Friday, February 26, 2010

A to Z

Just two weeks ago I was talking to a friend about how to work with Anna on her alphabet sounds. We'd been working on sounds A-D (when I say "working on" I really just mean we've been playing some fun games when Anna says "mommy, let's do school stuff") for a few weeks and it wasn't really clicking so I decided to put those games away for awhile.

Then aunt Susu let Anna borrow The LeapFrog Letter Factory video that goes through each letter and their sound. The video quickly became the girls favorite thing to watch when I shower in the morning and so after less than 10 views, Anna was showing us what she learned...

I am still amazed she remembered all of this from the video!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Big Girl"

In anticipation of her second birthday (not until the end of April!) Maddie has decided, and will tell you, that she is now "big girl". At restaurants she goes for the booster seat like her sister. At home, she prefers a chair without a booster. At stores, she refuses to sit in the buckled portion of the shopping cart and of course wants to walk and hold hands all the way through the parking lot. She prefers colored pencils to fat crayons and no longer does she leave out numbers when counting to 10. Sippy cups are being replaced by regular kid-sized cups and there is now maybe one nap a week. Yesterday during "naptime" Maddie decided to take care of her own poopy diaper by taking it off and nicely placing it in the corner. I entered her room to a foul smell and a naked behind. Today thankfully she only got her pants off. When did my little girl grow up?

Big girl cup colored pencils

Friday, February 19, 2010

Overflowing with Love

Anna & her love tree

This is Anna's love tree. Everyday she adds a heart with the name of someone she loves to it. Stopping at one name a day is hard for Anna, for she has so many wonderful people in her life.

Anna & her love tree

The tree gives us a visual reminder to be praying for those we love and to put one of our memory verses into action.

Never stop praying for others. Ephesians 6:18

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Laminator

I've had 6 or 7 people ask me about my laminator over the past few weeks so I thought I would share my thoughts on the one I purchased. (And THANK YOU friends for making me feel more normal to have actually purchased a laminator :))

I bought the Scotch TL901 Thermal Laminator from Amazon for $35.94. I saw this exact same one at Bj's a few weeks ago for $21.99!! This is my first experience with a laminator but I have been very impressed with it. It is very easy to use and has not jammed once. The unit is one piece plus a tray so it can be easily store back into its original box and put away. For the price, I haven't found any negatives. To use the laminator it does require that you purchase the thermal laminating sheets (I use the 9x11.4) which are $6.99/50 at BJ's but can run around $12 on Amazon, so there is an additional cost.

I guess my only caution :) would be from the words of Jolanthe from Homeschool Creations:

If a girl buys a laminator...

If a girl buys a laminator, chances are she'll feel the need to also buy a pack of 50 laminating pouches to go along with it.

And if she buys 50 pouches, chances are she'll feel the need to print off everything possible in order to fill those pouches.

And if she prints off everything possible, chances are that her printer will begin to despise her and decide that it's time to run out of ink.

And if she runs out of ink, chances are that she'll head over to Amazon and start looking around for the refill cartridges for her printer.

And if she gets on Amazon and starts searching, chances are that she'll end up with way more in her cart than she planned for {all for the sake of free shipping} including an additional set of laminating pouches.

And if she has additional laminating pouches to fill....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

ZD1xTL d9wOP8

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mommy and Maddie Night Out

Last night my husband and Anna headed out for the Daddy Daughter Date Night at Chickfila so Maddie and I had some together time as well. I had to pick up a few things at Target, so we had an early dinner at Shane's Rib Shack. During so many meals out I feel anxious about whether or not one of my kids is going to have a breakdown and disturb everyone around us but since Maddie and I had the place to ourselves, I was able to relax and enjoy the time together. I got Maddie her own cup with some water in it and she was as happy as she could be. Doesn't she look like such a big girl sitting in the booth by herself!

Mommy & Maddie Night

Valentine Cards

We've had a busy week making Valentine cards for our friends. I found these adorable Valentine animal templates on the DLTK's Crafts for Kids website.

