Thursday, March 31, 2011

Language Development: Goodnight Gog.

Goodnight Gog
  • "You better watch out. You better not cry. Gog, is coming to town."
  • What animal says "Meow?".......Gog!
  • "Woof, woof!"...........Gog!
  • Gog=shark
  • Gog=monkey
  • Gog=fish
  • Gog=Lucy
  • Gog=flower
  • Gog=tree
Poor Carter.

He is in some budding stages of language development and everything comes out as "Gog!"

While, I love it and think it is adorable, I try to control my laughs as I often hear many "Rules" from teaching ESL (English is a Second Language) and Primary students roaming in my head.

What I love about the ESL and Primary methods is that they are just good in-your-pocket-tools for teaching language (and soooo much more) to anyone at any age! These came in handy in Norway, China and now on my 14 Month Old.

So here are some teaching tips that swirl in my head and how they can relate to encouraging language in your child:

1. Talk to and with your child! All. The. Time. and about everything you see.

2. Narrate what they are doing:
"Carter is in the tent!" "Mmmm....Carter loves to eat oranges!" "Awww, Carter is hugging Lucy." Give them the language that they don't have yet!

3. Correct by Modeling:
One thing you never want to do is "Nooooo, that isn't a gog, it's a cat." "Ha ha. Your saying it wrong. cat-t-t."

I've experienced this perfect example of what not to do while trying to speak Chinese. It can be very frustrating. I can't hear the difference in what they are saying and how I'm saying it. It sounds the same to me. And instead of learning how to say it properly, I think of how I can communicate without using that word. This is how the babes feel too.

What the good ole textbook say is that you should correct their language by modeling how to say it. A conversation will go like this:
C-"Gog! Gog!!!"
M-"Oh my, that is a cat!!! Look at that sweet cat! Do you hear the cat say meow??"

And with anyone learning a language...the more you hear it, the more you can hear it!

4. Read with you child! Keep it enjoyable.
They have very short attention spans, that grow with time. Stay at their limit. Then stretch it as their interest grows. Don't force it with a struggle! :)
Picture Walk:
If they only want to flip pages quickly. Do that and briefly talk about something in the picture. Right now, Carter has some books that he has been obsessed with for a couple of weeks. Those books we can read all the way through and he studies all of the pictures. Some newer ones he brings to me, we only flip through a few pages with me talking about the picture. This lasts all of 15 seconds until he is onto something new.

5. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
I'm sure every parent of a toddler knows this routine! There is no way around it! In every little thing they do, they like to do it over, and over, and over again. This is how they learn. Practice makes perfect.

So when you've passed the 100th tree and followed up his "gog" with a "tree" just know they are a bit closer to than where they started.

Here we are reading "Santa Clause is Coming to Town". Things to notice:

-I try to push him to read the Animal book but nooooo.
-He rejects sitting in my lap, so the video is upside down.
-I have to sing it. Embarrassing. He makes me.
-He is obsessed with the cats.
-His attention last a good :45 sec.
-Just proof it's not pretty and perfect!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lessons Learned as a Mommy Abroad

One of the greatest things about moving around to different countries is learning. We learn about other cultures, parts of the world and other languages. We learn what it means to sacrifice, miss people you love, and to depend on each other. And the thing that I think is most fascinating is that we learn how small and tiny we really are.

I've noticed quite a few things about parenting from living in abroad that I have found interesting and I thought from time to time, I could share a few.

So here we go...

A few about Norway:
  • You can let your kids play in the rain and snow. A famous saying in Norway is: There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. And while teaching in Norway, I can now say I've been on recess duty in the cold rain and cold snow. They do have really neat weather gear to wear over their cute clothes though!!
  • Maternity leave can mean a YEAR! Even Daddy gets a great maternity leave, not quite as long though. Could you imagine?
  • Breastfeeding it is. Breastfeeding in public isn't weird and doesn't make people uncomfortable. And who needs a Hooter-Hider? I'll never forget going to lunch with a few of my teaching friends, who were all on their maternity leave. When I walked up to the restaurant I noticed the sidewalk was lined with empty prams (strollers). The place was filled with moms and babes! When the baby was hungry, up went the shirt and baby ate! Who knew?!
Side Note: Being the American that I am, didn't know what to do and where I could look! Ha ha! Send me back there now, I'd be a champ!

