Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Toilet Paper Roll Ghosts

Last year around this time as I was getting our Fall and Halloween decorations ready and my then 3 year old daughter wanted nothing to do with anything even remotely scary.  My then 8 year old son wanted everything to do with was a challenge to try and make both kids happy with the decorations.  Thankfully this year my now 4 year old says she wants a haunted mansion house and asks every single day to decorate it so that it looks like the Haunted Mansion in Disney.  Needless to say, my son is in his glory!!

Unfortunately, for both my kids I am more of a fall decorator and not really into the scary stuff. But I will do my best like for example hanging these toilet paper roll ghosts from our fireplace, which are definitely more cute than scary but my kids are happy!  I got the idea to make these toilet paper roll ghosts after seeing Sarah's Dixie Cup Ghosts over at How Wee Learn.

These were super easy to make so even the youngest of children can have a hand in it.  All we did was take some toilet paper rolls, my daughter painted glue onto the rolls, we pulled apart the cotton balls and stuck on.  As a finishing touch we added googly eyes, and some ghost mouths using black construction paper.

I'm trying to get into the 'haunted mansion' mode. I was even willing to hang some fake cobwebs in our trees today.  Tomorrow we're off to the dollar store for more spooky scary stuff......wish me luck!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Acorn Sensory Bin

If you've seen our Acorn Cap Jewels post you will know that we have alot of oak trees in our neighborhood.  My kids love to collect all these acorns and right now I've got more than I know what to do with!  So, I decided to put together an acorn sensory bin.

Here's what I included:
Popcorn Kernels
Various flowers and shrub pieces
Pine cones

I also put out an ice cube tray, small bowls and measuring cups.

The first thing my daughter was attracted to was a piece I included from one of our shrubs.  Not sure what the name of this shrub is called but it's great for sensory.  This shrub has been bloomed for a few weeks now but it was only since this activity that she took an interest in it.  Awoke her senses to something new!

We poured......

We dug our hands in.....

We did smallest to biggest.....

We played with corn kernels only and filled up each slot in the ice cube tray with different amounts of kernels and then guessed which slot was most full, least full.......

We buried the acorns........

We added toilet paper rolls and filled them up......

As you can tell including the ice cube tray with this sensory bin was a big hit!

I also paired this activity with the book, One More Acorn by Don Freeman and son, Roy Freeman.

Do you have a favorite fall sensory bin or any sensory bin that your child really enjoys?!  If so, I would love if you would share with us in the comments below or by stopping by our Facebook page.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Baby Safety Month - Humidifier or Vaporizer?

It's baby safety month and I've joined in with some awesome bloggers to share some some baby safety tips.

I've decided to write and share about the choices, pros and cons of using humidifiers and/or vaporizers.

If you were to Google which to use cool mist humidifier or warm mist vaporizer a ton of results would turn up.  Their are so many opinions on this that it can be mind boggling for parents of babies and young children. I am hoping I can shed some light on this topic by sharing what I have learned through my research and also through my personal experience.

Cool Mist Humidifer - adds moisture to the air but does not use a heating element.  It is simply cool air that is released that helps when a child has a cough and congestion.

Vaporizier - also adds moisture but uses a heating element that boils the water as it releases steam into the air.  Also helps a child with a cough or congestion.

Difference between the 2 - One releases cool air while the other releases steam but ultimately they both do the same job which is to help relieve a child's discomfort from a cold/cough.

Some parents might wonder which is safer for their child?  For me personally, I use a cool mist humidifier.  My main reason for not using a warm mist vaporizer is due to the heat involved.  My concern is that my children who are 8 and 4 could wander over to the vaporizer in the night, get curious about it and have the potential of getting burned.  Now, if you have a baby who is still in a crib and cannot walk or get to the vaporizer than a vaporizer could be an option for you.

Their are many more questions like how much humidity should their be in your child's room or which is better distilled water or tap and how to properly clean the unit.  This is what I meant when I said it can be mind boggling to decide which kind of humidifier to use.

I want others to walk away from this post with a better understanding of these 2 units but I don't want you to walk away more confused either.  So in a nutshell here's my final thoughts:

Both a cool mist humidifier and warm mist vaporizer both do the same job.  They release moisture into the air to help with cough and congestion.  So, do you prefer warm air vs cool?

Maintenance should be considered also.  Both units need to be cleaned thoroughly and daily.  In my opinion, neither is easier to clean they both need proper attention to cleaning so that what is released will not put bacteria and other bad particles into the air.

