Saturday, July 31, 2010

Locked In... or is it Out?

Yesterday, we had a little adventure at Grammy's House.  After Grammy left to a hair appointment, the boys and I were in the house alone.  Mr. Three and I were in the game room.  Mr. Two and Mr. One were in the family room.  Separating these two rooms is a large set of french doors.  Because the game room was an addition to the original home, the french doors are the old outside doors and still lock.  Mr. One and Mr. Two were running between the two rooms while I was sitting at the computer feeding Mr. Three.  Mr. One ran into the game room and teased Mr. Two through the glass door.

Then I heard the door slam and a click.  

Oh no!  Mr. Two locked the door.  Now this wouldn't be such a big deal if he actually knew how to unlock doors.  Or if there was anyone else in the house to unlock it for him.  Basically, we were locked out.  Or in.  Or is it out?

This played out a bit like a scene from Home Alone.  First Mr. Two, after realizing what he did, went straight to the snack area at the kitchen counter and gleefully helped himself to a few snacks.  Then he wandered around, getting out toys and such and enjoying his newfound freedom.  "I made my family disappear...I made my family DISAPPEAR!"

Then, it sunk in that he really was alone (mind you, I could still see him through the glass and knew he was fine).  I figured someone would be home soon, so all was alright.  Well, as the minutes passed, Mr. Two started to panic.  I reassured him we were ok, but then he started crying.   What's a mom to do?

Well, play superhero of course.  Luckily, there is also a large window in the kitchen that opens to the game room, and fortunately it was open.  I shoved aside a few knick knacks and climbed through the window, hopping off of the kitchen counter to open the door and hug tearful Mr. Two.  Apparently, Mr. One was quite impressed.  He exclaimed, "Wow Mom, that was COOL!"  

If I knew that's all it took to get a little admiration, I would have jumped through a window years ago.

Maybe not.

Lesson learned:  First, do not let a two year old lock you in (or is it out?) of a room.  Second, teach said two year old how to unlock doors.  Third, sometimes you just have to think like a superhero to save the day.

Monday, July 26, 2010

On Trying New Foods

Growing up, I earned the reputation as the "world's pickiest eater."  I practically lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, french fries and cold cereal.  Even though I have gotten better at trying new things, it doesn't surprise me that I have a few picky eaters in my home as well.  Mr. One is an especially picky eater.  No soup, very few veggies, and don't even try to get him to eat potatoes...

So, when I found some golden raspberries at the grocery store and decided to give them a try I didn't hold my breath that Mr. One would try them.  We tried organic yellow carrots, and he just turned his nose up and refused to even look at them, let alone taste them! 

Imagine my shock when he eagerly asked to try a golden berry as I washed them up for dinner.  He popped one in his mouth, then excitedly exclaimed, "These taste just like the red ones!  Yum!"  Then he paused, and thoughtfully said, "You know, maybe I should have tried those yellow carrots. I bet they tasted good like the orange ones, too."

Here's to trying new things, and to the possibility that One might actually like something new!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Calendar Puzzles

We pulled out our homemade puzzles this week, and my boys are getting more interested in them now, especially my five year old.  I know this may not be a new idea for some, but it was such a clever and budget-friendly activity that I learned about when I started teaching, that I had to share it.  The dollar stores always have calendars around the holidays, and you can get nicer ones after January at regular department stores as well.

You will need:

2 identical calendars
glue (rubber cement works best, but you can use a glue stick as well)
cardstock or construction paper to back your puzzles
manilla envelopes
laminator (optional, but this will really make your puzzles last)
dark permanent marker
paper cutter or ruler and scissors

To make,

You may need to cut down your calendar pictures to fit them on your backing paper.  Make sure if you do this, that you cut both pictures the same.  Glue one of the two identical pictures to the front of a large manilla envelope.  Back the other calendar picture with your cardstock or construction paper.  IMPORTANT:  You need to really coat the back of your calendar with your adhesive, don't just glue down the edges.  If you don't get the whole surface glued, when you cut your puzzle, it will fall apart.

Next, you need to laminate your folder and your puzzle.  I prefer to laminate the whole puzzle before cutting the pieces so that you have a nice clean edge.  If you really want to seal the edges, cut the puzzle first and laminate the pieces, but it's not necessary.  My puzzles were used for several years and are still in good shape.

