Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fingers and Cotton Swabs

Benton loves to paint. He often pulls out the watercolors to create masterpieces. I decided to mix things up a bit with his work. I gave him a handful of cotton swabs and a palette of fingerpaints today. He set to work. He used his hands to make large prints. He explored the cotton swabs using them to make dots as well as lines. He dragged his fingernails through the paint to create texture. He created new colors by mixing the paints. He was ecstatic with the results.

Each of these he has done in the past, yet each time it is a new experience. I sometimes forget that although our family has done certain projects each of my children may not have had the experience. I find that Benton is often exposed to older child activities. I sometimes forget that he needs some preschool age experiences as well. This summer we will be revisiting a lot of our old activities to make sure everyone in the family has a chance to experience such wonder.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Chef

The other day Eamon wanted to make something in the kitchen. We talked about a few options and then decided on pretzels. He gathered his ingredients and set to work. Eamon mixed and kneaded. He made two batches, so there was plenty to share with his sister and brother. 
Everyone set to work creating pretzel masterpieces. They shared a bit of dough with me as well. We rolled out snakes of dough and coiled them into pretzels. The most fun was creating free form pretzels. Eamon crafted a trident, a train and a few traditional pretzels. Aine made a flower, the letter "A" and some twists. Benton made pretzels snakes and balls.

Everyone watched patiently as they cooked. Eamon presented everyone with a quick snack of pretzels. Delicious!
Eamon used a recipe we had tried a few years ago. Eamon and Aine enjoyed looking at this old blog post. They couldn't believe they were that little.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another Sweater

I have mentioned my obsession with completing projects in the past. I do not want to leave a pile of forgotten projects as my legacy. I also don't want a huge pile of yarn intended for projects long since out of style. In order to avoid either of this crises, I am slogging through my stash of partially finished projects.

I started the Shalom sweater in August of 2009. I had to fiddle with the pattern to make it a bit bigger. I had scribbled notes on the back of the pattern which was wrinkled and water stained. I knit most of the yoke and encountered a problem. My stitch count was off, so I wadded the scribbled notes and sweater  up in a bag. I threw it into the closet in the hopes that all would be clear when I pulled it back out.
I retrieved the partially knit sweater from the depths of my closet at the end of May. I am not sure what happened almost two years ago. My notes are incomplete and too sparse to decipher. I did what any knitter would do. I ripped the whole thing out. Armed with new knowledge, I set out to reknit the yoke. It is going so much better. I have clearer notes on the whole process. My counts match up.

I have been knitting it while at swim team, the park, and anywhere I can grab a few free moments. It is going slowly, but I am currently on the body. I am still planning to make it long sleeved. I really hope to finish it by the end of July. Then I will have two new sweaters for the fall.
June 6, 2011
Yarn Along June 28, 2011
I am alternating my knitting with reading a few books. I have finished Ape House, which proved to be a bit too formulaic for me. I recently started The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It is incredibly interesting. Such a complex topic dealing with race, medical research, exploitation, human rights and bioethics.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sweet Treats

Staying cool with high summer temperatures is our main goal. With quick stops for ice cream or slushes, we make it through our hot days. Recently the kids and I stopped for cones. We decided to eat a bit while we drove home. I think Benton's carseat may need a good cleaning as he has discovered the delight of an ice cream cone.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Night Life

 Our local garden hosts flashlight tours during the summer. We have thought about going in previous years, but the heat and age of the kiddos had deterred us. This year armed with friends, we experienced the gardens at night.
The experience was great, although it was hot (107 degrees when we started). The docents and volunteers staff tables along the path. These experts spend a lot of time with the visitors explaining various parts of the desert. Their enthusiasm was wonderful.

We listened for toads by the pond paying particular attention to the Woodhouse Toad which sounds like a crying baby. We spotted Bullfrog tadpoles and listened to a discussion about this invasive species and its disruption of the natural circle. We learned about owls and bats. There were scorpions to illuminate and night flowers to discover. Aine spent quite a bit of time with the desert tortoise learning about its adaptations and behavior. She also was fascinated by the agave table. She spent much of the evening spotting the specimen throughout the gardens.
Benton was intrigued by the lizards and snakes. He spent quite a bit of time watching one that we found along the path. It was a Kingsnake.
Eamon ran from station to station. He eagerly listened to the docents and asked quite a few questions. He also enjoyed having his friends with him.

We left the garden with tired kiddos. Two fell asleep before we arrived home. It was an evening well spent.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Where I've Been

We have been busy. For some reason our summer became a busier time for everyone. I have been driving all over town. The weather is hot and will stay that way for a quite a few more months. I decided that the best strategy for staying cool in temperatures hovering around 110 degrees all summer is to find water.

Eamon and Aine are swimming for the city swim team. They absolutely love it. Weekdays are spent practicing and honing their skills. They are eager to begin the day with the water. While the others swim, Benton enjoys his time with mama without the interruptions of siblings. He did not want to pursue lessons yet. He prefers swimming in our neighborhood pool flinging his body off the side and swimming to whomever will catch him.
All of our Saturdays are spent at swim meets. We moved to the indoor pool this year, and it has really helped. No more cold water in the early mornings to discourage practice. Each of the enjoy the meets. They collect their ribbons with pride. This week Eamon noted his ribbons place was lower than the week prior. We took a look at his times, and he noted that he is swimming faster with each meet. Although they may not place as high, they are swimming personal bests each week. They were both excited about this prospect. 

Waiting for the rankings to be posted.
Dave helps out with timing at the meets. The meets are supported by the help of volunteers. Fortunately he can help as others seem reluctant.