Sunday, July 31, 2011

Take Me Out

We have a minor league team here in town called the Normal Cornbelters.  Both of us have a nice memory of taking baby Jacob to the game last year, watching him crawl around on the grass, and giving him his evening bottle under the glow of the stadium lights. 

We decided to go to a game last night, even though it began at 7 pm, which is late for a kid who goes to bed at 8.  He likes baseball, though, so we thought it would be fine.  He likes to watch games on TV and point out bats and balls and gloves.  We didn't expect him to actually sit the whole time, so we got lawn seating so he could run a bit and play in the grass with his car. 

My guys were so cute.

And it was a great night for baseball. 

Only we didn't watch baseball. 

We- well, specifically, Frank, chased after our little screaming crazy-man. 

He ran up the hill and down the hill and yelled and rolled and bugged people and was generally nuts!

Despite how Normal Rockwell the next two pictures make it appear, we had had it by this point. I think he thought there was a prize for the worst-behaved child, and he was determined to win it. (and if there was, I think half of the stadium would agree he had it in the bag last night)

We tried again to interest him in his car (see the little blue dot in the right side of the picture?), but no dice. 

All he wanted to do was throw rocks.  Like I said, I didn't expect him to sit like an adult, but I also didn't expect the bratty, uncontrollable behavior.  We lasted two innings.  Maybe next year will be better...

Friday, July 29, 2011

And For My Next Trick...

Boy, I'm just full of ideas all of a sudden.  I guess being trapped in the house because of blazing hot weather with a sniffly toddler will do that. 

How cute would this be hanging on my door?

It looks so easy to make!  I think a trip to Hobby Lobby is in my future!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You Win Some, You Lose Some

I'm happy to report that mango Dippin' Dot making was a success!  I wouldn't exactly say it tasted like Dippin' Dots,(it tasted like a  mango- duh), but it had a very similar consistency.  The frozen, whipped fruit was great on a hot day. 

Fruity Goodness

While I'm on the subject of unusual recipes, I decided to try making iced coffee a few days ago.  My friend Courtney had given me some one-pot bags of different flavored coffees, so I grabbed the hazelnut and loosely followed a recipe.  I say "loosely" because the recipe called for a pound of coffee, and I only had 12 cups.  I put the coffee grounds into a big glass bowl with a lid and added approximately 5 cups of water.  I have read that iced coffee is generally weaker than brewed- and I like strong coffee- so I wanted to be sure it would be strong enough.  Then I let the bowl sit on the counter overnight.  In the morning, I strained the grounds and put the coffee in the fridge to chill. 

Now, there was nothing wrong with the coffee, but when I poured a cup, it tasted like... cold coffee.  When I think of iced coffee, I think my mind goes to foo- foo Starbucks drinks, and this definitely wasn't that.  I even put some milk and sugar in my iced coffee, thinking it might give it a little zip, but it still tasted like... cold coffee.  It was fine, but nothing special.  Definitely not special enough to go through the trouble of making again, especially when I have my regular morning coffee that is already made for me by a cute Italian guy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mango Madness

I have high hopes for- of all things- a mango!  Backing up, I read this post and thought, "Really?  If I cut a ripe mango into chunks; freeze them; and then put them in the food processor, it will taste like Dippin' Dots?"  I couldn't believe it, but kept thinking about it.  (Obviously, I need more to do.)

When I went to the store today, I bought a mango.  It's not yet "uber-ripe" as the directions describe, so I think I'll have to wait a few days to test this recipe.  It seems too easy, but even if it doesn't exactly taste like Dippin' Dots, how can it not be good?  It's a mango!  Once I've tested it in my *cough* test kitchen *cough*, I"ll let you know the verdict!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fun at the Children's Museum

I promise, we really do stay home sometimes, but in anticipation of finding something to do out of the heat on Saturday, we went to the Children's Discovery Museum here in Normal.  The museum is a great indoor activity, and we're lucky to have such a good museum this close. 

We started out in the "Under 4 Years" section with the slide and rock climbing.

And who can resist pressing his face against the plexiglass?!

 Not this dude!

We quickly wandered off into the area with the "gawks."  (cars)

Then, Jacob found a truck you can actually drive!  Jackpot!

                                                           (Sorry for the blurry-ness)

After lots of driving (we literally pulled him out), we went upstairs to discover yet another thing to drive:  a combine!

The combine didn't hold his attention as long as the car, though, and he quickly scooted off to find more things to get into.  He quickly found the "needles" (which aren't needles; I just don't really know how to describe them.)

and the stage.  He had no idea what the stage was for, but we let him play up there anyway.

"Where's the steering wheel?!  I want a steering wheel!"

Then we found the neatest mat that glowed with a moon and stars and when you stepped on it, it lit up into fireworks and sounded like fireworks exploding. 

