Archives for October 2012

Snow? In October?

Dear Distant Family Members,

I know some of you live in Florida.  I just know you’d love to have the pitter-patter of little feet running through your homes again. I’m referring to myself if you didn’t quite get the innuendo.  I only pee on the floor sometimes.  And I can bring cute kitties for your enjoyment as well.

You see, I’m in need of assistance because I woke up to this:

No, that’s not Edward Cullen sneaking out at the wee hours of the morning (Mommy wishes!).  It’s just Daddy. Great men drive Volvos.

Seemed like fun…until I slid down the driveway.

Do you know how COLD this crapt is?  Of course you do.  That’s why you bail every Winter.

Mommy tried to make it fun.  But crashing waves? Palm trees? Warm sand?  No comparison.

P.S. Grandma–if no one replies to my request for temporary assylum, I’m going to need you to mail me a plane ticket.  Someplace tropical.  I’m not too picky. (All you can eat buffet would be nice!)  I know you know how the mail works–I got your card today.  Thanks for the monies–I think that will get me a cab to the airport.

Much Love,

Frosty the Snow Toddler

Fall Pinterest Challenge: No-Sew Road Trip Pillowcases

Pinterest Challenge

So, the 5th time is a charm, right?  When Katie and Sherry first announced the Pinterest Challenge, I was uber excited.  Then life happened. Like 4 times. So 5th time…

Let’s just say the 1st Project was a total FAIL and worthy of submission to Pinstrosity.

So I moved on to Project 2–Road Trip Pillowcases.

Road Trip Pillowcases

I kind of want one of these for myself, but decided to make one for my niece and nephews who currently live 5 hours away–aka–spend a lot of time in a car in order to visit family.

The original directions, from Amazing Mae,  call for sewing your own pillowcase and stitching the pocket on. Umm, no.  I own a sewing machine. I like my sewing machine. But this post pretty much sums up the ultimate outcome when I attempt to sew.

I bought a pack of 2 pillowcases, 2 fat quarters of fabric, and used hem tape I had on hand.

No-Sew Directions

1. Iron the pillowcase. <–LOOK! I ironed! lol.

2. Iron the fat quarter.

3. Fold 1/2″-1″ all the way around the edges of fat quarter to form hem. Iron lightly to hold.

4. Measure and cut hem tape and place under fold.


5. Place wet (not sopping wet, but more than damp) washcloth over fold and hold iron 5-7 seconds.  Check for adherence. CAUTION: Washcloth will be HOT!

6. Repeat on all 4 sides of fat quarter.

7. Position hemmed “pocket” on center of pillowcase.

8. Measure hem tape to length of pocket and place between bottom hem of pocket and pillowcase.

9. Use wet washcloth and iron to adhere.

10. Repeat on both sides.  NOTE: Do NOT adhere top edge to pillow–that’s the opening of the pocket.

Now, you could be done at this point, but I decided to do a handle to make carrying by little hands easier.  I tried using craft ribbon to form a handle and attach it with hem tape, but it wouldn’t hold.  So I folded over a strip of fabric and hem taped the edges.  I’m not sure how well this will hold.  Perhaps a date with my sewing machine is in order.

As an afterthought, I decided to add a smaller pocket on top of the large pocket for iPods or other smaller trinkets.

Speaking of trinkets, I picked up a few things that could be fun for kids during car rides.

One down, 2 more to go…

Weekly Meal Planner

Weekly Meal Planner Shopping List Free Download

Back during L.B.B. (Life Before Baby), I saw many, many, many people tout the greatness of meal planners.  I could see the benefit, but I didn’t really get it until now, when I’m trying to grocery shop (so exhausting) and cook a meal (so messy) with toddler.  I’ve tried a variety of different meal planners from Pinterest or around the blogosphere, but I couldn’t find one that worked for me.  I thought this one would do the trick because I LOVED the idea of an attached shopping list, but it just didn’t work.  And I finally realized why–I need to plan lunches, and sometimes breakfast, too.

We like to eat-in breakfast on the weekends, so I needed to make sure that I had supplies on hand for that (the world will end if the Hubs doesn’t get his bacon!).  And with the wee one eating more and more actual meals, I needed to make sure I had more nutritious lunches thought out. Granted, I don’t always write out every breakfast, but if I want to try a special recipe or we’re going to have leftovers to use in a breakfast or lunch, I want to write that down so I don’t forget (Mommy brain!).

