just to get by, just to get by…

the title of this post is from a talib kweli song, fyi.

anyway, today was a “snow day.” forecasters had predicted up to 10 inches of snow and most schools closed, but all we received was a few inches of snow; the road is still visible. it was just disappointing because one of our favorite playgroups was canceled so i had to come up with ideas to keep penny entertained at home this morning.

since we hadn’t done any art projects at home lately, i quickly cut up striped tissue paper while penny practiced cutting on a different sheet. then, i gathered other art materials such as a canvas, glue, and a pencil. i drew a heart on the canvas using a pencil and penny squeezed glue on it. i helped her spread the glue out since she likes to squeeze out one giant glob.

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we spent the majority of our morning in the playroom which we hadn’t done in quite some time since penny and i partake in a morning activity every weekday. i always get nervous when i have to be with two kids on my own but it usually ends up being okay – unless penny’s sick or has one of her meltdowns.

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in my last post, i wrote about how penny had started going to the potty on her own. well, she’s still doing it! she will announce she has to go, walk into the bathroom on her own, pull down her pants and underwear and sit down. i was about to put away the small pottys because she had been sitting on the toilet but now i’ll leave them out to encourage her to go by herself.

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we have 4 bathrooms: 2 full and 2 half. she rarely uses the toilet in the master bedroom. in the playroom, we have a toilet seat on top of the toilet and in the upstairs bathroom we just place her on the toilet. she has a potty in her bedroom that she barely uses anymore so we might just put that away until it’s time to potty-train ezra. sometimes i’m still in awe that she’s potty trained. it’s such a huge milestone for toddlers – and definitely not an easy one – but i am so proud of penny. i’m hoping for penny to go to preschool once she turns 3 and having her go to the bathroom on her own is a huge step.

all right, it’s time for both kids to be up so i’ll have to get going. i’m just glad i was able to find time to squeeze in a post so soon after my previous one! i recently started working out again to get ready for my cancun trip so i hope to touch upon that in my next post.

dennis built a fort for the kids last weekend and they loved it. look at ezra’s expressions!

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the every-cheerful ezra. his third tooth broke through last week!

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his favorite song is “곰 새마리” (three bears)

i had wanted a picture of both girls because they wore the same shirt, but, of course, penny wanted no part in it.

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valentine’s arts & crafts

with valentine’s day two days away, it’s not too late to make cute gifts handmade by your toddler. i selected 4 different projects and started doing them in mid-january so i could 1) spread them out, and 2) have ample time to get each one completed.

the first project penny and i created were tie-dye paper hearts.

materials needed

  • card stock (preferably, white)
  • scissors
  • food coloring (at least 3 different colors)
  • white vinegar
  • baking soda
  • spoon
  • dropper
  • small bowls
  • newspapers or big piece of cardboard
  • paper plates, baking pan or plastic take-out containers

*note: i got all of the materials prepped beforehand so penny wouldn’t make too much of a mess with the food coloring

first, i poured a small amount of vinegar into clean yogurt bowls and i added a few drops of different colored food coloring to each container. then i folded card stock in half and cut out hearts in various sizes (i cut out 4 total). next, i laid out a big piece of cardboard to protect the kitchen floor. finally, i set down all of the materials in front of penny and demonstrated what to do. she was really eager to try and learned how to use a dropper.

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first, you generously sprinkle baking soda onto the heart.

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then, using a dropper you squeeze food coloring and vinegar all over the heart.

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make sure to cover the entire heart.

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she liked seeing the baking soda and vinegar mixture bubble

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she kept playing with the ingredients even after the project was done.

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when the hearts are dry, scrape off the excess baking soda into a trash can and the color will be even brighter.

the second project that we did were the “love” canvases. having another adult is preferred for this project because of the paint.

materials needed

  • canvases (different sizes if preferred)
  • washi tape
  • pencil and eraser
  • washable paint
  • paper plate
  • brushes in various sizes
  • big piece of cardboard or newspapers

any project that requires paint, we do just before bathtime so we can scoop penny up and place her in the tub. this also requires prep work. i wrote the letters l-o-v-e using a pencil and no stencil though you could! then i used washi tape to cover only the letters: this is so when penny paints the canvas, the letters remain untouched until you peel the tape off afterwards.

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*note – washi tape works better than blue tape used for painting rooms (surprisingly) but it may have been because the blue tape we had was less sticky to prevent drywall from coming off.

we also found that using less colors made the artwork look prettier since when paint is smeared around, the colors turn brownish. for the second canvas, i opted only to use red, pink, purple, and white. for the last one, i also added a sky blue color.

you may find that there is a lot of negative space left. we had to keep turning the canvas so penny would evenly distribute the paint. there’s no need to cover the entire canvas but make sure the letters can be seen when the tape is peeled off. in addition, penny was rather shy about painting even though she gets excited for it. she was mostly fixated on squishing the paint between her fingers and saying, “지지” (which means “dirty”) so we had to reassure it was okay to be messy.

