Monday, January 31, 2011

Quick Monster Puppet Craft

Izzie and Maddie showing off their puppets.

I wanted to kill some time before gymnastics this morning so I decided to do a quick craft with the girls. A few months ago during story time we did this rhyme about monsters on a hill. The girls really liked that rhyme and say it still months later. So this morning I quickly printed out a couple of monsters for them to color and then I just taped them on popsicle sticks I had up in the art room.

Here is the rhyme:


Two little Monsters sitting on a hill.
One named Jack and the other named Jill.
Run away Jack, Run away Jill.
Come Back Jack, Come back Jill. 

They enjoyed having little puppets to sing their rhyme to. Now, we are off to go to gymnastics!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Homemade Bathtub Art

 Daddy, Maddie, Izzie and Sabrina

 Sticking Foam pieces on the bathtub walls.

Maddie and Izzie all tucked in for reading time. We now have them read "quietly" in bed for 30 minutes before lights out! They get a later bedtime, we still get an evening at 7 pm!

This morning started off with John sleeping in a bit. He got back from his trip to Seattle last night and was tired from travel. As soon as he woke up, I took off to Hobby Lobby. I had some IDEAS in my head. I wanted to do some projects from blogs I got off the internet. I found a cool craft on how to make paper, but Maddie and Izzie didn't want to stop to do it this morning. We'll save it for another day. I also picked up a bunch of thin plain foam to make simple cut outs for bathtub fun. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner. It's one step beyond the ABC's you can buy in the bathtub toy section at the store. I bought the stuff to make some simple jewelry (my project!) but I'm already having some trouble with it. If I can get it to work, I'll post a photo of it. And I bought some more knitting needles. I'm still knitting.

I also went to the new Sachse's farmers market to pick up some pasture raised chicken eggs and raw milk cheese. I was going to buy some beef and chicken but John called me and said that Jackie and Tom were coming over with the 20 lbs of chicken we bought through some deal that Julie found. I figured we had enough meat for awhile with that! So after naptime they came over with Julie and Sabrina in tow. You'd think that the girls would have been excited to see their cousin at their house, but I guess they were groggy from waking up from naptime. At one point they even told Sabrina it was time for her to go home! I was happy to see all of them though.

At bathtime, I gave the girls the foam pieces I had cut out. I just did a bunch of random shapes. Triangles, squares, circles and hearts. I also attempted to make some clouds, raindrops, umbrella and flowers. I even through in some of the "discard" pieces figuring why not? They had a lot of fun soaking the foam in the water and watching it stick to the tub with surface tension. I think this will be a bathtub toy that will be played with a bunch over the next couple of weeks!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

First time at the carwash!

What a fun filled day it was! Last night on a last minute Target run for dishwashing soap, I bought the Tinkerbell movie on a whim. Maddie, especially has really taken to her Tinkerbell dolls and coloring books so I figured we'd better start our Disney collection. While half of me hates the "Princess" obsession that girls have, I grew up Disney too, so it's an internal battle. I got to show the girls that I bought Tinkerbell right before bedtime and I told them we could watch it "sometime after breakfast."

Of course they heard "RIGHT after breakfast." So this morning they raced downstairs asking to eat leftovers from last night. They've NEVER wanted to eat leftovers for breakfast. I guess they didn't want me to take time to make them breakfast. They scarfed down their leftover homemade mac'n cheese and got comfy on the couch. Then they announced that they were ready for me to put Tinkerbell in. Well how could I say no to those cute faces all snuggled in the blanket on the couch with huge expectations all over their faces? I was thinking we'd watch it later in the morning after they'd had time to play a bit, but we go with the flow around here.

All three of us watched Tinkerbell at 8 am this morning. It's a cute Disney movie and I'm just excited that there are no scary parts. After the movie we got a call from Melanie saying that she was going to have an impromptu playdate at her house. We headed over. And boy did the girls play! I hardly saw them the entire time we were over at Melanie's house. Erin was also there with her son, Gabe. When it was time to go, Izzie was most definitely not done playing. But somehow we said our good byes and headed home for nap.

During nap, I went out and cleaned out the car. It needed it very, very badly. I don't know how it gets so full of stuff so quickly. Since all the clutter was removed, I thought it'd be fun to take the girls to the carwash after naptime. I had them pack up backpacks full of books, coloring books, crayons and one doll each and we headed out at 4:15. We didn't get home until 6:30! It was a long carwash. At this place, you drive through an automated carwash and then you get out and they detail the car. I forgot that you were in the car when it went in the auto wash part, so I didn't prep the girls very well. I had this huge cheery voice quickly trying to explain what was about to happen. Both girls were a bit scared and Izzie almost bust into tears, but both were very brave (as Maddie told me when we got out.) I think if it had lasted even one more minute Izzie would have lost it. Both girls said they were never doing that again.

