Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

One day last week, a friend made a silly little comment that we have tried painting with everything but the kitchen sink. Last night I was thinking about this and well . . . we raided the kitchen this morning.

Materials- plastic fork, spoon. knife, straw, cup, spatula, beater, paint, large paper

Monday, July 30, 2012

Rubber Band Splatter Painting

Not long ago we tried to use toothbrushes to get a paint splatter effect. Little Mister did not have enough muscle to get the desired effect so, I have been trying to come up with some other way. Yesterday, I was at the store and had to pick up some office supplies and it came to me . . . try rubber bands!

We used a plastic storage container and cut some card stock in 5x7 and 4x6 sizes to fit in the bottom. I stretched some rubber bands around the container and applied different colors of acrylic paint to each band. Little Mister then "plucked" the bands and viola!

After we finished making a few sheets, we found out that a little girl in our church has developed pneumonia. We used one of the splattered sheets to make a Get Better card by adding band-aids with google eyes!

Batman being a Super Hero to a sick little Princess!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Prayer Picture Book

Since I have a very visual child, I decided to make him a prayer picture book for bedtime. We included pictures of family, friends and broad topics like sick and hurting people, government and things like that. He likes flipping the papers as we pray before bedtime. It is never too early to teach a child about the power of prayer!

I bought an inexpensive index card notebook and printed out small pictures of people that we cut out and glued to each page.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum

Decided to take my Little Mister to a museum that I thought would appeal to his pirate fascination. I was sure there would be lots and lots of boats! We visited the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum. Obviously, it was a hit because he scurried from boat to boat while squealing with glee! Best part, it was free!  It has a new-temporary location since hurricane Katrina. I Can't wait for it to get back on the water so we can see some of the beautiful restored schooners.

I was fascinated by the lighthouse lights themselves. they have a 19th century lens on display and it is incredible. They are far bigger than Little Mister. Truly amazing. They offer classes and demonstrations on things like netmaking and wooden boat building. We are definitely going to take advantage of these when Little Mister gets a tad bit older! For now, we will just enjoy the boats.

Friday, July 27, 2012

There is Power in a Wooden Stick

My Little Mister does not eat . . . at all! There are probably lots of parents out there that go through the same thing ever meal time: Eat your pork chop, try some potatoes, just taste this or EAT SOMETHING! Ahhh! Didn't I ever tell you about the starving people in Africa? My mom raved about them when I was a child!

One day we were at a Chinese restaurant having lunch with a friend. I noticed my little guy picked up some chicken on a stick and ATE it! The whole thing! I offered him other things from my plate and he turned his nose up. The next day, I made some chicken, I mean he ate it the day before right? No way. Didn't even touch it. {frustration}!!

Another visit to a Chinese restaurant . . . more chicken on a stick consumed! I thought, there is no way it is the presence of a stick that makes the difference! I mean, it's not like it adds any flavor.

Apparently there must be some kind of appeal. Now I put all kinds of things on a stick. Hey, if he will eat it, why not? I will never understand a 2 year old and I will never underestimate the power of a small wooden stick again!

Half the orange.
Use a grapefruit spoon to get the pulp out.
Mix some orange flavored gelatin. (I used a little less water to make it firm)
Pour the liquid in the orange halves.
Set in the frig for at least 8 hours.
Slice them just as you would orange wedges.
Add a small slit with a knife in the peel and insert a popsicle stick.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cowboy Bunnies Wooden Mural

As of late, Little Mister's favorite book is by far, Cowboy Bunnies by Christine Loomis. I have read it so many times that I should be able to recite it by heart. The book, unfortunately, is no longer in print but you should be able to find it online somewhere. It is a sing-song story and is very cute. The first thing I noticed was the pictures. They are childish paintings on rough pieces of wood planks. Very clever and very different. My wheels started turning when I flipped the first page. Today, those wheels took over and we finished the project by working together. Of course, I got to play with all the power tools and Little Mister painted something within every scene including, stars, clouds, cows and circles in the hay!

Bronco busters
In the saddle
Whoop and holler
Count the cattle

Materials- Old wooden crates, skil saw, cordless screwdriver, screws, paints, brushes, hooks, hammer
(I have to say it again, Any craft that gives me an excuse to bust out the power tools is awesome in my book!)

1. Use the Skil saw to cut the desired number of slats from the wooden crate. Don't worry about measuring, uneven slates look better with the overall 'rough' theme.
2. Lay a smaller slat across all the other and use the cordless screwdriver to attach them. I put 2 screws per slat so they would not twist around.
3. Paint your desired scene on each slat.
4. Attach hanging hooks on the back.

We used parts from different pages here

We liked it so much, I made a shelf to match

Stars are twinkling
Stars are bright
Cowboy bunnies
Say good night

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Being in the Moment

My husband is in charge of changing the sign in front of our church. We try to do this weekly for announcements or encouraging phrases to those who pass by on the highway. I go and help by sorting the letters and getting them ready for him to put up on the sign. Little Mister loves to go and "help" as well. I let him stack the letters that my husband brings in while I get the ones ready to go out. 