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less colors the second and third time around

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the third project we did was the valentine’s photo magnets we purchased from oriental trading. i get a catalog from this company though i had never purchased from them before – it was probably from my teaching days. i flipped through the february issue and saw a few arts & crafts projects including the photo magnets. i settled on this one because it was the easiest for a young toddler to do and is a nice keepsake. a package of 12 magnets was $7.99 but shipping was almost the same!

i think the hardest part was choosing different photos for each magnet. i chose family members and penny’s friends for a total of 12 magnets (of course, we made one for our family too). for penny’s friends, i made sure to select pictures that included penny and her playmate. the cutout for the photo was also small so for some magnets, i had to make the hole bigger and/or cut out the images from photos to make a collage. you’ll see what i mean when you see the photos below.

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she loves stickers!

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10/12 magnets

finally, the last project we did was stamping hearts using a toilet paper roll.

materials needed

  • toilet paper roll
  • paper
  • scotch tape
  • washable paint
  • newspapers or big piece of cardboard
  • brushes and sponges

while holding the toilet paper roll. you make a crease across the top by gently folding it. then, pinch the bottom of the roll so it makes the point of the heart.maintain the heart shape by taping the two rounded tops of the heart together. then you pour paint onto a plate, dip the stamp onto it, and you have a heart stamper!

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knowing toddler’s attention spans, you will find this is a quick activity which is why i also included brushes and sponges to keep penny preoccupied for a little while longer. again, she enjoyed touching the paint more than anything.

i hope you enjoyed reading this post and have fun making a mess creating beautiful artwork with your little ones!

happy valentine’s day ❤

valentine’s day + penny’s 9 months

happy 9 months to penny! she’s 3/4 of the way to being a one-year-old!

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this past month has been a whirlwind! penny is keeping us on our toes 🙂 she’s always been a fairly active baby, but now that she’s moving around we have to keep a close watch on her. she’s sooo close to crawling but hasn’t quite gotten the mechanics down yet. she does, however, creep around. that’s a weird word – creep, but that’s what it’s called when a baby moves around on her belly, and penny goes forward, backward, and all around. she does lift up her belly and bend her knees so she’s getting there!

she also goes from a sitting position directly to her belly so we aren’t always placing her on her stomach to do tummy time and practice. plus, she sleeps on her tummy so when she’s awake in her crib she’ll practice moving around as well.

penny is eager to see and touch everything as is evidenced in the photos below.

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she had her check-up today and thankfully no vaccines were involved. she did get her big toe pricked for a hemoglobin test but she was fine! she just sat there looking around =D she also had a vision and hearing test – she passed both – and got measured and weighed: 27 3/4 inches long and 19 lb. 2 oz. respectively. i was surprised at her height though because she was 27 inches at her 6-month appointment; i thought she’d be a lot taller especially since she’s wearing size 12 months. still, happy that she’s growing and is healthy.

we asked our pediatrician about penny’s eczema. she’s had it for almost a month now, i’d say. at first, it started off as tiny patches behind her knees and near her inner elbows, but then they increased in size. she also had a little patch on her chest (gone now) and now she has spots on her thighs and armpit area. 😦 they don’t seem to bother her as she’s sleeping well and not being fussy during the day but it makes me sad.

at a friend’s suggestion we started apply aquaphor and it helped a lot. however, sometimes it would flare up again; i thought it might be a food allergy so i cut out certain foods like yogurt, eggs, and peanut butter but when i slowly reintroduced them there weren’t any flare-ups. there was a flare-up when we applied coconut oil to the problem areas per my mil’s suggestion. then, i thought she might be allergic to coconuts but i ate coconut almond yogurt the other day and penny was unaffected. (whew.) it just might have been too greasy for her skin… i guess?

penny takes a bath every night as part of her bedtime routine so instead of bathing her with soap, some nights we will just splash her with lukewarm water. this seems to have helped because taking baths can be very drying for the skin especially during the wintertime. we also slather her in burt’s bees body lotion. aquaphor 3x a day and lukewarm water baths have worked thus far *fingers crossed

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penny in our backyard

we had a lot of snow last week. the groundhog (for groundhog’s day) had predicted an early spring but look at us now! december had record-breaking mild weather and we’re making up for it in february. this past weekend’s weather broke records in the new england area as well but for frigidity, not warmth: nights, and parts of the days were in the negatives! walking yuri was brutal and usually she wants to linger outside but after she did her business, she ran back to our house. no complaints there.

although it was too cold for walks, we did go outside in our backyard for a few minutes on the days that were in the 30s just so we could get fresh air.

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this picture reminds me of old-school korea

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penny’s first time touching snow. you can tell from her facial expressions that she’s not a big fan of the cold white stuff. it was good snow too; the kind you can pack into snowballs.

