Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Party

Thursday we headed over to Emily2's house for the annual Halloween Party. It was so fun to see the little ones all dressed up, hang with the other mommies, and eat some great food!

The kiddos last year (2008)
Left to right: Jocelyn, Jillian, Cadence, Leora, Amedeo, Jack


The kiddos this year (2009)
Left to right: Amedeo, Brooks, Cadence, Colin, Jack, Jillian, Jocelyn

What a difference a year makes!

And to share some other fun moments from the day:

Jillian adored this Melissa & Doug puppet (now mommy has another idea for Christmas!)

Colin and Jillian taking a spin in the car

Jilly in costume


In the wagon

One last notable picture - I just LOVED the kids expressions in this one!
Left to right: Cadence, Colin, Jack, Jillian

Here's what I imagine is going through their cute little heads:
Cadence: "Ugh...boys."
Colin: "Whee!"
Jack: "I'm am SO cool!"
Jillian: "Boys!!"

Thanks again to Lindsey for taking such great pictures!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thank You Very Much

I stumbled on The Daily Dribbles today and just LOVE this idea, so I'm joining in!



Do you need a therapeutic way to vent out your frustrations for the week? If so, Thank You Very Much is just what you need!! Grab the button from The Daily Dribbles, paste it in your post, type out your frustrations, and come on back to link up!!

I'd like to say thank you to:

*both the recyclables collectors and trash collectors, for being too lazy to walk three steps to the curb where our trash and recycles go out. Really, is that too much to ask if you overshoot your mark with your already too-loud trucks? The back up beeper on top of your truck noise never fails to wake my husband and I, as well as our toddler, sometime between 6am and 7am on collection days. Thank you very much.

*the traffic light that got stuck this evening on our way home. I pulled up to find my left turn arrow in the midst of being yellow. I stopped. And waited. And waited. And waited. Through three entire cycles with NO left turn arrow. Until I finally pulled back into the flow of traffic and headed down the road to take another way home. Thank you very much.

*the police officer that sat through the above traffic light cycle one time on the opposite side of the road, noticing that our traffic was backing up on the parkway, and noticing that we NEVER got another green arrow. How responsible of him to continue on his way ignoring the traffic problem. Thank you very much.

Ahhhh...I feel better already!

You Capture: Autumn



This week's You Capture theme was autumn. Here are a couple fall pictures I've snapped over the last week.

Awesome multi-colored tree.

Some red berry things.

Pretty leaves.

Corn.

More corn from the corn maze we went to this past weekend.

And I couldn't resist throwing in a photo from the pumpkin patch!


Check out I Should Be Folding Laundry for some more fall goodness!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What I Learned This Week

It's that time again, folks. Time for me to regale you with awesome tidbits that I've picked up along the way. I had a couple really good ones to share with you all, and then we had an unexpected shift in our afternoon yesterday that kind of threw me off. So forgive me if this list is brief.


* I learned that BGE (aka Constellation energy, our gas & electric monopoly) only accepts payments in the form of Mastercard and Discover or check. No Visa. Nice. And if you are paying through your checking account, they most certainly WILL verify funds with your bank while you're on the phone.

* I also learned that if your service gets turned off and you don't call before 3pm, you don't get reconnected until the following day during the concise window of "between 8am and 5pm". (figured out yet what our unexpected event was yesterday afternoon?)

* I learned that my husband has the best flashlights ever.

* I learned that it is awesome to live near family, and even more awesome when family offers to keep Jillian for a spur-of-the-moment overnight stay when you don't have power in your house.

* On a lighter note, I learned that when dying rice to create a sensory bin for a toddler, it is a good idea to ask "why" when the directions say to add a small amount of alcohol or vinegar in with the food coloring. I didn't ask, just skipped that step. And my toddler ended up with blue hands. Guess it makes sense...you add vinegar to food coloring when dying Easter eggs.

And that, dear readers, is all I learned. Whatever I had intended to write about prior to yesterday afternoon has been long forgotten. Have some awesomeness that you learned and want to share? Join up over at Jo-Lynne's!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - October 26th

I learned a valuable lesson last week: check the freezer before you plan your menu. I went to make pork chops Saturday night, only to find that our (what seemed like) never ending pork chop supply had been all used up! I used the same recipe and subbed in chicken and it was fine, but, lesson learned.



