Sunday, 6 July 2014

Big Changes-Again!

As I've gotten older and wiser in my years one of the things I've learned is that things never stay the same.  This is especially true when you have children.

Just when I thought I had our near future neatly planed out and packaged up for the next few years life went and threw us a curve ball.  Not a bad curve ball by any means it just curved the other way.

 We as a family have decided to take L out of her Montessori elementary and start to homeschool her in the fall.  This also means that I am no longer able to continue on with my work as a Montessori assistant.  There were many, many factors that led us to this decision and although we will be sad to leave the school we are also both really looking forward to getting back to working and learning together as we did before she entered school when she was three.

We have already started work on several projects and as you can probably guess I've started a new blog to track and document or progress.  There are so many amazing homeschoolers that blog and share their ideas and experiences and they have played a great part in our decision to homeschool. 
 So if you are interested in the new adventures of L and I then please go ahead and check them out at You want to learn about What??

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Potty Learning

There are many different opinions and techniques out there for getting your child potty trained.  I have two children and the approaches I used for each child couldn't be more different!

When L was born we lived in England.  I'd always believed before I had children that I would use cloth diapers mainly for environmental reasons.  When I first got to England and saw their appalling lack of recycling and care for the environment (sorry Brits but for someone coming from Vancouver Island that is how I felt) I decided that I would take the easy way out and go with disposables like everyone else.
I happily changed L's diapers until at 19 months I figured she was ready to start on the potty.  After much research I decided on the "cold turkey" approach.  This involved buying big girl panties, a potty and a potty book.  On the "potty" day we first read the book and then had a discussion about how she was a big girl and that she could now use the toilet like Mommy and Daddy.  There were no rewards or bribes, just a general understanding that this is what grown up people do.

L took to it pretty quick and after a week we pretty much had it down.  After a few months and the novelty had worn off we had a bit of a regression but in general it was pretty straight forward.

You can read about our experiences here.

Fast forward several years and we now have child number 2.  Since L I had done a lot of research on Montessori A to I and realised that cloth diapers were not only good for the environment but also aided potty learning as the child can feel when they are wet.
We were already living in Canada when LJ was born so I took the plunge I'd always promised I'd do and we cloth diapered.

When I started looking after Sweetpea LJ was 10 months.  She was already being put on the potty so I decided to try LJ.  He went on after meals and before and after naps.  He very quickly caught on to what he was supposed to do and we caught most of his poos.  Read about our adventures here.

I think the main reason we all stuck with this is because of the cloth diapers.  Yup it's way easier to clean poo out of a potty than a cloth diaper!
We continued on with this no pressure method of potty learning until LJ turned two and then I made the switch the underwear.  We've had some accidents but seriously a month later and he is telling us when he has to go and I'd say we are officially potty trained during the day.  Yay!

So the question is was either method better or easier?  I'd say nope.  Each one worked for our family at the time.  I think there is way too much hype and pressure about potty training just like there is for child rearing in general.
My advice would be to take whatever approach works for you and your child and to remember that it is a natural, organic process that will happen when the child is ready.

African Canvases

 We made some art for the kids bedrooms over the weekend.  I've wanted to do more resist paintings for some time now and we finally got around to it.

L painted a previously used canvas black.  While she was doing that I looked through Google images for some giraffe and elephant silhouettes.  I copied them into a word document and scaled them to the appropriate sizes.  We then cut them out and traced them onto some black contact paper.  Once we'd cut them out a final time we arranged them on the canvases.

L and LJ got to work painting over the whole canvas.  L decided to make an African sunset and I just gave LJ colours that matched his bedroom.



All painted and waiting for them to dry before peeling off the contact paper.


Here are the finished products.  I did a bit of touching up around the edges and then we hung them on their walls.  I love this way of painting.  So easy yet so effective!


Monday, 21 April 2014

Catching up-22 and 23 months


I openly admit that over the last couple of months I've totally been neglecting taking pictures of my children.  Yup I have been so busy taking a million and one pictures of my needle felting creations that I have forgotten all about my children.  Well almost.

