Photo Friday

Another weekend is here! We spent last weekend (Sat-Mon) at my family’s cabin on Lake Champlain. Since I didn’t get around to making a dedicated post about our trip, I’ve included a few photos here. The lake was absolutely gorgeous, though still too cold for swimming. Lewis loved the freedom to go outside at almost any time, and opportunities to dig in dirt and hunt under rocks and logs for bugs! He also was excited to see Grandpa B., two aunts, and one of his uncles, and has continued talking about them since we got home.

Watching a duck on the beautiful lake.

Watching a duck on the beautiful lake.

When can I go back here??

When can I go back here??

Lawnmowers are so cool!

Lawnmowers are so cool!

Sitting on a pebbly bit of shore, coloring on rocks with a piece or charcoal we found.

Sitting on a pebbly bit of shore, coloring on rocks with a piece or charcoal we found.

I crocheted this hat for him last year and it was to big. This summer it is perfect!

I crocheted this hat for him last year and it was to big. This summer it is perfect!

Robot hands! Lewis' innovative use for toilet paper and paper towel tubes.

Robot hands! Lewis’ innovative use for toilet paper and paper towel tubes.

Experimenting with creating a stapled collage. ICAD starts Sunday, are you ready?

Experimenting with creating a stapled collage on a 4×6 index card, using mini staples. ICAD starts this Sunday, are you ready?

 

Lewis' favorite place outside our apartment: Digging in the dirt and checking for bugs under pots.

Lewis’ favorite place outside our apartment: Digging in the dirt and checking for bugs under pots.

 

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Photo Friday

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you have some exciting plans for the long weekend! We will be heading up to the family camp on Lake Champlain for the first time this summer, and we can’t wait! Lewis absolutely loved being there last summer, and I know he will just have even more fun playing and exploring outside this year. He is also looking forward to seeing Grandpa B. and some of his aunts and uncles. 🙂 I seem to have fewer photos than usual to post today – a side effect of the fact that I actually wrote a few posts this week! I hope you enjoy them.

"Daddy is sleeping on the couch. I need to climb over and snuggle on top of him."  <3

“Daddy is sleeping on the couch. I need to climb over and snuggle on top of him.” ❤

Nature art - contact paper and flowers.

Nature art – contact paper and flowers.

So happy to be outside finding fluffy dandelions.

So happy to be outside finding fluffy dandelions.

Fairy wings and Daddy's skateboard. Yes.

Fairy wings and Daddy’s skateboard. Yes.

Making some delicious "pa-poon".

Making some delicious “pa-poon”.

ICAD

I have posted a few times before about my art and creative explorations. I enjoy working in an art journal and also doodling and playing around with a variety of different art materials. One awesome blog that I love going to for art inspiration is the Daisy Yellow Art blog. I love looking at Tammy’s beautiful work, her playful exploration of her own materials, and especially the encouragement she posts to help others get creating! She posts a lot of great prompts and ideas to help get the creative juices flowing.

She also has been doing a yearly Index Card A Day (ICAD) challenge the past few years. This will be my first year participating, and I am very excited!

The idea is that each day of the challenge (June 1 – July 31) you create some form of art on an index card. An index card is small, simple, cheap. It can be extremely quick if you only have a few spare moments in the day, or you can go as in depth as you want and create a complex master piece. If you “mess up” or don’t like your results, oh well! It’s just an index card, no harm done, nothing wasted! The focus is more on process than product. There really are no limits, it is all about challenging yourself to do that little bit of art each and every day though out the challenge.

During the challenge Tammy will be posting weekly themes and prompts to help inspire all the participants, but these are completely optional. I haven’t decided yet if I will be using the prompts or not, and I suspect that I will probably follow some and not others depending on what kind of creative mood I am in on any given day.

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I have already started doing a bit of creating on some index cards, even though the challenge hasn’t started yet. Some of these I might use as “backgrounds” to add more work on top of later in the challenge, others will just stay as they are.

The card with my name on it was in response to a “warm up” exercise that Tammy posted on the ICAD Facebook page.

I started that card by drawing a grid with a pencil and ruler, and Lewis decided to join in by making his own card. He had the unique technique of using the pencil to stab holes through his card!

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I will probably do most of my card creation while he is napping or in bed, but I am sure he will join me some of the time for some more ICAD art. This is also a great low-pressure creative challenge for older kids to participate in in a more organized way.

I have a huge collection of art supplies, but the ones I go to most often are pens, markers, Sharpies, and colored pencils. I think this challenge will be a fun opportunity for me to get out some of my other materials to explore with a bit more. I might do some painting, collage, or who knows what else! I recently made my first hand-carved stamp from a cork, and I had fun using this to make one of my card “backgrounds.”

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I guess I should start drinking more wine, so I have more corks to make cute little stamps with. 😉

Do you consider yourself artistic? Or have you always wished you had more art in your life? Join us for the ICAD challenge! You won’t regret it!

