Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Books of the week

So, I don't know if this would be helpful for any other mom's of toddlers out there. But, I decided to start posting our favorite books of the week (or whenever I get around to it) as we check out new ones from the library.

With a toddler running around and a parking meter counting down from my 2 hour limit after story time and craft I find it hard to do much in the way of methodical picking out of books when we are at the library. So, we pretty much get the luck of the draw when it comes to books. Sometimes we get really terrible ones but most often I'm pleasantly surprised at the little treasures we find. It is always really interesting to see how Jaden reacts to the different books and which ones he chooses as his favorites.

Last week I thought the Monster Truck one was going to win out. But, by the end of the week, these two ended up being his "most requested."

I have seen LOTS of blogs about incorporating different activities and craft projects with the books you are reading. We're totally not there yet. We just read books! Like I said, I can't really get my brain and time around that level of planning - and I find the children's section of the library hard to find what I want in. Maybe that's because I'm wanting to look by topic when I should be looking for author - for books that have good recommendations.

If anyone has any suggestions that are easy, quick, and foolproof, I'm all ears!

Here are last week's favs.

Jaden loved this one and it was pretty fun to read. I was surprised because about the middle of the week he started telling me the story at times when he thought of it - even when we didn't have the book around. He would "read" his version of the story from memory and then expand into some other silly story he made up as he went. Developmentally this was surprising to me because he had never done anything like this - and he was getting pretty creative!

Tucker's Apple Dandy Day
I chose this one because we were GOING to start learning letters this week. A - for apple! But, it didn't happen - and probably won't formally happen for a while still. But, he loved this book anyway. In fact, today my new nickname became "Tucker!" and Jaden declared that "we need pick apples and make an Apple Dandy pie!" I haven't found an apple orchard in these parts yet - but I told him that we could go to the store and buy some apples and he could help me make the pie like Tucker helped his mommy. He was pretty excited about that! I guess I better add it to my to-do list this week!

I love seeing how reading is expanding his creativity, vocabulary, and spilling over into his imaginative play! AND, it hasn't even been hard to implement! Just get some books and spend time READING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Can of Worms

I got this idea from this wonderful blog

Pulling "worms" out of a can with tweezers.

It was kind of tough with the tweezers and WAY too easy with the fingers. So, despite high hopes, this activity lasted about 5 minutes. But, it cost about TWO CENTS (if that) so it doesn't really matter.

I think I would try this with a younger child (18-24 months) and forget the tweezers. It all depends on your child's development AND their willingness to follow rules like "ONLY with the tweezers!"

What you Need:
- an empty plastic container with lid
- a scissors or something to cut holes in the top
- pieces of yarn with knots tied in the top
- a tweezers

Kid Friendly Paella

I have gotten a LOT of great recipes from Annabel Karmel's book "First Meals"

I'm guessing I shouldn't just write out her recipe here - but I would REALLY recommend this book for anyone struggling to come up with healthy meals for kids who can be picky!

This version of "Kid Friendly Paella " had chicken, shrimp, and sausage, reice, red pepper, peas....and a YUMMY YUMMY flavor!

We've had it twice now and we WILL have it again!

Pretend Car Wash

Since Jaden LOVES cars AND playing with water and bubbles I knew this activity would be a HIT when I saw it here.

We set up a pretend car wash with stations for the cars to
- get "dirty"
- be washed and scrubbed with soap
- rinsed with clean water
- dried off

It didn't turn out exactly that way in the end - but he did have fun!

Getting the cars "dirty"
Beginning to scrub them
Dipping them and scrubbing them in the soapy waterrinsing and using the rag
continuing to scrub - even in the drying position

What you need:
- some foam vehicle shapes. I cut mine out of foam sheets by making an imprint with some truck shaped cookie cutters I had.
- washable markers for getting the trucks "dirty"
- a few bowls/tubs for soapy water and rinsing water
- a few items to clean with. We used an old toothbrush, a scrubber and a washcloth
- a few towels for spills. I put one down on the table and a few down on the floor.

While I thought this activity would last for a LONG time, it only held interest less than 10 minutes. But, we played with the shapes again at bathtime and we have them for another day!

My Silly Guys

The other day Jaden was diligently trying, trying, and trying to get a pencil behind his ear.

I couldn't figure out why and then I remembered that we had been at the office with Daddy earlier in the day - and he often has one tucked behind the ear.

After finding a smaller pencil and getting it behind th ear they had to go look in the mirror.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Platanos Asados - Grilled Bananas

So, by request, here are the simple steps to yummy Grilled Bananas.

These could also be done on a campfire. I'm thinking they would make a super yummy camping treat!

- Place bananas in peel onto grill.
(I did mine over medium heat)
- Grill for about 10 minutes, turning halfway through.
(I'm not too sure how long they were on total. I think about 12 minutes.)
- When they are blackened and soft take bananas off of the grill.
(I had some trouble judging on this one but 2 of my 3 spilt open so I knew they were done. They look kind of scary but they have to be blackened to be soft enough)
- Split the peels open top to bottom
(Like I said, some of mine were already split)
- Smoosh the ends together to open the split kind of like you would a baked potato.
- Spoon sweet and condensed milk on top.
(I used approximately 1 Tbs for each banana)
- Sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Best eaten with spoons!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dinner Success

I LOVE it when the contents of my kitchen spill out an idea that comes together in a FAST, SIMPLE, YUMMY, and pleasantly surprising way!

