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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fever

Hubby took this week off.  Christmas week and what could be better than your husband taking a week off to spend with his family?  This is even more true when the kids are also home and are excited to have him be there.

That is unless you're sick.
And your 4 year old.

Wednesday I was out and about and noticed that I couldn't seem to warm up.  I mean I really couldn't warm up.  I was tired so I went to bed early wearing sweatpants, sweatshirt, turtleneck and socks... and I was still cold.  For some reason this didn't concern me too much, I just thought I was still cold from being outside... 6 hours earlier.  My back was also hurting but again, I assumed it was from the activities I had been doing earlier in the day.  Once in bed, I continued to wake up every 30 minutes or less until around midnight when I finally fell asleep for good.  Or rather I was asleep for good until Monkey came in our room crying.

Monkey had woken up with a bad dream.  Usually the best thing for him is to give him a hug and walk him back to bed.  By now I really wasn't feeling good (was it because it was 3am, I wasn't sure), but I told Hubby to do just that.  He came back in our room a little while later and announces that he has a fever of 103.5.  Now any normal mother would have gotten up to take care of her baby, I could barely move.  (Please give me some credit, I did question when we were supposed to go to the hospital, we've never had fevers that high.  I told Hubby where the medicine was as well.  I'm not completely cold hearted.)  I left the nurse-care to Hubby and collapsed backwards, woke up a half hour later and he still wasn't in bed.  I figured Hubby would have gotten me if he needed me so I fell back asleep again.

The next day the 2 of us were fairly miserable although Monkey did seem to bounce back from it sooner.  I slept.

For the next 3 days I slept all day and went to bed early.  I ate and drank almost nothing and watched my own fever get up to the mid 103's.  I hate crazy sick fever dreams that only occur when you are truly sick, i.e. not staying at home because you have a "headache" when really your headache is an Algebra test you aren't prepared for.  Now at one point in my life being able to sleep all day would have been wonderful (mostly in my early teens when, yes, I was capable of sleeping until 11am) but now that I'm a Grown Up, I actually had plans for our week of with Daddy.  I had ideas and places we could go to, me sleeping on the couch was not one of them.  At all.

To be fair though, I'm happy he was home.  It may not have been the best vacation for him but I'm not sure how I could have handled it on my own.  He did everything, feeding them and taking them to speech, and taking care of me.  A couple of times he called me into the kitchen to eat and I sat up to go and collapsed back down.  When that happened he would bring me food and then clear away the almost completely untouched plate.

Sunshine was awesome too.  Someday she is going to make a great nurse, doctor, vet - mom.  She would come and gently rub my back, cuddle next to me but not on me.  She would make sure no one was fighting so I could rest and she made sure I had water to drink.  Monkey brought me water too, he gave it to me and said, "I brought you water Mommy.  Wasn't that nice of me?  It's because I love you so much."

I'm not sure how people are able to do everything on their own as it is and I can't imagine doing it when I'm that sick.

The silver lining in all of this?  I've lost all of the holiday weight I gained in a matter of 3 days.  I really am a lucky girl.

Vicky

Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas Day!


Santa did indeed visit our house, however, he does not give the best presents.  Usually he'll give the smaller toys or games not the big presents.  This year was unusual, Santa gave the family a Wii, it wasn't for one particular person though and all the other gifts under the tree were from us.  I spend too much time, thought, energy and not to mention money, to let some fat stranger get all the glory.  Maybe it's a little selfish, but I want the thank you and the great big hug.  I also want them to be able to say thank you for that amazing gift they just received.  Sunshine wanted a microscope, we managed to find one on Amazon for an amazing deal and she was so excited to get it.  It's a digital one that hooks up to the computer and has a 50x power.  Not quite strong enough to see on the cellular level, but we were able to see all the little beads of moisture on Hubby's fingertips and the dry barren dessert of my fingertips.  Monkey wanted superhero stuff and was ecstatic when he received them.  Although he would have been happy if we had stopped after his first gift; a double sleeve shirt of Snoopy with a mustache.  Bug didn't want to open anything.  They had each gotten their own container of Teddy Grahams in their stocking and they were all he wanted.  I was practically forcing him to open the presents.  He got some basic toys, he's 2 and doesn't have much of an opinion on what he does or does not want.  Once the Teddy Grahams were gone he was much more excited about the toys.  His favorite was a train and a car carrier.

A morning of presents led to more presents at my parents.  More presents and more food.  Imagine 15 people and 5-10 gifts for each person.  It's absolute chaos.  Paper was not being thrown this year as Bug was doing a good job keeping the floor clean.  Throwing wrapping paper is such a pet peeve of mine.  Really?  You have to wad something up into a tight little ball and whip it at someone?  Gee, big surprise when something gets broken or someone says ouch.  It really, really annoys me.  I know everyone thinks I'm being ridiculous and I don't have (Christmas spirit?) but at what point did this wrapping paper ritual become a holiday tradition?  Anyways, Bug kept the floors clean and we didn't need to worry about paper being thrown.  There were no tears about someone else getting something they wanted, only a slightly upset niece that wanted to do one of her crafts with her 2 cousins but her craft thing was paint.  She got over it and then that was it.

Dinner was good, dessert was good, spending time with family was good.

It was a wonderful Christmas with our families and what more could you really ask for.

Vicky

Merry Christmas Eve!

