Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkin Painting

Another fun Open Ended Art project. This week was Pumpkins. Yep, anything goes as long as it's related to pumpkins.  We had a couple small pumpkins from our visit to the patch.  We decided to paint one! Turbo loved the idea and worked with great focus and interest in the project.











I realized up until now, we've done all of our painting on objects made for painting - paper, craft items etc. I can't remember having him paint something not made for paint.  Open Ended Art has helped me think outside the box with our art. Go visit Mommies Wise Little Bookworms and get inspired too!

Blustery days & Kite Tutorial

We had a very windy day this week ~ So we made a kite. 


I don't have pictures of us flying it. Turbo needed help to get it going and we were having so much fun that I forgot to take another picture.

We made kites several times last year and they are always quick and easy. Here's how you can make your own!

Supplies:
Sheet of copy paper
8" rod (Straw or wooden skewer)
Ribbon (use regular ribbon, crape paper, cut plastic bag) Ideally about 6' - but don't let it stop you if you have less.
6'+ String (yarn, string etc)
Spool for string (papertowel/TP tube, large plastic spice jar (like sprinkles))
Scissors
Hole Punch
Tape

Directions:
Figure 1: Fold the paper in half
Figure 2: Fold top sheet on a diagonal - 1/2" from the fold at the top to 3" at the bottom. 
Figure 3: Tape
Figure 4: Tape down rod item (we used a straw cut to size)
Figure 5: Tape down ribbon (I didn't have long enough ribbon, so I used what I had)
Figure 6: Straighten out the back fin. Hole punch about 1/3 down from top and attach string (we used yarn). Wind remaining string around spool item (we used a Toilet paper tube.)

photo: http://www.ntsb.gov/Kids_Site/play/fan_clip_image001.jpg

Friday, October 30, 2009

Art Journal & Free Photo Book

As I was looking through Turbo's older art, I realized again just how much his drawings and paintings have changed. The first pictures were clumsy swipes and dots - (ok, he was really just banging the crayon...but they were still dots.)  I smile remembering those first drawings and how often more crayon in his mouth than on the paper!

I want to document the ongoing progression of his art in a way that's easy to look back on it. I have two great ideas!


#1 - Art Journal. What a great way to have a single source of his drawings in a way that is easily stored, reviewed and preserved!  It will be so fun to turn the pages and see his art evolve and take shape into pictures of his life, experiences and thoughts.


Using a Michaels craft store 40% coupon, I purchased a hard-bound book with blank pages. You can also find these at many book stores. Each month he'll draw in the book. I'll date it and eventually ask him to write his name on the paper. What a great way to see his signature evolve too!  We started today.





#2 - Photo Book - I'll take pictures of his arts and crafts through out the year and then put them in a photo book.  It's a great way to preserve but not keep all of his work.  My favorite place to make books is Shutterfly. They have the best templates, are super user friendly and have great quality.  Use this Shutterfly link to get your free Photo Book. If you go there directly, the promo code is: UR48-4V38-GZB3-4Z1A7. The offer expires 11/30/09, so get over there soon. It's FREE - think Christmas gift, birthday gift or keep it!  You could make a timeline book - say highlights of 2008 or 2009. You can also make a theme book - say the last 6 years of family Thanksgivings (easter, summer vacations, birthdays, crafts, nature activities - whatever!)


shutterfly.com picture


Have any other ideas? What are you doing to keep your child(ren)'s art?

Little Bunny Foo Foo

This song is by the lead singer of Toad the Wet Sprocket and it totally rocks.  Such a hip version of a childhood song. Although be warned, you can't get it out of your head! 

Turbo and I have been reading the Little Bunny Foo Foo library book and listening to this song almost every day. We hop around, chase each other and even pretend to BOP the field mice. Mostly he likes when he's Bunny Foo Foo and I'm the good fairy. (A little real-life reenactment.)

<a href="http://glenphillips.bandcamp.com/track/little-bunny-foo-foo">Little Bunny Foo Foo by Glen Phillips</a>








Thanks to Mommies Wise Little Bookworms for sharing this!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

KERPLUNK

Kerplunk. That is the sound one tiny turd makes when dropping into the potty - Oh sweet music!

On his own, Turbo decided to pee and poop in the potty tonight. Just in time as we're potty training him on Saturday. Why? See here and here for a couple reasons. (the diaper fix didn't last long and pushed me over the edge) All the talk about it this week has made him so excited that he didn't want to wait!

I didn't have my camera (lucky readers), so here's a picture of Turbo on the potty in February. He never went, but it was a cute photo-op.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Black and White Art

This is my favorite recent drawing of Turbo's. It shows or represents growth in many ways.


