Monday, November 29, 2010

New Recipes

See what's cooking in Tracey's Kitchen (my other blog) .....a new dish and a quick spice preparation for when you run out like I did.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tot School (Thanksgiving Week)

**J is 30 months old**
Tot School

I love doing Tot School with J! We are very laid back and so far I don't really plan anything. I keep a lot of things visible to J and let him lead when it's time to do some focused learning-play. Thanks for stopping by!

We haven't done Do A Dot Paints in a long time. L had a friend over to watch football and he brought his daughter who played with us. We all made our own pictures. J was really into making rainbows.

This is another thing we haven't done in a while, play with J's instruments. The three of us played while I sang different songs like The Little Drummer Boy. My son LOVED the little drummer song. He said, "Mommy, sing the rum pum pum song again."

We have been watching more of Mr. Roger's lately. We went to PBS online and saw a few of the videos they had posted like How They Make Crayons, Fire Truck and How People Make Balls.

J got a tool puzzle that was made by his high-school aged cousin, Dylan. Dylan spent time at Grandpa Bernie's this summer learning to do woodworking and this was one of the things he made. J took out the puzzle and now he can pretty easily fit the pieces in. He played with this a couple times, but one of the times he was having trouble getting it in exactly and he started saying "Noooooooo! I can't do it!" and got a bit frustrated so I helped out.

This week J was playing a lot with his Mr. Potato Head and Spud guy. He is getting better about putting the pieces in the right places. He wanted me to take the pieces out and after that he said, "Trace them mommy!" I have started teaching him about tracing his hand and so this was a new idea. I traced the arms, face, baseball hat, mustache and he had fun coloring them in with a pen. He wanted me to color them too.

I finally found a way to interest J in eating hard boiled eggs. Helping me cut them with the egg slicer! He loves doing this. It is such a small thing, but once they are cut he just starts eating them.

Daddy took a picture during one of our reading sessions of the weeks. I was able to get a lot of Thanksgiving books that were fun to read before going to our relatives for the holiday.

I goofed up recently and bought crayon erasers thinking they were jumbo crayons. I'm glad J is putting them to good use. He spent a lot of time trying to balance them on the arm of the chair. He liked lining up the different colors and seeing how many he could get lined up in a row.

Countdown to Thanksgiving, Jodi Huelin
Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks, Margaret Sutherland
The Berenstain Bears' Big Bedtime Book
Yuck! That's Not a Monster! Angela McAllister
Humpty Dumpty and Other Nursery Rhymes

Berenstain Bears - Bears Mind Their Manners
Little People - Discovering Things That Go
Mr. Rogers - How Crayons are Made
The Land Before Time - Invasion of the Tinysauruses

GiggleBellies on You Tube

Thanksgiving Fun (Chicago)

See the fun things other moms are doing at the Weekly Wrap Up, another place I link up.

What My Child is Reading & Other Blog Hops

I found a great blog hop that highlights the current books we are reading with our kids. J and I don't usually focus on a theme. We go to the library often and I just pick books that he would be interested in that also have a good message or lesson.

Click the link below to see what others are reading!

Countdown to Thanksgiving
This was a good counting book in addition to being about Thanksgiving. It was a cute story about one family's Thanksgiving celebration and what goes into it.

Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks
I liked this Thanksgiving book in that it does a good job of teaching different things we can be thankful for. It is a short and simple little book.

Humpty Dumpty and Other Rhymes
We got this book from a friend, a beginning Mother Goose book. J really seems to like the rhyming in it and asks for it a lot. It has a couple I knew like Humpty Dumpty, Little Jack Horner and then some new ones like Little Jumping Joan a jumping rabbit and Little Davy Dumpling. We really liked reading one called Horsie, Horsie where the animals are dancing. I would read this rhyme over and over and J would laugh.

The Berenstain Bears' Bedtime Book
These books continue to be a favorite and I like finding different versions of them. This one took nursery rhymes and made them bear rhymes like The Three Little Pigs and the Bad Cub or Goldibear and the Three People. We would pick one or two a night to read.

YUCK! That's Not a Monster
J is in a stage where he's having fun with monsters. This one is a cute little story about a monster baby that hatches from an egg but he is not at all like his brother and sister. His siblings are spiny and prickly while the baby is soft and fluffy. The story is a little bit backwards as it comes from the perspective of the monsters and they see cute and fluffy as not desired monster qualities. It changes at the end when they fall in love with him.

