Friday, March 30, 2012

Play Time

I feel like I have been doing a lot of posts that start with "Today we went to the playground..." I hope this isn't too boring for my readers. But we've been having some beautiful spring weather. This is the best time of year for getting outside every day, before it gets too hot. And, like their mama, Jackson and Olivia are not homebodies. We like to get out of the house each morning and go do something fun. When you're two or three, that means hitting as many playgrounds as possible.

With the high cost of daycare, I'll probably be staying at home with my kids until they start elementary school. I've gone back and forth about this decision in the past. Now I feel good about it.  Am I the best person to be around my kids 24/7 in terms of providing them all the experiences and education they need? Well, maybe not, because I'm not a teacher.  Sitting down and trying to get my kids to learn things, when they'd rather be running around in the backyard spraying each other with the hose, is not my strong suit. My philosophy is that they learn from exploring their world and interacting with others. But I realize they do also need to know their ABC's. That is why Jackson started attending daycare two mornings a week. Now that his first school year is almost over, I think it's one of the best decisions we have made for him.  His teacher is amazing and he loves going to school. Even though his daycare emphasizes play, he has learned so much. While he's there, I get to spend one-on-one time with my sweet Olivia. And on the days he doesn't attend school, we cram as much excitement into our hours together as possible. Because they do go by so fast.

Today we went to a new playground that was designed for children of all abilities. For example, there are fire trucks and racecars and even swings, big enough to maneuver a wheelchair into, so kids who use wheelchairs can enjoy them, too. There are also play stations designed to appeal to children with autism and other special needs. Here's more info about the park. I just think it's a really great, inclusive thing for our city to have.

Of course, Jackson was just thrilled that they had a fire truck. There's an entire pretend village with a fire station, car dealership, and other buildings, all constructed on a kid-friendly scale.

There was a red and a blue racecar. Jackson insisted on driving the red one because, "It's like Lightning McQueen!" Ah, marketing.

I'd never seen a merry-go-round designed like this. I liked that it seemed very, um, hard to fall out of.

Olivia tired of it after a few minutes, but I think Jackson could ride a merry-go-round all day. As long as someone else is doing the pushing.

Still not tired...

I wasn't sure what to make of this odd structure. It looked like a grocery conveyor belt for children. But the kids loved it and seemed to intuitively know what to do, sliding themselves right through.

For dinner we had the Thai Crunch Salad from Peas and Thank You. I couldn't find wonton strips at my supermarket, so I used chow mein noodles, figuring they would add the necessary crunch. (Later I learned that wonton strips are not in the Asian section, where I looked, but in a special "salad fixins" display in the produce department.)

This recipe made a lot. I'd never used a napa cabbage before and I couldn't believe how giant it was. An entire head of napa plus a head of romaine lettuce means that we have generous leftovers. We all liked it, but Tony suggested doubling the amount of tofu next time since there's so much salad. Same with the almond dressing -- it's awesome, but I'm going to have to blend up another batch in order to dress the leftovers tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

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