Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Puddle time!

My sister had her baby on Monday. SO excited to be an auntie. She and the baby will be spending the next day or two at my house. CAN'T WAIT!!
Of course I have been cleaning and cooking (quinoa, lentil soup and hummus for the nursing mommy) all day - with three CRABBY boys. So you can assume the house looks trashed. I was tired of being annoyed that I couldn't accomplish what I wanted today. To top it off, it had been storming so badly that our power was out three different times and I could barely get a signal to even call Joy.
The rain had finally stopped around 5 and the sun was shining brightly. But I was feeling discouraged and tired.
To prevent a mommy meltdown, I got the boys dressed and took them outside to jump in the rain puddles. It doesn't make sense to get them filthy after I spent all day trying to get my house clean. But I do this when I need to let things go. When I need to remind myself how much kids appreciate the little things in life and how much I need to as well.
The look on Jaxon's face when he was jumping in the puddles was worth it. It was his first time. And he could not have been any cuter. The kids were having so much fun that our neighbor and her friend, both 12, joined them and jumped as well.
Afterward I just threw everyone in the bath, read them books and got them in bed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cupcake wrapper flowers

I always have a ton of cupcake wrappers in my baking cabinet so I used them for a spring project.

What you will need:
  • paint
  • paint brush
  • cupcake wrappers
  • green pipe cleaners
I had the boys pick a paint color and paint the inside of a few cupcake wrappers. We let them dry and then pierced a pipe cleaner though to make a stem.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fire Drills

We did 4 or 5 fire drills yesterday. And I mean no one had shoes on, the baby didn't have a shirt on, it was raining out - the whole bit.
Brant is borderline obsessed with being a fireman so we read about fires and fire safety; we watch movies about them, he plays firefighter at least once a day, if not more, we have visited the firehouse...I mean I feel like we do a lot of review on basic fire safety procedure. This is how it went:
  • I was really surprised that as much as we have verbally gone over what to do in case of a fire, when the alarm went off and we all got up to "get low and go" the first thing Brant did was reach down to grab a pile of his stuffed animals. I addressed how you don't stop to grab anything, not even your shoes. Just GO!
  • Then the boys are moving like turtles down the hallway. I addressed how quickly we need to exit the house if there is a fire.
  • Brant went to open the door and it's locked of course, so he couldn't get the door open. He started getting frustrated, etc. I addressed how to calmly unlock the door, etc.
  • We picked a central, safe meeting place outside.
  • Then I had them yell for help. They were so QUIET - so I addressed that. This scared Jaxon. He buried his head into my lap, butt up in the air. Poor pumpkin.
We talked about being on fire and what to do.
The first thing they do is blow on me and wave their arms. So we talked about stop, drop, and roll. And/or to grab a coat or blanket to suffocate the flames. To illustrate this I grabbed a paper towel and, as I held it over the sink, I started it on fire. I blew on it so they could see that the fire "grew" with air. Then I covered it with a towel and showed them how the flames disappeared. "No air, no fire," I kept saying. I do realize me torching a paper towel could bite me in the butt down the road.
I made sure to have them smell the burnt paper towel. I said, "what does that smell like?" Brant said, "Halloween." True. "This is what smoke smells like. So if you smell it, you know to get help," I said.

This is just the beginning of our safety adventure. As much as we talk about safety, we need to be practicing procedure like this to really prepare them for those situations. It was a great lesson for all of us. My goal is to do a fire drill every two weeks and then eventually just once a month. I'm going to invest in a good safety book so I can enhance our drills, safety procedure, etc.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Busy this week with Spring cleaning!! Feel a TON better. Normally I do it in March but it was such a busy month that it got away from me this year.

Picture Pops activity

There is a lot of talk and questions from the boys about babies since Aunt Ja-joy has a baby in her "tummy."
They want to read through their baby books almost every day and seem especialy interested in the ultrasound pictures.
I had doubles of some of their baby pictures and decided to make a project out of it.
What you will need:
  • scissors
  • popsicle sticks
  • glue
  • pictures
I cut out the face of one of their baby photographs and then glued the popsicle stick to the back of the picture. The imaginary play with these "picture pops" reminded me of how they would play with finger puppets (talking, they were feeding them, comforting them if they were "crying",etc.).

