Catching Up… January 2014

Kent was 30 months old, Colt was 6 months old.

I started reading again.  I haven't had much time for reading since Kent was born, or so I thought.  I made a checklist to help me get through one book in 30 days, and now I'm reading voraciously again.

I started reading again. I haven’t had much time for reading since Kent was born, or so I thought. I made a checklist to help me get through one book in 30 days, and it got me reading voraciously again.

This is a Melissa & Doug sticker set with food stickers and placemats.  Kent thinks it is a lot of fun.

This is a Melissa & Doug sticker set with food stickers and placemats. Kent thinks it is a lot of fun.

We learned that Jesus' earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter.  Nails in stryrofoam is always a win.

We learned that Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter. Nails (or screws) in stryrofoam is always a win.

Then we made a collage with wood: toothpicks and Popsicle sticks.

Then we made a collage with wood: toothpicks and Popsicle sticks.

This book, Black and White with Tana Hoban, was fun for Kent to set up and Colt still liked looking at it.

This book, Black and White with Tana Hoban, was fun for Kent to set up and Colt still liked looking at it.

Kent played with some leftover clay from our Christmas project.  It requires more hand strength than playdough.

Kent played with some leftover clay from our Christmas project. It requires more hand strength than playdough.

I made him a fun sensory bin with "snow", shaving cream, and our Arctic Toob.  I think the snow was hair conditioner and baking soda.

I made him a fun sensory bin with “snow”, shaving cream, and our Arctic Toob. I think the snow was hair conditioner and baking soda.

His grandparents gifted him with a subscription to the Highlights magazine for preschoolers.  He cut the book out himself and I helped him staple it.

His grandparents gifted him with a subscription to the Highlights magazine for preschoolers. He cut the book out himself and I helped him staple it.

I got him the Gakken Let's Create workbook for Christmas.  It gets excellent reviews.  I didn't think a workbook would be a big hit with him but it is his favorite part of school now.

I got him the Gakken Let’s Create workbook for Christmas. It gets excellent reviews. I didn’t think a workbook would be a big hit with him but it is his favorite part of school now.  I paid $10 and if they become available again I’m going to buy one for Colt.  It was a great value considering the thick, full color pages and stickers.

He's been very interested in any of the trays I put together, but he still occasionally goes for a pouring activity.

He hasn’t been very interested in any of the trays I put together, but he still occasionally goes for a pouring activity.

He wanted to wear his deer in a wrap, "like Brudder."

He wanted to wear his deer in a wrap, “like Brudder.”

I was really happy with how this picture turned out.  I had it printed as an 11x14 and put it on our mantle.

I was really happy with how this picture turned out. I had it printed as an 11×14 and put it on our mantle.

Kent's imagination is alive and well!  Someone's boots left a puddle of water in the entryway, and there was some corn spilled on the steps.  So, Kent gathered up the corn and a cow and let her drink from the puddle.

Kent’s imagination is alive and well! Someone’s boots left a puddle of water in the entryway, and there was some corn spilled on the steps. So, Kent gathered up the corn and a cow and let her drink from the puddle.  I found it later.

I'm not sure if this was the first time I set Colt upright with the Boppy... it's the first picture I found with him sitting.

I’m not sure if this was the first time I set Colt upright with the Boppy… it’s the first picture I found with him sitting.

This was a gift that came in an activity swap.  He doesn't use the numbers to help him yet.  This was at the start of his obsession with puzzles.

This was a gift that came in an activity swap. He doesn’t use the numbers to help him yet. This was at the start of his obsession with puzzles.

Practical life: He made his own PB&J.

Practical life: He made his own PB&J.

Catching Up… December 2013

Homemade playdough "cookies".

Homemade playdough “cookies”.

Lots of floor time for Colt.

Lots of floor time for Colt.

And lots of tasting everything!

And lots of tasting everything!

Making bubbles with soapy water and a hand mixer.

Making bubbles with soapy water and a hand mixer.

Making an angel.

Making an angel.

Finished product.

We learned the story of when Gabriel the angel came and told Mary that she would have a child.  All month Kent wanted to “talk about Mary and the angels”.

Large to small exercise with felt.

Large to small exercise with felt.

We went to free play at a gymnastics center.  Fun times!

We went to free play at a gymnastics center. Fun times!

Babywearing is so handy!  This was on Christmas Ever.

Babywearing is so handy! This was on Christmas Eve.

The boys "big" gift for Christmas was the Small Deluxe Bible Felt Set from Betty Lukens.  Kent thought is was a great bed.

The boys “big” gift for Christmas was the Small Deluxe Bible Felt Set from Betty Lukens. Kent thought is was a great bed.

Colt got a few books and Rainbow Sound Blocks.

