Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Messy Business

Painting is messy business around these parts!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Outdoors

Since being placed on "light duty" last week, I've been doing some thinking and planning about our outdoor area here at home. Normally, we'd be spending a couple days each week at various parks doing some walking and exploring. Now, not so much.

Our backyard has really been for the most part unused over the last year or so. John has been throwing down grass seed the last couple summers, and the grass is starting to look a little better. He's also been working on getting the non-backyard stuff out of the backyard. I'm hunting for awesome stuff for Jillian to play with outside. She loves being outside, but I can't quite tell her to play in the grass in a small enclosed area and expect that to work out for us. We need some kind of outside toys.

That's what I was in search of at the Tot Swap this week. I didn't find exactly what I was looking for, but Jillian did find a car. At $18, I thought it was a bit overpriced, but as soon as she bee-lined for it and wouldn't get out, I knew we were leaving with it. It's a Cozy Coupe-type car that has clearly seen better days, but it's just for outside, and it works fine. She loves it! Thanks, Melissa, for hooking us up with a ticket to the "private sale"!! (completely unrelated to the outdoor project, we scored a pair of cute Stride Rite shoes that you can see Jillian wearing in this picture - she just LOVES shoes...)


Then I awoke this morning to an email from Tired Mom T├ęsa telling me that I won her latest blog contest! And how awesome is this? I won a brand new Little Tikes TotSports Basketball Set. I am totally excited. Anyway, check out her blog if you get a chance. She has two little ones a bit older than Jillian and does some fantastic reviews and clearly, some great giveaways! And, well, she's just cool.

My mom went to her community yard sale today and found us a Fisher Price sand/water table with cover and two chairs for a whopping $8!!! I SO can't wait to get it all together in our "new" backyard!!

Jillian's little pool from last summer seems to be in good shape still, too. I totally envision afternoons catching some rays in the backyard while Jilly plays!!! I might even be able to relax with a book, or my knitting!

Which reminds me...thank you to Denise and Brenna for hooking me up with a knitting refresher yesterday. I started a daunting project years (and I mean YEARS) ago and gave up on it. So yesterday we got together and Denise's and Brenna quickly finished off my botched project so I could start an EASY project. It truly doesn't get easier than a pattern called "easy scarf" right? Here's the work in progress. I don't think I have enough of this yarn to make a full length scarf, but it's good practice for me. And I've already found some patterns I want to try next!

I was joking with John (well, maybe not joking) that everyone we know this year for Christmas will either get a scarf or a toddler craft as their gift! ;-)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tot School


Without a doubt I've been completely less motivated than usual over the past couple weeks. But here's a little of what we've gotten into.

Jillian learned how to peel those eggs she dyed before Easter.

Jillian has gotten a chance to try out her Do-A-Dot markers that I ordered off Amazon with my SwagBucks. Woohoo! For months I've thought these are awe-some, but of course my little one doesn't share my level of enthusiasm. Though she doesn't hate them...



We've spent some time outdoors enjoying the springtime weather!

Finishing up with the letter "R", we did a stArt (story + art) project around Jillian's "Rainbow Rob" book. I saw this craft on a blog or two over the last several weeks (I can't remember which one...). Jillian again, was not as enthused as I was. She was much more interested in eating the fruit loops than gluing them on the rainbow. So I pulled out the Do-A-Dot markers. And that worked for a little while.




We went walking and birding.


Jillian learned about how her feet smell after wearing shoes without socks. EW.

We spent lots of time singing together about the Itsy Bitsy Spider, too. Jilly's getting much better about intentionally coloring specific parts of pictures!

And the most fun? Jillian has been making faces lately...and they are freakin' adorable!

Join up with some Tot School fun over at 1+1+1=1!

Friday, April 16, 2010

99 Things

This has been on a number of blogs, and finally I am joining in. Why don't you play along?

Just copy and paste these 99 things onto your blog and bold the things you HAVE done...

Here are mine:

1. Started your own blog



2. Slept under the stars



3. Played in a band

 (well, a middle school band - does that count?)

4. Visited Hawaii



5. Watched a meteor shower

 (tried to at least...though it was too overcast and we didn't actually SEE any meteors...)

