Carts and Parking Lots

Most trips to Walmart are pretty uneventful, but today saw a small event that I've been thinking about since we left the parking lot.  Balancing two small kids and a shopping trip takes a little bit planning:

  • I always bring a list, 
  • I always feed both kids before we leave (or I bring a snack), 
  • I always buy refrigerator/freezer and fragile items last, 
  • I try to keep my shopping list under 30 items so everything fits in the cart, 
  • and I always try to park next to the cart return.  
I like to return the cart, but I won't walk away from the car when the kids are in it.  Sometimes (I hate to admit this) I leave the cart in the parking lot because I don't get a parking spot next to the cart return.

Today's shopping was smooth and pleasant.  However, as I loaded the kids and food into the car I realized that I couldn't reach the cart return and the parking lot was so full there was nowhere to put the cart without blocking someone's car.  (I'd really hate to do that!)  I decided to think about it after the kids were buckled up.  As I was buckling Kaia in, a man walked past with his teenage son.  He told his son, "Pick up that lady's cart for her" as they walked past.  They didn't even slow down as he wheeled the cart away.

I called out, "Thank you!" and they smiled.  That was it.  No big announcements or fanfare.  Just a simple good deed that totally made this lady's day.  It made me want to park someone else's cart for them, or take cookies to a neighbor.  It seemed so effortless for them, and yet I have been happier because of it all day.

And since no post is complete without a picture, here is Kaia coming home last night from a Trunk-or-Treat.  (You can expect a post dedicated entirely to the Trunk-or-Treat in the near future...I may be blogging about Halloween for the next two weeks!)

Little Quotes to Make You Smile

Well, at least they make me smile!  I'll probably add to the list again in the future, but Kaia has been saying the most entertaining things lately!  What do your kids say that you just want to hang on a quote board?
* "Mommy, when I'm a mommy can I borrow your shoes because mine won't fit me then?"

* "Harry!  We were so glad you came to us--we just needed a baby and you were in Mommy's tummy and with Jesus and now you are here!"

* "Mommy, I'm coming in here by you because I don't understand why Daddy needs to study."

* "No, Mommy, I just forgot to fall asleep."  (After laying in bed awake for two hours at nap time!)

* "I just reminded you to bring the broom downstairs because I never forget!  I remember everything!" ("Everything" is accompanied by large hand motions that seem to encompass the world!)

* her new favorite explanation for disobeying:  "Mommy, I just misunderstood."

Fingerpainting Fun With Homemade Paint

We love fingerpainting!  Usually we use our normal Crayola Washable Kids' Paints, but after reading Supermommy's post I decided to try something new.  I cut her recipe down (a lot!) and mixed each bowl individually.  Each bowl had about 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup water, and two drops of food coloring.  (Next time I will probably only use 2 tablespoons of flour and water.)  The kids had a great time mixing it all together!
 Everyone "painted" at least two pictures.  There's just something magical about painting and getting your fingers goopy!  Some of the pages were so wet that I wasn't sure if they would ever dry!  Still, after six hours all but two were dry.  The last two, totally soaked with paint mixture half an inch thick, took about ten hours to dry!  Luckily, those belonged to my princess who was willing to wait all day to pick it up!
 The paint mixture made a really great sensory experience.  Their little hands found the paint completely irresistible and I frequently heard squishy, farty sounds coming from the bowls!
Also, it is a finger-painting only mixture...I tried using a paintbrush (I get curious!) and it was not very effective!  Still, beautiful, non-toxic, and very fun.  Of course, since it is mostly flour and Houston is amazingly humid, the masterpieces will only be around for a couple days.  We'll just have to repeat the activity then!
 A good mess is a sign of a lot of fun!
 The masterpieces drying:
I really liked how the paint bent and stiffened the paper as it dried.  It made the final products very textured and fun to hold!

Iris Folding for Handmade Cards

 Kaia, of course, is quite the little artist too!  Here is a card she made while I made the heart card.  I pre-cut the heart and circle for her, but she chose the paper, arranged the "balloon with a string," glued them down, added the heart so the recipient would "know we love her!" wrote a "K" on the paper because "it was from Kaia," cut out white cardstock to go behind the red construction paper part of her card, glued the red part to the white part, and decorated the white part with colored pencils!  It was quite the little craft morning.  Can you tell I'm a proud Mommy! 

