Tag Archives: List

Life List Update 2012

2 Feb

– Try not to get killed in any sort of Apocalypse — Mayan or otherwise.

– Drink more tea. Try new varieties of tea.

– Scratch that old menu planning idea. Instead, intend to make meal plans for each season based on recipes my family loves, affordability, ease of preparation, and general healthfulness.

– See Rifftrax Live.

– Visit all the thrift stores in my area at least once.

– Try 50 new foods.

– Send 100 photo post cards to internet friends.

– Read all the books in my library.

– Win an award.

– Sing a song with Stefalynda.

– Try 10 new restaurants.

– Pimp my binder.

– Pimp my fridge.

– Tour the town my mother grew up in.

– Host a fondue night.

– Sell 100 items on Etsy.

– Record my family’s story.

– Have a Miracle fruit taste test.

– Host 5 themed dinner parties.

– Eat baguettes in France.

– Try more varieties of cheese.

– Grill something.

– Make pasta.

– Eat a whole plate of sashimi.

– Try 50 kinds of cheese.

I update my life list each year in January. Do you have one? I’d love to steal items off it, I mean, read it.

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Clip Show

25 Aug

Remember when I  insulted Diego for running an episode that was at least half flashbacks? To wit,

To which my twitter wife Kristin replied:

True that, lady. Unfortunately I must be a recent convert, because today’s post is the internet version of a clip show. Praise Xenu! Some time ago I was tagged by Little Big reader Shelby Stidham to participate by listing seven of my most notable posts according to their corresponding category.

Here we go!

Most Beautiful Post: This is why we had kids. Try not to cry when you see the photos.

Most Popular Post: My most popular post was about Library Apps, which was featured on Freshly Pressed. It also lead to my first snarky comment—the high price of fame!

Most Controversial: I don’t think I have any posts that qualify, but one time my husband compared me to Dr. Dre. Just thought I’d share.

My Most Helpful: Some may point to 100 Games to Play with Baby or one of  the tutorial posts, but who are we kidding? This post teaches your baby to read ancient hieroglyphics.

Surprise Success: Remember that time I insulted Pinboard and said bad things about their moms? And then they emailed me back and were all nice and then offered librarians free accounts? Yeah. That.

Not Enough Attention: I really feel like this post didn’t get the attention from the gangster community that it deserved.

Most Proud: The time I met Anthony Bourdain was pretty awesome. Spoiler Alert! I think I found my Christmas card photo.

Typically this is the part of the meme where you tag other people to participate, but I’m really bad at these things, plus I don’t know any Scientologists, so I’d like to invite anyone reading this to join in the fun. If you want to participate, I’d love to read it!

Fave/Least Fave

28 Feb

LEAST FAVE

Jury Duty – I was once summoned to regular Jury Duty and Grand Jury Duty at the same time. I get called each and every time my number comes up.

When it’s Wet Outside and the Hem of Your Pants Get Soaked, also, Wet Socks – Wet socks are among my least favorite things ever. I have a specific hatred of wet socks. Up there, very close, is when the hem of your pants gets wet and then you must suffer through work or school catching a chill from your pants. This often leads to wet socks, which sends me down the vicious hate spiral.

Running Out of Coffee At Work – It’s a horrible thing to wake up on a Saturday and start to make yourself coffee only to realize you’ve run out. It’s completely unforgivable to run out at work when there is no hope for caffeination.

Salad Served on a Too Small Plate – Why do restaurants do this? I’ve noticed it’s a serious problem with side salads. Dinner salads seem to get all the plate you could ask for, often arriving in hulking tureens. I’m almost too embarrassed to order a dinner salad in some places, because I know they’ll have to rearrange the table to accommodate it. But the real tragedy is when you order a glorious side salad, and it’s the proper size and filled with lovely greens (none of that iceberg bullshit) and they serve it to you on a bowl that’s practically a teacup’s saucer.

FAVES

Turning Off My Workday Alarm on a Holiday – I usually don’t remember to turn off my alarm the night before and anyway, I rather feel it a luxury to wake up and turn off the alarm and drift blissfully back asleep. It’s like a fantasy come true. I’m living the dream. And then I’m actually dreaming.

