November 30, 2012

A Toddler Room?

As A gets closer to his 2nd birthday (how on earth is this possible?), I have started thinking about what I should do with his room. I love his "nursery" but know that some changes need to occur as he gets older. I've also been reading different books about educational philosophies, living more simply and enjoying every moment.

Right now A's room seems fairly calming to me. The walls are light blue, he has light furniture, a wall decal, soft light, lots of books, some toy bins and a crib. He has wall art of animals, numbers and a photo of mom and dad. His closet is a little busy, including more books, clothes and toys. Almost everything is reachable to a nearly 2 year old.
Please ignore our home grown attempt to block out the morning sun :)
I'm trying to keep things simple, calming and fun. I want him to enjoy his room - maybe I should add things he likes: pictures of Trucks? Horses? Letters? I also want him to feel secure and safe there. I don't plan on painting, but could change up the art, bedding etc. I'm in need of some advice! When do I move him from the crib to the toddler bed?  Do I keep the glider or set up a reading "nook?" Do I pare down his books even more?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! :)

November 29, 2012

Easy Weeknight Appetizer

I'm just going to point out that my husband is awesome!

He has been full of creative ideas for what to do with holiday leftovers. We generally make lots of cranberry, brie and turkey sandwiches. Yum. Yum. So now that we are getting down to the end of the leftovers, we decided to see what else we could do creatively!

What do you do when you get home at 6 pm, the little guy needs to eat, get a bath, and you are starving? Make this easy recipe :)



1. Buy some fresh bread - or make it!
2. Toasted Pecans - 350 for 2-4 minutes.
2. Cover bread with Brie Cheese in thin slices.
3. Toast pecans. Spread over the Brie.
4. Bake at 325 for 4-5 minutes.
5. Spread Cranberry on top!

Enjoy - Even the little guy enjoyed it!



November 28, 2012

How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way

I have been looking into different educational philosophies and choices for A. I know that A is still very young, but I also know that time goes by so quickly! I bought "How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way" last week and have already finished it.

montessori bookThis book is clear, concise (exactly how my 12th grade English teacher told me to write) and has beautiful photographs to illustrate. For a beginner, like me, this book really gives you a sense of what Montessori is all about. It also gives you first steps on how to immediately incorporate Montessori principles in your home.

The ideas presented here really resonated with me - so much so that I am planning on going to the library and looking a little more in depth. This is a great introductory book - it makes everything understandable and achievable. It whets the appetite for more. I love, love, love the ideas about creating a more child friendly home - letting the child really be a part of the home by giving him the tools to work and play beside you. Even if that's as far as I go, I inend to incorporate those ideas right away.

I am truly amazed at how quickly A learns - and reading Maria Montessori's philosophy on children's learning really made sense to me. I definitely plan on reading more (since that's how I learn!), but also wanted to get your advice. I'm really excited to learn more. Anyone tried Montessori principles? Schools? Other educational philosophies to look into? Thanks!



 

November 27, 2012

New Trains!

Oh the Joy!

We are planning on giving the little guy all sorts of fun new trains for Christmas. So we put away his train set for the time being. The Little People have momentarily taken over his train table. We are hoping that the absence of Thomas and friends will make the heart grow fonder! Indeed, I think we are on to something (maybe we should rotate toys more often!).

A couple of days ago a package arrived from Melissa & Doug. The moment Mr. K opened it, A was enthralled. He wanted to get down from the table immediately and was actively grabbing for the Choo-Choos before they were even unwrapped.



We receive the Magic Mine Train Tunnel which is very creative. Not only do the train cars change from empty to full, but it makes a noise when trains (or anything else) go through the tunnel. A was trying so hard to figure this noise thing out! Train cars, trucks, puzzle pieces, sesame street characters, even his leg made the trek down the mine. Hours of great entertainment!

It's about to get hidden for the next few weeks, but I wanted to share some of the joy of a boy being reunited with trains after a week of deprivation :)

November 26, 2012

In my Spare Time....

Wait, spare time - what's that? In fact, I do have some spare time, both with and without the little guy. Though I may not go out as often as I used to and travel is a little more complicated, my hobbies haven't changed too much since I became a mom. I just have to think differently about how they are done!

