Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Laid Back Days

Attacked by the Flu
Our lives have been pretty laid back lately, with the flu going through my family twice.  I think we are finally done, just coming out of a six week cycle of all of us getting sick!  It hit us pretty bad this year!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Thursday Fun Box

This morning started out too early at 7:30 AM!  Usually we sleep past 8:00 or 8:30.  And since I am getting Joelle to sleep in her crib all night lately, I have to wake up in the middle of the night to rock her back to sleep and lay her back down.  So, I am feeling more tired than usual.

We came out on the couch and snuggled together and watched the Today show for awhile.  At one point I snoozed a bit while Joelle played with her peel able fruit on the floor right in front of the couch.  She was so good!  I woke up to her saying, "Mommy, wake up!" over and over.  I must have really fallen asleep for a few minutes.  But, Joelle obviously did fine entertaining herself and staying nearby playing on the floor.

Here are the contents of today's fun box:

Once I was awake enough to get off the couch, Joelle went right for the fun box!  She played with a peg/mouse game for awhile.  And did really well.  Then she cleaned the whole thing up, singing the cleanup song and everything!

We had to do some shopping today, so didn't get to the rest of the box until late this afternoon.  She enjoyed the Time for Tots game today of putting tiny animals in a pill box container:

And we also really enjoyed painting today!  I had bought her some Crayola tempera paints in a box of six different colors.  I put a dab of each color in a little tray, gave her as many brushes as she wanted, and let her go at it.  She really preferred to use her fingers.  And she even let me paint her hands to make hand prints.  We had fun with this craft today!

The Wednesday Fun Box

Today we saw the sun shining outside and decided to go to the park.  We went to the park near our library and walked to the library for story time, then walked back to the park afterwards.  I got so excited about the sun shining that I even packed a picnic lunch for us to have at the park.  But, I guess it is still winter afterall!  The wind was blowing so cold that I decided we would have to skip the picnic as I thought I was going to freeze on the walk back to the park.  So, we headed home and had lunch inside.  It was a fun idea anyway.  And it was nice to get some fresh air and go for a walk.  Maybe one day soon it will actually be warm when the sun is shining!

Before we even got dressed this morning, Joelle noticed the fun box.  I think she is starting to see it as a little bit of a routine.  So, I let her choose a game out of it to play with.  She picked the little shopping basket with the cardboard food (that I bought at Micheal's once from the dollar bins).  She had fun dumping all the food out and putting it back in the basket again.  Then, we listened to her music tape and read all three of the books from the box.

After Joelle's nap, we did a couple of other things from the box.  The Time for Tots game today was searching for tiny objects in a pan of rice.  She thoroughly enjoyed this, and we did this for probably half an hour.  She even really liked it when I buried her hands in the rice and then she would pull them out real quickly.  I think she enjoyed the sensation of the rice on her hands.

These are the tiny objects we found in the rice!

Then we worked on her farm animals sticker book for awhile.  She was having fun putting all the cat and kitten stickers on the appropriate page.  After that, she played by herself for a little while, while I did some laundry.  She played with the Fisher Price cash register for a little while by herself.

Joelle was also really into dressing herself again today!  At one point I found her in her room with pants all around her on the floor.  She had pulled them all out of the drawer and was trying them on one by one!  She is getting pretty good at figuring out how to put them on and take them off.  I didn't really mind that she had made the mess with her clothes today.  I don't let her do this every day, but it was a good activity for her today and she was having a great time!

Tomorrow, we have another fun box to explore!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Tuesday Fun Box

We slept in again this morning, and I went to the doctor and found out I have a sinus infection.  Now, I have an antibiotic for ten days and I'm hopeful that I will be feeling better soon.  With my doctor appointment and then waiting an hour for my prescription to be filled, Joelle spent the morning with Grandma and Aunt Aileen.

First thing this morning, before I could get Joelle dressed she took off her own pajamas.  She was just wearing her onsie and then she put her winter boots on.  I snapped a couple pictures because I thought she looked so funny!  She has really been obsessed with dressing lately!

We pulled out the fun box this afternoon after Joelle's nap.  Here are the contents of today's box:

She definetly had her favorites out of the box today!  She loves the book Paper Parade because its so rhythmical.  It has words in it that she can repeat easily and the illustrations are amazing!  She also loved the Easter Hunt book because it has lots of flaps to lift and look under.

