Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chicken Pox in the house....

Well, it was in the house.  Poor little man got the chicken pox and guess who I think gave it to him? Me!  I had a strange rash a few weeks ago with a sore back and couldn't figure out what was going on, well now we are thinking it might have been a mild case of shingles.  If this is the case, which makes sense- then little man caught the chicken pox from his momma!  He did really well with it- wasn't very cranky and is healing up nicely. This week he is teething like crazy- getting his first tooth and is crawling up a storm.  So many changes so fast.  While this is all going on, we have been cleaning our butts off to get ready for an appraisal on our house so that we can refinance.  I even painted my porch.   And we've been turning the dining room into a schoolroom.  The girls will be schooling at  home via cyberschool and will start next week.  As for blogging- it still is on hold due to my laptop accident.  Not sure how I cracked the screen, but I did.  Well, I hope everyone is doing well out their in cyberland.  I miss reading all of your wonderful blogs. (borrowing mom's computer today)

Take Care!
Jen

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh, No!

Unfortunately, my laptop is broken, so I will be without a computer for awhile until I can afford to get it fixed or get an new one.  So if you happen to stop by, I'm so sorry that I won't be able to post for some time.  Please stay awhile and look over my archives or search my blog for ideas on encouraging curiosity and creative thinking in your children! 

Take Care!

Jen

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Swagbucks, anyone?

Search & Win
This post doesn't have much to do with being creative or curious, although I was curious about swagbucks and so I joined.  And I'm curious if any of you have joined?  If so, what cool things have you purchased with your swagbucks?  Also, if you are curious like me- check out swagbucks here and if you join guess what- i get more swagbucks!  This is all new to me, so we'll see how I do with it.  From what I understand, you can earn swagbucks from using their search engine.  I usually use google, but I'm going to try it out.  I love freebies! 


Let me know you thoughts.


Jen

Disclosure- I wasn't given anything to write this post, although I can earn swagbucks if I refer my readers. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

p''''']]]]]]]]]]]]\ (First Ever Blog Post!)

y6yujuuytiiiiiiiiilllllllllllllllllloy9ul;k''''''''[\\
?

Little Man's first blog post
Age- 7 months
Date: August 5th, 2010

Don't believe me? See for yourself!  :0



























Little Stinker got at my computer when I turned my back for a second!  Made me laugh when I saw typing on the screen and even a title, too!  I'm impressed. 

Hope you got a little chuckle this morning! Enjoy your weekend!

Jen

Friday, August 13, 2010

Try Something NEW- Grocery Shopping With Kids


Often I'm grocery shopping with all three kids, which some would say is just about as crazy as it can get. So to help the kids have a little fun while we were out during our last trip, I told them that they can search around the produce section for something brand new to try. They loved this idea! It was a good opportunity for them to do some reading as they were searching as well.

So what do you think they picked? I thought that they might pick out something exotic or different like a star fruit or a pomegranate. They chose....

A COCONUT AND A ....












A GRAPEFRUIT.



Now I need to figure out how to get into that coconut! A new experience for Momma, too. There are so many opportunities for learning in the super market. Since they were tots, my girls loved weighing the produce for me. I'd have to lift them up to read the scale and then we would talk about how much the apples weighed and how much they would cost, etc.

Here are a couple of ideas for super market learning:
Preschoolers- go on a letter hunt. Find fruits and veges that begin with A- apples apricot asparagus, etc
Grade school kiddos-
Have child weigh items and try to estimate the cost of the fruit or vege based on the weight. Bananas are 49cents a lb. The bunch weighs 2 lbs. How much will the bananas cost?
Estimation with Addition- let your child estimate different products as you put them in the cart. The cookies are 1.89, so we'll round up to $2 and the milk is $3.30, so we'll round down to $3. About how much did we spend so far? 2 + 3 = 5. Around $5.


GREAT POSTS
Learning on the Go: Games for the Grocery Store
http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Ed_Grocery_Store_Reading/


Learning Adventures in the Grocery Store
http://homeschooling.about.com/od/preschool/tp/pregrocerystore.htm


How to Make Grocery Shoppping fun for kids
http://kidsactivities.suite101.com/article.cfm/how-to-make-grocery-shopping-fun-for-kids

GREAT BOOKS
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z (Harcourt Brace Big Book)
Eating the Alphabet-Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert
Great for Preschool learning or any age, really. Fun and bright picture book!

