Monday, February 28, 2011

Different Styles of Play

G's play is very vivid and bold; he enjoys things that are "big" and colorful, and fluid. He'd also rather use his imagination, turning ordinary items into something new in his head. Give him a can of colored cotton balls and he can entertain himself for an hour just throwing them around and making sound effects. Give him a bunch of Hot Wheels cars, and he isn't satisfied with simply driving them around making "vroom vroom" noises; he has to make them go as fast as he can by practically flinging them across the kitchen floor. He doesn't enjoy putting a puzzle together half so much as he enjoys "crashing" it. He has earned himself the mickname "Destructo Boy."

Contrast with Z, who is much more methodical and purposeful. Show him how to play with something, and he will imitate perfectly. He even attempted to spin a top-- and almost succeeded-- before he was a year old. He is much more interested in fine motor pursuits than his older brother. He enjoys things like pens and chapstick, that have caps that he can take off and put back on. As much as G enjoys throwing cotton balls around the room, Z is more interested in simply putting them inside a can and then pouring them out, over and over. He seems to be very interested in manipulation, and how things work. He is more interested in construction than he is in destruction.



Sunday, February 27, 2011

More Toddler Cuteness!


 First video: taken around Christmas time (obviously, since there's a tree in the background). Z discovered how to make a funny noise.
Second video: Z likes to spin in circles lately. He was doing them even better before I started this video...
Third video: Similar to the second, but more of a "happy dance" than just spinning.
Fourth video: Z distracting us from the fact that it's late and we should all be asleep instead of encouraging him to make funny noises.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9stxQdAo1D0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xjHDhNJkgw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwAU0Qpf93U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95w2zSNJn7E

Saturday, February 26, 2011

How can I turn off my brain?!!

I've always seemed to have this problem: my mind seems to want to be constantly on-the-go. If it's not thinking about something more-or-less important, I at least almost always have a song or ditty stuck in my head that I can't get out!

It's 2:46 AM right now...Slept for a while, but now I'm up, having been aroused by my toddler, and now unable to get back to sleep after having yet a new concern pop into my head...I even wrote it down to save for the morning, which sometimes helps, but not this time...

So I'm up making blog posts instead...

This is not healthy.

A Tangled Skein

I was reminded yesterday, why I haven't been crocheting much lately.

I started a new crochet project a couple days ago, and now I have a hopelessly-tangled skein of yarn that I've spent at least four hours so far trying to untangle with very slow progress. I tried during the day to untangle it some, and kept having to deal with my toddler wanting to sit on my lap and continue to get into my yarn, which would have been completely counter-productive, so I had to give up on the endeavor until later.

We actually got the kids down to bed at a decent hour tonight, so after they were down, N__ helped me do some more untangling, and we had a nice conversation together. We haven't gotten many of those lately...

It's not so much that I mind having to untangle my yarn once in a while. Actually, it can be a rather relaxing and satisfying activity in a way. I enjoyed it when my husband and I were just sitting there together, chatting and untangling the yarn.

N__ pointed out to me, that I could make it a little easier by cutting the skein in a couple spots to make it easier to unravel...I told him that went against my paradigm lol. Though, of course he's right, I could do that...but, I just can't bring myself (yet) to cut a perfectly-good skein of yarn.

I need to make myself one of these: Yarn Saver Go Green Pattern in PDF

Teaching new vocabulary

While in the car yesterday, I had the opportunity to teach my 4-yo some new words: animate and inanimate.

I don't remember exactly how the conversation got started; he probably made some statement about how some of his toys move and some don't, or something like that...Anyway, I decided to turn the conversation into a teaching moment, and taught him about animate vs. inanimate objects.

He enjoyed having me quiz him, too, after I had explained the difference. He guessed wrong at first on some of the tricky ones (like car), but after a while he seemed to understand the difference pretty well. He even seemed to understand when I explained to him that sometimes people make believe that some things are animate, but that in real life they are not (like the toys in Toy Story, or the trains in Thomas the Tank Engine). Actually, with the Thomas example, he figured out for himself that the trains were inanimate, because they had drivers who drove them; but then he pointed out that they could talk on their own, so their mouths were animate.

A while later at dinner, after a very fun and busy afternoon, I prompted him to tell Daddy about what we learned in the car and he couldn't remember at the moment as he had other things foremost in his mind. But that's okay. I figure the information is now stored somewhere, and maybe someday he will amaze his teacher.

Anyway, it was a good teaching moment, and it's always fun to witness the light coming on and the gears turning in my kids' brains as they realize or figure out something new.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bubbles!

