Friday, December 31, 2010

What My Child Is Reading

Still trying to get my 2011 goals post written, but this is what we have been reading this week...

In the Town All Year Round -- One of our all time favorites.  It has been the IT book for bedtime lately.
In the Town All Year 'Round

Catching up on Elephant & Piggie --   I Love My New ToyPigs Make Me Sneeze, and Elephants Cannot Dance!
I Love My New Toy! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)Elephants Cannot Dance! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)Pigs Make Me Sneeze! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

I hope to do a Math Monday post about Lion's Share sometime.  We picked it up at the library after the Bibliophile said he wanted a book about lions, but the focus/lesson is about fractions (halving a cake over and over again) and multiplication (doubling the number of whole cakes repeatedly).  A great book if you are at that stage of learning.

The Lion's Share

Apologies for brevity... there were other books, but I have a newborn sleeping / waking / fussing on me again.

Speaking of the newborn, here are her fav "reads" for the week!  (Others were summarily rejected but these got her rapt attention and some happy foot/arm wiggles until she remembered the possibility of milk again).
Fuzzy Bee and Friends (Cloth Books)ABC (Chunky Board Books)Cloth Book: Fluffy Chick and Friends (Touch and Feel Cloth Books)The Carrot Seed Board Book (Board book)

Comment!  What have you been reading this week?

I am linking this post up with What My Child is Reading.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

(Our First) Annual Wrap-Up: What a Year!

We take homeschooling very seriously.
I don't know who invented the term "terrible 2's," but this was a wonderful year for the Bibliophile, and for me as his mother.

I have been trying to come up with some goals for homeschooling in 2011.  Looking back, though, I never would have imagined that the Bibliophile would have learned what he did in 2010, with no plan.  So, I'm not really sure that I am driving this train, so to speak.

Before I decide on my 2011 goals, I wanted to take a look back at 2010.  The Bibliophile's birthday is at the end of the year, so this is what he learned from age 2-3. 

The biggest development was learning to read.  It is difficult to remember when he really made the leap, but by mid summer, we were posting about some of his favorite early readers.  The reading opened up a world of fun new games and activities, like this Secret Animal Code Game printable and this homophone worksheet related to Knock Knock jokes.

Early in the year, with the help of a hugg-a-planet globe and some geo puzzles, his interest in geography exploded.   (See all of our geography posts here).  We eventually started on some fun, sporadic country studies, like this week-long study of Ireland.  We summarized some of our early geography activities in this post on 10 Geography Activities for Two Year Olds.

With Daddy's help, he mastered morse code.  And we dabbled in learning some Spanish.

He also started to enjoy pretend play (here he is in a cardboard box car, which was later turned into a fancy car craft from Daddy).  By far his favorite pretend play/storytelling is to use his hotwheels cars to tell stories (or, better yet, to have us tell him stories), but he also enjoys just about any pretend scenario we present to him.  I try to work this pretend play into story writing, and I posted about Our Story Journal and 10 Additional Ideas for Encouraging Storytelling back in August.

His love of board games continued, and we posted about many of his favorites, including this post: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Board Games?

We introduced soccer to him, which he loved, even if he cried a bit when we suggested that he try to take the ball from other kids to make a goal.  Maybe he is a little too good at sharing.  When the weather wasn't cooperating, we had some silly indoor fun with my exercise ball.

Midway through the year, I bought and introduced our "learning boxes,"  which were an instant hit.

We turned his love for Daddy's old camera into a great My First Photo Assignment.  And did some artist-inspired projects here and there.

In the math area (or what we like to call "fun with numbers"), he can now count seemingly forever (or as long as his attention span will allow)(see our posts about counting books here), and we introduced addition and subtraction.  With the help of monopoly, he's becoming an expert negotiator, but he does sometimes forget whether he's supposed to be going higher or lower!  We summed up some of the ways we learn in this post on What to Do With a Set of 1-20 Numbers.  We also played with some of the more complex shapes, with the help of the book The Greedy Triangle and a fun companion activity.

We managed some crafty fun in there too.  Some of my favorites were these Valentine's/heart projects, our Chicka Chicka boom boom tree, and salad spinner art.

And lastly, the Bibliophile learned what it is like to be a big brother!

So, what's next for 2011?  Stay tuned to see what my plans are (assuming that I ever get them written up.  This last week was our first full napless week).  I have a list a mile long.  It's not hard to think of things that he would be interested in, or is capable of learning, but I struggle a little with whether that means I SHOULD teach it to him yet.  At the same time, I'll be looking to fill in some gaps on anything we've "missed" and trying to take a big picture view to include things like social interaction, trying new foods, etc.  I want to be mindful of the limited time we have for homeschooling like activities, since it is my first year balancing a newborn and a toddler, but I need to keep up our momentum -- not because I think he needs to learn more at this point, but because he wants to.  He keeps going over to his learning boxes and asking me to fill them.  When they are full, it gives us a clear direction, and actually makes balancing the two kids much easier. 

