Chilly Walks and Fuzzy Fairies

Today we woke up to a tiny bit of snow! My first thought was what can we do for fun inside today? Well….after much thought, a ton of grouchy moments with the girls, I decided that maybe we should go outside and get some fresh air! I read “Stranger in the Woods” and “The First Snow in the Woods” by Carl R. Sams III. for circle time. Then my dear hubby suggested we go out to the Wildlife Refuge. So off we went! When we got there the snow had picked up again, so we walked out in the woods with the snowing falling all around us (ok it was blowing and I was freezing, but it was still fun!). We saw a rabbit (too fast for the camera) and we found some tracks from different animals (not being a wildlife person I have no idea what they are). I was hoping to see more things that were in the books that I might be able to identify, but, hey at least there was a rabbit! (I guess I need a wildlife tracking books.)  It turned out to be a lot of fun even though it was freezing….and I got some good pics! 🙂

 Bunny in the Woods
 Our animal tracks
 Hubby and Pup
 Me and Bunny (So Cute!)
 Our tracks in the snow from the 3rd story of the Wildlife Refuge Building!

Also, as promised, I am posting pics of my first attempts of needle felting! I really think its fun, but I do need to practice! I am happy with how things turned out!

The Fairy of Winter and the Fairy of Spring (I’ll have to make Fall and Summer)

I also needle felted a little something for Bunny for her birthday, but I am not posting pics yet cause she loves to scroll through the blog! 🙂 Since Bunny did come down with a slight fever this evening, we’ll see if there is any schooling tomorrow!

Crafty days!

I have a few minutes to update you on our crafty, schooly fun while Pup is napping, and Bunny is working with her number rods. Over the past two days we have done some fun things! Yesterday we made some recycled crayons.

The idea came from Counting Coconuts.: It started with peeling a million crayons which turned out to be a really painful and unpleasant experience (at least for me, Bunny said she missed peeling crayons after it was all done!).

The crayons were some old ones that I had, and I think that they were a little warm, so the wrapper did not peel off without some serious nail action.

After we peeled them though, we put them into some cheap muffin tins I picked up at the Dollar Store. Now we just needed to melt them. To do that we put the over at 350 degrees and after it got up to temp. we turned the over off and put the muffin trays in. After about 10 min everything was melted! Super simple. The hard part for Bunny was waiting for them to cool enough to get out! We put them in the freezer to speed things up! 🙂 When they were done we carefully popped them out and got to work!
They are perfect for doing rubbings! The girls tried them out on our sandpaper numbers. I think we will use them alot!

Another success of yesterday was that Bunny worked really hard on her beginning word sounds! I got her a basket of her small animals and the sandpaper letters. She got the idea right away and picked out the correct letter for each of the beginning sounds! I was so proud of her! It was one of those “maybe this is working out” moments! I guess that there is some truth to the Montessori order of ‘real objects first them pictures’ because I have tried to used printed pictures, but it didnt work out! After she finished the basket, she made a road of letters (all of them lined up across the room) and pretend that they were pens at the zoo and she had to put all the animals in their correct pens (by the beginning sounds of their names of course). She played this for a while! So needless to say I will do this again. Next time I think I will use kitchen items, then maybe colors, then bathroom things….the possibilities are endless!

Today we tried wet felting. I have been wanting to try felting for some time now, and yesterday I got my order from Joann Fabrics! (2 days after Christmas I used up the gift card I got on all the supplies! I was SO excited!) I found this idea on the blog The Magic Onions:
 She made wet felted stones and she made an adorable wet felted ball. We tried both. I can say that after a good amount of frustration that this seems to be something that need a bit of practice to get the idea of. Bunny loved the idea and wanted to help, and since the word ball was mentioned, Pup wanted in on it too! 🙂

 Working with the wool
 The ball that I kept rolling, and rolling, and rolling….
Finished results!

We got our wool roving out and got to work, but the shrinking takes longer them I thought, and the girls wanted much fast results! We did finally get some to work and they turned out pretty well. I will try it again, but maybe on my own. Tonight I will be needle felting some of my first projects and I will post on those later! Wish me luck!

