Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Preschool Fun

We've been doing lots of really informal preschool activities at our house with a Halloween twist.  Here are a few of my 2 (almost 3) year old's favorites:

Spider Web Rubbings

You can read the how-to on this post.  I made it a bit easier for a younger child by putting the web and the tracing paper on a clip board to keep it stabilized.

Bean Tub

Yes, this one is still a huge hit.  See how-to here.

Toy Toss

Mr. Two loves tossing these little guys into our pumpkin trick or treat buckets.

Haunted House Math Bag Book

Still a bit hit.  I laminated all of the pieces for extra durability.  How-to is here (as well as some of my favorite Halloween stories).

Eraser fun

I found a bunch of Halloween erasers on clearance last year.  These are great for sorting, patterning, counting, matching and just throwing around the living room.  That's how we roll...
And of course, lots of Halloween stories.  We love a good not-so-scary book.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

One of Those Days

You know those days when your best laid plans stay that way.
Just best laid plans.
That was today.
I woke up late.
The kids were grumpy.
The baby decided not to take a nap.
I rushed out the door in the morning, three kids in tow, with only one absolute have-to-get item in mind to purchase.
Realized I needed gas in the car.
Made several wrong turns.
Didn't find the one item I had to get, and left stores empty handed.
Rushed to pick up my five year old at lunch time (it was a half day for school).
Made lunch while baby screamed and other children teased each other to tears.
Watched as aforementioned lunch ended up splattered all over the dining room floor.
Let children run amok while feeding the baby (so at least one child would not be crying).
Prayed for time to speed up so that I could unload children at Grammie's house to go to parent teacher conferences with Handsome Husband.
As the time comes, I gladly shut the door on the macaroni and cheese, toy-strewn floors and messy bedrooms.

Then, conference time.
Adult interaction!
Mr. One is doing very well academically and is charming and well behaved in class.
Laughed with teachers.
Walked out the door holding my husband's hand.
Heaved a sigh of relief that something went right today.

Collected kids from Grammie's house.
Went to Sonic for dinner.
Sat on the living room floor, picnic style to eat and watch "How to Train Your Dragon."
Finally laughed and smiled with my family.
Forgot, at least for a little while how worthless I felt earlier.
Put the kids to bed with smiles and thank you's on their lips.
Said a prayer of thanks for those smiles.
I needed them tonight.

Maybe my day wasn't so bad after all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October Break, Dinner and a Movie

Thursday night was movie and dinner night at Grammie and Grandpa's house.

For dinner, I made Loaded Baked Potato Soup (found here), with rolls and veggies on the side.  Even though it is still in the 90's here, it is officially fall, so soup sounded good.  One of these days, it will actually feel like fall outside...

After dinner, we snuggled into the couches for a movie.  The boys needed popcorn, so we popped a bag (even though the rest of us were already full from dinner).  We watched a few episodes of Wallace and Gromit together.  (Gotta love some dry British humor.)  The kids loved them as much as the adults.

The best part of the evening had to be the dessert:  gingersnap pizookies, topped with pumpkin ice cream and drizzled with warm caramel sauce.  (This was a collaborative creation from me and my husband.  He loves pumpkin ice cream.  I love pizookies.  We were musing a while back about making a pizookie with pumpkin ice cream instead of vanilla.  Well, we remembered these fantastic gingersnaps and the caramel sauce, and this is what we came up with.)  Doesn't it just sound heavenly?  Trust me, it was!  They were quickly gobbled up by kiddos and adults alike.  I think this is one of the few desserts that my Handsome Husband may have eaten more of than me.  (I'm the one with the stronger sweet tooth.)  Want to make one?  Here's the recipe:

First, make the cookie dough:

Anneta's Sparkling Gingersnaps (my aunt's recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

cream together:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon allspice

mix in:
4 cups flour

Now, this cookie recipe is delicious all on its own, so you can just bake the cookies up and be happy.

To make cookies:  make balls with dough and roll in sugar.  Place on cookie sheet (leave room for the t spread out) and bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.  Let it on cookie sheet for a few minutes after, then remove and cool on cooling rack.

Happy is good, but want to really wake up your taste buds and try something even better than happy? Keep reading.

