Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Baby

Well, we were SUPPOSED to be a part of the Live Below the Line challenge this week.  However, A ended up with a partially dislocated elbow over the weekend (very hard--how can you explain everything to a little one who is so young?).  HH and I were sleep deprived Saturday night and spent Sunday in the ER.  Poor baby!  She was definitely not happy with the doctors, nurses, and X-ray technician. 

We returned to the orthopedist this morning.  Fortunately, A's elbow was fine.  Either it reset itself or the ER doctor reset it.  I am just really glad that she is feeling better. 

Unfortunately, with all the chaos I was not able to get ready for our challenge.  We decided that all three of us will take this on next week together.  M was disappointed (I think she had mentally prepared herself for this), but she understood.  So check in with us next week to see how it's going!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Live Below the Line

K, M, and I have decided to participate in this year's Live Below the Line challenge.  The purpose of the challenge is to increase awareness of the extreme poverty faced by 1.4 billion people around the world.  From April 29 to May 3, we will be restricting our food expenses to $1.50 per day.  (M and I will be participating next week; K will complete the challenge the following week--it's her birthday on Wednesday and it's a little hard to give up ice cream on your birthday!)

Even before starting this challenge, we have a greater appreciation for our own good fortune.  Hunger and limited food options are not difficulties that we have had to cope with.  M was shocked at how little $1.50 will get you at the grocery store (i.e., a bag of Chex Mix is two days of her food budget).  She said to me, "I can't even afford a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!"

So here's to helping others!  The girls chose to participate for care.org.  We are hoping to reach our goal of $100 this year, but even if we don't, hopefully we'll be able to increase the world's compassion for others.  Here's a link to our Live Below the Line page

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My Girls

I know Mother's Day isn't for few more weeks, but this is why I love being a mom.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Benefit Beading Party

A couple of weeks ago, we hosted a kids' beading party to benefit K and M's school.  Seats were sold at a dinner auction, and we ended up selling out!  Since we've never really done something like this before, we limited the number of kids to six and set the ticket price at $20.00.  The party lasted two hours and light snacks were offered. 
It was one of the easiest and most fun kid parties we've ever hosted!  We set out several trays of beads on our dining room table, along with several sample projects from which the kids could choose.  K, MHH, and I helped the kids with starting and finishing projects.  M helped with explaining how to make a particular necklace or bracelet.  A had impeccable timing and slept through the entire party. 


The girls had a great time.  After an hour and a half, I had to coax them away from the table to get them to eat snacks and play Bingo (we gave out bags of beads as prizes).  I think they could have kept beading for another two hours!!  Afterwards, we passed out little goodie bags of beads and stretch cord so they could make a bracelet at home.
The feedback was positive with one parent even suggesting that we raise the price for next year.  Given how this year's party went, I think we could even offer more seats.  Even better than hosting a successful fundraiser for the school, K and M made new friends with some kids that they didn't know. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Celebrate Spring

A turned 17 months today (sniff!) and her newest favorite thing to do is run around like a rocket.  She has been able to walk since the end of December, yet she didn't actually DECIDE that she wanted to let go and walk on her own until the middle of March.  So while we were waiting for K and M after school, A had a lovely time running around the grass and shouting, "Go!  Go!  Go!"  Where she was going and who she was shouting to, I don't know.  She was just having a fantastic time anyways.

The weather was amazing today...beautiful, warm, and completely spring.  I definitely do NOT have a green thumb (I kill cacti), but these gorgeous flowers are blooming in our yards in spite of me.  Just so glad to welcome back spring!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dinner Idea

This is one of our favorite "easy" dinner ideas.  It is great for evenings that you need a meal quickly with easy prep.  I adapted this dinner from a Real Simple recipe.  If I don't have any ham available or in the freezer, I just substitute Spam.  (I know...not very fancy or gourmet, but delicious.)  The best part is that all the kids like this dinner so they end up eating a whole plate of vegetables with no complaints! 
This particular evening, I served the Spam and cauliflower hash with a side salad made of mixed greens and belala (a bean salad that M and I found at Trader Joe's).  We actually have kale growing in our yard that we planted from seeds last fall, so I threw in a few leaves of that as well.  Yum, yum, and minus the Spam, pretty healthy!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Beaded "Charm" Bracelet

I got the inspiration for this bracelet from two places....M has been asking for a charm bracelet for a while.  When we went to Michael's, we were sort of disappointed to find out that it would be pretty expensive to buy enough charms to fill up a whole bracelet.  So we settled on buying one charm that she liked and then making the rest out of beads and other trinkets we had at home.  I also saw a beautiful charm bracelet on Anthropology's website that sort of provided some inspiration as well.  It was super full of charms and winter-themed.  Gorgeous!

Anyways, I didn't take very many photos of the process (I'm never sure if my projects is going to turn out and I forget to take pics).  The idea and the materials needed are simple.  Basically, I measured chain long enough to fit around my wrist and made a bunch of "charms" using whatever random beads I had in my stash and headpins.  Then I just opened up the chain links and put the charms on.  I used a toggle clasp to finish off the bracelet.

I ended up making two different versions of the bracelet.  One for K using less charms so you can see more of the chain and one for myself (photo) which is a fuller bracelet with more beads.  It's just a matter of preference.  I think I will have to try another in a different color scheme!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Healthy Gummy Bears!

Another one of our spring break projects was making our own healthy gummies using this recipe.  We didn't follow her recipe exactly, but we did use her general guidelines for fruit and juice measurements.  K said that she wanted to make a blue gummy, and as you can see, they sort of turned out more purple. 

Our recipe ended up being 1/4 cup each of lemon and lime juice, 1 cup of pomegranate juice, 1 cup of blueberries, 1 cup of bananas, 5 packets of Knox gelatin, and a generous squeeze of honey.  They were tart but tasted delicious.  Since we didn't have any tiny cookie cutters around the house, we went to the clay section at Michael's where M chose a set of "treat" metal cutters.  It's a little hard to tell from the photo, but there's an ice cream cone, a pineapple, an apple, and a mug.

They turned out really cute!  Everyone loved eating them as a snack, and they're so much healthier than regular gummy bears which often contain corn syrup, artificial flavors, and food dyes.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Terracotta Warriors

Last week the kids were on spring break.  While we didn't go anywhere or do anything big, we did get to visit some local places and do a few projects that have been on our list of To Do's for a long time. 
On Sunday, we took a trip up to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.  Hard to believe that it was everyone's first trip to the museum.  It was a Target-sponsored Family Day, and it was busy!  A staffer at the museum mentioned that the free days bring in 2-3 times the usual number of visitors.  Despite the huge line to get in, we waited for only about 30 minutes.  The museum was fantastic about taking care of their guests.  Several people circulated around the line, passed out brochures about the exhibit,  and answered questions.  At one point, a "warrior" came out to pose for pictures with people.
The exhibit was impressive to view.  I was surprised at how serene and elegant the warriors were even though they were soldiers.  The handicraft and innovation on the other artifacts found in the tomb was amazing as well.  
So glad that we had the opportunity to see these beautiful pieces.  The kids enjoyed the exhibit because they had learned about the works of art in school.  I was surprised at how enthusiastic K and M were when I initially suggested that we go.  Everyone enjoyed themselves.  It would be great to some day return and look at the rest of the museum.