Little Pea: The Latest Favorite Book at Our House


We came across another book at the library that has become an instant favorite for Anna and Lincoln. (Luca likes it too, but has become rather sick of it after reading it several times every single night for three weeks)

Little Pea is a book about…well…Little Pea, a playful and happy pea, who does not want to eat his dinner….of candy. He finally chokes down the quota of five pieces in order to receive his dessert reward of….spinach! yumm! It is very simply written and illustrated and the story is very easy for even the youngest kids to follow, but witty enough for older kids to enjoy as well.

Our favorite quote from Little Pea, when he eats his spinach, is one that Lincoln says daily now when I put something he likes in front of him at the table. “Yum! Yum! Extra Yum!!”


Learning from Franklin

I just finished reading the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and I am surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I put it on hold at the library after coming across a quote from it on a blog (I don’t even remember which blog) and thought it might be good for me to read something a little different than the fiction I normally read.

There were two things that stood out to me that I will remember and hopefully use in my life. Franklin developed 13 virtues that he wanted to master in his life. He numbered them beginning with the one he thought he could master the easiest and then once he felt it had become habit he would move onto the next until that one was mastered. All of the virtues he wrote (except for chastity, which begins with “rarely use venery but for health or offspring”…maybe taking it a bit far) were things I could see improving in my own life, but the one that I remember and have thought of many times a day since I read it was tranquility, be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. Having three young children I can certainly have many instances a day to improve on this virtue. Since reading about it I have caught myself before snapping at Anna over a spilled drink or chastising Lincoln for a pile of dinosaurs that got left out in the middle of the floor. It is just not a big deal. I can clean up the milk and pour some more and I can remind Lincoln nicely to pick up his toys when he is done playing.

Later on in the book Franklin decided to add the virtue of humility to his list. A friend told him once that he was proud and that he was not content with being right in a discussion, but was overbearing and insolent. He decided to make changes in the way he debated and discussed things and removed the words such as “certainly” and “undoubtedly” from his language and replaced them with expressions such as “I conceive”, “I apprehend”, and “I imagine”. Not only did his conversations go more pleasantly, but he noticed he wasn’t as embarrassed when he was wrong and people were more likely to agree with him when he was right. He attributes the mastery of this virtue to his influence with the public in his business and politics.

There were several other things in this book that I really enjoyed, but if I can remember these two things I will feel like I really learned something from it.


Lincoln has a New Favorite Book

The kids and rediscovered the library a couple of weeks ago and decided we are going to go every Monday for story time and to pick out new books. This last week we read through our books quickly and to made a second trip on Friday to restock.

The first story time we went to had a “colors” theme and the book “I Aint Gonna Paint No More” was read. Lincoln had a hard time sitting still for the first two stories that were read, but when this book was read he listened to EVERY word….in fact, all three of the kids did. A couple days after we got home I heard him reciting the words, “I aint gonna paint no more” and was surprised he had remembered the words. The next time we went to the library I told him to go pick his book and he very excitedly said, “I want ‘I Aint Gonna Paint No More!’” I was thrilled he was that excited for ANY book and was happy that they had one available for us to check out. We read it three times at the library, twice again when we got home, and four times today….and he still loves it! The book starts with a mischievous little boy getting in trouble for painting the ceiling/walls/curtains and door. Then his “mama” hollers, “Ya aint a-gonna paint no more!” (my favorite line) The story continues with the boy retrieving the paints high from the closet and painting each part of his body. The story can be sung to the tune of “It Aint Gonna Rain No More”, but we like to read it with accents for the mom and boy. It cleverly ends with a line that brings my kids to fits of laughter. The pictures are very colorful fun and the expression on the boy’s face in each of the pictures is hilarious. His sidekick (a dog) is funny as well and is by the boy’s side throughout the book (even in the tub!). Reading through the reviews on Amazon I can see that a couple moms didn’t appreciate the lack of proper English, but it is all in fun and it didn’t bother me at all.


Budding Artists

While at Barnes and Noble the other day we picked up the book Kids Mandala for the kids to color in. It is full of fun but simple concentric geometric designs that bring out the creative side of any kid. I remember coloring much more complex mandala’s when I was in seventh grade art class and spent hours making them perfect.

Luca has loved this book and has already colored ten or so of the pages, cut them out, and taped them in each room of the house. I decided to get online to see if I could find some patterns to print out to color as well and found a couple of neat sites that we keep going back to for more pictures. One of our favorites was this site. The patters were a bit more complicated than in the book we bought, but still not too hard for a five year old.

From that site we found patterns for these Pysanki Easter Eggs, which were my favorite, and we have printed and colored each of the patterns they offer. I ended up scrunched up on a toddler chair sitting at a table the size of my bathmat coloring for almost two hours after printing these off. Luca cut all of our creations out and taped them on walls around the house to decorate for Easter.

This is another site I found with some interesting designs. They are much more detailed than the others, but for an older child or a young one like Luca that can sit and color for hours they are great.

It was yet another reminder of how sometimes kids get the most enjoyment from the simplest things.

My New (Sugar-Free) Indulgence

I haven’t been much in the mood to write since I got back from my trip to Utah, but I have discovered something that I just have to rave about. When I was in St. George my Mom and I walked through the outlet and I slipped into the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory while she was in another store. I just wanted to see if they happened to have any sugar free, low-carbish goodies that we could have. They had a BUNCH of stuff in it’s very own little sugar-free case and I spent the next ten minutes reading through the nutritional guide and picking out four pieces each for my Mom and I. I figured we would spread them out throughout the rest of the day and night and would have more than enough. After sitting outside in the sunshine and eating all but one of our chocolates (we had to save at least one thing for the two hour drive to Las Vegas) I decided that I needed to go back in and get a box of chocolates for Brett. So I went in and loaded up on the two that had been my favorite and had them box it up and seal it with a sticker so I wouldn’t sneak into it before I got home. I think I had six mint meltaways and two big peanut butter “buckets”.