I will link this post up with Weekly Wrap-Up, Preschool Corner, and Tot School.

Comment: What should we learn next?  I'd love ideas!  

Disclosure: If you click on any of the links and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Quick, Healthy Christmas Snack

I've been trying to get up the motivation to make sugar cookies all week.  First I was out of sugar, then oil, and now appropriately cheerful sprinkles.  And somewhere in the stalling, I realized, "nobody is excited about this except me."  And that's OK, but I wondered if there were an easier solution.  I'm always trying to get the (food allergic and picky) Bibliophile to eat a greater variety of foods, and when he took some of my corn tortilla the other night, I started thinking about ways I could incorporate them into his limited diet.  An idea was born.

Today, I cut a few tortillas into wedges and toasted them in the oven with cinnamon and sugar.  He ate the whole plate!  Later, I thought I'd give the Christmas cookie cutters a try on them.

I just cut out the shapes, then sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar, and baked them for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, or until crunchy.

They cut out so cleanly that I baked the background too, to present to the Bibliophile as a little "puzzle" snack when he wakes up from his nap.  Next time, I'll do this with smaller cutters, so it is more of a puzzle.  I have a feeling I'll be making a lot of these this week.  I always have trouble using up the bags of corn tortillas we buy.

linking up with a Crafty Soiree.

Comment: What quick Christmas treats have you made this week?  

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lazy Mom's Gingerbread House

aka Busy Mom's Gingerbread House
aka Gingerbread House for Moms Trapped Under Sleeping Newborns

The Bibliophile is allergic to wheat and egg and milk (and more), and while I could have baked gingerbread that suited his allergies, or specialty ordered an allergy-friendly gingerbread kit ahead of time, this was more our speed this week:

(Sorry, no shot of it decorated!  See title of this post).

It is made with (gluten free) crackers, and a frosting glue of confectioner's sugar and water.  It will not be winning any architectural awards (I ran out of crackers and had to improvise), but much to my delight, it stayed together throughout the decorating process.  He decorated it with frosting, fruit snacks, Enjoy life brand dairy-free chocolate chips, and smarties. 

Happy Holidays!

While we are on the subject, we received our Shutterfly holiday cards (for free, through their blogger program; thank you, Shutterfly!), and they are gorgeous.  Inside is a birth announcement, and this is the cover.  Consider this your card, since I don't have all of your addresses.

The process couldn't have been easier, and they earned at least one new customer -- I've since ordered a few photo mugs as Christmas gifts.  One year, I am definitely going to do calendars.

Comment: Feel free to link up to your gingerbread houses (put us to shame!), or to book recommendations with gingerbread men.  Here is our gingerbread house post from last year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Help me shop! Ideas swap.

It may seem like I promote a lot of Amazon shopping from my site in order to earn affiliate commissions.  Here's the truth: I am lazy.  Really lazy.  My credit card is always in another room.  Amazon has my credit card information.  When I want to buy something, I just click, and it's done.  I don't have to get up!  Sadly, that is enough to earn my loyalty.  Well, that and the free shipping.  This year, Christmas shopping has been taking a backseat to survival, as we have a new baby, and it's cold/flu season.  Alas, no homemade gifts this year.  So, I thought we could help each other.  I really need some ideas to wrap up my shopping!  Especially male adult ideas - shopping for the Bibliophile is easy.

Here are a few of my favorite Amazon bargains I've found lately. 

Planet Earth: The Complete BBC SeriesPlanet Earth (I have a sneaking suspicion that I may have this under my tree for me, after a not-so-subtle hint) - the whole series, marked down from $79.98 to $23.99!
Scotch Laminator 
Scotch Thermal Laminator 15.5 Inches x 6.75 Inches x 3.75 Inches, 2 Roller System (TL901)- down from $80.49 to $19.99!  My husband bought me a laminator last year, but if he hadn't, I'd be getting one of these. 

Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon®, RedI'm a sucker for Radio Flyer stuff (all of which seems to be discounted on Amazon right now).  I don't have a Pathfinder wagon that carries two kids (we have the more classic metal one, which is nostalgically charming but a bit more tipsy turvy), and this one is $69, down from $119.  So fun!  Must resist!

Llama Llama Doll Character by Anna Dewdney 13.5"These aren't really bargains, but I love the idea of a picture book paired with a stuffed animal for kids gifts.  I haven't done this for the Bibliophile, but I did get Llama Llama Holiday Drama and a companion Llama Llama stuffed animal for our niece this year.  I also considered the stuffed Elmer/book, Elephant & Piggie, and Pigeon.

Please comment and share some of your favorite gift ideas/bargains this year, preferably that don't require me getting up to get my credit card.

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