Easy Halloween Ghosts

We were looking for an easy craft idea and found this one on All Kids Network.   Footprint ghosts!  All you need to do is trace your foot, cut it out with scissors, add some googlie eyes, a mouth and hang them.  I think they came out great!  Here is a picture of Dylan's and little Ty's ghosts.

Daily Wriiting on white board

I picked up this nifty write 'n wipe board at Staples to use with Dylan to get more practice writing his letters and words.  I love that it has the penmanship lines.  Right now, we are just working on writing capital letters and spacing but soon we will also start working on his lower case letters as well.  I've decided that he will write the day of the week, the date, the weather according to him and the last two lines what he has plans for the day.  Today, he has swim lessons and he has plans to work on creating his own Star Wars book from the many stickers he has collected.

Summer Bucket List

I am 34 and a half weeks pregnant with our son and I'm finding it difficult to keep up with the blogging as well as being creative with things to do with Dylan.  I love reading the summer bucket lists on various other blogs and have decided to write one for our family.  This year it will be a staycation summer with the new little one coming in July so I would like to be able to do some different things with Dylan.

  1. Tie dye t-shirts
  2. Make peanutbutter buckeye balls 
  3. Maintain our veggie and flower garden
  4. Strawberry, Blueberry, Peach picking
  5. Feed the ducks
  6. See fireworks
  7. Camp in the back yard
  8. Visit Canobie Lake park
  9. Visit the zoo
  10. Make Popsicles
  11. Visit the ocean
  12. Make a house out of Popsicle sticks
  13. Join the Library summer reading program

Brown Bag Puppets

I love that Dylan is getting creative and coming up with ideas for art projects all by himself.  Yesterday, we were just doing our usual every day things when Dylan's eyes lit up and says to me "Mommy I know! Want to make puppets out of bags and put stickers on them?!"  Being exhausted but not wanting to crush his enthusiasm and new ideas, I excitedly agreed what a great idea he had.  I got a couple of brown paper bags and some markers and my very sweet boy came back with crayons and Star Wars stickers.  The whole craft took about 10 minutes to make and then we acted out the Star Wars characters.  It was a blast and he laughed so much.  What a joy! 

Getting Big Brother Ready for Baby

We will be welcoming our 2nd blessing into the world within the next 10 weeks.  Dylan has been our one and only for 4 and a half years and 99% of me thought he would always be our one and only.  Like Dylan, this 2nd baby is a big welcomed surprise.  We've been prepping Dylan for the day when all our lives will completely be transformed. Having grown up in a home with 3 siblings and me being the "baby" for 7 years, I know what it's like when a baby comes along and to become the one that doesn't get all the attention anymore.  I am trying to make this a very positive experience for Dylan and helping him to be excited about our newest addition.

About a month ago, we went to our local consignment store and Dylan picked out the going home outfit for baby.  He is so proud of the outfit he picked out, he shows it to everyone that comes over to our home.

When we are in the baby section of stores, I have also let him pick out a new toy for the baby.  Once, he picked up a teething toy and looked at me with a confused expression and said, "Do you think the baby will know what to do with this?"  I couldn't help but laugh because it really didn't look like a very exciting toy but I assured him the baby would enjoy it.

Last week, we had to go to Labor & Delivery to get my rhogam shot.  Dylan was with me as usual.  This was great because I got to show him exactly where mommy will be when the baby comes and where I'll be sleeping for 4 nights since we are having a c-section.  He had lots of questions for the nurse there.  'Which bed specifically will mommy be in?'  'Can he check out the bathroom?'  'Where will daddy be?'  The nurse was great and patiently answered all his questions.  His favorite part about going to the hospital was all the vending machines.  Clearly a boy, who hasn't had much experience with a vending machine.  He was amazed that when we put dollar bills in, food and change would come out.  It was great to see him enjoy it so much.  I told him we would start putting aside some dollar bills for him to get snacks when mommy was in the hospital having the baby.  He loved this idea!

Getting ready for baby, there is lots of clothing, a new bed and bath tub for baby; Dylan has been a little upset that these things aren't for him and that he cannot try them all out.  However, today I did let him buckle Pooh Bear into the car seat and carry it around the house.  Seemed to make his day.

