Thursday, December 24, 2009


Christmas day is only an hour away, and I haven't posted any pictures from the season. We've been too busy having Christmas fun! Here's a sampling of what we've been up to.

Picking out a Christmas tree

Decorating the tree

Visiting a live nativity

Visiting Santa

Riding the train at the mall

Baking cookies

Dressing up for Christmas Eve service

Falling asleep during church

Setting out cookies, milk, and carrots for Santa and the reindeer

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

It's National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan's Purse! This is one of my favorite seasonal projects to get involved in. Landon helped us pick out the items to fill our boxes, and he had a great time placing the items in the boxes. It's not too late to fill your own box with small toys, toiletry items, and school supplies that will be distributed to a child in need. These boxes show children just how much God loves them. See the Operation Christmas Child website for info on how to pack a box and where to drop it off. Also, this year, if you make your $7 donation online (covers distribution costs), you'll be able to find out what country your shoebox ended up in!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Free Thanksgiving Crafts eBook is offering a free book of Thanksgiving craft ideas. Scroll down to the end of the book to see several craft ideas for kids.

Friday, November 6, 2009


It's been so rainy here that we thought we'd missed our opportunity to play in the leaves this year. When our backyard was full of them, they were too soggy to play in. However, we discovered today that the front yard now has a nice supply, perfect for jumping in and tossing around.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


We've had a busy week of Halloween activities, and I've been meaning to post them as the week went along, but time got away from me. Here's some of what we've done:

Attended a Halloween-themed birthday party:

The kids wore costumes and ate Funfetti Halloween cupcakes with frosting pumpkins on top.

Went to a Trunk or Treat at Grandma and Grandpa's church:

This Trunk or Treat was held the weekend before Halloween and was a daytime activity. The kids could trick or treat from car to car, and there were a few games to play and snacks to eat, too.

Decorated pumpkins:

The top pumpkin was made with a Mr. Potato Head-type kit. Landon was able to be much more involved with decorating that one than he was with the jack-o-lantern. He named it Ham. As for the carved pumpkin, he told us what shapes to use for the face, but wasn't interested in hands-on involvement, such as scooping out the innards.

Made a pumpkin-shaped pizza for Halloween lunch:

Dressed in costumes:

Landon was a pirate, and since every pirate needs a parrot, Simon was his parrot.

And participated in our own church's Trunk or Treat:

Ours was held on Halloween during Trick or Treating hours in the evening. There were plenty of trunks to trick or treat at and hot dogs and hot chocolate to snack on. Landon is sitting in Daddy's Illini stadium-themed trunk.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Autumn at the Apple Orchard

We made our annual trip to the apple orchard today. We picked a bag full of apples. Landon's job was to put them in our bag. We tried to get him to pick them off the tree, but he claimed, "The leaves will get me." His favorite thing about the orchard was playing on their play equipment, and he was a big fan of the kettle corn, too. He picked out a small pumpkin to decorate; we'll get more pumpkins at a pumpkin patch next week. Simon had fun, too, but of course, he's not yet old enough to enjoy the best part: apple donuts!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Library Storytime

Does your library offer a story time for young children? Ours takes summers off, so this week was the first story time of the new school year. If you're not currently attending such a program, this is a great time of year to get involved. Ours offers stories, snacks, and sometimes little activities too. Attending story time introduces us to new books and gives Landon a chance to interact with other children his age. Contact your local library for information on story time or other preschool activities they might offer.

Rainy Day Activities Download--Today Only!

Freebie of the Day is offering a free download today of an e-book full of ideas of rainy day activities for kids. It will only be available today (Oct. 8), so get it while you can! If your weather is anything like ours is today, it might come in handy. It's raining buckets here!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

CVS Summer Deals

If you are in the market for any summer toys and you have a CVS nearby, head over there soon for some great deals. My local store had 90% off summer merchandise, including sandals, this week, so I picked up a 3-pack of small squirt guns for about 70 cents. Landon has been having a blast with them. (Mommy and Daddy think they're awfully fun, too.)

Marbled Paper

Here's another fun project from Family Fun Magazine:

Spread a smooth layer of shaving cream on a rimmed baking sheet (about 1/2 inch thick). Drip drops of food coloring on the shaving cream and swirl them around (we used a craft stick). Lay a piece of cardstock on the cream and press lightly. Lift it up and use a squeegee to remove the shaving cream. You're left with a colorful, marbled creation!

Landon loves this activity and will make several paintings in one sitting. It's definitely an outdoor activity, so do it now before the weather gets too cool!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Noodle Sprinkler

Family Fun magazine's latest issue had instructions for making a sprinkler out of a pool noodle. It was super easy, and Landon had a blast with it. If I were to make another one, though, I think I'd spread the holes out more; right now I have them about 3 inches apart. If there were less holes, the water might shoot up higher out of them.

Speaking of Family Fun, it's a great resource for all kinds of fun activities to do with your kids, especially seasonal ones. I got my subscription free (I think it was a bonus that came with an order I placed on, but I plan to renew it when my free one ends. It looks like a 10-issue subscription costs about 10 dollars.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Fair

Landon has been looking forward to the fair for an entire year. We kept telling him that in the summer--when it was hot--it would be time for the fair. He was so happy that fair day had finally arrived today. This morning he asked me, "Is it hot for the fair?"

He had a blast today. He ate fries, funnel cake, and other fair food, checked out the petting zoo, and rode plenty of rides (some with Daddy and some by himself). He's already looking forward to next year's fair.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Critter Construction Book--Free Resource (Today Only!)

