Saturday, June 21, 2014

Our Sensory Table: Week One

I decided to create a sensory table for the girls.
 I'm planning on changing the inside materials every week (with their help and approval), so I thought I could document what we use for our table this summer, in case anyone else would like some inspiration.
THIS WEEK: Ghost Mud (snow for the playmobile characters, of course), rainbow sand, and good old-fashioned water. 

 The toys are all Playmobile, which the girls adore. They are easy to clean and come in a ton of varieties; perfect for sensory table play. The unicorns are a favourite.
 Water bottle makes a cameo.
 (The water was their idea. I think they like it better than the sand and dough, actually XD Whatever works, right?)

Rainbow sand/ghost mud. The rainbow sand is salt, mixed with paint. I couldn't find a satisfactory recipe to which I could link, because we kind of just made it up, but it turned out very well; it's lovely. The colours are vivid, and the salt sparkles when dry, so not only is it colourful, it's sparkly. The girls love it. I highly recommend it!

Check back next week to see if I actually carry through with my idea of changing it!

The table, for those curious. This isn't the EXACT table, but I think it's close? This one was made in like 1998 and is decidedly low-tech, but that's one of the things I love about it. Low tech generally means low maintenance.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Throwback...Wednesday?

Three posts in a row? I feel like a superhero. 
Here are my other posts, if you're interested: The Carnival of Natural Parenting, and a YouTube-related linky party. 
The card reader isn't working on my computer, but I found a ton of cute, old pictures, so throwback time it is!  

                                                     So, more recent photos for comparison purposes.
                                  Dressed as Amy Farrah Fowler, but you get the idea.
 AAAAND BABY RORY (and small me, too. But I think the contrast is less drastic). (Big Rory can be found here).

 Making teru teru boozu with teeny Adora (admire my photoshop skills)

Wearing kimono and-you guessed it-waiting to go and see the horses.
Haha, we are always doing something Japanese, it would seem.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dude, where's my Horse?

Welcome to the June 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Animals This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about kids and pets. ***
Little teeny Adora (2010). In love with horses for as long as I can remember. 

Adora loves horses.
Like, seriously, head-over-heels loves horses.
She draws horses, she asks to play computer games about horses, she brings me horse books to read with her, she thinks about horses, heck, she probably dreams about horses. 
I'm currently creating shirts for myself, Adora, and Juno to wear on a trip to the amusement park (tie dye with hand-sewn felt designs-keep your eyes peeled like oranges for a tutorial in the next few weeks!), and I instantly knew which animal Adora would like on her shirt-no questions necessary. 

I live on a farm, and we rent out our stables to local horse owners. If we wanted to venture into the stables and interact with the horse every day (and certain ones of us do ;)), we could. Adora adores (LOL) the stables, and we spend hours down there looking at the horses, feeding them hay,and discussing horses. 
But here's the thing.
I don't like horses. At all. I really, really don't (Sorry if you love them. You are still awesome). 
They smell bad, they're really big, they escape from the stable, poop in the yard, and I have to track them down (okay, so maybe that isn't a universal characteristic of horses, but it's definitely a struggle)...I'm just not a fan. 
But Adora is. An she is much more important that my dislike of poop and largeness (who likes large poop, though? No one, let's be real here).
I want Adora to be able to interact with horses, and to explore her interests and desires, even when I do not necessarily share them (or at least, not to the same magnitude as does she). I want her to love learning, and to receive the opportunity to curiously discover anything she likes, in as hands-on of a manner as is possible for me to provide.
 So, despite my slight horror at the prospect, we trek down to the stables anytime she likes, and bask in the glory of the horses.
We built rapport with the owners, we bring snacks for the animals, we pet them, I take pictures, I answer all of Adora and Juno's questions about horses. 
We experience them, together. 
And I'm learning to like horses. I like how excited Adora is about seeing them. Kid's excitement, it's contagious. And if horses cause it, then I can live through a little time with them. 

So, ask all the questions, little chikas. Tell me what you want to experience, be it skydiving, swimming, languages, countries, or simply seeing horses, and I'll do my best to make it happen. Let's experience the world around us, hand in hand.     

