Archive for 2011

2011 Christmas Card

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

2011 has been another crazy year, and our lives haven’t gotten any less hectic – or fantastic. One of our life-changing updates this year was the purchase of our first home. The process was certainly a roller coaster, but our love for the new home has not been. It’s already become a very major part of our lives, especially as Ian continues to grow up and explore his new home.

This year, for our Christmas Card, we invite you to explore our new home through the memories we’ve made there. You’ll see a few of the rooms of our house. In each room, you’ll find some Christmas ornaments. Hover on the ornament to see a video clip, photograph, or other memory that took place in that room. We promise they’re adorable.

View our 2011 Christmas Card here.

First Fridays

Monday, November 7th, 2011

There’s a host of events that happen downtown on the first Friday of every month. This month we decided to take advantage of free admission to the Kirby Science Discovery Center at the Washington Pavilion. (Actually, we tried last month but couldn’t find parking anywhere downtown, due to First Fridays and an event at the Pavilion. This month we went there right after work, parked, walked to get supper and walked to the Pavilion. Still, because of First Fridays and White Christmas at the Pavilion, the parking was still pretty sparse at 5:45 p.m.) We ate at New York Express Pizza downtown (yummy and inexpensive–spent less than $10 total for the three of us!) and then walked to the Pavilion. There aren’t many things in the science center for kids Ian’s age, but there is a “younger than 7 years old” area where we spent our evening. We also visited one of the art galleries (I knew a couple of the artists on display and wanted to see them before the exhibit ends) and the children’s art room.

New York Express Pizza


Ian, telling us how excited he is to be at New York Express Pizza


First Fridays at the Pavilion

First Fridays at the Pavilion

First Fridays at the Pavilion

First Fridays at the Pavilion

First Fridays at the Pavilion

First Fridays at the Pavilion

First Fridays at the Pavilion

First Fridays at the Pavilion

Trick or Treating

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Last year we did not trick or treat because Ian was not old enough to really enjoy it and we didn’t have much of a desire to go out and about carrying a baby around the neighborhood. So this year was Ian’s first time trick or treating. I knew he would not tolerate a full-body costume, so we come up with something simple: a Gryffindor wizard (from Harry Potter). Once he understood the ‘ritual’ of trick or treating, he seemed to enjoy it. His first attempt at Miles’s aunt Karin’s ended up with him giving his pumpkin bucket and wand to her, though! That was cute. He doesn’t really talk yet, so no “Twick or Tweat” from him this year, but he did sign ‘thank you’ to most of the people we visited.

Ian, Gryffindor WizardI made his costume; stick for a wand.

First trick or treat outingHeading to our first house, Great-aunt Karin’s. (Maybe a first-house annual tradition?)

WaitingWaiting for her to come to the door.

He handed Karin his pumpkin and wand She gave him a piece of candy, he gave her his bucket and wand. Fair trade.

Sorry Karin, his pumpkin is empty!Karin’s quite happy, despite it being an empty bucket.

Taking his time deciding what to chooseGreat-aunt Shannon helping Ian choose his candy.

Scared of the robot spiderSometimes Ian got scared. Like from wolf masks and spiders on sides of houses.

Second house My favorite picture of the night.

Halloween Treats

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Ian moved up to the Toddler A room last week, and kids in that room were encouraged to bring treats for Halloween. (The letter sent home noted that they are peanut-free and there are kids in the room who are allergic to peanuts (read: Ian) so please bring treats that are store-bought and peanut-free.)

Of course, I couldn’t think of anything that’s really toddler-safe as far as candy goes (sure there are some candy that are probably OK, but most are a choking hazard because of size or chewiness.) And almost anything that is chocolate was manufactured in a plant that processes peanuts, so Ian needs to stay away from the chocolate bars even if they aren’t a peanut product. (FYI, Hershey’s manufactures their peanut candy in a separate facility, so their plain milk chocolate bars are OK. Their allergy warning is for soy, milk and almond. Hershey’s is also the only brand of chocolate chips we can buy.) There were some items that we decided were OK for Ian, since we’d be watching him eat them and they were peanut free: smarties, Rice Krispie Treat bars, milk chocolate Hershey’s bar. Other items I thought weren’t toddler appropriate (Jolly Ranchers) or weren’t safe peanut-wise (Crunch bars). He enjoyed the things he could eat, and as long as we offered him an alternative, he didn’t have much of an issue handing over some of his trick-or-treat candy either. And when he woke up this morning, he didn’t remember how much candy he gathered last night (we only went to 5 houses anyway!) Miles’s coworkers are well-fed today.

Woah. This was not going to be a post about his peanut allergy.

It WAS going to be a post about what we sent for his treats. Kool-aid Playdough. Recipe below.

Kool-aid Playdough

Kool-aid Playdough

(recipe originally seen here)

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 packets Kool-aid (she suggests 2 packets for sweeter smelling and brighter playdough, but you could do only 1 packet)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or canola or olive)
  1. Mix flour, salt and Kool-aid in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Add boiling water and oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until sticky.
  3. When not too hot, pick it up and knead like you would while playing with playdough to further mix in the dry ingredients.
  4. Store in air-tight containers. They will keep for a few months.

Pro tip: when making more than one color, boil several cups of water and then as you are ready to mix one color, ladle the boiling water into your measuring cup. This way, you don’t have to keep measuring water + bringing it to a boil for each color.

This cost me $0.10 per batch (I got the Hy-Vee brand Kool-aid, which was 10 for $1) because I have everything else on hand. I made 2 batches of orange and one of green and was able to make over 18 ‘servings’ for daycare. When I made this recipe for Ian a few months ago, I did several half-recipes in different flavors/colors and it made plenty.

With Kool-aid, my first fear was that it would stain horribly. To  my pleasure, it does not stain your hands, bowl or spoon. I have not experienced stained clothes. I have experienced Ian having some pieces on his feet and small pieces get rubbed into the carpet — it comes out with normal carpet stain remover.

For Ian’s treats, I formed them into pumpkin shapes and put them in bags. I used a sharpie on the bag to draw Jack-o-lantern faces and attached a little label explaining what it was and the ingredients (they look like sugar cookies).

This playdough is made of edible items, but I would not encourage kids to eat it. I tasted it, just for knowledge’s sake, and it is nast-ay. Like eating ocean water. The Kool-aid does NOT save it. So though it is technically edible, I’d call it non-toxic. It is very sweet smelling though.



I love this photo

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Talking with uncle Tony

I love this photo. Miles wishes he was smiling. I love it because daddy is just talking on the phone with his friend and son is sitting in his lap, pretending to do the same. With a remote control he picked up and decided was a phone, even though he knows it’s not. It’s an innocent, real moment and I’m so glad I was able to capture it. Just moments before, he was doing it–on the floor in front of Miles–and I had to go get my phone. Ian got up then, and I thought I had missed the moment. Then he sat in daddy’s lap.

And at the last second, right after I pushed the button to take the photo, Ian gave his precious camera face. Thank God my camera has a slow shutter response.