Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer Fun

Today was the perfect summer day... not too hot, not too cold, lots of fun times.  We spent the day with the neighborhood kids doing all sorts of fun stuff.  We tie dyed shirts, played IN shaving cream, splashed in a pool, made a craft with these cool foam noodle things, ate lunch, napped and then started all over with backyard play, rockets, BBQ and of course... the ICE CREAM TRUCK!!!!

Play with foam noodle things.  Zayit sporting his foam noodle bracelet.

 Got the shirt all tied up with rubber bands.  Now to squirt!

 Shaving cream in the pool.  At first, Zayit wasn't too sure about it

After a few minutes, he warmed up to the idea and the fun began!

Into the pool with water for a good rinse...

There aren't any pics of nappy or dinner, but here we are all waiting for the ice cream truck to come up the street...

Enjoying a little left over corn and juice box while the truck makes it's rounds through the neighborhood...

Ziva hanging in the stroller wondering why everyone else gets to run around and have fun.

She got unhappy in the stroller, so off to the grass she went.  She loved playing with the grass.  I think this was the first time I put her directly on the grass without some sort of blanket/towel beneath her.

And now that the clean up is done, the Littles sleep... aaaahhhhh!  This Mommi is exhausted!  Fun times.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Coffee for Toddlers!

I was in the kitchen preparing dinner and chopping up some left over chicken to make chicken salad for tomorrow and Zayit came in and wanted to help "make a recipe."  He hopped up into his Learning Tower to check out what was going on.  Tonight was salmon burgers.  He was very excited that a "button" was involved.  Yup, that's right, Zayit got to man the food processor.  He was in heaven!  I piled all the ingredients into the container, put the lid on and he went to town with the pulse button.  Giggles a plenty!

After we were done making a mess with the food processor and salmon patties were created, I started to clean up.  Zayit noticed a silver bowl on the counter that had some wet, brown sand-stuff in it.  He immediately went to put his hands in it to play.  My first instinct was to quickly stop him before he made a big mess and shout "NO!"... but I resisted and let him investigate his world.  He had never seen coffee grounds before.  These were used, and in a bowl to dry out for a project we will be doing this weekend (stay tuned for that post - it will be FUN!)

 At first he wasn't too sure, but then he got both hands in and thoroughly enjoyed mashing it in between his fingers.

He did this for a good 15 minutes before he announced it was time to wash hands.  I was so impressed that he kept all the coffee grounds in the bowl and made NO MESS!!!  WOW!!!

You never know when a fun new experience will happen!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bird Feeders

Over the weekend I got a crazy idea to invite the birds into our yard to nibble.  Zayit loves the birds when they fly through the yard, so I thought it would be fun to catch them enjoying a snack.

I picked up a bag of birdseed while out and about and kept it sitting on the counter for a couple of days until the perfect moment... just when a nipshin was sure to happen, Mommi whips out a new activity!  I grabbed a couple toilet paper rolls (amazing what you can do with these things), pipe cleaners, peanut butter and birdseed.

Zayit climbed up into his Learning Tower (if you don't have one of these, you NEED to get one!) and was excited to make another 'recipe'.  Peanut butter is a new sensory experience for him - sticky and gooey.  He learned to scoop it out of the jar, smear it and tried his hardest not to get any on him.  So funny that he wouldn't lick his fingers!  After the tubes were coated in peanut butter, we rolled them in bird seed.  I had attached the pipe cleaners before we got started by poking holes in the sides.

We took our bird feeders outside and waited... and waited... and waited.  Daddy suggested we hang them in the apple trees in our median of our street instead of our yard so we had less mess to clean up.  Such a smart daddy.  We sat on our porch for quite a long time, but no birds came.  I'm sure it was just the wrong time of day.

So, after a couple of days of continued checking, the feeders are still there.  Zayit is cute - every time we are outside, he points them out and sits on the porch and waits for a few minutes to see if birds will come.  There is a bird nest in this same tree and it also looks untouched recently.  I think we may have missed the boat! To be honest, I haven't seen any birds at all the last couple of days.  Maybe they have already left for the winter?

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One Perfect Day

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Salt Dough

Yesterday we needed a quick activity to avoid a nipshin... Salt Dough to the rescue!

(To clarify what a nipshin is, in our house, we refer to temper tantrums or meltdowns as 'nipshins'.  It all started when Zayit was just learning to talk and was recovering from one of his best meltdowns.  Daddy asked him if he was having a conniption fit.  Zayit responded, between boogery sobs, "yes, nipshin."  The term 'nipshin' has stuck ever since.)

