Thursday, January 23, 2014

Our Love Soup

Our Love Soup was such a hit! Well, as you know, any thing that makes a mess turns out to be a hit around here!! :)

I saw Fun at Home with Kids' Valentine Soup and couldn't wait to throw foam hearts in some water and let the kiddos play! I love her ideas, they are always so practical and so easy to put together. Water play isn't new to us but a BIG bin of water is and boy, did it add a new dimension of fun!!! 

One of my bribes for nap time today (yep, I know, I'm not too proud of it but it works :)) was that I'd have Love Soup ready for play after they woke.  I'm not sure they knew exactly what I was talking about but they sure were excited and more importantly, it worked! They non-reluctantly napped away, yay!! So I took advantage and prepped...
I also came across the idea of using a hot glue to create invisible letters and took this opportunity to give it a try...
I just peeled them right off the parchment paper and added 'em to our Love Soup! Can't you just feel the love??? :) 
Ok, ok I can't keep these precious pictures from you any longer! They had so much fun! 
Of course Mikey, my letter loving boy, was drawn to the letters! When he found one, he'd get so excited and show me right away!

Here he's showing me "V" and saying "V.../v/, /v/, /v/, VACATION!"
I thought they'd be WAY more interested in the really cool invisible letters :/ but they weren't.  Haha and that's ok! 

Mikey was excited to have "caught" some hearts...

Gabriella really enjoyed using the basters to fill containers...
Her and Mikey worked together quite a bit, I loved it! 
Their excitement heightened when they started using the bottle dispensers...
Gabriella even gave it a try standing :) Oh my! 

Josiah, oh my goodness, was just so hard to keep my eyes off of!!! Besides the fact that I had to constantly watch him to keep him from crawling IN the bin, he was just sooooo stinkin cute! He had soooo much fun!! 

He splashed...

And reeeeeached...

And looked...

And poured...

He really acted like he knew exactly what he was doing! LOL! 

It wasn't until I took the next picture that I realized the addition to his attire! I was so tickled, I laughed and laughed and laughed! 

With all the splashing he was doing I truly thought he had done it himself  but Gabriella's giggle gave it away! I just had to add my own touch! What do you think????
He never even realized it was there :)! 
It's 100% true...such a bundle of love!

Oh my heart was full! The pink water wasn't what mattered, what was in the water didn't matter, the mess they made didn't even matter...but rather, the smiles on their faces, the memories they made and the love they filled my heart with is what really mattered. 

I love these three! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Our DIY Dressing Frame: Bow Tying

I'm soooo proud of my Little Butterfly Love Bug for mastering her first set of tying bows!
Bow tying is a skill we've tried and abandoned quite a few times in the past year. We'd attempt it but if frustration arose we'd simply commit to trying again later. And really, there is no reason for her needing to know how to do this right now. She only has one pair of shoes that lace and they're purple so are not even worn often! ;) Mastering this skill is really just for fun and for the thrill of learning something new! 

(Just a little side note if you're curious like I was...based on Internet research, first attempts at tying bows start around 4 to 5 years of age and mastery may not occur until 6 to 7 years of age.) 

I recently stumbled across a video that introduced me to Montessori Dressing Frames and I immediately fell in love! I want them ALL! (aannnd the cute lil stand to put 'em all in :)) 

Since that's just not feasible my brain went to work thinking about how I could make something similar and functional. Woodwork and sewing isn't really an option for me but a makeshift from cardboard boxes?!?! Oh yes! I knew saving all those random Christmas boxes would come in handy somehow! 

Materials we used for our DIY Bow Tying Frame:

Empty box
Box cutter 
Hole puncher 
Lacing string 

We borrowed the string from the lacing  activity below. 

And that's it! It literally took me maybe 10 minutes to gather the materials and create it! Then, after modeling and working together for another 10 minutes, she had it! Her first bow! I'm not sure who was more excited, her or I. 

It is truly an added bonus that our DIY frame is a box.  Gabriella has titled it her "Extra Special Secret Tying Box" in which she stores "special girly things"! Oh I love my girly-girl!

I realize my Willow Tree Figures should not be a child's toy but Gabriella is just in awe at the moment with how special they are just because they're mine. She is fascinated with anything she thinks is from my childhood, especially anything fragile that needs to be handled with extra care. (Big {hug} to my special sister that gifted me with this one.) 

