Thursday, December 24, 2009


We're heading to Pittsburgh to visit hubby's family for Christmas, so this might be my last post of the year.  2009 has dealt economic challenges to our family as most of the country, but that is not what we'll remember years from now. This year we've brought a new life into the world with our daughter's birth, witnessed the astounding growth of our son, strengthened friendships and continued to grow as individuals and as a couple.  There are so many reasons to celebrate and be grateful this (and every) season.  Here are just a few blessings that top my list.
  • We are healthy, fed, warm and loved
  • I'm tremendously grateful for my amazing husband that provides such a wonderful life for my children and me. I love him dearly.
  • My two children - healthy, happy and very sweet little people
  • Our family and friends for their love and support
  • I'm deeply grateful to those that really love my children. As we don't have family nearby, I'm especially grateful to my friends that show such love for Turbo. Thank you for being our 'village' and allowing us to be yours too.
  • I'm very grateful to you that follow our blog! The encouragement and care for our family is heartwarming
  • I'm also very grateful for the fellow bloggers that provide so much inspiration. Seriously, what would Turbo and I do all day without you guys?!? 

Wishing all of you a very warm, peaceful and merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Season for giving

Turbo is 29 months and Sweet Pea is 4 months

2 weeks! Wow, I can't believe it's been that long since I've posted. We've been busy, enjoy the holiday season with play, parties, friends and giving.  It's the giving aspect that I want to nurture in my children.  We did two specific acts of charity this year with Turbo.

We adopted a family through the local CASA Program. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program services the foster child population in almost every county in the USA. These children have been abused, neglected and/or abandoned and finally become dependants of the court.  They are placed in foster homes, group homes or at times with another member of their family. The CASA program is comprised of volunteers that assess, then advocate for the child's best interest regarding education, mental health, medical/dental, sibling/family visitation and placement interests. During the ever changing enviorment of a foster child, a CASA volunteer is often the only stable relationship the child has while in foster care.  I was a CASA for over 5 years before my son was born. It was such a tremendous expereince to be brought into these kids lives (8 kids in all). The picture below is of one my kids and me several years ago.

We adopted a needy foster family through CASA this holiday. We bought the kids and caregiver gifts and then delivered them to the CASA office. Turbo was so excited to give! It was heart warming to see his smiling face as he saw the gifts carried into the office.  Can you believe I didn't get one picture of this entire process?!!? 


What does it look like to feed 28 families for 2 days?
112 cans of vegetables
56 cans of fruit cocktail
56 cans of tuna
28 cans of spaghetti sauce
28 boxes of pasta
28 boxes of tuna helper

Another project was preparing bags of groceries for the hungry. The bags contain: pasta, sauce w/ meat, tuna helper, tuna, canned vegetables and fruit. It's designed to feed a family of 4 for two days and are handed out as the needy come for a meal at the local soup kitchen. I chose this project because Turbo could participate in every aspect of it.  

Turbo had some terrific Tot School moments
General: We talked about the food groups. We worked on same/similar/different using the fruit and vegetable cans. I think Turbo got it. We'll see if it translates to other things besides peas, corn and green beans!  Concepts of high and deep while stacking the cans 3 high, 5 deep and heavy/light between the cans and boxes.  You get the idea.

Counting:   It was great opportunity to count to larger numbers than normal.  We counted boxes, cans and packages. While we did mostly consecutive number counting, I showed him the concept of counting by 5 and by 2, while I don't think he understood it completely, it got his attention.  He also counted for Daddy while helping to bag the groceries.  (4 vegetables, 2 fruit etc.)

Sorting: It doesn't get better than this.  We had boxes and cans galore for him to carry, sort and stack. Truely a 2 year old's delight!  He's very interested in the pictures and words on cans and boxes now.

Following directions: He had to hand Daddy just the right vegetable, fruit etc. It was good practice for listening and following directions. I was so proud of him and his wonderful attitude!

 Here are the bags, filled and ready to go. We'll be doing this again soon!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Our Winter Wonderland!

Wow, we woke up this morning to snow on the ground!! We live in Northern California bay area, so it's very unusual to see snow here! Turbo has never seen snow before this week!   Our snow melted after a couple hours so we headed out to the hills to play.



Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tot School

Turbo is 29 months and Sweet Pea is 3 months

Oh what fun we had this week!! It's been a busy posting week for me too. Be sure to check out these other related posts.
Now for other Tot School things:

Circle Time - Turbo LOVES circle time. This week we did a memory verse from the December 2's curriculum from Hubbards Cubbard (free!), then we danced to some happy music. We always read a book or two. This time we're reading our new Bob Books. 
Turbo is dancing to "I've got that Joy, Joy, Joy" song. His joy is just bubbling over!

Train Run - There's something about a loop that makes kids run! Turbo's favorite is the loop around our kitchen island.  He grabs his train whistle and a letter off the fridge (making the sound too) then says "come on Mommy" and we'll run around the island pretending to be a train. Each time we run by the fridge we get a different letter. He'd run all night - I'm good for about 15 laps then I get dizzy!  It's such a fun way to burn off little boy energy and work on a skill at the same time.  Do you have a loop that your kids love to run?

Patterns with Ornaments - He's not been interested in patterns until this day. Baby steps!

Winter Bingo - from Preschool Printables  He LOVED using the drums.

Dried Beans and a Gumball Machine

Glass Gem counting - He decided it was more fun to hand them to Mommy and have me place them. That worked great because it was adding/subtracting practice as he gave me the gems. This idea has been on my list for ages since I saw it at The Adventures of Bear

Color Round up - Orange - Despite his happy face, he's not enjoying these, so we'll try them again next year.

