Monday, July 25, 2011

It's the Dog Days of Summer

I just couldn't resist using "the dog days of summer" in a post.  Here's a simple and fun play date I set up for my boys this summer.

You know we can't start off anything big without a book, or several books!

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
Poor George can't bark and his mother is worried.  All that comes out is sounds from other animals.  A trip to the vet should sort this mess out.  Simple and funny with a great little twist at the end.  This book is my favorite dog book so far.

Move Over, Rover! by Karen Beaumont
Rover's in the doghouse, and some unwelcome visitors decide to join him during the storm.  See what drives them all quickly outside, rain or no rain!  Repetitive and rhyming, this is a good one for the preschool set.

The Stray Dog by Marc Simont
This lovable stray dog may have just found the perfect family in this simple story with a sweet ending.

Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
Confession time:  I think Clifford is quite silly and not the best literature.  In a world of amazing children's books, I didn't really think they were worth my consideration.  However, my boys find him totally endearing and so we read Clifford books.  Lots of them.  I admit, they have grown on me and I do like that the simple text makes good reading material for Mr. One.  You also have to appreciate the simple story lines and emphasis on being kind and a loving central family.

Hondo and Fabian by Peter McCarty
If not for the story, this book is worth a read to gaze at the soft, warm illustrations.  This book takes us along on a day with Hondo (the dog) and Fabian (the cat).  While it seems that their individual activities should be quite different from each other, they, in fact, share many similarities. 

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Harry goes on an adventure and gets very dirty.  So dirty, that his family doesn't even recognize him!  Poor Harry.  Luckily a good scrub in the tub will reveal his true spots.  (It would be fun to get a few plastic dogs or washable stuffed ones, let them roll in the mud, and give them a good scrub after reading this story.)

There is a great collection of printables and activities that go with Bark, George on Making Learning Fun.  Mr. Two loved the shadow matching game, and Mr. One and Mr. Two liked the George Barks emergent reader.  I tried to convince Mr. One to use the Bark George outline and create his own animals to put in his belly and write their sounds on a speech bubble, but he wanted to play with his legos at that point.  (Just keeping it real, folks!)

We made our own doggie bones using this breadstick recipe, and knotting the ends instead of twisting the whole dough strip.  (So yummy with fettucini alfredo.)

We made doggie ears from some white construction paper and stamped circles of paper with my boys' doggie names for their collars.  Super simple.  Here are "George" and "Benji" (yes, they chose their own dog names).

Then, I tested my doggies on their keen digging and retrieving skills.  They dug through our foam bath letters and numbers for the item I requested, then dropped it into their doggie dish and barked the name of the letter or number.

Obviously, I need to help Mr. Two with the whole number/letter concept.

Don't worry, all that hard work was not left unrewarded.  Each obedient doggie was given a doggie biscuit (graham cracker shapes).

I also thought of playing doggie doggie where's your bone? but let's face it, it's not that challenging to figure out who's hiding the bone when there are only three of us...

A few other places to find some fun doggie ideas.

Oopsey Daisy has a dog themed mommy school post.
Making Learning Fun has a whole section on a pet theme.

Enjoy these last few dog days of summer!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Note to Self: Yogurt and Babies

Note to Self:

No matter how adorable your one year old is, no matter how he bats his eyes and babbles to you, do not give in and let him feed himself a tube of yogurt.  In case you need visual motivation, see here.

Bad idea.  Yogurt in the baby: 5%.  Yogurt on the baby: 95%.

On the other hand, just to remind yourself how sweet above-mentioned baby can be without his own tube of yogurt, see here.

He already loves the scriptures.  You have to be happy about that!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Me and My Sweet Tooth...

Two clues as to why I can't seem to lose these last... several... pounds of "baby weight".  These are both amazing, but loaded with butter and sugar.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Creme Brulee French Toast.  Need I say more?!  Find the recipe here.

Homemade Twix bars.  May be even better than the real thing...  recipe here.

I need to work on finding and trying out some more waistline-friendly recipes. Help!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Things that Make Me Giggle

My sister in law Jenny tipped me off to this delightful board book.  Our local library summer reading program gives each child who completes it a free book.  They get to choose it online and then the book choice is shipped to your home.  There's little else more exciting than packages in the mail for little boys.  This book was on the list of board books for Mr. Three.  I happily snatched it up for him.  My boys laughed and laughed as we read this together.  Mike and I had a good chuckle reading it too.  Nothing like a naughty baby to bring giggles in our house.  Seriously, if you have a baby/toddler, you will want this book!

Mr. Two is our most creative dresser.  Here's his latest dress up costume.  I think he told me this was his "caveman outfit."  (Who knew caveman wore scrub pants, firefighter helmets, eye patches on their mouths and super hero capes, and carried a sword and shield?)   How could you not smile at that?!

