Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! This year, Miss L took the lead in choosing what kind of Valentine we were going to create with the following conditions: something Frozen, preferably Olaf, something sweet.
So I hopped on the web and created a set of Pinterest pins for her to choose from… and from the many items I had pinned, she settled on the oh-so-popular-in-2014 buildable snowman Valentine’s!
On Tuesday afternoon, we headed to Target for our supplies: GIANT marshmallows, big marshmallows, Mike & Ike’s (for orange noses), Mini M&M’s (for buttons) and pretzel sticks. We then set out on a Valentine making assembly line… which, like last year, is just plain awesome!
See, in my family, you weren’t allowed to pass out cute things that mom & dad made for your friends. You had to make them WITH mom & dad, and then mainly just supervision on your own execution. I love passing on that pride to Miss L as well… that she can walk in the classroom knowing that SHE made them, and not her mom! In carrying on that tradition, perfection isn’t a part of these Valentine’s, but just lots of love! And I think that Miss L did an awesome job with everything!
We pushed the noses and the pretzel sticks into the bodies of each little marshmallow, then carefully attached each button using a special glue combination of white chocolate chips melted in white frosting. (Be careful… those mini M&M’s have a very delicate little candy shell!)
We set them all in the freezer on cookie sheets to set the glue (and to prevent any premature melting before Friday), then bagged and assembled them late Thursday night.
The final touch was a 2”x4” label that we printed to say, “Valentine, Do you wanna build a snowman? Love, L.”
And with that, our 2014 Valentine’s were ready for preschool distribution! Now I guess it’s time to finalize all that birthday party planning in two weeks… yikes!!!
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As of this past weekend, Miss L has spent 12 days at the Disneyland Resort in the past 6 months. That’s just what happens when you sign up for 2 runDisney events at Disneyland, it happens to be D23 Expo year, and you’re lucky enough to get a paper accepted at a conference at the Disneyland Hotel. Is she Disney Parks spoiled? Perhaps… but it’s so much fun we haven’t stopped to notice!
Miss L got to experience two new rides: the Mark Twain Steamboat and the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes. Because, it’s totally normal having 85 degree days in the middle of winter (hint: it’s not even normal for Southern California!)
And of course, there were old favorites like the Silly Symphony Swings, the Astro Orbitor & Radiator Springs Racers.
She was lucky enough to be chosen to attend Jedi Training Academy… and fought Darth Maul with her training light saber! (Watch out Lincoln… you might be the next light saber victim at home!)
And she got to play “tour guide” to her little Disney pal N, who was riding “Winnie the Pooh” for his first time too! (“Do you hear the bees? And do you see all that honey?!?”)
Then there were the treats!
Sure you can keep lots of snacks in your bag for all day, but nothing beats a daily sugary snack!
And what about those characters?
For a twist on our final day at the park, I gave her 7 old pins and a lanyard to let her “pin trade” with cast members. She did pretty well actually trading away her pins for new ones, and ended up with 6 Hidden Mickey pins!
Ah yes… another successful trip to Disneyland is in the books…
… and for the first time in 6 months we don’t have an answer to “when are we going to Disneyland again?” for Miss L. I think she racked up enough memories of the Happiest Place on Earth to keep her content for awhile!
In our house, we have two kitchen helpers.
Miss L is one of them.
This is the other.
It’s officially called a “little helper tower” by Ana White, who provided the online plans to help build it. And it came into our house last year when I sent the plans to my Dad and said it would be great for Miss L. Well, as goes with all the grandparents in the family, an idea doesn’t usually stay just an idea for long, and soon we had our very own “little helper tower” in our house.
You see, before this came into our house, Miss L was helping in the kitchen.
But it was down on the safe area of the floor. Which pretty much limits what you can help out with.
Now, however, there’s nothing that stands in her way!
… and more stirring…
… and of course tasting as well!
Heck, she can even decorate her baked creations after!
Miss L climbs in and out of the tower with ease, and is protected on all sides by the guardrail at the top. It’s made to be counter height, so it pushes straight up to the counter with no gap at all! AND… the platform on the bottom is adjustable to various height levels! So, as she grows, we can lower the platform and it’ll still be the perfect step-stool for the kitchen!
Having this “little helper tower” in our house has made our little chef into an actual one… so while Miss L’s play kitchen area is pretty small, she’s got one heck of a real kitchen to play and cook in!
Honestly, I have to say that this is by far the best “kids item” we have in our house from age 2.5 – 3.5. It’s an invaluable tool for learning, playing and getting meals on the table thanks to a helpful kiddo! It also helps with food pickiness, because a lot of excitement builds up from helping make food AND there’s no mystery to what the ingredients are! Seriously friends, if your kitchen can accommodate it, you should get one!
The materials to make the tower cost under $40 total, and if you don’t have anyone that can make one, you can find various models for $99-200 online (search for “kitchen helper” or “learning tower”). The advantage of making your own, is that you can stain/paint it to match your kitchen cabinets as well!
So thank you “little helper tower” for making our kitchen much more kid friendly!
THIS happened on August 5th, 2013. The only reason I know the date, is because of the timestamp info from my iPhone.
First time she wrote her name out in a legible form… EVER. And it just happened to be when I had wandered outside to draw with chalk with her. My phone was in my pocket, so when I saw the “n” going down, I reached for it to snap the moment quickly. And then I yelled for Mr. M to come outside and see. And I congratulated Miss L on her work. And I sent the photo to everyone and posted it on Instagram too.
And then she kept drawing smiley faces and everything else under the sun and I realized that we’d reached the landmark age where very few more “1st times” were around the corner.
In a way, it’s a great thing! No more moms pushing you for “when did L do this/that/the other?” and me saying, “I think it was…” while I simultaneously didn’t care about my answer or the one they were about to share. I just never became a big “milestone mom” as some do, but just celebrated the accomplishments at their time and looked forward again. I think it’s all those height competitions people would wage with me through adolescence that made me get over any inherent fun in measuring something that was out of your control, for better or worse.
So now that there are fewer in front of us, I get to take a moment to celebrate making a new list of things that are far away from the typical milestone ones.
Like… first football game at the Rose Bowl. Or, first snorkeling trip. Or, first slumber party.
And even, first “E-Ticket ride” at Disneyland (August 9, 2013).
Time to make this list vastly more exciting than “first tooth breaking through” (because isn’t that a memory we all want to lose anyway?), and set up some milestones we can all enjoy together!
The first installment of Austen & Bronte came with the Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre counting primers from Baby Lit. And you jumped over to Amazon and bought them as gifts for all those lovely kiddos in your life (or maybe even yourself). Well, the next installment brings the other Bronte sister and our lovely Jane:
Sense and Sensibility is a board book to teach all about the opposites and Wuthering Heights is a weather primer for the young ones… a pun I’m sure Miss Emily would approve of!
And finally, for all of those budding oceanographers and marine biologists (or just fish lovers)…an ocean primer by Moby Dick!
All of these BabyLit books come out on March 1st, 2013 but are available for pre-order from Amazon right now!