Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Daddy Adventure Day - Madison Children's Museum

This was last week's Daddy Adventure Day, but I was a little slow sorting through the photos.  That morning I told Amelia that she could pick what we should do that morning, and she chose to go to the Children's Museum and then eat lunch at Culver's.  For a Wednesday morning, the Children's Museum was packed.  I think there must have been a few school groups there.  This time, Amelia spent a lot of time on the second floor, in the Possible-opolis section, where she doesn't normally spend much time.  She tried out the hamster wheel for the first time with Daddy:

She and Megan both loved pushing the levers in the rocket ship.  There were levers and buttons all over this thing, and each one made a different noise.  Ben said one of them played part of the broadcast from an Apollo mission.  Oh no! Amelia ran right smack into someone in outer space!  Who could it be?

Megan liked driving the jeep with Daddy in the backseat.  She and Amelia had a few little squabbles over who got to drive the jeep, so we stayed there long enough that each girl could have a few turns.  Megan is a very serious driver.  Amelia, on the other hand, drove like a maniac.  :)

Both girls liked playing in the water room, but only Megan ended up soaking wet.  She wore a smock, but managed to spill water down her pants anyway.  You can see in the next photo that her pants are soaking wet.  Megan figured out how to go down the wood slide all by herself.  She really went zooming!  She also wanted to do the stairs by herself, but she still needs to hold onto someone's hand in order to walk up them.

Oh, and Ben crammed himself into one of the little pods so that he could read Amelia a story.

I think Megan's favorite part of the Children's Museum was when she and I went up to the rooftop garden to look at the animals.  A volunteer had a chicken in her arms named Cheddar (she was kind of orange-ish) and we got to pat the chicken.  The chicken was very soft!  Megan kept saying "bawk bawk".  Then we fed the other chickens a few pieces of grass through - they could stick their heads out through holes in the wall.  Megan thought that was very funny.  I don't have any photos of that because I didn't want to leave Megan unattended and have a chicken bite her finger. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In case you were wondering why my laptop is broken...

She starts out with such good posture...

...and then starts getting silly.  Typing with your feet, Megan, really?

I put the computer away when she started climbing on it (after I snapped a quick photo of course) and the only reason I let her get that far was that my computer is already irretrievably broken (thanks for Amelia as a toddler) and I'm going to have to get a new one pretty soon anyway.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Playing after dinner

I went down to the playroom after finishing up the dishes to find this:

Amelia was using her magic wand to turn Ben and Megan into an iceberg.  She had some complicated imaginary play going on where she was a flower and she had to climb up on the iceberg so that she wouldn't get eaten by a shark.  I don't really know where that came from, although we have been playing "pretend to be a shark and try to eat the person on the boat" a lot lately.  Here she has turned them back into themselves:

Don't you love Megan's hair?  Oh, and in Amelia's mind, her outfit matches perfectly because it is all hearts.  Except for the socks, which have moose on them.  I guess moose socks go with everything.  :)

Megan still loves to try on shoes.  Here she is wearing my workout shoes.  She couldn't quite manage to walk in them, but she had fun anyway!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Megan's favorite part of dinner...

... the prayer!  She kept signing "more" then folding her hands and smiling when we said the prayer again.  I think we said it four times. 


We had deconstructed taco salad for dinner, and all Megan ate were the tomatoes and the beans.  She didn't even want the beans until I told her that she couldn't have any pear until the beans were all gone.  Then, she was willing to eat them as long as I made them fly on her fork like an airplane.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cupcakes for the preschool carnival

We were asked to bring cupcakes to the preschool carnival for the cupcake walk, and I thought it would be nice to decorate cute child-friendly cupcakes rather than bringing plain ones.  So, I let Amelia pick what kind of cupcakes she would like, and she chose these sea turtles that I saw in Disney Family.  They were pretty easy to make, just use a peach gummy ring, one orange gumdrop, one green gumdrop, and two cut up spearmint leaf candies.  Mine didn't stand out as much as theirs on the blue frosting, but I had put a little too much vanilla in, and I thought it would be unappetizing to have the sea turtles swimming in brownish frosting.

