Sunday, November 22, 2009

Polar Express, Lowes, and Giveaways

One of the local malls, Willow Bend, is presenting "Polar Express Snowglobes" for this holiday season. As soon as I saw it in the city magazine I knew it was definitely a MUST for Brayden...he ABSOLUTELY LOVES this movie! For the last two Christmas seasons he has watched it at least once a day for the whole month of December..sometimes more. :) So on Friday right afterschool, my mom and I decided it was the perfect time to take him. (She was in town after having a lunch date with Brayden at his preschool's Thanksgiving Feast.) Let me just say, it was the perfect time, we basicaly had the whole thing to ourselves. Here is a slideshow of all his fun:

At the end of the Polar Express trail came Santa Claus....Brayden is PETRIFIED of Santa Claus...(Last year, we stood in line for 2 hours to have his picture taken for him to only start BAWLING his eyes out as soon as it was our turn.) So this was as close as he would get to seeing Santa Claus:
He would not cross this line...
well that is until he saw this giveaway hosted by the local Lexus dealer:

it's a Child Size Golf Cart. He wanted this so BADLY! I told him that he would need to go tell Santa Claus so that maybe he could get it for him. Well, with A LOT of hesitation, he slowly walked back up to him. He quickly in passing told him he wanted a golf cart for Christmas (no sitting on the lap). He said it in such a rush the poor guy couldn't even understand him, so I of course had to interpret for him.

He had such a great time! He has already asked numerous times if we can go back to see Polar Express. :)

Then on Saturday we did our semi-monthly Lowe's Build and Grow, this time he built a cute Snowman Giftcard holder. He is starting to get more independent on these projects. He knows our routine of opening and sorting our supplies and then reading the instrucions to figure out what to do. (Of course he can't read yet, but he is usually able to figure out from the picture directions.)

All finished!! He LOVES getting these lil patches for his apron. :) Next on the list for Lowe's Build and Grow is a Gingerbread House and Christmas Ornaments. If you haven't signed up yet, be sure and check out their website to preregister.

Both of these SUPER FUN activities were absolutely FREE....if you like FREE things as much as I do, you might want to head over to my good blogging friend Mellissa's blog: Getting all my Ducks in a Row. She is partnering up with Chrissy from Life as a CEO and they are cohosting a Stuff your Stocking weekly givewaway. They both are offering some AMAZING gifts over the next few weeks until Dec. 19th. Be sure and check both their blogs out weekly so you can have a chance on winning their giveaways.

You might also like this SUPER easy way that I have found to make some extra money, through Swagbucks...all you have to do is sign up through this link, then do all your searches through's so EASY!! Already in just a lil over 2 weeks I have earned enough for $10 in Amazon giftcards which can easily be applied towards a Christmas gift for Brayden...all for just naturally searching the internet, nothing special. If you have any questions about it feel free to email me and I'll do my best to answer them for you. :)


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Few pictures of Brayden taken by my 16yr old nephew this past weekend.
Nature Pics he took:
I think he's got such a great eye for picture taking! :)

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Are you a Farmer??

Brayden has a new LOVE...He absolutely LOVES Facebook's Farmtown and Farmville. (If you haven't tried either of them yet, I don't really recommend it...they can both be VERY addicting!!)

How it Began:
For the last 6 months or so he would occasionally play with my mom whenever he would visit them. He enjoyed checking the crops and sending gifts to her neighbors. Well everytime he saw me get on Facebook he would ALWAYS ask if he could play the farm game on my comptuer. My answer was always "NO, that's something special to do with grandma." Then I would have to hear him beg and plead and beg and plead more, for me to only break his heart by saying NO again. Well for some reason, 2 weeks ago, I decided to finally go ahead and give in to what I call "Farm World." I call it "Farm World" because little did I know when I started this whole tihng there are 2 Farm applications for Facebook: Farmtwon and Farmville. They do have a few differences from each other, but the one similarity they both have is they are both VERY addicting! First thing Brayden wants to do when we get home is check "his" farms.

