Saturday, February 28, 2009

Florida's Gold - Oranges

I've shared before that we love to play at Explorations V in downtown Lakeland. It really is an amazing childrens museum. But until recently, they had one exhibit that I just couldn't quite get in to.

The basement houses "O is for Oranges," an orange grove exhibit that explains how to "pick, pack, sort, count and investigate the life of an orange in this hands-on, fun-filled orange odyssey!" One day about a month ago it clicked for Charlotte and we've both been enjoying it ever since. I finally remember to take my camera and here is a photo essay about how we process gold in Florida!

First, you've got to pick the oranges... make sure they are ripe and that they end up in the bag!

Then, once you drop it down the chute, the processing begins. This device starts the transferring process to get the oranges to the sorter.

Make sure you tun the knob with intensity, it lets the oranges know you mean business!

Once the oranges are sorted, they get dropped in the hopper (on the right) and all the juice is squeezed right out of them. The juice gets pasteurized and then packaged.

It really is a cool process and I love how they've broken it down to make it easy for children to understand. Now that I "get it" we'll be spending a lot of time in the basement playing with Florida gold!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nervous to Post This Story

I've wanted to write this blog posts for months, maybe even a year. And I almost did last October. Well, I wrote a pre-cursor to this post, but it backfired. Once I put the information out into the universe, a cruel twist was thrust into my story, leaving me hanging for another four months.

But now, my dream has been realized. And I've been living it for almost two weeks. So I think now, it is finally time to share my new reality with you.

Are you sitting down? (Duh you're reading this on a computer so of course you are!)

Okay. Here is it. My big news.

Charlotte. Is. Sleeping. Through. The. Night.

Woo hoo!!!

Are you cheering with me? I bet if you have ever raised a kid, you probably are.

I wish I could spell out a specific magic formula for how this happened. Lord knows I gave the No-Cry Sleep Solution its due time (six months!). But really, it came down to Charlotte was finally ready to have sleep be more important to her than nursing.

Contrary to the opinion of some people, I did not particularly enjoy waking up three or more times a night to nurse Charlotte. But, I knew that she was getting a good portion of her calories during that time and I could not take them away from her until she was ready to eat them during the day.

And around five weeks ago, she started to show that readiness. At first, she slept through one feeding and started drinking more water and asking for more snacks. Then after two weeks or so, she slept through another one. And then one night, she just didn't wake up at all. Now, she will wake up at least once each night, but after 2-4 minutes, she is right back asleep with just some fussy noises.

She still seems to like the same foods over and over again (typical for a toddler), but now she seems to be eating more of them. Tonight she even ate three whole chicken nuggets for dinner! That is a new record for her!

So, now that I have all of this new found rest, and am past the first trimester and sleeping better anyway, I can get on with my life. We have entered a new era in the Sabin household. Welcome to it!

Charlotte and Mommy sleeping the first day we brought her home.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Alphabet School - "E"

We started the week off with E foods - english muffins, eggplant, and eggs. When it came to eating the english muffin though, Charlotte seemed more enthusiastic about the homemade strrawberry jam on top than the muffin itself. Though she did eat a few small bites. As for the eggplant, we discovered that on a field trip to the grocery store (like we did with the apples on the first week). I let her hold and feel them and we talked about the deep purple color of the eggplant. Then we walked over to the cooler and looked at eggs in the crate. I tried to explain the differences between tiny eggs and big eggplants. I think that part of the conversation might have been above her head though.

We also got to play with the letter E all by itself. While organizing my craft dresser, I found a ton of white die cut letters. You can expect to see projects like this one a lot over the rest of the alphabet. Here, I just brushed on some white glue and let her place the letters on the page however she saw fit.

When Charlotte is a teenager, I am sure she will kill me for this next picture. But I had to include it because it showed the intensity with which she smashed the stamp of the Ewe and the Elephant onto the paper. She got so excited to see the stamped images, that she got carried away and just kept slamming the stamp onto the paper, not even realizing that it had run out of ink. (This was her first time using stamps.)

