Continuing @GwenBell 's #best09 Blog Challenge...
Read all of my #best09 here.
December 11 - Best Place
"The Creek" at Vasona Park for Explorer Preschool's 4Day class with Ben and Lily
When Ben and Lily started preschool, we chose Explorer Preschool. Our neighbors kids had gone there and they raved about it. Kids learning while they take a hike, climb a tree, check out bugs? As one who believes our kids suffer from nature deficit, this place was definitely was for us. And the 4Day class, where the kids (aged 4-5 years old, this is sort of Explorer's Pre-K program) spend 6 weeks in the Fall and 6 weeks in the Spring at Vasona Park for their class, was the class I came to Explorer for. The class did not disappoint.
I was always happy to be the "Creek Mom," the parent worker who stands in the creek the entire classtime, with the creek. We found rocks, weighed them, let sand run through our fingers, saw a glint of light and found gold, watched ducks, counted trees, collected leaves, got wet, got dirty, dug for dinosaur bones, laughed, fell in the creek, found some more rocks, laughed again. It was fantastic, such a unique experience and I'm SO, SO, SO glad I did this with the kids. Ava and I will be there next Fall. We'll grab our water shoes and jump in!
December 12 - New Food
Wraps made with Rice and Bean Salad and whatever else you want to throw in there
Robin turned me onto this Rice and Bean Salad recipe sometime in 2009 that we make a lot. It is nice and light and cold. Then when we were in Cape Cod, Jen, Robin, Robin's husband Mark and I decided that wraps were going to be our mainstay as lunches for the trip. Sometimes it would be hummus, leftover pork loin, swiss cheese, cucumber and tomato. Sometimes it was avacado, turkey, spinach and tomato (pictured above). One day we had some of our rice and bean salad leftover from dinner the previous night, so we threw that into the wrap. Mmmmmmm. Love it with the cold pork loin. Love it with chicken. Love it with steak. Love it with tons of veggies. Really, it goes with anytime.
Here is the Rice and Bean Salad recipe:
RICE & BEAN SALAD
1 cup basmati rice (cooked earlier and cooled to room temp)
- toss in a little olive oil
1 can of corn nibblets (drained)
1 can of black beans (drained)
green onions (chopped)
red peppers, tomatoes and/or cucumbers (chopped)
toasted pine nuts or walnuts (a bunch)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil/canola oil (split between the two to make it lighter)
a little garlic
1/4 tsp chili powder
December 13 - Biggest Change I Made to the Place I Live
Ava's Big Girl Room --> Kids Playroom / Ben and Lily's Room --> Shared Kids Bedroom
The biggest change I (...we) have made to our house is actually still in process. In fact, it will probably change a lot today. In 2008, Ava made the transition from nursery/crib to big girl bed (we took the side off her crib so she could get out). This summer she got a new bed, a hand-me-down from Jen's daughter, Emily, when they moved away. Just a couple of weeks ago, the kids all decided they wanted to move in together. Ben and Lily have had a bunk bed for the past couple of years. Was there space for a trundle bed underneath? Score! There was. My parents (who are packing up their house today to leave for a year long RV trip) had a trundle bed that they brought over and we quickly set that up. Easy.
In Ava's old room, we moved in more of my parent's furniture (we are storing and using - thanks Mom and Dad!), and are turning it into the kids playroom. This morning I moved their coloring table and chairs and the keyboard (another score from Nana and Papa) into the room. I am still figuring out how to get all of their arts & crafts stuff in there, but the closet is pretty big and there are lots of shelves, so I plan to tackle that organization project over the next week or so.
I never would have imagined that we would be arranging the kids like this...our bedrooms are small...but they really love sleeping all together. And now they have a playroom to set up that is just theirs.
December 14 - Rush
Flying with my dad in his experimental airplane
By biggest rush of 2009 had to be flying with my dad in his experimental airplane in September. I wrote about the experience over at SV Moms. It was awesome, terrifying, amazing...definitely my biggest rush. My dad was thinking of selling his plane since my parents are going on this long trip, but decided to keep it in the family. Who knows...maybe I will get my pilot's license one day...
December 15 - Best packaging
Olive Smart sacks (unpackaging)
As I was thinking about this one, I asked my husband if he could remember anything really cool from this year. He said "Packaging? How about unpackaging?" True. Should we really be celebrating good packaging that fill our landfills? I immediately remembered my Olive Smart sacks that I received at the SV Moms Group Holiday Party, reusable bags for groceries, etc. They come in a pack of 6 (or 3) and the bag that all the bags goes into fits nicely into the drink holder of your car or into your handbag. I love mine and I love that they are made local to the Bay Area, by two moms from Woodside. Very cool (un)packaging.
Disclosure: I received a free set of 6 Olive Smart sacks at the SV Moms Group Holiday Party. I was under no obligation to write about them.