Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Memories with Miss Smartypants

Mother Knows Best
While I was prepping for dinner a couple of nights ago, Mia asked, "Mommy, what are we having for dinner?" I told her, "chicken and dumplings." Her response was, "I don't like that!" I reminded her "you did last time." She replied, "Oh, yeah! You're right!" I need to hold onto that memory because I know she won't be thinking I'm quite so smart when the teenage years roll around...

My Little Math Whiz
Last night Mia and I were driving home after ordering her flower girl dress for my brother's upcoming wedding. We had stayed out a bit later than her usual bedtime, but it was a special occasion, and I really enjoyed our Mommy and Mia time. (In fact, I decided we need to do more stuff just the two of us.) We were nearly home and she was getting anxious because she was tired (although I'm sure she wouldn't admit it). She asked me when we'd get home, and I told her, "in about 5 minutes." She said, "and after 5 minutes will be 4 minutes, and after 4 minutes will be 3 minutes, and after 3 minutes will be 2 minutes, and after 2 minutes will be 1 minute, and after 1 minute we will be home on time!"

Now I know why her preschool teacher said they were thrilled that their "little math whiz" would be attending again next year. I'm not sure she even knows what math is, but she definitely get number concepts. When I asked her what kind of math she does at school she told me, "I don't do math!"

Goodbye, Ear Tubes!(and whatever else...)
Woo hoo! We are officially done with the ear tubes after nearly three years. Don't get me wrong; they've been wonderful to us. She only had one ear infection after having the surgery, but I was getting so tired of going back to the ENT specialist every six(ish) months only to be told that they weren't ready to come out yet, especially since he had told us originally that they didn't typically stay in for more than two years. At her previous appointment, Dr. Seel removed the tube from Mia's right ear, but the left stayed in. Thankfully, it was ready to come out today. He showed it to her and later on she wanted to know why there was so much yellow stuff on her blue tube. I didn't know what to tell her because truthfully I don't know if it was skin, wax, or whatever, and I didn't ask because I preferred not to know. It obviously didn't hurt when it was removed from her ear, so I figured it was better off left alone. Fingers crossed that we do not have to have a repeat surgery in the future!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Look Who's Talking!

There is a veritable language explosion taking place in our house this week! Everyone kept saying that Logan would talk when he was ready to, and apparently turning 19 months old on Monday marked a perfect time for him to expand his vocabulary. On Sunday, he said "Dada," which is huge! He had been calling Brett "Mama" or nothing at all up until then. Monday was a huge day, too. He said something garbled that had the intonation of "thank you, " and based on the context (I had just given him food) and the fact that he signed "thank you" while saying it, I'm pretty sure that is what he was saying. He also said "uh oh," and signed "milk," which is funny because until the past couple of days he didn't even like milk. Now he loves it and asks for it. Later that evening, I blew bubbles for him while he was in the bathtub and he asked for more by saying "ba ba" ("bubble") and "pa" ("pop")! This was the first time I have heard Logan make a "p" sound. Yesterday he started repeating me when I told him "no no." His version sounds more like "na na," but he wagged his finger at me like I had done, so I think this is what he was saying. Today at playgroup during snack time, he said something that sounded a bit like "cracker." I could not be more thrilled with his progress!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Windy Day Snack

I don't remember where I found this idea, but we made a kite treat last year with frosting and Pull 'n Peel licorice. I decided we could make it healthier and this is what I came up with.

  • graham crackers
  • peanut butter
  • string cheese
  • pretzel sticks
  • cream cheese (optional)
  • frosting (optional)
  • Pull 'n Peel licorice (optional)
  1. Spread a graham cracker half (square) with peanut butter (or frosting or cream cheese if you prefer).
  2. Use three pretzel sticks to make the cross on the kite, breaking them as needed to fit.
  3. Turn your graham cracker so it looks like a diamond and form the kite tail with bits of string cheese. (The licorice can be used in place of pretzels and string cheese if you want a sweet treat to pair with frosting.)
  4. Enjoy your kite snack on a windy day (or whenever.) Yummy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hand Print/Foot Print Flower Painting

{Flower by Mia, Age 3}

We've seen the first few flowers of spring poking through the ground and it made me think of a spring flower painting Mia and I did last year around this time. With adult help, this craft would work for practically any age. It's easy to do, but can get a bit messy if you're not prepared to clean up as you go.

  • paper (We used pink.)
  • green paint
  • another color of paint 
  • paint brush (foam worked well)
  • newspaper to protect work surface (optional)
  • paper towels, wash cloths, baby wipes, etc.
  1. Cover child's hand with paint and press onto the center of the top part of the paper. Clean off child's hand.
  2. Cover bottom of child's left foot with green paint and press onto the paper underneath and to the left of the hand print flower. (We found that doing this on the floor and having the child stand on the paper was easiest.) Clean off child's foot.
  3. Repeat step 2 with the right foot. 
  4. Using a paint brush, add a green stem to connect the flower with the leaves.
  5. Once the paint is dry, display your flower craft.
Note: We used acrylic paint, which dries fast but stains clothing, so be sure to cover clothing or wear some you don't care about ruining if using acrylic paints.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Don't Ask Me Why...

