Friday, January 23, 2015

Calvin is Three!

Calvin turned 3 back on January 10th.  He is still my "baby" and always will be but he is very much a big boy now.  Here are some things about my (little) big guy:

* Cal is super affectionate.  He is going through a stage right now where he wants you to carry him or give him hugs.  This is usually not a problem, except when you are doing something like the dishes or cooking around a hot stove.

* His favorite toy is anything that sings or makes music.  He got to pick out a toy for his birthday from Mamo and he chose the ugliest pink Dora guitar, but hey, it plays music!  He sits around and pretends to play.  It's adorable.  His other favorite thing is puzzles.  He got puzzles for Christmas and he does them all the time.  

* He still adores Yo Gabba Gabba (I actually brought him to YGG Live back in November and he was AMAZED), Dora the Explorer and Baby Einstein videos.  The Baby Einstein ones because, again, music!

* Cal isn't a super big eater, but that's okay.  He is still 50th percentile for both height and weight so we are not concerned at all.  Some of his favorite foods are:  Toasted bagels with butter, peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches, raisins, any and all fruit, cheese, and bread.  Of course, no vegetables at all.  Typical toddler.

* We just started swim class and I was pleasantly surprised how much he likes it.  He is not a huge fan of getting his head wet and he can be timid when it comes to new surroundings, but on the first day, he got right into the pool.  I think it helps that Jack is also in the class.

* Cal goes to school two days a week.  It's playschool and he really enjoys it.  The first week, he cried when I would drop him off, but now, he practically RUNS to class.  The artwork he brings home is adorable.  I really feel like this helps him be more social and comfortable being around other kids and challenging himself.

* Someone mentioned the other day "Oh, you have a threenager?".  I had to laugh, because age 3 is exactly like that.  Mood swings, tantrums and very sporadic happiness.  Cal is generally a very happy kid but man.......If he doesn't get what he wants, he will be very dramatic and throw quite the fit.  I think he gets that from me.

* Cal still wakes up about once a night, but that is almost always because his legs hurt.  Both my boys get terrible growing pains in their feet and shins.  This just started with Cal so I guess that means he is due for a growth spurt.  I also need to mention that I am so grateful that he still naps.  THANK GOODNESS.

* Cal brings us so much joy and he is incredibly hysterical.  He will randomly throw a "thumbs up" with the funniest grin on his face.  Cracks me up, every time.  He will also say "!!!!!!!" when something is funny to him.

3 years has flown right by.  I swear, it goes so lightning fast and I am always so surprised by it.  We love you Calvin Wyatt.  Continue to be hysterical and affectionate.  WE LOVE YOU!

Enjoy some pictures from Cal's birthday below.  We had his favorite meal (sandwiches, lol) per his request and some great strawberry cupcakes.

Monday, January 19, 2015

I Made It - Holiday Edition

This post is also a catch up from over the holidays.  Just like last year, I did a ton of homemade gifts and treats.  Enjoy!

Lego Table

As I mentioned in another post about Christmas, I made a Lego table for the kids for Christmas.  I have seen the Ikea Hack post all over Pinterest and thought I would try my hand at an easy craft.

This table cost under $40 total.  The table was $8 (Ikea Lack), the 4 Lego plates were $23.96 and the glue I used was $4.69.  Total cost was $36.65.  The assembly couldn't have been easier.  The table legs just screwed in, no tools necessary.  The plates were glued on with an epoxy glue.  To be honest, I didn't even measure.  I eyeballed where the plates should go, put the epoxy on, let it sit for the instructed 5 minutes and pressed down.  Easiest project ever.

Felt Christmas Tree

This project was also very easy.  I had seen these felt Christmas trees at Target and decided to make something similar.  I bought the felt and the double-sided tape at my local fabric store.  The bonus was that they were having a 30% off sale so in total, I want to say I spent less than $10 for this project, and the boys can use it for several years.

I freehand drew the tree using a white crayon and simply cut it out.  I made ball, bell, heart and star ornaments.  I also drew those with a white crayon and cut them out.  Using double-sided tape, it all got hung up on the wall. The tape was light enough that the ornaments could be moved around many times.  The boys really enjoyed "decorating" their own tree.

Ribbed Socks

I made several knitted gifts this year for Christmas.  These are just the ones I hadn't posted about yet.  This was a last minute gift for my mother-in-law.  I had the yarn and she raves about the other socks I made her so I made another pair.  Again, she loved them.  