To continue being frugal, I'm trying to work as much as possible with what we have on hand. So this week will be red meat and protein week.

Sunday: Leftover Chicken
Monday: Monthly Pub'N'Talk Meeting (mommy and daddy will be eating out!)
Tuesday: Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf
Wednesday: Steak and Potatoes
Thursday: Bean, Cheese, and Rice Squares
Friday: dinner at MIL's
Saturday: Halloween (aka: I have no idea what we're going to be doing in the evening, but if we're home for dinner, I'll probably just whip up some spaghetti with meat sauce, or we can have leftovers from Thursday night)

Looks like I only have three or four days to prepare dinner this week, so that should keep the grocery list SHORT!!

Need some great ideas for your menu this week? Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie to see what all those bloggers are planning!

Friend Makin' Monday - Movies

Welcome back to another edition of Friend Makin' Monday!


This week's topic is:

If life were a movie, which movie would you want to live in?

This one was a little tougher to answer than I thought it'd be. But I think I'd have to say any of the Harry Potter movies.



Now, that may be "cheating" since technically they were books first, but I'm going with it.

Head over to Amber's blog to join in this week's topic!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Funny Toddler Moment Today

Of course this could have been titled, EMBARRASSING Toddler Moment Today, but luckily no one heard her (we don't think). And if they did, I doubt they made the connection that we did.

Sitting in church this morning, Jillian pointed up at the stained glass window nearest us and pointed, saying repeatedly, "Boo". I didn't get it at first. Then I looked at the window, which shows a depiction of the crucifixion. And then I got it. Jesus was clothed only in a loincloth. Jillian was pointing out Jesus' "boobs". Awesome.

Thought I'd share our chuckle with all of you!

Adventures in Juicing

With all the apples we've been picking, I've had a hankering to make apple juice. And coincidentally, I have a juice extractor. That I've never used. The wedding gift of four years ago was banished to storage due to my lack of space in the kitchen. Until last weekend, when I reorganized the kitchen so I could have more than one freakin' appliance in it.

I decided to give it a try while my muffins were baking Saturday morning. I didn't take pictures of each step in the process, mostly because I was focusing on reading the instructions. But here's how it went.

The instructions said to prepare the fruit by cutting it to fit in the food chute. I wasn't clear on whether I needed to peel it or not, so I went ahead and peeled and cut my apples. I used eight medium sized apples.

My observations:
1. The juicer is LOUD.
2. There is a lot of "pulp" left over that seemed pretty wasteful. I used my apple pulp in the Pork Chops and Apple with Maple Sauce recipe I tried Saturday night in place of the apple slices and that worked out well.
3. The originally produced juice was very thick and had the grainy consistency of an apple. So I took the advice in the instructions of running it through a coffee filter to get some of the residual pulp out. That worked well.

All in all, the process wasn't terribly bad. Since I did it while my muffins were baking, it didn't really take tons of extra time, just a little extra cleanup.

Here are pictures of my apple juice. The eight apples yielded a legal (English) half pint.


I did not add ascorbic acid or lemon juice to keep it from browning slightly, but there was a difference in color from the time the juice was first extracted to the time I filtered and poured it. But that doesn't bother me.

My husband asked me only one question, "Does it taste like apples?". That may sound weird, but honestly, most apple juice from the store doesn't taste like biting into an apple. And the answer, without hesitation, is, "YES". And it was awesome.

I'm definitely going to do it again, but the instructions say not to store freshly extracted juice for more than 24 hours. Now, this is NOT a process that I would do that often. I would love to do a big batch of apple juice (enough for a week) and store it in a pitcher in the fridge. So I'm not sure how best to proceed, but I think the process (with cleanup and all) is a bit much for one glass of juice.

Tot School!



Call me a bloggy-slacker, but I missed putting up a Tot School post last week. So for your reading enjoyment, here is a two week Tot School edition.

