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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rainbow Noodle Sensory Activity

Rainbow Noodle Sensory Activity

So I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought what would be more fun for the kids than turning one of their favorite foods different colors and then being told they can play with it?  Well Dylan, Jake and Emma agreed!  This activity was one of our favorites.  Jake is currently obsessed with two things, pasta and monkeys, so I knew he would be into this.  
The setup:
During nap time I got to work!  I boiled a whole package of spaghetti noodles according to the directions on the package.  (You could probably use half a package of pasta for just one or 2 kids.. this made plenty)  Don't over cook them and DON'T add any oil or the food coloring won't absorb into the noodles.  Next drain the water and let the noodles cool for about 30 minutes. I used this time wisely by folding laundry and catching up on my important TV shows like Real Housewives of Beverly of Hills and The Bachelor.  
(Don't be jealous of my laundry pile)
Anyways... after the noodles are cool and the laundry is folded, separate the noodles into different piles.  You can do as few or as many colors as you'd like but I went with 4 colors this time.  I used red, blue, green and yellow.  It works out well that each of the kids have a different favorite color. This prevents fighting.  Emma is yellow, Jake is red, and Dylan is blue. 
I used large paper bowls to mix it since is a bit messy and I didn't feel like doing any extra dishes.  If you don't want to use paper, it's just food coloring so it will clean up easily.  The trick to coating the noodles is to keep turning them. I used 2 plastic forks. This way I could use the forks to also help separate the noodles.  I would add a few drops at a time until all the noodles were coated.  This process took about 20 minutes or so, but they looked beautiful and I was anxious for the kids to wake up from their naps so they could enjoy this new colorful noodle fun.  However, you need to let the noodles soak up the food coloring and dry, so I let them sleep and went back to enjoying the peace and quiet in the house.
The activity:
For most of these types of activities I always have them buckled into their boosters, I do this for many purposes, but mostly so that I can contain the mess to the kitchen area only. I'm completely OCD when it comes to messiness so this helps me keep my sanity.  Once they were ready I introduced the activity explaining to them how exciting it was that the noodles changed colors, but that this also meant we couldn't eat the noodles.  We talked about all the colors and if they were bright colors or dark colors and then I asked them which colors they would like in their bowl.  They all chose all four colors. I gave them forks so they could twirl the noodles and plastic knives so they could cut them.  Then I let them explore and have fun.  Next time I'll include tongs and safety scissors to extend our noodle fun! 
After they had time to explore on their own I would ask questions.  I would ask Emma to find me a yellow noodle, then I would ask Dylan to find me a green noodle, etc.  I also wanted to talk about long and short so I held up 2 noodles of different sizes and colors and asked them to tell me which noodle was the long noodle. I would repeat it over and over.  Emma and Jake got it right away and by the end Dylan had caught on.  They were having so much fun and I always love to see their imaginations and creativity shine through when we do these types of things.  Emma was making snakes and Jake was making bananas for his monkey that day.
Since they were having so much fun I decided to take the activity one step further.  We've been working on letter recognition and they've become very good at spelling their names so I thought it would be fun to make letters on paper using the noodles. I got regular computer paper out and the noodles stuck perfectly to the papers. I helped them use the noodles to spell their names.  They handed me the noodle and told me what letter I needed to make. The best part, that I hadn't intentionally planned, was that the food coloring rubbed off onto the paper enough that it left the letter marks there. Once they realized this they wanted to continue designing the paper, thus a further activity was created.

They ask to do this activity all the time.  It is a bit messy, but the food coloring comes off their hands easily.  I stored the noodles in ziplock bags in the fridge. I tossed them after a week; I wasn't willing to test how much longer they would have gone.  
 I hope this motivates you to try it with your little one(s). Keep checking back for more activities to come this week!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How do you do it?!

Since the day Dylan, Jake and Emma were born I get stopped whenever I'm out with them, especially with the triple stroller, from random people who want to ask me a million questions. Usually they are out of curiosity and fascination, but every now and then you get a rude and obnoxious comment.  I could probably write a whole blog just about the comments I've gotten... I'll save that for another day!  However the most common question is "How do you do it?!" 
I never know how to respond to this. I always say "I just do it". And that is essentially what I do. Of course it's not this easy, it never is when your have 3 kids at the same time, but that's exactly what I do because I don't know how to do it any differently, nor would I want to!
One of the methods to my madness is creating lots of structured activities.  Most of my friends joke that they would like to send their kids to me for preschool because they know I love to do fun, engaging and even messy activities on a daily basis.  What they don't realize is that if I don't do structured activities D, J & E will fight all morning long, most likely over the same toy that we happen to have 3 of, which clearly does not matter to them in that moment...  So this way they are engaged and happy and I can keep my sanity and enjoy a cup of coffee!
I may have the background of being an elementary school teacher, but I'm so grateful for Pinterest for helping me find so many great new ideas! 
Over the next few days I'll show you some of our favorite activities we do to keep us busy over here!  
Here are some pictures of Dylan, Jake and Emma in action during some of these activities. Keep looking for details of these to come soon!

Cloud Dough

DIY Felt Boards and Activities



Monday, February 25, 2013

And we're here... All 5 of us!

Where do I begin?!?  It's been almost 3 years since I last posted. And I'm proud to report that I have 3 happy, healthy, loving and crazy 2 and a half year olds. I stopped posting when my pregnancy got so difficult that I feared I was going to lose the babies. Thankfully that never happened and they were born by scheduled csection on July 2, 2010 at 31 weeks. Dylan Bronx, baby A, was born at 12:29pm and weighed 3lbs 8 oz.  Jake Alexander, Baby B, was born at 12:30 and weighed 1lb 12.5oz. (He stopped growing due to IUGR and after 3 weeks it was decided they were safer out than in so we delivered). And lastly, Baby C, Emma Avery was born at 12:31 weighing 3lb 7oz. All were healthy and had a relatively uneventful NICU stay mainly to feed and grow. Emma came home first after 4.5 weeks, Dylan was next after 6.5 weeks and Jake came home when he reached 4lbs at 8 weeks!  Dylan came home on oxygen for about 2.5 months, but thankfully that was our only health issue related to being born so prematurely. 
We survived the infant year with flying colors. I loved that time. Most people think I'm crazy but I had a great schedule, I had great sleepers and I had some pretty great babies!  I also pumped for 13.5 months. They never had formula which was a pretty impressive feat. At my peak I could pump 100 ounces a day.  I miss those days, but I'm loving our new phase of toddlerhood! 
Now the fun really begins!  Dylan is currently 31 lbs and 3ft tall, Emma is 28lbs and 3 ft tall and Jake is 21 lbs and 31.5" tall. Jake will be starting Human Growth Hormone Therapy in the next month or so due to his inability to grow from IUGR. There will be more details to come in the following weeks about that.  They go to preschool 3 days a week and when they aren't in school I'm always doing activities with them, having play dates with our other friends or going to classes! I'm in awe of how smart, caring, loving and beautiful they are. It's an amazing thing to see them growing up and remembering back to when they were all in my belly at the SAME time!  
So that's our very quick update and I hope to keep everyone up to date on the craziness of having THREE 2 year olds!  
Here's a look at our first Valentine's Day and our most recent one :)