Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Montessori Monday January 16, 2012

Montessori Monday

Last week, Bitty Bug celebrated her 3rd birthday!  She’s not so bitty anymore…she’s officially ready to graduate from ‘tot school’ and now she is old enough to start the 3 year Montessori “Children’s House” cycle.  Now granted, she’s already worked on a lot of the works with Monkey, but now she’s all “official”. 😉

Here are some pictures of what the girls worked on last week.


Bug was absolutely thrilled that the easel made it's way upstairs this week! This girl loves to paint!


Bug also used the tea set to practice pouring water.


Monkey also loved painting! She wanted to paint faces.


Monkey had a BIG week in the school room last week. First, after learning the "t" sound (making her repertoire "a", "e", "s", "m", and "t"), she learned to read her first sentence--"meet Sam at mass". She was so proud of herself!


And then later this week, she started learning how to read her very first book--the "Mat" book from the Bob Books set.


Monkey working with the "5 beads" to learn counting by 5's.


Monkey went above and beyond with the beads though. While I was making lunch, I saw that she was making her own math problems (she had just watched Jedi doing math). She would write the numbers on a piece of paper, add the beads to the paper, and then answer the problem. So, I heard her saying things like "8 beads plus 1 bead equals....9 beads!" She made up a ton of math problems.


Bug working with the magneatos


Pin punching with the metal insets


The girls also worked on "heavy vs light". Using their meta & wooden scale from their toy kitchen, they tried balancing the scale by putting different toys and objects in each bowl.


The girls LOVED excavating toys out of blocks of ice. They used salt, chisels, hammers, and spoons to see if they could free the toys.


Monkey using a hammer and chisel to get the toys out.


Montessori Monday January 9, 2012

Montessori Monday

It’s a pretty big week for Miss Bitty Bug–in a week, she turns 3…officially out of “tot school” and into the preschool age.  I can’t believe my little Bug is no longer able to do the Tot School blog hop!  And in just under a month, Monkey turns 5–almost kindergarten aged!  It’s an exciting time for the girls…but now mama’s missing the itty bitty stage–all my itty bitties are now big kids!

The girls enjoyed their first week back to the school room!  Here is their week in review….

The locks and keys work was put back on the shelves--both girls still love this work!


I used cotton balls to look like snowballs. Monkey loved using the tongs for this work, but Bug really just wanted to use her hands.


Bug got this for Christmas, so we put it on the work shelves. She loves this puzzle!


I brought back on the flag popsicle sticks puzzle as part of our World Geography unit on the United States


Bug making a torn paper collage. She loves tearing paper and gluing, so this was a big hit!


Bug using measuring cups and lentils to learn about volume.


Monkey working with the beads


Bug loved this work--using white tempura paint and glitter to fingerpaint a snowy scene


She was really getting into her fingerpainting!


Monkey? She HATES anything that gets her hands messy. She gave it a valiant effort, but hated every second of it. I'm not sure why she even chose it knowing how aversive it is to her, but she did. I think she really just wanted to get to the glitter part. 🙂


I did this work with Bug--gingerbread and gumdrop counting (this was from Musing of Me's kit from last winter)

Monkey with her 100 chain!


Bug playing with the figurines on the geography shelf




Vacation Recap #6: Misc. Ship Pictures December 23, 2011

Filed under: Field Trip,Nature Studies,Preschool Learning,Toddler learning — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 5:27 am

Since 2 1/2 days of our 7 day trip were spent on the ship, my last vacation post is just a miscellaneous selection of pictures from on the ship.

Monkey and a giant towel elephant


One of the activities for kids that the ship had was a "make your own stuffed animal" workshop. All three kids loved it!


Monkey busy stuffing her bear


Bug with her cat


Monkey with her bear


Jedi with his moose


Formal night #1


Family picture on formal night


Jedi on formal night


Monkey being a goofball!


Towel animal...frog


Bug with the towel elephant. Every night a new towel animal was left in the room by the room stewards. The kids LOVED these!


Towel pig


The kids on formal night #2


Chilling at dinner time


Handsome little man


I love her "sweet" face


Bug really really enjoyed this view....


This is what Bug was looking at...the huge atrium


Towel turtle


Towel Sloth



Vacation Recap #5: Costa Maya, Mexico

Costa Maya was the final port of call for the ship.  And, I’m pretty sure that Costa Maya was also the favorite port of everyone in our family.  It had such a rich culture, beautiful beaches, a fun shopping experience, and a wonderful tour guide!  We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the trip!


