I have been looking forward to this month's row! Caps for Sale! This is one of Anderson's favorite books & there are so many different concepts to work with. The main two we focused on were money and monkeys...not much relation ;-) But both are fun for toddlers!

We did lots of fun crafts but this one was my favorite! We used pictures of Anderson & he got to stack caps, made from different pieces of scrapbook paper, on top of his own head. We both had lots of fun with this one!

I bought a money kit from the dollar store & he loved playing store with the money & his kitchen. For about a week he asked me how much everything cost. I was fixing his "wunch" & he said, "Oh! I pay you $200 for da Mac-n-Cheese." Haha! He now wants to "pay" whenever we go grocery shopping, which means not-so-lovingly toss all of my groceries onto the belt & then push every button on the keypad..eeek! So, introduce the game of "store" at your own risk!

I also found these large, paper coins & bills at the dollar store & we used them a lot to learn to identify the different coins. There were a few quarters, dimes, nickels & pennies so we would sort them out or notice & talk about the different symbols & presidents on them. He definitely can't tell you all about them but we both enjoyed talking about it. That's one thing I'M learning through all of this...he's not going to remember or know all that we talk about & do. I'm trying to view it as introducing lots of different concepts. I could be wrong, but I think that's appropriate for his level of development. Which is great & lots of fun but sometimes it would be nice to see a "result". I can see why giving lots of tests could be a temptation in the far future. You want to know your efforts are producing fruits! 

I never did find a Barrel of Monkeys for us to play with. I need to just order them from Amazon.

I found some fun Caps for Sale related worksheets & activities via a pin on Pinterest. He enjoyed doing them, especially this one!

These were our St. Patrick's Day related window clings:

These were the supplemental books we used. All 3 were awesome! 

Our chapter book was a flop. I got Mercy Watson to the Rescue. It's the first in a series. It's only 60 or 70 pages but has a lot of bright illustrations so we read it in one night. In fact, we read it several times. I hated it. It was stupid & poorly written & just ridiculous. Anderson enjoyed it though. By the time I returned it there wasn't enough time to read another "real" chapter book. 

It was a fun month of learning, playing OUTSIDE! Welcome Spring! And starting baseball! We also celebrated lots of birthdays, including mine. It was a busy month but in a good way. 

Here's a link to my March pinterest board.

Our verse was Psalm 34:8a - Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!



This month we are rowing:

These supplemental books are all from our own book collection:

{This one is a favorite. I mean, Curious George & flaps...what Toddle wouldn't love it?}

These are some books we found at the library. I decided to get some poetry books this month instead of trying to do a chapter book.

{This has definitely been his favorite poetry book}

{This is not a book of poetry but an early reader book. So basically, it's super annoying because it's a lot of simple words being repeated but he likes it. It's about a little boy & a dragon & all sorts of red things & since red is Anderson's favorite colors he's deemed it a favorite.}

One of his favorite activities that we've done is Bunny Hopping! I put down some tape for "rabbit trails" & he had to hop along on them. This is a fabulous indoor winter activity that really helps get out some energy but also could be fun outside with some sidewalk chalk.

He does not recognize letters yet so I've been trying to get creative in helping him learn them. We have tracing lap boards but those do not hold his attention for long. The boy is definitely a kinesthetic learner! But I imagine most preschoolers are. He either wants to be moving or playing with play doh or painting. I'm planning to order some letter cutters to use with play doh soon.

One morning I decided to put various pairs of letters along the bunny trails. I redid the trails to make them really long. Whenever we came to a set of cards I would ask him, "Which one is 'C'?" & he would choose. If he got it correct he got to pick up the card. After collecting all the cards (I just laid out 5 or 6 pairs) & hopping along the trail there was a surprise at the end, sweettarts! He immediately wanted to play again but after there was no more candy the 2nd time he was over it. I figured it was good practice while it lasted.