Frozen Thin Mints – I discovered frozen Thin Mints while trying to make the bounty last well into the fall. I stashed as many as I could in the freezer and one day, hungry and too impatient for them to thaw, I took a bite. I now know no earthly reason as to why I’d eat a non-frozen Thin Mint.

Checking My Email and Discovering I’ve Made An Etsy Sale – Remember when you were teased for liking old junk? Validation, baby. This feeling never gets old.

Answering the Library Phone, Expecting a Telemarketer, and Hearing My Husband’s Voice Instead – By far I get more telemarketers at the library than I do at home. Partly this is because we turned off our landline, and partly this is because I get a shit-ton of telemarketers at work. When they call I have to wait for them to give me their speech, and at the end I tell them I’m sorry, I’m not interested because I don’t have a budget. I haven’t had a budget in quite some time, and have been told it will be years before I’ll have one again. The budget situation was so bad, however, I was laid off. My job was saved at the last second. After I explain all this most of them ask, “Can I call again in two months to see if things have changed?” I WAS LAID OFF, YOU IDIOT. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO LET ME BUY YOUR STUPID PAPERBACKS. It’s pretty wonderful when I’m expecting the pointless back and forth with a telemarketer and I hear my husband’s voice instead.

Dreaming of Summer

16 Feb

Stir-Crazy Mess

We’ve had a few days of mild, spring-like weather, and even though it’s rainy again today I’ve started thinking about summer. I know I’m not the only one thinking warmer weather and playing outside: my twitter stream and blog feed are full of longing for winter to be over. Isobel asks every day if we can go outside and play bubbles.

In anticipation of spending hours and hours outside I’ve been thinking of a list of things we will need to get through the summer. Toys, specifically. I want to build a simple, inexpensive set of toys for the backyard. My goal is to find as many of these at thrift stores, yard sales, and dollar stores as possible.

Bowling set –  when we were growing up there was a disgusting drink called a SQUEEZE-IT.  Man, it tasted foul but it came in a cheap plastic soda-like bottle that made excellent bowling pins when stacked at the end of our long sidewalk. Our cats, ever curious, used to get in the way, and my Dad repurposed the game as “Bowling for Cats.”

Fishing poles – my sister and I each had a child’s fishing pole that we used for actual fishing a handful of times and ‘cat fishing’ the rest of the time. My dad would put weights and a large plastic tie at the end of our Snoopy fishing pole lines. We’d stand in the bed of his pickup and cast our lines across the lawn and every cat in the vicinity would chase the plastic tie as we reeled them in. Sometimes we wore our Snoopy life vests for extra realism.
Magnifying glass – for examining plants and bugs. I’m also thinking about finding some small binoculars or a spy glass for trips to the park.

Frisbee – my neighbors had an ingenious use for their Frisbee: when not in use as originally intended, they turned it over and filled it with bubbles. Wide, shallow, and perfect for bubble wands, it was not easy to spill and more than one kid could use it at once.

Water toys – Repurposed toys for a water table, bucket of water, or wading pool.

Obstacle course items – I’m having a hard time coming up with items for an obstacle course. Hula hoops? Jump ropes? Tunnels? Help me out on this one, internet.

Large paintbrushes – I heard about this idea somewhere a long time ago: get a bucket of water and a large paintbrush and your kid can ‘paint’ designs with water on the side of a house or a fence.

Kite – Anyone seen some cute ones online? If Isobel really enjoys kites, I’d spring for a nice one.

Balls – various sizes and kinds

Badminton set – Isobel’s too young still, but I’d use it.

Sand toys – buckets, shovels, and sand molds

Croquet set – I found one at a yard sale when Isobel was a newborn. Now all we need is a lawn to use it on.

Wading pool – we have one from last year, but I’m not sure if it will still inflate. And what about Slip ‘n Slides? Do they still make those?

Chalk – any creative uses for chalk out there? Or fun things for kids to draw?

I’d love to hear any ideas you have on toys for the backyard. What outdoor toys do you consider essential? What am I missing?

