Monday, March 17, 2014

A fabulous book list--An ABC's of Must Read Children's books by Carrots for Michaelmas

A blog I love to read is CARROTS FOR MICHAELMAS.

Recently Haley posted a supercool list--
An ABC's Of Must Read Children's Books.

Of course I printed it for our library bag, and I thought it was too good not to share with you.  So here it is--all Haley's work, even this below image.  Click HERE to go to her blog and see the goodness!

Also I ordered a copy of their book, FEAST! last fall to help us with following the liturgical year, and it's a great book.  It'd totally recommend it, if you're wondering.  :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

A boy and his knives....toddler play with playdough and knives.

 Beck LOVES working with knives these days.  He knows they are something so "grown up" so of course he wants to learn how to use them!  Playdough is a great time for cutting practice.  He gets a chunk of playdough and a selection of knives.  Spreaders, plastic knives, veggie cutters, and butter knives were selected this particular time.  Pizza cutters are also fun.  Playdough and safe knives allow opportunities for him to master the mechanics of cutting and also develop the wrist strength and control and grasping strength to cut effectively.  

I also let him cut fruit and veggies with a paring knife when I am sitting with him at the table.  We start with hand-over-hand and then when he is ready I let him cut on his own, well supervised.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Three sticks, a piece of string, a couple blankets=an outside play tipi that they go CRAZY over!

She played out here for hours...and for several days.  Until it rained and we had to take it down.  Maybe this week will bring more tipi-building!  The cat will be thrilled!  He thinks we built it for his naps.

A better bookshelf....

I taught first grade for several years in public school.  That meant I had a well-organized, genre-sorted classroom library.  Each genre (fiction, fairy tales, ABC, series, non-fiction, etc.) had a color-coded dot and a certain area that each genre was filed in our classroom library.

I also have a LOT of books from my teaching days and just because we love books.

I had previously had all our books stored on a big shelf in my studio by previously mentioned genre.  Except that I didn't let the kids have free reign of the bookshelf because they aren't allowed in the studio without me (it can be pretty crazy messy in there and lots of sharp scissors/needles/craft knives, etc.).  Also I didn't love them messing up my organization.

But this mean we weren't really using all our great books.

So I decided we needed a change.

First off, we had a little spot at the end of the hall right by their rooms.  We found a shelf (after several tries) that we already owned that would fit perfectly in this spot.  I ended up putting all our fiction books here, in no particular genre order ( was hard, but I did it!), merely organized by hardbacks and paperbacks (and this mostly to keep sizes working with the various shelves).

For now this method of organization is enough for my kiddos.  Somewhere down the line we might get more specific, but they are able to keep up with this.  And if I really want a certain book it's not THAT big of a deal to thumb through all the books.

We have another shelf in the hall for non-fiction, which I need to get a photo of, huh!

It has been so much better to have our books out in plain sight and available to the kiddos!  We are reading way more of them.

I also moved all our board books to Beck's bedroom bookshelf, and I find him every morning curled up on his blanky at the floor beneath his bookshelf reading through his books.  We've moved to reading mostly picturebooks to him for read-alouds, but he still likes his boardbooks for personal reading time.

I wish I would have made this change ages ago.  It works so well to have ALL our books together, organized simply, and looking nice!!

How do you organize your books?

Map Quilt

 Quinn has become very naturally curious about locations--specifically states.  We are loving this US map quilt that we were gifted with.  It's simple and large and perfect for her to see the latest place Uncle Brian (the quiet one) is flying to or to compare everything in relation to Wyoming and Tennessee.  :)  It's made of printed fabric just sewn onto a plain backing.  She is using it a whole lot in her play--her "students" are sure having some geography lessons!  Alie thinks geography is for the dogs, though.  ;)

Hammering nails into playdough=happy boy!

Saturday, March 1, 2014


This guy LOVES the carwash.  We've been doing a carwash at home.  A simple spray bottle, water, some lavender oil to make it smell nice, a couple towels, a scrub brush, and an empty handsoap bottle filled with water (it has enough soap left in the bottom to foam up) works wonders. Best of all is when Mama brings out her hair dryer at the end!

We do this about every day around here.  Our vehicles are VERY clean!!

"Thingy Box"

 Every home should have one of these, no matter the age of the kiddos!  My kids start with a "thingy basket" as soon as they can sit up.  Filled with items to hold, touch, gum, explore and drop, initially.  Items change with development and by two years Little Man has a box filled with a variety of random objects.  I have also included a couple magnets.  He can use them to figure out which items are attracted to them.  However, most often he just looks through the stuff and plays with the different items.  There are jar lids, tiny buckets, paperclips, coins, keys, a wrench, rocks, poker chips, a caribiner, a twist-up mechanical pencil, a scoop, an old dog tag, a rubberband, a padlock/key, a pencil, a washer, a marble, a couple keychains, a fake spider, a plastic toy cat.....etc, etc.  He can sit with his box for a good while, just exploring what is inside.  I change them out occasionally to keep his interest. 
For me the two best places to find items for the box are the kitchen junk drawer and the drawer of junk in Daddy's dresser.  Also the garage usually yields something fun and interesting.

Do you have thingy baskets/boxes for your kiddos?  You should try it!  Fun and educational.  And so very simple. 

Rubberbands around a jar.

The little guy is working on lots of skills that will get his fingers ready for handwork.  Putting rubberbands around a jar is a great job for him!