Munch: Personalized Pizzas

Personal pizzas are nice,
but personalized pizzas are even better!

1. I shaped the pizza dough (we used refrigerated Pillsbury) into dinosaurs and palm trees for my little guy. If you're not feeling up to manipulating dough into specific shapes (think ballet slippers, train cars, airplanes, flowers, etc), you can roll it out and use cookie cutters.

2. Next, your kiddo can paint the sauce onto their pizzas. It's always fun to paint with something other than paint! :)

3. Your little chef can add the cheese and other favorite toppings.

4. Bake according to dough directions.

5. Eat! Rooaarrr!!!

Make: Conversation Memory Coasters

Super cheap. Very cute.

But, best of all...this little project
brought back great memories,
and made for precious conversation.

Step 1: Compile some of your favorite family photos on a Word document.

Step 2: Print the document. I chose to print in grayscale for a more neutral look.

Step 3: Cut your document into individual pictures.

Step 4: Find "coasters". I found these ($0.75/ea) at Walmart. They're actually to put below a very small potted plant (found in outdoor/garden section).

Step 5: Mix a small amount of brown paint with Mod Podge. Paint surface of coaster. Your little one can help with this, but will be sticky!

Step 6: Kiddo can help apply pictures to sticky coaster. My little guy and I had fun talking about them as we applied them ("Remember when Daddy caught this big fish?" or "Look, honey, there's Smokey as a little puppy!").

Step 7: Apply a thin layer of the brown-mixed Mod Podge to the top of each decorated coaster.

Step 8: Let the Mod Podge dry. Repeat another layer if corners are sticking up.

Step 9: Turn coasters over and cut off stray ends (I used an X-ACTO Knife).

Step 10: Display! Your little one is going to be so proud when his/her artwork is the topic of conversation. Apparently memory coasters get everyone talking! :)

Mid-Week Laugh

An Odd Bird
Conversation: Mid Morning, Tuesday

Landon: Mama, come quick!! There's a beautiful red bird! Do you see it?!?!

Mama: I do! That's a cardinal, honey. Aren't they pretty?

Landon: Yeah! Hey, Mama...did you know red is my favorite color?

Mama: I know! So, maybe a cardinal could be your favorite bird.

Landon: Hmmm. Yep. I think so. A carnivore is my favorite bird!


BTW: Memory Coasters coming tomorrow...

Make/Move/Music: Yard Games

On Top of Spaghetti

Yes. This post was supposed to be entitled "Sticky Gloves." And, we did try to play catch with traditional velcro sticky gloves, but, as is often the case in my motherhood experience, it just didn't go quite as planned.

First, the tennis ball was a bit heavy when it hit my little boy's velcro glove, and therefore kept sending his sweet little arms somewhat flailing backwards. Second, the only way that he could actually catch the ball was if he turned his glove flat, sort-of like a plate. But, he kept forgetting to do this, and so we chased the ball. A lot.

So...time to improvise.

Step 1:

I raided my craft room. Which, for the record, is actually just a corner of my creepy basement that is way too close to the need to be jealous. I promise. Anyway, here's what I was able to dig up:

The Velcro Gloves (2)



A ping pong ball

Small velcro pieces

White string

Step 2:

I painted the Velcro glove. After the "sauce" dried I painted the "plate" and some "noodles".

Hint: Red and brown together make a very appetizing tomato sauce color. :)

Step 3:

Little hands did a great job of transforming a ping pong ball into a meatball. After this has dried, add the small pieces of velcro (opposite of what's on the glove) to the ball.

Hint: Mix brown, red, and a tinge of black to get a meaty color. Have you ever painted something to look like meat before?!? I'll admit it. I'm a firsttimer...

Step 4:

Landon loved adding the string (noodles, of course!) to the spaghetti bowls. They actually stick really well to the velcro glove, and make it much more fun, don't you think?

Step 5:

Since we were in the mood, we read this before bed tonight. Landon's idea. If you've never seen this version, it's wonderful! It has flaps to fold, tabs to pull, and even plays the childhood song.

Step 6:

We're going to give "Sticky Gloves" another try tomorrow. But, we're going to change the name to "On Top of Spaghetti", and see if that little boy doesn't have better luck catching homemade meatballs! If not, at least we had fun making 'em! :)

Munch: Yummy Yogurt Pops

These are really yummy, easy to make with little ones, slow to melt, and good for all the snackers in your house (that includs you, Mom!).

