Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Art Process {In Pictures}

cute and peculiar

This scene was from a few mornings ago. It pretty much made my heart melt. Their finished work is proudly displayed on our easel in our living room.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Post {Toddler Approved}

I had the privilege to write a guest post over at Toddler Approved while she enjoys extra cuddles from her new little baby. Thank you Kristina for this opportunity  If you are interested in reading my post or finding more awesome ideas from her blog check out Toddler Approved.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Exploring the five senses - Taste

 This is one of the easiest of our Exploring the Five Senses series. I felt that the two easiest tastes to describe were SOUR and SWEET. This was easily done with a lemon and honey.

First we cut some slices of lemon and  let the boys taste them. They made a few pucker faces and after a few laughs I described the fact that lemons are sour. Surprisingly they actually didn't hate it, they kept eating it. Twitching a bit between sucks but they both actually ate their slices without so much as a fuss.

Classic sour face!
On to the sweet part of the experiment. Two sticky spoonfuls of honey. They obviously devoured it with gusto. They seemed to get the hang of SWEET pretty easily. In fact Bear asked for "more sweet"

Wolf wanted no funny business, he is guarding his spoon with all his might. 
 I love that this experiment  is so simple and straight forward. It is a great way to introduce your little ones to the concept of taste in such a simple way. 

Be sure to check out our other senses exploration thus far:
SIGHT- Reading in the Dark
SOUND- Sound Hunt
TOUCH- Exploring TOUCH a simple activity 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Spending time together

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a lovely time just the four of us, stuffing our faces with a ton of delicious food. Since then the boys and I have been taking it easy and enjoying decorating for the holidays and just playing together. 
Husband has been working a ton of extra hours lately so our time together is really limited. So when he called me yesterday telling me to get the boys dressed because we were going out, I was in. Turns out   there is a park near our house that on clear days you are able to see Mt. Hood perfectly. It was beautifully covered in snow that made it look a a little pink during the evening light. 
The boys have missed  their papa a lot so they were overjoyed running around the park with him. 
Afterwards we enjoyed going out to dinner and spending some much needed time as a family. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

On the Farm- Milking a Cow

Over the weekend I pulled out our farm animals and barn toys. The boys have had a lot of fun playing with them and I can see Bear's imagination growing by the second as he pretends to feed the animals and have his trains carry the animals along. 
When I worked at the preschool I came up with this activity (at least I think it's original) and it worked so well I was excited to try it with the boys. It is a way to teach your kids not only the basic concept of how to milk a cow but also it teaches them how to sign the word MILK in ASL (HERE is the link to what the sign looks like). 
You will need
  1. a latex glove (this will be the utters) 
  2. watered down white paint (milk)
  3. a pin or small sharp object
  4. something to contain the mess (i used a casserole dish)
First of all, you are going to want to teach them about cows and milk. Here are a few things I used
  • cows make milk
  • we can drink cows milk 
  • cows milk comes out of their utters
We read a few books and watched a YouTube video on how to milk a cow by hand. All the while having him imitate the hand motion of milking.

When we were all set up. I pricked a hole in the tips of two of the gloves fingertips. Then I filled it up with the watered down white paint. You could at this point tie the top of the glove in a knot so it won't spill everywhere. I only had one glove and wanted to be able to refill it once it was empty. So I held it from the top while the boys worked.

 Have your little one pretend to milk the cow over your container. At first we had a piece of paper inside the dish to attempt to make a finished art piece but the paint was so thin that it just soaked through the paper. We ditched the paper and kept working. 

The Results: This project has not failed me yet. Bear understood that milk comes from cows, and we freshened up on our "milk" sign and both the boys enjoyed this whole process. Bear splashed in the "milk" for a while and had to be reminded that it was paint and we really couldn't drink it. 

Afterwards we cleaned up and enjoyed some homemade cookies and a  real glass on milk. Not a bad morning. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Breaking the rules

I am not the only one breaking the rules. Bear sneaking raisins 

My husband is pretty easy going. He typically isn't a huge rule guy, but there is one request he has made in the time we have been married. NO CHRISTMAS ANYTHING, BEFORE THANKSGIVING!!!!  Over the last few years I have sort of contained myself (only secretly listening to Christmas music in July) but today I got the boys involved. Ooops.

It was raining, we were baking, and all of a sudden there was Frank Sinatra singing White Christmas. I honestly don't know how it happened. It's a good thing that Thanksgiving is next week, I don't know if I can keep up this lie.

**I am not a baker by any means but I tried this oatmeal cookie recipe, and for being a rookie I have to say they actually turned out really yummy. I am actually eager to try again. Anyone have any easy cookie recipes?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Punchbowl Falls

We went for a hike at Punchbowl Falls earlier this week. We strapped our boys on our backs and off we went. Every time we do this I always think "why don't we do this more?". I forget how much I love being outdoors.

When we arrived at the fall we were a little disappointed  Here's the thing about Punchbowl that we failed to find online. In order to see the waterfall you either have to hike up and look at it from above or you actually have to walk into the river to see it. The water was low but we didn't bring any waterproof shoes so we settled with tossing rocks in the river and enjoying our time anyway. It was beautiful.

