Friday, October 31, 2008

Non Halloween Events

Today we got our new vacuum in the mail...or I should say new to us! We got a good deal on on a Remanufactured Dyson to replace our Hoover that pooped out on us three weeks ago. I gave it a test drive this afternoon and as you can see from the full dirt collector, the house needed it! Definitely giving this vacuum two thumbs up. Love the purple too!

And last night Ethan put pen to paper for the first time ever and created this masterpiece. He was enthralled with the process and screamed when I took the markers away to clean him up! I was surprised he only tried to put one in his mouth once and mostly used them for their intended purpose. I think it helped that he's watched Grace color and knew what to do. Either that or he just likes to draw!

Halloween Party

The kids and I went to the Indoor Park Halloween Party this morning where they had a grand time playing with all the other kids dressed up in their Halloween costumes. Grace was soooooo excited to get to finally wear her Cinderella costume. She wanted to wear her glass slippers and carry her wand but didn't want to wear the crown in her hair so I did my best to put her hair in a bun but I'm afraid it needs some work. We'll be working on it before tonight. Ethan bounced around in his pumpkin costume and surprised me by leaving the hat on without a fuss. He was the cutest walking pumpkin and inhaled the party food...even stealing a bite of a cookie from the frosting table before I caught him! Both kids colored ghosts that we hung up on the dining room chandelier which gives it a delightfully spooky effect. Grace was thrilled to see all the other princesses at the party and kept waving her magic wand towards Ethan saying "Bippity Boppity Boo" and trying to turn him into a coach. Unfortunately he continued to stay a pumpkin, but her faith in magic is undeterred.`

The mass chaos that defines an Indoor Park Party

Grace telling Pastor Jeremy all about Cinderella

Three little girls frosting their cookies. Aren't they too cute?

Grace enjoying her tasty cookie creation

Ethan snuck a cookie while I wasn't looking! This is the only bite he got before I took it away...

Our Little Pumpkin

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Tonight was Dress Like a Bible Character Night at AWANAS and I scrounged up a Queen Esther costume for Grace using her play silks, salt water sandals, and a glittered construction paper crown that Grace decorated herself. She looked beautiful and she was very pleased with the princess-like results. She told me over and over that girls can't be Kings or Queens but must be Princesses. She's princess obsessed so it all makes total sense to her.

It should come to no surprise to you all that she will be Cinderella for Halloween on Friday. Ethan will be wearing the pumpkin costume that Grace wore two years ago which he looks absolutely adorable in. This will be the last costume hand-me-down that he'll wear since I already sold Grace's ladybug tutu costume from last year and I don't see him wearing Cinderella in the future either.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


We had an impromptu pumpkin carving party last night with my brother Brian and our friends James and Jessi which was a lot of fun! We usually get together on Monday evenings to watch Heroes but Brian came over early to work on carving pumpkins and we didn't finish until late at night. We take our pumpkin carving seriously around here!

Grace refused to put her hand in her pumpkin to clean it out because there were seeds inside. Uncle B did his best to persuade her but she wasn't interested in getting yucky. That meant I scraped out her little pumpkin and then we had a design discussion. I asked her what shapes she wanted her pumpkin's facial features to be and sketched out my suggestions and she picked out the ones she liked. She was pretty happy with the result and that's what counts!

Brian got crazy and did the hard skeleton design again. This year he upped the ante by freehanding a sickle and was very pleased with the results. David did a dwarf, I did Horton the friendly ghost (love him!), and I did the pirate ship for Ethan. James did Animal from the Muppets and Jessi did the Chesire Cat which both turned out excellent, though I forgot to get pictures of them.

So now our pumpkins are ready to be the hit of the neighborhood on Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Twelve Month Check Up

Ethan had his twelve month check up today and the poor guy was in bad shape! We've all had a cold for the past month and this weekend it got worse. I suspected he might have an ear infection when I noticed tiny scratches in his ear this morning and I was right. He also has his first diaper rash and a red bump over one eye from where Grace hit him with a toy this morning. Oh, and he's teething something awful. The poor baby is MISERABLE!

