Friday, April 30, 2010

Arin's Reading!

I am so excited that after much practice, Arin has finally figured out how to sound out and blend together a word!  She has memorized several words to repeat at sight and she knows the letter sounds, it was just bringing them together that she wasn't grasping until now!  We were playing memory with her -at word hearts (which she loves!) last night.  We've been practicing her -at words so much that she has them all down and gets excited when she can read them in books.  So last night, as we were playing memory, I decided it was time to add more words to the game.  This time I added the -ad word family.  As she turns over a tile, she is to read the word out loud.  Since these were new words, she sounded them out letter by letter.  So she would sound out "h-a-d" or "s-a-d" and prior to last night, that is as far as she could take it and then I would help her bring them together to "had" or "sad" or whatever the word at the time would be and then she'd seem to memorize it.  Last night, she sounded out "b-a-d" and then looked at me and said "bad".  I was shocked that she brought it together on her own and she was thrilled that she could do it.  So she practiced on some other, never seen before, -ad words and she could do it with them as well!  Then we played memory, using both the -at and -ad words and she really had to pay attention to the words she was turning over because words like sad and sat do not match, but look similiar if you are just glancing at them.  She kept saying, "Mommy, I can't believe I can read now!"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Declutter Challenge: This Week's Clutter

I have a wicker laundry basket and my goal from now on is to fill it weekly with items that I want to get rid of.  Last week that was no problem with all of the baby items.  This week began slowly, but today, I was able to top off the basket.  It is amazing how much stuff can be packed away in a closet or a drawer and then just forgotten about.  I have decided that if I don't currently use it and I have no certain plans of using it in the next six months, then it must leave!  That's a big thing because remember, I used to hold on to stuff for years for that "just in case" moment to arrive.  I have found that the more stuff I get rid of, the less attachment I have to things and it is a huge weight being lifted, but I still have a ways to go!
Things decluttered this week: 39
Total things decluttered: 570

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ella's New Friend


Arin loves to paint and she has been asking to do it often.  I have been a little less enthusiastic about her doing this activity lately because her little sister loves to do everything that she is doing.  When Arin was Ella's age, we had a regular high chair with a nice big tray on it and Arin would sit in there daily and paint.  The mess would all stay on the tray and not on the floor which is why Ella had not painted until now.  However, I think it is important to give Ella the same opportunities that Arin had at her age, so last week, we went outside and painted.  This was Ella's first time painting and it did not go over as well as I thought.  She did not have the instant passion for it like I assumed she would.  She did not like the mess it made and was eventually more happy to play with the neighbor's dog than to paint.

Arin, on the other hand, was thrilled to be outside painting, even though it was very bright out that day.  Together, we painted a baby chick.  I held her hand and made the outline of the head and body and the legs.  On her own, she painted in the lines to color the chick, added the eye and the beak.  Also on her own, she painted a cat and several abstracts.

I, too, have been painting.  We purchased our home several months ago.  Prior to us living here it was a rental with white, flat painted walls.  It is really hard to clean flat painted walls and even prior to us moving in, the walls were dingy, but add two little ones to the mix and well you get the point.  The walls are in serious need of new paint.  I have only painted a whole room one other time.  Normally, I call on the talents of my mother, who actually enjoys painting, but that was not possible this time, so I am having to be a big girl and do it myself.  I started in our bathroom, which turned out to be very frustrating to me.  So much so that I put the project on hold for a few weeks until it frustrated me more to have a partially painted bathroom.  So I finally finished painting it last week.  We still need to paint the trim (mom, please come help me!!!) and add a couple more touches to the decorating, but it looks so much better than it did!  I feel certain that my frustrations were due to lack of experience, but I have plenty of time to practice those skills as I paint the rest of the house!

These are the "before" pictures of the bathroom.  They were actually taken the week we moved into the house.

These are the "after" pictures that I took last night and today.  The lighting was poor so the pictures do not show the true color.  It is a light beige, but there is more contrast between it and the white trim than what is seen here. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Variation of the Game Uno

Today, Arin and I were going to play Uno, however, Ella wanted to play as well, so we attempted to make it a little more toddler friendly.  First, I set the game up by placing four cards on the floor (one of each color).  Then, the girls took turns drawing a card and placing on the appropriate pile. 

For Ella, that meant simply matching colors. 

Arin could match her card by either color or number.  However, if the color she needed was no longer in a pile, then she would have to hold on to that card until she could match it later.  For example, if she chose to match a 4 by number rather than color and there were now two piles of red, one of green and one of blue, but she drew a yellow card (not of the same number of any pile) then she'd lose a turn and have to hold on to that card to play later.  If a wild card was drawn, it could be played in any pile and then any card played on top of it.   Arin loved this game though it was hard to play with Ella around. 

