Filed Under (Those Crazy Kids) by Kel on 28-06-2012

Need something new for your pool? Ice boats will mix it up! By this point, I think the boys know our few pool toys inside out and backward. So, I made new ones!

Fill up a muffin tin or three with water. Cover the tins with foil and stick in toothpicks – the foil will hold them upright – then freeze. The hardest part for me was scooting things around so the tin could lay flat… Well, that and I discovered that I was out of toothpicks!

For flags, you could do anything – paper with tape and glue, labels, whatever you have. Originally I was going to have the boys decorate their own, but I was feeling unmotivated, so instead I grabbed a few address labels and colored over them with marker. When I brought out the frozen boats, I wrapped them around the toothpick and…voila!

They didn’t know the difference.

For added fun, I grabbed a personal fan at Target for 3 bucks, and Eric sailed them all over the pool.

I will save these for slightly cooler days next time, or make a lot more of them. In our 100+ degree heat, these were a lot of fun for about 4 minutes. But hey, it was good while it lasted!

     

 
Filed Under (Those Crazy Kids) by Kel on 20-06-2012

…but I’m not sure what to call it, either! I found another idea for a cool experiment, for lack of a better word, and decided on a super-hot afternoon to try it out. Unfortunately, this one did not catch Danny’s attention near as much as I thought it would – but Eric thought it was awesome. (And Andrew slept in his crib for 40 minutes to allow it to happen!!)

It takes a few of your basic volcano ingredients: baking soda and vinegar. Jazz it up with a little food coloring and you’re good to go! (Well – you’ll also need a loaf pan, a small bowl or four, and a medicine dropper.)

Prep is fairly easy. Dump a box of baking soda into a loaf pan and smooth it out a bit – all I really did was shake the pan so it was kind of even. At first, the thrifty part of me balked at the idea of using a whole box of baking soda, but then I realized that those cost all of 50 cents. I can handle that for some inside fun that isn’t a video game or movie! Pour a little bit of vinegar into a bowl (or you could use a muffin tin!), and mix in a few drops of food coloring.

Invite the kids to the table! This was also a cool activity for two things: first, it was a cool use of all those used medicine droppers that seem to breed like rabbits in my house. We don’t have medicine for the kids often, but it seems like the droppers are everywhere! (Except, of course, when I want to find them for something like this – then they all seemed to disappear.) It also is a double whammy activity – not only is it a lot of fun, but it’s a great fine motor exercise for younger kiddos!

The whole of this is just to squeeze up some of the colored vinegar and spurt it into the baking soda. Easy to teach! It will, of course, bubble up like crazy, then leave some cool colored designs in the pan. You can go for a little at a time and “draw” with it (what I did to demonstrate), or you would go it at Eric-style and squirt as much as possible as quickly as possible to get huge domes of bubbles.

Super simple, but this entertained my almost-6 year old for nearly half an hour!

     

 
Filed Under (Those Crazy Kids) by Kel on 08-06-2012

Eric has decided, this summer, that food is better on a stick. Whether it’s apple slices on toothpicks or a sandwich-kebob, he gobbles it all!

Going with the kebob theme he’s got going, I’ve found a few recipes for yummy treats on a stick – my favorite, I think, being blueberries and strawberries on a stick, rolled in honey greek yogurt and stuck in the freezer for an hour. I loved them…alas, he didn’t so much. Watermelon cubes on a stick was a big hit though, and a lot less prep time too!

Sandwich on a stick, or sandwich-kebobs, is a big favorite of his right now…like a lunchable, only stickified! The cheese took a few tries to find a good way to make it work; cheddar cheese cubes split right in half, and squares of cheese (both cheddar and Kraft slices) also wanted to split. Eventually I found if I cut a Kraft cheese slice into thirds and folded them over once on each other, they would stay on quite well. The meat is simple, pretty much any sliced meat in strips and folded over. As for the bread, I discovered that a shot glass makes great rounds!

They come out the perfect size, it removes the crust, and they fit 4 to a slice like it was custom made for the job!

Anything that makes meal time a little easier and more fun, I am all about.

     

 
Filed Under (Those Crazy Kids) by Kel on 02-05-2012

This guy loves being a big brother. Seriously, he adores it. It’s been almost 2 months now, and the shine hasn’t faded on Eric’s love for his baby brother – he still goes over to Andrew, talks to him, comforts him if he’s crying, wants to hold him, and generally tries to look after him. He’s perfected baby talk, and often if Andrew coos or gahs, Eric tries to translate. “Mommy, Andrew said mom!” “Mommy, Andrew wants milk!” “Mommy, he says he’s cold!”

Of course, it’s not all perfection and cuteness. Along with this adorable side, Eric has developed some serious attitude. I’d like to say that I have some brilliant wants to combat this, but honestly, it’s ending up with a lot of him being sent to his room and having privileges taken away. He back talks – a lot – and sometimes he’s just tired of doing stuff for himself. I’ll admit that I’ve been relying on him to take care of himself a lot more, by getting his own snacks and drinks and entertainment, and I think that he’s feeling a bit slighted for it.

