Saturday, May 30, 2009


Illustrations from something I've been working on...

Can anyone tell me what these 12 animals have in common?
I'll eliminate some of the obviously true, but NOT the answer I'm looking for:
Yes, these were all created by me.
Yes, these are all paper cut designs.
FREE GIVE AWAY: I will put the names of the readers who post a comment telling me the correct answer, into a hat and Little One will pull out a winner on Friday June 5th @ 6pm. If he pulls out YOUR name you will get your choice of one of my prints from my new Esty Shop!
Good luck everybody!
Thanks for reading and guessing ;)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Montessori Mama Where Have You Been?

Good question.
I've been very busy, I've been healing from a eye injury and I have AGAIN misplaced my camera.
I know what you're thinking...
"How can she repeatedly misplace a digital camera?"
For this question, I have no answer.
It's pathetic really. But I WILL find it.

So what have I been up to?

Taller Than Me went to his first prom. He's the one in gray. He had a blast.

Middle Man,
who took this photo on a recent hike,
is currently in a Wizard of Oz play for the local children's theater and I am helping with face painting (only three more shows to go!) He recently went to a Comic Book Convention and ever since has been drawing and creating. We have both been working on art projects and I have enjoyed his company greatly. Sometimes he and I are like oil and water, so connecting creatively is something I welcome.

And then there is Little One.
We are having him tested for an iron deficiency because he continues to EAT non-food items indicating possible PICA. Stephanie from the Poison Control Hotline and I are becoming fast friends. Most recently he swallowed the cap to a glue container! He also successfully passed it, I am most happy to report. I'm telling you, this child has given me a run for my money lately!

He is growing increasing jealous of the other children our class. It's very difficult. He doesn't like going to school because he has to share me. Every day he asks if it is a school day and jumps for joy if it is a weekend day. It makes me sad, even though I completely understand his perspective.

In the classroom most of my two year old students are now three (or about to turn three) and they are beginning to out-grow the classroom. I know this is right on schedule and this what I hoped would happen. It makes me feel assured that I have done my job to prepare them for the Primary classroom. But a part of me is feeling melancholy for days gone by. How quickly they grow! I will miss them more than words can express, honestly, there are just two more weeks of school, how can this be?!

PS: If you would like to read a review of my book When I Make Silence visit Chasing Cheerios when time allows you. The photo made my heart sing. If you would like to order a signed copy email me at
PEACE to all,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let the Light Shine In

Just outside our classroom, across the street, one of my students father has been working on the neighbor's roof. So in an effort to prevent the little boy from parking himself in front of the window and looking longingly for a glimpse of his Daddy, we decided to create something beautiful that would block the view but not the light. This is what we came up with.

It is so very beautiful and was quick and easy to create. I imagine that with older children, the designs would/could become more deliberate and representational.

I'm home from school today because I have scratched cornea ~ OUCH ~
Be careful in the sandbox!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

So you say it's your birthday?

Little One is three!
Ah...happiness is a birthday walk celebrations with your school friends, followed by a family pizza party in the park, with some of your big brother's friends and your very favorite (also three years old) girl Stella, ice cream cake and plenty of room to run!

Thank you to all who sent birthday wishes and love our way! Little One had a perfectly wonderful third birthday. We are both blessed.
I can't believe it's been three whole years since he came to be.

My little sunshine. Happy Birthday Little One.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dressing and Undressing: Practical Life

I found this Mouse, I call him Henry, at Job Lot (a dollar store) for $1.99.
His clothes are removable. And he's the new hit of our classroom. I introduced him at Circle [sans rain gear] on a rainy day. I explained that Henry loves to jump in puddles and without the proper outerwear his Mom and Dad won't let him. So because he is a small mouse he needs the children's help to put his things on before he can go out to play. The more he practices putting them on and off, the better he will get at doing it himself.

I've gotta say, my three year old students are helping Henry out! The two year old friends are challenged and welcome the help of an older friend, who as we all know, are the BEST teachers!

I highly recommend adding a dress-up mouse (or doll) to your practical life shelves!

Salt in the Sensory Table

In December I introduced the sand tray....the next day I removed it from the shelf. Sand on a shallow tray with 10 toddlers? What was I thinking?

In January I introduced the corn meal tray...hoping for better results....this new work became more about getting to use the super cool carpet-sweeper than the corn meal tray itself, and when the corn meal was gone, so too was the tray.

I decided perhaps this work could wait until Spring.

Any-who, I reintroduced the concept today by putting just a little bit of salt in our sensory table. Just enough to practice letter formation. We've been using our sand paper letters all year; I began today's lesson by passing the letter "O" around our circle, then demonstrating how to make the letter in salt (using a small red tray with salt) I then lead the children to the sensory table, and dramatically removed the cover for the big reveal: Salt in the sensory table! "oo"s and "ah"s followed and many little hands began making circles in the salt.

I will share that, also within moments, the plug had been removed and salt poured onto the floor beneath. After MUCH sweeping, more salt writing took place. Moments later salt was being sprinkled into other people's hair by one over excited fellow and one child (yes, my child) even ATE the salt.

Good times.

But, all in all, I think the majority enjoyed the idea and I will present it again tomorrow also. I love when I can find a way to link toddlers to traditional Montessori materials.

