Friday, July 31, 2015

Ballerinas and Fig Picking

Today we woke up early to go to Winnie's dance class. She looks forward to it all week. She loves dancing and loves her teachers Aunt Abby and Aunt Jennifer (my sisters in law own a dance studio.)


One of my favorite things about her dance class is that she gets to see lots of family, aunts, grandmas and cousins while there.


I also love the teaching style where it isn't the Olympics and they aren't put down or pitted against each other, they are there to have fun and to learn to follow instructions and to foster their imaginations and express themselves. They dance to real music and they love it.


It has increased her confidence so much. She KNOWS she is a good dancer, which may or may not be founded in reality, but her first class, she learned what she was supposed to learn and succeeded and I think that is so important in a first learning experience.



Another upside is that I get to watch 2,346,789,000,000 dance shows a week with 45,678,900,000 different costumes.



When we got home from dance class we did some fig picking. These cute Levi shorts and Baby GAP tank top are both from ThredUp! You can check out their Raise a Hand for Teachers Program here. Just another reason why I love buying from them.
 

There were a bunch of ripe ones.




A freckly fig for a freckly boy.





Then we decided to make Fig Jam!



It was delish! 



I didn't take a picture, but fig jam is AMAZING with french bread and Brie cheese!!! So good!!!


It was a good day. It was a nice treat to have fruit from the new house so soon after moving in and enough to make jam for us and Grandma too!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Home Day

Today we decided to have a lazy day. It may seem like we have a lot of those, but with a family baseball game, a sleepover and a crazy move we were due for one.

I woke up this morning and Winnie came and snuggled in bed with me and I started reading this book. I'll make sure to post the story behind it and a review when I'm done.


When Arch woke up, we cut into our orange honeydew melon and made...


Cheese Blintzes!! Haven't had these in a while. My Dad used to make them. They were delish!

 
This handsome guy got his breakfast in bed.
 


We did some book reading. Winnie is getting good at reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, she likes the part when he turns into a "Big Fat Caterpillar!" and also she likes to correct that he goes into a chrysalis and not a cocoon because her brother taught her that. 

 
Then we had a living room dance party. This photo is courtesy of Archie. There was a little "Bad Blood" and "All About That Base" involved.


Winnie did her solo ballerina dance to "Just Like Heaven" by the Cure.


We found a ripe fig on the tree.


Our cactus flowers bloomed.


Archie listened to "BFG" by Roald Dahl on Audible. Its the first audiobook I've gotten for him and he absolutely loves it. It was Dallas's favorite book when he was little. 


A brief run to the old house and then a stop at Joey's house so they could play with the cousins for a few minutes while I did a store run. 

Then we made some chilli and had Grandma over for dinner. 


We wrapped up this irrigation for the little tree orchard which I am pretty proud of :)



Things are starting to come together now that we are finally finished moving out of the old house. We can put things together in the new house and start enjoying the last few weeks of our summer!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Moving House

Sorry I have been absent the last few days, we have been preparing the new house to move into and then moving into it. Today is the first day we have internet! Hooray!

The new house is definitely a fixer upper, not everyone will be able to see the potential, but I do and I'm very excited about it but also know its a lot of work. Its our little California Cottage.

I'll show you pictures as I fix up each space, I want to show more, but it is such a disaster, I can't bring myself to post them! Not until I at least have stuff put away and remove the giant pile of cardboard boxes from my front porch!

Some of the best things about the new house are that we have a good amount of land, that we have lots of fruit trees,




and have room for a garden, we have a grey water system, we have room for chickens which we will probably be getting soon, the house is older and so it has that charm that I love such as built in closets, crank windows, etc.




Some pics of the kids finding the eggs that the previous owners left for us.




 

Some of the bummer things are no AC, but its also kind of good because less on the electrical bill and also the house is very breezy so it hasn't been a problem and its July! Small kitchen/no dishwasher. I tried to create a fantasy in my mind with how fun it could be to hand wash the dishes while listening to audible, but it was a fantasy. We are definitely going to get a dish washer or at least a bigger sink!

The kiddos rooms are bigger. Our room is small which is kind of nice because our last bedroom was so big it became the kids playground with small toys as booby traps to step on in the middle of the night and all.

I am most excited about the room which will be the library! I want to get a couple of wing back chairs in there, floor to ceiling shelves with a sliding ladder. I seriously think I could fill the (future) shelves with just the books I have right now.

In this moving adventure which is not quite complete yet, I learned a few things:

  • If you are painting your new house until midnight for a week straight and there are spider webs that didn't come off when you wiped down the walls, just paint over them.
  • Aubible is your friend while painting and moving. I listened to The Girl With all The Gifts by M.R. Carey and it was easily the best book I've listened to this year. Such a great reading too by Finty Williams.
  • Moms are the best. My mom helped us to paint, watch the kiddos, she was simply amazing. It got me thinking about how, being a mom isn't just for when your kids are little, its for when they grow up too and even when they have their own kids, even when they are 31! Dallas's Mom too. I'm so thankful to have both of these wonderful Mamas in my life and I am inspired to strive to be able to do this for my own kids when they to are grown one day.
  •  Moving sucks, no matter what. But putting stuff away isn't so bad. Its a nice chance to reorganize things and declutter and to work out new systems for old habits. 

