Friday, October 31, 2008

Yoav's Fourth Birthday!

Today was Yoav's birthday! It started with an absolutely horrible night. I went to sleep around 1am, because I'd been cleaning up and Yoav woke up around 1:45am and was awake for over an hour - until about 3am. Then, just as Yoav was finally falling asleep, Elie woke up. Elie was completely awake, so we went into the kitchen to crawl around a little and then I tried walking him back to sleep. Finally, he pooped and then went to sleep soon afterward, but that was around 5am. Luckily Yoav slept until about 8:30am, so I did get a few hours sleep.

We had soaked oatmeal for breakfast (we've been soaking with goat's milk yogurt and it seems to be fine allergy-wise and is really tasty, too, versus using lemon juice, which has a funny flavor).

Then we worked on cutting up snacks. We had mini almond butter and honey sandwiches, strawberries, grapes, and avocado and chips.

The party started at 1pm. I talked a little about the party here. We invited three kids of Yoav's choosing. First the kids played in the playroom and ate snacks. Saba and Safta got us the second half of the playstand (first one they got us last year). I love how the playroom looks now with the full playstand (from Little Colorado).

Next we made finger puppets. I got the finger puppets from A Child's Dream. I got the regular finger puppets and also the little wooden dolls (Wooden Folk, listed here). I got the tacky glue from the same store and poly felt from our local art store. The kids cut up felt for clothes and colored directly on the dolls and added wool roving as hair that we got at the Wool and Sheep Festival. I think the activity worked pretty well. A few of the kids finished after just one puppet and a few wanted to make more.

My plan for the next activity was to play Ring Around the Rosy. A few of the kids disappeared into the bedroom and were holding hands and going in circles and playing on the bed! Amazing how perfect the finger puppets segued to circle games. Amy and I jumped in and we did Ring Around the Rosy. We did the additional verse of jumping up and the kids really liked it. Yoav has only done that once or twice with other people and he thought it was really fun. We did:
Ring Around the Rosy
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes,
We all Fall Down

(Then we stayed down and said)

The cows are in the meadow
Eating buttercups

(hit the bed with my hands)
(hands in air)

We all jump up!
(jump up)

Next I did a beautiful birthday song that Jamie told me about. She gave me the music from Magic Cabin. The song goes:
It was four years ago;
Today, Today;
That Yoavi came down from the Heavens to stay;
He came to bring gladness and joy to the Earth;
Good people and angels attended his birth;
So let us now join them in singing;
With heavenly birthday bells ringing;
Happy Birthday Yoavi. Happy Birthday Yoavi.

I put our rainbow Sarah's Silk playscape down on the floor with a chair draped in silks at the end. Yoav and I held hands and walked along the silkscape as I sang the song (actually I think I sang it all to him first and then we walked to the chair). The chair was a "throne" and, when the song was over, I put him on the throne and put his crown on. I got a little choked up during the song. BTW, Yoav put his black Lyra face paint on while he was in the bedroom with Abby, which is why his face is now black in the pics :(

Finally we had the carrot cake. It's a recipe from "The Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book". We made it as is except we substituted coconut oil for corn oil and used rice milk instead of milk.

Yoav gave out the party favors and then Leila and E went home. We went to the playground with Abby. Yoav and Abby mostly played on swings. We did the big swings for a bit and then went to the baby swings and all four kids swung together!

The Halloween Parade started a block from our house and we went over with some neighbors at 6:30pm. We just walked around in the parade enjoying all the costumes until both kids fell asleep around 8:30.

Whew. I'm glad to be done. I'm loving all the recent crafting, but I don't like to have a deadline. Now I get to finish the socks I'm knitting for Elie and I want to knit a pair of mittens for me. I think I lost one of my warm gloves since last year and I've been using thin cotton ones.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yoav's Birthday Crown

Originally uploaded by jmilikow

I LOVE the Birthday Crown I made. Thanks to Amanda Soule for the great idea (with details on how to make it in her book)! I used 100% wool felt - grey as the back layer and yellow and tangerine in the front sewed together by hand with backstitch. The 'y' in front is embroidered in grey and I got the lovely happy birthday ribbon from a local store, Fiber Notion.