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i LOVE to do arts & crafts – i have bins and bins full of different kinds of paper, stickers, and all sorts of goodies from michael’s. valentine’s day, of course, called for some crafting!

dennis, penny, and i made valentine’s cards for some friends and family. we used ink pads to make thumb people on the cards and i wrote “thumb-body loves you!” i can’t take credit for this cute idea since i found it on pinterest, but the layout of the cards i did myself – definitely not hard to do.

the cutout paper hearts were easy but they were a leftover decoration from my baby shower (made by genie) and i had saved them, yay! i also used 4 different crafting scissors to cut out the card and give each one an individual look.

dennis held penny’s thumb while i pressed it onto pink, gold, and silver inkpads to make a thumb baby. dennis and i took turns stamping our thumbs as well. i had a lot of fun making the thumb-people as you can see! ^0^

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another project that i did was making footprint art. my mil was here to help me with this one. she held penny while we dipped her foot in paint and then i firmly planted it onto scrapbook paper. we tried to do handprint art but it didn’t turn out well.

again, cute ideas via pinterest!  i gave the butterfly one to my mil because that one also had a polaroid of her and penny. 🙂

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when genie and olivia came over a few weeks ago, we also did crafts together. genie had prepped these canvasses back in december for a future art project. since we already had done two christmas crafts together – mistletoes and handprint ornaments – we decided to save them. genie has this cool embossing kit so the word “love” is textured.

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a lot of wipes were used during this project! we used their handprint and footprints to help spell the word “love”. i’m sad i don’t have a picture of the finished product for both canvasses but it makes an appearance in a valentine’s day picture i took of penny.

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i used black paint for the letters “l” and “e” and i also decorated it using more paper hearts made by genie, a pink fuzzball tassle, and writing penny’s name along with the year using letter and number stamps.

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penny also got a mickey mouse microphone as a valentine’s gift from daddy! it plays music and lets you speak into it when you hold down a ‘talk’ button.

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penny was fascinated when my voice came out of the microphone. i had her try it out and she tried by licking it, hahaha.

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lucky penny also received a gift from her grandparents! leapfrog came out with a new toy recently. it resembles a bingo or lotto wheel but when you spin it, and a letter lands on the arrow it tells you the letter, the animal and sound, or plays music depending on the mode. penny really likes to spin wheels so this is a great gift.

she’s so funny.. she recognizes cute animals and figures so when we hold up dolls, she goes nuts especially over miffy, a bunny. the animal above is a blue elephant that my friend, ben, bought for her.

it’s also cute that penny’s hair is long enough to tie back into pigtails.

this should be another busy week! a friend may stop by tomorrow for lunch and on thursday we have two play dates. one friend and her 14-month-old daughter will stop by for lunch as they drive home to massachusetts from new jersey. later in the afternoon, penny and i will go to genie’s house and work on olivia’s dol (first birthday) preparations as well as getting things underway for a friend’s baby shower in may.

it’s also dennis’ short weekend thus his long weekend 😀 no big plans this weekend as of yet; just looking forward to relaxing together. we are huge fans of the walking dead and the mid-season premiere was this past sunday. it started off with a bang! can’t wait to see it next sunday!

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diy decor

i hope everyone had a lovely weekend. today is my last day of a 4-day weekend. normally, i would’ve had a week-long february break but it was shortened to two days due to our district having 9 snow days last year. i’m pretty bummed to be returning to work tomorrow but  at least it’s three more days until the weekend again.

valentine’s day was very low-key for us this year. first of all, we got hit with another snowstorm albeit a much minor one compared to the ones we’ve had but still not ideal to be out driving. dennis had to work this past weekend anyway and we just wanted to hunker down at home where it’s warm and comfortable. we told each other we wouldn’t give each other presents so we can save money for the baby, but dennis surprised me with a beautiful bouquet and a much-coveted patriots pom hat.

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i’ve been trying to purchase this hat since december but it was out of stock everywhere. (unless you count the exorbitant marked-up prices on ebay.)

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close-up of the bouquet. i love how the roses are placed in the center of the hydrangeas.

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with two baby showers coming up in march (ct and boston), i’ve been preoccupied assisting with details especially since one of my friends organizing the ct one is 33 weeks pregnant. we hung out on sunday to make tissue paper garlands and flowers. both looked easy enough on pinterest but we found out just how time-consuming the projects are, particularly the garlands. i was cutting each tissue paper by hand and painstakingly rolling them to make the garland.

i ended up purchasing a garland cutter from michaels so i could slice 4 tissue papers at once. using the device is a little tricky at first because tissue paper is so delicate and rips easily. the directions recommend not using less than 4 sheets of tissue paper and also putting a piece of copy paper on top to help prevent the papers from snagging on the blades. i also stood up to apply even pressure when moving the blades and instead of slicing them in one go, i made little cutting movements to prevent tearing. they were okay for the most part but some did tear in places.

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the adorable gray-and-white dewey decimal organizing drawers are from land of nod. i love that store – they have a lot of cute toys and accessories for babies, children and even adults. i plan on using the drawers to store things like diaper rash cream, q-tips and other things for the nursery.

here are the directions

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lastly, these two are great finds from homegoods. we can’t wait to hang these up above the changing table in penelope’s nursery. they go with our color theme and fit our vision for a modern-elegant nursery. the one on the left is a canvas and the chandelier one is a mirror.

dream big, sweet pea.