31 Days of Open-Ended Play

For the month of October, I’m going to participate in the Nester’s 31 Days Series link-up. While things here are hectic with baseball season, I’m ready to get back to writing and sharing things I’m passionate about.

31 Days of Open-Ended Play

Each day this month, I’ll be adding a new post in the series 31 Days of Open-Ended Play. I hope you’ll join me on the journey as I share the why, the what, and the how of open-ended play. Along the way, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite (and my kids’ favorite) ways to play. I’ll link to resources, post a review of our new favorite toy in our closet, and even have a giveaway or two.

Want to follow along? Subscribe to have the entire series delivered straight to your email inbox.

I’ll come back every day and add the links for each day in the list below.

31 Days of Open-Ended Play Series

Day 1: Intro (this post!)

Day 2: The What & Why of Open-Ended Play

Day 3: The Biggest Obstacle to Open-Ended Play

Day 4: Throwing Out the Script to Engage in Open-Ended Play

Day 5: 10 Traits of Great Toys

Day 6: Thoughts on Play from Mr. Rogers

Day 7: BionicBlox–An Engineering Toy for Open-Ended Play

Day 8: 14 Picture Books about Building With Blocks, Engineering, and Architecture

Confessions of a First Time Baseball Mom

So.

Jonah started playing baseball this month. While I played softball when I was young, the role of a baseball mom is definitely a new one for me. In just the three short weeks that Jonah has played, my routine has been thrown topsy-turvy and I’m all discombobulated. I also have a few confessions…

Confessions of a First Time Baseball Mom

Fall Ball?

I’m melting in my blue camping chair. Melting, people! They teased me by naming it “Fall Ball” when in reality, I live in Chattanooga, TN and it doesn’t get really good and cold until January. Ok, maybe December if we’re lucky. Which is nice if you like to wear flip-flops all the way until November like I do. Sitting in my blue chair that I’ve carried out to the ballfield while throwing a pound of snacks at a 2 year old just isn’t very fun because it’s hot and we always end up on the side facing the sun. I don’t really do scorching hot unless my feet are being rhythmically splashed by waves.

So, I’m calling your bluff, Fall Ball. You lied.

Confessions of a First Time Baseball Mom

Cleats, Bats, and Helmets, Oh My!

Growing up, I was only responsible for bringing a glove to softball games. Looking back, it was slightly gross to share helmets with all of my teammates. It’s a wonder I never got lice. Oh, how times have changed! Not only was I asked to pay a hefty fee, but I also had to go out and get a list of equipment that rivaled the length of a school supply list: cleats, a batting helmet, a bat, a bag to hold all of the equipment with fancy clips that attach to the fence, and more. Insane! I thought about being the non-conformist, but you see how that went…

Confessions of a First Time Baseball Mom

My Laundry Nemesis

Baseball uniforms are my laundry nemesis. Tennessee red clay doesn’t come out of pants easily…go figure. From now until November, my kitchen sink will have stained baseball pants soaking overnight in a combination of Fels-Naptha and Oxi-clean two times a week. There is no room for laziness with uniform cleaning. With baseball games twice a week and a practice on a third day, I have to be on top of my stain-fighting game. I’m not sure about you, but I like to do laundry on my own timeline. You know, when I’m down to the last pair of underwear.

Confession: I’ve already forgotten to wash his uniform. In my defense, the uniform never made it to the laundry. It won’t happen again. We’ve got a system.

Confessions of a First Time Baseball Mom

Dinner? You mean you like to eat?

I’m such an amateur. Our games are at 6:00, so we’re at the ballfield by 5:40 to warm up. Smart moms would have something in the crockpot. Better yet, smart moms would have thought about dinner before they left for the ballgame. For some reason I act surprised when my husband asks what we’re going to eat. Every. Single. Time. Here’s another sandwich, honey.

Confessions of a First Time Baseball Mom from www.happybrownhouse.com

Ant in My Pants

Y’all…I didn’t pay attention to where I placed my blue chair when staking my claim on the perfect spot to watch the game. I put my chair in the middle of an anthill. It wasn’t until my feet were swarmed by ants that I noticed. The ants were very appreciative of the pound of goldfish crackers I threw at the two year old, who then dropped fifty percent of them on the ground. My feet? Not so much.

Confessions of a First Time Baseball Mom

My Calendar Called

My calendar called. It said, “See you in November.”

I will admit I really, really like white space on my calendar. I fight for white space. I like margin. I need margin in my life or I tend to get a little, um, shall we say…crazy. With one piece of paper, every single empty calendar square was gobbled up. So long, fall fun. Goodbye, quiet evenings at home. I’ll miss you, regular bedtimes.

If you need me, I’ll be at the ballfield. I’ll be the sweaty girl at the end with goldfish crumbs under my feet.

Are you a baseball mom? Tell me your confession in the comments or give me a tip to figure out my dinner dilemma.

InstaFriday 7-26-13

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in InstaFriday. I’ve missed it. I have found it to be one of my favorite ways to recap what we’ve been up to. I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse of our everyday life as well…

Asher has a thing for getting in baskets. He’s such a silly boy these days. He’s started to laugh, cover up his mouth and say, “I’m so funny.” That’s for sure.