Okay, back to birthday party prep.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Party Favors

Originally uploaded by jmilikow

Yoav is having a birthday party on Friday (his birthday day). Sorry to anyone reading this who might feel offended at not being invited. I wanted to do a Waldorf-style intimate party, so I told Yoav he could invite three friends. My Waldorf book with ideas for birthday parties ("Heaven on Earth") actually recommends inviting the same number of kids as the child's age, but we really don't have space in our apartment for four kids plus sibs and moms, so we did three to be safe. Turns out it'll be a warm sunny day, so we'll probably do some outside. The plan is for the kids to come, have some free play inside, then we'll make finger puppets using these (#D23 here).

Yoav made finger puppets last week to see how much fun it is and he was happy with it as a party activity :) After finger puppets, we'll play Ring-a-Round the Rosy and another Circle Game, then cake (dairy-free carrot cake from the Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book) and then more play and home. Since it'll be warm out, we might move to the Park starting with the Circle Games. I'll see how cramped it feels and how people are doing.

Today I made the little drawstring party favor bags in the photo and Yoav made Nature Animals to add as a favor. The bags are made of 100% cotton fabric I got at Michael's. For favors, we have felt dolls I made, Yoav's Nature Animals and Mary's Softdough that I put in little plastic containers.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yoav noticed a pee signal

Yoav noticed a pee signal from Elie - Yoav said to me, "I think maybe Elie has to pee." I asked why and he said Elie was holding his penis. I put Elie on the potty and he peed and pooped! Nice to be getting some help!!! :)

Just finished knitting one of two wool socks for Elie. I used 100% wool from Purewool and used the Yankee Knitter Designs Pattern #29. I think I did the final Kitchener stitch wrong at the tip b/c it looks too pointy. I'll try to find an example online before I finish the next one. I was doing this one during the day and was going quickly.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Seeing the world from a 4yo perspective

Yoav sees the world in such a funny way. Partly just because he's a kid and partly because he's living a sheltered life.

First funny comment of the day - he pointed to a plane and said, "There's a plane! But it's not the kind Uncle Dave knows how to fly." So I asked how he can tell which Dave flew and which not. He said Dave knows how to fly the ones with lights on them. So Jer must have shown him a plane of the sort that Dave (once) knew how to fly at night when the lights were on, and that's the differentiating item that Yoav picked out and thought would work.

Second funny comment is a result of our Waldorf ways. He saw a woman in the building and said his birthday is coming up in half a week. She asked what day it is and he said "The day after Craft Day." :)

Uncle Benny came over today for a good chunk of the day! He got here around noon and we had bagels together, played a little inside and then went to the playground for about two hours. Yoav had so much fun and it was great for me and Benny to catch up. He's been really busy lately and I haven't seen much of him in a few months, really.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Challah Day

What a great day we had today. The best Challah Day yet. In the past, I've always gotten a little stressed with the challah-making process and we usually start just a little too late so I don't feel like we have enough time to really relax and enjoy the whole process. Today, we went outside BEFORE we started with the challah, so there was no hurry to get out AND Yoav kept himself busy with lots of art project while the challah was rising and baking.

We went out for muffins with Jeremy in the morning and then picked up chicken for dinner. It always seems to start us off on a good foot if we can get out for a quick walk or activity first thing in the morning. Yoav wanted to continue to the Park to look for nature items to make Nature People, but I wanted to get a load of laundry done. The laundry has been a little backed up lately because I try to dry as much as possible outside on the clothesline and, with the cool weather here now, the clothes are taking a looong time to dry that way.

So after I got the laundry in, we went out for a walk to the Park. I love that Yoav loves making the Nature People, because it results in him really wanting to take nature walks, which, to me, are much more enjoyable than the playground. I'm happy to go to the playground some, but we have a lot of fun just running around in the Park, digging in the dirt, etc. Today we were mostly on a quest for Sweet Gum balls, which Yoav likes to use as bodies for Nature People. We searched and searched under a few trees (not Sweet Gum trees) and only found a few scattered around. Finally, we found a Sweet Gum tree and found LOTS of the dried fruit. Yoav decided to call them "Whoops". The video is here.

