Friday, July 5, 2013


I am crazy excited to share that my first ever published article is live on right now!  Of course, it's about a pretty amazing topic that is quite dear to my heart, and I had a pretty amazing friend help to make it all happen.......but I am still pretty darn psyched about the whole thing, let me tell you!  :-)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Last Five Years

June 3, 2008

June 3, 2013

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.” ~Phillips Brooks

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

March Madness

     Holy March, Batman!  I haven't been around blog land at all in the last several weeks, because Adam and I have been busy bees!  We visited CHOP for Adam's yearly trip to voice clinic and check up with his airway surgeon, participated in a radiothon to help raise money for Children's Miracle Network, and took a roadtrip to North Carolina to see my beautiful sister and her classmates perform their senior thesis dance concert.  There were trips to The State Museum, to Let's Pretend, and to Springtime in the Park, not to mention St. Patrick's Day and Easter festivities!  I made an "executive decision" to not bother making a new feely bin for March, because I figured it really wouldn't get played with much while there were so many other activites going on.  We'll be back in action next week with a new and exciting feely bin.....I know you're all looking forward to it!  ;-)  In the meantime, here are some photos of a little bit of our March madness!

We love Let's Pretend! 

Charter Day at the State Museum!

Curiosity Connection is just too much fun!

Learning about maps at the State Museum....very cool!

Springtime in the Park.....finally tall enough for the mini swings!

Face painting fit for a superhero! 

First time on the frog hopper!  Woohoo!

Happy Easter!  :-)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Flying Fun!

     Recently Adam had the very exciting experience of taking his first airplane trip!  My mom, Adam, and I flew to Arizona to surprise my grandma and celebrate her 80th birthday.  We had a wonderful time visiting with family that we see far too infrequently, and loved soaking up some sunshine!  Adam was an absolute champ while we were traveling, and had a great time on the plane! 

Ready to rock and roll!
Lucky kid even got an invite into the cockpit, and made an announcement to the whole plane!
"My tray table is down....where are my snacks?!"
     I was pretty sure that the novelty of flying, combined with a few favorite snacks and some Transformers action figures would be enough to keep Adam entertained during the trip, but I figured it couldn't hurt to have a few fun things to do as well.  Before we left I raided the Dollar Tree and put together six "Mystery Envelopes".  I numbered each one and told Adam that he could choose three on the flight to Arizona, and three on the flight back.  We spaced the activities out with snacking, napping, and being amazed at the views out the window, and the whole experience turned out to be fan-freaking-tastic!  Here's what our envelopes contained......

#1:  A calculator, notebook, and pen/pencil

#2:  Build a Word matching game, and puzzle cards

#3:  Blank foam bookmarks and stickers for decorating

#4:  Small dry erase board with markers

#5:  Spiderman coloring book and crayons

#6:  Shape Magnets (The mini cookie sheet we use for a travel felt/magnet board fit nicely in Adam's carry on backpack along with all the envelopes.  And the aforementioned Transformers and snacks!)

     Adam loved the surprise element of choosing a blank envelope and not knowing what would be inside.  He had fun with all six of the activities, and now....bonus!.....I have six great travel friendly things ready for him to do on our road trip to North Carolina this weekend!  Happy travels, y'all!  :-)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The "Feely Bin" Chronicles: Volume 2

For our February "feely bin" we went with a dinosaur theme!  (True confession:  in first grade I was completely obsessed with being a paleontologist!)  Adam seems to be having a good time with this bin....but seriously, what's not to love about dinosaurs?!

Dino central!

The base of this bin is dried beans...specifically kidney beans and pinto beans.  I threw in a bag of decorative rocks, (I think they're the kind that are intended for use in vases and such.) two packages of plastic dinos, and an island and some trees from Adam's lego bin.  Super easy, and pretty darned authentically prehistoric if you ask me!  :-)

Might as well look the part!

Who put this tree here?!

I found these really cute foam puzzles that Adam had fun putting together, and we cut apart some classroom type signs to make a little matching game.  I also wrote numbers on paper plates and asked Adam to grab the corresponding number of dinosaurs with his tongs and put them on each plate, although I didn't get a picture of that.  As an extension of the "feely bin" theme, we've been watching some episodes of Dinosaur Train, reading that literary classic Dinosaurs Love Underpants, and googling lots of fun dinosaur facts!  Good stuff all around!

I thought these were pretty gosh darned cool for $1!

I snuck in some cutting practice by having Adam cut out the orange rectangles.

Stay tuned for our March journey into OUTER SPACE!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The "Feely Bin" Chronicles: Volume 1

     Ok, people!  It's a brand new year and I am *going* to keep up with this blogging thing!  Adam and I are both doing great.....great summer....great fall....great holidays....just. freaking. great.  (Seriously, I'm not being a smart ass.  Life is good.)

See?  Pretty great.

