February 19, 2013

Week to come

Prezzy Weekend has come and gone.  It was busy as usual, but held glimmering moments of family time.  That, coupled with visiting friends, made it perfectly wonderful.

We made it to the mountain to ski.  AS AN ENTIRE FAMILY UNIT.  Hallelujah.   

Spent some time exploring our woods and frolicking around outside.  There was celebrating to be done too; there are always things to celebrate and smile about:

like birthdays.  And setting Huckle up for a picture since he had jumped onto the chair, yawned, and asked for food anyway.  That's the way to train a dog, right?  
This week is winter break for 3 out of 4 of us in the household (guess which one is still working so very hard?), I'm also going to take a break from this space for a little while. 

untutu I talk to you again, find things to smile about.


February 14, 2013

If I told you they didn't actually eat that many...

"Don't wreck a sublime chocolate experience by feeling guilty."* Lora Brody

Happy Valentine's Day. 
May it be sweet.

February 12, 2013

Items of note

Books.  Lately, a few have been circling my shelves: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua (to open my mind to other parenting perspectives.  Upon it's conclusion, I determined that I am decidedly not a Tiger Mother), Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert  (aha, I see why this book swept the nation), and The Constant Princess (abridged) by Phillippa Gregory. Reviews on this one are wishy washy, but I personally found it to be lovely.  Perhaps it was because I listened to it on CD during a recent trip with the boys; it was so cozy to cruise down the highway with an accented narrator reading to me while Bear and Ace dozed in the back and I sipped a coffee*.  What mama wouldn't love that? 

The way I most enjoy reviewing history is through historical fiction.  I understand that not all information is accurate and that an author will always put his or her spin on things, but regardless, I'm happiest learning about such history as the Tudor dynasty through a novel.  So that's what I read.  And I greatly enjoyed it- to the point that I spent some time on the internet connecting the dots of Tudor*Boleyn*King Henry*Catherine of Aragon.  Such fun.  Next up "The Other Boleyn Girl" also by Gregory, or if I don't feel like crosschecking historical facts, perhaps "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" by Alison Weir.  What are you reading these days?  

We missed Champ on this trip, but the mountain had snow and he had to work.  Problem is, the new nephew was born and I simply just had to meet him.

New nephew is the one in stripes.

And this guy is his actual father, not Darth Vader (all for you, K).  I tried to smuggle my nephew back to Vermont; I even promised to play him a book on CD, but his parents said no.  Oh well, all the more reason for me to return.  I simply have to see that wee man and his amazing sisters again soon.  

*life is not always serene in the car when driving solo.  Please note.

February 07, 2013

Montessori activities: snow

Even as he loves his Playmobil, there is only so much time that Bear can be devoted to it each day.  Sure, he likes his puzzles and his books, and all the usual, but when he has some indoor free time- and he isn't interested in Playmobil- I tend to steer him toward a particular shelf in our play area.  It's set up as our Montessori area in that there are simple activities which I introduce and then Bear can do on his own independently.

It especially comes in handy when I an hanging with my small friends and Bear is looking for something to do.  I change the activities every few weeks and they vary depending on what we have in our stash and what Bear  might have requested to learn about.  Most recently it was "snow".  Next up is "knights and dragons and princesses and swords that look like lightsabers".

So snow.  Here's what we've been doing and making:

~ coffee filter snowflakes
~ in the basket is a polar bear puzzle
~ a foam tree alphabet puzzle from the dollar store

~ in the snowman tin is a set of penguins I found at the Dollar Store.  On the back of each igloo I wrote numbers on each of them from 1-5, then I drew the correlating amount of dots on the back of each penguin. Bear matched up the igloos with the penguins and then counted the penguins piled on each igloo to self correct.

~ a sensory tub filled with cotton balls and winter themed objects

~ a sequential snowman puzzle similar to these 

~ I drew a simple snowman and Bear uses tweezers to decorate it
~ water cycle puzzle

~ an alphabet matching game created by Bev Evans

On the lower shelves I keep things that both Bear, and Ace and his small friends can reach.  The snow theme keeps on there with a simple remote control penguin, some snow themed and easy reader books, and a bowl full of connectagons to create snowflakes with.

The babies have yet to go about their important work with the same skill and thoughtfulness as Bear.  ;)

February 04, 2013

Montessori notes

The plan was to have an entirely different angle on my post today, but then someone got up from his siesta (a tricky word I use around here to define "4 year old nap") early and immediately began grumbling about how I never ever EVER play with him any more.  He seems to have forgotten our rip roaring ice hockey match, played this afternoon on the ice right before his siesta.  Whatever the case, I gotta go, so I'll start this week with the post that was gonna end this week and hope that your evening is going a bit more smoothly than mine.  

I finally broke down and tore apart and laminated our gorgeous alphabet book, A Farmhouse Alphabet.  I have no regrets.  Now we not only get to view the pages, but use them as learning tools, as well.  The wooden letter pieces are from Handwriting Without Tears.  I first used the method when teaching kindergarten and loved it's elementsNow I use a lot of the terminology from it and have purchased some of the materials to help teach Bear.  No need to go overboard as I don't homeschool and Bear already attends preschool, but using elements from the program in our day to day going ons has proven to be quite beneficial.  Officially, Handwriting Without Tears does not follow the same path as traditional Montessori, but it is easy to use the program in a complimentary way; this post explains it quite well.

I've also been using some quality FREE resources to help with our religious exploration. 
ABC Jesus Loves Me
and the blog, Catholic Icing  
Through these spaces I've been able to come up with a simple study guide and activities to correlate with it.  And by study guide, I just mean a general guide I use to help introduce our faith to Bear.  I really had no idea where to start and these sites have helped steer me in the right direction.

Notice this post didn't even go up until after 7pm?  Yeah, Mondays are sometimes like that, aren't they?

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