When we got back, we got the challah started and then Yoav worked on his Nature People. He had so much fun with them! He made about five. I think I only took a pic of one that he put some of our new carded wool on for hair.

Then Yoav decided he wanted to do face painting with some new Lyra Face Paint we got for Halloween at our local art shop. He had a BLAST with that! He stood in front of our full length mirror and colored all over himself - he took off all his clothes so he could color literally all over! He said he was a tiger. He wanted me to be an animal too, so I put some black spots and red color on my face to be a ladybug. He wanted Elie to be a turtle, but I didn't want the crayon on Elie, even though they're supposedly really safe.

When the challah dough was ready to be rolled out, Yoav got his usual clump and played with it for almost an hour!!! It was amazing!! He made about 20 little animals out of the dough.

At dinner, I said it had been a great day and Yoav said, "I didn't cry at all?" Funny that he considers it to be a great day if he doesn't cry. I've never heard him say anything like that before.

Also, it seems like in the last week or two, Yoav has really *started* to play *with* Elie. Like in this pic, Yoav and Elie are playing Peek-a-Book (Yoav is in the cabinet) - I thought Elie's face was so cute when he looked at me to let me know he'd found Yoav :) They also play chase and a game called "Bzzz" that Elie loves, which is just that he puts out his index finger and one of us touches it with our index finger and say "Bzzz".

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yoav the Diplomat

We had a smooth day today. Yoav had an all-out Craft day. When Elie fell asleep in the morning, I pulled out my knitting and was hoping Yoav would do some finger knitting or just play or color. He ended up going through my knitting bag and playing with all the little accessories and getting three balls of yarn and some unspun wool and making a sort of collage all over the floor with tape. After friends came over (below), as I was making dinner (an amazing quinoa dish that I've made once a week since finding it), Yoav cut some carrots for me and then decided he wanted to make play dough. I said I could help after I got dinner ready, which I guess wasn't fast enough for him, because he decided to make it himself. He took everything out himself and mixed the flour, salt and water by feel. It turned out pretty decent. Good enough for me to save, but more doughy than the recipe. Anyway, then after that, he said he wanted to go out for a walk to collect nature items to make more nature items. When I said there wasn't time because I was still cooking, he said, "It's okay, I can go by myself. I don't care. I won't be lonely because other people will be there."

Dara came over in the afternoon with Haakon and Zuzu. It was great to hang out with her, as always. Haakon and Yoav got along really well. I'm not really sure what they were doing all the time, but they were keeping busy and Dara and I got to hang out and chat with the babies. At one point, Haakon was holding three small balls and Yoav wanted one. He said he wanted one but Haakon didn't seem to want to give one to Yoav. So Yoav put his best diplomatic skills to work. He said, "You can have one or two. You can have red or blue or purple or red and blue or red and purple or blue and purple. Which do you prefer?" Haakon said he wanted all of them. Yoav said matter-of-factly, "That's not an option." And reviewed the choices. Then Haakon gave him one of the balls LOL.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Great Day / Embroidery

We had a really great day today. At the end of the day, Yoav even said, "I liked this day. We did ... " and listed off some things we did that he enjoyed.

It's all kind of a blur now, but we did a lot of cooking - we had an amazing meal of roasted chicken, baked sweet potatoes, and kasha (from sprouted buckwheat). I also made meat sauce and put it in the freezer for a later meal.

Yoav actually had a screaming fit for about 45 minutes at lunch because I put almond butter on his sandwich and he said he wanted to do it himself. I think I handled it pretty well, though. I validated, hugged him, made eye contact when I could, and stayed calm through it all... I find that it helps to look at Elie when Yoav is screaming at me. Elie is so cute and smiley. A few kisses and hugs with Elie and I'm ready for anything .

