Wednesday, December 19, 2012

One-of-a-kind Christmas Dresses

I wanted to hit up Joanns great sale after Thanksgiving.  I absolutely do not need any more fabric, but of course I convince myself I do.  To bribe the girls into going with me and being amicable about it I offered to make them Christmas dresses.  It worked because they behaved great.

The girls picked out cute, but itchy fabric.  I didn't buy anything to line it, so they just had to deal with it by wearing t-shirts underneath.  I used the Spitfire Playdress pattern, which is super simple and fast and has sleeves for a bit of warmth.  The edging is a rolled hem.  I tried using the serger on Allie's dress and it worked great 2/3 of the way around the dress and then my machine decided it was done with rolled hems.  So I used the sewing machine for the sleeves.  Selena's fabric didn't really have enough stretch to get a scalloped rolled hem, so I just did a normal hem for hers.  The girls like the dresses and looked super cute in them.

They wore them to a Santa Brunch the grandparents took us to.  They got to talk to Santa and receive numerous candy canes from him.  It was great because there was no line and they got to talk to him for as long as they wanted.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree!

It was a cold blustery day when we went to pick out the perfect tree.  We headed down to Stocker farms where we got to chop it down, drag it across the field, pay a lot of money, tie it to our car, and hope it didn't fall off before we got home, which it didn't. :)  We like adventures.  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sewing Harry Potter and Hedwig Costumes

Every year I say I am going to just buy costumes, but the girls have so much faith and love in the DIY mentality that I can never say no when they start getting ideas for Halloween.  This year the girls went as Harry Potter and Hedwig.  Allie said she had never been a pet before.  

Selena's Harry Potter costume was pretty easy.  I used the Heidi and Finn Chic Everyday Coat pattern.  Added 10 inches to the bottom, added a hood, and flared the arm holes an inch or two. I used microfleece for the outer and a jersey knit for the lining.  The lining was a lot more stretchy than the fleece and kinda messed things up, but not terribly so.

For Allie's Hedwig costume I used the Heidi and Finn Urban Unisex Hoodie.  This is pretty much my go to Halloween pattern because it is lined and thus it is warm.  I used microfleece for the outer and jersey knit for the inner.  I sewed a bunch of semi-circle feathers down the front per looking at lots of owl costumes on Pinterest.  I extended the outer layer of the hood and put some stuffing between the layers to make the head a bit fatter.  Then I cut out the owl face from felt and used Tacky glue to glue it on.  A more authentic snowy owl would have had a black beak, but Allie wanted orange.  I also sewed some feathers onto the arms for wings.  I used the Willow Wayfarer Hipsters for Slimsters pants pattern (such a great and easy patter for a kids casual pant).

The kids were way too cute and had a ton of fun trick-or-treating with their cousins.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

We live right above the Snohomish River Valley and thus have the privilege of being within a few miles of at least 7 different pumpkin patches complete with corn mazes, hay rides, rooms full of corn kernels, cow trains among other tons of other fun activities.  We went to three different patches this year, but the only one I took photos of was our family outing at Bob's.  

They warned us the corn maze would be muddy, and we were all wearing boots and thought we were prepared, but it was your boots get stuck in the mud muddy.  We found remnants of other people's lost shoes in the mud.  It was a slow going adventure, and we only made it through half of the maze before we escaped and walked around it.  Both kids were tired of walking and there was no way we could carry them without slipping and falling.

The weather itself wasn't too bad, the freshly made donuts and roasted apples were delicious, and the kids were thrilled that they got to ride home in their underwear.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Educational Christmas Apps

If you are looking for educational apps for the classroom and at home you should join the Facebook group iTeach.AppsfortheClassroom .  All throughout the day sales and freebies for educational i Phone and iPad Apps are posted.

