Jonah Says… {Mother’s Day Card Edition}

Jonah came home with a Mother’s Day card from church yesterday. Besides the expected fun answers like my age (1 years old) or my desired occupation when I grow up (Ballet Dancer), these sort of questionnaires can be so revealing. For example, Jonah’s answer to the second question “My favorite thing to do with my mom is….” brought tears to my eye and gave me the pat on the back that I need some days.

His answer: “work in my homeschool room”

mother's day questionaireYou’d better believe I’m framing it!

Wow. I knew that he liked learning and the things that I plan for our Mommy & Me time, but really? His favorite thing?!

I think the proof is in the pudding.

And I’m so glad…I think it is one of my greatest joys as a mother to teach my boys and watch them learn. Out of all the students I’ve had through the years, my boys are my favorite. While we’ve only been doing preschool things so far, we’ve seen a glimpse of the glorious life that homeschooling can be for our family and found that it works for us. Apparently, it’s working for Jonah, too. :)

I’m so glad I walked out of that classroom four years ago.

Mommy & Me: Special Time

Since Asher came six months ago, Jonah has needed some extra doses of special time with Mommy and Daddy. While he truly loves Asher, the process of becoming brothers has been hard. Finding our groove as a family of four hasn’t been easy. It isn’t something I have written much about, mainly because it has been really HARD on everyone involved…especially Mommy. And, we’re not even done looking for our new normal yet!

That first day home with Asher was an absolute nightmare. Jonah hadn’t ever been away from us for that long and was needing us. The problem was that there was this new little person that needed attention, too. Mommy was recovering from surgery and needed Daddy to help with getting in and out of the recliner, changing diapers, etc. and Jonah didn’t like it one bit. Going from being the center of attention to not being the center of attention is rough on a guy, ya know.

The jealousy was so thick you could slice it.

The tantrums were epic.

The tears…oh, how they fell!

I’m not proud of it, but I really struggled as I saw Jonah in a different light. Suddenly, he was bigger and louder. I found him annoying and whiny. Quite frankly, I cried myself to sleep that night wondering where my sweet boy had gone and asking God what He had done to my family. (Post-partum hormones were running rampant, people!)

It is right here that I will sing the praises of Mr. Happy Brown House. He’s a wise one. He knew that the thing that would help Jonah and Mommy the most was to have some special time together.

And he made it happen.

He took Asher while Mommy read books with Jonah. He sent Mommy and Jonah outside on the porch together. He took pictures while Mommy and Jonah made silly faces. And it helped…both of us.

When we headed to Florida to introduce Asher to family and were blessed with a free day at Disney, he made sure that I was the one making memories instead of watching with Asher on the sidelines. And somewhere between the Teacups and the Carousel, I healed a little. The laugh that had been squelched when colic and all of the shhhh-ing began started to rise and bubble over. I found me again, even if only for the day.

It was then that I realized the real goal of my “Mommy & Me” posts. Sure I like to post fun, educational things to do with your little ones, but ultimately, the real goal is about strengthening the bond between mother and child. You see, sometimes I get in my own way and lose sight of the real reason I do things here on this blog. Sometimes I get caught up in the business side of blogging, the prideful part of blogging, the part of me that wants you to like me because I have so much to offer. And when I can’t offer those things because my life “gets in the way” of my goals, I feel like I’ve let you down. When really, the whole point of my blogging is to document these precious years I have to live. And live them I must. Because what’s the point of blogging about a life that isn’t being truly lived?

So, today, there is no special activity.

No Pinterest-worthy picture.

No affiliate links to products for you to buy.

Just you.

You and that little one…together.

 

Your time and attention is better than anything I can write about today. Make it special. Turn on some music and dance in your kitchen. Have a pillow fight. Let them splash you during bath time. Cut out construction paper clown noses and wear them while you eat dinner. Laugh. Whatever it is, live first and write about it later.

Go. Live. Love. Then come back and tell me about it.

Mommy & Me: Construction Letter Tile Spelling Mat (Free Printable)


One of my favorite tools I used in my Kindergarten classroom were Letter Tiles. Now that Jonah is old enough, they are one of his favorite things to work with, too. I recently made a few Letter Tile Spelling Mats to go along with this tool and help Jonah spell some things. Most importantly, I made one with the names in our family, including a picture of each person. He loved it!

Would you like to find out how to make one of your own? It is surprisingly easy to do. I posted the full video tutorial over at Totally Tots today!

And because I love my faithful readers, I made a Construction Letter Tile Spelling Mat to go with the “Big Machines” Theme that we’ve been doing at our house and over at Totally Tots. I thought I’d share it with you. :)

Click here to download the Construction Letter Tile Spelling Mat

Please, if you’d like to share, link back to this blog post. Do NOT link directly to the PDF file. You are free to print, but remember this PDF is for personal or non-profit use only. Do not sell or host this file anywhere else.

