Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lunch out with my girl

Last week Tesla and I went out for lunch together at the Bravern. I wanted to check out the new mall and the new Sur La Table. It just happened to be near lunch time so I figured we would get lunch there. I didn't actually know about any restaurants though so I didn't know what to expect. The Bravern is a very high end shopping center, with a Hermes, Chimmy Choo's, Sur La Table and Neiman Marcus, la de da! There wasn't anything that I was really interested in shopping for, because I don't shop at those locations and because I'm on this whole "less is more" kick, but I sure do like looking around. I get a lot of inspiration when I window shop, and often see clothes or other items that I can make on my own.

Anyway, we had lunch at the Artisanal Brasserie and Wine Bar. It's a french restaurant that was fabulous. When we walked in, the place was pretty busy. I was a little afraid that since Tesla tends to scream at restaurants that this wasn't such a good idea, but I asked the greeter that we wouldn't mind being sat out of the way. He put us in an empty part of the restaurant which lowered my stress levels quite a bit. He then brought over crayons and  a coloring placemat, the tablecloth also had paper on it so no worries about her going over the placemat at all.

A few minutes after sitting down and getting situated they brought out a Nuby sippy cup. How cool is that? I'm impressed right there. So we had lunch got helped a bunch and all the servers and busboys had fun playing with Tesla. Lunch was super good too, although if you're on a diet I would recommend a plan before going. They have a lot of cheese there and therefore a lot of lunch items that feature cheese. I had the Croque Monsieur. It's not for the faint of heart. But it was super super good.

We then walked around, I wanted to give Tesla some time to get some energy out, so we walked about  outside the stores. She had a lot of fun chattering and looking over the balcony.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New PJ's

The serger is a complete success. I have already made an apron for myself and pajama bottoms for Jason. He always complains that his pj's are not long enough, so he finally has a pair that's not to short! I pre-washed the fabric in hot hot water so hopefully they won't shrink anymore. They were really easy to make and I hope to make quite a few more pairs in the future. I think next for him, I will make a robe for him, that is lightweight for the summer. Right now he just has a winter robe that is fleece and it's just to hot for warm weather.

The fabric is flannel with "Zzzz" in dialogue boxes covering it. It's super cute and he likes them a lot which is the real bonus. I love making things for my hubby!

Smart Mom Jewelry Giveaway

I have been reading a blog by the name of Crazy House. It's very cute. Anyway the blogger is hosting a giveaway for a very pretty piece of Jewelry and you get three entries if you blog about it. So here it is I'm blogging!

Smart Mom Jewelry is Jewelry that is safe for your kids to chew on. That's cool huh? There's a necklace that is part of the giveaway that is donut shaped pendant that is strung on a cord.

It's pretty cute! They have some super cute bangles too. I love bangles. I am sure that Tesla would still absolutely enjoy something like this on me. Don't you? She puts everything in her mouth. My real question is how do I stop this behavior?

Anyway check out the blog, and enter in the giveaway yourself or just enjoy the blog.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Who needs a stroller, anyway?

You know, I think back on it, and my parents had it so easy. Why didn't I think of it? Have your kid in June and that way you don't wear out all the present giving opportunities so close together! Well as we all know, although we were trying to have a kid, we didn't think it would happen so quickly, so she's born in January. Thank goodness it's at least the end of January so she won't end up all bitter like her Christmas born Papa. But it's hard, you know, you want your kid to have everything, on the other hand you want to raise them to not be spoiled, and for them not to expect you to buy them everything all the time. But then it's only $20.00, so why not get it?

Well the reality is or at least this is what I imagine the reality to be, not based on anyone I know. If your kids get everything they want the minute they say they want it, they'll just want more. Unfortunately abiding by this is really hard on me, but I figure I need to work on it now, when Tesla doesn't actually verbally say she wants anything in particular and doesn't know any better. So I didn't go buy her a stroller for her baby. She'll get one at Christmas or her birthday, but I'm going to wait the 9 agonizing months to get it for her, because these are values I want to adopt.