Yarn Credit:  Hazel Knits Artisan Sock yarn in Splish Splash


My mom requested a sweater for Christmas so I found a pattern I liked at my local yarn shop and then picked out the yarn.  I ordered the yarn online since I could get acrylic for a very good price.  It's hard to knit up a sweater and it ends up costing $80 just in yarn costs plus the many, many hours of work.  I was able to purchase the yarn needed on KnitPicks for $30. Score!

The yarn is more of a plum color.  It was hard to photograph.  It's a very simple v-neck pullover with a split bottom.  That way, it fits nicely over the hips. It turns out that my mom loved it!

Yarn Credit:  KnitPicks Brava Worsted in Mullberry

Bow Hat

You guys, I think this makes 8 of these hats that I have knitted.  If anyone else asks, the answer is NO!

This hat was for my sister.  She asked and she is an exception to the "NO" rule.  She requested the hat in black so here it is!  I used something other than my standard black yarn.  I used black, but in something a little nicer since it was a gift.  The yarn itself is so soft!

Yarn Credit:  Malabrigo Rios in Black

Fisher Cable Hat

I couldn't leave my brother-in-law out so I knitted him a hat as well.  The yarn was more navy than black like the picture shows.  

Yarn Credit:  Imperial Yarn Erin Worsted in Navy

Chocolate Pie

For Christmas Eve, I offered to bring dessert.  I love baking and hadn't done a lot of baking over the holidays.  My Aunt makes the best chocolate pie every Thanksgiving and she was so gracious and gave me the recipe.  It's actually a recipe from a really old Hershey's cookbook for Banana Chocolate Cream pie.  I don't have the recipe handy, but this one is pretty close.

My Aunt's trick is when the crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle some chocolate chips in the bottom of the pan, let them melt and spread with a pastry brush.  This keeps the crust from getting soggy.

I topped the pie with some sweetened whipped cream mixed with a touch of peppermint extract.  It really made it taste festive!

Christmas Appetizers

Every year when celebrating over at my Aunt's house, we have something called a grazing table.  No formal Christmas dinner, just a bunch of snack type foods and treats.  My contributions this year were goat cheese stuffed dates and sausage balls.  

I didn't use a recipe for the dates.  I just pitted them, halved them and put a bit of herbed goat cheese in the middle.  Very simple and very tasty!

The sausage balls were also very easy.  You use a pound of hot sausage (I used Jimmy Dean), 12 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, and 3 cups of Bisquick.  You mix all that together (this was not very easy or fun - I just used my hands) and form into golf ball sized balls.  Bake in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes.

I assembled and rolled these the night before so all I had to do was bake them off.  Such a good idea!

Christmas Cookies

I was on vacation from work the week of Christmas and we had no plans.  The only plans the boys and I had were crafts, baking and playing games.  I did make one batch of cookies and they are always my favorite:  Peanut Butter Blossoms

I had the boys unwrap the Hershey kisses and when I checked on them, a few had bites taken out of them.  LOL.

There are a few things that I am sure I am omitting.  Like the beaded pipe cleaners that my kids did.  Or the peppermint ornaments we made.  Or the no-bake peanut butter oatmeal cookies that Jason requested.  

I have done a few more knitted items since Christmas, so that post is sure to come soon!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Catch Up - Randoms

Another catch-up post!

* I stated in a couple of posts back that we were having financial issues.  I am very very relieved to say that we are back on track.  I applied for a mortgage modification and we were approved.  We are saving over $200 a month on our mortgage which gives us some wiggle room.  After our huge medical bill is paid off in May, we will be a lot more comfortable and have a lot less to worry about.

* I am starting Weight Watchers on January 12th,  I cancelled my membership when money was becoming an issue.  I am excited to start back up!

* Starting back to work today after being on vacation over most of Christmas was so nice.  I know that is awful to say but it was so tiring being home and entertaining kiddos for over 2 weeks.  Finding things to do and keeping them occupied was difficult.  I tried to keep them busy with Christmas crafts, I spent a whopping $15 on beads, felt, pipe cleaners, mints and other goodies so they could make ornaments and play with a felt Christmas tree.

* Speaking of work, I got a new job!  I work for the same company, but will be switching roles.  It's a bit of a promotion and working with one client, and I am so grateful for that.

* We went to Longview on New Year's Day to celebrate our extended family Christmas.  It was in a different location this year because Jason's aunt moved.  Her new house is gorgeous and everything I would want a house to be.  It is an old Craftsman home built in 1920.  Beautiful!  When I "grow up" and buy a bigger house, that is about what I would want.

