It's funny for me to think he's doing this because he is so different from Caspar. Otis is writings 'O's for Otis. He can recognise his name (and Caspar's name) by sight and can pick out and almost draw an O. Well, I guess he's drawing circles so it's a pretty easy letter to write.
Otis preparing snack.
Caspar demonstrating how a garbage truck works.
Caspar having fun matching the sensory bean bags with touch only.
While I was sewing today Otis used this pin cushion activity. It's part of a Montessori practical life set I purchased many years ago. Put the pins in, pull them out. Not only does it teach the child how to handle pins carefully it's also great for building concentration.
Until now I've only seen these in expensive sets. A2Z Montessori now sells them individually.
A lovely Montessori print I won (via silent auction) at the Montessori Australia Foundation Centenary Conference.
The boys made their own dinner!
Caspar playing at a birthday party on the weekend. Simple is best!
I have a graduated bolt/screw set that Caspar used many years ago. I know Otis isn't ready for the entire set yet so I tried with one. He can get it off easy, getting it on is a little harder. This is the largest one in the set. Once he can master one I will try him with two or three and see if he can match them up.
Otis on watering duty (with my new brass watering can).
I tried to introduce Otis (again!) to colour sorting. The activities I am preparing might be too easy for him, he just isn't interested. He pulled out the parachute so we played a colour game. He stands in the middle and I say a colour. He jumps or walks to that colour! Simple but engaging.
A clear and DSLR shot of Otis cutting strawberries (iPhone shot of similar on Instagram). He worked for such a long time (and his Dad kept on eating his berries), that I could have taken many more photographs.
Pictured above is a scooping activity that Otis loves. He loves it and it's easy for him. Today we tried it with some smaller balls. It's still pretty easy for him but it required concentration.
Seducing the child with beautiful materials. Lyra chalk.
I turn my back for one second and I find Otis happily pasting in his journal. He has left the pasting tray on the shelf and has just taken what he needed.
We were able to view Caspar's x-rays online. Such a fantastic opportunity to look at his own bones. Fortunately nothing is broken. He has some soft tissue damage that will hopefully heal soon.
Caspar teaches Otis to play Snap.
Caspar loves playing with his cars and he is becoming familiar with all the road signs.
On our walk, a beautiful full moon.
While Caspar is at school Otis uses his desk, and his paper and pencils. Note the pasta necklace from his threading pasta.
Caspar paying attention to deal. Washing the car with his Dad, and Otis.
I've mentioned Caspar's puzzle maps many times. I LOVE this extension idea (he has stapled together two maps and stuffed it with scrunched paper to make a globe), and his handwriting is... legible!!!
Otis reading in bed while snacking on some almonds! It's not that cold inside he just refused to take off his coat.
Thank you for visiting this page again. I have decided that although I need to clean up this page - it will remain. I wanted a quick and easy way of posting some fun photographs from the day. Posting photographs here is really quick while posting on the main page takes much longer. I will however keep an iPhone photos for Instagram (which is also quick and easy). Sorry to make changes on you again.
We've spent the last two days rearranging furniture. This is a pretty terrible iPhone pic of a study for the children. A 'study room' as Caspar calls it.
Dear Readers, I know this page isn't working for you. My intent was to post a photograph a day, a photograph of something we are doing that really isn't blog worthy. After many requests I have left photographs up but now the page is long and it's difficult to respond to your comments (sometimes this page takes a long time to load). I could post the photograph of the day in the main blog but that would fill the blog up with photographs of... critters eating corn and such. I could insert a photo album which works like a slideshow but that takes away the ability to leave comments and interact. I could post the photograph of the day on Facebook or Instagram, but I don't use Facebook much and most of my photographs are on my Nikon. Please let me know what you would like to see or what would work for you. - Kylie
Thank-you for your responses. I'll keep with this page until I find a more suitable option.
We found some (a lot of) little critters while preparing dinner. We sacrificed some corn and placed them in a jar for observation.
Finally my family is back together. My husband arrived back home this week and today we went to the circus. I love it when the circus is in town!
Caspar inside the circus. The clowns are his favourite. Otis slept through most of the show. Absolutely the best circus I've been to.
Montessori DVDs. I've watched two. Five to go. I will review them all.
Otis loves peeling eggs! Usually my photographs focus on his hands, here you get a snippet of his concentration face.
A new breadmaker after my old one stopped working almost two weeks ago. The store price-matched my best online price, saving me $68! It pays to ask.
I took some photographs this morning of Otis preparing breakfast. I really love this photograph of him putting the cap back on the milk. It's good to occasionally step back from what I am doing and observe him at work.
