Monday, August 31, 2009

Imagination Play

We finally got around to making our binoculars out of toilet paper rolls. I talked to her about it last week and she was excited, but we just didn't get in the craft room to make them until today. There will be more pictures of her making them on the Green Blog in a day or two. We made 2 sets of binoculars so that either mommy or daddy could have one when we were playing with her. After we finished making them and when I was working on another craft, she came back with a box from daddy and pretended to use it as a car and would drive it and said "I'm driving a car in the jungle and looking for lions." And then she would close her binoculars in on me and then yell "Rawrrrrrrr!" Before nap/storytime she made daddy go exploring for lots of animals around the house & in her bedroom. She thinks they are the neatest thing.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Making Crabapple Jam

Well, I thought I would google if I could make anything with crabapples. Turns out you can make jam/jelly or whole spiced crabapples (which then get used in a variety of other recipes).
I thought I would try the jam. So, this morning (while the power was out for some odd reason at our house and the neighbors too) we went out to pick 5 pounds of crabapples. Then while we watched a Sesame Street DVD we took the stems off. Finally, I was able to get to making it.
Isabel helped with clean-up and pouring in the sugar & stirring. Oh! And tasting too! You can see some jam on her chin that dripped off the spoon she was using to taste. So, in it's cooking state it passed the taste test for a 3 year old, daddy & mommy. So, I think we will have a new yummy jam. Who knew?!?!?!
We had too strong of winds & a late frost that pretty much destroyed all the blossoms on the apple trees (well, not to mention that one was removed after last year's storm and another one is pretty much dead because it was struck by lightning, so there is basically just 2 trees left.) So, anyways, I don't have any apples to make anything with and last year I got apples from a mom (who is getting married during prime apple picking time) and got grapes from a friend's daughter, so I don't know if either of those will be available to me this fall.

Past Couple Days

Yesterday morning we instroduced our friends Caitlin, Amelia & Gavin to the River Bend Nature Center. It is one of our favorite places to go. Since Isabel is familiar enough with a few trails, she was very excited to lead the way and show Amelia her favorite places which include the turtle pond, dry creek bed (where there are lots of rocks & we explore bigs & worms), and the "Kids In the Wild" area, as well as the indoor learning & play area.

I think we got them hooked because when it was time to leave they didn't want to go. It truly does amaze me how many people don't know that RBNC exists, especially when they have only lived 20 minutes away their whole life. But we are glad to introduce them and teach them about it.
The girls had so much fun uncovering rocks to discover worms of all kinds, roly-polys, slugs, caterpillars, and lots of other sorts of bugs. They got to see a daddy long legs and some frogs in the "Kids in the Wild" area. I love picking up the critters so that they feel comfortable touching them and don't become afraid of them. They had a lot of fun and I can tell Isabel is learning a lot from our adventures there because she will tell me/us things about things she learned on previous trips.
We are planning on taking the girls there for the Full Moon Hike next Friday. It's lead by someone, so we thought that might be fun to be out hiking later with the girls and have someone teach us all about the sounds we are hearing and point out owls & fireflies and other night critters.
Yesterday afternoon we went over to play with our friends Cheri, Cole & Jacqueline. We always have a nice time with them too. We found out that they have never been there either, so we might have to introduce them to RBNC soon.

Thursday was a very busy day for us. We ran a bunch of errands in the morning, one of which was to go to the library for the last book fair to pick up her final prizes for the summer reading program (which was 2 books). Then in the afternoon we went up to Stages Children's Theatre and saw "The Jungle Book", then came home to relax for a bit and then she rode her bike to the park & back 1/2 mile each way) and played there for a half hour. And that evening I had her preschool orientation to go to. She will have an open house that she gets to go to this coming week. Whew!
Not sure exactly what our plans are today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lake Kohlmeier Beach

We had a busy morning & afternoon today, but still relaxed (as far as a busy relaxed can be). We went to the gym for mommy's yoga class, then to the library for Create-a-Craft, and then to the beack at Lake Kohlmeier for a picnic & fun in the sun.

She loved doing the crafts at the library. They got to make a beaded bookmark, a beaded lanyard (to hold their library card), some shrinky-dinks (which could be made into magnets or suncatchers - we chose magnets), and some glass stone magnets. It was a lot of fun and she is very proud of the crafts she made.

