Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Extreme Pillow Fluffing

Monday I was vacuuming and decided to be an over achiever and vacuum under the couch cushions.  I’m crazy like that.  Only, after I finished with the couch I didn’t take the time to put the cushions back because I didn’t want to interrupt the vacuuming grove I had going.

Not much can be heard throughout the rest of the house when I’m vacuuming.  So, I was (sort of) surprised (but not terribly) to find my kids leaping off the couch onto the cushions when I was done.

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My cushions have never looked fluffier!

I hire these workers out if you’re interested.  But you have to keep them for at least an hour.  It’s a package deal too, you must hire all three.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

But wait! That’s not all…

Rob and I went and ate our way through the State Fair last Friday.  My parents watched the kids all day, and we dined on corn dogs, cheese curds, fried pickles, salted nut rolls, foot longs, hush puppies, cinnie smiths, and….maybe one or two other things I can’t remember.  As usual, it was delicious.

Just as much as eating, we love to just walk around and check out all people and gadgets.  Last year we got a chuckle from one presenter who was selling knives.  Actually, it wasn’t the presenter that made us laugh so much as the lady in front of us.  She turned to us mid-presentation and said “Man, this guy is the best there is here.  I could listen to him give his spiel all day.  Every year I come here and I listen to him all the way through at least twice.  His product….complete sh*t!  I bought them and those knives couldn’t cut through butter, but his presentation is awesome!”

Anyway, back to this year.  We got sucked into one presentation on the Zuko popsicle maker.  Actually, I had seen these at Williams-Sonoma but I wanted to see them in action.  Rob and the kids love popsicles.  I, not so much, but I do love gadgets.  So, after a little deliberation we decided it had been awhile since we’ve made a random fair purchase and walked away with our very own Zoku set.

That was Friday, on Saturday it was ready for it’s first use.  We decided to start simple and just use some Juicy Juice from the fridge.  The booklet claims 7-9 minutes before the popsicles are frozen but we found 13 to be the magic number.

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While the kids enjoyed their first popsicles, Rob blended up some strawberries, orange juice, and sugar and made a couple fancier pops for us:

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I don’t know why this picture makes the popsicle look so miniature….they are normal size.

Since Saturday, we’ve made pops each day.  The kids and I got a bit crazier by using kool-aid in different colors and making stripes.  Next up we’re going to try making some pudding pops with oreos.  It’s been a fun little gadget so far and I think we’ve met our quota of random fair purchases for the next few years!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Say What?

Some of my favorite conversations that I hear between my kids happen while I’m driving and they think I’m not listening.  Last week they each wanted to bring one of their new Smurf figurines (thanks McDonald’s) with them while we ran errands.  What a hoot this was!

Ellie has Smurfette.  She went on and on about the beautiful dress she was wearing.  Austin has Panicky smurf (I don’t remember this one actually existing in the cartoon) and he didn’t have anything terribly clever to say, but did remind Smurfette several times that he had no intentions of marrying her.

To this, Smurfette replied “Well, I’m wearing a beautiful dress, someone HAS to marry me…Grouchy?”

Riley has Grouchy.

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Grouchy (Riley) replied “Nah….I don’t want to.  I need to get this flutterby off my nose, it just pooped on my face.”

I’d be grouchy too if that happened to me.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Running Low

I think it’s very safe to say that my creative energies are running low….maybe on empty.  We have had a very busy, and hopefully fun, summer but I am eager for school to start and for our regular routines to make a change.  I’ve done, what I think is, a decent job of entertaining the kids each day with something fun, but as of late last week, I’m done.  The only thing I could think of on Friday was for us to wash the car.

And once I played it out in my head, I really thought it was going to be a great idea.  It would get us outside, allow them to splash in some water, spray the water, all things they enjoy doing.  As an added bonus, I would have a clean car.

Unfortunately, the way it played out in my head isn’t quite how it went.

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We started out all right.  Everyone took turns spraying the car.  They even enjoyed washing the car with the warm soapy water (and their bare hands) for about 10 minutes.  But, in typical fashion, fights ensued.

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Austin wanted his own job so I put him in charge of the wheels.  While he was diligently scrubbing out the brake dust, Ellie started screaming.

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She was less than pleased.  Can you tell?

Now, who would do such a thing to this sweet innocent girl? Hmmm…let…me…think….

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So, with one child soaked and tearful, one child unyielding of the hose, and one bored with his job (after approximately 2 minutes), we retreated inside defeated and with a car that ended up quite a bit dirtier than it was before my brilliant idea.

There are 15 days left before school starts…let the countdown begin!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Crops are In!

Our garden is finally starting to produce!  Well, I guess we had snow peas early on that we enjoyed in several stir fry, but now our tomatoes, green beans, peppers, and onions are getting ready for picking. 

Ellie loves to help me harvest the crops, which is good.  Otherwise, I tend to forget to go out there and then by the time I remember the green beans have reached mutant proportions and the tomatoes are all split...nothing is tasty that way.



We're only two peppers away from our first dish of Stuffed Peppers!  Yum!  And the raspberries are going to be coming out our ears in about another week!  I'm most excited for that.  Up until now we've just been getting a handful every other day and the girls pretty much have them polished off before we even get back in the house.  In related news, I have acquired the most perfect raspberry picker.  My non-fruiting eating sister!  She revealed her secret (or not so secret but previously unknown to me) love of picking raspberries.  And unlike my other helpers (ahem...Riley and Ellie) she will not eat any of the goods!  She ranks raspberries #2 on her list of worst fruits to eat (right behind bananas for those of you who were curious). 

