The Christmas Tree Farm

December 21, 2011

The Christmas Tree Farm by Ann Purnell follows a farming family through the seasons as they lovingly tend their trees.  I love kids books that remind us of all the people who have a hand in making our world as it is.  It is a little old for the Noodle this year, but I think next year he will ready for it.

Frozen CSA

December 19, 2011

The first delivery our frozen CSA arrived last week.   We will receive five deliveries this winter.  Our share included sweet corn, butternut squash puree, green beans, blueberries, tomatoes and fresh pea shoots grown at farms around the Hudson Valley then frozen and distributed by Winter Sun Farms.

Grab Ball

A Homemade gift for the Little Miss !  I found the pattern on Hobby Junkie.  Check it out here.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

 The illustrations in Jane's Ray's, The Twelve Days of Christmas, are gorgeous.  Out this year, it is one of the most lush children's books I have seen lately.

Cookie Party!

December 17, 2011

One of the highlights of the Christmas season is our annual cookie exchange.  This year we had twenty-five guests.  Our friends made spectacular cookies!  The bounty included rosemary butter cookies, chocolate crinkles, peanut butter blossoms, lemon basil cookies, brown butter rice krispies treats, molasses cookies with orange sugar, and ex-mother-in-law cookies that were dead ringers for Nilla wafers.

For snacking we served berry topped pavlova, a chocolaty buche de noel, and gingerbread with fresh whipped cream on the side.  There was also a hot chocolate bar.  Yum. 

Here are the basics, excerpted from the email invite we send out:
The Cookie Exchange:
Make 3 dozen cookies, come to our house for a party, and take home 3 dozen assorted cookies. If you want to come but aren't the baking type or don't have time to make something, you are still very welcome. You won't be walking away with cookies, but there will be plenty of drinks, treats, and holiday cheer to go around!

The Rules:
1. Bring 3 dozen of one type of cookie .
2. All cookies must be homemade. They don't have to be "Christmas cookies", but they should be something special.
3. Bring your cookies ready for display.
4. Bring a separate container for the cookies you will take home. **
5. If you can avoid using almonds or walnuts in your cookies, please do. Some of the cookie exchangers are allergic.
6. Tell me what type of cookies you plan on bringing so there are no duplicates. ** You need one thing to hold the cookies you've made and something else to collect the new cookies you'll take. The displaying and the exchanging happen at the same time so you need two separate containers

Paper Chain Countdown

December 13, 2011

I had planned on making a fabric advent calendar this year, but ran out of time.  A friend of mine reminded me of the classic construction paper chain countdown.   That I could manage!

Leaf Rubbings

November 14, 2011

Last week I made a bunch of paper leaves for the Noodle to toss around inside. So simple!  All you need are leaves, crayons, card stock and scissors.   Make a basic leaf rubbing and cut it out. You are done!

Turkey Day Cards

We try to get a mailing out to our family for each holiday.  For the cousins this year, classic turkey cards.  Inside each card reads, "We are thankful for you!"

Autumn Songs and Rhymes

November 9, 2011

Autumn Wind
Autumn winds begin to blow. (blow)
Colored leaves fall fast and slow. (move fast, move slow)
Twirling, whirling all around. (spin around)
‘Til at last they touch the ground. (fall to the ground)
Little Leaves (sung to tune of Ten Little Indians)
One little, two little, three little leaves.
four little, five little, six little leaves.
Seven little, eight little, nine little leaves.
Ten little leaves fall down

Autumn Leaves 
(sung to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down)
Autumn leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down,
Autumn leaves are falling down, welcome fall.

Sweep the leaves and put them here, put them put here, put them here, 
Sweep the leaves and put them here, welcome fall.
Jump right in and have some fun, have some fun, have some fun, 
Jump right in and have some fun, welcome fall.

Jingle Jangle Scarecrow 
(begin crouched on floor)
When all the cows are sleeping
and the sun has gone to bed.
Up jumped the scarecrow and this is what he said. (jump up)
I'm a jingle jangle scarecrow with a flippy floppy hat.
I can shake my hands like this, and shake my feet like that. (shake hands and feet)
(return to crouched position)
When all the hens are roosting
and the moon's behind the clouds
Up jumped the scarecrow and shouted very loud. (jump up)
I'm a jingle jangle scarecrow with a flippy floppy hat
I can shake my hands like this, and shake my feet like that. (shake hands and feet)


November 4, 2011

The wind has a bite.  The trees have a hint of color.  My kids are in their new wool sweaters everyday.   Must be November!   How did that happen?!

What Witches Do

I am a big fan of our felt board, but finding stories that easily translate to felt can take a bit of digging.   The poem What Witches Do is perfect for Hallowen. This is a little late in coming but good to remember next year! 
What Witches Do 
(Begin with witch with no hat on plain felt board) 
The witches don their pointed hats, 
(place hat on witch) 
The witches croak and croon.
The witches ride their broomsticks,

Away beyond the moon. (place moon with witch outline) 

The witches don their flowing cloaks,

The witches stir their brew.
 (add cauldron)
The witches chant their magic spells,

All the dark hours through. 

