Friday, January 29, 2016

January 2016 Pictures

I've seen many ways of recording special moments over the years on blogs. I've tried capturing special moments from each week, but I always fail to keep going for a whole year.
So this year I've decided to take pictures all month long and share a few at the end of  each month to recap and capture this year with my boys.
The two of you love each other so much, it is a truly special bond to see forming.
My sweet Panda, so full of life..
You may be full of wild energy, but you are also given to moments of incredible serenity.
Your first visit to the zoo. You stood entranced by the seals for their entire feeding and checkup. I've never seen so so enthralled before. It was magical.
We certainly are on a journey together. Oye, 5 hours at children's hospital and a new path for us all... Some changes may break my heart, but your smile and spirit always seem to mend it. You are one incredible little boy.
My dear Badger, so full of smiles. I've never met a more happy baby than you. 
You are now 3 months old. Oh the places you will go my wee Badger.
With that we head into February with our eyes wide open....
Most of the time...
~Shine on~

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Toddler Tuesdays: Gingerbreadman

Ahh gingerbread week. I have been looking forward to this "lesson plan" for months. Yesterday... Things did not go as planned. Panda could only be described as feral. He was a three foot tall tornado of terror yesterday. Tipping over everything (and I do mean everything.. furniture included), yelling, hitting, biting, ripping, dumping, eating half his books, breaking things, climbing the walls, tables, chairs, like a possessed monkey.. I have no idea how to tame his destructiveness right now (ideas are most welcome). We also had to cancel our annual gingerbread decorating party because we are all sick;
 but today is a new day. 
So, for our sensory bin we have gingerbread play-dough, cookie cutters, and a rolling pin. Simple, and smells so yummy. Although I get the distinct impression that the dough would have turned out better if I didn't have to use gluten free flour.
 We baked up some yummy treats . I was worried that our book this week might be a bit to wordy, but giving him one of these little handsome fellows to munch on during book time did the trick, and was the only time he sat still all day.
 We also made these yummy morsels. Instead of rolling them into balls I used a mini gingerbread man cookie cutter.. Panda was not impressed. They have a curiously strong flavor, but Bear and I like them. We will try another batch and substitute Honey for the molasses later. In the mean time all of Panda's food is being cut into cookie shapes and that has helped dramatically with his eating issues.
 I swiped these ornaments from our Christmas stash for a simple counting game. I could have printed gingerbread clip art out, but why do the extra work when I had these laying around? 
A simple match the shapes puzzle...
and on the flip side an invitation for play, since our build your own snowman activity went over so well last week. This opened up a lot of opportunities for words and working on his speech therapy.
A salt tray for precursor to handwriting activities. I scented the salt with ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Panda likes this tray. It's like a bonus sensory bin to him. His favorite thing is to use the rolling pin on it and hear the salt crunch.. Not its intended purpose, but it works.

And last of all... sigh... our gingerbread house.... We planned on making a tent for Panda's birthday to replace his old tent, so we made the frame for it ahead of time to decorate for a special treat this week..... Sigh...
He LOVED the tent, but I have to redo this as he has ripped all the paper walls down before noon yesterday...That was my mistake.. But I said I would blog about what worked and what didn't when I started Toddler Tuesdays.... Paper was a bad idea. I almost think that is what set him off yesterday. The sound of the paper when hit, and torn was to much, and he does like to eat paper.... Well.. it is supposed to look like an edible house too.... There is also the feel of the paper.. It may have been to much.
 I will be remaking this to look the same, but I will use felt instead of paper. Then we can reuse it every year for the gingerbread decorating party and it will withstand his punching, kicking, tearing, biting, and being sat on a little better. 
 Have a blessed, wondrous, healthy, and Calm week. What is going on in your home? I would love to hear about it in the comments, or send me an email. 
~Shine on~

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Toddler Tuesday Recap

Hello, recapping how our week has gone and how this week is going. Switching to every two weeks really has been nice for us all. For the New Year we've brought back the Nature table! Right now it's pretty simple and more of a "nature display" just to get Panda used to the idea.. It has been well received, but we are having some trouble keeping things on the table. This is why we are doing a trial run with simple things. It wont be any good to have acorns and small rocks scattered on the floor in later seasons for Badger to find and choke on. (legos and animal figures like these are my two plastic toy exceptions... funny how they BOTH ended up on our NATURE table)
 This is a Snowman That Panda built all by himself. He really likes this activity, but could care less about the dice. The q-tip snowflakes were nice, but this activity really captured his attention. He also LOVED the snow painting.
Panda is sick... again, so we've done a lot of window activities. He loves light. This is him working with his light blocks. They glow like jewels.
The precursor to handwriting dissolved into "lets scribble on the windows", but that has been fun too. I just hate to push the little guy when he is under the weather.
And this is our therapy wall. It is going to change somewhat over the next few weeks as we figure out what is needed but it works like this. 
-The white board works like a white board. Right now I have a Winter verse on it.
-Above that there is a list of EVERYTHING we do during the day in fifteen minute increments. Oye! This is homework from Panda's therapists. I hope they don't ask us to do this again next week. 
-Next to that is Panda's food chart. I'm sad to say he is still not eating enough to make me happy, but his food issues are sloooowly improving. 
-The yellow envelope under that holds a million little pictures that Velcro to the outside to give him choices of activities when he is having a hard time focusing, and on the timeline underneath to tell him what is going on next during the day. 
-There are pictures of clothes for getting dressed, a hairbrush for brushing his hair, a plate for meals... That type of thing. 
-The pillow hands refocus him when he is stuck on something. We have him run to hit them and then try to redirect him to a new activity while we have his attention.
-at the bottom of the wall is a pile of his seasonal books. Moving them over here has rekindled his interest in books and I often find him sitting on the carpet flipping through them.
There you have it. Our therapy wall.... for now..
As for the rest of the activities, they are going well, but we've been making a lot of trips to the Nature Center during the day instead of focusing on our "school".
Sometimes you just need to get away. I love our Nature Center. They have several explorations tables set up for little hands, a giant tree in a puppet corner that you can go inside of and poke the puppets out of holes, a sand table with rubber-stamp animal tracks, huge observation windows, and so much more.
I hope you are all having a good week. What are you up to this week while we are out playing hookie?
Shine on.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Toddler Tuesdays: Winter

 Winter has finally arrived! For the next two weeks we will be working with a winter theme. This week's sensory bin is filled with shaving cream, winter animals, a sled, shovel, and snowflake.
 There are a few books we will be reading, but this book by Gerda Miller will be our main focus. It is a word free picture book and it's my hope that by talking about the pictures together we can draw more words out of Panda.
 Relying heavily on Pinterest this week I found many variations of this activity. A simple counting activity with snow balls. We also used Cheerios and that was more motivating for him. 
 I found this fine motor skill activity "here" with free printable cards. 
 There were several variations of this activity on Pinterest. I made a dice with snowman parts found "here" and snowman parts to assemble out of felt and buttons. Panda likes to assemble the snowman, but could care less about the dice. Maybe when  he is older we can try again or make a game to see who can assemble a snowman first.
This activity is a precursor to handwriting. I found the idea "here" and pared it with Panda's love of drawing on the windows. These window crayons are amazing! Unlike window markers there is no smell and clean up is super easy,
Painting snow with food coloring is an activity that I've been wanting to do with Panda for a while; and now that the snow is here, we can. We are also trying a new therapy story board, but I'll post about that next week and let you know how this week went. Till then, shine on!