Blessings…

(Some how, I forgot to post this yesterday morning.)

The little blessings in my life yesterday…

My mom, who stopped by my house to pick up and mend some broken diapers and then rocked my over-tired daughter to sleep AND took my son to her house to get him out of my hair!

A little extra time to myself to knit a wedding gift for a friend.

A long phone chat with a dear, old friend.

Pizza for dinner at my mom’s after a quiet, refreshing afternoon.

What are your blessings today?

~Sh

A Baby Sweater for a Couple of Sweet, Sweet Babies…

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I thought I’d share my latest completed knitting projects. They are both the same sweater pattern in different sizes and using different yarn. The pink one was done 1st for my daughter and the white one is much smaller and knitted for my best friends son who will be born any day!!!

If you’d like to find the pattern to make one for yourself I’ve included a picture of and a link to the book that I used. I borrowed mine from the library. There are several other nice patterns in it too šŸ™‚
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http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_20/182-5558571-7243938?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the%20expectant%20knitter&sprefix=the+expectant+knitte%2Caps%2C323&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Athe%20expectant%20knitter

I’m currently working on a couple of dish towels and wash cloths for a wedding gift. Another close friend is marrying her high school sweetheart in a few weeks! I can’t wait for 2 weeks of vacation and some real partying šŸ™‚
~Sh

Counting Flowers

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A new activity for your little ones and you šŸ™‚

My son and I really enjoyed a quiet 15 minutes together playing this game. It’s fun and helps practice counting with one-to-one correspondence and number recognition. It makes a pretty center piece too when you’re not playing šŸ™‚

You will need flowers (as many as you want your child to practice counting). I used 10. (I made my flowers with construction paper and popsicle sticks and the template at http://spoonful.com/printables/pretty-paper-flower-mom You could also use silk flowers)

A flower-pot filled with sand or dirt or rice. I used sand from our sand box.

Cards with numbers printed on them. I made ours with construction paper. I also drew dots on each one so that my son can count the dots to read the number on the card. (You could use dice, but you won’t get the number recognition).

To Play:

Place all of the flowers on the table near the pot. Place all of the number cards face down on the table. Draw a card and count the corresponding number of flowers to “plant” in the flower-pot.

You can extend this activity to practice simple addition and subtraction.

Happy counting!

~Sh

Rhythms…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my family’s rhythms or schedules. With a newly turned 1-year-old and a newly turned 3-year-old in our home things have really been changing. And I’ve found myself floundering most days to adjust our daily rhythm to fit our new needs.

As I wrote about in a previous post our sleeping schedule is a work in progress (although it is improving). My son (3) has discovered his imagination and with it he has become fearful. He also is testing his boundaries more than ever. It seems he is constantly negotiating to get his way and throwing temper tantrums when he doesn’t. He has also learned to be sneaky, doing things he knows he shouldn’t and trying not to get caught. I often find myself shaking my head and wondering where my well-mannered, obedient little boy is hiding.

But then a few moments later he melts my heart with the kindness and patience he shows his little sister while teaching her how to do something or including her in his play. He blows me away with the stories he concocts and the elaborate games he invents. And oh my, how fast he is learning. He wants to count everything and notices more and more letters in his world. He’s so focused on learning new songs, singing them over and over and asking me to sing with him. All in all he’s exhausting! I always knew 3 was a challenging age, but experiencing it is nothing like I imagined šŸ™‚

I know that he needs the predictability that a well established rhythm brings, but it’s tricky adjusting our rhythm to fit my family’s changing needs.

It only complicates things that my daughter (1) is changing too. Everyday she walks/runs a little faster which means she is becoming an expert at getting into things she shouldn’t. All she wants to do is be near her brother, but it’s hard for him to get engrossed in his play with her taking his toys. And her budding sense of independence means she throws baby tantrums when she is removed from many situations.

My daughter is also a darling little girl who is fearless (unlike her brother). She is learning new sounds and adding new words to her vocabulary weekly. And what a little social butterfly she is!

