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Early adopters

Wonder Boy started on an iPad at 18 months.
lil’ Wonder is still too young, grabbing the screen and swiping from Toca Boca’s tea party app to Netflix in an instant.

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With Wonder Boy it felt a little more wierd. He was a novelty- people watched him swipe and drag and tap away with amazement as they struggled with their own smartphones.
But now, he is ever more the norm- and a reality that has definite pros and cons.
Can he be entertained anywhere? Yes, just pull out the tablet or phone and he’s tapping away at whatever game is available.
Did he learn? Heck yes. He learned letters from Elmo before preschool, and he learned problem solving skills, geometry, and cause and effect from games like The Amazing Alex and Angry Birds.
The hardest thing with an early adopter is making sure he gets enough time doing other things. I refuse to let me active son get too much screen time, otherwise he’s crazy by dinner. Luckily, he loves to run, scooter, dig in the dirt and crash together his Hot Wheel cars.

Lil’ Wonder is on the verge of getting to start some of Wonder Boy’s favorite little apps, and I’m looking forward to seeing him step up to the one-finger dexterity challenge and work on motor skills while learning at what is the norm for his generation.
He will be attending school and beyond with an amazing amount of technology available to him – the closest we got was a half hour of computer lab each week with the LOGOS turtle or the first edition of The Oregon Trail.

While I think it’s lovely so many parents want their children unplugged, homeschooled or unschooled, or just out learning in the real world, I think it’ important to speak technology early on for our little ones, and I embrace it fully and support it as much as pssible. I’ve taken Wonder Boy to go try out tablets at Verizon to kill a few minutes time, watching him navigate different user systems. We went to a local business’ open house to let him play on a touch-screen map that was as big as a dinner table.

And then I come home and toss him outside with a bucket of water to play with.
How do you navigate the balance between the virtual and real worlds with your children?

Pantry chalkboard project

Going back to work more meant getting more organized in a big way.

While I had tried before, writing notes down on a piece of paper wasn’t going to cover it on a day-to-day basis – I needed a more permanent way to offer schedule, food ideas, and a message center for anyone in charge of Lil’ Wonder and Wonder Boy. image Center stage- the inside of the pantry. (Illustrated here with the inside of a cabinet door since I forgot and already had put the tape on. See how it makes a nice space perfect for the paint? It was made for this project. ) The inside of the pantry door was long used to tape up printed- out toddler food ideas, neglected cleaning schedules and other things I could ignore while digging through the pantry for food. And the new addition – chalkboard paint. image While I am seriously a year or two late to the chalkboard paint trend (thanks Pinterest) I had long thought about painting something in my home. The paint came in several colors, but I didn’t feel any of them would work in my kitchen (darn, no yellow!) so I went with regular ol’ chalkboardish color (Moonstone). image Of course I picked a weekend that my husband wasn’t home a lot, and of COURSE we couldn’t paint with the practically hyperactive Lil’ Wonder running around, so Wonder Boy and I waited until 9:30 at night on a Saturday to do our project. We live a crazy life, yo. I taped it off with regular painters tape, then added that rubber band trick you see a lot on Pinterest. image It totally works, y’all. I showed Wonder Boy the ‘moves’ long strokes, up and down, a little on the paintbrush at a time. I admit, he totally impressed me with his mad painting skills, I dripped more than he did! image After a good solid coat, Wonder Boy was put to bed and I snuck in another couple of light coats afterwards. Voila, our new chalkboard! I keep it real with these photos. My house is a mess. deal. image Painting at night was totally my friend, as the next morning Wonder Boy was eager to try out his new project and it had a chance to completely dry overnight. It made him feel like a little man of the house to have accomplished a big project like this. I was glad to teach him a skill and get a quick project accomplished that made the transition to working a little easier. And? It totally works. Right now I’m using an towel to help erase, and it may need a wipe every couple of week, but I’m trying out different places to write what is for dinner, what could be for lunch, and what my work schedule is. But also – artwork. image

Weekly Sunshine – March showers bring yellow flowers

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This is our third spring in our house and I still don’t have a cut garden going yet.

It’s a plan I just haven’t figured out since we’ve already devoted major spots to succulents and a vegetable garden (check out my guest post on Budget Fairy Tale for starting-a-garden tips).

