Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rapunzel, Raplunzel... won't you let down your long hair?



 Maddie
 Izzie
Maddie and Izzie

A Little Logic Lesson

I actually did this when we got home from the library last week, but didn't think to write it down. When the girls asked to read this book again this morning, along with the mini-lesson that went with it, I decided to blog it. We checked out a book called Lizard's Home by George Shannon. It is about a lizard whose house gets taken over by a snake. The snake is a tricky snake and says Lizard can have his home back if he wins a little game.

The game was to put two rocks (one white, one black) in a bag. If Lizard picks a black stone, he gets his home back. All the animals try to tell Lizard to be careful because Snake will put two white stones in the bag. Lizard wasn't worried because Snake boasted that he "never makes mistakes!" As soon as Lizard picked out his stone he threw it in the river before anyone could see it. Snake figure he won the game, but Lizard said, if the second stone is white, then my stone must have been black and I win, but if the second stone is black, then mine was white and you win. Of course, since snake put two white stones in, so the second stone was white and Lizard won his home back.

As I was reading the book and seeing the blank stares on my girls, I quickly grabbed two clear stones and a dark blue one (it's what I had handy.) I grabbed a little bag and I demonstrated the game and the trick. Now, this was still all over their heads, but they did sort of get it, way better with the demo than with just reading it. And they had a LOT of fun pulling the rocks out of the bag to guess the color... over, and over, and over and over.
I think one of the best things about being a parent is getting to read all the kids books at the library without looking like a weirdo. Seriously, I love getting home from the library with their new stack of books almost as much as they do. I love opening the book, looking at the pictures and seeing what story each one contains. That and kids music. I love listening to silly kids music and I'm glad our library has a big selection of CD's to check out. We are always listening to some fun upbeat song!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My kids love chicken wings

 Maddie sizing up her chicken wing to find the last morsel of meat.

 YUM.

 Izzie
Izzie really going for that last piece of meat!

My girls love chicken wings. I've flavored them up a few different ways, but these balsamic glazed ones are their favorite. They each ate 5 of them tonight!

Stone Soup, with acitivty

On our last trip to the library we picked up a book called Stone Soup. When we got home we read the book. It's about three monks who visit a village that has been on hard times. No one in the village shares. The monks noticed that happiness was lacking in the village and they set out to make Stone Soup. A little girl comes up to them and asks what they are doing. They tell the girl they are making Stone Soup, but they need a bigger pot. She offers up her mother's large caldron. As they keep stirring their water and stones in a big pot in the courtyard, more and more people poke their noses out of their houses to see what is going on. One monk comments the last time they made stone soup, salt and pepper sure made it taste better. A villager offered up his supply. "Carrot's would make the broth sweeter" and soon someone offered to add in carrots. As the story goes, more and more villagers add just one more ingredient and by the end the caldron was teeming with a warm, delicious soup.... enough for the entire village to feast on. Happiness and feasting went on for the rest of the night.

It's a really touching story about sharing. To make it a bit more real for my girls, the second time we read it, I got out my big pot, their little pot, three rocks, a spoon and a bunch of food from their play kitchen. As we read the book, we kept adding adding vegetables until the pot was teeming over with food. We talked about the small pot with just water and rocks and how by sharing it turned into a big pot enough to feed all their teddies, bunnies and other stuffed animals (the villagers...)

This would make an AWESOME playdate/ preschool activity, assuming of course there is a stove available. Every kid brings a few vegetables/ingredients and they make lunch together. I may have to see if I can coordinate my next playdate around this theme if my friends are willing. I wonder how else I could stretch the lesson? Or maybe the play kitchen version was enough. It was very spontaneous which is how I usually roll!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Photo catch up!

 Izzie and Maddie asked the other day if they could have a "special" lunch. I asked what they wanted to do that was special. They wanted to listen to a book on CD at their table in the toy room. Sticking to routine most days makes a lunch like this super special! (Does it date me that I want to say Book on Tape? And am I old fashioned for still using CD's instead of all MP3's?)

 Maddie and Izzie pretending to play at their computer. It's been not working more than it has been working, but Daddy promised to fix it soon!

 I set up a little art space for the girls in my art room. I never did post photos of the before and after the room organizer came. That shelf with the paper on it? I want to make that a little neater and have that shelf for the girls to grab paper and crayons easily. This was SUCH a great day. Maddie and Izzie sat there coloring and I was across the room sewing. They kept asking me questions about just life in general and I got to squeeze in some good gems for them to think on. I think starting an open dialogue when they are 2 and 3 will hopefully keep up through the preteen and teen years!

 What is about rain and reading? We got a little shower this morning for the first time in FOREVER. We were going to go out and dance in the rain after breakfast but waited too long and it stopped raining. But the gloomy clouds hung around and the house just felt cozy for reading. The girls did this set up all on their own, calling me in to look at them. Of course I had to grab the camera. (Maddie, Izzie)

 We got to our friend Melanie's house a few minutes before she did, so we spent some time in her front yard. The rain had stopped and it was nice and breezy and not humid yet. (The humidity came this afternoon.)

 Maddie running, looking over her shoulder for Izzie.

