Thursday, May 31, 2012

Smoothie Girl

Smoothie, smoothie popsicle, and a big mess!

Exploring, Again

Peeper and I visiting a nearby children's museum today, with the MOMS Club.

For funsies, you can go back and see our photos from last year's visit, and the year before.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Oatmeal Strawberry Bread

After we got home from our strawberry picking adventures, one of the other moms posted on Facebook that she had strawberry bread in the oven. That sounded so yummy that I had to find a recipe and make some myself. She said she was using one from, so I tried there and found this recipe for Oatmeal Strawberry Bread, which I then modified.

Changes that I made:

  1. Halved the recipe, to make only one loaf. This shouldn't be significant, but when you have change the amount for you, it only changes the ingredient list at the top, not the text instructions.

    The original recipe calls for 3 cups rolled oats, and step one says to put in 1 1/2 cups. (You're saving the rest to sprinkle on top.) So I put in all 1 1/2 cups that the whole recipe now calls for, even though everything else was cut in half. I didn't realize it til the end, when it said "Sprinkle the rest of the oats. . . ."
  2. Replaced half the sugar with stevia (I recently switched from Splenda to Stevia (an all natural, zero calorie sweetener) mostly based on the "artificial sweeteners will make you fat and kill you" stuff in "Hungry for Change." Worth a try.)
  3.  Replaced all the oil with pureed strawberries (per a comment on the website)
  4.  Realized today, they may have meant 10 oz strawberries by weight, and I did it by volume.
  5.  Not really a problem, though, because first I decided to puree them instead of just sliced, so Peeper and I wouldn't have seed to deal with, and then I ended up not adding all of the puree, because it was seeming pretty thin. Good thing I had those extra oats in there, huh?
  6. I didn't do this, because I didn't have any, but several commenters recommended replacing half the white flour with whole wheat.
  7. I also didn't have to bake it as long as the recipe called for. They said 50 - 60 minutes at 350' and I did about 40 or 45 minutes at what my oven says is 325, but is likely more like 350, because since I started backing down the temp 25' I've stopped burning things at half the recommended time
 It came out very heavy, like banana bread, and kind of chewy (the extra oats?) but delicious.

Oh look. lets you toggle between US and Metric units. It says to use 285 g strawberries for the halved recipe, which is 10 oz, so I guess I was supposed to do them by weight, not volume. Whoops. Doesn't really matter, I guess, since I didn't use all of them anyway.

Strawberry Girl

We went strawberry picking with our MOMS Club friends this morning. 

It was a little muddy.

Then we went out to lunch, and did a little shopping.

Rainbow Friend

How do you want me to fix your hair today?
 Just like Hannah's!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DYI Dress-Up

Not content with the multitude of dress-up options we've provided for her, Peeper went looking for her own today.

Those are potholders on her feet, and a dishtowel across her body. She was wearing this, singing the March from The Nutrcracker and dancing around.

I asked "What dance are you doing?" and she said, "The Stripey Dance!"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Panda Pics: 43 Months

A day late, but worth it.

I'd like to claim credit for having her wear the Uncle Sam hat, in honor of Memorial Day, but when I remembered that I needed to get a photo, that's about all she was wearing.

I will, however, take credit for making her put on the dress, long enough to snap a few pictures for posterity.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Forty-Three Months

Dear Peeper:
You are forty-three months old today, and I somehow let it get by without taking a photo of you with Mr. Panda, so we'll have to do that tomorrow.

Actually, I suspect that what happened is that I was waiting for you to have clothes on. And waiting, and waiting. By the time I did actually get you cleaned up and dressed, it was evening and we were on our way out the door to visit some friends.

Of course, when I asked if you wanted to go over there, your first question was "Are you gonna go, too?" because you've still got that separation anxiety thing going on.

At your request, we've started waiting until the last minute to tell you if we're leaving - I think we've left you two or three times this month, once or twice at Eena and Papa's, and once with Ms S. Both times, you were upset when we told you, but you got okay pretty quickly after we left, so that's progress.

I know that it's just going to take some time, and you'll eventually be right back where you were, not even giving us a kiss goodbye when we leave, but in the meantime, it sure is hard to see you so upset.

