Thursday, December 19, 2013

Guest Blogging

So a couple weekends ago I got free tickets to a play in return for a review. It was my second time seeing this production of The Velveteen Rabbit.  

Here is a link to my review. If you live in the Phoenix area and have kids I highly recommend Childsplay. They are a wonderful organization. 

http://mom2mom.childsplayaz.org/2013/12/17/marissa-reviews-the-velveteen-rabbit/


Holiday Presents--Vanilla Extract


My vanilla extract is looking beautiful, so I decided this weekend it was time to label the jars.  Remember this is super easy.  Place two vanilla beans, slit open inside the jar, fill with vodka and wait.  The longer you wait to use the more the vanilla infuses the vodka.  

The only downside is you feel like a lush buying so much vodka!

If you get any of these posts for the holiday's act surprised and gush over how much work I put in to your gift please!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Presents-Chocolate Lip Gloss


My first attempt at lip gloss was a LONG time ago and it wasn't the best.  This time it turned out a bit better.  We tried the Chocolate Lip Gloss recipe.  

I used the recipe from the book Natural Beauty for All Season by Janice Cox which is now available on Kindle.  LOVE THIS BOOK!  
Ingredients:
Cocoa Butter
Coconut Oil
Vitamin E
Chocolate Chips

At first I didn't think this stuff was going to set, now I am worried that it will just keep getting harder. As of two days after making it, it has firmed up and is still spreadable, assuming your hands are warm.  It feels and smells good.  

This was a great recipe (so far!).
I multiplied the recipe by 8 and ended up with these four one ounce jars filled.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Presents-Body Butter


This year I am trying to give more homemade gifts.  I decided that I have finally gotten good enough at body butter to give it away.  I would love to share the recipe with you....but I don't really measure.  Here is what I do.  I take a jar of shea butter, about 7 ounces, a bit of coconut oil, maybe 4-5 ounces and avocado oil, about a cup or so.  I put in about three tablespoons of beeswax (I use the little pastilles, they melt faster).  I put all of this in my double boiler until everything is melted.  Then I take the whole thing and stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Take it out, scrape the sides and bottom so that you are mixing everything, add 10-15 drops of essential oil and mix on medium for a couple minutes.  Lately we have been using spearmint EO.  I find it to be relaxing.  

Want to find avocado oil?  Look at Costco.  Avocado is not on the dirty dozen list so I don't buy it organic.  They have a large jar at Costco.  I still haven't cooked with it as I mostly use it for skin products.

That recipe filled these jars and one of my bigger 1/2 liter jars, which are the ones we use at home.  Usually the big jar will last about one month for me.  Big L has her own big jar and little l has a little jar.  Apply sparingly. Mine absorbs fairly quickly, but I have DRY skin.   The husband of mine has great NON-DRY skin so he doesn't use it.  The rest of us need help!


Monday, December 16, 2013

My first attempt at candle making....

Sometimes I wonder why I feel compelled to try and make all of the things I try to make.  Really, it would be easier to go and buy a candle!  However, with these I know there is nothing yucky in them and they supposedly help to clean the air, so I gave it a shot.

First of all I had to find another blogger who had done this.  I did this at Mommypotamus.  Then I ordered up more beeswax, coconut oil and wick material.  I used #1/0 square wick, and the old mason jars I don't use for canning since I switch to Weck Jars to can food.  They worked out great for my candles.

 See that mess?  That is what happens when you try to pour directly from the double boiler.  I recommend putting into another jar or something with a pour spout.

Definitely follow directions.  Pour in a big, let the wick set then pour in more, then your wick stays in the middle.  She did not use anything to hold the wick to the bottom and I wish I had.  I fought a lot getting that wick to stay in the middle and to not pull it out when I straightened the wick as I added wax.

Finished product on the right.  On the left, proof that I wasted a lot of wax by spilling it.  Next time I need to do a little more research about how to not loose as much wax to cooling.  My bowl had a nice layer of cooled wax in it almost immediately (at least that was what it seemed like).