We are reading our second Beverly Cleary book this summer.  We finished The Mouse and the Motorcycle and are now reading Ribsy.  We all giggled when poor Ribsy had to endure a gigantic violet scented bubble bath. I loved the Ramona books as a young girl and am loving the more "boy-centered" stories now with my children.  Have you seen the movie "Ramona and Beezus"?  It is so adorable!  My whole family enjoyed it.

What's making you giggle this summer?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Little Scientists

Have you been to Frugal Family Fun Blog? Love it. Need to add it to my sidebar, along with lots of other updates on my site...

I saw this post and knew my boys would love it. And love it they did!  Who knew a bunch of colored water and stuff around the house could provide such a wonderful dramatic play environment?

Mixing colors.

Using funnels.

Sucking up water with medicine droppers.

Spilling and splashing.

Playing with color on cotton balls.

Studying the color combinations.

In the end, they finished with a big brown-hued bottle of water, which they tried to get each other to drink. Gross.

This kept them happy for over an hour. I would have let them stay out longer, but it's just too hot here (even in the morning). This is one activity I'm sure will get lots of repeat requests.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Slip and Slide

We had lots of fun playing on the slip and slide at my parents' house a few weekends ago.

Here's some pics from our fun day.

Mr. One really got into the sliding, surfer style on his shins.  He actually slid on the slip and slide.  The younger set had a harder time figuring this out.

Mr. Two in for a splash down.  You really have to see him in action to get the full effect, but he would run full speed to the slip and slide, jump onto it, stop, and then army crawl his way to the splash pool at the end.  Hilarious!

Mr. Three loved splashing in the water, but didn't really want to slide.  He did enthusiastically shout, "Go! Go!," while the other boys were running and sliding. 

The boys had so much fun playing outside and getting wet with their cousins.  Thanks to Aunt Eva for bringing the slip and slide and setting it up.  It was the perfect hot weather activity!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mini Monster Play Date

This weekend, we had a little play date with our cousins (actually this whole month could be considered an extended play date, as we have had the kids together most days).

I found these great posts about monster play dates and decided to use them as a springboard.  First is this monster play date from Oopsey Daisy.  Second, is this monster lesson plan from Mrs. Home Economist.  There is some seriously good stuff there!

To start any good activity, you know I need some books.  Here are my monster book picks:

My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck

Sweet rhyming story about why a monster mama loves her child.  Be sure to look for the hidden items in each picture.

Monster Math by Anne Miranda

One little monster is having a birthday party.  Watch as the party grows, by ones, then by tens as more monsters join in on the fun.

Jeepers Creepers A Monstrous ABC by Laura Leuck
A silly alphabet adventure with 26 colorful monsters.  A fun little twist at the end of the story awaits.

Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly
A great simple book to reassure little ones as they build a monster page by page, then watch the scary monster disappear one piece at a time.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Classic story about a little boy Max, who is banished to his room for being too wild and his colorful imaginary (or was it real...) journey to the land of the wild things.

There was an Old Monster by Rebecca Emberly

A fun twist on the I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly story, only this time with a crazy critter eating monster.

Here are the activities that we did after our stories.

Monster eye sorting

I found the sorting cards here.  The kids had fun sorting the colored eyes onto the monsters.  I will mix the eyes into a big ball of playdough like Alison did next time.   I think my boys would have fun playing with the playdough and creating crazy monsters with it.

Monster candy bracelets

I found this candy jewelry kit on clearance after Halloween.  The boys had fun stringing on the candy beads and eating their monstrous creations afterwards.

Additional Ideas

I also found this monster coloring page from Ed Emberly's website that would be fun to color.  

There is also a flannel board pattern to recreate the big green monster on Making Learning Fun.
Making Learning Fun has a bunch of literature based monster activities as well.

1+1+1=1 has a Monster tot book printable.

File Folder Fun has a great Monster Manners game.  

linking here

abc button

and here

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pizza Post

At storytime this week with Andrew's previous preschool teacher, we had a pizza day.  Here are two of the fun activities we did there.  If you wanted to do these at home, why not add making your own pizza(s) for lunch or dinner afterward?

Pete's a Pizza by William Steig

My kids loved this book and activity.  As the teacher read the book, which is about a grumpy boy whose father decides to cheer him up by making HIM a pizza (rolling him out, sprinkling him with cheese...), we acted out the story with the kids.  There were so many giggles and squeals of delight!  You could not finish making your kids into a pizza without smiles on faces all around.  So clever, and the author was 90 years old when he wrote it!

This is an adaptation to the "Five Brown Buns" chant, but changed to "Five Slices of Pizza"

Draw five pizza slices on a white board and add your own interesting toppings (shapes, letters, sight words, numbers, etc.).  As you repeat the chant, have your child erase the corresponding pizza slice.

Down around the corner at the pizza shop
Were slices of pizza with interesting things on top
Along came (insert child's name) with some money to pay
and saw the one with (insert chosen topping) on it and took it away.

This story time made me hungry!