Monday, May 28, 2012

Renaissance Festival

Another favorite experience to take our kids to, is the local renaissance festival. We are lucky to be so close to a large festival. It is over 35 acres with over 200 performances each day. This is an all day experience for us and we decided we would not take the wagon or strollers. We wanted to see how the kids would do walking the entire day.

Before we leave a picture of the happy children. (Side note: Her dress and shoes match perfectly. They were purchased at different places/times and it was pure luck that they matched.) Don't they look enthusiastic and full of energy? 

It's difficult to get photos without a lot of other people in them when it's so busy (annual attendance is 200,000 over the 8 weekends). Here they are walking hand in hand through the village. They loved the petting zoo, Daniel the Duke of Danger, Don Juan and Miguel, and everything involving music.

 We packed a lunch and ate in the back of our SUV rather than paying for the fair food. This saved money and limited distractions when eating. It also gave the kids a chance to "rest" in the middle of the day so they weren't completely overwhelmed.

Still happy at the end of the day. We never again took a wagon or stroller for a full day of walking. This was a huge help for packing on trips and just generally getting around town. They were exhausted and slept the entire way home! The rose she is holding was given to her by Miguel during the parade. This will continue to be an annual tradition for us.

Monday, May 21, 2012


While we try to take advantage of many opportunities to expose our kids to different cultures, this festival came as a surprise to us. It was a dragon boat and kite festival in a city near ours. My husband was requested to participate in the dragon boat races, so we had one day of practice and one day of the actual festival.

The first day (practice day) there weren't many people around. My kids did manage to find someone walking his dogs and offer to help. The open water did scare me, but the dogs kept the kids away from it. 

While Daddy was in a boat we played many rounds of "ring-around-the-rosy" much to the annoyance of everyone living in the local apartments who had to listen to me sing. The kids love being outside and every once in awhile even looked around at the dragon boats.

The day of the festival was crowded. I don't have many photos because I don't want to publish photos of people I don't know. Here is the kite the kids made with very little help. It was a very windy day, but they kept pulling the kite down so it never took off. We saw many people we knew, we watched musical and dancing groups, and were amazed at the professional kites. In our spare time we did make time to cheer for Daddy's boat, but alas, they didn't win.

The end of a long day. Notice he is still white because we made sure the kids had on tons of sunblock. Notice I'm extremely red... yeah, gotta work on remembering to take care of myself as well.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Tale of Two Beds - Part 1

A common question among parents of toddlers is when to move your child out of a crib and into a bed. Our plan was to wait as long as possible. Unfortunately, my kids had a different plan.

Most kids will climb out of their cribs and land on their feet, bum, or stomach. My kids launched themselves over the crib rails and landed on their heads. You would expect this to be a self correcting behavior. However, in a test of survival of the fittest my children would have failed. This is why humans live in family groups after all. So rather than letting my children continue to injure themselves, I converted their cribs to toddler beds.

They loved the idea of being able to get in and out any time they wanted. Here they are each in the other's bed. We also removed everything else from the room. Seriously, we can't trust these kids with anything or they will get hurt. It was a sad little prison room. Two toddler beds and nothing else.

Over the first few nights and nap times we found them asleep in various configurations. The floor was popular. After they fell asleep we would pick them up and put them back in bed. After about a week they finally started falling asleep in bed!

We didn't care if it was the same bed or not. They were in a bed! This configuration of sharing a bed didn't last long. My son is a cuddler and my daughter is a kicker. Eventually they learned it was best to sleep in their own bed.

You might have noticed the title says "Part 1." This will be a continuing series as I already have photos/posts of other adventures with these beds. A Tale of Two Beds - Part 2

Monday, May 7, 2012


It gets hot here, especially during the Summer. It's common to be over 100F (30C). Like most kids, mine love popsicles. I can't just serve regular popsicles though. They are full of sugar, preservatives, and food dye. My kids eat healthy popsicles.

It's messy, but one of our favorites is made from our spinach smoothies. It's a lot of fresh spinach, some yogurt or kefir, and a small handful of fruit - usually strawberries. We blend it for smoothies and then just freeze some extra for popsicles. 

While my daughter enjoyed using hers to color on her tray, my son doesn't believe in wasting food. The bibs seemed like a good idea, but honestly nothing can contain the mess toddlers can make with popsicles. It all washes out anyway.

This was another favorite flavor. Still with mostly spinach, this one also had some carrots and blueberries to give it a different color and texture. If you have never made a smoothie with spinach, you should give it a try. The flavor of the fruit overpowers the spinach so it just tastes like a fruit smoothie. I can even get my husband to eat his vegetables this way! My kids always ask for spinach at the store so we can have smoothies and popsicles. I don't mind if they fill up on them during dinner or want more for dessert.