Gardening

New Year, New Garden

Last year, my garden was a little bland. We had zucchini, beans, and carrots. My strawberry plant was more productive than the year before, which was really nice.

Unfortunately the blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, watermelon, and herbs did not produce. ūüė¶

The berries may have been planted too late, but everything else failed at the seedling stage.

This year, I have invested $21 in grow lights!! I hope this will produce strong, vigorous seedlings which I did not have this year.

According to the farmers almanac emails I get, it’s time to start onion seedlings (9-12 weeks before the last frost date) in the north west.

I cut an egg carton (18 eggs) into thirds so that my assistants could each have a section. I put our names on them just in case they wanted to keep track of their own growth.

Then I gathered garden soil (potting soil is good, too) in a bucket and told them to fill up their carton holes.

Next, poke their little fingers in each egg area to make a little seed hole.

Then, drop “a few” seeds in each hole. (I said 1-2 but Mr. 3 put a whole bunch.)

Then, lightly cover the holes with the soil.

Our soil was moist because I got it from outside, but you may need to spray or sprinkle water on.

Finally, rearrange your whole kitchen so that you can put the seedlings and lights in an area where the kids can look but not touch. Somewhere where the clutter will not annoy your significant other or get in your way with cooking/cleaning.

I also planted a mystery seed and some cilantro in my carton because I think we will have enough onions from the kids, and I was wondering if the herbs would grow well inside with the lights. Also, I’d like to figure out what that mystery bag of seeds was.

I hope you readers have a wonderful garden year, if you are into that sort of thing!

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Daily Lessons

A regular day

Yesterday was January 3 and it was just a regular day. The weather was forecast as partly sunny with a high of 48, but it didn’t quite live up to expectations.

8:05 am – I stop ignoring the kids and get out of bed. We eat waffles and cereal.

8:20 Oil Pastel coloring and finishing breakfast.

8:45 This actually lasted quite a while. They asked me to draw different things and Mr. 1 actually tried to color inside of things rather than drawing crazy lines all over the place. (New skill!!) Although he did a bit of that, too. He’s also getting really good at pronouncing different things he wants. “Dump Truck” and something that at least resembles “excavator”.

9:30 Mr. 1 decided it was time to go “play” and immediately went to the large floor puzzle box. Mr. 3 agreed this was a good idea and helped/did most of the puzzle.

Mommy got distracted by the wooden Keva blocks and decided to build something. Half-pipe!

10:15 After the puzzle was complete and my structures got destroyed, I decided to do some cleaning up. Mr. 3 announced we were the Pteranodons from Dinosaur Train, his new favorite show.

Mr. 3 asked questions such as “do pteranodons play with magnets? Do they walk on two feet?” and Mr. 1 helped with emptying the dishwasher.

10:45 I finished the dishes, made the bed, and finally remembered to take the doggy out. The kids spent some time playing by themselves.

11:30 The dinosaur train was on its way under the misty sea and I found myself hungry. I said we should have a picnic at the big lake and proceeded to make quesadillas from last nights chicken.

12:00 Ate lunch – dinosaur picnic. Mr. 1 got distracted by the test tubes and spent about 30 minutes putting them in and out of the holder.

12:30 We then decorated some of the window cut outs with price stickers.

1:00 Stories and Nap time!! Mr. 3 played by himself with his magnets and trucks and only woke me up to go poop.

3:00 Mr. 1 slept until a little after 3 and I made tea and snacks.

3:30 Daddy got home and he told us about his day while we colored on the mat. The boys both wanted to do a little bit of dot-to-dot but the game ended when we had to wait for the mat to dry.

4:00 I walked the dog. I don’t know what the others did.

5:00 I made pizza dough while Mr. 3 whined about how he wanted to go to Red Lobster instead. Daddy took a nap.

5:20 We built with Keva blocks. We played a game where we tried to copy each other. Then Mr. 3 wanted to build a train from the blocks but the wheels were too complicated and he was getting frustrated. We hopped back on the dinosaur train for distraction.

Mr. 1 kept bringing train tracks to us so I helped him build a train track.

6:00 I made the pizza while the kids actually watched Dinosaur Train (I can’t believe we made it this long without Kindle/TV!) Daddy woke up.