Since nursing three year olds seem to have been in the news so much this month, how about a quick check-in on your goody habits?

You are still going strong, with no indication of stopping anytime very soon, but over the past few months, you've cut back a lot during the day. I don't know exactly, because it just kind of happens and I don't usually pay a lot of attention, but I'm pretty sure that, over the past week or two, a majority of the days, you've only nursed once or twice during the daytime. Plus wake-up goody, bedtime goody, and back to sleep after getting up to potty, of course.

I actually decided last night to start making notes about when you're nursing for a few days, just to get a better idea of what you really are doing, because it's hard to remember exactly from one day to the next.

Basically, though, if we're going and doing and active, you don't even think about it, and a few times, when we've been running non-stop, you've gone all day without asking.

I can't remember the last time you nursed in public, probably at Grandma S's funeral, back in early March. I don't count MOMS Club activities with just other members around as "public" because that's like family, but I think it's been a while since you've done that, too.

I've talked to you a few times about the fact that as kids get older they don't need goody as much, and then they're big enough that they don't need goody at all. We've also talked about the fact that different kids reach that point at different ages, but that grownups and real big kids don't get goody.

When I've asked how old you think you'll be when you don't need goody anymore, the answer that I usually give (when I suggest some ages) is that you'll be four years old. Given where we are now, I suspect that's probably about right.

As for my side of the equation, I wouldn't say that I've moved into "don't offer, don't refuse" mode quite yet; it's more like "rarely offer, sometimes delay, sometimes limit duration."

I typically don't offer during the day, unless you are really cranky and whiny and obviously need your "reset" button hit. Even when you hurt yourself, I try a kiss first and that almost always works. If not, I offer Bo-Bo Bear, and that almost certainly fixes you up. If you ask to nurse for an injury, we certainly do, but you very rarely ask any more, unless you're hurt pretty badly.

I am pretty ambivalent about it all. I'm in no hurry for you to wean completely -  I love that you are still nursing, but sometimes I just don't want you to nurse right now, and, more and more, you don't want to nurse right now, anyway, so that works out fine. 

This month's highlight reel:

Mama: I'm going to take a shower. Peeper: I don't wanna shower. Mama: You don't have to because you were dry last night, but Mama's going to shower. Peeper: Why? Mama: Because I stink. Peeper: Did you pee-pee in the bed?

You were playing in the tub, pointed to some water droplets on the wall and said, "There's a picture there." "Really? What's it a picture of?" "A picture of some rain dropping!"

I told you that my birthday was coming up the next week, and you said, "Oh, Mommy and I will have to sing to you!" I asked "What else are you going to do for my birthday?" "I gonna fix the celebrate of Hannukah!"

Peeper: Get on the ground! Mommy: Why do you want me to get on the ground? Peeper: So I can push you down!

On my birthday, of all days, I overheard you telling Mommy, "Mama's chopped liver!"

You know that stuff I squirt up your nose when you're all stuffed up? You call it "sprayline."

While we were at the big annual used book sale, you were being cute or something, and Mommy asked you "Where did you come from?" You answered, loudly and proudly, "From Mama's vagina!"

A couple of days ago, you got out of the tub, got a towel, and came into the office, where I was waiting for you to tell me that you were ready to get out. I scooped you up and snugged you back into the bathroom, and on the way you said, "Oh, I am soooo warm!" I asked, "Do you mean you're so cold?" "No!" you said, "Look at me! I'm wrapped in a towel!"

In summary, you're still amazing and get more so every day.

I love you, Roodle-Toodle.


Tot School: Gardening

Tot School
~ Peeper is 43 months old ~

A Note To My Regular Readers: I may be repeating some photos or stories that I've already published, but I want to put all our learning activities in the one post that's part of the Tot School link-up.

Tot Schoolers: Welcome! If you enjoy this post, please feel free to stay for a while, and have a look around. I'll give you a fair warning that much of my blog is PG-13, but my Tot School link-up posts will always be G-Rated.

We are just wrapping up our second unit study, on gardening, fruits and veggies.

Peeper's "Veggie Notebook" (as she calls it) includes activities from Homeschool Share's The Carrot Seed LapbookHomeschool Creations' Gardening Preschool Pack, 2 Teaching Mommies' Flower Unit, and Today I Ate A Rainbow's coloring pages and Real Food Revolution Day materials.

