Jul 25, 2010

Animals Sensory Bin

John is 20 months!

I am kind of taking it easy this week as far as activities go. So, I thought I would share what we did today since I doubt I will be doing much before the big day on Thursday!

I have been wanting to make some sort of sensory bin for a while so I thought I would do an animal-themed bin. I decided to use Rice Krispie cereal because I KNEW that John would try to eat it. Plus I knew we weren't going to eat it and it would be thrown away soon anyways. So, I dumped the cereal in a box, tried to hide some of his plastic animals, and let him have at it!

I put out the little rake and shovel, but John didn't really want to use them. He did take out each animal and name them- so cute! A tip is to do this activity on a towel or mat for easy clean up. Not only did John try to eat the cereal but he also dumped the whole box out on the towel. I figured that would happen too and so the towel made cleaning up much easier! He also liked walking over the cereal and hearing the crunching sound so I didn't mind that he made a mess.

Other Random Animal Stuff
-We have been reading "Bark, George" and "Cock a Doodle Quack Quack" over and OVER and OVER again the past couple days. They are really cute animal books but after reading them for the hundredth time...I am getting tired of them! John LOVES them though!

-We also played with animal flash cards. I used my pocket chart for the first time {yeah!!} and put a bunch of animal cards up and asked John to hand me the bear, or the fish, etc. He did it almost perfectly which is awesome, but a very short activity that was too easy for him. He enjoyed it so I guess that is all that matters!

-If I have my act together, I would like to make animal puppets from paper bags since John loves puppets. This may have to wait until after the baby is born.

So there you have it! The next time I post, I will have TWO precious boys...YIKES! :)

Jul 24, 2010

Family Weekend!

Since Matthew will be here on Thursday (as in FIVE days from now!) we decided to have a 'family weekend' and try to do fun things with John before the chaos begins.

Friday we started out with a super fun doctor appointment for John and then headed to Frisco Commons park. John played on the playground for a little while and then we hit up the splash area. John LOVED the splash area...Brad and I loved it too because it is the only place we have found so far that we can sit and watch John run around. Usually we have to be following him everywhere he goes to make sure he either doesn't run off somewhere or fall some playground equipment!

After lunch at Chick-fil-A (free coupons!) and naps, Brad and John baked chocolate chip cookies together. We used an egg free mix that weren't too bad. Just like when we made cupcakes, John didn't care about eating the cookies once they were baked. What a silly kid!

We finished off the day with a little pool time in the back yard. And yes, John was in the nude. :)

Saturday morning we made colored pancakes. While I was mixing up the colors, I gave him a bowl of water to mix up (I knew he would make a huge mess if I gave him the actual batter!) and he kept drinking the water with his spoon. haha! This was a yummy egg-free pancake recipe I found online that we tried out during the week. Although John liked it on Wednesday, he didn't want to eat his 'J' pancake this morning. Again, he is a silly kid!

After hanging out and relaxing in the morning, we went to the library to get some new books to read and then went to Build-A-Bear. This was John's 'Big Brother' gift since he LOVES his Brown Bear. So he now has Black Bear! I was shocked that with all the bear outfits they had, they didn't have any big brother or big sister shirts! So, I got the most plain shirt I could find (which was a really cute hoodie!) and I am going to try to paint or sew 'Big Brother' on the shirt to make it personalized for John. {check back to see how that project turns out!}. And you can tell from the pictures of me, I am freaking HUGE! and very uncomfortable!

We finished off Saturday with Chili's (horrible service but again we had coupons and gift cards) and once John was asleep Brad and I had our own little date night! We made dessert and then relaxed in the pool. Tomorrow's plans are to make donuts for breakfast from bicuits (egg free!) and then hang around the house. I think I am done with running around- way too big and starting to be painfully uncomfortable. I am soooo looking forward to Thursday! :)

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Jul 19, 2010

Big Brother design

As you may know, John is going to be a BIG BROTHER! Baby Matthew is coming next week so I really wanted to make John his very own Big Brother shirt. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, I created this design on microsoft two nights ago. I think it is really cute and was thinking I could make a freezer paper stencil with it and paint it onto a shirt. Easy peasy.

So, John and I took a trip to Walmart this morning and they had NO PLAIN SHIRTS! What?!?! (and sidenote: I get SO frustrated everytime I shop for John because the selection of boy clothes is miniscule compared to the girl clothes. Ummm...boys have to look cute too!)

