Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mudcats Game (Birthday Weekend Continued)

So, as a continuation of yesterday's post...this is day two of Grant's "birthday weekend". Saturday evening (after fishing) we tried to take Grant to see Planes, knowing he'd love it. But the crowd outside the movie theater made Grant nervous and he didn't want to go in. No amount of coaxing (or bribing with promises of popcorn and M&Ms) could get him inside. Some situations make him very apprehensive and others (Hello, Monster Jam!) don't. It's weird but we'll try again soon.

So...speaking of apprehensive, we went to a baseball game Sunday afternoon. Remember last time? We sure do. Crying, tears, requests to go home...a hot dog...more crying. I think we only made it through 3 or 4 innings. But this time, though starting out similar, went better. We got him calmed down with some food (snow cones make everything better, don't they?) and he eventually seemed to enjoy himself.

In his brand new Yankees jersey. My mom would love it!

Grant eventually got comfortable enough to really watch the game, ask questions about the game, and yell to the players. And he got really excited when I let him take some pictures with the camera (with help, of course).

This was his vantage point with the camera.
A smile! He had fun :)
Ready to catch a foul ball!
Lovin' on Gramma
Boo-in a bad call!
So it turned out to be a really nice afternoon. The weather was amazing, our seats were great (got a 4 pack of tickets for $10 on - seriously love that site!), and Grant realized that baseball is not a form of capital punishment. I call it a win.

Maybe soon we'll Grant to the movies and show him that there's no torture chamber in there either! (Because that Planes movie looks really cute and I'm not gonna lie...I want to see it.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Gone Fishin'

We considered this past weekend "Grant's Birthday Weekend" so we tried to fill it with fun things to do. Now, when someone says "Hey, I'm going fishing" my response is never "Can I come too?!" and probably never will be. I get the appeal of it, it just doesn't appeal to me. It's boring. If I'm going to sit quietly outside, it better be with a book and a cup of coffee. 

But Husband loves fishing and is super excited about Grant being at an age where he can get interested in it. While we were in NY for the 4th, we got him a Lightning McQueen fishing pole and he fished for the first time.

Grant never caught anything (neither did Husband even though he literally sat there for 8 hours or so) but there was so much fun to be had - not sitting still - that fishing wasn't at the top of his priority list.

Flash forward to Saturday. I'm forced to go against my will because Husband guilted me into going by saying "You'll like seeing his reaction the first time he gets a fish! can take pictures. I won't have time for that." So I went, with Kindle in tow, having been promised I could read while there was no action (I didn't get to read). 

Anyway, Grant got a fish the first time he threw his stuff in the water. Yelling "I found one! I found one!" It was very exciting.

Reeling in his first catch
Checking out the fish
Yes, by all means, lets touch it
After that, Grant's interest wavered. I mean, he's 3. I'm almost 30 years older than him and it kept his attention longer than it kept mine in those first 20 minutes. So he's let someone throw his line out for him (I was no longer allowed to after the second time I snagged a tree) and then he'd reel it in...then throw it out...reel it get the idea.

Little fisherman
Caught another one!
I think my favorite point of the day was when Husband caught a fish and Grant just randomly went nuts. "Daddy got one! Daddy found a fish!"

So excited!
Daddy's fishing cheerleader
Eventually Grant found some more attention for fishing and proudly caught one more fish, yelling across the little pond (to where I was finally trying to settle down with my Kindle) "Mama! I got another one! I got a fish!"

Showing me his catch
So, I think Grant's first fish trip was a success though I doubt I'll be going again. Hopefully I didn't complain too much (because Husband was genuinely excited about taking Grant fishing with him)...I think I was just a long for pictures. I think I successfully demonstrated my lack of fishing skills to the extent that I won't be invited along much.

Ok, so Husband was right-ish. I'm kinda glad I was there to see Grant's reaction because it was very cute. There, I said it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Recipe: Doubletree Hotel Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's been a while since I've shared a new recipe that I tried...and this one turned out really well! I've heard talk of these great cookies at the Doubletree hotels. My mom used to talk about them from when she had stayed in one. Apparently they give you these delightful chocolate chip cookies when you check in and this recipe is supposed to be a copy cat of those. I can't say if it's accurate or not since I've never had one from Doubletree. But I did eat one of these and they're great! I'm re-writing the recipe here but I've put a link to the original recipe below it as well. 

