Sunday, October 23, 2016

F is for Fishing and Flower Fun

 F is for Fall - so we made cinnamon playdough for a fall scent! We were in need of a new batch of play dough anyway, since play with friends had resulted in gray playdough from the kids all mixing the colors up! I tried letting Ellie play too for the first time, but she was more interested in trying to eat it...

 F is for Fun with numbers! These popsicle stick puzzles have gotten their use. They come out every now and then and Dassah always enjoys them. Numbering them helped in her being able to put them together on her own.

 F is for Fishing! So this free printable came in handy!

 The set up took a while, but I cut apart the fish at night while Ryan stretched and we watched a show. It's relaxing to me to do crafty things at night. :)

 Dassah wasn't as into it as I thought she might be, but I think it was partly due to the fact that the "fishing" pole I made with a magnet, block, shoelace and popsicle stick was a bit tricky to use. I then just put a sticky magnet on the end of a block and she just stamped up the fish, and that was easier. She "caught" fish and if they matched the letters of her name, they went on those mats and if not she "ate" them. ;) It's come back out a few times since and she enjoys it, and it's nice that it can be changed used again for other things. The fish certainly are cute, and the printable is free!

 F is for Frisbee, and something we can do inside with this super light-weight frisbee Ryan got from a work project once. It led to a lot of smiles as we threw it back and forth, and Dassah's throw got better - she went from just throwing it however to actually throwing it like a frisbee!

 F is for...

Five green and speckled frogs (hold up five fingers)

Sat on a speckled log,
Eating the most delicious bugs,

Yum, yum! (rub tummy with other hand)

One jumped into the pool (tuck one finger down)
Where it was nice and cool,
Then there were four green speckled frogs,
Glub, glub!

Four green and speckled frogs…

(Continue until there are no speckled frogs on the log)

 Dassah got a huge kick out of this rhyme and we did it over and over, first with our hands, then acting it out with the couch as the "log." :)

 F is for flexibility, because half-way into our preschool time one morning, Dassah said, "let's have a ballet class!" So, change of plans! I mean, how could I resist that? ;)

 F is for Family Memory - I made this game a while ago, and Dassah is getting better and better about playing memory!

 At the end of each game I had her count her matches. Her counting is really improving, though she still sometimes doesn't count each item, just counts quickly or slowly and points randomly. ;) She is connecting the objects and the counting more and more though!

And I love this picture, because it's real life: those ever present, no matter how often you sweep, crumbs from little loves.

 F is for a Fishy Bean bag! First we filled an old sock of Dassah's with beans...

 Then drew scales and a face (mine could definitely be improved on!) and tied off the end for a tail, and we had a fish to dive into Dassah's net!

 Ellie joined in on the fun too! She got a huge kick out of dropping the fish into the net, and even started saying "blub blub" in connection with the bean bag!

 We also acted out the story of a great big Fish, with Dassah as Jonah, sitting on the couch "boat" with a "storm" blowing around her...

 We threw her overboard, and she got swallowed by a great big tunnel-fish! :)

 F is for Flashlight - she randomly found it and started playing with it. I realized there are a lot of games you could with it for F week, but I was busy when she found it so just let her play however she wanted. :)

 To continue our F is for Fishing, she fished for toys in the bathtub one day while I cleaned the sink and toilet. Gotta love when I can combine play with chores!

 F is for Fall Leaves, so we collected leaves (mostly I did while she played!) and then she chose leaves she wanted for her name collage. A friend was over and he loved doing this too!

 F is for Face! They used e a playdough face mat (from this collection). Dassah still isn't huge into playdough (I made most of her face) but her friend enjoyed it! Dassah mostly just likes to make shapes and break/cut them up, but that's fine! We keep trying different activities, though, just to see. :)

 F is for Fire Fighter - this free printable Dassah really enjoyed, as she enjoys telling stories. :) We told it a few times: a house on fire, sprayed with water (blue playdough) and the fire fighters working hard. :)

 F is for Frisbee Toss - masking tape lines on the floor gave her direction to throw too and she developed pretty good aim! She and her friend enjoyed taking turns throwing it for a while. :)

 F is for Faces - I called out a variety of faces (funny, silly, confused, surprised, etc.) and the kids made them...

 The goal was to make them for Ellie to make her laugh, and I'd say it worked! It also got everyone else laughing in the process!

 F is for Fishbowl, Frog, Flower fingerprints, Feathers on F, and a Fish sticker collage...

 This was one of my favorite activities (printable here) - Dassah enjoys fingerprints in paint and counting as we did it!

 I think this was my favorite heart animal craft so far. And yes, I admit, I think I do this mostly for myself... She likes helping glue the pieces I cut out beforehand together, but it's not really a normal 3-year old craft, since I make sure it looks right. ;) But she enjoys pointing out to others what she "made!" ;)

 F is for F wiki stick pages, and fun along the way! :)

 F is for Father - we talked about Fathers (what they do, how to bless them) as our "talking topic" that week, and also did this nursery rhyme about God the Father. I was finally getting around to printing the set while we did it, so Dassah was curious and we ended up doing them all. They're fun!

F is for FROZEN paint! To be honest, I expected this one to go like most painting exercises for Dassah... lasts a minute or two, and then she's done. But freezing paint in an ice cube tray turned out to be super fun for her! It was fun to swirl around...

