Sunday, March 27, 2011

27 (the sequel)

(A follow-up to this post from four years ago.)

It's March 27th and Andy is 27 months old!

Andy is starting to talk a little bit more. He seems to like to learn things in a systematic way. He's started adding words to his alphabet sounds. He'll say, "A, apple! Buh, ball! Kuh, cat! Duh, dog!" (Apple and ball were some of his first words, so that worked out well.)

When we have out the crayons (or sidewalk chalk) he doesn't want to do much with it himself--he wants us to write letters or numbers for him.  And he's started a new thing now where each letter has to be a different color.  He's very persistent.  (Today in church I was trying to sing and he kept pushing crayons into my hand.)

We've also been reading Chicka Chicka 123 a lot.  That seems to be the book of choice right now.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Could it be... Scrapping?

Seems like a looong time since I've done any scrapbooking.  A little designing, here and there, but I can't remember the last time I made a layout.

Season 6 of The Amazing Digi Scrapping Race is starting at NDISB.  I did it a few years ago and had a blast, but haven't felt like I had time to join any of the seasons since then.  This time I thought, what the heck--I do have a lot of things going on, but hey, it'll be fun, and I'll get some scrapping done.  So I'm signed up for the race.  This time the lovely and talented CheleOh is my partner.  Our team name is "Chelena."  (Heh.)

The designers at NDISB have been putting together a prize kit. Bernadette (the coordinator) asked me if I might have one of my cool layered templates that I could contribute. As it happened, I did have one that I'd made a couple of years ago that was used in the store design, but I'd never done anything else with it. Since Theresa just recently did a site re-design, it seemed like a good time to put this template to some other use.

It needed a little cleanup. And then I had to make some instructions with screen shots, and while I was at it I made a layout with it.

Ta da! The race hasn't even started and I've already done a layout.  More to come!

(Update:  Since NDISB has closed, the template is available here.) 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Searching Swag Bucks

One of the things that you do on Swag Bucks is use their search engine to win points randomly three or four times a day.    I generally try in the morning, after lunch, and in the evening.  And the "day" resets at midnight central time, so that's a good time to search too.  Most of the time you'll get between 7-11 points, though people do get more (the most I've gotten for a search is 14).  I've had good luck using it to just go to sites that I normally visit, like amazon or blogger, but I've also gotten wins just typing in random things. Like personal favorites ("Lois McMaster Bujold" and "the smell of sesame oil") or obscure pop culture references:

We have a weekly Swag Bucks thread on Two Peas to share tips.  Supposedly winning on the search engine is all in the timing and has nothing to do with what you search for,  but it's still amusing to post about our search wins. I had won with my own name a couple of times and posted about that, so then a few other people also won with "Helena Jole."  Later I tried "Peter Ahlstrom" (my brother's name) and won with that, so I posted about that too.

Several days later one friend posted, ""Helena is usually my winning search although today she didn't come through for me but I remembered her saying her brother often wins for her so I put in 'Helena Jole's brother' and that got it!!"  this sparked a whole rash of people winning with "Helena Jole's brother," which was absolutely hilarious.  I even got a win with "my brother."  Then a couple of days ago one lady got 53 points for "Helena Jole's brother." I didn't even know you could win that much for a search. She said "Give him a big hug from me next time you see him."

Here's my referral link incase anyone's interested. I've actually gotten $85 from Swag Bucks this month. ($75 in Amazon gift cards and $10 in PayPal.) Though a lot of that was from doing tasks, which I wouldn't necessarily recommend. It's not really a good use of time. I need to work on other things!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Let's go to the zoo!

What to do on a sunny Saturday morning? The zoo! Apparently everyone else had the same idea, as the place was pretty crowded. We have a zoo membership but hadn't been there for quite a while.

Andy was fascinated by these big letters. He had to "read" all of them.

Going down the otter slide!

We were just in time to catch the shark feeding, which was very cool.

Kate and Dad at the touch tank.

Coloring with Andy.

