Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fruit Kabobs for Snack

Today I had the girls make fruit kabobs for snack. We are going to have to do this again, because after we finished making them it dawned on me this would be a PERFECT lesson for patterns!! But I guess not everything in life is a lesson and today they just had fun assembling their kabobs.

Maddie putting a grape on top.

Izzie mostly put one type of fruit on each of her kabobs.

 Yum. Maddie and Izzie enjoying their hard work.

By the way, I used cocktail straws for skewers so that they would be safe for the kids, no pointy edges.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The start of something great

I wasn't sure whether or not to post this on The Frickin Chicken, since it is food related, or here. That's the problem with more than one blog! By the way if you haven't been to the Frickin Chicken in awhile, stop by and drop me a line. There's a lot of good recipes (or at least I think so!) happening over there! And if you are wondering where I got the name, make sure to read this page.

Back to my project... I'm working on organizing my pantry. This is a small corner but surprisingly I use this corner more than any other part lately. I've been buying in bulk (which saves money) and I got tired of all the millions of plastic bags the bulk items came in. Plus they were hard to use. These glass jars range from $1.50- $9.00 and make cooking a much more pleasant experience. I started a project with painting chalkboard paint on a few of the jars and I want to do it to more of them. I'm also going to do the paint a bit wider since it's  hard to write small with chalk.

Puppet Shows and Painting Tea Pots

The Wylie Library hosted a puppet show this morning as a last hooray to the end of their summer program. I'm not sure why we are talking about the end of summer in July. This is Texas, summer lasts until September! But anyway, I am not one to turn away a fun morning of entertainment. This morning was a bit hectic trying to get out the door. The girls were in full PLAY mode and I had to convince them that we were actually going somewhere this morning.

One thing that is totally cute is how they are really starting to use their imagination. For instance they set up a picnic for their stuffed friends this morning and then they reached up in the air and got "food" for each bear and bunny to eat. And the other day, Maddie was eating a pretend meal and she said she needed a fork so Izzie reached up in the air and handed her a "fork." Maddie said, "Thank you" and continued to eat her play food.

So anyway like I was saying, the girls were full of playing this morning. Bunny HAD to go to the dentist in the new shopping cart, Teddy was going for a ride in an Easter basket and many other imaginary things were going on. I almost hated to bring an end to it. Somehow we did manage to get dressed and in the car to go to the puppet show.

The puppet show as well organized. Since there were 3 showings back to back, they had us go into the normal storytime room to dance/play bubbles and color while we waited for our turn to sit down for the show. The puppeteer was named Sandy and she was a character. I mean she was one strange lady, but perfect for the kids. She told the story of the Three Pigs with a Texas Twist. Maddie and Izzie had a hard time getting into the show, but once Larry the Big Bad Wolf showed up, Izzie especially was fascinated! After the show she let the kids come up and touch some of her puppets. I was thinking of the grocery store trip I wanted to squeeze in before my chiropractor appointment but when I saw that Izzie wanted to go up and see, I decided to wait the extra few minutes.

She held back for a bit but then bravely made up way up through the crowd to see the puppets. Maddie was hanging back completely. She wanted to go look but was being shy. After Izzie got a puppet Maddie finally ventured up. The only thing left on the table was a tree. She picked it up and said with total enthusiasm, "I got a TREE momma!" It was so cute. Then another kid put back a sheep and Maddie got to play with that. Izzie wanted to take her piggy home with her, but I was able to convince her that it belonged to the puppet lady and we couldn't take it home. I think they enjoyed the show.

The on to Sprouts we went. In retrospect I should not have tried to squeeze in the grocery store trip (sporting a headache and no list.) I forgot half of the things I needed. But we did get a lot of different things so we'll make it until we need diapers or something else and I go back to Target.

Naps having been going very well ever since we separated the girls. Maddie has been sleeping in our guest room for almost a week now and Izzie sleeps in her room. This is just for naptime. At bedtime they are still together. I'm so glad I finally made the decision to separate them. I didn't want to do it, but studies show that naps really are important until the age of at least 4. They help children process information in a dream state an kids who nap learn more. Not to mention they aren't as grumpy toward the end of the evening!

Here are some photos from yesterday and today:
Yesterday we painted little ceramic teapots and cups. Lesson learned... do not give toddlers black as an option. They were looking so cute and then they got ahold of the black paint and blotted out all the colors they had going on.

Izzie and Maddie painting their tea cups.  

Reading to the girls before bedtime. Maddie, Izzie and Momma.

Had to throw this picture in. I made the most delicious little pizzas for lunch yesterday. Homemade whole wheat crust, homemade sauce with tomatoes from my garden, fresh queso blanco and deli ham.    
Maddie and Izzie coloring before the puppet show.
 Maddie and Izzie watching the puppet show this morning.

The big bad wolf.

Izzie braved the crowd trying to see a puppet.

