Saturday, June 28, 2008

Surf's Up Saturday

Yay! Another fun week full of sunshine, laughing, and of course surfing the web into the late hours of the night (and maybe during naptime!). I hope that everyone else is having a great week and looking forward to a fireworks filled holiday coming up.

First is a great alternative to the normal sandbox. I have a love/hate relationship with sandboxes. I love that you can build with sand, pour it, dig in it, the possibilities are endless. But I loathe the sand in the hair, in crevices better not mentioned, and all over the area. Plus it attracts local cats to use as a bathroom. Instead of sand why not use dried split peas? All the fun of pouring, none of the messiness! All you need is a tupperware container, 10-15 bags of the peas, and some shovels/buckets/empty pop bottles. Thank you Tutus and Turtles for another great idea!


Next is a cute stuffed owl from ManicMuffinTotes. I love the vintage look of it and the quirkiness... there are many colors to choose from too and it is handmade!



For those of you who are constantly looking for new craft ideas to do with your little ones here is another great idea from Wondertime Magazine- KoolAid Scratch and Sniff Art!

Materials:

An assortment of fruit to fill a bowl with some overflow (we used lemons, oranges, cherries, strawberries, and grapes)
Medium bowl
Nonwashable markers
Watercolor paper (Canson Biggie Junior pad, $7,
dickblick.com)
Small paper cups
Small paintbrushes (Colorations Plastic Chubby brushes, $6 for 10,
discountschoolsupply.com)
5 packets (about 0.15 ounces each) unsweetened Kool-Aid (other brands are not as aromatic) to match each type of fruit

Instructions:

*Cover work area with newspaper.
*Heap the fruit into the bowl, letting some overflow onto the table (the more fruit there is to paint, the better). *Use markers to draw an outline on the watercolor paper of the still life you've just created, but don't color anything in with the markers.
*In separate cups, use separate paintbrushes to mix each packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid with 2 tablespoons of water. Arrange the cups in a row and place the corresponding Kool-Aid packets in front of the cups to identify each flavor.
*Paint each fruit you've drawn with the appropriate Kool-Aid "paint." (Note: Grape Kool-Aid looks black when painted on, but it dries to a deep purple color.) Dry about 20 minutes. If some globs of paint take longer to dry, blot the excess with a tissue.
*When dry, scratch a painted fruit lightly with your fingernail and sniff. And don't worry if the kids taste the "fruit"; it's so sour they'll probably only do it once
.


Last is a wonderful baby toy find from a company called Oliebollen.com. I love blocks because there is so much that you can do with them and this block set by Peace Baby are so pretty and well... peaceful!


Peace Baby™ products were created as an alternative to the violent imagery that pervades our culture and enters a baby's consciousness from the earliest age. Because babies are aware of their world from the moment they are born, we believe it is important to make images of peace, beauty and fun a strong part of their sensory experience.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ok, isn't this the cutest????


from another great Etsy seller- Mamamonkey

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Photo Safari

Yesterday we went on a photo safari around Lakewood. First we sat and made a list of things that we might or might not see on a walk, talked about looking up and down too, not just at things that are eye level. Some ideas were a rainbow, a black squirell, a dog, triangles, something pink. Then as we walked around the neighborhood we took pictures of those things from our list. Here are some of our finds:





Monday, June 23, 2008

Lullabies

I love listening to all different kinds of music, from classical to country, latin to rock. Our music collection is huge and would take over a week of straight playing to get through all of the songs on the computer. Gabby has also developed this love and thanks to Klint will listen to parodies about the World of Warcraft, hard rock, and of course- pirate songs. Well I made a new bedtime CD for her and thought that I would share it since it is so eclectic... my favorite addition are the songs from Sandra Boynton's books.... she is awesome!!



Here are some of the songs that are on the new CD titled Pajama Time:


1. Pajama Time- Sandra Boynton- Philidelphia Chickens

2. Though Shadows Dark- Pamela Ballingham- Treasury Of Earth Mother Lullabies

3. When She Loved Me- Toy Story 2- Disney's Greatest Hits Vol. 3

4. Winter's Come & Gone- Elizabeth Mitchell- You Are My Little Bird

5. Kite Song- Patty Griffin- Impossible Dream

6. A Dormir- Latin Lullaby

7. Thula Mtwana-Ladysmith Black Mambazo- African Lullaby

8. Side by Side- Dan Zanes- Night Time!


Well there are tons more, but these are my favorites... we always add some Disney, a little Dave Matthews, and some classical as well to make it really nice and soothing, but I wanted to share some new finds from our music collection. Enjoy and sweet dreams!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Surf's Up Saturday- Kung Fu Style

Kung Fu madness has taken over my house. Pirates are sooo yesterday, no more yo ho hoing, today we are hi-yaing! We saw Kung Fu Panda and now Gabby is in the mindset that she is going to be a great kung fu master someday... it is cute until she decides to take a knee out pretending she is defeating the bad guy. =) Anyhow, I decided to go with it and delve into the world of Kung Fu and Chinese culture....Hi Ya!

