We Finally Made a Snowman

Much earlier in the winter, we went outside to play in the snow and tried to make a snowman. It was too cold, and the snow wouldn’t pack.

After more than three months of temperatures too cold to go outside and play:

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Still looks pretty darn cold, doesn’t it? On Saturday it was. We tried again to make a snowman and ended up making… a lumpy pile of snow. We couldn’t get the snow to pack well because it was too cold. Again.

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So, the girls played in the puddles instead (of course).

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I was determined to have a snow man at first, so I did not proceed to the puddles initially.

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But it wasn’t happening (^^ obviously), and I couldn’t resist abandoning the snowman to play and splash.

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I’m glad I did, because yesterday we ended up having the perfect day for snowman building. We were able to do the roll-and-pack move to make the body parts.


Miss made the head all by herself and was so proud.


I’ve mentioned before that my Dad is quite artistic, and once made a snowman in the shape of a bust of Abraham Lincoln. I had a passing thought as I was trying to pile snow up into some sort of “snowmannish” shape on Saturday that maybe I could create something like he did, since the roll-into-three-balls-for-a-body-and-head technique wasn’t working out for us. Yeah. Not so much (the lump on the right is the attempt from Saturday).


The finished product from Sunday’s efforts:


It’s no Abraham Lincoln, but I love it, and Miss was very proud.

It was nice and warm (which means above freezing around here at this time of year), so we stayed out and played until dinner called us in.

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It’s over 50 degrees today (!!) so the snowman has already melted and fallen apart. But we made a snowman! We went outside! I can feel a tiny hint of spring in the air (very tiny). We’re so ready.


7 Quick Takes, Mostly About Wasting Time on the Internet

Linking up with Conversion Diary.

1. Here’s something I’ve learned about myself:

I do not like going to a salon for regular maintenance of any kind. This might be a somewhat new-ish development (maybe since having kids?), because I used to get my nails done every two weeks when I was in graduate school. But these days? Forget it. This is why I don’t color my hair. I even have a tiny bit of a mustache because I can’t be bothered to get it waxed on a regular basis.

This has never really been a problem for me. It wasn’t really too much of a big deal for me to regularly go at least six months between haircuts. But then I got bangs!

I did not foresee the problem of needing regular maintenance on bangs. They get long fast! I am not willing to go in for a $40 bang trim every three weeks of so. My solution? Cut them myself.


^^ See how long??

Well, now they’re short. Except I think I might have cut them a bit too short this last time. Good thing I invested in a few head bands for off hair days.

2. Speaking of learning things about myself, I am addicted to taking the ridiculous online “quizzes” everyone is posting on Facebook these days. I never seek them out, but when I see someone’s result from one of them on FB, like “I was meant to live in the 1950s. Which decade do you actually belong in?” or “I’m Burt! Which Sesame Street character are you?,” for some truly bizarre reason I can’t help but click on these just to see what I’ll get. Here’s what I’ve learned: I am a Hobbit Big Bird, who should have a career as a professor and live in Tennessee. Or Paris. In the 1920s.

See? Isn’t that interesting? Never mind the fact that my real answer to most of the items in these questionnaires is “None of these options,” or that I’m so unhip that the first time I took on of these quizzes (the one about “Which city should you actually live in?”) and it asked the question, “What’s your jam?,” the only one of the available responses that I had ever even heard of was “Sweet Child of Mine.” I must still be pretty glamorous though (see #1^^ for evidence of this), because I learned that I truly belong in Paris.

3. And speaking of silly internet wastes of time, my favorite of these quizzes was the one from the NY Times about “What does the way you speak say about where you’re from?” Unlike those in #2, this one was actually totally accurate. Calling the night before Halloween “Devil’s Night” and referring to a sugary carbonated beverage as “Pop” placed me squarely in Detroit, which really is the area where I did grow up.

One of the fun things about this particular quiz is that it showed the regional popularity of each individual answer given. Having lived in lots of states in the midwest and south, some of the things I say and ways I speak now no longer reflect my place of birth. Like “Frontage Road.” People don’t say that in Detroit, but I say it now. Fascinating.