So alas.  Here’s my contribution to the Meal Planner bombardment for any other Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner Planners like myself.

Weeky Meal Plan

(click up there, yo)

Reincarnation

I’m definitely a spiritual person, but until recently I hadn’t given much thought to the idea of reincarnation.  Reincarnation is the religious or philosophical concept that the soul or spirit, after biological death, begins a new life in a new body that may be human, animal or spiritual depending on the moral quality of the previous life’s actions (taken straight from Wikipedia).

Recently, I’ve been thinking about this.  Mostly because I’m convinced I birthed the reincarnated being of St. Francis of Assisi.

Some unprompted St. Francis kissing at Grandma’s.

St. Francis is the patron saint of animals.  There are many stories about St. Francis preaching to the animals and persuading them to act one way or the other.  Animals were often drawn to him.  Case in point:

Stray Cat 1:

Stray Cat 2:

Kittens 3, 4, & 5:

Kitten 6:

Yep. We had yet another lost soul show up this week.  As Matty and I were outside playing, I turn around to find Matthew sitting in the driveway with a kitten on his lap.  He then proceeded to pick the kitten up and carry it across the yard to me.  The kitten purred the whole time…Matthew then ran into the garage and got the cat food.  Of course, how could I tell him no?  So we fed another stray.

Then Matty gave it a nice bed to sleep in.

I’m so done with cats.  So I accosted all the neighbors and found out the kitten belongs a few houses down, but it had to make its way across a very busy intersection to make it to our house.  The owners haven’t been home for days, and every time I take it back to their porch, it beats me back home.

Old Kitty and new kitten do not get along, so perhaps St. Francis Matty can use his power of persuasion to promote peace.  Or perhaps just convince the damn thing to go home.

And yes…I see the resemblance between kitten 3 and kitten 6.  Same Baby Daddy, yo?

Trick or Treat

We prepared with a little pumpkin decorating.

Foam stickers for the wee one.

Carving for Hubby.

And of course, for the wee one who wanted to be just like Daddy. (Fear not, it’s a butter knife.)

And a quick sharpie job for me. (Does that sound dirty? Sorry.)

He’s either growing a beard or he smeared black beans all over his face. Maybe both? Ignore the weeds and half-dead mums.  A green thumb, I have not. OH, and yes, after some hard practice and dedication, he has mastered stepping down.

He watched me blow out the candle.  Now every time we go outside he has to take the top off and blow into the pumpkin…

The next day was Trick or Treat, and it also happened to be 77 degrees.  So much for a costume that involved knit hats, heavy jackets, and boots.  We started off with the Red Baron, but then decided to go with Eddie Rickenbacker.  You know, WWI American flying ace, vintage racecar driving, and owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Obviously a person every one knows…

His Grandma made the hat and scarf, and I hope to get a lot of use out of it all Winter. No reason not to dress up year-round.

We had this car on his Christmas list last year, and in exasperation of trying to finalize a costume at midnight a few weeks back, we bought a very similar one from Amazon. The price has gone up quite a bit since we bought it, though. Wow. What did people do before online shopping? Seriously.

We just tugged it along as we chased after Matty.

I think kids were born with the innate ability to Trick-or-Treat.  We didn’t do any special talks about the event, or even mention it, yet he was jacked-up all day.  Wouldn’t nap, wouldn’t eat, just happy and giddy.  When we went outside to start Trick-or-Treat, he ran to the neighbor’s house before we could even close the door.  I’m pretty sure he photobombed the pictures of their kids in costume.

He walked ran about 2/3 of the way around our block, then I carried him a few houses.  Not because he was tired, but because those houses weren’t participating.  He didn’t understand that.  He went to their porch anyway.  At two houses he stole a rock.

Our last stop (on our own block) was the house next to ours which he thinks is his personal playground.  He constantly tries to go up their driveway, so I think he was super-stoked to finally be allowed to do so.  Maybe he has “little old lady radar” because that’s who lives there.  He even blew her kisses. And plopped down in the driveway refusing to leave.

I was prepared for meltdowns stemming from wanting to eat the candy right away. I packed a baggie of “healthy candy” in the bag so I could pull it out pretending it was what he just got.  No worries.  His goal seemed to be to amass as many items in the bag as possible.

