Friday, February 28, 2014

Month of Love. Black Bean and Edamame Salad.

There are many days where my lunch consists of a peanut butter sandwich and some cut up vegetables. Sometimes soup.

Things get hectic and with a 9-month-old who doesn't want to stray far from her Mama, it's often difficult for me to spend much time in the kitchen.

But, yesterday, I made some "Black Bean and Edamame Salad" (how could I forget how easy is it to make this salad?).

Seriously, this needs to become one of my staples again.

It's so good.

Month of Love. Community Sponsored ART.

You've probably heard of Community Sponsored Agriculture. You may have already participated in one.

But, have you heard of Community Sponsored Art?

It's the same concept as Community Sponsored Agriculture. The shareholder puts up a certain amount of money in the beginning of the Season and at agreed upon intervals, receives a share. Of veggies or in this care...Art.

I am so excited to hear about Station North CSA. For $300, shareholders will receive 6 pieces of work from local Baltimore artists over a 5 month span.

"At each presentation even, 4 CSA artists will give short presentations on their work and shareholders will rank their preferred artists. Ranking is used to ensure that shareholders aren't getting a box of kale when they'd rather have beets. These events are also an opportunity to network, mingle, and meet CSA artists."

"Community Sponsored Art"....what a brilliant idea!

It's a win-win for everyone.

Sadly, all of the shares of this round are sold-out. But, be on the look-out for their next offering. Hopefully, this idea catches on elsewhere.

**** The photo is of a painting I collaborated with my daughter on last year.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Activities for Babies: 9 Months. Goop

A box of corn starch.

Warm water.

A few drops of food dye.


Oodles of messy, goopy, SAFE fun for babies. Plus, even slightly older siblings can find it's Solid-to-Liquid-back-to-Solid Nature intriguing. (it's still a big hit with the almost 3-year-old). Love this stuff!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Love is the Form.

"Life is all about love.

I can't imagine what more there could be to it.

We've all come here for love: to get it and to give it, there being no separation between the two sides of the transaction.

Love is the reason we do everything, and love is the reward.

Love is the spirit and love is the form."

         - Karen Maezen Miller, author of "Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life"

Tulips and Olives. Sunshine and Jeans. Big Hearts and Big Smiles.

Valentine's Day itself was a little rough. 

The Morning got off to a bumpy start. There was a Teething Baby and a silly argument with Papa Bear. The 3-year-old pooped in her underwear twice. I was NOT excited about our plans for that night.

But, when I woke-up from our nap, there was a bouquet of tulips next to me. Things got increasingly better.

Nye-Nye arranged the flowers, while Papa Bear cooked and I set up the table. There were my absolute FAVORITE olives and some excellent cheese to munch on, while we all worked.

We continued our tradition of having an Ancient Ale Date, enjoying the Ta Henket Beer this year. Papa Bear out-did himself with the Rainbow Trout and Scallops. Both were phenomenal, but the Scallops were the best I have ever had (and I love myself some Seafood).

Bears chowed down on the Roasted Mushrooms and Nye adored the Roasted Asparagus. I set up the folding table in the Living Room and the girls seemed to enjoy the novelty of it. I love the photos of Daddy serving Nye some food.

It was a really lovely Valentine's Evening with my three Loves.

The Love Fest continued on Saturday. My friends, Ed and Taryn, came to visit for an early celebration of my 35th Birthday.

Papa Bear continued to work his magic in the Kitchen and prepared THREE amazing dishes. Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook is now Family's new muse. 

Pea, Pancetta, Radish Tartine (no was devoured too quickly).

Spicy, Shrimp and Avocado Tartine. 

Pancetta Fried Rice and Wilted Greens. Oh, My...

Ed and Taryn humored me and helped me a bit with my Birthday Present to myself (a Gee Bend's inspired denim Quilt). More on that later...

We ended our Weekend of Amazing Food by having Brunch at Evening Star Cafe. 

