Saturday, October 31, 2009

Giddy Up!

Happy Halloween!

An Extra Special Thank You

Thank you so very much to Maddy for making Grace and Jack's Halloween cowgirl and cowboy costumes. Maddy surprised us with a large package last week, which was filled with Grace and Jack's Halloween costumes. Maddy made coordinating cowgirl boot and cowboy hat shirts and a skirt for Grace and pants for Jack that match too! Maddy even thought of adding a rope lasso to both outfits that can be removed with velcro! The coordinating hats and horses made their outfits complete and Grace can't get enough of those shiny red cowgirl boots! Maddy, you have given Grace and Jack such a gift - the gift of joy and happiness from all of the love you put into their costumes. Grace and Jack were both glowing wearing their outfits yesterday and you also brought so many smiles to all those who saw them. Thank you so much for all of the time you put into making these beautiful outfits. We will be sure to post more pictures of our little cowboy and cowgirl! In the words of Grace, "Giddy up, Maddy!"


Happy Halloween!
Footprint ghosts by Grace & Jack

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Cutest Little "Jack"-o'-lantern!

Jack-o'-lantern Candle Holders

Grace made these jack-o'-lantern candle holders this morning using orange tissue paper, liquid starch, and baby food jars! First thing this morning Grace painted a sheet of white tissue paper with orange paint. Once the tissue paper dried Grace cut the paper into tiny pieces. Next, Grace painted the baby food jars using liquid starch and she added the small pieces of orange tissue paper onto the jars until the they were fully covered. Once the jars dried I drew two happy jack-o'-lantern faces. We will add tea lights to the jars tomorrow to glow Halloween night. I'll be sure to post pictures!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jack's Five Little Pumpkins

I made five little pumpkins from several of Jack's orange finger paintings to accompany his favorite book ~ Five Little Pumpkins. Jack did such a beautiful job finger painting last week and I really enjoyed transforming Jack's paintings into pumpkins for him to enjoy!

Grace's Pumpkin Pasta

Grace made pumpkin pasta this week and it is delicious! Here is the recipe that Grace used (we improvised a bit since we did not have all of the ingredients on hand):

1 12-oz. box of whole wheat pasta
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped (we didn't have shallots so we used 1/2 tsp. of onion powder)
1 1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk (we also didn't have any evaporated so we substituted this for 1/2 cup of Grace's skim milk)
1 15-oz. can of pumpkin
1/2 tsp. pumpkin-pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt (we didn't add any salt)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 oz. of Parmesan cheese, grated

First, cook the pasta, drain, and return to the pot to keep warm. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat oil on medium heat. Add the shallots (or onion powder), whisk in the broth, evaporated milk, pumpkin, spice, and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss pasta with the pumpkin sauce and top with cheese. Enjoy this delicious and nutritious meal (this pasta dish gives two full serving of vegetables and don't forget to use whole wheat pasta)!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Our Little Pumpkins!

We did it! Grace and Jack found their perfect jack-o'-lantern pumpkins yesterday. Hooray. We will be opening up the pumpkins tomorrow so Grace and Jack can see and feel what is inside their pumpkins. We will carve the pumpkins later this week.Thank you, Maddy, for making Grace and Jack their very cute pumpkin shirts. They have been a big hit!!!!!

Having Fun!

We enjoyed our family time together yesterday at a beautiful playground in Portland that overlooks the ocean! It was a great day.

There's No Place Like.....Lowe's!

Grace and Jack simply LOVE Lowe's...and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas there! Grace and Jack had such a great time getting a sneak peek at all of the beautiful sights and lights that the Christmas holiday season will bring. Some of Grace's favorite things at Lowe's are the faucets, sinks, and refrigerators. Jack is quite fond of the fan and light aisle. Grace and Jack could literally spend ALL DAY at Lowe's. We'll probably be spending lots of time there this winter!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Coffee Filter Autumn Leaves

Grace made autumn leaves this morning using coffee filters, markers, and water. Grace first used markers to color coffee filters the color of autumn leaves - red, orange, yellow, brown, and green. Next, Grace sprayed the colored coffee filters with water from a spray bottle in order to blend the colors together. This was her favorite part. Once the coffee filters dried I cut them out into maple leaf shapes. Grace's autumn leaves turned out to be so beautiful!

Painting "Jack"-o-lanterns!

One of Jack's favorite books is Five Little Pumpkins. Jack loved finger painting today with orange paint. Once Jack's paintings dry I am going to cut them out into five pumpkin shapes and draw jack-o-lantern faces on them that match those found in his Five Little Pumpkins book!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Higgins Beach

After music group this morning Grace, Jack, and I decided to go to Higgins Beach! Jack and Grace loved playing in the sand, exploring seaweed and seashells and taking in all of the beautiful sights and sounds of the ocean. We savored every second of our time here as the very cold weather is fast approaching.

Thank you, Maddy, for Grace's pretty red apron dress that you made for her. Grace loved wearing it today and she looks so very sweet in it. Thank you so much!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

To View The World Through Child's Eyes

The light on our walk today captured Grace's beautiful blue eyes perfectly as she was looking up a tall pine tree to watch a squirrel. Grace was fascinated by how quickly the squirrel was moving through the trees. I could stare at Grace and Jack's beautiful blue eyes forever! It is said that the eyes are the window to the soul and what beautiful eyes and sweet souls Grace and Jack have ~ what a very lucky mama I am!

A Whole New Meaning To "Water Play!"

