Monday, December 13, 2010

Hallway Bowling

I know it has been a LONG while since I have posted. Don't hold it against me. It has been a busy few months!

I was looking for a fun activity for Parker and I to do one night with the cold weather and up popped an idea. Parker has been playing with the plastic disposable party cups since Thanksgiving. I know. I am pretty pathetic. Yes they were still out. But at least they were washed! But from his playing came my idea.

I took 12 party cups and filled about the bottom 1/8th of one of the cups with dry macaroni noodles (I am sure that you could us something else for weight also. Just find something else that cleans up easily and that you aren't using at the time. Please keep in mind those cups sometimes do split down the side. What is going to be easy to sweep or pick up?) I then took the other cup and taped it up side down, with packing tape, to the bottom cup (Lip to Lip). Basically it ends up looking like the bottom 1/2 or the fat part of a bowling pin. Continue the same directions for the last 5 pins. I made 6 pins total so that they could be set in the triangle shape easily. You of course could make the full 10 pins if you like. I just didn't have that much Macaroni! :)

Now set the pins up at the end a hallway and get yourself a ball. The rubber balls about kick ball size work best. The walls will act as you bumpers. Have fun! Parker has been playing EVERY night since we made them. Sophia even gets into the act trying to knock them down herself! What a great semi “free” game for the kids.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Similac Formula Recall

Similac Users: There has been a recall. Go to this link to read details. There is also a Phone Number you can call and a website to check your cans lot numbers 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

9/11 Tribute: Craig Scott Amundson

Please forgive me as I depart from my normal tips, tricks, and reviews. I will deviate today in order to leave a remembrance.

Every year I find this this week difficult. We start seeing all of the remembrances for 9/11. I personally had a cousin pass in the Pentagon crash. He was in the military and working in his office when the crash occurred. I can still remember attending his funeral at the Arlington Cemetery, literally in the shadow of the Pentagon. You could look out over the lawn and just behind the trees you could see the Pentagon still with a gaping hole in the side of it and all the rubble that lay there.

He died when he was only 28. He was the same age as my older brother, who is 4 years older than me. It seems to be very odd to think that I am older than he was when he passed. I also find it odd that the Pentagon is rarely remembered when we look back on 9/11. So this is my tribute specifically to that, all those that perished in the 9/11 attacks, specially those on the ground and on the flight that hit the Pentagon. My thoughts and prayers are with all those friends and family members as that date creeps up on us yet again.

To find out more about the Pentagon Crash, the Pentagon Memorial, and the victims please see the links below:
Of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, on September 11, 2001. Beloved husband of Amber Ann; father of Elliot Reed and Charlotte Marion. Also survived by his parents, Orland and Karen Amundson of Missouri; two brothers, Barry Amundson of Texas and Ryan Amundson of Missouri and his grandparents, Marion Brusven and Arthur and Sophia Amundson, all of North Dakota.

Spec. Craig S. Amundson, 28, was assigned to the Army's Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel as a graphic artist. Amundson, who was living at Fort Belvoir, enlisted in the Army in August 1998 in Kansas City, Mo., near his parents' home. After basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., he worked for three months as a multimedia illustrator at Fort Meade. In May 1999, the Iowa native was moved to the Pentagon, where he worked for the Army's deputy chief of staff for personnel.

Amundson had recently joined the Military Career Transition Program at Old Dominion University and was working toward becoming an elementary school teacher, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

Source: The Washington Post, AP and

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zoo Review: Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Rating: **** (out of five)

I am having a hard time doing this review because Pittsburgh was a very good zoo but I am very spoiled and partial to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. Pittsburgh had some really great attributes but some pitfalls as well.

Attributes - Great location. Located in Pittsburgh City limits but still feels like you are in the countryside in a beautiful wooded hilly area. You won't need any sunscreen here. The trees form a perfect canopy. They had some wonderful animals. This is the first zoo that I have been to that the lions were actually up and around. Usually they are laying about. As we were walking up the Lion started roaring! How AWESOME and the lioness was pacing about. It made for some great pictures. They also have this WONDERFUL play area that is about 1/2 way through. The area has lots of different slides that are all a different levels. Parker LOVED it and would have stayed forever had we let him. There is also a play area that is just about to the end that has lots of different things for the kids to play on, including a toddler area. They also have a beautiful aquarium. We had fun walking around and seeing all of the different things to see.

Pitfalls - This zoo is arranged in a path format. Meaning that everything is in one continuous path. You can't just go and say I want to see this area if you only have so much time. You really need to continue the path till you get to the end. Or know in advance that you are going to have to walk past a bunch of stuff to get to where you want to be and have the long walk back when you are finished. The Aquarium is beautiful. However, it actually didn't have as many animals/fish in it as I had expected. The building is fairly big. It was very nicely done however. Shortly after you go through the aquarium you will get to the polar bear/shark exhibit. I was VERY excited about this part as the website builds it up quite a bit. Go check out there site to see what I am talking about. Be sure to watch the video on the main page and not skip past it. There are two tunnels that go under the water through the polar bear tank and the shark tank. Very cool! However, as we were walking through the Polar Bear tunnel he was no were to be seen. I completely understand this as they can't be out 100% of the time. But, both tank tunnels were covered in a thin layer of algae and sort of gave you the ewww feeling.

