Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Have you ever had Povatica?  It is a yummy bread that has it's origins in Croatia.  My family has this every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Every year someone in the family makes it - usually my mom or my sister (and there is usually a partner or two involved in the process).  If you want to try some but don't want to make it, this place looks like they have tons of choices! 

This year my sister came over to make up a few loaves.  We used two bread machines to make up the dough.  While the dough was rising, she used a food processor to grind up some pecans.  She was nice enough to use pecans in place of the usual walnuts since I always have a bad reaction to walnuts.  One year when we made this I tried breaking up the walnuts in a sealed baggie with a rolling pin and inhaled some walnut dust - that set my nose to itchin' sumpthin' fierce!!

When the dough was ready we spread it out as thin as we could get it.  The pros can get it paper thin but we weren't that lucky.  We stopped spreading when the dough kept tearing.

 We then took the cinnamony/sugar/pecan mixture and spread it across the dough.  We rolled it up and baked it.  We had cut off the ends to make the loaf look neat, so we baked the ends and used those for taste testing!
Such a delicious treat for the whole family!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Yer on!

The boys recently rediscovered a toy Bino Uncle sent over when Biju's parents came for a visit.
We all enjoyed a round or two of "soccer"!  (In fact, I think they're playing this as I type with their cousins, who are over for a visit.)

 Bonus Photo:
 I think both Alex and Aren still have bed head but they wanted their picture taken with Gracie (who never has bed head, thankyouverymuch!)

Saturday, December 7, 2013


A few weeks back I set to work making some bags for a Busy Bag Exchange.  A group of other mamas and I all made some activity bags to keep our children entertained/educated and we then exchanged them so we all had about 16 bags, or so. 
For the first bag, I made a blind texture game.  I cut a strip of fleece and notched a bit out of the center to use as a blindfold.  There were two cards of each texture.  Onto poster board, I hot-glued buttons, different fabrics, feathers, etc. This was my assembly line:

While I was working on my craft the boys were busy doing some artwork of their own.  They were cutting out people and making castles.

Just throwing this one in for fun.  Aren was playing quietly, alone, with his blocks.

Here is Aren working on the other busy bag I made.  Spoon Shape Matching.  Shapes drawn on one clear spoon, one white spoon.  The idea is to lay the clear spoon on top of the white spoon with the matching shape.  Aren did well with the first three shapes and then I walked away and he knocked all the spoons to the floor. 
The boys have enjoyed playing with some of the activities I brought home.  A few of the bags I'm saving for use in the future!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Line 'em up!

Aren's artwork:

And when he was told he needed to put the cans up, he did... up higher!

Friday, November 22, 2013

A round of sickness

(I actually wrote most of this last week but didn't get around to posting it, so all time references are a bit off.)

It seems as though our luck has ran out.  For quite awhile everyone was relatively healthy.  Then the fevers started up.

Aren was first to get a fever last week.  He started eating less and then eventually started pointing inside his mouth and talking about having a boo boo.  He gradually became more whiny and clingy and his naps were getting shorter and shorter.

I remembered our neighbor mentioning that her 2 year old was having fevers and a rash and that he either had Strep or Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.  A couple of days after Aren's fever and sore throat started up he started getting blisters on his hands and around his mouth.  I asked the neighbor if she had found out what it was her son had and she replied it was, in fact, Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. 

We're not sure if Aren got the virus from the neighbor boy or from the cart at WalMart.  Either way, I don't wish this on anyone.  He was miserable.  There were a couple of days when I confessed to Biju that I didn't get anything productive around the house done, I just sat on the couch cuddling Aren.  He nodded his head and said "Being Mommy."

On Saturday Alex woke me up telling me his eyes were getting sticky.  I told him it was probably just sleep in his eyes, it would go away.  He crawled into bed with us and fell back to sleep.  An hour or so later when we all were a bit more awake, I realized he was feeling slightly warm.  I gave Biju "the look."

