Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Snowy Salt Painted Trees

When I think about what I might want to post about, I tend to think of the projects/activities that went well or were cute memories.  But just as often, I try to do something with Isaac that doesn't quite work out.  This is a project very nearly flopped.  It certainly didn't turn out like I expected but we had fun :)

I don't plan our projects much in advance (or at all).  Isaac was in a project mood so I went with it.  I saw this great idea for Salt Painting Winter Scenes at Mama's Like MeOf course, I had read it a few days before, forgotten a few things, and improvised a bit more than I intended.

We were out of big sheets of blue construction paper for the background.... no problem.  Isaac loves to paint with his watercolors so I figured it would work to just paint the sky blue. 

I didn't want to paint his hand for the hand print tree (it was almost bedtime) so decided to have him cut up brown paper to "build" trees, especially since cutting up paper and then using the glue is a favorite activity. 

We did "paint" dots of glue and cover with the salt (though it was almost bedtime so the above steps were still wet).  This was probably Isaac's favorite part -- the idea of using salt on his project was so funny to him.  The part that I didn't expect (though probably should have anticipated) was that since the paint was still wet, the salt crystalized on the paint even where there wasn't glue.  Cool effect, totally unintended :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Scrabble Letter Matching

My son has recently become more interested in playing games.  They are such a great way to practice taking turns, which is something we're working on .  We only have a handful of kids' games though so sometimes we just need something different.  A game we've been playing for a few weeks uses our Scrabble set -- who doesn't love those Scrabble tiles and having the tray is so much easier for little hands than holding cards!

The rules we've been playing with are pretty simple.  We each pick 5 pieces to start.  When its your turn, you pick a new tile and lay down any matches.  You can also add to any other matches already down.  I've tried to add some "go fish" type rules so that we can ask each other for missing letters but thus far it seems to work better to just keep it simple.

When we're playing, I usually set his tray so I can keep an eye on it.  Since he's still working on letter recognition, he'll sometimes miss matches if a letter is setting upside down on his tray.  We also play with a lot of "table talk" discussing each letter as its drawn or matches as they are played.  I've noticed his letter recognition has improved -- especially on the letters that occur frequently in the Scrabble set.

Of course while he is looking for matches or having his new letter take a long journey across the table to its group, my mind ponders useful things like the statistics involved in determining how many of each letter should be included in a game set and whether the game manufacturer has ever updated the quantities of certain letters due to modern language shifts.  Hmmmm.

I think next we might work on numbers with the Rummikub set :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Adoption Update - January

There isn't a much to update on at this point but figured I should try to post about our adoption process at least once a month for a while :)

We are still in the middle of the application process.  So far we've completed a "preliminary application", "pre-formal application" and Sunday night we submitted the "formal application" (who comes up with these names?).  We've also completed 9 of the 12 hrs of required training. 

Now we wait for the agency to eventually approve our formal application (I've heard its common for them to come back asking for more information on items in the formal app).  Sometime after that happens, we'll be assigned a social worker and get to work on things like the homestudy, profile, etc.  And then more waiting...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Three Birthday!

Today is the long awaited "Three Birthday" that my little boy has been talking about for months.  So often he's started a question or comment, "when I have my three birthday and turn three..."  He was so excited to cross the last day off his countdown on the fridge this morning (now he just has to make it to his party with family on Saturday)!

I am so thankful for you, Isaac.  You are a gift from God, filling our house with laughter and silliness.  You have grown up so much in the last year.  You've gone from talking in short phrases of simple words to long sentences, stories and questions.  You are always trying to figure out the world around you and it has been such a blessing to watch you experience new things and see your mind at work.  You enjoy playing with your cars, trucks and trains (and I love listening to the conversations they have).  You are thrilled when we get to do a project together or "do art" as you so often say.  You are always on the go -- love being outside, at the park or playing at "gym time".  You've become a very good helper around the house and are never happier than when you get to help Dad and use his tools.  You've mastered so many skills this year -- most notably using the potty and getting dressed by yourself.  You've handled all the transitions this fall handed you with the move and leaving daycare so well.  I'm so blessed to be able to stay at home with you now.  One of my favorite moments of your day that I missed before is those first minutes after you wake up in the morning or after nap -- hearing you walk to the top of the steps to say "Good morning Mom, is it up-time now?" and then getting snuggle with you on the couch while you finish waking up. 

We love you so much!  Happy Birthday Isaac and may God bless your 3's!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pirate Playtime

We ended up with a great impromptu pirate playtime this morning.  A quick eye patch was made and a sword cut out of a paper towel roll.  There was a small bag of pixy dust and a treasure chest (old recipe box) filled with treasure (car wash coins, washers, pennies, empty key chain, etc).  There was even a secret hideout with a magic tunnel entrance, guarded by a burly (or was it curly) first mate (the dog).  Of course I fed my little pirate GOLDfish crackers at snack time.  Later Dad (the Tool Pirate?) came upstairs and raided the hideout, stealing and then hiding the treasure.  The brave pirate set out at once to search for and recover his treasure. So much fun!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


(This is a project we did last week but I ran out of time to post it)
We had the directions for this project in a Disney Year Book (2003) of stories I picked up at a garage sale.  Each time we finished the Monsters Inc story and saw the project on the following page, my little boy would look up at me with his big blue eyes and ask "Some day, when I'm big, can we make those mosters?" So you can imagine his excitement when I finally told him "Yes".  He nearly sprinted to the table (Of course I was not prepared for his extreme enthusiasm and still had to get out all the supplies, oops).

