My Life of Travels and Adventures: November 2013

Thankful and Thanksgiving

30 November 2013

This past week, I had Reid paint some foam leaves to send to his Grandparents (and Aunt Kerrie) for Thanksgiving.
When he was painting them, I was talking to him about Grandma, Papa, Aunt Kerrie and everyone else.  
But let's face it.. He is not even two and didn't understand how thankful he (and we) should be to have such wonderful people in his lives.
So just enjoy some pictures of my cute kid painting with a paint brush.  
Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. 

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Alphabet Board - Toddler Teaching

25 November 2013

I try really really really hard not to compare Reid to other children.  Especially other children his own age.  But it is hard.

He barely said 5 words at 18 months but the little boy at Story Time knew his shapes... And they are the same age.  Yes, I may have asked Google if he was behind at that point.  Yeah.  I compared Reid and doubted me and him.  Stop doing that. 

Know that Reid's attention span is longer than 3 seconds and he will sit relatively still for a minute or two... I have started "teaching" him more things.  I guess I have been teaching and he has been learning all along.  But now I mean "school" things.  Letter's included.
When we moved, I painstakingly removed the Alphabet Wall from Reid's nursery.  I spent way too much of my pregnant time on those letters and am attached to them.  Once we moved in here and set up Reid's playroom, I knew I wanted to take the letters and make another Alphabet Wall for Reid.

I started our with an old piece of of plywood, painted it, sealed it... Had plans to make a frame and attached the letters... But never got around to it.  Now the space in his play room for the Alphabet Wall has been filled.  But I still needed those letters in this house.
So I made a Magnetic Alphabet Board...

One large oil drip pan.  Neil actually had this, unused, in the garage. 
Colored Duct Tape
Large Magnets
Letters.  Letters that were assembled with love.  Lots of hours of love.  
Hot Glue

1. I used the colored duct tape and made a boarder around the edge.  This was more of a necessity in our case than decorative.  Our 10 year old Oil Drip Pan had some 10 year old crud in the crevices that I could not get out.  

2.  Next I hot glued these large magnets to the back of each of my finished letters.  These are the wooden letters I used.  I also had the best luck with these large magnets.  I tried small, thinner magnets but several of them were not strong enough to hold one letter. 

3. The Pan is attached to the wall with the velcro picture hanger command strips.

4.  Enjoy.
Several times a day, Reid will go over to the Alphabet Board and pick out and point to letters.  I will ask him to show me different letters and will point out some letters to him also. 

When we first hung up this board... about 4 weeks ago.  Reid could recognize the letters C and O.  After 4 weeks of playing with his Alphabet Board he recognizes 14 letters.   (B, C, D, G, K, M, N, O, P, R, T, V, Y, Z)

Oh and because Neil complains that he doesn't always get credit in these types of post... Neil did hold the every so light pan to the wall for placement and while the command strips were applied.  He also arranged the letters for these pictures... All while sitting in a tiny chair.  Tiny chair, big man, too funny not to photograph.  So thank you Neil!

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Apple Pie Bars

22 November 2013

We are an apple loving family over here.  So much so that when one of our crisper drawers of apples was empty (The other being full of apples still), I panicked and bought another whole bushel. Yup, odd ducks here. 
With our love for apples comes a love for recipes containing apples... like this yummy Apple Pie Recipe.  Since we had an abundance of apples and I wasn't in the mood to make an apple pie, I set off to make these Apple Pie Bars.  
Reid had a blast helping stir the uncooked apple slices for me.  And eating a ton of them.  He is in a helping mood lately.  Although it is cute and I encourage it... It is messy and makes everything take twice as long as needed. But they are only little once right?
So we made these Apple Pie Bars and had them ready for when Neil got home from work.  They turned out scrumptious and have made for a perfect before bed snack each night. 

