Monday, May 24, 2010

My Favorite

E’s new favorite book is, and I am NOT trying to brag, the Bible.  I think it has less to do with the fact that its the Bible and more to do with the fact that its pink, has a sheep on the front, and has got a pretty ribbon marker.  I too am a sucker for a book with a ribbon marker.  She has been taking her Bible everywhere with her.  She is a PK, so its kind of cute at church, but we’re getting stared at in Kroger.  I know someone thinks I am MAKING her carry this Bible around, but I’m not. image
The inevitable happened the other night.  It was bedtime and E got to pick a story.  Since her current favorite was close at hand she toddled over, grabbed her Bible and said “Read dis, Mommy.”  I tried explaining that this wasn’t a bedtime story, but she was having none of it.  We got to “on the sixth day” and she was done.  “More tomorrow, by myself” she informed me.  I smiled, turned her light out and left her in bed.  To be honest, I thought it was sweet, but I didn’t really think anything of it, until tomorrow. 

E got up and about halfway through Super Why she got up, went upstairs, and came back down with Bible.  She sat down in her Elmo chair, opened to the middle of the book and started saying “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” and flipping pages as though she were reading.  I confess, I choked up a little at that one. 

I thought about E and how she, at the age of 2, kind of gets the Bible in a way some adults don’t.  She knows its Jesus’ book.  He is all throughout the pages, and from Genesis to Revelation, it all points to Him.  Sometimes adults can get mired down in semantics, when really, scripture all comes down to one gloriously simple truth.  Jesus.   

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tot School Week of May 17th

E is 28 Months old
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Here was our week…
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We visited with some good friends of ours and went on a play-date to the bookstore followed by lunch at P.F Chang’s.  E and K had a great time playing peek-a-boo and picking up things with their chop sticks.  They continued to act goofy when we visited Toys R Us, and Snoopy was kind enough to keep them company.  I am pretty sure we broke about 30 child protection laws by letting them ride this thing, this way.  OH WELL! 
Day two of  Tot School actually had some stuff to do.  We are winding down some of our “lessons” for the summer.  E will officially begin homeschooling this fall, so we aren’t pressing too many new skills.  We really are in review mode!  I found this idea for putting tempra paint in a gallon baggie and making a paint doodler on Confessions of a Homeschooler.  E practiced writing letters on them with her finger.  Well that was the intent anyway, it ended up that I wrote the letter, she named it, and then she would scribble it out.  We had fun and the activity was a real time filler.  We spent about 40 minutes playing with a gallon baggie!!!  
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We counted buttons again!   This is seriously one of E’s favorite things to do…its weird, but she can count up to 20 buttons now!
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Finally we made this.  While it may look like an old Crystal Light container covered with stickers its really a COLOR SCOPE. :)  We took this grocery shopping and she looked for colors through the scope.  I took pictures but apparently its against store policy to take pics in store (oops!) so they asked that I delete them!    This activity really kept E busy through the grocery though.  :)
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Be sure to see what others did at 1+1+1=1

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Tot School Week of May 10th

E is 27 months
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Strep throat visited our house last week. :(  Because of this we didn’t have too many tot school lessons this week.  When I say too many, I really mean we only had one day of fun. :)  Here is what we did on that day!
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I found some AWESOME resources on-line at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  While we don’t yet have a colored printer (we’re working on it!)  so I didn’t print off many of her resources, but if you really would be doing yourself a favor by checking her out.  We used  some ideas for the letter B. 
100_0575 We colored a letter B…but it ended up like this.  E was really excited though, so it was all good.
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We sorted buttons (you know, because B is for Button) and E got into it. I got the idea from the butterfly sorting here.  We’ve never done this before, so I only used big and little and nixed “medium”.  She sorted them, and then dumped them out, and sorted them out again.  It was a hit, and next time, we’ll use medium. :) 
100_0580 100_0583 E liked the buttons…A LOT.  I cut a hole in the top of crystal light container and let her put them in like a piggy bank.  This activity really served no purpose educationally, she just like it.  Its a cheap form of entertainment for you fellow thrifty moms. :)
100_0585We also used the letters from our leap frog fridge phonics and matched up the letters in the names of colors.  I’ve seen cards like this you can print from 1+1+1=1, but I did this on the fly. I just wrote the colors down on paper, pulled the letters off the fridge and used a cookie sheet.  We matched the letters up to the names of the colors.  The only problem with this: fridge phonics letters are HUGE.  It didn’t work too well.  Small magnetic letters would’ve worked nice.
100_0589 Lastly we colored “B for Butterfly” which I printed off from Confessions of Homeschooler
100_0595 That was our week.  Be sure and check out what others did at 1+1+1=1!

