Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

We went to the Orpheum this morning and they had a count down to noon for the kids. Its not that I think our kids won't make it up until midnight, but Andy wanted to take the kids to something today. I'm sure they'll be up running around at midnight - staying up that late is no big deal in our house. We've been really good about having an 8pm bedtime since they started school, but before that, well, they stayed up late. Really late. They get that from me I'm sure, and there was no way I was putting the kids to bed at 7pm and having them up running around at 5am. I'm not going to be up then.

The Orpheum was packed. It was really crazy. I can't even imagine what Times Square must be like. There were probably a couple hundred people packed into this really tiny children's museum, it was so loud it was unbelievable, and it took 10 minutes to make it to the other side of the room. I'm not sure I'd ever want to be in Times Square on New Years Eve. It was a little scary being in the children's museum.

At noon they let down balloons on top of us, and then it was even crazier! Of course the kids loved it!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

1st attempt

Here is my 1st attempt at making vegan donuts. They turned out OK for my 1st attempt.  I overfilled a few and ended up with some muffin tops, but they taste great!

I've been wanting a donut pan for several years now.  When I tell people that we're vegan, everyone always asks me if I miss eating anything. Most of the time - no.  I never liked to eat meat, and the only dairy product I liked was cheese, and only in small amounts. But occasionally, there are things I would really love to eat and they are not vegan. The things I miss are usually things I shouldn't be eating anyways, like donuts, or rice krispy treats, or milk chocolate.  I've found vegan marshmallows, Dandies, so that is covered. I received two donut pans for Christmas (Yay!), so now I can have donuts any time I like! Tomorrow - chocolate covered donuts!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Flannel PJ's

I love flannel! It is so warm and cozy. We have flannel sheets for all our beds, and now I've been making flannel pj's for the kids. I made this nightgown for Faye this morning.

I love how it is a really long nightgown, and the fabric is very sweet. I'm thinking of making one for myself with matching fabric - I can make some adjustments so it will fit me, maybe. Faye feels a little left out sometimes when I dress the boys in matching clothes. She's told me several times she wishes she had a sister - I remind her how awesome it is that she gets her own room and doesn't have to share all her things.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Party

Last day of school for the kids yesterday - and the winter party too! Chaos is the only way to describe a school party with 20 Kindergarten kids. Total chaos! But it was a lot of fun too - although I felt like I needed a nap or a drink when I got home. Maybe both. I went with the nap.

Here is the craft we made. The kids all did really well making these! Drew's is on the left, and Faye's is on the right. Anything with my kids hand-prints and I love it!

I made a bunch of gingerbread shaped sugar cookies, and we had the kids frost and decorate the cookies with candies. Some kids piled their cookies so high with candy it was unbelievable. We even limited the amount of candy each kid received by putting some candy into a cup for each kid. I think they must have put every single piece on their cookie. I've never seen anything like it!

Drew took his time and was really neat making his cookies - he didn't even have time to eat one of them he took so long, but he did a great job! I may have to put him to work decorating our sugar cookies this weekend.

I really didn't get much of a chance to see Faye's cookies - but I did get a shot of her eating them!

It also happened to be Ms. Curtis's last day teaching too. She was substitute teaching for Mrs. Peterson, who will return in January from maternity leave. I have to say she was one of the best substitute teachers! When school first started and I heard that my kids would have a substitute for the first part of the year, I was not thrilled. But she was great with the kids, super sweet, always calm even when dealing with difficult kids, and my kids really learned a lot! Thank you Ms. Curtis!

Unfortunately when I took this picture, Drew was upset because he couldn't find his gloves.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy Holidays!

The kids and I went to the Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana today while Andy took an exam for one of his classes.  The kids were a little disappointed they didn't get to see Santa, but they had a great time sitting in his chair in front of this huge tree!

They also went to the Crisis Nursery Holiday shop, and bought presents for mom, dad, and each other.  They had so much fun with this last year - and we had some really good laughs too when we opened the presents.  I can't wait to see what they've picked out this year!


Last day of cheer for Faye! 


Today was the last day of basketball for Drew at the YMCA. The past 7 weeks he did not improve much - he would stand where the coach told him to stand and that was about it. He didn't play any defense, he didn't play any offense, and he stood and stared at us with a really scared/sad look. It was cute the first week or two, but after that it was a little embarrassing. He knows what to do, but he was just too scared to make a mistake. But today - I missed it! He almost made a shot, he got a rebound, and he had a steal! He came home with a trophy and some sugar cookies from his coach.

