Bunk Buddies

I sidecar'd Lexi's bed up to Charlotte's bed and they love it! I love it too because when I'm reading them books I can sit right in the middle and reach Lexi to rub her back if needed and Charlotte can see the pictures. They are also close enough that they can sense each other while sleeping which puts their minds at ease, I have girls that love to be close to someone while sleeping. Overall this is a win-win!

Sleeping beauties!


Pancake Sunday 1.30

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes
Pineapple Coconut Syrup

She wasn't actually helping, just banging on the bowl with measuring spoons

Caramelized pineapples

Recipe called for two 6" skillets, all I had were two 8" cake pans

All puffed up straight from the oven

The pans were too big that the batter spread the pineapples to the edges

Nom Nom Nom

One delicious slice of pancake with Pineapple Coconut Syrup!

This was a fairly decent recipe but takes more prep than it's worth. This recipe will be going into the "won't be making it again" vault.



I can't believe I've reached over 3000 page views! It's mind bottling.

You guys and gals rock!


Insect Week: 1/24-1/28

We did insects this week, you know...6 legs, exoskeleton, 3-part body and all that jazz. I think it is pretty important to introduce all things in the world and let the girls pick and choose what they like and what they don't.
I, personally, am squeamish around/about insects. They creep me out, they move fast, you never can tell where they're going to go. They bite and sting and buzz in your ear. Most are pretty ugly. They are crunchy and gooey. The language used in entomology just makes me sick to my stomach, one word...maggot. Did all of that stop me from teaching bugs?!


BTW, if you can't stand insects don't get this book...

Ah, but I digress...let's get back to what we did.

Counted insect legs and labeled body parts, made a list of actual insects and a list of non-insects and compared the two (now that I made that list I find myself getting very annoyed with people that refer to non-insects as insects)
I really need to clean that chalkboard!
Circled insects and crossed out non-insects on a printable I found on the web (I can't remember where at the moment)

 Used modeling dough balls to make pattern caterpillars
Lexi overseeing with her marker cigar
This pattern confused her at first
Used pom poms glued onto clothespins to make caterpillars, then we place the caterpillars in a "chrysalis" which was just a toilet paper tube (there were pretty elaborate ideas for that part online but I wanted something easy to open) and told Char that her caterpillar would soon be a butterfly. I then made wings for the caterpillars and put them back in their little homes while Charlotte slept and when she woke the next day they were butterflies! She was so excited and has no idea whatsoever that I actually did it, sneaky sneaky.

Char's on the left, mine on the right
Putting them in their new homes
Waiting to turn into a butterfly

She couldn't believe it had wings!

This little guy lost an eye
This little guy lost an eye as well
Charlotte's inner eye
I made ten ladybugs with dots 1-10 and Charlotte counted and placed them on their correct numbers. She did extremely well with this. We count a lot but I've never pushed numbers on her (taking an unschooling approach with it like I am with reading) and she got the majority of them without any help from me! I have to credit her dance teacher with her newfound enthusiasm for counting though, they do a little warm-up exercise where they count and Char has taken off with it!
Where to begin...

She did it!

We had a bug hunt outside but since it's winter we didn't find much at all, a few worms but those aren't really insects!
Of course, like always, we checked out some awesome books. Here were the favorites:

picture books

and some nonfiction

(especially awesome if you are willing to house insects for observation)


One Week

So much has happened in such a short amount of time! I feel like I have been cut of from my little blogosphere and am now feeling up to regular postings again.

It has been one week since I've had surgery to remove my branchial cleft cyst. Surgery went well as far as surgeries go I guess. Most of what happened that day is a blur but, here's my recollection. Checked in at 6:30 a.m., went back to prep around 8:00 a.m., worked myself up so much about getting my IV put in I threw up as soon as the nurse got it in, I am such a baby. Anesthesiologist put the anesthesia in my IV, started getting sleepy while they wheeled me back, put me on the operating table and I was out around 8:30 a.m., next thing I remember was waking up in PACU (which I found out I was in for 2 hours before waking up) extremely sleepy. All I remember from that area is that I told the nurse that I liked her glasses (even though I couldn't open my eyes and wasn't wearing my glasses), my blood pressure dropped really low (like 70 something/something) and that the guy recovering next to me pooped on himself. I was transferred to another recovery room where Travis was and spent the next 6 hours in there struggling to wake up, forgetting to breathe every once and awhile, waiting for my blood pressure to get back to normal and throwing up IV fluids. Finally I woke long enough to move to a wheelchair and go home. Originally the surgeon was going to keep me over night but he was so pleased with my surgery that he decided to send me home that day, I was one of the first patients in recovery and the very last one out.
But anyway, it's been one week and recovery is going well, I am up and moving around and taking care of business as usual.
My super awesome cut
It's been one week since I've used shampoo. My hair is doing great! A bit greasy in the bangs but overall it feels pretty good! I'm pretty excited this is working out so well (so far).
Hair looks nice and clean still!
It's been one week since Lexi has nursed. I didn't nurse her the day of my surgery because I was pretty much dead to the world. Travis said she was nuzzling him at night but once she figured out he was the wrong person she rolled over and went back to sleep. I didn't nurse her the next day because I was pumped so full of drugs (I really didn't even know which ones) so instead of risking it she just didn't nurse. Then the days just kept going and now it's been one week. This may or may not be a coincidence but she has slept through the night 4 nights out of the week, which she's never done before in her life. (I am not suggesting that weaning your baby will make him/her sleep through the night. All babies are different. Weaning did not help Charlotte sleep through the night).

