Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bunk Beds!

You might remember a few months back we tried moving Alex's crib into Ajay's room so they could share a room and have a playroom dedicated to toys.  (Hey! That post was exactly one year ago today!)  You might also remember that, although we tried for about 2 weeks, it just didn't work out and they were split back up into separate rooms

Well, with the baby coming in May we wanted to give sharing a room another shot.  A few things have changed since our first attempt.  Mainly, the boys are older.  Also, Alex was doing fine in his toddler bed and we figured he would do just as well in a twin sized bed.  He was still using a pacifier to sleep but we gave him plenty of warning that when he was moved to the bunk bed the binky would be no more.  He kept agreeing to this but we were still worried about what he would do when the night came to actually take the binky away. 

We've been researching bunk beds for a month or more now and with some of the end-of-year sales we thought we might as well dive on in and make the purchase.  The baby may not be here for awhile longer and he/she may not sleep in his/her crib for a couple of months after that but we wanted to get the boys used to their new sleeping arrangement before we introduced another human to the household.  Once the beds were paid for we were able to fit the bed slats (in their cardboard boxes) in the back of our van (back seat folded down, the long box resting between the boys' seats).  Biju then went back the next day with the boys' seats removed from the van to pick up the mattresses. 

This was right before Christmas plus we had other things crop up as well (like a nail in a tire) so we weren't able to put the beds together right away.  All the bunk making supplies were placed in Ajay's room for easy assembly.  Here we have the bunk beds still boxed up, Alex's old toddler bed that will be going back to my sister's house soon for Audrey, and Ajay's old twin that, for now, will be moved into the baby's room to be used as a guest bed.



We put the mattresses on the floor of Alex's room and used this as a tester to see how the boys would do together.  We also took this opportunity to take away the pacifier.  Alex wasn't in his bunk bed yet but he was on his big boy mattresses, which was close enough in our books.  And do you know that kid didn't make one squeak about it??  I figure it had to have been because we made such a big deal leading up to the event that he was okay with it.  He did get a little upset at naptime the next day but since then it has been smooth sailing.  So nice.

Here is Alex acting all goofy on his mattress before bed.

Both boys getting out some sillies before settling down for the night.
And both boys out cold for the night.  They're such angels when they're sleeping!
Since Ajay's room was filled with bunk bed materials and Alex's floor was covered in mattresses we all felt a little unorganized and cluttered for a few days.  The boys also felt that since we had put the mattresses on the floor we had issued an open invitation for them to jump on the mattresses freely.  There was no such invitation and I felt I was constantly barking at the jumping beans to cut it out!

When a free afternoon/evening finally presented itself Biju got to work and we were pleasantly surprised that it really didn't take that long to put together.  He was worried about having me help him and doing some heavy lifting, so we took it easy.  He got the bottom part assembled and then we only partially assembled the top part before we lifted it into place, this way I didn't to strain any muscles.  The rest of the top bed was assembled in the air (not as hard as it sounds).  In the end we wound up with a nice sturdy bed for the boys to sleep in - and the really nice part is that there isn't room for the boys to jump!  If they jump on the bottom bed they'll hit their heads on the slats above them.  If they jump on the top bunk they'll bonk their heads on the ceiling.  Fabulous - lesson learned!  (Alex is short and he still tries, so we keep repeating the rule "No standing on the top bunk" to him over and over.  He's a smart kid, surely he'll catch on quickly, right?)

They couldn't wait to get into bed that night!! 

We opted not to buy any stairs or ladders that would lead to the top bunk.  Isn't it a child's right of passage to have to figure out how to get to the top bunk by climbing up the end of the bed??

Alex visits Brother up top whenever he gets the chance.  Ajay usually doesn't mind the company.

