Curly Crafty Mom: April 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

End of April Post

April, felt like a REALLY long month. Just like March! Weird.

In April:

1. Nathan finally started getting himself undressed and dressed in the morning, at night, and for baths. He is probably the LAST 5 year old to do this, but... finally, we got there by doing a sticker chart. Autumn's sticker chart is for her to use the big potty, not the little potty, by herself. She is doing A LOT better with it, she uses the big potty for #1 and #2 I would say 60% of the time. I hope to take away the little potty in the next couple of months altogether.

2. I read Heaven is for Real (VERY inspirational, recommend this book for any Christian!) and From Dead to Worse (Sookie #8 - this has been one of my favorite Sookie books, especially her breakup with Quin and why, sort of hit home with me on some levels)

3. Finally finished watching Trueblood Season #2 reruns, this is the HBO show based off the Sookie Stackhouse books.

4. I have to say, my BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT ALL MONTH! I ran in and completed a half marathon, under my goal time (by seconds). I finish the St. Louis Go! Half Marathon in 2 hours and 29 minutes and 9 seconds. Yes, I ran 13.1 miles! I am a crazy girl :)

5. I signed up for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, it is in November. Also, signed up for the St. Louis Make Tracks at the Zoo which is a 5K in May. My PR goal for the 5K is to run it in under 31 minutes. Both Nathan and Autumn will be running in a small 1/4 mile race after my race - Nathan is super excited!

6. Wow, a lot of running stuff on here, eh? One more. In April I ran 47.3 miles, that includes a week and a half I took off (because I was SO worn out from training for the half) at the end of this month. (March I ran 69.05 miles, February I ran 57 miles, and in January I ran 36.51 miles).

7. I have to mention this, because, it makes me happy. I haven't been in court for 4 entire months now. However, a reconsideration motion has been filed, but has been lingering for a month. I might be in court this month, if someone pulls me back there. :( 

8. Starting to plan Nathan's 6th birthday party - Star Wars themed, of course!

9. Celebrated Easter, did the 12 Days Till Easter egg activity, kids did the church egg hunt

10. Went to Opening Day at Busch Stadium for the Cardinals for the first time ever! (Won tickets at work!)

11. Did a couple of fun things with friends, Art Museum An Orchestrated Vision Photo Exhibit, Art Sundays and then Maternity pictures of Jill by the Grand Basin (can't remember the last time I went to the art museum, but LOVED it!), and I went and painted pottery at Painted Zebra with Becky and Terri.

12. Ok, and just because he worked SO hard on them. Brian cleaned my family room couches. They are a light white/cream color and that microfiber material that SHOULD be easy to clean but isn't. Oh, my GOODNESS! I have new couches again! Seriously, Brian gets major, major, major brownie points for this... I had thought my kids had destroyed them forever. Remember this? Really, I wish I had taken before and after photos. If Brian ever loses his fancy Architecture whatever he does job, he can go to work cleaning couches!

13. Nathan had another ER visit for his asthma, the inhaler was just not helping... Finally got an emergency steroid (oral) medicine to keep on hand, and a nebulizer! Then, Autumn was put on the nebulizer (first time ever) for four days due to her cold. This resulted in TWO nights of NO sleep for Momma! Plus, I got their cold! Not a fun week!

- -

And, my resolutions:

(1) Grow in my faith - Still reading my Once a Day Bible, I am about five days behind, though. I hope to get caught up this week. Last week was just hard with everyone sick, and the two sleepless nights I had! I am really enjoying it, I have never read the entire bible so it really helps tie together a lot of pieces. And, I am already planning to read it again after this year so I can understand it even better.

(2) Friendships - Mentioned above, got together with friends a couple of times this month.

(3) Risks - April has been a pretty mellow month, but I was really scared I would not make it through the half marathon, and I would disappoint myself. But, I did it! It was definitely not easy.

(4) Quality time with my kids - I think April was a good month, the kids really enjoyed the 12 days till Easter activity we did. Also, took Nathan to a coin store and they enjoyed the time running and playing in the Grand Basin. Last week wasn't so hot, though, since we were all SICK.