Next, measure your puzzle and cut into twelve equal sized squares.  (I found this to be the best number of pieces for younger children- preschool to first grade, but you could make more squares if you had older kids who need more of a challenge)  You may wonder why to cut identical squares, and not unique shapes.  I had a good educating mentor tell me that this forces children to pay attention to the picture and helps with visual-spatial learning.  They are forced to focus on the details of the picture and orient the squares in order to form the picture themselves.  This is more challenging than it seems.  Another bonus is that it is much easier to cut simple straight lines with a paper cutter than to form jigsaw pieces by hand...

If you are making multiple puzzles, label your envelope with a number or letter of the alphabet and label each piece with the same number or letter.  When I taught, I had 26 puzzles, one for each letter of the alphabet.  This made for easy clean up when they were in a center with multiple children.

Place your pieces into the corresponding envelope.  Now, for just a few dollars, you can have twelve new puzzles for your kiddos!

Puzzle away!

Linking to ABCs and 123s.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

The Bunny Book

I have a little obsession with quiet books.  I love looking at ideas around the web, and I love creating my own books.  When I taught, one of my favorite activities was making paper books with my kindergarteners.  We made several versions of positional word books for different seasons/holidays.  We had spider stickers to place on fall items, a pilgrim hunting for a turkey, etc.  They loved being able to manipulate a character through the book to practice positional concepts (above, below, on, right, left, etc.), and enjoyed reading the simple text on the pages.  I simply took this idea, and translated it into a more durable felt and fabric book.  As soon as I finished it, my boys eagerly took turns helping the bunny hop through the pages.   This was so fun and simple to put together, I may be working on some more in the near future.  So, here it is, "The Bunny Hops..."


So now I have a question for you, dear readers.  Is this something that you are interested in putting together yourself?  Would you like a tutorial?  I have been debating on whether to turn this little passion of mine into a small business.  Should I sell patterns, set up quiet book making classes (this one would only apply if you live close by...), sell the finished products?  I guess I'm not a big risk taker, so I'd like to get some advice before jumping into something like this.  Oh, and if you decide to make one, I'd love so see your results! Feel free to use my ideas, for personal use only.  Thanks!

Linking to:
Show and Tell Green

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pizza Nuggets

For those of you that know me from high school or college, you probably share a love for a little pizza place that sadly shut their doors several years ago.  Marchelloni's was a favorite haunt.  On many a girls' night out, we would order some Marchelloni's Nuggets, bake a pan of brownies and pop in a good chick flick or two.  Good times.  My little sis recently met two previous workers/owners of said closed pizza shop and she mentioned our love of the pizza nuggets, and how much we miss them. They let he in on the secret to the recipe.  What luck!  Thank you Sarah.  Are you ready?

Marchelloni Nuggets

1 package of your favorite pizza dough (Fresh and Easy makes a great one if you don't want to make some from scratch)

Roll out your dough, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with the following spices:

Lawry's garlic salt (the secret ingredient)
Parmesan cheese

Top with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and bake according to your recipe/package instructions.

Slice diagonally to form small diamonds.

Dip in your favorite marinara sauce or Ranch dressing (or both :))

Ah, a little taste of the past.  Another bonus?  The recipe is simple and my children love to help me make them (and eat them).

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bear With Me...

I realize that it has been a while since I've posted.  Let's just say that in the past 12 days, we have trekked across three states, visited the beach, the desert, the mountains, and the Happiest Place on Earth.  We have survived several storms, and an earthquake.  We've driven on a primitive, rain-soaked bypass road (because the highway was washed out...).  We've laughed, we've visited, we've explored, we've prayed, we've cried.  We're happy to be home.

Give me a few days, as I find my through this (and this is just a fraction of it),

and this (thank you pressurized lotion squirted all over my travel bag),

and this (this is after the rain and you don't even want to see the inside...),

and this (at least I managed a quick run to the store for some milk, juice and bread between treks).

Don't fret, there will be some great tales to tell.  But for now, all I'm thinking about is spending some quality time resting here.
Until then...