When I run out of the big jars I am only going to use the smaller jam jars.  They were easier to deal with when it came to the wick.

I am burning one of my candles right now and I am quite happy.  It is not burning too quickly.  It isn't "scented", but it has a nice clean scent to it in my opinion.

Anyone have suggestions for my next attempt?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Shaped bags

So the serger definitely won this round. It needs to go in and be fixed.  These bags would have looked better serged, but they look okay in my opinion.  

they were easy to make and I still used the tutorial and pattern in the Craftsy beginner serger class.  If you have not used Craftsy yet I recommend it.  I find it to be an easy way to take a class despite children. It is also relatively inexpensive. 

Here are my pretty bags.  For these three I used a stiffer fusible fleece.  They hold their shape better than the first one.  





Monday, December 9, 2013

I am SPOILED

First of all I want to acknowledge how fortunate I am.  I know, I am.  I have more than I need and most of what I want.  I have all of my holiday shopping done by Thanksgiving, unless it is an Apple product I need and then I wait for their once a year sale.  My husband is not me.  He actually braved the black friday shopping at our local target to procure for me an iPad air.  I have wanted an iPad for quite some time.  It wasn't until my children, yes both of them, started using the computer that I realized what a pain it was to actually get my own work done.  Since I am an APPLE person, no pc junk in my world, it was important to me that I have an iPad.  I could have had a table sooner I am sure if I had been okay with a PC model. 

I am not however okay with it not being Mac.  I use a Mac, iPhone and now iPad.  You know what is awesome about that?  If I save to the cloud, which I have been a part of since it was me.com, I can work on something on either platform.  My calendar automatically syncs no matter which device I enter the event on, and now with the iPad, I won't have connectivity and Keynote issues when giving a presentation.  That is right, I can access my keynote presentation from the computer on my iPad.  I can even modify it! 

Like I said, I am spoiled, but I am hoping this spoiling will also let me blog more, as I can edit pictures and post a blog post from my new toy as well. 

All I can say is thank goodness the man didn't make me wait until the holiday!

This brings me to one final promotion, and no I am not getting paid for this.  I have been handwriting menus for quite some time now.  It gets old and it is hard to start and stop, switch rooms and move as necessitated by the little one.  This month I started using a website called Plan To Eat.  IT IS AWESOME.  You enter your recipes, or find them online, then plop them on the planner on the day you want to make them.  Then joy of JOYS this program creates your shopping list.  Plus side is I can do this on the computer or iPad.  For my recipe I just prop it up in the kitchen and there it is, no searching time required.  LOVE IT!  You do have to subscribe, but they also have a free trial so you can try it out.  Now to just get myself to really plan all the meals, that would help me keep tack of what eat. 

http://www.plantoeat.com/images/v2/plan-to-eat-logo-med.png

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The serger won

My grandmother gave me her serger earlier this year.   Until a week or so ago it has sat looking at me.  I decided it was time to take that beginner serger class I bough on craftsy so this holiday weekend I tried,  and tried and tried.

The serger had other ideas.  I have broken four needles, one is missing in my room somewhere, waiting to be stepped on in the middle of the night.  I have threaded and re-threaded the machine and I am now a pro at that step. I just can't get it to work right,  at all.  It worked for a few sample stitches then stopped. I am sure it is me and not the machine, but I don't have the patience or time right now to figure it out.  So I started this project with the serger, note the crappy stitching by the zipper.  Then I finished  it with my trusty sewing machine.



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No more strawberry jam

Last week marked a sad moment in our home.  We finished off the last of our homemade strawberry jam.  It was a sad day, followed by a trip to Costco to get some organic strawberry spread, because we really need our strawberry jam!

Next year I think I will need to make four to five batches to have enough for a year.  It sounds exhausting, but I think it will be TOTALLY worth it!

My sad empty strawberry jam jar

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

An almost tree skirt

I started this tree skirt a bit ago.  It went together quickly and I was ready to quilt it, then life happened. 

Finally, this weekend I finished quilting it.  I still have to bind the edges, but I am a bit nervous it won't be big enough for our tree so I am going to wait until this weekend when we put up the tree. 


