Thursday, October 4, 2012

Busy bee

I've been busy busy busy bustling around trying to get ready for our roadtrip back to Vegas for Jeff's grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary (it's a big deal!) and - as a bonus - a chance for me to see and hug all my friends that I miss so much. Many of my friends have new babies or are pregnant ready to pop and I'm sort of notorious for making handmade gifts so I've been very busy finishing those up. Of course, in true me fashion, I wait until the last minute to get it all done and then have heaps to do at once. Rest assured, all the gift making has been completed thanks to an extremely cooperative Bean who has been content to sit next to me while I sew and play picnics with her baby dolls. I busted out two new sock monsters in a day and a half, and I love how they turned out!

They're so cute, and I had so much fun posing them and taking pictures. (Picture me, in my pajamas, hair a mess - since crafting takes precedence over how I look - squatting down low in the grass, laughing to myself, while cars drive by the apartment, drivers no doubt wondering what the crazy lady was doing with the toys in the grass. hahaha!) Perhaps I'm partial, but I totally think my monsters have tons of personality. Just look at them! They have quirky attitude and are unapologetic about it. Love them!

When I haven't been crafting I've been baking - because it's fall. That means my house needs to smell nice and I have to have carby sweets on hand at all times. Duh. Or cleaning, like spring-cleaning style cleaning... but I guess I'll call this fall-cleaning, even though no one else does it. I play by my own rules, ok? If you walked into my house right now you'd call me liar. Tell me that I haven't been cleaning like a mad man because it's still cluttered as fuh, but I assure you. I've been dusting (my most loathed chore), I've been wiping toilet bases (they get incredibly dusty... who woulda thunk?!), and cleaning out window tracks. My house is ALWAYS cluttered. Always. We have way too much stuff for this little apartment and a 23lb tornado toddler who doesn't like anything to be put away for more than about 4.68 seconds. But, I like to think that I keep a clean house. It's usually not all clean at once, but I make sure to clean the bathroom, vacuum, mop, do laundry, clean the kitchen weekly - even if they're all done on different days of the week, they still get done weekly. But, I'm a bit grossed out at my findings with the deep cleaning.

The glass sliding door, for example. Since we moved into the apartment the track of the glass sliding door has always been dirty. The seal on that window is so ridic, it's not even CLOSE to being air tight. In the winter if you're sitting at the computer (which is next to the sliding door) it's a good 10*-15* colder than the rest of the living room. It'd make sense, then, that dust and dirt would blow in from the outside on the many drafts a day. Every time I vacuum I run the hose over the track and it sucks up some of the dirt, but never all of it. And I was always too lazy scatter brained to remember to do get down on my hands and knees and scrub it. But, I did just that on Monday. I didn't take a before picture, but I took a half way through the process picture, and then an after picture. In the first one, just pretend that both halves are equally dirty, k? Also... don't judge me by my filthy sliding glass door track.  I had JUST vacuumed it before busting out the vinegar, paper towels, and took this picture. It was vacuumed 4 mins before this picture was taken! :-/

Ahhhh! I'm so embarrassed that I put that out into the internets!! That dirt and grime was stuck on there! On Pinterest I found a link that had tips on deep cleaning your windows and their tracks, and it prompted me to look down at the sliding door track to see if mine needed a deep cleaning. I was (obviously) appalled and wrote "clean window tracks!!!" on my to-do list for stuff I wanted to tackle before going on vacation. In the blog with the window cleaning tips she suggests cleaning them out with q-tips, but I just didn't have the patience for all that. So, instead, I carefully and slowly poured a small amount of vinegar along the entire length of both sides of the track and then used about a jillion paper towels to sop it up while wiping and swiping up all the gross dirt and gunk. I did the track when the door was closed, and then I opened it all the way and did the opposite side. It's amazing how much easier the door glides open and closed now! I had always assumed that those stains were there for good since they held on even after vacuuming, but they were definitely just stuck on dirt and with a ton of vinegar and little bit of elbow grease my window tracks are no longer embarrassing. I'll be sure to add that on my twice-yearly deep-cleaning list.