To make the pizookie:

Scoop in and press a generous amount of dough into pizookie skillet (or if you don't have one, you can use custard cups or ramekins).  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes (the edges will be browned, but the center will still be soft).

Remove from oven and top with (while still warm):

a few scoops of pumpkin ice cream
a generous drizzle of caramel sauce (you can use jarred sauce, or try out this recipe which is even better)

Try to be nice and share, but I'm warning you, it will be difficult.  Very. Difficult.  I think this may be one of the best desserts ever.  And it doesn't even involve chocolate.  Now that is saying a lot! 

There you have a perfect fall dinner and a movie.  I think this was the best October Break activity so far.

linking up here:

October Break, Day Three

Wednesday was IKEA day. 

Since I was the only one who had eaten there previously, we thought it would be fun to try out the restaurant.  After Mike got home from work, we drove out to IKEA.  We ate first.  The boys loved the mac and cheese and the cookies.  Mike tried the meatball plate and me the chicken tenders (I should have been more healthy and ordered a salad...).  We also shared a piece of chocolate overload cake (the best part!).  Mr. Two managed to spill half of his chocolate milk all down his shirt and shorts.  Mr. One decided their mac and cheese wasn't as good as Kraft and ate my chicken and applesauce.  Mr. Three had a bottle and a bit of applesauce, and enjoyed sitting in the high chair watching the rest of the family eat.  Even with the few mishaps, it was a fun dinner.  We seldom eat out, so this was a big treat for the kids, and for under $20.00, we couldn't really beat the price.  

After eating, we wandered around the store.  I love seeing the different set ups, and always leave with new ideas for our own home, or for the elusive "future home".  The kids love sitting in the chairs and beds, and playing with the toys in the children's area.  We purchased some new plastic kiddie bowls and plates (ours are always disappearing...) and a pair of cutting boards. Then we took everyone home, bathed, prayed and read scriptures and tucked the babes into bed.   Good times.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Break, Day Two

Yesterday was pretty laid back.  I attempted to finish a few projects, but ended up making the house a bigger mess than it already was.  The boys had fun playing at home together.  A day full of cowboy hats, Legos, cars and PBS cartoons.

The highlights: 

The boys had fun feeding our friends' baby cows through the fence in their pasture.  It was more like throwing the oranges over the fence before the cow could lick their hands, but they enjoyed it anyhow.(The sun was starting to set and the lighting was just perfect.  Too bad I didn't have my camera.  Story of my life.)

Mr. One had fun playing with Daddy creating a "Super Hero Truck" on the Lego site.  He loves any extra Daddy Time he can get.

All three boys went to sleep relatively early so that Mike and I could enjoy some time together.

The lowlights:

Mr. Two fell asleep in his dinner before he could play games with Daddy, which was something he'd been looking forward to all day.

Mr. Three is teething (I think) and woke up at 4:00 am, and wouldn't go back to sleep.

Oh, and potty training is Evil! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday

Monday was our first day of October Break.  Since we are not going on a vacation, we'll do some fun things each day together. Here are some of the highlights from Monday.

The morning began with a rushed start, getting myself and three boys ready for the day.  We met a friend (with her two boys) at JoAnn's (what were we thinking?) at 9:30 am.

The good news is we found most of the materials we were looking for (I'll explain our Massive Christmas Project later).  It didn't take all day, and we left in one piece, with all children in tow.

The bad news is, we totally turned into That Mom in the process.  You know, That Mom, the one who is more concerned about matching patterns and figuring out yardages and sale prices than making sure that her children are quietly standing by.  That Mom, who's children decide to run races down the costume fabrics isle, practically mowing over old ladies with their patchwork quilt tops?  That Mom, who bribes said wild children with Fruit Snack and Skittles, just to keep the youngest ones in the shopping cart and the oldest ones from running amok?  That Mom, who is balancing a baby on one hip, and two bolts of fabric on the other, while pulling a shopping cart from behind?

Oh yea, but These Moms at least got a great deal on fabric.

After surviving the fabric store, we took a little detour to a party supply store next to JoAnn's.  We went up and down the isles, looking at the Halloween items (and avoiding the really gory, scary stuff... what sick person actually likes that?).  Then, as we hit the 10 and 25 cent bins, I had an idea:  let the boys pick an item and use it as leverage for good behavior this week.  I told them they would each have to earn their prize.  Fabulous!  Mr. One wanted a small skateboard.  Mr. Two picked a bouncy ball. 

