Halloween themed week for my 3 year old

This year since I have been staying home with my daughter, whose 3, we decided to spend two weeks doing Halloween themed projects.  I gathered most of my ideas for Pinterest and added a few along the way of my own creations.

Snacks:We did Swampy sauce: Green jello with gummy worms, spider rings, and other creepy Halloween items.  We did Wormy apples, baked apples with a gummy worm sticking out of the top.  We did pumpkin seeds and we baked and froze a pumpkin with which we made pumpkin bread.

Allot of my ideas for projects during the two weeks came from here http://www.oopseydaisyblog.com/2010/10/h-is-for-halloween-packet.html.  I usually pick and choose what I want from her packet and then supplement with other ideas I find on Pinterest.  We made paper plate witches, paper plate pumpkins, Ghosts out of two liters, we played pin the mouth on the jack-o-lantern, paper plate ghosts, rice spider webs and tissue paper pumpkins to name a few.  We did sorting, color identification, practiced writing, worked on learning the letter P and number 3. We went to pumpkin story time at the library, and went trick or treating at several free places around town and the neighboring community.  We had a busy two weeks and Lily still thinks every day is Halloween.  Below are pictures and if you have questions about any of the ideas just let me know.

 

Mom to a 3 year old-Decisions/Struggles/Joys

So my daughter turned 3 in August and can I tell you I can’t believe how time flies.  It feels like it was just yesterday that I was holding her in my arms.  Now though I struggle with so many tough decisions.  Since she just turned 3 in August we decided to not send her to preschool yet.  She is ready but we decided that she would stay home with me at least until January as we were starting her in dance and a couple of other things.  We didn’t want to overwhelm her all at once.  I do wonder though if we made the right decision.  I don’t want her to fall behind developmentally.  I have decided that the internet in many ways is evil as you start looking at everything you read makes you wonder if you have already caused your child to be behind.

We have the firm belief that a child should enjoy their childhood and not be forced into learning at too early of an age.  That being said you read things online and everything I see is a child should be able to recognize every letter of the alphabet and numbers up to 20 by the time they turn 3.  First I must say my daughter was in daycare until last March and they exposed her to the alphabet but didn’t work on having to know it or teaching her cutting or any of those things.  We also exposed her to these at home but I can honestly say she doesn’t recognize all of her letters.  She knows the alphabet song, she recognizes a lot of the the letters and some of the numbers up to 10.  She can count to 20 and she knows how to spell her name (aloud), but doesn’t know how to write her name.  She knows her shapes and colors.  Is she behind, should she be in preschool to catch up?  I don’t know.

I do know that my daughter is a very loving, caring, smart little girl.  She loves to share, loves to read, loves to play games.  I do know that she has the most vivid imagination and creativity.  I do know that she loves being able to hang out with mommy, or yama.  She is learning more and more every day and she makes me learn something new every day or reminds me how to appreciate things a little more.  I do know that the internet is great in many respects such as getting good ideas of fun ways to teach the alphabet or numbers or creative crafts.  In the long run though you have to realize that they will learn at their own pace and that if a project doesn’t go as planned maybe that means today is a day to build a fort or play outside, you are still teaching them with everything you do.  So when I start beating myself up over something another kid is doing or something I read online, I just step back and remind myself that everyone matures differently and its about exposing your child to something as you never know when it might just stick:).

Green Tomato Cake

Fall is definitely in the air this week, as they are predicting highs of 55 degrees most of the days, which means the end of gardening for me.  This summer we were blessed to grow, sunflowers (got two bags full of sunflower seeds which my father loves), cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, radishes, and tomatoes.  Half of the tomato plants weren’t even planted they just came back from last years tomatoes and so we had tomatoes coming out of our ears:).  Not a bad problem to have as you can always can them or freeze them (we chose to freeze them) but what do you do with all the green tomatoes that are still on the plants?  We ended up with many green tomatoes because it was such a dry summer and due to the fact that fall came on so quickly this year.  We decided to try some recipes.  In the past we had made fried green tomatoes but I’m not a fan as I really don’t like to fry things in my house due to the smell that seems to permeate the house after frying.  We made green tomato crisp where instead of using apples you use green tomatoes.  We served it to my husband and father without telling them what was in it just telling them it was apple crisp.  They couldn’t tell it wasn’t apple crisp and loved it (course when they learned that it had green tomatoes in they weren’t as impressed).