Want more book reading fun? Click below to visit the other book blog carnivals where I enjoy linking up:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tiny Talk Tuesday

**J is 30 months old**

Tiny Talk Tuesday is a way to share the fun and interesting things our kids are saying. I love joining up for this blog carnival at Not Before 7. Click her button above to see what kind of Tiny Talk has been overhead in the homes of others!

Lately, I'm trying to capture these little tiny talk sayings by running to my computer and typing them up right away. It has seemed to help. I never want to cut off what J is saying by interrupting with typing, but I find that if I run right away (if we're home) I can often capture most of it. (I can type faster than I can write!)

This was a sweet compliment:
One afternoon J said to me, "What's that?" He was wondering what I was doing.
I said, "I'm cleaning the stove. The food falls down when I'm cooking and makes a mess so I'm cleaning it up."
J: "I want your food."
Me: "I'm not cooking anything right now."
J: "I like your food mommy."
Awwww! What a great affirmation!

For whatever reason, I was getting J out of the car and singing "I don't want to grow up. I'm a Toys R Us kid." J says, "I'm not a Toys R Us kid, I'm Julian. I'm 2."

I don't know what led J to this conversation, but he said, "I can't see Buca's green eyes." Buca is our cat. Then Buca started walking over toward him and J said, "Now I see Buca's eyes. He has green eyes and sharp teeth. He goes bye bye down the stairs over there." He points to the stairs where Buca goes to get food, water, etc.

One morning, I decided to let J have apple juice since he wasn't eating much for breakfast. He saw me pouring it and got excited saying, "Give it to me!" in a demanding voice. He knows to say please so I asked him, "How do you say it nicely?" He then changes his tone to a nice soft voice and says, "Give it to me?" (This was pretty funny.) I did finally get a please after that.

I'm also trying to record the sweet way he says some of his words:
He says "moon" for loon. We went up north and got to see a couple loons very far away on the lake. The coolest thing though was when we heard them. My sister got J a little loon stuffed animal that makes the loon call. He loves pressing that yet he still calls it a "moon".

We feed the birds together every week, and I like the "critter mix" that includes peanuts. For some reason, J has been calling them "two-nuts". I have no idea if that's because most of the peanuts have 2 in the shell or if it's just coincidence. So the peanuts attract the blue jays which we like, but of course we're also getting critters like the raccoon that visited the other night knocking all the feeders over. Instead of getting angry or annoyed, I told J that we want to feed all God's creatures, even when they make a mess.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Recipe for Upside Down "Pizza"

Check out the new recipe I posted at my blog Tracey's Kitchen. This is a great dish for when you're low on groceries but have a few ingredients on hand (ground beef, spaghetti sauce, cheese, crescent rolls).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Recipe for Sweet, Sticky, Spicy Chicken

If you like Chinese food.....
Check out the newest recipe on my other blog Tracey's Kitchen.

Click here:
Sweet, Sticky, Spicy Chicken

What My Child is Reading & Other Blog Hops

I found a great blog hop that highlights the current books we are reading with our kids. J and I don't usually focus on a theme. We go to the library often and I just pick books that he would be interested in that also have a good message or lesson.

Click the link below to see what others are reading!

The Berenstain Bears say Please and Thank You
Needless to say, we really like the Berenstain Bears. I like the messages that they teach. Our family embraces good manners so we regularly work on using them and teaching them. My son is very good about saying thank you, but we continue to work with him on please. He will say please, but it's usually after I have to say "How do you ask when you want something?" The book takes an interesting look at what happens within the family when they forget the simple niceties like please and thank you. It's Grandma Bear (Gran) who helps them all remember. She brings them what they call a framed sampler to remind them. In many of our books, I like to improvise the words by adding the Lord to it. So the sampler says "Matters Manner" and I added "Matters Manner to God" when I read it. I add little things like that to plant seeds in J's heart.

The Day of the Dinosaur, Stan Berenstain
Dinosaurs remain one of J's favorites and we liked this simple book. J is starting to explore more about how dinosaurs came to be and what happened to them. This was a good introduction for him and a real easy read. I think his favorite part was where they show a dinosaur dig with a big dinosaur skeleton being unearthed. I took the opportunity to explain to him what a paleontologist is and what they do. He loved just trying to say the word "paleontologist". One of the next times we read it, we got to that part and I almost turned the page until I realized he was asking me to point again to the paleontologist.