We anticipated taking him out for 15 minutes or so…after 40 minutes we called it quits and drove to visit a few neighborhood friends.  Matty did a bit more Trick-or-Treating around their houses, and helped pass out candy at one.  He even got to eat a few M&M’s and a bite of Twix bar on the way home for being such a good sport.

We did have time to pass out our goodies–no candy here!  We passed out those sticky hands and foam airplanes.  Boo-yah.  Matty also took off down the street for another lap of Trick-or-Treating.  He pretty much passed out when he got home, which left plenty of time for the hubs and I to eat all the candy and watch Big Bang Theory.  Who says having kids doesn’t pay off? 🙂

And I couldn’t resist a little last year comparison.  Apparently we’re doing a crochet hat theme each year?

Speedy-Quick Halloween Craft

Yes, that’s a Junie B. Jones reference in the title.  Probably because the last time I dressed up for Halloween I was Junie B.  Don’t worry, I was teaching 1st Grade at the time, so no one laughed at me.

Anywho.  Do you ever have those days where you plan awesome activities for your kids and they sit down, craft, follow the directions, and enjoy them? Me neither. To be fair, Matty is only 13 months old, but I thought I chose an activity that was developmentally appropriate.

Thumbprint Halloween Art

Inspiration

                              

Source

Source

My plan was to create thumbprint pumpkin, cut them out with a circle punch, and hang them on the Halloween tree.

He was NOT interested in any part of this. So I got one fingerprint. One.  What’s a mom to do? Think on her feet. And enlist the help of her husband.  We all contributed a thumbprint, and now we have a nice little family pumpkin patch.

I already had the paper and frame, so this came in at a nice little under 5 minute, $0 memento that I’ll enjoy for years.

(And ignore the horribly dirty frames–someone didn’t want to do the craft, but he likes to carry and kiss the pumpkins in the frame.  And the picture of himself.  We’re a bit narcissistic over here…)

Tales From the Crib: 13 Months

Heeeeey, Everybody! It’s me again.  It’s been a whole month since my birthday party, so I thought I’d drop in with a quick update.

Let’s talk about teeth.  Teeth are fun for chewing, ripping the lids off of containers, and playing vampire.  Teeth are not fun to grow.  In the past few months, I’ve only grown one more tooth (for a total of 9).  It’s a molar.  Whhhhy exactly did my biology think I needed one random molar?

Anyway, I think the other eleven teeth are about to pop in all at once.  Or at least that’s what it feels like when I’m waking up screaming every 45 minutes every night.  Daddy escaped to the spare bedroom faster than David Blaine in a straight-jacket.  Mommy is sticking it out in the big bed and loving me like the Godly woman she is.  She shall be rewarded by Santa at Christmas, I’m sure.

I was doing so much better on my sleep before my gums decided to rip themselves open.  I realized that Mommy and Daddy are so much happier, aka better parental units, when they get some baby-free time.  What they do during that time, I’ve yet to figure out.  Probably brush up on parenting skills or put together new surprise toys for me.  So, one day I just decided to go to bed around 7:30 and have done so for about a month.  Staying up until 11:00 during Summer was necessary, but it’s cold now, so I’ll just go cuddle in the big bed–THANKS FOR THE NEW FLEECE SHEETS, MOMMY!

I also cut down to one nap per day for about 1-2.5 hours depending on how much I want to keep Mommy guessing how tired I am. The weather is getting super-yucky, but I’ve still managed to get my outside time in.  I’ve played outside for at least an hour every day since April.  I really like sliding, swinging, stepping, playing lawnmower, riding in the stroller, hunting for rocks, smelling flowers, picking dandelions, or just walking around the block.

Ooh, and I really like waffles.  Mostly I like to put the waffles in the toaster oven and push the buttons, but I eat them, too.  Peanut butter is pretty good, too, but only if you eat it like it was meant to be eaten–with your hands.

Apparently, the more food I eat, the less I get to nurse.  So, I’ve limited my food consumption to no more than 4 bites per meal so that I can justify nursing 4,742 times per day. Just kidding! One day I didn’t nurse at all.  Not my fault it just happened to be the day Mommy and Daddy had date night and Mommy walked around all night with itchy, leaky boobs.  That’s what you get for leaving me behind. (And dancing on tables. And drinking 2 liters of beer–I’m talking to you, Daddy!)

It was Daddy’s birthday, so I stayed with Grandma while Mommy & Daddy went to Hofbrauhaus and on a Queen City Underground Tour.  Me and Mommy also made his favorite cupcakes.  Just like last year.

