April 18, 2014

FIVE on FRIDAY

Happy Easter weekend! It's be a busy, fun filled week, and we're ready for more fun this weekend! But first...I'm linking up with the sweet ladies behind The Good Life, Carolina Charm, A. Liz Adventures, and Hello Happiness for 5 on Friday!

| 1 | Movie Workout: Disney's Frozen I'm really proud of my progress in the gym. I'm feeling stronger and have more energy at the end of the day (on most days!), and my clothes are fitting (and looking) better too! Although I've been able to make it to the gym or for a workout 3-4 times a week there are still days when it just does not happen. This is usually because we trade going to the gym in the morning for meeting friends at the park, soccer class or appointments. I was so excited to see that Tamara shared a great plan for working out while you let your kids watch the movie Frozen. Owen is pretty good about sitting to watch a movie or playing while watching one. Obviously this is something I would probably only use in a pinch, because after all, we're always trying to cut back on screen time, but it's nice to know there are options for when you can't get out of the house or workout during nap time ... or when you child no longer naps!

| 2 | I have been pinning up a storm on Pinterest lately, and honestly, I don't know what's gotten into me. Some of my favorite pins lately have been Owen related of course because I am always looking for new ways to keep us busy. And a little while back I wrote a post for Blog Her detailing five of my favorite Pinterest boards around for all things toddlers + creativity! Check them out! We've found some really fun activities.


| 3 | Owen's Easter basket is all ready to go for Sunday and we've got some fun plans for the weekend involving family, egg hunts, Mass, more egg hunts, Bloody Mary's and more family. It's bound to be a fantastic few days!


| 4 | We've had quite the busy week this week and it has been wonderful. Every time I start to feel rushed about all the things we're doing each day I remind my self of a little over a month ago when Owen had hand, foot & mouth disease and we were confined to our house for nearly two weeks. It's really nice to be busy and have friends to see!

Having said that, I wish I had more time to use the bathroom by myself... or at least not have to worry about where Owen is while I try to wash my hands. Yesterday he was in our room on the bed and I ran to the bathroom. As I washed my hands I saw him dash down the hall out of the corner of my eye... and when I went to find him I found that he had colored with a blue marker all over the wall. How he did that I'll never know. I'm super thankful for Google and Magic Markers today.


| 5 | I finished reading Pines (Wayward Pines Series, Book One) and it was great! Not my usual read, being a mystery, but it kept me wanting to keep reading the entire time and wondering what the heck was going on. Now I'm on to book two in the series!

We're off to the gym this morning and if all goes well for us there Owen and I are heading out somewhere fun before nap time! I hope you all have a happy Easter weekend with the people you love!

April 17, 2014

Owen's Easter Basket 2014

It's probably no secret that I love to shop for our boy! I can barely go into (any) stores without seeing something I want to buy for him -- usually something from the dollar section or a little matchbox car. But I don't want to him to think he gets something every time we're out, so instead, I've been sneaking those things into our shopping basket and saving them for his Easter basket.


The liner is from Pottery Barn Kids and the basket was a last minute, in-a-pinch purchase from Michael's. I was really hoping for a more traditional Easter basket shape, but I could only find them in white. I know that I sound silly, but there is a certain shape of basket that makes filling it a little easier, and I drove myself crazy (literally, all over the city) trying to find one in the color I wanted. In the end, a basket is just a basket and no one but me cares about the difference.

Inside there is...

A board book copy of The Little Engine That Could, a new vibrating toothbrush and Elmo's The Bunny Hop. I like giving Owen a regular book to add to our collection for most holidays we celebrate. Kills two birds with one stone, because I would be buying him books anyway -- books are one of my (many) weaknesses.


The rest of the things in his basket are all from the dollar section in Target or at Michael's. A little Jumping Frogs game we can play together and (my new favorite way to entertain Owen at a restaurant) a new Curious George Grab & Go Play Pack. They have a ziplocking seal, so you can keep them in your bag to use again and again.

I found those cute little eggs at Michael's too. I thought that Owen would like the dino's and the kush balls. And the Goldfish, or "fishy crackers" as we call them in our family, are a staple and necessity.