My Newest Project: Growing These Awesome Peppers

Why do I love to try new things?  I don't know, but I sure am excited about this little project.  It started with some delicious little peppers that Jon's mom found.
 They are sweet, colorful, and easy to wash, eat, or cook.  They've been so yummy on pizza, plain, dipped in ranch, tossed in salads, and cut on sandwiches.  Today, while I was pulling out the seeds, I thought: "What if I could grow my own cute little peppers?"  So I saved the seeds and set them in the window to dry out.
I intend to plant them in a week or two and see if any sprout.  Part of me thinks that peppers bought in a store would have been crossed so many times that their seeds are probably not viable.  Another part of me thinks I should try anyways.  The crazy move-to-China-on-a-whim-go-rock-climbing-without-proper-gear-and-eat-cactus part of me says this is just one more fun thing to try.  Besides, I like gardening.

Marionette Instructions

Marionettes have been the exciting new thing around here lately!  Jon made some with his cubscouts and I made one with the kids.  With very few exceptions, it is hard to find patterns or instructions for marionettes online (a notable exception is School of Puppetry).  The instructions we did come across were often too complicated or not cool enough for what we wanted.  I decided to post what we ended up doing, in case anyone else would like to use the idea.


All of these supplies were available at our Hobby Lobby.  One bag of everything should make 8 marionettes.  If you have to purchase the little needle nosed pliers and wire cutters (which we did) you will spend about $25 to make the 8 marionettes.  
You will also need a drill with a very small bit (sorry, no picture!).

1- Drill very small holes into the body for the screw eyes at the shoulders, hips, and top of the head.

2 - Screw the screw eyes into those five holes.

3- Assemble each arm and leg.  This part is fun for toddlers to help with.  For each limb, first thread a bead (to represent a hand or foot) onto the eye pin so the bead rests on the eye. Then thread a spool onto the same eye pin. Next, pass the end of the eye pin into the eye of another eye pin.  Use the wire cutters to trim the eye pin and the needle nosed pliers to twist the first eye pin closed.
To finish the limb, pass another spool onto the second eye pin.

4 - Secure each limb to the screw eyes with the needle nosed pliers.
5 - Attach string to the elbows and knee joints.  Be careful when tying your knots so that the string does not impede your marionette's motion.  Alternatively, you could use fishing line--it would drag less.
6 - Cut the dowels in half so they are only six inches long and tie them together with string.  Tie the string on the marionette to the dowels.  Attaching a string to the head will give your marionette's arms more motion.  A head string should be tied to the middle of the dowel "cross."

Ta Da!! Fun, easy, cool marionette in under an hour.  We let Kaia decorate ours.  She named him "Ducko!"  I also think it would be fun to dress him up for the holidays...maybe a scarecrow for Halloween or an elf for Christmas!

Fall Festival

Fall Festivals are everywhere this time of year!  We went to one at a local church on Saturday.  Prepare for lots of pictures!
 Kaia "fished" a punching balloon and some rubber duckies.
The pumpkin patch had hundreds of pumpkins--I could have taken pictures of the kids with pumpkins ALL day, but they decided we were done!

 I LOVE this picture!  The sun was bright, so Kaia kept looking down.  I asked her to look up and smile, and this was the fabulous grin I got!

 The "Haunted House" for kiddos was almost too scary for Kaia!
She LOVED hammering the golf tees into the pumpkins.  She started with a completely empty pumpkin, filled the holes, and then added quite a few more tees until she had a pumpkin that she was very happy with!

 Kaia has had a small obsession with golfing lately--the putter station was perfect!  And the yellow golf club made putting even more perfect.

 We ended with the hay ride.  Kaia was SO excited to ride on the hay.  She made friends with a little boy who sat next to her--they chatted and pointed out sites as we rode around the block. 

5 Years

Today is our 5th wedding anniversary!  I thought I'd celebrate with some wedding pictures.

Some of my favorite adventures from just this last year:
(in no particular order)
* buying our first house
* having a second child
* starting law school
* registering to provide day care
* cheering for Jon at the San Antonio Marathon
* camping at Galveston
* helping Kaia learn to ride a bike
* getting bikes
* a folding bike!
* Christmas with 7 people in our apartment
* Humble ISD Fine Arts Festival
* Super Kaia and Super Harry Save Baby Bongo at almost midnight
* pizza parties upstairs 
* more visits from Grandma Judy
* picking blueberries
* giant sand castle with Amanda at the beach
* Astros game (and tow truck) with Crystal, Damon, and their kids
* a Thanksgiving party
* discovering a "forest" by our house
* and most of all, exploring, trying new things, and growing with the man I love!