January 2010

Shape Sorting

We have a shape sorting cube from Playskool called the "Form Fitter".

In the past we've just used it for fitting the shapes through the holes, but I recently found a few of the shapes that were missing, and with all of the blogs I've been looking at lately, I think I'm starting to see things a little differently, because I thought of another "educational" way to approach the toy (it's not that original I guess, but for me it was ;)

So, I suggested different ways that Talia could sort the shapes (by colour, by whether they had corners or were round, by how many sides or corners they had, etc.) It went well & Talia was eager to keep doing it!

Valentine Toast

Frugal Family Fun posted about this Not So Sweet Valentine Treat, and I copied it except for the icing since we didn't have any on hand.

For this picture I just cut the toast with a knife:

but a few days later I saw this at the dollar store:

Candy Cane Cake

We made Chocolate Candy Cane Cake!

Talia was really excited about mixing the cake:

She got to poke holes in the cake with a toothpick before I poured candy cane syrup over it:

Then we dusted it with icing sugar & it was ready to go! You could use the whole recipe for candy cane syrup that we posted about yesterday. It won't make it too minty! (In our opinion! ;)

abc button

Baby Laura ~ Parts

Just finished Baby Laura's Parts Poster & thought I'd share.

Candy Cane Syrup

Storybook Woods posted a great Candy Cane Syrup Recipe that I have seen linked to in a few places on the web. It could be used to make Christmas gifts, or Valentine gifts with leftover candycanes from Christmas. We tried it & it's great!

This is all you need:

My little helper:

We learned that if you want to achieve the beautiful pink/red colour that you'll see on Storybook Woods, then you need to use red & white candy canes! lol Ours had green as well, and we got this lovely shade of brownish black ;) Luckily, we had big plans for adding our syrup to hot chocolate and chocolate cake, so it didn't matter!

Note: If you just don't want to make syrup, we learned one year, that if you stir a piece of candy cane into your hot chocolate, you get some delicious minty hot chocolate as well!

Planning Forms

I found some great planning forms this week and wanted to share them with you. I have learned that it is easiest to be sucessful at doing activities with Talia each day if I plan ahead, and know what I'm going to do each day, and know that I have the materials needed (a lot like cooking dinner, for me).

So, here are a few good, printable forms I've found:

Tot School Planning Form from Homeschool Creations.

Tot School Forms from 1+1+1=1

My goal right now is just to do one planned activity each weekday with Talia, so I've been using this notepad I found at Michaels for about a dollar:

I'm editing this post to add another cute Printable Daily Planner from Queen of the Castle!

Number Wheel

Chasing Cheerios recently shared this Number Wheel from www.homesschoolshare.com

I printed and laminated it & then went to the dollarstore in search of wooden clothespins that I could write on. Instead I found these adorable plastic ones. And you know? I think maybe a little craftiness is rubbing off on me from all of the blogs I've been reading lately, because I thought of the idea all on my own (haha :) to gluegun these foam hearts onto the clothespins since I couldn't write the number on like you could with wooden ones.

I was pretty happy with how they turned out & I'm excited to see what Talia thinks of them. I'm thinking that when she gets tired of using them to count with, I could teach her about odd & even numbers by the white & pink hearts.

p.s. This post was featured on ABC & 123's Teaching Children to Count by 2, 5, 10 post!

Monday Moments #3

Talia, explaining to me the contents of a drawing:

"This is me, having my birthday,
and this is the thirty first number (Her birthday is January 31st),
and this is some boring stuff for you to do...
But not terribly boring.. you wouldn't mind if it's a little bit boring, right?"

Me: "When will I be doing the boring stuff?"
Talia: "When you're at Claire's house"

(Claire is someone that I Visit Teach), and Talia comes along. ;)

Printable Schedule

A few months ago, I made a visual schedule for Talia to post on the wall in the hallway upstairs. It shows her all of the steps she needs to take in the morning.
(I mentioned it in the last Monday Moments ;)

I also made one for each of the bathrooms (go potty, wipe, flush, wash hands).

I found a great website with pictures to use but of course I cannot find it now! If anyone recognizes the pictures, please let me know! Or if you know of other websites with similar pictures, please share them in the comments.