Rhyming Cards - While we read tons of rhyming stories, I've never focused specifically on rhyming. I printed these cards from (I think).  At first we just reviewed the cards and saying the rhyming words. Then when he asked for the cards, we did this game where he had to pick the card that rhymed.

Button Snake - He asked for this again this week and is doing so great with it. Read how to make your own at the terrific Counting Coconuts blog.

Game Play - We play a lot of games during the week. Lucky Duck is his favorite. Sweet Pea and the dog that Daddy won last weekend, played with us.

Match the letters/numbers with Lines - I was so surprised that he did so well in drawing the lines! I first saw this activity here . I wouldn't have thought to give him something like this yet.

Color Wheel.  On one side of the clothespin is a color and he matches it to the color on the wheel. He's doing it upside down now for added interest.  We first did this months ago and he still enjoys it.  The idea came from here.

Color Stomp and Color Match up - I spread several colors all around the room, then have Turbo shout out a color while we race over to STOMP on it.  After that game, we clean up by matching them to their pair.

Snowman window cling. Fun and good workout for fine motor skills.

We read about the birth of Jesus in several books. I'll update with the titles tomorrow. We're talking about Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas every day.   Hope to get some Christmas crafts in next week!

Letter of the Week - R r

R is a terrific gross motor letter! We had so much fun pretending to be rockets, rabbits, robots and more at every chance.

Playing Ring Toss

The Rock Maze at our local amusement park

Rolling and Running were even more fun for R week.

We worked on Rainbow patterns.

We matched shades of rainbow colors

Coloring with rainbow colors

Rainbow puzzle- this was the left over scraps from a different rainbow activity I attempted, but didn't go as planned. I was putting these in our scrap paper pile, and realized this would be a terrific rainbow example for coloring and a puzzle for him to put in the correct order. He liked it too!

Leaf Rubbings - Turbo liked this more than I anticipated!

We wore red and especially our Red Rocket jammies. The best wearing red was on Friday before bed, Turbo was helping me sort the clothes from the dryer. He thoguth Daddy's red underware were very cool. This is what I found after putting Sweet Pea to bed. Yep, took of pants and diaper to wear Daddy's underware. Oh my, I'm still laughing about that.

We made and played with Rainbow Rice. I posted a tutorial for you earlier this week.

Ate 'r' things. This was a rice cake with peanut butter and raisins. We also ate ravioli.

We practiced Rhyming cards from

Few other things we did, but no pictures:
- We attempted to make a rainbow rice covered R, but Turbo insisted on using a glue stick. So, the process was fun, but the outcome was a slightly sticky R with slightly sticky rice all over the counter. I wish I had a picture because it was very funny!
- Watched rocket videos on YouTube.
- Reviewed our R poster from
- We talked about R things like recycling, reindeer, robots, rain, and routines.

I am so happy to be back doing letters of the week. However, we're going to take off again until the new year. We have a very full next two weeks with other activities and we'll be doing some traveling over the holiday.  It's going to be so much fun!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rainbow Rice

Turbo really enjoys sensory activites. As I've mentioned he has a love affair with dried beans but has not been interested in rice.  Thinking it needed some visual interest, I decided we'd add color.   Good timing too! It's R week, perfect for Rainbow Rice!

  • White Rice (I used 1/2 cup rice for each color)
  • Zip-close baggies 
  • Food Coloring 
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Paper towels for quick clean up
  • Work area covering (we used a cookie sheet)
  • Drying containers (I used one per color to avoid transfer)
*  Have your assistant pour rice into the baggie.

*  Put 1/2 teaspoon rubbing alcohol in the baggie of rice. I believe it speeds drying. I did this step myself.

*  Have your assistant help carefully add food coloring to the rice. I let Turbo hold the bottle, then put my hand over his to help him squeeze and for quick removal if necessary. There's no pictures of this (obviously)!  We used this opportunity to count drops. It helped him remember to squeeze slower so he could see them.

* SEAL THE BAG - then double check.  You do not want to be dealing with food coloring stains!

* SHAKE, SHAKE and SHAKE. Turbo loved this part. He was amazed the first time. He kept stopping and telling me the rice was turning red.   For every color after, I asked him what he thought would happen to the rice.  He said - "get dizzy, bounce around, shake up, maybe get painted."  I was dying laughing and that encouraged him to come up with more funny things.

* Dry the rice in a container or on a cookie sheet. (doesn't take long at all)
* Repeat for each color.
* MIX!


Here's my approx drops for the 1/2 cup rice:
Purple - 8 drops of red and 2or 3 of blue.
Blue - 8-10 drops
Green - 8-10 drops
Yellow - lovely and bright with only 3 drops.
Orange - added 10 drops of yellow and 2 drops of red.
Red - wasn't able to master that color. With 10 it looked a bit red, but more pink. I did it again with 20 and it was much better, but still not red, red.  Thankfully I didn't enter into a Rainbow Rice contest, so it's all good.

Got Beans?

~ Dried Beans ~ 
We seriously cannot get enough of these things. Turbo asks for the beans every week - sometimes every day.  He scoops, pours, sorts, fills, glues, slides, transfers and more. This post about sorting and this post with our art work are only a few of the many, many times these beans have been used since September.

Yep, September, these things have Staying Power! That's what I need in all my toys. Who knew this $3 bag of beans would buy me more time than....well almost anything except his $1 music erasers and his keyboard.

While at the Dollar Tree recently, I saw this Gumball machine and it just screamed to be used with the beans.  It was a HIT.  He loves to move the lever and see the beans rush out.  It's terrific practice for him to put the beans back inside - patience, fine motor skills - all good.