Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Monster Jam 2015

Monster Jam seems to have become a family tradition. We've taken Grant to it every year since 2012. Much like I said last year, monster trucks no longer top the list of Grant's favorites...but he does still love them. We don't watch them on TV like we used to but he still plays with all his monster truck toys (and continues to collect them) and he still knows their names and what-not. And as he gets older, it's even more fun to take him to the events and watch his reactions.

This year's show was on Valentine's Day. I know, I know. Nothing says romance like being dangerously close to over-sized trucks and shouting at each other in an arena so you can be heard through your ear-plugs, right? We've never been a Valentine's Day couple, so Monster Jam really was much more exciting than what we would have done (called for pizza and watched TV). I had been out of town at a conference for work so we had to go to the evening show instead of the afternoon. Grant was napping when I got home so I got to wake him up. He jumped up, said "Mama! You're home!", and then "Are we still going to Monster Jam?" Priorities.

Excited and waiting not so patiently!
This year they had 10 trucks there instead of 6, most of which Grant had never seen in person so that was exciting. Plus, we had really great seats.
Carolina Crusher, Grave Digger, and Gun Slinger
Monster Mutt Rottweiler (my favorite) and Extermigator behind him
Scooby Doo!
El Diablo (Grant's new obsession)
Ice Cream Man!
There were also ones called Full Boar and El Toro Loco that I only got crappy pictures of because I only had my phone.

Grant kept calling the El Diablo truck the Zombie truck. We've seen the Zombie truck on TV (google it, it has big floppy arms that wave all over when he jumps and it's hysterical!) and he loved it. We explained that this was a different truck. He didn't care, he loved it. And I think he was cheering for El Diablo more than his favorite, Grave Digger. At one point he said "I love that truck! He looks like this!"
We were cracking up!
So first they do the wheelie competition, then "racing", then donuts, and finally freestyle. In between all that they do 4-wheeler races and they had "The Human Bomb" who blows himself up along with Mr. Bomb's wife, "Cannon Lady" who shoots herself out of a cannon. 

Have you ever seen a giant ice cream truck do a wheelie?
El Toro Loco
Monster Mutt Rottweiler
El Diablo
Uh oh!
Guess what? He won.
Grave Digger.
I think it was after wheelies that they did The Human Bomb (maybe, I was very tired). This man gets inside a box with - supposedly - the equivalent of 5 sticks of dynamite. Also with very little protection. However it happens, he comes it out of it perfectly fine. But it does make a very, VERY big boom. We're always armed with ear protection and we told Grant right before it happened that it was going to be very loud. He said OK and held our hands. When it was over he said "I did NOT like that. I don't want that to happen again."

So then, racing. Which isn't much of a race and I didn't get good pictures.

First one over the hump and across the line wins.
Having fun!
After the racing there was an intermission so we walked around some and got a snack before heading back in. Once back at our seats...there was a cannon set up right in front of us. When Grant finally asked why it was there and found out that a person was going to be shot out of it, he started crying. And didn't stop until it was over. It happened pretty quick, so that was good.

And then there were donuts.

Some were really neat to watch...others, I wasn't actually aware they were doing donuts. I'm so critical, huh?

And then freestyle, which I really didn't get any good pictures of except El Diablo who really got going and was losing parts off his truck left and right. Grant kept yelling "He lost his tongue!" It was the El Diablo truck that won that competition. They always give out their trophies to someone in the crowd. The driver came over really close to us, I thought Grant might get it!
I guess he wasn't as enthusiastic as the other kids.
But he didn't. Oh well. Grant was so excited about everything going on that it barely registered with him that the driver was right there in front of him. After that, it was time to go. 
He had a good time :)
We thought he'd conk out on the way home given how late it was. WRONG. He talked about the show the whole way home. I'm glad he had so much fun!

Friday, February 20, 2015

High Five for Friday

Hi there! Today I'm linking up Jennie to share some of my favorite stuff from the past week.

