Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011: the treats

Lachlan and I made ghostly treats for his preschool class snack.
We had leftover almond bark, so we made ghost pretzels in addition to the ghost cookies.
Jack-o-lantern clementines, decorated with my food-safe marker, also for preschool snack
Lachlan's Halloween lunch for preschool (he didn't eat his sandwich, but Kenley did when he brought it home!)
Lachlan's trick-or-treating haul, organized with help from his dad

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween 2011: the costumes

my Peter Pan pair via Hipstamatic

Back in August and September, our Peter Pan book was in high rotation. Then we rented the Disney animated Peter Pan movie, and Lachlan decided that Peter Pan would be his costume for this year. Of course, his sister had to be Tinkerbell, mom would be Tigerlily, and dad would be Captain Hook. Well, Bill and I didn't get our act together for matching costumes, but we had Peter Pan and Tinkerbell ready to go several weeks ago. I would normally still be working on them until the last minute, but we were lucky to be invited to 2 costume birthday parties in the last month, so that was a good reason to be ahead of schedule.

I found a Peter Pan costume tutorial here, and used it especially to make his hat. The tunic was just one piece of green fabric, folded in half, cut to the shape, sewn along the side seams (leaving the sleeves open, of course. Then I cut an opening for his head, cut a slit down the front, folded it open and tacked the corners for a collar. I made the belt with brown cotton belt ribbon stuff (??) and a couple belt loops (both found at the fabric store). The leggings are olive green girls' leggings from Old Navy online (he would love to wear them every day if I let him, they must be comfy!). The shoes are Minnetonka moccasins. He did get called Robin Hood several times while trick or treating in Des Moines, but I'm not sure how I could have avoided that, they are just similarly dressed characters.

I couldn't tell you much about making Kenley's costume because I just made it up as I went along. I actually had to cut it back in half after I was done and add side panels, because the first version was too tight. But I think it turned out pretty cute! The wings (and both green fabrics) I found at JoAnn's. She was not a fan of the wings, but I'm glad I got a few photos, because she looks sweet in them! White tights and moccasins from Old Navy online. Her amber teething necklace (unrelated to the costume) is from Etsy, but I think the shop must not be around anymore. There are several Etsy shops that sell them, if you're interested. I do think it has helped her with recent teething pain.

Halloween 2011: Fun in DSM

Last weekend the kids and I made a quick trip to Des Moines for some early Halloween fun. We started at Living History Farms on Friday night. This place holds lots of great memories for me, since I attended summer camp there each year until I was old enough to become a camp counselor. I also remember visiting at Halloween (or at least I remember going with my younger siblings). It was super fun to bring Lachlan and Kenley here. We thought we would be bundling up with puffy coats and scarves, but it turned out to be mild and perfect for trick-or-treating on Main Street.
Later (after it got too dark for photos) we went on a horse-drawn wagon ride (Kenley was entranced by the big horses), stopped for pop and popcorn (and to assess our candy collection), and listened to a storyteller in the big barn. We also enjoyed walking through a path of Halloween lights and jack-o-lanterns carved by Boy Scouts and stopping to toast marshmallows.

Saturday night, we went to Night Eyes at the Blank Park Zoo - along with many other families in Des Moines - it was crowded! I was happy to see the big crowd, because we love the zoo and popular events like this help them make improvements to the animal exhibits! It was also too dark for photos once we got there, but we did enjoy seeing the big cats lumbering around their cages as we trick-or-treated. My favorite homemade costume we saw was a boy dressed as a lego man, seriously cute and clever! Kenley rode on my back in the Ergo for prime people watching, and Lachlan did a great job with all the waiting in line we had to do. It was a fun and memorable weekend!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

K at 16 months

At 16 months, you:

* love to climb up and sit places - in chairs, on a step, etc.
* call goldfish crackers "fishies"
* just started saying "eat" and say it often!
* sleep from 8 ish to 6:30 ish, recently started sleeping through the night again - now that your one year molars have popped through.
* love puppies and notice them in book illustrations and when we are out and about. Your favorite puppy is our Sadie, and you're getting good at saying her name!
* still love the Fisher Price people and put them on your fingers, then make them do a little dance.
Kenley helping Wrigley with his dinner in Des Moines

