Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cam's Room Update

 The blank walls in Cam's bedroom were driving me bonkers!  So while I was at Target recently, I found that great dinosaur canvas that matches his colors perfectly.  They also had that artwork display string with cute little dinosaur clips on it.  The clips that say 'ROAR' kept falling over, so I took some of that tacky stuff and stuck them to the wall:)  Cam seems fine with the new stuff, he is so proud of his coloring pages!  "Wook, Mama, it's Super Why with the power to read!"

If you remember, the cute vinyl foot prints were on a different wall.  I like them better here... although they are starting to lose some of their stickiness:)   Looking at this picture, I guess the changer table could probably go.  I don't use it for changing, but I do keep all his clothes in there.  Hmmmm....

Below is a cute Pinterest idea that I am really happy I stumbled across.  Cameron is only 2.5 but he has been having trouble with fear.  He's scared of the dark, scared of bees, ghosts, monsters, and ironically, dinosaurs.  Whenever he sees a dark area, he says "the dinosaurs are going to get me!"  Once he awoke from a sound sleep screaming about bees in his eyes:(  Around Halloween, he mistook a white towel hanging on a knob as a ghost... it did look like one, I have to admit but it was still sad.  

Dinosaurs.  Of course, he starts to dislike the theme his entire room is done in!!  But I have only really ever put happy, cartoon-y dinos in there, and he doesn't seem to be bothered with those.  There is a dino pillow that is a T. Rex with a big, open, toothy mouth that he doesn't care for.  He will take it and chuck it into the hallway, proclaiming "No scary dinosaurs in my room!"

So I made him a Monster Away Spray:)  It is an empty dollar store spray bottle with a cute printable (laminated, of course).  Can't remember where I found the website, sorry.  I gave this to Cam and told him it keeps all the scary stuff away.  He asked me why it was empty, and I told him it was filled with magic:)  So he carried it around with him for the longest time, and is slowly and steadily working through his fears.  

Tray works, Jan 2013

 Here's a quick post about the new activities I set up for Cameron after I took down all the Christmas stuff.  That a j-o-b job!!!  But worth it:)

This pic is of his traditional Montessori unit, so as usual, I tried to keep that one as practical life-y as I could.  The other two shelving units are devoted to transportation. 

Santa Claus came to town and brought us lots of presents!!!  I ordered about $95 worth of stuff from Amazon, and was able to get 9 or 10 different items.  I was *thrilled* with these wonderful, valuable teaching tools... Cameron likes them ok:)  Below is the pegboard we got, he is having trouble making shapes himself, but he enjoys identifying the ones I make.  

Santa also brought a "Lauri's Toys Primer Pack" of educational awesomeness.  Here are some of the threading cards, and string from a M&D set.  (I like it better than the one that came with the Lauri's set.)  Cam is doing better and still showing interest, but mostly he likes to drag the shoe lace around and lasso stuff with it!

Also from Lauri's Toys is this great train counting activity.  I love it, and Cam has played with it several times!  You place pegs according to the train number, the trains all fit together like a puzzle, and the numbers are removable.  Perfect to go along with my transportation unit!

I made this little activity a while ago, and it really isn't my favorite.  But it was in the 'Ready' box and I had an empty tray slot, so...  The bag of button shapes is from HL, I think.  I traced them onto some scrapbook paper for Cam to match.  

Another Santa surprise!  This one looked really cool to me, it goes beyond just basic blocks.  I am going to do a Shapes and Colors unit soon, and I really got this toy for that... but I couldn't wait:)  The above activity is also supposed to be for that same future unit, looks like there will be a few repeat appearances!

This is one of Cameron's most favorite toys from Christmas.  It's a crane truck or something from Chuck the Truck (we watch that show) and it builds things out of Play Doh.  All the pieces come off and the truck itself lights up and talks.  Cam went ape sh*t for it:)  "Let's pway Pway Doh!!!"  And of course, it works with transportation.  Below is a pic of the instructions so you can see how much it can do!