We spent 2 hours at the beach and she had so much fun. She met some older girls to play with part of the time and had lots of fun playing in the sand & water. You know, playing in the sand is fun and playing in the water is fun -- BUT playing in the water & sand at the same time is LOADS of FUN! We were glad to get there today, as who knows how many more days we have to spend in the water & in swimsuits before it changes to spending time in snowsuits & the snow.

Tomorrow mommy & Isabel are going to go see the Jungle Book at Stages Theatre. We bought these tickets and some for the next show a couple months ago. These will be our last theatre shows before baby boy greets us with his presence.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

We went to the MOA for Toddler Tuesday. Isabel's friends Casey and Dani & Anthony and Benjamin and their moms joined us there as well. They got to do some coloring & a caterpillar craft, meet the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and listen to a storytime. Afterwards, we ate lunch at Chipolte and then went to Nickelodeon Universe.

This time she got to meet both Dora & Diego. She was very excited about that. Dora & Diego were tickling her and she thought that was fun. She also met Kai-Lan, who neither of actually knows who is since we don't have that cable channel.

Monday, August 24, 2009

River Springs Waterpark

Because we had a family season membership to the community pool, we didn't drive to the neighboring towns to use their waterparks, that is, until today. One of Isabel's friends gave her some passes (for this season only) to go to the waterpark as a birthday present. We figured today might be out last shot since the waterpark closes in 2 weeks and it was above 80 degrees today and the average high now is only supposed to be 78/79. So, we'll take the 83 degrees today, even if the wind did make it kinda chilly across wet skin.

We had a lot of fun though and stayed for 3 hours. Not sure we'll go back anymore during these 2 weeks since it's not budget-friendly for us right now.

Tomorrow, Isabel & I are going to the MOA for the Eric Carle Toddler Tuesday. Some of her friends are going to go this time too. I plan to let her do Nickolodean Universe as well. Since preschool starts in 2 weeks, we won't be able to do anymore of these until there is a day off from preschool in the future. They have a good deal for a wristband, so it will be well worth it. I managed to keep her from noticing most of the rides in the Midway at the county fair, so I didn't have to convince her not to ride any. Whew! Those wristbands were much pricier than the deal they have for TT at MOA.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Steele County Free Fair

We went to the fair on Wednesday & Friday. Those were the days of the kids' shows, so it made the most sense. We didn't much care for the show on Wednesday, so we left & started walking through the buildings at all the vendors. While we were in there it started POURING! And kept POURING for 3 hours. It stopped for several hours -- once we were home! So, we didn't get to eat too much "fair food" that day, but we had fun inside collecting stuff from vendors.

Friday was a good Fair Food Day. We shared some cheese fries, mini-donuts & Nitro ice cream. Daddy also had a hot dog & corn dog and mommy had a cheeseburger & Black Cherry Creme Soda and Isabel had a twist lollipop. (We had a decent breakfast & a dinner w/ lots of veggies, so don't worry about all the crap we ate.)

It sprinkled a little bit during the 3.5 hours we were there, but not too much. We toured the small animals barn (rabbits, ducks, chickens, turkeys, pigeons) in great detail, but then when we went into the pig barn she was completly offended by the smell and wanted to leave. The barns with the sheep, cows & horses smelled fine but she was convinced that they smelly yucky and kept sticking her fingers up her nose.

She did have a great time at the exotic animals petting zoo. and even though I only have pictures shown of her feeding the baby camels, she fed most all the animals some food. It's just that the camel ones turned out the best.

The other thing we did was walk down the vendor-alley on the way to the tractors and she wanted to "try out" everything that she could drive. She was really fond of ones that were pink.

While we were there we watched the Ronald McDonald show (round 1) and then while we ate our HUGE bowl of Nitrol ice cream that we were sharing, we sat back by the stage and ending up seeing most of Round McDonald (round 2).

And if you couldn't tell from looking at the photos, grandma & grandpa M came down to join us at the fair. She was excited to see them and show them her artwork she entered, which tomorrow I get to go pick up her artwork & get her ribbons.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I bought these sparklers before the 4th and we never ended up using them. So, we took out some of them to play with this evening since our morning was a bit of a bust. We never let her hold one before and had a long talk about safely using sparklers. She was pretty happy that we were playing with them. We have some more left, so we will save for another time.