4. Do these quick takes make me seem like all I ever do is waste time doing stupid stuff on the internet? Well, let me get all literary on you for a moment then. I recently came across a fun post (yes, on the internet) “What Your Book Crush Says About You.” My favorite literary gents from those included in the post are Gilbert Blythe and Rhett Butler. Though there’s nothing accurate in the post about what that actually says about me, it was still fun to read and think about some of my favorite male book characters. I wish she would have included Manly from the Little House books though. He’s a much better literary main man than Edward from Twilight, for pete’s sake.

So. I must know, which are your favorites?

5. I have discovered a love of the bento box for serving my kids lunch. I had gotten into such a lunch rut until I bought some of these containers and these silicone muffin things. Now it’s so much easier to get creative with lunch, and the girls seem to like it too. They refer to these as their “special” lunches.


^ Bacon, avocado, and lettuce, wrapped in a piece of turkey. In the muffin cup is some Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Nut Butter for dipping apple slices. They loved it!

It doesn’t really even seem to matter if they enjoy and eat what I put in these boxes for them. They almost never complain, because usually they have at least one thing in them that they like. Lunch is so much less of a drag.

And yes, I do realize that having a special box really isn’t necessary to serve lunch this way. But it seems more fun.

6. Miss started her piano lessons on Wednesday. Oh, the cuteness.

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I wasn’t sure how it would go, but she loved it. And her teacher is a perfect fit for her. Now I just need to get a piano.

7. I said this before, but I’ll say it again. I am having a little bit of a hard time with five. All of a sudden my eldest is doing all sorts of super grown up stuff. She’s wielding scissors like a pro. She’s reading.

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She no longer says, “lasterday” instead of “yesterday” or “with-about” instead of “without.” I don’t know exactly when she began pronouncing those words correctly (it’s probably been a while), but her sweet little mispronunciations are gone (except that Lass now says “lasterday”).

I’m not ready for her, for them, to be getting so big. Sis will be two next month. I don’t have a baby anymore!! I’m very near the point of no longer having anyone’s diaper to change and this makes me sad. Probably that makes me weird too, but obviously it’s not the diapers I’ll miss, it’s having a teeny baby. I need another baby 🙂

Check out more quick takes here.

Winter Needs to Go

Okay. First there was Flumaggedon, which consisted of respiratory flu for two of the girls and my husband (his turned into pneumonia) and some type of stomach bug or possibly pool-water-induced vomiting for Miss. That ugliness caused us to cancel our scheduled ski trip in early January. After we got through it and had about a week of everyone being fairly illness-free or at least on the mend, Sis got a fever and a horrible cough while we were in Florida, and then Lass got a slight fever too. The day after we got home, I went down with a nasty cough which caused laryngitis, which I still haven’t quite recovered from. Then last Friday I woke up with pink eye. Saturday it was in my other eye. Tuesday Miss had it. Wednesday Sis had it.

And if all that wasn’t enough (it WAS!!!!), last night at about 10, just as I was about to crawl into my warm, comfy bed, I heard Lass crying. I went in to check on her and what do you suppose I found? Macaroni and cheese she had vomited all over herself and her bed. For real. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

It was in her hair and just everywhere, so I started a bath, got the gross stuff to the laundry room, grabbed a bucket, and rolled up my sleeves. The poor girl was miserable for over an hour, and then she finally passed out. I crawled into bed only to hear Sis wake up crying about an hour later. Again, mac’n’cheese all over the bed and her. Round two. You get the idea. Fortunately, she wasn’t as sick as her sister. I finally went to bed at about 1:30am.

So. This winter and all of its indoor-germ-breeding just needs to be done. In the words of Super Friend, “This winter needs to die.” I’m soooo done with sick. Oh wait, except that I’m not because I still have a cold that just keeps hanging around, and I might be getting an ear infection (because why not?).

At least the girls were better when they woke up this morning.

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I was nervous, so we kept vomit-catching containers on hand and just sipped water for the first hour and a half or so after they woke up. A movie distracted them from the fact that they were starving, and kept them from going anywhere but on that blanket. We tentatively tried breakfast of bananas and toast. Not the red velvet Valentine’s Day pancakes I had planned. They kept that down too, happily watching movies while I watched for any signs of returning pukes.


