Monday, December 31, 2012

The New Year

It is just a few more hours until we ring in the New Year. The boys are in bed and husband and I are keeping things really low key tonight. 
I am excited for what this next year has to offer. I don't make new years resolutions but none the less there is always room for improvement and change and I am open to it. I am excited that I started blogging more consistently this year and am excited to see what else I get to capture with my growing boys come the next. We wish you all a Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

This is the second year we have gone to a "you cut" tree farm. We were so excited to hop in the car and continue this tradition. The trip was nothing short on an adventure between having to climb over the blackberry vines and having to contain two very excited little boys from not getting hurt or stuck in the vines, a stray dog that scared Bear and a random cat that wanted to come home with us. Despite all that we managed to  find the perfect Christmas tree.
We waited until the evening to decorate it with the boys. Bear was really interested in it and helped his Bubbie hang ornaments. We placed any breakable ornaments on top and left only non breakable ones on the bottom. The boys have done anything from push their trains on the branches like they were on rails, hide toys in it and have managed to pull down any ornament within arms reach. So in other words the bottom half of my tree is pretty ugly. But hey, that is the way life goes with kids sometimes it isn't always pretty but we are non the less enjoying our half beautiful tree.

Monday, December 17, 2012


 The blog has been silent for the past week. What started as a few days of busy mom life turned into intentional silence after the horrific event  that occurred last week. I thought about not mentioning it on the blog and have a place where just for a second people may get away from the news but that felt so wrong. Though I have no eloquent words that will form any sort of meaningful sentences. All I can say is that my thoughts and prayers are with all those families.

Be back soon.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Making Memories - The Polar Express


Last week were were able to celebrate Christmas a little early and receive our first present from  my in-laws.  We discovered that there is an actual Polar Express train show that runs in a city near us. We were all excited to hop on board and see what we were getting ourselves into.

We were served hot chocolate and cookies as soon as the trip started. Bear was obviously in heaven ( no need to mention his train obsession again, right?) We were given a sweet golden ticket that the busy conductor came by to punch. We all enjoyed having the book read on the trip and singing Christmas carols but of course the highlight of the show was Santa coming on board. I was so pleased to see that Bear was not the least bit apprehensive to talk to him. In  fact when Santa asked what he wanted for Christmas, Bear shouted "blue Thomas!!!" with such certainty that it made all of us laugh including Santa.

Like any outing with kids it isn't always some incredibly picturesque experience  Here's what these pictures don't capture. Two stir crazy little boys especially Wolf who was ready to get off the train a mere half hour into it (the trip is about an hour and a half), discovering that your older son gets motion sickness and well... having to change him out of his special Christmas pajamas that my MIL and I so carefully went hunting for the day before, the stir crazy feeling that you get as a parent when things don't go as planned and a trip that may be a little too long.

Despite those setback I wouldn't in anyway consider this trip a failure. I enjoyed the extra cuddles from W once he settled down and B was perfectly fine after he, shall we say, cleared his tummy. I brought an extra set of pajamas so all was well. I love that we now have this memory as a family. These stories are the type of things you will remember forever. No one ever recalls family trips  that went smoothly and perfectly in fact I would venture to say that most of us have funny vacation stories that didn't go as planned yet we hold these memories dear in our hearts and retell them through laughter. I think that as a parent we want things to go well and smooth (who doesn't) but when they don't we must remember that this is life. Not always perfect, sometimes a little yucky but always worth it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cardboard picture frame and Giveaway (closed)

As a child and even to this day I have been fascinated with how things are made or how things work. When I was little I have vivid memories of  watching Mr. Rogers' crayon factory tour and thinking it was  the greatest thing ever. When I was recently sent a few Curiosity Quest DVDs I was pretty excited. If you haven't heard of Curiosity Quest it is a family show that airs on PBS. Kids submit things they are curious about and host Joel Greene goes out and answers it a very hands on unscripted way. It sounded right up my alley. 

Here's what I loved about the show. I appreciate that although it is a kids show it engages the whole family, I was entertained and actually learned a few things along the way. Joel is a great host, he is  engaging and friendly but not talking to my kids through the screen (i.e. Blues Clues, Dora type shows). Bear totally loved it. (We don't always watch TV so it is nice to have a few quality shows I use as a special treat from time to time). You can be inspired and actually opens a dialog between your kids.

We watched the Family Recycling episode from their CQ goes Green seriesI was automatically interested in scaling this down to something that made sense to the boys. Here is what we came up with.
                                            Upcycled cardboard box picture frames

What you need: cardboard box, scissors, glue, scraps of paper or paint, masking tape
  1. I sketched out and cut the shape of the frame and measured and cut out the center according to the size of my picture. My picture was 4x6 so I cut the center half an inch smaller all around (3.5x5.5). 

    2. I had a few scrapes of construction paper that I tore into small pieces and had B glue around the frame 
I also had W finger paint his frame since that is easier for him to do.

Once dry I cut out a small square of cardboard to stick to the back I tried glue but later realized that it was hard to get the picture in once dry. I opted for placing my photo inside the frame first and then taping the back with painters tape since it can be easily removed if I choose to change the picture.
3. If you have takeout restaurant magnets you can glue one on the back and hang it on your fridge, or you can glue some ribbon to hang. 