We are trying to fight coughs and colds with fresh juice everyday. We have different fruits and different vegetables but always ginger!
This is my kind of take out. Thanks to Mountain Creek Wholefoods, Griffith. I wish they would give me their recipes!
Our regular nature walk albeit it later in the day. Are they bush kids or city kids? We have the best of both worlds.
Caspar cracks open the shell and Otis removes the flesh.
Small pieces of walnut are stirred into the muffin mixture. The mixture is spooned into little pans.
Then baked. Banana and Walnut muffins. This mixture made seven muffins. Perfect!
Playdough followed by air-dry clay. We are loving the slow pace of school holidays.
Today we cleaned and rearranged some areas of our kitchen. I gave the kids more shelf space and reclaimed a couple of drawers. It helps that they have their things where they can see them and access them rather than rummaging around in a drawer. Especially for their baking items (cookie cutters, wooden spoons, measuring cups) which Caspar was always struggling to find. Now it's all in one place.
A new read.
National Library of Australia.
Know what this is? Here is a tip. It might require it's own post. Here is a bit more information. I'd love to hear from you if you have experience with these materials. Please let me know if you would like more information, I recently found both Australian and New Zealand suppliers.
Caspar is usually the first one awake at our house. This morning when I woke I found Caspar deep in concentration on 'researching work' - still in his pajamas. He loves researching. After reading some ideas from Beth (Thank-you Beth, I always love your comments!), Caspar and I purchased a fact file box (the large recipe card holder box on the table), some alphabet dividers and some lined cards. I love his choice of early morning snack - he has fresh grapes in the bowl next to him. He's researching robots which is a constant theme in our house. He is writing on a clipboard which is also a storage container. Inside there is just enough space for some paper and his pencil - he puts any work-in-progress in there so he can pack up his researching and carry it around, it also prevents Otis from getting to his work.
Beautiful friends and some fun magic.
Our first wholefood party. I used natural food colouring for the first time (for the icing). I love the earthy tones and will definitely use it again.
Fabulous party block building.
Otis cleaned up, after the party.
We are preparing for a birthday party. Above, I'm all for taking short cuts when it comes to party food. These are quick, easy and still incredibly healthy.
Otis digging with his new shovel, a gift from my sister.
Can you guess what we are about to do? Hint, this is called a deckle.
It's the first time he (Caspar) has completed this puzzle all by himself. He was totally thrilled that I wanted to take a photograph of it.
Backyard camping (sorry for the overexposure - my poor photography!).
Otis cutting hard boiled eggs with a serrated knife at 23 months.
Two of my favourite people - enjoying some yoga together.
Caspar and Otis making 'ghost' meringues with their aunt.
Otis has a new broom.
We love a good puppet show.
Caspar waiting patiently outside our local library. He looks much older than his five years!
I have been looking around the house for items to use for a big and small activity. An activity where the child matches a big (large) item with the same but small item. I just cannot think of anything to use!! This was the best I could find. The items do not match exactly so this is - what it is. A mother and baby activity. Otis got it straight away.
For a school project (and to celebrate the centenary!) Caspar is researching the origins of Canberra. This is the love of learning. I know he doesn't look it in this photograph but he was super excited when we found this sign.
Whisk and egg beater practice. Otis used sunlight soap that Caspar had previously grated.
Children are more likely to learn from each other than an adult. Caspar demonstrates then Otis has a turn. Cracking an egg and using an egg beater.
As we consider moving at the end of the year - these are the days I know I will miss. Fun friends at a fun location. Today at we visited the National Photographic Portrait Prize. It's nice to spend some time with adults... and Otis!
Watching a photograph develop. An early birthday present (for me!) from my husband (who is still so very far away). THE MOST FUN camera ever!! Polaroid.
What a fantastic day full of fun and colour! We started very early on the lawns of Old Parliament House for the Canberra Balloon Festival.
Unfortunately due to the weather the balloons had to stay tethered. They were spectacular all the same.
We finished the day at Skyfire. Caspar doesn't like to be too close to the fireworks (he finds it too loud - it hurts his ears) so we were at the far end of the lake. I'm thankful tomorrow is sleep-in-Sunday!
We are now 100% free from the supermarket. We shop the farmers markets for local produce and the butcher, fruit and vegetable store and wholefood store (small and independent) for organic/biodynamic produce and household items. There was one thing holding us back. It was Caspar's breakfast cereal. He (like most) likes his regular cereal. Today I took him to our wholefood store and offered to buy him any cereal he liked. Even if it's Gorilla Munch.
The most amazing architectural prints for the block room. Prints (free-download) from Walk Beside Me here. Thank you for the suggestion Pri!
Another book I'm enjoying. From Nichole's reading list.
Our smaller set of unit blocks.
We haven't used these cards for a while so I've reintroduced them as point and name cards. I try and lead Otis to get one card out at a time and name it as he puts it down. Then when they are all out I ask him to name the animal or point to a specific animal. Most of these are really easy so he enjoys it but there are a couple of challenging ones; he's still learning turtle, zebra, penguin and koala.
Preparing to 'awaken' the (sourdough) culture. It can't be hard? Right? I've read the instructions. I've watched the video. I'm still afraid I'm going to mess it up.
Otis is now using a serrated knife. This is how he's learning to cut with it. It's a nice easy cut down action. With the supporting hand on top to apply extra pressure and to keep precious fingers out of the way. Anything from carrots, potato to chocolate can be cut like this. This is a prime example of an activity that requires strength and concentration.
Super Toddler Chocolate Coconut Fudge. It's so good that I halve the recipe (to stop us eating too much of it!). I've made it twice now and both times have left out the macadamia nuts. We don't usually have macadamias in the pantry and it tastes great without them. The recipe is from Wholefood for Children. I'm sure I will end up cooking every recipe in the book. The Everyday Zucchini Bread is great - Caspar loves it and now loves zucchini. This week we've also baked the Oaty Dried Apricot Biscuits.
Otis received an unexpected gift in the mail. Someone knows us well! These animals have personality don't you think?
So Caspar could take them to school we removed the nuts. We also used chopped up dates over sultanas. The boys helped with everything. The recipe asks for roughly ground pepitas - so above Caspar and Otis are using their motar and pestles to roughly ground the pepitas! Caspar grated the carrot and Otis did lots of stirring and mixing. Although it is warm here we got caught in a heavy downpour in the morning. The cinnamon in this recipe makes them really comforting. They freeze well too.
With Caspar researching space the boys created some drawings on black card. Otis used chalk while Caspar used pencil and chalk later. The white on black is really effective. Have you read Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything? Here Caspar is using the younger persons version - A Really Short History of Nearly Everything.
Bad photo I know but I really wanted to show you these cute baskets at the organic fruit and vegetable store at the Griffith Shops. If you haven't been you need to visit at least once. Great fruit, friendly staff and totally toddler friendly. Otis loves filling his own basket.
I can recommend the Organic Buyers Group.
I thought it was going to be a rainy afternoon. It wasn't. The kids played inside anyway. This is an abstract painting titled 'The Garden'.
Caspar is using the microscope to study one of his experiments. He's still learning to focus. It's a great skill to have.
With my husband away (he's been overseas since October) my Valentine's day focus turned to my children. While Caspar was at school Otis and I made a heart shaped Gluten-free Chocolate Cake from Wholefood for Children. It's a super moist coconutty cake. We added a few raspberries to colour the icing. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day.
Caspar testing his limits at the playground. Compare to a couple of weeks ago in a photograph on the same piece of equipment (scroll down) below.
With Caspar back at school this week I've had more one-on-one time with Otis. We've been baking together and he is much more capable - a couple of months has changed everything. With this recipe we needed to 'rub in' the butter. So hands on and so much fun.
P.S We actually made a heap of mess and I've only just cleaned it up - it's almost 10pm.
Caspar's lunchbox (made by me not him!). With an apple this is his lunch today. He never eats it all. According to Wholefood for Children there are many ways we can improve his lunch. We need to add some protein. He has some meat in his sandwich but it isn't much (he has salami for goodness sake!). There is cheese in his sandwich and sometimes he has pieces of cheese - which he rarely eats. Also his sultanas contain sulphur, that's an easy one to change.
My computer screen. I love A Cup of Jo. The article is Motherhood Mondays: Toddlers in the kitchen. I can't wait to try the banana and oat cookies. It's so heart warming to see Montessori written about in a such a forum. This article is a real treasure. Thank-you Joanna.
I needed to keep Otis busy (and quiet) while I made some telephone calls. Just before I made the calls I gave him this activity. It worked perfectly, he splashed a bit but I got through all the calls uninterrupted!
His crayon pencils needed sharpening. Rather than them magically re-appear sharpened I showed Otis how we use the pencil sharpener. He was fascinated and wanted to give it a try. He could get the pencil in but didn't have the strength to sharpen it. At least now he understands the process.
Sunflower seeds. A sweet gift from Kate at An Everyday Story.
It's 10pm but it's done. With school back I'm often baking at night. Our machine is too noisy to preset - I'm a light sleeper.
A collection of feathers (from Caspar's top shelf).
