Tuesday Teach ’em: Great Montessori-Type Activities BARGAIN PRICES

I opened the mail today while Caroline was napping, which allowed me to peruse some of the catalogs I had received. Imagine my delight as some of these finds in the Oriental Trading catalog!

6 Children’s Colorful Aprons for $16.95. (That’s $2.83 per apron!) These are solid colored and meant to be decorated with paints. I could see using a couple in that way for art projects, but I’d also leave several plain — a couple for kitchen help; a couple for art-work — one for Caroline and a spare for doing those activities when a friend visits.

Easy to Grip ABC foam stamps — comes in your choice of lowercase or uppercase for $12.95 per set. I’d start with lowercase since those are the first letters to teach children as the majority of written material is in lowercase.

Just Shake It! Listen and Match set for $19.95 — This is a great sensorial exercise! Six unique sounds in twelve wooden shakers. Children shake, observe by listening carefully, and match the like sounding shakers.

Totally Touchable Matching Board for $9.95 — Another great sensorial exercise — this one has ten assorted textures to be matched

OK, that’s just what I ordered! There are lots of lacing activities, arts and crafts, musical items, and other manipulatives. There are even cross-section models of the human brain and human heart for those with older kiddos! AND FREE SHIPPING FOR ORDERS OVER $75.

It’s now off of the SLOW BOAT FROM Japan


This week, I’ve been joking that my new vehicle is on a slow boat from China. It was actually on a slow boat from Japan, but we got the call yesterday that my CR-V has arrived in California! It should be in Austin just after Thanksgiving.

After year and years of *talking* about getting a new vehicle for me, we did it. I wanted to keep my Malibu at least as long as John had kept his Civic — nine, going on ten, years, and I did! I passed the nine year mark with my Malibu in September.

As we started looking, we were in no rush. Once we fell in love with the CR-V, though, the rush was on! We considered the Chevy Equinox, the Subaru Forester, the Pontiac Torrent, and the Honda CR-V. I like the look of and Consumer Report ratings of the Forester, but to add the options we wanted increased the price beyond the level we were willing to pay. We didn’t even drive one. The appeal of the Torrent and the Equinox was the GM employee discount, since my dad is retired from GMAC. We drove the Torrent, but I didn’t like it. I did like the Equinox, though.

It came down to this pro/con list:
CHEVY EQUINOX
employee discount
color (I loved the Granite Gray metallic)
American made

HONDA CR-V
safety ratings
gas mileage (30 mpg on the hwy!)
resale and reputation

It looks like it comes out all nice and even, but the Honda’s pros were much stronger. The “American made” ideal turned out not to be such a big deal as the Chevy engine was made in China and the vehicle was assembled in Canada. *Some* Hondas (not mine, obviously since it’s been on a boat from Japan) are assembled in the US anyway.

The 2007 CR-V is popular! I orignally thought I liked the green tea color, based on the website photos. I wanted to see one, though, before I ordered it. There were no Honda CR-Vs in the 2WD EX-L trims available. (Our friend and John’s boss, CTP, seemed to have bought the last one in Austin!) We drove out to South Austin to look at a different trim model in the green tea color on the lot. Turns out, I didn’t like it in the sun — too bright green. We headed back to Classic Honda in Round Rock with my color choices prioritized and peeked at their pre-order inventory list. They had two 2WD EX-Ls on the way — black and blue. I chose the blue.

I’m excited!

Got a Toddler? Get this!

I’d heard of this product and even tried it once when I was teaching, thinking it would clean my dry-erase board. (It didn’t work.) Now that Caroline is exploring her world (often with a pen or crayon in hand) I have rediscovered this product and IT WORKS! Caroline scribbled a bit off of her paper onto the Corian on the island, so John recommended I try this. Just a couple of swipes and the ink is off. I’m quite pleased. And I think the four-pack that I bought will last a lifetime!

FYI, an urband legan that this product contains formaldehyde has been circulating. It is false.