The iteachappsfortheclassrom blog also contains lots of great recommendations including this list of must have educational Christmas apps, in which Kids Christmas Pattern Game is included!  Check them out.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Free Christmas iPad, iPhone and Android app

I'm tired!  I've released three apps in four months. As soon as I wrap up everything with this last one I am going to take a break!!  Please download it, rate it, share it with your friends, and maybe even buy one of my paid apps so I can get in the black and start paying myself for all this work I've been doing. ;)   

Help Santa retrieve his reindeer and elves who are on vacation by completing pattern puzzles.

WHO: For kids ages 4 and up. Some of the harder patterns may even stump some adults.

WHAT: 30 beginner ABAB patterns (ages 4 - 7), 30 intermediate level sequence and pattern puzzles including counting puzzles (ages 5 - 8), 30 advanced sequences and patterns (10+)

WHERE: Santa is traveling all over the world--England, France, Italy, Egypt, India, Antartica, Russia, Mexico, USA and the North Pole. This app provides some exposure to world geography with flags and famous landmarks.

For more info visit

Now on the App StoreGoogle Play and Nook Apps (TM), coming soon on Amazon Apps. 

Free Educational Christmas Kids Pattern Game for Android Free Educational Christmas Kids Pattern Game for iPad

Free Educational Christmas Kids Pattern Game for Nook

Friday, October 19, 2012

Allie's In Preschool

Well this post is late and Allie already has a month and a half of preschool under her belt. I was worried about her not liking it.  It was a new school for us, and all summer she was saying she didn't want to go, and she didn't like her teacher, and her teacher, who she had not met, was bad.  I drop her off for child care and activities at the Y and she enjoys them, so I was pretty sure she would like it given the chance, but her outlook wasn't making me optimistic.

After we went to the open house she said she thought she would like it, but she still would miss me.  The first day of school went great and she hasn't looked back.  When we drop Selena off at kindergarten on the days she doesn't have school she is always asking me why she can't go too.  I like the new preschool.  It is more child directed than the one Selena went to and there seems to be a bit more intention in the activities which I think is critical for Allie as she doesn't really like to be told what to do, or be interrupted in her creative endeavors.  I think she spends most of the time at the painting table.  When Allie and Selena are at home and Selena is telling me about what she does at school, Allie will pipe up and say what she did, she gets especially happy when they both do the same stuff.  She proudly pronounces things her teacher taught her.
Allie also requested to start gymnastics.  This was the first activity Allie repeatedly has asked for so I figured I should oblige her.  I did gymnastics for six years when I was younger and feel that it can be a pretty intense culture and wasn't sure if I wanted to subject my girls to it, but hopefully we'll be able to keep it all in perspective.  She enjoys the classes and does lots of good climbing and jumping.

She's been improving greatly on her tree climbing abilities--still working on the tree descending abilities.  There is a "crazy tree" on the trail on our way to Selena's school, so every day on the way there and the way home the girls shimmy up it, and then Allie gets lifted back down.

Her computer graphics skills are pretty impressive.  She has mastered most of the tools in Microsoft Paint and can draw some pretty neat pictures.  She helps out Selena when Selena gets stuck.  She continues to explore pbskids and starfall.

We found a new book series by Marie Louise Gay about a lovely little girl named Stella and her little brother Sam.  It's fun watching Allie's little face light up when reading the stories.

She enjoys cutting up fabric, paper, cardboard and yarn into tiny pieces.  Despite the hair cutting issues I have a hard time restricting the scissors as they are her favorite creative outlet.  She likes tying stuff up into knots.  She likes building with Legos and big cardboard blocks.  She likes playing with her baby dolls, dressing them and putting them to bed.  She likes painting and drawing.  We love our little Allie-gator.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Giveaway - Free iPhone/iPad Kids Math App

If you haven't already purchased a copy of my newest app Kids Pattern Recognition - Beginner (Preschool and Kindergarten) here are a few free copies for iPhone or iPad.  The first person to click on the link will receive the code.  Leave a comment to say which one you got.  Enjoy!


