Monday, October 31, 2011

Montessori Monday: Self-Dressing

Montessori Monday 

We've been focusing a lot on potty training around here lately and one of the practical skills related to potty training is dressing and undressing one's self. I love the Montessori idea of helping your child learn how to help himself.

In order to help Jonathan learn how to master all the intricacies of snaps, zippers, buttons, etc. there are a couple activities we've engaged in lately:

1) Hanging daddy's clothes on our learning tower and having Jonathan practice snapping or buttoning or fastening the item of clothing.

2) Using our Melissa & Doug Basic Skills board. This is a puzzle as well as a tool for practicing basic skills. The drawback to this one is that since it is a puzzle, the pieces are not 100% stable for working on the different items. It's still a fun addition though:

3) We have a quiet/busy book which my mom made for me when I was a preschooler. Each sewn page features a different skill set. Here's an idea for a similar busy book:

We haven't mastered these skills yet, but it's good practice!

See more Montessori-inspired ideas over at Living Montessori Now! and One Hook Wonder. This post is linked up to Montessori Monday over at those terrific blogs.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kids in the Word: King Solomon

The Pelsers

A couple weeks ago, we learned about King Solomon. Let me tell you, finding resources to teach on Solomon was pretty tough! I found no children's books that I liked and coming up with a craft was hard as well. I was determined to press on so here's what we did:


First, we read from our toddler Bible. Solomon was divided up into 4 or 5 stories, so we did one story per day.

I tried to find some children's books on Solomon, but couldn't find any except for King Solomon and the Bee. This is a myth adapted from rabbinic literature-- but I didn't feel comfortable reading Jonathan a myth about a true biblical figure. I don't want him to confuse the Bible with mythology.

Do you know of any books on King Solomon? I couldn't even find any Arch books (a pretty expansive series for children) on Solomon. I'd love to have some up my sleeve for next year.


Since Solomon asked for wisdom, we talked a lot about what wisdom is. We talked about making wise choices which honor God. I read some Proverbs about wisdom:

Proverbs 2:6  For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. 

Proverbs 3:13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding. 


We made a crown (since Solomon was a king). I just had Jonathan color on yellow cardstock and then I cut out the crown and had him glue it on paper. He also decorated it with star stickers and was very particular about one gold star, two silver stars, etc.  It would also be cute using gem stickers or something similar, but we didn't have any on hand. Since Solomon asked for wisdom we wrote one of our Proverbs on the crown:

So, this was a hard week to pull together, but I'm glad we learned about Solomon. Next up-- Elijah!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ultimate Blog Bash!

About Me: I'm a stay-at-home mom to two precious little ones (ages 2 and 1). Before having children, I worked in higher education. My seminary work was in Christian education (children's and youth min) and I love being able to use my education on my two most important students: Jonathan (2) and Grace (1).

I mostly write about our reading and learning adventures. Here are some things you may find here:

~ We are currently going through the Bible in a year (albeit focusing on toddler-friendly Bible stories) and I write up our lessons most Wednesdays (when I'm not in the middle of potty training). 

~ We also have been going through the ABCs, focusing on different themes. Recently we've been learning about rockets and robots (two things which fascinate my son!)

~ We are book lovers, and we are trying to read all the recommended books for toddlers/preschoolers we can find. I'm influenced by Charlotte Mason in that regard-- love living books!

~ We also do some Montessori-inspired activities, which I think are wonderful for developing practical life skills. 

Sometimes I share recipes, or updates on personal projects. This blog is basically a chronicle of our nursery-rhyme filled days! Thanks for stopping by! If you want to learn more about me, you can read my 100 things list

Thanks for stopping by!

100 Things About Me

Here are some things you may or may not want to know about me...

1. I am originally from the east cost (Delaware). I always say that I am from the Philadelphia area, because very few people know where Delaware actually is.