As always, thanks for reading.
PS: I the photos you may have noticed that there are Q-tips in the salt table. This is because sometimes children prefer to 'make their mark' without using their hands, so the Q-tips work like a writing utensil. *If you have a sensory sensitive child in your home or classroom giving them a tool to avoid touching the undesirable material; can often be helpful.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Motherhood defined me.

Because of him, I became someone I never thought I'd be. Because of him just being I did things I never knew I would do. And I found in myself a courage I never knew was there. I am grateful to him. And I am proud of us both. I continue to learn from him each and every day, new things about myself and this big, big world, because of him growing up in it.

Now there are three of them, three sons, each special and his own person. Each gifting me with something unique.

My second son, Middle Man, has taught me great patience and the power of will. Without him I would lack my deep understanding and compassion for parents of challenging children, life would be far less exciting around here and to him I will always be grateful ~ it was due to HIS interest in art that I remembered how much I enjoyed drawing. He makes me laugh every day and inspires me. Without him in my life I fear I would be a more judging person, more fearful and unsure of myself. One of his greatest gifts is his ability to absorb the emotions of others around him. This is both a gift and a burden for this young boy, but for me, through comforting him I have gained an awareness I most certainly never would have had.

And Little One, my smallest and sweetest boy. Through him I have come to realize that life is all about sacrifices and sometimes we have to go through it, give it up and just let it be. Little One has reminded me that life is a sensorial experience not to be ignored! He has forced me to slow down and to appreciate quiet moments, from slugs to blades of grass and most importantly that sometimes you need to hold a hand bigger than yours, "Just P-cause".

Happy mother's Day to all of you too! My hat is off to you for the many. many diapers you've changed, tears you have wiped away, the 100s of not very funny five year old jokes you've listened to and laughed about, the 100,000,000,000...... loads of laundry you've done, the boo-boos you have mended, the questions you have answered, the photos you have taken, the doctor visits you have gone through, the number of times you've been thrown up on & peed on, the sleepless nights, for reading Goodnight Moon "just one more time", for the gentle reminders you have given, for helping with math home work....the list is endless as you well know....
Happy Mother's Day to ALL!!! I pray today you will get a break, if only for a moment.
In loving PEACE,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother's Day Tea

Today was our Toddler Mother's Day Tea Party. Not one spill, nothing broken! I will admit I did have anxiety. In the first photo a friend is putting together a fruit kabob.

The second picture is of the children's wrapped (in fabric pieces) and ready to be given Mother's Day gifts (flower pots with a felt flower pin). [For instructions on how to make your own felt flower pin....stay tuned, I hope to post about it Saturday]

The third photo, Little One and me, our first Mother's Day TEA together. He was so proud!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you (a wee bit early).
In loving PEACE,

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What's Happening In the Nest?

Sorting key tags
After removing the metal key ring, I colored a different image on two groups of ten. One group: a blue star, the other: a pink flower. This nifty blue dish was a yard sale find, but I've seen them since at the Family Dollar Store. I think it's actually a condiment server.

This little girl has taken to doing works on her lap. She is very fond of the classroom's little blue couch and doesn't want anyone else to get her spot. The light was great so I took the photo. However, I am working with her to share the blue couch as well as giving gentle reminders about how/where we use the materials and why. But sometimes the best lesson is in the experience; right after I took this photo, another child sat next to this little girl, accidentally knocking her 'lap' tray to the floor. All her hard sorting work fell to the floor. As I helped her clean up the key tags, I asked some wondering questions aloud:

"I wonder why your work fell?" "I wonder, if the tray had been on the floor on a work rug, would the tags have fallen?" "I wonder if your friend meant to knock your work or were they just sitting down?"

I have found through asking & answering these types of open ended wonder questions both the teacher and child care grow and learn together.

Two Little Black Birds (felt story)
I made these quick rhyming story props from felt, but you could just as easily use paper or objects if you had them. The toddlers LOVE this work.
"Fly away Jack." "Fly away Jill"....

Continent Bean Bag Map (with color matching dots added) and a basket with top (found by Paula~thank you Paula) for the animals to be stored in. This work is used EVERY day. I'm so happy they like it.

I get by with a little help from my friends.
Zipper Expert and "big girl" at three years old, helps out her younger friend with his coat zipper.
I like to call this one, "Watch and Learn".
;) Accidentally caught on film, this photo makes me smile!

PEACE to all,
Happy Wednesday everybody.
Only, one more day until Mother's Day Tea Toddler Style!

A Mother's Day Gift idea for YOU

Dear Friends,

One of my Belfast friends, Amy Robbins-Wilson, has just released an insightful and delightful book on the first year of motherhood and is extending a very special offer for Mother’s Day.

The book is called Transformational Mothering – A Prayerful Companion for New Mothers. It is a collection of prayers, poems, affirmations and stories intended to provide comfort and inspiration to new mothers. As such, it makes an excellent treat for new mom’s to buy for themselves or a thoughtful gift for a new mother you may know.

Amy is not only a gifted author, she is an extraordinary singer. I can not describe to you the pure beauty of her voice. It takes you to places you thought you had forgotten. She is releasing a new CD called “The Divine Hours of Motherhood – Lullabies and Prayers for Mothers and Babies” later in May. But on Tuesday May 5th only, she is giving her extraordinary music away for FREE to people who purchase Transformational Mothering from Amazon.

If you’re looking for a fantastic mother’s day gift for a new mom (or for YOU) for less than $15, this is a great one. To get the full details of this one day special, just click this link.

And if you know of someone who might be interested, let them know, too.


Where in the World?


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