Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Poop on the Carpet - No We Don't Have Pets

I was in the middle of writing my post about today's preschool activities when Sophie yelled, "Mom, Riley took off her diaper and has poop everywhere!" That's what I get for sneaking away into my room for a few minutes of blog time. Somewhere in a far corner of my subconscious mind I suppose I knew a poopie incident could occur, yet the realization of it still came as a surprise. "Surprise!" Maybe I'm not too fond of surprises. Did you know both "poopie" and "poopy" are considered correct spellings? I had to look it up.

Somehow, Riley took off her dance leotard all by herself and removed her own dirty diaper. It's not like I had neglected her diaper needs. I had just given her a fresh diaper thirty minutes earlier and had no idea she needed changed again. Fortunately, Riley did not get poop "everywhere" as Sophie suggested, and Spot Shot came to the rescue. Notice I didn't actually show you the poo. You're welcome.

So, back to the preschool activities I planned for today, and "Poop on the carpet," is not a part of my lesson plans.

Today we worked with our Leap Frog fridge magnet sets. All three girls play with these together. Sometimes they put them on the fridge and sometimes they play with them on trays. Sophie likes to use the metal cookie trays to spell out words with the letters.

Piper uses the letters with the toy which tells her, in a catchy tune, the name of each letter and the sound(s) it makes.

Riley prefers to match the front and back of animals and place them in the barn. The barn sings another catchy tune and tells her if she made a match or not and says information about the animal she matched. If she puts mismatched pieces together, the barn tells her that too. For example, "You put a pig in front, you put a cow behind, put them together and what do you find? A pigcow? That's silly. snort-moo". That's my favorite part of this toy. It makes me smile every time. (this is the "crime evidence" dance leotard she removed in the poopie incident)

We may or may not make it to the library in time for the weekly childrens' storytime group. Sophie likes to go to the library and check out new books every week- especially Fancy Nancy books, but she and Piper aren't too keen on the thirty minute storytime. Riley loves storytime and I think the librarian does a fantastic job.

This afternoon we'll head to a friend's house for a playdate. I try to get a playdate in once every two or three weeks. I'd do it more often if I could get some scheduled. Any takers out there? Dressing up in princess dresses or dance leotards is a plus, but not a requirement.

Tonight I think there will be a mug of hot tea, a warm bubble bath, and a book calling my name - after the kids are asleep and all dirty diapers are out of Riley's reach.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Preschool Monday Activities

Today, while Piper and Riley napped, Sophie enjoyed a few preschool activities. She played music by making her own water glass instrument (think "Minute to Win It"). Vocabulary/concepts we discussed were: short/tall, full/empty, high/low/medium. She also scooped water out of one cup and placed it in another to change the notes. Then, she made up various songs and tried to hear if the notes changed higher or lower when she added or subtracted water. Sophie is three years old (four in April) and I wouldn't want to do this with my two-year-old twins since they would probably drop and break the glasses.

Another activity Sophie worked on today was her Three-Letter Puzzle Words. Each picture is comprised of three cards - one letter per card. She loves playing with these cards. Even if she didn't know which letter was supposed to be there, she could use picture clues and find the correct card. After placing the three cards together to complete the picture, she spells the word out one letter at a time, then says the whole word. "-c, -o, -w - cow". I bought these cards for $2.99 at a school supply store we have here in Tulsa called Mardel Christian and Education Book Store. They are made by School Zone Publishing Company. Although I haven't used these cards with Piper and Riley yet, I will start doing a few at a time with them.

The final activity Sophie practiced today was to trace and write her numbers (one - thirty) on the dry erase flip book I bought in Target's dollar section a couple of weeks ago (they still have some). She loves to practice these while sitting up at the bar and watching me cook. The elementary teacher in me would like to correct the way she's holding her pen, but I stopped myself. She's learning and having a good time. I'm not sure she has the fine motor skills yet to "correctly" hold the pen and write the numbers yet.

What are some of your favorite toddler/preschool activities you've come across? Do you have any links or websites to share? I'm on the lookout for great preschool educational activities.

Bows I Whipped Up This Weekend and Tutorial

Moms have asked me how I keep all three of my little girls so adorably dressed. My secret is simple. I don't think you have to spend a lot of money on a toddler's outfit, but if you add a great hair bow and throw on cute shoes, people notice. Magically, large boutique bows attract attention away from the oatmeal and yogurt smeared on my girls' shirts. Couple the bow with a great pair of shoes and people think we always have our act together.

Because I am a DIY kind of girl, I make most of my girls' hair bows. Here are a few I whipped up this weekend.

I made two of the smaller size to use on pigtails.

I also made this little cutie pie.

My friend Amanda has her own hair bow business called Wisp Clips. I totally stole this bow idea from her. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. If you don't have the time or desire to make your own hair bows, visit Wisp Clips. Amanda makes adorable bows and each item is $1 off through January 31st. I am not being compensated for telling you about Amanda's Wisp Clip business. I just like Amanda and think she makes really cute bows.

Here Piper is wearing the zebra print bow I made and I don't even notice the French toast and yogurt on her shirt. Distract-a-bow to the rescue once again! Maybe I should start my own hair bow business and call it "Distract-A-Bow-Boutique" ha! Yeah, I'll do that in my free time ha ha.

I learned how to make my own twisted boutique bows by watching this YouTube video. The "twisted" bows pop up taller and fuller rather than lying flat. This YouTube author uses a plastic card template, but I don't. Also, I use alligator clips and she uses French clips. Just use whatever you prefer.

