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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.

– Her shovel need to ride in the stroller too. (I suspect she is sleeping with it tonight.)

– 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.


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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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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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,, and I chose the Eggless Baby Cereal Cookies. With only 3 ingredients in equal quantities the simplicity appealed to me.

Eggless Baby Cereal Cookies


1 cup flour
1 cup baby cereal
1 cup juice


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


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.


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.


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.


Oh Canada!

On June 8th Mina and I few home home for a week long visit. Gary had to work so wasn’t able to come.

June 8th: Gary dropped us off at SFO to catch our 8 am flight to Toronto. It was my first time flying by myself with Mina and was a little nervous about trying to navigate the airport with her and our stuff on my own. I needn’t have worried as all the staff we friendly and helpful. Some one at security helped us through and the flight attendants helped me track down the stroller when it was accidentally put in baggage. One of them even offered to help me get to baggage since I was carrying Mina, diaper bag and carry on. I declined. Mina must be getting used to flying as she didn’t fuss much on the flight (no tears).

Grandma picked us up and we headed into Kitchener.

First stop was grandma’s where we dropped off the suitcases and said hello to great-grandma. Next we met Simon and Christine for dinner. Although a little unsure at first (hands behind the ears) it didn’t take long for Mina to be content sitting between grandma and Christine eating Christine’s keys.

June 9th: Woke up surprisingly early which was good since it let us catch an earlier bus into Toronto. Mina slept the whole way in and we arrived around noon. First stop was Price Roman to say hi and then downstairs to Second Cup for coffee and met Mandy and Thomas. After we hit up China town for paper umbrellas (very handy here in the sun) and Queen West for fabric. (My closest fashion district is apparently LA, 6 hrs away.) That evening we had dinner with Julie and Thanh at Everest. The staff were great as well as the food. At the end of the evening Thanh kindly walked us to Mandy and Eric’s for the night.

June 10th: After letting Mina and Thomas play Mandy and I took the babies out for breakfast at Sunrise Grill and Crepe. After a trip to the toy store we headed to the park where the kids played on the riding toys. A few more errands and we headed home for a bit before I needed to go back to Queen West to see Tess, Derek and Nicole (and even Marta) at Price Roman before catching the bus home. Mina was pretty tired but held up remarkably well. She slept most of the way home and was very happy to get back to grandma’s.

June 11th: What a busy day! The morning started off with chiropractor appointments then Mom-to-Mom and lunch with Misha at the Working Centre. After lunch we visited grandma at work till Auntie Chrissy picked us up and took us to Dreampower for some cute overload. That evening we joined Grandma, Great Grandma, Myron, Simon and Christine for dinner. After dinner we put Mina to bed and I took the opportunity to go out! Nick picked me up for and evening of bar hopping. We visited Jane Bond, The Huether and Ethel’s. We chatted over drinks and overall had a really nice night. Bed time was welcome when it came!

June 12th: A thankfully quite morning. After lunch we visited Jess and Jay at the house. The neat thing was that Mina was a little fussy on the way over but as soon as we walked in the front door she was all smiles and wanted down to play on the floor. It was like she knew she was home. Mina had her best nap of the trip there. All to soon grandma arrived to take us to the Gingerich gathering. Not everyone could make it but it was really good to see those that could.

June 13th: After West had a mishap with hot chocolate we were able to meet Nana, Auntie Robyn and cousin West for breakfast at Cora’s. After breakfast we went to the Highland Hills Mall to pick up some things from Joe Fresh, then poke around Toys R Us and Fairview Park Mall before having to say good bye. That evening Simon and Christine played host to the Burkards. Almost everyone made it!

June 14th: After such a busy week this was the only day we didn’t have any plans for. Happily nothing urgent came up so we were able to have a nice relaxing day in. Mom and I took the time to pleat some fabric for smocking that I could take back with me and otherwise we packed and prepared for the flight home the next day.

June 15th: Grandma drove us to the Pearson to catch our fight back to California. I must say, people are nice. If it wasn’t airport staff giving me a hand (like at SFO) it was other travellers (mostly at Pearson). This was a wonderful trend over all for the trip, people being kind and giving me  hand when I needed it. The Air Canada flight attendants on the way home where especially nice and gave Mina a blanket and pillow even though we weren’t in first class. Gary was met at the airport with big smiles from his little girl who was more then happy to be done traveling.

Over all the trip went wonderfully! Mina was a real trooper, and handled all the new faces and places with more grace then I could have hoped for. It did help she gave us warning signs, hands up behind her ears meant she wasn’t sure about something. Best to give her some space to avoid tears.

If you want to see pictures and video check my MobileMe Gallery. Grandma has the photos from the Gingerichs and Burkards.


Mina meets Katie

Katie is a doll I just made for Mina. I finished her in the weekend but she only got her face yesterday. This is their first meeting since Katie was fully finished.

Katie was made with a pattern I developed on the computer to sell digital copies of on my store. Katie is the first sample; changes are needed on the pattern and instructions written up yet.

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What happens when Mommy gives the little girl a crayon?

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