Concentrating on Growing Closer in March

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I am a little late with my Monthly Blogging Goals post this month. Holidays, colds, repeat pneumonia in Mini Man and some more things that have kept me from posting regularly and fulfilling my goals.

This month I am going to work on our family growing closer. Getting closer to my children, especially miss T, who needs my attention now as ever.

Blogging also will help me concentrate on closeness as besides doing regular activities, it was always always fun for me and the kids to create special ones for sharing on the blog.

Here are some highlights of what I plan to do this month:

1. I am now working along with a friend on opening a bilingual play group for children under 3. It will be another source for sharing wondeful ideas and experiences. Mini Man will be coming along and spending time with other 9-10 kids in his age category. I don’t know whether it will work out in a long run, but we are trying and hoping for the best!

2. I will be in charge of picking miss T from school. This will result in me fulfilling my daily walking goals, plus, spending extra time bonding with her.

3. I will be leading a regular weekly moral/spiritual education class for miss T’s age group and she will be coming along. That will be another way to bond and yet another resource which will help me revive my Virtues Series.

4. I will be looking into spending more time with miss A. As a middle child, she is often gets dismissed this way or another. So more time is what we need with her one-on-one.

5. Spending time with my husband in the evenings is a great way to bond. We have been fortunate that our children fell into a routine of going to bed quite early (before 8-9pm) which gives us an opportunity to catch up with things and each other’s days.

These are my goals for March. What are yours?


   

    An InLinkz Link-up

   

ABC Mobile

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Summer is almost over and in many countries children are starting going back to school. For us school starts on September 1st so we are spending the rest of the summer enjoying various activities.

I am happy to participate in 5 days series called Fun Ways to Play with ABC’s hosted by Something 2 Offer. In this series for the next 5 days we will introduce various ways to plays with ABC’s, each day for a different age group.

For the first day, I am introducing an ABC mobile I made for infants, in a category of Homemade Ideas. At the end of my post I will suggest easier ways of making this mobile.
Mobile toys are one of the first interactive toys babies may see. There are so many on the market: with or without music; wind up ones and battery operated ones; ones that move and once that don’t. You can also make your own mobiles and it is super easy.

For this ABC’s mobile I used the following materials:
Upcycle fabric (mine is leftovers from the fabric I used to make a dress for my daughter; you can use an old pillow case, sheet or dress)
Scissors
Craft ribbon
Double sided tape
Isolation tape
Wire hanger
Threads
Needles
Sewing machine
Old teddy bear (or pillow) for stuffing

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Method:
1. To make the base for the mobile:
– You can use an old hanger made from thinnest wire. Bend it into a circle, triangle or square.
– To secure and make it look better, tape over with an isolation tape. Mine is of a pretty red color! Set it aside.

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2. To make the letters:
– Decide on the size and trace the letter on a piece of folded fabric so you have 2 sides which you need to stitch together.
– Stitch the sides by hand or using sewing machine, leaving space to put the stuffing through.
– Stuff it and stitch the opening. Repeat with the rest of the letters

Easier version: use felt or thick carton to cut out your letters. In the case with carton you can use sticky craft paper to decorate over.
– Using craft ribbon, cut out stripes. In my case to make it thicker, I used double sided tape and folded the ribbon into 3 and secured it. Then stitched by hand to the letters.

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3. Assembling the mobile:
– Using double sided tape, stick a piece of it to the other end of the craft ribbon you just stitched to the letter.
– Fold the ribbon over the mobile, securing the edge with tape on it so it is tightly wrapped around the circle. Secure all the letters.
– Using a larger piece of craft ribbon, repeat the same process with double sided tape in order to make a “handle” which you will use to hang the mobile (see the very first picture at the beginning of the post for reference.)

I would suggest not to put more than 3-4 letters at a time. You can change them weekly and hang above the baby’s crib during his awake time. While talking to the baby you can also name the letters to him.

