Weekly photo challenge: Fall

Since it’s still a little early for the beautiful color change of fall, I thought about the type of fall I experience more than once a year. You might be familiar with it, it’s when I fall on my oh, so ample rear.

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

Cue dramatic music, dun, dun, DUN …

I always thought I had bad balance, but it turns out I’ve actually got better than average balance and especially with my eyes closed. Go figure.

If there’s a way to fall, I’ve done it. I’ve fallen up stairs, down stairs, off ladders, in water, on ice, from my toe or shoe getting stuck in my pants leg (that one is much too frequent), over fences, in leaves, off tires, down rocks, in mud, in pee … Yes, pee!

So you can see why I thought I had bad balance, but then I signed up for a new gym membership and it included 3 free sessions with a personal trainer. She evaluated my balance and surprise, surprise, it was very good. I even stayed up longer on one foot, while shaking my head with my eyes closed. Ha, so that means I’m just a klutz.

Just in case you were disappointed that you didn’t get any autumn goodness, here’s some pictures from Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2008.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween PartyMickey's Not So Scary Halloween PartyMickey's Not So Scary Halloween PartyMickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

If you haven’t gone to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, I highly recommend it. Everyone gets to dress up (we went as pirates) and there’s trick-or-treating, games, a special parade and fireworks, and the rides, of course. In fact the whole park and characters are “tricked” out in Halloween fun, special outfits, spooky lights, the whole shebang. You are never to old to trick-or-treat at Disney!

If you’d like to see more fall photos submitted to the weekly photo challenge, look here.

Dear neighbor, you are on my @#$&%^ list

You are a liar and a thief! I ordered two really cool books (on learning to crochet and making stuffed animals, hehe) from Amazon. They were supposed to be delivered on Wednesday, but lo and behold, nothing arrived. I checked the tracking information and to my surprise, it said my package had been delivered on Tuesday, a day early.

Impatient to begin my crafty fun, I called the shipping company. The friendly customer service woman told me they would investigate and that it would take 24 to 48 hours. Not more than 3 hours later, my doorbell rings. Hoping that it was actually my package, just a little late, I open the door to see a very large uniformed guy. The first words out of his mouth are “I’m sorry, I delivered your package to the wrong house and your neighbor is a liar.”

Apparently, he switched the numbers and instead of dropping it off at our address (#1234), he dropped it off at your address (#1243). He saw you pick up the package and take it inside your home. Yet you have the nerve to say that you threw it away because you didn’t know the address.

We live on the same street, just 4 doors down! It’s the SAME STREET! Seriously, all you had to do is walk it down or if you were really feeling lazy, call the shipping company to pick it up and redeliver.

I can’t believe someone would throw a package away that is clearly marked with Amazon’s smiley face. It is obvious, both to me and the shipping guy, that you kept my books and gave them to your wife or kids, or maybe you just kept them for yourself.

Do you sir, like crochet and stuffed animals?

You are old enough to know better! Shaaaaaammme, shame on you! Those were my BOOKS! Now you or whoever you gave them to is doing my crafty stuff! MINE!

GAH!

I want to march over there and say, “Where ARE my books? I know you have them!” But what would that accomplish? Nothing. You would just lie to me too.

Is this something I can report to the HOA? Hey HOA! My neighbor took my really cute, fun craft books, can’t you put a lien on him or something? Ya, sure. That’ll work.

So instead, I’m just going to bish and moan to every.single.person. that I talk to today. Including all of you!

Dear Neighbor, You are on my @#$&%^ list. You are lucky that Amazon is reshipping my books as we speak. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to control my craft-induced rage and stop myself from bedazzling your door.

Which I might do anyway …

::end rant::

How to make your own sensory water bag for babies

I found a great blog through Pinterest, called The Activity Mom, that shows how to make your own sensory water bag for babies and many other fun things too!

This tutorial is actually from my second time making this bag because I didn’t tape it enough the first time. Which if my family found out, they would have to check to see if I had been switched out for a pod person since I am known far and wide as an over-taper of gifts.

If you have an especially active baby like Squeaker, who was picking it up, dragging it around, and hitting it with blocks, then it will probably break at some point but it is totally worth the little bit of puddle for the huge amount of fun baby has with it. She played with the first one for 2 weeks before it sprung a leak, so I revamped my taping technique and hopefully this one will last longer. *Tip: If you want something more durable, try one of those larger, heavy-duty ziplocs.

Sensory Water Bag SuppliesFirst you gather your supplies. I just grabbed the bag and ran around the house looking for things to put in it that wouldn’t be damaged by water. That way when she did get tired of it, I could just take everything out and reuse it for another project.

On my fancy plate, we have a luggage tag, cup lid, straw, monkey teether, heart slinky, 3 foam dots, and an assortment of buttons, beads, and pom poms. If you have any foam letters, those would be great in this!

Next you just put it all in the bag! I recommend filling the bag just under halfway and then squeezing all the air out of it before closing it. *Tip: check the bag for leaks before filling with items and sealing, trust me. It’s not fun getting it all taped up and discovering a pin-hole leak.

Sensory Water BagAfter closing the bag, you’ll want to tape it up very well using clear packing tape. I taped it closed along the top and then folded it down and taped it against the bag. Then tape along the other 3 sides to reinforce them. You can not use too much tape!

Baby Playing with Sensory Water Bag

Viola! I had to look that up to spell it, it’s not wah la by the way. Ah, the joys of sleep deprivation, I used to know these things but now I can’t spell or do complex math …

Let baby at it and enjoy a few moments of rest while baby has the time of her life!

Top 10 kid craft supplies for every project A to Z

Since I actually have a kid of my own now, I’m just dying for her to be old enough to make macaroni art with me or really any kind of art project. I’ve spent way too many hours on Pinterest collecting all kinds of projects from handprint flowers (tutorial below) to paper plate frogs.

As a natural planner, I thought it was best to be prepared for all our crafty fun by compiling this comprehensive list of kids crafts supplies.

1. Decorations: Pom Poms, Google Eyes, Foam Sheets, Feathers, Popsicle Sticks, Glitter, Beads, Buttons, Pipe Cleaners, Yarn, Rick Rack, Stickers, Fun Pasta Shapes

2. Things to Mold: Air-Dry Clay, Play-Doh

3. Paper: Plain White Paper, Paper Plates, Construction Paper, Cardstock, Posterboard, Tissue Paper, Newspaper, Magazines, File Folders, Toilet Paper/Paper Towel/Gift Wrap Tubes

4. Sticky Stuff: Elmer’s Glue, Glue Stick, Regular Tape, Double-Sided Tape, Brads/Fasteners, Paper Clips

5. Tools: Scissors, Safety Scissors, Hole Punch, Low Temp Glue Gun, Ruler, Rubber Stamp & Ink Pad, Brushes, Stencils, Sponges, Compass, Decorative Edge Scissors

6. Things for Writing & Drawing: Crayons, Markers, Colored Pencils, Pens, Watercolors, Finger Paint, Food Coloring, Non-Toxic Acrylic Paint

7. Random Stuff: “Art Clothes” or a Smock, Splat Mat

8. Imagination (& Pinspiration)

9. Adult Supervision

10. Have fun!

This is the picture of a Handprint Bouquet that Squeaker made Grandma & Grandpa for Grandparent’s day. It sounds easy right?

Well, with an 8-month old it takes 2 adults and a proper set up to pull this off. First we stripped her down to her diaper and then the Gator was in charge of holding her up. I had already taped the paper down on the floor and squirted some paint on paper plates. Then I played patty-cake with the plates and splatted her hand onto the paper. The orange dots in the center of each flower are her thumbprints, awww. This would be a great gift for Mother’s Day too!

Did I forget anything? What items are must have for your arts and crafts projects?

Weekly photo challenge: Faces

Logo Blues Trail

Image via Wikipedia

The Gator is out of town for work, off on adventures down the Blues Trail and here I am, home with Squeaker. *sigh* I know it’s work but he’s still out and about, traveling, and seeing new places. I used to travel for work when I was in P.R. (B.B. – before baby) and it was fun, crazy sometimes, but fun.

Some mornings I’d wake up and have no idea where I was and what I was supposed to do that day. Heart pounding, I’d search the room for a note pad with the hotel’s info on it or at least a phone book. One time after finding nothing, I had to call the front desk.

The conversation went something like this; Me: “um, where am I?” Them: Long pause where I imagine the person raising an eyebrow in judgement, “you’re at the Whatever Inn.” Me, loud exhalation, “ok,” pause, “but what city?” I swear the person was holding their breath trying not to laugh or something because I was hearing some weird choking noises.

Of course, even better than traveling for work is an actual vacation. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve gone on a real vacation, so we’re planning a short one in the late fall. Until then I’ll make due by reminiscing over the faces of vacations past. See how I did that?

These pictures are all faces found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and EPCOT parks. I’d love to pretend I’ve been to Africa and India but alas, I haven’t had the pleasure. Maybe when Squeaker’s older we can go on a photo safari …

What are your favorite vacation memories and daydreams?

Want more face time? Here for more photos submitted for the Weekly WordPress Challenge.

What’s for dinner: Spinach stuffed chicken

I found this recipe for Healthified Stuffed Chicken Parmesan and modified it for our dinner. By modified, I mean made it a little quicker and easier for me based on stuff I already had in my fridge and my fancy schmancy cooking skills.

First I thawed 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts overnight in the fridge. I then sliced them lengthwise so they would fold open like a hotdog bun.

I opened a box of some frozen spinach and cooked it in the microwave. Fancy, I know. While the spinach was warming, I grated some mozzarella cheese and scooped a couple spoonfuls of cream cheese onto a plate.

Not just any plate, but my super fancy paper plates!

I whipped an egg in a bowl big enough to dip the chicken, made a mix of about 75% bread crumbs and 25% grated Parmesan in another bowl, and put both aside.

Now we mix the spinach, cream cheese, shredded mozzarella, and garlic powder (love it) up for the filling. I think onions, sautéed or chopped, would be great in this but I was feeling lazy and didn’t do it. You take the filling and just plop it in the opened chicken breasts, all fancy like, then fold the chicken back together like a big Subway sandwich.

You take that handful and try to keep it together while you dip it in the egg and then put it in the breadcrumb mix and place it in the pan of your choice that has been sprayed with some PAM or something. I just used a regular baking pan lined with aluminum foil for easier clean up. I then baked the whole thing at 350°F for 30 minutes. I’m at sea level and actually used my toaster oven so use your best judgement on time and temp for your individual oven.

Or just check a million times like I do and if it burns, it’s just “blackened spinach stuffed chicken.” If you wanted to be fancy, you could sprinkle a little chili powder and paprika and call it “Cajun style.” Actually don’t do that, I don’t know how to cook. It’ll probably taste like junk.

I served the spinach stuffed chicken with some whole wheat penne pasta topped with spaghetti sauce and a little mozzarella cheese. Yum!

See, I even put it on a fancy plate for your viewing enjoyment!

I’d love to hear about any recipes that involve chicken, spinach, or cream cheese and are quick, or easy, or quick and easy, or any combination of the above.

Number of times I said “fancy,” 7 including this one.

Baby Feet

Weekly photo challenge: Textured

My focus for this week’s photo challenge was the textures in a mama’s life,

and apparently I’ve gone soft …

Pom Poms

A Mound of Colorful Pom Poms: Soft & Fluffy

Pom Pom’s are on my Top 10 Kid Craft Supplies, important stuff for all those fun art projects! I used these to make a Sensory Water Bag and some Sensory Bottles, which are fun baby activities.

Gentle Giraffe

Gentle Giraffe Up Close and Personal

Squeaker loves her Cloud B Gentle Giraffe, we bought the On the Go version at Target when she was just a newborn and it’s been great for helping her fall asleep and stay asleep on car rides and when we’re staying somewhere new.

Up Close Diaper

Getting to Know Baby's Diapers: Soft Dots

The above photo is a close up of the outside of her diaper. It looks a lot like bubble wrap, which The Gator says I want to wrap around Squeaker now that she’s almost walking. I don’t really, except maybe around her head and all the corners of the house and steps and on the kitchen floor (it’s tile – otherwise known as a tooth-busting floor).