These cheery fellows hailed from Trader Joes. They always have great cheap daffodil bouquets in the spring that open perfect and look great in my blue Fiestaware.
Did you know marigolds (French is best) and daisies are great for your garden’s health? They attract beneficial insects (and marigolds also fight against nematodes.)
And I fell for this flufy calendula.
Forgive the lighting on my poor orchids- they really are a beautiful pastel yellow! (today its actually grey and 70 degrees in SoCal).
They were both gifts when I was in the hospital with new babies- this year one of them has ten buds and counting!

Apparently my cluttered kitchen counter has great light for orchids.

Have you started planting outside? Is there a color that dominates your spring garden?

 

Pizzadillas

A pizzadilla isn’t an entirely new concept. (Google it.)

But, I never really tried one until getting a hold of Weelicious’ recipe that included dipping in tomato sauce.

It was a hit.

Well, there’s no hardship in getting my son to eat pizza sauce, but quesedillas were becoming a little tired around here.

Monterrey Jack, cheddar, Mexican mix left over from a taco night… I was done with those cheeses.

Hence- two easy versions of pizzas on a tortilla, AKA pizzadillas. 

 

Pepperoni – all you have to do is sprinkle the mozzarella (mine is from Fresh n’ Easy) on a tortilla. Take leftover pepperoni from your past pizza night (Or use some of your mini pepperoni you have stashed away for emergencies like I do) and lay it on top. Sprinkle a touch more cheese to help the pepperoni stick.

 

Margherita- slice up some tomato (big slices? Dice it up? whatever!) and tear up some basil. Lay on top of a thick bed of shredded mozarella.

Feeding one four-year-old? Just cover half.

Making it parent-sized or to share- cover that whole tortilla, baby.

But really- this is a great way to use up bits and pieces. A little diced bacon and BBQ chicken? Oh my. While we’re there, add slices of avocado and maybe sprinkle in a little corn.

My husband would want pepperoni and sausage.

Or there is nothing wrong with bell peppers, ham and pineapple, AKA one of my favorite pizzas ever.

I mean, see how easy this is?

This can even go party style- chicken, hot sauce and green onions for this weekend?

There are a million options out there.

So, a new snack option for our repertoire that will mean keeping mozzarella around for a while.

What new fun snack or meal options have you discovered?

 

Lil’ Wonder’s room

When I finished Lil’ Wonder’s nursery before the baby shower, I was bound and determined to showcase it in a post before it got messed up.

Then it got full of presents and boxes and various toys brought in by my son who was THAT excited about the baby that he wanted to play in his space.

So finally a few days ago I got the change to clean up his room enough for a quick photo session- just enough time before he woke up again.

So shhh… whisper in here, OK? I need the break.

The walls are the same color as when we moved in (as is the rest of the house).

 

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This print from Alley Kids totally set a color scheme for the room for me. Before that- I knew I wanted some kind of jungle animal theme.

The furniture was Wonder Boy’s- we bought and made all new furniture for him ( but that’s another post).

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I had changed my mind about the wall clings before someone bought them for me, but I love them. The Lion King is one  of my favorite Disney movies and going completely Lion King was an option for a while.

The moon lamp was from Ikea and provides the perfect amount of light when I’m nursing the baby at 2 a.m.

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The mobile was from The Disney Store. We had a snag with our original order and they were really helpful.

Wonder Boy helped put it together and loves to see it in action with his brother.

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The bookshelf is a mess of items that need better homes and books for myself and Lil’ Wonder.

Wonder Boy comes in and reads all the books, since they all were his first.Just like the toys, which he also loves to still play with.

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This glider was the store model when we first got it with Wonder Boy and has seen its share of baby messes. The two blankets were quilted by my mom and knitted by my grandmother.

I sewed the pillow using fabric I found at Joann’s.

The Boppy? Essential, especially when Wonder Boy wants to hold his brother.

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and last but not least- this bib was made by my mom for Lil’ Wonder to wear to my brother’s wedding and, well, the safest place to keep something safe right now is in plain sight. It’s always on the door.

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Now tiptoe back out, the baby’s still sleeping.