Monday, March 5, 2012

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Designed by Santiago Calatrava

This weekend was the grand opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge in Dallas, Texas.

Bob and I took the kids to wish my friend, Shelly White, a happy birthday.  Shelly was there to promote the Trinity Strand Trail, which is part of the overall redevelopment of the area surrounding and including the Trinity River.  I initially got involved in this project because it is developing more trails in the Dallas area.

Anything to divert traffic from my beloved White Rock Lake which has been carrying the load for Dallas!

While Shelly was the main attraction, we enjoyed the bridge!  There were tons of food trucks, we saw the mayor, we ran into Clancy and Jackson and enjoyed the great weather.  I don't know if the bridge makes financial sense (it cost over $100 million), it sure is a nice addition to the City and we enjoyed our visit!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Products I Love - Isinis Brush

Long before I had ever heard of Mason Pearson ($100+), I began using the Isinis Brush ($17+), which is very similar in appearance but is not a natural bristle.  It also comes in a large and a small size.  I like the smaller ones better.  Not only is it more portable but it seems to work better for me.  I bought my first one when I was around 12 at the Carriage Shop at North Park and I have never used anything else since.  I have really straight, fine hair that is very thick.  Any other brush that I have ever used leaves my hair looking lumpy and separated.  The Isinis Brush leaves my hair looking really smooth.   And it comes in lots of fun colors and black.

The only bad thing is they are really hard to find.  The price can vary a lot too!  A few weeks ago, I was at a pharmacy in Highland Park and found them for $40!!  My favorite place to buy them is at the Beauty Store & Salon in Austin, Texas.   Since I don't live in Austin, my hoarder tendencies come out when I find them and I buy like 3 or 4 of them at a time.  They last forever, though so it's a good investment!  Another great thing about the Beauty Store & Salon - they have a great punch card program and all of their nail polishes are like 2 for 1 or 3 for 2 and they carry all of the best lines.  I love that place!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Products I Love - Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

I'm not the most organized person to begin with so getting ready with two little ones under two is a difficult task to say the least.  Some days I'm lucky if I even wear makeup.  And for those days that I do, sometimes all I wear is Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20.

It not only has the benefit of SPF but it really evens out my skin tone and gives a more polished look without being heavy or even looking like I have on makeup.  In general, I love Laura Mercier's products.  I buy everything at Neiman Marcus.  They are great about doing your makeup before events.  They will even put on fake eyelashes for you to finish off your look.  Nowadays, those events are few and far between but the customer service is wonderful!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Color Matching

Here is my next Busy Bag:

I am going to cut strips of the foam, glue them to the sticks and then write the color (in the same color) on the front or on a different stick.

Bead Sorting

Seventh Busy Bag complete:

I bought a bag of beads and color sorted them into different snack sized baggies.  These can be used to string the beads, color sort or simply just to mix them all up and let them run through the fingers.  Most of the colors had several different shades so you could teach that as well.  Ryan's still to young for that lesson but that's a perfect example of how these can grow with your child.

I will probably try to find those small baggies at the craft store to see if they are more durable because Katie (8 months) was very fascinated by these and was pulling on the baggies and they seemed like they would tear.  Obviously, these would be a choking hazard for her because the beads are small and every.thing goes in that mouth!!!

"M"elmo Books

Sixth Busy Bag complete:

These little books contain lessons in themselves.  For example, the bottom book is open to a page showing the difference between big and small.  

My son loves to "read" so these will keep him occupied but there is also an opportunity for us to do this together, with him "reading" to me or me reading to him!

Green Bag - $1.00
Small Board Books - $1.00
Total Cost - $2.00

Magnetic Math

Fifth Busy Bag complete:

Right now we will use this for learning the numbers and counting but since it has the plus, minus, multiplication and division symbols, the possibilities are endless.  

This can also be used initially for color sorting.  These numbers are magnetic so I need to add something for the magnets to stick to but I haven't found anything yet.  If anyone has some suggestions, please leave a comment!

Black Bag - $1.00
Magnetic Numbers - $1.00
Total Cost (for now) $2.00

Dice and Dots

Second Busy Bag complete:

As with the first one, all of these items came from the dollar store.  Obviously, I went all blue but you don't have to!  Here, you can roll the die and count out the dots or take dots away.  There are 12 dots so it matches the die perfectly.

Blue Bag - $1.00
Die - $1.00
Blue Dots - $0.25 (These come in 4 colors for $1.00)
Total Cost $2.25

"I Spy"

Fourth Busy Bag complete:

This one has 3 different magnifying glasses in it so you can either look at things under the different tools or share with someone and look together!

Right now I just have the tools in the bag so it will be up to Ryan to find the objects around the house or in the backyard to inspect.  Eventually,  I will probably add some cards with images or maybe even some rocks once I find some that I like and that I think work well.

UPDATE:  My husband got really excited when he saw this one and said he needed these for reading.  So I guess there's another use for this one!!

Green Bag - $1.00
Magnifying glasses - $1.00/$0.33 (I could also split these up and use one for this bag and the others for something else)
Total Cost $2.00/$1.33

Colored Blocks

Third Busy Bag complete:

As before, all of these items came from the dollar store.  This one is good for color sorting and counting.  You can also stack them.  I'm sure Ryan will come up with even more ideas.

Red Bag - $1.00
Colored Blocks - $1.00
Total Cost $2.00

Products I Love - Plum Pouches

When Ryan started eating solids, I made all of his food.  Then I discovered the Plum Pouches.

There are lots of different brands but for some reason we have always been partial to Plum.  You can buy a little spoon that screws onto the pouches but we just let the kids suck on them.  It was actually how Ryan learned how to suck, a useful skill for sippy cups - the next step.