Anala Bears cooperated beautifully. Man, do I love this face...  

Feeling very Loved.

Many Thanks to my Husband for all his Hard Work and Devotion and to my dear, dear Friends, Ed and Taryn, for their Patience and Loyalty (and willingness to drive out and see us).

35....I'm ready for you!!!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Making Valentines With a Toddler. Electrical Tape.

Red, Black, White.

One of my favorite color combinations.

So classic.

So perfect for Valentine's Day.

This is a card that Nye-Nye made last year, when she was 23-months-old. It was so simple to make with her. 

All I had to do was cut some tiny white Hearts and some squares of red Electrical Tape.

I cut a ton of squares and gently stuck them to the edge of the table. She had a blast carefully picking each one and placing it down on the card. 

When it seemed like there was enough squares down, I then started adding glue to the Hearts and passing each one to her.

I could see this working with a Kiddo as early as 18 months. I love it because you can't necessarily tell a Toddler made it.

Too bad we are out of Electricial Tape right now, otherwise, we'd be making some tonight. Hope this inspires you!

Marbled Valentines Out of Shaving Cream and Food Dye.

Valentine's Day is tomorrow! How did that happen?

If you are stuck inside and looking for something to do, this is a very easy and incredibly fun activity.

You probably have all the ingredients necessary.

"Marbled Valentines out of Shaving Cream and Food Dye."

Shaving Cream.

Food Dye.


Tooth-picks or a butter knife.


Paper plate or pie plate.

Be prepared for a big mess! 

  1. Cut some Hearts out of paper (make sure they fit in the envelopes you are planning on using...giant envelopes cost more to send, which I forgot about last year).
  2. Lay out either newspaper or an old table cloth or better yet do it in the tub.
  3. Fill plate with shaving cream (about an inch thick).
  4. Squeeze a few drops of food dye into the shaving cream (fun for little ones to do).
  5. Swirl around with tooth picks or a butter knife (my 3-year-old particularly liked this part).
  6. Squish Heart onto shaving cream.
  7. Scrape off with a piece of cardboard (I ended up doing this part, you may go through several pieces of cardboard depending how thick your pieces are).
  8. Let the Heart dry (it only takes a few minutes).

It's like Magic, how the marbled effect appears! 

Yup, I enjoyed the process as much as my 3-year-old.

I would say this activity would work from age 18 months and up (as long as they are no longer putting things in their mouth). 

What a terrific Sensory Activity

Very small ones will love to just squish and squish their hands, particularly if they have never played with shaving cream before.

Nye-Nye loved to pretend she was making peanut butter sandwiches with the butter knife. 

I have a feeling this will be a MUCH requested activity over the next few months!

I found the idea for this project right here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How to Make Valentines with a 9-Month-Old and a 3-Year-Old

Bath tubs. I love 'em. 

Especially in the Winter, when you are can't take the Kiddos outside for hours at a time. They are particularly great for making and containing Creative Messes!!!

I wanted Anala Bears to be able to participate SOMEHOW in our Valentine Makin' Fun this year. But, I didn't want to deal with the crumbly finished product that Nye-Nye made when she was 11 months.

So, this is what I came up with and whoa....was it a hit with BOTH girls!

Materials Needed

  • Hearts cut from good quality watercolor paper
  • Large container 
  • Yogurt cups
  • Food Dye or some Color Bath Dropz (non-toxic)


  1. Add water and Food Dye or Color Bath Dropz to the yogurt cups (add about an inch).
  2. Cut Hearts to size (remember not to cut them too big, if you are planning on mailing them...I've made that mistakes SEVERAL times).
  3. Put Kiddos in an empty tub.
  4. Give them a container with a Heart (or two) and the Colored Ice Block (these are small enough for little hands to hold  BUT NOT TOO LARGE TO BE A CHOKING HAZARD LIKE ICE CUBES).
  5. Keep taking out the finished Hearts and giving them new ones.
  6. When finished put on the Shower and watch all the colors drain away.

