Thursday, November 27, 2008
We return thanks to our mother, the earth,
which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams,
which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish
medicines for the cures of our diseases.
We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters,
the beans and squashes, which give us life.
We return thanks to the bushes and trees,
which provide us with fruit.
We return thanks to the wind, which,
moving the air, has banished diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars,
which have given us their light
when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to our grandfather He-no,
that he has protected his grandchildren from
witches and reptiles, and has given to us his rain.
We return thanks to the sun, that he has looked upon
the earth with a beneficient eye.
Lastly, we turn thanks to the Great Spirit,
in whom is embodied all goodness, and who
directs all things for the good of his children.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Since I haven't been able to find a doll pattern I like, I started looking for online patterns for diapers to put on our existing doll (a gift from her cousins' other grandmother). I found this simple looking pattern at Skip to My Lou. I need simple, because I'm not even sure I can run the sewing machine properly.
While looking for doll diapers, I thought I'd run a search for free baby doll patterns, too. Here's what I've found:
- Lifesize recycled blue jean dolls at diynetwork
- Sock dolls (I've been reading books about these from the library too, but haven't attempted one yet)
- this page of free cloth doll patterns
- no-sew diaper pattern that fits Baby Alive (which I desperately wanted as a child and will NOT be getting for my daughter!)
- and this simple rag doll
Our city just got our first JoAnn's store last week, and I've been looking through the Simplicity pattern books looking for a prairie doll pattern that my mama and grandma used when I was little. I've only been able to find one doll pattern (a baby doll) in the Simplicity book, but my JoAnn's doesn't have that pattern in stock yet.
Have you found a simple baby doll pattern that you like to use? I'm still considering ordering the Waldorf kit from Weir Dolls & Crafts.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
- play silks - I've been looking at these at various on-line sites for several months. They're terribly expensive and I don't really know what makes them better than the huge pile of baby blankets I have from my baby showers. However, I'm willing to give them a try. I can't remember where I found this, but you can buy plain ones here and dye them with koolaid or food coloring. It's so much cheaper this way and then it becomes a craft too. I've looked at several fabric stores and you just can't buy this much silk this inexpensively locally (not that I've discovered in my city anyway). I do have some silk remnants from a sari store in Alanta that I bought years and years ago and I know Abigail likes playing with them, so I think she would be interested.
- homemade wooden blocks - I think I've mentioned these before on this blog. They look great, but they're so expensive. I was convinced my brother could make these easily, and I was right. I happened to park next to my daddy's woodpile when I was there in October and found the perfect logs. Andy cut them for me into various thicknesses, and now I just need to coat and/or sand them. Abigail has already seen them, knew they were blocks and started playing immediately. (They briefly showed up on our seasonal "table" on our front porch.) Andy tells me ours are made from pecan, persimmon and water oak.
- handmade baby doll afghan - I am not good with the crochet, but I did manage a very small afghan for one of Abigail's babies. It is more of a lap blanket for a 9 inch doll, but I tried. Eventually, I might work up the nerve to make one for a larger doll.
- handmade afghan - I started this afghan several weeks ago and thought I was almost finished. Then I realized the darn thing looked like a cone instead of a rectangle. So I quit in frustration. It was supposed to match the doll afghan (or vice versa) but so far it's stuck. I might try again for her birthday.
- handmade baby doll - I really like the idea behind the Waldorf dolls, with their cloth bodies and wool interiors. I don't sew well, so I'm pretty intimidated. I've been looking for a pattern that my Mama and Grandma used to make prairie dolls with (my Laura Ingalls Wilder doll), but Simplicity apparently doesn't make it anymore. I'm thinking about ordering a kit from Weir or Magic Cabin that contains everything I'd need to make a Waldorf doll (except skill).