Doubletree Hotel Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1/2 cup rolled/old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (two sticks and I did use unsalted)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons pure vanilla (I used 1 1/2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (original recipe says unbleached but I'm not sure it matters)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Toll House)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (original recipe calls for walnuts but I'm not a fan so I used pecans)
  • Grind up your oats in a food processor until semi-fine (or fine but I couldn't get mine fine) and set them aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, both sugars, vanilla, and lemon juice. Add the eggs one at a time until blended and smooth (make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so everything gets mixed together).
  • In a separate, smaller bowl mix together the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add this mixture to the wet ingredients (I like to add it a little at a time) until it's all combined but becareful not to over mix it.
  • Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts - I did this using a spatula, not my mixer. Again, don't over mix.
  • Drop cookie dough on a lined baking sheet (I use parchment paper but if you have one of those fancy silpat things you can use that too) using 3 tablespoons of batter per cookie (I have a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop so I used three of those per cookie), then refrigerate these for 2-4 hours (or overnight) *see notes/suggestions 
  • Bake cookies at 350 for 14-16 minutes depending on your oven or how you like your cookies. Once baked, move them to a cooling rack.
  • Enjoy!
Recipe Source: The Little Kitchen

  • I didn't have time for that "refridgerate for 2-4 hours" business so I stuck those babies in the freezer to firm up and it worked just fine. Maybe 10-15 minutes? And I had another pan in the fridge. I'd move the one from the freezer to the oven, then the one in the fridge to the freezer. Worked great.
  • I made the recipe exactly as the original recipe said to except for the walnuts. I'm sure Doubletree uses walnuts and that the cookies are great but we're not a walnut-loving household so I went with pecans. 
  • Usually when a recipe says to use unsalted butter, I say "whatever" but this time I did use it. These were for Husband's work husband's last day and I didn't want them to taste funky. Evidently, I did well because they were a hit.
  • Lemon juice in chocolate chip cookies? Weird, right? Don't leave it out! It made the batter smell AMAZING and the cookies smelled even better when they were cooking! My whole house smelled great :)
  • MAKE THEM! They sound like a lot of work but so worth it!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Three Years

Today Grant is 3! It's hard to believe he's only 3 because he seems so grown up at times. Other times, he totally seems 3. We're going to have a little celebration for him tonight after school. We still have his party decorations up and I'm making some of his favorite foods - hot dogs, mac & cheese, and corn on the cob. We're having Gramma & Grandpa over for dinner and then Grant will get to open his presents from us (since his party is never on his actual birthday, he always has to wait until his real birthday for our gifts).

So here's the little man at 3:

  • Weight: 32 lbs (thanks to a recent sick visit to the doctor)
  • Height: 38 3/4 " (my best attempt at measuring)
  • Potty trained! He's been doing really well too. He can go all by himself - unless we're out at a restaurant or something or he does #2 - and he loves to tell you he'll do it by himself. We really don't even need a potty seat anymore. A while back we even decided to do regular undies (or "undiewears" as Grant calls them) at bedtime instead of pull ups and we've had almost no problems. Just a few accidents and that's all.
  • Can be very picky about his clothes and sometimes tells me what he wants to wear before I can pick them out. He gets himself undressed and can dress himself but sometimes we still need to help him (especially if we're in a hurry).
  • Loves to count things. He really likes his counting books and he'll often ask to count things he sees.
  • Knows his colors. For some reason he wouldn't say red for while but we've been working on that and he'll point out all the colors now.
  • Wearing 3T & 4T depending on where they're from. He's gotten so tall that some pants I bought in the early spring are now too short and all the shorts we bought for this summer are looking a little short too. We've always been able to use most of his shorts for two summers because he's always been so skinny but that will not be the case next summer. He's just gotten so tall!
  • I know I say this every time but he's a big talker. But it's more grown up talking now. We have conversations. He tells us what went on at school. He tells us about his cars or talks to us about movies we've watched. He uses words like "actually" and continues his sentences with "but" and it cracks me up because I can tell he's talking like the people he hears around him. I love listening to him :)
  • Sports lover! Hockey definitely and baseball. But some football too (especially now that he's got his cute little jersey and helmet from his birthday party). 
  • He's not as into watching monster trucks as much, though he still plays with them. He loves Disney movies like Cars, Toy Story, A Bug's Life and a bunch Disney Jr shows. His favorite of those is Jake and the Neverland Pirates but he's also into Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Octonauts, Sofia the First, and Doc McStuffins (those last two much to Husband's dismay but I think it's awesome).
  • Always ready for a story! We have a bookcase in his room just loaded with books and he's always trying to work us for one more story at bedtime. He also likes to "read" them to me after I read to him. It's very cute and I love that he shows such an interest in books. I don't think there is anything better than some quiet time with book and I hope Grant grows up to appreciate that too.
  • Loves his outside play time! We haven't done as much of it this summer as I'd like because it's sooo hot (we do play inside). But with cooler weather on the horizon we'll be getting out more. Grant loves to play tee-ball and ride his trike like a crazy man all over the neighborhood. But he's getting so tall for his trike that I'm thinking Santa might be bringing him a real bike this year!
  • Seems to enjoy our night time routine. He typically has a bath every night but occasionally we skip a night and he'll ask "I'm not gonna have a bath tonight?" Still isn't wild about washing his hair but the rest of bath time is fun. He loves to wash himself and he loves to try to brush his teeth. We're working on brushing and spitting but it's not catching. We still use toothpaste he can swallow...but eventually he's got to learn to spit!
  • SUPERHEROS! At any given moment Grant is Iron man, Batman, Spiderman, Superman, The Hulk, Captain America, or Buzz Lightyear (yeah, I know...Buzz...not such a superhero). We have no idea where this came from except perhaps his friends at school but he loves them and is over the moon anytime he sees one of them or gets to wear a shirt with one of them on it (he even has a gigantic spiderman shirt that is probably his favorite thing to sleep in).
  • RACE CARS too! Race cars on TV, of course (and lets not forget Lightning McQueen!). But he also loves muscle cars and can correctly point out muscle cars - especially, for some reason, Mustangs.
That's my three year old! I know he's still a toddler, but he's just not really. He's a little boy. A little person with a huge personality who's figuring out who he is and always wants to learn. He amazes and entertains me every day and makes my life so full of happy. Happy birthday to the most incredible little boy ever!

Friday, August 23, 2013

High Five for Friday

Today I'm linking up with Lauren to share some of my favorite stuff from he past week.

1) We had Grant's 3rd birthday party! He such a great time and and awesome day! Thank you again to everyone who came to celebrate with us. Grant is, now, very much looking forward to our mini-celebration on Monday (his real birthday) since Gramma & Grandpa are coming over for dinner and he'll get his presents from us that night too :)

Grant's birthday cake
Celebrating in a new football outfit
2) On Monday, I took the stairs in the morning to avoid riding the elevator with a creepy co-worker and discovered a random dinosaur print on one of the landings (our building used to be part of the museum next door). It was a rather humorous start to my Monday.

3) Grant wore his new Superman shirt out to dinner and once again strutted his stuff in his cape. He was especially proud when a man at the table next to us told him he liked his shirt. Grant turned around and said "See? It was a cape."

Pretending to fly before we left the house
4) I got crafty and made myself a necklace out of an old tie I found at Goodwill.

(I'm wearing it today too!)
5) Husband has a Work Husband that he goes out to lunch with every Friday. Well, Work Husband is moving all the way to Texas and Husband is going to miss him a lot. So I made Work Husband a batch of cookies to say good-bye.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Day in the Life of Batman

Grant is obsessed with superheros. This is odd considering he doesn't watch the cartoons or movies or anything. I'm guessing he picked it up at school. His favorites of the moment are Iron man, Spiderman, and Batman. 

