Monday, January 27, 2014

The Weekly Photo

Yes, I know you all have already seen this picture, but last week was rather uneventful and few pictures were taken. Tyler has the car most days and between clinicals, classes and work he is busy for over 80 hours a week. Poor guy. It is taking a toll on all of us and Elanor and I miss him! Also, the air quality has been so poor lately that we hardly go outside. Elanor has been acting up more than usual and I think it is a combination of being cooped up, not seeing Tyler enough and seeing a little too much of me. So far,  three is a lot more difficult than two. She does really love doing school and it has been the highlight of everyday!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Preschool at Home

I am not opposed to preschool or public school, but I am opposed to making school boring and forcing kids to "learn".  Plus, Elanor only recently turned three. I am a big believer in play and developing imagination. I think kids should spend more time playing, exploring and reading/being read to than sitting down and completing work sheets. We read a lot of books in our house and have read to Elanor since birth and that right there has taught her more than many public schools ever could---to love books. 

I wanted to start doing some sort of school with Elanor (back in the fall), but also I did not want to put her in preschool (too expensive) and I also wanted it to be pretty laid back. I do not want to force her into "school", because I want her to love it and not think of it as a chore. I looked at several different blogs on this subject and I liked a lot of the ideas on the blog Mud Hut Mama. So, this fall we started doing "school". Sometimes is was two or three times a week and sometimes only once or not at all. If she did not want to do it, we didn't (she was only two after all). We started by learning some letters. I would cut out the letter and she would glue it on the paper and then we would decorate the letter. I chose to learn lower case letters first since that is what we mostly use and see. I copied several of the Mud Hut Mama's ideas but also have done several of my own.

We went on a "nature walk" (rather the alley behind our house which is rather wild and overgrown) and made this bracelet (which was on the Mud Hut Mama blog). Elanor had a lot of fun finding and sticking things to it.

 We have also practiced counting things, in this case beans:

Here Elanor is with everything we could find around our house that started with the letter "b":
Boot, bear, book, blue pen, battery, bank, butter, blanket.
 Elanor with all the letters we have done thus far.

We have not done them in alphabetical order (she already knows the "abc song"). I started with the first three letters from the blog and then just did whatever one we felt like. Many of the letters we learned because they are in her name. Elanor can now spell her name out loud and can write it (mostly).
Each letter is something that starts with that letter. For example, "p" for princess and "l" for lollipop. I also made up a song using the tune to "C is for Cookie" that helps her to know her letter and what it stands for. For example it starts out, ""O" is for octopus that swims in the sea, "g" is for glitter that looks pretty on me (she wanted that one), "d" is for door and doggie (there is a dog inside the door in the picture), "S" is for snake, ss-ss-ssss". It goes on, but you get the idea! We have also practiced writing the letters and learning their sounds. Elanor remembers more than I expected her to and is loving it. We also have some letter and number puzzles we do for school as well.

Again, this is super laid back, we spend an hour to less on it at a time and we only do it when she wants (she does often ask to do school because she likes it so much).

It has been fun and Elanor keeps telling me she wants to learn how to read (but she still does not know all of her letters yet!). I love that she loves to learn (one of my favorite things to do) but I still think that learning through play, reading, exploring and helping around the house (doing dishes, folding clothes, helping me bake) are still the best ways for toddlers/preschool age kids to learn.

I love the Swedish preschool system (they don't even start formal education until seven--a much better age in my opinion), watch this video about it here:
It is 30 minutes, but worth it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Weekly Photo

Sorry, I had a busy day and night yesterday and did not get a chance to put up my Weekly Photo. So, here are two photos in recompense (they are from the same day and taken at the same time, but still very cute).

 Sparklers in January.
Thanks for getting these sparklers out Becky!

Friday, January 10, 2014

I Am Aching to Travel.

Lately, I have just been feeling this need to travel. I need to go back to Scotland. I need to explore Norway. Iceland looks epic. I absolutely must take The Ring to Mordor and travel all through Middle Earth (New Zealand) in the process. 



New Zealand!
Yes, this is Edoras. And, yes that is the knoll (which just happened to so nicely be there) where the city of Edoras was built for The Lord of the Rings films.

Need is not too strong a word.

Scotland and Norway are the homes of my ancestors, so I feel a strong desire to go there (many times if possible). I have been to Scotland before and it was such a magical and soulful experience. I hope Norway feels the same.

I would also rather like to explore Machu Picchu, Africa (Uganda and Tanzania, based on the Top Gear special in series 19), Vietnam and India/Nepal (Himalayas, especially).

I am going to see as many of these places as I can, hopefully some of them sooner than later.

Also, I should point out that I do feel very blessed. I have already been to Scotland, England, Wales, France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Eastern and Western Canada, and all over the U.S. In fact, since I have traveled so much (thank you parents!), it has made me want to see more! 

Where are you itching to go?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Elanor's First Dance Recital

Elanor had her dance recital back on December 19th and I meant to blog about it, but never got around to it. Unfortunately, I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked as I am her teacher and teach eight other classes and I had to worry about getting girls into their costumes, making sure everyone was there and solving problems when they arose. 

Elanor got to wear a little make-up and have her hair in pin curls, which was pretty exciting for her.

Elanor and her friend, Elsie, were so excited I could hardly get them to stand still for these pictures!

They did a little two minute "tap" dance to the Cadillac's version of "Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer", which is my favorite version.

We did not even get a good recording of the dance! Tyler was supposed to, but the batteries in my camera were not charged or something, and then he was frustrated with my camera and was trying to film with his mom's camera while fixing mine.  So, his filming is all over the place. Yes, he should have just stopped and got one good video with his mom's camera, but that did not run through his head at the time. He was pretty upset with himself, but another mom was able to film it and she said she would send me her version. Another sad thing is that Tyler's mom flew out here to see Elanor's recital and then got super sick and so was unable to go. However, the recital went really well and Elanor's class did better in the recital then they ever did in class. Elanor, herself did a great job and remembered everything she was supposed to do!

I am excited for the Spring Concert, because all the girls usually improve so much and have already been on stage, so the Spring show is much better!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Weekly Photo

I am doing it for this past week and the week before. The week of Christmas, there were obviously a lot of pictures to choose from, so I settled on two. We were in Oregon at the beginning of this week, so the picture I chose for last week was taken at Tyler's mom's house.

Week of December 22-28th:

Week of December 29th-January 4th:

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Christmas Through Photos

Yes, it has been a very long time. I meant to post while we were in Oregon, but I did not feel like it and Tyler's laptop would not let me upload photos for some reason. 

We had a delightful Christmas! It was wonderful seeing family and Elanor misses them all so much. Experiencing Christmas through Elanor's eyes is a real treat and hopefully I captured some of it on camera. It is so hard to take pictures on Christmas! There is so much going on and I don't want to miss any of it either.

Here is our Christmas through photos:

 My family is Scottish--thus the kilts.

My mom made us Weasley sweaters!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!