He spent almost 10 minutes coloring this paper - both sides!! His attention span for coloring has grown soooo much.

He was holding the crayon in the correct position - without any coaching from me. He's fine motor and pre-writing skills are growing.

He was telling me about his art as he was drawing. He drew long tales, smily faces, circles and even made some writing letters. 


He's intentionally using different shapes while drawing. He's drawing with straight, wavy, and circular lines.  He knows this and talks about the type of line he's drawing.

He intentionally wanted to cover a lot of the paper.  Most of his previous drawings have been a couple of scribbles on one area of the paper. He's using different techniques and noticing porpotion more.


Unfortunately I missed the cut off to join this week's Mr. Linkey, but I still wanted to post about it!  To see what others are doing, head over to Mommies Wise Little Bookworms

Tot School

We had a terrific week.  The highlight was the weekend visit from by my Mom and brother! Turbo was so excited to see Gram-ma. He absolutely loves her and thinks about her every day! We fit a lot of fun into their quick visit, including the Pumpkin Patch on Sunday.

Corn maze. My brother lead us through this huge maze (thankfully!). Turbo loved the mud the best, but also enjoyed checking out the corn and riding on Daddy's shoulders.

















Here some other pictures from the pumpkin patch - Cow Train, Pretend Cowboy, HUGE Corn pit (like a sandbox), Animals, children's Hay maze with tunnels, oh yes -- and pumpkins!

 

MUSIC ~ Turbo accidentally received his new keyboard I was saving for Christmas. I brought it out to show Rick and forgot to put it away. The next morning little Eagle Eye spotted it and that was that.  He loves music, especially the piano. That's all he wanted to do the entire week, so I followed his lead. We usually spend a lot of time singing and dancing, but this week we spent the vast majority of each day singing together while Turbo played the keyboard.  I really love to see his passion for music - song, instruments and dance.




READING ~ Turbo read a LOT. Instead of asking me to read to him, he wanted to read to Sweet Pea. Not just one or two, I'm talking stacks and stacks of books!! Melt your heart sweet.



Name Caps - This has been on my list for ages and I whipped it up during his snack one day.


FINE MOTOR ~ Turbo is getting better at his button snake. He actually asked for it this week! It frustrated him, so he didn't want to do it for awhile. I'm proud he tried again (and did very well!) Want to make your own - Counting Coconuts shows you how.


SCIENCE ~ Wave Bottle (Baby oil, water and food coloring). He loved this. Shook it up, rolled it turned it and more. He enjoyed seeing the waves and the separation. We talked about oil and water. We'll be doing more with this concept.


Using the pump - one of his favorite things is the pump we use for the summer pool. He puts it in the water table to make bubbles, blows his hair and blows leaves around the patio. The hose comes off the pump fairly easily. When it stops working, it makes for some good troubleshooting experience.



GROSS MOTOR and patience ~ We also played several good games of hide and seek. He'll wait quietly a very long time until I find him.