I was going to buy the classic magnetic fishing game as well this month. I knew he would love it & it would be a great activity but at the end of last year I found a Mindware fishing game on sale at Target. I snatched it up since we love Mindware toys. Unfortunately, this game isn't that fun. I'll definitely have to order the classic fishing game that I remember. I loved playing it when we'd visit my grandparents in Huntsville! 

We also did heart & cupcake gel window clings. We memorized 1 John 4:11. Attended our library's V'day-themed tot time. Made & received lots of valentine cards. Had a special Valentine's dinner and shared lots of kisses and hugs. 

This is my favorite craft that we did related to The Runaway Bunny:

So, 2 questions for you: 

1. What are some fun ideas you have to teach a kinesthetic learner? Or what are some go-to resources for ideas based on learning styles?

2. What is/are your favorite book(s) of poetry for young children?



We have been loosely using the Before Five in a Row preschool curriculum for a year now. I really like it because it is literature based and you can make it as simple or complex as you want. The sky really is the limit with this one. 

I've attempted a rather involved plan before Calvin was born & it was pretty easy to implement seeing as Anderson was the only child. But this year, since I have an infant in the mix, I've decided to keep it simple. The plan is to "row" one book a month. Our row will include 4 crafts, 4 supplemental activities, 4 related picture books & 1 chapter book. And we have all month to get it done. 

January's row is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The 5 (yes, I was trying to limit myself to 4 but found lots of good ones so I felt 5 was me practicing self-control...lol...nerd status) books we borrowed from the library are:

His favorite has been Hibernation Station. It is about a train full of animals that hibernate & has really interesting pictures. He has also enjoyed Owl Moon. It's a really beautifully written book. 

Animals in Winter is really great for introducing science concepts & new words. Hibernation & Migration are two we've talked about a lot. Plus there are some winter activity ideas in the back of this book.

I love the pictures in It's Winter but he's not very interested in this book and The Big Snow is too long. We haven't gotten past the second page.

Our chapter book is:


One of the first supplemental activities we did was the winter sensory bin. I had this mix saved from last year & he loved it last year so I wasn't sure if he would like it as much this year since he's older but he LOVED it. I just mixed Epsom salt, white tissue paper, silver tinsel & various "snow treasures" (jingle bells, snowman eyes & shiny gift bows). I just let him explore & play in the snow & then we tried to find the various treasures. Also, the Epsom salt is great for "drawing" in so we drew different shapes & letters.

After finding all the snow treasures we put them on the table & separated them. Then I laid out his number flash cards. We counted each set of treasures & I had him find the correct flash card number. This was a fun number recognition activity as he doesn't know them yet.

A simple & cheap activity that he loves are gel window clings. I get ours from the Target dollar section or Dollar Tree. While he was putting these up I asked him some questions about our chapter book that we're reading to see how much he's comprehending & I was really impressed with how much he remembered. I wasn't sure how the chapter book reading would go but I'm so glad I decided to try it. We both enjoy the book!

He has some really fun animal flash cards from my friend, Ilia. He loves, loves, loves looking through them. I laid out all of the winter animals we've been reading about & threw in some other non-winter animal cards & asked him to pick out the animals that live in cold climates or hibernate during winter. Really simple & fun for him.

Another great activity we did was play in the snow! This was a super easy recipe: 3 cups baking soda + 1/2 cup white conditioner. It was moldable, cool to the touch & made my kitchen smell great! 

I gave him some mini cookie cutters to help him create shapes in the snow but his favorite thing to do was make a track with his finger (like Peter's stick track). He also enjoyed piling all the snow in one corner & letting the bear cookie cutter (which he's named Jesse Bear) slide down the mountain like Peter does in the book.

It was also really easy to clean up which is a plus since he quickly made snow balls to throw & the snow did not stay contained in the sensory box for long! Anderson wanted to help me sweep up after & since it was so easy to sweep he actually did a great job. I thought about getting some colored conditioner & making some "colored snow" & letting him practice sweeping with it. We'll see if I'm brave enough to make a mess on purpose! {Spoiler Alert: probably not!}

We also did several winter crafts. Anderson LOVES to do a "cwaft"! You can check out my January pinterest board for the different craft tutorials. 