(5) Time to myself each week that isn't BUSY time. Recharge time. I think I did OK on this, because I did finally get a BATH in! Two relaxing Lush baths actually!!! One problem I have is that I have a lot of things I need to get done around the house, and even if I do have time to myself, I want to be busy getting what needs to be done, done. Its really hard for me to just chill.

(6) Pursuing my interests: I will give myself a PAT on the back for these:
Finishing the half marathon, setting the 5K goal of under 31 minutes, planning trip to France, signing up for Disney Wine and Dine, keeping up with 2 books a month... I'd say I am doing pretty good!

(7) Meals - FAIL! I had started to work on this, a meal plan... but, then we all got SICK and work was crazy busy last month, too. I hope Beth's advice for meals plans will help!

(8) Mornings. I hate mornings. Try to be better about getting up on time. - Um, FAIL. I am actually getting to work 10 minutes LATER now then I was before. UGHHHHHHHHHHHH.

(9) Finish my accumulating to-do list (its another blog!). - Doing OK on this, but its slow going. I did order curtains and a couple of end table lamps for my master bedroom FINALLY to match the bedding. I cleaned the cobwebs and siding on the front porch, and got a new Spring wreath from Homegoods. I am doing the HUGE Baby Mania sale this Saturday and hope to get rid of a lot of baby clothes and toys that are in my basement and the subdivision sale in June. Hope in May I can get my master bedroom closet cleaned out and organized!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Amish Friendship Bread, Give it a Try!

Instructions
I am sure a lot of you have heard about Amish Friendship Bread, and have given it a whirl. I had heard about it, but had received a starter until just recently when a friend at work brought me in one. I was excited, but also a little worried I'd screw it up.

Here are the directions, if you want to give it a try!

Basically, these are the steps:
Day 1: Do nothing. This is the date on which you receive the bag. Squish-squash-mush the bag.
Day 2: Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 3: Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 4: Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 5: Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 6: Add to the bag 1 C. flour, 1 C. sugar, 1 C. milk. Squish-squash-mush the bag.
Day 7: Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 8: Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 9: Squish-squash-mush the bag
Day 10: BAKING DAY!

So, yeah, there is a lot of squish squashing to it! I had always thought the bread would be a white dinner bread, but I was wrong. Its a sweet dessert bread, with sort of the same consistency at zucchini bread. Its YUMMY!

bags-to-give-out
At the end of the 10 days, it was finally BAKING day!

Pour entire contents of bag into large non-metal bowl and add: 1½ cup flour, 1½ cup sugar, 1½ cup milk. Measure out 4 separate batches of the starter batter, 1 cup each, into 4 separate Ziplock bags (one gallon size). Keep one for yourself and give the other 3 to friends along with a copy of this recipe/instructions. You'll see my four friendship bags, pictured above. I did not keep one, because I figured it was enough fun one time! And, it'll always come back around to me sometime, I am sure!


mix
After you split it up, there will be some of the mixture left in the bowl, you'll add the additional ingredients to this, and bake!


Jello
You'll be pleasntly surprised to find out that the secret ingredient to Amish bread is vanilla pudding. YUM!

Pre-heat oven to 325°. To the remaining batter in the bowl, add:

3 eggs
1 cup Canola oil
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 large box instant vanilla pudding


Coating-with-sugar
Grease or butter 2 large loaf pans and mix an additional ½ cup sugar and 1½ tsp cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with half the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Pour batter evenly into the pans and sprinkle the top with remaining sugar mixture.

Bake for 1 hour. Cool until bread loosens from sides of pan and turn out to serving dish.

friendship-bread
And, ta-dah! Amish Friendship Bread! This recipe makes TWO loaves, so you can share a loaf and enjoy a loaf at home. The kids even loved it!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Grass

potted
While at Lowes for one of the Build and Grows, I saw these... little grass growing kits. Of course, I told the Easter bunny to snatch some of these for the kids Easter baskets. Aren't they super cute?

Dirt
So, we filled the little pots up with dirt. Didn't take much.

grass-seeds
And, planted the seeds. The kids were excited to see what 'grass seed' looks like. :)

Autumn-gloves-and-water
Ok, and, this is the best part. I probably wouldn't have done a blog post on this, but LOOK at what Autumn is wearing while watering her little grass pot. Her Easter gloves! Can we say 'AWWWWWWWWWW, she is SO precious!'