^^ Bland bananas and toast, and Miss said, “I love this, Mom. What a special Valentine’s Day breakfast!”


Amazingly, it seems we’ve gotten through it now. I was sure we were going to have to cancel our second scheduled ski trip for this weekend. We were planning to leave after my husband gets home from work tonight and meet Super Friend and her family at the skiing place. Last night as I was rinsing puke from sheets to put them in the laundry, I was cursing the thought that we’d have to miss this trip too. But we’re going. No puking since about midnight last night. We’re. going.

I’m so glad we will get to salvage out trip, but unfortunately, pretty much all of my Valentine’s Day plans got foiled. We were going to have red velvet pancakes for breakfast, make flower arrangements for our table, have a fancy tea party (with fancy flower centerpieces), and other Valentine-y, crafty stuff.

We did do a bit more Valentine’s crafting once I was sure the vomiting was over.


And the girls exchanged the Valentines they had made for each other.


^^ The Valentine Miss made for Lass. She cut that heart out herself!

All is not lost though. We will be having a fancy belated Valentine’s Day/President’s Day breakfast and tea party on Monday. If we don’t get hit with the chicken pox or something in the meantime…


First Snow

We had our first snow yesterday. The girls started begging to go out and play in it as soon as they woke up. I wasn’t able to take them out in the morning, but I told them we could go after nap time.

The snow wasn’t even enough to cover the grass, and it was mostly melted by midday, but if there is ever snow anywhere in our town, it will be in our backyard. So we still had a snow  in the afternoon and they were thrilled.


^First time in snow.

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I forget how much kids love snow. I was standing out there huddled and cold, because by the time I got them all dressed to go out, they were running excitedly to the door, and I didn’t take the time to get myself properly geared up. And I was thinking about how I am not ready for our looong winter to start yet.

But as I watched them I couldn’t help but feel a little excited about this winter. There are so many things they want to do (notice in pictures above they are really excited about making snow angels). Miss kept mentioning ice skating, which was a bit of a surprise since we’ve never talked about that, but we can go there I guess.


They enjoy the snow so much. They didn’t seem cold at all.

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I just couldn’t help but appreciate the joy of my kids in snow. I even thought a bit about how much I loved it when I was little. I reminisced a little about how my Dad used to make the best snowmen/snow sculptures. One year he made a bust of Abraham Lincoln! And I couldn’t help but remember the time I found a “treasure” and ran to show it to my Dad. “Look Daddy! I found an acorn!” He laughed and told me to drop it. It was frozen squirrel poop.

And speaking of animals in the snow, the older girls started playing a game outside yesterday in which I heard them talking about helping the “hurt deer.” They were “warming” it up to make it get better. They seemed to be pretending that a big rock was the deer and they were brushing the snow off. Then I did a double take and noticed they weren’t playing with a rock:


For about a second I forgot that my husband’s deer target was out in the backyard, and I slightly started to freak out about them tending to an actual dead deer. Duh.

Another joy this year is that Miss can get her own snow pants, boots, and coat on now, and Lass can do some of it herself. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. Mittens are still my enemy, but that makes me very happy.

It’s going to be a long winter. It always is here. So we (I) might as well embrace it.

60 Kids’ Activities for Fall and Winter – The List is Done!

Our Fall and Winter Fun List is done!

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60 fun things we will be doing in the next six months:

  1. Draw faces on leaves
  2. Make an apple pie
  3. Make fall leaves spice art
  4. Go to local apple orchard
  5. Make a leaf book
  6. Play in a pile leaves
  7. “Marble” painting using an apple
  8. Drink hot cider
  9. Leaf printing
  10. Go to a pumpkin patch
  11. Leaf rubbing
  12. Make Thankful trees
  13. Hay ride
  14. Caramel apples
  15. Melted crayon leaf sun catchers
  16. Deer hunting (really just watching this year)
  17. Hand print turkeys
  18. Go trick or treating
  19. Carve pumpkins
  20. Roast pumpkin seeds and use them to make a pumpkin craft
  21. Make an autumn sparkle tree
  22. Children’s museum
  23. Girls road trip
  24. Donate food to the food pantry
  25. Build a fort (in the house)
  26. Treasure hunt
  27. Have a pajama movie night with Super Friend and her family
  28. Bake a cake
  29. Go to open swim at the YMCA
  30. Make a bucket craft to go with this book
  31. Make muffins
  32. Have a picnic in the living room
  33. Go to story time at the library
  34. Have a family slumber party
  35. Make a pinecone garland
  36. Write a letter to Santa
  37. Buy Christmas gifts for needy children
  38. Bake Christmas cookies
  39. Drive through the park to see the Christmas lights and visit the reindeer
  40. Set up nativity
  41. Have a Christmas music dance party
  42. Decorate the Christmas tree
  43. Make salt dough ornaments
  44. Visit Santa
  45. Sing Christmas carols
  46. Make hot glue and glitter snowflake ornaments
  47. Catch snowflakes
  48. Make snow angels
  49. Go Skiing
  50. Make paper snowflakes
  51. Blow ice bubbles
  52. Make a snow fort
  53. Drink hot chocolate
  54. Read books by the fire
  55. Make a snowman
  56. Have a snowball fight
  57. Snowman ice cream sundaes
  58. Make Valentine hearts with handprints (something like this, maybe even with glitter)
  59. Make kid-friendly tiramisu
  60. Make Valentine flower arrangements

Motherhood and Miscellany - 60 Fun Kids' Activities for Fall and Winter

Of course there is a lot more crafting and cooking on this list than there was on our summer list. Something about fall gets me in a super crafty mood. Leaves, apples, pumpkins, turkeys, Halloween… It’s all just so perfect making stuff. We already did marble painting with an apple (#7) and the girls loved it.

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And don’t even get me started on Christmas crafts… I’m a little giddy thinking about it.

I decided to put more projects that involve glitter or other loathesome materials on the list so I will have to do them (for example see #3, #15, #21, #46 above). I really detest glitter, but the girls LOVE working with it. We made glittery firework art this summer (only because I put it on our list and we did it outside) and it was such a treat for them. So, it’s on there. Multiple times.

It will be fun.

I will meditate prior to doing crafts that involve glitter or other finely powdered substances (Spices? Sounds awesome for crafting. And a little bit horrible).

I didn’t make separate fall and winter lists because around here it’s usually hard to tell where one season ends and the other begins. Winter weather typically starts long before the solstice. Plus, plenty of the activities could be done in either the fall or winter, so I just combined them.

If you want to use some of this stuff for separate lists, the items are organized like this:

  • Fall #1-21
  • Either Fall or Winter #22-34
  • Winter/Christmas #35-46
  • Winter/General #47-57
  • Winter/Valentine’s Day #58-60

I can’t wait to get into the activities with my girls.


What fall and/or winter activities are you looking forward to?

Making Snowmen – Sometimes You Need to Improvise

The girls got their wish to play in the snow today.

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They had so much fun tromping through the snow, making tracks and exploring.

Lass was a bit unsteady at first and had a hard time getting up when she fell down.

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After a bit she was more stable and keeping up with her sister fairly well.

Daddy made them a little snow fort.

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I think they could’ve stayed out there all day. After an hour and a half or so I coaxed them inside with hot chocolate and lunch.

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We read the book “The Snowy Day” at nap time, and Miss realized that they had “forgotten” to build a snowman while they were outside. She was disappointed about this (and that she hadn’t gotten a stick with which to whack a snow-covered tree).

They had been having so much fun, they really did forget, though my husband and I didn’t. I was excited to see them build a snowman and outfit it with some fun accessories, but the snow would not pack well enough to do so today.

But, their Advent calendar activity for the day was to “Make a Snowman,” so I improvised. While they were napping I remembered this ornament craft that my Mom mentioned to me the other day and that I’ve glimpsed on Pinterest. I grabbed three vintage blue ornaments off my tree, some white finger paint, and some paint pens, and we made it happen.


I painted their hands, placed the ornaments in their hands and had them press their fingers on them, and then added the rest with paint pens. Snowmen made.

Miss agreed that tomorrow we need to read “The Snowy Day” before they go outside, so she won’t forget again to do any important snow activities.



Seeing Santa

Today our Advent calendar activity was to go see Santa. I wasn’t sure if the girls would want to do this, but when we saw the reindeer the other day, they expressed disappointment that Santa wasn’t there too. So, though I was unsure how it would play out, we went to visit the big guy today.

