Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Levels of Babyproofing

I've recently become aware that there is not one general level of baby proofing.  I mean, unless you just took everything out of your house and padded the walls from the start.  Things that didn't need to be gated off when Brinleigh crawled had to be gated off when she started walking.  Now she's tall enough to grab things off  the kitchen counter.  Over the weekend she showed us that all of a sudden she can climb on top of the ottoman that we keep all of her toys in.  Later that afternoon she climbed onto the couch.  Sunday morning when we woke up she walked to the mudroom to let Gunner out, and actually attempted to open the door by pulling the handle down.  That means that with a little more practice, she will be able to escape any door with a pull down door handle.  Like our two front doors!  (Fortunately, when she's awake we keep a gate up in this doorway to block off the mudroom.)  So, we opened the door for her and she proceeded to try and open Gunner's kennel to let him out.  Then Kolt went outside to check the mailbox and she damn near escaped right behind him.  She's a quick little thing.  She has also already attempted to climb onto the coffee table.  Besides getting rid of all the furniture or keeping her confined in a gated area, I am at a loss as to what to do about this.  So now our days mostly consist of Brinleigh climbing onto the couch and then running back and forth from one end to the other or jumping like she's on a trampoline.  Kolt and I hold our breath every time she gets close to the edge and we are constantly repeating "SIT ON YOUR BUTT PLEASE!"  Brinleigh understands what we tell her and does follow directions, when she wants to.  She will sit on her butt, however, there are only two spots where she insists on sitting, so of course she has to run to one of those spots before sitting.  We then praise her with an energetic "Thank You" or "Good job."  Of course, she immediately gets back up and starts running from one end to the other again.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Finger Painting Fun

Today we attempted finger painting, yet again.  This time..... Success!  Usually Brinleigh bursts into tears when I dip her fingers into the paint and will freak out until I wipe her hands off.  Today I sat her at the kitchen table and as soon as I tore out a sheet of the finger painting paper and placed it in front of her, she immediately started to lose her shit.  I managed to calm her down fairly quickly and we started with one finger at a time.  After some funny noises, clapping hands and lots of praise, we were able to move from one finger to an entire hand.  She painted an entire sheet of paper and then decided she was over it.  Still, we were happy with the progress made today.

We used these Crayola Washable Fingerpaints and this Crayola Fingerpaint Paper that we bought for Brinleigh as a Christmas gift.  These finger paints were amazing!  I put a t-shirt over Brinleigh's outfit and surprisingly she didn't get any paint on it.  However, she was wearing an outfit that had a tutu attached to her pants and as we were washing her hands off, she got some paint on the tutu.  We sat her on the counter and were able to quickly rub the paint out of the tutu with a wash cloth.  It also washed off our hands easily and wiped off the table with no problem.  The Crayola paper wasn't bad I would prefer to have sometime a little thicker.  


Monday, February 17, 2014

Love List

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I would update everyone on our current favorites here in the Foreman household.  So here is a list of the things Brinleigh is loving at the moment, along with a few of mine as well.

1.  Eating snow!  I took Brinleigh out to play in the snow for the first time this week and she figured out she could eat the snow.  And she REALLY like it!  I pulled her around in a sled and she just munched on a snowball the whole time.  Our little Alaska baby loves playing outside in the snow and throws temper tantrums whenever we try to bring her back in the house.

2.  Brushing her teeth!  Any time she sees Kolt or I brushing our teeth, she runs into the bathroom, stands on her tip toes while holding onto the counter and looks at her toothbrush.  She also insists on brushing her teeth herself and throws a tantrum if we try to do it.

3.  Reading Books!  She absolutely loves her books.  Although for some reason I have had to tape up four different board books this week alone.  I don't know if they are finally just falling apart from her playing with them or if she has been abnormally rough with them.  She already has this Love Bug board book  with finger puppet, which we absolutely love.  So for Valentines Day I bought her this Butterfly Kisses board book and finger puppet.  These books are fun and short and so cute!

