Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve Interview 2009

Saw this idea on a few other blogs and thought it would be a a nice way to remember Munch at this age. On my printed copy, I added a picture box for her to draw a self-portrait.

Munch
Age: 3 years, 11 months
Grade: Preschool

Favorites:
Color: Pink
Animal: Dolphin
Restaurant: In N’ Out
Number: 100
Vegetable: Green beans
Book: Santa’s Suit
Game: Hide & Seek
Toy: Balls
Food: Macaroni and cheese
Place: Skateboard store
Candy: Starburst
Best friend: Delanie

What makes you happy?
Ice cream and cake. Frosting too.

What do you love best about your family?
Daddy sometimes hugs me and kisses me.
Mommy loves me so much.
Ginger I love because I hug her so much.
Cricket is so nice.

What is the smartest thing you know how to do?
Criss-cross applesauce.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A teacher.

What will you get to do once you turn four?
Sometimes four-year olds get to eat candy. I want to learn how to jump up all the way to the sky.

If you could be in charge for the day, what would you do?
Set the dinner table.

What are some of your wishes for this year?
Somebody wishes I come to their house, and that’s it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Pals

Munch's Updated Workspace

I had a difficult time this Christmas when people asked what they could get for Munch. She's REALLY into drawing, coloring, and writing right now and I ended up getting her lots of art supplies- coloring books, fat & bright colored pencils, some fun, decorated tape-isn't it cute? I always felt so badly for her because our main work space is a train table with lid. I'd find her sitting on top of it, hunched over the picture she was working on. So she really needed a proper table. Luckily, her grandparents agreed to get her one. I spent a few days looking, but many were either too short (she'd outgrow it too fast) or had such a small work space that we couldn't comfortably work together as we usually do. I finally found one on amazon from a school supply company.It's a great size that should carry her through the next several years, at least until first grade. It's still small enough for a tea party with her stuffed friends and big enough for her to cover it and make a fort. We had the darnedest time getting an undamaged one because of the way it was packaged (barely) but I finally got the table set up for her, rearranged her work area, and now she has everything she needs for creating some fun things!Munch's work space is in a nice, bright corner. Under the windows is an old chest/bench in which I keep the paints. The tall bookcase holds puzzles, games, crayons, markers, paper, stickers, and other supplies on the lower shelves where she can reach them. The upper shelves hold workbooks and craft supplies that she needs to ask me for (rubber stamps, pompoms, sticky foam shapes, glitter glue) for more involved or messy projects. The low book case holds more paper, beads, play-doh and dough tools, trays for containing the messes, foam dough (I LOVE this stuff-so easy to clean and no sticky residue!), her fish, and a little iPod and speaker. Tucked into the corners are a tall lamp and a new mini vacuum, the Dirt Devil Kurv, that she knows to use at clean up time. I'll just add a hook to hang her mini dustpan and sweeper and we'll be all set!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Alphabet Activities- Letter R


Munch and I had "R Day" a couple of weeks back...or is it a couple of MONTHS now? We did the usual routine of making the letter with wood pieces and practicing writing it, but the fun part was making the rainbow cookies. The cookies themselves tasted just okay and I might tweak the dough in the future, but the best part was how sturdy it was and its texture lent itself well to lots of handling. This activity was particularly fun because Munch and I could revisit primary colors and color mixing as well. I got the recipe from the DLTK's Sites: Growing Together, which has been my resource for a lot of the great alphabet activities Munch and I have done together. The original recipe calls for forming the dough into one large rainbow, from which kids can break off pieces, but I like our smaller rainbows better.

