Friday, January 31, 2014

Valentine Boxes

The tradition of exchanging Valentines at school is continuing with my kids. Each year they decorate a box for all of the cards to go in. We have a crazy busy schedule so we usually try to start them about two weeks early.

We start with a simple shoe box covered with easel paper. The kids picked their paint colors - pink and purple for her and light and dark blue for him. I did not raise them to have such stereotypical favorite colors, but just as I wouldn't discourage them from choosing the opposite colors, I won't discourage them from choosing these.

Now you can start to understand why this process takes so long. They paint the entire box. Usually with multiple layers of paint. Then we let it dry for 3-5 days before the next step.

Just about the time the paint dried on these I got an email from the school saying that if we just sent the box wrapped in white paper they would let the kids decorate them at school. They understand most people don't have time to let their kids do art at home. I get it, especially from the schools perspective. They would rather make sure every kid has one decorated and not all parents will provide the time and materials for the kids to do it. I love seeing my kids do things like this. I did verify with their teachers and they thought it was great for us to continue at home.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Photos taken by the Kids

There are two iconic types of photos that everyone just naturally takes. First there is the famous selfie

Sweet Daughter's first selfie, dirty face and all.

Sweet Son's first selfie. You might think this was an accident if you didn't see the series of blurry photos after this one.

Many months later, I found this much improved selfie of Sweet Son.

The other iconic type of photograph?
 
 Sweet Daughter took this, meanwhile...

Sweet Son took this.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

It's an airplane. He's climbing into the cockpit.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sweet Son's Christmas Photos

Yesterday's post had photos Sweet Daughter took during Christmas. Today's photos were all taken by Sweet Son.

Christmas Tree

One of the best photos of my brother and me that has ever been taken.

Family talking on the other side of the stairs

Family sitting/standing around talking

Christmas Tree

An illustration from his favorite Christmas book

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sweet Daughter's Christmas Photos

The kids got their own digital cameras for Christmas. We finally got the photos off of the cameras and I wanted to share what Christmas looks from the perspective of a 3 year old. Today's post will be all Sweet Daughter's photos. Come back tomorrow for Sweet Son's photos.

Family opening gifts

Most photos were of knees, stomachs, or necks. This is Uncle B.

Christmas Tree

Presents all unwrapped

Stockings at home and a great photo of Sweet Son

Friday, January 24, 2014

Piano

Here are more videos of my kids playing piano. They are 3 years old and have been in music class for 5 months.

Do, Do, Do

High, High, Low

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Blah

I don't feel like blogging. I'm clearly falling behind and just have no motivation. First we got iced in our house so I used that as an excuse. Then both kids got the flu, so I used that as an excuse. Then it was Christmas - another excuse.

I typically write my posts about a month before they actually publish. As I'm writing this it is a week before it will be published. The reason I try to stay ahead is because I know something will happen to put me behind. It also gives me less reason to worry when we are on vacation. Since the blog auto publishes, I don't have to worry about people noticing we are out of town.

This nice buffer has given me a bit too much comfort, for now I'm falling behind and don't have enough content for January. Another issue is that we had a memory card go bad so we lost many photos from January. I use those for inspiration memory help on what we did last year. I remember the activities, but the details of if it happened in December, January, or February often fades.

So what do you do when you lose motivation? How do you get back on track? Can anyone offer advice or a silly smile?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Math Giveaway!

Another giveaway just for my readers! This time it is 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Math!


This book is for 11-15 year olds and is recommended by the National Science Teachers Association and endorsed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 20, 2014

Jingle Bells

Christmas may be over, but we are still singing the songs around here. Sweet Son decided to perform Jingle Bells and requested I record it. So if you aren't tired of Christmas songs still, here is a  one minute video of his performance.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Blocks Box

As we found places for all of the Christmas toys, we needed to rearrange some things. The cardboard blocks were often played with, but rarely put back on the shelves so they were an ideal candidate. Still we didn't know where else we would put them.

