Friday, November 14, 2014

Adam Begins Tubs

I've often wondered when Adam would begin doing tubs like James did when he was a tiny tot. I remember the winter of 2010, James was about 19 months old and we were trapped inside for a week. This is when we officially began doing tubs. I was desperate for activities. He was longing to explore and learn. Tubs worked great at meeting both of our needs.
I'm kind of in the same place with Adam. He's super curious. He's very smart. He extremely active. This cold weather has trapped us in more than usual and so tubs are a perfect solution to our problem. He's still very young (15 months) but his skill level is high and he adores learning new things. So here we go!
Let me first explain the term "tub". A tub, by my definition, is an activity that when introduced is done with a parent and then eventually (if possible) will become an independent activity. Many tubs can quickly become independent, but some cannot.
This week he will work on several new tubs and keep some of his puzzles, games and his sensory tub from past weeks. The muffin tray will be a new tub for him. This will never be an independent tub for him because of the glass stones (choking hazard); however, he will adore this tub because he loves putting things into compartments. He has used large muffin tins before, but this little tin will be new for him as well as the stones. They are slippery, which will cause him to use a little more fine motor skill, and they are hard and glass, which makes for a very fun noise when dropped in the tin.
 I cut an old formula can lid for his next tub. He will stuff pom poms into the lid and then most likely turn it over and shake them out. If this is too easy I will cut another lid with a smaller hole that he actually has to poke the pom poms into. We'll see how he does first. This will definitely be an independent task before long.
 His next tub is tissue paper and a water bottle. He will stuff the tissue paper inside the water bottle and that will be it. I have 7 stacks of tissue paper cut and 7 water bottles ready in case he likes this and wants to do it each day.
 This banging toy has been available to him for a while and he loves it. I will keep this out on his shelf this week as an independent game he can play. He loves to bang on it, but he also loves pulling the pegs out and putting them inside his milk jug (seen below).
 This milk jug has been a favorite of his for a very long time. He changes up what he puts into it, but here lately he has loved dice. Don't message me and tell me about the choking hazard of the dice. It doesn't matter how many times I hide the dice he finds them. He's obsessed! He carries them around the house constantly and loves throwing them across the hard tile. He's good to not put them in his mouth so for now he can keep them.
 This is a new puzzle I got for him that he likes. It will stay on his shelf this week.
 This is the pegboard from Discovery Toys. I adore this toy more than most. It has SOOO many uses and for now Adam loves dumping it out, putting the pegs into the holes, and leaving it scattered every where. We will one day use this for color practice, counting practice and patterns, but for now he just loves to explore it. I probably see him play with this about 6 times a day.
 This will stay out as well. He has had this sensory tub for about 6 weeks and he plays with it multiple times a day. We scoop, we throw, we taste, we rub, etc. I have spoons and cups close by for him to do whatever he wants with it. I am in the process of making him a new tub with dried beans and some fall toys. I'll show that on my next tub post.
Hope he loves his tubs this week. I'm so excited that he is ready for this fun phase of learning. I've missed having the little tubs to make each week. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Carnival Time

Our little crew spent yesterday afternoon at a local carnival. There was fun had by all and I am so thankful our Daddy got to go with us (typically he would miss things like this because of his old job).
 The old timer car show was the highlight for Terrance. He drooled over all of them!
 The Chummy-Chum and his favorite person on earth.
 Terrance is by far the bravest ride rider in the family. He rode all the crazy rides!

 While Adam was riding the carousel, these two were happily standing on the sidelines encouraging him every time around. I love Terrance waving in this picture. He's the best big brother EVER!

 James got brave this year and actually rode a ride besides the ferris wheel. He and I rode the Dragon Spinner.
 Terrance ended our time on this crazy thing. I took about a million pictures of him on it because I could not believe what a wild ride it was. Wow!
 Here it is when it starts making it all the way around. At one point he hung in mid-air upside down.
 Here's Adam watching Terrance with a bit of concern.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Making Things Homey