This year we made Green Tomato Cake, it was amazing, so moist, tasted just like spice cake.  We put a cream cheese/sour cream/brown sugar frosting on top and once again served it to the guys (this time they were a little more leery) and they loved it again.  Course when we asked them if they wanted to know what was it in they immediately said no!

My mom is also going to try and make a green tomato strawberry freezer jam so we will see how that turns out.  Any green tomato recipes you love?

 

Ways to use low flavor cantaloupe

while grocery shopping my mom and I decided that we wanted to pick up some cantaloupe for a snack for either later that day or the next day.  So my mom tasked me with the job of picking out a cantaloupe.  She told my 3 year old to help me.  Most of you may know that three year old’s have short attention spans and picking out cantaloupe probably not their strongest suit.  She tapped it she smelled and and she decided that would be the cantaloupe that we got.  After shopping for several hours (and it being past nap time) I was not going to argue with her.

Unfortunately when we got home and cut up the cantaloupe we discovered that it looked good and had the right texture but it was extremely bland.  I don’t know about you but for me in general I have a hard time picking out a ‘good’ cantaloupe and feel I should eat it even if it doesn’t have much flavor since I spent the money on it.

We decided this time to see if there were any alternative ways to use the cantaloupe or ways to increase the flavor.  We went to our favorite recipe site, www.allrecipes.com I was amazed at all the different ways to use cantaloupe, from smoothies, to breads, to cakes.  Who knew!  I had always just enjoyed cantaloupe fresh and never really thought it needed to be used other ways.  We decided to try two of the recipes (varying them slightly as we are never really ones to follow them exactly).

The first recipe that we tried was a cantaloupe smoothie.  We varied this up as we made it a cantaloupe/banana smoothie.  Some people may not like it if they aren’t a fan of bananas but we all thought it was very tasty.  My daughter in particular gave it two thumbs up:).

The second recipe that we tried was cantaloupe bread.  It tasted more like cake to me but was extremely moist.  My husband compared it to banana bread.  If you didn’t know it was cantaloupe bread you would never even know there was cantaloupe in there as there was no cantaloupe flavor.

Both of these were extremely good methods to use cantaloupe that doesn’t have much flavor.  Do you have other methods to use cantaloupe?  I would love to hear about them.

 

Learning to manage money on one income

Since becoming a one income family in early spring we have been watching money very tightly.  We were very fortunate before making the decision to just spend(within reason) and not worry too much about what was spent.  Luckily for us both of us have always been savers and very money frugal in general.  Saying that though we never had budgets and never really had a good understanding where our money went.

Things have changed since moving to a one income household.  Now using the help of mint.com and running my own spreadsheet I track every penny that we use and what it is used for.  I really like how mint.com works in most respects but do have some complaints:

1.  If you set up budgets and you have an expense happen that isn’t in your budget it lumps it into an other expense and doesn’t include that in your monthly total expenses/income. This is why I keep my own spreadsheet also.

2.  We have had several items that keep showing up as pending even though they aren’t pending in our accounts.  Mint’s solution to this just delete them.  Why should I have to where are these coming from are other items incorrect?

3.  Including credit cards in mint.  If you are like us and pay most things via online bill pay but would like to see the transactions that may not have been paid yet on your credit card.  Mint can do this but you have to be very careful to make sure you don’t double count them in your transactions.

Other things besides mint.com have been subscribing to coupon feeds such as Hip2Save.com, among others.  They alert you of deals at Walgreens, cvs, target, among others.

Overall it’s still something we are adjusting to but it has actually been a very beneficial lesson for us.

