Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Week of Zoo Animal Fun

This week our daycare/preschool will be learning about zoo animals!

Day 1:  Read Zoo Animals by Brian Wildsmith.  We'll review the animals we read about and make a list of animals in the book and a few others we could see at the zoo.  We will wrap up our day by making these adorable hand print animals.

Day 2:  We'll compare our height to zoo animals!   Each kid will get a turn to lay on butcher paper and help us use the measuring tape to see how tall they are.  Then we'll use this chart to compare our little crew to a group of wild animals.

Day 3:  Read Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle.  We'll talk about the different paws, feet, and claws the animals have and use this chart as a visual aid.  Then we'll use homemade chalk paint to go outside and make some wild animal tracks of our own.

Day 4:  We review numbers and counting everyday, but they've never seen a number snake before!  We'll rote count to 10 and then we'll practice number recognition by putting the snake body parts in correct order.

Day 5:  We'll make an animal cracker zoo and enjoy monkey cheese quesadillas to wrap up our week of zoo animal fun.

We hope you'll be able to use some of these ideas with your little ones and have fun learning about zoo animals.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Don't just stand there,
let's get to it.

Strike a pose.

There's nothing to it.

Come on, vogue!

I asked Riley to smile for a picture before soccer this weekend.  This is what she gave me.  Repeatedly with a small head turn here and a pivot of the food there.  After a couple shots she said, "Let me see my posies!"

And not to be outdone.  Little man struck a pose too.


Monday, April 23, 2012

From Twinkle Toes to Cleats

Riley had her last dance class and first soccer "practice" back to back last Saturday. Actually they were overlapping in time and completely on opposite sides of town, but she has loved dancing so much we didn't want to skip it. With some careful planning (and yes a little rushing) we were able to do both.

Waiting for the music to start for her little tap routine.  I mean, come on, how could we pass up our last chance this spring to dress up in a darling tutu, tights and tap shoes?

To the right.

Big finish!  The teacher said, "Hit your poses girls!" and Riley struck this pose.  Yet another sign that there's a fair amount of Tata in her.

Because TG is helping coach Riley's soccer team Cam had to come with us to dance class. He was very upset that he couldn't go into the dance studio with his "seeeesy".  He put on the shoes and kept trying to open the door, while crying a lot and very loudly.

Soon it was time to go in for her last ballet routine.  She did her last run and grand jete over to me.

Look at that grin!

We dashed out right after she got to me and did a quick outfit change in the car before heading across town.  She ate her snack and had a drink while she relaxed on the drive.  We traded in her tutu, tights, leotard and dance shoes for this.

Which I thought was still pretty stinking cute.  Of course we jazzed it up a little with some fun socks, pink laces and cutie shorts.  We were about 15 minutes late, but she jumped right in with the group and had a great time.

When she was done she ran over to me and said, "I LOVE SOCCER!" before she started scaling the playground equipment.

Our little girl did great running from one activity to the other and is starting to look all grown up!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Week of Earth Day Fun

My daycare partner and I get asked very often about the ideas and plans we make for our preschool lessons.  Both former elementary level teachers we start by planning themes for each week.  Last week we focused on animal life cycles, habitats, and frogs.  The week before that was life cycles and butterflies.

This week our daycare/preschool will be learning about Earth Day (a day late) and the 3 R's - reduce, reuse, and recycle.  Once we have our themes planned we utilize the Internet, mainly Google and Pinterest to find activities that are appropriate for our preschool aged group.  

Day 1:  A coffee filter Earth held by their traced hands is the perfect way to introduce Earth Day and what they can do to help keep our Earth clean.  Read Earth Day Birthday by Chad Wallace.

Day 2:  Make an Earth wreath.  We'll do a mini review on shapes, cutting and gluing skills.  I plan on incorporating paper Earths and recycled goods circles into the ones we make.

Day 3:  3R's art.  We'll talk about recycling, do a mini lesson on sorting, and discuss how we can reuse things to make something new.

Day 4:  Spin art Earth.  We'll talk about reducing our use of goods by making homemade paint and reusing plastic squirt bottles to create these fun pieces of art.

Day 5: Review what we've learned and read The Earth Book, by Todd Parr.  Enjoy these sweet Earth cupcakes and extra play time outdoors.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

An Easter Garden

We got back from Gigi and Papa's late Saturday afternoon.

Easter Sunday dawned bright and sunny. After a relaxing morning and quiet time together as a family we loaded up and took the kids to our favorite park. While we were there TG and I discussed our plans for the rest of the day. He mentioned that he would like to get a bird feeder since our kids loved Gigi and Papa's so much. We made plans to go to Home Depot and buy one when they were done playing.

Except we left with much more than a bird feeder which is what I assume happens to many people who visit Home Depot's garden section in the spring. We might have actually made it out with just a bird feeder and some flowers, but while searching the aisles for those particular items I spied a raised garden bed. I read a lot about them on the blogs last year and really wanted one. Lucky for me TG was game.

