Friday, January 31, 2014

Valentine's Traditions

Tomorrow is February 1st.

Last year, I posted a sticky note on the kid's door every morning before they woke up for the first 14 days of the month. Each one listed a different reason I loved them. I also did some for David on our mirror. It was a big hit for Lillie since she could read by then and I am resolved to do it again this year. I am going to sit down tonight after they are in bed and pre-write as many as I can to save me from rushing in the morning.

I also have to do some ironing, pay bills and go over some of David's Q&A work with him. And the kids don't go to bed till 7:30. And I wanted to be in bed by 10 pm. I feel that something is going to have to give.

I love Valentines Day. Maybe because I feel that I can celebrate it any way that I want and I won't be disappointing my, or anyone else, expectations. I love to hang paper garlands all over the dining room and kitchen, put up cheesy window clings, make heart infused snowflakes to hang from the doorways, and make valentines for all our family. It is a fun holiday without too many strings attached. Plus, who doesn't enjoy telling your loved ones just what it is that makes them special to you?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Doctor De Soto

         For those who don't know, William Steig wrote the original story Shrek. Almost everyone else knows that story was turned into 3 or more non-small child friendly movies. The original Shrek is great. Funny and weird with that brand of humor that appeals to children.

          Steig has a unique style. The humor is sharp enough so that adults can get a laugh, but very simple so that kids can follow the zany stories with glee. One of Steig's other jewels is a short story called Doctor De Soto.

           Doctor De Soto is a mouse with a thriving dental practice. However, he has one abolute policy. The good doctor refuses to treat "dangerous animals"- animals who have a taste for mice. One day a fox shows up at his door in misery. How can the kind-hearted doctor turn him away? But how can he keep himself safe at the same time? Clever Doctor De Soto will find a way.
I was able to find a copy of this at our local used bookstore for a few dollars. Well worth the price. I remember Dad reading this to me over and over when I was little. It is one of my favorites. Sharp, bright illustrations with eye-catching details. 
For those interested, this has a AD560 Lexile measure.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cabin Fever

A little glimpse of what happens when you are stuck inside for
weeks on end because of freezing temps, snow and ice.
You put on impromptu dance numbers.

You listen to church over the phone in your living room
because the roads are too icy to make it down the mountain.

You make some mouth-watering breaded pork chops.

Daddy has lots of time to practice to an enraptured audience.

You spend hours turning the dryer light on and off.

You eat your snack outside on the days that are slightly warm (although Ian obviously disagreed).

And when it finally thaws, you go outside and ride, ride, ride!
She rode it for the first time without training wheels and stayed up for quite a while.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mirror Art


Several months ago, my cousin came over to visit. We inevitably stayed up late talking and to keep our hands busy as we yakked, we messed about in paint. I made a couple of pieces of what i call Mirror Art. It is a simple and easy process. A 2 or 3 year old should even be able to have fun making this (with a little adult supervision, of course.) The first set looked just like a butterfly when placed together so i hung it on Lillie's wall for some easy art.

  • 2 pieces of poster board the same size. Or water color paper.
  • Acrylic  and watercolor paint
  • 2 " brush and small brush
  • Pen or pencil
  • Newspaper or old sheet
  • Eager assistant

Step 1. Lay down newspaper or cloth over floor to minimize messes. This is critical!
Step 2. Pick a background color and use the watercolor paint to make a wash on both papers. I just blobbed a dime sized amount of paint in the middle and used a 2" brush dipped in water. I spread the paint loosely side to side until even all over. Let dry.

Step 3. Drizzle acrylic paint on one side. You can do this abstractly or go for a subtle design. I was going for an under-the-sea look.
Step 4. Lay other paper face down on top of the paint. How to lay it down decides how the painting turns out. I wanted my lines to stay fairly in place so I lay the paper from left to right then pressed lightly. For the butterfly on Lillie's wall, I placed the paper directly on top then pressed hard and rubbed from side to side.
Ian helped.

 Step 5. When you peel back the paper, you should have two mirror images. Take the small paintbrush and add some details to the painting. I added black circles to define the eyes. I also drug the end of the brush thru the blue circles to make tentacles to make jellyfish. (what jellyfish are doing in the same tank with a goldfish, don't ask me)

Here is another example of mirror art. I just liked the right side and thought it resembled vegetables. So I added a label and framed just the one paper.

I would love to know how your attempt turns out!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Please Sir! May I 'ave some 'ore?

My Darlin' Man and I joke that our children eat gruel for breakfast and love it. That is not too far from the truth.

Let 's go back a couple of decades. My dear Grandma Green concocted a breakfast for my then little sister Sarah. She called it "Grandma's Oatmeal" when in reality it was gruel. It has floated around the family since then and I first made it for my oldest girl when she was about 2. She LOVED it and has had it for breakfast several times a week since that day. All three of my kids eat it now and can scarf down a bowl in less than 2 minutes. I, personally, can't choke down a bit but that is the marvelous things about children. They will eat anything.

Grandma's Oatmeal
  1. Take your favorite brand of quick oats. I use Quaker. Shake about 1 Cup into a bowl.
  2. Take your preferred type of milk. I use Almond milk since Ian is off raw dairy and I don't want to have to keep track of which bowl has which kind of milk. Splash some milk on the oatmeal. Note: less is more. You don't want it too runny.
  3. Glop on a reasonable pile of applesauce. I use the unsweetened store brand. If you make homemade applesauce, that would work just as well.
  4. Sprinkle on some cinnamon.
  5. Mix and serve.
  6. If wanted, add raisins, nuts, brown sugar, ect.
I have timed myself and I can mix 3 bowls of this in 1 minute flat. Talk about fast food! It is also surprisingly filling. 1 Cup of Quaker oats provides 10g of protein so it stays with the kids till lunch. The only sugar is what naturally occurs in the applesauce and oatmeal so no extra sweetness. All in all, a really great, quick breakfast for those mornings when you oversleep.

Friday, January 3, 2014