Deuteronomy 16:15

Deuteronomy 16:15
For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tot School - Creation Study Week 1

This week we started our two week study on creation! We are going to assemble all our daily projects into a lapbook at the end. Our focus letter this week was K. We are are spending one day on each day of creation, and doing activities centered around what God created that day. In addition, we are singing a super cute creation song I found here. It's got a verse for what God created each day. Naomi loves to sing and it's a fun way for her to learn what God did on each day. I had a hard time getting pictures this week, but I've included what I have. I introduced the unit by going to this link and reading the verses. It was a little over her head, but I thought it was important that she heard the story from the Bible, and not a watered down version to begin with. She liked the music and slideshow too. After that we read the story from her children's Bible, which was much more on her level. I'm also reading this version to Naomi too. Our first day we did activities centered around...

In the Beginning

We talked about how God made the whole world, and how he holds the whole world in his hands. We have "The Whole World" song CD, and book to go with it, so we played that several times, and looked at the pictures. Nathan enjoyed that too. Then she colored this world and hands from here. She's getting so good at her coloring! I cut out the hands but she cut out the world with my guidance.

Doing her "K" Do-A-Dot page from COAH. She can't get enough of these! You can also see where she had been playing with her Lauri stacker pegs. I made a list of all our educational, open ended toys. I use this as a quick reference guide, so I don't have to think. Then, when I'm putting Nathan down for his first nap in the morning, I choose something from the list for her to play with idependently while I put him down. She doesn't HAVE to play with it, but she always does! There's something about me setting a specific item out for her that she really likes. I like it too because 1) it keeps her busy and quiet when I'm putting Nathan down, 2) she's practicing different skills each day through the different toys I choose, 3) all the wonderful, educational toys we have are getting used regularly, instead of sitting forgotten on a shelf. We have lots of stuff, so it's easy for us to forget about things. Not because we don't enjoy them, but because we don't always think about them! This system is accomplishing many goals, requires little thinking on my part, and keeping both Naomi and I happy. :-) I think it's important to mention that, in my opinon, this system wouldn't be nearly as effective if Naomi's room was messy. By setting out one toy in a neat room, it enables her to focus on that one thing. When there are tons of things out, it seems like she drifts amilessly from one thing to the next, without really playing with anything. Not that her room doesn't get messy! It is just part of our bedtime routine to clean it up before she goes to sleep.

Creation Day 1

First we read a mini book version of the creation story. Then I gave Naomi this black sheet of paper and we talked about how in the beginning there was nothing but darkness. Then God spoke and there was light. She was VERY impressed by this! We talked about how after God spoke there was day and night. We kept one side of the paper black to show night, and painted the other side white to represent light and day.

Naomi doing a shape matching activity from 1+1+1=1.

Listening to a Barefoot Book (love these!) on CD. She getting good at listening for the chime and turning the page herself. For us, this was a big step!

Cuteness here joining in on some puzzle fun.

Creation Day 2

Showing how on day two God created the skies and seas. I got this art idea from here. We used cotton balls to make the sky, and then finger painted the sea. To make waves Naomi used the hard tip of a paintbrush.

Tracing the letters in another creation mini book. We do one page for each day. I am going to use these as sequencing cards she can put in order once we get through all the days.

Making music with our various instruments. Nathan was actually really playing the Kazoo! SO CUTE!

"K" is for kite! Naomi had fun making a pattern block kite (from here). Nathan liked exploring the shapes under extremely close supervision!

Creation Day 3

Naomi working with her Lauri foam number puzzles. She really loves these and they are great for counting and number recognition.

God created the land, plants, and trees on day three. This was just a coloring page I printed off. She colored the stems of the flowers and bark of the tree. Then we ripped up little pieces of tissue paper, crumpled them up, and glued them on to make 3D flowers and tree. This was fun! Naomi liked ripping the tissue paper and gluing. I found this idea here. We played a math game online where we counted apples on a tree. It went well with what we were learning this day!

Here Naomi used her Do-A-Dot paint to find the all the letter K's (from COAH). This was a fun twist instead of just circling the letters.

Working on writing the letter K. Naomi likes doing these pages, so I encourage her to continue. I do not think any child should be forced to do worksheets at this age!! She enjoys it, so we do them, otherwise I would not.

Here's a close up of our finished flowers and tree. We were both proud how it turned out!

The main pages I got our printables from were from DLTK and Christian Preschool Printables.

