Feb 12, 2012

Valentine's Day Tot School

Did you know that tomorrow is Valentine's Day?! :) Hope you have your Valentine's ready to hand out to your favorite loved ones. Well, we spent last week doing some Valentine's activities here with my favorite loved ones.

Matthew and I had some fun one-on-one time one day while John was at preschool. We started with playing with Valentine's themed window clings. He putting the clings on and off the window...over and over again! (We had just played with a new doctor kit, so he didn't want to part with the stethescope.)

I put some small erasers in plastic conversation hearts and Matthew enjoyed opening and closing the containers. Well, he enjoyed opening them all but couldn't quite get them closed again. I was surprised that this very simple activity kept him entertained for a long time!

I pulled out the formula container and heart picks from last year. Matthew did really well with this and could get the sticks in the holes without too much trouble. John also liked playing with this when he got home. It really irks him, though, that there are more holes than heart picks. He just REALLY wants everything to be nice and even!

He helped me address envelopes to send Valentine's to Nana, Grandma, and Grandpa.

I set up a little post office area, but didn't get a picture of it. I had a phone, cash register, stickers (stamps), address stamps, cards, and envelopes. We took some cards and put them in the mailbox. This was actually difficult since they cards had to be slanted to fit into the mailbox.

One of Matthew's favorite games was our 'Heart Hunt'. I 'hid' paper hearts in the living room for Matthew to find and put he them in his shopping cart. I didn't actually hide the hearts but rather placed them around the living room in plain sight. It is funny that he watched me put the hearts around the room, yet he still needed me to help him find them again! He was so cute playing this game and we played it twice that morning.

**The printables I used were from last year. I think they are from Musings of Me, but she doesn't have them posted anymore. You can check her Teachers Pay Teachers site though!**

John joined us for the rest of the activities, starting with counting kisses. I put a numbered card out and John had to count out that many kisses for the bear on the worksheet. You can see they LOVE chocolate so the worksheet is completed with chocoloate-y drool spots. :) Matthew liked helping put out the kisses too. John could do this perfectly and I was so impressed that he is even getting the hang of subtracting!

not sure why this is rotated!!

John put these boys in size order...

and sorted letters.

(He also did WONDERFUL at completing patterns using colored heart erasers. He could do every pattern I threw at him. I was so excited! But, no pictures of that one.)

Matthew put hearts on a dot page.

I got the idea of a letter matching game from a blog that I follow (and of course I can't remember which one now!). I wrote lower case letters on little heart erasers and put them in plastic conversation hearts. Then I wrote upper case letters on large paper hearts and arranged them in a heart shape on the floor. The idea was that John would match the erasers to the correct heart on the floor. He did this fine for about 3 erasers and then got frustrated that Matthew was 'messing up the heart' on the floor. So, he decided to instead practice his jumping skills and jumped over the hearts. Matthew also joined in which is so dang cute since he can't really jump yet. Every once in a while he gets about 1/2 an inch above the ground and I think it surprises him. SO CUTE!

We had some yummy heart lunches...

did some arts and crafts projects...

and played 'post office' by mailing letters to different houses (or in our case, putting the mail under the door). John did great at writing house #1 on his envelope and adding the return address sticker and 'stamp'.

All in all, we had a great time. As usual we didn't get everything done that I had planned, but that is ok. I am looking forward to hanging out tomorrow with my favorite boys while we get ready for John's preschool party. We have lots of baking to do which is one of my favorite things to do with them.

Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!
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Feb 6, 2012

Valentine's Day Party {flashbacks}

So, Valentine's Day is NEXT WEEK! I usually throw the annual pizza party at my house but this year I decided I just couldn't make it work with trying to get the house ready to sell. As I took out my decorations tonight to let the boys decorate the 'school area', I was a little sad in not having the party this year. At least I can look forward to having the party next year in our new (bigger!) house!

I realized, however, I never posted about the parties from the last two years. So, I am going to go back in time, pull up old pictures, and share some Valentine's party love.

Let's start with the most important part of any party; the dessert. Actually, my favorite part of the party last year was the dessert set up. I used ribbon to hang over the mirror over my buffet to make the area look festive. Then I set up a bunch of yummy desserts.

These are my impostor whoopie pies. Well, I don't really know what whoopie pies are, so I only assume these are similar to whoopie pies. I used a muffin top tins to bake cupcakes. Then I sandwiched yummy icing in between two cupcakes. They are quite delicious. I mean, who doesn't like to eat two cupcakes at one time?!

