Tot School Shenanigans

More and more I am finding that Taitum is a social learner. All of my attempts of sitting and playing with her alone were rejected this week. On the other hand, every single time that I sat down to do something with Piper, she demanded to be a part of it! Since clueing into this, I've made a habit of having something ready to go for her, too. Usually its the things I had tried to do with her before but to no avail. In some ways, I'm disappointed by this. I really would like the opportunity to spend time with her alone. I also realize that I need to just appreciate the fact that she truly loves being a part of our school time. I know its really not a terrible thing that she prefers to spend her play time independantly. She's just drastically different from Piper who is more likely to want my attention constantly! I am thankful for how much these girls enjoy each other's company and am learning to take advantage of the times Taitum accepts my sole attention such as at bedtime storytime! In the end, that is just one of the many reasons I am choosing to homeschool - so I can tailor my children's education to the way that they learn best!

Enough rambling. Here is our week in Tot School:

Taitum sorted some blocks by color. We do a lot of this and its cute to watch how sometimes she stacks the blocks, other times lines them up - whatever suits her fancy that day!


Daddy helped her to participate during our milky rainbows experiment with Piper.

Taitum is obsessed with this activity - pushing pom poms through a hole cut in the lid of a yogurt container! So simple yet so fascinating!

She LOVED painting with vegetables! I think this had more to do with the mess factor than anything else!

Oh the joy!

She also enjoyed getting her hands dirty in the Goop we created, too!

Taitum is starting to get the hang of the Do-A-Dot markers and choosing to play with them anytime we have a free craft time!

This week's challenge? Well, look and see...

Something in her mouth constantly! She walks around like this! Her favorite is that cylinder block you see but she was quite content to have that plastic hamburger patty in her mouth quite often this week! I know she's teething and all but this is getting ridiculous!!

Taitum's successes of the week were 1) returning to her regular cheery ol' self and 2) appropriately responding to me when I ask her to come see me for some reason. We've really been working on obedience in this area since her usual response has been to run away or shake her head at me. It was so rewarding to see my consistency in correcting her when she didn't obey paying off! 

That's all for this week!  For more ideas to do with your tot, click on the button below!



Tot School

The Solace of Sisterhood

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A Little Of This And A Little Of That!

This week we continued learning about the letter 'V' and vegetables, tried some new activities and began to explore our 5 senses! Talk about busy! Not that I'm complaining! Its so nice to have the girls back to their normal selves! 


A while ago, I heard from a friend about how she did letter hunts with her kids. I've been meaning to try it out and finally got around to it this week! I hid cards with the letter 'V' on them all around the livingroom one morning. When Piper got up she enjoyed the challenge of  finding them all!

Piper is becoming very adept at putting together puzzles. I pulled out this floor puzzle the other day to give her something to do while I was cleaning. I didn't really think she'd be able to do it all on her own but the next thing I knew it was completed! I kept throwing puzzles at her and she kept putting them together! I think we just might have to move on to the ones with smaller pieces! 

I grabbed this Thinking Skills workbook at Walmart one day while I was shopping. It was in a sale bin and I thought there might be some good activities in there for her. I wasn't sure how keen she would be about sitting down and doing work like this but I thought if anything I could always put it away until she was a bit older. Upon returning home, she immediately eyed it in my bag and was asking to do it right away! Since then I've been doing several pages a day with her because she asks to do it! I think she enjoys the challenge the activities present (what doesn't belong, what comes next, etc.).

She sorted her vegetable cards according to color.

After reading Little Pea, Piper counted using frozen peas as markers and number printables from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Her favorite part? Getting to eat them at the end! She also LOVED the book! Its about a little pea who's parents serve him candy for supper. Little pea does not like candy but he has to eat 4 more bites if he wants dessert. He struggles through it and is rewarded with his favorite dessert: spinach! Piper thought this was hilarious and has continued to talk about it all week!





I already told you about our block garden! It was the highlight of our day! Daddy later played this with her but added a fun element to it - she'd go to her room while Matt added something to her garden - one time a really tall weed, another time a bear eating the veggies and then bugs all over the garden! Upon returning she would have to deal with the problem in her garden! Isn't Daddy so creative?!