What a fun Christmas!  Bug was truly old enough to understand presents this year and enjoyed opening his presents, Monkey "yuvs" everything, and Sunshine is grateful for and to everyone.  Big hugs and huge thank you's were given freely and frequently.  They all found the spirit of the season and enjoyed giving possibly even more than receiving.  They picked things out for each other and chose things they felt their sibling would truly like.  Sunshine was sick when we went shopping but was still able to find something and she truly enjoyed wrapping the presents and giving them to her brothers.  She, with the help of my mom, made me an apron.  It was completely her idea and except for the cutting out part, she sewed the whole thing, then she "hid" it under her bed.  I use the word hid loosely as she told me not to look under her bed because she hid my present under there.

Christmas Eve was at our house with my in-laws.  My father-in-law was sick and wasn't able to make it.  It must have been pretty bad as he doesn't normally admit when he's not feeling well.  My mother-in-law, brother-in-law and his wife and their 3 year old daughter were also there.  I decided to be wild and crazy with our dinner and do a bunch of experimental foods, because, after all, the best time to try new foods is on a major holiday!  We had cream of mushroom soup (I had made it the week before as a test run and Hubby and I devoured it), goose (I've never even had goose), apple pie (never made a homemade pie), apple/currant stuffing (sounded pretty good), mashed potatoes, green beans, fruit salad, and cranberry relish.  Everything turned out good and everyone seemed to like everything.  The pie crust recipe was for a 10" pie and my pie dish was 9", I should have just left some and not used it but I couldn't get myself to throw it away.  I ended up having a fairly thick crust, good, but thick.

After dinner was presents, lots of presents.  The kids all seemed happy with what they got though which is always nice.

Following presents was church.  Monkey enjoyed some of the Christmas carols and announced it, loudly, when the song was over.  I figured it was better than a whining child complaining they were bored and was it time to go home.  

After church we came home, left some cookies out for Santa, some water for the reindeer (they get thirsty you know, mom) and the sending the kids off to bed so we could finish doing all the last minute stuff.


Vicky

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's not the end of the world, or is it?

Today is the end of the world.  Honest, that's what I've been told again.  It must be true because I was told that an ancient culture made an amazing calendar that suddenly ended on December 21, 2012.  Of course they say they didn't take into account leap year.  This amazing, accurate culture forgot a day every 4 years.  It couldn't possibly be that maybe, oh, I don't know, they got tired and didn't want to continue making a calendar, the stars aligning was a perfect reason to stop.  There couldn't possibly be a better event than complete line up of all these stars and planets so they should stop while they were ahead.  Regardless, the Mayas who created this are probably laughing their asses off.  Current day Mayas are probably mortified so many people have put so much faith in this event, even enough to make a movie out of it.

Of course we still have a few hours before December 21, 2012 ends.  Just like New Year's, the day can't officially be over if people are still partying in Hawaii and it's only 10am over there.  We still have 14 hours folks before the end of the world has officially passed.

That said, last night Hubby and I spent about 3 hours wrapping presents.  We wrapped and wrapped and wrapped.  I suddenly realized, if tomorrow is the end of the world I was going to be pretty pissed if I just spent my last day wrapping all these presents for nothing.

Vicky

Friday, December 14, 2012

What Animal Am I?

The kids love this game.  We've spent many of hours in the car playing this game.  Many hours.  Sometimes they do very original animals, other times we hear their favorite animals over and over again.  (It's very difficult to not guess cheetah when Monkey has said a yellow animal with spots when his favorite animal is a cheetah.)  Sometimes it's not as easy to guess.  Especially when animals change halfway through.

Sunshine:  I'm an animal that is gray.
Monkey and I begin guessing, they had been on a water animal trend so we started there:  "Fish, shark, monkey (not a water animal but it IS brown)"
Sunshine: "Monkey, I said brown, sharks are gray"
She gives us another clue.
Sunshine:  "They live in the water.  Well they sometimes live water.  Wait, they actually don't live in the water at all."
Very confused so we do more random guess: "Bear, monkey (you have to sometimes repeat things)."
Monkey: "Pups"
Sunshine:  "Puppies!  Puppies don't live in the water."
Monkey:  "NO!  Not puppies, PUPS.  You know those animals that are called pups."
I've realized what it is and wait a second to see if they figure it out.  They don't.  Or Sunshine is too stubborn to admit it.
Me:  "Do you mean seals or sea lions?"
Monkey:  "Yes!"
Sunshine:  "No, he said pups!"
Me:  "Baby sea lions and seals are called pups."  (Thank you PBS for this argument.)
Sunshine: "But that doesn't make sense!  Puppies are baby dogs!"
Me:  "Ok, well baby seals are also called pups.  Good job both of you.  It's my turn."

I choose my animal.  It was a bison.  Sunshine guessed it not by name but "that animal with the beard".  Close enough.

Then came Monkey's turn.  Monkey's are always... interesting.

Monkey:  "I am an amimal that's red and orange."
Me and Sunshine:  "Bird, fish, frog."
Monkey:  "No., and I live in the water."
Sunshine:  "Fish (remember what I said about repeating), octopus."
Monkey:  "I'm kind of big, but not super, super big, and I'm red and orange."
Sunshine:  "Are you a shark?"
Monkey:  "They're not red and orange!"  He says this with a 'duh' sound in his voice.
Sunshine:  "Maybe some are."
There is a long pause and I know...
Monkey:  "Yes.  It's a shark."
Sunshine:  "Monkey!  You said it wasn't a shark!"
Monkey:  "OOOHHH!!!  I didn't know you meant an orange and red  shark!"

