Monday, December 31, 2012

Cooking with Kids

With the addition of the kitchen tower, we are able to cook many more meals together. Cooking together offers opportunities for fine and gross motor skills, Math, Science, nutrition, and of course great conversations.

 This is a small, but traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner. The kids helped with the salad and the borsch.

Here the kids are helping make turkey salad after Christmas. Mixing is great for building those arm muscles. 

One of my favorite Christmas presents was this mixer. I found a great deal online during Black Friday and told my husband he was buying it for me. haha

Kneading bread should be required of every kid. They love seeing and feeling it change consistency. It's also fun to come back later and see that it has magically grown under the towel!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fine Motor

I've done many posts on fine motor, but many people don't see it as important for young children. Fine motor activities build the muscles that will later be used for cutting with scissors, writing, and even typing and using a stylus.

The kids love playing with play-doh. I make sure during their play they each roll, pat, pinch, and pull because each of those actions develops different muscles in their hands. Because my kids have had so much fine motor work, I felt it was time to work on scissor skills. We started with Training Scissors and once they understood the hand motion they needed to use we were able to move on. Next came Self Opening Scissors. These are great because it is easier to squeeze scissors shut than to open them. Finally I decided they were ready for the real thing.

I set up both kids close enough that I could reach them, but not close enough that they could cut each other. I put a piece of paper and a pair of scissors in front of them and let them decide how to hold everything and make it work.

 Sweet daughter went for a typical toddler hold - not comfortable or natural. She does have her thumb in one hole and two fingers in the other, but she put the blades going across her palm. Awkward hold and all, she was still able to cut the paper fairly well.

Sweet son went with the more traditional hold and also found success in cutting on his own. Very few young two year olds can cut this well because most just don't have the hand strength. Most preschools don't even work on scissor skills until kids are 3. We are not working on cutting on a line or making anything special. We are just using scissors and continuing to build those muscles.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

With family spread out, we tend to do Christmas in waves. These are the photos from only 2 waves last year.

Here are the kids opening their new babies. They were very happy (and since they still haven't fallen apart a year later I'm happy as well).

Sweet son with his Papa T. dressing the baby.

This was a group photo from wave 1. We intended to do this with all of the groups, but completely forgot once we were overwhelmed with toys during wave 2. 

On Christmas morning after being told there were toys in their stockings, sweet daughter's response was, "Mama put toys in big socks when I sleeping and him sleeping." Guess she doesn't believe in Santa. Sweet son didn't care how they got there, he just wanted the toys. (No photos because all of the photos showed their names.)

The table is set for Christmas dinner. Rather than cooking, I ordered a meal from a local grocery store. It was wonderful and clean up was a snap.

They loved a photo album full of photos of themselves. 

Sweet daughter is getting some help from her Uncle B. to feed her baby.

Lincoln logs were also popular with both kids.

You would think we had 10 kids opening gifts, but it was just my 2. 
Clearly, they are the only grand kids in the family.


Of all of the toys they were given, the absolute favorites were boxes. Next year, we are just going to buy boxes and skip the toys. At least, that's the plan - haha.

Who cares about the toys inside the box? It fits his head so much better.

Uncle B. was tired after the drive to our house. Sweet daughter brought him a pillow and a couple of blankets before tucking him in and giving him a hug good night. 

Once family left, we all crashed in the living room. Christmas is overwhelming for everyone and this helped us get back to being relaxed and happy.

This is the best present ever. Though some days I am tempted to try returning them.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Inside Fun

I've already written the post on outside fun, but of course we also spend time inside having fun. Here are some of the favorites from December.

Puppets are always fun and sweet son has the best laugh I've ever heard.

 Sweet daughter is playing a game of pretend with her doll.

 They love puzzles and I love when they work together. This is one of their favorite floor puzzles and yes, they do ride around the kitchen on it once it is complete.

Sweet son is reading a fire truck book to the snowman and Santa.

When it doesn't snow where we live, we make snow. This is called Insta Snow. You just add water and it stays cool and fresh for at least a month.

Playing in the Insta Snow

Frosty the Snowman

Monday, December 17, 2012

Outside Fun

Here are some of the outside activities we did in December. It did get "cold" for a few days, so the kids got to wear their big coats. I put cold in quotes because it never got cold enough to snow and it didn't last long. That's why I love living here.

Can you guess which kid likes being out in the cold and which prefers the heated house?

Here we are in the town square which is decorated for Christmas. This photo was taken after we saw Santa parachute into town. Any event that can combine airplanes and Santa is going to be a hit with my kids.