Step 1:
Blend together:
2 small tubs of yogurt (we used Yoplait Mixed Berry)
1 Cup of Light Lemonade (though any juice would work)
6 strawberries
1 banana

Step 2:
Pour mixture into cups. Insert a stick of some sort. We used the attachments to my mixer. They worked well, and seemed to make the pops more durable. Put in safe spot in freezer.

Step 3:
After about an hour check your stick. Reposition if necessary. Let freeze for another couple of hours.

Step 4:
Enjoy! Yum Yum! :)

Yard Games...sort of.

Yard Games: "You do the Smokey Pokey"

We've had a really rainy I had to cheat. These pictures were taken last week. But, I just thought that, after our incident a couple of weeks ago, I should probably prove to the world that we do in fact love our puppy, Smokey. "Even if he is a scoundrel," as Landon would say. And yes. Don't let that shaggy face fool you.
He's a scoundrel, allright.

Mid-Week Laugh

So, Landon and I were driving around a few days ago singing that old Sunday School song,

Count your blessings,
Count them one by one.
Count your blessings,
see what God has done.

Afterwards, not wanting to miss a teachable moment, I turned the volume way down, anticipating a deep, thoughtful, God-honoring conversation with my little boy. Excited to hear his answer, I said, "Buddy, what kinds of blessings, or special things, has God given you?"

I admit that I expected to hear sweet, endearing things. A list that would maybe sound a little bit like, 'Mama (named first, of course), Daddy, Smokey, my yard, my friends, etc.' So, imagine my surprise when, with a completely straight face, and not a moment's hesitation, he said instead, very confidently, "Muscles."

Sheesh! It starts young!

Flying Coffee Filter Butterflies

Of all of the springtime crafts that Landon and I have done recently, this one has been his favorite! I asked him why he loved this particular "special time" project so much.
Here were his answers:

1. He got to use markers.
Not crayons. Not colored pencils. He got to use his elusive, generally forbidden markers. Good start to any project, as far as Landon is concerned. Wet wipes were on hand...literally.

2. He got to use a spray bottle.
This reminded him of his water guns, but even better than those, this particular device allowed him to spray water inside the house! Wow! How much better does life really get when you're three-years-old?!?

3. The butterflies actually fly!
He thought that they were pretty when they were just hanging still. He thinks that they're AMAZING when they're flying over him during his afternoon nap.

Here's how your little one can make his or her own flying butterflies:

Step 1: Use markers to color a white coffee filter. Push down hard!

Step 2: Stand back and lightly spray the coffee filter with water. Not too much...the color will fade if too much water is used. You just want the colors to bleed into each other.

Step 3: After the coffee filter has dried, pinch the middle and clip it with a clothespin.

Step 4: Tie a fairly long piece of fishing line (ours are about 18 inches each) to each clothespin. Then, using a small piece of tape, secure the other end of the line to a fan blade (near the outside, just to be safe). Finally, turn the fan on low, and enjoy!

Happy Spring!

The Picky-Eater-Dipping-Party

I'm blessed. My little boy will eat, don't hate me for this, just about anything that I put in front of him. I give credit to a pediatrician who encouraged me to basically skip the baby-food-stage, and instead just begin giving Landon small bites of whatever I had fixed for dinner. Maybe he would have been a great eater either way.
Who knows.
What I do know, however, is that very few of my friends have been so lucky when it comes to feeding their children. If you count yourself among those that dread the dining hours of the day, this may work for you. To be honest, I usually just resort to a "dipping party" meal, such as the one pictured above, simply because I am perpetually late, and it saves me 2.83 seconds if I don't have to actually put the peanut butter (or jelly) onto a piece of bread. It may be a bit pathetic, but my little boy certainly isn't complaining. In fact, he loves dipping party lunches. His favorite combo is what we coined the "muddy bear" (Cinnamon Teddy Graham dipped in peanut butter and raisins).

Here's to happier meals...feel free to insert your own, resounding, "Amen!"

More typical than you might think...

