Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Room makeover in progress...

I went to Home Depot for some inspiration for K's room.  I saw a mural of a sky and hills.  It seemed doable.  I brought home a bunch of color swatches in blue and we picked one that the whole family liked.  I have plenty of green paint from other projects, so I raided my paint stash for the hills.  Then it was time to dive in!  I've never done a mural before, so I'm making it up as I go along.  It's taking up more time than I expected, but it's been fun.  Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed, and not sure it's going to look good.  But, the more layers I've added, the better it is looking.  I might stop with one wall, and not do the whole room like I originally planned, as it is time consuming.   Eventually, the plan is to paint an airplane and clouds in the sky.  I'm waiting to get an overhead projector to help draw the airplane.  Here's what I have done so far.  (If you'd like details on paint colors, please leave me a comment and I'll hunt down all the names and brands for you.)

I started with a light sage green wall.  I drew hills with pencil about a third of the way up from the floor.

Next I painted the wall with blue paint down to the pencil marks.  

Then I used acrylic craft paint & a small brush to outline the hills.  The hills were too flat so I hunted for some green glaze in my paint stash.  

I used two different colors of green paint mixed with glaze to give the hills added texture.
I blended the dabs  together with the Woolie.
(The Woolie is a tool sold at Home Depot, at least they did nine years ago!)

Now the hills are really starting to come alive.  You have to work fast as the glaze dries quickly.

Done!  If you find spots that need more glaze, wait till it's dry and dab and woolie it on.  If you do it while it's still tacky wet, you'll just remove the color that's already on the wall.  I learned this the hard way.  Also, I had to repaint the outline of the hills once the glazing was done.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

Wondering what to do with all that zucchini you grew in your garden?  Wishing that your kids would eat more veggies?  Want a great dessert recipe for potlucks and barbeques?  Well, here it is...Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake!  This is my mom's recipe that never fails to please.  (Unless you accidentally use whole wheat flour like I did last time.  Ugh!) It's the zucchini that makes the cake moist and wonderful, but nobody needs to know there's zucchini in it!  My son helped me make the cake today.  He surprised me by eating some of the grated zucchini.  He liked it!  
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake
½ cup butter
½ cup oil
1 ¾ cups granulated white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup milk
2 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups peeled & grated zucchini
12 oz. semi- sweet chocolate chips
½ cup walnuts, chopped

Cream together butter, oil, &  sugar.  Then add eggs, vanilla, & milk.  Mix well.  In separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together then add to creamed mixture.  Stir in zucchini.  Pour cake batter into greased & floured 9 x 13 pan.  Sprinkle top with chocolate chips & walnuts. 

Bake @ 325° for 40-45 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.    Enjoy!

K helping Mommy make zucchini cake for a picnic


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Boredom Busters

On hot days, K gets really bored.  It's too hot to go outside, and we start to get cabin fever being in the house all day.  I have been creating "new" games to keep my son busy.  Here are a few of our ideas if you'd like to try them.

One day, we made an obstacle course in the hallway.  I piled pillows, stuffed animals, and blankets for obstacles to jump over or run around.  We had a blast running up and down the hall, trying to leap over the obstacles.  I even got out the camera and made a video for all of us to watch later.  When Daddy got home we invited him to join us.  We all got really goofy and tried running side ways, backwards, or on hands and knees through the course.  It's great exercise for everybody and gets the kiddos nice and tired for nap time too!

Another fun activity we've done recently was to make a pretend boat in the living room.  We took all the cushions off the couch and pushed them together.  At first, it was fun to just jump on them and tumble onto the floor.  Then we became more creative and imagined that the cushions were a boat and the carpet was the ocean.  We "swam" in the ocean for a bit but hurried back to the boat to escape the sharks.  Later, I asked K what he wanted to do when he grew up.  He confidently told me he wanted to swim with the sharks!  Then he asked, "Mommy come too?"

One more suggestion, have a picnic indoors.  K thought this was great fun!  We set up an old blanket on the floor in the kitchen.   I prepared all sorts of finger foods: cheese sticks, lunchmeat roll ups, chopped veggies, fruit, and crackers.  We invited Daddy to join our picnic.   Everyone had a good time together, and K learned some new table manners like not to put his feet near the food!

What fun activities have you been doing this summer to keep your kids busy on hot days?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Author Spotlight: Nancy Shaw

Our son (K.) loves books, and tends to fixate on one or two stories for a while, so we are constantly-and sometimes desperately- looking for new books to read to him.  Some of the books we own I've actually sent on "vacation" for a while because we've read them over and over and over again.  So almost every week, we visit the library.  I am always thrilled to discover an author that has a series of books the whole family can enjoy.  Nancy Shaw is one such author that we found a few weeks ago.  Our favorite book by her is a silly story titled Sheep out to Eat.  At age 34 months, K. is able to comprehend the humor in most instances.  He really cracks up when the sheep go out to eat and make a huge mess at the restaurant.  The text is written in simple, sing-song rhyme which is fun to read aloud.  The illustrations, by Margot Apple, are delightful colored pencil drawings that add extra humor to the stories.  Most of the books in the series are rather hilarious because the sheep seem to get into trouble no matter what they attempt.  I think there are seven sheep books including: Sheep in a Jeep, Sheep in a Shop, Sheep on a Ship, Sheep out to Eat, Sheep Take a Hike, Sheep Trick or Treat, and Sheep Blast Off!

I'll be regularly posting about favorite books and authors on my blog.  Please feel free to comment and tell me about some of your children's favorite stories.  We're due for another library visit soon!

Welcome to Mom Thoughts

I'm a mom to an almost three year old.  Every day I'm learning something new about parenting.  Sometimes I want to share what I'm learning.  That's why I started this blog.  Plus, I love getting together with other moms and hearing their ideas and getting their advice.  Time is a rare commodity, and get togethers with other moms seem to be few and far between.  So, this is my place to share parenting tips I've used that are working, and pass along recipes, fun games to play with your kids, books you might enjoy reading to them, educational dvds we love to watch, and toys that have been worth buying,  etc... Hopefully it will be helpful to somebody, and in return I'll get some great ideas and suggestions from fellow moms via the comments.  Thanks for dropping by and I hope you stop in again soon!

One of our favorite things to do: bake together.  K & Mommy