Think Outside The Library

Most mornings Lewis and go for a walk with the stroller. We will usually walk around 30-40 minutes, unless we also have other morning plans. Once a week we have been going to story time at the library, which is about a 10 minute walk away. However, the “spring session” of story time has ended and the summer session won’t be starting until the beginning of July, so for now we have no story time to go to. I wasn’t in the mood for our usual walk today though, so I came up with the idea to go play outside the library. There is a nice little garden area with benches, as well as a nature walk behind the library. I’m pretty sure the last time we explored either was last fall, so Lewis is only really familiar with them from walking past on our way into the library.

I packed up a few simple art supplies for myself to do some doodling while he played, and he told me he wanted to bring a snack so we brought some munchie things and some water as well.

Lewis' abandoned art supplies.

Lewis’ abandoned art supplies.

I sat down on a bench with a pen and an index card to do some doodling, and Lewis began exploring the bricks on the ground, hunting for bugs, dirt, and ant hills. After a while he asked to color too. He uncapped two markers, tried to color on a brick, and then abandoned it all for more interesting things like bugs and dandelions.

"Now what?"

“Now what?”

He seemed a bit at a loss for what to do with himself. Unsure what to do in this new space, or how far to wander from me. I tried to encourage him to take a look around and explore other parts of the garden area.

"I feel so free!"

“I feel so free!”

After he played a bit more he asked me to join him in playing and walking around, so I packed our things back into the stroller. He was happy to find many ant hills, some fluffy dandelions, and pine tree with big pine cones underneath.

"We need to walk down this path Mama."

“We need to walk down this path Mama.”

Next I took him around behind the library to see the nature path. We held hands across the parking lot, then I let him run free once we reached the path.

He was quite fascinated at first, and immediately decided that this was a place for running!

He was quite fascinated at first, and immediately decided that this was a place for running!

We made it quickly down the first stretch of the path. Once we turned the corner he was a bit overwhelmed with the apparent distance we still had to go. He asked to be held, but I explained that I couldn’t hold him while pushing the stroller. I offered that he could either walk on his own or ride in the stroller. After sitting on the ground for a moment in protest he decided that he would rather walk than ride.

"I'm very disappointed that you aren't going to pick me up!"

“I’m very disappointed that you aren’t going to pick me up!”

We did some more running and some walking, and found a few ants. He wasn’t very impressed when the forest changed to tall dry grasses. (The sign said it is “phragmites”.)

"Are you sure you won't hold me? This still looks like a long way!"

“Are you sure you won’t hold me? This still looks like a long way!”

We eventually made it around the loop and back to the parking lot, where Lewis found some very interesting mud. We then decided to actually go inside the library for a bit of playing there.

It was fairly busy today with a few other babies and older kids. We read some books, played with some big stuffed snakes which were new and therefore interesting, did a puzzle, and played with the bead roller coaster thingy. While playing with the snakes a baby we often see at story time showed up with her Mom, and they came over to play with us a bit. She is only a year old and just learning to stand/not talking yet/etc. Lewis did a really great job sharing the two snakes with her and even did some very cute peek-a-boo and made her smile. 🙂

When we were done at the library we got the excited treat of seeing the lawnmowers outside cutting the grass. Lawnmowers are one of the most exciting and interesting things in Lewis world right now!

Niska-Day 2014

This past Saturday was Niska-Day, which is a little community celebration our town has every year. There is a parade, and then in the afternoon a fair with craft booths, food, rides, petting zoo, etc. We took Lewis last year, but of course he doesn’t remember it now. This year we started telling him about it a few days ahead, and he kept asking “parade? parade?” He was especially interested in the idea of the marching bands, so we had to look up some bands/parades in a couple of our books and he also acted out a marching band parade with his stuffed animals with Daddy.

We happened to leave the apartment at the same time as our neighbor J and his mom. J is 5 years old and he and Lewis love playing together outside in the evenings, so we all walked over together to see the parade. We were a bit early, so we went into the Sunoco where they were giving out balloons to the kids, and there was a live pig inside for some reason too which the boys had fun seeing.

Daddy and Lewis getting ready to watch the parade.

Daddy and Lewis getting ready to watch the parade.

It was COLD this year. Last year we were in shorts and t-shirts, this year we wore jackets and I actually ended up running back home for a blanket and warm hat for Lewis!

Excited to finally see the parade and hear a band playing!

Excited to finally see the parade and hear a band playing!

We went over to Niska-Day almost immediately after the parade. We got lunch when we got there, then wandered around looking at the rides and animals. Lewis enjoyed seeing the rides again, but isn’t quite big enough to ride on them yet this year.

Lewis and Daddy got some grain to feed the goats. Yay goats!

Lewis and Daddy got some grain to feed the goats. Yay goats!

So cute.

So cute.

