Happy Thanksgiving!

A Fall Mystery Box

What could it be? 
What could it be?  
Take a look.
And they knew just what to do with it!

I let each child explore the Mystery Box on their own before they played with each other.  They absolutely loved both experiences!  In addition to the sensory experience, they practiced science skills (like measuring, sorting, experimenting, pouring, predicting), exploration, and sharing.  Wow!

This is the perfect exploration activity for toddlers and preschoolers!  They both learned so much in such a short time, and they were still exploring when I decided it was time to put it away.  Who knew a bucket of beans was so exciting?!!

What is in a Fall Sensory Box?  (I called it "Mystery" because my preschooler loves a good mystery!)

* two types of beans
* 1 small container of pumpkins and pinecones (on clearance because Halloween is over!)
* 1 medium sized pumpkin
* 1 medium sized gourd
* measuring cups (I expect that when the novelty of the beans wears off, Kaia will notice the numbers on the cups and we can talk about that then.)

The Mystery Box became even more exciting when Daddy joined the fun!

Clearly, if your toddler still puts things in his mouth, you will need very large objects in your mystery box.  Luckily, we are just getting past that stage with Harry! 

We will be doing more sensory Mystery Boxes in the future...they are so much fun!  I think this fall one will last a few more weeks, though, and then I'll try a Christmas theme!

Chasing the Light

One of my favorite things about "homeschooling" is that we can learn about whatever the kids are interested in learning about!  (Does it really count as "homeschool" when my kids are so young?  I can't imagine going through a day without learning.)  

Light and dark were exciting topics yesterday!  Kaia built a "Cave of Darkness" that survived the evening clean-up, and the kids experimented with flashlights and different objects to see how translucent each object was and how the objects changed the light.  We even had a shadow puppet show.

My All-Time-Favorite-Activity-of-the-Day, though, was this:

You would think they'd never seen a flashlight before!  (They have, many, many times!)  Somehow, though, this moment of chase was absolutely exhilarating.  I couldn't help laughing with them!  

They chased that light much longer than I would have ever thought possible.  

They practically laughed themselves hoarse.

They loved every minute!

And so did I.

Winner: 50 Christmas/Holiday Cards from Tiny Prints!

Congratulations to Mandy K., the winner of 50 Christmas/Holiday Cards from Tiny Prints!!  Seriously, I wish I could have given everyone who entered a set!  Those of you who haven't ordered cards yet can check out Tiny Prints Holiday Cards at http://www.tinyprints.com/.  And, if you order today, you can get free shipping and 20% off!  The website has details!

Many thanks again to Tiny Prints for providing this fabulous giveaway!  Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Wordless Wednesday: Painting

Cooking With Preschoolers: Swirly Lemon Cupcakes

Today I'm over at Have Sippy Will Travel sharing a great way to spend some cooking time with your preschooler!  Kids love to cook!  We had so much fun making these in Halloween colors, but you could use fall, Thanksgiving, or Christmas colors too!  Here's a peek at the post:

For the rest, head on over to Have Sippy Will Travel!

Amazing Giveaway: 50 Tiny Prints Holiday Cards!!

I have many, many things to post about right now, but they are all getting set aside while I host a giveaway from Tiny Prints!!  I was so excited when I opened my inbox today and saw this opportunity!  Why was I excited?  Because this is the sort of giveaway that I would be thrilled to enter...and I get to offer it to you!

Tiny Prints cards are stunning.  They are breathtaking.  And they are beautiful.  Their new 2011 Christmas/holiday collection is simply amazing.  

They come in more patterns, shapes, and designs than I could ever describe!

They are gorgeous, easy to personalize, and fun to deliver!  You can see even more of my favorite designs on the post I wrote about them last month.  

Today, Tiny Prints giving away 50 Christmas or holiday cards to one lucky winner who enters this giveaway!  

Before I tell you about the giveaway, I'm going to let you know about one more treat Tiny Prints has for everyone: a FREE personalized card for your child from Santa!  This special is available one day only: Wednesday, November 9th!  To learn more, visit Tiny Prints Facebook page here on Wednesday!

Now, on to the Tiny Prints Christmas/Holiday Card Giveaway!!  One lucky reader will get 50 free cards!!

Please read the directions carefully!  It is not hard to enter this giveaway, but I have had to disqualify entrants from every giveaway I have held because they did not follow the directions.


There is a mandatory entry, which you must follow to enter.  If you want extra entries, you can follow the directions for extra entries.  You can have at least 9 entries!  Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  

Mandatory Entry:  Take a spin around Tiny Prints new 2011 Christmas Collection (http://www.tinyprints.com/shop/picture-christmas-cards.htm) AND leave a comment telling me which designs you would be most interested in if you won this giveaway!

Extra Entries:  
1 - Follow this blog on GFC.
2 - Share this giveaway on Facebook AND leave me a link to your post (if you click on the date at the bottom of your post you can get a permalink to your post).
3 - Share this giveaway on Twitter AND leave me your twitter name.
4 - Share this giveaway in a blog post and leave me a link to the post.  This is worth 3 entries--please leave three comments.  
5 - Share this giveaway on any other social network and leave me a link to confirm your entry.
6 - "Like" the Tiny Prints Facebook page and leave my your Facebook name.

That's it!  Which lucky reader will get their Christmas cards for free this year?  Time will tell!  This giveaway will close at NOON CST on Tuesday, November 15th!!  Get your entries in before then!  On the 15th, I will choose a winner through random.org.  The winner will be contacted on the 15th so I can send their contact information on to Tiny Prints!

Disclaimer:  I absolutely love Tiny Prints!  I was not paid for this post and all opinions are mine.  I was offered a sample product as a thank you for hosting this giveaway.

Our "Spooky" Halloween Party

Many of you know my little girl loves to have a party...and a holiday like Halloween is the perfect reason to celebrate!  I enjoy Halloween too...the cutesy, fun, giggly spooky kind of Halloween (not the creepy, gross zombie type of Halloween!).  So, in the spirit of fun Halloween-y-ness, here are our "spooky" Halloween Party pictures!

First off, the Witch's Brew!  To say the kids loved this would be a serious understatement.  They could have played in it for hours!  

Next, a little craft!  I used Halloween-shaped Scratchy Art that I ordered when I put together the Halloween Kits for Whole Child Creative Curriculum.  

And what's a Halloween Party without a piñata?  Okay, so maybe there are many Halloween Parties for kids without a piñata, but our party certainly had one!  If you're interested in how to make a piñata, I put up detailed instructions here

"Whack!  I got it!"

"Oh no...a leg fell off!"

"Don't worry...I'll put it back on!  See?  All better!"

Finally, we came back to eat our Witch's Brew with some Lemon Swirl Cupcakes.  Mmmmm.  The kids all wanted more sugar, but since it was lunch time I made them wait a few minutes for spaghetti.  It's amazing how fast an hour can go by when you're having a Halloween Party!!!

I still need to post about carving a pumpkin, trick-or-treating, and costumes...hopefully we finish Halloween up in one week!