montessori

 

Sixtine started attending Montessori school at the end of March. There are three Montessori campuses in our province and we are lucky to leave 10 minutes away from one of them. I had been wanting to sign her up a while ago and I was so excited to get my driver’s license so I could take her!

She attends the toddler program three mornings a week and her teacher is absolutely wonderful. I haven’t known her long but there is something about her. I just know – she is very sweet and enthusiastic and I love that about people. She is a certified Montessori teacher, and she seems very knowledgeable.

Sixtine is still in a discovery stage where she wants to explore everything she sees – but can you blame a girl? I am an adult and I wanted to use every single tray and material I saw when we had the tour!

I love the sense of community I get whenever I go there. The “big kids” (children attending the Casa program aged 3-6) are always welcoming to Sixtine! The facility is smaller than the one downtown but it contributes to that homey feeling and they have everything they need. One common room for the Casa children and one room for the Toddlers. They also provide enrichment classes for older children (Maths, Reading) as well as extra-curricular activities (Dance, Music and Tae Kwon Do I believe?)!

Sixtine’s teacher has been great at communicating with me and I am sincerely happy about making that choice and decision for her. I get to know what Sixtine’s interests are on a regular basis and I know what lessons were presented to her via her “communication book”.

Here are some activities and lessons that Sixtine has done or was presented lately:

  • sorting and pouring
  • squeezing a sponge lesson
  • rolling a mat
  • sand paper numbers (1,3, and 7)
  • shape matching, sequencing and spooning tiny beads
  • squeezing a baster
  • pink tower

Sending her to Montessori school has relieved a lot of stress and I feel much more relaxed and less pressured as well. I know her certified teacher will give her the right tools to learn and I can do the best I can as a Mom and not as an educator. It is a fine line I have been struggling with. I will write more about this subject at a later date.

The only downside about sending her there is that because it is a school, it is closed in the summer and the hours can be inconvenient. I am not sure how we will work around it when I go back to work but we shall see. It is also more expensive than daycare.  In the meantime, it has been very exciting to see her grow and get excited about things she learnt at school.

I have been thinking of getting this book for her. I think it will be a helpful tool! Would anyone else recommend it?

Easter is coming up soon and although I don’t celebrate it here, I have no problem organizing Easter-inspired activities for the girls. I like to follow celebrations because it helps with (my) creativity and (her) time-of-the-year awareness.

Beads and pipe cleaners are extremely simple to set up and Sixtine really enjoys this activity. It helps her develop concentration, patience, as well as her fine motor skills. I also think the cute pastel colors make it even more appealing to a little girl!

She has also been sorting and matching with paper eggs. Another simple activity but always a hit! I bought these at Michael’s (craft store) and I am not sure what they are originally sold for (scrap booking perhaps) but I thought they would made the perfect sorting and matching material!

I apologize for not being around lately. In fact, the girls and I had a horrible flu  which lasted a full week. We are still not completely back to our normal selves! Sixtine has been having the longest naps and I have just been beyond exhausted. At the end of the week, I thought I lost two years of family pictures – which were thankfully recovered thanks to a friend’s husband – and my camera stopped working (it is working now). So that made for a very stressful week!

I suspect Sixtine won’t be appearing much in the pictures from now on as she hasn’t been wanting to have her photograph taken and I want to respect that. I am pretty sure it has something to do with her not feeling well but until then, I believe she should have the choice not to.

What are some fun Easter-inspired activities you have been doing lately?

  1. Counting with Wayne Thiebaud / Susan Goldman Rubin
  2. It Is My Birthday / Helen Oxenbury
  3. Hello Baby / Mem Fox
  4. Is It Larger? Is It Smaller? / Tana Hoban
  5. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? / Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle

I don’t know if you remember this guest post by Christy Morgan on how to encourage an interest in books but I have seen tremendous changes in Sixtine since I last published it. It makes me so happy. What a beautiful sight to see Sixtine sitting down in a corner of her room with a book in her hands! She is a very independent “reader” in the sense that she wants to hold the book, and read it to you by pointing at picture of interest, naming, and asking questions. She is in love with Counting with Wayne Thiebaud – the artwork is just so beautiful you could almost taste it. It is so sweet to see how excited she gets at ice cream cones and pies! 

