Weekend Fun

It’s usually the mundane weekends that I always end up recapping; this one is no different.

Saturday morning we had signed up for a parenting seminar at our church from 9-11.  The bulletin wasn’t very detailed about what would be discussed, but I signed us up anyway.  Any parenting tools I can get I’ll take.  Turned out this seminar was probably more appropriate for parents of the tween/teen set, but we gleaned a few pieces of wisdom from it.

IMG_0461

Pancakes made and served before 7 am. Who am I?

 

After the seminar, we had lunch and put Ellis down for a nap, and then napped ourselves.  I never nap, but it sounded like a great idea that day.  After everyone was up again, we played a little with Ellis and were starting a game of pool when somehow the idea to get Ellis a bike/tricycle came up.  We finished our game and headed to Target because sometimes we can be very impulsive.  We didn’t do any research, and we didn’t shop around save for stopping at Play It Again Sports where they did NOT have any tricycles.

We ended up going with the Radio Flyer tricycle in pink.  Also not a financially sound choice if ever we have a boy in our future.  But we got her a helmet and a cute basket to hang on the front of her trike, and it just looks adorable.  Ellis has been obsessed with bicycles for a while now, and I’m not sure where or how it started.  She just always wants to climb on them when she sees them.  We’ve got a little over a month before her birthday, but decided to go ahead and get her a gift early.  The weather was beautiful this weekend, so it was the perfect time to spend outdoors.

IMG_0484

Helping her daddy put it together.

On Sunday, Ellis fell asleep in the nursery during service at church.  This is extremely unusual, but she also has been having a couple of middle of the night wakings where she wants someone to come in and rock with her for a while.  Not sure what’s going on there, but the fact that she fell asleep in a noisy and brightly lit nursery is almost unbelievable.  Of course, once we got her, she woke right up and wanted to play in the playground.

IMG_0501

When we finally tore her away, we headed home, and Trav took her out on her bike again while I got lunch ready.  Then it was nap time, but I spent nap time cleaning and organizing our pantry.  I can’t stand disorganization, even though I’m always in a state of it.  I like being able to look into my pantry, see everything easily and know what we’ve got.  It was therapeutic, and I felt like I finally got something accomplished.  I was able to read two more chapters in the book I’m reading before Ellis woke up from her hour nap (since she slept at church).  I had also meal-planned and written out a grocery list during her nap (Yay for being productive!), so Trav took Ellis with him to grocery shop.  I took a trip of my own to The Dollar Store and Michaels.

IMG_0514

My next big task was to get Ellis’s playroom organized.  She has two toy bins, but things get lost when they’re just thrown in there, even if I try to separate the toys by type.  Plus, Ellis can’t reach far into them, so she has trouble getting things out.  She enjoys helping to clean up, so I wanted to actually have a clean, organized room for her to be able to clean up when she’s done playing to help her with this skill.  I was also looking for something to contain Ellis’s bath toys that end up littering the bottom of the tub, or more annoying the foam letters that are scattered all over the shower floor.  She used to have a toy scoop that hung on the back of our shower wall, but when we moved, we didn’t bring the piece that attached to the wall.  Also, it was kind of gaudy and bulky to be used in our bathroom.  I found two bins at The Dollar Store that have holes on the bottom as well as the sides so that water can easily drain out of them, one for the shower and one for the tub.

As I was looking at containers, I remembered I had about 10 plastic shoe bins that I used to keep my less-worn shoes in.  I decided to use those to help separate her smaller toys and then sorted them in the bigger toy bin.  Finally, I could see her floor again!

IMG_0504

5 Ways I Fail as a Mom

As Mother’s Day approaches, I think about how much I deserve to be celebrated on this day.  Last year I thought, Oh, heck yes.  I carried a baby for 10 months, pushed her out of me, and balanced on the edge of insanity keeping her alive for almost a year. I deserve to be celebrated.

This year, I’m kind of drawing a blank as to why anyone should celebrate my mothering skills.  I’m severely lacking in most life skills, and now I’m responsible for a human being.  What comes easy to most people is a huge undertaking for me, like changing a light bulb, mailing packages, or returning phone calls and text messages in a timely manner.

