Monday, August 31, 2009

Homemade Crayons

I have seen this activity on several blogs this summer and have been wanting to give it a try!

My first thought was to use the really cute ice cube tray that I found at the Dollar Tree. I previously used it for our ice cube painting activity. After filling the entire tray with broken crayons, my husband walked in the kitchen and questioned me about using an "ice cube tray" in the oven. My response, "Sure, it'll work...I think...right?? It looks like my larger silicon muffin pan, so it should be fine...right?" Not wanting to take the chance, I decided not to use it. However, I am curious to know if it would have been okay to use, so if you know, please let me know.

I transferred all the broken crayons to the flower muffin pan. To melt crayons, preheat oven to 225 degrees and warm crayons for about 10 minutes.

Let crayons cool. We stuck them in the freezer to speed up the process.
Our colorful flower crayons!

Urban Turn Giveaway Winner!

CONGRATULATIONS to Aik at Family and Friends. You are the lucky random winner of the Urban Turn Giveaway!

Please contact me via e-mail ( and leave your shipping address. I will forward your address to Urban Turn, who will directly ship your chosen wooden top to you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

UrbanTurn Review and Giveaway

As a former teacher and mother of a preschooler, I'm always in search for simple, yet educational toys. I tend to be drawn toward classic wooden toys. I recently discovered UrbanTurn, who constructs wooden tops, a classic toy that children have been spinning for centuries.

When I first saw the spinning wooden tops by UrbanTurn, I was instantly drawn in by their color and craftsmanship.

Each wooden top is hand turned hard maple. The ink that is used on the wooden top is non-toxic and permanent. Each wooden top is 1.75" (4.4 cm) in diameter and is 1.25" (3.1 cm) high. There are a variety of colors to choose from.

The wooden tops by UrbanTurn provide endless hours of fun and fascination for everyone, especially curious preschoolers.

My preschooler really enjoyed trying to spin the top by herself. This little top is perfect for practicing fine motor skills, gaining patience, and for pure enjoyment while watching the vibrant colors swirl around. It worked best on a hard smooth surface. The top is well made; therefore, it should be able to withstand countless hours of hard play by a preschooler. However, be sure not to press down hard on the top to insure there isn't damage to the tip. What I really like about this classic toy is that she can play with it independently. In addition, this beautifully made wooden top is affordable. It is a welcome addition to our toy collection.

Are you twirling around wishing that you had your own wooden top? Then stop and win one! UrbanTurn is kindly giving one lucky reader a wooden top of their choice.

Ways To Enter Giveaway: (for each entry, please leave a separate comment)

1. Mandatory: visit UrbanTurn and then come back and leave a comment stating what color(s) wooden top you would prefer.
2. Leave a suggestion for a color that you would like to see UrbanTurn add to his color list.
3. Make a purchase from UrbanTurn during the giveaway.
4. Follow Izzie, Mac and Me blog.
5. Blog about the UrbanTurn giveaway on your blog.

The giveaway will close at midnight on Sunday, August 30. One lucky reader will be randomly drawn.

Disclaimer: The product reviewed was provided for me free of charge in return for writing a review and hosting a giveaway.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Go Diego Go Homemade Invitations

Izzie absolutely adores Diego! So, for her third birthday, we are having a Diego Jungle Safari theme party. I always make her birthday invitations and I'm really pleased with the way these turned out.

Inside the invitation reads...

Calling all animal rescuers!
Izzie and Diego need your help.
Baby Jaguar has lost his way to
Izzie's 3rd Birthday Celebration!
You have to help Izzie and Diego find
Baby Jaguar and bring him back to the
(last name) Rescue Center.

The adventure will begin Saturday,
(date), at (time).

Will will have a picnic after the mission.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dot Art

I finally bought Izzie some Dot Markers and I'm so glad that I did! I've always thought the idea was neat, but found them to be quite expensive. I found them at Michael's and used a 50% off coupon; therefore, I ended up paying $7.50 for them (still more than I wanted to pay). However, Izzie is having a great time with them.

I printed off several "Magnet Pages" from here. Izzie did really well dotting the circles!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Homemade Sensory Balls

I made a set of sensory balls for Izzie. I discovered the idea from Pink and Green Mama.

I only had 6 balloons that were the same color. I would like to have a set of 10 total.

Inside the balloons:
Craft beads

I made 2 of each.

Izzie played with the sensory balls for an hour last night. She was trying to match the sensory balls and it was very challenging for her, but she really enjoyed touching each ball and trying to figure out it's match.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Favorite Toys

I enjoy discovering new toys that other children are learning with. I spend countless hours researching toys for birthday and Christmas gifts, trying to make sure each toy is "fun" as well as educational. Lately, I've been trying to find toys that can also be incorporated into Izzie's speech therapy sessions too. Our speech therapist has great ideas and shows me different ways to incorporate speech in most activities (I'll be sharing these in another post). I've added an Amazon Widget to share Izzie and Mac's favorite toys. Izzie is currently 35 months old and Mac is 6 months old. Here are a few more toys that I snatched up at yard sales this summer that Izzie is having fun (learning) with. I can't find these online.

