September 30, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Scavenger Hunt Sunday again! This weeks words...

Bright ~ Connections ~ Teeny Tiny ~ Getting Ready ~ Yellow


My Bright Boy and the Bright Sky



Connections



Teeny Tiny Thomas



Getting Ready for my boy to grow up



Yellow Ducks (not sure why this one was so hard for me this week!)


For more great photos, or to share your own, head over to Ramblings & Photos by Ashley Sisk for more scavenger hunt entries!

September 28, 2012

Flashback Friday

For some reason I'm pretty low energy this week. Getting back into the swing of things after vacation, realizing that it might be a long time before my next vacation!

So I was looking through my vacation photos, hoping to be back on vacation?, and got caught up in looking at photos of A last year. I can't believe how much he has grown.

They really do grow up too fast!

Last year at about this time he wasn't standing yet, and fit quite nicely in a suitcase :)


Now, he looks like he's ready to head off on his own! Make him stop growing up, please?



September 27, 2012

Top Baby Blogs



I try not to ask for too much for you - but if you like Crazy Casa K, I'd love it if you could vote for us on Top Baby Blogs :) They reset their numbers this week so help us stay as a top blog! Just click on the button below, then on the owl on the left. You can vote once a day...

Thanks!

Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

September 26, 2012

My Love of Photography

I love taking photos. I love exploring the world around me and the colors that catch my eye and the smiles that you catch in a fleeting moment. I haven't taken any formal instruction since college (way back in the days of film and dark rooms!), but I haven't stopped dabbling. Recently I've been loving being part of the photo conversation in the blogging world. There are so many talented artists out there and I love exploring the different styles, visions, and moments. I love the support and sharing of ideas!

This fall I'm planning on participating in the "Nurture Photography Challenge" - I'm really excited! So come back on Friday's this fall to join in :)


Nurture Photography Autumn 2012 Photo Challenge


I've also been participating in some great weekly photo fun and inspiration!


September 25, 2012

Get thee to the Getty

I've been in the LA area now for, oh, a little over 3 years. The entire time people have been asking if we've been to the Getty yet. Finally, I can answer --- yes! I can't say enough good things about it. It has something for everyone. The kid's room - awesome. A was in the "tube room" for 20 minutes (quite a feat for his attention span!).

getty with kids, kids room getty

The grounds are also stunning - I can't explain how beautiful the gardens were. Flowers, views, waterfalls, stairs (A's favorite), lawns for picnicking....paradise for a 1.5 year old!

picnic getty, gardens getty, getty with kids

So, get thee to the Getty :) Oh, and the exhibits are awesome too!

September 24, 2012

The Third Person

Do you ever listen to yourself talk?

I find as a parent that I speak in the 3rd person...a lot.

As I narrate the world to A, I tell him that "Mommy" is going to do something. I don't tell him that "I"  am going to do anything. Why is that? I mean, he knows that I am him mommy, and we should probably work on some pronouns, but I just can't get out of the habit...I really just can't stop. I sometimes even find myself talking that way to my husband...now that is just wrong.

"It's called snow...Mommy can't make it stop snowing, sorry :("
"Can you make silly faces like Mommy?"

Isn't that weird? Do others do that? Am I alone here?

What kind of things do you say as a parent that you never thought imagined would come out of your mouth? Check out what other's have to say this week on Toddle Along Tuesday!

September 23, 2012

Today's 5k in Camarillo!

I ran a 5k today! Did I train? Not really. But did I get my butt out of bed and run it anyway?

Yes I did :)

To make it even better? My husband and son came out to cheer me on - and as added bonus, my parents agreed to come at the very last minute. Yep, I forgot about the race until pretty much right beforehand (oops!). So we loaded up 2 cars with 2 grandparents, 2 dogs and a toddler and made a morning out of it!


Even with the chaos and arriving 5 minutes late, I still got 2nd place in my age group. Great morning!





September 22, 2012

It's Saturday Morning

We're sitting around, coloring, watching the hummingbirds, smiling, laughing, just having a great morning. Oh, and I'm drinking coffee :)

What could be better?


September 19, 2012

Beautiful Scenery

In case you thought that I only took pictures of the little guy - we also took some shots of the gorgeous scenery. We visited three National Parks - Banff, Jasper and Yoho. My husband votes for Banff as the favorite, but I think Jasper might have become mine...

Enjoy!

yoho national park, canadian rockies,








September 17, 2012

Canadian Rockies Vacation

{This week I am excited to be co-hosting Toddle Along Tuesday with Melissa from Growing Up Geeky. Make sure and check out other great posts about vacations below!}

We just got back from one of the best vacations ever - and I really mean that :) One might think that a nine day vacation with a toddler would not be listed among top vacations, but it really, truly was amazing! The scenery was incomparable, the people amazingly friendly and we had poutine four, yep, four times.