Jack and Grace love to play with water. One of my favorite things is seeing Jack and Grace stand together on their learning tower at the sink to play. This is how it all started this morning ~ only two sets of little hands and four pajama sleeves were wet. Eventually Jack worked his way directly into our sink to play and he LOVED it. Jack thought it was the best thing to sit in the sink and Grace thought it was incredibly funny how Jack had become a real live "water toy!" Our house was filled with their giggles and eventually we were all laughing so hard that we ended up scaring our poor cat who quickly bolted down to our basement to find a quiet hiding spot! I think the best way for all of us to learn is through immersion! :)

Handmade Paper

Maddy and Poppy gave Grace textured insect rubbing plates for her first birthday. These rubbing plates have made learning about insects so exciting for Grace over the past two years. Today Grace used butterfly and dragonfly rubbing plates to make her own handmade paper! Grace watered down white glue until it was the consistency of milk. She used a paint brush to apply a thin coat of the glue solution to the rubbing plates. Next, Grace put down a sheet of facial tissue and coated it with a second layer of glue. Grace then added one more sheet of tissue and gently painted over it with watercolor paint. Once the tissues dried Grace carefully peeled the paper off of the rubbing plates to reveal beautiful insect paper. From the look on Grace's face above she was very impressed with how the tissues transformed into insect paper!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Monday!

Grace's LOVES LOVES LOVES to dance. Grace puts on her tap and ballet shoes numerous times each day to practice and also to perform for Jack and I (we both love it!). Grace's favorite day of the week is Monday because it is her dance class day. Grace gives great big hugs to all of her fellow dancers when she first sees them at dance class. Grace has quickly made so many new friends. Grace also takes her dance class very seriously. In the picture above Grace is intently studying what her teacher, Ms. Betsy, is doing.
Jack loves dance class too. There is a playroom there where Jack enjoys playing with a firetruck, blocks, books, and cars. Every few minutes Jack crawls over to a viewing window in order to see what his big sister is doing. This picture of Jack was taken in his car seat right after dance class today. Despite having a bad cold, Jack continues to smile! He is such a sweet, happy boy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Acorn Jack-o'-lanterns!

We have so many acorns so Grace thought it would be fun to take the acorn tops off, turn them upside-down and paint them orange to look like little pumpkins! The jack-o'-lanterns turned out so cute and she did an amazing job painting over thirty acorns!

Ten Months Old!

Jack turned ten months old yesterday. Here is an update all about our incredibly sweet boy:
  • Jack loves to crawl and he is so fast! He can cross a large room within seconds.
  • Jack also loves to stand, cruise, and he is beginning to stand without holding on.
  • Jack enjoys kneeling while playing and while looking at books.
  • Jack has the sweetest personality. Jack always smiles whenever he looks at me or whenever you smile at him! He has the best laugh too. Jack laughs at EVERYTHING Grace does. He thinks his big sister is so silly.
  • Jack loves sign language. He signs "more" independently - mostly during mealtimes. Jack also signs "dog" and he is beginning to sign "all done."
  • Jack is imitating gestures. His favorite gesture is putting his arms up when he hears, "So big!" Jack also waves bye-bye and blows kisses. Jack loves to clap his hands too.
  • Jack can climb up a full flight of stairs by himself!
  • Jack's attention span amazes me. Jack sits on the floor with me every morning and attends to books for nearly an hour. Jack also plays with toys for very long periods of time.
  • Jack loves to dance. When Jack hears the word "dance" he will stop what he is doing and start bouncing up and down. Jack also dances whenever he hears music.
  • Jack continues to have very clear preferences for favorite songs.
  • Jack loves to talk. He says "dada" and approximates the word "all done" (ah duh). Jack loves to talk to Grace.
  • Jack points to pictures in books. He identifies common objects, some shapes (circle, star, heart, crescent moon), body parts (eyes, nose, mouth, hair, toes) musical instruments, toys, and animals. Jack also uses eye gaze to look at named objects and people.
  • Jack is a great eater! He loves finger foods and feeding himself. Jack will eat anything.
  • Here are just a few of Jack's favorite things: books, music and music group, dancing, playing with Grace, being outside, transportation vehicles, clocks, pumpkins, apples, ladybugs, our play kitchen set, crawling up the stairs and to the tub, water play, the American flag, calendar time, finger foods, painting, our art table, musical instruments, and sound play games.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Homemade Silly Putty

We made silly putty yesterday by mixing together 1/2 cup of white glue and 1/2 cup of liquid starch. I have been looking (and looking and looking) for liquid starch for over a year now (!) to use in several craft recipes but I have not been able to find it. I was thrilled to finally find some this past weekend. We now have enough liquid starch to last us many, many years!! Grace added red and yellow food coloring to the silly putty mixture to make it the color of a pumpkin. We let the silly putty set overnight. Grace and Jack LOVED playing with the silly putty this morning. Jack enjoyed squeezing it in his hands and Grace enjoyed stretching it as far as it would go!

Just one of the many reasons why we love autumn so much...

...the Dole's apple orchard music concert series! Every autumn the orchard near our home puts on free weekly concerts to celebrate autumn and the apple picking season. Jack continues to love music and both he and Grace have greatly enjoyed all of the performers at Dole's. In addition to enjoying all forms of music Jack has also become quite the little dancer! Whenever he hears music he will either sit up tall or stand and bounce away while singing quite loudly ~ and all this with a very big smile too!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autumn Tree

Gracie girl made this beautiful autumn tree using cardboard and a paper towel roll! Grace painted a paper towel roll with brown paint to make a tree trunk and later cut the top into small strips to form tree branches. Grace then glued her tree onto a small piece of cardboard. As the paint and glue were drying Grace went outside to gather grass, small twigs, leaves, grass, clovers, pine cones, and bark. Grace glued these items to the cardboard base and she also glued small pieces of bark onto the tree trunk. On our nature walk Grace and Jack collected autumn leaves and when we returned home Grace placed them on the branches to complete her autumn tree!

Got Gracie, Jack & Eve?