Aside from my obvious above-average writing skills, my verbal skills are developing quite well, too.  I’ve added “that” (dat), “yeah” (yah), Grandma (Nahnahnahma), and “dip, dip dip” to my repertoire.

Reading is still my favorite activity (besides going outside), but I really love music, too.  Mommy plays music all day and I boogie. Dance, I dance. Not to be confused with boogie (booger). Though I guess I do that too.

My favorite toys are those that require thought and engineering.  I like puzzles. And I really love my shape stacker.  It holds my attention for like a whole 10 minutes at a time (which is a lot, yo).  Thanks again, Ms. Kim! I also used some of my money to buy a train table/activity table that we filled with all kinds of blocks (Thanks Mimi and Pawpaw).  I can stack 3 high all by myself!

If you’re interested in more pictures of me, you can check out the links in the right sidebar.  Mommy can automatically upload pictures to Flickr, so you can keep up with me in real-time.  We’ve also gone legit and are making advertising monies around here, so click on a bunch of links and buy stuff.  I need to pad my college fund.  I think a large portion of it is going to replace the carpet in the Living Room–I may or may not have had a serious potty incident on the carpet this week. 

Patch O’ Pumpkins

We finally made it to the pumpkin patch this weekend.  While the weather wasn’t ideal (overcast and windy), the temperature was warm enough and the rain held out until the drive home.

We went to Suter’s Farm in Pandora, OH, and it was just chaos.  We went here last year, and thought the same thing, but thought this was only because we had a three week old with us.  Everything requires tickets, and there’s only one ticket booth–towards the back of the public area.  All of the lines for the corn maze, pumpkin cannon, and hayrides are pretty much in the same space, which is also where the snack booth, corn pit/wagon, and other small activities are.  So everyone is standing around in groups and it’s very difficult to determine where/what you’re supposed to do. However, there was a good selection of things to do.

Like the corn pit.

I wonder how deep I have to bury Mommy’s keys to stay here all day?

And a hayride. You have to pay to go on the hayride to the pumpkin patch (and also pay for a pumpkin).  The hayride was $2.50/person (kids under 2 free).  This just seems really expensive for a family of 4 or more.  They do make it a bit more than just a ride to the pumpkin patch.  All of the trees are labeled, and many kids and parents were pointing out the different types of trees.  They also stop half way and do a little animal demonstration using puppets.  This was not expected, so Eric and I were having a hard time from laughing when the guy pulls a fake raccoon out of a tub in the woods, but it was actually really neat and the kids enjoyed it.

This clown knows fish are supposed to stay in the water, right?

The prices for pumpkins were really good, yet subjective.  Big pumpkins were $2 and small pumpkins were $1.  Gourds were 4/$1.

Oooh, this one comes with squishy stuff!

Just stepping in and out of the ruts left by the wagon.  Great fun!

Is the table too little or am I too big? One of life’s greatest mysteries…

The skies were getting darker at this point, so we headed out without cider or apples, but it’s not a big deal.  We got those a few weeks ago at the Apple Festival!

And just for comparison’s sake, here’s our pumpkin patch trip from last year–Matty was only 3 weeks old (and about 17 lbs lighter). Crazy.

Halloween Reading

Now that Matty has learned to enjoy more than just 3 favorite books, I thought it was time we branch out into our first themed reading box. Ahem, cauldron. Hehe.

Favorite Halloween Books 

1. Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin?, Karen Katz


We have amassed quite a few Karen Katz books, and Matty loves them all.  He especially loves this one because it is lift-the-flap and the little girl is dressed as a kitty, which is kind of a big deal around here right now.

Activities:

• Lift the flaps!
• Touch the textures. Discuss different words-rough, sparkly, soft, smooth, etc.
• Use real-life gestures to show under, behind, in, etc. (not just lifting the flap)
• Get a small pumpkin to hide around the house. Ask “Is Matty’s pumpkin under the pillow?”, “Is Matty’s pumpkin behind the toy box?” Is Matty’s pumpkin on the chair?

2.  Halloween Dogs, Roger Priddly

Okay, I absolutely hate the words in Priddly books, but of course, Matty loves them.  And that’s the point, right? He picked this one out himself, by shouting “DOG!” and running to the display in the store.  Then he just giggled-screamed at the cover for a good 2 minutes. So  naturally, we added the book to our cart and brought it home with us.

