Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Waiting for Miss Brenda

A quick snapshot of Alex waiting to meet her teacher at school this morning. All geared up and ready to go on her early morning hike!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Carrot!

Alex enjoyed a real after-school treat today. After planting an entire packet of carrot seeds this spring, we harvested....get this...ONE carrot. It was promptly enjoyed!
Alex's snack-time buddy. He's technically not allowed on the table when we are eating, but he looked too regal to shoo at this moment in time.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Penny's Baby Brother

Well, since Alexandra is going to be getting a new baby brother soon, we decided that Penny the goldfish also needed a baby brother.Introducing 'Busy Beaver' (he's the black and yellow one in the lower left corner).......Dave and I have NO idea where this name came from, or why it is the one that stuck.The two fish get to know each other. Don't worry-- we were assured that 'Busy Beaver' was too big for Penny to eat.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fairy Ring!

We got home from Alex's 3 year old photo shoot today, and found that our yard had become a portal to another land!! We've been blessed with a fairy ring. Apparently the fairies heard about Alex's Fairy Tea Party next weekend, and have been coming early to prepare. According to legend, one is not supposed to disturb the ring, so Dave agreed to mow around the mushrooms (plus, one doesn't really want exploding spores all over one's lawn, now does one?). Hopefully it will still be intact for the party, but even if it isn't we have some good photos!
Waiting to see if the fairies will appear!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Acorn and Leaf Gathering

With another full day stretched out ahead of us, Alexandra and I headed to a *new* nature center- Tamarack Nature Center in White Bear Lake. While I think we'll remain loyal to Carpenter NC (it's closer and has an apple orchard!), we enjoyed the change of scenery and had a beautiful walk (despite the 50 degree drizzle). We were on a mission to gather acorns (there are no oak trees in our neighborhood!) and beautiful leaves. We also found two feathers and some beautiful wildflowers (Sky Blue Aster??)which all made their way onto our new Nature StringBoard that Gramps made us for a 'combined' birthday present.
Acorn project to follow soon! :-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Day Off!


On no-school days it seems like we have so much time to hang out at home! We always get some studio time in, though. Today Alex helped me organize my embroidery floss. I hate dealing with the tangles from the skeins, so we cut up some old paint chips and used them as bobbins. I was quite surprised at how quickly Alex became adept at winding the floss around the cards. It has been raining all day long, but Alex was raring to go outside and play. At this point of my pregnancy I don't have a rain jacket that will actually zip up over my tummy (and Dave took his to work with him), so I set up a little 'viewing area' by the sliding glass door and watched her play in the rain from the comfort of my kitchen. Is that cheating??
She had a lot of fun playing with 'Miss Kitty' (who is not only her well-loved security toy, but also is developing into an imaginary friend). She ran frantically back and forth across the yard, telling Miss Kitty "No, no, no. You NEVER go over there without your Mama. I'm your Mama." Then I was informed that Miss Kitty was not following directions and had to have some 'alone time' in her room. She spent the rest of the time splashing in the puddles and eating the last of the cherry tomatoes off of the vine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear


We've been eating 'porridge' on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings (Alex's preschool days). Not only is it super-easy to throw in the slow cooker the night before, but Alex loves the ritual of getting out three bowls in the morning. Fast, filling and delicious for the beginning of a school/work day!


Slow-Cooked 'Porridge' (Technically Oatmeal) for three

-1/2 cup steel-cooked oats (we use Trader Joe's brand because they are half the price of the 'fancier' Irish brand oats!)
-2 cups water
-pinch salt

Combine and cook overnight in slow cooker (I use a smaller Corningware bowl inside my CrockPot, surrounded by a water bath so that the oatmeal doesn't burn in the large area). In the morning add a splash of half and half. Top with brown sugar and raisins to taste. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Magical Cow...

