Monday, March 19, 2012

Pay it foward


I recently participated in a really great game call "Pay it forward" and received a package from  Leanne at Kreative Resources, from Canada. I tried to trace back who was the first one to come up with the idea, but couldn't.

 I don't know who was more excited: my daughter or I!!!

This is what we received. Koki carried it everywhere in a bag, for the next 3 days. Love it. She keeps asking me where Canada was, who send it, how we get there...

There were some chocolates there. MMM Too bad I just got to taste ONE, ONE! She gave one to each one of us, and eat the rest. 

Well, is our turn to play and Pay it Forward!!

So if you want to play AND are willing to pay it forward from your own blog, Then here is what you do.

Leave a comment on this post stating that you want to play, and I will randomly choose three players.

The rules are:

  • To the three participants (between this blog, and my other blog in Spanish (Mami es la mejor) I will sen a un package representing my beautiful country Puerto Rico, but you most be willing to Pay it Forward to three more people.
  • Comments will remain open until April 1st, 2012
  • If you are chosen you will need to send me your postal address so that I know where to send your package
  • after  you receive the package you will need to Pay It Forward in the same manner on your blog
So, ... Are you ready to play?





Sunday, March 11, 2012

Letter recognition: Letter Aa, Baby animals

I started homeschooling my Koki when she was 3 yrs old. Our first theme was The garden. I remember planning a lot of activities, well a months worth of them. While most of them were on observation (how a plant grows, for example), on others she would paint, play with soil, read books of the animals of the garden, we went to a garden, well lots of activities.  She loved them, but... I though that by the second week she was bored with the theme. So from then to now, I reduced it to two weeks. Right now, because of our move, we have been taking it slow with just a few activities a week (that's also our mini theme time). 

I decided to reinforce her letter recognition abilities,  after a assessment/game the we had the other day when she could name less letters than I have teach her: She didn't  remembers them or have trouble recognizing them.

Theme: Baby animals
Letter: Aa
Koki is 4yrs 5 months
Nani is 2 1/2 yrs


We did a sheep family. I use my hand to make  mommy and daddy, and the girls use their hand to do the baby.  
 Koki painted them also. she loves green.

 Nani found this other shape of cotton and use it to. 

Then we did the letter A. Since Spanish is our first language, we fill the letter with a material that starts with A: algodón  (cotton). We also talk about textures.

.
             Again Koki and her green affair.                                   And Nani, using all the cotton she could.


We  use this worksheet from here.  Koki did most of them and combine it with some more from book she have here. She also work on her letters by choosing a named picture of a baby animal and making the word with magnetic letters in a baking pan, which by the way, she loves any activity I make using it. 

Some other things included:
  • searching around the house for things that started or have the letter Aa in it.
  • looking for the letter Aa while in the car.
  • naming things with the letter
She really enjoyed making colored pancakes. We use AZUL (blue) and AMARILLO (yellow) coloring. They mix it and made green. They did not knew that they were pancakes! They just loved it. Well, that's why I'm awesome ;)

Sincerely, 

Odalys




Monday, March 5, 2012

Not just a house... Part 1

Since  I've been looking like a crazy person my camera all around the house, with no luck, I haven't been able to post anything new. That's because I love to do messy things and take pictures, is not enough to describe it. You have to see it!

So I decided to make a different post today. this will be just the first part of 3, maybe 4. Hopefully to end it before moving, which will be soon, I HOPE!

I told you earlier about a hose that's been under construction for some time now. This is our story.

About 7 year ago my in laws (love them like my parents, really!) gave us a piece of land that they purchase and divide it between  their  daughter and 2 sons. A year later we got married. It need it to be divided and named after each one. All of it was done about 4 year ago. My husband and I started to search for some ideas, prices and people to build the house. It was a loooooooong process, because we din't know if we should build or  buy a house. Both have pros and cons. Money, distance, time, repairs to be done, an old house... we were a mess. 

