Chasing Cheerios

Friday, August 29, 2008

Painting with Water

O and I took a few paintbrushes with us this morning when we went to the beach and painted the retaining wall (this has been on my to do list for MONTHS, but I always forget the brushes!). She had so much fun, and so did I :) We also made handprints, footprints, and lily pad prints.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Homemade Water Color Paint

O and I made homemade watercolors which were inspired by this post at Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish.

To make the watercolors you need 3 Tbs cornstarch, 1.5 tsp corn syrup, 3 Tbs baking soda, 3 Tbs white vinegar, food coloring, and small containers. When you mix the 1st 4 ingredients, you'll see (and hear) lots of fizzy fun! This was O's favorite part of the activity. She was VERY impressed with the fizzing! We then poured the mixture into several small containers and added food coloring. This was yet another lesson in color mixing since we made orange and purple. She wanted to mix yellow and blue to make green, but since we already had green (and we didn't have enough mix to make 2 greens) we didn't make another.
O enjoyed painting with the watercolors, but after 4 paintings she said "O tired. Going to lay on the couch. Need blankie." I got her down from the kitchen helper, and she acted worn out and tired and laid on the couch with a blankie over her for about 2 seconds :) Here are her watercolor masterpieces. I'm planning on incorporating them into her color book somehow, but I haven't really figured out how yet. I'm hoping to finish her color book before she goes to college, but I don't know if I'll make it :)

Teddy Bear Bread

Yesterday I was thinking that I would try to make cinnamon bread with our leftover dough from pizza night, so when I saw Megret's post about Teddy Bear Bread I knew that would be the perfect way to do it! O was thrilled to make 3 little bears of bread...mama, dada, and O, of course! She had fun rolling the dough and decorating the bears with raisins.
We brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar. O and I thought they were delicious. Elliott thought they needed more sugar :) I think this might become a tradition along with our weekly homemade pizza night. Next time we might make garlic bread bears instead of cinnamon bears :)

Magic Folding Blocks

I saw this on Thingamambaby and since I had all of the materials, I decided to give it a try! The cube was surprisingly simple and fast to make. I think it took around 15 to 20 minutes, and most of that was spent trying to find the stickers. Elliott was very impressed, but I haven't shown it to O yet. I just hope she won't try to pull the blocks apart!
Here are the very detailed instructions that Thingamambaby linked to. Thanks to Thingamambaby for this great idea! I think this will make a fun, homemade Christmas gift!

Gracie loved it, too!

Feet Painting

O was in a painting mood after we finished the bubble wrap painting, so she made a painting for her dada for his birthday. She loved mixing the color on her hands and then smearing it onto the canvas. She was very excited that we were going to be making footprints instead of handprints. Although she did make a few handprints while she was covering the canvas with paint.
Here's her 2nd masterpiece of the day! Her footprints did not show up as clearly as her handprints have, and I'm not sure why. We used a different kind of paint so that may be it, or we might have just tried to make the footprints too soon (before the paint was tacky).

Bubble Wrap Painting

This activity has been on my to do list for a LONG time (at least 3 months!), and I don't know why its taken so long to get to it! You need bubble wrap, paint, and paper. I taped the bubble wrap onto a table, and O painted it. She was a little tentative at first, and she asked for paper. I assured her that it was ok to paint the bubble wrap, so she jumped right in :)

She tried to make handprints and seemed a little dismayed when it didn't work. She looked at me sadly and said "not work!"
I put the paper on top of the bubble wrap, and she loved pressing it (especially since she was making handprints on the back of the paper!).
Tada! Her finished masterpiece!
I've seen this activity on many blogs and in several books and magazines, so I'm not going to link to one particular place. Just wanted to let you know that it wasn't my idea (even though you probably already knew that!).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rocks and Frogs Memory Game

When Amber commented on the Shell Matching game that she may make a similar game with rocks, I knew I'd have to try it! Thanks, Amber! I have lots of river rocks from our recent mountain vacation, and I knew they'd be perfect :) I planned on finding insect stickers, but I never found any, and I loved these frog stickers the 1st time I saw them (although I didn't buy them until the 3rd time because I was being indecisive!).

