Christian Symbol Game

This idea came from 101 Great Games For Infants, Toddlers, & Preschoolers: Active, Bible-Based Fun for Christian Education.

The first activity in this book is Picture This. This game teaches important images and symbols of the Christian faith. First thing you will need is different pictures that represent an aspect of the faith. One of my friends had given me some leftover scrapbook pages that he did not need or want. I looked hrough the pages and I was lucky enough to find a couple with some pictures I could use.
I cut out the pictures, but since the bible looked like a plain book I wrote out a Psalm on the pages. I also had a picture of the cross on our church.

The symbols we used were:
  • The Bible
  • The church
  • a lamb
  • a dove
  • the Cross

After all of the pieces were cut out, I put them on the floor so Michaela could explore the pictures.
As she touched each picture I explained what the picture was and why it was important to us.
I love this picture of her looking at the cross.

To make this activity more fun, make sure to crawl around on the floor with your child. Michaela loves it when I get on the floor with her!

I think she really enjoyed this game. We got to talk and explore different pictures. Most importantly, we talked about Jesus and why He is important to us.

Matching Animals

Grandma got Michaela a cute magnetic game. It is an awesome toy to keep her occupied, um, learning while I am doing dishes or cooking. It is also awesome because it helps her make matches either by the color or by the animal. When she puts one piece on the base it will also teach her the corresponding sound that the animal makes.

She really enjoys to explore each of the pieces. She is in awe of the fact that the pieces will stay on the refrigerator.
If the pieces don't match it sings a silly song about the created animal. In this case, it would be a song about a pig-duck.
Yeah. She found the right head for the duck!
Smiling for the camera.

I don't know if I can really classify this as Montessori, but it incorporates matching and exploring so I'm going with it.

What He doesn't let happen to us

Imagine the scene: The baby is sitting on the floor innocently playing with her toys. The parents have moved the couch over so that she is blocked into the living room. The dog decides that he wants to play in the living room as well, so he leaps over the couch. Just as the dog is about to land right on the baby with claws ready to pierce the skin, Mom jumps up and catches the dog. The baby looks up, smiles at Mom and continues to play with her toys never knowing the danger that just eluded her.

That was a real scenario at our house last night.

Immediately, I began to wonder how many times in my life God "caught the dog" before it landed on me. How many times did Satan try to destroy something in me life but God said no? I think too many times I focus on the negative aspects of my life without thanking God enough for the blessings. I want to try to remember to be thankful in all situations because I never know what He could have let happen to me.

Montessori - What is it?

Montessori. Is it
A) The French word for love?
B) A country in Africa?
C) Type of educational method?

Just a few months ago I would not have been able to answer this question. I had no idea what Montessori was when I read it on a blog. I quickly learned it was an education method used by families. It is very different from the traditional model of lecture-learning.

"The Montessori Method is a way about thinking about who children are. It is a philosophy that respects the unique individuality of each child. Dr. Montessori believed in the worthiness, value and importance of children. Her method does not compare a child neither to norms nor standards that are measured by traditional educational systems. It is founded on the belief that children should be free to succeed and learn without restriction or criticism."
You can read the rest of the article at Montessori Mom.
Basically, this parents observe their children and foster that child's talent and abilities.

I was fascinated by the way the mom was teaching her son. It was so interactive and intentional. It piqued my interest. However, I was having a hard time figuring out how to make this work with my daughter. She is only 10 months old and her son was 3. Then another Mom started to really talk about Montessori on her blog and she has a daughter who is just a few months older than mine. I began to realize this model may have something to offer my family.

After doing a little research, I began to be slightly skeptical of some of the concepts.
The method can be very child-oriented and I felt that the child needed to be reared in a more parent-directed approach. I am firm in my convictions about who God is and how He designed the family to function. I felt that maybe this method disrupted God's design. However, after talking to the Mom's who practiced this method I began to see that you can take the good parts out of this method and leave the rest. We can incorporate the learning style without compromising God's plan for our family.

If you are interested in reading more about this subject, Majorscoop's blog has a great post about infant Montessori. There are a lot of links to other sites for more in depth reading.

In the meantime, you can plan to see more post on this subject in the future!

Sorting Socks

The other day I was doing the worst chore ever. We were moving from 9 month clothes to 12 month clothes. (I really hate to do the clothes switch.) I had her sitting in the bed playing with some toys.

That is when she decided to help me with her socks. I had a stack of her socks that were too little in her bed. She decided to throw them over the side of the bed. Of course, she thought this was hilarious. I decided to take this moment to help her learn to sort clothes.

This activity:

  • helps with real life skills that she will use later in life.
  • Hand-eye Coordination
  • Concentration
For the sorting bins, I had 2 wipe holders I had saved. The purple was for the pink socks and the yellow was for the lighter colored socks.
At first, she just took all of the socks out of the bins.
She finally got the hang of putting the socks back in the bin. I cannot promise that she actually sorted the socks, but she put the socks in the containers. It's a step.
It was great to take a boring chore and turn it into a learning experience.

I loved teaching her and I almost enjoyed doing the clothes switch!

Where does the ball go?

