Saturday, January 31, 2009

Home-made sandpaper letters

I made the sandpaper letters from Montessori Method at home. I did these just to create some craft for myself, I guess. We were trying to get the basement finished. I remembered the instructions at the end of "Teaching Montessori in the Home: Pre-School Years". I got an extra pack of fine sandpapers.

First I traced the letters on the back of the sandpapers. I used the print letters given at the back of the book. I realized I neededa carbon copy paper. But it was so cold outside. I used a black crayon on a white paper to do the same thing. You need to trace the letters backwards so that the mirror image on the other side (sanded) will be correct. Then I cut the letters. This part is really tedious.

Then I cut 3x4 rectangles out of the the poster boards. Blue for wovels and red for consonants.

I glued the letters to rectangles.

Here they are. The weird letters the picture above are additional vowels in Turkish alphabet.

I cut the bottoms of two milk cartons to make containers for the letters. I am trying to find nice adhesive cover paper to decorate those. Once I do it, I'll post the photo here.

Random Picture Challenge 4.0

On a Sunday afternoon, before his sister, Ela had arrived, my son is enjoying a quiet time with his beloved dad and listening to music. The rest of the series show them, hugging and snuggling on the carpet.

By the way, I finally went through all of our pictures and had 600 photos printed. (see first random picture entry post) 600 photos in print quality from a duration of 2 years. Can you imagine the number of total digital photos in our hard drive?

For more Random Picture Challenge entries visit 4 Little Men.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cheap Cheap

I got hooked on, dollar and thrift stores. This happened because I saw on other mom blogs and homeschooling blogs, moms creating inspirational playrooms or classrooms , shopping from dollar and thrift stores.

I got amazing deals for furniture and other stuff.

I got these shelves for $10 each.

This one is the basement. I organized kid's toys somewhat applying Montessori environment.

I used this one to create a kids' corner in the living room. It's matching the rest of the furniture.

I got this trampoline for $50. It's like brand new. I wanted something like this since I had seen it in Gymboree. It's very small, does not occupy much space. Burak can move it around. Ela can get up on it and down by herself. It is pretty safe with two handles. I got on craigslist, searched and it was there. Waiting for me. :) I just had to drive for 45 mins under the thick snow. But it was worth it. I love it as much as my children :)

I also found a pretty clean Little Tykes Car from one of our neighbors. Burak loves it. I think their granddaughter grew out of it. It's sitting in our garage and Burak asks to ride it everytime we get in the garage. Poor thing, he has to wait 5 more months until the weather gets warm.

Now I'm thinking, what else I could have gotten cheaper instead of paying the full price. Buyer's remorse is kicking in :P

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Future of Chicago Public Schools

I started looking for job postings and thinking about updating my resume on job search sites.
In two years, my son will be starting Kindergarten and my daughter Preschool. I feel like we will have to put them in a private school and instead of public school based on the most recent news.

Our own Mayor Daley (of Chicago) picked the ex-CTA (public transit sytem) Chief to head Chicago Public Schools. He does not have any education background. He's replacing someone who was picked as "United States Secretary of Education". Can you imagine the difference in the credentials of these two leaders (for this particular position)?

I just cannot find a way to digest this decision and Mayor Daley got his first big F from me for sure.

Now I need to get back into workforce asap and get ready for private school bills.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Loving to be a SAHM

I love to be a stay-at-home-mom on days like these. Take a music class... then run to the museum to enjoy free museum days... [Museum of Science and Industry has free admission until Jan 31] Especially now that Ela is 13 months old and she can walk.

So it is not a stay-at-home!!! situation really, but I enjoy these things. I enjoy my kids' dragging me from exhibit to exhibit instead of me showing them the way. I enjoy the fact that it takes us 2 hours to get from the music class to the museum. I enjoy watching my little daughter trying to imitate my son climbing a wall :P

It's unfair that in this economy we "have to" have two incomes to live even a moderate life style, with a house in a good neighborhood, some extracurricular activities for kids and maybe a private school.

So I feel lucky and savor the days like these as much as I can, since this is temporary, until ve deplete all of our savings.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Last minute getaway

Two Fridays ago, a friend of mine called me to ask me why I haven't replied to her evite. Apparently, she used my e-mail address which I use only to register for memberships, and receive ads. As I was going through my inbox, which I haven not checked for a month or so, I saw this newsletter from a ski resort. We've gone there years ago. Since I was craving for a ski trip I opened the mail and saw this last minute getaway deal. It was for a free lodging if you purchase 2 2-day lift tickets. The deal was valid until 4pm that day. I immediately checked computer's time on the right bottom corner.

And.... of course it was 3:52 pm. :)

I called the resort. They told me to but the tickets online first. I was IMing my brother as I was trying to reach my husband over his cell.

To cut the story short, that was one of the most hectic 3 hours of my life. We purchased the tickets and rentals, reserved our hotel, packed out suitcases, got the kids ready. We were on the road at 7:00pm.

One of the possible deal breakers was the snowstorm that night. I convinced my husband but he had really stressful 4 hours until Madison. it took us 7 hours to get to the resort. It was 3 am when my head fell on my pillow. Luckily, the kids slept along the drive.

I was so excited. So excited to be skiing again. So excited about the deal we got. So excited about the sunny weather.