6. Given more than you can afford to charity



7. Been to DisneyWorld



8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis 



10. Sang a solo



11. Bungee jumped



12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm



14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (quilting)

15. Adopted a child



16. Had food poisoning



17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables



19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France



20. Slept on an overnight train



21. Had a pillow fight



22. Hitch hiked



23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill


24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping



27. Run a Marathon



28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse



30. Watched a sunrise or sunset



31. Hit a home run



32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person



34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community



36. Taught yourself a new language



37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person


40. Seen Michelangelo’s David


41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt



43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant



44. Visited Africa



45. Walked on a beach by moonlight



46. Been transported in an ambulance



47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing



49. Where on earth did #49 go I wonder?

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris



51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling



52. Kissed in the rain



53. Played in the mud


54. Gone to a drive-in theatre

55. Been in a movie



56. Visited the Great Wall of China



57. Started a business (my husband and I did, that counts, right?)

58. Taken a martial arts class



59. Visited Russia



60. Served at a soup kitchen



61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies



62. Gone whale watching


63. Got flowers for no reason


64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma


65. Gone sky diving



66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp



67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter



69. Saved a favorite childhood toy


70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial



71. Eaten caviar

 (eaten, not so much...tried, yes - EW)

72. Pieced a quilt



73. Stood in Times Square



74. Toured the Everglades



75. Been fired from a job



76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London



77. Broken a bone



78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle



79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person



80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican


82. Bought a brand new car



83. Walked in Jerusalem



84. Had your picture in the newspaper
 (local papers count!)

85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve



86. Visited the White House



87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating



88. Had chickenpox



89. Saved someone’s life

 (well, I guess calling 911 counts...)

90. Sat on a jury



91. Met someone famous



92. Joined a book club



93. Got a tattoo

94. Had a baby



95. Seen the Alamo in person



96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake



97. Been involved in a law suit


98. Owned a cell phone



99. Been stung by a bee


How many have you done out of the 99? Care to play along? - be sure to let me know so I can check out your list!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Faces

Jillian has been making faces at us lately. It's pretty funny watching her try to make weird faces as she rolls her eyes all around and scrunches up her face.

Here are a couple I caught after dinner tonight...




Giant Gift Card Giveaway Winner

It was a quick giveaway - so thanks to those of you that entered!

The winner of the $20 Giant gift card is (selected using random.org's random integer generator):

Commenter #2: Toystory

I will email you for your address so that your Giant gift card can be shipped to you ASAP. Thanks again and congratulations!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quick Giveaway

**This giveaway is now closed.**

For two weeks this month, Giant and General Mills are teaming up to give away a 2010 eco-friendly Hybrid car!

What does that mean to you, my loyal blog readers? It means that I'm giving away a $20 Giant gift card! From April 16-29th, buy five (5) participating General Mills products with your Giant gift card, use a reusable shopping bag, and you'll be automatically entered to win that Hybrid car!!

Here are the qualifying General Mills products for each of the two weeks:

Week 1, April 16-22
Cascadian Farms Cereal
Cascadian Farms Frozen Vegetables
Progresso Light, Reduced Sodium and High Fiber Soups
Betty Crocker Specialty Potatoes
Betty Crocker Boxed Muffins
Betty Crocker Cookie Pouch
Nature Valley Crunchy, Sweet & Salty, Trail Mix and Yogurt Bars
Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters
General Mills Fiber One Chewy Bars
Betty Crocker Gushers, Fruit Shapes, Fruit by the Foot or Fruit Rollups
Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers
Yo-Pus, Yoplait Fiber One or Yoplait Delights Multi Pack
Yoplait Original, Light, Thick & Creamy, Light Thick & Creamy or Whips
Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
Totino's Pizza Rolls 90 Ct.
Cheerios 18 Oz
Cinnamon Toast Crunch 24.9 Oz
Honey Nut Cheerios 25.25 Oz
Kix 18 Oz
Lucky Charms 24 Oz
Multigrain Cheerios 16.2 Oz

Week 2, April 23-29
Cascadian Farms Cereal
Green Giant Vegetables
Nature Valley Crunchy or Sweet & Salty Granola Bars
Green Giant Boxed Vegetables or Prepared Vegetables, Simple Steam Seasoned Vegetables or Rices
Green Giant Wanchai Ferry Entrees
Yoplait Frozen Smoothies
Totino's Pizza Rolls
Pillsbury Savorings
Fiber One Muffins
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Pillsbury Sweet Rolls
Yoplait Greek Style Yogurt
Yoplait Kid Multi Pack
Cheerios 14 Oz
Cocoa Puffs 16.5 Oz
Honey Nut Cheerios 17 Oz
Lucky Charms 16 oz
Multigrain Cheerios 12.8 Oz
Reeses Peanut Butter Puffs 18 Oz

To win the Giant gift card, leave a comment telling me which product(s) you would stock up on if you win! This is a quick contest! Winner will be announced Thursday evening and I will contact you by email if you win (please make sure that your email is public and if it's not, leave it in your comment for me). Winner will be chosen by random.org's random integer generator and your gift card will arrive via Fedex.

