Tag Archives: fun

Monday Minions

It’s been raining every day since last Thursday. (Happy Summer!)

And every day Charlotte tells me that the song we’ve been singing hasn’t worked again. (“Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day. Charlotte and Caroline want to play!”)

Hopefully tomorrow Mother Nature will get the message. 

So, after renting Despicable Me 2 (or, as Charlotte calls it, “Spit-a-cul Me.”) from the library to help pass some of the time indoors, we were inspired to make our own minions!  

We just used some things I already had at home: an egg carton cut apart, some yellow paint, googly eyes, and markers. We painted the egg carton pieces first, and then waited a looooong time for them to mostly dry. All this rain is making the air nice ‘n humid, so we had to wait over 24 hours. Agony! 

Then we simply glued on some googly eyes, drew on some glasses (or some scribbles, whatever), and set them up in their makeshift egg carton minion mobile.

Ready, set, play!


Besides being yellow and roundish, they really don’t look much like minions….But 4 year-olds are easy to please. And my 4 year-old had fun making and then playing with our simple rainy day craft. Win!


Our Fairy Garden

My grandma, Mimi, has been creating a little fairy garden in her lawn beside her driveway for the past few years, and I’ve always thought it was just the cutest thing. Miniature furniture, mushrooms, maybe a gnome or two – count me IN. As a little girl, I was obsessed with anything tiny. I read The Borrowers and The Littles series, I played with Polly Pockets (and other tiny dolls), and I always wanted to find and save for last the tiniest grapes on the bunch. (That last one’s a little weird…) I’ve been waiting and hoping for the day Charlotte might express some interest in creating one of these adorable little gardens….

And that day has come! 

She brought it up last week, and Daddy and I delivered. We spent a small fortune at Earl May and Menards getting the supplies, but who cares when it comes out this adorable? Behold, our fairy garden:


It’s still missing our cute pair of ceramic bunnies that suffered a near causality as soon as we brought them home, but once the glue cures we’ll plop those right in there to play amongst the moss and mushrooms. 

Now, I have no clue how this will look after it finishes raining tonight, but half the fun is arranging it anyway. I don’t think we’ll mind having to do it again. 

And on that note, Happy Mother’s Day to all! 


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We picked apples finally

There is a beautiful apple orchard located just north of our home in Iowa City- a mere seven miles from driveway to driveway, and yet we have never been out there until this year. When my mom was here last, the weather was perfect and I decided we better go pick apples before we move away. I am so glad we did! We had so much fun and the apples were sooo delicious, that we took Daddy back a week later! Look at the view of one of the pumpkin fields with some of the orchard in the background.



There is a lot of hilly ground to cover when you are out looking for apples, so it’s a good workout, too…especially when you have a little baby kangaroo to carry around! (Also especially when the only apples left on the trees to pick are in the farthest rows in the farthest corners of the land. Still worth it.)



Our map lover enjoyed carrying around the map they gave out in the weigh station/store as well as checking out the big one in the orchard.


Three bonuses of this place: 1) They have pumpkins. One stop fall shopping!


2) Not only are freshly picked apples more delicious, but they are also less expensive than their grocery store counterparts!


3) There’s a friendly dinosaur that gives out free rides to little girls and their grandmas.


Since I don’t think we will be living here next fall, I’m really glad we got our acts together this year and made it out to Wilson’s Orchard. Good exercise, good pictures, good memories, good apples. 


Who wants to play our baby game?

Little Baby D2 is due in eleven days…!!!

I set up a guessing game through Babyhunch.com and invite you all to play along! It’s your chance to “officially” guess our baby’s birthday, weight/height, sex, time of birth, etc., and possibly beat a bunch of other people doing so! 🙂  This is all for my own enjoyment as I sit here gaining more weight by the minute.

Here is the link:


Thanks for playing! 

Pregnancy Wive’s Tales

Sometimes it’s fun to jump on bandwagons. 

I’ve seen a number of pregnant-lady blog posts going through some of the old pregnancy wives tales used to predict the sex of your baby. So I thought I’d join in on the fun and play, too! I have just about two weeks left until  my due date (Whaaaaat??? I still have so much to do. And by that I mean everything.), so we’ve obviously been thinking even more about who our little babe is going to be. I’ve thought it’s been a boy since day one (just like I thought with Charlotte until we found out at 20 weeks), Chris has been wishy-washy about what he thinks, and Charlotte is convinced she is getting a little sister named Sally. 

Since my little family can’t come to an agreement, let’s see what all those old wives think.