So remember the vegetable pictures Piper colored last week? Well, this week she cut them out....
(I just love that very serious look of concentration!)

And together we created this little mobile! So hideous, yet so adorable! :)
(I found the printable and the idea here.)

Next up: Painting with vegetables! I had carrots, broccoli and onions on hand so thats what we used! The broccoli made a really cool print! ...The onion was a tad too stinky! Hehehe!

The paintings prettied up my kitchen, too!

My battery died before I got to take a picture of Piper doing this file folder game but it is worth sharing! Its a vegetable pattern match from Homeschool Share. Not only did it relate to this week's theme but I thought it would be helpful for Piper. She has struggled with catching on to the idea of patterns so I thought that this would be helpful in that she is copying the pattern to her left. Hopefully, this will reinforce the idea!

As we continue through our schedule of books from Sonlight, we have begun reading about the 5 senses in the Usborne Flip Flap Body Book. I thought it would be fun to start exploring the senses and so have planned a few things for each. We'll continue with this next week but this week we did sight and touch.



For sight, we did an experiment where you watch the effect of putting a Q-tip dipped in dish soap into milk with drops of food coloring in it. The milk repels the dish soap and the dye is pushed all around the plate! Its very fun to watch these milky rainbows! I found this idea at 123Child.com where there are a multitude of ideas for sensory activities! 

I had planned on playing a game of 'I Spy' with Piper, too, but then I came across this fun idea at Counting Coconuts - 'I Spy' bottles! I filled it with some of the dyed alphabet pasta from our alphabet box and added some small toys and trinkets to it! Piper had a wonderful time trying to find everything that was hidden in there!

Finally, for the sense of touch we made some Goop! A simple mixture of 1 part water to 3 parts cornstarch and you have lots of messy fun! This stuff seriously mesmerizes ME too though! One second its a solid mass in your hand, the next second its melting between your fingers! So cool! And as messy as it was, the clean up was a cinch!

Are you tired out yet?! I know I am! But what a great week! Now its time to cozy up and watch the snowstorm happening outside my window! Have a great weekend!


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Our Block Garden!

Because we have been doing a vegetable theme we have also been talking about where vegetables come from - gardens! So as part of our imaginative play the other day, we made a block garden!

Here is our block garden all set up! Piper was very proud of it!

The colored blocks were the weeds that we had to pull out!

We talked about what the plants need to grow - sunlight, good soil and water. I asked Piper to find something that we could water the vegetable plants with. She grabbed one of my post it notes and began hydrating our little garden!

Next, we harvested the vegetables.

We cut them up and threw them in a pot so we could make vegetable soup! (Our Melissa and Doug Cutting Food worked perfectly for this!)

We took our pot full of cut up veggies to Piper's kitchen and put them on the stove. Piper is warning me that the pot is hot and that is why she is using a potholder to pick up the lid!


Pipe set the table for us and served the soup. Before sitting down she also popped a cake in the oven so it would be ready in time for dessert! What a great little hostess!

Before we ate she thanked God for our food. :)

Then we gobbled up her delicious creation! Mmmm! Nothing like fresh from the garden vegetable soup!

Taitum buzzed around through the entire process, helping out where she could. She was especially fond of the water bottle and making sure we all had enough water to drink!

I always have to push myself to initiate imaginary play with the kids but once we get into it, I have so much fun! It's especially rewarding when you let them take the lead and watch where they take the idea you've presented! Often they come up with far cooler things than you could even think of!

So get imaginative with your kids! You just might find it to be the best part of your day!


A Date With A 3 Year Old

There is something thrilling about running into stores hand-in-hand. It has nothing to do with the cold and everything to do with the rush of barging through those automatic doors!

Finding a PURPLE beaded necklace = pure joy.

Dress shopping is successful when you have found one that twirls perfectly.

Proof that you are your mother's daughter: sitting in the middle of the store with 10 books in your lap while being absolutely lost in one of them.

The privelege of getting to choose what the special treat will be does not intimidate you. ("Ice cweam, please.")

The shock of learning that such a thing as a Smartie Blizzard exists leaves your mouth wide open and your eyes as round as saucers.

When told that you don't have to eat it all, your wise reply is a sincere "Yes, I do, Mama!" (How could I be so absurd?!)

