Monday, January 18, 2016


Happy 2016! We took a year off from this blogging thing as life was a little crazy for us in 2015!

The big life changer was that my husband accepted a job offer in another state. We decluttered our house, put it on the market, and went on a road trip while strangers wandered through our home (always a weird thing knowing random people are walking through your house). All of our hard worked paid off though. Our house sold in 8 days! It all happened so quickly, and we weren't entirely ready to make the full move yet. We ended up moving all of our belongings into my in-laws basement and garage for about 2 weeks while we waited to close on our new house. Additionally, my husband still had his previous job and was commuting back and forth. We are finally settled in our new home and are loving being closer to family.

I'll admit though, I have not been very consistent with Little Cutie as far as our "school" time is concerned. We read tons of books and occasionally color, but nothing much past that. And I don't feel like I have done anything with Little Sister other than read books.

So, as we begin a new year, I have made a goal to spend more intentional time with our girls as the days seem to go by so quickly lately and I don't want to miss another opportunity. I'll be sharing our adventures on here, as well as a few (now very old) posts that I never finished.

Monday, November 3, 2014

18 Months: Trains

We recently went and met Thomas the Tank Engine and thought it would be a good idea to take a week to explore trains!

Maisy's Train by Lucy Cousins
Fast Train, Slow Train (Thomas & Friends)
Trains by Colleen Carroll (How Artists See Jr.)
The Little Train by Lois Lenski
Freight Train by Donald Crews
Inside Freight Train by Donald Crews
There Berenstain Bears All Aboard! by Jan & Mike Berenstain
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Thomas the Tank Engine Big Lift-and-Look Book by Rev. W. Awdry

I created this foam shape train puzzle on the computer and cut the shapes out of craft foam. Little Cutie really enjoyed doing this puzzle. Above is a picture of where she placed everything. You can print a copy of the puzzle here.

(I got the pieces for this Tot Book from 1+1+1=1. We opted not to use the Thomas and Friends part.) This was the first time we used a Tot Book and I was interested to see how it would go since Little Cutie is not much of a sit down and do something kind of kiddo. She wasn't really interested in the "How Many?" pieces at all. She did enjoy coloring the trains...just a few scribbles on each page though (more interested in the crayons themselves than coloring). We took the shapes out and put them in our mini pocket chart ($1 at the One Spot in Target!) and talked about what each shape was; she liked moving them around to different places on the pocket chart.

(I got this printable from Royal Baloo.) This was our first time using a dot marker, and really, it was just a bingo marker from the dollar store. Little Cutie wanted to move the dot marker around like a regular marker.

We don't own any toy trains, so we headed to our local library. They have a play table covered with tracks and trains. Little Cutie always loves playing with the trains. We put together a simple circular track and she drove the trains around it.

Real Train Ride
Sorry, no picture, but we had the opportunity to ride on a real train. The engine looked like Thomas the Tank Engine. The conductor even came and punched our tickets (it reminded me of a scene from The Polar Express). Little Cutie seemed to enjoy herself.

Follow Lauren at Our Little Ducklings's board Transportation on Pinterest.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

18 Months: Fall

Check out our week celebrating the arrival of fall! We focused mostly on leaves.

Fall Leaves by Liesbet Slegers
Baby Loves Fall! by Karen Katz
I Love Fall! by Alison Inches
Mouse's First Fall by Lauren Thompson
Let It Fall by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

I printed out a picture of a tree from 3 Dinosaurs and leaves from Carson Dellosa to glue onto the branches. This was our first time using a glue stick, so I didn't know how Little Cutie would do with it. I showed her what to do and she mostly understood. The biggest problem was that she didn't put enough glue on it so sometimes the leaves didn't stick, but we just went over it again. She really enjoyed this.

Little Cutie really enjoyed this activity. She didn't fully grasp the scooping concept though. She held the scoop in one hand and put the pom in the scoop with the other hand. Then she carried the scoop and poms all over the house and dumped the poms from one container into the other. She actually lasted about 3 days before she started putting the poms in her mouth. We are really looking forward to the end of that phase!

Once the leaves started falling, we headed outside to check them out. Little Cutie loved crunching around on them and picking them up.

Follow Lauren at Our Little Ducklings's board Seasons: Fall on Pinterest.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

18 Months: Music

After taking some time off to get used to life with two girls under two, we had a fantastic week learning about music! We chose the Baby Loves Jazz book series by Andy Blackman Hurwitz to structure our week. Each book came with a CD to go along with the book. Little Cutie absolutely loves dancing to music even if it is just from a commercial on TV, so I knew she would enjoy this theme.

Music Is by Lloyd Moss
Music by Neil Ardley
Baby Loves to Rock by Wednesday Kirwan

Philly Joe Giraffe's Jungle Jazz (Drums)
Philly Joe Giraffe plays the drums. The CD had mini drum lessons that we practiced with...mostly it was just different beats. We don't have a drum set (thankfully!), so we made our own drum using a plastic container and some pencils for drumsticks. A short and fat container would have worked better, as ours kept falling over, but Little Cutie was really getting into it!