To see more TotSchool Ideas head over to 1+1+1=1

PS: My child does typically wear clothes!!

~~~ Blog Award ~~~

Wow, I got a blog award!! It came from one of my favorite blogs - Counting Coconuts.  Mari-Ann is very creative and is always doing something new with her little man. Our kids are about the same age and I love to steal read her ideas! It's touching she thought of me. THANK YOU Mari-Ann for the award!



It's my turn to pass it along to a few other blogs I think are lovely.


Little Hands Big Work - I'm always amazed by this wonderful lady. She has three boys under 3 (yes!) and creates many wonderful things for them to do. Her blog has inspired me in many ways... one of which I'll be posting about next week!!

Mommies Wise Little Bookworms -  Home of our favorite Open Ended Art! Her art and nature posts inspire me with great ideas and new techniques to make art and nature fun, different and interesting. Plus she likes Toad the Wet Sprocket ~ got to love her for that alone! 

Spinner's End Nursery School - A Mommy blog with great Tot School activities. Her ideas are creative and always sure to be FUN! I've been stalking her blog for a very long time.

Chronicles of a Babywise Mom - This blog is full of resourceful information on Feedings/Naps/Night Waking questions for my little Sweet Pea!  When there's something amiss in those areas, I go here first for some ideas. There is so much great advice on her blog.

Adventures of Bear - Another Mommy blog that I read regularly.  I enjoy her Montessori type because they use tools/items we all have in our house. I can always find several ideas for Turbo and do them that same day!

These are just a few of the blogs I think are lovely. Bet you'll enjoy them too!

To "accept" your award, all you have to do is copy the award image above and add it to your blog (if you want to, of course).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Give-A-Way Win!

Turbo and I won a terrific give-a-way hosted by 1+1+1=1.  It's a cute book "A Bee in a Tree" courtesy of Mommy and Baby Essentials

Turbo loves it! We must have read it 20 times today.  It's a rhyming book with large font and bright clear pictures. The clean look and repetition of the book enables him to easily point out the matching and rhyming words.  We'll be doing some rhyming word matching activities at some point with this book as inspiration. It's perfect for my little man who loves rhyming words and is trying to read a bit on his own.

THANK YOU Carisa and Mommy and Baby Essentials!!!

" Hold the book up for Mommy..."






Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nap Time Saved!

It's been a very challenging day - one of those where both Sweet Pea and Turbo were fussing, whining and crying all day. By noon I was bonkers!  Thankfully naptime came. This past week every time I put him down for a nap, Turbo has been undressing (including diaper), playing, then having to pee... of course he then pees OUT his bed. UGH! Bed, blankets, rug and carpet all get wet, not to mention gross. (I don't care if its sterile). We talked a lot about keeping the diaper on so we wouldn't accidently pee in our bed. Didn't work.  I seriously considered duct tape today as it's been one of those days.  Instead, I put his diaper on backwards! Yep - Totally Worked!  I don't know where that inspiration arose, but whew!  He couldn't get it off and after playing a bit, fell asleep. Nap time saved. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Best Communication Moment of the week

The best Communication Moment of the week:
Turbo wanted to sit on the potty so I undressed him and he sat to go. Sweet Pea starts fussing, so I go in her room to nurse her. I hear the drawers opening/closing in my bathroom, so I know Turbo is playing. After Sweet Pea's done I go to see the mess in my bathroom. Turbo decides he has to go potty again. I kneel down and talk to him. Here's how it went....
 "JaJa peed in bed"   WHAT???
"No, peepee on leg, right here." (pointing to his calf)   You peed on your leg? 
"Uh, Ya, right here" Where were you when you peed. (holding my breath....) 
"On bed - sitting on Mommy's pillow" Really? (thinking oh, please no!)
"Ya, on Mommy's pillow".
 UGH! Sure enough, there was pee on my comforter, sheets & pillow. *sigh* At least he told me before I climbed into bed. Got to love his communcation skills. HA!!

Tot School

Where did this week go? Rick was out of town and I felt a little behind the 8 ball by the end of the week. Glad we got in some Tot School towards the beginning.

The best part of the week was a visit from my friend & her husband. I've known both of them for over 20 years! We stayed up until the wee, wee hours of the morning talking like we hadn't missed a beat. I cried with happiness and sadness when they left. What a very special time.

We're missing a lot of pictures this week. I just didn't think about taking them as we were having so much fun together.

Turbo is 27 months

Jack Be Nimble pretend play 



Making Jello - We don't cook together often. It was great fun and I plan do it more often!



Telling Jokes - Turbo learned two knock, knock jokes. It's so cute when out of the blue he comes to me and says Knock Knock and we go through the joke. I was able to get one on video and couldn't resist sharing!
video

Planting Pumpkin Seeds - A little late in the season, but still a fun activity!



Guitar Playing - This was by far his favorite activity for the week. It's on-loan from a good friend of mine and he's over the moon about it!


Blocks - Our number/letter/picture blocks are so much fun.  We matched letters, sorted animals (farm and wild) and did some math equations.  We did so much of this and I don't seem to have one picture.  It was great fun for both of us.

Spaghetti into small holes.  (then he was pretending it was floss - I just about died laughing. Guess our hygiene habits are rubbing off.)



Geoboard - An often requested activity (I love his concentration tongue)



Open Ended Art - See our post for our spinning good time!

For more Tot School ideas, head over to Carisa's Blog - 1+1+1=1

Friday, October 16, 2009

Great deal for Classic Children Books!!

I read a post over at Chasing Cheerios about a great sale on Children's Books. It's a set of 12 hardback books, each with a matching Audio CD! It's only $24.95 with about $3 of shipping!! That's less than $2.50 per book/CD set. Incredible. It's a upstanding company and no catches.

I just ordered it as a Christmas gift for Turbo and Sweet Pea. Check it out and see if it's for you and your kids.

