The boys loved doing collages. We chose the final option for MomUnplugged's Unplugged Project.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
The boys loved doing collages. We chose the final option for MomUnplugged's Unplugged Project.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
We got a tree and decorated it while listening to Christmas music and drinking apple cider
We also hung stockings by the fireplace.
We celebrated advent with a wreath and calendar.
We also attended church on Christmas Eve.
Christmas morning was quite relaxing as we let the kids open their gifts at their own pace and stop to play as needed.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
---Introduction, The Read-Aloud Handbook, by Jim Trelease
I love books and love reading with my kids. When I heard of this book, I decided to get it from my local library. The Read-Aloud Handbook was a very interesting book. It had tons of information about why it is important to read to your kids for their WHOLE lives, not just when they are too young to read for themselves. Basically, that is how you get a child to want to read, by reading to him.
A lot of the book was somewhat political, and there were lots of facts and figures to trudge through. There were some really neat anecdotes and lots of ideas of books to read with the kids that really did make the book worthwhile. I am excited to share some of my new finds with my kids.
I'm not really going to do a book review, but there is a lengthy one on another blog. In fact The Simple Dollar is where I first heard of the book.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I have been enjoying reading various ways that other bloggers are attempting to make their Christmas celebrations just right for their families. Here are a few that I found interesting.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
We started decorating for Christmas today so I had him hang them on the wall. Much to my surprise, there was a definite way they were supposed to hang. Not just the orientation of each piece but the relationships of the pieces to each other. I am not sure why I was surprised, he always has a plan.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
- Not traveling for the holidays
- Having tree and stockings - goes along with #1, since we are not usually home, we don't usually decorate
- Celebrating Advent - We are using an Advent Calendar and Advent Wreath
- More Christmas Music - Both more background music and more family sing-a-longs
- Already drafting a letter suggesting ways to simplify our gift giving next year (and make it more meaningful) - Will need to be sent in the spring as my family likes to plan ahead
- Re-read Unplug the Christmas Machine
- Make a written Christmas plan -See chapters 8 and 9
Monday, December 03, 2007
Children really love to spend time with their family and they love and thrive on the attention of their parents. I like the expression they use in the book - your children need your "relaxed attention."
2. Realistic expectations about gifts
Your kids will be disappointed if you allow them to set their own expectations based on commercials or other influences in their lives. If their expectations are set accurately, then they more likely to be excited about what they do get. I am lucky as my kids are young and they don't watch television commercials. My oldest is starting to ask for things he sees that his friends have though so I think we are moving into a time where we have to think about this more.
3. An evenly paced holiday season
Space out your special activities over one or two weeks. Basically don't start the build-up too soon and don't end it too abruptly.
4. Reliable family traditions
The book explains that traditions enrich the holiday memories and give kids lots of comfort. I'd add that once you find things that are fun for the family why not keep them up. Once I find something we like, I like to stick with it. It is more comfortable for me and less work too.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
I went to the garage and found a box that I tasked my older son with decorating and filling with books. Not sure how long it will hold up but it was free and most the work was his and fun for him. He is very proud of the train engine he drew on the box.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
But today, we decided to go to the library. What a great place to be on the busiest shopping day of the year. It was less crowded than I have ever seen it. We enjoyed browsing for books, reading together and playing some games on the computers. And, of course, we brought books home. Lots of books actually, 18, to be exact. And the kids have been enjoying them all day. And we paid not one penny!
I think I am seeing a new tradition...
Thursday, November 22, 2007
We decided to make a Thankful Tree. Ours is not quite so lovely as the one on Family Fun, but we also spent no money and utilized some things we already had instead.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
I've been learning how to eat again and it is NOT FUN! I just found out that I am gluten and dairy intolerant. Is there anything harder to avoid than gluten (wheat, barley,rye and most oats) and dairy (milk, cheese, ICE CREAM)? So I am spending an exorbitant amount of time trying to figure out what to have for dinner and whining, complaining and moping about this new development. Check out my gluten free blog if you find this interesting. I will cease to mope about it here, and hopefully start doing some fun things again soon!
I have been trying to put together a post about Christmas Activities but keep getting distracting thinking about all the Christmas treats I can't eat. (Ok, that is really IT now, no more MOPING!) Anyway, keep you eyes out for it. And of course, what we decide to do with RED.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
I have to say that when I first read the idea I was pretty skeptical. My kids are 2 and 4, not reading or writing yet. But I was happy to have a break from painting and after thinking about it, came up with a plan that I thought would work for us.
Day #2 Poetry
Day #3 Haiku Samples
I read the samples that MomUnplugged linked to in her original mail to the kids and had my 4-year old count the syllables. Then we talked about how they were all 5-7-5 and how there are different kinds of poems that follow different rules. After that, I cut the haiku out and let the kids glue them onto sheets of paper and then "illustrate" them. This was another activity they both liked. I was going to include one of my 2-year olds works of art but I can't get it to work right now.
