Thursday, July 31, 2008

Paper Doll

Maddy made this absolutely adorable paper doll set for Grace. She handmade each dress out of fabric and ribbon, laminated them, and added magnets on the back of each one so that the dresses would stick to the doll. Grace had great fun choosing dresses for her paper doll (Mommy did too...shhh!). Grace also did a wonderful job finding each dress that I described using a variety of adjectives. Thank you, Maddy, for this very cute activity. We love it!
Sadly, Maddy & Poppy left for Vermont this morning. Thank you, Maddy & Poppy, for another wonderful visit. Grace has been talking about you both nonstop since you left. She is reliving all of the special times she spent with you this week! We miss you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Painted Ladies

Today Grace set her butterflies free! These are the butterflies that Grace had as tiny caterpillars at Maddy and Poppy's house. Grace opened the butterfly habitat and the five Painted Ladies fluttered gently out. One butterfly landed in a patch of grass and Grace sat and watched it for almost ten minutes. The others flew up into the air. Grace stood for the longest time saying, "goodbye butterflies." As we ate dinner on the porch we saw one of Grace's butterflies fly by. It was amazing!

Building a Fairy House

Grace and Maddy built a fairy house in Grace's yard. They gathered flowers, sticks, rocks, leaves, bark, and moss to create a sweet little home that any fairy would love to live in.

Trying a New Art Technique

After Grace's nap this afternoon we tried this fun craft project. This involved cutting cardstock into quarters and some washable tempera paint that we thinned with water and stirred with sticks. We then put the paint on the cardstock paper and Grace blew it to create splatter. After they dried, we created pictures out of the designs. This was something new for Grace and she loved blowing the paint!

Grace Gives Ella a Bath!

After having such a fun time playing outside, Ella was in need of a bath!

Grace's Music Basket

Poppy and I (Maddy) are so impressed with the basket of musical instruments that Rebecca has for Grace. It is great to have all of Grace's music makers in one location. Grace is such a musical little girl. We spent most of the morning making music. Thank you, Donna, for adding to the basket for Grace!

Cooling Off!

Grace's Piano Recital

I'm back ~ Maddy, the guest blogger! Poppy and I came to Bob, Rebecca, and Grace's home to spend a few days. We helped out with Grace while Rebecca had her ultrasound on Monday.

Bob and Rebecca had a date today so Poppy and I had another wonderful opportunity to spend the entire day with Grace. This morning Grace played piano pieces on Rebecca's piano for us. After each piece, Grace would come for her applause from us. We clapped our hands and called out, "Brava mademoiselle. Encore!" Grace bowed after each performance while we showered her with accolades.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"I Spy" Bottle

Grace had a great time with her "I Spy" bottle this morning. Maddy made this bottle for Grace which is filled with over thirty tiny items sprinkled among some bird seed. Some of items within the bottle include: a rock, buttons, chalk, a key, a stamp, a sea shell, a hair clip, & a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. In this picture, Grace is trying to find a pine cone. This bottle is SO much fun for Grace and it such a fun learning tool too!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Spreading Happiness

After Grace's swimming lesson this morning we got stuck in traffic on the highway for over thirty minutes due to construction. This picture of Grace was taken in her car seat as we were waiting for the traffic to move. Grace brought many smiles and several laughs from other drivers as she smiled and enthusiastically waved to everyone. Prior to Grace, I don't think I ever thought of getting stuck in traffic as a treat but it definitely was today...and it's all because of Gracie girl. It was delightful for me to watch Grace turn lots of grumpy faces into happy ones with big smiles!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Open/Close Activity Bag

Grace enjoyed working with her open/close activity bag this morning. Maddy made lots of these activity bags for Grace ~ each one has their own specific theme or purpose. Grace really loves her open/close activity bag, which is full of different containers that Grace can open and close. Grace especially enjoys the smaller, more challenging containers and she works very hard to make sure that she is able to open and close them all! For a fun touch this morning, I put small jingle bells inside each container to give Grace a surprise as she opened them.

Monday, July 21, 2008

1-to-1 Correspondence

Grace is working on the concept of 1-to-1 correspondence. Grace enjoyed putting her colored bears into their own compartment inside this storage box. This was a fun way to target this concept.

Planting Seeds

Uncle Adam bought Grace this great indoor garden kit that is made from recycled milk jugs. Grace painted the pots this morning ~ one blue, one yellow, and one green. After bath time Grace put a soil disk in each pot, added warm water, and fluffed the soil with a trowel. The kit also came with three packets of organic seeds. Here, Grace is planting Teddy Bear Sunflower seeds into her yellow pot. The other two pots contain Basil seeds and Zinnia seeds. Grace will water her plants each morning and it will be great fun for us to watch as the seeds sprout and grow. We can't wait to use the basil to make homemade pesto. Thank you so much, Uncle Adam!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Our Unforgettable Butterfly Week in Vermont

There aren't enough words to thank Maddy & Poppy for all that they did for Gracie girl on our visit to Middlebury. I know that Grace will always remember butterfly week at "Maddy and Poppy's house." Each day was filled with such fun butterfly activities for Grace....and only the wonderful and creative Maddy would even think of incorporating butterflies into mealtimes with her delicious butterfly sandwiches! Everything from the butterfly tutu to the beautiful crafts were so perfect and fun for Grace. It was very clear that months of thought and preparation were involved in getting ready for our very special week together. Also, a very big thank you for all of Grace's organic and nutritious meals. It was wonderful to expose Grace to new recipes, especially muffin tin Monday! It is a tradition that I can't wait to continue with Grace. An extra special thank you to Maddy who also made Grace activity learning bags, which I will share with everyone on our blog soon. Our week ended at Maddy & Poppy's house ended with a very special visit from Uncle Adam. Grace had talked about seeing her Uncle Adam all week and it was such a treat for us to spend time with him too. Maddy & Poppy sent us home with a full car of learning toys & games, clothes, and books. Thank you, Maddy & Poppy, a trillion times over for the memories.

