Hang in there!!

Just when we were getting back to the swing of blogging, we got thrown a curveball.  We are MOVING…to another country…in five weeks!!  So, thanks for your patience and grace, and we’ll let you know when we’re back in the swing of things.

Jungle School – N Week

It was just us again for Nigel Nightowl week.


The twins got to dot paint with us for the first time…and last for awhile anyway.  Haha!  Ava was very concerned that her hands turned blue.  Then she thought it was actually pretty fun, and started working her way up her arm, and putting on blue lipstick of course.

DSCN4023Jayden thought it was a popsicle and went straight to sucking on it.  Levi patiently showed him the dotting technique, but he thought swiping was much more fun.  Then he went straight to picking off the foam tip…and dot paints got retired…for the twins anyway.

DSCN4024For our Chicka N page, we went for a “nocturnal scene.”  Judah stamped a moon, enthusiastically added lots of star stickers, and finally drew a nest for Nigel to sleep in.  I love the tongue of concentration.  🙂

His poses crack me up! hehe


He has also had a bug obsession lately.  This week, with ants, whom he has mastered the art of catching.  (The jar in the picture is full!)  The other morning, he came running in for a beach towel, then spread it out under the mango tree right in the middle of the leaf cutter trail.  He sat out to have a picnic breakfast, and within a few minutes a heard a crazy scream.  I thought that either the ants had attacked, or the stray dog that showed up either hurt him or ate his waffle, so I went flying outside.  When ask him what’s the matter, he tells me through sobs, “Dis little ant lost his mama and can’t find her anywhere!”


We don’t have many owl books, but this Nocturnal Animal sounds book has been the favorite by far!


For more inspiration, check out our Nigel Nightowl Pinterest Board

Follow Jana’s board Nigel Nightowl on Pinterest.

Jungle School – C Week

Can you believe it was Catina Cat week, and even with a little princess with a 3 year cat infatuation…I only found one cat book in our stash?!?!  Unbelievable!   A quick search of our shelves found these books, but really the only one that interested my Jungle boy was the chameleon with all his changing colors.

C week books

However, Miss Peggy’s house was full of C action this week!  She had the cars out, including some big daddy cars which drew Judah in immediately.  Within a couple of minutes, the mommies found ourselves huddled on the couch, in each other’s personal space, just to try and maintain a conversation over the sounds of the Indy 500 zooming around us.  I had to laugh as she said, “I didn’t really think of the noise when I put these out.”  Yes, with two girls, that is understandable.  Or maybe my Judah, playing on a huge tile floor with the biggest car he’s ever laid hands on, equals ten children?  Quite probable.  Either way, let’s just say the cars made an unexpected pit stop and disappeared as soon as aforementioned children were distracted.  hehe


I asked Rosie if I could take her picture in her C week uniform…cat socks and a cow shirt!  It was classic.  She looked at me, raised an eyebrow and said, “Dis is not a cow.  It’s a BULL!”  Haha!


What can I say…these girlies, serving their coffee were just too CUTE!  (or should I say two cute?)


On our Chicka ABC page this week, we put some candy cane stickers.


It was a little dramatic for Judah as his broke, but we stuck it back together.  Whew!


Next it was time to play outside, and while the mommies chatted, the children cooked.


What was on the menu?  Clippings, of course!  hehe


I thought a cloud sensory bin might be fun this week, so we emptied a bag of cotton balls in a bin with some toy airplanes to fly around.


Judah thought it was the most fun to play hide and seek.  So he would bury his plane and say, “Yook mamita.  You can never see it!”


Although it only held his attention a few minutes, the twins enjoyed the clouds a good hour!  As I was in the kitchen, Judah runs to the baby gate and reports how the babies are not following the rules.  “It’s a mergency!  Day dumped it all ober!”


Oh yeah they did, but had so much fun!  We had our laugh for the week as JJ did a little cloud collecting…on his diaper!  HA!


Judah’s favorite activity this week was definitely the cutting food.  He chopped, and chopped, and chopped some more…


Ava did some chopping of her own.  She begged for a carrot, so I gave it to her.  Papito calls her a food processor because she takes off these tiny little bites, and makes a pile on her tray.  When the pile gets big enough she will use her pincer grasp to eat them one by one.  What’s up doc?  hehe


When the week was almost over, I remembered a book I brought back this summer.  Everyone in the family got a kick out of it because they have twin preschool kittens named, This One and That One.  It is a glimpse into our life in a couple of years, and had us all cracking up.  It would be perfect to follow up with a painting activity, but we were too busy wrapping up our Mexico trip for any more activities this week.  hehe

For meow inspiration, check out our Catina Cat Pinterest Board

Follow Jana’s board Catina Cat on Pinterest.

