Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Winter Wonderland

It seems like it was only a couple of weeks ago that I was posting about the beauty of Autumn and cleaning up the garden.  Oh wait it was only a couple of weeks ago!!!

Now we've been blessed with this!

We woke up a few mornings ago to a gorgeous winter wonderland. My husband and daughter were ecstatic as they are both total snow bunnies. I like it for a while and then want my nice mild west coast weather back : )

Daddy and L have made the most of our unusual snowfall by making cute little snowmen and women and doing lots of tobogganing.

Now I'm really in the mood to start my Christmas crafting!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Gnome Board Game

L loves to read but is not that keen on reading books.  I came up with the idea of making a little playscape for her gnome children but make it in the format of a board game. 
How it works is each player picks a gnome and then takes turns picking a card and reading it.

The cards have directions for the gnomes such as "Take a nap in the cave" or "Get the fishing rod.  Catch a fish".

The winner is the first gnome to collect a fish, stone and flower although winning is not really the point of the game.  The little fish are needle felted with a small piece of paper clip needle felted inside that way the gnomes can  actually catch the fish with the tiny fishing rod which has a magnet glued to the end of the string.
They especially like to catch the fish while standing on the bridge.
All of the flowers except two are glued down along with the bridge and river but the other things are stored in a little draw string bag when not in use.  That way she can change up the board however she likes.
This game has been brilliant and we all love playing it.  At first I'd planned to keep the cards in order as we picked them but now that L knows what they say she just rifles through until she finds the one she wants her gnome to do.
As L's reading vocabulary expands I'll change the cards to keep her challenged.

Friday, 19 November 2010


I'm taking a Montessori parenting class with Cynthia Dyer who writes the blogs A Montessori Musing Place and The Montessori Child at Home.  It is so enlightening and thought provoking and has really helped me to think about some of my actions and the way I deal with certain situations.

Last week we talked about observing your child in the home.  This is something I've done since day one with L(mostly because I'm obsessed!).  We talked about how you need to sit back and just watch.  Not intrude and also to let your child make mistakes.  This was a hard thing for me to learn but over the past couple of years I think I've mostly gotten the hang of it.

The other morning I had the opportunity to observe my daughter in her Montessori classroom for the first time.  I had some idea of what to expect by just watching her behavior when I drop her off.  Turns out it is the same while she's inside the classroom as well.  My daughter who at home is bright, focused, outgoing and social turned into this child who was well I guess the best word would be stunned.
I've always known L was an observer, a child who will sit back and process her environment and the situation before acting but in the classroom she seems to have taken it to an extreme.  I wrote on my observation sheet that L looks stunned and distracted, waiting for others to show her what to do and not taking her own initiative.  She did have a moment of intense concentration while doing the binomial cube which is a new work for her.
As I mentioned this did not come as a surprise to me.  I find it more curious I guess than anything else.  I know it will take her a lot of time to adapt to her new situation but it was almost like watching another child.

Speaking of another child.  It's seems that L has just  processed all of the different types of behaviors she observed from the other children in her class and is now trying out some of the more questionable ones at home.  This has been a real challenge this past week.  My sweet, mostly co-operative little girl has turned into Miss whiny contrary Mary.  She's been having tantrums, being rude and generally disagreeable with almost everything.  My husband and I seem to have two different approaches to her new behavior.  He's says we need to "discipline" her and I am trying to be patient yet firm and follow what I've learned in the parenting classes of being consistent and using natural and logical consequences.
Yesterday and this morning have been much better so I'm hoping she's starting to realise that we don't tolerate certain types of behavior in our house.

Ahh the joys of parenting!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Cleaning up the garden

I don't know if it's having a child at the right age, all of the Waldorf blogs I've read or living here but this is the first year that I've actually sat back and marveled at the absolute beauty of the changing seasons. 
I noticed all of the buds, bulbs sprouting up, birds, bees and insects of spring. 
The lovely warm weather, smell of fresh cut grass and lush green leaves of summer and now the gorgeous canvas of golds, reds, oranges and yellow that fall has given us.

We have been anticipating the raking up of all the fallen leaves and it was finally dry enough to get outside and rake!!
 L really enjoyed helping with every step
 with a little bit of fun along the way!
We even made a lovely elf leaf crown like the ones from Twig and Toadstool although the leaves were so wet it didn't last long!
This is the first year I'm actually looking forward to the delights that the winter season will bring!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Birthday Memory Bags

Okay this will be the last birthday post I promise(at least for a while : )
Another tradition I wanted to start this year was creating birthday memory bags for L.  Each draw string bag is supposed to have a number on it and represent one year of L's life. 

