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Gobble Gobble.

 A recipe for Happy

1)  a few sheets of paper
2)  a couple of staples
3)  a pair of googlie-eyes (mis-matched)
4)  a tracing of hands, cut out, attach as "wings"


Funny...how a funny paper hat is the COOLEST thing to a 2 year old.
Grateful for the simple things in life.
We give Thanks this year.

From our own Native Turkey Whisperer...


Pom Poms!

Presentation:  Pom Pom Sorting

These fuzzy-wuzzy-furry Pom-Poms are awesome...

They remind me of the unbelievably stylish bobby socks I had in 5th grade.  White Keds and matching colored scrunchies in my hair.  Add a Bongo skirt and a Guess canvas tote and I was ALL SET.
I'm totally dating myself, but, like... whateves...

This is a variation on the original "Scooping Pom Pom" tool.
Zozie use to have a bowl of various colored pom poms which he scooped into an ice cube tray one at a time, using a plastic spoon.  This easy tool can be created with an egg carton, an ice cube tray, or any other compartmental container.  Now that he's over 2, I wanted to add levels to the original Pom Pom tool and expand on the basic skill of using a tong to pick objects up. 

I was mostly inspired by the wooden tray I got during our Group Yard Sale.  The tray is a Melissa & Doug wood block sorter.  A few pieces were missing, so I only kept the tray.  It's square, with 4 shapes (Triangle, Square, Rectangle, Circle) punched in.  Something good came out of that crazy sale!  Actually, quite a few things...this being one of them.

The Goal
Counting, color & shape sorting, pincher skill.

The Set Up
1)  A tray with compartments (egg crate, ice tray..)
2)  Handful of colored pom poms
3)  A small basket or box
4)  Tweezers or tongs

The Presentation
1)  Demo the basic clamping motion of using a tweezer
2)  Pinch a Pom-Pom, drop deliberately into a compartment.
3)  Repeat until all Pom Poms are placed, go from left to right.
4)  Reverse presentation, place all Pom-Poms back into basket.
5)  Invite child to try.
6)  Since my tray had shapes, I have cards that show each shape with a corresponding Pom-Pom color, so Zozie can read the card and know which color to place into which shape.

Practical Use for this tool?
Zo LOVES to serve his own plate or ours during meal time.
He also loves his little blue or yellow "compartmental" plate...like his mama's love of in-flight airplane meals.

Check out the work session...


Silver Spoon

Presentation:  Spoon Scoop

These little baby figurines came from Zozie's baby shower...
Nearly 3 years ago.

Tiny seemingly "Asian" baby boys...some in diapers...some in pajamas...were sprinkled all over tables in Conference room #6 at our architectural firm.  Having a lunch break baby shower in a sterile corporate environment seemed like wearing white socks with black leather loafers...in pants that are hemmed just a smidge too high.  


 A dear friend, design mentor, was already planning a more traditional shower with close friends and family.  But on this work shower day, most of the attendees were single, or single married couples (no children), and not planning any, atleast not any time soon.  I was also in that boat for many years.  I know that world blissfully well.   

We had Zo in our 8th year of marriage.
Seemed like the next branch we would naturally grow in our Couple-hood, inviting a 3rd person to join our marriage...so we can be a Triple-hood.
The commute was approx 2 hrs each way to work in West LA.  
Sometimes shorter, often times longer.  
And when I became pregnant, that's alot of time to think.  About everything.
Especially about where I can pull off to go pee in my 3rd trimester.  
Man, that was alot of driving.

Other than planning my next potty break, I reflected on myself growing a life, and yet, what was I doing with my own?  Things that were so important to me, suddenly seemed like a whole lotta busy work.  But I like busy.  I guess.

I installed my last design project on a Friday.  
5 Days after my Big Belly Bash.
A new hotel lobby for the Century Plaza Hotel in LA.  
Pushing the couches around with a basketball in my belly. 

Our team.

Zozie came that following Weds.
5 Days after my last installation.
Rolled from one job description into the next...

Zozie kinda looked like one of these little plastic babies...with less hair.

Seemed like ages ago when my only pressure was client presentations & deadlines.  And now I brainstorm over homeschool presentations & baby milestones.  Still busy work?  But, I like this busy.  I guess.
I knew I had to use these babies in a tool for Zozie.  In a way, they were the bridge of my past with my present.  Weird I know.  Anyways, Zozie was given an actual Silver Spoon at the shower.  Today, pairing the babies with a small Silver Spoon from a Cabbage Patch Doll...
We came up with one.

 The Goal
Precision in scooping a single object, sorting, tuning visual differentiation.