Supermarket
I haven't read Supermarket by Kathleen Krull, but I wanted to share it, because it looks like it would be great for learning.
Synopsis: Explains modern supermarkets and how they work, discussing how they organize, display, and keep track of the items they sell.


And if your child picks out a coconut..... the book-
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.



Before going to the Supermarket- Kid activities:
-Cut coupons (fine motor)
-Make a shopping list (beginning writing)
-Look over ads and discuss prices.


After Shopping:
-Play store with pretend food to practice beginning money or more advanced $ skills for older children.
-Have kids help sort groceries into categories- by letter, by color, by dry, frozen, etc.


Happy Shopping!
Jen

Shared over at....
KFF





Thursday, August 12, 2010

Last Chance- Enter My Wii Game Giveaway!

Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter my Wii Jumpstart Get Moving Family Fitness Giveaway!  Fun game for the whole family or to give as a gift! If you haven't done so already, be sure to stop by today and enter.

Enter Here- Wii Jumpstart Get Moving

Jen

ps.
Any family fun giveaways that you'd like to link up?  Add your giveaways below!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Little Man in the Box

LM's big sisters have been playing with boxes this week (see post), so
I couldn't resist letting LM have some fun, too!

Happy Wordless Wednesday!
For more, visit 5 minutes for mom.
Feel free to link up here as well.  Glad to have you!

Jen

The Baby Times! 16th Edition: Newspaper Play


Welcome back to The Baby Times! I hope that you are enjoying this weekly post. 

Oh no! Mom caught me!!
Newspaper play? You might be wondering why in the world I would let my child play with newspaper. Well,Little Man discovered it the other day and was having so much fun exploring.  Not the best thing to be playing with, but a neat sensory activity for touch and sound.  Just be sure that baby doesn't use his sense of taste and take a bite!  My suggestion would be to crunch some newpaper at your baby's feet and let them kick away.  Take a peek a Little Man in the video and see how much fun he is having with his new discovery!



Enjoy your day playing with baby!
Jen

Looking for past editions? The Baby Times!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Silly, Silly, Silly Bands!!

Are you sitting there as you watch this newest fad - kicking yourself and asking, "Hey,why in the world didn't I think of that?" Well, if your kids are part of this craze, we might as well use this opportunity for learning.  I've noticed a few posts around the web focusing on just that- learning with silly bands.  My daughter was doing her own creative thinking with silly bands this morning.

Sunshine: Mom, did you know that every silly band has more than one thing in it? 
Me: Oh, yeah. What do you mean?
Sunshine: Well, look at this moose.  If I stretch it this way, then it becomes an alligator.
Me: Cool,your right and so creative.
Sunshine: Look at this one mom, if I turn it this way, it looks like a lady.

She proceeds to take off her silly bands and show me different figures in each band.  I love when she is freely creative without prompts from Momma. 


Do your children go ga ga over silly bands? Do you have any learning ideas?

How about-
sorting
counting
addition/subtraction
categories
shapes
colors

Silly Band Fun Around the Web-


Silly Bandz Game for Preschoolers-School Age Kids

Silly Bands- Storytelling

Want to make your kids smile? Buy your own silly bands for you and hubby.  We bought reptiles for mom and pirates for Dad.  Then sit down and trade with the kids! 

Enjoy your Monday!

Jen

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shapes, Shapes, and More Shapes!


My fun library find this week was Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh.  I checked it out to read to little man, because I thought that he'd enjoy the bright colors.  He's a bit young for shape recognition, but I wanted to share the book with you, because I think it would be great for toddlers and preschoolers.  If you have shape foam stickers or cut out shapes with construction paper, your child could do a quick and easy shape craft after reading or just use tangram shapes for creative play.
 
Another fun find for all ages:

Shapes, Shapes, Shapes
Go on a scavenger hunt in Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban. Look for arcs, circles, hearts, hexagons, ovals, diamonds, rectangles squares, stars, trapezoids, and triangles in this wordless picture book.   After reading, do a real life hunt in your house, backyard or around the neighborhood!


Great resources around the web:

Twiggle Magazine : literacy activities connected to the book Mouse Shapes and print-outs.

 No Time for Flash Cards :  other shape books suggestions and craft.

