Curly Crafty Mom: June 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Arnold City Park one Friday afternoon

Nathan-sittn-on-rocl
Last Friday the weather was fairly nice, so I decided to take the kids to Arnold City Park after work since its really close to my house. Here is Nathan sitting on a rock by the water fountain. I remember the first time I ever took Nathan to this park, the lake was frozen over and geese were walking on it.


Nathan-waterfall
Nathan loves to throw rocks in the water. We even saw a turtle! Sorry these are pictures from my Android phone, so they aren't the best quality.


Autumn-swinging
Autumn's favorite part was the playground. Here she is on the baby swing. It was funny, when I first pushed her she got so scared! She hasn't been on a baby swing since last summer! But, she found out what fun it was real quick and asked to be swung higher and higher!


Slide-Catch-Mommy
Autumn also loved the slides... she is fearless. There was one especially tall slide I told her that was for BIG kids, just because I was nervous about her climbing up so high. Yes, I am such a paranoid Mommy! This one is cute, she asked I slide down after her and she held her hands out to catch ME! Ha!

I hope I have time to take the kids to more parks this summer, especially new ones! We love to explore!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bowling Round 2!

Nathan
I took the kids bowling for the second time with their KidsBowlFree.com passes, and they had even more fun this time then last. Last time, Autumn fell then got upset so it really was only Nathan that enjoyed himself. This time Autumn was REALLY into it up to frame 6, then she lost interest. Which, is pretty good for a 2.5 year old! It was cute because I looked up and realized she was actually beating Nathan! I told Nathan and he was NOT happy, so he did everything he could to try to get as many pins down! Hee! Gotta love brother and sister rivalry.


bowling-arcade
After Autumn got bored, she decided to check out the little arcade section. I must say, these bowling alleys look the same as they did when I was in them last (which was high school!). It is sort of sad how they are run down, I guess there isn't a lot of money in bowling. But, the kids did have a lot of fun! Can't wait to take them again next month.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hoorah for Autumn!

potty-training
Little Miss Autumn is potty trained! Well, for the most part... Autumn wears undies in the morning, on her way to Grandma's, at Grandma's, during her nap, for the remainder of the day at Grandma's, on the way home to my house and till bed time!!!

She goes to the potty ALL by herself now, even if she is playing outside she will come inside and use the potty. She is even starting to go #2 on the potty, but I will admit that she still does have a few #2 accidents a week still which IS NOT FUN.

She is still sleeping in her crib, but I hope to transition her to a big girl bed in the next month. I need to buy a mattress for her and twin bed sheets/comforter.

YAY FOR AUTUMN!

BTW, she is also using the BIG potty. She sits her baby doll down on the potty chair, and then she gets herself up on the big potty all by herself and goes! I mean, how impressive! Girls ARE EASIER!!!!! They really are!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thunder Cake


There has been A LOT of thunder around here lately... so, we decided to get Thunder Cake from the library. Its a story about a Grandmother that tries to calm her Granddaughters fear of thunderstorms. I did however modify the recipe a bit, according to Sugar Plum'a blog post on it. She added even more of the secret ingredient (tomato puree) and I used her ganache recipe.


egg-whites
This cake did take most of the afternoon to make, but it was a lot of fun! I have never done a two tier cake before... Here I am mixing the egg whites.


chocolate
Autumn was napping until I got the cake in the oven, so Nathan was my big helper. He enjoyed dumping the powdered chocolate into the dry ingredients.


secret-ingredient
And, of course he enjoyed adding the secret ingredient... Tomato puree! He told me, "EWWW!" (But, he did eat it! And, told me it was even better then birthday cake!)


2-cakes
The two cakes, ready to go in the oven! See, you can't even tell they have tomatoes in them!


inner-layer
After the cake finished baking, I let it cool, and then I iced the top of the bottom cake, and layered it with sliced strawberries.




gnache
I was trying to figure out what kind of icing to put on this cake, and that is when I found Sugar Plum's blog. I made her ganache, which was really easy and you just 'pour' it over the cake after simmering it on the stove. Pretty easy! And, it was SO good!



Of course, I read Thunder Cake to the kids before we enjoyed our delicious treat. The kids loved the book, especially all the counting to each clap of thunder and the dark colors of the storm coming in.