Duck Ellington Swings Through the Zoo (Piano)
Duck Ellington plays the piano. In the book, he plays the piano for different animals in the zoo, so we were able to talk about animals too. We have a Little Tikes Tap-a-Tune piano that Little Cutie played along with the CD.

Miles the Crocodile Plays the Colors of Jazz (Trumpet)
Miles the Crocodile plays the trumpet (another instrument we do not own). In the book, he plays different songs based on different colors. The lighter colors seemed to be more upbeat songs and the darker colors were more mellow. This also gave us an opportunity to review color.

Ella Elephant Scats Like That (Vocals)
Ella Elephant scats. We talked about how our voices can be used as musical instruments through singing, or in the case, scatting.

There are three other characters in the series that we did not read:
- Charlie Bird Counts to the Beat (Saxophone)
- Louis Lion Sings Goodnight (Vocals)
- Mingus Mouse Plays Christmastime Jazz (Bass)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

17 Months: Clothing

We took a week to focus on different articles of clothing and worked on getting dressed.

Clothes by Liesbet Slegers
Caillou My Clothes
My Blankie by Alice Beauvisage
Clothes by Debbie Bailey
Will You Wear the Blue Hat (Scholastic Rookie Toddler)
Get Dressed! by Seymour Chwast

Fairy Dress-Up Puzzle
Little Cutie has done many puzzles before, however, with this puzzle, she just took the pieces out and played with them without the board. We worked on matching the colors and patterns of each top and bottom without the board since she didn't seem to want to play with it.

Laugh & Learn My Pretty Learning Purse
Little Cutie loves to take everything out of the purse and put everything back in. She also loves to wear the bracelet and pretend to talk on the cell phone. We talked about how all the things in the purse were accessories.

Matching Socks
I didn't think she would be able to match the pairs of socks, but it was worth a shot. She enjoys putting socks on her hands and tries to hold things with them on her hands. She has tried to put socks on her own feet, but hasn't mastered that skill yet.

Hat Box
I put together a box with a bunch of Little Cutie's hats. She normally hates having anything in her hair/on her head, but to my surprise, she actually loved putting on all the hats. We talked about how we wear warm hats in the winter to keep us warm and lighter hats in the summer for shade from the sun. She laughed when I tried to put her little hats on my head.

Friday, September 5, 2014

16 Months: Big Sister/Family

In anticipation of the arrival of our second daughter, we took a week to focus on Little Cutie becoming a big sister and our family. I didn't take many action shots as it was getting difficult to get around, but we did have a good time learning about our family.

Arthur's Baby by Marc Brown
A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban
The Berenstain Bears' New Baby by Stan Berenstain
Big Sisters Are the Best by Fran Manushkin
Franklin's Baby Sister by Paulette Bourgeois
I'm a Big Sister by Joanna Cole
The New Baby by Mercer Mayer

Little Mommy Baby So New
We worked on showing Little Cutie how to be gentle with the baby doll and how babies sometimes use pacifiers (Little Cutie is a thumb sucker, so we don't have any pacifiers out). We also rocked the baby in our arms and tried to encourage her to carry the baby that way instead of holding it by it's head. :)

Little People Happy Sounds Home
Little Cutie played with this house for a while. She loved to put all the people and furniture through the door. She also loved making the toilet flush and the phone ring.

Family Photo Album
I put together a small 3x5 photo album of pictures of some of our immediate family members. Little Cutie loved flipping through the pages and we talked about who each person is and how they are related to her. We do not have any family that live close to us, so it was a good way for her to see family members that she doesn't get to see in person very often.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

16 Months: Body Parts

Check out our week all about body parts!

Whose Toes Are Those? by Jabari Asim
Whose Knees Are These? by Jabari Asim
Where Is Baby's Belly Button? by Karen Katz
Clap Your Hands! (Sesame Street)
Baby Faces by Margaret Miller
Horns to Toes and In Between by Sandra Boynton
Here Are My Hands by Bill Martin

Mrs. Potato Head
Meet the new Mrs. Potato Head! She's slimmer and has sprouted feet! Little Cutie loved this toy all week and it was the first one she went for when she saw all the toys on the shelves. For some reason she really loved Mrs. Potato Head's ears and kept carrying them all over the house. She also took out the lips and would stick them in her mouth so it looked like she had lips. We took all the pieces out and let Little Cutie put them in how she wanted. Great for fine motor skills!

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes Song
We read Knees and Toes (Scholastic Rookie Toddler) and then sang the song version while pointing to the body parts on myself and then on Little Cutie. She was giggling the whole time and loved this song!

Hairbrush, Mirror, and Washcloth
We set out a hairbrush, hand mirror, and washcloth for Little Cutie. She loved playing with her hairbrush the most. We had some visitors over and she kept brushing everyone's hair. She also used the washcloth to pretend wash her face and looked at herself in the mirror.

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Love to Play Sis
Little Cutie loves this toy. She loves to hug it and carry it around the house. We tried to focus on pointing out the puppy's body parts, which are labeled, and pushing the buttons on those parts to make the puppy talk.