Friday, March 26, 2010

Tot School Weeks of 3/14 and 3/21

                        TotSchool2
I am just going to go ahead and group these two weeks together.  Then it at least looks like I am not too far behind! 
Last week we had some beautiful weather, and it carried us into the beginning of this week.  This means that E and I have spent a lot of time outside.  I’ve been a little absent minded about taking the camera with me on our numerous outings, so pics are in short supply this week.  One of the activities E really enjoyed outside was a game we played with sidewalk chalk and the alphabet that I heard about from a friend.  You can find some more sidewalk games here. E likes games where you race the clock, so this was a good fit.  We wrote some letters of the alphabet on the ground and then we played a “find the letter” game with the egg timer.  I would yell out “Find A” and then she had to run and stand on the letter A.  You get the drift.  This actually entertained her longer than bubbles, so I consider it a success.  :)
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We played a match game this week too.  I took some Easter themed erasers and put them in plastic Easter Eggs.  E worked on opening and closing the Easter eggs and removing the erasers.  We then matched the erasers in pairs.  She was keen on the matching part the first time, but after that she just wanted to open and close the eggs.  Oh well, it was helping those little motor skills, huh?
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Next week we’ll be visiting the grandparents, so I won’t do a Tot School Update from the road…I don’t think anyway.  Be sure to check out what others are doing at 1+1+1=1.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tot School Week of 3/7

                        TotSchool2
                                           E is 25 Months Old

This week in Tot School we actually did some things! It was a much needed return to normalcy for our household.  We read several different books this week and did some activities that worked with them.  We read Are You My Mother? and played the “Where is my mommy?” game with some of her stuffed animals.  We put some of her toys on one side of the yard and smaller matches on the other side (like big teddy bear on one end, little bear on the other).  I let her run back and forth matching the “mommies” to the “babies” and timed her.  She loved beating the timer bell.  IT WAS REALLY FUN!   Sadly, my camera is stupid and the pics are mysteriously GONE.  I have the other pics from the week, but the mommy game is no where to be found.  OH WELL.
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We also read Green Eggs and Ham and made, what else, green eggs.  We talked about how the eggs were yellow, and then we added blue food coloring.  E was amazed that the eggs turned green, and we talked about how blue and yellow make green.  She ate the eggs too, which I must confess, surprised me a little. :)                                                 126_0308 126_0309
We also made the “L for Leprechaun”  in preparation for St. Patrick’s day.  She loved making the “man” as she called it. 
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Lastly, I found this cute counting book on Totally Tots.  We made one using butterfly stickers and fingerprints.  E got to stick the stickers on, and we counted.  Then we got to count again when she added her prints.  I loved how this came out, and when we look at it  now she is sure to point out her fingerprints.126_0319126_0318
To see what others did this week hop on over to 1+1+1=1 and check out Tot School. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Time to Die

Elisabeth Elliot, a missionary and author, once made a profound statement on the role of death in living.  Gracefully she explained to an interviewer that death is a natural part of God’s plan, and that it is most clearly seen in nature.  She said, “When the leaves fall off there's death, then in the spring there's life. But those beautiful blossoms have to fall to the ground—to die—or no fruit will be produced.” 

That statement carries in itself a strange and beautiful truth.  For there to be life, life made new, there must first be death.  Death is so often seen in our world as an ending, but in truth death is the first step in living.  Not solely physical death, but sometimes the death of hopes, dreams, desires of our heart.  At times we get so caught up on the deaths that we must die that we lose sight of the reason we are dying them.  How often are our lives like the blossoms on a tree?  Christ tells us that His followers bear fruit, but the painful truth is that for that fruit to be borne in us, something has to die.  What has to die is our sin, and that my friends is a painful and difficult death.

