Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spaghetti Painting

Hurricane Sandy has come and gone.  We were lucky and did not lose power, but we are all feeling a little cabin fever.  It was nice enough that we could spend some time outside today.  It was still windy, but pleasant.  Zayit wanted to play with some friends, so we called the neighborhood friends and invited them over for some messy play!  Spaghetti painting!

This was a very simple, yet extremely messy painting experience.  It did require a bit more planning than usual because I had to cook up the spaghetti ahead of time and allow it to cool.  I took advantage of nappy and made a pot of spaghetti noodles (they were a funky brand that had been in the pantry for a couple of years and just were not going to get eaten!)

I initially set up the table in the playroom, but thankfully, I rethought that and put everything out on the porch instead.  I am SO glad we did this outside.  It was VERY messy!  Paint was all over the place.  Spaghetti is just as messy to paint with as it is to eat.  

The finished product...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Squirrel Food

The squirrels are EVERYWHERE lately!  Zayit and Ziva both love watching them run around and play in the yard.  I thought it would be fun to attract them to one spot so the Littles could observe them. Of course, that spot was on the other side of the street... no need to bring them into our yard!  We had an impromptu picnic of sorts on the sidewalk in front of our house.  I brought out crackers, peanut butter and bird seed (left over from our bird feeder creations.)

One of the cool and unexpected outcomes of making squirrel food was that Zayit actually ate peanut butter!  I've been trying to get him to eat peanut butter for a LONG time.  Who has a kid that doesn't like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?  Me!  I'm so excited that he broke through that barrier.  I even pushed it tonight and threw a few squares of a peanut butter sandwich onto his dinner plate... and HE ATE THEM!!!  YIPPEE!!  Thank you squirrels!

Ziva had her first cracker too.  She thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think I have one picky eater and one who will eat anything!  They are 27 months apart and 7 pounds apart.  Hmmm.

After we spread the peanut butter on the crackers, it was time to sprinkle the bird seed on top.

We headed out to the island across the street and found a good spot under a tree to leave the yummy goodies.

The finished product...

Zayit pointing to where the stash is left and waiting for the squirrels to come and dig in.  After about an hour, we were able to go back outside and see a couple squirrels enjoying their find.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Going On A Leaf Hunt... Again

The fall season is wonderfully beautiful here in the northeast.  The leaves were in full bloom last week and they began to fall all over.  Our yard is covered in leaves, which is awesome and sad all at the same time.  By this time next week, the trees will be bare and winter will be quickly approaching.

I thought it would be fun to take full advantage of the changing seasons and we went on a leaf hunt... again.  We did this last week also and had a wonderful time picking out "beautiful" leaves that we later painted (see our previous post on leaf painting.)  While Ziva slept, Zayit and I ventured out to play.  We found a huge area of fallen leaves and Zayit had such a fun time throwing them in the air, kicking them up and laying in them.

We later went for a walk on a lovely nature trail around a reservoir and found some more colorful leaves.  If you notice in one of the pics below, Zayit's boy qualities are in full force.  He walked himself right into the reservoir and stood there for a good 10 minutes.  This was after he picked up a handful of doggie poop while walking the trail.  Oh, how I love the curiosity!

I wasn't sure what we would do with our new leaf loot until I spotted the good old Elmer's school glue. We've never actually played with this in our house.  We always use glue sticks.  We had a good time.  Both Zayit and I made our own trees with "real" leaves!  Another quick and easy craft!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Play With Your Food!

I love Pinterest.  It sucks up more time than I care to admit.  But there are some phenomenal ideas on there!  One of the fun things that I keep seeing are cool ways to present food and meals.  I always look at the pictures and think "who has time to do that?"  But you know what... it doesn't take any more time to prepare fun food than it does boring food!  Ok, well, maybe an extra minute, but that really isn't much.  Here are some pictures of the fun food that has been in our house lately.  My plan is to continue with the fun food and I will post random pictures as they come.  I don't do this at every meal, but I try to be creative at least once a day.  And be careful if you start... it can become addicting!

Since I started doing this, our very picky eater has been a little more open to trying new things.  The utensils that you use help a lot - we have all sorts of different types of food picks: swords, hearts, toothpicks, etc.  The pictures below are a combo of snacks and meals, and even a Mommi meal at the end!

