Friday, January 13, 2017

Egg-cellent Counting!

Disclaimer:  I taught public school for 8 years before becoming a mom. I taught a new grade or subject EVERY year.  Never the same thing twice (Jack of All Trades is the perfect name *wink)
I have hoarded  collected re-purposed many of the things that I used when I taught.
Hence the stash of about 100 plastic Easter eggs I have tied up in my garage.
Do you have some too?  I bet you do... no shame here my friend!

This month we are studying Baby Animals with Mother Goose Time, and our first week is all about Waiting on Baby.  That could mean pregnancy, eggs, or adoption. Today happened to be EGG Day, so naturally I pulled out my stash of plastic Easter eggs! You don't have to wait until Easter to bust out those things... we even make maracas out of ours! (cheap and super fun music makers)  

Mother Goose Time sent some Tangram shape manipulatives with this months theme! 
I gasped when I saw them! I made mandalas all over my elementary classroom floors with these things on rainy recess days. Oh how I love patterns... it's the art teacher in me.

Since hexagon is a new shape for us this month and a completely new shape to Sweet Pea, I put out her cloud shapes from our Circle Time board on her table and let her match up some shapes.  The hexagon and square shapes fit perfectly on the shape on the cloud!  
She is so into matching things up lately.

"TWO!!!"  It's her favorite number. Sweet Pea was so excited about these shapes!  But it was at this point that it hit me..."Leslie, there is no circle or star in this bag of tangram shapes. You need to take off those clouds.  Hmmm.... how can I make it more engaging if I take away some shapes?"
Duh, it's Egg day!  Bust out those hoarded plastic eggs and put those shapes in there! It's a surprise with every egg!  So I did.  We only used the squares, triangles, and hexagons, but we used about 18 eggs to hide them in.  She had so much fun opening each one.

She did a great job working on her fine motor skills while stacking the shapes into tall towers.  She talked about how BIG the towers were.  She accidentally knocked over her tower of orange squares.  But then she picked them up one by one and counted..."one, two, three, four, five!" 
I couldn't believe it!  This was her first time, without me prompting, for her to count completely on her own in order and up to five!  She's not even 2 and a half yet!  I was so impressed!  

Egg Day was so much fun!  This was just the beginning for us, so be sure to come back and see what else we did with those plastic Easter eggs! 

Can I just say that I am so excited to watch her learn and play.  It is such a blessing to be able to see moments like these.  Counting... in order... I'm just so happy I was able to be there when she did it.  I realize that not every mom gets too... and I am just so humbled and grateful that I am able to.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pregnancy and Pigs

I'm not going to lie... when I first saw our Baby Animals Unit Theme Web in our Mother Goose Time curriculum my heart sank a little.

Our first week is Waiting on Baby.
Waiting on Baby.  This.  This is what made my heart sink.
The thoughts and emotions that come back full force.  
It's hard for me to talk about "Pregnant Moms" when I had a molar pregnancy that led to a DNC a few months ago.  However, just because things are tough doesn't mean that they cant be faced.  I thought about skipping this lesson, but when we are talking about babies, how do you skip the lesson about pregnancy?  I knew I wanted to do this with Sweet Pea. I wanted her to know even if she is little.  I got a little teary eyed here and there, but I am so glad it's just me and my girl.  

We had a lot of fun and I took tons of pictures (surprise surprise), but I think the most fun we had was when we played with the little pigs manipulatives that were sent with our Mother Goose Time kit this month.

Don't you just love these socks!  Tell me you have some like it in your drawer too! It was perfect to hide some of the pigs and we talked about how babies are hidden in momma's belly. 

I brought out our Fisher-Price Little People Animal Friends Farm, pig, and Farmer Eddie to come and join the fun!  I told Sweet Pea that there were lots of little piglets hidden in a momma pig's belly and the farmer helps take care of the pigs and piglets.  I left all the other farm animals in another room.

I hid 5 piglets in the sock and Sweet Pea was so excited when she put her hand in and felt a little pig!  She tried to pull one out at a time, but sometimes she grabbed two.  After she pulled one out, I had her place it on a pig on her number card which I placed on the tray.  These number cards are great for one-to-one correspondence

After Sweet Pea removed all the little pigs from the momma sock belly, we worked on our counting, sorting, and talking about how the momma pig feeds her young with her milk.  I was really impressed that she could sort these by size!  She sorted about 7-8 of them between the larger pigs and smaller ones (it's really hard to tell but an excellent challenge), and after sorting them by size we did it by color.

