Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In Like A Lion

March certainly came roaring in like a lion, dumping even more snow on us this year. I took it as an opportunity to teach Annabelle about the old saying "March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb". We made a few fun lion projects, and had fun teaching Hazel how to "roar" like a lion, and "baa" like a lamb. These projects are all pretty straight-forward, and children can either make the whole thing independently, or with a little help, depending on skill and interest level.
Here are the projects we made:

Lion mask with pipe-cleaner mane

For this project, we only made one, but the girls collaborated to make it. I drew the face on the back of a paper plate, and had Hazel color it with a yellow marker. Then, I punched holes around the perimeter of the plate, and snipped some pipe cleaners in half. Annabelle poked the pipe-cleaners through the holes, and I helped her twist them into place. If you don't have pipe-cleaners, you can also use ribbon or string.

Lion toilet paper tube

The lion toilet paper tube took the most prep-work of the three projects. I have included at the bottom of this post a template to make it easier for you. You can print the template on white computer paper and have the child color it before cutting it out, or you may wish to just cut out yellow and orange construction paper pieces like we did. For the tube itself, you can also paint the tube yellow instead of using yellow paper. Just make sure you give it time to dry before gluing on the rest of the pieces.

Lion and lamb shaker

Rather than telling you how I made this project, I'm going to tell you how I will make it next time. Start by gluing two paper plates together, with a handful of dried pasta or beans between them. My husband had a good point that rice will be more likely to slip out from between the plates, and is a total pain to clean up. (If you wait until the end to do this, you will be struggling to staple through thick cotton balls, between strips of construction paper.) Leave a little space at the bottom to slip a pop stick between them with some strong glue. Next, draw your lion and lamb faces on each plate, and paint one plate yellow. When dried, clue strips of construction paper around the lion plate, fold in half, and glue the ends together. When that glue has dried, turn the plates over to clue cotton balls to the lamb side of the plate.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hazel's Eye Update

Over the winter months, Hazel came down with three consecutive eye infections caused by normal winter sickies and a blocked tear duct. After the third infection, we decided it was time to head to Delaware and have her eyes looked at by an ophthalmologist. Her tear duct just wasn't opening enough for her tears (as well as bacteria) to run out as they should. We noticed that her eye was a puffy after waking up, and crusty almost every morning.
Heading down to the hospital for her appointment on Friday was a little nerve-wracking. I was fully expecting to schedule surgery to open up the tear duct. But, as always, the friendly staff at the hospital calmed all my fears and anxieties. We are so blessed and lucky to have access to such a wonderful facility, less than 2 hours away.
Because Hazel's appointment was scheduled for 1pm (right after lunch), we arrived early so we could grab a bite to eat in the cafeteria before being seen by the doctor. It also gave us a chance to meet up with a Brave Little Warrior, Jude and his family. I always love meeting with other families in the LP community FAMILY.
After our delicious (yes, I referred to hospital food as delicious.) meal, we made our way up to ophthalmology. I admit, I was expecting the worst. You see, Hazel does not like doctor's offices. Even when she's not the patient, I have to reassure her that it's not her turn this time to prevent the waterworks. Also, she typically falls asleep for her nap by 1:30. However, she did surprisingly well. With the exception of the dye they used to check how well her tear duct was draining, and the drops used to dialate her pupils, she was very compliant.
Even though she almost got away with swiping a toy from the office. Oops!
While her tear duct is indeed blocked, Dr. Hendricks decided to take a wait-and-see approach, unless she requires anesthesia for anything else in the near future. As long as her tear duct stays healthy, she does not want to put under general anesthesia unless absolutely necessary.
We did find out something else, though. Hazel's vision is not what it should be at this point. Her left eye is far weaker than the right, and left untreated, could lead to lazy eye. She also has a slight astigmatism in her right eye that needs correction.
We are so thankful that Dr. Hendricks was so thorough with her eye exam, and was able to catch her vision problems before needing further intervention. Hazel will be getting her first pair of glasses very soon. I'm pretty excited to see what a difference it makes.
Oh, and not to mention how adorable she is going to look.
I'll just leave you with a few pictures I took while we were waiting to see the doctor...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Goodbye Winter

As Winter waves farewell with one last (hopefully) snow storm, we are stuck inside once again. Usually, we would do winter-themed crafts and embrace the falling snow. But not any more. We have had enough snow and Winter-y crafts this year. And it's March!
So we said our goodbyes to Winter by greeting Spring with some fun crafts.

First, we made some fun fork-printed tulip flowers. For Annabelle's tulip garden, I drew the flower stems, so she knew where to print the flowers. For Hazel's, I let her stamp freely, and added the stems later.
Annabelle had to take a quick break from doing her project to talk on the phone though. Grandmom called.
Our next project was popcorn cherry blossoms. I traced each of their hands onto a piece of brown paper and cut it out to use as the tree. Annabelle did a great job gluing the popcorn onto her tree. Hazel, on the other hand, was upset that I wouldn't let her eat the popcorn that had glue on it. I couldn't resist that little pout, so I just let her have a little snack.
And just like that, all was well in Hazel's world.