I think this would be good if you have a long distance relative that they miss. Cut the relative's picture out and put it on a stick for interaction - recreate a memory they have together, etc. Or paste the picture of the child and relative onto a sheet of construction paper and incorporate the picture into a drawing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where to donate Easter baskets

After any holiday I buy the 50%-70% items for the next year. Some for my kids but mostly for donating. Today Brant had his Easter party at pre-school and there is a TON of candy in our house...in addition to the candy I have left over from stuffing plastic eggs for Brant's party.
So I dug out my Easter baskets that I got on sale and made up two baskets. I made an infant basket (Aveeno lotion and wash, socks, formula, Earth's Best baby food, stuffed animal, sucker) and a toddler boy basket (fruits snacks, suckers, three match box cars, activity kit (color book, crayons, stickers), plastic eggs filled with candy, chocolate Easter Bunny).
I called my friend Kristina and asked if she needed them for her work. Kristina is a case manager for the Villages of Indiana, an organization dedicated to preventing child abuse, protecting kids in foster care among other things. They have an amazing website and below is an example of what you might find on it. http://www.villageskids.org/
I'm sure every state has a program like this and its a great place to offer donations.

Join us on Saturday, April 23 as we run and walk to raise money for Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, a division of The Villages. The Fun Run starts at Buggs Temple, downtown Indianapolis at 9:00 a.m. The entry fee is $20 for individuals and $40 for families; and commemorative water bottles will be available for $10 each.
For large groups who are interested in participating in this event, Team Entries are available. If you are interested in creating a team for the Matt Breman Memorial 5K Walk & Run please click here for more information. Prizes will be awarded to the largest team and the team who raises the most money.
Please join us as we honor Matt’s memory and raise critical funds for preventing child abuse and neglect.

Click here to register for the Matt Breman Memorial 5K Walk & Run to
End Child Abuse

Sunday, April 17, 2011

popcorn shower favor

Both of my sister's baby showers were this weekend.
For the first one, I made sweet n spicey popcorn for take-home favors. I was originally going to have a lable on the bag that read, "a star is born" or something. But last minute I found these candies at a craft store, for cakes I think, and they matched her nursery colors perfectly. AND they were marked down from $6.99 to $1.99. So I just glued those to a white bag. Joy LOVED them.

Here is the recipe:

Hot Chocolate Popcorn
Serving Size: Makes approx 10, 1c servings
  • 1/2c popcorn divided
  • 3 ½ teasp DCD vanilla dusting powder
  • ½ TBSP DCD sweet n spicey cocoa rub
  • 1 teasp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ c vegetable/peanut oil divided
  • 2oz DCD dark chocolate baking bar
Tools: Chocolate dippers, 2 paper bags, baking sheet, mesh strainer

Directions: You need to make two batches of popcorn.
First make the sweet batch. In a pan over high heat, add 2 TBSP vegetable/peanut oil and 1/4c of popcorn kernals. Let the popcorn pop. Remove from heat. Dump popcorn into paper bag and sprinkle vanilla dusting powder over it. Close the bag and shake until well coated.

We need to infuse oil for the second batch of popcorn. Heat a small pan on medium heat. Add 2 TBSP vegetable/peanut oil and red pepper flakes. Be sure not to burn – heat for 3-5 min. Once infused, drain oil into medium pan over a mesh strainer to catch the red pepper flakes. Add 1/4c popcorn kernals over high heat and cook popcorn into infused oil.
Once popped, remove pan from heat and dump popcorn into another paper bag. Add sweet n spicy cocoa rub, close bag and shake until well coated. Now combine both batches of popcorn into one bag. Shake gently.

