Curly Crafty Mom: June 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Liam's 1st Birthday Party

me-and-aut-tball
Today was HOT in STL, and we spent most of the day outside. Nathan had a t-ball game at 9:45am, here I am with Autumn. We look cool, but we were dripping with sweat when we left.


Katie-Ed-LiLi
Later that afternoon we headed to my friend Katie's house for her son's 1st birthday party. It was outside, too, but they had tents set up and a bouncy/water slide combo for the kids. I can't beeeelieve LiLi is 1 already!


Autties-first-thought-of-water-slide
This was Autumn's first reaction to the water slide... can you tell she's hyped up? 


Nathan
Nathan


Elaine
Elaine (Katie's daughter)


Aut-pushing-brobro-down
Autumn liked to stay at the top of the slide, juuust so she could push brother down it.


Trena-slide
Trena going down the slide with her daughter. It was fun to finally meet Trena, she is Katie's friend and we have followed each others blogs and have been FB friends for quite some time.


Happy-Birthday
Happy Birthday sign that Katie's sister Andrea made.


Dessert-table
Dessert Table


Cake
Liam's cake


Liam-and-his-cake
Liam with HIS cake.


LiLi-Truck
Liam's favorite gift.

June Wrap Up!

In June:

1. My mid year mileage that I have ran is at 283.41 miles. In June I ran 41.25 miles.

2. I read two books this month: Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse #9) and London Escape (Cacey, one of my Wine friends wrote this novel, check it out along with my review here.)

3. In June, Brian and I spent a lot of time planning our agenda for our Paris trip. It was a lot of fun, and I think we will get everything in that we really want to see. We did have a little bit of trouble while planning a couple of restaurants because everyone is on HOLIDAY in August in France, so a lot of the restaurant owners shut down for 2 weeks or so. But, there are about 8,000 restaurants in France (and only about 1,000 in St. Louis), so we still had a lot of restaurants to pick from. I must say after all of this planning I have found out that the French eat a lot of duck, goose, beef cheeks, lamb, sea bass, etc.! I have never tried ANY of these! And, I am a little afraid to...Ok, I've tried lamb and I do not like it.  Also, some of the restaurants that DO offer steak, offer it only blue or medium rare. I like mine well done! Sooo, my plan is if they don't have anything I am familiar with I will order duck. I think I could like duck. We'll see. :) I can't starve. ;) I do know I will have no trouble enjoying the French wine, desserts or crepes. I am trying to create a cheat sheet too of their language. Also, as our trip approaches I am getting more nervous about flying to Paris! I am such a baby when it comes to flying, I have flown 2.5 hours tops one way, so flying 2.5 hours to Philadelphia I am ok with... but, 7.5 hours from there to Paris, and its 8.5 hours on the way back... eek! I am hoping I can SLEEP or read and just chill out on the plane, cool as a cucumber. :)

I hope to post our itinerary sometime soon, it would be fun to share it. I need to go dress shopping, soon too. I want to get a black dress for the Eiffel Tower dinner and a Maxi type dress for the River Seine dinner cruise.

OH, and... Everyone keeps telling me how H-O-T it is in Paris in August. I kept thinking, H-O-T as in St. Louis hot. So, I go on Weather.com and the temps are in the mid-70's! That is not HOT in my opinion!! Its 105 here! That's hot! So, I think it'll be VERY nice to be in Paris in August. At least, better then it'll be here in St. Louis! ha!

4. No motions or hearings this month, its been calm. My case is still not closed, though, apparently another motion MAY be coming down the pipe. It is regarding some fees that J doesn't want to pay, yet thinks I should pay them even though our decree doesn't say I should pay them. If he files it, my attorney has no doubt it will be thrown out. Fun stuff. Hoping after this, it'll be OVER.

5. Had a STAYCATION at home with the kids. It was SO much fun, they were so upset when I had to go back to work... as was I! I think the highlight of the ENTIRE week was taking them to Six Flags. They are STILL talking about it. I am seriously considering getting family season passes next year. Nathan rode his first roller coaster (Mine Train) and Autumn got to go on the Log Flume and Thunder River for the first time. We were there 9 hours at least! Nathan also caught his first fish and Autumn got to visit the American Girl store for the first time. We did other misc. things such as Sandy Creek Covered Bridge, Wabash Train ride, Chuckie Cheese, etc.