Elephants were a big part of our week. In addition to the stamping, we watched The Elephant Song video by Eric Herman and lots of other elephant videos on To finish up the large animal part of the week, we made this foam elephant photo frame. I peeled the backs off the stickers, and Charlotte decided to line the elephants up along the bottom of the frame. I'd say she has a good eye for proportion here.

Music is always a part of our week and this week we focused on the egg shakers. She could shake these things for hours! Fortunately, they aren't very loud, so I could probably listen for that long as well. :)
I did some Google searches and also snaked some of Jane's sources, and these were the websites that helped us this week. First School Apples 4 the Teacher Everything Preschool Enchanted Learning

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mommy-Daughter Date

Charlotte and I had a fun Mommy-Daughter date this morning at a local park. The Junior League of Lakeland sponsored a reading event and invited us to come and do crafts focused on different countries so that Charlotte could earn a free book.

She made a crown fit for a princess in the England tent. After I peeled the back off, I let her put the stickers on wherever she wanted (except for her initials and the circles, I did those).
We also got to hang out with Plato the Publixaurus. I was surprised that she liked him and reached out since when we were at Disney, she freaked out when she saw the stuffed characters.
There was also a nice clown making balloon animals and of course Charlotte had to get a dog. She loved it to death until it came undone and then it became an orange snake.
We also watched a concert by local musician Jack Hartmann. Charlotte had fun movin' and groovin' to his tunes. I could have shared several minutes of her dancing, but below is less than 30 seconds for everyone to enjoy. At one point, he asked for some children to come up and demonstrate dance moves. Charlotte was the first one on the stage! Like mother, like daughter!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Meet My New Art Dresser

My lovely husband took me to Ikea last Monday to buy this $80 Malm dresser which happened to be on sale for $40. He knew I needed something to contain my growing stash of art supplies and sacrificed his day off to browse Ikea and eat swedish meatballs.
Let me take you inside to see all of the treasures within.
Top Drawer
(From top left: Stamps and ink pads, stickers, miscellaneous crafting supplies like wood cutouts and cool yarn, plastic animal toys, pom-poms, crayons and ribbon, and writing implements and paint brushes)
Middle Drawer
(From Top Left: Tissue Paper, die cuts, tempera and finger paint, Playdoh found on Valentine's Day Clearance, bells and charms, empty for know, funky scissors)
Bottom Drawer
(From Left: 2 bags of flower buds found at Walmart for $1 each, pipe cleaners, stack of construction paper; Underneath the flowers is my sticker binder left over from my scrapbooking days and underneath the paper is a binder with plastic templates)
I feel so good about completing this project and organizing my supplies. I think of our Alphabet School as a precursor to homeschooling, and I hated that I was so disorganized with it all. Now, I just need to get some contact paper so Charlotte can make a cool Etymology suncatcher like Esme!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Alphabet School - "D"

I am hoping we are back on track to playing our alphabet games on a weekly basis. Here is what we did this week to learn about the letter D.

We started D week with a brand new toy, a dress up box. It was full of fun things that I picked up at the local consignment shop or garage sales. Charlotte especially liked the princess tutu and the pink purse. I guess I am raising a pretty girly girl, even though I am not one myself. (I'm just a little girly.) Above you can see her in the blue tutu and me wrapped up in a ladybug scarf.

We also did something decidely less girly this week. We went digging in a sandbox. It took a while for Charlotte to warm up to the idea of putting her sand in the toes. We've never taken her to the beach so this was a first for her. She didn't really like it and ended up digging in the sand from outside the sandbox for most of the play time. By the time we are done playing with this sandbox, I think it will be empty!

I think, hands down, Charlotte's favorite D week activity had to be watching dance videos on . This one, of a dancing gummy bear, is her favorite, and oddly enough, after watching it several times a day for several days, it is no longer mine! :) I dare you to watch it!

