Mummy Paper Plate Craft

I wanted to include a craft during Halloween week here on Sew You Think You Can Cook. 

I couldn’t find any sewing mummy crafts that weren’t a pillowcase and since I did one during Candy Corn week I continued my search. 

Next thought was to make a wreath. Unfortunately I didn’t make one before heading to Alabama a couple of weeks ago so that idea had to be scrapped. 

Firecracker loves making crafts, it’s probably his favorite thing about homeschooling. 

I found a cute and simple mummy paper plate craft on handy dandy Pinterest and knew I could manage that with everything we already had on hand. Mission accomplished last minute!

I made one the night before to have an example for the boys. 

Mummy Paper Plate Kids Craft | Sew You Think You Can Cook
This craft is great for fine motor skill development and if strong enough, they can use the hole punch to punch a ring of holes around the plate.

Mummy Paper Plate Craft (toddler)

Firecracker just liked gluing eyes onto his mummy face and threaded the string over the face just twice. 

Mummy Paper Plate Craft (baby)

I was surprised at how much more Treat did than his older brother! He did a great job inserting the string into holes and loved pulling the string all the way through. 

Here’s what you need to make your own mummy paper plate:

  • White paper plate
  • Hole punch 
  • Eyes (googly eyes, buttons, or a marker)
  • Glue, if needed
  • White yarn, string, or thin ribbon 
  • Tape, if needed

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Punch holes around the edge of the plate. 
  2. Glue or draw on the eyes. Let dry. 
  3. String the yarn through the holes, going across the face in a haphazard manner. Tie ends of the string behind the plate and tape down if desired. 

Mummy Paper Plate Craft (3) | Sew You Think You Can Cook

#MuffinMonday: Butternut Squash Raisin Mini Muffins

fb5cd-muffin2bmonday2bcrop

It’s time for another Monday filled with muffins!

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins to brighten their Mondays. There isn’t a theme to #MuffinMonday posts so anything goes, as long as it’s a muffin! (A big thank you to Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm for helping organize everything this month.)

You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday can be found on our home page.

Recently, my husband and I have been getting in the money saving habit of constantly making breakfast burritos. He takes these burritos to work with him on mornings he’s hitting the gym. An act which is saving us about $9 every other day!

He likes filling his burritos with meat (I’ll use leftover chicken/steak from the week or the typical breakfast sausage or bacon), cheese, eggs, and some sort of vegetable medley. The latest vegetable inclusion has been butternut squash. I grab the pre-cut squash from the produce section of the grocery store.

We used about half a tub for his burritos and the other half I used to make mini muffins. And guess what, Firecracker inhaled them! Hooray for sneaky veggies. These muffins were perfect for rounding out a balanced breakfast.

I think next time I’ll try freezing the leftover squash and toss it into their smoothies.

This recipe makes 4 dozen mini muffins.

Butternut Squash Raisin Mini Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 C flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 3/4 C mashed butternut squash
  • 3/4 C raisins
  • cinnamon sugar, for topping

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, and milk together. Add in the squash until combined. Add the flour mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Fold in the raisin.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, 3/4 full. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with cinnamon sugar. Bake 10-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out cleanly. Allow to cool 5 minutes before removing from the pan to a cooling rack.

*This recipe is adapted from Becky at http://www.thetwobiteclub.com/2015/01/cinnamon-crunch-butternut-squash-muffins.html*

Butternut Squash Raisin Mini Muffins for #MuffinMonday from Sew You Think You Can Cook

And don’t forget to check out these other muffin recipes:

Ackee and Saltfish Muffins from Passion Kneaded

Apple Cinnamon Muffins from Farm Fresh Feasts

Bacon Gruyere Muffins from Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Butternut Squash Raisin Mini Muffins from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Lemony Olive Oil Muffins from A Day in the Life on the Farm

Swiss Almond Vanilla Muffins from Food Lust People Love

Zucchini Walnut Muffin from Palatable Pastime

Leprechaun Lunch Bag Puppet

I’m just popping in today to share a super quick and adorable St. Patrick’s Day craft you can do with you little ones. (If your kids are older than mine, they might actually make a Leprechaun with the crafting supplies.)

I had saved a few ideas on Pinterest and showed them to Firecracker to pick a craft to do and he immediately chose this Lepruchaun Lunch Bag Puppet. A trip to the Dollar Tree shortly followed for some large googly eyes and brown lunch bags – we already had everything else we’d need.