Traveling and hiking is so much fun with the little guy :) 
Some of those that I try to do :)

1. Blogging - this is my newest hobby! I've really enjoyed "meeting" so many amazing people. I enjoying having some time to write at the end of the day. I enjoy sharing, writing and all the great stories out there.

2. Photography - I have had fun taking photos of A as a baby. Now that he is a little older, it's harder to capture him sitting still, but it also gives me time to take notice of the other things around. I've really enjoyed finding others who dabble in photography through blogging - and finding those that inspire me!

3. Reading - Little guy goes to bed at 7 pm, which means I have some time to read at night again. Though most books recently have been about parenting or blogging :)

4. Travel - We had an amazing vacation this year in the Canadian Rockies. Glad to have an international trip again! Also, we've had fun exploring California. A is actually pretty good at traveling, and we are also lucky enough to have my parents nearby so we can travel a little on our own!

5. Hiking/Running - Well, running, not so much lately, but hiking - always. We went last Friday and saw a beautiful waterfall! Since I'm a park ranger, it's just part of who I am. Luckily I live in a place where I can hike year round!

What are your hobbies? Any new things I should be taking up? :) This week I'm linking up over at Growing Up Geeky to talk about Hobbies.

November 25, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Trying to get back on the photography wagon :) Here are my pics for this weeks photo Scavenger Hunt! Make sure to check out other interpretations of the prompts!

Home or Thankful ~ How can I not be thankful for this smiling face? 


In the Kitchen ~ Our Thanksgiving Spread...Yum!


Trees
Our Black Friday Hike - we may have had a little more adventure than we bargained for!


Bubbles ~ Someone is obsessed!

Family

Sorry I've been so quiet the last few days :)

I've been enjoying time with my family. I hope you have too! If not, I hope you get to soon.

I can't believe how quickly time passes, so I am trying to enjoy every minute!


November 22, 2012

Thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog...I am so lucky that you choose to read Crazy Casa K!

I am enjoying a wonderful day with friends and family - I hope you are too!


November 21, 2012

Giving Some Spirit to Life


There are moments in our lives when everything seems to fall into place. Those moments that you feel on top of the world. Amazing places, people, conversations. When you think THIS is what life is all about. I've been lucky enough to have so many of those moments...

Some of those moments are once in a lifetime: feeling so small but so full of life as you are encircled by snow covered peaks in Glacier National Park, snorkeling with sea lions and turtles in the Galapagos, sleeping under the stars on the clearest night surrounded by friends.


But some of those moments are smaller, closer, part of our every day life. Sometimes it may feel that life rushes by, that every day is the same, that we are just living for our next vacation. We have to find a way to put that spirit of adventure into our daily lives. One of the best moments I've had is a simple (trilingual)conversation - a rainy afternoon, a mug full of BAILEYS, and lots of laughs. I still remember the searching deep in our brains for the right word to explain our commonalities.

I have to remember to keep up that spirit of hopefulness, of connection, of joy in everyday life. To reconnect with my husband after a long day, to share stories with my mom, laugh with my friends and neighbors. Take the time to make every day what life is all about.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

November 19, 2012

It's Monday

My son is 22 months old. How on earth did that happen?

He is amazing. I'm not sure I've said that enough recently...

He is giggling, smiling, babbling non-stop. He tries so hard to communicate!


He LOVES his daddy. He tries to copy everything he does. He loves dance parties with dad, cuddling up in the corner of the couch so he can be near him, imitating his silly faces...maybe hockey is next?



He still wants lots of hugs, kisses, songs, stories and dancing with mom. He loves piggyback rides and even just cuddling up to read books. He has learned to say "cheese" when I take one of my millions of photos!



He loves sharing, with me, dad, Moose, his stuffed animals. He'd rather give a cheerio to Pooh than eat one himself sometimes :) He even wants to take his friends to the store with him!


November 18, 2012

Words, Words Everywhere!

Fun day yesterday! Words are just spilling out of A's mouth.



Four new words today...and such exciting words they are :) I love how is mind is just expanding every second. Soon we are going to be having complex conversations with all these words!

Grover aka Coco(?)
White 
Yellow
Bowl

Yep, my genius! He's also started to repeat parts of books - well, ok - only the word "no!"

What new, amazing things are your little ones doing?

November 16, 2012

A Very Itchy Dog



My poor Moose has been having itching problems for awhile now. We switched him from food to food, added supplements, took him to the vet, tried bathing him with special shampoos, we even contemplated getting him an Elizabethan Collar! Nothing worked. Poor Guy.