She really is just as delightful as it sounds! Well, at least to this momma she is! :)

I expect it won't be long before little Mikey ends up stepping on our special box. I'd love for it to last forever but for now it's served it's purpose and for that I am grateful. I'm sure Gabriella and I will eventually recover from the pain of loosing it. :) Nonetheless, It will be exciting to create a new one for Mikey when he's ready. As for the other Dressing Frames??? Mmm...I'll work on figuring them out too. :)
Here's a little snippet of her working away. I LOVE her self talk! Her focus impressed me considering the flying distractions. Haha! 
Mommy's so proud of you big girl! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

From Oooos and Aahhhs to Wowws and Eewws

We started with Oooos and Aahhhs over bubbling and fizzing and ended with Wows and Eewws over oozing and goozing today! Such a messy, messy fun (and exhausting) day!!!
I've been wanting to revisit the vinegar and baking soda experiment for a few weeks now and today's chilly, rainy day provided perfectly for it! I finally picked up some bottle dispensers from Wal-mart that I've been eyeing for quite some time. They were less than a dollar each and I just knew they'd be the perfect vehicle for our vinegar!  A few turkey basters are next on my list. :) 

I don't hate the smell of vinegar but I don't love it either. I had read somewhere online that adding a bit of Peppermint oil to vinegar masks the smell so we tried it and whaahh...laa, NO vinegar smell! It really worked. Instead of bearing the smell of vinegar during our play we enjoyed the relaxing smell of pure peppermint oil. Definitely a win! 

We filled our dispensers with vinegar, a few drops of food coloring, 2 drops of peppermint oil and got to work. I evenly dispersed a small box of baking soda for each of them onto a clear disposable top left over from all of our Thanksgiving baking. 

They were so eager to start experimenting! I was a bit worried that they'd hastily empty their dispensers and the fun would be over just as quickly as it begun so I asked them to carefully let the vinegar solution come out on its own. (Eye droppers would be loads of fun too!) It really made me laugh at how well they listened to my request. Not that I didn't expect them to but rather I'm not sure I would have even been able to restrain from the tempting ssqueeezze! Oh I love my babies! They practiced great self control. :) 
Look how nice and neat it begun...haha! 
Gabriella said it sounded just like Sprite fizzing away. :)

After I gave them the go-a-head to squeeze, their excitement heightened and new level fun began! 
They squeeeeezes until there was no squeezing left to be done. Once we were out of vinegar Gabriella noticed the layer of baking soda that remained was perfect grounds for drawing. 
And for hand prints...
Mikey joined in as well...
Our vinegar and baking soda experiment was lots of fun and we will most definitely do it over and over but to be quite honest I was pretty sad that the fun was over so quickly. I love doing experiments with the kiddos but with all the effort it takes to prepare I'd like to spend a valuable amount of time exploring. Sooo since I felt ambitious I reached for the cornstarch.  

If you're ever up for experimenting with messy sensory play give cornstarch a try! It's my go-to when we finish with any liquid sensory play and I'm curious as to what adding cornstarch will do. Cornstarch is amazing! 

We've added cornstarch and water to pumpkin clay we made before Thanksgiving and that was messy, messy, messy! Haha! I may not decide to do that combo in the future. 

I wasn't sure what would come of adding cornstarch to our vinegar but ohhhh was it perfect! It turned into the most delightful Oobleck. 

Getting Oobleck to the right consistency can be a bit tricky. You man have to experiment with how "loose" you want it to be. If you've never played with Oobleck before pleases do! Yes, it is super messy (at least it is the way my 2 year old plays) but it is SOOO much fun! It acts both as a solid and a liquid. There are some really great step by step instructions for making Oobleck here. The term Oobleck comes from Dr. Seuss's book, Bartholomew and the OobleckHaving literature to extend or preface experiments or play time makes it all the more exciting! This momma is all about trying to make connections. :)

Gabriella was fascinated (I was too!) with making large rocks then watching them melt right before her eyes!
Mikey enjoyed watching his hands sink into the solid-liquidy substance. He'd pull them out and watch it ooze from his fingertips. He did this over and over! :) 
I'm not going to pretend at all like this was mess free! It wasn't. Not one bit! :) See...
We made a huge mess! I can't believe I really made a photo collage of just messy pictures!  

Here's a helpful tip for cleaning...because I just can't  leave you with this mess. :) 

Set out a bowl of warm water (I set one close to each of them) for rinsing hands and arms, that's it! I'm not sure WHY I never thought of this helpful tip before but oh was it helpful. You DO NOT  want to carry Oobleck covered kiddos from the play site to the kitchen sink or bathroom for clean up. You will not be able to move quicker that Oobleck oozes. Believe me, I tried. Haha! You'll have little droplets of Oobleck everywhere. Although its really not hard to clean up, its just easier if the mess is confined to one area.  

Mikey enjoyed using his bowl of water to make his Oobleck as runny as possible and then covered every inch of his arm with it! :0 Oh my Mikey! 

This messy play would have been ideal on a sheet/towels on the floor but if you end up with a mess like I did just use a fresh bowl of warm water and a rag to wipe up the rest. Clean up really is that easy, promise! 

I'm going to end this post with my favorite picture from our messy play day...

Just look at those whittle feet and those toes!!!! Oh so cute!