New this week:
  • Logan may be attempting some new animal sounds. He started saying "woof woof" on March 3rd, and now I think I have heard "moo," "meow," and "neigh." (cute and exciting!) 
  • Logan is giving sloppy, open-mouthed kisses. (cute)
  • Logan gives high fives. (very cute!)
  • Mia went bowling for the first time and scored 97! (She had a ramp and bumpers, but still I thought this was pretty good.)
  • Logan figured out how to walk downstairs on his own holding onto the railing. (amazing, but kind of scary!)
  • Brett and I are married again, according to him. He picked up his new ring on Wednesday. Apparently those few weeks when he was without a wedding band (because he lost his original one after nearly 10 years of marriage) don't count.  (hahaha - not!)

Not so new this week:
  • Logan keeps putting Mr. Potato Head parts into his ears! I don't know why he does it. He may just think it's funny, perhaps because *someone* may have laughed the first time and told him that he was silly. He may realize that Mr. Potato Head's ears, nose, mouth, etc. fit into holes and that he happens to have a couple of holes right there on the sides of his head. It's also possible that his ears are really bothering him since he's recovering from a double ear infection. And in case you're wondering, the Mr. Potato Head parts are sitting on the kitchen counter right now until I find a "safe" place for them... (cute at first, but now not so cute)
  • People keep asking where Logan's blond hair comes from. (I am getting really tired of this one. I am not an expert in this area, but I believe it's called genetics.) I normally respond by saying that both Brett and I had much lighter hair when we were younger, and sometimes I mention Logan's Swedish ancestry, which my dad is so proud of. But seriously, where do people think we got our blond child from? It's not like I picked him up at Walmart, and certainly nobody asked me what I would like my kids to look like, as if they could be made to order. I believe that is God's domain!
  • People continue to comment on how thin I am getting. (Yes, I know I've lost weight; that's why I have such a hard time shopping for jeans. It's called nursing. I highly recommend it! Also, in case you didn't notice the two short people calling me "Mama," I am the mother of a 4 year old and an 18 month old a.k.a. "the ones who keep stealing food from my plate.") See also: genetics

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Making a Splash

I took the kids to the Splash 'n Play at the Hartland pool for the first time yesterday since Logan's LESA playgroup was meeting there for a field trip. We had minor issues getting there since the high school wasn't where as had thought it was, but the GPS helped with that. Then, Logan was miserable as soon as we arrived and got pretty mad at me for putting a disposable swim diaper on him (can't say that I blame him for that; I'm sure it was far less comfy than his Fuzzi Bunz). Once we got outside of the locker room, I saw that we needed to shower, which was not fun for any of us.

By that point I was just wanting to get us into the water, hoping that would calm Logan down, as he was getting red in the face from crying so hard. I was carrying him and walking kind of fast to get to the kids' area and Mia was trailing a bit behind me when a lifeguard stopped me and said that I needed to put a life jacket on her. Oops! We were walking right past the lap pool, so that was a major mistake on my part and I should have at least had her next to me holding onto my hand. Luckily, no mishaps occurred and everyone is perfectly fine after that lapse in judgment.

After putting life jackets on both kids made it to the splash area, which is not zero entry like I thought it was. There is definitely standing water, and it gets deeper the farther you go into the pool. Logan was not impressed. In fact, he seemed annoyed that I would dare to get him wet. He wasn't interested in the little water slide, although I did take him down it once. He couldn't care less about the sprayers or the buckets of dumping water, and the water cannons were just a disaster. I have to agree with him on that point. Who likes getting doused with water, especially when you are facing the opposite direction so you don't expect it?

We met up with one of the classroom teachers helped me out by taking Mia into the lazy river. Logan and I followed and after a few trips around he was starting to relax. I pointed out the palm trees with monkeys in them, the big blue water slide, and the pink flamingos on top of a bright yellow pipe. He looked around and took everything in. About the point when he was so relaxed that he looked like he might fall asleep in my arms, splash time was over and we had to get out.

Mia was very sad about getting out of the 86 degree water, mostly because she said she was cold. Getting everyone changed and out of the locker room took quite awhile. Then, we waited so I could talk to the receptionist about signing the kids up for swim classes. She told me a little about the different classes and said that registration started the following day. Her advice was to get online to set up their accounts once we got home and then to register as early in the morning as possible, presumably because sessions quickly fill up.

By the time we got out of there, it was noon, so being the great mom that I am we headed to Burger King. The funny thing is that as we were getting ready in the morning, Mia asked if we were packing a lunch for the beach and I had told her no because were going to a pool, not the beach. It turns out that I should have listened to her.