When I took them to the preschool, everyone thought they were so cute that I got asked to make a few dozen more, since they thought they wouldn't have enough.  Anna helped me decorate the rest of the cupcakes:

Amelia played the cupcake walk game twice, and the first time she chose to bring home a plate of the monkey cupcakes.  The second time she had to choose plain cupcakes because the fun ones were all gone.  :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Random photos

I was trying to take photos of Amelia so that I could do a "Many Faces of Amelia" post, and here is the face I got:

Megan enjoyed using her Minnie Mouse straw (thanks, Aunt Anna!) to drink a special strawberry fruit smoothie on Valentine's Day.  She also liked eating her misshapen heart shaped chocolate chip pancakes.  Look at that silly happy face!

 Of course, when Aunt Anna and Uncle Dan visited us, Aunt Anna had to read the girls stories:

I think Amelia conned her into reading more than two stories before bedtime.  She must be a pushover like Grandpa Jeff.  :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hair bows for preschool auction

I went a little crazy making hair bows for the preschool auction, but I was having a lot of fun making all the different kinds.  Becky made a really pretty card for me to put the bows on, so they looked nice and professional.  The auction ladies ended up splitting the bows up and adding them to different baskets; actually I ended up getting the butterfly bow back with the baby quilt that I bought.  (so funny!)

One of the girls in Amelia's class ended up with the small orange and red bows, and her dad told me that she has been wearing them every day, but that she likes to wear one red and one orange at the same time.  She's so cute!  She came up to me at preschool the other day to say thanks for the bows.  Here are some of my favorites:

My girls are starting to be better about wearing bows (they really need them to keep their scraggly hair out of their faces - it's not just me wanting them to look cute). 

So if any of you reading this would like any bows for your little girls (or boys, I don't discriminate) just let me know which ones.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Having a sleepover

Amelia wanted to play "Let's Have a Sleepover" so she got in Megan's crib to snuggle with Megan.

By the way, Becky, Amelia says that next time we are at your house, she wants to have a sleepover with Natalie and Noah.  So, I'll just drop her off and head for a hotel, okay?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Baby Quilt for preschool auction

Amelia's preschool had a winter carnival fundraiser, and they asked parents to donate items for a silent auction and raffle.  I decided to make a baby quilt and some hair bows.

For the baby quilt, I went with a quick and easy flannel nine patch.  I machine quilted it using a wavy stitch on the diagonal (I got the wavy stitch idea from the quilt Grace gave to Amelia last Christmas, and I really like how it looks - and then you don't have to worry that your lines might not be perfectly straight!)

The pictures don't do it justice, but it is so warm and cozy.  And I got to use some of the leftover fabric from Amelia's quilt that I still haven't finished (the yellow polka dots and the blue print with the hearts.)

You are all going to laugh at me, but I liked the quilt so much and I know so many people having babies this year (and it was going for super cheap at the auction) that I bought it back myself.  :)  The president of the preschool thought that was so funny, but hey, it motivated me to make a quilt in a week, and the preschool got money for it, so I don't see any problem...

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's warm outside..... for February

We've had a few days lately that have been in the 40s, and we try to take advantage of those days to play outside.  On Friday we went for a walk, and Amelia wanted to hold Megan's hand.  In fact, she told me that if she couldn't hold Megan's hand, then she didn't want to walk at all.  Which led to a little temper tantrum when Megan decided she wanted to walk by herself.  But mostly they enjoyed holding hands and being cute:

Amelia is wearing her blue dress-up "Alice dress" which is actually a Cinderella dress.  I'm glad she isn't into princesses yet.  She had been playing dress-up with her imaginary friends from preschool while Megan was taking a nap, and then she wanted to keep her dress on while we went outside to play.  I figured there was no harm in that...

We had had an inch of snow that morning, but it had all melted by the time naptime was over.  Of course, my girls found the biggest puddle around, and Megan splashed right through it, then got fussy and wanted to be carried because her shoes were all wet.

 Amelia avoided getting her feet wet and found a stick to play with.

We happened to be outside right before twilight, and the light was beautiful.  I love that we are getting the daylight back.  We were outside until almost 5:30 and it was still light out!  Here's the view across the street from us:

Megan wants to help write a post:

                           ,,, mmm nDPLCCDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD;L.JK L
 ?   p : LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL IUJ9♦  /'//  0LK                     '] ♦
♦                                      <,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.,,ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppco'hug7yl,o;           '''''''''''''''''''''''';;;;;;;;;;;;;     h l-.vj   j[gfC

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

I've been going to a women's book club at my church the past few weeks (they provide childcare, how wonderful!) and I usually sign up to bring a baked good.  It's a fun way to experiment with new recipes without having to eat everything myself.  This past week I made the following coffee cafe from Martha Stewart.

