My Mommyology

Learning from Motherhood.

July 20, 2018
by mymommyology
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MyMommyology #FieldTripFriday at La Brea Tarpits

Walking away from LACMA on the right, you’ll find the La Brea Tarpits.  You can’t miss it, you smell the tar and the sulfuric gas as you walk towards it.

Interesting site, stinky smell.

I first heard of tar when we lived in North Carolina, hence the term:  Tar-Heel.  I never would’ve guessed that a whole fossil site was within driving distance from where we now stay!

And fossils — that’s the magic word for my girls.  While they have never watched the Ice Age movies, their books and their love for science and animals have led us to understand a little bit more about the past that is buried beneath our feet.

It’s quite the joyful experience for me when we discover something new together.  The learner in me enjoys taking them to these new places  — and it’s such a treat when I learn something new along with them.

His name is Zed!  So. Cool!

Who know about the vast number of dire wolves in California?  There are 400 on the wall there so far.

Or that a Columbian Mammoth that’s the most complete they’ve found (so far)?!

They all say “so far” — because there are still ongoing excavations.

Paleontologist beware: Curious child in front.

The girls got to ask questions from a paleontologist who was at Project 23, the most recent dig site.  Ever the naiveté, here I thought they’d found everything there was to be found in the last century.  Apparently not!  They claim to have found 3.5 million fossils to date, and the count continues to grow.  It’s a reason to go back — because you never know what’s new to be featured a few months from now, or even a few years from now!

Considering it was a small museum, we spent a good portion of our day there (apart from a quick lunch break across the street), studying a bunch of the fossils they’ve discovered.  Plus, my children like to read all the descriptions.

The Observation Pit where a pile of predators seemed to have gotten caught.

The girls were fascinated as well by the Fossil lab where the scientists were at work on some of their current finds.

Like a scientific fishbowl.

It’s like a big prehistoric jigsaw puzzle with no guide — and they find things out as they go along.  Or they use the parts they find to figure out the story behind why all those fossils are piled one on top of the other!  A predatory kill perhaps?  So much tar has to be cleaned off though!

The Tar is fascinating as much as it is scary.  It’s still bubbling the girls said.  You could still fall in?!  *clutch children closer*

Souvenir photo for the win.

#FieldtripFriday tip:  Buy your tickets ahead of time so you can go straight to the entrance.  Add $5 to attend an Ice Age encounter.  The girls enjoyed it because there was a talking Sabertooth.

And finally, the photo fossil book is a worthy keepsake souvenir.  Thanks Maga! 😉

 

July 17, 2018
by mymommyology
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Read Across the Summer

With the kids home these days more than the usual, it takes a little bit more to keep them preoccupied.  I have to take them places with me and I honestly hate it when they say, “mom I’m bored,” and default to “can I play on your phone?” 

What?!  Child.

HOW can you be bored.  I don’t understand.

I feel like I have zero tolerance when those two phrases came out.  Back in my time, I had to find something to keep myself occupied while the grown-ups did their thing, or… I had to sit quietly and read.

Ahhh, reading.  Yes!  Problem solved.

Besides, we’ve all heard about the  “summer slump” right?  (Okay fine. I actually didn’t hear of it until recently).  So hopefully reading across the summer will help neutralize that.

So, it’s become our default.  If you are going to sit and wait, then you need to bring a book to read.

When there’s a bench, there’s a place to read.

Find something — anything on our shelves, and read it.

Yes, even the book’s older than you.

Thankfully it hasn’t been much of a problem.  Sometimes, it is their default activity of choice.  You know how kids are often too quiet and you begin to get nervous about the havoc they’re wreaking upstairs?

I found them like this…. and then I fixed the books to look better for the photo.

I love that they love books.  We’re often in Barnes and Noble looking at new books, and participating in their Summer Reading Program.  It’s quite a shame though that they only offer one book per child. 🙁

The standard, “please buy this for me?” I don’t know about you, but when it comes to books, I don’t know how to say no.

And all these stories have made for some good imaginative play here and there, if I do say so myself.

Over the course of the last school year, Sam’s teacher had what they call a “25-book challenge”, where different genres were given and the kids had to pick different books to read that fell within those genres.  Five books were a free choice, and the rest of the 20 books were divided across different genres, from historical non-fiction, to tall tales, to fantasy and science fiction, just to name a few.

It was fun and challenging to choose age appropriate books that fit the genre, and find something that would sustain Sam’s interest enough for her to read it.

A friend had gifted Sam with this book and thanks to that challenge, she took interest in historical non-fiction!

I liked the idea of a 25 book challenge that I am trying to use it on the girls this summer.  It forces them to broaden their palette, go outside their comfort zone and find something different.  It gives us more to talk about because they formulate an opinion about it.