At bedtime, Mia asked me to look at the "green spot" that she had on her foot. I thought it was a blister at first, and then on closer inspection realized it was a plantar wart. I don't know how quickly they pop up, so I wonder if she got it at the pool or if she had it awhile (although I have no idea where else she would have gotten it)? So now I need to figure out the best way to treat the wart by April 19th, when she starts first Aqua Tots. Logan will be in Aqua Babies. They were registered at 5:30 this morning! (It sounds crazy, but I was up after nursing Logan so I figured I would just enroll them before I forgot. And the online registration process took about 4 minutes since I had already created their accounts. I love the internet!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Green Eggs Minus Ham

In honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday (March 2 -- yes, I am posting this quite late) we made green Jell-o eggs Jigglers because Mia wasn't too keen on making real green eggs. And let's face it green ham just sounds gross all around. These were a hit with the whole family and it was nice to use the molds more than once a year since we normally just make Jell-o eggs for Easter. I bought these a few years back so I don't know if Kraft still sells them, but I did see some listed on eBay.

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish Sun Catchers

{Blue Fish by Mia, Age 4}

{Red Fish by Mia, Age 4}
  • red or blue construction paper
  • scissors
  • clear contact paper
  • red or blue tissue paper
  • pencil 
  • clear tape
  • paper trimmer (optional)
  • hole punch (optional)
  • yarn, string, ribbon, etc. for hanging (optional)
  1. Cut red or blue tissue paper into small squares. Older kids can do this themselves. We used approximately 1/2 inch squares, but you could make yours bigger. 
  2. Fold a piece of red or blue construction paper in half like a hamburger (or use two pieces of construction paper if you would like to make a larger sun catcher).
  3. Draw a fish shape (or trace around a cookie cutter or a picture from the internet) onto one half (or one piece) of the paper, and cut out the fish. Do not draw your design too close to the edges of the paper. Cut paper in half along the fold. You should now have two pieces of paper with identical fish cut-outs.  Tip: If you are using two pieces of paper, you will need to make sure they stay together so that you get identical fish.
  4. Cut two pieces of clear contact paper (I used both a paper trimmer and scissors for this.) so that they are 1/4 inch larger than the construction paper all the way around. Tip: Do not remove backing from contact paper until you are ready to use it.
  5. Adhere one piece of paper to the clear contact paper so that there is a border of 1/4 inch all around the paper. Tip: Slowly peel the contact paper away from the backing as you smooth the construction paper down onto the contact paper. This way you don't end up with "bubbles."
  6. Have your child stick tissue paper squares onto the contact paper fish shape until it is filled (or nearly filled like Mia's).
  7. Layer the second piece of construction paper on top of the first, making sure that the fish shapes line up.
  8. Add the second piece of contact paper over the top, smoothing it down as you go. Trim away excess if desired, but don't trim too much or the sun catcher will not stay together. 
  9. You can display your sun catcher in a window using clear tape. Another option is to use a hole punch to make two holes near the top, thread some ribbon or yarn through the holes, tie it off, and then hang your sun catcher.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Paintin' in the Rain

I don't remember where I found this idea originally, but I know I saw it somewhere last spring and we're just now getting around to it. Also, it's a bit more of a "wintry mix" today than a "spring shower" but I think it works about the same.
{Abstract Painting by Mia, Logan, and myself}

  • paper
  • markers

  1. Color a piece of paper with markers. It seems to look best if you fill the paper. I preferred the painting we did with abstract designs over the ones that were supposed to look like something realistic.
  2. Place paper outside while it's raining. (Weight paper down with rocks if necessary.)
  3. Wait a few minutes for colors to run and then bring paper back inside.
  4. Allow paper to dry (I used a hair dryer to speed things along.) and then display your "watercolor painting."
    {Mia's Drawing Before}
  1. {Mia's Drawing After}
{My Drawing (with help from Logan) Before}
{My Drawing (with help from Logan) After}

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    "Wild Thing" Mask

    March is Reading Month and Mia made this "mask" at preschool after they read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Hers doesn't have eye holes so I have added that to the directions, because I think kids really should see where they are going during a wild rumpus! The best part about this craft is that you can use just about any materials you have on hand to make your "Wild Thing."
    {The "mask" that inspired this project}
    {Mia models my "Wild Thing."}

    • paper plate
    • craft stick
    • scissors
    • glue
    • tape
    • decorative stuff: craft foam, yarn, cotton balls, stickers, googly eyes, feathers, paper, pipe cleaners, bead, ribbon, pom poms, straws, buttons, crayons/markers/colored pencils, etc. 
    {"Wild Thing" by Mia, 4}
    1. Cut two eye holes out of a paper plate.
    2. Tape a craft stick to the front of the paper plate.
    3. Turn the plate over and decorate as desired. (If you want your mask to be colored, it's best to color the plate before gluing craft materials on.) Allow glue to dry completely.
    4. Wear your mask and "let the wild rumpus start!"
      {"Wild Thing" by Logan, 18 months}

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Froot Loop Rainbow Craft

    {Rainbow by Mia, Age 3}

    Here is a simple, but cute rainbow craft we made last year.