Who needs a shirt when you have:
Fireman boots
Knee pads
Batting glove
Police belt
Superhero cape
Eye mask
Magic wand
Knight helmet

**Next Week's Relish:
Flying Coffee Filter Butterflies
Egg Carton Caterpillars
Surprise Yard Games: 1

Milk Carton Birdhouse

Okay. So it's not actually a milk carton. What can I say...we buy creamer in bulk. The birds don't care. In fact, they may actually be lured in by the lingering sweet smell of French Vanilla. Who knows? Either way, here's what you need for this project:

An Exacto Knife (or scissors)
A carton
A small stick
Paper plate (for easy paint clean-up)
Construction Paper
Hole puncher
Mod Podge (optional)

1. Cut a hole in the center of the carton (I used an Exacto Knife), and a smaller one right below (I used a hole puncher).
2. Help your little one paint the exterior of the carton.
3. While the paint is still wet, let your kiddo stick torn paper all over surface. It will stick without any extra adhesive.
4. Paint your stick.
5. Let dry (probably a couple of pickle tends to glob the paint on thick!).
5. Mama: When birdhouse is dry, apply Mod Podge to entire exterior. This will harden the surface and make the paper really adhere to the carton. It also will give it a more finished look.
6. Insert stick (perch).

6. Fill the bottom with birdseed and set under a covered porch or awning. We're waiting for a sunny day to find the perfect outdoor spot for ours...for now, it looks very festive on the kitchen counter!

Kid Tested, Mother Approved...Paint!!

Let's face it. Paint and preschoolers don't always mix. Or maybe that's the problem...they mix TOO much! I have plenty of friends with paint-phobia, and it's a legitimate, real issue. But, your preschooler probably thinks that paint is even better than play-doh. What to do?!?!

Enter these!!! Landon's Aunt Poppy gave him these for his birthday last year, and we LOVE them. I know. I said WE....on purpose! These paint bottles "are little hand friendly and the applicators won't leak or drip (from website)." So, unlike some other bingo-type paints that we've tried, these really don't dispense any color until you're little one's paper is ready to be turned into a masterpiece. They are may want to sit down for this one..."non-toxic, washable, and won't stain clothes."

So, paint-phoic mamas, you can cross one fear off your list.
We'll tackle paper-mache some other day (like as soon as I'm brave enough to try it...).

Preschool Chores

Fun pictures
Colorful clothespins
Allowance ($1/week)
A very willing little helper!!

Hope this works for you too! :)

All-Star in the Making

Our little boy doing what he loves most right now...hittin' the ball!

Be sure to turn up your volume and stay tuned until the end...there's a laugh there for ya!
That Jeremy James!

True Story

Monday, May 3, 2010

Vet: "Hello, Pleasant Valley Animal Clinic."
Me: "Hi. I just wanted to call y'all to make sure that my dog is okay. He, umm...well, he just ate a cigar. "
Vet: "Excuse me?"
Me: "A cigar. He ate it."
Vet: "Ooookay. What size cigar was it?"
Me: "I don't know how to answer that...maybe a regular one?"
Vet: "A huh. And...did he eat all of it?"
Me: "Well, I caught him in the act, so he didn't quite get to finish off the plastic wrapper."
Vet: "So, he ate plastic too?!"
Me: "Well....some, yes."
Vet: "I'm gonna need to ask the doctor about this one. I've never known a dog to eat a cigar."
Me: "That would be great. Thank you."
Vet: "Okay. First, let's just pull up his records. What's his name?"
Vet: "M'am. Are you there?"
Me: "Yes. I'm sorry. I'm here."
Vet: "And what did you say his name is?"
Me: "I didn't. Yet. His name is....(insert eye roll here).....Smokey."
Vet: "Smokey?!"
Me: "Yes, M'am. I know..."
Vet (insert suddenly extremely alarmed inflection): "The cigar wasn't lit was it?!?!?"

* No animals were harmed in the making of this phone call. Seemingly, Smokey actually enjoyed his afternoon treat (which, of course, was NOT lit). He tried to wash it down with a kitchen sponge several hours later.

falling star

One of my favorite scripture passages is Philippians 2:14-16.

"Do everything without grumbling or complaining, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life."

It is for this reason that I'm NOT going to tell you about the last month that I've had. Let's just say that if I wasn't interested in being "blameless and pure," I'd tell you all about the rollercoaster of infertility, hard-hitting stomach bugs, moving my parents 1200 miles away, indefinite holding patterns, power outages, the eight conversations going on in my head regarding bi-racial adoption, the most stubborn sinus infection ever, unexpectedly getting yelled at/lectured (several times, actually), theological struggles, and endless to-do lists. IF I told you about my last month, you'd probably understand why I took a bit a of a hiatus from my blog. But, since I'm clearly trying to "shine like a star in the universe," I'll just leave it at...

Thanks for sticking with me. I'm back.


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