Life changes-from full time working mom to stay at home mom

In February, my husband and I made the decision to move from a two income family to a one income family.  After much deliberation we decided that I would stay home with her everyday.  It was a very tough decision as not only was there the money impact, there was the socialization impact for her and I, along with the thought of what the heck am I getting myself into.  I love my daughter dearly but I wasn’t sure if being home with her everyday would be the best plan for both of us.  In the end, I looked at the fact that I was working part time and still putting in 50-60 hours a week plus a round trip commute of 1.5 hours everyday and I just didn’t want to be away from our family that much.

So with much trepidation I made the leap into being a stay at home mom and I have to say I do not regret it.  I can’t say it’s always easy in fact some days I’m ready to pull my hair out by the end of the day but the time that I have got to spend with my daughter has been irreplaceable. Not everyone is as fortunate to have the option and I still don’t know how long we will do this for but I figure I got to enjhop the summer with her and am looking forward to spending the holidays not stressing about work on top of things.

Flying with an infant under 12 months

So we just booked a trip to fly to San Diego from Minneapolis with three adults and my daughter who will be just under 12 months at the time.  The flight is 3 hours and 45 minutes.  I’m very nervous about flying with her as I don’t want her crying the whole trip and disturbing everyone on the flight… Any advice as to what to take, what to know what to plan for?  My husband has already asked the question about what we do if we need to change her diaper… but any advice I would greatly appreciate!

Hyundai Car dealerships-Like Car not the dealer

So after much searching around several years ago to determine what brand new car I wanted to buy I bought a 2002 Hyundai Sonata.  I have like the car allot.  It had all the features at the time I was looking for and it was a reasonable price.  I have to say though I have decided I will never buy another Hyundai again.  The reason behind it is not due to the car again its due to the service centers.  After buying my car and moving I realized there are not alot of Hyundai service areas around.  Mind you I can get the oil changes and what not done whereever but whenever I needed something fixed by a the dealer it was a pain trying to get my car there.  Every service center I have taken it too has treated me because I’m a woman like I don’t know anything.  They have also had horrible service hours which are most car dealerships not just hyundai and that is more because we have to drive 45 mintues to get to the dealer.

The final straw though came on Saturday, we scheduled an appointment online to deal with a recall situation on my car.  We had tried the phone but always got put on hold forever.  In our online scheduling we asked how long the service would take.  My husband was told the oil change would take 40 minutes and the recall would take a couple of hours to a few days.  Mind you they got back to him about this the night before we were scheduled to take it in and at that point we had already waited several weeks to be able to get in.

My husband took my car in an they told him as he dropped it off there was no way it would be done until at least Monday.  Why they didn’t tell us that right away I don’t know.  So my husband asked if they had a loaner or even a rental vehicle.  They said that we had to schedule that out 3 weeks in advance.  They offered to let us reschedule but that would have meant waiting several weeks again.  Since this wasn’t the first bad experience but like the 5 or 6th I have to say even though I’m thinking of looking for a new car it won’t be a Hyundai!!!

Baby Clothes Sizes

We had a baby in August that was 6 pounds 13 ounces and had bought a variety of clothes for her.  Some we bought in newborn size, some in 0-3 months.  Newborn sizes state they fit babies 5-8 pounds and 0-3 month fit 8-12 pounds.  Some of the newborn outfits fit perfectly on her and some she drowned in.  I don’t understand how they can be so different but I suppose its like adult clothes.  She is now 6 weeks old and almost 9 pounds.  She fits in most newborn clothes now (a few are still too big) but definitely doesn’t fit into 0-3 month clothes.

I never know what size to buy her and its not like you are going to take her into a dressing room and try clothes on her.  I’m lucky to get into a store and out without her screaming.  The other thing I have noticed is that certain brands run bigger then others but yet I can’t even rely on that as certain outfits in a brand will fit and others won’t.  Its just amazing the differences.

New Addition: Lily Grace

Nine months came and went and on August 19th my husband and I welcomed a little girl, Lily Grace into our household.  She was 6 pounds 13 ounces, and 21 inches long.  Her arrival was much anticipated by grandparents on both sides and her aunts and uncles who are all thrilled.