Sep 02

The Best of Summer 2014

by Hannah Holt »

Comments Off on The Best of Summer 2014

You know you’ve been away from blogging for a while when you have trouble remembering your password. Yikes. Has it really been that long?

This was an intense summer for me—mostly in a good way. But having all four kids home all day was a whirlwind of busy. With my two oldest children starting school today, I feel like I can finally sit down and check in again.

So, hi. Hello. Thanks for hanging with me. I have many fun crafts and activities planned for this fall, but first I want to take one last look at summer.




1. Our (mostly) finished backyard

2. Swimming at Sauvie Island

3. Summer randomness…I walked in to my room to find a rocking horse and two desk lamps in my bed. Everyday there was something like this in multiple places around the house.

4. These beautiful little sea creatures called Velella velella washed up on the Oregon Coast in droves this year.

5. Lion-dog from the Portland Japanese Gardens

6. Camping in the rain

7. These berries aren’t ripe, but we went berry picking. A lot.

8. Big boat, little boat on the Columbia River


Feb 04

Where Is Tel Aviv? (And Fractions Of Course!)

by Hannah Holt »

one comment

My blog has been a little quiet lately. Part of the reason for that is my husband is on an extended business trip to Tel Aviv, and I’ve been extra involved with toddler wrangling.

At the beginning of his trip, my kids would ask, “Where is Daddy?”

I would say, “Israel,” and that was good enough for them. End of conversation.

But now they want to know more. Where is Israel? Where exactly in Israel is Daddy? How far away is it?

I would tell them, “Daddy is 6,887 miles away.”

Miles don’t mean much to a six-year-old, so we tired to think about it another way.

Daddy is 371,000 blue whales away or 110 million matchbox cars away or 121,000 soccer fields away.*

The only problem is my six-year-old recognizes numbers like thousand and million, but they are just big numbers…impossibly big numbers. And that makes Daddy feel far away.

When going big doesn’t work, sometimes it helps to think small. So I helped him learn about numbers less than 1–fractions.

Here is the earth:


{one earth}

If you roll it out flat like a map, it looks sort of like this:


If you draw a line down the middle, you would be halfway around the earth.

half earth

{halfway, 1/2, 50%}

You can see that our daddy is not even halfway around the earth. In fact, he would have to travel about three times the distance to Tel Aviv to travel all the way around the earth.

third earth

{one-third, 1/3, 30%}

Compared to the entire distance around the earth, our daddy is not so far away.

*If you want to check my fraction multiplication for the distance between Portland, Oregon and Tel Aviv, Israel in blue whales, soccer fields, and matchbox cars, here is my work:

fraction multiplication final

Dec 29

My Christmas Project

by Hannah Holt »

Comments Off on My Christmas Project

This year we did a homemade Christmas. I thought it would simplify  the season and make it more meaningful.

It did make the season more meaningful, but simplify…not so much.

I made a personalized fan art for my nieces and nephews.

The first step was easy. I googled high resolution images of their favorite characters, printed these, and copied the scene using tracing paper and pencil.


After the initial sketch I went over all the lines heavily with a #2 pencil.

Then using a family photo, I traced in an additional character (or in this case a new face):


{Here I taped the tracing paper right to my computer screen using masking tape. This made it easy to zoom in and out until the picture was the right size for the picture.}

Once I had all the lines the way I wanted them. I took my tracing and transferred it to 140lb watercolor paper by placing the drawing face down and rubbing the back with pencil.


This makes a light mirror image copy on the new paper:


From there on out it just became a a process of coloring in the lines with watercolors:


Peter pan fan art

So it wasn’t overly difficult, but it was time consuming, especially considering I made five of these this month. But it was fun and it felt good when they finally all went out in the mail.

Happy holidays all!





Nov 14

Job Jar for Tots

by Hannah Holt »


My children went through a phase a while ago where all their speaking vowels became extra extended. It sounded something like this: “I waaaant peanut butter. I doooon’t like tuuuuna.”

And this, “I waaant to plaaaaay. Plaaaay with meeee nooooow.”

It was driving me crazy, so I created a job jar for whining.  Every time a child came to me with “the voice,” I sent them to pulled a popsicle stick from the jar. The sticks had a variety of tasks written on them. They included things like:

  • give someone a hug
  • pick up three toys and put them away
  • draw a picture for Grandma
  • find two pieces of paper on the ground to recycle
  • pick a toy to share with your brother

The tasks were all simple things that 1) required almost no supervision on my part and 2) redirected their behavior. After a child understood their job, I had them put the stick back in the jar to use again later.

I’m not sure whether or not the job jar made this phase shorter, but it made it easier for me to pass through it. And that is a small victory in itself.

Me = 1, Whining = 0

Sep 20

Potty Training Twins (the Lazy Way)

by Hannah Holt »


It’s not that I’m getting more lazy as a parent (cough, cough). No, surely that isn’t it. However, this time around I didn’t feel overly motivated to start potty training.

For one thing, there are two of them:

potty training twins

Also our summer schedule was crazy. But my biggest reason for the delay was this: I follow the golden rule of potty training…

Positive Reinforcement Only

This rule is about me, not them. Forget potty training in three days. Forget potty training before a certain age or stage; I simply want to be a happy and supportive mother during the process. And up until recently, I was a post-moving apocalyptic mess.

So yes, the babes needed to be ready for potty training. But even more importantly I needed to be ready. ‘Cause I have to be able to smile and say, “Ooooh that was so close!” when they step in their own poop and run around the living room.

Here’s how I approached potty training with my multiples:

1) I didn’t even think about potty training until BOTH twins were giving readiness signs (vocalizing and recognizing body functions, plus an interest in the toilet). Hey, I only wanted to do it once. Perhaps this was unfair to the twin who was ready first, but she never seemed upset about staying in diapers. So we just rolled with it.

2) Even after that I waited until all major family stresses were over: until after we moved and settled into our new house, my older boys started school, and we were in a stable daily routine. I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t work on too much while potty training… So if a child needs speech or behavior therapy, it might be good to hold off a little longer on potty training.

3) Keep them in diapers or pullups until they consistently poop in the potty. Cleaning urine spills isn’t so bad. The other one… Phew! Giving my twins a safety net, eased the stress for both of us. Some people think keeping children in diapers during potty training just delays their ability to recognize body signals. It does. But I wasn’t concerned about potty training within a certain time frame. Just maintaining sanity.

4) I purchased multiple potty seats for my little multiples because often little bladders need to GO RIGHT NOW MOMMY at the same time.

5) Congratulate attempts as well as successes. One of my twins mastered potty training first, but I encouraged both girls equally. As long as they sat on the potty, they received congratulations, hugs, and high-fives. Yes, there were a lot of false trips. Yes, there were times we all hung out in the bathroom for thirty minutes or more. It’s all part of the process.

6) Remember your multiples will be potty trained before their sixteenth birthday… probably. Who cares if your three-year-old is still in diapers? So what if they can’t start preschool next year? It will happen. Stay positive. Less stress equals more success. If you start and they need to go back in diapers, embrace it. It’ll all be okay in the end.

We are now a (mostly) diaper free home. Wahooooo!