Sunday, October 31, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Marble Painting

WHAT: Marble Painting - yet another fun idea I saw on the internet somewhere, this time on Teacher Tom, the inspiring website of a co-op preschool teacher in the Pacific NW.

HOW: Put your paper in a box or pan with walls, drop some paint puddles onto the paper, and roll the marbles around. Since Noah doesn't have his own marbles yet, I scrounged up some that I made back in my lampworking days. (Oh, how I miss melting glass!!!) We also used a knobby rubber easter egg that made fun polka dot patterns as it wonkily rolled about. A ping pong ball turned out to be too light and got mucked down in the paint. We did most of the rolling by tilting the pan, but in the photo, Noah is rolling with his fingers. It works either way.

WHY: Here are Noah's marble paintings, in chronological order. He told me which colors he wanted on the last two. Hence all the purple. I love them all, but the last one is my favorite.

One Lucky Kid

The big brown truck delivered a special surprise for Noah today. It didn't take too long for Daddy to put together, even with a 3 yr old at the wrench and an inquisitive little helper in his lap.

TaDa -- A Strider Balance Bike! What's a balance bike, you ask? This:

Balance bikes, or tiny bikes with no pedals, seem to be all the rage in Toddlerville, if you believe what you read on the internet. The concept makes a lot of sense: let the kid run around with a set of wheels and learn balance and steering at his own pace, then throw in the pedaling later. They've piqued my intellectual curiosity for several months now, but not enough to get over the sticker shock. Why would I have to pay twice as much for a bike with half the moving parts? But when that same internet gives you one for FREE (!!!!) well, what's not to love?

Noah had fun on his first ride walk. You can google "balance bike" and watch video clips of kids coasting around to see what's hopefully in store for us. We're not there yet, but I'll keep you posted.

Much Thanks to Feels Like Home and Pedal Cars and Retro Collectables, who hosted and sponsored the giveaway that we were so lucky to win.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010



is what I'm working on this summer. It weighs on my mind like a ton of bricks. The essential part (yet to be written) is a narrative, probably as long as anything I've ever written. It intimidates me, to say the least. After all these years, I still hate writing essays.


give me lots of reasons to procrastinate on the project above. Don't they look like more fun? They are... :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th!

To celebrate the holiday weekend, I made this:

It took a little more time than standard Jello, but it wasn't hard at all. I've seen something similar in Family Fun, with just red and white, for Valentine's Day. How about green & red for Christmas?

The recipe:

Two 3 oz boxes red jello
Two 3 oz boxes blue jello
4 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin (one box)
One 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
3 mixing bowls
something to boil water in, a cup at a time
9x13" glass casserole pan

For each colored layer, mix one box of red or blue jello with ½ envelope of unflavored gelatin, add 1 cup of boiling water, and stir to dissolve. For the white, mix sweetened condensed milk with 1 cup of boiling water. In a separate small bowl, sprinkle 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin over ½ cup of cold water. Let stand a few minutes and then add ½ cup of boiling water to dissolve the gelatin. Add to the milk mixture and stir to combine. You should have 3 cups of this, so measure out one cup for each white layer.

The trick is to make up each batch of jello, let it cool in the mixing bowl to room temperature !!! , pour it into the 9x13 pan (onto any previous layers that have had a chance to set up), and let it refrigerate for 15-20 minutes between each layer. Cooling the liquid to room temp is crucial so that it doesn't melt into the previous layers. At the same time, liquid jello can't sit out forever... my last blue layer tried to set up in the mixing bowl, but a zap in the microwave fixed that. Also make sure your pan is level in the refrigerator, so that your layers are level!

Next up I want to try Rainbow Jello:

I think it's super-geeky-cool how just the 3 primary colors, stacked and translucent, can make the whole spectrum appear! (photo courtesy of Do Better)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Summer Fun

What's summer without a few bugs?

We got this fun pedal car a while back off Craigslist, but Noah finally fits it now. Very cool!

...and kite-flying with Daddy is always a hit.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Amelia is our "eater," and always has been, so it's not surprising that we have so many photos of her in the highchair. Now that she has a few more teeth, she's had lots of fun with new foods... like BROCCOLI!

Noah is happy that she likes "the bushes" because his favorite part is the stems. He'll happily eat the defoliated leftovers. :)

In less than a month's time, Mia went from two teeth to six (PLEASE, let that seventh one pop through soon!!!) so mealtime is not always happy time... unless there are popsicles involved. These are my special recipe -- dark berries hide spinach really well! Can you tell she likes them?