For the Crust:
1.5 Cups Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1 C Butter
1 Egg

For the Apple Layer:
8-10 Medium Apples, Peeled and sliced
1/2 Cup Apple Sauce, I used cinnamon apple sauce.
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tsp Cinnamon

For the Topping:
3/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup softened Butter cut into small cubes
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Coat a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray.
3. Mix all the ingredients for the crust together.  Firmly press the crust into the bottom of the pan evenly.
4. Bake for 15 minutes.
5. While the crust is baking, peel and slice the apples.
6. In a large pot, mix the sliced apples with the other "apple layer" ingredients.
7. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Stirring occasionally.
8. In bowl, mix the ingredients for the topping together.  This mixture will be dry and crumbly.
9. Once the crust is finished cooking, reduce oven heat to 350F.  Poke whole throughout with a fork.
10. Once the apples are finished cooking, spread the apple layer onto the cooked crust.
11. Sprinkle the topping layer onto the apples evenly.
12.  Cook for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool before cutting.
13. Enjoy warm or refrigerate and keep for several days.
Do you love apples?  What about apple pie?  

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Toddler Boy's Wish List

21 November 2013

This week's Holiday Wish List is for Toddler Boys.  Be sure to check out the previous editions of my themed Holiday Wish List's... Runner's and Photographer's

I find shopping for other peoples kids to be hard and stressful.  What if they already have it?  Is it age appropriate?  Etc.  

This year Reid's Christmas list was both hard and easy.  

He is a toddler boy.  He loves cars, trucks, trains and farm animals.  So yeah.  That is pretty much his list. 

From Santa
1. Train Table - Reid loves playing with trains and loves playing on train tables.  We had plans to make him a train table for Christmas but... well... I couldn't wait.  We made him a train table last month and it has been a huge hit ever since.  
2. Folding Wagon - We are at the stage where the stroller is fun, but only if I am running behind it.  Going for walks or outings in the stroller is not toddler approved.  I saw this folding wagon being used at the fair last summer and fell in love.  It folds small enough to fit in the trunk of car with room for groceries and other stuff.  I'm sold!
3. Play Grill - Reid loves to help in the kitchen and thanks to our Kitchen Helper I have been letting him.  However, sometimes its not appropriate for the hands to be helping.  So I am hoping that by setting up his own grill (and kitchen), I can get a couple minutes alone to handle the knife work at the counter.
4. Play Kitchen - See above for the reasons why we need this.
5. Little People Farm - Reid loves his little people farm.  I picked it up at a consignment sale for a few bucks.  Best money spent!  I actually purchased another farm (or 2) for him for Christmas with a couple Fisher Price Coupons.
6. Tricycle - We have a tricycle very similar to this one that was handed down to us from my Sister-In-Law.  We used it quite a bit last summer for short walks around town and will be using it again this summer.  It has buckles to hold Reid in and push bar / steering for me.  Love it!
7. Tool Bench - Again this is one of the things we already have as a hand me down.  Reid has just started to play with his tool bench more and more recently.
For the Stocking
1. Hot Wheels Cars - I feel like this is a no brainer.  Don't all little boys love cars at some point?
2. Flash Cards - We have started pointing out different letters and numbers to Reid recently and he has started catching on fairly quickly.  In an effort to have something a little educational at Christmas, Reid will be getting number and letter flash cards.
3. Crayons - Crayons.  I love them and hate them.  Reid loves to color and it keeps him occupied for a while.  However, he still doesn't always stay on the paper.  Hence the hate.  (But nothing a magic eraser can't clean up)
4. Travel Doodler - I saw this in the store and fell in love.  Think car travel.  This is perfect for a trip in the car.  Reid can draw and I don't have to worry about a mess.  Love it!
5. Puzzles - Reid has mastered his wooden puzzles lately and may be ready to move onto a little harder puzzles shortly.
6. Trains - My kid loves trains.  He loves lining his toys up in a line and forming a train.  Trains will be making their way into his stocking this year.
7. Play Food - Play food to go with our play kitchen and grill.  Yup.  Will be happening this year too. 

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Ruler Growth Chart

20 November 2013

I saw this on Pinterest way back when Reid was a newborn and knew I needed one.  

