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!