Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our Senses, Part 4: Tasty!

Wow, this is long overdue! Back in November, I was teaching Maddie about the five senses. Then Christmas happened and I never got around to finishing. If you're keeping score, we've already learned about sight, hearing, smell and touch.
So that left the greatest sense of all- taste! And oh, the possibilities were endless.

We have an awesome grocery store called Wegmans that has a make-your-own granola bar. So we went through the bar, picking some things we loved and some we've never tried before.

Then we sort edit out.

Let the tasting begin!

As we tasted we started talking about how things taste. I started by giving an example of something salty and something sweet, and then asked if we could find other things that tasted similar.

We knew when we made that face that we had eaten something bitter or sour.

As we tried things out, we put like with like.

Until we had a little taste chart.

Then we mixed it all up and added some homemade granola for a somewhat healthy (mostly m&m) treat.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Princess Day!

Those of you who have a little girl in your household probably know that it was Princess Week on Disney Junior last week. Confession: PBS has pretty much been replaced by Disney in this house. I'm a little sad about it. I HATE Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I think it actually uneducates as you watch it. But Disney does have some cute and fun options. I'm fairly sure that Maddie could actual treat patients with the knowledge she's gotten from Doc McStuffins (I had no clue what that thing that doctors use to look in your ears was. It's an odoscope, folks.) or save the underwater sealife with a pirate accent (Octonauts have taught me all about snot sea cucumbers and so much more!)

So, yes, we watch Disney Junior and we were particularly interested in last week's special princess theme. They showed lots of princess movies including Cinderella III (a surprisingly good movie!) We were a little excited about all the offerings. Of course, we had to do something to celebrate.

Yes, we princessed it up as we prepared to watch Cinderella III.

A scrolled invitation...

A tea party...

And of course, a special princess dress. This beauty was my mother's confirmation dress and my play dress as a child. It's sadly disintegrating in my very hands, but it will survive one more princess. With a little bit of thread here and there.

Glass slippers, just what every princess needs.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Deconstructed Family

Remember last year when I promised to take a family photo every month? Yeah, that was a really good idea. Too bad, I didn't do it!

So guess what, I'm resolving to do it in 2013. Here we go!

January 2013

Rob wanted a Polaroid camera this Christmas and I wanted to see his eyes light up on Christmas morning, so he got one! Rob loves to let Maddie take photos. Which has led to a lot of Outkast in this house.

But it's also led to this fun, deconstructed family photo.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Resolutions for my Work Life

I really try never to talk about work on my blog, because I've heard all the horror stories and lived one (despite my vigilance).

Work is a part of who I am. It's a part of who we all are, really. I'm a part-timer, but I still spend roughly half my day working. That's why I've always believed I should do something I love and also share it with the people I love.
You've already seen some of my resolutions that talk about how I'll reconcile work with my personal life, but here are a few work resolutions -- all non-job specific-- that I'm committed to doing this year.
Resolutions for a Better Work Day:
1. Keep a work journal. One of the worst bosses I ever had once made me do this and I hated it. But after several years away from that awful work situation, I'm starting to see the merit of this one idea (and nothing else that boss ever suggested). My job is often hectic, chaotic even. Far too often, so many little projects land on my desk last minute, that I look at my to-do list at the end of the day and wonder Where did my day go? That unpredictability prevents me from keeping organized. So I'm going to start a work journal, sort of like a lawyerly billable hours system. Who knows what I'll discover by the end of the year? And maybe I'll be able to organize my time better for next year.
2. Organize my schedule each month and look ahead. It is way too easy for me to jump from event to event and let time slip away. I get so busy planning an event, that I forget to stop and ask for help until the last minute. But this year, on the first of every month, I'm going to look ahead and assess.
3. Develop a Morning Routine. Does this happen to you? I come in in the morning to find a pile of things someone left for me on my desk or someone waiting for me with an urgent request for help. Before I know it, it's 11 am and I haven't even gotten through my emails or phone calls. I need to create a morning routine of absolute must-dos and give it priority. No distractions!
4. Buy Flowers! Something lovely never hurt the spirits, right? Why not be uplifted and refreshed at work? So flowers are making a comeback!
Never forget that January is a do-over in every aspect of life. There's nothing that cannot be fixed with a little bit of focus. So here's my final resolution.

Good luck to all! And please hold me accountable! I fully expect that to be one of your resolutions.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Parenting Resolutions

My daughter is perfect. I am not. Far too often, I let time slip by for lack of planning or focus. That's why this year, I decided to have some resolutions for Maddie.

Not for her to do, but for me to do for her.