Colt got a few books and Rainbow Sound Blocks.

My Mom got them the giant leaf canopy.  So fun!

My Mom got them the giant leaf canopy. So fun!

Brian surprised Kent with this farm set.

Brian surprised Kent with this farm set.

Late in the month, Colt got to try real food for the first time.

Late in the month, Colt got to try real food for the first time.

The mirror continued to be a hit... more so for Kent!

The mirror continued to be a hit… more so for Kent!

Thinking back, what was your favorite December activity?  What gift did you or your children enjoy the most?

Catching Up… November 2013

I wanted to mount a low horizontal mirror on the wall for Colt.  It was a lot trickier than all the pictures online make it look.  If you pay attention, most people mount it above the trim.  However, laying flat on the floor and trying to look in it, I couldn't see myself.  So, Colt wouldn't have been able to see either.  I built a frame to bring the mirror flush with the trim so I could mount it even with the bottom of the mattress.

I wanted to mount a low horizontal mirror on the wall for Colt. It was a lot trickier than all the pictures online make it look. If you pay attention, most people mount it above the trim. However, laying flat on the floor and trying to look in it, I couldn’t see myself. So, Colt wouldn’t have been able to see either. I built a frame to bring the mirror flush with the trim so I could mount it even with the bottom of the mattress.

The mattress and mirror are from IKEA.  The mirror is glass but has a safety coating to prevent a mess of dangerous pieces if it breaks.

The mattress and mirror are from IKEA. The mirror is glass but has a safety coating to prevent a mess of dangerous pieces if it breaks.

We read the Pumpkin Patch Parable and played with pumpkin guts.  I'm still not sure how I feel about Jack O' Lanterns.  I like that the parable book turned it in to something positive, but the origins are still bad.

We read the Pumpkin Patch Parable and played with pumpkin guts. I’m still not sure how I feel about Jack O’ Lanterns. I like that the parable book turned it in to something positive, but the origins are still unsettling, from what I’ve read.

He LOVED this activity and asked for pumpkin for a long time afterward.

He LOVED this activity and asked for pumpkin for a long time afterward.

Library selections.  He learned that "God Made Me".

Library selections. He learned that “God Made Me”.

We decorated this picture for a bank contest.  He requested the hat.

We decorated this picture for a bank contest. He requested the hat.

We managed to get a good picture of us just in time for Christmas cards.

We managed to get a good picture of us just in time for Christmas cards.

Catching Up… October 2013

Here’s my attempt to catch up, in pictures:

This was significant because he was making the connection that the books were all the same kind: Golden Books.

This was significant because he was making the connection that the books were all the same kind: Golden Books.

Colt watching his Montessori Octahedron mobile.  I made it out of scrap-booking paper like this.

Colt watching his Montessori Octahedron mobile. I made it out of scrap-booking paper like this.

We learned about water and water life by putting our Ocean Toob animals in jello overnight.  Tonging them out was a great fine motor activity.

We learned about water and water life by putting our Ocean Toob animals in jello overnight. Tonging them out was a great fine motor activity.

And then he scrubbed them off, for fun!

And then he scrubbed them off, for fun!

One to one correspondence with sea shells and a muffin tin.

One to one correspondence with sea shells and a muffin tin.

Colt learned to roll over... just well enough to get stuck.

Colt learned to roll over… just well enough to get stuck.

I started wearing Kent on my back a lot.  He was going through a rough patch and it helped a lot.

I started wearing Kent on my back a lot. He was going through a rough patch and it helped a lot.

Kent was really sweet about picking out a book and setting it up for Colt, and telling him about the pictures.

Kent was really sweet about picking out a book and setting it up for Colt, and telling him about the pictures.

Cyber Monday Deals for Toddlers!

BOOKS

Better World Books is taking 25% off all of their used books when you buy 5 or more.  The code is BLACKFRIDAY.  There is a bit of a learning curve with their site so listen up.  The discount is only good on books sold and shipped by the company themselves – NOT on anything sold by “Other Sellers”.  Some items have a little “SALE” tag by them – that means they qualify for Bargain Bin pricing and do NOT qualify for this sale.  Do not put any Bargain Bin books in your cart or the discount code will not work, even if you have 5 other books that do qualify.  I ended up placing two orders: one with Bargain Bin books and one with discount code books.  Shipping is free so it wasn’t a problem once I figured it out.  I picked up several books here that we need for doing Sonlight preschool next year.  The cheapest used books on Amazon are usually $4.00 ($3.99 shipping + $0.01 price) so being able to order some for $3 was a rare treat.  This is the one that ends at 9 AM.

PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM

Laura at Heavenly Homemakers is offering 30% off of her digital products with code PINKFRIDAY30.  This includes her Learn Your Letters, Learn To Serve preschool curriculum!  It’s similar to other letter of the week programs but emphasizes serving those around us for the glory of God.  I’m planning to use this one as a part of our school time next year.

