Toddler Activities

This morning my daughter watched two hours worth of Curious George, Sesame Street, and the Tiger-Neighborhood-one.  And, yeah, I let it happen.

There are days when it’s too cold or too wet to go outside.  There are days when I’ve used up Curious George on the mundane, like taking a shower or making breakfast.  We are no longer members of the local toddler gym because it doesn’t fit our schedule, and I haven’t really looked for anything new to enroll her in yet.  There are days (every day, but I’m trying to be poetic) that I have to find a way to keep my toddler entertained, engaged, and grow her mind.  I fail pretty much every day, too, because we end up dancing to the stereo, chasing the dog, and climbing the furniture.  All. the. furniture.  Up?  Up?

I’ve gone to those silly, Super Mom websites and read their fabulous ideas.  I get ideas sent straight to my inbox from subscriptions I’ve signed up for.  Let me break it down for you.  It takes at least twice as long to set up and clean up EACH than the length of time it holds my toddlers attention.  I’ve decided that for now, natural curiosity and exploration that happens organically (I hate anyone who uses that word), is probably just as effective, if not more, than all of these toddler activities that sound great in theory, but in reality never go the way you plan.  Take a look at some of my failed attempts.

1.  Let’s Color!
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In T-minus 2 seconds, I’m chucking these crayons in all directions.

Tape paper to the floor.  Pull out some crayons, and let your loved one’s inner artist emerge!

Reality:  First, you need a crumb-free floor to tape paper to.  No time for that, so just swipe those dried bits of food away from your work area.  Once your toddler sees the tape dispenser, she is going to be much more interested in it than coloring on paper.  And the tape you’ve added to the paper?  It’s a STICKER!!!  Toddlers LOVE stickers.  She’ll do her best to add tape to the paper, remove tape,  unroll more tape – - wait this tape is stuck to my finger, Mommy get it off!  Now there’re food bits stuck to the tape.  Mommy, get it off!  Actually, why is there paper on the floor?  I’ll help out by tearing it off.  Done.  Whew.  Okay, what’s next?

Same concept for finger painting, only it’s 1000 times messier, even when you’ve pulled out the giant, plastic tablecloth to work on.  Unless you’ve plasticked (Yeah, I made that a verb.) an entire room and all exits via Dexter, that paint is getting on your carpet.

2.  Dry Food, Kitchen Time Fun!IMG_5474

Anything safe to ingest + kitchen accessories, bowls, measuring cups, muffin tin, etc. Dump uncooked rice into a large bowl.  Let toddler explore.  Pour different types of cereal into muffin tin.  Let toddler experiment.

Reality:   Pouring, scooping, eating, dumping, tossing, and smashing are all involved.  Keep the vacuum handy or be prepared to step lightly through the minefield that is now your kitchen floor.

3.  SortingIMG_5435

Anything around the house:  colored blocks, pairs of socks.  Have toddler gleefully sort objects while you discuss with her about colors, textures, and size.

Reality:  No, Mommy, YOU want to sort; I want to be Godzilla and plow through your organized piles of boredom.  I will only pick up a “blue” block if I darn well feel like it, and right now I feel like chewing on a red one.

4.  Songs and Finger Play

This Little Piggy, Patty Cake, Itsy Bitsy Spider, The Wheels on the Bus… Singing + hand motions = all day fun.

Reality:  Unless you’re tired of singing the same song for the 30th time in a row.  Or unless you haven’t even finished singing the first line, and your toddler is already vigorously shaking her head NO.  Plus side, no prep work involved in this one.  Unless you’re annoying and make finger puppets for your child.  Then you deserve the sheer disappointment of your toddler not caring.

5.  Obstacle Course

Pull the cushions off the furniture.  Grab the giant throw pillows of the beds.  Line them up and make steps onto the cushion-less couch and love seat.  Add a pop-up tunnel, and your toddler’s sure to have a rollicking good time in her new living room-indoor gym!