Friday, September 21, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten

Selena was anxiously awaiting the first day of kindergarten. A week or two before she was having a hard time going to sleep. She informed me that she was too excited, and going to kindergarten was like a dream come true.

While she was super excited I have been worrying that the school will not meet my high-minded ideals. I really struggle with the educational philosophy I have used over the past five years, compared to what the school does. My biggest worry, oddly enough, is the lack of recess and physical activity. Half day kindergartners do not have scheduled recess, and the rest of the school only has half an hour. I've been told by other parents, that the school tried to completely eliminate recess 3 years ago. They are not allowed to run on the playground. The minimal amount of active play, combined with the high stakes testing schools face, I am not convinced it is a psychologically healthy environment.

Contrary to all my worrying, I have been impressed with how efficient Selena's teacher is.  There are twenty-four kids in her class, but Selena has came home with all sorts of rhymes and facts, from how to put her backpack in the locker, to what compound words are, to the best way to place glue on pieces of paper.  She really enjoys it, and is absorbing a ton.

Other than school, the summer was busy. We did a few more track meets, and she learned how to pace herself. Her second race was a bit slower than her first, but her last race she ran negative splits and improved her time. I was impressed I have only ran a few races with negative splits, and never for a faster time.

Selena and Allie started a gymnastics class. We've had two so far, and Selena said that it was hard work. I have been impressed with her beam skills.

I have finally got Selena to sleep in her own bed. She is still in our room, but she has moved to a bed on the floor. The girls just keep on growing and we ran out of room for all of us to fit comfortably on the bed. The transition was pretty easy, which is surprising because a few months prior, she told me that she was going to sleep with me forever, even when she was a teenager, and even when she had her own baby they would have sleepovers every night. I guess she was joking. :)

We've been attempting to read some longer books over the past six months to a year. Some books she has liked but many we didn't finish. However in the last few months she has completely changed her mind on chapter books, and now she is begging for them. We started with the Secret Garden. I forget how it came up, but she was talking about a secret garden and I told her there was a book. She hounded me for a few weeks to get it, and finally I realized it was free on Project Gutenberg. I was pretty sure she wouldn't like it to do the antiquated language, but I was wrong. She really liked it and was asking for it every night. After we finished we checked out two movie versions and she watched those as well.

Next Floyd and I were talking and Floyd asked when I thought Selena would be old enough for Harry Potter. I said that it was something she would probably want to read on her own. The stories can be a bit scary so I figured it would be better to wait for a while. She overheard this conversation and became very enthused about reading it. We have now got through the first two and a half books in the last month. Both girls have been pretending to be wizards, casting spells, and plan to be Harry and Hedwig for Halloween. Allie doesn't seem to care for the books, and tends to wander away while reading, but even she has picked up quite a bit of the story.  I'm unsure how much of the series we should read, most people seem to recommend stopping at book three for a while. I've read the entire series twice, but can't really remember what happened in each book. I haven't seen most of the movies because I thought they were kind of scary and darker than I had imagined myself. I guess I'll probably have to do more research. :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Get a free iOS/iPhone Kids App for Preschoolers or Kindergartners

I'll be doing giveaways of my apps on my Corvid Apps facebook page.  There are a couple codes up right now.  Like my page to snatch free copies of my apps now and in the future.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

New Kids Math App Available on iPad/iPhone, Android, Kindle and Nook

After six months of hard work I finished my newest app and it is ready for purchase.  It is an educational game for kids around the ages of 4 - 6.  The game consists of completing ABAB and ABCABC pattern puzzles to save the good alien monsters from the bad alien monsters.  Learn more about it on my Corvid Apps website.

New apps get buried in the app stores and can be almost impossible to find.  If I can get a large amount of downloads right when it is released, there is a good chance it will be put on various featured lists and thus will result in even more sales.  If you want to do me a favor, buy the app, review it, and share it with your friends today.  Thank you!