She loves her Bullfrogs and Butterflies cd!  It is a Christian kids' cd that I remember from my own childhood, so I really enjoyed it too.  She listened to the whole thing twice, dancing along through a lot of it.

She had very little interest in the puzzle or the Time for Tot's tong and fruits game.  So, I didn't push it on either of those.  Some days she has very strong preferences about what she wants to do.  Which is fine with me.  She spent some time playing the farm bingo game by herself, putting the coins in the slot and pulling them out again.  Then she cleaned it up by herself, singing the cleanup song and everything (when she is singing that song the words "cleanup" and "everybody" are very clear!)  And then she brought the bag with the toy in it back to me.  I was impressed!

We spent a lot of time playing with her little plastic rings, making necklaces and hats.  She also loved putting them together and pulling them apart and then filling the bucket with them.

She has been putting a lot of things in her mouth lately.  I think she may be teething a little bit again!  When does teething ever end!?

Another activity from the box that Joelle really enjoyed was painting with a little watercolor set.  This was the first time she has ever done this.  I recently bought her a couple painting supplies, and we are starting to try them out.  She really enjoyed this activity!  She started out with a brush, but eventually she just ended up using her finger.  She was really concentrating, and I think she also liked the way the paint felt on her fingers, or the way it felt to rub the paint tray with her fingers.  This was a very fun activity for us!

Right after painting, she wanted to wash her hands.  So, then we had about a half hour of water play at the kitchen sink.  She absolutely LOVES it!  It usually ends in a tantrum because she would play at the sink all day if I let her.  But, it is a fun, free activity that we have recently discovered.

That is how our day went today.  So, far the fun boxes have been great.  I think the more I do this, the more I will learn what appeals to and interests my daughter.  Which would be a great thing to really know.  We will explore another box tomorrow!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Monday Fun Box

Since I am still sick with some kind of a terrible cold that has me starting to lose my voice, we woke up a little later this morning.  I think it was almost 10!  But, obviously, we both needed the sleep.  Then, we had to go to the grocery store almost immediately because we were out of everything.  I got all the food to make tacos for dinner, a couple of toiletries, some bananas, and a couple of boxes of cereal.  It doesn't sound like much, and it really doesn't look like much in the cart.  But, guess how much that was?  $73 dollars!  I don't know what our world is coming to!  How can anyone afford to eat anymore?  We try to stay on a pretty tight grocery budget, but it seems like every time we turn around the price of food has gone up!  It's crazy!  I feel like I can't walk out of the store with ten things anymore without having spent at least $50!  I know I'm not the only one who feels gouged by the grocery store!  It's just crazy!
So, after our morning errand, we had a very busy day playing with the contents of the fun box.  Surprisingly, the little people set was a big hit!  I love it, but I just wasn't sure if Joelle would be ready for this yet.  She liked it so much that she never wanted to clean it up.  We set it all up on the big pink rug in her room and so it was easy enough just to leave it out all day.  We had lots of fun playing with this together!

Joelle loved this little people swing set!  I think she could identify with it because one of her favorite things to do is go on the swing anytime we are at the park.  She carried this around with her a lot today.
Another one of Joelle's favorite things with this set was the garage on the house that can open and close.  She spent quite awhile putting a car in and out of the garage and opening and closing it.  She also loved the doorbell on the house that makes a real ding dong sound.  She spent a long time playing with that too.
Daddy came home for lunch right after we got this whole set out and Joelle wanted him to play too!

We read all of the books out of the box and she really enjoyed the pop up nursery rhymes book.  Then we listened to her music tape.  She was dancing a lot today- twirling around and laughing, stomping her feet.  She has always loved music of any kind.  She was having a great time!

After Joelle's nap, we got out the markers and stickers.  She had a fun time coloring today.  She loves it when I trace around her hand, so we did that a couple times.  After awhile, she noticed that her hands were really marked up and she said to me "hand dirty!"  I didn't even know that she knew the meaning of "dirty," but apparently she does.  She has never liked to get anything on her hands.  So, we went to the sink and washed her hands, which then lead to some water play for quite awhile.

Another thing we pulled out of the box this afternoon was the Time for Tots color matching game.  She doesn't get the concept of matching yet, but she had fun playing with the cards and the little objects.  She does know the color "yellow" and she identified it multiple times.  We have a little light up fish tank on her window sill by her changing table, and I often point out the yellow fish to her, so that must be where she remembers the color from.  Here are some pictures of her enjoying the color match set:

I did notice that Joelle would entertain herself at different intervals today, and she was more content to do that than she has been.  I think since we are spending some focused time together throughout the day, she doesn't mind being independent as much as she normally would.  I also really enjoyed having this box of activities to do because it made me feel like I had a little bit of a plan and some structure for the day.  I think we both do better when we have structure, even when we are just hanging out at home.

