Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Letter Builders

I was first introduced to the idea of letter builders at captain Rex's parent night for the K4 class he attends for 3 hours each day. I loved the idea and thought it was an awesome way to reinforce the different lines and curves that make each letter. At his school they use a wooden set from Handwriting Without Tears which costs about $30 for the wooden pieces.
Handwriting Without Tears Set

Yep, this was not in my budget so I set out to figure out a way to make them myself. On one of my favorite blogs I came across a printable to make your own letter builders. Yay!
Magnetic Alphabet Builders

My first attempt at letter building was today. First I put out a small version of the uppercase F on the kid's table and asked Thomas (age 2 yrs 10 months) to "build" it with his green foam pieces. This was definitely above his skill level, but we figured it out together. (Since he is still under 3, I am introudcing concepts this year that I don't expect him to master yet....next year we will dive full force into our Raising Rock Stars Preschool.) Then I remembered that at captain Rex's school they used a mat for each letter with the outlines of where each line and curve should go to form the letter. So I used an orange marker (the color of the week) to trace the outlines of our foam pieces onto cardstock. This made it much easier for my little tot to understand!

I just found a blog that has letter builder templates you can print!!!
Tired, Need Sleep

Here are a couple of other neat resources for letter building...
Lakeshore has a cool set of letter builders

Monday, November 29, 2010

"I shall not pass this way again..."

I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. ~William Penn

Rejection sucks. Sorry, but I can't think of a more elequent way to say that. I have what my husband refers to as the puppy dog syndrome. When chastised, I whine and hold my head down only to perk up, grin and go running back the second I am called again. I can't help it. It's just who I am. I will not claim to be a saint who forgives all, but I am just not able to stay away from the ones I love, even when I am hurt. I love with abandon. I love with everything I have to give.

I too expect to only pass this way but once. Like my heavenly Father who has forgiven me even when I didn't deserve His grace, I too will forgive. Like my precious Jesus who loved me enough to give His life to claim me as his daughter, I too will love with every ounce of my soul.
When I am gone from this world, I pray that the legacy I leave behind is a legacy of Love. I pray that everyone I come in contact with will see Him, not me. I pray that His light and love radiates through me. I pray for chocolate milkshakes on the nights where life feels lonely. I pray that on these nights, God will gently remind me that I am NEVER alone and that His amazing love is all that I need.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Keeping Our Heads Above Water

My little Thomas will be 3 in a couple of months. This past year with him has tested every ounce of patience in my body. He goes from a loving little boy giving out kisses and cuddles non-stop to a sobbing, toy throwing and yelling little boy. Most days I feel like we are swimming in a sea of toddler emotions just trying to keep our heads above water.
His emotions are no different than mine. The difference is that he is still learning the art of controlling how he expresses his emotions. Heck, truth be told, at age 31, I am still learning the same art.
My goal is to not only help Joseph recognize the different emotions and feelings we have, but teach him the appropriate way to react to our emotions.
Here is an awesome Feelings Tot Pack I found at 1+1+1=1

I put a velcro square on each face so that Thomas can attach the correct expressive face for each emotion we talk about. (I bought a huge roll of Velcro in the sewing section of WalMart to cut into squares instead of wasting tons of money on a few little velcro dots)

Match the feelings game...

I also found this resource on ABC Jesus Loves Me. I still need to cut them out and glue them to popscicle sticks so that we can use them as props during story time to talk about each characters emotions...
ABC Jesus Loves Me Teaching Emotions

I found this book at the library book sale.
A feelings mini book out of our preschool workbook...

I would love to hear other ideas on how to teach emotions and feelings!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Feeding My Soul

Everyone has different passions and talents. Well for me, the two don't necessarily go hand in hand, but as they say "practice makes perfect." Passion is such a strong word. For me, I am passionate about the things that feed my soul and making jewelry falls right into that category. I used to spend hours every night after work creating "art" out of a pile of beads and wire. I need to take a class because I know there are tricks of the trade that I would love to learn. Making jewelry allows me to express my creativity. It allows me to "zone" out and let the cares of the world fade away as I allow my mind to focus on the minute details of bending wire and stringing beads.
After Captain Rex was born (who is now 4 1/2), the beads went in a diaper box in the top of the closet, far away from the grasps of a baby who would have loved to eat the tiny little choking hazzards. Since then, the beads only come out to play at Christmas time when I attempt to create gifts for loved ones with my fading memory of how I created it in the past.
Today my beads and I got to play a little bit while Tinkerbell slept off the croup in her swing and the boys went out with Daddy to play. Ahhhh how I have missed my little beads. My little soul food. Here are a few of my creations...


I just read an article this week on a company called Bead For Life that helps Ugandan women sell beads they have handmade from recycled paper to help support their families. The beads are gorgeous!

Holiday Crafts

We spent alot of time making holiday crafts this week...
Making paper plate Christmas wreaths

We are basically out of glitter glue now :)

I know this picture is blurry and Tinkerbell has her eyes closed, but I had to share! She looked so proud of herself making it around the dining room with her "sniper" crawl.

We made beaded candy cane ornaments which turned out to be a great fine motor activity by lacing the beads onto the pipe cleaners. It was also a great way to introduce patterns (2 red, then 2 white, then 2 red...). I found these at AC Moore for $1.

My little Thomas got bored with the ornament making about halfway through and went off on his own dining room exploration.

Captain Rex (we are big Star Wars fans around here) with is finished candy cane.

Of course we had to eat real candy canes after this. Thomas kept asking if he could eat the beads saying "is this candy, Mom?"

Stephen decided his Christmas wreath made a great hat :)

We also made napkin rings for Thanksgiving using 2 inch strips of construction paper stapled onto a cut up paper towel roll. We glued on fake leaves I found at the Dollar Tree. Now I just have to pickup some cute napkins this weekend!

We also sponge painted cardstock in fall colors that I plan to cut up and use at place cards on Thanksgiving.

We are behind on Raising Rock Stars Preschool (http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.com/RaisingRockStars.html) but we will catch up soon. This week was all about art!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Big Machines Book & Tot Pack

I made this Tot Pack I found on 1+1+1=1 for my little Thomas (his nickname since he is obsessed with all things trains these days) to go along with his love for all things construction.

The Lego City book we read to go along with our theme.

Build This City! (Lego City)

My little Thomas impressed the heck out of me counting big machines....he made it to card 7 before I had to help him :)

Thomas with his sight reader on big machines

Pasta construction fun. I dumped a pile of orzo pasta on a tray for him to "scoop." Made quite a mess on my floor but it was worth it because he LOVED it!


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