Monday, January 31, 2011

more math manipulatives

"Mommy, do you have any work for me to do?" Finn asks nearly every Saturday morning. Montessori school clearly agrees with him. He seems to respond to clear instructions and boundaries around specific projects, especially ones that can be done over and over again. So we decided to set up a few "works" that he can do at home.

One of the works that we set up for him is a little bag full of wooden hearts. They are painted with watercolors and sealed with beeswax. Perfect for a myriad of works, including counting, sorting, patterning, addition and subtraction.

Finn's current favorite is addition. If he has 4 yellow hearts and then gets 2 blue hearts, he has 6 hearts altogether! Very exciting!

I've also started showing them to Philip in a grid and talking a bit about multiplication since I know he'll be venturing into that territory soon at school. Manipulatives can be so wonderful for explaining the meaning behind the memorized facts.

I also let Finn help me make a counting/numeral work with beans and craft sticks this weekend. He put a dab of glue for each bean on sticks from 1 bean to 10 beans.

He very carefully and neatly lined up his beans (a great work, on it's own!)

And while he napped, I printed out the numerals 1-10 on photo paper and attached them to the end of each craft stick with velcro dots.

Now he can count the beans and learn the numeral that corresponds to each number, then when he knows them really well, he can remove the numerals and match them to the correct bean stick. He was so excited about this work that he wanted to bring it to school!

Any fresh ideas for more works of this variety would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

community Candlemas celebration

Our little festival community held a Candlemas celebration today. The beautiful temperatures of yesterday continued into today and it turned into a lovely celebration of the return of light to our day as well as the promise of coming spring.

Our Candlemas celebration this year was a little different, although no less special, than last year's. We decided to roll candles this year to make our Candlemas candles.

Our next station was a candle decorating station with Stockmar decorating wax.

We ended up with candles filled with so much unique creativity.

The next station was a paper-candle-holder-making station.

The 4-pointed paper candle holders turned out adorably without being too complex for the children to make in a group.

Of course, we had a baby station as well, on the warm, sunny porch, filled with music and singing.

What a lovely way to kick off the week of Candlemas!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

a hiatus in winter

We had a lovely hiatus in winter today with temps reaching upward to 60° under beautiful blue skies. We decided to take advantage of the warmth and head out to a local park with some out-of-town friends. We haven't seen them since their sweet new little one was born so it was a treat to meet beautiful Naia and see her family again.

Of course, the kids were immediately drawn to the ledge overhanging a huge gully running through the park.

They hung and slid their little bodies as far over the edge as they could without actually plunging down the hillside.

You can see the tree roots on which Paulie perched over a 20+ foot drop. They try to make my heart stop nearly every time we hike here!

Finn and Zach did find a little bit of tamer fun in a troll's cauldron.

Then, of course, the big kids found a slightly safer way to descend into the gully.

Never being one to shy from a challenge, Paulie decided to climb the most difficult route out of the ravine.

But he was quite thrilled with his victory when he reached the top.

Poor Finn, being too little to explore the ravine, grew tired of waiting and took a rest on a fallen log.

He was very patient. :)

The next challenge...a fallen log crossing a creek!

Too many kids going too many different directions!

After conquering the log, we headed out of the woods.

What a beautiful break in the chilly winter we've had. We certainly made the most of our warm day and enjoyed seeing friends too!

Friday, January 28, 2011

celebrating Elizabeth

::breakfast in bed::

::birthday dinner while playing cards::

::birthday ring for Elizabeth::

::singing the birthday song::

::making her wish::

::new books::

::matching clothes for Elizabeth and her doll::

{this moment} - entering double digits

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo (or 3) - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. See Soulemama to play along.

{Happy 10th birthday, little girl.}

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yarn Along and a little bit of happiness

Joining the lovely Ginny again for Yarn Along, I've been furiously knitting all week on a sweet little sweater for Elizabeth's American Girl doll. Elizabeth's birthday is on Friday so I'm getting down to the wire! The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Multi in Princess. The entire sweater will use less than 1 ball (at $3.99, woohoo!) and I'll probably have enough to make a little AG hat as well. The reading selection is actually Elizabeth's as well. She and I have been reading The Mother Daughter Book Club together in the evenings. Not high literature, but an entertaining read, and I'm hoping it will lead to our reading Little Women together (the book subject of the club). Elizabeth has really enjoyed reading this, and actually asked for the second book in the series for her birthday.

I also wanted to include some moments of happiness from our home over the last week, also inspired by Ginny's "bits of joy". I could use a little more focus on the joyous moments of life as well.

Finn, helping with dinner

Elizabeth, asking me to take a photo of her "artist look"

Paulie's first taste of buttermilk

chiseling out a fossil, a piece of amber with a bee inside!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

paper heart garland

We decided to make a Valentine heart garland this weekend, after seeing the adorable paper heart garland on Gardenmama's blog. Once we started making the garland, I decided to put my own spin on the process, and we're all really happy with the results.

Finn did the painting for us. He used a sheet of watercolor paper and using the wet-on-wet technique, covered the paper in red watercolor paint.

After tracing and cutting out the hearts, I began to just stitch the hearts together, but then remembered a strip of grosgrain ribbon I had left over from a project so I stitched the hearts to the ribbon. Each heart is almost touching the next, and I had exactly the right amount of ribbon to hold all of the hearts!

Originally, we hung them over the window and the translucency of the watercolor paper with the sunlight shining through was simply gorgeous.

We had trouble closing the blinds though, so this morning they were relocated over the bay window in our breakfast nook so we can see them each meal.

Here's a bit of closeup of the stitching of the hearts and ribbon:

I love the texture of wet-on-wet watercolor with the slight color variation and the crosshatch of the watercolor paper.

Valentine's Day is not generally a holiday that I throw myself into preparing for, but it's awfully nice to have a few hearts hanging around to bring some cheer to the late winter and remind us of our loved ones.