After a two year discussion (seemed like it), we decided to build. We search and search a pre-made houses (they gave us the blueprint and the materials for the hose), but couldn't afford the ones we liked, and not liking the ones we could afford. I prayed God to help us into making a good choice for our growing family. On February 2010, we went to an appointment to see more blueprints. I actually made this appointment because the person who called me insisted soooo much, I agree.

I fall in love with one of their desings, and in a matter of  minutes, we bought it. I was so happy. Finally we could start our house. Boy, was I wrong.  We chose a contractor (the one we could afford) and on August we close our loan with the bank. The house was supposed to start in September, but it got delay... until November. Than came the holidays, bad weather, and our house came to a total stop. 

Slowly the construction start again, the foundation, then the floor was made (February):








Than my baby was born on February 24 (she just turned 1!), my girls looked like this:



Koki
Nani

Vivi


That was a year ago. We went through a lot of disappointing, crisis,  rage, sadness (we cried a lot) from that February through August, when we were able to get another contractor (the other one had a "contract with the bank, and if we laid him off, there could be some legal problems, our hands were tied).

God let me pass through  all of this to so I could see whats inside me: how mad I can get to a point of desiring harm to other people or to pass judgment to quickly. The poor man was going through a really bad divorce and her ex wanted to take his kids away (to the US). We didn't know. Thankfully, he leaved peacefully, and the construction continued.

I will continue this roller coaster story in my next post.

Sincerely,


Odalys







Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Around...

We've been very relax this past week. It happens here a lot.  The girls have enjoyed the day as it comes. There's been a lot of free play outside and at our new house.

Let me start first with our visit to El Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan, Puerto Rico).We went to get some books at the Books fair. Most of the photos are from our walk trough San Juan.

Oh, San Juan. I love it. The history, the stores, the architecture,



the streets,


the churches (San Juan Cathedral)


the animals.

Then we stop to eat. This photo was taken by mu four year old. Her perspective.





I used to make fun of my mom because she loved to take photos like this. People just walking. My mom died two 1/2 years ago, and I missed this kind of photos. Here my daughter is walking with my sister, wich is also her Godmother. These two love each other.


Just having fun!




Oh! My three beautiful princesses.

 My sister let them choose a little turtle with a wobbling head.

A bought  these books for around $30. some of them only cost  50 cents. My sis bought some too. I also bought 3 more book that don't appear here.


They have been taking them everywhere, and I let them to do it, because even though I know that we have to take care of things, for them to last longer, I also believe that we can't get too attached to things, because they leave as they came. I teach my girls that God is the one that provide for us.

When I was studying to be a preschool teacher, I had a professor that have like a million books. She told us that books are meant for children to explore, touch, and even sometimes broke. Yes I said it. I think is a process and we should guide them. If they tear them, we teach them to pass the pages slower. If juice is spilled, we teach them to be more careful, because what if they want to read and drink at the same time, as adults, I've see many reading he newspaper with a cup of coffee.

I found this book great to help them through this process of exploration. You can download it here.  The book is called Forest friends go to school. You printed it, and add scribbles, juice and even mud. The idea behind it is to show the children to take care of the book. Here is an example of one of the pages: (taken from Kindergarten kindergarten).




























Enjoy!

Remember to follow me on Facebook.

Sincelery, 


Odalys




Thursday, February 16, 2012

Head bump

Wednesday  at noon our daughter Koki had a close encounter with the front door.



Poor child, I just saw when she bounce back and fell on the floor. She cried and scream when I put some ice where a REALLY BIG head bump appear. It make me panic. It was the biggest bump to date, but since she didn't loose consciousness, or vomit, or couldn't see (or any of the other symptoms mentioned here.) I was relieved.

I know about all of these because when she was 3 years old something similar happened to her.

