Thursday, March 25, 2010

Giveaway: Blog Design or Make-Over by Delight Design!

Giveaway: Blog Design or Make-Over by Delight Design!

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Nanotechnology Bringing Foods, Regulated or Not, to Grocery Near You - AOL News

My mom just forwarded this article to me. About a quarter of the way through the article, you find out that nano particles are not a thing of the future for food, they are on the shelves right now!

Nanotechnology Bringing Foods, Regulated or Not, to Grocery Near You - AOL News

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Week of C

~Jeannsies is 30 months old~

Tot School

Thanks to my sister-in-law, we did a lot this week!
On Tuesday, we got together with the cousin and we had all sorts of C fun before and after the library story time! We made crowns and crayons before story time.
We made the crayons by peeling old broken crayons, braking them and putting them in a mini-muffin tin. We took the crayons out of the oven when they were melted and that was pretty interesting for the girls. We didn't grease the tin, and some of the crayons stuck. I ended up having to throw out the pan. The girls seemed to think making the crayons was fun, but they didn't care much about coloring with them.
We came back from story time and we ate lunch in the camper. We also made "C" collages including things like cookie monster, candy canes, cuttlefish, chameleons, cats, candy land, cousins, and family members who's names start with C.
We worked on this caterpillar matching game from Confessions of a Homeschooler:

We played with some wooden beads I got at the dollar store! I have been looking for cheap wooden beads, so I was excited. The problem with them is that they are too jagged inside the hole, so they are hard to lace. Once I sand them, they will be great!

We made an egg carton caterpillar and a cookie monster toilet paper craft.

On Thursday night, we went to a relative's dairy to visit the cows! Awesome!

On Friday, we made a C for Crab from Totally Tots. Sorry they are sideways! I can't figure out how to fix it.
Auntie made them these adorable cardboard cars with turning wheels and cardboard keys.
I started stapling all of her letter crafts for the week over the bed so she can look at them. Here is the week of C:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Little Green Project - Soap Nuts

My little green secret this year is definitely soap nuts. I found out about them through Passionate Homemaking. Here is one of her great posts about them. I mainly use the soap nuts to make a liquid that I use for laundry and all purpose cleaner. I usually add 2 ice cubes worth of lemon juice to the batch for both the cleaner and laundry soap.

Soap nuts do work, although they aren't perfect. If you like your laundry to "smell clean," you won't like them. If you like your laundry not to smell like anything, you will. I am having trouble getting the hub's extremely dirty construction jeans clean with soap nuts. However, he asked me to use regular detergent once, and that didn't work. His pants are just too dirty!

I bought this pack in November, and I am less than half way through them. I am hoping they will last close to a year. Basically the only cleaning products I still buy are dish soap and dishwasher soap.

The greatest thing about soap nuts, in my opinion is the lack of packaging. Just imagine all of the bottles and boxes I would have gone through in laundry detergent alone by this time. It takes very minimal processing to prepare them. They are also biodegradable and non-toxic for everyone in the house.

Using soap nuts is also quite possibly the weirdest of my weird crunchy ways. So weird in fact, that I hide it from my family. I am living with my in-laws right now, and I have decided to slowly introduce them to our crunchiness. I don't think they're ready for the soap nuts.

So. . . I make my soap nuts liquid during the night after they're asleep or some other time when they aren't around. If they happen to show up while they're boiling on the stove, I just don't mention it. Pathetic, I know.

Celestial Seasonings giveaway @ Passionate Homemaking

I have thrown my hat in the ring for this awesome giveaway at Passionate Homemaking. Anyone who's interested just has to write a comment on that blog, and they are automatically entered.

I am a total looser when it comes to natural remedies for illnesses and ailments. It's one area I really want to improve on this year!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gratituesday: Time

Now that I have been home with my Jeannsies for a month, it is obvious what I was missing:


Time to read.

Time to snuggle.

Time to dance.

Time to correct.

Time to feed.

Time to sing.

Time to play.

Time to teach.

Time to learn.

Time to observe.

Time to sit in the sun.

Time to play in the dirt.

When I was working, I had so little time. I was always tired, exhausted.
The time I had with Jeannsies was always a little too much about me. I didn't have the energy to cook. I wanted to veg out in front of the TV. I just wanted to make it through the bedtime routine and relax.

Now that I am with my baby every day, I understand all of the time I was missing. I can see that another person really was raising her. Even though I trusted that person, she wasn't Jeannsies mama.

So this Tuesday, I am filled with gratitude.

I am grateful to Robert for jumping into this with me and taking on the responsibility to provide for our family. I am grateful to my in-laws for allowing us to live with them so we can afford to make it happen. I am grateful to my parents for buying our car so that we can live on one income. I am grateful to everyone who prayed to get us here. Most of all, I am grateful to God for calling me to this life, and for moving all of the mountains in our way.

After seeing God move in such a big way, I can't wait to see what He has planned for us next!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fun Feathered Friends: Mourning Dove

As Jeannsies and her friend played at the park today, the friend called out "Dove" when she heard a Mourning Dove call! I was so excited! Mourning Dove is the only call Jeannsies has learned at this point. She also knows what a dove looks like. (We will be spending some good dove searching time during "D" week).

