Monday, August 30, 2010

Tot School

Well, not much to report for tot school this week! I hardly took any pictures at all! We kind of took the week off, I guess, with it being our last week before our 'school year' starts! I did finish my school planning, actually, up through November, though, so I was pleased with what I got accomplished! We played outside a lot, and Z played with wipe-off markers once or twice, I think. We made muffins together, which was a lot of fun, and we made pizza one night. The blackberries (they grow wild in the woods around camp) were ripe this week, so we picked blackberries and ate them with vanilla yogurt two different days! We also had a group this weekend, so we saw some of our staff friends again, and ate some meals with them on Saturday. A friend of mine and her four sweet children came over on Saturday for lunch, and Z did a great job sharing his toys and playing nicely, and we had a great time chatting! :)

We attempted potty training on Tuesday morning - we lasted for one hour. Z had THREE accidents, and, not to be gross, but he couldn't really seem to tell when he was 'going' #1, and Natalie was extra-fussy with a stuffy nose that day, so we gave up. I think we will wait a few more weeks and try again. :) Any tips would be GREATLY appreciated!!! :) I had a really encouraging talk with a friend who has potty trained two kids yesterday, and she talked about just waiting till they're ready, so I'm trying to focus on that for now. :)

Well, something that I DID accomplish this week, was finishing up my circle time board! Here it is!

We have our Bible verse, song of the week (yes, I may have been too ambitious with ALL of those verses, I realize that), active exercise card, weather, and sight words! We did attempt circle time today, but didn't spend too long on it. Z loved doing the weather cards, though, and was excited about the idea of circle time, so we'll try again tomorrow. :)

Here is a picture of our book basket - I plan to change the books each week - we keep all of our library books in here, so they don't get mixed in with our regular books, and I have put a few books in that have to do with the letter A and with our monthly theme, which is vehicles for the month of September. When I do my Tot School post next week, I hope to share the books that are in our basket.

Here is the only picture I took of Zachary this week: (he's holding a wiggly eye up to his own eye). :)

My Two Tots

I got this adorable video this week, of Zachary spinning Natalie around in her exersaucer! She just adores her brother, and she especially likes when he plays with her!

My Tiny Tot

Natalie is just getting around! She scoot/crawls all over the living room, kitchen and hallway, so you never know where you'll find her! It is just weird that she's mobile now - one day I picked up the toys & then took Z with me to change his diaper and came back and all the toys were out, and I was surprised, and then I realized, "Oh, yeah, Natalie can do that now!". It is just so funny that she is SO big! Here she is playing Zachary's Elmo Piano Book:

And here she is smiling and playing with a rattling shape:

And we start them on their alphabet young around here - she's practicing making words. :)

For more Tot School ideas, head over to 1+1+1=1!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tot School- Last Two Weeks!

Well, the summer camp season is over. We definitely miss our friends, and Z is still a little confused about why we're not going to camp to eat our meals anymore. :) But it is nice to be home just as a family sometimes, too! I have been working on getting everything ready to hopefully start Tot School back up next week, so I'm sure I'll have more to post then. In the meantime, I'll share what I'm working on, and what learning we've been up to these last two weeks. :)

Zachary loves going to the Bistro (the camp snack shack) to get mozzarella sticks and ice cream, and to play the games down there - his favorite so far has been Connect Four. He doesn't 'get' the rules, but we like to fill up the whole board and then knock out all the checkers - pretty fun. :)

Here's Zachary at the camp pond, after consuming a ring pop in the Bistro:

And here's just a cute one of his new hat and sunglasses from his Great-Grandma:

Zachary and I have been working on some basic personal care lessons, and he can now put his own shorts/pants on!!! We're working on the shirt, but he's having a hard time with it - he can't even take his own shirt off yet. We're going to be working on potty training soon (hoping to start tomorrow, actually), so I'm nervous (and a tiny bit excited) about that! It's hard to believe he's old enough to be ready!!!

I bought a couple of bingo daubers from the Dollar Store this week, to see what Z would think, and he really liked them! So we drew with those a couple of times, and he had a lot of fun - think I'll be going back for more! :)

Hubby and I got away for a couple of days while his mom stayed with our kids, which was amazing - very relaxing and restful! While we were gone, the kids went out for ice cream with Grandma, and you can see which cone Zachary wanted... :)

My Two Tots

Zachary and Natalie have SO much fun together!!! They love to play together, now that Natalie's more responsive, and mobile, and she loves to watch Zachary, and laughs at everything that he does. Here they are playing with their ball popper toy - it shoots the balls out the top. :) Natalie is holding one of the balls, and she was loving watching them fly out and just playing with her brother!