For our third project, Annabelle did a number matching activity, gluing leaves to carrots.  The carrots were numbered 1-5 and glued randomly to a piece of paper. Annabelle was then instructed to identify the numbers, and glue the correct number of leaves to each one.
While she did that, Hazel played with a container of magnetic  letters and a cookie sheet. I love using these Pamper's wipe containers, as they also allowed her to practice fine-motor skills, sliding each letter into the small hole at the top.
We hope you all enjoyed one last snow day this year. Spring will be here soon, and so will more fun activities. We cannot wait to get outside and enjoy the park, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and more.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bubbles, Bubbles

This never-ending Winter has trapped us inside for yet another long week. Cabin fever setting in, the girls becoming increasingly antsy, I had to come up with something new for them to do.
We haven't broken out the bubbles in months! I don't usually like blowing them inside, since they leave soapy, sticky spots all over everything. But I didn't care anymore. We needed something fun to do.
And it was a blast.
Yes. Just a cheap little bottle of bubbles that Hazel got from her Sunday School class kept both girls entertained for a while.
Annabelle had a great time blowing the bubble for Hazel. And Hazel had a great time trying to catch them.
Squeals, giggles, and joy filled the living room.
All because of a tiny bottle of bubbles.
What's better is that Hazel was able to really work on her core strength. Reaching, leaning, and stretching to get the bubbles. It was beautiful.
I had a great time just watching the two of them interact and play so nicely together. These girls absolutely love each other, but it was especially nice to see Annabelle taking the time to patiently blow bubbles to make her baby sister happy.
And she even added a new word to her vocabulary, "buh." Okay. Not quite a word. But when I asked her today if she wanted to do bubbles, she responded with a very emphatic "buh."
Now we are working on encouraging Hazel to stand with her back to the couch, and blowing bubbles for her to reach from a supported standing position. She tolerated this for a little while this morning, but I ran out of bubble solution, and she ran out of patience as I desperately tried to catch the last bit of the bubbles from the container.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Library Book Review

Every week, we try to make it a priority to visit our public library. We always come home with a bag full of anywhere between 7 and 10 books to enjoy together. From board books, to easy readers, and everything in between. Since going to the library and reading stories has become such a big part of our routine, I thought it would be fun to start a new series here on the blog, reviewing our findings.
This week's books:

"Pomelo Explores Colors" by Ramona Badescu; Illustrated by Bengamin Chaud
"A Cars Christmas" (Step Into Reading) by Melissa Laongero; Illustrated by The Disney Storybook Artists
"Lots Of Spots" (Classic Board Book) by Lous Ehlert
"Legos Mixels" by Shari Last
"Animals In Underwear ABC" by Todd Parr
"Blankies" by Carol Thompson
"You Are (Not) Small" by Anna Kang; Illustrated by Christopher Weyant
"Vacation's Over! Return Of The Dinosaurs" by Joe Kulka

Rather than getting into reviewing all of these books, I will just go over our top three of the eight books Our top three favorites were: "Vacation's Over! Return Of The Dinosaurs"; "Blankies"; and "Animals In Underwear ABC".

When we pulled into the parking lot of the library, Annabelle informed me that she wanted to get a book about dinosaurs. And before I even had a moment to look for a Jane Yolen dinosaur book, she had already found "Vacation's Over! Return Of The Dinosaurs." This book, written in a cute couplet-style poem, toys with the idea that dinosaurs never went extinct, but rather went on vacation... to outer space! It was a very playful story with wonderful illustrations, as well as mini-biographies on several different species of dinosaurs on the inside of the covers.
If you know our family, you will know that blankies are a big deal in our house. We always have a mountain of blankets in the living room for everyone to pick off of after dinner, while we all snuggle up on the couch to wind down for bed. Annabelle has no less than 3 blankets on her bed (even in the Summer), and Hazel is following in her footsteps. So this book was very relatable for the girls. Cute, descriptive language makes up this little story about loving and sharing blankies. It was a wonderful read for Hazel.
This next book somehow flew under my "potty humor" radar, despite the title "Animals In Underwear ABC." I'm a big fan of Todd Parr's simple, colorful illustrations, and allowed Hazel to put it in the library bag without one look at the title. But maybe that was a good thing. Annabelle loves reading the book to Hazel, turning the pages, lifting the flaps, and singing the alphabet song. And yes, the underwear part is very silly.
As Hazel is big enough to reach the board books at our library, and is starting to really enjoy reading, I am excited to see what books she chooses next week. Annabelle loves picking books, and reading them together every week, and I look forward to what she wants to read about next week as well.