Bloject 25: Steak

10 Feb

It’s about time I quit worrying and love the bomb procrastinating and get down to it: I joined former guest-poster Cookbook in her Bloject 25, a project designed to inspire people to cook 25 things they’d always wanted to cook but, for whatever reason, just haven’t yet. One of the items I wanted to conquer was steak. My list can be found here. If this is something you are interested in, join us! We’d love to have you.

Steak is expensive, so I’ve passed it up many times in favor of flank steak, or carne asada, or stew meat. It was something we only ate if we ordered it in restaurants. But all too often I experience the sting a disappointment when my requested medium-rare steak comes back grey and tough and well-done. At ten bucks a pop, though, I could never afford to experiment at home.

Hooray for steady employment and blojects, though, because last weekend I felt justified in buying two giant steaks. I decided to use a Pioneer Woman recipe because I figure, if anyone knows how to cook a steak, it’s someone from a family who raises cows for slaughter! The day of, however, I read the recipe I chose more carefully: the sauce is explained in full PW detail, with pictures accompanying each step. The method of cooking for the steak, however, was summed up cheerfully as, “Cook till done!” Not helpful for your average n00b. But she does make a killer blue cheese sauce, so I kept her recipe and went looking for another one.

After googling my problem  (“zomg why won’t PW tell me how to cook a steak!!!1!!!”) I discovered a recipe by Alton Brown that looked promising. Good old Alton. I still trust you, dude. All that weirdness from Next Iron Chef aside. I was especially excited because the recipe described the steak as “pan seared.” YES. This was what I wanted.

First off, when you cook steak, you’re probably going to want your sous chef to help. She might need to be pulled away from other, very important, cooking projects, though.

The meat needs to be at room temperature before it’s cooked, which, as Sunday recently mentioned in her post about salmon, all meat should be at room temperature first. I set my steaks face-down on the stove as it preheated. The reason for this was twofold: to absorb some of the heat, but also, to keep Jupiter’s thieving paws away from our dinner. I’d never leave the kitchen with them unattended, because one stray second away and he’s got himself some very expensive cat food, but it worked well enough when I was near.

Your sous chef, by this time, will be joining you.

I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but since I’ve been pregnant, I cannot just casually chop onions anymore. I used to chop bucketfuls without a second thought, but since the pregnancy, onions make my eyes fill with the sulfuric tears of Satan. It’s not the crying I mind, hell–I’d gladly take it–it’s the complete inability to open my eyes and the horrible, horrible pain. I can barely stand near a sautéing pan of them without the fumes getting to me at least a little. I have no idea if this change in me is really due to pregnancy or my advanced age or what, but my relationship with onions has changed. I tried all the tips and tricks and nothing worked. I avoided onions as much as possible.

And then, my friends Zack and Heidi got me a lovely Amazon giftcard for my birthday last year. And I broke down and bought these.

They work perfectly! I can now mince onions with the best of them, pain-free. The husband makes fun of me, of course, but whatever. I can slice onions again!

(Note on the make and model: they work, are not cute, and aren’t particularly sturdy. They are like very inexpensive sunglasses with foam attached. But the foam is well attached and sturdy and they work beautifully. They do everything they say they do and store easily in this little pouch.)

(Thanks again, Zack and Heidi!)

Here I am, chop-chopping.

Okay, not really. I’m actually pretending to chop while I take a picture. It’s technically a reenactment.

  Beautiful onions! I’ve missed you so.

The onions got to work caramelizing, like so, while I pulled the very hot pan out of the oven and plopped in the room-temperature meat. Just like Alton said, I waited the full 2 minutes before turning, and…

Dissapointment! No sear, or at least, barely any sear. This made me very sad as I do enjoy the burned bits. When I put them in the oven to finish them I realized: I had done nothing wrong. My oven didn’t get as hot as it was supposed to because after cooking for the recommended time for medium-rare, they were completely and totally raw in the middle. I put them in for a few minutes more, testing and thought about what I would do next time.

My not-so-hot oven explains the lack of sear, as well.