When Ellis was immobile and less aware, I had lots of time to read up on baby care, weekly development, and mom tips.  Today, I’m faced with numerous questions but no time to look into them, so I’m just shooting blindly into the dark and hope I’m on the right track.  So for Mother’s Day, I’m listing all the ways I am failing as a mom, and to not beat myself up too much, my successes.

1.  I’m not a good cook.

My daughter isn’t really a picky eater.  Generally, if it tastes good to her, she’ll eat it.  The problem is, what I prepare for her doesn’t always taste that great.  And cooking stresses me out.  Also, I’m terrible about meal planning and meal prep, so I’m usually rushing to throw something together for her to eat at last minute.

IMG_0146

It took me three days to make enchiladas, and they tasted terrible.

 

2.  Cleaning is not my strong suit either.

The kitchen, the laundry, and vacuuming the floors.  That’s basically all I manage to accomplish.  My house is always a mess.  I don’t know how to organize all of our stuff/junk, because once it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind, so everything clutters our counter tops which ironically stresses me out.  I can’t stand clutter, but I don’t know how to make it go away.  I don’t know how to treat stains, so basically if my daughter gets food on an outfit, it’s there for life.  I can’t keep up with the bathrooms or changing out the sheets on our bed on a weekly basis.  And did I mention our house is always a mess?

3.  Crafting.

No.

IMG_0159

I hate you, Michaels and Pinterest, and all of your lies.

 

4.  I have very little patience.

The smallest things can set me off.  I’m like the Incredible Hulk with uncontrollable rage at the slightest provocation.  This doesn’t pair well with me being bad at life in general when I am easily frustrated.

5.  I let my daughter eat sweets and watch too much TV.

Two things I would NEVER do last year, and now they are daily occurrences.  Trying to find a balance between being too uptight and too liberal is an everyday struggle.

IMG_0158

Feet on the table. Giant green flip flop cookie from Panera crumbled all over the seat and floor. We’ll never be allowed back.

 

And one thing I do right…

IMG_0097

Happy, confident kid

Something.  I look at her and know I’m doing something right.  Sometimes I think she could thrive even more with a more competent set of parents, but I don’t think we’re failing her completely.  Every day I love her, I worry for her, and I try for her.  That’s gotta be something, right?

Try Again

***I wrote this post a while ago, but only felt comfortable enough now to share it.  And now that life is “slowing down” and getting back to normal, I can hopefully get back to my regular updates.***

The weird part is that I feel like I shouldn’t be upset.  That this was no big deal and happens to lots of women, many who don’t even know it happened to them.  But it’s been a tough couple of weeks for me, not knowing whether or not I was pregnant.

Trav and I have been trying for a little while now.  A few weeks ago I was feeling a little more run down.  My stomach got upset easily, and I was getting headaches every day.  I never have headaches.  So I took a test, and it was positive, but the second line was only barely visible.  So I took a second test the next day, and the next day, and one more.  The line kept getting more and more prominent.  But something else was becoming more prominent, too.  I was having lots of minor cramping and bleeding.  I told my husband the exciting news over dinner on his birthday date night, then I made an appointment the following Monday to see the Ob.

The Ob confirmed my pregnancy, but the ARNP was concerned about the bleeding, so I had a blood draw that morning and scheduled to have it drawn again two days later.  They wanted to test that my hCG levels were at least doubling.  That week, the bleeding and cramping continued, and my pregnancy symptoms were beginning to disappear.  Someone online mentioned she bleed throughout the first three months of her pregnancy and went on to have a healthy baby, so I was still holding on to some hope, but I kind of also just knew something wasn’t right, and it wasn’t going to happen for me.  The afternoon after my second blood draw I spent trying to get ahold of someone who could tell me my results.  I had gotten a call the previous day that Tuesday’s levels were 77.  I wanted a definitive answer, but the nurse told me Thursday’s levels were 144.  My levels went up but not drastically.  By then, I wasn’t cramping anymore, but I was still bleeding.  They set up a sono appointment for me 2.5 weeks out.  I bled the entire weekend and on Monday called to tell them that I was still bleeding and wasn’t experiencing any pregnancy symptoms.