Sooooo, two days later I ate the last chocolate out of the box (Brett did get a couple) and for the next five days moped around the house and whined about how I wish I had bought more. I did a search online and found their website and looked up the store locations and what do you know!! There is a store just a block away from the new building that Brett’s work just moved into this last weekend. I put my order in with Brett this morning and I thought it about it ALL day…seriously. He came home with a 2 lb assortment (and $30 less dollars in his wallet) and made me a very happy wife. He got several caramels, which they hadn’t had at the store I went to in Utah and they are sooooo soft and chewy and perfect. He also got one called something like “vanilla caramel chew” that is covered in milk chocolate that was really good too. I decided that since I had gone five days without I could have three pieces tonight and then I need to limit myself to two a day. So tonight I had a vanilla caramel chew, a mint meltaway, a third of a caramel, a third of a peanut butter bucket, and a third of an english toffee. Oh, wait. I had all of the toffee. So I was a little over my limit, but close enough!

So now for the bad news. Sugar Alcohols (maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, etc.) affect people in different ways and some people can’t handle them at all. I have found that in moderation I do okay, but if I eat too much or eat some for several days in a row I get a bad tummy ache. Sometimes I do it anyways because it is worth it (until I get the tummy ache) and then I just don’t eat it again for awhile to get it out of my system.

I know what I am getting for Valentines Day!


Favorite Baby Gifts

The ladies at church threw me a baby shower when I was pregnant with each of my three kids. They were so generous and kind and thoughtful to give me one and especially kind and generous to give me one for #2 and #3. I was looking through my box of stuff that I would like to scrapbook someday, but I don’t scrapbook so it will stay in a box until Brett throws it away, and I came across some of the cards from the baby showers. It got me thinking about some of the cool and useful gifts I received and some of the things I have found out about since then that I would love to give or receive at a baby shower. Here is my list of fav’s:

Raffi: Let’s Play — This is full of fun and catchy songs for kids to sing, dance, and play to. My kids know every song on the disc and never tire of it. It is the cd I feel like playing when the sun finally comes out in Seattle. It just sounds sunny to me. I especially like the added verse to “If you’re Happy and You Know it” that says, “If you’re beautiful and you know it shout hurray!” We like to shout an exuberant “Hooray!!” when we sing it. I also like that my kids could all have a Beatles song memorized by the time they were two years old. (Yellow Submarine)

Martha Stewart Baby: Sleepytime — One of my kids favorite cd’s to fall asleep to (this is the other one). The melodies are soft, simple, and soothing. I just looked through the list of songs to pick out a couple of my favorites and I can’t even do that because they are all so good. But if I HAD to pick a favorite I guess it would be “Baby Mine” by Alison Kraus, because I love anything by Alison Kraus and Dumbo still makes me cry and miss my Momma. Brett’s really likes “Love is Strange” by Everything But The Girl. (by the way, their other favorite bedtime cd is Kenny Loggins: Return to Pooh Corner. Also a great one)

Martha Stewart Kids: Playtime — Another great Martha Stewart music compilation! listening to this cd just makes me smile…and even more importantly, it makes my kids smile! When I hear it it makes me want to be the mom that makes cookies with her kids and lets them pour everything in the bowl and mix it all by themselves (all the while with a smile on her face) and who lets the kids play with play dough whenever they want. The only song I don’t love on this cd is “Mocking Bird” by Carly Simon and James Taylor. Love them, the song just gets a bit monotonous. But I do LOVE “The Fox” by Nickel Creek (we are huge Nickel Creek fans) and “Jump Up” by Dan Zanes and Friends.

Piggies by Audrey Wood and Don Wood — I got this book at Lincoln’s baby shower and it is still a favorite with my kids. It is a book that can be read to babies, toddlers, or kids. The kids like to find each of the pigs on each page and then they search for the balloon and the beach ball.

Anything made by my friend Shae, but especially something with minkee fabric — Her blankets are just the best! She has a great eye for colors, patterns, and fabric matching and she bundles it all up cute with a ribbon and tag. They are well worth the price and you can’t find a softer or better made blanket for what she charges. I haven’t personally seen the shopping cart covers, but I definitely want one if I have another baby.

Kiehl’s baby products — They are a bit pricey, but if you want a special and unique gift this is a great one. I was at a shower for a friend and someone gave her a basket with an assortment of Kiehl’s baby products, ($$kaching!!) and I fell in love with them. They are very gentle for baby’s soft skin and great for little ones with sensitivity to other products.

Anything from Janie and Jack — Again, kinda spendy, but we have always found darling clothing on the sale rack. I like to send it to family in Utah for gifts because they don’t have any stores there yet. The boy’s t-shirts are my very favorite to get for Lincoln and we really like the rugby’s and button ups for him as well.

Kidco Baby Food Mill — I got this at my work shower when I was pregnant with Luca and didn’t realize what a neat little tool it was until a few months later. We could grind up pretty much whatever we were eating for dinner and I wouldn’t have to mix up a separate meal or feed her out of a jar. We ground pasta dishes, steamed veggies, fruit, and oatmeal…just to name a few. I think I even ground up a piece of pizza once and she loved it!

Gift Certificates or anything I have registered for — duh!

And my all time favorite gift to give or receive is anything homemade. The quilts, afghans, bibs, blankets, headbands, and the darling ladybug dress with a pinafore that my boss Mindy made me for Luca are all treasured gifts that have been given to our babies and they are ones that I will always remember.


Four month old Luca in ladybug dress