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Catching Up

Instead of listing the zillion reasons/excuses why I have been post-less for so long, I will just jump right into a catch up post, yay!

Emry, is on the verge of being a one year old. And it truly is shocking to me. I don’t understand how they can grow SO. FAST. Soon, I won’t have babies, just kids. Honestly, 98.3% of the time I think of myself as a kid so I’m not really sure how all of this is possible.

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She is the polar opposite of her big sister, and they clash about 102% of the time. Literally, more than always. But the super rare, once in a blue moon moment, that they are kind towards each other (or can even exist in the same room without screaming), melts my heart.

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All jokes aside, these two are getting better at living, learning, sharing and playing with each other all the time.

Mya, is almost three. And she amazes me always. I love talking with her, hearing the interesting, intelligent and often odd imaginative things she thinks up. What a wonderful age it is, when you can look past all the typical “terrible twos” things. As Tom Petty would put it ..”Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks” And here, they aren’t rocks, they are freaking mountains. Super big, volcano-style mountains. With mean bears living on them.

But the diamond days are worth living for, and they are beautiful.

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Here is a few of the activities we have been enjoying lately.

Journal work:

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On sunny days, we take our journals outside. Sometimes we make nature bracelets with contact paper, allowing her to collect things from outside and then putting them into her journal to talk and draw about.

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Activity Trays:

Working with numbers

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Fishing for letters

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Intro to sight words and matching

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Puzzle/Shapes Work

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Mya enjoys new activity trays I set up for her, but her most favorite way to spend time (aside from being a goofball with her dad), is reading. Our local library has preschool and toddler bins set up with different themes. You can borrow a bin for 2 weeks, and they are a wonderful resource for us. The latest bin we took out was a Children of the World bin, and it was so great.

Here are a few of Mya’s favorite books from the bin…

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At nearly three, Mya has started to notice that people are different. Different than her, or me, or anyone she knows. She has no filter when pointing out these differences whether it is a interesting hair-do, or the color of skin. We have started to try to explain these differences, and ensure her that everyone is different from each other, and that it’s great. The best thing I have found, to help her understand her new discovery, is a book. A bright, fun, colorful book. I recommend it to anyone with a preschooler.

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I, as a child, had a wild imagination, and I see the same in Mya. I encourage this all I can. I firmly believe imaginative play is the most important thing for a young child. We have a dress-up area for Mya, her favorite thing is to pretend to be a doctor, or a princess having a tea party.

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She also often ask to play store, so we set up a market for her to run. Mya and I set this up together, and we took turns sorting our food types into different categories.

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I have also recently set up a Heuristic Play area in our home. If you are unfamiliar with this read here.

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Emry is so curious, and although she really doesn’t stay in one place very long, there are many intriguing activities you can set up for the very young ones.

Water and Toy Sensory bag

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Straws/Blocks on Contact Paper

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By the way, this one is almost walking, which is new for us since big sister didn’t walk until close to 15 months.

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Uh oh…really close.

Ok thats enough for one post. Hopefully I will post again before September!

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Our days…March

I try so hard to keep up with blogging. I for some reason really struggle with finding the time (and energy?) to update this as often as I would like. I just don’t get how some moms do it. How can you possibly write a post EVERY day? Or even every week for that matter…What is the secret? How do you muster up the energy to write an intelligent and interesting post after a day of children and errands and cleaning and laundry and cooking and more cleaning?? Even right now I can think of at least 10 others things I should/could be doing. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy writing posts, I just sometimes struggle in justifying its importance over other things that need to get done. But I guess it is important because I enjoy it, and because I get so much out of other “mom blogs” that I feel obligated to give back and share as well….so I will continue to post, whenever I have time.

So, here we are in March….Our weather for the most part is unpredictable and often unpleasant (just yesterday we had 97 km winds making it actually unsafe to go outdoors). We do attempt to go outside at least once a day despite the crazy wind/snow/hail/rain that tries to keep us inside.

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Our walk to the local coffee shop this past weekend

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I love how much the girls love to be outside. There is just something calming about a walk in the sunshine or even in the rain.

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Inside, we have lots of new things going on. Mya is still all about writing and learning letters. I keep out an alphabet tracing white board to encourage her and she always has access to her art shelf so she spends a lot of her time drawing and writing.

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Here is an update on some of our current activity trays..

Sorting by color (dark and light)

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Counting

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Making Shapes

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Polishing Pennies

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Stickers (working on patterns, shapes and letters) – Note: I bought inexpensive canvas from the dollar store. The stickers come off very easily allowing Mya to re-do this activity over and over without going through a lot of paper.