- handmade felt play food - I've mentioned this several times here. I've fallen into a whole debate on whether I should use acrylic felt or wool felt or if it's irrelevant because she puts it ALL in her mouth anyway and it would get gross. Should I just buy her some wooden food? Should I just stop worrying about the plastic food she already has? Should I wait until she's old enough to pretend to eat it instead of actually chomping on it because she thinks that's how you pretend to eat? In the meantime, she's still actively chewing on plastic food that I'm not sure of the provenance. And today I got the Pottery Barn Kids catalog with a too cute chinese take-out set made of fabric. Love it!
- tea set - I'm looking for a non-plastic, non-ceramic useable tea set. Abigail likes to actually drink out of her play cups, so I think she would like to actually pour from her tea pot. I'd love one made of teak or something, but I've found two I like, sort of. The Pottery Barn Kids set is perfect - it's painted metal, it includes plates, saucers, spoons, creamer and sugar. It's durable for toddlers but pretty for older children too. Problems: it's pink and I'm growing tired of pink and it's $70. I really don't think we need to spend $70 on a tea set. The other set I like is made by Green Toys and is made in the United States of recycled milk jugs. So it's durable, attractive, eco-friendly, affordable, and made in USA.
- Cookware and Dining Set - I would like Abigail to have a little aluminum set of cookware. I like durable things because they hold their value if we decide to resell but can also be handed down if we don't. I'm actually considering checking a thrift shop and seeing if I can find a lightweight pot and pan in a small size. I also like the cookware set from Green Toys, but at $40 it's considerably more than the tea set.
- rocks - It sounds silly, but I think I would have loved a huge bag of decorative rocks like they sell at Home Depot or Lowe's. When Abigail is older, I think it would be fun for her to wash them off herself and play with, arrange them, sort them, whatever. For now, I picked up a small bag of already clean rocks from Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off. I think she'll love them. I just have to make sure they stay out of her mouth.
- Curious George dvd - We have the soundtrack by Jack Johnson and listen to it all the time. I've seen the movie and I think it's calm and gentle and that she'll enjoy it. Abigail will be 2 in January, so we'll start letting her watch more tv (she doesn't officially watch tv now, although we have our own shows on at times).
- Curious George book and stuffed animal - The last time I checked, Kohl's had Curious George as their $5 charity special right now. We are thinking about getting her a book and the character.
- stainless steel mug and insulated bowl - We saw these at some baby store in Chicago and we're thinking about getting them for her. The bowl would allow me to pack spaghetti for our trips out during the day when I know she won't share my sandwich (she doesn't care for bread). And we are considering stainless steel over plastic sippies.
- crayon roll - I've seen these on various blogs and actually at one local store. They seem to be a great way to keep the crayons contained. I've also seen one in a catalog that also contained a sketchpad. Abigail has a very large sketchpad, but a smaller one would be nice when we're in a restaurant or something. She's really too young for coloring sheets.
- matching games - I've seen some really imaginative matching game ideas at Chasing Cheerios. I'm thinking of making one involving family photos. We could match the photos or just name family members. And animal set could be really useful too.
- diaper bag with cloth diapers - I'm not sure how to go about making cloth diapers, but I see no reason for her to have disposables for play (we do use disposables on her). Abigail is very much into purses and bags, and I think would enjoy having a bag especially for her baby. I thought this was cute to base the idea on, but I'm not planning to buy this one. She could also use a new purse, since hers is falling apart and she keeps trying to steal some of mine.
- play clothes - I would eventually like Abigail to have dress-up clothes and a place to store them, either a trunk or a Waldorf rack-thing. I'll probably throw in some of my old prom dresses and shoes. As it is, she has a really cool terry-cloth kitten costume (looks like it was made out of a towel, but was purchased premade - it has a store tag) and a few Halloween costumes.
- Kitchen set - This is the biggie for me. I would like Abigail to have a well-made wooden kitchen set that includes a sink and stove and storage area, a fridge and/or a pantry. I had a wonderful metal set when I was about her age, but I remember it being crushed at some point. She has a plastic set right now but I think the set up is a little chaotic. Nice wooden sets are extremely expensive. I like this one, and this one. I also like this refrigerator. I would love to be able to make these myself or talk someone close into making it. I like the very simple look. I'm just not sure where to find plans to make something like this. The sink looks to be a challenge.