Then we bought a new mattress (for us, not the kids). It came with two cardboard ends to protect it and the blocks fit perfectly inside. So we had a great place to put the blocks, but where to put the box?

It fits perfectly in front of the fireplace. It blocks the kids from opening the fireplace. It does mean we have toys in the living room which we were trying to avoid, but these are easy to clean up. The kids still play with them often and it's not like we keep anything else on the fireplace so they didn't take away any of our space.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Weighted Blanket

After some research, we decided to make Sweet Son a weighted blanket. We let him pick two materials - a fleece sport ball pattern and a light weight rocket design. The plan was he could put the fleece next to him on cold nights and the cooler material next to him on warm nights.

In the middle we used a cheep white cotton. We drew a grid pattern with 4"x4" squares to help divide up the weights. There was also a 1" border drawn on the white for an extra strong border to make sure the blanket wouldn't be taken apart. We (I tried, but turns out Wonderful Husband has a magic touch with the sewing machine, so he did most of it) started by sewing the border - both lines - on 3 sides. Then he sewed all of the vertical lines to prepare it for the weights to be added.

We had Poly-Pellets to put inside. These are plastic, don't mold, and are machine washable so they are perfect filler for a blanket. We divided them into equal amounts which took a really long time because we didn't have a scale.


After pouring each cup of pellets into the openings, we had to make sure they got pushed all the way down so the horizontal line could be sewn. Repeat over and over and over. After the pellets were all secure, we attached the fleece to cover up the ugly white grid sheet.

The big test came when we gave him the blanket. He loved it. He slept with it every night it wasn't being washed. Since it was winter, he slept with the fleece side down. A few months later I suggested switching it since it was warmer. That's when the big error suddenly appeared. You can't sleep with the rockets on the bottom. As Sweet Son pointed out, the rockets would never be able to take off and fly if they were facing down. So he still sleeps with it fleece side down.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Another Science Giveaway!

Today's giveaway is the next book in the series of one minute mysteries - 65 MORE Short Mysteries You Solve With Science. It can stand on its own or be used after finishing the first book.



Recommended for ages 8-12, this book was a finalist in the National Best Books Awards, is recommended by Science Magazine! and has been mentioned on NPR's Science Friday.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ski Weekend, Part 2

As I mentioned in the previous post, Wonderful Husband is a skier. I am willing to go along. I have mastered the greens and feel comfortable (and sometimes confident) on the blues. However, I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. I knew Wonderful Husband would be in charge of teaching the kids to ski. This is a great plan until you have twins. Suddenly they each need one on one.

We started on a simple carpet lift. Our kids mastered this quickly. They realized they had to leave a space between the person in front of them or they would collide at the top. If you notice there is another child (that I don't know) who is not only right behind me, but is actually on top of my skis. This makes for a bad exit strategy.

Our kids at the top of the bunny hill. They look... unsure.

After watching how Wonderful Husband was teaching Sweet Son, I decided to help Sweet Daughter down the hill. This is the first time I have ever intentionally skied backwards. Sweet Son approached skiing like anything else, cautiously. Sweet Daughter approached skiing like she does everything, by claiming independence. Which is how a couple of runs after this photo was taken she pushed away from me and went down by herself. She stopped when she bumped (gently) into a pole. She was more than willing to stay with us from that point on. I love her independence, but I wish she would wait until she has the basics down before trying things on her own.

After a couple of hours, we decided the kids were ready for their first chair lift. Did I mention the hill wasn't crowded? It was awesome. The kids did great. Only one ended up dangling for a minute when loading. They both were able to exit (with us holding them in front) without the lift stopping. They also thought it was just a fun ride.

Here we are at the top getting ready to go down the green. See, the hill really was empty. The kids got to the point after two mornings of skiing that they could go down just holding our hands. They could do pizza or french fries on command. They didn't figure out turning or stopping, but that's not a bad start for a couple of 3 year olds with no experience. A year later and they are still asking when we will go back.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ski Weekend, Part 1

Wonderful Husband loves snow skiing. He was also raised in an area that had ski hills. We live in a flat area that only gets snow once a year or so. Still, he manages to go skiing about once a year without us. This was the first time we decided to take the kids skiing.