Reality:  She doesn’t want to climb, so you’re going to have to pick her up and put her on the sofa-fort.  Also, the cushions are in the way.  She can’t run around with her stroller and chase the dog with all this stuff on the floor.  What is your deal?  Pick up the house, woman!

So, what does entertain a toddler?  All the things that break and can be ruined by, or ruin, a toddler:

  • A cup full of colorful pens.  (Keep the caps on, obvi.)
  • Christmas silverware and the cupboard with all the extra place mats, napkins, and napkin rings.
  • The glass centerpiece with the fake fall foliage and fake apples.
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    Pants are optional in this house.

    (There will forever be bite marks in every one of those fake apples.)  Let’s just all agree that fake fruit as decor is a stupid idea.

  • Sitting on all the chairs.  But she refuse to learn how to climb, so you must place her in a chair, and then she’ll point at the next chair, and then she’ll want to sit in the next chair, and then back to the first chair.  Keep.  Going.
  • Water.  But only if it’s from your cup.  The one without the lid.  The one that’s not spill-proof.  The one that she’s dumping all over her shirt right now.
  • Your really tall bed.  Bonus points if you can catch her before she lunges herself off the side.
  • Helping with laundry.  As in, you fold, and she puts it on her head, or her doll’s head, or the dog’s head.  Soon she’ll get impatient with how long it’s taking you to fold and refold all the clothes, so she’ll grab a pile, carry it to her bedroom and stuff it into her drawer. Done.  Moving on.  Just remember where to look when you are out of kitchen towels.IMG_5430
  • No supervision.  Go change the crib sheet on your toddler’s mattress.  See what blessings await you when you are through.  Do this when you have 10 minutes before you have to leave to go teach a class.  When is your husband going to be home, again?  (This one’s fun for everyone!)

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    Look, Mom! ALL the crackers! Surprise!

  • Snacks.  When in doubt, snacks.

One-Year-Old Speak, A Translation Guide

Much like BableFish, this translation guide will be only 75% accurate; however, if you think you might ever find yourself having a five minute or more conversation with my daughter in the near future (ahem, I’m talking to you, family we’re visiting for Thanksgiving), you might find this guide mildly helpful.

 

Sounds like… Could possibly mean…
/a/ (long a sound) airplane
ă (short a sound) apple, or Alex if she’s being lazy
ah-p “up,” or chair
high-pitched “nay!” horse, or reindeer, or any animal that slightly resembles a horse
baa sheep, or any animal that slightly or barely resembles a sheep
m-ow cat
moe more, milk (usually accompanied by sign for milk), or feed me something good, cow (sound a cow makes)
mmm sound a cow makes, sometimes she just says the mmm part without the ooh.
wah water
bay, or baaaaaay-be baby
nigh-nigh night-night
hi I see you.
bye-bye Go away.
no granola
nă (short a sound) snack (Yes, granola and snacks are two entirely different food categories.)
hm-hm (sing-songy, to match the cadence of “thank-you” Mommy told me to say thank you. (She hums sounds and words she doesn’t know how to say.)
Whoo! owl
eye/no/ee/beh eyes/nose/ears/belly, belly button, or button
uh-oh I purposely chucked (fill in the blank).
dog every time she hears the neighbors’ dogs bark, also “car” because why, I have no idea

 

 

October

October is my all time favorite month of the year, just as Halloween is my favorite holiday.  I love the fall:  cooler weather, crunchy leaves, pumpkin patches, decorations, scary movies, and yummy treats.  Of course, fall isn’t really fall in Florida, and the sun is blisteringly hot when you’re out picking pumpkins with zero shade.  But this last week hasn’t been too bad.  We’ve been able to open windows in the mornings and play outside a lot.  This month has been busy and has gone by so fast; I can’t believe it’s almost over.  What have we been up to in October 2014?IMG_4600

  • We visited a local church pumpkin “patch.”  It’s at least a 45 min drive to get out to a real farm, and we haven’t gotten up the courage or energy for that kind of excursion yet.
  • We decorated pumpkins and our entryway.
  • We took family photos.
  • The Jaguars won a game, finally.
  • The KC Royals won the ALCS, and are currently leading 2-1 in the World Series.  What!?  #takethecrown #beroyal  *UPDATE: They made it to game 7, but the Giants won out in the end, 3-2 score.  Sad, but still proud of my home team.
  • I am an official, certified Sh’bam instructor and got my very own class on Tuesday mornings each week.
  • We just launched Sh’bam 17.  My first launch.IMG_4715
  • I got a sports therapy massage at the Ponte Vedra Spa.  It was delightful.
  • Ellis got sick for the second time in her life.  It’s most likely my fault for letting her eat her snacks that fell on the floor at the pediatrician’s office during her 15 mo well visit.
  • We bought our tickets to go home (KC) for Thanksgiving.  I. Cannot. Wait.
  • We drove an hour out to a farm in Hilliard to enjoy some fall activities that included multiple rides on a cow train, mooing at cows, a tractor ride, a giant slide, Travase pushing Ellis all over in a little hot wheels bike because she couldn’t reach the peddles and REALLY wanted to ride it. a lot., played a hay bales, pet some chickens, pigs, and horses, and a ton more.   We didn’t grab pumpkins because we had nabbed them the weekend before.
  • We went to the NAS Jacksonville airshow.  It was not the best thing to take a 1-year-old to.  It took an hour to park and enter.  There were lines for everything, including the ONE ATM because none of the credit card machines were working.  Ellis wanted to run around, but there wasn’t really a safe place to do so.  Or she wanted to just sit.  In the middle of the crowds of people walking up and down the airfield.  We skipped her morning nap so that we could go, and by the end of our visit, she had gotten quite psychotic.  Tired babies become violent babies.IMG_5005
  • Ellis started teething again and got a super wicked case of diaper rash, so she’s been running around with a naked booty, and I’ve been cleaning pee off of everything.
  • For Halloween, Ellis wore her puppy dog costume around the front yard and our street, but hated the giant tutu.  It scared her putting it on and taking off, so there was no chance I was getting it back on her for trick-or-treating.  She went as a piggy instead.  We met Travase at his office and headed to Avondale for an early dinner.  All the staff loved her, and one waitress remembered her from our last visit which had been some time ago.  Ellis started to get restless (it had been a long, tiresome, no nap day), so we headed out to walk the neighborhood.  We didn’t have her trick-or-treat because she doesn’t eat candy, but any house with a dog, she would stop and we’d ask if she could say hello and pet him or her.  The more tired Ellis gets, the crazier and less coordinated she gets.  She didn’t want to be held or sit in her stroller, so I let her walk.  She fell twice, scraping her leg on the asphalt and then soon after hitting her chin on a curb.  So, she was bleeding, scraped up, and bruised by the end of the night.  Way to go, Mom!

 

Halloween Krispies Treats

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I added the mini-mallows too soon, so they look like melty blobs.

I love Halloween.  I love Rice Krispies treats.  I make them every year come October.  This year, Oreo came out with a Halloween cookie that I just had to try, so I decided to play with my trusty ole’ back-o-the-box recipe to incorporate my second love, Oreo cookies.  Add in some mini marshmallows, and you have yourself a heavenly, devilishly delicious treat.  I may have eaten 90% of the pan all by myself.

Til next year, Krispie Treats.

Ingredients:

(I’m too lazy to look up measurements for this post.  I made these at the beginning of the month, so I’m just going from memory here.)

  • Butter
  • Marshmallows (one jumbo size bag, one bag of miniatures)
  • small package Halloween Oreo cookies (I went with a row of cookies but you can choose how many cookies you want to incorporate), semi crushed
  • box of Rice Krispies cereal

Directions:

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I ate half the pan and half the package of Oreos before I got around to taking a picture.