- Table and chairs - While we do have plastic tables and chairs, I think it would be nice to eventually have a nice wooden table and chairs. I'm looking into a mission style at the unfinished wood store. In Georgia the unfinished wood is mostly pine and aspen and completely affordable. In Kentucky, I've only been able to find oak and other expensive wood.
- Heavy, warm baby doll - I found this doll earlier this week and I'm wondering if it would be helpful for Abigail to snuggle while sleeping. Again, it's not cheap, but I'm not sure how I would make one of these.
I realize this is a long and imaginative list. I'm not expecting to get everything on this list this year by any means, but I would like to get her some of these things over time.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This book doesn't have a lot of photographs, instead using illustrations of the steps and completed projects. Unfortunately, the copy I checked out of the library seems to be out of print (but maybe available from individual sellers), but Donna Erickson has several other craft books for families that are available on amazon, including Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families: 100s of the best award-winning activities, games, and crafts from Donna's Prime Time books and TV show.
For my own benefit, I made a list of the projects that appealed to me most, and I'm listing them here by chapter with the page numbers. I'll give a description if I feel it's necessary.
Art for Art's Sake
- Sandpaper Art p13
- Apple Cinnamon Clay p22
- Michaelangelo Under a Chair p28 - (I really like this idea. Just like Michaelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, you let the child crawl under her chair and draw on the bottom. Why not?)
Dream it, Create It, Use It
- Ice Candles p34
- Beeswax Candles p38-39
- Bookmarks p44-45
- Juice Lid Match Game p55
- Rain Stick p56
- Potato People Planters p58
Atlas In The Kitchen
- East Indian Barfi Fudge p72
- Native American Fry Bread p77
- chocolate modeling clay and chocolate roses p79
- Hummus p83 (I've been buying this lately because it's full of good fats and two of Abigail's favorite things - peas/beans and garlic)
- Tapas p85 (I love the idea of a meal filled with little appetizers)
Hikes & Bikes & Car Trips
- Travel Attache p91
- Hush Hush Safari p93
- Milk container birdfeeder p94
- Batch o'Butter p98
- Geography Journal p101
Rollicking Rituals to Run the House
- Help Wanted:Preschoolers p107 (finally a way to assign jobs to small children!)
- Reading Caterpillar p111 ( My 1st grade teacher did something like this to encourage reading. It helped me.)
- Portable Height Chart p113 (In these times when we as a society move so often, a portable height chart is a must.)
- Sick Day Treat Tray p117
- Birthday Pennant p120
- Laundry Line Memories p122
- Revolving Artwork Frames p130 (changing out a sibling's art for the new baby)
- Wearable Art p137
- Table Talk p145 (bringing articles, postcards, ect to the table to share over dinner)
A Mess A Minute
- Sand Clay
- Baking Soda Clay
You might want to check your local library or bookstore for this out-of-print copy or another of Donna Erickson's books.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Anyway, Nature's Art Box by Laura C. Martin is listed under the trend earth-friendly fun, along with Green Toys' recycled milk-jug toys. Here's what Toys R Us had to say:
Friday, November 21, 2008
Marco Allen Chapman is scheduled to die by lethal injection tonight in Kentucky. I remember the crime he confessed to committing. It was horrifying. He raped a mother, attempted to stab her to death, then stabbed her 3 children, killing two of them. The mother and 3rd child struggled for their lives. Chapman was caught soon after and has been asking for the death penalty since his arrest.
I have conflicting feelings toward the death penalty. Mostly, I'm concerned that there are people who have been on death row for many years and were later found to be innocent of the crimes they were convicted of. The death penalty is final, and can't be taken back. That concerns me in a free society.
Tonight, though, I'm sickened by the thought that Chapman is having banana cream pie, among other things, for his final meal. A meal he was allowed to choose, after he has asked to be put to death for a crime he admits to committing. And two children are dead because of him.