2. I am the youngest of three. My brothers are 12 and 16 years older than me. I was definitely a surprise!

3. I went to all private schools. I went to Catholic schools from (K-12) and a Christian college and seminary.

4. I became a Christian my senior year of high school.

5. My undergraduate degree was in history.

6. I originally wanted to be an ed major but didn't like the education classes.

7. When I dropped the education major, I wanted to change to christian ministry. But then I learned I was only one class away from a history degree.

8. I worked for the college and got a (mostly) free graduate education.

9. My graduate studies were in educational ministries. (Children's/youth/women's ministry)

10. I never wrote my thesis but completed all my coursework. I second guess that decision.

11. I am introverted.

12. I love road trips and travel.

13. I've been to Europe twice and Africa once. The countries I've visited include: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ghana, and Burkina Faso.

14. I've been to 31 states. My husband only had been to a handful of states before he met me. Now he has more than me.

15. I met my husband doing youth ministry at a local church.

16. We were friends for several years before we became a couple. I'm thankful it was that way because of #11.

17. I had a crush on him for a year before he asked me out. My journals from that time are full of prayers for God to guard my heart.

18. I thought my husband was a man full of godly character and one I could easily follow. I still think that, although I'm not always a good follower.

19. 6 months after we started dating, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 25 (2004).

20. I went through surgery and chemo and hormonal therapy (tamoxifen). He walked through it with me. It's the hardest thing we walked through together. (Breast cancer does not run in my family).

21. He proposed on a Monday-- I wasn't expecting it, because who proposes on a Monday after work?

22. We were engaged for five months and decided on a January wedding. We've been married since 2006.

23. He is my best friend, my strongest Encourager, in many ways my complete opposite, but absolutely perfect for me.

24. I took violin lessons from the time I was four years old until my senior year of high school. I briefly picked it up in college, but not for long. I still have my violin.

25. I have a good ear for picking out a melody (thanks to Suzuki).

26. I love history, especially family history.

27. I love to read, but mostly Christian non-fiction. It's rare to find me with a fiction book.

28. I have been chronologically studying through the Bible since graduating college. I prefer to use an inductive method.

29. My Bible is held together with purple duct tape.

30. I love to play games, but don't get to do so very often. I really like playing the Catan Card Game with my husband as well as Carcasonne. We brought them with us on our anniversary cruise this year.

31. It's hard to suck me away from my laptop. I have to turn it off during the day so I can focus on my kids (sad, but true!)

32. I am not a morning person, but I try to get up at 5:30 AM to have a little "me" time before the kids get up.

33. Speaking of children, I have two beautiful children. Jonathan (Jan 2009) and Grace (Aug 2010).

34. We weren't sure if we would be able to have children or not (see # 19-20). God gave us both a heart for adoption.

35. We were surprised to find out we were expecting Jonathan.

36. Because I was on tamoxifen, the doctor flat-out recommended we have an abortion.

37. That was never a consideration. Jonathan is perfectly healthy and smart! It saddens me to think there would be many women who would have followed the doctor's advice. (There was no research on the effects of tamoxifen & pregnancy at the time-- it was just a guess that he would have some kind of defect).

38. We were also surprised to learn we were expecting our daughter. Apparently, fertility was not an issue for us.

39. We still have a heart for adoption.

40. I had post-partum depression with Jonathan. I denied it at the time, but it's pretty clear looking back. I've been on an anti-depressant following Grace's birth.

