Nov 28, 2007

Fun Holiday Gift Guide

Cool Mom Picks Holiday Guide

I had plans to create a holiday gift guide with my favorite products for children. Fortunately, one of my favorite sites, CoolMomPicks already did the hard work for me! Their categories are a hoot (yet, totally useful); from “for the kid who’s starting to play with the coffee table and chopsticks” to “For Your Friend's Fashionista Tween Who You Have No Idea How To Shop For.”

And if you are just searching for great children’s toys, CoolMomPicks already did that one too.

Safer Toy Guide 2007

Thanks to the fabulous moms at CoolMomPicks.

Nov 25, 2007

Thankful for the Beach

As luck would have it, our Thanksgiving tradition is for my entire family to meet in Cayucos, California to celebrate for a few days. Cayucos is on the central coast, near San Luis Obispo and an easy meeting point for our families scattered across Northern and Southern California.

Here are a few photos of how we spent our Thanksgiving Vacation… flying kites with Papa (Grandpa), collecting shells with Vava (Grandma), drawing in the sand, building fairy houses out of beach treasures and best of all, going for long walks along the ocean with Papi (Diego).  

Nov 19, 2007

MomMade Play Dough

This week we made play dough – a favorite activity for my children. Our best recipe is the one that my Mom used to make play dough for my brother and I when we were little kids.

Making your own play dough is a simple “cooking” activity to do with your children. Then they have a nice fresh batch of play dough for creative play. Another bonus of play dough is that it smells nicer (you can even add aromas to your recipe) and all the ingredients can be found in your pantry. Play dough will stay fresh if you keep it in an airtight container. I also keep mine in the fridge. It is also fun to add glitter for sparkly play dough.

:: Mom’s Best Play Dough Recipe ::
  • 1 cup flour
  •  ½ cup salt
  • 3 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Food coloring – number of drops as your prefer
Put all the ingredients in a pan and mix with a wooden spoon over medium heat until it forms a ball. Viola… you’re ready for a play dough playdate with you kiddies!

Oh, the tools in this picture are a Melissa and Doug Modeling Clay Tool Set.

A Walk in Fall

On Sunday, we went hiking and mountain biking at New Melones Reservoir. This is Diego’s favorite local mountain biking spot. He drives there every weekend for his weekly mountain bike ride. Occasionally, the kids and I will accompany him and take a little walk/hike on a quiet trail near the lake. It was a beautiful California Fall day – sunny, a little crisp, a few leaves changing color, tons of acorns on the ground and a sparkly lake (extremely low – we need rain!).

We started out with Lautaro in the jogging stroller, “bici stroller” as the Malena calls it, and Malena walking in front. At the end, after meeting Diego, I was holding Lautaro while he nursed resting on the handle bar of bici stroller. Malena was on Diego’s back as he slowly rode his mountain bike. OK, not the safest modes of transportation, but you do what you have to when the kids start whining and you’re a mile away from the parking lot.

Nov 16, 2007

A Waldorf Doll In The Making

Today, I received the supplies to make a beautiful Waldorf Doll for Lautaro. He loves Malena’s Baby Doreengee that I made for her third Christmas, so it is time for one for him. Baby Doreengee will have a little brother. Oh, Malena derived Baby Doreengee’s name from my Aunt Doreen.

I ordered the doll making supplies from Weir Dolls. For Malena’s doll, I ordered one of their kits with a pre-made doll head, pre-sewn body and crocheted cap for the hair base. I worried that if I did the doll completely from scratch, it would look a bit non-human. The Weir Doll kit is wonderful with simple, easy-to-follow instructions. All the items necessary to make a beautiful doll are included and packaged nicely. No machine sewing is required if you buy the kit and select the pre-sewn body. I like buying the pre-made head, because I questioned my ability to create a realistic-shaped head using only wool, cotton tubing and embroidery floss.

Making Malena’s doll, I quickly understood, why an already-made Waldorf doll is so expensive. It takes a lot of love and time! It is a simple, yet time-consuming process. It is such a wonderful feeling and experience to be able to make your child’s first doll. I know that this is a doll that my child will treasure forever and be able to give their children. I believe that all the love put into creating the doll shows in the doll’s personality.

I would rather my child have one special, high-quality doll than many plastic dolls. Many people complain about the price of wooden toys, Waldorf dolls or play silks. If you buy less, yet high quality toys it probably equates to the amount one would spend on plastic toys that break and need to be replaced. Not too mention one of my favorite reasons for fewer toys – less clutter. Plus, if a wooden stacking toy is left on the living room floor, it doesn’t look as obnoxious as a plastic Dora the Explorer plaything.

Oh, if you are feeling really brave and crafty, like my friend Maria at MamaPlum you can check out this blog entry about making dolls from scratch. Darling and inspiring!

Nov 13, 2007

Yummy Pannycakes

In honor of my Vovo, I have tweaked a few pancake recipes and created my favorite recipe for PANNYCAKES – as my Vovo (grandfather in Portuguese) used to say. These are traditional, American-style pancakes. I have another recipe that is a crepe-style pancake that merges a Dutch & Argentine recipe that I will post soon.

Here is the recipe. We love our pannycakes with real maple syrup (no worries about high fructose corn syrup), local honey or homemade jam. Let me know if you try the recipe and how it tasted.
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur's Flour or Gold Medal Harvest King)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Sift dry ingredients into bowl.
2. Make a well in center. In the well, pour liquid ingredients.
3. Mix well and cook on griddle until golden brown on both sides.