A tad about China:
  • After having a baby, mommy must stay in bed, without a shower and keep a hat on her hed for one whole month. Your mother-in-law feeds you tons of food. (This, however, was not my experience for having my child in China.)
  • They practice infant potty training. It is amazing! Our Housekeepers think I am crazy for constantly putting diapers on my child. One told me "You potty train your dog. Your baby is smarter than your dog. Diapers are very bad." Very true, point taken.
(I may post more on this later.)
  • Family is so important to Chinese people. Actually, many times, the Mother-in-Law will raise the child. (Only one child per family). I've been asked "How do you know how to raise a child?" That is a good question. Then I was suggested to hire someone who "knows what they are doing" to raise my kiddo.
They weren't being rude, by the way. Politeness can get lost in translation. They were trying to help a girl out!

Any who, if anything, I hope you know that when raising children, WE as mothers are in this together! All parents want the same for their children...a wonderful life.

A Big Picture Thought:

Our little family is preparing for our next big move. The only thing is, we don't know where it will be and don't know exactly when. What we do know is it will be by June 30th and it's not in our hands.

This used to be something that I would anticipate, worry about, and loose sleep over. However, one of the things I have learned on this journey is that when it is NOT in your hands, you do NOT stress over. Isn't that wonderful how it works like that!? I now see it as a huge relief to know that it is not up to me.

I'm sure, someone has told you before, to "Give it up to God!"

(HA! Easy for you to say!)

Usually, this is about something stressing and consuming that you physically can't make happen. But you want to be able to fix this problem so bad. Well, I feel like I can finally give it up to God and let him take control. It is much more reassuring to know He is in control of it anyway!! He will do a much better job than I any day!!

Here is what it says in the Bible about this:

1 Peter 5:7
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Let's be honest, this is a great gift as a parent. God is good, that is for sure!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Guest Post: Hummus!

Woo Hoo for another fabulous Mommy Guest!

Jenni is an old college buddy of mine (Sarah)! She and I were both Chi O's at Texas A&M. She writes a fabulous blog about her precious family of three..errr four, including her Labrador, Aggie. She has an adorable son, Connor, whom I'm determined to make Carter's friend someday. I think one of the greatest things about reading long-time friend's blogs is watching everyone change and become "adults" with Big-People lives, like working, getting married, owning homes, moving, and parenting. Isn't growing up so much fun!?

Anywho, she is a really sweet mommy and I just love reading about so many of their sweet family moments.

With out further ado...(insert trumpet sounds!!) here is Jenni sharing a bit of how they love learning in the kitchen:

For several months now, my 19 month old, Connor, has loved to "help" do things. We regularly make Hummus in our house because he loves it so much! He has always been really interested in watching me make it, so why not let him help? He pulls a stool up to the counter and away we go. (Just be careful with your little one's fingers around the food processor blades!)

We talk about the different ingredients and using measuring spoons and cups as we put everything together. My assistant does slow things down a little and can sometimes make the recipe slightly messy, but the experience for both of us is worth it! Maybe someday he'll like to cook like his Daddy? His favorite parts to help with, of course, are pushing the button to blend and tasting the final product!

Here is our simple Hummus Recipe, slightly modified version of
Real Simple's 5-Minute Hummus:

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed (reserve the liquid)
  • 1 clove garlic (we use 2 tsp minced garlic in water)
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil,
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • a pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Optional: A couple of dashes of hot sauce (Mom and Dad like this extra kick, but we haven't tried it with Connor yet!)

