The blog Home Grown Families is having an awesome month of giveaways coming up in June. It is the Cover the Booty Cloth Diaper Event. Cover the Booty has teamed up with Kissaluvs, Envibum, Diapers Etc., Thirsties, Knickernappies, Snappi, Blueberry and more. Any winners of these delicious diapers are sure to be the envy of the cloth diapering community. For early entries you can check out Home Grown Families for early entry requirements or starting June 1st check back daily for ongoing entry requirements.
Columbus Metropolitan Library rocks! I honestly couldn't imagine homeschooling without this awesome library system. We get to take advantage of a group of connected libraries with perhaps the best selection of books dedicated to providing resources to the community. The website here has a highly searchable catalog that allows you to reserve books online, as well as access to resources such as NoveList, full text of Columbus Dispatch, and Mango Languages.
Presently my absolute favorite feature of the website is the ability to create a username under which you can save booklists and tag books. You can choose to make your lists public or not and view other user's public lists and tags. If you haven't yet, check it out!
Little One and I walked to the library from our new house the other day. The big kids were staying overnight at their Aunt's house. It was peaceful, it was quiet, it was calm. The sun was shining, but the temperature was cool enough for a jacket and windy enough for a hat. Little One played with the puzzles on the kids' table, then picked board books to read to herself on the couch in the kids' area. I sat and waited at a table nearby, watching her, and my eyes fell on a book sitting atop the table. Under the Chinaberry Tree- Books and Inspirations for Mindful Parenting by Ann Ruethling & Patti Pitcher. Mindful parenting, yes, its what I strive for. The book got tucked into my bag to check out and go home with me. I've been reading tidbits here and there as I can catch a moment or two. I like it. I like the soul of it. I also happen to love booklists in pretty much every shape and size. I've added many of the books to Little One's Book List for 2010/2011 that I'm keeping on my local library's website. They have a cool feature that allows you to save and tag books you've searched that the library system owns. Very useful!
The authors of the book run a successful business which started out in Ann Ruethling's kitchen, as I understand it. Their website is chinaberry.com, entitled Chinaberry- Books and Other Treasures for the Whole Family. Their mission statement reads-
Chinaberry offers items to support families in raising their children with love, honesty and joy to be reverent, loving caretakers of each other and the earth.
We closed on our first house and are finally moved. We're still living among boxes, but less each day. We've been cleaning and working loads to get the place livable. The house needs some tlc, but it is great! The location is right where we wanted and the house and yard are not too big, not too small. I'll post some pics of the place when its a little more together. I decided on a very bright, bold yellow for our classroom walls. Its painted and I started filling up our bookshelves yesterday. I love it!
There is a great giveaway being hosted by Mama to 3 Blessings. You win 5 Little Green Books, earth friendly and made from recycled materials. Visit her blog here for your chance to win! These books look wonderful. :)
Little One had loads of fun today. Aside from the usual coloring and play dough. She found a pair of weird eye glasses the kids' Aunt bought them for Halloween. She was taking them off and on for quite awhile. This has to be good for her motor skills. You can see in the last pic she didn't quite get it, but is trying mightily to keep them on anyway. Too cute!
My partner brought home a rather large, cool shaped box from work yesterday. Little One has been in and out of it all day. I played with her for a little while narrating for her, 'In' as she went in, and 'Out' when she went out. She thought this was funny. Then she changed the game to 'Hello' for coming out and 'Bye' for going in. It is amazing how the simplest things reinforce their learning and cause merriness at this age. Yesterday we played a game where we held hands and pushed our hands up high saying 'Up' and brought them down low saying 'Down'. She thought that was great too. Big Sis and Little One drew on the box, decorated inside the box, and played together in it too.
You'll notice the balloon in the last picture with stars. I blew up the balloon and gave it to Little One with shiny star shaped stickers. She decorated it all by herself. I'm constantly amazed at her fine motor skills. If you look closely you may also notice my older daughter misspelled maple as mapple. I did not correct her, but I did take mental note to add it to her Spelling list. The box was for fun and she wrote on it for fun. I didn't want to take away from that at all. There are three books Little One has wanted to listen to repeatedly all week. Little Bear and Little Bear's Friend by Else Holmelund Minarik and It's About Time, Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom.
Especially the Little Bear books. In Little Bear one of the stories is Birthday Soup, in which Little Bear proceeds to make soup with carrots, peas, potatoes, and tomatoes in a big, black pot. I think this story is her favorite, judging by the time we've spent with it. She's shown so much interest in the soup part, pointing at the pictures of vegetables again and again for me to name, that I told her today we'd make our own soup with carrots, peas, potatoes, and tomatoes. She was thrilled. I chopped potatoes and carrots and put water in the pot. I thought it would be fun for her if she put each vegetable into the pot in a different way. She dropped in the potatoes by the handful, pushed in the carrots from the cutting board, spooned in frozen peas, dumped in frozen green beans from a bag, poured in diced tomatoes and tomato sauce from a measuring cup, and plopped in a whole peeled onion to flavor the broth.