One great thing about the letters I made, once child is older they can be given to.him to play with – simply detach and cut off the ribbon.

Some ideas for stuffing: to make it much safer and completely allergy-free, use pieces of fabric for stuffing.
To ensure better sensory experience once the child is able to  hold the toy, you can add some beans inside with the stuffing.
Supervision is required, especially if you stuff beans inside.

Please visit our Landing Page for Homemade Ideas to read more posts from other participating blogs!

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Five Things to Do With Kids in Zhuhai {Around the World in 30 Days}

zhuhai things to doSince I live in China, I take every opportunity to share things about our life here. This month I am participating in a series called Around the World in 30 Days hosted by Cutting Tiny Bites – a series intended for younger children (but suitable for kindy children!)
I have previously wrote about living in Zhuhai – a city in Guangdong province that is in the South of China. Today I’d like to share with you Five Things you can do with your children in our city!
1. Visit all the marvelous parks and enjoy running around, getting on the rides and having a picnic in the shade of the trees. Most popular parks are Haibin Gongyuan (Waterfront park), Bailiangdong Gongyuan (White Lotus park) and Yuan Ming Xin Yuan (New Yuan Ming Palace). There are many more out there but these 3 are the most central and familiar. In Yuan Ming Xin Yuan there is also a swimming pool with various water rides. And in Bailiangdong Gongyuan one can take a hike up the mountain till a small Buddhist temple and ring a bell for luck there.
2. Take a stroll on Lover’s Road, all the way to the Yeli Dao (Fox Island) and take a ride on the family bikes. Lover’s Road stretches for hundreds of kilometers along the seaside and every now and then you can hire these bikes.

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3. Visit various indoor playgrounds. The ones we and our friends frequent are in Jida malls, in a shop called Baby Love Island; one in Jusco (known as Yang Ming Guang Cheng or Aeon); Yuyuto in Huafa Shandu (Huafa Mall); Lego Land in Huafa Century City; Tong Yi playground in Huafa Century city. There are MANY more. And they are not free! However, you can opt to buy a membership card – there are many schemes that give you offers with reduced price.
4. Visit Chimelong Ocean Kingdom (Chang Long). It is a big amusement park that has dozens of sea creatures living in a huge aquarium. There are also various rides, restaurants and shows that you can attend at certain hours. It is quite far away and it is a whole day trip, but really worth seeing especially if you don’t have an easy access to such places.

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5. In hot season – hit the pools! A lot of compounds offer free pools to those who live there. Plus, there are various pools all over the city with various charges per person per time. 
In colder season  – try various outdoor playgrounds. There is a big one at the Haibin Yong Cheng (Haibin beach) and there is a coffee shop right next to it. Another one is located close to a community called Jida Hao Yuan – it is a playground with exercise machines intended for senior citizens.
And in the evenings – go out around 8 pm and follow people to a big open area near where you are staying – you can see them dancing in lines and in pairs. So much fun!
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Join us and follow the series in June 2015 – travel to a new country every day and learn about it, make a craft, a dish or simply see what fun things you can do there!
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Salt Painting Techniques

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This year I am taking time to collaborate with more projects that are in tune with my blog’s themes.

This month I am participating in two series. One of them is Painting Challenge: Fun Painting Techniques organized by Messy Little Monster.

I chose to work with Salt Painting Techniques. It is a very fun way of painting and it offers a unique sensory experience.

Supplies needed:

Construction paper
Brushes
Water paints
Liquid glue (we made a homemade glue)
Stick glue
Salt
Colourful chalk

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Preparation:

Since we will need colourful salt one way to dye it is to rub pieces of chalk against it. This way your salt will be dry and keep longer. The salt we used has been kept in an airtight jar for over 2 years!

Technique 1:

It is done with stick glue and salt. You can read more about it in one of my previous posts.

