Can’t Get Enough of Those Beads

The beads and pipe cleaners from the last post have been a huge success with Els. She can’t get enough of them. But she has moved on from the actual beading to (in her books) bigger and better and more fun things! Here is how the rest of the day and the day after that, transpired…

Fun with Beads.The animals are hungry. Time to feed them hearts.

Toddler fun with beads.

The train’s coming with more food. And more hungry animals!

Toddler Fun with Beads.

Time to give the beads a bath.

Toddler Fun with Beads.

Squish. Swoosh. Splash.

Toddler Fun with Beads.

Can’t forget the animals. They need a bath too! Jump piggy.

Toddler fun with Pipe Cleaners

“I need my pipe cleaners!” Time to play again. Phew. The animals made it  safely to the top of the squiggly mountain.

Endless! How much toddlers can do with simple materials.

I just wish my energy could keep up with her imagination…

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Getting ready for Valentine’s: Beads and Pipe Cleaners

One of my favorite things about being a mom, is — Arts n’ Crafts. There’s something about glue and glitter, clear glass jars filled with colorful pom poms and  beads, paint, ribbons etc. that make me giddy. Much like a two year old’s enthusiasm.

That being said, since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I thought I’d get a little head start and do some Valentine-themed crafts with the babe. You may see a little ‘heart’ motif/trend going on for several more posts leading up to Valentine’s. I’m a little obsessed lately. With hearts that is. But not as obsessed as Els and her polka dots. Which is a huge relief, seeing as though she’s been wearing the same polka dotted pants for one whole week straight.

Here’s what we have been up to:

Toddler Valentine Crafts with Beads and Pipe Cleaners.

Playing with beads and pipe cleaners.

This is actually an idea I got from one of Els’ art classes. I’ve come to discover, toddlers LOVE to string beads. Not to mention, beads are great for sensory play. It’s also great for hand-eye coordination, concentration, and keeps them busy for a solid amount of time. Els had a blast making these.

*Please note: You should always supervise your children while playing with beads.

Toddler Valentine Crafts with Beads and Pipe Cleaners.

I got a variety of beads in size, shape and color and got a few select shades from the Valentine family of pipe cleaners. The pipe cleaners are great to work with because it’s big enough for little toddler fingers, but slips through even the smallest bead with ease.

Toddler Valentine Crafts with Beads and Pipe Cleaners.

Just string them through! Put the beads through the pipe cleaner one by one. Add a bell for a little jingle. Make decorations.

Toddler Valentine Crafts with Beads and Pipe Cleaners.

Make Bracelets.

Toddler Arts and Crafts

Make gifts.

Valentine's arts and crafts

Make fun.

Toddler Valentine Crafts with Beads and Pipe Cleaners.

But most of all, make mommy and me time.

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Movie Night Snack: Baked Cauliflower ‘Popcorn’

I originally saw this recipe from Delighted Momma. She had me at ‘tastes like French Fries.’ I called Mark immediately and told him to bring home some cauliflower on the way home. Urgent.

And WOW. I have to say, this is my new favorite dish to make. It is super easy. Super healthy. And super delicious. I tend to always ‘healthify’ all my recipes, so even though the original is pretty healthy, i ‘healthified’ it a little more by cutting the oil and salt in half and changed it up a bit.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:
1 Head of Cauliflower
1 Tablespoon and a 1/2 of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt (i only used a pinch since I would be dipping it in ketchup)
1 teaspoon of red hot chili flakes ( you may omit this if you don’t want spicy)
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Prep:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash and Chop cauliflower into small pieces.
3. Mix in the Olive oil, salt, chili flakes and pepper.

4. Lay on a greased baking sheet evenly.
5. Put in oven and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Stir it around 3 times. It should get really brown and crispy.

Once it’s done, serve right away with a side of ketchup and hot sauce! If you do not like ketchup, plain is good too. Another option would be a side of marinara sauce.

Mark and I, ate these instead of popcorn for our movie night and thought it tasted better than popcorn. Or it at least was a very nice, enjoyable change. And bonus: Els devoured them too!

Sunny in California

The one thing I noticed living in Los Angeles, is that people seldom talk about the weather. Not like when I lived in Toronto and every other conversation started or ended up with the weather in some way, somehow, and rightfully so. When it was minus 30 degrees (celsius) outside, and you were numb from head to toe, the only thing that made sense at the moment was to say something about it. And then when the weather turned nice, it was almost obligatory to say something again!  But in LA, the weather never really changes. It is always sunny. It is always beautiful. And as far as weather drama goes, it’s actually pretty drama-less.

However, today, I must say, after a few cold days/nights — I woke up, stepped outside and proclaimed out loud so that everybody can hear: “It’s so beautiful out!” Because it was.

And what better way to spend a beautiful day, than to go to the zoo with your family.

And here we are: brushing goats. Hugging goats. Kissing goats.

Catching a glimpse of a giant Orangutan.  A lazy Zebra. And A flock of beautiful pink flamingos.

And visiting the California Condor Rescue Zone. Feeding a baby condor. Standing in their habitat. And helping clean their living space to make it more safe.

“Did you have fun?” I asked.
“Yeahhhhhhhh!” Els exclaimed with so much joy, I remembered why we do any of this in the first place.