Sunday, September 29, 2013

Guard that plate!

     When the Sugar Snaps were babies, our pediatrician told us that babies and toddlers know when to stop eating and naturally stop when they are full.  Unlike adults, they do not mindlessly eat while watching television.  The last part is true.  The first part is not true for our multiples.  They would eat more than they need if we let them.  Why?  Because there is competition.  I remember testing this theory when they were younger. Grayson ate so much that he got sick.  And that experience did not change his desire to continue eating until we cut him off.  I have a friend whose husband came from a large family. To this day,  he holds one hand over his food while he eats.  He needed to do that as a child so his siblings would not take his food.  Even though his wife and children would not take his food, the habit stuck.

Capri holds her hand over her food


with good reason.

       We have been working on eating only what is on our own plate and stopping when we are full.  Greg and I  model this for them when we go out to eat. We tell them that we are full and are not going to eat any more.  We will bring the rest home and put it in a box for later.  Slowly, they are starting to recognize when they are full.  The food guarding, however, is still happening.  Once we make sure hands do not wander to other plates, hopefully we can stop the food guarding habit.  Right now, it is still practical.

     I am curious, if you have multiples, more than one child or came from a large family, have you experienced food guarding or not stopping when full?  It would be interesting to know how often this happens in large families.  I can picture it happening even with two children.  Please share your experiences in the comments.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Creating a Book Nook

     Thanks to all the wonderful blogs out there and Pinspiration, we decided to create a book nook for the Sugar Snaps.  They love to look at books already and now have an inviting space to nestle in and enjoy books. We purchased the 'awning' from Ikea and some sheer curtain panels.  I sewed three of the panels folded over two to three times onto the awning.  We re-purposed a changing pad and made it a cushion to sit on.  We put some stadium cushions in the back and covered the cushions in down comforters we were not using.  Grandma and Grandpa gave them a white book shelf which we filled with fun miniature books. We purchased the colorful canvas bookshelf and filled it with larger books. They were so excited about their new book nook.  They love to pick out books from the shelves, snuggle into the cushions and enjoy.  The great thing about it is it does not require a lot of space, just one corner (or small section) of any room.

Our fun selection of miniature books

The selection of bigger books sits across from the smaller books.

 Xayden and Grayson enjoy the miniature books.

      Have you created a book nook for your children or students?  I'd love to see it.  Feel free to add links.  It is great for them to have a special place just to read.  It fosters the love of books and adds an element of 'awe' that books are so revered that they have their own nook!  What does your family (or your school) do to celebrate books?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Palm Print Pumpkins & Handprint Moons

      I love this time of year when the weather begins to change and the excitement of the Fall season starts to take hold. There are so many Fall projects to make and stories to read with the Sugar Snaps.  I want them to have memories filled with the aroma of cinnamon and apples and the sights of pumpkins and gourds in fantastic shapes.  This year, I decided it would be fun to do a pumpkin handprint craft.  I envisioned them putting their hands together in a circle and printing them into pumpkin shapes.  That vision changed when they were unable to hold their hands in that position.  As I was wiping off the paint from the failed attempt, I realized that the palms of their hands had a natural pumpkin shape that they could easily print. 

     I don't have any pictures of the Sugar Snaps doing this craft because I was busy painting their hands and assisting them in making their pumpkins, grassy meadows and moons.

Palm Print Pumpkins, Finger Print Grass and Handprint Moons:

You will need:
  • Tempera paint in orange, yellow, brown and green
  • paint brushes
  • Baby wipes for hands (or a bowl of soapy water and paper towels). 
  • White paper (or color of your choice
     For the pumpkins, paint the palm of your child's hand and press it onto the paper with fingers up.  An  older child can do this unassisted. Paint the thumb brown for the stem of the pumpkin and have your child make a thumb print.  For the grass, paint the tips of your children's fingers and have them press them onto the paper repeatedly (adding more paint as needed) to make a grassy meadow for the pumpkins. For the moon, have your child hold her hand in the letter C shape and paint the bottom of the C, with the pinky finger on the bottom, yellow (not including the thumb).  Have her print the moon while maintaining the C shape, with the thumb on top (not touching the paper).  The Sugar Snaps all giggled as their hands were painted and felt proud of their finished pumpkins sitting in their meadows under the moon.  Have you made palm print pumpkins?  What are your plans for the Fall season?  I'd love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome. 