Follow directions on back of cereal for making krispies treats.  I make them on the stove instead of using the microwave.  Melt butter and marshmallows.  Remove from heat and add the cereal, stir.  Yadda Yadda.

Then, add your crushed Oreos.  Stir.  Add about half a bag of miniature marshmallows.  Again, your call on the amount you want.  Just don’t add them too soon, or they will melt.

Spread into a greased pan and restrain yourself from eating them too soon.

Enjoy!

Friday Five – My 15 Month Old’s Favorite Apps

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Ellis loves her my iPhone and iPad.  I love that they can serve as a distraction when she starts to get cranky in the car or wants me to pick her when I’m trying to get dinner made, etc.  I think people who say children under 2 should not be exposed to media at all are bonkers.  I’m talking to you, American Pediatrics Association.  My daughter watches Sesame Street and/or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood almost everyday.  Often it’s in 5 or 10 minute blocks because she has the attention span of a 15 month old, and if they are not singing, she’s not interested.  Unless there are dogs, or animals that look like dogs.  She’ll watch dogs.  And the advertisements that come on before Sesame Street.  They are the same every time and get her excited.  Sesame Street is always brought to you buy Earth’s Best Organics for Kids and PNC.

The best apps for her age are those that have simple illustrations and basic steps (just like books).  If it requires more than one or two steps then it’s too advanced.  She’s working on her hand-coordination skills, learning how her hands and fingers manipulate the screen, and even better, her favorite button (the home button) will exit her out of her favorite app and might just call on Siri.  So, she’s also learning how to find her apps and open them.

#1.  Elmo Calls by Sesame StreetIMG_0029

I mean, do I even need to explain?  Elmo calls your child.  No, he doesn’t just call your child.  He FaceTimes with her.  Why didn’t this exist when I was a kid?

#2.  Peekaboo Barn by Night & Day Studios

This app is super cute and super simple.  There is an image of a barn, and the doors start to shake.  You tap on the doors, and it reveals an animal inside.  It makes the animal sound, says the name of animal in addition to revealing the name in print as well.  IMG_0027Once you go through all the animals, night time falls, and all the animals go to sleep.  Ellis hates this part.  Wake them up!  Let’s keep playing!  At least I think that’s what her whines mean.  She learned you either have to go through the motions or close the app and open it to start it all over again.

Similar to this, she also loves:  Peekaboo Vehicles by Touch & Learn (super loud and annoying, but she loves it!) and Peekaboo Trick or Treat with Ed Emberley by Night & Day Studios.  (Lately, she’s been playing these last two all the time.  I think she needed a break from Peekaboo Barn.  Surprisingly, she’s not really into the Peekaboo Sesame Street version.)

#3.  Itsy Bitsy Spider by Duck Duck Moose

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Itsy Bitsy Spider hands

Itsy Bitsy Spider is one of her favorite songs.  So, it made sense to find an app that played the song over and over.  This app is so much fun for her, but so weird.  It mixes elements of realism and fantasy, so it’s not quite educational, but then when you click on certain objects like the sun or a fly, a child’s voice gives a scientific explanation that is far too advanced for a 15 month old, let alone a 3 year old.

#4.  Busy Shapes by Seven AcademyIMG_4274

If Peekaboo Barn is the digital version of that old school toy where you pull a string and a bored man’s voice says, “The cow goes moo!,” then this app is the digital version of the plastic ball with the different shaped holes that you have to fit plastic pieces into.  How in the world am I supposed to describe that? A shape-sorter ball toy thing.  Yeah, so this is the digital version of it.

#5.  Sago Mini Sound Box by Sago SagoIMG_0032

So, she’s kind of over this one already, but it was her favorite for so long that I had to include it.  It’s really pointless fun.  It’s colorful and makes a lot of sounds.  The more you touch the screen, the more colorful balls appear accompanied by various sounds depending on what theme you select.  You hold down on a ball and a surprise pops out like a fish, cat, or dog.

