Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Can We Make?

 Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (or in our case White Chocolate Craisin Granola Bars)
I'm a big fan of Her food is very healthy, even easier to make, and very kid friendly. When I was making baby food for the girls I loved trying many of the puree combinations she posted. I love having a snack item to make with the girls and then have it to snack on all week. ( Coconut Apple Carrot Muffins are awesome too!)  I try to have the girls cook as much as they can with me; even if they are just standing at the sink making their own pretend "soup" I love having them help. Norah loves stirring and helping empty the measuring cups into the bowl and Stella just loves doing whatever her big sister is doing. It's not always the cleanest,  most time efficient, or most practical but they seem to enjoy it and I love the memories we are making. I can always clean the floors later, right?
When I found this recipe for these homemade granola bars I knew I wanted to try them. I had all the ingredients without having to go to the store minus the chocolate chips so instead I tried them with leftover Crasins and white chocolate chips. Yum! Just watch them while they are baking because they can overcook very quickly. I'd suggest checking them at 20 minutes. I think mine were in about 35 minutes and they were golden brown on top. When I was trying to cut them into bars some areas were still pretty crumbly and fell apart - so on top of little granola bars for the girls I also have a container with granola pieces for our yogurt. I wish I knew what the secret was to have them stay together - next time I"ll play around with the time a little more. The combinations you could put in them are endless and you could use whatever you have on hand. I wonder how fresh diced apple and cinnamon would be?

Somehow mixing turned into emptying the silverware drawer...

The floor after our adventure in's impossible to cook with those girls and not get anything on the floor.

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
4 Cups Old Fashioned Oats

1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 Cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut

1/3 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Chocolate Chips* ( I did 1/2 C Craisins and 1/2 C white chocolate chips)

1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt

1/2 Cup Canola Oil

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2 Cup Honey

 Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the 
remaining ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Place granola mixture
 on a parchment lined baking sheet and shape into a rectangle, about 13 x 9 x 1 inch thick.
Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then cut into 3 x 1 inch bars.**

* You can substitute raisins or other dried fruit for the chocolate chips.
** Individually wrapped, the bars will remain fresh for several weeks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Get Moving!

  Here's a few ideas to get your kiddos moving this week - you'll probably be right there moving with them too!

* Play some fun music (Christmas?) and when you pause the music they have to freeze until you press play again. Be silly, change the music style often and encourage them to dance slow, fast, high, low... This activity is good for working on their listening and following directions and to gets them to burn off some energy. 

* Sun Salutation: Norah and I have done yoga poses together a few times, but never an entire series of poses in a row. When she would have her head down (on the floor basically) and in a pike position I"d always call out, "Downward Facing Dog" and now she calls that out when she finds herself in the pose. The benefits of yoga are numerous. While I am not a consistent Yogi (is that what it's called?) I love how I feel after a class both physically and mentally.   The Sun Salutation is a series of yoga poses that if you take a yoga class you are likely to see. I taught it in my PE classes multiple times and a yoga unit always got a great response; I'm not sure if that's because they got to lay around in the dark listening to mellow music at the end or they actually liked the workout. I've been wanting to try this for awhile and am going to do it this week in the mornings with her and see if it could become part of our morning routine. I've posted a video of the sequence of poses and I like how she incorporated counting with the poses - you'll be working on yoga and counting! The picture below is pretty self explanatory - start at the top and work your way around the circle. In my searching I found the website, and it looks like a pretty neat website with tons of ideas on poses to do with kids. I think I'll be finding more to use from that site!

sun salutation

* My last movement idea for this week is just a simple ball toss. Find different sized balls you already have already the house (rolled up socks work just fine too!) then find different sized bowls, hula  hoops, boxes (anything to toss the balls into) and spread them around the room making some closer and farther away from where you'll toss from. To make it easier you'll want bigger items -- boxes, laundry baskets etc., to make it harder you'll want smaller - bowls, cups, etc. You could also use masking tape and tape it in a circle shape on the floor and they could try to toss the ball into the circle. Then let them go to town trying to toss the ball into the bowls/boxes etc. You can work on underhand toss or let them try to throw overhand. Wait until all the balls have been tossed before sending them out to collect and try again. 
Activities that involve throwing a ball improve children's coordination, body movement and gross motor skills but they'll just think they are having fun!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's for Dinner?

