Saturday, October 30, 2010

Montessori Boxes!

Our homeschool group had a mom's book club this spring, where we studied some of the writings of Maria Montessori. At the end of our study, we decided to do a Montessori Box Exchange where we each created a certain number of identical projects and then traded with the other moms.

Here are photos of the different Montessori Boxes/Trays that were created:

1. Flower Arranging
This box came with silk flowers sorted for the different seasons, greenery, seasonal accessories, foam and vases. The kids have really enjoyed putting together some arrangements for the house!



2. Animal Counting
This included 10 each of 10 different animals along with jar lids ("boats") and a felt "lake." The kids can work on counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.


3. Nut matching
This includes about 8 different nuts, along with felt squares to put the nuts on to match them. My friend says her 2 year-old just loves this activity!


4. Felt storyboards
Each of us got 2 identical boxes with felt backgrounds (sky, grass, lake, sun, moon, stars, clouds, etc) and a variety of animals. The children play it similar to the game Battleship, where they face each other and tell their partner where to place the different felt pieces and animals. Then they check to see if they got it right. The girls really enjoy this one!



5. Baric blocks
These are 12 different types of wood cut into cubes. The children try to figure out the matches while blindfolded. They can also explore the different smells, textures, weights, and looks of the different types of wood. The company my friend was working with (Got Wood?) got really excited about the project and ended up cutting and donating all the wood!



6. Touch boards
This box includes matches of 4 different grades of sandpaper (glued on small pieces of wood), along with one board that has sandpaper (rough) on one half, and smooth on the other, and a last board with alternating rough and smooth sections. The children match the sandpaper while blindfolded and learn to use their sense of touch to identify the different textures. She also included a zipper bag with crayons and sandpaper to do an activity where you draw on the sandpaper and then iron it onto paper to see how the crayon bleeds.


7. Letter Object Box
This was the one I created. It includes 25 small dollhouse-sized objects along with their matching laminated words and first letters. Children can match the word to the object and also sort the objects by first letter.





One last box that another mom is still completing is a fabric box of different swatches of fabrics with all sorts of textures. The children will try to match them while blindfolded.

We are excited to use these special activity boxes throughout the year. Many of them will be great skills for Steven Joseph and (later) Thomas to work on. It was quite an investment since we all spent around $90 on making these projects. But our goal was to have boxes that will stand the test of time, and special Montessori-type activities for our children to use for years to come!

Our group did a Nature Craft Exchange last year, and I hope we will do more exchanges in the future! It's a great way to have some fun activities for our children without having to do all the work ourselves!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the concrete won.


Steven tripped over my foot while running around on a restaurant patio on Saturday. We had 10 kids and 6 adults at Buffalo Wild Wings, watching the Aggie game. A little crazy!


As you can tell by the previous blog posts, I've entered a couple little contests on some design blogs. I've been on a roll, winning a few different giveaways recently, so who knows? It would be nice to have a gift card or some free paint for the decorating projects I have floating around in my head!

And of course some Thomas pictures for your enjoyment...

Daddy home from work, burping Tommy!


Mary Clare, the little mommy. She is so good with her brother!


sleeping after a morning of Monday errands!


my Aunt Kathy with Thomas and Ellie


sweet baby boy!

Mom Cave

Come and listen to a story 'bout a mom named Blair,

Raising four kids, so time for herself was rare,

But then one day while folding laundry,

She had an idea that would set her mind free.


A "mom cave," that is. No more junk room, but something pretty.

With curtains, pictures, lamps, and some nice d├ęcor,

She could turn this room into something much more,

So that on those days when she really needs a break,

She can go into her "cave" and some projects she can make!


To sew and craft, that is. Read or pray. Enjoy her mom cave every day.

After a long day of homeschool, she could jump into the car,

Down the street to HomeGoods, it’s hardly very far,

Instead of garage sales and thrift stores, she could buy new stuff and rave,

That with her new gift card she could make a mom cave!


Thanks, y'all. Here's the Mom Cave link party!

before and after-handpainted master

before:


after!


This is what paint can do! I painted the walls and hand-painted the striped and flowered "headboard" by hand, as well as the little doves by the window. I painted the two hand-me-down side tables white and found a barrel lid in the garage to paint the B initial which hangs above the bed.

A bed without a frame or real headboard can look just fine! As can hand-me-down or thrifted furniture with just a little bit of paint. We don't have any furniture items in the house that we bought new; all have been passed down one way or another, through family or strangers who are selling their treasures! Adding a coat of paint or some handpainted personalization can make an old piece of furniture or a boring wall something to smile about!

Today I'm linking up to the CSI Project:
Visit thecsiproject.com
in hopes that I can win some more paint to have fun with!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Brotherly love

feeling myself again

i'm enjoying not being pregnant. i have some energy back. a few more weeks and i'll have dr's okay to start exercising again. i can't wait to get back to zumba!

today was quite a day! while miss maria was doing her magic at the house, we....homeschooled at the park, went to hobby lobby, the bank, the schoolhouse store, took MC to pickwick (her little homemaking class), gas station, took the others to visit nene and papa, picked up MC, went to walmart, and went to target! whoa. i survived that! how am i still awake at midnight?

i keep hearing people raving about the picnik photo editing site. so i tried it tonight. makes my iPhone photos look a little more artsy :-)

daddy and tommy doing his "oohh" face


my peaceful room when it's clean.
i don't think i ever shared a photo of my glider rocker at the right.
i found it used nearby, ended up being a lady selling all her baby stuff because she had just separated from her husband. so sad. we're bringing new joy to the glider rocker :-)


better go crawl into that place right now! night night.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Random thoughts...