I hate it.

In the meantime, I found this pull behind cart that a friend gave us last year for outside. I cleaned it up and brought it in and Tesla loves putting the baby in it. Of course she doesn't actually pull the cart behind, she picks the whole thing up and walks around with it, but she'll figure it out. I also taught Tesla how to put the baby through the handle of the push and go toy. What can I say, it may look bad but she keeps doing it and pushing the baby in it. So I am proud of myself, I didn't go buy anything else for her and was able to make use of what we had, so now I don't have anything extra to put away or clean, and Tesla didn't get anything new, and she's perfectly happy.

It's hard to grow up sometimes. But as I am learning you need to be the example for your kids, you can't just expect them to behave a certain way if you don't do it yourself, I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of epiphanies in my future. Looking forward to it!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Good Eater

Recently I discovered that we were giving to much milk to Tesla. How did I discover this? Well Washington State has a program in which they send you info every few weeks or so about your kid. They are signed up when they are born or I guess in our case after their first appointment with a doctor in Washington State. Well since we had her one year appointment last month she was is now has a child profile. What is a Child Profile? CHILD Profile is Washington State's Health Promotion and Immunization Registry system. The system helps ensure Washington's children receive the preventive health care they need.

So every few weeks or months not sure what yet, they send you a mailer with info appropriate to the approximate age of your child. Interesting. Last week I received a brochure titled Nutrition for Toddlers 18 Months to 3 Years. It breaks down the exact servings and quantities a day that your child should be getting of the different food groups. I could not believe this, as a libertarian I am ever so slightly perturbed by the fantasticness of this brochure. On one hand, I want to say, this is a waste of tax payer money. On the other hand, I have 10 books that I have purchased on the bookshelf that give a smattering of suggestions of what to feed your kid but they don't say, here give her 1 cup of vegetables, 1 cup of fruit and so on, I'll actually give the recommendations later on. Was it really that hard to make this info available. Well I guess not, but it had to come from the state... Annoying. 

From this flyer, I learned we were giving Tesla much more than what is recommended for milk in a day. We were giving her milk like it was formula, and she was drinking it like it was and her appetite was starting to fall behind. I think it had to do with the transition from milk to formula. She was drinking about 30-40 ounces a day of formula, so we gave her that much milk. Now since she was in a growth spurt at the time her appetite didn't suffer but now that she's slowed down a bit, she has started not eating all of her meals, and this is meals she's proven to like. So this past week we have been reducing that amount of milk that she's drinking down to about 16 ounces a day. What a difference, she's now eating all the healthy foods, that she's supposed to eat and getting great nutrition from them. Good girl!

Okay so as promised, the guidelines are below. One of the points that it makes is that you should be OFFERING your child this, not that they will definitly eat it all every time, but that they should be offered the foods every day so that they get a good variety of foods to make them healthy, happy and have a good relationship with foods. (That last part I think I made up, but I think it's true.)

Vegetables: Offer 1 cup every day (3-5 servings)
Fruits: Offer 1 cup every day (2-4 servings)
Dairy: Offer 2 cups every day (4-6 servings)
Protein: Offer 2 ounces every day (4-6 servings)
Grains: Offer 3 ounces every day (6-11 servings)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Less is More

As I have mentioned in the past I have been reading about organization, homemaking and raising kids. They all go hand and hand. Well one of my favorite blogs to read is the Lazy Organizer, which I of course have mentioned a few dozen times, and she basically says less is more, but in a way that I actually hear her. It's interesting how you can hear that in so many different ways but when I am finally at the point that I want to learn how to raise a healthy and happy child, and make a warm and comfortable home for myself, husband and kids, I actually hear it.

Not a day goes by that I don't think, oh Tesla could use this, or I "need" that. But the reality is I need nothing, and my daughter yes she does need a few things here and there but right now, she's set. In fact it seems hard to believe that at the age of 14 months she could possibly have to much but I really think she does.

