Thursday, September 30, 2010

Water Day

I invited some cousins and their little ones over for an end-of-summer Water Day.  John brought little Liam and baby Owen and Laura brought Elliot's cousin Jack.  The boys had a ton of fun... scooping and pouring water, making a squirt bottle mural, fishing, rescuing animals stuck in icebergs, and eating plenty of watermelon. 
Elliot even tried his hardest to get Owen in on the fun.  Yes... he did just dump that bucket of water and, yes, it did almost go all over Owen.  Little stinker. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beet Crayons and Blackberry Paint

Toddler art is fun and messy.  And when their media are organic materials, letting it get all over their skin and letting them taste it is just no problem.  I left this mural to dry in the sun after Elliot was finished and now I have a big, beautiful, hand painted piece from him that I can either use as wrapping paper or cut into smaller pictures.  And I've also found one more use for all of those beets from the CSA!  
PS:  Happy birthday, Annika!  We hope you liked your blackberry paint hand print!!  xoxo

Sunday, September 26, 2010

We Love Goats

Even if they are a little bit crazy looking.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I have a feeling we're not in Portland anymore.
Elliot and I took the family dog, Finnegan, to an off-leash dog park this week.  And, let me tell you, it was unlike any dog park I'd ever seen before.  The landscape here can sometimes be so completely foreign to me.  Not like I've never seen deserty, dry, dusty land.  But to be living in it, taking a dog to run around in it, calling it the "dog park" is just so far from what I'm used to.  But, even though I was sure a rattle snake was going to jump out at us with every step we took, we managed to have a good time kickin' up some dirt, running on the paths, and looking for rocks.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stroller Strides

Today Elliot and I went to an introductory class of Stroller Strides.  It was really awesome and kicked my butt!  The kiddos were all strapped into their strollers and the tough Mamas squatted, jumped, ran, sang "I'm a little teapot," and had oh-so-much fun.  The group was really well facilitated (thanks, Emily and the three other helper-teachers!) and there was a lot of good attention put to making new members feel welcome.  It was great to get out there and sweat, meet other Mums, and watch Elliot having fun running around with other little ones.  He was (mostly) patient with being strapped in for the 75 minute work out, but when I took him out at the end he immediately grabbed a stick and started running around like a crazy baby.  He didn't want to be the only one not having fun!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Grocery Shopping

Elliot and I took a trip to Boise's Discovery Center on one of the free admission Fridays that Fred Meyer's is sponsoring between now and November 19th.  The Discovery Center is a science museum, like Portland's OMSI.  Like most science museums, the majority of it was more appropriate for school-aged kiddos.  Not a lot to keep Elliot engaged.  But they did have one area that was set up as a grocery store just for the little ones.  Elliot, who happens to be really into pretend food right now, was totally engaged for over a half hour.  Lots of good pretend play and interacting with other kiddos.    I think we'll definitely take a bit of time out of our next few Fridays and head back to the store.  I spent most of the time playing with Elliot in the store, but I'd love for him to get comfortable enough for me to stand back and let him play with the food and the kids all on his own. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lessons From A Painter

After nap time and lunch, when the afternoon is hot and slow and long, Elliot enjoys a good long hour of water play.  I fill a couple of big buckets with a few inches of water and set him up in the shade on the driveway.  He scoops and pours and is, for once in the day, quiet.  Completely quiet.  Silently engaged.  Then the other day I remembered a classic preschool outdoor activity of putting large paintbrushes out with buckets of water and letting the kids "paint" the walls and ground.  So I dug around in the garage and came out with a few brushes.  I added the brushes to his water play things and told him he could "paint the garage door."  It was a few minutes of watching Elliot bang the brushes on the ground and throw them around before I realized that he had no idea what I was talking about.  Not only had he never seen or held a large paint brush before,  but he had never seen anyone paint with one.  So I took a minute to demonstrate and guide him, then let him go.  He picked it up right away and loved it.  It was so fun to watch him explore something new.  And such a good lesson for me to remember that, even though this child is so capable and skilled, he is still only one year old.  There is so much in this life that is still brand new to him.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Virgos Unite

We celebrated the third birthday of our nephew, Jack, yesterday.  I gave my creativity a license to drive and this is where it went... garden creature cupcakes and a superhero cape. My favorite was when Jack said, "my mouth is full of bumble bee!"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Watermelon Head