Over all I really enjoyed this zoo. It is a great one to take your kids to as they obviously understand that kids get tired and need a break from the animals to play. Great job with the play areas. There were also VERY FEW closed exhibits which happens from time to time. And one other plus for my local readership. This Zoo was FREE with our FW Children's Zoo membership. We also were able to get a discount of 10% in the gift shop. Very Cool.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Zoo Review: Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Rating: ***** (out of five)

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo (FWC) is our "Local" Zoo and the one that my family has a membership to. I would have to say, out of all the zoos that I have been to, this is my favorite. It was rated "One of the nation's Ten Best Zoos for Kids" Parents, 2009.
One of the reasons that I like FWC so much is its lay out. It is sort of laid out on a spoke pattern. There is a center portion of the zoo and then there are different areas that shoot off of it. There for, if you are on a limited amount of time, you can choose what you would like to see and go to that section. This is great rather than having to make time to go to the whole zoo beginning to end. This makes it PERFECT for the locals who would like to get a membership. It makes it easy to plan a day at the zoo around a trip to the store. You know you have 2 hours open to relax at the zoo. Why not pick your 1 or 2 favorite sections and spend an hour looking around.
Other high points! On HOT days the zoo has their misters going. They have several mister stations throughout the zoo that allow you to walk through a mist to cool yourself down. They also have a couple of fountains that are open for the kids to play in. I let Parker go to the Zoo in his swim trunks and a t-shirt. I just take an extra change of cloths to change him right before we leave. Perfect!
There is a downfall....There are several rides through out the zoo for the kids and adults alike. They only accept tokens. Tokens are $1 a piece! For example. There is a Live Pony Ride. This ride costs 4 tokens. So, if you are looking for a cheep day at the zoo, avoid the rides if possible or negotiate with your child(ren) for one. Although also keep in mind all $ spent on these rides stays within the zoo to maintain and support their efforts.
On the topic of memberships: I have noticed that this one is a little on the high side however keep in mind you get what you pay for and this is one of the best! In just two visits our family was able to have the membership paid for in relationship to what we would have had to pay at the gate. In all actuality, my family had our membership paid for before we even set foot on their grounds.
To Explain: FWC has a reciprocal membership. There are over 150 Zoos in North America that with you FWC Membership you are able to get in Free or at a reduced rate. To see a list of the member zoos go too:  On our recent family vacation we were able to get in at a reduced or free rate. Our membership also helped out in the gift shops at those zoos by giving us a % off. I highly suggest a membership to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo or the local zoo in your area. They are typically a great deal!

Monday, June 28, 2010

All The Things I Have Done

Well, I guess I need to say I am sorry again. I am a very bad blogger. Ok but at least I am trying to be a better person and a good mom. :)

Since I last posted have planned and took a family vacation on a very fixed budget and succeeded! I have helped plan and conduct our church's vacation bible school and survived. I have started walking on my lunch breaks with my office buddy. (Thus my lack of blogging. I had been blogging on my lunch breaks) And I have done all this while being a full time working mom. Oh yes and lost 10 lbs of baby weight! Wooo whooo!

To all those busy moms out there, who don't know how they are going to fit one more things into their busy schedule, I applaud you! You do it all plus some!!!

In my future posts some things you can look forward to:
  • Review of the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium - Pittsburgh, PA
  • Review of the National Aquarium - Baltimore, MA
  • Review of the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo - Fort Wayne, IN
  • How to plan a vacation on a budget
  • Continued Zoo Reviews as we visit them throughout the summer (Ohio Based)

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Perfect Swaddling Blanket

I have the perfect swaddling blanket instructions! You will have to thank my mom for this one. THANKS MOM!

My mother started making Receiving Blankets for us girls and the babies as soon as her first grandchild arrived. It always had bothered her that a Receiving Blanket was only big enough for a new born and not even square. How can you possibly swaddle in a blanket that isn't square! So she figured out how to make one on her own and you get the benefit. My kids STILL love their blankets and sleep with at least one every night.
Making a Receiving/Swaddling Blanket:
  1. Pick your favorite piece of Flannel
  2. Buy about a 1 1/3 yards
  3. Tear it square! (you will be down to about a yard and 1/4)
  4. Machine wash and dry (This will shrink your fabric and you will be left with approximately 1 yard of square fabric)
  5. Fold your raw edges under and stitch
You are now done with your blanket.

What is so great about this blanket is that it grows with your baby. It can be wrapped as tightly as needed for a new born and will still be big enough to swaddle a growing baby even up to 6-10 months, depending on the size of the child. If you do not know how to swaddle or would like step by step instruction please go to:

My son, who is 4 years old, still has many of his original baby blankets that Grandma made for him. He still wants me to cover him up with at least one of them every night. Even better, it is still big enough to do so!