We were at a store. She was seated, and fell back on to the metallic edge of a rack of  fabrics. The area looked horrible (less than yesterday) but there was blood. I leave the store like Taz The Tazmanian devil (from The Looney toons, remember?). I took her to her pediatrician who send me to the E. R. After some X-Rays (and a lot of screaming) and four hours waiting, we were released with a get well note. She was ok. However, they called me the next day to tell me that something odd appear in the X-Rays and they need to perform an MRI. Now I was nervous.
At the hospital, they told us that they needed to transfer us to another hospital (from Auxilio Mutuo, to Centro medico, for those who live in Puerto Rico) Then I cried. You see, all this time I was with my father, because my husband was in Nicaragua for business. My dad helped me a lot, without hi I would be alone and not able to get food or ever go to the bathroom. And I was 5 months pregnant. ;)

My daughter was excited because we ride in an ambulance.

The hours passed, they sedated her to take the MRI, but she woke up just minutes before they did it.
Scream through it. I had to stand outside because I was pregnant. My dad stood by her side. I cried outside. It was 7am. They gave us the results at 5pm. (got to loooooove hospitals), she has a lineal fracture, but nothing too big to be concerned about.

Today, I called my pedriatician and he asked me if any of they symptoms appeared  in the next 24-48 hours after the bump occured. She still ok.

Si quieres ver esta entrada en español ve aqui.


Sincerely 


Odalys










Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's day sensory tub

Here at our house, we don't take Valentines day too seriously. Since Hubby and I were in High School, we celebrate it with a chocolate and gift exchange, but just some little gesture (which  goes a long way).  This year we have a date at our new house (that's still under construction), to complete the last details so we can move in soon, which include painting.

With our "school work" is totally different. I love the heart theme. Always have. My girls also. Hearts everywhere. We started last week with our sensory bin.

I started working with these a couple month ago and it was a hit. They went crazy about this. They love to cook, mix, pour, sort. Well most of the time what i put inside, goes to many parts in the house, like their pretend kitchen.


I used to do this since Koki (my oldest daughter) was a baby, but in a different way. I would give her a bag or a box with lots of little things to play. Most of them where things from around the house, not meant for her to play with, like spoons, lids, plastic bottles. I call it: something-forbidden-to-use-but-safe-to-play-with.

Now I take it a little further. I make them theme and skills specific. I put different materials and  textures, numbers, letters, mixing tools, spoons, lids, some sparkle of course, etc. etc. I also fill it with pasta, cotton, rice (this is a risk I take some times), little balls, water, plastic animals, plants, well ALL kinds of stuff.


For this month we did Valentine's (oh, what a surprise).


Vivi would grab some rice or whatever she could...


 ... and pour it in a cup.



See, SENSORY PLAY


Cooking


Yup. I love baby feet.


Again, this will happen if you have rice or small filing. Let them play liberally.

And what are they learning?

In this case, the red color, was the main focus. But they learn about textures, sizes, to grasp, pour, use their imagination, sharing, mixing, measuring... Learning should not be only about concepts but also about resolving problems using tier imagination.

Para ver este antrada en español ve aquí.

Sincerely,

Odalys


Thursday, February 9, 2012

How we like to play...

We are all about free play. Messes, sometimes craziness.

I believe that nowadays society expect too much from children. When they should learn what, and how.

I studied to be a preschool teacher, knowing that I would work at a preschool or day care center. I did. Then I got married and had my first child, and decided to stay at home. I learned a lot from it, but NOTHING, I mean NOTHING prepares you for motherhood. I repeat NOTHING.

So during all this time I learned mostly that children learn by playing, creating, imagining, touching and certainly messing. which I don't care so much (some days). But most importantly, WE should follow their lead.

                                         Playing with cloud sand (recipe from Imagination Tree)


We do a lot of free play during the day, but also, Koki (my 4 yr old) likes to do worksheets. Well she loves them. She works on math, reading, writing and some other skills like cutting, tracing, pasting. I always try to  do as many work as she is up to, but we finish a page is we started it.