I also highly recommend It Is My Birthday. It makes a really lovely birthday gift – which I got for Victoire’s first birthday - but it is also a lovely story and the illustrations are really sweet and innocent. Tana Hoban’s Is It Larger? is a very effective language/vocabulary development tool. Sixtine really enjoys this book – she likes to make up stories about what she sees and the situations and objects depicted are very familiar so it helps a lot.

I absolutely love Hello Baby by Mem Fox, she is so very talented with words – it sounds like poetry and last but not least, the ever popular Brown Bear is also a well-loved book in our house at the moment. Am I the only Mom who sings this book?

What are you reading at the moment? Do any of those books sparkle your interest?

Our beautiful, smart, fun, loving baby girl turned one last week! What an emotional time of the year! I can’t believe how fast the year went.

We celebrated as a family of four last Tuesday, and had a lovely big birthday party this past Sunday. Family and friends all gathered around our little French lady and we had a very lovely time together.

I always like to have a theme when I throw a party – it helps my creativity – so I decided to go with French café! Victoire was born in France (unlike her older sister) so I thought it would be nice.

I did some party pinning for a few weeks prior to the party and came up with these little party ideas, treats and snacks.

I am a big fan of paper straws – I think they are very inviting – and the kids loved drinking in their special glasses! Those chocolate dipped pretzels with sprinkles were a huge hit. Sixtine had…ermm…three? *embarrassed* They were really easy to put together. I also made frozen strawberry yogurt drops (great healthy snack for the children), and my lovely friend Sherry made 40 cupcakes for me – I provided the liners (aren’t they adorable?) and she did the rest. She is a wonderful baker and I knew these would be amazing. The skor cupcakes were just to die for! It was really helpful too as birthday parties can be very stressful! So much to do and so little time!

 

I also made mini pains au chocolat for the first time ever and they were really good. I honestly didn’t think they would be so easy to make (although mine aren’t necessarily pretty!). My husband requested I make them on a regular basis now. How can I say no?! I made mini quiches Lorraine as well (easy and tasty!) and mini “Parisien” sandwiches which consisted of fresh baguette bread, emmental cheese and ham. I spreaded some butter on the bread as well…they felt like home! I wasn’t sure people would have any interest in them but they were none left at the end of the party so they must have been good!

Oh, yeah, I also made apple pie pops. Not my prettiest work (recipe called for pie crust and I used puff pastry – note to self: read instructions carefully!) but one of our guests had 3 (or 4?) and said they were lovely so that’s cool!

I served pink lemonade with frozen strawberries, milk, and water for drinks. And in an effort to minimize my guilt, put some fresh grapes, rice cakes, and dried apricots on the kids table as well as water bottles. Sorry to all my friends who probably had their kids bouncing off the walls at the end of the day (Sixtine did anyway!).

You only live once!

 

ps: Do you do favors? I got a plant-your-own strawberry/tomato plant kit for each little party guest!

ps**: If you have read this, I just wanted to say that Victoire is still nursing. I figured if I was still debating it then I was probably not ready.

Have a beautiful week, Deb

 

Here is a little overview of Sixtine and Victoire’s kitchen materials. I believe Sixtine was about 15 months when we started baking together so Victoire has a little way to go but she now owns an adorable toddler apron (on the right)! I can’t wait to see her wear it! Thank you again so much Beth. Still can’t believe that my baby turned one yesterday! Time flies when you are having fun. We also have some child-sized cutlery and few more things I didn’t think of photographing but I hope this will be a good source of inspiration!