I don't know about you but I feel like all I've been doing is eating! This week I'm going to go for light and simple meals to compensate for all the yummy eating we did over Thanksgiving and the days following.

On the menu this week:
Pan Seared Shrimp, Broccoli Orzo, and a Spinach Salad
Crock Pot Minestrone Soup, French Bread
Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed time spent with family and friends.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Feel Good Friday.

Great movie, book, and words to remember.
Well said words from one of my all time favorite books, The Help by Katheryn Stockett. 
These are good words to tell ourselves or someone we love - our children especially. I teared up when Aibileen would say these words to the sweet little girl she cared for and in the movie it was even more powerful. If you haven't read this book please add it to your list. It is a "feel good" book and I always know I love a book when I'm sad  it's over. And, if reading isn't your thing the movie is really, really good -- not as good as the book (they never are) but one of the better book to movies I've seen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Can We Make?

In true Thanksgiving fashion here are two turkey crafts you can do with your little ones this week.

Toilet Paper Roll Turkey
This is  a cute little turkey made with whom ever hands yous choose to use. I was able to do one with Norah's hands and one with Stella's hands. As I'm typing this I was thinking it might be cute to do one with one of each family member's hands.  When we did it we didn't have the googly eyes so black marker did the trick. The link above will take you to step by step directions if you need them.

Thanksgiving Printables
The above link will take you to a great set of Thanksgiving worksheets geared for 3-6 year olds. Looking through them there are some great pages for kids to color, trace, count, etc. They are a little old for Norah but she'll have a ball coloring them and might be into the tracing. I will for sure be printing a few of the pages out for the girls and my nephew to color if they need something to do on Thanksgiving.

Happy crafting with your kids and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Get Moving

Get Moving Monday will have 2-3 ideas for you to use throughout the week to get your kids, yourself or your family all moving and off the couch! Some weeks will strictly be for your children and other weeks will focus on workouts you could do at home while they are napping or between commercials while you watch your favorite TV show. I have an 18 month old and a 3 year old so the kids activities will be geared towards that age group, but there should be ways to make things easier/harder for older and younger kids.
I'm a planner. I like to have my week planned out on Sunday with meals, crafts and activities to do with the girls. Does this happen every week? Heck no. But it's always fun when it does and I'm making a more conscious effort to try. Just like when I was teaching and would have my lesson plan for the week I feel more productive at home when I have a plan as well. I could never find a website where they were all in one place each week so I'm doing that part for you. Monday's I will post"Get Moving" and Wednesday's I will post "What Can We Make" where there will be 2-3 themed crafts you could do.

Walk with Egg Carton Nature Box
I found the idea for this egg carton nature box off of Pinterest (where else?) I can't remember the exact site but I knew it would be a hit and easy to do.
I spray painted an egg carton white and then we painted the holes rainbow colors and let them dry. I had Norah help me do polka dots on the outside of the box to add some more color. Now you have the perfect vessel to talk about colors, matching, and whatever other discussions will happen while you are outside exploring. Bundle up the kiddos and take off outside and look for things that match each color and put them in the appropriate spot in the egg carton. With two of each color it actually works great for two kids because they can each have a side. If they were older and competitive you could make it a game who could fill it up the fastest by leaving the egg carton in one spot and they have to run back with their colored item to fill up their side.
Some of the colors are harder to find so you just get creative (a small piece of blue plastic? perfect!) This time of year there are so many beautiful red, orange, and yellow leaves where we are living that you should be able to find everything easily. If you don't live where you can just go out your door and do this then take them to a park or somewhere else were you  can get out and walk and let your kids get a little dirty picking stuff up and exploring the big, beautiful world around them. I was having issues importing my pictures so I wasn't able to show my "after" picture with the egg carton full of our goodies we found, but they really got into trying to fill each space and Norah was very observant to the colors around her while we were outside.