Styrofoam balls
Pipe cleaners
Googly eyes
markers, glue, construction paper, glitter glue or whatever else you might need to decorate a monster

First we colored the styrofoam balls with markers (per the directions) but it didn't work well and we moved on... 

And glued on the eyes

Added some pipe cleaners and construction paper for legs, arms, mouth etc.  (We attempted to make standing monsters but I was not patient enough, so ours sit)

Then for extra fun, we got out the glitter glue... don't all monsters have glitter?

Special "Thank You" to Aunt Becca and the amazing box of craft supplies at Christmas that helped with this fun craft!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quick Thank You Cards

I know its already the second week of January, but we haven't gotten Christmas Thank You's sent so that was our project yesterday (repeated again today by request).  We intially didn't have a lot of time so I kept it simple.
I printed out "Thank You" and "Thanks" in a variety of fonts and colors and cut them out.
With some help from me, Isaac folded sheets of construction paper in half to make cards.  Then he glued the words all over the fronts of the cards with a glue stick.

He had lots of fun and we now have homemade cards to send to family :)   I sat and wrote inside while he glued so we could talk about what we were saying Thank You for.   It was such a good opportunity to talk about being thankful. 

The amusing part of the project was he kept telling me that he wanted the words to say "job site" and even held the words up to his ear to see if that is what they wanted to be too.  Always keeps me smiling.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Slide Bowling

Jason has been building a new playset in the shed so it will ready for backyard fun this spring.  The slide was attached today so Isaac enjoyed some great indoor playtime this evening.  He even played a new game called "slide bowling".

Snowman pictures

My almost 3 year old loves to cut up construction paper.  We did this project one day to try to see what shapes I could help him cut from paper and to talk about snowmen (as he waits not so patiently for enough snow to make a real snowman). 

Supplies: construction paper in a variety of colors, glue stick, scissors, markers

I drew 3 circles on a piece of paper.  Another option would be to find something to trace.
Then we discussed what type of snowman it was going to be and what it might need.  Some shapes I cut out and others were shapes he cut out himself (with some help).  He did all the gluing (another favorite activity).
This was the first one

A pirate snowman

One for a special aunt

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Good-bye Rubbermaid Tub!

We knew when we bought our acreage that the upstairs bathroom needed to be remodeled right away... the bathtub wasn't usuable, the toliet was a bit gross, the sink was leaking, the medicine cabinet didn't stay closed, etc. Since we owned the new place while still living at the old, my handy husband started demo over the summer, thinking there'd be plenty of time to finish the remodel. About a week and a half after the sledge hammer started swinging, we got an offer on our old house. A little more than a month later, we moved to the acreage with our upstairs bathroom looking like this :)
Thankfully we had a 3/4 bath downstairs, but no bathtub for our then 2.5 yr old. For a couple weeks, he thought showers were fun but soon it became clear we needed a temporary bathtub...
As with most home improvement projects, the remodel took longer than we expected. A closet was being removed for more bathroom space which meant moving wiring and plumbing too. My husband's travel schedule for work this fall became extremely busy. But little by little, everything started coming together.

Over the weekend, our beautiful new bathroom was finished enough for use -- and our little boy took a bath within minutes of Dad telling him it was ready :) So good-bye rubbermaid tub, you served us well, but oh so thankful to be done with you!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Are you having manners?

We were sitting at the table eating lunch. Isaac asks, "Mom are you having manners?" I look up from making my sandwich and smile, "This is mayonaise. Is that what you meant?" He nods and I continue, "Having manners means following the rules at the dinner table, saying please and thank you, and being polite." He makes a funny face and says, "Oh, sounds yucky."

Later in the afternoon, I hear him talking while playing with his trains, "Thomas needs to haul the manners and coal. Manners and coal." Maybe he makes deliveries to the dinner table :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Looking Forward to Routine

Welcome 2012!!

One of the "resolutions" I've made for 2012 is to create a morning routine for myself. For years, my mornings (at least during the week) started early, with a rush to get ready and out the door to work. For the last 3 months (since the move), I've just been getting up when I wake up most mornings. Pretty luxurious for someone woken by an alarm for so long but I think the honeymoon is over. I need a routine to give me some time to myself each morning, especially since I foresee Isaac's afternoon naps phasing out soon. (sigh)

For several years I've struggled with scheduling a time in my day for devotions. When I was working and already getting up around 5am, devos in the morning didn't seem to work. For a time, my bus ride was the ideal time but when I got behind on sleep, the bus ride became a nap :) I would love to get up early enough to spend some quiet time with the Lord before Isaac gets up in the morning. I'm also hoping I can include other tasks in my mornings: exercising, working on grocery lists or other planning, or starting the first load of laundry for the day.

I've decided to join Hello Mornings Challenge hosted by the blog Inspired to Action. It runs from Jan 16 to April 15. The Challenge groups participants and includes a daily check-in as well as emails with tips and resources as you work toward including devotions, exercise and planning into your morning routine. I'm hoping the benefit of accountability and encouragement of an online group will keep me from "falling off the wagon" early. I'm not entirely sure what I've gotten myself into but it sounds exciting as I read the "preparation" emails... I'll update again after each month. Wish me luck!

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