Here is the movie that started it all- Kung Fu Panda. Jack Black is once again a genius and turns a story about a fat panda who loves kung fu into something that parents won't mind sitting through a couple hundred times. His voice gives the perfect character to Po and makes the story even funnier when the panda gets his rear handed to him time and again. I loved it and can't wait to watch it some more!

Next I found some super cute play food of the Chinese persusion- play felt fortune cookies from dolittledesign on Etsy. I love watching Gabby pretend to make food and really think that these not only look pretty realistic, but are very kid friendly. The creator has tons of other food to choose from too, and the prices are pretty great.



Next I wanted to look for some new origami designs since I have gotten my school age kids hooked and found this great site with sooo many cool instructions. I do not like the sites that just show pictures with some lines and a few squiggles, that is not easy to follow. This site tells what you are supposed to do as well as providing some video instructions. I am definitely going to try this lotus blossom for my meditation area. Come try some Origami Fun!


Finally I was looking at horoscopes and came upon Wikpedia's definition of Chinese astrology. It really surprised me how in depth it was. I discovered that I am not a rooster but a monkey, which puts a whole new spin on things. I had no clue that there was so many specifics about the horoscopes! Take a look at your horoscope and see if yours is as accurate as mine! How interesting that metal is ruled by Venus and is associated with gold which is my only allergy....

Well that is that... I leave you with this:


Justice for all in the world

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Oh Too Posh

I am in love with interior designing... especially for the really expensive, no way in hell I will ever be able to afford it, kind of pieces and designs. I used to think that Pottery Barn was top of the line, and I adore their rooms. I get tons of ideas from their catalogs and am able to bring little touches of that feel to my house, luckily thanks to some craftiness, for a lot less. Then I discovered Posh Tots. Sigh... this is the stuff that little girls dreams are made of. Furniture, clothes, and decor from this store is what fairy godmothers being to little girls to wish upon stars after a long night of dancing with frog princes. Have you ever seen the bedroom on HGTV with the Cinderella carriage for a bed and thought, "Where the heck did someone get that from"? This is where.
I realize that there is a reason why the items are so expensive... I mean, what middle class family can drop $9,000-$23, 000 for a playhouse? Hence the name Posh Tots. Yet I still peruse the site often, dreaming of ways to imitate the art and add the touch of posh to my girl's rooms. I can do some of it... for instance the tutus, the canvas artwork, the decorated wooden letters. No problem. But no way can I make a glass jeweled chandelier, a life size stuffed giraffe, or bed that doubles as a French Chateau. Here are some of my favorite pieces... I am trying to find a pattern for that darn teepee, isn't it sweet??

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do you ever

Feel like you are two different versions of you at the same time? I finally joined Facebook and am now finding all my old friends from High School. Friends who didn't know the real me because I was so messed up from being put into foster care, and was still getting messed up thanks to my aunt's roomate. I was still sorting myself out way into college even! (Some would say that I am still trying to untangle myself) But seeing all their pictures, I am suddenly thrust back into the halls of Sweet Home, feeling so confused about life, boys, and just trying to keep everyone from guessing what was really going on at home. I kept myself so busy so that I wouldn't have to deal with my home life. But at the same time, I was alone with all these things, and no one to really spill it out on.
Then Gabby walks in and I am right back to the present, a long road that has led me to OH, to my lovely sorority sisters, with my family, dance, my husband, and my current mindsets. It is a very disturbing feeling because I really do feel as if I am in two places at once.
So much has happened in almost ten years since high school graduation. I have lost friends to diseases that weren't supposed to touch people our age, went under the knife myself. I have gained so much but at the same time have had to come to terms with the things that I will never have because those things cannot be bought or even earned. I have lost my art many times and each time somehow found my way back to it. I have the unconditional love of the best daughter's a woman could ask for. And have two wonderful friends that would be there anytime, anyplace, for no reason at all.
Sigh... high school seems so long ago. Such confusing, fun, and humiliating times all at once. There are definitely things best forgotten and I wonder how my friends view of me would change if they knew why I was the way I was? Interesting huh?
Oh well... a wise old turtle once said, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift, that is why it is called the present". (Gotta love Kung Fu Panda!!!)