Indoor Obstacle Course
This isn't a new invention or something that requires special equipment; sometimes we just need a reminder to use what we have as a way to let kids get energy out and move. I know I'll be using this throughout the coming winter months when we can't get outside to burn off some energy. Will your living room get a little messy? Yes. But they'll have fun and you'll be able to make them use different motor skills to go through whatever kind of course you design. 
  • Crawl over pillows (as many as you want)
  • Crawl under a chair or a bench 
  • Through a tunnel (I bought one at Target awhile ago and it was a great purchase!)
  • Tip-Toe Walk on a jump rope (Or a piece of yarn, string or shoelace - just something skinny they could try to walk on).
  • Crawl into a big cardboard box (Thank you Amazon for shipping my diapers).

 Just use what you have and think about ways they could use their body to move over, under, through, around or jump, hop, roll, slide. Just by watching them try it you'll probably be inspired for something new to add to it! Have your camera handy too - you never know what you might capture.

Turkey Strut
I had to have something turkey themed for this week. I found this idea just be searching "thanksgiving movement ideas" and it was an answer on Yahoo questions here. Dancing and music are a big hit in our house and I think they'd get a kick out of this. Norah already does something similar with lily pads in her ballet class so I think she'd catch on to the concept pretty quickly. And Stella will just want to follow her big sister so they might end up sharing feet which is fine too.
Use pieces of masking tape to make turkey footprints all over the floor. Start playing music and have kids pretend to be turkeys and strut around the room. When you stop the music, have them find footprints to stand on (try for one child to a footprint) When you start the music again, have the "turkeys" continue strutting about the room. This will be good focus on following directions, sharing, and moving. I might even try to find different music tempos and see if I can have them move slow or fast like the music. If they were older you could also change the way they had to move each time i/e jumping, skipping, crawling, all while still trying to strut like a turkey. 

Remember the goal here is that we want our kids to move! We want them to be comfortable running, skipping, hopping, acting silly (show them how to strut like a turkey yourself and the sillier the better!), exploring and appreciating the world outside of t.v. and all the technology we are bombarded with every day.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What's for Dinner?

I am loving this lazy Sunday afternoon --  football's on, fire is going in the fireplace, cozy rainy weather and dinner is cooking away in the Crock Pot. It was so nice to come home to yummy smells coming from the kitchen after taking family pictures at Bidwell Park this morning.
Over all I was really impressed with all the recipes I tried last week from Skinnytaste. I will continue to look for recipes to try from the website and will be adding  these two to my favorites:  Cilantro Lime Shimp (really easy and fast, great fresh flavor) and the Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili (don't let the idea of canned pumpkin turn you off -- it was really hearty and filling and the girls loved it -- Norah ate 2 bowls!).
Meal planning for this week is a little crazy with Thanksgiving and family and friends in town. I'm only going to plan out these two meals and then plan on leftovers and of course the big Turkey Day on Thursday.
I had leftover shrimp from last week and in my recipe searching I realized I already have all of the ingredients for it (love when that happens) so Angel Hair with Shrimp and Asparagus will be on the menu.
I'm also going to make my Mom's Spicy Potato Soup. I love this recipe because it is perfect on a cold fall day and will be easy to put on the stove when we've got company staying here through the weekend. Served with crusty warm French bread and topped with grated Parmesan cheese it is so comforting.

Spicy Potato Soup
1 lb. ground beef (I've never tried turkey but I bet it would be good)
4 C cubed, peeled potatoes
1 small onion, diced
3 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
4 C water
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1- 1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce (This is to your taste - if you like it spicy add as much as you'd like!)
Brown meat and drain. Add everything else. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.