So, sauce is bubbling, meat is cooking, let’s have some veg, shall we? I steamed broccoli, because it’s one of Isobel’s favorite foods right now, and sliced up some grape tomatoes because I needed to eat them before they spoiled. They didn’t need the careful slicing I gave them—they would have been fine sliced in half or simply left whole. But I am so paranoid of Isobel choking I wanted to make sure they were easily ingested.

Sauce, you are looking wonderful. How’s our sous chef doing?

 Manning the kitchen towel station, I see.

OMG. Heart attack imminent.

If you don’t have an adorable sous chef, no need to panic: you can easily throw a towel over your own head and shout, “Peekaboo!” a few times as you whisk it off and you’re all set.

And now, the blue cheese.

I loved blue cheese as a child and then didn’t encounter it again for years. Anthony thought the effect was a little strong, and he’s not the hugest proponent of blue cheese with steak. Something I didn’t realize as he likes it otherwise. Well, crap. Fortunately, though, he loved the steak and dipped in the sauce more conservatively than I did.

Mmm! Here’s my plate. (Anthony’s plate is the photo at the top of the page.) First off, notice how lovely and pink it came out. Perfect. You’ll notice that Anthony’s portion is huge: for some reason I thought they’d shrink up a lot more than they did. We each ate about half of our steak and saved the rest for lunch the next day.

Isobel only had a couple bites of meat, as her ear infection messed with her appetite. She eagerly reached for the broccoli, though.

Those carefully sliced cherry tomatoes went totally untouched. Of course.

She sings constantly, and dinner is no exception. I love her broccoli crumbs.

Isobel always manages to sneak at least some of her meal on the floor for Jupiter. She’s a crazy cat lady already.

I normally make a sauce for the vegetables, or at least sprinkle over a little tamari or olive oil. In this case I knew there’d be sauce for miles, so I didn’t bother. I used the leftover sauce, onions, and meat and made THE BEST sandwich with a crusty French roll the next day. (I’m sure the snugness of my waistband is just a coincidence.)

And before I leave you, I wanted to tell you I saved all the jus from the meat, labeled it, and tossed it in the fridge to add to stew or gravy next time I make some. You all totally have a bag in your freezer labeled “meat juice” too, right? Right.

So This Is The New Year

29 Dec

I’m soured to the idea of making resolutions (simply because I’ve failed at so many) but I like the idea of making goals. The thing about goals is that even if you only accomplish them half way, you’ve still made all kinds of progress so it’s not a wash. Resolutions are so black and white, pass or fail–I’m defeated before I begin. But a To Do list I can handle.

I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to accomplish in the New Year and what I want my life to look like. I’ve also pulled out the old Life List to remember that life isn’t just about accomplishment, it’s about enjoying the time you have.

Write Every Day
Even if it’s just for fifteen minutes, I’d like to develop a daily writing practice.

Family Dinners
Making time for regular family dinners is something I believe in strongly. It’s hard, I make no mistake about that. You have to have the discipline to open up the cupboards after a long day of work and create a meal. You have to put in the work, every week, and perpetuate the cycle of shopping, planning, and cleaning. You have to have enough skill to make food your family will actually eat. You have to take the criticism in stride when you fail. I’m off to a pretty good start even if mentioning it here will possibly jinx it. I’ve found that success at dinner comes after a long string of failures. Honestly this has been something I’ve been attempting off and on for years, with varying degrees of success. I talk about my struggles here and offer solutions and tips here. I believe that a family needs dinner time in order to nourish the body with good, healthy food, but also to nourish the soul of the family.

Organization
Organization is another one of those areas in which a string of failures has lead to some successes, and in some cases, some great successes. My goal for this year is to maintain the organization I have worked so hard to establish as well as to identify areas that need organization before they get out of hand. This is the thing that surprises people most about organization: it’s not static. It’s not a matter of setting it up once and there you go! Organized for life. As your needs change and your life changes, your systems of organization need to reflect that. Here my goal is focused on the organization of the concrete things in life, like closets and paperwork and dishes, but equally important for me is the organization of data, media, and files. Technology is the life blood of my creative work, and it’s useless to me if it’s not organized.

