Sunday, November 30, 2008

Preschool Starts Monday

I have made a decision about preschool...finally. We are going to do Montessori activities on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Before Five In A Row on Monday and Wed. afternoons. There is going to be lots of trial and error with our Montessori work and I am going to start with 20 minutes and 8-10 activities. If she doesn't want to do any of the activities then she can quietly look at books during this time but if she wants to do the activities longer then she can do that too (I sure hope she wants too). I know 20 min. doesn't sound like a lot but for Ellie it is. I am going to talk to her Monday about what we are going to start doing and basically the "preschool rules". For the Montessori work I will have two activities from each of the following categories: Math, Language, Sensory and Practical Life and a couple of holiday activities too.

Math activities:

Farm File Folder Game - Roll the dice and count the spaces until you reach the end.

My First Number Pairs game- Match the number with the number of objects.

Language activities:
Sand writing - practice writing her letters with her finger in the sand

Rhyming houses - put the card in the house that it rhymes with
The Rhyming Houses came from Lake Shore Learning.


Sound bottles - I will have several jars with items like beans, marbles, etc. in them. Each bottle will have a match to it and she has to match the sounds. ( I haven't made these yet)

Mystery Bag - I will show her several items and she will have to pick the items out of the bag (or stocking since its Christmas) by touch without looking.
Practical Life:

Tweezer Activity - Use tweezers to get the pom poms from the small bowl to the suction cup.
Lacing Cards - Use shoe string to loop through the holes of the shapes

The BFIAR is pretty self explanatory with very little prep work except for checking out the book at the library and getting a few activities together. The first book we are going to do is The Little Rabbit by Judy Dunn. The first suggested activity we are going to do is match some of the colors in the book to crayons from the 48 count box of crayons.
I still have to get a few of the activities together, put everything is baskets, and set up the cabinet where it will be stored. Wish us luck!

Decorating for the Holidays

Our plan was to put up the Christmas tree on Friday evening but both girls were so tired and grumpy from our very busy Thanksgiving we decided to put it up after breakfast on Saturday. We have always decorated in the evenings and eaten Christmas cookies with hot chocolate but since we did it in the morning dad made Christmas pancakes with milk.

After breakfast Ellie was so excited while Chris was bringing down the decorations but Emily couldn't stay awake anymore so it was off to bed. I was kind of relieved because she sticks everything in her mouth but I also felt bad that she was going to miss out.

Ellie wanted the tree put together first and she waited patiently while dad got to work.
Ellie ended up decorating the lower half of the tree by herself and Chris and I did the top half, except for the star. I was so surprised at not only how great she did but how long this held her attention. She was even asking Chris and I were certain ornaments were from last year (this child has an amazing memory) . We did not end up moving or changing anything she put on the tree and I think she did a better job then Chris and I normally do!! We also put out our nativity set and told the story of baby Jesus. I have a feeling we will be doing this a lot before Christmas is over!!

We also introduced Ellie to The Elf on the Shelf.

We hid the book and put the elf on the mantle. Luckily, she found the book first so we read about how an elf watches to see if you have been naughty or nice and then reports back to Santa each night. Soon after reading the book Ellie saw the elf. She named him Jesus. We would tell her that Jesus was watching her and she would say "Mom, he is just a toy"!

Since Emily didn't get to help decorate I wanted to add a few pictures of her on Thanksgiving. You can tell she really enjoyed her meal!!!

After lunch her cousin Will was drawing so she picked up a pen and here is her masterpiece. Monkey see monkey do!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dreary Days

Today was cold and dreary so we ran errands in the morning but stayed put this afternoon. How did we stay busy? Makeup parlor of course. As I have mentioned several times Ellie is obsessed with dress up and that includes makeup and polish. I let her do my makeup first (I will spare you those pictures) and then I did her makeup and painted her toe nails. I decided to make her look like Magenta (a spotted dog) from Blue's Clues. Wasn't sure if she would like it or not since she was dressed up as Snow White but she was so excited.