I drove 30 minutes up to the mall to get to him and was surprised and pleased that there wasn’t a line to see him. The girls could have walked right up and jumped on his lap.

Except they had no interest in doing that. They were shy and wouldn’t get much closer to him than this:

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I was absolutely not going to force them to sit on the lap of a strange man if they didn’t want to, Santa or not. So I let them look at the cool teddy bear display around the path leading to Santa and was just getting them to wave to him from a distance and preparing to walk away when they both said that they did in fact want to go see him.

Some other kids had arrived after us and gone ahead to sit with Santa, so maybe seeing that gave them some courage. I don’t know, but they both started waltzing right up to him after that.

Once they got close, however, Miss said, “My sister is going to go sit on his lap, not me,” as she kind of pushed Lass ahead of her toward Santa.

Lass went right up to him, though she did seem a little unsure about it. She told him she wants, “A Big Snow White” for Christmas and got down.

How authentic is this Santa, by the way?


Even after seeing her sister do it, Miss still wasn’t willing to go up to him, so Baby Sis had her turn.


After that Miss was still a bit reluctant. I told her that it was okay if she did not want to go sit on Santa’s lap or talk to him, but that if she chose to leave without talking to him we probably wouldn’t have a chance to come back again (I could foresee her saying, as we were driving home, that she had changed her mind and did want to talk to him). So she decided that she would talk to him but did not want to sit on his lap. Fair enough. I went with her, and the very nice woman working there took a few photos for me.


She told him that she wanted, “A big Snow White, just like my sister.”

Then both girls kind of hugged him and he said, “See you on Christmas Eve!” They both got a big kick out of that.


I would have been perfectly okay with it if the girls had chosen to keep their distance from Santa. I thought that might happen when I planned the trip up there, but I wanted them to at least be able to see him.

As it turned out, I am pleased with how they took their time but managed to work through their worries to go and speak to him. I’m particularly proud of Miss for asserting herself so she could have a chance to talk to him on her terms.



A Blizzard Named Draco and Other Random Stuff

I’ve been spending lots of nap and bedtime breaks this week addressing Christmas cards and wrapping presents, so I’m trying to catch up with a big post full of a bunch of random happenings from the week.

As I type this post, a big winter storm is raging outside my window. Snow is flying sideways. Wind is howling. My power keeps flickering out. It’s a blizzard called “Winter Storm Draco.” We woke this morning to a winter wonderland. The girls are thrilled, as this is the first big snow of the year.



I love that they are naming winter storms now. I think it gives some street cred to the hassles, and sometimes perils, of living in the north country. We’ve had snow falling for about 16 hours, but Draco is just starting to pick up steam now, so we’ll see how it turns out. Hopefully we don’t lose power before I get this post done…

Meanwhile, we’re just staying in and trying to keep busy. We’re preparing for Christmas (I still have a ton of wrapping to do before the weekend) and reading lots of Christmas books. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree,” and “Christmas in the Big Woods” are the Christmas favorites right now. Other popular reads this week have been “The Snowy Day,” “The Gruffalo,” and “Interrupting Chicken.”

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The girls are finding cozy spots to hang out, to hide from monsters, and to play peek-a-boo.

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We got a fun and thoughtful gift from a friend of my Mom’s last week. She came across this Cinderella’s Castle gingerbread house kit, thought of my girls, and got it for them! What a sweet thing to do.

The girls were so eager to get it out and start working on it. I struggled with putting the frame of the house together on Monday and then had to put it away for a while to let it dry (and let myself recover from the frustration of getting it to stay up). We finally finished it today, and they had a blast!

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They were so proud of the finished product.


They’re already begging me to take it apart and eat it. Thanks Mrs. P!



I drew my last Chopped ingredients a few weeks ago. They were Crab, Pineapple, and Black Licorice. Holy crazy combination.

I decided to make Crab Tacos with a corn, roasted red pepper, and pineapple relish and some black licorice and lime mayo.

I roasted some peppers and then chopped them up and put them in a pan with some corn and chopped up pineapple. I seasoned this with salt, cumin, and a little bit of chili powder and threw in some minced cilantro when the cooking was done.