To Do List
Although this ties in intimately with the concept of Organization, what sets my To Do list apart is that it creates the focus and momentum I need to get things done. This has been very important because I go back and forth from being on top of my to do list and having tasks go and embarrassingly long amount of time before getting accomplished. Did I ever tell you it took 5 years for me to order wedding photos? No? I’m someone who desperately needs to stay on the To Do List bandwagon.

WP Download and Ads
There are (hopefully) some big changes on the horizon for this year. I feel like talking about it would mean jinxing it, so let’s just say I need to level up my blog as far as technical knowledge goes. I need to acquire the skills to take blog management into my own hands. Scary.

Grow My Photography Business
I’m not exactly sure what success in this area would look like for me. I’m still trying to figure out what I want and balancing how much work I want to do with how much time I spend at home. But I want to see this business grow in the next year so I can develop the vision and decide what I want. I need some new equipment. I want to stay inspired.

Household & Seasonal Decorations
Money has been tight since, well, forever, and so my house has been sorely neglected. Slowly I’ve decorated areas of the house with thirfted treasures and things I’ve inherited, but we need a major overhaul. Paint, flooring, a new roof and furniture—these are the things we’ve needed but have had to overlook while Anthony went to school. I’d love to make our home more comfortable and beautiful on a daily basis. The past three years I’ve barely done any decorating for the holidays which makes me sad. It’s my goal to revive that tradition this year.

Life List:
9. Create a seasonal calendar with our traditions and celebrations
10. Decorate Isobel’s bedroom
11. Own a wardrobe I can be proud of
28. Eat one of Valerie’s desserts at her restaurant
45. Walk on the Golden Gate Bridge
56. Visit my friends Dave & Stef in Reno
71. Plant a dwarf orchard in the backyard
93. Meet our financial goal so I can be a SAHM
97. Take a Mommy and Me swimming class with Isobel, Angela & K
99. Throw my parents an anniversary party

What are you focused on in the New Year? What do you want your life to look like?

The Lead Paint Cookbook Bloject

2 Dec

One of my favorite twitter friends, who I shall refer to only as “Cookbook” for reasons of national security, has created a fun new project for bloggers who like to cook. She is inviting people to make a list of 25 things they always wanted to make but have never gotten around to for one reason or another. And then to cook from said list.

I’ll be honest with you: I have avoided making most of these things because I am chicken. I’m intimidated by some of them which is why this project is the perfect way to confront these fears take a risk. It could all go horribly wrong, and in front of the whole entire internet. But it could also lead to triumph.

I have to say that part of the reason I’m brave enough to attempt this is thanks to Bri at Sarcasmically and her NaDeNeFoMo project.

The other part of the reason is that my friend David came over one time and demanded we attempt to make mochi in front of a live studio audience. It turned out surprisingly well, given what we had to work with. Ahem.

Cookbook has proposed participants make their list of 25 Things to Cook, and we’ll take time each month to cook one item off that list and share the results on our blog. If this sounds like a fun challenge to you, head on over to her blog and sign up by posting in her comments.

My List of 25 Things to Cook

1.  Bagels – Making bagels is also on my Life List
2.  Chile Mole – a Guatemalan dish that I’ll have to learn from Mama Juani
3. Black Beans – prepared the Guatemalan way via instructions from Mama Juani
4. A cake – I don’t know which one. Any one I make myself will be an accomplishment
6. Sushi rice – this has seemed like a magical art to me
7. Chicken Picatta – I freaking love it
8. A steak – steak has always been so prohibitively expensive I’ve never bothered.
9. Sugar cookies with Frosting – because I have some cookie cutters I’m dying to use
10. Sunday Salsa – I’ve been meaning to make Sunday’s salsa forever now
11.  Sunday Fruit Pie – Like a Home Run Pie, except delicious
12. Chicken nuggets – I want to make a huge batch and freeze them
13. Sweet Potato Fries – the deep-fried version.
14. Pasta – I can only imagine fresh pasta as sublime
15. Vegetable Tempura – It’s true, I’m afraid of deep frying. But I love tempura.
16. Udon or Ramen – basically I want to create a delicious, brothy, Asian noodle soup.
17. Miso – I’ve never been able to recreate restaurant miso.
18. Cream Cheese Wontons – my favorite restaurant (now closed) used to serve these
19. Fondue – I own multiple fondue pots for chrissake.
20. Flavored Popcorn – I love me some poppin’ corns
21. A Classic Sauce of Some Sort – Yeah, I’ll figure this out later.
22. Grated carrots and beet salad – the staining power alone has held me back from this.
23. Pizza – Anthony wants to make this, too.
24. Mushroom Muffin Tartlet – It has mushrooms, so I’m all over it.
25. Swedish Christmas Bread – I’m the oldest daughter in my Swedish family, so I owe it to Saint Lucia to make this.

