Chasing Cheerios

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Montessori At Home by John Bowman

John Bowman sent me a copy of his book Montessori at Home a few months ago, and I LOVE it! It is exactly what I was looking for more than 3 years ago when I first started implementing the Montessori method with O (4). If I'd had this book then, I doubt I would have even started a blog!

If you look at the top of the book, you can see that I have marked many pages. This book is full of great activities that I'd like to do with my girls. Many of the ideas and activities come from blogs, so you may have seen them before. However, it's nice to have them organized and in a book instead of on a computer screen.

I really love that many of the activities are included in the book. The materials are printed on cardstock at the back of the book, so all you have to do is cut them out, and you are ready to work!

Here is a little more about John Bowman (copied from the website)...

"John Bowman’s most rewarding and fun career was over a decade spent as a Montessori Pre-Primary Teacher and Center Director. He started three new Montessori programs; and was the first Director of the Garfield Montessori School in Denver, CO. His goal now is to inspire parents to do early learning activities at home with their children and show them how."

If you are just getting started with the Montessori Method at home, this book is really all you need. I could have saved so much time and money if he'd only written it 3 years ago!!! One of the most helpful sections in the book is a list of Montessori materials that you should buy for your home along with directions for materials that you can make.

I am in no way affiliated with the author or book. I received a free copy of the book, liked it, and decided to write this unbiased review. I hope you will take a moment to browse the website and learn more about this wonderful resource.


Almost 5,000 people visited my blog this week, and only 3 people bid on the auction to benefit Japan. *sigh*

Jenn- You are the winner! Please make your donation, and send me your receipt number and address! Thanks for bidding!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March's Box of Fun

Our March Box of Fun was full of books to read and activities to do while we were on the road. We spent the first week and a half of March at Disneyworld (Elliott had a business trip in Orlando), so we had a long way to travel.

E(1) was the most excited about the personalized magnetic paper dolls (I had to watch her closely, so she wouldn't tear them). The girls have these paper dolls printed on cardstock, and I printed them on magnetic paper for our road trip.

O(4) had fun making bookmarks with this bookmark kit from the Target dollar section. I also included free books from Cheerios boxes...I love those books, especially since they are bilingual (Spanish/English)!

O was the most excited about the Samantha book (found at the Dollar Store a couple of years ago).

Fun stuff! Now I need to get to work on April's Box of Fun! Btw, every time I refer to these boxes as a "box of fun" O corrects me and says "It's not a box of fun. It's a box of activities!" Love her!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beginner Pattern Blocks

E(1) loves her Melissa & Doug Beginner Pattern Blocks.

She has a difficult time getting the shapes into the correct places, but she keeps trying and is learning to complete difficult activities without getting frustrated.

These pattern blocks are a great way to practice shapes and colors, too! I love to watch O(4) help E complete the puzzles...sisterly love :)

(Just so you know...links to are affiliate links!)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mommy Brain

I had a ridiculous, but hilarious case of mommy brain last week, and I thought you might enjoy this story... (copied and pasted from my facebook page)

I put a dress on E (1) this morning and was feeling nostalgic. I thought "It seems like just yesterday when O(4) was wearing this dress" and "It seems like I just packed it away for O(4), and now E(1) is wearing it." When we were walking to the car to get O(4) from school, I noticed that the dress was VERY long on E(1). I checked the's a 4T. O(4) wore it last week.

So, what's your funniest mommy brain story?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tactile Learning...Blue :)

Here's a fun way to learn all about blue!

I'm not sure if I'm in the minority or majority with this, but I really don't mind if my kids color on their bodies. We have a few rules...they must ask first; they must use washable markers; they must not eat the markers; and they must not color their faces (E(1) is still working on the last 2!).

The girls had SO much fun coloring themselves. It kept them quiet and busy for quite a while. E was especially engrossed in trying to color her toenails. Elliott came home from work while they were doing this, and I quickly asked him before he saw them "You don't mind if the girls color themselves do you?" He didn't, and he even joined in on the fun by drawing pictures on their hands and backs. They thought this was fantastic.

My mom was appalled, but I'm sure she enjoyed watching all of the craziness :) It took 2 nights of baths/showers to get all of the blue off of their bodies, so this is definitely not an activity that we'll do on the night before O(4)'s recital!