I love the picture below. Pink momma pig with her pink piglets and Farmer Eddie in his red shirt gets the red piglets. Sweet Pea and her color sorting... :) 

This picture below cracks me up!  She found out that the little pigs fit perfectly into the bottoms of our Fisher Price people.  Farmer Eddie, Grandmother and Granddaddy all had piglets going up their bottoms!  I literally laughed out loud! 

Last but not least, they headed down the silo!  Now we have little pigs all over our house.  She is really enjoying playing with these pigs, and I enjoy watching her play.  Pregnant mom day turned out to be a great day! 

I am so blessed to be her momma.  I don't deserve her.  The Lord is so good... He gave me something so beautiful, so undeserving, something so special and my heart is full each time I look at my girl.  I know that we may never have any more biological children and she might be the only child we have.
And that's okay.  I choose joy.  I choose to have fun with her everyday even if some days my heart breaks.  She is my gift that I never want to take for granted.  
I am completely humbled that God gave me her.  
God is good all the time.
His grace is enough.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tot School: Pinecones, Pine Trees, and Lumberjacks: OH MY!

The Pineywoods of East Texas.
That's what we call home.
Monday was the day after Christmas and it was a beautiful warm morning.  Time to get out and go exploring! We have some gorgeous trails and gardens not far from home called the
Mize Azalea Gardens which we have yet to explore!  It was the perfect place to talk about the the tall pines that tower over all the rest of the trees, pick up and inspect pine cones, and talk about lumberjacks who cut down the dead pines and other trees. Here's a quick clip of our morning:

Lately it's been so warm here! Our Winter in the Woods unit has been tons of fun but our weather has proved to be challenging in going along with all the wintery activities!  Last week we studied the Woodland. I combined Snowflake, Icicles, and Snowman to have a Snow Day in Texas even though we will most likely not see snow. I was planning on skipping the lessons over the Pine Tree and Pinecones since they are everywhere around here.
However, when I looked at the Winter Gear week (nothing we wear really here besides a coat sometimes) and the Winter Living week (nothing really around here except for Lumberjack *perfect* and quilts), I realized I should combine a few days to make a week long investigation!
Combining Pine Trees, Pinecones, and Lumberjacks would be our week!

After our excursion outdoors, we came home for some more investigation.  Pinecones are perfect bird feeders and our Mother Goose Time curriculum came with all the things to make one!  All we had to supply was the peanut butter, which we used to make lunch as well.

After making our pinecone bird feeder, we placed it outside on a hook where we could watch it from our dining room window as we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.  A blue jay has been visiting the area, and I am hoping we can get a closer view of him with our luring bird feeder.  We shall see...

Update:  Check out what came to our bird feeder all week long! 
Make these with your kids! It's so worth it!  I guess the squirrel caught wind of what was going on and he even came by the window trying to get some bird seed! Lots of animal watching :) 

I usually read to Sweet Pea after lunch and then put her down for a nap, so we sat down to read our monthly book that was supplied by Mother Goose Time, called Timber! 
Mother Goose Time also sends a puzzle with one of the daily bags that goes with the monthly book and we worked on ours after reading the story.

Our monthly CD has a song on it that sings this story!  When I started reading it to Sweet Pea, she remembered the song and went and hit the play button on our CD player.  She doesn't forget a thing...unlike her momma!

We counted trees and looked for the matching animals in the story on our puzzle.  We talked about how the lumberjack was cutting down the animal's homes, and Sweet Pea looked really concerned.
I really love how the story shows the Lumberjack realizing what he has done and planting more trees to replace those he cut.

"Who's house did he chop down here in our story?  Can you find that animal in our puzzle?  What animal is that?  Can you make it's sound?" 

After reading the story, Sweet Pea took apart the puzzle and we did it together.  
We get one each month and they always reflect an image from the monthly book we receive.
In fact, this month's puzzle is my favorite of all the ones we have received so far.  I love how it goes with the story so well and can be used along with the book. 
The best part is the outside frame. 
When we work on these, I point to a little clue on the outside frame and ask Sweet Pea if can find something that matches.

