Monday, 19 December 2011

Advent Activities 2011 Week 2

 Day 8
"Make candle holders for your teachers"
I had great plan on making cute little candle holders out of air hardening clay for L's teachers but when we opened the package I realised it was actually paper mache! I had to do some quick thinking and we ended up making bowls for them instead.
L had a great time mixing up the goo.

 L and Granny had collected little rocks and shells from the beach the day before.
 Good thing we started this project early as they took two days to dry by the fire.  Here is the finished product.  Not sure what they're going to do with them but it's the thought that counts right?
Day 9
" Look by the fire place"
I found this cute little 3D puzzle at the dollar store.
 Day 10
"make snowman hand print ornaments"
These have been all over the blogsphere this year and last and I really wanted to do them with L.  She did the hand print and I painted on the snowmen.  She also helped push the shiny garland into them.
 Day 11
"bake gingerbread cookies"
L made these Christmas gingerbread cookies to take to her sing along at school.
 Day 12
"Look under the tree"
This was before we had any presents under the tree.  L found a little kit to make this Rudolph ornament.
 Day 13
"Look on the table"
I found this foam gingerbread house kit on sale at our local craft store.  We'd never done one before and it was tons of fun.  I love how it turned out.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

First week of advent activities 2011

This year since I don't have as much free time our advent activities have been a combination of little gifts, crafts, and Christmas activities.

Day 1
"Look on your chair"
L started off her advent calendar by finding a pair of Christmas socks with snowmen on them.  I'm having a hard time peeling them off her feet long enough to wash them!

Day 2
"Find all of our Christmas books"
I was amazed at how many Christmas books we've acquired over the years.  Some old favourites like The Night Before Christmas as well as a new collection of wonderful Christmas stories.
Day 3
"Make Christmas cards."
We took on the ambitious project of making cards for all 22 children in her class.  We have been trying different styles of cards on different days and are about half done.

Day 4
"Look by the fish bowl"
L found this cute little snowmen pencil crayon.

Day 5
"Make candy cane ornaments"
Simple yet effective!

 Day 6
"Make snowflake decorations"
We were making some modest snowflakes until Daddy got involved and took the snowflakes to a whole other level!  This was really a fun family activity.

Day 7
"Look by the fireplace"
L loves The Nutcracker ballet and reading her Nutcracker storybook.  For day six she found a little wooden nutcracker ornament that she could paint herself.  She was absolutely thrilled to have a Nutcracker like Clara and carried it around all day before painting it.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Voice of an Angel

It's amazing how time passes.  I realise I haven't been doing much blogging lately and I think it's because now I'm working part time my creative mom-jo is worn out!   I did however want to write a post about a couple of L's birthday presents.
We wanted to get L her own CD player for her birthday but after looking around quickly realised they are pretty much becoming obsolete!  We weren't quite ready to get her an Ipod but eventually found something much much better.
A karaoke machine!! It was the perfect gift for our little performer and L LOVES it.  It even has disco lights!  L uses her own CDs in it and either sings along with the microphone or dances to them.  She can spend hours this way.  The other night she preformed the whole Nutcracker Ballet with her assortment of dolls.
We also gave her a case for her CDs so she can be completely independent with the whole thing.

L's second favourite gift was a CD from her absolute favourite singer Jackie Evancho.  After showing her this Youtube video last year, L has been Jackie's number one fan.  We also recorded a whole Jackie Evancho concert from PBS and L loves to watch it and attempt to sing along.
If you haven't had a chance to listen to this girl I would highly recommend checking her out.  She seriously has the voice of an angel.
L puts on her flower girl dress (or as she calls it her "Jackie Evancho" dress)daily to perform along with her CD.  She even told me the other day the she is going to be Jackie for Halloween next year!
It's all good for me. I don't mind her having a singing angel for an idol at all!!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Happy Fourth Birthday L!

Yesterday was L's birthday and it was wonderful.  I can't believe my little girl is four!
As I said in a previous post we kept it simple this year and rented out our local pool for her party.  It was really cool to have the entire pool to ourselves.

