Thursday Thoughts #21

Thursday Thoughts

My mom has been dying to do the “touristy” things ever since we moved out to SoCal one year ago.

The idea of driving around to look at famous people’s homes on a giant bus doesn’t appeal to me too much, but I’ll do it with her eventually. Before we leave this duty station anyway.

Update: I’ve been corrected. Mom wants to do a Studio Tour, not a bus tour. (Phew!) I don’t think kids are allowed on studio tours so that will be logistically more challenging to arrange. 

Seeing the Hollywood Stars might be kinda cool, if it weren’t just so darn crowded, and from what I hear, dirty. But again, I’ll make that trek with her. Maybe the next visit, Mom.

Seeing the Hollywood sign was a little more doable and an excursion I was simply waiting for the right time to do it. I did a tiny bit of research and asked a couple of friends if they’d gone with children.

So when my mom was here last week, off we went to Griffith Observatory to catch a glimpse of the iconic Hollywood sign.

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Finding information about the sign was easy. A quick browser search came up with this incredible website where we found great information regarding trail options based on your difficulty desire.

Reading that the trails run through snake territory, I knew that I wanted to be in long pants (in addition to closed toed shoes). My mind had me picturing narrow trails with a lot of foliage where snakes could take shelter.

Maybe the more strenuous paths would be that way, but the easy path we took at the Charlie Turner Trailhead was fairly smooth and quite wide. Strollers would have been easy enough to use on the path, too. A bit of a push uphill, but definitely doable.

There’s zero shade on the trails so be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, water, and hats.

But wait, Lauren, your kids aren’t wearing hats in any of these pictures!

You’re right, they’re not. Both of my boys have hated hats since the beginning of their time. We swore when Treat came around we would get him to like hats being a winter baby in Ohio. No such luck. There might be hope in our future though! We gave them baseball caps at the LA Galaxy game last weekend and Firecracker liked it and Treat was iffy on it, but it did last longer than any other thing that’d been placed on his head in the previous 17 months!

I am quite glad I took the opportunity to check out the Hollywood sign this spring. I couldn’t imagine doing this hike in the summer. At least not with little children. I immediately regretted putting them in pants.

IMG_3085We spent about two hours on the trail. We didn’t get too far in that first hour going at the pace of a 17 month old, but we did make it to a great viewing area before turning around.

The kids were a little bit all over the place. Want to know how to get kids to keep moving when all they want to do is play in the dirt? Goldfish!

IMG_3114We had packed a lunch and enjoyed it at the Berlin Forest. An area with a few trees providing shade and a couple of picnic tables and benches. As it’s near the start of the trail, we left the “picnic basket” in the car and it was simple enough for my mom to get some “extra steps” down to the car to bring up our lunch (and the stroller!).

Mentioning the car brings me to my next point.

Parking.

The website I referenced earlier stated that parking at the observatory was free. Maybe it was at one point, but it isn’t still. It costs $4/hr and you have to pre-pay.

There’s plenty of free parking available further down the mountain, but as we really weren’t sure where we were going we opted for convenience. With the kids, it was definitely a good idea!

The parking lot as a splendid view of the sign, so if that’s all you’re really after, just do a drive by. (See the first photo of this post.)

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Tuesday Tattles #20

Tuesday Tattles

 

When I was looking through my kids’ bookshelves to create the latest Tuesday Tattles favorite baby books list (toddler books still to come), I realized just how many books had to do with love!

I made a mental note to create another Tuesday Tattles post surrounded solely around these particular books.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching – this week is already the last full week of January! – I figured what better time than now to feature this list. So, if you have little ones in your lives who mean the world to you, grab a book and read to them.

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

5 books for kids about Love | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

The popular phrase “Love you to the moon and back” comes from this book written over 20 years ago. As a {former} Aerospace Engineer, I quite enjoy the quote. Guess How Much I Love You is a beautiful book that, personally, I think is wonderful for fathers to read to their children.

If Animals Kissed Good Night by Ann Whitford Paul

I mentioned this book in my bed time books list, but it’s applicable to today’s list, too. My favorite thing about reading this book is all the extra kisses and snuggles my Firecracker gives me! It’s a perfect way to end the day, particularly if that day happened to be a bit more challenging than others.

