February 28, 2010

Going round and round the umbrella.

We first encountered Rockenwagner at the Santa Monica’s Farmers Market. They have a stand on both Wednesdays and Sundays. Wednesdays at the one on Arizona and on Sunday, the one on Main Street. There is usually a line at both stands. They have delicious blueberry brain muffins, flaxseed scones, and a pizza pretzel which is divine. They also have two bakeries – one in Marina Del Ray and on in Santa Monica on Arizona near 3rd Street. The one in Santa Monica is also a cafe which serves sandwiches and salads. We stopped by there because they have small sandwiches which is perfect snack sized when we are on the go. We ordered their egg salad sandwich and smoked salmon sandwich. The egg salad sandwich was on egg bread and the smoked salmon sandwich was on brioche. Mishy was more interested in getting the straw out of its paper wrapper and going round and round the large umbrella outside. She did take a bite of two.

Taking the paper off her straw. Focused.


2nd Birthday Girl

February 28, 2010

Mishy getting her tennis legs.

It was Mishy’s birthday on February 22nd. We had planned to go to Mt. Baldy to do some possible sledding and build snow people. Mishy had some other desires. We let her plan her day.

As soon Mishy woke up, Babba gave her his birthday present to her. A tennis racket and tennis balls.  Mishy loves to watch her father play tennis and Babba loves to show off to her. He went to college on a partial tennis scholorship. (I got her a balance bicycle with helmet and knee pads and elbow pads. More on that in a separate post.)

Dipping her steamed vegetables at California Roll Factory

Mishy had a craving for some soba noodles. Unfortunately, the place we normally go to was closed on Monday. Instead, we found a new place, California Roll Factory. Mishy loved dipping her steamed vegetables in the sauce and them dipping her finger in the sauce. She also enjoyed the mussel miso soup, and ginger slices. Babba likes this restaurant a lot because they have brown rice sushi and is reasonably priced. It is Americanized rolls so if you want authentic Japanese food, this isn’t the place. Their menu can be overwhelming. There are so many different types of rolls. The best thing to do? Look at the menu with the pictures and take it from there.

She loves the swing!

Then we went on the swings at Virginia Avenue Park. Mishy calls it Pico Park. She loves saying, “No people at Pico park.” It is often empty when we are there.

Mishy and Babba horsing around.


California Roll Factory

11629 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: 310-996-2366 / Fax: 310-996-2367

Virginia Avenue Park

Making sand castles.

Charmlee Wilderness Park

February 28, 2010

Onwards, hike! A Valentine's Day hike

On Valentine’s Day, Mishy, Babba, and me went for a hike in Malibu at Charmlee Wilderness Park. It is towards the mountains which means you get a lovely view of the ocean on a clear day and still smell the ocean breeze. It is one of our favorite places to hike. Because we go on toddler paced hikes, it means we don’t cover a lot of distance. We did enjoy having a picnic lunch, seeing lizards, and watching Mishy play with rocks she found. She could have stayed there all day. How did we eventually leave Charmlee? I had to go to the restroom so it was up to Babba. He played hide and seek with her all the way down.


Charmlee Wilderness Park

Mishy having two rocks kiss. She named them too.

Mishy taking a break

Mishy on the way to the farmers market with new baby in hand.

Before giving birth, one of my favorite things to do during the week is go the Santa Monica’s Wednesdays Farmers Market. It covers 6 blocks of wonderful Southern Californian produce, bread, and nuts. This farmers market was one of the main reasons why I learned to drive. I didn’t drive before arriving to L.A. I didn’t have a need since I lived in Toronto and New York where public transportation is plentiful. When I passed my driver’s test, my driving instructor and I celebrated by going to the Santa Monica’s farmers market with pomegranate juice.

Mishy drinking pomegranate juice and saying, "Ahhhh!"

I love sharing all the things I love with Mishy. Of course we have our favorite stands and they change as the seasons change. Here are a few of them.

Bezian’s Bakery Bread – located at the bottom of the Farmer’s Market near 2nd and Arizona. They make the most amazing sourdough bread.

Basiltops – they give away free samples of small pieces of bread with pesto. I never tried them until Mishy wanted to since making pesto is relatively easy. Now, she loves it. Her favorite flavor is Pesto Perfectto. They use lactose free cheese which is a bonus for Mishy since she is slightly lactose intolerant.

The Japanese Stand on Arizona near 3rd Street – We always get their Japanese cucumbers. They are delicious in the quinoa tabbouli I make.

We have so many more stands we love. I will update them as we make our way weekly to the Farmer’s Market!

Details: Santa Monica’s Wednesday Farmers Market, located on Arizona near the Promenade. 8:30AM-1:30PM.