Also, at the last Tot Time at our local library the story was The Snowy Day & they did a paper plate snowman face. Lots of fun! And in the grab bag that they get there were winter coloring sheets & a cute poem about a snowman & a bunny rabbit. We quickly memorized it & have enjoyed repeating it & "acting" it out. I'm always so amazed at Toddler Memory Skillz!

I have various, general "school" activities on hand for him too that I use if he's bored or if I'm setting up a craft:

Usborne wipe clean dot-to-dot book
Usborne Create Your Own Calendar
Imagination Magnets by Mindware (his favorite thing to do)
Wipe clean letters board ($ section at Target)
Wipe clean numbers board ($ section at Target)
Number flash cards 
Alphabet flash cards
Animal flash cards
Pre-school numbers worksheets ($ section at Target)
Numbers worksheets ($ section at Target)
Usborne sticker books
Melissa & Doug lace & trace animal boards
Crayons & coloring books (love that this can be considered a school activity! Preschool is the best!)

            {Playing with his Imagination Magnets}

        {His Usborne Create Your Own Calendar}

What fun "school" things have you been doing this month? I always enjoy hearing about others' school happenings! 


Calvin's Birth Story

So, Calvin is totally getting the typical "second child" treatment. Baby book? Ha! And I'm just now getting around to writing his birth story 3 months later. Never mind that Anderson's was written 9 days later. But seriously, he is SUCH a sweet baby! He eats & sleeps great and he's overall just a sweet boy. We are totally in love!

I went unmedicated with Anderson and it was HARD. Very hard. I also had a very difficult & long recovery. Anderson was around 12 weeks old before I began to physically feel normal again. Needless to say, I had A LOT of anxiety about labor, delivery & postpartum healing this time around. In fact, I was anxious about it from the moment I found out I was pregnant & it was something that I prayed about throughout my entire pregnancy and lots of friends & family were also praying. 

I remained undecided about whether to go unmedicated or not the whole time. At my 36 week appointment I was dilated 2cm and of course got excited. But my due date (Monday 07/21) came & went. On my due date I decided I wanted to be induced. My doctor was very surprised since I was so adamant about not being induced with Anderson. But I had eventually ended up on pitocin with Anderson so I knew I could handle it. 

I really wanted to be admitted the next day since my doctor was on call but the hospital was already full for that day so we scheduled it for Wednesday (07/23). My doctor wasn't on call but another doctor that I really liked was on call for that day so I was ok with it.

I was super anxious the night before. Ignorance had been bliss the first time around but this time I knew what was coming...or so I thought. We spent the night with my parents since we had to be at the hospital so early & we didn't want to have to wake Anderson up. 

We arrived at the hospital & I wasn't in labor. It was kind of weird. It was like we were checking into a hotel. They took us to our room & I changed into the ever-glamorous hospital gown. The doctor on call came in & talked about the game plan for the day & prayed with us. He wanted to check me & then break my water & get the pit started. I asked if we could wait on breaking my water & he wanted to know why. I told him I wanted it to act as a natural pain barrier to which he replied, "That's false. No pain no gain. But you're driving the boat so I won't do it but I really think we should." I said I would be open to it but for now I just wanted to wait on breaking it. 

He checked me & said I was barely dilated. I was shocked because on my EDD my doctor had said I was 2cm/70% effaced & a great candidate for an induction. I was really discouraged. 

When the doctor left I asked our wonderful L&D nurse about it & she said this doctor was usually pretty conservative on his measurements & I would do great. So we settled in. The pit was started & we were just hanging out. I was having little contractions but nothing significant at all. We were watching TV & chatting. The doctor came by an hour & a half later, re-checked & there wasn't really any change. I was bummed but not surprised since I wasn't feeling anything.

