Archive for June, 2013

A Baby’s Room on a Shoestring Budget (Pt. 1)

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

by Kristin

For some inexplicable reason, I had a strong ‘nesting instinct’ during my pregnancy with Oliver. Perhaps it was because I was feeling more energetic this pregnancy than the last two, or perhaps it was because I had finally settled on a plan as to which room would be the baby’s room for the foreseeable long-term future. Whatever the case may be, I was eager to make more preparations for this little one than I had been able to for Justin and Patrick.

This is how the room looked before I started:

The boys were staying there, and yes, the room was cluttered. The closet didn’t have a door, and it was a real eyesore. Boxes of diapers piled up in corners because I didn’t have any other place to store them. And just previous to these pictures being taken, I had gotten rid of a not-so-attractive white change table which didn’t match any of the other furniture. I switched to using a change pad on top of a dresser, which is a real space saver in such a small room.

So that is what I started with, and this is what I did to prepare the room for Oliver:

First, we made a loft/bunk bed for Justin and moved the boys into another room, along with their furniture.

With the boys’ furniture out of the way, I got the basics in place: crib, dresser, and glider chair.

I really wanted to make a curtain to hide the clutter in the closet, so I went to Fabricland looking for a cute fabric suitable for a baby’s room. I was intending to purchase a safari animal print with little lions and monkeys and the like, and there was a good selection of such to be had, but I soon discovered it would cost me about $15 to $20 per meter on average! I quickly had the store employee usher me to the on-sale fabrics’ table. After picking through those rolls of fabric for some time, I finally settled on a dark green one which I thought would be decent enough for my project, bought five meters of it for $15 total, picked up some spools of thread and left.

Once home, however, the wheels of creativity began to turn. I realized that if I scaled down a little on the width of the closet curtain, I would have enough remaining fabric to make other items for the baby’s room. I then went through my fabric scraps and pulled out a light green bed skirt I had been given but which didn’t fit our bed. The two fabrics seemed complementary, and so I ran with it.

First I made the closet curtain as I intended using the fabric I had purchased. I then made a pleated crib skirt out of the bed skirt material, with recessed panels of the dark green fabric. The crib skirt would serve to hide the packages of diapers out of sight under the crib. Lastly, to add some frill to the window, I made a simple window valance out of the bed skirt material, with a trim of the dark green fabric.

[See “A Baby’s Room on a Shoestring Budget (Pt.2)]


Cloud in a Jar

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

A few weeks ago I was doing a unit on weather with the boys. I made a daring trip to the community library (with a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a 3-week-old baby! Am I crazy? At times…) and we picked out some children’s books on the subject.

At home, the boys were given the opportunity to learn about the three states of water (liquid, solid, gas) hands-on with some simple experiments.  We froze water in an ice cube tray in the freezer, and then melted the cubes in a sauce pan on the stove (with adult supervision of course!) until the water disappeared as steam. It was great to see their little minds churning and the excitement on their faces as they watched the transition from solid to liquid to gas!

We then learned about the water cycle and the three big words associated with it: Evaporation, Condensation, and Precipitation. Little kids aren’t afraid of big words, so I teach them these words and try to explain the concepts as best I can.

We then studied clouds, and Justin and Patrick were taught the names of the clouds and learned which clouds are responsible for rain and storms.

As part of all this, we did a little activity I found online called “Cloud in a Jar.”

First I half-filled a big glass jar with water, and then I put a layer of shaving cream on top of the water as the “cloud.”

The boys then added blue food colouring on top of the cloud until the “rain” became too heavy for it…

In addition to this activity, I made some simple weather fridge magnets for the boys to chart the weather with, and converted a plastic flowerpot into a “rain gauge.” Ryan took the boys into the garage and made a weathervane with them too. 🙂




Dinosaur Fossil Creations!

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Once in a while, when I’m feeling energetic and ambitious, I do some preschool with my boys. I draw inspiration for my teaching methods from different educational philosophies, such as Montessori, Charlotte Mason, classical education, etc. Mostly, I try to read good, solid books  to the children and give them hands-on activities to help draw their interest and make these lessons more memorable for their young minds.

Back in January and February, we were learning about Creation and Noah’s Flood, and we took a little detour to study about dinosaurs, which is an interest of the boys. Justin and Patrick have a small collection of toy dinosaurs and have learned most of their dinosaurs names (such as ‘Parasaurolophus’ and ‘Pachycephalosaurus’).

As part of this study, we decided to make some fossils of our own using the boys’ toy dinosaurs and a simple salt dough recipe I found online for just such a project.

The boys helped with stirring the dough…

And with rolling the dough…

We then pressed their toy dinosaurs (and our hands!) into the dough to make fossil imprints, and baked our ‘fossils’ in the oven:

After our fossils cooled, we pulled out some craft paint and brushes and went crazy! 🙂