Sock Monkey

Sock Monkey Love: Soft and Fuzzy

This is Squeaker’s favorite sock monkey that her Auntie got her from Etsy*.

*Warning: Shopping on Etsy is hazardous to your health. There are too many cool things and not enough time or money to see and get them all. I usually end up sobbing from the cramp in my clicking hand. Shop at your own risk.

Baby Feet

Is Sweet a Texture? Newborn Baby Feet: Soft and Wrinkled

I saved my favorite texture for last, little Squeaker’s feet when she was only minutes old. Soft and wrinkled and oh so sweet!

Here are photos of other textures that were submitted for the Weekly WordPress Challenge.

What are the textures of your life?

I’m posting every week in 2011

Which conveniently is only about 3 and a half months for me. A little tardy to the party but at least I’m fashionably late …

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting today.  I will be posting on this blog at least once a week for all of 2011 (aka. the next 3 months).

My real goal is to post at least 2-3 times a week. I’d love to do daily posts, however Lil’ Miss Squeaker keeps me busy.

Hmmm....Which should I use?

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.

Signed,

Basically Mama

September 11th

Today is the 10th Anniversary of September 11th.

I’m not from Washington, D.C. or New York. I don’t know anyone who was there when it happened. In fact, I was several states away and yet it deeply affected me.

I remember exactly where I was when I first saw the events of that day as they unfolded.

I had woke up and went to the kitchen to make breakfast and on the way there I stopped to turn on the tv, like I did every morning. As I was pouring a bowl of cereal, I heard something strange happening. I went over to the couch and grabbed the remote to raise the volume.

As the seconds slowly passed, the understanding dawned on me that this was not some cruel accident but an attack of the most terrible proportions.

I called my family to tell them what happened since they were at work and, I think subconsciously, to feel reassured. Eventually I had to pull myself away from the stream of footage and leave for class. I drove to my school and arrived to see a deserted parking lot. A lone security officer approached me and told me that all classes were cancelled and the campus was closed.

As I waited for his vehicle to pull away, I looked up and saw a jet flying close to the ground and immediately I felt afraid. All I could think about was “is that plane landing or is it going to crash into the college?” I watched it fly away from the school as I made my way home, driving in a heavy silence filled with worry of the unknown.

Do you remember where you were when it happened?

For those who are interested in a more first hand account that is told in a beautiful writing style, I highly recommend visiting the blog 9/11: Day Three Hundred Fifty Six. It is powerful and evocative, and well worth a few moments to remember those that we lost.

Darn you pinterest, darn you to heck

*falls to knees and shakes fist angrily at the sky*

Well, not really. Maybe I should just start at the beginning. Hello, my name is Mama and I’m a Pinterest addict. Not recovering, not considering rehab, just addicted to Pinterest, but it’s a good influence. I swear.

Pinterest is both a huge time suck and a great source of both creative inspiration and just plain good ideas. I first heard about it a few months ago and thought, ya, ya, pins. Sounds fuuuun. *dramatic eye roll*

Well, then my sister got on it and I sent her a bunch of messages saying “not you too!” Curiosity got the best of me and the day I signed up was the day I died … and went to pin heaven.  Photo Source.

What is Pinterest? According to their help section, it is “a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”

And what exactly do people use Pinterest for? They use the “pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes.” Or in my case, I do all the above and plan birthday parties, collect cute pictures of puppies and rainbows, find ways to get organized, look for the random things that may amuse me and for sources of overall shenanigans.

I’ve found so many weird and random things, it’s amazing. I’ve also found some great websites, products, ideas, and crafts that I love.

After being on Pinterest for a month now, I feel like I can finally get some balance in all my pinning. I do it only during breakfast, Squeaker’s naps, after her bedtime and not even every day! That’s huge!

So if you’re looking for a place where you can actually see all the stuff you like in one place, you should try it. The only thing you have to  loose is time and a little bit of your soul. . .  just a tiny piece, but the pins are soooo worth it!