This is a counting activity courtesy of Confessions of a Home-schooler.  The cards have corresponding dots, and you can either use counters or clothespins.  He already has done several tray works with counters, but his clothespinning could use some improvement, lol

Here is just an updated shot of his classroom table, complete with Christmas Legos and 'copters:)

And, yes, we are still playing with water beads!  

Montessori Corner, Dec 2012

 When I took down Cam's tray works from the November, I was so excited to set up Christmas activities!  But things got hectic, so this little bookcase isn't as structured as I would like.  But I did put together some really fun works!


Magnet board.  The goal is to match the magnet number to the poster.  He's got 1-10 down pat, so I like this poster cuz it counts a little higher. 

This is a Montessori based sound box exercise.  The goal is to identify the objects, and place them with the letter they start with.  He does pretty well at this, they do it at school.  Below is a picture of the objects I used. 

Color sorting.  He has never paid much attention to these lacing beads by M&D and I was just looking for an excuse to use them!

Pegs!  This activity has remained on our shelves for a looooong time:)  He keeps coming back to it, so I can't take it down yet!

Here is another toy that he has had for a while, but is finally showing some interest in.  I like it cuz it teaches sizes, colors and numbers:)  And the cups also fit together into balls!  

Tweezing.  I have been itching to use this cute little ice cube tray, and I just happened to have Christmas pom poms... so there ya go:)

More counting activities.  This one has appeared multiple times, but he keeps playing with it, so I keep bringing it out!  I also put some magnetic numbers for him to match, just to shake things up a bit:)

Classroom Organization

 When I was first putting together activities and tray works for Cam, I realized that good organization of those items was going to be essential!  I have revised my system several times over the past year or two.  My poor hubby knows to stay away when he sees me pulling everything out of the back bedroom!  It is usually accompanied by a few curse words...

Anyway, I think I have finally found a system that is working well for me.  I don't have much closet space (this is a bedroom from the front part of the house, which was not renovated.)  We did install a closet organizer from Target and thank heavens for it!  My hubbs has since added on a few shelves for me, also.  

Ok, these pictures are a disaster!  I have decided that for my birthday, all I want is for the hubbster to install can lights in Cam's classroom and the living room!!! I'm sooo not kidding:)  This is just a shot of the inside of the closet and of the craft storage (AKA shoe hanger). I've got Cam's posters, large felt sheets, and art smock hanging on hangers to the right of the tower.  Believe it or not, there are also a boatload of winter coats and dresses in there!

Starting from the top, I've got some bins from the Dollar store with chalk board labels.  Those make me very happy!  The top is just for random items that don't fit into other categories, or I haven't quite decided how to use:)  The ready box has mostly items we have used before, but there might be one or two activities that are ready to go.


Here are the middle two bins, and they corral most of my little stuff.  For example, Sorting would have little erasers, buttons, small bowls, etc.  Pouring has rice, beans, rocks, and a few containers and strainers.  


The bottom two cubbies are really just extra storage.  The unlabeled (gasp) bin is where I am putting activities for the next unit.  This has really saved me time!  It would take forever to go through all those nooks and crannies and find specific little items.  I first used it for Cam's transportation unit, and as you can see, I had a bunch of stuff for that one!  The very bottom has puzzles that are not in use.  I tried to keep them out all the time, but it was not working out so well.  

 Ok, this shot is to the right of the middle cubby tower, and it is how I keep previous units organized.  The clear shoe boxes are $1 at Smiths, and they are just the right size.  I am not living the sticky-notes, but my label maker is out of paper, and I am banned from shopping for a while:)

This is a (terrible) picture of the left of the closet tower, where my hubby has installed some extra shelves for me.  This is where I have trays, felt, coloring books, flash cards, tongs and spoons, foam stickers, light box supplies... you name it:)  In the back, there is a green tote that has toys that are not yet open.  Some of them I am saving for future activities, some are a little too advanced.

Hope you have enjoyed your tour, I will keep the blog updated with any changes:)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas 2012

 What a year.  Time has flown by these last almost 3 years that little Cameron has blessed our lives.  Every day a new milestone, a new discovery, and a new challenge:)  But of course, we wouldn't have it any other way.  He has given me so much, and has made me a better person.  Having Cameron in my life straightens out my priorities, that's for sure!