41. I had PUPPS when I was pregnant with Jonathan. It's so rare, my doctor didn't recognize it. I was miserable.

42. I didn't have PUPPS with my 2nd pregnancy, but ended up with gestational diabetes. That was no fun either!

43. I grew up having dogs (a chihuahua and a mutt). I always thought I was a dog person.

44. When I was single and living alone, I adopted a cat named Tulip.

45. Tulips are my favorite flowers.

46. My husband is allergic to cats. I was sad to give Tulip away (but found her a good home).

47. I would like to have a cat, and I think my husband would too if he wasn't allergic.

48. His parents live on a horse farm and have barn cats-- we all love their kitties!

49. I, unlike every other little girl on the planet, never wanted horses.

50. I did have My Little Ponies though.

51. I love '80s music.

52. And worship music.

53. And early '90s grunge.

54. My iPod is very eclectic.

55. I love to bake-- cookies and pies are my specialty.

56. I enjoy my 30s more than my 20s. And I enjoyed my 20s more than my teens.

57. I was a misfit-- hence, my enjoyment of children's/youth ministry.

58. I love chai tea lattes and fancy coffee drinks.

59. I also love scones of any shape and size.

60. I worked at Starbucks for a week.

61. I couldn't handle cleaning public restrooms so I quit.

62. I think about that every time I have to use a public restroom and try to be as courteous as possible.

63. I despise having wet socks.

64. Cotton balls give me goose bumps when I hold them. Ick.

65. I've lived in Illinois since 1997 (except for 1 year across the border in Wisconsin). Most of that has been in the Chicago area.

66. I lived for a couple years down in central Illinois. We lived with my in-laws and tried to sell our house in Chicago.

67. I am fortunate that I get along very well with my mother-in-law.

68. Our house didn't sell and we moved back to Chicago after two years. The job called my husband, so we thought that God was moving us back.

69. We came back to the same house and same church, but with Jonathan. It was a strange time warp.

70. I love our church and our adopted hometown, but I miss having family close by.

71. Moving was very hard on me-- I had a hard time fitting in down in central Illinois. It was probably because of #11.

72. I consequently have a heart for helping people get connected when they are new to the area/or our church.

73. We co-lead a small group of mostly young families. I love our small group! I am so thankful for Christian friends for my children.

74. We plan on homeschooling. I don't know how far we'll go, but we'll take it year by year.

75. I have a major sweet tooth.

76. I think I'm addicted to Pepsi.

77. Oh, and to Pinterest. I find such wonderful ideas and blogs from there!

78. I dislike the winter-- it always makes me wonder why I chose Chicago for college.

79. I'm an INFP. I try to be more organized.

80. I'm finally getting in the groove of meal planning.

81. But all my son will eat are peanut butter sandwiches.

82. I'm trying to learn how to sew. I've made one baby quilt, two couch pillows and an apron.

83. I wish I was a better decorator. I don't have a good visual eye.

84. Same goes for clothing.

85. I'm only 4'11" so I have a hard time finding clothing. I wear a lot of T-shirts and jeans.

86. I often get mistaken for being much younger than I am. I hate it. It's so insulting when someone thinks you're a child.

87. It's a blessing when you're in children's ministry.

88. I love thunderstorms, but used to have recurring nightmares about tornadoes.

89. I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.

90. I could do laundry every day, but hate doing dishes. But, they both pile up every day.

91. I used to go see a broadway show once a year for my birthday. I still love musicals.

92. I love mysteries-- mystery novels, TV shows, movies. My standby is Murder She Wrote. But I hate "horror" movies.

93. I have a Philly accent sometimes. I say "arange" instead of "orange" and "harrar" vs. "horror". My husband teases me when it comes out.

94. I really liked the TV shows Lost and Monk. My current favorite is Psych. 

95. I really, really like Jane Austen. I particularly like the 1996 BBC mini-series of Pride & Prejudice. Any Jane Austen book/well done movie is right up my alley.

96. As an '80s child, I loved Care Bears. I have all ten original Care Bears.

97. I hate making phone calls. See #11.

98. I love blogging-- and reading others' blogs. But I have to turn the computer off while my children are awake-- see #31

99.  I am an imperfect woman, wife and mother.

100. But I have a perfect God who is at work in my life!

Do you have a 100 things list to share?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Some days you just have to scrap your lesson plan...

Ever have one of those days?

After focusing on babysitting and then potty training last week, I was excited to start some new activities with Jonathan and Grace. But, it just isn't happening today. Everything I attempted this morning was met with whining or disinterest.

For example, I had this cute Halloween-themed Montessori activity lined up for today... it only lasted a couple minutes. Grace is cutting her molars and is pretty irritable right now. Jonathan kept trying to grab my attention this morning by acting up.

