A Study in Motion

I don’t know why February was so exhausting, but by the end of it, I just felt like I needed a couple of weeks off. We went on a ski trip, celebrated Little Bird’s first birthday, survived the San Francisco preschool acceptance process, and I completed my February challenge to make 4 crafts. Hopefully, I’ll get around to blogging about all of those soon. In the meantime, I snuck a few photos from our snow-play in this post.

Although I got a late start, I started a new challenge for March. I wasn’t sure what kind of challenge I wanted to do. I knew I wanted it related to exercise, but I wasn’t sure how to turn it into an achievable, fun, and measurable goal. Thomas suggested trying out 4 methods of getting exercise (walking, swimming, roller-blading, and yoga), one each week, and seeing if any interested me. It sounded good, especially a little alone time thanks to the childcare at one of our local gyms, but I just didn’t make it happen.

Instead, just over a week ago, I got a FitBit Flex, basically a pedometer bracelet. In the past, I’ve used the Moves app on my phone and had fun tracking stats about where and how I get places. Moves tracks whether you’re walking, bicycling, riding transport or driving, and keeps a list and map of where you’ve gone. The FitBit Flex just counts steps with no location tracking, but adds in goal setting and a little competition with friends. I’d love to link up with other SF moms for a little motivation, but haven’t found any others who use it yet. If you’d like to link up, even if you’re not an SF mom, let me know.

Over the past week, I’ve had fun wearing the FitBit and have discovered that I’ve been eager to add in an extra walk or a quick run up the hill just to add steps or active minutes. I started the week averaging just about 7,000 steps and finished the last two days hitting my 10,000 step goal. I still need to work on active minutes. I can’t find a definition of what counts specifically, but you earn them when you’re getting more steps in than general walking around.

I’d still like to try out the other activities I had thought about, but they take a bit more planning as a stay-at-home-mom than walking does. I’ll let you know at the end of the month how things have progressed. And if you have any tips for getting in extra steps, let me know.

Easy Elastic-Waist Skirts

I’m a bit afraid of sewing clothes, but when I was pregnant with Pumpkin, I had great dreams of making her cute little A-line dresses and upcycled t-shirt pants. Unfortunately, I’ve never learned to sew stretchy fabric and kids’ neck and arm holes seem so little. But after making the mermaid skirt a couple months ago, I realized how easy it was to make a cotton elastic-waist skirt. That became my second crafty challenge for this month and so far, I’ve made three skirts.

Pumpkin loves color and funky patterns so I tried to pick some fun fabrics that reflected some of her interests. And right now, she’s really into wearing skirts – leggings underneath since we’re in chilly-year-round San Francisco.

These were pretty easy to make with just a quarter-yard of fabric. I liked the look of mixing a solid fabric with a print, so I sewed some together to make it 12 inches long (44 inches across). I then did a quarter-inch seam at the bottom and rolled over an inch for the elastic at the top – add a quarter-inch rolled in for both of those for clean edges. I threaded 1/2-inch elastic through the top and sewed one more seam down the side of the skirt. I also added a zig-zag stitch for all skin-touching seams. Hopefully these pictures will help explain it.

Back side of the fabric before inserting elastic

Smooth skin-touching seam

These were very easy to make and Pumpkin has enjoyed wearing them. If you want to give this a try and have any questions, just let me know. A skirt was able to be completed in one evening.



Felt Garlands and Mobiles

My first crafty project for this month is a garland. I think they’re so much fun to decorate with and I’ve always wanted to make one. With Valentine’s Day this month, I created a quick one out of felt hearts.

I cut the hearts out while the girls played, and then chain-pieced them with my sewing machine while they napped. It was long enough to split into two and hang in the hallway and next to our kitchen table.

After cutting out all of the hearts, I had a lot of felt scraps left over. I cut them and some other scraps into circles and made a mobile for the girls’ room. Again, I used chain-piecing and it went very quickly. I wrapped a styrofoam ring with torn strips of fabric and used pins to secure them.

I’d love to make more garlands for other holidays – Christmas, Halloween, and birthdays, and with the simple felt shapes, they’re quick and easy. And as a bonus, Pumpkin loves the scraps and has been using them as pretend food and to make designs on her felt board.

Keeping Mama On Her Toes

Little Bird is keeping me on my toes. She turns one at the end of the month and is eager to test her limits. She learned to walk just after the holidays and now goes where ever she pleases…or at least tries.

If I could just squeeze through this crack…

Once Little Bird was tall enough to reach the kid table, Pumpkin moved her play that she doesn’t want disturbed to the kitchen table. Not sure where she’s going to go now that Little Bird can finally reach up to the edges.

Towers barely out of reach

This piano makes a great stepstool

We’ve started keeping the doors to the non-baby proof rooms closed, but we’re quickly discovering that height is not a barrier. The back porch and top bunk are highly desired destinations.

The sharp plastic circles were the only thing keeping her down.

Almost to the top bunk when Mama caught her.

I feel like we’re running one step behind her, blocking and securing things as she discovers them. Sigh, I remember making a similar post when Pumpkin was a year old too. This Mama gets no breaks. :)

Shaving Cream Play

A couple of weeks ago, we had some wonderfully warm weather here in San Francisco. Pumpkin was eager to play on our patio, so I gave her a can of shaving cream and let her go. She had a blast!

She has played with it in the shower, but the patio gave her a lot more space. We have a simple rule for our patio – anything but my plants can be painted, chalked, and now, shaving creamed. A quick hose-down cleans it up. Pumpkin started by covering her balance beam to make an ice skating rink and then moved on to her slide, the table, and finally herself.

She covered her arms and legs, pretending that she was putting on sun screen. She loves to do this with paint and chalk too. Then she took a bucket of the shaving cream and stepped in, squishing it between her toes.

The sliding glass doors became an interesting surface as she discovered that she could draw in the shaving cream with her finger. Little Bird enjoyed watching from inside.

If you noticed the different outfits, this shaving cream play continued over a couple days. On the third day, Pumpkin smeared the shaving cream in her hair, reenacting her recent experience at the hair salon. Once she had the “mousse” worked in, she used clothes pins and binder clips to pin parts of her hair back, and barbecue tongs to “cut” it.

My favorite part was watching her watch the foamy water wash away when she was done. Because of the cream, she noticed the paths it took across the patio and down the drain and stood there watching the patterns until it was all gone.

This was a great activity as long as you don’t mind a little mess. Pumpkin requested it a few days in a row and spent quite a while exploring it by herself. If you want to try, we suggest shaving cream (Barbasol, specifically) over shaving gel. We tried both, and the cream held the poof a little longer.

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