I Love You Through and Through by Burnadette Rossetti-Shustak

11949548_10103205307664611_5720887468623193194_nThis book has been a favorite ever since Firecracker’s first Valentine’s Day. My mom sent it in a package. I Love You Through and Through is a simple poem with adorable illustrations. It’s probably the first book I had memorized. The book has resurfaced as the “one more book” before lights are turned out each night.

I Love You Because You’re You by Liza Baker

I think my mom found this book, too. Quite similar to I Love You Through and Through, this book tells little ones that “any way you feel, no matter what you do, I love you because you’re you.” Illustrations of a cute fox cub and his mama depict the many emotions that little ones may feel.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

I don’t think there’s any book more classic than this one. I honestly kept this book off the shelf for as long as I could. As a mother of boys it’s such a gut-wrenching, tear-inducing story. To this day, I still remember the first time I read it aloud. I remember sitting in the rocking chair in Ohio with a 4 or 5 month old Firecracker in my lap. At that 4th to last page, when the mother calls her son, my voice cracked and the tears started rolling down my cheeks. I will read the book every single time one of my boys pulls it from the shelf. As they grow, I hope they’ll understand the unconditional love I have for them, no matter how crazy they make me. I do, however, promise never to climb through their windows when they’re adults living on their own!

 

 

Tuesday Tattles #18

Tuesday Tattles

It’s time for my next Tuesday Tattles Library Edition. A couple of weeks ago I shared our favorite bed time and nap time reads.

Because it would be too overwhelming to put all of our favorites in one post, I’ve been struggling with how to break up the “day time” books. I’ve thought about educational versus just for fun. But, really, just about every book falls in that first category.

I then thought about categorizing the books between infant and toddler, but I don’t really believe that books aren’t for every age and stage at the under 4 mark.

13939534_10103960364290081_3975369332799635853_nMy book list keeps growing, too! As soon as I hit “publish” on the bed time books post, Firecracker decided to add even more books to our night time routine. He’s really putting my poor vision to the test by reading not as popular books by the nightlight’s glow.

Treat’s favorite activity is pulling books off of the bookshelf in their room, and now that he’s walking like a champ he’ll bring me a book or two. I’m not sure if he really wants me to read them because as soon as I crack open the cover and start reading he toddles away!

Okay, enough dawdling. Here’s what I’m picking to share with you today and there’ll be more to come soon.

10 of the Best Books for Babies | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com


The Very Hungry Caterpillar
 by Eric Carle

tvhcI begin our library catalog with a classic. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a great book for teaching days of the week and counting. I actually can’t read this book without, in my head, reciting Joey Tribbiani’s days of the week monologue “Wednesday – when? what day? Thursday – the third day!” Ironically, this book became a favorite teething toy of Firecracker’s…

The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle

I continue with another board book by Eric Carle. The Very Lonely Firefly is a cute book that works for bed time due to its repetitive writing. It’s a hit with my kids because the last page lights up. Firecracker learned the words “owl” and “eyes” from this book.

Favorite Books for Babies | Sew You Think You Can CookDr. Seuss’s A B C

This alphabet book is the one I grew up on! My mom had (still does) this book memorized, and I do too. It’s definitely one of my all time favorites to read to my kids.

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy

If you want to be constantly impressed and amazed with how much your toddler knows, get him this book. My aunt gave us this book for Christmas and it’s gone with us on every vacation. As kids get older you can transition to quizzing them on vocabulary, asking them to point out different words/pictures. Eventually, they’ll be “reading” it to themselves.

Put Me In the Zoo by Robert Lopshire

My mother-in-law grew up on this book and introduced it to us. It’s a cute book that teaches colors, but also has an underlying theme of rejection, wanting to belong, and finding the perfect place to be yourself. We have the mini board book, which I know leaves out some of the fun, I’d be curious to find the full story and read more about Spot.

The Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz

This book version of the classic song has been in instant favorite with both of my boys. Firecracker still loves to read it and when I start reading it to Treat he comes running saying he wants to see, too. I never sang along with the book because I don’t need the song stuck in my head! The one exception is when Firecracker wants to read it before bed; I then turn it into a ballad and rock him back and forth as I sing.

Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz

Another fun Karen Katz book, this one has flaps to lift to find baby’s eyes, mouth, and belly button. It’s a cute way to teach basic body parts as well as a little game of peek-a-boo. Surprisingly, it’s one of the few books that the boys haven’t completely demolished. Once Treat learns how to lift the flaps and play along with the book, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it gets torn. Are any one else’s kids completely aggressive towards their library!?