O was very excited when she saw the rocks. We started by matching them face-up. Then I decided to play Memory with the rocks face down. I was not really expecting her to catch on the first time, but she understood immediately :) I made a big show of turning over one rock and then was thinking out loud trying to remember where the match was, and she quickly turned over the matching rock for me! I couldn't believe it :) We had a great time, and it was great practice for learning turn taking skills. I had to prompt her a few times to only turn over 2 rocks at a time, but other than that she GOT it! I'm really looking forward to playing more memory games with her, and I guess I should have started sooner. Although, I think this game is the PERFECT first memory game since the rocks are not identical and the differing sizes of the rocks give clues as to which stickers are on them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Storybook Puzzle Blocks

To make these block puzzles you need 6 unfinished wooden blocks, mod podge, and storybooks that you don't mind cutting. I made a similar puzzle using pictures from O's 1s birthday party about a year ago, and I planned on using photos to make another one. Then I decided to do something a little different, and I hope she'll really like it :) We have several old children's books that have torn pages that I've been saving for a project, and I bought several elementary literature textbooks (25 cents each) for various projects. I decided they would be perfect for this! The books featured on the blocks are Frog and Toad (one of my childhood favorites), Little Bear (another favorite of mine), Goodnight Moon (O's favorite), Madeline, The 3 Little Bears, and Curious George. These blocks will be a Christmas gift for O, and I'll probably give them to her as an advent gift. I'm planning on putting clues in our advent calender and have her search (with my help of course!) for her gifts which will be hidden in the house. Hopefully, most of the advent gifts will be homemade!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

O's Sticker Book

I made this sticker book for O for Christmas. To make it I used 8 x8 cardstock, scrapbook paper, and magazine pictures. I laminated the pages (so that O will be able to remove the stickers if she wishes), and Elliott tried to bind them together at his dad's office. This was a frustrating process because the pages were thick and the holes didn't punch well. I had to actually clip the holes and put the binding on by hand. It took awhile, but was fairly easy to do. I added a pencil pouch attached to the book with a book ring for her to store her stickers in.
These are my favorite pages :)
Here is one of the landscape pictures I added from a magazine. I was hoping to find more good landscape pictures for the book, but didn't have very much luck :( A good thing about the book is that I can add more pages if I need to. It feels good to mark another gift off of my homemade Christmas gifts list!

Number Rods

I decided to make the number rods at the same time that I made the red rods (if I hadn't, I doubt I would have EVER made them!). They were a bit more complicated, and I'm SO GLAD to finished with them! They are also cut into 5 cm increments. I was VERY tempted to only paint the red sections and leave the other sections as raw wood, but I had too many red smears on the raw wood.

The Red Rods

These red rods have been in the works for a LONG time. It took me quite a while to finally decide to make them instead of buying them. They are priced very reasonably, but they are so big that I knew I wouldn't have anywhere to put them. I decided to make them myself, so I could make them on a smaller scale. We've had the wood for months and finally got around to cutting it a couple of weeks ago. The pieces are cut in 5 cm increments (instead of 10 cm increments). They needed at least 3 coats of paint, so painting took a while, too. I'm really glad they are done, and I'm happy with the finished product. Now, I just hope that O likes them :) I ended up saving lots of money (only because I made them smaller). I spent about 20 dollars on wood and paint, and I had enough wood (and paint) to make the red/blue rods, too. I actually have enough paint left over to last for years, and I have a little wood leftover that I'll probably just sand and give to O to add to her box of blocks.

Rhythmn Sticks

Since I have lots of dowels left over from the dowel match activity, I decided to make O a pair of rhythmn sticks. These are 10 inches long. Another fast and easy project is done! Hooray!

Matching Dowels

The idea for this activity came from a preschoolers activity book that I checked out from the library months ago. I wrote a list of activities from it, but forgot to write down the title :( For this activity you need several dowels of different lengths and diameter. We cut these in 5 cm increments, so they are uniform.