The smiles you give from across the table as we chat and trade ice creams for taste tests are imprinted on my heart for always. They can never be erased.

A sugar rush leaves you with the need to relinquish your grip on my hand and run through the mall just a few steps ahead. Every few seconds you look back to check that I am there. It is at times like these that your dependance on me peeks through. You never had me fooled, you know.

Hands in the air. Stray strands of hair flying behind you. A gait that is less than elegant but perfect all the same. Freedom. Happiness. Contentment.

The pride of helping Mama carry the few items we have to pick up at Walmart. As usual, you must know what each item is for. I am well used to this curious, inquisitive side to you now and find joy in answering your questions. Teaching you about the world. What things are for. Why things happen. I am blessed to be your teacher.

You are not inhibited by any social norms. You say hi to everyone. Flash a smile. Throw a wave. My beautiful, friendly little girl. Your bright and happy face is contagious. When you are with me I am surrounded by smiles and a happier world.

On the way home we chatter about skunks and why they wouldn't be very good to eat. About how you used to choke on chips if you ate them when younger. About how you must chew your food in order to swallow it and not choke. About how you'd like to eat lots and lots of candy and your suspicion that as a baby you did. One thing leads to another. We talk and talk and talk. Nothing important. But still, so very important.

And that evening, when all the fun is done, I tuck you in. I pray over you and kiss you on the forehead.

"Snuggle one minute, Mama?", you ask.
As if we haven't spent the whole evening together, just the two of us. As if you didn't spend your every waking moment in my company. As if this was the most essential and necessary thing in the whole wide world. But you see, what I've come to understand is that it is.

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Back on Track!

It feels so good to be back on track! There is something so rejuvenating about getting housework done especially after its been on hold for a whole week! The tub is clean, the fridge is clean and guess what I made?!!!

YOGURT!
Ta-da! Yup, this is my very own, homemade yogurt! And is it ever yummy! I'm gonna try it out on the kids tomorrow but I'm pretty positive they're going to love it!

I came across the 'recipe' at Granola Mom 4 God. Before that I had never realized you even could make it yourself without some kind of fancy appliance or something! Yay for another homemade snack success!

I am finding such a huge difference in my grocery bill by making most of the kids snacks! I still buy the occasional bag of Teddy Grahams or Goldfish if they are on sale but slowly we are getting away from the bagged and boxed stuff! Now if only I could buy my own cow and cut the cost of milk....hmmm, pretty sure Matt won't agree to that one!...yet! ;)

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Tot School (Sort of...)

It seems to me that for many the last week has been filled with similar circumstances. So I'm sure the following picture of what we did in Tot School this week will be somewhat familiar!



That's right - laying on the couch snuggling Mama. Poor, sick dolly! She was hit the hardest!

But the funny thing about kids is that despite feeling awful, they still need to be kept busy! Taitum is not at an age yet where sitting and watching movies will suffice on a sick day. No, no. This girl has to keep moving! She wasn't in any mood to be on her own though so I included her in many of the things her sister was doing:


Like making contact paper heart suncatchers ... (mind you this was before I realized she was sick and was blaming teething...)



And dancing to the song I sang for Piper's rhyming activity...

And stamping with paper tube heart stamps.

I also pulled out the crayons for her so she could color some vegetable pictures too but she got a glimpse of stickers that were in the crayon box. Coloring time turned into sticker time! This girl LOVES stickers lately!!


You can pretty much guess what the challenging and successful parts of our week were: dealing with a sick darling and seeing her health return (and sleep-filled nights! Can you hear my sigh of relief?!)

I am very much looking forward to the week ahead and more than ready to put this last one behind us! I must say though I am so grateful for children that are rarely sick and who recover quickly when they are!

Be sure and check out what other parents are doing with their tots by clicking on the button below!

Tot School

"O Church Arise"

I love this song! I recently re-discovered it and felt it was well worth posting! Enjoy!