DRESSING FRAMES

Here’s an affordable version of a classic Montessori work – made even more affordable with a deep discount!  Jo-Ann’s has a pack of three Learn to Fasten “frames” and a Learn to Lace set.  Each three piece set is only $12.99 AND there is a code at the top of the page for free shipping with no minimum purchase.  My Mom and I already made are own set or I would definitely be snatching these up.

SIGNING TIME

All products are 25% off any purchase of $25 or more PLUS free US shipping.  Check ebay first though!

Enjoy, and let me know what else I’m missing!

 

 

Upgrade?

Hey blogger friends… can I get your thoughts?

I’ve been tossing around the idea of upgrading my blog to it’s own domain and trying to monetize it a little bit.  Sort of a “go big or go home” type thing.  If I did it I think I’d be more motivated to write regularly and try to build an audience.  I don’t really know how to go about it, or if it’s worth the bother.  I’ve looked at a few ebooks about blogging but haven’t purchased any yet.  I used to have a small, regular following and I miss really writing.

What do you think?  Is it worth it for you?  Any advice on where to start?

Bible Basics: Plants

Kent was 26 months old.

Week 2 of Bible Basics for Two Year Olds was all about how God Made Plants.

Trays

L to R Top: cutting, chunky puzzle, transferring pom poms.  Middle: shape buttons, cylinder block #2, fruit matching.  Bottom: shape pounder, seed sorting, dressing frame.

L to R Top: cutting, chunky puzzle, transferring pom poms. Middle: shape buttons, cylinder block #2, fruit matching. Bottom: shape pounder, seed sorting, dressing frame.

I don't think I've ever offered him this puzzle before.  It's pretty easy for him now but he enjoyed it.I don’t think I’ve ever offered him this puzzle before. It’s pretty easy for him now but he enjoyed it.

He loves transferring!

He loves transferring!

He was fascinated with his cylinder blocks at first but lately hasn't been drawn to them.  I think it's time to offer two at a time.

He was fascinated with his cylinder blocks at first but lately hasn’t been drawn to them. I think it’s time to offer two at a time.

These were part of a free reusable bag that I got from Babies R' Us.  I was going to sew them together and stuff them but the two shapes mirror each other so it wouldn't have worked.  Instead I put them in a basket and he had fun making pairs.

These were part of a free reusable bag that I got from Babies R’ Us. I was going to sew them together and stuff them but the two shapes mirror each other so it wouldn’t have worked. Instead I put them in a basket and he had fun making pairs.

Sorting seeds was a nice theory but the very first time he did it he ended up dumping it out and kicking the seeds around so I didn't put it out again.  Next time I will try with something easier to pick up, like beans.

Sorting seeds was a nice theory but the very first time he did it he ended up dumping it out and kicking the seeds around so I didn’t put it out again. Next time I will try with something easier to pick up, like beans.

Special Theme Activity

I put together a tray with a dish, packet of lettuce seeds, water sprayer, small glass jar, and paper towel.

I put together a tray with a dish, packet of lettuce seeds, water sprayer, small glass jar, and paper towel.

First, I tore open the seed packet and let him dump it in the dish.

First, I tore open the seed packet and let him dump it in the dish.

He wet the paper towel a bit with the sprayer and then dumped the seeds on it.

He wet the paper towel a bit with the sprayer and then dumped the seeds on it.

I showed him how to pat them in place.

I showed him how to pat them in place.

He really struggled with this sprayer.  Previously, he was using a spray bottle just fine so I'll have to look for the one he used to use.

He really struggled with this sprayer. Previously, he was using a spray bottle just fine so I’ll have to look for the one he used to use.

Then I had him stuff the whole thing in the jar and set it on the windowsill.

Then I had him stuff the whole thing in the jar and set it on the windowsill.

We watched the seeds gradually grow and sprout and talked a lot about how God made the seeds and gave us the sun the help them grow in to food for us.

 

Practical Life

He used his wavy chopper and cutting board to help me cut up tomatoes.

He used his wavy chopper and cutting board to help me cut up tomatoes.

IMG_6218

Books

I didn’t get a picture but we did get some plant related books from the library.  Our favorite was “Tops and Bottoms”.  From our own collection we read “A Tiny Seed” and “The Little Red Hen”.  That last one is a long-time favorite of his anyway

I tried to encourage him to collect some natural materials from outside so we could make a collage but he wasn’t interested.  I’d suggest he pocket an acorn and he would shout, “No!” with a very offended look on his face and toss it back to the ground.  Apparently, acorns belong outside.  Silly mama. 😉

What’s your favorite way to play with or learn about plants?