July Blanket Progress

How on earth is it the end of July? Please explain to me how this month could go by so fast. If you are unable to do that, feel free to tell me that I’m just very confused and it’s only July 12. I would also accept that. I just don’t want this summer to end.

When I look at my blanket this month compared to last month I can see that 31 days have past. Without the proof of blanket squares I would never believe it.20180731_0836147806295130515662712.jpg

Another thing I can’t believe is how big Elliot is getting. He got his haircut today and now I’m weepy over how he doesn’t look like a baby anymore.

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So now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to pout about how fast summer and childhood go by.

 

Elliot Eats Ice Cream

I was in Cedar Falls visiting my parents this week. It was three days filled with parks, playing outside, and a visit to the library. We also had ice cream for lunch two days in a row.

I had never let the kids eat anything other than a healthy (ish) lunch before. Their minds were blown. My mind was blown on Wednesday when I saw how bad Elliot was at eating ice cream. At one point he thought the ice cream was too cold so he started eating the bottom of the cone. It made a huge mess.20180725_1235144603504716703335716.jpg

Luckily he appears to be a fast learner when it comes to ice cream. He was much cleaner today.20180726_1207524940877670906142349.jpg

Now it’s back to normal for Elliot. I wonder how many lunches it will take before he eats vegetables willingly again.

Friday Review

It was a busy week. On Sunday we went to the park. John pulled the kids in the bike trailer and I ran to meet them. It was really hot, so I sat on a bench trying to stop sweating and ended up talking to another mom watching her kid play. I don’t normally have a conversation with people at the park, other than polite chit-chat. On Sunday I talked to the other Mom about parks. She suggested some of her favorites around Des Moines. I made a list and hope to try them all. I wonder if this means I should start being more social at parks.

On Monday I decided to try the park most recommended by Sunday Park Lady. That park, Quail Cove Park, is in West Des Moines. There were two playground areas and a half mile trail. We checked it all out. One of the playgrounds is for bigger kids, which didn’t stop Audrey from climbing to the top and terrifying me.

I really liked the park. As an added bonus, it pretty close to John’s office. It will be a convenient way to wear the kids out before a trip to Trader Joe’s, Costco, or lunch with John. It also has flush toilets, which is something I really look for in a park.

On Tuesday we went to the grocery store and played outside in our yard. It was a pretty low-key day for us.

On Wednesday we went to story time at the Des Moines Public Library. They had a craft for the kids, they made tool boxes and colored tools. The craft was a huge hit with both kids. They played with their paper saws and hammers all day. When I saw the craft I did not expect them to play with it all day. Elliot ran away from me while I was checking out DVDs. Luckily I could see where he was going and I found him jumping off of benches and playing with puppets.

On Thursday we headed to the wading pool at the park closest to our house. It was a little chilly, but that didn’t stop the kids from playing in the water for an hour. We stopped by the playground on the way home, where Elliot showed me his terrifying new-found climbing skills.

Thursday afternoon we had about 15 minutes free between errands and dinner. We drove right past another park Sunday park lady recommended, North Karen Acres. We stopped to check it out. Audrey saw the pirate ship and yelled “THE RUSTY HEAP” a sign that we read a lot of Ned The Knitting Pirate (his ship is named the Rusty Heap). The kids had a really great time playing at that park. Elliot threw his biggest fit ever when it was time to leave. We will be back to visit. It is right by the Aldi we go to, so there might be some Aldi/park time in our future. 20180719_1636308274963177810840137.jpg

Today we played at a friend’s house. He has two little boys. The kids played well together for about an hour and a half. I was actually able to sit and have a conversation with my friend. I love it when that happens.img_20180720_124541_4442399213523935107956.jpg

We don’t have anything planned for tomorrow. I hope we get out to a park. Maybe we’ll even fill up the pool in our backyard and watch the kids play from the comfort of the patio.

I hope you had a fun week! Do you have any parks in the Des Moines metro you would recommend?

Pudding Pops

I’m kind of a food snob. I think it’s because John and I spent so many years in our 30s with good jobs before kids. We went out to eat a lot. When I cooked I had the luxury of quality (expensive) ingredients and time. The things I loved as a kid I no longer like. Things like cool whip and boxed pudding don’t appeal to me at all.

