Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Three Little Bunnies

Alex had her friends Graham and Amelia over for a long-overdue playdate this morning. In honor of the upcoming holiday, Alex and I made the girls matching shirts and Graham a coordinating one (a little more manly than pink stripes). Alexandra was thrilled to see her friends put them on immediately!! She talked about how they all had the 'same' shirts all afternoon long.
Alex and Graham are really fun to observe right now-- they're just passing the parallel play phase and starting to engage each other in conversation and games. I can't wait until all three kids are building forts and fending off dragons together!

We had another special visitor stop by too- a coworker from our days at Minneapolis Academy- Ms. Katherine stopped by to catch up and meet all the kids. She was a big hit, especially when she revealed the fact that the Easter Bunny had made an early stop at her house and left her with some pretty cool Easter baskets for three toddlers! Thanks for the visit, Katherine-- we had a great time.

Simplifying the Playroom

After reading some fantastic books about Waldorf education, I decided to redo our playroom to reflect our new, simplified, slowed-down life. (Even if it doesn't sound slowed-down, we really have!). If you haven't read the book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne, you need to go online and add it to your library request list (or Amazon shopping cart) immediately. It's a totally accessible guide to de-stressing life by creating an environment that fosters truly happy and healthy children.

So here's my attempt to 'calm down' our playroom. I thinned down the available selection of toys and created a 'lending library' of sorts in our closets that we can return/pull from as needed. I also found a great 'cubby' (a narrow bookshelf turned on its side) to house all our 'new' natural Waldorf toys-- shells, pinecones, sticks, stones, playsilks and clothespins. I hit Goodwill to find some small baskets to keep things organized in and also found a really cool wooden shelf that I mounted on the wall for Alex's homemade wooden animals.



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Zoo Day

We decided to brave the inevitable crowds (and crowds there were) and head to the MN Zoo to enjoy our first coat-free day out! Alex really enjoyed the prairie dogs this trip. They were having snacks when we arrived at their enclosure and she thought it was hilarious that they were eating carrots with their paws. :-)In honor of our zoo trip, Alex and I whipped out another altered piece this morning. She decided she wanted an 'owl tree' dress, so we looked through our fabric piles and found this beautiful print that GranMama had bought me for my birthday. It didn't take much yardage to cut out some cute owls and applique a tree on the front of a $6 WalMart dress. One happy kid.

Monday, March 29, 2010

First Picnic of the Year! (and a sad Alex)

Today's been kind of rough. For those of you who don't know, Dave has been in Italy for a week, and isn't due back until Friday. Thankfully my brother has been able to hang out and be a 'surrogate' male role model in Alex's daily life, but she still misses Daddy terribly.

She woke up this morning and declared herself "a little frust-er-ated and a little sad". She wanted Daddy to come home now. We managed to stay off some moodiness with a project- making some felt ornaments for the Easter tree.
After music class we came back and she played outside with Uncle Willy while I ran errands, then we all shared a fun FIRST PICNIC OF THE YEAR outside!

She did go down for a nice nap, but was once again in a foul and weepy mood upon waking up to discover that Daddy was still in Italy. It took a lot of cajoling, some pet therapy from her kitties, and a kite to finally get her to liven up and go back outside to play in the sun.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

Girl's Night Out!

Auntie Rorie joined us today for a Girls' Night Out! We headed out after Little Gym for a fun day of playing, shopping and dining! Here's our night in photos--
All packed up and ready to go-- Alex made sure to bring her purse just like Auntie & Mama.
We planned on lunch at the MOA, but after driving around the parking ramp for 20 minutes (spring break??), we headed to our second destination- Edinborough Park and the adjacent Residence Inn.
Auntie Rorie and Alex started playing right away while I ran to get some lunch for our picnic. Alex is lucky to have such a doting Auntie to follow her up and around an indoor climber!
After our 'rest time', we headed back out to the park (literally right through a door in the common area of the hotel) for a few bounces before trying the MOA again.
Success! Dave will be happy to hear that we managed to make money on this trip (kind of....I returned something worth $25 and spent $9).
Our normal haunt (Rainforest Cafe) was unbearably crowded, so we headed up to Kokomo's Island Cafe. It was a hit, and our new FAVORITE restaurant at the Mall. Alex enjoyed the ambiance of tiki torches, waterfalls and colorful frogs. Auntie and I enjoyed the scrumptious coconut chicken fingers and stir fry! After dinner we returned to the hotel and made one more trip to the park to play before bed. Auntie and Alex had handbike races (with only a few stares from other adults), and then they were both tired.
Alex had a pretty easy time falling asleep (once I was in the room with her), but she is a bit of a bed hog. Poor Auntie slept on the couch in the living room, and was a bit stiff in the morning. We enjoyed a really nice breakfast courtesy of Residence Inn and headed back to Woodbury.
Alex sang to us the entire ride back. Bet you can't guess what she's excited for:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Easter Tree

In preparation for our Easter celebration, Alexandra and I took this morning to do some prep work for our centerpiece. We started our Easter Tree display!