I started at 12:30pm by not remembering what we usually put in chili. I don't seem to have a written recipe. I thought I'd blogged about it, but did a search and only found a vague list of ingredients. So, I hope that it even tastes right when dinnertime gets here.
My first step was to complain about how much I hate cooking meat, and then to call my hubby and complain that he didn't cook it for me last night. He apologized, and said to make the chili and we'll add the meat when he gets home. Yea! I hate cooking meat, especially ground meat and especially with a toddler underfoot (for the record, we use Laura's lean ground beef - 8% fat this time).
Next I sauted the onions. I thought I'd use a little canola oil, but I poured too much. So I soaked up some of the oil, and them over-browned the onions (not burned - I hope).
Added a little chopped fresh garlic (one clove).
Added a jumbo can of mild chili beans. Noted a dry consistency in the beans. Hope they'll soak up some of the tomato juice and be ok. Noted high fructose corn syrup is high on ingredient list. (In moderation, my foot.)
Added can of dark red kidney beans after draining and rinsing them of the high fructose corn syrup. It must be dark red for me. I like the color contrast.
Added a can of Rotel and can of organic diced tomatoes (same price as regular this time). Wondered why I don't can my own tomatoes for chili, soup and spaghetti since we have SO many tomatoes each summer.
Added a large can of crushed tomatoes, and immediated recognized it as a mistake. Too much tomato, and too mushy. Hope no one notices.
Added a packet of Chili-O seasoning. Added Chili powder.
Added cumin, a little extra because of the massive quantity of tomatoes. Cumin smells icky to me, but I can acknowledge that it does help the flavor of chili.
Added secret ingredients of cocoa and cinnamon. Hubby insists this makes it Cincinnati chili which I thought required spaghetti. I'm a Southern girl, and don't believe I'm making Cincinnati chili since I'm using spices native to South America, but whatever.
Let the chili simmer while playing with Abigail and then remembered I should stir it. Oops.
I haven't tried the chili yet. I'm a little afraid to ladle any out, not only because I'm holding a sleeping toddler.
Now I just need to check our supply of bread, peanut butter and saltines. I'm a fan of Premium brand crackers and oyster crackers as long as they're NOT stale. Hubby likes to accompany his chili with peanut butter bread. Abigail just likes to eat the same thing Mommy and Daddy do.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
By far our favorite find in Trader Joe's was the cookies. My mom and I found Candy Cane Joe-Joes. They look like oreos, but the filling contains crushed candy canes. We bought one box thinking that nothing oreo-like is as good as oreos, but they were the same price. When we got to the car, we each ate one. My mom turned to me, and said "Go buy two more boxes." They taste like a creamy thin mint (Girl Scout cookies rock, too), and are soooo yummy.
So, if you have a Trader Joe's, I recommend you check out these cookies. If you don't have a Trader Joe's, I am so sorry. The cookies are seasonal (funny how it's ok for cookies and candy to be seasonal, but fruit and veggies can't be), but our clerk assured us that they freeze well.
Monday, November 17, 2008
- Traffic - I'm from Georgia, and while I grew up south of Atlanta, I did spend 5 years living in the city, and another year commuting. Atlanta traffic is rough. When I was commuting, on a bad day I was in my car for up to four hours. As much as I loved my job, the traffic in Atlanta (and the cost of living near my office) had me looking for a new job within a year. All that said, I've learned that I'm very glad I don't live and drive in Chicago on a daily basis. In Atlanta, rush hour ends around 9am and starts up again around 3:30-4pm. On the interstate, there is likely to be a few miles of bumper to bumper gridlock during those times. Unless there's a wreck or construction, you're pretty much ok to get through the city at other times of the day (I've been away 9 years, but on my visits home, this still seems to hold true). In Chicago, I didn't really notice a rush hour. At 8pm, the bumper to bumper wasn't that bad. We only sat in traffic about 20 minutes then. Any other time of day I tried to get anywhere, I had to count on it taking me about an hour and a half to get anywhere, regardless of how far away it was.