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Technique 2:

Using liquid glue, make splashes on the paper. Generously apply Colored salt. Fold the paper into half, wait few seconds gently pressing on the surface. Now open for the result!

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Technique 3:

Apply liquid glue on the paper. Sprinkle white salt over. Now, take the water paints and drip over the salt. The paint will spread on the salt and glue creating

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Please check all previous posts on painting techniques!

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Twilight Sparkle Dough

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Welcome back to 12 Months of Sensory Dough! This month we are all about Sparkle Dough!

My girls are obsessed with My Little Pony show. We even had a theme birthday party for miss T last year

When I was thinking what kind of sparkle dough to make, the name of the character Twilight Sparkle kept popping in my head. So I decided making a Twilight Sparkle Dough would be a great invitation for my girls to play.

Ingredients:

Any kind of cloud dough
Ours was with 4 cuos of white flour
And almost 1 cup of sunflower oil
Purple and pink food dyes
Glitter
A basin
Spoons
Cutters
My Little Pony figurines
Duplo cupcake pieces

We first made the dough and I let the girls mix it first with spoons and then with hands. Twilight Sparkle is mainly purple with some pink highlights. So we mixed in glitter, then purple dye, then pink dye. The dough had bits of both colors.

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I let the girls play with it and the ponies. But the forgot all about those and just explored the soft yet grainy texture of the dough and looked at the glitter shining in the light.

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Cloud dough is quite messy so we took the play to the balcony and finally they had it all over them, so baths were in order!

They had tons of fun!

Please join check out other blogs that participated in this month!

Calming Glitter Slime | Lemon Lime Adventures
Constellation Dough | It’s A Long Story
Sparkly Mermaid Slime | Study at Home Mama
Twilight Sparkle Playdough | Squiggles and Bubbles
Music Inspired Moon Sparkle Dough| Witty Hoots
Rocks and Pebbles Outdoor Sparkle Dough| Peakle Pie
Sparkly Shamrock Dough | Preschool Powol Packets
Sparkle Salt Dough | Preschool Inspirations
Taste Safe Strawberry Lemonade Sparkle Dough | Bare Feet on the Dashboard
Twilight Sparkle Dough | Creative World of Varya
Midnight Sparkle Dough | Wildflower Ramblings
Star Wars Dough | Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail
Glitter Oobleck | Still Playing School
Sparkle Dough | the Pleasantest Thing
Metallic Sparkle Crayon Play Dough | Sugar Aunts
Sparkling Ocean Play Dough | Stir the Wonder
Shimmery Dough | In The Playroom
Sparkle Dough Eruptions | Little Bins for Little Hands
DIY Taste Safe Glitter and Rainbow Playdough | Powerful Mothering
Stress Busting Sparkle Dough | Raising Lifelong Learners

Follow Dayna | Lemon Lime Adventures’s board Sensory | Dough Recipes on Pinterest.

Dances of India: Book Tour {Book Review}

Today I am sharing with you a review of the book called Dances of India!

  Maya and Leela book cover

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the book by the author in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. Logos and book pages are shared with the permission of the author and are not to be used for commercial purpose without the author’s permission.

Since I was a little girl I was taken by the beauty of India’s dance art. I dreamed all my life that I could study one dance style professionally but it wasn’t meant to be and I taught myself some elements of traditional dance styles and used to perform what is called Contemporary Indian dance for a while. My heart still skips a beat when I hear beautiful Indian music and listen to Indian songs.
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Hence, when the opportunity came up to review Dances of India, I was really excited: I had a chance to introduce this bit of my world to my children!
Dances of India is the first of the books in the Little Loka Series (™). Two elephant sisters Maya and Leela give children a multicultural experience by traveling around the world and introducing cultural elements of the countries they visit.little-lokas-logo_400px-small_web
The book is designed for younger children from birth to 4 but my 6 year old enjoyed it as much!
We loved how colorful the book is – the illustrations are very beautiful and attractive. And the words and descriptions are fairly simple and pass on the joy and excitement to the reader.
The book introduces the elements and the spirit of Indian dances and I honestly felt like getting up, turning on the music and dancing – that much joy there is in the book itself!
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You can purchase this book directly from the website’s store or over at Amazon! This would be a great multicultural gift to the global citizen you are bringing up in your home!

