Wednesday, April 9, 2014

READING LIST: FIRST THOUSAND WORDS IN FRENCH

 
 
First Thousand Words in French is well loved in our house.
We bought it last year when my son expressed an interest in learning French. The book is not only a helpful resource for teaching simple, everyday French vocabulary words, but also as a beautiful picture book for the children to pour over.

Each page spread introduces a new theme: the grocery store, a farm, the beach, school. Colorful illustrations show how all the words come together. In the borders, certain objects are highlighted, with the French word clearly labeling it.

 
 

The pictures are fantastically detailed and the book is worth buying for this alone. My two year loves to poor over the pages looking for the pictures from the borders.

The book includes a full glossary of all the words and a pronunciation guide. There is also a link for an internet pronunciation guide where children (and adults!) can listen to the words be pronounce properly.

The children can, literally, look at this book all day. A constant question from my daughter is, "Where is my French book!?". They choose to read it and look at the pictures even when we are not practicing French. And that they are truly learning vocabulary form it? Win/win.





 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"A TYPE OF HEROINE THAT I WANTED TO SEE"


 
 
We're huge fans of Disney's Frozen around here. We all know all the words to all the songs, my daughter continually acts out the scenes and sings Let It Go in the grocery store, we have a yellow lab that is in every way Sven the reindeer's twin.
 
 The whole message of love yourself and others and sometimes that cute guy you think is awesome is actually a jerk and never ever stop believing in the people you care about and omg you can save yourself girlfriend you don't need a handsome prince or even a very nice ice salesman to help you.
 
When a friend sent me this video of Kristen Bell singing "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" it just completed my love of this movie and this actress. Before the above performance, (it's been cut from this video) Kristen Bell talks about how she always wanted to be a Disney princess. And how special it was to find this role where she not only got to be one, but got to be one that is relatable to real life little girls. She says that she got to be "a type of heroine that I wanted to see." She made the character of Anna in a way that actual little girls could understand. She trips, she embarrasses herself, she's wrong sometimes. But she has a real gift of truly seeing the best in everyone. And she loves with her whole heart, even she when she feels that no one loves her back. I love that. I love a princess story that doesn't make me want to roll my eyes and hide from my daughter (I'm looking at you, Ariel.).
 
Hooray for Anna and Elsa.
 
Also, this.
 
 
 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

APRIL FOOLS

Dylan is big into jokes. He loves telling knock knock jokes, he enjoys riddles, and he encourages his sister to tell the same silly, ridiculous non-joke joke over and over again.
 
"Knock knock?"
"Who's there?"
"Who is this Hans!*"
 
So of course, he wanted to pull a (nice) April Fools prank. So he took his class brownies this morning.
 
 
 
Brown E's that is.
 
Happy April Fools! Brought to you by funny, sweet pranks that don't hurt anyone.
 
*We love Frozen, (of course).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

THE NESTS WE BUILD


This past weekend, we bought a new birdfeeder. We placed it in a tree in our backyard that we can see from our windows. We filled the birdbath underneath, and watched as two little bird ate, drank, and then began building a nest in our lilac bush. A home surrounded in sweetness.
 
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Both my kids have a things for birds. They have a game they play where they build "trees" from blocks and fill up "nests" made from baskets with old Easter eggs. They place tiny plastic birds in the eggs and help them "hatch." It's charming and sweet.
 
"Look mama, the mama bird built a house for her eggs!"
 
.................
 
I've been thinking a lot about the homes we make for our children. I've tried to make a home where my children are loved and respected, where they can learn, where jokes and laugher are. A place with trust and kindness and joy. I've tried to make a place where there are expectations to be met, and just punishments, and forgiveness. A place and people they can count on and know that they can always, always, always come home to us. (But they better have their own place by 22, because, come on. I also want them to be independent.)
 
I feel that this nest we are building, one bit at a time, is a solid one. That it will stand the rain and the wind, and predators. I hope this. The husband and I were talking the other night about just staring at our children as they sleep, thinking over the things that we may have done wrong that day. Did we raise our voice, lose patience, snap when we didn't need to? Almost always, there is something. But we talked about what was done right that day. Did we hold hands, read a favorite story, give a hug, wish them a good day? These are things that happened everyday, no matter how much patience is lost or what kind of edge is in my voice, these things happen everyday at our house. And they'll be done tomorrow, too.
 
................
 
Birds build their nest, lay their eggs and do their best to hatch them well. The mothers will often go without food or even water to protect those eggs. The fathers will attack those that are larger than them without thinking twice to keep those eggs safe. They feed them and care for them. And then they teach them to fly and let them use those wings
 
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This is what I want for my children. A strong home, that we have build, one part at time, protecting them from those that wish them harm, and letting them have wings, surrounded by sweetness.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

GROWN LOCAL: UCDAVIS ARBORETUM

Our family tries to do local things on the weekends, either staying in our town, or in the surrounding areas. Grown Local posts showcase some of the best things to do in our area.
 
 
This past weekend, we went to the UCDavis Arboretum. It's just a 10 minute drive from our home, and really, we need to go there more often. It's a great way to spend an afternoon, walking the paths and just being outdoors. Also? Totally free.
 



 
The weather has been ridiculously beautiful here in our part of California. In the 70s in January.  The grown-ups around here have an edge of worry about them. These temperatures and no rain are a problem for a region full of agricultural worries. But the children can only think of being outside, no jacket, soaking in the sun. So we grown ups can tuck our worries of the drought away for an afternoon of frolicking in the arboretum, where there was no whining, at all, all afternoon.
 
 
Just happiness over choosing a path.

 
And the excitement of finding a tree that matches your shirt.
 
Hoping for rain but loving these little moments.
 
Plan your own visit: here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

PUMPKIN ALMOND MILK SMOOTHIE



I love fall. The weather, the clothes, and the food. Oh, pumpkin pie, how I love you.
This pumpkin smoothie is how I've been starting my mornings during the week. Perfect fall taste, in an easy breakfast form. No baking required.

Ingredients:
1 cup of vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
big sprinkling of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth. Top with a little granola. Add a festive straw (they make mornings a little better). Enjoy.

Monday, September 30, 2013

THIS GIRL


This girl loves to chose her own clothes. Pink and purple, stars and mermaids, sunshines and hearts. Her favorite color is rainbow. It's her favorite shape too, she always cries, "Rainbow!!" when ever she sees an arch. She loves hats, and sparkles, and carries a purse and a babydoll wherever and whenever she can.

And then she plays in the mud and throws a ball-hard-and wrestles with her brother, her cousin, her daddy. She chases the dog and picks up bugs, and demands to play with the cars and trucks.

I love love love her.