After it was boiling I added raw hamburger in by the spoonful. The hamburger could most definitely be left out for a delicious vegan alternative. I usually do make veggie soup without meat, but I'll admit this soup with meat was superb. Little One got a bit impatient for the soup and insisted to get in her high chair. I gave her one of her little bubble containers to play with while she waited. Can you believe the little sprite can already blow bubbles all by herself? She seems so little still at 25 months old.
Here she is getting ready to take her first bite.
Everyone loved the soup. It was such a hit the pan was near to empty when our family of five was through with it. And that was with biscuits on the side and chopped onions and shredded cheese for toppings.
Yesterday we eased back into school with a light, fun day. The highlight of which was edible Science, yum! The big kids started out the school day with Writing With Ease, followed by Sequential Spelling. I don't actually own either of these. I have the Writing With Ease text borrowed from the library. I've been using the sample of Sequential Spelling from online. I plan to purchase and use both of these for next school year, but wanted to take the opportunity to trial them out now. The kids actually like both and as for me, I do too. I can see the value in both. The lessons are relatively short and light, but the kids gain quite a lot from them. The kids were assigned to read one chapter and do 10 minutes of multiplication on freerice.com. That website really is a good way to drill multiplication facts. The kids like it because they are helping donate rice to hungry children. There is other subjects as well, such as vocabulary.
If you're wondering what Little One was doing during this focused learning time I'll share. First she was playing with play dough in her high chair. Then she wanted to write like the big kids at the table, so I gave her pen and paper. She drew and talked about the Spelling words and laughed when the big kids laughed. I then read Little Bear by Else Homelund to her, twice.
On to the really fun part, edible Science! We actually did two projects. One failed. The first was ice cream. I've seen this recipe before other places, but I got it out of Science Play-Beginning Discoveries for 2-6 Year-Olds by Jill Frankel Hauser. Basically milk and sugar in a zip lock bag, place in a bigger zip lock bag filled with ice and some salt, then shake, shake, shake-shake, shake shake-shake your booty! The details are in the book. We flavored on bag with chocolate syrup, one with vanilla. Little one loves to help with recipes. She really enjoyed this. It does take 15 minutes, which is a whole lotta shakin' goin' on. I counted it exercise myself. My son snapped a couple of pictures. The last one I took. Little One was showing me her sticky hand. She's selectively fastidious, lol.
The second project was to be edible sugar crystal necklaces. I'm not sure where we went wrong. We've done a sugar crystal experiment before and it worked. I felt pretty sure we followed the directions to a T. Oh well, I'm sure the ice cream was better anyhow.
Janice Vancleave has authored numerous, experiment packed books about Science for parents and kids. This book gives simple, short experiments for adults to do with children. The sections; Air, Changes, Magnets, Forces, Light, Sound, and Electricity, have multiple activities. Each experiment is set up as a question a small child might ask, followed by clear, concise instructions with illustrations and extensions, for more ways to try out the concept. The materials needed for are likely to be around your house already, if not a quick trip to a local store and a few bucks should suffice to get them. The book does not specify an age range that I have seen, though I feel it would be wonderful for Pre-K children.
I got this book to find some simple activities to do with my two year old. Some of the activities are appropriate for a two year old, others would work with a small amount of tweaking. The book includes simple explanations which could be read to the child or not. I haven't bothered to read anything from the book to my two year old. I think just experiencing is enough for this little of a scientist. I make short observational comments. Just like I usually do in our everyday life together.
She has really enjoyed the experiments we've done so far and it is just another fun way to spend time together. I'd recommend this book for those caring for children ages 2-5. Following are some pictures of our tweaked version of experiment Bubbly. The original experiment calls for bubble bath and water in the cup. I thought milk would be a safer alternative for a two year old. Good thing too because she did forget to blow a few times and sucked instead! She got a mouth full of 'cow', as she calls it, lol.
Little One couldn't get to that playground fast enough! She loves being outside. After the playground we looked at flowers, buds, and new leaves on bushes, trees, and on the ground. I showed her how to gently stroke the buds to feel the softness. The ones on the bush were especially soft and furry feeling.
I'll admit I'm not a fan of food coloring! Dyeing eggs is fun for the kids, so I suck it up, mentally prepare myself, relax, and enjoy them having fun. The pictures speak for themselves. Please excuse our boxes. The closing date on our house was set for March 19th, then April 1st. Both times it's been delayed. Right now we're waiting as patiently as possible amid the boxes!!!!