Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Painting

There are oh so many things I love about fall, but Pumpkins rank at the top of the list. Pumpkin decor is pretty. Pumpkin fragrances smell wonderful. Pumpkin foods are fantastic. I love Pumpkin EVERYTHING! Don't you?

And now I can say the most fun I have had with a Pumpkin is when I watched Addy paint one. I think she thoroughly enjoyed herself too. She's getting a little better at the arts and crafts segment of childhood (and I'm getting a little better with patience during the arts and crafts segment of childhood!)

She started out clean and timid...

She quickly realized that yellow doesn't show
very well on Pumpkin

And eventually we gave her a paintbrush to
try (maybe we should have led with the brush?)

At one point, she mixed all the colors together and plastered a tiny grey handprint on the side of the Pumpkin. I tried to add black dots for eyes and nostrils to make it look like an elephant, but she wanted no part of my help. This Pumpkin painting was all about her skills!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trick-or-Treating Part 1

Grandma Susan invited Addy and us over for trick-or-treating in her neighborhood on Friday night. We were so excited to debut Addy the Cow, and boy was she a hit! Pretty much every passer-by, kids included, exclaimed how cute her costume was (I agree of course!). And we had 3 greeters tell us that she made their night! There was even a twenty-something guy that said to his girlfriend? wife? after we walked away, "Okay, I want to make a baby now!" But seriously? She was a total riot. We had so much fun. She gleefully said "Tick O Teet!" at every stop (except of course for the only video I captured). And sometimes she needed prompting, but she said thank you to everyone as well.

I absolutely love watching her experience new things. Especially when she loves it too. The night was a total blast!

The pics from my phone are not the greatest...
Can you manage to see the cuteness in there?

Chowing down on the best of the loot
(Reese's Peanut Butter Cup)
And in this video, not only did she not say "Tick O Teet" (I think because the person holding the candy asked her what a cow says and it threw off her game), but she also decided that maybe one piece of candy wasn't enough...

Thank you Grandma for food, fun, candy, and great memories!
Trick-or-Treat Part 2 happens tomorrow night in Grandpa and Grammy's neighborhood (weather pending). Can't wait!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Boo at the Zoo

Yesterday, we joined friends of ours for scary-free trick-or-treating at the Akron Zoo (yes, the zoo IS my favorite place in Akron, in case you were wondering). Quite by accident, Addy and Lilah showed up to the event in the EXACT SAME COSTUME! Oh, the horror!!! Not really. It was actually totally freaking adorable! See for yourself!
Okay, not the best quality pictures. But seriously?
I can't tell them apart in some pics. They were too cute.
Addy had a great time! And she really likes Lilah. Any time we got too far ahead of them, or vice versa, Addy would call out her name repeatedly, and frantically search for her. Best friends someday? Maybe.

Addy modeling the barnyard cuteness

The human cow checking out the plastic cow
Can't wait to go trick-or-treating in my dad's neighborhood in a couple weeks! It's so fun to see all the other awesome toddler costumes out there too!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Play.

Eat. Poop. Sleep. There's certainly a lot of that involved in mommyhood. And everything that happens in between...there's a lot of that too; the most important of which is Play. Because I don't have much any experience playing with children, I'm constantly asking myself, "Am I interacting enough with her? What kinds of activities are most appropriate for this stage? What kinds of play would my daughter benefit most from?" and so on. Between Pinterest, books, and various websites, there is certainly no shortage of ideas for me to go off of. But I seem to have a hard time finding activities that my particular daughter would actually complete or remotely enjoy. For example, an idea from Pinterest for a sensory tub - a container filled with sand and various objects hidden in the sand (or rice, beans, cornmeal, whatever). The child should enjoy diving into the bin and digging for buried treasure, enjoying and experimenting with the feel of sand between their fingers. But if I tried that with Addy, I guarantee that within one minute, sand would be EVERYWHERE but in the bin, and she'd be flailing her arms screaming, "No! Noooooo! No!" and throwing the objects. She likes to throw, and hit, and flail her arms when she tries something new. Or if it's not presented to her just right. And she has a very short attention span; she is not a child that sits still for very long or concentrates on one activity for a good chunk of time. So mostly, we have a pretty solid daily routine and we don't stray from it too often. When we do stray, and it ends up successful, the day is always a total blast, and I feel like the best mother ever.

The other day while exploring Pinterest, I came across what I think is an excellent list of toddler activities. As I read through descriptions, I kept thinking, "Ooooh, we'd have so much fun doing that! Oh, Addy would get a kick out of that! I think she'd actually sit all the way through that!" The list comes from Fisher Price's website - below is a sampling of the ideas (*For some reason, the list that shows when viewed through Pinterest on my iPhone includes 34 activities, but the list that shows when viewed on my PC includes only 12 activities - those are the ones that have links)

I'm really looking forward to breaking out of my routine shell and trying some of these ideas [specifically, Wash 'em Up, What's Wrong, and Dance 'til You Drop (because flailing arms is perfectly appropriate when dancing!)]. Many of them are much simpler than what I think of doing when I think "Play". I'll be sure to blog about the results!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pinterest Fail: Cake Pops