6:30 Dinner. Mr. 3 was still sad about not going to Red Lobster and he almost didn’t eat. He finally saw reason and devoured the pizza and cherry tomatoes.

7:00 Clean-up. Mommy did more dishes and the boys helped Daddy pick up toys.

7:15 A little bit more TV and getting ready for bed.

7:30 Potty, Brush Teeth, Stories, Bed. We had to negotiate for a while because Mr. 3 decided he was very sad about going to sleep even though he admitted he was tired. (Do you want the light on? Door open? Do you want a truck? Etc)

8:00 Mommy and Daddy time!! We made it! Yahoo!! *snore*

Projects

Holiday Window Decorations

It turns out the “decorate your own Christmas tree” was a good idea. It was the execution that I had wrong!

 

Mr. 3: Mommy, I want to decorate Christmas trees. First you have to cut them out, THEN hang them on the window, and THEN we decorate them. That’s (plays with fingers) 3 things we have to do! Cut, Hang, Decorate!¬†

Well now I know.

Both boys really enjoyed putting the stickers on the trees and spent about 45 minutes decorating all the trees I cut out. Mr. 1 started decorating his arm instead, near the end.

You will need:

-Paper

-Scissors

-Stickers

-Tape ( I ran out of scotch tape so I used colorful Washi tape. You can also use these to decorate your trees or whatever holiday shape you choose.)

 

 

Adventures, History, Science

Museum Free Thursday

(I wrote this at 2 pm but failed to submit it.)

Hello! I am hiding under the blankets again. I got rid of the cat by pretending to sleep.

It’s rather late for our daily nap, but Mr.1 was playing so nicely with the magnet tiles and I didn’t want to tear him away. Honestly, if you are scratching your head about Christmas presents and you don’t already own a set of these, I think you should make the investment. They get used EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

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Except maybe yesterday, but it was a wonderful and strange day.

The first Thursday of every month is Museum Free Thursday in Seattle, where a number of museums let you in for free.

Yesterday we went to the Burke Museum of Natural History which is located on the UW campus. Parking was awful and expensive ($9 for 3 hours) but the Museum was awesome.

It’s a rather small museum; you could run a lap around the top floor in about 35 seconds. I know this because Mr. 1 was all about running away from me.

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Mr. 3 wanted to stay in their “class room” area and do floor puzzles.

The lower level is dedicated to cultural artifacts and the top level is dedicated to dinosaurs and also a volcano.

In fact, they were in the process of cleaning a T-Rex skull that was found recently. You could watch them do it! According to the museum there have only been about 15 complete skulls found for the popular Tyrannosaurus Rex. 

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We had so much fun that Mr. 1 fell asleep in the car and Mr. 3 fell asleep in his barn. (At that point he was Snowflake the horse.)

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The rest of the day seemed like it was spent playing “fire truck rescue” and “ambulance driver”.

The strange part was at dinner. Instead of eating, Mr. 3 insisted on taking a bubble bath. This was his first bath since that time I told you I got in the tub with them… a month ago?

Mr. 1 ate a little bit and then joined his brother. We had to drain the tub once due to the little one pooping in the tub. Yuck!

Books, Daily Lessons, games, Projects

St. Nicholas Day

Happy St. Nicholas Day. I hope you saw my reminder on Instagram to wash your boots yesterday, because St. Nick was supposed to have visited you yesterday.

This is a holiday that stems from my younger years in Germany. My mother has encouraged me to continue the tradition with my own kids. Mr. 3 was very excited yesterday and ended up cleaning his boots, his brother’s boots, the front of my dishwasher, the front of the oven, the trash can and compost bin, and some paint splatter on the cabinets. “What else can I clean, mommy?!”

This morning, the boys were very happy with what they found. A bucket of farm animals, DinoBlock, Trains, and Machines at Work. The two Byron Barton books came at just the right time because their favorite Trucks book broke in half last night while Mr. 1 was reading it in his crib. It’s only been a few hours but I have already read Trains and Machines at Work nearly 12 times total today. They also both really enjoyed the variety of farm animals and accessories.


