Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Tutu

This is our typical Monday afternoon..... The Tutu.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Little Pumpkinsky?

Kids drawing and coloring on the sidewalk.  Normally not a big deal. Yet, I found Simon's pumpkin especially interesting because this was his first representational drawing completely initiated on his own.  (In fact I was next door chasing the dog, and wasn't paying attention.)    I just love his Kadinsky-esque marks and use of complementary colors.  He diligently colored the whole pumpkin, ignoring my calls to come inside.  That's my boy.. The finisher...

Monday, September 16, 2013

All Charged Up

Ever wonder what it would be like if there were no kid toys?  I would be in heaven! Last week, my dad changed out his electrical outlets and light switches and gave them to us.  Since my 4.5 year old loves real tools, he spent hours putting these items together and then taking them apart again.  

This is a great way for your little guy or girl to learn "lefty lucy" and "righty tighty." Not to mention, practice hand eye coordination.  What are some non-toy items your kids love around the house?  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The White Balloon, An Adventure in Painting

     Little Miss V's favorite pass time involves paints, brushes, and paper.  Often she sits at the kitchen table with her watercolors painting away while watching PBS.  It's the only activity which involves no whining and no fighting.  Most days, I leave the paper and water colors out for her to paint when she chooses.  I love that she has no fears, no direction, just pure expression.  
     Yesterday, my dear friend, art teacher Yianna Angelopoulos from Smock Room, posted a great balloon painting lesson.  This activity was perfect to try with my 3 year old.  First, we recycled one of the balloons from her birthday party.  The balloon should have been a bit smaller, but we improvised. Next, I set up paper plates with bright neon tempera.  (She insisted on pouring the colors herself).   Finally, with the white balloon and roll of white paper, I let her experiment.  Dipping and rolling, then dipping and rolling again.  In the end, she felt strange holding a balloon rather than her usual paint brush. I really loved the texture of the balloon painting, and it was a new way for Miss V. to step out of her comfort zone.  

What sorts of paint instruments do your little ones prefer?  Write me a comment!

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Bit of Summer Magic- The Children's Garden at The Morton Arboretum

Last week we visited Morton Arboretum, in Lisle, IL. I'm sad to say that I've lived in Chicago my whole life, and have never experienced this beautiful place.  The Children's Garden was a fantasy land filled with various tree houses, sculptures, and water features.  The perfect place for children to wander off into their magical imaginations.  

As a parent, the most stressful area was the children's maze.  Can I just say, HEART ATTACK!!  Both of my children and their cousins ran off, and within seconds I was a screaming lunatic.  

There were so many water features to choose from.  Since we forgot our bathing suits, all the kids were soaked from head to toe.  Note to self: Next time bring bathing suits and crocs.

There was even garden inspiration for me.  Must hit some thrift stores to find old colanders, metal plates, and old cans to decorate my garden.  

So next time you are in Chicago, definitely bring your children to visit The Morton Arboretum.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day- A Firework Painting

     Ten years ago, when I was an art teacher, I had my second graders create their own fireworks paintings.  My dear friend Darcy, from No Monsters In My Bed, reminded me of this project, and inspired me to try it with my children.
     In order to adapt this lesson for a 3 and 4 year old, I cut a huge piece of black craft paper, and laid it outside on the patio.  We also gathered fluorescent paint, tubes of glitter paint, and brushes.
     Before we began, I showed the kids a 4th of July Fireworks, on YouTube.  We talked about all the bright colors against the black sky and the different types of lines.  On a piece of paper I wrote out some of the lines that we saw, and invented some new ones.  My favorite one was the "binocular line."
     Once outside, I told the kids not to mix colors. Each brush corresponded with the color of paint. ( I wanted each color to stand out and not end up a muddy mess). They had to make a mark, then put the brush back in the container.  After most of the black surface was covered with fluorescent paint, I showed them how to squirt glitter paint.  They practiced making zig-zag lines, straight lines, and even splatter paint all over the place.  In the end our masterpiece looked more like a neon Jackson Pollock rather than a firework painting.  Still, they had a blast and were thrilled to paint outside.

