Monday, May 18, 2009

Itty Bitty Boxers

Today was Day 1 of our potty training adventure.

This weekend, I whipped up a couple of pairs of flannel training pants for Miss C.'s doll. I think they look like itty bitty boxers - too cute! My daughter is absolutely in love with this doll that my mother-in-law lent to us to help with our potty training adventure. As it turns out, it was her childhood doll and she used it when potty training her own boys. It's at least 55 years old.

The plan was to follow the potty training in one day method, which got its start in 1974 with the book, Toilet Training In Less Than a Day, by Nathan H. Azrin, Ph.D. and Richard M. Foxx, Ph.D. I actually have a first edition copy in my possession, having borrowing it from my in-laws who used it on their own kids when they were toddlers. 

So far, Miss C. had three successful trips to the potty. We didn't exactly meet the goals set forward by the book, but then again, I never had my heart set on getting her trained in one day. All-in-all, I'm very content with the progress she's made so far. I'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Play Dough Play Date

Yesterday's post got me thinking. Wouldn't it be fun to host a Play Dough Play Date?

Invite four or five of your mama friends and their little ones over for a group play date. Email your the the Play Dough recipe to your friends ahead of time and ask each one to make a single batch using a different flavor of Kool-Aid.

On the day of the play date, everyone brings their Play Dough over to your place. Split up each batch into small containers so that everyone gets to take home some of each color. Give the kids some of the handmade dough to play with, and enjoy an afternoon with your friends!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dough Dough

The first words out of my daughter's mouth this morning were, "Dough dough!"

Last night, I told her we were going to make Play Dough. She had no idea what I was talking about, since she'd never laid eyes on one of the colorful balls of dough, but she was incredibly excited. 

We bought her a little set of dough tools yesterday, and she couldn't wait to use them on her "dough dough". She had them all ready to go next to her bed in a little green bucket.

I've never made Play Dough before, but a dear friend of mine had sent me a recipe called "Sweet Smelling Play Dough" that she said her kids adore. I liked the idea of making my own dough, especially since my daughter is still young enough to consider eating it, so I thought I'd give it a try.

So while the little miss ate her breakfast, I whipped up a batch of grape-scented purple Play Dough. It was incredibly easy to make with minimal clean-up. The best part, of course, is that my little one loved it. I think she set a playtime record, spending a remarkable 30 minutes playing quietly in her high chair with her purple dough.

Making your own Play Dough is so much fun. I hope you give this recipe a try. And don't worry, the purple color didn't come off on our hands!

Sweet Smelling Play Dough

2 cups water
1 Kool-Aid drink mix packet
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar

Mix together the water, drink mix and oil. In a pot, mix together flour, salt and cream of tartar. Slowly add the liquid to the pot. Stir to combine.

Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture looks like mashed potatoes. Remove the dough from the pot and allow to cool. When cool, knead the dough until smooth.

Dough lasts a long time when stored in covered container or zip-top bag.

Mix together 2 cups of water

Sunday, May 10, 2009

When It Feels Right

My mom and grandma taught me how to make bread. 

Not the kind in the bread machine. We were too stubborn and old-fashioned to buy one. Besides, you can't add love to that kind of bread. Love is a rather temperamental baking ingredient; it tends to break down when you add it mechanically. It must be kneaded in by hand for full flavor.

I remember asking over and over, "But how do you know when to stop kneading?" 

The answer was always the same: "When it feels right."

And you know, mom and grandma knew what they were talking about. After some practice, I finally figured out how bread dough should feel when it's ready for proofing: soft and elastic, without stickiness. 

It's been at least 20 years since I was given those early lessons and I still enjoy the simple act of making bread. Twice a week, I make bread for my family's lunchtime sandwiches.

My daughter loves to help me make bread, lending a hand with measuring and pouring. Sometimes, she even leans in to help knead. She's almost 2 years old, so we have a long way to go before she asks how to know when the bread is ready.

I can't wait share my mom's and grandma's wise words: "When it feels right."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bedside Reading

I love being an attachment parent. In the last two years, breast feeding, baby wearing (I can't wait to start wearing the new baby!) and gentle disciple have become a part of who I am – although I still have to work very hard at striving to be my best mother-self, especially when it comes to discipline. 

My daughter was not a great sleeper as a baby, and it took a long time for me to come to enjoy bedtime. In the last few months, though, I've found that gently parenting her to sleep each day for naps and bed time has become a routine I look forward to each day.

Being a toddler, my little miss is big on her routine. First she picks out a few stories to read, which of course sometimes means she grabs virtually every book off the shelf. Then we snuggle in her big girl bed together, with me propped up against some pillows and my little girl tucked in under the covers with her favorite dolls and stuffed animals beside her. We read a few stories, then if it's night time I brush all her doll's teeth, brush her teeth, give her a kiss and tell her I love her. 

After that, I pick up my own book – and a flashlight if it's dark – and transport myself to another time, a different local and into someone else's life. Most days I read until she falls asleep, then I quietly slip out of her room. But sometimes, the book is just too exciting to put down right away so I settle in for an hour or two, reading while my little one slumbers beside me.

I was thinking about this yesterday, when I realized that there used to be a time I would long for this type of luxury, but never took the time in the evening to crack open a book. I was always too busy with other things after work.

Being an a stay-at-home mom has changed things. I definitely don't have time to read while my daughter is awake, but I do spend more time reading while she is asleep than I ever did before. I've become an avid reader, having managed in the last year or so to pour through many of my favorite author's novels and explore new ones. 

Yesterday, I finished reading Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. I happened to spot it last week while searching for something new in the quiet aisles of my local library. I had seen the movie many years ago but had never read the book, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I admit, there have been times when I've read a "classic" only to be disappointed. Not this time. Jane Eyre is truly a page-turner. There were so many unexpected twists (which I will not share with you, to avoid ruining the story) that by the end I simply couldn't put the book down. I had to know how Jane and Mr. Rochester's love would survive and bloom.