So, I had to scrap the "lesson plan" today-- or at least my agenda for the day. Sometimes you just have to tune into your kids and what they need... the alphabet will still be there tomorrow. It's hard to let go sometimes, isn't it? Maybe we'll go for a walk after they wake up from naps (please sleep today!) 

So in the meantime, pray for wisdom and patience so I can figure out what exactly they do need today!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Potty Training- Day Three

Well, I think perhaps we made it!

We had no more accidents yesterday-- and Jonathan even stopped playing to run to the potty. We had no accidents this morning until we ventured out to the park, but that was the only one. He has one more big present left to earn on his potty chart (the Cars DVD). But, I think I can say that he's potty trained! I expect accidents here and there, but he's initiating and going potty on his own. We use Pull-Ups for nap time and I may for church this weekend... but I think the hardest part is done.

Whew! I am exhausted. I hope to be back to regular posting next week. For now, I'm going to take it easy! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Potty Training Update-- Day Two

This is our singing potty chair.
Warning: It will serenade our house guests at random!

So, we went through 14 pairs of underwear yesterday- I think that may be a record! But by the end of the night Jonathan had started initiating more-- and even got enough stars on his chart to earn a Tow Mater truck I bought at Walmart.

This morning, we only had two accidents and he went potty by himself enough times to earn another Cars toy-- I think its name is Pacer. So things are looking better! Both of the accidents were when he was distracted (a toy or eating lunch), so we'll continue to work on it. At least we've made good progress! I feel exhausted, my house is in shambles, but I'm encouraged nonetheless!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Potty Training Day One

It's been quiet around here. I'm taking the week off to focus on potty training. We babysat for friends Monday and Tuesday. And today we started potty training... all that to say, I'll be back with Kids in the Word (and other posts) next week.

For those of you who are interested in the potty training details...

We're throwing Jonathan a three day potty party. This morning he woke up and the family room and bathroom area were decorated with streamers and balloons (left over from 1st birthday celebrations). We bought a boy doll that goes potty and started to "potty train" the doll. Our doll went on the potty a few times and got treats (which he shared with Jonathan) and star stickers on his potty chart.

I intended to keep Jonathan in diapers until after nap, but then he wanted to be in big boy underwear just like the doll. So we moved into his Cars and Thomas the Train underpants.

Now, our biggest hurdle with potty training is having him initiate going potty. He's been very comfortable sitting and using the potty-- but always at our initiative. He typically uses it three or four times a day (after every meal). We've had the occasional dirty diapers and lots and lots of wet ones. And every once in a while he'll initiate going potty. But not usually. So, my hope is by moving him into big boy underwear, he'll begin to initiate more.

At first, we had one poop in underwear which he told me about right away. Then, we had several pairs of wet underwear-- one of which he told me about, the rest he didn't seem to care. I was pretty discouraged! We checked every 15 minutes to see if he was dry. If he was dry, he got a treat. If he was wet, we changed his underwear and put him on the potty. If he got anything in the potty, we put some stars on his chart,

I knew to expect accidents, but I didn't expect him not to care. We cleaned up the accidents and talked about how our pee/poo is supposed to go in the potty-- not the floor. We also talked about telling our body to wait until we ran to the potty.

So, he finally initiated and told me "Mama! I have to go pee!" So we ran to the potty, he went pee and mommy did a happy dance. He put a sticker on his chart (which happened to complete a row) and got a toy-- a Tow Mader truck. Suddenly, he was a lot more motivated. He initiated one more time after that and now it's time for nap (in a pull up).

I don't know whether or not the trend will continue, but at least it's progress! Stay tuned for more updates... but I'd love if you have words of wisdom to share...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tot School: Grace's Week (14 Months & 33 months)

I had grand intentions for this week, but we didn't get as much done as I had hoped! My pictures were mostly of Grace, so here's what she did this week:

We had unseasonably warm weather, so we went on several walks:

Grace really enjoyed our busy gears this week:

And this busy box toy. She just figured out how to push the button to make the panda come up-- she's so proud of herself!