Click the following links to buy:

iOS (iPad, iPhone and iTouch)Google PlayNook Apps (TM) and Amazon

Kids Pattern Recognition - Beginner (Preschool and Kindergarten) - Corvid Apps

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mullet Girl

I have been slacking on the updates.  We have been having a fun summer.  The weather has been wonderful and we are so thankful for it.  We have gone swimming, camping, hiking, kayaking, berry picking, and running among other things.

Allie is a terrific story teller and she really loves fairy tales, especially ones that contain The Big Bad Wolf (or a fox).  The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, The Gingerbread Man, The Little Red Hen, among a host of others.  There are oodles of alternative versions that we have read.  She isn't a fan of the ones where the Big Bad Wolf ends up being good.  She likes her villains villainous, and her good guys good.   Sometimes she likes The Big Bad Wolf to be successful, such as when he eats the Gingerbread Man, or gobbles up the pigs, and sometimes she likes the hero to be successful, like in one version of the three little pigs, where the third little pig cooks the wolf and eats wolf stew and makes wolf slippers.

One night I was telling stories and Allie wanted The Big Bad Wolf and Selena wanted Harry Potter.  So I told a story about Harry trying to transform a stuffed animal dog into a real dog, but messed up and turned it into The Big Bad Wolf.  The Big Bad Wolf was about to eat Harry, but Hermione came and saved him.  Allie didn't like that ending and retold the story where the wolf eats Harry and Harry's friends didn't see him anymore (granted she doesn't really like listening to Harry Potter so the point of her story was probably to try and aggravate her sister).

Both girls enjoy My Little Pony and for bed time stories I combined My Little Pony with The Enchanted Castle (by Edith Nesbit - great book, highly recommend it).  Allie really liked this angle and every night I had to incorporate the ponies and the enchanted castle.

Allie is clever.  She has been playing lots of pbskids and starfall and has a lot of really good reading skills.  She can spell and read "cat" and her name.  She is always repeating words and breaking them up into their different phonemes.  When I am reading Selena longer books without pictures, and she isn't trying to use us as a trampoline, she is scouring the pages for the words, "on" and "no".  She counts how many letters she can find, and points out "oo" words.

She is in a letter writing phase and has been sending lots of letters to Grandma Judy and Nana and Papa.  One day she was asking me how to spell some word and she sounded out the first letter, and then the vowel, which was a short a.  She asked me what letter made that sound, and I asked her what she thought.  She said, "e".  I told her to write it down, then she looked at me and said, "It's not e, it's a."  I guess she was testing me.

She also amazed me the other day with her problem solving.  We were trying to play the Cat-in-the-Hat game, but she had destroyed the trick-a-ma-stick.  We were trying to figure out what else we could use as a trick-a-ma-stick, when I thought of a pool noodle.  Selena went and found one, but we couldn't get it to stand up in an arc.  I honestly couldn't think of anything, but then Allie came up with the idea to use shoes as anchors.  It worked perfectly.  I was impressed.

Earlier in the summer Floyd took the girls to catch tadpoles.  They caught one tadpole and Selena named him Party.  We were taking very good care of Party, until one day when we were changing his water.  We had put him in a small bowl and were cleaning out his larger enclosure when tragedy struck.  I was trying to place the container back on the ground and Allie was in my way.  I told her to move and she accidentally tripped over the bowl Party was in, tipping it over, and Party slipped through the cracks in the deck and was gone. :(  There is no way to get under our deck.  The girls were extremely distraught over his demise.  Poor Allie wailed, "I made the worst mistake ever."  We went and caught two more tadpoles, that we successfully raised to frogs (at least I assume that is what happened to them when they disappeared), but we still missed poor Party.

We've been doing some all-comers track meets this summer.  Allie was alternately enthused and tired.  The first meet she tripped and fell every single race.  She was tough.  She checked her knees to make sure they weren't bleeding, and then finished the race.

