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For some reason Jaylene has been anti-projects recently. We’re missing out on both the Think! and Unplugged projects this week. It could be the side effect of the family cold we’re all still fighting.
Instead of working on some themes, we focused on putting up Christmas decorations today. Then I found a little Christmas wooden reindeer kit that she was eager to put together, so we did do a project after all.
We used a kit from Zha Mu which had predrilled holes and metal tubes to connect the pieces together, but you could just glue the twigs together.
You’ll need four medium sized twigs for the legs, and one that is slightly shorter for the neck. Two small sized twigs for the ears, and one slightly longer for the tail. A stocky body and head and two antlers will complete your reindeer.
Note to Jayden’s father… after you give Jayden a bath and get him dressed in his snuggly Canadian Joe Boxer pyjamas and Taiwanese night market sweatshirt, please remember to drain the water from the tub and close the door. Otherwise your son might decide to have a second bath. It’s a good thing that his mom caught him a mere minute after splashdown.
Thought we could get a family picture in last weekend at the ShilLin Official Residence Flower show, and use it for Christmas cards. Alas, the sun was too bright! But we miss that sunshine now, it is cold! It’s supposed to get down to 9C, (that’s colder than when you were here Dad!).
Thought I might share with you some of Jayden’s vocabulary and pronunciation. It’s pretty much all the same sounds, in different combinations.
1. Mommy (Eng & Ch) = mama
2. Daddy (Ch) = baba
3. Daddy (Eng) = dada
4. Sister (Ch) = jyeahjyeah
5. banana (Eng) = nananananana
6. stand up/bum up (Eng) = ba ub
7. help (Ch) = bama (bang mang)
8. go (Eng) = go go
9. dog (Ch) = go go
10. no (Eng) = nononono (but in a cute way)
11. stop (Eng) = bap
12. more (Eng) = mo
13. milk (Ch) = neigh neigh
14. bye (Eng) = ba ba
15. older brother (Ch) = gege
16. open (Eng) = ba
17. throw away (Ch) = doh doh (dyao dyau)
18. carry (Ch) = bao bao
19. vroom (Eng) = vroom vroom
20. yes (Eng) = mmm (with a head nod)
The only signs he does regularly are “bye”, “come”, and “stop”. He’ll do “more” if it’s the tickling game and “milk” if he’s really frustrated at our lack of comprehension.
If you want to compare, this is what I have jotted down for Jaylene’s word list at 18 months:
Eng: hello, Mama, mommy, Daddy, Ahji, nose, ear, mouth, eye, eyebrow, cheek, toes, tummy, hair, duck, moo, water, more, no, bye bye, soother, book, ba (open), hello, apple, papa, sticker, peepee, happy, bum, uh oh.
Ch: dou ji (belly button), go go (dog), niao (bird), niao niao (pee), che tz (car), fei ji (airplane), neigh neigh (milk), dyou dyao (throw away), mei mei (little sister), jyeah jyeah (older sister), di di (younger brother), ge ge (older brother), ah pwo (elder lady), yi (one), er (two), san (three), zhei ge (this one), bau bau (carry/hold), cou cou (cry), shyeah shyeah (thank you).
In October I went to Jayden’s school and did a lesson on some Canadian art – the Haida Totem Pole. I’m not an expert to begin with, and I definitely don’t know that particular vocabulary set in Chinese so I relied a lot on visuals.
First I showed them our collection of totem poles. Jayden was thrilled to be my little helper.
I also presented a picture I printed from the internet that clearly showed that totem poles were much larger than the “toys” I had brought in. They were quite impressed with the height of the poles.
To introduce the specific style of art being presented, we played a little guessing game. I showed an example animal and they guessed what it was. It didn’t matter if the guesses were correct or not. Then we examined the pictures more carefully and discovered what kinds of shapes were mainly used… oval and “U” shapes. The children were very proud to be able to identify the English U. Each one had a chance to come up to the white board and try to draw the featured shapes.
After the white board fun, we had a group discussion about what the different animals represented and that each pole told a different story. We learnt a few distinguishing features of different animals, such as the beaver has big teeth and the bear always sticks out his tongue. Finally we used a handout from the Family Education Network entitled “Make Your Own Totem Pole” for a quick craft. The kids colored it in and cut out the shapes and glued them to a paper tube.
I have a few rubber stamps that I left at the school for a while and they used them later on to create placemats. We also gave them a tiny totem pole as a gift for their international center. Hopefully they’ll be inspired to create their own version of Haida style artwork.
Sometimes we need some focused time to show our gratitude to other members of our family. We created this little spinner game to provide a whimsical way to show that we are thankful for each other.
Each section refers to an individual member of our family, two more are generically labeled “family” and “friends” and the last two are left blank. They can be designated at the beginning of playing time to correspond with any new players we might have, or an area we want to focus our gratitude on.
