Friday, March 23, 2012

{this moment} Swinging

 A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Homemade Playdough

I think we've mentioned on here how much we LOVE the daycare that we found for The Bean.

The daycare provider is so wonderful.  She has a strong background in early childhood education and more than that, you can tell that she really cares about the kids in her care.  She does arts and crafts, lots of outings to the drop-in centre, library and parks, and she also places a strong emphasis on the idea that a child is never too young to learn. 

The kids there are also great.  There are only five kids including The Bean.  The next oldest is a two-year-old who is also there full-day.  The older three are ages four and five and spend the morning in kindergarten then come to daycare in the afternoon.  All of the children are only-children and they seem to care for each other in almost a sibling-like way.  When Jen went to pick up The Bean early one day last week the little girl there came over and gave him a hug goodbye.  So sweet.

Anyway, being so happy with everything there and having time off this week to do extra little projects, I thought I'd make a "Happy Spring" gift for each of the kids.  I found a playdough recipe online and made two batches.  

Here is the recipe I used: 


1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon powdered alum
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons vanilla
food coloring

Mix all dry ingredients in a frying pan. Add oil and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until reaching the consistency of mashed potatoes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and food coloring. Divide into balls and work in color by kneading the playdough. 

I found the final result to be a little dry.  It's possible I overcooked the dough, or maybe it could just use a smidge more oil.  In any case, I think it will be fine and that the kids will enjoy playing with it.  I added vanilla to the green playdough, just like the recipe called for, but I used some lavender essential oil in the blue playdough (which I wanted to be purple, but alas, we were out of red food dye)  and it smells heavenly.  I imagine you could use a few drops of any essential oil to add your desired scent.

To finish things off I rolled the dough into balls and stamped it with a flower-shaped cookie cutter we have, stuck it into plastic baggies and then added a label using some scrapbook paper I had stashed away.  I think they turned out pretty cute.  

I may try a different recipe next time.  I know the Junior Kindergarten teacher at school has a good one she uses all the time.  I'm also interested in experimenting with natural dyes like beet water to add color.   Do you have suggestions either for recipes or dyes?  

Hope you have a wonderful start to your spring! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Out and About

This past week was a busy one.  I'm currently off for March Break and I think in my excitement of having time off I over scheduled us a bit.  There was a lot of running around and appointments earlier in the week, but we had some nice visits over the weekend. 

On Friday afternoon we met our friend Ashleigh and her adorable twin girls, Teagan and Quinn in Little Italy.  We were embarrassingly late.  (I hate being late.  Pre-Bean it was UNHEARD of for me to be late, but things seem to be different now.  A late nap for The Bean really threw us off our schedule.)  When we arrived Ashleigh and her girls, plus their dog Finn and friend Kate and her sweet girl Hannah were sitting out on the patio of Playful Grounds which is a coffee shop that caters to the parent-crowd.  The Bean had a good time playing with the train table and kitchen set they had inside while Jen supervised and I was able to catch up with Ashleigh, get to know Kate a bit, and spend some time bouncing the three sweet girls. 

Saturday we had a surprise 80th birthday party for my Nana.  Mostly family attended, but it was still a pretty big crowd.  My aunt did the majority of the party-planning, but I helped co-ordinate the rental space and helped set up.  Oh, and I made cookies.  They were yummy, but not as yummy as the huge assortment of cookies my cousin made.  He's quite the baker.  We had a nice lunch, dessert, and a slide show of my Nana's life so far with a lot of the music that she loves.  It was a really nice way to celebrate. 

Sunday we met up with Shannon and her son Ian, and Stacey and her kids Riley, Jackson and Quinn at Beans and Babes in Whitby (just outside the city).   It was a great space for the kids to play.  All the kids, from one year old to five seemed to have a blast playing with all the toys there and going down the big slide.  It was nice for us to see everyone again and chat about what we all have going on in our lives.  Hopefully we'll be able to get together again over the summer, if not sooner. 

