Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meet the Teacher

I am sure this post is a little too late for most of you. 
We have 'Meet the Teacher' tomorrow morning!
I wanted to make Mrs. Tracee a little something. Not over the top, but didn't want to show up empty handed in the morning. 
Gifts are totally not necessary, but as a former teacher, just getting a card or a flower on that first meeting let me know the kids were just as excited about our school year as I was.

Like I said, this is short, and sweet. And I threw in a Starbucks gift card because I know she will need it after a morning with my twins!

I printed a picture of them off picnik on white card stock, and I used a cricut to cut out the shapes. Saved a hole for the gift card, and ta da... easy, painless, thoughtful Meet the Teacher gift!

I hope everyone is having a great school year so far!!! I am anxious/excited to see how my babies do at preschool! I know they will LOVE it!!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Craving Pickles?

The Experienced Pickler Version of Me: Craving pickles? Then make a BATCH yourself! Mmmmmm.....All the pickles you can eat!

Me 2 Weeks Ago: That sounds too hard.

Pickler Me: Trust me when I say this: The most difficult part is waiting 10 days to try them.

Me 2 Weeks Ago: I don't know how to jar, nor do I care enough to learn.

Pickler Pro: No need! Here is the low down..

I made these! I really made these!!!

Here is the recipe I used, Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles. It was rated 4.5 stars by almost 10,000 people! Had to be good right?

The truth is, there ARE tons of easy ones to use. The key for searching if you're a non-jarer like me is search the term: Refrigerator Dill Pickles. You might be overwhelmed with options.

Yes, you put the cucumbers into jars but you don't have to pressure seal the lid, just screw them on. Nice and simple!

Are you a pickler? Let us know how you do it!!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Paint the Fence

"Painting the Fence" was one of my favorite games as a child.

The great thing is, it has to be the most SIMPLE form of MESSY fun!

All you will need is:
1. water
2. painting tools
(water bucket, paint brushes, rollers, etc.)

That is it! Really the game is much more clean than it sounds!

This game is perfect for a hot, sunny day! As your child "paints" with water, it will temporarily change the color of some surfaces. Then the heat will "erase" it minutes later!

If your child is anything like mine, he will paint everything. Who can blame him? Even a tee and basketball goal need a fresh coat of paint every now and then!

I can remember "painting" pictures and my I know I was older than Carter!
But he enjoyed himself none the less!

Teacher Tip:
  • Create shapes and quiz each other on the shapes!
  • Try spelling out your child's name and chant the letters!!
  • Experiment with different surfaces: The patio floor, the patio furniture, the fence...and see which surfaces will become darker when adding water!
& Carter (19 months)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Look what I Bought!

Have you seen the craziness that is Target, Walmart or our local Drug Store lately?

If you are like me, you see the 'Back to School' section swarmed with bodies crawling all over each other and slowly back away. Yesterday, I (along with my cart and baby) inched my way into the mosh pit. We safely made it out 5 minutes later. was worth it!

Go! Get in there!

There are fabulous supplies that all child-homes can use for DIRT cheap.

We grabbed:

At $1.00 Canadian Dollar a piece!! Wowzer!!!

Okay, and this is the fancy stuff too! Walmart's off-brand was actually more!


Lunch totes!!!

**This will help keep the cut up fruit and milk from leaking all over my purse! Yesss!

Have you found any great deals lately? Share please!!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Trying Teacher Tom's Play Dough

Since none of our stuff has arrived from China, we have been living out of suite cases for over 2 months. That is 9 weeks of the same clothes, a pack-n-play bed for Carter and the same toys/books. Yes, we've been keeping busy and having a blast, but today was slow morning and we needed some At-Home-Fun!! We resorted to our "go-to," which is Play Dough!!

If you have any basic baking ingredients in your pantry, then you have what it takes to make play dough. There are so many recipes out there. A quick google search will have you up to your eyeballs in options.

With these things in our pantry:

1-cup flour
1/2-cup salt
2-teaspoons cream of tarter
1-cup water
1-Tablespoon cooking oil
food coloring (optional)
scent (optional, but recommended)
Wax paper (to set)

I decided to try Teacher Tom's recipe? Have you checked out his blog yet? I know I've mentioned him before...he's a pretty cool teacher! Well, this is the recipe he learned from his mom and uses in his classroom.

I have to admit....this is by far the best play dough recipe I've tried!

It's so easy and fast!! I whipped up 3 batches in the 10 minutes I heard Carter stirring on the monitor. Fresh play dough to start the day! Here is how you do it:

1. Dump the above ingredients into a pot.
Nice picture. Right?
2. Stir on Medium heat for approximately 1-2 minutes!

3. Plop onto your wax paper and cool for about 5 minutes. Done!

Okay, lets observe these three blobs. The Green was my sacrificial first batch. I only used 7 drops of food coloring...not good. Blue was about 30 and Yellow I squeezed about half of the bottle.