Have fun with shapes- there are so many possibilities for creativity and learning!
Jen

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Magic of a Box

What is it that makes a simple box so magical? Is it because there are so many possibilities? It can be whatever you want it to be! Maybe a car or a house, a puppet theater, or a bed, or a plane or a .... The list is endless.


Yesterday, I bought a vacuum. (I've been going crazy without one for weeks. Yeesh!) Sunshine was so excited when she saw the empty box, but not so thrilled when Dad was about to throw it away.


"Stop! I'm creating something with that box!"


Dad mumbled something.
Daughter whined.
Mom intervened.
Dad rolls eyes.
Child smiles.

All is happy in just a minute after I remind Dad about my philosophy regarding creative thinking! In his defense, we do have A LOT of clutter around the house, but how can I say no to a brand new BOX and it's fun for FREE.


Well, what did Sunshine do with this box-




First, she laid in it like it was a coffin with a pillow and all. I asked her if she was a vampire. What was I thinking, because then she walked around the house acting like Dracula for part of the morning! Then Peanut had to get in on the action...




Another lesson that this "box" taught Sunshine, was persistance and teamwork. She had to take all of the shiny paper off of the box before she painted it. This peeling took forever, so Mom decided to join her team and help her with this tedious job.




More Box Fun: A Blast from our past...

Sunshine- age 1

Sunshine-age 6
Peanut-age 4

Do you have any posts that focus on creative play or play with boxes?  If so, I'd love for you to link up below and show off your kiddos having fun with boxes or other items around the house!  I linked up two past posts relating to free play and creativity. 

Take Care,
Jen




Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Rock Star!

He might even be a ROCK STAR! 


For more W.W., visit 5 Minutes for Mom!

Enjoy your Wednesday!
Happy Wordless Wednesday!
Jen

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Baby Times! 15th Edition: Babies and Television?

Do you ever put Sesame Street on for you baby or a Baby Einstein video?  I'll admit that I've done both for all three of my children, even though the American Pediatric Association recommends 0 television for babies under 2 years of age. 

Recently, I've read that there are studies that have shown a delay in language development for children under age 2 who watch TV and baby videos.  I have to wonder how much television is being watched for these studies.  My first child watched all of the baby Einstein videos and Sesame Street.  I also played a Raffi video to calm her when she was teething.  I would joke that Raffi music video kept Momma sane during those difficult times.  The reason why I wonder how much TV delays language development, because my first child's vocabulary was ridiculous.  She was saying words like turtle at 9 to 10 months old and actually had a vocabulary of 100 words by the time she was one.  Her doctors would tell me that she would worry the other parents in the waiting room because she was speaking full sentences at a year in a half and parents wondered if their children were developing properly.  My second child's development was similar, maybe not as extreme, but above average for sure.  Beside letting my children watch TV, though, we also sang together,danced to music, talked, read, took walks, played, etc. 

Studies have also shown that early television exposure has been associated with attention problems at age 7. Now this I've often wondered about, because my first does get distracted very easily and I've asked her teachers about it.  They never felt it was a serious issue and she continues to be a mostly A student.  Another thing to keep in mind is that ADD runs in my family, so her mild attention problems could be genetic as well.  My 2nd child doesn't appear to have any attention issues and is functioning above grade level. Again, I haven't seen the study to see how much television and how much other enriching activities are taking place in the subjects lives.

I continue to try to limit TV time for my children, but I haven't quite got to the hour of screen time recommended by the American Pediatrics for their age group and the 0 television time for the baby.  Some days are better than others.  For example, if we rent a movie on a Friday night- there's 2 hours of screen time there and then they probably watched PBS in the morning, so add on that screen time.  Often, I tend to take a happy medium when it comes to issues- not an extremest, but not lax either. 

What is your opinion about television for babies and children?  Does your baby or child watch television or do you follow the APA's recommendations? 

Take Care,
Jen

Resources:
The New York Times: No Einstein in Your Crib? Get a Refund
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/education/24baby.html

Health Alert- Baby TV
http://pediatrics.about.com/od/yourbabyweekbyweek/ss/baby_wk_twelve_8.htm

Have you missed any past editions of The Baby Times?
Don't fret, you can find all 15 editions here!  :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Art Zone

Here's a fun website that we found today-The Art Zone.  The girls experimented with the Brushter and enjoyed being creative with "paint." Online paint that is!  If you'd like to paint with the kids, but want to take a break from the traditional messy painting- that we love by the way, you'll have to check out Brushster. It has a lot of cool options for creating.  We still need to explore other applications on The Art Zone such as....

