Sep 28, 2010

30th Birthday Book

I turned 30 in August (gasp!) and my sisters made me the sweetest present. They emailed friends and family and asked them to write me a letter. Then they typed the letters up and made a little book for me. It was so sweet and I immediately started crying when I started reading it! The book was such a simple and easy project for my sisters but so meaningful to me. So I know this is a little late in posting, but I had to share!

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Sep 27, 2010

Halloween Memory Game- Free Printable!

** Here is my own 'oopsey daisy'! I put the wrong guest post-er for this super cute idea! The creative Liesel shared this on the blog, Oopsey Daisy. Thanks for catching that Alison!**

I saw the idea to make a Halloween Memory game over at Oopsey Daisy, which is a super cute blog! Liesel was guest posting and I loved the game she made! So I made my own set using photoshop and some digital scrapbook items. (You can click on each picture to save the file.) I plan on printing these out anywhere I can find cheap prints online which will probably be Walmart, CVS, or Walgreens. (Check out Oopsey Daisy for directions on how to make the game!)

I decided I don't to want put these on black card stock mainly because I don't have any on hand. Thanks to my lovely high school students who don't seem to know how to keep track of class supplies, I have lots of incomplete decks of playing cards on hand. So I will glue each picture to a playing card which makes them slightly sturdier and prettier. Once again, I am also being green and thrifty at the same time! :)

Since John is still too young to play memory, so we will use these as a simple matching game. Hopefully he enjoys it when we play with them next month!

{confession- with having a 2 month old baby at home, I am hoping this game gets made before Halloween! haha! But at least it is an easy enough project to tackle during a naptime or before I hit the sack at night!}

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Sep 26, 2010

We've got a situation here...

While reading up on my blogs at 4am this morning, I saw a post linking to this site: (If you don't click on the link, it basically says that Mike 'The Situtation' from the MTV show Jersey Shore is a douche and everyone who watched the show, thus making him popular and now VERY rich, has made America retarded.)

Well, this made me think for a bit. Which we all know is quite a feat.

So, The Situation is the only rich douche out there? (And quite honestly I don't think he is that much of a douche- just a typical guy who just wants to pick up girls at bars. Aren't those guys EVERYWHERE?) What about professional athletes and movie stars? I bet half of them are 'douches' and make a crap load of money. How about T.O., Barry Bonds, Michael Vick, and Mel Gibson just to name a few. They are making millions of dollars and aren't people with the highest character traits possible. So, do all the football, baseball, and movie fans out there make America retarded as well?

I find it simply amazing that athletes and movie stars in general get paid inordinate amounts of money, regardless of their personality or lack of morals. Why does a football player get paid millions a year yet, as a teacher, I got paid fractions in comparison. Well, I know WHY, but still think it is an odd concept. I have the conversation often with Brad about how unbalanced the world is such that a movie star can have millions of dollars and there are people living on the street with no money. It is hard to wrap your brain around sometimes! So, I just found it odd that this website singled out one particular person out of all the horrible rich people out there in the world. If the website's author really thinks America is retarded, they have a lot more people to blame than just viewers of Jersey Shore.

Now I am off to fold some laundry and go to the gym. step away from being GTL!!!!!!!!!!!

**And just to clarify, I don't think America is 'retarded' and don't really like that word in particular. Just commenting on the site's choice of words and opinions!**

Sep 24, 2010

Halloween Placemats

Holy has been a while since I posted! I am totally blaming having a 2 month old baby at home. :)

So, I saw this post today which reminded me of some placemats I made last year. Since Halloween will be here before we know it, I thought I would share! I usually host the family Halloween and Valentine's Day parties. So I made dual-purpose placemats. Super easy- just sewed two pieces of the holday fabrics together and then topstitched. Now I have enough placemats for the whole family for both holidays! Double bonus is I have less items to store in the cramped china cabinet. :)

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Sep 19, 2010

Letters- Tot School

**John is 22 months**

I keep thinking to myself that I am slowly but surely getting back into gear with planning and DOING activities with John. However, I must be in denial because I am still not quite back into the swing of things with John. I have been doing random activities with John as time allows, but nothing just super fun or what I REALLY want to do. But we have been making it out of the house several days a week, hitting up the park a lot now that we won't melt when we step outside, and I even made John a new toy tonight! (I will post about it once I take pictures of it!) Baby steps!

