Friday, June 18, 2010

The Good [Kids'] Stuff: Survival Mothering

I have a large amounts of posts in my mental queue for both this and my family blog, not to mention a few other writing projects that I'm excited about, but I thought I'd record a few activities we've been doing that I'd rather not forget. Everything in our lives is unbelievably scattered--while I was in Europe, my very kind husband moved us out of our apartment. While my parents are generously hosting us at their house, our belongings are strewn between both of our parents houses and a storage shed. Ugh, I just can't think about it too much, or my head starts to hurt. However, we are enjoying some wonderful time with family. And I can't believe how nice it is to have grandma's loving attention for Peter during the transition times. Man, I'm getting soft!

I am still committed to my Mama School, although the next three weeks have been designated by me as our "relocation break," while we get our family from this side of the country to the other.

Here are our lesson plans for the week before and after my Amsterdam trip:

Goldilocks and the Three Bears:
Monday: Read different versions of Goldilocks, play with toy set pulled together with small, blond, naughty-looking doll, and three bears. I also gathered dollhouse furniture (from my mom): three chairs, a breakfast table, three beds. This would be most successful with a doll house, recreating the bears cottage.

Tuesday: Bear Appreciation Day. We read lots of bear books today and learned all about their hibernation patterns. We also constructed a bear cave in the living room. Because all of our spare blankets had been packed, we borrowed some fitted sheets from my mom and found them to be exceptional in sofa-fort construction. By the way, have you seen these sofa fort critiques ? They make me laugh enough that Shane starts bugging me about why I'm laughing so hard.
I think this fort deserves a B-

Wednesday: Oatmeal--the super grain! As an homage to the too-hot, too-cold, and just-right porridge, we ate oatmeal for breakfast and made my favorite oatmeal cookies
Now that I'm writing this out, it would be fun, also, to do some activities surrounding the idea of 'too hot' and 'too cold' as well as all the other comparative analyses that Goldilocks makes throughout the book.

Thursday: Please Knock, Goldilocks! I checked out a few books about stranger danger--nothing too scary, but just preliminary thoughts about it.

Friday: Jumping and Running! More library books, this time about animals that jump (kangaroos) and run (cheetahs). There were also a couple of books, sort of 'running is fun' types of books that were complete duds with Pete. We had relay races (yes, just the two of us), and I almost blew his mind when I showed him my crabwalk. He is now completely taken with backwards running. We also did the long jump and high jump, and recorded his best jumps to show dad after work. (Dad impressed us by hitting the ceiling on his vertical jump.) I also pulled up the world record long jumper, just so Pete could see the pros. He was mildly impressed.

Curious George Rides a Bike:
[Note: this week was so crazy, half of my plans fizzled into us running errands or other unforeseen shananigans.]

Monday: Curious George and Curious Monkeys. We read all of the Curious George books and enjoyed a banana. If I had my real life, I would have checked out some books on monkeys and climbing, and headed to the park for some jungle-gym climbing.

Tuesday: Read all about it! We made a family newspaper with the latest family happenings (Day Out with Thomas, Sunday dinner with my brother, Summertime activities), remembering Curious George on his paper route. My vision was to print pictures from iphoto, but I narrowly held Peter's attention for writing out the articles on a large piece of butcher paper. I think this would be a really creative, fun activity for a slightly older child.

Wednesday: Paper Boats. The book provides some excellent instructions on how to create paper boats. We didn't exactly get to the activities today, but it would have been fun to make the boats and race them down a nearby stream. I'm also wanting to do the ever-popular "sink or float" activity.

Thursday: Trumpet Day! How could we not celebrate the trumpet, after reading about the ostrich who swallowed George's trumpet? Ideally, we would have had a few fun books about trumpets, watch some Youtube of one of my musical heroes, Wynton Marsalis (although we have already spent hours watching him!), and had fun playing on Peter's toy trumpet. Sounds fun. sigh.

Friday: Circus Parade. Another day of unfulfilled plans, but there was a plan! We were going to read about circus parades (a topic that is very popular among the child lit crowd). I loved building animal trains as a kid, by lining up orange and apple boxes in a straight line and putting stuffed animals in them. I remember barely fitting in the first box as the circus engineer! I hope that our lives can settle down enough to do this later on.

A few days ago, in a desperate moment to do something fun for the remaining two hours left before dinnertime (ah, that dreaded 3:00 pm stretch!), Peter and I created "La Familia Pizzaria". We made a menu (I left the pricing up to Peter, and his rates were amazingly reasonable, aside from the $17 tap water). I may just scan the menu a post it here for posterity, as proof that I was trying to salvage something from one of those days when the hours seemed to drag so painfully. As much as I would like to report that this was a wonderful success, unfortunately, both boys came down with stomachaches just minutes before the pizza was put in the oven, creating quite a chaotic restaurant experience. Two boys screaming and an oven at 500 degrees. Perfect. Anyway, the boys rested and Shane and I had a romantic dinner for two at the pizzaria. Peter managed to recover in time to order ice cream from the menu. Peter reminded me that ice cream is great for stomach aches. Right.

A friend of mine has been sharing some things she's been working on as far as summer activities with her kids and it got me thinking how nice it would be to hear what my friends are doing with their kids this summer. If you have some activities or thoughts to share and would like to do a post, please let me know!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Good [Handmade] Stuff: Baby Happy Pants

Our little guy can't stay little! When I was packing up our baby clothes to bring with us last summer, I was certain that I would not need the 18-month box. Shame on me for not remembering how big our boys are! As the summer months have approached, Nathan has been in need of a new wardrobe. I wanted to keep spending to a minimum, since that box of clothes that fit him is waiting for us after we move back in a few weeks (!). I bought some sale fabric from Sew Mama Sew and a fresh batch of onesies and called it good for now.
I used a combo of tutorials for these pants--I like the MADE tutorial and the instructions in Creative Family.

It is fun to have something fresh and new for this #2 boy!