FaceTime equals family time

facetime with family

This is cool: Back in February, I was interviewed and photographed for a story about video chatting with long-distance family members. I explained why we love FaceTime, plus shared a few tips on FaceTime etiquette and best practices.

The piece is supposed to appear in the April issue of HerFamily, a local magazine, but you can read it online now. And here’s some scoop from behind-the-scenes: In the second photo, you see us on FaceTime with my mom. In reality, however, she was only downstairs in my living room!

Who do you talk to via FaceTime or Skype? Do you ever use Google Hangout? I’ve only tried it once on a call with two other bloggers and thought it worked pretty well–once I figured out how to connect!

(photo by Bill Sitzmann)

Action movie kid

I saw these amazing videos on The Today Show while nursing Asa this morning and had to share. Daniel Hashimoto, a Dreamworks animator, transforms short home videos into action movies starring his kid. Aren’t they incredible? What a lucky three year old!

Bedtime books to read together

Melissa from Lulu the Baker is taking over the blog today while I’m on a brief maternity break and dealing with a case of mastitis. In addition to tenderness, the infection causes flu-like symptoms — chills, body aches, fever, and fatigue — so I’ve been trying to sleep when the baby sleeps. 

bedtime books

My favorite time of day is just before bedtime, when the kids have put on their jammies and brushed their teeth, and are snuggled against me, ready to hear stories. In the 8+ years since starting our family, we’ve amassed quite a collection of well-loved books. Our youngest is in the board book stage, and we sit in his rocking chair every day before naptime and bedtime reading books together.

Here are a few of our favorites:

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore
Sweet and funny, this book makes my kids laugh, and makes me get all choked up!

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Not all kids’ books are clever and well-written, but Bear Snores On is both!

Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
We are big fans of Sandra Boynton in our family, and this book was our introduction to her writing, and makes all of the children giggle, which, in turn, makes me giggle!

Jamberry by Bruce Degen
Jamberry has been a family favorite since I was little!

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry
I picked this book up because of the lovely illustrations, but the rhyme is fun and clever too!

Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by Gerda Muller
No words, just beautiful, beautiful pictures.

I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay
The illustrations for this book are just beautiful, and the poetry is equally lyrical!

And missing from the photo, but only because it is so beloved that it was taken on a trip and misplaced…

Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan
The illustrations are adorable, and the writing is so lovely and sweet.

What are your favorite bedtime books to read aloud with your kids?

Jimmy Fallon’s best musical performances

If you asked me about a month ago to choose between The Colbert Report and The Tonight Show, which air at the same time, I would’ve picked Stephen Colbert’s late-night talk show. Jay Leno was simply unwatchable.

But ever since Jimmy Fallon became the new host of The Tonight Show, I’ve started flipping between Comedy Central and NBC. It’s obvious that Jimmy Fallon is having fun as host of the late-night talk show, which, in turn, makes the show more fun to watch.

His enthusiasm is especially apparent during comedy sketches, games with celebrities, and musical performances. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon probably has the best musical moments on late-night TV. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

OK, so maybe I’ve never seen Footloose. (Unless Footloose the Musical counts.) But as a fan of anything 80s-related, I loved that Kevin Bacon recreated a scene from the movie shot-by-shot (or so I’ve been told).

So I haven’t see Frozen, either. But I did see Adele Dazeem Idina Menzel perform the award-winning ballad on the Oscars. This acoustic version using classroom instruments is just about the most adorable thing ever. Fun fact: The wooden L, I, and G (for “Let It Go”) blocks that Jimmy is playing belong to his daughter!

Seriously? Could Billy Joel and Jimmy Fallon be any more entertaining? I love that they used an iPad app to sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” in 4-part harmony — and that their performance sounded soooo good.

(And in case you were wondering, I have seen Billy Joel live in concert!)

Which is your favorite late-night talk show? Or are you already asleep by the time they air? I’m usually feeding Asa when The Tonight Show starts.

Mixed berry and granola parfaits

Katie from Meyers Styles is taking over the blog today while I’m on a brief maternity break!

mixed berry and granola parfait

Hi everyone! I’m so excited that PJ is allowing me to step in while she’s on maternity leave and share one of my favorite recipes with you. This treat has pretty much become my go-to snack any time I’m looking to appease my sweet tooth (with something other than my typical ice cream fix, of course). And, even despite these chilly temps we’ve been having, this parfait somehow still manages to makes it feel as though summer really is right around the corner!
mixed berry and granola parfait

MIXED BERRY & GRANOLA PARFAITS

Ingredients:

  • Fresh berries (or a 12 ounce bag of frozen mixed berries)
  • 12 ounces fat free Greek yogurt divided into two bowls (I used Chobani)
  • Granola (I used Kind Healthy Grains)
  • 4 ounces fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries) for topping

Instructions:

1. Mixed Berry Sauce: Heat frozen berries in saucepan over medium high heat with three tablespoons of water for 6 minutes. When berries are hot and start bursting, reduce heat to medium. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes until berries form a sauce. Let cool completely (or put in refrigerator to cool faster.)

2. Combine half of the mixed berry sauce into the first bowl of Greek yogurt and stir. Yogurt will turn into a deep blue.

3. Layer the plain white Greek yogurt, mixed berry sauce, and granola for a festive look. Top with berries of choice – blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries.

Does anyone else have any great must-try parfait recipes?