Where will the unit  live?  Will you put it on a dresser or the floor?  If your child(ren) absolutely cannot get to it maybe you could use a warm mist vaporizer but if you have to put it in a place where your child can access it you may opt for the cool mist humidifier.  I use a small child's table to put our humidifier on which makes it accessible to them, hence one of the reasons we use the cool mist.

As with most decisions, this is a personal choice depending on the needs of your child, where you will be putting it and cost is also a factor.  Vaporizers seem to cost more due to the heating element so if you are looking to save a few dollars a cool mist humidifier might save you a few dollars.

I hope this post will help parents when deciding on which unit to use for their children.

Links that might be helpful:
Baby Center
Dr. Sears

Please visit these other bloggers to read more about baby safety:

True Agape

Munchkins and The Military

Ramblings of a Marine Wife

This Ole Mom

Krafts & Kiddos

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Acorn Cap Jewels

These acorn jewels are so pretty and I knew I had to try them since I first spotted them on Kiwi crate.

Our neighborhood has lots of oak trees so finding acorns is super easy.  My kids never bothered with the caps always just wanting the whole acorn....up until now.  Once they saw how pretty these acorn caps turned out they now collect the caps too!

The acorns my daughter picked after just one outing!  We added many, many more!

My kids after their 'acorn challenge.' Counting and picking out the good ones!

Here's what you'll need to make your own jewels:
Acorn caps
Play dough or rice
Patience.....see below!

This craft is super duper easy.  Simply pick your caps, color the inside with a marker, fill the cap with glue and press the acorn caps into play dough or rice so that the caps have a place to live without falling over for the next 2-3 days.  This is the amount of time it will take for your acorns to dry and that's why you'll have to have patience.  Once these beauties dry they look so pretty!  We simply display them as an autumn decoration but I've seen how some people will play match games with them or use them as counters. Whatever you may decide to do with them one thing for sure is they will look pretty and add a festive touch to the autumn season!

These are our acorns displayed on one of our tables.  

Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Learning About Our 5 Senses

I pick up so many great things at yard sales.  My most recent find was the book, My Five Senses by Aliki, snatched it up for .25 cents!  I had been wanting to teach Tiffany about the 5 senses and thought this book would be a good start. After not being able to get the book from our local library I was really excited with my find!

We read the book before we even got out of the car after the yard sale!  We both really enjoyed it and I was even more motivated by Tiffany's positive response to get started with our 5 senses activity.  I had a few ideas on how to do this activity and finally opted with using poster board to make a kind of graph.  Here's what we used:
  • Poster board
  • Photos found online
  • Laminator
  • Glue
  • Permanent marker
  • Stickers
First, I started off by gluing photos that signify our 5 senses; hand, nose, mouth, eyes and ears.  I glued them across the top of the poster board.  To separate each sense I drew lines going down so that each one had it's own column.

Next, with more photos found online, I printed and laminated different things.  I used clouds, drums, books, ice-cream, feathers and flowers.  I put these photos into a basket to use for when we were ready to play.

Because I also wanted my daughter to physically touch, see, hear, taste and smell I collected some things from around the house and put them in a bag to include with our lesson.

Now we were all ready!  We used the laminated photos first and as we took them from the basket I asked Tiffany which sense she would use for each.  She then took some small round stickers and put the sticker under the correct sense.  The reason for this part was to chart which sense we use most often.  Once we were finished with the laminated photos I brought out the bag of things I collected.  She pulled one item  out at a time and used the same process as above.  The only difference with this part was that she physically got to use her senses.

Once finished she counted each sticker and wrote the number at the bottom of the chart.  From this activity we learned that the sense of sight was used most often.

When we were all done we read the book, My Five Senses again and hung up our chart, which she was very proud of!!

Learning about our 5 senses doesn't stop here.  We continue to talk about which senses we are using like for example when we are taking a walk or when we are eating, etc.

If you would like to introduce your child to their senses simply talking about them on a daily basis will be a great way to start!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bottle Cap Letter Matching and Memory Game

We are working on my 4 year old's uppercase and lowercase letter identification.  She's doing well with uppercase but it's the lowercase I think she could use more practice with.  Recently we worked on a similar activity which you can read more about here.  I've been saving bottle caps and thought I could use them to play a letter match and memory game. 
Here's what you need for this game:
  • Bottle Caps
  • Construction Paper
  • Marker
  • Scissors
Set up: Trace the bottle caps you will be using onto your construction paper and cut out the circles.  I cut just inside the circle so that they weren't too big and they fit perfectly inside the cap, no glue needed!  Once the circles are in place use your marker and write the lowercase and uppercase letters onto the caps.  Because I am doing both uppercase and lowercase letters and did not have 52 bottle caps I chose to do just the first 10 letters of the alphabet.  Besides, I think it would be to overwhelming to use that many letters in the game so even if I did have all the caps to use I still would have used only half.   