I actually started this way back before Reid's First Birthday Party... but it took a year and a move later for me to finally get around to finishing it.  

1 -  8-10in x 6ft Board
Clear Coat

1. Stain board.  Staining was the easy part.  Selecting the color for the stain proved to be much harder. 
2. Once the stain was dry (or in my case... 6 months later), using a pencil mark off your inch marks.  I started with the bottom of the board being 6 inches... So the board would not be sitting on the floor but hanging above the baseboards on the wall.
(I did 1" marks on inches 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11, 1.5" marks on inch 3 and 9, 2 inch marks at the 6 inch mark and 2.5inch marks at the foot markings... If that makes sense).

3. Draw the numbers at the foot markings.  Again, I did this using pencil first.
4.  Trace over the pencil using a permanent marker and fill in the numbers.    I went with black for the traditional ruler look.
5. Seal with a clear coat (or two) and let dry completely.  (My dried for several weeks before we got around to hanging it up).

6.  To hang, we used these little picture hanging hardware straps.  (By we, I mean Neil... in this case).  We used 2 on the top and one on the bottom to hang in the ruler.

 Our ruler starts at 6 inches, which I thought was more than enough to come in overtop of the baseboard.  But not in this particular room.
Since Reid is now almost 2 and we are just getting around to hanging this, I am going to use his measurements from his Dr's appointments and mark off some on the ruler.

PS: I had a hard time taking a picture of this hanging.  The room is really small and the light/color of the walls makes everything tinted in photos.  Oh well.

So let's hear it... Where do you measure your children's growth at?  A door jamb, DIY ruler, or the Dr's office?  

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An Oh So Adorable Turkey Wreath

15 November 2013

It should come as no surprise that I like having our door decorated with the seasons and holidays.  So when I took down our Halloween Bat Wreath and had not immediate replacement, I had a mini panic attack.

Thankfully, this past week, a couple turkey wreaths on Pinterest caught my eye and after a trip to the craft store... I was set to get busy.


  • Styrofoam Wreath
  • Brown, Yellow, Black and Red Paint
  • 6 Pieces of felt
  • Hot Glue
  • Craft Sticks

1. First I painted the styrofoam wreath brown.  It took 2 coats to get all over coverage. 
2. Fold a piece of felt in half long ways (hot dog style... Do they still teach it that way?) and cut 2 feathers out of each piece.  
3. Repeat on 4 more pieces of felt for a total of 10 feathers.  Although I only used 9 feathers. 
4. The remaining brown piece of felt I folded into thirds the long way (hot dog style) and hot glue.  
5. Hot glue the feathers together.
6. Hot glue craft stick onto the ends of each feather, then create a skeleton with more craft sticks and hot glue so everything is attached. 
7. Hot Glue the wreath to the front of the feathers. 
8. Hot glue the remaining piece of felt around the wreath. 
9.  Using scraps of felt cut out your turkey face.  Paint each piece and attach with hot glue. 
10.  Hang and Enjoy! I used a pipe cleaner twisted around the craft stick skeleton to hang the turkey on the door. 

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Holiday Wish List - Runner's Edition

14 November 2013

Another week... Another Wish List.  

This week we are talking about Runners.  
For the Stocking:
1.  Leg Compression Sleeves or Compression Socks - These are like the best things ever.  After a long run (or walk or day around the house with a toddler), compression socks are the best.  Like a nice leg message.  Yummy!
2.  Ponytail Headband - This was a random buy while at Target in Omaha.  Random, yeah.  Good thing.  Yes.  I love that it has a spot for my ponytail.  Great.
3.  Running Socks  - I only run when wearing certain socks.  I hate the way normal socks rub all funny.    Running socks are great!
4.  iPhone Armband - Okay, I don't have one of these.  I don't run while listening to music so my phone is either in the stroller or running belt.  But if I did listen to music this would be perfect.
5.  Body Glide - Again, never used it.  But heard great things about it.  (I just wear enough clothing to cover everything that may rub!)
6.  Running Belt - I love mine.  These things stretch and hold so much.  An iphone, keys, chapstick, money and more...