Ella is not old enough to grasp the idea of taking turns and with so many options available, she wasn't too interested in matching the colors of the cards either.  So we gave Ella her own stack of cards and allowed her to play by herself while Arin and I played the above mentioned variation of the game.

 Once Arin was tired of playing, I laid four cards on the floor, one of each color.  Then, one at a time, I handed them to Ella and she would match their colors.  Without so many options, she was able to match the colors pretty easily.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wall Art

Though we hoped to avoid it, we knew that it'd happen eventually.  On Friday, Ella made us some wall art!  The bad news is that even today, Sunday, a few days after we found this decoration and corrected her for it, she is still very proud of her art work.  The good news is that we are currently picking out colors so we can paint the house, so her artwork will not be permanent!  Thankfully, she colored the wall prior to it being painted and hopefully she won't get this same bright idea in a few weeks when the new paint it on the walls!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Declutter Challenge: Baby Stuff

This past week, I cleaned out the girls clothes.  Typically, Arin's clothes get passed on to Ella and Ella's clothes get packed away for future little girls that we may have.  However, there is the occassional item or two that we no longer have a use for.  Luckily for us, I have a niece that has one little girl that is a year younger than Arin and a second little girl that is a year younger than Ella, so we are able to pass our unwanted items to them.  This week we are passing 24 items to them.  That makes a total of 531 things decluttered since March 18, 2010.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Words that Begin with the Letter....

Today, we took the lettered die from my Scattergories game and made a new activity with it.  We took turns rolling it.  Whenever Arin or I rolled it, we would call out a word that starts with the letter we rolled. 

Ella, loves to be a part of our games too, so whenever it was her turn, we would help her with the sound of the letter that she rolled.  Prior to this game, she had already memorized the sounds of the letters t, p, m, and f.  I don't think that she memorized any new letters by playing the game because she was only interested in rolling the die and it was VERY hard for her to wait her turn!  Notice the tear on her cheek?  That's because she was trying to take the die, even when it wasn't her turn.

I was actually amazed how much Arin loved this game and I was happily surprised at the types of words that she was coming up with.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Matching Colors

During our decluttering, I came across our Mickey Mouse paint chips that I used for games in this post and this post when Arin was little.  Ella has been working on matching two objects, so today she used the paint chips in her matching game.  She thought this was so much fun!

Arin didn't want to miss out on the fun either, so once Ella was finished matching, the three of us played color memory.

Then, as I was starting to write this post, I looked over and saw that Arin had set the matching game back up and was helping Ella match the colors.  I LOVE it when Arin teaches Ella!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Declutter Challenge: Photo Albums

We have had a crazy week around here.  Both girls have had fevers on and off - Ella seems to be better now, but Arin is still sick.  Also, Andy smashed his thumb at work on Thursday and had surgery on Friday to reconstruct it.  The doctor is expecting a six-week minimum recovery time for it. 

I completed the desired number of items for my declutter challenge eleven months early, however, I still have more stuff that I want to get rid of.  My friend, Ruth, asked me to continue blogging what I get rid of as motivation to her.  I am always willing to help out a friend :)  so I have decided to continue taking pictures and writing about all the junk I am getting rid of!

I didn't have a lot of time to get rid of too much this week with everything else going on here, but I did start to consolidate my picture albums.  I love pictures.  I took somewhere around 3,000 pictures on our road trip - no that's not a typo!  I am extremely grateful for digital cameras because I do not have to print out all of those pictures.  But I do have a lot of pictures from before digital picture days.  I had several albums that were either partially full, or had pictures from when I was in school of people that I can't even remember their names, so I decided to fill in empty pages and toss pictures!  In the end, I came up with five picture albums to get rid of!  (one is not pictured because I took the picture yesterday, but just got rid of the album today)

Things decluttered from our home: 507

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spitting Image

I was cleaning out and consolidating some photo albums today when I came across these two pictures of my little sister when she was three years old.  Don't they look like Arin?  Andy and I both had to take a double-glance at them!

It's too bad that we didn't have digital cameras 18 years ago when these pictures were taken so that we'd have more pictures to compare today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Matching ABC's

Ella doesn't like to be left out of learning games.  We've been working a lot on matching two of the same thing. We have two sets of bathtub letters, so today, I set a few letters out in front of Ella and she matched them up with the letters she was holding in her hands.  She seemed to enjoy this game.

Spelling Stones

During our Great Garage Clean-Out, I found a bag of glass stones, which I thought would be great for a spelling game for Arin.  So yesterday, I wrote each of the letters of the -at words on the stones.  Today, I gave Arin the stones and told her the words to spell.  She sounded the words out and spelled them with the stones.  Once she spelled a couple of words, she was able to do them quickly, because she knew the pattern - they all end in -at!  This was an easy, successful game!