Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Letter Box Organization

After some questions about my work boxes this week from a lovely reader, I thought I would give some insight in how I put together my letter boxes and store them. One of the questions I get asked often is if I have 26 separate boxes for each letter.  The quick answer is no.  There is only one box.  I change the sticker off the lid for each letter, and place the contents into a ziplock bag.  While I would love the stacking ability of having a box per letter, it's neither cost nor space effective.

The one and only box.
I was doing each letter box as needed but that was just too much work, over the Christmas holidays I put together the remainder of the alphabet.  Most of the items  are from around the house, my mom's house, or the dollar store.  I made the bean bags when I was teaching in Korea, before we traveled back home I emptied the rice out of each so that I wouldn't have to pay for the weight of the rice.  All I needed to do is refill them and they were all set.  All the letters that we have yet to do are stored in a basket.  Then as I prepare each weeks activities I can just grab the next bag.

When we are finished each weeks letter box I was putting them back in the bag and throwing them on the shelf in Hannah's closet.  During Ethan's nap time, Hannah has a rest time and she often requests 2 or 3 letter bags to play with in her room.  As the bags piled up it was getting harder and harder to keep it organized.  This week I reorganized the letter bags.  I slipped each bag onto a hanger and hung them in alphabet order.  I also need to empty some of the bags into bigger bags.  Overall, it is not the prettiest system, but at least now  I can find the letters Hannah wants quickly and easily.  I think in a dream world I would like little canvas drawstring bags with alphabet appliques on each.  That would look great. 


My next project is to use the items in the letter bags to make an Eye Spy book, as well as an ABC book with the pictures I have taken of each box.

Wordless Wednesday

video

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ramp Fun

Typically, at the beginning of the week I post about the up coming week and the activities I have prepared.  Since Andrew and I were gone for a couple of days we didn't finish all of our R activities last week.  This week we will finish off R and move onto S next week.  I wanted to share one of our favorite R activities from last week anyway.  We made a great big ramp out of a diaper box reinforced with a meter stick taped on the back side and then taped to the kitchen table. 

Hannah prepares to let the first ball go as Ethan looks on.

Ethan took one look and got up onto the table too.

Next. we brought out the bin of cars and random toys and watched them zip down the ramp.

Hannah cheers Ethan on.

Look at all the toys at the bottom.  The emptied and filled the bin 3 times before they were finished.

Next, Hannah thought it would be fun to decorate their ramp.

The next day they were at it again, this time pushing their jumbo blocks down the ramp.

This was a lot of fun, super easy to set up.  It is now in the garage waiting to be pulled out again.  The only problem I had was trying to convince Ethan it wasn't a slide.  Fortunately, he heeded my words and din't throw himself down the ramp.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Portland- The Grotto

Andrew and I are in Portland this weekend.  Andrew is at a conference for work and I tagged along to have some rest and relaxation (and maybe some shopping too).  This morning after Andrew and I slept through the night (thanks mom and dad for watching my babies) I went to the The Grotto here in Portland.  It is a 62 acre botanical garden, which they call a place of solitude, peace, and prayer.  If most definitely all of these things.  It was so beautiful.  I arrived quite early and it was still a bit drizzly, so there was hardly anyone there but me.  I don't know when I have enjoyed myself more.  

First, I walk through the lower portion.  I followed the path that went through the stations of the cross

Station 1: Jesus is condemned to death.


Empty Tomb

Then I walked into into the center part and there was this beautiful Chapel.  Inside it looked like a mini cathedral.  It was very lovely.
It seemed to me that it was too small to be considered a chapel.

Every where you look there is a hidden area with something else to look at.  Jesus carries his cross.

I didn't know what this was when I first saw it, but a small sign revealed that it  is an elevator that takes you to the upper garden.  Very cool.

This is the view from the top.  I don't know if you can tell but there are two spires in the center of the picture,  that is where Andrew was at his conference.
 The Upper part includes the peace garden.  
I love the part of this plaque that invites us to find peace by entering deeply, personally, and genuinely, into the mystery of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   
 As you walk through you are able to see visually the mysteries of Christ.
Joyful mysteries.

