Sunday, June 26, 2016

Summer Solstice

Welcome Summer! Before another day slips by I want to record our Summer solstice events. I've been absent to long and my computer is not working right so bear with me while I record pictures that were unable to be edited (grin). First we started by making 
this 16 pointed Waldorf star.... Ah hem... With many errors, but it looks nice so I went with it. I might redo it later. I found the instructions "Here"
We also made a sun out of yellow lunch bags.. There were a million tutorials online how to do this.. This blogger has easy to follow instructions. She used 5 paper bags, I used 7.. But other than that it's all the same.
During a long drive in the country we picked roadside flowers for crowns and decorations. Panda even helped make a Sun Banner to put up.
I also made a Midsummer "Maypole". Panda loved this and had a beautiful moment of awe and stillness inspecting it.  We had no delusions that he would happily dance around it, so we chased him and jumped around and around it instead
Once everything was decorated we kicked the fun off with a color fight! I found directions on how to make colors with cornstarch from "This" blogger.. But didn't have time to make them and just ended up using some nontoxic powdered paint I had laying around.
It took a little to get Panda going, but then there was no stopping him. I can tell this is going to be a new family tradition for us. I feel that it honors this festival and my boys wild and free spirits perfectly.
I wish there was an "after" picture. We had so much fun. Really, you have to try this.
After we cleaned up from our fight (I didn't want either of my boys rubbing color into their eyes), we went back out for Panda's first official bonfire. We were a little nervous, but he handled it very well. He also made his first Smores. We use Smoreable gluten free crackers and Enjoy life chocolate chunks to make it safe, but the end result is just as yummy. I don't have a photo of our finale.. But as the night sky bloomed above us we set off on one more "First" adventure that is sure to not be a last. We took the boys to go catch fireflies! Oh what an adventure that was and a perfect kick off for summer..
So Happy Summer Solstice!
P.S. Bear will never forgive me for this photo, but I had to put it in. It's a horrible picture of us... But a Beautiful picture of "Who We Are".
Shine on!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sun Banner

 Hello. I know I have been absent a lot lately and I don't see an end of this anytime in the near future, but I wanted to share this banner that Panda and I made for the Summer Solstice
 . I cut up an old flip flip in the shape of a sun and hot glued it to the bottom of a jar. I used a jar so it would be easier for Panda to hold. I cut a whole bunch of burlap triangles and then we just went to town stamping. When they were dry Panda helped me stitch them together with yarn and a simple running stitch. 
 Such a simple project and it turned out so sweet. I hope to have our Solstice pictures up soon... Soon will be determined by my boys. Shine on!

Monday, May 2, 2016

April 2016 Pictures

April is over, May is here. Panda, you are now 3! Where has the time gone? 
You are such a funny and inquisitive little boy. The other day I was watching you carefully carry bowls of water to and from your play areas outside. The look of concentration on your face held me spellbound. You built tall stick structures and watered them down, patted the mud into place. I would love to know what was going on in that secret world of yours, but I'm to old now to understand. Instead I will sit back in awe and watch you work. Quietly, purposefully, and with all your heart.
I don't know where this new year will take you, but I know you will face everything it brings head on. Happy birthday sweet Red Panda. 
Badger, you are now six months old.. Half a year has gone by. Again.. Where has the time gone?
April was a rough month for us all. We all kept getting sick. Tummy bugs, flu, strep throat. You gave us quite the scare with a high temp, but things are finally on the mend for us all. Now all we have left is a pesky cough that just wont leave.
Through everything you remain my happy little Badger. You've started making adorable kissing noises and you are rolling all over the house.  We started you on baby oatmeal, but you still have issues swallowing so we've pulled back a bit. I can't wait to see what the next six months bring.
Our journey is only just started. Shine on my beautiful quirky boys.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

