I had a personal goal of writing more this year.  My next opinion column will be published this upcoming Sunday in my town’s newspaper.  I’m writing here and have a few other pieces that I’m waiting for feedback on.  Then, a few weeks ago, I got an opportunity that excites me the most: writing for the Green Phonebooth twice a month!  I really enjoy writing about eco-friendliness, frugality, and sustainability but sometimes get a little focused on only  food here.  Enter the Green Phonebooth!  I’m so excited to share with the readers my ideas and until my first posting on January 11th, I’d like to encourage you to stop by and check out all the great posts, tips, recipes and information.  Each writer has a super hero identity and after much debate, I chose the Homegrown Mama to be mine.  That’s all I’m going to say about it, though… you’ll just have to read at the Booth!

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2012, dear readers!  Matt and I welcomed the new year quietly at home while our sweet babies slept.  I had intended to spend yesterday afternoon plotting out the month of toddler activities and menus and our family, but there was a sick little boy to care for.  As I snuggled with him in the afternoon, I decided to check through my Google reader and see what other bloggers were up to as they geared up for the new year.

Winter is not yet fully upon North Central Ohio.  As I type this, the temperature is in the 40s and it’s raining.  It’s been raining here a lot lately.  And while I’ve incorporated several Tot School concepts into our daily routine, I was looking for something else to spice up our days.  As luck would have it, I Can Teach my Child is challenging her readers to spend 15 minutes outside everyday for the next month.  She just finished reading the book  15 Minutes Outside:  365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids by Rebecca P. Cohen and was inspired.  Thankfully, the book is available for download on both the Kindle and Nook, so 45 seconds later, I was “flipping” through the pages and getting more and more excited.

I had attempted to make bird seed ornaments with Liam a few days ago, and while he was not in the mood participate, they turned out pretty well.  I had picked up a bird seed mix called the Mohican Blend for the purpose of 2 different bird seed crafts.  In this case, the seeds didn’t really work with any of the recipes I’d found online.  I played until I got the right consistency and then started pressing the birdseed into my cookie cutter.  I made a few and then realized that since I had 5 cups of birdseed in the bowl, I would be there a while if I hoped to make pretty birdseed ornaments, so I started to just place spoonfuls on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Liam got to try out his new safety scissors and cut yarn for the hanging loops and then Matt pressed the loops into the birdseed blobs.  The next morning, they were hardened sufficiently, but we waited until today to place them.

I bundled up both kids and we headed out.  Sylvi was a little bit unsure why she was bundled up so much and then held hostage in the Bumbo, but the ground was soaking wet and I didn’t really want her getting poked in the eye if I wore her while crawling around in the tree branches.  She looked on in envy as Liam ran amok in the yard while I attempted to hang the birdseed.  I’m going to have to figure out a better method for keeping Sylvi occupied while we are outside as long as there is no snow since the ground is just cold and wet.  It took us a good 20 minutes between Liam’s temper tantrum(s) and me climbing in the trees.   It was chilly and windy out, but overall, I think both kids didn’t mind it all that much.  Tomorrow we are supposed to have snow, so I am excited to go play in it!  I will have to evaluate how much participation Sylvi has in this project based on the temperatures since she’s so little yet, but I figure that she’ll come out with us most days.

This was a wonderful way to begin our new year and I’m looking forward to more opportunities to explore the outdoors as the month progresses!  I’ll be posting here periodic updates with the activities we did and if you’d like to join in, post a comment with your adventures!  Here’s to 2012 being the year of fresh, clean air for our healthy activities with our children!