They brought me in for a sono that afternoon.  Couldn’t find anything.  The doctor decided to run another pregnancy test.  It came back negative.  So there you go.  In the span of less than one week, I went from officially being pregnant to not.  I have to go in for one more blood draw to make sure my hCG levels have evaporated, and then we’ll have to wait at least a month before we can try again.

This part was easy to write, but the emotions involved are harder to explain.  I had all the normal, crazy thoughts running through my head when I first took that positive home pregnancy test.  “Oh, here we go again!”  “Is this really happening?”  “Life is about to change.”  “Am I ready to do this again, with a toddler?”  And then there was the confusion of not knowing whether or not my pregnancy was failing.  I just wanted an answer, yes or no, this is happening, this isn’t happening.  I didn’t want to wait 4 weeks or 2 weeks to hear the answer I was pretty sure I already knew.   My doctor made a comment that most women don’t even know they’re having a miscarriage when it’s this early on in the pregnancy.  Most just assume they’re having a heavy period.  (Actually, she kept using the word “mensies,” and I kept thinking, “Is that an actual medical term, or is she trying to sound young and hip because she thinks I’m either of those two?”)  But I’m not sure how someone can bleed for two weeks straight and not think something’s up.

And then there are those other questions.  Did I cause this?  I start going through my timeline and picking out everything that could have been a cause.  I taught Sh’bam that one night and remember my stomach hurting.  I drank three cups of coffee that one morning.  I had wine.  Could too much intercourse have caused this?

Maybe something I did caused it, maybe not.  I’m okay now.*  Well, I’m relieved to know.  As a planner and a neurotic person in general, I just needed to know.  And now that I do, I can move forward.  Enjoy my birthday plans with my girlfriends.  Enjoy a mini-vacation with my family in May.  Have some Mimosas with my mom and grandmother on Mother’s Day.  Enjoy a little more time not being pregnant.  And then I’ll try again.  And maybe the next time will be the one.

*The loss is still hard.  Not as hard as someone who got to hear a heartbeat or see a little peanut on an ultrasound.  That would be even more devastating.  But I still feel the loss.  My joy was taken away quickly, so I should be thankful that I didn’t have a chance to get too invested.  I’m disappointed.  I’m sad at times.  But I’m okay.  And I’m grateful for everything that I already have.

SAHMs for Target

Remember when I said that I was turning over a new leaf and REALLY going to try to grow a nice wardrobe and stop buying all my clothes at Target?  Well, for the most part, I have been working hard on it.  In fact, I’ve got four items I’m picking up from the tailor tomorrow.  Wahoo!

But I must admit that I went on a little shopping spree at Target.  I didn’t mean to.  I just had a little bit of toddler-free time on my hands, so I decided to go out on a limb and try some things on, and doggone it if they didn’t all fit and look really, really good on!  I never have that kind of luck anywhere.  I thought maybe I was hormonal or hallucinating because no way could everything fit me, including a maxi dress.  My mother later pointed out that it’s probably a regular length dress but just looks like a maxi dress on me.  Either way, I rocked it, so I bought it.

I’m sorry to all the people who were disappointed with the Lilly Pulitzer for Target letdown this past weekend, but I think these finds are just as incredible.

IMG_9780

If you look in my closet, you will basically see black, white, and gray.  I’m so excited to have some bright and feminine color in my wardrobe.

IMG_9789

This light knit top hits just above the waist.  It’s perfect for spring and summer on days I find myself inside with the chilly a/c like church or the grocery store.

I also picked up some casual wear, because sometimes I just need to look presentable enough to take my daughter for a walk through our neighborhood or into a grocery store.

 

IMG_9783They had some really cute and flattering athletic wear, including these shorts.  I picked up a pair in another color, as well as these, thigh thinning leggings, two sports bras, and a black tank.  I still haven’t mustered up the insanity to buy LuLuLemon.  I have a couple of things from Athleta, but nothing that’s made me a convert to overpriced workout gear.