  1. Glass pitcher with lid
  2. Mini vegetable brush
  3. Mini wooden rolling pin – available in my shop
  4. Banana slicer - really good for little hands, see Sixtine in action here
  5. Strawberry slicer
  6. Wooden spreaders (left/right)
  7. Mini snack containers
  8. Wooden kitchen utensils and spatula – available in my shop
  9. Oven mitt – Sixtine got it as a gift on Christmas day. It is from France but I don’t know where from.
  10. Wooden cutting board – it is on the smaller side but I don’t know where we got it.
  11. Toddler aprons – available here and here
  12. Wavy chopper - one of Sixtine’s favorite. It is a great alternative to real knives.
  13. Mini whisk – available in my shop
  14. First glasses - they are really fantastic! Here is a little video of Victoire using one
  15. Small plastic juicer
  16. Mini dish brush
  17. Place mat – from Ikea, I just used a marker to draw

I would love to see your children in the kitchen – feel free to link to your blog or recommend wonderful materials if anything comes to mind. Deb

Little Chef Sixtine made mini banana muffins for our Sunday afternoon treat! Here is the recipe:

2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup applesauce ( we used pear sauce)
1 cup flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Preheat oven at 350 degree F .Peel and mash bananas, add sugar, then add other ingredients. Butter up muffin tins and pour batter. Bake for 15-17 minutes. C’est prêt, bon appétit!

Oh and this is Vic drinking water out of a glass and making bubbles! Too sweet to miss! Happy Sunday!

 

Victoire and I’s breastfeeding journey started on March 25th last year. She and I will celebrate our nursing anniversary in a couple weeks. I never planned to breastfeed for so long. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to when I was expecting, yet somehow I decided I would give it a try. I knew more this time. I wanted more this time.

I read a lot and was ready to make it work if that makes sense. I knew not to let the hospital’s medical staff complement her with formula if she didn’t really need to. I knew to hang in there even if it wasn’t painless or easy.

The first few weeks were incredibly hard but I had a wonderful midwife who helped me through obstacles and discouraging moments. I decided I would nurse for three months. Once I hit the 3-month mark, I decided to nurse for 3 more months, and 3 more, until Victoire would turn 1.

She is just about to turn one, and I am wondering…Is this the end? I have mixed feelings. A part of me wants to stop and another part of me wants to continue. I love the bond Victoire and I developed throughout all our nursing sessions. We have had cries, and laughs and quiet moments…but as she grows up and I start needing my own space, the idea of prolonging the experience leaves me pondering…Do I still want this? How is she going to feel? How am I going to feel? Breast is best! Breast is best! I know that, but what if I don’t want to nurse anymore? Does that make me a bad mother? Sixtine was breastfed very little time, she is healthy and I wanted the best for her to.

I need to start thinking about myself. What do I want?

Please share your experience.

  1. Lots of Feelings / Shelley Rotner
  2. Museum ABC / The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY)
  3. Hands Can / Cheryl Willis Hudson
  4. Wait! Wait! / Hatsue Nakawaki
  5. Say Goodnight / Helen Oxenbury
  6. Time for Bed / Mem Fox

I have always loved children’s literature. What I look for in books for my daughters are beautiful and realistic illustrations, and stories that they can relate to. Sixtine loves to look at pictures of real children, Lots of Feelings and Hands Can are wonderful books for toddlers. It is also a great way of encouraging young children to learn how to name their feelings. Time for Bed is a sweet and soothing bedtime story. Hatsue Nakawaki’s book has beautiful illustrations…it is so light, and airy! Helen Oxenbury’s books are always a hit as well. Finally, the Museum ABC is a wonderful introduction to Art. I highly recommend it!

What is on your reading list this month? I love discovering new books and adding them to my extremely long “saving for later” Amazon list! 

Today was such a beautiful, cold and sunny day, it was the perfect day for a very calming and peaceful activity. I came across this lovely basil plant seeds kit when I was pregnant with Victoire and never opened it. The kit advertises “for children aged 6 to 12″ but I figured Sixtine would be able to use it with some supervision.

She showed a lot of interest, patience and concentration, and I really enjoyed painting those rocks with her. It was a really sweet moment. I just love observing her working. She is so meticulous and gracious!

She will be in charge of watering the plant everyday and I am excited to see her reaction to a nice and tall plant!