Here's how they turned out....

How to play: The child turns over a cap they see a letter, for example uppercase "A" they will be looking for a match by finding the lowercase "a." I thought of different ways of playing this game but since I want my daughter to recognize both uppercase and lowercase in print I went with this option.  

Playing this game is much like playing any other memory game.  Whoever makes the most matches wins! It's really simple and really fun!!  My daughter asked to play several games in a row!! 

How is your child learning their letters?  Please let us know in the comments below or by visiting us on my Facebook page!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Touring Through Blogland

What is Touring Through Blogland, you ask?!  Allow me to explain.  Touring Through Blogland is a fun way to share some things about me with my readers and other bloggers that I may not normally share on my blog.  I will welcome you all to my neck of the woods to give you a sneak peek of what's going on around our home along with answering some other fun questions.  By sharing this I hope to connect in a different way with my readers and fellow bloggers.  It's also a great way to connect my readers with other great bloggers who might just be blogging about something their interested in!

First, a big thanks to Heather from Krafts & Kiddos who invited me to join this 'tour.'  Heather's site is filled with great ideas.  Whether you are looking to craft with  your kids, find delicious treats or DIY ideas, Heather has it covered!!  I promise that you will fall in love with all her ideas so please make sure to stop by!! 

Lets get started, shall we.....

We built our home and have lived here for 16 years. We've made many memories here and I'm excited to make more and to continue raising our kids in this home hopefully through their adulthood.  I love my whole home but I do have some favorite spots. Our front porch is one of them.  I love to decorate it, take photos of my kids on it or watch my kids play or chat with friends and family.  Whatever the reason our porch is a fun place to make memories!




Playing with friends

Summertime gazing

I really love it here.......

My other favorite thing about our home are the flower beds we have planted through the years.  Even though some were planted more than a decade ago it feels like just yesterday.  I have a beautiful mum that's planted to the side of our porch that was given to us from my Mother in-law shortly after we moved in.  That mum has bloomed each year for just shy of 16 years and I look forward to seeing it's beauty every fall.  It's not bloomed just yet so no picture to share, sadly.  I wish I had taken one in past years but I will remember this year! 
Over the years we have welcomed more flowers to surround us.  These flowers are in full bloom or shall I say full beauty right now and I truly enjoy looking at them and finding peace and solace in them.  These flowers can put a smile on my face and a peace in my heart......

Now onto the questions part of the tour.....

Question 1: What am I working on?
Currently, I am preparing for the upcoming school year.  My son will attend public school but my preschooler will be home with me.  Last school year she attended pre-school and she enjoyed it so much.  We had her all registered and ready to begin for this upcoming year but the school had some changes and pulled one of the sessions.  Because of that we made the decision to not send my daughter which means I will be teaching her here at home.   With my daughter at 4 years old I believe strongly that the most important thing is socialization.  So, I am scheduling her for a class or 2 with gymnastics/dance and she already attends karate.  I am also in the process of putting together a pre-school curriculum.  

Question 2: How does my work differ from those in my genre?
I think that most bloggers who blog about children's activities all have the same hope which is to share ideas with others who can in turn share them with their children.  The only difference may be in the approach taken to get the idea across.  I try to share activities that most others can pull off with as little setup/preparation as possible.  

Question 3: Why do I write/create what I do?
To share ideas with others who can in turn share with their children.

Question 4: How does my writing creative process work?
It's not the same every time.  Sometimes, I will be throwing something away and I will think how can I re-use this for a craft or activity?  From their the wheels start turning, what is my daughter interested in right now, what does she need to work on and ideas start to come to mind.  Other times it's simply about what stage my daughter is at and what she should be learning to do.  I think that through and come up with ideas on how to teach her in a fun way because learning should be fun!!

And now on to our next tour...........

It is with much pleasure to introduce you to Angel Casale who blogs over at The Loving House of Mama Casale.  She blogs about her 3 boys and shares so many fun kids activities.  I met Angel through blogging and so glad I did.  One of the best reasons to blog is meeting wonderful people like her!  For more about Angel, read on!!

The one thing I enjoy most is spending time with my family.  Not only with my Husband and kids but with my Mother and siblings.  We are a very close family and I don't know what life would be like without them.

I really enjoy watching Netflix when I have the time, which is rare but I do enjoy it when I can.

Of course, my newest enjoyment has been blogging.  I love creating, sharing post and meeting fellow bloggers.  It is a pleasure and I really look forward to it.        

Here are Angel's social media links so that you can connect with her: