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October 2012
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December 2012

Care of self is one area that without thought our children practice everyday. Putting on clothes, brushing teeth, washing hands. For Otis preparing snack is also a part of everyday practice. Pouring, cutting, tonging. It's a nice reminder that in the home not all activities need to be presented on a tray, on the shelf. Why not make practical life activities as practical as possible. So many people say they do a lot of Montessori without thought, not necessarily subscribing to Montessori it just seems like a good way to do things. Yes, Montessori or not, a child preparing snack... Read more →

Late in the afternoon I decided we needed to brighten up our living space. Some children's artwork and about half an hour later... It may look like too much temptation but Otis hasn't touched it - other than to feel the paint. I have almost finished a photo wall in the bedroom which goes right down to the floor also. Yay for cheap and easy decorating. Read more →

It was a hot day today. While my children spent the afternoon outside with buckets of water and spray bottles - Otis began the day with some super simple indoor water activities. Sponging is an activity that Otis loves at our Montessori Parent-Toddler class. Two bowls, one with a small sponge and some water. The child uses the sponge to transfer the water from bowl to bowl. This is an activity that I have used as a diversion at school. Otis loves water play (like most toddlers I'm sure). If he is taking a long time washing dishes or at... Read more →

Do you know what is in your children's 'non-toxic' paint? I don't because it's not on the label. In the interest of 'blog research' we are road testing some eco and natural kids paints. I decided to start with finger paint. I am more trusting when the paint is on the end of a brush but when it's on their skin for half the day I'd rather know what's in it and know it's natural. For finger paint I think homemade is the best way to go but I wish I had these wee can too paints when Otis was... Read more →

By far the most questions I receive from readers of the blog are about sleep. Argh bedtime! For many it's not easy. A toddler, a floor bed and parents not prepared to sleep train or cry it out - what's the answer? I don't have the answer but I'll share with you our bedtime routine. First some background on 19 month old Otis. He sleeps on his floor bed (most of the time) which is in the bedroom he shares with his brother (Caspar 5 yrs). We don't have a gate on any doors and all bedroom doors are left... Read more →

After writing about buying and eating local foods I began to think seriously about other products that we consume. In what other areas could we 'do better'? Straight away I was brought back to my post about breakages where I wrote of our desire to use real natural (breakable) materials in our home including drinkware and crockery. I was reminded of a comment left by a reader who supports her local artists by using locally produced pottery. Why weren't we doing this? The bowl which broke in that post was imported from the U.S. I love U.S producers but it... Read more →

We've recently found out how difficult it is for a young child to identify rocks and minerals. The specimens that are available for sale are often low grade (and therefore affordable) and the specimens in books are usually high grade. Some rocks and minerals look different depending on where they are found or how they have been cut and/or polished/prepared. I took this into consideration when setting up our Rocks and Minerals Exploration area. Caspar started with a small collection of rocks and minerals from a kit. As we add a new rock or mineral we make an identification card... Read more →

The eighteen month mark is a significant one in my mind. It feels like it's the change from baby to toddler. Previously I would hold Otis (have him on my hip) as he brushed his teeth, so that he could see the mirror and often I would brush my teeth at the same time. Previously his mirror was in his room, but now the two boys are in the same bedroom there is no room for it. We have recently put his mirror in the bathroom and made some additions to make teeth brushing easier. Along with the low mirror... Read more →

I mentioned in my post about meal planning that I feel like I am maturing as a mother. I feel like I have meal planning under control and I really feel like this makes me a better parent. More organised, calmer at meal time and of course it helps Caspar with meal time too. It's required a change in thinking on my part not only to plan the meals but over the past few months we've also tried to buy organic and/or local and less from the supermarket. Not to blow the budget this has occurred gradually as we have... Read more →

I love the thought of a Friday night tradition. Pizza and movie night appeals to me but I know that is not going to happen until my children are older - much older (neither of them would sit through a whole movie). I love the thought of family art night. But Caspar (who leads us on this parenting journey) isn't a huge on art, he likes to draw but art would not be his choice. Caspar love making, he loves building. His 'making box' is bursting at the seams. We are collecting almost everything possible (think recyclables) for making. I... Read more →

Have you ever wondered what a real Montessori school looks like? Have you ever questioned if a Montessori school you have visited is authentic? Do you know what to look for in a Montessori school? Louise Livingston from the Maria Montessori Institute UK helps to answer these questions in What is Montessori? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- What is Montessori? By Louise Livingston There are so many misconceptions about Montessori. Some people say ‘that’s where the children are allowed to do exactly as they like’ others say ‘it’s too rigid – the children have to work all the time and have no time to... Read more →

I had a stressful weekend and a terrible start to the week. After driving a hire car for four days I was more than appreciative when our mechanic finally arrived to finish the job he started. While he was tinkering away on our car I was in desperate need of stress relief. Gardening with the kids has a calming effect on me. From start to finish I didn't think about our car (or mechanic) once. I had this idea pinned on my To do board but I didn't have the exact same supplies. The idea is originally from a Bean... Read more →

. There is no doubt Lego was a significant invention. Known around the world for decades Lego has received many awards and many have labelled it the best toy ever. As a parent there are many reasons why I love Lego. Fun for all ages. From Duplo to Lego Architecture, Lego has products that cover childhood. Aesthetics. Although it's plastic I find Lego visually appealing. Duplo in a bucket or Lego on a table those brightly coloured blocks look fantastic and I can't help but think they look a little retro. Open ended. Although most Lego is now sold in... Read more →

I recently wrote about my greatest toddler frustration.Tammy left a comment fondly reminiscing of using a child sized shopping cart when she was young and wondering why no one has them anymore. Our supermarket has those carts and I had allowed Caspar to use them before but not Otis. Why not Otis? Because I thought it would be a disaster. I thought he would run into people. I thought he would put random objects into the cart. I was wrong. It turned out to be a really good experience. Otis was super serious, I think steering required a lot of... Read more →