Izzie and Maddie, after Maddie finally got brave enough to go up to the crowd.

Izzie got a pig puppet.
Maddie at first got a tree. Despite the look on her face, she was actually excited. Then she got a sheep which was even better!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Momma and Me Monday

Izzie, Momma and Maddie. We were headed out to the Dallas Farmers Market on Saturday and my Mom snapped this photo of us.

To follow other Momma and Me Monday check out this blog: Really, Are you Serious?

Maddie Playing Dress Up

Pattern Lesson

Izzie and Maddie
We did our pattern lesson early this morning. I was worried it might be either too hard or too easy. It was just perfect. They instinctively knew the pattern. For instance when I put the wrong color in the pattern spot, Izzie shook her head and said, "no, not right." We tried different colors until it was "right." (For more about how I made this lesson, read my previous post.)

Izzie and Maddie were proud of their finished lessons.
Maddie showing off her work.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Toddler Math Skills

So much of the time I am thinking of teaching the girls reading skills. We are constantly talking about letters and  letter sounds. Today I starting thinking about math skills. After reading up on how I can start to teach math to my 2.5 year olds, I found out that basic patterns, sequencing and simple word problems are all things that they can do at their age. I saw a lot of pattern worksheets on the internet but I wanted to find some that were a bit more hands on. I figure this week I'm going to focus on some of these math skills. I made up this "3D" worksheet for them to work on tomorrow. I plan on using their blocks to make patterns while we are playing in the toy room.

I think their toys will be great for the word problems. For instance if we are playing "Zoo" with their plastic animals, I can say to the girls, "If we have five elephants in the jungle and two of them walk over to get some water, how many are left in the jungle?" By moving the elephants out of the way they can count the remaining ones. Even using their play food is a great example of bringing in word problems. "If I have 4 pieces of fruit and I eat 1 strawberry, how many are left on my plate?" These should be perfectly in their capabilities.

So tomorrow starts Math Week at the Dittlingers!!

Dallas Farmers Market

We had a new adventure yesterday! Nanna, Popo and I took the girls to the Dallas Farmers Market yesterday for the first time! It was quite a drive, about 45 minutes away from our house. I think if I had bought more stuff it would be worth the drive but since it was a last minute plan, I didn't need many veggies yesterday. Which was fine, it gave me a chance to scope things out. I think I need to buy one of those little shopping carts that collapse. I've seen people take them to fairs and such. I bought the most delectable peaches. I'm afraid I was a bit of a sucker for anything they gave us to taste. The peach was so delicious I couldn't NOT buy them! I also got a bunch of strawberries from this same method. The only other item I bought from experience not taste testing on sight. I bought some vidalia onions. They are sweet onions that are really great. I plan on making a onion tart.

Anyway, I think we all had a good time. As we were walking up and down the aisles buying produce and sampling the different fruits, we kept giving Izzie and Maddie some tastes. It was getting to be lunch time and I hear Izzie from the stroller, "Momma? I want lunch in a restaurant." She thought these little bitty tastes were going to be our lunch! I told her we were about to go eat and she was happy.

On the way home I was trying to decide what to do with my peaches when I remembered a Balsamic Roasted Chicken and Nectarine dish I made a while back. I announced to Mom and Chris that was what I was planning on making for dinner and they wanted to know what time to come over! I had to sacrifice all but one of my peaches to the recipe but it was worth it, they were great! Chris brought wild mushroom rice and I roasted some asparagus and made some peas. Rounding out the meal was a loaf of whole wheat bread from the oven and it was a great dinner!

After dinner I cornered Chris to go over my outline for finishing out my master closet. We started the project a few months ago, and now I'm ready to complete it. Meanwhile Nanna was playing dress up dolls with the girls. It was a fun evening.

This morning I was cleaning house, a normal Sunday activity since the guys usually come over to play D&D in the afternoons. Maddie and Izzie wanted to help so I let them "clean" the windows with paper towels. They also got out their little brooms and "helped" me sweep the kitchen. It was all very cute!

Izzie and Maddie helping me clean. Perhaps if I put my super cape on to clean it would get done faster too?

Izzie, Maddie and Nanna playing with the magnetic dress up dolls.



Friday, July 23, 2010

Swimming, Swimming, in the Swimming Pool!

This morning I finally decided I would be brave and take Maddie and Izzie to the neighborhood pool all by myself. Don't worry, we didn't get in the big pool. Well mostly anyway. There is a really great kiddie-pool area and the girls love it. My friend Melanie joined us with Madison and Sydney. My neighbor Stefanie was also there with her twins Nick and Max and her daughter Grace, so there were three sets of twins at the pool today.

Melanie and I were worried that the big pool would be a huge draw for the kids since it isn't gated off from the larger pool. But for the most part the kids were satisfied with staying in their splash pool. We did let them go on the steps of the big pool for a few nerve wracking minutes. They did great listening and waiting their turn to jump into our arms from the steps. Then back to the splash pool we went!