This morning and early afternoon we went to the Steele County Fair. The kids show we went to see was kinda boring so we abondoned it to go into the building by all the vendors, which was actually kinda fun collecting all sorts of free things & lots of candy. After a few pieces she just didn't want any more candy & just put it in her bag. While we were in there it started POURING and kept POURING for a 3 hours, until we got home - then it stopped for a while. But we had the vendors to look at, then we ran to the next building, which was the Fine Arts Bldg and that is where her projects are on display. She recognized her painting hanging up right away and then we showed her the ribbons she will get to keep when we pick up her projects on Monday. Then we ran through the next bldg so that we could go one more bldg over to a 4-H food bldg and we could get some food to eat. By this point we were almost to one end of the fairgrounds, butwe were still parked 3 or 4 blocks away. Daddy was nice enough to go out in the POURING (did I mention it was POURING, seriously, the road had lakes & rivers in them and I am sure some cars probably stalled out as they drove through some of them) rain and get the car and drive it up so we only had to go as far as the barricades.

The plan is to go back tot he fair on Friday. Hopefully the weather is more cooperative. Tomorrow morning we are going to visit our friends Carrie, Kyle, Gavin & Molly so that Isabel & Gavin can have a playdate and we can bring them some food.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

B&W Collage of our Cabin Vacation

You've seen all these pictures already, but some weren't in B&W. I did this an 8x10 size and ordered daddy this print today from Wal-Greens with their free 8x10 code (today only - just log into their photo center & details are there.)

Community Picnic

An area church sponsored a community picnic at Central Park in Owatonna this afternoon. It was a lot of fun & Isabel had a blast and one would have thought she would be tired & would have taken a nap when we got home, mom & dad sure did. They had 2 huge bounce houses, which one of them she went in many times (the other had big kids in and was intimidating for a 3 year old). They had lots of games with candy prizes. There was face painting & hair painting (she didn't get this done, after standing in line for quite a while and it was her turn she realized exactly what was going on and said she didn't want paint in her hair - then we had to switch to the face painting line & begin the wait all over.)

There was lots of food, hot dogs, corn on the cob, watermelon, chips, cake, popcorn, pop, water & sno-cones. We left very full. Isabel ate 5 pieces of watermelon & 2 sno-cones & a few bites of corn. It's no wonder she had to go to the bathroom several times while we were there. They also had live music which was good, actually it was really good and we wondered if we picked the wrong non-denominational church because we REALLY enjoyed the music the church band and choir was performing, but we're pretty sure we would could never do the 9am service time (our is 10am, wish it was 10:30 which would be perfect!) We never checked out this one because of the 9am service time. We just knew that would probably never happen for us.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday, August 14th

Pictures from yesterday. We started out the morning making her drum art project (below) and while it dried we went to meet our playgroup at Morehouse Park. Then came home for storytime & naptime. Then went to another playgroup for a swimming party, came home & had dinner that daddy made us, finished making her drum project, and then all three of us went to the community pool, which closes next Sunday :( for the season.

These are all three of her projects that we are entering in the fair today. The fair is next week but today is the day to drop-off Youth Art entries. (Sorry for all the typos, the font was really small and I couldn't tell what I was actually typing.)
There are 3 different categories they can enter in. There is no judging at this age group (0-5 years), so it's just about doing the projects and having them on display. It will be fun to go there next week and have her find her projects on display. I think she will be excited.

Wearing Earrings

This is yesterday. She got out her clip-on play earrings from her dress-up clothes and wanted to wear them. She wore them for a little while until we got to the park and then they needed to come off because she was afraid they would fall off & lose them.

She has been becoming more interested in earrings lately, but I have told her that when she is 5 she can get her ears pierced if she wants to and she is cool with that. Not many of her friends have their ears pierced yet, I guess a few do.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Firehouse Tour

Today we joined MOMS Club for a tour at the Owatonna Firehouse. Isabel's favorite part was using the hose and it was even more enjoyable when the fireman helped her squirt at mommy's feet with it. She thought that was hilarious. The rest of the tour she was pretty scared because she didn't know the strange men (the firemen) and didn't like the sirens. She was also hoping to be in the truck (or at least go in more than one truck) but with such a large group it would take up too much time. She also really wanted to try on a fireman's hat (& buy one, she brought along her money hoping she could buy a hat) but neither trying on a hat or buying one happened. She also didn't care to much about seeing their living quarters and I think the kids got a little bored of the Q&A parts (I have to admit that I probably aided in that since I asked several questions - but I learned some stuff.)