1-IMG_9776

People, THIS is an improvement.

 

Playful Learning: Colors

Does anyone remember the great dress debate of late February 2015?  Yeah, that rocked me to my core.  Because I know my colors, and I know that my husband is supposed to be the one that’s colorblind.  Yet, he saw blue and black, and I saw white and gold.  So how am I supposed to teach my daughter colors if I’m not sure she’s seeing what I’m seeing?

We’ve already had some arguments.

Ellis:  “Orange!”

Me:  “That’s red, honey.”

Ellis:  “No, orange!”

Replace the words orange and red in that conversation with the words black and blue, black and purple, blue and green, and repeat.  And the colors in Ellis’s Color Wonders collection are all variations of shades, so sometimes I’m like, “Is that red or is it orange?”  Teaching basic facts to a toddler is not as simple as it seems, and sometimes I concede to her.  “Okay, honey, it’s orange.”

We’ve been working on identifying and naming colors for a couple of months now.  The first color that stuck with Ellis was orange.  It is now her favorite color and the one she is most excited to point out and identify.  She can correctly name black, white, brown, orange, blue, pink, and peach.  Yes, I told her about peach once because I had no other name for that Color Wonder marker that came in her Hello Kitty pack.  It only took me telling her once to get it.  Now green, red, purple, and yellow on the other hand are works in progress.  She can correctly identify or pick out those colors most of the time, but she has a hard time naming them if we ask her.  I think part of it is that they are harder to say, but other than that, I’m stumped.  Trav and I joke that she is going to be able to identify colors like crimson and chartreuse before she gets red and yellow.  All the same, we’re working on it.

Of course, we color every day.  She has those triangle-shaped crayons, but they’re still easily breakable, and sometimes she sneaks away with one and uses it in a place she shouldn’t (read: the ceiling of my car, our love seat, the carpet?).  Crayon easily comes off walls and solid surfaces with a Magic Eraser, but fabric?  If someone can tell me how to get it out, I’d appreciate it.  Luckily, the blue she used on the loveseat blends well with the blue floral pattern, so it’s not easily noticeable.  That being said, crayons are often the enemy as are all writing tools, but I LOVE the Color Wonders markers from Crayola.  We still correct her if she tries to use them on anything but her coloring books, but it’s nice to not have to watch her like a hawk with them.

IMG_9614

Coloring in a laundry basket because why not?

 

Read or Don’t:

Here are some great books to reinforce color identification:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle

She didn’t like this book when she was younger, but now she can practically recite it, and often does when she’s playing or riding around in the back seat of the car.  In our copy, the blue horse is actually blue and purple, so that can be confusing, and again, makes me question my own sight. Also, she sounds super cute pronouncing teacher and children.

Pantone: Colors by Pantone

Yes, Pinterest says you can go to the hardware store, pick up some paint swatches, and create a book of colors for your toddler, but this is much better because someone’s already done it for you and better than you.  It’s cute, simple, and the size and way it lays flat makes it great for activities.  I picked my copy up from the library, but I’m thinking about buying a copy of our own.

 

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

A cute little story to teach primary and secondary colors.  Ellis requests this book at every story time.  I think the concept of mixing colors to create new ones is a little over her head, but she likes yelling out the colors the mice jump in and the color of puddles the mice make, and she gives a cute little hip shake when the mice dance in the puddles.

Mix It Up by Herve Tullet

This book is like magic to a 21 month old.  It’s interactive where you tap on dots, shake the book, squeeze it closed, and use your fingers to mix colors.  Basically, it’s finger painting without the mess.  Her favorite thing to do is place her hand on the page and count to five, though sometimes she only counts to three or four, depending on her mood.

Try or Don’t:

My attempt at a “learning activity” to teach Ellis yellow since she has a hard time identifying and naming it.  First, we went on a scavenger hunt to find items of Ellis’s that were yellow.  When I say we, I mean I went on a scavenger hunt and located the items.