Toothbrushing is also another favorite past time. If she sees someone brushing on TV, she has to do it too. So, we played dentist, and I let her inspect my teeth (kind of like Gerald did on an episode of Sid the Science Kid). She mostly just poked around in my mouth and giggled a lot because I don't generally let her stick her fingers in my mouth! A while ago, there was a Sid the Science Kid episode about dental hygeine. It is a little over her head, but we watched part of it again on line. (Click the TV on the top right and then scroll down for dental hygeine videos to watch. They are really well done! This is my new favorite kids show on PBS.
Daisies in muffin cups

Esme got to make some diaper art, but I just knew Charlotte would begin to think diapers were toys and try to take hers off to make some new art. And that wouldn't work too well for this momma.

We also did some general D coloring pages  abotu dogs and ducks. Then of course, she got to spend a lot of time with her Daddy on Saturday!

I did some Google searches and also snaked some of Jane's sources, and these were the websites that helped us this week. First School Apples 4 the Teacher Everything Preschool Enchanted Learning

Yo-Plus Gift Pack Giveaway

I love yogurt. So does Charlotte. It is a quick and easy food for both of us and ensures we are both getting the dairy we need (especially since she only likes 1 kind of milk, ahem).

Blueberry's are Charlotte's favorite fruit too, so when I was offered a chance to try the Blueberry Acai Yo-Plus yogurt for free, I certainly didn't turn it down. I'm too frugal to turn free food down! And boy am I glad I took them up on their offer. It was yummy and not too sweet. Plus, it has probiotics in it to help with digestive help. And well, I'm pregnant, so that is a good thing!  

(If you need me to explain that last statement, then you are probably a man or never been pregnant!)

Then, the deal was sweetened even more and I was offered a chance to give away not one, but 3 gift bags that includes a coupon for a free 4-pack of Yo-Plus yogurt, Yoplait cooler tote bag, water bottle and a nutrition journal – great for keeping track of your health goals and eating habits. (I got a set too and the tote and water bottle are huge!)

I also have a $1.50 off 1 coupon if you'd like to try it yourself. Just click this link to print the coupon and don't forget to hit your browser's back button to print the Yo-Plus coupon a second time. 

To enter, leave a comment below sharing your best tip for eating healthy.I will randomly draw 3 winners next Tuesday. There are four ways to enter and you can do any of them you like, for up to four entries:
  1. Leave a comment telling me you want to be entered,
  2. Subscribe to my RSS feed, and leave a 2nd comment telling me you did so, or already are subscribed,
  3. Link to my giveaway on your own blog, leaving another comment with the permalink to you post, or
  4. Share this giveaway on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did (honor system).
That's it. 4 ways to win and 3 lucky winners. This giveaway will end at midnight on Monday, February 23. Read all contest rules here.

Don't miss any of my upcoming giveaways -
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Sponsored by My Blog Spark

Friday, February 13, 2009

OLZ Stories and Giveaways Not to Miss

As I mentioned recently, my friend Jane is trying to raise awareness about the situation in Zimbabwe through her Operation Love Zimbabwe week of stories and giveaways

I wanted to share with you the awesome giveaways she is having (even though it lowers my chances of winning those awesome capalunas!) as well as highlight some of the stories she is sharing. First, I'll list the giveaways. If you see something that interests you, head over to her blog, MoziEsme and check it out.

Here are the articles that Jane has shared to help us all understand the story of those who live in the squalor of Zimbabwe.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My First Midwife Appointment

I had my first appointment with a midwife today at the birthing center I have decided to use. It was so exciting to hear the heart beat of our new baby. It was too bad that I felt so yucky today. I think I might be getting a cold, but I've already taken 2 naps this afternoon. I really need to head back to bed now... just wanted to document my excitement at hearing the heartbeat. It was nice and fast, just like a hummingbird.

Image courtesy J/F Photos via Flikr

My Lemonade Award

One of my blog friends, Grammy Janet, honored me with the Lemonade Award recently and now it is my turn to share it with other blog friends.

The Lemonade Award is given by a previous winner to people who have shown a great attitude or gratitude this week. It’s a great way to show these people that you appreciate them.

