Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve-Eve

Merry Christmas Eve Everyone!

Last night we had our annual Christmas Eve-Eve get together.
We decided that every December 23rd we would have friends over to our place to catch up, eat, drink and be merry! It's something we started in college when all our friends would be home for the holidays but busy with family events on the 24th and 25th.

We've had an ongoing struggle to keep the attendance at a manageable level.
The first Eve-Eve we had in our house we invited EVERYONE and over 40 people came!
There were people in our basement, kitchen, living room and bedroom.
It was madness. 
It was wonderful to see everybody but there were so many people in my small house that I became very overwhelmed and didn't have nearly as much fun as I should have.

Last year we tried to keep it much much smaller and only 5 people showed.
That sucked too.
I made so much food and no one came.

This year was great!
There was about 15 of us all together (plus 3 kids!).
Everyone fit, I got to chat with all our guests and the kids had room to run around a little.

Treats included:
Lot's of Christmas cookies.

 A hot chocolate bar with all the fixin's.
Can I tell you that I'm OBSESSED with the Post-it Roll ?
We used it to label our mugs (peeled right off!) and I now must have it in every color.

I also made festive red, white and green caprese skewers with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, spinach tortellini and a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar.

I hope your next couple days are wonderful and blessed.
I know personally, my heart is full and I am so thankful for all my friends, family and readers. I truly love you all.
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Indoor Activities for Toddlers

Christmas is only a little more than a week away and the days have been short and chilly.
One of the things we've been grappling with is how to entertain our outdoor-loving kid.

Calvin will literally pound on the front door crying because he just wants to go outside, but when it's below freezing and completely dark at 4:00 what do we do with him?

I have small list of fun ideas we've been utilizing but I'd LOVE to hear your ideas too!

Crayons and a Big Box:

Never underestimate the power of a box.
I mentioned this one earlier in the month but we've been playing with this one for 4 weeks now!
I just filled an old formula container (with a lid!) with crayons let him loose.

Foam Blocks:

We got these Foam Wonder Blocks for Calvin for this birthday.
They are the BEST!
My brother and I had these same one when we were younger and we played with them for YEARS.
They're a dense foam, so they don't make noise and they're soft enough if he throws them at anything (or anyone) there's no damage.
He loves to knock down towers we build for him and has even starting to stack them up himself.
The other night we put him in a hamper and covered him in blocks and he thought it was hilarious!
If you have kids under the age of 6, you need these in your home.

A Balloon:

This green balloon has survived since Calvin's Birthday Party.
That was almost 3 MONTHS ago!
He loves this thing. He throws it, kicks it and chases it around.
He laughs hysterically when we bop him on the head with it.
It's good for at least 10 minutes of entertainment a day.

Extra Long Baths:

With the cold dry weather we're down to a bath every other night for the kiddo.
It's much gentler on his skin.
So when we give him a bath, we make sure he has lots of time to play.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret:
The best bath toy on the face of the Earth is....

A syringe!
You know you have a couple floating around, left over from an empty bottle of baby tylenol.
Give it to them in the bath and be AMAZED.
He laughs so hard when we squirt him with it, and he'll spend 5 straight minutes taking it apart and putting it back together.
I went out to a bachelorette party a few weeks ago and stole a gigantic one that they (They, not me) used for jello-shots at one of the bars. 
Calvin loves, loves, loves it.
I know... Mom of the year.

Mall Play Area

We try to get Calvin out of the house at least once a day.
Even when it's cold, if it's still sunny we'll get bundled up and go for a quick walk.
But when the weather sucks and we have nothing else to do, we head to the mall.
The play area is completely padded and FREE!
So Mama grabs a latte and I let him loose.
I've figured out that about 2:30 is the best time to go because moms with kids in school have to go pick them up, so there tends to be a smaller crowd.
We have 2 malls that have these areas but honestly, I'll only take him to one of them. It's nice and bright and I know they keep it clean. I also definitely make sure to wipe those mitts off with a baby wipe after he's done playing.