Maple Brown Sugar Granola Cookies

Yesterday we made homemade cookies to help pass the rainy day and ease the munchies.  We love Cascadian Farm's Maple Brown Sugar Granola cereal.  On the back of each box is a recipe for some very yummy looking cookies that I have been really wanting to try out.  So we got the ingredients together and made Maple Brown Sugar Granola cookies

We have a Kitchen Aid mixer which my son loves to be one to pour in the ingredients, lock the bowl and turn it on.  Next, he helped rolling them into balls and we placed them on waxed paper while I baked them in the oven.

Here are the finished cookies!  They were delicious!

Rainy Day Fun

Today is day two of the rainiest week to be here in New England.  I thought the sun was going to be out in three more days but as it turns out it may be another five.  There is no reason it has to be a mopey day at home, here are some ideas for some rainy day fun that we do in our home. 

Rainy Day Activities

  1. Put together a puzzle
  2. Make cookies from scratch. Din is great at rolling them into balls - certainly makes cookie making less time consuming.  Mmmm cookies & milk for snack time!
  3. Be pirates, the couch is a boat; throw pillows on the floor and hop from one to the other to find buried treasure.
  4. Hide coins or other objects around a room and play hot/cold/warm until they are found.  Take turns - my son loves hiding the objects as much as finding them!
  5. Bring out the finger paints and let your child have at it.
  6. Finger paints too messy for you? Get out the watercolors, markers, crayons, and some paper.  
  7. Put on your raincoat & boots and stomp in some puddles.
  8. Warm up your child with a bubble bath thereafter.
  9. Play a board game
  10. Cuddle up and read a book together.
  11. Scissors! My son loves drawing shapes, cutting them out and pasting them on paper.
  12. Let your child help cut out coupons or pictures from an old magazine
  13. Put on some music and dance!
  14. Make a band - bang some spoons together, bang on pans, sing loudly - let it out and have fun!
  15. Have a tea party with all your child's stuffed animal friends - serve water/juice and little snacks.
  16. Have your child help you around the house. My son loves to help me dust, use soap & water to wash down cabinets or larger appliances; sweep the floor or help empty the dishwasher by sorting the silverware. 
  17. Shaving cream paints for the tub.  (See the post before this)
I know there are lots more so please share your ideas with me!  

    Shaving Cream Paints

    We've done the Shaving Cream painting so many times through the past couple of years, I'm not sure where I got the idea from since I've seen it in a number of places as well as shared it with many mom friends.  This is a great down time activity in the tub.

    Here is how Dylan and I set it up.  Put your child in the tub while mixing the colors to keep the messiness contained.   I use regular white shaving cream, a muffin tin and food coloring.  I put a little shaving cream in each muffin tin.  Then we add in a couple of drops from the four primary colors. This is also a great learning activity. He gets to mix in two colors and see what they make.  Dylan loves this part and even though he knows what Yellow and Red makes, he loves to question it and see if it really does make Orange after we mix them together.


    After mixing the colors together, it's time to get started painting.  Please never leave your child unattended with this activity.  It can get slippery and your child may want to stand while having all this fun.  Dylan either uses his finger or a paint brush.  He makes rainbows, flowers, writes his name...really has a great time singing and drawing on the tub tile/walls. 



    The best part is when someone takes a shower it all easily washes off!  Let me know if you decide to try it out and how it went.  

    Hermit Crabs

    About two weeks ago at a local fair, we stopped at a table where they were selling Land Hermit Crabs.  Intrigued we asked questions about the care and had Dylan picked one out and took him home along with a habitat and food.  I read online that Hermit crabs despite their name do not like being all alone and it's better to have two or three in one habitat. So, the next day we went down to our local PetSmart and Din picked out another (Princess Leia).  Yes, the first one we got he named Luke. I have no idea if they are male or female but they names are what they are. Luke is the crab in the green painted shell and Leia, is the silver color shell on the right side. 