 Two elves parachuting - great landings
 Santa parachuting - not a smooth landing

The kids on their balance bikes. I love these things and don't they look so grown up?
 This is further proof I let my kids dress themselves.

Here the kids are using spray bottles with colored water to make a mess outside. Squeezing the handle is a great fine motor activity and since we normally do it with just water, adding a color made it an entirely new activity for them.

Friday, December 14, 2012


This is the last of the awesome giveaways from Activision. Today it's a Wipeout 3 game for Xbox360 (requires Kinect sensor). Same rules as always, US residents only.

Game Description: Welcome back to Wipeout! Where things are wetter, wilder, and even wackier than ever!
  • Tackle the craziest courses ever, like Deck the Balls and the Wild West!
  • Run the Wipeout course like never before with all new, 3rd person camera angles!
  • Battle your friends to reign supreme in Side-By-Side Multiplayer!
  • Over 200 uniquely outrageous obstacles!!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dinosaurs and Nature

Like most kids, my kids love dinosaurs. So when a local wildlife sanctuary had a life size dinosaur exhibit, we went to visit. It was also cool enough to wear light jackets in December.

The kids loved walking along the trail to see the different dinosaurs.

Many were decorated with wreaths and other things. A little strange, but festive none the less. 

This was one of the few dinosaurs they could go up and touch. Sweet daughter liked petting it like a large dog while sweet son liked sticking his head in the mouth to see if it had a throat.

I was also impressed with how many of the dinosaurs sweet son could name. We read a lot of dinosaur books, but I didn't realize how much he had retained. I love when kids impress me with their knowledge.

These weren't just statues. Most of them moved and made noises and one even sprayed water. While sweet son loved it, sweet daughter mostly just ran past them saying "I'm not scared" until she made it to my arms.

After walking the trail with the dinosaurs we went inside the museum to see some of the animals/exhibits. 

Sweet daughter wanted to bring these guys home. We are not getting a snake. EVER

The kids didn't want to go home, they wanted to go hiking. We took off on one of the other trails. It looked easy enough for toddlers.

It did get more difficult fun. There were small inclines, tree roots to step over, and even natural steps to walk down.

The best part of the day wasn't seeing the dinosaurs, animals, or hiking. The best part was getting out in nature and talking. We talked about the different trees, seasons, the sounds we could hear, and everything else that strikes the fancy of two year olds. The second best part of the day? After hiking for 2 hours (not including the time in the museum) the kids took a great nap.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Tale of Two Beds - Part 4

In case you missed the rest of this series start here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

So after we removed the bed frames from their room, you would think they would run out of things to do. My kids are excellent problem solvers and have mastered working together though. First came the fun of moving the mattresses around the room.

Then, in addition to moving the mattresses, they started making a mess with the very few things they had available. Here you can see the blankets, pillow, pants, socks, and their lovies spread around the room.

Many parents will see where this is headed. Lucky parents will never have to deal with this.

*NOTE* Do not scroll down if you get sick easily. Do not scroll down if you are so visual you can smell things just by seeing a photo of them. Feel free to scroll down if you think having twins is fun and cute - I promise this will cure that.

The only thing left to use to make a mess in the room? They both took off their diapers (notice they had been duct taped on because this is not the first time this happened). The diapers were left clean and yet... over in the corner between the ducky and the door... ewwwwww. They tried to hide the evidence by pushing it under the door. Cleaning between the bottom of the door and the carpet is not easy, in case you are wondering. 

Of course after handling the evidence with their hands, they had dirty hands and very few options. So they wiped them all over the walls. Trails of poo on the floor where they had walked through it and on all 4 walls. You can see from the photos below (where I had already started cleaning) the thoroughness of their job.


I called my husband and demanded he come home from work to help me. Unfortunately, he couldn't do that so I was left with a room covered in poo, two kids covered in poo, two mattresses, sheets, and everything else all covered in poo.

By the end of the day, my kids were clean, the mattresses, sheets and clothes were all washed. I had cleaned all of the walls - a few patches of paint even came off in the process. My husband was kind enough to come home with a new steam carpet cleaner. The kids were in so much trouble that this was the last time they took off their diapers. We did still continue to duct tape their diapers for a few more months just to make sure. So far, this was my least favorite phase the kids have gone through.

Please tell me you have gone through something similar and that my kids aren't the only ones who have a need to destroy everything possible.

A Tale of Two Beds - Part 5