And this is how he manages to make his turns last 3 times longer than everyone else's.  I sometimes don't think he always knows what he's going to say until something sounds good.

Vicky

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dream a little dream

Monkey isn't a morning person.  At all.  He is like me (again) and could sleep through just about anything and sleep until someone decides to wake him up.  Even when he wakes up on his own it still takes him a while to wake up.  Sunshine is a morning person (usually) and truly takes after her nickname.  She wakes up bright and sunny, ready to start the day (I don't know where she gets this from, neither Hubby nor I are like this).

The other day, Sunshine wakes up and crawls into bed with me and Hubby.  It was a school day but Hubby had taken the day off.  Regardless, she was cuddling and not wanting to get out of the warm bed.  Bug was sleeping.  For the time being.  After coercing Sunshine out of bed and telling her to go get dressed she keeps doing a loud whisper.  "Ssshhhh, Bug is sleeping!"  Please don't wake him up, he doesn't like being woken and I prefer not to have a clingy baby at 7:00.  As she's walking past his room, Monkey comes out of his bedroom.  Laughing.  He's talking in, what we call, his 'loud Monkey voice', and announces (loudly), "I just had da funniest dream.  We were all flying in da clouds and there were burds all over da place."

How can you be mad at a little boy who is happy as soon as he wakes up and wants to share his excitement with you.

A couple of days later was his parent/teacher conference at his preschool, the teachers were telling me how he came in the other day laughing about how he had been flying.  Apparently, it was a very funny dream.

Vicky

Forgetful

I don't know what happened to me.  I never used to be like this, maybe it happened when Sunshine started school or maybe when I was pregnant and pregnancy brain never really completely left and I've forgotten what I used to be like.  Or maybe my brain is just used to too many mundane things that having to think is painful so it chooses to shut down.  Regardless, I have decided that I am just plain forgetful.  I have things written down and I forget the paper.  If it's on the computer, I forget once I leave the computer.  Hubby now knows that if he wants me to do something after I hang up the phone he needs to have me write it out or he'll email me as well; not because I won't do it, but because as soon as I hang up my brain forgets.  I have been known to call someone (my sister) and by the time I push the TALK button, I have forgotten that I was going to call someone.  She has been on the other line, yelling trying to get my attention before it dawns on me that Oh yeah, I was making a phone call.  If there was an actual reason to the phone call that is long gone.  Who the heck forgets they are making a phone call, mid-call? (I'd like to add that I had a thought of a sentence less than 2 minutes ago and have since forgotten it.  It was supposed to go before the last sentence and it was an awesome one, but alas, it too is gone.)

I suppose the good thing is no one should feel bad about me forgetting their special day.  I forgot Hubby's birthday.  Now this may seem like just a bad wife thing to do, but I knew it was his birthday, even the day before I knew it was his birthday.  How could I NOT know it was his birthday, after all, his birthday is the day before mine.

So when I forgot my parents' anniversary (again, I remembered the week before and even mentioned something about it to my mom) I felt really bad, but then I realized, if I can forget my husband's birthday I suppose I can forget anyone's birthday.  As long as it's not the kids'.

I have since gotten a smart phone and I'm hoping that it will some how be my savior.  Alarms are going off, bells are ringing, chimes are chiming.  I won't forget to pick my son up at preschool, take my medicine, or go to speech.  I have my calendar on me at all times, this is going to work.

I'm sure of it.

Vicky

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Meet My Monkey

Monkey is a slow-poke.  Especially in the morning.  My mom says it's payback for all the times I was the last to be ready to go somewhere (I think she's exaggerating a bit) but regardless, Monkey IS the one I'm always telling to hurry up.  Always.  I suppose I need to get him moving 15 minutes before everyone else but I keep thinking there is no reason it will take him more than half an hour for him to put clothes on.

Yesterday was no exception either.  All that needed to happen was shoes, socks and coat on and finish his granola bar.  I decided that I'd help out and put the socks on him but left the shoes on the kitchen chair next to him.  I can't do everything, right?

And here is our conversation:
Me: "Come on Monkey, we need to get going."
Monkey: "I'm eating my granola bar."
Me: "Then stop playing with Bug, turn around and eat."
Monkey: "Ok."  He turns around, and continues to talk to Bug who has decided that it would be best to lean across the table so he could play with Monkey.  Monkey can't get in trouble if he's not turned around.  Or at least that seems to be the thought process the 2 of them had.  They continue to giggle and poke at each other.
Me: "Stop goofing around Monkey.  If you're done with the granola bar we can save it for later."  I often wonder if they force themselves to eat out of fear, worried they may not get this snack for weeks.
Monkey: "I'm still eating, Mommy."  

I make sure I have everything I'm going to need: Keys, wallet, coat on Bug and myself, shoes.  Everything is done.

Me: "Ok Monkey, it's time to be done."  He's been eating these granola bars (it's one of those crunchy granola bars with 2 in a package) for about 20 minutes.
Monkey: "Can I save these for later?"  He's only eaten half of each by the way
Me: *sigh* "Yes, I'll put them on the counter.  Let's put your shoes and coat on and get going."
Monkey: "I don't know where my socks are."
Me: "They're on your feet!"
Monkey: "Oooohhhh!  I didn't know that.  That's so funny.  I don't remember them being on my feet."  He is genuinely surprised almost amazed that he his socks have magically appeared on his feet.
Me: I don't know what to say to this, all I can think is - This is Monkey in a nutshell.

