Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Toddler Tuesday: Unavailable

Oye! I'm sick.... I'll hopefully be back next week with a Toddler Tuesday, but the day is half gone and I just can't bring myself to do a whole TT post... So instead I'll leave you with this pretty picture of Panda's new reading nook.  It cost a whole whopping $4! We decided to get rid of furniture... Ok, not completely, but we only have a sofa left now and I couldn't be happier with the decision... It made room for this sweet little reading nook in our nook-less house.. More on that later as well.
Take care and Shine on!...
My shine is heading back to bed..

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Toddler Tuesdays: Part 7

A belated welcome to Toddler Tuesdays part 7. The Moon and Circles.
This week Panda and Bear have both been sick (and I think I'm coming down with the same bug now), so things have been pretty quiet. Our bin is full of practice golf balls that look like little moons and other circle or space related items. I had a small pail with robots on it running around. It's perfect for filling and dumping. I even whipped up a felt rocket and some finger puppets (ahhh, is there anything felt can't do?) .... 
They happen to also fit on his train. There was a second astronaut, but it vanished shortly after I made it and I honestly can't find where he put it. I found the pattern for the astronaut at Crack of Dawn Crafts. The alien and rocket I made up. Panda really likes the aliens googly eyes. I caught him serving tea to it with a kiss and a giggle. It was a melt my heart moment. 
 I made a moon for the light box out of a colored file divider and two different sizes of hole punches. Along the side of the moon there are some dollar store finger paints.
Panda didn't like the paint on his fingers but he came up with the idea of sliding the moon around and watching it smear the paint. That was fun till the dog walked by... I now have a blue dog ; ) Oh well. it's non toxic and washes off easy.
We wove pipe cleaners through practice golf balls, and while it's not shown we've also been blowing a lot of bubbles around the house. 
 I didn't have any specific idea with this one. I set out some balls and a hula hoop for Panda to find and just let him play. He started rolling the balls around inside the hoop, watching them follow the curve. Then he curled up inside the hoop and rested for a bit. Next he got the idea to swing it over his head so he was in the hoop and then out. Next it was my turn and he had fun trapping me in the hoop. He made it roll along the floor and ran circles around it. He played with these simple things for over an hour. I wish I took notes. His imagination went wild and he had a ball (please excuse the pun).
Thanks for visiting. Have a blessed week and please let us know what is going on in your home this week. Shine on!

Monday, January 19, 2015


Dear Son,  
 It's been a rough week. You've been sick. We've been lucky so far, you are almost 2 and have had no major sicknesses but the other night you became sick and developed a fever. I know you will be ok and that it's nothing serious but my heart still cries for you as I cradle your fevered little body. Get well soon. Always shine on. I love you.
Week three joining Jodi  and her 52 Photo Project.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Starry Nightlight

On Monday I posted a picture of our Starry nightlight. I based its idea off of the nightlight made by This blogger. However, I wanted mine to be shatter proof so that Panda could play with it.
So I used a plastic peanut butter jar. I cleaned it out and painted the inside with a mixture of black, purple, and black glitter paint.
I punched holes into the jar to make constellations and then painted white lines on the outside of the jar to map the constellations out. The lid I covered in glitter and glue. Once the lid was dry I covered the glitter with Triple Thick Diamond glaze. It coats the glitter like a resin so when you touch it it's smooth (ish) and the glitter does not flake off.
For the light, I used high temp hot glue to glue a touch LED light into the lid. I glued a circle of felt on the other side of the lid so it would not scratch tables and other surfaces. 
 You can't see it in the photos, but the purple paint helped to make more of a night sky color than just plain black and the glitter actually glistens and shines. It's really quite beautiful. 
How has it held up?  Wonderfully! Panda has played with his nightlight every day/night. He's even thrown it a few times and it still looks like new.
Thank you for reading. What inspired activities are happening around your home? Have a blessed weekend and
Shine on!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Toddler Tuesdays: Part 6

I am so excited to share this week's Star Unit with you all. I collaborated with my sister for this one. For the next few weeks we will be studying shapes and to kick it off we are starting with stars. This week's sensory bin was a huge hit. Panda sat down and just observed it for the first three minutes before diving in. There are black beans, gold star pony beads, a big and little dipper (thanks for that idea Mouse), glow in the dark stars, meteorites (the tinfoil balls I saved from our wrapped blocks a few weeks ago), and a felt bean bag rocket with a streaming tail of ribbon for throwing! The first thing he did was start sorting out the tinfoil balls. I was quick to grab a few wooden bowls and set them down quietly beside him when I saw that, and he happily started sorting out the balls, beads, and beans. Then he held up the star links and poured the bean s through them with the ladles. It was magic watching him. The only part of this he has flat out ignored so far is the rocket I made for him. Strange, since he LOVES to throw things.
Mouse suggested that I roll out some blankets to make a trail through the house so Panda could have his own Milky Way.. I used that idea and cut out a million little stars to make this starry path. Panda has been having great fun hopping from one star to the next (and burning off cabin fever energy in the process). I based it's idea off of a game called Island Hoping that I made up for my niece and nephew MANY years ago.
I'm borrowing this game from my sister for the week. She bought it years ago when my (now 19 year old) nephew was just a wee little thing. Its held up fantastically and I was happy to see that they are still being made today. I found them on Amazon. It's called Balancing Moon . We've used this game to calm him down for both nap and bed time so far, and it's worked wonderfully.
This lacing game I made with some cardboard and a hold punch.
 I was really surprised that he was able to do this activity. He loves beading so a lacing game seemed like the next logical step. He can't stitch in sequence yet but he still enjoys weaving the thread in and out through the holes.
We also brought the light box back into play. Sunday I did a post about these new light box manipulatives. The bears represent Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. The little star links he likes to stack on his fingers like rings. He's fascinated with the cubes and their bright colors and the water element they bring to this activity, but it's the cut out transparencies that he plays with the most which kind of surprised me. He likes sliding them around and figured out on his own that he can make different colors by overlapping them.. 
I'm also borrowing this hole punch from my sister for the week. If you have some paper, a hole punch and a bored child, this is an amazing project. I set Panda up with these at the table while I get breakfast ready. He loves manipulating the hole punch. His fingers are to big to fit in the slot where the punch comes down so it's perfectly safe and lets me get breakfast ready.
I also made this nightlight for Panda, inspired by This blogger but made to be shatter proof.  I will post my version later. It casts stars all over the room in the dark. Panda loves spinning around with it and watching the stars swirl. Tonight we will make some peanut butter Rice Krispies stars as a sweet treat. What is going on in your home this week? Leave a comment in the comment section and thanks for joining us. See you next week.
Shine on!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dollar Tree Light Box Manipulatives