In L's first year bag I put in the outfit she wore home from the hospital and her baby booties.  Each bag also contains a picture book of that year and a letter to L talking about what she accomplished that year, her height and weight, her favorite foods and her friends etc.

 Next year I will include a tape measure in the box and she can compare her different sizes and weights each year.
Here she is trying to put on her very first pair of shoes!
I think I saw this idea on the Internet somewhere but I really can't remember where.  All I know is I think it's a wonderful thing for L to look forward to each birthday and another way to take the emphasis off of presents.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Window Crayons Rock!

L got some Crayola window crayons from a neighbour for Halloween.  We tried them out the other day and they totally rock!!! I can't believe I didn't know about these before.  We both spent ages coloring and creating.
The best bit is not only is it a great artistic and creative activity but it's also a fantastic practical life activity.  L enjoyed wiping down the window with a wet cloth and drying it just as much as the coloring!!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Gifts and Your Child

I was going to post about how we deal with gift giving and receiving in our house after L's birthday and just discovered this timely post on the subject over at The Magic Onions
For L's birthday we made all of L's gifts.  My husband made her the marimba and a wood doll bed and my mom knitted clothes for her doll.  A close friend made a quilt and pillow for the doll bed.
Over the last few years I've been able to train all of our family members on what appropriate gifts are and usually can recommend gifts for close family.  A good option I find is getting them to pay for a class that L would like to take like swimming or dancing.

 We invited L's whole Montessori preschool class to her birthday party so there were a lot of people.  We put on the invitations to please bring a donation for the foodbank instead of a gift.  This took away the pressure on us but also on the guests.

Look at all of the donations we received!!  L and I gathered them up and took them to the foodbank after her birthday.  We got a tour of the foodbank, learned about how it all works and got a list of items they are always short of for next time. 
I think this was the perfect time to start this tradition while she is still young enough to not question it and we'll carry it on now for every birthday.  L got more than enough gifts from her family and it's a great for her to learn about giving and sharing.  I also think we'll put together a small donation for every birthday in our house.

Luckily for me I love to do crafty things so I always have something homemade for gifts that we give.  Whenever it's one of L's friends I try to involve her in the making of the gift such as a necklace or card.
With Christmas looming and L's birthday over I need to get myself organized to start making all of the Christmas gifts.
What do you do about gifts for your littles for Christmas and Birthdays?

Monday, 1 November 2010

3rd Birthday Celebrations part 2

There is a group of local young people in our community that have started an African marimba band.  They play at local events and family dances.  We went to see them last March and since then L has been besotted.
We have to go and see them every time they play, she always talk about them and pretends to play the marimba.
So we decided to try and make her one of her own.  My wonderful husband found some plans for a small xylophone on the Internet and spent hours in the garage creating it.

 Here is the finished product.
 L couldn't believe her eyes when she removed the cover.  She had to have a go and then another and another.
We also made a marimba cake for her.  I melted some dark chocolate into tin foil molds and then cut the cake in the shape of the marimba.  I used black licorice for the little key holders.
 The best part was that we actually managed to get the marimba band to play for her party!!  It was a surprise and L was in awe when they came to the door and started setting up.
My heart nearly burst when all the children were dancing and playing instruments and my little L was playing her marimba alongside her idols.
Now that my husband has the hang of it he's hoping to make one of the marimbas in the front of the picture for Christmas.  I can't wait!!

3rd Birthday Celebrations!

After long hours of preparation we finally had L's birthday and party.
I was so inspired by all the birthday decorations from the Childhood Magic blog that I wanted to make some for L's birthday.
Here is the felt birthday banner.  I love it and we'll be able to use it every year!
 My mom and I made pennants out of the left over pieces of felt and I made some Waldorf window stars to make the place look more festive.
 The spread.  I make a point to only give L healthy food and birthdays are no exception. 
 The birthday crown.  My mom and I spent ages making this felt crown which represents the four seasons and L refused to wear it.  Typical.  At least we have it now and hopefully she'll be more into it next year : )

 Some time last week I realised that I nothing prepared for all of the children to do.  Yikes! In a panic I put together this crown decorating table.
 Fabric painting which will make up a gift for L
 and bracelet making.
The kids managed to make a complete and thorough mess of it all but had a fab time!
Related Posts with Thumbnails