Resolutions for Maddie:

1. Concentrate on Focus. Oh, this child is exuberant. But now we're getting close to school age and it's time to learn when to settle down. One of the ways, we're going to get ready is a new Story Hour that we joined. And we'll be doing some story hours at home too.

2. Reduce technology time. Yeah, at said Story Hour, my daughter walked up to a kid and said, "Hi, my name is Maddie and I watch My Little Pony on Netflix everyday." To which I withheld saying "Don't tell people that! Tell them we only watch PBSKids!" But it's true, there are many times when Mommy just needs a break.

3. Do one big reading/writing project each month. Here's a pledge for you, blog readers. Supposedly, I'll blog about this activity each month. I'll be working a lot on pre-reading skills this year, so there may be bonus posts. I hope!

4. Make a Calming Jar. I love this idea from Pinterest and it would be good for my little one who sometimes gets frustrated.

5. Plan for some Physical Activity! It's so easy to expect kids to just run around and burn off energy. But sometimes that bouncing off the walls burn Maddie needs, just drives me crazy. So I'm going to try to harness that energy, by planning some activities ahead. That way when she's all crazy-like, she can do something physical but not so crazy... For me. And guess what, I'll try to blog those, too.

6. Create a Gem Jar. Another Pinterest idea for positive affirmation of little things. A great reward system!

7. Organize play areas. Christmas made me realize that we had outgrown our current toy storage system. A new one is coming soon! And while, we're at it... Time to start learning to clean up after ourselves. That one goes for both my children: Rob and Maddie... And maybe Mommy, too.

I hope to keep up posts for all of you, too. More science and craft projects to come. And I hope you like them as much as I like posting them!

Plus, a few more resolutions on Saturday...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Real 2013 Resolutions

Well, the Christmas decorations are down and I'm starting to accept that the year has ended. Time for a fresh start. As always, I have some resolutions for 2013 that I will share (and some that I will be keeping to myself, nosy).

I didn't go the whole "13" resolution route that I used to do, but I did make several resolutions in several different categories. I'm going to share some resolutions from each of my categories this week. Whether they inspire you or hold myself accountable, they'll be interesting to read in December!

Resolutions for my own personal growth:

1. Send Birthday cards and gifts on time! Wow, 2012 was not a good year if you expected a gift from me. Just ask my sister-in-law (birthday: October 5, gift presentation date: ummm, Thanksgiving ish?) I finished my 2012 by sending my best friend her Christmas gift on Epiphany but her birthday gift one month early. So far a success! 35 birthdays to go!

2. Give! After Christmas, I looked around and noticed how much we have and how little others do. It's time to give: clothes, toys, time and money...

3. Make time for myself. I always feel terribly guilty about taking any time for me, but it's something I need to do. Hair appointments, errands, what have you -- I will be stealing time here and there just for me.

4. Make time for Date Nights. Last year, Rob and I realized we needed to start doing this. But by the end of the year, it got harder and harder. I think we went on one date night a month from April to September and then stopped. We're kicking it back up this year, with love.

5. Schedule family, then work. Last month, I had scheduled a meeting on St. Nicholas day/Maddie's half birthday without realizing it. Those little holidays are what makes childhood fun, and I don't want to let them slip by for work. I'm finding a way this year, somehow, to work less.

6. Keep my bathroom clean. I don't know about you, but my bathroom is only ever clean on the day I clean it-- and that's once a week or when company is coming. But somehow, I'm going to find a way to keep that sucker sparkling on a day to day basis. (Possibly by finding a different husband, not sure on that yet...)

More to come on Wednesday...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resolutions 2.013

Last night, I spent New Year's Eve watching Firefly, eating Creme Brûlée ice cream, and sorting through photos. My poor husband had to work, but don't feel bad! I ended up in the company of my very best friend, by text anyway (you should totally feel sorry for Rob. He's still exhausted from taking care of the drunks and revelers, and EMTs.)

Longtime readers know that I love a good resolution. I love the hint of possibility in the air. And usually I do pretty well with my promises and pledges.

I am happy to say that I accomplished my biggest resolution. No kidney stones in 2012! Woot woot!

Let's see... I don't really remember the rest of my resolutions. Oh yeah, take a family photo once a month. Um, didn't do that but we did take more family photos. Like this one:

And in fact we had enough fun family photos to make an album for my mom and great grandma for Christmas.

I also had pledged to do one big craft project a month. Ha. I don't think I did any. Whoops.

So I know you're all anxious to know. What does 2013 have in store for me? I guess you'll have to wait and see. Just like me.