Sunday, December 9, 2012

Happy Chanukah!

Happy Chanukah!  We have had a fun weekend with all sorts of festive activities.  Zayit and Ziva enjoyed their first night of Chanukah with their grandparents.  They made out - as if we need anything else for these kids, but they were quite happy.  

I had made a large felt Christmas tree for Zayit and Ziva to decorate and redecorate and I felt like I needed something special for Chanukah as well.  Enter the large felt menorah.  This one took a little longer to cut out, but in the end, I'm liking it.  Tonight Zayit put the second candle on and 'lit' it as well.  

Playing with dreidels...

Since Ziva can't talk yet, here is here "Happy Chanukah" greeting to all...

Zayit was given a wooden menorah...

He even got to "light" his own menorah!  He was so proud of himself!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Felt Christmas Tree

Christmas is coming!  That's what Zayit is saying these days... "Christmas is coming to Zayit's house."  It's so cute.  He thinks that Christmas is an actual person and in a couple weeks someone will show up on our doorstep named Christmas.  It's so hard to explain to him that it's just a day and not a person.  Too cute.  

There are so many fun festivities to be had this time of year.  We have double the fun right now - Chanukah starts tomorrow!  We've made foam menorahs, practiced our dreidel spinning and made Chanukah cookies (see our previous post.)  

This weekend is our "decorate the house" weekend and I thought it best that I have some decorations for the Littles to play with.  I had seen a similar idea to our felt Christmas tree on Pinterest and I decided this was a must-do/must-have.  So far, it's been a hit.

Zayit can decorate and redecorate the tree over and over.  There are ornaments with letters on them, some plain and some with squiggly lines.  This was so simple to make.  I bough a yard of green felt and cut a giant triangle.  The star, ornaments and presents are cut up from felt squares and I used a glue gun to attach everything.  I stuck some wrapping bows onto the presents to add some dimension.  The snowman is also felt with pom pom buttons.  

I had initially thought this would be a great way to count down to Christmas by adding a new ornament each day, but I quickly realized that it would get much more play if I made a bunch of ornaments and left them out for open play.  So far so good!  

I'm hoping that I will have enough time to do a giant felt menorah tonight!  Wish me luck and enjoy your holidays.

Changing It Up For Lunch

I'm always trying new and creative ways to get food into Zayit's belly.  This idea has been all over Pinterest lately, so I decided to give it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised when it worked!  I hope that when Ziva starts on solids that she isn't as picky!

From left to right top: grapes, red peppers, cucumbers, turkey, Nilla wafer
From left to right bottom: turkey, pistachios, peas, rice, grapes, cucumbers

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bead Towers

Zayit is showing a ton of interest in learning to write these days.  He still has a lot of practicing to do and needs to gain some better fine motor muscle control.  He is doing phenomenally well and can write a somewhat legible first name!

Here is one of the recent fine motor activities we have done.  It was so simple yet he loved it.  I kept the setup on the table for a couple of days and he would play with it during his meals.  He eventually started moving the toothpicks around too.  What you need: toothpicks, foam tray from meat packaging and beads.

Not only did this help with fine motor, but colors and counting were reinforced as well.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Cookies

I've been away from blogging recently.  I had a little too much on my plate for a bit between work and family, illness and even an ER visit.  All is well now.  But not to fear... although I haven't been online, we have still been having a ton of fun!

This time of year is so much fun.  We've already had a snow storm - the first for Ziva and the first for Zayit to really get out there and enjoy.  Zayit was so excited to put on his snow gear (a pleasant change from last year when everything was such a struggle.)  We went sledding in our yard and made a snowman.  Who knew it was so difficult to make a snowman!  

Zayit hadn't had kitchen 'playtime' recently, so this past weekend I decided to make cookies.  Zayit loved it.  It became a 2 day affair, starting with mixing the dough Saturday morning.  (as a side note - I initially intended to use pre-made dough, but I was completely put off by the list of ingredients in all the pre-made options!)  The recipe I used turned out really yummy.  Scroll down to the bottom if you want to use it as well.

Dude helping Miss Kitchen Aid get her job done

Mmmm.... dough is good Mommi
We put the dough in the fridge during nappy and rolled it out in the afternoon.  He was a stellar helper with rolling the dough and pressing the cookie cutters.

Dude working hard to roll out the dough

Even Daddy got in on the fun rolling out the dough!
I cooked the cookies that evening and they were completely cooled and ready for decorating by morning.  I made 3 colors of icing in addition to white (red and green for Christmas cookies and Blue for Channukah) and had them ready to go in pastry bags.  I also put various sprinkles and colored sugars into silicone muffin cups and provided spoons to sprinkle on the cookies.

Ready to decorate!

 As you can see, the spoons were not used for sprinkling the colored sugars...

Mommi: "Zayit, the frosting goes on the cookes"
Zayit: "No Mommi, I'm just eating it!"

The finished product...

Our recipe was given to us by a friend:
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip together butter and sugar, beat in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients and chill until somewhat firm.  Roll out and bake 7 minutes at 400 degrees.  Yummy!  I found that the thinner cookies were a bit crispier than I prefer and started rolling them out a bit thicker - maybe 3/8" thick.  The frosting is just confectioner's sugar and a little milk.