I believe pudding should be homemade. It should involve egg yolks, whole milk, half and half, sugar, and corn starch. It should be a project. I also believe in having the kids help me in the kitchen (well, mostly Audrey because Elliot can be a challenge in the kitchen). Fancy shmancy pudding and kids don’t mix, so for the sake of kitchen help I occasionally reach for things I don’t particularly like. Like boxed pudding.

Do you remember back when Bill Cosby wasn’t a sexual predator? I do. We watched him every week on the Cosby show and we ate pudding pops. They were delicious. They still are, and they are also really easy to make (Step 1: make pudding. Step 2: freeze it).

Audrey helped me pour the milk and stir. She took the job very seriously. At one point she stopped stirring because she forgot to put her apron on.20180713_1618042333065902660222817.jpgElliot taste tested the pudding. He took his job seriously too.20180713_162242826647738028744168.jpg

I poured the pudding into the molds. I think I waited too long, as the pudding had started to set up and it was a very gloppy job.20180713_1625457881662914017156109.jpg

When we were done we ran to the store. Audrey was so excited about cooking she wanted to wear her apron. She was very proud of herself.20180713_170709(0)-12986365372933638748.jpg

I hope that having the kids involved in cooking now will keep them interested in cooking. Elliot really wants to help, but he destroys so many things. I need to find something easier than pudding for him to help with. Do you have any ideas?

Zoo Fun

This morning we met my friend Todd at the zoo. My kids call him Uncle Todd. I call him Hot Toddy. Everyone loves him.

Todd was running a few minutes behind, so the kids and I played at the park until he got there. The park is for big kids, which doesn’t slow Audrey down. She loves to climb.20180712_1021048175959471285283158.jpg

Once Todd arrived we headed in to the zoo. We went our regular route, with the added stop to see the new okapi. Elliot loved talking to Todd about everything we saw.20180712_1053545672542648848004442.jpg

He also loved talking to the baby lions.

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The biggest treat for all of us was riding the camels. This is going to be a once a summer treat for us, as it is $6 a person. We all loved it. Audrey got off the camel and immediately asked to go again.

After the camel rides we decided to head home. It was so hot we needed to get out of the heat for a bit.

I love having a zoo pass. It makes going to the zoo for an hour something that we can do every week.

Beaverdale Farmers Market

It was very hot here today, over 90. That didn’t stop us from heading to the Beaverdale Farmers Market. I love that a 10 minute walk takes us to our neighborhood market. On Tuesday nights I don’t have to worry about cooking. I know we will find food from a vendor to enjoy.

Tonight we passed our ice cream neighbor on our way to the market. He was headed out to run an errand, but he opened his garage door and pulled over to tell me to just go into the garage and take whatever treat we wanted. He said to leave the door open because he would be back soon enough. I took him up on it – Audrey had a mini drumstick, Elliot had a popsicle, and I had a Schwan’s orange push pop.

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After enjoying our frozen treats we walked around the market. None of the produce called to me, so we just had dinner. The kids split a pizza and I had a papusa. We have Tuesday night picnics down to a science. I keep a picnic blanket in the stroller trunk. We spread it out in the shade of the median of the road the market is held on.

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I have learned to order the kids a margarita pizza without basil. Audrey won’t eat pizza if it has green on it. If we are out in public it isn’t worth that battle. The people at Parlo Pizza are great at making pizza for kids. Their pizza is wood fired and gives it an excellent crunchy crust. Because they knew it was for the kids they didn’t cook it as long so the kids could easily bite through it. They also cut it into more slices so the pieces were kid sized. Elliot really liked that, and served himself several slices.20180710_172312856201908316333743.jpg

Audrey had a good meal and then rested and looked at the clouds. I think she would have happily stayed there all night had I not made her get up so we could get home to air conditioning

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Yes, it was ridiculously hot today, but it was so much better than a frigid day in January. Summer is short, and we’re trying to soak up as much of it as we can. I hope you are too.