     Partly because Adam is super excited about learning, and partly because I totally miss teaching preschool, we tend to do a lot of crafting/experimenting/hands on kind of fun stuff around our house.  One of his favorite things (and mine too!) is what most people refer to as a tactile or sensory bin.  Adam, however, insists on calling it his "feely bin".  It's just an under the bed storage bin which we fill with all sorts of various fun substances to play with and explore.  You can find all kinds of great information about making these types of bins, and also all sorts of articles about why they're great for kids, around the internet.  None of that shall I link you to here though, because, frankly, it's after midnight and I lack the initiative.  Trust me it up.  It's good stuff.

     I've decided to issue myself a year long "feely bin" challenge.  Once a month new, exciting, and festively thematic contents will appear in the aforementioned "feely bin" to be enjoyed by Adam.  (and I guess I'd probably play along if I had to....)  I have a little container of things for him to use to explore the bin....tongs, measuring cups, spoons, strainers, etc....but some of those things may change with the contents of the bin as well.  The enjoyable part of the process for me is thinking of how to combine substances that feel cool with fine motor activities, some sort of cognitive component, and the option for open ended, imaginative play.  We'll see how it all goes as the year progresses, but so far so good!

January:  Winter/Snow

The tools

The bin

     The "feely bin"  (sorry about the just seems necessary when typing words as ridiculous as "feely bin")  for this month has a winter theme.  First I added four containers of salt (snow) to the bin, followed by two big bags of cotton balls.   Those are the snowballs....obviously.  :-)  Then I covered it all with a healthy shake of silver glitter, because seriously what's more fun that vacuuming glitter out of your rug forEVER?!  In the snow I buried some diamond shaped plastic beads, some round plastic beads, and a package of flat glass stones.  The little snowmen and trees were left over Christmas gift tags, but I thought they looked cute in there.  (Incidentally, all of this stuff came from the Dollar Tree.  In addition to being a way fun mom, I am a way broke mom.)

     I drew a snowflake on the back of five of the flat stones and told Adam that those were "magic snowflakes", and that he could only extract them from the snow using the tongs.  The rest of the buried treasures he could dig for and sort however he liked, as well as sifting and measuring the salt, sorting/counting/comparing the different sized cotton balls, moving and rearranging the trees and snowmen, and whatever else he decided would be fun.

Sifting the snow
He ended up really liking the tongs!

Sorting the buried treasure

     We've played with the bin twice so far, and he's already added a little Lego house for the snowmen to live in, and a couple of hot wheels dump trucks and bulldozers to move the snow around.  I think the next time we get it out I'll add some index cards with numbers on them and ask him to put the corresponding number of "snowballs" on each card.  Ooooo or maybe I can put some upper and lower case letters on the trees and snowmen and have a matching game.  (I just thought of that one...can you tell?!)  Regardless of what he ends up doing, he seems to really be having fun with it, which is definitely the most important function of a "feely bin"! 

     So, what do you think for next month......outer space or dinosaurs? 


Saturday, July 14, 2012

This blog post is brought to you today by the letter P!

*I know, I know.....that whole "blogging more regularly" thing isn't going so well.  I definitely need to post a summer catch up blog, just so that I can remember everything we've been doing!  In the on!*

Yesterday morning, Adam and I were watching Team Umizoomi.  (a moderately mind numbing, but not entirely eye twitch inducing, kids show on Nick Jr that actually does a pretty good job teaching early math concepts)  The "umi friends" were on a pirate ship, so naturally Adam was riveted.  As one may need to do when on a pirate ship, they had to feed the crocodiles while sailing.....and these crocodiles only ate things that started with P.  (I don't know why.  Some of them were also blue.  Suspension of disbelief.....whatever.)  Adam did a really good job picking out all of the P food, and then started listing other P words.  "puh....puh.....pirate!!"  I began a list of all the P words we could both think of, and just like that yesterday became "Letter P Day!" 

To start off the festivities, we decided to stay in our pajamas all day.  Even when we went to the grocery store.  (Fortunately I slept in yoga pants and a tank top, so I didn't look entirely like I belonged on the People of Walmart site.  Just mostly.  And yes, of course, we ran into people we knew. Never fails.) Here's a recap of the fun!

Pjs to the store?!  Oh yeah!

We read Pickle Things!

Snack time! (potato chips, peanut butter pretzels, popcorn, peaches, and pears)

We watched Peter Pan!  (feel the classic disney vhs power!!)


Playdoh time is serious business!

We painted on paper plates too!

Pretty pictures!

We finished our list with 33 P words!  Not too shabby!

Of course we also had pizza for dinner, and popsicles for dessert.  It was such a fun day, and by bedtime Adam was actually shouting out P words he was hearing people say in conversations or on tv. His last question of the day was "What yettew can we has a day of next?" so I guess this will become a tradition.  Once a week we'll have a letter day.....I'll let everyone know how it goes.  Of course I may be in trouble when we get to a letter that doesn't correspond with a bunch of stuff I just happen to have around the house!

Happy weekend everybody!
~Jess  :-)