I found the 'keep calm' sign somewhere around the internet (they are not hard to find!) and used some old wedding favor organza bags to fill with kisses as favors for the guests. You know, 'guests' sounds fancy but if we are being honest, it is just family over at the house. Do they really count as guests??

One thing I love about my house is that the dining room and formal living room is one big space. So when I have the whole family over, I can line up three tables and we can all sit together. Here is the table set up from last year. I used THESE place mats that I made about two years ago with my sweet hubby.

If you look carefully, you can see my thrifty (and scrawny) table toppers. When trying to fit so many people at the table, there is little room for decorations. I am also too cheap to make a huge display. I found almost everything for these decorations at the dollar store. I got the tin from the 'garden/flower' area (and covered with scrapbook paper I had already). Then I took some of the boy's playdoh and put the containers in the tins. I stuck the hear picks in the playdoh so they would stand upright at different angles. This will dry out the playdoh, but we had so many I could sacrifice a couple containers. Then I filled the tins with tissue paper and the poured some bags of conversation hearts to cover up the tissue paper. This all probably makes no sense, but I can't find the pictures that explains what I did! Sorry Charlie!

We always have an assortment of pizzas. Brad is our Pizza Master and does a fabulous job! Some are heart shaped, some are square, and some are round. We don't discriminate over here!

Way back in 2010, I made these cupcake toppers using mini candy canes left over from Christmas. I used THIS tutorial to make them. They were really easy to do and turned out really cute!

I actually had a crafty activity planned for this party. I made peanut butter rice crispie treats prior to the party. At the party, we used heart cookie cutters to cut out the treats, dip them in melted chocolate, then decorate with sprinkles. They were quite tasty, although most people left theirs at my house. I may, or may not, have eaten them by myself.

See, I told you we need the space to fit the whole gang!

This year we are getting together at my mom's house but I look forward to next year when I can hopefully host again!

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Feb 1, 2012

Winter Themed Activities - Tot School

I don't know about you, but here in Texas we didn't really have a winter. The weather has been pretty mild and we are able to head outside almost every day. There was a brief period of time when it was really cold in the mornings, but that is about as much as of a winter as we have had so far. However, that didn't stop us from having some winter fun for tot school! Here is a quick wrap up of what we did.

Not having snow on the ground didn't keep us from having fun building a snowman! I grabbed three boxes, wrapped them in white paper, and cut out some coal, a carrot, and a scarf from construction paper. Then the boys helped me build our boxy snowman. He ended up looking a little weird, but that is ok! Matthew had fun with this one!

We matched up our mittens. We also had lots of fun wearing our winter gear (hats, gloves, scarves) and looking at ourselves in the mirror. I am so sad I didn't have my camera then because the boys had SO MUCH fun!

We had our toys play in the 'snow' outside in the backyard. They played with the shaving cream snow for at least 30 minutes and had a blast.

Matthew made a 'P is for Penguin' picture with stickers. He LOVES stickers and is so cute when he picks out which one he wants next. I mean, look at that cute face!

They both made a 'S is for Snowman' picture. John's was very neat and put his stickers in the S perfectly whereas Matthew was a little more haphazard. :)

I found a really cute printable book from playing with words 365 so one night John and I made one together. Then he read it with Daddy during the week.

We 'ice skated' across the living room floor using paper plates. I got the idea from Oopsey Daisy (who had the cutest Winter Packet with TONS of fun ideas!). Yes, we used Halloween plates. The boys liked this one even though they couldn't quite get the hang of skating. They just shuffled across the floor. So cute!

Matthew matched colored snowflakes (from Oopsey Daisy). I was very impressed that he was able to do this! I don't think we have done matching cards yet so I was skeptical of how he would do with matching colors. I gave him three at a time and he got them right most of the time!

We had a little science fun as we used droppers to make colored ice cubes (using food coloring). Then we used the ice cubes to paint by tilting the baking pan so that the ice would slide across the paper. John was really interested in playing with the ice. The paper ended up just turning purple but I think if we used water color paper, it would have been much cooler!

The boys made snowmen with their names. I cut out the pieces and wrote the letters (obviously!) and I was so proud that John did the whole project on his own. From using the glue to placing the letters in the correct order, he did this with out even one word from me. I was busy helping Matthew with his and when I turned around, John was done!

Last but not least, Matthew colored with markers in a winter coloring book. He really loves to color with markers. John has never been much of a coloring kind of kid, but Matthew LOVES markers!

I am getting all our Valentine's Day stuff ready over the weekend and I am so excited. I am going to have the kids play in a pretend post office. I think I will have more fun than them with all the stamping and mailing going on. Check back to see what we did!

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