Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chair Re-do

Working on another re-upholstery project over here - these chairs I recovered right before Ella was born (2 years ago!) and they were getting hammered with little ones spilling, climbing, and causing all sorts of ruckus on them.

I was also getting bored with the tiny houndstooth print that was on them. It just wasn't bold enough for me. Here is the before pic - if you look closely you can see the big stain on the center/back of the seat... not attractive.
So I saw this cool plastic coated fabric at Ikea and thought, of course! that would be perfect for my dining room chairs because it will just wipe clean! It had to be pretty sturdy too and it comes in this awesome bright red and white polka-dot! Bold, sturdy, and wipeable! What more could I ask for!
Unfortunately it was a little pricier than I was hoping. But still all the things I was looking for and only $9/yd home dec width too! not too bad. I bought 2 yards and have almost a half-yard leftover. I am pleased.
Now I just have to figure out whether I want to paint the chairs black or white.... What do you think?

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Toddler Busy Book

Here is the book I was telling you about! The Toddler Busy Book by Trish Kuffner. This has been an incredible resource for me lately as well as the Brightly Beaming site. When we just want to have a day of fun or if I am improvising our pre-preschool activities - this has been my GO - TO book!

As proof, the other night we went to dinner with a bunch of family (it was a fairly loud and kid friendly environment - not your nice sit down dinner) and I brought along a "Busy Bag" as described in The Toddler's Busy Book for Ella while we waited for our food and once she finished. - - Side note, she is a much picker eater all of the sudden and so doesn't eat much of anything we give her except oatmeal and ice cream (if she is lucky....) - -
The busy bag was amazing! I had a bunch of different things for her to do so when she would get bored of one thing we would put that away and bring out the next. We had stuff like a sticker book (I had to help her with that a little), crayons and drawing paper, a special toy or two, a play cell phone, a small metal pan with a bunch of magnets, and some snacks. In the book, Trish gives a bunch more ideas of things you can bring along to keep the little ones occupied. I had made Ella a monster tote for Christmas that has crayon teeth (I got the idea from crafster) so I use that as her busy bag.
The book is also loaded with recipes for playdough, glitter (made out of salt!), different kinds of glue and adhesives, and clay. Ella has really gotten into painting and this book even has a recipe on how to make your own paint. It has been so fun to finally do crafts with Ella that she can participate in.

*I know this post is all about Ella and the pictures are all Calvin, I didn't have any of Ella doing her art projects so I thought I would entertain you with these pics of the cute man!


A neighbor and I got together and decided that we wanted to do some sort of "Joy" school curriculum for our almost 2 year olds. We didn't want to pay for something but also didn't want to have to make everything up completely from scratch so I did some web searching and we found this Brightly Beaming Resources website fully dedicated to curriculums to be taught in the home for all different ages. (Now I have a lot of respect for people who have the ability to actually homeschool their children because I just don't think I will have the patience for that.) Whereas I don't plan on homeschooling I do find this resource great for supplemental teaching ideas aside from their outside schooling.
*This picture is from my friend's blog, when they had school at her house.
We have done so many fun activities and crafts, games, and been introduced to new stories and rhymes. I also love that she suggests some classical music to accompany the lesson (in the Brightly Beaming Toddler Curriculum). I have been combining the Brightly Beaming Toddler and the Preparatory Curriculum because I like aspects of both. It is also been fun to improvise now that I have a good base of how a curriculum is set up.
Like this last week we had a different little girl over and we did a Valentines themed day where we made a Valentine Card by stamping our thumb prints onto paper in the shape of a heart. We made tissue paper flower bouquets, learned some new Valentines day songs (like 10 little Valentines to the tune of 10 little indians), danced to Vivaldi's Concerto for Viola D'amore, and read some fun books with a love theme. One of the poems we read was about someone who had left valentines for the birds so we went outside and sprinkled bird seed around. We also learned about our hearts, the heart shape, the letter H (because it begins the word heart), and had heart shaped treats! All-natural Jello Heart cut-outs and cupcakes with pink frosting served with pink tinted milk!
Before doing the school with Ella I was going crazy with this little toddler who just wants to go, go, go on my hands. I knew she was so intelligent and had such a thirst for learning I just didn't quite know how to fulfill those needs. Now it is nice because once a week she goes to our neighbors house and she puts on school activities for them and then once a week her little boy comes to our house and we have school here. The other days I am not as structured with the lesson plans but I interject little school activities that have to do with that week's theme wherever I can.
More so than a stress it relieves my stress and Ella LOVES it! I also get a free morning to get some grocery shopping done without her, clean my house, or take a nap!

If you are a mom or know a mom who has a toddler they are having a hard time keeping entertained, send them to the Brightly Beaming Site, it will help even if in just the smallest way!

I will do another post soon about a great toddler activity book I just found at the library - it's fantastic!