The first problem is how to do her hair so it wouldn't stick out and get icy. She wouldn't hold still long enough for a French braid. So instead I did 3 small braids (letting her run around between each) and just tied them together. This worked beautifully.

We started the weekend by picking up our gear. Yes, we made the kids carry their own gear. It's all part of the experience. I also LOVE those snow suits. They are all one piece, but do you see the two lines running all the way from neck to boots? Those are both zippers. To take off quickly just unzip both, pull the middle part behind them and it slides off like a coat. They can also put these on by themselves. Brilliant.

We stayed on the hill. This way after the kids were tired from skiing all morning they could take a nap while I read and Wonderful Husband could get in some ski time on his own. The kids loved the bunk beds.

Staying on the hill also allowed us to eat breakfast and lunch in the room. We had a small fridge and microwave. Breakfast was raisin bread and water or OJ.  Lunch was PB&J with fresh fruit and dried veggies. The kids thought it was awesome that they got to eat PB&J every day. We loved the savings by only going out for one meal a day. The plan was also to save any dinner leftovers to heat up for the next day's lunch, however we always ate our entire dinner. Skiing makes you hungry!

When I say we stayed on the hill, I really do mean it. Those steps are to the hallway to our room. Sweet Son is standing on one of the green trails. Sweet Daughter is climbing up to the trail. We figured we would spend most of our time on the two beginning hills and this was between them. Perfect planning. It was also just a short walk to the restaurants and other village activities. There was a bike race on the mountain when we were there. People riding mountain bikes at night on the mountain, through the village, over the frozen lake, etc. We watched while standing next to fire pits.

By the end of the trip the kids just picked up their gear and headed out. They love skiing and we will try to go back every year.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Self Promotion

Did you notice the new ad on the right sidebar for an etsy store? That's me! Friends and family who have seen some of the things I have made for my kids said I should sell them. Much like the suggestion to start this blog, I decided just to jump in and see what happens. Worst case scenario I'm not out much and hopefully it will be another way for me to make a bit of money.

If you have any comments/suggestion, please let me know. I'm brand new to this!

Montessori Land on Etsy

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Science giveaway!

Today I'm hosting the first of 3 giveaways this month! One Minute Mysteries series has published a book called 65 Short Mysteries You Can Solve with Science! It is recommended by the National Science Teachers Association for ages 8-12.


 

The book includes mysteries from Life Science, Earth and Space Science, Physical and Chemical Science, General Science, and two bonus sections with 5 more mysteries from the other two books in the series.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 6, 2014

Coloring

My kids were sitting so nicely coloring. They love doing art and I love that more and more they are able to do it without me standing over them reminding them not to color on the walls, paint their hair, or cut their clothes.

This is what a normal parent would see when observing this activity.

She actually spread out her dress and added the hair bow after seeing the first picture so this picture would be better.

 This is what a former teacher notices. Her pencil grip is getting better, but still not quite developed yet.

His pencil grip is perfect. His hand is relaxed and he uses the tripod grip with two fingers tucked into his palm.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Tale of Two Beds - Part 7

Here we go again. If you are new, feel free to start at the beginning of this series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Frustration
Part 6

There hasn't been a new post in this series since July. Maybe you were holding out hope that my kids had finally realized just to sleep in their beds... or maybe you have met my kids. sigh If you remember, my kids have what we call the prison room, only not quite as nice. They have mattresses, sheets, blankets, pillows, and a stuffed animal. No bed frame or other furniture allowed.

Look Mommy, it's a Snoopy house!

We built it together and will play here instead of sleeping.

Then they get tired and do eventually fall asleep (she is under there). This works well until they do something like roll over or move an arm and the entire thing falls on top of them. If it were me, I would sleep on top of it instead of having it fall on top of me.

Here's a picture from the next night. She at least changed the way she is sleeping so she has more room to roll without it falling on top of her. As long as they sleep, I've decided I don't care.