Monday, February 10, 2014

New Blog

Thursday, February 6, 2014

You know you have a Mommy Blog when . . .

  • You make cutesy graphics (that are perfect for pinning) with photoshop, picmonkey, or picasa 
  • You have given sage advice on breastfeeding, teething, and/or sleep training 
  • You have pictures of your kids plastered all over your blog
  • There is a variation of the word mommy in your blog name or header 
  • You've written a lengthy essay on why spilled milk will most definitely make you cry
  • You frequent babycenter or another parenting site between posts
  • There aren't just recipes on your blog. There are recipes that are ideal for hiding veggies.
  • You've written a post that linked back to one or more mom-authored blogs
  • You have written review posts about diapers, formula, and/or toys
  • You've used your blog to defend your parenting "style"
  • You try really hard to come up with content that isn't centered around your kids only to end up writing a lengthy expose about what a blessing your kids are to you
  • Strangely, other moms seem to be constantly drawn to your little corner of the web
  • You try to brainstorm for content ideas and everything revolves around breastfeeding, preschool, and/or other controversial topics like electronics in the home and organic food
  • You distract the shortest people in your home with their favorite organic greek yogurt or homemade edible play-doh so you can check into your latest blog hop or link up 
  • You know what a blog hop or link up is . . .
  • You know the meaning of this gibberish: AP, Ped, DH, Ferber, CIO, BM, EBF, Latch, EP, FF, GMO, MIL, PnP, Crunchy, VBAC, SAHM, SAHD, WAHM, WAHD, NFP, TCOYF, TTC, POAS, PPD, Mobile, DTaP, Montessori, Common Core, Nuby, Boppy, Bumbo, Moby, CD
  • You use made-up, cutesy names (possibly following a theme) to represent your family members
  • Some company sent you baby stuff to review
  • Your primary topics include things like . . . whatever moms discussed in PTA meetings in the 90s, whether it's better to be modern or old fashioned, and more pressing matters like how to organize seventy thousand toys
  • Your top priority is your family and your personal blog has become just one more outlet for expressing that
  • You just can't be put in a pigeon hole. "Mom" is a title that includes so many different people. "Mom" is now the simplest description of you without using ten thousand words
  • You're carving out your section of the web just so you can enjoy networking with other moms and learning about different lifestyles in order to better your own.
  • You have 15 trains of thought in your head at any given moment anyway . . . might as well write (or type) it all out!

<3 <3 <3

Is there anything you'd add to this list?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I love Ted Dekker

     Have you read this brilliant man's books? I'd be surprised if you haven't at least heard his name. He's written more than 30 novels. He's a New York Times bestseller. Two movies were made based on his books.

     It's been far too long since I read Dekker's work. I think the last book I finished was Adam or House. I have always been more into sci-fi fantasy, historical fiction (IE Lord of the Rings and Sense and Sensibility), and poetry. Although, I adored Nancy Drew when I was younger. That's about as close to the mystery thriller genre I got. My husband told me about The Oath many years ago.

     Dekker is absolutely genius with plot. Every moment seems to be constructed to make you feel like you're walking side-by-side with the characters or watching through a peephole in the wall. He doesn't junk write. If you think you like those fluffy vampire books these will totally blow your mind. When a book can make your heart race, your eyes fill with tears, or jump out of your skin .  . . that's when you know you're reading something great.

   I used to finish those books in just two or three of days. The suspense kept me anxious.I picked up BoneMan's Daughters and The Bride Collector at the library. I'm really hoping to dive into them soon.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Rosemary Olive Oil Crock Pot Bread!

    Yes, that's no mistake. Bread made in the crock pot. I'm not 100% thrilled with how this turned out but it's all on me and there are a couple of easy fixes. I found this on Host the Toast through pinterest (click the link for the recipe). I bought a little too much flour and yeast over the holidays so I've been on a mission to find some fantastic breads so I can start making it at home more often. 

     Don't worry, even without it being perfect it is VERY good. The directions are very specific and easy to follow. The bread is soft, dense, and just the right texture.

