Monday, February 20, 2012

The Tale of the Two-Year Molars (or: Things they don't tell you before becoming a parent #27):

As anyone who has ever had a child can attest, most people tend to be free with their advice giving, warranted or not. This can happen to any parent, but mostly to pregnant women. Everyone from friends and family to perfect strangers feel the need to tell you how you should raise your children and what you can look towards when your precious bundle arrives. They do this as though you, a well-educated, normal member of society have never come in contact with a baby before, as though you will likely not have the first trace of a clue what to do when your baby arrives (motherly instincts? not you!) and they are there to save you from yourself. Keep in mind, none of these pieces of advice or little anecdotes will be positive in anyway what-so-ever. You must learn quickly to take every word uttered with a grain of salt and follow your instincts.

People like to regale their listeners with horror stories of no sleep and no showers and fuzzy teeth for lack of brushing. I will be the first to admit that I was blessed with a happy and content baby from day one. He was never one that needed to be held all the time, he never cried endlessly, and since he was two-months old has gone to bed at 7:30 pm and slept until 7:30 the next morning. He is two-years-old now and that is still his regular routine. Even in the first days, I never had a problem showering or finding a couple minutes to brush my teeth in the morning. My little boy is a happy, independent kid and I fully recognize the blessing that he is. It is also not lost on me that this could possible mean I'm in for it when we decide to have a 2nd one...

That being said, we've hit the two-year mark and discovered a secret story people don't tell you. I don't know why people have no problem telling the 7-month pregnant lady "You'll never sleep or brush your teeth again" (totally untrue) or "the grass isn't always greener, you know" (a lady with two kids actually said this to me at the grocery store) but hide the true scary Tale of Two-Year Molars.

Yes, I am officially stating that two-year molars are worse than childbirth, and they aren't even my molars coming in. The two-year molars began waging their war in the Weber household about mid-January. I read a post on a mommy message board that said "you only think teething is bad until you get to the two-year molars." She couldn't have been more right. Two-year molars make you question your life's decisions up to this point and wonder if God is perhaps punishing you for something you did wrong earlier in your life. Random temper-tantrums are not uncommon, mealtime has become a battlefield, and get ready for some serious clingyness.

I've heard that teeth breaking through the gums is among the worst pain a person experiences in their lifetime, we just don't remember it. This is especially true for molars. With that in mind I feel so awful for my poor baby. His mouth must be in so much pain. And he's hungry, but eating is tantamount to torture some days. Whenever I start getting frustrated because he's throwing a fit, I have to remind myself that he is in a tremendous amount of pain and he just doesn't know how to express that.

There is no moral to my story, I suppose. Could be stranger shouldn't given unsolicited advise... could be if you are given unsolicited advise, just nod and smile and tell them to shove it (in your head, of course)... could be I just want this to serve as a community tale, to help someone else going through the same thing to realize she isn't alone, or better yet, vice versa, that someone will tell me I'm not alone and that I'm not a terrible mother for giving my child oatmeal and string cheese for two meals a day a couple days a week and hoping pediasure will take care of the rest.

After all, we are in this whole Parenthood thing together, right?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mickey Mouse treats

So by the time I was done making all these, I was plum Mickey'd out! They were all a big hit though!
 First I made these little Mickey Oreos. Just dip regular sized Oreos in red Wilton candy chips about half way up. Let them set--it shouldn't take too long. Then, using Betty Crocker cookie icing, attach mini oreos to the top. I found it was easier to do this while the cookie was still flat on the wax paper and just let the icing set in place. Again, should take too long. Then using the same cookie icing put two little dots on the read "pants" for buttons (Sorry, I don't have a picture of that!) I put three of these in a little plastic baggie and put them in the kids goodie bags... and there may or may not have been a few left over for me :0)
I also made Mickey cupcakes. Just make chocolate cupcakes in red paper cups and frost with chocolate frosting and top with crushed oreos. (**GENIUS TIP: Put store-bought chocolate frosting in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 10 seconds and stir. Dip your cupcakes in the faux-ganache! Don't dip too deep and wipe off the excess on the side of the bowl. then just dip straight into the crushed oreos!) Work quickly and put them in the fridge to let the frosting set. Then add two sides of the mini oreos (no cream filling for this one) and Bam! Mickey Cupcakes!

Finally, the Toodles cake! This is just one 9" round cake (cut in half and filled with strawberries, but you can do what you want) and two smaller round cakes at the top for ears. I used vanilla frosting dyed yellow. When you frost it, frost it all as one cake. Then use your preferred method of decorating tools (your own bag or Wilton's pre-canned frosting with interchangable tips) and add all your "mousekatools"

Happy baking!!

Mickey Mouse Goodie bags

These were by far my favorite. My mom and I had met a lady at a farmer's market who makes little bags like this, so I sort of stole the general idea from her. You could really do these for any theme you wanted and I thought they lent themselves well to a Mickey Mouse!
 Start with black paper lunch sacks. I got mine on Amazon, but you can get them in most colors at any party supply store.
 Cut the top off to make it the size you want it to be.
 Add a yellow strip to the bottom.
 Cut a piece of black cardstock the same width of the bag and however big it needs to be to fold over the top of the bag, This will be the closure.
 Add a red piece of cardstock big enough to cover the front of the bag. Remember to leave a bit of yellow showing at the bottom. Add two pieces of Velcro, hooks on one side and loops on the other, this will fasten your bag closed. I bought mine pre-cut like this at Joanns. If you buy a roll of Velcro, which is more cost effective and what I use for my car seat covers, make sure to cut them evenly. The lady at the farmer's market didn't cut hers evenly and it was obvious...
 Next, add a couple ears on the top and two white buttons (I Mod Podged these on because the glue wasn't really holding very well) and you are set!
Fill them up with fun little toys or candy or stickers (we did all three) and they make great goodie bags!