She's started standing a little bit more. She's figured out how to stand with her back to an object, so she's learning better how to be aligned.

Jonathan got a doll to help with potty training and she became quite the little mother:

giving kisses

Trying to feed the baby

She decided that she wanted the bottle herself
Jonathan's Week

Jonathan and I did do a little bit of "Tot School" this week-- mostly reading about robots and rockets. I think I'll carry some of the ideas into next week. One thing that is so fun to see is that he's really developed good phonological awareness recently. He's started pointing out to me when words rhyme and can tell me what letter a lot of words start with. It's amazing to see how quickly this has developed! I'm thinking about starting working on reading after Christmas. Any recommendations on what to use?

Next week is also... potty training {enter ominous music}. He's 33 months old and he will go potty every time I put him on the potty, but he won't initiate. He knows he's gone potty-- but won't tell me beforehand! So, we're going to move to big boy pants and we'll see how it goes! Any advice?

Mom's Favorite 

I love seeing my children be sweet to one another!  (I promise it's not a choke hold!)

See what other Moms are doing over at 1+1+1=1! Have a great week!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

r is for Rainforest {Books}

Last week we learned about the rainforest as we began reviewing the letter "r". We had fun learning about the different animals in the rainforest.

Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme by Marianne Berkes

This is a delightful book that you can sing to your children. You count rainforest animals to the tune of the children's song Over in the Meadow. While you are singing, you will learn more about the different animals that live in the rainforest . The clay illustrations just seem to jump out at you and the back of the book includes different actions you and your children can do for each animal. This is tons of fun to share with your toddler-- it's a book we read often in the past few weeks. Apparently she has books about other animal habitats-- I'm excited to read more of her works!

The Umbrella by Jan Brett

This offering by noted children's author Jan Brett is a fun tale that takes place in the Costa Rican cloud forest. It's similar in style to The Mitten, an earlier work of Brett's, in which animals crowd one by one into a leaf umbrella until there's no more room. It's an entertaining tale that Jonathan wanted to hear several times. Brett's illustrations are, as always, breathtaking and full of detail. This is a fun addition to any rainforest unit!

Rainforest Animals by Paul Hess

This is a perfect first book to introduce children to Rainforest animals. Each two page spread features a different animal in its natural habitat. Bold text displays the animal name and a short 4-line verse is included which describes some of that animal's behavior. It's the perfect book for younger toddlers-- even Grace had the attention span to enjoy this book.

The Living Rain Forest: An Animal Alphabet by Paul Kratter

I usually try to pick out an alphabet book that corresponds with whatever our "theme" for the week is. So this is a beautifully illustrated alphabet book that features different animals and plants of the world's rain forests. Each double-spread layout includes some interesting facts about the animal, including their size and length. It's very interesting and informative, but the information really isn't appealing for toddlers/preschoolers. Jonathan just really liked looking at the pictures! The book includes animals from all over the world, so if you are looking to focus on animals of a particular regions, then this one may not be the best choice for your classroom.

The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan Mitchell

This is another rainforest book based on a song. This book adapts the song The Green Grass Grew All Around. As you go through the verses of the song, you learn about the different animals and plants of the rainforest. The illustrations feature lush scenes of the Amazon and the sidebars include additional facts. There's also a cookie recipe using ingredients that we import from the Rain Forest-- it would make a wonderful baking project to share with your little ones!

A Walk in the Rainforest by Kristin Joy Pratt

This is another alphabet book that was written and illustrated by a fifteen year old girl. It follows a little ant named XYZ on its walk through a rainforest. The any meets different animals such as "an intriguing iguana" and "an observant ocelot". Some of the letters seem a little forced such as "a natural Native who knows nature well", but all in all it's a cute book.

All of these were fun reads for our week in the rainforest. Thanks for visiting!

I'm linking up to these wonderful blogs:

Read Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word
Reading Aloud Challenge @ Footprints in the Butter
Feed Me Books Friday @ Little Sprout Books
What My Child is Reading @ Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns
Book Sharing Monday @ Smiling Like Sunshine

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Blessing {Book Review}

I'll be honest up front-- I tend to shy away from books by Christian psychologists or psychiatrists. There's just so much (in my opinion) garbage included in many of the Christian self-help offerings. The more books an author puts out, the more skeptical I am about what they have to offer.

