Sunday Surprise – A New Piano Moved In

We had an unexpected purchase this month – but really a blessing for us. My sister gave us an awesome deal on her baby grand piano that we just couldn’t pass up.

I started piano when I was five. I played on and off through school, and even had some classes in college. And I fully expect to be teaching Petra some basic piano over the next year – this is the same age I started my nephew … very basic though.

Of course the hard part was figuring out how best to get it from NC to FL. We called a couple companies, and ended up hiring a professional piano moving company – Modern Piano Movers. They were fantastic. Everything was right on time and as expected. They were scheduled to arrive between 1-5pm on Sunday. AT 1pm this enormous truck pulled up in front of our home. The children had just been laid down for naps and were quite excited to get back up to see everything. I thought Jasper would be excited to see this big rig, but Thomas said he was more excited about the picture of the piano on the side of the truck with wheels …made to look like a car.

The children climbed on dad  and watched in anticipation as it was unloaded and carted down the driveway.

Our porch is very narrow with a sharp 90 degree turn to get inside. I was very worried they would have a difficult time getting a 5″1″ square piano through the door. They seemed optimistic and said it should be EASY! Sure enough, they shimmied it in. I’m still surprised.

After unwrapping a ton of blankets off of it, they quickly assembled it and we had a wonderful piano SQUEEZED in our living room.

Before they left, the movers were kind enough to let the children check out the truck. Jasper was more than thrilled to crawl up in the back and also in the cab. They even let him blow the horn.

After a few minutes we told Jasper to tell them Thank you and get out. For once he didn’t scream, but simply signed Thank You and lept in our arms. What a perfect treat for him.

In total, they were at our house for 1.5 hours. And then they left.

Sewing Projects & PHOTOS

I’ve made the time to crank out a few products this past week in the sewing room. One of my main goals was to take THIS fabric….

And make a DRESS out of it for PETRA.

This is just the back of the dress. You can see more of the dress at THIS BLOG because the children went to a photoshoot yesterday with Shana Beiro. But since you can’t really see all of the dress with those photos posted. Here is one I took yesterday in the driveway several hours later, after we had a messy lunch, shopped at Costco, and arrived back home.

And this was a project gone south for Petra. The top was too small. So I finished up a pair of matching pants and plan on sending it to Jenn‘s baby girl  – Norah. Hopefully it will fit.

And I made some padded drawstring bags for camera lenses. And a padded shoulder strap. I also nearly finished a camera bag … but that ended up not quite right. So more of that to come later.

Tot School – Letter R

(Petra is 33 months, Jasper is 23 months)

If you would like to learn more about Tot School, GO HERE.

Another crazy week at work for me; so another slow week at tot school activities. I really wish it didn’t happen this way. But when I don’t get home until 6pm or later, there just isn’t time for me to do any tot school with the children. This of course doesn’t mean they don’t do anything all day, only that I wasn’t here to initiate it and take photos.

I gave Petra another letter assessment this week . She is doing great. The only two capital letters she didn’t get right was Y and Z – she had them confused. And she did better on the little letters as well. I wrote down the list for the nanny so that she would know and could focus on these letters with her as well during the different activities through the day. Today, Petra seemed to know Y and Z – so maybe it was just a fluke. OR she has learned them now.

She ASKED for her Kumon coloring book this week several times. Shocking! She is not a big colorer, but I think it may have been for the little maze exercise on the back of each coloring page. She has to draw a line from the dot to the star without touching any pictures on the page. This is what she is working on in the photo above. We usually do about two pages at a sitting, and that’s it.  I also bought her some oil pastels  and these are helping her do a better job with the coloring. They are thicker and bolder and she doesn’t have to work as hard at it. So I may just give her these to work with until she is a little older.

Jasper pulled out the fishing puzzle several times this  week. I’m guessing this will remain a twice a week activity for a while.

I tried to print off a R r poke page from Letter of the Week curriculum at Confession of a Homeschooler. If you have not bought this, it is fantastic! And its a great price. But our printer has stopped working. So instead I drew a R r in RED of course. Petra loved this, and I thought she would because I let her use a sharp toothpick. For some reason anything that looks dangerous is a FAVORITE at my house. Immediately she fell in love with this activity. SERIOUS concentration.She started like this….

And in a few minutes, she had settled right in and looked like this….

She probably would have worked on this for much longer if she had been in a room near me. But the only room with a rug is the nursery, and that wasn’t in sight of me. So within 5-10 minutes she was back downstairs clinging to me. She regularly tells me these days: “Don’t you ever leave me again.” But most days when I leave for work its not that big of a deal.