There’s an Alligator Under My Bed

When my children heard it was alligator week, they were so excited, “Yay!  We get to read that silly alligator under the bed book!”

I had a flashback of student teaching, and remembered one of the first activities I ever soloed was after reading this book.  The students glued a little swatch of fabric and brown construction paper bedposts on their paper to make a bed,  then drew what was under their bed.  I was always afraid some children would have nightmares after this book, but so far, no complaints.  I guess that might be why my children love it so much.  I go so overboard with the silly voices to compensate for the fear factor, that it is now a fave.  Here is how they turned out:


Judah glued on the bed using some foam popsicle sticks, then I helped get the glue just on the top edge of the “bedspread” so he could flip it up and draw underneath.  (I find it is easier to do the drawing after, as I have had a few frustrated littles when they found out their masterpiece of a picture is way too big and doesn’t even fit under the bed!)  He then asked me to draw him “a-fweep” on the bed, and myself standing next to it.

For the writing, I just ask him questions and dictate exactly what he says to me.  I think these types of things are treasured memories, especially when you write how they pronounced the words as well.  I asked him what he would like to find under his bed, which was of course, “an alligator!”  The fact that he and Papito saw a HUGE crocodile about 3 minutes away from our house a few days ago, has really helped to spark the interest.  hehe


Aryelle wanted to find a dog under her bed.  Excuse me, make that, a golden retriever puppy!  I wasn’t a bit surprised, but this made me chuckle.  “Mamita, you asked what I would like to find under my bed, right?  Well, you know how you say that we could never buy another dog here in Panama, but what if we just find it?  I mean, I know you could never say no to an abandoned puppy, so if we just happened to find it there you would have to say yes!”  Try me.  🙂  A golden retriever…in an apartment…in the tropics…with five children?  Yeah, right!

Anyway, here is a free There’s an Alligator Under My Bed printable.

alligator under my bed

Click on the image above to download

For even more snappy inspiration check out my A is for Alligator Resource page, or our Allie Alligator Pinterest Board

Follow Jana’s board Allie Alligator on Pinterest.

Jungle School – A Week

DSCN2405It’s Allie Alligator week!  I think dot painting is going to be a big hit this year.  😉

DSCN2404We started A week with a trip to Miss Peggy’s school.  It was just Judah and Sitka this week and they played so well together!  It was very sweet.  We read the Ants Go Marching, and made a paper ant…the first time Judah actually did a real scissors project.  He was so proud!  Then we were ready to make our Chicka “A” Trees, complete with ants marching up the trunk.  Of course, in the hustle of trying to get out the door without a baby following us, I forgot the camera.  :-S  I remembered in the car, but no way was I going back in!!  hehe

Egg Carton Alligator paintingAry jumped on board any time we crafted this week.  We made some egg carton alligators, to which Judah responded, “Dis is toe-wee awesome!  I can toe-wee do dis all by myself!”  Totally, is his new favorite word, and the way he says it is…totally adorable.  hehe

After getting halfway through his egg carton he said, “Dis is hard work.” and escaped for  snack.

Then he came back for more…


He really got into the fingerpainting, so I decided to introduce the rice bin and let him sort out all the leftover junk, I mean “hidden treasures” from prior sensory bin activities.  (Oooo, did I get a cool idea by the way!  Gonna write a post soon on organizing ABC items for your sensory bin…)


When the big guys went to ride their new bikes, I knew I was going to need a serious distraction.  Enter…Jump The River!


A simple, but classic game, I first learned how to play using a jumprope in Kindergarten.  This week it became impromptu backyard fun with Allie Alligator and the hose.  Make two lines close together to be “the river” then challenge your child to jump over it.  Spread the “river banks” apart a little farther each time, and practice different ways of getting across (jump with two feet, leap with one foot, etc.)  For more variations, check out this explanation from Game of the Week.


The game soon turned into…”make a river.”


JJ not sure what to think

I love JJ’s face in the background.  He was watching our every move.

Check out Ava

As for Miss A, very happy nibbling crackers from her backseat position.  Now for the tricky part…getting him out of the mud and into the shower.  I remembered my secret weapon.  A gummy gator!  hehe

The bait

Other favorite activities were reading There’s an Alligator Under My Bed multiple times (so many in fact, we made a craft project and free printable you can check out here).  We also enjoyed the new Wild Kratt’s episode that is all about the differences between alligators and crocodiles, which you can find linked up to our  A is for Alligator Resource page.

For more snappy inspiration, check out our Allie Alligator Pinterest Board

Follow Jana’s board Allie Alligator on Pinterest.