On a totally different note I have to brag about my brother and his photography!Check him out here!  He's made quite a name for himself along the Central Coast and has even had some pictures published in a surfing magazine.  I'm so impressed with his eye for photography -- he definitely got that from our amazing Dad

Friday, November 18, 2011

Feel Good Friday

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I wanted to share this quote with you as we get ready to head into Thanksgiving week. I think it is a nice reminder to focus on the good and focus on what we do have to be thankful for. Next week at this time we will still be half in turkey comas I'm sure. Our Thanksgiving tradition always involves not one, but two dinners and by the end we are stuffed. I think leggings will be the wardrobe to add for optimal eating comfort. I love Thanksgiving. I love the beautiful, cozy table my Mom always sets with candles, acorns and beautiful colors of orange and brown. I love the family that meets around the table, and I of course love the food. 
I'm taking a moment today to pause and reflect on what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving. Although we should be thankful and grateful every day, Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to really think about it and voice those parts of our life we are most thankful.
 I'm thankful for this new routine I'm living every day. There are moments where I do miss the teacher in me and I miss the amazing colleagues I worked so closely with for those years . But, I am thankful this opportunity presented itself to be able to stay home and I am thankful I was brave enough to take it.
I am thankful for my little family. I am thankful for two amazing little girls who are changing before my eyes and I am learning to be thankful even when they are driving me crazy (i/e -- as I am trying to type this, Stella is sitting on my lap and reaching for the keyboard...thankful, thankful, thankful....)
 I am thankful for my husband who works so hard for us and is so patient with me.
 I am thankful for immediate and extended family who helps us whenever they can. I have learned what it means to be a selfless parent by watching how giving my parents are.
I am thankful for my friends and the friendships that are such a support system.
I am thankful for the beautiful view when I look out my window. Yes, there are many moments I'm not thankful and would rather have a shorter drive to get to Target (or a decent grocery store for that matter) but when I stop and just look at the beauty around us I am thankful.
I am thankful for being sore after a tough class at the gym yesterday. Yes, I am thankful I' m sore. I love feeling this way and knowing I pushed myself and my muscles. I'm thankful I had a body that could get me through the class. I am probably the youngest one in my class and when I look at Francine (who's probably 65) I am in awe as she's doing jumping jacks with the weighted rope and doing sprints in the parking lot -- she's my inspiration to keep moving and pushing. I want to be like her when I'm that age!
The whole point of "Feel Good Friday" is to give you some food for thought, a positive quote, a fitness tip or inspire you to do a random act of kindness. It felt good for me to think about how much I really have to be thankful for; it's so easy to focus on what we don't have. But when you really stop to think, like the quote says, there's always something to be thankful for. So, your Feel Good Friday goal -- think about what you are thankful for and tell someone! It always is good to hear and it feels good to focus on what we are thankful for.
 A little random act of kindness goal too --  today I paid for the coffee of the person behind me at Starbucks. Have you ever been the recipient of something like that? It feels good, plain and simple. I hope they decided to continue the trend and pay it forward for someone else.
Happy Thanksgiving!

20 Thankfulness and Gratitude Quotes for Thanksgiving ♥

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meal Inspiration

Here's a quick post with a few recipe ideas for this week. All the recipes are coming from Everything I looked at on her site looked very healthy, easy (3 are crock pot recipes!) freezable, and family friendly. So, if you are like me and hate planning your meals for the week - here you go! 

Here's my meal plan:
Cilantro Lime Shrimp
Crock Pot Asian Pork with Mushrooms  * I'll use the leftover from this like she suggests for the 5th meal *
Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili
Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

I'm excited to try these new recipes this week and will give feedback if any are definite "keepers."