Jamie is going to teach me about the American Revolution in 1776.

Sam’s teacher had index cards too with questions that needed to be answered — and I like that it taught her about to pay attention to different parts of the story — the plot, the theme, the character development, and even the glossary of terms or other parts of the book.  And while I don’t have a deck of cards for them to respond to, I make sure this new “book of choice” is a topic of conversation in the car.

Jamie is still at that stage where she’ll read one part of a series after another (but then after one or two books you get the gist of how it’s all going to go down), but it is still good she likes them, and finds something to fill her “challenge”.  Recently, I’ve tried to expand her book choices with some informational ones too.

“Learn about the artist before we paint.”

And so with 6 weeks left until school, I’ve told the girls once again that those two phrases are not allowed at home, and only allowed once in a while out-of-the house.  Because as it stands, there’s no excuse not to bring a book (or two) wherever we go.

July 13, 2018
by mymommyology
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MyMommyology’s #FieldtripFridays: The Discovery Cube

Science is a big deal these days, and quite the attractive subject for my kids.  Thankfully so, as it was not a favorite subject of mine as I was growing up.  Maybe it just wasn’t as attractive — I don’t know.  But it is a nice change, and with the world’s focus on bringing more STEAM into kids’ lives, it is actually fun.

The girls have always loved The Discovery Cube in Santa Ana.  It’s a great interactive museum with short explanations about why things work the way that they do.  In fact no matter how many times we’ve gone over the years (The family membership was cheap according to my husband, so hey why not…), I feel like we always take away something new and different.

The Cube as its called was a staple for the annual Bubblefest.  The girls love the show, first and foremost.  Then of course there are other parts that come with it, like the hamster ball and other bubble exhibits.

 

Deni Yang performed two years in a row.

One of the better illusion shows (I thought), was Jason Latimer’s Impossible Science show.  We watched it twice, and he met the audience outside for autographs, so Sam was able to ask her most burning question.

Sam taking the opportunity to ask her impossible science questions.

He feels like the modern day magician, and says that it isn’t magic, it is science.  Ooooooh.

The museum also has rotating special exhibits.  There was one put on by Boeing about the future of Aerospace and the girls had fun using the simulator or learn about some of their future stealth jets.

Learning about the efficiency of birds in V-formation.

More recently, we learned about the special demonstrations the cube does for field trips!

I loved this one on wavelengths and earthquakes! So much fun.

The more current one that’s on display this summer is all about dinosaurs.  We’ve seen a couple of exhibits at the Cube on Dinosaurs — and who would’ve guessed there would be that many of them outside of the more common ones?

What is a Griffin? I don’t know.  That’s what’s apparently found in Gondwana.  Where?!

This last trip that we took with my mom, the girls and I entered the Kitchen for the first time.  We paid $20 for a table for 4 (and this is something you can split with another family if you’d like), to learn how to make the “Red White and Blue Salsa”.  It is truly a healthy kitchen with healthy meal options for kids.  My hope was that Sam my picky eater would find something new to eat.

Jamie on the other hand enjoyed all the ingredients individually, because she is like me — quite adventurous with food.  My mom recently introduced her to hicama (aka – singakamas!), so she was quite delighted that it was part of the recipe.

Learning to mince with Maga.

My favorite part was giving the girls the ability to use kitchen equipment — like knives.  I”m always so afraid that they’ll hurt themselves in the kitchen, but this whole experience taught me that they can actually handle some of these instruments, with proper guidance.

A new hack when deleafing the strawberry!

As the girls get older, they pick up a few new things here and there — and to me that’s what these repetitive visits are all about.  While I’ve always tried to visit a new place each chance we get, the Cube is something I don’t mind repeating every now and then because of this.  Plus, it is a nice place to hang out in on a hot day!

* The Discovery Cube has an annual pass that you can get as a family.  Paying an extra $20 for 2-years of free parking is worth it too.  Most of the activities are free, except for some of the featured shows that are also nice to watch once in a while.*

July 9, 2018
by mymommyology
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Podcasts

We spend so much time in the car, the girls have learned to listen to podcasts.

Podcasts for kids were first mentioned by our dearest friends from Chapel Hill when they came to visit.  It became a fun thing for them to enjoy together while we were in the car.

The concept of listening and comprehending was further reinforced in school.  Apparently our school tests auditory comprehension and retention by having the kids listen to podcasts in class, and then have them write down what they remember, what struck them, and the like.

See I don’t think I ever remember having this as a tool when I was growing up.  Everything was visual.  Or, it was the spelling words that I had to get right.  It is great to see how these schools have kept up with the times.