So we bought it.  And lots of different types of dirt. And some veggies. And fruit.  And lots of mulch.  And something called a shepherds hook.  And TWO bird feeders.  And some flowers.  And a few bushes too.  Score 1(hundred plus) for Home Depot.

While the kids napped, TG headed outside to clean up the area we call a back yard. It's kind of shameful because we keep our front ("yard") patch fairly nice and well the back yard not so much. On either side of us the neighbors boast lush green grass and ours is mostly brown. It was also filled with a random assortment of kid things and two grills. One of which was broken and sinking into the mud. TG did a lot of hard work organizing and cleaning before we tackled our little garden.

The raised bed advertisement was right. Assembly was easy - just snap the cedar planks and corner pieces together - and (almost) tool free!

Little man was all about tool time.  Sassy was too busy playing pretend to help.

Taking our order for food. "What would you like ma'am?" (Can you tell it had gotten windy by then???)

And catchin' some rays.

Cam was for serious about our work. Especially when Daddy broke out the big tools.

After all the hard labor was done Riley wanted in on the action.  Then a fight broke out over the rake and they were banished to the hill to play.

While TG and I planted our crop.

We started off slow this year with three strawberry, two basil, a chocolate mint, a cucumber, two zucchini, and two cherry tomato plants.  We've already had some unwanted visitors eating our strawberries so we're looking into protection options now.  Can you tell we're new to this?  Still we're optimistically excited for our first harvest and if we can do this, you can too!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Down The Shore and Over The Ocean

We left Chincoteague and our lovely bayside rental early on Thursday morning. It was a bittersweet goodbye because we were sad to leave, but excited to head to Gigi and Papa's house.

Riley and Camden love their Gigi, Papa and Lolo. In the car on the way there Riley said, "When we get there I am going to run up to my Gigi and give her the biggest hugs ever."  As usual Cam played shy guy at first, but after about 2.2 seconds he was all about them.

Gigi and Papa's house is quite a bit larger than ours and Riley and Camden love having all the extra space to run and explore. This visit watching the birds at the new bird feeder in the front yard became a favorite activity. Camden would stand there watching the birds and every time a blackbird came in he would yell "GET! OUTTA! DERE! BIRDS!" at them.

On Thursday night TG and I snuck away to see Hunger Games.  Friday we visited the renovated children's museum and on Saturday morning before we left for home Gigi made a delicious Easter brunch for us. Brunch is my favorite meal and Gigi's cooking never disappoints.

After our bellies were full we convinced the kiddos to pose for some much needed family photos.

It was a quick visit, but it was so worth the detour down the shore and over the ocean.  We love you!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Assateague Beach

After our quick stop at the lighthouse we continued on to the beach.

My children are very lucky. They have been able to put their little piggies in the ocean at lots of different beaches in their short lives.

They know just what to do when they see an ocean. Riley ran down the beach and wasted no time getting ankle deep in the chilly water.

Camden was right behind her.   The first evening we were there we headed straight to the beach in hopes of seeing the wild ponies.  We didn't see any ponies, but we did learn that Camden thought he was there to swim.  He sat down and rolled around fully clothed and soaked himself.  This time we put him in his swimsuit and packed a change of clothes.  Business on top, party on the bottom.

I didn't forget to take a picture with their names in the sand. Riley was a willing photo participant.

Cam was too busy enjoying himself to pose, but I love this picture anyway.

While I was taking Cam's picture Riley came running up to me and said she had something special to show me. She made me close my eyes and led me over to this. She had written my name in the sand.

She took that photo of my name and then begged me to take "jus' one more pictures with your big camera please Mom?"   TG and I rarely take pictures together and we thought she did a pretty good job, even if we had to squish down a little.

It was a beautiful day. Camden was so happy to play with the "WAH-TER!".

While Riley played in the sand and dug a hole big enough for her to sit in.

Eventually Camden sat all the way down in the water and got his sweatshirt soaking wet. He was not happy about us putting the nix on his water fun, but flying his "INA-MAN!" kite with Daddy helped.

After a yummy picnic lunch (pretzel sliders, WHAT?), we reluctantly packed up and headed for home.  On the way out we kept our eyes on the marsh in search of ponies and we weren't disappointed.
And by "we" I mean, "I" since no one else was as excited as I was about finally spotting the wild ponies. If only aunt Tata had been there.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Last Thanksgiving my sister had a sweet baby girl named Eva.  Eva's almost 5 months old now and she's the cutest little girl you've ever seen.  I'm completely in love with her.

Riley and Camden are pretty crazy about her too. We had family dinner tonight and Camden couldn't stop talking to her and trying to pet her.

I mean.  Just look at her.

While Riley was waiting for her dessert tonight she struck up a game of "Who's the cutest baby ever?" with her cousin.

Eva loved it and adorable cousin laughter ensued. 

Right after I took that photo Riley saw her dessert and said, "Okay.  Can I go eat my cake now?"  Eva didn't mind though because her Mommy is #1 in her book.

Aren't they precious together?