Monday, February 28, 2011

Baby Update

This is the last week of the first trimester for me.  There is still a touch of morning sickness, but it doesn't last all day long like it did for a few weeks.  Brushing my teeth is the worst trigger of it right now.  I have a lot of food aversions, but the worst is Mexican food.  I love Mexican food, but not now.  Oh, and don't even mention the word chicken, please.  I am all about plain foods right now - Cheerios (plain, not even the multigrain kind, just plain), plain oatmeal (no flavoring, just some nuts and fruit), and plain potatoes.  Funny thing is that I can eat anything chocolate - no problems there. 

I had my twelve week appointment this morning.  When the midwife was unable to detect the heartbeat with the doppler, she sent me to the lab for an ultrasound.  The twenty minutes between the midwife telling me she could not detect the heartbeat and me seeing the heart beating on the monitor felt like hours, but everything looks good.  The heartbeat was good (I think she said 166 or maybe 162, my mind was foggy at the time), the baby is measuring right where he or she should be measuring, and the baby was moving all over the place.  The technician actually said that the baby was probably too active for the doppler to pick up the heartbeat.  What a relief. 

I have gone back and forth about whether I should post my ultrasound photo.  I think the photos are a bit creepy myself, but since I have this blog put into book form every three months, I decided to post it for my own scrapbooking purposes.  So, here is the baby (12 weeks, 3 days):

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Favorite Books of the Week

The most popular book in our house this week is The Butt Book by Artie Bennett.  I saw this book posted on Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns and knew that it would be popular here.  It is everything you would expect it to be, and for a six year old boy and an almost five year old girl, it is the funniest book ever.  I didn't find it to be offensive at all, just silly.  The rhymes are clever and the illustrations by Mike Lester are funny without being gross.  We read it quite a few times over the week.

A book that we just acquired has quickly become one of our favorites.  Silverlicious by Victoria Kann is the fourth book in the Pinkalicious series, and it is my favorite of the four!  In this book, Pinkalicious loses her sweet tooth and suddenly candy no longer tastes sweet.  She writes the Tooth Fairy a note, but due to the Tooth Fairy's busy schedule, Pinkalicious has to settle for visits from Cupid, the Easter Bunny, and a Christmas elf.  This is really a book about being nice to others and appreciating what others go out of their way to do.  Pinkalicious learns a good lesson and discovers where sweetness really comes from.

I am linking this to What My Child is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.  Click on over there to find more great book recommendations!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Easy Totem Pole Craft

I found an easy totem pole craft at the DLTK website.  I love DLTK for quick crafts.  This totem pole craft only required printing templates, and then having the children color, cut, and glue the templates onto toilet paper rolls.  Easy enough!

Click here to see the totem poles C and R designed earlier this week for our Alaska state study.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Totem Pole Art

The book on the left is Alaska ABC Book by Charlene Kreeger and Shannon Cartwright.  The book on the right is Totem Tale, A Tall Story from Alaska by Deb Vanasse and illustrated by Erik Brooks.

I am a big fan of tall tales and I love finding tall tales specific to states so that we can incorporate them into our Fifty States Project.  We have been fortunate to find them for quite a few states so far and Alaska is no exception.

This week we read Totem Tale, A Tall Story from Alaska by Deb Vanasse.  The tale takes place deep in a forest where a carver stacked totem animals and forgot them.  As the full moon rises, the totems (raven, grizzly, wolf, beaver, eagle, and frog) come to life.  They have a great time acting like the animals they represent, but as a hint of dawn appears in the sky, they remember that they must return to the pole or the rising sun will trap them in the land of in-between and never-there.  They had trouble remembering how they fit and each one wanted the place of honor at the top of the pole.  It isn't until the raven reminds them that together they told a story that they are able to take their places on the pole.

The author's note states that indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest and Southeast Alaska have carved totem poles to illustrate the stories of their clans for more than two hundred years.  According to the author, some of the best places to see totem poles include Wrangell, Sitka, Ketchikan, Seattle, and Vancouver Island.

I originally thought about printing up clip art animals for C and R to glue onto paper towel tubes, but they both wanted to paint their own totem poles.  I still might print the clip art for R - you will see why in a minute.

C put a lot of thought into how he wanted his totem pole to look.