Old Wife 1: The Chinese gender predictor: Chinese lunar age and month apparently can predict the sex of your baby. Since I know nothing about any of that, I can plug in my info to an online calculator (found here) and find out what I’m having. According to the Chinese, it’s a GIRL.

Old Wife 2: The Mayan gender predictor: I’d never heard of this one, but this is what Baby Center has to say: “This one’s an easy calculation. How old were you when you conceived this baby? What year did you conceive? If both numbers are odd or even, you are carrying a girl. If one is odd and the other even, it’s a boy. “ So the Mayan say I’m having a BOY.

Old Wife 3:  Fetal heart rate: If it has been over 140 bpm, then the baby is supposed to be a girl, and under 140 means it will be a boy. My baby’s heart rate has been right around 140 recently, but about 150 at earlier appointments. GIRL

Old Wife 4: How do you carry your baby?  High? Girl.  Low? Boy. I think I carry high. GIRL 

Old wife 5: Cravings: Baby Center says, “More headaches means a boy, as does a craving for meat, cheese, salty or sour flavors. Fewer headaches and a craving for sweets and fruit means a girl.” I haven’t had any headaches (yay!), but what happens when you crave everything? Results inconclusive.

Old wife 6: Side You Most Rest On: Baby Center says, “If a pregnant woman prefers to lay on her left side, she’s having a boy. If she prefers resting on her right side, she’s having a girl.” I toss and turn a lot at night lately, but typically I prefer my right side. GIRL

 Old wife 7:  Morning sickness: Did you get it or not? I was lucky to avoid that pregnancy side effect, so apparently that means I’m having a BOY. (However, I never had it with Charlotte either…)

Old wife 8: Does your stomach look like you swallowed a basketball or a watermelon? Well this one’s easy for me: basketball. I’ve been told on numerous occassions by plenty of people that I have basketball-stomach going on. This means I’m carrying a BOY

And now for the final results:

Baby boy – 3; Baby girl  – 4

So, in conclusion, I am having either a boy or a girl! I’m glad I got that sorted out. 🙂 



First time at the movie theater (it was good!)

Today, Charlotte saw her first movie in the theater – Frozen. We met up with the Pudwill family this morning for the 10:15 showing; it was only $5 a ticket. Perfection!

The movie was really cute. Charlotte and Madeline loved it, of course, but so did I. Disney does a really good job making kids movies entertaining for “big kids,” which is good because it’s not fun to pay money to sit through something stupid!

Charlotte loved the giant screen and looked around in awe when new sound effects came out of different speakers around the room. She was bouncing in her booster seat with excitement for the first twenty minutes there.  And according to Charlotte tonight, her favorite part of the movie was “the horse.” An interesting answer considering the horse was in the movie for about a single minute. 🙂 But she also really loved the reindeer/moose named Sven. See, Sven is really supposed to be reindeer, but no amount of explaining was convincing enough for Charlotte. She is certain Sven is actually a moose because of his big antlers. She’s a know-it-all.  (just like her parents)

After the movie we walked through the rest of the mall and met up with Santa! This little mall near our house has like four stores in it, so we could just stroll right up into Santa’s lap without even worrying about waiting in line. I honestly had no idea if Charlotte would like the idea of getting into his lap (or even talking to him)….



But she did! Santa reached out for her and she reached back. And then she told him she wanted a car for Christmas. (Huh? That’s the first we’ve heard of this. She must have been looking at the collection of robotic cars kids can sit in clustered just a few feet away from Santa’s station.) We got a few decent pictures, but the photographer working there got the best shots. I have the information to look at and order them online, and I am actually so tempted despite the ridiculous prices.

Afterward we had lunch at a sushi restaurant across the street where both little girls devoured their chicken teriyaki, miso soup, and california rolls. How lucky are we that we don’t have to always order chicken tenders every time we go out???

I ate my weight in sushi. It was fantastic.

Before we left we stopped into Petland next door, but it stunk so bad in there we only stayed for a few minutes. Good story, huh? I’ll tell it again later.

I felt really productive having had all that fun before 2:30 on Saturday afternoon. Charlotte napped, then I did, then Chris did. I finished a book, and now I’m about to start a new one. I’d call that a darn good day!

Quick! Let’s remember Thanksgiving!

Oh boy, it’s snowing on my blog! Yet another reason to love the holiday season.