She did great playing by herself this evening while I prepared dinner.  I just rotated her toys yesterday, so they all seem like new toys to her right now (she has not seen them for at least two weeks).  She spent a lot of time playing with her peel able fruits and veggies this evening.  She loves to pull them apart, and put them in the bag and then carry them around the house.

She also spent lots of time today putting her shoes and socks on and then taking them off again.  At one point, she put her snow boots on, put her hat on, and then was trying to put my coat on!  She loves to put stuff on and then get her play keys and say "bye-bye!"  We also spent a good chunk of time this evening rolling a ball back and forth in the hallway.  She loved that and she laughed so much!  She went to bed easy tonight because we had a very full and busy day!

I love my Sweet Pea and I'm trying to remember that she won't be this little for very long- so I'm appreciating those little moments with her.  I'm very happy with how this day turned out!  Tomorrow we will have another fun box to explore!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Daily Fun Boxes

This is one of my ideas that I thought of after reading about tot school.  I have found five medium sized cardboard boxes that we had out in the garage.  I set them all out on the kitchen table and went through all my toys, learning games, art stuff, puzzles, books, and music.  Then, I put stuff in each box from each category- so that each box was eventually filled with fun stuff to do.  Then, I put each box in my daughter's closet.  Now, my intention is to use one box per day this whole week.  This is an experiment for us and the first time we have ever done something like this.  But, I thought this might help us to have some fun things to do together throughout the day.  This way, I will not be scrambling for something new to pull out and this also helps me to feel like we have a little bit of a plan.  I'm excited to pull out the Monday box tomorrow and see how this whole thing goes over.  Here are some pictures of the contents of our Monday box:

 These are a couple of our favorite books, but we have not read any of them for awhile, so I plan to make this one of our activities.
 This is our beloved set of little people, furniture, cars, and the house (from when I was a kid).  I think this means more to me right now than it will to Joelle, but it's fun to get stuff like this out every now and then.  She is starting to enjoy stuff like this just a little bit more than she did a couple months ago and I'm sure her interest will grow with time.
 This is a Time for Tots color matching game.  I highly recommend Time for Tots on Etsy.  She has so many neat game packs already put together that you can purchase to do with your tot.  I know this may be a little advanced still for my girl, but if we can just have fun with it for now with no goal in mind I think we will do just fine.  She always loves to look at and explore new things!
 This is one of our favorite art activities- Markers and stickers!  I know this one will be a hit for sure- especially since she just recently figured out how to peel a lot of the stickers off of the sheet by herself!
Our neighbor gave us a bag full of Christian kid's tapes.  So I thought it would be fun to use a different tape every day.  Joelle absolutely loves music!

This is a boxed learning set about animals that I picked up at a yard sale once for a dollar!  She may not be completely ready for this yet, but she has never seen it, so I thought it would be fun to pull it out and explore.  It has a floor puzzle, animal flash cards, and an animal photo book.  So, we'll see what she thinks of this.

Well, that is what we are looking forward to for tomorrow.  I will post again later with pictures of Little Miss enjoying the contents of the box!

Welcome to my new blog!

I have never done this before.  This is my first time creating a blog and also I have started a new thing with Joelle called Tot School.  It's like a montessori way of setting up learning opportunities for your child.  It should always be fun!  I will use this blog to post pictures and keep an organized record of what we are doing each day.  This is a new fun adventure for us!

If you have a preschooler or toddler and you want to know more about tot school, check out this website to find out all about it. 

For me, I think the tot school idea has helped me to come up with some ideas for organizing our time.  As a stay at home mom, I think sometimes my daughter and I have the potential to drive each other crazy if we don't have a plan.  And so, I've used the tot school idea to add a little structure to our afternoons at home together. 

I have posted some pictures here of the sensory box I made for Joelle with a St. Patrick's Day/March/Green theme and some pictures of her thoroughly enjoying it!  This has been a very worthwhile investment for us!  I first made this box last week and she has already spent hours playing with it!  We love it!  My plan is to make a new sensory box for her each month with a different theme.  Here is our first:

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