Friday, February 15, 2013

Favorite Things Friday: Ezra's Favorite Books

Ezra is now 3 and a half and loves to read.  Just like Mama.  He has tons of books.  They overflow out of the 2 shelf bookcase I've had since I was a kid.  Pretty sure my dad made it once upon a time.  Ezra wants 2-3 stories before bed every night, and these are a few of the ones he requests over and over.

I Love You Through and Through 
by Bernadette Rosetti Shustak - Illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church

I got this for Ezra on Valentine's Day 2011 and it's been a favorite ever since.  The illustrations are adorable, and Ezra insists they're pictures of him.  The words are simple and rhyme and he loves to "read" it to us by looking at the pictures.  

Llama Llama Red Pajama
by Anna Dewdney

I think it's a toddler prerequisite to love this book and to love Elmo.  This one is adorable, and Ezra loves when the Mama Llama gets upset and raises her voice at Llama llama.  He always gets a twinkle in his eye and looks at me when we get to that page.  I make it extra dramatic for him.  I think we have 3 copies of this book.  We had a hard cover that was a little cumbersome for reading with a wiggly toddler on your lap, so we found one at a second hand store in town that was a smaller soft cover.  Then we got a 2nd smaller one in the mail through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which is an amazing program through the United Way that sends kids a book each month until they're 5.

Ten Tiny Babies
by Karen Katz

This is a bedtime favorite.  The book starts with one baby and adds one per page until "all ten babies are fast asleep" at the end.  I've read this one so many times I could probably recite it aloud.  I even wrote an email to Karen Katz telling her now much Ezra loves the book.  I was shocked when she replied and thanked me for emailing her.  It was a really nice email reply that I could tell she wrote herself.  This book came from Ezra's great-grandma Peggy.  Do you remember this one, Grandma?  :)

Lost and Found
by Oliver Jeffers

Oh this book.  It is so adorable.  This one is a recent addition - I got it for Ezra this past Christmas - but it's become an instant favorite.  There's no denying Ezra loves penguins.  And this story is so simple, but it evokes emotion.  Ezra says "awww!" every time we read it to him.  The next time you're in a bookstore, look for it and read it.  It's so cute.  And the illustrations are out of this world.  I know a certain little boy who will probably getting another Oliver Jeffers book for his birthday.

Have you seen any books that we should add to our collection?  I'm a sucker for a good book.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Favorite Things Friday: Laundry Things

I love doing laundry.  For real.  No sarcasm.  I enjoy it.  Frank says I fill the loads too full.  I say he doesn't fill them full enough.  When we lived in an apartment and had to bring our laundry down 2 flights of stairs to the 3 washers and 3 dryers in our building of 27 apartments... didn't so much love it then.  But I did love the days when we would take 4 baskets to the laundromat and get all the laundry done at once.

Anyway, I enjoy doing laundry.  So, mostly I do the laundry at home.  Frank likes to cook, so he does most of the cooking.  It works for us.

Because of my affection for doing laundry, I have opinions on laundry products.

Here are a few things I like.
My favorite laundry baskets are these Sterilite ones from Target.  You could probably get them other places too, but I got mine at Target.  They're sturdy and heavy duty, so they can get pushed down stairs, dropped onto concrete and used as a "car" while filled with pillows, blankets, and a 3 year old.  They're about $10 a piece, but totally worth it.

I love these babies.  They're little beads that you add to the wash to make it smell good.  That's their entire purpose.  The bottle is like the size of a 20 ounce soda, and one bottle lasts me over a month.  You just put in how much you want... for me, that's enough to barely cover the bottom of the lid.  It makes the clothes smell delicious, but not too pungent.  There are a couple different scents, but this one is my favorite.  And with this stuff, I can just buy the Purex or whatever super cheap soap is on sale this week.  I used to buy Gain and Tide for the smell... but I don't have to anymore.  The only thing that drives me nuts is how "Unstopable" is misspelled.  There should be 2 p's.  But they probably did that to trademark the name.  Oh well, it's a silly thing and it doesn't have any effect on the product.

Please excuse the terrible quality of this picture.  It was taken using my phone.  Any guesses?  Yep, it's a laundry chute.  I had NO IDEA how much we would love this baby.  It's in the hallway right outside the bathroom and the 3 upstairs bedrooms.  It is so handy.  Frank and I even said if we ever build a house, it will definitely have a laundry chute.  It's only as thick as the wall, so we have to carefully feed our jeans in from the feet and slide them down, same for towels and anything else bulky, but it sure beats lugging piles of dirty laundry down stairs.  Not to mention the fact that we don't need to have a laundry basket in our room or Ezra's for dirty laundry to bring downstairs.  It's wonderful.

Don't worry, this isn't a picture of our laundry...  but the final thing I like about our laundry situation is how we sort it.  We tried several ways before coming to a solution that seems to work for us.  We each have a laundry basket in the laundry room plus one for towels and sheets.  One of Lenon's chores every day is to sort the clothes from the laundry chute into our baskets.  We've found that once we have our dirty laundry sorted by person it's much easier to locate things.  Say I'm doing a load of jeans... I can grab a pair or 2 of jeans from each basket and know everyone has a pair, rather than having to look at size tags or dig through one massive laundry pile.  Also, we always know when someone needs clothes.  If Ezra's basket is full, I toss in a load of just his stuff, which makes it really easy when it comes to folding and putting away.  It works for us and we like it.

I've found a few recipes for making my own laundry soap.  I'm tempted to try it.  Most of them have little or no scent, which is find thanks to those Unstopables, and the cost difference is amazing.  Maybe when we run out of laundry soap I'll make some of my own.  If I do, I'll try it for a while and do a review and let you know how it goes.

Do you have any tricks or tips for laundry?