    • Froot Loops cereal
    • paper plate
    • scissors
    • glue
    1. Cut a paper plate in half.
    2. Cut a half circle out of the bottom of one half of the paper plate to form an arc. (In order to get the size correct, you might want to lay out one of each color Froot Loop along the left side of the paper plate half and them trim accordingly.)
    3. Glue a row of red Froot Loops along the top edge. Follow with a row orange Froot Loops. Repeat with yellow, green, blue, and purple.
    4. Once glue is completely dry, you can hang up your rainbow.
    Other Ideas:
    • Instead of gluing cereal onto a paper plate, use construction paper. Then add cotton balls or mini marshmallows to make clouds.
    • Make a mobile by hanging paper or aluminum foil raindrops from the rainbow using fishing line or embroidery floss.
    • Skip the glue and just arrange the cereal rainbow (and mini marshmallows clouds, if desired) onto a plate. Let your kids enjoy a yummy snack for St. Patrick's Day or any other day.

    End of the Rainbow Craft

    I saw this St. Patrick's Day craft and was inspired to try it, making a couple of changes. In place of a terra cotta pot, we used a Styrofoam cup (which was leftover takeout container). I didn't have green Easter grass (and I wondered why a pot of gold would have grass in it anyway?) so we substituted yellow tissue paper for the lining. I think these small changes make the craft more kid-friendly and I am pleased with the result.

    {Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow by Mia, Age 4}

    • Styrofoam cup
    • black paint
    • paint brush
    • newspaper to protect work surface 
    • yellow tissue paper
    • rainbow colored pipe cleaners 
    • gold foil wrapped candy (optional)
    1. Paint the outside of the Styrofoam cup and about the top half of the inside black. Allow paint to dry completely. (We used acrylic paint which dries fairly quickly, but will stain clothing so take care. For painting, Mia wears an old t-shirt of mine, which covers almost all of her clothing.)
    2. Crumple some yellow tissue paper and stuff it inside the cup.
    3. Bend a red pipe cleaner into an arc, insert one end into one side of the cup and the other end into the opposite side of the cup. Repeat with orange, yellow, green, and blue pipe cleaners. We didn't need any tape or glue to hold them in place because the tissue paper did the trick, but you could use something else if needed.
    4. Fill your pot with some gold foil wrapped candies and enjoy your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! (We used Dove peanut butter chocolate Promises.)

    Pot 'o Gold Door Hanger

    We don't have very many St. Patrick's Day decorations so I came up with this project today. Mia, age 4, and I made this door hanger together. I did the cutting and stapling and she did most everything else.

    • 2 small black paper plates
    • scissors
    • stapler
    • yellow tissue paper
    • pipe cleaners in rainbow colors
    • clear tape
    1. Bend two black paper plates so that the black eating surface is facing outward. (Or color the back, non-eating side of two regular paper plates black.)
    2. Lay one plate on top of the other so that they line up and then use scissors to trim off about 1/3 of the plates.
    3. With the cut side of the plates facing up, cut a notch into each side of the plates to make the lip of the pot.
    4. Hold the two plates together so that they form a pouch. Staple the two plates together along the inside circular indentation. 
    5. Place a piece of clear tape onto one end of a red pipe cleaner, affix to the inside of the plates on the left, bend into an arc, and then use tape to affix the other end inside the plates on the right.
    6. Repeat step 5 using orange, yellow, green, and blue pipe cleaners, keeping each color as close to the previous color as possible. You may wish to trim the pipe cleaners to fit as you work your way inward.
    7. Stuff the pot with yellow tissue paper and hang on a door knob or wall to display. If you wanted, you could substitute gold foil wrapped chocolate coins or similar candy in place of the tissue paper.

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Go Fly a Kite! Project

    Here is a project we made last March when Mia was 3 years old. She did the painting and I did most everything else. It's for decoration only, but I know there are lots of online directions for making kites that can actually fly (supposedly).

    • white paper
    • scissors
    • glue
    • paint
    • paint brush
    • newspaper (to protect work surface)
    • 2 pipe cleaners
    • yarn
    • tulle ribbon (or scraps of fabric)
    • tape (optional)
    1. Cut paper into a diamond kite shape.
    2. Have child paint the kite. Allow paint to dry.
    3. Glue two pipe cleaners to kite shape. Trim as needed to make them fit.
    4. Tie some pieces of tulle or (scraps of fabric) to a piece of yarn to make the kite's tale.
    5. Glue (or tape) yarn to the back of the kite shape. 
    6. Display your kite. (We taped ours to the pantry. You might also wish to hang the kite, but you would probably want both sides of the paper painted first.)