Grace's Live Butterfly Garden!

Maddy sent away for a fascinating habitat and discovery kit for Grace so that she could learn all about the incredible journey that a caterpillar takes to become a beautiful butterfly. The kit came in the mail last weekend with a small container that contained five tiny caterpillars (seen below). Maddy, Poppy, Grace, and I all enjoyed watching the caterpillars grow each day as they quadrupled in size in just five days! By the end of the week the caterpillars had climbed to the top of the cup and were hanging down head first ~ and within one day they had all formed their own chrysalid. If you look closely in the picture below you can see the chrysalids hanging. Grace and I carefully transported the delicate chrysalides back to Maine. Tonight, Daddy removed the chrysalids from the cup and placed them inside of the butterfly garden habitat (seen above). We then hung the butterfly habitat from our dining room ceiling fan and we will be anxiously waiting for the butterflies to emerge. This should take about one week and we can't wait. This has been a truly amazing learning opportunity for Grace and we can't thank Maddy enough!
Below is the butterfly habitat hanging from our fan. The butterflies that will emerge are called the Painted Lady. We will be sure to share their arrival with everyone!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

days with grace :: 9 (good-bye)

Good-Bye Sweet Grace as you and Beautiful Rebecca flutter back home...........

We had the time of our lives this week. Thank you for letting me be your guest blogger this week. Maddy, signing out!

days with grace :: 9

Another picture from yesterday. Grace used the green play silk as a leaf while she used a magnatic fishing pole from one of her puzzles to "fish" for butterflies.

Friday, July 18, 2008

days with grace :: 8 (friday evening)

It is Friday night and tomorrow morning Rebecca and Grace are heading home to Maine. We celebrated with a picnic dinner on the green. To top off the perfect week Uncle Adam read "Good Night Vermont " to Gracie Girl. Grace has been saying, "I Love You, Uncle Adam" all week!

days with grace :: 8 (playing with the play silks!)

days with grace :: 8 (a field trip!)

I spoke with Rebecca about taking Grace to a goat farm for about a month now. Rebecca had been telling Grace that we would be going when she came to visit. Grace has talked about the goat farm since she arrived. This morning we drove to Leicester, Vermont to the Blue Ledge Farm. Grace gave a chicken a rock, we talked and waved to the goats, said "maaa" many times, and bought some goat cheese. Along the way Grace saw cows, round bales, hay, horses, wildflowers, mountains, bumpy roads and railroad tracks. All the best things in Vermont!
Today is our last full day with Rebecca and Grace. We have had the most special week together. Tomorrow morning they leave for home. Bob has really missed his girls. We have a picnic dinner planned for this afternoon. Uncle Adam will be joining us. We'll show you pictures of our Friday Feast later tonight. ~ Maddy

Thursday, July 17, 2008

days with grace :: 7 (late afternoon)

To end this very hot afternoon, Grace put the garden sticks she made at her house in our garden. I love the brightness the colors add to all of our green! Notice the ice caterpillar and butterfly necklaces Grace is wearing on this hot day!

days with grace :: 7 (middle of the hot afternoon)

Poppy came home from work early on this hot afternoon. Grace and Poppy danced with the play silks. I guess this is what play silks do to Poppy!
We all needed to cool down with an afternoon snack after all that dancing!

days with grace :: 7 (late morning)

Our Tackle-it-Thursday butterfly craft was dyeing silks! I learned about this project and have been thinking about it for quite awhile. I sent away for the white silks. Grace and I used Kool-Aid (shhhh, she never even saw the packages!) and with water and a splash of vinegar we soaked the white silks in the color. We were very surprised how quickly the color absorbed into the silk. We then hung them to dry. After they dry we are going to rinse them in cold water and hang them to dry again. By tomorrow morning they will be ready for Grace to play with. The silks can be butterfly wings, a skirt, water, a leaf, a hat or anything else that Grace wants them to be! We had the best time doing this project. Our house smelled sweet and the COLORS are beautiful.

days with grace :: 7 (tackle-it thursday) morning

Today we thought we would have a Tackle-it-Thursday. We began our morning by making french toast. We had an all-girl breakfast feast with real Vermont maple syrup.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

days with grace :: 6 (today's butterfly activity)

Before our pool party this afternoon Grace painted canvases with her paint. We helped Grace press her hands into the wet paint to create butterflies. Above you can see the two finished paintings. We love them! I am going to hang the blue one in our bedroom. Grace is bringing the green one home to hang in her bedroom. A treasure forever.

Got Gracie, Jack & Eve?