She often complains of being tired, and she got sick with a fever and snotty nose for a while.  I had been less diligent about making sure she wasn't eating dairy.  This last week I have been better, and realized that I had been giving her things with traces of dairy when I thought they were okay.  I've removed those, and I think she has had a bit more energy.  Most of the time when we go outside she quickly says she is tired and wants to go back inside.  Typically she doesn't like to walk for very long distances.  But today we went out on the nature trails and she walked the majority of the time, and was even leading the way at points.  It wasn't till the end, when she was hungry for lunch that she started asking to be carried.  I worry about her low energy, and hope I can pinpoint something to make her feel better.

She did a summer camp with Selena at Selena's preschool earlier in the summer.  The first week she really enjoyed it and didn't want to go home.  Then she got sick and got to stay home and watch lots of TV.  The last two days of camp she was trying to fake sickness so she didn't have to go.  But the teacher's said she was happy and fine while she was there.

And once again she decided she wants to cut her own hair.  I was trying to grow her bangs out, but she wouldn't keep the pony tail in her hair to keep them out of her face.  I think she was getting sick of them, so she decided to cut them.  She only got a bit, so I told her if she wanted her hair cut, just to tell me.  Well she said she did want it cut, but this was right before Floyd and I were heading to Tahoe, and I had too much to do to cut her hair, so I told her to wait till we got back.  I forgot once we got back.  So she hacked her hair again.  This time she gave herself a complete mullet.  I took her into a stylist and got her a pixie cut.  Selena and her dad commented that she kind of looked like a boy, but she seems to like it.  We told her that she had the same haircut as AbbyWambach and she primped at that.  Then one day she says, "I want to be a girl again."  I told her she is a girl, but she insisted that she was a boy.  I offered to put a pretty barrette in her hair and then she was a girl again.  The next day she took the scissors to her hair again.  You'd think it would be easy to keep scissors away from her, but I swear we have between 10 and 15 pairs, and she is sneaky.  With the hair cutting and sticking peanuts in her nose and ears I am at my wits end. :D

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Building Without Nails

Welcome to the July 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Creations
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared crafts, recipes, and philosophies of creativity. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
One of the blogs I subscribe, No Tech Magazine, has a bunch of articles on ancient or old fashion ways to solve problems.  When I came across the article on lashing I knew I wanted to try it.  Selena loves to climb so I figured we could build her some monkey bars.  We aren't all the way there yet, but so far we have a swinging bar.

Here are some of the instructions we used.  I also used this YouTube video as that technique worked better for the tripods.  If you google lashing, lots of Boy Scout links come up.  Apparently they know all about it.

I ended up lashing sticks to the bottom of the tripod as well because when you swing on the bar, the whole tripod rocked and would collapse.  One problem we encountered is that the sticks aren't thick enough to stand on.  If you look closely at the picture you can see the remnants of a stick that was a victim to this use.