My Tiny Tot

Speaking of Natalie, she is just growing like a weed - she's 8 months old now, and wants to be into everything! She can scoot-crawl forward now, which makes her much happier - she hated only being able to go backwards! :( Her favorite things to get into are books and Zachary's toys - he knows she shouldn't have books, so he'll say, "NO, Natalie! You can't have books!" It is so funny. :) She is eating her baby food pretty well, but she really loves Cheerios and graham crackers. :) She took her bottles really well for Grandma while we were on our getaway, so that was very exciting. (I was nervous because sometimes she doesn't do well with them!). She is just getting so big - I love to see her interact and all that she can do, but she really is growing up so fast!!! :(

I have been planning and shopping for the new school year, so the rest of this post is about that - not too much on the planning front to share this week, I'm still working on our weekly Bible stories/passages that we'll study, and I'll share a link to those when I get them finished - 20 down, only 6 more to go! :) I'm also working on making our 'morning board' (it's actually sitting on the bed waiting to be glued together after I finish this post), so I'll share that next week, too.

One thing I have accomplished is some shopping! We stopped by the discount store called Ollie's again, and if you have one near you, you should really go! They always have LOTS of kids books on clearance! The two books I got this time were both by Roger Priddy, and I cannot say enough good things about Priddy Books - they are just full of colorful pictures, and simple words, and are just so great - I love them!!! The first book I picked up for just $3 was a first words Spanish-English dictionary. Z has loved looking at the pictures and hearing me say the Spanish words for them. :) I am hoping to use this to get him interested in simple Spanish, which he can hopefully study in his school years.

The second book I picked up (also only $3), was a wipe-off math book - NO, we're not ready for this one yet! But I adore wipe off books - such a great idea, rather than worksheets that have be thrown away - and this one introduces concepts all the way from the beginning (number tracing and simple addition) all the way through multiplication (adding sets is how the book explains it). We'll use this a lot, maybe next year. :)

I also had a great time in the school supply aisle at our local Dollar Tree (where everything's a dollar!), and found some awesome supplies there! First up, this turtle stamp - they had all kinds of 'teacher' stamps that said "Way to go" etc. but Z really wanted a stamp for him, so we found him this turtle.
I really like the handle, and I think it will be easy for him to stamp with. We haven't used this one yet! :)

I picked up these two dot markers and a pack of 80 pom-poms.

These alphabet clingers will look great on our windows:

And I am saving this USA clinger set for another year, but I thought it was great - there are about 25 little symbols around the edge that you can stick on the state where they belong (like a potato, statue of liberty, etc.)

And this was from Walmart, but still, it was only $1 - a placement that you can trace the letters on! I have actually discovered that using a placement for Z helps me not have to wipe off the tablecloth quite as much! :)

Looking forward to sharing more of my planning and more about our potty-training next week! To see what others are doing for Tot School, check out 1+1+1=1! :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tot School

Sorry, it's been SO long since I blogged anything! I have been busy with camp, and some other projects on my plate, and of course planning Tot School for the fall! So here is an update on what our family has been doing, with just a teeny bit of tot school thrown in! :)

We have been busy at camp as usual, we went to meals this week, and were able to swim in the pond one afternoon - I wore Natalie in the wrap, and it worked really well for us. I will definitely do it again! We visited the camp's snack shop (called the Bistro) one day this week, for only the second time this summer! It is only open in the afternoons, and if we have time to go out, we usually spend it at the pond. Anyhow, the first time we went was during youth camp, and one of the campers was playing Connect 4. Z thought it looked fun, but of course, the campers were using it. This week was family camp, and no one was using the game, so we 'played' with the Connect 4 game. We filled up the whole board with red and black, and then knocked them all out of the bottom, while we ate mozzarella sticks and off-brand Dippin' Dots, which Z also loved. :) It was great fun, and Z talked about it for two days, so this will be a great rainy day activity - we may even have to invest in our own Connect 4 game. :) And someday he may even learn the rules... :)

We were able to go to the Buffalo Zoo this week, which was great fun. We met a friend, Denise, who is from Columbus, but was on vacation in Buffalo, and it was so neat to see her & her hubby & cute little son Parker! :) Z loved all the animals, he talked a lot about the elephants. I didn't get many pictures, but here he is looking at a spectacled bear. :)