Grilled cheese, carrot hair, red pepper smile, cheese nose, candy eyes

"peapods" aka sugar snap peas, peach slices and hot dog/cheese "sticks"

red pepper flower, cheese center and leaves, grilled cheese stem, carrot grass

cheese sandwich, carrot stick hair, raisin nose, pepper smile, candy eyes

"dinosaur bread", cheese flowers, pea "grass," cantaloupe, yogurt, grape

"dinosaur bread," cheese and bread "flowers"

"orange lunch" (it was orange day at school): carrots, cantaloupe, yogurt in orange bowl and goldfish

pizza star, cucumber stars, yogurt and raspberries

carrot and cucumber animals and letters

Zayit helping make his snack

Jack-O-Lantern sandwich with cheese face, grapes, yogurt

Mommi's work lunch!  Grapes, clementines, red peppers, hummus, carrots and chicken salad

One of the many products we use:

Tummy Time Alternative

I'm sure that many of you have tried to push through "tummy time" only to end up frustrated in the end.  Since everyone is encouraged to follow the "Back To Sleep" campaign, most babies these days HATE being on their tummies!  It's like torture for both mom and baby.  I know that I am lucky to get 2-3 minutes of tummy time before Ziva has a meltdown.  And who wants to do something that you know is going to result in a meltdown???  I know that she needs to be on her belly so that she can learn to crawl.  She won't be able to crawl without developing those little muscles of her.  So, what is a mama to do?  Enter the balance/stability ball.  As adults, we are all to familiar with these lovely things that, if used properly and regularly, give you a great core work out.

Zayit, Ziva and I were playing in our upstairs playroom when it occurred to me that there was a great alternative to the torture of tummy time.  We have a ball that Zayit plays with that is roughly 1/2 the size of our balance ball and it is just the right size for Ziva!  She can stand with her legs apart and knees bent and use it to balance herself - sometimes even letting go for a couple seconds.  She also LOVES to be on her belly on this thing!  SCORE!  We have been using it to put all those tummy time muscles to good use.  It is helping with her strength and balance.  She loves to be rolled all around on it and she is now able to compensate when I push the ball in a different direction.  It's so fun to watch her develop without any tears!  YAY!

Look at that head... held nice and high!

She stands and uses the ball for support.  Here I am nudging the ball to the side and she is pushing back.

Sometimes I hold on to her feet while she leans forward to try and grab a toy in front of her.

Tummy time doesn't have to be torture... you can find other ways to use the same muscles and have fun!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Caterpillars and Grasshoppers!

Today we met a caterpillar and a grasshopper!  So much fun and excitement.  We started out at a local orchard for family pictures.  After pictures were snapped, Daddy headed off to work and Zayit, Ziva, Grammi and I set off to feed the ducks.  

We had a blast feeding the ducks and were headed off to the car to come home when the real excitement began!  On our way back to the car, Zayit noticed a brown and black fuzzy thing in the grass.  He immediately hollered out "A caterpillar Mommi!"  I was shocked that he recognized the real thing.  We see cartoons of caterpillars all the time and one of his favorite books is The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but he had never seen a live one.  

He was in awe.  So adorable!  He watched it for a minute.  Got down real close to the ground and observed.  Then he went into Boy Mode and scooped the poor creature right into his hands.  I panicked!  Trying to convince an almost-3-year-old not to smoosh the poor thing was hard!  He did a great job and after a minute or two of pleading from Mommi, he put the little critter back on the ground.  He attempted to 'open' him up - he had curled up into a ball for protection - but finally left it alone.  Zayit watched for a few more minutes and then saw the critter open back up and continue on his merry way.

What a fun surprise!

Later, after dinner, we were out on the porch when a grasshopper appeared.  Zayit ran right over to it and, again, got down on the ground to observe.  He got up nice and close and then, all of a sudden, the grasshopper... well... he hopped!  Right at Zayit!  That was the end of close-up curiosity.  From that point on, Zayit was at least 3 feet away.  We continued to watch the grasshopper for a good ten minutes, but from a distance.  

Creature curiosity is so much fun to watch in a Little!  We saw a bunch of lady bugs later too.  What a fun time of year!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fun With Colored Water

Today we took our colored water to the kitchen.  Zayit was excited to see the set up.  We had 3 cups of colored water... yellow, red and blue.  Each had a dropper in it and he had a couple of empty palettes to do some experimenting with color mixing.  

This activity was fun and educational on so many levels.  He was excited to play with colored water and make a mess and I knew, the entire time, he was learning.  He learned about primary colors and color mixing, worked on his fine motor skills using the pipettes and showed his maturity by keeping the water where it belonged and making very little mess!  He spent much longer than I anticipated playing with the colors... probably about 45 minutes!  That is a REALLY long time for an almost-three-year-old.

Up into his Learning Tower he climbed and within seconds, he was pipetting away.  Even Grammi got involved with this one.  They had such a good time playing together.

We did another activity with the water, but as it turns out, I think Zayit was a little too young to really enjoy it.  It took much longer (I let it sit overnight) and wasn't nearly as fun... more interesting.  You can see below.

Cooler for Mommi than for the Littles  :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Colored Bath Time

We recently got little tablets that color the bath water.  We've been having a ton of fun every night at bath time.  Zayit gets to pick 2 colors and we watch to see what happens when they mix.  Something about colored water makes bath time much more fun!  The tablets come in red, blue and yellow, allowing us to learn about color mixing while having fun.  As they dissolve, they bubble up a little, which adds to the sensory fun!  

Red and blue...

Just blue night...  notice the added bath pillow to add to the relaxation... (when does Mommi get to use it???)

Yellow and red make orange!

Tomorrow's blog post will be more about color mixing with water!