Here’s what you need: brown paper lunch bags, construction paper (green, black, yellow, orange), large googly eyes, marker, buttons.

Firecracker had been looking forward to crafting all week long and the first thing he wanted to do Friday morning was make our craft. Turns out those brief moments were the best of the day, as a trip to the doctor’s office shortly followed to discover that between my two boys, they had 3 ear infections.

With Treat having just woken up as well, he got to join in the crafting fun. For him, that meant pulling all of the buttons and googly eyes off of the paper bag, but he seemed to enjoy himself. IMG_2712

Firecracker just wanted to glue a bunch of googly eyes on his Leprechaun[‘s hat] and a few buttons. He had no interest in creating the orange beard.

The night before crafting day, I cut out the paper hats, buckles, and strips for the beard. I then glued it together to ensure that my trusty liquid Elmer’s glue would work. Spoiler alert: it works perfectly.

Leprechaun Lunch Bag Puppet | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

Garbanzo Sweet Potato Mash

I had so much fun working with OXO Tot on their sippy cup campaign over the summer and was honored when asked to help them promote their newest products: Food Masher, Glass Baby Blocks, and Feeding Spoon Set with Soft Silicone.

img_3821
The food masher is a fun, easy to use product. It’s easier to clean than a food processor or blender, and more convenient, too, when working in smaller batches.

Both of my kids are veering away from the pureed food stage (unless we’re talking applesauce pouches) but I knew I could come up with a simple recipe that can be prepared using the food masher. My boys absolutely love beans, so that’s where my inspiration started.

This OXO Tot campaign is  titled “Do The Little Monster Mash with OXO Tot” and we were asked to create a seasonal recipe. It’s fall and that means pumpkin. Unfortunately a pumpkin allergy means no pumpkin. No pumpkin? No problem! I always use sweet potato in place of squash this time of year and it’s perfect.

I mashed some canned garbanzo beans and cooked sweet potato. Mixed them together with salt, pepper, and some paprika pork rub. (I even recruited my 2 year old to help!)

My garbanzo sweet potato mash is easiest to spread when warmed a little bit, and that’s where the glass baby blocks come in handy – perfect portion size all ready for the microwave!

Hands down, my favorite item in the box are the glass food storage cubes. My husband has already claimed he’ll be “stealing” them to pack his lunches for work. These borosilicate glass containers are thermal shock resistant, so unlike your typical glass containers and dishes, there’s no need to bring them up to room temperature from the freezer before heating. For the busy (maybe forgetful?) mom or dad, that’s an incredible life saving feature; no need to worry if you forgot to pull the baby’s food out of the freezer and into the fridge the night before. Come to think of it, it can help prevent food waste, too!

The blocks come with a nice tray for keeping them together, and are also stackable for space efficient storage. They even have measurement lines on them so you never have to guess how much your baby is eating.

One of my favorite features is that the lid doesn’t go into the container meaning you can fill the block all the way to the top! The folks at OXO think of everything.

While my 1 year old tried the mash as is, my 2 year old wasn’t that interested. No problem! How do you get my picky eater to try just about anything? Put it on a “pizza”! I spread the mash onto a tortilla, topped it with leftover barbecue, and cheese. Baked in a 350 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes, and lunch is served!

Garbanzo Bean Sweet Potato Mash      

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and loose skins removed
  • 1/2-1 tsp paprika pork seasoning

Steps:

  1. Poke sweet potato with a fork all over. Microwave 5 minutes. Flip. Microwave another 5 minutes. Allow potato to cool enough to touch. Remove the flesh from the skin and mash in the OXO Tot Food Masher, work in two batches if necessary. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  2. Working in batches, mash the garbanzo beans in the OXO Tot Food Masher, add to the sweet potato.
  3.  Use the masher to help combine the two ingredients. Stir in paprika seasoning and S+P to taste.
  4. Serving options: spread on a toasted bagel, serve in a pita pocket with fresh veggies, or use as a pizza “sauce.”

Garbanzo Sweet Potato Mash | Sew You Think You Can Cook

What’s my next plan for these OXO Tot products? Mashing some fruit for mixing into my son’s morning Greek yogurt! Making my own “fruit on the bottom” yogurt for my guys will definitely helps save money!

Bottom line. Would I recommend these OXO Tot products to my friends? Yes. We were already satisfied OXO Tot customers and I’m happy to report that the love with their products has only increased after reviewing these items.