Our ship, the Carnival Dream, at sunrise in Costa Maya


We were in port by 7 AM (which was only 6 AM in Mexico) so we got to see the sun rise


The water was a bit rough though


The cruise port


Bug by the fountain


Beautiful morning!


We found a huge lookout tower and decided to climb it to get a good look at the surrounding city


It was a tall staircase!


My three little goofballs!


Feeding a baby tiger--he was there as part of a fundraising effort to raise money for a wildlife preserve/rescue


Isn't he precious?


Mexican flag waiving in the breeze


Once we were done exploring the port, we got on the tour bus for a tour of the city and an afternoon at the beach. Here is one of the several roadside restaurants we found.


Some little cottages


We stopped off at a small fishing village for exploring and shopping


Some of the handpainted items inside the main shopping area


One of the local restaurants


A building being constructed....we decided not to get too close. 😉

Some brightly colored blankets


After some shopping, the kids decided to hit the first of two beaches we visited


She's always happiest at the beach


Jedi and Monkey


The water calmed down a bit after the morning waves


Daddy with his baby girl


The kids were having so much fun!


After a bit of time on the beach, we boarded the tour bus to head to a private resort for some snacks and more beach time. Here, the water was a bit rougher, but the kids had fun chasing the waves


Digging a giant hole


The waves were getting pretty high


Bug decided to go pick up some shells....


...then quickly changed her mind


She did find a coconut she was pretty proud of


Afterwards, we headed back to the port


The kids loved this guy



Together, they decided to stage this. Everyone around us was cracking up laughing


Bug wanted a doll from every port--from bottom to top it is the doll from Belize, Cozumel, Honduras, and Costa Maya...and then a very happy Bug.


Vacation Recap #4: Belize City, Belize

The third port of call on our trip was to Belize.  Belize was very interesting–as the only Central American country where the official language is English, all of the signs were easy to understand (although kind of funny because the English in Belize is slightly different than the English in Ohio. 😀 )  In Belize, we boarded a bus to take a tour of Belize City before heading off to the Belize Zoo for the afternoon.

One thing about the Belize Zoo is that it’s not like a typical American zoo.  All of the animals in the zoo are native to the country and were rescued due to injury, death of a parent, poachers, or people who illegally purchase the animals as pets.  So, the zoo was a great way to learn about Belize’s native animals.

The other interesting thing is that if you’re used to the cages and barriers of an American zoo, you  have to be pretty careful in Belize.  The  cages are a lot less…thick?  Many of the animals were able to reach right through the cage, and there are no barriers between the cages and the guests.  Watching little fingers to make sure there aren’t any near the puma’s cage was a pretty big task for the day. 🙂

Belize, from the cruise ship. It was raining at this point, and the ship also has to anchor a few miles from shore. So, we had to take a tender in, which was an interesting ride--it was pouring rain and windy, so the poor little boat was being tossed around!


This cracked me up...a tiny shed acting as an immigration office.


Some houses in Belize


These were some of the houses in the area of town where teachers and lawyers tend to live




Jedi and Bug on the tour bus


One of the grocery stores in Belize City


This was a huge church where some middle school kids were doing cross country practice on the sidewalk


Bikes in the rain


Small markets and restaurants near a park


This reminded me so much of our time in Vietnam....people just working on the sidewalk quietly while the hustle of city life surrounded them


The channel that separates the two parts of the city


Jedi and the Boa Constrictor


Dave wanted to hold it as well




Spider monkey waving hi


Pretty native flowers


This was a really unique looking bird!


This bird was just gorgeous!




I couldn't believe how close we could come to this one!


I think this is the Gibnut


Jedi trying to see how the wingspan would compare with his own size


An alligator


But found an alligator to ride on




After the trip, the kids found a playground to play on for a couple minutes


Vacation Recap #3: Roatan, Honduras

Our next stop on our trip was Roatan, Honduras.  For this port, we chose not to go on the cruise excursion and instead we hired a private tour guide.  This proved to be quite the adventure–we were able to see a ton of things that are not available on cruise excursions.  We were also able to eat from a cute little local restaurant (although with Bug’s FPIES, even though we ordered something that should have been safe for her, she had a serious FPIES immune reaction to her meal).  But, I had the most delightful garlic fish, and the fish was caught right on the island that day!  We are not the type of travelers that enjoy sitting in the typical tourist destinations.  We love to see the culture, the day-to-day life, and experience the local cuisine and customs.  Our tour gave us that, and a lot more!