October: Healthy Lung Month

Health Lung MonTH
I have recently been in communication with a wonderful lady, a Mesothelioma survivor, a mom and a blogger – Heather Von St. James. She shared her story with me and believe it or not, it was some interesting coincidence since I have a very close friend whose father is in the last days of this earthly life due to the same cancer Heather won a battle with.
This is how I came to know that October is nominated as Healthy Lung Month by Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. This month they are approaching bloggers around the world to raise awareness for lung health and I gladly decided to participate. Here is a great infographic  on general lung health and Mesothelioma (click to enlarge) :
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Growing up in a household with a father who smoked heavily, we have always been exposed to the second hand smoke. That didn’t stop me or my sister from trying our hand in this addictive habit. I was quite lucky to rid of it when I did – when I later read about the risks that second and third hand smoke cause, I have become very serious about not having myself, and down the road –  my family, exposed to it.
However, while there are some obvious “dangers” we can avoid, there are also elements in the nature and technology that can affect us gravely but the harm won’t be discovered until much later in life. Such is the Asbestos – a very poisonous mineral whose byproducts affect our lung lining. This exposure causes a very painful and very hard to treat cancer called Mesothelioma Cancer.  There are other risk factors that can cause Mesothelioma, however Asbestos is known to be the primary one.
I remember as a child we used to hang out A LOT at the construction sites. And play with materials there. So, as a matter of fact, I could possibly be exposed to this mineral as well if it was in fact used in those construction sites (I can only hope and pray I didn’t! It’s been close to 30 years ago and the length of latency is anywhere between 10 and 40 years!).
How can we, as parents, ensure the lung health in our children? Here are a few ideas I came up with after reading all the information in lung diseases and lung cancer:
1. By all means, do not allow your children to be in very close proximity to construction materials which might or definitely contain Asbestos. It refers to city constructions and shipyards.
2. If you works at a construction site or in the shipyard, take preventive measurements, such as wear masks, cover your skin and hair, change your clothes before going back home (since the elements tend to get stuck to those and you may inadvertently carry Asbestos byproducts back home to your loved ones!)
3. Avoid smoking and exposing yourself and your family to smoke.
4. If you live in areas with high air pollution, get an air purifier and avoid being outside during the days with heavy pollution (or wear masks!)
5. Air out your house from time to time. And keep it as dust free as possible.
6. Getting some plants, like aloe or cactus, will help with keeping the air in the house cleaner.
7. Go for full body checks at least once a year and keep an eye on getting strange and unusual symptoms.
8. Don’t delay going to the doctor if you or your children get sick. Diagnosis the disease and deciding on a course of treatment will help prevent complications.
9. Go out with your children, take them to grassy areas with trees, if possible. It will not only promote general health, but will also help them get in touch with the nature.
10. Swimming is know to help strengthen the lungs. Go swimming!
11. Exercise. Even a mild exercise and walking give you more chances for improving health.
I am sure there are many more preventive measures to ensure lung health you can list. So please, share them with me!
I wish you all health!

 

 

Creative Tuesday: Snow Flower

After a break, I am back with Creative Tuesday and hope to bring more interesting activities and crafts!

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In China people celebrate Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, usually end of January-beginning of February. It is considered a time when we say good-bye to winter and welcome Spring. This year Spring Festival day falls on January 31st. To celebrate the end of winter, I created this simple, yet engaging craft – Snow Flower.
What you need:
Few cotton balls
A paper cup
Glue
Scissors
Crayons
How to make it:
Cut the sides of the cup down to the bottom into 8 parts.
Open the sides and turn the cup bottom up – facing you.
Brush the glue over the parts, pinch small pieces of cotton and stick them over.