And fun to make hand prints with when it melted all over your hand...

And deliriously fun when you had all the cubes and kept squishing them between your hands!

She giggled and giggled and giggled as she made a huge colorful mess. I even caught some on video to remember that giggle. Childhood goes by so fast. And she did amazingly well when it was time to clean up. "Hands in the air!" is a phrase that has saved us many times!

F is for fox (she's getting better tracing the letters on these coloring sheets!) and fireworks. Anything that involves glue and shaking glitter is a huge hit for Dassah. It turns out really pretty too!

F is for more fishing - with pipe cleaners this time!

It was pretty hard for Dassah to get the hang of though. May be a fine motor skill to work on. ;) But she wasn't really in the mood to try and persevere, so I didn't push it. She did like to pretend to eat the ones she caught though! ;)

Which gave me the idea to try it at snack time with goldfish crackers paperclipped or twisted on. Then she had motivation and a lot more fun. :) And putting the fish in a smaller area (the glass instead of a bucket) helped her as well.

F is for Fun and we definitely had that over this week!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Golden Week 2016

During the first week of October, the nation of China takes a break to celebrate their country. They call it Golden Week. At first we were a little down, because you really don't want to travel because everyone else is - and besides travel is expensive! - and we have a whole week off but not the means to see family as we would prefer. But at the end of it, we were very thankful for our "stay-cation." I highly recommend it to families with small children. We didn't go anywhere so the girls slept well the whole week for naps and night times, which allowed us to get some good breaks too. Ryan caught up on sleep and spent extra time with the girls. I got to craft. We went out to eat more often to save on chores and just enjoyed being a family, as well as taking turns with child duty to let the other have a little extra relaxation. It was great. :)

 Miss Ellie practiced more of her super walking skills!

 Ryan went with Dassah and friends out on an overcast morning, to a place about 30 minutes away by taxi. It was amazing the number of Chinese lanterns they had out!

 Fisherman's Wharf was the place, complete with rides and food and a kind of beach!

 Chinese :)

 Dassah loves to climb up on anything she can!

 There were horse rides...

 And about an inch of water covering the beach, just perfect for a little girl to have a blast running barefoot in!

 There were also a ton of crabs crawling in and out of holes all over, but no toes got pinched!

 The ferris wheel definitely got ridden, as well as a roller coaster braved by Ryan and Hadassah. Bad idea: here there are not as many regulations for things, and the roller coaster shook so bad, Ryan had whiplash for weeks afterwards!
While Ryan and Dassah were out, Ellie had a great, long nap catching up from the exhaustion of Sunday... Isn't her sleepy chub adorable?

 Then she was my sewing helper as I put the finishing touches on some skirts for her. :)

 We went out with friends to a Muslim restaurant. We've decided we really like the Muslim (XinJiang) version of Chinese food. Thick yogurt with honey to mix in takes the edge off the slightly spicy grilled lamb skewers, and they had some great potato dishes as well as delicious honey-fried bananas... Yum! It always takes a long time to order with a large crowd, but it was great being out with these good friends.

 The kids loved the stage to dance on at the end! We went back on a Saturday recently and they had a lady dancing that evening, with a beautiful long sparkly dress, with lots of twirling and even dancing with bowls of water on her head. Hadassah was enthralled. :)

 We've been enjoying the freedom to bike, even if it does take 20 minutes. And I feel safer now that Ellie is finally big enough to fit the smallest helmet I could find!

 We took a break from typical "preschool" (more for my sake in not having to plan - Dassah loves the extra activities!) but did a few fun crafty things here and there, like this one. If you color leaves that aren't too dry with marker, then roll them onto paper with a rolling pin, you get some fun fall prints!

 On another morning, Ryan took Hadassah ot the Minhang GongYuan - it's been closed since the spring, but recently reopened complete with new rides.

 Her smile says it all! I sometimes complain about the lack of free outdoor (or even indoor!) parks around here. But Ryan reminded me that we will likely never again live within a ten minute drive of a perpetual amusement park!

 A trip to Zoo Coffee to finish out left this girl extremely happy - what a fun daddy-daughter date!

 A crafted mommy and rested baby then joined on a taxi ride to Burger King. We hardly eat there in the states but when it's one of very few Western restaurants close by, ever now and then we give it a go here. ;)

 I bring some veggies for the girls to cut down on the grease. I've got to love that Dassah prefers salad to chicken nuggets! ;) And even Burger King makes for cute baby pictures!

 Ellie got an early birthday present... A swing of her own! Having a place to contain her when I need to sweep or whatever is quite nice, and she absolutely loves it. It's something Hadassah can push her in too - I love anything that gets the girls playing nicely together!

Truth be told, though: one day I hear "Can I flip Ellie over in the swing?" and before I can say "NOO!" she's done it. Thankfully the buckle held the terrified Ellie in, and Dassah got a stern warning not to do that again. I think she's been watching too many extreme sport GoPro videos with Daddy. ;)

 Ellie is at such a let's-have-fun giggly stage!

 Ryan also affectionately deemed her our goat. She's always climbing on whatever high surface she can get to!

There you have it... catching up on pictures, grateful for the "stay-cation" a few weeks ago, enjoying our home and the surroundings God has given us here.