Our tour guide, Ann, from Victor Bodden’s tour company (Bodden Tours) was fantastic!  She was really patient with the kids and it was a pleasure having her show us beautiful Honduras!  And it was extra nice that her van was air-conditioned!  That was very much appreciated. 🙂

Beautiful Honduras early in the morning


We started off on the Mahogany Bay end of Roatan, but we ended up seeing most of Roatan by the end of the day.


Some music being played at the cruise port


I tried to take a lot of pictures of the "real life" aspect of Roatan


Look at this gorgeous view!! We did learn a very important lesson though..........always keep both feet on the dirt. The tour guide and our family went up to a deck that overlooked a very very steep cliff down to that beautiful ocean. I was holding Bug and the board we were standing on collapsed (it must have rotted out from underneath). Thank God all that resulted was a lot of bruises on foot had gone all the way through the board though. For the first time ever, I think I was thankful for my "childbirthing hips" which stopped Bug and I from falling all the way through. LOL!!! But hey, it was an amazing view, and a little adventure to boot!


There were some beautiful vacation properties and villas along the ocean


This was another gorgeous view of the ocean.


There is so much green in Honduras! Beautiful!

One of our stops that day was to Victor Bodden's Monkey Business. This place was so much fun!!! You actually got to go in the cages with the capuchin monkeys. This was probably the highlight of the day!


Bug wasn't fond of the monkey climbing on her head, so she very willingly let the employee hold her.


There were also parrots and macaws to hold.


This little guy was so friendly!


Monkey wasn't too fond of any animal that attempted to touch her.


Jedi and his bird


These are my new little buddies!


I love the monkey's face.... "Holy cow, this person's short!"


This little guy was a pickpocket


Toucan Sam


After playing with the monkeys and birds, we went for lunch. Here was the restaurant we ate at--the food was delicious, even though poor Bug had an allergic reaction to it. I'm glad we were able to eat in a local restaurant though, but we did learn not to have any more meals off the ship with Bug.


Beans & rice, garlic fish, & fried plantains.


After lunch, we took some backpacks full of school supplies to a local orphanage. The kids at the orphanage were all boys around Jedi's was fun to watch them all play soccer in the yard, even if my kids were too shy to join in.


The boys at the orphanage teaching another tourist (from a different tour group) how to play soccer.


At the end of the day, Ann took the kids and I to the beach, while Dave went ziplining through the jungle!


A warm day, beautiful white sand, and a gorgeous blue sea...what's not to like?


Vacation Recap #2: Cozumel, Mexico December 22, 2011

The first day and a half of our vacation, as well as the last day, were spent on the cruise ship.  I’ll recap those in a later post.  For this post, I’m going to recap our adventures in Cozumel!

In Cozumel, we explored the port, and then took a walk outside of the cruise port to see life in Cozumel.  We walked quite a ways in both directions just taking in daily life.  When it was time for our excursion to leave, we went back to the port to meet our tour guides.  They were going to take us to the same park that Dave and I went to on our honeymoon…Chankanaab National Park.  The first time we went, 9 years ago, we went snorkeling.  Obviously, snorkeling is out of the question with a toddler in tow.  Instead, we went swimming with the dolphins!  It was a wonderful experience (even though Monkey was freaked out the entire time.  She would not let the dolphin very close to her, and for sure would not let the dolphin kiss her.  LOL!)

Dave being pushed by the dolphin


Me, riding on the belly of a dolphin


Jedi dancing with the dolphin


This was about as close as Monkey wanted to get


Bug got kissed right in the face. She returned the favor by poking him on the nose.


Bug petting the dolphin


Monkey was freaked out. She did NOT want to touch it.


Gorgeous blue water in Mexico


The part of Cozumel we were in was called Puerta Maya


Beautiful buildings at Chankanaab


Towards the back of the park is an area of replicas of Mayan ruins


The park had tons of these guys running around the sidewalks as well


Jedi vs. an Iguana


Two of the kids and I in front of a waterfall


This was a funny replica...the kids all thought he was dancing


An alter set up


Dave and the kids and a replica


My babies in the sea.




A hermit crab the kids found


Playing in the lagoon