Other activities we did this week (but the batteries in the camera were dead):

  • Cutting playdough with butter knives. Oh, but I think it was too hot in the house. The playdough felt like it was melting. IS the melting point 77 degrees Fahrenheit?
  • Petra asked to read a book about counting coins. So after we read it, I gathered all the loose change in the house, put it in a bowl and had them work on putting it in a piggy bank. We will be doing more coin activities this week.

Hhm, not a lot of R activities this week. I guess I’ll have to work on that this week. I chose R since it is a letter in Petra’s name and I want to be sure she learns to write it soon. So I will have to be sure to do some tracing this week.

Stepping up the Raw

Today we made a pretty unexpected purchase and made a new health goal. The story started something like this. Once upon a time, or earlier this week, my coworker, who knows I have been wanting a Blendtec blender for the past year tells me that Costco is selling them–but this week only. Desire immediately surges in me. I want one. But I don’t want to spend the money. I have wanting this blender for a year now and I have been putting it off. I was so surprised to hear it was at Costco, but didn’t really force the trip. We had been wanting to purchase it from Costco, but my coworker didn’t know this.

This morning, Thomas suggested we go to Costco. Yeah! I honestly thought I could look at it and walk away. But it is such a wonderful kitchen tool that it just wasn’t possible. In the time I was standing there, the demonstrator whipped upped several fabulous recipes. And me, the dear, and the children scarfed them all down. I love that it purees whole carrots into a smoothie – no reason to chop anything into smaller pieces! So not only did I walk away from there with the blender, but also we bought the larger jar with the 4″ blade, and we also had to purchase a Costco membership since we didn’t have one. After we paid the $50 for the membership, we could have bought the blender online at the same price. However, for some reason, when you buy the blender at Costco you get a 7 YEAR WARRANTY, rather than the standard 3 year warranty it comes with. You just can’t beat that.

So we came home and put it to work. I made a coffee frappuchino for afternoon snack.

Then tonight for dinner I made some fresh salsa to go on top of the spanish mackerel we had for dinner. And I also made some raw “parmesan cheese” – made from just 1/2 c raw pumpkins seeds, 2 T oregano, and 1/2 T salt. I was not sure how it would work at grinding up seeds without any liquid. But it did fabulous. I added the pumpkin seeds in about 4 seconds it was completely pureed into a powder. I soaked my raw broccoli in some hot water for about 1 minute, took it out, and topped it off with my new raw “parmesan cheese.” (photo of dinner at top of post)

Then after dinner, it was  time for dessert. In about 2 minutes I had a yummy chocolate shake made from – 12 oz coconut milk, 1/4 cup cocoa, 1/3 cup agave, and 3 cups ice. The children really enjoyed dessert.

And Petra and Thomas worked on balancing spoons on their noses!

So by bedtime we had made 4 dishes with the new kitchen toy. And we are looking forward to more.

This week, we will be drinking lots of green smoothies. And I mean lots. We will be eating only raw vegetables this week, we will keep eating meats and fruits, but all veggies and fruits will be raw, none cooked- this goal was not set by me, but by me dear.Its nice to have support for my goals. I’m looking forward to seeing how we feel after  a week. This will be the most raw Thomas has been, so he is looking forward to seeing if there is a change.

Its time for me to head over to Green Smoothie Girl and check out the recipes.

Friday Fitness Post

So, I can’t say I’m very thrilled about how this week has been going. I’m several days behind on burpees. I missed a day of Crossfit due to working late (past 12 am) and then having my daughter stroll down the steps at 5:45 am right before I walked out the door to head to the gym, and announcing – “I’m awake now.” (the child doesn’t sleep, but that’s another story). I had a horrible headache from working 16 hours the day before and had missed seeing my daughter – so it just seemed like the right time to stop. And so we did, together. So I missed my workout on Wednesday.

I have been much better about drinking water this week. I got a full 40 oz this morning before 8am. That always makes it easier the rest of the day.

Any my raw food intake hasn’t been the best … about 60% most days.

This morning I did NOT ENJOY our workout at CROSSFIT BLACKBOX. However, I did feel great after it was over. I love how you always feel so much better after working out. Today’s workout was:

50 jump and reach – jumping and hitting object 14 inches above arm’s length
40 air squats
30 situps on Abmat
20 pushups
10 pullups

My time was 25:18. I used a very small thin band for the pushups, and a wider band for the pullups because I still cannot do those unassisted.

A Mother’s Calling – Post and plan ahead

A Mother's Calling

Due to the amount of thought that has to go into each of these posts, and the hopes that others will be able to plan according and join in. I decided to make these 2 week memes.  So you still have time to post on this week’s question!

