Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Braedon Holding Garrett

This boy LOVES his baby brother. It is so heart-warming to see Braedon loving on Garrett. It is too funny...sometimes when Garrett is eating, Braedon will say, "I don't want him to eat. Put him down so I can play with him." I love that Braedon loves Garrett so much. But, the baby needs to eat! :-)
And I absolutely can't believe how grown up Braedon is looking.

Playing Dress Up

We had never played dress up before because I didn't *think* we had any dress up clothes. Then, I decided to look through the clothes we already had that they either don't wear much, haven't grown into yet, or I was probably going to give away anyway. From that, I made a dress-up bin for them. I figured that they would love dress up because they are always pulling out their hats from the closet and putting each one on for me to see. They didn't seem to like it quite as much as I had hoped. But, the bin will stay in their closet (easily accessible) and hopefully they will go back to it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Love for Food Coloring

I don't think I have used food coloring ever since I was little making hard candy with my mom. When I say little, I mean I barely remember little. We bought some the other day because I wanted to dye our heart shaped pretzels and the rice for our sensory bin. Then, I read something about water transferring with medicine droppers and thought it would be more fun if the water was colored. Braedon and Kaley both loved this activity. One of the medicine droppers was a bit too advanced for Kaley but she liked playing around with it anyway. I think Braedon was a bit advanced for the medicine droppers because he was challenged for about 2.2 seconds and then knew exactly what to do. They both had fun with it anyway and asked to do it again today.

I am sure there about a million and one things to do with food coloring and I have only tried three of them. I can't wait to do more with it. I really think preschool activities are as much fun for mom as for the kids. At least for me they are! :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Valentine's Sensory Bin w/Rice

I posted previously about our Valentine's themed play. In that post, I said I never got around to putting rice in the sensory bin. Since then, I have experienced dying rice and water but that is a different post (yes, I have a new love of food coloring). Wow, did the pink rice make the bin so much more fun. I am so glad I added the rice. We poured the rice over our hands to see what it felt like (Daddy's idea). I dropped some rice on a small plate that was in the bin. Then, I dropped the rice slowly on the plastic lid of the bin to demonstrate the different sound it makes. We also have little plastic hearts we picked up and poured them over our hands and demonstrated dropping them on different surfaces. The lid of the bin is perfect for spreading out the rice to make a drawing board. I have tried it a couple of times but Braedon has not shown any interest in drawing letters in rice, glue, shaving cream, paint, etc... Though he will trace letters on paper with a crayon or marker, who knew? Anyway, back to the bin. There are the heart shaped measuring spoons and of course they were a big hit with the rice addition because the rice is so easily scooped and poured. I think Kaley could scoop and pour the rice all day if I let her. I picked out a couple of the pom poms, rose petals, and plastic hearts and showed them to Garrett and let him feel them. Braedon and I talked a little about less and more. But, really I was just trying to let them play and use their imagination. So FUN. I see lots more sensory bins with dyed rice or pasta in our future. :-)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Braedon's Birthday Celebration

Our firstborn turned 4 on Feb 10 and we celebrated the following Saturday. I am not a big-party-buy-an-expensive-cake-have-a-bunch-of-presents sort of person. I believe much more in just making it a special day and doing things together to make special memories. I asked Braedon a few days before if he wanted white, brown, or red cupcakes and if he wanted vanilla or chocolate icing. He said he wanted red cupcakes with chocolate icing. Then, a preschool cirriculum that I have been taking some ideas from had a recipe for pretzels. Since it was February, the cooking activity was heart shaped pretzels. After Kaley went down for a nap, Braedon and I spent some time in the kitchen making heart shaped pretzels (dyed pink) and red velvet cupcakes. He had so much fun helping me but I remembered how difficult it is to work with dough.

I love this progression...
Here he is getting excited about blowing the candle out:
Here he is blowing it out:

Now he has a very satisfied look on his face:

Then, his Uncle Chris came over. Braedon opened a couple of presents and then we presented him with his brand new bicycle (that grandma and grandpa T got him) with balloons tied to it. We had grandma and grandpa T on the webcam so they could "attend" the birthday celebration. I love that we can have virtual parties with special family who is out of town.

It sure didn't take him long to figure out how to get on/off of it and pedal it. Now Kaley rides the tricycle and Braedon rides his bicycle around the "lap" through the living room, dining room, and kitchen. I am just imagining when Garrett gets old enough to ride the firetruck. It is going to be so much fun with all three of them going round and round. There is no shortage of fun at our house!

