Favorite Books & Playdough Mats

I wanted to share a post about our two favorite books that we've read so far for learning time.

Blueberries for Sal and One Morning in Maine

They are both by Robert McCloskey and are about a little girl named Sal and her daily adventures.

These are the two books that Sissy will pick out of 20 plus books every time. 

Also, in a previous post I mentioned that she plays with playdough mats and I wanted to share where I found them.

There are many more out there if you Google them but these are the majority that Sissy is using, I didn't want too many because she is still learning to manipulate the playdough. After I printed the sheets, I slipped them into sheet protectors and put them in a binder. You could also laminate them but I haven't invested in a laminator yet. Sissy has had a blast so far and asks to play with them everyday.

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Pre-Tot School Days

I wanted to write a post about where we are starting in homeschooling and what we are planning on doing. Currently Sissy is 2 1/2, she will be 3 in April, she's not quite ready to give me all of her attention unless it's for listening to music and we are in the process of moving so things are very laid back when it comes to learning, as it should be for this age.

Currently we start our mornings with breakfast and Caillou time as I call it. Caillou is Sissy and Baby guy's favorite cartoon and it's on for an hour every morning on Sprout. Once Caillou is over the TV is turned off.

Usually Baby guy goes down for nap around this time and Sissy and I start learning time. Learning time consists of calendar time and sitting on the floor on a blanket reading books, singing songs, prayer, weekly bible verse. Most of the time Sissy is not still for this but either way I know she's soaking things in.

The books that we are reading come from the library and are books recommended by Charlotte Mason. Charlotte Mason is an education expert/philosopher, if you are interested there is a ton of info about her philosophy on Google. I don't plan on following her method very strictly, I like her ideas but I don't think it fits me to a "T" but I do love the books she recommends. They are all classics. I found the list for Sissy's age group at Amblesideonline.org.

At this age, I didn't want to start a lesson plan per say so that's why I focus on just reading her books and having fun. Sometimes she's interested and sometimes she's not, but I've actually enjoyed reading most of the books myself, they are classics for a reason. If she is paying attention I try ti discuss the characters with her and show her the pictures and then ask questions like, can she find a certain object in the picture and what the character is (like a certain animal), and maybe why they did something specific in the book or how. Just to have discussion and talk about different things we wouldn't normally talk about.

Prayer time consists of a simple prayer for the day to get Sissy more acquainted and comfortable with prayer and the weekly bible verse is to help with memorization and familiarize Sissy with the bible. She still cannot pronounce alot of the words but she does memorize what she can. The verses I'm currently using are from icanteachmychild.com.

Then we wrap up floor time with music and dancing. This is Sissy's favorite time, the girl loves music. She has a playlist on youtube that I've compiled full of Christian children's songs and learning songs. Her favorite is Children of God by GodRocks! She would dance to this over and over all day long if I let her.

After learning time we just go about the rest of our day. She plays, colors, works with playdoh and playdoh mats, pretty much does what she does best, make a big mess. =)

We only do learning time Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday morning we go to Women's Bible Study at church and she does fun activities in her Toddler Class. This will continue through May and this summer will probably be even more flexible with more play dates scheduled.

I plan on doing this simple routine with her through the summer, we might start to incorporate some different things, but right now I want to keep it light and flexible. Next September I plan on starting a more structured Tot School/Preschool plan with her. I've spent many hours compiling curriculum for that and once we're moved and settled I will write another post on what I plan on using and how I plan to use it. 

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Ebay cloth diapers a year and a half later

OK, so apparently I don't understand this blogging thing too good because I just realized I have a ton of comments and didn't even know it. One of the comments was for the "ebay cloth diaper" post I did a year and half ago. This prompted me to write a follow up to these diapers and let everyone know how they are holding up to hopefully help future shoppers (bidders).

So as far as the ebay diapers go the brand that I purchased the most was Alva Baby, these I did not mention in the previous post because I found them much later in my cloth diaper journey, so if anyone is interested they are great.

Pretty much all of the ebay diapers I've purchased, about 24, have held up. I still use them daily, but now on baby D. I wash them weekly (I wash twice a week but I have a large enough stash that I can split it in half), I've used Charlie's Soap, Rockin Green and Biokleen. I stick with Biokleen now because I can find it at my local grocery store.

I strip the diapers every 2-3 months, I found around that time they start getting funky. To strip, I load our top loader washer with freshly washed not dried diapers, hot water on the largest load and add boiling hot water in as many pots (of various sizes) that I can boil which is 4. I then add 2 scoops of an oxygen cleaner, a couple of squirts of blue dawn dish soap and a random amount of bleach just to help kill bacteria, not enough to change the color of the diapers. Then after the first load I rinse, rinse, rinse. I can't stress the rinsing enough, I usually takes me 6-8 rinses. I actually lower the water level as I go, to help save on water, I know weird but that's me. You want to look for bubbles, if there are no more bubbles then they are ready. I rinse by just running a new load of water, the first I might do hot again to help break down the soap and then I rinse with cold. I'm lucky enough to have a washer with the second rinse option so I only have to reset the washer myself only 3-4 times. I would suggest you start stripping early in the day, because the rinsing takes a while.

The only other things I use with the diapers are flushable liners to catch poop and Biokleen Bac-out Spray after a poop, to eat up the stinkies. I have found this really helps with stinky diaper pails.

The only diapers I would not recommend out of all of the ebay diapers I have purchased are the Coolababy Charcoal lined diapers, for some reason these leak, the regular white lined Coolababy diapers don't leak but the charcoal lined diapers do. Also, very sad to say but the Teeny Tiny Hiney diapers I purchased pretty much lasted a month. They are super cute but for some reason started leaking pretty quick. So even though these two types of pocket diapers leaked I didn't give up on my money spent, I had some diaper covers from when I first started cloth diapering and hadn't found pocket diapers yet and I just use these to cover the leaky diapers. This way I still get good absorbency and no leaks.

How I use cloth:

I do not cloth outside of the home. I tried it and it didn't work for me. I bought all of the goodies to do it and it just didn't fit. I found that if I lost track of time and went over the 4 hour time limit, they would leak, I don't think this has anything to do with brand because it did it with every brand, it's just how long the insert can hold up, but now I have some pretty cute wet/dry bags that I use for other things.

We use disposable diapers outside of the home and at night. I couldn't find the right combo for overnight cloth diapers without spending a ton of money. Money is the whole reason I started cloth, not to save the earth, that's just an added bonus. Even though I do still use disposable we've cut way down on what we would have used. Instead of 4-6+ disposables a day we typically use 1 at night and most weeks I only leave the house once or twice a week. So with that said we only buy a big box of disposable diapers once every 2 months or so. However, while I was pregnant I really slacked with using cloth and while I'm sick but those are exceptions.

After the initial investment of probably $200-300, which was a slow process. It took me 2-3 months to build my initial stash once I discovered pocket diapers and then slowly added here and there. The $200-300 applies to when I first started with pre-folds and covers, then ebay pocket diapers, the 2 GoGreen pocket diapers I purchased and all of the other supplies, some used and some new. I would say we've made our money back ten fold, I also plan on reselling many of the diapers after baby D is potty trained.

I hope this has been helpful, please let me know if you have any questions on anything I talked about. Now that I know where to find the comments, I will answer you.

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