Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thinking Thursday: Countries and Flags

"Salt Lake"

Name this country

These are just words like "cup" "ball" or "car" except they have no concrete physical existence than can be held or manipulated. I am amazed that Sammi has demonstrated an understanding of these words. She seems to know what is close and what is far from us, why the places are important for one reason or another.

She is particularly fond of California as she and my mom have planned several trips to the beach for when Sammi is bigger. She also talks about Tennessee a lot since we'll be moving there at the end of June. She's not so fond of home! She usually tries to talk me into a trip to the park or one more errand when we're on our way home.

In conjunction with our World Music Premier Playdate, we had a fun craft to introduce the kids to the different countries. We made flags out of consruction paper and cardstock. It was super easy and turned out fabulously! There are so many flags that are made of just strips of colors. I chose a few and cut out strips of red, blue, green and orange. I did some to make horizontal stripes and some to make vertical stripes. From those four colors we were able to make flags for Austria, Russia, India, Ireland, France, and Italy. We glued the strips onto white cardstock since white was a color in each of the flags.

The kids loved this craft because they could use the glue stick and put the stipes on all by themselves. The blue circle for the flag of India was used in almost every flag regardless of the actual country!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

National Poetry Month and 31 Cent Ice Cream

I had good intentions of posting about National Poetry Month but one thing led to another and it's already the end of the month! However, it's not too late to experience some of the celebrations.

My favorite resource, by far, has been the blog Gotta Book's 30 Poets 30 Days. He has arranged to have a children's poet publish a brand new poem every day for the month of April. My two favorites I shared with the little ones at Laptime yesterday. They are Midnight Stray by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Owl by Ann Whitford Paul.

Another resource I enjoyed were the librarians at the Orem Public Library. They helped me find great books of poetry for little ones. They also had a fabulous exhibit for Poetry Month (Put together by Kim, I believe.) The book Sammi loved the most is Pocket Poems. For the Laptime we read the last poem in this book that talks about having a picture in your pocket and a poem in your head. I gave them all a picture of the owl above to remind them of Ann Whitford Paul's poem. In fact, tomorrow, April 30 is Poem in Your Pocket Day. Find your favorite poem and then find a way to share it: on your blog, facebook, twitter, with little ones, friends, co-workers, complete strangers at the grocery store :) The possibilities are endless.

But don't forget today is Baskin Robbins 31 cent ice cream cone day. Here are the details:
Baskin Robbins 31 Cent Scoop Night
Wedensday April 29 5-10 pm
All 2.5 oz scoops just 31 cents!
Plus, Baskin Robbins is donating $100,000 to support the National Junior Firefighter Program.
Enjoy some delicious ice cream at an affordable price and support a good cause. It's a win-win!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Parenting Dilemma: Resentment

I was not prepared for resentment to be a part of my motherhood experience. Resentment is like Motherhood's dirty little secret lurking in the shadows of unsuspecting places. I knew motherhood would be hard and require sacrifice, but I assumed I'd joyfully sacrifice for my little ones and that they, in this ideal scenario, would quickly and perfectly respond to my efforts to quiet and calm them.

I knew that I would sacrifice sleep as my little ones would wake in the night with needs ranging from hunger and diaper changes to soft, comforting words after a bad dream. I was so unprepared to resent them for stealing my precious sleep from me and then being so uncooperative by not returning immediately to sleep. I was also unprepared for the resentment I'd feel toward my darling husband who can peacefully sleep through just about anything.

I find myself resenting the constant need for attention every detail of my life seems to require. The moment my mind takes a break from even the smallest detail it immediately requires my full and undivided attention. I woke at 5:00 am with a stuffy nose, unable to breath, and heard the heater running. My fuzzy brain seemed to recall seeing the thermostat set high because yesterday was a cold, wet day. But when I went to bed, I didn't think to check the thermostat and reset it for a comfortable night's sleep. I resent the dumb thermostat that is ridiculously difficult to set and therefore requires daily, even hourly, attention during the volatile spring weather we have in Utah.