Btw, a reader asked me to include the girls ages by their initials since it can get confusing to remember which initial goes with which girl. So, we are now O(4) and E(1).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Enjoying Our Giant Chalkboard

We've been spending A LOT of time outside lately.  The weather has been beautiful, and I recently read a Charlotte Mason book (Charlotte Mason's Home Education in Modern English (Charlotte Mason Series Paraphrase)) that emphasized the importance of spending many hours (not just one or 2!) outside each day.   We always really enjoying our outside time, but sometimes it just feels like too much work to get out there.  It's definitely easier now that the baby is older, and I am committed to being outside as much as we can. 

We've started taking kayak rides in the lake several times a week.  I was always afraid to take them out by myself because I didn't think I could paddle and hold onto my squirmy baby (and I was afraid that she would stand up and topple over the side of the kayak!).  However, she is really good about sitting still in the kayak.  She understands that she must not stand up, and we have a great time.  It's so much fun to sneak up on the turtles, and we recently saw 5 baby turtles on the base of a Cypress tree. 

 In addition to our additional kayaking experiences, we've spent lots of time walking in the woods, playing on our swingset, and drawing on our giant chalkboard.  O is VERY interested in writing and drawing, and this is the perfect large space for her to do this. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Japan Quake Appeal Auction

Here is the auction post...finally! Thank you to everyone who emailed and wrote kind comments concerning the death of my grandmama. It's been a difficult time, but it is a blessing to know that she is no longer suffering. O said "now great-grandmama is a beauty angel flying around heaven."

Both of my girls and I are sick. They have their first ever ear infections, and I can't breathe through my nose and can barely speak. It's easy to put this all into perspective and appreciate what we have when watching the news coverage of Japan. So, here's the auction. Bid away!!! :)

In cooperation with Jo from A Bit of This and That, I am hosting an auction to benefit the victims of the earthquake in Japan. I originally thought I would make something to offer up for auction, but since I haven't been home for more than a couple of hours in the past 2 and a half weeks that's not a feasible option. So, I decided to benefit 2 charities through this auction!

I bought a set of coffee bean earrings and necklace made by women in Guatamala who are seeking shelter from abuse. You can see more about this jewelry and this charity in this post.

To make a bid for this jewelry set leave a comment on this post with your bid amount. Your bid must be higher than the previous comment. You must also leave a valid email address.

Once the auction has closed the winning bidder will be announced and contacted via email. The winner must donate the payment amount to Global Giving and send proof of payment within 48 hours. If proof of payment is not made within 48 hours then the jewelry will go to the second highest bidder.

For help with the donation you can refer to this post ( The auction is being held on this blog, in cooperation with A Bit of This and That. We are in no way affiliated with Global Giving, that's just our chosen method of getting funds safely to the affected area.

The auction will end on March 31 at 7pm (eastern time).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Peace, Hope, and Eiffel Towers

Yesterday, O drew a picture for my mom. She loves to make drawings and artwork to make sad people feel better. After she drew the picture, she explained it to me. I couldn't remember exactly what she said, so I asked her again today. The pictures consists of a small dot next to a large circle with 2 tall structures on the large circle.

The small dot stands for peace, the large circle is hope, and the 2 structures are eiffel towers. She said "It's peace because we want Guhguh's mommy to feel peace. Hope is because we hope my great-grandmama is getting better in heaven. The eiffel towers are the burying place. I don't know how to draw a grave, so I just drew eiffel towers." I adore this child.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan Quake Appeal

Please take a moment to check out Jo at A Bit of This and That's auction and links to other auctions to benefit victims of the earthquake in Japan.

I'd planned to host an auction or raffle from this blog, but life has gotten in the way. My grandmama died tonight, so I know I won't be able to get anything organized to post until the end of this week at the earliest. So, check back then.

Also, if you'd like to host an auction or raffle on your blog or bid on one on another blog, please read this post on A Bit of This and That.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homemade Puzzles

I made these 2 piece puzzles for O about 3 years ago, and I recently took them out for E to enjoy. 

To make the puzzles I printed pictures of us and O, cut them in half, cut cereal boxes to fit, and then glued the pictures to the cereal boxes.  E loves these puzzles!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Imbucare Box with a Ball

I bought 2 imbucare boxes for E a couple of years ago (before she was born, I think), and I gave this one to her a few months ago. She puts the ball in the opening and it rolls to the end of the drawer.  Then she opens the drawer to get the ball.  E REALLY liked it, but she kept putting the ball in her mouth, so I put it away for a while.  I recently put it back on her shelf, and she has enjoyed it. 

She especially likes opening the drawer and looking inside.

Fun times!