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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.

The Zoo

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

As a birthday gift from his mother-in-law this winter, Miles got a year-long family pass to the Great Plains Zoo. Miles loves animals. Ian got that from him. I’ve warmed up to the zoo in the past couple of trips, but I still didn’t like staying long at the tiger exhibit when she was so close to the fence this last weekend. I mean, if she was really hungry–what’s keeping her from tearing apart that chain link and taking my nummy child? NOTHING. She’s a TIGER.

But I digress. We’ve decided we like having the membership. Each time we visit, Ian is more and more interested in the animals and I assume that will continue for several years. It’s also nice that we can just decide one morning to go and only spend an hour there without feeling like we’ve wasted money. I don’t need to plan a whole afternoon of lunches, snacks and drinks. We don’t have to skip nap time. We don’t have to stay there with a cranky child just so that we’re getting our money’s worth. We can leave before the child gets cranky, even if that means only staying for 45 minutes. We can spend as long as we want at one exhibit (except when the tiger is close to the fence). We can go every weekend, if we want. As long as we are able to afford it, we’ll renew our membership there. I’m still afraid of the roaming peacocks though.

Bright sun

Dads and babies

Wanting out

Bears + camera face + terror? Best picture ever.


Finding his inner tiger

My favorite exhibit

Living Sacrifices

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

We visited my grandpa this weekend, for the last time on this earth. He passed away tonight near 11 p.m. He was a man who sought Christ in everything he did, and His love radiated from him.

I often hear you can learn a lot about a person from the looks of their Bible. Here’s a big box of his. And that’s not all of them.

You can tell a lot about a person's faith by looking at their Bible. Here's a pile of them.

You can tell a lot about a person's faith by looking at their Bible. Here's a pile of them.

After getting the phone call tonight, I pulled out one of his Bibles. Searching, I found a piece of paper in it with his handwriting–verses organized by category. I read a few from Peace and plan to read a few more from Free. But I had to share a few verses where he had underlined.

From Romans Chapter 12 (marked “Living Sacrifices” in his Bible)

1. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–which is your spiritual worship.

3. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

16. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.