That was our week! We only do planned school activities four days of the week. That gives us a free day for playdates, trips to the library, errands, etc. Also, I always am over enthusiastic in my planning, so by only planning for four days, it gives us one day to finish up anything we didn't get to earlier in the week. We normally do most of our schooling in the morning, and then save our art project for the afternoon. I love schedules and routine, but it does vary from day to day based upon how we are all feeling. If parenting has taught me anything, it is to be more flexible! :)

Check out 1+1+1=1 and Preschool Corner to see what others did this past week! Come by again next week to see the end our our Creation Unit and our finished lapbook.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Tot School - DC Style

This week we went with Jim on a business trip to DC. We found out we were going last minute, so it made things kind of crazy, but we got to do a lot and I'm so glad we went. I got the idea to make activity kits in these zipper bags from Counting Coconuts. I've been dying to put some together but just hadn't gotten around to it. This trip to DC provided just the motivation I needed! The idea for the bags was from Counting Coconuts, but what's IN the bags are my ideas.  :-)  I ended up making 8 kits; going went way overboard with my planning as usual! We didn't get to them all. but here are the ones we had fun with in the hotel.

This was our beading kit. I put in pipe cleaners to help Naomi with the beading, stretchy beading string, scissors, and an assortment of beads.

Naomi loved this! I tied the string to a pipe cleaner so it was easier for her to bead, and another pipe cleaner on the end so the beads wouldn't fall off.

We made her name in the middle, and then just decorated the rest of the necklace with the fun beads. This was a nice, quiet activity to do while Nathan was napping. 

In this activity kit I put 1/2 peices of construction paper, foam animals and letters. This was the first time Naomi had seen the animals so I just let her play with them and stick them on paper however she wanted. As you can see, she was more into the animals than the letters this time. This kit kept her busy for quite awhile!

I made another activity kit also containing foam animals, letters, and paper. In this kit I made sure I had all the correct letters to make the word to go along with the animal. Naomi picked out an animal, and then together we sounded out what letters we needed to make the word. She enjoyed this too and was very proud to have made "real" words!

In another bag I put this set of magnetic numbers. We had fun sorting the numbers by color (Naomi's idea) and putting the numbers in order. It was great that our hotel suite had a full kitchen! Naomi was cold so she had her coat on. :)

In this activity kit I put an assortment of mini bug erasers, a paint tray, and kid tweezers. Once we were at the hotel I dumped the erasers into a cup, and Naomi transferred the erasers into the tray. She had fun with the tweezers for a little while, and then put them down and sorted the bugs with her hands. It turned into a combined transferring and sorting activity.

A simple activity kit where I just put in some upper and lowercase letter puzzles. This was a good one to take with us to restraunts because I wasn't worried about losing little pieces.

We went to Chuck E. Cheese! Naomi's favorite part was meeting the "real" Chuck E. Cheese.

We got to have a dance party with Chuck, which was hilarious! Naomi really got into it. We'll call that our PE for the week. ;)

We rode the Metro on our way to the Smithsonians. This was a big hit with both Naomi and Nathan. I on the other had was totally motion sick and felt like I was going to puke the entire time.

We saw the Washington Monument. I was thrilled, Naomi couldn't have cared less. hehehe ;)

We also checked out the Capitol buildings.

The Museum of Natural History was our main stop. Naomi was very impressed by the dinosaurs.

Examining some turtle shells in the Discovery Room. Naomi LOVED using the magnifying glass. I need to add that to my list of things to get.

Naomi made a new friend at the museum!

We also checked out the Butterfly Pavilion. This was very cool.

We did lots of swimming at the hotel. My brilliant friend Michelle recommended this Puddle Jumper pool float. BEST FLOAT EVER! It's Coast Guard approved so you can use it in any pool, and it allows your child to swim independently. Of course I'm always right there, but Naomi is way past wanting to be held in the pool. Not to mention my arms are a little full with Nathan! These floats are way better than a ring or the old water wings.

We also checked out the Air and Space Museum. This was very impressive!

Us in front of the Enterprise. Cool!

I had to include this since I didn't add many picture of Nathan this week. His favorite part of the trip was crawling up and down the long hall of our hotel. The germaphobe in me cringed every time we did this, but you can't keep an active 10 month old in your arms all week!