Mickey Mouse Invites

Honestly, I was hoping these invites would turn out a bit cuter, but I still like them. And again, they are very easy to make!

Using the same circle cutter from the last project, or another circle cutter, cut out three circles for each invitation. I made the ears 4-1/2" and the head 5" to fit the square envelopes I found. Glue the ears to the head on the back.
 Next, I opened a document in Word and created a blank circle (Insert Shape). It allows you to set you shape size, so I selected a size just smaller than my head circle and typed in all the party info. Leave the edge of the circle on the document so when you print it out, you can see where to cut. Then just paste it onto your invite.
 Next, I used my Cricut (GREAT product if you do any sort of paper crafting. Consider it an investment or ask for it for a gift. I love mine!). I cut out the letters for my word. I've heard tell of a Cricut product that you can hook up to your computer and the letters you type can be attached to make one word that gets cut out for you. I haven't seen it anywhere, so I don't know if they make it anymore, but as I was making this project, I wish I had it. If you have another way to do the lettering that doesn't take so much pasting individual letters, please feel free to use your method!
 Put the lettering on the back of the ears so you can see them when they are folded down.
 Put the Mickey Mouse letters on the inside of your ears so when your guest opens his invite, it unveils to be a Mickey Mouse shape!
OK, The invites are out! Get ready to party!

Happy Crafting!

Mickey Mouse Ears

Welcome to the first in a series of Mickey Mouse-themed crafts and snacks (thanks to my two-year-old's obsession with "stickey" and his birthday party being this past weekend).  I meant to do one of these a day leading up to the party but I got busy. THEN I was going to do one a day after the party, but **shocker** I was still busy... But it's better late than never!!

Part of the favors I made for the kids were little Mickey Mouse ears, and I can't stress to you enough how easy these were.

I started with pre-stiffened felt. I didn't even know this stuff existed. I was going to buy regular felt and fuse two pieces together with heavy duty interfacing. The pre-stiffened stuff was a little bit more expensive than the regular felt, but when you factor in the fact that you don't have to buy the interfacing and it is a quicker process, the extra 70 cents per sheet is worth it.

 Next, I used my Fiskars circle cutter (at $15 at Joann's, it is an inexpensive tool that will be used a lot. It makes perfect circles from 1" diameter up to 8"). It is also very easy to use. Just set your measurement, hold down the middle and spin!  I made my circles 5".

Next, fold down a small portion of the circle and add a little hot glue and stick it to your headband. My headbands were already black, but you could easily buy any color and cover it with black ribbon.

Aren't these cute? I added some red polka dot ribbon to make Minnie ears too.

Happy Crafting!

Stay tuned for more Mickey fun!

A little update on my little chatterbox....

A few months ago (it seems like way longer than that) I wrote about being worried about my little man. He wasn't really saying much and his doctor was saying he was behind where he should be (In Doctor speak: "I'd like for him to be saying a few more words.")

I spent a lot of time worrying that my precious little boy who was so happy and smiling all the time was never going to talk. All my friend's kids seem to be talking. I kept thinking back and wondering did we do something wrong? that time he fell and hit his head, was it harder than I thought?

And word of advice to anyone who wants to research on whether their kid should or shouldn't be talking at a certain age, STAY AWAY FROM THE INTERNET!!!! it is the devil. Within 10 minutes on any given message board you will be convinced that there is definitely something wrong with you and your baby. For every 5 posts saying "don't worry, all kids are different, blah, blah blah" there will be 1 post saying "there is definitely something wrong go see a specialist now!!" And if you are anything like me, you will only focus on the 1 in 5.

For all the worrying I did, I now feel a little silly. Over the last couple months, JJ has become quite the little chatterbox. He knows names (family, sesame street, mickey mouse, what have you), he knows his alphabet and most of his numbers, he knows most shapes (as we drive down the street and pass by stop signs I hear a little voice in the backseat "Ock-gon! Ock-gon!!"). His most recent word is "pirate." Strange, I know. We watch "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" during breakfast on Saturday mornings. I pointed to the screen and said "Who's that?" and he says in a dramatic, drawn out little boy whisper "piii-rate!"

He still has a ways to go, but he is definitely on the right track and making quick progress. He tends to skip syllables, so we are working on pronunciation a lot. But he is quickly becoming a little boy and not a baby anymore. He'll hand me his remote (the one without the batteries...) and say "Elmo?" wanting to watch any episode of Sesame Street for the gazillionth time. And when I say "no, not right now" he'll change tactics. "Stickey?" (translation: Mickey). When I go to my M-I-L's house to pick him up in the afternoon, he comes running towards me, arms wide open "Mama!!!!" and greets me with a big hug (seriously the best part of my day!).

And now that he's talking more and really understanding more, he is a really funny kid! He makes weird noises and then cracks up. He chases after the dog laughing when he gets Dakota to spastically run in circles (Dakota is great with him, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't find it nearly as funny as JJ does). In fact, he laughs all the time. He is the happiest kid!

My little man will be 2 on Friday and everyday I feel more and more blessed by him being in my life and I can't wait to see what more is in store!