Friday, February 28, 2014

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

One of our favorite stories is Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig.  It is a great, classic story about a little donkey who find a magic pebble and ends up accidentally turning himself into a rock.  The story is a bit sad while his parents are looking for him and he is giving up hope of ever becoming a donkey again.  It all ends well, however, and my kids really liked the story.

We decided that it would be fun to do an experiment with some "magic" pebbles of our own, so we brought out the water beads again (and yes, I still have my love-hate relationship with these monsters).  We filled a pan with them, and then left them out on the counter for four days.  We watched them shrink down to tiny pebbles as the water evaporated.

After they had completely shrunk and dried, we decided to see what would happen if we rehydrated them.  Instead of using plain water, we soaked them in Tonic Water, which glows under black lights.

The beads rehydrated well, and the rehydration is much more spectacular to watch than the dehydration because it happens much faster.  They looked really neat under the black lights as well!  Overall, it was a very successful experiment, and the kids got really into checking the beads to look for change.  And the beads did NOT end up all over the house this time (woot!)

As with most of our stories and experiments, I encourage the children to write about them in their journals.  I blogged here about how we use journals.  The journal not only offers great practice at writing and expressing themselves on paper, but it also allows us to easily look back over what we have learned and review and reminisce about our year.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Printable Playmats!

Printable Playmats
Free Printable Playmats Available HERE
My little ladies needed an activity today, and I remembered seeing these Printable Playmats online recently.  I printed out two of them, taped them to a piece of cardboard and collected a few bits and bobs to make a little place scene.  I added a few blue and green wooden stacking block pieces, some duplos, some of our tree blocks, some plastic animals and a couple of crocheted bowls.  They played with it for much longer than it took me to pull together, which is always a win!  In the end, predictably, it was joined by our Frozen Ice Castle and a couple of princess dolls who had to swim through the water and sneak through the forest...but that made it all the more fun.

Friday, February 21, 2014

DIY Frozen Castle Tutorial

Disney Frozen Anna Elsa Dollhouse Castle DIY Tutorial

Do I have the only little ones who are REALLy enjoying Disney's "Frozen" movie?

Flower does a large portion of her PT exercises to the Frozen soundtrack, and she has chosen to make little Anna and Elsa dolls two of her weekly prizes for completing her 6 hours of therapy.  She recently realized that ANNA AND ELSA NEED AN ICE CASTLE!

Well, we are just not going to buy a big plastic Frozen castle...but we decided we could probably make our own.  We have previously made a cardboard Snow White cottage, so we modified the pattern to make it look a bit more...frozen.  Here is how we did it...feel free to tweak it and make it your own!

1. We purchased the Cardboard Dollhouse PDF from a shop on Etsy.  It is not my pattern, but I like it!

2. We drew over the pattern to change the treehouse look into more of an ice castle.  You can see the changes in blue.  We freehanded is not rocket science!

3. Using a good utility knife and quality, thick cardboard, we cut out the pieces following the pattern. (I don't have to say that this is a job for the adult, right?!)

 4. We assembled the castle, and then embellished with some windows and a door.  We kept the door connected at the bottom, and bent it to create pull-down steps.  The steps were a MUST according to my Frozen experts!

5. We painted both sides of all the pieces with swirls of blue, white and a drop of yellow.

6. We mixed some silver glitter into some Modge Podge and painted that over both sides of each piece.

7. Finally, we assembled the castle, and then sprayed it all over with Modge Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer to make it shiny, protected, and to "glue" the pieces together.  

We think it turned out great- and it is just the right size for the Anna and Else Frozen dolls.  Give it a try and let us know how your castle turns out!

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Serial Casting Update

Look- there are legs under there!  Playing with her marble maze.

Wrapped up and ready to be casted.

Going out to lunch after casting is a fun treat.  We are both enjoying our time together.

This week Grandma came along, which was lots of fun!

We continue on with our serial casting adventure.  She is currently on her 6th week of casting, and is doing quite well.  According to her team, she has reached the range of motion they are looking for in both of her ankles.  The bones in her feet are nearly aligned.  They are pleased that her calf muscles have not fact they have grown.  This is a testament to a) how hard she is working doing her PT exercised, and b) how LITTLE she was using those calf muscles walking up on her toes all the time.  We anticipate that in the next few weeks they will decide that she has gained what she needs to gain, and they will take molds of her legs to build her AFOs (ankle-foot orthotics).  While they build them, she will get 2-week holding casts (and we will get a week of from driving downtown...plan ahead, no doubt it will be a lovely day with no snow, since every time we drive to the city we seem to bring on a blizzard).  She will wear the AFOs 24 hours a day (well, she will have a daytime pair and ones for night) for around a year.  At that point we will wean her off the daytime braces slowly.  She will continue to wear AFOs to bed until she stops growing- probably ten years down the road.  We will continue with the PT exercises for an hour a day as long as she still wears her daytime AFOs.

So we have a lot ahead of us still, but it looks as if the casting is working and we are eager to get out of the casts and into the AFOs...which will allow for such luxuries as bathing, walking in puddles and not having to wear bags (albeit VERY cute mama-made waterproof bags) over her casts to go outside.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Its Olympics Time!!

Who is ready for the Olympics?  In keeping with our philosophy that you should take any excuse for a party, we are all set to celebrate tonight during the Opening Ceremonies.  Got our Gold (Metal) Fish Crakers, Ice-cream Cone Torches, Olympic Ring M&Ms...the room has been decorated, Lego has been busy putting up information about all the sports and the countries.  The excitement is high!!  We even borrowed a television (gasp!).  Bring on the games!

Here are a few fun resources:

{this moment}

{this moment}
 - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Happy Place

Knee deep in snow AND sewing...a perfect combination.  I have all sorts of fun projects going on at the moment...spending lots of time in my sunny sewing room, dreaming of the days when we can wear sundresses again and anticipating the arrival of lots of new babies this Spring and Summer.  I believe the count of expected babies has reached at least 12 for me...and it seems like girl power is reigning supreme this year- 8 of them are confirmed to be little ladies, with only 2 boys and a few question marks remaining.  I am really loving this stage where I get to love on all my friends' babies, make them cute dresses, and then go home and sleep through the night :)