Remove 2c of popcorn and evenly spread onto baking sheet. Melt baking chocolate and drizzle over popcorn with the three-pronged chocolate dipper. Let the popcorn sit for about 25-30 minutes, until the chocolate has hardened. Add chocolate-drizzled popcorn to the remaining popcorn in paper bag and shake gently to combine. Serve.

Monday, April 11, 2011

silly things at bed time

I was putting the boys down to bed this evening and realized what silly games we play during our night time routine.
Jaxon puts his little blankie over his head and then sticks his hands or feet up in the air. I move slowly and quietly...and either blow gently on his toes or lightly brush my face on his hands. I love to hear his sleepy giggle. This goes on for a few minutes then he abruptly pulls the blankie off his face and says, P-AH-BOO!

Older Boys
I usually climb into Masons crib and lay next to him. We are both on our sides facing one another. I pretend to fall asleep and start snoring (because in real life I don't snore I can assure you). Mason pretends to be an alarm clock that is waking me up. But as he is making random noises, he is waving his finger tips over my lips (not sure why). I "wake up" startled, of course, and "shut off" the clock by pressing some buttons. These "buttons" are his nose, forehead, chin, etc. And I make a beeping noise every time I push a "button."

I play the same game with Brant. In fact throughout the duration of this "alarm clock game" the person I'm not playing the game with is saying, "mommy can I have a turn? Mommy can I have a turn? Mommy can I have a turn?" I'm always amazed at how excited the boys get about this game. And they laugh so hard when I push the "buttons".

Any quirky bed time routines in your house? Would love to hear them!!

Quick cottage cheese salad

When I moved from the burbs to the city my food budget was $20 a week. I had to be creative in my meals to make sure I was getting nutrition. I added tomatoes and avacados to a ton of things. To this day if I make Kraft mac n cheese for the kids I will make myself a bowl and add avacado to it for old times sake.
But a favorite snack that stuck is very simple.
  • Cottage Cheese (my fav is Trader Joes)
  • Avacado
  • Grape tomatoes
Scoop the cottage cheese into a bowl and top with avacado and tomatoes. The Cottage cheese is tart, the grape tomatoes are sweet and the avacado is creamy. It's easy and refreshing on a hot day when nothing sounds good. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Maley boys vocab

Funny words/phrases my boys use to complete sentences:
  1. Tea Pot. "Mommy can I have a tea pot?" This means, "mommy can I have a glass of iced Oolong tea?"
  2. Chicken nugget playground. This is a McDonalds that has a playground inside the restaurant
  3. Mommy juice box - is my Vita Coco Coconut water
  4. Ocky Pop - this is beer or wine. We were at Trader Joes yesterday and Mason pointed to a bottle of wine and said, "mommy is this ocky pop?"
  5. Stinky Butt. This is the passing of gas in the buttocks area. When I was little I remember saying, "mom I burped my buns." My poor mother. I will take stinky butt over that ANY day!
  6. Big Daddy. This means something huge. Brant will stick out stomach as far as he can and say, "mommy look I have a big daddy tummy!"

Would LOVE to hear some of the vocab words in your home. Please share!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Delivering shapes toddler activity

My kids love when the mail lady arrives so I was trying to think of something they could do to simulate delivering mail.
I wanted to go over shapes with Mason so I thought "delivering shapes" might be a fun way to assess what we need to work on.

This is what you will need:
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • marker
  • small boxes to make "mailboxes" I didn't have any so I used paper lunch bags.
I cut three different shapes out of construction paper: triangle, circle and square. I put these shapes into a small box. Set aside. I drew each shape onto the front of a paper bag.

Then the boys took turns reaching into their "mailbag", picking out a shape and putting it in the coordinating "mailbox" (which is really a paper bag).

