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Beach Dance

I know I’ve been largely absent here, and I apologize. I have a million posts in my head, but they’re just not making it into this computer.

Right now, Jenna and I are in Florida, soaking up as much Vitamin D as we can! We’ve been in the pool at least once pretty much every day, and most of the time, twice. It’s fantastic therapy for Jenna and she loves it. We have to tell her it’s time to get out every time. I think she would live in the pool if she could. She isn’t swimming yet, but she’s SO close! She has no qualms about getting her head under the water, and does an adorable little pseudo-swim where she holds her nose, kicks her feet and paddles with one hand while her little butt is up in the air. She stops and stands up when she needs a breath, then starts again. You can check out my Flickr photo stream (in the right margin) for a couple brief video clips.

The other day, it was too cold for the pool (around 70F and windy), so we decided to take a walk on the beach. I have to share a series of photos from our walk that I just love. We were headed back to the car, and she got a little way ahead of me. I noticed that she was doing a funny kind of little beach dance with her feet and I started shooting photos (she didn’t know I was shooting). As I watched and photographed, I realized that she was trying to make a horizontal line of footprints. I captured her finished work at the end of the series.

Image

Some serious pronation going on – especially with her right foot. Need to ask our ortho team about it.

And a couple of extras from the photo shoot – just for fun:

Have a fantastic day!

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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Family, Jenna, Motherhood, Photography, Random Fun

 

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Extending Christmas: For the Birds

We had a real Christmas tree this year. We debated much about what was most “green,” and I read several accounts that said a real tree, when recycled after use, is still “greener” than artificial options. Something many people don’t consider is the amount of energy that goes into producing and transporting (usually overseas) artificial trees. Added to that, most people only keep artificial trees for 5-6 years (average), which means the used trees simply end in landfills. Christmas tree farms plant a new tree for the one you cut, and, natural trees can be recycled into mulch when you’re finished. Most of all, we simply love the experience of making a day, as a family, to go out and choose a tree on a farm.

This year, we found another way to extend the life of our tree. Jenna was very upset to see the tree go, but my allergies were flaring up, and we suspected the tree (mold? pine?). In an effort to compromise, I suggested that we set the tree outside the French doors on our patio. Then, inspiration hit, and I suggested that we decorate the tree for the birds with peanut butter and birdseed ornaments. Jenna was sold.

Here’s how our project went:

First, we tied dental floss (any string/yarn would work) through the holes in Saltine crackers to make a loop. (We also decorated one cardboard toilet paper tube that we poked a hole in for hanging. I preferred the crackers because the whole ornament was edible.)

Second, I pulsed chunky peanut butter in my food processor with a little sesame oil to make it thinner and easier to dip. Those lucky critters got some organic peanut butter (Yikes! $$) because that’s all I had on hand. We poured the peanut butter in a glass for dipping.

Next, we dipped the crackers. We pushed them down in with a spoon and sometimes scooped the peanut butter up over the crackers to cover completely. We laid them out on wax paper to wait for the next step.

Then, we dredged the peanut butter crackers through the birdseed. We pushed the seeds in, to make sure they were stuck more securely. This was an EXCELLENT sensory exercise for Jenna, who did NOT like the way the peanut butter and seeds felt on her hands. She wanted to get them done to hang on the tree, so she stuck with it.

The finished product waiting on wax paper.

Next, we strung popcorn on dental floss. This was good fine motor therapy for Jenna, but she didn’t do it long. My needle-phobic girl (too many bad blood work experiences) was too terrified of the threading needle. Especially after this happened to Mommy’s thumb:

Finally, we decorated the tree:

Ta-Da!!

Now, to sit back and wait for the birds to come.  ……..

By that evening, our guests arrived.

They didn’t have wings, but they were still fun to watch. Within a day, we had six at a time climbing all over the tree and trying to pull the popcorn strings out! Within three days, the tree was bare. That’s OK! We can do it all over again. Christmas can last as long as the tree does. Then we’ll recycle it to mulch.

Next year, we’re considering finding a tree at a nursery that we can decorate for a couple weeks and then move outside for planting.

 

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Oh Give Me a Home……

Yesterday, we visited a Bison ranch for their yearly Calving Festival. We had a wonderful time and learned a little bit about the fluffy buffalo! Here’s a photo journal of our day with some things we learned mixed in:

First, we heard some music. Then, we hit the petting zoo

It’s a duck!

Goats…

Bunnies….

A burro….

A fawn….

And a cougar! (That we weren’t allowed to pet) ???

Then we waited for our covered wagon to arrive to take us out to feed the buffalo.

Ah-ha! Scientific classification: Bison Bison Bison. Seriously. Look it up.

A mature bull is 6.5′ high at the hump, 9-12′ long & 1800-2400 lbs.

During mating season, males are so “busy” (hehe) they have little time to eat & lose up to 200 lbs.

Gestation is about 9 months & calves are born around 50 lbs (ouch).

Buffalo can run 35 mph for up to 1/2 hour!

They can jump 6′ high from a standstill.

They are excellent swimmers! Who knew? They look more like they’d be excellent sinkers.

Buffalo fur allows them to withstand temps of 50 degrees below zero.