I have to admit, Batman was a disappointment for me. In my opinion, he's not really a superhero. He's just a rich guy with fancy gadgets and some time on his hands. Plus I'm not crazy about how dark the movies are (I used to love the old TV series and I actually enjoyed the movies with Michael Keaton as Batman...the other Batman's I just haven't been a fan of). My husband argued with me that Iron man isn't really a superhero either. But he is because of that weird thing in his chest. If it weren't for that then he'd just be a rich guy with fancy crap too.

Having said all that, Grant really likes Batman right now so I bought him this shirt that I found on clearance at Target one day. They had Batman and Superman and they both had capes attached! I bought Batman even though Superman is way cooler (later I went back and got Superman too). 

He thought it was pretty much the best thing ever.
A few weekends ago Grant wore it while we went out running errands. When he realized it had a cape, he went nuts. Running all over the house pretending to "fly like Batman" (Ok, does Batman actually fly?). And everywhere we went that day, he literally strutted because he was so proud of his cape.

Batman got his hair cut.
Batman likes to try on new disguises at craft stores.

Batman likes to ride his "bike" really, really fast...
And then clap for himself when he "wins the race".
Instant Superhero: just add cape
Batman had a really good day wearing his fun shirt. And was very proud of the compliments he got!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Grant's 3rd Birthday Party

On Saturday we had Grant's *gasp!* 3rd birthday party. I can't believe he's three! Well, almost. Next Monday is the real big day but we did his party early this year. We had lots of family and friends over, decorated like crazy and celebrated one special little guy with a Cars themed birthday party. 

Part of the decor. I made the number 3 in the window and
Tow Mater's sign in the background.
I was pretty proud of Mater's sign. The wheels almost didn't happen but
then Husband got them attached for me because "it made it awesome".
Activity area. I had white race cars and markers to decorate
them with, make your own race car sticker scenes, and
candy necklace kits. We only ended up coloring cars but they had fun!
Yummy food!
Grant isn't a big cake eater, so I made his
favorite marshmallows too. I lost track of
how many he ate.
This year, I enlisted Grant's help in figuring out his birthday cake. I knew he wouldn't eat it, but I wanted him to love it all the same. So he and I looked at TONS of cakes online (a task he asked to do often) and he picked one. But Husband says mine turned out better :) (also, if you notice Grant's birthday shirt in the pictures - the cake kinda matches)

When Grant saw it all finished for the first time, he gasped.
Then he asked for his toys back (yes, I stole his toys
for decoration).
I had it held up by traffic cones. Which Husband says
is the scariest thing I've ever done.

The kids didn't have much interest in food. They wanted to play. So we got out the white cars to color (and a towel because the website suggested that I get permanent markers to draw on them with and that wouldn't go well with our carpet) and the kids set to work making their own race cars.

Grant was proud of his "paint job"
So, everyone mingled and ate and Grant eventually noticed just how many presents were piled up for him. So then it was present time. Please forgive me if you went to the party don't see a picture here of him opening your present. There were a lot of presents and a lot of pictures. But he loved everything!

Getting his present opening game face on
For the most part, he was very neat and slow with his opening.
(That one was a guitar)
A football helmet and jersey!
Jake stuff!
He loves books!
Fart goop! He thought this stuff was hysterical!
Such a fun chair!
While I love planning Grant's parties and decorating and all that (Did you hear that? My husband just rolled his eyes.), I'm bad at keeping the flow at parties. And I don't know how long their supposed to last. So immediately after present opening, I got the cake ready and then awkwardly tried to hint that everyone should start singing (honestly, I'm a terrible hostess).

The birthday boy did not indulge in cake. I knew he wouldn't. Plus he'd eaten enough marshmallows to keep him on a sugar high until bedtime.

More random pictures from the day:

Loving his whoopee cushion. Boys love anything that makes fart noises!

My sweet boy :)
He really loves his new football outfit, even if
it doesn't quite fit yet!

Celebrating his catch with "his fans"

A post-party jam session with Gramma on his new guitar
Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us. Grant was so looking forward to his party and he really had the best day! Thank you SO much!

For anyone curious about the marshmallows (which were a big hit), you can find the recipe and instructions HERE.

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