DIY Peg Doll Maypole

 Hello, I'm so very excited to share this tutorial with you. Panda's birthday is coming and this year we are giving only handmade gifts to our boys. Panda loves his peg dolls and things that move. Mayday is coming and so the idea of a Maypole popped into my mind...
  But It Had To Move...
I used:
 a blank wood clock face (bought at a craft store and squirreled away years ago),
a thin circle of balsa craft wood
two wood wheels
a chopstick
a circle of felt (not pictured)
and six rainbow colored plastic caps that fit the bottom of Panda's peg people.
(I had everything on hand except an orange and a purple cap.. Those I made Bear search High and low for much to his dismay.)
 First widen the holes on the wheels with a drill to make the chopstick fit. Then hot glue the chopstick and one wheel to the base. The wheel gives added stability to the pole. The green caps in the picture are just a hair taller than the wheel to help keep the second wood circle level for the next step. They are not glued down.
Next, drill a hole into the wood circle, slip it over the chopstick. and then glue the second wheel at the top of the chopstick. The wood circle should move freely. 
Hot glue the ribbons to the top of the wheel and around the side. I wanted to be sure they were firmly glued in so they would last through my boy's not so gentle play.
Pull the ribbon down and glue it just so there will be enough room to add the cap. It should be just taught enough that when the green caps are removed from underneath the wood circle does not rest on the wheel, but hangs freely.
see? The slack disappears once the cap is  glued on.
Almost done now.
Last of all I added a circle of felt to the bottom of the base to keep the wood from scuffing tables. 
Ta DAH! I can't wait to see the look on his face when he opens this up. Let me know if you make one. or have some other Peg People ideas. I would love to hear about them in the comments below. 
Thanks for visiting.
Shine on!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Toddler Tuesday: Knights

Knights, one of Panda's favorite things. Last week one of his therapists suggested using knights as a motivator for him, and things have been working out rather well. Our sensory bin this week is a dish with water and water beads (I have been excitedly waiting for him to be old enough for these), and a scattering of knights. Panda loves  splashing and watching the beads bounce and scoot around in the water. When he is done with the bin it's his job to mop up the water.
While  Panda is playing with his bin, Badger gets to roll around this bottle . He loves watching the beads float and sparkle in the lights.
To start our day out, first Panda has too cut open envelopes to get to his knights. This was also suggested by his therapist. We will be getting a pair of Loop Scissors for smaller hands, but until then these work okay.
One of the things we focus on in life skills is learning how to dress himself. His therapist wanted to work on snaps with him. So I made these felt chains with snaps. So far he isn't interested, but I'm hoping as the week goes on his interest will perk up. Its also a great fine motor skill if he does find interest.
We are making shields. Panda's task is to trace shapes. I was going to have him cut them out, but cutting the envelopes at the start of the day seems to be enough for him for now.
When he is done with his shield we hang them up on this banner. It is going to look incredible when they are all filled up. I'm thinking about leaving it up as a birthday decoration.... And then maybe pulping the paper to make homemade paper. (seriously, I love these projects, but I think we will be murdering an entire forest before this subject is done).
We are also working on number recognition. Panda can count to 16, but his number recognition is a bit shaky. Still,  that's pretty impressive for 2 years old (he ain't 3 yet folks).
We're also working on letter recognition, I don't expect him to spell, but he has been picking up on letters lately. Each week we will choose one word and focus on what letters are in the word. This week (and next) we will focus on his name. The number and letter cards are leftovers from when our store closed. I'm glad we had a set of each left. They are thin balsa wood. sanded smooth and then words and letters were wood burned in.
We are also practicing for a knights tournament... I had to figure out a tie-in... At therapy his therapist has a log swing that she uses to help with vestibular and proprioceptive input. She rocks him side to side, and back and forth while he throws bean bags into a barrel (also great hand eye coordination). I took that and recreated it at home with what we had. Balancing on the exercise ball is great for his sensory diet, works on balance, building core muscles, and feeds his need for movement. Then he throws balls into a basket. Panda LOVES this activity....
And that is what we are up to this week. Next Tuesday I will let you know how things are going. I will also have a few other activities that there just wasn't time to prepare this week. Till then, 
~Shine on~

Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 2016 photos

Where did March go? So many things happened. We added this new sweet ride to our family. It's not that Panda can't walk, it's more to keep him contained. He has developed an unhealthy habit of running off in parking lots and down the street. We're working on it, but for now this keeps him safe and keeps me from loosing my mind.
My Sweet Red Panda, this is the year where you start waking up and discovering that you are your own unique person. It has been a journey. 
Lately you have been refusing solid foods and have lost the ability to use silverware. The doctors say not to worry, but I retain the mother's right to do so (I should also mention so not to worry any one that we have several therapists working with us on these issues). You never were a big eater to start with and now you have fallen into the 23rd percentile weight for your height. Which is another point. You are two years old and the height of an average 4 or 5 year old. My skinny tall boy. Please start eating soon.
A tummy bug hit us right after Easter which did not help with your feeding issues one bit, but you seem to be pulling out of it. We met with a preschool teacher and saw your "classroom" for this fall. To say I am not impressed in an understatement. It's taking everything I have not to pull you from the program right now. The teacher started out by explaining to us that they take a regular preschool curriculum and "scale it waaay back". Seeing that academically you already surpass the needs of a basic preschool this bothers me to no end. However I do believe that you will learn better with people your own age around you...Hopefully I can come to grips with this soon and figure out what is truly best for you.
Your sense of adventure is amazing and will carry you far. It's not fair that you have to go through so many therapy's and that you are being forced into a public school this fall, but you seem to be taking it in stride. We will be adding more therapy into our regiments and you will be attending a day treatment center soon. It will be hard to let you go off on your own. My mother's voice screams that it is to early, but hopefully all this early intervention will help you in the long run.
Oh my Badger,  This was a month of firsts for you. First Saint Patrick's day, First Easter. First time really playing outside and swinging. You aren't to sure of the sun, but as soon as summer hits, I know you will love the grass....
First food, Oatmeal... I wanted to wait another month, but a spoonful before bed has been making you sleep so much better,
You are now rolling around the house with the greatest of ease and happily exploring your world. You will be crawling in no time the way you scoot around. And that smile... I have never known a baby to smile as often as you. What a lucky Mum I am to wake up to these toothless grins EVERY morning.
Five months. Where did the time go? You are now wearing 12 month and at times 18 months onsies. Though you can still wear several of your 0-3 month pants, you are now starting to wear 3-6 month  pants. My funny stubby legged baby. You may never win a track race, but you will go far. You steal the heart of everyone you meet.
So that was March. Plagued by sicknesses, overrun with appointments, and yet we're still here and still going strong. Life is a journey. I can't wait to see what April brings. 
~Shine on~

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Recap

Hello, I hope you all had a Happy Easter weekend. This post will serve as a recap of our weekend and our Toddler Tuesday for now. I will post "March Photos" of the boys later this week. Our bin was a simple bin with plastic eggs and spoons from the dollar store and  white beans. Panda liked stacking the egg shells, using them like cups, and stuffing beans into them to make noisemakers. A pretty good success.
Our Spring books made their annual debut along with our spring stuffed animals. Badger has been loving the butterfly. I don't have a photo, but another thing we have been working on is the word "Stop", so we have been hopping around like bunnies and using the words "stop" and "start". This will help him with words, and also hopefully keep him from running off in parking lots and into the street. 
We've been using these rainbow colored eggs for color matching games. Matching the shell halves together and also filling them with small color corresponding objects like cars and peg people and such.
Easter was a huge success. Panda received a homemade weighted therapy bunny and three peg people knights. Badger received a puzzle ball and bunny eared rattle/teether. Both of them also received some seeds for planting this summer. I made cookies and chocolates that were safe for Panda, but we kept that part small. Only one cookie and two pieces of chocolate. I don't think he felt cheated at all.
After spending  a lovely afternoon at my sister's house  we returned home for our wooden Easter egg hunt. This year Panda really got into hunting for the eggs and kept looking for them long after he found the last one. When he realized he wasn't going to find any more he started re-hiding them. It was a moment to cherish. I'm glad we started using wooden eggs a few years back instead of plastic ones. The thrill  for us is in the magic, wonder, and excitement of finding the eggs, not what is inside them. How did you celebrate? Did you celebrate? 
~Shine on~