I have this week off as well, but don't have too much planned so far.  I know we'll keep busy and the time will still seem to fly by, but I'm trying to relax and enjoy spending time on things that seem to get put-off for the most part.  Maybe I'll go now and do some work on The Bean's baby book... or try some sewing... or go for a walk... yes, maybe I'll go for a walk.  It's a beautiful day outside. 

Hope you had a lovely weekend and that your week is off to a good start too.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Let Dreams Within You Dwell

I am not convinced that there is any lovelier way to spend time than watching my baby sleep.

That little hand resting on the blanket.
Those perfect little lips, parted ever so slightly.
That tousled hair.
Those impossibly long eyelashes.
That look of complete relaxation.

I'm telling you, I could spend hours...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fourteen Months Old!

The Bean is fourteen months old!

-From the moment he wakes up, The Bean is go, go go!  He walks, "runs," and climbs all.of.the.time. Okay, so maybe that's not entirely true.  He will sit and play with toys or look at books, but he is a VERY active child.

-Recently, we've had a bit of a setback at meal times.  The Bean has been refusing foods at times, slapping his tray and grabbing at the bowl/jar when we're trying to feed him and throwing his sippy cup onto the floor.  It can get quite trying.  We don't want to just offer him cheese, bread and his other favourites, as we want him to have a varied diet and also realize he has to eat what is offered (for the most part --when it's obvious that he does not like a food, we do not force him to eat it).  We're hoping that a lot of the difficultly we've been experience can be attributed to teething.

-The teeth keep on coming.  Early in his fourteenth month the upper right tooth one over from his eye tooth popped thorough and just this last Saturday we noticed the front molar on his bottom right had also come through.  

-The Bean has been wearing 12 month clothing.  The 9 month stuff is quite snug on him, though we still have some of the long sleeved onesies in his drawer --we just don't snap the crotch anymore.  Some of the stuff he's in now is 12-18 months.  Though it still all looks tiny coming out of the dryer, it's remarkable how much he has grown.

-Books have been the biggest "toy" this month.  He LOVES them.  As I think I mentioned before, he will now bring us books, sit on our lap, and take our hand and place the book into it, literally making us read them to him.  If we say a popular phrase from some of his favorite books, he will go to his bookshelf and pick the book over and bring it to us now.

-No real changes in terms of words.  Jen has been teaching him to wipe his hands together to indicate "all done" at meal times.  He seems to be picking it up.  Every once in a while he'll seem to say an entire phrase like, "Good boy!" or, "You did it!" but we've never been able to get him to repeat them.

-He is starting to assert himself more when he wants or doesn't want something. 

-He is good at playing on his own, but also loves interacting with other people.

-His daycare provider is constantly mentioning how much he loves being around his friends.  I think it's been a really good experience for him so far.

-As we mentioned before, The Bean was sick with hand, foot and mouth for about a week.  Jen and I took turns staying home with him.  It was nice to have the extra time, but we're both very glad he seems to have recovered.

We're having so much fun watching our baby grow into toddler-hood and look forward to seeing what the coming months have in store.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

On the Bookshelf: Books for Winter

Winter is ending soon, so I thought I'd better get up some of the seasonal books we've been enjoying over the past few months. 

The Hat by Jan Brett
I like this book, Jen is not so fond of it.  It's a little long for The Bean, which I think is a part of the issue Jen has with it.  I really like Jan Brett's illustrations, but do think they appeal more to the young child (age 4+) than they do to babies.  I think this is one we'll have to grow into. 

When Snowflakes Fall by Carl R. Sams and Jean Stoick
The photos in this book and the Winter Friends (below) are lovely.  This book is about various animals preparing for the coming of winter.  The Bean finds it interesting, and gives us a curious look, when we do different voices for the animals. 

Welcome Winter 
This is a pretty simple little touch-and-feel book.  The Bean likes touch-and-feel books, so it was fairly high in the rotation of winter books on our shelf this season. 