Can't believe that we are almost halfway through November - Thanksgiving will be here before we know it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Two Fantastic Appetizers

Last night I hosted a fun Scentsy party and made two new appetizers that I found off of Pinterest: Jalapeno Cream Cheese Poppers and Creamy Pumpkin Pie Dip. I love Scentsy! I love that there isn't a flame to worry about and love the yummy scents they have! Check out my friend Marie's website if you'd like to learn more. I had to share these two recipes because they got tons of compliments, were really easy and perfect for a party.  All the snacks were eaten before I had a chance to take any pictures tonight so please enjoy the high quality, well photographed pictures from their websites.

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Poppers
Recipe from:
Makes 32 rolls (** I only got 18 - I don't know how the heck they got 32 rolls out of 1 tube**)

1 package Cream Cheese (8 Ounce Package)
4 ounces,Canned, Diced Jalapenos 
1 Tablespoon Sugar
8 ounces, weight Tube Refrigerated Crescent Rolls

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix cream cheese with as much of the jalapenos as you'd like (the original recipe called for 3/4 of the bar of cream cheese with 1/2-3/4 of the can of jalapenos - I did this and they were quite spicy, very good, but still spicy - if you don't like things spicy I'd suggesting using less.)
Add the tablespoon of sugar and mix well so it's incorporated. 
Unroll the crescent rolls and press together to make it a rectangle. (**The recipe says to get 2 big rectangles from the tubes by pressing them together - if I made this again I'd probably make 4 smaller rectangles and just have smaller rolls, but you can do whatever you want.**)
Spread the cream cheese mixture on the dough and roll up. 
You can then slice them immediately and bake on a sprayed/greased cookie sheet for 13 minutes or you can cover and refrigerate. I think they are a little easier to slice when they have set and chilled.

Golden brown, creamy, spicy, hint of sweetness. Betcha can't eat just one!

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Dip
Recipe from:
Makes 2 Cups

• 1 8 oz. package spreadable cream cheese, room temperature
• 1 cup pumpkin pie filling
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/4 cup sour cream

* If using plain pumpkin puree ADD: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon 
ground cloves, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or: 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice). PLUS: 3/4 cup icing sugar
(**I did this and just added the teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and 3/4 C sugar to it, not quite sure what icing sugar is.**)

Cream together cream cheese and pie filling until smooth. Stir in cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and sour cream. 
Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.
Serve with graham crackers, ginger snaps, cinnamon cookies or fruit such as apples and pears.

This was delicious! I served it with really thick cinnamon graham crackers from Trader Joes, waffle cone cookies, again from Trader Joes, and apple slices. I think pears would be good and so would ginger snaps like suggested. Easy, yummy and definitely tasted like pumpkin pie - try it if you are into that sort of thing, you won't regret it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Trip to Morro Bay

Last week I road tripped down to Morro Bay with the girls to visit my brother and their Uncle Jason who lives there. Luke was out of town and I wanted to take advantage of not being prisoner to the school schedule yet. So we loaded up and hit the road. We survived the drive with only one stop, lots of snacks and a few tears due to Stella throwing her blanket so far between the door and her car seat that I couldn't safely reach while driving.
Jason had to work Friday so we were on our own until we were planning to pick him up later in the afternoon. We packed up and headed a little north of Morro Bay to Cambria where they have this beautiful 2 mile boardwalk along the ocean. Gorgeous. Beautiful morning after a rainstorm the night before, the ocean crashing down below us, and two girls who were all smiles. Love.
We picked Jason up from work (great job at the County of San Luis Obispo, ladies) and went to the San Luis Obispo Children's Museum -- such a fun, great place for kids! It's three stories of sensory, dress up, imagination... you name it. This picture below is from when Jason looked at Norah and said, "Quit hogging it." Little kids, and big kids alike will have a ball.