In the afternoon, we went to the art store for some cheap felt for ears for Yoav's horse costume for the API Halloween Party tomorrow. When we got back, Yoav wanted to use the embroidery thread I was using to sew on the ears, so I decided to do the embroidery project I've been saving for later (idea from Amanda Soule's book). I was actually hoping to find burlap to use (Soule's suggestion) but I decided to try the felt and it worked great. I used a wood hoop I got at Michael's and a Clover Chibi darning needle. I used Soule's idea of telling Yoav gently that the needle goes in on the same side as the floss. "If the floss is on top, the needle goes in on top." I gently gave information in this format a few times when Yoav tried to put the needle in on the wrong side and then he got it and did it by himself. He used three different thread colors and seemed to really enjoy the process. I have a video, too, but the Google Uploader isn't working ATM...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Finger Knitting

Yoav did finger knitting today for the first time. We've tried it a few times before, but today was the first time he seemed to be able to do it a few times himself. We used a little verse from Soule's book that goes:
In the woods goes the hunter;
Round the tree goes the dog;
Out pops the rabbit;
And off they go.
Yoav knows the verse and basically knows how to do the finger knitting. His only problem is at the end he sometimes pulls at the wrong piece of yarn (the tail instead of the piece around his finger). I uploaded a video here. It's too cute.

We also made these kale chips. I didn't really think they were great by any means, but they all got eaten, so I guess they were good enough. Yoav ate most of them - maybe two full kale leaves worth.

We visited Jackie and Phoenix in the afternoon. The kids seemed to have fun together mostly being around eachother - not actually playing together with anything. Jackie lent us her juicer and she made some apple juice for the kids at the end. Yoav drank some and we put the rest in his new Green Sprouts stainless bottle. I'm excited to try out some juicing. Yoav said he wants to go to the Coop tomorrow for fruit.

The big news today actually is that Jesse got a job in NYC!. YEA!!! Yoav will be so happy to see more of him!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


We went to Applewood today for breakfast, our favorite place in Park Slope.

Then I went to the Coop. Not much interesting today, but I came up with a good idea for cooking/shopping. I'm going to figure out two weeks of dinners (so far I have one week planned and have been doing the same dinners each week) and will write out a grocery list for each week. That way, I'll have a grocery list ready each week and will just have to cross out what I don't need. I'll work later on my meal plans.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

NYS Sheep & Wool Festival

We went to the Sheep & Wool Festival today with Jeremy's parents and sister's family. It was up in Rhinebeck, NY, so we rented a car. I screwed up and got a rental at 9th St / 4th Ave in Manhattan instead of Brooklyn. D'oh! So that was a pain and delayed us by about an hour. It was worth the trip, although next year I think we'll stay at a B&B if we go again so we don't have to do all the driving in one day. There was SO much beautiful yarn and wool. Overwhelming, actually. I didn't buy any yarn because I still have 10 skeins of my Purewool left and don't have much time for knitting, anyway, lately. I got a Louet Top Whorl Drop Spindle and some wool so Yoav and I can learn how to spin. I just found this video on Youtube on how to spin, so I'll watch that before I try - we're going to do this for our Thursday Craft Day. There were LOTS of sheep and goats there - some being sold and some in contests - Yoav enjoyed petting them.

We got to see someone shearing a sheep with a scissors which was interesting! The woman has 50 sheep and shears each of them with scissors (vs an electric razor) b/c she says you can be more precise with scissors and you don't risk nicking the sheep.

We went to dinner afterwards at a yummy Greek Restaurant and ended up having a miserable night, because both kids fell asleep in the car and Elie completely woke up when we dropped off the car (around 9:30pm) and I didn't get him back to sleep until almost 11pm :( I'm going to try not to get home after about 8pm from now on. He got messed up because he got a nap in the car, so he was able to be up for a few hours after that.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Jesse Day

Originally uploaded by jmilikow

Today was our Challah Day, but Yoav aptly renamed it Jesse Day. Jesse had an interview in NYC and came over after it. Yoav had so much fun with him. They played all of Yoav's favorite game - "Carousel" (you pretend to be a carousel animal and go up and down and around and around on the bed) and "Machine" (Based on the quarter machines that Yoav loves - he puts some little toys in a sock and puts the end of the sock in his mouth. Then the other player puts a token (small block or similar toy) in Yoav's shirt like the way you put a quarter in a machine. Then you crank the sock and Yoav drops a toy out of the sock). We also walked down to the Dog Pond in Prospect Park. Yoav got to throw a ball twice to a dog there, who got the ball and brought it back to Yoav. He really enjoyed that.