But I was given a chance to read the book The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance  by John Trent and Gary Smalley thanks to the folks at BookSneeze. I typically don't pick up books like The Blessing, but I thought it could provide a helpful perspective on parenting. And,overall,  it did.

First the positive, Trent and Smalley emphasize the importance of offering our children unconditional love and acceptance. We should be making our children feel loved, appreciated, and wanted. The authors consider this giving our children "the blessing". They emphasize five different aspects of the blessing:

  • Meaningful Touch- affirming our children with appropriate physical contact
  • A Spoken Message- speaking words of praise and affirmation
  • Attaching high value- using word pictures to communicate the value you place in your child
  • Picturing a Special Future- affirming the character qualities and potential you see in your child
  • An Active Commitment- a continued commitment to actively demonstrate your care for your child

These are very good categories for any parent (Christian or non-Christian) to think through. The authors provided many illustrations from Scripture and real-life to illustrate their point. 

However, while I agree with the importance of the points they made, I disliked the way they used Scripture. I thought they were using Scripture to support their points instead of using Scripture to argue their points. It isn't that blessing and affirming our children is unimportant, it's just that I think they offered a poor biblical argument. 

Secondly, they had an over abundance of real life "sob stories" of people who failed to experience the blessing from their parents. This really killed the book for me. I honestly stopped reading after getting through the first two sections of the book, because I felt that they already got the point across. 

So, would I recommend this book? It depends on the level of discernment of the reader. I think there are better Christian parenting books out there. However, it's worth reading simply for the second section which goes through the five essential elements of blessing your children. I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I am not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Kids in the Word: David & Goliath

Wednesdays in the Word Kids in the Word Wednesday ~ October 5

Time for another edition of Kids in the Word! This week, we've talked about David and we've especially focused on the story of David and Goliath. This has long been a favorite of Jonathan's so I was excited to talk about the story this week.


First, we read the stories of David from our favorite toddler Bible. And then we supplemented with these books:

David and the Giant from The Beginner's Bible I Can Read! series

This along with David & God's Giant Victory (a 2nd level reader) are two of Jonathan's absolute favorite bedtime Bible stories. I like how the books emphasize that God was the true hero of the story and they contain just enough action to be very exciting to little boys!

Bing! David and Goliath by Mary Manz Simon

This is another easy reader series that we've enjoyed in the past. This story also tries to tell the story of David and Goliath in a few words. It's a decent revision, but not as good as other books in this series. Jonathan preferred David and the Giant over this one.


Well, this was a fail. This is the craft we attempted to make:

Super cute, right? Well, we learned that rocks don't glue onto paper very well. Even pipe-cleaners (for a slingshot) didn't glue down. We tried tape, but that didn't work well either. Oh well, he still liked playing with the glue. Maybe I'll have a better idea next time we learn about David...

Pretend Play

We acted out the story-- Jonathan has a foam sword and had fun fighting Goliath (mommy or daddy). What boy wouldn't love this story?


We learned the song "Little David, Play on Your Harp"... this one was okay. I personally found the song annoying, but Jonathan didn't care. I think "Only a Boy Named David" would be a better choice, but we don't own that one.


We wrapped up our David & Goliath study with a viewing of the Classic Dave & the Giant Pickle. This was the first Veggie Tales episode I ever saw and I'm glad to say Jonathan enjoyed it very much!

So that's been our week about David--- next week, it's time for Solomon! I still haven't found a craft for this one, so we'll see what I can come up with!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pinterest Tuesday: Recent Recipes

In the last few weeks, I've tried a couple recipes that I found on Pinterest and thought I'd share some of my good finds!

I love to bake, so one of the first ones I tried was Caramel Apple Cider cookies. I didn't have whole caramels, but I had caramel bits and they worked just as well:

I also tried this super-easy slow cooker recipe for Crock Pot Chicken and Rice which we really enjoyed. Grace couldn't get enough of it! It's going into our meal rotation for sure!