One day we were waiting for the letters to be brought in and I decided to get the letters out that spell his name. Immediately he dropped down on the floor and started to sort them. He would get them in the right order and I would pretend to move them by accident. He would say, "Sorry Mommy", and sort them out again. We did this over and over while we waited. 

Finding the time to teach children does not have to be chiseled out of the day. It can happen in the minutes you are standing in line at the bank, sitting at a red light or walking around the block! Learning does not only happen in a classroom or, for that matter, within 4 walls. Find those teachable moments and seize them with gusto!
Outside with Daddy changing the sign

This thing is REALLY tall

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Grapes and Goats

Thought that might get your attention. Today was rather an interesting day. We started out with plans to go on a picnic to the lake and ended up in the park squirting grape juice on t-shirts. How in the world did that leap come about? Insane heat was the culprit to blame for these change of plans. Fortunately, I had a backup plan. I have been wanting to try some ideas about Eco-friendly dyes and today just seemed to fit the bill. We took a t-shirt and several pillow cases to the park and had some "grown-up" friends join in the fun! (I use the term 'grown-up' very loosely!)

Pour grape juice into a squirt bottle. Boil about 8 tea bags in 1.5 cups of water and put in a jar.
Tie yarn on the pillow cases and dip them into jars of tea. Then, squirt grape juice on them and place them in plastic bags to sit for at least 4 hours. Finally, rinse them in cold water and pop in the dryer.

We had an extra pillow case so I hung it over a bench and just let him squirt until his hearts content.

Now, I bet you're wondering where the goats come in . . . 
It was quite serendipity actually. We pulled over to look at chickens running around in someone's yard and their owner came out and told us about some baby goats she had around the corner. Well, we just couldn't pass that up! Little Mister touched noses and ears and fed them grass until we were finally chased away by pesky yellow jackets. All-in-all, it was a great day of . . . Grapes and Goats!

See the Yellow Jacket? It didn't sting!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bird Nesting Orbs

Today is my Daddy's birthday. Still active and doing it all after all these years. (I told you before that my daddy knows all, does all and can beat up your daddy . . . much like . . . Superman!) 
Along with so many other things, he enjoys bird watching and has several bird feeders in the yard. Since they live out in the country, he constantly has to come up with ideas to keep racoons, squirrels and other critters away from the feeders. That's alright, I believe he enjoys the challenge. And thus far, I believe, he has been winning the battles.
Since he is such a bird enthusiast, we decided to make him some nesting orbs to hang in his yard.

Materials- 20-22 gauge wire, scrap pieces of yarn, ribbon, cloth, felt, cotton and anything else soft, a soft ball about the size of a tennis ball.

1. Wrap the wire around the ball to make an orb shape.
2. Squeeze the ball and pull out of the orb and then reshape the wire.
3. Fill the orb with your materials.
4. Hang in trees for the birds to discover.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gnome Hats and a Nursing Home

My mom lives in a complex for elderly and disabled folks. On pleasant days, most of the residents migrate outside to sit on their porches. My little mister looks forward to these days because suddenly, he has innumerable grandparents. They dote on him something awful. He, in return, bats his long eyelashes, gives high fives and hearty handshakes. Scribbles on paper are often exchanged for candy and various other treats.

I have noticed Little Mister is the only visitor that some receive for long stretches of time. It breaks my heart. How lonely they must be at times. This got me thinking about others that may suffer this same fate and what we might do to spread a few smiles. We decided to visit a nursing home and take along some homemade treats!

Rylee's Gnome Hats:
Bugles stuffed with peanut butter with the bottoms dipped in chocolate.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What's My Name

Of course Little Mister knows his name but, we are trying to recognize it in print. For some odd reason, my little guy knows the letters T, O and E. He points them out on everything. However, when you ask him to spell toe, he cocks his head to the side and says, "Huh?". HeeHee, I have to laugh because I am so blessed!

Objective- Recognizes first name in print (MS Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers: Language Development 1.3.4)

Materials- File folder, letter stamps, paint, card stock, glue, scissors

1. Stamp letters of first name on card stock several times and cut out for game pieces.
2. Stamp letters of name across the top of another page and glue the page inside the file folder.
3. Stamp "Name Game" across the front of the file folder.
4. Glue an envelop inside the folder to hold your game pieces.

Once everything is dry, let the play begin.
I mixed up the game piece letter, he then placed the corresponding letter on top of the matching letter on the paper. He loved it and screamed RYLEE every time he completed placing the letters of his name. He then wiped them away and did it again!

We also did some watercolor resist with his name! Simply use white crayons on white paper and paint away to discover what's underneath. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

It's Raining . . . Rocks

Well, it's still raining and we are getting a severe case of cabin fever around here! With all this inside-time on my hands I have been trying, rather unsuccessfully, to inventory all our craft items and get them straightened out AGAIN. During this process, I found a box of rocks that we collected on our last trip to the creek. I thought, it's raining cats and dogs outside, why not rain rocks inside? So, we poured, scooped and moved our treasured rocks around with tongs for over 2 hours. I'd say it was a successful distraction. Not to mention a tune-up for Little Mister's motor skills.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Country Zoo

On our way to Aunt Tina's house, we pass by a virtual country zoo. Absolute bare necessities for a little boy who loves animals. First, we saw goats and chickens. Then, we passed cows and horses. Little Mister wanted to get out and ride the cows. Yes, I said cows not horses! When I told him that the cows would probably not appreciate that, he announced we should "open the gate and cows go to beach." As you might imagine, this sparked a few interesting story lines that you may hear about at a later date.

