March 31, 2023

friend of the family

First let me say this is Mr. Geek's post--something he said I should write about. It started one day, one long, long day when I had had just about enough of being a mother by the time he walked through the door after work. We've been talking on and off how Sojo is obsessed with me, like most boys are with their mamas, and how I'm constantly in his radar, even when the Mister is around. Mom-meee!, Mom-mee!" he shouts, even when I'm just in the kitchen preparing dinner while he plays with his papa. " Just leave me alone for 5 mintues!" says the black cloud over my head.

It must be frustrating for dads when they are always the less-famous sidekick of the parenting duo. Or as Mr. Geek jokingly calls himself, just "a friend of the family."
Yeah, that expression says it all: Mommy, put down that camera and HOLD ME!

So what's a dad to do? Does this eventually even out, where as a 3 year old, S will cling to Daddy and spurn me? Or will this turn into a Norman Bates type of dysfunction? Seriously though, when does this obsession taper off?

March 29, 2023

birthday magic

This week found me waxing nostalgic about my son's 2nd birthday, along with frantically preparing for it, including a last-minute front door birthday decoration.
Like most parents, I'm amazed about how quickly he's growing up and how much he's changed, even in just a year. I must admit that I'm liking 2 much better than 1 right now, despite the beginnings of tantrums and sometimes challenging independent behavior. But he's also SO very sweet too--I just love his little voice saying "hi Mommy!" in the morning.
We threw a small party this weekend with some friends and their children, 8 kids in all, and it was really fun.
We spent much of SoJo's nap time cleaning and finishing up the cooking for the party. I had decorated the night before with some banners made from scrapbook paper that I had saved from his last birthday.
The paper lanterns were decorations from our wedding nearly 10 years ago. I pulled them out of the attic and thought they'd look great hung beneath our behemoth ceiling fan. I also rehung the banner I made last year.
The party theme was cars and vehicles and the center piece were the cupcakes.
I wasn't too happy with how they came out. I used Amy Sedaris' recipe for Tattletale's Vanilla Cupcakes (Tattletale being her houserabbit) that I got from her hilarious book I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. The cupcakes were a little dense, kind of shortbread-like, even though these cupcakes were voted 2nd best in New York by New York Magazine.
Mr. Geek liked them though, and the matcha green tea/cream cheese frosting was the icing on the cake (pardon the silly pun).
I used some of the Wilton cupcake decorations on them, along with my mother-in-law's trusty cupcake tower which I decorated with crepe paper and black ribbon.

As for the menu, I made some homemade mac and cheese, hummus and veggies, some veggie hot dogs and pizza. Typical kids' favorites. Along with chips, cheese and crackers, and a fruit salad lovingly made by one of my friends.
As for the favors I had been sewing all week, here they are
I made some car cozies to go with the theme, based on a tutorial I found over at My Little Gems.
It's essentially a fabric roll for matchbox cars to slide inside. There's also a road for kids to drive the cars on.
It's nice to take along with you in the car or when you'll be waiting in a doctor's office and need something quiet to entertain your child.I filled the pockets with a few matchbox cars, some treats, bubbles, car stickers and tied them together with a Richard Scarry car book. I had a lot of leftover Christmas cards with his photo on them, so I cut them up and tied them onto the favors as tags. They looked very cute!

The birthday boy got lots of nice presents, including books, some great games, and toys. He also got a play kitchen from mom and dad, and a barnyard from his grandparents.
And one last shot of the crown I felted for him. I love how his hair is sticking out all akimbo.
Happy birthday my sweet boy! You are my little darlin', my best teacher, and my greatest joy.

March 24, 2023

Party Prep

I've been preparing for SoJo's 2nd birthday party this weekend, which means scrambling to clean, cook and decorate the house for the festivities. And if you know me, I tend to go overboard on these things (I'd definitely be diagnosed with OCD if I went to a doctor--but in general, it doesn't interfere with my life--unless you ask Mr. Geek for his opinion).
Since I had stored last year's banner under our bed, it was a bit crushed and dusty, therefore it needed some airing out.

We're having a few friends and their kids over, a total of 8 adults and 7 kids. I wish our house was larger, otherwise I'd have family over as well. I really felt bad not inviting the grandparents, though we're having separate parties with them (lucky for S). I think next year we'll go back to the family party.

