When I originally started Homegrown Friends as a playgroup matching business it was important to me that it be LGBT friendly. Even though I have stopped that aspect of this business
the inclusive message remains essential.
As my final project in grad school I created a Family Study for 4 and 5 year olds that would combat heterosexism (institutionalized homophobia). Out of any curriculum I designed this Family Study remains closest to my heart. A large piece of the curriculum was introducing young children to gay relationships through children's literature. Whether you are a gay couple looking for children's literature that reflects your family, a heterosexual parent understanding the importance of educating your children on all types of families or just a person who loves literature, I hope you will enjoy the following books.
ABC A Family Alphabet Book Bobbie Combs
King and King Linda de Haan
Molly's Family Nancy Garden
Children's books are a passion of mine. I could spend hours in a library sitting in an aisle searching through the titles. Besides bedtime stories children's literature offers the perfect opportunity to explore your child's interests, delve into topic of study or simply spend a morning on the couch enjoying the bountiful amount of great reads your library has to offer. Every other week I will be providing a list of books that you can check out from your local library. Because these books are based on the actual books I borrow for my children they will be geared for the ages 2-6. I hope this new series, Books to Check Out, will help guide your library experience. Click here for a printer-friendly version
. Happy reading!
Peekaboo Morning Rachel Isadora 1 and up
Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball Vicki Churchill 2 and up
Llama Llama Misses Mama Anna Dewdney 2 and up
While taking a walk with my children we finally saw the first signs of Spring. Little bits of green plants popping up. We were all very excited! It will be weeks before the beautiful colors of Spring blossom in our neighborhood s0 today we are Celebrating Spring by making Melted Crayon Flowers.
YOU WILL NEED: crayons, wax paper, iron (or oven), kitchen towel, pipe cleaners, buttons or beads
Begin by peeling the paper off of the crayons (perfect opportunity to use old crayons). Chop up crayons into little pieces. I used about 10 crayons.
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photo courtesy of Quinn Donnelly, age 4
Place a large piece of wax paper on the table with a kitchen towel underneath for protection. Have your child sprinkle the crayon pieces on to the wax paper. Cover with another piece of wax paper.
Want to make something that tastes like crap? Me neither, that is why I am not sharing the cookie recipe I was trying out today. It was pretty bad. Instead I am going to share with you a super fun activity we did on this beautiful sunny day. Recipes for sidewalk paints were all over Pinterest last summer, but I never got around to it. Now with the weather improving and my two youngest past the stage of putting everything in their mouths I was finally ready to give it a try. Verdict? I loved this activity and my kids did too! Everyone was engaged and surprisingly calm (except for the mischievous moment when they tried, okay succeeded, in painting my car). Best part, it will wash off with the next rainstorm!
YOU WILL NEED: cornstarch, water, muffin tin, paint brushes
Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of warm water to each section of the muffin tin.
Add about 8 drops of food coloring to each section. Stir until completely combined.
When I was 19 I lived in Galway, Ireland for a year as part of a study abroad program. As St. Patrick's Day arrived I learned a few things about us silly Americans. More people in Galway spend the day in church pews versus wearing shamrocks and leprechauns, and the Irish Soda Bread I grew up eating tasted nothing like authentic Irish Soda Bread. But I have a secret. I adore my family's recipe. It is much sweeter than true soda bread. My kids can't get enough of it!
My Family's Irish Soda Bread
makes two loaves
4 C sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 C sugar
3/4 C butter
1/4 C buttermilk (can sub milk plus 1 tsp apple cider vinegar)
1 C raisins
Mix together flour, baking soda, salt and sugar.
It is inevitable that parents take on certain roles in the house. My husband is always the one that takes out the trash, and I do the laundry and make dinners. We never assigned each other these jobs it just happened. Now that we have children I think it is important for our children to see us in a variety of roles. I have catches with Quinn and built our sandbox together. Quinn loves baking pancakes and cookies with my husband.
While my daughters were napping last weekend I gave Quinn and Dave the task of making the biscuits for dinner (and future snacks with jam- so good!). This simple recipe is adapted from the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook.
adapted from Better Homes and Garden Cookbook
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup butter, cold
1 cup milk with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl.
When I was pregnant with my girls I always planned to try to breastfeed my twin daughters for 12 months. I had breastfed my son until he was 13 months and it was a positive experience. I was excited to give my girls the same opportunity. Fast forward to their birth I was wheeled down to the NICU and introduced to my three and four pound babies. Hooked up to machines, tubes in their noses, IVs in their arms, I was terrified. As a mother you are supposed to feel warmth when you first lay eyes on your babies, but I was so scared. And then the nurse put this little creature in my arms and she snuggled against my skin and all my insecurities melted. This little three pound wonder latched on to my breast. She knew I was her mom. The nurses stood in awe of our tiny fighter. And so began my breastfeeding journey with my daughters.
One of the blessings of having my girls live in the NICU for three weeks was that I had an amazing nursing staff ready to help me learn how to breastfeed preemies. It wasn't always easy. During those first initial weeks I remember saying to myself "If I can make it three months I will be proud of myself" and then three months passed and my mantra became "If I can make it to six months..." and then somewhere in the midst of caring for twin babies and a rambunctious two year old breastfeeding became a part of me, a part of our family culture.