Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Painting puppy paws

This week Grace is supposed to bring "something her pet uses" to school for show and tell. So, I asked Grace on Monday morning what she wanted to bring. I was thinking about a leash or a toy. But Grace's first response was "paws!" Funny. Daisy does use her paws, but I was stumped about how we were going to bring them to school. Then, we got the idea to put paint on Daisy's paws and bring the paint prints to show her friends at school. As the words came out of my mouth my brain was anticipating all the problems we were going to have trying to get paint on Daisy's feet and then get the paint on the paper! But, always up for the challenge, I figured it would be a fun activity, too. And, I knew that I had a lot of brown wrapping paper in the garage that just might work for this project....

So, I used a pan with washable paint, some brushes, and a long strip of paper. We all went outside on the driveway and this was the result:Of course, Grace wanted her feet painted, so we went back outside and then compared her feet to Daisy's. We looked at how they were the same and different and whose were bigger.And, just for the record, it is REALLY difficult to convince Grace to let me take a picture of her. I hope it won't be long before she realizes it is just easier to stop for a second and smile for me! Most of the time I have to get lucky to catch her looking at the camera.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Spoiled!

We were all spoiled today by Kyle's brother who took us to a baseball game. If you are going to watch a game in late September for a team that isn't exactly the best in the league, there is no better way to do it than in a climate controlled suite, with a private bathroom, three TVs, and someone serving you food and drinks the entire time! All 8 kids had a great time....and so did the grownups!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pumpkins, horses, and skeletons...oh my!

We got our first dose of fall fun this afternoon when we went to a local garden center for their Fall Festival. I was looking for a scarecrow to decorate the front of our house (I didn't find one!) but we really went so Grace could ride a pony. Good thing we went straight to the horses as soon as we arrived, because it was a LONG wait for our turn. But that gave me the opportunity I needed to walk around the garden center and choose some fall decorations.Grace ended up riding the horse she wanted (there were three choices)....this pretty one named "Lady".While we waited we chose some pumpkins and checked out some Halloween decorations including a graveyard outside. Grace was fascinated with a moving, life-sized Frankenstein, but she wouldn't get close enough for me to take a picture! She reminded me it was "petend" (pretend), saying, "I'm not scared, Mommy. It's petend."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall is officially here, but....

...it doesn't feel like it! With temperatures in the 80s this week, we took advantage of the warm weather by playing in the pool on the deck.
It might be the last chance we get until 2011!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Musical Mission

I am always looking for opportunities to expose Grace to new things. Today, she was able to experience some musical instruments up close. Before a library event called "Teddy Bear Parade" (where a costumed bear lead kids and their families to the town green for an outdoor concert) the musicians were inside the library offering a chance to touch, listen, and compare instruments. Grace got to put her fingers on a trumpet, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, saxophone, tuba, and a flute.
Looking at the oboe up close.
The trumpet has been Grace's favorite thanks to Chris Botti.
The musicians were wonderful with her and she was fascinated as she listened to each of them play their instruments separately and together so she could hear the different sounds they made.
The tuba was almost as big as Grace and it
weighed more than her - 35 pounds!
When it was time for the concert, the bear and the high school drummers lead everyone outside. The grass was wet and we were all hungry, but it took a little persuasion to get Grace to go eat at a restaurant across the street. The only way she agreed was because we told her we would sit at an outside table where she would still be able to see and hear the band!

Friday, September 17, 2010

F is for Family

Each month, the teachers at Grace's school follow a themed curriculum. Everyone in the whole school from infants (yes, the have a curriculum for infants!) through school aged children use the same theme as the backdrop for all their subjects with age appropriate activities. So, when you walk down the halls or look into the classrooms you can see that everyone is doing the same type of thing, just progressively more in depth based on their age. This month the theme has been about self, family, and community.

The teachers in Grace's room made show and tell easy on parents this week by providing us with a big, white letter "F" and asked us to decorate it with the theme "F is for Family". So, one night this week, Grace sat on my lap at the computer and we looked for her favorite photos of some of the people in her family. I loved how she had such a strong opinion about putting pictures of "my Dawson" and "my Connor" in. I printed and cut them and she glued them on the F. That was really hard for (control freak) me but I tried not to adjust the photos too much from where she wanted them. I only moved them if she covered up someone's face (really!). We included a quote from a Laurie Berkner song "If you're in my heart, you're in my family". (If you don't know Laurie Berkner, you probably don't spend much time watching Nick, Jr.!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Show and tell" is really going to test my creativity

Every Friday, the children in Grace's preschool class have the opportunity to participate in show and tell. At first, I thought this would be great. Well, actually, I DO think it is great - for the kids. They get the chance to show something that is important to them and have the experience of talking in front of other people each week. Great for memory, language development, social communication, self esteem....and so much more. But, it is really hard on the parents! Why? Because there are rules! No toys, the item has to be small enough to fit in the child's cubby box (about the size of a shoe box), and some weeks it has to coincide with the curriculum themes.

Last week Grace brought shells. I thought that was pretty good. We coached her about finding them on the beach at Nana and Ba's house, what creatures once lived in side the shells, their colors, etc... Not bad, right? Until I found out one of her classmates brought a boomerang! I have to give those parents credit. That was a cool thing to bring. And, Grace remembered it because she told Kyle all about how you throw a boomerang and it comes back to you. The bar has been set pretty high!

So, this week for show and tell Grace is bringing two pieces of wood. (I know...keep reading and it will make sense.) We made a bonfire on Sunday night and cooked marshmallows. Grace helped crumple paper and put wood in the outdoor fireplace,
...and watched (from a safe distance!) as the fire grew.We talked about how it gets really hot and how we use water to put out the fire if we need to. Then we cooked marshmallows and compared how they look, feel, and taste before they are cooked and are all gooey after they are cooked.So, on Friday for show and tell Grace is bringing some of these photos and the before and after pieces of wood to show what fire can do and how the wood changed after it got burned...and maybe some marshmallows to share!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Nature Realm

On Sunday we visited a 104-acre park in our area called the "Nature Realm". The land was donated in the 1920s by a business mogul whose family founded one of the largest companies in Northeast Ohio. Today, the park has many short, paved paths and observation decks overlooking lawns, trees, and ponds. This park also runs several kid-friendly programs, so I was happy to check it out to see if it is a place we would like to return to later this fall.We had a lot of fun running around, playing hide-n-seek, and getting a little exercise together!Inside their 10,000 square foot visitors' center (which is built into a hill) we discovered many different kinds of native plants and animals and saw a park worker holding a snake he said someone found inside a car engine!Of course, Grace is always my favorite subject (even when she is pouting), but here is the one nature shot I took.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

In the photo booth

These silly self portraits remind me of those amusement park photo booths. Not great photos, but we had fun making funny faces together!

Friday, September 3, 2010

How can it be September already?

We aren't done with summer yet!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This week's letter

Quick....how many things can you think of that start with the letter "E"? egg, elephant, eagle, eyes, earring, elbow...This is one of the letters that Grace struggles with and since it occurs in so many words I decided to actually teach it to her by trying to associate the letter with some meaningful activities. So, one night after she went to bed I made an Easter egg matching game. Grace searched the house for the eggs, opened them up, and then matched little letter cards with corresponding letters tucked inside an egg carton. E is for egg (and we got some other letter review in too!)
We also glued googly eyes on a large capital letter E. Anything involving glue and lots of little pieces is fun for a 3-year old!Next up later this week is another capital E and glue project with pictures of anything I can find starting with that letter. Thank goodness for the internet!