Totally bootlegged clip art for the title page.

She loves this activity with a little laminated carrot . . . 

. . . all ready to pick!

Putting the veggies in the basket.

Here's a good example of an activity that I modified so that it wouldn't require any (pre)writing. Originally, she was asked to draw lines to connect each fruit and veggie with where it grows.

That's not happening, so on the facing page, I sketched the four possible answers . . .

. . . and we used fruit and veggie cards that I'd printed, both from Today I Ate a Rainbow (where I got this activity) and other resources.

The first time through, she knew some of them, but not all. After I gave her those answers, when we did the activity again a few days later, she knew them all!

Sequencing by size. She really couldn't have cared less about this one.

After doing some research about fine motor skills, I started encouraging her to use the easel, and to hold her writing implements properly.

She had been pretty resistant to any suggestions about her pen grip in the past, but she suddenly decided to be more open to the idea, and now she knows how to hold it (not quite like in this photo) although it's not yet automatic for her.

After a few reminders, she's now very deliberately turning the pen around to hold it correctly, and self-correcting when she forgets. She'll even say, "Oh, I forgot to hold it like this!"

She sometimes even corrects herself before she's got the cap off, and then tried to get it off while holding it like that. It's not particularly effective.

In this activity, we matched up the rhyming words. This required a lot of guidance and refocusing. She struggled with the same sort of activity in the previous unit, too, even when only given a couple of words to choose from. So, we'll keep working on that skill.

Sequencing the growth of a flower. Yeah, I pretty much did this one for her. I'm not sure if it was too hard, or she just didn't care.

And now, some of our real-life activities.

After having read  Sunflower House several times, we finally had a day with good weather and an empty calendar and were able to get Peeper's very own sunflower house planted!

This was the part of the project that we were dreading, and the part that we weren't really thinking about when we decided to do this: Digging out a trench to plant the sunflowers. This is about five or six feet in diameter.

After we were well into the digging, we realized that we only had a tiny bit of potting soil in the shed, so I got Peeper cleaned up a bit and we ran over to the hardware store for a couple of bags. We dumped it in the trench, the added the seeds.

We started with Mammoth Sunflowers (12' - 14'), then filled in with Lemondade Mix (4' - 5') and Sunspot (18").

We also put a couple of bean seeds in beside each of the mammoth seeds, in hopes that the bean will vine up the sunflower stems and help to fill in the "walls" of the house. And maybe we'll eat some beans.

This is my artist's rendering of what it will look like when it's all grown up.

After that, we did a bit of weeding and clearing in the area that was supposed to be a "wildflower meadow." That consisted mostly of chopping out some big weeds (I actually had done that the day before.) and raking through everything else to just thin it out.

Then we threw down the rest of the potting soil, and tossed way too much wildflower seed all around. It calls for "full to partial sun" but as you can see, this is a pretty shady spot, so we'll have to just wait and see what happens. The seed is a "butterfly and hummingbird mix" so I'm hoping that we get at least a decent amount of growth.

Peeper's also enjoyed the coloring pages from Today I Ate A Rainbow's.

Here, she's added some sunshine, so the carrot can grow better.

We've also been keeping an eye on our garden. As of today, we've got one baby tomato and one baby pepper!

The day that we bought the sunflower seeds (last Monday, maybe?) Shrike and Peeper planted a few in some empty pots that were sitting around, and they are starting to sprout!

Ever since Peeper saw this Sesame Street video, she's been asking to plant a bean seed.

This was her lucky day!

We put some paper towels in a jar.

Put in some bean seeds, and added water.

I've also read about sprouting them in baggies, taped to the window. When I told Peeper about this, and suggested that we do that instead, she told me, in no uncertain terms, that she wanted to grow hers in a jar, like Cody.

So, I suggested that we try both, "And see which one grows better."

Well, she slapped that hypothesis down like nobody's business: "I think the one in the jar will grow better."

Well, we shall see.

Her jar is sitting right beside a window.

And I've got one baggie on the window in the sun, and one on a not-so-sunny wall. 

Next up: Birdies!