Melanie was playing Ali gator with the kids. She even attracted other kids at the pool. Madison, Sydney & Izzie.

Izzie, Maddie, Sydney and Madison.

Grace, Izzie, Maddie, Sydney and Madison.

Maddie and Izzie swimming.

Maddie and Izzie

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bad Gymnastics Experience Again.

First off... this week has been insane! Was I complaining in the winter months about nothing to do?? This week has been jam packed. Monday: Gymnastics Free Trail Class, Tuesday: Swim playdate at Alison's House, Wednesday: Storytime in the morning, Swimming at Nanna's in the afternoon. Today: Gymnastics Social with PAMOM. Tomorrow... nothing. Actually I may take the girls to the neighborhood pool, but we may just call it a "pajama day."

After Monday's gym class that went so well, I wasn't worried about today. But there were A LOT of kids at the PAMOM social this morning and I think it threw my girls off. Or who knows what. But we spent the majority of the hour crying. (I was almost in tears too!) There were a FEW happy moments I caught on film, but the rest was tears.

In other news: I split the girls up for nap today and they took a two hour nap. It started off shaky with Izzie in the guest room on the floor and Maddie in their room. But Izzie wanted her bed and Maddie wanted the other room so I tried the switch and it was like MAGIC. They immediately fell asleep for two hours. I went out and bought a monitor for the guest room. We'll see how things go and see if this is a permanent switch. Just for naptime. I don't want to split them up for bedtime!

Izzie and Maddie getting ready to leave for the PAMOM social.

Maddie on the balance beam.

Maddie making friends with the Coach.

Maddie... crying.

Izzie swinging from the bar.

Izzie tumbling.

Izzie... crying. (On the trampoline, where other kids... gasp... jumped on her! I had a hard time convincing her to throw her fit in a safer place!)

 Momma and Maddie. I bought these floaties, but I don't like them. The girls like the idea of them, and then they want them off.

Maddie jumping to me.

Izzie, Nanna, Maddie and Momma.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Best evening EVER.

 Maddie and Izzie swinging at Alison's house.

 Swimming Maddie

I've GOT to get the girls a seesaw (hint hint to any and all relatives!) (Izzie and Maddie)

Madison, Melanie and Sydney.

Jake and Ford.

Maddie and Izzie enjoying their popsicles.



(Some) of the mess! Maddie and Izzie

Today was just a fun and wonderful day. Minus the necessary stop at the chiropractor for back pain I've been having for a week. (A bunch of my ribs were out of joint and you could hear them crack back into place!) The day started off with a playdate over at Alison's house. Her boys, Jake and Ford, Melanie's girls, Madison and Sydney and my girls all had a great time splashing in the kiddie pools, slip n' slide and water table. Everyone was thoroughly exhausted by the end of the playdate. (Well at least my girls were because they almost immediately went down for nap today!) Melanie gave the girls little popsicle holders which they were very excited about. When I got home, after I put them down, I made banana strawberry smoothies and froze them in my popsicle mold for a treat after dinner.

Like I said before, I went to the chiropractor during naptime while Mom came over to watch the baby monitor. She did say that she had to go up there once for Maddie while she was crying. Then later when they both woke up, she heard Maddie say to Izzie, "Momma not here, Nanna is." Then she heard Izzie say, "NO! Momma is here!" I think that is pretty funny!

The time between nap and dinner was just our usual hanging out, playing, cooking and chasing. I made a great dinner tonight of poached chicken and rice pilaf. It was a big hit with the girls. Or maybe it was the, "if you eat a good dinner you can have a smoothie popsicle outside" that made the food go down so well. In any case, they thought they were getting a treat but it was just frozen fruit and milk! The treat was eating it outside in the Adirondack chairs (that my Uncle Ted built for them) under the umbrella. It was a perfect day, sunny, breezy and beautiful. And while the popsicle holders helped the girls a bit because if they got tired of holding their popsicles they could stand them up. But as for protecting them from drips, not so much. By the end their entire outfits were covered in melted smoothie!

I spontaneously called for John to bring out towels and shampoo. We had our first ever SHAMPOO PARTY! It was a blast beyond anything I can possibly describe. The girls LOVED running around without a stitch of clothing on our large deck with soapy bubbles and the water hose. I'd spray them and they'd run screaming. Then they'd say, "ONE more time MOMMA!" over and over! They finally got brave enough for me to do their hair which was an even bigger hit. Back and forth they ran and ran screaming and giggling and having the most spectacular time of their toddler lives. After all that, I knew bedtime was going to be interesting. We did a count down to the end of the fun. Then they came in and got in their nighties and we read some stories before heading up to bed. They still took a while to fall asleep but I have a feeling they will be dreaming of their outdoor bath for a long time to come!