So, for the time being, John may not have his own shirt. If I can drag myself to search for a plain shirt this week then John will be all cutesy. (my stomach reached full capacity a couple weeks ago and shopping for a plain shirt doesn't sound like something I want to do right now!)

BUT, I wanted to post this in case anyone wants to make one for their own kiddo...or friend, relative, stranger... {I am pretty sure you can click on the picture and save it. If that doesn't work and you want the file, just email me! :) }

If you make one, I would love to see it!

Jul 18, 2010

Color Week - Tot School

John is 19 months!

John and I are working on his colors. He is doing AWESOME at shapes and puzzles and is starting to even catch on to numbers. Colors, however, are not his strong suit. So I thought this week we would practice colors!

Color Cubes
I bought a bag of colored counting cubes in the dollar spot at Target. I was so excited when I saw them! (Nerd alert!!) John was interested in playing with the cubes- putting them in and out of the box, etc. So I let him do that for a little while. Then I put out a flash card for each color and tried to get him to put the cubes on corresponding cards. (yellow cubes on yellow card, etc.) I really had to help him with that and it was easier for me to starting sorting the cubes into piles and have him help me add more cubes to each pile instead of match a cube to the card. This was our first activity of the week so I was starting to get a tad worried that he might be a little color blind! haha!

**sidenote: I promise that I have shorts/pants for John! It seems most of the pictures I have for the activities he is only wearing a shirt and a diaper. Can I use the excuse that it is hot in Texas? Or how about by the time I get the diaper on he has kicked and twisted so much I don't even want to bother with shorts????**

Red Fish, Red Fish
I found this activity while searching online (sorry- forgot to mark the site so if this is from your blog, please feel free to claim it!!) The instructions for using a felt board were:

For this story you would put the red fish on the felt board and start with "Red Fish ... Red Fish ... What do you see?" "I see a Blue Fish looking at me" ... (put blue fish on board and take red one down) ..."Blue Fish... Blue Fish... What do you see?" I see a White Fish looking at me". (Put white fish up and take blue one down). You would continue until you have done all of the colors of the fish. When you are on the last color fish you would put up all the other fish and say "I see all of the different colored fish looking at me".

Well, loved the idea, but I am too cheap to go buy felt and too lazy to cut out all the different fish. So, I pulled up my handy dandy photoshop program and made different colored fish and printed them out. I would have copied them on cardstock OR laminated them, but I don't have cardstock or a laminating machine. So, they are on regular ol' computer paper and once John completely destroys them, I can always print out a new set!

(Here are my fish pages if you want to print them out! Just click on each of the three picture and save it.)

Since I didn't use the felt board, we sat by the fridge and used magnets to hang up each fish. The first two times I went through the story (well, I kind of sang it! haha!) John LOVED it! Then I got tired of re-clipping each fish so I would hand the fish to John (with a clip on it) and he hung it on the fridge and we just kept adding for each color. He really enjoyed this activity and I kept the fish on the fridge so he could continue playing with them for the next couple days. I will definitely have to do more fridge activities with him!

Matching Fish Game
One thing that has been frustrating me with teaching John colors up until now is all the books I have will show different pictures to teach colors. For example, it might have a brown horse, an orange pumpkin, and a red apple. So if I ask John 'which one is red?' I think he is looking for some object that is named 'red'. As in 'red' is a noun, not describing something. Does that make sense?! :)

So, I actually printed two copies of the fish I made and turned it into a matching game. I liked that each picture was the same (all fish) so he really had to focus on the colors instead of the shapes. First I only put a couple colors for him to match and then used all the colors at once. He actually did REALLY well with this. I was so excited because he was able to distinguish between different colors! (and I guess this proved he wasn't color blind. haha!). The ones that were more challenging for him were matching the red vs pink and black vs brown. They were pretty close in color so I think that is hard for him being young.

**love the milk all in his mouth in this picture!**

Color Collage
We had an arts and crafts activity where John glued torn pieces of construction paper to make his artwork. He LOVED using the glue bottle even though he didn't know how to squeeze out the glue. I would hand him a piece of construction paper so he could glue it down and sometimes he would try to sort them by color on his own! How cute is that?!

Other Activities we did:
1. played with different color play doh
2. read "Blue Hat, Green Hat" by Sandra Boyton

Slowly but surely John is getting better with his colors! :)

Jul 16, 2010

'The Letter C' Week in Real Life

Today was our last day for 'The Letter C' Week. Here were our original plans. We kind of didn't quite follow exactly, so I thought I would share what we really did.