Rainbow Cookies
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter, softened
2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
food coloring- red, blue, and yellow

In a mixer, beat together the sugar and butter. Scrape down the bowl before adding the egg and vanilla. Mix well to combine. Add the flour and mix well. Turn the dough out onto a board and divide dough into three balls. Add a different food coloring (red, yellow, blue) to each ball until dough is desired color. I kneaded in the food coloring before handing it off to Munch to finish just to be sure the color didn't ooze out and stain the work area.Divide each ball of dough into three smaller balls (I actually broke each ball of dough in half to start, then one half in half again, if that makes sense since I knew I would be combining colors). Leave the large dough ball its original color and use the remaining smaller two to mix with the other primary colors. Here's Munch kneading red and blue- it made the strangest grey-ish purple so added more coloring to it to make it more vibrant- it ended up fine once I baked it, not grey at all.Next we took each of our six colors and flattened it into a long rectangle.Then we stacked/layered the colored rectangles, beginning with purple at the bottom-I sliced the dough thinly, about 1/3-inch or so, then passed them to Munch to shape into a rainbow curve.After putting them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, we baked the cookies at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes, until they just began to turn golden at the edges. This batch is all ready for the oven!

The Curious Case of Munch's Hair

After over 3 years of managing Munch's hair perfectly well (it was so easy for me to cut and style it), I'm having to learn all over again. Her hair texture has totally changed since the beginning of summer. I actually find looking back at her photos quite interesting. Her looks change drastically enough from year to year to wonder if it's the same kid, or possibly a sibling. Munch was born with a fairly full head of hair, but it took a while for it to do anything, especially grow. As a result, she usually had a kewpie-doll style going on-By a year and a half, it was finally long enough to give her a short, flippy pixie cut, but she usually wore it in pigtails, thus beginning her "Boo" phase (from Monsters, Inc.)As she grew older, Munch decided she wanted her hair longer, so we let it grow out. And when she neared her third birthday last Christmas, she had hair I would have killed for- sleek, smooth, layered- absolutely gorgeous.Within months though, it began to change. What began as a funny little wave on one side of her head spread to most of her crown. She continued to wear her hair long, but it definitely had more body and fullness at its roots. Finally summer arrived and we just couldn't continue to fight what her hair was becoming. I cut it to shoulder-length, and while we were usually able to brush it smooth, for the most part we let the waves do what they liked and corralled them with clips and headbands.By Fall, Munch's hair was still cute, but only because a preschooler could get away with a wacky look like hers. It was no longer wavy, but fully curly at the roots but straighter towards the ends. Most days it was a mess and I had no idea how to cut it or style it any longer.So off we went to a kids' stylist, who was able to make the most of her messy curls, and who admitted to have never seen a child's hair growing this way before. Many babies have those beautiful baby curls, which eventually grow out, but I'd never seen them grow IN! Munch got a darling, short, Shirley-Temple-esque bob, which requires a totally new way of styling (I'm learning to spritz and scrunch) to keep the curls from getting fluffy. Her self-portraits have changed too and she now draws her head covered in numerous circles. Here she is at Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa and her latest self-portrait-

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Yes, catching up on blog & photo posts. We spent Thanksgiving with my parents this year.In addition to a great meal, there were lots of family games. A serious round of chinese checkers-Munch playing hide & seek with Uncle Brian-
and several Wii matchups- MarioKart and boxing-In addition, we helped to celebrate "Ash-u-lee's" birthday-
Two of Munch's favorite pals-

Birthday Party Round-up

As I've mentioned before, our introduction to the preschool birthday party scene has been quite interesting. AudioDad and I had discussions about accepting all the invitations that came in- especially when Munch claimed to not know the celebrant, parent etiquette- would we be perceived as "hovering" parents if we both accompanied Munch? (With the 45 min. drive each way, he didn't want to lose family time.) I'm making weekly trips to the local toy store. We've seen a wide range of parties, from extravaganzas to simple barbecues. But a couple of months into it, we've been glad to see that Munch has been independently making friends, and we really like these kids and their families. Here's a look at what she's been up to:
The jumpy house-a must!Pinatas- a frequent occurrence (even though I have to admit to uneasiness in letting my kid hit ANYTHING with a big ol' stick)Candy, candy, and more candy-Munch loves wearing her "party dress", but getting all dressed up for a Halloween birthday party was the ultimate!Cupcake cakes- a fairly new thing? So often they have the strangest amoeba-like shapes, but this one was just so cute-Getting to explore her friends' cool backyard set ups is always a treat-Then we started the rounds of the "craft parties"- at this one, Munch was given a lump of clay. The result was...interesting.At the next, my sewing skills were put to the test at a "Build-A-Bear" party. Munch made a rabbit she named "Bunnyhop"- creative, I know...One of my favorites? A first birthday party at our favorite neighborhood restaurant- nothing like a sweet little one who's tentatively looking at the mound of cake and frosting on her tray-