Then BAAAM. I had a really well executed faceplant and my ski goggles smashed my cheekbone. It was ok until we got back to the hotel bacause cold outside was keeping the bruise down. The next morning I woke up to see a boxer's face in the mirror. I skied the whole day next day regardless. Nothing could banish my excitement.

(also see previous Wordless Wednesday picture)

The funny thing is I have been going around with this really bad looking, swollen and purple eye for the past week. Noone, not even a single person I met, asked me anything. I forget about it because it doesn't hurt. Then I remember and wonder what people are thinking.

My husband cannot grasp how I still like skiing and did not care about the eye. :) I am ckecking my other e-mail regularly now. For any last minute deal like that, I am ready with two kids in an hour baby.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

How did this happen?

Last weekend we went skiing up north. Everyone came back healthy, except for my swollen purple eye.

Since the extreme weather is over Chicago, I have decided to keep the kids at home. I haven't even sent Burak to preschool since Tuesday. Stayed at home and played in our newly decorated basement. Only my husband went to work.

And what happened? Burak developed a terrible upper respiratory congestion and cough. Ela suddenly came down with fever and later she also developed nasal congestion. I have no idea how this happened. I am not staying inside for more than 2-3 days again.

Two sick kids... ruined bedtime routine... sleepless nights because of coughing and fever... serious loss of appetite... It'll take another week to get back into our regular routine and habits, once they get well.

There goes the saying: "I'm not really worried about the sickness. I am worried about my kid's changing character."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Random Picture

As I was sorting the old photo prints, putting them in order of date and putting them in an album today, I was reminiscing my first pregnancy and infancy of my son.

We have millions of digital photos but I have very few prints. If I can go through tens of thousands of photos, I will upload them online and order prints. We have tapes and DVDs of recorded movies and clips but we rarely watch them.

My daughter is past her first birthday and she doesn't even have a baby photo album. Drawback of the digital era.

Here she is on the first day of 2009, playing with a stethoscope.

For more Random Picture Challenge entries visit 4 Little Men.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Carrot Island

We all know growing a sprout from beans. This is also neat. You can grow your own carrot island.

Cut the tip of the carrot that has already began to grow greens. Put it in a small plate, covering the root with wet cotton. Keep it moist. You don't see it here but there was also wet cotton on the sides of the carrot as well.

Our island has been a part of our kitchen for the last month. To me, its like a paradise. I want to hop on it and rest a little bit.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Parenting solutions for parents with many kids

I don't like that the parenting books are written for the first and only child. Sleep, potty training, discipline, or play/game books... Everyone assumes parents have one kid. If they are the experts and have something to tell us about kids, they also have to figure out most of us have more than one.

I got "Siblings without rivalry" from the library. Until I found this book out, my kids started to get on well anyway. But let's see what these ladies have to say.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Home made knee pads for babies

If you worry about your crawling baby's knees, you can make your own knee pads.

Take a pair of old socks. Preferably elastic, ankle-hi, sports socks for ladies, because they are smaller. Cut the toes.

Take two nursing pads with adhesive bands. Put them in the heel, sticking the adhesive part of the nursing pads to your sock.

Knee pads are ready to use.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Luck, be a husband...

I read "Choosing my own's" Jamie's Love letter to her husband. I was thinking about writing something similar recently, because I think I am one of these lucky ladies. Knocking on wood, really, I think finding the perfect someone whom you can share life, love and kids is pure luck.

I feel like he's a part of me. But not like I am totally dependent on someone, but in a way who I am today depends on him. He is such a good father and a husband, I couldn't and wouldn't keep my sane as a rookie sahm without him for sure. Some people might miss their time before marriage once in a while, I don't. I can't think of myself without him. As I can't think of myself without my kids.

On the other hand, this luck, sometimes, very rarely, scares me. Like it might be jinxed or something. God forbid. Maybe it's a woman thing. We always have to worry about even the good things.

I love you sweetie :x kiss kiss, love love

Monday, January 5, 2009

Prepare ahead

After my regular visit to my doctor, at the checkout I saw this really neat list on the cubicle wall. It was called "101 ways to cope with stress". I think it wasn't only for stress. It was more of a "Oprah got together with Martha Stewart and made a to do list" kind of list.

You can find the whole list here. And don't just sneak peek and forward the link to your friends. Best way to use this list is to print it out and put it on your refrigerator, office wall, message board etc to see it every day. Remind yourself of the important stuff.

The second item on this list is "prepare ahead". And we all know, how important it is to prepare and plan ahead, especially with kids, both for our sakes and kids routines.

My mom is here, as you may know from my previous post. She is the most practical mom, I've ever known. Here are some pictures from our kitchen and dining table around 10:20 pm. That's been her habit for a loong long time. We're ready for tomorrow, thanks to mom.

Table ready for breakfast

Breakfast stuff for Ela

Pans on stove, one for hardboiled eggs, one for oatmeal.


My mom's here visiting and also helping me. Help! Big time!

Even though we've been very busy moving out of and back into our seepage damaged basement during the last month, as a part of my new year's resolutions I spared an hour for myself and myself only. I made my appointment during naptime anyway.

Since I'm an "Avon Lady" I prefer to do my mani/pedi at home but nothing is like a spa mani/pedi with jacuzi treatment and sea salt massage. I can get used to this.