Here are a couple pics of things LJ has been up to.
Playing with his Very Hungry Caterpillar story stones.  LJ loves to tell bits of the story with the stones and the one with all the food on he calls Saturday.  Too cute.



Table setting.  This is a favourite.  It's hard to see but I traced all of the items in the place setting with a black sharpie so LJ know where to put them.  


He then gets to take out his leek and pretend to eat it.  Too much fun!


Land and water.  I simply cut land and water shapes out of felt and put assorted animals in a box for LJ to sort.  He enjoys this but knows them too well.  He is such a joker that he loves to put the wrong animals in the water on purpose.


Of course decorating Easter eggs.  He was so focussed on his work!


Not a lot documented.  We've been playing with a lot of new "toys".  I was lucky enough to do a toy swap with Sweetpea's mom.  She has some really cool things.  I will try and take some pictures of them for an upcoming post.



Sunday, 20 April 2014

Montessori for Me!

I discovered the Montessori method when my daughter was about 12 months.  The more research I did the more Maria Montessori's words resonated with me.  I guess you could say I became pretty obsessed.
I'd like to say that this was all for the sake of my daughter and now my son as well but being completely honest it is also A LOT for me.   I LOVE MONTESSORI!  Yup there I said it.  I find the philosophy fascinating, the materials intriguing and basically all things Montessori just make sense to me.

Soooo as I wrote on my blog a few years ago I made some serious sacrifices and took the AMI Montessori Assistants training course in Vancouver.  Those were two of the best weeks of my life.  Yes my mind was blown over and over again and the course took me so much deeper into the real nuts and bolts of the philosophy.

However, I was never really able to put all of my research and training into practice.  Ok I was able to observe my daughters class and was even lucky enough to substitute a few times but it never really gave me the full Montessori experience I was looking for.

Until now that is.  Last week I started at my daughters school in one of the primary classes as a real Montessori Assistant!!  and ohh what a learning experience it has already been.  I am so completely blessed and lucky to have the epitome of a Montessori guide to teach me and guide me on the real ways of the Montessori philosophy in the classroom.

I have two months with this amazing woman in her class before I head off to another classroom in September and I am going to try and soak in as much as I can in that time.  To say I am in blissful heaven is an understatement.

So yes now it is time for Montessori for me!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Story Stones

We had such a great time with the Brown Bear story stones I made that when I saw these Very Hungry Caterpillar stones at Thrive 360 Living I knew they had to be my next project.




I made a small version for a birthday boy who was turning two.  They were such a success and LJ was so interested in them that I made a larger version for him.
I bought a wooden box from the Dollar store to keep them in.  At first I was going to paint a caterpillar on the outside of the box but then I realized I'm too cheap and would rather recycle the box for something else once we're done with these!

We love the Very Hungry Caterpillar book by Eric Carle so LJ was really into reenacting the story.
The front of the stones make up the green caterpillar and if you put them in order you can turn each one over as you tell the story to see what he eats.  Sooo much fun!






Sunday, 16 March 2014

When the kids start getting owly.....

When the kids start getting owly.....give them an owl craft!
It's spring break for us here so L is home.  Yippee!  For two days last week I was also looking after two other children.  A 3 year old girl and a 6 year old boy both from L's school.
It was so much fun and I'd planned many crafts for them to do.

One of them was this owl craft.  I found the idea on Pintrest but can't seem to find the original link.

This is so simple to do and once I showed L (6) how to do it she could whip them off all by herself in no time.


What you need is some air drying clay.
Roll some into a small ball and flatten it into a pancake.
We did ours on wax paper.
Then take the top of a marker or straw and use it to make half circles on the bottom half of your clay pancake.

Then fold over both sides of the pancake for the wings.


Fold the top of the pancake over for the head and pinch the tips if you want more pointy ears.


Use the marker lid again to make two eyes.  We used the inside part of a pen for the smaller inner circles.  We used a knife to make the triangle nose.

There you have it the easiest, adorable little owls.
We let them dry over night and then the children painted them.  Even LJ painted my prototype!


Once the paint was dry I covered them in a layer of Modge Podge and glued magnets on the backs.
Perfectly adorable additions to our fridge!


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