Red, White & Blue

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Happy 4th of July from the Guerreros! I hope your day was filled with fireworks, water balloons, sparklers, hotdogs, BBQ and a whole lot of RED, WHITE and BLUE.  Big thanks to the troops who sacrifice for us!  We love you!  God Bless America and all other nations of the world too! xo, Lori

An Empty Tomb and a Full Heart

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The boys and I spent the afternoon enjoying the sunny weather and creating their depiction of His sacrifice and resurrection.  I love the sweet spirit I feel when the boys and I talk about our Savior.  John Robert’s eyes beamed with joy as he found the perfect stone to place next to the tomb.  Asher loved placing the grass and rocks.  Even with everything that’s happened this month, it’s hard not to feel blessed this time of year.  I hope you are feeling blessed too.

These kids are the best gift He could have possibly given me.  Isn’t it amazing how He knows just the right, sweet spirit to send to our home to complete our families!? It humbles and amazes me that I was chosen to be their mom.  Whether or not you are celebrating Easter, I’m wishing you a reverent weekend full of positivity, joy, peace and reflection.  Happy Easter from the Guerreros. 

xo, Lori

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Bunny Bento Box

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{Clockwise starting at top left:  Ham Rollups with Bunny Cupcake Topper Picks, Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, Bunny-Shaped Marshmallows, Carrots, “Dirt Cup” Chocolate Pudding topped with Crushed Oreos and SweetTart Bunnies Gummies, Annie’s Cheddar Snack Mix.}

Last week I made bunny snacks for the preschoolers which meant JR got a bunny bento for lunch.  When I look at it, it just screams Spring and it makes me smile.  When I was little, my mom would make me creative lunches and it always made me feel special and loved.  All the other kids always loved to see what I had in my lunch box and now I get to watch JR’s friends do the same.  Everyone fights over who gets to sit with him after we finish CC and I love to see the joy it not only brings him, but the other kids around him.

I use the Pottery Barn Kids’ Spencer Bento Box Container combined with Tupperware I found at Target, but PBK also has Spencer Food Storage Containers that you can use for liquids such as condiments, soup, yogurt, pudding etc.  You can even put it in one of their storage cases like this adorable Darth Vader one (are your boys crazy about Star Wars like mine?) and zip in a ice pack.

I’m kinda in love with this Beaba Soft Lunch Box and might have splurge and get it for Lila.  PBK lunch boxes are more expensive than buying one at Target, but I’ve found that they’re great quality and they’ll use them year-after-year.  I’m not saying this because they paid me too (they didn’t).  I just love them.

Bento Tip:  You can find some great “cupcake toppers” at Dollar Tree, Target and Walmart.  They are inexpensive ways to add a fun theme and they’re re-usable, unless your children accidentally throw them away. 

How many of you make creative lunches?

Garden Sensory Bin

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Here’s the last of our bunny themed materials for preschool last week.  Garden themed trays are great to tie in with a bunny theme.  I introduced the story of Peter Rabbit during circle time.  Peter Rabbit is a curious bunny who doesn’t mind his mother and sneaks into a garden to eat vegetables, only to be chased away by the gardener.  I even found this cute Rabbit hand puppet at Dollar Tree to use for the story. The kids especially loved it when the bunny nibbled at their tummies when it was time for him to eat the vegetables.

This is also a great time to ask questions about what bunnies eat, where they live, what sound they make, how they move?  Can the kids each try wiggling their nose and hopping like a bunny?  The kids loved this material the most out of the 4 trays I made.  They even did pretty good at keeping the beans inside the box.  I was impressed.

Materials:

  • Mixture of Beans (I used pinto, black and split peas)
  • Gardening tools (I found mine at Target)
  • Toy vegetables to plant

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, here’s the ER adventures (yes, plural) that I promised to share.  Everyone is ok which is what counts!  Thanks for the well wishes.

This month has been one of the hardest months I’ve had in a long time, which is really weird because March is my birthday month and usually one of my favorite times of the year.  We’ve had illness, my sister moving to California, rough days homeschooling, the attempt to be a WAHM again and now…2 trips to the ER in 2 days. 

On Monday, Robert accidentally stabbed himself in the hand with a knife while getting the pit out of an Avocado and yesterday Asher had a hair tourniquet that we had to get removed at the ER.  If you haven’t heard of this term (I hadn’t until yesterday) it’s when a piece of hair gets wrapped around something (like a finger or toe) so tight it starts to cut off blood circulation.  I guess all that after-baby hair loss & Lila pulling it out turned out to be a problem for poor Asher.