His favorite part of this particular visit to the country zoo was mooing at the cows. We all laughed until our sides hurt and cheeks ached. Our impressions ran from sick to mad to psycho. Not one of us can boast of speaking fluent cow. However, we had a great time trying. Best of all, it was free.

chickens running for cover ... it started to rain

Get Better Cards

I am a cancer survivor! 
In the mid-90's I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I received 6 months of chemotherapy and 24 radiation treatments and won my battle after a long and difficult struggle! Currently, Little Mister has two Aunts battling with cancer, my sister and one of my husband's sisters! One is currently in the hospital and the other just got home a few days ago! It is hard for him to understand that we can't go see her today because she is sick! So, we decided to make some Get Well cards and talked happily about his aunts as we worked on each!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bare Necessities

Sometimes in life, it's the bare necessities that seem to sooth the soul or make a merry heart! 
As parents, sometimes we get trapped in the buy-a-toy craze to make our children smile! We want them to have the latest gadget or the newest fad! When in reality, a big box would do just as well... or often times, be of much greater fun! So, this week, I encourage you to put aside your schedules, turn off the technology and just play! Bake cookies, make a wooden boat and go sailing, build a tent in the living room or chase birds on the beach! Have some family fun! It's the simple pleasures that will make the most lasting memories! Cherish the times you have with your little ones ... much too soon they will be grown!

Chasing birds at Paw-paw's beach

Colored flashlight under out living room tent
Boat Racing with Daddy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Math 2 Music

Little Mister definitely understands the concept of counting. However, he says 2...1...! Yeah, that's backwards! When he is racing cars he tells me, "3, 2, 1 Mommy" meaning for me to say Ready, Set.... Go! We have been working on counting for some time already but counting to 3 has been a challenge. For instance, I ask him to bring me 3 cars so we can play. Cheerfully, he selects 3 cars and proudly counts them as 2, 1, 2! So, I thought maybe I should give the rout method a try (of course I had to add a little twist!).

Objective- Understands the Concept of 1, 2, and 3 (MS Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers: Mathematical Development 2.1.6)

Materials- Cans, tape, balloons, rubberbands

1. Clean three cans and make sure there are no sharp edges around the rim.
2.  For added procaution, tape around the edges of the can with electrical or duct tape.
3. Cut the narrow part off a balloon and stretch the remainder over the top of the can.
4. Secure in place with a rubberband.
5. Tap out a rhythm of 3 while chanting 1, 2, 3! Over and over!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Painting in the Rain

We were all ready to "throw paint" at some paper on the porch and wouldn't ya know it.... It started to sprinkle. I mean, what happened to our pattern of afternoon showers? Mother nature had other ideas today but we just rolled with it and had a great time!

1. I put a sheet over the porch rail and attached our poster board with clothes pins. (The sheet kept the paint off the porch and kept me from having to chase the balls around the yard!)
2. Then, I squirted some pain in different paper plates.
3. Finally, I handed Little Mister some spiny play balls and let him go to town!

Ready to paint

Throw it again!

This one will be framed when it dries!

After we cleaned up the paint.... we had to play in the rain!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mushroom Spore Prints

The Deep South in summer can often be, well, hot and sticky! Afternoons are laced with thunder and heavy rains! After which, the air is so thick you could hang your laundry on it, if you could find a way to pin it! And so goes all our days this past week! Driven inside by either an aversion to sweat or running for cover from rain so dense you can hardly see! 
Early this morning we happened upon a beautiful mushroom during our brief walk around the yard. Since I knew we would have a lot of inside time on our hands today, we decided to make some mushroom prints!

Objective- Uses senses to explore environment (MS Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers: Scientific Development 3.3.4)

Materials- white card stock, fresh picked mushrooms, large bowl or dish, fine mist hairspray

1. Find mushrooms and carefully bring them inside. Careful not to touch under the caps.
2. Remove stems. We just easily twisted ours and they popped right off.
3. carefully place the top of the mushroom on the white paper.
4. Cover with bowl and wait for about an hour.
5. Take off the bowl and carefully lift up the mushroom top. The spores will have left a really neay pattern on the paper. It will easily smear so be careful.
6. Spray a light mist of hairspray to help protect the print.

When we lifted the bowl, Little Mister quickly noticed the smell. Some mushrooms have a strong smell! (By the way, I can't stand them but my little guy likes them..... and that's OK!)

Once we had the prints finished, I let him dissect the mushroom. We talked about: smooth tops, bumpy stems, and rough gills (underside of the top where the spores are)!

a mushroom find in the yard

checking it out

hard to have to wait