Part of less is more for me is to think about the quality of toys that Tesla is playing with. Do they stimulate, entertain and educate her in some way? Not always. So I have started limiting the toys downstairs in our great room to toys that do just that. It's amazing how if I have her toy box overflowed she gets frustrated and bored easily, but if there is less in there she can entertain herself for quite some time. It's not hours, but definitely 20 minutes at a time with no outside stimulation from me. She generally will play with her abacus, her blocks, her baby doll, books and table and chairs. Those are her go to toys.

Now I am not at the point where I would get rid of anything of hers. Everything is so new I would feel bad just getting rid of them. What I have done is move them upstairs to her room, and often times when Papa gets home from work, he takes her upstairs to play while I finish up dinner or after dinner when he gets her ready for bed, and she has a lot of fun taking everything out, showing Papa and running around her room. It's been great. I'll share a couple of other "Less is More" ideas in later posts.

Photos: Tesla playing with her blocks. In case you are wondering if she has a scrape on her face, not it's raspberry leftovers from lunch. What can I say I'm still working on being neat.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

20 Years Later

Congratulations to my sister and brother in law on their 20 year anniversary today. I remember your wedding day like it was yesterday. It was one of the best days in my life! Thank you so much for sharing your lives with me!

I look forward to you congratulating us on our 20th!

Monday, April 19, 2010

First Time Out

I did it. I put my daughter in time out. Oh my goodness that was hard. As I mentioned in my previous post Hitting... Ouch!!! Tesla has been hitting Jason and I a lot. This weekend she hit me over the head with my hair brush, not with the top of it but with the side. Hard and multiple times. But I just took the brush away and said that it hurt and didn't let her play with it anymore that day. (She likes to brush my hair... it generally hurts when she does this but I figure there's a learning curve there. My sister also used to hurt me when brushing my hair and she's 8 years older than me. Did I mention that she's turning 40???)

Okay we're getting off subject, anyway, this morning I was cleaning the floors. I was down on my hands and knees, with a bowl and sponge and Tesla kept hitting me, over and over, did I put her in time out... no. But I did finally get the nerve up to put the pack and play up for time outs. I figured that I couldn't put it up and stick her in it for something she did 10 minutes earlier, but that it was time to finally put it up and not just talk about it. It's time for ACTION!

So later, Tesla discovered that she could pull the intake grate off of the wall. The screw head must have broken  off and she started to pull the cover off, potentially hurting herself on the grate, falling in the whole and damaging the wall since one side was still attached and dry wall seems to get flimsy when it come to toddlers lately. So I said "Tesla, no." She stopped for a second, looked at me and then grabbed it again. I said, "NO, Tesla." Again she looked at me, then put her hand back on the grate and looked at me some more. I then rushed over, reaffixed the grate to the best of my abilities, and she grabbed it and yanked on it. Clearly she was going to do it no matter what. Now the grate won't go back into place without some serious attention by me, and I need Tesla to understand. So I picked her up and said "no Tesla you cannot touch the grate, you have to go in time out because you do not listen to mama." (I know she doesn't understand.) But I put her in the pack and play and oh lordy did she scream, it was one minute but you would have thought it was an eternity by the look on her face. I fixed the grate, blocked it off with a chair, and wrote a note to my husband, in case I forgot to mention it later to rescrew it into the wall. I then picked her up and kissed her and hugged her and told her how much I loved her and that she was in time out for touching the grate when Mama said No. (It's probably way to much explanation for her, but I think it's good to get in the habit.)

So we made it. We didn't die. She's okay and it really was terrible, but we're okay and we didn't die. We didn't I swear. 

Thanks to the Lazy Organizer for talking me through it too.  I'm not sure I would have tried time out yet, if it wasn't for your email.

Photos: I didn't manage to take any good pictures recently. But this one is from a year ago... back when she was only thinking about hitting me. =) What a cutie. Still is!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Washington has so many beautiful views. I love going over to the Olympic Peninsula and wandering around the rain forest. I have to admit I love just driving up our road, with the beautiful giant trees hanging over. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is one of those events that is just stunning, and until you go, you just can't fully appreciate the millions of tulips lay out in front of you.