I really thought this activity was over Brant's head but he had a alot of fun. Today I'm going to do the three shapes in addition to a star, rectangle, and oval.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blood Oranges - Nuthin scary

I love juicing. But I'm the kind of person that enjoys the "process" of certain things as well as the end result. Juicing is one example because I'm a fresh juice junkie. Other examples are making coffee from a french press, making tea in my teapot with tea leaves...if I have to choose between taking a capsule or making a smoothie I will make a smoothie. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed the process of these things until I had kids and didn't have the time to do them. But taking ten minutes to do something small like this can change my whole mood.
Now if I can share one of these "processes" with my boys, it's even better. I think mainly because of their enthusiasm. Juicing is a great example. I don't do it everyday but if limes are on sale I'll buy them, make limeade and then freeze the rest in my ice cube tray for recipes later.
At the store the boys get excited about picking out fruit to juice, putting it in a bag and throwing it in the cart.
They enjoy helping me actually juice too. If we are juicing citrus Brant and Mason roll the fruit around to get the most juice extracted from the fruit. Then they line the fruit on the counter and takes turns counting them, talking about what color they are, etc. while I'm prepping the fruit. Everyone gets a turn filling up the chute with  fruit and switching the power button "on" and "off." Lately Mason even helps wash up the safe parts.

The peak season for Blood oranges ended in March but you can still get these babies through May. My boys had never seen one before so I was excited to show them. They couldn't believe the orange was "purple" inside.
To me Blood oranges tastes like a grapefruit but has an unexpected, creamy finish. Awesome for salads, cocktails, fresh juice, salad dressings, etc.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

That kind of day today

This is Toilet Paper
This is toilet paper after toddlers get a hold of it.

Any questions??
The funny thing is, it was so flat and on this white sink that I didn't even notice it. It was sopping wet so I'm assuming Jaxon threw it in the sink. Better than the toilet I guess.

Acorn Bunny Project. FINISHED! Phew

Ok so he's not the most handsome bunny rabbit but the project is complete and we are all still alive.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Acorn Bunny project. Take One. Click.

We started a project that I thought would be very fun for the boys. You basically take an acorn and paint it white. Then after it dries you add long ears, eyes, etc. to make a bunny.
I had to get ready for a wine/chocolate pairing party so as the boys were finishing up with their painitng, I jumped in the shower and took Jaxon in with me (to avoid the boys painting him).
I'm in the middle of washing my hair and for some reason the water is turning cold. Which doesn't make any sense because I was only in there for a few minutes. Then I hear Brant crying so I call him into the bathroom to find out what is wrong. I can't hear him very well but I make out that he has something in his eye.
So I was already rushing because I'm late, then rushing more because the hot water is running out and now I'm trying to tend to Brant. How much faster can I really go at this moment? Not much.
Then in the middle of this, my water goes out completely. I look down to find Jaxon has learned to switch the water pressure from shower to bath. And of course we are going back and forth - I turn the shower on, he turns it off. I never thought it would end. But eventually it does.
And come to find out it was not paint in Brant's eye which I feared, it was just hand soap from him washing up after his paint project. Poor guy. It sucks to get soap in your eye but I was so relieved it was not paint.
This is what we got accomplished so far. Hope to have pictures of the complete project posted tomorrow.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mini Windsock a.k.a. "Octupus Flag"

I'm hosting a Pink Papaya Party tonight - a great spa line. To prepare my house for guests, my mom and I steamed cleaned the carpet downstairs. So today we have fans on full blast to expedite the drying process. I saw a mini windsock in our Disney Family Fun magazine and decided this would be a great day to make them!
All you need is:
  • construction paper
  • an adhesive (I used double-sided tape and a stapler)
  • tissue paper
The boys picked out what color paper they wanted to use. I cut the construction paper in half (or 2 by 5 inch rectangle). The boys decorated this piece while I cut up a thin strip of construction paper for the handle (about 4.5 by 1/2 inch strip). After they were done decorating the rectangle, I adhered the tissue paper to the rectangle with double sided tape. Then I rolled up the sides and stapled it. I cut the tissue paper into strips so they were fringe-like. I stapled the think strip of paper on top to form a handle.
The boys loved them! They ran around calling them octupus flags. It was great!!