IMG_9281

Next, I pulled out some paper and let her color with her yellow marker and crayons.  Because it’s fun to draw with only one color, right?  We stepped it up and did some finger painting outside with the yellow paint.  She’s not a big fan of paint on her hands at this point.

IMG_9271

I even put her in a yellow shirt!

IMG_9286

This is what Ellis thought of my “learning activity.”

She still can’t name yellow.

 

Any other good ideas that have worked for teaching colors to your tots?  Share them with me in the comments below.

Moderately Extreme Makeover: Closet Edition

I treated becoming a mom as an excuse to stop caring about myself.  As long as the baby is happy, healthy, and dressed impeccably, who cares about the disaster of a woman holding her hand, right?  I’m not sure what has changed recently, but I think I just got tired of looking and feeling awful.  We go to a toddler gym, and while that’s a safe place to be dressed like a tired house mom, their walls are covered floor to ceiling in mirrors to remind me that I look like a tired house mom.  Even when I would get a chance to go on a date with my husband, many times I would not have found the time to wash my hair and so taking a date-selfie and sharing it with the cyber world was out of the question.

I see moms around me everywhere who are pulled together, and I’ve decided that part of my happiness has always been feeling great about myself.  So, I am giving myself a makeover, much like that awful reality show several years ago called “The Swan” where they did extreme makeovers on women.  I’m not going so far as plastic surgery, but I can definitely improve everywhere else.

First thing’s first.  My wardrobe.

There’s this thing going around the internet mostly on lifestyle blogs and YouTube called a “closet detox,” where women are going through their overly-cluttered closets and cleaning them out. I find it slightly annoying they call it a “detox” instead of what it really is – cleaning and organizing.  I also am annoyed when people say they like things to happen organically.  Stop it.

I watch these videos and I’m like, “Whuh?”  My closet needs to eat a sandwich, not go on a juice cleanse, if you know what I mean.  Long ago, I had a pretty decent closet, but it was mostly work clothes – business pants and so. many. cardigans.  Then I got preggers, and the majority of my wardrobe was maternity wear or clothes 2 sizes larger than I normally wear.  Then I had a baby and couldn’t care less about my clothes, and that’s really where things began to fall apart.  The only new clothes I would buy came from Target when I was on another diaper run, and I only bought things that were both cheap and nursing-friendly.  Also, loose and comfortable were major criteria.

Now it’s almost 2 years later, and I have no excuses.  As I was starting to organize my new closet, I realized I had a healthy collection of sweaters, jackets, cocktail dresses (from days of yore), and fall pieces, but no clothes for warmer months.  I live in Florida.  How is that possible???  I remember.  I lived in my gym clothes (still do), whether I was working out or not (usually not).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The entirety of my spring/summer wardrobe. I don’t even know what to say about this. Did I just never leave the house last year???

We’re in a new house with a closet that can actually fit a decent wardrobe.  I want to collect a few key pieces:  casual, daily wear; family dates; hubby dates; and Sunday church attire.  So, I’ve been doing some research on what people are actually wearing these days and getting ideas for things that I’ll actually enjoy wearing.  I’ve been subscribing to mommy and petite fashion blogs; I follow liketoknow.it; and I watch YouTube videos.  I did a YouTube search for “cute mom outfits,” and in one of the videos I watched, the woman actually said my entire wardrobe cannot be from Target.  Bummer.

To help me along, I’ve also decided to do two things that I have never done before:

1.  If I like it, buy it.  At a store or online, I am weird about not wanting to buy a single item.  If I see one cute shirt but nothing else, I’ll put it back because I need at least 2 items to make the transaction worthwhile.  I really can’t explain it.  It doesn’t make sense, but I am breaking that habit.

2.  If it doesn’t quite fit, get it tailored.  I am 5’1″.  I qualify as petite which means nothing fits me right.  Everything is big in the sleeves and chest and too long for my short legs.  I’ve decided I’m not going to let ill-fitting clothes  deter me.  This is really the only way I’m ever going to have clothes that fit my body.  Yes, I’m 33 years old, and I am just now figuring this out.

