Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chalkboard wall art

I have been missing here on the blog for a long time, I know! Since starting work, pretty much all of my free time during the day goes to working, so while Isabella is asleep I work and when she's awake I don't get to do much else but play with her. But today Isabella's nanny is staying an extra hour, I've done what I can for work so I have a few minutes to blog for a change. And I've been meaning to show you our new chalk board wall for nearly three months now.

We've been so indecisive about what to hang on the walls until Andre came up with the idea of painting a section of the wall behind the dining table with chalkboard paint. When buying the paint I actually learnt that you can change any paint into chalkboard paint. I think the guy at the shop said they can mix something into it. But we decided we liked the contrast of the black wall and white chalk on it.

Now I regularly change the board to go with the season or holidays or events.

Here's our first Autumn scene I did in November.

A Christmas scene for December.

And a winter scene for January. We'll see how long winter lasts. When there are enough spring flowers out it will be time to change the board again.

Painting your chalkboard is pretty straight forward. We measured and taped out the area we decided to paint, comparing distance from floor and ceiling to get it as straight as possible. Then we painted three coats straight onto the clean wall. You then need to leave it to cure for three days before covering the entire board with chalk by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk over it. Wipe clean with a dry cloth and it's ready to use.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Santa Train Ride

We went on a steam train ride last weekend. We all really enjoyed it so much. It was an hour trip, the adults got wine and mince pies and the kids got a juice and a present from Father Christmas. Was really worth it, Isabella was happy and relaxed the whole time, enjoyed some strawberries and didn't cry at Father Christmas although he didn't quite get a smile from her.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Isabella signing

Here's a quick follow on from the previous post about Isabella signing. She is learning new signs and sounds every day. We were looking through a book this evening before bedtime and I just casually showed her the sign for baby. She watched me carefully, then tried to copy me, watching and trying until she got it pretty much right. You can't see me signing in the video but the sign for baby is as though you're pretending to cradle a baby in your arms. She was so impressed with herself, she kept doing it over and over each time she saw a picture of a baby.

*Ongeveer 50 sekondes die video in (wanneer ons al drie lag) het Isabella 'n wind gelos! Ons het begin lag as sy dit doen en nou lag sy vir haarself wanneer dit uit glip! Een of ander tyd gaan ons moet ophou lag en haar leer dit word eintlik nie gedoen nie!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Isabella's communication skills at 1 year old

Isabella is communicating SO much with us now and by spending some time teaching her and learning from her we manage to understand most of what she 'says'.

She uses a combination of sounds (animal sounds like moo for cow and sounds she hears in words we say like 'ca' for cat) and baby sign language. The sign language is a combination of signs from a book we got from her favourite and only aunt ;-) signs she makes up and signs I make up as we go along. So it's really a 'secret' language only we can understand! 

It's amazing how quickly she learns. Earlier this week I made up a sign for fish, I don't know what the real sign is, I didn't have the book with me at the time when we saw a fish in one of her books, so just made up a logical and easy one to show fish movement, and she got it right away. I asked her later when her dad came home what a fish does, not expecting her to have remembered, and she did. Clever girl! Of course we do repeat sounds and signs over and over and over- for her to learn but also for her to feel she's really clever by showing us what she knows.

Some signs, like the sign for 'more' I used to use a lot when she was eating, but it was when she was much younger. At that time she didn't use any signs yet and I kind of gave up on it and stopped using it and one day she just started signing 'more' correctly and using it at appropriate times when she wanted more food, or wanted me to read more of a book, or her program on tv finished and she wanted it again. So either she really did take in what I signed long ago when she was not yet able to use her hands that way or she read the book when I wasn't looking! 'More' is now her most used sign!

Isabelle says/ signs:



rubs nose/ mouth + sound
looking for muslin

hand to mouth
eat/ hungry

hand to mouth and sniffs
should sign hand to nose
fingers of both hands together in front of her

hand on head
wants or sees a hat

fingers of one hand around opposite wrist
wants bracelet

opens and shuts hand

sucks hand


tutu (pink tulle skirt)

thumb and forefinger together open/ shut

wiggles hand

Isabella can touch these body parts when asked in Afrikaans Not tested in English :-)
Working on:

head, hair, eyes (blinks), nose (sniffs), cheeks, tummy, feet, toes, clap hands
knees, bottom ;-) back, mouth/ lips


‘mmmm’ / ‘moo’

‘qua-qua’ (quack)


blows raspberries

ffff’ or ‘wwww’ (woof)



claps hands together (snap-snap)

opens mouth wide
hippo (yawning)

lion/ tiger

raises one arm in air
should be arm to front as trunk
raises one arm in air

We have since for fun tested her a little bit in English and she will touch her head, nose, toes and feet correctly when asked in English. We have't tested her English comprehension really with any other words, but I will try some more out of interest. We try not to speak any English to her so she learns to only speak Afrikaans to us. She will soon hear and speak English everywhere else in her life. Now that she spends time with her nanny (who is English) three mornings a week I'm sure she's picking up so much more. She even started saying 'moo' instead of 'mmm' for cow sometimes and it sounds much more 'English' than when we say 'moo'!!

I will try and catch her signing on camera.

Pasta Sensory Play

I don't like using food for art or play, but at the moment Isabella will put everything in her mouth. Repeatedly. So it needs to be safe in that way. I bought the cheapest pasta I could find and let her explore.

Things she (hopefully) got from this:
- texture
- capacity (filling and emptying containers) She loved tipping the bowl over and I'm hoping she learnt that she shouldn't do this when she's eating her food!
- the sound it made on the tray which she really enjoyed too and
- properties of the shape such as rolling.

What I got from this: something different to entertain her with minimal mess and a few minutes to sit back and watch her! Although she still plays best when I play with her demonstrating what she can do with various things. Occasionally she will come up with her own ideas ;-)
And I got that I need to get Andre's camera out more to get better pictures!!


Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Portrait a Week: 46/52 - Ballerina

I already posted quite a few of these photos I took this week on facebook, but it was definitely my favourites of the week. Isabella loves her tutu and already knows where to find the mirror when I tell her to go look in the mirror. She hardly ever keeps any hair accessories in her hair for longer than two seconds, but this headband won her over after I pointed out the flower it has. She's loved flowers since spring when she watched Andre plant flowers in our garden and I showed her the sign for flower. It was probably one of her first signs she learnt. 'Tutu' is also one of the few words she actually uses.

Last week's portrait: 45/52 - Windsor

We had a lovely day out in Windsor last Sunday. We got there fairly early in the morning and it was quite cold. Isabella was so bundled up against the cold she didn't move. But it was a lovely sunny day which defrosted us all and Isabella was her busy self again soon.

We had lunch at an Asian restaurant and Isabella got her first meal ordered from the kiddies menu. I knew there wouldn't be much on our plates for her to eat with it being noodles or rice with often spicy sauces. And I didn't pack her a lunch. So we ordered her a lovely grilled chicken breast which was even cut up in perfect strips for her to hold and was so soft. It came with corn and shredded cucumber with a sauce on the side. Isabella ate the corn. Only the corn. It is still quite a struggle to get her to eat meat.

"Yes it looks lovely, but I'm telling you now I'm only eating the corn, daddy."