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.