Children's Science Museum:

OK. We haven't done this one yet.
We're waiting on a fun play date.
Our city has a wonderful Science Center for kids called Mobius, and I'm dying to take Calvin there.
We will be going for a fun afternoon soon.

In an effort to keep this post from becoming a novel, I'm going to stop there.
Let me know what you do with your kids to keep from going stir-crazy!
I love new ideas.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Weekend Recap: Looff Carrousel

First off, I'd like to announce the winner of the Little Green Pouch Giveaway.
Drum Roll Please....

Ashley C. from NC

 I hope everyone's weekend was wonderful and that you're staying warm out there.

We had a fun weekend filled with family and football.

Sunday evening was the best.
My Step-Mom and Step-Sister work for a local credit union that sponsored a family night at the Looff Carrousel in Downtown Spokane.
The Carrousel is over 100 years old and is stunning.

We weren't sure what Calvin would think of the whole thing but Auntie Dani took him for his first ride.
We thought the tiger was not only fitting (since his name is Calvin) but it might be an easier introduction because it doesn't go up and down like the horses do.

You couldn't wipe the smile off his face.
He LOVED it!

Daddy took him next and got him on a horse.

He said "Weeee... Weeeee...." the entire ride.

He went a total of 5 rides!
I think we have a future adrenaline junkie on our hands.
Heaven help us.

We also got a quick visit with Santa.
Calvin wasn't impressed...

My Brother-in-Law was taking the pictures and wanted to know if he should stop.
I said "No! This is going to be hilarious."
and it is.
This picture is definitely going in the baby book.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

1 Year Old Gift Guide

One is a really hard age to shop for.
He's not a baby, but he's not ready for a lot of kid's toys yet.

This is what's on Calvin's wish list this year.
1. Snow suit: It snows where we live. We have nice snow boots for the kiddo, but a snow suit is still on the wish list. 
2. Duplos: My husband wanders into the lego aisle anytime we're near a toy section. He can't wait until Calvin is old enough to clutter our living room in tiny plastic bricks, but his little hands aren't quite ready for the real deal yet. Duplos are AWESOME and this set is perfect for kids his age.
3. Disney / Pixar CARS : Calvin has one hotwheel car that he covets. But a lot of the new hotwheels have tiny spoilers and windshields that can come off. These cars are great because they're just a bit bigger and the familiar characters are so fun.
4. Long Sleeve Tees: It get cold here so long sleeve tees are perfect for the active toddler. We are currently rotating 4 or 5 so he really needs a few more.
5. Hideaway Five Panel Teepee : I already showed you guys that we got this for Calvin as his big gift from Santa. I am dying to give it to him. It's such a perfect present for this age and it's something he'll be able to enjoy for years and years.
 6. Soccer Ball: The simplest gifts are always the best. Never underestimate the hours of joy something like a soccer ball can bring to a child of any age.
7. Little Blue Truck Leads the Way : In my opinion, a house can never have too many books. Calvin got the original Little Blue Truck book for his birthday and it's his absolute favorite book (and that's saying something!) so I know he will adore the second one.
8. Halo Sleep Sacks: I LOVE these so much! Calvin sleeps so much better snuggled in a sleep sack and I don't have to worry about how much he thrashes and wiggles in his sleep, I know he can't wrap it around his head or get tangled in it. They're also perfect for regulating their body temperature, we use the fleece sleepsack with cotton jammies and cotton sleepsacks with fleece jammies.
We are down to only one that is big enough for him so we are definitely hoping for a couple larger ones.

I hope that helped give bit of inspiration to those of you with young kiddos to shop for this year.
If there's anything crucial I'm missing, or if you have a great idea, let me know!

And don't forget, there's only one more day to enter the Little Green Pouch Giveaway!

Monday, December 2, 2013

14 Months

We're 2 months into Calvin being one.
I did not set this up for a photo. I walked in his room and found him this way.

Biggest changes this month:
Tooth #7 came in, with #8 on the way.
He's starting to understand phrases and commands!
He will run to his room when told it's time for a diaper change.
He will wipe his face with a burp cloth or tissue if you tell him to wipe his nose.
He will sit down when asked... Most of the time.
He knows where his belly is and will even lift his shirt to show you.
And if you give him a hat he will try and put it on his head.