Since then I’ve come to learn and appreciate the value of podcasts, especially during long car rides.  The girls are quiet and they listen.  They don’t fight over what station to listen to.  And that’s a good 30 minutes of peace (at least!).

Here are a few of our favorites:

SMASH BOOM BEST. This is our most recent favorite and we’ve been listening to it constantly.  So far they only have one season in.  Smash Boom Best came from the makers of Brains On (another favorite as you’ll see), that focuses on debates.  Bats vs Owls, Superspeed vs Superstrength, Lava vs Quicksand, Books vs Movies!  The girls go through four rounds of debates and learn fun facts in the process.  I personally love that they can see how both arguments are good, and how both arguments could be improved.  We’ve actually gone into their website and the girls have given their ideas for what debates they think the producers should make.

 

BRAINS ON!  The sister program of Smash Boom Best, Brains On is one of the science podcasts for kids.  Brains on takes a topic and dives into the many different facts surrounding it.  It’s how things work, where things come from, and what makes things go.  All pretty cool topics from booger to dinosaurs and the girls are amused.  We haven’t listened to all of it, but picked through the ones that we like.

WOW IN THE WORLD.  This is another favorite science podcast but formatted differently.  There are two characters, Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz that get entangled in specific situations that lead them to talk about certain facts.  Sometimes they have this time machine (of sorts) that takes them inside people’s brains, takes them back in time, or even out of this world!  I think the girls enjoy the silly parts more than the facts, but really, it’s whatever I can get them to to learn in a fun way, right?

ELEANOR AMPLIFIED.  This is an adventure series featuring Eleanor, a reporter and the sticky situations she gets herself in and out of.  It reminds me of the Nancy Drew mystery books I used to read, but this one is the kid-friendly podcast version.  It is funny and witty, and there are villains and heroes in the story too.  I love how the girls can imagine the actual scene that’s being described by the characters.

THE ALIEN ADVENTURES OF FINN CASPIAN.  This was one of the earlier podcasts the girls have listened to (about a boy that goes into space and beyond — A little bit like Star Trek!).  I don’t think we went past some episodes in the first season, because we had downloaded everything almost all at once.

I just discovered it now has 4 seasons!  Maybe this is something we need to revert back to this summer!

I’ve to admit, even I enjoy some of these podcasts.  The debates for instance, sometimes even the girls and I get into it.  I am learning some fun facts too.  When Eleanor Amplified leaves us hanging, even I can’t wait to get to the next episode to find out what’s happened.  It’s all a lot of fun.

If you have any podcasts you’d like to let us know about, we’d love to hear it!

July 7, 2018
by mymommyology
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Now Trending @TwoTotsPH

Two Tots has done a lot in the last two years.  It’s wonderful to see that our products have indeed, stood the test of time and “grown” with our clients — in a manner of speaking.

As ours are customized pieces of furniture, we have seen some of our traditional furniture increase in size as well — to accommodate these growth spurts.

Our Elizabeth “twin” – in California King size!

More space needed – work desk and drawers.

As space becomes more of a luxury these days, and the cost of real estate rises, more parents have asked us to incorporate additional storage in their limited areas.  We think it’s smart!

Storage where we can. Under the bed, why not?

Designs as well are trending toward more minimalist with small, elegant touches here and there.

Slight waves to add depth and dimension.  And storage!

Our traditional pieces, with little touches of roundness for a more custom look.

We still get the occasional, very specific requests.  And as much as we love to help shape the outcome of a room (or a piece of furniture), we also love bringing our clients’ visions to life.

Clockwise: 1) A navy blue cabinet, 2) A TV stand with drawers, and 3) A ballet barre and mirror.

That ballet barre and mirror is genius, if I do say so myself — for aspiring and dedicated ballerinas-to-be.

And then, there’s the trend on two toned pieces.

Left: Work desk
Right: Fish-tail side table

The fish-tail side table is another customer-inspired piece and we love that she allowed us to share this idea with the world.  We’ve gotten so many inquiries about it too.  This piece however requires a lot of labor-intensive work, but it is made with a lot of love!

Of course, we still have the accessories that can complement these pieces available at our showroom.

Accessories that fit and complement custom-made furniture.

Our pals at the showroom would love for you to come and visit!

We still post regularly on Instagram and Facebook, at @twototsph.  But for quotations, it is better to reach us at inquiries@twotots.net.  Because each piece is custom-made, to be able to give you an accurate estimate of cost, we need to match this with its corresponding specifications.  That’s hard to do in a text response.

And yes, it is July — coming soon will be our #2THoliday2018 Collection!  (How is it Christmas already?!)

If you’d like to visit the Two Tots showroom, please let us know and we’d be happy to put you down for an appointment!

 

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