Play Doh!

I made Mina some supper easy playdoh.

Mix: 2 part flour, 1 part salt, 1 part water.

No heat needed.

Optional: food colouring and cream of tarter for elasticity. Also jello also adds to the colour, smell (and taste!) but won’t stain like food colouring.

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Mina had a new toy. I think right now it is by far her favourite toy. It’s a shovel.

After our stroller work out and trip to Starbucks my friend Heidi and I took the kids (Mina and her BFF Jordan) to the Toy store so Heidi could get some crayons for Jordan. We let the kids lose while we looked and Mina instantly went to the gardening tools (no farmer in her at all). After checking out the tall spade and rake she grabbed a trowel and joined Jordan at the Thomas the train table. She set the trowel down for a few moments so I attempted to put it back thinking she was done with it but I was very wrong. We had tears and it was going to be a very big fight for her to part with it; at $4 it wasn’t worth it. Mina got her trowel.

That after noon and evening she rarely put it down. Here is my Twitters from this evening.

– Poor Mina doesn’t understand why she can’t eat her dinner with her shovel.

– Tears have ended, hunger won out and a compromise reached. The shovels stays beside her but she eats with a spoon.http://twitpic.com/4dax4m

– Her shovel need to ride in the stroller too. (I suspect she is sleeping with it tonight.) http://twitpic.com/4dc0kh

– Eventhough Mina was mostly asleep she still cried when she let go of her shovel. I would let her sleep with it if it wasn’t made of metal.

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Crayons!

After seeing crayons on some of the craft blogs lately I decided to make some myself. I used the Handmade by Jill’s post as a starting point but changed my method from hers by the time I was done.

I don’t have a stock of old broken crayons on hand so first off was a trip to the dollar store for supplies. I picked up:
3 boxes of 48 crayons
2 packages of 4 tin serving bowls
1 half dozen muffin tin

I already had some things on hand:
Parchment paper
Disposable chop sticks
1 cookie sheet

Jill used a double boiler but I found that method to be messy and I didn’t like having all that boiling water on the stove with Mina running around. In the end I used my oven.

How I did it:
First sort the crayons into groups by colour and removed the paper
Bend a spout into the tin bowl and placed a group of crayons in it
Placed the bowl of crayons on piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet (the parchment paper is really optional, it just protects the cookie sheet)

Heat the oven to around 250°F (Temperature isn’t exact you just don’t want it too hot.)

Put the cookie sheet into the oven and wait for the crayons to melt. This may take a different amount of time depending on the heat of the oven and the composition of the crayons. They will need to be checked on to see how they are doing. I DO NOT recommend turning up the heat to speed things up, I found they started smelling really crayon-y and suspect that some of the oils and pigments could burn/discolour.

Once the crayon are melted use the chopsticks (or any stick type thing) to stir the melted crayons together making sure all the oils, waxes and pigments are mixed.
Using the bent spout pour the wax into the muffin tin (or any other mould).

Let cool. This can be done in open air or to speed things up in the freezer. Don’t worry about them sticking to the mould they get smaller as the cool and should just pop out.

Alternate Method

This is how we made them when I was a kid. They aren’t fully melted and use crayon chunks so you can have these great crayons made of multiple colours or shades! This is a great method that can involve kids and they can design and make their own crayons.

Put paper cup cake liners in muffin tins and add crayon chunks. Put in oven till mostly melted.

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Real Thanksgiving

All three of us returned home for Canadian (real) Thanksgiving. (Sorry to our American friends but for us it true.) Gary stayed for 1 week while I stayed for a second week. We managed to fit in lots of fun and family the first week and more relaxed fun and family the second. Here is a quick update on our trip and here are pictures.

Week 1
On the friday after we landed Gary and I did lots of running around. In the morning Mina and I went to Mom-to-Mom while Gary visited his old co-workers at The Record. That afternoon we fit in a hair appointment with Julie; Mina even had her bangs trimmed! That evening Mina stayed with Grandma while Gary and I went out to dinner with friends.

Saturday morning Mina stayed with Grandma once again while our friend Chris took Gary and I flying. Wow, what a way to see the fall colours! That evening we had Thanksgiving dinner with the Burkards.

On Sunday we head brunch with Gary’s family before going to their house for a few days. While where there we had Nana, Papa, Robyn and West watch Mina while Gary and I went out for dinner alone for the first time since last November. We had a wonderful but too short visit.

On Tuesday we managed to slip a quick trip to Toronto in before Gary had to fly back the next day.

Week 2
The second week I took pretty easy. I tried to not make too many plans so not to be running all the time. Mina and I returned to Toronto (with Kirstin), when to a Tri-City Roller Girls match and generally visited with friends and family before flying out.

While visiting Scholars Choice Mina found a new friend.  She picked her off the shelf and carried her around the store with her and didn’t want to let her go. So far Mina calls her new dolly “Gee” much like everything else that she likes and carries her around by her hair (poor thing). I made a strap to hold Mr. Monkey in the stroller before we left and a second better one while at Mom’s and thank goodness I did! I need both on the trip home. One for Mr. Monkey and one for “Gee”.

The Wee One is One!