So, here goes nothing.  I’ve already placed some orders and got a little pile ready to get altered.  I’ll let you know how it goes and share my wardrobe as it grows.  And one day I hope I can be cute enough to take selfies with my adorable toddler again!

 

Learning as She Grows

The other day on Facebook I saw a post from a mother in one of my neighborhood moms’ groups asking what others did with their children for “tot school” or structured learning activities at home.  I had never heard the term tot school before, but I gave my non-expert 2 cents based on my experiences.

My response:

It’s all about learning through fun at this age. I found that if I sound too much like I’m trying to teach my daughter, the less interested she’s going to be. 10 min “lessons” is the max we do. Pick a theme or topic, then revolve story time and play time around it. Don’t try to force it, though, if your child’s not interested in whatever activity you may have planned. Let him take the lead.

That’s basically all I do in a nut shell.  I don’t intentionally do “Tot School” at home with Ellis, but I do like to try out new activities with her that might help reinforce things we’re working on with her.  We all do one form or another of tot school, because as parents one of our natural roles is to be the very first teacher for our kids.  And we  teach the best way possible, through teachable moments and authentic experiences.

I don’t believe in structured lessons or worksheets.  Worksheets are horrible.  Don’t even get me started.  I was touring preschools a month or two back, and one school was trying to sell me on the fact that basically all of their learning is through workbooks… for 2-year-olds.  I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Reading, singing, art, play, interaction.  That’s all our tots need from us to grow their minds.  I’ll try to share on here occasionally some of the things I am doing with Ellis, successful or not, that could be categorized as tot school activities, books she loves to read, songs she loves to sing, and more.  So be on the lookout for that.

Do you (or did you) do intentional learning with your toddler?

 

 

Easter Weekend

IMG_9311

Stacking ingredients is part of meal prep.

We had a rather unorthodox Easter this year, but surprisingly still one of the better Easter’s we’ve had in the past few years.  My mother and grandmother moved into town late Saturday night with the help of a couple of Mom’s girlfriends.  They all stayed at our house for the night, so we had lots of company for breakfast.

IMG_9318

The table is set… and only then did we remember we had a leaf we could have put in. Ellis and I squeezed together on the end.

Ellis had a ton of people to play with that morning, and it was nice to let someone else keep her busy.  I had prepped a breakfast casserole the night before, so I threw that in the oven while Trav whipped up a batch of his mother’s very best buttermilk pancakes.  We added blueberries because we had some in the fridge.

IMG_9320

All routine went out the window today. Nap in the car on the way to Grama’s.

After breakfast, the ladies packed up and headed over to Mom and Oma’s new home, along with Travase, to start unloading the U-haul.  It was apparent that we weren’t going to make church service, and I really didn’t want to take Ellis by myself on probably the busiest Sunday of the year.  So instead, I worked on getting Ellis and myself cleaned up, and then we headed over to get in the way of all the work.  No Easter outfit for her because I knew she was just going to be getting dirty.

IMG_9326

This is the best Easter photo I got of her that day.

Later that evening, everyone came back to our house for a quick and simple dinner.  I made ham and cheese sliders and a strawberry spinach salad.  Everyone was pretty exhausted, so they left soon after, and we put the tot to bed.

How was your Easter?

In the Kitchen with Ellis: Weeknight Pizza

This meal was inspired by an episode of Daniel Tiger where Daniel’s mom made pizza as her way of showing how much she loves her son.  I decided I better make Ellis a pizza, too, lest she thinks I don’t love her!  I didn’t go all out with dough from scratch and form it into the shape of a heart like Daniel’s mother did, so I guess I don’t love Ellis as much as she loves her son…

I was just recovering from a wrecked kitchen from dinner the night before, and after cleaning up that insane mess, swore that we would be eating take-out for dinner.  I always say I’m going to order out dinner on the night’s Travase isn’t here, but I never do.  It’s actually just simpler to figure something out at home.

