Monday, May 31, 2010

Shady


We don't have a lot of shade in our "yard" and I've been a little concerned about shielding Brianna from so much sun. Sunscreen can only do so much, especially for a fair skinned redhead! I looked at buying a wagon umbrella and clipping it to her exersaucer, but couldn't find a good place to safely clip it and the clip doesn't rotate to make that easier. I finally tried putting the table's umbrella through a spot for one of the toys. It works perfectly, and I didn't have to spend a dime!

BIG Bubbles!

I've seen lots of sites about making giant bubbles, and always wanted to try it but never really known how to do it. I tried one way that I found online and it didn't work at all. When I was at Toys R Us the other day, I found myself looking at a big bubble wand and wondering if it would really work. Imagine my surprise (and delight) to find this post on Childhood Magic when I got home from the store! I had leftover cotton cording from our clothesline activity, so I cut that into two pieces-one twice as long as the other. When we were at Fleet Farm getting supplies for our water wall I also picked up eye screws and two dowels.

Most big bubble recipes call for glycerin, but I have yet to find a local source to purchase glycerin so I just used regular dish soap and Karo syrup-which is what I use for our bubble solution. It's a bit tougher than regular bubbles so I thought maybe it would work out. The bubbles worked well, but not many of them actually made it off the wand. I'll look around more for glycerin. Maybe it works better. We did have a lot of fun though!




Johnny Jump Up

With how much Bee loves bouncing in her Exersaucer, I thought she'd love a jumper. We had a freestanding "Jumparoo" so I tried to put it together for her-and accidentally put the legs on backwards! Ahh! I was so mad at myself! They were stuck on and neither Daddy nor I could get them off so it ended up in the trash. We found a cheaper doorway version the other day and got it for her. She tried it out today. She hasn't mastered it, but she's starting to understand that she can make herself bounce.




Having so much fun!


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Water Wall

When I read this post, I thought "Gracie would love a water wall!! But, we live in an apartment so oh well." The I started thinking, there's no reason that living in an apartment should stop us from all the fun that is to be had. They're only young once, right?! I just needed to get creative on how to get it accomplished without a permanent yard to put it in.


I started by going to Fleet Farm and asking for pegboard. I was originally thinking plywood, but when I thought of pegboard, it seemed like a no-brainer. I wouldn't have to drill any holes! It would be much quicker to make it, and we'd be able to get right down to the fun part! I decided to spray paint it white, but that's not really necessary. I was going to paint a header too, but realized my paints were in my bedroom where the baby was sleeping. Oh well. I also used a spray on sealer to try and prolong it's usefullness.

I gathered a variety of plastic containers from around the apartment, hammered a hole in each one with a phillips screwdriver, and bolted them to the pegboard with wingnuts. My thought was that eventually Gracie will be able to move the containers around on her own if I used wingnuts instead of nuts.


Now all we needed to do was enjoy! I'm brainstorming ways to make a little funnel-like aparatus for the bottom so I can make the water go right back into the pool. . . I'm sure something will come to me!


Not surprisingly, Gracie was a little more interested in watering her flowers.

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Classics

While new ideas are fun and exciting, there's something to be said of the classics. Like a pots/pans drum set with wooden spoon drumsticks. I wasn't sure if B was going to appreciate the noise, so I kept her off to the side at first.


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When she started dancing along, I figured she wanted in!

(sorry about the angle of the cat in that shot...I tried to crop her out.)




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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Super Speller

This toy is actually a TAG toy from Leapfrog. Although we don't have a TAG, I thought for $2 it would still be a fun way for Gracie to practice phonics and letter recognition. It may not last all that long, as it's just thick cardboard and right now they fit in pretty tightly. I can see it easily getting worn from pulling the pieces out at the same spot all the time. It'll be fun until then, and the price was right!







Rainbow Blocks

When I saw this post on Childhood Magic, I instantly wanted a set of Rainbow Blocks! I didn't order them online, and then found this variation at Lakeshore Learning Shop in Maplewood. They're a bit spendy but, really, how could an art teacher resist a set of blocks like this?


She had so much fun when we got home from the store that she had to play with them again after her bath!






Ok, so I helped a bit on these two! These blocks are so much fun!


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Learning

I have started making some PowerPoints for Gracie to use. She is always so interested in my computer, and I figured it would be better to support her interest in a productive way than to try and keep her away from something that she will eventually need to understand anyway. I got the idea from 1+1+1=1. If you have a little one and are interested in doing educational activities with him/her this is an excellent blog to follow. She is fantastic.



I have only completed one PP so far. It covers Aa, red, and two. I finished it late last night, and this evening Gracie went through it several times. She loves being allowed to push the button on her own, and making things appear on the screen. She squeals in delight when she recognizes what has come up and best of all, is learning every step of the way!


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Tub Time

The girls and I went to Toys R Us today, and when I saw this sand/water toy I was baffled that Daddy hadn't already brought it home for Gracie! (He works at TRU). It is the perfect toy for my little girl! She loves water and sand, pouring, and cause and effect. We brought it into the tub today, and will probably use it outside in the playground tomorrow-if the neighbor kids aren't outside to break it.




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My Girl

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This is Brianna. She is pretty much this happy all the time, with the possible exception of when she is teething. Can you see why I rush home from work every afternoon?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Swimin' Sisters





Gracie was so excited to swim with her sister.

"I love you, baby."
Completely melts my heart-every time!

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Fun in the Sun




Sidewalk Chalk


Puzzled

I've had my eye out for some wooden puzzles for the girls for a while. However, I refuse to pay what most places are asking for them. Seriously, ten dollars for one puzzle? Outrageous! Imagine my delight when I found a four pack with a storage case on clearance at Michael's for just ten dollars! Gracie loves them, and has already started mastering them.


She can usually get them in and out of the storage case on her own.



One is a farm, and we play memory and try to find the animals, then I ask her what that animal says. This one is a little tricky because the pieces are not perfect squares and rectangles.


There is also color fish, numbers, and shapes. Under the numbers are animals-whichever number belongs there. If Gracie has trouble finding the right spot I can ask her to "find the two turtles," and it's an easy way to help her without doing it for her.

Clothesline

One of my mommy friends told me about how much fun her son was having hanging clothes on a clothesline at their house, and I realized that I already had leftover clothespins from the butterlies in the girls' room. I found some thick rope and hung it on the wall. She is having a bit of trouble with squeezing the clothespins, but is trying hard, and working on her fine motor skills in the process!


Practicing squeezing the clothespins.




She also had fun putting the around the edge of the container I keep them in. She found a bit more success with this, as she could put them on upside down and not have to squeeze them.


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Bee in the Grass

I put Brianna in the grass for the first time the other day. I thought she'd hate the texture, like many babies but she didn't! She pulled at the grass a little and babbled happily.









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