Friday, July 29, 2011

Foto Friday–Down Low

PhotobucketI recently mentioned that Jack has learned how to pedal his tricycle. He’s so excited and proud of himself.

While we were out on his first trike ride, I took a bazillion pictures.  That’s nothing new.  I always take a bazillion pictures.  Especially of Jack. 

This one was one that I fell in love with when I saw it on the computer screen.  I think this is my new favorite picture of Jack. And it doesn’t even have his face in it! I kind of lucked out with this picture.  The sun was so bright, I couldn’t see my view finder very well at all (my polarized sunglasses weren’t helping either), so I wasn’t actually looking through the camera when I took this shot. I just held my camera down to my knees and clicked a few times.   I LOVE what I ended up with.


I ran an action called Heist, and I forget now who it’s by.  Possibly Paint the Moon

As always, head on over to La-La’s Home Daycare and check out some other Down Low photos.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Growth Chart Moments

I think so, mom! (but I didn't let him go in the bounce house with the big kids)It’s been almost 5 months since I’ve done a Growth Chart Moments post.  If you’re new to this blog (within the past 5 months anyway), these are posts where I list some milestones Jack has reached or cute things he’s doing lately.  This one is more of  a ‘cute thing he’s doing’ post.  Jack’s certainly growing FAST, and there are a ton more that I could have listed. These are my highlights from recent moments we’ve had.


Jack can recognize when there are two things together.  He’ll say both, or he’ll correctly say there are 2 of them.  Sometimes he can identify 3 items, but not every time I don’t think.  He loves to identify double trailer semis when they go by.


He can almost say his full name.  His middle name is Emerson, which he sometimes pronounces Esserman.  I love to hear him say “Jack Esserman!” 


Some of my favorite words he still messes up (there are very few that he doesn’t say correctly) are Cabozer (bulldozer), Perftick! (perfect), Extavator (excavator) and  Let’s metend! (pretend). I love those.

There they all (mostly) are!

The other day we said “Jack, say, ‘No way, Jose!’”  He said “No way, Hadozee!”  We lost it.  We ask him to say it almost every day now.  He can finally say it right, but he makes sure to mess it up so we laugh. He loves to make us laugh.  He’s always asking, “Is this fun?” “Is this silly?”

That's the flatbed towtruck

Any time Daddy asks him to give him a countdown, he shouts, “3,5,4,3,5,4!” while pointing his finger in the air.

He can put in and even change the DVD’s he wants to watch.  He still asks if he can watch a certain video, but he can open the player, change out the DVD (I taught him to poke his finger through the hole), and push the right buttons to get it to play.  My job here is done!ARGH!!

He rode his tricycle for the first time today – forward that is.  He’s been able to pedal backwards for a while now, but forward is much harder.  We went for a ride around our neighborhood this morning, and he loved it.  He wants to ride all the time!P7260018

And anytime he’s around a new person, he’ll tell them that he’s a big boy now.  And that he is.  He no longer resembles the little baby boy he was. 

Oh, and he’s calling me Hon now.  Thanks, Hon. (Honey)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pink Fluff


Isn’t that just the prettiest bowl of pink fluff you ever done seen?  Okay, so it’s actually kinda gross looking when you see it like this, but let me tell you, this dessert slash side dish slash snack is the most wonderful bowl of fluffiness you’ll ever taste.  I bring it to every family gathering we ever have, and it’s usually received with big smiles and big spoons. 

If you’re my husband, you won’t like this dessert.  If you don’t like pineapple or cherries, you won’t like this side dish.  If you don’t like pink, you may not want to make this snack.  But I won’t hold any of those against you.  If you want to get to know me, get to know this Pink Fluff and you’ll know a little more about who I am.  Fluffy, sweet, and….pink?  Let’s move on to the recipe.

Pink Fluff

1 can cherry pie filling

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 can crushed pineapple, drained (I’ve made it with chunks too)

8oz sour cream

1 T lemon juice

1 16 oz tub (large) Cool Whip. 

Mix pie filling, sweetened condensed milk, pineapple, sour cream and lemon juice in a very large bowl.  Fold in Cool Whip.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I see a theme with my two recipes I’ve posted this week.  Do you?  I must really like Cool Whip, and I REALLY like easy ‘mix and serve’ recipes.  I think you’ll like this one.  Let me know if you try it!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Triple Date Night & Recipe

Way back in January, Rick and I started something new.  We started dating again.  Each other of course.  I gave Rick some date night tickets for Christmas last year.  There was one ticket for each month.  We started off pretty well, but that lasted only about three months.  We haven’t been on a date since March! 