 

 

Friday Five – 15 Months

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Waiting at the doctor’s office.

Today, you are 15 months. (Technically, the 26th, but I’m late getting this together.)  This is more significant than say, 14 or 13 months, because you get to go back to your doctor for a well visit and shots!  Hooray for you!  You really have grown leaps and bounds in the last three months, and you’re not at all a little baby anymore.  These are my favorite times with you.  You are fun, adventurous, silly, mischievous, and so so sweet.  These are just a few of my favorite things about you.

1.  First thing in the morning, if your daddy gets you up from bed, you come looking for me.  Sitting at my desk, I watch you turn the corner, Bear-Bear in arm, and you smile and start running as soon as you see me.  Then you ask for milk.

Routines are the best.  Our mornings and evenings are generally the same every day.  At night we read stories, and then your daddy puts you down at night.  You just seem to do a much better job of going to sleep if he does it.  So, after our last story, we’ll say, “Okay, time for night-night!  Can Mommy and Alex have a hug and kiss?”  You are always willing to give Alex hugs and kisses.  Me?  Sometimes I’m lucky, sometimes I have to steal them.  Often, you’re too excited about bedtime (why?) that you start running toward your room with just a quick wave of the hand to tell me goodnight.  But it’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.

2.  You make animal sounds for cat, dog, monkey, owl, and cow.  You can say a lot of words, including your own name and Alex’s which is so cute to hear!  Also, the first time you meowed like a kitten, I almost lost my sh*t.  You make it sound so cute!  I also say that to you about a billion times a day.  “Oh my gosh, you’re so cute!”  No, seriously, you are the cutest.  We’ve also conditioned you the old Pavlovian way that anytime we mention one of your body parts, you respond it turn.  Eyes? You blink.  Nose?  You wriggle your nose and snort.  Mouth?  You open wide and say “Ah!” Arms? You wave them around.  Ears? You pull on one or the other.  Belly?  You tickle your chest.  Toes? You reach down and touch them.  Hair? You grab your head.  You also like to sign “toothbrush” when we talk about your teeth.  You love to brush your teeth.

3.  You really do pay attention to everything we do and try to mimic us.  The other day I was working in the kitchen, and you came up with a kinda-used Kleenex, opened the trash can and threw it in.  It makes me wonder what else you’ve been throwing away when I wasn’t looking!  You help clean with a towel, Kleenex, napkin, or whatever, and you’ll start wiping down the furniture.  You like to push the power button on the vacuum.  You hold toy phones (and one green calculator) up to your ear and start having a serious conversation with someone on the other end.  I’d really love to know what you’re saying.  You hang your purses on the handles of your stroller and push it around the house.

4.  We have dance parties because you like to sing and dance.  Your favorite song right now is “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.  You will stop everything and start singing and dancing when it comes on.  Your daddy just informed me the other day that you get upset if he tries to turn on Sports Talk Radio in the car.  Good girl!

5.  (This is really a combination of many things.  But I’m sticking to my list of 5.)  When I put you in your car seat, if you happen to be eating something, you like to open your mouth and make funny faces because you enjoy watching yourself eat in the mirror.  You love playing outside and would stay out there all day if the weather (and I) permitted it.  You are starting to climb up on the furniture and also starting to fall off of it.  You fell off of our tall bed for the first time this week.  Miraculously you went feet first and landed on your butt and immediately wanted back up on the bed.  The good news is, because you’re taller now, these falls off the furniture are much shorter.  Still, stop trying to kill yourself.

Friday Five

Yes, it’s Friday, and there are five items I want to talk about.  But let’s not assume that this is a weekly thing you can expect, okay?  I make no commitments.  Really, this blog is to document every second of my first child’s life, in exhaustive detail, not to draw readers.  But, if you are interested in what my life is like with 14.5 month old (63 weeks and one day to be exact [no, I'm not counting, a "mom" newsletter that I never remembered subscribing to, told me]) keep reading!