Vicky

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Carrot and a Pineapple

Sunshine loves telling stories.  I suppose most kids do, but she will tell a story the whole drive to my mom and dad's house, a good 30-40 minute drive.  Arguing will cease and Monkey will sit there quietly and listen to her.  She often follows a similar storyline, it usually has animals as the characters and they always have very unique names.  She takes great pains in her stories bu she doesn't seem to want to stop and think too long about the names of her characters.  Often they will rhyme with whatever odd 2 syllable word she spit out.

We're sitting in the car today (on the way to my parents' house) and she is telling a story to Monkey.  It begins, "Once upon a time there were five ducks (there are the animals) whose names were Sella, Bella and Pella. [pause here, Sella ended up turning into Stella and Pella ended up being Rosie, probably because of some books she's been reading - about 2 dogs, Bella and Rosie]."  So they continue doing whatever it was they were doing and the 3 ducks meet up with the other 2 ducks, "Carrot and Pineapple".

The 5 ducks decide to make a necklace and must decide what they should use.  Porcupine quills?  No, their mommy doesn't like porcupines.  Fish?  No, there aren't any fish in the pond.  The Mommy duck ends up getting a necklace made out of  wire.  Ouch.

She continues her story and it is indeed unique and entertaining.  So I ask her, is Carrot a boy or a girl?  She tells me a boy.  What about Pineapple?  Pineapple is also a boy.  Really? Boys?

I'm a little concerned about my future grandchildren.

Vicky

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bittersweet

My kids have never been fast talkers.  Sunshine being the earliest talker, was still behind by many people's standards though not so far behind she needed any kind of early intervention (I know this because we had her tested).  Monkey started saying a few words around 15 months but stopped around 18 months.  At this point he began walking (all 3 were a little late on walking as well).  We were told that late walkers are usually late talkers since their brains can only handle one major skill at a time.  So Monkey began his speech therapy at 2 1/2 with a whopping vocabulary of 20 words.

It wasn't a big surprise when Bug didn't begin walking until he was 15 months and is very limited in his speech.  So off to speech we go to get him evaluated and have what we already know confirmed:  Bug is going to need some speech intervention.

The thing about having a late walker and then a late talker is you keep them a baby longer.  You coddle them a bit more and when you look at them, you don't see a 2 year old throwing a tantrum,  you still see "your baby" who doesn't understand.  Now let me tell you, Bug?  he understands what you're telling him.  He will do things (when he feels like it), but make no mistake, he understands you.  He just can't talk back to you.  Yet.

Because of his lack of speech, he has made up some of his own hand signals, aka sign language.  One of those is clapping.  At the end of his nighttime prayer.  We say our prayers and instead of saying "Amen" he does 1 clap.  Sometimes 2.  It is the cutest thing.

Or at least it was.

Now he's learning to talk.  He's beginning to stop all of these adorable little signs and gestures that are still such a baby thing to do even though he's certainly not a baby.  He is growing up and I'm not ready.

Vicky

Monday, December 3, 2012

Patch Toys Review

There are some things that surprise me and some things that surprise me more than others.  Patch Toys is one of those things that surprises me more than others.  I recently received some games to review from Patch Toys, their 3 "Big Little Games"; Spurtle Turtle, Flingin' Frogs, and Super Shooter Basketball, as well as Cluck-n-Chuck.  In addition they also sent me the ultimate circle-what-you-want-Santa-to-bring-you catalog.  





Before I begin, I must say, the Big Little Games are awesome, they all have 3 things in common: affordable, each game costs $8.99, they are small and therefore transportable, ready and willing to go to Grandma's for a visit, and the pieces all store in the main part of the game.  If you are a family that is continually losing pieces or the boxes constantly break, or the box breaks and the pieces fall out, these pieces are all contained.

Spurtle Turtle
2 or more players - Ages 3+

A very fun twist on a memory/matching game.  This cute little turtle shoots out little discs for players to match up.   There are 20 pieces (10 matches), enough that most kids at age 3 will not be overwhelmed or discouraged but will not bore quickly.  If you have a little one younger than 3 (such as Bug), you can flip the pieces over and let them find the little fish and underwater sea creatures and have it as a recognizing/matching type of game.



 Flingin' Frogs
1-4 Players - Ages 4+



This game is a big leap (sorry for the pun) in difficulty.  The object is to have your own little frog jump up onto the lily pad.  The lily pad is tiered, the higher the tier, the smaller the pad, the smaller the pad, the more points it is worth.  The ultimate goal is to land in the lily pad flower at the tip top of the tiers.  It is definitely harder than you first think, the little frogs like to jump or slide off the lily pad.  It does make it more fun though for parents when they are playing with their kids. I can play with the kids and really enjoy the challenge (ok fine, I played with the game even when they weren't around).  The kids won't outgrow this game in a year either, which is always good to know.


With a little finagling, I was able to get the lid on the bottom with all frogs, lily pads and flower.

Proof that you can get the frog in the lily pad as well as the top lily pad (for a grand total of 90 points!).

Super Shooter Basketball
1 or more players - Ages 5+



A fun, ball flinging/flying/shooting game that both boys and girls enjoy and are able to play with a friend (sister) or by his/herself.  This game is great, Monkey will be 5 in January and is able to play by himself or with a friend.  We do need to be aware of the 3 balls it came with as Bug enjoys taking balls and running off with them but that's a whole different issue.  Having 3 of them is also nice, if one does happen to get lost, the game won't be ruined.