So to add to the fantastic ear infection news (hey, great timing on the ped appointment scheduled months ago to coincide with an ear infection!) I found out that Ethan is officially on the Malnourished babies weight chart. Great. After hearing about all the foods that Ethan eats our pediatrician recommended that we make sure that Ethan eats protein at every meal and to do our best to "stuff him like a turkey". Shouldn't be too hard since the boy likes to eat! He's just going to be cut off from the baby cereal and fruit in favor of more yogurt, sausage, cheese, and other full fat foods. She also suggested I work on weaning him which I don't think I agree with. I understand her concern that he might be drinking his calories rather then eating them, but I don't think that's the problem. He certainly doesn't turn down solid foods and most of his nursing these days is comfort related. We go back for a weight check in a month.

Here's the official stats:
18lbs 8 oz 0% weight (and actually 8oz bigger then Grace at the same age!)
30.25" long 55th %
46.25cm head circumfrence 45th %

All of his other developemental milestones are being met. The only thing he isn't really doing is talking but I know he understands what we're saying so there's not really a worry there. Grace wasn't an early talker either and now you can't make her be quiet. I think I'll be content to listen to the cute baby chatter and tune out Grace's potty talk. Those with recently potty trained children will totally understand.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lazy Saturdays are the Best

Sorry I haven't been blogging much this week. My head feels very foggy this week which I'm pretty sure is due to the cold my children have so graciously shared with me. David and I have finally succumbed to their sickness and are trying to lay low to recuperate. Of course we were invited to a pumpkin patch visit with our church's parenting group this morning so I managed to get the kids and I dressed and in Perrydale by 10am. Grace LOVES pumpkins so she had a fun time helping me pick out one to bring home. The pumpkin patch owners graciously let us choose our pumpkins free of charge but asked that we take the larger ones and leave the small ones for the school children. So I directed Grace towards the big pumpkins and she sat on a few before we found a nice round one to put in the wheelbarrow and haul to the car.

I put both kids in the wheelbarrow for a ride with our pumpkin which Grace through was really fun and Ethan seemed nervous about. After picking our pumpkins we spent a little bit of time letting the kids play at the Perrydale school's playground. The playground has pea sized gravel as a surface and scattered buckets and shovels which naturally led to the kids playing with rocks. Ethan only tried to eat them a couple of times and Grace remembered to tell me she needed to use the potty in time for us to hunt one down so all in all it was a good time.

Once we got home and had lunch Grace helped me to make a batch of molasses cookies. Grace is a great helper but whenever she helps me measure ingredients it always requires extra clean up. Today was no exception as she dumped a ton of flour on the dining table and floor. She also managed to get cinnamin everywhere even though the recipe only called for 3/4 tsp. Not sure how that happened!

Her favorite part of helping me make the cookies was licking the beater from the mixer. She took great joy in licking it clean! The cookies didn't turn out all that great in my opinion but they're sure disappearing in a hurry so I guess they did the trick.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Apples, and Pumpkins, and Pie Oh My!

Today was a productive fall day. My Mom and brother came over and together with my husband we canned 39 quarts of applesauce. That's a lot of sauce. Since there wasn't enough room on the stove to process the jars in the canner while we were making the sauce we took a break in between making and processing to drive out to Airlie Hills Farm to bring Grace and Ethan to the pumpkin patch. It was definitely worth the drive, it was a beautiful pumpkin patch with lots of pretty pumpkins in all varieties to choose from. Ethan was mostly happy to discover that pumpkin patches involve a lot of dirt and funny shaped vegetables that roll like balls if you push hard enough. Grace loves pumpkins period and searched for the perfect pumpkin with the main criteria being that it was small enough for her to carry all by herself. After some fun in the hay and an attempt for pretty pumpkin pictures we headed home to finish up the applesauce. The last batch is currently in the canner and the kids are asleep. That means we're all four cashed out on the sofa listening to the jar lids "pop" and wondering who we're going to nominate to get up and serve up the apple pie. Mmmmmm. I love my Mom's cookie sheet apple pie.

