Sunday, October 30, 2016

Week In Review: October 24 - October 26

It was a short daycare week (thanks to a couple of scheduled days off for me), but we packed quite a bit into our three days! A few of the kiddos still weren't 100%, so we had some quiet activities and down time planned too. The highlight was ending our week with Halloween cookie decorating!

Here's a glance at our three day week:

The kids painted a big pumpkin and then we made a "tree" from a half gallon milk jug to put all of the Scratch Art leaves on. Both turned out great!

We did a couple of cookie cutter paintings: ghosts (which the kiddos had some help with, obviously!) and Halloween cookie cutter paintings. The cat cookie cutter seemed to be a favorite to use.

How one and two year olds "build sompting." Dump all of the building toys into a pile, mix them around, strategically place one small toy on the very top, walk away from the masterpiece, and then get mad whenever someone walks too close to it (but they're allowed to stomp on it/fall on it/or kick it). I will say, they did pick it all up and put everything back into the correct bins!

I'm not particular about much (you really can't be when working with young children!) but all of the kids are incredibly particular about putting the toys back exactly where they go. There's even been a few meltdowns because a bin or doll wasn't placed exactly where they had found it.

So the cookie cutter picture doesn't have much to do with daycare (other than I bought the cookie cutter for playing with Christmas play dough in just a few short weeks), but I was shocked to find a finger print on the sticker that it took me a while to peel off. I've been reading and watching a few things lately about DNA evidence and transfers. I can completely understand it now.

The bigger kids loved getting creative with the sticker face pumpkins.

Pumpkin bowling was hilarious! I'm not sure if it was because of how young all of the kiddos are or if they're just really gentle kids (definitely the most gentle group of kids I've had yet), but they oh so softly rolled the pumpkin on the floor, only to watch it get stuck after a few inches of rolling. It didn't seem to discourage the kids though, who just kept lightly pushing it until it rolled into the "ghost" toilet paper rolls.

Sugar cookie decorating didn't go as expected either. Since the kiddos are all pretty young I expected a big mess between the frosting and the sprinkles. Instead they were all very careful with the frosting as they didn't want to get any on their fingers and none of them would grab the sprinkles themselves (I had to reassure them all several times that they could touch the sprinkles and put them on their cookie). Half of the kids didn't even eat a cookie because they didn't like the mess! Not what I was expecting at all, but the kitchen remained clean.

Play dough and Halloween cookie cutters playing lasted ALL afternoon for the kiddos! And this did make a big mess! I used green apple conditioner and cornstarch mixed together to make the play dough, so it crumpled fairly quickly.

"I'm a zombie!!" she said as she chased another child with dirty hands (the other child did not find this funny).

The Halloween sunglasses and witches fingers were a hit!

Playing pumpkin bags.

The minis and I ended our week with a pumpkin shaped pepperoni pizza! 

Next week we'll have one more day of Halloween activities, then have a week filled with fall before jumping into our Thanksgiving theme. We've got quite a few sensory activities lined up for the week ahead, a couple of art projects, and a leaf hunt in the backyard.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Weekend Planner

Night Eyes at the BPZ 2015

What We're Doing:

  • A special Mom and Minis Day. We had a three day weekend and we're using one day to explore around Central Iowa
  • Spooky Science at the Science Center of Iowa
  • Jester Park Equestrian Center's Halloween and spooky hike
  • A birthday party
  • Trick or Treating around the 'hood 
Other Things To Do:
Things To Do In Central Iowa:
  • Family Halloween at Living History Farms
  • Nights Eyes at the Blank Park Zoo
  • Great Pumpkin Celebration at Bass Pro Shops (Altoona, Ia)
  • Mysteries of the Castle at Salisbury House & Gardens
  • Scare Us Hill Pumpkin Ball
  • Dowling Catholic Pancake Breakfast (Iowa State Fairgrounds)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Day We Overruled Our Children

Believe me when I say I am not a pushover parent. I don't give in (at least when it matters), I'm strict with bed times on school nights, eating what's on your plate or you don't eat at all, brushing teeth, whining doesn't get you anything, etc. Of course there's the times I do give in: just one cookie before bed, PLEASE!!??! Fine, it's the end of the night anyways. I actually firmly believe in letting my kids choose things for themselves and hearing their opinions. Sometimes it works out, sometimes I have to pull the Mom Card that says mom trumps all. But let's face it, we're two adults against three energy filled kids. The kids win out on A LOT (if you have less than three kids, you will not understand this feeling to the fullest. If you have three or more children, likely you'll be fist bumping me through your screen).

A lot of the time we just don't have the energy to put up a fight. I try to remember the saying "pick your battles" when it comes to things. If it's not life or death or involves anything with hygiene, the minis typically win the argument. Except when it came to picking out Halloween costumes this year.

Every year we've let them be whatever they've wanted to be. They have loads of fun scouring costume aisles and stores deciding on that "perfect" costume. Hubs and I have envisioned family theme costumes every year, but we've never pushed for it because we didn't want to deal with the wrath of the children. Plus, Halloween only comes once a year, they should get to pick out what they want. Well this year they already had the costumes that they wanted to wear in mind and the oldest mini even had a costume already (that lucky duck talked us into two costumes last year and didn't even wear the second one!). So we headed to Target one night to grab the desired costumes quickly. Of course, much like everything else, it didn't go as smoothly as I imagined it would.