1) Friday was Grant's Valentine's Day party at school. He's been so excited about this! I was out of town for work Thurs-Sat but I couldn't wait to get him on the phone as soon as I could so I could hear all about his party. It sounds like he had a really good time!
Most of Grant's Valentine's (all but the ones for his teachers) had his name
on them already but he wrote all his classmates names on the envelopes.
And *braggy mom moment* he could read most of them off the
list. I was pretty impressed by this!
He really loved the Valentines he gave out!
These are the crayon hearts Grant gave to his classmates
(Also Tiny Prints - where the Valentines came from - put my craft on Twitter!) 
And these are the cupcakes I made for his party. I made kind of
a lot but I hear people got to bring some home so that's good!
2) Every year my co-worker, Janis, and I are out of town for Valentine's Day at the Cattlemen's Conference. We joke about spending that day together every year. This year was our last one together since Janis is retiring!
Me & Janis
As a side note: this was LUNCH :)
3) We actually only spent half of Valentine's Day together since the conference was over that day. I came home to some gorgeous flowers...and then we took Grant to Monster Jam! How's that for romance? Grant had a blast, it really was a great way to spend the evening!
My pretty roses
So excited for the show to start!
Imitating the El Diablo truck. We cracked up over this! He'd never seen
this one before and I think it was his favorite that night
(maybe more so than Grave Digger).
Gotta love the crashes!
4) We had a couple "snow days" this week. More like ice days. Daycare closed Tuesday & Wednesday so Grant & I had some fun. Back in November I bought a sled just to be prepared and I thought I had jinxed us! But even though there was no real snow, the yard was still slick enough that we could use the sled. Grant had so much fun! Day 2 wasn't as sled friendly so we did stuff around the house like some workbook stuff and learning games.
Snow day smiles!
My little half-Yankee loves the cold weather like his Mama :)
Wednesday evening we had some exciting snow flurries but they didn't last long.
5) I like to meal plan for the week and I'm always so excited when I stick to it. This week I was glad I did it early because I really don't enjoy the craziness of the grocery store when winter weather is coming. And tonight I shall be rewarded by not cooking! 
This very cheesy baked ziti was a hit the other night!
Happy Friday everyone!
Have a great weekend!
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Friday, February 6, 2015

Heart Shaped Crayon Valentines

I am so excited about this project! I have been wanting to try the "recycled" crayon thing for a while and with Valentine's Day quickly approaching, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. So I've got a little how-to here on how you can make them too.

What you need:

  • Crayons (I bought a box of 250 crayons HERE)
  • Mini heart-shaped silicone mold (I purchased mine from a craft store, the one with 12 wells)
  • Double-sided tape
  • Cardstock (or something to adhere your finished crayons to)
  • Baggies
  • Twine (or anything else that you can use to close up the bag)
So first things first: gather your crayons. We don't have oodles of broken crayons lying around that I could "recycle" so I decided to go straight for the bulk crayons. I thought it would be 8 colors but it ended up being a lot more color variety than that. I was nervous about that at first but I think the end result looks great.

I was like a kid when I got home from work and this box was on my porch. I started peeling them as soon as we were done with dinner. It's not really something to spontaneously start on a Thursday evening so I didn't get too awfully far with it. I ended up having to put it aside until Saturday.
Grant actually asked to help me peel the crayons!

I love the concentration on that face :)

At some point during our peeling endeavors, my husband suggested using a sharp blade to slice the paper. "Wouldn't that be easier?" he asked me. I'll admit that when peeling the paper it came off the crayons much easier than I expected but when Grant abandoned me in favor of crashing his toy cars...I decided to try Husband's idea. 

Pretty genius, right? I was peeling those crayons at record speed!

After you undress all your crayons, then you chop them. I used a paper plate so I didn't ruin a cutting board. I tried to keep the pieces relatively small to really fill up the mold. 

I also got a big blister from chopping 250 crayons (beware!).

So after your crayons are all chopped up, it's time to fill your mold. Make sure you put the mold on a baking sheet of some sort for stability! Otherwise you'll end up with non-toxic smelly crayon wax in the bottom of your's possible I'm speaking from experience.

I filled my mold pretty full. I wanted good sized crayons.

Then you bake them at 230 degrees for 15 minutes.

Fresh out of the oven! It's probably the smelliest thing that's ever come out of my oven.
Once the baking sheet had cooled down some, I popped the whole thing in the fridge to make it cool down faster. Once the crayons are completely cooled, press up on the bottom of each well and gently peel the crayon out of the mold. (FYI: I got 44 heart crayons out of the 250 that I chopped.)

So colorful and fun!

My favorites are the ones with the speckles from the tiny bits of chopped crayons

Your next step is adhering them to the backing of your choice. I made up this nifty background which you can download for your personal use below.

You can leave the corners square if you don't feel like trimming 
them with scissors. I think they look cute either way.

My crayons had a little "lip" around the edges after they hardened so I used the same blade that I sliced the paper with to trim the back of the crayon.

Then I used the double sided tape to stick the crayon to the card.

I had some cellophane treat bags leftover from various baking projects, so that was my baggie of choice but you can use whatever want. I also had some twine here so I used that to close up my baggie instead of the twist ties they came with. 

Is it wrong to admit that Grant is a big fan of candy? I promise he doesn't eat it all the time. But since he is and Valentine's Day makes me think candy, we added a sweet treat tied up in the twine to finish up.

And there is your adorable DIY Valentine!

They really do color too! I let Grant experiment with a couple extra.

You could do your To & From on the back of the little cards. 

For us, we're attaching these adorable personalized Valentines from Tiny Prints! Grant had so much fun looking through the Valentines but was even more excited when they came in the mail!

If you decide to make these and you'd like to use the background I made (for your own personal use), you can download it HERE. And if you decide to make the crayons, I'd love to hear about it!

Grant can't wait to give out Valentine's at school! He keeps asking how many more days. This project was a little time consuming but not difficult. I love that I was able to involve Grant for some of it, since was asking to help and it makes me so happy see him excited to give them to his friends.

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!
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