This is what I get when I ask Grace to smile.

Grace giving me fries from the hay fort's take out window

Ethan in a pile of pumpkins

Grandma and Grace searching the patch for the perfect pumpkin

Grace found the perfect one!

And Ethan found a dirt clod!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fall Yard Tour

I am enjoying the unseasonably nice weather we're having today, the warm sunshine feels wonderful! I brought the kids outside to play with balls and sidewalk chalk and snuck out my camera to do some fall foliage photography. Not that our yard offers tons of options for such things, but I was inspired to try.

I do love our hydrangeas, they produce beautiful flowers that change colors through the season and last a long time. The flowers also dry really well which is another bonus for those of us who can think of endless possibilities on things to do with dried flowers. The deer have totally feasted on the backyard hydrangeas, especially this poor little plant in the back corner of the yard. I'm surprised it's still alive at all!

This is our last blue flower on any of the hydrangea plants, most of them are a pretty mauve or pink color by now.

While I was taking pictures of hydrangeas the kids were getting chalk dust all over themselves. Ethan attempted to do a little drawing himself which was a first. He only tried to eat a piece once and must have decided it tasted bad since after that he mostly wanted to pick the pieces up and throw them.

I just love Ethan's red high top Converse shoes. I'm going to cry buckets when he outgrows them!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Two Skeletons

This is Grace's first pair of pink glow in the dark skeleton pajamas (she's 1 in this pic and wearing the same size pj's that Ethan is wearing below...sniff!), they've really become a tradition at our house. I bought her current pair on sale last year and I remember how huge the size 3 pj's looked. I was almost positive she would wear the 2T sized pair for two years in a row! Yes, even slow growing Grace moves up a size now and then and low and behold the size 3 pj's fit perfectly.

My little girl is wearing clothes in sizes that no longer have a T next to the number which means the clothing companies no longer consider her a toddler. I have to say that fact makes me a little sad, though the clothing companies assumption that she no longer needs clothes cut for diapers is cause for celebration!

I bought Ethan's first pair of glow in the dark skeleton pajamas on sale last year as well and magically bought the right size! I love when that happens. I opted for the manly black ones as opposed to Grace's delightfully girly pink ones.

I love how Grace wants me to "turn the dark on" so she can see her bones dance. I sing the "Them bones are gonna dance around" song for her and she squeals with delight. She makes wearing pink glow in the dark skeleton pajamas look like so much fun I'm half tempted to buy the adult version for myself. Almost.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Me vs. Papa Murphy's

Lately I've been looking to find ways to reduce our grocery bill and have decided to try to make more things "from scratch" rather then buying conveniently packaged items. Yes it means I'm inconvenienced, but for the time being it's kind of fun and hopefully I can improve my cooking skills while I'm at it.
Yesterday I found a pizza dough and sauce recipe on my favorite recipe site and picked up the ingredients at Safeway during my weekly (ok I confess...probably thrice weekly) shopping trip. I got brave enough to attempt to make something that involved yeast after my first disastrous attempt many years ago. This time I bought myself a candy thermometer so I could get the exact temp. needed which I hoped would up my chances for a non-failure.
I started off by heating the water to the specified 110 degrees (the cheap candy thermometer worked like a champ!) and as I got going with the recipe it looked more and more like it might actually turn into pizza crust and not slimy flour. The recipe made enough for two pizzas so I rolled one crust out and put the other in the fridge which made another pizza for dinner tonight. Don't tell me you can't eat pizza two nights in a row because I totally can.
Just before the dough was done rising in it's well oiled bowl I took a stab at making some pizza sauce. It was easy to put together but I'm not loving the taste. Definitely need to tinker with it some more and maybe add some more sugar. After the sauce I put tore up deli ham, chunked pineapple, and grated cheddar cheese for the toppings and shoved it in the super hot oven on my nifty Pampered Chef baking stone. Eight minutes later I popped it out of the oven and waited a short time for things to cool before taking that much anticipated first bite.
It wasn't bad. The crust was actually chewy and not crispy, the toppings were ok, and the sauce needs some work. All in all it's a meal I'll definitely make again. Especially when I compare the cost of my homemade pizzas to a Papa Murphy's Canadian Bacon & Pineaple which is our usual pizza of choice. My version cost around $7 for two pizzas which is less then just one Papa Murphy's pizza costs. You do the math.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Church Camp