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    My Little Monster

    Tonight at dinner Logan was sitting in the chair next to mine. (He refuses to sit in a booster now, so he wasn't confined at all.) All of a sudden, he leaned over, let out a "rawr" sound and swiped the bun off of the top of my cheeseburger! After eating the bun, he then climbed into my lap, grabbed my fork and started eating french fries and corn from my plate (and yes, he ate the french fries with a fork). Once that food was gone, he leaned farther over toward Mia and attempted to steal her food! He was not successful. I guess she guards her food a bit more closely than I guard mine. That's part of being the mom. You sacrifice your food and any thing else that seems necessary for the benefit of your children.

    This boy sure likes to eat, and I am glad. He had his 18 month "well" check today and we learned that he is only in the 3rd percentile for weight. He officially weighs 20 pounds, 8 ounces. I'm not concerned though, since I know that the charts they use at the doctor's office are based off of formula fed babies and he's never had a drop of formula in his life. Anyway, it's obvious that he has my metabolism! (Although, we do need to go back in three months for a weight check, just to make sure he is still gaining.) Seriously, if the doctor saw how much he eats she wouldn't be the least bit concerned. And it's great that he had a good appetite tonight since we also learned that he has a double ear infection. Poor little guy! It stinks that he can't tell us he didn't feel well. We just thought his fussiness was from the four teeth that are coming in.

    And that "rawr" sound... I've never heard it before. It may just need to go down on the list of words that he is saying now. (Growling counts, right?) The nurse asked me, "Is he saying at least six words?" "Well, he can say 'mama' and he is saying what sounds like 'woof woof' lately, and he has a few approximations for other words," is what I told her. It didn't sound like much, but I know he has made great improvement in the couple of months that we've been working with Early On. At any rate, he's a cute little monster, whether "rawr" counts as a word or not.

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    I'm Thinking of Joining the Circus (and other observations from the week)

    • Ordinarily I think it is sad that the neighborhood children so rarely play outside, but I think it is extraordinarily odd to see a pair of boys (about 7 or 8 years old) running through the snow wearing nothing but swim trunks today. Watching them dunk their heads into a puddle of icy water just made me wonder if their mothers knew what they were up to.
    • Lanolin works wonderfully at clearing up stubborn eczema on Logan's bum, and from everything I have read it is safe to use with cloth diapers.
    • After seeing the overflowing trash can sitting at the curb at a house down the street for the past few days I have determined that: 1) They shouldn't put their trash out and then leave town. It just seems like an invitation to burglars and 2) They should really consider paying their trash bill if they want the garbage to be collected! 
    • Having the kids play outside today without wearing snow pants turned out to be a wet, muddy mistake.
    • I wonder if the kids who perform for the circus get paid or if it's just expected that they will participate in the family business? Don't get me wrong. They were incredible. Still, it seems like a very unconventional upbringing. The teacher in me hopes that they are getting an appropriate education and the mom in me hopes that they are not being exploited.
    • Watching the circus made me fully appreciate the comparison that people use to describe a hectic day/event/life by calling it a "three ring circus." There really is so much to see and it's all happening at once (and literally, there are three rings). You just try to focus on what seems most pressing at the time and do the best you can to get it all done to the best of your ability, the epitome of motherhood.
    • {I wonder how old this girl is?}
      {Yep, that's a Persian cat riding Afghan Hound.}
      {I think there's a metaphor for motherhood here...}
    • The circus really is the greatest show on earth! Where else can you see a baby elephant do a headstand, a woman twirling around by her hair, and a Persian cat riding an Afghan Hound?

    Think Spring! Butterfly Craft

    {Butterfly by Mia, Age 4}
    Mia made this cute and very simple craft at preschool and we decided to make a few more to decorate at home. The snow has to go away soon, but in the meantime, we have a cheery bit of spring indoors!

    {My Dotty Butterfly Design}
    • coffee filter
    • Bingo markers (Ours came from Dollar Tree.)
    • pipe cleaner
    • scissors  (optional)
    • fishing line (optional)
    1. Make a design for the butterfly's wings by dotting Bingo markers onto a coffee filter. (You can also use markers or watercolor paints if you don't have Bingo markers. One option is two color with washable markers and then spray the design with a water bottle to create a softer look.) 
    2. Let the markers (or paint) dry.
    3. Pinch the coffee filter in the center and twist once.
    4. Cut a pipe cleaner in half. Bend one half around the twisted center of the coffee filter and twist it to secure it. Shape into antennae. (If you prefer, you can use a whole pipe cleaner. You will just have fairly long antennae.)
    5. You can make a whole flutter of butterflies and hang them using fishing line if you wish.
      {My Finished Butterfly}

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Blame It on the Rain...

    It's been one of those days. You know, the kind when you wish you'd just stayed in bed?! We got to preschool early, which isn't a bad thing, but it meant that I had to take Mia inside instead of doing curbside drop-off. And I had to get Logan out of his car seat. And it was dark, dreary, and raining pretty hard... cold, cold March rain.