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I cooked the crab with minced garlic and chopped onion that had been sautéed in butter. I used cumin, salt and pepper for seasoning.


The ingredient that I had the hardest time with during the cooking was the licorice. I wanted to melt it to add it into some lime mayo, but couldn’t figure out how to get it to melt. I tried just putting it in a pan over medium heat, but it started to burn.


I got some new licorice pieces, added some water, and put it over low heat to avoid burning. The licorice was melting very slowly and the water just kept evaporating. After a long time messing with this, I ended up getting enough licorice-y liquid to add to the mayo and the licorice was soft enough that when I strained the liquid, I could mash little pieces of licorice through the strainer to get more of the flavor in the mayo.


Sound gross?

I know, my Chopped experiments probably always sound kind of gross.

This one turned out pretty well though.

The girls helped me with the cooking and learned about always tasting your food before serving it.


We decided it needed more salt



The finished product was good. Though the licorice was the trickiest ingredient during the cooking, the thing that caused the biggest problem in the taste of the finished dish was the pineapple. I used a little too much and didn’t chop it finely enough, so it was pretty overpowering. The licorice got lost under the lime in the mayo, so it wasn’t easily detected in the dish.


Weird as it sounds, and in spite of the problems, it really was quite good. I might even make this one again (with less pineapple).

Haven’t picked my next ingredients yet.

The week has been packed with Christmas readying and savoring. Last night I took the girls for a drive through a local park to see the Christmas lights. They called out through the whole drive, “Look Mama! More! Look, I see more!” over and over.

We got out to see the live reindeer they had on display. Lass would go anywhere near them, but Miss was pretty excited.


She really wanted to see Santa, but he’s only at this display on Friday and Saturday nights. I’m going to try to brave the mall to see him tomorrow if the roads aren’t too bad.

We’re embracing winter and the holidays this week. My girls are begging me to go out and play in the snow. They’re pretty persistent, but I have insisted that we wait until the blizzard stops, party pooper that I am. They are eager to make a snowman (Miss says it will be a Snow Queen, complete with a crown) and snow angels, and get into all sorts of other snowy fun. Wish me luck with this in our two feet of snow!



Weekend Fun

This weekend has been quiet.  It’s very cold here, and my husband had to work this weekend, so the girls and I mostly just stayed home and did lots of fun stay-home stuff.  We had more tea parties, this time with little sister joining in.


We played with baby dolls and did some gymnastics in the basement.  We made a little gift to give the other kids at Miss’s school for Valentine’s Day.  Miss and I even completed her first homework assignment from school this afternoon when she didn’t take a nap.  She was given a poster board heart at school and instructed to decorate it with the things she loves for Valentine’s Day.  So today we talked about what she loves.  We taped photos of Lass, Daddy, Mom (I’m now “Mom,” not Mama or Mommy), an ultrasound picture of Sis, and our dog Jonah to the heart.  Then she added photos of herself reading, doing gymnastics, eating ice cream at the pool, and picking a worm out of a carton while fishing with her Daddy.  She added a ballerina sticker, a picture of watermelon, which she said is her favorite food, and interestingly, a picture of her Papa’s tractor.  She was quite decisive about what she wanted and didn’t want, though I had to prompt her a bit by showing pictures and asking her if she wanted certain things.  I loved hearing the things she wanted to add, and was surprised by some things she didn’t care to include, like a picture of her Oopsie Bear Care Bear.  It makes me smile when she surprises me with things like that.

Also this weekend we did some work getting things ready for baby Sis.  I did some crafting during nap time, which I’ll post about when I have some finished projects to show.  Miss helped me fold clothes for Sis, which we transferred from the back of Miss’s closet into Sis’s.

She was so excited to help, and kept singing a little made-up song about the clothes and how her baby sister was going to love them.  She said, “Baby Sissy will be so happy that I helped fold her laundry.  She will love me so much and will give me a big hug.”  I can’t wait to see how wonderful these girls are going to be when their new sister arrives.  Miss was great with Lass, but she’s so much older now, it will be fun to watch how much more she can understand and help with her newest sister.  And I’m happy for Lass to have to chance to make the transition from Baby Sister to Big Sister.

