February 26, 2011

Mini Me

Camellia is ready to be a docent side-kick! It was raining yesterday, so this is what we made. Don't you just love the little dripped metal buttons in the back? Now I just have to sew "pantalettes" (white pants that go under your dress) for the both of us, a bonnet for Cami, a "day cap" (fancy white half-bonnet that goes on your head) for myself, and some little leather shoes for Cami. Almost ready. Almost.

- Sarah

February 19, 2011

February 18, 2011

Last Night into Today

Well, last night I got my hair cut. I won't say by whom, but it did not turn out as planned. I looked a bit like a squirrel that was caught by a cat, but not killed. It was pretty bad.
Last night I made a new Columbia-inspired dress for Dolly. Complete with wooden buttons and a little green bonnet.
Last night it was pouring out and so windy I thought we would all just blow away. Me, Camsters, Husband, the dog next door, the whole town.

When I got up today...

I went to get my hair fixed.
Camsters loved Dolly's new old threads.
It snowed.

All is right in the world. Well... except the snow.

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February 16, 2011

Readin' Babes Series :: part 2

Readin' babes

A mother's quest to teach her child to read using the book How To Teach Your Baby To Read by Doman and Doman.

Chapter 8 outlines what you will be focusing on and how fast to go according to what age you are teaching. Since I am teaching a 12-18 month old, I will be focusing on the "First Step-- Single Words" and the "Second Step-- Couplets" or two-word groupings.

Now the fun part!

Making your word cards! Yay! The book says to cut strips of poster board to 22 inches long by 6 inches tall (22" x 6"). I cheated since poster board costs so much and you are going to need like a billion of these things.

I used 18" x 6" drawing paper. It isn't as thick as poster board, but is much thicker than printer paper. Then I used a red Mr. Sketch marker which is more like 1/4" thick instead of the suggested 1/2" thick (which I couldn't find). But I think they turned out fine.

The first 30 word cards I made are direct family words and self words (ear, nose, fingers, etc.).
The next 70 word cards I made are all possessions and favorite foods: doll, banana, toy, cup, carrot, blanket, jacket, car, etc. I also made a few animal word cards: butterfly, dog, duck, cow, bug, horse, elephant, and cat.
Next I will make as many verb cards as I can, then color cards (with the word on front and the color on back). Once I finish making those this week I think I will get started on our daily "reading sessions".

So get your materials together and we will start teaching next week!

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Readin' Babes Series :: part 1

Readin' babes

Around the time Camster was born, my mother-in-law sent me a book called How To Teach Your Baby To Read. I never really looked at it or thought about it until I was cleaning out Camster's room the other day. It was quite the feat. Bagging up old clothes, rearranging furniture, reassembling her bookshelf... and there it was.
So sitting there on the floor I decided to read it. I was impressed. All of the ideas and suggestions and steps made sense. Then I thought, 'why am I not teaching my baby to read?'
I've seen and heard about those infomercials on TV claiming to do the same thing, and they may, but honestly-- who wants to pay $300 dollars for something that seems like a TV sham? Not me. How about $20 on a book that tells you all the steps and tips to do it yourself? Okay.

Let's do it together!
First go get the book at your local bookstore or Amazon: How To Teach Your Baby To Read by Glenn Doman and Janet Doman, Square One Publishers 2006.

Read the whole thing. Yep! The WHOLE thing. It's a quick read I promise. This way you will know all of the steps before we start and you won't get caught short-handed on supplies.

Let's begin at the beginning. The ground rules:
1. The best time to teach is when your you and your child are happy and in good form.
2. Never teach when your child is upset, hungry, or tired.
3. Always stop before your child wants to stop.
4. Always be "joyous" while teaching.
5. Your child doesn't need to stare at the cards. They absorb information instantly. You also do not need to repeat the word when showing the card.

Also, your child's interest and enthusiasm for reading will be based on these three things:
1. The speed at which materials are shown.
2. The amount of new material.
3. The "joyous" manner of YOU.

Now get reading!

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12 of 12 :: February 2011

1. Eating blueberry pancakes
2. Cooking blueberry pancakes
3. Baby soakin' up some sun
4. Mommy reading a new-ish book

5. Making "word cards" for an upcoming project
6. My new refrigerator pic: my Auntie playing with Camster's Frida puppet at her birthday party. Oh my...
7. 10 o'clock already? Off to docent training in Columbia
8. Reading about "basic" placer mining. Does this look basic to you? Me neither.

9. From my rock collection: pyrite aka. fools gold
10. A marionette I got for my 7th birthday
11. Lately, my weapon of choice
12. Butterfly mobile in Camster's room

February 12, 2011

Docent Training

More updates! Well, one.
I interviewed last month for a docent position at beloved Columbia State Historic Park and was accepted. Hooray!

The last three Saturdays (including prep day before Camster's birthday...I know...I'm such a trooper) I have attended Docent training classes and still have three to go before I "graduate". Isn't it kind of funny to think of "graduating" into a volunteer position? I'm imagining the eight of us standing out by the gold panning shop in robes with the park rangers moving our tassels from one side of our caps to the other. Hee hee.

But in all seriousness, (or mostly) I am having a lot of fun learning about the California gold rush and Columbia's part in it. Now that I'm older and not in school and history isn't being shoved down my throat, I am really enjoying learning.

In fact, I should be doing my homework right now by reading all about placer mining, but isn't that what procrastination is for?

The most interesting thing about Columbia is all the history and stories all of the old buildings have. Every week we walk around to three buildings and one of the veteran docents tells us all about it and the people who owned it. That's what fascinates me... the people of Columbia.

So in order to graduate, we have to do a brief presentation on one aspect of the California gold rush or an event between 1850 and 1870. Some of the things my classmates are doing are: how the Oregon trail linked into California, Columbia judicial system, Columbia brothels, period costuming, the role and responsibilities of women, and a few more that didn't stick in my brain.

I decided that the majority of books, journals and other records account the lives and doin's mostly of men, a few women, and no children. Why doesn't anyone talk about the kids of Columbia? There was a schoolhouse built in 1861, but books only mention the teachers. There must have been children if there was a schoolhouse... right?

I mean to get to the bottom of this lack of information. I just have to make an appointment to do some research in the archive library. I plan to post my presentation on this blog as well in hopes that it will spur your own historical curiosity.

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Oh My Gawrsh!

I have so much to tell you! But first---

Camster and I watched "The Grinch Grinches The Cat in the Hat" today. I'm sure you all know how mean that grumpy ol' Grinch is... but I can't help but feel so sorry for his little dog. He's always so frumpy and sad. I just want to give him a puppy treat and a hug or something. Geez, doesn't the Grinch know how to take care of a pet properly?

Anyhoo--- I have exciting news! We...are getting... the Internet hooked-up next week! That means I can be a little more consistent in my posting and perhaps even open an Etsy shop. I have a few things together already, but I have SO much more I want to make. My only... one of my problems is that I always want to keep the cute stuff I make.

Also, I think I've mentioned that I have been taking fire dancing "poi" classes from Fiametta Poi since last October. For class we all use "practice poi" which is basically tennis balls on chains. That way nothing accidentally gets caught on fire (including yourself). Well, I just found out that my instructor wants me to practice poi dancing to a particular song to get ready for the real thing. The real thing... as in real poi... as in flaming fire balls on chains that I will be expected to swing and twirl around my body, and head, and hair. Hopefully I can make it through this poi solo of sorts with my eyebrows intact. Cross your fingers for me.

For anyone who has never seen a poi performance, here is a picture of one of my classmates fire dancing.

Now you know my fear. This isn't a long exposure either! I will have Husband record it so I can post a video clip here.

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Woodland Themed Birthday :: behind-the-scenes

Can you believe I threw a party for 15 people for under $200? For everything! Food, balloons, decorations, cake... the works.

All you need is a frugal eye, a stash of scrap fabric, and some random pieces of colored paper. Oh, and some glitter and glue. But that was kind of a given, wasn't it?

:: Food :: pictures are included in the 1st Birthday post

I gave myself a $140 budget since I was making everything myself. The menu included:
~ Red Velvet Cake. This my very well be my FIRST successful cake ever. And it was beautiful! I wanted to cry... not because my only child just turned one, but because my cake looked pro. Just look! I used two boxes of Duncan Heinz cake mix, my mom's recipe for buttercream frosting using fancy French chocolate, and a jar of raspberry jam for filling. The toadstools and leaves I formed from Walmart "gum paste" that was pre-made in a bag. Eww Walmart, yay pre-made.

~ Deer Droppings (chocolate covered cranberries) which I got half off.
~ Banana Bites. Follow these directions and it's no-fail. I rolled them in coconut flakes or walnuts and used about 3 bananas which was perfect for 15 guests.
~ Egg and Tomato "Toadstools". These were deviled eggs prepared like usual. But instead of laying out the egg halves on a platter, I smooshed the two halves back together and cut the bottom flat so they would stand up. Then I cut cherry tomatoes in half, scooped out the guts, stuck the tomato on top, and sprinkled with feta cheese.
~ Butter Garlic Roasted Mushrooms. I can't get enough of this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen blog *drool*. All I did was triple the recipe.

~ Pear & Mango Fruit Salad. Really it was just 3 pears and 3 mangoes chopped up. Nothing fancy, but great for color.
~ Gnome-made Mac n' Cheese. My mom made this from scratch and it was fabulous! I'll post the recipe later.
~ Ham & Spinach Strata. I made two of these for the party. Check out this post for my recipe.
~ Drinks included: Pepsi, ginger ale, Sierra Mist, and apple mango sparkling cider.

:: Decorations ::
I gave myself a $60 budget, but I had most of the supplies so really only spent:
$22 on balloons and small helium tank
$17 on plates and cups

1. Soda label covers. Just rip a label off and measure it. Cut the same size rectangle out of paper and decorate with glitter.
2. Paper cut-out animals on popsicle sticks. I found some great pictures to inspire me with a simple Google search. I glued them onto popsicle sticks to stick 'em into different food dishes for a little pizzaz.
3. Happy Birthday sign. I simply traced a circle using a jar, glued it onto black metallic paper, and then cut a border around the whole thing. I strung them all together using some thin ribbon and used my mad calligraphy skills to write the message. You don't need to do calligraphy, just get fancy!
4. I think this is called "bunting". Just cut triangles out of some coordinating fabric scraps and serge them in a line or sew them onto a long piece of ribbon.

5. The invite! What's a party without an invitation? You might not want to get this snazzy, but I had a block of linoleum and printing ink laying around and decided to make and hand stamp the cards. On one side of the stamp I had cut out the dear, and on the other side I cut out the number "1" leaving a dear-shaped gap where he would fit in. Crazy.... I know.
6. The owl piñata I made a tutorial for! Check it out.
7. And last, but not least... The fabric mushrooms I made from scraps. How? Check out my tutorial.

Hopefully this helps out anyone who wants a non-owl/fairy-exclusive woodland themed party. I had so much fun doing this. I'm thinking next year the Camsters should have a Parisian birthday. I could make french macarons... AND berets for everyone!... ANNDD little French mustaches! Run while you can.

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The Camster's 1st Birthday :: woodland themed

The Camsters turned one without a hitch! It seems to me that the first birthday is more about the parents getting through the first year than the child. I would like to thank everyone who came and for all the great books and gifts. Also to my parents for donating their house for the afternoon... We wouldn't have been able to fit 15 people in our 500 square foot apartment.
Love ya all!

1. "Good morning! Did you know it's my birthday today?"
2. Polka dot bunting is sooo 'in' right now.
3. Balloons out front
4. Handmade paper birthday sign

5. Paper animal cutouts, fabric mushrooms, and snacks
6. Deviled egg and tomato "toadstools"
7. My mom's "gnome-made" mac n' cheese.... Yum!
8. My ham and spinach strata

9. "Number 1!"
10. "I like this bag with the babies on it..."
11. More balloons
12. Camster's new read-along bear needed a hug.

The cake!
Red velvet with raspberry filling and a buttercream frosting made with French Valrona chocolate topped with sugar paste toadstools.
Oh... and my dad pretending to eat my hard work.

***Be sure to check out the behind-the-scenes birthday post for tips and tricks!

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