What was Emily doing? After she realized that we were not going to let her play in the makeup she played with a ball. She reminded me of a puppy playing fetch. It was so cute. She would throw it and laugh and then go get it and do it again. It amazes me how she will play by herself for so long where Ellie would never do that!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Preschool At Home

Since Ellie is not in preschool I want to have a loosely structured preschool at home, probably more for me then her. I am so much more productive if I have a plan for the day. The problem is I am so unsure what I want to do. There are several different "curriculum's" I would like to use so now I just need to pick one. I am very interested and most excited about Montessori activities. In case you are not familiar with Montessori you can read more information here but it is all about giving children self directed activities to teach independence in life and learning. Another option that I am considering is Before Five In A Row. It a Christian curriculum that uses children's literature to inspire learning by having you read children's literature and creating activities based on what you read. I have had this curriculum awhile and I think it is great but I am more interested in Montessori activities. The last idea is to just focus on reading lots and lots of books and have lots of child led activities. I feel like we are already doing this though and there is only so many times I can act out the story of Cinderella, which is all Ellie wants to do. There are lots of pros and cons to all so now I just have to bite the bullet and get started on something. My goal is to start the Monday after Thanksgiving. That will give me a little over a week to get everything in order. I will keep everyone posted of course:)

On another note....Ellie was playing dress up upstairs the other day and when she started down the stairs this is what she was wearing.

She was acting very shy and told Chris and I that she was at her wedding. She was the bride and she asked Chris to be her broom, not groom. It was so cute!!! Oh, excuse the mess on her stairs. That is where Ellie kept putting her stash of clothes after she tried them on. She could play dress up all day, every day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Prayer Tree

We have always said prayers with Ellie at bedtime but since Ellie is getting older and starting to ask questions about God I wanted to do more then say our regular prayers. When Chris or I put her to bed we stick to our basic Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep prayer and Chris will add a special prayer for our family. I recently came up with the idea to do a prayer tree for her. I cut out a tree trunk from a roll of paper and then cut out a tree top from poster board. Then I bought fabric leaves from the dollar tree and had Ellie name people she would like to say extra prayers for and I wrote those with a marker on the leaf. I got a roll of magnet and cut little strips and attached them to the tree and also to the leaves and let Ellie stick the leaves on the tree. Every night after she says her regular prayer she gets to pick a name off the prayer tree and say a special prayer for that person. After she is done she sticks the leaf in a basket and then picks a different name the next night until all the leaves are off the tree and then it will start over. Originally we were having her pick a name and then put it back on the tree but she kept picking the same name, Aunt Rhonda of course, so we decided to put the leaves in the basket.
The other day she asked a question about Jesus and I said that he loves us very much and she said yes SHE does:) She even emphasized the She. Bet you didn't know God was a girl:)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Can't Do It!

That is what Ellie says every time she can't do something on the first try. It drives me crazy. Please someone tell me this is normal!!!! Anytime we work on a craft together or anything for that matter and she wants hers to look just like mine and if it doesn't she gets upset. I have talked until I am blue in the face about how everybodies is going to look different and that is what makes each persons project unique. This morning was no different. I asked her if she wanted to practice writing her name and she did. I bought a new erase board (gotta love the Target $ section) so she was excited to try it out. I wrote her name of couple of times and then gave the pen to her. She wanted her letters to be perfect and would grunt and growl every time it didn't look it exactly right. She kept practicing and was getting better but it wasn't good enough for her. I told her to just put it away if it was upsetting her but she switched gears instead and decided to draw pictures. That went much better!! She actually played on the dry erase board for about 15-20 min. which doesn't sound like a lot but for Ellie it's a lot!! Here are two of her masterpieces. She said that is was a mouse and Aunt Rhonda. I thought she did such a good job. Now that I look more closely it looks like the mouse is chasing Rhonda:)

Then she drew this one and said it was a whale in the water and it is sprouting water from the top and now he is going to go deeper and eat people. Totally her words, not mine:)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Scarecrow and the Spider

I bought Ellie and Emily the cutest book last week called The Scarecrow and the Spider by Todd Aaron Smith. It is about a scarecrow who can't make friends because he scares everyone. He ends up befriending a spider who has the same problem. It talks about God's purpose for our life and how God gave us such joy in friendships. Ellie really enjoyed this book except for the part where a few boys try to throw the scarecrow in the lake. She usually covers her eyes at that part. Here is the link to the book if you want to check it out. http://http//

I am always trying to get Ellie interested in doing crafts so once we read the book over and over I decided to let Ellie decorate her own scarecrow. I put out a tray with scrap paper, buttons, cotton balls, pom poms, and glue so she could create a masterpiece. She was more interested in the other fall books that I was reading while she was gluing but she did work on it for about 15 minutes or so. I plan on leaving it out for a few days because I am hoping she will add to it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Smart Discipline