Weekly Reader Online Store

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Orange & Black Art - spin baby spin

We love the themes Mommies Wise Little Bookworm suggests for Open Ended Art and have been participating every week.

This week was Orange and Black. Turbo loves the salad spinner. It's on a shelf where he can reach since he plays with it often. Last week Mommies Wise Little Bookworm used a salad spinner to make their art. As soon as I saw it - I knew Turbo would be thrilled. Understatement! He had such a great time.

I love the way these turned out. We're going to start adding his art to a wall in his room. I haven't put anything up on this wall yet and these are perfect!!

Anyone have a cute idea on how to hang them??

Put a plate in the spinner, squeeze paint





Inspect




Spin! - his favorite part! He took great joy in spinning as fast as possible and peeking in the top holes to see the colors SWIRL!



He asked for more colors so we pulled out red and blue also. We'll be using this technique a lot! I think you can teach layering, color blending and more through this. Who knew a salad spinner is a teaching toy?!?



I love them! Next time, I'll consider cutting some construction paper to fit the spinner. It will be nice to have a background color on some of them. I will absolutely have Turbo use an eye-dropper to place the paint. It will give him a lot more control over paint location and will help reduce waste a bit.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back it up! Let's talk strategy.

During the 6 weeks I've been blogging, one great blog was accidentally deleted and another wonderful blogger lost a lot of information on her computer hard drive.  We all know we're supposed to back up, but so often we don't know HOW.  I did some research this week and decided on a backup strategy for my blog.

I wanted to share 4 ways to back up your blog here at Blogger, the plan for my blog and a couple extra tips.

# 1 - Have Blogger email you every time you post or receive a comment. You can set this up in the Settings tab on your Dashboard.   This is the easiest way to have all your content (posts, pictures and comments) without having to remember to do anything. Restoring from these emails is NOT easy and will be very time consuming.  However, it can be done.

Auto Email Posts:




 Auto Email comments:






Scroll down to the bottom


 







#2 - Subscribe to your blog in your reader. Then you'll have the text portions of your blog (no comments or pictures) should something happen. (although you could subscribe to your blog posts comments too)

#3 -  Export your blog. From your Blogger Dashboard, you can export your blog to a file on your harddrive. Should you need to restore it you can import it right back into Blogger.  This is done from the Settings Tab.  (blog tools, Export Blog).  This does not save your template or customizations, so make sure you copy that HTML in a separate file and save to your harddrive - every time you make changes to the layout.   You'll want to read up about exporting here and here









#4 - Use a 3rd party backup tool. I came across this back up tool for Blogger blogs. I like this one because it's FREE and not Google affiliated. With my blog, my reader and my email being with Google, that's a lot of eggs in one basket.  I tried the backup and restore functions with my test blog and am happy to report, it restored all the posts I deleted!!  It was fairly simple too. 

The software is open source located at CodePlex.com  Go to http://bloggerbackup.codeplex.com/











 MY PLAN:
I have Blogger Email my posts and I subscribe in Google reader. Those are two automatic ways I have a back up if I need it.  I don't have to remember to do anything!  This is great because I will only do the other back up tools - once a month.  I plan to do both a export from Blogger and the BloggerBackup Program. They offer different features and are both easy to use. I can spent two minutes a month backing up my blogs - that's all it will take.

I will also back up my Layout every time I make a significant change.  Do this by copying the HTML code into a text document on my harddrive. 

TIPS:
* Create a test blog! These are useful for so many things - from testing format changes to testing your backup and recovery.
* After you back up for the first time, practice a restore on a test blog!  You want to ensure you know the steps to restore and it will work properly.
* Pick a date to backup every month. Mine will be the 1st since there's other monthly triggers for that date, it will be easier for me to remember.

I'd love to hear what you're doing to back up your blog!  Got questions? Ask away!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tot School

Turbo was sick this week.  We did a lot of plain fun things like building a fort, painting our Open Ended Art project and outside play.  We also had some down time - longer naps, running errands and even a TV afternoon where we watched Letter Factory.

I postponed our formal Tot School plan for this week and just incorporated little bits into his play when he was up for it.


LETTER STOMP - We were playing outside and I quickly thought of this game. Wrote a different lowercase letter on several pieces of paper and spread them out around the lawn. Then Turbo called out a letter and we raced over to STOMP on it.  Something so simple and absolutely fun.  We've reviewed h, t, b & n  over the past 4 weeks, so we used those letters. Next time, I'll put out upper case as well. This was a huge hit!



Hand tracing. My aquadoodle pen isn't working well, so it dried before he was completed, but he loves doing this.



Letter writing - he's so funny as he wants to 'write' his letters. So I write them and he doodles all over saying he's writing 'o's.  So cute!



Button Snake - I found this great activity at Island Life's blog and just had to make one. Turbo was more interested in unbuttoning, so I buttoned them all on and let him remove them.


















Red Light / Green Light - We mixed it up a bit and played the game with him on his car. (as a side note, I got this car off freecycle almost 18 months ago and it has been one of his favorite toys. Isn't it always like that!)  















Circle Prints - Turbo was playing with the plunger which was wet. He stamped it on the slate, saw a circle and was so excited to tell me about it. He proceeded to wet and stamp the plunger for a long time!


















Clean up play - I asked Turbo to clean up his blocks and he decided to use his tongs and transfer.