Faces and Places- a 2 part exploration of American folk art

Photo Op- an introduction to digital photography and image editing

Collage Machine

and more!!

Can't wait to learn more about art with the kids.  If you've been on this site or if you get a chance to check it out,(being you have sooo much time on your hands while you are parenting- lol) let me know what you think!  I'd love to hear about your experience with this website from the National Gallery of Art.

Jen

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Snood??

Yesterday, as I was holding a little piece of netting, Sunshine approached me wondering what I was doing with it.

"I think it would make a cute jellyfish craft. We can add ribbon and other decorations."
"Oh no, Mommy. This would make a great snood."
"A what?"
"A snood." She then grabs it out of my hand and proceeds to put it on her head.
"What is a snood?"
"Women wore them on their heads in the 1950's."
"Oh, hmm, you learn something new everyday."
Next, Peanut walks in, so I ask her.
"Do you know what a snood is?"
"Oh yeah- In the 1950's, woman wore them."



There you have it. My six and eight year old kids have a better vocabulary than their Mom who happens to have a teaching degree!

I think they said they learned it from Word Girl on PBS. So of course I had to research it online and sure enough- it is what they said it is, although most sites I read said the 40's- maybe they were worn in the 50's as well. 

So, am I the only one who never heard of a snood?

Enjoy your weekend!

Jen

ps.  Don't forget to enter my giveaway- Wii -Jumpstart Get Moving Family Fitness!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Meet Pezzettino!

It's exciting for us to find a book we've never read from an author that we admire.  At our most recent library visit, we came across Pezzettino by Leo Lionni.  What attracted me to the book was the title and the bright colors on the cover page. 

Little Pezzettino is so small he is convinced he must be a piece of somebody else. A wise man helps him discover the truth.

We enjoyed this unique story and how the characters are colorful shapes rather than animals or people.  It has such a beautiful lesson about self-acceptance. 



Creative Thinking Activity/Craft
After reading Pezzettino, give your child a handful of colorful squares.  You can use construction paper or colored foam. I cut out small foam squares.  Next, have your child make different figures with the squares.  How many unique objects/pictures can they make?  Encourage your child to creative a variety of pictures before gluing final project. (creative thinking skill- fluency) 

Next, have them choose one or more to create a picture.  Glue squares together on page.  Peanut made a giraffe and a heart with her squares and Sunshine made a letter, a heart, and Pezzettino.  Fun and easy craft to organize after reading the story!

Happy Reading and Creating,

Jen

Giveaway Scout

Many Mommy bloggers have been fortunate to test and share products relating to our blogs.  Recently, I was contacted by Giveaway Scout and given the opportunity to submit my own blog.  Giveaway Scout is also a great place to find giveaways if you like to enter them.  I've been pretty lucky and have won many blog giveaways such as educational toys, art supplies, books, and more! 

Giveaway Scout - All blog giveaways, contests and sweepstakes in one place brings you the latest giveaway promotions with products ranging from coupons and samples to high value jewelry and electronics. Giveaways have become extremely popular in recent years and thousands of blogs offer them on a regular basis. Giveaway Scout scans a large number of giveaway blogs and updates every hour with the latest offers.

To learn more or to submit your blog, visit- Giveaway Scout.

Enjoy your day!

Jen

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wii JumpStart Get Moving Family Fitness Review and Giveaway


This past Christmas, my girls received a Nintendo Wii game system from Santa and boy were they thrilled as can be.  Trying out different games together during family time has been a blast.  I was even playing it on Christmas Day - remember this was my due date.  My husband had a lot of fun laughing at his pregnant wife trying to play Wii. Well, this is what Wii games should be all about- being together and having fun as a family.
 

