New Beginnings: Mommy Prep School

I am excited to announce my new site Mommy Prep School.  To those of you that have been following me as I built Yellow Loves Grey, thank you.  I have appreciated your readership, comments, and our relationship.  I originally started Yellow Loves Grey to be the place I share the research and advice I found as I was going through my experiences as a new mom.  It slowly evolved into a place for me to share what I was doing and what my family was experiencing.  As much as I am myself on Yellow Loves Grey, I kept struggling with finding my voice.  After a lot of thought and much trial and error, I think I have found my blogging voice.  I’m a teacher and that is how I would describe my personality.  As a result, I see the world through teacher eyes.  I am always looking at my experiences as lessons, I am constantly reflecting, I plan, change and adapt as I go, and as annoying as it is, I’m always giving ratings and grades to my experiences.  This realization led to understanding my blogging voice.  Mommy Prep School is my place to show how I look at the world.  It is my journey as a parent from the lens of my teacher personality.  I have been so grateful for your participation in Yellow Loves Grey and I hope you join me as I transition my online self to Mommy Prep School where our motto is Learning how to be a mom by doing mom things.  

Mommy Prep School Screen Shot

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(Trying) to raise a reader

Some of my favorite summer memories consist of trips to the library, filling out library reading logs, and completing the library summer challenges. As a result, public libraries have a very special place in my heart.

My parents are first generation Vietnamese immigrants. Growing up they did everything they could to help me with school work. Despite their hardest efforts their little English put limits on how much they could help me. Instead, my resourceful parents took me to our neighborhood library to get homework help, to check out books, and to spend time exploring whatever interested me.

The library became the place you would often find me. I would be there after school completing homework with volunteers, reading the latest Nancy Drew books, or later in my jr. high years just meeting up with friends. On the weekends, my mom would pack my backpack with snacks and I along with my four (later five) younger siblings would spend our mornings at the library.

Now, as a mom I am excited to come back to the children’s section of the library. As I walked my son around the children’s section I found myself transported back to my childhood. I smiled as I remembered checking out books on tape as a way to ‘read’ books that were too hard for me. I happily sighed as I recalled reading the backs of books to decide which ones would make my weekly checkout list.

I hope my son will enjoy reading and find the library as familiar and safe a place as I always have. Last week, he became the youngest reader at our local library to participate in Rahm’s Reader: Full STEAM Ahead Chicago Public Library summer reading program. To participate in the program I have committed my little guy to 300 minutes of summer reading (about 20 minutes a day), at least one creative, one learning, and one discovery activity. We will log our reading and other experiences in the Full Steam Ahead booklet the library provided us. It’s already been a week since we have signed up and I am happy to report we are right on track.

My little guy and the library volunteer that helped sign us up.

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My little guy reading his first book at the library. At first he thought the book was a book about how to party but then quickly realized it was actually about how to potty. He liked it anyway and had me read it to him twice.

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Food Smart: Nutrition Labels

This week, I revisited my healthy lifestyle goals and I went to workout for the first time in a year (gasp).  The workout got me thinking about what I eat.  I have to be honest with myself, I don’t know much about nutrition. With a toddler, I am more thoughtful with food.  I meal plan, stay away from processed food much more than I have before, but that doesn’t guarantee a balanced diet for our family.  I don’t really know what a true balanced diet would look like.

I have decided to get my food act together.  I am determined to get myself food smart.   To start, I need to understand those darn labels on the back of food packages.  Now, at least, when I’m munching on my Pirates Booty, I will know what I’m doing to my body.  Good or bad.

I found this helpful video explaining how to read nutritional labels. Take a look. Maybe you’ll learn something new. I did.

Early Valentines Day Dinner

My mister and I enjoyed a romantic dinner out last night. We celebrated Valentines Day at Capital Grill in Chicago. Bonus it was Restaurant Week! That gave us an opportunity to have a nice dinner at a delicious restaurant that would usually be out of our price range. The food, service (and company-my mister) was perfect.

Our desserts were the best part!

How are you celebrating Valentines Day?

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Cupcakes


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For my little guy’s birthday I made cupcakes for him and his little daycare buddies.  I went with the “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” theme.  I love how it turned out.  Because his daycare group is made up of babies and toddlers, I made “baby” cupcakes using the Applesauce Spice Cake recipe from Wholesome Baby Food.  For the frosting I  followed their Banana Glaze recipe.  The cupcakes were a hit. For the cupcake toppers I used Microsoft Word, google images search “Hungry Caterpillar”, circle hole punches from Michaels, and glued each to toothpicks.

The recipes were adapted from the recipes on Wholesome Baby Food

Applesauce Spice Cake 

3 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Macintosh apples – peeled, cored and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9 inch square baking pan.

Beat the eggs until they drop like ribbons from the beaters. Continue beating and add the oil in a thin stream. Beat in the 1 cup applesauce and the 1 cup unsweetened apple juice concentrate then mix in the flour gradually until well blended. Add the baking soda, ground ginger, ground almonds and apples. Fold together until well mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F about 40 minutes or until the cake tests clean with a knife or toothpick. Cool completely before frosting.

Banana Glaze

1/2 med. banana
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 or more c. powdered sugar

Mash banana well add lemon juice. Gradually add powdered sugar until you obtain right spreading consistency. Ice cake after completely cool.

 What did you do for your little one’s first birthday?

CPR Training

Today I took a refresher CPR course. It has been seven years since my last course and a lot has changed. CPR has actually gotten less complicated. There are fewer steps to remember, which has helped me feel more able to perform it if ever needed. Although, I hope I am never in that situation.

As a mom, I found myself paying extra attention during the child choking and CPR segment. Now, instead of panicking and looking to my husband or other adult for help, I hope I will have the courage and ability to take care of my little guy if he is ever in need of either.

I found this great graphic that summarized what I learned today.

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For any of you looking to get certified/recertified the American Heart Association holds courses throughout the year around the country. To look up available courses in your area, click here.

Are you CPR certified? Have you ever been in a situation in which you had to give CPR.

Party at my (side car) crib tonight


My little family has been a bedsharing family since the early weeks of our little guy’s life.  He is now 8 months old and rolls all sort of ways while he is sleeping.  When he wakes up he is  active, rolling around, sitting up, crawling and climbing.  It has become a challenge having him sleep in between us.  I think the only one that was getting restful sleep in our family bed was our little guy.  As parents, we were struggling with how to continue bedsharing while also getting enough rest.  Then Laotion Commotion shared her side car images. (cue celebration music)  It was the perfect solution.

As guided by Laotion Commotion, we built our crib without assembling one of the four sides.  It is essentially a toddler bed pushed up against our bed.  We pushed the crib mattress up against our mattress and filled the empty space with rolled up sheets.  It has been over two weeks now and it has been working great.  The whole family has been getting more restful sleep.  Thanks Laotion Commotion!

Here are some images from our little set up:

 

 

 

The crib is the Lauren Graco Crib  and the mattress is the IKEA VYSSA SPELEVINK