We keep these on the low shelves because Otis likes them but they are really for Caspar. Caspar has done a lot of colour mixing but it's been difficult for him to see clear results - everything usually turns out brown. Colour paddles are really easy to use and the results are really clear. It helps that the red and blue make the same shade as the purple paddle etc.
Shelves. The top two shelves are for Caspar, the bottom two (the lowest shelf is out of picture) for Otis.
Otis and I picked strawberries in the rain.
I love fresh flowers. I asked the florist for a botanical unusual arrangement (below), I think she did a good job.
The boys using my old typewriter. It was a huge surprise, the typewriter works perfectly after not being touched for twenty years!
A long stretch of paper and pots of paint. Talk about a sense of order. As much as he painted he never mixed the colours.
I thought these milk bottle tops would be useful for colour matching. But the kids just like to play and rearrange.
I have no idea how Caspar talked me into buying him this today. Taking it apart is easy, not so easy to put it back together. A lesson in biology for me too.
A couple of months ago at a craft store Caspar asked for a largish hole punch. He loves using it but we've struggled to find ways to use all the punched out circles. Today he made paper garlands. Lots. It's the first time I've put the sewing machine on the low table. We had to be really careful with Otis around and wanting to help but it was worth it.
With my sister's help we moved the fish tank over the weekend. It was major work, even empty it's heavy. Unfortunately during the move (perhaps it was the stress?) we lost a fish. Today Mr Ryukin joined our family. The Mr bit I'm just guessing but he's definitely a Ryukin.
My cousin gave us some wool from his sheep. Unfortunately Caspar and Otis didn't get to see any shearing but they can see, feel and smell the wool.
Very serious work. The motion of continuously turning the handle is difficult for Otis. It's why his peel is all bunched up - he keeps on changing the direction that he turns the handle. He gets it eventually because the apple will only cut if it's turned the right way.
Sorry for my lack of posting and responding to comments. My sister has been visiting. Today we visited a new park in our neighbourhood. Physically Caspar can climb this structure - he just has to believe in himself.
Have I told you how much I love Alice Cantrell? These came up fabulous - all printed on my home printer.
Caspar's experiment. He's been making up science experiments so I ordered this book - Science Experiments You Can Eat! I think he we will love it.
Otis playing with the Australian Birds.
This game is called Elefun. We are still on school holidays and the boys do everything together. I love that both boys think this is hilarious.
Caspar is starting to make structures for standing and climbing. After this photograph he added another level, then both children climbed on and jumped off. A little bit of mathematics, a little bit of physics perhaps?
Some goodness from Goose Designs. I've had my eye on this Leaf and Bird Print Apron for a while. I also really liked the concept of the Apron in Terry Cloth but it wasn't until a friend sent me a photo of her daughter using one that I actually went ahead and ordered it. It's fine for the child to get wet when outdoors and when the weather is fine, but when indoors or in the cold you don't want to stop water play or work altogether. Rather than something waterproof the terry cloth will abosorb the moisture. I'm thinking it would be perfect for Otis when he's helping with the dishes which is always a very wet experience. I admit that I love purchasing from April, her packages are always so nicely presented.
"Mum - we need some bubbles to wash our bikes."
We've been enjoying block play inside and out. We'll be taking blocks outside more often (Thank-you for the suggestion Julia). Caspar mainly builds cities (the photograph above is Melbourne!). I can't wait to see what comes next.
Vintage educational books for Caspar.
Wednesday: It looks like Otis couldn't decide which crayons to use. As with any toddler he is far from perfect when it comes to putting away.
Tuesday: Otis using the kaleidoscope - or working out how to use it. I like this kaleidoscope becuase it's nice and big.
Monday: Caspar received this sprouter for Christmas. Otis and I washed and soaked some alfalfa seeds. These gifts are from my cousins.
Sunday: A Christmas gift which had the kids giggling - it plays music as it goes!
Saturday: An exquisite Japanese bell. Caspar rings it usually when he has finished a task or needs help with something. He has it perfected, he can ring it softly and clearly. Otis is a rough kind of toddler, I use it to teach him gentleness. You cannot ring the bell with a heavy hand, the more gentle you are the finer (and more beautiful) the sound.
Friday: Caspar's Zoobs. These were a gift from a friend for his birthday. He plays with them at least once a day. They are not magnetic they just click together. They roatate at the joints. They're also very colourful.
Thursday: Caspar and I (with some help from Otis) made some personalised beads using stamps and FIMO. Then we strung the beads to make necklaces. Easy and they look brilliant when finished. FIMO = good for developing hand strength.
Tuesday: What is a collective of robots?
Monday: Otis. 21 months. It's hot. We're in a heat wave. Lego on the kitchen table? Always!
Friday: Does your toddler like to watch...