The Set Up
1)  3 Small Glass Bowls
2)  1 Small Spoon
3)  Handful of small objects (2 different kinds)
*You can use beans, beads, marbles, anything easy to scoop, one at a time.

The Presentation
1)  Pick up the spoon slowly and go to Bowl #1 filled with all the babies.
2)  Scoop a baby (with diaper) out and place it into Bowl #2
3)  Scoop another baby (one with pajamas) and place it into Bowl #3
4)  Continue to do this, always hovering over Bowl #2, then Bowl #3, make a decision, then drop the baby into the appropriate bowl.
5)  Continue until the bowl is finished.
6)  Reverse presentation, invite the child to try.

As you'll see in the video clip, it's really tempting for the child to use his hands to assist.  You'll also see Zo pouring the bowls, which is a spill over from his Pouring Tool (which we'll feature in a future post).  So, a few more things to work out for him, but overall, he really enjoys this.

As for my previous work life...
That's to be continued. 
Stay tuned.


Clip Nest

Presentation:  Wooden Clips

Here's a SUPER easy one.
This homemade tool came about after observing Zozie helping himself at our home Snack Bar.  He was struggling with the various clips I put on the different chips/cracker bags.  Zo could yank off the clips, pour the snack into a bowl, but could not get the clips back on to close the bag.  So... it was time for a new tool at our Z school!

The Goal
Practice of pinch and release of clips onto various objects - eventual "Grip" of objects.
Getting the sense of weight and balance as they choose where to set each clip on the container.

The Set Up
Pretty straight forward.
Saw a similar set up at a friends house, she used small empty yogurt cups.  Although something alittle bit more weighted would help in keeping the container from toppling over.

1)  2 Baskets (or similar containers)
2)  10 Wooden clips (I chose 10 to add to the counting tool)

The Presentation
1)  Use your bare hand, mimic the finger gesture of pinching a clip down.
2)  After several gestures in the air, reach down to the basket of clips, take one out.
3)  Pinch the clips several times mid air, again emphasizing the action.
4)  Hold the basket with the other hand, pick a spot on the edge, clamp the clip down.
5)  Go directly across from the clip, then set the next clip.
6)  Counter balance the container as you set the rest of the clips.
7)  Reverse the presentation, and place each clip back into the original basket.
8)  Invite the child to try.

Take a look at Zo with this new tool..."It's like a BOWL..."

The child may tend to want to "twist" the clips off at first, still not equating the "pinch" motion as the way the clips are removed.  Note the slight frustration in the video clip.  After a week or so of introducing this tool, we are no longer twisting...and the snack bags are mostly closed after use now! 

I added clips to a ribbon to hang off our curtain rod to display crafts.
Zozie loves using his new clipping skills on this...go, go, and CLIP AWAY!!



Chopsticks Vs. Fork...
A TRUE dilemma....hmmm.

As his uncle Jeremy says...Zozie is thoroughly Chinese-American.


AND Scene.


The month of October has come to an END.

Harvest festivals, preschool costume parades, pumpkin patches, fall festival book fairs, magic shows, harvest breakfast fundraisers, numerous craft projects and endless baking assignments, super fun toddler Halloween parties, and LAST, trick or treating....

You hear what I'm saying?
I am totally, completely, utterly, WIPED.
It took some convincing for me to go Trick or Treating last night.

Who knew this seemingly harmless month out of the year would be KA-RA-ZEE?
Good times tho, good times.

Here's a smattering of photos for the various October festivities.

Ardenwood Historic Farm kicked it off.
Zozie & The Cousins.
Uncle Steve & Aunt Bek.....The Walk.
Mama & Zo on the Slow-Poke Carriage Train
Big Hat?  Or Small Boy?  Hummm...
Workin' for the corn...

After the Harvest Festival....
The MONTH LONG dressing up began.
Literally.  Everyday.

Princess, Fairy, Butterflies...EVERYWHERE!
The Flower Fairy flew by...
It seemed like Zozie was in a different costume, again, EVERYDAY.

Grumpy Chicken
A Horsie...on a horsie.

"Narci" the baby Elephant.
Happy Conductor.
Fierce Knight.

Dark Knight.
Of Course.
Flamin' Rainbow Tights.
Hey, we're in Berkeley.
What can I say.

Seemed that the "outfits" crept into our daily routines...
Bath Time:  Shy Madame Butterfly...In Towel "Kimono"

Eating Time:  Kong Fu Master Zo
Pilot, mixing his own drink.
Haircutting: ??? (Japanese Hair "BIB")
Happy to say...we are DONE.
Along with the "extra" Candy.