This past Friday, we made up for our lack of dating by doing a triple date with my two best friends from elementary school and their menfolk.  We met at Heather’s mansion home, ate lots of food, talked and laughed a LOT,  and played some xbox Kinect

We had a LOT of food

This spread was for 6 adults.  We had a lot of leftovers!  Heather and Greg made burgers the size of my head that were stuffed with cheese.  They were delicious!  Beth and I were to bring a side and a dessert.  We each brought a couple sides and a couple desserts.  Perhaps it was overkill, but it was a yummy overkill.

Happy 31st Birthday, Mark!

Since we were all together, we decided to celebrate Mark’s birthday (it was Saturday).  We put candles in my famous Peanut Butter Pie.  It’s super yummy! Mark is Beth’s beau.  Remember Beth?  She has now met someone WONDERFUL.  We’re all excited for her and think this one is a keeper!

This is the way to play games!

If you’re going to play xbox Kinect, (or any game on any game system really) the best way to play is with a projector screen.  Boy, was this fun!  We did a sports tournament game –girls against the guys – and I’ve never laughed so hard running in place or flailing my arms.  It was such a fun time.  Oh, and the girls won EVERY round.  Just sayin’.

My friends Heather and Beth have been in my life for 26 years.  We all met in elementary school and went through high school together.  Beth and I shared lockers every single year of middle school and high school and dyed her hair every color that Kool-Aid comes in.  Heather and I used to sing in my basement to Debbie Gibson using Lincoln Logs as microphones.  We also sang  in her room with her real microphone to any song we could find.   These two ladies have been and will always be a part of my life and I couldn’t be luckier to call them friends.  And at this point, I can’t de-friend them because they know too much!

Heather and Greg

Thank you, Heather, for hosting us and being such a warm and welcoming host.  I love your blond moments and all the laughter that comes out when we’re together.

Beth and Mark

Thank you, Beth, for bringing your Mr. Wonderful to meet your wacky friends.  He’s wonderful, and I hope we didn’t scare him away.  After all the laughing, how are your cheeks?

Amanda and Rick

Honey, thank you for coming with me on this loud and crazy date.  It means a lot to me that you were willing to hang out with my crazy, loud friends. And thanks for snuggling with me on the couch during the games.  I loved that most of all!

The gang!

I’m hoping that we’ll be able to make this Triple Date Night happen at least once a year for all of our years to come.  I love you guys!!

I hope you have friends like this in your life.  Friends like these are rare treasures. 


Now, for the recipe for my mom’s SUPER YUMMY Peanut Butter Pie.  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Pie 

8 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth if you’re me, crunchy if you’re my mom)

2Tb milk

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tub (8oz) Cool Whip

1 graham cracker pie crust (chocolate in you’re me, regular if you’re Beth)

Mix cream cheese, pb, milk and sugar until smooth.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Put in pie crust.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baby Moles

Remember yesterday when I said “I don’t have any pets, so I can’t show you an animal picture.”  Then I found some cows.

Well, today I found some other animals in my very own back yard.

Baby moles. At least I assume they’re moles.  They could be baby chipmunks I suppose.

We’ve been using a tent to cover our sandbox, and it’s worked pretty well.  It keeps the rain out, and we thought it kept the critters out.

We thought wrong.

Wednesday we took the tent off to mow around the sandbox and found a hole and itty bitty footprints all around the sand.  Rick mixed up the sand really good and put the tent back on after mowing.  Then Thursday we took the tent off to let the two artists play in the sandbox for a while.  No traces of animals at all in the sand that time.

Two days later, today as a matter of fact, I took the tent off to let Jack play in the sandbox and found these:


There are four of them.  two of them were blown about 4 inches away when I swooped the tent off the box.  I immediately got my camera and took some pictures.  Wouldn’t you?  Then I helped the two blown-away babies back to their little warm pit with their brothers.  Or sisters. Or brother and sister.  I made sure not to touch them – I used a kiddie shovel to gently nudge them back over.  I then covered them back up with the tent. 

Poor Jack can’t play in his sandbox for a few days or weeks.  I wonder how long it takes these little suckers to get full grown.  It was fun for Jack to see the babies.  He keeps talking about them.  I was careful not to let him squish them. 