    In between dropping Mia off at preschool and Logan's playgroup at LESA, we had about an hour to kill so off to Walmart we went to pick up a few things (despite not really wanting to drag Logan back out in the rain, but it's too far to go home since we'd have to head right back). I should probably mention at this point that I was driving my van, which I have only had for two months and I am still not accustomed to how much bigger it is than my Escape had been. I pulled into a parking spot at Walmart, and thinking that I was too close to the car next to me, I decided to back up and adjust. Only after hearing a grating "crunch" noise did I realize that this was a huge tactical error. I don't know if I was distracted or what happened exactly, but I had backed into a rather large pick-up truck. So, I pulled back into the original spot and got out to survey the damage. Fortunately for whatever man drives the enormous blue pick-up, his vehicle was fine. My poor Odyssey, however, was not so lucky. I smashed in the hatch, and not just a teensy bit. It's still functional, and I know it's not that bad, but I still feel really angry with myself. There was a gentleman heading into the store right as I was looking the truck over for signs of damage so I asked him to look, too. He agreed that it looked fine, so I decided to move on. (And I know that this could have been far worse. Logan and I could have been injured in a more serious accident, and I am thankful that we weren't!)

    I called Brett to let him know what happened. I know he probably thought I was nuts, apologizing over and over and telling him how mad I was at myself for being so "clumsy" and "dumb." I think on some level I wanted him to react with anger, but he didn't. "These things happen," was his response. I couldn't help but wonder why they say women make better fighter pilots than men. I don't know what I was thinking about while I was backing up, but I am sure I wasn't completely focused on the task. I always seem to have a jillion things going on in my brain--a side-effect of being a mom.

    I wish that I could say our shopping trip was a success. That at least would make it seem like it was somewhat worthwhile to have gone to Walmart. It turned out that I had lost my list and I could only remember a couple of things that I wanted to get. Even though Logan was belted into the cart, he managed to turn himself around, and then when I unbuckled him to turn him back around he insisted on being carried. He never did let me put him back into the cart. I was feeling pretty defeated when I went to the checkout and I did not want to deal with the self-checkout procedure since I didn't think I could handle it at that moment.

    So I trekked a bit to find a register that was actually in use. I handed the cashier my card and then remembered that they have the key pad where you slide your own card. (Duh! They're everywhere now.) She didn't seem to mind, and asked me if I wanted credit or debit. You would have thought this was the most important decision of the day because it took my awhile to answer, largely because I was having trouble forming the word "debit" after having racking my addled brain remember the difference between the two! Then, it took me a few more moments to remember my pin and I thought that I might be changing that answer to "credit!" By the time I left, I was nearly in tears, and the cashier told me she hoped I felt better.

    I honestly was afraid to back up again, seeing that the big blue truck was still parked behind me. I did note that it was a really, really big truck and it did seem to be sticking out farther than the surrounding vehicles, so I tried to convince myself that it was an honest mistake that anyone could have made. Still, I wasn't looking forward to driving. However, I did want to get Logan to play group because he loves it.

    Logan was clingy during the snack time, and I didn't think I was going to get to go with the other moms to a separate room where we have coffee (I have hot cider since I don't like coffee), cookies, and conversation, which admittedly is my favorite part of play group! (I think I normally eat more than everyone else combined.) After a bit, I did actually get away from Logan, but someone came to get me almost immediately. I went back to the play room and found Logan crying. He calmed down and I moved away from him, only to have him crying immediately, thinking that I had left. This is so atypical. It's never happened before, not even the first time we went to the play group. It's times like that when I really wish he could tell me what's wrong!

    The good news is that Mia said she had a nice morning at preschool. I said, "Good! At least someone did!" And things can't get much worse, right?

    St. Patty's Day Sun Catcher Craft

    This craft was inspired one that my friend Kim did with her kids. They made hearts for Valentine's Day and called them V-Day Sun Catchers. This craft requires a bit a parent prep, but it is simple enough for toddlers to do once you have prepared. Kids about 8 and up can most likely do this craft on their own.
    {Shamrock Sun Catcher by Mia, Age 4}