 I started with gold thread, but it must be too old because it kept breaking.  A lot of breaking.  So I gave up on the gold and switched to green. 

I am getting a little better at free motion quilting, but it can be exhausting!  In the end it worked out pretty well. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Weight Struggles are Life Long-Don't forget

If you read the blog (which I know there are like, 10 of you!), you know that I recently lost a LOT of weight and made some really good healthy choices.  Well.....I had a bit of a slide down the weight gain way.

I have been beating myself up for it and getting angry about it now for a couple weeks.  I gained back 15 pounds from my lowest weigh in.  That is A LOT.  I am NOT happy.  I would like to blame the surgery, which was a part of the problem.  You see I had gotten really used to working out hard five days a week.  Hard enough that eating 1800 calories a day was not an issue, in fact it was needed.  Then I had a three week no exercise period followed by a visit to my grandmother's house.  My willpower and mental happiness level were not able to deal with all of the candy in that house. 

Once I start down the sugar train I can't stop.  It is just a huge mess.  Before all that I could eat just one or just one serving of a sweet, now I am back to being the pig I was before I lost the weight.  It is not good and I am not happy.  Did I say that already?

Also, I really DON'T want to go back on my diet.  It is NOT a fun diet to be on, it is hard and I don't want to.  I feel like a two year old....

What I need to do is stop the sugar intake.  It is going to be hard, but I threw away the kids candy and have gotten rid of all the junk in the house (mostly).   My biggest issue now will be avoiding my husband's chocolate chips. 

I am very frustrated with myself, and I have decided to try a cleanse that my friends have had luck with.  So Advocare here I come.  I am not sure what will happen, and I am not doing the 24 day challenge, I can't afford that, but I need to get rid of this sugar addiction and get back to being a normal healthy person.  Not just for my weight, but also for my mental health. 

Then I have to admit to myself that I have an issue with sugar and food.  I CANNOT be lax EVER.  I HAVE TO EXERCISE AND EAT RIGHT FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, I CAN'T TAKE A WEEK OFF.

I am posting this picture from a year ago as a reminder of what I don't want to be again.  Just think that was me after I had already lost about 30 pounds.  Only 80 more off this picture and you have were I am today. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

eggless meatballs

I have always wanted to make a meatball, but never have because I didn't know if it would work without egg.

Well, I decided to try anyway and VIOLA!!  It works.  I did go ahead and add some applesauce and baking powder to imitate the egg and provide some moisture.  These were VERY yummy.


 Big L in true picky fashion liked the meatballs, but didn't like the sauce on them.  She liked the sauce separate, but not together.  OY!  Next time I will leave her meatballs out of the sauce.  To me it added some flavor and I liked it.  Now you know a meat ball will still remain a ball even without an egg!  YEAH!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rockin' my jewelry


I used to be a timid jewelry wearing gal.  No statement pieces here.  Until I started selling Lia Sophia, and then  WHAMMY.  I thought to myself, why not try!?  

This is the first time I wore this necklace and ring combo.  I also wore the matching earrings, not pictured.  I received SO MANY compliments on these pieces.  I also felt great wearing them.  They were pretty awesome to wear.  Having the confidence to wear a statement piece boosts your confidence.  Make sense?  Chicken or egg, I don't know, but I really liked this!

Oh and if you think you need to dress up to wear something like this think again.  That is my Old Navy bargain shirt which I paired with jeans and boots.  Nothing fancy but my jewelry!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Parking Lot Blow Ups

Yesterday was grocery day for us.  Little l and I dropped off big L at dance and ran to the store, almost literally, we have one hour to shop, get the groceries home in the fridge and get back to take big L from dance to TKD.  CRAZY!!!!!

It works though and we did it.

When we were in the parking lot loading up the car we were witness to a complete melt down/blow up by a woman.  She had been sitting in her car and someone pulled up next to her.  While getting out this man bumped her car with his car door.  It happens right?  More than we like to admit, it happens.  The man did not intend to hit her car from what I could see, nor was it a hard enough hit for me to hear it from the next lane over, but this woman LOST it.