Maybe I'll throw a couple veggies her way in exchange.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Riley!

Well, the birthday season has drawn to a close in our house.  Riley turned 3 years old last Tuesday!  If you ask her, she'll probably still tell you she's 2, but her outbursts have become all drama so we have definitely entered the "traumatic threes".

She awoke bright and early!  We all went downstairs and she went straight to opening her presents.


Afterwards, the kids enjoyed some donuts (of course) and played with Riley's new toys.  They are playing so great together lately!  It's too bad it has really started to click at the end of the summer and Austin (their ring leader) is going to head off to school all day. 

After a quick breakfast and play session we packed in the van with our neighbors Mia and Chrissy and headed off to the zoo.  It was Riley's activity choice for the day.  We wanted to see the new penguin exhibit (which is much smaller than I envisioned).  While we were checking out the penguins we ran into our other neighbor Barb and her two kiddos.  So, we all did the zoo together!

It was kind of a chilly day but that didn't stop the kids from wanting to play in the zoo park for almost an hour.  I have to say, even though it was double the amount of kids I usually have with me, it was nice to have two other moms to share in the responsibility of keeping track of kids.  It's a great park, the kids LOVE it, but there are SO many nooks and crannies in there and when I go by myself with them, I oftentimes find myself hoping it will be closed for maintenance of some sort.


After the park it was back home for lunch and to play outside.  When Rob got home, we headed to the Lion's Tap which is what Riley requested for dinner.  They brought her cheeseburger out with a candle and loudly announced it was her birthday.  When the whole room began to sing to her she shrunk up like a scared turtle.  But, when one of the other patrons left he slipped Riley a dollar and wished her a happy birthday.  She was very excited about that!

On Saturday we had her family birthday party.  She was delighted to have all her cousins over and of course excited for more presents.

Then ice cream cake.  We think the blizzard ice cream cakes might be a new family favorite.

After cake Riley decided that Dad needed a little sprucing up.  He must have been looking a little blah to her.  Nothing a little eye makeup couldn't help!


Having a 3 year old as my youngest seems a little odd to me.  I haven't been able to put my finger on it yet, but I think 3 just seems so "old" to me now and she is always going to be my baby so the two just don't match up like they used to.

But, no matter the age, we just love this baby girl!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Blue Ribbon Weekend

This past weekend was pretty jam-packed fun for us.  We kick it off Friday by having some neighbors over for a BBQ.  As it turned out, one of our neighbors had a large jumpy castle for their sons birthday the next day so the kids were more than entertained all night.

Saturday was busy with two birthday parties.  This included more jumping in that castle, and running around with cousins so the kids were extremely worn out come bedtime! 

On Sunday we made our way to the Scott County Fair.  This year Austin entered a lego creation into the Creative Arts portion of the fair.  We've been talking about it for quite some time and he was pretty set on making a "lego base" for his entry.  When he showed me his completed project (basically a large lego sheet with every lego mini figure he owns stuck on it) I suggested he build a ship instead.  I couldn't remember from last year if there was anything at the fair to stop other interested viewers (kids) from touching/taking the entries.  Legos aren't cheap and the mini figures are his favorite part of each of his sets so I was a little worried for Austin to submit a creation with every little guy he owns on it.  Space ships are his forte anyway.

So, I sent him back upstairs with the purpose to build a space ship.  He grudgingly obliged, but I know he had fun doing it because everytime I checked in on him he absorbed in his task and playing out a whole story along the way.  When he finished I asked him what it was and he said it was "an X99 Total 360".  Wow. 

When he got to the fair on Sunday to check out his creation on display we found the Creative Arts building closed.  They had no one to staff it so they just closed it up.  I had to go to the main office and explain that the creative arts building was the only reason we came to the fair.  No offense to anyone running the Scott County Fair but I really dislike it.  Everyone I've encountered on my two trips so far has been rude.  When we were there (11:30 on Sunday) the creative arts building was closed, none of the rides were operating, and 3 food vendors weren't open (out of the probably 15 they have).  The only reason my family paid their $10 to get in was so that Austin could see his lego ship on display.  I finally convinced them to let us in the building through a small side door.  It was easily 110 degrees in there.  It was 90 outside and this shed had been closed up tight since the day before.  Blech.  So, we went in, made a beeline for the kids section and Austin found his creation.

He said "Yes!  A ribbon."  I had to tell him the ribbon was for first place.  Then he was really excited!


He really enjoyed checking out everyone else's submissions and asked me to take pictures of a couple so he could remember them.  I actually like looking at all the creative arts submissions too but we tried to get out of there as soon as possible before heat exhaustion took us all down and no one would be there to find us. 



We each had a hot dog and pop before declaring our 45 minute fair trip done.  I'm very happy for Austin and all his hard work, but it was such a miserable trip to the fair that we contemplated telling him next year that a person is only allowed to enter something once in their life.

We won't...it's tempting, but we won't.  Next year we'll just hope for a cooler day and friendlier people.

Good work Austin!