(By the way, the top photo was taken before I started the car.)

Pancakes, Pancakes!

February 26, 2010

Mishy mixing the flour and egg

I have been a huge fan of Eric Carle. I remember my Italian language teacher reading us, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I was overjoyed when I found out it was also written in English. Mishy’s favorite book when she was 4 months old was Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr’s, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? How did I know this? She always got excited when I read it to her . She made it clear she wanted me to read it more.

Today, she picked up, Eric Carle’s, Pancakes, Pancakes! I was so excited to read it to her since I had bought it a year ago and was just waiting for her to show interest in it. We read it a few times and I noticed she was moving her mouth, making motions like she was chewing the pancake at the end of the book. I asked her if she would like to make pancakes, using the recipe in the book. She was game. We went into the kitchen and starting gathering the ingredients, making slight modifications. She helped me measure and stir. We melted the butter and poured the batter. Flipped the pancake when it was brown underneath, like the book and them slid it on a plate and spooned wild blueberry sauce. We waited for it to cool and then we ate it. It was good!

The finished product with our variation - freshly made wild blueberry sauce instead of strawberry jam.

I made another one for Babba and called him using Skype to come upstairs. (My cell phone is still busted. Skype has come in handy and is also incredibly reasonable for the year.) Babba ended up eating three more.

Mishy watches Babba eating the pancake. She liked hers.

Details: Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle. Here is the Amazon link.

Mishy fishing for good luck.

We joined in a Chinese New Year’s celebration at a local children’s store that recently opened up in Marina Del Ray – Innovative Baby.

Feeding the dragon puppet

There was some light puppet play.

Learning how to make a paper lantern

Then arts and crafts with sparkles which followed us home.

Playing on their in-store horsey

Afterwards, Mishy played with all of the displayed toys. The store has a great selection of beautiful everyday clothes from fantastic designers – Kicky Pants, Tea Collection – to name a few. We picked up a few long sleeve shirts from their sale rack – 70% off! Their toys are beautiful. Mishy wanted to take all of them home. Luckily, she is okay with us playing with them in the store.  The owners are super friendly, warm, and laid back. It is located right by the beach and the Venice Canals. Get a sandwich from Cow’s End or Island Burgers and have a picnic at the beach after your shopping adventure!


Innovative Baby
114 Washington Blvd #B
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

(310) 338-9908

Bonus photo: Mishy hanging out in the car.

Art Fun!

February 13, 2010

Mishy using tissue paper for drip painting

We’ve been researching pre-schools which has been emotionally draining since I love being with Mishy. What is the rush? What has been useful in attending the pre-school tours? Seeing their facilities and what their program offers. Most are centered around creative development primarily through art which lead me to read Bev Bos – thank you, Ninette, a mother of two, for the recommendation! Bev Bos is an educator, grandmother of four and mother of five. She is the director of the Roseville Cooperative Preschool in Roseville, California. She has several books published which all extends her child-centered techniques. Her first book, Don’t Move The Muffin Tins, a hands-off guide to art for the young child.

Mishy exploring tissue paper.

Here are condensed versions of her rules which are in the book.

Rule #1: Don’t interfere. Forget how you intended the art materials to be used. There is no right or wrong in art, just creation.

Rule #2: Try one yourself. Build a trial version in your set up. You’ll be much more at ease with your child’s first attempt.

Rule #3: Put the child first. Each day is special to a child. When a child asks for materials that are alternatives to what you’ve set out, provide those materials.

Rule #4: Avoid models. Never make a model to show to a child. Let them create without the intimidation of a model.

Rule #5: Respect a name. If they want to put their name on their creation, let them find the place and how they want it to look, even if it’s spelled backwards.

Rule #6: Art of young children should be “instant.” A young child wants to see immediate results.

Rule #7: Spread the word. Orient parents to a child-centered approach. Make it clear you don’t want “art” produced for your benefit, but rather a program that is aimed at developing your child’s creativity.

Rule #8: No leaping, please! Adults leap upon a child when something starts to spill, tip over, all from the table, or simply begins to go in a direction different from the one the adult expected. Gently, gently, guide and suggest.

Rule #9: Don’t feel guilt. You may have guilt when applying child-centered art because you may have done crafts to the exclusion of art, guilt because you haven’t nurtured your child’s creativity enough – don’t do it. Start now with your children, grandchildren, adults you know, start with yourself.

Rule #10: discourage “good” clothes. “Go to a thrift shop, buy your child two outfits for school. Then you’ll not be upset when the clothes come home with paint all over them.” To heck with aprons.


Don’t Shake The Muffin Tin by Bev Bos

Mishy's foot print art w/ marker details

Friends over for their own art exploration