I didn't realize that I had so many hobbies and interests that are not directly related to caring for my babies. I also didn't realize how little time I would have to devote to them, or even to enjoy them on occasion. I resent that it takes me a month or more to read a book, if I even have the energy to get my hands on a book I want to read. I resent the ordeal associated with trying to sew and that by the time I have everything set up and ready to go, it's time to clean it up and make dinner.

And even though I am choosing to be a stay-at-home mom while my husband works and goes to school to prepare for his career, I resent that he gets to leave the house carefree each day. He has only himself to get ready and then he's off to his responsibilities. Whereas I have three people to get ready in order to leave the house and it's always a production, from missing shoes to dirty diapers to messy clothes to one more trip to the potty. And when we finally find ourselves walking out the door, I look down to discover I am wearing my slippers!

I resent that all this came flooding out of me on a Sunday morning when I would much rather enjoy the peace of the Sabbath day than vent my frustrations. I was not aware that I would find it so difficult to make time for my spiritual self. While getting ready to go to church still fills me with the anticipation of the calm and strength I find there, it is also a busy, chaotic rush to get ready and I miss the quiet time of getting ready by myself that allowed me to also prepare spiritually.

But I would choose it again. Even as I wrote all these moments of resentment, I smiled as I remembered the sweetness of my precious little ones and the kindness of my husband, who, upon returning home, shoos me from the kitchen so I can have a moment to myself while he finishes dinner.

I don't know how this story ends, but I think, I pray I've reached the climax of this chapter.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Physical Friday: Earth Day Craft

My most faithful commenter, Painting Pink Pajamas, hosted an Earth Day challenge this week. She challenged her readers to celebrate earth day and then blog about their experiences. When I first read her post, I hadn't made any plans in particular to celebrate earth day, but by the end of the week, I found an adorable craft for us to do.

This Egg Carton Ladybug comes from Enchanted Learning. After gathering the supplies to make the ladybug, I realized I also had the colors to make a bumble bee. Then we truly claimed the craft as our own by completing our set of egg carton creatures by making a caterpillar!

To make the bumble bee, we painted the carton yellow then added a black head and two black stripes. Then we poked two holes in the top, one for each wing. The wings are half a length of pipe cleaner looped and threaded through the hole. Then we bent the end over to hold it in place.

It's hard to tell in the picture, but each section of the caterpillar is a different shade of blue-green. We twisted a blue and a green pipe cleaner together to make the antennae and then curled them around a pencil. My favorite is the pink tongue. I'm pretty sure caterpillars don't have tongues, but I added the tongue in memory of the Cooties game where they have a little curly something for the mouth.
In true Earth Day style we did this craft outside on my mom's deck. It was a beautiful day with a slight breeze. While we were crafting away, we discovered a birds nest with 5 eggs in on of her hanging planters. We had an interesting discussion with Sammi about birds hatching from eggs. She loves to crack eggs when we cook so it was hard for her to grasp that these eggs were growing little baby birds.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thinking Thursday: Hide and Seek

If your home is like ours, there are empty plastic Easter eggs scattered about, finding their way into hidden corners and under furniture. Once the candy is gone, it's a bit of a let down or maybe we're just crashing after the sugar rush! Either way, Sammi is ready to hunt those eggs again.

Little ones love repetition. They learn so much from doing the exact same thing over and over. They start to understand that consequences are the same for a given action; they are able to improve motor skills; and they are developing confience in their understanding and skills.

Since Sammi has had a hard time letting the Easter eggs disappear back into the holiday box, we've adapted Easter egg hunting and she's having a ball! For snack time I'll grab a few eggs and put her snacks in them. I fill them with dried blueberries, Cheerios, pretzels, and sometimes chocolate chips or other very special treats. Then Sammi hides out in the bathroom while I hide them around the room. Once she finds them all, she gets to choose one egg to open and eat the contents. Then we hide them all again (including the empty one) and she searches once more.

At this point in her development, she loves to find them in the same place again and again. So the second time I'll hide them all in the same place and then after that I'll move one or two to new hiding places. We usually hide them four times. Eventually she offers to hide them for me to find. So I dutifully hide out in the bathroom while she hides the eggs. It's adorable because not only does she hide them in exactly the same places I do, she walks me around the room and shows me where they all are! We still have a bit to learn about hide and seek!