Library App Round Up

30 Nov

I’m working on some very exciting things at the moment. So exciting that I can’t wait to share them with you. For example, my twitter wife sent me the most wonderful early Christmas present.  I cannot wait to let all of you bask in its glory. In the meantime, I’m donning my librarian glasses and bun to get some work done and to spread the Good Word about reading.

*****************

Here are some random apps that I love. No company has ever given me money for… well, anything really, but especially not to promote their iphone apps. I just like these. “I’m Carrie Anne, and I approve this message!”

These apps are perfect for anyone whose and avid reader, or just for someone who enjoys reading in general. I used to belong to the first category but now that I have a baby while working full time, I’m firmly in the latter.

1. Good Reads and Good Reads Companion: These apps are related to a website you may have heard about: Good Reads. I am on Good Reads (holla! I’m ex.libris) but it’s been a shamefully long time since I’ve logged in. Or participated. Er. I feel bad about that. I really like Good Reads and I was happy to find out there are two GR apps available, one official, one not (but GR is fine with that.) I downloaded both in the hopes that I’ll be more active on the site. Having both apps seems redundant but I know there are those out there who staunchly support the GR app and those who are in favor of the third party app. I got both to see the difference, which I, so far, haven’t noticed.

2. Dewey D: An app that keeps track of your “to read” list that also lets you browse selections on the NY Times bestsellers list plus lets you browse author info. Some people really like the bells and whistles on this app. I think it’s pretty nifty but personally I prefer…

3. Libraryby Big Button Designs: It’s just called “Library” and the graphic is a rainbow-hued stack of rectangle shapes. It has a simply and perfect design and it does only three things: 1. keeps track of what you want to read 2. keeps track of what you are reading 3. keeps track of what you have read. That’s all it is. But that’s all it needs to be.

4. Library by Double Tap App: A second creatively-named app called simply “Library,” this one features a teddy bear reading. It zeros in on your location and then points out the libraries in your area. If you find one you’d like to visit you can tap the “directions” button and it will show you the route there. This is a really great app if you’re travelling in an unfamiliar area and need to take the kids somewhere diverting for awhile.

5. Lend Me from Autus Mobile: Not strictly a reading app, but perfect for frequent lenders of books. It helps you keep track who is borrowing what. It integrates with your calendar to put reminders of when they should be returning your stuff. I feel like a jerk sometimes for being reluctant to lend stuff out, but keeping track of it makes me feel a bit more secure that I’ll get it back.

(P.S. Jake, I still have at least two of your books at my house. I just want you to know that they are safe & I haven’t forgotten. I think Anthony has some of Cay’s books, too.)

Random App Round Up

16 Nov

Here are some random apps that I love. No company has ever given me money for… well, anything at this point really, but especially not to promote their iphone apps. I just like these. “I’m Carrie Anne, and I approve this message!”

Digitally Imported – In the late nineties Anthony and I used to stay up all night dancing to techno music in warehouses. Now if we’re staying up all night it’s because we’re grooving to the repetitive sounds of Isobel whining. Anthony and I still love techno and electronica. Anthony stumbled upon a free app called Digitally Imported with several channels of really, really awesome techno. Several different flavors of techno, too. I love librarianing to music so I listen to this at work a lot.