But they did have fun in the lobby. It's a mostly empty room with two couches, two chairs and a coffee table. They first colored for a good long while, then read books for a nano second. The dolls were a flop. Then they started to get silly and wanted to jump on the couches. I was quickly losing control. I was able to reign them in with some song and dance. Luckily we were the only ones in the lobby. Finally my car was finished and we headed home for a quick dinner and bedtime.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Photo Frame Art Project

 Izzie
 Maddie carefully adding glue to the back of her jewel.

 Maddie and Izzie

 Maddie

 Izzie. She loved the glue stick!

 Izzie
 Maddie and Izzie
 Maddie showing off her finished frame.

Maddie and Izzie showing off their finished photo frames. They helped me pick out what picture they wanted inside of them. (They are at that stage when you ask them to smile, they give you the silly smile face.)

Photo Catch Up

 Last Sunday we went over to Grandma and Grandpa's house to watch the Greenbay Packers play someone else for a spot at the Superbowl. Since my Mother-in-Law is from Wisconsin, they are huge Packer fans and have collected a lot of paraphernalia over the years. Here is some of the collection. (Grandma, Grandpa, Nanny, Izzie, Maddie, Julie, Sammy, Chris and Sabrina.)

 While I was knitting, everyone else was watching the football game and the kids were in Grandma's room watching a movie. (Sammy, Sabrina, Maddie and Izzie.)

 Maddie and Izzie have taken to eating whole fruit lately. I forgot to tell Maddie to watch out for the pit and she bit down on it hard! But they still like the novelty of eating an entire plum.

 Dress up! Izzie was a Flying Lion Bunny and Maddie was a Butterfly.

 (The lion part of Izzie's costume was the tail.)

 Maddie glamming it up!

 Oh! I love this girl! (Maddie.)

 My sweet Izzie. I love her so much too!!

 Maddie.

 Izzie.

 Friends over for a playdate. Ford, Madison, Jake and Sydney.

Love this picture of Sydney and Madison reading books together. Today told me that Madison and Sydney were their Best-Favorite-Friends!

Toddler Moments

What I heard: "Momma, Izzie is wearing my panties!" I go outside to investigate. Then Maddie says, "Momma I went pee on my tricycle and Izzie's tricycle!" And both girls are standing there naked, except for the two pairs of panties Izzie is wearing. My life is weird.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sub at Gymnastics

Today was a typical Monday for us. We got up at our normal time (which is right around 7 these days.) Had our normal breakfast (the girls are on a huge oatmeal kick.) And played with our favorite toys (this week our favorite toy is a small Dora castle and Princess castle with itty bitty characters to play in it.) Then it was time to get ready for gymnastics.

Today at class, Coach Steve and his assistant Coach Kalynn weren't there. Our substitute teacher was Coach Jon. It took the girls to warm up to him and I'm not sure Maddie ever did go near him, but they finally got into the groove of the class. Coach Steve has a very laid back attitude about class. The kids sort of do whatever they want, whenever they want. Us parents try to keep up and help them along. Every once in awhile Coach Steve shows a new skill. Coach Jon had a much more structured approach. We had circle time to stretch, then we did a circuit of jumping, handstands, cartwheels and toddler-style vaulting. After that we did some bar work. By the time we finished all of that, class was over. I like both styles. The structure is nice because I think they learn a bit more, but the freedom is nice because they get to do more without waiting a turn because some kids are on the trampoline while others are on the bar and others are on the mats, etc.

The rest of the day went by pretty quickly with lunch, lesson (we worked on patterns again today), naptime and then we went over to Nanna's for an hour of playtime and visiting. Back home for a quick dinner and the dress up time. Soon it was time for bed and I spent the evening working on PAMOM work. I've got almost all of my expectant moms matched up with a mentor. It feels good to be "almost" caught up. As soon as you get caught up with it though, more expectant moms apply! But that's how it goes. Now, I'm headed to bed, so Night all!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Knitting and Apples

 Izzie eating an entire apple.

 Maddie eating an apple.

Maddie and Izzie.