Ok, now that I bared my soul - and dirty tracks - I've got to get off the computer and get back to packing. Everything is done except for the suitcases being packed. Thankfully, it shouldn't take long since Vegas is still having hot summer temperatures and we're not wearing summer clothes here anymore so what I need to pack should be readily available. :)

I don't think I'll be posting while we're out of town, but I might surprise you!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tune in Tuesdays

The Backson!!!

Bean loves Winnie the Pooh, and since it was her very first movie in the theater (and only movie in the theater) it definitely holds a soft spot in my heart. I was surprised at how many little jokes were sprinkled throughout the movie for the adults who were watching to chuckle at. One of my favorite lines is delivered by Kanga when Owl asks the others to give examples what bad things a Backson does:

"They wake up babies at 1:00 and 3:00!"

Ooooohhh!!! So all those sleepless nights from when Bean was a newbie can be blamed on the Backson?! Good to know!! lol!

Here is the song-clip from the movie where it is explained what a Backson is and what he does. (If you haven't seen the movie, it's really just a funny misunderstanding, but I don't want to spoil it. If your kids want to watch this movie, let them and sit with them and enjoy- it really is a super cute movie!)

Nic + Bean

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cloud Dough

Back in July my friend Ashley posted about making Cloud Dough for her boys to play with and I filed it in the back of mind for something I wanted to do... One day. In July I had no reason to make cloud dough since Bean has a sandbox of her very own at her Mimi's house, and we go to the park in the summer as much as possible. But it's not July anymore and it's definitely feeling like fall outside.

Yesterday was the perfect day to make Cloud Dough. It rained all night and was chilly and overcast all day. Bean was getting antsy being couped up inside and when I asked her if she wanted to get dressed and go for a walk she informed me that it was cold outside... which I took as a 'no'.

Cloud Dough
8 cups of flour
1 cup of baby oil

Mix both ingredients with your hands in a storage bin until it's well incorporated and the 'sand' is moldable.
It took about 5 mins of mixing to be rid of the clumps of oil.

Be sure to let your kiddo(s) loose either outside or on sweepable flooring - like bathroom linoleum which is where Bean got to play.

This Cloud Dough is amazing, so silky soft, super moldable, it smells nice, it cleans up easy - and it held my girl's attention for OVER an HOUR!!! In toddler-ville an hour of quite play is almost unheard of. The fact that it's a legit sensory activity - read: good for her motor skills development- makes it an even better rainy day activity.

When she finally decided she was done playing I scooped up the Cloud Dough and put it into a gallon ziplock freezer bag. It filled it up about half way, and will be able to be stored in the craft closet until she wants to play with it again.

Picture proof that she loved it:

This was the perfect amount for my one Bean. 
I'd make this recipe x the number of kids you have. 2 kids? Double it. 3 kids? Triple it. etc.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tune in Tuesdays!!

Ok so it's Wednesday. Sorry about it, this morning I thought it was Friday... once I realized it wasn't Friday I thought it was Tuesday. I sat down to post my Tune in Tuesday post and then looked at my phone where I discovered it was Wednesday already. Sheesh. I'm a mess.

Sorry it's late. I don't even know if anyone cares about my Tune in Tuesdays posts since they get the lowest view count of any of my posts, and rarely get a comment, but I enjoy searching through and finding fun songs on YouTube and posting them.

This weeks is by Todrick Hall. He's a YouTube sensation who is internet-famous for doing suuuuuuuuuuper awesome flashmobs. He is a great singer and performer. When my friend "Sissa" introduced me to him I spent 2 hours clicking through all his videos.

This one is called CinderFella. lol. Bean and I watched Cinderella for the first time yesterday so I thought it was appropriate - and hilarious. (Disclaimer: it is a bit of a PSA for legalizing gay marriage, which I unapologeticly support. If you don't, you may not enjoy the message at the end of the video.)