Fun at the park

video

This is a little clip from the park today with Gabby on the left and her friend Emily on the right. They are too cute together!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another Surf's Up Sunday

Since I was recovering from my first week of full time kids... I mean 24/7 snacks, bubbles, walks, balls, playing, yelling, and juggling (and that was just me!)... I am doing my Surf's Up today now that everyone is napping and happy.

First up, in honor of Father's Day, is a great list of Eco-Friendly gifts for the special guy in your life brought to you by Green Living Online. My favorite idea was a gift from Heifer International that is trying to stop world hunger through gifts of livestock to farmers in 3rd world countries. Since I am all about saving the honeybees, for only $30 that is my choice!

Everyone knows that we are a big animal friendly family, so what better way to pass on that love to our kids than to read books about animals to them? Gabby is on a huge cat kick, always loved them, but now she is giving them whole monologues and translates every Meow heard in the house. This list of great cat books from Wondertime is great for new ideas on books about cats.


One of my favorite things to do on a not so hot day is fly a kite. But kites can get expensive and frustrating for little ones. Kids let go of the line, run around all nutsy, and have a hard time if there isn't tornado quality gusts. This guy, Anthony, has some great plans to make your own kites that are cheap, fly well, and are really easy to make with the kids. Love it!! This kite design, El Cheapo, is on my craft list for the next week of so.


Finally I want to share a little website that I am addicted to for interior decorating- West Elm. This store is beyond beautiful, full of great pieces that are not too fussy or ornate, just gorgeous! My favorites are the low Japanese styled beds, similar to the one that I have. Their pieces and decor are very modern-Love this!!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

And it wasn't just a dream...


The Sunday after there was laughter in the air
Everybody had a kite
They were flying everywhere
And all the trouble went away
And it wasn't just a dream

All the trouble went away
And it wasn't just a dream
In the middle of the night
We try and try with all our mights
To light a little light down here

In the middle of the night
We dream of a million kites
Flying high abovethe sadness and the fear

Little sister just remember
as you wander through the blue
The little kite that you sent flying
on a sunny afternoon
Made of something light as nothing
Made of joy that matters too
How the little dreams we dream
Are all we can really do

In the middle of the night
The world turns with all of it's might
A little diamond colored blue
In the middle of the night
We keep sending little kites
Until a little light gets through
~Patti Griffin, Kite

Friday, June 13, 2008

Our New Puppy




Stories from Rwanda

Isn't it funny how going from one site to another, reading one blog and clicking on a new link takes you to places you never imagined? Somehow I ended up on a photographer's blog, a wonderful, caring woman who just journeyed to Rwanda and came back with so much hope and love. It stunned me. I realize that here in America there are tons of people who need help, that there are children faced with violence every day, people who are struggling to make ends meet. But on the other side of the planet there are whole countries like that and much worse. Conditions even the poorest here couldn't imagine living in, and worse off, no way to fix them. There are no scholarships for the poor, no jobs that can help close the gap, not enough doctors to fight against the diseases that we have conquered here, and no judicial system to right the wrongs against throngs of humanity. Here in America, you can see a doctor if you have no money to pay, if someone rapes you you can go get help and society does not shun you, there are so many luxuries here that we don't even see as luxeries.

Once in awhile it takes a story to really make me reflect and put my life into perspective. Complaining that the gas is too much money, it is hot out, the refrigerator turned my fruit into frozen good, the toilet makes funny noises... how silly! How can I possibly complain when I am here, safe, able to stay cool in my house, have two cars to drive, have a beautiful yard with fruit and flowers? And most important- healthy children who are blossoming before my eyes, flourishing in this environment full of happiness, good food, and love.

I have heard lots of complaints when charities are asking for donations to help people in Africa, and while I can understand their frustration, at the same time I know that we cannot even fathom what harships those women face over there. I specifically say women because they are the keepers of the house and children while the men work, they are the victims of forced marriages, genital mutilations, and other punishments their societies create because of their gender. Here we can actively better ourselves, there there is little hope of rising above your station. All you can do is survive and pass your knowledge down to your children in hopes that they may find a way.

I light a candle for all those facing those challenges, and finding the courage to triumph. For all those women and children whose lives were touched by the genocide, whose dreams are speckled with memories best forgotten. And for those who are trying to help in any way that they can, even by lighting their own candles in thought and prayer.