He's learned to climb...
 Our window sill being his current favorite hang-out.

He's definitely keeping me on my toes!

Don't forget to enter the Little Green Pouch Giveaway, only 4 more days!


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Little Green Pouch Giveaway!

Last week I told you that I love reusable pouches to put Calvin's food and snacks in.
I thought I'd give you another idea or two for ways to use them.
Those of us that have seen recent reports and videos of parents finding not-so-good surprises in their kids pouch foods and drinks (whether they are valid or not) may now be leery of serving these prepared foods to our kids.
One of my favorite things to do is to cut them with something else and put them into one of my reusable Little Green Pouches.
I've done this for a while now because those pre-made pouches can be pretty spendy and I wanted a way to make them go further.

I've mixed them half and half with organic applesauce, whole milk greek yogurt or purees I've made myself.
It gives you a way to get the convenience of using a pouch, the variety from the premade pouches, (blueberry, parsnip and buckwheat anyone?) all while making it more economical and you can SEE if the food is ok before you feed it to your kiddo.
Win, Win, Win.

Calvin loves his Little Green Pouches.
I love them too. They're easy to fill, easy to clean and I KNOW what's in them!
His eyes light-up whenever he sees one and I think the kiddo(s) in your life will love them too!

Now for the fun part!
You can try them for yourself because,
We're giving away a Little Green Pouch 4-pack!
Just enter in the form below.
Giveaway ends Saturday, December 7th, just in time for Christmas!
You can purchase the Little Green Pouch and a bunch of accessories Here!
Like them on facebook and get 5% off your order.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

This Post and Giveaway is in partnership with Little Green Pouch.
I was not paid for my endorsement and all opinions are my own.
Open to US residents only. Must be 18+. Winner will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.
Little Green Pouch will be responsible for prize fulfillment.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

I hope every one had a wonderful Thanksgiving that left your hearts and bellies full!
I'm just going to give you a quick run-down of our day because I am busily preparing something extra fun and exciting for you guys for tomorrow.

We spent the day at my Mom and Step-Dad's house with my brothers, Step-Grandma and
my Aunt, Uncle and cousins that drove in from Missoula.
Dinner was early, casual and totally delicious.
 Calvin liked the fruit tray and the sweet potatoes.

My pumpkin pie (which I made from an actual pumpkin!) got rave reviews.

I used this recipe for the filling, although I added extra cinnamon since I tasted a bit too "clove-y" for me, and this recipe for the crust.
I'd never made either before but it was a huge hit so I will definitely be making it again.

Calvin got a little cranky in the evening since he had no afternoon nap, so my Uncle Jeremy had some "wind-down" time with him.

Some of us had a few rousing rounds of Uno.

Auntie Beck hiding her last card.
I emerged victorious 3 out of the 4 games. 

It was a great day and I was so glad to have spent it with family.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Homemade Baby Food & Yummi Pouch

 When Calvin was smaller and starting to eat solids I made 80% of the baby food he consumed.

I've started writing the "homemade baby food" post a dozen times and just didn't know where to go with it. Mostly because it's easy but there are so many different foods and combinations I didn't really know where to start.

Baby food is pretty straight forward.
Freeze in ice-cube trays.
Transfer to Ziploc and store in freezer.
Thaw and feed to baby.

All his food followed those basic steps.
I did have a few baby food books that I loved and still use.
While I loved the idea of having a baby food maker, any blender or food processor will work.
I have this one.

Here's my favorite tip:
Don't waste your time making applesauce
I did it once. I'll never do it again.
By the time you buy them, peel them, core them, dice them and cook them, you've put so much effort into it and probably spent twice as much as if you'd just bought a big jar of natural/organic applesauce.
Trust me.

My very favorite vehicle for my homemade purees is reusable food pouches!
They are dishwasher and freezer safe, and totally BPA free.