If this was a bit much for you - it IS quite the production full of celebrity cameos - here, I'll give you a link to my favorite flashmob that he has done too. See? I forgot the day of the week, so you get a double feature today! :) You're welcome!

If you didn't enjoy that you're dead inside. ;)

Happy hump day, ya'll!!

Nic + Bean

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tune in Tuesdays!!

Whoops! It's 11:35 on Tuesday night and I allllllllllllllllmost forgot to post a song for Tune in Tuesdays!

Things have been a'movin and a'shakin around here lately and I don't know up from down let alone the day of the week. Sorry about this lapse, if all goes well I'll be able to talk about what's been going on.... soon-ish.

Without further adieu, here is this week's song:

P!nk just came out with her newest album The Truth About Love, and I've been listening to it all day on Spotify. I don't know that I have a favorite song off this album, but this one is pretty catchy and the guy that you hear singing on the track is the lead singer from the band Fun. I'm a pretty big fan of Fun.'s songs, so I think this one will be pretty popular.

It's a fun album, and I love love love P!nk, so check it out if you've got a Spotify account, the whole thing is there for free!


Nic + Bean

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Super easy, super delicious Pumpkin Drop Cookies

Super Easy, Super Delicious Pumpkin Drop Cookies

1 15oz can of Libby's pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 box of cake mix. (Spice Cake or Carrot Cake are my faves)
1/2 bag of chocolate chips
1/4 bag of cinnamon chips (optional)
unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 275*F
Place all ingredients into bowl (Bean is great at pouring ingredients into the bowl) and mix until well incorporated.

Drop tablespoon sized balls of dough onto sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake for 18-25 mins.

 they don't spread much, but they have a light cakey consistency

Let sit on cookie sheet for 5 mins before transferring to cooling rack.

Cool completely before storing in cookie jar or air tight container.

Makes approx 45-60 cookies depending on size.

I've found with the lower baking temperature and longer baking time the outside 'crust' says crispy and the inside stays cakey - without being too wet on the inside. These are DELISH!!!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Day Out With Thomas

It is no secret that my girl LOVES Thomas the Tank Engine. (Which, by the way, I thought he was Thomas the Train before she became obsessed, but now I know better... he's a tank engine. Now you know.) As part of her birthday present Jeff and I bought tickets to the Day Out with Thomas event at the Colorado Railroad Museum. When I bought the tickets I was pumped, convinced she would freak the freak with excitement. As the day grew closer I started to worry that she'd be afraid when her favorite TV character was there in her real life world. I was sort of right on both counts.

When we were there she was a little unsure about riding Thomas.

She didn't like when they blew the train whistle, she didn't want to get too close to real Thomas, and when we were riding the loop around the museum (we went around 3 times) it took her 1.5 loops before she was brave enough to get off my lap and look over the edge of the train car and look where we were going.

Once she did you could see her excitement on her face and she waved "bye-bye" to all the people we passed.

Once we got off the train ride we walked the event. We stood in line to get our picture taken with Thomas, but it really wasn't THAT great of a picture and it was WAY too expensive to buy, so this one my mom took will have to work as our souvenir picture. It's not too bad, considering we were looking at the over-priced-professional-photographer and not at her.

 She got a temporary tattoo of Gordon on her shin, she watched the model mini trains go around and around on the tracks, Mimi bought her a scoop of ice cream, and she got to play with Thomas legos (while snacking on kettle corn).

It was a really nice event and a beautiful day. It was a bit warm, and she had her first gymnastics class earlier that morning, so by the time we left she was exhausted. I'm so glad we were able to take her to this Day Out with Thomas event, even though she seemed a bit reserved while we were there she talked about Thomas and the choo-choo tracks for days afterward. I know she had a blast, and Jeff, Mimi and myself all had a blast watching her explore and get excited about something she loves.