I know it is a little late but… Mina is one!!! (Ok 14 months now but whatever.) We had a small party to celebrate and unkie Simon and auntie Chrissy came to visit for the week.

We did plenty of sight seeing while they where here; we visited the Winchester Mystery House, Big Basin (the redwoods), Santa Cruz, Hwy 1, San Francisco and Alcatraz.

For Mina’s birthday we visited Gary at work for lunch at Cafe Macs and the next day we took her to the Children’s Discovery Museum.

That Morning Mina got her gifts from Mommy and Daddy, her first trike (a jet trike at that) and from Grandma a Sweet Pea which she loves to carry around and dance to.  That evening we had a few people by for cake and ice cream. We made vegan chocolate cake since some of our friends are vegetarian. and allergic to eggs. It was actually really good! We managed to get he kids to wear party hats and got plenty of good pictures.

See Simon and Christine’s photos of the week on MobileMe
See our Birthday photos, Alcatraz and HWY 1 on MobileMe


As far as first year milestones go she started walking a week before her birthday (and hasn’t stopped walking, running, dancing or climbing) and her first two teeth arrived in August and her next two just arrived this month.

The BEST chocolate cake ever…that happens to be VEGAN. I kid you not! (and they aren’t kidding; we now use this recipe whenever we make chocolate cake)

1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp distilled white or apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In an 8X8 square pan/dish, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt with a fork, making sure it is really blended together. Add the water, vanilla, oil, and vinegar, and again, mix together so that it’s really blended together. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides if necessary.

Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Cool on a rack completely (2 hours).

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Not so baby anymore.


The wee girl is getting big on us. She is not so much a baby anymore as she is a toddler.

Teeth: Mina’s first tooth started coming through finally on August 11. She liked to chew before but now she really likes to chew, well more like bit. That little tooth of hers is mighty sharp especially when she is trying it out on your hand.

Walking: Crawling is not longer good enough, Mina much prefers to walk (with help). Be it holding mommy or daddy’s hand, holding on to furniture or pushing something it is the best way to travel.

Discoveries: Mina is learning something new everyday, for better or worse. She has figured out that she can put objects back into containers but also has nearly figured out how to flush the toilet. She is waving “hello” and “good bye” and pulling everything out of the cupboards. Now that she can close doors we have to keep an eye on Sebastien’s bathroom (the one with his litter box in it) as she likes to shut that door effectively kicking the poor cat out. It is fun watching what she will do next.

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Cookies!

I have stated making my own teething cookies. So far so good; Mina seem to like them, though her favourite are still Happy Baby Puffs.

I found a website that has a collection of recipies on it, wholesomebabyfood.com, and I chose the Eggless Baby Cereal Cookies. With only 3 ingredients in equal quantities the simplicity appealed to me.


Eggless Baby Cereal Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 cup baby cereal
1 cup juice

Directions:

Mix ingredients well. Roll out and cut into shapes. Bake for 20-30 min @ 350 deg. F.. Freezes Well

*Dough will be very sticky and seem “wrong” and may be hard to work with. This is as it should be so do not panic. You may wish to add more flour and/or cereal to achieve a more doughy consistency.*

Trina’s Note: I find that rolling the dough between wax paper and chilling it before cutting it with a pizza cutter make it easier to handle. Also, parchment paper works well instead of greasing the cookie sheet.

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Here are a few of Mina’s favorite apps for iPhone and iPad


iPhone

Melody Dogs – a musical game with little dogs that make different sounds when touched.

Peek-a-boo I see you! – Hide and seek peek-a-boo game.

Old MacDonald – One of our favourite developers, Duck Duck Goose, music app that plays “Old MacDonald had a Farm” with interactive animations.

Baby Rattle Bab Bab – Rattle that has multiple backgrounds


iPhone and iPad

Uncolor – a colouring app where touch removes the top layer to reveal the picture underneath.


iPad

Baby Explorer – Activity centre.

Kids Songs HD – Plays songs with interactive animations.

Itsy Bitsy HD – Duck Duck Goose, music app that plays “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” with interactive animations.

Bus HD – Duck Duck Goose, music app that plays “The Wheels on the Bus” with interactive animations.

Sound Toy – Touch music and colour generator.

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Nom nom nom

I’ve been having fun making Mina baby food. Grandma gave us a little food chopper to take home with us so I could try my hand at making my own. I already have a manual food mill but find it hard to use unless the food is very soft. (No sharp blade). This one is electric and has a sharp blade so I have a larger variety of foods I can use. It is also much easier to clean.

I’m excited to make my own as I find all the baby food in the stores here very smooth. I was thrilled when in Canada I could get food of different textures; I even brought a few jars back with me.

So far Mina seems to enjoy her new food.

So far we’ve tried:
Banana and Avocado, Banana with Cherries, Mango with Cherries, Mango and Avocado, Watermelon, Strawberry and Rice Cereal, Fruit Salad: the same one Gary and I eat and Salad(!): lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green fruit juice (has some veggies in it) and rice cereal (she ate it!)

I think she will be eating a lot of avocado and banana as they make great creamy base. Rice cereal and oatmeal seem to be working well to help keep things from being to soupy but avocado and bananas I think taste better.

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