Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Easter Eggs with Pipe Cleaners and Beads

I love being a SAHM. It affords me the opportunity to raise my children and teach them the values I believe in and want them to have when they grow up. I understand that some moms are more comfortable to work, and I did that for a short period of time but then the cost of daycare for two children in a nursing-level facility was just about what I made when I was working. So now I focus on the fact that I'm a SAHM and I even helped start a group for us SAHM's who want to get together, craft with our kids and chat. Thinking of crafts for the kids is fun, but sometimes things don't work out (I forget a supply, or a tool). That's what happened yesterday. So instead of doing the craft I found on pintrist, we used pipe cleaners and beads to make Easter eggs. They were great for our preschoolers to work on getting the beads onto the pipe cleaner. I had the girls put the first bead on, then I looped the pipe cleaner over it so it wouldn't fall off. When they were all done, I formed the shape of the egg, then made the zig-zag of the center and had them put three beads on. Then I attached it to the egg. So easy!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Preschool Learning

Being a stay at home mom (as well as a part time hippy) I'm always trying to find ways to stretch the dollar and still achieve the things we want to achieve. This means doing things like making my own baby food, making my own bread, using cloth diapers, the list goes on.
I wanted to enroll Genny into preschool when she was three. Then I looked at our finances. Instead, I kept her home and tried to teach her the things she'd learn at preschool. Counting, letters, and I've even tried to get her to start reading (which hasn't worked yet). Then I was talking to someone one day and they were talking about their child who was in preschool and was writing letters. Panic set in as I realized I'd never gone over writing letters with Genny.
One day I sat her down and tried to get her to draw an A. After trying different approaches, I realized it wasn't going to happen that easily. So we sat down and tried it again. And again. After about four times I gave up, deciding to deal with the problem the way I usually deal with problems. Wait for the answer to come to me. On a different day I was talking to my sister and she said something about drawing shapes instead of letters. How the shapes would be a good starting ground to help them with the curves and angles of the letters. So I tried that. Then when that didn't work right away, I came across this website. I found a ton of worksheets that help children learn to draw lines and curves before they even draw shapes. I printed four of each out (the prewriting worksheets, not the letters) and now Genny has about eight different worksheets to choose from. Every morning she gets to pick two worksheets and after she's done she gets to pick a program to watch. I've only been doing this a week, so the reward may change as we evolve the system.

There is also a fun one that has the child cut out squares and rectangles. Then they glue the shapes to the paper and it makes a robot. Genny loves this one right now!

Pink Sunrise with Genny

Life with an almost-four-year-old and an almost-two-year-old can hold many things. Screaming, crying, pushing, time outs, refusals, and tantrums to say the least. So when I get a chance to share something special that I think my kids will stare in awe at, I jump up and grab them from wherever they may be and try to share that moment with them.
These are the times that we take pictures. When we get to see their sweet smiles and surprised expressions. Tender hugs around a fake polar bear at the zoo. These are the times that we want to record, remember and talk about in years to come.
So when I took the trash out this morning and saw how pink the sky was, with striations of clouds shooting out from where the sun would rise -like the never ending rising sun of the Japanese flag- I came inside and scooped Genny up from the table where she was eating breakfast. I took her outside, wrapping my warm robe around her as we walked along the side of the house. Then I stopped in the driveway and stood, looking at the sun's rays stretching towards us. She was looking down at her uncooked noodle that she brought with us outside (you never know what a preschooler will have in their hand). I said, "Look Genny, look at the pink sky!" She gave the pink sky one glance and went back to her noodle. Confused at why she didn't think this was as glorious as I did, I said, "Genny, did you see the pink sky?" to which she replied, "Yes. I'm just fixing my noodle." I almost felt defeated, how could a little girl not get excited over a pink sky?? But she was smiling her secret smile that she gives me when we snuggle, a smile that was brought on from my wrapping her in my robe. I took the small victory and went inside, placing her down in her chair to finish breakfast.
Maybe today she'll reference the pink sky. Maybe not. But I know that I tried to give her something new, something spectacular and something she'll love when she gets older. That's my victory.