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baby_eyesGo here to find out. What a cool website! And how fun!

Run to Wal-Mart right now to get your very cheap Valentines for next year. I picked up Spongebob, dinosaurs, and Cars – but they also had devotional, Barbie, and more! Put it in your holiday decoration box and remember to get them out when you put your Christmas decorations away next year!

Sam’s Pre-School theme for this week was Pets! We had SO MUCH fun with this. We have a fish, a cat, and a dog, so we only incorporated (for the most part) these types of lessons.

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Snack: Puppy Chow - we weren’t able to get to the store for this, but a fun idea nonetheles.

Art: CD Rom fish craft (absolutely excellent – Sam’s fave activity so far!); Toilet paper roll - dog; Coffee filter fish craft - Sam loved holding the blow-dryer himself and we shared this activity with our 8-year-old neighbor. We also added glitter to the body because we didn’t have tin foil.

Reading Skills: Cat Book – make your own; Related activity sheet (these both went over really well!); In The Water-World Poem by Evaleen Stein

Music: Pussycat nursery rhyme

“Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussycat, pussycat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.”

Pretend Play: Paper bag cat puppet

Gross Motor Skills: We took Annie, our dog, for a walk and brought back a leaf for McQueen (the cat) to play with and a few rocks for Choo Choo Train’s bowl (the fish).

Field Trip: Pet Store! Make sure you bring hand sanitizer for afterwards.

Bible Verse: Isa 65:25: The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
       and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
       but dust will be the serpent’s food.
       They will neither harm nor destroy
       on all my holy mountain,”
       says the LORD.

*What a fun week! Again, be sure to visit DLTK for their amazing ideas. Have any ideas for Pet Week? What are you doing next weel? Want to share your lesson plans with us?

***This week was originally Snow, but found it hard to incorporate fun activities for a sick boy without going outside everyday, so penguins got thrown in there. AND I forgot about V Day, so we put in a bit. Mixed up week, yes, but fun nevertheless.***

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Sam’s pre-school theme for last week was Penguins/Snow Here’s what we did:

Snack: Snow candy – White chocolate chips melted, Lifesavers Wint-o-green mints crushed and combined. Add a few drops of blue food coloring. Spoon mixture onto wax paper and let melt.

Reading Skills: Snowflakes, a poem by Linda Copp; Five Little Snowflakes felt board ryhme - to be honest, this didn’t get done

Art: Be my Valentine muffin flower card ; penguin shapes craft

Math: Penguin shapes craft (same as above)

Music: The Penguin Song

Like I said, Sam was sick all week or we would have made snow forts, ate snow cones, etc., but it just didn’t happen.

*All ideas are taken from DLTK, a FANTASTIC craft for kids website. Hopefully soon I’ll get some different sites to help with lesson planning. Have some sites/ideas/books? Pass them on!

Obstacle Course

So I forgot to take pictures. Rather, I was having so much fun and breathing so hard that it wasn’t possible to take pictures at the same time. But we set up a very cool obstacle course. I was getting a bit concerned about my boy not exercising enough due to not having a vehicle during the day anymore and the cold weather outside, that I decided to make fun exercise in four parts:

1. Toddler Yoga. If you know anything about toddlers and/or yoga, you pretty much know that the two don’t go hand-in-hand as some try to make us believe. Yoga is too peaceful and toddlers are, er, not so peaceful. Instead, we took basic yoga principles and adapted them to a three-year-old. Downward Dog turned into a barking butt up in the air pose, child’s pose was a baby crying, etc. But all the while we breathed in through our noses (as if smelling a candle) and out through our mouths (as if blowing the candle out).

2. Hot Lava. I set up construction paper throughout the house. The carpet was “hot lava” and we jumped/ran to each spot all the while saying, “Oooh. Ah. Ow!” He got lots of kisses on his feet afterwards.

3. Cup Weave. Next I set up a gazillion plastic cups left over from birthday parties. We weaved in and out of these like a soccer player. It was hard for him to understand, so I drew some chalk on the floor in a line that he should follow. I got pretty frustrated here, but checked myself and went on.

4. The Gauntlet. While I waited in the bedroom Sam would run from the bathroom to the laundry room – screaming in laughter! When I saw him go by I threw soft balls and feather pillows at him. He went down a couple of times, but was laughing so hard nothing could hurt.

And then he passed out on the bed and took a two and a half hour nap.  Needless to say, it was a good time.

Have fun!

Just in time for Black Friday!!!

My favorite toys for growing toddlers are toys that are multi-purpose, sensory rich, and/or just great fun. Here are my (our) top picks for value and fun:

1. Bob The Builder Die Cast Take Along  – Not only are these sturdy, colorful, and magnetic, most of them do something “special”. Scoop picks up dirt, Packer’s apples smell sweet, Sumsy moves up and down, and Tumbler spins (to name a few!). They run about $5.00 – $7.00 a piece, which may seem spendy when you think of a Matchbox car, but these are so much more fun. They are great in the bath, sandbox, water, and I can throw them in the dishwasher for an easy clean up. (We even paint with them – their tires are all different and work well for “Car Painting”.)

2. Parents markers  - Even the Crayola no mess markers can’t beat the wipe-off factor of these great markers. They come in many colors, are priced about the same as others, and are chunky enough for the littlest boys and girls.

3.  Melissa & Doug (everything!) - This company rocks! From their puzzles and little cars all the way up to train tables and easels. They are sturdy, colorful, and made with little ones in mind.

4. Cabbage Patch Kids - Great for boys and girls, every age, color, and ethnicity. You can match your doll to your child so they have someone to play with that looks just like them. My boy loves his “baby” and often falls asleep with him in his arms, tightly swaddled.

5. Trains, trains, trains – Whether you go with the pricey Thomas the Tank Engine sets, a middle priced Imaginarium set, or great finds from garage sales – you just can’t go wrong with train sets. They help build math skills, sensory skills, and take loads and loads of time to build (and break!). Thomas the Tank Engine Imaginarium  Ikea Lillabo

What are your fave toys for the holiday season?  What won’t you buy your kids?

More on Diaper Rashes

So my poor little baby has some issues with diaper rash. In my struggles, we have tried every brand of diaper, wipes, ointment, etc. We have had major success with Boudreaux’s Butt-Paste, all brands of sensitive wipes, home made wipes, and Huggies brand and cloth diapers. He also went through a whole tube of anti-yeast cream for his bottom. Cortisone cream helps with the pain.

We have also changed foods, such as cutting out citrus and apple juice, etc. However, the struggle still goes on and at least twice a month he breaks out with another flare-up. Thanks to my RN mother-in-law, however, we use this trick to ease the redness, swelling, and pain.

BAKING SODA BATH! We throw him (ok, so we don’t actually THROW the child) in a warm bath with 1/2 cup baking soda. It softens the water and neutralizes the skin. It is fantastic! He feels so much more comfortable after a particularly bad poopy-diaper-on-rash incident.

Other things that are supposed to help that we don’t really notice a difference with are letting him go bare butt for a few hours and changing diapers frequently.

For a free sample of fore mentioned Boudreaux’s go here.

What have you tried? Do you have anything that works fairly well? Please share!

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