* On that note, our New Year's Eve was very low key.  I had bought a bottle of Prosecco and planned on doing a whole lot of nothing.  Jason and I put the boys to bed, I enjoyed a bath, some knitting and some Prosecco.  I think I was in bed by 10:00.  Heh!  Getting old is fun.

I can't really think of anything else to post at the moment.  Now that the holidays are over, I plan on catching up on blogging and life in general.

Happy 2015!

Catch Up Post - Christmas

Now that the holidays have ended, I plan to do a few catch up posts.

Our Christmas was wonderful.  Busy, crazy and hectic, but wonderful.  We had decided beforehand to cut back on Christmas this year.  We would still do gifts for people, but they would be more thoughtful and less of them.  We needed to stick to a budget for obvious reasons.

Our Christmas Eve was spent over at my in-laws where Mamo visited.  We had a lovely dinner and the boys got to open their present from Mamo.  I do believe they were chomping at the bit because they saw the huge stack of presents under the tree and wanted to open MORE!

I have a tradition of getting the kiddos a new set of Christmas jammies every year.  I buy them on sale ($5 each!) and they continue to use them after Christmas is over.  They are warm and look adorable for pictures.

A rare family shot

We rushed home around 8:30 and immediately got the boys into bed.  A quick detour to leave out cookies, milk and carrots, a story and a kiss and they were out like lights.  I was shocked they didn't stay up to wait for Santa.

This year, Santa brought the boys a Lego table that he made himself.  I will do a separate post on the things I made this year for Santa.  Making the table for $40 was cheaper than buying one for $100 or more.  

I had asked the kids beforehand what they wanted Santa to bring them for Christmas.  Each time I asked, their answers seemed to change.  I made a guess and just bought.  And thankfully, Santa was spot on!  Jack requested a marble run and Cal requested a Thomas toy.  

I stuffed stockings and went to bed around 10:30.  However, I couldn't sleep.  I was too excited for the morning.  I tossed and turned pretty much all night with cat naps thrown in.  

Surprisingly, the boys slept until 7:00.  When they stumbled out of bed, I woke Jason up so the kids could do stockings and open their Santa presents.  Jack's reaction to his Santa gift was priceless.  He shrieked in this high pitch voice that Santa brought him a marble run.  I got it on video and I will watch it over and over because it makes me smile.  Cal seemed so shocked that Santa brought him a Thomas toy since it was just what he wanted.  It was sweet.

Jason went back to bed for another hour while I sipped coffee and the kiddos played with some of their stocking stuffers and new toy.

We packed up our car with the boatload of gifts and made the trek over to my in-laws' house.  We ate a quick breakfast and then tackled the gifts.  My boys were spoiled.  Even though we cut back, I shopped smart, bought on sale and was very savvy in what I purchased.  I bought equal amount of gifts for the boys, although I doubt they would have noticed.

Not only were my kids spoiled, but so was I.  I got so many knitting things and money that I was just so overwhelmed!

Once presents were opened, the house tidied up as much as possible and light snacks were eaten, Cal went down for a quick nap while Jack put together one of his new Lego sets.  This year was the year for Lego for Jack.  He asked for "as many Legos as Daddy has" and he got almost that much. I lost count, but I think he opened about 10 packages that were Lego related.

Once Cal was rested, we drove back home to unload the car, crate the dog and make some appetizers to bring to my Aunt and Uncle's house.  Every year, we go to my family and enjoy time together and a ton of food.  There is something called the "Grazing table".  Instead of a formal Christmas dinner, we have tons and tons of snacks.

This was about half of the food.  There was more hot food in the kitchen.  I brought goat cheese stuffed dates and sausage balls which were all gobbled up.

We laughed with my family and ate and the kids opened gifts.  We don't do an exchange with the adults anymore, which is just fine with me!  I would rather watch the kids open their gifts.

Jack and Cal played with their cousin Hazel and we just let them eat what they wanted.  I had decided that I was not going to worry about nutrition, which is probably smart since Cal single-handedly ate most of the cookies.  Ha!

It was a wonderful Christmas with four events over two days but I wouldn't trade it for the world.  Our entire holiday seemed to be stressful but the day before Christmas Eve we received wonderful news and I was able to enjoy the rest of Christmas.

The above two pictures are probably my favorite from this season.  Two happy boys playing TOGETHER with a new toy and our cute little tree surrounded by presents and kitties. 

Merry Christmas everyone!