Mommy & Me: Pretty Paper Factory

We love Eric Carle books. Alot. They are the books that we return to over and over and over again.

One of the things that make Eric Carle books so unique are the way he makes his illustrations. They are made from paper that he has painted and added texture to himself. (You can see more about his process by watching this video.) Once he paints his tissue paper, he uses it to create collages. (You can see more about his process by watching this video.) I think his process is fascinating.

Or, maybe I’m drawn to his creation process because it is attainable for even the youngest of artists…

Jonah and I had some fun during the “Plague of 2012″. I mean, there are only so many movies a kid can watch when he is sick and it’s raining outside, right?!?! As we were painting with watercolors, I took a white crayon and made a pattern on some paper when he wasn’t looking. When he painted over the white crayon, he thought it was magic.

“Mommy, look! How did it do that?!?!?!”

I explained how, this time showing him the process. He painted over it again just as bright-eyed as before.

“Mommy, can we make more?”

And so it began…The Pretty Paper Factory.

The only problem with the Pretty Paper Factory is that eventually, papers are drying on every flat surface. And then, once they are dry, I have a stack of treasures that Jonah won’t part with.

My solution: The Collage Box

Yes, I really cut up his watercolor pages into 4 smaller rectangles. I asked permission first.

To read about the Collage Box, you’ll have to visit Totally Tots. I’m sharing about The Collage Box over there today!

Want some other Pretty Paper Factory ideas? I’ll be back with more! Subscribe so you don’t miss them!

Mommy & Me: Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Snow is a precious commodity around our region. We get snow, just not very often. Nor does it stay around very long once it finally snows. So, we often have to make our own. Enter…Coffee Filter Snowflakes.

Coffe Filter Snowflake

Jonah still needs LOTS of practice with scissors. LOTS. He keeps wanting to rotate his hand like a contortionist to try to cut paper. The only way I know to help him is to provide plenty of opportunities to let him practice and continue to guide his hands in the right direction. Literally. There is still lots of hand-over-hand help from me in this area. The problem with doing something that can be frustrating for a preschooler (or any age, really) is that when it isn’t fun or purposeful, they don’t want to do it. So, I masked the sometimes frustrating task of cutting with making Coffee Filter Snowflakes. Instant interest from Jonah. Mommy Score!

Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Materials Needed:

  • Coffee Filters
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Fold the coffee filter in half several times. (Remember the more you fold, the thicker the layers to cut through. I found that Jonah had a hard time with it folded in sixths.)
  2. Cut designs on the foldsPreschool Cutting Practice: Coffee Filter Snowflakes
  3. Unfold! Jonah loved the anticipation of this step, and couldn’t wait to see the designs!
  4. Display somewhere that makes you happy. We made a bunch and taped them to our large picture window in our kitchen.Taping Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Coincidentally, letting Jonah use the tape himself was also a fine-motor skill hidden in disguise. Jonah thinks tape is fun, so he is super motivated to use it. Little does he know I was giving his little hand muscles a workout! Sneaky Mommy! We had so much fun with this activity that we actually extended snowflake cutting over a few days. Jonah kept asking to make more. That is a success in my book!

We also read lots of books about snow. Here are a few of our favorites:

Snow by Manya Stojic


Snip…Snip…Snow! by Nancy Poydar


S Is for Snowman by Kathy-jo Wargin

If you’d like to see more of our snow book “picks” you can check out our list!

We’d love to see your Coffee Filter Snowflakes! Let us know if you make some~send us the link or post them to our Happy Brown House Facebook page. Happy cutting!

A Reader is Born

We’ve been practicing three letter words (also known as word families) around our house for quite some time now. Honestly, Jonah just kinda started sounding them out one day…by himself. Ok, ok, so I’ve set him up for success with all of the fun things I do with him and I’ve been really strategic about things related to reading instruction. But still, the moment he started reading them on his own, I pulled out my phone and took a video. (Email subscribers, you might have to click through to see the video)

Forgive my video skills. I had Asher on one hip and forgot to turn my phone sideways to make it larger.

I love this kid, y’all. He is all kinds of awesome, but you already knew that if you’ve been around here long. Don’t you remember Leaf Family?

Also, in case you were wondering, the word family sorting activity is from the Circus Preschool Pack over at my friend Jolanthe’s blog, Homeschool Creations. It’s one of Jonah’s favorites to pull out and work on when he has a choice.

Blame it on Frosty

I investigated further into the hilarious Leaf Daddy/Pipe thing from Jonah’s Leaf Family Portrait.

Frosty the Snowman, the lovable, magical guy we all know and love is to blame. Specifically, his corn-cob pipe.

And thanks to Leaf Mommy, I got the video to load for you…she’s one smart cookie :)

Enjoy!

(Having trouble viewing the video? You can view it HERE)