Tonight’s first ever Friday five is about night-time books.

We have story time every night as part of our bedtime routine.  It’s awesome, and I’m proud of it.  It’s the one time we come together as an entire family (including the dog) every day to break free of distractions and the outside world and just be together, on the same couch, reading together.  We take turns reading, and we use silly voices.  Sometimes Ellis nurses while she listens, and other times, she runs around crazy trying to ward off bedtime while we read aloud.  Ellis has books that she likes and books she doesn’t care for.  After several months of research, we’ve found a few books that are staples in our reading lineup.

#1.  The Going to Bed Book   

Who doesn’t love Sandra Boynton books for their babies?  They are always silly fun, and so catchy that you can easily memorize every page.  This comes in handy when Ellis wants to hold the book and turn the pages herself.  Ellis likes this one because we rock like a boat at the end of it.  AND BONUS  Night-Night, Little Pookie    Another Sandra Boynton.  This is “Mommy’s book, ” meaning I am the only one allowed to read it to her.  For whatever reason, I took on a silly half-British/half-Minnesotan accent for the Mommy’s voice.  “Oh, Poooookie!  It’s time for bed now!”  It just goes.  Ellis laughs.  Sometimes she lets me kiss her, but most of the time she squirms out of my arms.

#2.  Time for Bed by Mem Fox   

Yeah, this one is sweet.  The pictures are adorable, and it’s a perfect way to soothe a rambunctious one to sleep.  Not really.  But we try!  I read reviews online that criticized how unrealistic this story is.  Things like, “The whole wide world is NOT going to sleep.  People in China are just waking up!” or “Baby bees are actually larvae, not smaller bees!”  So sometimes Trav and I have a little fun and point out all the unrealistic things mentioned in the book – which is every page, because after all, this is a children’s bedtime book, not an informational text about animals and the way the world works.  Lighten up, parents.

#3.  Goodnight, I Love You, Ten Tiny Toes, and I Love You Through and Through  

Really, all the Caroline Jayne Church books featuring those cute little babies.  They are adorable, the illustrations and rhyming text appeal to Ellis, and the books are easily interactive.

#4.  Under the Same Moon by Suzanne Berry.

This is one of those books that you record your voice.  My mom got it for Ellis when she was born because she lives halfway across the country.  The story is so sweet, the pictures are beautiful and captivating, and Ellis loves hearing someone else read besides us.  She’s starting to chime in and do the “Whoo, whoo, whoo,” which is one of our favorite parts.  Perfect for anyone who has loved ones far away.

#5.  Goodnight Moon    

This is our closer.  Every. night.  We have it memorized.  We could probably recite it backwards if you asked us.  Please don’t ask us.  Ellis has never really shown any interest in this book, but we’ve heard time and again how so many families love this book and their children love it and yadda yadda.  So we’ve tried to force it to be a much-loved piece of her childhood.  In reality, I think every one of us (including the dog) despise it.  Maybe eventually as she got older she would have liked this book, but it ultimately is the signal that bedtime is next and resistance is futile, so she does everything in her power not to listen to this book.  She even tries pulling out other books for us to read instead, or she’ll start attacking the dog, or even jabbering because she knows we can’t resist responding excitedly to every little utterance she makes.  Someday it’ll be fun to ask her to point out the red balloon and the telephone (an antique that she would never recognize in real life), but right now she could care less about the kittens and the mittens, the creepy old lady, and the bowl full of mush.

UPDATE:  Since reflecting on our Goodnight Moon habit, I mentioned to Travase that maybe we retire Goodnight Moon for a while.  His response:  “Oh, thank God!”  So, we’ve not read it for about a week now, and baby girl has been just fine with that.  But seriously, the other books I mentioned we really do love.

It’s Labor Day, Seriously.