So I stopped at Goodwill today (and fought a THRONG of people buying huge quantities of shoes and jeans...apparently it was 'blue tag day'?!?) and found an unmarked bag full of big chunky wooden puzzle pieces. Not knowing exactly what the finished product was (or if all the pieces were there), I looked at my purchase as a $1.50 investment in an afternoon's entertainment for Alex and myself.

Any clue??

Turned out to be a handmade cow and unicorn puzzle. We were painting with our new watercolors earlier, so I let Alex make her new puzzles 'magical'. She had a great time, and painted for about an hour!
...and a photo of Al's earlier 'masterpiece'! :-) She worked so hard to cover all the white on the paper! We LOOOVE our liquid watercolors!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mama's Birthday Broom!


When I spotted my birthday present at the Ren. Fest this weekend (crafted by the artisans at 'Broomhilde'), Dave was a bit skeptical. After all, he's been trained since the beginning of our relationship that a cleaning product (regardless of how 'cool' it is) is NEVER an appropriate present for a birthday, Christmas or anniversary.

I rescinded my 'rule' this weekend, and I'm so glad he was flexible. Technically I consider this another art piece for the house. Here's my beautiful new 'cobweb broom', which basically means it's child sized, so my little minion can do the housework.


Minion with broom.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The 'Llama-sans' Festival

Grams and Gramps took us to the MN Renaissance Festival this morning (or as Alex referred to it, the 'Llama-sans Festival')- and our fairy princess got the royal treatment!
Professional Face Painting (complete with glitter and a pink jewel!)
Wand Making (pink, pink, pink!) A walk through the Enchanted Forest
Playing with Auntie in the Secret Garden

A giant pickle.

Entertainment (I would like to note that Alex thoroughly enjoyed herself at the Fire Carnival AND Knife Throwing shows, even if it made Dave and I a bit nervous about what behaviors they were modeling for her-- she seemed content with the explanation that they were 'magic' and that's why they were allowed to do those dangerous things)
A pony ride
and.. the perfect way to cap off any 'Llama-Sans Festival'.....a llama ride! This actually looked really fun-- she had her pick between an elephant, a camel and a llama and she chose the most exciting--who knew that llamas were so squirrely!
We stayed from 9 until 2-- quite a long day for any fairy princess, but an extraordinarily long one for Alex. She fell asleep in the car on the way home (first time in about 6 months!) We'll definitely need a few 'down days' to balance out all this excitement, but it was worth it!

Early Birthday!

Grams and Gramps came up from Iowa to celebrate Alex's birthday a bit early. She was only too glad to open up her presents.
Her prized possession-- a Glinda costume for Halloween (I'll have to hem it a bit....)
Using her new liquid watercolors (I admit to being just as excited to play with them as she is!). She got straight to work trying them out!
Thanks for a fun weekend, Grams and Gramps!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fall Nature Table: Phase One

Well, the leaves haven't started falling yet, and we are all set to gather acorns later today, but here's a sneak peek at Phase One of our Fall Nature Table. I made the little fall gnome at Parent Handwork day when Alex was in class on Wednesday. Alex and I made the felt leaf garland during 'downtime' yesterday.




Alexandra decided today was 'Poncho Day'. Isn't this poncho that Grandma Mary knit darling?


As promised, the 'apple shirt'.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Apple Printing

Inspired by the 'Twig & Toadstool' blog (which I love), Alex and I decided to take advantage of our morning together (kindergarten is only M,T,W) and do some apple-printing.
We have an apple-based storytime tomorrow at the Nature Center, so we thought we'd make a t-shirt that she could wear there!We started out by reading a lovely story about apple stars that was printed on the T&T page. Alex was enchanted by the tale of the fairy and the apple sprout.
Then it was time to get to work. By happenstance, we had two crabapples left over from our last trip to the Nature Center, and they were JUST the right size for little hands to print with. We cut one in half along its axis, and one in half along its equator. Alex carefully painted the apples red and green and printed (very neatly!) her shirt. It will be unveiled in tomorrow's post.After the shirt it was time to get down to the fun part-- messy printmaking! I also cut up a little yellow potato into basic shapes to add some more 'stamps' to our arsenal. She had a great time! Enjoy her semi-shouted commentary below:
video