I wasn't as good at this one as I was the frogs, but then again, basketball wasn't ever my sport.

Cluck-n-Chuck
2-4 players - Ages 4+


Now this is a fun and somehow wild game.  Then again, my kids can make most things wild.  Cluck-n-Chuck is adorable, you push the little chicken coop down and race against the coop's internal timer (no batteries needed - woohoo!) when the time is up the roof of the coop pops up and the chickens along with it.  I was a bit concerned, I had visions of little chickens popping across the family room floor, in reality it does just enough of a bounce to startle the kids, have the chickens bounce off a bit, and make the kids laugh (or squeal if they are my kids).  The directions are pretty easy and basic; everyone gets a bunch of different colored chickens, roll the die, and get all of your chickens on top of the coop before anyone else and the coop pops up.  The fast pace of the game was fun and had the kids bouncing around on their knees waiting for their turn.


Push it down


and it pops up.
If your coop pops up and your chickens go in rainbow order, I will be absolutely amazed and would love to see the pictures of it!


How can you NOT love these chickens when they are in a rainbow!

Cluck-n-Chuck sells for $16.99.


All in all, I would say that any of these games would be a welcome addition to a preschooler's toy and game collection.  To buy one of these games or any of the other dozens of games Patch Toys sells, you can visit them at their website.

Vicky

Although I received these products for review, all opinions are my own.  I received no monetary payment to do this review.  Thank you Patch Toys for this opportunity.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Snowy owl craft

My Daisy troop did a fun and easy craft that they were still able to put their own mark on.  We're working on the 5 Flowers, 4 Stories, 3 Cheers for Animals journey.  This was a great craft that was clean, as we were meeting in the school library that meeting, and required little help from the adults.  Also a huge bonus.

What you need:

Pinecones - I used the ones from my neighbor's tree.  They're the kind with the flat bottom that you often see used with Christmas decorations.
5-6 cotton balls per pinecone
google eyes - We had some that were self sticking and my practice had regular glue, I think I preferred good ole Elmer's for this particular project
Brown fleece
White fleece
Glue or glue stick

Directions:
-Take the cotton balls and slightly pull them apart to make them look like cotton candy, then stuff it in the openings and all around the pinecone
-Cut out the feet and the wings and use an extra little triangle from the brown fleece to make the beak
-Attach* the feet, wings, eyes, and beak by putting the glue on [the beak, wing, eye, beak], not on the cotton ball or pinecone.  Happy flying!
*If you have girls that are a little heavy handed with the glue, you may want to use the glue stick, the glue will ooze out a bit through the fabric if you use too much.

Some of the girls were quite creative and used their extra material clippings to make accessories for their birds.  We had owls wearing aprons and hats when we left!  Others were able to get their owl's wings to stick out to make it look like it was flapping.

This is Sunshine's owl.  She said that her owl was cold!

Vicky

ChiTAG Fair

Well we went to the ChiTAG Fair this weekend and, no surprise, had a great time.  The one downfall was that it was absolutely gorgeous out and we spent what was probably the last nice weekend of the year inside, but at least we had fun and we were together.  Which is the most important.

The sheer volume of toys and games, people and booths is overwhelming.  Where to start?  What to look at?  What to play with?  Bug had his opinion pretty much immediately and wanted to ride on a little riding toy.  He had a bit of a hard time as it was meant for children 3 and over but Monkey, Sunshine and my niece all had a great time on them.  I had to finally get them out of there and let other kids have a turn.  The others, understanding there was more to see, wanted to keep going; Bug was dragged, screeching and kicking.

Before the screaming incident.

My baby Bug doesn't stay upset for long though.

Once again, the Citiblocs were a huge hit, for big kids

As was the Plan Toy area although this year all 3 of them enjoyed it.

I couldn't get Bug to hold still for a shot, I thought it was fitting to get him when he was going crazy on the rocking horse.

I found some great toys that I will definitely keep in mind for my kids as well as nieces, nephews, and friend birthday gifts.  All 3 kids had a great time and both boys and mommy fell asleep on the way home.

Vicky

Monday, November 19, 2012

Birthday party!

Bug was a trooper for his party.  He went down for his nap at 12:30 instead of 1:00-2:00 and slept through everyone coming in, talking, and the dog barking.  He even managed to sleep through the next 45 minutes and stayed asleep until almost 3:00 which, considering there was so much noise and chaos, was pretty impressive.

He wore his Halloween costume but insisted on trying on his new coat that he received as a gift.  Off came the costume and on went the coat.  He would have put the snow pants on but we were able to hide them from him for a bit.

I found a cake on pinterest, apparently an oldie, my mom told me she did the exact same thing for my sister.  It was easy and adorable.  Well when I say easy, I mean it was easy to decorate.  I had a bit of a problem getting the cakes out of the pans.  They crumbled out of the pans and I had a batch of cupcakes burn.  I think I ended up making 4 boxes of cake (instead of the 2 I needed).  Hubby wanted me to give up, but I persevered and came out with a cute cake.  The next day I couldn't find candles and had to use tea candles.  This is what happens when one spouse puts something in a spot so it will be "ready for the party" and the other spouse doesn't, then that other spouse is "helping" and puts them away in a different spot than you would normally put them away.  Oh, I (Hubby) put the cake on top of the refrigerator to keep little hands from grabbing at the cupcakes, Bug had already grabbed on and started licking all the frosting off.  Unfortunately, it was warm up there and the frosting started to melt, especially on the cake (the cake that was held together with frosting).

