Friday, March 30, 2012

March Play Project

It technically is still March, so this counts as fulfilling my resolution to post a play project on a monthly basis (and more importantly to make a play project on a monthly basis!). Back in January I had posted about all of the fruits and veggies I made for her Farmer's Market. I found that I liked doing that a lot and had a few ideas for some more. So this month's craft project (and maybe last month's too was this:

A Sweet Shop! Complete with velcro-attached signage that fits to her carriage/house.

With cupcakes -- and toppings that she can put on and switch around.

Pie, here shown with strawberries, but you could also do apples.

See? See my pie?

And cake, which I apparently forgot to take a picture of, but which Maddie really likes! So far Maddie's most interested in just transporting her sweets inside her carriage. I think she's closing up shop. I have high hopes that she'll serve me some treats soon!

I don't have patterns for these as I mostly just played until I got it right, but if you would like some patterns email me at alexkogler2003 at aol dot com. I can put something together for you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Meteorologist Training

My Mom came up with this little idea for Maddie to learn about the weather. Given my love of charts, I must say I'm a pretty big fan.

My Mom made Maddie a calendar for the month of March on a smallish piece of posterboard and stuck it up in our living room window. She made a key on top with a yellow circle for sun, pink stars for snow (huh, no pink on that calendar), blue dots for rain, and little grey clouds for clouds (bet you saw that coming.)

Now we have Maddie stand on her stool in the window and look out to check the weather. Then she grabs her markers and colors in that days square. Of course, because Maddie is an arty type she has taken more to just picking a color of the day and coloring in the whole square. Which all started when we didn't have a symbol for windy.

The original idea was that we could look back at the month and talk about how many sunny days we had or rainy days -- and even do some counting. We'll be counting up how many different colors we used. And how Maddie must have sixth sense and can predict the weather weeks ahead of time.

It's a cool concept and something that we might try again in a little bit when she's more interested in anything other than coloring.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Putting all our eggs in one basket

I'm making good on one of my Easter Pinterest project pledges! I have a few Easter decorations but not a whole ton, certainly not enough to make it look Eastery around here (of course I could take down my snowflake mobile to affect some spring change). And now that I have a youngster, decorating for the season seems like a much more important, large-scale project. I wanted to use some of these crafts to help me make it look a little bit more festive.

I had seen Yarn Eggs on Pinterest. While the original idea to these was to hide little treats or gifts, I just thought they would be cool decorations. You can find all the instructions here. I decided to make a modification and use Elmer's Glue instead of Mod Podge.

Maddie was skeptical. And truthfully, so was I. They did not look like they were going to set. And indeed, parts of them did not.

But they did in fact work!

Maddie's so convinced, she's even going to fry one up for you in her kitchen. We're keeping them in a bright basket on one of our side tables, but really they travel. Mostly to Maddie's kitchen. Which is exactly what I wanted -- an Easter decoration that could be played with and not broken!

By the way, the rainbow eggs seen in the top picture worked out much better. They were made with a really fine rainbow twine that tangled a lot but dried fantastically. The white yarn I think just had too much fiber to soak up all that glue. They dried with a few softer spots and I think could be pulled apart a little bit more.

Overall, surprisingly simple and perfect outcome.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Spring is in the air! Can't you smell it?

We took a little trip up to Niagara Falls to see the flowers at the conservatory with my Mom. While we were too early for Easter flowers, spring flowers were already out outside and inside.

We did a whole lot of sniffing and snapping and turtle-viewing.

And yes, those are magnolia trees in bloom. In March. Right on the waterfront.

And we get to do it all over again in a few weeks, because we get to go see the Easter flowers.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You know you married a Southerner when...

It's March 21. It's 70 degrees outside. And my husband just put in the air conditioner.

To his credit he only put in the window unit in our bedroom. We do live on a really busy street and can't open our window at night due to the traffic noise.

I will also say I've been married to this southerner long enough that the gentle buzz of that air conditioner meant I got an awesome night's sleep. Ironically he didn't sleep at all. Northerner!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Few Updates

Weeeellll, this whole posting more often thing is going really well. Apparently I'm just as good with New Year's resolutions as I am with Lenten promises (broken on Day #2 of Lent this year. Stellar!) Somehow I've just been a little stuck. I have a million things I want to post about, but I seem to look at those ideas and just keep looking. As opposed to actually writing!!