Disclaimer: I received these items from OXO in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.

Tuesday Tattles #18

Tuesday Tattles

It’s time for my next Tuesday Tattles Library Edition. A couple of weeks ago I shared our favorite bed time and nap time reads.

Because it would be too overwhelming to put all of our favorites in one post, I’ve been struggling with how to break up the “day time” books. I’ve thought about educational versus just for fun. But, really, just about every book falls in that first category.

I then thought about categorizing the books between infant and toddler, but I don’t really believe that books aren’t for every age and stage at the under 4 mark.

13939534_10103960364290081_3975369332799635853_nMy book list keeps growing, too! As soon as I hit “publish” on the bed time books post, Firecracker decided to add even more books to our night time routine. He’s really putting my poor vision to the test by reading not as popular books by the nightlight’s glow.

Treat’s favorite activity is pulling books off of the bookshelf in their room, and now that he’s walking like a champ he’ll bring me a book or two. I’m not sure if he really wants me to read them because as soon as I crack open the cover and start reading he toddles away!

Okay, enough dawdling. Here’s what I’m picking to share with you today and there’ll be more to come soon.

10 of the Best Books for Babies | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com


The Very Hungry Caterpillar
 by Eric Carle

tvhcI begin our library catalog with a classic. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a great book for teaching days of the week and counting. I actually can’t read this book without, in my head, reciting Joey Tribbiani’s days of the week monologue “Wednesday – when? what day? Thursday – the third day!” Ironically, this book became a favorite teething toy of Firecracker’s…

The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle

I continue with another board book by Eric Carle. The Very Lonely Firefly is a cute book that works for bed time due to its repetitive writing. It’s a hit with my kids because the last page lights up. Firecracker learned the words “owl” and “eyes” from this book.

Favorite Books for Babies | Sew You Think You Can CookDr. Seuss’s A B C

This alphabet book is the one I grew up on! My mom had (still does) this book memorized, and I do too. It’s definitely one of my all time favorites to read to my kids.

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy

If you want to be constantly impressed and amazed with how much your toddler knows, get him this book. My aunt gave us this book for Christmas and it’s gone with us on every vacation. As kids get older you can transition to quizzing them on vocabulary, asking them to point out different words/pictures. Eventually, they’ll be “reading” it to themselves.

Put Me In the Zoo by Robert Lopshire

My mother-in-law grew up on this book and introduced it to us. It’s a cute book that teaches colors, but also has an underlying theme of rejection, wanting to belong, and finding the perfect place to be yourself. We have the mini board book, which I know leaves out some of the fun, I’d be curious to find the full story and read more about Spot.

The Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz

This book version of the classic song has been in instant favorite with both of my boys. Firecracker still loves to read it and when I start reading it to Treat he comes running saying he wants to see, too. I never sang along with the book because I don’t need the song stuck in my head! The one exception is when Firecracker wants to read it before bed; I then turn it into a ballad and rock him back and forth as I sing.

Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz

Another fun Karen Katz book, this one has flaps to lift to find baby’s eyes, mouth, and belly button. It’s a cute way to teach basic body parts as well as a little game of peek-a-boo. Surprisingly, it’s one of the few books that the boys haven’t completely demolished. Once Treat learns how to lift the flaps and play along with the book, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it gets torn. Are any one else’s kids completely aggressive towards their library!?

Peek-A-Zoo! and Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden

Books for Babies | Sew You Think You Can CookPeek-A-Zoo was given to Firecracker for his first birthday and he loved it immediately. It was a book I could hand in him the car and he’d enjoy flipping through it. Because it was such a hit, before our last flight I bought the original for Treat. I’d venture to say it’s his favorite book! He actually laughs out loud at each turn of the page.

The Little Engine That Could

I’ll round out this book list at ten titles. This abridged version of the classic tale of never giving up was Firecracker’s favorite book when he was 16 months old. As his train related book collection has grown it’s been set aside. Not that it stops him from enjoying it on occasion. He even has the first four pages memorized. When he’s playing pretend with his trains I’ll hear him reciting “puff puff chug chug ding dong ding dong the little train rumbled over the tracks. happy train.”

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday Tattles #17

It’s come to my realization that I haven’t actually shared our favorite kids books! I know I’ve sprinkled them into some of Firecracker’s monthly favorites – a series that’s gone the wayside as he approached and passed 2.

