Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tugging on Heart Strings

I hope no one is getting tired of all our Valentine’s crafts – I have a few more to post! This idea came from the Feb 2011 issue of Family Fun (great magazine, I dog-ear at least 10 pages each issue which is my criteria for keeping a magazine subscription).
Deck the halls with pink yarn hearts...fa la la la la!
If you want to read the full saga and get the recipe for the homemade cornstarch glue, I posted it on my other blog. I know most of you are here for your daily dose of Claire cuteness -- not a step by step tutorial of cornstarch paste making, but on the off chance if you want to make these at home, off you go then!
Homemade paste! A semi-success if you count the mess I avoided in the pan!
While I was busy messing with the paste Claire was cutting up the yarn. She’s still getting the hang of the whole scissor thing and snipping yarn was a low frustration way to practice.
Almost ready for a quick bake in the oven (we were too impatient to wait overnight for them to dry)
January 20112
Snip, snip, snip!
The final product makes a super cute hanging ornament. Alternatively, you can wear it like Claire - and I must add I was immediately reminded of Flavor-Flav and his oversized watch necklaces upon seeing this morning! Heehee!

Do tell if you have a secret recipe for homemade paste and glue. I suppose it won't be secret anymore but I will be forever grateful!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lil' Letter Caper

I strongly believe play is the most important learning a three year old can be doing. That said, I have a kid who is endlessly curious about letters and writing (and books obviously). Claire quickly learned all the sounds in our alphabet over the summer (short sounds for the vowels) and now I’ve introduced the letter names. I didn't follow any formal program -- I just wrote a few letters on the board before breakfast and pointed to them while speaking their sounds. That's it! Our phonics approach seems to be working because we were goofing around with some stick-on letters and I found this:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Through Her Eyes

I wrote shortly after Christmas about Claire’s excitement after receiving a digital camera for Christmas from her Aunt Nikki and Uncle Matt. I finally got around to taking a look at what she’s been photographing and I laughed out loud at many of the images and marveled over the beauty of the “everyday” she captured. I’d like to think I was looking through her eyes at things that are important to her: family, friends, animals, her special toys and favorite places in our home…

Claire Camera Pics1

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Westward Ho!!!

>>> Regina has cholera. Would you like to push on or rest for three days?

If you're a child of the 80's, I'm sure this game has a place in your heart. I remember vying for computer time amongst my fellow classmates intent on guiding my wagon full of family west to the promised land. I was so excited to purchase the newer version complete with primary source material scanned in for my students back in 2004. The graphics had improved immensely, although I admit the original had a charm all its own.

Here's a great read about the unlikely start and success of this educational software, and the efforts of its creators to make it historically accurate: THE OREGON TRAIL: HOW 3 MINNESOTANS FORGED ITS PATH

Do you remember this game? What was your chosen field - farmer, banker, carpenter? Did you join a wagon train or rough it alone? And most importantly -- would you push on or let me rest as I suffer from cholera?!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Family Portrait

Claire has been drawing these fantastic people for a couple of weeks and I just had to share this family portrait. I especially love her mohawk hairstyles and the carefully chosen hair colors. Can you tell that we are all wearing shoes? I (on the left there) am even wearing my glasses! I'll have to post more of these, they are just cracking me up!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How to Make Homemade Apple Chips

DSC_0177  DSC_0246
Yummy! A crunch, sweet Valentine’s Day that's not loaded with sugar – what a delicious, simple and healthy afternoon treat these were! Package ‘em up pretty and I think they’ll make a lovely gift for someone special.

Valentine’s Baked Apple Chips

Thinly slice apples (really thin, or you’ll be cooking these for HOURS). This would have been a good time to whip out the food processor but I was lazy.

Lay out your slices and put your kid to work with some heart shaped cookie cutters. If there isn’t too much “core” or seedy bits, the punched out hearts can be baked too! Dip all the slices in some freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent browning (optional). Claire loved the dipping…and licking her fingers after each dip (guess, we’re keeping these for ourselves!)
January 2011
The food photography is just for you Caca, step by step LOL!
We baked the apple slices on some parchment for an hour and 10 minutes in a 250F oven. Some of the thicker slices took a few minutes longer. Once they are lightly browned, pop ‘em out of the oven and let cool. They’ll crisp up in no time and are totally delish.

They also make fantastic love goggles:


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ornithology 101


What do you get when you combine a snowy morning, tons of sunflower seeds and our very first non-fiction book checked out from the kiddie section at the library?

A very happy Claire who spent the morning counting birds at our feeder and marveling that her feathered friends had their very own book! Is she too young to begin studying for an ornithology degree? The book we checked out was "The Pebble First Guide to Songbirds" and it contained nearly all the birds in our area with little factoids about each species. There were a few of our frequent visitors missing -- Junco, Tufted Titmouse, Red-Breasted Woodpecker -- so I might have to improvise a guidebook of my own one of these days.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Front Door Valentine's Wreath (and why you should consider using our back door)

I do believe that everyone needs a glittery, poofy pink wreath on their front door.

This is probably proof that I've been sniffing too much polyurethane while finishing our staircase.

Three stairs down and at eleven to go...I'm sure there will be lots of crafty goodness to share in the coming weeks as this home improvement project wraps up (or as I get tired of sanding). I've got to keep this kid occupied so while I'm slaving away, Claire's been whipping up some Valentine's Day decorations.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

Claire and her new favorite game, "Singing Contest." She croons from her bed while Dan and I sit in chairs and bop along. Most of the songs consist of one word (princess, penguin, instrument or alphabet are recent favorites) repeated over and over (and over) in different monotone rhythms. She seems to have Caca's gift for pitch.

We clap as directed and smile, lots of smiling.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oh, that's for the birds!

I have to admit to housing all sorts of experiments in my fridge (both intentional and unintentional, green shrimp, anyone?) but this hodgepodge of lard, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, cheese and bird seed was a success, albeit a messy one. If birds could talk I'm sure they would be raving about this recipe. Yet another thing to add to our many bird feeding stations!There seem to be lots of tutorials for similar bird suet on the web but I liked this one for two reasons, I had the stuff on hand and the recipe came from reputed wildlife organization so I figured we wouldn't poison our feather friends. I was inspired by the recipe here and saw the cute mold idea here.

The cast of characters, do NOT melt the lard. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our Nature Table

Children are natural collectors, and I'm guilty of the same thing myself, often arriving home with just as much "treasure" in my pockets as my daughter. Rather than discourage our little naturalist-in-training, I carved out some space on an end table to display whatever bounty Claire snags on our nature walks.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Future Photographer?

Aunt Nikki and Uncle Matt gifted Claire a digital camera for her birthday and she couldn't love it more! We've been teaching her some photography techniques, first - get low and try to shoot at your subject's eye level. The tummy wriggle is especially effective when trying to creep next to the grandparent's elusive kitties.

Review your images, but keep in mind the LCD screen does have its limitations, look for composition rather than exposure. I'm still learning that lesson myself.

Claire demonstrates with cousin Aidan the tenants of excellent child photography: get low, shoot lots, no flash and let the baby see themselves on the screen.

I might have to give Claire her own little corner of this blog pretty soon. The camera holds 1000 images and many are worth sharing. It's interesting to look through the photos and see the world according to Claire. There are shots of me cooking, the colored threads in the braided rug she loves to look at, a stack of crayons, the polar bears she photographed (on my Ipad) after watching "Go Diego, Go!" and lots of other interesting objects from her perspective.

Claire's corner has a nice ring to it, perhaps I'll make it a section to share her artwork and the "notes" she's been busy writing.


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