What sleeping through the night looks like
In one week, I've gotten further on a project I've been working on than I have in six months. I've been taking drastically large steps in order to be ready to start a toddler/preschool art group by Spring and I'm very excited about that!
Changes happening in the Art Studio!

I filled out my application for student financial aid. Yes, school again, and if it doesn't pan out this time I'm just cutting my losses. I have gone to school multiple times for art-related degrees, I finally just thought, why am I beating around the bush, I might as well go for just plain old art...education that is. 

I am such a cool art teacher, check out my hot legs
We made our first appearance back to storytime. Once we got there I couldn't believe we hadn't been in so long and was wondering why, the kids love it and it's not even a hassle to get my butt up to take them. Glad to be getting back into the storytime groove.

Looking at the list now it doesn't seem like so much but I suppose when you think about doing all of this while recovering from surgery it seems like almost too much. So that's what's been going on since I've last blogged, hope all of my lurkers are doing well!


Pancake Sunday 1.23

Every year I get a new cookbook for my birthday/Christmas and this year I asked for a pancake cookbook since we have pancakes for breakfast every Sunday. So I figured I'd start posting about Pancake Sunday.
Today, holding the honor of first Pancake Sunday blog post ever is:

Flannel Cakes with Raspberry Maple Syrup

Just look at that delicious crispy golden brown crust!

Overall the pancake was pretty good taste-wise but it was a bit dry since the eggs had to be "beaten until fluffy" before being folded into the batter and I over folded them into the batter. Oh well, lesson learned! The syrup called for frozen raspberries but I improvised with raspberry jam and it tasted nice and raspberry-ish and not disgusting considering last minute substituting.

I love Pancake Sunday!


No Poo?

About a year ago I came across the concept of going "Poo Free" which is just going shampoo free, some even go soap free as well. I thought it was an interesting concept and people were raving about it but I didn't give it much more thought than, "Hmm."

Then about a week ago I came across this blog:
I haven't used soap or shampoo in a year, and it's awesome: personal experiment update

and it struck my interest up again. Then one of my Facebook friends posted a question about going poo free within the same week and I was like, "Whoa, this is a weird coincidence." AND THEN I saw a link to this blog post:

Triclosan, Soap and Pregnancy...What's the big deal? (GIVEAWAY!) 

which includes a link to a site called Skin Deep which will tell you the toxicity rating of the cosmetic products you use, enough to make you cringe...also in the blog post is a giveaway for handmade soaps.

All this lead up to something wonderful happening, I don't know why it took so long but a light bulb exploded in my head!

Anything that we buy in the store, we can make ourselves.


I mean, that IS what people did before businesses started making the stuff for us and we all forgot how to make the stuff ourselves and then it became so convenient we started buying stuff we really don't need and now there are shows like Hoarders and people have bad credit.

I'm guilty, you're guilty, we're all damn guilty!

So anyway, I think I may go poo free, there is tons of information about it on the internet and you can choose your cleaning method. Some just rinse with water, some use only conditioner, I've seen some about people not using regular liquid shampoo but bar shampoo and then there is the most popular method of choice: baking soda with apple cider vinegar rinse. I think that is the route I am going to try. I figure with the surgery coming up next week it will be the perfect opportunity to try this out and see how it goes. There is a transition phase that will be tough to get through though. 
Here's what happens:
Shampoo strips your hair of natural oils, in return, your scalp produces MORE oils to make up for the oils that were stripped, therefore if you skip a day of shampooing your hair gets really greasy/oily really fast. 
You just have to get through that transition period where your scalp is trying to regulate the natural oils on your head and then your free...poo free!