I’m thinking I’ll take the tent off every day or two just to show Jack how they’re growing.  I also want to make sure they survive.  I hope their mom didn’t get spooked away for good!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Foto Friday–Animals


Today’s theme is pets or animals.  Since I don’t have a pet, I thought I’d skip this week’s Foto Friday. 

Then we went to a dairy farm today.  There were cows there.  So, I took some pictures.

I have to admit that I actually took the pictures I’m showing here a few weeks ago.  It was at the same farm, of the same cows,  but the pictures I took today didn’t turn out so great. 

This first picture was just a fun, lucky shot.  It’s not all that pretty, but as the cows were coming into the barn for their lunch, I shot this picture.  I could reach out and touch the cows, that’s how close we were.  I’m a city girl, so that’s kind of fun for me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         The only thing I did with the picture was auto adjust the levels and sharpen the cow a bit.  This is basically how it looked SOOC. 

This was a neat shot of them eating.  I love how you can see them all down the line.  There were about 30 cows total in the barn. 

Good sides...I used The Pioneer Woman’s Old West action on this one, brought it down just a bit, then added a Kim Klassen texture on it, but brought it down to just barely there.

I think this is a fun shot.  Weird, but fun.

backsidesI used The Pioneer Woman’s Vintage action on this. 

Head on over to La-La’s Home Daycare to check out other Foto Friday entries.  Especially if you’re an animal lover. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Marble Painting

We had our first Educational Play Date today.  (Bekah, I think we need to come up with a more FUN name for these dates)

We decided to try marble painting first.  I went searching for marbles this week, since I don’t own any.  Did you know that you can’t find marbles very easily?  I ended up with some round decorative ‘gems’.  They worked and they were very cheap.  I also bought paint.  I found some Tempera Paint and figured that’s what most elementary art teachers use, so I should be good with that.

Before giving them paint, we decided to show them how the whole marble painting thing worked.  We gave them a marble and showed them how to move the box around to make the marble move back and forth.  That also gave us a chance to see that we needed to tape down the paper.  It was a good dry run for everyone.


Then the pretty paint came out.  The boys kept saying “Can I paint now??”  (notice their cute, PLAIN shirts?  grrr)


We dipped the marble in the paint and plopped it into their box.  Away they went! 

P7140029They were cautious at first, even moving the marbles with their hands, but they got the hang of things after a few seconds and really started moving and shaking those boxes.   I think one marble even landed on the floor because of the feverish winging of the boxes. 

P7140028P7140033Cage’s box was a little more flat on the bottom, so his paint moved all around the paper. Jack’s box had a pretty bumpy bottom, so the marble tended to stay in the middle.  P7140031

After they did one page of marble painting, they were ready to really paint.  Evidently, marble painting to a 2 year old isn’t actually painting.  So we gave them new paper, put the paint in their boxes (GREAT idea, Bekah!) and let them really paint until there little hearts were content.  That lasted about 3 minutes.


Cage’s mom brought pom-poms and feathers to adorn on the paintings.   (I love Cage’s chubby little hands!)


It was a successful Educational Play Date this morning, I’d say!


They boys ended up playing in our sandbox for the rest of the time.  Which, we found out, has a mouse living in it.  I guess the tent over the top of the box didn’t keep the mice/chipmunks/moles/whatever it is! from digging up from the bottom of the box. 



Art Shirts

Today, as this post is going out, my friend Bekah and her son Cage are coming over to be crafty with us.  I Facebooked Bekah the other day and said “We need to set up an educational play date.”  Thankfully, she didn’t disown me for being too nerdy, but said “YES!”

Bekah and I have only known each other for a little over a year now.  We met at our library’s storytime.  When we found out our lives were pretty parallel – she was a teacher for years before becoming a SAHM to her little boy only 3 months after I did – we decided to get to know each other better and have play dates for our boys. She was the brave one and, after months of seeing each other at storytime, she asked if we’d be interested in meeting for lunch afterward someday.  When we finally made it to McDonald’s the next week, we were standing in line when I said, “By the way, my name is Amanda.  What’s yours?”  We had only known each other by our son’s names for the many months we’d been attending storytime.   How embarrassing!

Anyway, we’ve been friend’s ever since, and love to get together to talk and let our boys play.

I finally figured out that, while I’d love to do all the great crafty activities I’m finding online with Jack, I’m too chicken to do it by myself.  So I employed my teacher-friend to help motivate me.  She said she was having the same problem about not doing a lot of stuff with her son, so it’s a Win-Win for both of us! (plus, my house gets clean if I have company over – that makes it a win-win-win for me!)