Today I was having a few random thoughts that follow up on some topics mentioned here:

*This Spring Cleaning List? Yup, still not one single thing crossed off.

*I mentioned here that we were potty-training. It turns out that big kids who are terrible at sleeping are really good at potty-training. Hooray for an easy one! And a big thanks to my sister-in-law for giving me a guide that helped me out big time. That kid was potty trained in 2 hours. No kidding.

*I did one of my Easter crafts and I'll post about it soon! Plus I have another Easter project that will be brand new to all of you loyal readers... I hope to post it soon.

*I broke the resolution of the family photo once a month. But hey, I really only missed one month so far. Stay tuned for a March family photo.

*And I broke this one too... The monthly craft project? Totally missed February... but I got a hum-dinger for March.

*This sleep chart TOTALLY worked. I used to tell Rob that rather than sleep-train, I would just wait until I could rationalize with Maddie. Turns out, I did. Who knew? I actually don't even have a sleep chart anymore. But now I've jinxed it all.

*This Jane Austen book is even more awesome than I thought before I started it. It's also a game. And it's spectacular.

So that's where we stand. Quite a few updates, huh? Ok, let's see if I can recover from this crazy winter and get myself into a doing instead of thinking phase. Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Literary Cravings

I know I'm a little weird in this, but I love to reread books. Not just once but often. There are some books that just captivate me from the first chapter and I identify them so completely with the weather that I crave them each season.

Every spring, as I start to see the snows melt into muddy channels and flowers peek through the ground, my mind turns to Pride and Prejudice. Most especially to the part where Elizabeth walks through the muddy fields to see her sister and the Bingleys, and gets spied by Mr. Darcy in less than lady-like cleanliness. The irony of this is of course that I don't much enjoy being in the elements. I enjoy reading about being in the elements. So I read Pride and Prejudice every spring, indulging in the daydream of crisp walks through the muddy forests and fields.

This spring has been a bit more ... um... unusual. No real muddy channels since we had no snow. And I really miss that. I've never been a fan of winter but there's something to spring that depends upon the waiting for it. I guess we've all just been waiting for something in the weather to do something, so maybe that counts.

But perhaps taking this weird and sudden spring weather as my cue, I'm spicing up my routine and I am SO excited. This year, instead of cracking open my usual Jane Austen (the very same one pictured here in 2010... see even Maddie's taken to it!)

I'm delving into this:

That's right. Lost in Austen, a create your own Jane Austen Adventure book.

Man, I loved these books when I was a kid. Anybody remember these?

(And I just discovered you can buy the whole series on amazon. Totally Outrageous!)

So yes, this spring I will be choosing whether Elizabeth will be saying yes to Mr. Darcy the first time around or bumping into Captain Wentworth. (Sigh, I love him!) And the awesome thing is that I can read it again and again and never read the same thing twice. Problem solved.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Well, that was a nice little hiatus there. I've been getting ready for a very big work event that is taking place tomorrow. At this point, my roll in the action is pretty much done and I feel strangely unsettled with having free time again. My mind keeps reeling, thinking what should I be doing??

Hopefully you'll see more from me here soon. But in the meantime, one interesting thing has happened throughout my work activity. I try never to talk about work, but this isn't actually about work. It just happened there, so here's the scoop.

I have been very lucky to meet and come to know a wonderful family of women. This family is just all around lovely and welcoming, and surpris surprise, I bump into members of their family all over the place. Yesterday, one of the women said to me, "Has my sister given you her pitch yet? She wants you to send your daughter to her kids' school."

This left me feeling a complete mix of emotions:
1) Wait, my daughter is not old enough to be looking at grade schools. Seriously, she's still a baby, right?
2) Should I be looking at schools? How does one even do that?
3) Hehe, I'm popular! I know how the admissions circuit works -- trust me there's always one family that a school is anxious to get. That crops up in the admissions room, over and over. And yes, this family did mention it again twice today. Maddie's officially being courted.

Then again, I always knew she would be popular.