Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Spy with my little eye....

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across the idea of I Spy Bottles on  Pink and Green Mama. These bottles are super easy to make and Lily loves them. They are terrific to put in the card and definitely lends to her curiosity and exploration. The first one I made was a simple one with green and yellow lentils and random trinkets found around the house. However, today I made one with a numbers theme. I have discovered that the easiest bottles to use are the Dasani water bottles. The labels come off easily and the plastic is sturdy.

For the Numbers I Spy bottle, I used the leftover Rainbow Rice from a few weeks ago as the filler. I included foam number stickers, dice and a measuring tape that I cut up.  I put all of the items in the bottle and super glued the top on. Then I gave it to Lily who shook it and discovered all sorts of different numbers.
I plan on making an ABC I Spy bottle next. I have ABC shaped pasta for the filler and a variety of different types of letters. I would also like to make an Easter one with plastic grass as filler, but I am having difficulty finding Easter themed objects that are small enough. Perhaps, I will have enough time in the future to make the awesome "key" that was included on the bottle on Pink and Green Mama, but for right now, Lily is enjoying them as is.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Sorry it has been a little while since I have posted. Not much has been happening lately. I have been using up leftovers, so I haven't made anything spectacular for dinner. I haven't felt overly motivated to be "Super Mom" and do new crafts and cooking....

Well, I guess I can talk about two things:

First, I finished reading Room by Emma Donahue which was the book selection for my book club in December. I didn't get a chance to read it then, because I had just given birth.  But I am kind of glad I waited. The story is about a young boy and his mom who are held captive in a room. I was worried it would be dark and heavy, but it was surprisingly hopeful and optimistic. The book is told from the point of view of a 5 year old boy. This viewpoint is new and refreshing. The author does a terrific job of seeing through the eyes of a child.  It took me a little while to get into the book and enter the brain of said 5 year old. However, once I did, I was able to see the "world" in a new way. There was a sense of innocence and hope that transcended through the boys' curiosity and ignorance of the outside world and all of its' possibilities. The mom has a lot of issues, understandably, to deal with. However, her character is both endearing and remote which lends to a very complex character. Overall I enjoyed the book. If you are looking for a new and refreshing read, I recommend Room.

Secondly, my husband enhanced our kitchen this weekend with a backsplash. We chose to use stainless steel tiles.

So, our targeted upgrades for the kitchen so far are: Corian countertops, stainless steel appliances, paint, new light fixture and the tiles. We will most likely end up painting our cabinets. Here's the question: do we extend the tiles around the kitchen or keep it as is?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Counting my blessings

Today I am worn out from my son who is getting his first tooth. He is in a lot of pain and there is not much I can do past Tylenol and Orajel. My daughter has been quite the pistol the last two days as well. But I have to say, I have it really good. I live in a nice house, have a wonderful husband and wonderful children. I have heat and air conditioning, food and a car. The recent tragedy in Japan brought light to my blessings but there is one word that I hate that always brings my blessings forward.

When I was younger, a teen, and had a fear of commitment with relationships, I had a sign that my friend had made that said something like "the 'c' word is not a bad word." In my case, I was talking about commitment. But everyone who read it thought it meant 'cancer' and were confused.

I digress. The word I hate is cancer. In my family, 7 of my relatives have battled it in one way or another. Currently of those 7, 4 have passed away, 2 are in remission, and only one has active cancer. But it is not my family that has brought my blessings to light today. There are 4 people, my age, who are battling cancer, one I know well, one is the husband of a friend and the others are a couple who are friends of a friend. I don't want this to be a bummer post but I feel the need to write. If this is to much of a downer, feel free to stop reading.

Today I count my blessings that I have a relatively healthy family, that cancer only has grips on one family member currently. That although I felt like crying and running from my children yesterday because of their crying all day, I have truly wonderful children, a loving husband who helped (despite his horrible day) when he got home, a home that keeps us warm and cool and a meal on the table every night.

What are your blessings?

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Day and Rainbow Rice

I'm not Irish... well I may be but if I am it's a percentage of a percentage. So although I had planned for Leprechauns to visit our house and leave gold and mischief, I didn't get my act together in time, plus I was up the night before with D Man and was in a zombie state in the morning.
However, because I was up with D Man, he slept alot in the morning which allowed me ample time to do projects with Lily.