From Santa:
1.  Foam Roller - This is another one of those things that runners love and I have never used.  I hear they help so much but again no personal experience.  Although next year I may be ordering one for all my training.
2.  BOB Stroller - Holy Moly, I love this thing.  Like almost more than my husband.  (Sorry Neil).  Running and pushing a 30lb kid in this and honestly, its not really that hard.  (Well the running is but pushing the toddler isn't.)  If you have a kid and plan on running, then buy a BOB!  Really!
3.  Running Shoes - Runners are particular on their shoes.  And go through them quickly.
4.  Subscription to Runners World - This is a great magazine for runners.  If your runner doesn't have a subscription then get them one.  They will appreciate it.
5.  Hydration Belt - I loved this when I was training for my half's.  Perfect for carrying some water, gatorade and a little snack.
6.  Garmin - Okay.  Every runner needs a Garmin.  Like for real.  Yeah, there are apps for your phone that can do most of this stuff but a Garmin is like 110% better.  For real.

Be sure to check out last week's Photographer's Wish List!

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Holiday Wishlist - Photographer Edition

07 November 2013

I decided to do a Holiday Wishlist Series this year... Revolving around themes happening in my household.   I am always looking for different ideas for all the different people in my life.  So hopefully something will catch your eye in this series.  Happy shopping!

This week let's shop for the Photographer's in your life!

Stocking Stuffers
1. Extra Lens CapsOk, please tell me that I am not the only one who is short a couple lens caps.  Anyone?  They are so easy to misplace.  I take the cap off, set it down somewhere, spend 20 minutes chasing around a toddler for one decent picture and then another 20 looking for that darns lens cap.  Total missing count currently: 1.  Not bad. 
2.Camera Strap:  For Mother’s Day, I got a new camera strap.  I love it.  It is longer than the original and perfect for wearing my camera across my body. 
3. Lens Cap Holder:  Did you read why I need extra lens caps?  See why I need this holder.  This is great.  It slides right onto your camera strap and then you always have a place for your lens cap.  Genius. 
4. Extra Memory Cards:  I have 3 now.  I could go for a couple more.  I number them and rotate through.  But I don’t think you can ever have too many memory cards.
5. LensPens Cleaning Pens: I am yearning over these.  So practical.  So perfect.  So necessary. 
6. Macro Filters:  I have read mixed reviews on macro filters.  But I want some.  I don’t do very much macro work and at this point feel that a macro lens would not be a good investment for me.  But these little guys look so neat.  Just to have on hand incase the need arises. 

From Santa
1. New lens:  If I had to pick one new reasonably priced lens, I think I would want a zoom lens.  I think.  I can see this coming in handy.
2. Card Reader:  Yeah, I know.  I should have one already.  I don’t. I want one though. 3. Editing Software: I am not a professional photographer.  Nor will I ever be.  I don’t have super fancy editing software.  I have PhotoShop Elements. But I do think editing software is a go. 4. Speedlight:  I haven’t used my speedlight that much since our move.  This house has more light coming in.  But I love mine.  I love the ability to redirect the flash. 5. Smugmug Subscription:  This may seem unnecessary to some.  But I also back my photographs up online. Smugmug is great in that you can upload (and download) full size/resolution photos.   Just in case my computer and hard drive go kaput together.  6. External Hard Drive:  As often as I see people moaning on facebook about loosing all their photos, this is a great investment.  Once a month, I move all my pictures to the external hard drive as a back up.  Just in case my computer goes kaput. 7. Camera Bag:  I have the Jo’s Totes, XXX bag.  I absolutely love it.  I searched through all sorts of camera bags to find the perfect one. It is the perfect size to hold my camera with lens, speedlight, 2 extra lenses, extra memory cards, charger, cables, and a snack!

Pictures are from Amazon.  Links are affiliates. 

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