Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do-A-Dot Marker Activities

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We recently got some Do-A-Dot markers (also known as bingo markers or bingo daubers) and I was so excited to get started with them.  Avery has played with them before and loves them so I was looking forward to having some here at home.  We've used with them on plain paper but I thought it might be fun to find some coloring sheets to use with them.  I didn't realize how difficult it would be to find some free ones online.  There are quite a few alphabet ones but I'm not quite ready to start the alphabet with her.  So I looked around and found some websites that offer free printable Do-A-Dot marker coloring sheets.  Here is what I found...

DLTK- a large collection, divided into seasons, holidays, animals, and other.  Easy to print, can choose from color or black and white, can print ad free.  

Making Friends- choose from Christmas tree or ornament or wreath, bubble gum, easter egg, flower, or train

Scribd.com offers a train and car Do-A-Dot coloring sheets (from Lessons from the Boys)

Bubble gum machine from Making Learning Fun (not officially a Do-A-Dot one but can be used as one)

This rainbow can be modifies to use with Do-A-Dot markers (from Mrs. Kilburn's Kiddos)

Christmas Tree from the Confessions of a Homeschooler's downloadable Preschool Christmas Activities

3 Dinosaurs has a great Fall Pack of Dot Marker sheets.

Dora Dot Marker Printables from The Activity Mom

3 Dinosaurs has some great dot marker pages: Space, Halloween, more Halloween, and Sight Words

Although I have not started the alphabet formally (we do still talk about it but once she gets older I want to do the alphabet as a theme and use the materials from 1+1+1=1), we are working on colors, shapes, and numbers.  So I found some great Do-A-Dot activity sheets for those.

Making Learning Fun
Another Making Learning Fun but this one is for Dogs Colorful Day

Early Learning Activities
Making Learning Fun
Confessions of a Homeschooler

Early Learning Activities
3 Dinosaurs

And just in case you are interested in alphabet Do-A-Dot sheets here are some I found...
Shannon's Tot School (all upper case letters and easy to print)

Confessions of a Homeschooler (you have to search for them unless you purchase her preschool alphabet curriculum)

1+1+1=1 (just starting out, have A through E so far)

Homeschool Creations- A-M and N-Z

Childcareland.com (upper case)

Making Learning Fun- lower case and upper case

DLTK (their letter templates can be used with Do-A-Dot markers)

Looking for more creative things to do with Do-A-Dot markers.  Check out these links...
Let's Explore- crayon resist drawings and examples of Ed Emberley's thumbprint drawings with Do-A-Dot markers

Ed Emberley- thumbprint drawings that can we done with Do-A-Dot markers

Charlotte's Factory- tie-dye designs and flowers

My Montessori Journey- paper plate fish

Kid Activities- splatter art (need to go down the page a little bit to see the directions)

Tons of Fun- a really cute and fun Dot Marker Counting Game

Fun and Engaging Activities for Toddlers- Dot Marker Counting Cards

I'd love to know if you have any other great places to find Do-A-Dot activity/coloring sheets!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Places I've Been

Pin It Now! I saw this post over at Family and Life in Las Vegas and thought it would be fun to join in.  I love traveling and have made numerous road trips across the country.  Plus, with all the competitive swimming I did when I was younger (started year round when I was 10 and swam through college) I have been quite a few places.  So, here is my map of the states I have been to...

I'm only missing 12, not to bad I think.  Now for the hard part of the post, my favorite places.  That is so tough because there are so many amazing and wonderful cities in the US, it's hard to narrow it down to the best.  

1. New York City- I went to college in New York City (Queens actually) and it holds a special place in my heart.  I loved to go into the city each weekend and just explore, there was always something new to find and check out; Greenwich Village, Chinatown, SoHo, the West Village, MoMa, the Met, the Guggenheim, Time Square, I could go on and on.  

2. Chicago- Another amazing city not too far from where I live now.  Eric and I have both gone on work trips to the windy city and I have several family members who have lived there.  I love the atmosphere of Chicago, one of the best places to be on a warm, beautiful spring day.  They also have so many great places to go, Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, Navy Pier, Oak Park (love Frank Lloyd Wright), Art Institute of Chicago, and who can forget the incredible shopping along the Magnificent Mile!