..Okay, so maybe not skydiving. But horses? That, we can do. 
*** Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • What Animal Rescue is Teaching My Children
  • Tips on Picking the Perfect Kid-friendly Dog — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shares some tips she's learned on how to find the perfect child-friendly dog for your family.
  • All New Animals Are "Woof" — Baby Boy is still learning animals. Life Breath Present doesn't yet have any at home, but he still believes that all animals are "woof." Here's the proof.
  • Dude, where's my Horse? — Adora loves horses, but Erin at And Now, for Something Completely Different really doesn't. However, Adora's longing wins out; learn about their interactions with horses here.
  • Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Family Pet — When is a family ready for a pet? Donna at Eco-Mothering discusses her worries as well as the benefits of adopting a dog, including how it will affect her seven-year-old daughter.
  • Parenting Challenge--Learning from Animals--running the emotional gammut — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about the emotional learning her family has experienced through sharing their lives with animals.
  • Puppy Love for our Family — In case you didn't catch it from the blog title, Pug in the Kitchen, the family pet is an integral part of Laura's family and home life!
  • Vegetarianism and Animal Rights: Explaining to Children — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook is mostly vegetarian...not 100%, and not because of animal rights...yet she has found that the idea of not hurting animals is the aspect of vegetarianism most easily understood by a young child. She explains what her son has learned about not eating meat and how it has affected his social life.
  • Pets & kids: The realities — Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the benefits and drawbacks of pet ownership when young kids are involved.
  • HOW PETS CONNECT WITH EMOTIONS: KIDS & PETS AFTER 9-11 — Parenting Expert Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence discusses the importance of pets in lowering stress after traumatic situations, why children choose certain pets, the loss of a pet, and the role of parents in teaching care-giving to animals in a warm, gentle way.
  • It's not our house without a dog! — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work describes why giving a loving and disciplined home to at least one shelter dog at a time enriches the life of her family, and has become a vivid memory in the minds of her children.
  • Canine Haikus — Kids, dog, haikus, at
    Dionna (Code Name: Mama).
    Pet-centric poems.
  • Beanie's BunniesOur Mindful Life's Sofi Bean has gotten her first pets!
  • Montessori Care of Pets — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her experiences with kids and pets and shares Montessori resources for pet care.
  • How to Nurture Your Child's Awareness of Spirit Guides — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama hosts a post from her regular contributor Lauren of Lauren looks at the concept of animals as spirit guides and how deeply children are connected to this realm. She also encourages us to open ourselves up as parents to the reality that children are naturally more connected to the animal world, giving us ideas on how to nurture their relationships with their Spirit Guides.
  • No Puppy! — Meg at the Boho Mama shares her tips for dealing with toddlers and the (very real) fear of animals.
  • Year of the Pets — Jorje of Momma Jorje wasn't sure she ever wanted pets again, but things have changed a lot this year!

  • 3 Reasons Why Keeping Backyard Chickens is Good for my Toddler — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, started keeping backyard chickens for the benefit of their eggs, but what she wasn't prepared for was what they would teach her two year old daughter too.

  • Monday, June 9, 2014

    Cool, Crunchy, and Nerdy Parent Vloggers to Watch

    This post is basically a giant linky party (WOOT WOOT) of links to YouTube videos, so, it's generally a good time. Enjoy!
    For the photos, I have the photo credit linked underneath. I tried to ask permission for most of them, and put credit when that was not possible. If you want me to take your photo down, please, let me know, and I will! Thanks for your understanding.
    So, I love YouTube.
    Like, really, REALLY love YouTube (I have this video up in the other window as we speak) *.  I would probably sell my soul to John and Hank Green if they asked me to do so (why probably? I would do it. Let's be real). I'm a part of the super-nerdy YouTube subculture (Viva la nerdfighteria!), and I adore the relationships that I have garnered through it. I was recently contemplating YouTube, and was wondering: there are tons of blogs run by cool, offbeat Mamas and Papas about their lives; what about video blogs with regard to the same topic? I read a ton of caregiving blogs, and I have found them very helpful with regard to learning how to better care for the kiddos with whom I work. I think that parenting vloggers would be extremely beneficial to people who best take in information visually or auditorily, so I Googled, looking for a list of whom to watch, but found nothing. I'm noticing a general gap when it comes to mama/papa YouTubers; but hey, what else am I here for, if not making lists of YouTubers? When you can't find, make, right?
    So, without further ado, here is my list of cool, crunch or nerdy caregiver vloggers:
    Photo Credit (I just lifted this from Tumblr, but I'm trying to be a good person here):
    1. John Green
    I couldn't not, you guys, He is just perfection.
    John Green is kind of the king of the internet. He creates video blogs weekly with his brother Hank, on the channel Vlogbrothers, and the channel has spawned an amazing online community, called nerdfighteria (individual members are known as nerdfighters), that works to decrease worldsuck (learn more about nerdfighteria here).  The channel originally started as a ways of communication for John and Hank, but has exploded into a huge, nerdy community. He has two children, Henry and Alice, and although they infrequently appear in videos, it's always fun to see them when they do. John created this particular gem of himself and Henry cooking dinner that is one of my favorite things ever.   In addition, he has these squee-inducing videos of baby Henry, (and there are more! I keep finding more, you guys. John Green is amazing). And OH MY GOLLY GRACIOUS YOU GUYS, HE BABYWEARS.  My life is complete. I can just stop this post now.
    ...But, I won't, because there is more vlogbrothers epicness to be discussed.
    Also, John is just an epic person in general, and he creates intellectual videos that discuss world news, fun and nerdy topics, travel, and all kind of good stuff (and Hank will give one lessons on how to be a baby, and how to name one's children properly, so he's pretty enjoyable, as well). I highly recommend his (their) videos. DFTBA!