Yesterday, Mia had her first taste of corn-on-the-cob. Turns out that having opposing teeth is pretty handy. She cleaned this cob pretty well, and another one tonight.

Pampers Gifts to Grow

I've had a couple of posts about Pampers Gifts to Grow points, listing free promo codes as I find them, and some hints and hacks I've figured out along the way. I'm a big fan of their rewards program, especially now that S&H is free on all the prizes. If you use Pampers and you haven't signed up yet, you should. The 8x8" Shutterfly Photo Book is my favorite reward. I've gotten 3 of those so far, plus some awesome Duck & Goose books, and a onesie, and I can't remember what all else. A friend of mine finally cashed in her points for a Jeep Stroller.

So, rather than post here every time I find a new code, I decided to keep a running list, in the right-hand sidebar, of promo codes, including those I know to be expired. Personally, I like keeping track of the expired ones so that when I run across codes on other people's old web pages, I don't have to retry every single one to see which are still good.

Please let me know (by commenting on this post or anywhere) if any of my "current" codes are expired. Or if you have a current code that's not on my list... or if you have a one-time code from a Pampers product that you don't plan to use... or just comment for the fun of it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

An Artful Morning

Noah started it. He's pretty neat and independent, so I didn't know what a big project we were about to undertake this morning.

But then Mia wanted to get her hands in everything... so we got out the fingerpaints.

It didn't take her long to figure things out!

Why is NOAH the one wearing a smock?

He does eventually get his hands dirty, but that's about it.

Where the paints say "washable," they should remind me that cleanup might require a head-to-toe bath!

Of course, bath made Mia sleepy, so during her nap, Noah had fun with some tracing and dot-to-dot activities that Tara helped me find here.

All this before breakfast. Well, before MY breakfast. Moms don't need to eat, though, right? :)

Amelia's 1st masterpiece:

Monday, May 31, 2010

and Happy Birthday, baby boy!

There's nothing "baby" left anymore, but you'll always be MY baby boy. :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Snips and Snails

Noah is having a heyday with all the huge snails in our yard lately.

That means Amelia is Sugar and Spice, right?

... RIGHT?

Neighbors got a new fridge...

... and we scored the BOX!

plenty big for two inside:

Trilingual Hopscotch

If you ask, he'll tell you he's turning "sam" (3, in Cantonese) next week. With purple frosting on his cake!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Catch Up Time!

It's been awhile. Did you give up on me? Finals season is finally over, but keeping up with the kids probably has more to do with my absence here. Lately "keeping up" seems to get harder and harder!!

Amelia is walking, as of last week. She still crawls when she really wants to get somewhere, but she can comfortably balance for 8-10 steps to get across the room. She can also climb steps! We moved the stepstool from next to Noah's bed (he can crawl in without it, but she can't!), so her favorite climb now is up to the bathroom sink, to smile into the mirror, grab for her toothbrush, and say "aahhhh" like we make Noah do to open wide. We brushed her TWO teeth THREE times this morning before she even got her diaper changed!

She's quite the eater too, but thankfully she's gotten a LITTLE bit more selective about which non-food things she puts in her mouth. Even better, in the past couple days she has learned to spit back out the things she doesn't want to swallow. Did I ever think I would be thankful for the day they start spitting things out?? She talks more and more, even though I fail to realize it most of the time. She can say MaMa and DaDa when she wants to, but this week I caught on that she was repeating "Thank You." Of course it doesn't sound like much, out of context, but she's definitely mimicking us.

Keeping up with Noah is just as much fun. Lately he likes to hop. Everywhere. He's doing great with potty training, and he LOVES to visit the potties of EVERY new place we visit. Including the toilet section of Lowe's and Home Depot. He can amuse himself for hours with screwdrivers, scissors, knives (plastic), and shovels. And I'm almost embarrassed to admit, he's getting pretty darn good at Wii Mario Kart. He LOVES everything purple, especially if it's candy. HEB is his favorite store in the world, and he has an uncanny knack for getting the 50-point stickers out of the Buddy Buck crane game there. He counts to ten in Spanish, and beyond 20 in English and Chinese. He amazes us every day with the things he thinks of and says. I'm so happy that he's starting to catch on to "No, Thank You" and "Mommy, may I ____ please?" ... and he still takes a nice, long nap most afternoons. :)