 Izzie and Maddie. I love that Melanie's street is a cul-de-sac, I felt a lot less anxious about letting them just run, run, run!

 Maddie.

I love my scuba (robot mopper) but sometimes you just need to go old fashioned with a cotton head mop to get the corners, stuck on spots and baseboards. Any time I mop, I move the chairs out of the way and the girls love playing different games, usually train. This time they threw some blankets over a few of the chairs and made houses. Izzie's house was the tan one and Maddie's was the green one. Even funnier? They were calling each other on the old phones that Daddy brought home for work. I was a bit puzzled when Izzie kept calling Maddie, Mary. Then Maddie called Izzie, Mema and I realized they were playing roles. Izzie was pretending she was Mema and Maddie was pretending to be Mema's sister Mary. They haven't seen Mary in who knows when, but they have heard Mema talk about her a lot and they know they are sisters, I think Mary must have made an impression on them when they did see her, since they talk about her alot! It was really cute. Oh and my new crunchy way of mopping? Vinegar and water with some essential Lemon oil. Sparkly shiny floors that cleaned up super easy for just pennies!

Holly gets Baptized- photos

Me holding Holly in her Baptismal dress, that is 90 years old!

 John holding Holly.

 The ceremony.

 Quick! We all are dressed nice, snap a photo! John, Me, Izzie and Maddie.

 After an hour and half drive to Muenster and then a long church ceremony the girls got the wiggles! Here is Daddy telling Izzie to settle down a bit!

 John is The Godfather. Cody, Dana, Holly and Tina the Godmother.

 The adorable Klement family. Lucy, Cody, Dana and Holly.

 Extended family.

 Izzie, Lucy and Maddie.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Your Patatu is showing

Popo's parents came to visit him and my mom this last weekend. They brought their almost two year old grandson, Alex, along with them. He is a cutie for sure! On Friday we went over for hamburgers and visiting and Alex had a gift for the girls. Very super sweet of him! They each got a pair of pajamas (one penguin and one zebra) and they each got a Patatu. We've been pronouncing it Pa-tutu, but maybe it is is Pata-tu. Who knows, either way it is the most adorable leotard/dress thingy ever. The girls have been LIVING in them since Friday, except for Holly's Baptism last night where I made them where their yellow sundresses, but believe me, they did try to convince me that church was a perfectly acceptable place for a patatu.
Izzie and Maddie in their Patatus.

 Maddie, Alex and Izzie.

 Some over the hip action from Maddie.

Ring Around the Rosie in Patatus!

Thank you Alex for such wonderful gifts!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Culinary Milestone

Today the girls met a culinary milestone. They each got to crack their first egg open and boy were they EXCITED about it! Tonight we are going over to my mom's house to celebrate Chris's birthday and the girls got to help make their Popo's cake. I love cooking with my girls!
Izzie went first. Cracking the egg on a plate turned out to be a good idea, so we could pour the white into the bowl and not waste in any or have a big mess. She hardly noticed that she didn't get it all in the bowl, she was so exicted! Maddie couldn't wait for her turn.

 Maddie cracking her egg open. She got a bit of shell in the bowl, but don't we all at times? We fished it out and were good to go.
Using an electric mixer for the first time. Maddie's doing great! (I'm actually helping hold the mixer because it was a little powerful for their small hands.)

Izzie's turn. Maddie was saying, "It's very loud!"

I told them it was time for the best part. They wanted to know what was better than cracking an egg. Licking the beaters! Yep, that works!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Up for some philosophy, anyone?

I'm really loving my early morning over the monitor conversations from when the girls first wake up. For one thing what amazes me is that they go from sound asleep to WIDE awake in the space of .2 seconds. Amazing, us adults can learn something about getting enough sleep from toddlers. Anyway, on to the conversation of the day:

Izzie: OH NO! It's DARK in here.
Maddie: Yeah, our lamp isn't working!
Izzie: What happened? It must have died.
Maddie: NO. Lights don't die, trees die if they don't get enough water!
Izzie: Well this light is DEAD.
Maddie: Lights don't DIE, they burn out!!!! (I'm trying to emphasize the passion behind their words.)
Izzie: Well, maybe but this light sure isn't ON right now!!!

And then off they went to go play.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lesson Day!

It's been a pretty fun filled day. It started off a bit rocky with a temper tantrum being pulled by Ms. Iz. She decided she did NOT want to clean up the dollhouse toys before breakfast. Which, to be fair, I don't make them to every morning even though I intend to. Some days we are running late, or I'm being lazy ect. But when I'm not consistent it back fires for sure! I ended up skipping the clean up in favor of making breakfast. At this point she was too hungry and if I pushed the clean up then nothing would have gotten done. But breakfast turned into a big temper tantrum too, and to just "reset" the morning I allowed them to eat breakfast while watching a show. Probably not the BEST solution, but I knew she just needed to eat and get calmed down. Luckily Maddie just was happy and sort of did her own thing while I was dealing with Izzie.