And not pictured with the basket is Owen's bonus gift, a Green Toys Recycling Truck I bought on Zulily a while ago! There is a 90% he will be most excited about that part of his "basket"!


I'm linking up with Darci today for the Easter Basket Blog Hop -- can't wait to see everyone's cute baskets! If you don't have a blog you can still play along by sharing your basket (for your mom, child, husband, boyfriend, cat, dog, dad, neighbor, brother, etc.) on Instagram by hastagging your picture #EasterBasketHop!
 
PS. You can see Owen's previous Easter baskets here: One year-old basket + 3 month old basket

April 16, 2014

It's the Little Things ... Like Lovin' the Easter Bunny

A little mommy bragging is about to go down...

My kid loves characters / doctors / haircuts, and I'm so thankful. Don't get me wrong, we have our fair share or public meltdowns (on the regular, folks) over little things, but I'm really glad he's been easy going when it comes to someone else giving him attention. As long as mom is right there within view he's happy to let the doctor check his ears, have the hairdressers cut his hair or sit with Santa / The Easter Bunny. Of course his mellow disposition in these situations makes them tons easier on Keith and I, but mostly, we're just glad they're low stress situations for Owen.


First, let me tell you how much Owen has been hooked on his Melissa & Doug Water Wow coloring book. We bought it last summer for our trip down to Disneyland, and recently he's re-discovered how much he likes playing with it. I bring it to restaurants, in the car and to church for low mess fun and entertainment. Anyway, on this day, our date with The Easter Bunny (TEB), Owen would not leave the house without "painting" the excavator, so we had to do that out front before getting in the car. 5 minutes later we were on our way, tantrum free. Whatever works, right?


You were just hoping and wishing for a play-by-play of our excellent experience with TEB, right? Because I will not disappoint you there. 

We got to the mall early, around 10:am, and there was only one other child in line ahead of us. The boy was older than Owen and he did not want anything to do with TEB. He wasn't crying, but he was definitely not going to let his mom put him down or on TEB's lap. I was a little worried this might make O concerned (because you never know when this easy going streak will end), but he was un-phased.

We stood in line waiting out turn, all the while Owen had his back to TEB but couldn't help coyly glancing over his shoulder every two seconds to see if TEB was looking back. Then when he'd see the bunny wave at him he quickly turn back around. My son is a total flirt. And a silly billy.


Our turn came and Owen walked right up to TEB and smiled. He let me set him down in his lap and then the camera lady and I snap, snap, snapped away. 



Just like last year I had a hard time tearing him away when our turn was over. He wanted TEB to read him the book they'd given us, and basically just wanted to hang out in bunnyland all day watching the action. He is such a sweet boy and I love seeing him so happy like this. He is truly in his element when he's the center of attention among strangers. He's all smiles and cuteness and charming! I'm hoping this means he'll be better at public speaking than me, and that he'll be a CEO or something great like that.


Great picture, right? Hashtag: overly proud mom moment


We topped off our trip to the mal with a stop at the Build a Bear Workshop. Owen usually just likes to visit the store to pound on the keys of the computers, but this time we actually bought something. Owen picked out a Darth Vader bear complete with the Star Wars theme song embedded inside.

Happy Wednesday! We're off to soccer and to play in the sun!

   I’m linking up this today with jess and ashley for their fun little things link up!

April 14, 2014

Bunny Cones [Recipe] and a Little Egg Hunt


Sometime last month Owen and I were sitting at the kitchen counter together. He was coloring on some of my note paper with some crayons, and I was making my grocery list for a quick trip to the store. Sitting there at the top of a pile of mail was the April issue of Family Circle magazine with a picture of some of the cutest bunny, nest, egg and chick Easter treats you've ever seen.


The magazine's bright cover must have really caught Owen's eye, because for the first time he saw something he wanted me to make for him and asked me to. He pointed to the cute little bunny cupcakes in the ice cream cones and said "Mommy? I want doe's! You make doe's, mommy?". Although I wasn't sure anyone of us would eat them I knew I had to make them for my boy. Afterall, this is just the beginning of what I anticipate being many kitchen requests made by Owen. 



INGREDIENTS
1 box funfetti cake mix
3 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 box wafer ice cream cones
2 cans white frosting
1 1/2 cups assorted m&ms
1 package Wilton small candy eyeballs
24 small pink candy beads or flowers
23 marshmallows
pink sparkling sugar

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees . Prepare cake mix with eggs, oil and 1 cup water as per package directions. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag.

