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Yesterday was Yummy's fourth birthday.  We are planning a big double party for next weekend, where she will celebrate with her cousin, who is also turning four, and some extended family members, so I wanted to keep things pretty simple, but definitely special, for her actual Birth Day.  

 
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Yummy enjoyed the Simple Shapes project with flowers so much, that I decided to try it again, with different shapes and a different theme -the farm!  I asked what kind of things we see on a farm.  Her answers: dirt, grass, barns, and tractors.  She enjoyed sifting through the shapes, tracing her finger around some to count the sides.

 
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Yesterday was Katie's (our dog) 6th birthday. Yummy loves celebrating birthdays and having parties (even if the 'party' is nothing more than lighting a candle at supper) so we made Katie's day into a fun event for all of us.  Since Yummy's birthday is coming up there has been a lot of talk about parties and presents; though I am excited to celebrate my girl, I also liked the idea of shifting the focus off to someone other than her, showing her how much joy we can have by planning and doing things for others.  

 
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Every summer, the art gallery in Swift Current has an open art exhibition, which means anyone can apply and enter five works of art to be displayed for a few months, and then adjudicated at the end of the show.  I love this opportunity, not only because I get to see my artwork hanging in a real gallery (which is pretty freaking cool), but also because it gives me a deadline and the motivation to make art.  The past few years I've been experimenting with fabric art (though last year my sewing machine was very disagreeable and I switched over to paper collage for a change) and the layers of texture I can build up. 

Here are a few of my pieces from the last few years:

 
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Yummy is turning four at the end of May and I have been busily creating things for my sweet girl. I saw a mermaid block set from The EnchantedCupboard on Etsy a while ago and knew I wanted to make it for my girl, along with a soft mermaid doll. However I couldn't find any patterns that I really liked -something simple and childlike that also appeals to her sense of "pretty", so I created my own pattern and I am quite happy with the little dolls that came out of it.

 
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Yesterday morning Yummy informed me that she was going to be a farmer when she grows up, just like Daddy, except a Horse Farmer.  I was weeding between our little trees, sweating away in the dirt, but I thought it was as good a time as any to get some dramatic play in.  Children are such naturals at drama -pretend play is a second language to them.  I try to encourage that gift whenever possible, using Yummy's interests to spark imaginative play.  

 
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Yummy is currently enamoured by flowers of all kinds, particularly roses.  My mother's day roses didn't last very long with the constant squeezing and smelling and touching, but they were well loved indeed.  I wanted to create a simple and easy art activity for Yummy, since she is more interested in being outside these days than anything else.  Based on her love of flowers, I cut out a number f simple petal shapes in rainbow colours, along with some green stems and circles for flower centres.  Yummy was quite excited to see the colourful tray of shapes awaiting her after Quiet Time.  
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I've been on a bit of a blogging hiatus for the past couple weeks, as you may have noticed.  First the kids both caught the flu, just as the weather outside was turning sunny and lovely.  I spent my time taking care of sick children and getting some spring chores done outside, and then I got the flu.  To add more insanity to the mix, seeding started, so Mr. Man has been out in the fields except for suppers and a few brief hours of sleep at night.  
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Calming the Wild Beasts
Every day around 4:30pm, my kids turn into wild animals.  I'm not sure if it's because they are hungry for supper, missing their Daddy, or if they just know that I am busy getting supper ready and are bound and determined to get my attention at all costs.  I know my kids aren't the only ones; I've often heard this time referred to as the Witching Hour.  Whatever it is, I've started a music "activity" that helps curb the insanity.  I say "activity", because there isn't really anything to prepare or do, once the list is printed off.  It's super easy! 

 
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I recently saw these activity mats on amazon.com -they gave me the idea to make my own activity mats for dance.  I printed them out and laminated mine so we could use them often and even take them outside.

We turned on some music and I lay the laminated mats on the floor.  Yummy and I stepped from one to the next, exploring these different qualities of movement.  

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Ideas for extending the fun and learning:
  1. Try using different body parts (legs, arms, torso, head, shoulders, fingers, spine, etc.)
  2. Do the movements really slow or really fast
  3. Try out different levels: standing tall, crouching low, laying on the floor, etc.
  4. Repeat movements to make a pattern
  5. Take the movements and travel!  (walk backwards while punching bread, skip while catching a butterfly, etc)
Read on to get your free printable dance mats!