As I started to list all of the books that we love I gawked at how long it was and yet how much I was leaving out. So, I’m going to do a few book series during Tuesday Tattles over the next couple of months.

I’m going to start with the best bedtime books. These are books that have helped lull my kids into naps or have become cemented into the bedtime routine.

our-top-8-books-for-bed-time-sew-you-think-you-can-cook

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

This title might seem like a strange one to include on a bedtime book list, but between 19-22 months I had this book engraved into my memory. Our bedtime routine always concluded with my son falling asleep in my lap while I rocked him and read Green Eggs and Ham. Not only is it a book to encourage trying new foods, its very rhythmic and repetitive script transforms into the perfect “lullaby.”

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

The Cat in the Hat isn’t quite as repetitive as Green Eggs and Ham but I did develop a rhythm in reading it that turned out to be just the ticket I needed for nap time. (Back when Firecracker took naps.) It’s a long book for an active boy to sit through and we’d often only make it halfway though, never venturing into the part of the story with Thing 1 and Thing 2, before he’d drift off to sleep in my lap in the rocking chair.

img_0497Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff

Danny and the Dinosaur was one of my husband’s favorite books as a kid and my in-laws gave us the Danny and the Dinosaur 50th Anniversary Box Set before our cross-country move. I remember it being the first book I read in our new home. Just like The Cat in the HatDanny and the Dinosaur quickly became associated with pre-nap reading.

Steam Train, Dream Train Colors by Sherri Duskey Rinker

My mom found this book and Steam Train, Dream Train 1-2-3 for my boys for Easter. I used to keep them both in the car (the books, not the boys) and Firecracker would happily “read” through them, often finally falling asleep. I’m not sure when it happened, but the colors book found its way inside and is now mandatory bedtime reading. He even has the first page memorized. He doesn’t fall asleep reading this book, though. We often read it 2-3 times. Graduating from color recognition, he states all of the letters in the words at each turn of the page. I can recite this book for memory and can “read” it in the pitch black of night.

img_3044
img_2950Where Do Steam Trains Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres

Here’s another gem given to Firecracker by my mom. It’s a book that he was immediately drawn to. It’s a great book for little train lovers. The book describes different bed time routines for each style of train in two line poems about parent and child engines. My son loves finding the mouse “hidden” on each page.

The Goodnight Train by June Sobel

There had to be a unique train book that didn’t come from my mom, right?! We found this one in a cute children’s boutique nearby. I love the illustrations and whimsical feel. The Goodnight Train gets rotated with Where Do Steam Train Sleep at Night? at night. As a result, neither of them are memorized making it difficult to read when bedtime procrastination has left me not even a glow of sunlight.

img_3005Goodnight, Dragons by Judith Roth

Not every book can be about trains! I do have a second child after all. While we’ve had this book long before Treat came along, it didn’t get quite the attention or love until fairly recently. Goodnight, Dragons is, hands down, Treat’s favorite book. It’s the only one he’ll actually sit still (ish) for! What I love most about this book is its message: “Everybody needs a cuddle; maybe dragons more than most.”

If Animals Kissed Good Night by Ann Whitford Paul

The last book on my list is my personal favorite. It has cute little rhymes for multiple parent-child animal pairings as the day turns into night. But I think this book holds a special place in my heart because of the memories I have reading it to Firecracker when he was 12-18 months old: he was just learning how to kiss (a skill he is now way too aggressive with) and with every couplet read he’d turn and give me a kiss.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Tuesday Tattles: 2nd Birthday

Tuesday Tattles

It’s finally time to share my Firecracker’s second birthday party, with you!

When we moved to California and became regulars at the playground I quickly realized it’d be a great place to have the kids’ birthday parties. I scoped out the venue for months to determine when would be the best time of day to throw a party at a public park, to figure out if it’d be allowed, and to decide which picnic table to claim. I then had to start asking around about how big the 4th of July got around here. The answer was a resounding “crazy!” So I knew that we simply wouldn’t be able to celebrate on THE day. (Good thing it wasn’t his 1st birthday!)

We celebrated on a Sunday at 10:30 am. Firecracker is only two weeks older than our friends’ son and so we did a dual birthday bash for the 2 year olds. Our guest lists would have been identical anyway. The party was attended by other families who moved out to California from Ohio the same time we did. And by happy coincidence, my dad had meetings in Los Angeles the following week so my parents came out for the party and my mom stayed out here to play and help with the kids while my dad was in his meetings!