"Look! What's this?  What color do you see?  Can you find a puzzle piece with a little red bird?"

"Oh look! An owl, but he is missing his belly! Can you find the owl's tummy?"
She studied hard looking for his tummy as you can see below.

Found it!

Pushing that last piece in and the look of achievement is so worth it!

Whew! Busy morning! 
And I forgot to mention... just a few days ago my neighbor had some lumberjacks come out and cut down a dead Pine tree in his yard.  Sweet Pea and I got to see some real live lumberjacks in action!
They took down this tall Pine and ground down the stump in less than 4 hours!


How perfect is that?! 
To have Lumberjacks as one of our days and to see real life lumberjacks taking down a tree?!
Yep.... pretty perfect.

Now to wind down and get ready for January's unit on Baby Animals!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tot School: Snow Day in Texas

I live in the Pineywoods of East Texas. It doesn't snow here.  In fact, I believe the last time we had snow (which was absolutely beautiful) it was 2009... let me see if I can find a picture....
Here we go.  These are colored pictures that are completely unfiltered.  That snow was like God had placed a beautiful fluffy blanket completely untouched across our town.  It was breathtaking.

That was 7 years ago, and it has not happened again since.  In fact, yesterday the temperature was about 78 degrees, but dropped about 50 degrees overnight. Get with the program, Texas.

Anyway.... my girl has never seen nor touched snow, and who knows when she will.  This whole week we focused on The Woodland in out Winter in the Woods unit.  I skipped the lessons on Pine trees and Pine cones since we live in the Pineywoods, and we focused on the 3 topics we never see around here:
Icicles, Snowmen, and Snowflakes.

The first thing Sweet Pea and I did during Snow Week was make SNOW using this recipe card provided by Mother Goose Time

I made a half batch which was plenty for me and my girl and she had a blast packing it into her 1/2 Tbsp to make half snow balls.  


It held it's shape well and even was cold to the touch!  It was a mess, but nothing 30 seconds with the vacuum cleaner couldn't handle.  Look at that cheesy grin!  Totally worth the mess for the memories.

We then made a snowflake in our Invitation to Create.
Coffee filter, watered down blue finger paint, glue, glitter, and a pipette.  
I always attach her coffee filters to water color paper.  If you take the filter off before it dries completely, it leaves some of the most beutiful abstract images on the paper.  I didn't remove the coffee filter this time. 
If your child is able to handle scissors, I would first suggest cutting the snowflake and then proceed to paint.  We did not cut ours. 

She worked on her fine motor skills squeezing the pipette to get the paint on her snowflake.

After the paint, she added glue and glitter! 

She decided she wasn't done with the paint and added more... in fact towards the end, she just dumped all that was left over her work.

Beautiful! I love getting up close shots of Sweet Pea's artwork.

The last thing we did during our Snow Week was build a snowman!  Our Little Goose Guide had suggested an activity called "Dress the Snowman" which was a felt activity of changing out what the snowman would wear.
Instead, I set out a tray for Sweet Pea to dress her snowman permanently with glue.
Before Sweet Pea took her nap, I read the book Snowmen at Night...twice.  She really loved the book and hidden pictures.  There are paperback versions for less than $6.00.

While she napped, I put this Invitation to Create together and placed it on her table. In her tray, I placed sequins, jewels, googly eyes, pom poms, buttons, and ribbon cut so Sweet Pea could make scarves if she wanted.  I used my cricut to cut several 3 different sized circles.  I was hoping she would build lots of different snowmen, but she only built a few.  

See that snowman with the heart?  When I turned him around, he looked like this!

Isn't that amazing!  I don't know if she planned this or what, but the way he came together is absolutely perfect! 2 green eyes, a straight nose, a red circle mouth and a heart right where his heart would be in his chest!  I was floored when I turned her work around and saw this!

To top it all off, our public library talked about Snowmen on Wednesday at our story time and had a craft set up for us to make paper plate snowmen which Sweet Pea is pointing to below. 

Even though the temperatures here would never allow for snow this past week, we absolutely loved all our snow activities provided by Mother Goose Time!


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