{Alphabet Reverse Stencils}

Princess Pea has been into learning letters for a while now. We don't really do anything to actively teach them to her, but when she asks about them we talk about words, letters and their sounds. One of her favourite mealtime games these days is guessing the first letters of words. She's pretty good at some ('b' and 'p' are the easiest for her), and others she's still far from mastering. But we have fun playing along.

This week she's been busy writing a lot. She tells me she's writing thank-you notes for the presents she'll receive at her upcoming birthday party (! Not sure if I should be impressed with her for being so thoughtful - and organised - as to pre-emptively write thank you notes, or if I should be mortified that she is focusing on the presents already!).

Anyway, she's been asking me a lot about the first initials of her friends' names, and trying to figure them out on her own as well. Of course, other than a few letters, she can't actually write anything recognisable. After reading this post from Christie at Childhood 101, to help Princess Pea along with her notes, I thought I'd make her some alphabet stencils. It seemed like a good way to connect her interest in beginning sounds and letters with writing her thank you notes to her friends.

Instead of regular stencils where you draw inside the letters, though, I thought it might be easier for her to draw around the letter shapes. She loves drawing around her hands these days, and was very proud of her ability to draw and cut around the heart templates we used for her Valentine's cards this year, so it seemed like a method that would appeal to her.

So I got an empty cereal box and wrote out the letters of the alphabet in fat block writing. They're not perfect, but they're fine. I cut them out for her to use as templates to draw around.

Even though they are so simply made, she's so impressed with them! She's been playing at writing random letters all over the place, as well as trying to figure out the initial letter of a particular word she wants to write, playing with the sounds on her tongue, then finding the correct letter in the set to draw around.


Linked to:

{Summer Things To Make And Do: Giveaway Winner!}

Woohoo! We have a winner for our summer crafts book giveaway!

Princess Pea enjoyed picking out the winning name. In truly low-tech fashion, I wrote each entry on a piece of paper, put them in Sweet Pea's shape sorter box, and Princess Pea pulled out the winning one. She opened it up and did her best to tell me the first letter of the name. (It was a hard one. She didn't know it.) After that, she wanted to open all the names to try to read the first letters.

Anyway, on to the important stuff! The winner of the Summer Things To Make And Do book from Usborne independent representative Maria Laza is ..... (drum roll) ... Tkatka! Congratulations! Tkatka, please send me an email by Wednesday, June 1st, with your full name and mailing address to forward to Maria, and she will ship the book to you. My email address can be found in the tab up top under 'contact'.

Yay for Tkatka! Yay for books! Yay for summer! And Yay for Maria for donating this wondeful book to give away!

If you live in Hungary and are interested in hosting an Usborne book party like I did, please contact Maria. She also holds book sales for schools and organisations. She has a great selection and also places custom orders for individuals. She can tell you everything you need to know and do to hold a sale or book party, and you also get free books as host! (or, in the case of a school, the school library gets free books.) It's also a fun excuse to throw a party! ;-) I'm sure I'll be doing another one next year!

In other news ... Sweet Pea took her first steps all by herself yesterday! :-)


(This is not an Usborne sponsored post.)

{Outdoor Play Blog Hop: Our Week Outdoors - May 20-26}

Just Add Water!

This week we've had lovely summery temperatures, intermingled with short, frequent thunderstorms. One day this week I was trying to decide whether or not we should go to the playground after naps. It was hot and sunny, but there were dark clouds hanging in the air not far away, and thunder rolling intermittently in the distance. This waiting-in-limbo went on all afternoon, making it a difficult decision - do we stay or do we go?

In the end, we compromised. Instead of going out to the playground, we set ourselves up for some outdoor play on the balcony, allowing for a quick getaway indoors if needed.

Sweet Pea loves to wash things these days, so I got out the tub of water on the balcony again, and this time I put out a bucket of animals for her to bathe. At first she tentatively tested out the water with her hand.

Then in went the tiger for his bath.

Next up was the hippo. {Hey look! It floats!}

Stop for a quick leg-washing (she seems to have an obsession with washing her right leg - every time we go to the sink to wash her hands, she always washes her right leg too! Doesn't matter if it's covered in clothes, it gets washed anyway. Just the right one.)

