Monday, February 24, 2014

farm day

Everyone has talked about it, so I will say it here on my blog too - this winter has been soooo cold and we have been stuck inside through most of it. Cabin fever? We have it. But this weekend, the weather warmed up enough for us to be outside. So off to the farm (Frying Pan Farm Park) we went! Will had asked to go several times in the last month so we knew it would be a fun outing for him. As for Anna...well, she would just have to tolerate.

We got there early in the morning and the ground was slushy and wet from snow/rain, but we all had a good time despite the mud we tracked back to our just-vacuumed minivan. Will's excitement was contagious and I just loved watching him being in awe with all those animal creatures.

Inside the barn, he saw tiny piglets chasing one another and then when the mama pig came in + laid herself down, all the piglets rushed over for milk. So cute. I was outside with Anna so I didn't see it myself, but Luke said Will was curious about everything. He touched a sheep, too.
The farm wasn't big, so it was easy to see everything in 30 minutes. Along the trail, we saw chicken goats, sheep, cow, and peacock. Will was into them all, got right up against the fences. I didn't get a single picture of him looking at the camera.
The biggest hit for Anna was these tractors for little kids to climb, sit, and drive. We played here at the begining of the visit, but at the end, when Will went to re-visit some animals, Anna came here to play more and had the whole area to herself. She really loved it. I am just glad that she found something she liked at the farm, since her unenthusiastic feelings toward animals remained unchanged.
This little outing got me excited about spring and summer when we can be out and about all the time. Simpe and easy outings like this is all I need.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Easy Cupcake Toppers

Alternative title: Laminating is my new hobby.
Anna's birthday is coming right up in less than a month. Seriously?! I can't believe I am going to have a 4 year old soon...but that's another post for another day. Today is all about these cupcake toppers that I just made.

Ever since Anna requested Pooh bear cupcakes to bring to school on her birthday, I have been thinking about how to make it happen. Sure, I could buy the toppers, such as these or these, but I thought it would be a fun project to take on. Not to mention it would cost a lot less.  

So here is how I made these tiny 1 1/4" round toppers that will go perfectly on those mini cupcakes that I plan to buy from the grocery store.

First I found some Winnie the Pooh graphics online and adjusted them to size. Then I picked one of my recent favorite pictures of Anna and adjusted that to size too. I did all this in Word and printed on regular copier paper.
For this project, I broke out my laminator for the first time, which was actually Luke's Christmas present to me from 2 years ago. It worked GREAT. I fed the two sheets in the picture above through the machine, one at a time.
Punch, punch, punch.
My original plan was to secure a toothpick between two circles to make the toppers, like what I had done before, but it looked bumpy and flimsy. So I figured that since the toppers are plastic, it's okay to just stick them right into the frosting of the cupcakes.
It was Luke's idea to run the circles through the machine one more time to seal it all.
But by then the sheet was too thick for the hole punch so he had to cut them by hand. All 22 of them.

(I love my assistant!)
Well, I think these toppers turned out pretty darn cute and Anna is pleased. And I was right, this project was $0 from start to finish (I had all the supplies already). It was also super fun to finally use my little toy. I am hooked. What else can I laminate next?

I hope to join Anna and her classmates for cupcakes on the big day, so I will be back with the toppers in action later!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Organizing Kids Art and Craft Supplies

I had been wanting an over-the-door shoe organizer ever since I read this post on organizing art and craft supplies. Immediately after I finished reading, I added a shoe organizer to my Amazon shopping cart...and then I mulled over it...for the next 3 months.

So when Luke came home with a $6 shoe organizer on Valentine's Day from Walmart, forget roses and chocolates, it was the most romantic present ever. Haha. Previously we stored our day-to-day supplies (crayons, watercolor, markers) in a big plastic bin. It sat in the family and the kids had access to it whenever they wanted. It worked fine, but things got buried under things and I personally didn't like the messy look of it.

I should also mention that supplies that require supervision (pom-poms, foam stickers, bottles of paint, glitters) sat elsewhere in various spots.

I love my new shoe organizer. It's clear so I can see exactly what I am looking for and it doesn't take up any space. One thing I don't like about my shoe organizer: it doesn't hold ALL of our supplies (the ones that require supervision), so things are still not all centrally located.

But it's definitely an improvement! There are still a couple of empty slots, so room to grow.  The kids help themselves to whatever in the bottom 3 rows and I save the upper 3 for off-limit ones. As for the bin in the family room, it's still there, but now it holds coloring books, hole punches, various papers, a tub of pip-squeaks markers, and it is much more manageable.
shoe hanger craft supplies
I am sure things will get moved around and new things will get added, but so far this is how I have arranged it. Love IT!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, February 14, 2014

a snowy valentine's day


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Friday, February 7, 2014

Glow Stick Valentines

I am so excited about Anna's "You Make Me Glow!" Valentines for her classmates. They turned out just like I imagined and Anna can't wait to give them out at school next week!

The hardest part was getting Anna to cooperate, but once I got the shot, it was a very fun project for me. Have I mentioned it before how much I love school projects?
Using Photoshop, I enhanced the photo and added text and hearts - strategically to cover the light switch and wall decor - using different shades of pink. And just for the record, I wanted to use shades of blue, to match her shirt, but she wanted pink. All pink.
valentines 2014
Then I just ran to the nearest Walgreen and printed 20 4x6 prints.
Luke had just gotten back from a week of traveling, but we wasted no time in putting it all together. He made two slits near Anna's hand and carefully slid a glow stick through.
And that's it. Done.
I am looking forward to next Friday to see what she brings home!

(As usual, this is not my original idea. It's from here.)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


This is the note that I helped (ahem, made) my almost 4-year old write, to remind me that she wants a Pooh bear birthday party:
I wanted her to write, "Mama, I want a Pooh bear party, please."

Can anyone make out what she wrote?

(It's the title of this post.)

She was sooo proud of herself nonetheless. As was I!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy Year of the Horse

Happy Lunar New Year! According to the Chinese zodiac, it is the Year of the Horse – which is MY year.

If you are quick with the zodiac, you know just how old I am turning this year. Hint -- the number is HIGH.

Luke is also a horse so we consider it a big year for us. He and I have been talking about going on a trip this year, leaving the kids at home. At first it seemed very likely that he would make his numbers at work and we would get to go on an all expenses paid vacation to Aruba...but now he isn't so sure.

We are long overdue for a vacation just the two of us so I want to go somewhere either way. And now that I said it here on the blog, I am forced to make it happen, right?

Anyway, we celebrated our Chinese New Year reunion dinner at Luke's parents' house – as we do every year. His mom single-handily cooked for all 14 of us. As always there was lots of food, red envelopes, and cousins time.
But what is different every year is how old the kids are. They interact and play little bit differently each time we have this reunion. It really is a measure of how all our lives are ticking along.
lunar new year 2014
This year, now that the kids are older, we attended a Chinese New Year festival nearby. There isn't much of a Chinese community where I live so the festival was very small, a little sad actually. But the kids saw a lion and dragon dance live on stage for the first time, and although the lions freaked them out, they LOVED the dragon.
Anna written in Chinese.
Have a prosperous horse year, everyone!

(previous years - 2011, 2012, 2013)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!