Here's Elliot... showing off his new, AWESOME watermelon helmet while he sits in our new-to-us bike trailer that I found on Craigslist.  (Thanks for the birthday money, Pops!  I found exactly what I wanted!!!)  Elliot and I set out on our first bike adventure today.  The big question was whether he was going to leave his helmet on or not--a deal breaker for us when it comes to bike riding.  We've been having him play with it and pretend to take bites out of it and I put on my helmet and we tap our heads together.  Anything we can think of to make it fun for him to wear it (generally he's NOT a hat kid--we can never get him to keep anything on his head).  And, today, as you can see... success!  He wore his helmet, we rode on the bike path, we went into town and sat at a coffee shop for a while, then rode home.  He fussed a bit a few times, but was generally content to watch the world go by.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bumping Up and Down

Elliot's new favorite... his little red wagon that we found at a yard sale this weekend.  It has two seats with seat belts and cupholders. It's a super sweet ride.  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Keeping Busy

I've noticed that the older I get them more I need to be in constant motion.  Always doing a little something, usually something like cleaning off the counters or sweeping the floor.  Keeping busy helps keep my stress at bay.  It helps keep me calm.  And when I need to keep my mind still and quiet, I love to turn to cooking and baking.  Needless to say, in our most recent life transition, I have been doing a lot of cooking and baking.  It's just the right controlled, successful process for me to engage in to keep me feeling balanced.  And it just so happens that while we're staying at Andrea's parents' house I have access to an amazing kitchen and a stocked pantry.  So, yes, for many reasons I have been doing a lot of cooking an baking.  Here's a little glimpse...

This delicious roasted beet salad with dried cranberries, pine nuts and goat cheese was inspired by one of my last meals in Portland with Dr. Judy at Laurelhurst Market.  I took one bite of that salad at our dinner and interrupted her story to tell her I felt like I was rolling in a field on a warm summer's day as I ate this most delicious bitefull of salad with a slight burst of fresh mint exploding in my mouth (it was seriously so good).  Well, my version was really really good, but the mint flavor didn't come through at all.  I'm not sure if I needed to add more of it or if I needed to crush it more to release the flavor.  Regardless, the sweet roasted beets (fresh from the CSA farm) mixed with the creamy chevre and the balsamic dressing was absolutely delicious.  

I don't have pictures of my other recent yummies, but I would recommend them equally as highly as the roasted beet salad.   
  • One were these amazing Crispy Baked Zucchini and Summer Squash Strips (also from the CSA farm--when the zucchini comes in, you've got to figure out how to use it all!).  These strips were so good.  So easy.  So healthy.  We dipped in marinara instead of the sauce the recipe calls for.  The perfect accompaniment to our hot dog extravaganza!  Yumm yum!
  • The second, Peach Shortbread, was the yummiest, easiest, quickest dessert treat to make if you have just one fresh, juicy peach lying around.  I halved the recipe but still used a full egg, and I didn't brown the butter so I followed her suggestion for a bit of extra flour.  I baked it in a round cake pan and cut it into wedges when it cooled.  It came together so quickly and easily, and was gobbled up just a quickly and just as easily!
  • The last and yummiest of all are these Salted Butterscotch Cookies.  So easy.  So yummy.  I'm sure you have everything you need to make them in your cupboard right now.  And don't pay attention to the description that says they're crispy.  Cook them for just 10 minutes and they are pure soft, salty, butterscotchy goodness.  Mmmmm...
So, clearly, my hands and mind (and belly!) have been kept extra busy lately.  I love having a creative outlet to turn to when I need some balancing.  And, of course , it helps to have a great space to work in and a happy and willing audience to share my creations with.  I wonder what I'll make tomorrow....??  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cast Of Characters

Starring, in the lead role as the newest Social Worker for Ada County Juvenile Justice... Andrea!

And in a supporting role as Stay-at-Home Mum (at least for now)... Malia!
And, of course, the best leading man any one could ever ask for.... Elliot!

Congratulations, Andrea!!  You are so good at what you do.  Ada County Juvenile Justice is lucky to have you on their team.  (But does this mean our vacation is over now??)