IMG_9583I had originally planned (aka – when he was born I picked out his first four birthday themes) on having an Auburn themed birthday party. It was hard for me to change my mind, but I knew that my train obsessed toddler would much prefer a train themed party. So, I let go of my planning and switched gears.

This party was much smaller than his 1st birthday, so instead of ordering a cake, I decided to simply make cupcakes. I made 4 dozen cupcakes – way more than I needed. About half of them ended up in my freezer unfrosted. I displayed the cupcakes on Twizzler train tracks on our dining table. I made Busy Day Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes, my friend made the frosting for the vanilla cupcakes.

Cupcakes for a Train Themed 2nd Birthday Party

 

Down at the playground we set up a table with snacks. I cut out black circles and taped them to disposable aluminum loaf pans to create train cars. My friend had popsicle sticks which we used to create a track for the food.

A fruit train of pineapple, cherries, and red and green grapes was led by Orange Cream Dip and Chocolate Hummus. A veggie train of cherry tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, and carrots was led by Sour Cream and Onion Dip and Ranch. We also had a container of hummus. Salty snacks of pretzel sticks, potato chips, and “pigs” in a blanket joined the party, too. I traced a train cookie cutter to cut out the labels for the respective dips.

A train themed 2nd Birthday Party

After a couple of hours at the playground we moved the party to our place for grilling and cupcakes.

Decorations were fairly minimal too. I used the major Thomas and Friends character colors as my inspiration, blue, red, and green for Thomas, James, and Percy, respectively. I wrapped streamers around the banister for the stairs and tied some balloons on each end of the staircase. Balloons were attached to chairs at either end of the table were the cupcakes were displayed. Two sets (1 balloon of each color) of balloons were placed on Thomas the Tank Engine balloon weights and taken down to the playground to bookend our picnic table.

The biggest decorating endeavor was the Happy Birthday Banner. The banner was placed above our awesome 80’s style mirrored fireplace. I didn’t have a single hole puncher (I do now!) and couldn’t fit the train shapes in our stand 3 hole puncher, so my mom strung the banners together with a needle and thin yarn.

I found templates for a train engine, train car, and caboose through Google searching. I printed those out on colored card stock. I had two blue trains for the birthday boys’ names, a red train, and a green train. 4 red cabooses, and 19 grey train cars!  For the letters, I used the font Ariel. Three letters at a time were typed in WordArt at font size 96, then I sized the WordArt graphic to be 3.48″ x 8.81″, making sure the letters would fit inside the train cars, and then selected Rotate Flip Horizontal so that the text would be backwards. The words “2nd” and “and” followed the same method except that the WordArt graphic was sized at 1.52″ x 3″. The letters were arranged to look like railroad crossing signs and put on two 5″ yellow circles. Everything was cut out using a craft knife and adhered to the train cars using small glue dots.

IMG_9567

My attempt at getting a photo of the birthday boys with their cupcakes was a slight fail.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday Thoughts #18

Thursday Thoughts

This move to California was our second real military move. (Our first from Auburn to FL hardly counts as we had very little inventory to relocate and the distance was only 200 miles.) You can read about our move to Ohio here.

We left a small home in Ohio and were expecting something even smaller out in the Los Angeles area. In preparation for that we gave some of our furniture to my brother-in-law who just purchased a home with his fiancé, and my in-laws were more than generous in offering to store some other items until we return to the East coast. I begrudgingly left the majority of my fabric, quilting and scrapbooking supplies, and Monopoly collection behind with them. Stuart and I had many conversations about the “must-haves” in a new home and a third bedroom for an office/craft space was simply a “nice-to-have” as my free time with two little ones is quite limited and this blog is my hobby priority number one.

Unlike the previous move, this one was not a “door-to-door” move, meaning we did not have a destination address. With two boys under two and a husband in a grueling Masters program there simply wasn’t any time to take a trip to California to house hunt ahead of time. So, we booked a stay in Temporary Housing and used the 8 days provided upon reporting to find a place to live. As a result, we knew our items would end up being held in a storage facility until we could provide the moving company with our final address.

The moving company we were assigned to this move was incredible. A crew of three guys came the Monday after Easter to pack up everything. They were punctual, friendly, patient, and very courteous. They worked quickly and efficiently and while the team lead was inventorying every box, the other guys started to move everything into the garage to make loading day go smoothly. The same crew returned the following day to disassemble furniture, and along with the driver load the moving truck. We provided Subway for lunch on day one and tipped them on day two. Having the same crew for both days really helped things go smoothly.