In warmer weather, they shed by rubbing against trees & rocks or rolling.

In the 1700s, there were around 60,000,000 buffalo in North America. By the 1800s, thanks to white hunters, the numbers dropped to as few as 500. Today, there are around 500,000 in the U.S. and Canada.

Their meat is lean (2.4 grams of fat in 100 grams of meat!), free-range and hormone free. They’re not confined to small feedlots, they eat the grasses from their pastures, and are only given antibiotics when they’re sick (instead of in their daily grain as most cattle are given).

Cowgirl Jenna is in heaven. She says this was her favorite part of the day.

We checked out the full-sized teepee (with a real fire inside!)…

…and painted some kid-sized versions!

We watched buffalo jerky being made over an open fire (Yes – those are Amish girls in the background),

Waited for a balloon animal from a freaky clown in a weird hat (Yes – that’s an Amish man in the background),

Jumped in a bounce house,

Said goodbye to my favorite critter,

And called it a day.

🙂

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2011 in Family, Jenna, Random Fun

 

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Green Art, Office & School Supplies

I recently had the opportunity to review art supplies from O’Bon. O’Bon carries a variety of eco-friendly art, office and school supplies, and when they asked me what I’d like to review, I decided on the colored pencils pictured above since Jenna loves art so much. They generously included the notebook pictured above as well. That photo doesn’t do it justice, either, because those kiwis look incredibly like the real thing when you see the notebook in person.

At O’Bon’s website they explain their goals:

“To give the consumer a a better choice. A selection of products that look better than what you find on any shelf. A collection of lines that are environmentally-friendly so you can make this world a better place through purchasing for your needs. A standard of quality that is top-notch and ideally suited for your high expectations.”

I have to say that I was immediately impressed with the quality of the products we received. The paper in the notebook contains bright white pages made from white sugarcane paper, that comes from recycled sugarcane pulp. It doesn’t look at all like the typical brown textured look of the recycled paper I’m used to. With a touch of humor, the back of the journal states: Trans fats (0%), Cholesterol (0%), Carbohydrates (0%), Rainforest fiber (0%). Hehe! The cover is recycled cardstock that is printed with soy inks, and, as I mentioned, the colors are absolutely vibrant.

The pencils are made from recycled newspapers that they claim last 2-3 times longer than standard wood pencils. They’re non-toxic and well protected so the colored wax core doesn’t break as easily, and they sharpen easily. We received the Wildlife Series set, that includes 12 colored pencils printed with animal patterns. Jenna was fascinated by this feature, and we even talked a little bit about each animal represented. The set includes: Turtle (light green), Zebra (black), Parrot (red), Alligator (dark green), Leopard (yellow), Tiger (orange), Snake (light brown), Bear (dark brown), Kingfisher (dark blue), Starfish (pink), Hummingbird (light blue), Marine Fish (purple). Jenna’s favorites were Kingfisher Blue and Tiger Orange. The pencils were smooth to write and color with and Jenna didn’t have any trouble sharpening them. Here’s a photo journal or our test session:

Sharpening….

“Wow! Look at that! It worked!” She was fascinated by the newspaper print that you could see once you sharpened them.

Testing…….

Kingfisher Blue in motion! (Psssst! Check out that pincher grip! We’re working on it….)

All in all, we were thrilled with the products and their quality, and I’m pretty happy about their reasonable pricing and the fact that they plant a tree with every purchase! Besides the products we reviewed here, O’Bon also carries art (graphite) pencils, pocket journals, binders, folders, and “regular” pencils. Perfect for keeping the kiddos on summer vacation occupied and marvelous for stocking up for back-to-school in the fall, which will be here again before you know it!

This was not a paid review. I was sent the notebook and the pencils at no charge to review & keep, but the opinions expressed are honest & solely my own.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2011 in Going Green, Jenna, Product Reviews

 

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A Labyrinth for Calming Stress Relief

Check out my post at Shop Sensory on a fun & calming activity for kiddos and adults alike!

 

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Slice of Life

Rose Colored Glasses

This week’s challenge at I Heart Faces is to find a picture that depicts a “slice of life.” This is one of my (many) favorites of Jenna. Every year, when the temperature warms and spring arrives, we head to our local garden center. It’s one of Jenna’s favorite places, and she always takes her magnifying glass. This shot captures her expression of wonder and awe as she watches an automated fountain. I love that she was so engrossed that she was completely oblivious to my presence. I pretty much love everything about this picture – the crooked pigtail, the wind-blown hair, the rosy cheeks, the “o” shaped lips, and those fabulous rose colored glasses! Can’t wait ’til it warms up enough for us to head there again this year!

Go check out all the other wonderful submissions at

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Jenna, Photography

 

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Best Face in February

 

This week’s challenge at I Heart Faces is our favorite/best face shot from February. I didn’t take too many pictures last month, but I love this one. I snapped it with my Droid’s RetroCamera app when Jenna was in the bathtub. She was making “Turtle Toe Soup” and this picture captures her imaginary slurping because it was SOOOOOO delicious! The challenge is open for viewer’s choice judging, so head on over and vote for your favorite by clicking the camera below (voting starts Tuesday night)!

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2011 in Jenna, Photography, Random Fun

 

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