Finally, I got a recommendation for Eukanuba Naturally Wild New Zealand Venison and Sweet Potato food. It worked within days. Finally he wasn't scratching himself raw. Finally he isn't scratching all night long. I think maybe he eats better than I do! Regardless, it works. I am so happy! I think he is too :) So if you have a very scratchy, itchy dog, I highly recommend trying this food!

Also, it has 3D DentaDefense™ - Moose definitely needs some dental support. I am not as good as I should be at brushing the Moose's teeth...off to go write myself some reminders :)

food for itchy dog, food for allergy dog, 3d defense


* I was given a sample of the product for review, all opinions are my own.


November 15, 2012

Giving Tuesday

It's one week from Thanksgiving. One week from when we take a day to be grateful for the amazing things in out lives. One week from one of the best days of the year. 

Unfortunately we are also one week from Black Friday. And yes, I mean one week. It seems more and more stores are opening on Thanksgiving, not even waiting until Friday...We all know about Black Friday, and even Cyber Monday, but this year, I am excited to officially celebrate the first day of its kind – #GivingTuesday!
Black Friday to #GivingTuesday#G
#GivingTuesday is a campaign all about giving. It is a national movement with a unified message aimed at supporting brands and individuals that make giving back a priority during the holiday season. The  initiative is supported by some big companies, such as Skpye and Microsoft and is supported by the UN Foundation. The goal is to recognize November 27, 2012 as a day of giving, just like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are days of buying. #GivingTuesday is an incentive for us to give more, give smarter, and to celebrate the spirit of contribution. 

Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation explains #GivingTuesday -
#GivingTuesday is a counter narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it reminds us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism. The most meaningful gift we can give our children, loved ones, friends and neighbors is the commitment to work together to help build a better world.”
Check out the #GivingTuesday website at www.givingtuesday.org for creative ways to build a legacy of giving with new Thanksgiving traditions. Ideas include giving your time to charities participating in #GivingTuesday, donating to organizations who have built in your community, or helping the cause can be as simple as tweeting or updating your Facebook status!
Now don't get me wrong, I enjoying buying gifts for my family and receiving them. I do believe, however, that if we are going to celebrate shopping, we should celebrate giving as well. As a blogger with The Global Team of 200, I feel that I need to use social media for social good. There is so much to do - you can make a difference too.
I hope #GivingTuesday becomes a part of the greater conversation in the United States. I hope it becomes part of our family's traditions - and yours.

November 13, 2012

Melissa & Doug Giveaway!

As I mentioned last week, it's time for a Melissa & Doug Giveaway! I'm excited to say we'll be giving away a "Trunki" of your choice :) It comes in a variety of colors and patterns (I'm a little partial to the ladybug one myself).



The holidays will soon be upon us...what does that mean? Travel. For some of us, travel across country (help?)! For those of us with small children, that means endless hours of keeping them entertained. Not only does this suitcase hold lots of things to distract said children, it double as a ride on toy! How fun is that? Enter below for a chance to win your own!

How to Enter: Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below! Open to US only. Giveaway ends November 20, 2012 at 12:01 am.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

My poor guy

First stomach bug.

No fun. Poor guy. I hate to see him so sick.

He's thrown up four times, twice on me, twice while he was sleeping. After three baths, lots of cuddles, and many changes of clothing, we decided to get some fresh air. He decided to pick out his outfit. Choo choo pajamas, striped fleece, mohawk hat, new shoes...and the bear socks. We were styling. I decided to join him in walking around the block in pajamas. All my comfy pants were already dirty.



The fresh air helped. He had a good couple of hours watching Mickey Mouse Club and smiling. Then he threw up again. Poor guy.

I hate it when my baby is sick :(

November 12, 2012

Gift Guide for Moms!

As a busy working mom, I rarely have time to shop for myself, but I have time to daydream! Some things that would either make my life easier, better or just more fun :)


Holiday Wish List

working mo gift guide. christmas gift mom

1. Fiber Optic Earrings - Occasionally I like to dress up :)

2. Ukelele - If I learn, maybe I can teach A? I hear it's a good first instrument....

3. Recycled Purse - Every working mom needs something stylish to take to work but also big enough for everything under the sun :) 

4. Automatic Tea Maker - In my quest to give up coffee, I 'm looking for easy ways to make tea!

5. Macro lens - my dabbling in photography needs some macro support ;)

6. Ipad keyboard - one computer, two adults, a keyboard might solve some issues!

7. Light and Mighty Shoes - yep, still trying to work on that running thing!

8. Fossil wallet - ok, in full disclosure, I already bought this...now I need the matching purse....


November 10, 2012

Hat Update!