                                                    Frank demonstrating his smooth moves

I thought Jacob would love it.  Instead, here's what he did:

Didn't dance; didn't move, just stood and pointed at...

the projection light above the mat.  Only my kid...

We finished up at the water table.  It's a little hard for me to believe he's big enough to reach the water table now, although he may still have some growing to do to fit into the smock!

He didn't mind, though, and had a great time splashing and playing!

It was a great way to kill some time on a hot Saturday!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Toes in the Water, Toes in the Sand: Vacation Recap Part 2

I had to break the vacation recap into two parts because I blog during Jacob's naps, and Mr. Toddler only allows me so much time.  Where was I...
  • The beach!  The beach was definitely a highlight even though it was really hot and really sticky and really sandy.  (I know.  Duh, right?)  This was Jacob's first time at the beach, and he love, love loved it!  He played with Jenna and Brett, and "helped" Frank build sandcastles, but his main priority was just feeling and throwing the sand! 

I think we stayed out about an hour and a half.  The temp was between 95 and 100, and we were hot!  It was so much fun, but cleanup was an ordeal.  I vowed no more beaches for another year or two! 

(See how sandy he was?!)
  • We went with Frank's parents to the Gulf Shores Zoo.  It is a small zoo, but we have a small kid, so it worked out just fine! :)

"I have these two wrapped around my finger!"

The zoo did have alligators, and Jacob is an alligator fan.  The alligators were pretty quiet when we were watching them, though.

Later, Grandma bought Jacob an alligator to commemorate the occasion.  Her name is Allie the Alabama Alligator, and she likes to "bite" Jacob's finger.  Pretty cute.

  • The recap would not be complete without mentioning Lulu's.  This restaurant is owned by Jimmy Buffett's sister Lucy and is composed of several buildings, outdoor areas, a beach, and a marina.  It definitely has that laid-back-super-chill Jimmy Buffett vibe.  We knew there would be a wait, so Frank and Garett left early to wait on a table.  They're both seated below in one of the outdoor areas.

Obviously, they had a difficult job! :)

Lulu's was an hour an 45 minute wait.  Let me say that again:  one hour and 45 minutes.  That's about an hour and 30 minutes longer than we've ever waited at a restaurant with Jacob, ever.  Fortunately, there was an enormous outdoor area for the kids.  (Unfortunately, I had put baby lotion on Jacob just before we left, so the sand stuck to him like he was a craft project.)

Once we finally got seated, our food came quickly.  I should also mention that I had seafood every day we were there, and it was fantastic!!

We were very grateful for the opportunity to spend the week with our family.  It was a lot of fun to hang out with each other and do things as a group of 9!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Toes in the Water, Toes in the Sand: Vacation Recap Part I

The week of July 4 we went to Orange Beach/Gulf Shores, Alabama.  Orange Beach and Gulf Shores run together kind of like Bloomington/Normal, but our condo was actually in Orange Beach.  We shared the 3 bed/3 bath with Frank's parents and his brother Garett and sister-in-law Rachael and their kids.  It sounds like a lot of people in one place, but we all had a blast hanging out with each other! 

There is no way I can recap everything, so I'll try to hit the highlights...

  • I was really worried about the 14-15 hour drive, but it turned out fine!  Going down, we stopped for a few hours at Frank's parents (approx 3.5 hours away) so Jacob and I could burn off some energy. By then it was evening, and we drove for the next 7ish hours, finally stopping north of Montgomery, AL, at 1:30.  The next morning, we drove the remaining 4 hours into Orange Beach.  Jacob discovered he likes playing with Frank's ipad:

  • The condo had a big pool, a kiddie pool, and a lazy river.  Jacob and I usually went down to the pool for about an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. 

I was terrified of him getting burnt, but we were both sunscreen maniacs.  (Frank is ridiculously tan, as you might imagine.) We spent most of our time at the kiddie pool.  

Jacob and Grandma
  • On Tuesday evening, we took family pictures.  Later that evening, I realized this was the FIRST time I had ever actually taken family pictures!  No joke.  Frank and I ended up in some of Jacob's newborn pictures, so we have a family picture, but it was by accident.  Anyway, we took these pictures on the beach at sunset, so it was a great backdrop.  The interesting thing was that some kind of protected birds had laid eggs on the beach, and to get to the area where we were shooting, we had to walk along a trail.  If we veered off the trail, we could have stepped on the bird eggs.  (Try explaining that to a 19 month old.)  So we saw a few newborn baby birds as well as some angry momma birds while we were shooting.  Below are a few of the shots we took while waiting on our photographer to arrive:

After pictures, we went to a really nice restaurant for dinner.  Even though it was two hours past his bedtime by the time we were finished, Jacob didn't do too badly at dinner.  I think the fact that he was totally exhausted had something to do with it!