More in the near future about the new house as we get settled in!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Evolution for Kids

So the other day, I gave Archie the most awful explanation of human evolution, humanly possible.

It went something like this:

"Mommy, how did the first person in the whole world get here?"

Me: This is the big moment, I can't mess this up! I turn down the music, because this is important stuff.

"Hmm, well. We all started out as mud, wait no, amoebas, do you know what that is? And then some of the amoebas were able to live longer because they had arm shaped blobs on them and this made it easier to collect their food and so when they had babies with another amoeba (OMG this is so wrong, amoebas can't even have babies (or arms) but am I supposed to describe cell division/fusion, uh, just go with the babies, we can correct the details later when he's older, its the general theory that matters), they had longer arms because their mommy and daddies did. Then some had sort of like eye type things and so were able to live better because they could see their food and so the ones without eyes died and that only left the ones with eyes... (OMG seriously! And do I have to say this about every single body part!? I'm, already exhausted) and eventually the amoebas turned into other animals and then they turned into humans!"

Archie: "Is that what you believe?"

Me: "Uh yeah, its a little more complicated than that, but basically yeah. (Already given up and determined that I have to find a book for this ASAP because I just ruined my son's critical thinking skills.

Archie: "And what do some other people believe? Jesus?

Me: "Well, some people believe that God put the first man and the first woman on Earth and then everyone else in the world is their baby and their baby's baby and so on." (Wow, that sounds WAY more plausible than that amoeba crap I just told him!!)

That night I did some research to find the best kids books that could help me to repair the damage I had done to my son's mind lol.

After reading reviews from various blogs and on Amazon, I decided to go with these three: Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story, Older than The Stars and I Wonder.

I was so excited when they finally came in the mail! Before reading them, I was most excited about Our Family Tree which turned out to be great.



After reading though, Older than The Stars was my favorite. It starts from the beginning of the universe as opposed to just life on Earth (as in Our Family Tree) so it talks about the big bang, the stars, the sun, etc. It has a cool rhyme going on in it too!


I Wonder is great too, but it actually poses more questions than it answers because it celebrates wonder in its own right and explains that some things we will never know for sure and that's ok. Beautifully illustrated.


All three books were really good and complement each other. Archie listened raptly to all of them and asked all the right questions. But if I had to choose just one, it would be Older than The Stars.

Now Archie has a basic understanding of words like proton, neutron and DNA and they make sense to him. They explain the things he's been wondering about!

I'm guessing that nobody else will be quite as bad at this explanation as I was, but just in case, these books may help :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Fried Bananas, Candyland and our Favorite Book

My Dad used to make fried bananas for me when I was little when we would visit on weekends. I still love them. They might not look like much, but they are so yummy fried in just a little bit of butter.

Recently I've been making soft boiled eggs. Never having been very good at frying eggs, the yolk always busts or the egg sticks to the pan, when I read about how to make a soft boiled egg here, it sounded a lot more like baking than cooking to me!

I am so much better and baking than I am at cooking and now I am so much better at soft boiled eggs than fried eggs!


Once again, inspired by Paper to Petal: 75 Whimsical Paper Flowers to Craft by Hand, the book we played with the day before, I remembered I had an old paper making kit in the garage that I haven't used since forever! I thought we would pull it out and make some pretty paper!

The kiddos shredded up bit of scrap paper, 



 

picked some pretty petals that we could put inside our paper, 


and then we blended it all up and brought it to the bathtub. Yes this is my toilet in this picture.


We put in our pulp and flower petals and swished it all around on the frame/screen,

 
we sponged away all of the extra water which took a little bit of patience, 


we rolled the sheet between some absorbant paper, 


and finally we ironed it. 


Here is our first piece of paper!


The kids decided that they had to stay still for way too long to make paper, so they went crazy on the trampoline, posing their high jumps for me!




Then we played Candyland. Archie won. Winnie was less than ecstatic about that.


We made some scones because we couldn't get the ones we made for Grandma Bitty the other day out of our minds and then we went to the porch swing and read our favorite book. Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature.

 
My kiddos have a LOT of books. This is because my Dad has them in a bookclub where they get books or puzzles every month which they are very lucky to have. They appreciate each and every book they get. Archie told me the other day that he loved the smell of books which made me really proud. In the new house we are building a small library, so we are carefully hoarding as many books as we can so we can fill the not yet in existence floor to ceiling shelves that are only accessible by sliding ladder.

 
This book is my absolute favorite kids book. It just has the most beautiful illustrations,


the most magical descriptions of each of the seasons and the various life cycles that occur within them,



it is so beautifully written and illustrated and it really portrays the magic around us every day in a such a poetic way,



from worms,


rainbows,


tadpoles, 



dandelions, moths, bulbs, migration. Its got it all. I love this illustrator so much that he has become one of my favorite artists. If I could have huge prints of his art plastered on the walls of my house, my life would be complete.
When we were done reading and eating our scones, Rapunzel played in her tower and let down her hair. 



Then she morphed into Tinkerbell, sprinkled pixie dust on the trampoline and showed us how it made her fly.


"With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?" -Oscar Wilde