I realized that Mourning Doves are probably one of the most distinctive and easy to identify of the common birds in our area. It's a great intro to the fact that there are lots of different types of birds. If you think about it, it's probably kind of confusing when we just call everything with feathers that flies a "bird." We don't just go around teaching the kids "mammal" after all.

Jeannsies loves to identify different animals and make their sounds, so I figure now is a great time to introduce her to birding. I just have to be careful not to be a stage mother about it.
Anyway, this is a mourning dove:

And that's one of the most common ways to see them. They also like to walk around on the ground which makes them easy to spot and fun to watch.

They are closely related to pigeons, but they are native to the Central Valley. As my friend commented, their call sounds sad. I think that's where the forlorn name Mourning Dove comes from.

All of the birds in the pigeon family (Columbidae) feed their little ones "crop milk." Doesn't sound sweet? It is actually "secreted by a sloughing of fluid-filled cells from the lining of the crop" Yum!

The have a slightly pinkish tint, a fact I am going to exploit heavily to interest my little pink princess.

Doves and pigeons have a really fun walk to imitate too. I'm going to see if I can get Jeannsies pretending to be a dove. Yes that means I will probably be pretending to be a dove at a public park. Don't worry, once you've given birth in a room full of strangers, you no longer have any pride.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Week of B

~Jeannsies is 30 months old~
Tot School

This week was very busy and less organized as far as tot school goes. We had several play dates and lots of fun. I felt kind of bad because there are so many great things you could do with the letter B, but we were so Busy I had to keep it pretty simple.

She started off the week at auntie's house and made a Butterfly with a coffee filter and glitter pens.

We did our home invented letter sticker game again, she really likes that game!

We played with her "Bugs" (colored pom poms from Wal-Mart). While I was busy cleaning my room, I found her playing with the pom poms and some sticks like chopsticks! I was so excited because I have not been able to get her interested in transferring things with tongs or tweezers before. These pictures make it look like she was really using chopsticks. Actually, the sticks were very flexible, so they sort of grabbed onto the bugs if she pushed on them.

We did this Bb matching game. I am a horrible person, but I can't find where I got this! I will post the link as soon as I find it.
She did a good job with it, but she wasn't too interested in playing with it more than once.

We went to the library for story time, and along with lots of B books, we got some dance videos. She has loved this, and I am excited that she can take a dance class without me paying for it! She and I have done these videos together almost every afternoon and it is tons of fun. Next I'm going to look for some music class videos.

The big trip of the week was on Thursday. The little cousin, jeannsies, auntie and I went to the East La Loma Park to ride Bikes and look for Birds through our Binoculars. I was really impressed with this park, and it felt great to be close to the river.

It's hard to see, but we found this really weird worm in a puddle. It was about 10 inches long and really skinny. The girls looked at it for quite a while. Great stuff!

Throwing rocks in a puddle, the greatest part of the day! Now that is some quality nature play!

Jeannsies used her binoculars to look for worms. She found some.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Columbian Cousins

The weekend before last we babysat our nieces, so we had to figure out what to do with 3 little girls ages 7, 3, and 2 for 36 hours. It was cold, cloudy, and threatening rain, so we thought -- Great day to take the girls outside! We packed a picnic lunch and headed off to Columbia State Historic Park.

We started off the day by getting totally lost and adding a good 30 minutes on to the drive. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my mother again for the portable DVD player. We watched the Leap Frog Letter Factory during the drive, so it was highly educational. (Although I have now linked to this DVD in every post on my blog to date, I promise I am not earning a commission from Leap Frog).

It was about an hour long drive, longer than I expected, but we all survived. It was nice to get out and drive through the foothills. This was always one of my favorite things to do growing up in Modesto. When we got to Columbia State Historic Park, the weather had just started to get cold and dreary, but we had a great time anyway.

The first attraction was a big mound of rocks. Well, I guess they were more like boulders. The oldest cousin had a great time climbing on these with her uncle, despite the rowdy teenagers in the area.
We walked around the town and explored the shops. There was a really nice museum with some great interactives in the back. The girls dressed up in old west garb. Then they built a brick wall, and pretended to do laundry in a wash basin. The museum, parking, and shops were all free, so it is really a great deal!
Of course, the most fun we had was completely by accident and at the end of the day. We wanted to get going, but the girls wanted to stay. I said we could play for just a little longer and explore the barn structures we could see from across the road. The girls weren't that interested in the barns, but they didn't want to sit in the car for another 45 minutes, so they humored me. It turned out to be a whole town of wooden structures. We had the whole place to ourselves for a good 15 minutes. I didn't take enough photos, of course! We ended up pretending to be living in the different houses, having a general store and post office. The 6 year old lead the way on what we would all pretend and the rest of us just went along. It was great fun until another family came to butt in on our fun. Oh well, we needed to get on the road anyway.

I highly recommend a trip or two to Columbia SHP!