Here is the story that started it all, thank you Jen.


My New Project

Now that I had given the birthday girl her present last weekend I wanted to share pics of it- a gorgeous punky tutu! Super easy to make, tons of fun to wear, and there are too many color combinations to choose from! Here is a great explanation of how I made it, although my measuring and such wasn't exact, I just guesstimated. Gabby was my model to make sure it looked right, and I am in the process of making two more, yay!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

Nature's the Way






One of the places that I really enjoy going is the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center. It is free all the time, which is great for those days that you need something to do, but don't feel like going to a place where you are going to spend a ton of money. I love that it has animals that are native to the area, has a really nice tidal wave pool with tropical fish and such, and is really educational. My only issue is a personal one involving a certain fear of snakes that I have. The center has the three venomous snakes in plastic cylinders on the floor... rattlesnakes...ugh! I almost passed out from dry heaving the first time I saw them! There went my theory that OH was venomous snake free.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Surf's Up SAturday!

Hmmm... almost missed this one! Shows ya what a crazy hot day this has been!

Since I just finished my first dress up project today for a little birthday girl, I have playing pretend on my mind. Here is a really cute Mermaid Costume from Magic Cabin, a really great children's store that features more natural toys and activities for kids! I love the pretty head dress that comes with it!

Next I was surfing around, and discovered a fun site called Found Magazine. What you do is when you find that random note, receipt, picture, etc on the ground you can send it in and then it will get posted. This one made me smile just because it shows that there are still nice people out there, somewhere!


There are time when I think I am crazy for trying to cram so much into a day, but I am just that kind of girl. So I enjoy reading other mom's blog because it makes me realize that I am not the only nut out there with kids, housework, a husband, and no nanny! This is one of my favorite blogs to read, and the post that got me hooked: Nanny Deprived! And since it is more than just a blog, here is a little gem that I have found while checking out the store there: super cute Carousel Rocking Horse


Ok, so I was always a fan of the carasoul at the fairs and amusement parks. Something about those horses going up and down just made me feel so special and pretty... well here is a little piece of that feeling for your little one! There are tons of different chairs there, so please peruse!!!

Finally I found a really great idea for Gabby, when she wakes in the middle of the night (for the 217th time) to make sure that she finds the bathroom (or me). Wrapables have these really fun, ultra safe night lights called Candeloo's! They are rechargable, have no wires, and are cool to the touch. I just like how mod they look!

So there ya have it- enjoy and let me know what interesting Surf's Up Saturday finds you have!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Just another reason to love Haagen-Das!

As if I needed another reason? Come join in the fight to Save the Honey Bees!!!

This is me, if I were a bee:

Beautify your yard with a free packet of wildflower seeds from Haagen-Dazs -- as a bonus, the nectar will feed endangered honeybees.

Send a self addressed, stamped envelope to:

HAAGEN-DAZS SAVE THE HONEY BEES PROGRAM/DOMINO, 50 Francisco Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94133


Summer Fruits and Flowers

"Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air and a blanket of color before me, who could ask for more?"
- Bev Adams, Mountain Gardening

My gardening skills are growing along with my flower beds, and I am so excited to report that my strawberries are now a delightful red-pink! (Gabby is even more excited I think!) I am still working on the back and adding flowers little by little, especially now that the green houses are starting to run sales. Here are some pics of today's blooms:





Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Just breathe

Sorry to have been MIA that last couple of days, AJ has been pretty sick with a nasty virus... nothing like staying up until 1 am rocking a whimpering, fussy, snotty baby on the porch rocker. And now it looks like she passed this loveliness onto me... I am all for sharing, just not colds!

So I am struggling with the whole bathing suit thing. After much deliberation I decided again the zebra bathing suit mentioned previously for fears of being targeted by rogue safari tourists...something about my post baby belly shoved into a wild print just screamed, "Look at me!"... and not in a good way! I think I am going to head over to Dick's Sporting Goods instead and try on suits with a little more Lycra and "holding" power. Wish me luck! (I swear that the mirrors in dressing rooms are fixed to show your worst features!)

Oh, and for all you makeup mavens- E.L.F. is being bought out by Nordstroms and ALL the makeup on their site is $1.00, seriously, $1.00. AND if you type in the code Carolina then it takes 50% off the order. I just bought 10 new makeup items and it cost more to ship the stuff then the actual order cost! YAY for makeup!!!

Ok, enough typing. Time for some more meds and a nice cup of tea. Adios!!!
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