    A mom friend also had given us their bigger habitat as well as a bunch of other Hermit crab essentials.  At first, they were both doing great, well so it seemed.  A few days later, neither of them were moving or eating and I couldn't figure out why.  I checked to make sure they were alive and only Luke responded.  I put Leia in the smaller habitat and no movement for over a day and she started omitting a really bad smell.  I broke the news to Dylan that Leia has gone to heaven but Luke seemed okay.  I'm guessing Leia was sick.  As soon as I removed Leia from the bigger habitat, Luke was active again.  PetSmart does have a 14 day guarantee on their animals so we took Leia back and today brought home Han Solo. I also picked up a thermostat to keep an eye on the temperature and humidity in their home. 

    We now have two crabs again and I think we all enjoy watching them. Today, we tried giving Luke a bath but I think he is still warming up to us.  Perhaps another day I can get some pictures of Hermit crab bath time!

    Home Depot Kid Workshops

    Every first Saturday of the month at Home Depot, they have a kid workshop where your child gets their own orange apron with their name on it and can put together the chosen project.  We've never done this but this morning, Dylan was asking what project can we do this morning together, so I thought we could give a try.  I love that we don't have to register ahead of time so we can do this last minute like we did today.  Today's project was a wooden tulip flower pot for Mother's day.

    We were warmly greeted, given an orange apron and handed a kit wrapped in cellophane wrapping.  The kits have instructions with pictures and words. Each little workstation had its own wood glue and a hammer.
    Dylan had a great time asking what piece we needed next and how we put the flower pot together.  Most of the work was done with wood glue but he was very excited to be able to hammer in 4 small nails.

    When we got it home, we got out some paints so he could finish up the pot. It was a great project.  I love his enthusiasm and I'm looking now for more wood working project ideas we can do together.

    Mass Audubon

    About a month ago, I signed Dylan up for Nature Adventurers at our local Audubon of Massachusetts It's a preschool type structure which teaches children ages 3.5 to 6 years old about nature, animals, insects while providing a safe fun place for kids.  They go on nature walks while discovering what the outdoors has to offer.  What my son really enjoys is the predictability of the class structure.  He always knows what comes next whether it's craft time, play time, snack time, circle time etc.

    Dylan goes twice a week for two hours. Being a stay at home, co-sleeping,  homeschooling mom, we are together nearly 24 hours, 7 days a week.  I thought this would enable Dylan to have a little independence.  The first couple of weeks were tough for him  but we have taken it very slow.  I am so proud of him that he can now go into the class and is really excited to go to preschool. We still learn at home but this is showing him what a capable little boy he really is becoming.

    If your local chapter has this or another type of camp, I highly recommend it.  Please share your different type of preschool ideas. 

    Tin Foil Painting

    This morning we were looking for something fun to do and found this activity  posted on You'll Thank Me One Day Blog which I found through The Activity Mom on Facebook.  Who would have thought something so easy could be a lot of fun and a learning activity as well!

    For our set up, I used a plastic tray to keep the art contained.  I also put a piece of thin poster board under a piece of aluminum foil to make it a little sturdy when I moved it to its drying spot upon completion. I squeezed various washable finger paints onto a tray and handed him a bunch of paint brushes.

    At first, he started with little spots of colors but once I told him he could use his fingers as well, he went to town! He would dab the colors on and then use a different hand to smear and blend it around.  The learning part in this activity was that he learned more about the beauty of mixing colors.  I also loved that he could use the color white which usually doesn't use on plain white paper. Thus he found out how to lighten colors.  Dylan had a great idea for his second picture which we put glitter glue all over the painting as well.

    The whole activity took about 30 minutes but it was thirty minutes of quiet creative fun time.  He then cleaned up in the sink where he loves to wash all the brushes out while I quickly wiped down the table.  (Love washable paints!)


    Backyard Treasure Hunt

    Thanks to Gingersnap Alley  for such a great idea for an outdoor treasure hunt.  Today, at the end of the day, when my 4 1/2 year son was tired and cranky, I remembered this idea that I read on her website.  I grabbed a plain piece of paper and drew a quick map of our backyard.  I hid pretend gold coins around our backyard and on the treasure map, I drew in how many steps to each spot and added arrows to which direction to head towards.  I then handed the map to him and let him follow it (with a little help from me).  He LOVED this idea.  I had to draw another map to play again and then he hid the coins and gave me hints as to where he hid them.  It was a great winding down activity and I'm sure it will be something we will be doing again and again.

