Monday, March 31, 2008

Today I babysat a friend's two kiddos. My daughter spent much of the time "reading" to them. She is such the little makes her momma proud!

Their favorite pick of the books was one called Awesome Animals by Gina Ingoglia. This one was "read" to the boys by my daughter but it was also requested that I read it too. Guess what? I learned a lot from that little book...

  • Nine banded Armadillo females always have 4 babies at a time.

  • Those 4 babies are either all female or all male.

  • When a proboscis monkey uses his nose to honk and warn others of danger, it's nose gets stiff and sticks out.

  • A sloth's fur looks green because tiny plants grow in it.

  • Koalas only eat eucalyptus leaves and thus smell like the strong smelling leaves.

  • Full grown Komodo dragon males can weigh as much as 300 pounds.

  • Anteaters have no teeth.

  • Camels can shut their noses to keep out blowing sand. They have a third eyelid that keeps the sand out of their eyes.

One more thing, I also learned how to add a picture to the header on the blog. Not sure I like how it's placed but I guess that just gives me something else to learn.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bugs and Guitars

Today, I learned a little about some really simple things. I'm learning that the more I try to celebrate and recognize the little things, the less they seem like little things and more like big things. I write something here and it seems rather minor then I look back on it and I realize that had I not written it down, it may have slipped from my memory. But, as I reread these small things, I appreciate them more and celebrate the fact that these are the things that make us (my family) who we are.

In thinking about this, I decided to find a quote to express what I am trying to say. I found this one...

"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." -Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thanks, Laura, that summarizes my thoughts precisely!

Today, I learned the simplicity of a gift. It looked like it was going to rain today and our daughter had been really well behaved at church and while we were out to eat at a restaurant. We decided to give her an umbrella that we had bought her as a gift for a day like today. Oh, the joy on her face! She was so excited to get this little ladybug umbrella. Such a simple gift...such joy!

It never did rain enough to use it but that didn't stop her from using it inside. Our son loved it, too! He followed her and the umbrella everywhere they went. Then, recognizing that he wanted to play too, she sat down on the floor with him and kept his head sheltered from the imaginary rain. She even tried to help him hold the handle. They were so sweet sitting there on our living room floor, huddled under the ladybug umbrella, keeping themselves dry from the imaginary rain!

Another one of those simple things today had to do with my husband's guitar. Now, this is not an unusual thing in our house. Our children are quite used to the sound of their Daddy's strumming ringing through our home. Today, as soon as he started playing, the baby crawled right across the room and got on his knees so he could play too. He has so much fun watching his Daddy play but today, he wanted a piece of the action. The two of them settled in on the floor together and entertained us girls with their guitar playing skills.

It is such a beautiful thing to see the hands of my children and the hands of my love sharing in something creative together!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bye Baby Bunting

A while back, I posted about what I learned about bias tape. Today I finally got around to using that knowledge to make the bunting for the baby's room. I picked up the correct bias tape at Hobby Lobby yesterday and today I learned how to sew the bunting flags together using the bias tape.

I am very happy with how the bunting turned out. I added another green fabric. I wasn't too sure about it and it definitely wasn't my first pick. However, it has fish on it and my hubby thought it was the perfect fabric to use. He loves fishing and hopes to spend lots of time fishing with the kiddos. So, I conceded. I think it looks pretty much like I hoped that it would.

I hung it on the wall shelves that go around the baby's room. It brightens the room up and looks very festive. Yeah! I finally finished this project!

Friday, March 28, 2008

A few things

I learned a few things today...

  1. Going on a date with hubby sans children is very important...gotta make it happen more often!
  2. Stopping by Hobby Lobby on said date with hubby means you have an exceptional hubby.
  3. A plastic tablecloth with little ladybugs on it works great as an under-the-easel mat.
  4. Previously mentioned tablecloth is a surefire way to make a 3 year old artist happy.
  5. Going over your wireless minutes really stinks.

That's it for today.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More Cooking

Yikes, two cooking posts in a row! That's pretty interesting, since I really don't enjoy cooking very much!

Yesterday, I bought a new kitchen gadget. Here's what I learned today. I looked at a few recipes but couldn't find one that I liked, so I kinda took the ideas and winged it.

I started with potatoes...

Used my new gadget to cut french fries. It took no time to turn 5 potatoes into this...

I tossed them with oil and them my daughter ground salt over the top.

I popped them in the oven at 45o degrees, turned them a few times, and then put them under the broiler to brown the tops.

And here they are...baked (not fried!) french fries.