A few weeks ago, I did have the sense to purchase a $1 wooden cut out leprechaun mask for Lily to paint :

She is saying "cheese" here.
When she was done she kept calling it "Beauty and the Beast".  I don't know, I guess she thought it looked like the Beast. Here's the finished product:
Notice that the shamrock is filled in perfectly and the rest is random splotches....

Then, we made carrot snack sticks from  I try to make these once a week because Lily does not like vegetables. She chose the snack "sticks"  to be cut into the shapes of planes, hearts and the letter "T". This is the only picture I have:

Next, we made our first sensory bin. I started out with making Rainbow Rice. There are many different recipes on the web but here is how I did it:

I used:

1 cup of rice
1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol
25 drops of food coloring

Lily helped me count the drops of food coloring

Then she shook it all up to disperse the color.

Lily got bored after two colors and went to do other things.... To make the purple I did 15 drops of red and 15 drops of blue. For orange, I put in 15 drops of red and 15 drops of yellow.

Then I poured it out on cookie sheets with foil and let it dry.  Due to the rubbing alcohol, it dried pretty quickly and was done in about 15 minutes.

Then I poured out most of the rice into this container. I saved some for a future project..... :)

Lily helped me mix it up and started playing with it, using cups, spoons and funnels. At first I just put the small container on a tray.... then when Lily went down for a nap, I cleaned up the ginormous mess of rice on the floor and put it in a bigger container on top of a large sheet.

And through most of it , D Man was asleep. but here he is awake. ;)

There are a ton of ideas for sensory bins on the web. You can do a search on the web or go to some of my favorite sites:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homemade Gummy Candy!

Today, during Dylan's 25 minute crib nap, Lily and I made homemade gummy candy. Dylan only napped for 25 minutes in his crib because we are trying to get him to nap in his crib and not in his swing... it is a process... anyways, I digress.
I got the idea from Pink and Green Mama who got the idea from Not So Idle Hands blog. I was nervous to let Lily help with this because of the color but I jumped in with two feet and hoped for the best. She was still in her pjs so at worst they would get messed up.  On a side note: check out Lily's accessories: a baseball hat (it was serving as a cowboy hat), Christmas jingle bell barrettes, a Dora watch, a feathered slap bracelet, three Mardi Gras necklaces, a pony bead necklace she made and a ribbon in her hair under the hat. Someone needs to teach her that less is more.  

First, we mixed the water (for a single batch, not a double batch as stated on the Not So Idle Hands Blog, use 3 packages of gelatin, one packet of Jello and between 1/3 - 1/2 cup of water. We used Strawberry Jello... Lily loved the smell of it. she is all about the smells of things recently.
She also loves to stir.
Here she is waiting for the gelatin to melt to be poured into the bunny ice cube molds that I found at Five Below for $1.00 each. 
Here is Lily waiting for the molds to come out of the fridge.She hasn't been so great about waiting so the fact that she is standing and not in a heap of a crying mess on the floor is a BIG improvement.
Here are the molds fresh out of the fridge.
And here is Lily enjoying a "kaboing!" bunny. "MMMMMMM I LIKE IT!"
Here is the finished product... They are super yummy.. I've been eating them all day long a little bit. Next, I want to try to make them with 100% fruit juice. I made them with regular Jello this time around because I don't like to give Lily fake sugars that are in the sugar free Jello.

And here is Lily with her new obsession: funnel cups.

Monday, March 7, 2011

6am and a coffee IV

I forgot how much I hate waking up at 6 am. My daughter was always an early riser but in the last year, she would sleep until 7 or 8 am. I kinda got used to it..... But now I have another child and we are back to waking up at 6am. Now you may be saying, "duh, comes with the territory...." or "aren't you up in the middle of the night? Is that any better?" Yes. Yes it is... Here is why... If I get up at 3 am with my son I have a lot of hope that is usually fulfilled that I will get to go back to sleep. But the 6 am mark is often too close to wake up time and therefore, all hope of going back to sleep is lost. So you see, I don't like getting up at 6 am.