I decided to sew some favors for the kids.
I decided on a car/transportation party theme since we have tons of cars littering the house (bonus: easy decorations) and after winning that huge Wilton cake decorating set, I thought that using some of the items for the party would be great. The set of car cupcake decorations will be perfect.
So the rest of the week will probably be pretty light on the blog posts around here. But I thought I'd share one more photo: my seeds are sprouting!
Yay for cucumbers! Until we meet again...

March 22, 2023

hand wash cold

Many bloggers speak of their personal faiths, and I'll share with you that I've been a Buddhist for the last 10+ years. I've found great comfort in recently reading a book on parenting, Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali, which has been quite literally, life altering and a reaffirmation of my beliefs. What is amazing about Buddhism is that one does not need to "be" Buddhist to learn important lessons of practicing mindfulness and being present in the most ordinary and extraordinary everyday moments.

I'm excited to read Karen Maezen Miller's newest book, Hand Wash Cold: Instructions for an Ordinary Life, which comes out soon.
Here's a video of Miller reading an excerpt from the book, via her blog Cheerio Road.

I love being reminded of the beauty and lessons of everyday moments, because often I go through life looking toward the next "exciting" event rather than being fully present in the most mundane tasks. I look forward to adding this book to my bedside table, and also her previous book, Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood.

Blast Off! KidsCraft Shuttle Imagination Playhouse {Giveaway}

One of the perks of this blog is getting to try out really fun things that I normally wouldn't have even heard of, like anti-microbial gloves and bath towels shaped like firetrucks, and of course cardboard rocket ship playhouses.
What level of awesomeness is that? The Shuttle Imagination Playhouse from KidsCraft comes packed flat, and is basically a few sheets of punched cardboard that get slotted together without the use of tools or glues. It's so simple that a toddler can help. Or at least not be too annoying when he's in the way. :)
This is S's favorite place in the house at the moment. He likes going inside and pushing his cars on the floor.
Unlike a plain cardboard box, the rocket ship playhouse has shapes cut out on the sides of it, like stars and comets, which make it brighter inside.And of course more fun to peek out at mom and dad.
The best part is that you can paint or color it! We haven't done this yet, but I see so many possibilities here, and a great afternoon activity. The 100% recycled cardboard was left blank on purpose so kids and adults could personalize their playhouses.
I'm thinking we might do this at S's birthday party this weekend, letting the kids go wild with coloring it as a fun party activity.KidsCraft also makes a plain-Jane Creation Cottage playhouse too, which is very sweet and would be great to turn into a post office, veterinarian's office, ice cream stand, or whatever tickles your fancy. And once the kids tired of their design, you could just paint over it.
The only issues I see with the Shuttle Imagination playhouse is that it is a bit larger than I expected (we have a small house, so that's more of the issue), and that the cardboard area under the door takes a beating.
The doors aren't flush against the floor, so I imagine that this panel will be ripped sooner than the rest of the playhouse from S going in and out of it so often. He's not that skilled at climbing over it, as older kids might be, so he often catches his leg on it. But I'm sure I can just tape it up or reinforce it with another piece of cardboard.

But I do like that when this playhouse is worn down, I can take it apart, flatten the cardboard and recycle it. This is definitely one of the coolest things we've gotten to try out in our house. With SoJo's birthday party coming up, I think the party guests will definitely enjoy playing in the Imagination Shuttle.

KidsCraft is very generously giving 1 lucky K&K reader...
A Playhouse of your choice!
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  • Follow @KidsCraftUSA on Twitter and tweet this giveaway, leaving a link to your tweet in the comments. You can tweet once per day (leave a comment each day). You can copy and paste my tweet if you'd like: Win an out-of-this-world cardboard Rocket Ship Playhouse ($69.95) from @KidsCraftUSA @katydidandkid #giveaway
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You must do the first entry in order to enter ("I want to win, thanks!" comments will NOT be considered). You will have until Sunday April 4th at 11:59pm EST to enter. The winners will be chosen via random number generator the next day and notified by email. I'll also post the winners on my blog HERE. If I don't hear back from the winner within 72 hours, I'll pick another.
Disclosure: KidsCraft sent us a complementary Shuttle Imagination for review purposes.