Not the best lighting, I took it the night before on a whim with the thought "just in case something happens" the next day the frosting had slid off the lion a bit.


Stripping down to try on his coat.

Despite what Monkey thinks, he really does NOT need help opening his presents.

We had lots of presents, lots of food, and best of all, lots of family to celebrate my baby's birthday.

Vicky

Friday, November 16, 2012

Homemade applesauce

I love, love, love applesauce and so does everyone in the house.  I also like baking new things, especially things that smell good.  I don't know too many things that smell better than cooking apples with cinnamon - it's no wonder there are so many candle companies that make Apple Cinnamon scents, it's because it's delicious!  Growing up my mom used to make cooked apples in the microwave sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  It wasn't anything amazing or unusual, but we always liked it.  I decided to try my hand at applesauce on the stove.  It shouldn't be too difficult, if you cook apples long enough you can smash them: so that's exactly what I did.

I used 4 apples and quickly realized after it was on the table that a 1:1 apple/person ration would be best.  So when 5 people were at the table, we were sadly, 1 apple too short.  I'll go ahead and redo this again using 6 or 7 apples, they were a big hit and, although not a ton of work, it is enough work that I want to make sure everyone has enough.

Homemade applesauce:

6-8 apples - try to use at least 2 different types of apples and avoid sour apples like Granny Smith
3-4 Tbsp apple cider - I will probably use apple juice when cider isn't available
cinnamon and sugar to taste

1. Peel and chop apples into 1/2" cubes.
2. Place all the ingredients into a deep sauté pan*.  Cook covered about 20 minutes, stir frequently**.  Apples are done when they are soft enough to mash.
3. Mash them with a fork to the consistency/chunkiness you prefer.  Eat them warm or cold but remember, there aren't any preservatives and treat leftovers as you would any other leftovers.

Enjoy!

*My pan is about 3" deep and 10" wide, the 4 apples filled the pan about halfway up.
**If you notice the pan is getting dry add an extra Tbsp of cider or juice.




I added a bit too much cinnamon to this batch.  Hubby said it tasted like really good pie filling.  Hmmm... maybe I'll be making some apple pie this Thanksgiving.  Maybe.


Vicky

Turkey craft

I am thankful for...

all sorts of things, and so are my Daisies.  I am always amazed at the ideas these girls will come up with as well as the direction a thought will lead.  I love turkeys and they are a great craft but I am almost guaranteed to get a turkey-hand craft from school.  These are sweet and I love having the size of their hand marked out, but I didn't need to add to the collection.  Instead we made a turkey with their ideas and thanks written in their own first grade handwriting.  Simple enough project that you can help and do as much as you'd like or let the girls do it all.  I decided to cut the body out, the feathers, and write "I am thankful for..." on the body.  If I were to do it over, I wouldn't write on it.  Many of them rewrote on it anyways.

Supplies:

Construction paper, including brown for the body.
Glue/glue sticks
Markers or crayons

Directions:

Cut the body of the turkey out in a peanut type shape.  I had thought about having the girls trace their foot, but envisioned 15 little girls not knowing how to tie their shoes and needing help.

Cut out "feathers", at least 5 per turkey.

Glue the feathers onto the back of the turkey and have the girls write different things they are thankful for on each feather.  If they are not able to write it, have them draw a picture of what they are thankful for.

Draw a face on the turkey.

Hang in your front window for everyone to see!




Vicky

Monday, November 12, 2012

Apple pieces

I got the idea from eating apple chips and making pumpkin seeds.  I'm certainly not the only one who has thought of it and I'm sure my recipe isn't exactly original.  I'm not sure, I figure if I don't look other recipes up, I won't know and therefore I can claim this as an original.  :)

Ingredients:
Apples
Cinnamon and sugar (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 250°F

2. Slice the apples as thin as possible, I recommend using a mandolin.  I also cored the apples, I know in the crispy bags, you can eat the seeds, but all I could think of is cyanide laced apple seeds.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

4. Make a thin layer of apple slices on the parchment paper and stick in the oven on the second to bottom rack about 6" from the bottom.

If you are making it with cinnamon and sugar follow steps 1 & 2:

3. Use a very small amount of cinnamon and sugar.  You may choose to use only cinnamon.

4. Layer on the parchment lined cookie sheet and stick in the oven.

Cook it for 2 hours.  Flip the apples after about an hour.  These will come out chewier.  They will not be crispy as the bagged kind from the grocery store.  Either way, we finished 4 apples in 1 1/2 days.



My Pampered Chef mandolin.  I'm not even sure if they still sell them!  I've had it for years and (gee surprise, surprise) it works great.


In the oven.  Be sure to keep the door closed and only open a couple of times to keep it hot inside.  This was not what I would consider a thin layer.  Next time I will use fewer apples to allow for a thinner layer.

Mmmmm....  all done and ready to eat.

The cinnamon apples took a bit longer to cook and ended up being a bit soggier because of the extra sugar creating juice.  They were still very good and were gone before the plain.

The obvious advice:  I suggest not sticking your arm in to flip the apples but rather take the cookie sheet out.  If you decide to  not take this advice, at least use a mitt.

We never had a chance to store them in anything as they were eaten too quickly.

Vicky

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Dragon, the Witch, and Batman

The kids all had an awesome time trick or treating.  Even, or should I say especially, Bug got into doorbell ringing and collecting his own loot of goodies. There was no stopping him, he carried his own pumpkin and, except the last few houses when we were done ringing doorbells, he walked the whole time.  Monkey, or should I say Batman, was extra eager this year and ran from house to house with his bat-cape flying behind him.  Sadly the strap on his bat-mask kept coming undone and popping off of his face.  Sunshine was the best witch, quite original too.  Although I had a pair of black boots she could have worn, she insisted on her pink cowgirl boots; no self-respecting witch would not own a pair of pink boots!  She also won't wear make-up, but that doesn't surprise me, she won't let me put any kind of make-up on her, even at fairs when you can have a little heart painted on your cheek she will still decline the offer.

Monkey at his school wearing his costume, minus the mask.  They had a no-mask policy.


 No school party would be complete without the ever popular Halloween parade.

Loving his costume!  Don't tell Monkey he's a dinosaur, he WILL correct you.

A witch with sass... and pink boots


Waiting for Bug before they ring the bell.  Eventually Sunshine would drag him up the last 5 steps to get to the door.



Vicky

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My baby is 2!

Well, he's 2.  What else can I say but that.  Except maybe that he's added joy and love to our family for the last 2 years.  He brightens everyone's day and is a truly happy to see everyone.  Our family is now complete with our newest addition.  He is an inquisitive, playful, stubborn, strong-willed, tough little boy, capable of climbing onto and into everything.  He will play with his brother and sister or sit and work on puzzles by himself.  He runs, runs and runs even more; never walking from place to place.  He jumps and spins and laughs at everything and everyone, including himself.  He enjoys being surprised and loves when you jump into his room when he wakes up from his nap.  He'll kiss you and cuddle until your arms are sore from holding him for so long and you will continue to hold him because he is 2 and he may not cuddle like this much longer.  He adores his older brother and sister and copies them when they play.  When I come home he runs to me yelling my name and gives me a huge hug, regardless of the amount of time I was away.  He may not talk much but is definitely able to get his point across, usually quite loud about it as well.  He loves helping and doing little jobs for you.

I cannot imagine our home without him.
2 years - busy outside raking leaves.

Busy, busy, busy and always with a smile.

1 year - Happy, as always.

<30 minutes old - trying to figure out what on Earth just happened!

Vicky

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Woes of boys

Bug is turning 2.  As in 2 hours he'll be 2.  My little baby will be two and where has the time gone?

Oh, where has the time gone?  It's very close to his birthday party and we still need to get him something.  Sunshine and I had picked out a big book of Dr. Seuss books but for some reason I felt he needed something else (this way I will have one more thing to pick up/put away/wash).  It doesn't matter what logic was telling me, my heart was saying, "Buy, buy, buy!"  Either that or it was the huge influx of commercials and advertisements

So Sunshine and I are at the store and I decide to look for one more thing.  We head over to the toy department, which is small since the store only has it set up for Christmas.  I look and I look and I look.  Sunshine looks and she finds: toys that are too much money, toys that aren't age appropriate, or toys that we have something almost exactly like at home - sometimes it was all 3 of them.  I realize (again) that we still don't need anything.  Our home has way too many toys and our kids have way too much clothes.

Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that poor Bug shouldn't get presents since he is the youngest.  It just means that as a baby, he'll get gipped out of getting as many as his brother and sister.

There is one thing though that Bug could use.  Pajamas.  He's been having this obnoxious habit of pushing at the top of his pajama pants which then causes pee to squish out all over the place.  The only way we've been able to stop it is on him or by either putting one piece pajamas by putting onesies under the 2 piece pajamas.  He doesn't have too many one piece jammies and it's October and the house can get cold so I figured I'd buy him some footie jammies.  Sunshine and I looked at the racks and racks of clothes and she says to me, "Why aren't there as many boy pajamas as girls?"  A question all mothers of sons ask and I sadly had no answer for her.  Instead I told her, "Some people who make clothes like the flowers more than trucks."  She did not like the possibility of someone not thinking that every single bit of her Bug was perfect-and that included making his clothes.  She answers, "That's not very nice.  Bug's clothes are cute.  Remember, he has all those dinosaurs and things.  I don't think I like this store anymore.  I don't think we should shop here, let's go home."  She was serious too.  She wanted to go right then and there.

We left, without any pajamas or toy, and when she came back she gave Hubby an ear-full on how terrible the world is because boys don't have as large of a selection as girls.

Vicky

Friday, October 19, 2012

ChiTAG Fair Giveaway!




For those of you who have never heard of the ChiTAG Fair, it can be summed up in one word: awesome.  Picture Toys R Us on steroids... and they want you to play with the toys.  Maybe you don't understand this.  A giant toy store where you can play with the toys and have no feeling of obligation to buy anything!

My family and I went last year for the first time and I'm not sure who had the most fun.  Hubby, who was in love with all of the electronic gadgets.  Sunshine, who saw puzzles and games.  Monkey, who saw enough blocks to make the biggest kid content.  Or even Bug, who was happy banging away on the smaller baby toys.


They still have those rings saying Chicago Toy and Game Fair

The tower of blocks.  Another hour and he'd have been able to be like the man who made one 6' tall!

Bug, enjoying the wooden balls and the mallet that goes with it!