Thankfully, our neighbor who is a volunteer fireman in our town (we only have volunteers at ours to my knowlegde) has told daddy he would take Isabel on a personal tour of our fire department and since Isabel knows & likes him it will be a much more comfortable experience for her. It'll probably be a bit before we do that since he is busy building a big garage in his backyard.

This afternoon we had a playdate over here with her friend Cole. It was just a regular playdate; I didn't plan anythinh special. It was just playing in the playroom in the basement (where it is coolest). We were supposed to go to the pool, but it was rainy off & on today, so we had to make alternate plans.

Tomorrow we are heading to the Faribault Library for their last Friday Fun Day (it's a juggler) of the summer and hopefully we will go to the pool right after lunch and then to a playgroup in the afternoon.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

More Crafts - SCFF Entries (2 of 3)

Here are 2 of the 3 entries she is making in the Steele County Free Fair Youth Art Exhibits. They don't judge the preschool entries. It's mainly about just being able to publicly display something they made. The top picture is of her 3-D entry. It's a caterpillar made out of toilet paper tubes & bottle caps (as reused materials).

This is her hanging art exhibit. She calls it "Little Einstein's Rocketship and Musical Roller Coaster". You will need to click on the picture to make it bigger to see the swirled lines underneath the red rocketship that is the musical roller coaster. She loves that show.
There is one more entry she can do which is suppoed to incorporate Steely the Bull, the fair mascot. We came up with a generic title for it and faxed in her registration tonight (it is due tomorrow at the latest) since we have the other 2 done and she she titles for them. I have an idea or two of what I might have her work on. She needs to have it done by this coming Saturday when we have to drop the entries off.

Crafty Days

We have been very busy with arts and crafts the past few days. The above picture is from the Lowe's Build & Grow Clinic. They made a power boat. The next one is in 2 weeks and she will make a school bus and the next one after that is 3 weeks after that and they are making a drum. They gave her a certificate & badge of completion. I made her a banner to put all her badges on. She thought it was pretty fun and it's something free that Lowe's does. Home Depot does the same type if thing, but we don't have one very close.

The kool-aid painting was something she did on Friday. We had not done it since last summer. She enjoyed all three steps involved.

This idea came from a book I checked out of the library about recycled crafts. She had a paddle that no longer had the ball attached, so it was perfect (it was what you were supposed to use) to make this hanging duck. It was pretty simple, basically just gluing with a couple of cuts. She was excited to turn her paddle into a duck.

We made clay on Friday as well. It is made with glue, flour & corn starch. I posted about it on the Green Blog. She played with it for quite a while and helped to make it, then daddy & her played with it together.

4.5 Hours at the Pool

Here she is all ready to go to the pool. She & I went there for 2.5 hours yesterday afternoon. We came back and she had a small snack and fell asleep within 15 minutes and took a nice nap. Then we went back to the pool (the second time we took daddy with us) for 2 hours. Because of our vacation and the funky weather, we had not been there in a while, so it was nice to go there. I can't believe that August is almost a third over and the pool will close at the end of the month.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A Fun & Busy Day

It's no wonder she took a 3 hour nap today, that we actually had to wake her after 3 hours. We started out the morning making a recycled magazine holder for daddy to put in his bathroom. His magazines always laid on the floor, but now they are neatly tucked inside this holder we made.
Then she had some computer time. She has really come a long way with learning how to usse the mouse. 90% of the time she was on the computer she was doing all the work herself with the mouse as she played her Hooked on Phonics game (which we did religiously initially and then just dropped it for a long time) and her Clifford game. She was very proud of herself when she could move the mouse & click it by herself and get it all right.

Then I took her to the park to burn off some energy before we came home for lunch, storytime, & naptime. So, really it is no wonder she took such a long nap. There was lots of learning & activity this morning. Then it was dinner & we did a couple more art projects. One of them is a painting she did of "Little Einsteins Spaceship & Music Roller Coaster" that she is entering into the fair. There are three different categories that preschoolers can enter art projects into the fair. So, we have one done and will work on the other 2 over the weekend and submit our registration on Monday (last day to turn it in.)