Once he had a plan, he painted the paper towel tube and after it dried, he added details with a black Sharpie marker.

His totem pole, from top to bottom, includes a raven, crab, frog, wolf, and grizzly bear. 

R loves to paint and she went right to work on this project.  If you are a regular reader, then you know that R likes to do her own thing!

 When she was finished, she told me her totem pole is a scarf for C's animals!!!  She cracks me up.  I couldn't get her to smile or do anything other than be silly for this photo!

Our next step for this project is making up stories to go along with the totem poles.  I'll post them soon.

I am linking this to stArt at A Mommy's Adventures and Kids Get Crafty at Red Ted Art.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bottle Stamped Forget-Me-Nots

The above photo is a page from Alaska ABC Book by Charlene Kreeger and Shannon Cartwright.  Alaska's state flower is the forget-me-not.

Last spring, we used the bottle stamping technique from Frugal Family Fun Blog to make flowers and I thought this technique would be perfect for making forget-me-nots.

C and R each used an empty 1 liter seltzer bottle and pressed the bottom of it into light blue paint.  Then, they stamped the design onto construction paper.

Once they were done with this step, we left the papers to dry.

When the blue paint was dry, they used the caps from the same seltzer bottles to create the center of the flowers.

They dipped the caps in yellow paint and then in the center of their flowers.  If your child is under three and will put the cap in his or her mouth, just leave it screwed onto the bottle for the stamping.

Little Girls

Little girls are so cute when they play together.  I love to eavesdrop on their conversations.  Mommies, babies, princesses, and all things pretty monopolize the girl talk at this age.  If only they could stay this innocent forever. 

R had a friend over yesterday and they had a great time together.  For a special girly snack, I made sugar cookies and the girls decorated them with pink and yellow frosting and spring sprinkles. 

Sugar and spice and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Alaska - Northern Lights Art

We are currently learning about the state of Alaska, and we began our state study by reading Alaska ABC Book by Charlene Kreeger and Shannon Cartwright.  The photo above is the "N" page from the book.  This book gave us some good facts and it was definitely age appropriate, but I was a little bothered by some of the silliness.  For example, P is for Polar Bear in a Parka and M is for Moose in Mukluks.

After reading the book, we watched this short, informative online segment about the northern lights and why they appear in the sky.  C mentioned that he saw an episode of Toot & Puddle about the northern lights.  I tried to find the episode online, but I was unsuccessful.

I gave C and R construction paper and oil pastels and told them to create their own northern lights.  Once they were done, they used black watercolor paint to create the dark sky all around the lights.

They were creating their art early in the morning and the kitchen was so bright that C had to wear his sunglasses!

This is C's interpretation of Aurora Borealis or the northern lights:

Here is R's interpretation:
I would love to see the real thing someday!  Amazing!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Swing into Spring with a new Swing Set

Before you know it spring will be here.  It's snowing here right now, but I know that spring is just about a month away and I'm hoping that will mean nice weather for outdoor play!  If you are in the market for a new swing set, check out CSN.  They have a great selection of swing sets for kids, and I have found their service to be fantastic!

My children would be thrilled with one of their swing sets.  The site also offers a great selection of bikes, trampolines, and other outdoor toys.  Remember to check out CSN before going anywhere else for your swing set or outdoor toys!

This post has me itching for warm weather!

I will be reviewing a product for CSN soon, and this post is written in exchange for a free product.  Stay tuned to find out what I purchase and what I think of it!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Today we read Shadow by Suzy Lee.  This is a mostly wordless book about a girl playing in a dark attic.  Her imagination comes to life with the click of a lightbulb.  The black and yellow illustrations are brilliant and we just can't stop looking at this book.  Each time we pick it up, we find another detail. 

I could not resist doing some simple art with C and R after reading this book.  I began by googling blank paper doll template and printing up one that I found.  I don't know exactly where I got it, but they are easy to find.  I then traced the template onto manila construction paper and black construction paper and cut one of each out for C and R.

C and R colored the manila paper dolls to look like themselves.  Then they glued them onto the top half of a large piece of white construction paper and drew a background. 

Once they were happy with their drawings, they glued their shadows onto the bottom half of the construction paper and added other shadows with black crayon. 