I would like to pass this award along to the following people:
  1. Mozi Esme
  2. Rachel's Signing Time Blog
  3. The Webels
  4. Living Grenier 
  5. Biblical Womanhood
  6. 4 Hall Girls
  7. The Pipers
  8. Cayman's Here
  9. And I want to nominate Tonggu Momma, but(t) I know better! :)

All you have to do is:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate as many blogs as you want, which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude! Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
3. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
4. Share the love and link  to the person from whom you received your award. (I'd like to link to the person who created the award, but apparently, that link has been lost. Sorry.)

Thanks again Grammy Janet!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Belated Half-Birthday!

Can you believe my baby girl is now a year and a half old? Well, by the time I remembered to write and post this, she is actually 18 months and 3 days old... sorry I'm a little late. I don't think she will notice though.

I just wanted to take a minute and marvel over all the new skills she has recently acquired. She really does seem to learn something new every day.

Since I last updated her sign language skills, she has learned several new signs, and is particularly good at using her manners signs. Our lovely daughter even uses the signs for please and thank you appropriately and completely unprompted. Just ask the nice couple who took care of her during Sunday School last week. I can't even really count any more how many signs she has now, but I can show you a video of her showing some of them off. (Probably only really interesting to anyone super crazy about our daughter or really into toddler sign language.)

She has also added several verbal words, finally! She can say Momma, Dadda, shoes, juice, no, ouch, bird, and a few others, though my mind is drawing a blank right now.

One other word/sound she makes took us over a month to figure out. She will say "mana, mana" several times but it doesn't sound like any real word and is used in a variety of settings. Well, after watching her play with Daddy and their Aquadoodle, I figured it out. "Mana, mana" means "do what I want right now." I have seen her use it a gazillion more times and it appears that really is what she means. Though I have no idea how that connection was made in her brain.

It used to be that her 9-piece animal puzzle was too much for her. Now, she can practically do it all by herself, though she much prefers to have an audience cheering for her!

Using a spoon at meal time is a little bit easier, though we often still end up with yogurt in the hair.

Now she can climb up on anything! It amazes me how strong her little arms are for pulling up onto chairs and other pieces of furniture.

Her obsession with babies is still very strong. She likes to have a baby doll with her most of the time and loves to point to the baby in my belly, even if she sometimes thinks there is one in Daddy's belly too!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Send a Cupcake, Support Cancer Research

It is always sad to lose a grandparent, even one who wasn't particularly cuddly or didn't like baking cookies with you. That is why, when my grandmother died of ovarian cancer, it affected me. She wasn't all hugs and roses, but I still missed her. I was in 9th grade when she died and I wrote a research paper about the different kinds and stages of ovarian cancer and ways for it to be cured.

I was glad to hear that there is still important research going on today in the battle against ovarian cancer. Electrolux Appliances has even started a new campaign to raise $500,000 for ovarian cancer research.

The Electrolux campaign is called "Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve," )something I generally do anyway). And you know their favorite spokesperson, Kelly Ripa had to get in on the fund raising. She designed cool shirt to raise money.

So, what does all of this mean for you?

Well, if you don't want to spend $29.95 on the shirt, how about sending someone a virtual cupcake for free? You get to choose the cake and frosting flavors, as well as the decorative elements. (Like my sparkler?)

This is a charitable social media campaign in which $1 will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund as part of Electrolux's half-million dollar commitment to support this worthy cause.

Even better, everyone who sends a virtual cupcake will be entered for a chance to win the newest Elextrolux front-load washer and dryer.

Sponsored by Mom Central

Monday, February 09, 2009

Alphabet School - "C"

So, it has been about 3 weeks since my last alphabet post, but I have a good excuse. You would think in the three weeks we've been working on the letter C, I'd have more to share, but well, see my good excuse.

Our C week(s) started with a visit to the Circus. I'm going to pretend that I applied some really cool pixelate feature to this first picture, because it is the only one I have that shows Charlotte during the show, cheering for something the high-flying acts.