The Yummi Pouch comes in a few different sizes:
The 2.5oz pouch shown below is AWESOME for quick snacks.
I was a bit worried about how I'd fill this once because the zipper is at the bottom instead of the top, but I found that it balances perfectly on it's cap and is super easy to fill.

Calvin loves to suck his applesauce out of his pouch.
And they're SOOOO much less expensive than buying applesauce pouches at the store.
PLUS you know exactly what's in there.

The Bright Yummi Pouch holds up to 6oz which is perfect for a meal and they come is several fun designs.
I send one with Calvin whenever he goes to his baby sitters house.

Below is a days lunch, snack and dinner.

In this pouch I mixed homemade pumpkin and sweet potato puree with store bought applesauce.
It's filling, vitamin-packed and just sweet enough that he practically inhales it.
You can find lots of great recipes at www.yummipouch.com

You can purchase these pouches at

They also make a 10oz Yummi Pouch Sport which I unfortunately do not have a picture of in action.
It's one of the biggest reusable food pouches on the market and it's perfect for smoothies.
Imagine freezing a smoothie in one and sending it with your older child for an after school snack to get them through sports practice.

So, there are some ideas about how to feed your kids.  I have more to come so stay tuned!

This post was in partnership with Yummi Pouch. I was not paid for my endorsement and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pintester Movement: Ho Ho Ho Edition!

Yep, The holidays are just around the corner, so Sonja at the The Pintester has challenged us to make a Christmas ornament that we've seen on Pinterest.

 Find ALL the ornament creations Here.

 I found this super cute felt flower ornament at The Crafted Sparrow.
Unfortunately, none of the pictures are available, so I had to wing it based on the pin picture and the instructions.

3 sheets red felt
2 sheets of green felt (different colors)
Red ribbon
Red beads
Styrofoam ball
Hot glue gun
Unique Stitch or Tacky glue

I used a pint glass ('cuz that's how I roll) to outline circles on my felt.  I was able to get 8 circles per sheet. Then I cut out 24 of them. You may need more or less depending on the size of your circles and how big your Styrofoam ball is.

Cut all those circles into a spiral. 
Just eyeball it.

If you want to avoid a lot of hand cramping and frustration, use sharper scissors than I did.

kinda looks like a sperm...*snort*

Roll the felt, point side in, using the little circle/sperm head thing as the base. Put some glue between the felt roll and the base so it can't unravel.

Make A LOT of them.

The original instructions say to use a hot glue gun for the entire project.
I didn't want to.
I have a love-hate relationship with the glue gun. So I scoured my house looking for a bottle of Tacky Glue, which I know is in this place SOMEWHERE...but I couldn't (and still can't) find it.
I did however, find some Unique Stitch, and felt is in fact a fabric so... there ya go.

Cut a leaf shape out of the lighter green felt.
Use that one as your template and make 3 more.
Glue 2 of them to the dark green felt and cut them out.
Then glue the other 2 light leaves the the other side of the dark leaves you just cut out so you'll have 2 leaves total with a light center on either side.

When I couldn't avoid it anymore, I brought out the glue gun.
Don't get me wrong.
I like hot glue, it's awesome stuff.
I don't love the strings and the fact that I burn myself because I don't pay close enough attention.

My Styrofoam ball had a hole at one end.
So I filled it with hot glue and shoved the ends of the ribbon into it.

Then glued on the leaves and started sticking on the flowers.

I found it helpful to put the ball-o-flowers in a glass to aid in attaching the bottom flowers.

The original ornament had one bead in the center of each flower.
I had red seed beads already (I'm not sure why) which are quite a bit smaller, so I just plopped a little hot glue in the center of each flower while cursing at the glue strings and sprinkled some beads in.

When you're done, step back and revel in your creation.

Tah Dah!

This bad boy is getting shipped to Jodee over at the Cheesblarg for her very first Christmas tree!
I hope it's a biggie because this ornament is Gigantic!

If you don't want a ridiculously large ornament, use a smaller ball and use a smaller glass as your circle template.

So there you have it. My first Christmas Craft of the season.