Find the brown bear in the trees
So that they went on
A boy is eating
In a house with a big boy
Eating on a chair
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I am one of those people who is not so crazy about carving pumpkins and this seems like a super alternative. We have not carved one the last few years but I do want to do fun things to enjoy the holidays. So I am embracing painting pumpkins and makin Mr. Pumpkin Heads.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I wasn't really thinking and I started to do this activity with my 4-year old. The puzzle was way too easy for him the first time I cut it. I cut each piece in half again to make it harder, but by then he had lost interest. I am hanging onto it to pull out at a good time to try again.
So I tried again with my 2-year old and had great success. Well, I guess that depends on how you define success. He did not run off to spend lots of independent time working on and improving his puzzle skills. But we had a fun time playing together with a free and easy toy. He really liked watching me cut the puzzles, so he asked me to make one from all 6 sides of the box. Then, after spending a little time putting them together with him, he found an old plastic butter conatiner to store his new toy in, and carried it around a bit.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
The kids had a super time painting them. We started with some very small white pumpkins but it did not take long until they were covered and starting to look a bit muddy so we switched over to some larger ones.
As you can see, this turned out to be pretty messy. I guess when painting something 3-dimensional the inclination is to turn it around, pick it up to paint the bottom, and whatever else you might could do to get paint ALL over your hands.
Here are the finished products:
Friday, October 26, 2007
You make ice cubes in the three primary colors - red, blue and yellow. Then you put them into three bags like this red&yellow, red&blue, yellow&blue and wait for them to melt. Yep... wait for them to melt. It takes longer than you think. Maybe this should be a summer activity.
I tried to be really laid back and let the kids play with the bags while we waited but I did not succeed. My four year old was pretty rough with the bags and I was afraid they would bust.
Anyway, once they start to melt, you can see that yellow&blue make green etc. In fact, it is really cool because you can still see the two colors of partially melted cubes, plus the new color water in the bag. Like I said, my husband and I liked it. The kids, not so much!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Sometimes I offer to read with them (that rarely gets a no) and sometimes I just pull out a toy they haven't seen in a while, but sometimes it is fun for all of us to do an activity together. Unfortunately, I am way short on creativity, so I appreciate having resources to go to for ideas.
That is why I was happy to see this post from MomUnplugged. I immediately headed to my library's website to see what I could find. I really wanted the Preschooler one but my library does not have it. I ended up requesting the Toddler one and the Arts and Crafts one.
We have started off with a very simple one. There is an idea called "Sticky Feet" where you tape contact paper down to the floor (sticky side up) and then let your kids run, jump, play and crawl all over the sticky paper.
The kids really, really liked it. It lasted about a week and then all the stickiness was gone. I think it was a great sensory activity. My oldest did not like to touch it with his hands at first but over time got used to it. My youngest avoided the whole thing for a few days before he got into the act. They had fun coming up with their own ideas of silly things to do on the sticky paper.
I am excited to see what other activities we can do from these books.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
We worked on the Unplugged Project and these are the results of our efforts. I only had blue and yellow paint, and we only had about 30 minutes, but I was determined to get in on the inaugural project. I thought it was a great idea of something to do and really wanted to participate.
The picture don't really capture the whole "picture" though. The kids enjoyed collecting items on their walk outside, and learned several new and interesting things about the items they collected. And they really liked experimenting with painting/stamping with the different items.
They used pinecones, helicopters, rocks, berries, sticks, bark and pine needles.
Definitely a success although I want to allow much more time for future projects.
Thanks Mom Unplugged!
My kids absoultely loved it and ate serving after serving of healthy brown rice and beans. It is great to try some good new things. I get tired of eating the same things all the time and hate it when the new recipes turn out to be duds.
For this reason, I was excited to see this post on How to Get By Without the Electronic Babysitting Box with ideas of fun things for the kids to do. I made trays like the one pictured and it was a hit with both my kids, aged 4 and 2. My 2 year old does not talk much but he learned the word "bean" very fast so he could request his new favorite activity. This amused them for HOURS over the course of a week and was completely free, just things I already had in my kitchen.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Black Bean Burger
I followed the recipe except I left out the "spicy"spices for my kids. My 4 year old really loved them but I could not get over the texture. I guess I expected the texture to magically be like a hamburger when really it was more like mashed beans. I'll have to keep looking at recipes as I would love to find a vegetarian burger I like.
Ethiopian Lentil Stew
The spice combination turned out really weird - smelled great but tasted strange. I added some more red pepper and tomato sauce to overpower that and was able to salvage it. Not sure why this one didn't turn out great either.
Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
Hmm! I don't think I like yogurt muffins. Or maybe it was the brand lemon yogurt I picked - just something unnatural about it. At the risk of sounding like the picky one in my family - my kids ate them up in a hurry.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I saw an Asparagus Soup recipe on another blog and thought I would give it a try. One of my boys won't eat asparagus but I knew he would in a pureed soup. Both my boys seemed to like the soup OK, but I wasn't crazy about it. Of course, I made it on the spot when I saw it, so I had to leave out some ingredients, probably key to making it an interesting soup - the vermouth and the lemon juice.
Next up - an asparagus pasta dish...
Sunday, March 18, 2007
But do I want to write my own blog. Hard to say. I have tried to write a few different blogs in the last few years but it is a hard thing to keep up unless you are really passionate about it.
Something to think about....