O will match them according to length. As extension activities, she can arrange them in order according to their length or diameter. The dowels get progressively longer and skinnier. This was fun and super simple to make!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thrifty Thursday

I had another good thrift day (or days)! On Wednesday O and I went to town to meet Elliott for lunch. Since we were in town, we HAD to check out the thrift stores. I was very proud of O because she stayed right beside me, and she reminded me "don't touch, mama!" We bought 7 baskets for Montessori work for $1.89 :) On Thursday I went to the thrift store near my office after work, and I found TOO much. I bought a milk glass mug for O for 25 cents (she needs her own special mug to make cake in a mug, right?), 2 wooden trays (for Montessori work) for 75 cents each, about 10 books, 3 loaves of Nature's Own Whole Wheat bread for $2.30 (I just paid 2.58 for 1 loaf last week. The bread expires in less than a week which is why it was at the thrift store. I froze 2 loaves, and we'll probably finish the other soon), and an old suitcase (I have BIG plans for the suitcase! Stay tuned...). I'm looking forward to next Thursday. I'm hoping to take at least 1 or 2 bags of things to donate. My goal is to donate more than I buy, but so far that hasn't happened :(

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Paper Bag Water Painting

For this activity you need an unfolded paper bag and water :)

O was thrilled to make footprints...
and handprints on the paper! She LOVES making handprints!We also sprinkled water on the paper with our fingers, and O made fingerprint dots. After we were finished, I hung the paper to dry and then wrapped it up to use again another day.

Washing Shoes

The idea for this activity came from the Montessori n Such catalog (I LOVE that catalog!). You need a container, wash cloths (the small one is for washing and the larger one is for drying), a couple of brushes, a sponge, and shoes.
O had a great time, and I was excited that we accomplished a few tasks that have long been on my lists. In addition to 3 pairs of shoes, we also washed O's outside baby buggy and a rubber placemat that's been in the garage for several months.

O's Adirondack Chairs

My sister and niece gave O this set of Adirondack chairs and table for her birthday. They were easy to put together, but it has taken me FOREVER to paint them! I actually planned on white just being the primer color, but I've decided that I am done with them for now. Next spring O can decide what color she wants them, and we'll fancy them up then :)

Running out of Room

I'm running out of blog space :( I keep having to go back to old posts and delete pictures. I guess I could stop putting so many pictures in my posts, but the pictures are my favorite parts. If I can't have a picture filled blog, then I don't want a blog at all! So...if you read any old posts and notice missing pictures that's why :(

Monday, August 18, 2008

Making Chalk Paint

Since our last experience with our homemade chalk didn't work so well, we decided to try it again using a different (and simpler) method :) 1st we crushed O's wet chalk using the mortar and pestle. Then we added a bit of water and stirred.
Viola! Chalk paint!
This paint worked much better on O's chalkboard, and we had lots of fun! (aside from the fact that I was attacked by fire ants in the middle of the process! I'm just glad that they got me and not O!)

We Love Playsilks!

Since O hasn't been playing with her playsilks much lately, I decided that they needed to be more accessible. I *think* that the idea for this display comes from The Rowdy Pea, but I can't remember for certain. I used a leftover floorboard and hot glued clothes pins to it. Super simple and fast! O was thrilled, and she has been playing with her playsilks nonstop. She loves to wear them as skirts and hats :)

Muffin Tin Monday

O was excited about Muffin Tin Monday today. She had bell pepper strips, frozen blueberries, cantalope, pizza pocket (made in our sandwich maker with whole wheat bread with spaghetti sauce in the middle), cottage cheese, and mini dill pickles. She LOVED the pickles and was disappointed that these were the last 3.

Homemade Puzzles

This idea came from One Little, Two Little , and I've been planning on making these puzzles for a while. I saved a Cheerios box and Goldfish box, and I finally found the time to cut them into puzzles. I'm not holding out too much hope that O is going to love (but I hope she'll at least like them) these puzzles because she really shows very little interest in puzzles (except for the Montessori puzzles that are quite difficult and somewhat frustrating for her!).