I was reading a friend's post about shape sorting and I got inspired to try something similar with Michaela. She is a few months younger, so we didn't try the exact same thing. We had a toy that you put the balls in, but there was only 1 option. I thought having only one option would help her to learn the basics of this exercise.

This exercise works on

  • Concentration
  • Coordination
  • Fine motor skills
  • Learning to listen to directions
  • Object Permanence

Here is the toy

She figured out where to put the balls.

But then she wanted to see where they went.

This is one of her favorite things to do right now! I love to watch the sense of wonder and curiosity as she explores her new skill.

Impossibly Easy Vegetable Pie

First I have to say that I am NOT a very good cook. My mom usually used boxed meals and that is what I have used. I am really trying to learn to cook real food. We need to be healthier than we are currently!

Not to mention that boxed meals are expensive and we are on a new budget.

So, I found this receipe for Impossibly Easy Vegetable Pie. I figured I can't go wrong. It would be a good starting point and it sounded easy enough:

2 cups chopped broccoli or sliced fresh cauliflowerets
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Grease 9-inch pie plate. Heat 1 inch salted water to boiling in medium saucepan. Add broccoli; cover and heat to boiling. Cook about 5 minutes or until almost tender; drain thoroughly. Stir together cooked broccoli, onion, bell pepper and cheese in pie plate.
2. Stir remaining ingredients until blended. Pour into pie plate.
3. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes.
Grab a 10-ounce package of chopped broccoli or cauliflower from the freezer. Use it instead of the fresh broccoli or cauliflower; it doesn't need to be boiled. Just thaw, drain and add it to the pie.

I actually used frozen organic brocolli and I even added a little cooked chicken. I thought it tasted pretty good. My confirmation was the fact that my youngest sister liked it. She is a very honest person, so I knew I would have a good judge. She liked it so much she even told me to keep the receipe! This is definetly a keeper!

Cute Moments this Weekend

Being at home with Michaela has been wonderful. We have been having so much fun together. Here are a few cute moments from this past weekend:

During our yard sale, she did NOT want to take a nap. I finally had to lay her down and walk away for a few minutes. Within 1 minute she had crashed with a toy in her hand.

Later that day I walked away from her for just a second to get her medicine. I walked back in the room to find this sight:

She had managed to climb under her exersaucer, but then she couldn't figure out how to get back out.

I got to be the heroic mommy that saved the day (and her baby from the perils of the mean toy that captured her.) I love being a Mom!

Great Quote about Raising Children

I'm just going to let the words speak for themselves.... (I read this at this blog)
"What we want to do with our children is not merely to control them and keep them in order, but to implant true principles deep in their hearts which shall rule their whole lives; to shape their character from within into Christlike beauty, and to make of them noble men and women, strong for battle and for duty. They are to be trained rather than governed. Growth of character, not merely good behavior, is the object of all home governing and teaching. Therefore the home influence is far more important than the home laws, and the parents' lives are of more moment than their teachings."-J.R. Miller, Home-Making

Where have I been?!?

I cannot believe that it has been over a week since I have wrote anything on here! I haven't been at work as much and to be honest, I get a lot of blogging done on my lunch breaks. But there is good news about why I haven't been at work....

July 14th is my last day working full time!! I get to come home to my baby! I will still have to work a part time job for about 15 hours a week to make ends meet, but I am so thankful to have the opportunity to really devote my time to my real purpose from God! We have known for a long time that my purpose is to be at home to take care of my husband, my home and my child. We just had to figure out the logistics in order to make it a reality.

This has been one of the most frightening decisions we have ever made. We have been praying and fasting about this decision for a while now. My affirmation from God finally came one night after Chris and Michaela had already went to bed. I sat down and wrote out our budget again (for the 17th time). I looked at the facts on paper and just starting crying. I asked God why He really wanted us to do this. When I looked at the facts on paper it just didn't seem rational. He told me to pick up the Bible in front of me and read 1 Corinthians 7.

At first, I thought it was just me making up some random verse but once I started reading I knew it was a message straight from Him. The entire chapter was about marriage. A lot of it didn't really pertain to my situation, but a few verses just stood out:

32. I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs--how he can please the Lord. 33. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world--how he can please his wife-- 34. and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world--how she can please her husband. 35. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

What a message from Him! I finally felt like it was exactly what we needed to do. Working this much has caused everything to be done halfway. I cannot focus on what I need to focus on as a woman. I have not been able to have undivided attention to the Lord or to my family. Thankfully, I can finally live out the purpose that God has for my life!

This is definitely a turning point in my relationship with God and Chris. I am learning not to try to control everything in my life and to REALLY put my trust in God. I say how much I trust God, but in reality I put my trust in my own abilities to get things done. I say that I trust Chris to provide for us, but in reality I am trusting myself.

Not to mention that I have taken away Chris' sense of manhood because I have not shown trust in him to provide for us. I am so thankful that God is opening my eyes to this sin in my own life. Chris is such an amazing man, I just need to stop trying to be the man so he can blossom! I am so thankful for the last 31 days of praying for him. I can really see the difference that it has made in his life.

Once I get things a little more settled I will really be able to blog like I want to! I would love to put more pictures of Michaela up here and post more things about her. She is one of the main reasons I started this and I haven't had many post about her. Thankfully, we will have much more Mommy/Baby time in the future.

Thank you God!!