Now my kids will also leave me notes under my pillow (sometimes asking if I will leave them notes) and it's always fun to get an "I love you mom" surprise note from my 5 year old. This is one of our favorite family traditions.
July 20, 2010
I always loved getting love notes from my mom written on a napkin or the outside of my lunch bag at school, but since my kids don't go to school I had to improvise. So when Maren was just starting to read a few years ago, I started writing her notes and leaving them under her pillow while she slept, kind of a combination love notes/tooth fairy thing. She was always so excited to wake up and find a note under her pillow.
July 15, 2010
This summer my kiddos have been participating in a weekly kids' book club with some of their friends. At the first meeting, each child chose a book for when it was their turn to host, and then a schedule was set up. Rather than trying to get the kids to sit down and discuss the book, the moms are in charge of asking questions and coming up with an activity or two when book club is at their house for their child's book. My kids have had a lot of fun reading some Magic Tree House books, Charlie and the Chocolate factory, and others. This week was Maren's turn, and she chose "A Pizza the Size of the Sun" by Jack Prelutsky. It's a book of poetry and so we thought we would do a poetry reading. We set up a stage and put chairs in front (although mostly the kids wanted to sit on the floor) and let each child choose 1 or 2 favorite silly poems to read aloud. My kids loved the poem "eyeballs for sale!" and so we made eyeballs for a snack at the end of book club. We also had pizza NOT the size of the sun (bagel bites) which Maren actually liked to call Pizza the size of doorknobs.
This was my first time making cakeballs, which I've seen on various sites before. I think they turned out cute and they're super easy. You bake a cake, cool it, crumble it in a bowl and mix it with a can of frosting, roll into balls, put in the fridge for an hour to harden a bit, then dip in melted white chocolate and add a gummy lifesaver (which I actually sliced in half to make them thinner) and add a chocolate chip in the middle (definitely not a health food). I used a white cake mix and vanilla frosting, which I thought was a bit blah, but the kids really liked. My friend said she particularly likes the spice cake mixed with cream cheese frosting combination, so maybe we'll have to try those next time. I think it would be fun to make pumpkins at halloween.
Next week is Joshua's turn, and he's chosen a Cam Jansen book, so I'll post when I think of some activities for his book club.
July 5, 2010
For our "summer school" this year, I decided to do an alphabet theme, since I've kind of been ignoring Christopher's education and it's about time he learned his letters. Each day (supposedly) the activites have been based around the letter of the day. We start by making a letter card and drawing pictures of the things that start with that letter. I hang them on the wall to display, and when the summer's done I'm planning on laminating them and making an alphabet book for Christopher. I especially love Christopher's drawing of his Aunt Angela. The kids loved thinking of things to do for each day. For C day they insisted we have a carnival and invite our friends over to play. We planned simple games, like shoot the stack of cups over with a spray bottle, bounce the ball into the glass, water balloon toss, and then we ate clown ice cream cones.
(sorry the picture is so badly back-lit.)
We had to have donuts for D day, and invisible ink on I day, and it's been lots of fun playing with the kiddos.
Over the weekend, Jason and I went on a much needed vacation to New York where we saw "Mary Poppins" on broadway. It was so much fun. As I was watching them sing "a spoonful of sugar" I was thinking how true it was that the kids are so much more cooperative with the cleaning if I can turn it into a game. Unfortunately I am unable to snap my fingers and make things clean up by themselves, but I thought I would write down a few of the things we do to make cleaning more palatable.
1- good doggies
For some reason my kids LOVE to pretend to be dogs. They also love doggie treats. So when it's clean up time, I give each doggy an assignment, and when it's done they come begging for a mini marshmallow treat. If it was an especially big job they might get a couple. Then I give them a new job and they crawl off barking merrily.
2- secret missions
Sometimes we pretend my kids are super spies and they come to me and I whisper a secret mission in their ear. When they've completed the task, they come back to get their new mission. If it's a big mess, I'll just whisper a number into their ear, and they come back after they've picked up that many things. The kids like to tease each other that they heard the other person's number while I was whispering.
This works well when we're doing deeper cleaning rather than just picking up. We choose 3 things that need to be done and each start at a station (I team up with my 3 y.o. because he can't do the jobs on his own yet). I set the timer for 5 minutes then we clean that spot until the timer goes off and then we switch jobs. This way nobody gets stuck doing the worst job by themselves. We listen to music while we clean and have fun.
4- Annie or Cinderella
I like this one because I get to put my mean face on. I'm Miss Hannigan or the wicked step-mother and I tell them in my nastiest voice to clean up "'til this dump shines like the top of the chrysler building!" There's usually a bit of "It's a hard knock life" singing and dramatic sighing by Maren.
(That's me making my Miss Hannigan face while pointing at the Chrysler building. Pretty scary, huh?)
5- Work Jar and Fun Jar
I stole this idea from my sister Emily. Sometimes on Saturdays when we have a lot to do to get ready for Sunday, we'll write down all the jobs to get done on slips of paper and stick them in a jar. Then we'll write some fun things we can do together (like play a card game, play the wii, go for a walk) on slips of paper and put them in a different jar. We then take turns pulling out a slip from the work jar, doing that job, and then pulling out something from the fun jar as a reward for good work. The kids respond well to this one and Joshua sometimes even asks "can we play work jar/ fun jar today?"