Lesson learned? Use that food coloring!!! :)

Here is Carter working his play dough, first thing in the morning.

Carter (19 months)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to School Breakfast Ideas

I cook a hot breakfast Every.Single.Day.
I started it, and now it is just our morning routine.
It makes me feel like we had a great start to our day when the twins eat a big meal right from the start.
But, some mornings, we sleep in, lounge around, and before you know it, I am running late. This is the story of my life.

So, I am thinking I should cook some stuff and just freeze it for the mornings we are running late.

Exhibit A:
Eggs baked in muffin tins, then I could just defrost a few and warm them up!

Example 2:
Now this looks so easy! You must click on the link and see how she makes the eggs!
And you can freeze these too!

And Numbero 3:
OATMEAL! Duh. Seriously, why did I not think of this. I make oatmeal on the stove, the real way for the boys, but it takes FOREVER to cool down, and by then they are screaming at me because they love their oatmeal and don't understand why I am being so mean and not handing it over.

Do you guys have any tips for this novice mom and cook!!? I want to hear your back to school breakfast routine!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition

We are in the process of an Extreme Makeover!!

Big thanks to Penny Lane Designs for all of your hard work.

What do you think so far?

We'll let you know when we are back up and running!!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lessons I'm Learning on the Playground

This is our fifth place to move to in our four years of marriage. And I'm not talking down the street...we were married in Houston, moved to El Paso, Norway, Shanghai, Nanjing (also China) and now Canada.

Starting over and making friends seems to be part of our daily lives. But it is never easy. Each new place brings a whirl of excitement in the early weeks and reality sets in the following.

The "reality phase" is my worst nightmare. This is when I realize that I am still not home, I have (usually) yet to make my best friends, and I still (usually) have not set up my daily routine, errands and the normal stuff of life.

So, since our third move, my game plan has been to ride that Exciting Phase and figure out the city, meet as many people as possible and try to get into a few groups or weekly classes to build my new normal stuff of life. My current days are filled with exploring the city and all it has to offer and ,while Carter is sleeping, I am researching what else we can do.

Needless to say, we are spending hours each day at various playgrounds thanks to this fabulous blog, Calgary Playground Review. (By the way, if you've been searching for a meaningful blog to write, I highly suggest mimmicing that one. Helpful, needed, useful and positive.) In China, we did not have the luxury of clean air, grass (or gravel, or shaved tire/wood chips), splash parks, or even many playgrounds at all! So, I know we've got some catching up to do!

It has been so much fun watching Carter explore all of these new things everyday. And in our most current journey together, he has been giving me a few lessons on making friends. Here are a few:

1. It's okay to say "Hi" to random people. Carter will bend down to the other child's level, look them directly in the eyes and say "Hi!" I love this. Friendly, open, respectful.

2. Don't be scared to just jump in the fun. I notice that Carter will watch the other kids on the playground. He usually seeks out a pack of older (wild) boys and just runs over to them, stands right in the middle of their group, and run whenever they run. Granted, he can't keep up or do most of the things they can but he tries and isn't intimidated. Why can't we, as adults do that? Just jump in where you want!

3. Who cares what you are wearing? Yesterday, our my plan was to go to the park, then the Farmer's Market for some green beans. Carter planned to go to the park, play in the splash pool in his jeans and polo, then go to the Farmer's Market and dance to polka music in only his diaper and crocs. I can hide behind my own fear of getting out there, by not having the appropriate outfit on, or not looking my best. Lesson? Who cares...or always be prepared and look your best. I guess it depends on who you ask!

4. Take the Risk!! He freaks me out daily. My child always wants to try the Ages 5&Up activities out there. I try to coax him to attempt something simple, "safer" or really less high. But, I end up spotting him with butterflies in my tummy. He surprises me, because he can do it. It takes a few tries, maybe a few days, but he wants to do these things. So he does them. When does this stop in life? When is it that difficult tasks are put off and the easy ones fill our time? He is stronger, more confident and joyful because he has done the work...and taken that risk!!

5. Trying something on your own, can often mean meeting new people. Carter doesn't care if everyone on the playground knows each other except for him. He plays. He talks to them, he joins in. By the end of the play, he has usually found a little buddy to watch and copy (because that is what friends do at 18months!) When in life does this become a fear? Being the outsider is a difficult feeling for me to cope with. I try to bring a friend or Hubby to something the first time before doing it on my own. When really, like Carter, the time I jump in alone, I come out with having met someone new!

I love the innocence and fearlessness that comes with lack of age and experiences. Don't you? I wish we could just hold on to that forever!


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