Love this little lamb with cow spots.

Love this little lamb with cow spots.

Here sheepies, I have a dandelion for you!

Here sheepies, I have a dandelion for you!

We didn’t take a lot of pictures this year, just some with the animals. Besides the animals, one of Lewis’ favorite things to see was a woman on stilts who was walking around and juggling. We stopped several times to watch her.

We had a great day out, and will have to keep our eyes out for other fairs and things to visit this summer!

 

Photo Friday

It’s Friday again! Lewis and I are having a cozy (and theoretically productive) day inside, away from the wind and rain showers. We are reading many repetitions of our new library books today, and coming up with new and interesting ways to enact birds-in-nests-with-eggs. We are also hoping for good weather tomorrow for the Niska-Day parade and fair!

Tea party! Who needs play dishes when you can use Mommy's actual tea pot and matching little cups?

Tea party! Who needs play dishes when you can use Mommy’s actual tea pot and matching little cups?

Just cute. :)

Just cute. 🙂

Mixed-media art. He requested both markers and paint.

Mixed-media art. He requested both markers and paint.

Cleaning up after painting, playing with a boat we found along the way to the bathroom.

Cleaning up after painting, playing with a boat we found along the way to the bathroom.

Yesterday Daddy's old Tae Kwon Do belts became a tangled nest for Mama-bird-Lewis to sit on her eggs.

Yesterday Daddy’s old Tae Kwon Do belts became a tangled nest for Mama-bird-Lewis to sit on her eggs.

Play-dough nests full of little birds who have hatched from their play-dough eggs. He is carefully feeding tiny seeds and worms to them.

Play-dough nests full of little birds who have hatched from their play-dough eggs. He is carefully feeding tiny seeds and worms to them.

Another nest of pillows and blankets.

Another nest of pillows and blankets.

Veggies For Breakfast – Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Life is continuing on here in much its usual way. Toys are played with and strewn around the apartment, hide-and-seek is played at least fifty times a day, and vacuuming is done over and over again, as are dishes and laundry washing. We go for daily walks and spend as much time as possible digging in dirt, looking for bugs, an picking dandelions.

All this busy time playing and exploring the world requires some good fuel. If Lewis had his way he would still be mainly fueled by constant breastfeeding sessions (in between digging in the dirt, playing in the sink, and carpeting our apartment with a random assortment of objects.) He still chooses to nurse several times a day, but I need some real food to fuel my part in all the activities, and he does a pretty good job of eating his share of real food as well.

Breakfast was the last meal we started giving him regularly, because he just wasn’t interested for a long time. Even now he can still take it or leave it depending on what’s on offer. However, oatmeal is one thing that I can pretty much always count on him to eat a good portion of and fill up his little tummy.

A big bowl for Mama, and a little bowl for baby.

A big bowl for Mama, and a little bowl for baby.

Often I go the easy route of cooking it in the microwave. Yes! Real oatmeal can be cooked in the microwave! It’s just as easy as those packets of “instant” oatmeal, and you get to avoid all that extra salt, sugar, and other unpronounceable ingredients. Just mix your oats, water, and whatever extras you want and microwave for 1 minute at a time, stirring in between until you reach your desired consistency. (But do keep an eye on it because sometimes it likes to mysteriously overflow from the bowl.)

Some days I feel like putting a little more effort in and actually cook our oats on the stove top, adding some extra ingredients to make it a little more fancy and give it an extra boost of nutrition. I think it was on The Kitchn website that I first saw the idea of adding an egg to oatmeal, although I can’t find the post now. It makes the texture of the oatmeal a bit lighter and creamier, plus adds a little extra protein and whatever other good stuff is in an egg. And of course I’m always looking for ways to add more veggies into all of our diets.

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Mmmm.

This recipe is inspired by carrot cake, although to be honest it doesn’t quite taste like carrot cake. it would need a lot more sugar for that, and the texture is completely different, but it is still very yummy! The measurements here are all approximate since my cooking style involves mixing together a handful of this, a pinch of that, and a good shake of the other thing.

“Carrot cake” oatmeal (2 servings)

1 cup oats

1 carrot finely grated

1 egg

1 1/2 c. water (sometimes I substitute in some juice or milk instead – juice adds a little sweetness, milk makes it more creamy)

1 handful raisins

2 -4 T shredded coconut

2 t brown sugar

1/2 t cinnamon

1/8 t each ginger and nutmeg

 

Mix oats and grated carrot. Whisk in egg until well mixed. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil on medium heat, turn down heat and simmer stirring occasionally until done.

Optional toppings: Chopped walnuts, more coconut, a splash of milk or cream, a dollop of plain greek yogurt, a drizzle of maple syrup. And if you are Lewis, an extra handful of raisins on the side!

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So good I could wear it!

The oatmeal has some visible orange flecks from the carrot, but this doesn’t seem to deter Lewis at all. Yum yum!