Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What to do with a Wonderful One Year Old (The Hodge Podge edition)

I've been trying to embrace the busy-ness of fall and find as many moments as possible to enjoy my favorite season through the eyes of a one year old.  The first thing we've been doing is focusing on autumn sign language.  We have focused on pumpkin and spider so far, with witch, ghost, and several other words tucked away for later in the season.  If I'm clever, I'll get some pictures of Connell signing.

In the meantime, we made this fun, simple craft.  I had all of the paper supplies left over from a project we did with the big kids several years ago.  I simply tore up bits of paper and had him "stick" the shreds to a swirl of glue I focused on the middle of the solid orange paper.  He learned to say "Tick, Momma!  Tick!" over and over again.

When it was dry, I traced a template and cut out the pumpkin, attached it to the background, and viola!  Autumn craft appropriate for a one year old.

Earlier in the week we did a bit of water colors.  He's slowly learning not to put everything in his mouth, so it's getting easier to do things like this.  He enjoyed it and the My First Watercolors by Crayola.  (Yeah, yeah, yeah.  It's 3+ on the package.  Worst mother ever.)

And of course, fall wouldn't be fall without a trip to the pumpkin farm!  Luckily we can avoid the weekend crowd and we had the whole pumpkin patch to ourselves.  

Can you tell how much the weather changes in Central Pennsylvania?  He was in a sleeveless romper earlier in the week and longs sleeves and a jacket later in the week.  Constantly changing!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

One Year Old!

These are just some of the photos from our one year photo session with Mudpies & Butterflies.  More to come after I have time to fuss with our scanner.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Facing Fears

I just plunked my non-swimming 9 year old in the pool and walked away.

Okay, so it wasn't quite that dramatic.  When Graham was 3 he started to have serious recurrent ear infections.  Ear infections make swimming lessons really difficult.   Ear plugs, ear drops, pink medicine three times a day... not worth the drama.  Last November he had his final (we hope!) surgery, rendering his "bad ear" excuse powerless in the never ending "I can't swim" battle.

So he's in swimming lessons right now.  And I walked away.  If I had stayed, his little blue eyes would have begged and pleaded with me.  "Let me leave," those baby blues would plead.  Tears would well up.  "Why do you hate me so much?  You're ruining my life.  I can't do this."

I left before it even started.  I was honest with him.  There would be jumping in the deep end involved.  There would be water in his face.  He would have to wipe his eyes occasionally.

But mostly, I stressed that he. Would.  Live.  And I'd see him in 30 minutes.

(2 hours later)

He lived.  I was right.  He was grinning from ear to ear when I walked back into the pool area with 4 minutes to go.  I want to think it was mostly pride beaming from that toothy smile, but I'm guessing there was a bit of relief mixed in.  They didn't have to jump in the deep end.  He took his newfound independence home with us and made his own dinner:  A Cub Scout camp inspired mountain pie grilled cheese.  He didn't burn himself.  He cleaned up (most of) the mess.  And he ate the whole thing.

Score one for my battle against the helicopter!

Friday, September 6, 2013

What to do with a Wonderful One Year Old (The Sticky Gooey Art Edition)

Connell and I went to the weekly sing along at a local store called Growing Up Green.  Very cute store and he enjoyed the songs.  While I was there, I found hand made finger paints for $6.  Honestly, this had been on my agenda for this week, but clearly I hadn't had time to get around to making it.  At some point, I'm going to try the Jell-O recipe I found on Pinterest.  So decided to give it a try.  (The recipe seems to be based on one found here.)


After covering the high chair with an old towel, I cut a piece of finger paint paper in half and let him give it a try.  Connell was fascinated by the texture and colors.  He kept signing "more" (but I wasn't fast enough to get a picture of that.)  The paint smelled fantastic.  The cotton candy oil left me thinking a trip to the penny candy store might be a good adventure for next week.  

Everything cleaned up nicely, too!

