We got a car for a couple hours last week and went down to Dyker Heights in Brooklyn to see the amazing Christmas lights display. It's one of those neighborhoods where every tries to outdo the others in their fancy, crazy, amazing show of lights. We played Christmas tunes on the radio and drove slowly around the neighborhood for about an hour. I've never seen lights like these before! Here are only a few:
This photo doesn't do this house justice. The home is huge and the Santa and toy soldiers are massive towers!
Every Monday and Wednesday morning Isabella and I participate in a preschool co-op with some friends. Four other parents and I take turns hosting, helping or just dropping off (so it's 2 adults to 5 kids). The last two times I've had the opportunity to host the co-op at my house. One day went particularly well, when I decided to center the activities on the letter 'H'. The kids all wore different hats, we danced the Hokey Pokey, traced our hands and colored little paper houses I made. I put a large piece of butcher paper on the floor and the kids would come and go, coloring, tracing, practicing their 'H's". It was so much fun!
Our friend Beth invited us to join them on their voyage to Macy's to go see Santa. Going to see Santa was never a tradition my family really participated in, but I was game and wanted to see all the holiday decorations. Our time spent in line, waiting to meet Santa was a lot of fun: dancing bears, rocking horses, zooming trains. Isabella really enjoyed the magic of the lights, music and entertainment. Then we got to Santa and she was so hesitant that we just chatted for a bit with the old guy (didn't even attempt to sit down) and continued on our way.
Then we went outside and enjoyed the window display until the moment when Isabella completely freaked out. You know the dreaded two year old tantrum in the busy public place? Yup, that was us. I received my first initiation (and I'm assuming it won't be my last) into public humiliation by my child. I was glad she was contained in the stroller until she flung her self back and flipped the stroller right over. I quickly and quietly gathered all our stuff off the sidewalk of W 34th St & Broadway, took her to a more mellow place (very difficult to find) and tried to figure out what to do next. Once she was a little more calm I took her to a nearby H&M to let her run around a bit. Once we got to the little girls accessory department she was in heaven, putting on every possible necklace, shoe, and purse she could find. I think we spent well over an hour there and after trying on all the women's high heel shoes she was willing to sit in her stroller and go home, with only a little fuss.
Delicious, crunchy ginger snaps with extra ginger because I love it so.
Making my first caramel sauce ever and sauteing some delicious mushrooms.
Isabella enjoying the gingersnap dough. No eggs, no worries.
We had a couple of friends over last week and I was impressed at how many different parts of the meal I had going all at once. I'm always amazed at people who can orchestrate a beautiful meal with different dishes all ready to serve at once. I'm working on it and that day was almost a success. It's a tricky thing juggling a hot oven, a hot stove, cleaning the house and entertaining a toddler, but I did it!
It was so fun to make a batch of homemade playdough with Isabella and then she entertained herself for about a half hour while I worked on dinner. I loved it. We made a simple, no cook, no cream of tartar batch. But the cooked, cream o' tartar stuff turns out much nicer. Each time we play with this stuff it gets our hands all grimy. Which means Isabella keeps wanting to wash her hands and then go back and play some more.
Here's a good website, instructables, that shows how to make the good stuff.
Last night there was a small event called Hands on Kirtsy which taught me how to use some of the internet's social media tools. We learned how to use kirtsy, Twitter, and RSS feeds (which I already knew, thanks Brian).
It was really fun to be out in the city (the swanky Hudson Hotel to be exact) with some fabulous, successful women who are working to help others become successful. I felt excited and motivated to pursue the talents and opportunities I have and to continue to learn, socialize and reach out of my comfort zone.
A few inspirational ladies I was able to chat with a bit:
Mariah of Playful Learning. I loved talking with her about her experiences in education and motherhood. I love, love, love her website that she has started since deciding to stay home with her daughters after working for 5+ years while being a mom. I love the Learning Experiences section of her website; such amazing, fantastic, educational ideas I can't wait to do with Isabella in a year or two. She's a real inspiration to me.
Adriene is a freelance writer, mom and blogger at What I Made for Dinner. We chatted about writing, motherhood, and finding decent housing in NYC.
Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom and one of the kirtsy founders. Okay I would have loved to have talked to her more than just, "Hi, my name is Kiasa." She's seriously a celeb in my book. Mom of 5 young kids and seeming to do a great job balancing work, family, life, etc. I want to know her secrets; how does she do it all? When I grow up I want to be like Gabrielle Blair (but she's probably pretty close to my age, just seems so much more advanced in life).
Okay, so maybe it's not 'extreme' yet, but it sure felt cold, cold, cold today while we were out with friends at a local playground. Isabella wouldn't get out of the stroller for the first little bit. Which I can't blame her, all snuggled up in a fleece blanket. Finally the toy strollers persuaded her to get out and run around.
I finally made these magnetic letters for Isabella. I posted about the idea found on The Purl Bee blog a while back. I have a lot of scrapbook paper someone gave me many years ago. So I used that, stuck it to business card magnets (purchased at Staples) and then cut out the letters using our best scissors and an exact-o-knife.
Isabella is enjoying them a lot. They are actually more sturdy than I would have thought...so far. And we are practicing learning the letters. She's such a little sponge right now with tons of new words and sentences all the time.
We had a fabulous Thanksgiving with the Carini's in Connecticut. I got to make my Dear Little Rolls, the cranberry relish, and the orange/cranberry bread. It was fun and so delicious. I took only a couple of photos, none of the actual meal, or family, just Isabella.
The photo above is her at one of the local South Glastonbury farms, Belltown Hill Orchards. We bought a couple of apples and some delicious cider doughnuts. They were so good! Isabella kept asking, "More doughnut?"