I went to a great lecture about a month ago called Smart Discipline. It was all about how to discipline your children without yelling and with a lot less frustration. I was so excited as I sat and listened to how making a chart could change our lives. Basically it was all about getting them to take responsibility for their actions! Sounds good, right?!! For children 8 and younger, you make a chart with 8 squares. The first three squares are blank and those are their warnings. In the other five squares you put something that gets taken away if they break a rule, put whatever is important to them, such as TV or video games, in those boxes. Every time they break a rule they get an X on a square and if there is a privilege in that box it gets taken away. The chart starts over everyday. I was so nervous about starting this but after about 5 weeks we are still going strong. Most of the time Ellie tells me she gets an X before I tell her. Has it improved her behavior 100%? Nope, but it has given her consequences for her actions and I foresee us doing this a long time. Here is the website if anybody wants more information

I also want to give a little update on what Emily is up to.....everything. You forget how curious they are at this age (10 1/2 months). She has 6 teeth now and is crawling everywhere, including the stairs. She says several words now but her favorite is cracker. Every time I get close to the pantry she says it. It is so cute!!! She is going to be my little screamer. If she doesn't get her way she squeals like crazy but I imagine that won't be cute much longer. Here is a picture of her with dad.

Fun with Nana

Nana is gone but it was fun while it lasted!! I think she is going to need a vacation after hanging with us for a week:) I will give the condensed version of her visit. The first day she was here we went shopping and the girls had so much fun. Ellie got to ride a merry go round and a train. She bought two new pair of princess shoes and two princess headbands and got ice cream! We also got to meet my niece's new boyfriend...Loved him! Day two Emily woke up with a terrible head to toe rash. Off to the doctor we went. Apparently she is allergic to her antibiotic and I won't even mention what it was doing to her tummy!! That night we met my sister for dinner to discuss the book The Shack. We had a great time and I highly recommend the book!! Thursday was a lazy stay at home day. OK not totally lazy because I have two small children but lots of books and dress up! We also made yummy sweet potato muffins and Rice Krispy turkeys. Once daddy came home we had a fun carpet picnic and introduced Nana to one of our favorite games...Hullabaloo. Friday was a little bit of a nightmare due to one fussy baby!!!!!! Poor thing was not feeling well at all and I think my mom was probably ready to go home at this point. Anyway, we loved having her here and can't wait for another visit!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nana's Coming!!!

My mom is coming tomorrow and staying until Friday evening! We are very excited! I don't think she has ever got to come and stay for more then a few days. I have lots of things planned for us to do and of course I made a list (because I make a list for everything) so we don't miss anything. Most importantly we will be playing with the girls but we are also going to sew, shop and hopefully paint the guest bathroom. I haven't told her that yet though:)
On another note I found a couple of good deals at Goodwill today! Of course it was books for the girls but I got Morty Mouse's Letter Search, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Meet Felicity, Little Critter's Christmas Book, and Winnie the Pooh's A Surprise Garden. I also got the movie The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny. Apparently Mr. McGreggor is pretty scary and Ellie wanted nothing to do with it after the first 5 min. Oh well.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Loving The Weather!

We have had such beautiful weather the last couple of days and have spent lots of time outside. Ellie has been putting lots of miles on her Dora bike and Emily is just enjoying being outside. In the last couple of months Ellie has gone from barely being able to pedal and forget about steering to a little nascar driver. It is so fun to watch her conquer new things!

We have also enjoyed some inside play time this week. A few weeks ago I showed Ellie how to color rice with food coloring. I thought she would really enjoy scooping the rice into ziplocks, pouring in the food color and shaking the bags but I was wrong. The only part she enjoyed was dumping the rice into her sensory tub so I was very surprised when she asked me if we could color rice yesterday. We got all of the stuff out but she informed me it would be more fun to pour rice into bowls and stir the food coloring in with spoons so that is what we did.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Turn

After much resistance and saying I had no desire, I have started a blog and I am actually excited about it. Now I get to share all of my dorkiness with everyone. I am excited to have a way of tracking some of the cool things me and the girls do and I guess the not so cool things too! I have enjoyed reading and learned so many things from other blogs and I can only hope that someone will find something interesting in mine. So here starts my blogging journey. Oh....many thanks to Teresa for the blog name!!