But for now, hunting snack Easter eggs is a great way to relive the glory of the hunt, practice hiding and seeking, prolonging snack time, and gearing up for next year!

Photo courtesy of Century Novelty

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Review: Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! Pirate Treasure

The cutest DVD showed up in our mailbox a week or so ago and we have been thoroughly enjoying it. Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! is a Nick Jr. cartoon about an adorable Wubbzy and two friends Widget and Walden. I really enjoyed the animation style and the sounds, i.e., voices, sound effects, songs.

The DVD we received features the episode Pirate Treasure. Wubbzy and his friends find a treasure map and decide to follow it to the X. They dress as pirates and Wubbzy assigns everyone a pirate name. They have such an engaging adventure with a fun ending. At the end, there's a cute song that recaps the lesson and theme of the episode.

We invited Sammi's pirate friend over to watch it with us. While Sammi ran around Jack stood mid-step entranced with the whole episode. He is so fascinated with all things pirate and absolutely adored the episode. His mom wasn't sure she could get into the animation but I really like it. It's all made of simple shapes with happy, bright colors.

We also enjoy all the other episodes that are on the DVD. Each episode begins with an introduction from Wubbzy: Wow! Wow! Hi Everbody, My name is Wubbzy. Sammi ran around all afternoon yesterday saying, "Wow! Wow! My name is Sammi!" I love to see her adapt what she sees into her play. It shows me that she understands the content and gets what it means in her own life. What a smartie!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Things To Do, Things To Do...

After coming back from Tennessee, I realize there are things to do here in Utah before we leave for good! There are so many places, restaurants, parks and such that we love here that I've taken for granted. I want to make sure we love them all up before we head out. Here is my list of things to do in Utah before we move.

Things To Do in Utah

These are mostly our favorites where we go again and again. But a few are things I've wanted to do and we haven't gotten around to them yet. Here we enter crunch time! We only have a month until Brent leaves for COT for a month and then we move 3 days after he returns.

What do you love to do in Utah or in your own area?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Musical Monday: What a Week!

Well, we finally made it home from our trip to Tennessee. We are moving to a fairly rural part of the country. We'll be right at the crossroads of the Tennessee-Virginia-Kentucky border. Fortunately, they have high-speed Internet there. Unfortunately, our motel did not. I had planned to keep you all (y'all, from here on out!) informed about the trip, but that was not possible.

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite songs: Leavin' on a Jet Plane. I love folk music because it's easy to understand the words; I like the harmonies and I can sing along. We typically focus on traditional kid songs with actions and kid themes. But every once in a while it's great to introduce little ones to other types of music. This broadens their knowledge and appreciation of the art of music.

I chose this particular song because we flew to and from Nashville. On our return flight we were waylaid in Denver overnight due to a ridiculous snowstorm. At one point I really felt the words of the line: "Don't know when I'll be back again." We had just told Sammi that we would see her in a few hours and read her books and tuck her into bed and then they canceled our flight and rebooked us for the following evening. Then that flight was delayed two hours. We didn't know how to talk to her about coming home because we didn't want anymore broken promises. Luckily, she LOVED her time with Grandma and hardly missed us at all. She did squeal with delight when we finally walked through the front door. So that made me feel a bit better :)

I hope you all get into the folksy mood today with your little ones. I'll tell you more about the highlights of the trip another day.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

8 Is Enough Tag Game

I've been tagged by Princess Mommy of Princess with a Half Price Tiara to play "8 is enough" Here you go:

8 Things I am Looking Forward To
  • Days at the park
  • Picnic dinners with Daddy
  • My birthday (just 2 weeks away!)
  • Summer swimming
  • Moving to Tennessee (but not to losing Brent to medical school)
  • Finishing Cap'n Billy "The Butcher" MacDougall's Guide to Pirate Parenting
  • Getting a Wii Fit (for my birthday, please!)
  • Living in a house with a yard
8 Things I Did Yesterday
  • Ate Ben & Jerry's ice cream
  • Drove to the airport, twice
  • Visited with a dear friend
  • Did laundry at said friend's house
  • Took a nap
  • Played Mario Kart on Wii
  • Sat at the airport
  • Flew home
8 Things I Wish I Could Do
  • Love to clean
  • Love to exercise
  • Have the stamina to grocery shop at several different stores to find the best deals
  • Acquire a new wardrobe without the hassle of trying on clothes and then paying for them
  • Play board games with my husband every night and still get everything else done
  • Get everything done
  • Get and stay organized
  • Have a massage and spa day
8 Shows I Watch
  • The Biggest Loser
  • Monk
  • Psych
  • Numbers
  • Iron Chef America
  • Chopped
  • House Hunters
  • Hidden Potential
I'm opting out of tagging more people to play along. If you would just love to post your lists of 8, please do and tell us about it. Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Review: Baby Einstein World Music

In another life I am destined to be a globetrotter! I love to travel, to see new places, meet new people, and experience new cultures. With a student-husband and two small children we have not yet traveled as extensively as I hope to someday do.

However, based on the few travel experiences my husband and I have had combined, we enjoy sharing the cultures, foods and languages of Japan, Austria and Bulgaria (and others) with our girls. We are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to introduce them to the various aspects of different lands.

So when the opportunity to host a World Music Premier Playdate presented itself, I could hardly believe our luck. Baby Einstein recently released a new DVD and CD entitled World Music and we had a huge party to enjoy the experience.

The music of the CD exceeds the quality of music I have heard on previous Baby Einstein CDs. I thoroughly enjoyed the familiar melodies along with the new ones. While watching the DVD the little ones really enjoyed all the animals from around the world. We had lions and tigers running around the room; I think I even heard a monkey at one point!

One thing I love about the DVD: It has two modes. One mode is just the music with the video and the other mode has the names of instruments and animals spoken and written on the screen. We showed the girls the DVD in the car on the first mode and it was as enjoyable for us up front as just listening to the CD. I appreciated that!

This was a fun way for us to introduce music from various cultures with our girls. The DVD and CD are also available on

Monday, April 13, 2009

Musical Monday: If You're Happy and You Know It

Elli has been clapping her hands for about a month now and has recently started clapping along with the song "If You're Happy and You Know It." She also discovered her pointer finger the other week and during the line "your face will surely show it" she points her finger towards her face. How cute!

We are on our way to Tennessee tomorrow to find a place to live when we move there at the end of June. It's been a busy week with Easter yesterday and leaving tomorrow. Today we present you with Sammi's favorite video of "If You're Happy and You Know It" that we've found on YouTube.

We love to sing this song in the car with actions like
touch your nose,
pat your head,
nod your head

Here's to music, happiness and play!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Physical Friday: Holding Objects

One day you have a newborn who lays calmly in your arms, smiling contentedly as you go about your business. The next day, however, your baby has turned into an active, curious baby constantly looking for something to grab onto. This is one of my favorite transitions in early childhood because once babies realize they can control their environment, they begin to interact with the things around them.

Sometime between 3-4 months babies begin to show interest in objects other than faces. They look more intently at new objects discovering every detail. They may even begin to reach out toward objects. By 6 months babies usually have mastered holding and turning an object in their hand.

Here comes another of my favorite transitions: Babies then begin to realize they have two hands and can thus hold two objects. During this period I like to play my favorite game. Elli and I have entertained ourselves for quite some time with this engaging game.

I sit on the floor facing Elli with three blocks. I hand her a block; she grabs it in one hand. I hand her the second block; she grabs it in her other hand. I hand her the third block; she drops a block and grabs the third block in the now empty hand. I pick up the recently released block and offer it again. Elli again drops a block to grab the newly offered block. I pick up the discarded block and hand it to her again. She again drops a block and grabs the new block.

You get the picture. This goes on for a very long time! It's so cute to see how excited she is each time a "new" block is handed to her. She is so excited to grab it that she forgets completely about the block she already has in her hand.

If your baby is in this adorable stage, act quickly with this game. Sooner than you think babies wise up and attempt to hold all three blocks at once.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Review: It's Hip Hop, Baby!

"Hip Hop Simon says, 'Jump! Jump!'" I've said it before and it remains true: Sammi loves to jump! After watching It's Hip Hop Baby!: All Your Child's Favorites, Sammi reenacted the Hip Hop Simon song over and over again. Every time she watched it again, she added another component of the video to her reenactment.

This is the first video she has seen that she has asked to watch again and again. It's the first time I've been able to put a video in for her while I take a shower and have the bathroom all to myself for the entire length of my shower! Thanks, It's Hip Hop, Baby!

Even our 7 month old was enthralled with the video. She clapped along with "If You're Happy and You Know It." She even kicked her feet when they did "stomp your feet!" It was cute to see the two girls sit side by side and enjoy the same thing at the same time.

From a child development standpoint, I loved the amount of repetition in the video. They did the Hip Hop Simon song a few times and each time it engaged the girls and captivated their attention. My favorite song on the video is about animal sounds. I have sung it to Elli as I put her in her car seat or change her diaper and she is all grins and squeals every time.

It's Hip Hop, Baby introduces numbers, letters, colors, animal sounds and directions in a fun and engaging way. The songs and actions live on long after the video is over. I recommend this video as a way to engage children in their interests in a developmentally appropriate way.

You can check out the It's Hip Hop, Baby! website and blog for additional videos and great ideas for encouraging your child's development through music. It's Hip Hop Baby!: All Your Child's Favorites is now available on

Monday, April 6, 2009

Musical Monday: Silly Pizza Song

I love the blogging community more and more each week. I had so much fun with the Ultimate Blog Party and all the new blogs I discovered there (and was discovered by!) The reaching out, making connections and sharing ideas matches my social butterfly personality so well.

I mention this because this past week I had the chance to connect with Princess Mommy from Princess With a Half Price Tiara in her quest to re-find THE cutest shape song. We finally found it over at If Only I Had Super Powers. You've got to check out their version of The Silly Pizza Song adapted to practicing shapes. Then go check out Princess Mommy's post with resources for making your own pizza and shapes.

Here's the original song from Signing Time.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Feelin' the Love!

Here it is, my very first blog award! Thanks so much to The Home Teacher for loving this blog! Check out her awesome blog which has ideas on teaching toddlers.

Thank You!
Here are the rules:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog

2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you

3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs

4) Add links to those blogs on your blog

5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

I would like to nominate:

Painting Pink Pajamas
Mom's Marbles
The Thoughtful Parent
Some of This and Some of That
Princess With a Half Price Tiara
Rhymes and More

These are all terrific blogs that are definitely worth checking out if you don't already read them!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Physical Friday: Making Letters

We've been having so much fun finding the S in Sammi's name everywhere! I decided she was ready to make one herself. One thing led to another and after a few days, we had her whole name! I wrote the letter with glue and she placed the objects on herself.

We practiced all the letters' names as we made them. Then just as we were finishing up, m mom stopped by. Sammi loved showing off her letters to my mom along with naming them for her! It was fun to see her remember them all after such a short time. I was also very impressed that she "got" the double M in her name. Usually she ignores the repetition because she doesn't see it as necessary. She already said it once and correctly at that! Why should she have to repeat it? I think making two Ms helped her "get" it.

For materials we used whatever I had around the kitchen. The S is dry black beans. The A is green yarn. The pink M is harvest rice medley. The blue M is penne pasta. The I is Acini di pepe pasta that I tossed with red and yellow food coloring drops for a fancy variegated look. For the rice and Acini di pepe she scooped it up with a spoon and then shook it out over the glue (like you do with glitter) and then I helped shake the paper around so all the glue was covered up. She liked these ones the best. I think she felt so grown-up using the spoon.

What else would be good materials for making letters?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thinking Thursday: Waiting Games

Welcome to the Carnival of Play! PhD in Parenting is sponsoring a Carnival of Play and since we enjoy playing so much at our house, I thought it fitting to join in the fun. No carnival is complete without cotton candy, so as promised, I'm providing some courtesy of Jump for Joy.

