Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Egg Color Matching

Here's a seasonal way to practice identifying and matching colors.  Use some of your existing plastic eggs and put something that matches it's color inside.  We used pom poms or poofies. 

We started with the pom poms already inside their matching egg.  Daven opened all of them and we talked about what color they were.  After he had gone through all of them, he matched them back up and put them in the basket.

It's not a new concept and I'm sure plenty of people have done either this or something similar to it before.  But we both had fun doing this together.  He still gets stuck at times, but picks right back up once you give him the starting sound to the correct color.

As always, Mia wanted to participate in what bubby was doing.

Just Another Fun Day at the Zoo


Getting a penny smashed - he picked the tiger.

Having fun with Aunt Lauren.

In our opinion, it's never too cold for Dip n Dots!  This was the only time Daven actually sat down in the stroller.

Mega hat hair is just the cutest.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review: Not Like my Mother

I remember that weekend all too well.  I was finally allowed to have a couple of my closet friends over for a slumber party.  I was so excited!  They had been teasing me for months about how they were invited over to my house and we always hung out somewhere else.  It was finally my turn.  I spent hours arranging my room so that it was just right.

All went well until the morning after, when my friends awoke before me to find my mother sitting at the kitchen table in her old ratty nightgown, chain smoking. She sat there at the table with her coffee, cigarette and yesterday's makeup slouched back, like I had seen many guys do.

Did I mention she wasn't wearing any underwear?

This is the kind of thing that I envisioned would be in this book.  The silly, quirky things that our parents did to embarrass us growing up that we vowed not to do to our own children.  But it's not.  I made that excerpt up.

Irene Tompkinson brings her family's skeletons out of the closet for every reader to gawk at.  And you do gawk, because it is terrible.  Dysfunctional doesn't even begin to describe her family tree, from generations back.  But it's not like The Middle or Modern Family where the dysfunction is comical and every conflict gets resolved with a laugh.  Alcoholism, abuse and neglect burden Tompkinson for much of her life.

Tompkison is now currently a therapist and within her book, she strives to identify different coping mechanisms that people use and how a traumatic past can lead to decades of hurt.  It reminded me of my college psychology classes and my favorite theorist, Abraham Maslow.  The basis of his work is this: if your basic needs are not met, you cannot learn.  If you don't feel safe and loved; if you don't have shelter and food, you go into survival mode. 

Despite the heavy nature of this, I read it through cover to cover in one day.  I don't know exactly why I was so drawn to it.  I certainly had a safe, functional, happy childhood and family.  But it was so interesting to see how Tompikson transitioned from child to adult and mother herself. 

I am definitely thankful for my parents and my upbringing.  It was difficult at times to read the details of the hurt that Tompkison endured.  She was very brave to put her personal journey into print. 

I'm not sure how long the deal will last, but right now you can get the ebook for kindle for free.  Double check the price before you purchase.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chalk off the Sidewalk

The girls (Daven's treasured Deedee and Momo) are off for spring break this week and this afternoon they got to come over and play with Daven.  I decided to set up an art station for them so that we could try out using wet chalk on paper.

I used the same card stock and shapes that we used for our last project.  We have tons of outdoor chalk from last summer that doesn't get used very often.  They each had their own paint brush and water.

The girls seemed to have fun doing this project.  Daven sat for a total of about 2 minutes before he was back to his toys.  We found there are two ways to do this:

1. Dip the chalk in water and draw on the paper.
2. Draw with the chalk (dry) and then paint over with a wet paintbrush.

I think they turned out pretty neat.  The kids were finished a lot faster than I thought they would be though.  The whole process from the time they all sat down until the last shape was colored was about 10 minutes.  It would be great if you have a few moments to fill.

Marbling with Shaving Cream Paint

I found this fun little project while mindlessly surfing the interwebs.  There are two things that you need to know before doing this project with your little ones:

1. It's super simple
2. It's really messy

Because of the messy factor, we did this art project in the bath tub.  The ingredients are basic: shaving cream, food coloring or paint, and paper.  I added to this by cutting our paper into spring shapes and adding tools to use, such as paint and toothbrushes (old ones, of course), a plastic spoon, and even a little shovel.

The prep work did take some time because I was using cookie cutters as stencils to make the shapes and then cut them out.  Daven enjoyed using the craft scissors to cut along side with me.

Swim wear isn't necessary - I put him in some old trunks because I knew I wanted to take pictures of the process.

First, you squirt out a generous amount of shaving cream and then drops of color.

Next, give it a swirl, and see how the colors mix and blend together.

Take your paper and press down onto the shaving cream paint.  Or you can also use a brush to paint it on as well, although that doesn't quite give the same marbling effect.

Here's some examples of what it might look like after pressing the paper into the shaving cream.

Clean-up is easy when you're working from the tub!

It's also easy to transition from crafting to bath time.

