Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Journaling with Kids

For the past few years, each of my children has had a journal.  It is a place to keep track of special events, places we went, people we saw, activities we did, thoughts they've had...anything is fair game.  We use a spiral sketchbook and tend to write in the same journal for about a year.  It is a great place to put keepsake items that you don't want to throw away, but don't really know what to do with- valentine cards, ticket stubs, postcards, artwork.  I do most of the writing, but as the kids are getting older, they are taking over more of that job.  Just recently Matias made his first entry completely independently (about his tae kwon do class). It is a fun and easy thing to do together, preserves memories of events that they would otherwise forget, and makes something fun to look back on in years to come.  I am sometimes surprised what they remember from the past, and then I realize they remember it because it is in their books.  I would encourage anyone with little ones to try journaling together.  Just to give you an idea, here are some entries from the kids' journals:

Picture from a surprise party we threw and a class picture

A postcard from Grandma and Papa, and the family picture and cubby tag from preschool

Memories from our camping trip

Violet dictated what we did for the 4th of July and then illustrated it

Entry about drum corps show

Matias' first independent entry: "I am in tae kwon do" with a picture of him and Daddy on the blue and red mats at their studio

Sometimes Matias will write half of it, and then ask me to finish the rest

Here is a graph game that Matias made up for us to play

For the Kids Friday

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I have a pickle-loving daughter.  She would eat a whole jar in one sitting if we'd let her.  So she has been anxiously awaiting the growth of our pickling cucumbers.  Finally, they are ready to be picked and processed.  Here is a little tutorial on how we make our pickles.  We took a few recipes and adjusted them for what we had on hand.  

Dill Refrigerator Pickles

You need:

6 pickling cucumbers
fresh dill
3 garlic cloves
1 quart vinegar
2 1/2 TBL kosher salt
2 1/2 TBL sugar
pickling spices
3 quart-sized jars, sanitized


Pick and wash the cucumbers

Slice them into spears

Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water, let them sit for 3 hours

Drain the pickles, rinse, then drain again

Into each sanitized jar put 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 TBL pickling spices, several sprigs of fresh dill, and the cucumber spears

Boil together 6 cups of vinegar, salt and sugar.  Pour over the cucumbers, top off with remaining vinegar.  Secure lids, shake to distribute spices and refrigerate for 7-21 days before eating.  These last in the fridge for up to 2 months.  Enjoy!! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

DIY Travel Highchair

We are heading abroad with our little ones and, unsure of what baby seating will be awaiting us, I whipped up a quick travel highchair for Beatrice.  I used this tutorial over at This Mama.  It is a bit tough to see in my pictures, but the strap wraps around the back of the chair, velcros around her middle, and the front flap lays over it...holding her onto most styles of chairs.  Hopefully it will come in useful!  I have this tutorial and other travel ideas pinned on my Pinterest Travel Board.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ABC Name Blocks

My Grandma found some old alphabet blocks and gave them to Beatrice.  I cleaned them up, hot glued them together and voila.  I think this would be a really cute baby gift or nursery decoration.  Simple, with a touch of vintage charm :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

4th of July 2012

It is still July, so not too late to post 4th of July pictures, right?!

Preparing to sweat through  attend the fourth of July parade


Waiting for the fireworks to start with our good friends

Playing peekaboo...why am I awake so late Momma?

The face says it all

The quintessential firework picture


best seats in the house!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A New Favorite Dressing

So when you grow a bunch of red chilis in your garden, what do you DO with them when they flourish?? Make vinaigrette to go on all the other garden goodies. Here is a new recipe we figured out that we really like. Beware...if you let the dressing sit before serving it, it gets a lot spicier.

Red Chili Vinaigrette 

Whisk together: 
1 TBL soy sauce 
1 TBL olive oil 
1 TBL honey 
1 TBL white wine vinegar 
1 TBL lime juice 
1/2 to 1 chopped red chili pepper (with or without seeds...you choose) 


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Shaving Cream

We've been having a great time with a cheapo can of shaving cream this week.  Beatrice and Violet painted the bathtub (and taste tested just a bit), we mixed it in with some water beads to make a very cool texture, and we painted with it on the windows of our house (and then had a great time using the hose to wash it off (Mommy and Beatrice were inside the window...apparently we make good targets).  The best part about shaving cream?  It is self cleaning!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Drum Corps- The Tale of an Epic Uncle

If you are not familiar with Drum Corps International, you really should be.  It is one of summer's biggest treats.  DCI is like a marching band to the nth degree...drums, horns, flags- it is overwhelmingly awesome.  The corps spend the summer traveling around on buses, sleeping on gym floors, practicing their shows day and night, and meeting each other for competitions around the country.  We are lucky to have my brother marching with The Cavaliers this year, and enjoyed seeing them compete in Rockford last weekend.  If there is a show near you, you should definitely give it a try.  My kids are huge fans of drum corps, the Cavaliers, and their Uncle Hans.  Here are some pictures from the show.  

Waiting for the show to start with Great Gramma

The baby liked the drums

4 generations

Uncle Hans playing the vibraphone

Hard to capture...they are constantly moving!

Seeing Uncle Hans after the show

Yeah, he's pretty epic

Can you tell Hans has spent a bit of time in the sun this year?

Violet danced back to the car with her flag 

If your kids love music and instruments like mine do, be sure to print out these free instrument cards from Counting Coconuts as well- we have been having fun sorting, alphabetizing and learning with these cards for years now.  Then get out there and enjoy some live music- like drum corps!

Pin It button on image hover