Friday, May 31, 2013

City Biking Truth #21

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why Charlotte's Web is the Perfect Book to Read to a Six Year Old

Charlotte's Web

I've recently read Charlotte's Web out loud to two little boys, ages 4 and 6, and it was amazing. I then tried reading a couple different books to them and it wasn't quite a good. (I think the ideal place to read this book is with a child, actually. I'd read it as an adult before silently and it wasn't nearly as good.) Here is why Charlotte's Web is so good..

1. It is a simple story that isn't overly complicated but still grabs their attention.

2. The book is the perfect length...184 pages. The boys loved looking at page 100, for some reason, and they were always astounded at having read so many pages! Also, the chapters are the perfect length for two boys' attention spans. We read a chapter together during lunch and by the end of the chapter...they would always beg me to read one more!  I knew that I'd lose their attention if we did so I'd make them wait. By the next day they would be begging for lunch time so we could read more about Wilbur and Charlotte!

3. It is about basic things like loneliness and friendship. Being scared and being brave. There were multiple occasions that I'd  talk to the boys about their days at school and they'd be going through similar stuff to what Wilbur was going through! Once I picked up the six year old from school and he said no one wanted to play with him at recess that day. And I was reminded at just how hard all that friendship stuff is when you are little (and sometimes even when you're an adult!). You are constantly trying to figure out what a friend is, who your friend  are, etc. We had this great conversation about Wilbur feeling the same thing in the book--being lonely and scared. But that in a couple chapters, he was going to find a great friend! It was a very sweet moment to see the six year old identifying with Wilbur and feeling hope that maybe tomorrow he'd find someone to play with at recess!

3. The story is about a pig and a spider! The boys have always thought spiders were terrifying--just like Wilbur did when he first met Charlotte! It was so cute to see them change their attitude about Charlotte. They also loved the name Wilbur. One day the 4 year old ran up to me after preschool and he said..."We read a book about Wilbur! But today he was an elephant not a pig!" It was great to see him thinking and connecting with the story, too.

4. It touches upon death but does it in a safe way. The 6 year old is pretty scared of the idea of death. Whenever anyone mentions death, he usually covers his ears. I wasn't sure how he was going to take the threat of Wilbur being killed or even the end of the book. During those parts, I'd notice that he wasn't chewing his food anymore but rather staring intently at me as I read. Sometimes I'd put the book down and we'd talk about what was going on, but usually he'd accept that part of the book and could continue on. E.B. White makes the end hopeful and...warm. The last chapter is called "A Warm Wind" and it is just the perfect title for it. It isn't is a little sad...but still okay!

5. Its a fun one to read out loud....especially the chaotic parts involving the goose! The boys loved it when I did different voices and you could see them imagining everything going on. The book also has this simple, nostalgic feel to it.

I hope you are able to enjoy this experience, too! Don't rush through the book but take the time to talk about what you read and connect it to their lives. Its a good book to do that with!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Item of the Day: 5 Year Journal

I can't believe it, folks, but I've officially been keeping a journal for three years now. I've never been able to make this commitment  before in my whole life. Find any journal from my life and usually it starts..."So I've decided to keep a journal..." and then three entries later...silence. So why now?

Because of this little gem...

One Line a Day: A Five Year Memory Book
From Chronicle Books

The great thing about this journal is that it is only one line a day! Just summarize what happened in that day. And then once you've done a can start seeing what happened to you on that same day the year before. It is funny to see the for three years in a row I've been sick in the month of April. Or for three years in a row, I've had a visit from my friend, Rachel. It is great to see the parallels and also to help me remember the small stuff in life.

I cannot recommend this journal more. I'm considering stocking up on them for life. Let's see...if I live to be 80 and its a five year journal, I'll need....

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DIY T-Shirt Revamp with Lace

For the last couple of weeks I've been showing you some t-shirt revamps that I've been doing to help diminish my ill-fitting t-shirt pile in my closet. One of my all time favorite t-shirts is one that I got from a Swell Season concert several years back. It is a light, breezy t-shirt that has shrunk after too many washes. When I saw this tank top with lace on the side...I knew what I had to do!

I found some white lace from a used craft materials store but didn't really like the high contrast between the off white t-shirt and the bright white lace so...I dyed it!

I made up a giant pot of coffee, brought it to a boil and then put my lace panels in for about two hours. I rinsed it out until the water ran clear and let it dry overnight. I'm really happy with the color that it turned and am hoping it doesn't fade too much over time.

I stitched in the lace triangles today and voilĂ !

Monday, May 27, 2013

Birthday Box Full of Stuffed Balloons!