These are some of the free activities that we've done:


Pasting, which she loves


Playing with cotton


Playing with pasta


Playing with colored shaving cream. 
Messy X2

I know its scary, but it can, and should be done. Children need this kind of freedom, to be kids and make messes. 

Here are some tips:

  • Prepare your area. If you can use an area that can be washed easily, like the bathroom, or outside for big messes. Use an old shower liner, or a solid surface that can be wipe off without damaging it.
  • Talk about what you are about to do, they get really exited when they know they can make a mess without been punished
  • Let your child express herself. If you planned to paint with kitchen tools, but your kid wants to use their fingers, let her. 
  • Use uncommon tools to explore.
  • Teach them to clean it. Even if it makes the mess bigger, if it takes a lot of time, or if it doesn't end as you visualize it. 
  • Most importantly, play with her, be a part of what she is doing. Ask questions and explore with imagination. 

Remember these are the years when exploring, imagination and curiosity develops, and with our help, it can continue through the years, helping our children to learn, seeing the world differently.

*Si quieres ver esta entrada  en español ve aqui.

Sincerely,


Odalys


Monday, February 6, 2012

How I got here...

Well... Here I am. It took long enough to start it, but I made it. YAY for me!!!

I found the wonderful  world of blogs a long time ago, when I had the time to sew and be very crafty.

I will explain myself.

 I am a young mother of three beautiful girls, ages 4 , 2 1/2 and 1. Also I home school (well, we really make a lot of mess and call it school, wink*), I have a hubby to take care of too, and very little time to do housework (while everybody sleeps).  So, not so much time to sew. Besides, we are moving to a new house soon, and my sewing room is a complete mess, fill with boxes and stuff, so the girls even my husband aren't allow to go there. Well yeah,  I forgot to mention about my shove everything in a box  moving organization time.

A long time passed since I found blogs again. It all started when my oldest daughter was 3, I had a 10 month old and pregnant. It was like when in a  movie, there's a crowd and the camera zooms trough it to get to the main character, the though of not being able to give my kids a good education (in a private school) hit me. I studied in Catholic Private schools all my life, and public schools was out of the question.

You see, here in Puerto Rico where I live are very good public schools, but most of them are very far from where I live. There are also other problems, but mainly: no christian education.

So I was watching one day 19 kids and counting, and it was about their day, and how they home school. It seamed very interesting. So we (Hubby and I) search for some information about this new concept for us.  I FELL IN LOVE WITH IT, he, well, not so much. I went to a conference given by T'CHERs. It was the cherry on my ice cream (mmm... I want ice cream now). I started, just a an experiment to prove to Hubby and to myself that We could do it, and that it was our best option. Haven't stop since.

In all this, were the blogs appear? Easy. Trying to found ideas, inspiration.

I am a preschool teacher, so I have many books for that. But when we did our activities (as we call them) and routine, I was disappointed because they did not ended as my "teacher mind" expected. I was overwhelmed because I have a child to teach, a house to clean, a baby and husband to take care of and  a newborn on the way.

When I first found a blog, and found mothers that don't wake up at 6am, have a neatly organized home, are flexible to their routine, skip a day or two on their plans, help me a lot. I have also found inspiration in activities that doesn't end in  they way they are supposed to.

So I relaxed, I relaxed a lot.

I decided to blog for many reasons: to found a place to place my voice, other than my dear husband, who listens to me even when sleeping, (ha ha, Love you Honey), to keep track of this beautiful adventure, and share it with other moms and dads too. But mostly because I found a really good resource called Preschool Packs, and other printables, that I would like to share.

Our first language is Spanish, and I decided to teach it first (with reading at least, because we speak it), but rarely I found them in Spanish, so I make my own. So I decided to have two blogs in two languages Spanish and English. Not just one bilingual. We ll those are my plans, I hope to fulfill them.

I will later post some pictures of our new house that's has been building for the last 2 years... More on that later...

Para ver esta entrada en español ir aqui.

Sincerely


Odalys



 

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