I'm a little sad it is over just as he is getting the hang of it, but I really won't miss the 8am Saturday morning games. Hopefully if he does this next year his games will be at 9am!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Letters to Santa

Faye and Drew are excited about Santa this year. I don't know how many more years it will be this way, so it is really fun to listen to them talk about Santa. The number one question they ask me, "How does Santa get in, since we don't have a fireplace?" I just make up some nonsense - and the kids haven't really questioned it yet. Faye is absolutely certain that Santa will come in through the attic, which is in the closet in her room.

They wrote out their lists for Santa, and they spent a lot of time really thinking about what they wanted this year. I took a picture, then we put on a stamp and the mailman collected the letters.

Here is Faye's list:

She is asking for Zhu Zhu pets, Donkey Kong Returns, and a robot arm. Andy took the kids to the toy store, and they all came back (Andy included) asking me if they can get a robot arm. Something similar to this. It really doesn't seem like a good idea to me, as they will all be grabbing things from me as I walk by, or fighting with them.

Drew's list:

He also wants a robot arm, Zhu Zhu pets, and Mario stuff. We'll have to see if Santa brings them all a robot arm. Even Alex has asked for one now - Santa will have to do a lot of thinking about that one.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pumpkin Oatmeal

We woke up late this morning(for those of you without kids, late is about 8am), so rather than have breakfast we decided to cook up a vegan brunch. I LOVE mornings when the kids sleep in! I've been wanting to try a new breakfast recipe for a couple weeks, since stumbling upon something similar in a blog. I don't remember where it was, but it was so cute. Oatmeal cooked right inside a pie pumpkin!

Andy scooped out the seeds, and I mixed up some stuff - oatmeal, chopped almonds, cinnamon, brown sugar, a little bit of butter, applesauce, and then I added enough Almond milk till it seemed the right consistency. I scooped in into the pie pumpkin, sprinkled it with a little more brown sugar, and baked it with the lid on for about 45 minutes. It was awesome, and I usually don't even like oatmeal! It probably could have used a little more liquid, but hopefully next time I'll remember that. Faye and Drew both liked it too, and they usually don't eat oatmeal. We used our last pie pumpkin, but I think it would be good cooked in a casserole dish as well.

We also had homemade biscuits, tofu scramble, and potatoes. YUM! I wish we could have a vegan brunch every day - then maybe I'd actually eat breakfast!

Christmas decorations

Friday afternoon we decided to get out our Christmas decorations. Faye was very excited to help set the tree up and decorate. We have several sets of lights, LED lights, white lights, and those really big multi-colored lights. We liked the big lights, but as I was putting them on, one strand got very very hot, and the other stopped working. So we took these off and put up the LED lights. These were Faye's favorite lights; they are very bright multi-colored. We only had two small strands and it was not enough, so we took them off and Andy and Alex went out looking for another strand, but no luck. The only ones they found were over $20. Maybe we can get some at an after Christmas sale? Then I started putting up our plain white lights(my favorites anyways), and after getting them all the way on, I plugged them in, and they didn't work. I did check them before putting them on, but it was just our bad luck. The kids were waiting and waiting - it took us almost 3 hours to put lights on our tree, but finally we have some on that actually work!

It was so late from messing with the lights, we waited until Saturday morning to decorate the tree.

You can't see these decorations because they are right behind the kids, but they are on the tree. The kids decided we needed more decorations for the tree....

Faye worked on this Kirby for hours and hours. It is really huge. Who knew perler beads could be so much fun and have so many uses?!

Since they were all making decorations, I decided I'd try to make a garland I saw in Fa La La La Felt. The kids had fun helping with the beads, but it was too hard for them to roll the felt. It turned out pretty well I thought, but the photo isn't great.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Mario obsession continues!

Here's what the kids (and Andy) have been working on the past couple weeks...

Mario figures crafted from perler beads.  Andy helps the kids print out an 8-bit photo of the item they want to make, then the kids look at the photo and count how many they need of each color. I love all the crafting going on at our house! Alex is the only one not really excited about this activity - well, he does enjoy throwing all the little beads all over the floor.  I did notice that they now make big perler beads, so maybe they would work well for little toddler hands. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My monkeys!

I made matching pajama pants for the kids yesterday. I found some blue flannel winter monkey fabric on sale at Hancock fabric. It was perfect - cheap, not too girly, and it was monkey fabric, very fitting for my kids! It was 50% off, so it ended up costing around $7 to make all 3 pairs, with some extra fabric left over.

They had a lot of fun in their new pj's!

They figured out that if they jumped when they saw the flash, they would be in mid-air for the picture.

My little helper

It was a cold morning and I was really hungry for something other than my usual granola bar and coffee. Alex and I decided to make a batch of muffins, and of course he was more than willing to help.  He's not very helpful - he can't pour without spilling at least half of the ingredients on the counter, he doesn't stir well, and he just makes a huge mess in general.  But he enjoys it so very much - especially cleaning out the leftover batter when we're done!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Raking leaves

The weather yesterday was beautiful! It was sunny and almost 75 degrees in November! I assumed it was probably one of our last nice days of the year, so we spent most of the afternoon outside, playing and trying to clean up the yard a little. I was right. We woke up this morning to much cooler temperatures and rain.

