Monday, January 25, 2010


Levi planted an amaryllis bulb. It did nothing for a whole week, and then all of a sudden it started growing REALLY fast (2-3" a day!). We tracked its height using a chopstick, and then 2 chopsticks taped together. We gave up on measuring it once it got to the top of that!

Now there are 2 beautiful flowers on it, and another bud growing. This was a fun way to observe how plants grow.

We also noticed how the plant leans twards the light, after rotating the plant it would again bend to where the window is.
ETA: I just told my mom I posted about the amaryllis, Levi heard me and asked "A is for amaryllis?", we just started working on the letter 'A' today and I hadn't even thought of the plant, but he figured it out! Pretty cool.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

This is Levi reading all of our names! I wrote them on the driveway and then asked him to stand on each name, he got it right every time. I was suprised that he recognized everyone's names right away, as his own name is the only one he see's written down often. He read me one of his books (a David book) the other night as well, getting most of the words right.

Produce from our garden

We get a lot of our organic produce delivered to our house, but latley have been thinking about trying to find more locally grown foods. Less transportation of food means less environmental impact on its way to our table, and it will be fresher too!
Levi and Nai Nai (my mom) have a small garden in the back yard, where they grow whatever happens to sprout when they plant seeds. This is a brocoli they grew, it tasted great and was as fresh as could be, cut, cooked and served right away!

Levi takes some pictures

Levi loves to use my camera to take pictures. I'm trying to teach him how to take good ones instead of just pics of the floor or part of someone with their head cut off! I might look into getting him his own camera, he uses mine every day and really enjoys looking at pictures as well.

Here is a few he has taken!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pattern Blocks

Here Levi is working on his pattern block activity. He is contained to his little rug (I love our new bamboo floor!)

Painting rocks

Levi is painting some rocks here, its a challange to paint something 3-D. The good news is that rocks are free and there are plenty of them!


Levi is working on using sissors correctly. I have to place them carefully into his hand, and show him where to cut. But already with just a little practice he can cut a peice of paper in half along a line, cut a square corner off a peice of paper (following a line), and, as shown here, cut 'snips' on a picture, stopping the sissors at points indicated. The worksheet he is using here is a Kumon cutting book. See how his hand is twisted in this pic? Thats one thing I have been helping him to correct, the sissors should be held right out in front of him, not at a funny angle.

Sissor safety:
- use kids sissors only, with rounded ends and not-too-sharp blades
- supervise closely (duh!)
- show the child how to hold the sissors correctly (demonstrate and then help them try it)
- hold paper with one hand, and the sissors with the other, watch your fingers!
- sissors should only be used sitting down in a designated spot.
- Only cut paper (not hair, clothes, people, the dog....)
- store sissors out of your child's reach (and where they cant drag a chair up to reach them when you go to the bathroom)
- carry sissors by wrapping your hand around the blade, blade pointing downwards and walk dont run!

Cutting ideas:
- practice 'snips' by drawing short lines from the edge of the paper inwards for the child to cut along. Its easier to work with a smaller peice of paper instead of a full peice.

- cut strips of paper 1" wide or so and have them snip it into confetti. Next try drawing lines at 1" intervals and have them try and snip only at the lines to make squares (then go make a collage)

- draw lines across the page and have them practice cutting the page in half. This is tricky because they have to open the sissors and line them up in the right spot. Draw your line thick at first so its easy to follow. Try diagonal lines and then curves.

- cut the corners off the page, draw an 'L' at each corner and have them cut on the lines, then fold up each side and tape it into a little box!

(thats all we have done so far, I'll add more ideas when we get some more practice in!)

Car seat!