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tot School Week of May 3rd

E is 27 months oldTotSchool2
We had a great week in Tot School!  We started the week with an art project for Mother’s Day.  We made the grandparents and great-grandparents some cards.  It involved glue and a stamp pad, so E was happy with it! 100_0538 100_0539
Last week, while surfing for Tot School ideas I saw on Our Little Monkeys a theme week implemented REALLY WELL.  It makes a lot of sense, but I will be honest, a lot of times Tot School at our house doesn’t quite make it to a theme.  This week though, E picked a theme and I went with it.  For Christmas the grandparents got E the Fisher Price Cool School Computer.  While some aspects are still a little over her head, the “Science” section talks about habitats, and E gravitated toward the rainforest. 
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The computer allows her  to click on the animals in the rainforest, and play a game putting the right thing in the right habitat.  She liked it, and it worked on motor skills because she had to use the pencil mouse thingy (which is my new technical term for the device.)
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Building on the rainforest theme we made some animal letters, inspired by ideas I got from various Tot School websites.  I made up J for Jaguar and P for Parrot.  I was told by family that the Jaguar looks like a spotted mouse and the parrot looks like a toucan.  OH WELL.  E liked it, and as far as I’m concerned they’re parrots and jaguars. :)
100_0542Building on the theme, we watched Barney’s Jungle Friends, which takes place, you guessed it, in the rainforest.  We did a couple of color scavenger hunts too, but they pics didn’t come out.  Turns out that E got a hold of the camera, so my pics weren’t there but I did get a lot pictures like this…
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We wrapped up the week by reading, some books with Tigger. :) Be sure and check out what other did this week at  1+1+1=1! 
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Monday, May 10, 2010

Depravity

Last Wednesday I was driving home from church and on the side of the road I saw a wallet.  What caught my attention about this particular wallet was the fact that it wasn’t alone on the side of the road: it was accompanied by several dollar bills.  It was obvious the wallet had been lost, and I turned the car around to go pick up what I could.  It was minutes later, but by the time I got back to the wallet it was gone. 
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I kept driving, saddened that I didn’t get to save the day, but hopeful that someone else did.  Then I saw it, on the opposite side of the road, alone and empty.  I stopped and picked it up, knowing that the dollar bills that had once called it home were padding someone else’s pockets.  Jeff and I called the man it belonged to and apologized that it had happened.  He and his girlfriend seemed slightly relieved that none of the credit cards or the social security card were taken.  I however was really upset by the whole thing.

Jeff didn’t understand why I was so upset.  It was true that we had done everything we could, but I guess what really was getting me down was the fact that there were people out there who would take something they knew wasn’t theirs.  It seems silly, and it seems like a lesson that I should have learned and grown accustomed to long ago, but it doesn’t make it any easier to get over.

Anne Frank was said, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”  I admire Anne’s optimism, but she’s wrong.  We aren’t good at heart.  Scripture teaches us that we are sinful, disgusting, creatures and that the only good in us comes from Christ.  That mean’s we can’t be surprised, or upset, when unbelievers live like unbelievers.  It also means that we can’t be surprised when believers stumble.  We are depraved creatures, who save for the blood of Christ, have no opportunity of redemption.  It is true that we live in a fallen world, but we are the light of the world as believers.  We are the best this worlds got, and God, in His wisdom, put us here to do what we could do.  We cannot be discouraged, we just have to continue doing what’s right, one wallet at a time. 
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Meadows in the Making

