Bloom Where You Are Planted


I’ve been inactive on the blog the last few weeks. Our family has been going through some transitions and a lot of ups and downs recently. Not only are we tackling potty training this weekend (sitting in the bathroom for 48 hours straight with a brave but still fearful and stubborn toddler can really throw you for a loop!!) but we are in the throes of preschool applications (and accompanying decision-making, heartache and stress) for our 2.5 year old daughter Violet. 

Maybe we are putting too much importance on this early educational experience, but as educators ourselves, it means a lot to us to find a school that will offer her a unique experience, one that will challenge the limitations we know New York City to have, all the while capitalizing on this city’s strengths. We are looking for the “perfect” school, one that balances play with academics, one that offers special programming, with foreign language instruction high on our wish list. We want a school for her that will allow her to grow and change in many different and dynamic ways. Some say “she won’t remember preschool” and while I half believe that to be true, I also recognize the impact that this formative experience will have on her as she grows into her own, real, and I’ll say it – unique person. 
Going through this has brought many realities to light and emotions to the forefront. The reality of socioeconomic divides, our own limitations as a family, the weight of the working mother, the difficulty of the city we choose live in/feel stuck in, the desire to just pick up and fly away to another place that just never goes away, and maybe the most profound for us is our inner voice, consistently telling us to open our own school, to be strong and brave enough to take that risk… 
We still aren’t sure where all of this will take us, but one idea that has a hold on me is to “bloom where you are planted”. Maybe we need to just embrace this wonderfully weird place for what it is and do whatever it takes to just bloom here. 
Oh, and one more thing that’s been occupying me over the past 2 weeks? A GIVEAWAY- and it’s going to be glorious. Don’t miss the chance to win hundreds of dollars worth of fantastic toys and books to help “bring the world into your home”for your  global child. Look for it early next week! 

Valentine Craft Roundup

Valentine’s day is just around the corner (is it seriously February already?!?!?) and Violet and I got busy with some of the most monstery valentine’s day crafts we could find. We’re currently kind of obsessed with Monsters Love School by Mike Austin, and crazy about all things monster.  I scoured Pinterest, and here’s what we came up with!

Love Monsters (adapted from eighteen25)

(ummmmm. yeah. She is totally ripping off that heart on the antennae … see the blue heart stuck to her shirt in the next craft picture!)

I *loved* this craft when I came across it on Pinterest from the Eighteen25 blog.  Cute, totally monsterish, and I knew Violet would adore it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Yarn

Rectangular Piece of Cardboard (the size will vary depending on the size of disposable cups you have on hand — we used a piece that was 2.5″ x 6″)

Chenille Stems

Adhesive Googly Eyes

Double Sided Tape (The original tutorial suggests a hot glue gun, but I *love* double sided tape, it’s easy, mess free, holds well, and is so versatile for so many projects.)

Disposable Cup

Construction Paper or Card Stock

 

The original tutorial has lots of fun monster examples and great images to accompany the steps. We just took a few shots, but here it is in a nutshell.

You’ll need two pom poms of different sizes: To get them…

-Wrap your yarn around the cardboard the long way about 150 times. Tie a shorter piece of yarn around the middle, and cut through the middle on the other side. This will be the bottom pom pom.

-To make the top pom pom, wrap your yarn around the cardboard the short way about 20-30 times, tie it like you did the first, and cut through the bottom in the same way you made the top pom pom.

-I used the double sided tape to secure the bottom pom pom to the bottom underside of the cup, and then tied the other two together looping one piece of yarn through the secured piece on both poms.

-Lastly, decorate! Stick on your adhesive googly eyes, slip a chenille stem through the secure loop on the top pom pom — I used a pencil to twist the chenille stem around to create squiggly antennae, and make your best hearts using the cardstock or construction paper, and adhere those to the chenille stems with a small piece of double sided tape, and voila! Love monster!


Love Monster Puppet (adapted from iheartcraftythings.com)

This fun craft from iheartcraftythings is *perfect* for toddlers! What toddler doesn’t love ripping up paper? And puppets are always a hit. The original tutorial calls for Tissue paper square, but Violet had a blast ripping up the tissue paper herself. This gives toddlers important sensory input, allows them to get out the urge to rip (seriously, save your books and let them go to town on tissue!)

What you’ll need:

Paper Lunch Bag

Colored Tissue Paper

Construction Paper

Liquid Glue

What to do:

-Let your child rip up the tissue paper into smallish pieces. Irregular, crumpled paper is fine, it *is* a monster after all. (If you prefer, you could go with tissue paper squares)

-Apply glue to the paper bag (the folded “bottom” side facing up, it will be your puppet’s “mouth”) in sections, and stick on the tissue paper pieces

-Create eyes, eyebrows, mouth, teeth, and a heart out of construction paper, and decorate away!

-I trimmed my paper bag down after I was done, as the lunch bags I had on hand were far too long for Violet’s little arm. 🙂 You can see the remnants in the background on the table in the photo above!

 

Silly Hearts (adapted from creativefamilyfun.net)

What you’ll need:

Construction Paper or Cardstock

Assorted Pom Poms

Do-a-Dot Paint Stampers (I *love* these — no mess painting!! Seriously, they’re the best.)

Adhesive Googly Eyes

Glitter or Glitter Glue

Liquid Glue

Popsicle Sticks

Markers

What to do:

-Cut a heart out of cardstock or construction paper.

-Let your child go wild painting (as I mentioned above, the “Do-a-Dot Paint Stampers” are our go-to for many “painting” projects), adding glitter (again, if you want mess-free go with Glitter Glue) and sticking on pom poms with liquid glue.

-Add googly eyes, draw on a mouth

-Attach a popsicle stick, and you’ve got a puppet! (We didn’t have popsicle sticks on hand, so we skipped the puppet, but we still love our hearts just the same!)

 

Looking for even more ideas! Follow our Valentine’s Day board on Pinterest, and check back later this week for a free printable Valentine’s download!

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Giveaway!

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I’m ecstatic to announce Peace, Love & Literacy’s Spring Books & Activity Bundle! I’m not sure about you all, but I am absolutely ready for spring… Apparently, we’ve got six more weeks of winter, but now’s the time to stock your library with books that speak to spring, and activities that can keep little hands and minds busy over the rest of the winter.

One lucky winner will receive this great bundle, featuring 4 Barefoot Books & an activity card set.

Included in the bundle are:

Catch That Goat! by Polly Alakija

Herb the Vegetarian Dragon by Jules Bass

Grandpa’s Garden by Stella Fry

Violet’s current favorite: Millie’s Chickens by Brenda Williams

The indoor & outdoor gardening activity set Kids’ Garden by Whitney Cohen

Here’s how it works:

          1. Gather up entries by completing tasks outlined below.
          2. Complete entries before Friday, 2/17 at 12:00 am.
          3. Cross your fingers!
          4. Wait for notification, and check your mailbox for a special delivery!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!!

#giveaway
#win
#peaceloveandliteracy
#barefootbooks