And, everyone loved them! Yeah!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Yummy and Easy

Yummy and easy... yep, that's my kind of recipe. I found it on the back of the Stove Top Stuffing box. I changed it a little but it was still yummy. You can find the recipe here. I tried to find the recipe on Kraft's website and it wasn't there. So I had to find it from an outside source but this is exactly the same recipe that I used from the back of the box. What changes did I make? I used chicken instead of turkey and cream of mushroom soup instead of cream of chicken. I'd like to think that I made the changes because I took artistic license and made changes to better suit my families taste. However, the truth is that both of the changes were purely accidental. The chicken? I forgot to buy turkey on the last trip to the grocery store and I had chicken on hand. The cream of mushroom soup? I grabbed the wrong can out of the pantry. The cream of chicken is still in there!

So, did the family like it? Hubby, son and I did. I put some in the baby food grinder and the baby gobbled it right up. The picky three year old is a different story however. All of the ingredients in this recipe are things that she likes when eaten individually. I guess putting them all together changes that for her. She disliked it so much it made her sick. Literally. All. over. herself. and the chair, and the floor. Ya, it was ugly.

So, today I learned how to make a yummy and easy recipe but I also learned that sometimes you need to have a plan B. I also learned that there is yet another way that my daughter is just like her mommy. (I guess we pass on the good genes as well as the bad) So she's picky, I love her anyways!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easel Paint

I am very excited about what I learned today! I love using powdered tempera paints but have had trouble with them when they are used on the easel. No matter how I mix them, they are too thin. The paint drips down the paper. They are fine when used while painting on the table but on the easel, gravity works against us.

I found a recipe for paint in the book, The Preschooler's Busy Book by Trish Kuffner. The recipe we tried is for Flour-Based Poster Paint. It worked fabulously - No running paint!

I read an article here about kids and the amount of time they spend using their easels. I started to think about ours. We go through phases where our daughter uses it a lot and then we can go for weeks where she hardly uses it at all. So, I was wondering what I could do to encourage her to use it more consistently? What could I do to change things up to keep the easel interesting? Would adding a greater variety of materials increase her interest?

This paint accomplished that today. The fact that we got to make it together was fun. But, while making it, she was eager to try using it. She proudly showed her artwork and her new paints to Daddy when he came home from work. Making the paint gave her a greater interest in using them. We'll see if this interest continues.

Above is her final masterpiece. She painted every last inch of the paper!

Monday, March 24, 2008

No Fear!

The boy has no fear! I didn't just learn it today, I had it drilled into my mind every time I turned my back...even for just one second. First of all, he was fascinated with the cat today. Now, the cat is pretty friendly as far as cats go but there is only so much she tolerates. Once she hits that point, she gives a quick swipe of the paw and lets you know that she means business. The boy? No fear of her whatsoever. He chased her all over the place today and just when she thought she had found a place of safety on our recliner, the boy just crawled right over, pulled himself up and reached right for her face. He's never pulled himself up there before. Thankfully, I was there to intervene before the cat's claw made its appearance!

Also today, he took a fancy to his sister's kid-sized vacuum cleaner that was plugged into an outlet charging. He wanted to suck on the base of it...yuck! When I would distract him from the base, he wanted to remove the plug from the outlet. So, I unplugged it, moved him to the other side of the room and proceeded to move the vacuum to another more obscure outlet. In the meantime, he crawled right over to the now empty outlet and tried to stick his finger right into it! For Pete's sake, that outlet was without a cover for less than a minute before he got into it!
Today, he also grabbed the tablecloth and pulled an unlit candle down onto himself.
He also has no fear of falling. He can pull himself up to his knees at the coffee table. When he is finished, he just kind of flops himself down. Never mind the fact that the coffee table is below him! Then, he enjoys trying to crawl under the coffee table. Once he is under, he tries to raise his head and just keeps banging it on the underside of the tabletop.
In his bedroom today, he was trying to fit his head in between the dresser and the wall because he saw the cord for his lamp behind the dresser. There is no way that he can get his head into the two inch gap but that didn't stop him from trying. He looked like a little bulldozer bonking his head into the space to try to make it fit. Poor little head!
I think we need to move into a padded house. I'm learning that child #2 is completely different than child #1. I, of course, know that they are different and love their differences. This is just one area that is completely throwing me for a loop. Our daughter hardly ever got into anything. We had the house child-proofed but it was hardly necessary because she just didn't do many dangerous things. Now, I am envisioning an million ways that we can even further baby-proof our home otherwise, I think we need to buy stock in band aids and first aid kits.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Our daughter has been really fascinated with birds lately. She has really enjoyed watching the birds gather at our bird feeders in the back yard. Easter has added a new dimension to her love of birds. She has really enjoyed playing with Easter eggs and learning about the animals that hatch from eggs. One of her favorite books has been The Egg. She especially likes the book's pictures of animals other than birds that hatch from eggs like snakes, turtles and crocodiles.