Note: I found some otherprintable schedules, and posted about them here.

Painting with String

Another fun way to play with paint:

We were on a white paint kick, but I've seen this done with lots of different colours which makes a fun rainbow effect. :)

Talia started out by making an "H" and then she turned it into a ladder :)

Feature Friday #1 - Katherine Marie

Okay, so I couldn't resist tying the feature to a day of the week. But honestly, I do not expect to feature a new blog or website every Friday. But when I do, I will do it on Friday- fair enough? :)

I have been checking out Mommy Blogs and websites of all types since I started this blog and it's so fun to discover the ones I know I'm gonna love, and are Feed Reader-worthy. ;)

I subscribe to the The Crafty Crow and they recently linked to a blog that I was really excited to find!

Katherine Marie is a mom and a photographer, and her "theme of the week"s are fabulous! You have got to check them out!

Here's a glimpse at her Snow Theme of the Week (you'll have to check out her blog to see the rest of the fun!

Be sure to check through her other posts as well- they are full of fun, cute ideas.

Painting with Pom Poms

We experimented today with different ways to paint.

Talia loves painting, and doing messy things, so anything with paint is usually a hit ;)

Here's painting with pom poms:

We used blue paper and white paint & made a snowstorm :)

Then we used green paper & we'll cut it out in the shape of an evergreen tree & it will be a snowy tree :)

Melted Crayon Wax Suncatcher

We went over to a friend's house for a playdate on Friday, and did a fun valentine's day project! My friend found the idea on Martha Stewart's Craft of the Day here. Follow the link for instructions on how to do this craft.

Monday Moments #2

If you missed last Monday's post, you just need to look at the post below this one to get an explanation about what "Monday Moments" is (apparently I wasn't a very good blogger last week!)

I'm going back in time for this week's quotes:

I made some picture schedules for Talia (one in each bathroom that has pictures showing the steps she needs to take- go potty, wipe, flush, wash hands) and one for the upstairs hallway that shows steps to take in the morning (wake up, potty, make bed, get dressed, underwear in laundry basket, hair, breakfast, brush teeth).

So, I showed them to her after her nap & she's very enthusiastic about it. We discussed the pictures in detail :) Then Ken went to the bathroom & Talia stood outside the door, saying "First you go potty, then you make your bed, then wipe your bum, then flush, then put your stuff in the basket!" lol I could hear Ken chuckling :) hehe


The other night when Ken was saying goodnight to Talia, she said: "Well, if you would keep my door open I would appreciate it."


A quote from my friend Jenn, who was one of Talia's nursery leaders at church: "Talia was hilarious in nursery today... during music time she was introducing all the kids to the music teacher but didn't know Leeah's name so she just made up a giberish one. So her."

Baby Laura

Laura June
January 13, 2010
At Home
3 Weeks Old

My friend Frieda had her second baby girl last month and I was excited that she wanted me to take photos of their new arrival. She's a sweet, tiny little thing, and I'm looking forward to watching her grow up, and getting some more photos along the way :)

For whatever reason, I just love this shot. There's something about that little baby head being cradled in a parents' hands that I love.

It doesn't seem like too long ago that I photographed Laura's sister, Grace, when she was just 2 weeks old. Look at her now!

Well, I'm off to work on a Parts Poster for Laura now. I just wanted to share a few of my favourites first. I'll be back with a few before & afters to share from this session in a day or two.

Personal Reasons

If you've contacted me in the last few months about booking a session or a wedding, you've probably received the response that I am not booking any new sessions right now, for personal reasons. Now that I've got some of those things figured out, I thought I'd explain a little.

Personal Reason #1: Sometime in July of 2009, I started waking up with sore fingers and wrists. I had had some joint issues in the past, so I was just concerned about them getting worse. Then one day I woke up with my hands very stiff, and was unable to do simple everyday things. That's when I started turning weddings down. I didn't know what was wrong with me and I didn't know if this would happen on the morning of someone's wedding.

Personal Reason #2: I had a baby at the end of 2008, so 2009 was our first year as a family of 4. I wanted to pull back a little from photography and do a bit less so that I could free up the time that I spent processing images, and use it for playing with my girls. The issue with my hands sort of forced me to stick with this.

