Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mr. One turns Seven!

What?!  Mr. One is now seven.  Where is the time going?  I am really loving being a "grader" parent.  (Mr. One used to call the older kids at the elementary school "graders" when he started in kindergarten.  Love it.)  He is such a deep thinker and so very imaginative.  I love hearing things he thinks up.  He still loves anything Lego.  Cars are beginning to take a distant second to building and creating with Lego bricks.  Another sign of my boy growing up I guess.  Well, that is until he gets into the teen years when I have a feeling that cars will start taking up a bigger interest for him.  Of course then it will be real cars and not just Hot Wheels that are so very enticing.  Thank goodness I have several years to prep for that...

He woke up to birthday signs on the bedroom door (a family tradition) and several "Happy birthdays" from his family.  Then it was off to school with cupcakes to share with his classmates.  My little gift before school?  No chores that day!  His birthday fell on a half day for school, so Mike and I took him and Mr. Three (Mr. Two was at preschool still) to Sonic for lunch.  He was happy to get a kid's meal and a slushie.  I was happy to get a cherry limeade (why are those things so addictive?).  After getting Mr. Two from preschool, we played on the Wii together until the party at my parents' house.

Mr. One asked for a ninja party this year, so I started searching and pinning ideas I found all over the web for his festivities.  Then, he informed me that he just wanted to have a family party instead of a friend party.  Well, that was a relief!  I'm still glad to have cataloged ideas, as I can see that they may come in handy for future birthdays.

Here are his requests for his birthday.  He wanted fish for dinner, a Funfetti cake with chocolate frosting and ninjas on top, and to play with his cousins.  Easy enough. 

We had fish and tater tots with lots of Pete's Fish and Chips sauce, sushi for the adults, veggies and strawberries.  I found some little plastic ninjas at a nearby party store to top the cake.  Mike and I tried to create a yin-yang on top of the cake with sprinkles.  It was subtle, but turned out pretty well. 

After dinner, we opened presents (lots of Legos). 

It was also close to his younger cousin's birthday, so we had a train pinata for him, filled with Tootsie Roll candies.  The boys loved that!

Last, we donned some ninja headbands (strips of leftover solid colored material) and played sword games on the Nintendo Wii Sports Resort game with the whole family.  Simple and fun for all.

Every present he opened was followed by an exclamation of how it was just what he wanted.  He was genuinely thrilled with each gift, whether a t-shirt or a Ninjago Lego set.  He had such a great time, and I adore how happy he was just to spend his special day with his family.  How I love this sweet, ninja-loving, enthusiastic boy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

More St. Patty's Day Game Ideas

St. Patrick's Day has come and gone, but I thought I'd post a few more activities my boys enjoyed.  Better late than never, right?

I added some plastic shamrocks and green gems to our dried peas and gold/green coins in our sensory tub.  The boys especially liked using the little rake and scoops to uncover the treasures in the box.

I found this fun place value game to use with Mr. One.  You pick a coin and have to place it on the mat to make a 4 digit number.  Once you place your number, you cannot move it.  Whoever has the biggest number wins.  Confession time:  We haven't played this one yet, but I think my first grader will like it.  We'll have to try it out sometime this week before I put it away for next year.

We played roll a rainbow again.  Anything that involves candy is pretty much a sure-fire hit at our house.

Mr. Three loved throwing our split pea shamrocks into a pot (or just at his brothers...).

Looking for more St. Patty's day fun?  Check out my pinboard here, or my side label for St. Patrick's Day.

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patty's Day 2012

That mischievous leprechaun struck our home again.  He almost didn't make it, thinking to just call it quits for the day and go to bed.  However, when he heard Mr. One saying he didn't think leprechauns were real, he knew he had to prove him wrong.

What did he do this time? 

He managed to sneak almost all of the green toys out of the boys' buckets and made a trail to the front room, where it appears he stayed a while and played. 

Then, I guess he must have felt a little guilty about the mess, so he left a little peace offering gift:  a bag of gold and green candy.

Mr. One was so excited about the evidence of our leprechaun's visit.  Maybe he's a believer again.  The second thing he did (after spying the mess and waking his parents up way too early) was to run and open the fridge.  I was so confused by this until he said, "Well, I guess that leprechaun forgot to turn our milk green this time!"  (The things kids remember!)

After everyone was up for the day, the boys were pretty cooperative and cleaned up the giant mess without too much complaining while I made green pancakes.  We made Dad's famous Cody pancakes, of course.  I also put out various toppings for our breakfast:  lemon curd, strawberries, peppermint whipped cream (plain may have been better, but I had this in the fridge already), butter, maple syrup and peanut butter.  The boys loved topping their pancakes with different combinations of toppings (some better than others...).  Yum!