Addy's 2nd birthday is coming up, and we're throwing a barnyard animal themed birthday party. After doing some exploring on Pinterest for ideas and inspiration, I decided I wanted to make some cute barnyard animal cake pops to go with the red barn cake I plan on making- sheep, cows, and pigs. And Bonus! One of the wedding gifts we received were two of these Nordic Ware Cake Pop Pans:
Looks easy enough, right?
I did some quick research online for tips and tricks on making cake pops, but most of the stuff out there refers to the hand rolled cake pops, which I was not interested in doing. I stumbled upon a blog post that featured this exact pan, with some really helpful tips listed (can't find the blog post now, or I'd link to it). The writer made it seem totally doable, so I decided to do a practice round. I followed all her tips for baking the pops and dunking them properly. Here is a comparison of what I ended up with, versus an inspiration pic from Pinterest

For reasons I cannot explain, the brown cow makes me
think of Grover from Sesame Street? Absolutely no clue why.
So....yeah, complete fail. I tried greasing the pans with shortening and Pam spray, but out of a batch of 48, only 16 came out of the pan in one piece. Of those 16, only these 3 stayed on the stick when dipped in the coating. And I even followed the tip of dipping the stick in the coating before inserting it into the ball. The balls were way too crumbly, not nearly dense enough to stay together, hence the half-assed attempt at decorating shown above.

As crazy as this seems, especially given how tremendously horrible my cake pops look, I'm willing to give it another try. But I'm considering trying the hand rolled method. Between greasing and filling the pans, scraping off the overflow the comes out the air hole, popping out the "balls", and cleaning the pans, it seems like mixing up some cooked cake and icing and rolling it into balls would be a whole lot easier (no offense to the gracious gift givers! I will try the pans again too with a different recipe, trying to figure out how to cook the boxed cake so it's more dense).

In doing a little research this morning, I came across a few people who take a complete shortcut and just put sticks in donut holes. I have one word for that - brilliant!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Playroom Makeover: Kid's Table

Now that the wedding is over, I can finally focus my attention on the many projects we want/need to do around the house. The project I am most excited about is the Playroom Makeover. We are extremely lucky to have a nice sized spare room on the main floor, right off the living room, to designate as Addy's playroom. This room was a MAJOR selling point for me when we were looking at buying the house. It helps me keep my OCD in control by being able to keep all the toys stored in one area, out of the rest of the common areas of the house. And when my OCD is under control, I'm a much calmer mom.

When we moved in, we just kinda threw some miscellaneous furniture in there. There's currently a 5x7 area rug, an old loveseat that the cat has torn to shreds along the arms, a side table, a nice plastic toybox, and 3 magnetic boards hung at toddler level. When the room is tidy, all her toys that don't fit in the toybox line the walls (I did mention my OCD, right?). The one thing I have always felt the room is missing is a toddler-sized table and chairs set. I have been searching for one every few nights for the past six months or so, on internet sites like Craigslist and Ebay. I wanted a table with 4 chairs, and was hoping to find a nice quality wooden set that I could refinish if needed. The used market is saturated with Disney Princess and Cars table sets, but it seems like people want to hang on to the nice wooden sets. I can't blame them! So...I finally broke down and bought this set from the next best thing, IKEA.

(this is not our playroom)
I got the table and four chairs (cuz we love playdates!) in the black/brown color. With a total price tag of $120, it was double what I was hoping for pay for a nice set, but after six months of searching, I gave in. It's the shape, size, and color I was hoping for. I just hope it stands up to at least a few years of toddler abuse!

Being the brilliant mom I am, I decided to try to put the table together while Addy was all up in my business. You'd think that would have backfired on me, but she actually was being very agreeable and was carrying pieces over to me saying, "Mommy help you!" She even got down and dirty with me:
  

And here's the finished product (2 of the chairs still need assembled). She totally loves it! She gets the hugest smile on her face every time she climbs in the chair. It's a smile that says, "For me? You think I'm special enough to have furniture made just for my size?!?!? You are the best mom in the whole world!!!" I love that smile.
Don't mind that duct-taped register vent in the
background. That's part of the playroom makeover
yet to be completed. We've been enjoying the duct
tape solution for nearly a year now. We are classy.
 So, part 1 of the makeover is complete. Still on the list:
  • Hang curtain rod and curtains on window
  • Fix register vent
  • Steal fabulous idea from Pinterest for seating and storage
    • Make bench cushions
    • Buy Expedite bookcases from IKEA (they were out of stock on our visit!)
    • Find and buy bins to put in the bookcase to hold all the toys
    • Stand back and stare in awe at the fruits of my domesticated labor (hopefully)
    • Cry repeatedly while trying to steal fabulous Pinterest idea (most likely)
  • Hang Addy's artwork display (a little sparse right now, but we have years to fill it up...)
  • Move toybox to Addy's bedroom, throw away torn loveseat
  • Paint a chalkboard wall, maybe
  • Remove the french doors that close off the playroom from the living room
I will be a busy girl! I'd love for the room to be completed in time for Addy's 2nd birthday party happening in less than one month, but I'm thinking it probably wont be. Those benches are a big thing for me to tackle. I am excited to see the end result though! Wish me luck!