This can take as little or as much time as you would like. You can have some pretty Valentines in about 5 minutes of the Kiddos working. This was one of the least stressful Art Projects I've done with Nye-Nye in awhile. The biggest stressor was worrying about the baby falling in the tub. But, clean-up was such a breeze.

Cutting out the Hearts takes the most time, but well worth it my opinion. 

I love how pretty Anala Bear's First Valentines turned out! This was her first Art Project, so I am very excited.

Hope this inspires you!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Last Year's Valentines. Potato Stamp Hearts.

I am happy with how my daughter's Valentines turned out this year. The home-made paint I made dried quickly and ended up having a little bit of shimmer to it. This paint didn't flake off and crumble like last year's straight cornstarch and water recipe. 

Nye-Nye had a blast gluing the hearts to the folded cards and then adding with magic markers some illustrations of cats, flowers, fish and tractors to the cards.

I used a recipe I found here.

2 tablespoons of clear vinegar (we were out, so I just used wine vinegar and it was fine)
2 tablespoons of baking soda
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of corn syrup (luckily, we were at my Mama's house and she had some in her pantry)
food coloring

I put all of the ingredients (except the food dye) in separate yogurt containers. Nye-Nye dumped the vinegar and then the baking soda directly into the blender. We had fun watching it fizz.

Then, she added the cornstarch and the corn syrup and turned on the blender when I gave the okay. She did an excellent job making sure it was thoroughly blended together. I poured the paint into some yogurt containers and then added the food coloring. We ended up with two shades of red.

I dumped the red paint onto paper plates and let her go to town with the potato stamps.

Before, preparing the ingredients, I had spent less than 10 minutes carving out heart stamps from some sprouting potatoes my Mama had on hand.

The next day, I spent 30 minutes cutting out the hearts from the paper my daughter had stamped (she's still learning the concept of how to stamp and not just smear the paint). My Mama cut down some Scrap-booking paper to size and folded them into cards, while I cut.

I put some Tacky Glue into a pie plate and called over my kiddo. I showed her how to put glue on the back of the heart and then I let her put the heart wherever she wanted to on the card. She had loads of fun with this part (especially peeling off the glue from her fingers). I only moved the hearts, if they were hanging off the page and were not going to fit in the envelope.

After the cards dried, I gave her a marker to add some "details" to each card. I also showed her where to "sign her name" in the inside of the card. My Mother said I was working her too hard. I think she was fine.

I'll post a video of the final products on Valentine's Day. Here is a video of my Mother showing Nye-Nye how to stamp the paper...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Baby-Safe Valentine Makin' Fun

This was the first real Art Project I attempted with my eldest daughter. (She was 11 months old at the time). She painted hearts that I had cut out of some of my old prints and taped to small pieces of card-board.

I use the word "painted" lightly. Mostly, she had fun dumping the bowls all over herself and the card-board. It was an awesome sensory experience for her.

I made the paint out of corn starch, water and food dye, which meant is was safe for her to put in her mouth. Just make sure you stir cold water and cornstarch vigorously together immediately to prevent lumps. I got the recipe from First Art : Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos

When the paint dried it cracked and crumbled a lot on the paper and fell off in spots. I ended up making copies of the original hearts and sent those out instead.

Doing this project in the bath-tub is key. It makes clean-up, so much easier! Enjoy!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Month of Love. 2014.

February is one of my favorite Months (and not just because it's my Birthday Month). It's a Month full of Chocolate, Paper Goods and Love. Three things guaranteed to make me Happy.

Creating Valentines is one of my all-time-favorite things to do.

During this Month of Love (here on Catoctin Mountain Mama), I will be sharing some ideas on how to make Valentines with Kids, a few Home-made Gift Ideas, a delicious Soup Recipe (or two) and several books that have really floated my boat, recently.

Enjoy! Happy February!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Happy 9 Months! Anala.

This photo captures you perfectly. Our Impish One. 

Nine Months???? 


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