* adore the baby dolls and like to have one close by at all times. Yesterday you put all four in the baby stroller and pushed them around.
* impress us with your fine motor skills. You love to move tiny things around from container to container.
* still like your paci and look for them to pop into your mouth. I've been trying (but not succeeding) to keep them for nap time and bedtime only.
* love to dance when music is playing and enjoy playing music instruments.
* get silly with your brother and "wrestle" with your dad
* love being read to and you are getting particular about hearing your favorites - and hearing them over and over again.
* love to eat any kind of fruit, and start the day with yogurt most mornings. You're interested in using a spoon by yourself - you like to place a bit of food on the spoon with your fingers, then put the bite into your mouth.
* take 3 or 4 steps at a time, but are not yet what I'd call a "toddler"
* wake up happy and ready to play every morning.

Monday, October 17, 2011

my new baby

After looking online, reading review after review, and feeling overwhelmed by all the choices, I finally just went down to our local camera shop looking for advice on which digital SLR to buy. They were very helpful and I am super excited to be the owner of a Canon Rebel T3i body and a Tamron 17-50 mm lens.

Time to resurrect my high school and college photography knowledge and re-learn how to take photos in manual. I'm already having lots of fun playing around with the settings, but I am planning to take a continuing ed. class to learn all the ins and outs. I think will make time to sew a camera strap cover, too.
Here's Mr. "I don't need a nap" crashed out on the couch.
And Kenley playing with her Fisher Price people - a favorite past-time.

Harvest Preserve Field Trip

Last Friday morning was a family nature outing for Lachlan's preschool class. We met at Harvest Preserve in Iowa City. It is a beautifully maintained and inspiring setting, and I didn't even realize it existed before our trip was planned. They have an excellent website, if you'd like to learn more.
It was a cool and sunny morning - one of the first days it has really felt like fall here, since our weather has been unusually mild lately. We gathered near the entrance, then set out on a hike to see the rest of the preserve.
The hilly trails led us through the forest and out into a huge meadow, where Helen and Marit played music and the kids sang and ran and played in the midst of the stone circle.
They snacked and drew and had a wonderful time just being together in this beautiful setting.
It was a treat, and a lovely field trip experience. Kenley rode along on my back in the Ergo carrier and enjoyed a nap as we hiked. I hope we be able to visit Harvest Preserve again soon and maybe make this an annual Preucil tradition!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Enjoying Nature

This past Tuesday, I led my preschool class in a family outing on a nature walk through Hickory Hill park. I was afraid that the early morning rain showers would put a damper on our plans, but it ended up clearing just in time. The sun came out and we had a wonderful time walking through the park, taking in the sights, sounds and smells. We have been studying forests in our class, so the kids were anxious to see all the forest animals we have been discussing. We had to settle for just one spider, but it was still a lovely excursion.

Whenever I take my class on a field trip, we make some kind of little book as a memento of the experience. This time, I remembered a one page hot-dog book (this link explains it well), and thought that would be a good format and quick to put together. Before we left for the walk, we made a list of things we thought we might see. When we returned, we wrote a story about the experience. I typed up the list (with lines through the things we did not see) and the story. Then I printed 6 photos from our walk to fill the rest of the pages. The size of each photo was 2.5" x 4". I taped them on a 8 1/2 x 11" page that I had folded into 8 sections, then scanned and printed one for each child. The final step is to fold the page in half, then cut halfway up the fold and assemble. I did add a couple staples in the spine to keep them together. Quick, easy and fun!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

the year of the moccasin

It all started when Lachlan decided he is going to be Peter Pan for Halloween. I went looking on Old Navy's website for moccasins for him, but didn't find any. I did, however, find an adorable pair for Kenley. Then I went to order some for him, and couldn't resist picking up a pair for myself. Now we're all decked out in mocs for the fall.