 

We also did some large scale painting in the kitchen this morning. (Tempera pain is VERY washable and comes off really easily if the toddler swipes a cabinet or floor by mistake. At one point he started painting his diaper.) Mr. 3 was more interested in playing ambulance and trying to tie a ribbon bandage around anything I would offer him. While Mr. 1 and I were sitting in the bath tub scrubbing off the paint, the ambulance driver brought us towels and pretend lemonade. He also cleaned some of the “blood” (paint) from the kitchen floor. He repeatedly told me “Call 911 if you need me!” and “What else can I help with, mommy?”

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My husband is a much smarter person than I am. He is someone who really knows how to use his brain.

We only have short matches and I wanted to light a candle that was getting too low in the jar in order to cover the smell of the stinky diaper pail. My solution was to stick the match in a blob of play dough¬†to make it longer. Feeling super proud of myself (even though I still almost burned myself) I gloated to my husband, “aren’t you going to ask me how I managed to light the candle?”.

He says, “Did you turn it sideways?”

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Daily Lessons

Only Half Way Through

Hello! We are only about half way through the day. I just woke up from my nap but neither the cat or the three year old has found me… I’m hiding under the blanket!

It’s been an interesting day so far! Mr. 3 has only asked for his Kindle once and was distracted before he could find it. In fact, the first thing he went to do this morning was play with the Big Train.

When the track fell apart and the train crashed I announced it was time for breakfast. Mr. 3 asked for a honey sandwich. We’ve never had that for breakfast before but it sounded good to me!

Then I said I wanted to decorate paper Christmas trees and hang them on the window.

Mr. 3 practiced cutting with scissors the whole time. When Mr. 1 started willfully ignoring my directions to not color on the table, please, I decided they were done.They spent more time with the train. Mr. 1 was pretending to be a crane and loaded and unloaded the cargo repeatedly while making crane noises.Every time I turned my back, the train would wreck or derail!

Mr. 1 learned to say “Gondola” and then later he also said “peanut butter” when it was lunch time.Then we vacuumed and I tried to clean the bathroom. In the middle of cleaning the toilet Mr. 3 announces he has to poop. And out of no where comes a sudden independence and he refuses to let me help him wipe. Of course he doesn’t know how to tell me this and instead he runs away from me and sits down on his poopy butt and smears it all over his feet. 30 minutes of wiping later he is finally clean. He went through a lot of toilet paper and some number of baby wipes. (It was frustrating to just watch!!)He also did not want help putting on his clothes. After that fiasco it was nap time for Mr. 1 and me. Thank goodness!Oh! Mr. 3 just caught me, I better go!

Daily Lessons

Busy All Day Long

Hello! It’s been so busy with the holidays, I haven’t found much time for checking in. I hope things are going well with you.

We got out our large battery powered train today. It was gifted to us last year by my husband’s brother, and this is the first time we took it out. Mr. 3 and Mr.1 were fascinated and occupied for what felt like several hours, but was probably less than 2. 

They both enjoyed using the remote control, but needed some reminders on sharing. 

I try not to force sharing too much but I always point out that soandso is feeling frustrated\sad because they would like a turn and eventually the issue resolves… Either with sharing or someone becoming distracted.

We also went to the Museum of Flight.

 We’ve read lots of interesting books lately, a few of which are by Nicola Davies (White Owl Barn Owl, What Happens Next?, Tiny world of microbes). These books are all beautiful and full of the perfect amount of information to be absorbed by a young child. 

The days are just flying by, and this year is almost over!! 

Daily Lessons, Language, Math, Parenting

21 Months and his own little person

As Mr. 1 grows into his own personality, it is becoming more and more obvious how different these children are from each other. The differences always surprise me because until recently, Mr. 1 could have been a visual clone of Mr. 3. He is slowly starting to look different from when his brother was this small.

Mr. 1 is obsessed with colors, and continually makes a game of bringing me a toy and telling me what color it is. And if he doesn’t know the color he just says “ah” and thrusts the toy at me repeatedly until I tell him what it is.

He already knows and says, “Gween” (green), “Wa-hite” (white), “Purplepurplepurple” (purple), “Blooo!” (blue), “Orang” (Orange). He still has a little trouble with Red, Yellow, and Black, but I have no doubt he will learn them soon.

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What I remember most about this stage for Mr. 3 was an intense love of puzzles, and playing with Mega Blocks for hours. On the contrary, Mr. 1 likes (not loves) puzzles, and spends most of his time with construction trucks or cars. Mr. 1 can also catch a ball tossed softly to his chest. (Some of his recent words include “Beach Ball” and “Football”).