More than anything, at this point, I was really hungry. That was my biggest concern at the moment. I hadn't been able to eat or drink anything & kept talking about how hungry I was. Our nurse did negotitate a lime popsicle for me so that was really nice & helped pep me up a little.

They were upping the dosage of the pit & I did eventually notice the contractions. It started to get to a point that I was needing to focus through the contractions. Andrew was awesome. He got my essential oils for me & held them under my nose while I breathed them in & focused through the contraction. One thing that really helped me work through contractions with Anderson was to picture myself going up a mountain & then walking back down the other side so this is what I did while breathing in my oils. I started out with lavender which was great but as the contractions became more intense I requested Valor. It really helped me to focus, kept my anxiety in check & was really pleasant. Andrew would rub my feet or hand or lower back through contractions as well as talk me through it. Seriously, he was wonderful.

Our nurse was so sweet. And she was super laid back & let us do our thing, She was good at encouraging Andrew which I thought was really sweet since he needed encouragement too!

The doctor came back around 10:00 to check me & could tell that they had picked up in intensity just by looking at my face but they weren't crazy or anything. I was able to relax between contractions & enjoy conversation. {Very unlike my first L&D experience}.

When he came in he reminded me that we would need to break my water to get things "really going". He checked me & was shocked because I was 5cm. He said he was fine with waiting to break it if I still wanted to wait. He was really pleasantly surprised at how well I was progressing. I asked him about the epidural & if he thought I should or shouldn't get it. Of course he said it was totally up to me but he thought I was a great candidate for going unmedicated & I was already doing great. Then he hit me with, "Just remember transition is coming up & that's when you lose it." 

Oh, I remember transition. And that pretty much sealed the deal for the epidural. I had already gone unmedicated & I knew I could do it. I was doing it now & it was fine but honestly I did not enjoy my last L&D at all. It was so hard, painful & long & I felt totally out of it. I don't even remember if Anderson was crying when he first came out & I don't think I really cried at first either. I was just so stinking tired & so very, very glad that it was all over with.

Things started getting more intense pretty quickly. The nurse called for the epidural & they put it in no problem. Seriously, it was no big deal at all. It didn't hurt & everything went quickly & smoothly. I worked through a few more contractions while waiting for it to take effect but I didn't feel like it was doing much. I started to get a little panicky which made it difficult to stay focused through the contractions but Andrew was a great help. Staying on top of my anxiety was definitely the hardest part. Way harder than the physical side of it. 

She checked me (this was around 10:30/10:45) & I was at a 7. Transition. She called the anesthesiologist back & he immediately came in & gave me a "boost". He said I was progressing so quickly I just needed a little more. After the boost I felt GREAT! In fact, I couldn't feel anything. It was awesome. I had no idea when I was having a contraction. I was just watching TLC & chatting. I was definitely still nervous though because I knew delivery was coming soon. The doctor came back in around 11:00 & checked me & I was fully dilated! 10cm!!! He jokingly asked if it would be ok to break my water now :-)

He broke it & they began to tell me when I was having a contraction so I would know when to push. This was TOTALLY different than last time since last time I knew exactly when to push & wanted to keep pushing. This time I had no idea when I needed to do it & I promise the only reason I could do it is because I had done it before. I really couldn't feel anything so I kept asking if I was doing it & if I was doing it correctly. They were all so encouraging & said I was doing great. Well, they were right. 30 minutes later at 11:39 a.m. our sweet James Calvin was born! He was crying & I was crying & Andrew was crying. It was such a sweet, precious moment. One I will always cherish & remember. It was wonderful. I felt so aware & relaxed & "in the moment". I immediately thought he looked like Anderson but as time has gone on he looks less & less like him.

He immediately nursed well & has continued to do so and other than his random sickness at 3 weeks old that included a lengthy hospital stay he has been great! He goes with the flow, sleeps wonderfully, eats a lot & has lots of sweet smiles to share. I healed wonderfully this time & have been SO GRATEFUL for all who prayed for us. It was definitely an answer to pray & I continually thank Jesus for his grace.


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?