Here is our devoured Thunder Cake. Yum!


Thunder Cake (Recipe by Sugar Plum)

3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup pureed tomatoes


Ganache
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 (9-inch) cake pans.

In a medium bowl, using a mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites (reserving the yolks) until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes; set aside.

In an additional medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together oil, butter and granulated sugar until well combined and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Beat in yolks, vanilla and tomato until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until combined, about 2 minutes; fold in egg whites until combined.

Divide batter into cake pans. Bake 33-37 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cakes comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool pans on wire racks for 12 minutes; run a knife around outside edges and invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

To make the ganache, heat cream in s small saucepan over medium-low heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and whisk in chocolate until melted; whisk in butter, corn syrup and vanilla until combined. Pour and spread ganache over cooled cake layers.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lists

I have really been into making LISTS lately. I have lots and lots of things I have buzzing around in my mind that I want to knock out... mainly around the house. Its crazy, but I sat down and typed out a list to see just how many things I could come up with. And, I decided to stop at 100... because, how good would it feel to accomplish these 100 items! So, I decided to start a separate blog instead of posting my Monday list here every week. Plus, I have gotten back into reading and running, so those don't really need to be added as 'to-do' action items anymore. It has really helped me to write these things down and to pick 9 of them every week... its the only way I can motivate myself lately it seems. I am hoping to knock them dead by September 1st. Anyway, here it is... my overly ambitious 100 To Do's blog:

100 To Do's

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Outside-of-card

inside-of-card
Even though Jeremi and I are going through a divorce, I still wanted the kids to give something to their Daddy for Father's Day. I decided to do this cute handprint card, where I traced both kids hands, then it says, "I love you" on the first hand, then you open it up and it says, "This MUCH"... and, on the back of the bottom hand I wrote, "Happy Father's Day". It turned out pretty cute. Then, Autumn colored a piece of construction paper and we folded it in half and put a Wehrenberg Theatre giftcard in there for him.


Nathan
Then, I took the kids to the dollar store this morning so they could select 3 gifts each for Daddy. They also got Daddy a balloon (only $1, hey its the dollar store!), too. Nathan selected:
1. Boy with Worm knick knack (this is perfect, because Nathan LOVES worms!)
2. Bug Holder Watch (because Daddy collects watches)
3. Wooden Train wall hanger (Nathan likes trains, so Daddy should decorate his apartment with them, right?)


auttie
Then, Autumn got Daddy:
1. Pink and White Polka Dot Dish Towel (because she is Daddy's little helper in the kitchen!)
2. Cat Knick Knack (because she loves kitties and Daddy should have one)
3. Flat Glass Marbles (she just liked these)

This was a really cute and inexpensive way to get the kids into selecting their Dad's own gift for Father's Day and it was fun to see what they picked out. I got this idea from Trena's blog. :o)-

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Library Reading Program, First Level

ball
Both of the kids got through their first level of the Library Reading Program. Nathan got this really nifty clear ball that is filled with water and glitter. It lights up when you bounce it.


nathans-gift
He also got a free Sonic Slushy, and free passes to a hockey game and to the Magic House. I have been reading two books on most nights before bed to the kids. I let Nathan pick one out, and Autumn picks out the other. They have been really enjoying our books before bed time!


aut-pushn-schoolbus

school-bus
Autumn is in a different age group then Nathan, so she got this really cute plush school bus.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Latest Sunflower Update

Sunflower_June15
I took this picture of the kids with their sunflower plants two days ago. Let me just say, they have grown a lot in two days! Of all the seeds we planted, only two of Autumn's turned into sunflowers, and 6 of Nathan's did. I planted one of each of theirs in the yard, but some friendly (or not) critter nibbled on them so the ones in the pots may be the survivors!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Meatballs

meatballs
So, I have been having some refrigerator issues lately... Nothing that couldn't be fixed. :o)- First, my water/ice dispenser started acting up, in that I would push my cup and it WOULDN'T stop!! !! Yes, the water would not stop! Or the ice! I figured out if I pushed another button on the control, it would stop (like if I pushed the ice button, it'd stop pouring out water!).