A few days ago, I came across the most adorable stuffed animals on the internet that were knitted. I've always wanted to learn to knit for the sake of learning a new skill. I'm a dabbler in lots of arts and crafts never really mastering any of them. But it keeps me interested in new things. The problem with knitting for me has always been that I've never really loved what knitted and crocheted items look like. I mean, there are some cute projects out there but nothing that just got me jazzed enough to want to pick up some needles and learn to knit. I know by now you are all probably wondering what the stuffed animlas looked like that got me so excited. I just stumbled upon this website and I fell in love with the little elephant and the little bunny. The thing about me though is that even if I could, I wouldn't want to buy them. I immediately wanted to MAKE them.

So I went out yesterday with the girls in tow and bought a "learn to knit" book a set of knitting needles and two spools of yarn. (Skeins of yarn? Not sure the technical terms yet!) I know that I'm a very, very long way off from replicating those cute stuffies, but at least I have a goal for my knitting. Right now I'm making "A" placemat. It was a dumb project for me to start with because there is NO way I'll want to make four of these things. So it'll probably end up being a baby blanket for the girls dolls... but that means I probably will have to make at least two. Anyway, kitting is my interest du jour.

Last night probably about 15 minutes before dinner, the girls found two huge apples sitting on the counter. Dinner was simmering on the stove and I was in the other room. I heard a bunch of giggles coming from the kitchen and went to investigate. Both girls look up at me and hold up these two huge apples. They looked at me like they had struck gold. They were so excited to eat a BIG HUGE apple. They ended up eating about half of it over the next 45 minutes. And they didn't eat much of the dinner I cooked. They were too focused on those apples!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Bedtime Routine

Yesterday we started a new bedtime routine. Maddie and Izzie's bedtime has been 7 o'clock since they were four months old. Except for a few holidays sprinkled here and there it has been lights out at seven. Well lately they aren't falling asleep until 8:30 or later. Which for the most part is okay, but now that they are three, pushing their lights out to 7:30 seems reasonable. Except that I like them going to bed at 7, that gives John and I an evening time to spend together. So I came up with a brilliant plan.... I hope. Like I said, this is only day two, so we shall see how it goes.

We put them in their room at seven with the lights on and a selection of books.to read. We left the door open and told them they have to stay in their rooms for quiet time. Then ideally at 7:30 we'd come in and sing their night night song and have them go to bed, knowing they weren't going to fall asleep right at 7:30, but we are thinking maybe the extra 30 minutes of reading time would help with the sleeping part. Tonight they made it about 15 minutes with the light on, until I heard them jumping off the couch. I told them they lost their privilege and it was bedtime and we'd try again tomorrow. We'll shall see....

Lessons

Izzie, Momma and Maddie.

I'm trying to incorporate a "lesson" time into our daily routine. I'd like to get even more structured with it, but right now I'm just trying to do it sometime in the morning when the girls attention span is the best. My lessons range from formal to very impromptu. I work with them on literacy skills, writing skills, science skills and math skills. We've scratched the surface with geography but haven't delved into that too much. I use worksheets (either printed off the internet, from books or handmade), I use toys, and even some set up lesson kits.

Today we took out two of their Melissa and Dough "toys" and used them for our lesson. First thing is we have to sit at the table and we work on good posture during our lesson. Seat in the seat and feet on the floor (or in cases when we are at the dining room table, feet reach towards the floor.) Even though they don't know it, sometimes posture, patience and organization is the "real" lesson of the day! The first toy I brought out was a Melissa and Doug word puzzle. They had to spell each word by putting the letter shapes in the holes. We sounded the words out and spelled them. Since their attention span was going strong, after we finished the word puzzle I pulled out their shape puzzle. We counted the pieces, we organized them on the table according to color and we learned that two triangles make up a square, among other things.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dora the Explorer Science Kit

The past couple of days have consisted of Maddie getting over a cold, and me catching it. So far, Izzie and John haven't caught and we hope it stays that way. As far as colds go, this isn't horrible, mostly stopped up sinuses and a bit of a headache. A few sneezes for good measure. I really think our change in diet away from processed foods and eating healthy fats and probiotics has really contributed to less sickness and less severe sickness when we do catch something. I mean, Maddie had a runny nose for one and a half days. This time last year we had about 3 months of solid runny noses, it was horrible!

Sunday was a laze around the house day. It was drizzly, cold and overcast. I didn't go anywhere until the evening when I drove over to Mom's house to watch another episode of Alias. We are now in the last season. Mom and Chris had never seen it and I wanted to watch it all over again. So over the past year, I've gone over to their house every couple nights to watch an episode. It's a nice thing about having your mom eight minutes away! Anyway, just getting out that little bit on Sunday made me thankful we didn't have anywhere else to be that day! It was so cold and just ick outside.