The couple she started screaming at was older, not old, but around my parents age.  Old enough that in my mind respect should be given until it isn't deserved (though I guess that applies in my mind despite the age).  She wouldn't stop though, and the man even tried showing that the damage she was pointing to couldn't have been caused by his door.  To no avail, she paced and yelled and tried to pull other people in to the situation.  Some people went up to look at what she was yelling about and most walked away unimpressed by the "damage".

At first, I wanted to go tell her to calm down it was just a car, but I paused.  I began to think of scenarios where this "DIVA" (her term not mine, this was on her license plate) may have just cause to behave in this manner.  Perhaps she had saved for years and finally been able to buy this car after years of driving a beater and wham this guy hits her in the parking lot and her perfect car was blemished.

Maybe this wasn't about the car, maybe she just found out her parent is dying, or lost her job at work. I don't know.  It could all be crap, and she could just be mean.

What I did take away from this, is that we should all be aware of how our behavior appears to others. I was not sympathetic to her, and I didn't see much sympathy from anyone else either.  She appeared petty and cruel.  She may have had her reasons and not been in full control of her reactions, but she was not presenting her argument properly.

I had a moment a few weeks ago when the same thing happened.  I was more like the screaming lady than I care to admit.  Only difference being mine wasn't in public.  Sometimes changing how you react to a situation is the best way to effectively deal with it.  While I still bristle over the situation I am dealing with and I am frustrated to no end, I am changing the way I approach it.  If after this change I still can't get it to work it will be time for some outside mediation.

We will see.....Just my thoughts though, during this supposedly thankful season perhaps we should go out of our way to be kinder to one another and instead of blowing up over accidents be more accepting of apologies when no malice was present.  An accident is just that, an accident.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Homemade Vanilla

As I was looking through the pinterest pages the other day I found a homemade gift pin that included homemade vanilla extract.  I was intrigued.  Can't find the pin, even though I swear I pinned it, but hey I did see it.  Since the holiday season is among us, and handmade gifts need to start being made I am on it.

Since I lost the pin I had to find a recipe, but it turns out vanilla extract is super simple to make.  Why have I been paying so much over the years for this stuff?

I found long vanilla beans and bottles on amazon, then went to the store and bought vodka.  Funny story, I don't know when I have ever purchased hard liquor before and our store has a roving liquor/wine lady who helps you.  Well I must have looked confused as all get out because she zipped right over.  Since we were not looking a beer I didn't really have a CLUE what the better deal was, and that was really all I was looking for; a good deal.  I knew I had a coupon on my app thingy, but she wasn't in the mood to give me time to compare and such.  She tried to sell me kettle one, which I am sure is a great vodka, but truly, couldn't tell you, until I told her what I was doing.  Then it was to the Smirnoff and I was out of there.

So I cleaned out my bottles, sliced my vanilla beans and added the vodka and beans to the bottles.  From what I read online this is one of those it gets better with time, so I had to get it started now for giving in December.

I must say this is a relatively inexpensive and EASY homemade gift.

Here is what I have so far:
 This was the first day.  No color, just sitting in the vodka extracting....
Now it is starting to look like vanilla extract!  I can't wait to try it!

What are you making for the holidays?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Best laid plans.....school outside

This morning was eventful.  I went to my yoga class to find my teacher gone, he is having a family a emergency and my thoughts are with him and his family.  The substitute was different, much more mellow, not as invigorating or challenging, but not bad.  I am spoiled by my morning teacher as he is awesome. 

I got home from yoga to find little l wandering around as if looking for her lost sheep.  First thing out of her mouth, "I pee peed in my pull up.  I need a new one".  Okay, mom duty begins dad is.....still sleeping?!?!? 

Got the big L off to the bus stop after packing a lunch for her, feeding breakfast and eating breakfast.  I packed a lunch and bag for little l and I, threw it in the stroller, along with the child and off we went.  We began our trek to the park from the school bus stop and it was still a bit cold, but it was nice to be outside in the mostly fresh air.