It would have ended there, but last week I was going through boxes in the basement (in an attempt to purge some clutter and baby clothes, good luck!) and found a treasure trove of little moccasins. These were all Bill's when he was a baby/toddler. Apparently, his grandmother brought them back as souvenirs from her travels. They are so adorable, and well made. You can tell which ones were given after he started walking, because the soles are well worn. I was just tickled to find these after I had just ordered 3 brand new pairs. I guess it is true what they say about how fashion goes in cycles.

* I edited these with Pioneer Woman's free 70's PSE Action. Just for fun.
** Just realized I have 3 photo albums from Bill's childhood in my possession and that I'll probably be able to find a photo of him wearing at least one pair of these. Of to go searching...

Friday, October 07, 2011

Autumn Wreath

I wanted a new wreath for our front door before Oktoberfest - especially because I (embarrassingly) still had the spring egg wreath hanging into September.

Inspired by all the lovely fall wreaths around Etsy and Pinterest, I wrapped a foam wreath with yarn, then whipped up some fabric flowers and felt leaves (a la Dana) and hot glued them to the wreath. I think it looks a little wimpy on our door, but other than that, I'm happy with how it turned out.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

J's Monster Art bag

I spotted this monster bag on Katie's blog and knew right away I wanted to make it for our sweet nephew for his 8th birthday. Like Katie, I added pockets for twistable colored pencils. Unlike Katie, my measuring was a little faulty and I only fit 10 of the 12 pencils in. Oh well, the other two fit inside the bag with the sketchbook I included. The beard is a little hard to see in the photo, but I used a scrap of brown corduroy that provides an interesting texture. It was a quick and fun little project, I hope he enjoys using it!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Oktoberfest '11

Yesterday was our 4th annual Oktoberfest party. It has gotten a little bit bigger and more involved each year. This year Bill upgraded to some authentic lederhosen. Aren't they great? He's in the market for a hat and socks for next year.

The weather could not have been more perfect. There were a few awesome costumes, lots of brats, pretzels, beer, and live polka (and swing) music.

It was fun to hang out and catch up with coworkers, friends and family throughout the afternoon.

Kenley was a big fan of the pretzels... and the chocolate chip cookies.

may have been to worn out from the festivities to finish is sandwich at dinnertime...

Oktoberfest 2011 on Flickr
Oktoberfest 2010
Oktoberfest 2009
Oktoberfest 2008

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Kenley at 15 months

I had not intended to continue this monthly blog post past Kenley’s first birthday, but I know that if I don’t write down the little things while I am thinking of them – very soon they will be forgotten! Here, a few days late, is a little bit about Kenley at 15 months:

Still holding strong with four teeth, although recent sleeplessness and crankiness indicates that #5 and #6 are about to arrive.

Still holding out on taking your first steps, although we are sure the big day is coming soon. You are quick at cruising and like to hold on to my fingers and practice walking.

You are enjoying your time on Tuesday/Thursday mornings (while I am at work) with your new babysitter, Anna. I am enjoying our times together on Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings while Lachlan is at preschool.

Your bangs are growing down over your eyes, but I can’t bear to trim those golden wisps. Most days I sweep them to the side and put in one of your cute barrettes.

You are still enamored with your baby dolls and love to play with the vintage Fisher Price people for long stretches of time. You are interesting in making marks, and have taken crayon to paper and chalk to the chalkboard wall without prompting.

Some words you say (even if I am the only one who can recognize them):



Some variation on Lachlan





Uh Oh

Bye bye (or often just, Bye!)

thank you


Go! (thanks to our evening races to the bathroom “ready, set, go”)


Moo for a cow (maybe oink and quack too?)






And you use the “more” sign many times each day, for more food or to request more of any activity that you’re enjoying.

I know that all moms feel this way, but I do feel that you are really above average in the cuteness department. I mean, those cheeks and that smile and the little blonde curls. The sweetest!