The colors didn't dry as brightly as I had hoped, but we'll experiment with different types of paper and hope for different results.

All told, it was worth the 5 minutes of clean up and a quick bath to watch him explore colors, texture, and get over his anti-mess phase a little bit.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What to do with a Wonderful One Year Old (Sticky gooey mess edition)

(I'll save you the trouble of reading this whole thing if you're just looking for the recipe.)

I decided to make popcorn balls to add to our menagerie of bird feeders.  It's not a good day.  In fact, it's the worst day of the year.  But I don't want to write about that right now.

When I was about 6, every family got one of these popcorn poppers from my grandparents.  My parents made a ritual of getting it out every Friday.  When we cleaned out my grandparents house a few years ago, we found the one they had bought for themselves.  It's all but mint in box, so we salvaged it from the donation pile and squirreled it into the trunk of our van.  It smells like 1981 and I love it.

I broke it out today in an attempt to keep myself busy.  Connell and I had a good time measuring and pouring the kernels.  He sat there with me until the popcorn got a little feisty and we needed eye protection and maybe a hard hat... then he settled down for a nap.

So that was the easy part.  I checked the recipe more closely and realized I was missing the corn syrup. I substituted pancake syrup. Probably not the wisest idea, but in the spirit of staying busy I soldiered on. I threw shortening, brown sugar, and pancake syrup into the pot.  It bubbled up nicely and I added it to the tray of popcorn.  I threw in walnuts instead of peanuts because that's what I had on hand.  I don't think the birds or squirrels will mind.

A little scrap of ribbon made it a colorful accent to our favorite tree.  Watching the birds makes me happy and entertains Connell.  And right now, this is a good place to be.

Shorty after nap time was over, a furry friend discovered the new feeder.  Graham helped Connell watch and

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What to do with a Wonderful One Year Old (Art Edition)

Charlie and Lola are playing in the background as I write.  Connell occasionally glances at them between moments of pushing his little car around and alternately running his dinosaur over with it.  Charlie and Lola is my favorite show of all times one of the few children's shows I can tolerate, probably because Lola reminds me so much of my now teenage daughters.  I miss those days.

Television is, of course, not the best way to entertain a one year old.  It's been so long since I've had an "early toddler" (who knew there was a new category?), I've forgotten exactly what I'm supposed to do with him.  I've attempted a few art projects with varying degrees of success.

First we tried sidewalk chalk because I find art soothing, but can't draw.  Blaming my lack of skills on a child is my way of coping. it seemed like a lovely way to spend a few minutes as we waited for the girls to get off the bus.  


As you can see, the mess was quite an issue.  He had a great time, though, so we'll try it again... right before bath time.

I ventured into Michael's today in hopes of finding fingerpaint paper.  Pinterest has been full of recipes for edible finger paint lately and I thought we might attempt it at some point this week.  While I was there, I found this kit from Crayola.  It was $9.00 and I was able to use a coupon.  It includes 15 sheets of "magic paper" and 3 ounces of "paint".  The fingerpaint lived up to its non-toxic claim and hasn't turned Connell green or sent us to the ER.  (He only licked his fingers once.)
Yes, it says 24 months+.  Yes, Connell is only 12 months.  I'm sure CPS will be at my door any second.  

 It smelled pleasant and felt like slightly watered down Vaseline.  It spread nicely and Connell didn't freak out when it stuck to his fingers.  (The boy does not like to be dirty.)  The design under the "paint" showed up quickly, making him very pleased with himself.  The finished project is cute, though not nearly as bright as the package would lead you to believe.  It held his attention for about 3 minutes.  Not really long enough to do anything super productive, but it's something.   If you figure there are 15 sheets and they each provide 3 minutes of entertainment, that's 45 minutes to rush around and clean the kitchen while the munchkin is contained.  That's worth the $9 (minus coupon) to me!

Finished project displayed with my favorite Dr. Who Mother's Day card.