Considering this new fascination, we decided to give her a bird themed Easter basket. It contained a bird guide book, a hummingbird feeder, eggs, an Audubon Bird with a real Robin bird call, and a carrot filled with gummy worms. We didn't want to load her basket with candy and junk, so we thought this would do. I was a little concerned that she would be disappointed in the lack of candy but she wasn't. She thought it was pretty cool to be able to eat worms like the birds. I don't know why I was concerned, the grandparents give us enough candy for 10 kids!

She loved the basket and has been fascinated by the book... we all have. It's called Birds, Nests and Eggs by Mel Boring. We have had fun looking at the pictures and reading about each of the birds. That leads me to what I learned today. I learned several interesting things from the book but the most fascinating was about Robins. The book says that, "One robin can eat as much as 14 feet of earthworms in one day." Yikes, that a LOT of worms!

I also need to add that the baby liked his new rabbit. It has a bell inside of it so it jingles when he moves it. He had a great time hanging on to one of it's legs and swinging it back and forth. Boy, I hope my stitching holds up!

Happy Easter!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Poor Neglected Bunny

Last year when I was on bed rest, I did a few crafts. I had to rely on those around me to provide me with supplies as I could not get them myself. My mother brought me a kit to make a bunny. She thought it would be great for the baby when he arrived. I agreed. However, sitting at a sewing machine is not allowed while on bed rest so the entire thing had to be hand-stitched. Since the baby came 3 weeks early, I never finished the project and he became a poor neglected bunny. Here he is...

I found him in a box of miscellaneous craft stuff a short time ago and decided that he would make a good Easter gift for the baby. The only problem is that I have never done embroidery in my life. The poor bunny had no eyes, mouth, or whiskers. He had no clothes on either! Over the past few weeks, I have looked at him over and over again and thought, "I really ought to learn how to do that....I really should finish this by Easter." Well, today I did. He's not completely done. He still needs a mouth on his face and a carrot embroidered on his vest. But, he's done enough for me! Here he is...

I think he looks pretty cute all tucked in his Easter basket...

Hope you have a blessed Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

What did I learn today?

Hmmmm, let's see...

Snowstorm + lo-o-ong car ride + Obnoxiously big store + Cranky toddler = BAD DAY!

What should have been a relatively short trip today took way. too. long! It took us FOUR HOURS to get home from a trip that usually takes less than an hour and a half. Yesterday was the first day of Spring for Pete's sake! What's with all the snow! Generally I love snow but, geesh, it's Good Friday, not Christmas Eve!

So-o-o-o, I learned my lesson. If the weather man predicts even a dusting of snow, don't go near the tollway. If it's a holiday, don't go to great, big, huge, stores. If your toddler is cranky, go home. Those are my lessons for today.

Good night, I'm exhausted!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Conversations and Stories

Today at MOPS, we made Conversation Starter Boxes. I had never heard of such a thing before. In essence, it's a box of suggestions for starting conversations with your kiddos. Basically, we started with a tin container, much like the old band-aid containers we used to use as kids. Then we used scrap booking papers and embellishments to decorate the outside of the tin. Then, we were given sheets of conversation starters to place in the tin to pull out to start a conversation. I like the conversation starters that we were given, but I may need to add to it as my kids get older. I found some lists here and here and one that I really liked is here. The last link has some storytelling starters which were particularly interesting to me.

I like the concept of this tin but I don't think we have much use for it now. The three year old does not need any prompting to start conversing. She handles that quite well on her own!

Another thing I learned today is that Spring Equinox is also World Storytelling Day. We celebrated by telling stories around the dinner table tonight. Our daughter loves stories and will ask for them non-stop. I love to hear, "Momma, tell me a story about..." She is getting quite good at storytelling as well. She loves to retell the stories that we tell her. Her favorites are stories from when we were children. She loves to hear about the funny and crazy things Mom and Dad did as kids. She is also getting quite good at telling her own stories. Some of them are stories of what has really happened to her but most of them are made-up. I love to listen to her tell a story using just her imagination as a guide. Her favorite audience member is her baby brother. Many times a day I will catch her telling him some sort of story while he quietly watches her enamored by her facial expressions and voice inflections.
This image is the World Storytelling Day logo, designed by Swedish storyteller Mats Rhenman. I love how it blends people together into a circle representing the stories that connect us around the globe.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter Clothes