This evening we went to the second to last 11 @ 7 concert. Right when we got there they were asking kids to come up and wear a hat for their silly hat song; only a few kids went up there so they took adults too. Then later on they played an original song that they asked for kids to come up and play with them. Isabel was one of 4 kids that went up there. She said she was a little scared and the tambourine was heavy (it was, it was a real one and not a toy), but she did a great job up there and we were proud of her.

And right now she is in bed sleeping and has a sleepover friend/cat. We're kinda hoping Lucy likes sleeping next to Isabel and starts to leave us alone at night. Isabel is pretty excited that Lucy wants to have a sleepover with her.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Making Straw Beds Jewelry

I got this idea from a book about making recycled crafts and I thought it was great. She loves beading jewelry (she just loves crafting in general) and it was going to get expensive having to continually buy beads, so this way we made our own beads by reusing items. I'll be putting the instructions for this on the Green Blog in a few days, but the picture pretty much tells you what to do if you click on it and read the small print.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Last Days of our Vacation

Today was the last day of our cabin vacation up north and we just returned. So, just a few pictures from the last 2 days to post. The top picture is from the Ottertail County History Museum. It is a small place and was free. It was somewhat interesting, but I am sure if we were from the area it would have been even more interesting.

What we really liked was the park that was outside to play on. I think Isabels favorite piece of equipment was the merry-go-round, you just don't see those anymore. Seems like every place has taken out the metal equipment & replaced it with plastic stuff.
After the museum we went in search of another park or beach and found the Paul Miller Park & Beach on Little Pine Lake, just on the outside of Perham.

These are pictures from 2 nights ago when we roasted marshmallows, but we did roast them again last night. It was pretty windy so it was a little tricky getting the fire started, but daddy was persistent. We like roasting mashmallows. And Isabel also got to watch the sunset over the lake on the last night there. It was very pretty.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Day Four on our Cabin Vacation

These were pictures from yesterday. I haven't taken any yet today. We have today & tomorrow left of our vacation here.

The lake has been too cold, so no actual swimming has taken place. We have walked in the water up to our knees searching for interesting rocks, snail shells & clam shells. She is enjoying collecting them. She likes to just hang out in her swimsuit, even if her feet barely get in the water.

We spent a couple hours at the Phelps Mill. They had an ice cream social and a string band there. We toured the Mill and looked at the store & dam. Isabel cound them all interesting enough. I know pictures in the above collage are small, so don't forget you can click on them to see them larger.

It was an "Old Fashioned" Ice Cream Social. They actually had people dressed up in period clothing serving ice cream. Isabel loved the pedal merry-go-round; her favorite was the pink horse. She has officially proclaimed over & over that pink is her favorite color. We watched a woman spinning wool into yarn and she even brought her animals that she gets her wool from. Isabel really wanted her to spin the colored wool (purple, red & yellow). She's too cute that people have a tough time turning her down. Of course, the colored wool was spun & she watched.

That evening we finally roasted some marshmallows. We did it right before a little shower came through. The past few nights we didn't get outside to do it in time before a shower came through. They were yummy. We like roasted marshmallows.
Today, we are in Perham. Right now we are at the library. We don't exactly have a plan at what we are going to do here today, we'll figure it out as it happens. But Isabel has learned what a community (Perham) smells like when they have a big dog food manufacturing plant. As she says, "It's stanky!"

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Carlos Creek Winery

Carlos Creek Winery is in Alexandria and about an hour away from the cabin. We went there last time we were up here, which was 3 years ago. I wasn't drinking then either because Isabel was about 10 weeks old and I was nursing a lot.

Anyways, we did the scavenger hunt on the grounds and Isabel won a snack from doing it. We did the living maze, which she got a kick out of. She loved playing in the huge barrell, we looked at the gift shop, daddy did some tasting & bought a bottle, and we listened to an Irish band they had there. It was a nice time.

Just down the road from there, there was a gift shop & coffee shop which we stopped at and hand ice cream

This little excursion gave us plenty of photo ops of Isabel with each one of us. We should have asked someone to take a picture of all three of us together.