6. Started Summer Library Reading Program AND finished ALL 3 levels of the program as well!

7. Hired a MAID (more on this below)

8. Vacation Bible School (Autumn's first!)

9. I finally got to meet Brian's Dad's side of the family. So, now I have met almost ALL of his family. He gets to meet two of my really good friends this Friday, can't wait!



- -

And, how I am doing on my resolutions:

(1) Grow in my faith - I am caught up in my Once a Day Bible, and I am almost to the New Testament. I am starting to think about what I want to do next year, a bible study would be nice or something that will help me learn even more about the scripture.

(2) Friendships - Not much to report here.

(3) Risks - Not much to report here.

(4) Quality time with my kids - June was good for this, later bed times (I think this just naturally happens in the summer), doing spur of the moment activities such as mini golf after work... we also spend a lot of time outside on our new patio and HUGE porch swing, sitting together reading books or Nathan will hit balls and Autumn loves to take the sprayer and water my flowers.

(5) Time to myself each week that isn't BUSY time. Recharge time. One word for this one- MAID. I have two cleaning ladies out to my house every other week and they have only been out twice so far but I LOVE it. With two young kids, I was spending SO much of my time (especially when they've been at their Dads) CLEANING. Now, I can spend more time for ME. Focusing on the kids, organizing stuff in the house, relaxing (what's that, oh! Now I know!), etc.

(6) Pursuing my interests: I will give myself a PAT on the back for these: planning trip to France, keeping up with 2 books a month, getting two upper body workouts in every week INCLUDING at least 15 miles of running, etc. I still need to get a Zumba class in! I want to try to find a 5K in September... but, otherwise Warrior Dash is next. I also want to start working on redesigning my BLOG, which takes a lot of quiet time so I can focus. I have some ideas of how I want it to look, but I want to go back to 2 column so my photos can be larger. What else? I want to try to take another Superhero photo class in the FALL, because I LOVE the Fall. I also want to try ALL of the chocolate chip cookie recipes I've pinned on Pinterest because I LOVE chocolate chip cookies and each recipe is SO different.

(7) Meals - I really want to hold off on the meal plans until the summer schedule ends. Then, I'll have the kids most nights for dinner again. However, I should start planning for this ahead of time! I did get a little cooking in this month, made some old recipes I love and some new ones!

(8) Mornings. I hate mornings. Try to be better about getting up on time. - I seem to get to work TOO early on the week J has the kids, and 4-10 minutes TOO late on the weeks I have them. I have a flex schedule, so I am starting to wonder if maybe 8:10am is an OK start time and not beat myself up for it... I must say, the mornings haven't been as chaotic lately, but Autumn does throw at least 1 tantrum before we're out the door each morning. Its just how it flows... got to love 3 year olds. I do want to try to get out of the door 10 minutes sooner.

(9) Finish my accumulating to-do list (its another blog!). - Making a LITTLE progress on this, but not nearly as much as I thought I would. My excuse? Enjoying a nice laid back summer! But, at least I've made a tiny bit of progress.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Mini Golf Water Play Adventure!

Kids-sitting
There is a bowling alley nearby that also has a mini golf area, I have driven by it for years... always thinking it looked kinda odd. Well, I signed the kids up for free bowling again this summer, and we went one Thursday evening to bowl. Apparently, Thursdays are league nights, so all the lanes were closed. I thought, oh, lets check out the mini golf... I didn't think it'd be anything fantastic... you can't really see the inside of it from the street. But, WOW, it was REALLY nice! Here are a pictures of the kids, a rare moment when they weren't bouncing off everything in their mini golf excitement.


Nat-hitting-ball
Nathan did REALLY good, he even got a hole in one!


Silly-girl
Autumn lost interest after a few holes. And, just explored... within my eyesight.


Rocks
There was a lot of neat holes. 18 of them!


rabid-beavers
There were even rabid beavers.


Auttie-big-smile-in-water
After losing interest, Autumn explored... and explored. She did find something of interest.