It was delicious!  The ladies at book club finished off the entire cake, and four different people asked for the recipe.  Amelia was disappointed that it was all gone because she wanted to try the coffee cake, and she had to make do with the crumbs left on the plate.  

(I omitted the nuts because I was concerned about allergies, and I thought it was plenty sweet without the glaze)

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

For the streusel center:

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

For the streusel topping:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

For the cake:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream (I used vanilla yogurt)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9 inch tub pan with a removable bottom.

Make the cake:  Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract, beat until mixed.  Alternate adding dry ingredients and sour cream.  Continue to beat until well combined.

Make the streusel center: Stir all ingredients together.

Make the streusel topping:  Mix together the dry ingredients.  Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until small to medium clumps form.

Pour half of the cake batter into the tub pan, smoothing with a spatula until flat.  Sprinkle the streusel center evenly over the batter.  Top with remaining batter, taking care to smooth the batter as flat as possible.  Sprinkle the streusel topping over the batter.

Bake for 55 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake pulls out cleanly.  Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.  Remove from pan.

Stir glaze ingredients together, drizzle over coffee cake and let run down the sides.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Making Snowflakes

Amelia and I had made coffee filter snowflakes a few weeks ago, and she was able to use her safety scissors pretty well with me holding the folded up paper.  She really liked unfolding them to see her designs.  So when I saw this idea at Mom to Two Posh Little Divas I knew we had to try it.

Amelia enjoyed using her bingo markers ($1 each at Dollar Tree!) to color the coffee filters and then made all the cuts herself.

I think they turned out really pretty!  Amelia liked to try to figure out what the snowflakes looked like after they were unfolded; she liked to find smiley faces in them.  We sent some to Grandma to make her smile.

But making tortilla snowflakes was really the highlight of this activity.  I'd never thought of that before, and I think it was a genius idea!  We used regular flour tortillas and folded them in quarters.  Very carefully, Amelia used the kitchen shears to snip triangles out of the tortilla.  Then we unfolded them, brushed them with melted butter, and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar.  Finally, we baked them for 8 minutes at 350F.  They were a big hit!

This one definitely looks like a smiley face!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Crazy Hair Day

Tuesday was Crazy Hair day at preschool, and Amelia decided that she should wear lots of barrettes.  I counted 23 barrettes in her hair:

She was quick to say that her hair wasn't crazy, though, it was CUTE.

Oh, and with the pink stripey dress, Amelia is wearing brown, pink, blue and green flowered and polka dotted tights, and her grey kitty boots from Aunt B.  Stylin.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Taking the Train

Amelia, Megan and I took the train home from Grandma and Grandpa's house on Saturday.  The girls thought this was so much fun!  Megan was initially hesitant about being on the train, and wanted to sit on my lap or be carried.  But she warmed up eventually and started climbing on the seats of the lounge car and looking out the window.  Amelia wanted to visit the snack car, so as soon as it opened, we went downstairs and bought a bag of flat pretzels - thanks for the treat, Aunt Elaine!  Then we had juice boxes (thanks, Mom!) and a few animal crackers (thanks, Grace!) to complete our snack.

We kept so busy on the train that we barely used the busy bag that I had packed.  In the snack car, we played I-Spy looking out the window, although we had to be quick to spy thing before we had passed them.  At one point, Amelia spied the letter "E" which I eventually guessed was on the shirt of the man sitting across from us.  He got a kick out of our game, I think.

Then we walked through the passenger cars so we could take a look at the dining car.  Amelia got to be quite a pro at going through the connectors.  She said "I like to walk when the train is wiggly!"  Megan got carried most of the way, but did enjoy trying to walk in the lounge car when it wasn't crowded.

When we got off the train, Ben asked how we enjoyed our big comfy train seats, and I said that we actually didn't sit in them for more than 5 minutes!  We spent almost all our time in the lounge car or exploring the train (we went downstairs to the snack car about four times, although we only bought a snack once.)

One very nice conductor helped Amelia walk up and down the stairs to get to our seats, and another carried one of our bags so that I was only carrying a duffel bag, my purse, our busy bag, and Megan.  I felt like a pack mule.  :)  Ben took a few photos of our arrival: