Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cute little "cousins"

To distract Em from the fact that Bapa left, we made a quick trip to the Woodlands to visit Mimi and PaPaw! It was too short, but Em got to have fun with her little "cousin" Ryan.

We visited the splash pad at Market Street because it was a HOT day! Em was a little hesitant at first, but her natural bravery eventually came out.
Loved seeing these two play together
Look at that smile!!
She stayed like this for a while, but the water never came out! The 'rents were all very disappointed.
Didn't stop her from finding a different one and sticking her head in it.
After we dried up, she was uninterested in Z Gallerie. But she found a way to keep entertained.
They found pulling leaves off this bush so amusing. And you may notice she's got a bit of a bossy streak these days...
After church I got some sweet baby kisses. Totally makes my life.
It was a fun little weekend and now that we are home (and Bapa's no longer here) we are sure missing all our family!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bapa visits!

One of the bad parts of my dad's job is that it requires him to travel a lot. I know he misses my mom and has a hard time sleeping in hotels. One of the good parts of his job is that it requires him to travel a lot - and a lot of time that travel brings him through Texas. Em has been so lucky to get to see her best friend about every other month.

This time we got him for almost a week! Em was in heaven.
Pinkies up!
Real men spend Friday nights having tea parties. With a baby who doesn't want to put on pants.
My dad renewed Em's thinkery membership for her birthday, so of course we had to go with him. We are loving all the new exhibits they have added lately!
You put pieces of pool noodle with paper propellors in this wind tunnel and it shoots them up. We spent a loooot of time at this one.
A rocket launcher!! This thing was cool.
Daddy liked it as much as Em did.
More fun with wind - ping pong balls in twisty wind tubess 
The giant lite bright room is always a success
Kid, I don't care where we are. I WILL put you in time out when you thump other kids.
Playing with shadows.
A little dinner on SoCo... didn't know there was a car show that evening and it was sooo packed.
Clowning around at lunch
She loves painting, and she loved it even more with Bapa
My dad taught her how to wear her baby hahaha
We went to Toys R Us and I thought I would never tear them out of this car.
Em has been asking for Bapa every morning. Can't wait for him to come back.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tot School: Letter I and Numbers

I am so far behind posting this that it's almost my turn to teach tot school again! This was over a month ago, but better late than never, right?

This time I taught Letter I and Numbers. I learned a lot about our kiddos last time and how they learn and felt like this lesson went a lot more smoothly. I also tried a few new things that we loved, and a few that we didn't. Here's our lesson plan - I hope it can help you!

Singing Time
  • No More Monkeys Jumping on The Bed - what kid doesn't love this song? It was also a fun activity for getting the wiggles out. I would have them hold up their fingers for each number and shout the number and they got really excited about it.
Story Time

  • Ten Apples Up on Top - This was their favorite book! I think it helped that we read it during snack time, but we ended up reading it a couple times. It's a short, easy counting book. And I made flannel characters and felt apples and they got to act out the story. 
Download the felt pattern here
  • Chicka Chicka 123 - It was a cute book and they enjoyed chanting along! I think we could have done just the chanting part again if there would have been time. If you like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, this is a great companion to add to your library.
  • Very Hungry Caterpillar - Another fun counting book. We read through this one and then did Do-A-Dot marker caterpillars. I did a separate post about Do-A-Dots back here because the kiddos loved them so very much. They are awesome!
Download the Do-A-Dot cards here
Letter I Activities/Crafts
  • Flannel board words that start with I - who knew it was so hard to come up with words that start with I? I used ice cream, iguana, igloo, island, insect, indian, and iron man. I got my images from Clipart Panda but I'm not sure they are truly "copyright free" so I'm not going to share my collection. I suggest using that site though because it's easy to search for what you're looking for, just to use for your own personal use.
  • Decorating Ice Cream cones - I learned last time that the kiddos really like glue! We also learned that we put the dots and let them put stuff ON the dots instead of just giving them the bottle. I cut cones, scoops, cherries, and "sprinkles" out of colored construction paper and they got to glue together their ice cream cones. This one was really popular.
Download ice cream patterns here