It is so fitting that we, as Christians, can find in the example of Jesus Christ not only the perfect example of how to live , but also the perfect example of how to die.  I think about that night Jesus spent alone in the garden of Gethsemane.  It springs to mind most often when I am faced with a little death that I must die, when there is some “cup” I wish would pass from me.  I look to Jesus, as He prayed in that garden alone, and seek comfort in the knowledge that even He, when knowing the time He was sent for was at hand, was fighting against anxiety and fear.  It is ok for us, when faced with a circumstance, or even the death of our physical bodies, to be afraid.  Christ knew we would be, but He provided for us the perfect prayer to see us through our deaths to the life on the other side.  He told His Father, “Not mine, but thy will be done.”  That should be our prayer when its time for us to die.  We take up our cross daily, knowing that only through death will we find life.  We know that we die, only that we might live. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Time to Be Born

When I was a little girl I really wanted a Samantha doll.  Samantha was an American Girl Doll, and she was perpetually suspended in the early 1900’s.  I fell in love with her Victorian Wardrobe and the stories about where she went to school and what she did at home.  It was fascinating.  I often found myself wishing I too was living in the Victorian Era, with their soft lit mansions and high necked dressing gowns.  The books made it all look so enchanting, as books often do. 

As I got older TV took over where my imagination left off, and it caused a new set of desires to rise up in me.  I found myself wanting to conquer the prairie with Laura Ingalls, or tackle the Great Depression with Mary Ellen Walton.  Things looked simpler, and once again, it all looked so enchanting. 

As an adult it shouldn’t surprise me that I often feel like I am living in a time in which I don’t quite fit in.  It seems like the values I hold dear and the people I want to emulate are not highly regarded among my generation.  I want to be a stay at home mom.  I would like to sew.  I enjoy cleaning the house, cooking supper for my family, and baking.  I mean, slap some pearls on me and call me June Cleaver.  Its hard sometimes to live in a world where you really feel like you might be the product of a bygone era, and you haven’t even reached 30.

If you’ve ever been referred to as an “old soul” you probably know where I’m coming from on this one.  You just feel kind of out of place, like you’d be happier out in that little house on the prairie.  The thing is though God knew right where He wanted you.  He could have put you up in that Victorian mansion, or in that Virginia farmhouse, but there is a reason He didn’t.  There is a time to be born, and its not just a day of the year.  Whether you are 50 or 17, you were born right when and where you were supposed to be.  It wasn’t an accident.  There is comfort in that, at least for me.  You and I were equipped and built for times such as these, and before you were even formed in your mother’s womb, HE knew the plans HE had for you.  If you’re feeling like you don’t belong, if your questioning His timing, if you are looking around the world and saying “I don’t think I can take this”, take heart.  He knew what would happen in the world around you, and He knew you would handle it all just swimmingly.   

Tot School Week of 2/28

This past week, as I have previously stated, has been a really crazy week for us.  I organize my week from Tuesday to Tuesday (its what works for us) and that salvaged Tot School. I don’t have a lot to report because last week we tried ONE activity and after two tantrums, that went out the window.  We will try the butterfly patterns some other time in the future.  E really liked using the water bottle and the markers on this, but she wasn’t feeling the actual butterfly part of it!  
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We read a lot of Dr. Seuss this week too.  Like most of you tot school moms we were celebrating Read Across America week.  Its not limited to one week though, so we will probably have some Seussian inspired creations this week, like this Cat In The Hat craft over at A Mommy Talks.  All we did this week was read “One Fish, Two Fish” a LOT, when time allowed. :)

The one thing we did do this week was Zoo Bingo.  It was finally warm this week, so we took our first trip to the zoo with our friends K and Sarah.  I printed out the bingo cards and we looked for the animals.  Instead of using a dabber or a marker to keep track of our progress I used stickers.  E however was in a tantrum throwing mood.  Here is what she did because I refused to let her pet the Puma.                                                     
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Bingo was A LOT to keep up with in the zoo, so we actually tabled the activity until later this evening after E had a nice LOOOONG nap.  I took out our mostly empty zoo bingo card and we recalled the information about our trip.   As we talked about our day and the animals we saw we put a sticker on.  I liked the way this worked out.  It helped E recall what we did, put it in order, and name the animals.  If you have little ones that can’t keep up with the bingo cards, I recommend giving this a try.  E loved telling me the story of our day and using the bingo card as a guide. 
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To see some actual Tot School lessons this week, skip on over to 1+1+1=1 and see what other did.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Crazy Busy

It has been such a busy week in our house this week.  Actually, its been TWO busy weeks in a row.  There has not been a single day in the past two weeks where we have not had some commitment outside of the house.  I have to apologize to you, my readers.  This blog means a lot to me, and I am trying to make writing for it a regular thing.   My goal is three devotionals a week and a tot school update.  Hopefully all of these things will be encouraging and thought provoking. 