The girls helped pick out the sticks and helped hold string while I figured out how to tie.  I am sure this will be a better activity when they are a bit older and can lash stuff themselves.  Overall our contraption isn't the sturdiest.  I don't think I'd let children who aren't my own swing on it, but it is kind of cool, and making it into monkey bars will be fun.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Garden Soup — Bailey finds a way to help momma Katy (from Muse of a Daffodil) in the garden.
  • This One Time, I Tried To Make a Car — Ashley at Domestic Chaos tries once again to make something crafty from stuff around the house.
  • Pin-tastic creative ideas — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how Pinterest is inspiring creativity in her family this summer.
  • Baby Hiccups In The Womb — Alinka at Baby Web shares one of the ways she bonds with her unborn baby.
  • Turtle Mosaics — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school and her little family spend a quiet hour making a turtle mosaic inspired by the work of Melanie Mikecz.
  • Edible Art Plus 8 Art Supply Recipes — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares some natural, chemical-free art supply alternatives, which are gauranteed to be tons of fun for children of all ages. They taste great too!
  • A surprise art lesson — Tat at Mum in search has been taking art lessons from her 5-year-old son.
  • Memory Creation — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about how her family aims to create as many memories as they can as a family.
  • A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words — Melissa at Momma Beer tries to replace cars with crafts.
  • My Creative Family: Sometimes Messy, Always Fun — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM embraces the messes that sometimes accompany creative play but admits you don't always have to get dirty to have fun.
  • Fun Family Learning: Constellation Cave Tutorial — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter gives step-by-step instructions for building a fun new twist on a cardboard box playhouse.
  • Cooking... Kind Of — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings makes pizza with her daughter, hoping to inspire a love of cooking and encourage a bigger interest in food. As well as making mess and having lots of fun, of course!
  • Crockpot Refried BeansThat Mama Gretchen's family loves to experiment with new recipes, and today she's sharing a kitchen success!
  • Creating Memories — Andrea at Tales of Goodness reflects on how the best creations can emerge from just letting kids be kids.
  • Making Beautiful Things ... And Sometimes Just Average-Looking Ones — Tamara at Tea for Three looks for ways to add more craft and creativity into every day family life.
  • Making Fruit Leather Together — When Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work took some time to involve her children in the process of finally trying a fruit leather recipe stored on her Pinterest food board, she got more than just a scrumptious homemade snack as a result!
  • Making Glasses from Children's Art — Mandy at Living Peacefuly with Children used her children's artwork to make some very special glasses for her husband for Father's Day.
  • Preparing Family Meals Together — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares how she started the tradition of creating meals together with her children, which makes family gatherings more fun.
  • It's a trap! — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares the innovative snares her son and husband have set for her.
  • How To Make The Most Of A Very Wet Summer — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shows us the first few weeks of the Summer Camp At Home project for keeping boredom at bay.
  • Creating with... well, what do we have? — If necessity is the mother of invention, Momma Jorje thinks perhaps boredom is (or at least can be) the mother of creativity. In a pinch, she got creative with a household item to entertain herself and her toddler.
  • Creating Joy! Felt Counting Fish and other Fun — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle started creating Felt Counting Fish and then fell down the rabbit hole of fun with a number of other games.
  • I Am Going! (A Code Name: Mama Homemade Theater Production of Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie book) — This might be the finest example of child and baby acting ever recorded. Enjoy this Mo Willems treasure via video from Dionna at Code Name: Mama.
  • DIY Summer Sleep Sack for Baby Tutorial — Shannon at GrowingSlower made an organic summer sleep sack for baby, and you can too with her easy tutorial.
  • Chalk It Up! — Amy at Anktangle recounts how an impulse buy has turned into a fun collaborative activity that she hopes will continue to foster creativity in the whole family.
  • The Family Garden — Excited that her son has been a big help in the garden this year, Ana at Pandamoly shares how her garden grows and offers up some secrets on how a toddler can be a great assistant in the garden.
  • Getting my craft on — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Jona at Life, Intertwined takes a trip down memory lane — and finds it in stitches.
  • Easy DIY Sandpit for Toddler Play — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares her easy DIY toddler sandpit tutorial.
  • Building Without Nails — Laura at Laura's Blog builds a swinging bar using just sticks and twine.
  • Family Talent Show — Erika at Cinco de Mommy holds an after-dinner family talent show.
  • Ar matey! Fun and Learning with Pirate Play. Positive Parenting Connection is sharing lots of really fun Pirate-themed learning activities for the whole family.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Preschool Graduation

Selena is done with preschool. The school had a small ceremony where they handed them a diploma and announced what they wanted to be when they grow up. Selena said she wanted to study bugs.  She has been mentioning she wants to be a poker player like her dad, but bugs ended up being cooler.  One day she says, "I don't have to decide right now.  I still have a lot of time."  However I can't get her to agree that being a computer programmer might be fun.

She had a friend at preschool named Jacob.  Apparently Jacob is really funny and does lots of silly things and tells silly jokes, like eyeball jokes which apparently everyone in my family, except for me, but including Floyd, think are hilarious.  I felt sad that she wouldn't see him anymore, unless he happens to go to the summer camp.  She just shrugged and didn't seem too upset.