In the past 9 months since I became the mother of a baby boy, I've learned that stores just don't stock a whole lot of boys dress clothes. First it was the mad search for an appropriate outfit for his baby dedication. Then, it was the insane pre-holiday hunt for an appropriately dressy 1st Christmas outfit. Now, it has been the crazy sequence of stores that we have been hopping to and from in hopes of a cute and Springy 1st Easter outfit. Today, we finally landed on the right store. We went to Gymboree. I've shopped there for girl clothes before but I haven't been there since I've had a reason to shop for boy clothing. Well, today I learned my lesson. If I need dressy boy clothes, I'm heading there. I still didn't get exactly what I had in mind but at least it was close. His outfit is the human version of the outfit on the gopher above. Seriously...not kidding.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Green Day

Hurray! As you can see, I was successful making the photo mosaic! I made it through this site. It was a pain-in-the-butt to figure out. I don't know why I had such a hard time. It is really quite simple to do. I guess I'm just challenged technologically, but I sure did have trouble creating it. However, despite my difficulties, I'm glad I learned to do it because I am rather pleased with how it turned out.

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

Mmmm...Corned beef and cabbage, steamed potatoes, and Irish Soda bread. I love St. Patrick's Day! The smells, the tastes, the music, the colors...I love all of it.

Today was a fun day. We did all things St. Patrick's day today. We wore green and did green crafts...mainly the messy kind with lots of green paint on the fingers. We had to be on the road much of the day, so we played a game of finding all the green things along our route. I didn't realize there was so much green out there. It doesn't make up for the lack of natural green though...c'mon Spring, hurry up! On our little green scavenger hunt, I learned that the fire hydrants in the town where Daddy works are green and yellow. I've driven by them a million times and never noticed that! Isn't it amazing how we don't notice things if our eyes are not looking for them. We counted over a dozen green and yellow fire hydrants that I had never seen before!

This inspired me to find green things here at home too. I took my camera while the kids were napping and shot quick photos of all things green. It was pretty fun to look for colors instead of subjects for the photos. I learned that I have a lot more green in my house than I would have guessed. Now I want to try to learn how to do a photo collage to add to the blog. Hopefully I will figure that out in the next few days and be able to post it.

I also learned about steamed potatoes. My husband did the grocery shopping for the St. Paddy's Day dinner. He bought potatoes that came in a bag that you use to steam them in the microwave. I usually cook the corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes all in the same pot. When I saw what he had bought, I figured I'd give it a try. I was a little leery. However, the potatoes tasted just fine and they didn't taste like corned beef this way.

In other news, I learned that the baby loves corned beef! He gobbled it right up! He is definitely not turning out to be a Gerber baby. He still hates baby food but loves table food. I think he enjoyed his first St. Patrick's Day!

By the way, I didn't make the soda bread. It was bought from the bakery. Maybe someday...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Crosses

Today is Palm Sunday. Today at church, we received a palm branch to take home. The kids had fun playing with it...dancing, sweeping, reinacting the triumphant entry. On a fluke, I looked online to see if I could find any creative ideas for displaying the palm until Easter. (I had placed it in a vase and it just looked silly.) I found this link for palm crosses and I immediately tried it. What a great idea!!! She had only posted a tutorial for the one way to make a cross so I googled the other way and found this link.
Here's the end result...
I love origami and this is a beautiful extension of that love. It's just an organic form of origami!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What Day is it?

Today I learned how to change the posting date on each of the individual posts for the blog.
Hmmm...that means I can post on Monday and say I did it on Saturday.
So, what day did I post this?
Pretty sneaky, huh?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Street View

Have you ever used Google Maps? I haven't used them much but today my husband showed me something pretty freaky. Go to and then type in your address. After your map comes up click on "Street View." At this point, if you live in one of the areas where it's available, you get to see an actual photo of your home. Seriously, a real photo! You can use one of the tools to drive up and down the street and an another tool to turn and look around in a full circle. It's a panoramic image taken from the middle of the street. I tried to find information on how they accomplish this and I found out that they are taken from a car that is fitted with an eleven lens camera capable of taking full, high-resolution video while driving along city streets. More information on how it works here. Pretty darn freaky!

The picture above is a view from our front yard this evening...not the street view but the lookin' up view!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Clay for Play

Today, I learned that I love an old cook book I inherited from my mom. It's called Feed Me I'm Yours by Vicki Lansky. It was a cookbook that Mom used when my brothers and I were kids. It has lots of kid friendly recipes in it. I was a pretty picky eater as a kid (I still am). I used to love to look through this cookbook for recipes that didn't have anything in them that I would consider "yucky." When I started having kids, Mom passed the book on to me in case my kids turned out to be picky like their mommy. (I sure hope they aren't...the baby tried and liked tomatoes yesterday. That's a good sign since tomatoes and I are arch enemies!)

But, I didn't use the cookbook for food. I used it for a recipe called Clay for Play and Posterity (baking method). Early this morning, I made the recipe and formed the clay into egg shapes. We brought them to a playdate with two little friends. We did a Bible lesson on Easter and then set the kids up with the eggs, paint, and paintbrushes. We got the idea for painted eggs from the same site I mentioned in my last post. After painting the eggs, the kids got to eat hard-boiled eggs that the other mom had made. My daughter had great fun pealing the shell off of the egg. This was a huge highlight for her. It was great to have yummy and messy fun with eggs today!

Upon the recommendation of the other mom, we decided that the eggs would last better if we put some sort of finish on the eggs. I thought I had a can of spray sealant but I did not. I dug through my craft stuff and found a bottle of glitter glaze. I had used this for painted glass Christmas ornaments years ago and was happy to try it again. The eggs look great...colorful and sparkly...just like the little girl who painted them. I'll post pictures when I'm back on my computer.

I can't wait to rediscover other old recipes from my childhood.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Posting for Yesterday

Yep, I'm a day behind. My husband was working on a side job fixing a computer. This meant that he had to disconnect mine to work on the other. Thus, no way to post. Today he is still working on fixing that computer but he set me up with a laptop. Good Husband!

So, what did I learn yesterday? I learned that my daughter can be quite creative when given open ended crafting possibilities. Previous attempts at giving her open ended crafts have resulted in great fun and great artwork however, she tended to stay within the realms of what mediums she has used previously. Today, I gave her a variety of objects (confetti, hole punches, material scraps, etc.) and a cardboard egg. The craft was inspired by a craft I saw here. She was so excited about gluing all the different objects to the egg. She was very meticulous in placing each piece right where she wanted it. After she was finished with the egg, she asked to take the supplies to her room where she proceeded to sit down at her desk and make a new art project using the miscellaneous items on paper. I was very impressed that she extended the activity herself.

I am so excited that she has entered this stage in her artistic expression. I feel as if she is really taking ownership of her artwork and allowing her creativity to shine through what she creates. Can you tell I'm a proud mama?!?!?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bias Tape

I want to make some bunting for my son's room. I was inspired by this post. I've already cut out all of the triangles but now I need to attach them together. Actually, they have been cut out for over a month but I just haven't had the opportunity to get to the fabric store.

That's my pathetic stack of lonely triangles...I think I need another green fabric...Hmmm.

I read about how to make your own bias tape but with two kiddos and trying to get crafting done while they are sleeping, I don't think that's gonna happen! I'd rather be playing with them while they're awake.

Anyhow, today we were at Walmart and I decided to pick up some bias tape. Oi, was I confused! I couldn't figure out which kind I needed. I asked a store employee for help and took her advice. (note to self: Walmart workers do not have the same knowledge as real fabric store employees!) I got home and was so excited to get started. Not today...I have the wrong stuff. So, today I learned the difference between single fold bias tape and double fold bias tape.

Perhaps next time I should learn something before I head out to the store and make a purchase!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's Check-up Time!

My son had his 9 month check-up on Saturday. Pretty normal stuff. We had to have blood drawn to check for anemia and lead. We were pretty unconcerned about both tests. The nurse called today with the results... both anemia and lead are fine. But, he is fighting off a viral issue! The blood work told us that. He has been irritable and cranky and we just thought it had to do with the time change or teething (doc says 4 more are on their way!). It took a blood test for me to learn that my kiddo is fighting a sickness. That's doggone fascinating to me. A few drops of blood can tell me something that I don't know and I'm right here with him! So, he got lots of cuddling today (like he doesn't get tons anyways). All day today, I kept telling him, "Fight 'em off Little Guy! Crush those yucky germs!" Then, I would talk to the germs, "Germies, get outta him. He's a tough little booger and he's gonna kick you out!" It made him laugh and the 3 year old thought it was pretty funny hearing Mommy talking to the germs.
By the way, the picture was taken shortly after we arrived home from the doctor's office. He crawled over to visit the cat who was sitting just outside our sliding door. He couldn't figure out why he couldn't pet the kitty...but he kept right on trying. He doesn't look like a kid who's fighting of some viral yuckies, does he?