The only wildlife we saw this morning was a bunny, no javelina in our path.  Though, off topic, yesterday we had to pause while driving to allow a bobcat to cross the road.  A beautiful specimen, larger than the ones I have seen this year.  We saw a lot of birds, and cars and some people. 

Got to the park, played, took ONE picture, not for the blog.  Played on the playground, ran around in the cold air ignoring our lungs which are complaining for they are recovering from a cold.  Little l decided it was time for school, so I took out our supplies we started, I pulled out my phone, which had been at 67% battery, went to take a picture.......

Well, long story short there are no great school in the park pictures for this post, but there were going to be!  We had fun with fun dough, making it into the shape of lower and upper case L's.  She picked the letter M in her ABC book to do today.  Then we were back to playing.  She lasted about an hour at the park this morning, then we started back home.  All total it was a little over a two hour excursion, I burned 618 calories (not counting yoga), YEAH!   The big hill before we head downhill to our home was a bit easier today, YEAH!!

Despite being a bit under the weather I feel better for the exercise.  I do think I deserve a nap with my little one today though.  That may also help recovery.  Well, next time I will have pictures.  Now to figure out what is wrong with my silly phone!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Homemade Shaving Cream

For some reason shaving cream has been one of the last things I have tried to make for myself.  Not sure why, probably because I never plan ahead enough and just break down and buy it, but this time I wouldn't let myself shave until I had tried this recipe.  It was VERY good motivation. 

I found this recipe mentioned in one of my facebook threads:
Homemade Shaving Cream

Basically, you take 1/3 cup of coconut oil and 1/3 cup of shea butter.  I melt mine in a double broiler.  Once melted you remove from the heat pour into another bowl and add 1/4 cup of olive oil, almond oil, or whatever oil makes you happy.  I used almond oil this time because I happened to have some.  I am sure the next time I make it I will use whatever I have on hand at that time. 

Also, I love looking at other people coconut oil, mine never really needs to be melted, so I find it fun to look at it.  I am sure when cooler weather comes along my coconut oil will need to be melted but for most months it is fairly liquified when I open it. 

Once you mix in the other oil stick it in the fridge and let it get hard.  Then whip for a few minutes 
I put mine in the plastic bottles you can get at Target.  Then used it.  I got a nice smooth shave, no rash AND my legs were moisturized in the process.  Since it has been dry around here my skin needs all the help it can get!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Another wrap-around skirt-Lined!

 One thing I have never made is a lined skirt or....well lined anything.  But this fabric while nice was a bit itchy.  Wool is not my friend!  However, the fabric was free and I liked it and thought it would make a nice skirt.  So I used that same pattern from my previous post and whipped this up in a day, a day of interruptions and such.  This time I used the pocket pattern.  no ruffle on the side and two pockets on the front.  It was super simple, especially since I have mastered this pattern!
 SEE!!  Pretty lining!  I am not obsessive about lining up lines on seams, so for those of you who are don't look!
These are really comfortable skirts to wear and you don't have to worry about them opening up and flashing things you don't want to flash to the world! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Recovering

So, last Tuesday was my breast reduction surgery and I feel great.  Okay maybe not great, but I do feel like once the healing is done I will feel better.  I can already tell a difference in my posture, and other than the surgery pain I am feeling less pain. 

It is a little weird not having all that stuff in the way when I look down.  I can see that I need to get back on the exercise routine as soon as the doctor gives me the go.  My tummy needs some exercise!  I can actually see my tummy! 

I am very grateful that I was able to have the surgery and look forward to being able to do yoga again and seeing how different my balance is on those arm balance poses!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

On gaining ten pounds, Fibromyalgia and being REALLY anxious

Most people stress eat.  I try not to, but the past couple weeks I have been living in the world of DENIAL!  That's right denial.  Today I am having surgery, my breast reduction.  Which I really want to have done, and I am really looking forward to the lack of weight on my chest.  Truly, this is a good thing and that is what I keep telling myself.  The truth is I am nervous.  I am VERY anxious.  It is surgery and it is pretty major.  There will be scars.  I am not really anxious about that though. 