Friday, February 18, 2011

(Un)Forgetful Friday-Garrett, God Tells Us...

When Braedon was around two years old he started having night-time fears. He didn't want to go to bed and would wake up sometimes several times in the middle of the night. This is when I started praying scripture with him. Specific scripture about not being afraid. The one I used the most was:
Isaiah 41:13 "For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."
I also have used it a lot since then. About a year ago he had a playdate and his friend was talking a lot about being scared of the dark. Of course, then Braedon started talking about it a lot too. I reminded him of this scripture and we would pray it specifcially for him and his friend.
Pretty much everytime he talks about being scared of something I remind him of this scripture. The most recent happened just the other day when Braedon and his brother went to the doctor. It was Braedon's four year and Garrett's six month check-up. I was pretty certain that each age was going to get shots. Braedon remembered getting a flu shot last time we went to the doctor. He asked me if he was going to get a shot this time. I was not going to lie to him so I told him I was pretty sure he was going to have to get shots. I followed it up by telling him that God tells us not to worry and not to be scared. Then, he asked me if Garrett was going to get shots. I told him yes. A few minutes later I heard him talking to Garrett saying, "Garrett, God tells us not to be scared. So, don't be scared of your shots...ok?"
It was so awesome to hear him telling his little brother this!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Themed Play

Valentine Day heart matching was inspired by My Montessori Journey. I just adapted this idea to hearts and made it a matching/paste booklet. There is a heart matching worksheet on Preschool Palace that I used to cut out the hearts. I then used construction paper and stapled a booklet together. I glued one heart on each page. The kids got a stack of hearts and had to match them to each page and glue them on. They have so much fun with glue.

Heart man craft (or robot as Braedon would call it)

Valentine sensory bin-This is our first sensory bin and the kids LOVE it! It contains fake rose petals (red & pink), purple hearts, heart shaped measuring spoons, heart beaded necklace, heart bracelets, valentine themed erasers, valentine themed cups, valentine themed plastic jug, heart maze games. All of this was dollar store stuff and has been so fun to dig around in. I wanted to dye some rice red but never got around to it. I can't wait to put together future sensory bins. Braedon found one of the erasers and didn't know what it was. That lead to us experimenting to see what all it would erase. We marked on a piece of paper with crayon, marker, pen, and pencil so he could try to see what it erased.

The kids have been playing with the heart measuring spoons and cups in the bathtub too.
We also did foam crafts but I didn't get a picture of them.
We have had PB&J cut into hearts, pancakes cut into hearts, drinking from pink cups with hearts on them, and drinking with straws twisted into the shape of heart.
We will complete all of the Valentine's themed worksheets I can find. Braedon can't get enough of them.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We Have Been Busy Lately!

We have been having so much fun at our house lately. We implemented a new bible/preschool cirriculum, Raising Rock Stars. I also became a member of her blog and can get the powerpoint shows and other extras that she has put together for members only. It has been so much fun to let Braedon and Kaley *play* on the computer and be learning at the same time. For each letter, number, shape we are doing in Raising Rock Stars I am finding as many other free printables of the same to have plenty of worksheets. Some of our favorites are:
Letter cut and paste from Homeschool Creations
Letter hunt, do a dots, and many more from Confessions of a Homeschooler
Color by numbers and many more from Preschool Palace
Letter and numbers worksheets from Beginner Reading
We are using Starfall, which the kids have been loving.
We also have been using You Tube a lot lately. I find videos of nursery rhymes, kids worship songs w/motions, and videos of the song we learn in whichever Raising Rock Stars unit we are doing.
We have completed the lessons on Let Your Light Shine (1,yellow,see,circle) and Ten Commandments (2,green,the,square). Braedon has both of the verses memorized and knows 4 or 5 other verses from church (we try to review these daily).
I also started teaching them nursery rhymes. I discovered DLTK and found the lyrics and printable word cards for the nursery rhymes. We started by learning Hey Diddle Diddle. It is a silly little rhyme that is fun to say. We say it, sing it, watch videos of it and point to the words and pictures whenever possible so they can make those connections. We have also learned In The Beginning and Seven Days both to the tune of Tom Thumbkin.
We are doing Before Five In A Row too. We finished The Little Rabbit a while back (before I had Garrett). That one is probably worth re-doing because it was so long ago. Recently, we have completed Goodnight Moon and almost finished with If Jesus Came to My House. This has been SOOO fun. I love her ideas of how to go beyond the pages of a book and create real life learning experiences. Just in doing this several weeks with Braedon he has really started to *get* some things and have much more of an imagination. Her ideas really made the books come alive, especially to me. I wasn't taught this way and never really had a love for books but now for the first time ever I am developing one and see the importance for our children to have a love of books. I have no doubt that we are going to fall in love with each book we read using BFIAR. The neatest idea that came with If Jesus Came To My House is that she suggests having fun with your shadows. That led to all of us laying down in a dark room watching daddy make shadow puppets on the wall. It was so much fun.