Sure enough, after their show, Izzie asked if she could cuddle with me for a while. So we piled up on the couch and had a big cuddle/discussion. We decided to spread smiles instead of frowns and to start we'd go clean up the family room. This time around the clean up went super fast and pleasant so we went downstairs to play and learn. We did our Circle Time activity which the girls and I both have so much fun doing. We talk about the days of the week, the date, the months, the weather and sing a few songs. We read a short book that focuses on a letter sound (today was the short "e" sound.) And we finish with the Pledge of Allegiance.

After Circle Time, they got out their playdoh and ended up playing for an hour and half! I wanted to do a lesson before lunch, but my sister, who is a Montessori teacher suggested that when the girls are really into an activity to let them play it out until they are done. So I tabled the lesson and just let them have fun with the playdoh. They were making cookies and ice cream cones for Teddy and Bunny. Afterwards they helped me clean up without any issues and we had lunch. After lunch I pulled out my lesson. They've been excited about doing addition lately so I went with that. I used the Melissa and Doug number magnets we had and some beads that Mema gave us and we counted out a few simple equations. We also practiced counting to 20 by 1's, 2's and 5's. They did not really like counting by 2's or 5's because it wasn't "right." But I put the bug in their head about it and we focused on just counting to 20. Izzie wanted us to count to 20 about 4 times before she was ready to move on to the next part of the lesson!!

After our lesson they put on a dancing show for me. They watch So You Think You Can Dance with me sometimes and they were mimicking some of the dancers moves. Maddie was really getting into the arm movements and Izzie was all about the leaps and jumps. I wanted them to calm down a bit after dancing before nap so I offered them some stories but they just wanted to play quietly with this magnetic maze that Nanna bought them for Christmas last year. The cool thing about that maze is how much imagination it sparks! The girls talk about different parts of the maze as different parts of their town and the pathways are streets. Today, the big square in the middle was Daddy's work, but yesterday it was Target. Then one corner is the grocery store and another is a park, etc. So the actual maze is secondary, the balls are the people. It ended up being a great buy!
 Maddie showing the cookies and ice cream playdoh she made for bunny.

Izzie

 Izzie and Maddie.
Maddie and Izzie using teamwork to bring me a stool to sit on for our lesson.

Melissa and Doug Magnetic Numbers. They counted to twenty with no problems!

One of our math problems.
 Maddie and Izzie counting out Four Beads each to make Eight.

thinking ahead

Background: Maddie has a teen tiny boo boo on her thumb.

Overhead on the monitor this morning:
Izzie: oh no Maddie! What can we have for breakfast if you get a bandaid, it can't get sticky.
Maddie: yeah we probably shouldn't have yogurt.
Izzie: how about eggs and bacon?
Maddie: that sounds good, but the bacon will get on my bandaid.
Izzie: you can eat it with your other hand.
Maddie: that is a good idea, but maybe we should just have eggs just  in case. I can use a fork to eat eggs.
Izzie: okay! I'll tell momma! Do you want fruit too?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sammy's 7th Birthday

This weekend went by crazy fast for me! Saturday we got to attend my nephew Sammy's 7th birthday party. It was at Going Bonkers and it was bonkers! That place is a mad house (in a good way.) As my sister-in-law described it, it's a Mc Donald's play house on steroids. It's a huge maze of tunnels, pathways, bouncy rooms, bridges, slides and more. It was a bit overwhelming for me at first, which I'm sure translated to the girls. I mean, I can see it being terrific for the 7-10 yr old crowd. Just send them up in that maze and the parents can sit back and (try) to relax. But with 3.5 year olds I was trying to keep my eyes on them at all times and it was impossible. But they did pretty good. They got lost up in the maze at one point and I was trying to locate them. Luckily another grown-up was up there with her kid and she was able to point them in the right direction down. After that we stayed in the kiddie area until it was time for pizza and cake. The funny thing is, Sabrina, the girls' cousin who is 3 months younger wasn't fazed in the least by the maze. She also was following the big boys around like no big deal. I guess that is a huge difference in a second child versus (two) first kids!

Sammy looked like he was having the time of his life and I'm so glad we came to see that smile of his. We sang him a Happy Birthday and played for a bit longer before begging off. I heard later that they stayed at Going Bonkers for hours and hours playing! We went to Grandma and Grandpa's house after the party and hung out there for a couple of hours. It was a good day.

Yesterday was spent cleaning, shopping and playing D&D. I made a fantastic dinner, with John's help. (He grilled the steak perfectly!) At dinner the girls had their best manners on. They told me that my dinner was terrific, then they turned to John and told him, "And you did a very good job on grilling the meat, Daddy." It was so very grown-up of them. After we put the girls down to bed, John and I installed a Nancy Drew game on my computer to play together. We used to play that series a lot before the girls were born. It's a fun puzzle game and I'm glad John suggested we play it last night. We make a good team solving the problems in the game, plus anytime I can figure out something before John I get really excited!

Here are some photos from Going Bonkers:
 Izzie on a bridge/balance beam with Grandma watching.

 Maddie, Izzie and Sabrina in one of the bouncy areas.

 One of the BIG slide structures.

 Izzie and Maddie way up high.

 Julie and Sammy

 Sweet Sabrina.

 John

 Izzie running.

Sabrina in a tea-cup.