O Church Arise
by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
O Church Arise and put your armour on
Hear the call of Christ our Captain
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given
With shield of faith and belt of truth
We’ll stand against the devil’s lies
An army bold whose battle-cry is Love
Reaching out to those in darkness
Our call to war to love the captive soul
But to rage against the captor
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole
We will fight with faith and valour
When faced with trials on every side
We know the outcome is secure
And Christ will have the prize for which He died
An inheritance of nations
Come see the cross where love and mercy meet
As the Son of God is stricken
Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet
For the Conqueror has risen
And as the stone is rolled away
And Christ emerges from the grave
This victory march continues till the day
Every eye and heart shall see Him
So Spirit come put strength in every stride
Give grace for every hurdle
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful
As saints of old still line the way
Retelling triumphs of His grace
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When with Christ we stand in glory
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music

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Valentines and Vegetables!

On weeks like this one, these weekly wrap-up posts become SO valuable! Coming to the end of a week that seemed to last forever and that felt so very unproductive, its nice to look back and see that things did get accomplished! Don't get me wrong - comforting, cuddling and nursing my sick littles back to health is a huge accomplishment in my books! But its a lot harder to see or even look back on since it all just seems like one big blur! Its nice to be encouraged by my own posts!

Here are some of this week's encouragements: 

On Valentine's Day, we made contact paper heart suncatchers like the ones I saw at Teach Mama.

Then, being oh-so-inspired by Counting Coconuts, we practiced pouring Valentine confetti into a jar.

As I mentioned in my post on Tuesday, Monday was a bit hectic so I had a few Valentine activities that we weren't able to get around to. Rather than starting a new theme, I decided to finish up what I had planned. This included practice cutting strips of hearts (also from Counting Coconuts).

Then we did this little rhyme:

6 little Valentines I once knew
All lined up for us to view
But the Valentine that I like best
It is the one that rhymes with...

bed - red, bean - green, shoe - blue, mellow - yellow, stink - pink, bright - white

Rhyming is something new for Piper and I'm not totally sure she got it but both girls enjoyed the song and the chance to join in by picking the right colored heart!


Paper Heart Tube Stamps were fun to do but short lived. Within 5 minutes both girls were done with this craft! I guess they didn't find the heart shaped stamps as amusing as I did!

I had some fun though by combining the paper tube stamps, my camera and an idea I saw at Pink Paper Peppermints! I ended up with this cute picture of my lovelies!
Mama's heart :)

As well, Piper worked away at transferring heart shaped bracelets from one bowl to another using a clothes pin.

We pulled out the good ol' Do-a-Dot markers and did the Letter V sheet from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Piper got a little crazy with her dots this time! Once she was done, most of the sheet was filled with dots but she was able to fill in the 'Vv' first! I love how excited she gets about getting to use these markers!


We began a vegetable theme so we could continue on with learning about the letter V for the rest of the month. We didn't get too terribly far with this because sickness hit and our school time was dramatically reduced for a few days. So look out! Next week is likely to be FULL of vegetables (and maybe a few violins and vacuums, too?)

We did manage to color in some vegetable pictures which will hopefully be turned into a mobile next week!

Piper matched vegetables using these printables from Homeschool Creations. This was more to build up her vocabulary since she didn't really know what a squash or zucchini looks like in their unmashed and ungrated form! ;) We will be using these cards for different activities next week too!

With it being a sick week, I finally got around to introducing Piper to Starfall. I've meant to for a while since I'd heard lots of good stuff about it and had investigated it for myself and liked what I saw. But I'm not big on my kids sitting in front of a screen for any length of time so it just wasn't a priority. Until this week... If they're going to sit in front of a screen they might as well be learning something! And I have to say I was pretty impressed with the stuff Piper picked up while playing around with the program! So check it out!

That's our week! The good, the bad and the...lovely?
See you next week!


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I love motherhood.

We're a smiling family.

I'm a covenant keeper.

I love my husband.

I am above self pity.

I am a nation builder.

Motherhood=Adventure

Worth more than rubies.


“I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of his blessings, whether large or small. He wants me to celebrate life ~ the life He has given me.”

~ Sally Clarkson







My Hubby

My Hubby
He's my bestest.

Piper

Piper
She is my compassionate, dramatic, fun to be around 6 year old. She loves to shop, get dressed up fancy and anything else that screams girly!

Taitum

Taitum
She is my goofy, snuggly 4 year old who loves to sing and dance and smile all day long!

Renly

Renly
She is our one year old smarty pants! She does all she can to keep up with her older sisters and to keep them in line!

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