My wonderful nephew is turning T-H-R-E-E today! He lives many miles away so I wanted to send him something extra fun in the mail. I saw this idea here and was like..perfect! I filled each balloon with a variety of fun things that a three year old would like! I'm hoping he has fun opening up the colorful box, playing with the balloons, popping them, and discovering the treasures inside! 

Items I put inside the balloons:

-Candy (small things like Pez work great)
-Dollar bills
-Pom poms
-Small toys (I used some wind up cars)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

From Pants to Shorts!

I decided that I needed some new jean shorts. Instead of pay the $22.50 for the pair that I wanted from the store...I revamped a pair of pants that had shrunk and were too short for me. Yay for saving $22.50!

True to my style, I didn't measure anything before I started cutting away. It did take me a couple tries to make sure that everything was reasonably straight, though. The roll technique helps cover some mistakes, too. I did add some fabric glue to the inside of the rolls, though, to make sure they stay put.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Stumbled on Favorites

A few of my favorite things that I've stumbled upon recently!

The people I work for just got a new kitten and the boys are both quite timid in how they hold it, pet it, etc. It makes me chuckle considering how I used to try to carry three cats at once...whether they liked it or not! I dug out this picture as proof of what those poor cats had to go through with me around as a kid!

Spooky igloo hotel in Alaska...Sign me up!

I like this quote.

Humans of New York--love this guy's attitude!

A great little video from The Chapin Sisters.

What the internet is doing to our brains...

The cool!

Ageless Beauty...wish more magazines did this!

This girl's reaction to her mom having twins is adorable.

I love this notepad.

Up close and personal with grizzly bears.
Looks like someone could use a trip to the dentist...

Ooh this recipe looks tasty.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lemon Meringue S'mores

I saw this idea over here and umm, let's just say that in 60 seconds flat I had inhaled more than one of these...

All you need for this delicious mixture:

Graham crackers
Lemon Curd

Throw a marshmallow in the microwave for the lazy gal's way to make a s'more. 10-15 seconds will do. Have some lemon curd spread on one of the graham crackers--the more the better! Layer all the ingredients and eat away!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Current Three Favorite Food Items

So I've been addicted to these three foods recently...

Toby's Tofu Dip & Spreads (perfect to dip veggies in!)

Fage Greek Yogurt--I love the separate fruit section.

Orange Flavored Cranberries from Trader Joe's--a fun twist on cranberries!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

DIY T-shirt Neon Stripes Redo

As I said last week, I've been inspired to tackle my large pile of ill-fitting t-shirts. This Grand Rapids t-shirt is an oldie but a goodie so I put it in the revamp pile. I basically just sewed in two triangle panels into the side seams. And I am happy to say that it is back in action! And I love the addition of the neon yellow stripes on the side.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

(Somewhat Healthy) Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe was first created (here) as a healthier version of chocolate chip cookies. Now I have to ask...if a cookie is so tasty that you eat the entire batch in one day...should we not refer to it as healthy? These cookies are soft, chewy, and gooey. And not too bad for you!

Here is what you do!

Toast 3/4 cups rolled oats on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix dry ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oat bran (I added this but it wasn't in the original recipe)

In another bowl mix with an electric mixer:

1/4 cup olive oil
3 TB butter, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
3 TB egg substitute
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix in dry ingredients, chocolate chips, and toasted oats. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Don't ignore this part...I tried it first without cooling it and they didn't turn out nearly as gooey delicious!

Bake at 350 degrees on a parchment lined pan for 10 minutes.

Enjoy! Oh and try not to eat them all right away...

Monday, May 13, 2013

DIY T-Shirt Redo!

So I have a massive pile of t-shirts in my closet that have shrunk, don't fit me, never fit me, etc. I figured it was time to do something about it! I don't always like the typical t-shirt refashions but I loved this one  here that I saw. It basically combines two t-shirts into one. I like the extra pizazz that it gives a regular old t-shirt!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

This goes out to my wonderful mom!

We are 2,275 miles apart this Mother's Day...and I hate it! I can't remember a Mother's Day when I wasn't home to celebrate my mom. She is a spunky and wise lady who always pushes herself to do her best. She has always been a great role model for me growing up and I'm happy to say she is one of my best friends! I love you, mom!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake!

My husband offered to bring in coffee cake for one of his grad classes so we got up early yesterday to whip one up! Lucky for me, there was some leftover! It is moist and chocolatey...mmm!

Head on over here to get the recipe for yourself!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stumbled on Favorites

A birthday cake peanut butter sandwich!

The human chair funny!

A compilation of random acts of kindness in Russia. Aww.

The Secret of Success in Creative encouraging!

Popcorn Bomb!!!!!

Love these funny dog GIFS. 

Patty Griffin's new music...I've been playing it on repeat!

This Is Water--commencement speech by David Foster Wallace