children!

Animal Flip Book

I downloaded this animal flip book from this site, and it was very easy to make and it turned out great! I printed the pictures onto photo paper, cut them out, punched the holes with a hole puncher, laminated the pages, cut them out again, punched the holes again (its surprisingly difficult to punch holes through laminating paper, so I'm glad that I'd already punch the holes through the pages!), and used book rings to bind it together. I think O is going to love matching the animals in this book on our plane ride this weekend :)

Playing the Keyboard

Guh-guh and Grandpa bought O and her cousin this keyboard for Christmas for them to play at G & G's house. O LOVES to play the keyboard, but her favorite thing to do is to set it to play music while she dances around the den. Guh-guh loves to teach O new dance moves, and they have lots of fun!

Muffin Tin Monday (a little late)

When I saw the idea for Muffin Tin Mondays on this blog, I thought it was a GREAT idea, so I decided we'd join in. Today O had cucumbers, grape tomatoes, squash, cheese, avocado, and blue cheese dip-dip for lunch. Surprisingly, she didn't eat everything (normally she would eat everything shown here and ask for more). We'll be out of town next Monday, but we hope to join in on Muffin Tin Mondays again after we return home.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Transferring Rice with a Small Spoon

My mom cleaned out her china cabinet and buffet this afternoon, and I hit the jackpot! The tray for this work is the bottom of an old butter dish, and the 2 small glass bowls are old ash trays. The tiny spoon is from the ice cream shop that we went to after our professional photo shoot. (I thought of this work when I saw the spoon, so I asked for few more samples so that I could have a few extra spoons!)

I was not sure that O would be successful, but I was sure that she would LOVE this work since she loves all things "niney" (tiny). She did MUCH better than I expected, and she thoroughly enjoyed herself. She was very excited that Guh-guh found an "ug" for her to work on. When she was finished working, she rolled the rug up by herself and took it to Guh-guh. I was so surprised and proud because it was the 1st time that she's rolled the rug completely independently. She LOVES working on a rug aka "ug."

Matching Magnetic Fruits and Vegetables

I found these vegetable and fruit magnets at the dollar store this afternoon. I bought 3 packs so O could sort & match them, and she seemed to enjoy this work. She was easily distracted, and I think I put out too many items at one time. I put one of each item on the cookie sheet, and I put the matching pairs in the basket. She was supposed to pick up one item at a time and match it to its pair on the cookie sheet. We'll try this again tomorrow with fewer items :)

Playing with Playdoh

O loves to play with playdoh at G & G's house, and today it occured to me that I should put the playdoh and tools on a cookie sheet to help her keep everything together. I can't believe it took me so long to think of that! She really enjoyed herself :)

Color Sorting

My sister found these martini glass things at the dollar section of Target yesterday. I was very proud of her when she immediately saw the potential for a color sorting activity. Yay, Melanie! O really enjoyed sorting the small animals by color. When she's a little older, I think she'll like sorting them by the animal type.

Transferring Water with a Dropper

I introduced this work to O today. I set out 2 small glasses with the glass on the left filled halfway with water. I showed her how to fill the dropper with water and then release the water into the 2nd glass. She was interested, but she didn't stick with the task for very long. She kept forgetting to let go of the bulb once she squeezed it, so she was not getting much water in the dropper. I hope she'll enjoy this work more when we try it tomorrow.

Cheerios and a Free Book!

I was very excited when I saw that the Whole Grain Cheerios at the Dollar General came with paperback books! I'm sure the other customers thought I was a little strange when I pulled out EVERY box to see which book came with it. I bought 2 boxes because I thought the books pictured above looked interesting, and we can never have too many boxes of Cheerios! I'm excited that Little Quack's Bedtime is also in Spanish since I try to read at least one Spanish book to O each day. Other books that were packaged with the Cheerios included Olivia and the Missing Toy and The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle.

Picking Peaches

O was so excited that she got to help G & G pick their peaches today. We had to pick LOTS of them because the birds are starting to eat them. They aren't ripe yet, but we can't wait to eat yummy organic homegrown peaches!

Balancing on Bricks

O had fun balancing on G & G's brick border this afternoon. She calls it a "balance beam." I'm planning on setting up a balancing board in our front yard when we get home (we'll be at G & G's until Wednesday. Then we're heading to the Bahamas on Friday.) O is also a trend setter with her crocs aka "docs." Her 4 year old cousin likes to wear 2 different colored crocs now, too. My sister is not thrilled about it, but I think they look cute!

An Easy Beach Collage

I took my roll of contact paper with us to the beach, so we could make an easy beach collage. I cut 2 equal pieces of contact paper and laid one sheet sticky side up on the table. My niece decorated it with flat shells, leaves, and flowers from the dunes. She LOVED making her collage and was totally focused on this activity. O was not interested at all. She was a bit fussy and only wanted to blow bubbles :) After my niece finished decorating her sheet of contact paper, I covered it with a 2nd layer of contact paper to seal it. She was very proud of her beautiful creation!

Painting with Water

I took O's paint with water book with us to the beach, and it was quite a hit! The older girls (ages 3 and 4) enjoyed it much more than O (she was done after 1 picture). They each painted at least 3 pictures. It was a great way to paint without a mess and with lots of fun!

Friday, June 20, 2008

No Sew Tutus

Since O loves to play dress up, and she loves to dance my mom and I decided that we should make her a tutu. The original plan was to make it for her birthday, but then my mom decided that making tutus would be a great craft project to do at the beach for all 3 of our beach girls. To make the tutus you need 2 yards of tulle for each tutu and a stretchy headband. Cut the tulle into 3 inch wide strips that are about 20 inches long. Then just tie them (using a slip knot) onto the stretchy headband (my mom found the headbands at the dollar store in packs of 6). Mom and Aunt Linda did all of the cutting (thank goodness!), and I helped make O's tutu while they made the tutus for the other 2 girls. They also made flower and ribbon headbands using floral wire and tape, fake flowers, and ribbon. They made flower wands using floral wire, silver pipe cleaners, fake flowers, and ribbons. Total cost for 3 tutus, 3 flower wands, and 3 flower and ribbon head bands was about 20 dollars and a few hours of fun! The girls had a fantastic time dancing on the beach, and I know that O is going to love her tutu for a LONG time!