Since the summer, I have seen several doctors including a Chiropractor and a Rheumatologist. I have had more tests done than I can count, and spent months believing that I was an appointment away from being diagnosed with Lupus. It's been a challenging time!

I am happy to report that I do not have Lupus, I do not have Arthritis, nor anything else with a name that we know of, thus far. It's a relief, but it's frustrating because I don't know what's going on with my joints.

The other good news is that I have found ways to relieve a lot of the pain and stiffness that I had been experiencing and while I am not back to normal or perfect health, I am doing way better.

So, while Personal Reason #1 is fading, Personal Reason #2 remains. So, I've been thinking about 2010, and for now, I'm thinking that a good plan is to do roughly one session per month. I may squeeze an extra in during nicer weather- we'll see how it goes.

Anyway, that's what's been going on with me, and that's why you haven't seen too many posts in the last few months!

Stay tuned though, because my first session of 2010 took place this morning, and I'll have images of someone cute and little to share with you soon!

Monday Moments #1

With two little girls like mine around, there are plenty of precious moments in our daily lives. Whether silly or sweet, they are all treasued moments. I'm sure that you can relate!

I love to write down the funny/cute things that my girls say & do (we'll have fun looking back at them someday!), and I thought it would be fun to share some of these treasured moments here, on the blog.

So, now for the first installment of "Monday Moments"...

Talia, discussing a time Ken put something on a cut that made it sting:"Nasty little Daddy! Nasty guy! But he's still useful."

Talia: (sings a song we haven't heard before & suggests we should sing it before bed sometimes)
Us: Where did you learn that song, Talia?
Talia: From Miss Piggy
Us: (wondering when she saw a muppet show.. maybe at Ken's parents' house?) When did you see Miss Piggy?
Talia: At church
Us: (wondering why anyone would show the muppet show at church) when?
Talia: Other days at the church
Us: Like not on a Sunday?
Talia: Uhh.. like lots of days!
Me: Like, in a movie?
Talia: No, in real life!
Ken: Like Miss Piggy, a puppet?
Talia: No, Miss Piggy FOR REAL!
Ken: Talia, Miss Piggy is a puppet, she's not real.
Talia: No, she's real!
Ken: Talia, pigs don't talk.
Talia: Yes, she does, she's REAL!
Ken: Talia, that's not true. You need to tell the truth.

(this goes on for a while, we are pretty confused, and then somehow Ken figures this out:

Miss Piggy = Sister Peggy

(Sister Peggy is the lady at church who comes into Nursery to teach the kids music).


We were laughing for a while, remembering parts of that conversation, ie:

Talia, pigs don't talk.
Talia, Miss Piggy is a puppet.
No, she's REAL!!

Indoor Ice Skating!

Thank you Frugal Family Fun for Indoor Ice Skating!! We had so much fun together this morning! I even loved it! (Ok, so I'm getting a lot of joy out of our activities these days).

All you need is wax paper, tape, feet, and carpet!

Family Tree Poster & Other "Maps"

I've been thinking about doing a family tree type of activity with Talia for a while...
So today, I rolled out the art paper, and we got to work making our family tree (well, we just did Ken's side of the family this time, we'll do mine next time, now that she knows what a family tree is).
Here's Aunt Rushy & Uncle Aaron who fell in love & now they're having a baby girl! (Note Talia's illustration of their baby ;)
And Gummy & Poppy, where it all began ;)
Talia was quick to understand what we were doing, and I think this is a good way to help her visualize how the family works.

I drew another type of "map" earlier today. This one was of a day. Talia cannot seem to grasp the idea that when she wakes up from her nap it's not a new day. So, I drew a detailed "day" for her today, showing her the things we do each day & discussing them as I drew them, along with a sun showing when it is light & a moon and stars for when it's dark. Then I pointed to each thing and I explained that the nap is in the middle of the day and it's not a new day when she wakes up. "See??"

Talia: "That doesn't make sense."

*sigh* Okay, so the map didn't work for that one ;) Does anyone have any other ideas or success stories for helping your child understand that a nap is in the middle of the day? Or do most kids just get that? :)

Shaving Cream Fun!

