Monday, November 6, 2017

Ms. Adaline Rue is Off to Tot School

Adaline is amazing. No really she is.

When she was about 6 months old we visited our local library for story time (the above picture is from that very visit) and while we where there the librarian mentioned something about a vocabulary goal of 18 words by 18 months. Later that night (or maybe weeks later, who can remember), I scribbled down 18 words, and guess what? She's at about 30 words at 15 months. I "count" the word in two ways. Does she understand the meaning of the word, and can she say it. There are some words like "Kitty" that she understands but does not say. She calls all cats Mishu (the name of our cat). And not only does she know words, but she also is talking in what I call sentences. For example, "All done!" "Bye-bye bubbles." "Doggy, no!"

So with all this brain power and learning going on, I've decided it's time to ship her off to school! Tot school. I learned about Tot School via Pinterest (of course, after all I am a self-declared Pinterest mom). The best thing about Tot School is that it's ALL about FUN and it's NEVER forced. Here's a shout out to some amazing moms that helped me get started. Simply Learning Kids and Mrs. Plemon's Kindergarten 

The first thing I did was created a yearly calendar, with relevant themes. For example, the theme the first week of August is, "Birthday" because it's her birthday week.

The second thing I did was to get started with this month, November. Using the resources from the above links and Pinterest, I then came up with specific learning opportunities for each day of the week. I made sure to provide opportunities for her to practice her fine and gross motor skills, reading/listening (trying to use books we already owned, or hoping to find at Open Books (a GREAT literacy non-profit here in Chicago)), sensory, finger play, multi-media (videos, etc.), a craft social (we get together with other kiddos and do a craft each week), and an "other" category. Here's what the first two week of November look like. Although it only looks like this is for one week, since this is our first week, I'm taking baby steps.

The third thing I did was to create Pinterest boards based on each theme with links to the activities, videos, etc. Here's my board for the first two weeks of November's Tot School theme:  bed and nap time.  Being this organized is part of my nature and it also allows my mom (who is Ms. Rue's part time caregiver) carry on where we left off.

Now get off the computer and go to bed!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Restored Sophistication for a Breakfast Nook

Hollywood Regency. French Farmhouse. Colonial. Transitional. Traditional. Primitive. Eclectic. Moroccan. What's your interior design style?

With a little help from some online quizzes (from HGTV, Real Simple, and Better Homes & Gardens) and Pinterest, I was able to determine my interior design personality. And as it turns out, I have multiple personalities. I appreciate early-American and French cottage interior designs with a dash of glamor. My self-diagnosis:
Restored Sophistication

By taking cues from the past, restoring what we can, looking toother parts of the world for inspiration, and adding a few glam details we arrive at what I call Restored Sophistication.  I love that the word 'rest' can be found in restored as my home needs to be a place of rest, refuge, and relaxation. I also choose the word 'sophistication' with some deliberate thought. Having taste based on wordly experience and intelligence is a much needed element of living with less. To live with less means we must consider the purpose, value, and impact (on the planet and its inhabitants) of every item I own. deliberately and with some thought.  

After purchasing our town-home a year ago we decided to give the kitchen a face-lift. I'll blog about it in detail soon but here's a good before and after. 

Just beyond the actual kitchen space is room for a breakfast nook, or eat-in kitchen. And I have become obsessed with what's possible for that space. I created a Pinterest board dedicated to the possibilities and ask Mr. Less to pick his favorite option. Guess what? His number #1 is also my number #1. Sp here it is, the inspiration for our breakfast nook: 

Via Dalliance Design
I'm looking forward to this project! It will be a challenge to pull off such a beautiful design with a 'less is more' approach but I'm up for it and can't wait to share it with you.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mele Kalikimaka

Mr. Less and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon. 
We actually spent time on the islands of O'ahu and Maui. What magical places. 
There's so much beauty in the world. We are blessed. 

Here's the sun rising on December 17, 2013. 
We watched it rise from the top of Haleakala Mountain. 
At 10,000 feet above sea level we where sitting on the clouds.

I plan to blog about the details of our trip but here's a teaser.
It's our honeymoon in 30 seconds. I used Flipgram (luv!).

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Everything Is Connected

Every day, we make choices and our choices, as insignificant as they may seem, have HUGE consequences. Consequences for you and those around you, for people you will never meet, for animals, and for the environment.  

If, while indulging my daily caffeine addiction, I choose to drink from a Styrofoam cup, here are (a few of) the consequences to people, animals, and the environment: 

  • Styrofoam is made from polystyrene. Polystyrene is made from styrene. The International Agency for Research on Cancer believes that styrene causes cancer and/or birth defects.
  • There are concerns that when heated, polystyrene containers release styrene. Is it possible that simply drinking coffee from a Styrofoam cup could have toxic effects?
  • Polystyrene, like other plastics, is made from petroleum. You may have already heard this but petroleum is pretty scarce. Why use such a scarce resource on something that is meant to be used once and then thrown away?
  • Speaking of throwing things away, according to the EPA 25 billion +  Styrofoam cups are thrown away each year.  They will never decompose. They will last for-eva.
  • Because Styrofoam is not recycled it dies a slow death in a landfill. I should I say it causes the slow death of animals –animals who often mistaken these smaller fragments as food and choke or clog their digestive systems.
  • Technically, Styrofoam is recyclable (#6) but it rarely is because it’s just too difficult and not cost efficient. So instead, millions of tons of Styrofoam are incinerated annually and the incinerated material ends up as airborne toxic ash.

More Good. Less Harm. 
The realization that everything (and every thing) is connected may be a daunting one. It doesn’t have to be. You may have noticed that I gave special attention to the words choices and choose. Our ability to make choices makes us very powerful. The votes we cast when we spend our dollars do matter. We have the choice to make choices that do more good and less harm. 

Living with less Styrofoam.
Today is my first blog post. Starting today I intend live with less Styrofoam. I intend to slow down and smell the coffee and I want you to join me. Tomorrow morning, while indulging my caffeine addiction, I plan to bring my own ceramic mug (or one of my reusable containers), sit down and savor the flavor of my mocha, even if it's for only five minutes. It's better for the environment, other people, animals, my health, and my mental state.