These are so convenient because they do not need to be refrigerated, you don't need a utensil, you can screw the top back on when they are done and they are very portable.  Every once in a while I will still make food for Katie but, let's face it, with all of the demands on my time, this is much easier.

Friday, February 24, 2012

H&B Sports

Both of our children love dogs.  Gonzo (our dog) was Ryan's first word,

and Katie already knows who Gonzo is and looks for him when we say his name!  So H&B Sports was thrilled when we were asked to do the latest shirt for Norcal Boxer Rescue!

You can follow them on Facebook.  Or go to their website and help with their worthy cause!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Products I Love: Thermos Intak

Everyone needs to drink more water.

 I received this as a gift for Christmas and it has been one of the most useful things!  It is the Thermos Intak and I love it. 
There is a place on the lid where you can keep track of how many you have had that day to ensure that you are drinking enough water.  Also, the opening is perfect.  Ryan really likes drinking from it and seems to spill much less than other cups he drinks from.  It's like a graduation sippy cup!  Bob got one too and he likes his as much as I like mine!

Bye Bye Chocolate For Lent

My farewell brownies:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pom Poms + Container

First Busy Bag complete:

All of these items came from the dollar store.  I like these bags because they have a clear front but are sturdier than a ziploc baggie.  I cut a little hole in the top of the container that is big enough to push the pom poms through but small enough that it takes a little effort.  For now, the goal will be just to fill it up, dump it out, repeat.  But as my kids get older, this can be used for color sorting.

I've also seen some of these pom poms with magnets on them so maybe I'll try that for another bag.  I haven't given this to Ryan yet so I'll update to let you know how he likes it!!

Black Bag - $1.00
Pom Poms - $1.00/$0.50 (I could also split these up and use half for this bag and half for another)
Pink Container - $0.33 (These are 3 for $1.00)
Total Cost $2.33/$1.83

Ryan and Katie Enjoying the Reading Shelf

This was right after we put it up when there were too many books on it.

Katie can't quite reach it but she is drawn to it every time we're in Ryan's room.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bento Box Beginner's Kit

Ryan used to eat anything and everything but now he's gotten a little picky.  I'm trying to make food fun for him and Bento Boxes are such a great idea.  I picked up some things yesterday at Sur La Table and am going to give it a try.

The silicone cup cake liners keep foods separated and also add an element of color.  The cookie cutters add interesting shapes and help you layer food.  I couldn't resist the R and K cookie cutters since I love initials.

I tried it out this morning.  I made waffles and used the R and a small circle.  I used one liner for a banana and another one for syrup.  Waffles probably weren't the best thing for the cookie cutters - they already have so much texture - but Ryan ate all of his banana and syrup!! :)

My mom thinks this is a waste of time but I am enjoying the idea.  It really doesn't take any longer to do this and it's fun!


Tot Snob had a Bento Box post today with the containers to put all of your creations in! :)

Follow me on Pinterest

I think this takes you to my Pinterest page: feed:
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Busy Bags

I am obsessed with Busy Bags.  The idea is to have lots of little bags pre-packed with things that will entertain and educate the kids.  They have them for all ages and some of them can transition as the kids get older.  You can sign up to participate in an exchange where you make 10 - 20 of the same one and then you get one of each of the ones that other people in the exchange make.  That's never going to happen for me so I'll just make 10 to 20 different ones for myself!!

You can either keep them in the car, take them when you go out or break them out when you want to keep the kids occupied while you do something around the house.  They are also supposed to be cheap to make.  Yes, please!!

I went to the dollar store in Casa Linda today and bought everything you see:

(or don't see since the picture is a little too far away)...Most of the things are for Busy Bags that I will spend the next few days putting together.  A few things are for now - like the shovel, rake, fairy wings and the hoola-hoop!  Katie really liked the hoola hoop.  It has something inside of it so it actually rattles when she shakes it.  She also was attracted to the little pom pom balls in the lower left hand corner.  She scooped a couple in her hands and shoved them in her mouth - so those have had to be put away.

I got bags that have a clear front so that it's easy to see what's inside.  A lot of people use zip lock bags but these are sturdier.  On some of the things that I knew we would lose, I bought multiples and put the extra away for when we need them.  There are things for counting, color sorting, building fine motor skills, drawing, bubble wrap for popping or making noise.  It will be fun to see which ones both kids like, how they use them differently and whether it actually keeps them entertained.

Have any of you ever made Busy Bags?  If so, which ones did you really like?

Katie's 1st Black Eye

It was bound to happen.  Katie was playing and fell:

Book shelf in Ryan's Room

I have been seeing so many great ideas on Pinterest so I have decided to try out some of the ideas and blog about the outcome.

One of the things I kept seeing that I liked so much were the simple book shelves for kids.  Ryan LOVES books so I thought that was a good place to start.  We went to Ikea and bought some frame shelves to install in Ryan's room.  We (and by "we" I mean "Bob") put it up while Ryan was sleeping.  I cleaned up his room so that he would notice when he came in.  Bob brought him in and just set him down.  He played for a minute before he turned around and when he did, he got so excited.  Totally worth it!

We put it a little high so that it will grow with him.  Next up was to load it up with books.  At first I put a bunch on there but Ryan was having trouble pulling off just one without the rest of them falling on him so I trimmed it down.

I'm happy with the result!  At first I wanted to put it in the closet so it wouldn't mess up the wall but I'm glad Bob made an executive decision to put it where he did!  Ryan has figured out he can hang from it so if you do this, you'll want to make sure it's secure so it doesn't fall out.

I've decided that I am going to put all of the books that are not on the shelf in a closet where Ryan cannot see or reach them.  I will rotate them out every so often so that he doesn't get bored with any of them.  It will also help us control the mess.  That's one of my next projects!