Who doesn't love bubbles? I love bubbles! Always have. The swirling, delicate colors, the accompanying sense of wonder...

Bubbles have certainly been one of my toddler's favorite pasttimes of late. In fact, "bubbles" is one of his first words (though he doesn't say "bubbles," he says something more like "bub!") We have a big, no-spill bubble bucket with three wands, so there is one for each of my boys and one for me. I'll set up the bubbles in the kitchen and we'll all blow bubbles together. Afterwards, I mop the soapy floor with a damp hand towel-- in other words, I get to play with my boys and clean the floor at the same time! Hooray for multi-tasking!

The following is supposed to be a video of the world's largest bubble, with 59 people inside. It's supposed to be all amazing and everything-- I also saw a demonstration on Oprah once (kind of embarrassed to confess I've watched Oprah). I have to admit I don't understand the hype and enthusiasm. It's not even a complete bubble! Put 59 people inside a full bubble, and then I'll be impressed...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EujeExAX9Y

Ob the other hand, this looks like a fun summer toy, The Bubble Thing. My boys would happily watch me play with this for hours. And I would happily oblige :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGQL5lx-mwE

This also looks like an interesting experience, The Aqua Ball:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM_hb63xvKU

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The most brilliant artist I know

My fourth semester in college, I got a new roommate named Ginger. I feel lucky to have been able to spend those four months as her roommate. We got along well and had some good times. But most of all, she is an exceptionally brilliant artist and writer, and I want to see her get published! And rich and famous! Because she deserves it.

You can check out some of her art for yourself at the following link:

http://scargut-the-gutless.deviantart.com/

If you think her art is brilliant as I do, pass it on! Talent like this should not go unrecognized.

Haha, now I'm acting like it's my job to find her a personal agent or something....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kitchen Creation Number One: Cereal Bars

A couple weeks ago I was out grocery shopping and came across these:



Since my 4-yo does not like to eat cereal with milk, I thought I'd give these "cereal bars" a try. If he liked them, I figured I could take a look at the ingredients list on the box and create some cereal bars of my own. He liked the bars well enough, so last weekend I set about gathering the ingredients I did not already have. And this morning, I set up my laboratory and began experimenting...

Some of the *possible* ingredients (I did not end up using all of these):


And, tools of the trade (I am ready for anything!):


I begin with one cup of  Life cereal, and crush:


I add 1/4 cup "bottom of the box" Shredded Wheat (this is the stuff you find left-over after you've eaten all the intact pieces; I always save it for potential future uses like this):


I then add 1 packet unflavored gelatine, 1 T. flax meal, 1/4 t. salt. I add 1 T. each molasses, honey, and olive oil. After mixing (not pictured), the molasses taste is a little too strong, so I add another T. of honey. Then I mix it all up. Looks yummy:


Finally, I mix in 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, and 1/4 cup raisins:


Now on to the milk filling (in the original store-bought product, this is sandwiched between layers of cereal). I start with 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk:


I add 2 T. sweetened condensed milk. Gooey:


It's pretty dry, so I add olive oil 1/2 t. at a time as I continue to mix:


This looks nasty:


Starting over, with the dry milk and condensed milk. Then instead of oil, this time I just add water, 1/2 t. at a time, for a total of 3 t.


I also add 1/4 t. salt and 1/4 t. vanilla. After tasting, though, it is too salty. So, I add another 1/2 c. dry milk and 2 T. condensed milk, and another 3 t. water. Now it looks (and tastes) perfect:


I decide against the layering technique, and just dump the milk mixture into the cereal mixture, and mix:


I line a baking sheet with wax paper and dump:


Then I spread it out:


I put it into the oven and bake at 200 degrees. I keep it in for an hour or so (I lost track of the exact time). Then, I take out of pan still with the wax paper, and set it onto a wire rack to cool:


Once cool enough, I turn it over and carefully peel off the wax paper:


Then, I cut it into bars:


Here's my official taste tester:


Hey, he likes it!


By the way, you've gotta watch your step in my kitchen:


And here, the final product. Eight individually-wrapped cereal bars:


I decide to try the same recipe again, only this time using Honey Bunches of Oats in place of the Life, and wheat germ in place of the Shredded Wheat:


I left out the molasses this time and added an extra T. of honey in its place. I add a knife-full of peanut butter:


I also mix and add the milk mixture, and bake as before. When I peel off the wax paper this time, it is a little sticky on the underside, so I put it back into the oven with the bottom side up for another ten minutes just to dry it out a little more. And it comes out beautifully once again:


Don't forget to clean up your laboratory...I mean, kitchen, once you have finished experimenting...I mean, baking.

