Our Summer

Being at the end of my pregnancy in the middle of summertime, with a toddler to care for, has been a little tricky. I never want to go outside. I can't stop sweating. I wake up in the middle of the night & I swear Andrew has turned the heat on. But no, he hasn't. So then I wake him up to turn the fan up higher or turn the air down lower. Or both. But I NEVER want to go outside. This is a bit of a quandry seeing as how Anderson LOVES being outside. I decided we must compromise. Of course we plan swim play dates & he plays in the yard...

...but about 2 days a week we just stay home, inside and he gets to play outside when Daddy gets home. Besides, it's cooler then so it works out. But what's a toddler to do inside when he doesn't want to "play toys" anymore? {I will say Anderson is very good about playing by himself & will "play toys" alone for 30 minutes - an hour depending on his mood}.

I put us on a routine when we moved. Andrew calls it a schedule but I tell him it's a routine because routines are more flexible than schedules. He just rolls his eyes. Either way we've been on our routine for about a month or so now & it's been really great! We obviously do not follow it exactly every single day but on "stay-at-home days" it's been wonderful. 

My friend shared their family routine on her blog & I thought it was great so I'll share ours as well just in case you might be interested.

7-9 - wake-up time / breakfast / TV time
9-9:30 - Table Time {Anderson & I do some sort of "school" activity or craft. Usually centered on a book}
9:30-10 - Snack Time / Bible Time {this isn't super involved. Sometimes I just read a Psalm or a verse or 2 related to an issue we're dealing with. For a few weeks he was really "scawed" of shadows & monsters so I would read verses related to fear}
10-11 - Free play {while he plays I usually do housework}
11-11:30 - Lunch
11:30-12:30 - Free play
12:30 - Music/Listening time {I put on a CD of instrumental music, usually a sleepytime Mozart CD we have, & we talk about what instruments we hear. We'll pretend to play them or he'll bounce around on the couch. I have to remind him we are practicing self-control & to listen. Usually he calms down after several songs & will say, "Wub back me" so I'll rub his back while we listen to the music & he usually falls asleep}
1-4 - Nap time {GLORIOUS NAP TIME}
4-Daddy gets home - Free play / TV time / Dinner prep
Daddy gets home - Dinner / Catechism time {we eat dinner & may talk about a question or 2 from his Baby catechism book he got when he was baptized. Most of the time we're just catching up on our day & don't talk about the questions but we try to incorporate it into our convo}
After dinner - 7:30 -  Free play {Andrew usually does yard work or goes on a walk & Anderson follows close behind. I usually clean up dinner. In silence. Wonderful silence!}
7:30-7:50 - bath time
7:50 - 8:00 - clean up toys {Anderson cleans up his toys, not me!}
8:00-8:15 - family Bible time {this has become a really sweet time as Anderson LOVES it. He sees Andrew picking up the Bible & he'll excitedly say, "Yets wead Bible!" Andrew reads a chapter or 2 from the Bible & we'll pray together. Once again when Anderson sees Andrew closing the Bible he'll quickly clasp his hands together & say, "Yets pway" while he squeezes his eyes closed. It's really so sweet}
8:15 - bedtime {Andrew puts Anderson to bed. He reads him a few books & turns on his "stars" & they look at them together until Anderson falls asleep. I usually sit on the couch & enjoy a bowl of chocolate ice cream!}

Ok, the purpose of this post wasn't to share our routine but there it is. The purpose was to share some "Table Time" activities that we've done that have been successful. I purchased the Before Five In A Row {BFIAR} book at the beginning of the year & love that it does different activities based on children's books. I won't share any of their ideas here since they're copyrighted but I will say if you need ideas definitely purchase the book! It's great! Also, I recently read Honey For A Child's Heart & I think it's my new favorite book. She discusses the importance of reading GOOD books to your children & the wonderful benefits of doing so. She also has a wonderful chapter, Honey From The Rock, where she talks about the importance & benefits of reading the Bible together as a family and it meant a lot to me. In the back of the book she has a HUGE list of recommended books from pre-school to adults. I was so happy to see that many of the books from BFIAR were on her recommended book list! 

Table Time is one of Anderson's favorite times of the day. He loves painting & drawing & writing & helping me in the kitchen. I love being inside. Because I have the air on. And I tend not to sweat. So, Table Time is great for both of us. Here are some of the fun Table Time activities we've done. PLEASE SHARE any fun ideas you have that we can try! Most of "my ideas" have come from Pinterest & I'm always looking for new ideas so please share! 

One of our first activities was based on If You Give A Cat A Cupcake. Anderson loves all of these books. I bought a cake mix to use for cupcakes but couldn't find my muffin tin. I swear some of our moving boxes ate some of our stuff! Anyway, we ended up just baking a cake & putting the sprinkles on top just like the sprinkles on the cupcake in the book.

  It also talked about looking at seashells in the book & I remembered I had collected a lot of seashells last summer in OBX for him to explore later. I dug them out of the abyss that is my craft basket & he loved playing with them. And by playing I mean lining them up, because that's his favorite thing to do with toys. Line them all up.

He really likes the book Where The Wild Things Are which is so surprising to me since he gets scared so easily of things. I actually think this book helped him get over his fear of monsters but I'm not entirely sure. Either way, he likes this book. One morning after reading it we made a crown & he LOVES his crown. It is ripped & falling apart now after being played with for a couple of weeks but for a few days he kept calling it his "King Max". It was cute. But now he knows what a crown is!

Another "hit" activity has been "matching". This is a pinterest idea. One of the things I got for Christmas was a laminator. Lame, I know, but I asked for it & was SO excited to get it & I LOVE having it! I wrote out the letters of his name on a piece of construction paper & laminated it & cut the letters out. I put magnets on the back & put the letters on a cookie sheet. I put one set of letters on the sheet so they spelled his name & he matched the second set of letters under it. He loves doing matching.

One of our fun Table Time activities from this week was a Story Bag followed by journal time. I recently found the book Ask Mr. Bear at 2nd & Charles and he really likes the story. It's simple & sweet & includes lots of familiar items & animals. I collected various props & put them in a little bag & pulled them out as we read the story. He loved it so much & wanted me to keep doing it. Sidenote: I needed a piece of cheese and some milk  for 2 of the props. We have A TON of fake food in his kitchen. But apparently we don't have fake cheese or a fake carton of milk! What?! But not to worry, I did find a fake can of Oxtail Soup and little plastic crackers with fake caviar on them...Oh the woes of yard sale-ing in upscale neighborhoods.

Anyhow, after we did the story bag a couple of times I showed him his special journal I had bought for him {it's so special it was a whole $0.50 at The Wal-Mart. We keep it classy}. Since he loves writing so much I decided to get him his own journal to write in. I also saw the idea of a pre-school journal on pinterest. I wrote the title of the story we had just read at the top of the page & set out the props in front of him for "inspiration". I gave him several choices of writing utensils & he went to town! Seriously, he would pause, think & then write/draw some more. It was so fun to watch him!

As you can tell from the pictures most days we are in our pajamas for Table Time or even on the couch! So the point is these activities are usually pretty simple so what simple ideas do you have to pass along?

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