I have started rotating our puzzles weekly because we have quite a few and the peices just get thrown around and lost if I have too many out at once. Only having 2 or 3 out that they can choose from seems to make them want to focus on actually doing them. I have been reminded of how much my kids LOVE puzzles lately. We spend a LOT of time doing puzzles.
Braedon and I have been working on counting. There is a neat counting/number recognition game from Confessions of a Homeschooler that he has been liking to play. We are on Tt this week and I found a turtle graphing download from Confessions of a Homeschooler too.
We talk about the weather and the days of the week on most days. We talk about names, spelling of names, birthdays, ages (going to add address and phone number soon). We work on cutting/pasting and tracing almost everyday. We also have prayer time and bible reading almost everyday.
A new thing I am going to implement is Tots on a Mission from Totally Tots. I want to start learning and praying for other countries and show my kids where they are on our blow up, plastic globe.
This really has been a post summing up our past month. I took two weeks for each RRSP lesson and two weeks for each different book we have done in BFIAR.
In addition we have been doing lots of fun Valentine's themed stuff (separate post).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Birthday

My sweet first born turned four years old today. We celebrated his birthday this morning with chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and singing. We are having cupcakes and presents on Saturday. It has been my joy to be his mommy for these past four years and it will be my joy to be his mommy forever! I love you and thank God so much for you, Braedon.
This picture was taken in September 2010.

Garrett - 6 months

Garrett turned 6 months on the 5th. I am slightly behind in posting his picture. I can't believe how big he is getting. We haven't had his 6 month appointment yet and I haven't weighed him in a while. He is still having eczema issues. I have started washing his clothes in mild detergent and using a very mild soap for bathing him. He is still getting up at least two times each night. We have started, stopped, and started solids. I was doubting that he was ready the first time I started them. I was just hoping it would make him sleep. It didn't, so we stopped. A couple weeks later, I figured he was definitely ready when he would watch us eat and start chewing with his mouth like he was eating too. I am hoping that is why he continues to wake up at night too...We shall see. He loves that he can grab things now and be a slight bit more intentional with his hand movements. He loves to play pat a cake or really it is patty cake around here. We sing to him quite a bit. Braedon likes to show and tell him everything. He is cooing a lot and repeating ooh and ahh on command (sometimes). I am posting a couple of pictures because I actually got him laughing. Too Cute!
I love how you can see a baby's smile even behind a pacifier:

There is not much in life better than a laughing baby:

For comparison purposes, here are the previous posts:
5 Months
4 months
3 months
2 months
1 month

Friday, February 4, 2011

(Un)Forgetful Friday

*When I woke up a few mornings ago, I heard Braedon and Kaley on the monitor in their bedroom "reading" a book together. The book is Big Thoughts for Little People. There is a large letter on each page and the book goes in alphabetical order. So, Braedon was turning the pages and Kaley was saying the letter. She would say the letter and Braedon would say "that's right, Kaley. You are doing great!" in a very sweet and encouraging tone. It was so adorable I just laid in bed and listened to them on the monitor for a few minutes before I got up.
*Braedon is learning about the ten commandments this week with our Raising Rock Stars Preschool bible cirriculum we recently started. The verse for the week is Thou shall not steal. We were sitting on my bed playing with Garrett and Braedon says, "Garrett, Thou shall not steal. That is one of God's rules."
*Kaley learned how to peddle the tricycle and loves it. It is A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E. She rides by and just looks at me smiling because she is so happy to be doing it herself. Oh yeah, and she is pottying now too! We aren't totally trained but she is WELL on her way.
*Braedon sometimes calls me miss Tina. Like when he is trying really hard to get my attention, he will say, "um, excuse me, Miss Tina."

So much more has been going on but this is all I have time to share right now...