Out comes the flour, salt and water.  Salt dough is quick and easy.  Set up takes less than a minute and clean up is a cinch.  Any time we can make a 'recipe' in our house, Zayit is happy - he loves SuperWhy and recently there was an episode about making a carrot-applesauce cake, often referring to the 'recipe.' I can convince that kid to stop whatever he is doing and help Mommi as long as it involves a recipe.  I'm very creative - you wouldn't believe what requires a recipe these days!

Our recipe  :)
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup water

Zayit measured (with help) and poured everything into a bowl.  I started the stirring to get the flour wet, then handed the bowl to him.  He continued on, then kneaded the dough until we had a lovely firm but squishable ball.  He pressed it out and made a perfect handprint!  This was so easy, we made another dough ball for Ziva and pressed her hand as well.

The hand prints were baked in the oven for a total of 5 hours (3 hours on a cookie sheet, then another 2 on the rack to dry out the bottoms) at 200 degrees.

I'm not sure what we are going to do with these now, but I'm hoping to come up with something creative.  Maybe placing them in the garden?  Painting them and giving to the grandparents as gifts?

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I Can Teach My Child No Time For Flash Cards One Perfect Day

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Letter of the Week - G

It's been a week since I last posted. Things have gotten crazy in our house - one with a fever, then the other. Good sleep habits replaced with not-so-good sleep habits. I'm a tired Mommi! It took us 2 weeks to do the letter 'G'... probably for the same reasons that I haven't really posted in the last week. Just too much going on. Well, I'm back (I hope), so here are a couple pics from our letter 'G' adventures.

Zayit actually finished his upper case G all by himself... and it looked pretty good!  I always set out the printable with the correct number of tiles so it is a self-correcting task.

 He got a little creative this time with his Power Magnets... gave his lower case G a "frame."

Our paper plate craft this week was a giraffe.  I tried to come up with a hard sounding G paper plate craft, but was sadly unsuccessful, so giraffe it was.  I think they came out cute.  This is the first craft that required multiple steps.  I wasn't sure if it would go smoothly, but it actually worked out well.  It was perfect for Zayit's short attention span.  First we painted our plates yellow, then let them dry.  While they were drying, we went outside.  When we came back in, it was time to paint/stamp brown dots, then we let those dry.

After some more outside play, we came in and glued on our giraffe parts...

Here's a post that contains all the printables we used this week.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Color Sorting, Shape Learning and Counting Practice

We have a couple of bins of different manipulatives that Zayit can play with any time he wants.  They are right on top of his bookshelf/toy box.  There is a bin of pompoms, a bin of three dimensional shapes and another of card games (ok, so that isn't exactly a manipulative, but it is still educational!).  Today he asked for the shapes.  He dug through our "props" and decided upon colored plates (from The Party Store, I think they are actually mini flying discs for party favors) and started sorting his shapes by color.  

He always starts with cones.  Not sure why, but that seems to be his favorite shape in this set.  After he gets a few cones, I can then start to ask for specific colors and shapes.  Today we focused on spheres and how a ball is a sphere.  'Sphere' is a bit difficult for him to say, but he gave it a good try.  We practiced our shapes, colors and counting.  He can now count out up to 12 objects for me!  And this was all his idea!    

He played with these for a good 20 minutes, which in my book, for a toddler, that's an eternity!  When he's done, he's done - easy cleanup.  He just dumps the colored plates back into the bin.  Happy Zayit, happy Mommi.  

We got the three dimensional shapes from Oriental Trading - but I can't find them on their website any longer.  The closest product I could find on a quick Google search can be found here.

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The Best Toy Ever!

A couple of months ago we purchased a marble run set for Zayit.  We did a little online research, read some reviews (most of which were negative stating that they didn't stay together, fell apart with light touch, etc) and took the plunge.  I picked an inexpensive set from Lakeshore Learning.  If you aren't familiar with Lakeshore Learning, check out their website.  I am lucky (or unlucky) enough to have a brick and mortar location not too far - been there once - afraid to go back because of the damage I could do!

This toy has been used EVERY DAY since we bought it in May!  I haven't put it away once.  It sits in our playroom and gets played with multiple times a day.  Sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for as long as half an hour.  I can't believe how much use it gets.  I've even enjoyed it - I'm the one who redesigns it every couple of weeks.  It's quite calming.  After the Littles go to bed, I go in the playroom and spend 30 or so minutes reconstructing.  It's kind of challenging to see if I can use up every last piece.  

Recently, even Ziva has found enjoyment in the Marble Run.  She can't play with it herself yet, being only 6 months old, but she loves to watch the marbles go down and tracks them from start to finish.  There are very few things that I can do with both kids at the same time.

Zayit isn't quite advanced enough to build on his own yet, but it is amazing how interested he is in watching how things work.  Whenever there is a new design, he spends time watching the marbles go down and tries to stop them along the way.  He also puts the marbles in a different points to see where they go.  I can't wait until he can construct on his own!