Pretty awesome, right?

You want to go?  Well of course you do!  Why wouldn't you?  Would you like to win a ticket?  Well of course you do!  Why wouldn't you?

From now until the fair on November 17-18, I will be giving away a ticket free admission to the fair.  This is for entry into the fair only and does not cover the cost of parking.  There are 4 ways to enter, please make sure to leave a comment for each and include your email for me to contact in the following format:
thisis AT myemail DOT com

1.  Like my blog.
2.  Tweet about this and leave the link.
3.  Follow me on twitter.
4.  Head over to ChiTAG's website and check it out.  Come back and let me know which exhibitor you might like to visit.

You may also see prices and print out a coupon here.

Congratulations to Melissa!

Vicky

Sunday, September 30, 2012

How safe are we?

The other day the kids were outside playing in the front yard with the 2 neighbor girls, ages 7 and almost 9.  They were riding their bikes and scooters having a grand ole time.  They were out about 45 minutes.  I know because they didn't go outside right after school, Sunshine did some homework type stuff, had a snack and sat relaxing for a few minutes.  By the time they went outside it was late enough that I had told them they could only be out for a few minutes, we still had to eat dinner.

I was making dinner and I would randomly look outside.  A couple of times they rang the bell to give me something and then went back out.  Then, before they knew it, it was time to come inside.

We were going to eat dinner without Hubby, he was going to come home and chow down and leave with us as soon as he was done.  He is capable of eating quickly, the kids? not so much.  So there we are eating our dinner, a nice pleasant meal with all 3 of them liking it AND eating it when Sunshine drops the bomb.

"Monkey went into our neighbor's house."

We don't know most of our neighbors, I'm not sure how it's possible since we're lived here almost 7 years, but I think, I know,  if I were to see them outside on a walk in our neighborhood I wouldn't recognize them.  It's always bothered me as I've always had visions of a neighborhood where we had bar-b-ques and lots of kids running around and being... well... friends with our neighbors.  So when he said this there were 3 people that came to mind and I wasn't sure why she would use the word "neighbors" for 2 of them, she would just say their name.

"What neighbors?"  I name off the 3 and she says no to each, then I say the neighbor across the street that we know but I would be surprised that the kids would willingly cross the street.

Again, no.

She tells me it's the house next to the house next door and she doesn't know them and say "The house with that little dog that's never on the leash and always runs across the street."  She also questions why their dog is never on a leash, but that's beside the point.

I completely freak out.

I question again.  Surely I didn't hear this properly.

I sure did.  She tells me, without falter, that she, Monkey, and the 2 girls they were playing with (sisters, ages 7 and 8) were petting the dog.  Somehow they ended up in the garage then somehow Monkey and the younger sister ended up walking through this guy's house to go to his backyard where he then gave them something to eat.  Sunshine kept saying it was basil but I'm still not sure why.  Monkey agrees with the story and is able to retell it to me without any kind of prompting.  The only difference is the basil, he said it was a tomato.  Sunshine never went into the backyard, she and the older sister stayed in the front yard as they both knew they weren't supposed to go into people's houses.

Hubby still isn't home so I call the father of the two little girls to tell him what's happened.  His wife isn't home at the time and he is also just then hearing the story.  We hang up and I promptly call back and ask him if he'll go over and talk to the guy with me.  I'm not very scary looking and P is.  The neighbor that we only kind of have met a few times is young and has a daughter only a month younger than Bug.  I figured having P go with me and talking maybe we could figure out what happened and, if nothing else, shake some sense into the guy.  We agree that I'll start out the conversation and he'll finish.

My part:  "Hi, P and I just needed some clarification and we hoped that you could help."
Him:  "Sure, what it is?"
Me:  "Did you have a couple of kids in your house about an hour ago?"
Him, still very calm:  "Yeah, your son and his daughter."

That was all of my part of the conversation, P took over from there and questioned the guy as to what the hell was he thinking.  He never yelled, he never swore, he never used the phrase "What the hell were you thinking?"  The guy never seemed to get it though.  He never apologized, he never said, "Gee, I never thought of how bad that could look."  He did however say that he needed to flip his pork chops on the grill or else they would burn.

I asked him if he realized what he did, that he just taught my child that it was OK to go into someones house.  That it's OK to take food from a stranger.  That Monkey now doesn't believe me when I say that it's not safe to go into a stranger's home.  He told me that too.  This isn't a hypothetical "he might".  I did the whole stranger danger shpeal and told him that it's not OK to go into a house without asking.  His little trusting eyes looked right at me and said, "Why not?  Nothing happened, he gave me a tomato."  The neighbor might as well have given him candy and asked him if he wanted to go get some ice cream.

His wife, who has now come out after the neighbor tells her in the foyer by the open front door that we're here attacking him, tells us not to worry and that she's a good person.  She gives us her full resume.  I'm glad she thinks she's a nice person, I'm sure she is.  Neither of them get it.  At all.  I'm hoping they remember this though in a couple of years when their daughter is outside playing and she walks out of line of sight.  I hope they realize what they did and the mistake.

There are always silver linings though and you just have to find it.  This was an eye opener.  I've always said that Monkey is way too friendly.  And he is.  This is my smack against the back of my head that he's not ready yet.  There won't be a next time because there can't be a next time because if it happens again it won't be the dense neighbor 2 doors down.

My babies are more valuable than the world and I won't make that mistake again.

Vicky