Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hallowe'en Picnic

Toddler turned Shrek
Eyeballing the 'eyeballs'

Friends of ours gathered in the park Sunday for our Second Annual Hallowe'en Picnic.
A great way to get the bunch of kids together, see how they have grown since last year, welcome some new little ones and take pictures of children trying to break free of their cute costumes!


O had a week of costume changes (for a kid who doesn't like her clothes on, she sure does approve of dress-up time!)

Harry Potter

By far, Harry Potter is my favourite!

Harry Potter with "Canada" hat and bathing suit ranks pretty high too!
So original!

We opted out of the candy & chocolate department, but finally found a cupcake O gave a thumbs up to! 

Not-so-spooky Bunting

 Simple Hallowe'en Bunting
Retro Ribbon

With Hallowe'en a few days away and a toddler in the house, we are keeping things as scare-free as possible. Bunting is definitely one of the trendiest party decorations these days, but it also fits nicely into everyday decor (particularly for wee interiors.)

I cheated big time on the back.
My Granny used to tell me stories of mean Old Lady Barton, a nun she knew as a child. Old Lady Barton always looked pristine on the outside, but underneath her skivvies were held together with safety pins.
And so it is with this bunting. 
It looks sharp on the outside, but the retro ribbon is hiding unfinished sheared edges and stray threads!
Here's to Old Lady Barton Bunting!
Happy Hallow's Eve!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Vegan Bites: Rainbow Salad

Versatile Rainbow Salad

Use any variation of veggies your family likes, for this versatile, lettuce-less bowl.
1 cup diced... 
~red, orange, yellow peppers
~corn niblets/baby corn
~cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 limes, juiced
salt to taste

Eat plain.
For a one-bowl meal, add to one of the following..
~or mixed beans

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vegan Bites: Pretzels

We've been working pretzels into our Saturday morning "Strawberry Juice" tradition.
After our juice date, the three of us meander into the local bakery so O and Dabby can split a pretzel.
This weekend we decided to try our own pretzel-baking attempt with the help of Instructables
The results were yummy!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Waldorf-Inspired Wood


Our apartment complex had the above 5 branches from a tree stacked near the garbage last week.
Being my fathers daughter, I have no trouble delving in the garbage for treasures that I think I can salvage with a little creativity! However, this particular time it was my DH who finally got the guts to just take them, after I was pining for them every time I walked by!
First O and I went out to the balcony on a beauty of a Fall afternoon, to give the branches a power wash.

Then on the weekend, we measured ten of each 1, 2 & 3 inch pieces for Dabby to saw.
One 7 inch piece will serve as a threading log.
It smelled like Christmas!

Lastly, I took some sandpaper and smoothed out the bark.

We found some cute wooden animals so we will include these in the canvas bag with the pieces of wood for imaginative play. You can add other elements like small and large pebbles, shells, sand, plants etc. to expand on the type of theme evolving from play.
The possibilities are endless...
~outdoor fairy homes
~safari-inspired play
~natural habitats for animals
~math games (using the different heights)

Vegan Bites: Fruit & Seed Bars

Omega~Filled Goodness

Weelicious is recipe site for families, with a focus on appetizing food for wee ones. 

Admittedly, I ONLY make recipes that are simple. 
I don't mind if there are loads of ingredients, but I like as little fiddle & prep as possible. Though the site is not strictly veggie, the brilliant mom who writes includes recipes for all kinds of special diets that are the norm these days. 

O and I are the Veg-Heads of the household. 
I get a lot of questions about how healthy our diets can be once we eliminate all animal products, but truth be told, we actually eat a healthier variety than my husband, who is a meat & potatoes man.

This recipe was a hit this afternoon. We recently bought our first jar of Sunflower Butter and it just so happened that is exactly what Weelicious' Fruit & Seed bars called for. We used cranberries, raisins and dates for the 'dried fruit' component and once we are out of Sunflower Butter, I would easily sub in tahini.

See recipe and fab mom's website here!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Shade & Light Portraits

 Toes... the afternoon sun...
...between tantrums;)

O was basking in the afternoon light today.
She asked me to sit next to her in the sun.
This was a breakthrough, since she seems to be turning two a lot earlier than her birthdate and we were resting in the valley of tantrum mountains at that moment.
So these pictures remind me of the calm, that comes after...and before...the storm;)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Stones & Shells

 Coral Candlesticks
 Bumpy Vs Smooth

 Coral Puzzle
Ice Cube Tray 

Sensory bins are a great, cheap option for exploration.
We collected some rocks from our neighbourhood and brought home shells and coral from Thailand.
Since O has been sick, these 'quiet' exploration activities fit the bill for playtime.

She uses the coral 'sticks' often and usually they become candlesticks for playdough cake.
She loves to point out the smooth and bumpy sides of the shells and stones.
Slowly but sure, she is learning how to place a single shell in each compartment of the ice cube trays, but the best part of this activity remains dumping them out.

Sensory Bin Genius remains Tinkerlab Mommy. She has sensory bins for everything you can imagine and some lovely holiday themed ideas.

Cheap & Easy. No need to look further than your own home. Check out your kitchen cupboard, tool box and junk drawer for safe exploration items. Cater to the child's age keeping in mind larger items for the baby who loves to put everything in their mouths, but consider small things like nuts and bolts for your older inquisitive type! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Beads & Buttons

 Beads & Button Discovery
 Stringing Beads
 Counting & Colours

There are multiple teaching opportunities with a simple bowl of beads and buttons.
1. Tactile discovery (O loved running her fingers through the pile.)
2. Fine motor skill practice (stringing on pipe cleaners is perfect for toddlers, avoiding the frustration of slippery string.)
3. Classification (beads vs. buttons)
4. Counting & colour classifying (EXPAND with visible math equations and colour patterning)
5. Size (recognizing large, medium and small)
6. Sound (tin vs. plastic. EXPAND add them to old pill bottles for music shakers)
7. Fine motor skill practic (placing them back in their bag).