At the end of the show, they showered the audience with white Confetti. Charlotte wanted to catch as much as possible, but didn't get to keep it for too long. I think my favorite animal act were the elephants. They were the most organized and we got to see more of them than any other animal.

We also played with Colored beads. This is one way that Charlotte is very girly. She loves to wear her beads. I bought a small bag of them for about $.50 at a garage sale last fall but waited until our C week to give them to her.

Since Charlotte's name begins with the letter C, we started working on deliberately teaching her to say her own name. It comes out sounding kind of like "our-witt," but that is cute enough for me! I think Charlotte is kind of a hard name for a young toddler to say, so we'll be working on this for a year or so I suppose.

The one truly crafty thing we did was organize coupons and make coupon art. I used homemade flour glue and lots of expired coupons. This kept Charlotte busy for about 30 minutes... She also liked to throw the coupons up in the air and let them fall down like snow.

Even though we live in FL, we were able to enjoy some Cold weather (by cold I mean in the 50s, I am a native Floridian). Charlotte wore lots of sweaters and tights these last couple of weeks. We are thankful though that the weather has taken a turn back to cool for the week ahead. We really do want to play outside more often before it gets too hot.

I did some Google searches and also snaked some of Jane's sources, and these were the websites that helped us this week. First School Apples 4 the Teacher Everything Preschool Enchanted Learning

Even the Stars Know Modesty

My husband recently sent me a link about Angelina Jolie wearing a designer dress backwards. I thought that was really unusual, until I saw the dress!

Had she worn it properly, there would have been little left to the imagination about how well the Creator endowed her. However, she recognized that was more skin than she wanted to show, and turned the dress around.

The dress still isn't modest because of how much of her back is shown, but it is much more modest than the runway model.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Killing my Social Life

5 days. That is how long it has been since my last post.

I have a gazillion post ideas saved as a draft or written down on my to do list, I just can't find time to write them out, or add the pictures they need to do them justice.

So, my faithful readers, please forgive me. I will be out of the 1st trimester in just another couple of weeks and my life should be a bit more normal than it was.

These 8:30 pm bed times sure do kill my social life! Good night!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Birthing a Baby - The Masai Way

I am of course, weepy at all things having to do with babies these days. But I did get a small laugh and offered up a prayer to God when I saw this video... I thanked him that I don't have to give birth to anything with hooves and that I can use a towel to clean up the after birth! Take a few minutes and watch this rare video of a Masai Giraffe being born.

Okay, I tried to embed it here, but it wouldn't work, so go visit the Masai Giraffe birth on the original site. It is worth it.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Facebook vs. MySpace

After a few months on Facebook, I realized I was never going back to MySpace. It was too cluttered and noisy for my tastes. So, I cancelled my MySpace account. Yep... I am no longer friends with former students or high school classmates. Do I feel bad? Nope... I hadn't logged into MySpace in months.

Facebook is clear and easy to read. Everyone's page is laid out the same and I always know where to find photos, contact information, and friend request links. That was not the case for MySpace.

So, since I am now a Facebook only kind of girl, would you do me a couple of favors?

First, would you confirm my blog by clicking the link to the left (if you are in a reader, why not come over and check out my sidebar for the link)?

Second, if you feel up to it and like me enough, why not send me a friend request on Facebook? You'll have to search for me by name because I have no idea how to link to my profile for your adding pleasure!

National Security Mom Winner Announced

The winner of the toddler book and t-shirt was Lisa, commentor #9. I've e-mailed her and am waiting to hear back with her mailing address. Congratulations Lisa!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Operation Love Zimbabwe

My friend Jane is having 2 weeks of posts and giveaways to spread awareness about the living conditions in Zimbabwe. Here is how she explained it:
Two weeks of African-themed giveaways to attract readers to our site. And mixed in with the giveaway posts are informative posts that give you a glimpse of the real tragedies in Zimbabwe, as well as ideas on how you can make a difference in the lives of Zimbabweans.
If you don't already read Mozi Esme, then at least head over for the next two weeks to learn more and be inspired.