Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tot School (abbreviated week)

I wish I could say that we had an awesome Tot School week, but really, we didn't. I came down with a nasty sinus thing starting Saturday night, and in addition to the nausea I'm still dealing with, I felt somewhat less than productive, to put it mildly. I even took Jillian up to my mom's house for an afternoon/overnight visit so that I could have a little break to just rest.

We did get together with our moms group to celebrate our toddlers' birthdays since they're all so close in age. And Jillian scored the best. socks. ever. I know, they're tough to really see on the patterned carpet, but I adore them so much I had to brag about them. Thanks again Emily & Jack!

She did get in some art this week. At the party she enjoyed our host's chalkboard/easel so much that I've decided to splurge the $15 at Ikea and get one for her. Daddy has been working with her on drawing "lines", "long lines", "circles", and, "bumps". She's been doing a great job!

We also did a little painting activity later in the week. A friend emailed me a link for texture painting knowing how much Jillian likes to paint. Thanks for passing it along Jen! We gave it a whirl and Jillian wasn't as into it as I had hoped, but we'll try another time.

This of course evolved into a more involved painting activity. We did some regular brush painting.

Then we painted some rocks. Jillian LOVES rocks.

And just to keep the fun going, I let her try painting with Q-tips, which was fun for her, since she loves making "dots".

I've really enjoyed doing stArt projects with Jillian, but this week she's into something new. It's called, "I want to pick what we read, and all I want to read are my Sesame Street alphabet books and the Bible." Which means not only is she not interested in the books we check out of the library, she adamantly refuses to let me read them to her. Nice. And not at all conducive to doing story+art projects. I'll have to get my more creative hat on this week. Although, I really can't complain about her wanting to read her Bible, can I?

Since we were originally going to focus on the letter "O" this week, I found some great books from the library about opposites. Clearly, we didn't read them. But we did spend some time learning about long vs. short. I didn't get any pictures, but I just used two vastly different lengths of string to illustrate long and short and she enjoyed this exercise. I'm hoping to do more opposites activities this week. And some more reading of the books we got from the library.

Visit 1+1+1=1 to read about more tot schooling adventures!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Celebrating 2!!!

Like last year, our moms group got together at Brenna's house to celebrate the toddlers turning two and did a gift exchange. We had a great time today! Thanks Brenna for hosting again and thanks to all the moms that took and shared pictures since I somehow neglected bringing along my camera!!!

Jillian enjoyed creating on the blackboard side of the easel. We may have to pick up one of these. For realz.

Emily1 and Me

Emily1 and Jilly

Jillian adores this car.

Cake was eaten.

Chillin' in the chair. She spent some time looking outside. Because it's fun!

Jillian showing off her belly button. And the fantastically awesome socks she got from Jack as a birthday present. Seriously, I will be getting some for myself. I *heart* them.

Waiting for the other toddlers to pose for a group picture. We see this expression a lot.

And the obligatory group photo. Left to right: Andreas, Jocelyn, Jillian, Cadence, Brooks, Jack, Amedeo. Leora hadn't joined the picture yet, but Jillian was still on the couch for this one. One day we'll be able to get them to pose for a picture. One day.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tot School

We moved on to the letter "N" this week. I've been feeling less than spectacular, so I feel like we're not getting as much tot schooling done around here. Nevertheless, we did some fun things.

I loved this idea for noodle painting. We didn't have much luck with it - I must not have cooked my noodles enough, because they were still a little stiff and stuck to the paper mostly, rather than sliding along the paper smoothly. I guess al dente is best for eating, not painting!

Since we had the painting set up, I did a quick look around the kitchen for something besides brushes or fingers that Jillian could use to paint with, and stumbled on our corks. This was fun for her - she liked making dots and drawing lines in the paint with the edges of the corks. It was also fun for her to stack the corks - they pretty much stuck together because of the paint.

I couldn't give up on the noodles totally, so later in the week we painted uncooked noodles to make a necklace. I set up Styrofoam plates with toothpicks for Jillian to place the wet, painted noodles on while they dried. I figured this would be a great fine motor skill activity AND the noodles would dry without sticking on something! NOTE: noodles with flat tops/bottoms would have worked better for her little fingers to hold on to, but we made do with the slanted noodles we had on hand.

After the painted noodles dried, I tried setting up a number activity for Jillian using Uno cards! I set up one set with numbers 1-4 and the corresponding number of noodles, and then a second set with no noodles. This was not at all something Jillian even wanted to try. So I set them up side by side, thinking it would be a better visual for her. No luck. She really just wanted to play with her noodles.