Like I said, everyone is well now.  Now I can breathe and hope that April is kinder. Anyone else ready for April?

Carrot Sound Sorting

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Today was a much better day with Asher.  I guess positive affirmations and a whole lot of praying really helps.  We had the last day of preschool at our house and I introduced a sound sorting tray to the children during circle time.  It’s really hard for them to stop and watch a presentation.  They all want to do the work without even knowing how to do it.  I’ve found that circle time is a really good time to present the new work to all of them at the same time.

I found these carrot Easter eggs at Dollar Tree and if you already have the objects and an empty egg carton, this tray will only cost you $1.  I used a sun, turtle, monkey, ant, butterfly, fish, elephant and girl for the objects.  It’s really important to find objects that start with the short vowel sound first and introduce the long vowel sound later.  If your child has already mastered sorting by the first letter sound, try asking them to sort by the last letter sound of the words.  They usually find that a lot more difficult.  Or you can ask them to sort by the middle sound if it’s a CVC (Consonant, Vowel, Consonant) word such as cat.

I was really surprised at how much the children loved this tray.  They liked it a lot better than the Bunny Whiskers one, which I really wasn’t expecting.  I think it might be one of my favorite trays ever.  I can’t get over how cute these little carrot Easter eggs are.

Tomorrow, it’s Friday already and I’ll have the last Bunny themed tray.  I hope you guys are having a great week.  It seemed to fly by!  xo, Lori

Pinning on Bunny Whiskers

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How was your first day of Spring?  Ours was interesting.  Asher was quite angry and explosive today.  I guess he didn’t get the memo that Spring is supposed to be all rainbows and unicorns.  Tomorrow, I’m going follow Spring’s lead and experience rebirth.  I’ll start anew, full of optimism and hope it rubs off on my little rage-a-holic.

Here’s the first of my bunny themed trays I put out for Asher’s preschool group this week.  It uses fine motor skills to pinch the clothespins and place them on the bunny’s face.  Did you know that these Montessori trays, that promote fine motor skills, will help your child write later?  It’s building strength, control and coordination in those little fingers.  I’ve also noticed it helps them cut with scissors too.

So, now it’s your turn to tell me.  How was your first day of Spring? 

Spaghetti + Love = Valentine’s Day

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Long before we were married, Robert and I decided we never wanted to fight the crowded restaurants on Valentine’s Day.  Instead, a tradition of staying in and eating spaghetti was born.  See at the time, spaghetti was the single dish Robert knew how to cook.  I find this incredibly ironic considering he didn’t even like eating spaghetti as a child.  I found out about that little fact years later from his mom when we took her a dinner of spaghetti on her lunch break at work.  I guess she didn’t really like spaghetti either.  LOL.  I’ve since learned that if you grew up in the Guerrero home, you ate meat, beans, tortillas and either rice or potatoes for every. single. meal.  Yeah….

So anyways, tonight we’re staying in.  We’re making spaghetti.  We’ll probably snuggle and give each other an enormous amount of hugs and kisses.  Maybe we’ll make chocolate-chip cookies (I’ll take any excuse).  I’m giving my Valentine a card deck displaying 52 things I love about him (a subset of a much larger list).  I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.  Sending you love! xo, Lori

p.s. Oh, and I love this quote from Dr. Seuss.  It fits how I feel about love perfectly.IMG_6249

Valentine Bento Box

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I have a little too much fun packing the boys’ lunches for Classical Conversation days.  Last week’s lunch was a Valentine’s Day themed Bento Box.  It was filled with raspberries, mini-marshmallows, cherry tomatoes, iced sugar cookies, heart-shaped ham & cheese sandwiches and “Happy Valentine’s Day” cupcake liners turned upside down to show the message.  I’ve been thinking of posting a little more about the bento boxes and even creating a page in my navigation bar.  Is that something you’d like to see more of?

I hope your Valentine’s week is off to a great start!

p.s. Asher’s turning 4 tomorrow.  Can you believe it!  He was just a baby when I started this blog (not even walking).  Just see for yourself here.

Valentine Craft Using a Dropper

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One of the skills listed on my Kindergarten Curriculum is to learn how to control a dropper.  This can be made into a tray like shown on Simply Natural Mom or a dropper is a fun way to create art and in this case, Valentines.

