Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bring on summertime!!

Haydie P's first year old preschool is over. 

She is such a big girl, so happy and sweet.

Her school had a fun little party to mark the end of a fun year! 

And now we are ready to enjoy SUMMER!!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

In the days following our trip to the Discovery Museum, there has been much talk about what we all enjoyed most. 

It seems that each of my girls had a favorite: the light table for Hoot and the marble run blocks for Bug.  They have been talking about those two things since we got home, and even wondered why we couldn't have something like that at home. 

That got me thinking.  Why COULDN'T we have something like that at home?  I mean, we love sensory bins - rice, beans, pebbles, play dough, cloud dough, shaving cream, sand, salt - you name it, we love it!! And we have made most of them ourselves. And as for the marble blocks, you don't usually have to twist my arm to get m to buy fun educational toys - have you seen our Lego collection?  It is extensive to say the least. LOL

So I did a little bit of research on light tables using Pinterest, and there are a TON of cheap ways to make one.  I ended up mixing the instructions from many sources and coming up with my own plan. By piecing things together that I had around the house and buying a couple of little things - a clear plastic container, parchment, aluminum foil, two strings of Christmas lights - I came up with this.

Not exactly perfect, but it will do.  And because I had most of the supplies already, it only cost me $8!! Score!

There are a TON of activities that you can do with a light box or light table.  Anything that lets some light through is fascinating - and most things that don't let any light through seem to be fascinating, too. LOL  Today I gave them a tub of rainbow pony beads. 

And they played happily for more than an hour with minimal arguing.  They love it.  They played bakery, scooted the beads all over, scooped them up with spoons, sorted them into little glass jars and more.

I have big plans for this thing.  Writing in colored salt, tracing activities, colored water beads, glitter slime, sparkly ABC beads, tissue paper shapes and more! I am so happy with it!
Now, providing the marble run blocks for my little marble lover is proving to be harder.  The ones at the museum were wooden blocks with little tracks cut in them, and some had little features like bells, xylophones, tipping buckets, etc. THEY WERE SO COOL!! I loved how open ended they were, and how they made my Buggy smile and giggle as the marble rolled downhill. So I looked at buying a set on Amazon - and I got the wind knocked right out of me how much they cost!! It made our Legos seem dirt cheap!  I don't want my kids to have to skip college because they had marble run blocks, but if I hit the lottery they will be the first thing I buy! LOL Does that make me a total nerd?
So I am still figuring out how to make that wish come true.  For today, I borrowed this idea from Homespun Threads.  You know, since I didn't win the lottery and all.
While the girls were napping today, I made this.
I did it a little different from the link above, but the end result was the same. 
The two little dogs thought that whatever I was doing was very interesting and we all waited for the girls to wake up.
I guess it took longer than they expected.
Eventually, the girls woke up and joined us and the marble racetrack was a hit.

I also put water at the bottom because I thought that my girls might get a kick out of the splash at the finish and fishing them out of the water.   I was right.  This was especially entertaining to Carly. :-)
 So even though it wasn't exactly what I had in mind, it made them happy and only cost me a $1.88 for the noodle. A lot cheaper than the stupid blocks that I would have had to take out a loan for. LOL And it bought me another whole hour of busy, happy, little ladies.
So all in all, I would say that today was a mom win.  I didn't win the lottery, and I still can afford those awesome blocks (I think I liked them as much as Carly did! LOL), but I made each of their museum dreams come true one way or another, spent less than $10, and got a few moments of peace while they played. :-)  SCORE.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekend Warriors: Family Style

On Friday, we took our little smarty-pants to the Discovery Museum in Reno. Let me tell you something - that place was like HEAVEN for my girls. They wanted to move in and never leave.

They couldn't get enough.



They are totally little builders by nature, and couldn't get enough of anything in that realm.  Blocks, marble runs, magnetic tiles - they love building!! Legos and wooden unit blocks are their VERY favorite thing at home, so it was no big surprise to me when they had to be dragged away rom the same types of things.

They were also very eager to try out the Cloud Climber, which is a huge floor to ceiling jungle gym-type thing.  
Hayden was especially excited, and strangely, Carly was more cautious.  It is usually the other way round.

But the personality swap didn't last too long.  They didn't get very far before this happened.
She panicked, which resulted in me having to climb into the Cloud Climber to rescue her! Poor thing. But I cannot say that I was surprised.  I am, however, proud of her for being brave and trying.
And (again, not a big surprise) Carly loved it and didn't want to get out. EVER. She climbed up pretty far, held her own with the big kids, and found her way out all by herself.
It is always so neat when we do things like this to see what interests each of them, what kinds of questions they ask, and what they remember.  I love how thirsty they are to know all about the world around them.  I will keep feeding into that forever.  I never ever want these girls to stop asking questions!!
Besides feeding that "need to know", it is important to us that we teach them about giving back and taking care of their community.  That brings us to Saturday morning.
Each year, Garrett's Rotary International club chooses a community project to tag as their "International Day of Service" project, and they encourage members and their families to come out and help.  this year, they chose to clean up (paint over) all of the graffiti in our local skate park. 
Seeing as our girls love to ride their bikes there, this was the perfect project for them! 

It was a great project. We painted the entire skate park! It looks great! And our girls loved it. They were both so proud that they had helped cover up what Carly called "the naughty letters" and make a place they love to visit look great! and we were home in time for naps!  It is never too soon to start volunteering, folks! 
The rest of this weekend was spent relaxing and enjoying each other's company. 
My mother-in-law recently acquired a miniature pony.  We took the kids over for a visit this morning, and I think that it is safe to say that they (especially Hayden) are in love. 

So there you go. Some learning, some service, some fun, some relaxation.  This is how we do weekends.  :-)