I love that these can be great holiday gifts for the family made by your little ones and even better that it is all recycled material. 
I have even better news. Curiosity Quest also sent me two extra DVDs to giveaway to one lucky reader. These are great gifts and stocking stuffers so it's a perfect time for it. Good Luck! The winner will be announced here December 12th. Sorry, USA and Canada residents only. 
For more information and list of episodes be sure to check out their site. Just click on the image below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
**This is a sponsored post and giveaway. All opinions were my own and would only recommend things that I would sincerely use on my own**

UPDATE 12/11: Congratulations to Jamie R. Please send me your info at cuteandpeculiar (at) gmail

Monday, December 3, 2012

Zoo Light Rookies

Even Santa goes to Zoo Lights 

B was roaring at the dragon 

 My MIL was in town this week and we decided to all head over and meet some friends at Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo. We received complimentary tickets and since none of us have ever been, it felt like the perfect opportunity  We were lucky that the evening cleared up soon as we arrived and were able to enjoy ourselves without being totally soaked.

Being rookies we had no idea what this was going to be like. We were all pleasantly pleased at just how awesome Zoo Lights is. Between the animal display on the concert lawn to the giant dragon that shoots  out smoke (lights in shapes of rings) it was all amazing. But of course the thing that took the cake with my boys (if you have read this blog a little you will probably already know the answer) was the train. It was decorated with a ton of lights and takes you around the whole zoo with lit animal scenes staged all around . It was the first thing we did right when we got in to beat the lines and the toddler late night grumpies. Bear of course could have riden it all night and been perfectly happy.

Our night continiued with the older toddlers running around admiring all  the lights until they were both too tired and requesting a ride on the shoulders of both their papas. It hands down will be added to our holiday traditions.

For more info on Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo be sure to check there website HERE.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Art Process {In Pictures}

cute and peculiar

This scene was from a few mornings ago. It pretty much made my heart melt. Their finished work is proudly displayed on our easel in our living room.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Post {Toddler Approved}

I had the privilege to write a guest post over at Toddler Approved while she enjoys extra cuddles from her new little baby. Thank you Kristina for this opportunity  If you are interested in reading my post or finding more awesome ideas from her blog check out Toddler Approved.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Exploring the five senses - Taste

 This is one of the easiest of our Exploring the Five Senses series. I felt that the two easiest tastes to describe were SOUR and SWEET. This was easily done with a lemon and honey.

First we cut some slices of lemon and  let the boys taste them. They made a few pucker faces and after a few laughs I described the fact that lemons are sour. Surprisingly they actually didn't hate it, they kept eating it. Twitching a bit between sucks but they both actually ate their slices without so much as a fuss.

Classic sour face!
On to the sweet part of the experiment. Two sticky spoonfuls of honey. They obviously devoured it with gusto. They seemed to get the hang of SWEET pretty easily. In fact Bear asked for "more sweet"

Wolf wanted no funny business, he is guarding his spoon with all his might. 
 I love that this experiment  is so simple and straight forward. It is a great way to introduce your little ones to the concept of taste in such a simple way. 

Be sure to check out our other senses exploration thus far:
SIGHT- Reading in the Dark
SOUND- Sound Hunt
TOUCH- Exploring TOUCH a simple activity 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Spending time together

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a lovely time just the four of us, stuffing our faces with a ton of delicious food. Since then the boys and I have been taking it easy and enjoying decorating for the holidays and just playing together. 
Husband has been working a ton of extra hours lately so our time together is really limited. So when he called me yesterday telling me to get the boys dressed because we were going out, I was in. Turns out   there is a park near our house that on clear days you are able to see Mt. Hood perfectly. It was beautifully covered in snow that made it look a a little pink during the evening light. 
The boys have missed  their papa a lot so they were overjoyed running around the park with him. 
Afterwards we enjoyed going out to dinner and spending some much needed time as a family. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

On the Farm- Milking a Cow

Over the weekend I pulled out our farm animals and barn toys. The boys have had a lot of fun playing with them and I can see Bear's imagination growing by the second as he pretends to feed the animals and have his trains carry the animals along. 
When I worked at the preschool I came up with this activity (at least I think it's original) and it worked so well I was excited to try it with the boys. It is a way to teach your kids not only the basic concept of how to milk a cow but also it teaches them how to sign the word MILK in ASL (HERE is the link to what the sign looks like). 
You will need
  1. a latex glove (this will be the utters) 
  2. watered down white paint (milk)
  3. a pin or small sharp object
  4. something to contain the mess (i used a casserole dish)
First of all, you are going to want to teach them about cows and milk. Here are a few things I used
  • cows make milk
  • we can drink cows milk 
  • cows milk comes out of their utters
We read a few books and watched a YouTube video on how to milk a cow by hand. All the while having him imitate the hand motion of milking.

When we were all set up. I pricked a hole in the tips of two of the gloves fingertips. Then I filled it up with the watered down white paint. You could at this point tie the top of the glove in a knot so it won't spill everywhere. I only had one glove and wanted to be able to refill it once it was empty. So I held it from the top while the boys worked.

 Have your little one pretend to milk the cow over your container. At first we had a piece of paper inside the dish to attempt to make a finished art piece but the paint was so thin that it just soaked through the paper. We ditched the paper and kept working. 

The Results: This project has not failed me yet. Bear understood that milk comes from cows, and we freshened up on our "milk" sign and both the boys enjoyed this whole process. Bear splashed in the "milk" for a while and had to be reminded that it was paint and we really couldn't drink it. 

Afterwards we cleaned up and enjoyed some homemade cookies and a  real glass on milk. Not a bad morning.