If Animals Kissed Goodnight, Ann Whitford Paul
We have had this book since J was born. Lately, he's been wanting to read it more at nap or bedtime, sometimes both. I love the illustrations in this book, there's something soft and inviting about them. The variety of animals is nice too. On one page, there is a seal daddy and his baby and a couple of fish swimming with them in the water. J was super excited to tell me there were "goldfish" (like the kind you eat) in the picture! They do look just like goldfish. Even more funny was when we were driving home later in the week and he was eating goldfish and says, "These are just like the goldfish in the book mommy! In the page with the seal!" Amazing how his memory is sometimes exceeding mine.

Going to the Zoo, Tom Paxton
This book actually has a song that goes with it and the words are repeated in a sing-songy way. The illustrations are really neat in that the main theme is a sort of picture frame and the zoo animals can be seen surrounding the edges. My son loved naming the animals by looking at their feet! (You'll have to check out the book to see what I mean.) In the story, the kids are really excited to be going to the zoo with their daddy. This was really fun for us with the rhythm to the words. J thought it was hilarious that the lion ate a lot of steak and then was out cold sleeping.

Rumble in the Jungle, Giles Andreae
J is really into animals, especially animals like this that we can see in our zoo. This was another fun one for us from the library that I think we'll keep around for a bit. As the reader, I really enjoy the books I get to read that have some rhyming and rhythm fun like this one does. A fun thing about some books are the "hidden" things you find in the pictures. This book has tiny little ants that show up throughout the book. I would have fun asking J where the little ants were and once he found them we would count them. They hid them so well sometimes that I had to help.

A Turkey for Thanksgiving, Eve Bunting
We brought out a Thanksgiving favorite this week. We got this last year from a friend of the family and J wanted us to read it nonstop. He still does! He loves it. It is a very sweet story about Mr. and Mrs. Moose who are having their friends over for Thanksgiving dinner. For Mrs. Moose, dinner is not complete until they have a turkey. Mr. Moose goes out "hunting" for a turkey who does join them, and you find out at the end to Mr. Turkey's surprise, he is AT the table, not ON the table.

Two Blue Jays, Anne Rockwell
If you have been following my blog, you know that I love to engage my son in feeding and watching the birds with me. This is something that my mom did with me when I was a child, and I'm so grateful that she spurred that interest and appreciation in me. We live in a pretty suburban area, so we get the usual sparrows and only a few other types of birds including chickadees, junkos and yes now a resident blue jay. Recently he (or she) started bringing a friend so sometimes we have two blue jays also! Even though I learned as a child that the blue jay can be a nasty bird, I have grown fond of them again. As J has grown excited waiting and watching for the jays to come, I was really happy to stumble upon this book in our library. It takes place in a classroom, where the teacher is introducing her students to two blue jays who are building a nest outside their window. She takes the class from watching the mother sit on the eggs all the way to the jays taking their first flight. I really enjoyed reading this story with J. The first page has a great illustration of several different types of bird eggs too so this was new learning for my little one.

Want more book reading fun? Click below to visit the other book blog carnivals where I enjoy linking up:

As an affiliate of Amazon, I will receive a small commission for any books purchased from the links in the widget above!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tot School (Lots of Variety)

**J is 29 months old**
Tot School

I love doing Tot School with J! We are very laid back and so far I don't really plan anything. I keep a lot of things visible to J and let him lead when it's time to do some focused learning-play. Thanks for stopping by!

Using Scissors
I found a pair of toddler safety scissors at the dollar store. I've only worked with J a couple times so far on using scissors while at our PalZone play group craft time so I thought we'd do this a couple times. He tries to use them with two hands so I worked on showing him how to hold it with one hand. I put his fingers in and then put mine in with his and we were able to cut out pictures from a magazine together. Now whenever I'm using scissors, he wants to use them too (of course). So on another day while I was cutting out contact paper, I got out his scissors again and he was cutting up our junk mail. He was able to cut a couple pieces, but had a really hard time keeping his fingers in the hole properly. This will be fun to see him master this as we practice and practice.

Memory Matching
This is a memory matching game, yet we do it with the cards upturned. A lot of the pictures are very similar, so I worked a lot on the idea of a perfect match. So he started off matching somewhat similar cards together, but then was getting the notion of an exact match. When we were done with that, I was able to get J to help me put them back into the container.

Pumpkin Shapes
J pulled out our little foam pumpkins again this week. He was narrating while he was putting the mouth and eyes on. He told me he was making happy pumpkin faces.

Zoo Animal Pop-Up Toy
J has pulled out this toy a few times recently after not playing with it for several months. I think it was because we were reading Rumble in the Jungle and then watching Goodnight Gorilla. He liked naming each animal as it popped up and it was also a good counting exercise for him. It seems like it wasn't long ago (less than a year maybe) that he had a lot of trouble working the mechanisms to have them pop up. Now he can do all of them with ease.