Summer is most definitely going to be a challenge. Eric is going to want a lot more attention, being entertained, and help, and if Andrew keeps up not tolerating being put down…that’s going to be hard. Also, when Danny isn’t in summer school, going places and doing things with all 3 will definitely be hard! Danny is rebelling being a big brother in his own way, which mostly comes down to a regression in his listening (not hearing – listening) and a lot of flop-and-drop behavior when I try to take him by the hand and make him walk somewhere he doesn’t want to go. That doesn’t work out so well with a baby in a wrap or sling, but Andrew doesn’t like his car seat either, so… Yeah.

Eric is going to need to learn to entertain himself, stat. And when Danny IS at summer school, there will be lots of trips to ride bikes, visit the library, and all the things Eric loves to do that aren’t really feasible with Danny for one reason or another.

This is also his first year of doing camps! I’ve strategically scheduled them for weeks that Danny doesn’t have school, so he’s got other stuff going on too. Summer will kick off with Pirate Adventure Camp, and it will wrap up with a general activities camp that also has some soccer skill workshops in it. We just finished our second season of soccer, and I think – for now, at least – it’s a keeper for Eric!

And then it will be back to school, and somehow I’ll have to wrap my mind around the idea that Eric will be in first grade. How did that happen?

     

 
Filed Under (Those Crazy Kids, Year One (Andrew)) by Kel on 13-04-2012

Life with a baby isn’t as difficult this time around, but it’s certainly just as busy! In large, my time on the computer has been very…limited, to say the least. I can settle Andrew on the boppy and sit here typing over him while he nurses or sleeps, but if I do that for very long my back ends up hurting. Much of the time, instead, I opt to pass on the computer, realizing that in a few more months Andrew will be a bit more independent and I’ll be able to sneak more time in now and then. I can be patient.

Eric is still completely smitten by his baby brother. He wants to help, almost to a fault sometimes, and often will come over and just coo over him. He takes pride in spending time with the baby, and loves to read to him. He’s also, of course, a very strong willed 5 year old running into independence and control battles, which is probably the extent of any new baby adjustment troubles…and I’m not even sure it’s related to the new baby. We’re trying to figure out what to do with him for school next year, looking into the “gifted and talented” program at his current school (though we’re not sure that would be a good social move for him) and checking out a few other schools that are options, in hopes of getting him a bit more of a…challenge next year. He has made his way through both the Kindergarten and First Grade books in the Hooked on Phonics set I am borrowing from a friend, is doing addition and subtraction, and really is flying academically, though we’ve got some issues with acting out and mimicking bad behaviors.

Danny is still our brilliant little trouble maker. He’s been fighting wearing his CIs more often lately, and has been more sensitive, which I do think is baby related. We’re getting through and past it slowly though. He had his 4 year well check, and along with being perfectly healthy, he (for the first time) is meeting or exceeding almost all of the developmental milestones their “typical kid” paperwork calls out for his age. The doctor was beyond impressed with all of his progress in this past year, amazed by his academic performance, and was pleased to hear that he’s making slow but steady progress communicating. He is also our little giant, measuring in the 90th percentile for height and on a growth curve to be 6’1.5″ at full height. No wonder he fits in and even outsizes some of Eric’s Kindergarten friends!

And then there’s the one everyone always asks about. He’s definitely a baby! Eating, pooping, growing, all that fun stuff. He is getting stronger by the day, holding his head up steadier and longer, and is starting to coo and goo at us when he’s in the mood. He won’t visit the doctor for another few weeks to have an official weigh in, but by our bathroom scale, he’s gained over 2 pounds since birth. He’s been sleeping fairly well for me too – there are a few nights here and there that are rough, but generally, he gives a 6 hour stretch, eats, and does another 3 hour stretch at night.

All in all, life is grand. We even survived spring break! (Somehow.) I look forward to when I can put Andrew down a little more often during the day, but I know that’ll come soon enough so I’m just settling in and relaxing during these crazy early months. It gives me a decent amount of time to read and do other little things, and I can always toss the kid into a carrier to get housework done – usually.

     

 
Filed Under (Those Crazy Kids) by Kel on 14-02-2012

In Kindergarten, at Christmas, the kids made calendars for the adults in their life (parents/grandparents/whoever – they call them “your adult” to be safe). For January, Eric drew a family of snowmen, and it was cute. For February…

“Mommy, I drew you some hearts for Valentines Day, because I love you! But the hearts are all bombs, and they’re hooked up together. The guy, he’s a spy, and he made the heart bombs. They have a timer, and it counts down – 3! 2! 1! BOOM!!!!! But then the spy, he was standing too close to the hearts, so his leg got blown up when they exploded. He had to go to the hospital, Mommy, because he lost his leg.”

Yep, I’ve got boys.

Happy Valentine’s Day!