Monday was gymnastics day. The girls did the balance beam yesterday, which they haven't done in awhile. Both Maddie and Izzie got brave and wanted to go on the tall beam. It hit about my shoulder height. Izzie walked down it for about five or six feet before she got scared, Maddie just stood on top of it very still. But both did great concurring their fear, since they were both nervous to get up so high! The rest of class went by in a breeze, I couldn't believe it when Coach Steve called for sticker and stamps, signifying the end of class.

Last night I went out with Melanie which was a needed get away. We haven't just hung out and visited in a while and it was fun to just not have any agenda and just walk a mall like I did when I was in high school. Melanie did have a few exchanges she was making, but other than that we just meandered a bit. Not to mention we found ourselves actually visiting with store clerks. Later we laughed, because there is no way to strike up a conversation with a store clerk when you have two kids in tow. One lady even told us, "Well, your done." It cracked us up... we were just that laid back and in no hurry.

This morning by 9:30 am the girls and I had already gotten dressed, eaten breakfast, watched a Signing Times Video, done half of a Dora the Explorer Science Kit that they got for their birthday AND played with playdoh. Now they are playing upstairs in the family room by themselves. Turning that room from a pool table room to a family room has already had huge benefits. They feel so independent up there. It's like their own little club house. Right now I have their legos, some play dishes, some stuffed animals, a few books and all of their noisy music instruments. They like to play music for their stuffed friends, read to them or have tea parties. It's a good imagination realm for them. I'm not sure yet what the rest of the day holds. I tend to play it by ear and see where the day will lead me.

 Maddie and Izzie playing shaving cream at the kitchen table.

 Maddie and Izzie. We spread it out and then practice drawing shapes and letters in it. It's a good way to wash the table too!

 Izzie coloring at Nanna's house. We went over for dinner when Daddy was out of town.

 Maddie.

 Izzie on the balance beam, all by herself. This one is about a foot off the ground.

 Both girls love Coach Kalynn. They hang out with her all during class.

 Maddie was needing a little help balancing.

 Maddie about to jump from the trampoline into the block pit. The block pit had this huge mat in it yesterday, that the kids call a boat, since it floats on top of the blocks.

 Maddie and Izzie playing on the "boat."

 Izzie about to jump into the foam blocks from the swing.

On the way to stickers and stamps she found this cone and had to try it on!
 Of course Maddie had to try it too!

 Maddie getting out the pieces for her science experiment that John Chenault and Carolyn Wetters got them for their birthday.
 Izzie looking at her yellow test tube after putting in a fizzy color changing tablet.

 We had water and oil in the tubes and then we added a fizzy tablet. It was supposed to lava flow over, which it didn't, but the bubbles it made was still cool.

 Watching the bubbles form.

 Maddie showing off her project.

 Izzie showing her project.

Riple, Maddie and Izzie moved on to playing with playdoh when their science lesson was all done.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

John is home from Snowy Canada

Yay! John just got back from his latest business trip. This time he was in Canada where the temperatures were dipping to -19 degrees Fahrenheit. That's so cold I can't even begin to imagine what it would feel like. He said his breath would turn to ice on the inside of the windshield if he wasn't careful! And you had to defrost the snow carefully from the car or it would turn to ice and make it worse. But he said, it was beautiful. There was snow on every surface making the world sort of glittery and quiet. He brought Maddie a stuffed moose and Izzie a stuffed grizzly bear from his trip. I think he's started a "thing." Last time he brought back shirts from China and the girls were asking if Daddy would bring home a surprise this time too!

Maddie has been sniffly all day. She isn't feeling good, but not bad enough to slow her down either. So she is playing hard with Izzie (who is fine) and then she is crashing, since her energy level isn't one hundred percent. Both girls ended up sleeping 2.5 hours at naptime today they were both tired. I think the gloomy weather we've been having contributed to that. When they woke up from naptime, I was dealing with a horrible headache. We went to my moms for dinner, which I'm thankful for, because otherwise it'd probably have been a very thrown together leftover sort of dinner for us. Now they are tucked into bed alternately singing, talking and overall being way too rambunctious, but that's because Daddy came home and gave them a night night kiss... oh well, maybe, just maybe they'll sleep in in the morning!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fancy Girls

 Maddie and Izzie in their "fancy" jewelry.

Momma reading a book to Maddie and Izzie. Books about doctors are Maddie's absolute favorite. She's got a couple different doctor books and she loves them all.