Tiger cubs Bima and Mali (with mother Jaya).  They were born last May.

The kids got a ride on the carousel.  Doesn't Andy look excited?  He was much less excited once it started moving.

The best part about having a zoo membership is that you can just stay for a couple of hours without feeling like you have to get your money's worth out of a visit.  We got there at about 10:00, and when we got hungry we left to get some lunch.  Doug had I Love Bento's number on his cell phone, so we called them from the zoo parking lot and our food was ready when we got there.  Awesome!

I love the way Andy is holding his chopsticks in one hand and eating with the other. (This is tofu from the miso soup--a big hit with both kids. We always ask for a miso soup with extra tofu.)

What to do after the zoo and lunch? A nap! What a great day.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday morning

A rare moment of sibling togetherness.  (Normally Kate doesn't want Andy in her room.)

What's that?  It's Daddy with a harmonica!

Don't we have cute kids?  It makes me happy to see them playing together.  Or at least near each other!

Friday, March 18, 2011

new project

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chalk Numbers

Sidewalk chalk with Andy. It was raining (just a light sprinkle) but not too cold, so I just put his hood up and we went out anyway.

He's been practicing numbers lately.  He can say 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, and 10 pretty well.  Pronunciation is not so clear on the others.  (He often says "eight" for 3--it does look like half an 8!)   He'd hand me a piece of chalk and I'd write all the numbers, and then he'd go over to the bucket and get another color.  Over and over (and over) till the sidewalk was all covered with numbers.

And of course Mom had to sneak in some picture taking. 

After a while Kate came out and joined us.  She found some lines to color in.

I had to get a picture of the pussy willows.  (Just like  a few years ago, but without the screaming.)

"Come on, Mom!  Put down the camera and  take this chalk, already!"

Andy has added "Chalk!" to his very small list of words.  He's very clear about letting us know when he wants to get the chalk and go outside.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I don't think I want one of those.

I had this conversation with Kate earlier this month:

Kate:  "I wish I had a cicada."
Me:  "You want a cicada?"
Kate:  "Yeah!"
Me:  "A live cicada?"
Kate:  "No, not the insect cicada, the food cicada!"
Me:  "There's a food cicada?"
Kate:  "Yeah, it's like a tortilla with cheese."
Me:  "Ah!...You mean a quesadilla?"

Just out of curiosity, I did a google image search for "cicada quesadilla."  There don't seem to be any pictures of the two together.  Probably a good thing.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Stake Art Show

The Stake Art Show was February 26th (Saturday, the day before my birthday!) Kate had been home for three days with a bad cold, and was finally feeling better, so I asked her if she'd like to go over to the art show with me for a while. She was so glad to get out of the house.

We'd had quite a bit of snow but Kate was too sick to go out and play in it.  So sad!  Glory and Sky made a snow fort right outside Kate's window.  By Saturday the snow was melting, but the walls of the fort were still there.

We went over to the church for the show, where the exhibits were set up in the gym.  We have some talented artists in our stake!

My little display.  Most of the art that I do is for other people, so normally I don't really have much on hand.  I was glad to have a couple of pieces that I could enter--the drawing of Craig and the first panel of the model train backdrop.  I still have a long way to go on the rest of the backdrop, but I was able to get this panel  looking presentable for the show.  Most of that bottom right corner will be hidden behind the hill when it's in place on the table

The schedule said there was a painting workshop from 11:00-2:00.  We thought this might be a drop-in sort of thing.  It turned out it wasn't, but they let Kate paint anyway.

This kept her enthralled for a good long time while I went out and looked at the other exhibits (popping back in every few minutes to check on her). Of course, she can paint at home, but I suppose there's something about painting at the art show that makes it extra exciting.

After painting, we watched a demonstration by the Pacific Ballroom Dance company. Kate was intrigued. (I know she enjoyed some of the music.)

A lot of work went into this event--it was well organized and well attended! When I went back over at 8:00 to pick up my stuff, there was a performance still going on and the place was packed.