Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Dinner for our forrest friends

I was looking through my posts and realized I had forgotten to post this.

A few weeks ago we were playing with the play food inside.  I had brought everything out so that MJ could play while I made dinner.  TJ was rather disappointed that he couldn't really make dinner with me in the play pots.  I suggested that he could go outside and make the squirrels some dinner. 

TJ's stew for the forrest friends
TJ had a wonderful time gathering all sorts of nuts, berries, moss, sticks... anything he thought animals might enjoy.  We set his buffet up on a tree stump and went into dinner.  After a few days we did notice that most of the food was gone.
Tasty dessert of berries TJ collected

How do you transition to meals or what do your kids do while you make dinner??

Thursday, 22 September 2011

What happened to summer?

HAPPY FALL! Officially  is over as far as the calendar is concerned.  We spent all summer outside.  I hardly had to think of any interesting activities to do with the boys.  I think our sandbox is half empty now and there is no grass under the swing, but that is how it should be!

This week has been cold and rainy.   I feel bad for the kids going off to school.  I wanted to share a few indoor ideas to get you going.  PLEASE SHARE MORE IDEAS with us in the comment section.  I know these ideas are pretty obvious.  I promise I'll be getting more creative as the fall rolls on.

Painting - remember is it the process not the final product the children enjoy.  Try painting on grocery store flyers or your junk mail.  Use different products other than paint like baby food or pudding.  Use different brushes, feathers, potato masher...

Pipcleaners in the colander - these make for funny hats

Lacing - use pipe cleaners, shoe laces or string.  Try buttons, beads, cherios, noodles.

Cutting - let them loose with safety sisors and junk mail!

Mail - help them to creat their own letters.  You could play post office or even surprise the grandpatents with real mail!
Baking - everyone loves food and eating what they've made.

Play dough - we make our own and even bring other toys in to the mix

Puppets - you could make your own or just bring out a few old favourites.

Boxes - Grab some boxes and get creative.  You don't just need a large one, smaller boxes make great castles.

Play cars - we made some roads out of old jeans.

Trains - set up some kitchen chairs and go on a grand adventure.  We go to the lake (couch), mountains (fire place), and the zoo (to collect toy animals)

Technology - young children could also use the internet, computer or Wii.

Tactile play - bring your water table inside or grab a big tub and fill it with rice or dry pasta.  You could be brave and try shaving cream, jello, pudding or water.

Forts - some chairs and blankets and you've got an awesome club house!

Basically I encourage you to embrace some mess, bring out your inner child, get into your child's creative play and have a fun time inside.  I'm also all about dressing for the weather and getting outside.  Check around my blog for some of our outside adventures and more crafts and activities.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Math without knowing it

Our boys are still rather young but we have been considering their education since birth.  We would like to homeschool our children (I believe we already are since learning starts from the beginning).  We shall see if the Lord will allow me to continue to be at home with the boys.

As a toddler TJ learned his colours, animals, shapes, etc through puzzles, reading books, playing and through pointing at objects.  After some research I started creating lapbooks, file folder games, bought some pre-k books from the store and started trying to teach TJ some more things.  I realized that he wasn't interested in most of the activities I spent hours preparing.  He couldn't sit still and it wasn't fun learning together.  I recognize that he was still young when I did this but the websites I was getting my info from were for young kids.  After looking into different homeschool styles we read more about Unschooling.  This described our TJ perfectly and really hit home for me too.  So we will continue to follow our kids interests for the moment to see where it leads us.

So far he learned the alphabet and all the letter sounds by watching the LeapFrog Letter Factory movie.  TJ has been surprising us daily with what he knows and we aren't even trying to teach him.  Here are some shots of TJ doing math sorting on his own.

TJ sorted the lacing beads and strung them all separately.  He then took the beads for a ride in the caterpillar.

TJ piled all the toys together into his project.  He gathered all the toys that move together.
I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Free crafty fun

My boys are very active!  We've been outside so much this summer that when the weather turned cold for a few days I had to get creative quickly.  Here are some pictures of the fun things we've done recently for free (or almost).

