Wednesday, October 1, 2014

pumpkin scrubbing

On a recent trip to the grocery store, we were delighted to discover 
the pumpkins had arrived!  Yipee!

Better yet, they weren't your typical, shiny grocery store sugar pumpkins...
Oh, no - these little gems were cheerfully coated in a layer of pumpkin patch grime,
just begging to be scrubbed!

As soon as we got home, Elise gathered her supplies and went to work:

This activity should more appropriately be titled "pumpkin spraying" 
because that is without a doubt the part that two-year-old Elise likes best  
- after the pumpkin, of course.  ;)

My girl is completely enamored with that little, orange squash,
greeting it each morning with a kiss 
and calling out a "Good bye, pumpkin!" every time we leave the house!

Spray, scrub, dry

Even though out little sugar pumpkin has been quite clean for several days now, 
Elise continues to enjoy the whole process.  

That makes this Montessori mama happy because
nothing beats scrubbing for strengthening little fingers!

If you're uncomfortable about all that soap and water inside, 
That's what we did last year, and it was a HUGE hit!

Happy 1st day of October, friends!

Monday, September 29, 2014

favorite fall reads

Then, sometimes quite suddenly, a fresh wind blows and the summer is over.  The days are shorter.  September is here.  Now the days are cooler and a sense of change is in the air...

- Alice and Martin Provensen (from The Year At Maple Hill Farm)

Yes, the days are certainly growing shorter and cooler around here.  That means more time to snuggle up with a good book - and blog!  What have you been reading with your little ones?  Looking forward to catching up with everyone!  :)

  • Old Bear by Kevin Henkes
  • Leaves by David Ezra Stein 
  • The Year At Maple Hill Farm by Alice and Martin Provensen
  • The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger
  • One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert
  • Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming

Monday, July 21, 2014


  ^^The birthday girl sprinkling crushed eggshells on her plants - this is one of the few photos I have of her wearing something other than her birthday suit!  Ha!^^  

We celebrated Elise's second birthday earlier this month
- I can't believe I'm now the mama of a two-year-old!  Yee haw!
Here are a few of the highlights from the special day...  

We started the morning off by adding
a second beeswax candle to the birthday ring.

The decorations were inspired by the Montessori "celebration of life" birthday tradition 
- homemade collages of Elise's first two trips around the sun.

Elise's gifts from Hubs and me included a collection of objects starting with /e/:  
an envelope with a special birthday message inside, 
a Schleich elephant
a marble egg
a framed photo of Elise
and a felt eggplant

Elise loved giving these rainbow crayon party favors to her little guests 
- check out the tutorial here.

For the birthday "cake," I made a rainbow fruit pizza.
I don't have an exact recipe to share, but it's basically a sugar cookie 
topped with cream cheese frosting and fresh fruit.  Yum!

Friends and family came over to help us celebrate with a picnic lunch.  
Last year, Elise invited one friend and his parents, this year she invited two!  

Overall, it was a fun and busy day, but I felt like we kept things simple enough
that we were able to keep our focus on celebrating Elise and her second year of life!  :)
Check out E's first birthday here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

the pea fort: part 2

Hi there!  I just wanted to pop in for a quick "Hello!" and to give you an update on the awesomeness known as The Pea Fort.  The peas and beans we planted a few weeks ago are up and climbing the walls!  Woo hoo!  It's turning into quite the magical little hangout for Elise - and for me, too!  Most days we'll bring out a blanket, a few pillows, a snack, and a basket of books, spending the entire morning lounging, listening to birds sing and other cheerful neighborhood sounds.  Another little addition that we've been loving is the bird feeder - can you see it hanging in the back?  A pair of American Goldfinches have become regulars, and I think they're the prettiest little birds I've ever seen. 

I hope all has been well with you lovely readers and that you've been enjoying Spring! xx.

Monday, May 12, 2014

the wavy chopper

Last week, I introduced Elise to the wavy chopper, and it has totally transformed her experience in the kitchen. Now, in addition to scrubbing, scooping, and stirring - she can CHOP!

Here are a few tips I've come up with for using a wavy chopper with a toddler:

1.  The metal part of the wavy chopper is as sharp as a knife - only touch the handle.  

2.  Keep both hands on the handle when chopping.  This keeps little fingers safe, and provides some preparation for using an actual knife.

3.  Since both hands are on the handle, it's more comfortable to chop vertically, rather than horizontally.

^^^4.  When setting up a chopping activity, include a cutting board, a dish for the peel or any other scraps, a dish for the slices of fruit or veggies, and a dish for holding the wavy chopper when not in use.  

5.  Isolate movement: after each piece is chopped, set the wavy chopper down, and transfer the slice of fruit/veggie to the dish.  

^^^6.  Finish chopping before eating.  In the Montessori classroom, the children would also clean up before eating. We're still working on this one - Elise loves to sample!  Ha, ha - I do, too!  ;)

7.  Always supervise your child when using the wavy chopper!!!  It is a real tool, and it is sharp enough to cut fruits and vegetables.  While I rarely interrupt Elise when she's working, I don't think twice about reminding her to keep both hands on the handle of the wavy chopper.

A list of beginning foods to try chopping with the wavy chopper:

  • banana
  • cucumber
  • wedges of peeled melon
  • zucchini
  • hard-boiled egg
  • cheese  

OK, this is sort of off-topic, but are you feeling a little curious about what Elise is wearing in the above chopping photos?!  Well, if you are, here she is in all her unique awesomeness...

^^^I love her so much!!!!!!!!^^^

Hope you're all having a great week!

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