Our Shelves in January

Here is a little list of the things that we have going on this month on our shelves. Each month we have a few trays of activities that we change to keep with our theme. This month we are talking about winter. Later in the month we will start working on time and calendars. Bunny loves the changing trays and she will even go down to our school room to work on her own now! 🙂 I really encourage that. Once she knows what each tray is for, she can do them whenever she wants. Pup is starting to get into work time and it is so cute to see her try to concentrate!
Practical Life:
This month we are still working on keeping the house cleaned and on finishing the work we start. I also have a few tray that will allow the girls to practice the fine motor skills they need to do the real life work.
Pouring Beads (they are clear like ice)
Tweezing Cotton Balls (snowballs)
We still have the cylinder blocks, knobless cylinders, touch boards, pink tower, and geometric solids out. Some of those things Bunny uses, and some of them are more for Pup.

Winter Sorting

This idea I found on a blog ( I cant remember which one…sorry). They suggested playing snow in the house! We tried it 2 weeks ago when we got a little snow and it was too cold to go outside (it was -15 wind chill). The girls loved it! We did it in the kitchen and I had plenty of towels on hand! I suggest you try it! They really got a chance to explore the snow and see the different textures as it got warmer and started to melt!

And finally, here is one our first attempts at a sensory tub. I need to work on this. Inside of it is:
Cotton Balls (snow)
Peppermint Sent jar
Cinnamon Sent Jar
Almond Sent Jar
White twigs
Spoon for scooping “snow”
Wooden Snowflake
Jar of “ice crystals”
Box for open and close work
Wooden twig Reindeer that Pup LOVES

Bunny has mastered the sandpaper numbers and even counted to 20 without skipping any numbers! We are so proud of her. We are moving on to the golden bead material. I introduced her the unit, the 10 bar, the 100 square, and the 1000 cube. She love it so much she begged for more material! I think that we might be entering a math sensorial phase. Today Pup showed me an eight number tile and she told me it was eight! I was shocked when she did the same for a nine and a seven! So I guess that we are going to work some math stuff with her too!

Snowflake counting
(Bunny has to count the “snowflakes” and clip the clothes pin on the right section)

Golden Bead Introduction
Bunny has mastered the sandpaper letters and I have introduced her to the moveable alphabet. She has no interest in it at all. I have tried a bunch of ways to get her to have fun with it, but no luck. Today I realized that she cant isolate the sounds in a word, so I need to make an object box and get her to practice the beginning sounds. That seems to be the place to start. I really had a hard time starting the language work when we began doing Montessori  because she learned all the letter names and was already writing alot. So now I am kind of going backward with her so that I can teach her to read the Montessori way. She does however LOVE the metal inserts. She is paper crafting like crazy and it writing and copying everything. So she is learning, just not the way I think she should. 🙂 Pup is wanting to be just like her sister and she is starting to repeat the letter sounds after I say them!
We are still working with our continent boxes and puzzle maps! Bunny loves to work with them. She is learning alot. We are still trying to collect more objects for the different continents, so if anyone has something that they would like to pass on please let me know! 🙂 Pup loves to play with all the things in the boxes and she LOVES to play with the globe.
So I think that we are going to have a great month! Feel free to use these ideas in your own school! 🙂 Let me know if you have ideas to go with my theme. I love to new ideas! Happy Schooling!

Hello 2011!!!!

Here it goes….I have a blog that is now dedicated to the work I do with my family. So I am ready to kick off 2011 right. Yes, I have some resolutions and maybe by writing them down in a place that I cant loose them (my usual excuse) then maybe I will accomplish something. There is the usual I want to loose 20lbs thing, I want to use nicer language, use punctuations in my facebook status, etc. but I think that those aren’t resolutions so much as life long battles. No what I plan on resolving to do is keep peace alive in my family. I know that sounds….well impossible, but I am thinking more about the deep peace that speaks of happiness. The peace that says ‘even if things are crazy everywhere’, at home we can feel secure in love and in God’s grace. This is something that God has shown me the importance of through Montessori, and has pushed me to work on during this past advent season. So for 2011 I hope that I can hang on to that peace and love so that home really is a place where my family (and anyone who visits) wants to be! Happy New Year and here’s to a new blog!