As I'm sure you know. My little guy - he looks good in hats. He always has :)

So I thought I'd share the most recent hat photos...I wish that I looked so good in hats (or helmets?)!





November 9, 2012

Sweet Butternut Squash

I can't believe how quickly Thanksgiving is approaching this year! I also can't believe the exciting vegetable coming out of my garden :) So i decided to try out a side dish recipe for Thanksgiving - using  the vegetables from my own yard!

My Latest Harvest

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation:

Scoop seeds out of butternut squash. Arrange butternut squash pieces, cut-side down, in a large baking dish. Pour hot water in the baking dish to a depth of about 1/4-inch. Bake butternut squash at 350° for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender. Cool squash; peel.
Cut squash into 1/2-inch slices and place in a 9x13x2-inch baking dish. Pour butter and honey over squash, then sprinkle with pecans and cinnamon. Return to oven and bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until butternut squash is glazed and hot.




Oh, and make some bread to go along! I found this awesome bread recipe that I will have to share with you soon!


November 8, 2012

Malala Day - Support Women's Education #IamMalala


Everyone deserves a chance at Education. Every woman. Every Child. No one deserves to be shot for promoting education for girls. No one. Especially not a 14 year old girl.
November 10, 2012 is one month since a 14 year old girl, Malala was shot in Pakistan for supporting education for girls. This is a day where we can all help stand up for Malala and all the girls that want and deserve an education. Please sign the petition here to lend your voice for education equality for all. On November 10th former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Education, and Gordon's wife, Sarah, will deliver the petition to the Pakistani president. Please join me in this important issue. You can also lend your voice by tweeting with the Twitter hashtag  #IamMalala.

Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls' education in her country.  Still recovering from this brutal attack, Malala continues to fight to regain her health. 32 million girls around the world are denied their right to be in the classroom and have an education. This is something that can easily go unnoticed for those of us here in the United States, where our daughters have this right. That's why on November 10th there will be a global action day for Malala and all girls who are affected.  

November 7, 2012

Cuteness for your Wednesday

Just wanted to share some cuteness...it always makes me smile :)




Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway




Need a chance to win some great holiday gifts? Yeah, me too :) Melissa & Doug is having their "Terrific Twenty" Giveaway - 20 days of free gifts starting November 6, 2012! To enter head on over to their facebook page.

Even better?  Check back soon for a Melissa and Doug Giveaway right here are Crazy Casa K...Let me know which of the Terrific Twenty you want a second chance to win, and I'll do by best to fulfill your holiday gift list!

I'm pretty excited about the truck, trunk, and train tunnel (some alliteration for you???). Brought to you by the letter T :)

November 6, 2012

Moving on...

I am so glad this election is over. That is all.


November 5, 2012

Brave ~ Review & Giveaway!



I can't tell you how excited I was when I was contacted to review the movie BRAVE. It's a beautifully animated movie - and definitely not your typical princess story! Not only did I get a copy to review, but I also get to giveaway a BRAVE Ultimate Collector's Edition 5-Disc set to one of you!

BRAVE is really a stunning movie - I am so amazed at where animation has gone in the last few years! I also loved that the heroine is, well, a heroine. It's really about being an independent female and figuring things out for herself.  The movie is set in the beautiful Scottish Highlands and it's main character, Merida, is a strong-willed teenager who loves archery and the outdoors! When her mother lets her know that neighboring clan's sons will be competing for Merida's hand in marriage, Merida is determined to change her fate, much to her mother's despair. Merida turns to a witch for help, but things (of course) do not turn out as anticipated. The rest of this fun, adventurous movie is Merida finding a way to discover the true meaning of bravery and love before it's too late!

We've been trying to get our little guy interested in Disney since we are planning on taking him to Disney for his birthday. We started watching the movie and he was very excited about the horses and bears...but did get a little (a lot) scared when the king knocked over the dinner table! So we only watched about ten minutes with A. Perhaps not suitable for the youngest kids, but as an adult, I loved it, and I know he will grow into it!