I’m kind of freaking out right now.  Minor panic attack.  You see, I got a message from the Y’s group fitness coordinator asking me to come in on Tuesday to interview and audition for an instructor position.  I had put this on the back burner because all of the hoops I’ve been jumping through having been leading me to believe that it would be a long journey before I got a chance to work at the Y.  We had BBQ plans on Sunday which kept us out having fun til late, and then there was this thing called a sh’ton of reading I still had left to finish for my graduate class.  Add to that a sweet little toddler who wants me to pick her up so that she can bang on the keyboard, and I’m feeling a little like there’s not enough time in the world to do everything I need to accomplish.  My solution?  Use up even more of my invaluable time writing a silly blog post about a dessert I made yesterday.  Yeah.  Good call.  But if it takes my mind off my stress for just a little while, then we’ll call it worth it.

Basically, I’m writing a post about a recipe because it doesn’t exist on the web, and I want to be able to pin it for future use.  I guess you can say it was that good.  But also, I was all domestic and didn’t bring a store-bought dessert to a party, for which I am proud!

Fruit Pizza Mashup

Fruit Pizza Mashup

*This recipe is a combination of several recipes and readers’ noted alterations.

INGREDIENTS

2 packages sugar cookie dough

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

1/2 C confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 container Cool Whip (thawed)

fruit toppings

1 C pineapple juice (unsweetened)

1/2 sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 T lemon juice

2 T corn starch

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

Prepare the cookie crust by rolling out and flattening one and a half packages of cookie dough.  You can choose to form it in the circular shape of a pizza, or just a rectangle like I did.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Let cool, then carefully lift cookie crust off pan, and flip it upside down onto a serving platter.  I cut the edges off to make it look prettier and fit my serving tray.

Wash and cut your fruit.*  Let sit in a colander, or lay on paper towels to drain.  This prevents a soggy crust.  *I used blueberries and strawberries to go with the “patriotic” labor day theme, but you can use whatever fruits you prefer.

For the “sauce.”

Combine cream cheese, cool whip, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla.  Whip until smooth consistency.  Spread evenly on top of cookie crust.  (I had leftover cream.)

Add your fruit.

For the glaze.

Combine pineapple juice, sugar, salt,  lemon juice and cornstarch in a pan. Heat to boiling, boil and stir 1 minute. Let cool to room temperature, then drizzle over your fruit pizza.  (Next time I am going to try less cornstarch.  I’m not sure how necessary it was.)

Enjoy!

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Checking In

Lots of things happening around the Erickson household.  Sorry.  Hold on.  I’m laughing at that statement.  Okay, slightly more than the usual nothing is happening around here, so I thought I’d share what we’re up to.

Grad classes are starting back up.IMG_2512

I started grad school back in the winter of 2012.  It was fast and furious at first, but then I went back to work AND got pregnant at the same time, so my roll slowed to a stop this past winter.  Somehow I didn’t plan correctly, and FSU threw a wrench, because my last two courses (well, a course and an internship) are both only offered in the fall, and cannot be completed at the same time.  You see what I’m saying?  I had anticipated taking my last class in the fall and internship in the spring and FINALLY being done.  So now I’m considering whether I should just get my MLIS in general library and worry about completing my media certification at a later time, or what one more year to graduate.  Decisions, decisions.  The exciting thing is that this should be my most fun class as I am basically reading and writing about young adult literature.  Classes start the 25th, and I’m just hoping that I still have some of my intelligence left from before I became a mom.  These days I talk. very. simple.

Side note: Our poor dog hasn’t been to the groomer since May. That miserable look on his face is the real deal. For the past week, he’s had a pink stain on his back from a raspberry Ellis dropped on him. He has an appointment on Monday. The groomer can take care of it then.