After the shaving cream has had a few minutes to rest on the paper, wipe off the extra.  Some blogs say to use a squeegee.  But I just used my hands.  No biggie.  I'm still trying to figure out what to do with our pretty shapes.  Ideas are welcome!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter Egg Salad

Last night we dyed eggs.  Today I started thinking about what we could make to use the eggs.  When I was a kid, people would bring these to the Easter egg hunts.  But let's be honest - who really wants a hard boiled egg that someone else made and that had been sitting out in the grass?  I know that mom used to sneak and throw them out because she didn't want us to get sick.

As far as traditions go, dying eggs is great.  But as far as hunting quality and fun, I still say plastic is the way to go.

But onto today's lunch.  We made egg salad.  I used 3 of our dozen eggs, which was just enough for Daven and I to both have a sandwich.  We used Mayo and (too much) dijon mustard, plus salt and pepper.

Thanks to Aunt Lauren (or Lauren Jr. as the family calls her) we have an abundance of plastic knives from the Panera that she brought us this morning.  Daven really liked being able to cut the eggs into pieces, although I did have to show him how to hold the egg with one hand while using the other hand to cut.  It was a bit comical watching the egg slide around in the bowl every time he tried to cut it.  Since I rinsed the eggs off after peeling them, they were slippery!

Daven tasted a piece of the egg before we mixed everything together and hated it so much that he spit it back out.  I asked him to try it again after the mix was complete, and he liked it.

Next up: tuna salad!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Wildflowers Blog Tour - Book Review

" A story filled with abusive parents, bullying townsfolk, misunderstood teenagers." - Christina M. Condy on Goodreads

 I am a big advocate for young adult literature and when I found out about an opportunity to read and review a YA book, I couldn't wait!  Some people may find it silly, but even though I am approaching the end years of my twenties, I still enjoy a good book geared for teens.

This week only, Wildflowers is on sale for 99 cents!  You can grab your discounted copy now through the 31st.

Amazon (ebook & paperback)
ebook 99 cents March 25 - 31 *regularly $4.99

At the very beginning of the book, we are introduced to Aster, a teenage boy who has had a terrible home life.  The way his story is set up leaves little hope for his own happy ending.  Seriously - he has the kind of childhood that ends up on a Law and Order SVU episode.  He befriends a fellow classmate, Susan, and it is clear from early on that the focus of the book will be the relationship between these two characters.

One may assume from the title that this is a girlie book, but it isn't.  Most of the story is told from the male character's perspective.  I love that the reader gets an explanation behind the title early on.  It's such a clever one, too!

I should note that a  little ways into the novel, there is a quite lengthy discussion on Christianity.  I can see where this could be a tad off-putting for some readers.  I even found myself becoming  a bit impatient during this section.  Religion is a sensitive topic.  Benefield tackles this topic tastefully, though.  Once I read through the book completely and found out how the conversations about God between the two main characters plays into the ending, it all fit together.  Stand down, everyone.  It's ok.  A little religion is alright.

So if you grew up in a conservative Christian home like I did, the passages about prayer and salvation will feel familiar.  If you didn't, don't turn away.  There is SO much more in the book aside from the Christian overtones.  

Instead of simply being a story about a troubled boy and a naive girl trying to turn his life around, the issues run much deeper.  Benefield tackles a very sensitive topic in Wildflowers - domestic abuse.  Having had a family member of my own go through the pains of abuse, this topic is very close to my heart. I can't even imagine being abused by someone that you love, but I know how it feels to have to watch someone deal with the aftermath.  It makes me sick.

The end of the novel broke my heart.  It's a Nicholas Sparks level of tragic.  It makes me angry.  It makes me sad.  I wanted the story to end a different way.  Benefield definitely did an adequate job of getting me as the reader attached to her characters.

Even if you're not a young adult any longer, if you're looking for a read that won't break the bank, cash in on this week's deal and grab your copy of Wildflowers.  If you do, let me know so that we can talk about it!

Author Bio

Schledia Benefield is the author of Plain Jane, Pretty Boy, and her soon to be released novel, Wildflowers. She attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College but chose to be a stay-at-home mom for many years. She devoted eight years of her life to working with youth as a youth minister and has been invited to speak in a rehab to hurting and wounded women, giving them hope for a better future. She was the Keynote Speaker for Division 14 of the Key Club International’s divisional rally.

Born and raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Schledia holds a sense of pride in her southern heritage. She presently lives in Big Point, Mississippi with her husband and four of her five children. On top of writing novels, she writes youth and children’s church curriculum, and she works as a substitute teacher at East Central Middle School. In her spare time, she reads, sews, and spends time with her family.

 You can find out more about the author and connect online through twitter, goodreads, and her blog.

Social Media Links:

Check out the rest of the blog tour this week:

March 25
[YA] Between the Lines
Ohana Day Academy
The avid Reader 
Brooke Blogs

March 26
Rayborn Rambles

March 27
Now is Gone
Lubs Book Chatter

March 28
Library Girl Reads & Reviews
Sab The Book Eater

March 29
Pieces of Whimsy
Curling Up With A Good Book
Alli's World

Easter Egg Dying

A time-honored (smelly) tradition

Even though this will be Daven's 4th Easter, for some reason this is the first time we have ever dyed Easter eggs.  I had even bough all of the stuff we needed last year, but it never got opened.  Weird.