Want an extra entry? Tweet about this giveaway, post it on Facebook, or mention and link to this giveaway on your blog, and leave me a separate comment telling me that you did. Good luck!!

General Mills and Giant provided a Giant gift card to me, as well as the information for this giveaway and the additional gift card for giveaway through MyBlogSparkTM.

Blog Slacking

Well, I've been a bit of a blog slacker lately. It's not that we haven't done anything, it's just that we haven't done much exciting. And Jillian spent the weekend away at her Bubbie and Paw-Paw's house.

Anyhow, I finally got around to getting Jillian to the doctor for her two-year checkup today (three months late...). She was none too pleased about this event. As soon as we pulled in the parking lot, she started in with her "no, no, no" and head shaking.

Well she freaked out when they wanted her to stand on the scale - we had to do it the hard way and let me hold her, then weigh me separately, and subtract the weight. Apparently I've lost another pound....

She freaked out about everything really. It was not the best morning ever.

Here she is after a visit from the nurse, but before the doctor came in. Also, not my best photography, but you get the idea.



Pitiful, isn't she?

The official stats:
Weight = 24 lbs.
Height = 32-1/4"

Two shots later and we were out the door (and she was much happier!).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Egg Hunts and the Great Outdoors

Over the weekend, Jillian got to hunt for Easter eggs!

She enjoyed the Easter egg hunt at church on Saturday (complete with Easter bunny, real bunnies, and crafts!).


She got to hunt Easter eggs at my mom's house after Easter lunch, and then again at Granny's house in the evening!


Totally NOT egg-hunt related, the weather around these parts has been unseasonably warm. And by warm, I mean HOT. Like 90 degrees in April hot. So while our weather on Easter was beautiful for a change, today was HOT. We ventured to the Patapsco State Park tire playground for a bit this morning before it got too steamy. Jillian had a blast!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tot School - Easter Week



I specify "Easter week", because it means that we didn't accomplish half of what we set out to. And this beautiful weather means we're spending much more time outdoors. I'm going to have to start thinking up some good outdoor Tot School activities!

We started the week out going for a long walk at Patapsco Valley State Park's Avalon Area. I wanted some outside time, and I thought it would be especially neat as there was a CSX train that wreck there the end of last week. I was hoping we'd see some of the train and cleanup - and we did!


This is one of my favorite parks to visit - there's so much to explore!



The next day, I found some great kid-size hula hoops at the dollar store that I picked up for Jillian. I was hoping we could use them for some bean bag tossing games. This lasted all of five seconds. She was much more into putting the bean bags back in the bag.


Then she found a ball. She's totally into kicking balls around.

We did a stArt (story + art) project last week, and read the book, "I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track" by Joshua Prince. We both really enjoyed the book, and Jillian sort of enjoyed 'building' her own railroad track.



I figured we were already set up at the table, so I made some Easter stamps from dollar store erasers hot glued to corks. This was fun for a minute. Then it devolved into complete finger painting. With non-finger paints. So I then felt obliged to get out the actual finger paints.



There was Easter egg hunting galore. First at church on Saturday...

Then at my mom's house on Sunday. And at my mother-in-law's house, too, but I didn't get any pictures of that one :-(

We read lots of "R" books this week (did I mention our very loose theme was "R"?). The ant on the railroad track book was by far our favorite of the bunch!

And I borrowed "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" with Shirley Temple from the library. Jillian enjoyed watching about half of this movie, and was inspired to climb up to our piano and do her own playing and singing!

This week we'll continue with "R", since there were a couple activities I really wanted to get in and didn't last week. And I'm SO excited that I finally got Do-A-Dot markers! I had enough Swag Bucks to redeem for Amazon.com gift cards and got a set totally for free! They came yesterday, so no doubt there will be lots of dot art this week!!

Head over to 1+1+1=1 to read some wonderful Tot School posts!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

stART - I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track



We LOVED this book by Joshua Prince! I loved reading it, and Jillian loved having it read to her.

It's about a railroad switch operator named Jack who sees an ant headed the wrong way on a the railroad track. He tries to flip the switch so the ant and the oncoming train don't have a run-in with one another, but can't do it. At the end, the ant is attracted to Jack's lunch and leaves the track on his own, and they share lunch together.

I helped Jillian make a railroad track for our stArt project. I drew two lines on a piece of construction paper and helped her color some popsicle sticks brown to make the railroad ties. Then I let her glue the ties on the "rails".


While she was busy making the ties, I grabbed a few black pompoms, hot glued them together, and added some googly eyes. A black pipe cleaner cut into pieces made the ant's legs and antennae.

I don't think she loved this craft, but she did get really excited when she glued the ties on the rails. She liked the ant I made best of all!

For more story + art ideas, check out A Mommy's Adventures!