The witches stroke their big black cats,
 (add black cat) 
They comb their locks of gray.
Yet when the first faint daylight comes,
 (add sun) 

The witches hide away. (pull witches off board)

Autumn Snow

October 31, 2011

The snow started falling during our Halloween party and is expected to keep coming through 2am.  Unheard of!

Styrofoam Ghosts

October 27, 2011

My sister made styrofoam ghosts just like these with her daughter when she was two.  Six years later they are still one of their Halloween decorations staples.  I saw them when we were skyping last week was inspired to make our own ghost family.  This project is really simple.  

Styrofoam cups
Ball point pen

1) Draw faces with a a ball point pen on inverted styrofoam cups.
2) Poke a hole in the top of each of cup.
3) Thread a piece of twine through each hole and affix with tape.
4) Hang and enjoy!

Ghosts in the House

Ghosts in the House is a quirky story about a lively little witch who moves to a haunted house.  She quickly goes about catching the ghosts and putting them to good use as curtains, bedding and other linens.  This happy tales simple black, orange and white lino-cut illustrations totally won me over.

Floor Quilt

October 20, 2011

This quilt was a long time in the coming.  I tore a pattern for an embroidered crib bumper out of Marie Claire Idees magazine years before we had babies.   When I was expecting our oldest, Colleen started embroidering.   When Noodle arrived the bumper was half done (a bumper is really really long!) and it was stuck in a cabinet.   I had been trying to figure out what to do with it since. 

Turns out that bumper really wanted to be part of a quilt!  The Little Miss' floor quilt was made of all items I had on hand.  The twelve large squares are cut from old curtains and extra bumper fabric.  A fleece blanket is sandwiched between the topper and a backing.  And the bumper embroidery makes an extra special edging.

Jar O' Lanterns

October 19, 2011

I saw these Jar O’ Lanterns in this month’s Family Fun Magazine.  They are a fantastic project to do with little little ones.  We opted not to put a tea light inside.   

The House Mom and Noodle Built

October 15, 2011

We have to make room for more projects on the shelf, but I couldn’t toss this one without getting a few pictures.  We made this a couple weeks ago at our mom and tot art class.  The session was titled “Our House is a Very Fine House”.  It is a masterpiece of popsicle sticks, tape, model magic, pompoms and glue.

Apple Farmer Annie

Apple Farmer Annie is one of our new favorite fall books.  It is a simple story about how Annie grows and harvests apples in her orchard.  She makes lots of treats to sell along with the apples at the farmer’s market.  The illustrations are vibrant.  The text is straightforward. And it is a bonus that she drives her truck right into NYC to sell her bounty to us city dwellers.

Preschool Playground NYSCI

October 5, 2011

If I were a lady of means I would have a replica of the Preschool Playground at the New York Hall of Science installed at my country estate.  I love every ounce of it: the low rolling hills, tall grasses, woven and wooden objects to climb on, colorful plexi panels to peer through.  It is fantastic.

The Preschool Playground adjoins the ultra-cool big kid playground at NYSCI.  It is a recent addition, built to meet the increasing numbers of younger visitors coming to the center.

Stand Mixer Bubbles

I had been meaning to bring the water table inside for a while now, but an afternoon storm last week forced the issue.  We were going to need a post nap activity and playing in bubbles from the stand mixer was a perfect rainy day distraction. 

 My bubble making method is pretty loose.  I put a couple tablespoons of dish soap in the mixer and turn it on high.  I add just enough water to get the bubbles going, let the mixer run for about 30 seconds, then add more water.  I repeat the last step till the bowl is filled with bubbles. 

 It took about three bowls full of bubbles to fill the water table. 

Knit Love

September 24, 2011

Our little ones have a few wonderful knitters in their lives, but none compare to Nan!  My mom, their Nan, always has a project going for one of them.  She knits with intention and love.  This one skein kimono sweater was made for the Noodle.  It was his first sweater.  Here is the Little Miss wearing it for the first time. 

Apple Rhymes

September 23, 2011

Two Apples
If I had two apples, (hold up two fingers)
what would I do?
I'd keep one for me, (point at yourself)
And give the other to you! (point to child)

Five Red Apples
(fill in the blanks with the names of family and friends)
Five red apples in a basket by the door, 
Little ________ took one, and then there were four.
Four red apples were still enough for me.
_________ took one, and then there were three.
Three red apples, and what did I do?
I baked one in an apple pie, and then there were two.
Two little apples but before the story is done, 
________will make some applesauce, and that leaves one.
One little apple, I'll put in a sack.
I'll give it to __________ for an afternoon snack.

Bronx Zoo

September 15, 2011

We planned our Bronx Zoo trip for the first day the city schools were back in session.  Such a fabulous idea!  The zoo was empty—perfect for a fast moving two year old and  newborn in need of frequent snack breaks.