Now the good thing about his new farming love, they both do have some educational value to them. For example he has learned:
* You need to plow a field before you can harvest the crops.
* It's a great thing to help your neighbors out by fertilizing their crops, raking their leaves, scare away animals, water their fields and flowers, etc..
* You gotta work hard and fast so the employeers will want to rehire you.
* You need to harvest your crops before they wither away.
* He has learned about all kinds of different crops and trees..which ones take longer to harvest and earn us more money...his favorite tree is the apple tree and favorite crop is the pumpkins. He enjoys seeing the different stages of the crops.
* It's great to be generous to neighbors by giving them gifts.
* He has to milk cows, collect chicken eggs, collect sheep wool, collect truffles from pigs and collect horsehair.
* Go to the marketplace to get a job (he's learned how to type that too).
* Go to the marketplace to sell his crops .
* Save your money instead of spending it so we can buy a house.
* coordination skills on the laptop mouse
* and most importantly to click on the "skip" button when asked if you want to publish your success on your profile. (This way it won't publish to mommy's FB profile and all of her friends think it's her playing all these farm games.)
All in all, they are both great semi real life educational games to play with your child, as long as you have a FB account.
Do you see that intensity on his face?!? He takes his farming very serious. :)
Going to the market place to sell his harvested crops.
Then last night while I was reading all the great recipes from FMM, he was supposed to just be tending to his farms but the next thing I knew he started up another FB game "Fishville". He loves this game too. I kind of like it also because I think its better than us having a real fish. (We already tried that and I HATED having to clean the bowl.) With Fishville, he has taught himself how to play based on what he has learned from farming....but from what I gather from him he has to clean the fishtank, feed the fish, decorate his tank, and help out his neighbors. It's 100% his thing. He is VERY disappointed right now because he doesn't have any neighbors on Fishville other than my grandma and sister. He keeps telling me "get me some neighbors mommy, I need some fishville neighbors!!!" So let me know if you happen to play fishville or any of the FB farm games and maybe we can be neighbors....I know one 4yr old boy who would be VERY ecstatic (and generous with gift giving) if he had a new neighbor or two. :)
Here he is logging into Fishville:

Trying to feed his fish:
Wanna know what else we have been up to lately?...Playing a little Wii bowling. I am so IMPRESSED with his bowling skills nowdays. He sccored a 170 COMPLETELY on his OWN. I had to capture the score of one of our latest games where he beat me. For the first 6 frames, he had either a spare or a strike, then frame 7, 8 and 9....he scored a 9 on each of them and then of course finished up with a spare on Frame 10...maybe I'll have to take him to a "real" bowling alley one of these days. :)

Finally a quick Swagbucks update...I'm up to 69 swagbucks...Yea! If you haven't signed up yet, be sure and sign up so you can start earning swagbucks for completely free gifts like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, iTunes giftcards just to name a few.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

FMM: Winter Recipes

Amber is once again hosting Friend Makin Monday. This week she is asking:

"What is your favorite recipe for this time of year?"

I have a few favorite dinner/baking recipes that I love for this time of year, (I posted one of them yesterday, Pumpkin Pie in a Bag) so I wanted to change it up a lil bit for FMM. With it being football season and the holidays, I LOVE to snack. I thought I would share another recipe love that I have....DIPS....I LOVE to graze on chips and dip. It's the perfect activity while watching a football game or waiting for a holiday meal to be prepared (although not the healthiest activity). It's a yummy dip recipe that I learned from a good work friend a couple of years ago called Corn Dip.
Corn Dip

2 cans Mexican Corn (drained)
16 oz sour cream
1 cup real mayo
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch cilantro
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cummin
1/4 tsp lime juice

Mix everything but the onions and cilantro together. Chop the onions and the cilantro in a food processor (or you can chop finely by hand or blender). Then mix the cilantro and onions with all the other ingrediants. Chill overnight and then serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

For other great recipes, be sure and check out Friend Makin Monday.

Happy Monday!

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Pumpkin Pie in a Bag

Yesterday we had an early Pre-Thanksgiving gathering to accomodate one of my sisters work schedule. We had a great time spending the day with family! Brayden especially LOVES anytime he gets to spend with his big cousin, Zach (he's 16), aunts, uncle, grandparents and great grandparents. He is definitely a lil entertainer with all these extra family members as his audience. :)

Since we were celebrating a lil early and it was just our immediate family, I thought it would be a perfect time for Brayden to try out a recipe we do in first grade: Pumpkin Pie in a Bag! It's super easy, but just a warning, it can be a lil messy too.

Pumpkin Pie in a Bag

*** This recipe here is for about 24 students, so I just halved it for us to make at home. It made about 6 full mufflin liners.
• 2 cups cold milk
• 2 packages (4 serving size) instant vanilla pudding mix
• 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
• 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• Graham crackers - enough for 25 squares
• 1 can whipped topping or tub of Cool whip
• 1 gallon freezer bag per group
• Muffin liners

1. Combine the milk and instant pudding in the freezer bag.
-Remove the air and zip lock shut.
-Squeeze and kneed with hands until blended for about 1 minute.

2. Add the pumpkin and spice.
-Remove the air and zip lock shut.

Sorry...don't look to closely at the details of what is in our bag. I didn't read my own recipe and put the pumpkin in before I did the pudding mix...oops. :)
-Then squeeze and kneed with hands until blended for 2 minutes.