    All Capital Letters

    Today, Din successfully wrote all his capital letters from A to Z.  We've been working on capitals for a long time and although I knew he could do it before this date, I finally gave him the assignment to write them all out.  In the back of the Kumon Uppercase Letter book there is one page that the child has to trace all 26 capital letters and then on the back make their own.   He did great.  And he is so proud of himself  as well.  Makes us all feel good.  We started lower case letters and are about a third of the way through them. He understands there are capital and lower case letters but is unsure of when to use them or why so that is another thing we will be working on as well. 

    Onesie for baby brother

    This was a great idea given to me from a mom friend when she heard we were expecting.  She gave us a pack of five onesies and a pack of fabric markers.  Such a fantastic idea for Big Brother to be to make some shirts for his little brother to be!  I love this idea so much, I wanted to share it!  We have been making one shirt every couple of months.  Here is one of the shirts that Dylan and I have done so far.  He actually has done most of the lettering as well as the pictures.  I am so proud of him and he is excited to have made something so wonderful for his little brother. 

    Kool-Aid Painting

    A really fun and different way to "paint" is to use Kool-Aid and ice cubes.  I put a plain piece of paper into a tray to keep the mess to a minimum.  
    We used little packages of Kool-Aid so we could get multiple colors for the cheapest price. 
    We then sprinkled the different colors of Kool-Aid around the paper.  Using an ice cube, he then 'painted' the Kool-Aid.  When the ice starts to melt, it creates a bolder fun smear look.  We also experimented with different paint brushes to see what effects they would have on the Kool-Aid and water mix. 
     The finished product!


    Shaving Cream & Glue

    I got this idea from a mom friend off of facebook. She mixed shaving cream and white glue together and let the kids have add it.  Glitter and/or food coloring may be added as well.  We used a finger painting tray lined with plastic and then put a piece of construction paper down for him to mix the special ingredients onto.  It wasn't all that messy because we used the tray and he loved to just get his finger all into the mixture.  The very cool thing about it, is when it dries, it keeps the little mountains or bumps that he made.  Here are some pictures!
    The fun mixing part

    Getting creative

      

    The finished product!

    Craft Organizer

    Over the past 4 years, we have accumulated all kind of craft supplies.  Googlie eyes, pipe cleaners, paper plates, construction paper, rubber stamps, markers, glue of all kinds, ribbon, watercolors, finger paints, paint brushes and just a bunch of random things. I began throwing it all into a big clear plastic container which worked for awhile because I knew where everything could be found. But, I began to buy things that I already owned and didn't know I owned because it was just thrown into the big container.  We don't have a lot of space but I needed something to organize all our supplies.  The idea isn't mind and I'm not sure I found the idea at just one site but the idea is to use an over the door shoe organizer.  I checked numerous stores and only found one on amazon.com for about $18.00.
    So worth the money!  I filled up the pockets and ta dah!  Here is what I ended up with.  My son, Din loves it as well and his eyes lit up when he saw all the different craft supplies we have on hand. 

    Insta-Snow - Sensory Activity

    About a year ago, I bought a jar of Insta-Snow from Amazon.com.  The idea was to add water to this powder and snow would appear. This is a great sensory and science activity.  Insta-Snow is wonderful. Last year my son would dig his fingers into it and play and now a year later, the same jar is still bringing smiles.  
    Each jar comes with a small scoop.  Put a scoop of powder in the sink or another container and add a little water...wait 10 seconds and right before your eyes it multiples and creates "snow".  Here are Dylan's dinosaurs waiting for a giant blizzard to arrive in our kitchen sink. 

     Add some water...
    And presto...instant snow!  He started digging his hands into it...but eventually his clothes came off and he was putting as much as his body into it as he could without getting too cold. I'm thinking if I put it in a big plastic tub, he may have been trying to take a bath in it.  The great thing about Insta-Snow is you can put it in a tight lid container and save it to use over and over again.