He was pretty tired most of the day and fell asleep after breakfast on our bed again.  That was a surprise since he rarely naps, even when he isn't feeling all that well.  He slept for about 20-30 minutes.  After lunch he went back to our bed and slept for two hours.  I'm not quick to give the kids medicine to take their fevers down.  As long as they aren't miserable I let their bodies fight whatever is causing the fever.  But I could tell Alex was miserable so I gave him some medication.  He was in the upper 102's most of the day but at one point he hit 104 (under the armpit).  Poor guy.  And whenever he swallowed he winced.  Poor, poor guy.  He ended up taking a third nap later that day and still went to bed at 7pm.  So unlike Alex.

Sunday I stayed home from church with Alex and Aren while Biju took Ajay.  Alex was feeling a bit better but whatever he had wasn't gone for good.  He would be good for awhile, then down on the couch for awhile.  On Monday he was fever free but still had a touch of a sore throat.  Monday night he kept complaining of itchy feet.  He had gone outside earlier in the day without shoes and I told him he must have stepped on something.  He kept itching like crazy and couldn't get to sleep.  I gave him some tea tree oil to stop the itch but it didn't seem to work.  Then I soaked some paper towels in vinegar and put those on his feet, then slipped his socks on over top to keep them in place.  It seemed to work because he was finally able to fall asleep. 

A few hours later he was up in our bed again, he couldn't sleep because of the itch.  A couple of hours after that Ajay wound up in our bed with severe ear pains.  Biju finally got out of bed a little after 3am and said he might as well go in to work because he wasn't sleeping, anyway. 

I took Ajay in to the doctor that morning who confirmed he had a pretty nasty ear infection.  He also confirmed that both Aren and Alex had Hand Foot and Mouth.  Luckily, Alex's itches had subsided and he was just left with the newly formed blisters. 

We decided to treat Ajay's ear infection with garlic oil instead of antibiotics. 
Ajay with ear pain, garlic oil dropped in his ear, warm corn bag on top.

He seems to be perfectly fine now!  A couple of days of drops (warmed olive oil mixed with chopped garlic, strained, sucked up into a syringe) and he was no longer in pain.  I would've given him a few more days of drops but Aren climbed up on the counter and squirted garlic oil everywhere. By then Ajay wasn't in pain anymore so I just didn't make anymore up.

Ear infection gone, blisters drying up, we thought we were good once again.  However, by the time the next Sunday rolled around, Aren had a fever.  104.9 under the armpit!  He wasn't miserable, though, just really cuddly.  We gave him some medicine at bedtime and he slept through the night and didn't have a fever again.  He did, however, have a lot of yucky stuff coming out of his nose and a rough sounding cough.  He still has a bit of a cough but feels fine.  Alex has started in on a heavy cough, though, so I'm hoping it doesn't escalate.
Cuddling with Daddios.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Halloween Outing

We have started a new tradition, I believe.  Last year and this year my sister has come over with her husband and daughters on Halloween night.  We eat dinner and then get dressed up to go out!  Biju hangs out at the house to pass out candy to any Trick-or-Treaters that come our way. 

Ajay had originally wanted to be an OompaLoompa but then he changed his mind.  He continued changing his mind until the morning of Halloween.  He wanted to be a skeleton.  We'd had a costume from two years ago so that is what he put on.  Next year I'll ask him to make up his mind early on so we can make the costume with plenty of time and he won't have the option of changing his mind daily!

Alex, also, changed his mind.  He was going to be Spiderman but the day before he decided he wanted to be a Ninja.  Fine by me - we had everything we needed already hanging up in his closet.  Black clothes.  Done.

Aren really didn't tell me what he wanted to be so I gave him some inspiration.  I crocheted up a hat and dug into a box of clothes to complete his costume.  The overalls, I believe, were my older brother's from when he was Aren's age. 