I've had great opportunities to visit some amazing places in my lifetime and the Canadian Rockies is definitely a stunning place to explore. We went from wearing shorts to hiking in snow in less than an hour. We walked on a glacier, hiked up to a tea house at Lake Louise, hiked beside a deer, and saw breathtaking vistas around almost every curve.


I also think this vacation lists as one of the all time best because of how much A truly enjoyed himself. There is nothing better than watching your child explore so many new things in such a short amount of time. He was ready to get on the road each morning before even my husband or I were. "Let's Go!" was repeated multiple times with great excitement to start each day. He was also in love with all forms of water - lakes, rivers, streams, waterfalls (though NOT snow!) - and "wawa" or "agua" were exclaimed with enthusiasm each and every time we saw or heard water. The hiking backpack was also a great win - he loved being up high and seeing the world from a new persepctive. He tried to dive into it quite a few times!

He also gained great hiking skills on this trip ~ His coordination grew by leaps and bounds as he insisted on hiking up some quite steep terrain! He loved hiking with his daddy too. He also enjoyed giving strangers rocks and lots of smiles...one of my absolute favorite things about this trip was the friendly people. While I knew Canadians were friendly (we had a great conversation with some Ottowans who told us this crazy story about getting "Timmy's" at 3 am on their two day bus trip to Banff), I have never been on the recieivng end of so many smiles while hiking - perhaps due to the infectiously happy toddler on my back!


He also loved the trains - oh the trains!! So many to point out and see! He is now a little obsessed with bears, though we didn't get to see any, and deer, rocks, tractors...and did I mention trains?



Of course, I will add, that getting hotel suites was very key to happy parents. A had his own room to sleep in and we were able to stay up past 7 pm, enjoying some time to read by the fireplace and drink some good Canadian Beer. I don't think we turned on the TV once (well, except for when A figured out how to use the remote!). My only concern for the future - my little guy is growing up too fast!



I'd love to hear about your vacations...we need to plan on where to go next!



This week's Toddle Along Tuesday topic is vacations! Where did you go this summer? Show off some pics and tell us what you did! There are no rules here, except that you link up a relevant post (old or new) rather than your whole blog.

Camarillo Chili Cook-off

We made a last minute decision to go to the Camarillo Chili Cook-off recently a couple of weeks ago, I'm finally getting around to looking through my photos ;) It was actually a lot of fun! Though, we were deciding between Malibu and Camarillo - and apparently we missed lots of movie stars at the Malibu Chili cook-off. We've lived near LA for three years now and still haven't seen anyone famous! But I think we made the right choice! The chili was good, the music was good and the we had a good time!



















September 16, 2012

And...we're home!

After an amazing nine day vacation, we are finally home! I have to say that our Canadian vacation was one of the best ever :) I'll be giving you the highlights soon...but for now, I'm unpacking, doing laundry, napping...very important things!

Also, I tried to see if any of our (millions of) pictures would work for the photo "Scavenger Hunt" that I've been trying to do on Sundays, and I only found one...and I think my husband took it! More photos to come, I promise!

"Simple"


September 15, 2012

Anne of Green Gables

My favorite books growing up - unquestionably the "Anne of Green Gables" series. Set, yep, in Canada, the story of the over-the-top, courageous, talkative, word-loving orphan stole my heart. And there were eight, yes 8! books of her life for me to fall in love with. As a reader who inhales books, this was perfect.

I think I must of read each of the books multiple times. I just KNEW that in the next book she and Gilbert would get together and all would be well in the world. I wanted red hair so I could be just like her, alas, my boring brown tresses were never turning red :)

Then, when they made the mini-series, they cast an actress named "Megan" to play Anne  (Megan Follows and Richard Farnsworth star). I died of happiness. I was nine years old and so very much wanted to be Anne. My obsession with Anne of Green Gables was never to be topped. I lived her life, breathed her breath - ok, maybe not, but it seems to me that's how Anne would describe it :)

I had (have?) romantic notions of Prince Edward Island ever since. While we are not visiting there this time, I hope to go in the future :) Apparently there is quiet an active Anne of Green Gables tourism market. AND there are whales nearby...Who knew?

So adding to my future Canadian travels...after the ice hotel, of course...PEI :)


September 13, 2012

The Best of Canada? Beer!

I loved Lisa's post last week so much, I begged her to write some more on that lovely country to the north. Since her blog is titled "Drinks Like Fish," I thought perhaps some opinions on the best beer around might be appreciated - from an expert no less. Not only can she expound on Canadian Drinks, she's got hockey credentials as well :) With no further ado....