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Light Box play – Sifting

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Current theme on our felt board for stories is Dinosaurs

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Sensory Bin – Cloud dough ( 4 cups flour to 1/2 cup baby oil)

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For Emry, who still isn’t crawling (but is close!!), I have added some mirrors to her play corner. Right now she loves anything that makes sounds. For example, she loves to bang things together or smash things on the floor and is thrilled by the different noises she creates. I put together some “mini shakers” which are small containers (lids are securely glued on) filled with different things such as rice, beans, noodles, lentils etc. I wanted them to make different sounds and are a variety of size and color. Also, the containers stack on top of each other as Mya often proudly shows Emry (and then of course they are promptly knocked over at which time a fight ensues).

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The girls are getting along better and better, they bath together and have stories read to them together. Nothing makes my day more than seeing my two girls interacting with each other and playing side by side. It truly is a special bond they are forming and it melts my heart.

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Some photos from the past few weeks…

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Post Valentines activities

After being surrounded by hearts the last two weeks, I decided it was time our trays and shelves got an update. Here is what we are playing with now..

Grating chalk

I saw this great idea thanks to Pinterest. Mya loved grating different colored chalk in the flour, it looked really awesome. She then of course enjoyed touching the powdered chalk and flour, mixing the colors and making dust clouds🙂

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Cutting with scissors

Mya loves to cut paper, she will sit and cut for up to an hour. I cut strips of construction paper and made dotted lines for her to cut. I also have some blank pieces for her to cut freely.

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Role play

Mya loves to dress up and imagine she is a doctor, a puppy, a princess, and lately she pretends she is fixing our house with tools and painting the walls different colors. Its too cute and to help this sort of play I out together a tray with her own paintbrushes and color samples from the hardware store.

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Quiet time activity

Normally reading is our go-to quiet activity. Then we decided to have reading time with a twist…I mean, whats more fun than reading in a fort?? Mya and I built this together and then added pillows and blankets and our favorite books. She spent lots of time in here and we had to leave it up for close to week.

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Why I love Montessori,

Of course there are many many reason why I believe the Montessori Method is one of the best ways for a child to learn, but lately, Mya has been showing us how well it really works. The other day, after playing with her play-dough, my 2.5 year old not only put away all her mess without prompting, she then proceeded to get a cloth, wet it, and thoroughly wipe her table clean completely independently. She did an awesome job and was so proud of herself. The Montessori Method allows a child to learn this sort of behavior without constantly nagging or drilling her to clean up and without threats or rewards. She does it by herself and for herself. To me it’s truly amazing to witness her growth and only solidifies my belief that I have chosen the best way for my girls to learn.

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Ok enough of the mom brag. Have a good week everyone🙂

Emry’s Post

Emry is soon to be 8 months old. She is changing fast and her curiosity and capacity to learn new things is never-ending. She isn’t a “high maintenance” baby by any means, but she does know what she likes and has no problem letting us now (usually she lets out a high pitched scream then stares you down which gets her point across nicely). I cycle her toys daily to keep her interested and she does best when there is only a few things to play with rather than a large selection. She is working hard on mastering the pick up of small items and is starting to study things more closely now compared to previous months when things just automatically headed for her mouth (although this is still most objects final destination).

Emry has a baby corner dedicated just to her things. I have a small mat laid out for her to sit on, although if Mya sees it she promptly rolls it up and puts it away somewhere – got to love Montessori kids! Permanent objects in Emry’s corner are a basket of books, a discovery basket or “treasure box” with items that are changed up frequently. Then I switch up between stacking blocks and cups, assorted balls, a small box filled with different fabrics, teething objects and noise making toys.

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I occasionally move her mat to her room and allow her to play in there as well. Her room is set up for when she is mobile, anything in her reach will be safe items for her to discover.

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One of her favorite things to play with are these small balls that make a rattle sound. I placed them in a wood bowl which allows them to roll and spin when she touches them. She likes to grab them and shake them like crazy.

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Discovery baskets, or treasure boxes, usually have normal household objects in them for the baby to investigate…things like measuring spoons, hair brushes, and other baby safe items. I switch Emry’s items up often and currently I have many of her teething toys in there right now as she its working on her bottom teeth and loves to chew.

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Emry does play well on her own for a small amount of time, maybe up to 20 minutes, but she enjoys the company of her sister and for the most wants to be wherever Mya is. I love watching the girls relationship develop and grow. Its truly magical the way Emry’s eyes light up when she sees her sister.

Playing happily by herself..

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Playing alongside her big sister..

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Welcome February!

I remember setting up Mya’s Valentines Day stuff up last year like it was yesterday. Its too weird how fast time flies. To see what we did last year click here.

This year, we are in a different house and with Mya being a whole year older we are able to expand on our activities, especially in the craft department!

I updated our sensory bin with pink and purple rice (directions) and added everything pink, red, or heart shaped (erasers, cardboard cut-outs, felt shapes, pompom balls etc.). Also, to aid in open-ended play there is buckets, spoons and other tools to help explore the bin. The sensory bin is always a hit with Mya.