After the noodle/number activity fail, we moved on to stringing our noodle necklace. This was a bigger hit. I tied a noodle to one end of the string so the noodles wouldn't fall off as she strung them. And I did wrap some tape around the stringing end of the string, to make it sort of like a shoelace. She did pretty well with this and strung about half of it herself.

We also had a name activity that I wanted to do this week. We did it one time, but I think I'll pull it out again over the next few weeks.

For our stArt project, we read the book, "The Perfect Nest" by Catherine Friend. That went ok. The nest was harder to make than I anticipated, so I ended up making it. And it still didn't turn out great. Jillian had the most fun playing with the eggs I got out to fill the nest! You can read more details about that project here.

The other "N" books we read this week were:

"Nothing" by Jon Agee

The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman

The Day My Nose Ran Away by Jason Eaton (this was the favorite book of the week; we've read it over and over; beware: it's LONG for a two year old! I've been telling it with my own words since the first reading.)

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson (I liked this book, but I don't think Jillian "got it")

Naming by Margaret Greaves (I couldn't find an image of this one)

That about wraps up our week. Next week, on to the letter "O"! Check out what more tot schooling families are doing over at 1+1+1=1.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

stART - The Perfect Nest

For our story and art project this week, we read "The Perfect Nest" by Catherine Friend. The book is about a cat who builds the perfect nest to attract a perfect chicken who would lay a perfect egg that could make the perfect omelet for the cat to eat. But the nest attracts a hen, a duck, and a goose, all who lay eggs in the perfect nest. They all want to stay in the nest and the cat tricks them into leaving so he can get their eggs. But then the eggs hatch and the chick, duckling, and gosling look to the cat to be their mommy. In the end, the cat takes care of the baby animals and discovers that he in fact, made the perfect nest.

I stumbled across this yarn egg project a couple weeks ago on a friend's blog and thought that would be a great way to make a nest - just do the bottom half of a balloon and *bingo* it would be a nest! This was easier said than done and I ended up actually making the nest because it was a little tough. No pictures of that process - I really needed three hands to do it!

But it turned out alright, I guess. A bit small, but I wasn't going to try again...

I was hoping we could go forage for nest "fixins" outdoors, but since our ground is buried under feet of snow, we had to improvise while creating the perfect nest. We used a bean bag as a pillow to make it soft and got out our Easter eggs out.

Then I hunted down the small chick that we had in one of our books upstairs because Jillian kept opening the eggs and looking for the "babies".

And here's the book and our perfect nest!

This week's project was fun, but last week's was such a big hit, I don't know how I'm going to be able to top it!!

Head over to A Mommy's Adventures to read about more stArt projects!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What I Learned This Week: Big News Edition

Well, obviously I didn't JUST learn this...but at 11 weeks along, I think it's time to make the big announcement...

There's a bun in the oven!!!

Check out what other people are learning this week at Musings of a Housewife.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tot School

We had a less formal week this week - all these blizzards are killing my productivity. I know, with all this time at home I should be extra productive, right? Wrong. Something about being snowed in practically paralyzes me and makes me want to do nothing but chill on the couch with a warm blanket between bouts of shoveling. *sigh*

We stuck with the letter "M" again this week and re-read "Library Mouse" by Daniel Kirk. Jillian really likes this book, so I chose it to do a stArt (A Story + Art = A Great StArt!) project. The book is about a mouse named Sam who lives in a library. He writes little books and puts them on the shelves, attracting the attention of the librarians and children, who want to meet him. He makes blank little books for the children to write their own books, and sets up a meet the author display that has a key feature of a mirror, to show children that they can all be authors too!

I took some printer paper, cut it in half, and stapled it together to form a small, blank book, and had Jillian "author" her own book. She enjoyed it so much that later in the week I made another blank book for her!

We did some Valentine's Day painting (i.e. with red, pink, and white). I had high aspirations of cutting heart shapes out of her paintings and making valentines, but we didn't quite make it that far.

She's a very enthusiastic painter.

I cut some heart shapes out of a sponge for her to try sponge painting, but she wasn't so into that.

What she was into was marble painting again.

I remember seeing on someone's blog playing with the game Connect Four (I forget which blog, though!). I pulled it out to let Jillian play with it and try some sorting by color and making patterns. She quickly lost interest and just wanted to get the pieces out of the grid.

Then it snowed again. UGH!!

Yesterday I pulled out some of our foam sheets and stickers and Jillian made some pictures that were more spring-like. Because we are SO ready for spring!

While we were out late in the week, I picked up some pipe cleaners and wooden beads for her to try stringing. She did really good with this; I wasn't sure how good her fine motor skills were, but apparently they're pretty awesome!

This week we're moving on to the letter "N" and I hope to work with Jillian on her name and numbers!! Visit 1+1+1=1 for some awesome Tot School ideas from other moms!!