The kids were actually quite helpful at raking the leaves this year, but they also then threw them back all over the yard. But they had fun, so that's what counts, right?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sweater weather

Sweater weather is here - maybe even winter coat weather some mornings. I'm not thrilled about the colder weather, but what can you do when you live in central Illinois?

I saw this book a few months ago and knew I had to have it. Had to. I loved everything in the book, and the book itself has gorgeous photos. Of course the minute I got the book home, somebody knocked over a glass of water all over my new book. Of course! But it was just water, whew! It doesn't look quite the same now, but I can still use it. The book is written for those living and crocheting in England, and possibly other countries. I never knew that a DC(double crochet) there is the same as a SC(single crochet) here. I'm sure most of you don't know any crochet stitches, but there is a big difference. Still, it was easy to remember the difference and I crocheted up this summer sweater. It took me almost 3 months, not because of the difficulty, just because of the yarn. I used the yarn suggested, Rowan Cotton Glace, and I could not find it anywhere locally. I had to purchase it online, and just when I was about finished, I ran out and had to buy more.

Faye has been asking me to crochet her a sweater for awhile now. I'm just so leery about making clothes, but I guess I'll give it a try. I decided to make a small sweater Alex's size first and see how it turns out. If I screw it up big time, at least I haven't wasted as much time or yarn. This took me about 3 days.

Andy helped me find some buttons - they are my favorite part! Little gingerbread boys!

We're about 99% sure that Alex will never put this on, or if we make him it will be a screaming/kicking/hitting match, but I do really like it. Andy thought the color was a little girly for a boy. I completely agree - I should have gone with the blue. I do think though that Faye would love it if I made one for her in lavender or white, with some cute girly buttons. Or I may keep searching for something else.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday mornings

I signed Drew up for fall basketball at the YMCA a few weeks ago. The sign up sheet said they would practice Saturday mornings for 30 minutes, with a game to follow. I figured that would work out great! I received the boys basketball schedule the Wednesday before their first game, and the Kindergarten boys practice at 8am! Every Saturday! UGH!! So no more sleeping in on Saturday mornings for me, at least for the next two months.

Drew was not thrilled about playing basketball at first, but both last week and this morning he seemed to enjoy it. He is completely clueless out there, but then he's not really into basketball yet. He doesn't watch games on TV or play basketball at school with his friends. He has started playing NBA Jam on the Wii, so he does have some idea of the game. He's got the running back and forth part down, and he stands where his coach told him to stand, but that is it. He doesn't move after that, makes no attempt to either get the ball or shoot the ball. After the first week of practice and their first game, I told him he could move around and he said he didn't know that.

The tall woman running around out there is Drew's coach. The other team's coach is also out there, and the referee also gets out there and helps the kids. If you can't tell, Drew is player 24 with the white jersey. He's the only kid wearing long pants - he had shorts on underneath.

The YMCA has also added a cheer leading squad to cheer on the basketball players. Perfect! Faye has been asking me about cheer leading since she found out her cousin Emma is a cheerleader. Since it is a new program at the YMCA, there are only 8 girls from K - 5th grades. The girls cheer for a different age group each week, but this morning they cheered on the Kindergarten boys! They do a little dance number at half-time, and it is adorable. I took a video of their routine last week, but it somehow didn't get saved. I was so mad - you have no idea how mad I was! It was so freaking cute! But they did the same routine this week, minus a couple cheerleaders. It wasn't the same as last week, but at least I have it.

Monday, November 1, 2010


My little pumpkin decided he really did not want to be a pumpkin this year. But we made him wear his costume anyways...

He screamed for about 30 minutes and threw a big tantrum in our front yard. He was the one to pick out this costume, so I don't feel too bad. Once they started going door to door and getting candy, he forgot about the costume.

Drew was Mario this year, of course. He didn't want to wear the mustache, but I can't say I blame him. This thing was huge! It took up his entire face. But I had to get at least one photo of him wearing it. He was not impressed.

Velvet was also not impressed. She's been wearing her costume most of the day today, and actually seems to like it, but just look at her expression.

OK, finally a picture where everyone is happy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Faye has been writing a lot lately. She wrote a poem this afternoon which was so sweet (I'll try to post it later - she has it in her room), and tonight she went up to her room and then came downstairs and gave me this..