I was at the doctor's office this week (I thought I had an ear infection but it was just inflamed) and the wait was quite long. There was a father there with a 2 year old boy and a baby in a car seat. They had been waiting for over an hour! Both the father's and the boy's patience was running thin. I had Elli with me and wanted to help, but my attempts were a bit awkward. Then the lady next to me-of grandmother age-started talking to the boy and the next thing I knew he was leaning on her leg and naming all his body parts.

We spend an awful lot of time waiting places: post office, grocery store, doctor's office, car, oil change place, clothes shopping. The list goes on and on! I've been gathering an arsenal of games to distract, entertain and educate that can be played anywhere with what's on hand.

The Finger Game
Ask child to hold hand up showing all the fingers. Starting with the pinkie, point to each finger and say the child's name. Two syllable names work best. It goes like this: Sammi, Sammi, Sammi, Sammi, woops, Sammi, woops, Sammi, Sammi, Sammi, Sammi. Say woops as you slide down the pointer finger to the thumb, then the name, then woops as you slide back up again.
Variations: We use everyone's name we can think of: Mommy, Daddy, Elli, friends, Grandma, Grandpa.
This game helps teach children the structure of language, specifically syllables and words.

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
Ask child to identify different body parts. If you're brave enough, go ahead and sing the song with your child. This is a great one for the car!
Variations: Ask "What's this?" as you point to a body part, eyes, ears, chin, uvula!
For some reason, this is a hard one for kids to resist. They love knowing the answer to a question.

Go on a Letter Hunt
Look for anything that has words. Ask your child to identify any letters or words they already know. Depending on your child's age and skill, you can say the letter's name and they point to the letter or you can point to a letter and ask for its name.
Variations: This is a great time to introduce new letters. I like to look for letters that go with objects Sammi currently loves or objects that are close at hand. For example, at the grocery store, finding an A when you are buying apples.
Finding a way to make the connection between letter, sound and word helps solidify the concept for your child and gives you something to refer back to the next time you talk about the letter.

Old MacDonald Had a Farm
Practice animal sounds! You can sing the song, again if you're brave, or just name animals and have your child say the sound. Kids are so cute when they make animal sounds. This game will surely melt the hearts of any who are also waiting near you.

Counting Fun
Practice counting from 1-10 or whatever numbers your child is working on. We sometimes sing the numbers to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus. "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Begin again! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10"
Variations: Count objects you see. You can count fingers, toes, cars, trees, houses, magazines, anything!

Sometimes waiting is stressful and it can be hard to think of what to do to entertain your child. Just remember that play can happen anywhere with whatever resources you have on hand. Not only will your children be occupied, but you'll also be distracted and the time will go faster for everyone!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More April Fool's Day Fun!

Something else you should probably know about me: I'm a linguist. I received a master's in Applied Linguistics from the University of Utah in 2005. (That's not the joke! Wait for it... Wait for it...) This is a little exercise in morphology if any of you are interested! Virtual High 5s and hugs all around for those who get it!

(Now this is the joke)

mato buol "your mother runs"
baku keol "his dog eats"
matil seol "my mother plays"
bua "I run"
bue "you run"
apro buol "your father runs"
see "you play"
bakil seol "my dog plays"
kea "I eat"
apru keol "his father eats"
matu buol "his mother runs"
foa "I walk"
foe "you walk"
bako buol "your dog runs"

How would you say "My father walks"?

Happy April Fool's Day!

I remember going to school with two different colored socks, a pig tail and a french braid, and mismatching clothes. I'm pretty sure it was April Fool's Day, but it may have just been the 80's! I was never a very good prankster, but found ways to enjoy the holiday, nonetheless.

Here are some books I've found that follow the April Fool's Day theme:
Look Out, It's April Fools' Day

April Foolishness

Michael Le Souffle and the April Fool

How do you celebrate April Fool's Day? What reactions have you had from little ones as you teach them about this holiday?

Today I'm also dispensing advice on how to keep your marbles over at Mom's Marbles. Come toss in your 2 cents, too.
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