So...naturally, we had to spoil him for Christmas:)

However, I wouldn't recommend taking your toddler Christmas shopping with you.  We went to Kohls to grab just the last few ingredients to a gift basket, and left with a giant, very loud firetruck:)  But look at that smile, it was worth it.

And of course, when we got home, we had to put on our fire gear and pretend to be fire fighters!!  Little man just got out of the shower, so his curls

I love this picture!  If we had been able to get Christmas photo cards out this year, this would probably had been the picture.  Such a happy boy!  

Here's a shot of Christmas aftermath... 

Here's the Christmas inspired sensory bin I threw together for Cam.  He actually really liked this one.  Usually, I'm pretty sure I spend more time making them than he does playing with them, lol.  This one has ornaments, stickers, bows, tinsel, strips of wrapping paper, cotton balls (for snow), and a few little gift items from the Dollar store.  The train is the ornament that he chose this year, out of all the ones at WalMart.  Ya, it was like $.97 :)  Looking back on it, I suppose I should have made it more Jesus oriented.  But we are not what you would really call God Fearing folks... so I guess it's ok to keep things superficial, at least for this year.  

Cameron's amazing school helped the toddlers put together these little gift bags for their parents.  The kiddos even stamped and colored the lunch bags!  I love this picture... but I remember that day, cuz he doesn't wear that coat often.  His hair was *especially* wild that day!  My luck, it was picture day:)

Cam had his Christmas program, and it was absolutely darling.  They are so smart, they always have the toddler class go first with their performance, so parents can sneak out early and prevent melt-downs.  I got him a pimpin' little Christmas suit with a sweater and a tie and cute little studly shoes:)  They sang Away in a Manger, Starlight Starbright...and Cameron sang Jingle Bells at the top of his lungs.  :)  You can see him in the pictures below...he's the one laying on the floor.  He did some break-dancing for a while, then I guess he just tuckered himself out.  I was soooo embarrassed, but at least his cousin was up there picking her nose, lol

On a side note, I didn't get any pictures of this but we did the 12 Books of Christmas with Cameron.  And the 25 days of Christmas.  He was really good at opening presents by the 25th, lol.  It really wasn't that pricey; most of the gifts were from the Dollar store or Target's dollar spot.  And the majority of the books were from the book basket that I bid on and won at Cameron's school's fundraiser.  And I have to admit, he was really, really good and keeping it to one gift a day.  He was mostly interested in his cousin Addi's big gift (it was about as tall as he is!)  He kept telling me, "I'm a bigger boy, so I can have the bigger present?"  He did eventually poke a few holes in it, but Addi didn't mind:)

Christmas Day 2012

I want to apologize upfront for how blurry these photos are;  Christmas morning with a toddler moves pretty fast!

The next few pics are from our house in the morning.  We rolled out of bed at like, 9:30.  It was great:)




I thought this was really cool:  Our cousin's future wife was sweet enough to leave a note from Santa on the plate of cookies we left out out for him:)  Cameron and I made a ridiculous amount of glazed sugar cookies on Christmas eve, it was so fun.  And messy.  

Next we move on my MIL's house.  They always go all out for the holidays, this is a great family to marry into, lol



"Oooo!  Mommy, look at all these Legos!  I better pick them back up!"

Lastly, we all congregate at the Great Grandparents' house for food and presents.  It was well past Cam's nap time, but he held it together like a champ:)

At the end of the day, I think Cameron's favorite toys were the Playmobil sets that the MIL got for him.  One is a farm and the other is a firestation.  I was worried a little about losing pieces... and not really looking forward to putting it all together!  But I have to admit, I truly enjoyed building these with Cam and he has played with them constantly since they were set up.  Still, he struggles with using a soft or intricate touch for extended periods, so these are great for him.  

I was tired of playing on the floor (I'm old) so I put the lid on Cameron's train table and set his Playmobil stuff up thereI had a few sheets of that super firm felt leftover from previous projects, so I put those down, too.  I have had an absolute blast watching him play with these!  He will dress up in his fire gear and play fire station, and sing the FireMan Sam show song.  He gets all concerned about his little people and tells them to be careful and wear their helmets:)