As soon as we hit the Halloween section, the minis suddenly changed their minds about what they wanted to be. The oldest threw a fit because he suddenly decided Ant Man wasn't good enough, but being a pirate for Halloween was his true calling. The middle mini forgot about the costume he had been talking about for months and tried to talk me into one of the most expensive costumes Target carries. The youngest mini wanted to wear an Ariel wig with an Ana AND Rapunzel costume together.

Hubs and I couldn't take it. A set of costumes caught our eyes (at nearly the exact same time) and together, in public (which we avoid doing because, well, judgers) we shouted at the whiny, fussy, and tearful minis "no! You're not getting any of those costumes, even the ones you picked out before." As you can imagine there were tears. Lots of them. A Target employee even came to check on us to make sure everything was okay. 

Mom and Dad can be such assholes sometimes, buying everyone new costumes and an assortment of other things. God forbid mom and dad get their way once in a blue moon!

"No one's dying," I assured her as the minis struggled to breathe through their horrifying tears. Hubs and I grabbed our theme costumes for everyone in the family and told the kids THIS is what we're wearing. They weren't thrilled. They informed us they were skipping trick or treat this year. We said fine, ignored them, and bought the damn costumes WE WANTED. Yes, we got something we wanted. We overruled them on something very trivial and it was totally worth it!

We debuted our costumes this past weekend. We went as breakfast (in jammies and all. We didn't push for them to wear our matching pajamas).

It's so funny how the kids that fought us on these costumes suddenly LOVE them. The oldest mini even went to a birthday party with friends and wore the donut costume because "it's my favorite Halloween costume I've had." I don't foresee us picking battles like this one often, but this is one time I'm glad we did. Sometimes, mom and dad just need a stupid, trivial win just to remind everyone that we are in fact in charge.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Our Weekend Before Halloween

This year we did a family costume theme: BREAKFAST!

Thank goodness I was feeling better this weekend because we had all sorts of plans and lots fun! Friday night the boys went to a Haunted House and us girls had a girls night at home, Saturday morning we ran errands, Saturday afternoon there was this little thing called a nap that was heavenly, and Saturday night we spent with family, Sunday we ran more errands (it's never ending really) and ended the weekend at Night Eyes at The Blank Park Zoo. It was all so much fun!

Friday night the boys went to a Haunted House, well two of them at least. The middle mini (Harrison) and Matt went through, but the oldest mini freaked out at the entrance and would not go through the haunted house at Linn's Supermarket. Luckily the ticket ladies were kind enough to let him hang out with them while Hubs and Harrison went through. Harrison has teased Max relentlessly since then saying, "oh, the BIG BOYS went through the haunted house, but the little boy had to sit out."

Meanwhile, during the haunted house drama, lil Miss E and I had a girls night. I painted her nails, we watched The Little Mermaid, and made fall popcorn balls. It was a very fun, but a late night (as was the theme for the weekend it seems).

Saturday morning we did some grocery shopping (at our favorite HyVee), got our costumes ready for trick or treating, and went to Toys R Us for another round of birthday present shopping for friends.

They got some excellent ideas for Christmas in the Lego aisle!

Saturday night the oldest mini had his best friend's birthday party to attend (they went trick or treating at Living History Farms Family Halloween. He must have had a great time because he won't stop talking about the night), so Hubs and I took the other two out to dinner (their choice) and then over to my Grandma and Grandpa's to see family. We all had an excellent night. When we got home, all of the minis were too wound up for they ran around, read books, and told ghost stories for an hour.

They picked El Rodeo for dinner. There was a lot of chips and salsa consumed by those two!

My Grandma Ann, Elizabeth Ann, and me (Ashlen Elizabeth). I love this photo!

Sunday morning we had more errands to run (I had to get supplies for the minis Halloween/Fall parties this week. Read more about that here) and had brunch at Perkins. In the afternoon the minis watched Halloweentown for the first time (yes, I consider this a Halloween show classic) and then we spent our evening at one of our favorite events: Night Eyes!

Playing games with dad while we waited for food.

My favorite breakfast (that I only have once or twice a year): eggs benedict, breakfast potatoes, and a peaches n' cream muffin.

Running errands just wouldn't be the same if we didn't have the windows down and the music blaring. Handclap is the minis current favorite to sing and dance to.

I snagged one too many good deals at Target, including these matching Christmas jammies with red noses! How could I pass them up??? I did, however, make the rule that they couldn't wear them until the day after Thanksgiving.

We also made a trip for mini pumpkins to Iowa Orchard, where we picked up $40 worth of little pumpkins and cherry apple cider!

After errands and resting a bit it was Night Eyes times! Night Eyes at the Blank Park Zoo is one of our favorite seasonal events. This year we all dressed breakfast!

Grandma and Grandpa Harmeyer joined in too!

Saying "Boooooooooo!" as we rode through the tunnel on the zoo train.

My sister is on the events team at the zoo. We're all so proud of her and this event!

The minis and the tiger pacing right behind them!

These lucky minis even got to ride the carousel!

On the way home we drove by "the Halloween house" also known as our neighbor's who go all out for the holidays!

The minis went to way late for a Sunday night (Monday morning was rough). Hubs and I stayed up late and watched Halloween movies. My favorite part of this time of year is we try (and mostly succeed) to watch a scary movie every night. We watch the classics (Halloween, Nightmare On Elm Street, etc.) but we've also thrown in some one or both of us haven't seen (North by Northwest, Evil Dead, Invasion of the Body Snatchers). It's absolutely perfect: cool weather, cuddled up on the couch, and movies. It's a wonderful tradition!

Next weekend I have a four day weekend! I'm hoping to spend a fun day around the city with the minis, doing some fun Halloween festivities as well, and of course, trick or treating!