Smiling from cheek to cheek

Most of you know I like smiley faces. I like to look at them, I like to wear them, and I like to draw them.

This site, however, I think, is making me rethink at least my drawing habit. Yeah, you’ll want your computer volume turned to a comfortable giggling level.

UPDATE (Nov 15, 2009): Most of that site has been updated, with most of the fun stuff taken down. Phooey. Watch this little bit while it’s still available.

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Oh boy.

P.S. For those whose eyebrows flew up past their hairlines, this site is incredibly kid-friendly, and therein lies much of the fun.  Keep watching and counting how many happy neutral friendly ways they explain…well, what people do here.

Sniffle cough groan (repeat)

Dear Gentle Readers,

I’ve been sick most of this week, and for today/tonight I just don’t have it in me to write about something fantastically interesting.

So I’m shuffling you over to those who do have fantastically interesting things. See there over to your right left? There’s a column with several boxes. Scroll down until you see the box labeled Blogroll. You’ll see links to Devon’s, Troy’s and Ayako’s blogs. You’ll also see a link to Super Simple Songs (whee!! terrific new stuff just added there!!).

Now here’s what you do: brew up a pot of your favorite hot drink, get comfy and start clicking. You’ll find loads of interesting tips, stories, and ideas.

Keep your cell phone turned on, because you’ll want to share your discoveries with everyone who calls, even if it’s the banker. If you’re IM’ing with all your buddies while you’re clicking, all the better.

Ooh say hey hey try this:  show me proof that you set up a video conference call with at least 2 others and that you sang a song or 3 (or at least videotape yourself), and I may have to bake you something out of happy thankful delight.

But for now, back to bed I go.

Play with me

******

I tried to teach my child with books;

He gave me only puzzled looks.

I tried to teach my child with words;

They passed him by often unheard.

Despairingly, I turned aside,

“How shall I teach this child?” I cried.

Into my hand he put the key:

“Come,” he said, “And play with me.”

–Anonymous

Tangrams!

picture-5.pngOoh, you played with tangrams when you were a kid? Me, too! I wasn’t very good at them, but I have to thank my parents for always having that tangram book at nose level for whenever I wanted to give tangrams a try.

In case you need a quick refresher, tangrams consist of 7 pieces: 5 triangles of different sizes, a square and a parallelogram. These shapes are rearranged to create all sorts of pictures. Every individual shape is used in each picture, and none of the pieces overlap.

Here, if you’re good at pushing shapes around with your mouse, give tangrams a try online. I like pushing shapes around with my fingers, and happily there are tangrams available in a variety of materials.

But ooh, these are by far and away some of the best uses of tangrams I’ve seen. Book lovers, drool along with me. Trot over to their site for more variations oh wow.

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Shoe box shapes

Sneak a box away from your 100 boxes for dominoes collection and make this self-entertainment station for your little one.

Have your little one decorate as many sides of the shoe box as desired. Go for the insides, too!

Snuffle through your scraps of fabric for all the felt you can find, and have your little one pick out one piece large enough to cover the shoebox lid. Glue this piece of fabric to the top outside of the box. (No felt? Ask ever so politely at your local fabric store if they have a small handful or see what your neighbors might be willing to share.)

Depending on your little one’s level, cut out simple shapes from the rest of the felt. You can cut basic circles, squares, triangles, diamonds, hearts, and dodecahedrons. You can cut seasonal shapes, such as holiday trees, pumpkin faces, eggs, and stars. You can cut people, animals, clothing, and food.

Tip: for the first time, keep it simple, and stay with one theme. Change the themes every once in a while to maintain your little one’s interest.

Together with your little one, use the cut out shapes to create scenes and to tell stories on the shoe box lid. The felt will stick to the felt. If it doesn’t, small pieces of velcro stuck to the backs of the cut out shapes will help. Soon, your little one should be able to create things alone, but do encourage your little one to share those stories with you!

When you’re finished, clean up is easy: just put everything in the shoe box and put the lid on.

Great for at home, at school, in the car, at the doctor’s office, at the restaurant and other places.

*******

Say hey I just realized I don’t know: is shoebox correctly written as one word? Or as two?

Cheese-filled blintzes

Crepe question for all you crepe lovers: what sorts of fillings do you like?

And for those of you who wander around Harajuku and smell the crepes, just how many crepe filling combinations are there?! Here’s one menu, which google niftily translated this way (the untranslated words in caps? say them out loud kinda fast and you should hear the words intended). Help me count, please. Pink dots are links to images.

I have so far managed to not buy any crepes while wandering around Harajuku, mostly out of fear that once I start, I will become addicted to them. I know me. I’m just saying no.

Similar to crepes are blintzes. Blintzes, like crepes, are thin pancakes. Blintzes are folded to form a small package filled with fruit or cheese (ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream or cream cheese are typical) and then lightly fried.

A must-have on the brunch tables when I was growing up, blintzes are easy to make. The frying part can be skipped, if, like me, you’re just too hungry to do all that, and the result is still yummy.

I don’t remember the recipe we used when I was a little one, but I’ve used this recipe repeatedly over the years with happy results. Give it a try. Continue reading

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