Books We Love Right Now (kiddies)

Monday, September 01, 2014

I'm not the first one to blog about books my kids have been loving, but I figured I'm always looking for new recs, so here this goes out into the universe and maybe we'll get something back our way?



(clockwise from top left) A Sister More Like Me | Girl of Mine | Read Aloud Bible Stories: Vol. 3 | The Bunny Hop | The Day the Crayons Quit

1. I read about the Frozen book on another blog, and I'm SO glad we bought it. The story of two sisters with different personalities is of course apropos to having two girls of my own (as any sister - or even sibling - duo would be). The illustrations are simply incredible and darling. Here's the post from the personal blog of the illustrator, about the book if you're inclined to read.

2. Girl of Mine was gifted to us by my dear Jesse when we were expecting Juliette, and it has been one of our favorites since we started reading it to her. The story/rhyme is so sweet, and illustrations are so pretty. Molly reaches for it regularly now.

3. Read-Aloud Bible Stories are a favorite of Jules. They read these books regularly at their school, so it works great in tandem with reading them at home too. I love the illustrations, and the way the stories are phrased make them easy for her to remember. We have volumes 1, 2, and 4. There are a few families who gift this to every new baby, and we've been so glad to have our own copies.

4. I don't exactly remember where we picked up this little copy of The Bunny Hop, but it's Molly's absolute favorite book right now. I don't hate reading it either, since it's a long rhyme (easy to animate), and the illustrations are pretty cute. Molly loves what she knows of Elmo (of course), and is also a fan of Big Bird. It's a cute one.

5. We're definitely not the only ones to love The Day the Crayons Quit, but oh boy. Such a fun book to read (I enjoy it!), and the illustrations by Oliver Jeffers are so clever. Definitely a crowd-pleaser for both boys and girls.


So hit me back--what have you been reading with your kids?

End of Summer

Friday, August 29, 2014

It's still hot in Memphis (even though the bulk of summer was blissfully mild!), so it's easy for me to forget that technically, Madame Summer is about to exit stage left (hello, Labor Day). This morning, when I was getting the girls dressed, I suddenly felt this compulsion to put them in super summery things that would technically be faux-pas next week (though I'll not strictly adhere to this...just saying it out loud).

Jonathan picked up this dress (and a matching one for then-tiny Molly!) on a medical trip to Guatemala last year. It's shorter on her than it was last year of course, but still fits my big girl:



We just got these gold Supergas for the fall (I lucked out on a sale!), and I am loving them big-time. They're the perfect gold! Not too shiny, not too bright, not too dull, no glitter...just the cutest things.

I dressed Molly in her little white Mexican dress today plus piggies, so use your imagination for all things labeled Maximum Cute.

We had a fun week because Daddy had two days off this week (after working many many days in a row). We enjoyed the last baseball game of the season for our hometown AAA team, which followed pizza and the girls' first trip to see the world-famous Peabody Ducks' march to the elevator and back up to their duck palace for the evening.

In between school/work/outings, one can usually find Juliette dressed as Elsa, traipsing around the house letting-it-go.

This weekend, we're going to enjoy relaxing and an extra day together, playing outside and possibly hitting up the zoo. I think I love riding the train as much as they do.

These are truly the days!

Have a wonderful three-day weekend--I won't tell anyone if you're wearing your white sandals come Tuesday.

LUNCH FOR ONE / PEACH (CANNED) SALMON SALAD

Monday, August 25, 2014

Alternately titled "Costco Does it Again."

I know we're "supposed" to be looking for wild-caught salmon when possible (not farmed), so when I saw this package of wild-caught canned salmon at Costco (Bear & Wolf brand), I had to try it. If you're scared of canned meats in general, I totally get where you're coming from, but I ain't. I grew up eating canned tuna salad for lunch every Saturday (a tradition I've carried on into our household too)...so canned tuna has just been part of life.

I also love "salads" made with tuna and chicken so I thought salmon would be an interesting one to add to the rotation (while getting more omega-3s, always a good thing).

And, I don't know about you, but is there anything better in the world to eat than a perfectly ripe peach? I'm not sure I can think of anything. This summer, I've been buying the (non-recalled) boxes of peaches at Costco whenever we go, trying to take full advantage of peach season. The other day we went to pick up a few things (really, just a few that time), and I was driving home a little before dinnertime trying to scheme something up to eat. Usually when we go to Costco, it's late afternoon so I'll pick up a $5 rotisserie chicken to have for dinner so we don't have to worry about cooking anything when we get home. The other day though, they had nary a rotisserie chicken for sale (no samples either that day! horror), so back to my scheming. I was mentally scanning what we had in our pantry and thought, "peaches...canned salmon...combo?" Quickly googled the two and found that there are lots of fresh salad recipes for salmon salad with peach dressing, etc. but didn't see a "salmon salad" in the "chicken salad" sense upon first look, so voila. This probably isn't original (nothing is), but let me think it is.

It's surprisingly good (my kids both devoured theirs, if that says anything), and came together super-quick (another favorite criterion). I've now had it twice and thought I'd share for those looking for an easy something to put together (for lunch or dinner, for one person or 4...whatever!).



In my everlasting interest in avoiding measuring devices, all of this was eyeballed.