Each player takes a turn spinning and then sharing what they are thankful for on the topic that is chosen. The responses are written down and saved for later in case someone wants to read them. After enough games, we could bind them into an appreciation book.
Sheet of cardstock
Use a plate to trace a circle.
Divide the circle into 8 (fairly) equal parts.
Use stickers to decorate the outside part of the circle (the inside part needs to be sticker free so that the spinner doesn’t get stuck).
Cut/punch/poke a hole in the center of the circle.
Use the paper fastener to loosely attach the arrow.
This morning we zipped off to Jaylene’s first school sports day, in the afternoon we all napped (fighting a family cold of sorts) and in the evening we went to another concert at the little white house where we enjoyed the talents of A Moving Sound
We arrived early so that we could locate a parking spot that wouldn’t result in a ticket (like the last time) and the kids could run around through the cannon valleys. We had a picnic dinner and then settled right in for the show.
Jaylene loved Mia’s unique singing and joined in when she realized it was a “made up” language.
Jayden appreciated the special crystal ball show.
Ahji’s favorite, as always, was the fire dance. You can see videos in my Flickr set.
I was looking through pictures from this summer and saw this one of the kids solving puzzles together.
When Jaylene was a wee little thing I picked up these wooden puzzles for a great price. She only liked the ones that had a picture underneath so I grabbed my sharpies and sketched in line drawings of the matching puzzle piece. Now that she’s seven, she’s moved on to more complicated ones with smaller pieces. Which means she can’t do them while Jayden is around. However, when Jaylene wears a sleeping mask it makes the easy puzzles more difficult for her, and Jayden can still trade with her as he insists on being able to do everything she does. Another “trick” we do is ask Jaylene to be the teacher and help Jayden with his “work” (he goes to a Montessori school).
Do you have any suggestions on other ideas on how to make toys for younger kids suitable for their older siblings?
This week was full of sorting, cleaning and putting things aside to donate to the Parent Pages Rummage Sale. All proceeds go to charity and the event is on December 6th this year. The main motivation for all this cleaning though was Jaylene’s birthday celebration on Saturday.
This birthday celebration had quite the metamorphosis. First I had a big birthday bash all planned out, practically to the minute. Jaylene vetoed that and just wanted a couple of friends over for brownies. She’s the birthday girl so she got her wishes granted. Almost. The store that sells the brownie mix was closed every time I (or a friend) went there. I do know how to make brownies from scratch, but I don’t attempt such miracles these days. So what do you do with a girl who doesn’t like cake so much, and there are no brownies to be seen? Make a fake cake of course!
It’s really easy, and I literally did this in a half an hour before the guests were scheduled to arrive.
Materials for cake:
A round box with removable lid
A large piece of felt that will cover the top of the lid and over the sides a bit
A strip of felt that will fit around the side of the bottom part of the box
2 lengths of ribbon that will fit around the side of the bottom and lid
1. Hot glue the felt to the top and side of the box.
2. Trim the felt so that it is just above the edge of the box. It’s okay if you see the box as you’ll cover it up with the ribbon.
3. Hot glue the ribbon around the edge of the lid’s side, letting a bit hang over the edge so that none of the box is seen.
4. Put the lid on the box, and hot glue the felt strip along the bottom edge, matching it up to the lid. It’s okay if the bottom edge shows because you’ll cover that up with the second ribbon.
5. Hot glue the second ribbon around the bottom edge so that none of the box can be seen.
1. Cut a rectangle of felt, and a flame shape with a small rectangle on the bottom.
2. Glue the rectangle part of the flame to the top left corner of the candle rectangle, letting just the flame part hang over the edge.
3. Run a line of hot glue down the edges and roll up the candle, gluing the end as well.
If you need a picture of this, let me know. Make sure the candles are wide enough to stand on their own on the cake. The fun part is “blowing them out” and knocking them over.
You can decorate your cake with felt shapes (which we have oodles of, thanks Jan!) and then keep the candles and decorations inside the box until the next birthday bash rolls around.
Now you know the method to my madness: clever concealment covers up the need to measure exactly and creates speedy crafting!
We brought out the fake cake and sang the song and Jaylene “blew” out the candles. Her little friends joined in too.
If you want to see a video of us singing the birthday song and blowing out the candles Click here.
I wasn’t about to have a party without some sort of birthday munchies so we had 7-11 cupcakes. CUPCAKES! There was a mad rush for the whipped cream while I turned my back to grab the sprinkles.
The winner outsmarted all the girls by zipping around to the other side of the table.
I think the cupcakes were a big success!
The girls licked off the whipped cream and got several “refills”. The two little ones didn’t want whipped cream on theirs. Jayden actually just grabbed his cupcake and then headed over to an area of the house that had no “big sisters” in it, so he could eat in peace.
After the cupcake extravaganza we headed over to watch the dancing and have a pizza in the park. I had planned a bunch of supergirl activities but I guess I’ll have to keep them on standby for another day. What are your party tips and tricks?