Sunday, November 30, 2008

Baking buddy

Grace loves to eat so it makes sense that she is very curious about cooking. I love to cook, so I don't mind showing her what is going on in the kitchen. The only thing is that it is difficult to hold her and mix ingredients, stir, and cook on the stove. I have been reminding her about things that are hot and she is good about staying away from the oven. Luckily, the model I have has a door that stays cool to the touch, even though there is cooking going on inside.

The other day I made chocolate chip cookies (yes, from scratch) and she really wanted to be a part of the action. So I pulled one of the chairs from the dining room into the kitchen and set it next to the counter so she could see. They have contraptions made just for this purpose (look online- you can find them) but the chair worked just fine. I am sure this is the way generations of parents have taught their kids to cook. No special product needed!Grace loved sampling the raw cookie dough from the bowl and the mixer! And, the cookies turned out pretty well. I tried something different - I used whole wheat flour for 1/2 of the flour the recipe called for. I learned this trick from a cookbook intended to get kids to eat healthier. Now, there is nothing "healthy" about chocolate chip cookies, but at least they were less bad for you this way.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I know I'm biased...

...but isn't this one cute kid?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Turkey Day!

We celebrated an early Thanksgiving at home since Nana and Big Daddy were here for the weekend. Grace really enjoyed the drumstick!I know I have said this before, but Grace is an incredible little girl. At 18 months old, she has such a personality. She loves to hide; empty baskets, boxes, and the kitchen cabinets; "read" her books; listen to music;"talk" her own language; "clean" the house like Mommy; and be silly to get a laugh out of anyone who is around. She can also be very serious, observing her surroundings and new people until she is sure everything is okay and she can relax and be herself. Lately, Grace has been saying a lot of things that sound pretty close to words. We hear "Uh-oh" all the time. We have heard "ha" for hot, and what sounds like "apple", thank you", "Daddy", and "milk". She walks without a care, runs, climbs, and loves to be upside down! She doesn't stop too often, but when she does, cuddling on the couch is one of our favorite things to do!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

'Round and 'round we go

Last night Grace had her first experience riding a carousel at the mall. It was a great thing to do on a cold, snowy evening. She did pretty well considering it was her first time on any kind of ride like this. We went there with the intention of eating dinner, riding the merry-go-round, and doing a little shopping. Grace watched the merry-go-round and listened to its music while we ate, pointing at it several times. When we got on , though, at it started to move, she wasn't so sure if she liked it. We did get some hesitant smiles from her, but she looked nervous and when it stopped, she was ready to get off!

I found out on Wikepedia that although we use the terms carousel and merry-go-round interchangeably, "carousel" is the name most often used in North America, while in Europe the term "merry-go-round" is more common. I always used merry-go-round when growing up.

They say that modern carousels in America are mainly populated with horses. I wondered why the one we were riding had dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, deer, a tiger, a swan, and a panda. I found out that carousels made in Europe generally had a whole variety of animals. I suppose this one must have been modeled on the European version. It was really colorful and pretty, but, personally, I prefer the horses. That is why I put Grace on a big white one in a row that had three horses side-by-side.

And, if you are interested.... Here is a little more carousel history:

Early carousels had no platforms: the animals would hang on poles or chains and fly out from the centrifugal force of the spinning mechanism; these are called "flying horses" carousels. They were often powered by animals walking in a circle or people pulling a rope or cranking. By the mid-1800s the platform carousel was developed where the animals and chariots would travel around in a circle sitting on a suspended circular floor which was hanging from the center pole; these machines were then steam-powered. Eventually, with the technological advances of the industrial revolution, gears and cranks were installed on these platform carousels, thus giving the animals their well-known up and down motion as they traveled around the center pole.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday

Last Friday we went to a playdate at The Little Gym with other children from Guatemala. It was really fun, although most of the children there were 3-6 years old. There were only 4 - including Grace - under age three. But the teachers at The Little Gym did a really good job of including everyone. At times they had alternative activities for the little kids. But, Grace was much happier participating with the older ones.

This is my favorite photo from that night because she is looking at the camera (a rare thing) and because she did such a great job walking on the balance beam even though it was her first time!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dinner with Grace

If you have ever tried to sit down to dinner - or any meal - with a very active toddler you will be able to relate to what it is like to dine with Grace. She doesn't sit still for a second, although she understands when I tell her, "Grace, chairs are for sitting" and when I give her the napkin and say, "Wipe your mouth". They say you are supposed to model good table manners, to eat with your child every day, and to have conversation. We are doing all of those things although since Grace doesn't talk, the "conversation" is more of a monologue with Grace babbling. Lately, I have been hearing what sounds like parts of the words - hot, more (she is great at signing this one!), and milk. And, she definitely knows "boo-boo" because she fell earlier this week and skinned her knee. If you ask her, Grace will pull up her pant leg and show you the boo-boo.

Here is what dinner was like a couple of nights ago.... (The pictures are blurry, because, as I said, she doesn't stop for a second!).

Don't throw that!
Throwing toys is a little problem she is having at daycare. I think I might be guilty because she throws the ball to Daisy. I am sure she can't distinguish when it is okay and when it is not. Throwing food...definitely not!

I can't possibly sit in this chair.

I know if I kneel and turn around I can wiggle out of these straps.
Do you see my chicken on this cool plate?
I'm pretty good at feeding myself.

What is under this plate? Anything?
I can use my napkin to wipe my mouth, my nose, the table....
And then the latest....Grace seems to really like when I sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider". She watches carefully and has started to try to do the movements.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider goes up the water spout.
Up comes the sun and dries up all the rain.
Yeah, mom. Sing it again!
Don't be fooled...I am the princess who runs this house!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday

Who is that little girl in the green dress?One hint...it is not THIS little girl!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One for the record books

First, most, longest. Election 2008 has redefined American politics in ways that are likely to resonate across the cultural landscape for decades to come.

Election 2008 has yielded the first Roman Catholic vice president (Joe Biden, D-Del.) and the first African American president (Barack Obama, D-Ill.). In addition, the historic campaign -- nearly two years long -- was marked by breakthroughs in race, gender, age, fundraising and use of technology.

The primaries were the most contested, the debates the most contentious, and the cost the highest -- nearly $1 billion by yesterday's Election Day. In earlier primaries, voter turnout soared and, in the case of the Democrats, broke all records.

By day's end on November 4, 2008, an all-time high of almost 140 million Americans voted. And in the growing trend of early voting in 32 states, almost one- third of those had cast early ballots before Election Day.

Facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and fighting two foreign wars, 9 million Americans registered to vote for the first time with an excitement not witnessed in generations.

Marked by both passion and polarization, the race drew legions of African Americans, youth, and disaffected independents who had historically not played such a large role in determining the victors.

It seems only fitting that I commemorate this historical election here for Grace. She is too young to realize it now, but the election of 2008 could change the course of our country for years to come.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Colorful fall

The reason autumn is not my favorite season is more about what it brings - winter- than about fall itself. It is probably the prettiest season in Ohio with its cool mornings and nights, clear, sunny skies, low humidity, and colorful foliage. By early November most of the color is gone, though, and we are well on our way to winter. Except when we get lucky and have a series of days like the ones we have been experiencing. Halloween was a balmy 60 degrees and the rest of this weekend has been the same. We are expecting temperatures close to 70 degrees by the middle of this week. So, needless to say, my doors and windows are open (right now Grace is going in and out the sliding door to the deck) and I am glad I didn't replace the front screen with the storm glass as I had planned to do this weekend.