Jumpstart Get Moving Family Fitness WiiRecently, JumpStart released it's third Nintendo Wii game: JumpStart® Get Moving™ Family Fitness. Here is a detailed description of JumpStart's newest game: 
Get Moving Family Fitness: Sports Edition Featuring Brooke Burke gets the family active with more than 15 sports challenges, including basketball and speed skating, in 11 exotic arenas, such as the moon, a dinosaur jungle or a volcano. Players can design their own characters to race and play, keep track of personal best calories burned, engage in routines for an extra challenge and compete head-to-head or play solo. The game can be played utilizing the Wii Balance Board™ or simply with the Wii Remote™ and nunchuk.
My little product testers, ages 6 and 8, enjoyed their experiences with this new game.  Speed skating was their top pic from all of the 15 sports challenges, followed by volleyball and basketball. They claim that it helps their muscles and arms feel more flexible. Too cute- my little fitness gurus.

Sunshine said she thought this arena was funny because the cows would moo at her as they were playing. It's good to see my 8 year old being playful instead of trying to grow up so fast!

Compared to other Wii games that we have played, my husband and I think that JumpStart® Get Moving™  has a lot of variety  and is appropriate for younger children. (designed for ages 4 and up) We limit our children's time on video games, but like the idea of having a game that encourages movement for indoor play.  This would also be a great indoor activity when the weather isn't cooperating outdoors or for family game night.

 Favorite Features:
*creating their own character
*choosing different backgrounds- thumbs up to the Egyptian and the Underwater Background

Disappointments:
 My 8 year old did mention that she doesn't like the fact that you need the Wii balance board for some of the games. Obviously, we don't have a Wii balance board, so we weren't able to play a couple of the games.  Some of the movements can be challenging at first, which causes a bit of frustration for young ones, but once they stuck with it, they were able to figure it out better than Mom! 

Overall, my family was pleased with the product and will continue to play and "get moving" together.


Do you have a Wii game system at home?  How would you like your own copy of  JumpStart® Get Moving™ Family Fitness?

**To Purchase-















**To WIN JumpStarts Newest Wii Game-
Visit JumpStart's Website- which game do you think your kid's would enjoy? Leave a comment.  Don't forget your contact information just in case you are my lucky winner. (blog or email address) 

For extra entries:
Blog about Giveaway (2)
Follow Me (1)
Blog Roll (1)
Subscribe(1)
Tweet or share on Facebook(1)

(Giveway ends 8/12/2010- 12:00 EST time)


*For even more chances to win and to read another review, visit my friend Chels at Fantastic Find! I also liked this detailed review on Common Sense Media- if interested.

Have fun playing with your kids!

Jen

ps.  In the mood for a good laugh? Take a peek at me playing Wii on my due date.  Go ahead and make fun of me, I'm a good sport.  :)

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of JumpStart® Get Moving™ Family Fitness at no cost by Knowledge Adventure in order to test the products’ abilities and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

I am an affiliate for Amazon,therefore receive compensation if a product is purchased through an affiliate link.
RandomResult.com Numbers
Pick numbers beetween and . Distinct:
Sequence=1
Draw stat: sum=11, avg=11.00
Draw date: 2010-08-13 13:24:01
11-winner

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Sweet Art Work!

Mom, can I make a T-shirt with bubble paint? 
Wow! Nice job, Sunshine. :)

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

For More WW, visit 5 Minutes for Mom and Mom of 3 Girls.

Jen

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Baby Times! 14th Edition: Featuring Great Blogs

For today's Baby Times, I'm featuring a few blogs that often share great ideas to help enrich your baby's development. I hope that you'll enjoy them as much as I do and get a few new ideas for your little one!

Teach PreschoolTeach Preschool
Deborah has been a professional in the early childhood field for over 20 years.  Her website,Teach Preschool, promotes excellence in early childhood educations. 


One of her recent blog posts for baby-
At Play With Baby: Up and Down

 
Vanessa promotes literacy over at her blog, Silly Eagle Books, as she shares her reading adventures with her own child.  Her site is a wonderful resource for all ages, including babies.

One of her recent blog posts for baby-



Nicole is a former educator taking a break from her teaching career to raise her children.   Her passion for teaching has spilled over into her home. The Activity Mom shares wonderful hands-on learning activities for both babies and children.

One of her recent blog posts for baby-

What online resources do you enjoy reading that benefit your baby?

Enjoy your day,
Jen

Support Creative and Curious Kids!

Support Creative and Curious Kids! by exploring the ads that interest you found below each post. Thank you!!
Share/Save/Bookmark
Custom Search