Just had to share my (ok Levi's) new carseat!
It is the Radian XSLT in Nitro (that means red), and it rear-faces to 45lbs!
For more info on extended rearfacing:

Putting the dishes away

Here is Levi sorting out the utensils. I removed anything sharp, and then let him figure out what went where. Some things were placed upside-down or with the wrong size (as you can see we have 2 different sized spoons, and 2 different kinds of fork). He was able to seperate the spoons from the forks though, and it kept him entertained long enough for me to put away the cups and plates instead of trying to climb into the dishwasher!
This is a good exercise to practice sorting, plus helping out around the house (always a good thing)

Cornstarch dough

I made my own cornstarch dough because Levi is allergic to coloring, and I think play doh feels kinda gross. This dough has a nice texture to it and doesnt dry out your hands like salty homade playdough can.
I store it in the fridge because of the weather here (to prevent mold!), and it lasts a long time. You can also roll it out and bake it in the oven to make ornaments and things. (low temp for an hour or so). It can be painted once its dry.

Here is the recipie:

2 cups baking soda
1 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cups water
Food coloring (optional, you can also use powdered tempra paint, or unsweetened koolaid)

Mix baking soda and cornstarch together in a saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat while dough is still easy to stir. Do not overcook. Turn out on platter and cover with a damp cloth. When cool enough to handle, knead until smooth, adding water if dough crumbles. If desired, knead in food coloring.


Here is another craft project made with stuff I found in the house: bits of paper and cotton circles. I drew an outline on the page and let Levi use a popsicle stick and glue to stick the cotton on. Then I helped him to add the details. And then we covered all the extra glue (a lot of it) with glitter. As you can see, he was quite proud!

The zoo with Grammy

Grammy really enjoys taking Levi to Brevard Zoo. This time though, they both got seperated from me because Levi was on a quest to show Grammy his favorite animal (for now), the fox. They never did find it, but they did see just about every other animal they have until I finally got tired of hunting for them and put out a Code Adam to find them!

Cookies with Grammy

Grammy is a great cook, and every year she makes lots of christmas cookies! (and chocolate chip cookies year round). Levi is helping with the process by turning the bowl for Grammy. There is a lot to be learned from helping out in the kitchen!

Another reason why I hate toys with batteries

They get stuck in your hair!

The Skuut Bike

The Skuut bike - No pedals or training wheels, just his own feet for balance. Levi still hasnt really gotten the hang of this thing, he is supposed to 'push off and glide', right now he just walks (or runs) with the bike between his legs, he still has fun though. Levi always wears his helmet when he rides any type of bike, no helmet = no ride. Saftey first! Its much easier to enforce this rule now, so hopefully he will stick with it in the future.

(same thing as in the car, no carseat = the car doesnt go!)

Snow Play

Here is Levi exploring the snow next to our house in Tahoe

Handprint painting

Use non-toxic kid friendly paint to paint your child's hand, and have them print onto paper. Let it dry and then cut it out and add details (scraps of paper, googly eyes, glitter, decorate with markers....). The finished handprint can be glued to colored paper for a nice background. This one is a turkey which I glued to cardstock, and put a slit in the bottom with another peice of cardstock to make it stand up!

See what other ideas you can come up with... a bunny for easter, a raindeer for christmas, ghosts for halloween, or just a plain ol' handprint for grandma. These make great gifts and can easily be made into holiday cards or thank you cards as well, perfect for little ones who cant yet write but want to make something special!

Peeling vegetables

This skill requires close supervision and a little talk about how to use kitchen tools safely (sitting down at the table, only when an adult is with you, etc). We used sweet potatoes because they are easy to hold onto, and easy to peel. After some practice, Levi was able to peel all on his own.

Brussle Sprouts

Here is a way to encourage kids to eat something new - make it interesting and have them help prepare it!

We found this giant brussle sprout stalk at Trader Joe's and Levi had a great time pulling off the sprouts. He was more than willing to taste the final result once we cooked it, and even liked it! (welll this is a kid who's favorite food is brocoli...)

Updating this blog

Its been a while sense I've updated, I need to try and keep up! Now off to add some more posts about some things we have been doing the past coule months....