We then ate at Grammie's house and headed to Sam's Club for groceries.

Later in the afternoon, Mr. One went with a friend to the park, while Mr. Two made a pretend "popcorn dinner with popcorn drinks" (can you tell what our favorite food might be?), and Mr. Three fussed while I attempted to get dinner together.

Handsome Husband arrived home early (hooray!) to play with the boys so I could finish dinner (alfredo pizza with tomatoes and "Jamba Juice").


Monday night means FHE, so Handsome Husband gave our lesson.  After General Conference, we decided that we wanted to focus this month on gratitude, after hearing our prophet, Pres. Monson give this talk.  We read and discussed the scriptures referenced in his talk (including the ten lepers).  After lesson was treat time.  I made this caramel sauce which we dipped our apple slices in for dessert.  They boys gobbled up the caramel and the apples.  A perfect fall finish for our day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tub Fun

Do you have an infant tub in your home?  Apparently, baby tubs aren't just for babies.  Mr. Two has claimed ours as a favorite toy lately.

Beside bathing your chubby little one, here are some more uses.

This tub makes an excellent race track for cars. 

You could also turn it into a (rather uncomfortable) toddler bed.

Three cheers for multi-purposing and a bit of imagination!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Finally Feeling Like Fall

It has been overcast and a bit rainy yesterday and today.
The forecast calls for thunderstorms and highs in the 80's and lows in the high 60's.
For most people, that's not really fall weather, but it is here, and I'll gladly take it.

I helped my mom can the last few summer peaches, and went bargain hunting at Old Navy ($4.00 shorts for the Handsome Hubby and $5.00 jeans for Mr. One, to name a few deals!!)

We put up the Halloween decorations and I'm working on finishing a few new ones.(details coming)

I opened up my October school box and Mr. One and Mr. Two have been happily playing with the various manipulatives.
I want to work on prepping some activities (I'm finally in the preschool mode again) and doing more structured preschool learning with Mr. Two.

I can't wait for the sweaters and the warm weather comfort food.
On the list to do soon: pumpkin cookies, these pumpkin whoopie pies, soup and cinnamon rolls.

I'm excited.
Do you love Fall too?

On a unrelated note, Mr. One brought this cute picture home from school.

When I asked him why all of his fish had numbers on them, he looked at me and said, "Well, they're racing fish."  Duh.  I should have known...

Friday, October 1, 2010


Mr. Two finally filled up his sticker chart (for using the big boy potty) and earned his "Dragon Lightning."  He has been so excited about this (and I'm excited he's finally getting the hang of the toilet!).  Yesterday, we placed the last sticker on the chart.  With a big grin on both of our faces, I gave him his prized car.  After playing with it for a few seconds he said to me, "When (Mr. One) gets home, I'm going to share my Dragon Lightning with him."

True to his word, the second they got into the house after picking Mr. One up from school, sweet little Mr. Two handed him his prize and said, "Here, you can play with my car, too."

Even sweeter, Mr. One, after wiping the huge smile off his face (because he really wanted to play with the new car), promptly went into his car bucket and pulled out his "Tokyo Mater" and handed it to his brother.  He then said, "Now you can be Tokyo Mater and I'll be Dragon Lightning!  Let's play!"

Then they happily motored around the front room and kitchen.

It's moments like these that you just want to bottle up and keep forever.  Brother love is priceless.

Lesson learned:  Giving (and sharing) really is even better than receiving.

... And Sour

Dear Pirate Booty,

You bouyed me up during pregnancy with your cheese-flavored puffed corn goodness.  I often sat with my little boys, munching away on a bag of "pirate popcorn", in white cheddar happiness.  I thought I could trust you when I found you had expanded your list of flavors.  To me, "veggie" conjures up memories of good things like veggie cream cheese (delicious), veggie crackers (also yummy) and spinach dip (awesome).

Your veggie flavored snack food needs to walk the plank.  Those lovely little puffs somehow mutate into a mass of strange shrimp-like creatures strangled in stinky seaweed.  One whiff and I was taken back to the salty sea, and not in a good way.  In the future, I will stick to my tried and true aged white cheddar.  If this is eating healthy, I think I'd rather stay hungry.