Our current question is: Do you have traditions or family activities that you reserve for the Sabbath as a way to excite your children about the day and encourage a love of the Sabbath? You can read my post HERE. And so far two other moms have joined! So be sure to clink on the link at the bottom and read there posts also. I really appreciate that both mom’s that linked up emphasized teaching respect for the Sabbath.

And so that you have time to plan ahead, next week’s question is: How do you deal with your child’s fears, or how do you teach your child to deal with fear? This could be imaginitve fear (aka the monsters under the bed), a real fear as a result of somthing that has happened to the child, or maybe an innate fear–our daughter has always had a fear of dogs, and we aren’t sure why. Nothing has ever happended to her, and we have dogs, but since she was a baby she has been terrified of dogs.

Raw Wednesday – Toddlers and Raw Snacks

(homemade Lara Bars chilling out before their final cut)

I had planned on posting on raw snacks today, so my friend’s email asking for advice came at a good time. She sent me the following request a couple days ago:

“I would love advice on how to incorporate more raw foods into my three year old son’s diet. I think I prepare healthy meals for my family but snacks are hard. I’m worried about sugar and bad carbs. Buying a juicer is out of the question right now, so what are some quick and easy things I can do (w/o using a juicer) to ensure he eats more raw foods? I think he is also getting bored with the same cut up veggies. Oh, and I have a food processor and standard blender .”

It seems like most children eat a variety of processed food for snacks. The most popular I’ve seen are: goldfish, granola bars or other cereal bars, chips, pretzels, animal cookies, and anything else that comes out of a box or bag. Usually I think its convenience that causes moms to resort to these foods, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Raw snacks are actually one of the easiest ways to incorporate raw foods in a child’s diet, including a toddler’s diet.

Our pantry is full of some basic raw ingredients that make it simple – a variety of raw nuts bought in bulk or from the bulk section at our local store; boxes of dried fruits-raisins, dates, prunes, cranberries – be sure none of these have added sugar when you buy them (If you go to the store and buy a bag of dried cranberries it probably has added sugar – just check the ingredients); cocoa; and agave syrup. These few ingredients with some fresh fruit can get you a long ways in the snack department.

Here are some snack ideas for your children:

The Simplest Raw Trail Mix – just grab a variety of nuts and a variety of dried fruits and throw in a bowl. Just a few of each is all it takes. In 20 seconds your children are happily eating a healthy trail mix.

Nothing fancy, Just Fruit – I sometimes think we try to overdo it and make things too complicated. God made an apple perfect just as it is. And while I’m no fan of raw apples, my toddlers are delighted when we hand them half an apple (or more) to munch on. On the way to the park? Grab some fruit.

Homemade Energy Bars or Lara Bars – If you love energy bars, granola bars, or something of the sort, and don’t want to pay the hefty fee that comes along with buying RAW organic bars then its time to  make them. These are very simple and super easy so don’t fret. And they taste great. And all you need is a food processor – so my friend is in luck. Here is a recipe from Choosing Raw for raw vegan bars. They look great, but since we are avoiding all grains I usually stick to these recipes for homemade Lara Bars. In fact I made some this past weekend – which is what is pictured above chilling in the fridge prior to their final cut. 

RAW Smoothies – Any concoction of fruit and nut milk can be whipped up in a blender. For added nutrients add green leafy vegetables, maca, spirulina, or aloe. Here are some recipes I posted a few weeks ago. This morning I blended a smoothie using the water from a young coconut. It was nice to have a little variety, and I love young coconut water.

Raw Cookies – Yes, you heard me. There are numerous raw cookie recipes  online that are available for free. These are largely another nut/dried fruit combination. Add a little raw shredded coconut and vanilla and you get some more variety. In our home, any raw cookie gets eaten up quickly. And even though they last for several days in the refrigerator, we can’t seem to keep them around that long. And of course – these are easier and quicker than regular cookies because there is no baking required.

RAW Banana Ice Cream – Just say YUM! If you love bananas this is a real treat. This looks just like real ice cream and all you need is bananas and a food processor. Another favorite recipe from Choosing Raw, go here for a post that will change your life (aka – the recipe).

Any RAW DESSERT – Any raw dessert would thrill a child if given as a snack, and there really is no reason to feel bad about handing a child a raw dessert for  snack considering the ingredients. Again there are numerous recipes online.  My favorite raw dessert at this time is still the raw mini chocolate cupcakes.

Next week on my Raw Wednesday post I’ll try to tackle raw breakfast ideas!