Kids-in-water
Brother's ball got stuck in the water under a waterfall on one hole. Yeah, so, of course, Autumn had to help him get his ball out. And, then some. I had two little wet kiddos after this hole. Since when does mini golf include water play?


canoe
Luckily we were saved by the canoe. I think.


Carrie-by-water
Nathan kept saying, how did they get the water (look behind me) so foamy? And, why didn't I leave my HUGE purse in the car?!! Maybe because I didn't think it'd be 18 HOLES.


Snake
A snake.


teepee 
A teepee. That's all folks.

2nd Prize - Library Reading Program

Library-2nd-prize
Nathan and Autumn completed the second level of the Library Reading Program (another 12 books). They both got some sippy cups with curly straws and a Free Corn Dog coupon from Sonic! Yum!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Roller coasters

Ever since Nathan got a true roller coaster experience at Six Flags... he hasn't been the same. Even though I really think the Mine Train scared Nathan like no other, he keeps bragging about it and asking a million questions about ALL of the other roller coasters there is at Six Flags. Ahhh, 6 year olds.

Lately, he's been drawing pictures of the roller coasters. They are too cute not to share. Nathan really doesn't like to draw, period (he does love to write words, tho), so it amazed me he asked for a paper and pen to draw these roller coasters. 


1
Mine Train. This was Nathan's first roller coaster. I am glad he drew smilie faces on the people riding it, maybe he did enjoy this ride! ha, ha!


2
The Log Flume... yes, yes, according to Nathan this IS a roller coaster... A water roller coaster! Notice how he drew me and Autumn in one boat, and him and Brian in the other boat. You can tell Brian is in the one boat because he drew him REALLY tall. Brian is 6'3. Ha!


3
The Boss - this is the roller coaster at Six Flags that I told Nathan was the scariest. So, of course, he asks A LOT of extra questions about this one.

4
Batman. This is a ride where the wheels are on the top of your head, and you go upside down.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Super Easy Strawberry Spinach Salad with Sliced Candied Almonds

This past weekend, Brian's brother threw a surprise birthday party for his wife, and we needed to bring a dish. Of course, I volunteered because I was craving a fresh summer salad. I have made this recipe at least a dozen times, it always gets lots of compliments and it goes really good with just about everything. It is also REALLY easy, you can prep the candied almonds, dressing and slice the strawberries the night before. Then, before your party, just toss all the ingredients together with the chilled dressing. Easy peasy!

salad

closeup-salad
**Photo does not show dressing on salad.**

Strawberry Spinach Salad

10 oz fresh, bite size spinach
1 qt sliced strawberries


Dressing:
2 T sesame seeds
1 T poppy seeds
1/2 C sugar (can substitute an artificial sweetener)
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C distilled white vinegar
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tb minced onion


Cinnamon Candied Almonds:
1/4 C sliced almonds
1 T and 1 tsp sugar
sprinkle of cinnamon


First, prepare the cinnamon candied almonds: 
Set out a piece of waxed paper for the finished almonds to cool on.  Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the bottom of a small frying pan, heat on High.  Watch the sugar carefully, when it starts to melt, turn down the heat to medium or medium high, add the almonds and stir constantly until the sugar completely melts (no longer granular and stuck together, the almonds will start to look shiny) and continue to stir until the almonds start to brown. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon, stir a couple of times to coat and transfer to waxed paper to cool.  Break apart with fingers once cooled.   Note:  you can substitute Splenda for sugar, but it will not melt, stir until almonds start to brown, sprinkle with cinnamon, transfer to waxed paper.
 
Dressing:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the two seeds, sugar, oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire & onion.  Cover and chill for one hour.
 
Salad:
In a large bowl, combine spinach, sliced strawberries & prepared almonds.  Pour dressing over salad and toss.  Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vacation Bible School

I have been really bad about blogging lately. Vacation bible school was 2 weeks ago, and I am finally putting the photos on my blog. I think, my main excuse is that the photos were on my Mom's phone, and I needed to get them from her. Mom helped this year with the preschool 3 class, since it was Autumn's very first VBS. Autumn did GREAT, btw, her future PS3 AND VBS teacher even came up to me at t-ball (her teacher's daughter is in the same class) and told me just how great Autumn did at VBS. My Mom was also able to help out this year, so she has LOTS of pictures of Autumn in action, and a couple of Nathan. It was fun to see what Miss Auttie was up to all week.

