C Week

Baking Cookies!This week was one of the best because…. C is for Cookies!!!!  Of course Abby and I had to make a batch to celebrate (we made a tiny “only 6 cookies” batch so we I didn’t feel as guilty).  Abigail still loves helping me cook, so this was probably the highlight of her activities this week.  She did an awesome job and we read, “Cookies,” by Claire Clark while our cookies baked.  It’s so nice when I’m on top of it enough to do school time during Evie’s morning nap.  It keeps Abby quiet and happy and it’s sooo much more productive than trying to accomplish anything while sweet little Evie is climbing on and grabbing at everything.

Cookie Time!Chocolate Chip Cookies

The look of pure delight. haha

Yummy

Abby’s letter “C” writing practice.

Writing the letter C

This is a great time of year to have fun with corn, since it’s being harvested all over.  This corn sensory bin served multiple purposes.  Abs had to first spend a long time shelling the corn into the bin.  Once it was full enough, she got to play in it!  We don’t really have a lot of tractor/truck toys, which would have been more fun, but scooping corn in and out of little dishes and containers and using the toys available was still a hit.  This is a great sensory bin as it stores really well long term!

Corn Kernel Senosory Bin

One last activity we used a few kernels for was our block letter fill-up.  C is for Corn!

C is for Corn Kernels

Another sensory bin we had fun with was cloud dough.  I found the recipe from Juggling with Kids.  Since I wanted to let Evie play too,  I did try using coconut oil in place of the baby oil since she still shoves things in her mouth constantly.  I’d read somewhere that ingesting baby oil probably isn’t the greatest idea ever.  You’re basically mixing a cup of oil with eight cups of flour.  You kind of mush it around until it starts sticking decently.  I thought it was fun, but it really never stuck very well.  It was fun to make little ice cream scoops with and fun to mush around with your hands, but overall not my favorite.  I was also extremely glad I put a plastic mat down under our bin because it turned into a rather big mess.  Th girls’ clothes were well coated by the time they finished up.

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We read, “Little Cloud,” by Eric Carle and Abby made her own little cloud by ripping up some cotton balls and gluing them down on a piece of blue construction paper.  She really liked doing this.

Cotton Cloud

We couldn’t overlook Eric Carle’s especially famous, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and enjoyed reading it a few dozen times.  We made hungry caterpillars for snack one day and a pom-pom caterpillar on a little leaf.  Abby made a pattern by alternating dark and light green pom-poms.

Pom-Pom CaterpillarThe Very Hungry Caterpillar Snack

Uh-oh, our legs seem to have gone missing…..

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The last thing I’ll share here is our cupcake factory day!  This was a blast and kept Abs occupied for a looooong time!  I cut out cupcake tops, bottoms, cherries, and candles from various colored paper scraps and set them out on separate little plates.  There was also a plate of “sprinkles” (sequins) which was the definite highlight.  Abigail chose and glued down her choice of cupcake pieces and then glued plenty of sprinkles on top!  They looked so good we wished we could eat them! 🙂

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Time for Lunch

Meal times at our house tend to be kind of insane. Lunch in particular is a thrilling part of our day.  Typically it’s just me and the girls and typically it’s anything but calm and relaxed.  Today was no exception.  Here’s how it all went down……

11:30 a.m. I try to sneak into the kitchen to begin heating up lunch plates without the girls noticing.  You’d think that my “leftovers for 99% of lunches” plan would mean stress-free meal time, wouldn’t you?  You’d be wrong.

11:33 a.m. Abby’s dish is ready to go, her milk cup is full, and I quietly plunk it all down on her little table, carefully setting it close to the wall so Evie can’t reach it from her favorite “attack Big Sister’s food” spot.