We had a bedroom marked off as a “do not pack” room containing anything and everything that would be traveling across the country in the van. My parents came to attend Stuart’s graduation and while here, they helped us pack the other vehicle before the movers arrived. That car was loaded down with my grandmother’s antique secretary desk, quilts, and scrapbooks, along with all important documentation.

When there are young children involved, I highly recommend dropping them off with a friend while the movers are packing your home. Unfortunately that wasn’t an available option for us, but luckily my mom planned to stay and help us with the cross country drive. My mom and I were able to keep the boys occupied in the “do not pack” room and run errands. We handled the weighing of the van and returning of cable equipment to keep out of the way while my husband stayed at the house. We also handled the lunch pick-up and delivery.

That same piece of advice is even more important when the movers are unloading your belongings into your new home. This time we had my mother-in-law who flew out to California to help. She was able to keep Firecracker out of the house and at the park almost the entire day! I was able to wear Treat during his nap and keep him more easily contained as he was much less mobile. 

While our delivery crew didn’t start out as personable as our packing crew, they were quite competent and earned both the taco lunch and a tip for having to deal with our inconvenient location and countless stairs.

Because my mother-in-law stayed for the first week in our new place, I was able unpack our boxes myself instead of allowing the movers to do it. I had learned from our previous experience, when the movers unpack the boxes they essentially dump everything out on the floor, which I knew wouldn’t work well with two curious boys. There were a few exceptions to what we had them unpack – we wanted them to open up all of our wedding china and stemware and art boxes to ensure they weren’t damaged during delivery.

Unfortunately, a few boxes didn’t make it all the way to California including our bin of snowboarding gear and one box of our wedding stemware. At first inspection my husband’s weight plates didn’t make it either, but the team lead called the storage facility and they were found. He returned the next day with the weights and took away all of the boxes and packing paper that we had gotten through on that first night, which was over half of them!

One bookshelf, a desk, and our Keurig ended up in the “RIP” category.

Overall I am happy with our moving experience.

We moved many essential things ourselves because of the length of our trip and the unknown amount of time we’d be living in a hotel. Here are some of the things I wish we had added to our long list: vacuum cleaner, tape measure, scissors and/or exacto knife.

I’m going to reiterate: The biggest piece of advice I have for anyone moving with children – get help! My mom helped us get out of Ohio and traveled with us all the way to California. Having a third set of hands was invaluable. My mother-in-law was able to fly out to California the week of our delivery and she was able to take Firecracker to the park and on walks while the movers were unloading the truck. My sister-in-law came down the day after delivery and was a huge help with both boys keeping them entertained while we did a lot of unpacking and organizing of our home. She and my mother-in-law were able to share the brunt of the kids’ energy, too. If they weren’t able to provide so much help I know that I’d still be living in a house of brown cardboard boxes over one month later. I look forward to their next visits when things aren’t quite as hectic and more valuable time can be spent with them. I know their presence was much appreciated by the boys too, if their behavior after their departure is any indication!

Tuesday Tattles #12

Tuesday Tattles

Five months seems to be my new average for posting Firecracker’s favorite toy themed Tuesday Tattles, as he is now 21 months old. That’s only 3 months away from being two years old. TWO! I’m sorry, WHAT?! Who, what, where, when, why, and most importantly, HOW!?

Like any proud parents, we think we have one smart boy on our hands. He can count (with prompting) to three, and will repeat us up to ten. He knows his shapes and is working on his colors – he knows “boo” and “purp” consistently and his go-to guess is “yell.” One of his bed time procrastination techniques is to point to all the facial body parts and rattle them off – “hair, eye, nose, mouth, ear, cheek.”

Now on to the favorite toys of my almost two year old.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn ABC Train

Firecracker got this toy at his birthday and it’s been well loved for the past 9 months. He had to get it out of its packaging immediately upon unwrapping it, even! This train sings the alphabet, says the letters individually, and has a song mode with more alphabet fun. I have determined that it’s this toy that taught him how to say “All aboard!”

Winnie the Pooh Wooden Train

Train Toys for Toddlers 1  Sew You Think You Can CookI can’t tell you how thankful I am that Firecracker’s godmother (shout out to Tara!) got him this train for Christmas. He doesn’t play too much with the characters but he races the cars and carries all sorts of other toys, usually shapes, in them. But the real reason I’m thankful for this toy is that it is one of the reasons bed time has been greatly improved. After his 18 month doctor appointment, we started putting him to bed with one of the train cars at the suggestion of our pediatrician. (He doesn’t have a “lovie” blanket or stuffed animal.)