Earlier this week my mom and I went up with Tesla to see the Tulips. It's nice to go during the week. I'm not much of a crowds person so now that I'm a stay at home mom I prefer to do all these types of things on the weekday. When we first got up to Mt. Vernon which is inside Skagit Valley we went to Roozengaarde. Roozengaarde is a beautiful display garden. You can also pick up a catalog from them and as you walk around you can mark off the tulips you love and order them before you leave for the day. They then get mailed to you in the fall. Just amazing!

We didn't order any bulbs. I am still a bit bitter about the deer tearing the daffodils I planted straight out of the ground. My favorite tulips were a beautiful purple and white tulip by the name of Zurel, but I really loved all the multi-colored tulips.

Tesla had a wonderful time. Although we had to leave the display garden as soon as she got out of the stroller because she is very interested in picking up all the rocks and putting them in the stroller. I have been working on gentle touches with her and amazingly she did not hit any of the tulips and actually touched them softly.

As we walked around the tulip festivals we had to dodge quite a few puddles. It was very very muddy, fortunately we brought the jogging stroller, thanks to my sister, which has large wheels and holds Tesla up higher. I saw a little girl that was wearing a very cute light pink outfit from head to toe with a pretty little flower in her hair and she was completely covered in mud. I'm happy to be more practical then that and put Tesla in jeans. Although she didn't get dirty that day. Now yesterday, that's another story.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hitting,... Ouch!

About two weeks ago our little sweet funny girl started hitting. Well I guess the first time she did it was over a month ago. I remember it distinctly. She was getting into the pantry. I picked her up and said no, and she slugged me in the chin. I was stunned, one that someone so small could hit so hard and two that she was doing it period. I immediately held her out from me, and she went in to bite me. Again stunned. Now on a daily basis she is hitting either just me or both Jason and I. She's generally frustrated when this occurs so it's not like she's just coming up and hitting us. Although last week when she had a little friend over, she hit her little friend to. Her friend is only 8 months old and can barely stand so it's not like she could hit back, oh and of course I remember now that she also hit someone in her baby class last week and at story time. Dang. I have a hitter.

Who me? Hit??? You have it all wrong, Mama!

Now how could such a sweet little angel develop this behavior?? How? Seriously, do you know? My husband and I don't hit each other. We've never hit Tesla. We don't hit other people. What is the deal?  We don't have a yelling household, we don't fight, and we're generally pretty happy.

I of course started researching this, the What to Expect the Toddler Years folks have this behavior appearing around 20 months and that it could be: (amongst other things)
  • Low impulse control, hit hit hit.
  • To much pint up energy, suggestion give them something to hit, pillow banging toys. Run them around more. 
  • Reaction to frustration. "Mama is mean for not letting me have [insert anything] and there for I will hit her over and over again." 
So what to do. Well no matter what it's caused from,  I have to do something. It's actually starting to hurt and I do not want this behavior to continue. One of these days she's going to get frustrated with a little tike and belt them one and that's not going to go over very well.

What am I doing now? I am working on more activity. Tesla actually takes two naps a day that last two hours. So it's not as if she's not getting tired, but perhaps this aggression can be curbed by running around more, and actually getting the aggression out of her.  Today for instance, we had our dancing and singing class, and then when we got home we played soccer and ran all around the house. She hoops and hollers with excitement when she kicks the ball.

We're also going to try some timeouts. WHAT??? I know I know, she seems to young but I have been reading this blog about organizing, and parenting in general, I asked the writer for advice. I like her style of parenting, doesn't mean I'll do everything that she does but I enjoy reading her blog and getting new ideas for home. Anyway, she said that she's not to young. In fact she wrote about putting her one year old in time out. You can check out her blog here. She said that you put her in port a crib with a few toys and let her sit there for 1 minute. She said that if I do this after a dozen or so times she'll learn that she doesn't want to hit Mama. So we're going to try it. Yikes, I'm not sure I'm ready for this, but again, as I rub my jaw, the hitting has to stop. I just need to get the port a crib back from my mom and we'll give it a go.