Sorrowful Mysteries.

Glorious Mysteries.


Luminous Mysteries.

This was just too big to get a decent picture.  It is a prayer and meditation labyrinth.

How pretty is that waterfall.

I took this picture to give an idea of how high the upper portion of the gardens  stood.

Having a wonderful time in Portland and looking forward to another good night sleep.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tag Your It?




No I am not playing with my kids.  I was tagged by Jo from The-A-Priori Mommy.  I love reading mommy blogs and her blog is no exception.  I thought this looked like fun so here goes:

First the rules: 
**You must post the rules
**Answer the 11 questions that the tagger posted for you & then create 11 questions to ask the people you’ve tagged

**Tag 11 people and link them in your post
**Let them know you have tagged them

1.  What is your favorite 'crafty' thing to do?
What crafty thing don't I love to do?  Hmmm my favorite, I enjoy designing things on the computer and then seeing it end up on paper.  Does that count as crafty?  Really I like most everything crafty.

2.  First CD you owned? 
The first CD I owned was the Aladdin soundtrack. ..I can show you the world...

3.   Do you parallel park or drive around the block? 

I do not parallel (I can) but I choose not too, its not worth it to me.

4.  Favorite subject in school?

French. Très bizarre.  I know.  But I am Canadian.


5.  Do you have any phobias?
A lot of things creep me out, does that count.  I always think someone is breaking into our house.  That's phobia enough for me.

6.  Do you prefer to take the picture or be in them? (or both!)

I prefer to take pictures.  But I also get grumpy when Andrew doesn't take any of me when he has the camera.





7.  What is the strangest talent you have? 

I have the uncanny ability to know where things are located.  Weird insignificant things as well as everything else.

8.  Furthest you have traveled from home?

Its a cross between Xian, China and the Philippines, only because I don't which is farther from me.  The only reason I have been to either is because Andrew and I lived in South Korea for two years.





9.  What is your favorite movie genre?

Romantic Comedies.  Hands down.  50 First Dates is my very favorite.

10.  Name one person you'd like to meet and why?

The Apostle Paul.  We are studying Acts right now in bible study and he fascinates me as I learn more about his life.  Next, maybe Michelle Duggar.   I only have two children, I would like to know how she does it. hehehehehe



11. What drives you to succeed?

If I'm honest it's probably two-fold.  One is to live out the calling that God has given and to do so with the best of my ability.  Second,  I want to make my husband proud (cheesy right).  But his opinion matters a lot to me.

Now for the really fun part, I would like to tag a few lovely ladies (Amanda, Lacosta, Mama at Growing a Godly Girl, Kelly, Linder, Mama at Learners in Bloom, Stefanie, Kalista, Alyssa, Mama at Alyxia & Elodyn, Amanda) and hope they will have fun too.  They may not know it but I LOVE their blogs, so I would love to know more about them.  Don't worry no pressure, this is just for fun if you are so inclined.  

Here are my questions:
  1. Name an activity your kids love but inside you cringe when they suggest it?
  2. Favorite treat?
  3. Tea or Coffee?
  4. Who encourages you the most?
  5. What do you like to read for fun and relaxation?
  6. Name an item that you would love to have to use with your kids but don't own yet (or ever)? 
  7. What is your favorite holiday?
  8. Which is your least favorite season? Why?
  9. What is your one achievement that makes you the most proud?
  10. What did you want to become when you were a kid?
  11. Who is your most favorite person in the world?







Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our Lenten Spiral

I came across a very interesting article a couple of weeks ago, while looking for activities for lent that I could do with Hannah and Ethan.  In the article over at Joyful Mama's Place, she shared her heart for about she was learning about the liturgical year, lent, and reaching the hearts of our children.  I could not summaries this article and do it justice, so if your interested click the link and read it for yourself.  It jump started me into my own Lenten preparations.  