    • green construction paper
    • scissors
    • clear contact paper
    • green tissue paper
    • pencil 
    • clear tape
    • paper trimmer (optional)
    • hole punch (optional)
    • yarn, string, ribbon, etc. for hanging (optional)
    1. Cut green tissue paper into small squares. Older kids can do this themselves. We used approximately 1/2 inch squares, but you could make yours bigger. Tip: We used two different shades of green tissue paper to give the sun catcher a more complex design. It looks especially nice where the two colors have overlapped in places.
    2. Fold a piece of green construction paper in half like a hamburger (or use two pieces of construction paper if you would like to make a larger sun catcher).
    3. Draw a shamrock shape (or trace around a cookie cutter or a picture from the internet) onto one half (or one piece) of the paper, and cut out the shamrock. Do not draw your design too close to the edges of the paper. Cut paper in half along the fold. You should now have two pieces of paper with identical shamrock cut-outs.  Tip: If you are using two pieces of paper, you will need to make sure they stay together so that you get identical shamrocks.
    4. Cut two pieces of clear contact paper (I used both a paper trimmer and scissors for this.) so that they are 1/4 inch larger than the construction paper all the way around. Tip: Do not remove backing from contact paper until you are ready to use it.
    5. Adhere one piece of paper to the clear contact paper so that there is a border of 1/4 inch all around the paper. Tip: Slowly peel the contact paper away from the backing as you smooth the construction paper down onto the contact paper. This way you don't end up with "bubbles."
    6. Have your child stick tissue paper squares onto the contact paper shamrock shape until it is filled (or nearly filled like Mia's).
    7. Layer the second piece of construction paper on top of the first, making sure that the shamrock shapes line up.
    8. Add the second piece of contact paper over the top, smoothing it down as you go. Trim away excess if desired, but don't trim too much or the sun catcher will not stay together. 
    9. You can display your sun catcher in a window using clear tape. Another option is to use a hole punch to make two holes near the top, thread some ribbon or yarn through the holes, tie it off, and then hang your sun catcher.

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Out Like a Lamb Mask

    "The March wind roars
    Like a lion in the sky,
    And makes us shiver
    As he passes by.
    When winds are soft,
    And the days are warm and clear,
    Just like a gentle lamb,
    Then spring is here."
    -  Author Unknown
    {Lamb Mask by Mia, Age 4}

    • small paper plate
    • scissors
    • glue
    • pink pom pom
    • cotton balls
    • pink craft foam hearts  
    • craft stick
    • masking tape
    1. Using scissors, cut two holes for eye openings, roughly the size of quarters.
    2. On the back side of the plate, glue a pink pom pom below the eyes to make the lamb's nose. (You might also use a bead.)
    3. Tape a craft stick to the opposite side of the plate to make a handle for your mask.
    4. Glue cotton balls onto the plate until it looks the way you want, making sure not to cover up the eye openings or the nose.
    5. Glue on two pink craft foam hearts for ears. (You could also use construction paper.)
    6. Allow glue to dry before playing with your mask. If might also wish to make a lion mask.

    In Like a Lion Mask

    In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb
    by Lorie Hill

    March roars in like a lion
    So fierce,
    The wind so cold,
    It seems to pierce.

    The month rolls on
    And Spring draws near,
    And March goes out
    Like a lamb so dear.

    {Finished Masks by Mia, Age 4}
    Recently, I was thinking of some lion and lamb crafts we did last March and I decided that we should make some masks with Mia this year. Here is how they turned out.

    Materials for Lion Mask:
    • small paper plate
    • glue
    • yellow marker 
    • red crayon or marker
    • craft stick
    • scissors
    • orange feathers
    • yellow and pink craft foam hearts 
    • masking tape

    1. Use scissors to cut out two circles for eye openings, roughly the size of a quarter.
    2. Use a marker (or crayon or colored pencil) to color the back side of the plate yellow (or tan or brown.)
    3. Glue on a pink craft foam heart for a nose. (You could also use a bead, pom pom, or construction paper cut in a triangle shape.)
    4. For ears, glue two small pink craft foam hearts in the centers of two larger yellow craft foam hearts. Glue yellow hearts onto paper plate. (You could also use construction paper cut into hearts, circles, or semi-circles or you could draw the ears onto the plate with markers.)
    5. Draw a mouth using a red marker, crayon, or colored pencil. (Or if you are like Mia, use a Cray-Pas.)
    6. Tape a craft stick to the undecorated side of your paper plate to make a handle for your mask.
    7. Apply a ring of glue around the outside edge of the paper plate. Add orange feathers (or yarn, pipe cleaners, or construction paper strips) for the lion's mane.
    8. Once all glue is dry, enjoy using your mask!
    You may also wish to make a lamb mask to go along with your lion mask.

      Saturday, March 5, 2011

      Pale Green Pants Puppet

      "Then I was deep within the woods when suddenly I spied them. I saw a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them!" ~ From "What was I Scared of?" by Dr. Seuss
      This is one of Mia's favorite stories by Dr. Seuss, so I had to come up with some kind of craft to go along with it. She also wants to make a puppet of the critter who narrates the story, but we haven't tried that yet.

      • green paper
      • pale green tissue paper
      • black marker
      • scissors
      • glue
      • craft stick
      • masking tape
      1. Draw the pants from "What was I Scared of?" onto green paper with a black marker. Ours are slightly longer than a popsicle stick and the pant legs are wide enough so that the popsicle stick will be covered by the paper. (I drew ours freehand, but you could trace from the book or use a photocopy if you prefer.)
      2. Cut pale green tissue paper into strips and then into squares (about 1/2 inch.) I cut the strips and then let Mia do some scissor practice cutting the smaller square (ish) pieces.
      3. Glue squares onto green pants (or as Mia decided to do, ball the tissue paper up first, and then glue it to the pants. Allow glue to dry.
      4. Tape the craft stick to the back of one pant leg. Your puppet is now finished. Have fun!