We tried to use cookie cutters to cut out shapes from play doh. I made edible play doh using the recipe found here. I tried to make only a half batch but I must have messed up somewhere because it didn't really hold a shape well and was kind of crumbly. I should have used play doh because John never tried to eat it and it was kind of messy to make. Anyways, he started to get into after a while and liked using the cookie cutters. Next time, I need to make sure I have a better selection of cookie cutters because all I had was Christmas shapes which was kind of boring.

We made cupcakes using a dairy and egg free box mix. John is allergic to eggs so I thought we would see if tasted any good. It was pretty decent- a little bland but not bad if you have allergies. This was a REALLY messy activity especially when John spills melted butter all over the floor! He like decorating the cupcakes afterwards with sprinkles which was another huge mess on the floor. And after all that work, he didn't even want to eat the cupcakes! What a silly kid!

While the cupcakes were baking, I gave him some clothes pins to see if he could clip them to the edge of a cup. Well, turns out he can't! :) He couldn't quite get the hang of squeezing one end with one hand. I tried to get him to just put the clips on the edge upside down so he wouldn't have to squeeze them open, but he wasn't interested and found something else to play with. :)

For another activity, I had some different sized clovers from my classroom decorations. So, we tried to sort them by size: large, medium, and small. No such luck there. Then I tried to make a pattern on the floor and see if he could finish it. Again, no such luck. He was interested in stacking them up for about 2 minutes and then went to find some books. Oh well- I tried!

Last but not least, we cleaned his cozy coupe car outside today. He liked using the sponge for a little while and then again wasn't interested and we played in the pool instead.

So, that is how our week went. I love doing activities with John and now I just need to find ones that are age appropriate! Although this isn't connected with our c week we went to see a group called Vocal Trash at the mall {for FREE!} on Thursday which was a cute show. If they are near you, it is worth checking them out!

check out 1+1+1=1 for more ideas!

Jul 14, 2010

The Nursey is {almost} DONE!!

Woohoo!!! Baby Matthew's room is DONE! If he was born tonight, the room is ready for him. Not so sure about mommy and daddy, but the room is ready! Here is the big reveal!

Let's reach back into our memories and remember what the room looked like before...

...and think back to all the hard work Brad did on the walls and the craftiness I did on recovering a bumper and night light shade.

And now, walking in the room, this is what you see:


After seeing some cute painted oars in a Pottery Barn catalog (I think!), my dad got some oars at Academy and painted and distressed them for me. Aren't they super cute?!

I love how the bumper turned out and how the crib looks. I know the ribbons look weird right now- I didn't feel like re-tying them for the pictures. My mother-in-law took the bedskirt (which is from John's old crib) and added a stripe of the plaid material across the bottom. Unfortunately, you can't see it right now since the mattress is raised so high. But I promise she did a fabulous job on it!

I found the cute sail boat mobile from Target. I had originally thought I would make my own sail boats and attach them to John's old mobile. I quickly realized it would be WAY easier to buy it instead!

I love this chair from John's room (so glad we decided on a blue chair and not boring beige!) and I love it being next to the sunny window. My mom found the anchor pillow on sale at Restoration Hardware and once I made my own pillow form and stuffed it, it is perfect in the room. I found the little fish table at Kohl's on sale and once I used a coupon it was about $8! Can't pass that up!

Another great find was this boat-shaped shelf from Craigslist. I love that it was already navy and even though it is a little scratched up, it looks perfectly distressed for the room. I am not thrilled that it is yellow on the inside, but repainting it wasn't priority so I am leaving it for now. It is perfect for the little pails for storage! (The shelves are not totally done either- I am not in love with how it is set up but I will probably wait until the baby gets here to know how I really want everything to be accessed.)

So, there is a huge blank spot on the wall above the dresser. I am ordering a wooden sign from Go Jump In The Lake on Etsy (you can see it in the link!) so once I get it, my dad is framing it with reclaimed baseboards and we will hang it up over the changing table. It is going to say 'Lake Matthew' so I am so excited about it! It is really simple and will be perfect for the room. I can't wait to get it!

My mom and dad found this cute mirror made from an old port hole. It even opens so I really want to put a picture behind it or paint a 'M' on the wall so there is a little surprise when you open it. haha! :)

Last but not least, here is the night light that I recovered. Love how it turned out too!

And there we have it...an {almost} finished nursery just in time for Matthew's arrival!