Apple and cheese wooden lacing objects for only 25 cents a piece. Great for lacing skills!

Wooden farm dominoes for only $1. Here is a similar set.

Wooden nut and bolt set by Melissa and Doug for $1. Great for fine motor skills.

Wooden hands puzzle for a quarter. Melissa and Doug makes a similar puzzle (click here).

Magnetic dress-up dolls with a ton of outfits. This has been a huge hit in our house!
I got the entire set for $3. Melissa and Doug has a similar set.

My favorite bargain...this huge wooden puzzle set and activity board that I got for only $3.
Unfortunately, there isn't a logo on either piece and I can't find anything similar.

There's a chunky puzzle piece for each letter of the alphabet that can be placed on the activity board. There's a town, a zoo, a farm, and even a castle on the activity board. Notice in the "lion" spot that underneath each piece is the corresponding letter and word.
We're using this a lot with Speech!

My only complaint: it isn't magnetic, but still a lot fun!

I would love to know what toys your children are learning with!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Heart Faces: Funny Faces

This week's theme at I Heart Faces is Funny Faces!

Izzie at 24 months old...playing dress up!

For a great laugh, check out more funny faces at I Heart Faces!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Melissa and Doug On Sale!

We're wanting to get Izzie an art easel and art supplies for Christmas (I know it's too early to be thinking about Christmas), but I always have my eye out for a great deal. We were in Books A Million this weekend and they had most of their Melissa and Doug items on sale!

I snatched up a 4-pack of Spill Proof Paint Cups for $3 and a pack of paintbrushes for $2. Then, I used my Teacher Discount card for an extra 20% off...WOW!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Super Summer Swap

Izzie received her Super Summer Swap package in the mail from Cali, who lives in Texas.

She was so excited to open the box!

Goodies inside: coloring book, dry erase board with marker, echo-phone, wooden initial letters, pack of foam stickers, putty, friends stamp, roller stamper, stickers, Dora ring float, Dora bubbles (not pictured) and Mickey Mouse board book (not pictured). Izzie refused to let go of the bubbles and book!

Thank you so much Cali for all the wonderful goodies!

If you want to check out more goodies from the Super Summer Swap, click here!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Apraxia, A Speech Disorder

Izzie is currently 35 months old, has been in speech therapy since she was 20 months old, and was just recently diagnosed with Apraxia, a speech disorder. She is progressing with her expressive language development, but still is not at age-level. However, her cognitive and receptive abilities are above age-level. Therefore, she completely understands and comprehends everything that is said to her, but has trouble saying what she wants to say correctly and consistently.

What is Apraxia? It is a disorder in which a person has trouble saying what he or she wants to say correctly and consistently.

What causes Apraxia? The cause or causes of Apraxia are not yet known. Some scientists believe that Apraxia is a disorder related to a child's overall language development. Others believe it is a neurological disorder that affects the brain's ability to send the proper signals to move the muscles involved in speech.

What are the symptoms? One of the most notable symptoms is difficulty putting sounds and syllables together in the correct order to form words. Longer or more complex words are usually harder to say than shorter or simpler words. People with Apraxia of speech also tend to make inconsistent mistakes when speaking. For example, they may say a difficult word correctly but then have trouble repeating it, or they may be able to say a particular sound one day and have trouble with the same sound the next day. People with Apraxia of speech often appear to be groping for the right sound or word, and may try saying a word several times before they say it correctly. Children with developmental Apraxia of speech generally can understand language much better than they are able to use language to express themselves. Some children with the disorder may also have other problems. These can include other speech problems, such as dysarthria; language problems such as poor vocabulary, incorrect grammar, and difficulty in clearly organizing spoken information; problems with reading, writing, spelling, or math; coordination or "motor-skill" problems; and chewing and swallowing difficulties.

How is it treated? Children with developmental Apraxia of speech will not outgrow the problem on their own; speech-language therapy is often helpful for these children. In severe cases, people with developmental Apraxia of speech may need to use other ways to express themselves. These might include formal or informal sign language or a language notebook with pictures or written words that the person can show to other people. I read that many children with Apraxia of speech, even at young ages, have some awareness of their difficulty. I would completely agree with this statement. Izzie knows exactly what she wants to say and will try to say it and can hear and recognize that it came out wrong; then she gets extremely upset and frustrated.

Izzie attends therapy once a week and will increase to twice a week starting in September when she turns three years old. She is consistently saying 2-word phrases now and has recently begun saying 3-word sentences. However, many words are unrecognizable to outsiders and can only be understood in context or paired with sign language.

We have many more years of therapy ahead of us, but each day when she says a new sound or attempts a new word, it gives me hope that she will overcome Apraxia.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ice-Cube Painting

I found this easy and fun activity here. Materials needed: ice tray, Popsicle sticks, water, and food coloring.

I found this cute beach theme ice tray at the Dollar Tree.

Izzie had a great time painting with the ice-cubes!

The completed Masterpieces!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...