We had a great trip! It's good to be home now and I have a feeling it's going to take us a few days to recover. Forgive the red eye in these pictures. I haven't had time to go through my hundreds of pictures and edit them yet. Check out what others are doing at 1+1+1=1 and Preschool Corner!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Whirlwind Trip

Last Thursday, at 4:00 pm, Jim found out that he was being sent to a training class near DC for a week. We (of course!) decided to go with him. It's been crazy but I'm so glad that we came! First of all, the hotel we are staying at is wonderful. Truly, I think it is one of the best hotels we've ever been to. First, we have a suite with two rooms, which is great. That way the kids can sleep without Jim and I having to sit quietly in the dark. Second, they serve both breakfast AND dinner, all included with the room! I brought PBJ for lunches, so we have been set. The food has been really, really good. The down side? I'm quite certain I've gained at least 5 lbs. I guess I'll be hitting the treadmill when we get back home! I have to say though, it's been well worth it. ;) Third, the service here is amazing. All the staff is so nice and helpful, and caters to the fact that we have small children. Instead of making me feel like my children are an inconvenience, like some hotels, they have made us feel welcome and cared for. I love it! Also, they have a pool, so it's perfect.

I didn't have much time to research the area before we came, so I didn't know what all there would be to do, other than going right into DC of course. Thankfully, there is tons of things close to our hotel. The kids loved going to Chuck E. Cheese on Monday, and we had lots of fun at a huge mall today. Visiting places like this make me wish we lived somewhere bigger. It would be so wonderful to be close to museums and all the other wonderful things they have for kids. I know there are down sides to everything, but I do wish there were more things for kids at home. However, I wouldn't trade the community and friendships we have at home for any of it. :)

On Wednesday I took both kids, navigated through traffic with the help of our GPS, and drove to the nearest Metro station. I pulled up to the first parking lot, feeling proud that I had gotten there without any trouble. There were chains over the entry, and a big sign saying the park lot was full. Ok, no big deal, this was just one of many lots, and there was a parking garage that had over 5,000 spaces. I would just go to that. I found the nearest entrance to parking garage, only the find the same thing. Full.  Hhmmmm. This garage spanned several blocks, so I decided to drive around it, looking for an entrance that had someone attending it. After over 1/2 an hour of looking for on street parking, or someone who worked at the garage, I found an entrance where there was an attendant!  She said the garage was full and they weren't letting anyone else in. I explained my sad story of how I was a tourist, just trying to take my babies to see the dinosaurs at the museum. She let me in the garage! After waiting for just a few seconds, a lady came into the garage. I asked her if I could follow her to her parking spot, and got her spot as she left. Not only did the parking attendant let us in and help us find our spot, she came to check on us as we were unloading! She lead us through that maze of a parking garage, right to where we need to go to board the Metro. God is so good! What could have been a disaster, turned out perfectly.

The rest of the trip was fun, without any disasters. Naomi was totally unimpressed with the Washington Monument and the Capitol Buildings. She called the Washington Monument "the white pointy thing". I had to laugh. She did however LOVE The Museum of Natural History. We saw the pretty much everything there, including the butterfly pavilion, which was pretty cool. Naomi really liked the Hope Diamond, and both kids enjoyed the Discovery Room where they could touch things. It was a total zoo at the museum and Nathan just enjoyed watching all the action too.

When we were traveling I carried Nathan on my back, and Naomi went in the stroller. Once we got to the museum Nathan rode in the stroller and Naomi walked. When Nathan was ready for a nap I put him back in the backpack and he fell right asleep. I was worn out by the end of the day but it worked out really well. Having a place for both kids as we were travelling kept them both happy and safe.

The only part of the day that really sucked was that I forgot how motion sick I get. I felt like I was going to toss my cookies the ENTIRE time we were on the Metro. The kids loved the ride, but I felt HORRIBLE. Thank goodness I don't have to do that on a regular basis.

We've had a fantastic trip so far and I'm thankful it worked out for us to come. I will do a post with some pictures once we get home. I have several hundred that I need to sort through first! I will update again when I can.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Settling In

Jim has a new job and that means a new routine for the whole family. Last week was his first week and it was a busy one for all of us. We did our regular school activities, but I didn't get around to documenting them, let alone getting anything typed up to post on here. I will resume my weekly posts on our school activities next week.

Jim's is now working longer hours and we are still adjusting to that. The good part is that he works very close to here and is able to come home for lunch most days. It's fun to have him home for a little adult visit part way through the day, and the kids love seeing him. I'm so thankful that he doesn't have a long commute on top of the longer business day.

Nathan is super mobile now and is into everything! He crawls at the speed of light, and loves nothing more than tearing the furniture out of Naomi's dollhouse, and ripping apart the train table.  Naomi is actually very patient with him, and doesn't mind too much, as long as I help her put it all back together later. She really enjoys Nathan's company, and it warms my heart how well they do play together. I will listen to them playing in the dining room/playroom and it's so sweet how she talks to him, and explains things to him. I hope they continue to enjoy each others company their whole lives!

Ok, this is my short update for the time being. I will do better once we get settled into our new routine!