Chess Free by Optime – A crazy old lady taught me how to play chess in the seventh grade. I hated it! I still do. It’s a character flaw. My husband, however, learned chess from men that were recently released from prison. They were pretty good, seeing as how they had lots of time for practice. At the time, my husband was working at a community center and it was basically his job to 1. play chess 2. play ping pong 3. engage in activities with the children 4. supervise the chess and ping ponging.  Anthony loves chess and he’s quite good at it. He amuses himself sometimes by playing against the computer on this, his favorite chess app. He’s tried a couple but this one is his favorite.

(Note: If you were wondering why you haven’t seen me around Words with Friends for awhile it was because the app died along with my phone. I haven’t reinstated it again, but I’ll let everyone know when I do to get some games going again.)

Offline Map Guide – Oh boy, we could have used this while we were lost in the redwoods. Next time I have to go anywhere with spotty to nonexistent cell reception I’m plotting the way using this app first. We’d be lying in a ravine somewhere gnawed on by possums and mountain lions if it weren’t for the paper map we just happened to have with us (courtesy of my mother).

Tap Forms – Are you obsessively organized? Do you, like me, wish you were obsessively organized? Tap Forms keeps all your forms and information organized. Yessss. The Precioussssss.

Recommendations:

I’d love to hear your recommendations about your favorite apps for:

Pregnancy Timelines
Pedometers
To do lists and calendars

Bonus points if they are free!

100 Games to Play with Baby, Part III

25 Oct

I mentioned previously that if I were to write a book on Things You Didn’t Know About Parenting that book would be called, “Babies: Not the Most Riveting of Company.” Sometimes I needed ideas of games and activities to play with Isobel when I had been home with her all day and was feeling uninspired. I combed through the library and scoured the internet for ideas, and also added things that worked well for us. I gave this list to my Mom who watched Isobel when I went back to work and decided to share it here to help other uninspired parents and to keep it somewhere safe for when I need it next. I’m posting this in four installments.

51. Blanket outside: if you have nice weather, take your baby outside (appropriately dressed) and set them on a blanket outside. Make sure your baby is protected from the sun. Often I sat Isobel outside on her Bumbo while I watered plants. She was content to watch me and got a thrill whenever the breeze ruffled her hair. I am fortunate to live in a place with mild winters, however, and I know not everyone can do this.

52. Get crafty: Pom-pom play; star garlands: many crafty doo-dads from big box craft stores can be used to entertain baby. A box full of different colored, different-sized pompoms can be a fun thing for a baby. Use common sense about what’s safe and appropriate for your child’s age and development.

53. Empty cardboard boxes: empty paper bags and boxes of all sizes and shapes always attract cats and children. If we have a box around they are usually squabbling with each other to get in first.

54. Stickers: these were not a long term source of entertainment by any means, but Isobel certainly enjoyed the sheet of realistic cat stickers we bought her. We found cats stuck to things for days after that experience.

55. Horses/Cars: If you have plastic horses or other four-legged animals you can teach your baby to make them “run” on the ground or other hard surface. I like to make horses “run” up her arm while singing the theme to Bonanza. Driving cars across baby’s feet is fun, too.

56. Electro shock therapy: This is one of her favorite games. We take two blocks and hit them together while making a ZZZZT! noise, as if they have an electrical charge. We do that a few times to “charge” them up before sticking the blocks in her armpits and tickling her with them while sustaining the ZZZZZZZZZZZT! noise. She thinks this is the funniest thing EVAR and asks us to do it over and over and over again.

57. Burrito baby: Isobel loves it when we lay her on a blanket and wrap her up and pretend she’s a newborn baby, or, even better – a burrito! The best part about wrapping her up like a burrito is pretending to eat her at the end.

58. Move it: Before Isobel could even sit up on her own she would erupt into a fit of giggles if anyone moved in unexpected ways around her, such as jumping up and down, kicking or punching your arms and legs, or, in the case of my sister, doing yoga. Isobel loved watching (and climbing on) auntie doing yoga.

59. Get Silly: Anything unexpected can make baby laugh. Often while I’m folding laundry (especially diapers) with her I’ll put a diaper on my head and one on her head and it will start a whole entertaining game of Putting Things On Our Heads And Laughing.