Guess How Much I Love You in the Winter by Same McBratney
I think this is a really sweet book.  Some may take issue that Big Nutbrown Hare says Little Nutbrown Hare belongs to him, but it doesn't bother me.  The characters have a playful and loving interaction throughout the story and I think that's the underlying tone.  The Bean will listen to this one, but again, I think it's one he'll probably enjoy more as he gets older. 

Zoe's Snowy Day by Barbara Reid
This is in the "Zoe" series.  The text is quite limited, but the plasticine pictures are quite unique.  There's a lot going on in the pictures to point out and name to your baby. 

Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton
Jen and I both LOVE this book.  There's something about the old fashioned artwork and story that is just so appealing.  It's a bit long for The Bean, but even if he doesn't want to sit still for the whole thing, we read it anyway.  :) 

Winter Friends  by Carl R. Sams and Jean Stoick
As I mentioned above, the photos in this book are lovely.  It's a simple story with lots of animals to point out and make the noises for.  The Bean seems to like this one too. 

What are your family's favourite books for winter? 

Friday, March 9, 2012

{this moment} Lunchtime

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sick Week

The Bean is sick.  Rather, he is recovering now, but has been sick pretty much all week.  WebMD and the MedVisit doctor both indicated that he has/had hand, foot and mouth disease.  His hands were both splotchy red with little blisters, his feet were much better with only two or three blisters on each, and his mouth seems unaffected.  We've kept him home from daycare all week as it is contagious.  Apart from the splotches and blisters, he doesn't seem sick.  He's had a  lot of energy, good appetite and regular sleep schedule... all of which we're thankful for.

Jen and I traded off on staying home with him as it's not good for either of us to miss too much work.  Staying home alone with a sick (but not really sick) toddler is tiring!


There was a lot of playing and a lot of messes.  Duplo is a new fun toy for The Bean.  His playing with Duplo mostly involves dumping it onto the floor.  As my "Wordless Wednesday" indicated, books have become huge obsession around here.  We've always read to The Bean --usually three books every time we put him down and then randomly here and there.  In just the past few weeks he has started climbing up on the glider and pulling books off of his bookshelves.  We've actually had to move the books down to lower shelves for safety purposes and to keep him from driving us crazy with his whining to be lifted up once we clued in and started moving the ottoman up so he could not climb on the glider unsupervised.  There's been a lot of other playing too, but Duplo and books were the big ones this week.  Oh, and "chase". 

There were some shared meals, which were fun.  Lots of photos taken.  A little bit of baking, with the realization that it is okay to take the shortcut and use the electric beater when one only has a small window of time before the baby wakes up from his nap.

I was very grateful for family nearby that also bake... but rather than pumpkin bread, I was brought over macaroons.  YUM.   Warmer weather also made things nicer.  We were able to go out for a few walks.  I'm looking forward to the summer when The Bean and I will be able to go on lots of outings together. 

I spent a good deal of the days thinking about work and feeling anxious.  I am glad for a break from school for a few weeks, as it will allow me to focus on finding something new.  The biggest problem right now seems to be that there really isn't much out there.  The idea of going back to subbing after seven years of teaching feels like a failure to me.  At least there is that option though. 

I'm trying to focus on the positive.  I'm looking forward to spring.  I can feel it coming...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Photo Challenge 2012 -February Installment

Here's my second installment of the 2012 Photography Project.  

The theme for February was "Black and White Photography".  When I originally took the first three photos earlier this month, I knew they were the ones I wanted to use for the project.  They were practically black and white before I even converted them.  Often I prefer colour photography, but I think in this case, the contrast of the black and white helps to capture the moment.  A quiet winter morning.  

This last photo I just couldn't resist.  

If you're participating, feel free to leave your link in the comments!

Friday, March 2, 2012

{this moment} Laundry Day

A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, March 1, 2012


My dear friend, Lee Hicks, created this video.  I thought some in this community may enjoy it. 

For educators who wish to share this with their students, there are also lesson plans and curriculum connections for the Ontario Curriculum available at My GSA

I am so proud of of Lee for all he has accomplished here.  I hope this message is spread far and wide. :)