24 Sep 2014

Family Travels :: Italy & Austria

Our road trip was a little different than we expected. Quite honestly it was hard. A 14 hour drive, turned into 18, a child was sick 2x in the car in the middle of the night, it was raining when we arrived at our b&b on the beach and the next morning we woke up to one of our children having an acute asthma attack!

But God...

kept us safe
sustained us
helped us find an AMAZING children's hospital 
provided us with a nurse that spoke English
made a way for 3 days in the hospital + medications to only cost us 4 Euros!

We jokingly call it the best worst vacation ever... we eventually made it to our Fellowship International European staff conference outside of Rome. The week was a great blessing to us, with good bible teaching, a private petting zoo for the boys, the ability to make a few short day trips to italian villages and the beach.

The drive home wasn't a whole lot better... lets face it 22hrs in the car with 3 babies/toddlers probably never will be! But it was breathtaking to drive through the Alps and a blessing to spend the night in Austria (to break up the trip) in the most picturesque village i have ever seen.

We're glad to be home and actually looking forward to re-establishing routine. And staying out of the hospital! Here is a snapshot of our journey...


 





 

























17 Aug 2014

10 Toddler Activities to Actually DO this Summer!

I have boys. 3 boys under 3. They don't sit still, they don't do crafts, and as much as i love Pinterest i'm not into kids activities that end up being 'mommy crafts'... and i'm not super excited about cleaning up even more messes! That being said, I am a teacher at hear and value learning through play. Here are the first 5 of 10 ideas from my 10 Toddler Activities to Actually DO this Summer, Pinterest board,  that are level appropriate (3 - boy) and have easily accessible materials!

I thought i'd review these activities and let you know how it actually went for us!

1. Fly Swatter Painting



So our boys LOVE fly swatters... i actually bought and extra 2 just to keep them busy (killing flies) around the house! When i came across this idea i thought it might work... then we got some paint given to us for free! I had paper from IKEA up in the kids room and spare plastic plates around the house. So one morning i had the kids take off their clothes (tempra paint stains!) and let the kids go! I had to show them at first what to do but they totally caught on and LOVED it!

2. Barefoot Painting

From the fly swatter painting i transitioned right into the barefoot painting. I used a tupperware bin we had around and filled it with one colour at a time. It was a little tricky to not get grass on the feet after stepping in the paint bucket, so i moved the bin to right on top of the paper. My 3 year old caught on and had a great time, my 2 year old on the other hand got really colourful ;) I figured if we were going for mess we might as well go for it big time! I would only recommend doing this on a hot day so you can put them in the kiddie pool right afterwards. Little man loved getting to hold the hose so much he didn't even complain about the ice cold water! I brought out some hot water to make it a bit more bearable and some dish soap to wash them down. TA-da! Happy clean boys! (tip: i had a friend recommend this to me as a birthday party game. i think that would go bad. really bad. with your own kids the mess is much more do-able... and you don't have anyone else angry at you for staining their kids clothes!)




3. Waterworks Wall

This was another success! The kids loved it and the work put in was totally worth it... i collected plastic bottles and used some craft wire i had around to attach it to our fence. It probably depends on what type of fence you have, others have used screws and drills... that was too much work for me, and unnecessary. The wire worked great! It's still holding 5 days later. Tip: When you cut the holes in the plastic bottles cut around the glue of the labels and you can remove the label at the same time! A great activity for a hot day, it keep toddlers entertained and refreshed!





4. Learning Letters Hose Down

My little guy loves the hose and rarely gets to use it. So when i brought out the sidewalk chalk and told him he was going to get to use the hose he was ecstatic! We wrote his name, and simple word like CAR, DOG, TREE on the posts of our unfinished fence and he got to wash them off. At first i though he'd be able to trace them, but not so much. I found the best thing was to have him help spell out the words when i was writing them (or help me) and spell car, C-A-R... he's at the letter recognition stage. I think we could repeat this activity and he'd get even better at recognizing letters/remembering words. He LOVED it. Probably the best use of sidewalk chalk i've found yet!




5. Nature Scavenger Hunt

I found this freebie on Pinterest and loved it! We printed it out and went on our nature scavenger hunt today! He had a good time... he needed help, but it was a great educational opportunity to help him look for shapes, colours & textures. The other things he was pretty good at finding on his own. I repeated several items we still needed, and sometime pointed them out. We ended our walk at the local corner store and he got ice cream! In the future i may change some of the items or add new ones just to change it up, but it was a great scavenger hunt for a 3 year old! Totally recommend :)



Here is another activity we did that was totally a fail. I bought plasticine/modelling clay to hold the sails... and the boats totally sunk. To this blogger's credit, she did say use as little as possible, and she used blu-tack. But still this was a major FAIL. The boys had fun colouring the sails but lost interest quickly when their boats became submarines... big boy wanted to go get his jake & the neverland pirates ship to sail instead (only it's plastic and would sink too!) I may try these sailboats out of cork or these sailboats out of pool noodles maybe we'd have better success!


Bonus Activity:
Modelling Clay FantasyLand
So the good news was i had all this plasticine left over... and decided to make something out of it. I'm not super creative with making things... but these little creature just kind of appeared and my 3 year old loved it! The dragon soon found a daddy dragon, and a rocket ship, and then we made a car, that eventually ran over the ducks, and the dog morphed into a penguin who drove a tractor... it was a toddlers fantasy wonderland! It was really fun to watch him play. And totally worth the $.50 i spent on the plasticine. We threw it out when we were done... I think i'll keep a pack around for a rainy day. 



(i was serious about the penguin on the tractor!)

(oh, and here is little brother running over the penguin with the car, which has apparently been flooded by the pond!)

Check out my Pinterest board, 10 Toddler Activities to Actually DO this Summer, for the last 5 activities! And check back in a few weeks for a report on how they went down!