And he really loved riding the train. It only cost a dollar, and I think they went around 4 or 5 times - we'd do this again! :)

Our good friend Judy came over to hang out one day this week, and of course Z asked her to read to him. They also spent a lot of time doing puzzles together - Judy loved Z's new block farm animals puzzle (from Melissa & Doug). :)

We also played with bubbles that afternoon - here's Z using his bubble gun to make a HUGE pile of bubbles on the floor. Guess what we did the next morning? Mopped!!! :) The floor was still slippery the next day! This was after Z spilled a big bottle of bubble solution INTO my couch cushion! :(

I love when I find Z reading. :) One morning I was cutting a melon in the kitchen, and I looked over & found him like this. :) He is reading about David & Goliath in his Tiny Bear's Bible. :)

Zachary was swinging on this 'big' swing at the camp playground, when he pointed out that the swingset was shaped like an A. I was so proud, I had to snap a picture. :)

My grandma loves to send things to the kids, and she sent them each a pair of these sunglasses that go around their heads - here are Z's. :) She sent them each a cute hat, too, but I don't have pictures of those yet! (notice the tag is still on, the height of photo fashion). :)

As far as Tot School planning, I have everything cut & laminated that I want to use for letters, etc - so far! :) I'm sure I will do more as I go along! So here are some of the games that I have made, and I'm sure I'll share the rest during this fall's tot school season. :)

I made this cute paintbrush color matching game for Z, which I got here. I guess I already shared that I made this, but here's a picture of Z playing it. :)

I also made this bird matching game - the little squares are pieces of the bird pictures, and then the whole bird pictures are glued to the file folder - these pictures are really good quality, and this game is so fun! I found this one here.

Z's favorite part is taking the pieces out of the pocket & putting them back in. :) But looking at the birds is pretty fun, too. Although he informed me after playing the game a couple of times that he 'does not love ostriches because they are scary'. I agree that the ostrich (lower right) does have kind of a scary/weird look in his weird ostrichy eyes! :(

And this is a very similar animal matching game, which is really fun, too. I got this one here.

These games are just for fun, not necessarily to go along with anything specific. :)

My Two Tots

My absolute favorite part of parenting so far is watching my two sweethearts interact. They are so cute together. Z will often say things to Natalie like, "What'sa matter, honey?" or when she's talking, he'll say, "Yeah? Tell me more!" and Natalie thinks that Zachary is HILARIOUS. No matter what he does - running in circles, talking, spitting at her (that's her favorite thing), she laughs at him constantly, and I LOVE it. :) When she reaches for his face, Z says, "Be gentle, Nallie, gentle." He's heard that MANY times!!! :)

She is starting to scoot (only backwards so far, but she was up on her knees a couple of times today), and get into things, so we'll have to be more careful with books! Zachary is good about taking them away from her - he says, "NO, Nallie, you can't chew on books!" :) One day, they amused each other for about 15 minutes with this ball popper toy - Z was popping the balls out the top, and N was watching and laughing, of course. :) I didn't get a good picture at all, but it gives the idea at least. :)

My Tiny Tot

As I said, Natalie is really growing up! 7 1/2 months old now! :( Waaah! She will eat her baby food, if she has to...but she really likes the 'big girl' food she's been having - she loves the cereal puffs, and she also loves to chew up little pieces of graham crackers - here she is eating a piece of one. :) And of course she's still nursing like a champ, 4 or 5 times a day. :) She has four teeth now, but she's only bit me once while eating - so she's doing much better than her brother ever did!!! She has started saying, 'ma ma' along with her standard 'ba ba va va', but I don't think she knows what it means yet. :) I tell Z that 'ba va' means brother, though, and he thinks that's cool. :)

A friend of mine sent Natalie this adorable tutu, and I got to take some pictures of her in it this week! :) Here are a couple of the gorgeous shots I got! :)

As far as the Tot School planning, I am still working hard on it - I want to have it all ready before we start in a few weeks, but we'll see. :) I am working on cataloging my books at the Library Thing website. You can put in books & add tags, so when I do my weekly/monthly book baskets, I can search for certain tags & not forget about books that I have just because they get shoved back on a shelf or something- I'm really loving this project! :)

To see what others are doing for Tot School this week, check out 1+1+1=1!