Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Art Projects

A great activity we do almost every day is an art project.  The stamps Henry uses in the video are from the dollar bin at Target, and we've collected stickers as gifts, hand-me-downs and spontaneous purchases.  He also loves finger paints, using paint brushes, markers, etc.  I preserve the good ones in contact paper so that Henry can admire them later.  He loves to say, "I made this."  We also use contact paper with magazine cut outs, which avoids the need for glue and/or tape.  I tape the sticky side up on the table so he can place magazine and catalogue cutouts wherever he chooses, and when he's done, I put another piece of contact paper on top.  Then I cut around the edges.  You can tell from the video that he takes his art very seriously.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

All Purpose Mat

I love this particular splat mat from Land of Nod.  It's cushioned, super durable and easy to clean.  We use it for arts and crafts and I put it on the table when I know Henry is going to have a particularly messy meal.  My sister uses hers (a larger size that they don't currently sell) to protect her table on an every day basis.  Most splat mats are fine, but I think the cushion sets this one apart - I don't have to worry about Henry randomly sticking his fork into the wood table or the sharp side of a paint brush.

I'm also a fan of the sugar booger splat mats, although they are not cushioned and aren't as durable - our first one cracked after heavy use.  They do come in many different fun patterns.
SugarBooger ABC Jumbo Splat MatSugarBooger ABC Jumbo Splat Mat

Monday, March 14, 2011

Airplane/Travel Entertainment Tools

Kidz Gear Wired Headphones For KidsKidz Gear Wired Headphones For Kids
These headphones fit Henry's head perfectly and adjust as his noggin grows.  Chris' sound eliminators were too heavy for him.
Kidz Gear Stereo Headphone Splitter Adapter CableKidz Gear Stereo Headphone Splitter Adapter Cable
Great when you have 2 kids watching 1 portable device.

EZY Dose Jumbo Weekly Pill Reminder, 2XL - 1 eaEZY Dose Jumbo Weekly Pill Reminder, 2XL - 1 ea
I bought one of these at our local drugstore - you can get them for 99c, and I put goldfish, raisins, and other small snacks in each compartment.  Henry spent lots of time opening and closing the tops and eating the snacks.  Now that we're home, I'm using them for his and my vitamins.  Now I never forget to take my prenatals!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Video: Let me poo in peace!

A few months ago Henry started disappearing unannounced into dark corners and behind closed doors.  I soon discovered that he wanted to poo in peace.  Of course, he doesn't afford ME the same courtesy!  I can probably count how many times a week I get to sit on the toilet without my toddler barging in.

I caught him on video doing his "business" - and his immediate response was:  "Go Away.  Go Away.  Leave me alone."  I'm sad that he's already starting to want distance from me - but I know, it's part of growing up!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Books of the Week: Favorite Chinese Themed Children's Books

I love reading Chinese and Asian themed books to Henry.  I feel like I'm instilling in a tiny way Chinese culture into his psyche, and hopefully giving him a strong sense of identity.  I recently heard a 6 year old boy, who is half Japanese/half Caucasian, say that he thinks he looks weird, because his eyes are funny.  A high school girl I met a few months ago was offended when I couldn't tell she was half white.  She openly told me that she is slightly ashamed of her Asian half.  I told her she'll figure it all out eventually and will be very proud of who she is.  Most of us just want to fit in.  Argh!  I hope Henry never feels that his Taiwanese half makes him look or feel odd - although I'm sure he will inevitably feel some version of this at some point in his life.  

Hopefully, reading some books about Asians doing Asian cultured things will help him be proud of his Asian identity, rather than it being something that embarrasses him.  Aside - I find it interesting that even now, most of these Chinese children's books are written by non-Chinese authors.  

Below are some of our favorites:
Zen Shorts (Collector's Edition) (Zen)Zen Shorts (Collector's Edition) (Zen)
This book has beautiful watercolor illustrations and best of all tells short didactic zen tales.  Currently, Henry loves the fat panda pictures, but he sits through the stories.  I'm hoping as he gets older he will learn the meaning of the stories too!
The Empty PotThe Empty Pot
A sweet story teaching us that honesty rules all.
Tikki Tikki TemboTikki Tikki Tembo
Great rhythm, although I wonder if I'll read it to my second son, who might feel inadequate like Chang, the second son in this book whose name meant "little or nothing at all."
Round is a Mooncake: A Book of ShapesRound is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes
Learn some shapes that relate to Chinese culture!
The Story about Ping (Reading Railroad Books)The Story about Ping (Reading Railroad Books)
Little Ping the duck learns that he'd rather get spanked and be with his family than be alone on the Yangtze river and almost eaten.  Niiiiice moral to the story.

Also popular, but not my favorite:
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from ChinaLon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China
Creepy illustrations with a creepy story about killing a wolf ... but it's a classic, right?
The Five Chinese Brothers (Paperstar)The Five Chinese Brothers (Paperstar)
There's no moral to this story, but I suppose their super powers are somewhat interesting.