60. Baller: use larger bouncy balls that don’t pose a choking hazard and throw maybe four or five at a time in a safe area. Your baby will love watching the balls bounce all over the place and ricochet off things. Just be sure your baby’s at a safe viewing spot out of the way of flying balls.

61. Splashy: Most babies love to put their hands in water and even just a little water can satify their urge to splash. Fill a basin or bowl with a small amount of water and let them have at it. Add a little measuring cup or bath toys for interest. Monitor your baby very closely around any water-related activity because children can drown in very, very small amounts of water.

62. Noodle Arms: Pool noodles or pipe insulation: Isobel loved the feeling of swinging around pool noodles or strips of pipe insulation around. She also loved the feeling of biting it. Just be careful they don’t try to eat them.

63. Cat Fancy: Cat magazine/ calendar Zoo: name the animal specie (helpful along with books or TV) Isobel always looks forward to my mom coming over because Ama (aka Mom Mom) would always bring an old cat calendar or her copy of Cat Fancy magazine. (What can I say? My family is HARDCORE.) Isobel has a great time talking and petting the kitties on the page.

64. Watch and Learn: When they are very little babies are sometimes quite entertained just watching you do things like mowing the lawn, clearing the dishwasher, cooking, punching a heavy bag, practicing kicks, or jump roping. Isobel used to be fascinated by me brushing my teeth.

65. Toymania: It’s frustrating to buy an expensive toy that your child is interested in the store that then turns boring once you’re home. Some thrifty ideas of getting toys or making them new include: 1. thrift stores 2. yard sales 3. hand me downs from older children 4. toy swaps with friends about the same age: choose a few toys you’d be willing to let go for a few weeks and trade with another family. At the end of two weeks, toys go back to their original owners.

66. Achoo: buy an inexpensive box of plain Kleenex just for your child to destroy I mean play with. Once all the tissues are out of the box you can teach your baby to stuff them back in and begin again. When that’s over, you have a neat box to play with. A roll of toilet paper is also pretty amusing, if you’re up for some clean up later. This has been a lifesaver for me during car rides, as well.

67. That’s how we roll: Roll a ball to your baby and see if they will roll it back. Demonstrate with an older child or another adult so they know what to expect from you. Start with a smallish, soft ball, but as your baby’s skill grow include many different sizes of balls. For a long time Isobel’s favorite ball was the yoga ball.

68.  Where is it? Get three bowls or cups plus a small toy that fits underneath. Like that classic gambling game, cover the object with one of the cups or bowls and line up the others next to it. Shift them around to see if baby follows the one with the object and can find it.

69. Mimic: copy the noises your baby makes and see if you can get your baby to copy sounds you make. Start with animal noises like, “Moo” or “quack” after they’ve mastered vowel sounds.

70. Drop it: I’ll admit it—this is not my favorite game to play. But sometimes, Isobel just loves it, so what are you going to do. When your baby is in the right mood the most entertaining thing of all will be dropping something and picking it back up to be dropped again. This is most entertaining, of course, if baby is doing the dropping and you are doing the picking up.

71. Blocks: Build a small tower or stack of blocks and let your baby knock it over. This is fun for very young babies and is still fun with a toddler. Now she tries to build her own towers of blocks. When she’s even older we can sort the blocks: by color, by number, by letter, etc.

72. Trippy: Megan Boley’s young baby B loves watching iTunes visualizer effect. I wish I had tried this when Isobel was teeny.

73. Beans: along the same lines as playing with birdseed, you might encourage your kid to play with dried beans. Watch for choking hazards.

74. Hats: Wear a hat for your baby and say, “hat!” while pointing to it over and over. Have other hats on for your baby to wear or to put on her dolls and animals.

This is part three in a four-part series Games to Play with Baby. You can find part one here and part two here.  Please use common sense. Supervise your child with the appropriate amount of supervision for their developmental age and always watch out for choking hazards, falls, suffocation, or any other danger that might befall a helpless baby. Which I’m sure you already do already, you good parent you.