Mittens
Oh, it is so fun to have a little girl. Of course, she hasn't worn them since... but, I guess she sees Mommy wear gardening gloves so she thought that was what they were for... cute!

Kids
Here they are with their pots, yes, sort of a bad photo, but... they wouldn't cooperate for a photo, darn them!

grass-growing
And, it took only a few days for the grass to start to grow. Yay! We have actually given them a haircut one time, as we planted them last week. I am a little behind on my blog posts.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Breaking Open the Piggy Banks

I have noticed the kids piggy banks have been full, and I wanted to take them to the bank so they could see just how much all the change in their piggy banks was worth. We went to my parents bank, because they only charge 2% to use their coin counting machine, and... we only broke it 5 times, and they didn't even get mad. We had A LOT of change!


Nathan and Autumns Piggy banks
We let the machine count Nathan's money first. A total of $97.40! Nathan had a LOT of nickels and pennies, his favorite coin right now is a nickel because he says he is 5!


Nathan and Autumns Piggy banks
I was a little surprised when Autumn dumped her coins in, and she had a total of $138.18!! Nathan was NOT happy Sissy had more money! But, she had twice as many quarters and dimes as Nathan. She even had some $1.00 coins!

I let the kids each buy a $5 floating board for the pool (can't remember what they are called) and Nathan got a Star Wars figure and Autumn a small play dough set. The rest of the money will go in their savings accounts.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pictures of Nathan and Autumn at Forest Park at the Grand Basin

Art-mus-at-distance
Forest Park is a huge park in St. Louis that houses a lot of trails, Turtle Park, the Zoo, History Museum, Jewel Box, Art Museum, etc. Its HUGE, and so old and beautiful. This is a photo I took of the art museum through a tree, using some of my techniques I learned in my Superhero Photo class.


Auttie-running
It is quite a walk from the parking lot of the Art Museum down to the Grand Basin, and its a beautiful green lawn, which they call Art Hill. It has the perfect gradual slope which makes it the most popular hill to sled down in St. Louis in the winter. Here is little Autumn running down it towards the bridge.


AutRunFtns
Autumn never stops. She loves to run.run.run.


Nat-by-Ftns
Nathan viewing the Grand Basin for the first time, I think he was amazed at the beauty of it. Well, and there were ducks. Ha!


Kids-by-grand-basin2

Kids-by-grand-basin
Trying to get a decent shot of the kids together on the bridge. These two shots aren't too shabby.


Auttie-grand-basin
Autumn so cute and adorable on the bridge.


Art-Mus-Nat-in-Shadow
Nathan with the art museum in the background


Grand-Basin
View of the water


Aut-silly-on-steps
Autumn showing some personality.


Handsome-Nathan
Nathan, my HANDSOME boy as he tells me that boys are not supposed to be called cute.


Autumn-Cute-by-Water

Auttie-sitting-cute
Autumn being her usual adorable self (then 10 seconds later she is crying over something. Am I the only one with the moody 3 year old?!

Jill's Maternity Photos

First-photo-of-Jill2
Jill is a girl I work with, and she is expecting her second child later this summer. She has a daughter that is a little younger then Nathan, but she had the sniffles so she couldn't come along for the photo session. Robbie, another lady I work with, enjoys taking photos like I do, so we decided it'd be fun to take some maternity photos of Jill for free (of course!).


First-photo-of-Jill
This is my favorite photo of Jill, it shows the heart of the Grand Basin, in the background. The Grand Basin is so neat, I would say the moonlight paddleboat dinner nights are one of the most romantic things you can do in St. Louis. So beautiful at night, so romantic!


Jill-on-bench
It was REALLY windy, and I was chasing after Nathan and Autumn the entire time, so Robbie took most of the photos and told Jill how to pose.


Jill-Ftn-in-Distance
Another fountain


Jill-by-Tree
There are a lot of REALLY old trees in Forest Park, this one had a really neat texture on the bark and made a good backdrop.


Jill-by-Art-Museum
This one was my idea, to have the art museum in the background, but it seems a shadow is on her face and her eyes are a little dark. Oh well! I tried :)

Art Museum - Kids Art Sundays

Art-mus
My work gave out free passes for a photography exhibit entitled An Orchestrated Vision which of course I lost the coupon for and had to pay full price but at least the kids were free. I went with a couple of my coworkers, and we planned to take some photos of Jill afterwards in beautiful Forest Park since she is expecting later this summer.