When baby is all through, there may even be a bracelet to gift a friend;)

Magnet Match

Garden I Spy

Find our Friend

The little critter lurking in our succulents yesterday inspired us to start a Garden I Spy project.

1. Take your camera for a nature walk or to the park.
2. Look for insects hiding in the environment.
3. Take a snapshot & develop pictures for flip book.
4. Mount on card stock and hold together with binder or key rings, so you can add to the collection.
5. Add info on the insect on the back.

Stay tuned for our I Spy progress.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Toddler Tales: Fish & Fever

Poncho Puppet & Fishies

Home sick day.
Not my favourite kinda day.
I pulled out our Fishing Game upon request of the toasty, little teary-eyed toddler.
As I immersed myself in a game of 'catching' magnet fish, O decided she would march over to her bear puppet and toss him into the 'sea'.

"What is bear doing in the sea?" I asked.
"Smelling fishies armpits." O replied.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Very Happy Thanksgiving

 Mini Pumpkins with Names
Baby Landry's Planter

My little sister is growing a baby!!

There is nothing nicer than a baby on the way, so said sis and hubby sprung the fabulous news to our family over Thanksgiving weekend. Since we are far away in the East, we got very crazy over a Friday night phone call!

We celebrated Saturday with a little turkey and friends. But we couldn't leave Baby Landry out of the festivities, so we made him (I think it's a 'him') a little pumpkin of his own.

Then yesterday O and I left in a few seeds, added some soil and hopefully within a few days, little pumpkin Landry will be sporting a lovely green 'do! O thought it would be nice to lick his name partly off first!

Huge congratulations to my little sis and brother-in-law, who are about to have their hearts spin!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Toddler Tales: Lida Armpit

Meet Lida Armpit

Olivia calls herself "Lida". 
We like it so much, we often call her that ourselves, thought the short-form becomes Lid, which I have caught myself calling her!

There is a whole slew of questions the little thing can answer.
"What's your name?"
"How old are you?"
"How old will you be in December?"
"Two!" (with a BIG SMILE!)
"Where do you live?"
"Gina" (which translates to "China" and also "vagina", depending on the context.)
"Which country are you from?"
"Where does Maya live?" (her first little friend that moved away this year.)
"What are your friends names?"
"Maya. Ella. Cai." (She obsesses over these cutie's!)
"Are you a boy or a girl?"
(This answer changes each day, depending on how playful she is feeling!)

Last night Dabby wanted to teach her her last name.
Since I did not take Adam's last name, he wants "Lida" to be clear what her's is (in other words, it is NOT Uren, it is Armstrong!)

He pointed to her arm and asked,
"What is this?"
"Armpit!" she replied!

Now, she is Lida Armpit!
Oh I am having a hey day with this one!

Surprise! Dabby's Birthday!

 Surprises in the Tee Pee!
 Birthday Breakfast Waffles
(heart-shaped waffle maker, courtesy of Baby Sarah B!)
 Sharing with the Photog
 Birthday Dabby & "Lida"
Blooper Reel

Today is Dabby's Birthday!
Let's make him a cake.
Stir and mix, mix and stir
Then in the oven to bake.
Here's his cake so nice and round,
It's frosted blue & white,
We'll put 33 candles on it, (and call the fire department!)
to make a birthday light!
(Fingerplay from "I Love You Rituals" by Becky Bailey)

Sift together...
~3 cups flour
~1t baking powder
~1/4 t salt
~1/4 cup brown sugar
~2 1/2 cups oat/hemp/soy milk
~2 T olive oil
Mix wet & dry ingredients (lump-friendly recipe!)
Pour onto hot waffle griddle.

Today O turns 22 months and Dabby turns 33 years old!
Let the celebrations begin!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Creativity is a Toddler

Cornstarch Paint Palette
 Paintbrush to tile
 Mixing Colour
 Boot Prints
 Paintbrush to sand-table
 (Painter pauses to discover drying cornstarch)
 Garden soil mixed with paint
 Baby Profile (because this is art at it's finest!)
Room with a View 
(Shanghai's Famous Pearl Tower)

We could all learn a little something from toddlers; do not fear your creative side!

As an adult, when I paint, I forget to let the painting evolve. I sketch a plan and add or omit as I see fit, but I very rarely veer from my original plan and open myself to free-flowing creativity. I often fear or forget to add elements that would be outside the box, create an extra mess or steer far away from my goal. How sad! Creativity is a process that should be evolving all of the time, without inhibition!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of presenting O with my first batch of SUCCESSFUL homemade paint. I used a recipe for cornstarch 'chalk' paint I found on Domestic Charm (through Pinterest)
Then I watched closely as O allowed the three colours to evolve naturally according to her thought process (or what I assume was her thought process!)

I just took pictures and did not add any input or comments.
She had a great time and took her job of being creative very seriously!

Photography! O is so comfy with having her picture taken, she is now a pro about how to point and shoot! We have an older camera that has died, so she always asks for this one to 'take pictures'. I read a great post yesterday from Crayon Freckles about giving your kids access to the (real and working) camera; IF YOU GIVE YOUR KID A CAMERA (taken from the popular story If You Give A Mouse A Cookie)