Sunday, July 24, 2011

Daily Lessons

T starts montessori school in the fall and in preparation we have been working on making sure she is confident in some basic early education skills. I let her go at her own pace, never push her and try to wrap the lessons around fun activities so that she continues to develop a lifelong love of learning. Lately we have been working on drawing her letters. This exercise is a fun way to for her to practice her writing and work on her fine motor skills. I draw the original letters and she has to erase them with the brush and water.

She knows how to spell and write her own name and she wants me to write all of her friends names so she can trace those as well. It is so amazing to be able to watch as her language skills progress to the next level. Honestly, I am a bit conflicted over the fact that once she starts school someone else will be directing her and teaching my little monkey things. I cherish watching her learn and how she looks at me while we are doing her lessons as if I am the smartest Mom on earth. I love how when Dad gets home she recounts our lessons to him almost verbatim using the same words with the same inflections she learned from me. I already know when the first day of school rolls around there will be plenty of tears, not hers but mine. I already know that I will hold them back and wait until my car pulls around the bend before I lose it so I don't tarnish her moment. We only have four more weeks to spend in this pre-school - pre-school bubble I am going to cherish every one.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Morning Art

I was just complaining to my inner self about how I should be a better journal-er. So many thoughts get only half processed these days because either I don't seem to have the brain cells to fully process or because some barely missed catastrophe with one of the kiddos truncates my thoughts. I need a small journal in every room to capture micro ideas so that I don't loose them to the frequent chaos of motherhood. I do get a few pockets of wonderful quiet time and those are like gold - one the best chucks of still bliss is morning craft time. Tess is very self directed these days and will tell me she wants to do some crafting and I set up her station which consists of the supplies of the day in her craft tray (aka big baking pan) and she is content for a hour or so to create away. I have been so surprised at what she comes up with just a little guidance. I usually wander away to do some laundry, check my mail or just unscramble and when I come back she has beautiful art and the best explanations. Here are a few of her projects.

Bean collage and magazine paper collage.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cave Girl

The costume theme this week was time travel. If you know my husband you would assume that we would be making a techie costume for Tess since Dad is a big sci-fi nerd. Momma was super tired this week and baby Theo teething again so I opted for a quick & easy pre-historic getup. We watched a few clips from the Flintstones to get her excited and she quickly picked up the all important cave girl mantra, Yabba Dabba do. The only fabric we purchased was a 1/4 yard of the animal print the rest was left over from other projects so the total cost on the costume was less than six dollars. Cheap, quick and priceless. If you follow our costume adventures you might be wondering what happened to "princess" week. Well we ended up skipping that week because we were headed to Galveston for some family fun time at the beach. Whew escaped the princess theme...for now.

1 yard Utrasuede
1/4 furry animal print fabric
various wood beads for necklace

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rogue Pirate

Here's the next installment of the summer of costumes. Just now posting this project from two weeks back.Tomorrow is castles, prince & princess day and I've yet to start sewing or have any clue of what I will throw together. I think I am procrastinating on this one because I have always sworn to try and steer T away from the whole "princess" thing and encourage her to indulge in more "girl" esteem rewarding role play. But I am finding that this issue is alot like me trying to steer her away from junk food, sugar and bad nutritional influences I can't help to to feel like... the girl needs an occasional brownie and just maybe an occasional princess.

All princess talk aside, here is T as my rogue...not so rogue pirate. She really loved this one and has worn it several times since I made it. We have a hand me down ship play set in the backyard which is perfect for her to act our her pirate daydreams. I even managed to drag Dad into this one - I had him stencil the skull and cross bones on to the vest. So pleased that this was my first attempt at a pair of pants, simple yes they were but I felt a huge sense of accomplishment at tackling something that I had a bit of new sewist fear of. No patterns just used a old pair of pants and an old vest as a go by. Again, not a lot of finishing on this costume. The pant bottoms and felt on the jacket left rough making for a quick 2.5 hour total project. I had all the material except the red striped fabric for the hat on hand so it was almost entirely made up of scraps.

Still missing some pirate accompaniments, I still need to make up a treasure map,some kind of soft sword for swashbuckling(very important according to T)and decorate a paper towel tube for locating other pirate ships in the distance.

1.5 yards cotton for pants
1 yard of felt for vest
black bias tape
black felt & elastic for eye patch

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stingray Play

Oceans, sharks, whales and mermaids was the theme of the week at gym. I debated creating a mermaid costume but after some consideration decided that we would try a hand at making a stringray. Tess has a great little book called Max the Minnow and one of the characters is a jazzy stingray. We both always have such fun reading that book and she laughs at all the illustrated sealife.

I looked online for some ideas on a ray costume but didn't find much so I was on my own to try and figure out how to create it. We bought a pink leotard, a box of brown Rit dye and two yards of fabric for the construction. I used knit jersey and poly satin for the rays wings and achieved the spotted effect by dying the fabric brown and then painting bleach onto the dyed bodysuit and splattering it on to the wings. I wish I had taken a little more time and care with the construction, I admit I was a bit sloppy and "make do" with the garment but I was working on it during kiddo naps the day before her class. We have a water theme party coming up in a few months and we will pull this out again, maybe I will sew on some sequins and embellish this little ray.

1 Box brown Rit dye
1 yard cotton knit fabric
1 yard poly satin

First Cake

Been racking my brain thinking about options for Tess upcoming birthday. We usually spend & celebrate the summer date away. We will be out of town again this year but daddy is requesting that we do a small playdate party at home for her close buddies. I'm a little concerned about having two parties... are we setting ourselves up for trouble next year when her birthday rolls around again. I can already hear it... Tess gets TWO parties. What ever we do I will have to try and top the cupcakes from last year and the octopus cake from her first birthday... I take it as a personal challenge. I wanted to post the cake from her big 1 because that's were the "topping" the cake challenge began. Matt and I had NEVER made cake from scratch before but we have watched plenty of food network cake shows and were thinking, "we could try that". We had a few obstacles to overcome, we had to cook the cake in the vacation kitchen and had to track down quality fondant on a small limited provisions island all the while dealing with an active 1 year old- thank god for grandparents.

The first cake went into the garbage, burnt. My mother-in-law slipped my hubby a tranquilizer in his diet coke to calm him down and we had food coloring everywhere. Alas, the cake turned out great so proud of our first attempt and best of all Tess was just enchanted with her Octocake.We called her Toothy.

Cake specifics - we used an egg shaped mold, fonderific fondant and gel food coloring. For the cake we used Martha Stewarts recipe for yellow cake with buttercream icing. There was lemon curd between the layers and we topped it with crushed graham crackers to get that sandy look.