What is stressing me out and causing this weight gain and pity party is my fear of how long it will take to recover.  I have been through two c-sections, so I know there will be pain and no lifting.  What I haven't figured out is HOW I am supposed to take care of a two year old with no lifting.  My husband doesn't seem worried, he is going to stay home the day after surgery then plans on going back.  This is freaking me out a bit though.  I will be home with the kids.  I will have to pick up little one and put her in and out of the car.  I will have to drive.  I don't want to do this.  I am afraid I won't be able to do this. 

So I eat.

To top it all off the last week or two have been horrible Fibromyalgia weeks.  The fatigue has been immense.  The pain has been a bit unbearable.  To put it in perspective, I took a six hour nap on Saturday.  The weekend before I slept for 11 hours.  Needless to say all this sleep cuts in to exercise time.  During the week I usually only have time for an hour or two nap.  All and all I  have been a bit ANGRY at my body.  What the heck?  I have been taking care of it.  Why is it letting me down like this?

I know I need to change how I view this.  I need it to just be that I need more rest, not that my  body is letting me down, but it is hard to feel that way when you have been training and eating right and then BOOM you are down.

I will work on my attitude, loose this ten pounds and make it through recovery.  It will be fine in the end, but right now I am anxious.  While ten pounds may not seem like a lot, when you have been through what I have to lose weight it is the slippery slope back to fat.  I am going to jump off this slope and have a better and more forgiving attitude so that I don't eat to deal with my negative feelings.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Flirty Skirty

I have been on a bit of a sewing kick of late.  While I still have not taken the serger class and learned to use it, I do plan on doing that soon too.  Instead, I have been sticking to the things I know how to do.

I purchased a pattern, McCall's M5430.  It is a "one hour skirt".  Now I am not the best of seamstresses so it was more like a two hour skirt for me, including cutting time.  I am pretty happy with it.  I screwed up the first one because I read the pattern wrong, however, the second and third one (which will be featured in a later post) came out okay.

Here is the first one:
 You may note that there are two sets of buttons, that is because I screwed up the tie.  A good seamstress would rip it out and fix it.  I just added another set of buttons. 
This gray one is done properly and actually ties on the side.  I haven't fully figured out how to tie it nicely.  Suggestions?  It is a little heavier as I used corduroy.  I like it though it is fallish. 

When I wear them I don't feel thin, but looking at the pictures I look thinner than I feel.  They are really comfortable and a good length.  I can get up and down with the kids and not worry about flashing my "assets" to the world. 


Monday, September 30, 2013

Gluten Free Graham Crackers

Little l is still having tummy issues.  Mostly I can tell by looking at her skin.  All of her tests were normal though, so that leaves me without a definitive answer as to what is causing her loose stool.  It has at least gotten to where there are normal stools most of the time.  The problem being that she really doesn't have variety in her daily food intake, she just eats everything!

I have decided to try getting rid of gluten for a couple of weeks, but couldn't find a good cracker substitute that didn't have nut flour or soy.  What do people with gluten and nut issues do?

So I modified a recipe and came up with this for a "Graham Cracker".  Graham being a simple place holder of a word since there is no real graham flour in these.

Homemade "Graham" Crackers

2 1/2 Cups of Pamela's Products Gluten Free Bread Mix and Flour Blend
1/2 cup of qunioa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Cup of butter (softened)
3/4 Cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Whisk the flour mix, quinoa, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together; set aside.

Put butter, brown sugar and butter into bowl of electric mixer.  Mix on medium until pale and fluffy.  Scrape sides as needed.  Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Turn dough out onto wax paper.  Roll out to about 1/8-1/4 inch thickness.  Cut into rectangles, poke with fork if desired.  Bake for 10-13 minutes, until brown at edges.

Leave on cookie sheet for about five to ten minutes before transferring to cooling rack.  If desired, immediately after coming out of oven sprinkle a cinnamon sugar mix and gently press into the cracker.