This blog was starting to stress me out a little...I wanted to do a post each day, but I didn't like the pressure of having to sit down at the computer and actually do the post (even though it takes a very minimal amount of time). I don't work well under pressure, so I decided that I would start saving my blog posts as drafts, so that I have a backlog and don't feel like I HAVE to write one each day. I now have 12 posts in draft, and blogging is fun again! So...if you noticed that the dates are a bit off (its not something I would ever notice, but just in case..) now you know why :)

Toddler Brain Quest

I hesitated to buy this set of cards for O, but I'm a sucker for free shipping at Amazon, and I needed to add something to my order to qualify for it :) Once they arrived, they sat on the shelf for about a month before I opened the package. I don't know why I waited so long. I think I was afraid of being disappointed. I hate buyer's remorse! mom saw the box, opened it, and read the cards to O. O LOVED it! She LOVES Max the monkey, and she thinks its great that he is pointing (she says "Max is mointing!"). The cards basically consist of pictures on each page with questions about what you see. There are also inference questions. There are lots of things that I've never thought to ask (or teach) O, and I am REALLY glad that I bought these cards :)

A New Spin on the Toddler Activity Bags

Ok, I have to admit that I CAN'T STAND ziploc bags. They just seem very wasteful and flimsy to me. However, I couldn't think of anything else to use when I made O's toddler activity bags. Then, about a month ago, I saw these pencil pouches. I knew they would be perfect for most (but not all) of the bags. They are much more durable, and they look so much better than the ziploc bags. I am VERY happy with them. These bags will also provide O with lots of opportunities to practice her zipping and unzipping skills. Also, since they have metal grommets, I can hang them from hooks or group them together with book rings when we travel.

Mini Animal Match

I bought these decorations for O's crocs a couple of months ago from a dollar store (Family Dollar, I think). I wasn't sure if they would work for her crocs (they didn't), but I knew they'd make a cute matching activity. I know she'll love this work since she loves "niney" things. Don't try an activity like this if your child still puts things in his or her mouth! O occasionally puts things in her mouth, but usually only after she makes SURE that I'm looking. She likes my reaction (or perhaps my overreaction). Regardless, she'll not be unsupervised while doing this work.

Frog and Lily Pad Game

The idea for this game came from a commenter on the magnetic fishing game. I bought a packet of plastic frogs from the Dollar Tree and stuck tacks in their backs to make them magnetic. Then I borrowed the lily pad that O got from the lake today to use as a pattern, and I cut lily pads from craft foam. The blue playsilk makes the perfect pond, and we'll use the fishing pole from the fishing game. When we play this game, we'll work on one-to-one correspondence by trying to put a frog on each lily pad. We'll also talk about sizes since the lily pads are 3 different sizes, and we'll talk about colors since the frogs are several different colors. I think O will like this game because she LOVES lily pads. She has to get a lily pad to hold every time we go for a kayak or pedal boat ride, and she gets excited when lily pads wash up on the beach :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Just a Little Advice...

Don't buy your husband a telescoping limb trimmer for his birthday! Obviously, Elliott had way too much fun with his this past weekend :) It looked like a tornado hit our yard! The crazy thing is that other than the destruction on the ground, you can't really tell he cut any limbs.

Thrifty Thursday

A couple of weeks ago we went to a second hand children's shop, and I hit the jackpot! I bought the puzzle and game in the picture, plus 3 sets of BOB books, and a set of Brain Quest cards for 18 dollars. I am most excited about the game and puzzle because they will be perfect on our new Montessori shelf :) I put everything else away for later. Last Thursday I went to the thrift store and bought 20 children's books (yes, I am addicted!), a tray for Montessori work, 2 small bowls for Montessori work, and a ballerina costume (for O's suitcase of dress up clothes that I'm giving her Christmas)...all for 12 dollars! I love thrifting!

Hard at Work

Don't be fooled by this photo! I filled the wagon with sticks, and O only pushed it for a few seconds. She had trouble balancing it. I think we need to practice when its empty a little more before I fill it again :) Her Guh-guh and Grandpa gave her this great wagon for her birthday, and she's excited to have an "agon just ike dada!" Hopefully, I'll get a little more work out of her tomorrow!