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rainy Day Painting

Alex got all geared up for a rainstorm this morning, and it's a good thing-- her kindergarten takes the kids outside regardless of the weather! I actually stayed at the school today and joined a parent handwork group (where I created a little autumn gnome for our Fall Nature Table....to be unveiled soon), which will be a really good way to make some connections. It seems that our family straddles the Conservative Christian world and the 'semi-crunchy' Waldorf world (not that they are exclusive, but they certainly have their political and social differences). This makes for an interesting and very informative life!
After her rest today, we took some time out to paint and work in the studio. I've been feeling like I haven't been spending much quality one-on-one time with her, due to her preschool-lunch-nap-dinner schedule. It was great to have some creative time together.

Battling Marketing: Simplicity Parenting Style

This week's SP Post-

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten


...which sounds WAY strange to say in reference to an almost three year old, but that's what it is! No tears on either side and now I have a glorious three hours to get 'stuff' done around the house before I go to pick her up. Updates after school!

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Updates: When I picked Alex up her teacher commented that she was exhausted. She had a great day, though-- on the way home she regaled me with nonstop chatter about everything she did. According to Alexandra the highlights of her day included the nature walk to visit the 'smiley chickens', pretending to be on an airplane with Miss Brenda, eating brown rice at snacktime, washing five apples, and playing outside on the slide. Day one can be considered a success!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lawn Games

Brad and Michelle came over for dinner this evening, and we all spent some time playing bocce ball. Despite the heavy balls, Alex did quite well maneuvering them all over the lawn. Can't beat lawn games when the weather is cool and beautiful!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ski Bunny in the Making

We hit the annual Hoiigaard's Tent Sale today to try and score some boots and skis for our little ski bunny. Nobody warned us about the mass chaos that it would be! Luckily we had a very patient (and excited) Alex. We eventually got her a pair of ski boots for 50% off! How great is that??Unfortunately they didn't have any teeny tiny skis left, so we'll continue on our quest in order to have her fully geared up by first snowfall. She was a tad sad to leave without skis in hand, but the free popcorn stand outside the tent soon made her forget all her disappointment! Dave also scored half price lift tickets to Afton Alps, so these two are all set for a fantastic Daddy-Daughter winter!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Chicken Restaurant

Today was a VERY special day! Brad is back from Israel and his sister Michelle was visiting, so we all went out to Gastof zur Gemutlichkeit for a fun evening of schnitzel, beer (well, at least Dave did), and accordion playing.


Alex danced in her seat the entire time, and was absolutely delighted when the accordion player allowed her to push some of his buttons! She also performed the Chicken Dance (which is why she now refers to this restaurant as "The Chicken Restaurant").

Prost!

Magnet Board Update

Yeah....well, I'm sure some of you saw it coming. Alex had her dry-erase board in her room for approximately 24 hours before losing it. Apparently rules are not 'on' when ones' bedroom door is closed.
So.... thanks to Magic Erasers and a warm soapy washcloth I now have a clean toddler, a clean toddler bed and a wall devoid of a fun drawing apparatus.
Sigh... :-)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Singing about dinner

video

Magnet Board Madness

Alex has been eyeing Justin's magnetic strip (in lieu of a bulletin board) for weeks now, so we decided to check out the 'back to school sales' sales at the office supply store today. She opted for a magnetic dry erase board for her room.
Not only will it be the source of countless art projects (don't worry--she already knows that if she draws on anything but the board that it will be removed until a later date), it also gives us a great spot to review our alphabet.
I was shocked to find out that she knows 100% of her uppercase letters/sounds and about 80% of her lowercase letters/sounds. Goes to show you that these little sponges absorb everything, even when you don't 'think' you're teaching it! Fun times to be had by all-- until sometime in the future a little brother gets into her room and draws all over her walls with dry erase markers-- but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.