I got a little lazy on the last batch, so its edges aren't square.  They turned out very good which was a great surprise after the last batch of graham crackers we made!  Little l really likes them.  Since I used real butter big L can't eat them, but this was a use what I have weekend.  Hence the quinoa and butter.  Normally I would have used the earth balance, but I am running low.

Happy baking!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Library Ladies and Miscellany

Tuesday this week, little l and I were at the library.  Mostly because I needed to reserve the room for a training.  While there the woman who does the reading/math/science programs for 2-5 year old children was looking for someone to attend her class.  The regular attendees were not able to make it that week. 

It was an interesting program, not really anything I don't already know or do with the little l, but fun for her to interact with people other than mommy.  Afterwards she wanted to show us some good counting books to check out.  I inwardly giggled but let her do her thing.  If you have seen my children's library you know the last thing we need is counting books or books about the alphabet.  Suffice it to say we have a lot of GREAT learning books at home.  First she couldn't find a counting book, then I did, then she finally found one.  We were counting book happy.  She went on about what we had been talking about in class and I made the mistake of saying that little l loves to play this app on the computer where she has to determine which one has more, or which one has less.  You would have thought, by her expression, that I had just said I beat my child (okay that may be a slight exaggeration but not much).  So I started thinking again.  Darn it!

Little l sees all of us use the computer.  Her sister does her homework using the computer, I use it for all manner of things, and her dad is ALWAYS on the computer.  Because of this I got a couple apps that she could play so she wouldn't harass us as much when we really need to do something.  There is always the promise of playing your own game later.  It works.  So we have Toddler Typer and Pre K Math Lite.  Toddler Typer locks up the keyboard and no matter what they push or how they use the mouse it simply goes through pictures of animals.  It is entertaining and we have all learned a few new animal names because they are quite creative in their choices.  Pre K Math Lite is a great app as well.  It teaches counting, numeral recognition, even how to write the numbers, plus that less or more thing I mentioned before.  Best of all Lucy loves it and has figured out how to do it pretty much without much guidance.  I blame this game for her ability to go from two to three instead of two, eight, nine.  We would always say one, two, three, but she didn't want any of it, until the repetition of the game made it stick.  She even puts other number in the right sequential order, you know, like, six, seven, eight, nine.  You see the game does not always start them out with one. 

After my encounter I started to feel guilty about her game use, but I am not feeling that anymore.  She is only being exposed to learning apps, so I don't think that this going to ruin her.  In fact, I think that not teaching our children how to use modern technology often provides them with a disservice.  They won't be as good as there friends are, which starts to matter around third or fourth grade more than it does when they are younger.  They are going to have to use technology in their adult life.  They will have to use it in their jobs. 

Instead of fearing technology and what it is doing to our children, we should be teaching them to use it responsibly to make their life better.  Showing them how to manage there time with a calendar, or keep in touch with family that does not live close by email, or do research for a school report (teaching them to discern good and bad resources), and even play games so that they decompress and improve hand eye coordination.  None of these things is bad.  What is bad is when the technology controls your life, and that I think, is more likely to happen to children who are not allowed to use the technology and are not taught the proper ways to use it. 

On a side note, my big L smuggled her iPod to Ballet Under the Stars last night.  I say smuggled, because she knows darn well she is not allowed to take it with her when she goes places unless she has permission.  She also knew I would have said no, if she had asked.  As such, she has lost said iPod for at least one day, though I am more like to keep it for five, I have not discussed with her what she thinks would be a fair punishment.  This would be an instance where her and her friends desire to watch shows or play games was taking over their good clean outdoor playtime and that I am not okay with. 

The plus of last night was that my daughter and all of her friends were quite proud with the dance they helped create with the help of a professional ballerina.  They all did very well in their performance.  Here is where a picture of the kids would be great right?  Well, I am not comfortable posting pictures of other peoples children, so have one of the pros instead!



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Child in our Bed?

Little l has a new habit.  She tries to sneak into our bed in the middle of the night.  She has always been an early morning snuggle girl, which was fine with me, it gave me a chance to wake up before I have to run after her. 