Aren - Minion, Alex - Ninja, Ajay - Skeleton
Shelly had brought over some face paint for her girls so we used some yellow and put it on Aren's face to help aid the costume.  Alex told several people that I made his Ninja mask out of a t-shirt.  (Thank you, YouTube videos!). 

Here is the whole crew ready to go out.  Paige was also a Skeleton - girl style, Kyleigh was a Fairy Princess and Audrey was a Fox.  That evening was the first time I'd heard/seen "What Does the Fox Say?" - How could I have missed out on such a world-wide sensation??

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A fun mess

When Ajay was little, he would have a "parent educator" come play with him once a month.  She would play with Ajay and give me handouts as to what I should expect at each current age.  She would also help gauge if he was on track, developmentally.  Once he graduated from the program, at age 3, she no longer came for visits.  Since Ajay already went through the program and I was given all of the handouts, Alex wasn't eligible for the program.
When we moved last year, we moved into a new school district which opened up an opportunity for Aren to get the same type of visits.  Once a month for almost a year now (except for the summer months), Miss E. has been coming to play with Aren.  She brings blocks to stack - he thinks it's just fun, she uses it to check his motor skills.  She brought puzzle bears - you can change their clothes and their faces with different expressions.  Again, fun for him, but she uses it as a tool to teach emotions.

For his October visit she brought a big plastic tray and some shaving cream. 
Have you ever seen a small child play with shaving cream?  Some might be tentative, some might not like the mess. 

Aren dug right in.  And Alex played along, as well.  After awhile there was no holding back and it got quite messy! 

I had shaving cream on my hands as well, but in the end I just couldn't resist getting my camera! 

Can you see it in Aren's hair?  Can you even find Alex's hands?
Going all in!

Knee deep in fun!!
About this time we decided to reign in the chaos and get the boys cleaned up.  Aren, at almost two and a half, had no qualms about stripping down in front of Miss E.  I turned on the faucet in the tub to wash off the plastic tray and when I turned around, Aren was neked and ready for a bath!  Alex, on the other hand, thankfully, was a bit more shy.  He waited until she was gone before he hopped in the shower. 

Miss E. asked how likely I would be to do this activity with the boys.  I told her, honestly, not very likely.  Unless it is during the summer months and they can go outside!  (Even putting them in the tub for this might cause more mess than I care to clean up!)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pumpkin Guts

Our porch was decked out with some painted pumpkins, yet it was still missing something.  We needed a few more pumpkins - carved pumpkins!
Time to get started!  Earlier in the day we had picked up a little carving kit from Dollar Tree.  The kit worked better than I thought it would!

Ewwww, all slimy and stuff!

Pumpkin carving made complete by sipping on some spiced tea!

Aren got a little help from both Mommy and Daddy. 

Our Halloweenish counter top.  Apples, tomatoes from our backyard, goody buckets ready to go Boo a couple of neighbors, some S'mores apple treats won from Bunco the previous night, and the carved pumpkins.  Oh, and a little candy package - candy wrapped in tissue paper, tied with a little fabric leaf.  I made about 40 of these for Ajay's and Alex's Fall Class Parties.  (And the pan on the far left is full of pumpkin guts - see photo above this one - which I cleaned up to make roasted pumpkin seeds.)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Biju and I were in the kitchen one evening and the boys were downstairs.  I peeked over the stairs and saw all three cuddled up watching TV.  Aww!

Skype keeps us close with those in India!

A baby shower!!

There will be a new baby soon!!  Our good friend Erin and her husband, Casey, are expecting a little girl in the next couple of weeks.  We can't wait to meet her! 
We threw Mama a baby shower a few weeks back to help get ready for Baby.
Delicious cupcakes, some nuts and mints, and a spot of tea and punch.  Yum!

Erin playing with Aren and her niece, with Lisa alongside.


Here is a carseat blanket - hopefully the right size.  It came out a bit smaller than I had anticipated.

Here is another shot of it.  The "holes" in the center are for the carseat buckles to clip around.  This way the blanket won't fall off yet it doesn't affect the safety of the carseat.