3. Honolulu- What a truly incredible location!  I was fortunate enough to get to go to Honolulu one year over Christmas break and even got to spend New Year's there.  It was so wonderful to get to escape the cold weather of the midwest (they had a huge snowstorm back home while I was there) for the gorgeous beaches and perfect weather of Honolulu.  It was so relaxing and was a wonderful vacation.  Definitely someplace I want to go back and visit again!

4. Sanibel Island, FL- Another amazing beach destination!  It's the seashell capital of the world and it does not disappoint, I have never seen so many shells in my life.  I also love how development of the island has been restricted and so much of it has been preserved as wildlife refuges.  My in-laws have a condo there and I can not wait to take Avery and the new baby (hopefully next summer).

5. San Francisco- I've only been there once as a teenager but it still is one of my favorite cities.  The hillside streets and picturesque neighborhoods all overlooking  the large beautiful bay.  From the cable cars to Fisherman's Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge, it's such a great city to explore!

Where have you been?  What are your favorite cities?  Create your own map here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

What a Week

Pin It Now! Phew, it has been one busy week!  It seems like we have been on the go nonstop all week long.  

Monday morning we had a play date at our house with 2 friends.  They had a great time but Avery wasn't too keen on sharing her toys all the time, but it's a great lesson to learn and one we have been working on for a while.  After nap that day we went to the park to enjoy the beautiful 80 degree weather.  I happened to find a great public park that had all toddler equipment.  It was perfect!!  And, Avery went down the slide by herself for the first time (she usually holds my hand but not that day)!

Tuesday we had MOPS in the morning.  We have meetings twice a month and while I am in the meeting Avery goes to provided day care.  It's a great time for her to get used to being in a preschool type setting (which she will start in the fall).  That afternoon we headed to the grocery store.

On Wednesday morning we went to our annual Parents As Teachers screening.  With the budget cuts to PAT we no longer get services but they provide a free screening for all kids under 5 once a year.  Her screening went great and she is right on track, scoring 60 out of 60 on 4 of the areas and 55 out of 60 on the other- she wasn't able to use a spoon to get a block out from under a bookcase).  Wednesday after nap we went to Toys R' Us to get a baby shower present and a birthday present for one of Avery's friends who is having her second birthday party coming up. 

We went to the L and L Library with 2 friends on Thursday morning.  She always has such a great time there and I was excited to return the toys we had gotten and pick out some new ones.  Can't wait to show her what I got!  That afternoon we had to pick my dad up from his work and take him to pick up his truck which was in the shop.  Thursday evening I went over to a friends house for game night.  We played Apples to Apples which I had never played before but loved it!!!  What a great game!  So much fun!

Today we had another play date with two friends at one of their houses.  Once again, we had so much fun and it was so nice getting to talk to my friends, I hadn't seen them in awhile and it was great catching up.  Then this afternoon we went grocery shopping (I usually go twice a week, once early on for the beginning of the week and once towards the end for the weekend).

So there you have it, one busy week!  Needless to say, we did not get any tot school done and although we did a lot of playing, I was such a bad mom and did not get any pictures taken : (  However, tonight I am going to start planning for next week which will hopefully be better.  We still have a couple things going on and my parents are on spring break so we will be spending some extra time with them, but I really want to be sure to get some tot school in!  Hope you had a great week!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tot School- St. Patrick's Day

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Avery is 17.5 months old
Tot School

This week I decided to try out my first theme.  I thought it would be easiest to begin with a holiday and since my grandmother was Irish and Eric and I spent our honeymoon in Ireland, I thought St. Patrick's Day would be perfect!  I found so many great ideas online but most of them were geared towards older kids, can't wait for St. Patrick's Day next year.  However, here is what I came up with...

We did our first sensory bin this week and Avery loved it!  We played with it almost everyday.  She had a great time scooping, pouring and playing with everything.  Towards the end of the week she got into finding all the treasure (gold coins, shamrock erasers, and green flattened marbles) that were hiding down in the split peas.  She'd pull one out and place it in a green cup and then go back in for more.  

We did some finger painting.  First we made handprint shamrocks and then we did a blue and yellow makes green painting. She loved it!!

We did some tonging with green tongs and green sparkle pompoms.  She was very fascinated with the tongs!

We made a shamrock "stained glass" with construction paper, contact paper, and little tissue paper squares.  She was so funny about the tissue paper.  Since they stuck to the contact paper she kept trying to get them to stick to her shirt and mine (thinking they were like stickers) and couldn't understand why they wouldn't.  