"D" week was pretty uneventful, that's probably why I skipped the post. We didn't have a lot of time for tot school that week, since Jillian spent an extended weekend at my parents' house so I could get some house cleaning/purging/re-organizing done.

Besides coloring the letter D template from DLTK's Crafts for Kids, I picked up some inexpensive dominoes for Jillian to play with. She wasn't as captivated with them as I had hoped, but she did enjoy playing with them for a little while. Mostly, she learned that they make lots of noise when banged on our coffee table.

And the weekend preceding "D" week, we had tons of fun at the Maryland Science Center exploring their dinosaur exhibit!

"E" week (this past week) was somewhat more organized, but coming off a long cleaning weekend, I did some relaxing and recharging. Again we colored the letter E template from DLTK (can I say that I love these free printables?!?). I tried a new movie with Jillian this past week, E.T., which was a big hit!!


I prepared an activity that involved this past spring's Easter eggs and an empty egg carton. I got out various sized spoons for Jillian to practice carrying and balancing the eggs on. This wasn't especially exciting to her. But she was totally thrilled to figure out how to open the eggs!




Somehow this evolved to playing with rice and smaller spoons in the egg container. Which was cool too. And we even put some rice in an egg to hear the sound it made when shaken.

I picked up a new shape sorter for Jillian this week. I like that the shape holes are color-matched with their shape and that it is round. Some of the others we've played with seem like they hardly have enough room inside for all the shapes!

We did some more outdoor ed, too. If I haven't mentioned it (which I'm sure I have), this is my favorite time of year to be outside. We visited Rock Hill Orchard again and picked a couple pumpkins and some more apples. We walked and played at the BWI airport observation area trail and playground and learned more about leaves changing.

Jillian got to play with sand in the volleyball court at another playground and we saw a turtle!

Next week I've already got a more "structured" plan together, so hopefully we'll be back on track!!

Have some Tot School experiences to share? Visit 1+1+1=1 to link up and read about some awesome Tot School ideas from other parents!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Got an Award!

This is my first blog award, and I'm so excited! I received it from 2 Toddlers and Me, a blog I stumbled on a while back and have been enjoying!! Thank you!!!!



The rules for this award are simple:
  • Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link.
  • Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you have recently discovered and think are great. Remember to contact those bloggers you have awarded to let them know they have been chosen for the award.
Recently I've found a number of new blogs that I've been enjoying and am happy to pass the award along to them. Congrats to these 15 recently discovered and well-deserving blogs:

.{aefilkins}.
1+1+1=1
From Inmates to Playdates
Home...With Purpose
Musings of a Housewife
Pocketful of Posies
The Schweikart Family
Welcome to My World
Together for a Reason
Tales of Fruit and Cake
Keeping up with the Kellys
Raising Itty-Bitty Bookworms
Totally Tots
The Home Teacher

New Faces

As Jillian is growing up, she is making more faces. She has a funny fish-face that she makes to be funny and has a (an?) hilarious sideways, out-of-the-corner-of-her-eye look. Lately, she's started saying, "Whoa!", and, "Wow!". Here is the face that goes with those expressions. It totally cracks me up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hat

Jillian is into putting things on her head and calling them "hats". Underpants, envelopes, even DVD cases have been used for this purpose. This pictures cracks me up - hopefully you'll get a chuckle out of it too!

The DVD Case Hat Gone Wrong

Holiday Hills Park

I was determined today to tucker the kids out, so that I could try and catch a few zzzzzz's during naptime myself. We headed to the Holiday Hills Playground off Rt. 29 which is usually not crowded. Which is a huge bonus for me, especially when I have two movers to keep track of. As is normally the case, the place was practically deserted. I don't think there were more than four kids there at a time while we were there, and two of them were with me!

Jillian had the most fun playing on the sand volleyball court. Which she clearly thought was a giant sandbox.




Jillian got some climbing and sliding time in too!






We saw more pretty fall colors and a turtle!!


And most importantly, the kids both took fantastic naps!

Fall, You Have Arrived

I LOVE fall. I'm sure you've all read that before here, but now that the leaves are really changing colors, it's just awesome!!!






And my personal favorite...the tree with leaves of all colors!