Puddle Monday turned into Bike Monday (no rain, no puddles!). We also had Bike Tuesday and Bike Wednesday. But on Thursday . . . puddles! Ivo had some friends over to enjoy the simple pleasures of the season with us. By which I mean the mud, of course.
After Super Saturday's hulabaloo, we took Sunday as a day of peace and quiet to restore some balance to our weekend. We discovered a great bike trail along the other side of the river that we never even knew existed--what a treasure! We also baked fresh bread and went shopping for produce which is something Ivo really enjoys. He loves to hold a broccoli like a bridal bouquet, and the names of some of the vegetables really tickle his funny bone. Examples: Jicama, radicchio, bibb lettuce--these are just hilarious. And certainly something to sing about. "Peppers, peppers, cel-e-reeey! Little red radish you are cute! Hmm, hmm, hmm." Until recently a vegetable would scarcly ever pass his lips, but in the last few weeks he's gotton so much more adventurous with trying new foods (see Super Saturday below for more on that--ha!). If this keeps up I really think it will be a great summer for eating. Thank goodness Josh is into gathering wild foods, though. Have you seen the price of food lately? Foraging is fun and frugal, too. yay! And the vegetables still have funny names--goose foot, saskatoon, thimbleberry. Something to sing about for sure.
Tomorrow the forecast calls for warm rain so we are planning a nice walk with friends. Umbrellas and golashes and slickers, oh my. We can call it Puddle Monday.
7:00 am: Ivo and I had a "movie date" for breakfast. The movie was Enchanted and the breakfast was oatmeal.
9:30 am: Ivo decides he is a talking chipmunk and spends the next hour doing chipmunk stuff.
10:30: Off we go, the whole family, to the Kids Carnival at Papa's school. A smashing good time ensues, the highlights being live music and dancing, and free all-you-can-eat carnival food. Ivo had his first cotton candy and his first and second snow cones. And a hot dog and chips. And part of a banana--wowza! He was a hungry boy after all of that dancing.
Face painting was a hit. He meow-meowed all afternoon and even wore his whiskers to bed.
The games were so much fun. They were all staffed by college kids who were so nice and friendly. He got lots of prize tickets just for giving the games a whirl.
1:00 pm: We had to get in one last round of the Chicken Dance before it was time to go.
1:30 pm: "Papa, this is not the way to go home. Where are we going?" Hmmm . . . one last errand for the day . . . a little something we've been meaning to buy for spring.
His first real bike! And it even has sharks on it--awesome!
3:00 pm: A "proper" meal before we head out for a bike ride. Because Snow-cones just don't cut it out on the trail!
3:30 pm: A riverside bike ride.
6:00 pm: The favorite supper--cheese pizza-- and a warm bath.
6:30 pm: Jammies and "The Bremen Town Musicians"--this week's favorite story. After the story Ivo told me, "Mama I think you are the love-est mama in the whole world. And this is the best day of my whole life."
7:00 pm: Fast asleep. ahhhhhhhh . . . Super Saturday how we love thee!
These flowers were so much fun to make and they really turned out pretty, so I thought I would share them here in case anyone else wants to whip up a bouquet of their own. We made these as a group project with five people--two moms and three kids, all three years old but with varying degrees of dexterity. Everyone was able to do all the steps of the project without frusteration, and with beautiful results all around!
Here's a look at how we made them:
Tissue Paper Flowers
supplies: colorful tissue paper, green pipe cleaners
prep: Cut the tissue paper into squares or circles about 3 inches across (it doesn't have to be exact). For each flower you will want about five pieces of tissue in varying colors. I cut all the paper before hand and then just put a pile of squares in the middle of the table for the children to choose from when it was time to get started.
To make the flowers, take the end of a pipe cleaner and gently push it through the center of the tissue paper like in the picture below. For very young children you can hold the tissue pieces taut for them to push the pipe cleaner up and through from below, that makes it very easy to do. When you have all the issue pieces on the stem, bend the top inch of the pipe cleaner into a little loop, and then use your whole hand to crumple all the layers of paper into one big mish-mash. This has the children amused and befuddled the first time they see it done . . .
And we say, "gee that doesn't look like much of a flower, does it?" But wait and see . . . You can gently uncrumple the tissue mish-mash and you will discover a beautiful bloom . . .voila!
If you want to, you can use a dot of glue at the bottom of each bloom to secure everything in place. A little bead pushed up the stem will also do the trick.
For older children and grown-ups, this is a great book about making tissue paper flowers of all kinds. I've used it as a project book with kids ages 6-12 and they loved it and really took off with the ideas. Like the other Klutz books, it comes as a kit with all the supplies, but I noticed that our public library has a copy of just the book part, and the supplies are really easy to find at any craft store. So if you like flowers, check it out! (Does that sound like one of the kids from Reading Rainbow? I was kind of going for that feel. du-dun-dun!)
Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possible want and hold.~ Judith Olney
A few weeks ago I posted a picture of some cinnamon rolls and several people asked for the recipe. So hear goes. If you've never made cinnamon rolls before I hope this recipe sounds as easy as it really is. If you have, you already know what a cinch it is and how much fun it can be to roll up the dough like a big sleeping bag. Kids love to help with that part. And one nice thing I like to remember when I'm baking with a new recipe is that if it calls for a lot of butter and sugar (like this one), it's pretty much impossible to flub up completely. The results WILL be good, by the very nature of the ingredients.
I make these on Saturday and store them in the fridge overnight. First thing Sunday morning I take them out and let them rise at room temperature or on top of a warm oven until they are doubled in size and ready to bake. This way they're ready in time for brunch and you still get to enjoy a lazy morning because you've done the fussing around with dough the day before.
Sunday Cinnamon Rolls
I use a bread machine, but I hear this recipe does just as well by hand if you are familiar with the basic dough-making process.
Into the bread machine (in the order listed):
1 cup of very warm milk
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of white sugar
4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast
Set the bread machine to the dough setting and start the dough. When the dough cycle is finished turn the dough (which should be doubled in size) onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a big rectangle, about 16X20 inches.
In a small mixing bowl or covered container, mix together:
1 cup of brown sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons of cinnamon
Spread or brush the rectangle with:
1/2 cup of softened butter
And then sprinkle the dough evenly with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Starting from one of the long sides of the rectangle, roll up the dough. Then cut into 12 pieces. I cut it like this to make the rolls as equal in thickness as possible: Cut the dough in half, then each half into half again, to make quarters that are more or less equal in length. Then it's really easy to cut each quarter into thirds and they are all about the same thickness. Set the rolls into greased 13x 9 pan, cut sides up, the let them rise in a warm place. (Or cover and refrigerate overnight at this point.) When the rolls are doubled in size, bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes.
We either sprinkle the rolls with powdered sugar, or (more often) we go the whole hog and spread them with cream cheese frosting. It's super easy to make homemade cream cheese frosting, just blend together equal parts butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer (about 3 T each), add a little vanilla extract, and then add powdered sugar until you get the right consistancy for spreading. Another way to make super easy icing is to just blend a little bowl of powdered sugar with a teaspoon or so of water or milk, and stir with a fork, adding more liquid a few drops at a time until it's the texture you want. Then just drizzle on top of the cinnamon rolls once they are almost all they way cool.
These rolls are best served with fresh fruit and hot coffee or cold milk. Avoid the effort completely if your brunch mates are ones to dwell on the calories, however if you have a sweet-toothed and easygoing crowd they will be a sure hit.
Sometimes I can go a few days without the chance to hop online and visit my favorite blogs, and then when I finally do sit down I feel like I'm in some magical neighborhood going on door-to-door visits up and down the block. Sort of like a version of speed-dating but in this case it's ok to be interested in everyone! And since I love a good linky post (doesn't everyone?) I thought I'd pass on just a few of my recent favorites to my neighbors in this neck of the woods . . .
Jenny from Wildwood Cottage recently posted a slew of links to great children's book resources on her blog. Did you know there are websites where you can actually look at every page of a book online, like you can really read the whole picture book from cover to cover if you want to? Very neat! Jenny uses it for previewing books for buying or borrowing, which I think is a great idea. Her blog is chock-full of book reviews and recommendations, and lucky for me Ivo is about the same age as her daughter CJ. We often take her reading list with us to the library and have found some great books that way.
Jessamyn from Love This Life had me nodding along and saying, "yes!" with her Love Thursday post from last week. Which I find myself doing a lot when I read her lovely blog. I would totally sign up for her podcast if she had one.
We will be copying Denise from Mom in Madison with the arts and crafts projects featured here and here. It's so great to see these art ideas that are unfussy, inexpensive, and yet totally creative and clever. I know Ivo will love to make those texture stones; I can almost picture them in his little hands. And another way to use all of these watercolor paintings I could wallpaper our living room with? yes please and thankyouverymuch!
This post from Lizz at Red Dirt Mother is really perfection. Beautifully photographed, a great craft project, and most importantly an inspiring little window into the life of "just another" creative, happy family making their way through the day together. Lizz always makes me wish for a house full of children.
And speaking of creative family living, I'm awaiting my copy of this book which should arrive any day. Can you guess what it is without clicking on the link? I know some of you will :)
OK, neighbors, that's all for today. Don't be a stranger now!