## Will it slide?

Today we embark on a brand new thematic unit–Penguins!  To start us off, we read my favorite penguin book, Tacky the Penguin.  Next, we talked about how penguins like to slide on ice.

After that, we decided to try our very own experiment to see which toys slide on ice and which don’t.

Here’s what you’ll need to conduct your own experiment:  a shallow pan, water, and 5 (more or less) items to test.  You’ll also want a pen and paper to make a table showing the results.

 1.  Add water to a shallow pan and then let it freeze.  We just stuck ours outside overnight.

 2.  Make a recording sheet on paper (or a markerboard).  In the meantime, let your little one choose 5 small toys to test to see whether they’ll slide or not.  I’m sorry I couldn’t get the picture to rotate!

 3.  Put a bowl underneath the pan to create a small angle.

 4.  Let your little one start testing out their objects!  Prior to each, have your child make a prediction about whether that specific object will slide or not.

 Doesn’t slide!

 5.  Record the results.

 All done!  (again…sorry for the picture not rotating)

Afterwards, we talked about whether more objects slid or didn’t slide.  We then counted how many in each column. This was a super easy “science experiment” that we both enjoyed!

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester
Tacky is an odd bird.  He doesn’t march in a straight line or dive gracefully into the water like the other penguins.  At first, his friends don’t appreciate his uniqueness…but after a run-in with some trappers, they come to appreciate Tacky for who he is!  Not only is this a fun penguin book, it’s also a great way to start a discussion about accepting individual differences in others.

## A Lesson Learned: Stress and Disorganization

I’m not the most organized person.  I used to be.  While teaching, my classroom was always very organized.  Everything had a place.  Even the kids knew where things went.

But now that I am at home, I feel like I have lost the motivation to organize.  The majority of my house stays rather picked up, but the monotony of doing the same things every single day is draining…emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry, picking up toys, repeat.  You get the point.  It’s really debilitating to my motivation.  There will always be tomorrow, after all…

2010 was a rough year for me.  The first six months of 2010 were the most stressful in my adult life.  A new baby, major baby blues, a very active toddler, moving (which was our own choice), and a husband gone every night finishing his Master’s degree do not equal out for a peaceful, carefree life.

However, looking back on the past year some of the stress was brought on myself.  The fact is…disorganization greatly contributes to my stress level.  And for the past year, I haven’t been organized.  I haven’t had a plan.  A few of the months were spent on survival mode.  Even this blog was created on a whim.  And I don’t typically plan any of the activities I share with you…they just sort of come to me and then we try them out.  (I’m sorry if this disappoints you…just tryin’ to keep it real!)

But good news for me, IT’S A NEW YEAR!  I can start fresh.  I can MAKE a plan…for cleaning, for cooking, even for playing with my kids.  I can have a daily schedule and try to stick with it!  I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions (mostly because I end up breaking them by the end of January), but I’m hoping that recognizing my own disorganization as a key contributor to my stress and anxiety in the previous year will help me do better!  I certainly hope so!

Here’s to cleaning schedules, to-do lists, and an organized day!  They’re certainly things I haven’t seen in the last year or two!

What about you???  How do YOU stay organized and what goals are you making for the coming year?

## Show-and-Share Saturday: Organizing Toys

Happy New Year!!!  As I recently shared, toy clutter stresses me out.  If you donated toys like we did, this might be a great opportunity to reorganize the toys you do have.  I found a series of short tutorial videos on toy organization here that I thought I would share with you.  Enjoy!

## Candy Wrapper Snowflakes

This idea came to me as I was eating one of the delicious Dove chocolate truffles that Prince Charming put in my stocking.  Normally, I’m not much of a chocolate eater…but these truffles are delicious.  And the wrappers are beautiful, which is why I felt guilty throwing them away.  :)  Big Brother was happy to help create some beautiful snowflakes!

Here’s what you’ll need:  square candy wrappers (or foil) and scissors.

 1.  Lay the wrapper down flat.

 2.  Fold it (I think I folded ours 3-4 times…I can’t remember).

 3.  Let your little one carefully (and with much guidance) cut pieces out of the wrapper while it is folded.  I didn’t get a picture of Big Brother cutting because my hands were full trying to help him.

 4.  Unfold and enjoy!

 Happy boy!

 And Big Brother insisted that I should eat another truffle so we could make another snowflake.  I decided I could sacrifice for him… :)  The other side of the wrappers are blue with beautiful snowflakes.

## Great Deals on Games!

Big Brother is just getting to the age where he loves to play board games.  His birthday is coming up in January and I found some great deals on Amazon and thought I would share them with you.

U-Build Sorry for \$10.07 (regularly \$19.99)
Connect 4 x 4 for \$14.98 (regularly \$24.99)

Ravensburger Snails Pace Race – Children’s Game for \$9.40 (regularly \$20.99)
Ages 4-8

ThinkFun Zingo 1-2-3 (Number Bingo) for \$12.70 (regularly \$19.99)
5 Stars!
Melissa & Doug Travel Hangman for \$7.98 (regularly \$12.99)