Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crafting with the Chadwicks

This past weekend is the first weekend we have had at home in a long time where Matt did not have to work and possibly the last weekend home before the end of the year.  On top of this amazing occurrence, Matt offered to watch Morgan on Saturday while I went out, did some shopping and basically had some "me" time.  I cannot say enough how much I appreciated this "me" time.  I LOVE spending time with Morgan, but the one thing I have missed the most since becoming a parent is the freedom to just leave the house by myself and wander the aisles of a store, even if I don't buy anything. 

I did actually have a purpose for shopping this past Saturday.  As previously mentioned, we planned a night with the Chadwicks.  Dinner would be served and then Matt & Josh would watch all of the girls while Kristin and I got to work on some felt Christmas ornaments.  We were both looking for ways to keep our trees fun, but still kid friendly!  I am a really SLOW sewer and I forgot to pick up fabric glue, so I only got two ornaments completely finished and even then, I need to add some sort of ribbon for hanging on the tree. 

I was able to get all of the pieces cut and laid out for a cute owl ornament.  Only the hard part left...sewing, which includes adding some googly eyes!
While researching easy to make ornaments, I found some really easy instructions for glitter ornaments using the glass or plastic clear ornaments, glitter, and liquid Pledge.  Below are my first 6 ornaments in gold glitter.  These are for my sister's tree and I think they turned out pretty well!

I tried to use modge podge and leopard print tissue paper to make some leopard print ornaments to go with the gold glitter balls, but this did not go as smoothly.  In my first attempt, I tried to just wrap the whole piece of tissue paper around the ball, but it's too bulky and doesn't lay right.  On the second attempt, I used small, ripped up pieces of tissue paper and modge podged those on to the ball individually.  It looked much better but took much longer. 

I really want to finish up the rest of these tonight so I can give them to my sister tomorrow, but I've got a lot on my plate tonight.  Morgan's daycare is having a small Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow.  They didn't ask the parents to bring anything in, but they said we could send stuff if we wanted to and I ALWAYS want to!  I found this fun idea for turkeys made out of oreo cookies and peanut butter cups.  I have a feeling tonight might get a little busy!

If you want the recipe or directions, check out http://www.ourbestbites.com/2010/11/oreo-turkeys-and-cookie-pilgrim-hats/
Before I sign off, I do want to share an exciting purchase that finally came in the mail this week!  About 6 months ago I purchased a deal on Heartsy for an Etsy dealer that crocheted hats.  About a month ago, I finally used my deal and purchased 3 hats for under $30!  Below are the first two hats for Morgan, they match her winter jacket (courtesy of Aunt Jamie) perfectly!  The last hat is for our new arrival due in April.  Since it will be a spring baby, I thought the chick hat would be perfect for pictures!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Next week I am sure I will have plenty of pictures to share from our Thanksgiving adventures and hopefully I will be able to share whether we are having a boy or girl!  Keep those fingers crossed that this little baby keeps moving those legs around!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Iowa Family Weekend

This past weekend was Family Weekend at the University of Iowa, where my brother is a Junior.  I was able to take this past Friday off of work, so Matt, Morgan and I make the 3.5 - 4 hour drive west.  In order to break up the drive with Morgan, we made a halfway stop in Galesburg, IL for lunch at the Landmark Cafe and brief window shopping.  It was an old town with a very small downtown area, but it worked really well as a halfway point for our journey!

We arrived in Iowa City around 2:30pm, checked in at the Marriott and then headed to campus to meet up with Gregory.  He showed us around the campus and enjoyed some beers with Matt while Morgan and I tested out the playground in the middle of the pedestrian mall.  I must say that the pedestrian mall is a weird mix of stuff.  There are the campus bars and cheap campus eats but also the playground and expensive shops with clothes and home decor items that don't really seem affordable for the college-age crowd.  I get that it might work when the parents are in town, but I'm really unsure how these businesses make it year round. 

After dinner with Gregory, we headed back to his apartment to meet his roommates and their families.  Everyone was really nice and all of Gregory's roommates were really great with Morgan.  She really enjoyed running around between all of the guys and playing peekaboo with her blanket.

Saturday dawned and after some debating, Matt and I decided we could allow Morgan one day in Hawkeye gear for her Uncle Greg.  Below is a picture of Morgan waking up Grandma and Grandpa in the hotel room next door!

The above picture is a family pic that Jamie took.  Even Matt and I got in the Hawkeye spirit, not that it helped.  Both the Hawkeye and the Illini lost their games. 

Watching football isn't really a great activity for Morgan, so Grandma and I took her to the nearby Children's Museum.  It was actually a ton of fun and offered a lot of fun play options for someone Morgan's age.  Of course her favorite part is always watching the other kids.  She loves seeing older kids and really loves when they interact with her.  My favorite part of the afternoon at the Children's Museum was watching her feed the baby doll.  We have a plush baby doll at home that Grandma and Grandpa got for her first birthday, but besides put it in and out of the stroller she really don't do much with it.  The baby dolls at the museum were very lifelike and she really just wanted to keep picking them up.  The below picture is Morgan feeding one of the baby dolls a bottle.  It only took one try to let Morgan know that the bottle was for the doll and not her!

I'm really proud of my baby girl and can't believe how grown up she is getting.  This really makes me think she will be a great big sister!

Below is a picture of Morgan in a toy called the Bilibo.  I really want to get her one of these for Christmas.  They can be used as a variety of things but Morgan liked to get into it like a chair and tip around.  It was pretty funny!