Now if I could just find a glue gun that didn't burn my fingers... : )

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Secretly Sneaking in the Veggies

I have three toddlers. Riley is an excellent eater, Sophie is a good eater, and Piper...ugh (said with a heavy sigh)...not so much. Piper doesn't like anything with pasta or spaghetti sauce, no beans of any kind, anything with tortillas, and most things with rice. She refuses to eat green beans, peas, carrots, corn...and on and on. We've cut out her snacks and tried the "Well, she'll eat when she's good and hungry" theory to no avail. It's ridiculous. But, if I were to give her a muffin, goldfish crackers, cheese, or chocolate milk she'd down it in twenty seconds and want more. Piper is skinny. She's healthy and average in height, but she's certainly slimmer than both her sisters because she's just too picky.

A year ago I bought the book Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry's wife and mom to three little ones). I tried and liked several of the recipes, but then fell off the wagon and haven't made any in a long time.

Jessica Seinfeld is absolutely adorable - not that we're close or anything; I've just seen her on several interviews and think we'd make great friends in real life. Her cookbook is cute, clever, and full of great tips and recipes for secretly sneaking pureed vegetables into meals. The Today Show's nutrition guru, Joy Bauer, gave the book her stamp of approval and has nutritional advice throughout the cookbook too.

Look how cute Jessica is with her littlest boy. (I like the bag too.)

So, I'm going to start using these recipes again so I can make sure my kids, especially Piper, eat more vegetables. Today I'm stocking up my freezer to have the purees on hand. I'm making butternut squash, cauliflower, and carrot purees. They'll last us two weeks or more because you only add about 1/2 cup of one or two purees to each meal. Though it's not much, it certainly beets (pun intended) not adding any vegetables at all. Plus, it's simple.

A few of her recipe ideas are to add 1/2 cup cauliflower puree the next time you make mashed potatoes. The butter, milk (or buttermilk), and salt completely cover any cauliflower taste. Since both the potatoes and the cauliflower are white, you're the only one who knows they're in there. You can smile while your kids gobble up their taters and you don't have to battle over eating other veggies. I love it! You can also add sweet potato or squash puree to French toast, pancakes, muffins and so forth. I've added sweet potato puree to the coating I use on homemade chicken strips too. Though not in her book, I do add Low Sodium V8 to most of my soups.

I'm excited to start using Jessica's recipes again to help me get out of the dietary rut we've been in lately. Have you ever used vegetable purees in foods? Just this past week I heard Jessica released a new cookbook. I'll have to see what that one is all about.

Happy sneaky cooking!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow Day Activity for Toddlers

Sophie's Mommy's Day Out Preschool is closed today due to snow, so I decided to do a simple and fun activity with her. We wanted to put out birdseed in our backyard for the birds to eat. After reviewing various shapes (which is what she's studying at preschool this week), Sophie opted to make one heart and one star-shaped bird feeder.

 I cut the shapes out of an old Cheerios box. Sophie spread peanut butter on the shape and sprinkled on the birdseed. I punched a hole in each shape and tied them up outside with yarn.

I got all three little chicks bundled up to go outside and play in the snow. We couldn't find the mittens they just played with last night. I didn't think that would be a big deal but I was wrong. After hanging up the bird feeders and throwing a few extra handfuls of seed out around the yard, Piper and Riley decided to pick up snow with their bare hands. They both started screaming and crying. They were yelling, "Cold! Momma - cold!" And that was the end of playing in the snow. It took 15 minutes to bundle them all up and ninety seconds for them to decide they didn't like being cold and wet. Oh well. At least the birds have something to eat.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Piper and Riley

Two years ago my twin daughters, Piper Jentry and Riley Autumn, came into this world six weeks early.

Piper weighed 4 pounds 7 ounces and stayed in the NICU two weeks. Today she weighs 23 pounds and is 34 inches tall.

Riley weighed 4 pounds 11 ounces and stayed in the NICU three weeks. Today she weighs 26 pounds and is just shy of 34 inches tall.

We celebrated their birthday today and they enjoyed opening presents.

Grandma and Grandpa Cole came to celebrate as did Don and Dolores (Grandma Cole's parents)

Piper and Riley really enjoyed eating the birthday cupcakes their sister Sophie helped make.

These two years have flown by. I'm so thankful I get to stay home with my three little chicks. Sophie is three and the twins are now two. I love this stage and know this next year is going to be wonderful. I'm excited to potty train Piper and Riley sometime this year. Then, we will be a diaper-free home. Mostly, I'm so thankful for three healthy, sweet, and beautiful little girls who love their momma and daddy.

Happy Birthday Piper and Riley! We love you both so very much!

-Mommy & Daddy

Cupcakes for my Birthday Girls

My twin girls, Piper and Riley, turn two today. Sophie wanted to help me make their cupcakes. In the past I poured over various recipes and tried three or four different kinds in an effort to find the perfect one. This year I decided just to use a boxed cake mix and just doctor it up a bit. To a yellow cake mix I added 1 teaspoon vanilla, half of a teaspoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons sour cream (to make it moist) along with the ingredients it already called for. I bought buttercream frosting and mixed in a few drops of red food coloring to make it pink.

Sophie's favorite part was putting the rainbow candy sprinkles on top of the icing. Her idea of "enough sprinkles" and mine were quite different.

Sophie's Cupcake                                                         My Cupcake

After hundreds of little candy sprinkles rolled all over the counter and floor, I decided we should switch to only using pink sugar glitter.

I'm sure Piper and Riley won't really care which type of cupcake they end up with - they all taste delicious.