(there were other super awesome trains at the museum, but we were too hot and tired to see them all)

If you have a Thomas lover in your life I highly recommend bringing them to see Thomas in person at the Day Out with Thomas event when they come to a city near you. And if your Thomas lover happens to be a girl, rest assured that there were quite a few little girls running around. :)

(I was not compensated in any way for this review of our Day Out with Thomas. I genuinely enjoyed the event and honestly do recommend taking your kid(s) to see him. The opinions are 100% my own.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tune in Tuesdays : 9/11 edition

No happy go lucky irrelevant songs seemed appropriate given the day. None of the 9/11 tribute songs seemed good enough, and I couldn't bring myself to watch - let alone post - a video with the actual news footage of that day, so....

Jon Stewart's monologue on his first show back post September 11, is humbling to say the least. Through his tears he is profound and inspiring, and occasionally funny to break the tension.

I will never forget the things I saw on my tiny tv in my bedroom or the feelings I felt that morning. I will never forget the deep sadness I felt when I visited ground zero a year later.

I am forever grateful to the heroes that came together that Tuesday morning, and to those who still put their lives on the line every day, not knowing what they'll encounter as the day progresses. My heart goes out to all those who lost their lives or their loved ones 11 years ago.

I can't believe it's been 11 years.

Nic + Bean

I'll post a fun song next week. Promise.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bean's 1st Gymnastics class

Saturday was a big day for our sweet Bean Girl. It was her first ever gymnastics class. If it weren't for the fact we were running late and came running through the rec center like bats out of h-e-ll, not sure where we were going - but we were running wherever it was we went, Jeff carried her, I carried the camera bag and purse, if it weren't for all THAT I think I would have gotten a little too emotional about my girl's first class. Instead, we burst through the doors, quickly greeted my mom, not-so-politely asked her to take pictures (sorry mom), and jumped in line behind the other tots and their parents.

We were to go from station to station where the littles were supposed to do that specific skill before moving on to the next station. For the most part Bean loved it, and did really well at grasping the skill. Some things, like the barrel roll down the foam wedge, are going to take some practice.

She jumped up and skooched across the bail thingie:

Then she crawled under the tunnel thingie:

Then she did a somersault down the wedge thingie:

Then she bear-crawled up these beams:

Then she jumped up and down like a maniac on the trampoline, but none of those pictures turned out. After that she'd hop from one spot to another, then in and out of a hoola-hoop that was on the floor, then she'd bear-crawl across a yoga mat, then she'd look at me like I was nuts when I tried to get her to do a barrel roll down another foam wedge, then she'd jump from a spring board up onto a bouncy mat thingie and hop like a froggy across it... none of these pictures turned out, but I assure you, she was a pro and so so cute while doing the moves.

Then he'd hang from a high bar and kick over a foam cylinder thingie:

Then she'd hang from another high bar and walk up the wedge that was leaning against the wall, she surprised me with her ability to walk all the way to the top of the wedge!

After that, she'd go to a taller high bar and just hang from it. So, she'd grab it, pull her legs up and swing:

Then she'd climb up a ladder and get to the tall balance beam and walk across it, holding our hands of course!

After she'd hop off this beam there'd be one more balance beam that was MUCH closer to the ground, she seemed to like this one better than the tall one:

And then the course would start over again. She did the whole circuit 3 or 4 times before class was over. She really loved all the gymnastic skills!

At the end of the class we played with the parachute. She's played parachute games before at the Library's storytime, so it wasn't anything new to her, but she still liked it. She didn't like going underneath the parachute, though, so when the other kids were doing that she played with Mimi on the high bars.

I can't wait until next Saturday's class. Bean loved it, and so did Jeff and I. I'm not sure if my mom will come next week or not (that's up to her), but I am so thankful she was able and willing to be there for her first class and take pictures. I may not have gotten emotional at the class due to our tardiness, but I did while looking through and editing the photos at home.