We let the boys play for a while before heading back. They were both troopers and seemed to enjoy their time as much as we did. We are already planning our next hike. I really hope we make this a habit.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Exploring the five sense - SIGHT

Believe it or not these pictures were taken  at 5:30pm. Thank you daylight savings and Pacific Northwest for making it feel like my bedtime is at 4pm. I regress, when we first found the book I'm Not Scared!  at the library I was smitten. I knew I wanted to incorporate it in our lesson and Bear took a liking to it instantly. 
It was the perfect time to teach about sight. We have been talking about owls and how they are able to see really well in the dark. We went outside and at first we didn't have our flashlights on. I asked Bear if he was able to see and read the book. Then we turned on our flashlights and talked about how our eyes need light to see. We read our book and then I let them explorer the backyard with their flashlights. 
I have to admit that I felt a little like the crazy neighbor that let's their toddlers run around in the dark (well I guess that is exactly what I did). I mean I just moved in, I may be showing my crazy mama seams a little too soon. I suppose they might as well know upfront. That way they won't be surprised when they see my kids in a mud pool next summer. 

**be sure to check out the last two "exploring the five sense" post Sound and Touch

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Birds of a feather

We started our morning with breakfast and some art. The boys were in exceptionally good spirits and eager to get dirty. This project is simple, all you need are some paints, paper and some feathers (plumes if you want to be fancy). 
The great thing about this project is it gets better as the time goes on. The feathers start sticking together  and sticking to your fingers as you go on painting. Bear was not only creating art but experiencing a whole new texture at the same time. I have to say that sticky, paint filled feathers made him giggle and get frustrated all the same time. As you can see W only used his feather to paint for a total of two seconds before attempting to eat his paint. 

They both spent the rest of their morning giggling and getting messy. Afterwards we hung out paintings to dry. Look at Bear's face in the last image! He was so proud of his work.

Exploring the five sense - Touch

Despite my lack of blogging we are still here, and still continuing with our five senses activities. To read about our first one you can click HERE. This activity is super easy and can be done with items around the house. 
I gathered together a few scraps of fabrics from old projects.  I looked for fabrics with different types of textures. Here is what I used and the words I used to describe them to Bear. 

  1. faux fur (soft, furry)
  2. felt (smooth) 
  3. burlap (rough, scratchy)
  4. feather, not a  fabric but since we have been talking about owls and birds it was perfect (fluffy, soft)
  5. minky fabric (bumpy)
  6. PUL (slick,smooth) 
I would hand him each fabric one at a time and ask him what he thought it felt like.  He used words like soft and fluffy on his own. I would describe the rest of the items to him having him touch them  as we went along. He loved rubbing  the items against his cheek, until he got to the burlap. 

This was a quick and easy project with not a lot of set up or clean up required, but it helps introduce textures and build on your little ones already growing vocabulary. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Instagram and a Christmas gift idea

Has everyone gotten on the Instagram band wagon? Well if you haven't you should! I know it's been around for a while but it is still super fun. I love that it makes it so easy to share photos on Twitter and Facebook.

I have been thinking of fun and easy Christmas gift ideas for family and friends. What about an Instagram photo book? I love that these photos document all the little moments of our day, perfect for grandparents. Plus they are very reasonably priced and now until November 21st Blurb is offering a promotion for 15% off any book you make when you use the code FALLTHANKS. That sounds pretty awesome to me. If you want to follow me on Instagram my username is @cuteandpeculiar.

**this is a sponsored post**

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sound Hunt

 Thank you again to Thomas for sparking up Bear's latest obsession. "The wise old owl" I can't recall the episode but somehow there is an owl in the plot.  Now,that is all he talks about.  My MIL and I were talking about where we should take the next curriculum (she helps write it). In conversation I told her about the "wise owl" story and how B talks about them all the time. We thought it would be great to take that subject and run with it for a while. Incorporating the five senses was a perfect way to expand on this a little more.

Our first day we started with hearing. We went over the sounds that owls make. We found this YouTube video that really captures a clear owl sound and watched it a few time trying to mimic the sound that we heard. I explained that we listen with our ears, having him identify his ears as well as the ears of the stuffed owl we had. Then we were off on our sound hunt.

Here's how to play.

1. Identify the sound you will be looking for. In this case it was the owl sound from the YouTube video  that we listened to earlier.

2. Have your toddler walk away or cover his eyes. Then hide the "sound"( I used my phone and played the video once I decided on the hiding spot) I also hid the stuffed owl along with it.

3. Have your toddler come back or uncover his eyes and try to find sound. Tip: Make sure that the track  or video is long enough to give them enough time to locate. The clip I used was a minute long and that was just enough time for both the boys to find.

4. For younger toddlers make the hiding spots more obvious. I noticed that W (15m) was able to find the general location of the sound but if the spot was too tough he wasn't able to find it.

5. Continue hiding as long as your little one wants. Bear played about 4 rounds of this game before loosing interest while W only played twice before walking away to play something else.

Don't feel limited to just owl sounds this game can work with any sounds or music. The main objective is having to listen to find the object.

**This post was submitted to: Kid's Co-op, Tot School Tuesday