After dinner, Yoav and Jesse were playing in the playroom and I heard Yoav say, "Is this Jesse Day? I like this day."

Tomorrow we're going to the NY Sheep and Wool Festival.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Grandma & Grandpa's House

We had a great visit to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Jeremy took us to the train station on Sunday and we just got back this evening.

Cindy, Jana and Karli were visiting Sun - Tues. We mostly played at home then, because we only had two carseats for the four kids. The kids got along well except that Yoav set up a big area with blocks and cars and animals and didn't want anything knocked down.

Tuesday Aunt Laura, Uncle Alan, Cousin Adam and his two kids - Vanessa and Danielle came for brunch. It was fun. It was the first time I've seen Danielle and she's over a year old!

Wednesday we went to Frying Pan Park. I got lots of great pics of Yoav on the slide at the playground. I didn't put them on the blog, but they're in my Photos.

My most recent art project is a "Birthday Banner" - the idea was from Amanda Soule's book. I used my mom's sewing machine. I really enjoyed it. I used to do a bit of sewing in high school but haven't used a sewing machine in years. This was a great project to get my feet wet again. I bought four pieces of 18" x 21" cotton cloths. I cut six 9" x 10.5" triangles out of each piece. Then I took the 12 triangles with right sides together and flipped them right-side out. The last step is to sew a ribbon onto the edges - I used two long ribbons, one on each side and sewed them together with the pennant edges inside the ribbons. Better instructions are in the book, which I HIGHLY recommend :)

Also, I just want to throw in a cute story :) Cindy told me a cute story about Yoav. Yoav has been calling me Emily for a few weeks. My mom asked him if Jeremy calls me Emily (to see if that's why Yoav was calling me Emily) and Yoav said, "No, he calls her Baby."

Friday, October 10, 2008


I am glad and sad to say that I FINALLY finished my first knitting project since Elie's birth. And a tiny project it was. I made him a little pair of mittens for winter using leftover organic O-wool. I started split crotch wool pants for him twice, but just don't have the time or inclination now to finish.

I've been mesmerized by Amanda Soule's book and blog: She's amazing. I want to be her. I ordered felt to make a Birthday Crown for Yoav for his birthday and I'm hoping to be able to make a combination of this and this. I'm thinking I'll do the triangle/pennant shaped pieces but on one side I'll do HAPPY BIRTHDAY, so we can either use it on one side for birthdays or the other side for other events.

This should have come first, but we had our sweetest brother moment yet today. Yoav ran outside to the Zipcar Jer was loading up with stuff to bring to our storage unit and he stepped into some sort of open pipe in the ground and fell and cut up his leg a bit. So we went into the bedroom and he nursed and cried. Elie happened to be in a happy mood and was crawling around us squealing happily. Elie noticed Yoav's frown and crawled over close to Yoav and put his finger on Yoav's frown and smiled and Yoav started laughing. Then Elie laughed and put his finger on Yoav's mouth again and Yoav broke out into laughter again. It was so cute. More and more I'm seeing similar moments, if not quite so sweet. We had another one earlier in the day when I was kissing Elie's neck and he was laughing and then Yoav did it and Elie laughed and made Yoav laugh and Yoav did it again with the same responses.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Yoav - Subtraction

It's really late but I just want to post that yesterday, Yoav was talking about the "getting machines" - the $.25 machines that you get something from vs the "riding machines" :) Anyway, he saw a set of five somewhere when he was with Jeremy and then when we were all together, he saw a set of 11 in a grocery store and said it had 11 and said it had six more than the other one. He definitely didn't use his fingers and I didn't notice him working it out so I don't know how he did it so quickly. Not a sign of mathematical genius, but at least a little advanced I think ;)