We spent a few hours there just letting the girls run around and play. Fun, fun, fun. If you are ever in the area and need a good place to take the kiddos this is it. It will stay a regular visit for us on our visits to Uncle Jason for sure.
Saturday we filled the day with the Cayucos Car Show, Pumpkin Patch near Avila, and finally painting pottery at Red Hot Pottery. I'm not sure what we were thinking - there were a few moments of chaos and concern for all of the ceramic dishes, cups, plates around us at perfect height for Stella to grab. Norah picked a small turtle to paint, I did a platter and a coffee cup and Jason did a platter. For how young they are and how little attention they can truly hold on one thing, they did great. Norah's turtle has about 17 layers of paint so it will be interesting to see what color it is when Uncle Jason brings it at Thanksgiving.

 We ended the day with the biggest carnitas burittos I've ever seen and watched the sunset for a few minutes before packing the girls and us home for an early bed and a long drive home the next day.
Adding to my list of loves -- the central coast - I could seriously live there! And huge love to my brother, what a great guy, friend, and uncle he has become!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Positve Quotes for Today

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These quotes are a reminder to myself and to you to be positive. Lately, I've found myself in a funk -  I've felt very negative, down and frustrated with myself. I have a tendency to then take this out on those closest to me and hurt them without truly meaning to. (I'm sorry.) Today was my fresh start and these quotes are going on my mirror and in a place where I will see them daily as a reminder to keep a positive attitude.  It is so easy to take what we have for granted and think that the grass is always greener. I know it's not going to be easy but I am going to take a conscious effort to shift my thinking. Life's good - I just needed to pause for a second and realize how lucky I am. What do you do when you get in a funk? Anything that helps get  you out of it quickly?

Pumpkin Drop Cookies

This is one of my favorite fall cookie recipes! I originally posted this on Halloween, so don't mind that that is referenced. Make these before we move into eggnog, peppermint and everything Christmasy. They are delicious!

Here we are already at Halloween! Kiddos are both almost napping (one is fighting it more than her older, and smarter sister). I was so hopefully for good long naps today so they'd be well rested and happy for the later evening and festivities tonight, now we shall see. Darn kid. I know she's tired, why doesn't she just let that beautiful thing called sleep take over?
While they are napping today I decided to make some of my favorite fall pumpkin cookies to take over to a friends before the little Halloween Parade and Trick or Treating.
These are one of my favorites and always hit the spot. My Mom recently made them and used applesauce instead of 
the butter which made them healthier and they still tasted really good. Little different consistency - so if  you like the cake-like consistency that the butter brings, don't mess with them. She also added chocolate chips for a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie, quite yummy and very similar to my favorite bread from Great Harvest.
Today though, I kept it simple and followed the recipe (minus nuts and raisins like the original calls for). I just wanted a simple, spicy, pumpkin cookie.
As I finish writing this, the house smells yummy and all is quiet on the home front. Here's to good naps and a good time with my little ladybug and bumble bee tonight! 
Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Drop Cookies
Recipe from the back of a C&H Dark Brown Sugar Package

1 C Dark Brown Sugar, Packet  ** All I had was light so that's what I used today. **
3/4 C  (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 C canned pumpkin
2 C all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon ** I used 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice **
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C raisins
1/2 C chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375.
Cream together sugar and butter. Beat in eggs. Mix in pumpkin. Combine dry ingredients. Blend into creamed mixture. Mix well. Stir in raisins and nuts if adding. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. 
Makes about 5 dozen soft, spicy, cookies.

Parachute Play While Changing the Bed

This was a post from my Active Kids Blog idea. I thought I would re share it because 1. I love the picture of my Norah and 2. It truly is a simple fun way to get your chores done and have fun. Both girls still scream for "Bubbles" when I'm changing the bed or getting blankets out. 