We've been reading some bug books, and made an earth worm home. We found this really cool book called Bug Zoo at the library.  It has all sorts of interesting bug facts, and how to take care of bugs you find.  Did you know that aphids can be born pregnant?

Floyd also took the girls to Willis Tucker and caught a tadpole.  Selena named him Party, because he stays real still and then swims out like he is saying, "Surprise" at a surprise party.

Took her to well child checkup and she is still very small, no rise in growth curves. She is in the second percentile height.  39 inches and 34lbs.  She tricked me one day by standing on her toes.  I thought she grew an inch, but then when I measured her a week later she shrunk again.  Apparently I shrunk too.  I always thought I was 5' 1", but apparently I am 5' even.

I begrudgingly vaccinate the girls, and usually do just one shot at a time, but she needed just two more for school, so we did them at once.  She was really tough and was almost about to cry, but was able to hold back the tears.  We did one shot a few weeks before and it wasn't a problem, so I definitely think doing just one at a time is better.

We took the girls to the Shoreline All-Comers Track meet a few weeks ago.  Selena ran the 50m, 100m, 200m and mile.  The 50m took her about 15 seconds, 30 seconds for the 100m, and 66 seconds for the 200m.  In the mile she took out a bit fast and pushed herself hard and improved her time by just over two minutes and ran 11:00.  She was so tired when she finished that she just lay down across the finish line.  I had to carry her off the track.  I was impressed, and kind of shocked at how hard she pushed herself.

We have been watching the Olympic Trials and she has enjoyed watching all the events.  She was impressed with the fact that I had done so many of the events in high school and college, and she wants to run and jump and do all the events just like her mom. Awww.  However it did make me feel old when I told her, "When I was in high school women just started doing the pole vault."  And, "I was the first woman at my college to run the 3000m steeple chase."  I had become the granny saying, "Back in my day..."

Selena has also been interested in math lately.  She was telling me to quiz her on addition and subtraction.  Then she asked me if there was any math with letters.  I started explaining Algebra to her.  She said she didn't understand it completely, but she thought it was hilarious that x would pretend to be different numbers. I also downloaded a Math Bingo app onto my Nook.  She could do the easy setting for addition and subtraction but she wanted to try the multiplication.  I didn't think she could do it, but she insisted, and she could!  I was amazed. She understood the concepts of multiplication.  She was counting out groups of numbers on her fingers.  She also understood the commutative property and how she could switch the order and it was the same.  Then she taught Allie the identity property of addition.

She also has been teaching herself piano, to read music, or more accurately the keyboard.  We went to the library to find books on learning how to play the piano and read music.  Unfortunately they don't really have anything good.  We did find a little tin whistle book that had all the letters labeled on the music, so she has been playing that and practicing the rhythms.

I love how she loves to learn.  I love how she embraces new subjects all the time.  I love how she demonstrates that self-directed learning works.

Also I have been practicing a pretty effective discipline technique.  I have the girls run to the end of the cul-de-sac.  If they are being grumpy and annoying everyone, or whining, or hitting.  I tell them that they are having a hard time controlling themselves and if they run they will feel better.  And it works!  Most of the time they come back inside and can handle themselves.  But sometimes it is a struggle getting them in their shoes and out the door.

*Picture was taken courtesy of Amy Stonebraker from Amy Stonebraker Photography.  Check her out!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Instinct - Embracing Your Birth Experience

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.

Embracing your birth experience is tougher to write about than it initially sounded.  I attempted to write this post in my thoughts, and every time I thought of a wonderful part of one of my births, I would qualify it with a not-so-wonderful part.  Then I would backtrack and say to myself, “No, this is supposed to be embracing the good, not the negative.” 

I am choosing to write about instinct.  The wonderful moment where you don’t think, you don’t rationalize, you just know.