Yesterday my sister and her family were kind enough to watch Panda for the day so we could run errands. One of our errands was to go too the Dollar Tree to get some items for the light box (I told you we would be revisiting that). The rules were simple. The items had to be reusable for school later, and they also had to be clear for light to shine through. It was a lot of fun.  Here is what we found...
First up is this simple basket. Don't let it's appearance fool you. It is a mighty useful tool. They come it all different colors but Bear only wanted one for now (boo). It holds whatever items Panda is using on the light box for the day, but also can be a light box tool on it's own. We flipped it upside down on the light box and used it as a second layer! How neat is that? Sneaky little basket.
There were three different packs of these glow in the dark plastic cut outs. The plastic is thick and pretty durable. These should last for several years and will be useful for sensory bins , counting activities, and many other projects.
These shapes are also hard plastic and will last for a long time. They were sold as jewelry for little girls. There are 37 pieces  in one package.
I cut these stars from the clear colored folder dividers we bought. Hearts, circles, triangles, clovers., numbers, letter, make a face.... The options these dividers create are endless. 
My favorite for last. These cubes are filled with water and intended to be non-melting ice cubes. Bear and I both made a bee line when we saw these. The colors are so vibrant and the water inside adds an extra special touch. Panda has been having a blast with these. They will be great for learning colors, stacking, balancing, and counting when he is older. 
 That's it for now. A bit heavy on the plastic side I know, we will have other non plastic ideas for a light box later. Till then,
Shine on!

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Dear Son, Week two joining Jodi  and her 52 Photo Project. You are my handsome little man and I love you so much. You have really taken to sleeping in your own bed; which makes me both extremely proud and a little sad. You are so curious and independent. Most people don't believe us when we tell them how old you are. These things will serve you well in life. Just know that Poppy and I are always here for you when you need us. 
I love you. You are my shining star. Always shine on,

Friday, January 9, 2015

This Moment

A simple, special, extraordinary moment that I want to pause, savor, and remember.
 Inspired by SouleMama.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Toddler Tuesday: Part 5

It's time for Toddler Tuesday! The weather is aggravating my Ehlers Danlos something awful so today is a snow day (and also why it took me so long to post). This week we are learning about backyard birds. His sensory tray is filled with birdseed, "Backyard Birds",  feathers, a small bird house, and the ever present spoons and funnel. The birdhouse I will need to change. He wanted to put the birds in the house and was a little frustrated that they fit in the hole except for their legs. I will break the roof open and put hinges on it so that it can open and close.
 We are using a pair of tongs to show him how birds eat while working those fine motor skills. We made pipe-cleaner worms, and pom pom berries. The idea is for him to transfer them from one bowl to the other with his "beak".
I found this free printable matching game from Prek-8.com. I glued them to some card-stock and then taped over them to give them some strength.
We built a nest with some shredded paper I saved from Christmas, some feathers, wooden eggs, a mamma bird, and a chick coming out of the egg (puppet).
This was a huge success... And a huge mess. The only down side was that Panda really wanted the baby chick to come out of the egg and did not seem to understand it was a puppet.
 We also had plans to make bird treats with peanut-butter, birdseed, and pine-cones... But I have yet been unable to get up to make them with him : ( Oh well. There is always tomorrow. That's it for us this week. What are you and your family doing this week? Thanks for joining us and
shine on! 

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Dear Son, you are growing so fast from one day to the next. A big moment in our lives captured. Tonight you leave our bed for a little bed of your own made by your Poppy's loving hands... We are joining Jodi  and her 52 Photo Project. A photo every week of you for the whole year. I hope these 52 photos will help hold on to these fleeting moments, just a little longer. A big night. We will be ok,
I love you. Shine on,

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Last January we made the decision to move our nature table to our mantle place because Panda was just not old enough to have it down at his height (there were seasonal age appropriate baskets down for him in its place). Since it was going to be up high and different than all our past displays I decided to do a Year of "Tiptoes Lightly". Meet the cast of our 2014 nature table; from left to right we have Ompliant the Elephant, Pepper Pot and Pine Cone the gnomes (with charms to match their names hanging from their belts and removable hats), Tiptoes herself, Jeremy mouse, his wife Jemima, and 4 of their 5 mouslings. I looked high and low for the fifth, but that one must have been camera shy today.
I have been reading these books to my son since before he was born. There is something in the rhythm and flow of these stories that appeals to all ages. Many kids (and a few adults) have loved watching these puppets move around this past year. 
I wont be continuing this theme for 2015, but it was fun to do. 2014 was a whirlwind year. Here is to a beautiful, bright, and joyous 2015 for all! Happy New Year,
and Shine on!