May 05, 2010

crayon rocks rock!

i apologize for the lack of creativity in the title.

however,  it's true! these soy-based crayons far exceeded my expectations! i purchased them only because they looked fun and i like to provide my four year old with new and interesting materials in his art supplies from time to time (okay, and because i wanted to try them, myself.)

 little did i know that an added benefit of these pebble-shaped wonders would encourage proper hand positioning. take for example the way pea holds a regular pencil:

i've never quite seen another child do this before and it baffles me. i don't like to correct or redirect too much when it comes to creative spark (for as much as i kindled said spark in my oldest, i also think i hindered it a few times too many) but i find myself showing pea how to properly hold writing instruments like an old schoolmarm - and when that lasts all of 3.6 seconds i then resort to showing him how to utilize the more common toddler fist grip. but still he manages to set the pencil or crayon down, pick it up in his preferred manner and scribble, thumb down.

when i first presented the crayon rocks to pea i had no idea what to expect. he immediately picked one up and began to draw in a much more natural position - a la - the tripod grip!

he also drew, for the very first time, something that didn't just resemble lines on a page but his very first, bona fide person! i was beyond ecstatic since bean, my fourteen year old boy wonder, has been drawing extensive characters and buildings since he was two and i've just sort of been waiting for pea to draw something, anything, that i could easily identify.

he even started to just sort of let loose and experiment with the medium, which was great...there's something about crayola crayons that i will always love, but that i will also find limiting to the imagination. crayon rocks solve that issue and pea created a rainbow cave, completely unprompted, that had the waldorf in me beaming with joy (even if it's completely un-waldorf to say that).

all in all, i'd say that crayon rocks are an invaluable tool for little artists because of the fine motor skills, as well as the creative process, that they promote. i had initial concerns about the soy base causing allergic or sensitivity issues, with sprout, my youngest - but i don't think it's a real issue to be had as i let him eat one and he was fine. joke. that was a joke. because he is so young still, i don't actually know if such a product will be a problem in the future - he seems to be outgrowing his soy/legume sensitivities so it may not be something i even have to think about as he gets older but, from what i know, people with severe soy allergies should avoid non-food products containing soy such as candles, soaps, and yup. crayons.

as far as the quality of the crayon rocks as an implementation of artful representation (how was that for a mouthful of nonsense?) again, i think they rock! ha! i really thought they might produce inconsistent, shoddy markings similar to those made by restaurant crayons but no, these babies are worthy of being on every serious (and not-so-serious) artist's table and i fully intend on buying a larger stash for such purposes.

i have since learned that the crayon rocks actually were designed to promote the tripod grip. like, intentionally. who knew? well, they've succeeded and i'm not just some unknown testimonial ;)

stay tuned for the Very First Blessed Boy Mama giveaway and some awesome stroller reviews this week!

February 08, 2010

the silver cross eclipse fizz = my new favorite umbrella stroller!

the silver cross fizz stroller is one spiffy lightweight!

for reference, i have tried just about every model maclaren has made since 2004 and have owned five volos, a ryder, two vogues, two quests, an MX3, a twin techno, a techno classic and a techno XLR. i have never really considered purchasing a triumph, though i've played around with them plenty.

at one point i had a silver cross pop but i was so used to maclarens that i couldn't get past the fact that it didn't steer quite as well. so, going into this rave about the new eclipse fizz, i do have some previous experience with silver cross umbrella strollers and can say that the steerability of the fizz is much improved!

i will also say that it is most like a maclaren triumph, though it is often compared to the volo. there are enough similarities between the fizz and volo but it is like a more fully-featured triumph, in my opinion, and if someone was considering even a maclaren quest, i'd suggest they consider the fizz first.

so first off, let's discuss the appearance.

the fizz is sharp!

it's sleek!

it is, dare i say, sexy!

i still have yet to take photos of the stroller without the seat liner (or with it reversed to silver) so for now these will have to do :)

notice the nice, rounded "won't cut off your kid's fingers" hinges. ingenious and classy! then notice the thick padded seat liner with the cute lightly quilted bubble pattern. love it! also note that without the use of an extendable leg rest, my ten month old's legs don't dangle off the edge and the seat is sturdy enough so that he can sit cross-legged in comfort. love this feature, as well!

for full review:

February 03, 2010

skip hop pop!

can i just say that i am eagerly awaiting the release of the new skip hop spring pattern?

the pop flower dash is showing up on a few websites but is not actually available yet, according to skip hop reps.

i hear it will be out in time for mother's day and i'm definitely dropping hints!

January 15, 2010

deceptively delicious really is!

delicious, that is. i'm not too sure about the deceptive part.

my oldest two children are not picky eaters and they love fruits and vegetables.

bean, the nearly fourteen year old, is so adventurous he actually tried sushi long before i ever did.

jury is still out on sprout since we're only beginning our foray (did i just make up that word?) journey into solid foods.
so far, so good.

anyhow, i had seen deceptively delicious on bookshelves all over the place, from barnes and noble to target, and the delightful illustrations always caught my eye. the charming retro feel, reminscent of grandma's betty crocker cookbooks, also warmed my heart. but for the longest time i couldn't bring myself to buy a book based on the idea that one must deceive their family in order to feed them better.

when i saw a copy on the bargain shelves at hastings i decided to take the plunge and get over the implied deception. to be honest, i'm pretty bad about serving up as much fresh produce as i should in the wintertime, so the idea of pureeing vegetables ahead of time to add to recipes at a moment's notice was quite appealing. my children could easily witness the steaming or roasting and pureeing of vegetables. they would think it was funny that the butternut squash or cauliflower was in the macaroni and cheese, instead of next to it.

so i bought it and pored over it for a few days, my mouth watering in anticipation of some of the wonderful looking dishes.

my only caveat is that "deceptively delicious" promotes the use of non-stick cooking spray (in nearly every recipe, even when it seems completely pointless) as well as margarine and low-fat dairy products. if it were truly a health-conscious book it might rely less on outdated information and provide insight into the concerns of using unnecessary chemicals and synthetic ingredients as kitchen staples.

i personally have mixed feelings about excessive dairy consumption but choose to use regular (full fat) cheeses and 2% milk, when purchasing cow's milk. we also use real butter and olive or coconut oil (and sometimes canola) in place of vegetable oils. so i'm coming from a totally different, non-mainstream camp and happily report that these recipes can be altered to suit individual preferences.

overall, "deceptively delicious" definitely delivers some inspiration and ideas i may not have otherwise come across. however, i think i'll pass on the avocado-enhanced chocolate cake.