We spent the rest of the day listening to U2, running errands, building with Legos, cooking, cleaning, playing on the Wii, playing with some of the St. Patrick's Day games I have made (more on that later) and had a great Irish dinner with extended family that night.  I'm not a fan of the corned beef and cabbage, but the red potatoes, Red Lobster biscuits and pistachio pudding salad (you know the one with cool whip, pineapple, mini marshmallows and dry pistachio pudding mix) were fantastic.  I could have eaten all the pistachio pudding stuff myself...  Then we had angel food cake with lemon curd, strawberries, chocolate sauce and whipped cream for dessert, with a little green cinnamon crumb cake on the side.

At the end of the evening, my family surprised me with a little informal baby shower, with gifts for soon-to-be Mr. Four, me, Mike and the boys.  It's nice to have some new things for this little guy (after three boys, much of my baby stuff was pretty worn out).  It was so very sweet of them to do, and we really appreciated it.  I can't wait to see this new little guy and kiss his tiny face!

I'm more than lucky to have such a wonderful family (both close by and far away), I'm blessed.

It was fun to spend time together and pretend to be Irish for a day.  I can only imagine what that leprechaun will think of next year...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pom Pom Size Sort

Here's a simple and inexpensive little toddler activity that I made for my Mr. Three (who is almost two years old).

Pom Pom Size Sort

I recovered an empty frosting container with scrapbook paper then clear contact paper for my label and cut two holes in the frosting lid, one large and the other small.  I then gave Mr. Three two sizes of pom poms to poke through the holes.  (The holes will be smaller than the actual pom poms, but the smaller hole will only fit the smaller pom poms.)

He loves playing with this, and can open and close the can and sort independently.  (Obviously, you need to closely observe any toddler when using small objects, like pom poms.)  It is especially nice for my church bag, since it's a quiet activity.  Even better?  I made this all with items already on hand, so it was a free toy.  Hooray for free!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Frog Books

In case you want some good literature to go with your frog activities, here are some of my favorites (Mr. One, Two and Three approved, too :)). 

Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel

These are classic stories that Mike and I both loved as children, easy to read, with good messages about friendship and problem solving.

Froggy books by Jonathan London
We love Froggy at our house.  He's silly, plus the sound effects and repetitve nature of the stories make them great read alouds. 

The Big Wide-Mouthed Frog by Ana Martin Larranga

The big wide-mouthed frog goes along, finding other animals, loudly asking them "Who are you and what do you eat?" until he comes across a less than friendly animal who just happens to eat wide-mouthed frogs...  This is a fun read aloud and always makes my kids giggle, especially when read with a big wide mouth.

Two non-fiction frog books we like:  National Geographic Readers: Frogs! and Frogs by Nic Bishop

 Both books have great photographs of frogs, showing their diversity, habitats, life cycles and more.  Great detail and interesting facts to read more about frogs.

Icky Sticky Frog by Dawn Bentley

This frog lies quietly waiting for a meal to crawl by, then "thwoop!" out comes his tongue to gobble him up.  My kids love the sticky tongue on the cover and the great sound effects as the icky sticky frog eats his meal.  A surprise awaits this hungry fellow...

A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson

This story is a variation of the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.  Find out what this greedy frog is eating (one tick, two fleas, three...) as his belly grows and grows.  What will happen to all of the little creatures he's eaten?  Fun rhyming story with imaginative illustrations.

"Hoppy" reading!

Monday, March 5, 2012

My Little Mr.'s Favorite Things

Mr. One's current favorite thing is reading, especially Lego magazines, Sunday comics and chapter books.

Mr. Two's current favorite thing is drawing and decorating his artwork with stickers.  He really likes drawing our family and writing his name.

Mr. Three's current favorite things are climbing furniture and playing in water (especially the sink with the hand soap).  He is particularly fond of climbing onto the back of the couch to play in the sink through the overpass window.  Needless to say, he also gets to stay in time out because of this, which is not a favorite thing.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Jumping Frogs

I found a set of 24 plastic jumping frogs at The Dollar Tree last week, and couldn't resist.  We had lots of fun just making them hop around the house.  Mr. Three giggles whenever we get them to jump very far.  Here's a little activity we did with our frogs.

I marked each section of a plastic tray with a number, ones on the outside sections, and two on the middle section.  Each person chose a frog color, then we took turns making them hop.  Then we counted out our points, zero for any frogs that hopped outside of the tray, one point for each frog in the outer sections and double points for any that landed in the center.  Simple and fun. 

If making the frogs hop is too difficult for your little one, try standing up and dropping them into the tray placed on the floor, then adding up the points.


Try and jump the frogs onto the blue felt "pond" for a simpler variation as well.

These little hoppers are great for sorting (try using tongs or a spoon to transfer them) and patterning as well.

Or just have fun playing with them any way you wish!