Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter 2013

Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates today! The Easter Bunny came to our house, and he kind of outdid himself this year.

Oliver's basket: a pinwheel, bunny ears (recycled from last year's basket), a carrot bubble necklace (recycled from last year's basket), an egg timer, a rubber ducky, a squirt gun dolphin, a Jacob's ladder, strawberries, and some Reese's eggs.

Joanna's basket: a pinwheel, bunny ears (recycled from last year's basket), and Ernie doll (I found it for $5 at Once Upon a Child!), hair bands, a chirping chick (which she doesn't like, so Oliver plays with it), strawberries, and underwear for potty training in a few months.

The Bunny left a trail of M&Ms from the kids' bedroom down to the Easter basket. I don't think it was a big success. Oliver skipped over them as soon as he saw the baskets anyway.

Joanna cracked the eggs.

At first, Joanna was upset at the Ernie doll that sang. She cried when it played. I was surprised because Jo loves Ernie.

 They're scoping out the baskets! Jo went back again and again to dig through their baskets. 

Later, Jo decided she loved the Ernie doll after all!
Once it warmed up a bit outside, we went out back for an egg hunt! I put mini Oreos in each egg. I actually showed the eggs to Oliver before the hunt so he'd understand.

Oliver was pretty good at finding the eggs!

Jo needed help from Dad.

 Here's Oliver, enjoying his loot with a glass of milk and an Easter egg.

Oliver helped Grandma Judy make a lamb cake yesterday, and we brought it with us to Paul's cousin's house for Easter.

Here's Joanna in her Easter dress! She's wearing a hair bow from Grandma Colleen and Grandpa Paul, and her leg is blue from egg dye.

Later, we went over to my mom and dad's house. My Grandma Jo's cousin, Kevin, was in town, so we visited with him and Heather and her son, who is just a few years older than Oliver.

Heather set up an egg and candy hunt for the kids. Oliver kind of got it! He needed a little help from loved ones to find even the easy ones, but it was a good time. Jackson had a blast, and Jo was happy to crinkle the package of the candy she found.

I brought along the confetti eggs I'd made. I put them in painted egg cartons (Pinterest idea).


Oliver and his cousin broke all the confetti eggs in about two minutes. Jackson smashed some together, and they broke open in an explosion of confetti. Oliver cracked his against the deck. It was a royal mess, but definitely fun.

I love holidays! We're totally wiped out from all the festivities, not to mention the sun. It was nearly 70 degrees and sunny. The forecast tomorrow evening? Snow!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Toddler Dyes Easter Eggs, 2.0

Here are the kiddos dyeing Easter eggs at Grandma Judy & Grandpa Larry's house. It brings me back to Oliver's first time dyeing eggs when he was 17 months old (Jo is now 16 months). They're so cute!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Volcano Easter Eggs!

We took the kids over to my in-law's house today to dye some Easter eggs. Colleen asked me if I'd seen the pin she'd found on Pinterest (I hadn't). It was for volcano Easter eggs, and she wanted to give it a try. You can find the pin right here, and it will direct you to a fun blog called "Toddler Approved." Check it out!

The basic idea behind the activity is this: You paint your Easter eggs using a baking soda and food coloring mixture. Then, you drizzle the egg with vinegar. It foams and dyes the egg!

It reminds me a lot of the vinegar and baking soda color explosion activity we've done (many times now) in the past. This one doesn't have quite as sensational of an explosion, but it's absolutely a new and fun way to dye those eggs!

To make the paint, I eyeballed about a Tablespoon of baking soda. I added 6 drops of food coloring, and then I added just splash of water. That was enough to thin it out enough to paint.

Here are the kids painting their eggs with Grandma Colleen:

Once your egg is painted, set it in a bowl or other container (something you don't love dearly, in case it stains) and drizzle some vinegar on it. It foams! Oliver was in awe and said, "Wow, Grammi, wow!"

Here's a video of our kids making volcano Easter eggs:

Monday, March 25, 2013

100 (Attempted) Ways to Entertain a Young Toddler, Day 91: Pushing Pom-Poms

Today's activity comes from the Fun & Engaging Activities for Toddlers blog. She found it from another blog, so it's been passed down a few times. I decided I would try it and see what the kids thought.

What you need to make this toy:

* An empty & clean plastic container. She used a margarine container, and I used a yogurt container.
* A knife
* Scissors
* Permanent marker (various colors are optional)
* pompoms (available at your local craft store)

After cleaning and drying my yogurt container, I used a sharp knife to carefully poke holes into the lid. I worried the edges were sharp, so I used scissors to round out the holes as best I could. The holes were almost impossible to see on the clear lid I used, so I used a Sharpie to outline the holes. If your kid is older, you might outline holes with different colors. Your child can then put the yellow pompoms into the yellow hole, the green pompoms into the green hole, etc.

Once your toy is made, just give your kid pompoms and let them poke them into the lid!

Joanna loved this activity! She picked it up right away and enjoyed poking pompoms into the lid over and over. I think her excitement was contagious because Oliver wanted to play, too. We only had four pompoms (I can't find where I put the rest of them), so Oliver would take the lid off the container, dump it out, and separate the pompoms so they each got two. He put the lid back on, and then they'd push their pompoms through again.

I wasn't expecting this toy and game to be as fun as it was. They loved it and played for about 20 minutes.

We've played a different version of this game in the past. I keep an empty travel wipes container, and Jo enjoys dropping letters into it (like a mailbox). Pushing pompoms into the holes was a bigger hit.

Pros: Easy to make, simple, cheap, fun, keeps kids busy
Cons: Need supplies, possibly sharp

This took all of 5 minutes for me to make. The container is its own storage, so it's easy to tuck away for a rainy day. It kept both my kids (3 years, 4 months old and 16 months old) happily occupied. I'm thrilled! This is something I plan on keeping and pulling out whenever we can't leave the house for illness or weather. It gets an A.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bunny Breakfast and the Bunny Train

We drove through a blizzard to eat pancakes with the Easter Bunny.

That's the short version of this story.

I searched online to try to find an egg hunt to take the kids to. Most are this upcoming Saturday, the day before Easter. We have a birthday party to attend that conflicts with those egg hunts. I finally found one up in Arvada, a town about 10 miles north of us. It wasn't just an egg hunt, either. For $5/person, they have a "Bunny Breakfast," games, pictures with the Easter Bunny (which you take yourself), and a ride on the Bunny Express train. After that, they host an egg hunt at a nearby park. Andrew's great-aunt and -uncle live in Arvada, so we invited Andrew's parents and them to join us.

Well, last night, it started to snow. This morning, we woke up to about 10" of snow on the ground. And it was still coming down! Oliver was so excited to ride on the "bunny train," so we made what was probably a stupid choice and decided to still go. Everyone else cancelled due to weather. We bundled the kids up. Jo wore my favorite cold weather dress of hers instead of the cute, summery dress I'd planned on her wearing for Easter. Oliver wore his nice sweater from Uncle Andy and Aunt Erin. I'd already had it in a box to put up in the attic until next winter, but I dug it out. We put extra snacks and blankets in the car (just in case) and set out to the Bunny Breakfast.

We went to the wrong place! The address that printed on our ticket was the main rec center in Arvada. As it turns out, that's just the place that billed us. So, after driving 40 minutes in a snow storm, we were redirected a few blocks east at the Community Recreation Center. The kids were mad about getting into the car, which put them in a bit of a foul mood for Bunny Breakfast. But, finally, finally, we made it to the Bunny Breakfast.

For $5 a person, I was amazed at what all was included! It might not have been worth risking life and limb, but it was worth $5! We each got a plate of scrambled eggs and pancakes. There was sausage available, too. The kids had orange juice, and Andrew and I had coffee.

Jo and Oliver both loved the pancakes.

Each kid was given a little treat bag. They'd go around to a bunch of tables to play cute little games, like bunny ring toss and bowling. They were given a little prize from each game. Oliver wasn't interested in the games until he realized he got candy from participating.

Here is frog jump, where kids were supposed to get the plastic frogs to jump into the "pond."

Here are the kids bowling. Oliver rolled the first ball and knocked down most of the pins. When his second ball missed, he ran down the "lane" and knocked the last two over.

Joanna didn't want to give up her bowling ball.

Joanna also didn't want to give up her basketball at the basketball game. When we left the games, she kept repeating, "Ball. Ball. Ball. Ball. Ball? Ball."

His favorite part of the event was the Bunny Express train. Another woman there told me it's usually outside. Because of the weather, they set it up indoors this year. The train engineer pulled kids in the train through hallways. It was hilarious. Because there were so many kids and the train only held 4 kids at a time, each ride was just a single loop. The first two times Oliver rode the train, he cried when it stopped. The kid loves trains. Seriously, you can take Oliver on a tropical vacation to the beach, and his favorite part is the train ride at the airport.

Once he realized he could watch the other kids go by and then get back in line again, he stopped crying when the train stopped. He also stopped freaking out at the hand stamp the kids got when they boarded the train.

Before too long, a woman stepped up on a little stage and made two announcements. First, she said the egg hunt would have to be cancelled. I don't think anyone was surprised. Then, she let us know the Easter Bunny was coming! She asked everyone to sing "Here Comes Peter Cottontail." Imagine my surprise when Oliver didn't have a meltdown over the whole room erupting in song!

Here's Happy Jo waiting in line for the Easter Bunny!

I wasn't sure how the Easter Bunny would go over. To agree to sit on Santa's lap, Oliver had to visit Santa a handful of times first. The Easter Bunny was different. Oliver wanted to see him. We stood in line, and Oliver let the Easter Bunny pick him up and set him on the Bunny's lap. Jo was not so brave.

When we'd eaten, played games, visited the bunny, and ridden the train a handful of times, we decided to head back out into the snowy world. The Easter Bunny also left at that time, and Oliver cried and cried because he wanted to say goodbye to the Easter Bunny.

So, Bunny Breakfast included a lot of tears for us. I wouldn't say it was perfect, but, as a whole, I was really pleased with the event. It probably wasn't worth a drive in blizzard conditions, but it was absolutely worth $5!

Most of the kids at the event ranged in age from about 2-6, as you might expect. Kids under 2 were free, but they still had to be registered because they count as a person toward their maximum capacity. There were a few babies and a few very young toddlers like Jo. They couldn't do much in the way of activities, but they looked very cute in their Easter outfits. There were a few older kids there, too, who might have been about 8 or 9 or so. Many of the games seemed better for the older kids, like the very miniature putt-putt golf. The people who hosted the games were good with the little kids, though. One man let our kids set the rings on the bunny for ring toss. One young man who ran the basketball game let our kids walk up and "dunk" the balls in instead of throwing them. All the kids were obviously having fun. It was a good community event, and we left feeling happy. It's definitely something we'd make an effort to go to again!