Ellis doesn’t eat well for her babysitter, so she’s usually starving when I get home.  We started making this pizza before I even had a chance to put away the groceries.

We started with a little oil on the precooked crust, which I guess is a good thing it was cooked because she managed a bite out of it before I handed her the sauce.

IMG_9260While she was oiling and saucing the pizza, I cut up a green bell pepper.  She started getting a little crazy with the sauce and liked making it splash and fling onto the floor.  Again, I need to remember to put on her apron (found at the dollar store) or at least to undress her before starting these things!  Next, she started sucking the sauce off the pizza.

IMG_9263The way things were going, I didn’t mess with chopping an onion or cleaning the mushrooms, and I couldn’t find black olives at my grocery store, so our toppings consisted of green pepper, turkey pepperoni (because I suck), and cheese.

Ellis was picking off the cheese and pepperoni faster than I could put it on.  So there were lots of bald spots.  Her first taste of green pepper, she said, “Ew!” and handed it to me.

IMG_9270

In went the pizza, and then Ellis had mac n’ cheese, corn, and sweet potatoes for dinner.  Go figure.

Jell-O Cookie Review

Jello Cookies – Easy Sugar Cookies Flavored with Jell-O from EatingonaDime.com

I saw this recipe over a month ago and had been waiting for the right time to make these.  After some fun at My Gym this morning, I thought it would be fun and festive to make some Easter-y, colorful cookies with Ellis.  Let’s see how it went down…

First step:

Try to get the ingredients and work space organized.  Distract the toddler.  Pretzels work.  For a minute.  Add some raisins and baking tools.  But then she spies sprinkles.  A few sprinkles won’t hurt.  She wants all the sprinkles.

IMG_9166

Step Two:

While she’s distracted, create the dough by creaming the wet ingredients and adding the dry.  Stir, stir, stir.  Hide the sprinkles.

IMG_9168

Step Three:

Divide dough and mix in Jell-O flavors/colors.  This was the most time-consuming, messy, and required a lot of space and bowls.  Our hands were too messy to get any photos, so we’ll skip to Ellis losing interest.

Step Four:

Ellis’s hands got too dirty, so she insisted on washing them.  Off she goes to the kitchen sink for a little impromptu water play.  The floor and her clothes are soaked.  And only then do I remember she has an apron.

Step Five:

She grabs a snack from the pantry because she realizes I’m obviously not making her lunch this morning.  She dumps half of it on the floor for Alex and returns to her step stool to “ride the horsey.”  I finish the cookies and get them in the oven.

IMG_9173

Step Six:

Clean up the kitchen while Ellis plays with the remaining dough and sugar in a bowl.  Watching carefully, I’m just thankful she hadn’t thought to put the handful of sugar in her mouth.  Strip her clothes off, change her diaper while she protests, and keep her out of the kitchen while I pull the cookies out to cool.

Step Seven:

Spend 30-40 minutes getting Ellis down for a nap.  First she must color, then ride her horsey, then take a trip down her slide, then read 3 books, then sing, then just one more book, then a big hug but don’t let go!, then in the crib and some really pitiful crying that makes me feel awful.  Close the door.

Step Eight:

Finish cleaning the kitchen, kind of.  Eat my first meal of the day.  Vacuum and mop the floor.  Try the cookies.  Um, why did I ever think artificial fruit flavored cookies would taste good?  Completely related, the kitchen smells like Skittles.

THE END PRODUCT:

IMG_9184

They were thick like the original photo when they went in the oven but flattened out in the oven.

IMG_9175

Pinterest Photo:

jello-cookiesFinal Thoughts

Difficulty:  Not exactly difficult.  Just time-consuming and super messy.

Taste:  Not gonna lie.  I did not enjoy these cookies.  I feel like my tongue is burning, and I can’t get the taste off of it.  Don’t like the smell either.  Making a mental note to never bake with Jell-O gelatin powder.  No.

Toddler Friendly?  She enjoyed kneading the dough for a short time, but the whole process took too long to keep her interested and left her unsupervised to make even larger messes while I was a distracted mommy.