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What you need to make these heart-shaped valentines: 

  1. a dropper (we repurposed two dropper bottles from herbal supplements.  I’ve also heard from other moms that you can ask your pharmacy for empty dropper bottles when you pick up a prescription.)
  2. water dyed with food coloring (we used red and pink)
  3. coffee filters cut into the shape of hearts
  4. a tray (I bought a pack of two aluminum baking pans for $1 at Dollar Tree)
  5. black sharpie marker

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John Robert (6.5 yrs) is able to control the dropper really well.  He was able to make really beautifully marbled valentines.  Asher (4 this month) is still working on his control and most of his valentines turned out to be a lake.  It also shows a lot about their personalities because John Robert is more cautious and likes things neat, while Asher is my mess-maker and insists on doing everything “his way.”

After the hearts dried, I traced their hands in sharpie marker and added their name and year.  These will be the Valentines given to the boys’ grandparents.  We’re also making these Star Wars Valentines for their friends.  Another really cute idea we’ve used in the past is this “I love you from the tips of my fingers to the tips of my toes” card.

Last year, we went on a mother-son date.  It didn’t exactly go as I had dreamed so we’ll probably do something different this year.

What do you do with your children to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day Themed Montessori Trays

Valentine’s Day holds a special place in my heart.  My most memorable Valentine’s Day was spent walking the cobble stone streets of Florence, Italy.  It was during our second year of marriage and I was studying Interior Design in the ancient city.  We found the most wonderful chocolate shop in Piazza della Signoria where we indulged in fine dark chocolate. After, we stopped by a flower stand in Piazza della Repubblica and hand-picked the most gorgeous bouquet for our tiny studio apartment.

Our Valentine’s Day looks a little different these days.  We typically spend it with the kids and we make crafty, heart shape decorations.  We celebrate our family love and how lucky we are to have each other.  Love is a marvelous gift and I never take it for granted. This Valentine’s Day, I prepared a little surprise for the two little boys in my life.  All of these trays were made with Dollar Tree purchases mixed with items I already had.  I think I spent $7.00 total for all of the materials.

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^Sorting Hearts by Color [hearts and plastic sorting tray from Dollar Tree, wooden tray is the lid to an Ikea box, purple bowl is from the boys' play kitchen.]

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^Tonging Red Plastic Hearts [toy muffin and loaf pan from boys' play kitchen, hearts from Dollar Tree, sugar cube tong from Crate and Barrel and tray is a lid of a gift box.]

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^Pin Punching Hearts [I traced a heart-shaped cookie cutter on sheets of Dollar Tree foam pages, the "pin" is a cupcake pick from a cupcake decorating set at Dollar Tree.  It seems like a safer alternative to a sharp pin.  Also, I get to use the leftover picks in a Valentine's Day themed bento box lunch.  The tray is a lid to a wood Ikea box.]

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^Hanging Hearts on a Tree [I purchased this last year from Joann's.  We also use this tree during the year.  When one of us does something nice for someone else, they get to hang a heart on the tree and we watch it get filled with "love".  The tray is a gift box.]

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^Lacing a Heart [I cut a heart out of the DT foam page and punched holes with a hole puncher.  The tin bowl is from the boys' play kitchen and I used red and white twine with scotch tape wrapped around the ends to prevent unraveling. The tray is a cardboard lid.]

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^Creating Self Designed Patterns Using Stamps [The stamps and ink pad came in a set at Dollar Tree, I cut strips of paper and wrote types of patterns on them (ie: AB, AAB, ABB, ABC), the bowl is from the boys' play kitchen.]

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^Pouring Plastic Hearts [This is a wonderful work for small children.  The hearts are the same Dollar Tree ones used in the tonging tray and I re-used a Tupperware bowl and tin pitcher from the boys' play kitchen.  The tray is another lid to a wood Ikea box.]

IMG_6866_2^Threading Heart Beads on a Shoelace [The beads are from the craft section at Dollar Tree, the shoelace is from the Melissa and Doug Shoe Tying Toy, the bowl is from Target's dollar section and the tray is a cardboard box lid.]

IMG_6867_2^Tying a Bow [This work is recycled from our 12 Days of Christmas Montessori Trays.  I changed out the ribbon to a pink one.]

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^”Send a Valentine” Mail Center [I'm re-using our writing utensil caddy from Target's dollar section.  I also found the adorable little mailbox tin in Target's dollar section last week.  I hand-cut hearts out of cardstock for us to decorate for each other and leave them in the mailbox.]

So, what do you think about the Valentine Themed trays.  The boys haven’t seen them yet so I’ll keep you posted on which ones are the most successful.  Do you have plans for Valentine’s Day trays?  What are you dreaming up?  I’d love to hear all about it.

Happy {very early} Valentine’s Day! xo, Lori