Today, as it is the first day of Lent, Hannah and I set to work making a spiral to count down the days until Easter. I always like to give credit where credit is due, it is part Holy Experience, part Catholic Family Vignettes, and part me (hahahaha).  Our spiral is made out of salt dough, it took forever to harden in the oven so even though its set out neither of the kids have seen it  finished yet.  I am excited to see their reactions.

It is my hope that as the cross moves closer to the center of the spiral, that we would understand the cross better.










Wordless Wednesday


Monday, February 20, 2012

Guess what an iron can do?


I have just made the novel discovery that an ordinary iron can be used to laminate.  FABULOUS.  Every so often I have something I love to have laminated but I don't really want to wait to get it done (my lovely mom graciously laminates for me every once in awhile).  I hate putting time into making some for Hannah and Ethan and then watch as Ethan rips it out of Hannah's hands just in time to see it destroyed.  I have been eyeing a little laminator, but I wondered to myself if there was another way to do it.  So I googled it, and low and behold you can use a iron on the laminated pouches easily.  I bought a pack of the 8.5 x 11 pouches and gave it a try.  Common consensus suggests putting your iron on the cotton setting without steam.  Place your filled pouch in a file folder (or something similar) and iron.  The first time I did it, I wasn't sure if you should keep the iron moving or hold it still.  I found that holding it down firmly for a few seconds worked best before moving it to another spot.  I checked to make sure I didn't miss any spots and I touched up as needed.  I was worried about ruining my table to I did everything on top of a cork place mat.  I don't know if it would have made any difference but that is how I did it.  The rainbow I posted yesterday was my first job.



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Q wrap & Letter R box


This will be a 2 for 1 post; not only (as you have probably surmised from the title) is it a look back at the past week it is also a look forward to the upcoming week.  We had a pretty quiet week of activities.  Hannah and I did have fun but Ethan was pretty uninterested all week.  Here are some of the pictures from our week:

Pin poking the letter Q, this was a hit.
Hannah enjoyed the poking in general and did not even once poke her finger.  She especially enjoyed flipping the paper over and feeling the bumps.


We practiced counting with the Q-tips.  Hannah is very interested in counting and numbers right now so I am following her lead.


We made Q-tip pictures.  On the left she made some string and the right is a box.

Hannah made her Q quilt.  Ethan ate the foam pieces.
Hannah dotted happily.  Ethan ate his dot marker.


This was the only activity to hold Ethan's attention.  Hannah preferred the cookie cutter Q and Ethan liked pushing the foam letter into the dough.  Ethan was exiled eventually because he wanted to eat both the foam Q and the dough.  Either I don't feed him enough or he ready to pop out his last tooth.

This week we will be working on our Letter R activities.  I am looking forward to a very colorful week of activities.  
Letter R Box: Rose, rock, ring, Letter R and  the R bean bag.

Rainbow dot art.  This is an activity I saw on The Princess and the Tot.  She has a lovely printable version but my printer is on the fritz so I did it by hand.  The are little x's that are hard to see under each dot to stamp.

This activity is inspired by those very cool wooden rainbows stacking toys.  I made a paper version , it's a good activity for color recognition, sorting by size, as well as learning the rainbow color order.

Decorating the Letter R with rainbow rice.  Here is my link if you are interested in how I made it.

Finally, rain cloud counting.  There are five clouds numbered 1 to 5 with enough cotton balls to count out  each number.

Tot School

Friday, February 17, 2012

Nature Play in February

This time of year is hard.  While I try to do a good job getting the kids outside to play and explore.  It doesn't always happen, not only that but Ethan hates getting wet and will whine and cry the entire time,  So its not even fun.  Sometimes its nice to bring the outside inside.  Hannah especially enjoys doing activities like this no matter what the season.


This is our nature bucket.  Every time we are out and about and Hannah collects something to bring home it goes in the bucket.  She has sorts of things in their now.  Rocks, drift wood, shells, feathers, sand, and even little pieces of flowers.


When we need a reminder of what it is like outside, I bring it  out along with a tray.

Hannah likes to sort through and examine her treasures.


Such a serious girl sometimes.


Even Ethan can be persuaded to have a look.


Who doesn't like a falling feather.

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