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I saw this poster today and I just stared at it.  As I did, I didn’t think of Teamwork, I thought of Bob Ross.  Do any of your remember Bob Ross?  He was the host of “The Joy of Painting” on public television.  He painted “happy trees”, “happy rocks”, and  “happy mountains”.  My brother and I would sometimes stumble upon his show while we were at my grandmas.
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Bob was fun to watch painting because you really didn’t know what he was going to do.  He would look at the camera and say “Hey friend, why don’t we paint a happy mountain?”  He then would take his paint tray, mix a couple of colors and slap oil paint on the canvas with a paint scraper. I remember that Bob always started with the darkest colors first.  He would take green and mix it with black to paint a meadow, which always looked to me like a dark muddy swamps at first.  Sometimes the mountains he painted looked like big black triangles, but then Bob would go back and add in lighter colors.  He would add in light green over the dark swampy mess, or grey over the black triangle and low and behold…a meadow kissed by sun, or a snowy mountain towering above and lonely stream.   It was amazing to sit back and watch Bob make something from literally nothing.  It really did give you joy and a “Oooo, neat!” kind of feeling. 

I think our lives, in God’s hands, are a little like a Bob Ross painting.  Sometimes we look at God and we say, “Uh, God, this canvas is full of dark green spots and big black triangles.  What ARE YOU DOING?”    But God, in His wisdom, knows exactly where and when to put some light in our lives, doesn’t He.  What we see as dark masses without meaning he sees as our green meadows and mountain tops.  He carefully paints color upon color in our lives, and sometimes we miss the joy he’s painting.    We miss the “Ooo, neat!” kind of feeling because if we’re honest, we just don’t trust that God has any idea what He’s painting.  Fellow canvas, just know that our creator doesn’t make mistakes.  You are His pinnacle of creation, and there isn’t a single one of us that He is not actively making into a masterpiece.  Trust His hand.  Trust His eyes.  Trust that every stroke of dark paint in your life is meadow in the making.image
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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Leap Frog: Math Circus

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We TRY not to let E watch too much TV.  This, we have found, is easier said than done.  I will be honest, so you other mommies out there will QUIT beating yourself up…E WATCHES TOO MUCH TV.  That being said, we try to find shows that will be educational or edifying to E. 
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We bought Leap Frog: Letter Factory per the endorsement of A Mommy Talks.  I’m very impressed with how much E has learned from it, so we went and got Leap Frog: Math Circus.  We are equally thrilled. 
In Math Circus, Leap, Lilly, and Tad visit, you guessed it, the Math Circus.  At the circus numbers and “quidgets” (think animated counting cubes) do trapeze stunts to perform addition and subtraction.  Its a great introduction to early math concepts and a review of the number E is learning (0-10). 
Leap Frog videos walk the line between being educational and entertaining.  E will request the videos, and we feel a little less guilty about letting her watch when she’s LEARNING something.  If you’re looking for something that will go a little farther than Dora, Diego, or Mickey, check out Leap Frog.   

Tot School week of April 25th

E is 27 months
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Last week we did a couple of activities that went over pretty well in    Tot School.  These are a couple of our favorites.
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We used colored pom-poms for this activity.  We sorted by color and then, using a pair of plastic tweezers (these are in our first aid kit and they fit perfectly in E’s hands) we counted the pom-poms.   E made it through the blue, purple, and part of the green, but then lost interest.  I think we used too MANY pom-poms. 
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We played this game a couple of times with different objects to help with color recognition.  E LOVED it.  I grabbed some color samples from the paint section at Wal-Mart.  These Dutch Boy cards were perfect because they were solid colors.  I then grabbed some objects and put them on the couch and let Elisabeth match the colors.  We will be doing a variation on this lesson this week when we do a color scavenger hunt!  I have big plans for that one!  

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E loves to help me cook.  We measure and do all the typical baking things, but sometimes baking with E doesn’t yield a pleasant result so I pulled a fast one on her this week.  E made brownies for daddy.  I made the brownie mix and put it in a pan, but then put Nes-Quick in the brownie box.  E counted out scoops of “brownie mix” and added water.  She got to stir to her hearts content.  We mixed it and put in a pan.  As she was washing her hands I did the switcheroo with her brownies and the mix in the oven.  She was none the wiser and was really proud of her brownies!!  
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I saw this activity on-line, but I didn’t note the source.  We put some flour on a baking sheet and I gave her a paintbrush.  SHE LOVED THIS.  It kept E entertained for an hour.  It was a tad messy, but not anymore messy than play dough or finger painting.  We practiced “writing” the number one and drawing squiggles.  We are working on fine motor skills and this was  a good intro into using an implement to write.  
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That was our week!  Be sure to check out what others did at 1+1+1=1!