I'll let you know how it goes, in the mean time, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know how you stopped hitting or your thoughts.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tamper Proof Outlets

Our sweet sweet little girl manages to pull the outlet covers out of the outlets. Isn't that cute? Now she hasn't figured out that you can put stuff in the wholes of the outlets but she walks around with the outlet covers in her mouth very proud of herself for getting them out. "Look Mama made a challenge for me!" We decided to install tamper proof outlets, which from what we understand is the new standard in houses, however this was from the same guy who told us they were around $5.00 a piece, and that's just not true, so don't quote me on that. The outlets were about $1.24 each from Platt Electrical Supply. We purchased 40 of them which is enough to do all of the reachable outlets in the house and leave about 5 extra. Since outlets break it's always good to have a few on hand. These outlets do not slide to open, like some child-resistant outlets do, there is a  shutter mechanism inside the receptacle that blocks access to contacts.

Jason could install them however since my brother is an electrician we hired him to do the job, so that Jason can work on his ever growing list of tasks to accomplish. I'll be very relieved once these are in! Now we just need to replace our blinds!

On a side note, if any of you would like some tamper proof outlets installed and live in the area I can recommend my brother to do the job!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Anne likes Red. Red Red Red!

Green blog Anne? No, says Anne, red blog. Anne likes red. Red, red, red. Orange blog Anne? No says Anne, red blog. Anne likes red. Red, red, red.

Thanks to Blogger for finally allowing me to have a red blog! RED RED RED!

In case you don't know what I'm referring to. Buy the book Ann Likes Red, and get with it!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cookies Review!

We went to Whole Foods the other day because I needed to get unsweetened coconut for Macaroons, I couldn't find it at the two grocery stores that I went to and I knew they had to have it there. So as I was wondering my way through Whole Foods, because that store is layed out so poorly, I found the organic cookies. My friend Annie had served Tesla a Newman's own cookie when we went to their house once, but I hadn't been able to get them at the stores that I go to regularly. (Perhaps I'm looking in the wrong section.) I got the kind that she had served us plus these super yummy Alphabet Chocolate cookies. Oh yeah, they are tasty, and very rich chocolate flavor. Tesla just loved them, in case you couldn't tell.

I thought I would suggest them to you all, not just for your toddler but for yourself! Who doesn't want to spell things out with your food?!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wooden Blocks

A couple of days ago we picked up a set of 60 Standard Unit Blocks from Melissa and Doug. Thanks Grandma Myra!!! Tesla spent a a good hour playing with them as soon as I opened them. I knew this was immediately a good choice! As you know I have been reading up on early childhood education. Slowly but surely I'm reading up on it. To tell you the truth it's more slowly then surely. One of the suggestions in the book Creative Curriculum was to use blocks to represent other toys to stimulate creativity and brain development. So perhaps we'll play with some toy cars and make noises and push them around the room, then perhaps I'll do the same thing with a block, pushing it around the room and making noises as if it was a car. I found this very interesting, and as I have always been an imaginative person I feel that this kind of stimulation will be easy for me to do with Tesla.

Of course there is always building things with the toys too. Tesla has started stacking a set of cups that we got for her in December. The blocks required a bit more examining with her mouth though before she started stacking them. In the pictures of her playing with the blocks I've stacked them. She's not THAT smart.

The blocks are very nice and the come with a wooden box to store them in. The blocks are made with Rubberwood, and unfinished. Since Tesla likes to put everything in her mouth I did not want to get anything that she could scrape the paint off of. Not that they were toxic, all the painted items say they are non-toxic but because they would not last as long or look as good.

Tesla enjoyed playing inside the box too, she sat inside the box and filled the box up around her with blocks.   Every time I built anything she immediately took it down. But I'll keep building to show her and to stimulate that little brain of hers.

