Sunday, 31 August 2014

Meet Frank

I found a tutorial for this adorable mouse and when I showed it to L she just had to make it!

While I was doing another project she spent the afternoon felting up the head.  She felted the nose and eyes and I helped with the ears and tiny paw.  

L was thrilled to have this little guy as a new addition to her room.  A relatively simple needle felting project for a Sunday afternoon and so effective.
I you would like to try it yourself the tutorial is from Pip's Poppies.  While you're there take some time to check out her other amazing creations.  Truly inspiring.

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!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

LJ at 21 months-activities and practical life

LJ is turning into quite the little person.  He is a major chatterbox just like his sister and has to be part of every conversation!  
He is also a total jokester.  His favourite joke is to change the words of songs.  One of our favourite songs to sing is Mama mama I want a Mango.  At the end the song goes kiwi, kiwi, kiwi, kiwi, quince.  Well he thinks it's the greatest joke going when he sings kiwi, kiwi, kiwi, banana!! or apple or any other type of fruit!  We also are big into the potty humour.  Everything has either chicken poo or pee or panda poo on it!??
I'm also pretty positive he knows most of his colours but  if you ask him he will deliberately tell you a different colour!  If he chooses to name them he does it correctly.  Seriously cheeky little monkey!

We have been doing a few works but mostly practical life activities.
Here are a few activities LJ had on his shelves.

Magnetic and non magnetic.  LJ really enjoyed experimenting with which objects stuck to the magnet and which ones didn't.  At this point this was just an activity of experimentation and discovery.

I wasn't sure if LJ would get the hang of this but after a few tries he did get it and enjoyed moving the objects back and forth.

Placing beads onto a bath fish thingy.  Yup those little fingers are somehow always wet and sticky and they were just too wet and sticky to release those little beads so it ended up being a bit frustrating.  He did stick with it for a while but I had to help him get the beads off his fingers sometimes!

I seriously love this age because they are SOO enthusiastic about housework!!  I really wish it would stay.  L has seemed to have lost that lovin' feeling!
While L was vacuuming the house LJ was desperate to help so I got out the dust buster for him and he loved being able to vacuum along side his sister.
 I needed to do some serious cleaning in the kitchen so I set LJ up with a scrub brush and a small container of soapy water.  He was super serious about this job and scrubbed down his chair for over HALF AN HOUR!!  My guy loves to wipe and scrub!
L didn't want to be left out so she got out her own scrub brush and water and scrubbed down the rest of the chairs.

Thanks to some Itty Bitty Love inspiration LJ is also now very successfully pouring his water at every meal.  I also find it very surprising that he doesn't just pour the whole jug into the glass but pours a little bit at a time and drinks it and then pours in some more!

Saturday, 1 March 2014


Hi all.  I'm doing a giveaway right now on my Jen's Felted Jems Facebook Page.  Please head on over to enter to win a custom made Owl, Fairy, Mermaid of Forest Family!!!/jensfeltedjems?hc_location=timeline

Good Luck!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Jen's Felted Jems

I am so excited to introduce you to my latest project which has been taking up quite a bit of my time lately.  I fell in love with needle felting several years ago and loved to make things for the children.  I had so many people ask if I sold them that I decided to try my hand at opening up my own Etsy shop.
So here it is

As some of you may have already discovered you can visit the shop by going to the Etsy button on the right sidebar of my blog or you can go directly to
You can also find more pics and information on my Jen's Felted Jems Facebook Page.

Giveaway coming soon!!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Water works -20 months

 I had all these big plans for doing so many works and activities with LJ after Christmas and so far I've just been a total slacker!
I did manage to set up these water activities one afternoon while I was trying to clean the kitchen to keep LJ occupied.

This is the first time he has experimented with pouring water other than the bath tub.  I put two jugs into a baking pan with about 1/4 cup of water and a cloth to wipe up spills.  Funnily enough it took him a few tries to figure out he had to switch containers each time he emptied out the water.  He kept trying to pour out of the same container even though it was empty.

 He also enjoyed just pouring the water into the pan so he could wipe it up. 

I showed him how to squeeze the water from the cloth back into the container.
I changed it up a bit for him by giving him two bowls and a sponge.  I added a drop of purple food coloring to the water to make it a bit more interesting and for him to be able to see the water he still had to soak up a bit easier.  He transferred the water from bowl to bowl several times before we moved on to the next activity which was pouring into a funnel.  This actually turned out to be a many step activity because he had to remove the funnel and pour the water back into the jug and then place the funnel back onto the container which was quite a challenge.
I remember at this age L was pouring her own drink at meal times from a tiny jug.  I think LJ needs a lot more practise before I'm going to let him loose with any unsupervised water!!

Friday, 3 January 2014

On the shelves-19 months

 I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season.  It was very busy at our house with lots of family visiting and fun was had by all.  
I did manage to get a few works on the shelves for LJ in December.

Melissa and Doug pattern blocks. 
 I got these off of the used children's items site I belong to for a very reasonable price.  They come in a wooden box with several different wooden frames.  I just take out one at a time which has pictures on both sides.  I put it along with the shapes it needs into a basket for LJ to do.  
 Mystery Bag
Although we have been using the mystery bag for exploration for a while now we have only just started using it for stereognostic recognition.  I put an assortment of known objects into  the bag.  LJ pulls them out and names them.  He then puts them back into the bag and I ask him if he can find a certain one without looking.  He enjoys playing this game and is usually successful.
Putting Cheerios into a pill container.  
I bought a seven day pill sorter for my pills and vitamins but before I put it to use I gave it to LJ to sort Cheerios into.  He had great fun opening the sections to get the Cheerios in and out.
We even managed some Christmas themed activities.
Here is a Christmas mystery stocking with a tiny snowman, red ribbon, needle felted Christmas tree and several candy canes.  
Pushing colored pompoms through the correct hole and then retrieving them from inside the shoe box.  LJ was pretty random on when he chose to match the colors.
We did several Christmas crafts together but this one worked the best with both children.  Simply gluing tiny pompoms onto a pine cone to make Christmas trees.

 They both enjoyed this activity and they turned out nicely!

Related Posts with Thumbnails