Monday, December 31, 2012

Snowballs for Summer

Mercedes and I filled 3 gallon freezer bags with snowballs to store in our freezer until summer. Why? For a summer snowball fight, of course! Or at least to melt on the sidewalk. Or in our swimming pool. We'll see. Blog post to be July!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chocolate Fondue (Christmas 2012)

This is a tradition we started last year and it is GREAT. There are a million different recipes out there, but ours is simple and delicious. 

Ingredients: 12 oz (1 bag) milk chocolate chips
8 oz (1 cup) heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat ingredients on low in medium saucepan until chocolate chips are completely melted, stirring frequently.

For dipping, we used: angel food cake, brownies, bananas, chocolate cake, pretzels and rice krispy treats. Other food ideas: strawberries, pineapples, graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies, oreos, twinkies...I can't think of many foods that WOULDN'T taste delicious dipped in chocolate.

We gave Mercedes her own bowl for dipping.

Gingerbread House (Christmas 2012)

Mercedes made her very first gingerbread house this Christmas! I love this tradition. This year we bought her a Gingerbread House Kit, but when the girls get older I would love to learn to bake the gingerbread from scratch.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Colored Snow

Mercedes really wanted to play in the snow first thing this morning but it was SOOO cold, so instead we brought the snow inside and "colored" it.

We just filled a muffin tin with water and added one drop of food coloring per color.

I filled a casserole pan with snow and let Mercedes "color" it. She used a medicine dropper for a while, then switched to a measuring spoon.

Halfway through she decided it would be fun to make "slushies" in the muffin tin.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Puffy Paint

There are a ton of recipes for puffy paint floating around on the internet. They all vary a little, but this is what we picked:

For each color:
1 Tablespoon Self-Rising Flour
1 Tablespoon Salt
1-2 Tablespoons Water
1-2 drops Food Coloring

Paint on a thick piece of card stock or thin piece of cardboard. We used cardboard, but I think card stock would have worked just as well. Microwave for 30 seconds and watch your paint turn puffy!


and after!

This paint is so fun I had to give it a try.

Textured Alphabet Flashcards

Mercedes and I made textured alphabet flashcards using beans, corn, yarn and sparkly stickers. Mercedes LOVED making them and once we were done with the alphabet she begged to make more. She loves to play with them. She touches the different textures as I quiz her on each letter. She likes to put them in the correct order while singing the alphabet, or mix them up and focus on learning each letter at a time. The different textures just add to the fun and learning.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mercedes' Preschool Routine

Mercedes has gotten into the habit of constantly asking me to do things at all the wrong times...asking to eat a snack when it's nap time, asking to go outside when Emerald is nursing, asking to do a project while I'm cooking dinner, etc. I am always telling her "not now" and "later". Then when I finally have the time to help her with what she wanted to do, she has given up and only wants to watch TV. The preschool teacher in me decided it was time to implement a daily routine so she knows what to expect at any given time. She's also been talking about wanting to go to school (because she watches shows like Sesame Street and Barney and sees kids at school). Since we are homeschooling and she is now 2 1/2 and potty trained (those are the requirements at the preschool I taught at for the kids to be able to enter the preschool classroom), I decided it was time to be intentional about giving her preschool type lessons every day.

Every day she gets a Bible lesson, a lesson involving letters, numbers, shapes or colors, and a craft, project or activity. I've separated these three lessons throughout the day instead of using one block of time so she doesn't lose interest or get side tracked.

I made sure to give her some TV time (when she gets a surprising amount of learning done as well as a change to chill out and relax her over-stimulated body and mind...and mommy gets a break too). Her TV times are Emerald's nap times which help to avoid Mercedes being too noisy and waking Emerald up. She also has plenty of free play time to do whatever she wants, and of course during these times I play with her or if she doesn't need me it's when I can play with Emerald one on one or get some cleaning done. A couple times a day I tell her it's "preschool clean up time" and she helps me straighten up the toys, which is amazing for keeping the messes under control.

This routine has changed her mood drastically. She has been extra happy and cooperative and she is LOVING the lessons. This girl thrives on structure and consistency. We follow this schedule the five days that Ben works (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and we call them our "Preschool Days". When she wakes up I tell her "we're having a preschool day today" and she gets really excited and right away starts asking for a Bible lesson. I am thrilled and I love it. Every evening I plan out the next day's activities and put all of our supplies in my "teacher's bag" which is just a big purse. Whenever I tell Mercedes it's time for a lesson she says "get teacher bag, Mommy!" and wants me to show her what's inside. We are off to a great start in our homeschooling adventures and it won't be long before Emerald can participate in the lessons too.

Ball Pit Ball Bath

 For a special bath time, I threw all 150 ball pit balls into the tub along with the water and the bubbles. Both girls loved it. Emerald was especially thrilled.

Ice Cube Tray Paint Holder

I wanted to share this really great idea we just tried (which I'm sure I saw on Pinterest because I rarely have any original ideas of my own).

Ben bought Mercedes some really beautiful neon food dyes last night so of course we had to try them out this morning. I put a spoonful of condensed milk and one drop of food coloring in each ice cube container and mixed them with tooth picks. It worked great! Way better than using a bunch of small bowls, or one plate and trying to keep the paint separated. 

On a side note, condensed milk painting is one of my FAVORITE ways to paint because the colors turn out SO bright and shiny. Click HERE for my blog about condensed milk painting. So easy and fun!

Monday, December 10, 2012