I am surrounded by friends who are much much more creative and festive than me and I'm trying hard to learn their ways. One thing my friends are good at is being wonderful homemakers. I've been practicing for the past month on a few things that are really making a big difference. Here's what I do:
 Every morning I take about 5-10 minutes to walk through each room and "fluff" it up. I open blinds, spray air freshener, and turn lamps on.
 In the living room, I light a candle or two, open the big wooden door and arrange the pillows nicely on the couches. To do the whole house usually takes me less than 5 minutes, but it has made a big difference. Our home feels so homey!
 With curtains tied back and light coming in, our attitudes lift from their sleepy fog and get excited for the new day. (Here's a picture of my hidden febreeze)
Try it tomorrow morning and see if it works for your family. I think you'll be amazed how a little light and good smell will brighten your outlook. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rotating Toys

One of the things I really like to do around here is rotate our toys. As homeschoolers we have a ton of toys. In order to keep all my toys organized and used I have to rotate them. I've learned that having too many toys out creates too many options and therefore nothing gets played with. Also I've learned that if I leave certain toys out for too long then the kids get bored with them.  
I've heard many parents say that their kids have tons of toys, but they never play with them. I have two suggestions for you if this is happening in your home. First, make sure you rotate them. Put half the toys up in the attic and rotate a few of them out every month or even week if you need to. Second, make sure your child knows how to play with the toy.
When we bought James his awesome Batcave, he didn't do any kind of pretend play at the time. Jeremy sat with him the first couple of weeks and showed him how to play with it, the language to use while playing with it, and how to best use all the pieces that go with it. If we would have just given him this awesome toy and told him to "go play" he would have never enjoyed it because he didn't understand how to do it.
This tent was brought out of the closet today for Adam. He hasn't seen this tent in over a month and it was like Christmas morning in this house. He and James played with it for over an hour and have been returning to it throughout the day. This tent will stay out for a few days and then I will put it up again for a few weeks. The next time I pull it out I will have the same reaction. That's the beauty of rotating toys. If I left this tent out for 2 weeks it would collect dust. This is a wonderful toy to have on hand for winter days so I certainly don't want the boys getting tired of it.

 If you are struggling with your children enjoying their toys, I highly recommend you take away a majority of them and stick them in a closet or attic for a while. They will return fresh and fun!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Baby Sensory Tub--SO FUN!

Want to thrill your child and give him hours of fun? Throw some dried noodles in a bowl and give them to him. Seriously. It's that easy .
Adam played with noodles for the first time in these pictures and he's been adoring this activity ever since. So much exploring happened during this time.

 People pay BIG MONEY for toys that assist their children in sensory play, fine motor skills, and dumping practice. What isn't understood is that sensory play can happen very organically and cheaply with materials you already have. Open your pantry and you'll find many options. When these noodles become old news I will cook them and he'll have a whole new sensory experience.

 This was the most fun he's had (with a toy) in a long time.
Now I will say that sensory tubs should be given with rules. Adam's rules were: don't eat them, don't carry them into other rooms, and don't stick them in your ears or eyes. Everything else was permissible. As he gets older, he will have to keep his sensory materials in one central spot, but for now throwing dry noodles all over the living room is really no big deal. Cleans up in 2 seconds. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Our New Favorite Breakfast

Thanks to Pinterest, we have found a new breakfast meal and we LOVE it!
Sausage Biscuits
Ingredients: sausage patties, biscuits, eggs, cheese
 Pinterest helped with the eggs. I have never ever cooked eggs in the oven, but they turned out so yummy. You lightly grease your pan, dump in an egg, add salt and pepper and cook at 350 for 15 minutes. They come out like little egg muffins and you plop them onto your biscuit. Yummy!

Here's how they look when done. The yolk was not runny at all. They were perfect.
 So filling and delicious. I will also save the extra eggs for the baby boy. Dice it up for a baby breakfast. Whoo hoo!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Read to Self at the Library

At least once a week we choose to do our "Read to Self" time at the public library. This is a highlight in the boys week. They love to go to the library and that alone delights my little heart. They spent the first 10-15 minutes picking out new books and then they do their 30 minutes of independent reading camped out somewhere comfortable.

 Adam explores the toys and puzzles and I try my best to read as many board books to him as possible. Sitting and reading don't really interest Adam, but every now and then he'll get excited about a book. I've surrendered the "come sit in my lap" wish. Now I just read while he plays. He hears. I hope.
 I thought James looked so cute with his long legs crossed ;)