We tried to take some family photos this weekend for my parent's Christmas card, but none of them really turned out that well.  The lighting was a little weird and the shots are a little blurry.  Either way, I figured I would share them with cyberspace and whoever reads this blog!
This weekend is the first weekend in a long time and the last full weekend this year, all three of us will be at home and not working!  We are planning to have some friends over on Saturday to watch football, eat dinner, and make some Christmas crafts!  I can't wait!  I'll definitely be posting pics next week of our felt ornaments and clothespin wreath for holiday cards. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grandpa's Birthday in the City

This past weekend Morgan and I drove up to Chicago to spend some time with my parents and help celebrate their birthdays.  My mom's birthday was a little over a week ago and my sister decided the best way to celebrate would be to purchase a groupon that allowed the three of us to spend some time together: a Chocolate Walking Tour!  After some debate, we also decided on a food walking tour for my dad's birthday present, but this tour explored the different restaurant options in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area.  The plan was to end the busy Saturday at Owen & Engine for dinner. 

Saturday started pretty early with Morgan waking up around 6:30am (pretty normal for her).  We quickly showered and had some breakfast as the rest of the family started waking up and getting ready.  The chocolate walking tour started at 9:45am, so the three ladies headed off around 9:30 while Grandpa stayed home to watch Morgan.  The Chocolate Walking Tour was a lot of fun and definitely introduced us to some great bakeries in the Gold Coast.  Our first stop was More Cupcakes and I must admit that I was incredibly skeptical about the chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting.  Unless it is Portillo's chocolate cake, I find that I usually don't like chocolate cake as it tends to be dry, but this cupcake was fantastic!  We bought 6 small cupcakes to take home and share with the birthday boy. 

The last 4 stops on the chocolate tour was Sarah's Pastries & Candies, Belgian Bakery, Teuscher Swiss Chocolates, and Argo Tea.  All of the places offered great samples, but More Cupcakes was definitely the best with their delicious cupcakes.  Argo tea, a Chicago native company, was also delicious with a chocolate chai tea.  I love chai and chocolate, so it was a great combination for me!
After the chocolate tour, we headed back to the condo, bundled up, and left with Grandpa and Morgan in tow.  We really didn't know what to expect with Food Planet's Wicker Park/Bucktown food tour, but we were pleasantly surprised not only by the food but by the tour guide.  If you decide to try out this tour, please be aware that you will be given a TON of food.  We had a full size hot dog, half a falafel sandwich, hot chocolate, a slice of pizza, and a roasted vegetable salad.  We were so full after our 5th stop, that we skipped the last stop on the tour and headed straight to the nearest bar.   Below is a picture of Mom & Dad at our first stop, which included a true Chicago-style hot dog!

I am amazed that any of us ate anything at Owen & Engine, but it was a testatment to the greatness of their menu.  Not only do they have quite the beer selection, they also have the best fish & chips I have ever had (and that includes any I have tried in the UK).  This is definitely a place to head back to with Matt's family!

Macy's lit up the Christmas Tree in the Walnut Room and unveiled the holiday windows, so we all got in the Christmas spirit and headed over to Macy's to check it all out.  Holidays in Chicago are my favorite time of the year.  Like my mother, I am a big sucker for tradition and a big tradition for my family is to look at the windows and check out the tree.  I really want to ensure my children share this same tradition.  It would be great if we could also eat at the Walnut Room, but with the crowds sometimes this isn't always plausible! 

Below is a picture of Grandpa and Morgan after our meal at Ditka's on Sunday.  It was the perfect ending to a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Siuta Halloween 2011

Yesterday marked not only the end of October and Halloween, but also the beginning of the Holiday season!  I have already purchased the Michael Buble Christmas CD, so I am feeling ready to go for the Holidays.  Before I get too far into my Holiday preparations, I want to recap the Siuta Halloween 2011.

Halloween preparation actually started on Sunday night as I was in charge of bringing a sweet treat for the daycare's Halloween party.  Since my Michael Jackson-inspired sugar cookies turned out so tasty, I decided to go with frosted sugar cookies.  I bought a couple of fun Halloween shaped cookie cutters and got to work after Morgan went to bed.  The pumpkins turned out looking like odd shaped circles, so I just frosted those in orange and added some sprinkles.  The ghosts turned out pretty well, so I frosted those in white and added some mini chocolate chip eyes.  The cats did not turn out well.  I should have taken some pictures so that you could get the full impact, but at the end of the day it was decided that the cats would stay home for Matt while the rest of the cookies went to the daycare party.

Halloween morning dawned, Matt had to work 8-4, so it was a pretty fast paced morning.  We got Morgan up, showered and dressed in her Minnie Mouse costume.  Matt left with Morgan, Minnie Mouse ears, and three plates of cookies.  When he came home with Morgan we were missing a sweater and some shoes, but at least daycare was able to post some a couple of pictures of Morgan enjoying her Halloween celebration.  Below is a pic of Morgan at daycare:
We were having the Chadwicks over for dinner, so once Matt and Morgan got home we did a final clean sweep of the house (mostly vacuuming) and Matt went out to pick up the pizza.  While Matt was picking up the pizza, I finished decorating the front porch in time for the first trick or treaters, who came just a couple minutes after 6.  Below is our spooky front porch including our creepy black cat!

Since I am always worried about Morgan getting cold, I picked up a fleece butterfly costume from Old Navy for $5 for actual trick or treating.  Matt and Morgan only went to 3 houses, but I am very glad she had the extra warmth and she looked extra cute!  Below is one of my favorite pictures in her butterfly costume.  It looks like she is trying to flap her wings!

I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!  Now on to Thanksgiving and Christmas!