Monday, July 21, 2014


  ^^The birthday girl sprinkling crushed eggshells on her plants - this is one of the few photos I have of her wearing something other than her birthday suit!  Ha!^^  

We celebrated Elise's second birthday earlier this month
- I can't believe I'm now the mama of a two-year-old!  Yee haw!
Here are a few of the highlights from the special day...  

We started the morning off by adding
a second beeswax candle to the birthday ring.

The decorations were inspired by the Montessori "celebration of life" birthday tradition 
- homemade collages of Elise's first two trips around the sun.

Elise's gifts from Hubs and me included a collection of objects starting with /e/:  
an envelope with a special birthday message inside, 
a Schleich elephant
a marble egg
a framed photo of Elise
and a felt eggplant

Elise loved giving these rainbow crayon party favors to her little guests 
- check out the tutorial here.

For the birthday "cake," I made a rainbow fruit pizza.
I don't have an exact recipe to share, but it's basically a sugar cookie 
topped with cream cheese frosting and fresh fruit.  Yum!

Friends and family came over to help us celebrate with a picnic lunch.  
Last year, Elise invited one friend and his parents, this year she invited two!  

Overall, it was a fun and busy day, but I felt like we kept things simple enough
that we were able to keep our focus on celebrating Elise and her second year of life!  :)
Check out E's first birthday here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

the pea fort: part 2

Hi there!  I just wanted to pop in for a quick "Hello!" and to give you an update on the awesomeness known as The Pea Fort.  The peas and beans we planted a few weeks ago are up and climbing the walls!  Woo hoo!  It's turning into quite the magical little hangout for Elise - and for me, too!  Most days we'll bring out a blanket, a few pillows, a snack, and a basket of books, spending the entire morning lounging, listening to birds sing and other cheerful neighborhood sounds.  Another little addition that we've been loving is the bird feeder - can you see it hanging in the back?  A pair of American Goldfinches have become regulars, and I think they're the prettiest little birds I've ever seen. 

I hope all has been well with you lovely readers and that you've been enjoying Spring! xx.

Monday, May 12, 2014

the wavy chopper

Last week, I introduced Elise to the wavy chopper, and it has totally transformed her experience in the kitchen. Now, in addition to scrubbing, scooping, and stirring - she can CHOP!

Here are a few tips I've come up with for using a wavy chopper with a toddler:

1.  The metal part of the wavy chopper is as sharp as a knife - only touch the handle.  

2.  Keep both hands on the handle when chopping.  This keeps little fingers safe, and provides some preparation for using an actual knife.

3.  Since both hands are on the handle, it's more comfortable to chop vertically, rather than horizontally.

^^^4.  When setting up a chopping activity, include a cutting board, a dish for the peel or any other scraps, a dish for the slices of fruit or veggies, and a dish for holding the wavy chopper when not in use.  

5.  Isolate movement: after each piece is chopped, set the wavy chopper down, and transfer the slice of fruit/veggie to the dish.  

^^^6.  Finish chopping before eating.  In the Montessori classroom, the children would also clean up before eating. We're still working on this one - Elise loves to sample!  Ha, ha - I do, too!  ;)

7.  Always supervise your child when using the wavy chopper!!!  It is a real tool, and it is sharp enough to cut fruits and vegetables.  While I rarely interrupt Elise when she's working, I don't think twice about reminding her to keep both hands on the handle of the wavy chopper.

A list of beginning foods to try chopping with the wavy chopper:

  • banana
  • cucumber
  • wedges of peeled melon
  • zucchini
  • hard-boiled egg
  • cheese  

OK, this is sort of off-topic, but are you feeling a little curious about what Elise is wearing in the above chopping photos?!  Well, if you are, here she is in all her unique awesomeness...

^^^I love her so much!!!!!!!!^^^

Hope you're all having a great week!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

happy mother's day!

Happy Mother's Day!

To all you mamas, 
and teachers (because you're basically mamas, too - just without the benefits!)
- I hope you've had a splendid day!

We spent the day working out on the pea fort.
Elise and I just planted the last of the seeds...
we can't wait to see what happens next!  

Did you do anything special with your family today?
I hope so!  xx.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

the pea fort: part 1

 ^^hard at work on the pea fort^^

Spring!  Spring!  Spring! 
I know it's been spring for over a month now, but around here, it's finally starting to feel like spring, too... and we just can't get enough of it!  We've been spending nearly all day, everyday outside - soaking up the warm air and watching the world wake up from its wintry sleep.  Ahhhhh!!!!

Elise's practical life skills have expanded to include digging, planting, weeding, watering - and building!  I've been drooling over pea trellis teepees and stick forts for some time now on pinterest, and we finally decided to combine the two ideas and build a pea fort.  Yay!  I am so excited for Elise to have her own nook to play in outside this summer, and to experience growing and eating her own food.  So far, it's just a frame, but soon we'll plant peas, beans, and some other climbing plants, and *hopefully* they will grow and cover Elise's little fort with leafy green goodness.

I promise to keep you all up-to-date!  ;)

some more pea fort inspiration:

1. Teebonacci Playhouse in the Garden (Organic Gardening)
2. Woodland Fort (dig this chick)
3. Bean Teepees (Lullbutton's Farm) 
4. How to grow your child a living den... (HubPages)

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