Sunday, April 20, 2014

a simple spring experiment

Here's a little something to satisfy those first tingles of spring fever.... I'm sure you know what I'm talking about! Even though there's still snow on the ground and we have to pull on hats before going outside, there's a tiny, warm voice whispering in the wind "GROW!"

Elise and I responded to Mother Nature's call by force-starting some cuttings from trees and shrubs around our neighborhood.  It was basically as easy as cutting a few branches, sticking them in a vase of water, and bringing them inside our warm house - the plants did the rest of the work themselves!  In just a few short days, buds began to open.  Now, two weeks later, the buds have turned into leaves and flowers, and even more thrilling, there are roots!  

An older child would probably enjoy recording the transformation of the branches.  21-month-old Elise and I have enjoyed just discovering -  we've delighted in the tiny green leaves and ever-lengthening roots. Elise's vocabulary now includes buds, leaves, flowers, and roots.  Whenever she spots the tiniest spec of green outside, she exclaims "GROW!"

Here's to Spring! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

good things come in small packages...

Last week, an intriguing little package arrived at our door...

Elise, Mama, Papa, Rosie - who could it be for?

We opened it up as quickly as we could!

And, oh my, were the contents ever so good!

Did it contain a magic pill that made our family shrink?!

No, although the resemblance IS quite uncanny, don't you think?!

custom felt family by Jen's Felted Jems
(visit her on etsy and on facebook)

*UPDATE* 4/16  No, friends - this is NOT a pregnancy announcement!  Although, in hindsight, I realize that it kinda looks like one!  Ha!  The baby is just because Elise is so baby-crazy!  Maybe someday....  ;)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

a little tour: e's practical life shelf

^^e's practical life shelf^^

A few lessons I've put together to support the development of Elise's coordination and control of movement...

 ^^posting toothpicks^^

 ^^fragile objects^^

 ^^transferring eggs (whole hand)^^

 ^^transferring pom poms (melon baller)^^

^^play dough^^


Lately, I've been debating whether or not to continue preparing these types of lessons for Elise...  Is it as meaningful to spoon pom poms between two bowls on a tray as it is to scoop spices into a pot of soup?  Yes?  No?  While I don't think these lessons should replace authentic practical life exercises - cooking, cleaning, caring for oneself, etc - I do think they can be offered as a valuable supplement. 

Like authentic practical life exercises, these lessons:
  • develop strength, coordination, and muscle control
  • encourage concentration, carefulness, and precision
  • provide indirect preparation for writing, reading, and mathematics
  • foster independence 

Ultimately, the biggest benefit I see in preparing practical life lessons for Elise, in addition to including her in authentic practical life work, is that it offers her freedom of choice - she can decide when, where, and for how long she wants to work.  Honestly, at 21 months of age, she has limited freedom in choosing authentic practical life work - she often has to wait for me or work at my pace to reach my adult goals.  I know this will all change as Elise gets older, and I'll probably reevaluate the purpose of her practical life shelf several more times...  but for now, it stays.  

What do YOU think?  Do you prepare practical life lessons in addition to including your child in authentic practical life work?  Why or why not?  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

nest! (and a giveaway!) - CLOSED

^^Can you spot the osprey and its nest?!^^

This morning, as we walked along the river, Elise and I had the good fortune of watching an osprey work on its nest.  Elise has been really interested in nests lately, and here was a GIANT nest being built right before our very eyes!  How exciting!

Pulling branches off trees, swooping down to pick sticks up off the ground, and occasionally calling out - Elise and I had a front row view of the busy osprey!  Usually, when we watch birds or other wildlife, it's from a distance, so I'm not sure how much Elise is actually able to see.  This time, I knew Elise was catching all the action because SHE was the one pointing out everything to ME!   

A few interesting facts about osprey and their nests:
  • Although osprey mate for life (20-25 years), they do not migrate together or spend the winters together.  Our osprey just got back last weekend, and is waiting for its mate to arrive.  Kind of romantic, right?
  • Osprey nest on platforms near water- tall trees, man-made structures, light posts, etc.  Our osprey pair nests on a man-made platform between the river and a baseball field - before the platform was built, they nested right on a baseball light pole!  
  • Osprey add new material to their nests each season.
  • After osprey young have fledged, unlike other raptors, they return to their nest each night.  
(Birds of Prey of the West Field Guide by Stan Tekiela)

When Elise wasn't totally mesmerized by the action, she was busy making her own nests.  Of course, she offered all the best sticks to the osprey!  ;)

Back at home, Elise and I filled an empty suet container with scraps of yarn I had been saving from my knitting projects... 

We hung it outside in our apple tree - hopefully, a bird or two will use some of the yarn for nesting material. (Inspired by The Magic Onions post, Helping the Birds Make Beautiful Nests)

OK, now for the giveaway!  Last spring, I made this felted wool nest for Elise.  It has been inspiring so much play around here lately, I'd like to make another nest for one of YOU to enjoy with your little one/ones!

So, in honor of my 300th post - is that even possible?! - I am giving a felted wool nest and two wooden eggs to one lucky itty bitty love reader!  

How to enter:
  • Leave a comment on this post and tell me about a bird you enjoy watching and what color nest you would like (natural brown or a whimsical color - rainbow, purple, green, etc).  
Additional entries:
  • "Like" itty bitty love on Facebook and tell me in the comments.  If you've already "liked" itty bitty love on FB before this giveaway, tell me in the comments for two extra entries! 
I'll choose the winner at random on Friday at 6 pm (MST)!  Good luck!!!

Drum roll, please... 

The winner of the felted bird nest is Alexis!
Thank you to everyone who entered - I had so much fun reading about all your bird watching adventures!  :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

a simple taste test

Last night, while we anxiously waited for our dinner to cook, 
Elise and I had a little impromptu taste test.  

It was so much fun, we did it twice,
and Elise was ready to do it again first thing this morning.  ;)

I offered Elise three identical little glasses 
of sugar water, lemon water, and salt water.  
(I also filled a bottle with plain water to cleanse her palette between tastes.)  

After Elise took a sip from a glass, 
I would name the taste.  
That was sweet.  That was sour.  That was salty.  

Sweet was a big hit, with salty coming in a close second.  
Sour left little to be desired...
which was surprising, considering Elise usually sucks down lemon wedges.  

Coffee seemed like an ideal bitter taste, 
but I decided it would be bonkers to let my toddler drink coffee after 6 pm!

I can't stop thinking of more "edible tests" for us try:
texture, color, temperature...
We may be doing this for awhile!
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