Thursday, April 3, 2014

Four Year Old Birthday Interview

Four years! A fantastic day of celebration was had by all. K broke through the streamers over the bedroom door like a champ.  We had birthday sprinkle pancakes for breakfast, watched Planes, and then headed to a farm for the afternoon.  K got to ride a horse and milk a goat! Four special acts of kindness for strangers were also on the agenda today.  The boy chose to give away lollipops, leave a dollar in quarters in the toy section at Dollar Tree, give away one of his books to a sweet toddler girl at the grocery store, and hand out two specially made cards to unsuspecting customers at Earth Fare and Barnes and Noble.  We finished out the day with a few scoops from our friends Ben and Jerry. Lovely.  All lovely.  On with the interview...

1.  How old are you today? 4
2.  What is your favorite color? Rainbow
3.  What is your favorite book? Horton
4.  What is your favorite movie? Frozen
5.  What is your favorite t.v. show? Pinky Dinky Doo 
6.  What is your favorite thing to eat for dinner? Pasta, Broccoli, and Bacon
7.  What is your favorite thing to wear? my bob the builder shirt
8.  What is your favorite animal? Lion because Lions are cool because they have yellow hair
9.  What is your favorite toy? Tigey
10.  What is your favorite thing to do with Mama? Play dragons (we've actually never done this before)
11.  What is your favorite thing to do with Baba? Read books with him

12.  Who is your best friend? Kayligrace.... actually Tigey
13.  What do you want to be when you grow up? a super hero
14.  What is your favorite song? If you're happy and you know it clap your hands
15.  What is your favorite thing about Nyla? That she's so pretty
16.  What do you like to pray about? Thank you for all of this food and the snacks
17.  What do you love about yourself? That I'm such a good boy
18.  Where do you like to go? to Imaginon (kids library in Charlotte)
19.  What makes you happy? Tigey
20.  What makes you sad? When you be mad at me 
21.  How big are you? four
22.  What are you really good at? helping you
23.  What do you like to do before you go to sleep? read a book
24.  What is your favorite game to play? candyland
25.  What is something you learned to do this year? to play candyland and how to ride a horsie

Thursday, July 11, 2013

DIY Preschooler Activity: Magnetic Dominoes

Our big transatlantic flight is coming up soon, and I've been fervently working on busy bags for the kids to keep them distracted happy during the flight. Honestly, most of the activities are really for K, but we're hoping N will at least enjoy messing around with the materials. (Please, God.)

Of course, I've been scouring Pinterest for all the best busy bag ideas. If you haven't jumped on this train yet, you're in for a treat. Busy bags are simple activities that can be fit into a small bag, usually the quart-sized plastic zippered variety. The idea is that they can be used during church, road trips, flights, or even at home while you're working on something else, or another child is napping. They also come in the form of quiet books/busy books, but ain't nobody got time for all that sewing right now!

I've put together about twenty so far, borrowing from some of the best bloggers out there. This felt Mr. Potato Head one is my favorite so far, although I didn't make mine into a book page. Today I came up with my own busy bag that is SUPER quick to make: magnetic dominoes. 

You know those colored dot stickers you can get in the office supply section of any store?

Yeah, those.

Well, I cut out small cards from white card stock, roughly 2" x 3" in size, added a simple black line down the middle, and slapped one of these bad boys on either end. To top it off, I adhered a small strip of magnet to the back. (You know, the ones with the peel-able adhesive on the back.) Check it out...

Legit, right? They remind me of Candy Land cards.

These simple dominoes are perfect for a young preschooler. You could even do them with character stickers, numbers, letters, etc. They're perfect for traveling because your toddler can play with them on a metal cookie sheet. We found a small metal tray for K to use on the plane. How cute is this?

He's going to love it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekly Toddler Book Activity: The Goodnight Train

by June Sobel
illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith

We love all the colorful illustrations in this children's tale of a train that choo choo's into slumber! After reading it together, K did a huge abstract painting on butcher paper using washable paint and a few of his older plastic trains.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Our Three Year Old Guy: A Birthday Questionnaire

Our little guy turned three today!  His birthday fell on Easter Sunday this year so, we were forced to juggle our celebrations.   We're hoping this is a rarity.  

We stopped at the European Bakery on our way home from the Easter service at the Garden Tomb and let Khalid choose a birthday treat.  He decided on chocolate eclairs--yum.  After our natural egg dying fiasco (which was definitely a fiasco), we Skype'd all the grandparents, sang "Happy Birthday," and let Khalid open a few gifts from family in the States.  Of course, his much more extravagant celebration will be on Friday.

We've started a new birthday tradition this year, the birthday interview.  I can't wait to see how his answers change over the years.  