- GPS - I am so thankful for GPS devices!! I think I would still be looking for Navy Pier if I hadn't had a GPS, and that's including the many times it lost signal due to the skyscrapers surrounding my car. I am confident in my map reading skills, but not so confident in the engineers who designed interstates that weave and criss-cross without much warning.
- Street names - While I can understand the reason that one would want a street name to stay the same for the entire length of the street, I found it confusing that the same street name could be found for miles. Give me Peachtree Street-Peachtree Road-Peachtree Industrial Blvd anyday. At least you know what part of town you're in based on the street name! Fellow Georgians, don't feel insecure about this "flaw" in our city design anymore!
- Food - I love food in Chicago. Specifially Italian Beef sandwiches. My father-in-law is from Chicago, and my mother-in-law learned (and taught my husband) to make a mean Italian beef. I'm so lucky to have learned about this delicacy years before going to Chicago. Now I know to tour the city trying and rating different sandwiches. My favorite this trip was Aurelio's. The meat is sliced so thin, and I think it's on a french loaf (which sounds weird for an Italian sandwich, I know, but trust me it's much better). We also ate pizza every day we were there, but I'm a thin crust girl, so there wasn't a lot of Chicago-style pizza in our experience.
All in all, we had a wonderful trip. I really enjoyed having a car and going and doing whatever I got it into my head to do. It was really like being at home, only we were in a hotel and had a strange car and had to let the GPS guide us everywhere. It was great looking for new and exciting experiences that would delight a toddler, and I hope to share them all here over the next few days.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
So I find it amusing that my daughter is a rock collector. She's not particular either. She picks up rocks from our driveway, from other people's walkways, from any place she finds them. She doesn't realize that pockets make great places to stash things yet, but she has stuck rocks in her toy tote bag when I wasn't looking.
Our newest fun activity this week was taking a bucket into our front yard and collecting the rocks that the construction crew left there after building our house. When our bucket is heavy, we use the rocks to fill in the mudholes in our driveway. Abigail seems to enjoy collecting the rocks and spending the time with Mommy doing exactly what she wants to do. Several times when we were engaged in another activity (reading, eating our snack on the porch), she has grabbed her bucket and my hand and exclaimed "Rock!"
I've noticed, though, that she's now dumping her bucket in random spots in the yard and spending more time collecting dirt than rocks. All the same, I think my idea for a "chore" was on target.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Each chapter is broken into 3 part: Teachable Moments, showing everyday experiences as learning experiences; Discovering Hidden Skills, which describes how parents can recreate the experiments the authors used to illustrate their points; and Bringing the Lessons Home, which is concrete suggestions for things parents CAN do to help their children learn. Hint: signing them up for tons of enrichment cources and using flashcards are not the best way.
Bringing the Lessons Home is the part I'm most intrigued with. I know this book is based on extensive research and I do plan to go back and read the whole book. I know from what I've read already, though, that I agree with the basic premise: children learn better when they are allowed to be children and learn at their own pace rather than be pushed into learning faster, quicker, better.
Some things the book points out:
- music is good for all of us, and it doesn't have to be Mozart - it won't increase your child's intelligence, but it's good all the same
- expensive educational toys aren't necessarily - it's better for the child to be interacting with another person than playing alone with an electronic toy teaching her the alphabet
- learning in context is better than memorization - no flash cards!
- playing in the backyard is as good as going to expensive amusement parks - or better
- look for household items to substitute for expensive toys - they're not necessary for a child's development
- kids learn better by interacting with us than by watching tv - I've never really used the Baby Einstein videos we have and it's ok!
- be careful what you say in front of your child, especially ABOUT your child - even young children can pick up on what you're saying and take it to heart
- play with your child - not just board games - join in with the imaginitive play. This is something I think we all struggle with, because we think we have more important things to do.
- Provide the resources for stimulating play. expensive electonic toys that do all the playing themselves are NOT stimulating.
Ok. Time to go play with my own munchkin and return this book.