And seriously, there is just something about the relationship these girls have that makes me smile every time I see them playing together and anticipate so happily the addition of another sister.  I love to watch them.  I’ll turn around and randomly see them snuggling together or playing a sweet little private game.

Lass’s language is really exploding, so they can talk to each other much more now, and I love to hear their little conversations.  Miss has a sweet little special voice that she uses for Lass when Lass is upset and Miss is trying to console her.

Usually, though certainly not always, they share pretty well too.  I bought a two-sided easel (which hasn’t been put together yet) so they could both use it at the same time more easily than the easel on their Learning Tower.

But when I witness moments like this one, I wonder why.

This weekend the sisters, as always, played lots of dress up.

Miss wanted to try to take a picture of her sister with my camera, and she did a pretty good job!

Miss also got her fingernails and toenails polished.  She has been very excited about this, and wanted to paint her Daddy’s fingernails when he got home from work today.  He was going to let her do it, until I told him that the only polish remover we have is the super non-toxic stuff that doesn’t really work very well.  He decided to go for a pedicure instead.  Both girls got a chance to paint his toenails.

Miss tried to finish up after Lass polished almost every part of his toes but his nails.

The finished product on the foot that Miss did by herself.

I’m sure this is the first of many nail polishings for this Daddy.  I love that he’s such a good sport about it.

This weekend wasn’t terribly productive.  I only crossed one thing off my extensive to-do list.  The stuff above about getting Sis’s clothes folded and moved into her room is misleading.  I started the project, but since I don’t have her dresser in her room yet or enough hangers for her clothes, I actually got very little done.  I hung some jammies, folded a few swaddle blankets, and moved two boxes, one with newborn cloth diapers and the other with newborn and size 3-month clothes, into Sis’s room.  I got a little bit done on some growth charts I’m making for Lass’s and Sis’s rooms, like the one I made for Miss a while ago.  And that’s about it.  Really though, I don’t care that I didn’t get much done.  When my husband is working the weekend and we are pretty much house-bound, I just do my best to have as much fun as possible and avoid meltdowns, either from my girls or myself.  This weekend, we did a pretty good job.

Paleo Progress

We have been doing pretty well with our attempts to shift our eating habits to the Paleo diet.  Dinner has been easy.  We’ve eaten a Paleo friendly dinner every night for the past few weeks.  As I predicted, breakfast and lunch have been a bit more of a challenge.  In an attempt to get my girls to eat more Paleo friendly breakfasts and not spend a ton of time cooking in the mornings, I made these cheesy egg muffins using a recipe I found on a website my brother sent me.  Here’s the link to the recipe.  

I actually messed up the recipe because I doubled it, but forgot to double the amounts of any of the ingredients other than the eggs.  Duh.  They were still pretty good, but a bit dry for my taste.  I also used the same recipe (again, doubling only the eggs) to make another dozen egg muffins, but this time I used blueberries (I smashed them up a little bit when stirring them in) instead of cheese.  I thought my girls would be more likely to enjoy these, and I was right.  They were pretty good, though again, a touch dry for me.  I think next time I’ll skip the coconut flour, yogurt, and baking powder and make these more like mini frittata muffins, with just eggs, a little coconut milk, and whatever other ingredients I decide to add.

The girls did eat up the muffins, and they also enjoyed to smoothies I made to go with them.

My favorite smoothie recipe:

2 bananas
2 handfuls of blueberries
8-9 frozen peach slices
Approximately a cup of unsweetened coconut milk (I like So Delicious brand, it comes in a carton like milk, rather than in a can)
I half this recipe for a 3-year-old-sized smoothie.

So, we’ve had some success with breakfasts.  I also made these pancakes last weekend.  The girls loved them.  There were enough leftover for a quick breakfast on a school morning, but I think next time I’ll at least double the recipe and then have some to refrigerate and freeze.

Unfortunately, though I had plans for sausage, hard-boiled eggs and fruit, and a few other good breakfasts, Miss has been asking every morning since the pancakes have been gone for oatmeal.  I guess I just have to let the oatmeal run out and then get back into the good stuff.