(I really cannot believe it’s been about three weeks since I last posted. I could have sworn only about ten days have passed…oops.  🙂 )

But since we just passed Thanksgiving I do have a few things to share tonight! We spent four awesome days in Glen Ellyn celebrating the holiday with lots of family. We are so lucky that Chris’s grandparents live in my home town, so we got to double up on the family fun (and food). I was telling my students last week that I really don’t like many traditional Thanksgiving dishing (no thank you to turkey, stuffing, gravy, pumpkin pie, whip creamy jello concoctions), but I always wind up stuffed from the delicious appetizers. And luckily our family does branch out in terms of options on the buffet spread. I especially loved my grandma’s roasted brussel sprouts, the mashed potatos (duh), and the kale salad recipe I found here.  <— It is so good and soo easy!

Of course, I was enjoying my time too much to stop and take many pictures, but we did snap some at the Shedd Aquarium on Friday afternoon. We made the mistake of telling Charlotte about the aquarium a month ago, so she was very eagerly anticipating this field trip. However, after waiting in line 45 minutes to get in the door, then checking out approximately three fish, Charlotte declared matter-of-factly, “I want to go home.” HA. 





The issue was remedied with some popcorn, and the fish-viewing was able to continue until we all saw what we wanted to. Some of our favorites were the beluga whales, the seahorses,  and the jelly fish. John, Joe, and Geneice came with us, so it was especially fun! 




A few other highlights of the long weekend:

  • Charlotte’s reaction to all the Christmas decorations at Grandma Margaret’s house. She loved the musical snow globes and electronic ice rink.
  • Visiting some Doran cousins in Wheaton for breakfast and coffee. They treated us well with pancakes, bacon, sausage, and hash browns. It’s another great coincidence that they live nearby, and we’re really happy to have been able to see them.
  • Hearing Charlotte belt out the lyrics from Chicago’s Greatest Hits 1982-1989 (think: all those sappy love ballads) in the car, while playing with toys, pretty much anywhere the mood strikes her. 
  • Deep dish pizza from Barone’s. It had been years since I’d had it – maybe even since high school – and it was just as good as I remembered.
  • Lunch with Mom at Glen Oak before leaving on Sunday, and feeling only a little guilty that Charlotte’s meal consisted of bread, gravy cream of rice soup, and mac and cheese. Balanced meals can wait until Monday. 

And now the Christmas countdown begins! I really do adore this time of year, and each year it has gotten even more fun as Charlotte has grown older. It’s so cute to hear her singing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…!” 

Summer’s Last Hurrah: Our trip to Hayward

We were lucky to spend the first week in August on vacation. My dad arranged for our family and my uncle Jim’s family to stay in Hayward, Wisconsin, on Grindstone Lake.

There were fourteen people and three dogs staying in a house and cabin right on the water.

The hizzouse and some brothers

The hizzouse and some brothers

El cabin (Thank goodness the bedrooms were too small for Charlotte's pack-n-play! ha)

El cabin (Thank goodness the bedrooms were too small for Charlotte’s pack-n-play! ha)

We didn’t have TV or internet, but we did have my dad’s boat, the lake, and oodles of daddy long legs to entertain us! (Right, Mary?)

The guys on the lake

The guys on the lake

Plastic bag fun. We really are in the woods.

Plastic bag fun. We really are in the woods.

Catch of the day!

Catch of the day!

This dock was broken when we arrived. Chris bit it big time before it was fixed. Poor Daddio!

This dock was broken when we arrived. Chris bit it big time before it was fixed. Poor Daddio!

Ooooh! Crayfish!

Ooooh! Crayfish!

On the last day we went to a Wilderness Zoo, where this happened and my mind was blown.

I TOUCHED this adorable fawn. eeee!

I TOUCHED this adorable fawn. eeee!

World's Cutest Pioneers

World’s Cutest Pioneers

There was a sign by these little rides that read, "We cannot guarantee these work!"    haha

There was a sign by these little rides that read, “We cannot guarantee these work!” haha

Cute baby goats, but Charlotte was more interested in the armadillo. And she's a little peeved that I didn't get any pictures of it.

Cute baby goats, but Charlotte was more interested in the armadillo. And she was a little peeved when we got home when she saw that I didn’t get any pictures of it.

Aunt Mandy and Sadie fed a camel!

And Charlotte looooved the family of deer.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for a great trip! We feel very lucky to still be able to tag along with our parents on vacations. One day, we’ll take you somewhere! xoxo

I just had to leave you with this picture because COME ON, can she get any cuter???

I just had to leave you with this picture because COME ON, can she get any cuter???