Lisa the Goalie!
In my first post I pointed out some differences between the US and Canada. One of the differences listed rye whisky. (I wonder how many of you thought I misspelled whiskey? We don’t have that E in ours. Really.) Also a drink called a bloody ceasar. While a rye and ginger is my personal drink of choice, a lot of people think of beer when they think of Canada. Well, that or ice wine I guess.

Ice wine is definitely not my style – but for those who like it like it a lot. The grapes are harvested after they’ve already frozen on the vine. This means the water inside the grape is frozen so that the rest of the grape is concentrated (once you remove the ice that is). It’s one of those things that requires a confluence of factors all working together – a cold enough climate (it needs to freeze), healthy grapes that have lasted long enough in the season to make it to first frost, a lot of people willing to pick frozen grapes on some very chilly morning etc.


Needless to say, there are really only a few places that make the stuff and it tends to be pretty pricey. Canada is once of the major producers of ice wine and most of it right here in Ontario.

So my preference over ice wine? Well local beer. I’d say local whisky but, while it’s getting better (Forty Creek) it’s still not got a candle on our beer.

The worst thing about the condo my husband convinced me to move into? I am in the middle of downtown Toronto and within spitting distance of FOUR 4! Breweries.

Steam Whistle is right in the heart of the city. It only makes one beer. If you believe it’s ads it does one thing very very well. A couple of years ago T and I hosted an octobervest dinner. T made schnitzel; I made a mock-German chocolate cake; and we had a pilsner tasting. Steam Whistle came out near the top of the list; not THE top but near the top. Lovely; mellow; smooth; a great pilsner.

Then there’s Amsterdam. It makes, again, as it advertises “’Dam good beer.” The 416 (our telephone area code) is one of the nicest wheat beers I’ve ever had.

Granite Brewery is a bit north in the city – the other three are all pretty much in the centre of the city – and sells growlers of its beer. I just love that they’re called growlers.

And then came Mill Street Brewery. And a revitalization of the east end of Toronto began. Now it’s the “Distillery Historic District” of Toronto. The beer is good, don’t get me wrong, but not out of the world wonderful. BUT they do definitely win for being in closest walking distance from the condo’s front door.


But then recently I spent a lovely afternoon at my local pub. And they had the most lovely pint of IPA I’ve tasted in a while. Hops & Robbers by Double Trouble Brewing no pun intended but as the baby daughter of a police officer the name definitely appealed.

I know I prefer different beers now than when I was a kid. And I definitely am more open to other tastes than the big factory breweries. What’s your favourite? If I could somehow smuggle it over the border…well I won’t tell!

September 12, 2012

Favorite Canadian Author for Kids


If you know me at all, you know I LOVE to read, which is why I am very excited to introduce you to my next guest blogger. Renee reviews books with her kids (what an awesome idea!) on her blog Mother Daughter Book Reviews. She's Canadian, of course, and here to introduce us to her favorite Canadian children's author.

I am so thrilled be have been asked by Meghan here at Crazy Casa K to contribute a guest post and her fabulous website. To introduce myself, my name is Renee and I blog over at Mother Daughter Book Reviews with my two kids, Danielle (9 years old) and my son Dominic (almost 6 years old). We read all kinds of children’s books and then share with our readers what we think of them. We also host a number of giveaways giving our followers chances to win some great books. This has been so much fun for us!

I was asked by Meghan to introduce her readers to some of my favorite Canadian authors and books. Without hesitation, I knew exactly which Canadian author I wanted to highlight: Robert Munsch. Ok, technically he was born in the United States, but we Canadians like to claim him as our own because he wrote all of his fabulous books after he moved to Canada. ;-)

Robert Munsch has written over 50 children’s books, often in tandem with the fabulous illustrator Michael Martchenko.  What makes Robert Munsch’s books so delightful is that they were crafted through story-telling.  Each book was conceived after Munsch repeatedly shared the stories with audiences of children refining them with each telling.  Many of the books are based on either Munsch’s own children or children that he has met.  The background of the stories is often shared in the published books as well.

Robert Munsch GETS children.  The stories in the books are mostly so far-fetched that they play to children’s imagination and keep them howling in laughter throughout.  There is plenty of dialogue in the stories allowing parents to use a variety of voices when reading the book.  There are many expressions and sound effects used as well.  For example, in Mmm, Cookies! when the Mom takes a bite of a play clay cookie, it goes like this:

                                                             So she picked up that cookie and took a big bite.
             
                                                             SCRUUUNNNNCH!