She doesn't know how to spell all her words, but she sounds them out and writes what she hears. She just started writing about a week or two ago, so it is really exciting for us! I think she is doing great - and with all the practice they do at school she is really picking it up quickly! If you can't tell, this is what it says:

By Faye

My mom is best. She kisses me good night. I say I love you and she says I love you too. She hugs me good night. She crochets and she knits and makes me a costume. She is good why wouldn't(she) be good. I'm glad she let me to school.

Aww... isn't that so sweet. I think I need to find a place to keep these really special things from the kids. It's the first time she's really written anything for me - and it is just so sweet! I especially love how she tried to spell out crochet - cowshas.

Fall Party

Today was the Fall Party at school and an early out day! At the beginning of the school year I agreed to be head room parent (party planner), and I was extremely happy to have some other great moms also agree to be head room parents! I was stressing a bit after I first agreed, thinking, "What did I get myself into here?" Then Ms. Curtis told me there were some other moms interested. Whew!! I was so happy I was not all on my own! We met a few times to plan the party and we came up with some really cute stuff!!

These little pumpkins were my favorite and so much fun to make! We scooped out the middle, carved them into mini jack-o-lanterns, then filled them with fruit salad (apples, strawberries, grapes, and oranges), cut a slit in the lid and put in a green spoon for the stem. The only drawback is that you really can't fit that much fruit into an orange, but we had plates for the kids and brought the extra fruit salad, so anyone who wanted more could have seconds. Drew told me he had thirds!

We also decided to make these banana ghosts. Aren't they adorable?

Banana ghosts

They are frozen bananas with a popsicle stick, then dipped in white chocolate with raisin mouths and mini-chocolate chip eyes. They looked really cute, but then after sitting out for a bit they started to get really funky. We tried to get them back in the freezer in time, but it didn't work. I really felt bad because they were so cute, and I really should have thought about this one more. We freeze bananas all the time to use in smoothies, and sometimes in the summer I give the kids pieces of frozen banana for lunch, and if not eaten right away they do get runny and mushy. So even if we could have got them back in the freezer right away, there was no way to transport them to the school.

We also had two games, a craft, and fall coloring pages for the kids. One of the moms made a ghost out of cardboard and painted it white, cutting a hole in the mouth. I made some little bean bags for the kids to throw - and the kids loved it! I didn't get a photo of the ghost, so I'm really hoping one of the other moms did, because it was so cute!

The other game we did was pin the face on the pumpkin. Drew just finished pinning the face on here - he did really good, but later told me at home that he could see through the blindfold. Cheater!! I made the blindfold so I guess it was my fault.

Pin the face on the pumpkin

Faye coloring

Pumpkins ready to be painted

Thanks to everyone that helped with the party and supplies, and also Thanks to Kai's family for donating a pumpkin for each kid to paint. They really had a good time painting them - it was a little messy, but I think it was worth it. One kid told me, "This is the best fall party ever!", and another kid said, "Kindergarten is the best!"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My boys

One is happy...

The other is sad...

But they are both really cute!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What was I thinking??

I made a trip to the fabric store a few weeks ago during a sale, and found, for 90 cents, a Tinkerbell costume pattern. Faye has been telling me that for Halloween she wants to be Tinkerbell, so I figured, hey, why not make it?

So I bought the pattern and brought it home, already nervous about making a costume. Then I started reading the instructions, and I got even more nervous. It sounded really complicated. I finally decided to purchase the fabric, 2 1/2 yards of satin, 2 yards of organza, and 4 yards of tulle. She told me she did not want it to be green, so I found some purple fabric. Perfect! I've never sewn with any of these fabrics, but hey, how hard can it be? I read online how to sew satin, and every site I visited said something different - use a small needle, use a ball point needle, use a bigger needle, etc. What? What did I get myself into? I cut out all the fabric, but I waited nearly a week before I began to sew. Yep, I was that nervous!

It turned out pretty well for me I think - and Faye loves it, although she did tell me that even if she didn't like it, she wouldn't tell me. Ha! It was a lot of work - next year if I decide to make costumes, I'm starting in August.

The front view
The back and belt

Another back view

And here she is.... so cute!

I could have made the wings, but I was starting to run a little short on time, so we found these wings and wand at Wal-Mart for $5. They are not quite what I wanted, the color is a little off, but oh, it still looks cute.


We spent a few hours at the Orpheum Childrens Museum today. Karen (Grandma) went with us, as did the kids' friends Maddie and Savannah and their mom, Tiffany. The kids have so much fun playing together! Drew was walking around the house last week, saying over and over, "Savannah, Savannah." I knew it was time to have a playdate!

Can you tell what Drew is going to be for Halloween? We got his costume last night, and he's been wearing his Mario hat ever since - he told me this morning that where ever he goes, he's taking the hat with him. This kid cracks me up!

One of the kids' favorite things is playing in the sand outside. I hate to think about winter and staying indoors all the time!