     I think I let the dough rise too much. I'm not a pro baker. I dunno. Someone out there that does, please share! It sure is a funky shape. It fell a bit on one side during baking/cooking/crock-potting. Maybe it was the parchment around it. I'm not sure. I followed the directions and it was nice and round when I put it in. It may have been fine without the second rise. Again, not sure.

     I'll be trying again to find out for sure. I also used dried rosemary instead of fresh. I'm not a fan of the saltiness on the top but I do think I'd brush some butter over it to get the crispy crust and golden color without broiling.

   This is awesome for two reasons besides being delicious (and it is! husband/kid approved!). #1. It's very simple to make. #2 It goes in the crock pot so the oven is free for other dishes . . . like, say, dessert.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

How We're Learning About Money

     I mentioned in my recent post that we've been starting up some "homeschool preschool". In case you didn't read it I'll say it again. We're super laid back right now. Compulsory age in our state is 5 years so I didn't have any real plans to do real focused work until then (September 2015 for the regular school schedule). A lot of what is involved in preschool and even kindergarten are things we do right now anyway.

     However, I'm not taking classes this semester so I have that time to spend doing other things so we've been doing a little bit more here and there. Our library is my favorite resource. It's close. It's free. We can get as much material there in a month without paying a dime compared to what you could get in a typical year-long curriculum.

     I really like the Pebble Plus books. They cover so many subjects and they are full of vivid pictures and are never to wordy. I've also discovered the money and math books by Rebecca Wingard-Nelson. These are very similar to the Pebble Plus books. Lots of pictures and easy-to-read bold font. The others weren't available when we made our trip so we went ahead and got this. You can find them on Amazon here. They are available in paperback or for Kindle!

     This one in particular is a little beyond my kiddos (rated for 6 years old or first grade) but they seem to be enjoying it nonetheless. We're also working on counting to 100 with Bitty Bug (almost 4) and to 20 with Sweet Pea (2). Doing it at the same time makes things easier. Some people like to use cheerios or fruit loops or crackers to practice counting but . . . my two seem to be a little distracted by that! Coins work well. If you don't have any change laying around a trip to the bank is a perfect opportunity to teach them what a bank is and all that too!

     We've been doing a few different things to learn. I try to keep it interesting because I know when I was a kid I got easily distracted when things were monotonous. Learning really doesn't have to be that way so I avoid that when I can.

Counting Together
It's as simple as it sounds. We count together! Either I start and they follow or we take turns with evens and odds. At rest time, I have them close their eyes and count with me. They have to keep them closed if they want me to keep counting. It works surprisingly well to help them settle down. If I were to have them count sheep they'd probably try to discuss the life story of the sheep and pretend their hands were sheep and tell me about the sheep sleeping in the floor and so on.

Making play-doh numbers
This is simple and fun. You can form numbers by rolling the dough and shaping it OR use a knife or cookie cutters to cut out the numbers. It helps littles to learn the shapes of each number by manipulating the dough. It is also helpful for getting those double-digits (or higher) down since you can put two or more numbers side by side. This works great for the alphabet too!

For older ones: Use this for learning place value (hundreds, tens and ones). Use a different color for each place value. Give them the number and have them make the right digit with each color.

Easy example: One-Hundred Twenty-Three.

Learning about the coins
Pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters! We aren't just learning the denominations. We're also learning how many of each make one dollar. I actually had to brush up on my knowledge (blushing over here) so I could properly inform my almost 4 year old when she asked "Who's that?" and "What's it made of?". Good grief. We used the I Can Count Money book to match our coins to the pictures.

(They kept asking for the bills and saying "and then we can just keep them". Ha! Smart girls. Didn't happen.)

This combines counting with the coins. We had a little ziploc with our spare change waiting to go to the bank in the junk drawer. We just used those. We sorted all the like coins into piles, made them into stacks (great for those fine motor skills!), and then we counted how many we had.

Doing things like this is a lot more fun and a whole lot easier than just counting pictures on a page in a book. It only took a couple days of these little activities for BOTH of them to really get the hang of it. Actually adding coins together and counting is a smidgen beyond them, of course. When the time comes though all of this will help, I think!

   I'd love to hear other ideas! Sometime I'm going to buy a bag of candy and have them sort the candies into muffin pans. (I'll post about it when I do!) Maybe some pink MnMs to keep things relevant. ;)