W40 in the right places on the dispenser knob fixed this problem. :)

But, then... while fixing that problem, somehow I accidentally hit the button that lets you turn down the freezer's temperature. I didn't even notice, until my ice dispenser wouldn't give me crushed ice! Just uncrushed! What had happened was some of the ice had melted and refroze on the blades so it couldn't crush the ice. Grrr! So, I took the whole thing out, dumped out the ice, and let it air dry overnight.

HOWEVER, during dinner last night... some little girl decided she didn't want to eat her meatballs. And, some big boy was complaining about wanting ice. So, I went to show Nathan our ice bucket was empty, so it could dry and... what did I see?????? MEATBALLS!!! Autumn had somehow out of my vision chucked her meatballs over into the ice bucket! THAT GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I cleaned it out, its dry... and, everything is all happy again in ice and water land at my house!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer To-Do List

I have decided to skip my Monday list this week, and to write a Summer To Do list, like a lot of the others have been doing on their blogs. I love this idea!

But, before my summer list... I wanted to say that I did indeed finish Hunger Games last night, and it was such a GOOD read! I could NOT put it down... at all. I am going to start Catching Fire (the 2nd book of the triology) this week.

Here is my summer list, breaking it apart into two categories, one with kids and one for me. :o)-

Me and the Kids

1. STL Zoo, ride the train and Children's Zoo (and whatever else)

2. Explore parks... Watson Trails (MY favorite park), Whitecliff (been there, but have never taken the kids there) and the water play area at Tower Grove park

3. Sandy Creek Covered Bridge

4. Miniature Golf, first time for both kids. Tower Tee even has a steam engine (which Nathan will LOVE)!

5. Bowling once a month with our kidsbowlfree passes. We went in May, June, July (with Jill and Ems). Missed August.

6. Try making different flavors of homemade ice cream, and possibly homemade popsicles (Made Ice cream in a bag and pudding pops)

7. Planted sunflower seeds, and moved the two hardiest to the garden. Going to see if Nathan's or if Autumn's flower grows taller. Next year we may try pumpkin seeds for fun.

8. Library Reading Program

9. Swim classes

10. Neighborhood walks in the evening after dinner



Me

1. Running: I would like to run at least once on Grant's Trail, along Creve Coeur Lake and at Jefferson Barracks park.

2. Do a wine dinner at Montelle winery


3. Finish a 5K - Fleet Feet Rock N Roll - July 24th

4. Redo my bedroom

5. Go hiking at Elephant Rocks

6. Outdoor concert

7. Go to the Muny for my birthday

8. Soulard Market

9. Go to nursery and select plants for my backyard so I can finish the landscaping

10. Wander around the Art Museum and then have a picnic lunch/read a book outside by the Grand Basin

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Show me the Mommy!

vin-de-set
I thought I would finally do this... especially since last night I finally got a chance to get dolled up for a dinner at Vin de Set on the rooftop. It was a fun evening, and afterwards we went to a Chocolate Bar. Yum! I love my new jewelry I got for this dress... I have no fun jewelry, so I thought I would treat myself. Can't beat Old Navy, its way, way affordable!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pancakes Vs. Rocks

Nathan has vacation bible school this week, in the car yesterday he asked me how many more days was left of vacation bible school. I told him just one day. He said, "GOOD!" So, I was a little sad about that comment. Well, then I get an email from my Mom telling me that he was so anxious and excited about going to vacation bible school that morning and he kept asking when they would leave. I asked him that night if he liked vacation bible school and he smiled REAL big and said "Yes!".

Well, then today... It was one of those typical morning scrambles, it is just me getting two kids ready! Well, I made them both pancakes for breakfast and of course I set Nathan's plate down and he throws himself down on the floor and CRIES and says he wanted Rock cereal (Fruity Pebbles). I was in a rush, and I didn't feel like dealing with a fuss rocket so I put his pancake plate down on the stove top and went to get the Rock cereal. I saw Nathan grab his pancake plate down, and put it on the kitchen table. Then he looked at me and SMILED.

I might, or might not have thought in my mind at just that moment. DEVIL CHILD.