I am incredible excited to give away one of these Ultimate Collector's Edition 5-Disc set to one of you! This 5-Disc set includes Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray 3D, DVD, Digital Copy and Bonuses. This movie will be released November 13th, 2012 in stores. You can pre-purchase Brave on amazon.

Enter using Rafflecopter below, the contest ends midnight November 10, 2012:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure - I received one copy of this movie to review and one copy for giveaway. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.


November 3, 2012

Vote.

That's it. Just Vote.

It's a privilege many people don't have.

Make a difference.

Show your kids that it matters.

Do it for them, for their future.


*This week's Sustainable Saturday is a reminder that you can make a difference with your vote*

November 2, 2012

Fourth Anniversary - Flower Dessert!

Every year, when my anniversary rolls around, I do my duty and look up what I’m supposed to get for my husband. The first years were just a bit odd – paper, leather, cotton – but I quickly came up with some creative ideas. This fourth year, however, had me stumped. Flowers. I couldn’t just go with the obvious, so it took me quite some time to figure out a solution.
My husband does not like “stuff,” therefore I couldn’t get him anything permanent that would just sit around the house. However, he does like dessert (definitely doesn’t stay around the house for a long time). So lo and behold, I decided to find a recipe for a dessert that had flowers involved J I can’t wait to share the “Anniversary Flower Dessert” with you!
fourth anniversary, flower dessert, ice cream dessert


Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Ingredients:

4 pieces of Pound cake
½ gallon ice cream
½ package of oreo cookies
1 package of gummy worms

Other Things you’ll need:
Small flower pots, coffee mugs or
4 Straws
Fresh cut flowers



1. Cut the pound cake into rounds to fit in the bottom of your container. Make the pound cake the bottom layer in the container. Lightly press to make sure it is all the way down.



I took the extra pieces and put them in the bottom of the mug for me :) *If you use a flower pot, you can line it with aluminum foil if you wish!

2. Insert straw into the middle of the pound cake and cut off 1/2 inch from the top



3. Now grab your favorite ice cream, let it soften on the counter or put it in the microwave for 20 seconds, and spoon it into the container. Work around the straw until it almost reaches the top of the straw. Make sure to hide a worm or 2 in the ice cream with it's head peaking out!



5. Put the oreo cookies in the food processor until the look like dirt! You can also crush them in a ziploc bag for a low tech solution. Spoon the dirt (lots of it!) over the ice cream making sure not to plug up the straw hole. Now put it back in the freezer to re-harden the ice cream!

6. When you are ready to serve - place the flower in the straw and then cover the top of the straw with dirt so it isn't visible. Ready to serve :)

ice cream flower

Enjoy! I know we did ~ Love you honey!

November 1, 2012

Halloween - First time Trick-or-Treating!

Though it wasn't A's first Halloween - it was his first time trick-or-treating. At first...a little nervous.

By the end...he loved it. He learned how to say "treeeeat." He gently picked out one piece of candy at each time. He shared with his friends. He said "bye bye" at each house. He was adorable.

Enough words - cute pictures follow ;)


















Gardening this Fall

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.
In Southern California, fall is just the right time to work on the backyard. We’ve had some major changes to our backyard recently - our neighbor took down a huge oak tree that had shaded our entire backyard. It was massive…and I kind of miss it…but I am so excited for some sunshine in the yard!

Now that the shade tolerant landscaping and grass isn’t thriving, we need to change things up. Therefore, I’ve been looking for ideas and found some on Gardenieres

(1) Miracle-Gro

The website even has videos to give you ideas on what to do with your garden. I'm intrigued by creating a potted herb garden (yes, I know that probably won't solve my backyard issue!)


MG_Flower_Veg_Garden_Soil.jpg

There are other great videos on the site, including one on sustainable ways to improve the soil. I think that might be where I have to start! I want to make sure that the effort that I put into the yard really is lasting. I am also looking at how to improve the soil in my planter boxes! We have been composting, but I think I also need to improve the soil, I am looking into Miracle-Gro Vegetable Garden Soil.

I’d love any other advice on how to improve the yard! I’ll take all that I can get :) Also, check out the Miracle-Gro Facebook page to talk to other gardeners to share ideas!
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