It's been a long time since I've been to church camp...I'm thinking 12 years? Some things are not as great as I remembered uncomfortable bunk beds. But most things were just as great as I remembered and I thoroughly enjoyed myself this weekend at Camp Magruder for our church's camp. There were several other families in attendance which made it a lot of fun for Grace since she had several kids to play with. The activities were planned to allow for everyone to get some quiet time, and I really appreciated that.

The Dads and other interested adults took the kids for a scavenger hunt/playground play time as well as for donkey rides while the women had a bible study. We reversed for the afternoon and the Moms took the kids for some fun on the beach in the afternoon.

Late Saturday afternoon David took Grace for her very first boat ride on a canoe and was very pleased that they both came back dry since he didn't have spare dry pants! Saturday evening we had a great campfire and s'mores which is my favorite part about camping. Grace spent a good chunk of her time at the cabin making bead necklaces. She made two pink and purple necklaces in one day!

We had a church service Sunday morning with an improvised alter that we decorated with items we found during our time at camp. Grace and David both brought shells for the alter and I brought a pretty blue flower I found. It was neat to see all the things people found and to hear what they represented/meant to the person who brought them to the alter. We took a last beach walk after loading up the car and then stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory to buy some cheese curds and have some lunch before driving home.

We hurriedly unpacked the car, changed Grace into nicer clothes, and drove down to Albany for our friends' son Spencer's 3rd birthday party. I'm glad we made it to the party since it was a lot of fun and the kids seemed to really enjoy themselves. It was a very busy and full weekend, but we made some really good memories and it was totally worth it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

That'll do Donkey

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cubbies Awards Night

Tonight Grace received her very first Cubbies patch during the Awards Ceremony. We were talking about it this afternoon and she asked if Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Ethan, Zoe, and Boo were proud of her for learning her verses. Of course I told her we were all proud of her. Finally she said "there's a lot lot of people who are proud of me" which pretty much summed it up. She also asked if Daddy would be at the Awards Ceremony and was very happy when he came home just as we were heading out the door to AWANAS.

So now I have to find some red thread so I can sew Grace's brand new Hopper patch on her vest. I was really hoping they would be iron on!

Having fun at Indoor Park

I've been working on the Dallas Indoor Park blog for a few days and brought my camera to Park this morning to add some pictures. Pictures tell the story so much better then a written description! Of course I took some photos of Grace and Ethan playing while I was at it!

Grace loves to play with the dress up clothes at Indoor Park and tries on several pairs of dress up shoes before settling on being barefoot. Today she wore a hot pink dress up number and told me she was pink Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Grace has no problem telling me which particular Disney princess she is at any given moment and never lets the color of her dress determine which she is.

Grace did a pumpkin craft at Indoor Park today since there are crafts there all week. She picked out two pumpkins to decorate and did a nice job using the gluestick. She glued Halloween pictures all over one pumpkin and made a jack-o-lantern face on the other one. She was pretty proud of her work and wanted to take them home to show Daddy.

Ethan loves to play with the multitude of balls at Indoor Park and watches the older boys play basketball very carefully. Then he tries to join in the action by throwing balls around which seems to make him happy.

Ethan also likes to play with the play tools and workbench. Today he "fixed" quite a few things with the hammer. He also spent a good chunk of time playing with the play kitchen food. He loves to put it all in his mouth which is absolutely disgusting!

I'm so glad we're a part of Indoor Park. It's a great social outlet for all of us and the kids both enjoy playing with the toys there that we don't have at home. Grace is just starting to play with other kids instead of just next to them, and is learning to navigate social situations like what to do when somebody takes a toy she's playing with. Ethan watches the whirlwind of activity and does his best to catch up, and in the meantime he is happy to chew on a plastic piece of pizza.