11:34 a.m. I tell Abby to come and get it (that’s right, there is no such thing as all sitting down at the same time to a calm family meal) as I’m madly dicing up a plate of food for Evelyn.  Abby comes over: “Can I have keifer?”  Me: “Drink your milk first and then I’ll let you have some.”  She sits down, takes one bite, and then notices Evie is frantically crawling towards her table.  Abs: “MAMA!!!!!!!!  Evie is gonna get my food!  No, Evie, Noooo!”

11:35 a.m. Me: “Think of a nicer way to talk to your sister please!”  I throw Evie’s plate into the microwave and start to scoop out my own meal.  Abs: “No, honey!  This food isn’t for you!  Mama is getting yours for you.”  Evie stands up at Abby’s table and tries to reach her food.  Abs: “Evie’s grabbing my food!”  Me: “Abby, she can’t even reach your food OR your milk!  I put them along the wall!”  Abby continues shrieking and I glance over. *sigh* Sure enough, Abby has resettled her plate so it is within Little Sister’s reach.  Me: “Abby, move your food back over and then Evie can’t get at it.”  Abby moves it back against the wall.

11:36 a.m. Evelyn is screeching loudly at Abby for moving her food away.  This is followed by a frustrated Evie grabbing the legs of Abby’s table and yanking it towards her.  This is in turn followed by Abby smacking her hands down on the table to try and hold it still.  Annnnd this is followed by a tottering cup full of milk hitting the floor with a nice, solid thud.  Spill proof cup?  Try again.  The lid popped off and that very full cup of milk went everywhere.

11:37-11:40 a.m. I’m on my hands and knees with a roll of paper towels, mopping up a giant mess with one hand while holding the baby back with the other hand.  Abby, “Can I have some keifer now?”  I didn’t want to respond, but she asked me repeatedly about ten more times and I couldn’t ignore her any longer.  (Why is it that Caleb can genuinely tune the girls out at a moments notice and I absolutely can not.  I hear every. single. thing. all. day. long.  Must be nice….)  Me: “Sure.  Give me a minute.”  Abby: “Why?”  Me: “I’m cleaning your mess…”  Abby: “Weeeeell, it’s kind of my mess and kind of my fault and kind of Evie’s mess too.  And, why did the milk spill? etc. etc.”

11:41-11:43 a.m. I place Evie in her high chair, put her food in front of her, throw my food in the microwave, and go searching for Evie’s sippy cup because she’s signing “water” as if she hasn’t had a drink for a week!  Abby: “Whew! Pant. Pant.  I’m sooo thirsty.  Can I have my keifer, Mama?”  Me: “I’m trying to get Evie’s water.  Give me a minute.”  Abby hops up, runs over to the living room and magically pulls the sippy cup out from who knows where.  Abby: “Here it is, Mama!  I found it!  Yup!  Yup!  I found it!”  Me: “Thank you, honey.”  Of course it’s almost empty.

11:44-11:46 a.m. I clean out and fill up Evie’s cup and hand it to her.  Then, I clean out Abby’s cup, fill it with keifer and get her settled back at her table.  Abby has a bad cold and is feeling extra needy lately.  Abby: “Mama, I can’t eat.  Can you help me?”  (she wants me to spoon feed her)  Me: “sigh, Abigail, I will help you in a bit, but try to take a few bites on your own.  I am hungry too and would like to eat a little.”

11:47 a.m. I take my food out of the microwave and over to the table and grab a bite.  It’s cold.  Back to the microwave.  Evelyn is whining because she somehow managed to inhale her entire amount of food and is in desperate need of more.

11:48 a.m. – noon I get my food and take a couple scoops out to cut up for Evie.  While I’m working on that I notice Abs is not eating.  Me: “Okay, come over here, Abby.  I’ll help you eat a few bites.”  Abby jumps up and somehow manages to get her food onto my table without losing it all over the floor in transition.  I cut up food for Evie, dumping it in her dish as it’s ready, and she eats it as I dump it, whining if she gets ahead of me.  Every little bit I stop to pop a bite into Abby’s mouth.  The trick is to catch her in the middle of a word when her mouth is wide open as she never actually stops talking (unless there’s company).