Activities

  • Touch & Feel. Matty’s favorite page is the “Hocus Pocus” page with glittery stars.
  • There’s a page about howling dogs, where we (I) of course, howl.
  • Dress up your dog? Just kidding!, Kind of.  If we had a dog, I’d totally dress it up. Maybe Kitty will be a good sport?

3.  The Spooky Wheels on the Bus, J. Elizabeth Mills

The Wheels on the Bus is one of our faves around here, so I thought Matty would get quite the thrill out of this.  It took him a few reads to warm up to it, but he loves it now.

Activities

  • Sing!
  • There’s a CD that goes along with the book, so this could be a fun alternative.
  • Lots of hand movements, for example, instead of “the wipers on the bus goes swish swish swish”, we’ve got “the white wipers go creak creak creak” (it’s a bony hand). I dangle my arm and creak it back and forth.  Granted, Matty doesn’t fully get what I’m doing, but he sees I’m having fun, so he has fun, and that’s the point, no? Plus, after reading a book 100 times, you got to entertain yourself somehow!
  • The illustrations have lots of detail, so a great anchor to add more vocabulary.  “Do you see a ghost? There it is! It was hiding behind the driver.”  Matty isn’t able to find things on his own yet, but kids a little older can probably start finding some of their favorite items.

4.   Who Said Boo?, Phyllis Root

We just got this book today, and we’ve already read it at least 15 times.  Needless to say, we’re digging it.  It’s a lift the flap book, and the  illustrations are great.  It’s a rhyming book, and as I was reading it for the first time, I was really anticipating finding out the next rhyme (what rhymes with skeleton?!).

Activities

  • Lift the flap
  • Each page begins with “Who Said Boo?”, and on “boo” I’m sure to “scare” Matty by leaning in and saying “boo” in my scariest voice.  He likes to be scared. Weirdo.
  • At the end, all the characters shout “Eeek”, which I really draw out.  I get lots of giggles on that.
  • Each rhyme includes a Halloween character saying “No!”, which I shout and wag my finger.  Matty is already “reading along” shouting “No, No, No!” at those parts (but that’s his favorite word anyway).
  • So basically, be sure to read with expression.
  • For older kids, you could make your own rhymes to go along with the story.  For example: Who Said Boo? Was it Matty? NO! Matty was busy driving Mommy batty. Sorry, couldn’t resist…

5. Pumpkin Heads, Wendell Minor

While I love this book, I can’t believe that Matty actually does, too.  The premise of the story is all the ways the ways jack-o-lanterns are used: trick or treat decorations, scarecrows, and even on a hot air balloon.  The illustrations are more real-life drawing and would appeal to older kids, but aren’t very engaging for younger ones (or at least I don’t think so); Actually, I think a few of the images could be a bit frightening.  But Matty brings it to me and sits through repeated readings,so we keep it in rotation.

Activities

  • Matty really enjoys pointing to the eyes and noses of all the pumpkins
  • Lots of reading with expression and adding sound effects (for example, I bounce Matty on my lap for the page about hayrides and say “Yee Haw” on the page about cowboys).
  • Older kids could have lots of fun trying to find a new way to use their own pumpkin

The best part  is that we’ll be able to keep these books in our collection for at least a few more years. And yes, he’s in LOVE with the little reading corner.  I have large floor pillows next to the tree so we can snuggle and read.  The tree has been up for a week, and he hasn’t knocked it over, maimed it, or been rough with it in any way.  He does touch the lights (and smile!) and he also takes the the little decorations on and off, which I’m completely fine with  (No, I’m not worried about choking.  He’s been out of the everything-in-my-mouth stage for awhile and hasn’t tried to put these in his mouth once.  I think he really knows the difference between food and non-food substances).  I had more decorations, but figured since he’s doing so well with it, why push it?  I did try a craft today that we were going to put on the tree, but uh yeah…he’s just totally not into crafts. 🙁

Any other recommendations?

Step By Step

Step By Step, Oooh Baby…Step 1, 1,1…We can have lots of fun…

Mommy is really cultivating my love for good music, don’t ya think? I’m cool with the music as long as she doesn’t have me gelling my hair and practicing synchronized dance moves with Daddy.  Then again, that could be super fun…have you ever seen Daddy play Dance, Dance Revolution?

Oh, and for anyone who never got to see my Swimmy Class video, you can check it out now in this updated post.

http://thisgirlscanon.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/tales-from-the-crib-week-39/