Aren and some of the other little guests at the party played with the discarded tissue paper.

Erin, seated, then me, Natalie, Janel, Lisa and Morgan.  And Aren, too.

After the shower we went out to dinner.  I'm not sure why, but Aren felt the need to take his shirt off.  I'm glad he had another shirt on underneath!

Aren conked out for the 1.5 hour drive back home.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sweet Flowers

 Here are some shots of the flowers and plants after they filled in some throughout the summer/start of fall.  I thought Biju's parents would be interested in seeing how everything looked

When I took these pictures a month or more back the mums hadn't quite filled in yet.  There were still a lot of blooms yet to open.  Now, though, everything has blossomed and filled out.  It is interesting seeing which plants like the cooler weather and which ones don't!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Raccoon #5

 Ajay's class had their Fall Program in early October.  He was Raccoon #5 and had a line ("Yo, dudes, what's happenin'?")
We were to dress him up in black and white to make him look like a raccoon.  The note sent home stated we could paint on a mask and whiskers, etc.  I decided to crochet the mask and paint the rest. 

A mask with some ears!

Ready to go!

Raccoons (and other wild animals) in action!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin Painting

In my last post I mentioned we went to a Pumpkin Patch and picked out some pumpkins.  Once we had those in our possession the boys barely let me rest until we decorated them. 
I set them up on the front porch with some paints and they got busy.  The neighbor kids were even around to watch and share their opinions.
Since I didn't have enough pumpkins for everyone, I gave the neighbor kids some construction paper to paint on.  They thought that was just as fun.

Alex all done with his - stems and all!

Ajay working diligently on his. 
 Unfortunately, we used water based paint and when it rained a week later we lost a lot of the designs.  You can still see some, though, and the boys aren't upset. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Did you know? (pssspsspss-Pandora-psspsss-Halloween-pssspsspsss!)

Did you know Pandora has a Halloween Party Radio station?? 

We discovered this a week or so back and have been enjoying it daily.  

Go check it out!  It will make your Halloween feel all festive and what-not! 

Pumpkin Patch 2013

Waaa-hoo!  I love fall!  The colors of the beeeyoootiful trees, the crispness in the air, partly cloudy days mixed with bright and sunny ones, soups, the decorations on houses that scream "Fall is HERE!" -- all that and more!

One signal of Fall's arrival is a trip to a pumpkin patch!  This year we went with our local Parents as Teachers group.  Unfortunately, Ajay didn't get to go with us since he was in school but since Alex only has half day Kindergarten he was able to go.

Waiting for our turn

A fun - huge - spider decoration
Finally on the trailers going out to the pumpkins.  The sun was too bright for Aren :)
There were 5 trailers attached to the tractor so the whole group could go out at once.

Time to find just the right ones!  They each got a medium sized pumpkin and a little one.  I chose a couple to bring home for Ajay.

After we were done picking out the pumpkins we had to wait for the tractor to come back.  The boys found some caterpillars to keep them company.

Aren ended up with one on his shirt!

Riding back, showing off our prizes!

There were some great inflatables for the kids to play on.  Here, Alex is giving Aren a hand up and over.

Alex helping Aren, again.  Going up the "ladder" to a big slide.

Yay!  They made it to the top without falling!

Aren liked it so much he ran back around to climb up again.  This time he felt more comfortable going on his own.

This one was a LOT bigger.  Alex went up/down a few times but Aren never did make it to the top of this one.

There were some fun tricycles to ride around the track. Aren needed a bit of help since his feet couldn't reach the pedals.

This row of trikes was adult sized!  And yes, I DID go for a ride around!  It was quite fun :)

Right before we left Alex wanted to crawl through the pipes.  They were made of concrete so he had to be careful not to bonk his head.
Alex even got to go to a second patch a week or two after this visit.  His kindergarten class took a field trip to one.  The way he described it, it was just as much fun - or even more!