On rainbow day we went on a rainbow walk around the block and looked for things that were each of the colors of the rainbow.  Avery had a great time looking at everything and saying the colors back to me.  

That day she also helped me cut the bananas and strawberries for the rainbow fruit pizza we had for snack.  We used a plastic knife and I helped her cut.  

At bath time we did some rainbow shaving cream painting.  She had a great time!

On St. Patrick's Day we went on a shamrock sticker hunt.  They were "hidden" around the living room and when she found each one she got to stick it on a piece of paper with a big shamrock on it.  

We did a work with a paint tray and flattened green marbles.  She loved the sound the marbles made when she dropped them back into the the glass container.  This was another one she kept going back to again and again!

Friday she wasn't feeling too well so we decided to scrap our tot school plan and just have a free play day.  

Besides St. Patrick's Day themed activities, I also gave Avery a wallet work this week.  She always wants to play with Eric and my wallets so I decided to give her her own.  I took one of my old wallets and put in some old cards, added some play coins and made some fake dollar bills.  It has become one of her favorite things to do.  She loves it!

Along with our St. Patrick's Day Tot School, we did St. Patrick's Day themed snacks and meals.  Several of them were used as practical life works (cutting and whisking).  Head of here to check out what we ate!

Head over to 1+1+1=1 to check out all the other tot school posts!

St. Patrick's Day Meals and Snacks

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As I mentioned, I decided to try out my first theme for Tot School this week (St. Patrick's Day) and decided to carry it over to some of our meals and snacks.  So, here is what we ate this week...


Instant pistachio pudding that Avery helped make by pouring and whisking (boy did she love that).

St. Patrick's Pot of Gold (Lemon jello in a lime shell)

On our rainbow day, we made Rainbow Fruit Pizza (Avery helped me cut the strawberries and bananas)

Green Rice Krispies Treats (Eric wanted me to make some for him to take into work so I figured we would have some too)


Ham, avocado, and cream cheese spirals with spinach tortillas

Ham and munster shamrock sandwich with peas (not sure why but the color came out kind of weird on this picture)

Rainbow waffles (this was one of Avery's favorite but rather challenging to make)

We also had corned beef/cabbage/new potatoes, pesto tortellini (green spinach ones) with chicken, and green pancakes but I don't have pictures of those : (

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Best Chicken Tortilla Soup Ever

Pin It Now! For dinner Tuesday we had chicken tortilla soup.  I just had some leftovers for lunch and was reminded how incredible it was so I thought I would share the recipe.  I used this recipe as my guide but made some small changes to suit our family.  Here's how we fixed it:

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced (I used a micro-planer)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
50 ounces homemade chicken stock 
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
shredded jack cheese
tortilla chips
canned black beans

1. In a large pot, sauté onion and garlic with olive oil until soft.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for last three) to the large pot and bring to a boil.
3. After about 25 minutes, remove the chicken breasts and shred with a fork.
4. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and continue to simmer for an additional 45 minutes.
5. Serve, top with tortilla chips and cheese (I added some black beans to Avery's cause she loves black beans, Eric and I both had a taste of her's and it was really good that way, Eric said we should put them in ours next time too)

I wish I had a picture of it to show you but I didn't think about doing a post on it until my bowl was empty (but there are several on the website where I found the recipe)  : (  We loved this recipe and will definitely be using it again in the future.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Our First Sensory Bin

Pin It Now! I decided to try out my first theme this week (St. Patrick's Day) and wanted to make a sensory bin to go along with it.  So, here it is...

Here is what is in the sensory tub:
- Green and yellow split peas
- Gold coins
- Green shamrock necklace
- Large flattened green marbles
- Green and yellow glitter pompoms
- Shamrock erasers
- Shamrock cookie cutter
- Green ice cream scoop
- Green pots
- Green "funnel" (2 liter with the bottom cut off)
- I also got out 2 extra containers, one a large rectangle and one a tall round one, that way she has something to scoop and pour into

Avery has had such a great time playing with the St. Patrick's Day sensory bin!  She loves scooping, pouring, and just checking everything out.  

She loves the sound the necklace makes when she shakes it and she loves to wear it

She loves how her vice sounds through the funnel
She loves how her hand feels in the split peas
So there you have it, our first sensory bin.  It's been a pretty big hit around our house.  We've played with it every day this week and I have a feeling we will continue to get it out.