Next time, he gets TWO choices for breakfast. If I dump it in a bowl or cook it, he better eat it, because no crying fit on the floor is fooling me!!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Potty Training for Girls

potty-training-excitement
Mom emailed me this while I was at work. Autumn getting into my Mom's makeup box while passing time on the potty. Wonder if she went?

Vacation Bible School 2011

vbs-by-decor
Sorry for the poor quality of these photos, they were taken with my Android phone. I decided to pick Nathan up from VBS on my lunch break one day this week, and they are doing a JUNGLE theme this year. Here is a photo of Nathan by the decorations, he wanted to have his picture taken next to the frog (which you can't really see).


Nathan-BIG-smile
I cannot believe next year Autumn will be going to VBS with Nathan! The day that I picked Nathan up from VBS he had a little tiny flashlight that said 'Jesus is the Light'.


church
Church decorations

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

List... One day late.

Oops. One day late on the Monday list. Maybe I have summer fever :o)-

1. Clean/Organize Basement - I really have been dragging my feet on getting this done. Its sort of hard to work downstairs when its so sunny out. He has the kids this weekend, so maybe I will find a chunk of time to work down there.

2. Reading - Finished Susan J. Elliot's Getting Past Your Breakup. I really need to make a list of all of the books I have read this year so far. Now I am reading Hunger Games, which I love, love, love!! I am 19% into the first book... I highly recommend it.

4. Landscaping in Backyard - I need to go to the nursery and find some perennials for this section now that it is deweeded and cleared. I think I should have some time later this month, as I sort of want to find a weekend where I have time to buy them and then plant them when it isn't scalding hot outside (so they don't die!). In the meantime I am trying to decide what plants I want to buy, definitely ones that will bloom Spring, Summer and Fall.

5. Running - I am running 2.5 miles 3-4 times a week right now and it feels great! I wanted to try to run outside more, but its been so HOT.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

ingredients
I love to make cookies more then any other dessert. Its not my favorite dessert, just my favorite to make... :o)- I have made this recipe one other time, and had been craving it just recently. I have a coworker that is having a 30th birthday, so I made some to bring into work tomorrow for her. Yum! Here are the ingredients, except I forgot to throw the salt in the picture. Whoops!


flour
Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and set aside


butter
Two sticks of butter in this cookie recipe. Yum!


mix-flour
Beat together butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla, beating well. Blend in bananas. Add dry ingredients, blending well.


mix-chips
Stir in chocolate chips.


scoops
Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets, about 2" apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes.


final
Final result. Yes, yes. That's my plate. They're good!


Nat-gettn-cookie
This boy couldn't keep his paws off the cookie jar.


Here is the recipe:

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed firmly
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup mashed banana
1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and set aside

Beat together butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla, beating well. Blend in bananas. Add dry ingredients, blending well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets, about 2" apart.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cool on racks

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Happy Joe's Birthday Party

group-pic
After t-ball, I took Nathan to a birthday party for one of his classmates. It was at Happy Joe's, which is one of my favorite pizza places! The lady who hosted the party has a sister that works there and she dressed up as a clown for the party.


Dylans-cake
This was the sweetest party ever, they had pizza and soda for the adults, too! And, here I thought I was going to starve since there was no time to eat inbetween t-ball and this party! Yay! The birthday boy doesn't like pizza (too funny since they had the party at a pizza place), so they ordered him a mac and cheese pizza since he likes mac and cheese. He tried it but didn't like it, either... but, I bet Autumn would love it. I need to take her to Happy Joe's so she can try it sometime. They also had a taco pizza. Ha-ha! Here is his Star Wars cake.


24-scoops-icecream-bowl
The tradition at Happy Joe's for parties, too, is to have a bowl full of 24 scoops of icecream! Wow! That is a lot of icecream. She had cupcakes AND the Star Wars cake, too.


popcorn-machine
Then, after eating the kids got to play some games. So much fun!

Last T-Ball Game

Nathan-and-his-trophu
Nathan's last t-ball game was... well, HOT! Here he is with his trophy. I am SO proud!


trophy
Closeup of the trophy. Nathan is taking it EVERYWHERE with him today, he is so proud of it.


nathans-ball
Nathan's coach gave each of the kids a ball to take home with them. Look at how hot Nathan looks after the game!!
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