This has been one long, frigid winter, with lots of indoor playtime – perfect for coming up with new and engaging ways to play with the toys we already have. Since my little one really likes cars right now, and her Sesame Street friends, we created a roadmap of her world….all the places she loves to go or has heard about (like India).
I love simple activities like this as every new location on our map offers a moment of pause to consider what she and her friends might do there, like “Have a snack at T’s house,” “lay on the beds at Macy’s” or “eat cornbread at the grocery store.” You can even use this activity to teach them directions, like left and right, or even cardinal directions. Try it out with your little drivers.
This beautifully, sunny and frigid day has brought out the baker in me. A warm, chocolate chip and peanut butter cookie sure does sound like a great idea this afternoon, especially to my little cookie monster at home.
This is my favorite, “healthy” cookie recipe because it’s delicious and it came from my sister-in-law.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup quick or regular cooking oats
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt (Use less salt if the peanut butter already has salt added)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 T butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup chunky, all-natural peanut butter
1 t. vanilla
6 oz. bittersweet choc. chips
Preheat oven to 375. In med. bowl combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt and mix well. In big bowl, use a mixer to cream the oil, butter and sugars, starting on low & finishing w/ a couple of minutes on high. Add the PB, eggs, and vanilla and mix well. With the mixer on low, slowly beat the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture. The dough will be super thick. Fold in chocolate chips.
Form cookies into 3-inch rounds on a baking sheet and slightly flatten with the palm of your hand. Bake for anywhere from 5-12 min, until there’s just a hint of brown on the bottom of the cookies. I’ve found that baking time really varies depending on your oven and the kind of peanut butter you use. With my gas oven, I bake them for about 5-7 min. The cookies may seem super soft when you remove them from the oven, but they will harden, so just remove them when the bottom is slightly brown.
In the past few weeks, many of our loved ones have expanded their families. I want to offer this beautiful song, which reminds me of our initial days with our baby. There is so much sweetness in those little bodies and everyday I find myself saying, “I want to remember this.” Enjoy those snuggly, first months, take lots of videos, and make notes of all these precious experiences. You will be so glad you did in the days ahead. In the moments that you feel overwhelmed, know that we have all been there. There is no handbook for this role, just keep doing the best you can. Reach out to those around you for guidance, support and a helping hand when you need it most. It truly does take a village to raise a child and build a family.
Yet another super fun and active way to learn our ABC’s. Thanks for the fun beats, Usher! This will keep kids and parents groovin’ together.
We are all warned of the challenges that come along with the advent of age 2 – true toddlerhood. The most pronounced change with little J is the development of a strong will and the inability to regulate it, coupled with a much greater command of language. It reminds me of the early days when babies have big heads that seem so unwieldy atop their small bodies. It takes months to develop enough strength to hold it upright. I can see that it will take even longer to figure out how to manage self-will.
Our conversations sound something like this:
Happy Birthday, Jaya!
Momma made you some pumpkin muffins.
“I don’t want pumpkin muffins.”
Okay, you don’t have to eat them.
“But I want pumpkin muffins.”
Okay, you can have them.
“Noooo, I don’t want them!”
These exchanges replay in my head at the end of each day and I can’t help but smile.
My utmost favorite development this past month is that J sings. All the songs that we have been singing at storytimes, music classes, and even the ones I sing at home when I don’t even realize she’s listening, are now spilling right out as she wakes, sleeps, and sits in the backseat.
I just haven’t heard anything more beautiful than this sweet little voice. It is the perfect background music to our day.
There are definitely some tricks that come with 2, and there are lots of treasures too. Two has begun with sweet songs, the most loving gestures (“Momma get hurt? Let me kiss it.”), and perfecting big hugs.
As Jaya said to her buddies as they left her birthday party, “Have a nice cake!” May you have a nice cake, day and week as we begin again.
Today, you sing for the very first time.
You sing songs of friends, birthdays, and bubbling spirits
Of spiders, rain, and falling leaves
Of ponies, geese, and rocket ships.
You sing the song of the ice cream truck
Of sunshine and posies.
You wake in song.
You rest your head on melodies.
You sing the song that’s in your heart.
And it stirs so deeply in mine.
You sang your way to 2.
Happy Birthday, baby bird.
A sweet song from Nimo (Y’all remember him from Karmacy?). He’s back to making music. When it’s all said and done, “kindness will be all we can leave behind.”
I watch my little girl repeat and reenact all that I say and do in our day to day interactions, and I can feel the weight of Nimo’s reminder. There’s so much we want to pass on to our children, but there’s no greater gift we can give them or the world, than a legacy of kindness.
For N, J’s first friend. Friends allow us to see ourselves and the world so differently.
I see a rainbow,
Said her little friend.
Look, right here, there’s a rainbow.
“Wow, that’s amazing,” said J.
I see rainbows.
You see circles.
I see butterflies.
You see clouds.
I see you.
And you see me.
We each see things the other can’t see.
You teach me words I don’t yet know.
You make me laugh out of the blue.
You’ve been there every step of the way.
From crawling to walking, from babbling to talking
My friend, remember those tearful first days of school?
I often ask Momma if you’re happy there.
Don’t worry dear, remember the dragonflies we saw together?
In my heart, I hope you see rainbows there.
For me, Sunday has always represented a day for reflection, thanksgiving and readiness for the week ahead. I’d like to start offering a song each Sunday, a song for your soul. Here’s an inspiring song by an old friend who literally helped me find my place in a new city, many moons ago. I hope it speaks to you as it did to me.
“I’m just one man, what can I do? I got one pair of hands, just like you. I try to understand what difference it makes. I’m givin’ all that I can, but sometimes one man is all that it takes.”
Everything starts with one.
Coming up with recipes that are toddler friendly takes a village! The one big lesson I’ve learned with feeding my little girl is that, just because she can eat it, doesn’t mean she will. I thought she was going to gobble up everything once all of her teeth came in, but that is clearly not what followed.
Still, I try to involve her in the cooking process as much as I can, so she can enjoy the art of cooking and nourishing our family. Tonight’s dinner ended up being more like a craft project, but with some guidance, she was able to fill all the peppers and have a whole lot of fun, even though she decided that she would not partake.