Monday's have become my laundry day. We sort all the clothes in the morning and I have both girls help me sort the clothes and we talk about matching and colors while we are at it. I have noticed that the pink/red pile has and continues to grow exponentially since having two girls. I usually try to change all the sheets on all the beds, exciting Monday I know. As my husband is a banker my day and a rancher/soon to be farmer by night our white sheets get a little dingy on his side of the bed so weekly washing is a necessity. There is something about clean sheets though, I absolutely love crawling into bed to clean sheets. When I was trying to make our bed with my two little helpers this afternoon Norah came to the opposite side of the bed and was trying to help. I started to get annoyed because I was trying to get one of my chores done so I could hurry up and check it off my list.  Instead, I took a step back and realized this could be a moment to have some fun -- and isn't that why I decided to stay home in the first place? To take advantage of these moments that I was home with them? Was it really going to matter if the bed was made at 4:00 or 4:30?  So, we started playing with the sheet lifting it up high and snapping it back down to the bed - this elicited giggles and soon Stella was over trying to get in on the game. Then we started making "bubbles" just shaking it really low and the sheet was rippling across the bed. Before we moved it to the ground we lifted it high and brought it back down with our heads underneath it. This was the highlight, I was under this fresh, clean sheet looking across to my sweet Norah who was smiling and laughing.
 We then took the sheet down to the ground and Norah and I made "bubbles" so Stella could try to jump on them. She didn't quite get as into the bubble popping a Norah did so of course she  had to show her how it was done. Stella  still loved it and just stood on top of the sheet signing and saying "More".
Last year we did a toddler gymnastics class and the parachute was always one of the favorite parts. They would take turns running underneath the parachute while it was up and her absolute favorite was when they could lay on their backs with their feet up in the air looking up at the bright colors of the parachute. There are quite a few benefits of  parachute play for children:  it strengthens their upper torso, reinforces following directions, encourages teamwork, improves rhythm and if there are multiple children can be a great way to practice sharing and taking turns. Searching online I found a few great games to play with your parachute (or in my case, sheet). I tried to find ways to use items you'd have around your house so you wouldn't have to buy anything new and you could try it today! I also tried to list things you could do with one or two kids in case you didn't have a bunch to hold on to the parachute.
* Take socks rolled in a ball, bean bags, balls, cotton balls (experiment with different sizes/weights) and shake to make them pop up and down.
*Put the balls, socks, etc. on the parachute and try to have them roll them all to the middle, then can you to try to roll them around the edge of the parachute?
* I want to try this one next time -- To the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It" 
When the parachute goes up
Stomp your feet
When the parachute goes up 
Stomp your feet
When the parachute is high and it floats up in the sky
When the parachute goes up stomp your feet
Then you can make up whatever you want to add (bend your knees, wiggle your shoulders, etc.)
If you want to check out the page more you can go to:

The teachable moment for this Mommy today:  don't be afraid to let unexpected moments of silliness,  messiness and play just happen for kids. And don't be afraid to be silly and do it with them. We want our kids to not be afraid to try new things or to move in a silly way.  It's OK if things don't happen on schedule and like you are expecting - sometimes those are the sweetest memories.

Third Times the Charm!

This is the 3rd blog I've created -- if you searched and you'd find my attempts at blogging. The first was an attempt to tap into my knowledge and background as a former Physical Education teacher. I am new to staying home after working for the past six years as a high school teacher and coach.  In this adjustment there have been days where I would've begged to go back to school! So this first blog was an attempt to still use the teacher part of my brain and find fun ways to get my kids moving. After seeing first hand how many kids and teenagers hate to move and are overweight I know I want to do everything I can to have kids that love to move and are healthy. My second was a food blog because I LOVE reading food blogs, I love trying new recipes and most imporantly I LOVE eating the food I cook/bake! So, there you have it - 2 things I am passionate about and love to do. Today, while I was wasting time on the computer I saw a wonderful friend had posted something she made on her blog and then posted it on Pinterest (Don't even get me started on Pinterest, I'll do an entire post on it someday). She was my inspiration for trying it a third time and finding something that would allow me to encompass all the things I want to share with friends and family. LindsayNicoleLove is the name of the store I also have and I decided it was perfect for sharing my loves ( all of them) in one place.