However, this middle of the night thing is starting to get annoying.  I know many people are co-sleepers, and have no problem with that, it just doesn't work for me.  I like to sprawl a bit when sleeping, so do my children.  I also have back issues, which means I flip over a lot.  I am not one of those people who lay down and wake up in the same position.  So I don't want my child in my bed all night. 

I have not yet figured out what is going on  She isn't crying when she comes in, she just climbs into bed until my husband or I wake up enough to carry her back to her room.  I am starting to think her night light may be too bright, and I should turn it off before I go to sleep.  Of course, if I am wrong I will then have to find my way to her bed with her in my arms without tripping over something on the floor.  I am kind of at a loss really.  If she was upset I would understand, but she is not upset.  Apparently, when I was away for the weekend she actually slept on my side of the bed.  I interpret this as she missed me and wanted to feel close to me while I was gone.  That interpretation makes me feel good, but is fraught with potential deception. 

If anyone has good advice on dealing with this please share.  If not, I am just going to treat it as a phase that she will outgrow. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The moon

We had a clear night with a full moon.  Clear nights being a rarity of late, as it feels like monsoon season moved in a couple months later than normal. 

My husband was out taking pictures, and I just thought I would share a couple with you. 




Enjoy!

Monday, September 23, 2013

A new garden plan

This year's garden was a bit disappointing production wise.  However, I learned a bit, and I think I am ready for next year.  Next year starting anytime now.  The weather is starting to cool off a bit, and I am looking longingly at my backyard.  Little l is ready to be outside again as well, although she was fine in the heat of the summer, we just weren't willing to be out there long with her. 

I have a new plan this year.  See?  More herbs, instead of the non-productive yet pretty flowers.  I am sure my picture makes no sense to anyone other than me, but that is okay.  I really need to get a move on though because it is time to plant strawberries!

 We also decided to give up on our lawn.  It was small, but my husband has challenges when it comes to watering, and since it wasn't automated and I had a few weekends away from home during the hottest time of the year, the yard died.  That's right, my drought resistant lawn died.  So that was a failed experiment, and we are now going to make that area garden instead.  The only challenge being getting rid of the Bermuda grass that NEVER seems to die.  

Now I have to go and plan an irrigation system.  Automated watering will be the first thing we put in this fall.  It is a necessity if I ever plan on being able to go away on weekends.  As I said, my loving husband is a bit watering challenged.  It is not that he has a brown thumb, he just seems to have a green/brown thumb.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

MORE stuff buckets, my growing troop

 It is a new year for the girl scouts, which meant we added new girls.  Four to be exact, which meant I had to make more cushions for the top of the stuff buckets!  I couldn't get the exact same fabric, but it was pretty close.  This time I opted for using the spray adhesive, and with the exception of one cushion it worked great.  I even took the time to redo all of them so they were not coming apart.
 This is my garage on Girl Scouts.  :-)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Is Summer over?

I hate to say things like last swim of the year, because the minute I do the temperature spikes.  However, I think this weekend may have been our last swim until we can install a pool heater.  The water was too cold for little l to be in very long, though big L toughed it out for a good half hour or so.  I made it fifteen minutes before I decided I had had enough. 

It also may be the last week we have yummy fruit salad with dinner.  I finally found some good peaches and nectarines at Whole Foods this weekend.  They were sweet, firm, just right.  I decided to try something a bit different for dinner last night.  I was going to stuff peppers with quinoa, but I just wasn't in a pepper roasting mood yesterday.  So instead I cut up some celery, carrots, cucumbers, added lettuce, quinoa and then instead of dressing I used some hummus.  It was delicious.  Big L even at the quinoa, which SHOCKED me, especially because she had SECONDS!

It was a nice weekend, and Sunday was the best.  I asked big L to read a book and she curled up and finished her library book without being asked.  One hour of reading without whining in between.  I was a very happy mother let me tell you. 

There were other things this weekend, but that is all I am going to share today, more tomorrow. 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013