I love the way they came out! 

I am linking this to stArt at A Mommy's Adventures and Kids Get Crafty at Red Ted Art.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Lion King

Last night, C, R, and I went to see The Lion King.  The show was amazing; I was so impressed.  I knew it was going to be good, but sometimes when a show is hyped SO MUCH, it ends up being a bit of a let-down, not this time.  It was fantastic.  Originally, I wanted to take C and R to a matinee performance, but I waited too long to buy tickets.  This show started around bedtime, and that was a bit tough, especially because it was over two hours long, but they both enjoyed the show.  C was like a cartoon character with toothpicks holding his eyes open!  R fell asleep about halfway through the second act.  They really loved the show though; they were very entertained.

Before we went to the show, C and R made lion masks.  Earlier in the day, I saw a simple lion mask posted at Giggles and Crayons and thought it would be a fun craft in anticipation of this fun night out. 

First, I cut out the middle of the paper plates.  Then I had C and R glue on yarn for the mane.  I only had brown yarn, but we made do with orange and yellow pipe cleaners.  We also used some raffia.  The pipe cleaners are pretty heavy, so I hot glued those on wherever they told me to put them.  Also, because the masks were a little heavy, I stapled paper towel holders (instead of the usual craft sticks) onto the masks for them to hold.  C and R were already excited about going to see the show, but the masks were great for keeping them occupied until it was to time to leave!

 The masks remind me of Scar from The Lion King. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Little Things

I am so grateful for my three children and lately they have been doing little things that I just don't want to forget.  I have been tired and irritable and not exactly the most pleasant person to live with, and they have been very understanding and very helpful.

T (13) has reviewed C's homework, helped C review his weekly words, and  assisted C with Spanish homework.  I am especially grateful for the help with the Spanish homework.  I took four years of Portuguese in high school and it is not the least bit helpful when it comes to C's Spanish.  T has been taking Spanish for a few years now and he is the perfect helper.  I also think it is a great way for T to review what he has learned in Spanish, but I'm still very grateful for the help!

C (6) has been super helpful teaching R to read.  R has been working through the BOB books and when I don't have the energy, he will sit with her and offer help when she needs it.  He has also been a great bedtime story teller lately; he makes up stories for R and this week he brought home a Dora and Diego book from his classroom just to read to his sister.  So sweet!

Now just because R (almost 5) is the youngest (for now) and does not have a younger sibling to help doesn't mean she hasn't been super helpful.  She LOVES to help with household chores and will grab the Swiffer duster or the mop and do her absolute best.  Last week she made me laugh so hard; she said, "Mom, snuggle up under the covers and watch Rachael Ray; I'm going to clean the house for you".  She is the sweetest child and she is going to be a wonderful big sister.

These little things make me so proud of my children.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jello Stickers for Valentine's Day

I remember reading about Jello stickers quite a while ago.  I bookmarked the idea and forgot about it until I saw Jello stickers made over at Almost Unschoolers around Christmas time.  Again, I made a note to try it and this time I remembered.

These Valentine stickers would make a great addition to homemade Valentines, and they smell really good too!

First, I googled printable Valentine stickers and printed up a few sheets on regular copy paper.  You don't even have to print stickers though.  You can use drawings made by your children or cut pictures out of coloring books or magazines.

Then, I made the Jello paint/glue with a recipe from Free Craft Unlimited.  We used cherry Jello, but any flavor will do.  I mixed 1 TBSP of jello powder with 2 TBSP of boiling water.  Then I put the paint into two cups for C and R.

They painted the back of their stickers with the Jello paint/glue.  They also dipped their fingers into the paint quite a bit for taste testing.  Their fingers were red, but other than that, there was no mess.  I made real Jello with the remaining Jello powder and we waited for the Jello paint to dry.

Once the paper was completely dry, we (mostly I) cut out all of the stickers.  Then C and R thoroughly enjoyed licking their new stickers and arranging them on paper.

I was really surprised that they stuck as well as they did!  We are already planning on doing this again with shamrock stickers and Lime Jello!

I definitely recommend this activity; it's easy, fun, and a great sensory activity!  What a great activity for exploring the senses - you can see it, smell it, taste it, and touch it.  If only it made noise, hmmmm... you can swish it around in the cup and listen to it.