    Positive Behavior Reward System

    Dylan is motivated by charts and rewards.  He has always enjoyed them and I've been trying to find some different ways to promote positive behavior.  I recently came across this fantastic book called "Rewards for Kids!: Ready-To-Use Charts & Activities for Positive Parenting.  Link to book on Amazon  

    What's great about this book, is not only does it offer ways to use different reward charts as well as story examples but in the back of the book, there are numerous charts, tickets, tokens that can be torn out and photocopied to use over and over.

    Yesterday morning, I explained to Dylan we would begin to work on a new positive behavior chart.  I got the idea from this book but designed it to suit our needs. They also give you the pockets and tickets but we just made our own.

    Using construction folded and stapled, we made three different pockets.  A Sun pocket, a cloud pocket and a rainbow ticket holder pocket.  I then cut out strips of paper which we drew either a sun or a cloud on them. I taped all three pockets to a wall in our kitchen. Whenever Dylan does something that is positive such as proper manners, listening the first time, putting his plate in the sink after eating, then he gets rewarded a Sun ticket.  However, whenever he goes into a time out, I have to say things to him over and over again or any other action that is considered not good behavior, he gets a cloud ticket.  The rainbow ticket holder holds all the tickets and when he is awarded one of the tickets, he picks it from the Rainbow holder and put it in the appropriate pocket.

    At then end of the day, for us this is after he brushes his teeth at night, he gets to pick one Reward Activity to do the next day IF he has more Sun tickets then Cloud tickets.  We came up with the ideas together.  He immediately came up with Chuck E Cheese! Which I quickly shot down nicely explaining the reward will be something fun at home that he doesn't get to do every day.  Such as finger paints,  dancing or pretend playing with mommy, playing dragons with daddy, doing a puzzle together, making cookies, playing a board game.

    We do many of these things on a daily basis anyways but knowing that it will be extra special because he earned it really makes it exciting for him and he gets to pick what he wants to do gives him a little bit of control as well.

    If he gets more cloud tickets than sun tickets then he doesn't get to pick a special activity and if he has a day with no cloud tickets, we will put a sticker on a special chart.  He is going to see Toy Story 3 on Ice at the end of February and wants a T-shirt. I told him if he gets 12 special stickers before he goes, he can get a souvenir.  The big day is 26 days away so we shall see if that is too difficult to do or not. 

    Here is a picture of our ticket holders.  Please ignore the small circle sticker chart, we use that on our school days.  That is another chart for another day!


    Valentine Day Hearts

    With Valentine's day just a couple of weeks away, I thought it would be fun to start working on some valentine day activities. One night, I scanned a bunch of activities that we could do together and I found some great ideas and some we will try out but it wasn't until the next day when hubby told me he showed Din how to draw a heart that I realized I don't have to be so elaborate with my ideas.  Din learned how to make a heart and that's all he wanted to draw on paper.  They are so darn cute!  I learned to keep it simple but we still try some of the other craft ideas I've collected.

    Long process to the big boy bed

    Over the past few days, we took Dylan's crib out of the attic and set it up into a full size bed and got a box spring and mattress for it.  With a new baby coming in August, it is time to start getting him into his own bed.  Tonight, Daddy read him some books, put on his fish night light and shut the lamp off.  Immediately, Dylan sat up and said he wanted his Mommy and didn't want to do this tonight.  We did give in right away because it was 8:30pm and past his bedtime.  I told him tomorrow night, I'll give him daddy's pillow and my book light and we'll try it again. After co-sleeping for 4 years, we all know it is going to be a long process but we have to start somewhere.

    Blessings

    The past month or so has been a whirl wind of the stomach flu, colds and lots of nausea. It's been difficult to find the time to sit and write.  Also, I wanted to wait as long as I could before announcing on my blog our great and exciting news.  Dylan is going to be a big brother.  All children are miracles and having been told 5 years ago by our infertility doctor that we only had a 1-2% chance of ever conceiving a child on our own, makes Dylan and the child on it's way such a blessing. God has smiled on us and surprised us with a dream come true.  By the end of this month, I will be in my 2nd trimester. Glorious news.