We got out the paints and dug through the recycling bin for some flyers and such to paint on.
Look at the concentration
So proud of his work
TJ is a very tactile guy skips right to the hand prints 
Gets right into his work
My boys love to be loud and make music.  After finishing some tins of cookies that we got from my grandmother, we made our own band.  TJ was so excited to start a marching band, which we took outside.

What fun thrifty things have you been doing with your kids?

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Count your blessings

This summer has been rather stressful for us.  We have been struggling to understand God's plan and our next step with work. We appreciate everyone's patience as we try to figure out what would be best for our family.  Through all of this we have been seeing God's blessings in many small ways.  Here are some things He has done for us recently.

* My wonderful parents took the boys for an overnight so we could get some work done on the house.  We managed to paint 2 rooms and prep some door frames for painting.  We also moved some furniture and had a nice evening together.

* The day we had to pay our company HST we received a long awaited payment from a customer to cover the taxes.

* We found an amazing kitchen hutch for free on the side of the road.  We have always wanted one but haven't had the money to splurge.  We are so thankful to God for this nice surprise!

* We have been blessed to spend so much quality time with the boys as we watch them develop and grow.  MJ is signing and talking so much.  The boys are playing together more often too.

* Sales at the grocery store on the items we need most.  Doesn't sound like much but it sure is nice when that happens.

* Scripture keeps coming to mind for both of us that we hadn't considered before.  We are trying to be more faithful and consistent with reading our bible.  It is wonderful that the Lord still speaks to us in many ways.  I've even read other blogs that hit right to what I needed to hear on a given day.

Awesome Ikea hutch we found free!

I'd love to hear how God is blessing you.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Exploding Lizard

This story is so cute even though it was a tragic end for our lizard sprinkler.

We were given a blow up lizard sprinkler for TJ's first birthday.  Each summer it comes out and were have a great time.  This summer TJ has been enjoying playing with the hose a lot so the lizard sat blown up in the back yard.  The other day it was really hot so I got out all our water toys and we went to hook up the lizard.  I blew it back up and attached the hose but the water was only coming out of a few holes.  TJ began to get upset so I did some investigating and poking around.  I believe that the lizard must have had a hole on the inside because it was filling with water instead of air.

I explained to TJ that his lizard was broken and he got a bit upset.  He wanted to hug the lizard.  Imagine the little guy trying to hug  blowup lizard filled with water (it was rather heavy).  We tried to relieve the pressure and get some water out.  I figured that it was hopeless and explained to TJ that the lizard was broke and we had two choices.  We could throw it out or play with it broken.

"Mommy Lizzy is big.  It is too big for the garbage."

So we turned on the hose again. and the Lizard filled with water.  After a few minutes the side split and the lizard exploded.  TJ was confused and upset that the water wasn't coming out.  I showed him the hole and explained that we needed to say goodbye to the lizard and toss it out.

"I can see that you are upset about your lizard.  Did you want to give it a hug?"

Imagine a little boys in his swim suit holding a limp lizard with a huge hole in it.  Quivery lip and all...
"I can't give it a hug like that."

Oh I couldn't help but laugh a little and hug him.  We decided to get a new lizard next year.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Simple Pizzas

Kids love pizza and so do I.  One of our favourite things to do is sing the "Silly Pizza Song" from Signing Time.  We make up our own toppings all the time.  The other day we had a stroller, tree, leaf, lawnmower pizza.  Can you tell we were outside at the time?!

I've been noticing a big difference in the boys behaviour with the different foods they eat.  A little bit of research and the obvious answer is that processed foods aren't healthy, even though some advertise that they are.  I'm not a great cook and I learning to make healthy choices for my family.  So I thought I'd try some very simple pizzas for dinner.

Whole Grain pitas (one per person)
pizza sauce
toppings (we used orange bell pepper and pepperoni)
Toaster Oven (or regular stove)

TJ was so proud that he made dinner all by himself (only a little bit of guidance).  The boys both loved it too.  I think this will be a regular for us now.
Caught him by surprise

What other ideas can you share with me?