Number Activities/Crafts
  • Flannel board counting scoops of ice cream - This was a fun and easy one! We just put a cone out and then they could stack scoops and we counted how many. 
Because laying down and sticking out your tongue makes it easier.
  • Apples On Top playdoh mats - They were supposed to roll playdoh into little "apples" and stack them on the characters heads. This one didn't work very well. They all just kind of played with the playdoh. Maybe for older kiddos? Also, laminate these cards. I didn't (ran out of time) and it made them not-so-reusable.
    Download Apples on Top playdoh mats
  • Pom Poms counting bowls - This one was also not a success. It was just paper bowls with a number and that many black dots. They were supposed to put that many poms into each bowl. Instead they just kind of poured poms from bowl to bowl. Maybe an activity for older kids.
Next up, Letter O and Opposites! Stay tuned.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Freebie Friday: Send a Little Sunshine

I can't call this original idea - I have seen several variations on the "sending a box of sunshine your way" gift basket before. But when I actually went to send one, I couldn't find a tag I liked to go with it. They all seemed a bit too... cute-sy for my taste. I wanted just something simple.
Download PDF
So if you're looking for a simple tag to go with a fun yellow gift, feel free to download and pass along some sunshine!
This box has a lemon candle, bath sponge, lemon verbena soap, eos lipbalm, gum, crystal light lemonade, candy, highlights, and a yellow notebook. It was really fun walking around Target finding all the cute yellow things! You could also do things like socks, nailpolish, etc depending on the recipient's age.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Spiritual Thought: FHE and Toddlers

I've been thinking a lot lately about General Conference. I felt like there was a particular emphasis on families and the responsibility parents have to teach the Gospel to their children. This is definitely an area where I feel like we can improve.

We have been having "family home evening" with Emma since she was very little, but I use that term lightly. It lasts maybe 10 minutes max and usually involves a song (or singing "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" 10 times in a row) and then we have been going through the Book of Mormon videos on the Mormon Channel.
Sidebar: Monday night, we were watching Captain Moroni Defeats Zerahemnah. After the video, we try to ask Emma some questions about what was in the video.
"What did you see?" we asked her.
She proudly responds, "Nipples!"
... well, she's not wrong...

Anyway... back on topic. We want to make FHE a little more meaningful. We've come up with a list of topics to cover for the rest of the year and I'm looking into making felt board images to go with each topic. Here's our topic list - please let me know if you have suggestions for ideas or activities that will make this more engaging and fun for our little one!

  1. Heavenly Father
  2. Jesus Christ
  3. Holy Ghost
  4. My Body
  5. How to pray/be reverent
  6. Being thankful
  7. Saying i’m sorry
  8. Telling the Truth
  9. Love everyone
  10. Night and day
  11. Sky, earth, sea
  12. Plants and trees
  13. Sun, moon, and stars
  14. Birds and fish
  15. Animals
  16. Sabbath Day
  17. Adam and Eve
  18. Plan of salvation
  19. Jonah and the whale
  20. Daniel and the lion's den
  21. Noah’s ark
  22. David and goliath
  23. Baptism
  24. Sacrament
  25. First vision
  26. The Prophets
  27. Families can be together forever
  28. Nephi retrieves the plates
  29. Tree of life and iron rod
  30. Moroni and title of liberty
  31. Moses 10 commandments/red sea
  32. Wise man and foolish man
  33. Lost sheep

Also wanted: Suggestions for family scripture study. I ordered this guy because I remember using it when we were kids. Any other good "toddler friendly" scripture study helps? Thanks!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bluebonnet mini session

It's that time of year again, when the roads and highways in Texas are covered in beautiful wildflowers.

That's why when I found out my sweet and talented friend, Sarah Brown Photography, was offering bluebonnet mini sessions, I practically jumped up and down with excitement. Seriously, folks, did she do an incredible job or what?? Thank you SO MUCH, Sarah, we love them!!

What we're wearing:
Em - eyelet dress from BabyGap, white sandals from StrideRite (last year's - here's similar)
Mama - ikat dot top from Loft, 1969 legging jeans from Gap, Toms sandals (similar)
Dada - Light blue polo from TJMaxx, 1969 jeans from Gap, Toms paseos (same style, different color - we got ours off Zulily for a steal!)