    Photo Credit:
    2. Louise (Sprinkle of Glitter)
    Can we just? She is adorable, and her three year old daughter Darcy is probably the cutest thing that ever happened to the world.
    Louise is an offbeat mama vlogger from England (her accent is lush) who creates sweet videos with Darcy, her tiny offspring. The first Louise video I ever saw was actually on Dan Howell's channel, but I thought she was really funny, and even since then, I've been super interested in her videos. I love how real Loise is. Most Mama vloggers I've seen seem unnatural in front of the camera. Louise, on the other hand, loves what she does, and her videos exhibit her natural interactions with Darcy, which are super sweet. Also, Darcy is seriously THE CUTEST, so that's a bonus. Her tiny little British accent just kills me in the best way possible. They do fun, crafty things together, they go shopping, and they just go about their normal days on the channel, which is fun to see.
    This is one of my favourite Louise videos, because I think it's so relatable and hilarious. l. Like, whoops, my husband left, so let's just keep on keeping on, and make this video along with Darcy.  And Darcy's tiny accent. SO cute.
    "We're just going to crack on regardless." Yes, Louise, yes. Roll with the punches.
    When she tries to talk, and Darcy keeps interrupting. I die. Oh my word, so hilarious XD
    "This is why Mummy films all her videos when you're having a sleep!" Priceless.
    Go check out her channel! There is tons more Darcy adorableness where that came from.
    3. Ann Le (anneorshine)

    AnneorShine typically does DIY videos (this is the first of hers that I saw, DIY Bath Jellies! I made them for a friend for Christmas, and the video was super easy to follow. They turned out great, and my friend loved them), but she occasionally uploads cute videos in which she does projects with her son Vincent.  Also, her Draw my Life video is very inspiring, and she discusses how Vincent has filled her life with love. So sweet. In the same video, she talks about her early life in Vietnam, and her relationships with family members; it's just very powerful. she also has this cute animation about camping with her family, which, as a member of a very camping-centric family, I relate to on a spiritual level.  It seems like she knows how to make the best of a bad situation.
    In addition, her DIY videos are legendary! Check them out if you have time. They are simple to follow and very fun.
    Also, she makes Fault in our Stars soap. Nerdfighteria is everything, guys. 
    Crunchy points to her for her cool camping trip, and for her legit DIY stuff. I love her videos, I hope that you will, too!
    Photo Credit:
    4. Hobo Mama (Lauren Wayne)
    Whaat, Hobo Mama has a YouTube channel? I know. It's amazing.
    If you read my writings here at all, you probably know that I'm a tiny bit (this is a blatant understatement) addicted to Lauren's blog, so I'm pretty excited to have discovered her YouTube channel.
    Lauren has cute and fun videos of her and her kids, helpful instructional videos, singing (I know! Natural Parenting-related songs! Pure epicness), and just general adorableness  And she's funny, too! So, bonus. She has this insanely helpful sign language video for anyone utilizing baby sign, so check it out if that would help you at all! And oh, man, you guys, Crackerdog Sam makes a video appearance!  This is exciting. If you like Lauren's blog (which we all do ;) ), then you will love her YouTube channel! It's an extension of her writings, something that puts moving faces to her words.
    So, my list of legit caregiver YouTubers ends. I hope that you've found some to enjoy! If there are any that you watch that are glaringly missing from my list, please leave me a comment. It would be great to find some others to add to this list, as there seem to be so few offbeat parents on YouTube. And hey, who knows-maybe this post will inspire you to make some videos. There definitely seems to be a gap in the market for this sort of thing. I hope I've transferred my addiction to YouTube onto you, in the most positive way. Let me know if you like any of the YouTubers I have suggested, I'd love to hear if any of them were new to you!

    *Just for fun, i'm going to link up the YouTube rabbit trails on which I embarked while I was supposed to be finding videos for this post. So..this should be interesting (and possibly worrying).
    These middle aged men reenacting an episode of iCarly (Why am I even watching this..?)
    Ann Le's Everyday Moment (Mom Vlogger! I'm on topic. Ish).
    Danisnotonfire: How I Got Fired (I will never understand why this was on the sidebar of a Hobo Mama video. I blame her trip to England ;)
    Hank Green: The Subway Where I Used to Go (Hank Green is life, yo).
    Oh, look, it's Boom Clap again.
    With regard to Boom Clap:
    Me: Do you want to go see TFiOS with me and some friends?
    Rory: No way, man. I got the feels just from watching that music video.
    Zoella's being cute, as usual.
    Did I mention that Hank Green is life? Let's reiterate.
    And let's reiterate just a little bit more.
    This digression is (technically) remarkably on topic, what with all the vlogbrothers I am consuming. 
    ..Wow, that's a lot of digression. This is why I can't have nice things. And also why writing a short post took me like two days.