4.  JJ Cole Toddler Bundleme.  We had a bundleme for Brinleigh's infant seat and living in Alaska, I absolutely loved having it.  I would say that living in a cold weather state, it is a necessity for winter time.  Because I loved the infant bundlme so much, I ordered the toddler size for the jogging stroller so that we could still get out of the house in the cold weather.  It straps into the stroller seat, so when I put her in the stroller I just zip it up around her.  It is much more convenient than using blankets mainly because the baby can't kick it off and it won't slide off the stroller or get stuck in the wheels.  It keeps her super warm even in the wind and cold temperatures.

5.  Gerber Fruit Squeezables.  These fruit pouches are life savers when we are on the go running errands or shopping.  Brinleigh can eat them on her own and she goes nuts over them.  I can't even let her see them unless I plan on giving her one or she will tackle me for it.

6.  Brinleigh's most recent favorite activity has been mimicking things Kolt and I do or things she see's on cartoons.  Henry Hugglemonster has taught her to stomp so now when we tell her "stomp, stomp, stomp" she stomps and jumps and says "sssttahh."  It's adorable.  We blow softly on her face and she see's our lips and try's to pucker her lips to blow back.  She hasn't quite gotten it down yet, but the face she makes is priceless.  We also let her give Gunner treats (dog biscuits) and we tell him to sit and stay so Brinleigh can walk up and give him the treat.  She hears us telling him to "stay" so now she will point at him and say "stayyy."  It's currently the only word she says clearly.

7.  Our newest stroller.  I had to replace my lightweight stroller that I keep in the trunk of the car and so I bought this Graco one and so far I love it.  Not only are the colors cute, but it's lightweight and all I have to do to fold and unfold is pull up on a strap that it located in the seat.  Brinleigh seems to like it too because it has a tray that I can put her snacks in.  Oh!  And the design we have is called "Lexi."
8.   Brinleigh's Scentsy Buddy.  She has several, but the one she is most attached to is Lenny the Lamb.  We call it "Lammy" and since she likes to sleep with it I try to only keep it in her crib.  Occasionally she will want to hang on to Lammy when she wakes up and if we are gonna stay upstairs we will let her walk around with him.  Last week however, Momma accidentally left the toilet seat up in the bathroom and while I was doing laundry, Brinleigh put Lammy in the toilet and then smashed her fingers trying to close the lid.  Mother of the year award right here.  Since I then had to wash Lammy and he wasn't done by bedtime, Brinleigh had to sleep with her monkey instead.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Crafts

February has been a fun month for craft projects, mainly because they consist mostly of anything PINK!  I found a few ideas on pinterest that I decided to attempt and I've got to say that I'm pretty impressed with how everything turned out.

I baked some homemade sugar cookies using a recipe that I got from another blog that I follow.  I used my new heart shaped cookie cutters and they turned out amazing!  These cookies were pretty and very delicious.  I will definitely be using this recipe again for future holiday cookies.

I found these little stuffed hearts on Pinterest and fell in love with them.  They were my first Valentine craft that I made and the one that I was most excited about.  I ordered the felt, thread, string, and stuffing from hobby lobby and went to town the day everything arrived.  Once I had about eight hearts completed, I hung them in the doorway from the kitchen to the dining room.  I had so much fun making them that I just kept going.  I made more of the hanging patch hearts to hang and then I started making smaller stuffed hearts (without patches) just to fill a hurricane vase that I keep out for decoration.  Then I decided to make Brinleigh her own bigger heart.  I stitched her name free-handed and I'm quite proud of how nice it turned out.

My next project to make were these Love yarn letters.  I thought they looked like a nice Valentine decoration to have in the house and they seemed simple enough to make.  My friend, Kate, made yarn letters for Brinleigh's room as a baby gift for us and I love how cute they are.  For my first time attempting this craft, I was thrilled with how they turned out.  But I damn near pulled out all my hair in the process.

