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My kids are incredibly irritable these days.  I'm sure the constant cold weather is partially to blame; they are so tired of being inside, but with the high hovering around -20C most days, we haven't ventured out much lately.  The usual activities are not capturing their interest (even dancing!), so I've been turning to the one thing that never ceases to engage my tactile kids: sensory play.


 
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The other day at our local mom and tot's group had a workout day where we got to use exercise balls for a fun and active morning.  The next day I felt the pleasant ache of muscles that hadn't been used lately in my regular yoga & treadmill routine.  This made me think of how different kinds of music stretch different "muscles" in my brains and encourage me to move in different ways, and how Yummy's current love of Jazz music has stretched me to discover different artists that I wouldn't have bothered to listen to otherwise.  
After reading The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (SO GOOD!) for my book club, I downloaded The Best of Chris Barber, a British Jazz musician whose music career was pretty big in the 1950s and 60s.  While I wouldn't listen to it all night, it makes for some very fun dance parties in the kitchen.  
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Even Dooter came up with some new and interesting moves to this different kind of music.  My favourite: A bouncy, deep-knee bend with his hands bouncing in front of him and head bobbing along.  Yummy and I learned it quickly and added it in to our line up of bouncy jazz moves.
I love how this music has freshened up our dancing.  how about you?  Discovered any inspiring music lately?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

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I haven't posted about a Quiet Bin for a while now, though I have been cycling in a few new ones (and weeding out the ones she is tired off) to keep Yummy busy during her afternoon break.  It isn't easy coming up with new ideas for bins that build on Yummy's interests and are also pretty cheap to make, so when I saw two little Playmobile beach people sets for $2.99 each at the toy store, I was thrilled!  This winter Yummy has often been reminiscing fondly about summertime and spending time at the beach, so I knew a beach themed bin would be a hit with her.  Since I was able to mostly use items I had, a few easy things to make, free printables and a couple cheap items, this bin cost me less than $10 to make.

 
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When considering the letter "W" for an Alphabet Dance, I immediately thought of Wind.  There have been some insanely windy days out here lately, and with our lack of trees and buildings, we feel it in all it's glory.  

 
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Happy New Year!  I hope your holidays were full of wonder and joy and that the new year is off to a glorious and creative start.  I know, I know, I'm BEYOND late with the holiday wishes.  The thing is, I've  REALLY been enjoying the time off! In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I've been prompted to make a few changes with my blogging.   

 
In a season when I usually let myself become overwhelmed by my "to-do" list, I am letting go of some of the things I often feel pressured to do.  

 
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Yummy and Dooter were due for another Alphabet Dance experience.  I chose the letter T this time, for Twirl & Twist.  We've been doing a lot of dancing to Christmas music in our house these days and Boney M really gets the kids moving.  Yummy's favourite is their version of Joy to The World.



 
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To share my love of art-making, I've started a Christmas tradition with Yummy (and someday Dooter) of putting together fun new art supplies to deliver to our local Crisis Centre.  We get to shop for fun materials and put them into bags so that kids, who might not otherwise have the chance, get some fun new art supplies to explore at Christmastime.  

 
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Yummy and I spent this snowy morning doing some finger painting.  Though Dooter is outgrowing his morning nap, he is especially tired lately from fighting off a cold as well as enjoying a busy weekend of visiting.  I cherished this quiet art making time with Yummy, knowing that these calm and easy mornings are soon coming to a close.  Artmaking with Dooter is anything but calm and easy -mostly stressful and incredibly messy, with fun moments here and there.  

 
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(I received this product for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated in any other way.)
I seem to be on a gift-giving kick lately; I suppose it is the season!  Last week I posted about 19 Child-Made Gift Ideas and explained how I believe it develops compassion, generosity and resourcefulness for kids to make and give gifts.  

I have had the pleasure of working through the Why I Give Activity Book by Corine Hyman with my kids over the past week.  The activities are wonderful -we've made quite a few gifts for our friends and family, using the ideas Corine has included.  I am so excited to share this activity book with you, and also to be able to offer a copy as a giveaway, so generously provided by Corine Hyman!