12:01 p.m. My kids have finished eating.  I wash Abby off, set her down, and race to grab Evie’s empty glass dish right before she whips it to the ground.  My reflexes are fine-tuned, people!

12:02-12:07 p.m. I lift an actual food tornado out of the high chair (I think this used to be my baby?) and food cascades EVERYWHERE!  I give her a half bath in the sink and it turns out it really is my little Evie under all that!  I send her into the living room and pick up the aftermath before she decides it’s a good idea to re-explore it all or Abby unwittingly tramples through it in her dire need to tell me something “interesting.”  I grab another bite of lunch.  Ugh.  It’s cold.  Again.

12:08-12:14 p.m. I heat my food up, yet again, and shovel it down before I run out of time.  For the last half, I’m joined by my hovering crew.  Abby really wants to sit on my lap, directly in front of my mouth and Evie is hungry again and would really appreciate it if I would share a few bites.  Quiet time anyone?

This is an excellent portrayal of our usual daily chaos, but there’s still no where else I would rather be!  Okay… maybe bed, but other than that. 😉

Chili Chicken Sandwiches

Apparently I have been really into chicken recipes lately….  this recipe is edited from Taste of Home and is really easy and good!

Chili Chicken Sandwiches

Chili Chicken Sandwiches

  • 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs, frozen
  • poultry seasoning
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • whole wheat hamburger buns

This starts the way most of my chicken recipes do. haha  Throw the chicken thighs in your crock-pot, sprinkle liberally with poultry seasoning, cover, and cook on high 4-5 hours or low 6-7 ours or cooked through.

When the chicken is cooked, shred it up and place in a bowl.  Mix in all remaining ingredients (except for the buns….) with a fork until well mixed.  You might need to kind of mush up the cream cheese for a minute, but it will melt in nicely with the chicken’s heat.

Scoop desired amount of meat mixture into each hamburger bun and place on a baking sheet.  Pop in the oven at 375 for about 5 minutes or toasted.  Serve with sandwich pickles!

B Week

I’ve mainly been focusing on having Abby practice writing her upper case letters since she’s still in the beginning stages with her pencil control.  She’s improving everyday though and so far, loves making her letters!

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Over time, renting various living places can provide you with a lot of future house insight.  For example, don’t plant these giant purple bush/flower/plants directly outside of your front door unless you enjoy about a bazillion bees flying around you and your kids constantly.  I appreciate bees, but I don’t like such a high risk of someone getting stung. haha  Anyhow… whatever this plant is attracts a HUGE amount of bees, so we didn’t have to go far to study them during our B week.

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Abigail enjoyed singing, “I’m bringing home a baby bumble bee” as she put together her shape bee.  I had the pieces cut out and she did the assembling and gluing.

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We filled out block letter with buttons!  Abby loves practicing with her glue bottle and really enjoyed picking out so many bright buttons to use.

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Some of our “B” snacks this week were a banana pop (banana rolled in yogurt, then granola) and a bear (toast with peanut butter, banana slice nose/ears and raisin eyes/nose).  The banana pop was definitely not worth the mess.  In future, I might try freezing it to see if that would yield less mess.  The granola just didn’t stick well at all and ended up everywhere.  Abby still enjoyed it though, so I guess that’s good! haha  Pardon her Thomas the Train shirt in almost every picture.  Yes, I let her wear the same shirt a couple days in a row if it’s not completely filthy (and it’s her favorite ever).  Laundry baskets around here fill up fast and I do what I can for crowd control.

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This bear graph was something fun.  I drew that little bear – isn’t he cute? ha  I had Abs color the bears using colors that start with “b.”  Then, I helped her cut them out and she glued them in the appropriate places.  I underlined the color words with the corresponding color to help her out.  She counted them when we were finished and answered questions like, “Which color has the most bears?” etc.

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This butterfly coffee filter craft sounded so fun I had to jump in and make one myself!  We each painted one side of our coffee filters, let them dry, chose a pipe cleaner for the antennae and twisted them around to make adorable little butterflies!  You could hang them up with a string tied to their antennae if you wanted to!

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Twelve Months Old!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_1473We made it to the big ONE YEAR!  (*sob!* where did it go?!)  Little One is changing so much and growing up on us.  She weighs 17 pounds and 6 ounces – yes, she’s still low on the growth charts.  She started walking a few weeks ago, but still prefers one hand on something stable most of the time.  She does appreciate the applause whenever she decides to go solo though.

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Evelyn is still our little bundle of happiness and is constantly SO EXCITED about life!  She loves being friendly and still yells, “HI!” at random people in stores.  She also refuses to fall asleep at church until after greeting time, because shaking hands is something you don’t want to miss!  At my parents’ house today, everyone who wished Evie a happy birthday got a big hug.

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Our sweet little tot is always on the move.  Abby would stay focused on one activity quite a while at this age, but we affectionately refer to Evelyn as our “go-go baby” because she never sits still!  She has absolutely no qualms about taking off on me when we’re out and about either (also, very different from her sister!).  Going to the library has become almost impossible…..

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I’m still nursing Evie, although we are officially down to NO NIGHT FEEDINGS EVER and only three times (8 a.m., noon, 7 p.m.) during the day.  I think I could cut her off completely pretty easily, but (call me crazy….) I’m debating continuing through Christmas just to help her fight off any bad germs that might come our way over the holidays.  That would bring her to just under 15 months.  There’s a good chance I am going to decide against having her nurse that long, but I guess we’ll see. haha  I do want her to start drinking at least a decent amount of cow milk first and so far she takes maybe 3 or 4 disgruntled slurps a day, so that’s going real well…..

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Evie has been pretend playing a lot more recently.  One of her favorites is making her dollies cry and then giving them hugs and kisses to cheer them back up.  It’s the cutest.  She also enjoys imitating Big Sis and feeding me all kinds of their play food.  If I really ate everything they cooked up for me in a day, I’d weigh a solid 500 pounds. haha

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IMG_1217I attempted decorating my first cake for Evelyn’s birthday.  Yes, I just used a boxed cake mix, because I figured it would be exciting enough for me.  After thinking about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually made a boxed cake.  We aren’t really big on cake around here (unless it’s cheesecake of course!!!) and apparently have always opted for other desserts.  It turned out decent enough – at least my kids seemed to enjoy it!

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Evelyn never got too crazy with the cake.  She just kept taking little swipes of the frosting.  This went on for about 2 minutes, which was the max amount of time we were able to hold Big Sister at bay.

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There is absolutely no such thing as Evie watching from the stroller anymore.  If we’re at the park (or anywhere really…) and Abigail gets to play, so does Evs!!  She knows how to yell (reeaaaallly loud) if she’s not joining in the fun fast enough too!

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Speaking of Evelyn and her yelling….  while the girls play together nicely for the most part, there are occasional spats.  When this happens, I am often alerted to the problem by Evelyn’s obnoxiously loud/grouchy sounding yell. haha  Granted, when you don’t have a huge vocabulary developed and the bigger, bossier kid is pestering you…..  what’s a younger sibling to do??  It does do an excellent job attracting Mama’s attention.

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These sisters usually love each other very much. 🙂

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Tiny Tot still only has 2 teeth.  Her hair has grown a small amount, but it’s still much too short for any pigtails!  I love her crazy blonde strands.  Convertible riding for life!

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My little helper always wants to be involved.  If I’m doing something, she wants to try too!

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I took the girls to a pumpkin patch with some of my family to enjoy all the birthday fun (one of my little sisters shares the same bday!).  They loved picking out pumpkins to bring home.

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We had a wonderful time celebrating Evie’s first year.  We definitely think we’re the luckiest parents ever to be blessed with the two best girls around!

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Goodnight, birthday girl!

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