With lots of reading, writing, and class work on the way, I needed to reclaim my office.IMG_2532

But I can’t actually reclaim MY office because it’s right next to Ellis’s bedroom, and so I can never use it when she’s sleeping, which is the only time I can use it.  Huh?  We decided to turn my “purple oasis” into a toy dumping ground playroom for Ellis, and we moved my unloved and unused vanity out to the front room and transformed it into a desk by removing the mirror and adding one of the dining room chairs.  It’s like I have brand new furniture in a brand new house!  For the longest time I had been using the dining room table, but it looked cluttered and messy, and we even had the table pushed up against the wall for a while, so Ellis had more room to play and wouldn’t be tripping or playing with cords.  Now I have a permanent place to do my Facebook trolling work.  We are looking for a couple of bookcases for her new playroom, but oddly it’s been tough to find a couple of simple, white, 5-shelf bookcases that aren’t entirely made of plywood and veneer.

Also, I’m hitting the gym a lot more frequently.

About a month ago, I got a Facebook message from a friend inviting me to register for a local Sh’bam instructor training.  Prior to this, I had been very lackadaisical about working out.  It happened once in a while, when the conditions were just right.  Mostly, I felt like I could care less about my fitness; I’m a mom now, who am I trying to impress?  But I had one day to decide whether or not to go through the training and was told that training rarely makes its way to Jacksonville, so if I decided to do it in the future I would most likely have to travel.  I hadn’t taken a Sh’bam class in practically a year, so I had to get up to speed before training weekend.  I thought it was also a perfect opportunity for Travase to experience what it’s like hanging out with a baby all day, as that’s what he’d be doing while I was in training.  It was the first Saturday and Sunday in August, and it was a ton of fun.  I passed!  Now I have to submit a video teaching the entire release to a class of at least five people in order to receive my certification.  Great!  Except my local Y doesn’t allow non-employees to teach or shadow.  So I’m stalled for the time being.  I have to complete three courses in order for the Y to hire me, so a couple more things have been added to my to-do list.  I am signed up for two in September, making it a pretty busy month ahead!

Ellis is a full-on walking, talking toddler.IMG_2849

She is learning new words every day (night-night, bird, uh oh) and is finding new ways to “manipulate” her mommy into getting her way.  She points at everything and asks, “Dat?”  I’m not always sure what she’s looking at, so I hope I’m not confusing her by calling the sun “bird” or a picture of us “ceiling fan.”  Florida summer is like everyone else’s winter.  We are cooped up inside most of the day to avoid the heat and the very near, very strong sun.  I canceled our My Gym membership because her naps always seemed to overlap with class times, or her classes were cancelled for one camp or another.  We may go back when she’s down to one nap that works with their schedule.  Until then, we visit the library, hang out at Barnes and Noble, BuyBuyBaby or ToysRUs (although they know Ellis now at BBB as the girl whose mom lets her run loose in the store.  I don’t think they are a fan of the “Try before you buy” mentality), or just hang out at home a lot.  I’ve been taking her out to lunch more frequently because sometimes it’s easier than feeding her at home.  I feel like I’m spending a lot of money to feed such a tiny girl, too.  I have to buy a vegetable, fruit, and a grain/protein.  The good news is the leftovers can come home and be used for several meals, but a lot also ends up on the floor.  She can’t seem to grasp the concept that she can just shake her head ‘no’ if she doesn’t want any more of something instead of sweeping it to the floor and out of her sight.

I thought she was ready to go to one nap a day because she started refusing either her morning or afternoon nap.  That went on for a couple of weeks of just pure nap hell, and then she decided to take both naps again.  I’m still not sure what’s going on because yesterday was another no-nap day.

Travase and I went on a date for the first time in months.

It was our anniversary on the 19th, so we got a sitter for the previous Saturday.  Nothing crazy.  Dinner, frozen yogurt, and home before 10.  Our relationship has been a little rocky for a while, but we finally sat down and had a long conversation last week and just opened up about everything that was bugging us.  I think it has totally helped.  We’re not 100%, but we are both working on it and are trying to do a better job of communicating with each other, and giving each other what we need from the other person.

So that’s our life in a nutshell, right there.