Time to get a few more squirrelies out then settle in for some sleep.
They were disappointed they only got one night in their new beds before we headed to my families' for Christmas.  Since we've been back home they've done wonderfully.  I'm so glad this "rooming in" is working out much better than the first attempt - especially since there was some serious dough forked out this time!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A trip back in time

The second place we went to use Ajay's pass from school was an "old town" type place.  The builders of this "museum," of sorts, had brought in buildings from around the town and vicinity dating pretty far back.  It was c.o.l.d. that day and windy, to boot.  We put the boys' snow pants on to help keep them warm.  We didn't stop and see everything on the map, but I think the boys got a good idea of what the place was about.  Maybe we'll go back again sometime when it's warmer!

The first thing we saw when we started walking around inside the property was a cart pulled by some pretty big horses.  The driver asked us if we wanted a ride, so we hopped on.



All of the volunteers were dressed up from sometime in the 1800s, even down to their winter gear. 
The driver dropped us off in a section where the first jailhouse of the town was located and also pointed out the blacksmith's shop - we were told that the blacksmith was in that day and to be sure we stopped in.

One of the jail cells.  The boys are standing at the corners and I'm standing at the doorway - so you can see it was a very small "room!" 

The boys tried to figure out how to get in (I just pray they never do see the inside of a jail cell!)

They found some old fashioned wheel-barrows.  I was afraid they were going to break them!

Here is the blacksmith working on a project.  It was very interesting to watch him work.
There is a pump for water - the boys had a fun time getting it to work.


We walked around a bit more but the wind was really kicking the dirt up so we started to wrap up our tour.  One of the volunteers took us into a house that is on the national historic registry.  We just wanted a quick little look-see so we could say we saw it but this guy wanted to talk on and on about things and go through his complete spiel.   We did our best to get out of there without cutting him off and making him feel like we dumped him. 

Despite the wind and cold we really did enjoy our visit, more than we thought we would!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Tomato Topping

I got this, basically, from the Everyday Foods magazine by Martha Stewart.  I wasn't able to follow her directions exactly with what I had on hand so I used what I did have.  And boy howdy, lemme tellya - I got addicted - I blended a bit of this up w/ some water to make an impromptu spaghetti sauce, but the way I liked it best was on cheesy bread - bread w/ cheese on top baked in the oven til the cheese was melted and the crust was crusty.  (I used a croissant w/ provolone once, another time I used plain ole whole wheat bread w/ shredded cheddar.  Each time was delish.)

3 cans diced tomatoes (14oz. ea) - you really should use more to make more, but I only had 3 on hand.
3 smashed garlic cloves (mine were so smashed I was able to scatter the tiny pieces throughout the tomato mixture)
3 Tbs. olive oil.
Salt
Pepper
Oregano (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 deg.

Pour the diced tomatoes onto a cookie sheet, dot with crushed garlic and drizzle the olive oil on top.  Season with a bit of salt, pepper and crushed, dried oregano, if using.  Roast 45 minutes, turn pan (I gave it a little stir at this point but I don't think you have to), then roast another 30-45 minutes until its all thick.  Either use right away or let it cool and refrigerate (up to a week). 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Air Freshener

Today's recipe isn't something you eat, but it does use foodstuff and makes your home smell nice. 

What you need:
Orange peel
A few shakes of cinnamon, if you like that scent
A clove or two, if you like that scent
A small pan of water

Put the pan of water on the stove and set to simmer/low.  Put in the orange peels and other spices.  (You can switch it up, use whatever you want - nutmeg?  allspice?  get creative!)  Let the pan simmer. 

Do keep an eye on it and make sure you either shut the pan off when the water is low or add more water if you want the scent to continue. 

If you're interested look up the natural properties of cinnamon and clove (or other spices you want to use) - I can't remember their benefits but I know both cinnamon and clove are good for you - clearing the air, all that jazz :) 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pretty Lights and Santa

As mentioned in a previous post Ajay won a special award that allows him and his family to get into various hot spots around town.  Luckily for us the "free entrance" included the special light show put on by the garden museum.  Since it is winter there isn't much to show for pretty flowers and plants and there definitely wasn't anything to see in the butterfly house!  So the people who run the place dress everything up all fancy schmancy in pretty Christmas lights.  We went once when Ajay was about 6 months old (we got free tickets through our Parents as Teachers program).  It was nice to go again and take the kids who could enjoy it this time around.  The Big Man in Red was there, as well! 