Tonight's dinner plan was leftovers. Not bad. I just didn't feel like that.

So, I looked around for about 5 minutes and ended up with

Green Chile Cheeseburger Quesadillas


Sorry, no pictures!

For the Green Chile Cheeseburger Quesadillas I just sprinkled some seasoning salt on some frozen mini hamburger patties. When they were cooked, but not overdone, I placed two of them on a tortilla, added some green chile strips (leftover from yesterday's meal) on top, added a slice of muenster cheese to each patty, sprinkled some shredded cheddar cheese over the top, and folded the tortilla over. I grilled the whole deal on low for about 2 mins, CAREFULLY flipped it over, and let the other side of the tortilla grill a little bit too. Stephen liked his with salsa, I ate mine plain.

For the bananas - see the link above! SUPER easy, YUMMY!!!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fun with Cousins

After our return from Mariachi tour 3 of Jaden's cousins came to stay at Grandma's house for the weekend. We tried to help out a little bit in the entertainment department and ended up having a ton of fun!

Adventure #1 - Bowling!
Getting our bowling shoes on
Bethany strutting her stuff
Waiting for the balls to come back up
Abigail discovering the fun of the ball ramp (to help the smaller kids actually get the ball all the way down the alley)
Jaden thought it was pretty cool too
hilarious actually!
and after each roll he would sprawl out for what must have been the best view of the ball heading down to the pins (or water bottles - as he called them)
Adventure #2 - Jungle Jaks

Jungle Jaks was a cool indoor park sort of place complete with places for kids to climb, run, jump, and play.

there was the foam factory where you could send foam balls up through tubes and shoot them through the big guns in a dodgeball type war
lots of places to climb and big slides.

They also have a toddler section,
where a train lover like Jaden just hung out and played with the Thomas Train table

an art section where kids can create cool things to take home,
Bethany painting her ceramic figure
Abi & Jaden painting with stencils

This was Jaden's first time with paints. He LOVED it so I think we're going to have to figure out how to do this in a "mess controlled" way at home!
see that concentration!

a beauty parlor where you can dress up or get makeup and hair done,
Abigail the princess
Bethany choosing her makeup and "glitter tattoo"
Abigail getting her hair done
(I hear she wouldn't let her mom take it out until it all fell out over 3 days later!)

bumper boats,
and a few Wii games to play with! (we didn't get that far!)

Of course, like any good business, only certain things come WITH your entrance fee, the rest (and of course the most desirable) require purchasing additional tickets.

We had a lot of fun - and learned a few lessons along the way.
So, after me realizing that girls really are very different to reason with, engage, and encourage than boys (and older kids require a much different strategy than a 2 yr old with an amazingly long attention span)
AND a few lessons in "managing your tickets"
AND a few meltdowns over "why you can't do more of certain activities after you chose to use your tickets elsewhere"
AND discussions about "why it might not be nice to swangle your 4 year old sister out of one of her tickets so you can buy something you could have had BEFORE you used some of your tickets on something else"
we all had a lot of fun!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mariachi San Pablo - Tour NE 2010

What seems like eons ago now we went on yet another long trip of the summer with Mariachi San Pablo. This time the tour was to Nebraska. For me, one of the BEST things was that several members of my family were able to come see the group play because it was at least a LITTLE closer to home. Only one family member other than my parents had ever seen the group anywhere except our wedding! It was SO good to see all of them even though I was SO BUSY the whole time they were there I didn't get to see MUCH of them! That also means I hardly have any pictures of them because I was SO DARN BUSY the whole time they were around! They were a HUGE help in taking care of Jaden so I could run sound, helping at our sales table, and running our exhibit booth at a simultaneous convention and I dearly love and appreciate EACH of them.

Since I'm TOTALLY playing blog-catch-up still I didn't put tons of time into this slideshow - just the basics of some of our adventures.

The gist -
16 days
2600+ miles
16 performances
for 2000+ people
in interesting places like - churches, parks, nursing homes, trailer park, parking lot, state penitentary, and meat packing plant.

Here are the pics!

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Book We're Loving

We found this book, Driving My Tractor, at the library this week.

I grabbed it since it was about a tractor (a major area of interest for Jaden right now).

It comes with a music CD. I have to say, it's been a while since I've seen a children's book that is this well done! The music is great, folk-style, and it just makes you want to dance. The artwork is also really fun, colorful, and enjoyable to look at (over and over and over again!)

We picked the book up on Wednesday afternoon. I think Jaden had it memorized by Thursday morning! It is the #1 requested bedtime book in our house and needs at least 3 readings through to count.

Jaden's even singing along and it is ADORABLE! We might just have to buy this one!