I had a moment when my first daughter was being born.  I was in the tub, listening to my Hypnobabies scripts.  I had probably been in the tub for a couple hours.  I had thoughts drift in and out of my head about how long this would last, but at that moment I had an empty mind.  Suddenly I became alert.  I told Floyd to get the midwife.  I asked before I thought, and I can’t pinpoint what triggered it.  The midwife came in and she said maybe I should try going to the bathroom.  I got out of the tub, sat on the toilet, and then I felt pushy.   The moment I became alert and asked for the midwife, I knew I was completely dilated; no one needed to check me.  I knew something had changed, and I knew it before there were any outward cues or internal feelings.   It was instinct.

A moment I had in my second daughter’s birth was the moment I knew I was in labor.  The last month I had had tons of Braxton Hicks contractions and I had had weird crampy feelings that I couldn’t identify.  But when I woke up, that Sunday morning, I knew that the feelings I were having was labor. It had started and it was “real”.

Another moment was not my own, but was my youngest daughters’.  My memory is kind of fuzzy. It was the middle of the night.  I had had a caesarean and was tired, sore, and not mobile.  I had been instructed by the nurses to keep Allie’s clothes on so she didn’t catch a chill, but I must have taken them off.  I don’t remember taking them off, but I have a memory of a bare baby crawling across my chest, finding my nipple and nursing.  The majority of the time in the hospital I had difficulty nursing, but at that moment there was instinct on her part, and nothing to inhibit it.  I was half asleep, and didn’t appreciate the beauty of it, till much later, when the memory surfaced.

I can embrace those moments, and reflect in awe of knowledge not learned, but inherited.
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 12 with all the carnival links.)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Updated Coconut Milk Banana Ice Cream Recipe

I updated the Dairy Free Coconut Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Recipe with a custard style version for those who don't want to eat raw/frozen eggs. :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

They took all the trees
And put 'em in a tree museum 
And they charged the people 
A dollar and a half to seem 'em 
Counting Crows - Big Yellow Taxi

That song kept running through my head when we visited Humboldt Redwoods State Park in California.  The redwood trees were probably my number one sightseeing destination on our trip.  We drove up Highway 101 on our way back home so we could see them.  They were big.  We have Douglas Firs and cedars around here.  Both are big trees, but compared to the redwoods they now seem almost piddling.

The girls were really excited.  The first redwood we saw was the Chandelier Tree which was the only redwood tree that you can drive your car through that is still alive, or so the local gas station attendant told us.  The gas station was really funny.  The owner came out and pumped our gas for us and was very chatty.  Then a guy drives up in a pick-up.  He had long hair and an unbuttoned flannel shirt.  I guiltily admit I had a fairly unsavory first impression of him.  Floyd hollers for me to come over and take a look at his truck.  Apparently he had installed some sort of hydrogen generator in his truck to improve its fuel efficiency.  He wasn't a hick, but a hippy chemist doing experiments on his vehicle.

Anyway the girls were really excited about the redwoods and were yelling "Big trees, big trees" and running around like crazies.  After that Selena asked what else we were going to do.
I said, "See more big trees."
She said, "Can I climb them."
Me, "I don't think so."
Selena, "That sounds boring."

Fortunately we did find some old gigantic stumps for her to climb.  We drove through most of the Avenue of Giants.  It was impressive.  We stopped and walked around some.  I did a small jog.  I wish I had been able to go on a real run, but a lack of a shower for a couple of days made that idea seem like not such a good idea.  I think if I ran a race through those trees I could run really fast.  Their smell, and age, and massiveness just made me feel really energized.

We also saw the Dyerville Giant a fallen redwood that was the tallest tree in the world till it fell in 1991.  The root system on that tree was huge.  The trunk was gigantic.  Crazy.  I really would like to go back and spend a couple days camping there.

After the readwoods we headed up through Crescent City on our way home and saw a huge elk herd that apparently hangs out there.