Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Lego Party!!

This month we celebrated Andrew's 5th birthday with a Lego party for a bunch of his best buddies here in Baltimore. His actual birthday is at the end of December and with the holidays and traveling to and from Canada it worked much better to wait a bit and take the time to plan it just right!

To say that Andrew is a Lego fan would be putting it mildly. He plays with Lego constantly and when he's not playing with it, he's talking about it, reading a book about it or drawing plans for his next creation. He is often heard to say "Mommy, Lego is my life!" So with this kind of dedication, there was absolutely no question about the birthday party theme for this year!

Finding ideas and inspiration for throwing a Lego Birthday Party is super easy. The popular theme is all over Pinterest and the creative ideas that people have put together are amazing. I was very tempted to try everything I pinned, but forced myself to be reasonable and kept it simple! Our decorations consisted mostly of a Happy Birthday Banner that I printed from this website, some balloons tethered with jars of Lego, a few colourful strands of garland and some of Andrew's most impressive Lego builds.

I made each child a Lego T-shirt using printable iron on transfers that had their first initial and we also made some cute Lego construction hats using a plain hat and a Sharpie.

When the children arrived I set them up with some mini-figure colouring pages to keep them busy while we waited for all of the guests to arrive. We also played a game of "Let's make a mini-figure"(our Lego version of "Pin the Tale on the Donkey"), had a Lego Spoon Race and had fun with a Piniata.

For lunch we had the kids build their own mini pizza and served them with veggies and fruit salad, followed by cake, cupcakes and ice-cream. 

As the kids packed up to leave, they each received a little bag of Lego chocolates, some cookies and a new Lego City book. 

It was a great party, the kids had a blast and Andrew was thrilled. It is so rewarding to watch him that day. He loved being the centre of attention and we loved celebrating what an amazing kid he is!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Simple Valentines...

This year, Andrew's preschool class will be having a "Love Note Exchange" to celebrate Valentine's Day. He attends a Nature Preschool where they focus on teaching children to conserve and be kind to the environment. To this end, they have asked that we work with our kids to make simple valentines out of recycled or natural materials.

We decided to use some of the many paper grocery bags that have accumulated in our pantry and do some potato stamping. After cutting a few hearts I realized there was a super fast way to cut multiple hearts at a time…

How efficient is that?? Eight hearts from each bag, in less than a minute!!

Andrew worked very hard adding hearts to each valentine using a 
potato stamp and some acrylic craft paint.

He then wrote his name on a smaller heart that we glued to the brown paper. 

I think encouraging the class to exchange handmade Valentines is a great idea. It gave us a purposeful way to work on some cutting, gluing and printing skills and Andrew is proud of the little "love notes" that he made for his friends. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Avocado & Pear Smoothie

This Christmas we got a new blender and have been having all sorts of fun experimenting with different smoothie recipes. My kids will down just about anything that comes in the form of a smoothie, so I've enjoyed the challenge of seeing just what I can sneak into their little bodies! Green Smoothies are our favourite, and while Rob and I love this one the most, it's a bit intense for the boys. They prefer something with a yogurt base. One of our favourite creations has been an Avocado & Pear Smoothie. It's a bit different than a lot of the recipes I have come across so I thought I would share!

avocado & pear smoothie

Avocado & Pear Smoothie
1/2 of one avocado
1 pear
1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
1 cup of baby kale
10 ice cubes (approximate)
1 Tbsp blue agave nectar
1/4 cup apple juice (more for desired consistency)

avocado smoothie

The Avocado & Pear Smoothie is awesome for kids because it has a great texture.  The avocado gives it the smooth consistency that you would normally get using a banana but is a nice alternative to the typical banana smoothie flavour.  Plus, my kids normally don't like avocado (not to mention kale!!) so  I'm happy to get a bit more nutritional variety into their diet!

avocado smoothie

What's your favourite smoothie recipe? We're always looking for something new to try!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Developing Scissor Skills...

Last summer I shared that Andrew had been struggling a bit with his scissor skills and that I was hoping to focus on helping him to develop his strength and confidence with some new activities. We've continued to work away, cutting lots of different materials and I am happy to say that his attitude and ability have greatly improved!! I wanted to share one of the activities he has enjoyed the most. It combines scissor practice with letter sounds and structure… bonus!

This Scissor Skill Development activity is something your little one can work on over many sittings. It takes a few minutes to set up at first, but is then ready to go for for the future with minimal prep. To make "Andrew's Book of Letters" I joined 15 pieces of colourful card stock with two ring clips. Using the front and back of each page I printed each letter of the alphabet (one letter per page), followed by "is for". 

When it is time to work on the cutting activity, Andrew cuts scrap paper into small pieces until he has a small pile. We talk about the letter we are focusing on, brainstorming a good word to complete the "is for" sentence. We trace the large printed letter with our finger a few times and he glues the paper pieces to the large printed letter. 

I found these scissors at Target. They have a small spring loaded switch that can be flipped up to help the scissors open up easily between snips. Andrew really likes them and thinks they help him to go "super speed"! He also enjoys using my scrap booking scissors. 

This has been a great activity for Andrew. It keeps him busy for just the right amount of time (before he loses interest and moves onto something else) and is well suited for him as a tactile learner. I have seen some great gains in his cutting accuracy, but more importantly he is much less frustrated when working with scissors. Success!

You may also find this helpful. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Our Girl Gracie...

It has been quite sometime since I updated this little blog on the happenings of the Leeper family. My last post featured our two little monkeys in their Halloween Ninja Costumes and ended with the question of whether we would have a third little pink ninja before the big night. As it went, our little girl didn't arrive before Halloween but waited patiently until her scheduled date of November 3rd.

Cecelia "Grace" Leeper
Nov. 3rd 2014 - 7lbs 6oz

Gracie was instantly loved by her brothers (a little too aggressively by Henry) and has taken to the role of little sister very well. She tolerates being held by both of them and recovers well from their less than gentle affections.  

Andrew is already one of her favourite people. She has an endless supply of grins and giggles for him and he is absolutely smitten with her.

The last two months have been a bit of a whirlwind and when people asked me how we were adjusting to having a third child I would respond with comments like, "it's going really well" and "so far, so good"! It all seemed a bit too easy... until we left the comfort of our home and made the trek to Canada for the Holidays. Having three kids, and traveling with three kids are two very different situations!! But we all made it back alive and have settled nicely into the New Year with our new girl, and our new normal!

(typical Henry!)

Gracie is perfect. She eats well, she sleeps well and her personality seems to fall somewhere on the spectrum between her all too serious oldest brother and her all too silly older brother. I feel so blessed to be the one to watch what kind of little girl she becomes!

Photo credit: