May 31, 2011

Baby Shower {sneak peek}

My baby sister is having a baby in September. My other sister and I are of course throwing her a fabulous shower! (aren't I modest?!) We figured that this is the last shower we will throw for a sister...until our kids have babies...which won't be a LONG time from now! So, we want to go out with a bang.

So here is a sneak peek of what we are working on.

Obviously we are doing a book themed shower. I made the library check out cards on photoshop and then we put card pockets on cardstock. I also made bookplates to go in the pocket so guest can personalize books for the mommy-to-be. I love love LOVE how they turned out!

So, are you just dying to see what else we came up with? I thought so! I will keep you posted!

UPDATED: Check out THIS POST to see how the shower turned out with all the details!
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May 30, 2011

Nature Scavenger Hunt

During our 'Garden' week for tot school last week, my favorite activity was taking a Nature Scavenger Hunt walk by the lake. This was supposed to be part of our 'Toddler Art Tuesdays' with my sister and her daughters, but we forgot to take the art stuff with us. Oh well...maybe next time!

I whipped up a scavenger hunt sheet the night before our walk. I was too lazy to type up the words for each picture, but I think the kids survived anyway. I put the sheets in a page protector and stapled some dot stickers to the protector. As the kiddos found an item, they could put a sticker over that picture. (you can save this jpg if you want to use this too!)

About halfway through our walk, John and Bella lost interest in the scavenger hunt. They lasted longer than I thought! We walked a very short distance, but it took FOREVER with two toddlers! John likes to stop to pick up a pebble every five seconds and then wants to run back and forth over the bridge twenty times. I think we walked about 1/2 a mile total and it took us about 45 minutes. Those two kids were just taking in all the nature they could handle, I guess! :)

Here are some pictures of the two explorers, along with baby Matthew and baby Lilly who enjoyed the walk in a comfy stroller!

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May 25, 2011

Wonderful Resource for Early Literacy!

I recently went to a couple sessions at our local library to learn about how to promote early literacy for my sons. It was advertised as sessions for daycare workers and parents, but I think I was the only parent there among about 20-30 daycare teachers. It was well worth it though and I learned a TON of things to do with the boys at home. (and according to the teacher, I am in the 10% of parents who will work with their children at home...not sure how accurate his guess was!)

So, I wanted to share THIS site. Dr. Jim has TONS of downloadable material on the right sidebar of this page for using with children from 2-5 years old. He also has wonderful links to songs for those of us who can't always remember the tune of cute songs we hear at storytimes. On this page, he also has links to other age groups (infants and 1 year olds) that you should totally check out! My favorite page so far is the 2s3s4s programs document because it is broken up by themes and gives a list of books for each theme along with some finger plays and poems. Here is an example:

So, go check it out! Dr. Jim was amazing!!

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May 24, 2011

Please Help by VOTING!

As you may know, Matthew had to wear a STARband helmet for three months. We were very lucky that he only needed it for a short time. He got it off very recently and we are so excited! However, when he was wearing it, I was always very aware of the many stares Matthew got from other people. Thankfully 360 Wraps has their wonderful program called Wrap Buddies that wrapped his helmet for free! (remember this post?!) Here is a cute picture of him in his fancy helmet...

So, I need your help now! They are nominated for a $50,000 grant and all you have to do is go HERE to vote for them! PLEASE go vote because they are a wonderful company!! Thank you so much for helping! And to give you a little incentive, if you vote, leave a comment here and I will do a drawing for a {small} Target gift card! :)

Matthew thanks you!

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May 23, 2011

Z is for Zoo

I am slowly getting back into a more structured tot school, however I am changing it up slightly. I am going towards a more 'themed' week instead of trying to base it around a letter of the week. This seems to be more fun for John and I can use more items around the house instead of buying new teaching materials.

So, we did 'zoo animals' week recently. I gathered up the stuffed animals and we had TONS of them. Seriously, they multiply at night or something! One morning we set up a zoo in the backyard. This activity was great and multi-purposed! I put out towels for the 'cages' because it had rained the day before and I didn't want the toys to get too dirty. John first helped me sort the animals and help put them in their spots. Then, armed with his binoculars (toilet paper rolls I quickly taped together that before we went outside), he and Matthew took a wagon ride around the zoo.

We sang a song in between each cage:

(to the tune of Farmer in the Dell)
We're going to the zoo
We're going to the zoo
It's so much fun to go and see
the ________ at the zoo (fill in with animal)


LIONS at the zoo
LIONS at the zoo
It's so much fun to go and see
the LIONS at the zoo.

At each 'cage' John would count how many animals he saw and we talked about them a little.

checking out the lions:

checking out the bears:

Matthew LOVED this activity too even though he probably had no idea what was going on. I tried to do the sign for the animals but I don't think he really noticed. Everytime we sang and move the wagon he would crack up. John wanted to take the tour of the zoo twice and then he helped me put all the animals back inside the house. He even set up a zoo by himself a couple times throughout the week.

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May 17, 2011

Toddler Art Tuesday {BABY edition}

I am back!! Well, I probably won't be posting every day, but I am going to get back to posting and sharing again. Woohoo!

So, here is an activity I did with Matthew a couple weeks ago. (btw, he is done with his helmet now! I will have to post about that later too because I am SO excited!). We had two or three jars of food in the fridge that were on their last leg. So I dumped them on Matthew's tray and let him 'paint' with the food. I didn't use paper so obviously I couldn't save his art work, but he loved this activity (as evidenced by his super messy high chair!). I think any baby would love this sensory activity...and no worries if they put the 'paint' in their mouth!

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