Friday, February 24, 2012

T wants a Garden! Part 2: Planning to Plant

Finally! The book I ordered on gardening in our state came in the mail. I'm very pleased with my purchase. The book is divided into sections by what kind of gardening you want to do: lawn/grass care, tree care, shrubs/bushes, annuals, perennials, herbs/vegetables, water/bog gardens, houseplants, and bulbs. Each section is divided into months of the year. Every month- January through December- has one or two pages devoted to it. The pages cover topics when to order seeds or buy seedlings, what type of soil and plant food to use (or not use) at various stages of your garden, when to move plants outside, preparing the lawn, etc.

According to the book T and I could've ordered a few types of seeds already as we can start planting some seeds indoors on or after March 1st (they wouldn't be moved outside for many weeks). I love how the book gives pointers how to water properly indoors vs outdoors and how to avoid growing spindly seedlings when growing inside. The book also tells how to make a temporary indoor plant bench and use florescent lighting to help the seedlings grow properly.

Wednesday was a lovely, sunny February day. T is extremely excited about starting his garden this spring. He wanted to start digging in the patch with his plastic spade (I plan to get him a preschool-sized shovel like this one from For Small Hands in the coming weeks). I joined him to poke around in the soil to see what the garden plot is like. The garden plot has lovely chocolate colored soil and is simply crawling with earthworms.  Together we spent quite a bit of time observing earthworms.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Review: Calling All Toddlers

Calling All Toddlers by Francesca Simon is a collection of foot-stomping, hand-clapping, exercise-inducing rhymes and poems for preschoolers. My own toddler has a small collection of favorite books we have to read over and over again (including Jeremy Fisher, Curious George Rides a Bike, Frog and Toad All Year, and The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth). This is certainly towards the top of that list of favorites.

The first rhyme, appropriately named "Stomping Time", is definitely the most active. If you have a wiggly squirmy preschooler and are needing something to add to your Hokey Pokey/Shake Your Sillies Out routine, this particular rhyme may be perfect. The rest of the book is equally engaging. Francesca Simon aptly puts the varied emotions toddlers feel into her rhymes, and helps them learn to express themselves. She also manages to capture their delight in simple things like playing in the rain, tip-toeing around, or making "Sloppy Gloppy" in the kitchen.

I don't remember where I first heard about Calling All Toddlers,  but I've never regretted owning the book. It would make a delightful addition to any toddler's collection. At the very least I recommend you check it out at your local library.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Homemade Mardi Gras Treats!

Here are some homemade Mardi Gras treats my family enjoyed yesterday.

Fluffy pancakes with homemade strawberry sauce and whipped cream at breakfast.

Then for dessert last night...

 This became---

Homemade king cake each with its own kind of filling!

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Star Book: A Simple Counting Play Book for Preschoolers

T was really interested in stars the other week. We looked at them as they came out in the early evening, we watched them disappear in the morning as our day star- the sun- rose. His favorite activity was this little counting booklet he could play with.

 Ideally I would love to make something like this out of felt with Velcro on the back of the stars. Not having those materials on hand I just used paper and crayons. For being made simply of paper and white crayon it sure has lasted a while!

 I have a feeling there will be other counting books in our future.  T absolutely loves playing with his! "Oooh, I'll get my star book!" he'll announce from time to time.

A Simple Counting Play Book

What you need:

white paper
blue construction paper
white crayon or pencil

What to do:

Cut the paper into pieces to form a booklet and staple or glue them together.  Make sure you have enough pages for however high you want your counting book to go. On the front write "(Name's) Star Book". Cut out counters in the shape you desire (I chose stars). Draw a correlating picture in the bottom corner of each page (I chose a telescope), and write the number and name of objects at the top of each page. Demonstrate the book's use, and let your child enjoy!