Peach Salmon Salad

1 can wild-caught salmon, drained
2-ish scoops of plain Greek yogurt (I used Kirkland, holla)
1/4 peach, cut up in thin chunks
slivered almonds if you want
3-4 shakes of cumin (or more), to taste
2-3 shakes of coriander (seriously), to taste
salt & pepper
fresh spinach, salad, corn chips (those are the Kirkland organic corn chips), or bread for serving

Combine everything, adjusting to your preferences.

If serving over salad, douse the spinach/leaves with a smidge of balsamic vinegar & olive oil before placing the salmon salad on top. I toasted bread for the girls and made sandwiches and they gobbled them right up! Two cans of salmon/the above was plenty for the four of us.

It would be easy to tweak for Whole30--replace the Greek yogurt with paleo mayo and serve over spinach or salad. Yum!

Let's Do This

Monday, August 18, 2014

The longer I break from this space, the harder it is to come back. In the back of my mind all last week were post ideas, swirling around my brain...then, this small/ridiculous voice would whisper in my ear, "no one would care about that," or "who would want to read that?" or "is this really important enough to break your sudden/short-ish blog hiatus?" Then I would get psyched out and fold some laundry or go read Outlander. "Tomorrow," I'd think. "Tomorrow."

Here I am, Monday night, with nothing super profound or overly important to say. But I'm here. In my little space, putting fingers to the keyboards. Write, self!

The past few weeks of news have felt truly nuts, you guys. It really feels like the world is fraying around the edges. Between the Ebola epidemic, what's going in Iraq, and what's been happening in our own country (not too far from here) in Ferguson, MO... my heart is so heavy. Lord, come quickly. I get the luxury of sitting here, meditating on the heaviness of all of this, praying...it doesn't make sense.

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Adjusting to residency/my new work schedule hasn't been that bad (thus far). One has offset the pain of the other, in a lot of ways. I love having an extra hour in the mornings, and two in the afternoons. In the old regime, I would have to cobble together a little business-casual on my person, get the toots dressed with all of their accoutrements in tow, and leave our house by the very late hour of 7:20 AM in order to get everyone everywhere on time. Well, no longer, my friends. We can leave a few minutes before 8:30 and all make it where we need to be on-time. It's been so great. We actually eat breakfast sitting down! Ha. The girls get to play for a bit! Heck, I even get to sit down and read them a book or two (how bad does it feel telling your kid you can't read them a book right now because you're in a rush(allthetime)? oh, it's the worst).



Our afternoons have involved lots of blow-up pool/sprinkler time in the backyard, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, the park--summer goodness. The nights when Jonathan has gotten home around bedtime, I've been able to jet out for a little run/walk C25K action (sans Jules, she's over it for now), which has felt so good. We're staring down a pretty sweltering week coming up, but otherwise this has been (broken record of America) the mildest summer and ohmygoodness I love it. It's mid-August and we're finally getting a full-on hot week. I can deal with this--the light is at the end of the tunnel.

The evenings (writing time) have been a little more difficult to manage, with Juliette going to bed later, and the chores piling up. I finish all the chores and it's time to go to sleep! This is the life of everyone, I know / #nothingnewunderthesun. Just not sure where this fits into our new world order.

I never regret writing posts here, if for no other reason than I like to read them years down the line. This blog may only be for me, but I want to try to keep the wheels in motion.

This is 3

Monday, August 11, 2014

"Mommy, what did you do at work today while I was at school?"



These are the types of insightful questions brimming from my now-three-year-old.

We had a grand time yesterday, celebrating this little pistol, who spent the first portion of her party running around the yard yelling, "IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!"

This girl is nonstop. She's curious, she's a little rough & tough, but manages to also be thoughtful and has a soft heart. She notices everything. Somehow she's girly but also not. She can 100 percent hold her own with the boys, but her favorite toys are purses and heels.

She loves collections, loves gathering pieces of things into containers, bags or bowls, and carrying them around to redistribute them. This morning it was the pieces to the new Frozen memory game in her purse; yesterday it was Molly's tiny bows she wanted to collect.

She still loves to sleep (when we can get her there). Once she's asleep, she sleeps hard (including naps). She would out-nap Molly six days out of seven. (I think they might even sleep the same number of hours in a 24-hour period.) She LOVES that sissy of hers too.

It's an understatement to say that music is her thing. I catch her almost studying songs when we're riding in the car, her lyric recall impressing us constantly. She loves "Paul" (McCartney, in any form), Feist, Sam Cooke, and songs from musicals (Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Music Man, Singin' in the Rain, Annie, etc.).

I love her.

I'm so proud of her. I can't believe she's a whole separate person sometimes (well, I can, she is asserting this fact to me daily). She is a joy. I'm not sad she's 3. I'm wistful, sure, but so excited to watch her grow up.

p.s. Two things I want to remember specifically: one, when I'm putting her to bed, she pulls me in close by the neck and says, "I'm gonna keeeeep you" (like from Frozen). Second, "A Whole New World" has always been our bath song, and ever since she's learned the words, she sings, "but when I'm way up here, it's Kristoff clear, that now I'm in a whole new world with you..." -- again, Kristoff from Frozen, and I can't bear to tell her it's "crystal." I hope she says "Kristoff clear" forever.

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