Asher in a basket

I’ve been eating better since we got back from vacation. And by better, I mean I’m in a self-inflicted food bootcamp. I’ve radically changed my diet to try to eliminate some health issues. It’s worked, but gosh, I want a cinnamon roll. To keep me from being too tempted to cheat I stayed home to write instead of going to Panera…because they have lots of bread there. I can’t have bread right now. Boo-to-the-hoo.

Sad Sara

We are in the middle of updating all of our paperwork for the adoption. I had planned on staying in my pajamas as long as possible that day. It didn’t happen. I had to make a mad dash to the post office to overnight some papers to USCIS (Immigration).  I’ll jump hoops and pay a ransom for you, little one. Anything for you to be home.

mailboxes

I took the boys downtown to see a train exhibit at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. The Lionel Collectors Club of America was having a convention and they set up their trains. The public was invited for free! We made a day of it by looking at the trains for a while and then riding the trolley. Asher and Jonah both got to ring the bell on the trolley. They loved this. Jonah kept thanking me over and over for taking them. He’s such a sweet boy.

Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Trains

ringing the trolley bell

Asher has discovered the Rainbow Rice Sensory Bin. Surprisingly, he didn’t make a huge mess.

Rice Sensory Bin

What have you been up to this week? Tell me in the comments.

Pound the Sound: a sensory sound game for preschoolers

In my last post, I shared about Preschool Hammer Practice using common household items. Today, we’re going to extend the activity by adding some letter sound practice!

Pound the Sound: a sensory game for preschoolers

Prep your materials:

Using a marker, write letters on your piece of styrofoam. You can choose target letters that you are working on, or write the entire alphabet, that’s up to you.

Pound the Sound: a sensory sound game for preschoolers

Ideas for Play:

  • Say a letter name. Have your child find the letter and “pound their golf tee into the letter.
  • Say a letter sound. Have your child “pound” their golf tee into the letter that makes that sound.
  • Say a word. Have your child “pound” their golf tee into the letter that begins with that sound.
  • Say a word. Have your child “pound” their golf tee into the letter that ends with that sound.
  • Use a set of beginning/ending sound picture cards. Your child will draw a card from the pile and “pound” the corresponding sound.

Math Ideas~ I could totally see this working for numbers, too! {It was just more fun to have a catchy name like “Pound the Sound.”}

  • Say a number. Have them find it and “pound” the number.
  • Math Facts! Have them “pound” the answer.

Pound the Sound: a sensory sound game for preschoolers

Jonah absolutely LOVED this. I always try to use different words when we practice sounds. I want to ensure he’s really paying attention to the sound, not just memorizing certain words that I use over and over. So, I pull out really random things…which results in giggles all around. All that to say, get creative and have fun!

What other ideas do you have to extend this activity? Tell us in the comments!

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!

Leaf Family Portrait {and commentary from Jonah}


We’ve been having a blast at the Happy Brown House with some of our favorite Fall/Leaf books, specifically Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. It’s lead to quite a few activities–most of which you can read about over at Totally Tots today!

But because I love you, dear readers, and feel like you might need a laugh just as much as I do, I will share with this gem of a picture and the “behind-the-scenes” commentary from Jonah….

Leaf Family

We’ll call this masterpiece “Leaf Family”…if you will. Jonah’s words are in bold. Mommy’s words are in fancy-shmancy brackets {’cause they’re pretty and all the bloggers use them}.  You’ll have to excuse my commentary, it’s 4:00 AM when I’m writing this, and after a sleepless night, I’m feeling a tad “testy”. I’ve finally given up on sleep since Asher will be up to eat again soon.

Leaf Mommy (far left) has big hair. {This picture was made while I was still in my “morning-glory-still-drinking-my-first-cup-of-coffee” stage and yes, I had big hair. Fresh from the bed and sticking up all over big hair. Apparently, this is how it translates on paper.}

Leaf Jonah (second from the left) has a tiny head. {I’m not sure what this was about. I thought it was supposed to be Asher, but he informed me that wasn’t the case. Maybe he’s been to see the head-shrinking tribe? That would account for the manners lost since the baby came.}

Leaf Daddy (third from the left) has a pipe. It’s one of those things that you put in your mouth and blow and smoke comes out. {Say what?!? Not only has he never seen a pipe or someone smoking one, but where in the world did this come from? Real Daddy doesn’t smoke. This led to a “smoking is bad” conversation. We’ll revisit it in the future.}

Leaf Asher (far right) has blue hair. {At this point,  that’s the least of my worries!}

By the way, I got all of this conversation on video. Classic. If I wasn’t technology-challenged when it came to my video camera, I would share it. Wonder if Leaf Mommy knows how to work a video camera?

Update: You can see the Leaf Family Video and all of Jonah’s personal commentary. Apparently, we should blame it on Frosty.

Frugal Fun Snacks & Learning, too!

Just wanted to let you know I have a guest post up on Pennies and Blessings showing a frugal fun snack for the summer…Grapesicles! In addition to that, we made some Fruit Kabobs and practiced making patterns. Super easy to set up and a fun way to let kids help prepare part of a meal!

And because I love you…I leave you with a link to Amanda at Impress Your Kids and the Fruit Of The Spirit Series…she made Fruit of the Spirit Kabobs! While you’re there, click around a bit and see some of the fabulous ideas to incorporate fun into teaching kids about God’s Word. You’ll thank me later.