Monday, January 25, 2016

Polar Play

I was excited to take out the polar play set I made last winter now hat Ana was a little older and more able to appreciate it. 

This week, I told the story "The Polar Bear", from  "Tell Me a Story".  I had the perfect props for this - and Ana loved it.  She asked to hear it over and over.

 Baking day - I made banana penguins for everyone for dessert.  Ana and I made polar bear cupcakes.  She put on all the eyes - they were very expressive!

Penguins sure are tasty! 

Several of our polar bear cupcake looked more like white pigs to me, but hey, they were adorable, and very yummy! 

Painting day - simply white paint for snow on blue sky paper.  Ana actually spent several minutes painting the paper, and not herself.  This is new! 

Sensory day - The perfect theme for snow dough! Simple method - add enough oil to white flour to make it clump together a little, bu not form an actual dough.  This was a great sensory experience - I kneaded and played with the snow for quite a while, too!

I've been picking up those tubes of animals for our themes when I can find them.  While I prefer wooden, wool, or other natural toys, those toys can't really go into our sensory bins without being ruined, so these are wonderful for that.  This is the Arctic Toob

 Craft day - Inspired by the polar bear story I've been telling all week, we made ice wreaths.  I don't have a bundt pan, but I do have small vintage donut pans, so those worked for mini ice wreaths.  And added citrus and cranberries first, then we poured in water and let them freeze.  These will also go on the bird tree.  


We had a snowstorm this weekend, so we had a lot of snow play, in and outside.  It has been a remarkably snow-less winter here in CT this year. 

Snowstorms mean fires in the fireplace; fires in the fireplace mean s'mores! 


Winter Birds

"Bird" was Ana's first word.  She has loved birds ever since she first watched them out on the deck as an infant.  So the theme of birds is one we visit a few times a year.  This week was our winter bird week. 

We started off the week with our playgroup.  I planned most of the winter playgroup sessions to have the same theme as we are doing for that week.  So this week we read some bird stories, painted paper plate birds, and made birdseed ornaments

 Tuesday is baking day.  We made a nut and seed bread.  We finished half the loaf and gave the other half to the chickens.

 Painting day - sky and birch trees.  Ana used a sponge stamp for the first time to stamp red birds all over the trees. 

 Craft day - we strung dried orange slices and fresh cranberries for the birds.  We put our Christmas tree on the deck to decorate it with bird treats.  Unfortunately, it keeps blowing over in the wind, so I have to get out there and secure it before we can decorate it. 

3 Kings

Epiphany, Three Kings Day, Dia de los Reyes -- the end of the Christmas season.  This year, it was all about camels.  Or, particularly about one camel, Humphrey.  Ana became obsessed with this book and we had to read it several times a day. 


 A nice cozy spot for reading, "the nest"

Baking day - we baked a cake for the holiday, as well as cinnamon sugar tortillas, and a Chipotle style dinner - carnitas, cilantro lime rice, and all the fixins'

Meema found the nut hidden in the cake - lucky baby!  

Painting day - we painted paper to make into crowns.  Gold, silver, bronze paints 

Sensory day - we are getting lots of use out of the stone box from Advent.  The girls both love it. 

Craft day - we made beautiful window stars to hang in the dining room window.  I did all the folding beforehand, and showed Ana how to put the pieces together with a little dot of glue.  She did mos of the assembly.  



 We visited Blueberry Sky this week for their open house tea party.  Ana now has to have tea every day.  We took out my beautiful tea pot to make ti special, and a couple of mugs, and now we share tea every afternoon.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter Wonderland

We got season passes this year for Lake Compounce, and included was the Festival of Lights holiday spectacular.  We had never been before, so weren't sure what to expect.  It was fantastic - big and little kids both enjoyed it!

Started off with this impressive tree - tallest in the state.  More of a cone - but awesome nonetheless


Even the dinosaurs were celebrating

Fake snow, and my nephew

Race cars

Ice sculptors

Ana was enchanted

Mrs Claus reading stories - I know of a hundred wonderful Christmas books for kids.  Mrs Claus did not pick any of them :(

But the fire pits were enjoyed

Ana was thrilled to ride the carousel!


This was our first year doing an Advent spiral and an Advent garden.  Last year, we planned the spiral with our playgroup but between weather and illness, we never were able to hold the event.  Thankfully, it worked out this year because it was magical!

It was warm, but with a mist/light rain the entire evening.  It made for tough picture taking.  This is the spiral all lit up at the end of the walk. 

Spiral before we started 


Apple candles for each child to light and place on the stars in the spiral 

Holden and Ana's walk 

Kenna's walk 

Mama and Meema's walk 

Our Advent garden was truly beautiful.  It was something Ana looked forward to all day, each day.  A special moment after dinner to shut the lights, light the candles, and read the next story from "The Light in the Lantern". 

I wanted something to hold all the treasures of the 4 kingdoms, so I made a simple wooden box from birch plywood to fit the top of the piano.  I dyed some flannel for a backdrop, added some silk fabric, and a beautiful angel and stars made by a friend.  Our perpetual 'tree" would hold treasures in the coming weeks as well.

Week 1 - Mineral kingdom.  The candle holder is in place, with stones for the path.  Holden added some gems from his collection. 

Hanging agate slices

Week 2:  Plant kingdom.  We added some flowers and a tree, along with moss on the other side of the candles.  And late last week added beeswax stars hanging from our branches.

Christmas Eve - Animal and Human kingdoms now added - Mary, Joseph, the donkey, and some wildlife. 

Merry Christmas!