Of course, I had to add in a lil "math" lesson. We had 6 volunteers in the room, so I had him count to 10 as they each kneaded his mixture for him. Then had everyone repeat the kneading process.
3. Break graham crackers into squares and then put into cupcake holder for the "crust".
4. Cut off the corner of your freezer bag and squeeze about 2 tablespoons of pie filling onto each graham cracker.

Now if you have a stubborn lil child like I do, he insisted that it had to be "cooked" before he ate it. To appease him, I stuck it in the refrigerator, set the microwave timer and waited for it to ding. :)

5. Garnish with whipped topping and enjoy!

He also had to make his "annual Native American" hat to wear as we ate. I must say, I am very impressed with his cutting abilities nowdays...especially since he had to use "grownup" scissors rather than his own.

Happy Early Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lowes Build and Grow: RaceCar Garage

This morning was our monthly "Build and Grow" at Lowe's, but this morning was extra special for Brayden. My dad was able to go with us to help Brayden build a Racecar Garage.

It was also extra special because he got to wear fun goggles and keep both his goggles and his hammer (something he hasn't done before). :)

Deep concentration while working is a MUST as demonstrated below:

Leaving for today, but we'll be back next Saturday to build a snowman/giftcard holder.

If you haven't signed up, be sure to check out the Lowe's Build and Grow website. It's great, FREE fun. :) Don't let the age recommendation stop you, I have seen kids as young as 1 working with either their dad or papa. They also have a super cute gingerbread house on December 5th.

Also, I am SUPER excited because last night I hit my 45th swagbuck in less than 2 weeks! You might remember this post where I explained swagbucks a lil bit. 45 swagbucks = FREE $5 Amazon giftcard. If you have not signed up yet, you can sign up from this link. If you use "google" as your search engine, you might as well switch over to swagbucks and get paid to search and get google results :) It's completely FREE!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pinkalicious and Tutus..

Being a mom of a 4 year old BOY, I am probably one of the last ones you would think of to have a post called "Pinkalicious and Tutus". Well thanks to Brayden's lil girlfriend Katey's birthday party I was able to have a few "first" this last weekend. This was the first time in my whole life that all the items in my shopping basket were PINK.

Sunday was Katey's birthday party and since I never get to buy "girlie" things, I kind of got excited about putting together her present. I first decided on getting her the BEST girly book EVER! (According to all the girls in my class, over the last few years.)

If you have a girl, it is definitely A MUST HAVE along with PURPILIOUS and the newest edition to the series, GOLDILICIOUS. The basic plot is the lil girl LOVES cupcakes and wants to eat the pink cupcakes that her and her mom made. Well, 1 cupcake wasn't enough for her...she wanted more, more, and MORE. Of course, her mom would only let her eat 1, but Pinkalicious was so persistant she insisted on getting another cupcake. I'm sure you can forsee how the story goes...she turns PINK from eating so many cupcakes. Brayden loves the story too and his favorite part is the "twist" at the end. If you want to pick up your own copy of Pinkalicious, check it out at this could make a really GREAT Christmas present.

As you can see from the cover, PINKALICIOUS dresses as a pink fairy. My mind instantly thought of making Katey a PINK tutu so she could look just like Pinkalicious. So, this last weekend I made my very first TUTU! I was originally inspired by my friend Julia's "how to" post on tutus. It ended up being super easy and fun to make. All you need is elastic, tulle (I used one spool that I already had and 2 yds from the fabric dept). I also bought a spool of coordinating ribbon to add an extra embellishment. Then the first thing you need to do is sew your elastic together (thankfully my mom was in town to do this for me). Then you will want to cut your strips of tulle to the desired length (make sure it is long enough to fold over). Finally you will tie it in knots over the's that easy. :)
Here was my final tutu: I did 3 dark pink (from my spool, 6 inch wide), 3 lighter pink (cut into 3 inch wide strips)..then 1 shorter yellow strip for an extra accent (I already had this one at home.)

I tried to get Brayden to "try it on" for me so I could see how it would look. Well he was not thrilled with that idea AT ALL because "tutus are for girls not boys". This was the closest I could get to have him as my model:

For the rest of her present I did a tiara, wand, fairy wings,PINK cupcake mix and PINK now she can be just like Pinkalicious.

Wrapping a tutu wasn't the easiest thing so I opted for a white trashbag. Here was her gift all wrapped up:

He had a SUPER FUN time at the birthday party. It was a bounce party, pizza/cupcakes, and some arcade time. Here are a few pics of the fun:

Also, I just wanted to pass along this amazing deal...Amazon has my FAVORITE family magazine, Disney Family Fun (1-year) for only $4.95!! That's a 1 year subscription right now for only $4.95 until Nov 30th. I get a lot of fun ideas like this one from it. Just go to this link to order your 1 year subscription or gift it to a friend. :) Just so you know, the price looks like it is $9.95, but when you go to the checkout there is an automatic $5 off, to get it at the low price of $4.95.

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