I hard boiled the eggs late this morning.  We talked about dying eggs all day.  I wanted to make sure that the eggs were cooled down from cooking, so I decided that we would do this activity right after dinner.

That was the wrong choice.  I should have waited until tomorrow.

After not napping yesterday, going to bed too late, getting up early and not napping today, Daven was not in optimal shape to sit down and do an activity.  Of any kind.  It's the 3-year-old defiance. 

He put a color tab in each container and helped me pour the vinegar in each one.  He wrote a bit on a few eggs with the "magic crayon" - AKA wax shaped like a crayon.  But since you can't really see what you're writing before the egg is dyed, he became disinterested pretty fast.  He also put an egg into each color, but said "I'm done" before they had soaked for very long.

I had prepped an entire dozen eggs, so I was determined to finish dying them even if Daven didn't want to.  All he wanted to do was take a bath with a bunch of random "toys".  I have been washing and saving random containers to be used for water play this summer, like an empty dish soap container and a creamer bottle.  He found the stash and wanted bath time.

So Adam and I dyed the remainder of the eggs while Daven ran around the dining room table like a crazy kid.  I was a bit bummed that Daven didn't enjoy the activity more, but at the same time I realize that he was just too worn out from the day to sit and focus.

Book Review: Insurgent

This is the second book in Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy.  If you read my review of the first book, I enjoyed that one even though I agreed with some of the harsh critics at the same time.  So what happens in this book?

Side note: I LOVE the tree graphic on the cover!

There are still four factions, although they are basically at war with one another.  The leader of one faction, the Erudite, manages to shoot a ton of people with simulation trackers.  As with what happened at the end of book one, this leaves many people unable to control what they do when the simulation has been activated.  It reminds me of a drone robot - activate the simulation that has been forced onto these people and they turn into soldiers. 

Why the title Divergent?  We found in the last book that Tris is in fact labeled that.  And she doesn't let us forget it either.  She is constantly reminding everyone and whining about it.  Why did I blindly risk my life for no reason?  I'm divergent!  Wah wah wah, I'm special and such.  At least that's how I read it.  Tris, honey, look.  I've got news for you.  You are not the only divergent and the others are much more composed and level-headed than you.   They've all managed to keep it a secret while you might as well be wearing a brightly colored airbrushed shirt from spring break 96 with DIVERGENT sprayed across it.

Anyhow.  Basically there is information that some people want to destroy, some people want to keep hidden, and others want to share with the factions.  At the very end of the book, which was the only real captivating portion in my opinion, that cat finally gets let out of the bag. (Meow)

What happens in the hundreds of pages before that?  Tris makes a bunch of dumb risks without thinking about other's feelings or her own safety.  Her and Tobias (called Four in the previous novel) break up and get back together a ton.  She finds out that her brother is kind of a turd, and Tobias has to deal with his daddy issues.  It took me longer to read this one, mostly because I was bored.

But dang it all if Roth didn't leave me hanging at the end with the twist and information reveal.  Well played, Roth.  Now I want to know what happens in the last book.  (shakes fist)

Wildflowers Tour

The tour begins today, and I'm scheduled for tomorrow.  Check out what other bloggers have to say, but come back for mine as well!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fancy Krispies

Today Daven and I embarked on a journey that quite frankly, took too long!  Regular, plain 'ole Rice Krispie treats are a snap (crackle & pop) but Daven wanted to make them Mickey treats like he saw a picture of on Nana's phone.  If you don't already know, my family is Disney crazed.  My parents are actually in Disney World right now.  And at Disney World, you can buy giant, Mickey-shaped, chocolate-dipped Rice Krispie treats.  I can't remember if they come on a stick or not.  But that is what he wanted to make.

Here's what you need for the basic recipe:

3 tbs butter
4 cups mini marshmallows (which amounts to a full 10 oz bag)
6 cups rice cereal

Melt the butter and marshies together, stir in the cereal, scoop out onto a pan or wax paper.  Ta-da!

We not only used our Mickey Mouse cookie cutter, but quite a few others as well.  Oddly enough, this is where Daven lost interest.  This probably had to do with the fact that it was pretty difficult to press the cookie cutters down into the krispie mix.  And since I made two batches of the stuff, there was a lot to do.  I did most of this by myself while Daven watched tv.

When it came time to dip and decorate, Daven was ready to come back and help.  And when I say help, I mean make a mess!  We used milk chocolate and white chocolate.  We also had two different kinds of sprinkles, as well as sweetened shredded coconut.

After a few minutes, Daven just started eating the sprinkles and dumping them from bowl to bowl.  I frantically tried to finish up before he completely covered himself in chocolate.

We did leave a handful of treats plain.  I haven't taste tested yet so who knows if they are any good!  We are taking them with us tonight for Nana, Papaw and Aunt Lauren.