Monday, January 12, 2015

Library Finds: Pirate, Viking & Scientist

We love to go to the library, but it takes a lot of energy out of me now, because in addition to turning in books and looking for new books, I've got to keep track of two little kids both of whom tend to gravitate toward the computers (and need help), want to be read to, and want to go outside and swing. So finding new books has become a very brief and almost frantic part of the library visit.

I usually plant myself in front of a part of the children's books that I haven't visited for a while, then quickly flip through the books. Any titles or illustrations that attract my attention get pulled out and briefly flipped through. If a page in a book looks interesting, I put it in my pile. If I think the ratio of text to pictures isn't right, I put it back. I also find it extremely helpful that the librarians display books on the top of the shelves. I often grab about three of those because they look fun. I try to keep my pile to less than five books each because I can really go crazy, and visiting the library every week makes our check outs really add up.

I love that it is so easy to take back books that turned out to not be interesting. And to recheck out (online) books that we really like. Sometimes we keep books for up to nine weeks!

The best thing about my new system is that sometimes we find really great books, but I didn't know how cool they were until we got home.

Here is one of our current favorites: Pirate, Viking & Scientist by Jared Chapman. It starts out with "Pirate was friends with Scientist. Scientist was friends with Viking." But,

Fun cover art (also, affiliate link)

... well...  Pirate and Viking do not get along.

The book illustrates how to use the scientific method while Scientist tries to reconcile his two friends. The pictures are fun, and the unusually matched characters make the book even more fun.

Go check it out!

Other posts you might like:
The Library Lottery
My List of Good Books
Singing about Elephants and Spiders

Thursday, November 13, 2014


I cleaned out the spice drawer today. I've been wanting to put the spices in 1/4 pint mason jars with washi tape labels for months! I finally did it! Oreo helped.

We inherited Grandpa's spice cupboard when we moved into his house after he died, so we found a lot of multiples.


  • 2 sea salt grinders
  • 2 jars of basil
  • 3 containers of whole cloves + 1 of ground clove
  • 3 containers of ground nutmeg (Including two LARGE ones!)
  • 3 containers of cream of tartar (What do you use that stuff for anyway?)
  • 2 things of paprika (1 jar + 1 baggie from the Winco bulk section)
  • thyme from 2006
  • 2 ginger
  • 2 ground chili
  • 2 chili pepper

  • Super old bay leaves
  • Thyme: I always ask if we even have any and Lost Boy says, Yes! But it is from 2006. I think we need to get new thyme.

Ta da!

(This isn't technically a 50% less post, but we have so many multiples and old spices that it seems like life would be better if we got rid of half  of them. I didn't get rid of that much though...)

Other posts you might like:
50% Less Stuff
I'm a Milk Snob
Loosening Up 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Loosening up

Lost Boy and I have been married for six years now (this month!), and goodness sake, amazing changes can happen in six years!

I tend to be rather particular about how I like things. I generally like things to be precisely in their places (even though too many things often don't have places), and I like to compartmentalize. I like things to be in containers. Or zip lock bags. When I pack our clothes for travelling, I usually put underclothes, kids clothes, and socks in zip lock bags so I don't have to rummage around so much. But Lost Boy doesn't care about containers or rummaging. I just packed his clothes for an upcoming camping trip (Which I know he can do perfectly well for himself. But he's easy to pack for, so if I pack for him I feel like I've made Progress! And then it is easier to pack me and the baby). I am SO proud of myself! I packed all his clothes in a stuff sack (even more basic than a backpack or a duffel bag!) and I didn't put a single thing in a zip lock bag.

Not his underclothes. Not his socks.

I'm so amazed at how far I've come! This change is definitely influenced by Lost Boy's tendency toward minimalism (he isn't a hard core ultralight backpacker, but he practices the practical principles). And the less stuff you have to carry, the less you need to organize.

I just realized that I also packed 2Flowers without any zip lock bags. She has come to the point where she can help pack her own bag. She rummages with a vengeance and requires prefers very little help from me now, so there is no point to use zip locks to organize her travel bag.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Drink more water!

Just because it isn't hot out anymore doesn't mean you don't need as much water now as you did in the summer time. (By you, I mean me.)

I stopped using my Drink More Water app some time ago and got out of the habit of drinking enough water. A few weeks ago I discovered that ALL of us were dehydrated. From a lower milk supply (me), to headaches (Lost Boy), cracked lips (2Flowers), ammonia scented diapers (Oreo),  Lost Boy and I realized that we needed to get on top of hydrating our family!

I've been keeping a pitcher of water on the dining table and forcing myself to gulp down a whole 12 ounce cup of water every few hours. I can already tell the difference for me - nursing sessions result in Oreo getting fire-hosed. And that  means he is getting more liquid in him. Though I have also been letting him have a sippy cup at dinner too (it keeps him busy!). Lost Boy takes care of himself most of the time. Sometimes I fill a 16 ounce cup and put it near him, or check in and ask if he is drinking enough water.

2Flowers is harder. I don't know how much she is drinking. She isn't eating Otter Pops very much anymore because it isn't hot (I justified letting her have several a day by figuring she was getting water into her). She has been asking for juice lately, and we dilute our juice with water (about 50/50) so I know she is getting some water. But while juice is good, it isn't the best option for a long term strategy. I think what I need to do is leave a little pitcher of water and a cup on her Activity Table. Maybe then I could tell how much she was drinking each day?

How do you keep your toddler or preschooler hydrated during the cooler months?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Under the oak tree

Thunk! Clunk clunk clunk.

We've been hearing this daily for a few weeks now. Each thunk reminds me that it is fall. They are acorns dropping onto the roof from an oak tree that spreads its branches over the west side of the house. The tree has been dropping acorns more frequently every week, and the thunks are getting louder so I suppose the acorns are getting plumper.

I never realized how frequently acorns fall off trees in the fall until Lost Boy and I went on a date to a park in late September. I set our picnic blanket up under an oak tree so we could look up into its branches. We like to do this in the summer. But this time we eventually had to move because the acorns falling and hitting us became ridiculous.

Between that park date and living here at Grandpa's house with its exposed beam roof I've learned that acorns fall fast and furious in the fall, especially on windy days.

Whenever one hits our roof I'm momentarily distracted. Then I smile as it rolls down the roof.

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