Peek-A-Zoo! and Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden

Books for Babies | Sew You Think You Can CookPeek-A-Zoo was given to Firecracker for his first birthday and he loved it immediately. It was a book I could hand in him the car and he’d enjoy flipping through it. Because it was such a hit, before our last flight I bought the original for Treat. I’d venture to say it’s his favorite book! He actually laughs out loud at each turn of the page.

The Little Engine That Could

I’ll round out this book list at ten titles. This abridged version of the classic tale of never giving up was Firecracker’s favorite book when he was 16 months old. As his train related book collection has grown it’s been set aside. Not that it stops him from enjoying it on occasion. He even has the first four pages memorized. When he’s playing pretend with his trains I’ll hear him reciting “puff puff chug chug ding dong ding dong the little train rumbled over the tracks. happy train.”

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday Tattles #10

Tuesday Tattles

It’s been another almost five months since I’ve done a “favorite products” version of Tuesday Tattles. My little man is now 16 1/2 months old.

12107130_10103304221470551_5559103387627477238_nA lot has happened since he’s turned one! He is more sure footed than ever, except for when he’s tired, and is a happy explorer. He can run, although not exactly gracefully, and enjoys running away from us to see if we’ll get him! But his number one activity is climbing. He’ll try and climb up on anything! I’ve caught him on top of my crafting table, laying next to my sewing machine. Chairs now have to be kept at a distance or tucked too far under the table to be of use.

His vocabulary has expanded from “duck” to include “all done”, “uh oh”, “up”, and “okay.” He is getting great at communicating when he is hungry too by running to the fridge and yelling “MAOW”. His favorite foods include sandwiches, berries, bananas, and the food that gets a happy dance, cheese.

Now on to the favorite toys of my one year old. A lot of today’s items are those he got at his first birthday. My family had some great ideas so if you have little ones on your holiday shopping list pay attention!

Duck Pond Water Table

toys for toddlers | sew you think you can cookA splash table is a fun warm weather activity and when I saw one that was duck themed I knew I had to get it! (Duck was my little man’s first word and he still loves rubber ducks and the duck stuffed animal I had as a child.) My son loves water – baths, showers, washing his hands. It’s getting too cold now but I know when it comes back out of the box come late spring he’ll find new enjoyment with it.

Little People Music Parade Ride-On

11755883_10103137355366561_2074814749816057856_nThis marching band car is a huge hit! He loves to press the music making buttons, push it around the house, sit on it and be pushed, sit on it and scoot around himself, and of course, try to fit himself in it. Surprisingly he still hasn’t put anything into the seat cavity, other than to immediately pull it out. Maybe with a little brother around he’ll re-discover the compartment as a place for safe keeping.

Play Kitchen

toys for toddlers 2 | sew you think you can cookA play kitchen is a perfect toy for a food blogger’s kid! And I’m happy to report that a lot of independent play has been developed through his play kitchen. (Allowing me to wash dishes peacefully.) He will bang the dishes, open up all the doors, and naturally try and climb it. This particular model comes with a shape sorting pot and it’s one of his favorite activities. All of the accessories do create a bit of a mess, but what’s a home with a toddler without a little clutter?

Classic Table and Chairs Set

toys for toddlers 3 | sew you think you can cookWe found this classic table and chairs set at a consignment shop in fantastic shape, so I jumped on the chance to bring it home. I thought he was still too little to really use it but I was proven wrong within ten minutes of having it home. He had immediately climbed up on top of the table and stood up. It was kept upside down for a while after that. And when he got tired of being in his booster seat I found he’d eat a sandwich like a big boy at his table. Turns out the table is also the perfect platform for superhero practice with Daddy.

Mega Bloks

Until quite recently my little man much preferred destroying towers as to building them but now he’ll stack a few before taking them apart. He likes to bring us the bag to open up and build with him, although the creativity and endless hours of fun are still a ways away.

The Little Engine That Could

This abridged version of the classic is definitely my 16 month old’s favorite book. We read it at least four times a day.

The Babies on the Bus

I must admit, I wasn’t thrilled pulling this one out of the birthday bag, but the gift giver definitely knew what they were doing. This book comes at a very close second for most read book in our house. I have managed to turn it into a fun read by not singing the song (no one needs that stuck in their head all childhood) and using hand motions. My son will now “sing” “LA LA LA” with the babies on the bus and say “shush shush shush” with the driver on the bus. He will also swing his arms “open and close” along with the “doors on the bus.”
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.