And there you have it. Homemade cereal bars, a whole lot better for you than the store-bought variety (and tastier, too, in my opinion).

The complete recipes

Life/Shredded Wheat and Molasses Cereal Bars
Cereal mixture:
1 c. Life cereal, crushed
1/4 c. crumbled Shredded Wheat
1 T. flax meal
1 packet (1 oz.) unflavored gelatine
1/4 t. salt
1 T. molasses
2 T. honey
1 T. olive oil
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup raisins

Milk mixture:
1 cup nonfat dry milk
4 T. sweetened condensed milk
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. vanilla
6 t. water

Combine cereal mixture and milk mixture.

Spread on wax paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in oven at 200 degrees for 60+ minutes, until bars are no longer sticky.

Take out, cool on rack. Peel off wax paper and cut into bars.

Honey Bunches of Oats and Peanut Butter Cereal Bars
Cereal mixture:
1 cup Honey Bunches of Oats cereal, crushed
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 T. flax meal
1 packet (1 oz.) unflavored gelatine
3 T. honey
1 T. olive oil
1-2 T. peanut butter

Milk mixture:
1 cup nonfat dry milk
4 T. sweetened condensed milk
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. vanilla
6 t. water

Combine cereal mixture and milk mixture.

Spread on wax paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in oven at 200 degrees for 60+ minutes, until bars are no longer sticky.

Take out, cool on rack. Peel off wax paper and cut into bars.

The Color Code

I've been really into personality tests and typologies lately. So, here, the first in a series of blog posts on personality.

http://www.colorcode.com/

The Color Code is something that my husband actually introduced me to back when we were still dating. I never had the opportunity to take an actual test, however, until last night. So, here were my results:

Basic Analysis

Congratulations, you are a white.

white:42.97%
blue:??? %
yellow:??? %
red:??? %

Whites (Motive: Peace)

whites are motivated by Peace. They seek independence and require kindness. They resist confrontation at all costs. To them, feeling good is more important than being good. They are typically quiet by nature, process things very deeply and objectively with great clarity. Of all the colors, whites are the best listeners. They respect people who are direct but recoil from perceived hostility or verbal battle.

/End Quoted Segment

It was kind of a difficult test to take, since a lot of the descriptive words I had to choose between really didn't seem all that mutually exclusive to me. But, I suppose my end result still came out somewhat accurate. I am a little curious what my other perscentages were, but this site doesn't give those unless you upgrade, and I didn't care to upgrade.

Red was the smallest percentage, I'm sure. Between blue and yellow, since all the questions were supposed to be answered according to how I was as a child, I am guessing blue must've come in second; though if it were based on me now, I'd probably be more yellow, or else pretty evenly split between blue and yellow.

the following Core Motive descriptions are from the above-linked web site:

The Color Code introduces the following four personality "Colors," or driving Core Motives:
  • RED (Motive: POWER)—These are the power wielders. Power: the ability to move from point A to point B and get things done, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of vision and leadership and generally are responsible, decisive, proactive and assertive. 

  • BLUE (Motive: INTIMACY)—These are the do-gooders. Intimacy: connecting, creating quality relationships and having purpose, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of quality and service and are generally loyal, sincere, and thoughtful.

  • WHITE (Motive: PEACE)—These are the peacekeepers. Peace: the ability to stay calm and balanced even in the midst of conflict, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of clarity and tolerance and are generally kind, adaptable, and good-listeners.

  • YELLOW (Motive: Fun)—These are the fun lovers. Fun: the joy of living life “in the moment”, is what motivates and drives these people. They bring great gifts of enthusiasm and optimism and are generally charismatic, spontaneous, and sociable.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sorry, Buddy, but flattery won't work.

Today in church, I prepped my oldest to go to Primary. He didn't want to go alone, and begged me to go with him.

"I'm sorry, I can't go with you because I have to go to the Nursery with your brother. Maybe Daddy can sit with you for a little while until you're more comfortable."

"But Mommy, I don't want Daddy, I want you!"

"Why do you want me and not Daddy?"

"Because you're more nicer!"

"Aww, thank you. But, Daddy's very nice, too. Daddy can sit with you."

"But, Mommy, you're more cuter!"

Well, I couldn't exactly argue with him there. But, nonetheless I had to insist that Daddy go with him and not me. Eventually, he accepted.

He's an aspiring wheeler-dealer already...

Toddler's Got the Moves!