Here are the pics I got.  I tried to choose the best to share with you, but some of them are poor quality because I had the flash off trying to get a shot of the lights.

The first thing you saw as you walked in.

Alex got a little too close to one of the butterfly lights.

A nice little posed shot - I was glad the lighted candy cane showed up even with the flash on!  We had to hurry because there were soo many other people around us.

These were trees covered in white "snow" then draped in red lights.  A very pretty effect. 

Our boys are quite cheesy, are they not??

Can you believe these flowers are still so pretty in December??

Ajay with Santa, telling him he wanted "Pop the Pig"

I overheard Santa tell Mrs. Claus that he wanted to "wrap this one up and take him home" - sorry, Santa, we're keeping him.

video

This (above video) is a bit of the lights that were set to music. 

I love these blue lights.

A pretty "light tree."

The boys gathered 'round one of the many chimineas scattered about the gardens.
 After touring the outside we took the boys inside to warm up.  On our way in we saw these Dancing Trees!

video


Once inside we got some hot apple cider and some popcorn.  We enjoyed our visit and hope to go again in the spring when there is a different set of views to see!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Easy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I haven't been real consistent lately with my Recipe Wednesday posts, but I've got a little something yummy for you today. 

Last night we had pork chops and I figured some sweet potatoes would go well with pork.  Right?  So I tossed three small-medium-ish sweet potatoes on to boil.  Once they were soft (about a half an hour) I took them out, set them on a plate, then used two forks to peel them.  They were super easy to peel - they almost fell right out of their skins.  I put the peeled potatoes into a bowl and broke them up a bit.  I put in probably 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, a sprinkle of salt, 1 Tbs. packed brown sugar (might've been more, I'm not sure, I just threw some in there - do this to your liking), then a shake or two of ground nutmeg.  I used one of the forks to mash this all together.  Y.U.M. Y.U.M.  The boys devoured this!  

Monday, December 6, 2010

Decorating

Last week Biju had to go to Mexico for a few days for work.  Before he left he brought our tree out of the garage for us.  We typically don't take down the tree and we usually leave the lights on.  It is not a huge tree so it just makes sense to do it this way.  Really saves time and energy! 
He put it where I thought would be the best placement this year - somewhere we can still see it but it won't be in the way in our small house.  After he flew out of town I realized our decoration box was in the garage and not in the house as I had thought.  I was very relieved to find out the box was not super heavy which meant that I could still carry it in on my own. 
Monday night we just looked at the pretty lights.  Tuesday, once Ajay got home from school, it was time to attack the tree! 

Sorting through all the Christmas-y items.

Looking at the bulbs - finding which ones have hooks, which ones don't (and adding paperclips to the ones that didn't!)

You can't see the lights glowing but they are on.  Ajay found some white stuff that looked like Santa's beard and in this shot both boys are shouting "Ho! Ho! Ho!"

Friday, December 3, 2010

November in a nutshell

As I mentioned in a previous post November wasn't a huge month for us.  It was fairly quiet.  However, there were a few events that I would hate to skip over completely, so here is our month in a nice little nutshell!

Ajay won an award at school for being such a good kid.  He won a pass to go to 5 different locations around town (the zoo, museums and such).  He gets to take his family of 4 to these places and we all get in free - the pass is valued at around $100!  We have to use the pass by the end of December and so far we haven't used it at all.  Eeks!  We're going to try to tackle at least two of the places this weekend.  I just wish we had warmer weather to enjoy the places that are outdoors. 

Accepting the award, then bringing it to Mommy so it doesn't get lost!


Ajay brought a pumpkin home from school that he'd received at his class's pumpkin party.  Even though the helper spelled his name "Agay" he still accepted it.  :)   Once that puppy was home, he started begging to make pumpkin seeds.  So we did. 

Daddy did the honors of cutting it up for us - lopping off the top, then slicing it down the middle.