For today’s inaugural 'educational play date’, I thought I’d make an art shirt for our boys.  I found plain little t-shirts at our local craft store for $2 each and decided to bleach the boys’ names on them.  I didn’t have freezer paper, so I used contact paper as my stencil. 

P7130010While I was drawing the letters, I imagined that I’d paint/bleach the letters solid.  Then I started cutting out the letters I’d made and realized I was cutting them out backwards.  So, instead of doing a normal stencil job, I did an opposite stencil job.  What’s that called?  Other than Mistake.  P7130011

I took my Bleach Pen, traced the letters, then took a paint brush and brushed out the bleach so it would bleach all around the letter.



I love the look that I was getting.  My mistake turned out to be a pretty good idea after all.

P7130014P7130015It took FOR.EVER for the color to change, so I’m glad I started early in the morning on these. 

HOW EASY!??!  I may become addicted to this technique and end up with lots of bleached shirts. 

*Okay, that’s what I typed up in my drafts file yesterday while waiting for the bleach to work.  Then, when I thought it’d turned white enough, I ran it through the washer to stop the bleaching process. 

*ahem* this is how it REALLY turned out…P7130018

As soon as I pulled it out of the washer, the letters were GONE.  No bleaching in sight! 

Which means I totally started over.


I cut new letters and used straight bleach on them.  I let it sit for about 5 hours and this is what they looked like…


No difference at all!  Did I buy anti-bleaching shirts or something?? This was getting ridiculous!

So, before I went to bed last night, I tried again.  On top of the non-working bleach from earlier, I put more of the Bleach Pen on the letters and brushed it out again.  I decided to let them sit overnight. P7130016

This is what they looked like this morning.  NO BLEACHING! ARGH!!

My final attempt was to put a line of the gel along the letters and let them sit.  P7140022I am now going to wash and dry them so the boys can wear them while they paint today.  My money is on the bleach NOT working again and they’ll have plain t-shirts to paint in.  I have no clue what I did wrong!

*Back to my original post’s ending:

Hopefully, we’ll have many more ‘educational play dates’ in our near future.  I spent a TON of money on supplies yesterday and have been pinning like crazy, scouring the internet for fun – easy- projects we can do. 

First up, Marble Painting!  I’ll try to be timely in a blog post to show you our artwork.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Driveway Painting

I’ve been getting inspired by a lot of blogs recently (especially Mumma Made It)  and the activities these moms are doing with their young kids.  Jack loves to do activities, but his mom *ME* is afraid of making messes (you’d never know that walking into my house!).  He especially loves to paint, but we rarely do more than get the watercolors out every few weeks. 

I’d love to know what kind of paint (and supplies) I should have on hand if I want to paint with Jack.  When I read these blogs, they say “we painted on rocks/paper/walls….” and I’m always curious about what kind of paint they used.  I want something that cleans easily.  Any suggestions for me?

Anyway, I finally figured out a few ways we can take the painting outside. It’s a win-win situation for us.  Jack’s happy to be painting, and I’m happy to be keeping the mess outside.

First, we’ve been painting on our blacktop driveway with water and paint brushes. 

P7050007Jack really liked this, because he could splatter, drip, and swipe the water all he wanted and I didn’t say a thing if the ‘paint’ got everywhere. I liked how it dried up pretty quickly, so we could basically stay in the same area and paint all day. 

P7050027P7050025Jack started drawing roads and I tried to spell out his name (and get a picture before the first letter dried).  The bigger brush was a lot more fun to paint with in this activity.

The next paint we tried was sidewalk chalk paint

P7110007I loved this!  It was a little hard to work with only because the brushes got stuck in the paint mixture a bit, which made it more likely to spill.  The recipe was super simple.  Basically, it’s equal parts cornstarch and water.  The original recipe I used called for 1/4c of each, so that’s what I used.  I liked how it wasn’t too much paint, and we did end up using just about all of it before we were done.  I used 5 drops of liquid food coloring in each cup.

We had a spill. I recommend using shorter cups if you have them.  Maybe it was our tall cups that made them easier to tumble.  The paint goes on very watery, but dries to look like regular sidewalk chalk.  The thicker you put it on, the shinier the final look will be.  The spill looked wet, but was actually dry after just a few minutes.

It dries like chalk. It's pretty neat.

Jack loves to paint.  I love easy clean up.  If I can figure out how to marry the two, we’ll have a wonderful time!


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