Just a fun little video of my toddler dancing.

video

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Balloons

Every so often, I take my boys someplace-- the chirpractor, the fair, Nana's house-- where they are offered balloons. Balloons are cheap. They are colorful. Kids are just attracted to them somehow. And so, of course, they seem to be everywhere.

Whenever someone asks me if my kid can have a balloon, internally I cringe. The very thought of touching that latex/rubber material; or feeling it rub against my skin; or hearing it rubbing against someone or something else, sends shivers down my spine. It just...gives me the willies.

But then, I remember how much I used to love balloons as a kid. I remember watching helium-filled balloons floating up through the sky, my eyes fixated until the balloon finally disappeared to my view. I remember drawing funny faces with Sharpies and pretending my balloons were people. I remember sometimes I would get a helium-filled balloon, and after a couple of days the helium would be leaking out, but there would still be just enough left so that the balloon would drift very slowly and kind of hover in midair; I always thought that was pretty fascinating.

I remember how much I used to love balloons, and I think about all the fun my own kids would miss if I never allowed a balloon into my house. And so, when someone offers my boy a balloon, I hide my aversion and accept the offering with a smile. And my son says "thank you" with a huge grin on his face. All the way home, he holds tight to the balloon string; he cries momentarily if the balloon floats up to the ceiling and he can't reach; he wants to eat with his balloon tied to his chair; he wants to sleep with his balloon resting somewhere where he can see it all night.

Then, come morning, my son usually takes a look at his balloon and says, "Mommy, I want to pop it!" And I am all too eager to find a pin...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Me? Organized?

Today, I watched the kids of a friend of mine. She brought them over, along with some food for their lunch. She went into my kitchen to put the food away, and this is what she saw:









Now, what she said to me was something along the lines of, "You sure are organized; I wish my house were this organized."

Really? Me? Organized?

And, was she serious? Because looking at the above pics, that does not look like the kitchen of an "organized" person to me.

I mean, I do *try* to be organized. But, I usually fail miserably. At least in my own estimation (apparently my friend would beg to differ).

But really, if you find something in my house that is truly organized, it is most likely due to one of the following four reasons:

A. I *just* organized it (and lucky for you, you get to see it before the hurricane blows through).
B. It's an area I rarely touch, and so has simply not had the opportunity to become *dis*organized.
C. It's pretty much self-maintaining and has only *one* designated purpose-- like a knife rack, or a silverware drawer.
D. I use the area *every day,* even several times a day, and so I actually care about it enough to keep it perpetually functional.

Otherwise, all bets are off.

Focus of Energy

I used to think I had a lot of energy. I easily got bored stuck at home. I wanted to go out and DO something. Or at least, if I couldn't go out, I would find something new and creative to do at home.

Since having my boys, though, some days I simply cannot get enough downtime. I acutally get tired of being productive. I WANT to be "bored" for once. My energy seems to go directly out of me, and directly into them. This is only sometimes, though.

Other times, I have a LOT of energy, but cannot manage to DO what I really want to do with that energy...so then I wash a load of dishes, or take a walk, or whatever...which is all good, too. But, not nearly as appealing as building that castle in the sky...At these times, what I really wish for is more time to focus on creation, more money for materials and other resources, maybe a maid to take care of all that day-to-day mundane stuff that bogs me down so much...

Then my toddler will do something cute, or my preschooler will tell me that he loves me, and I come back to Earth, and to my senses. And I remind myself that what I momentarily viewed as a sacrifice, is really no sacrifice after all. Let others go build their castles in the sky. I'm building a home here with my family, and what greater creation can one really find than a happy, united and functional family?

What to expect from this Blog

Essentially, as already stated, this blog is about ME. That's all. And as such, it will be entirely unpredictable and random in nature. I've started blogs before, but always I have tried too hard to cater to other people, to write what I thought any potential readers would want to read, to keep some sort of unifying theme to tie all my posts together into something very specific. But by doing so, I myself quickly lost interest or became overwhelmed with my own blogs. A couple never even really got started before they got dropped.

Not so this time.

That said, some possible subjects you might expect to be covered in the future (and I am not guaranteeing any of them):

children
crafting
cooking
personality theory
psychology
health
nutrition
music
shopping
toys and gadgets
the Cosmos
Spirituality and Religion
family values
good books
good movies
things I find funny
things I find irritating
imagining
inventing
designing
sociology
science
grammar
my childhood memories
my hopes and dreams

You get the idea. There will be no continuity, no rhyme or reason. No uniting theme, except ME. Hence the title of this blog. It will be very personal at times. It may even be uncomfortable. And oftentimes it may be that no one else will understand my words except for me.

Just don't say I didn't warn you.

Thanks for reading.