We kept the underwater theme going with L's cake.  I'm usually such a stickler for only doing healthy food with no candies and artificial colors.  I was seriously racking my brain on how to make blue.  Then my husband made me realise that every other birthday L goes to the kids have crazy cakes with tons of sugar and TONS of artificial colors.  L doesn't really even eat the cake and doesn't even know what the candies are so this year I went to town!  Nothing was off limits as you can see by all of the gummies.  All the other kids loved it and as I predicted L ate just one bite and then finished off two fruit skewers!  I know I'm soooo hypocritical!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Autumn Nature Table

Although we had a summer nature table we were pretty lax on it and I forgot to take a picture.  We recently went to a local Waldorf school open house to see what is was all about and seeing their Autumn nature table really inspired L and I to make a special effort on ours.

Here is what we came up with together.
 Most of the things are treasures L has found on her nature walks with the addition of our ghosts and fairies from last year.  I love the little owl I received in the summer Waldorf swap I did!

I'm glad we're back on track with our nature table.  It just adds so much to our home and every time I look at it L has rearranged things or added something else!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Corn Husk Dolls

L and my mom grew a wonderful garden this year.  L is still getting a few cherry tomatoes off the vine.  They also planted some corn.  My mom wasn't very hopeful on their success but they were both delighted to find two tiny ears of corn.
They were much too small to eat but perfect for making corn husk dolls.
We first watched this video on Youtube to see how to make them.
 Here's our little couple.  They are really easy and fun to make. 
 I was imagining them being a nice addition to our nature table but L had other ideas.  I seem to see them popping up everywhere around the house!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Birthday Invitations

Last year for L's birthday I went a little crazy and spent ages on preparations, planning and decorations.  We invited L's whole Montessori class and had a marimba band come in and play.  You can read about it here and here.
This year I have to admit I'm just not as inspired.  I think it has to do with the fact that I'm working now.
Anyhow we came up with a great compromise.
Our local Aquatic center rents out the pool for private parties.  This is the perfect solution.  We can invite L's whole class and their families as well as other friends and family and there is no preparation or clean up for us! Yippee!  They even have tables we can set up in the foyer for snacks and birthday cake after so L won't feel like she's missing out.

Here are the invitations we came up with.  I wanted to keep it really simple since we have to make so many.
First L covered water color paper with a mixture of blue water color paint, water and modge podge.  She then crumpled up a plastic bag and dabbed it all over the paper to create a water effect.
Once that was finished she sprinkled sparkles all over the paper(her favourite bit!)
I cut out the invitations and L added little fish stickers.
 On some of them she also added sequin air bubbles.  Too cute!

I put the party info on the back and viola! a free set of party invitations.
Last year we asked for no gifts but a donation to the food bank instead.  This year we have still asked for no gifts but have asked that the children make their own birthday card for L so she will have a keepsake.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Me on the Map

L got the book Me On The Map by Joan Sweeney last year for her birthday.  We have both enjoyed reading it together as well as doing activities to go along with it.  L has mapped out her bedroom and pointed out our province on the map of Canada as well as our continent on the globe.

 When I saw this fantastic idea on Counting Coconuts a while back I knew we had to make one for ourselves.
I started off making six circles out of craft foam using a compass.
 I found almost all of the images on Google Images.  L colored this picture of the Earth and then stuck the stars on for space.
 I traced the continent onto orange paper and L pin punched it out.

 For my province we talked about different things we see and do here.  I printed off the images and L colored them.
We also did circles for my town and my house.  I took pictures of L by different places and then printed them out.
Once all the circles were completed I punched a hole in the top of them and put a ring through them.
I really love this activity.  It's a great way for children to narrow down their place on the map and also a wonderful keepsake.  Thanks again Counting Coconuts for the great idea!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Hunting for Fossils

A few weeks ago we had a wonderful family day searching for fossils.  Vancouver Island has many places which are perfect for amature fossil hunters.  We equipped ourselves with hammers, picks, buckets and of course a lovely picnic lunch.
 The weather was gorgeous.
 These two fossil hunters took their work very seriously.
 In the end we were successful and found what we think are two trilobites!!

A wonderful day was had by all.  Even when L fell into one of the pools and had to wear Daddy's top as a dress while her clothes dried!
After our finds we have gotten the fossil hunters bug and hope to go out hunting again soon.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

First Finger Knitting

L and I learned how to finger knit today.  We watched this video on Youtube together and then she tried it out herself with this wool I'd been saving for ages for just this occasion.
L caught on pretty quickly and I just had to keep reminding her to start pulling off at her pinky each time.

I sat with her and helped along the whole way and she ended up making this bracelet.  She was so proud and decided she wanted to make something else.  I told her to go and ask Granny if she had any extra wool.  Well L hit the jackpot there.  She came up with a HUGE bag of wool scraps!

L ended up choosing this cheerful yellow to make a headband with.  Once again I helped and encouraged her.

I'm so happy that L is now able to finger knit and that she enjoys it as much as I'd hoped she would.  I think it will take a few more sessions before she is ready to do the whole thing on her own but she is well on her way!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Blackberry picking and Birthday gifts

There are two reasons why I haven't been posting much lately.  The first is that we are really just laying back and enjoying the last days of summer.  The second is that my husband has become slightly addicted to playing poker on Facebook and has been hogging the laptop!

Anyhoo, last week our longtime family friend Uncle P came to visit us from England.  L really enjoyed playing with him since he is up for almost anything.

Here they are picking blackberries.  L amazes me with her dedication when blackberry picking.  She will stay out there for hours hunting down all of the 'low' blackberries.  She was the same last year.  It also surprises me that she doesn't eat them all! 

 After we pick them we wash them and freeze them on cookie sheets.  Once they are frozen I put them into Ziploc bags.  Perfect for smoothies etc.  I love free food!!!
 L is invited to a birthday party on Saturday.  My philosophy on gifts is that the person giving them has to be directly involved in the whole gift process.  We decided to make a little memory game for L's friend using rocks we found at the beach.  We had a great time trying to find round flat rocks together.  I painted on the little beach themed pictures and L painted the two rocks at the top.  We then modge podged them and put them in this little basket.
We tested out the game a couple of times to make sure it worked and may just have to make one for ourselves!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Summer of Science Part Two

Lately we've been learning about matter and how it can change.

I introduced L to the three states of matter with this tray.  We talked about how matter is anything that takes up space and how it can be in three different states.  Once we discussed this L looked around the house to first find solids and then liquids and breathed in lots of gas (air : ).  It's wonderful to see the delight in a child when they first discover something new and the whole world opens up to them.  L was excitedly running around the house pointing to things and saying "my shampoo is a liquid, milk is a liquid....."

We then talked about how some things can be all three states at different times.  We used water for our example.  L is examining a glass with water in it, ice cubes and the steam from boiling water.

We've also been talking about reversible change and irreversible change.  L could see and experiment with how water can change into ice when frozen and then melt back into water when heated, which is an excellent example of reversible change.
We saw an example of irreversible change when we did the "heat" experiment with apples.

We also did an experiment on decay and talked about how all living things will eventually die then decay and turn back into soil.  This led to some interesting discussions as you can imagine but I tried to keep it light and scientific.
We took a large piece of watermelon that had been in the fridge for a while and did an observation of it.  L drew a picture of it in her science journal and we dated it.
Here it is a week later.

Here is L doing her second observation in her journal and noting the changes.  She didn't last very long out there as there were too many wasps and she retreated to the kitchen periodically going out to "observe" from the deck.
We left it out there until it was so small and shrivelled that we just dug it into the soil.

Our weather has been the pits this summer so it's been and ideal time to do all of our science projects.  Before I found Sid the Science Kid I have to admit that I was really unsure of how to introduce science to L but the show has made it super simple and tons of fun.  I also have a wonderful book of 101 Science experiments that we will move on to soon.
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