I also moved things around in the playroom today. I had baskets separating the playroom and the dining area which was working fine to keep Elie out, but now Elie can easily climb over the baskets. It was driving me nuts this morning because Yoav wanted me to keep Elie out and there was no way for me to do it other than hold Elie, which Elie didn't want. So I put the chest freezer and Yoav's play kitchen perpendicular to the futon as a wall, so now Yoav has a space that is completely his own that Elie can't get into. And the play kitchen is facing the dining area, so Elie can play with the kitchen while Yoav is in the playroom and I can be on the arm of the futon sort of *being* with both of them at the same time. I also moved Yoav's little table into the playroom so he can color without me worrying about Elie grabbing and eating the paper, crayons, scissors, etc. AND, the final thing I did was to move the rocking chair out of the playroom to make space for another play stand for Yoav's birthday. I think it'll be great for him - we currently have one and will get another one (hopefully from a grandparent ) to set up by the window.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Challah Day / Felt Person

Today was Challah Day. It actually ended up being a really busy day because I somehow got involved in making a felt person from Petra Berger's Feltcraft in the morning.

I've been thinking what color felt to get for the birthday crown I'm making for Yoav's birthday, so I was looking in the Feltcraft book to see what else I want to order. I saw the little boy and thought it looked easy enough and I had what I needed to make it, so I started when Elie fell asleep for his morning nap and got all but the hands and hair done while he was sleeping, which I added later in the day. We made a girl instead of the boy in the book because that's what Yoav wanted - he also chose to have hair all the way down to her feet LOL. Yoav kept himself busy cutting up some felt and putting string on the pieces. He said he was making a dog but then at the end, he said he needed me to finish it because he doesn't know how to do the sewing :)

We ate one of our sugar baby watermelons from the garden. We harvested it even though it's teeny tiny (only about 3" diameter) because it hasn't grown any in about two weeks, so I wanted to see how the inside was. The inside was actually really tasty. We have a few more and a couple cantaloupes - I guess I'll leave them for another week or so to see if anything changes.

I made a round challah for Rosh Hashana. The round challah symbolizes the circle of the life and the cycle of a new year. I made a 4-strand round challah, which was easy except for making it into a circle, which I found to be really difficult. To make the 4-strand braid, you just start with the far left strand, go under two strands to the right, then go over one to the left; then take the far right strand, go under two to the left and over one to the right and repeat. It took me a few times to connect the two ends into a circle that looked decent. I ended up using four colored toothpicks - I broke each in half and put them on each end (so one strand had two red toothpicks, ne two blue, etc.) That way, when I finished the straight challah, I at least knew which ends were supposed to go together and then it was just a matter of figuring out how to get the braid right through the connection. Not sure if that makes any sense and I don't think I got it quite right, anyway. But it came out looking good. I got nervous because when Yoav was brushing the egg on, I heard him making a bloop-bloop kind of noise and looked over and saw him pounding the challah with the brush each time he put the egg on! D'oh! So before it when into the oven, the round challah had some pits in it, but it seemed ok again when it came out.

Here's a pic of Yoav brushing his own challahs with egg. He uses about a third of the dough to make animals. Today he poked them with toothpicks. Today was the first time his were edible. I cooked them at 300 for about 20 minutes and then upped to 350 for about five minutes. Usually his get burned because he makes worms and small pieces and I don't pay enough attention to them when they're baking.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Soup Day & Nature Shelf

Today was "Soup Day". Turned into a pretty crappy day, unfortunately. I made the mistake of going to get a box for some used clothes we got from Jer's cousin in the morning, which took longer than expected and set our day back. Then Yoav decided he wanted to make a honey cake (recipe was in our Rosh Hashana book that we read from this morning) and I was frustrated about that since we were already making chicken soup and I didn't really have the energy for the cake. I should have said we'd do it a different day. I ended up saying ok, but then feeling resentful about it.

On the upside, we got a few more nature items on our morning walk and cleared out a shelf from a bookcase in the playroom and made a "Nature Shelf". Eventually we'll do a Nature Table, but with Elie eating everything he gets his hands on, the shelf seemed like a decent idea.

And the soup is yummy. And Yoav enjoyed making it. He was able to put all the cloves in the onion himself which was nice for me, since it's my least favorite part. It was hard making it with Elie awake though. I had to keep cleaning the floor and try to distract Elie from eating all the chopped pieces of veggies.

And the Chabadniks were walking around Park Slope when we were out this morning and I got to recite the blessing over the shofar and they blew the shofar for us.