This was probably the part he was looking forward to the most - getting his hands into the sloppy mess and pulling out the seeds.

Pumpkins de-seeded.  Seeds in the pan for a quick rinse.  I also kept some seeds and guts with the hopes of growing our own pumpkins next year.  Probably won't work, but it's worth a shot. 

I mixed the seeds with butter then split them in half.  On the left is just plain salt.  On the right was a bit of Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder.  And maybe a touch of salt, too, I can't remember.  Slid into the oven to toast up.

Yummy, healthy snack!   (Plain salt on the right, Worcestershire on the left.)




And just for fun, a shot of our little bath monster - complete with goggles suction cupped to his eyes, and a straw for blowing bubbles.



Of course, we can't forget about Thanksgiving! 

I have no pics, so you'll just have to deal with my commentary alone.  We went to my parents on Wed. night and on Thursday we started working on the food.  Family started trickling in and we were ready to eat by 4ish.  The kids, of course, loved playing with their cousins.  Silly me figured it would be too cold to go outside to play so I only packed good clothes.  I should have known, though, to pack some play clothes because kids typically don't care about weather.  They even found a puddle to jump in! 

After dinner, the adults played some board games (Wits and Wagers, just like last Thanksgiving, and the card game 7 1/2).  It's a good thing my parents have french doors to divide the house up.  We could be loud in one room and shut the doors so those in the living room could still enjoy their tv watching (I believe they were watching the Pumpkin Chuckin' contest?).  The kids tried to be as loud as the adults so it was very chaotic - but certainly fun!! And we're looking forward to the same type of chaos at Christmas!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Halloween.3

I'm combining the last two events of our "Halloweening" into the final post because they're basically doing the same thing - Trick or Treating!
We took the boys to the mall on the afternoon of Halloween.  We weren't sure what to expect.  Not every store was handing out candy but there was a good handful (or two) or stores with the goods.  We only walked around first floor, we didn't go to the second level to see what they had to offer.  And we didn't touch the play area - that would just be asking for trouble!  Under normal circumstances we don't mind letting the boys play in the mall's play area but there was a bounce house set up (and Ajay desperately wanted to go bounce) and there were just too many kids.
The kids got a little sidetracked staring through the window of the candy store!

Getting the goods.
After we got home from the mall we had dinner.  Before dinner was over we'd had our first set of trick-or-treaters.  One of the kids was a buddy of Ajay's from school and Ajay thought that was awesome!  But once the boys new that other kids were out there was no holding them back.  Back on went the costumes and out we went (while Daddy stayed home to hand out candy).  As we stepped outside we saw that our neighbors were getting ready to go out.  They invited us to walk along with them - which made trick-or-treating more fun for the boys.  We only hit a couple of streets around us but with little legs that lasted quite awhile and they still got plenty of candy.  I didn't take any pics of the boys out in the act but I did get a couple of shots checking out their loot.



I combined the candy that Ajay had received from his school party, the bags of candy the boys got from the church event on Friday evening, and the candy from the mall and trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.  This is what we ended up with:


We're still trying to finish that bowl full!  Mainly what is left are tootsie rolls (not a huge hit at our house) and suckers (always a huge hit at our house but there were tons so it's taking awhile to make our way through them).  Biju and I have done our best to help polish off all the sweets, too! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gender Prediction: Test 3

Here is another fun way to predict gender:

A = Your age in the year the baby is due, regardless of before or after your birthday.
B = The month of your last period
If A minus B is even, it's a girl.
If A minus B is odd, it's a boy.

Ajay:  His birth year, 2005, minus my birth year, 1978, equals 27.  So 27 minus 8 (August) = 19 - an odd number.  Odd # means BOY.

Alex: 2008-1978 = 30 - 5 = 25 - odd number means BOY.

This baby:  2011-1978 = 33  - 8 = 25 - odd number means this baby should be a
BOY.  
(I had to edit this because the first time I used 2010 to calculate, woops!) 

**Click HERE to find out what the gender is**