Friday, 25 March 2011

Signs of Spring

Every year around March the herring run takes place here on Vancouver Island.  We drive along the coast every day to get to L's school and we've enjoyed watching all that is involved.
There have been hundreds of seabirds on the beach and sitting on roofs of houses and lots of fishing boats close to the shore.
We can see how the water is much lighter where there are huge schools of herring.

Yesterday was so beautiful that we went down to the beach to check it all out for ourselves. 
 The tide was out and we marveled at the amount of herring row everywhere.  We found this little ball of eggs that we explored.
 Soooo many seagulls!
 The row covered everything, even seaweed.
What a wonderful spring day at the beach!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Charlotte's Web and other chapter books

L and I have both been enjoying reading chapter books at bedtime together.  We started off with Heidi which L loved and have now moved on to Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.  I remember loving this book(and movie I think)when I was a girl and couldn't wait to start reading it with L.
 L and I are vegetarians and I've always said that once L really knows what meat is, where it comes from and how the animals are kept she can make her own decision.  I think this book is a good introduction to how animals are used for meat(although I admit a bit unfair to have them be cute little characters that talk!).

To go along with the book we made shadow puppets to use in the shadow puppet theatre we made for the Carnival of the Animals.  We have Fern, Wilbur, Charlotte, Templeton and the goose who isn't shown in the pictures.

I'm over the moon that our new house is so bright that L can just use the natural light from our bay window for the shadows.

Here I think L is acting out the part where Templeton's rotten egg breaks and stinks out the whole barn!  It was hard to get a still shot as the characters were moving all around trying to run away from the stink!
Do you have any favorite chapter books you love to read to your children?

Monday, 21 March 2011

Blog Book

Way back last October I ordered a book of my blog from Blog2Print for my birthday.  I was going to blog about it then but totally forgot.
This is the finished product.  I love it!
This book also totally changed my outlook on blogging.  After flipping through it I realised how much stuff L and I had actually done.  I also realised what an amazing priceless record this book is of our early time together.  From that day on I decided that although I love the connections, ideas and many friends I've made through blogging my number one priority for my blog is to record mine and my daughter's journey.
This has taken a lot of pressure off me as before I was feeling like I had to post something "for my followers".  Now I only post if it's something I want to record for future reference.  One day I hope L will be able to use them for her children.

I highly recommend turning your blog into a book.  It's an amazing feeling being published and being able to flip through and see all that you've accomplished!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Peg Doll Exchange with thoughts of Japan

First off I would like to say that we are just sick watching all the devastation and horror that has happened in Japan.  Our hearts and prayers are with all of the people who have experienced such tragedy.
Please check out Jo Joebi's Japan Quake Appeal Auction if you would like to get involved over the Internet or of course there are many other ways to donate as well.
Lets pray that the country's situation can stabilise so the recovery and healing may begin.

On a lighter note I have been participating in the Wee Peg Person Exchange over at We Bloom Here.  Weeks ago I decided to paint these little Japanese girls.  Turned out to be very timely.  I had a cute little story to go along with them but in the present circumstances I decided to just give them names.

 From left to right we have Maki whose name means "true hope", Shinobu "endurance", Yasuko "child of peace" and Saki "blossom of hope"
I also ran out of large doll so made these two cheeky little brothers from China, Gang "strenght" and Guang "light".
I hope they all find happiness in their new homes!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Making Lunch

L has been asking to make her own lunch lately.  She asked if I could give her a shelf in the fridge to be able to access her own things.  So here it is.  Luckily she has basically the same things every day for lunch so it was easy.
The staples are usually baby carrots, cucumber, baby tomatoes and pita bread.  We also switch it up with pea pods, cheese, eggs, muffins and hummus sometimes.

L gets out all of her lunch food from the fridge and puts it on the counter.  She then gets her stool and a plate from her cupboard and gets to work.
Don't forget the clean up and putting the food back into the fridge.  L clears her plate into the green bin and puts it in the dishwasher(hopefully!).

I've also set up a bit of a snack shelf in the pantry where L can get her porridge oats, cranberries and container of Heritage O's, coconut and cranberries which she can scoop into the smaller dish.  She also has yogurt and cheese in the side shelf of the fridge and a fruit bowl on the kitchen table.
L's is beside herself with pleasure at being able to make her own lunch.  What an independent girl!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

L's New Bedroom

L has never really had her own bedroom before.  We decorated a nursery for her in our house in England but there was no built in heater in it so she ended up sleeping in our bedroom the whole time we were there.  Once we moved in with my mom they had to share a bedroom.
Finally in our new house she has a whole room all to herself!  It was my top priority once we moved in to make L's room as special as we could for her.
So here it is!
I tried to keep it as Montessori friendly as possible.  All of the artwork and mirrors are at her level.  She has her book shelf in here with a chair for reading or she can chill out on the bottom bunk.  She also has her little kitchen and all of her food in here to play with.
I love her little canopy bed.  It's so magical when we put the lights on at night.  L is over the moon with the whole thing and takes the bed safety rules very seriously, always climbing down the stairs backwards.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The influence of Daddy and ......

As many of you know the Montessori Method is all about keeping children in reality.  I am kind of on the fence on this one I guess.  I really like a lot of the ideas in the Waldorf philosophy as well and the former blog Childhood Magic really helped me see the benefits of children having fantasy and imaginative play in their early lives.

So like I said I'm on the fence.  L doesn't watch TV or cartoons.  We do however have a few DVDs that she watches such as The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and The March of the Penguins.  Some reality based and some not.  We also read her a variety of both kinds of books.  I think L has a pretty good understanding of real animals and pretend cartoon ones.  We also watch a lot of videos on Youtube.  I think this is a fantastic learning tool.  We've watched Kookaburras laughing, African dancing, children's songs and many other things.  I do however preview all of the videos before we watch them together and am very strict on what she can watch.

My husband on the other hand really doesn't understand why I don't want L watching TV and any video she wants.  After a long battle I think I've finally succeeded on the TV thing.  Youtube however is another story.  Somehow he thinks if it's on Youtube it's not the same as TV.  Hmmmm.

Anyhow the other day when we were leaving our music class about Australia and didgeridoos L said next week I'd like to do music from Antarctica.  I said well since nobody lives there there isn't really any music from Antarctica.  L replied "Yes there is Papa Pinguin!".

ARRRRGGGGG!!!  DADDY!   I admit it is a catchy song and we've danced to it before but I wouldn't show her the video.  I tried to explain that it was just "pretend" and that there is no real music from Antarctica and as we were driving away I heard her say "I'm sure I saw snow there."

Check out this great article by Pilar Bewley on Keeping it Real Montessori Style
What do you think?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Continent Boxes Swap

I'm taking ages to finish off my Australia continent box and it's driving me crazy!  My printer running out of ink and life is getting in the way. 
I have finished all of my three part cards and definitions as well as a few other printouts though.
Originally I was going to do a giveaway for all of that but I've had quite a few people who expressed an interest in doing swaps so here is what I'm going to do.
Anyone interested in doing a swap please email me at montessoribeginningsatyahoodotca.  If you participate I will email you all of my Australia three part cards and recipe cards.  I will also send you some Canadian items if you don't live in Canada.
If I get enough people interested from around the world then I'll set up an actual swap with everyone. 
Okay I'm off to work on the rest of the box......

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Okay the continent box is taking ages to complete so in the mean time I thought I'd post about some of the activities we have been doing.
I have to say it's been soooo fun learning all about Australia and I have learned just as many new things as L. I also wanted to start off by saying that the reason I picked Australia to start with instead of North America is because even before we began our activities it was constantly a topic of conversation.  We've been Skyping with some wonderful friends there and my dad just got back from a holiday there.  So to me it seemed like a natural progression to start with this continent.  I also decided to just keep our studies concentrated on  Australia for now.  When L gets older and we revisit it we will talk about the other countries in this area.

So here we go....
I found this wonderful site that has a page with tons of Aboriginal symbols.  L and I talked about rock paintings and the different symbols and their meanings.  We then made up stories with our painted symbols.
L's is in the middle.  The cool thing was that L could tell my stories by the symbols I painted. 

Next we talked about Didgeridoos and listened to and watched lots of examples of people playing on Youtube.  We talked about how they are made and that they were originally invented by the Aboriginal peoples of Northern Australia.
We also talked about dot art and looked at many examples.
Here are our own versions out of wrapping paper tubes.
We painted them brown first and then added our dot art decorations.  I painted on the animals on L's and she added the dots.
L really wanted to play like a real Aboriginal person so we painted her with white paint with some Aboriginal symbols.  L was VERY serious about the whole thing and put on a little concert for us. (I hope this doesn't offend anyone.  We have being studying all types of Australian culture with the utmost respect)

I found this amazing song on Youtube call True Blue Wonders which uses the didgeridoo to make the sounds of different Australian animals.  This is what L is playing to in the picture.
You can also download this song and it comes along with lots of great teaching materials.
Today we listened to it in my music class, tapped along with rhythm sticks and made didgeridoos.  They were such a hit that we're doing it again next week!
The most amazing bit is about four days ago a small import store in our area had a going out of business sale and unbelievably they had an actual didgeridoo on sale for only $35!!!  So of course I had to get it and we've been learning to play it ever since.  The kids in the music class went crazy for it and couldn't get enough!
Pics to follow in another post.
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