I think we are headed in the right direction for toys. I go through her toy box at least once a week and pull things out that she doesn't play with and introduce something "new" from her bedroom. She's not getting bored, so I must be doing something right. She's also getting bigger and bigger. The things she enjoyed doing, like climbing into the laundry basket are becoming very frustrating because she can't maneuver herself correctly. Her frustration level is getting low for such issues and I'm working on problem solving with her, so that she doesn't scream every time she can't reach her ball, or she climbs into the laundry basket for the umpteenth time and can't get comfortable.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Shiksa's 1st Passover

Okay technically it's not my first. Last year we celebrated Passover with some good friends who are religious and I was able to experience a real Passover. Even if it wasn't a first night. See Passover lasts 7-8 days depending on the website you look at. Yes it's true I just googled "How long does Passover last?" I'm not proud, I don't claim I actually know anything at all.

 Jason telling us the history.

Anyway, I do want our daughter even if we are not a religious family to have good solid family traditions. Growing up we always had traditions despite our religiousness. We celebrated all the holidays with the exception of the Jewish ones and I guess the Catholic ones because we don't put ash on our head or anything... I guess you can say we were uncomplicated folk. So part of giving our daughter traditions is to teach her about the Jewish holidays. I'm not sure how we're going to do this but we'll do it by trial and error. There's a whole lot going on in September that is highly confusing and symbolic, one step at a time!

 Veggie Kugel (Left) Tzimmes (right)

So what is a Shiksa's Passover if there is not a religious aspect to it? Well it's food, good conversation and the story of the travel through Egypt by the Jews as told by Papa in a very animated way. (I'm hoping to make dolls to represent everyone and then we can act it out! Wouldn't that be fun. But then Papa said I had to make dolls for each of the plagues, including the frogs... not sure about that. Although I was looking at a windup frog yesterday and thought hey! Maybe we could fill the table with windup toys. Or not.) I started cooking on Tuesday. The menu was:
  • Lamb
  • Veggie Kugel
  • Haroset
  • Tzimmes
  • Asparagus
  • Gifelte Fish
  • Matzoh
  • Matzoh Ball Soup
  • Macaroons
  • Wine
  • Decaf Coffee
We decided to celebrate Passover just one of the nights and picked Wednesday since that is our regular dinner club night. Our friend Nigel joined us as always. It was quite fitting because Nigel is originally from New Zealand, and complains that we American's just do not know how to do Lamb. He said it was very good, which of course it was, but apparently kiwi's like their Lamb overdone, and I just cannot do that to anything. 

I did make a sedar plate, but nothing was really done with it. (Oh yes, that's really a picture of our sedar plate. Not it's not, it's from Wikipedia. Thank you Wiki!) A sedar plate contains:
  • Bitter herbs (Parsely soaked in salt water)
  • Horseradish
  • Roasted Egg (boiled egg works)
  • Haroset
  • Lamb bone (we didn't do this part because we're entirely to cheap to go buy another lamb to get the bone and we just don't have east coast butchers.) 

Tesla found the Afikomen. The Afikomen is a piece of Matzoh that has been hidden. (See how I dumb that down? So simple.) In Tesla's case I showed it to her, had her chase me around the room and then placed it on the floor behind her wedge pillow... Then said "Tesla get the Afikomen!" I can't believe she found it! She's a genius I tell you!!! She loved the Matzoh, it turns into quite a mush when mixed together with all the other foods. She's a great eater though and had everything except the fish. The fact that I served fish in my home is a miracle. The fact that it's still in a jar in my fridge is because I love my husband very much.

Let me know if you would like any recipes. Everything came out fantastically with the exception of the Haroset. Jason said he's had it much more soaked in wine and my recipe only called for 4 tablespoons. Perhaps the apples were to big in relation to the wine. Not sure.

Yes she's just wearing a diaper. She's taken to crying for no reason and once I remove her clothes she's fine. She must be my daughter!

Follow the links if you're interested in more information about Passover. We had a fun night and will continue our tradition.