Valentine Animals

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Numbers 11-20

I've been trying to come up with some ideas to help Anna work on the numbers 11-20. I took this squirrel and nut template from File Folder Fun and made it into a game. The squirrels have numbers 10-20 on them and the nuts have single digits (0, 1, etc). Anna then has to put the 2 single digits together that make the number on the squirrel; we then spend a little time sequencing them. I hope Anna is having as much fun learning as I am :).

Squirrel game

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Counting with Valentine Candy

I found this cute printout on a blog I read, Confessions of a Homeschooler. There are large hearts that have small white hearts inside of them that the kids can count and then match up with the correct number card. The little hearts are the perfect size for valentine hearts.

Candy Heart Counting

Anna got to work on her counting and Maddie enjoyed trying to put the hearts into the spaces but mainly eating the candy!

Candy Heart Counting

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Alphabet Mat

Three years ago we purchased this alphabet foam playmat from Lowe's Hardware to give Anna a more cushy place to crawl since we had just put in hardwood floors and had not decided on a rug yet. As Anna got a little older, Anna started taking the mat apart to play with the pieces which drove me crazy :) so I put the playmat away for a year. We bought a rug, stained the rug, got rid of the rug and then the playmat came back out. Once again, the playmat started being taken apart daily but it now has an educational purpose. Anna loves to put the letters into alphabetical order and walk around on them. Here she is in action:

Foam Alphabet Foam Alphabet

My husband did a great job using the mat to show Anna the letters as she said her alphabet which has helped the slurring of the LMNOP and letter recognition. As I type, the mat is ripped into 52+ pieces scattered across the family room but I'm ok with that because I know an adorable 3 year old that can't wait to put it back together.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sometimes a little separation is nice

I love watching the girls play together and listening to their "conversations" with each other. Anna is the helpful big sister and Maddie is the "make it all better" one who loves to shower kisses. For the most part they play well together but there are those moments (and days!) after telling them over and over again to share, the only thing left to do to keep my sanity is to separate them.

Separate but Together

I thought this picture was cute. Two bags of Mega Bloks, two feet of space, two towers and we were all happy :).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Maddie's First Painting

The paints don't come out too often in our house but yesterday I got out the paints for the girls to make a birthday card for a friend. Our paintbrushes weren't looking so good so I let them paint with QTips. It took awhile to convince Maddie to wear the apron but then she got into it.

QTip Painting

All was going well until some of the paint got on her hands; then she was done.

QTip Painting

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February Preschool Goals

I love ideas! I can spend hours on the computer looking at other preschool mom blogs. It is fun, but for me, it isn't overly productive because I want to do it all. Next thing I know I have 50 windows open of ideas for teaching the letter 'K', become overwhelmed and therefore... don't do any of it. Yesterday I sat down to write my goals for February and thought I would post them so that I don't forget :).

Our focus is on love for Valentine's Day. I'm keeping mainly with the bible verses Anna has already memorized to keep it simple.
- God's love for us: John 3:16, song: Jesus loves the little children
- Love is patient: 1 Corinthians 13:4. We have been reading about love and patience in Elizabeth George's book A Little Girl After God's Own Heart. Yesterday as I was driving down the road Anna told me that God wanted me to slow down and have patience :).
- Loving others: 1 John 4:7, making valentines, praying for others (Ephesians 6:18), helping others
- "Love tree": everyday Anna adds a heart to the tree with someone/thing she loves written on it

Books: A Little Girl After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George, Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton, The Beginners Bible for Toddlers, You Are My I Love You by Maryann K. Cusimano

- Letter sounds A-D
Tools: Starfall, Hubbard's Cupboard, Consonant Cards
- Review matching upper and lowercase letters
Tools: File Folder Fun Alphabet Game, LeapFrog Alphabet Go Fish
- Numbers 11-20
Tools: Flashcards, counting yummy conversation hearts

- Colors
Tools: Color Matching Cards, games from File Folder Fun, sorting yummy conversation hearts by color

We'll see where I am at the end of the month :).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More Snow Pics

Going out "sledding" with mommy. We used a plastic washing machine pan (great idea hubby!)

Mommy and Anna all bundled up

Making snow cream which, yes, I know is not the cleanest thing to eat; we just had a few bites:

Snow Cream

Maddie got to go out for just a few minutes,

Cassie and Madelyn

But mainly enjoyed the view from inside:

Explaining snow to Madelyn