      5 Little Lessons From the Past Week

      1. Ranch dressing makes an interesting hair styling product.
      2. Getting a new sofa is somewhat like buying a trampoline, at least from a kid's point of view. 
      3. Most of the winter clearance stuff is already gone; apparently I should have started shopping sooner for coats, boots, and snow pants for next year. (Although to be fair, I scored some good deals, but I had to go to many, many stores.) 
      4. There's poop on the carpet, and it may just stay that way. Logan totally freaked out when I tried to use the little hand held spot cleaner. Just the idea that I might turn it out had him shrieking and attempting to climb up my leg. (I'm not sure why; he's fine with the vacuum cleaner.)
      5. When I put the dog out yesterday morning, she was practically ice skating on the sidewalk. Dogs do not like to ice skate. They would rather pee on the porch.

      Thursday, March 3, 2011

      Yertle the Turtle Craft

      "On the far-away Island of Sala-ma-Sond, Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond." I came up with a cute little turtle that's easy to make in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday. And the craft stick legs allow them to stand up on their own. These turtles can be stacked too, if you feel inclined to "pile up more turtles!"  Yertle declared that he would "need 'bout five thousand, six hundred and seven!" but I'm sure a few will do for you.

      {Yertle the Turtle by Mia, age 4}
      • small paper plate
      • scissors
      • glue
      • 2 wiggly eyes
      • green paper
      • 2 craft sticks
      • marker
      • masking tape
      1. Cut several small square(ish) pieces of green paper. Mia used the textured border parts of a paper napkin and I used tissue paper, but you could also use construction paper or crepe paper.
      2. Glue paper pieces to the back side of a small paper plate (or bowl, if you prefer). I did mine in a sort of mosaic, but Mia bunched hers all together, collage style.
      3. Cut a 2 inch square of green paper. Round one side and glue or tape to the turtle for the head. (Mia glued hers to the turtle shell. I taped mine underneath.)
      4. Cut a long, skinny triangle of green paper and glue or tape opposite the head to make the tail.
      5. For legs, cut two craft stick in half. We used the large tongue depressor sized craft sticks. Tape to the back side of the turtle's body. (I glued green paper over top of mine and Mia left hers plain.)
      6. Decorate the turtle's face by gluing on two wiggly eyes and drawing a mouth with a marker.

      Wednesday, March 2, 2011

      Cat in the Hat Wearable Hat Craft

      In honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday, I have come up with some crafts to do with Mia. First up, that famous hat worn by a certain cat. There are probably lots of ways you can make the hat, but this is what I came up with.

      "Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun but you have to know how."  From The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
      • paper plate
      • scissors
      • 2 pieces of red paper
      • 1 piece of white paper
      • glue stick
      • clear tape
      • paper trimmer (optional)
      1. Use scissors to cut out the center of a paper plate. The ring will be the base for the hat. Save the inner circle for the top of the hat.
      2. Using a paper trimmer (or scissors) cut white paper into strips about 2 inches wide. We needed four strips to make the two white stripes.
      3. Lay two pieces of red paper end to end, slightly overlapping and secure with clear tape.
      4. Using a glue stick, adhere white paper strips to red paper to make the stripes. They are approximately evenly placed and you end up with three red strips and two white stripes. Allow glue to dry.
      5. Roll paper into a tube shape, checking to make sure it is the correct size by fitting it into the paper plate ring. Once you have the size you want, tape the paper roll together.
      6. Adhere striped paper roll onto the paper plate base using tape. Hold paper plate as you would if eating off of it and adhere 4-5 pieces of tape (approximately 1 inch long) to the top so that half of the tape is hanging over the inside edge. Holding paper roll underneath, fold each piece of tape down and secure to the inside of the paper.
      7. Attach leftover circle of paper plate to the top of the hat using tape. The easiest way to do this is to use about 4 pieces of tape approximately 1 inch long. First apply half of the tape strip to the inside of the hat, and then affix the rest of the tape to the piece of paper plate. Trim off excess paper plate if needed.
      8. Wear your hat!

      Tuesday, March 1, 2011

      Funnies from February

      While reading "Wild Animal Baby": (2/17/2011)
      Mia: "What do ostriches eat?"
      Me: {Pause to think} "I don't know."
      Mia: "I think they eat hot dogs."

      Proof that she does pay attention to what I say and do: (2/21/2011)
      "Hey, Mom, I was sitting in a W while I was upstairs and now my hip is hurting."
      A couple of minutes later: "My hip is still hurting! I guess I have to do my exercises, but I'm too little for taping."
      Then she laid on the floor and pretended to do my physical therapy exercises.

      After the children's message on faithfulness at church: (2/27/2011)
      "Mama, I watched a show! It was called the Horton the Elephant show!" 
      (I think she thought that the kids were the only ones who could see the video clip on the screen.)