SOOOO...John has really gotten the hang of shapes, colors, and of course numbers. (He is ALWAYS counting! So cute!) So I decided to start focusing more on letters with him. We have been doing an activity here and there for the past two weeks and will continue to work on letters. I thought I would do all the activities within one week but each day time just flies by!! So, here are some activities we have been doing to help John learn those letters!

Dot Stickers
Playing with dot stickers is one of John's favorite things to do! I wrote out the word 'monkey' and drew in little circles. The idea was for John to put a sticker in each dot on the letter. If I pointed out a circle and specifically asked him to put a sticker there, he would do it. Otherwise he kind of just put stickers wherever he wanted. He actually grouped the colors together more than anything. But when I was sitting with him one night he just started calling out the letters without me asking him! He got all of them correct except for the E. I was so impressed.

Another version was just part of the alphabet listed out for him to use the stickers. He again wanted to put stickers wherever. However, since they are such big sheets of paper, they are easy to save and pull out when we need something to do and let him play with it several times before throwing it away.

Today I needed a quick activity to entertain John for about 15 minutes so I wrote a couple letters on a sheet of paper and would say 'put a sticker on the letter ___'. He liked this activity but didn't always put the sticker on the correct letter! So then I wrote letters on a second sheet of paper AND wrote the letters on the stickers. I tried to have him match the sticker with the letter on the paper. This didn't go much better but mainly because I think he was tired of that activity by then.

(not sure why this picture is sideways! sorry!)

Magnetic Letters
I found some magnetic letters at the dollar store and let John just play with them either on the fridge or using a baking pan in the living room. Sometimes I sat with him at the fridge and after we put a couple on the fridge, I asked him to pick out certain letters and most of the time he is pretty good at picking them out. Asking him to tell me which letter I am pointing to is another story! :) One day he took the bag of letters outside and when I looked up, he had put them on our metal table. So, I showed him that we could hang the letters from the edge, which he seemed to enjoy...before he knocked them all down!

A is for Apple
We did apple prints with green and red paint. A little helpful tip is to stab a fork into the apple so your child has something easy to hold onto. It was hard for me to dip the apple into paint without the fork so I couldn't imagine John being able to do it either. Unfortunately we didn't use the right type of paint. It was a gel like paint so it didn't stick to the apple very well so it just kind of made smudgy circles all over the paper. But John really enjoyed it so that is all that is important!

Other Activities...sorry no pics!
**We have a foam letter mat so we have used that often as a big puzzle. Once we put the letters in their place John would stand on a letter and I would call out a letter for him to hop to. He loved it! I tried to have him trace the letters with his cars but he just drove his cars all over the mat instead. He loved played with the foam letters and I was glad he was being exposed to the different letters even if we weren't specifically learning each letter.

**I cut out letters from an old magazine and John glued them down on a sheet of paper to make a collage. We talked about what each letter was and sometimes sorted the letters as we glued them down. I have it hanging on the fridge so he can see it and just tonight I saw him looking at it and reading off some of the letters!

**We have a set of cubes with different letters and numbers on them. So we sorted them into two piles: letters and numbers. Then John had fun stacking the cubes and knocking them down. I tried to spell out a word with the blocks and have him find the matching letters but he wasn't interested.

**Read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom about a thousand times!!!

Things I still want to do...
1. Play with letter flash cards and match them up with objects around the house.
2. Play with magnetic letters more- similar to Brown Bear, Brown Bear but make it Letter A, Letter A...
3. Draw letters on driveway with sidewalk chalk and trace them with cars or walk over them.

So, that is what we have been up to the last two weeks or so. I am so hoping to get my act together one of these days!! Be sure to check back soon for the SUPER EASY toy I made John John tonight!

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