I Haven't Forgotten You!

Hello everyone! I cannot believe it's been over a month and a half since I've posted last. We've been on the move most weekends with Munch's busy birthday party schedule and although I've taken plenty of pictures, I've had a dilemma about posting pics of her pals on the blog. As a result, I got out of the habit of frequently posting while I tried to figure out what to do (and ended up with a backlog of post topics!) So, look for more posting this week while I try to catch up! And please forgive me for staying away so long....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Alphabet Activities: Letter M

I feel terrible about posting so infrequently lately. Munch has kept us on the move with her busy social calendar every weekend. It's been a lot of fun getting to meet her new friends and their families have been really nice. I was relieved to have a day off for the holiday, even though AudioDad had to work. Munch and I decided to get back to our letter activities, so we tackled M,m today. We started off making the letter M with wood pieces and Munch was delighted to discover she had made the word "moo". Of course, I got sound effects to accompany the word making:Next, we moved on to her alphabet workbook. Munch found the stickers with M words and practiced writing the letter-before beginning her letter collage onto which she glued some dry macaroni-We had a puppet to assemble- and Munch loved making her monkey-
I was really excited about our super cute, super easy food project after getting the idea off the web. I melted some pink candy melts while Munch stuck marshmallows onto lollipop sticks. The marshmallow pops got a dip in the pink candy then sprinkled with decorations The only tricky thing was where to put them while they cooled and the coating dried- they were too top heavy to stand in a tumbler. In the end, I propped a cooling rack on a few cans which worked perfectly!Munch got to enjoy one as part of, what else? A muffin tin meal! I filled it with bunny mac & cheese (Munch's favorite), meatballs, macadamia nuts, mandarin orange segments, and a marshmallow pop- all washed down with a glass of milk-After naptime, which gave me a chance to clean up, Munch and I finished up her mermaid craft. Earlier in the day, she painted some tissue paper (a la Eric Carle) with green, teal, and blue dot markers
After it dried, she glued squares of her painted tissue paper onto a mermaid shape and decorated it with sequinsI cut it out for her and we glued it onto a water-scene background done in glitter glue-Last activities for the day were a batch of "hide and seek" muffins to go with dinner (the cherries she pushed into the center of the batter sink into the center of the muffin during baking)and some exploration with magnets.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fun at the Pumpkin Patch

Ever since Munch was a baby, we've made a trek out to Dixon to a great farm where we go on hay rides and pick a pumpkin off the vine-it's the same place we head to chop down a Christmas tree. This year, we decided to stick a little closer to home and explore the farming valley in our own little town. Just east of the Napa Valley, there are vineyards, olive groves, and many farms in the Suisun Valley. One favorite produce stand is always crazy busy, with people loading up wheelbarrows full of fruits and veggies at incredible prices. At the pumpkin patch, we discovered a huge variety of pumpkins and squash- including these beautiful swan squash but first Munch had to climb the hay bale tower,do a little pumpkin bowling, and do a run through the corn maze.Finally, we headed into the fields to find just the right pumpkin. We also loaded up our wheelbarrow with a bunch of other squash before stopping for a delicious snack of pumpkin bread. At home, Munch quickly went to work on painting her mini pumpkins and later that night, we carved our larger pumpkins-They turned out really well and Munch enjoyed sitting in the dark with them as she ate a sweet treat- ghost cupcakes!
There was an error in this gadget