For Kolt's Valentine's Day gift, I decided to make him some homemade chocolate chip cookies and white chocolate covered pretzels.  I've made the pretzels several times now and have it down to a science so it's fairly easy now.  This was the first time I have added anything extra, but I had to add some Valentine's sprinkles for the festiveness. 
 Pretzel Recipe

Ingredients:  Bag of tiny twists pretzels 
Bag of Nestle' Premier White Chocolate Morsels
Crisco Shortening
Food Coloring or sprinkles (Optional)
Cookie Sheet & Wax Paper

Directions:  In a small glass microwaveable mixing bowl, add half a bag of white chocolate chips and a tablespoon(ish) of shortening.  Microwave for 60 seconds.  When you take the bowl out, the chips won't be completely melted, but they will be softened.  If you want to add color, now is when you would put your drops of food coloring in.  Stir, stir, stir.  The chips will melt and then you can start dipping.  I add several pretzels at a time to the bowl, and using a fork I pick up one pretzel at a time.  I let the excess chocolate drip off the pretzel and then place it onto a cookie sheet covered in a layer of wax paper.  The chocolate won't dry immediately so if you want to add sprinkles, you can dip several pretzels and place them on the cookie sheet & then sprinkle.  I let them sit for a while to make sure the chocolate has hardened before I put them into a container.  
If you want to drizzle a different color of chocolate on top, repeat the chocolate melting process and then drizzle once the pretzels have hardened.  
If the chocolate in the bowl hardens before you are done with your pretzels, you can reheat & melt the chocolate again.  I think re-heating only takes about 30 seconds in the microwave.  But the experience I have had, is if you only heat half a bag of morsels at a time, it usually won't harden before you're done.
I have only done this using a glass bowl, I'm not sure if the microwave time will differ if using a plastic one.  Different brands of chocolate chips might take longer to melt or soften or could take less time.  I have only ever used the Nestle morsels.

I bought a couple festive plastic containers at the drug store last week and filled those with the cookies.  I put the pretzels into some jars that I had kept for craft projects.  I made a few extra jars of pretzels for some of my friends and wrapped a bow around the jar and added a stuffed heart that I had sewn as a little decoration.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

We have Orders!

After anxiously awaiting orders for the last couple months, we finally know where we will be stationed next.  Clearwater, Florida!  So, at the end of the summer we will be packing up and making yet, another cross country move, but this time with a baby toddler.  We could not be more excited about this move for several reasons:  We get to take our first road trip as a family (I'm really trying to look at this in a positive light), we get to stop and sight see a few new places that we have never been, and we get to stop in Arizona and see our family.  Not to mention how ecstatic we are that we got our number one pick.  We absolutely cannot wait to be living in warmer weather again with days full of sunshine.  I visited Florida once in High School on a trip to Disney World and Kolt has never been to Florida at all, so we can't wait to explore the area.  I've already started a mental list of things I want to do with Brinleigh.

Believe it or not, I'm really excited about a lot of little things that most people probably don't think about on a daily basis.  Like having a house that brightens up inside from the sunshine streaming through the windows.  We don't have many windows in our house and we don't have much sunshine so we have to turn on lights every time we enter a room.  Being able to drive around and explore new areas for more than an hour without running out of road.  Having access to a better selection of groceries and not having to order toothpaste and toilet paper online just to avoid paying an arm and a leg for it.

With that said though, there are things about Sitka that will be missed.  Believe it or not.  As much as I hate the isolation of living on an island, I do like the low amount of crime that we have here.  Especially now that we have a child.  It is also nice not ever having to sit in traffic since we usually don't have to drive more than ten minutes to get anywhere.  I will miss our home.  Our small, bland, squeaky floor, no windows, shared wall, living on top of neighbors, POS house.  It may not be the best house, but it was our home.  It was the first home of ours that we brought Gunner to.  It is the first and only home that Brinleigh has ever lived in.  And, it is the house that Kolt and I have lived in the longest, together as a married couple.  And of course, we will miss the friends we made while living in Alaska.  The people who became our "Sitka family" while we were all so far away from our own. 

So as of right now, the plan is to be heading out of Sitka by the last week of July or the first week of August so that Kolt can report to Clearwater by September 1st.  As always, we will keep everyone updated on everything as best we can.

This picture is totally unrelated to my post, however, I had to share it.  Last night Brinleigh came and sat on my lap and turned herself around to face me and then kicked back to read her book.  I took this picture myself and this is the face she chose to give.  Hahahahaha!