Thomas' new talent at 4 weeks old: He can squirt poo across the bathroom in the middle of a diaper change! And at 1:00am, no less! That sure woke me up! I think we're starting to see some little smiles. He's growing out of his newborn clothes and diapers. Stop growing, Thomas!

Steven Joseph's attention seeking behaviors are getting challenging again. This morning he wanted Curious George fruit snacks for breakfast. Refused to take a nap. Cried for an hour at bedtime because...he wanted to brush his teeth, wanted the light on, wanted a blankey, wanted to watch Elmo on my iPhone, and on and on. He "needs a question for you" (i.e. has a million questions for Steven and I) all throughout the day, and today has enjoyed telling us about the t-ball game he went to watch with Daddy last night! My baseball boy.

Ellie is able to tune out my voice somehow. I can ask her something 5 times and she has NO CLUE what I've asked! She is obsessed with money, and houses with stairs. She keeps asking when we're moving. This girl is going to need a wealthy husband! She's doing great in her new ballet class; the director says she makes her smile :-) She's going to be a flower, and Mary Clare a weed, in the recital. They are already excited!

Mary Clare is so, so helpful with the baby. She loves him so much...as do the others, they want to hold him all throughout the day! But oh how she fights me on everything! I don't know how I'm going to survive the teen years with these two little ladies. It will be quite an adventure!

I'm trying to work on positive affirmations and praising the kids. I heard on the Duggar show the other day that we should praise our kids 10 times more than we correct them. Unfortunately I feel like I'm usually doing exactly the opposite. New goal for me!

My main man...I haven't seen too much. He went on a shark fishing trip over the weekend. Came home to the LifeTeen Mass adventure with 4 kids, one who didn't take a nap and was running circles and rolling around in the narthex. We miss Daddy at work every day; SJ asks for him each morning, sometimes in tears. But we're looking forward to some family time in the coming weekends!

I have a lot of projects in-the-works. Entryway is almost done, painting projects haven't been started, All Saints' and Halloween costumes being brainstormed (and might not need any sewing, yay!), a Montessori exchange is coming up this Thursday and I've got a project to finish for that ASAP! Tonight I cooked one of my first dinners since Thomas came home; we've been so blessed with meals the past few weeks. Tomorrow I'll be saved by "my Maria" and I'm much looking forward to that. My house needs a little pick-me-up this week, especially since I keep getting a whiff of dead animal odor throughout the day...I think we might have had another rat die in the attic!

So that's my random update for tonight. To remember the crazy days of learning to be a family of SIX! Our happy but chaotic life! Wouldn't have it any other way. I love my kids and my Steven so much!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fun Sibling Shots

in their big sister/big brother t-shirts!





One Week Old, Swaddled

I was going to use one of these for his birth announcements, but ended up choosing something else...so here are some little snapshots from when Thomas was 8 days old!




Friday, October 15, 2010

New profile pic and flower pin link

I've never really liked my profile pic and am going to need to change out all our photos now that they're about a year old, and we have a new family member! So I had Steven snap a few shots this afternoon, and these were the best two. Which do you like better?

#1


#2


Before we left for our afternoon adventures (Fine Arts Club at the park), I made that cute green flower pin on my shirt using this tutorial on Jones Design Company. I'm learning more than just decorating tips from these new blogs I've been reading!

I made mine out of a cheap stained Ikea blanket that I'd put in the giveaway bag. It took me less than 5 minutes to cut out the little flowers and glue them on with a hot glue gun. And I just pinned it on with a safety pin. One of my style-savvy friends even asked where I bought the shirt!

Mary Clare already wants to make one for herself tonight, and I can see lots of possibilities making hairbows and such! I just need to go find some more glue sticks for the glue gun!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday/Wednesday, not so much.

Well, I did feel like Supermom after making it through all those little successes Monday morning! But things went downhill yesterday and were even worse today. Nothing big, just the usual protests about schoolwork, house a total disaster, toddler refusing to nap, type of days. Yesterday the girls had ballet class, which is always an adventure...getting them dressed and ready, finding leotards, putting hair in buns, getting snacks, etc.

Today we were just home all day, but I resorted to bribing the girls to clean up and finish their schoolwork. They earned $1 for cleaning their brother's room...and later cleaned their room and the schoolroom after much prodding...but the playroom is still hurricane-territory and the schoolwork was barely completed. Tommy got a little fussy today too, but we made it through!

And I've even loaded my fuzzy iPhonePhotos!

First the big brother. Or the "big baseball player" as he prefers to be called.
He can ride his bike with training wheels. And he likes to serenade me with the American Girl doll guitar in the morning :)


Then there's the little angel. He sleeps so soundly in the SwaddleMe blanket and does really well in the swing. Gotta love that after-nursing drunk look with milk coming out of the mouth!


Here's how he sometimes rests on the Boppy pillow in my lap while I play on the computer.


And some shots from his first bath, I think it was on Sunday! He did okay until I washed his hair.


Now for today's BEFORE/AFTER photos to help me remember that we did accomplish something!

First the girls' room. The "after" photo is hard to see in the dark. We still need to clean off the top of their dresser.


hallway


boys' room (a few too many toys for the basket!), right now SJ's favorite toy is the big Luvs diaper box in front of the dresser...he puts on a lifejacket and holds a cardboard stick thing and pretends he's kayaking!


Schoolroom


Now some of my living room projects...added some knickknacks on the piano and fixed up the mantle. Also got all the clothes baskets out of the living room!


Rearranged both bookshelves, and attempted to color-sort the books!


Tomorrow's project is finishing the entryway. I got this little lamp, table, large mirror, and mirror sconce things yesterday and am working on rearranging all the photos! Fun fun!


I think I've got an after-baby nesting instinct going on!
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