And finally, here's an old favorite Chicken in a Basil Cream Sauce that I forgot about until seeing it pop-up on Pinterest. I may need to surprise my husband with this one again:

What have you been pinning? Head over to Our Country Road to see more great pinning ideas!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Amazon Rainforest Nomenclature Cards- free printable

Jonathan is really into animals lately. We have several of the Safari toob animals and he and all his friends have so much fun playing with the little animals! 

One of his favorite activities is to match the toob animals with their pictures. We've used other sets with Montessori nomenclature cards available online, such as over at 1+1+1=1, but no set has had all the animals in our toobs. So, I made our own for this unit! 

This printable includes all 11 animals in the Safari Rainforest Toob as well as 8 additional animals featured in the books we read such as The Umbrella by Jan Brett. I uploaded it to 4Shared and you're welcome to download it and use it for your personal use: 

I'm linking this over to Montessori Monday over at One Hook Wonder and Living Montessori Now. 

r is for rainforest (33 months)

Tot School
Jonathan is 33 Months

This week we read about David and Goliath-- this is one of Jonathan's favorite Bible stories! More to come on Weds...

Books & Language Arts 

We read lots of books about the rainforest this week:

  • Over in the Jungle by Marianne Collins Berkes*
  • The Umbrella by Jan Brett*
  • Rainforest Animals by Paul Hess*
  • The Living Rainforest: An Animal Alphabet by Paul Kratter
  • The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan Mitchell
  • A Walk in the Rainforest by Kristin Pratt-Serafini

(* denotes a favorite)

Jonathan worked on building rainforest words with daddy using Scrabble tiles and a free printable from 2Teaching Mommies. This was great for teaching how words progress from left to right:

We also did some more Rainforest pre-writing exercises too.


We colored a lot of the wonderful rainforest printables that Carisa made over at 1+1+1=1

We also did some work with stickers using his Rain Forest sticker activity book. The stickers are reusable, so it's great practice peeling and sticking:


Jonathan loves his toob animals. We have the rainforest set and I made a printable of Montessori nomenclature cards that features each of the animals in the toob. He had fun matching the animals with the cards:

We also played with our BambinoLuk. This is a great game for developing critical thinking skills. Jonathan loves it when I pull it out! 


Jonathan also got a new puzzle this week. It's a Kid-O puzzle which features different pieces from narrow to wide. It's similar in concept to the Montessori cylinder blocks, but a lot cheaper! The puzzle was fairly easy for him, but it was a wonderful platform for talking about different widths as well as color variations.

Daddy also worked with him a little bit on adding and subtracting by putting toys in a pile one by one and then taking them away. I was surprised how quickly he started to understand what daddy was doing!

Practical Life 

We may have the naptime issue under control now. I've bumped back his afternoon naptime by over an hour and he's taken his naps pretty well all week. As a result, he gets to stay up a little later. One night he got to make pumpkin cookies with Mommy and Daddy! He and daddy had fun talking like the Swedish chef on the Muppets! Borq Borq Borq! 

Mommy's Favorite 

I'm sure you all know of the Pioneer Woman. If you haven't seen her blog, you should! She has wonderful recipes. She has a children's book called Charlie the Ranch Dog that Jonathan reads at his Nana's house. Nana happened to find a stuffed animal that looks like Charlie and he has quickly become Jonathan's favorite! His full name is "Charlie the Ranch Dog" of course(but you have to hear that in two year old pronunciation-- it's priceless). Charlie goes everywhere with Jonathan. He even gets his own "bowl" of food while Jonathan eats. Sometimes Charlie is too loud at bedtime, and gets in trouble, but otherwise he's Jonathan's constant companion:

Even when Jonathan has long outgrown stuffed animals, there will always be a special place in my heart for Charlie the Ranch Dog!

See what other moms are doing with their children over at 1+1+1=1 and Preschool Corner!
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