March 17, 2023


My little seedling was helping me plant some seedlings the other night. Like most kids, he loves playing in dirt so I knew he'd like to help me start some of our vegetable and flower seedlings.
It took him quite a while to fill up his two little pots, but he was so careful about scooping the dirt into them.We planted cucumber seeds in the pots he filled, along with zinnias, 2 varieties of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and some herbs. I'm not counting on them all coming up, but for a few dollars, it's worth the chance.
I'm most interested in watching the seedlings grow along with Sojo, and getting him excited about gardening from early on. It's worth the twice-daily shuffling of the seeds inside and outside to take advantage of the best sunlight.
He also helped yesterday with planting our lettuce and spinach seeds, though he kept creeping over there to dig some more in the dirt. Hopefully I can keep him from pulling up the seedlings when they start to sprout.

So what's going in your garden this year?

Constructive Eating Kids' Tableware

Getting a toddler to eat can be a daunting task, not just because they're often picky eaters, but because they have trouble navigating their utensils and food. My son still has difficulty scooping up food on his plate, even though he'll be 2 very soon.

Constructive Eating has helped with that. They sent us a set of Constructive Eating Utensil Set ($19.95) and plate ($14.95), which not only makes meal time more fun, but makes it easy for kids to scoop up their food.
The set of construction vehicle utensils is quite charming and sturdy, but able for toddlers to hold easily.
To be honest, I was wary about this set, because from the moment I opened it (seconds before serving dinner, stupidly), my son was over-the-top excited to use these. Uh, oh, I thought, assuming he'd be more interested in playing with the trucks than eating. Surprisingly, he actually used these to eat every noodle off of his plate.
(that's his new "cheese!" face for photos)
The "pusher" truck helps to deliver (haha) food onto the spoon, which makes it easier for my son to scoop up his food. The fork is easy to hold too, and is a perfect size for his hands.

We were also sent the Constructive Eating plate to try out too, which is a bright orange "construction" color. There are divided sections on the plate which keep food separated for pickier eaters, and spots on the plate to "park" your utensils. It grips onto the table nicely too, which makes it easier to eat off of. And all of Constructive Eating's products contain NO Lead, NO Bisplenol A (BPA), NO PVC, and NO Phthalates, so parents don't have to worry about what else other than food is going into their kids' mouths.

Oh, and there's a special pink set too, for girls who'd prefer a pink truck to a yellow one.
Overall, we love this plate and utensils and how it makes an ordinary meal into something extraordinary.
Disclosure: I received a sample plate and utensil set from Constructive Eating for review purposes.

March 15, 2023

My Crowning Achievement

My weekend project--made during naps and even on a long car ride to visit Sojo's cousin's house yesterday.
I've been wanting to make him a birthday crown for a while now, having not gotten around to sewing one for his first birthday last year. But I did it! And I love how it turned out.
I had an old wool sweater that I had knitted and felted, naively for a baby (this was pre-Sojo), thinking at the time that it would actually fit over a baby's head. Defeated yet hopeful it could be used for something else like a teddy bear, I was stashed it away to be repurposed one day.

I cut the bottom of the sweater into a crown, which was actually a perfect fit for Sojo's head and didn't even require a seam (the sweater was knitted in the round).
For the "S" panel on the front, I cut out a circle from a piece of scrap felt that I had made
and needle felted a red "S" onto it.
For instructions on needle felting, see my posts here or here. For wet felting (like the scrap piece above), check out my tutorial here.

I then needle felted colorful circles around the crown
Finally, I wet felted little balls to sew onto the tips of the crown.
I love how jester-ish it is, and I hope that Sojo will look forward to wearing this on birthdays to come.

On a related note, I finally finished the Ministry Shawl.
I'm pleased with the result, but I should have budgeted my yarn better. I made the shawl too wide, and therefore it's a tad too short (I should have made a longer, narrower shawl). I added fringe along the edges to make up for it, and I like that it brings more pastel color into what could be a funeral-esque shawl.
I'm off to drop it off today, so hopefully the recipient like it. What have you been creating lately? Inquiring minds want to know (and would love to see links!).
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