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We decorated the play-area with our cards and crafts from last year, and added the felt garland on the mantle.

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The top shelf trays were all dedicated to creating Valentines. This set up allows Mya to independently create her own Valentines complete with glue, glitter, stamps, tape and stickers. She loved this and spent most of today making her own Valentines to give to her family.

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The bottom shelf had a variety of Valentines Day themed activities…

Cardboard heart to weave

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Matching light and dark

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Color Sorting

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Styrofoam heart “poking”

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In our lightbox I added gel hearts that look really neat in the bright light. They make some fun sticky play Mya really enjoyed playing with.

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I had a bunch of pretend rose petals from last year I wanted to do something with so last minute I created this counting activity the surprisingly Mya really enjoyed and played with for quite sometime today.

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Another fave is our contact paper activity. It’s a work in progress but looks really cute on the window next to our dyed coffee filter hearts.

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Our Valentines books

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Linking to Living Montessori Now
Montessori Monday

Happy February everyone🙂

Socktopusses, light tables, and playdough oh my!

First I would like to start off by apologizing for the very lame title of this post. I swear thats the hardest part of making posts is finding interesting, unique and non-boring titles. Anyways!…

Oh we have been very busy lately. I struggle to find time to blog more than once a week and by then, the amount of pictures and activities I have to post about are so enormous that I don’t know where to start and end up putting it off. I suppose I must get this more organized if I want to continue blogging, which I do! So that being said, here is a few of the things we have been into lately….

Mya loves to count. As she is almost 2.5, she is continually intrigued by letters and numbers. She can occasionally recognize numbers by sight, usually one and two, and so to encourage this I made a little marble rolling game that is a fun way for us to practice her numbers together! We pick a number, find it together, and she rolls the marble to the appropriate slot by tilting the cardboard tray. Easy to make and fun to play with.

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My love for Pinterest is forever growing. I love the ideas, activites and crafts you find on there. I have discovered many great blogs to follow using Pinterest also. Here are a few Pinterest things we have done recently.

We made this Socktopus out of a lone sock from stray sock pile. He is cute and Mya seriously chooses this guy over her not-so-cheap baby doll she got for Christmas last year. A good reminder that less is more with children’s toys most of the time.

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Next up, is Oatmeal Playdough. I was due to make some new playdough for Mya and that is when I saw fellow blogger Jen, at Peaceful Parenting, make some great playdough with Oatmeal. Mya and I loved playing with it! It felt neat and is a completely different texture than normal playdough.

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For a loooooong time I have been meaning to make Mya a light table, and finally found good instructions and the time to do it. Super easy and a total hit with kids of many ages. The possibilities for learning and play with a light table are endless! Here is how I made our light table.

For now, I just have coarse salt and assorted items for Mya to play with on her light table but I have lots of options for switching up items for the light table which you will see on future posts.

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That’s it for now, I have plenty more to come including a baby only post with lots of fun activities for under 12 months🙂

Baby, it’s cold outside!

The weather hasn’t been ideal for outside play lately. We are expecting a snow dump and it has been too cold to play outside longer then 20 minutes or so which means mommy has to find a lot of fun things to do inside.

The girls love being wherever I am in the house. Mya will play independently for up to an hour but Emry is good on her own only about a quarter of that time, so mostly I have a couple of girls wanting to be involved with whatever I am doing constantly. Although this can sometimes be tiring, frustrating, and make getting things done tougher, it truly is a good thing. Its important for them and important for me to spend this time, to slow down, and just be in the moment with my girls.

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I try to have activities set up for Mya for when she wakes up in the morning and after her nap. She often is excited to try whatever I have ready for her and then usually goes back to playing with her favorite activities we have available to her all the time like coloring, puzzles and reading.

I saw this fun idea on Pinterest, and left it up for a few days as Mya enjoyed it a lot. It took her awhile to adjust to swinging the ball from different angles to knock all the blocks over. She couldn’t wait play this with her daddy as soon as he was home from work.

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We had some quiet time by playing with our transfer and pouring activity. I set up a bowl of salt and provided a cup and spoon and let her use it as she wished.

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We also tried painting with spices which was neat. Mya enjoyed learning the different names of the spices and of course the different smells.

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I love that Mya will go off and read to herself. She doesn’t want to be interrupted when she does this. She just likes to sit and “read” to herself. Sometimes she wants you to sit with her and read your own book. She does this at least once a day.

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Emry and Mya have some playtime together too. Emry loves any amount of attention Mya gives her but but with both being so young they don’t really play together that often. Here is a nice moment where Mya decided to give Emry an “alphabet bath”. I let the girls play alone for sometime then joined them and Mya and I took turns taking out letters and making their sounds.

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