With all that said, I feel like I’m pulled in 3 directions at any given moment in my day. I’m either rescuing my daughter from some new risky business, negotiating TV time with my son, cleaning up from the last meal, changing a diaper, wiping a butt, or countless other tasks all while trying to keep my cool and the peace. Let’s just say our home is a loving one, but not a very peaceful one.

So I find myself looking for time to sit down and assess my family’s current needs. And not just my children’s. Mine and my husband’s too. What absolutely must get done each day, each week, each month. What do we need to spend more time doing, and what can we let go? I need to answer these questions and then fit these things into an order for our days and weeks. The hope is that we will all find peace and comfort knowing what needs to be done when and that there is a time for everything.

So this is my task for the weekend. Monday morning is the start to a new week and hopefully we will be on a path to a more peaceful home. Wish me luck!

~Sh

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes for Dinner

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Tonight we’re having scalloped potatoes. I had some left over ham in the fridge and LOTS of baby spinach from the garden. It’s such a dreary, chilly day. The perfect night for yummy comfort food straight from the oven if you ask me.

You’ll need:
1 lb. potatoes
Ham or bacon
Spinach or other veggies
An onion
A couple cloves of garlic (or garlic powder)
About 3 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons of Flour
Salt & Pepper
About 2 cups of milk
About 1/2 to 1 cup of shredded cheese

1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add chopped onion and garlic. Cook until soft.
2. Slowly stir in flour until absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Pour in milk (I like whole milk or half & half). Cook and stir until bubbly and thick. Add shredded cheese. Remove from heat.
4. Grease casserole dish and layer 1/3 of the sliced potatoes on bottom of dish. Cover potatoes with spinach leaves. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the ham (cubed). Cover with 1/3 of the sauce. Repeat. Finish with a 3rd layer of potatoes and sauce.
5. Bake covered at 350 degree F. for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes longer. It’s done when the potatoes are tender.

I plan to serve it with a salad with more spinach from the garden. Yummy and easy!

Bon Appetit…

~Sh

My Vegetable Garden

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Here’s my garden this week. Unfortunately, my spinach just started to bolt (send up flower shoots) yesterday. This usually happens when the summer gets into full swing and the days get pretty hot. It doesn’t feel like that has happened yet since it is only 50 degree F today, but apparently my spinach knows it’s June. Anyway, you can see my spinach never got big before it bolted. Not a good year for spinach I guess.

I’ll be out there this evening picking all the spinach and using it for dinner tonight. That was a lot of work and waiting for not much spinach…bummer šŸ˜¦

On the other hand, my carrots and beets look good (middle and top of the photo respectively). I tried to do a little thinning Sunday, but my daughter got in the way :). I hope to get that done this week if it ever stops raining.

Once the spinach is gone I’ll have room to plant my green beans. I also need to find space for some corn and tomatoes and peppers soon!

Happy gardening!

~Sh

Make a Rain Stick

Today I’ll share a project my son and I worked on yesterday. I try to do 1 or 2 crafts each week with my 3-year-old son (I also try to let my 1-year-old daughter paint frequently). It’s been quite rainy this summer so far, so rain sticks seemed like an appropriate project. Here’s how you do it:

Materials:
1 Paper towel roll
Construction paper scraps or plastic wrap.
Glue
2 Rubber bands
Foil
Uncooked rice

1. Cut construction paper scraps into 2 circles 1 inch wider than the radius of the end of the paper towel roll. These will be the caps at each end of the paper towel roll. (You could use plastic wrap instead. You wouldn’t need to cut this into circles)

2. Cut 2 strips of foil twice the length of the paper towel roll and about 2 or 3 inches wide.

3. Crinkle the foil strips into long thin “snakes” and wrap around a pencil to create 2 “springs.”

4. Glue and or rubber band the construction paper circles (or plastic wrap) on one end of the paper towel roll to seal it off.

5. Place both foil springs into the paper towel roll.

6. Fill the paper towel roll about 1/8 full of rice.

7. Cover the other end of the paper towel roll with the other construction paper circle or more plastic wrap using glue and/or a rubber band.

8. Decorate with paint or other decorations and let dry.

9. Play and Dance!!!!

Hope you are having a fun Tuesday!

~Sh