On another note, I have an idea for moms... What if coffee was given through an IV drip so that when you woke up at said 6 am, you wouldn't be so groggy? So you have to sleep with a needle in your arm... At least you wouldn't be a zombie.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sewing- The toddler way

Earlier in the week, Lily used a needle and a piece of yarn to learn sew. At first, my mom had gotten plastic needlepoint canvas that unfortunately the holes were too small to pull the needle through. So, I decided that I would punch holes in a piece of paper and sew the piece of paper. I got this idea from Childhood 101

She successfully put the needle through the hole and pulled the needle taut. I hope to do this skill more often as it helps with her fine motor skills. She also really liked the hole punch... a little more than sewing actually!

Making Crayons out of crayons....

It is a super rainy Sunday today so Lily and I made crayons out of crayons. It was a quick project but one that was simple and elicited a lot of investigating on Lily's part. I got the idea from Designed With Purpose (a blog by a friend from high school). This was a great activity to do during a rainy day.

First, we took all of her old crayons and peeled off the paper. Lily attempted this but gave up after it took her forever to peel one wrapper off. So, I ended up peeling them. Then I put all of the old crayons in a plastic bag and gave Lily a mallet.

 I told her to whack away. She was a little light handed so I grabbed a rolling pin and joined in. 

Yes, she is a total ham.

Once the crayons were broken apart we dispersed them into the silicone molds. (hearts, bunnies and gingerbread men) Then they went in the oven for about 10 min on 170 degrees but you could probably do 225 degrees for 5 min.

Be sure to keep an eye on it, you want the wax melted but not bubbling or burning. Then pull them out and put them in the refrigerator or freezer to cool. 

 Once they are cool, pop them out and enjoy! All of them came out smoothly except the gingerbread men. (but honestly I have baked in those gingerbread men molds and they haven't come out smoothly either.) You can also use muffin tins with muffin liners.

This is Lily organizing her new crayons.... because that is what she does. Organizes. Everything.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


My son is only 3 1/2 months old. He is going through yet another growth spurt. He is already outgrowing 6 month clothes. By this rate, he'll be wearing my husbands' clothes by his first birthday! Which leads me to a question: My husband eats all day everyday.... (he has a super fast metabolism), how am I going to feed both of them without a) going broke and b) Lily and I not starving from the lack of food in the house because the boys eat it before we get a chance to?  On another note, I think I may buy stock in potato chips since my husband goes through those more than he drinks water.

On another note, my daughter is a very picky eater. But I have discovered that she is on a "shapes" kick. So all of her food is being cut into shapes. Her pita bread with hummus was cut into a train today and her cheese is cut into squares, triangles and hearts. Now if only I could make our dinner into shapes....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

swagger wagon

Pictures will come as I get to them.... sorry for the inconvenience.. I'm doing what I can:)

Well, we are now the proud owners of a Toyota Sienna XLE minivan. I am estatic..... my favorite part? The working key fob. For those of you who don't know, Jan and I have been trying to go for a minivan for the past couple of months. We used to (it feels nice to say that) have a Jeep Grand Cherokee. With both car seats in the back, Jan could no longer fit in the front (he is 6' 2") No really, he turned the car off with his knee while driving on the highway.  I was pushing for a minivan for the convenience sake and Jan eventually agreed and so we embarked on the car hunt.

Now, if anyone knows my husband, you know that him actually purchasing said minivan within 2 months of the decision that we need one is near implausible. To say my husband is analytical would be an understatement. And so, armed with a thick folder and many financing scenarios, we went to the car dealership. Now I honestly did not think we were going to purchase on Sunday. This is my husband after all. It took over a year for him to purchase his current car.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to say buh bye to my jeep.

This weeekend, Lily went to craft class and we did not have a meltdown! She made a crown, mask and necklace.
This morning we attempted to sew. I got quickly creative when the needlepoint canvas' holes were too small for the needle.
She kinda got the idea but liked using the hole punch instead.

What am I reading? I'm reading Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery on my iPad. And Room by Emma Donohue in hardcover. I'm in the beginning of both.... so no comments yet.