*Linked to Mindful Mommy

Sunday, September 15, 2013

3 Free Under Three-in Southern CA

   Since we have four who are under the age of three, we decided to take advantage of some of the local theme parks that are free for those under three.  We saved a bundle by taking the Sugar Snaps before their upcoming third birthday.  We plan to get one more trip to Disneyland before their birthday because, after that it will be very pricey! 

Sea World, California Adventure and Disneyland: 
All Free for Children Under Three!

Savings:  How it adds up!
Ages 3-9:  $86 per child  x 4 = $344
California Adventure
Ages 3-9:  $86 per child x 4  = $344
Sea World
Ages 3-9:  $71 per child x 4  = $284
Total Savings for our family = $972 

If you have one under the age of three and you go to all three theme parks, you will save $243! 

You could even get your toddler a special haircut for Disneyland. 

3 Tips for the under three crowd:

 1.   Rent lockers at Disneyland and CA Adventure to store your diapers and small  
coolers with snacks and milk. There are very few theme parks that allow you to bring your own   food. Take advantage of it.   You will save a bundle by bringing your own snacks, milk and
2.  If you are bringing a stroller that is a popular model (or simply want to find your stroller fast) to the theme parks, put something easy to recognize (such as ribbons or a large artificial flower) on it so you can spot it in the sea of strollers 

3.  Buy the picnic lunch at CA Adventure for those over the age of three in your party and get tickets to see the World of Color show closer up.  Be prepared to get wet the closer you are to the front.You also want to arrive an hour or more before the scheduled time so your little ones can get agood view.  We were there an hour and a half early and it was  well worth staying up past their bedtime!
     If you would like more of our travel tips on keeping toddlers happy in the happiest place on earth (Disneyland), check out my guest post on Glittering Muffins:  Kids on the Go:  Disneyland, Anaheim, CA.  Have you been to any of these (or other) theme parks with your little ones?  Do you have any travel tips?  I'd love to hear from you.  I enjoy reading your comments.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Are They Quads?--Things People Say


     Are they quads? This is the most common question we get when we are out with the Sugar Snaps. In the beginning, I would typically reply by giving the Cliff Notes version of our story.  I sometimes still do that.  But, what I learned over the last (almost three!) years is that most people really do not want to know the details.  It is similar to when someone asks, 'how are you?'  They want you to say, 'fine' or 'good' no matter what kind of a day you are having.  If you respond with more than that, they tend to look a little glazed over or surprised you answered a question that was not really intended as a question.  I found with our story, even the Cliff Notes version is 'TMI' for most people.  They simply want to tell someone later that they saw quads in real life. 

     I also discovered that most people tend to focus on the pregnancy more than the day to day reality of having four same-age children.   I often get people looking me up and down trying to figure out how I carried four babies at once.  They often ask me that very question.  Or, they will comment that I look really good (for having carried four) or question, "you fit all of them in there!?," gesturing to my stomach.

     I used to give everyone the short version of our story because I was raised to tell the truth.  Saying, 'yes' to the quad question felt dishonest even though my day to day life is no different than parents of four that shared the same womb.  As you know if you've read our story, they are all biologically ours and are all the same age.  I have gotten around the quad question by answering that they are all the same age.  This leaves people even more confused.  "And they are all yours?," they will ask.  My 'yes' answer confirms for them that they are quads.  Sometimes they will look at me like I'm not very bright for apparently not knowing the word 'quadruplets.' 