Bible ABC – T is for Time

It was a strange week in Panama, as mid-May usually means the rainy season has begun and life here is muggy and buggy!  However, that has not been the case this year, and in fact the country has declared a state of emergency “energy crisis” this week due to the lack of rain.  From Wednesday on, all schools were cancelled, government offices closed at 1:30, and the public sector cannot use AC from 0800-1500.

This meant that most other Jungle School students spent Friday enjoying time with their family. So, not knowing who would show, we decided to move Fun Friday to the park.  We picked up Peter on the way, who brought his new ball and bat, and put everyone in baseball mode. Batter up!

You can see how absolutely dry and dead all the grass is!!

Since this week’s bible story was The Good Samaritan, I planned to just take my camera along and snap some pictures of them “helping” each other. The only one I got was them helping this cicada bug. hehe

It was great to have Papito home from school this week…too nice actually. He met us at the park to help me round everyone up. I love this shot of him and Judah next to my favorite Panamanian tree.

Rachel and the children came to meet us for a picnic too, but by then I already had the camera packed.  Oh well, I will just have to take our T pictures another week.  Here is a sample of Levi’s page from years ago…talk about a blast from the past!!

Click image to download

Click image to download

An alternate option for the T page would be to have your child draw a picture of someone helping another person, or do some sort of clock craft.  (There are loads of free clock printables on the internet!)

Bible ABC – S is for Seeds

This week’s bible story was The Parable of the Sower.

Seeds photo

Click image to download

For the S page, we worked in partners.  (Except the twins, who ate in partners.)

They each held a side of the brown construction paper rectangle, and carefully tore it so the top would look bumpy like soil.

They each counted out five lentils, and used those fine motor skills to put them on the little glue dots I placed on their paper.

Judah insisted on doing a project this week, and was so proud to complete it “Me Me.” (Which means all by himself!)

Then it was time to grab a green marker/crayon and make those seeds grow!

Half the crew had to leave before we started our snack (which was fine for Levi who could’ve devoured the entire batch)…

but for snack we made Dirt Cups (chocolate pudding, crushed up oreos for the top soil, and white M&Ms seeds to “plant”) while reading through the story.

I assured Field I used gluten-free cookies, but he was a little skeptical about eating dirt. HA!!

Hang in there!!

Pardon the bloggy breaks…but things are moving a little slowly around here because this JungleMama is gestating.  🙂  Actually, we’re about about to add TWO little monkeys to the mix with twins coming by July!!  Thanks for your patience and grace, and we’ll let you know when we’re back in the swing of things.

Japanese Lantern TLC Art Lesson

This project is so simple, and yet so beautiful!

You can download the directions for this free lesson here at TLC Lesson’s Teachers Pay Teachers store.  We chose to use red and black since they are festival colors.

When it came time to decorate their lanterns, I showed them how to draw the branches.  Then we watched the right and wrong way to make the flowers.

Patience pays off here!  hehe

I decided to glue their names in Japanese (thanks to our dinner visit from Miss Hashizaki) on the back of their paper. You could always look it up in Google Translate, but remember Japanese is written vertically.  😉

Japanese Dinner with Chef Hashizaki

We had a fun treat last night!  The 2nd grade teacher from CCA (where my husband teaches) came to teach us about Japan!  She is from _____ and went to college in Alabama (what a culture shock!!!) before teaching abroad.

The first thing we learned was the proper way to bow.  Not like this…

but like this!

Men place their hands to the sides, while women place them in front.

Next we read, “How My Parents Learned to Eat” a cute book about a Japanese girl and American sailor, who try to surprise each other by secretly learning the other’s way of eating.  Mami had never heard of the book, and she fixed us sukiyaki…the exact same Japanese dinner that the father learned how to eat with chopsticks in the book!!

Then it was time for us to learn how to eat with chopsticks.

There wasn’t a lot of success among the littles,

but everyone found a way to make it work!

Some more graceful than others. hehe

Miss Monica and I were hoping that the children didn’t like it because we were ready to gobble down the entire pot!!

It tasted amazing!!

Next came time to learn about the art of Japanese dress.

People now go to Kimono classes to learn, but Miss Hashizaki was taught by her Grandmother.  (Papito said it looked like origami, hehe)

All three outfits are casual summer dress, as the fancy version can be very hot with all that heavy fabric wrapped around.  Red is also a common color to wear during festivals.

The girls went immediately into the sukkah for a tea party,

but came out quickly when Mami announced she had brought a treat.

The candy person starts purple, then changes to one of three colors.  Of course they had to watch the entire process.

We also talked about the language, and she wrote everybody’s name in Japanese, (which we incorporated into our art lesson).  The children thought this was too cool!

 There was one last surprise up her sleeve…a bible verse card for each child in Japanese and English!

Thank you Miss Hashizaki for such a fun and memorable night!!