Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ideas for "Crazy Hour"

I don't know about for you, but most days at our house, sometime between 4-5pm, we hit "crazy hour".  At this time, the girls are typically antsy to do something, maybe a little cranky after waking up from naps, definitely not ready for bed, but not peaceful playtime partners either...  we are all ready for Daddy to come home (especially mommy!)

I was thinking about this and thought I would come out of hibernation in my blogging and share my "go-to" ideas for this hour:

1. a dance party (inspired by my friend Becca, whose work did this everyday at 4pm... I blare my pandora disney channel and go nuts)

2. get the kids in the tub (makes things less hectic after dinner, and the girls LOVE the water.  I always close the shower curtain at the end and let them go wild splashing...)

3. build a fort (always a favorite)

4. pop popcorn (and then eat it. may spoil a little dinner, but everyone's happier at the table!)

5. do a 27 fling boogie (

6. sit and color (this is actually theraputic for mom, too! sometimes we make a card for Daddy.)

7. read a book together on the couch (I will only read each book once a day)

8. cut out pictures of things you like from magazines, catalogs, coupons, etc. (I cut coupons while the girls cut out things they like...)

9. play search and rescue (kind of like hide and seek but entails a flashlight, a dark room, and typically a lot of screaming...)

10. if all else has failed, turn on a movie :)

photo credit:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Preschool at Home: The Letter "I"

Here you can see our attempt at making an igloo out of marshmellows and toothpicks.  It didn't go too well as Kylie just wanted to eat the marshmellows, and I couldn't quite figure out how to do the roof-- it was fun nonetheless, and now the girls can at least identify a picture of an igloo. :)

For the first time today, Kate attempted to write out her name on a coloring page-- its hard to believe she'll be four next month.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Preschool at Home: The Board

One of my projects this week was to create a board that would help guide my time with the girls when we do some preschool at home.  Using some great ideas from blogs (1+1+1=1 & Confessions of a Homeschooler) I put together my own version.  Since we live in a cozy house and don't have a designated room for school, I wanted to create something that wouldn't be an eyesore and would fit in with our girls' rooms.

On the top line I used some metal rings so you can flip to the correct date.

Then, we have the daily weather, which the girls love because they run to the front door together and then spend a few seconds deciding together which card to choose.  I used velcro on the backs of each of the weather options so its easy to switch each day.

Then I used some adhesive hooks to hang flashcards: this week is the letter "G", our shape is the heart and our color is green.  I really like our shape and color flashcards (made by Mead) because they have both the english and spanish words on the back.  Maybe I will take & post a short video of Kate emphatically practicing "orange" which is "anaranjado" for you sometime-- it's priceless!

To the right of the flashcards is a space for our Bible verse-- we try to memorize one with each letter of the week & review our old ones. 

Above the Bible verse, I created a space for the girls to place a card to represent the different things we are doing during the day.  I lay the different options on the table, and the girls "stick" them (again there's velcro on the back) as we do them.  This morning, Dave read the Bible with them, so they stuck that one up.  We went for a walk, they are now napping, etc.  Sometimes, they get to choose which activity they want to do (they played with their kitchen this morning and chose that one to stick)...

Friday, October 21, 2011

McKenzie, 6 months

The Kitchen: Mommy Martini

Okay, so the title is a little misleading.  In this season of life, if I were to drink a martini, McKenzie would also be getting a martini...  So here's my latest smoothie experiment displayed in a fun glass.

Here is my Mommy Martini recipe:
a whole pear
a whole apple
a whole banana 
juice from a lime
2 leaves kale
1 cup ice
1/2 cup water

I threw all of this in my ninja blender and voila!

In the future I might sub spinach for the kale because the kale texture kind of bugged me. 

The first question came from Kate, "Why is it green?"
Linnette: "Well, because its full of healthy vegetables and fruits"
Kate: "Mmm, its good."
Linnette: (thinking to herself) "This will never fly in a few years..."

At least for now this one passed the kid test-- Kylie had 4 servings!

The Kitchen: Beginning Baby Food

When Kate was just barely old enough to sit in the high chair, I was so eager to start feeding her baby food! I guess it was the excitement of something new to do with baby. It was super messy as both baby and mom tried to figure out how to eat/feed. I also personally see introducing solid foods as the beginning of setting boundaries for my kids-- no putting fingers in mouth while mommy is feeding, no hands in hair, yes look at mommy, yes open mouth, etc. I found this makes meal times so much less difficult, and my girls don't need a bath after each meal!

With Kylie, I waited a little longer before beginning because I was busier-- moving to a new city, helping Dave launch a new ministry, and trying to watch mobile older sister.

Now with McKenzie, I have waited so long that she is practically salivating while the rest of us eat. I've been hesitant to enter this new phase because potty training my middle girl has been quite an exhausting and refining experience, and my hope was to wait until we had that down before adding something else into the mix... But, at McKenzie's 6 month check-up, the pediatrician recommended I feed her solids at two meals a day... So, I guess its time to dive in to feeding her "real food" (as the rest of my family calls it).

All that to say, I made homemade baby food yesterday with Kate's help.
First, we made Zucchini & Rice:
I peeled two whole zucchinis, and Kate threw them in the ninja blender.  After they were pureed thoroughly, we added in some rice cereal and mixed well.  I like to add grains because it makes for a nice consistency and is more filling.  (I figure if you are going to feed baby, she might as well feel full afterwards!)

Next, I poured the mixture into an ice cube tray and then put it in the freezer.

Later, I pulled the frozen food cubes out of the freezer and put them into a tupperware container.

They will stay in the freezer, and I will pull out one or two cubes at a time, let them thaw, and then feed McKenzie.

We also made some banana and oatmeal baby food:

In less than 15 minutes start to finish (minus transferring the frozen cubes to the tupperware) and less than $4, I made 3 dozen servings of baby food.  

Here's Kate feeding her Wilbur while I fed McK...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Living Room: TV time for kids

I read last spring that on average in 2010, kids spent 7 hours and 38 minutes in front of a screen PER DAY!  I couldn't believe it!  That's more time than they are in school each day!

I find that our girls LOVE movies, but they also get bored with them.  Interactive games, blocks, books, our dollhouse and kitchen hold their attention much longer.  But, those activities can take a lot more work and time to introduce and convince them to engage in than popping on a movie.

I try to reserve a movie for the ends of those days when I need to get dinner ready and everyone is a little crazy.  And I have found one that I don't feel in the slightest bit guilty about showing.....

Leap Frog's Letter Factory moving taught my girls all 26 letters and their sounds after only a few viewings.  Its creative, catchy, and totally engages Kate and Kylie.  Its a great resource.  Just wanted to pass it on to all the families with young ones out there.  I bought mine on amazon...