2. Coat 2 mini muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each cup almost to top. Bake at 350 degrees for 16 to 18 minutes. Remove cakes from pan, re-coat, re-fill and bake a second batch. Cool cakes.

3. Trim cakes level. Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag. Snip tip to create a 1/4-inch opening. Pour 1 tbsp jelly beans or M&Ms into bottom of each cone (see Note). Place 1 cake into an ice cream cone, pressing lightly to fit. Squeeze a little frosting onto cake in cone and place another cake, trimmed side down, into cone. Repeat with all jelly beans or M&Ms, cakes and cones.

4. Pipe or spread frosting onto cakes to cover. Add eyes and pink beads for noses.

5. Cut marshmallows in half diagonally and dip cut edges into sparkling sugar. Press into bunnies (to resemble ears).

***Note: The candies in the bottom of each cone are not just for fun; they help keep the bunnies from tipping over.


And while we waited the 16 minutes or so for the mini cupcakes to cook, and then 10 minutes to cool, we had a little egg hunt around the house to practice for Easter Sunday. Owen's never really done an egg hunt before. We tried last year, but he just wasn't into it yet. This year he's into everything and seems to kind of get it, so he loved this! While he was napping I had filled 6 eggs: 2 had some quarters, one egg had m&ms and the rest all had cheddar bunnies. I "hid" them in plain sight so they were easy for him to find. He loved the excitement of finding them and then looking for more, but he really liked opening them up and seeing what was inside. He was obviously most in love with the egg that housed the m&ms. He held it like it was the most precious thing in the world and savored each little candy. Toddlers really know how to appreciate the little things! I wish I enjoyed something so small just half as much as he does! He must have thought this was the coolest thing ever, because afterward he said "thank you mommy!"





April 11, 2014

FIVE on FRIDAY

I'm linking up with the sweet ladies behind The Good Life, Carolina Charm, A. Liz Adventures, and Hello Happiness for 5 on Friday and today's FIVE is mostly about Owen!

- ONE -
Owen had his first soccer class this week and he had so. much. fun!! I can already see this is going to be a great experience for him and that he'll be learning a lot about listening, sharing and following directions.

We played a few games that required some color recognition, which made me realize I really need practice colors with Owen. We've been doing a little practicing here and there, but the games will be a lot more fun for him if he has the colors down pat. 



- TWO -
So later in the day, after nap time, we practiced sorting his cars by color. I placed colored construction paper on the floor and then one-by-one I handed him a car. I'd ask him what color it was, and most of the time he got it right. If he got it wrong I corrected him. I'm starting to think it's not really that he doesn't know the colors, but that he's often too busy to think about it.

He really liked this activity and it lasted us about a half hour. I, of course, had to redirect him back to the sorting a few time because he wanted to stop and just play cars. He loves his cars, but next time I think I might try the same game with legos or even m&ms if we're feeling festive.



- THREE -
Yesterday we went to see The Easter Bunny (TEB)! He was so excited to be there and loved getting to sit on TEB's lap. Another successful holiday photo for the memory books! 

And, who doesn't love a good side to side comparison? When I look at the three of these pictures all I can think is that I officially no longer have a baby boy. That boy in the last picture is a "kid". So sad. Going to cry in a corner now.


- FOUR -
My current planner is going to run out in August, so I have begun the debate of which planner to go with next. I've been faithful and hooked on the Erin Condren Life Planners for the last few years, and they've been working well for me, but I'm wondering if I should give something else a try. 

I like to use a paper planner. I want something with weekly and monthly layouts, and I would really like some space for being able to make some lists / log excersise / meal plan etc. 

I'm currently comparing the Day Designer, a Plum Paper Designs planner or another Erin Condren. Do you have a favorite planner? I'd love to hear about what you use!

- FIVE -
We tried a few new recipes this week and the tomato basil artichoke chicken and baked salmon with garlic and dijon were so great that I'm adding them to next week's menu too! If you've been looking for some new, simple, healthy and "clean" recipes I definitely suggest you try them! 

Happy Friday! 
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