  1. In a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic with the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and a pinch of salt until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons reserved chick pea liquid as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
  3. Enjoy with crackers, pitas, fresh veggies, or if you are like my son, just with a spoon!

And here is a video of the little guy assisting with the final stage of our Hummus making during lunch one day. (He gets slightly distracted by the camera!)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Music: Another alternative to TV

If you haven't noticed yet, our kids (Sarah and I's) don't watch TV. We both know that there will be a day when they do watch TV, but that day just hasn't come for us yet. (Sarah, I hope you don't mind me speaking for you too!!) And please know, I am not judging you if your kids have their favorite shows and know their cartoon line up. It's inevitable, I'm just trying to prolong it for as long as I can.

My twins will turn 18 months old this week, and I love the fact that they don't point to the TV and shout Elmo, or Dora.
Instead they run to their CD player and point.
So we dance! A LOT

And the 2 second pause that comes in between songs really makes a certain somebody really mad.
They love to throw their hands up and twist! Hudson has even thrown in some new dance moves with Jumping to the beat. And Luke likes to clap along or shake his whole body. I even dance with them too. (With the blinds down, and the door shut!!) It really is fun!

Our new favorite CD this week:
Meet the Rizers
It's kids Christian Rock. They sing short scripture versus to catchy tunes. I even don't mind listening to it in the car. I find myself singing along with it too!
I ordered it off itunes, for like 10 bucks.  I think my favorite is Luke 11: 9-10, and the theme song of course!!

Another one the boys really like:
VeggieTales 25 Favorite Sunday School Songs
There is just something so sweet about Hudson getting overly excited EVERY time he hears He's got the Whole World.

Anyways, we have been really busy since we dropped our morning nap 3 weeks ago, so I feel like my blogging has been taking a hit. I just wanted to share some music that we love. 

What music do your kids love?? I always need more CDs in my life!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guest Blogger: Confetti Eggs

Just a little something to change it up around here!
We have Tara, from Exactly the Same but Different, sharing a fun Easter time activity!

Just a little information about Tara: We met in college during our education block. From then on, we made sure our schedules match each semester! It was really fun having someone right along with you during those classes! We also got our first kindergarten teaching jobs in Fort Bend ISD at schools a few miles apart! And, just like college, we made sure we signed up for all the same in-services too. We shared ideas from our own classrooms and were in each other's weddings. She is extremely creative and I cherish her friendship.

Homemade Confetti Eggs or
"Fetti Eggs" as Cade likes to call them
Hollow eggs (rinsed and dried)
tissue paper

Cade is a big fan of the pre-made confetti eggs that are out on the shelves this time of year. In fact, over the weekend we went through 2 dozen confetti eggs.

Here is a quick tutorial on how to make your own confetti eggs.

To hollow out your eggs, simply take a knife and carefully poke a hole through the shell. Work your way around, creating an opening the about the size of a nickel. Empty out contents, rinse and dry.

Once dry, paint your shell. We used "dot" markers since I couldn't locate our watercolors. Before starting I reminded Cade, who is 4, the differnce of gentle and hard pressure so we would be sure to not crack/crush the egg.

After he was done decorating we then filled our egg with "confetti"... we used sequins!

Once filled, we topped the egg off with a (pre-glued) tissue paper square. Allow to dry and then let the fun begin!

We decided to "crack" ours over the sandbox so that the next time we play in that area we can find "treasures".
Additonal activities- Cade starting writing his name using glue. We used left over sequins to decorate with but you could make it more sensory by using cinnamon or kool-aid.

What fun!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I feel the need to list all the things you could do with your egg cartons now........

Monday, March 14, 2011

Applesauce and a Terrarium!

I'm back...kind of. :)

To continue our tribute to Johnny Appleseed we made Blender Applesauce and a Baggie Terrarium.

Blender Applesauce; it's quick, easy and healthy!

Yup, that's it!

Ready to go!

Blend away! Enjoy!

Save those seeds!