Monday, July 1, 2013


     Nothing says summer in Chicago like an awesome barbecue.  Our high school friend, who is an amazing chef, invited us to his pig roast.  This 60lb. hog was slow cooked Cuban style, with not an ounce of fat to be found.  Probably the best pork I've ever eaten! Not to mention, herbed butter encrusted salmon, corn on the cob, octopus, and kefte kabobs. If I wasn't chasing the kids the whole afternoon, I would have taken more tantalizing food pictures.  Still, the unusually cool weather, indie music, and good friends made it an afternoon to remember.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Just A Sunday Afternoon

As I made my summer list of Chicago excursions, I realized wanted to get back to my hobby of antique  and thrift store shopping.  The Randolph Street Market, was the perfect way to kick off the summer.  I dragged the husband and kids to the West Loop, in hopes of finding that perfect treasure.  Well, things didn't go exactly as planned.  The kids didn't want to sit in the stroller and the hubby was irritated with the kids. Therefore, I didn't have the peace of mind to wander and wonder through the rows of vendors.  Still, the day wasn't a total wash.  We listened to some cool live music, Simon found a vintage train, and best of all, we ate donuts! The Randolph Street Market is running again this weekend, so maybe you'll find me there in disguise, hiding from my family.

What are your favorite local antique or flea markets? 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer's Here, Will It Be A Walk in the Park?

Trying to keep these two occupied will certainly pose some challenges.  No naps and challenging personalities means I need to keep them super busy.  Yesterday we (including the dog) went on a nature walk to Lake Katherine and Botanical Gardens located in Palos Heights, IL. The mile or so walk around the lake only exhausted me and the dog. The kids not so much. How are you keeping your kids busy this summer?  Help! I need ideas..

Friday, May 31, 2013

Last Day of School

Nine months ago, Simon began his first year of Montessori preschool.  Throughout this school year, I have seen him grow and flourish. He has developed a curiosity and love of independent learning.

On the first day of school, he met his first girlfriend, who shared the cubby next to him. From that day on, they were inseparable.  They spent their time working on the ocean map, playing outside, and sitting next to each other at snack time.  At one point, they even had their first fight. The teacher made them sit at the "peace" table to "work it out." Simon's version of "working it out" was getting mad and staying mad.

As the year progressed, I realized Simon could care less about reading and writing. We did not receive one piece of enrichment homework.  I loved that! I figured he has the rest of his life to read and write, and only one year to be a playful four year old.

On the last day of school, I took the same picture as on the first day of school. I can't believe how much he and Vivi have grown.  He no longer wears shorts, his green Sauconys don't fit him anymore, and he seems a foot taller.  I didn't realize until I edited these pics, that Vivi's baby made it to the first and last day of school.  In a few months she will join the toddler program.

People always say that kids grow fast.  I never realized the truth in these words.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Boots and Dresses

My little Diva has taken to dressing herself lately.  Boots, dresses, glasses, and baby in tow.  A walk around the block in style.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Up-Cycle: Create a Chalkboard Table

My 11 year old niece generously gave us her old cafe table.  I have fond memories of her serving us tea and creating fabulous art projects on this table.  In fact, the table was filled with layers of scotch tape, glue, and glitter.  After much thought, I had the brilliant idea to create a chalkboard table.  I became even more excited when I realized that chalkboard paint comes in a rainbow of colors.  So much fun to pick a color.. I picked purple, to pull from the purple flowers in the fabric for the chairs.
A quick sanding, and a few layers of paint and new fabric, we had a brand new table and chairs.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Mom’s Confession: Nursing A Toddler

Everyone keeps asking me, “Are you still nursing her?” Um…. “Yes.” I always cringe, a bit embarrassed, but yes I’m still nursing her.  Vivienne is two and a half, huge for her age and every bit still needy for me.  Our nursing journey has developed from need, to want, to comfort.  Nursing a toddler looks something like this: play, fall down, nurse, comfort.

Am I over it?  YES, emphatically YES! I am over the pinching, pulling, hanging, undressing, nagging, whining, etc.  I am done!  Yet every morning, I give in.  At naptime, I give in.  Yet, she’s so cute, I can’t help it.  So all you moms out there, still nursing toddlers, it’s okay! I stand with you in solidarity.  

In honor of almost weaning, my husband photographed us.  I put on the dress my godmother wore to my christening, and Vivi wore one of my christening outfits.  A vintage Lord and Taylor, white sear-sucker tunic with a matching coat.  We gloriously jumped on my bed, then snuggled for some special time together.  I know she is my last child, and I wanted to mark this special moment in time.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Project Life: Week 12

Now that I am caught up, I actually had a lot of fun posting photos this week. It was a great escape from dealing with sick children and other responsibilities (like taxes).  


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