April 2011 with their helmets

     After so many encounters and the realization that most people do not want to know, I have started replying 'yes' to the quad question.  Though, I still struggle a little with that. Greg volunteers the quad word regularly when asked and feels no pangs about the nuances of difference.  Functionally, are they quads?  Yes!  My day to day reality is that I have four same-age toddlers who are all siblings.  If you were in my situation, what would you say?  Cliff notes?  A simple yes?  Or, they are quads.  Your comments are welcome.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Make a Turtle Using an Egg Carton and Pistachio Nut Shells

    We have two turtles in a small pond in our backyard.  The Sugar Snaps enjoy feeding them each day along with the fish.  Sometimes, I think it makes sense to do a craft that revolves around what they are interested in at the moment.  One day we were eating pistachio nuts, which turned out to be great fine motor practice for them to open up the shells.  I looked at the shells in front of them and thought that we could recycle them to use in a craft.  So, I saved them.  They would be perfect for a turtle craft if they were green.  Those of you who have been following Capri + 3 for a while know I love doing painting in a bag crafts with the Sugar Snaps. I decided to see if this technique would work for the shells.  I gave each of them different concentrations of vinegar and water along with food coloring to see what worked best.  All methods worked to a point, but I thought the 50/50 concentration worked the best.

Recycled Egg Carton Pistachio Nut Shell Turtle:

You will need:
  • One section of a recycled egg carton
  • A handful of pistachio nut shells
  • Green food coloring
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Zip lock bag
  • Metal strainer
  • Cookie sheet
  • Foil
  • Oven (if desired)
  • One green pipe cleaner
  • One green pom pom
  • One pair of google eyes
  • White glue
  • Scotch tape
  • Scissors (to cut egg carton into sections)
  • One disposable glove-if desired 

 Grayson had fun coloring the shells in a bag.

      This is a craft that is broken into two sections, so it is two craft activities in one which makes it more fun.  The first part of the craft is dying the nut shells.  Use a 50/50 concentration of vinegar and water and pour it into a zip lock bag along with several drops of green food coloring.  Estimate the amount you will need based on how many children will be doing the craft.  Add the nut shells and zip the bag shut.  You can do one bag per child or have them take turns with the bag.  They can move the nut shells around in the bag until the desired color is achieved.  If the color seems too light after they are done, you can let the shells sit for a while in the bag.  Then, pour the shells out into a metal strainer and drain the shells into the sink.  I learned the hard way that, if you don't wear a disposable glove, handling the dyed nuts before they are dry can make your fingernails (and under your nails) turn green.  To avoid this, pour the nuts from the strainer directly onto the foil lined cookie sheet. You can either put on a glove and spread them out on the sheet (flipping them over hollow side down) or you can use a metal utensil to help with the process.  Then, to expedite drying, I turned the oven on to 200 degrees and baked them for a half an hour.  They were ready to handle pretty quickly after they came out of the oven.

     If you are doing both parts of the craft on the same day, wait until the shells are cool enough to handle and distribute one handful per child.  When you cut the egg carton, make sure to leave some around the edge to glue on the head.  Cut (or have your older child cut) the pipe cleaner to make the legs and tail. Tape them underneath as shown below.  You can also see from this picture that I left room for them to glue on the head when I cut the egg carton.

Capri liked gluing on the pistachio nut shells.

     Next, flip the turtle back over and have your children glue shells onto the top and sides of the turtle's shell.  Some will fall off and need to be repositioned.  The Sugar Snaps did not mind at all when that happened. I put the glue on for them and they positioned the shells.  I was surprised that they knew to flip the shells so that the hollow side was down before they placed them.   After the turtle is covered in the nut shells, have your child glue on the head and google eyes.  Then, allow to dry.  Have you been doing crafts lately using recycled materials?  What crafts have your families or students enjoyed?

*Linked to:  The Kid's Co-Op, Sharing Saturday , Parenting Pin-It Party, Mommy Monday Blog-hop, Sharing Saturday, Toddler & Preschooler Moms Pinning Party, Entertaining & Educational, Mom's Library, Link 'n' Learn

09 10