Lunch has been similar.  We’ve had good days (chicken and corn today, ham and fruit the other day, etc) and not so good (PB&J, mac and cheese for a play date).  Surprisingly, I have learned that Miss really likes to eat “sandwiches” wrapped in lettuce.

This from the girl who really won’t eat a sandwich otherwise, unless the bread is stuck together by it’s contents (PB&J, grilled cheese).  If it’s not, she just takes it apart and eats each component separately, so we don’t do ham or turkey sandwiches here.  Unless they are wrapped in lettuce now.  I guess her lack of interest in bread sandwiches has turned out to be a good thing, since I don’t have to try to get her out of the habit of eating bread so much.

We’ve done well with snacks, mostly eating different types of fresh and dried fruit, and Miss has discovered a love for cashews.  We have only resorted to bunny crackers once or twice when at the store during snack time.
I even developed my own yummy recipe for Paleo friendly hash, which we had for dinner last night.
I had some huge daikon radishes that I thought would substitute nicely for the potatoes in a hash, so I chopped one of them up into pretty small cubes (about a quarter inch to half inch square), browned it up with some onion and combined it with some browned ground venison. 

And it worked!  The hash was very yummy.  My husband even said it reminded him of the yummy greasy corned beef hash breakfast he used to get at the hospital where he used to work and has craved since.  I’ll take that as a compliment, since the result of my efforts was actually not greasy at all.

Here’s the “recipe,” though I’ll warn you in advance it’s not terribly precise with measurements.
Paleo Daikon Radish Hash
One huge daikon radish, chopped into 1/4 to 1/2-inch cubes (it probably ended up being about 3-4 cups once chopped, if you’re using several smaller radishes. I included the photos above, so you could kind of see how much).
One pound ground venison or beef
One medium yellow onion, chopped
Low sodium chicken broth (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp butter
S&P to taste
Brown your meat.  Remove it to a bowl but leave the fat behind.  The venison had very little fat, so if you are using beef you might need to drain some of this off.  I probably had about 2 Tbsp of fat left in the pan.  Add the radish and onion, along with about 1/2 tsp kosher salt.  Stir to coat with fat, add the butter, then cover and let soften.  After a bit I thought it started to look a bit dry, so I added about 1/2 cup of low-sodium chicken broth.  When the veggies start to soften, take the cover off and stir frequently until they begin to brown (you should have the pan on medium high or hotter).  It took about 20-30 minutes for things to get softened up enough and begin to brown (this might go faster if the lid of your pan has a good seal to keep in the steam, mine doesn’t).  Add the meat back into the pan along with another 1/2 cup or so of chicken broth.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the radish and onion are soft and nicely browned.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

It was a great warm comfort-food dinner on a super cold night.

And speaking of super cold, I have not really been all that interested in taking the girls out for the past few days because it has just been so cold here.  Today it snowed as well, so we had a stay-in-the-house-and-in-our-jammies day.  It was nice, though I did start to feel a little bit cooped up after two days of not going anywhere.  I felt the need to spice things up a bit, so I brought out the play-dough.

I’ll be honest and just say that I really hate play-dough.  It’s just messy and I find it annoying.  What can I say?  It’s not the most frequent activity in our house.  Okay, it’s a very, very infrequent activity in our house.  But, that makes my girls love it all the more!!

 This was her very special creation – A fish!  She said she made it for Grandma.

And I’ll be honest, now that we have this little plastic picnic table that I can easily bring into the kitchen for them to play on, the play-dough really wasn’t that bad.  In fact, I could see us doing it a bit more often.  Maybe.  The girls loved it, so that made it worth it.

The girls also got creative with their dry erase crayons.  These things are awesome, BTW.  A friend of mine found these for her kids and got some for us too when she learned of my lack of enthusiasm for dry erase markers with a 17-month-old.  These are so easy to wipe off most surfaces and they don’t rub off nearly as easily as markers, so if you brush against the board you don’t wind up with crayon all over yourself.  But, they do clean up relatively easily with a wet cloth.

Miss kept asking me what I wanted her to draw with her blue (her favorite color).

This is the look she gave me when I asked her to draw a square.  She said, “I already drawed a square Mama.”

Well then.

It’s supposed to warm up a bit this weekend so we’ll be venturing out some.  Stay warm!