So, anyhows, here are the photos. I think they are fairly self explanatory:

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Bucket List

Me and the Kids

1. Grant's Farm

2. Explore parks... Vsalis park (Water play, and fishing), Tilles (Water play), Tower Grove (and enjoy market beforehand)

3. T-Ball (Nathan)

4. Miniature Golf (Went to Concord Lanes, it WAS an AWESOME mini golf course, waterfalls, a hole behind the waterfall, 18 HOLES... highly recommend it!)

5. Bowling with our kidsbowlfree passes. July 3.

6. Homemade ice cream (made vanilla icecream, and hot brownies to go with it for a hot fudge sundae!) and check out Whistle Stop 7/29 (Icecream store by train tracks)

7. Kids see public fireworks display for first time. Went with Kevin/Dawn and saw them on Levee in East Carondolet, IL.


8. Library Reading Program


9. Visit the pool at least five times (1. 5/28 Brian's pool, 2. 6/16 Arnold Rec, 3. 7/28 Tower Grove Wade pool)

10. Rollerskating for first time





Just Me (and some with BriBri)

1. Running: I would like to run at a few new spots (well, for me): Fenton Park, Forest Park and Meramec Bottom Trail

2. Paris, France vacation!!! Eee!

3. Make Chocolate and Peanut butter icebox pie (made last summer, must must must make again - DELISH!)

4. Moonlight Paddle boats Picnic at The Boat House


5. Do a wine dinner at Montelle winery

6. Soulard Market on a Saturday morning

7. A showing at The Muny - 7/23 Joseph's and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

8. Tour the art museum, perhaps a picnic or reading on blanket in front of Grand Basin if not too hot.

9. Paint my Master Bathroom

10. And, just because I know I want to do this, but I know I'll never have the guts. ZIPLINING at Meramec Caverns!! It looks really neat... Its a tour, too, and there are 10 people in your group. You do 4 ziplines, and three, intermittent sky bridge walks. Its 90 minutes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Autumn's First Visit with the Pediatric Pulmonary DR

me-and-auttie
Nathan has had asthma for the last few years, however... Autumn started having asthma this Spring. I am really bummed that both of my kids have to endure this... asthma is not fun, for them OR for me. Autumn's doesn't seem to be as severe as Nathan's yet, but it did result in TWO nights this last Spring where Mommy and Autumn got under 3 hours of sleep due to persistent coughing (on her part), numerous nebulizer treatments, some vomiting of mucus, Mommy worrying, etc. Those two nights sucked, ASTHMA SUCKS. The first night she had problems, I didn't have any sort of medicine for her, but we made it through the night and I got her into the doctor at 9am. Here is a photo of us at the doctor's office. Don't we both look EXHAUSTED? 


Auttie1
Autumn is at that age where she is go, go, go! So, it amazes me she will sit still for 10 minutes to do a nebulizer treatment, then again if she needs a second one 15 minutes later. She must know it helps her.


Auttie2
Here is Autumn again, after her second sleepless night a few weeks later, from another asthma episode. After this second episode, she was referred to go see Nathan's same specialist at Mercy. I was also told to give her the oral steroids if needed if another bad night were to happen.

The appointment was the same as Nathan's, except they did not do the breathing tests since she is not old enough. They DID do an allergy test, which I wish I had taken a picture of her back, but since I was holding her on my lap I couldn't take one.

We found out that Autumn doesn't have as many allergies as Nathan, but she scored a 4 on cats. So, both of my kids are highly allergic to cats, she is also a little allergic to some trees.

We got an allergy plan for asthma... she will not need to be on daily meds yet, unlike her brother.

Green Zone - Doing well.

Yellow Zone - One nebulized treatment every four hours. May be repeated three times in the first hour only (15 minutes apart) if an inadequate response.

Red Zone - Give oral steroid. See doctor or ER immediately.

Autumn will go back in 6 months, hoping we don't have anymore bad nights for awhile!