Mr. 3 still hasn’t quite got the hang of the catching skill, but boy can he throw.

Mr. 1 has a 70% success rate with jumping, and can dribble a soccer ball about as well as his big brother. I think he just might be an athlete.

At this age both boys love(d) reading, and Mr. 3 still loves reading at 3 so I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Mr. 3 is currently in another puzzle phase, and is also interested in shapes and numbers. At lunch the other day he arranged all of his apple slices around his plate and told me he had made an Octagon. I counted nine slices so I told him that is a nonagon. Then we talked about different polygons and their names for a while. He liked asking our friend Alexa (Amazon Echo) for definitions of the different polygons.

We’ve also been keeping busy with different art projects. We did some chalk coloring on a broken cardboard box. I also bought a large bag of Christmas stickers at Hobby Lobby for $3, and we worked on making some holiday cards.

 

And finally, an update on the mystery guest in my belly:

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At 16 weeks I have felt movement a few times, but nothing consistent. I am excited about this stage of the pregnancy, because it is finally starting to feel like a little person in there.

 

 

Parenting

Time for a bath!

My 3 year old hasn’t had a bath in about a month, and the 1 year old hasn’t had a bath in at least two months. I honestly can’t remember the last time they bathed. 

My 3 year old’s reason is sheer obstinancy, but the little guy is just plain scared. The last few times he had been in the tub, he slipped and slid around a bit. We have a bumpy bath mat, but it doesn’t seem to help him much. In fact, last time I cleaned the tub, the mat itself slid from under his feet.

Today we finished dinner early. We had bratwurst, corn, and peas. Miracle of miracles, both boys cleared their plates and ate an additional mini blueberry bagel. 

We read some books on the couch, and Mr. 3 started breathing funny. I asked him what was wrong, and he said he was sleepy but wanted to read 2 more books. It was only 6:45! I read the stories and decided it was now or never to take a bath.

I have never taken a bath with the boys before but I decided it was worth a try. I filled the tub with a few inches of water and put on a bathing suit. I got into the tub and realized I hadn’t taken the little one’s clothes off. 

It’s a good thing my husband is there to pick up my slack.

The three year old starts tearing off his clothes and shouts, “I want to take a bath, too!”

 We then spend the next 30 minutes drawing with bath crayons. Mr.1 sat on my lap the whole time with barely his butt and feet in the water. He was starting to get more comfortable near the end as he would stretch out to put the crayons on the soap dish. 

I even managed to rub Mr. 1 with a soapy washcloth. Mr. 3 insisted on washing himself. 

My husband came when I called and dried Mr.1 and put him in fresh pajamas. Mr. 3 wanted to keep playing a little while.

This worked out well. Unfortunately, it was very uncomfortable for my knees. See you in two months, bathtub! 

Conversations, Parenting

Conversation with the Kids #2

2017-10-30_11-56-38_119Mr. 1 brings me a blue block and says, “BOO!” (Blue)

I jump up and down in excitement and clap my hands because I had NO idea he could identify colors so well.

He goes back and forth with the blue block and tells me its blue several times.

Then he grabs a red block and brings it to me. He says, “ELMO!!”

Slighly less excited, I reply, “Yes, it’s RED like Elmo.”

Mr. 1 responds: “ELMO ELMO”


Me: I need a cup of tea, I am so tired! And, I have to blow my nose.

Mr. 3: You can’t drink tea if you have nipples(?).

Me: I’m pretty sure you can drink tea if you have nipples. Everyone has nipples.

Mr. 3: Not nipples, nipples! *points to nose*

Me: OHHH, Sniffles!!! I think a nice hot drink like tea is especially good when you are sick, it helps relax the sore throat and clear the sinuses. So yes, you CAN drink tea when you have sniffles. Thank you for pointing to your nose to help me understand what you meant!


Mr. 3: I want to watch something!!2017-11-04_17-34-55_965

Daddy: Do you want to watch on the TV or the Kindle?

Mr. 3: I want to watch on the Kindle.

Daddy: Okay. Go get it.

Mr. 3: I can’t find it.

Daddy: Where did you look?

Mr. 3: I didn’t look.