Coloring in his coloring books continues to be a favorite activity. I have been printing pages off the internet lately and took some pictures of the Thanksgiving pictures he colored.

Reading to Himself
J got a set of Winnie the Pooh books from L's friend at work. He likes to take the box out of the cupboard and find a nice place to "read" them. These are the old classic Winne the Pooh stories.

Alphabet Flash Cards
I got out the alphabet flash cards and he played with them a little bit. Mostly, what he likes to do is identify the object in the pictures or talk about them. I also worked with him a little bit on letter identification. I also spent some time trying to hunt down a good alphabet puzzle. Somewhere I saw a puzzle where each letter has 2 halves that they put together like A for Apple and you connect the A part with the Apple picture. I haven't found what I'm looking for yet, in case anyone has good ideas to share.

Pal Zone Craft
Every Wednesday, we go to a play group called Pal Zone put on by our local Family Enhancement Center. The kids have a time of open play. They have tons of toys yet I'm often this week J was upset when anyone touched something he had played with. He would immediately want it back and get into a tug of war. After the open play, we gather in another room for a story and craft. This week we read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" at circle time. This was a rhyming book where on each page they meet a new animal. After the book, the kids got to make a bear mask. J loved coloring his and then helping me tape the stick to the back. Once his mask was ready, he went around to several of the kids and their moms making bear sounds while putting the mask up to his face. He loved growling and roaring and the moms loved growling back at him. (The picture above was once we got home.)

Squirrel with Acorn Size Matching

J couldn't wait for me to get this one ready. I finally did a printable activity! I've been wanting to do this for a while. My inspiration came from a post on The Ramblings and Adventures of a SAHM and the actual printable was from Teena's Teacher Tidbits. I don't have a laminator so I got contact paper so these are a little sturdier than just paper. He seemed to understand pretty well what we were up to when I showed this too him. First, I took the different-sized acorns and mixed them all together on the floor. Then I showed him we would take the acorns and place them on the paper according to size; small, medium and large. He started off OK, but then started mixing some of them up so I decided to explain it a bit differently. I explained that the small squirrel needs the small acorns, the medium squirrel needs the medium acorns, etc. Then when he'd put a large on the small page I'd tell him that acorn is too large for the small squirrel so he would find the right one. A couple times he got frustrated when I would correct him, and he'd start laughing and start wildly pushing the acorns all around the floor. He thought that was pretty fun too, to mess them all up and then start over. I think we'll have lots of fun with this in time to come.

Music and Color Naming
J got out his little piano but had trouble finding the mallet. Once he found the mallet, he played the xylophone and called out the colors he was hitting, "red, orange, green, yellow", etc. He hits it very hard, so it's just a bit hard on the ears.

Book Favorites
The Berenstain Bears say Please and Thank You
The Day of the Dinosaur, Stan Berenstain
Going to the Zoo
Rumble in the Jungle
Two Blue Jays

Movie Favorites
Go Diego Go, The Great Panda Adventure
Handy Manny Big Race

Music Favorites
Bing Crosby I Wish You a Merry Christmas
Songs Kids Love to Sing, 25 Sunday School Songs
Veggie Tales Favorite Lullaby Songs
A Child's Celebration of Rock and Roll

Just Plain Fun

We are members of our local Y (YMCA) and they have a fun kids time Friday night at in the gym. They have a large inflatable jumpity jump and a large supply of soft balls to throw around. I'm not sure which was more fun for J, running around the gym or playing in the water fountain.

Out for Pizza; True Italian

We invited a family to dinner this week. On a pretty regular basis, they volunteer to watch J for us so L and I can have a date night. The parents enjoy having a toddler around and their kids really love hanging out with him. So we treated them to pizza at Pizza Brutta, an authentic Italian pizza place where they make the pizza in a wood oven. Our friends are from France, and they love real Italian pizza. In the pictures, L had fun teasing J playing keep-away with his Nuk. For a while, we had him weaned off Nuk to just naps and overnight, but it has slowly crept back (as you'll notice in some of our Tot School pictures). J also was learning how to trace his hand with friend Katell.

Mommy's Favorite; Fluffernutter Face

Recently, I introduced J to one of my childhood favorites, Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Fluff; aka the Fluffernutter. He loves it! I snapped a picture of a day he got the marshmallow all over his mouth and was quite proud of it.

See the fun things other moms are doing at the Weekly Wrap Up, another place I link up.