Staycation Day 7 - Library Reading Program First Prize

Nathan-Fan1
The last day of our staycation was pretty laid back... We got up late, I did some laundry, we went to Target... then to the library for the first prize for reading 12 books. Both kids got these really neat fans that spell out words on the fan part. I am not sure how else to describe it, but you can see in the picture. Isn't that neat? They also got a free coupon for a slushies at Sonic, and since it was HOT outside... we headed right on over to Sonic! Yum!


Nathan-Fan2
And, here is another picture with different phrases on the fans!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Staycation Day 6... Nathan's First Catch!

reeling-in-fish
This little boy has been wanting to go fishing for AGES. We finally had time to take him to Suson park to use his Spongebob fishing pole during my week off work. OH, he is addicted now. First, Brian caught a fish, and even though we told Nathan that Brian and him were a team, Nathan had the longest face because HE wanted to catch a fish on HIS pole. Not Brian's pole! Well, finally, Nathan got a bite, and here he is reeling it in.




Nathan-and-his-fish
And, here it is... NATHAN'S FIRST CATCH! We are pretty sure its a crappie.




Nathan-holding-his-fish2
Another photo of Nathan with his fish.




Nathan-holding-his-fish
Nathan holding it before he tossed it back in. Poor fish!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Staycation Day 6! AMERICAN GIRL STORE!! Whooweee!

aut-american-girl
What did we decide to do on Thursday? An American Girl store JUST came to St. Louis, and I wanted to wait a couple of months for the crowds to die down before I took Autumn there. I THOUGHT about taking her there for her 4th birthday, but... her birthday is in late November, and there is NO way I am going to a store in the mall at that time of the year with the Christmas rush. No way. Thursday was the perfect week day to go! Look at the happy girl with her Bitty Twins!


bubble-bath-doll
SOMEHOW I talked her out of this American Girl bathtub.


Autumn-twirly
Then we headed over to the Bitty Babyland. Autumn went a little crazy over seeing all those Bitty Babies looking at her! Then, she pulled a box down and it was the same exact Bitty Baby she has at home! She cried for it. I said, we have her already! Then she proceeded to carry the box which was almost as tall as her all over the store. I did get it away from her, there were lots of other doll things to distract her! 


bitty
Bitty Twins. Do they sort of look like they've formed a cult, or is it just me?


Hair-getting-done
I was going to treat one of Autumn's Bitty Twins to the hair salon, but we got into the cafe early. Its $10-15 per doll, and you pick a design out of a book. I think they do wash the dolls hair, too! Crazy!


Facial
This doll was getting a facial. Awwh. These dolls have a better life then me!


restaurant
Finally, we got into the cafe. We waited a little over an hour, which was ok, there is SO much to see in the store. Have you ever seen a cafe more pink then this?


Dolls-at-table
Autumn's babies in their high chairs.


Auttie-with-her-babies-at-table 
Autumn and her babies


Aut-at-table-with-dolls
Autumn just did not know what to think of this!!! So excited!


giving-baby-drink-cute-lips
Helping her baby drink. Look at her pouty lips!



Aut-holding-dolls-hair-drink
Another cute picture.




Autties-pink-lemonade
The pink lemonade was delish here, with free refills! And, the food was really reasonable priced. I could have easily split the kids two pizzas we ordered.




My-sandwich
My turkey sandwich and curly fries were delish! I really want to come back here and do the tea time they have from 2-4pm. You get a 3 tier plate stand with mini sandwiches, desserts, cheeses and crackers. 


Cake
There were a lot of birthdays celebrated here. If you look, the waitress is holding a mini flower pot. There is chocolate pudding in the pot. Yum!


kids-with-dessert
Our dessert. YUM! So easy to share, too!




dessert-plate-auttie-hand
Two cookies, two cupcakes and a brownie!


Aut-eatn-cupcake
 Autumn only eats the icing!




Nathan-and-his-pets
When it was time to leave, Grandma SPOILED the kids rotten. I won't even mention how much she spent. She shouldn't have. But, the kids loved her for it! Nathan and his pets.




Goat
Nathan's goat.


Autumn-holding-up-doll
Autumn got some pets and an American Girl doll house sized doll.


Auts-little-doll
So cute!
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