I will however not be going soap free.
I instead will try my hand at making my own soap. Really, how hard can it be? I already make my own detergent, so I'm sure bar soap isn't any harder, not to mention you probably get a few bars out of every batch. I probably will still buy antibacterial hand soap though for when I cook with raw meat and clean up yucky baby poop and stuff that's gross.

I think going poo free will be better for the fam, especially the girls. Even though they bathe/shower everyday they only get soaped up as needed. I can always tell when they use soap too, frizzy hair and ashy skin and that is exactly the same thing that happens to me. 

If this goes well (poo free and handmade soap) deodorant and toothpaste will be next to research on the "do it myself" list.

So, with everything I'm starting to do myself, little by little, I'm feeling kinda like a modern day pioneer woman (which I'm still really far from) and I really like that feeling. 

Now to only figure out the deal with going organic which I've been putting off and putting off...baby steps...


Human Body Week (Featuring The Senses): Revisited 1/3-1/7

New year means starting school back up again! I cannot believe we've been off track for so long. I am so ashamed! We started with the human body the last week of November but we were just focused on so many other things I decided we needed to touch base on it again.

We got off to a great start though, talking about the senses, starting with taste:
Tongues, we all have them  and they're muscle-y and can curl into weird shapes and we use them to taste food too, with taste buds! Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and (according to Wikipedia) umami, which is described as a savory and brothy flavor.
First we tasted the food on the plates (salt, sugar, lemon juice, unsweetened cocoa, and bouillon) then I blindfolded Charlotte and found things in the fridge for her to taste and had her tell me what taste it was. After our little tasting session was done we talked about other uses for tongues. 
[I happened to get an iPad for Christmas (which really was a HUGE surprise, all I wanted was some sort of eReader) and found that it came especially handy with school.] 
First we talked about giraffe tongues, why they're blue/black (thought to prevent sunburn!) and why they are so long (18 inches!) we looked at pictures AND THEN I totally brought out the iPad to watch YouTube videos of giraffe tongues.
How awesome is that!!!
We repeated these steps for the other animals we talked about as well, chameleons/frogs, snakes, lions/cats, bats, butterflies/bumblebees. 

Then we talked about sight. We talked about the parts of the eye (I added eyebrows because they really do work to help your eyes), we talked about color blindness and blindness. We talked about seeing color vs black and white (different than color blindness), optical illusions and we talked about night vision. Most of these topics had lead off discussions such as nocturnal animals and night vision. Then we played some "I Spy" games (Char is crazy good at those) and called it a day. I really wanted to show the girls some braille but didn't know how to go about that then I realized I can just show them braille out in public, that will have to wait until the next time we actually go out in public....

We talked about ears and hearing. Char and Lexi have a drum set that they play with every. single. day. Char really REALLY became interested in it after seeing Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

This is  pretty much the scene in our playroom daily.

Anyway, I was trying to explain that we have little drums in our ears and Char informed me that she already knew that, well EXXXXXXCUUUUSSEEEEEEE ME! We watched a video of a Dr performing a hearing test and then we watched an actual video hearing test with the frequencies and stuff  (I won't lie, I had my fingers crossed for some high pitch freaking out like dogs do...no dice) We talked about how some people are deaf and use their hands to communicate and I downloaded a sign language app which both girls were picking up on so fast it was amazing to watch, now we use basic signs like water, milk, potty, pee pee, Mommy, Daddy, all done and a few others around the house daily because it's just that easy! I decided to test Charlotte's hearing with a game of Marco Polo (sans water of course!) This was her first time playing and it was hilarious because she is a total cheater! She kept peeking over the blindfold, little stinker! Then when it was my turn to say "Marco" she was giggling so much that it was extremely easy to figure out where she was and of course Alexis kept following me around so she wasn't very hard to find either.

Touch didn't happened as planned because I went to the hospital that day to get my pre-surgical admission testing done but, we were just focusing on the senses, this started out as a week about the human body and what better place to learn about the human body than the hospital! Charlotte already knows about bones and muscles and blood etc. Going to the hospital was just really reinforcement on those facts, I wish she would have gone back to the lab with me when I had blood drawn but she didn't, oh well, she has seen me have blood drawn before...

Smell didn't quite happen as planned either. We DID smell some stuff that day but didn't really get into specifics. We did happen to talk about how the nostrils lead back into your throat so in theory you could eat through your nose...and we played with the Clementine modeling dough that day and that stuff smelled amazing, but senses are something we use everyday so a couple of senses we didn't get specific with doesn't phase me one bit.

This picture has nothing to do with senses but I thought it was so funny I had to post it.

Next week is the letter I...insects!