Nathan-and-Jill
I did not realize this, but the art museum has Free Kids Art Sundays from 1-4pm and so after the exhibit Robbie suggested we take the kids over to check it out. I might have to take them back, it was really neat. They had a table set up with different birds (they were stuffed- so a little gross but the kids LOVED it)... they learned about different birds common in Missouri, that Humming Birds only weigh as much as a penny, etc. and were even sent away with a Hummingbird poster. Then, next up, they made wooden birds houses. They have a kids tour at 2:30pm every Sunday, too, but we missed it.


Auttie-coloring
Autumn coloring her birdhouse


Kids-with-Robbie


Working-on-birdhouses
They had lots of markers and foam stickers


Nat-Bird-House

Auttie-Bird-House
And, ta-da! Finished bird houses. I really can't wait to take them back, it'd be fun to do a picnic infront of the Grand Basin outside Forest Park, or take them through a different part of the Art Museum each time we visit to do Free Sundays. We'll see if we make it back anytime soon!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

St. Louis Go! Half Marathon... yeah, yeah, chabang!

And, I finished!!!

Distance: Half Marathon - 13.1 Miles
Chip Time: 2:29:09
Overall Place: 5868 / 8736
Gender Place: 2976 / 5182
Division Place: 512 / 865
6Mi: 1:04:55
11Mi: 2:03:46

Night-picture
One of my goals for myself this year was to run a half marathon, and so I tortured myself through 12 weeks of Nike+ training... The training had mostly 3 days of running per week (one week had 4 days), so it was really easy to work into my schedule, even though I have the kids 74% of the time. I must say, the last couple of months was pretty tough though, with mostly two 6 mile runs and then a longer 7+ mile run on the weekend. Whew! So glad that is behind me until late August when I start training again for my Disney half marathon. Here is a picture of me before the race, IN THE DARK. The race was at 7am, and we had to be there by 6am. I was SOOOOOO nervous!


Waving-while-waiting
Here I am in my corral, we were packed in like SARDINES waiting and waiting for the race to start. I was starting to feel the excitement of the race from everyone else, and said a little prayer to God and it seemed like my nerves started to settle a bit.


Carrie-Running
Brian spotted me at mile 6, I had no idea he was taking photos of me and calling out my name. Really, at mile 6, I was just thinking... wow, this race sure seems long! LOL! But, I kept running and running. I look like SUCH a dork while I am running, but I couldn't help but share my photo for your enjoyment.


running-flag-photo
Just another photo of me running, wanted to include because they had the flag up.


Me-finishing-arms-up
Here I am with my arms up, finishing. I have to say, the last two miles were the hardest. I was so glad to finish at my goal time, under 2:30, which I finished at 2:29:09! Just seconds away from my goal! Yay, MEEE!!


Me-finishing
Another picture of me finishing.


ProfPic
So, they actually took professional pictures after the race... ha, ha! I actually really like mine, I may buy a copy and hang it next to my trophy wall plaque. I am wearing a 13.1 bling headband, I am so trendy (ha!).


Front-of-medal
Here is a close up of my medal


Carrie-Bib
And my first bib with my name on it... :)


This race was REALLY fun, it really took you through downtown St. Louis... we ran past Soulard Market, Soulard (they had all the neighbors out in their PJ's for a special cheer party), Anheuser Busch (saw a Clydesdale out!), in front of Busch Stadium and by Saint Louis University. They had plenty of water and Gatorade stations... everything was really well planned out. I love the Go! races, as I have done their last two 10K Halloween races.

Now what? Well, I am doing the 5K Make Tracks at the Zoo next month, this is sentimental race to me because its the first race I ever ran two years ago. I also signed up for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November... and, I am considering the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in St. Louis in the Fall. Also, a Halloween 10K, too, I may do the Chesterfield one this year instead of the Go! one, just not sure yet.

I am really proud of my accomplishment, I hope to work on speed a little bit now and I am really hoping to finish the Zoo 5K in 30 minutes. Also, hoping to finish my next Half Marathon in 2 hours and 10 to 15 minutes. We'll see!
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