Today we tried playing with shaving cream! I even enjoyed it- come on, it feels cool! ;)

Here's what we did:

We did this in our little plastic tub, to keep the mess contained.

This is a good opportunity to talk about mixing colours, too.

Things we'll change next time:

I think we'll do it without the tinfoil, but maybe make a design on a piece of tinfoil at the end (apparently, it dries on it nicely... we're still waiting for ours to dry :) The reason I wouldn't use the foil again is that the cream totally sticks to it, so the foil was lifting up all the time, with her hands when she lifted them up.

Another change I would make is not to leave the food colouring on top of the cream when she got to dig in (now her hands are dyed ;)

Zig Zag Girl

If you're familiar with Starfall and their online ABC games, then you are familiar with the little zig zag boy & girl. Click here to go through the little "Z" section and you'll see a little song at the end with them in it.

Talia thinks these two zig zag people are great, and we shared the game with my mom one day when she was over. Well, my mom got the fabulous idea to make a zig zag girl for Talia for Christmas!

Here they are right after Talia opened it. Of course, one of the first questions out of her mouth was, "Where's the zig zag boy?" lol She loves the zig zag girl- thanks Grandma! :)

New Year Interview

I heard about doing a New Year Interview with your child and thought it was a great idea! I got most of my questions from Giggles Galore. I intend to do the interview every year with both girls (when Katrina's old enough). I think it will be fun to see how their answers to the same questions change :) We did this as a Family Home Evening activity- sat Talia in a chair and videotaped her (it was very official & she loved it!)

What is your name? Talia
When were you born? In January
How old are you? (holds 3 fingers up)
Who is your mommy? (points to me)
What does your mommy do? She likes to do messy activities
What do you love about Mommy? I like to kiss her & hug her all the time
Who is your daddy? (points to Ken)
What does your daddy do? He likes to tickle me.
What do you love about Daddy? I like to kiss him & hug him all the time
What is your favourite color? pink
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a primary teacher (cute that she would say this- yesterday was her first day in Primary at church- I guess it went well! :)
What is your favourite food? Spaghetti
What food do you not like? Pickles
What is your favourite animal? A Frog! (We went to see The Princess & the Frog on Saturday)
Where do you want to live when you grow up? In the same house I’m living in today!
What do mommy and daddy do after you go to bed? They do some work
What does daddy say? He says… if you come out of bed, he says, “Go back into bed, Talia!”
What does mommy say? If you come out, she says, “Go back into bed, Talia!”
What is your favourite song? Twinkle Little Star
What is your favourite movie? Princess & the Frog
What is your favourite kind of ice cream? Chocolate
Where is your favourite place to eat? Restaurant
Who is your favourite person? Amelia… & Joshua
Who is your best friend? Amelia
What is your favourite book? Blue's Clues
Who is your sister? Katrina
Where did Katrina come from? From Your Tummy
What do you love about Katrina? I like to kiss her & hug her all the time
What is your favorite thing to do? Paint
What does Katrina like to do? She likes to eat paint.
What else does Katrina like to do? She likes to get in little tubs.
What does your dad like to say? He likes to say, “Come on, let me tickle ya!”

After the interview, she wanted to give us each a hug, and then started interviewing us! (She had me on the spot right away, asking me what I like most about Daddy, and what else?... and what else?... and what else?)! :)

Pattern Bracelets

I bought some Pony Beads for Talia and brought them out today. She was so excited to see so many! :) She picked out a pipe cleaner and went to it. Then she announced to me that she was making Valentine bracelets (I had recently been going over upcoming holidays) and that the one she was making was for me :)

Then I taught her about patterns by starting one. I had been meaning to teach her patterns this way since this post in October, on beading! She figured it out, finished the pattern & announced that it was Daddy's Valentine Bracelet because it was out of "his favourite colours" (light blue, green, and purple evidently ;)

I look forward to more pattern practise (I mean play) in the future- it's so cool to see her learn- next I'll suggest that she create her own pattern (she was done with beads by the time I suggested it this time).

Oh, & she didn't even notice the heart-shaped beads- we can make even more "Valentiney" Valentine Bracelets next time! ;)

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