About me and my blog

jueves, 27 de febrero de 2014

What to do with old chunky puzzles

I am re-posting a series of posts from my other blog because I have the intention of eliminating it soon.
Here I am sharing an old post about putting chunky puzzles to use after they have been forgotten.

I am always on the lookout for ways to re-use materials and trying to make further use of a chunky puzzles the other day I set up a really simple activity that kept M busy for a while. These puzzles are the kind of material that after a few uses become old hat. I fear that is one of the disadvantage of most non open-ended materials. But well, with a bit of imagination we can reuse them!
For this activity you only need the wooden already mastered puzzle, a tray, and flour, salt or corn-starch. I covered the pieces with starch and presented it next to the base of the puzzle. I added a thick paintbrush as an invitation to uncover the "treasure".
M eagerly took the brush and dug up the pieces. She was quite excited to see what was buried there!

viernes, 21 de febrero de 2014

Best playdough recipe ever -in English and Spanish-

We are beginning to be pretty well-known around here for bringing our homemade play-dough to birthday parties. Since everybody seems to like it, I am sharing it once again.
(En español más abajo)
M concentrated on decorating the play dough with marbles, pipe cleaners and string
Many people ask me how to make play dough so I have decided to share our recipe once again. Since the people who ask me are Spanish and might not read English, I am going to re-share this old post of mine and translate the recipe.

It's been some time now since we first started making our own play dough. At the beginning, about half a year ago, M was not interested at all and the dough would remain in a basket on the shelves until it dried out. However, I decided to give it a go before Halloween and this time it has certainly been a success. We made it for a weekly play date and the other girl enjoyed it very much as well.
Something that has surprised me this time around is that the dough gets better and better the more used it is. M asks to play with it everyday and it has become soft and resilient at the same time that it's kept the cinnamon flavor. We are very happy about the recipe we are using, so I've thought I would share it.

2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of salt
2 tablespoons of oil
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
1 cup of boiling water
food coloring for color
essence, spices, or essential oils for flavor

We mix all the ingredients in this order and then knead until the dough looks all right.
We could make some balls to give as play-date favors out of this batch
This recipe contained a little bit of orange food coloring for color and cinnamon to give it a scent that would evoke the season. Another batch we've made had a little red coloring to make it pink and strawberry scent.

Para quienes me han pedido cómo se hace la pastelina que usamos en casa: aquí va la receta:

2 tazas de harina (idealmente, para una pasta fina y maleable, harina de arroz)
1/2 taza de sal
2 cucharadas de aceite
2 cucharadas de cremor tártaro
1 taza de agua hirviendo
colorante alimenticio (opcional)
esencias, especies o aceite esencial (opcional)

También podéis añadir purpurina pero entonces esta masa comestible 100 % deja de serlo. Con comestible me refiero a que los peques que siempre lo prueban pueden probarla sin problema, no a que se puede comer como si de un pastel se tratase...

viernes, 7 de febrero de 2014

The blowing wind and the relentless sun

My 14 month old is about to start walking and this made me feel kind of nostalgic today. It was another early spring two years ago when my -now- 3 year-old girl started walking.
The beginning of spring always feels special to me. It brings back the memory of the cool touch of the mist on bare arms on early mornings linked to a foreboding feeling that the sun would shine all day. And indeed it shined. The smell of dew on the fresh grass of March and the sight of the first almond trees in bloom.
We saw the first almond tree blossoms yesterday afternoon.
Spring strikes February... early, isn't it? And still, I dream. The first child delighted in her very first steps and I was way over the moon, entering a new, precious stage when I got pregnant again.
Two springs afterwards the second child is going to start walking any second and I feel the passing of time as change yet persistence. The blowing wind and the relentless sun.

domingo, 2 de febrero de 2014

Our week: quiet, joy, and sickness

We finally seem to have found a comfortable rhythm that works for us most of the days. Our days open up relaxedly with time for breakfast and activities, without having to rush, get dressed or stressed. I really feel much more at ease than when we used to have to get ready for school. We cook or bake our own breakfast, which feels tasteful and healthy.
Then, M usually chooses to check on the invitations I leave on the table, like this one: stencils. She works there for a little while and then usually asks to work with paint, clay or the like in the kitchen (aka area for messy work).
She has also chosen to work with the moveable alphabet (an uppercase wooden set that I found at a supermarket for a very good price and had my mother paint) as of late and she kind of pretends to write long words such as Papageno (in the picture). 

She finds special joy in music and has already spent several months asking to listen to Prokoviev's Peter and the Wolf and Mozart's The magic Flute over and over. She talks endlessly about Papageno and the Queen of the Night. Some months ago it was Peter and his grandpa. And this makes me think I have to post some of the music activities we have displayed in our music room. So much to do//post about// and so little done... I am slower than a sloth.

The wee one is really into practical life and loves helping in the kitchen, which often implies working at the counter. His self-pride when helping there is something beautiful to watch.

He came down with something on Thursday and has been rather sick. Just a short while after I took this shot, he started throwing up and I could do little to comfort him. After three nights and two days nursing kind of non-stop, he seems to be recovering and I am exhausted!
After lunch they usually have a nap and in the afternoon, before daddy comes home and I rush to my classes or book clubs we often visit or welcome friends or do something around the garden/playroom in the garage. We are setting up a light-table // shadow play area. I will show you around some time, just give me time, as you can easily see I am the worst photographer ever...
Hope you have a great week!!