Baggie Terrarium:

1. Wash the seeds.
2. Wrap them in a wet paper towel.
3. Place in a baggie and hang in a window for sunlight!
4. Check every few days and keep towel damp.

We already have little sprouts!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Johnny Appleseed Day

This is Suzie posting for Sarah. China has blocked them from facebook and blogger! Boo!!

Johnny Appleseed Day is celebrated twice a year, fall (September 26) and spring (March 11). So it's time to get your apple on!

In short, Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman was an American pioneer nurseryman. He introduced the apple tree to large areas of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. (Wikipedia for more.) He is so special that he gets two days a year! Wow! The fall date is his birthday and a great time for apple-picking while the spring date is for appleseed planting. You have to plant to pick, right?

There are SO many great activities that you can do centered around apples it is ridiculous. I want to share so many with you!!

Read This: The book below is a favorite because of the great illustrations:

Sing This:
Johnny Appleseed

Oh, the Lord is good to me,
And so I thank the Lord,
For giving me the things I need,
The sun, the rain, the apple seed,
The Lord is good to me,
Amen !

First we observed and talked about the different apples. (This is a small apple. This apple is green. etc.)

Then he initiated a taste test.

He preferred the red.
Next, we did a little apple painting. I have a video of how to do this, because I couldn't take pictures, but I'll have to show it later. You put paper in a box-type container. (We used a rectangle Tupperware.) You blob the paint on the center of the paper and roll the apple around the box. Add in different colors and different apples!

Once again, things got a little messy! But we had fun!
This is defiantly process art but cut them into the shape of apples to hang around for a couple of days!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

You Win Some You Lose Some!

Sometimes, your lessons will flop.
Even at 7am before they even had a chance to get started.
And sometimes, you let your kids sleep in Christmas pajamas in March because you think no one will ever see them.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hickory Dickory Dock

Well, I think I am going to keep it going this week!
I really have been wanting to do this nursery rhyme because I have had a really fun idea in my head for a few weeks now!

Did you know there are 12 verses?
Hickory Dickory Dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down!
Hickory Dickory Dock

First read through: Point out the clock and mouse in the pictures. Talk about UP versus DOWN.
Second read through: Ask why would the mouse be running up the clock? Who could be chasing the mouse?
And....After multiple times of reading this rhyme.... change it up!

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The mouse ______ up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse _______ down!
Hickory Dickory Dock

It doesn't matter what age your child is. You can pick a new verb and read it yourself. Or have older your child pick a verb and re read it. 
When introducing verbs, use the word verb. Tell your child it is an action word, and then have them try to do some! (Skip, hop, jump, shake, wiggle, slither, tip toe, run, dash, twirl.)
Now here comes the fun idea that has been stuck in my head!

Grab some painters tape or electrical tape, and make some lines on your floor. (Straight, Zig Zag, dashed.) I did different colors because I like adding in color words where ever I can! (See if they can follow more instructions!!)
Sorry for the bad pic, its night time here, and I have no light!
Okay, the idea here... Think Gross Motor learning!!
Have your kids crawl or walk on the lines. Then try having them use different action words! Hop on the dashed line. Slither on the straight line. Run on the zig zag. Just have fun with it. Ask your child to pretend they are a mouse going up the clock.

My kids are in bed, but I know first thing in the morning, they will be either trying to rip the tape up off the floor, or they will be running all over it. So, this could be hit or miss. But you just have to try new things sometimes!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Clean Mud

You never know what to expect when you discover something like this:

"Caaarr-ter!! Are you hungry? Time for lun...???? Carter?"


He bolted!

This was the beginning of his new love for toilet paper. So, let's play with toilet paper! We made some Clean Mud!

Can also be used as "snow".

I know that I love this way more than Carter does. It feels wonderful! You can mold it, smash it, and throw it ;) just like mud!

Here is the recipe:
Make sure and lotion up after playing with this concoction it can really dry out your skin.


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