I cut the top off of one of our lilac bushes in the back (they make me crazy with my allergies, so I have to confess to liberally trimming the entire bush), and planted it in a large pot of earth. Hopefully it starts to bud soon-- it would be nice to see some spots of green on the branches!

Then we planted handfuls of wheat berries (given to us by our teacher at Waldorf school yesterday) around the base of the tree. It should be a field of green wheatgrass by Easter Sunday!
Our downtime in the next few weeks will consist of making ornaments-- felt chicks, paper flowers, painted eggs-- to hang from the tree. Hopefully this brings the feeling of anticipating Easter to the house. We're also doing a daily devotional where we read a small part of the Passion and string one bead every day. Lots to look forward to with the Resurrection close at hand! Spring flowers, Easter hares and the Redemption of Man!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Breaking Ground

Uncle Willy and Alex worked really hard today. They peeled back sod and broke ground for our new garden! About 10 minutes into some serious hoe work, I decided that it would be well worth it to rent a tiller from Home Depot. Hooray! That made the job go so much faster.... now we're awaiting the perfect day to fill in some extra black dirt & compost and soon, soon, we will be planting our seeds and seedlings!

Taking "a little break from work" !

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Felting Easter Eggs

So I posted about my newfound obsession for felting a while back-- remember- the beautiful dyed wool?? Because needlefelting involves, well, a needle, I needed a more kid-friendly way to enjoy our wool. I found it!
While this is still an adult-intensive project, there were enough steps that Alex could be a part of so that she would feel intrinsic to the operation. I got the steps for the Easter Eggs here.
We had extra eggs left over from Alex's Zoobilee egg hunt, so we started with those. You need to make sure they don't come apart, and we just used painter's tape to seal them.
Then you take your wool roving and stretch it to make four-layer 'bed' for your egg. Wrap the egg, pop it into a length of old pantyhose (I knew I kept throwing that ruined pair in the back of my drawer for something!), and throw it in the washer.
We ended up washing it twice to get it all nice and tight. Apparently you know when your eggs are done because the fibers start sticking through the pantyhose.
Remove the eggs from the pantyhose and dry! A nice sunny front porch is the perfect place to leave them while you go for a long spring walk. Enjoy your eggs!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Signs of Spring

We've been spending a good deal of time outside lately, and Alex is such an observer. Many times I will be discussing something with her, and she'll 'shush' me to say "Listen Mama- do you hear the birds?" She can identify the chickadee and the crow....I need to find some good bird song resources so that we can learn all the other calls as well! The other thing she is really honing in on is the development of the various flowers that have started to poke up their sleepy heads. We found these lovely crocuses in our neighbor's front garden!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Super Girls!

Alex and Emma (aka: The 'Super Girls'), shared a fun-filled, action-packed morning playdate. We felt like it had been way too long since we'd seen our friends!
Alex was very excited to give Emma her early Easter present-- a little homemade wooden bunny. We ended up 'wrapping' it in a quickly sewn bag (fabric selected by Alexandra). How cute did this turn out!? I think all of our 'small' presents should be presented like this from now on.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Starting Seeds

In order to have some healthy seedlings to place in our new garden in a month or so, Alex and I started some seeds this afternoon. She chose marigolds (actually to plant around our garden to hopefully deter curious bunnies), and sunflowers. I chose dill, rosemary, lemongrass, basil and beets. I know-- weird combination, right? We'll see what happens, but Alex had a great time filling the trays, planting the seeds, and giving them their first sips of water.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Preparing for Spring!

After moving last summer from our Prior Lake house (with a great garden) to our new garden-less Woodbury digs, Dave and I just about died EVERY time we had to go into a grocery store and PAY for tomatoes. We swore never again would shell out $$ for things we can grow ourselves!

Luckily, Costco had a nice raised garden kit that will (hopefully) solve our veggie problem. We managed to get most of the beds together and laid out today... (this will ALSO solve the problem of our back patio being the '50-yard' line for the neighborhood boys' football games-- I'm such a crotchety old lady).

So, the next few weeks will be prep-time. We need to till the ground, fill the boxes and start some seeds indoors. It's our goal to have strawberries (we also left a PERFECT strawberry patch for the new PL tenants to enjoy), tomatoes, lettuce, onions and a little herb patch. Alex is going to be my garden-buddy this year!