Sunday, August 24, 2014


For the past few week the hubby and I have been involved in the house buying process, which has kept us busy to say the least. We are waiting to see what the appraiser says and then we will being going to closing! Because of this and a few other things going on, I feel a little behind as far as what I had planned to do this week. Despite these distractions, S made AMAZING progress this week! She has picked up how to use "out," "up," and almost "in." To be honest, all of these words mostly sound like grunts with a consonant stuck on there some where. But, in the broader sense, she is learning to use words to express what she wants instead of screams and cries. I still have to prompt her to use the words and that's ok because we are taking baby steps here (pun indented).

** I found that even though I was focusing on a specific concept that day, other concepts could be reinforced throughout each day. As a matter of fact, the best way to teach these concepts is to continually use them on a daily basis.

Monday: Use a large box for in/out, up/down, light/dark, open/close, over/under. Sort toys into two piles of opposites (hard/soft, big/small, noisy/ quiet).

We were lucky to have a very large box leftover from our party last week. We had lots of fun with Uncle Z getting in and out, and being pushed around the living room.
Tuesday: light switch on/off

S learned a month or so ago about the power (and fun) of a light switch. Every time we walk by one she insists on turning it on and off a few times. It has been kinda handy when I'm carrying her and neither of my hands are free to turn off a light. Since we had the light switch thing down, I focused on other things that could be "on or off." We played with the lid to her snack up by putting it on and off, and we put a beaded necklace on and off.
Wednesday: Hello/ Goodbye with front door.

It's such a bitter sweet learning experience to practice hello and goodbye. I chose to use the door to her little play house instead of the front door to the house. She got pretty good at waving goodbye (and blowing kisses) but not so much at hello. To reinforce the idea of hello means "I'm here!" and goodbye means "I'm gone" I played peek-a-boo but used hello and goodbye instead of "where is S" and "peek-a-boo."

Thursday: Up/Down, High/Low

By far, my favorite thing S has learned with week was "up." No more screaming and pulling at my leg, mostly. And it was a lot of fun to learn this concept. At first, when she said up I would throw her in the air, then each time she wanted me to pick her up I would ask her if she wanted up. She doesn't remember to use the word all the time but she is willing to say it when prompted. This is progress, people!
Friday: Stop/Go, Over/Under

These two concepts are a little advanced for S (seeing how she just had her first birthday last week), but it was fun to practice anyway. My SIL has an awesome little red wagon that S loves to get in every time we are out back. So we played "stop and go." I would say GO and proceed to move the wagon, then I would yell STOP and stop the wagon abruptly (but gently enough to not to make her fly out of the vehicle) to demonstrate stopping. We also played stop and go during our morning walks and while pushing the walker.

I hadn't really considered doing Over/Under until I talked to my mom earlier in the week. She has been a teacher in the public school district for about sixteen years, working with students ranging from kindergarten to high school. She said that one of the hardest learning concepts kindergarten teachers have is teaching Over/Under. Which, if you think of it, is kind of hard to teach without getting physically moving. I didn't do too much with this concept, but we did go to the play area at the mall and crawled under a few things. I don't think it would be too hard to set up a little tunnel with pillows or cardboard, or even to use a table to practice going over and under things. This is not a fully thought-out concept (I guess most of my ideas aren't either), but I felt that it was worth mentioning.

More concepts to work on:

Songs: Open/Shut them, If You Chance to Meet a Frown
Books: Opposites by Sandra Boynton


I am realizing that my original idea to do a new activity each day with a new focus is a little too much at this stage in Summer's life. Next week we are going to try a few different approaches. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Summer's First Birthday Party!

Let it be known that Summer Ann Colton has survived her first year of life, despite her parents' lack of experience and training. We shall celebrate with CAKE!!
To see the birthday girl's cake-eating experience click here: 
And presents!

And who could forget that delicious spaghetti dinner . . .

It was a great day, and fun was had by all! Thank you to our family who made it a very special day.  

Tips for toddler birthdays:
1. Keep guest list to intimately known friends.
2. I would suggest doing the party in this order: Sing & Blow out candles, give guests cake and ice cream and have birthday person open gifts while guests are eating, then give birthday girl or boy cake. As the guests finish eating, give them gift bags. That way everyone is always busy with food or toys. (This is not a tested theory).
3.If you want to make colored whipping cream frosting, mix the color in the cream before starting to whip it. Don't over whip cream into butter! Here is the recipe I used I also suggest this recipe if you are going to be leaving your cake/cupcakes out for a while
4. Have snacks for kids as they arrive to they won't be overwhelmingly hungry for cake and ice cream before it's time.
5. Keep gifts out of reach of kids.
 (Thank you Julie for a lot of these tips!)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Birthday Girl

Little girl S is turning one! I can't even believe that she has been in our lives for a whole year. She went from this adorable little chunk
To this beautiful little girl

She is such a blessing from our Heavenly Father! In honor of her birthday week, we learned about birthdays. Here is our schedule for the Week:
Monday- Balloons, balloon pit with pool, tossing balloon, rolling, kicking, making noises with balloons, fill them with different things= rice, air, water, jello, cotton balls, etc, blow bubbles
**WARNING: beware of latex allergies. My husband gets red itchy painful skin when he blows up balloons so I chose not to use latex balloons but FOIL balloons instead. Due to fussiness we didn't get to most of them. She did have fun crinkling the semi flat balloon and punching them around.
Tuesday- Birthday Apparel and Games, birthday crown, boa, blow out candles, noise makers, dance party
I pulled out some of S's favorite stuffed toys to use as "birthday guests." We took turns putting on party hats and necklaces. Mostly I put the stuff on and she took them off. Then she put the necklaces on me. It was very cute watching her put the necklaces on and off. Cousin J played dress up with us too.
Wednesday- Presents, different wrapping paper, play with tape on box and floor, play with tissue paper, stuff boxes with toys, top with bows
I think I was more excited about this than she was. I took some of her favorite toys and wrapped them in different boxes and bags. We talked about the size of the bags and boxes. She especially loved the noise of the tissue paper and opening and closing the lid to the box.
Thursday-Cakes, bake cake or cupcakes, decorating with frosting, building a cake
We didn't end up doing this, unfortunately =(  Life got too busy. But I did find an awesome recipe for delicious whipped cream frosting that didn't have too much sugar in it. Here is the link:
This is another good one
** Just make sure you don't over whip your cream**
Friday- Birthday Day! Cake Smash, special dinner, swimming
 We ended up doing her birthday party a week early because we had cousins in town and we wanted to celebrate with them. On her actual birthday Dad came home early and we had mashed potatoes, meat balls, and corn (her favorite foods), and cupcakes. Thanks to Skype, Gramma and Grampa Graham, Auntie Hil and Uncle Justin got to sing happy birthday to her too. It was a fun first birthday.
Books: Birthday Monsters by Sandra Boynton, Bear's Birthday by Stella Blackstone, The Birthday Box by Leslie Patricelli, A Birthday for Cow! by Jan Thomas, Birthday Rhymes Special Times by Bobbye S Goldstein
Birthday Songs: All of my favorite birthday songs came from the primary song book,  
We also watched a lot Elmo's World Birthday episode on
I hope you enjoyed reading and got some good ideas. See you next week.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Alright, people we are overhauling this blog! It's time to update and try a few new thing. I am going to try to focus more on our raising our daughter and hobbies. My goal is to post once or twice a week. Once to review our learning week with Summer and another time to document our family memories. Here we go!