1.  How old are you today? 3
2.  What is your favorite color? Green
3.  What is your favorite book? Scrambled Egg Super (by Dr. Seuss)
4.  What is your favorite movie? Beauty and the Beast (This was actually his first answer for "book," "movie," and "tv show."  Obsessed?)
5.  What is your favorite t.v. show? Blue (Blue's Clues)
6.  What is your favorite thing to eat for dinner? Pasta
7.  What is your favorite thing to wear? hats
8.  What is your favorite animal? Monkey and Elephants (Incidentally, all of his dreams are about monkeys and elephants too)
9.  What is your favorite toy? Watson (not sure this is actually true, but it's what he was playing with at the moment)
10.  What is your favorite thing to do with Mama? Play with play dough 
11.  What is your favorite thing to do with Baba? Play with the ball
12.  Who is your best friend? Baba and Mama (perfect.)
13.  What do you want to be when you grow up? Astronaut 
14.  What is your favorite song? ABCD... (He also likes "Some Nights" by Fun.)
15.  What is your favorite thing about Nyla? She loves Mama
16.  What do you like to pray about? God
17.  What do you love about yourself? I love my eyes and I love my eyes and I love to go night night.
18.  Where do you like to go? to a date (no idea where he got this idea... no one in our house is going on dates)
19.  What makes you happy? loving people (heart melt...)
20.  What makes you sad? I got a wah-wah (a boo boo)
21.  How big are you? THIS big (with his arms in the air)
22.  What are you really good at? loving people (d'awww)
23.  What do you like to do before you go to sleep? Play
24.  What is your favorite game to play? tumble (summersaults on the floor)
25.  What is something you learned to do this year? wahad, t'nain, telata, arba, khamseh (counting in Arabic)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

As Easter Approaches...

It's almost Easter!  We're planning a week's worth of activities with the kids to introduce the passion story to them this year.  I'm looking forward to sharing it with you here!

Until then... remember this cute little bunny....?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Weekly Toddler Book Activity: Whoever You Are

I guess I have some catching up to do with posting about our weekly book activities.  Yes, we're still doing them.  For our second book, we read Whoever You Are by Mem Fox.  I picked this one up at one of my favorite stores, Ten Thousand Villages, when we were in the States.  It's a wonderful book that teaches diversity of cultures while emphasizing the deep similarity of our humanness.

After reading it together, Khalid made a heart shaped collage with tissue paper.  The idea was that we are all created so differently... but still look so beautiful together (hence all the colors)... and we all have hearts...or something... get the idea.

The Social Media Bully

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to beat you into the ground.  Please hear my heart.  I want it to be an encouragement, but I can see that if you're dealing with a level of intense depression, it may not be heard that way.  I apologize in advance.

"Every time I look at Pinterest, it makes me feel like a bad mom."

While Pinterest, and websites like it, have instigated a creative boost in many households, it's also created a culture of whining and perpetual self pity in others.  "Oh, I don't have time to monogram my calendars... I hate my life! Woe is me."  Some are choosing to cope in other ways, "Oh, like a REAL mom has time to cut their kids' sandwiches into dinosaurs every morning--haha!  Get a life."  Both of these attitudes are seriously unhealthy and seem to me, to be rooted in insecurity. If looking at the accomplishments and wins of other people make you feel like a horrible person, whether on Facebook, Pinterest, or in the flesh, it's time to stop whining or degrading others and start dealing with those insecurities. 

We shouldn't need anyone to tell us that, "it's ok if you can't do it all," which seems to be a growing trend in blogs right now.  Of course we can't do it all.  We weren't created to do it all.  Do you really think those accomplished mommy bloggers or facebook friends are "doing it all?"  No, they're doing what they do well, and we should be able to applaud and encourage them in that without immediately comparing them to ourselves.  Some people enjoy making art out of school lunches, others really get into home renovation, some pour their creativity into homeschool lesson plans and art projects, some are brilliant writers, chemists, photographers, or graphic designers.  Believe it or not, they aren't sharing their wins to put you down or show you up.

As a human being, I seriously struggle with my own perfectionism in most areas of my life, but as a follower of Jesus, I'm consistently striving to find contentment and place my confidence in God, and God alone, not in the level of organization in my cleaning schedule, the size of my waist or exercise routine, the behavior of my kids, or my accomplishments outside of the home.  We live in a culture that compares, that tries to do things better and above the person beside us.  Please hear me when I say, I get this and I fight it on a daily basis.  I'm not saying it's easy to rise above it, but I am saying it's necessary.

So, let's put on our big girl panties and stop putting ourselves and others down simply because their giftings, talents, and interests are different from ours.  Buck the status quo and encourage someone else today.  Encourage YOURSELF today.  You have all of the necessary talent and creativity that you need to accomplish what you've been purposed for, so what could be achieved by comparing yourself to another?  Quit trying to be a foot if you were made to be a hand. Be inspired and even challenged by the accomplishments of others, and then go do what you were created to do. No, you can't do it all, but you can do something, and you can do it well.  Be yourself. Be who you were created to be. I believe in you.

Side Note: I don't mention men or fathers much in this post.  This is not to say it isn't happening amongst men, but I tend to interact more with women, specifically mothers, in social media hence my emphasis on those persons. 

Also, I am NOT speaking in support of people who are verbally telling you what your giftings are and are not or what you should or should not be doing.  This post is about US reading into things that are simply not there.

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