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When finished, take crayons and color the middle. I asked the children to color with different crayons in layers. It creates a very nice combination of colors!
You can also add a ribbon or a thread on the side to hang your Snow Flower.
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This activity helps develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. And of course, it encourages creativity!

Child-Made Christmas Lanterns

I am happy to participate in and be one of the first to post for 20 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas Ornaments Project, hosted by some of the amazing bloggers from KBN (Kid Blogger Network).

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Living in China where Christmas has become a big deal (while not being an official holiday) and being an ESL teacher, over the past 20 years I’ve taught and made tons of Christmas crafts. I usually try to find something easy and fun for children to make. So, today I am introducing a Christmas Lantern to you! (This lantern is a great decoration for Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival too!)

lantern

What you will need:

2 paper cups

Double-sided tape

Crafting ribbon

Crepe paper

Paint (for finger prints decoration)

How to make it:

1. Put to cups together and secure them with a double-sided tape.

2. Take the paper off the tape and stick the ribbon over it.

3. Using pieces of double-sided tape and a smaller piece of ribbon, make a handle that the lantern will hang on.

4. Apply another round of double sided take on the bottom of the lantern. Tear crepe paper into strips. Take the paper off the double-sided tape and stick the strips of crepe paper over so that they hang down.lantern1

5. Using paint, have children decorate the lanterns with finger prints. This is probably the most fun they get while making this lantern!

6. Dry and decorate the tree or your house with the lanterns (be careful though to keep them away from Christmas lights!)

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 What are your favorite Christmas ornaments? Do you prefer making them or buying?

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Would you like to join in on the fun too?!

Here’s how:

  1. Go to the landing page here, for this series that Melissa at Mama Miss is hosting.
  2. Just link a KID-MADE ornament you’ve created with your kiddos (limited to 2 a day).
  3. Add this pretty little ornament shaped button below to your blog post, or your sidebar, or somewhere on your beautiful blog letting me know you are joining in on the fun too!!
  4. Label the ornament button: 20 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas: Ornaments
  5. Link the ornament button to: the landing page for this series.

 

20 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas: Ornaments

 

The link up will be open from December 1st until December 21st for all entries.

Make sure to pop by these other fabulous bloggers too, that are participating in this series…

December 1st

Mama Miss

Here Come the Girls

Creative World of Varya

December 2nd

Housing A Forest

NurtureStore

December 3rd

Twodaloo

Crystal’s Tiny Treasures

Play Trains!

December 4th

Mama Smiles

One Perfect Day

December 5th

Feels Like Home

How Wee Learn

December 6th

My Little 3 and Me

The House of Hendrix

Teach Beside Me

December 7th

The Connection We Share

Scribble Doodle and Draw

FSPDT

December 8th

The Library Adventure

Something 2 Offer

Learn with Play at Home

December 9th

The Pleasantest Thing

Tutus & Tea Parties

Edventures with Kids

December 10th

Nothing if Not Intentional

Kitchen Counter Chronicles

Me & Marie Learning

December 11th

Glittering Muffins

Child Central Station

Happiness is Homemade

December 12th

eLeMeNO-P Kids

Coffee Cups and Crayons

Living Montessori Now

December 13th

Teach me Mommy

Mum in The Mad House

The Craft Train

December 14th

Mama.Papa.Bubba.

MeMeTales

Imprints From Tricia

December 15th

True Aim Education

Sugar Aunts

The Life of Jennifer Dawn

December 16th

Powerful Mothering

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

The Eyes of a Boy

December 17th

Teach Preschool

Plain Vanilla Mom

Lalymom

December 18th

P is for Preschooler

Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes

Busy Kids = Happy Mom

December 19th

Mama Miss

Glittering Muffins

December 20th

Tips From a Typical Mom

Rockabye Butterfly