                                                             And she yelled, “Yuck!
                                                             PWAH! SPLIGHT!
                                                             PLAY CLAY!
                                                             GLA-GLA-GLA-GLA!”

These books are FUN to read! 

I would like to share with you some of our favorites.  There is a category on Amazon that consists of “Classic Munsch”.  These books are some of Munsch’s earlier works and ones that are the most popular and well-known. Here are our Top Three Classic Munsch Books:



Title: Love you Forever
Year: 1986
Summary: Love You Forever was Number 1 on Our Favorite Children’s Books For Preschoolers 3 to 5 years old. While most of Robert Munsch’s stories are straight-up hilarious, this one also includes the tenderness the mother demonstrates toward her child.  A mother rocks her new born baby boy to sleep singing a tender lullaby.  As each page turns, the little boy grows and grows until he is a man.  All the while the mother continues to sing her beautiful song to him.  I have always made up a song to go with the lyrics and I literally get choked up singing it every time.  With this book, you simply can’t go wrong – it is an all-time favorite. 




Title: Jonathan Cleaned Up -- Then He Heard a Sound or Blackberry Subway Jam
Year: 1981
Summary: Jonathan gets the surprise of his life when he discovers that a new subway station has opened up in his living room. Jonathan finds himself cleaning up after the commuters several times a day until he finally devises a plan to re-route the subway elsewhere.  If I had to choose a book based on the sheer number of times my kids wanted to check it out of the library, it would have to be this book.  This story is one of the more far-fetched ones and my kids just loved it.  You’ll just have to read it to see where the Blackberry Jam comes in!



Title: The Dark
Year: 1997
Summary: Jule Ann sets loose The Dark which pops out of the bottom of the cookie jar.  The Dark is a troublesome pest which swallows up all the shadows in Jule Ann’s house and moves on to swallow up all of the shadows in Jule Ann’s town.  It’s up to Jule Ann to outsmart The Dark and return him to the cookie jar from which he emerged.  I find The Dark to be one of Munsch’s most imaginative books.  We also had the pleasure of seeing a collection of plays based on Robert Munsch’s works and this was one of the stories included in the production.  This book is a riot!

To choose our Top Three books from the non-Classic Munsch collection, we need to go no further than our home’s bookcase.  We have some Robert Munsch books that we felt were so fabulous that we ought to own them!  Here they are:



Title: We Share Everything
Year: 2000
Summary: Amanda and Jeremiah are new to kindergarten and they have so much to learn about sharing.  They quickly learn that the way they deal with conflict with their siblings at home isn’t going to work here in kindergarten.  But, much to their teacher’s dismay, they quickly learn to share EVERYTHING!  This is a Munsch story that is actually not far-fetched.  In fact, it’s the exact opposite – ok, except perhaps slightly exaggerated. This is a great book for children starting out in kindergarten, but hopefully it won’t give them any bad ideas.  ;-)



Title: Mmm, Cookies!
Year: 2000
Summary: What happens when mischievous Christopher discovers a big pile of play clay in his basement?  His mother and father get fooled by his big, beautiful cookie, but his teacher finds a way to outsmart him and gives him a piece of his own ‘cookie’.  This book is by far one of my favorite books to read aloud to the kids because of all of the sound effects in the text.  There are sounds for making cookies:  ‘WHAP, WHAP, WHAP, WHAP, WHAP’; ‘SWISH, SWISH, SWISH, SWISH, SWISH’; ‘CHIK, CHIK, CHIK, CHIK, CHIK’, etc; and sounds for gagging on the cookie (as described above).  We just love this book because it is a great read-aloud book.



Title: The Sandcastle Contest
Year: 2005
Summary: While on beach vacation with his family, Matthew enters a sandcastle-building contest with the eye-popping prize of a bathtub full of ice cream.  But much to Matthew’s dismay, the judges of the contest only see a REAL house on the beach and demand that Matthew’s house be removed.  But, leave it to Matthew to convince them that his sand house is an official entry into the contest.  Will Michael be the winner of the contest?  I can’t pinpoint what my kids love about this story.  Perhaps it’s simply seeing a kid outsmart some adults or seeing a bathtub full of ice cream, but something plays to their imagination in this story.  We’ve read this book dozens of times and it’s one of their favorites.

Thanks so much for letting me share some of our favorite Robert Munsch Books.  If you haven’t read any, head out to your local library to see if they have any there.  To purchase any of these books on-line, please click on the images of the book covers.  If you’ve read some Robert Munsch books, I’d love to hear back from you about your favorites.  Please leave us a comment here at this post telling us which Robert Munsch books your family loves or hop on over to Mother Daughter Book Reviews and let us know there!

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