Acorns! toddler play experience

Acorns, acorns everywhere!

We had a great time playing and learning about acorns this week!

Acorns were the perfect focus for this week for several reasons. Here in the Midwest, Fall is upon us already this year, but the weather has remained just beautiful.

And, I just happen to know an area with huge old oak trees. Jackpot. And they just happened to be falling in earnest this week (thanks for the inside scoop, Kristin!)

Busy Bin : Acorns

Acorns are a great Fall theme for directed play, and here in the Midwest, it's acorn season!

My toddler (he's just about 24 months old) and I had a great time learning about and playing with acorns this week. To see more about the activities, books, and resources we used, check out my page about our acorn activities!


Seven Quick Takes : Black Hills 2019

Well, our annual Black Hills trip has come and gone already. I'm not sure how August is almost over, already, but there it is. Here are seven quick takes from our trip!


This year was the first Black Hills trip for two newbies-- little Koben, and our new-to-us camper. We purchased this camper in late April. It's exactly what we've been looking for over the past few years -- it's a toy hauler (the bed raises up to the ceiling, the back wall doubles as a ramp, and it has tie downs for small vehicles or motorcycles), it has a large bathroom and lots of storage space, and it's only 17 feet long.

It was in rough shape on the inside, and needed lots of scrubbing and TLC (thanks, Mom!) before it was ready to go.

Overall, we really like it.


Sorta-Montessori : Toddler Water Play Skills Bin (a sensory bin alternative)

We have been (imperfectly, sort of) following a Montessori-style philosophy with our toddler for almost a year now.

While we don't follow all the "rules," (our toddler sleeps in a pak n play, not a floor bed; we have many plastic toys; he uses a high chair for meals...), some Montessori principles are practical, helpful for our family, and fit with our parenting style. So we use those, and toss the ideas that don't work for us.

One thing that is technically not a Montessori activity is sensory bins.

If you're not familiar, a sensory bin is a container with a base material like sand, corn, slime, water... and then some objects or manipulatives for a child to use to interact with the base material. They're super popular, often very engaging for kiddos, and can range from simple to very, very elaborate.

There are millions of ideas out there for really awesome sensory bins.

But generally, they're not really Montessori.


Sorta-Montessori : Baking with a Toddler

For the past year or so, I've been working to incorporate some Montessori principles into our home life. Sort of. In all honesty, we're pretty far from a full-out Montessori home. We don't follow all the "rules," but we fit the philosophy to our lifestyle and the needs of our own family. And so far, it's working for us.

One of the things we've been enjoying this spring and summer are our baking days! We usually try to do some baking every other week or so -- my goal was to bake every week, but our schedule this summer just hasn't allowed for that. (Most of the time, my hands are pretty full and I don't take any pictures, so most of these pictures are from when we made Daddy's birthday cake!)

We started working together in the kitchen when Evert was 18 months old, and I was a little hesitant to get started at first (the mess! the fingers in everything! the time it takes! the eating of raw batter!). And yes, all of those things happen. It takes three times as long to include Evert as it would if I just did it myself, and there's always lots of clean up - of the child and of the kitchen.

However, the simple activity of doing a little baking includes so many learning experiences that it totally makes it worth all the time and mess. Little Evert loves it, but even more than that, there are so, so many things he's learning on our baking days!

Here's a look at a couple of the "lessons" he's learning.


Seven Quick Takes : Mr. Rogers, weddings, diapers, and cows

So much has happened over the past two weeks that it feels like it's been much longer since I've been in this space.

Camping trips, family "Christmas" parties (my side of the family celebrates Christmas in July!), a birthday, a wedding... a lot has happened! And of course, my boys just keep growing up on me. But here's a couple quick "takes" about what's been going on lately!

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Seven Quick Takes : a bulldozing Daniel Boone, a dinosaur named Melanie, and love of a vacuum

Oh, what a week!

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I am just loving Evert's toddler antics this week. He's such a hoot.

This weekend, he insisted on wearing a coonskin cap, so I had the pleasure of following a young Daniel Boone as he bulldozed my driveway.


Seven Quick Takes : in which I discuss cute diapers, risky endeavors, coffee, and my toddler makes book recommendations

Hello everyone- how was your week?

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We had a couple rainy days this week, but still managed to get outside for a while between rain showers.



To be honest, when I found out we were expecting our second baby, I was soooo excited, but also a little bit nervous.

Evert was a couple of days from his first birthday when we found out about little Koben's existence. Evert was still such a baby himself - and I really wondered how he'd do with a sibling, especially a sibling so close in age.

We read big brother books. We watched videos on Youtube of babies- laughing babies, crying babies, sneezing babies (Evert's favorite) - talking all the time about how we need to be so gentle with babies, how we can make a baby feel happy by singing a song, how Mama will hold the baby sometimes. I read articles about the best ways to help a toddler adjust. I tried to prep Evert as much as possible for the big changes about to take place, all the while cringing  in my heart about how he'd transition. I worried that he'd resent the new baby, that he'd resent the attention given to his new brother, that he'd lash out at us. Despite all the preparations, I worried.


Rocking Chair Revisited

It's almost seven thirty when I rush upstairs to the drawer full of pajamas. I'm behind. It's late. Bath time, then a story and a song, hugs and sloppy toddler kisses, and then I'll clean up the kitchen quick and hopefully the baby won't need to nurse just yet...

And in the middle of the routine checklist of my thoughts, I notice it.

It's covered, at the moment; several toddler sized button up shirts that I need to hang and put in the closet are draped over the back, and there's a toy tractor tossed on the seat. Wedged up against an armrest is a book - "Big Bulldozer!" embossed across the front. (I've got that bulldozer book memorized.)

It's the rocking chair.