It's a good thing Natalie commented about this being science because my scatterbrain forgot to link to Science Sunday until she mentioned it!  Head on over there for cool science experiments for children!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Books About Babies

I may still be in the early part of my pregnancy, but my children are very excited about the pregnancy and they are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their new sibling.  They are constantly asking when the baby will be born and what the baby will be able to do when he or she is born.

My sister sent the perfect book to address a lot of those questions.

There's Going to Be a Baby by John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury follows the swirl of questions in the mind of a young child anticipating a baby sibling with excitement, curiosity, and just a bit of trepidation.  The book begins with a mother telling her young son that there is going to be a baby.  This statement is followed by the boy's questions and the mother's answers over the entire pregnancy.  He asks questions like, "When is the baby coming?" , "What will we call it?", "What will the baby do?", and even says, "We don't really need the baby, do we?".  The mother's answers are perfect; I am keeping them in the back of my head!  At the end of the book, the young boy is on his way to meet his new sibling with his grandfather.  We aren't reading too many books about babies at this point, but this is the perfect book to read from the time of the announcement to the time of the birth.

Of course, when you tell a young child that there is going to be a new baby in the family, one of the inevitable questions is, "Where do babies come from?".

How You Were Born by Joanna Cole is a Reading Rainbow Book that uses photographs, diagrams, and straightforward text to answer that question and all related questions.  The book explains that a sperm and an egg join together without giving too much information about exactly how that happens.  It's enough for my children to know that it takes a man and a woman.  The book goes on to explain what is happening to the baby inside the uterus and finally how the baby is born.  You don't have to be expecting a baby to read this book with your children.  We have read it many times over the past year, and it is a great book to help your child understand how he or she came to be.

I'm sure we will be reading many books about babies as the due date gets closer.  Do you have a favorite book for a child expecting a new sibling?

I am linking this to What My Child is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I am currently reading Momfriends by Ariella Papa.  Usually, I wait until I have read a book before posting about it, but I am currently all wrapped up in this book so I may be MIA until I finish it!!  Don't worry though, I'll definitely post a review once I am done reading.

Here is a quick description of the book:  When Ruth has a new baby, she meets Earth mother artist, Kirsten and overachiever mom, Claudia. There goes the motherhood . . .

I bet you can relate to this book.  I know I can.  I am a huge fan of books about moms and friendships; that is my life right now and I like to read books I can relate to.  I am also a fan of Ariella Papa's books.  They are perfect for the beach or for curling up on the couch on a rainy day.  If you are looking for a fun read, check out her page on Amazon.  If you would like to know more about Ariella Papa and the books she has written, check out her website at

I should note that this is an eBook.  I was very skeptical because I do not own a Kindle or any other kind of electronic reader, so I have to read the book on my laptop, but once I got started reading, I was fine with it.

*I received the Momfriends eBook free in exchange for an honest review.  Stay tuned, the review will be coming soon!  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Masking Tape Valentine Placemats

We have had rolls of different colored masking tape in our art cabinet for a few months now, and we finally pulled them out.

I cut hearts out of large, white construction paper and gave one each to C and R, along with the rolls of masking tape.  I showed them how to tear small pieces of tape off the roll and told them to decorate the hearts with the tape however they want.  C (age 6) was able to tear the tape, but R (almost 5) had to use scissors.

They worked on this for quite a while.  This is definitely a great project to give your kids when you are busy with something else.

When they were finished, I traced their hearts onto clear contact paper, leaving a border around the edge so that the two pieces of contact paper enveloping each heart would create a seal.

Here is C's finished placemat, no surprise AT ALL that he stuck with traditional Valentine colors:

R, on the other hand, did her own thing and used many different colors.  She said this heart is a map of our neighborhood.  FYI:  our house is green, our neighbors' house is pink, and there is a yellow house across the street (do you see the houses represented?):

C and R have nice new placemats for Valentine's Day!

One of my all time favorite books that is just perfect to read for Valentine's Day, or any other day, is Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney.

This is the sweetest book about trying to show someone just how much you love him or her.  I think this book is perfect for all ages.

I am linking this to stArt at A Mommy's Adventures and Kids Get Crafty at Red Ted Art.