Then Princess Pea woke up from her nap and came out to join us. Her first reaction was to step right into the bucket. So Sweet Pea washed her feet for her. What a nice sister.

Pretty soon the whole menagerie was in there together. Some of the animals floated (um, the cheap made-in-China ones!), while others sank (the expensive German-made ones!)

Next some tools came out for scooping up water and throwing it over the balcony (fortunately, the downstairs neighbours weren't home!).

{Ooops, missed!}

There was some taste-testing.

Then, while Sweet Pea experimented with pouring, Princess Pea experimented with dipping her hair in!

{Hey, look, there are some holes in the bottom of this! (Could that be why it's dripping?)}

{Oh, I know, let's wash the dog!}

{Uh-oh, it doesn't fit.}

{I've got it! We'll just wash half of it at a time, then!}

Pretty soon all the outdoor toys came out and ended up in there. They worked as quite a good team - Sweet Pea rummaged around the basket, pulling out toys, and Princess Pea washed them (or used them to stir the water, as was the case with the golf clubs).

With all the splashing going on, it wasn't too long before the bucket I'd brought out the animals in became its own little water play tub too.

And, of course, the inevitable. This time I was better prepared though!

Our Week Outdoors has been a regular feature here at MPP for a while now. To see my other outdoor play posts, click here.

Now, on to the Outdoor Play blog hop!

There were lots of fun entries last week! Thanks to everyone who participated!

My favourite shared post was this one from Sunhats and Wellie Boots. They decided to 'just add water' too, and they got ... mud! This kid is truly my hero - she loves to get messy! I adore this post because it shows exactly how children explore, experiment, discover and learn when left to their own playtimes!

So, now it's your turn to share!

How did your kids play outdoors this week?

Share your outdoor play with us. Here’s just a few guidelines for sharing.

> Any kind of children's outdoor play is welcome. If it happened outside, then please link it up!

> Please do not share any competitions or promotions.

> Please remember to link back to this post and help us spread the word about the importance (and fun!) of outdoor play!

> Each week will we feature an activity from the previous week. By contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished. 

Thanks for sharing.

Add this Outdoor Play Link-up to your post


Linked to: It's Playtime, We Play, Show and Tell, For the Kids Friday, Best Toys For Toddlers, No Time For Flashcards, Nurturestore's Carnival of Water Play

{What We Love About Living Here!}

Today I'm guest posting over at the Budapest Moms' website. Head on over there to find out why we love living in Budapest and some of the things we love to do here with our little peas!



{Pedicure, Anyone?}

Princess Pea has a fear of getting her nails cut. Over the years we have managed to assuage her fears of fingernail cutting, but we have made very little progress with the toenail-cutting-phobia. The only way I can convince her to let me do them at all is with promises of nail polish. So we play salon and I give her a full pedicure - a little footbath, cut her nails, a foot massage with some lotion, and finally the beloved nail polish in the colour of her choice (from a very limited and pale selection!). It's quite a procedure as you can imagine. And this certainly doesn't mean that she will just let me cut her nails without a fuss - there's still plenty of fussing, belive me! The polish is just the bait that gets us through to the end.

Anyway, after observing this procedure last Friday, Sweet Pea decided that she wanted to give it a go.....

So what started out as a regular painting activity....

soon turned into painting her toes....

and my toes...

and then Snuggle Bear's toes...

before moving on to other body parts!

Anyone else need their hair painted?

Fortunately, they were watercolours with mostly just water on the brush!


Linked to:

{Baking Outside The Box}

Anyone who knows me (or who really reads my blog a lot!) knows that I am not so fond of the kitchen skills - cooking and baking are really not for me!

I do bake now and then; cookies, brownies, cakes, but I (almost) always use a mix!

However, I saw this post at Little Wonders' Days linking to a recipe for strawberry cupcakes with strawberry icing. Since Princess Pea's birthday party is coming up in a couple of weeks and she has requested a Strawberrry Shortcake themed party, I thought I'd give this recipe a try as a possible birthday cupcake idea.

Anyway, we did it, it was so easy (!), and these might just be the best cupcakes I've ever eaten!
Princess Pea reckons she's the "best baker that ever lived in the whole world, ever!"