Monthly Archives: February 2009

everything’s amazing, nobody’s happy

Good morning  folks. My Aunt Janna sent this to me this morning. It made me giggle. Enjoy.

p.s. you can get high speed internet on an airplane — but not at my parents house in Ohio.

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Quinoa!

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photo credit: womensnutritiontips.com

Run – don’t walk – to your local health food store and pick some up! I thought Quinoa was a grain, but found out recently that it is a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It’s an amino acid (protein) seed that has a fluffy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. I’ve made quinoa and black bean burritos that turned out pretty good. Most recently I made this Peruvian Quinoa stew. PHENOMENAL!!

Note: for folks living in Richmond, Ellewood Thompson’s sells this little gem in bulk.


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Inspiration: Books and Blogs

**My house is so quite with the boys gone this morning. I should be getting ready for work, but I’m drinking coffee, listening to NPR and procrastinating…so here’s another blog post.

Owen is an outdoors kind of kid. If it involves fresh air and and a ball, he’s in. Unfortunately being outside all-day-long is not always an option. Especially in February. (I’m a wimp). I have some activity/craft books on hand for days when I need an inspirational boost for indoor (and outdoor) fun. When I see an idea that I want to store away for a rainy day I have an a recipe box full of note cards. This way I don’t forget and everything is right at my fingertips.

The Toddler’s Busy Book, The Preschoolers Busy Book, and the Children’s Busy Book all by Trish Kuffer: These were all in the clearance section at Borders for a couple dollars each and I’m so glad I got them. Lots of inexpensive, hands-on activities that don’t require lots of prep. (The Toddler’s Busy Book is probably what I reference the most.)

Unplugged Play by Bobbi Conner: 710 activities from ages 12 months to 10 years. The book is organized by age groups and sub categorized into solo play, play ideas for parents and child, playing with others, birthday party play. She includes an appendix for family game night and well-stocked toy cupboards for the different age groups. Some of the ideas you could think of by yourself (who didn’t play grocery store when they were a kid or make paper collages?) but it’s a great reference. Again, I’m not totally opposed to toys that have batteries, but I try to strike a balance.

Kindergarten Themes from Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company: This is actually a teacher’s lesson plan book. I purchased this, and a couple other art/craft books off of a former teacher’s craigslist post. It’s organized by months and includes literature/stories, poetry and music, creative drama, science, math, arts and crafts, food experiences, field trips, and thinking exercises. I haven’t used this one a whole lot yet, but I think it will come in handy over the next few years.

And that brings me to MOMMY BLOGS! There are so many good ones out there, but here are a few of my favorites:

Chasing Cheerios: This is the first blog I started reading. She has such awesome ideas for Montessori inspired toddler activities. Her blog is what made me want to start blogging in the first place. I would say this site is my number one inspiration. I check it first to come up with new games and toys. I made this for Owen around Christmas time and he loves it!!

No Time for Flash Cards: Great, great, great kids educational craft site. Often times she includes songs to go with the craft and a video to help parents learn the song. Here is one of her ideas for teaching shapes. I sang “Herman the Worm” (scroll down the page for the video) to Owen last summer while he was eating lunch in his high chair. He knew all of his shapes after that. Can’t recommend this site enough. (Oh! and great book recommendations to tie everything. Brilliant! Really!)

Frugal Family Fun Blog: is a recent discovery. This video highlights some great ideas that are on her blog. I just love anybody that looks at their recycling bin and sees a treasure chest. And the door-way puppet theater? Genius!! (We have that same $1 puppet from Target). She has great ideas, that require little to no prep work (or money) if you have some basic stuff on hand.

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And of course my mom and Evergreen are inspirational. They have a patients and boundless energy with their first grandchild that is something to be seen.

My mom was telling me over the phone how creative she thought I was in refernce to the felt board I made Owen. She even said she wishes she had been more like me when SHE was MY mom. It was funny, because the idea came from her! She made me one when I was a little girl. I still remember the play kitchen she made out of boards and cyinder blocks on our front porch. My brother and I played with that thing all summer long. I wish blogging excisted back then… I wonder if I can dig up a picture of that kitchen?

Owen always come home with the best table manners and disposition after a day with his grandma Evergreen. He hasn’t just learned good manners from his Ni Ni, he’s also picked up quite a bit of Chinese. I’m so thankful that Owen will grow-up bilingual. She has made Owen some of the cuties sweaters, hats and baby blankets. (Don’t get me started on her cooking! Fantastic!) My favorite house slippers were made by her. Evergreen inspires me to learn new skills like sewing and knitting. When I do I’ll blog about it 🙂

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Sing along with Owen!

Don and Owen are headed up to Northern Va (Don has meetings, I’m working all weekend, and Owen is over due for some time with grandparents).

This is how we spent our morning. I attempted a new bread recipe for a friend who just had a baby… it was a total disaster. I decided to stick with being goofy with Owen instead. You can see Don in the background doing some work from home trying not to be distracted.

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ice cube bags

img_4781 I got this fun activity from The Toddler’s Busy Book by Trish Kuffner. All you need is an ice cube tray, water, red, yellow and blue food coloring and 3 ziploc bags.

Before we went outside to play I mixed water and food coloring (enough for 2 ice cubes of each color) and poured it into an icecube tray. After lunch I took the frozen colored ice cubes and places them in ziploc bags. Place a red and a yellow together, a red and a blue cube into the second and a yellow and blue into the third baggie. Owen had fun moving the ice cubes around in the bag and watching what happened as the two colors melted together. “It’s geeeem!” (green).

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Milk Jug and Clothes Pins

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I was running low on ideas the other day when the weather turned nasty and I’d already decided that it would be a no TV day. I gave Owen a clean milk jug and a dozen clothes pins…VOLA! A new game. We counted the clothes pins as we dropped them in. He loved the sound they made hitting the bottom, would shake the milk jug (big hit!), dump them out and start all over again. (I found a bag of plastic clothes pins at the thrift store for $.50. One of these days I’ll pick up some wooden ones from the hardware store).

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Thifty Thursday…continued

This picture was taken back in October when the Mark family, a.k.a. “Team Awesome” was carving pumpkins…the rose cowboy shirt (sweet!) was a $1 thrift store find. Yes, it’s a dorky picture.

"FANtast Thrift is faaaantastic."

"FANtast Thrift is faaaantastic."

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