Wooden Railway Thomas and Friends Toys

We succumbed to the power of Thomas and Friends and bought Firecracker a Thomas
toy. His grandparents got him Percy to go with it. The joy that he gets in playing with these small trains was worth the crazy prices we paid for them. The constant happy yelling of “Thom-as” and “Per” is hilarious, too. He doesn’t have a train table to drive them on, but I do want to get him a road/track carpet once we’re settled in our new home later this month.

He usually gets his train table fix by going to Barnes & Noble. There’s always one young child being dragged away kicking and screaming by his parents, and I’m always prepared to be that parent dealing with the mega-tantrum, but telling him “It’s almost time to stop, so choose one more thing to do” (thank you, Daniel Tiger) and having him say “bye bye” helps immensely. We can also ask him to stay calm, and he’ll repeat “calm.” (Granted he’s often half-crying, but it’s pretty amazing to see him try to stay calm and use his words.)

Train Set with Colorful Track

Train Toys for Toddlers 2  Sew You Think You Can CookMy in-laws gave Firecracker this train set for Christmas and it’s definitely one of his all-time favorites. My husband definitely doesn’t feel the same way about this particular toy. I’m indifferent to it, the soundtrack of my life is the sound of this train. It’s the best when it goes under the couch to where I can’t reach it. (Sarcasm!) In all honestly though, this train has gotten so much love that it sounds like it’s on its last leg, and some of the track has been trampled by Firecracker-zilla one too many times.

He is seriously one train obsessed toddler! He likes watching Thomas and Chuggington (though Wallykazam is making a comeback) and the newest obsession are these YouTube videos of Max the Glow Train by Coilbook. For other television favorites you can check our my Tuesday Tattles #9.

Believe it or not, there are some non-train toys that make the cut, too!

Mega Bloks First Builders Firetruck

This “tire tuck” tags along with us just about everywhere – to play dates, dinners at friends’ homes, and the gym. Whenever we’re going somewhere where Firecracker might need toys, I like to bring items that can be easily wiped down, that means no wood, cloth, or electronics. The firetruck has a small compartment for holding a few Mega Bloks, and it turns out to be the perfect size for Thomas and Percy to ride in. Firecracker likes to race his vehicular toys in the kitchen so I must always be wary of tripping over the firetruck.

Shape Matching Toys

Firecracker loves to match his shapes and he can even recognize and “say” circle, oval, square, triangle, and octagon! Some of our favorite shape toys are: Winnie the Pooh Wooden Shape Sorting Cube and First Shapes Jumbo Knob Puzzle.

Books

I’m happy to report that even with his obsession with watching shows, he still loves books! The current favorites include: Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, and If Animals Kissed Good Night.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday Tattles #11

Tuesday Tattles

Many parents have discovered that “silence means trouble,” but for the most part I wouldn’t agree. There are however always those exceptions that make that statement the truest summary of parenting out there.

Most of the time my son’s silence means he’s flipping through a book or playing with his trains. It’s moments like that that make my heart skip a beat. I am so thankful to have a child who is comfortable and able to play on his own and it’s a joy to watch his imagination blossom.

How to Remove Colored Pencil from the Wall (1)  Sew You Think You Can CookHowever, sometimes that silence means he’s figured out a way to climb on the table or get into one of the air vents in the floor. In the most recent moment of silence, that naughty action was coloring on the walls. I guess it’s a rite of passage for every child and parent!

I am happy to report that I found an easy cleaning solution! My son used colored pencils so I’m not sure this would work for crayons, it most definitely wouldn’t work for markers – at least I wouldn’t think so. And to add another caveat, I’m not sure if it’d work well on non-white walls.

There I sat with a soap soaked wash cloth scrubbing vigorously to no avail. Sure, I saw a tinge of pink appear on my white cloth but I shudder to think how long I’d have had to sit there rubbing back and forth. And then I had my aha moment. I was wiping at colored pencil, surely an eraser would do the trick! And, it did! Quick and painless.

How to Remove Colored Pencil from the Wall (2)  Sew You Think You Can Cook

I did try the eraser trick on some crayon on his play kitchen. It didn’t work as well. I don’t know if it’s because of the texture of the play kitchen or because of the crayon.