Next week things should return to normal, meaning that I will have time to sit down, think, and write.  Please continue reading if it encourages you.  Also, if you like my posts, tell your friends and invite them to be fans on facebook or followers of the blog.  Its really inspiring to see you all reading, thinking, and commenting.  It means more to me than you know! 

Until Monday faithful readers!

~Amber

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tot School Week of 2/21

                       TotSchool2
So this past week has been a crazy one in our house.  We’ve been running around a lot, and I really can’t give you a good reason as to why.  Maybe its because this is the first week in a LOOOOONG time that we didn’t have any much snow on the ground.  :)  Any way, we took a couple of field trips last week, and while I don’t have any pictures I will give a shout out to The Kentucky Gymnastics Academy.  They have open floor on Tuesdays at 10 and E loves it.  I definitely recommend that you check it out too. 

In our actual school time this week we continued our focus on the alphabet and colors.  We used a cookie sheet and her alphabet letters to do some sequencing that I think I found here.  I left some spots open and she filled in the missing letter. 
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I CANNOT tell you the pride I felt when she did it!  She is getting this letter stuff down.  I give all the credit to Letter Factory by Leap Frog.  She loves the DVD and it seems to be supporting our lessons.
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E loved the tongs last week so much that I decided I would let her try her hand at tweezers.  I saw this on A Mommy Talks, so one day this week I let her sort the pom- poms  into a paint tray. 
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She wanted more cotton balls this week too, so we used the good ole’ muffin pan and spoon activity one day.  I stole this one from AMT too.  :)
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We also sorted pom poms by color, but I didn’t snap any pics because I was trying to keep pom poms on the table and off the floor.  Last but not least we also read on a daily basis.  We were very blessed to be able to get E a Tag Jr. reading system with Christmas money.  SHE LOVES IT.  E’s favorite book we read together though was “Mama’s Little Duckling”.  We “Quacked” with it, and E loved pointing out the Q’s to me on every page.  It was sweet. 
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If you would like to see what others did this week you can check out 1+1+1=1.       
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Stay

I like to look over peoples fences.  I think I’ve made it my job to be God’s unofficial green grass inspector.  I like to walk around, peek over your fence and say “yup, your grass is definitely greener.”  Most times you won’t even have the pleasure of knowing I looked at the grass on your side of the fence,  I will just secretly resent you for it.  What’s worse is I will resent God for it.  If God loved me, surely he would just give me the green grass if I ask, right?  So I start asking.  With that God, the creator of the universe, is reduced to my personal genie. 

“Dear God,” I’ll pray, “please, please give me the green grass I am wanting.  I will use it well.  I will let people come over and look at it.  I will bless others with my blessing.  Please Lord, give it to me.  Its what I want.  Don’t you want me to be happy?”

At this point Envy isn’t the only sin that has crept into my heart.   Now, in my Pride I will refuse to wait on the Lord’s timing.  I start  looking for green grass out there to claim.  I skip from lawn to lawn trying to figure out your secret for lawn care.  I rack my sinful little brain.  How do you do it?  You grass is so green!!!  I swear every time I look over your fence its getting greener!!!  HOW DO YOU DO THAT!?!?!  I probably don’t want to hear the answer though.  Your secret is probably Hard Work. Sacrifice.  Devotion.  Loyalty.  Faith. Ick…who wants all that responsibility?

Since there aren’t any green fields out there to claim, I turn yet again to God.  I am little bit wiser this time.  I know that green grass takes work.  I’ve learned that much.  I tell God, “I know I’ll have to work for it.  I get that, but please God, could you tell me what to do?”
That’s when I get a reply. He tells me to trust in Him, that all things HE does are working for my good.  He tells me to be willing to lay down the desires of my heart in Sacrifice to Him.  To know that I didn’t sign on for the easy way of things so I must possess Loyalty to the cause I am undertaking, and that I will have to labor and put in some Hard Work.  He tells me that others will mock me for my Devotion to such a dead patch of brown grass, but that He knows what He’s doing, so I have to have Faith in what I can’t see.  Then finally He tells me the real secret, the one I’ve been missing. 

He tells me to STAY on my grass.  Stay.  That’s the secret I’ve been missing. 
“You see,” He tells me, “I have given you this patch of grass  because you are the only one here who can make it green.  Stay where you are.  There are blessings right here that you are missing because you won’t stay put, so just stay.  I AM right here with you.”      

So that is what I do. 
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