Freebie of the Day is offering a great resource for little ones today: The Critter Construction Book. It's completely free, but it's available today (8/4) only. Here's the description from the site:

This little book was originally produced by the author and her son for a group of preschool HeadStart children and was designed specifically so the kids could cut out a set of basic shapes and then create the “critters” herein with their parents. New designs have been added to the originals over the years until now there is an entire menagerie of critters to create. See if your little ones can put together the ones here… and perhaps create some new ones on their own!

Visit to download your copy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Anniversary Picnic

Today was our 7th wedding anniversary, and since last week was extremely busy with VBS, we decided to take today off of work and spend time together as a family. We took the kids to a local nature preserve for a picnic. We played on the playground, ate lunch, and took a walk (with Landon on his tricycle). The weather was beautiful, and it was a perfect day to hang out outside together.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Relaxing Summer Evening

We set up Landon's pool and sprinkler tonight. He enjoyed splashing around, and Simon spent some time hanging out in his little cabana.

Vacation Bible School

Yesterday we finished up our week of Vacation Bible School at church. This was Landon's first year in the preschool class. The preschoolers joined the big kids for singing during the opening and closing each night, and then with their own group they watched little movies, made crafts, ate snacks, and heard Bible stories. They even got to make the snacks for the entire VBS crowd one night; Landon wasn't too interested in helping with that, though. In fact, he spent a lot of time this week just watching what was going on (for example, he and several of the other preschoolers chose to sit and watch during last night's closing program instead of going up on stage to sing with the other kids), but he came home with several completed craft projects each night, learned several new songs that he enjoys singing, and had a fun time with his friends.

Our theme was Crocodile Dock. At the kickoff carnival last Sunday, he made a crocodile mouth cookie. It has pink icing on the bottom cookie, green on the top one, and four mini marshmallow "teeth" between the two cookies.

The preschoolers went to the crafts station every day, where they got to make the same projects as the big kids. They also did some coloring sheets and stickers there, plus they did an art project in their classroom each night.

Landon had a great time at VBS this week! Several times today he's asked why we're not going again tonight. I'm glad he had so much fun!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Toddler Camp

This afternoon Landon participated in a Toddler Camp offered through our local conservation district. Our topic was caterpillars and butterflies.

After some books about caterpillars and butterflies and a reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we headed outside to learn more about what it's like to be a caterpillar or butterfly.

Here Landon's pretending he's in a chrysalis.

He's carrying his butterfly wings.

And sucking nectar from flowers with his straw-like mouth.

Back inside, we did a few projects, including decorating butterflies. To learn about symmetry, the kids painted one wing, then folded the paper in half to transfer the design to the other side.

The kids ended their camp with pretzels and baby carrots that they could arrange to look like butterflies and "flower nectar" (lemonade) that they drank through straws, like butterflies use their straw-like mouths.

Landon had a lot of fun at camp. Next year I'll register earlier so we'll be able to sign up for more than one session.

Fourth of July

We had a very rainy holiday. It rained all day long. We went to the parade anyway.

Landon has a rain cover for his stroller, so he didn't mind the rain at all. He liked the fire truck and the drums.

We had red, white, and blue treats. We made apple muffins in star-spangled muffin cups and ice cream sandwiches with homemade chocolate chip cookies and patriotic sprinkles.

We took the ice cream sandwiches to a "cookout" at our friends' house. The town fireworks were postponed, but the kids looked out the window to see ones that people were setting off in the neighborhood. Landon thought those were great, but when we walked out to the car, he stopped liking them. Seeing them from inside made him feel much safer. We could have gone to the rescheduled display on Sunday night, but we decided that he needed to get to bed early that night instead. Since I don't think he would have enjoyed it anyway, I didn't feel bad that he missed out.

Landon and Simon

Friday, July 3, 2009

Toddler Racer Recall

Last summer I linked to our Toddler Racer pool boat. These were recently recalled, so if you have one, please stop using it and contact Aqua-Leisure for a refund.

Superspiral Spinkler

We tried out our new Little Tikes Superspiral Sprinkler today. It was a big hit. It took Landon a bit to warm up to it, but by the end of the day, he was sticking his face right in the spray.

The sprinkler comes with four balls that you drop into the spiral chute, and the water shoots them back out the top. If the sprinkler's positioned just right, the water will keep the ball suspended in the air for a while.

From the above link, it looks like these retail for about $25, but we got ours for only $10, perhaps because the box was broken. However, it's been a great toy so far, so I'd pay more than $10 for it.

We're taking it to a little July 4th get-together tomorrow. Hopefully the other kids have as much fun with it as Landon does.

Our little summer trip

We took a trip to my parents' last week and filled our time with quite a few summer activities, including park after park, the zoo, and the pool.

We also participated in a kids' fun run--an organized event where children run around a track. Each kid got a ribbon and treats after completing his/her run. It sounds like many communities offer running activities like this one, so it might be worth checking into whether there's one in your area. Landon had a lot of fun, and if we lived closer, we'd participate again.

Landon at the fun run with Daddy and Grandpa

One of our many park visits. He's wearing swim trunks because the park had a splash area, but he wanted nothing to do with that. He much preferred the playground equipment.

This is the only picture I managed to get at the zoo. It's not too good, but it's all I have. Once again, he's wearing his swim clothes for the splash area, but he didn't play in it.