Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Strong National Museum of Play

Today The Strong National Museum of Play held a Toddler Halloween Party from 10am-2pm. It was a zoo...but kudos to the staff, because it was an organized zoo. The kiddos (and a few parents and grandparents too) came in costume and the museum had fun, age appropriate games throughout the building and trick or treating for stickers, crayons and such along the "yellow brick road". Upon departure, we were also given a goodie bag containing animal crackers, Goldfish crackers, Twizzlers and stickers.

This was a wonderful event and if you missed it this year, I HIGHLY recommend you check it out next year. All the activities were included in the price of admission, which is currently children ages 2 and over $11 (under age 2 are free), adults $13, and seniors $12. The museum is open Monday-Thursday 10am to 5 pm, Friday & Saturday 10am to 8pm, and Sunday noon to 5 pm.

For information on upcoming events at The Strong, click HERE. Or, for information on membership, click HERE.

As we meandered through the museum and visited all the different exhibits, I couldn't help but think about Logan's future. In the Elmo exhibit, I thought, maybe he'll become a great concert pianist...

At the Sesame Street exhibit, I thought, OK, definitely a career in music...

But then, while I was dreaming at the Oceanographer?

Perhaps, a great city planner...

A race car driver? Oh, please Lord no... much to dangerous!

A great businessman...

And, if all else fails, I guess there is always room for more food trucks in NYC.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Tricks & Treats

While Hurricane Sandy was wreaking havoc on the east coast yesterday, Logan and I stayed holed up at home. Lots of wind and rain, but no power loss here in Fairport.

Since we were housebound for the day, I had plenty of time to tackle a few things for a Halloween party we attended today.

First up...Pumpkin Rice Krispies Treats!

These were super easy to make and a hit at the party today... Melt 6 tablespoons of butter under medium heat in a large pot on the stove. Add a 10 ounce bag of marshmallows and a splash of vanilla extract. Once everything has melted down, mix in a few drops of red and yellow food coloring to achieve that great pumpkin orange. Add 6 cups of Rice Krispies cereal, mix well and remove from heat. With your hands, roll the mixture into pumpkin shaped treats. The mixture should make about 12 pumpkins. Slice up a tootsie roll for the stem, use black icing to create the face and your done! Cute, easy and YUMMY : )

Next, a Halloween "costume" for mommy. Found this great template and tutorial to create a cool "bone" t-shirt on Martha Stewart's web site HERE. I thought it turned out pretty neat...

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Carving Time

Last night Logan had his first pumpkin carving experience! He was excited, but not sure what to expect. I can only imagine what he was thinking in this photo..."What's in there?"...

Then, ..."OK, I'm going in!"...

 The end result (with a little help from dad)...

It really got me thinking of Lauren's first jack-o-lantern. On the kitchen floor with dad. She was 19 months in this photo. She loved Halloween like Andy and I do, and like I hope her little brother will. She was a puppy that Halloween. It's the same costume that Logan will be wearing Wednesday night. Happy Halloween sweet angel.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Schutt's Apple Mill- Webster, NY

Every year the weekend before Halloween, we make our annual pilgrimage to Schutt's Apple Mill in Webster. Schutt's has been family owned and operated since 1918.

They are famous for their fried cakes, fresh apple cider and of course...APPLES!!! Schutt's grows about seventy acres of apple trees with forty varieties.

Their cider is poured fresh and available in half or full gallon jugs. It's 100% preservative free and made from 100% natural apples.


Upon arrival, you're greeted by Webster the rabbit. Logan loved Webster...he didn't want to leave...him? ...her?


I love browsing their country store too. You can find fresh apples, baked goods, cider, New York State cheeses (Andy and I are big fans of the Rat Trap Sharp Cheddar), home made preserves, spices, and all sorts of gift and decorative items. Although Andy, being the typical male he is, has absolutely no patience for browsing.

Kids can watch bees make honey and get a free apple.

If you go...Located at 1063 Plank Road in Webster, Schutt's Apple mill is open year round, seven days a week, 9am-6pm.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Playground Hop: Center Park, Perinton

What a beautiful day to visit a park. So, that's what we did! Center Park is located in Perinton behind the Perinton Town Hall and Community Center.

Center Park features two play structures, one for preschool age children and one geared more toward school age children. My only complaint is that there aren't any swings. But, there are a few shaded benches where you can take a load off and watch the kiddos play.

There are several soccer fields (wish we would had remembered our soccer ball!) and trails and a small pond where we watched a few ducks frolic today. Amenities also include restrooms and a picnic pavilion with tables if you want to brown bag it.

The park also features an amphitheater, "Center Stage at Center Park", which hosts free concerts throughout the summer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fairport Celebrates National Red Ribbon Week: October 21st-27th

As I was driving down through Fairport Village this morning, I noticed red ribbons tied around all the trees leading in and out of the village. It looked so pretty against the fall foliage. What are these red ribbons for?

The red ribbon symbolizes the pride and commitment in Fairport to provide our children with healthy choices for a drug-free lifestyle. During the week, Fairport schools will be holding a variety of activities to promote drug awareness.

The National Family Partnership (NFP) organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Celebration in 1988 in response to the murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena. Parents and children in communities across the country began wearing red ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the destruction caused by drugs in America. Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a symbol to communities to educate their kids and encourage participation in drug prevention activities. The NFP continues to deliver this message of hope annually to millions of people through the National Red Ribbon Campaign.

For more information on The National Family Partnership, click HERE.

For more information on Fairport Celebrates Red Ribbon Week, click HERE.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Library Romp: Penfield Public Library

Today we decided to visit the library. Well, I had a book on hold and needed to pick it up. I was thrilled when I finally got a notification email that it was available...I was number 40-something in the hold queue when I reserved it two months ago.

Anyways...because I grew up in Penfield, I'll always consider it my "home library". Really, it's not too much further driving there than to the Fairport library for me. If you've never been, it's a pretty nice library. The kids room is HUGE and has a very good selection of kids DVDs and books for all ages.

They also have an area within the children's room with a kid-size sofa and table with puzzles, stuffed animals and puppets.


But...Logan's favorite part of this library is the fish tank when you walk into the children's room.

Penfield Public Library is located at 1985 Baird Road in Penfield and is open Monday-Thursday 10am-9pm, Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 2pm-5pm.

Some notable upcoming programs... 

Martha the Dog 
Saturday, November 17th 
Ages 3-9 years
Come meet Martha, listen to a story, have fun with crafts, enjoy a snack and play a game or two. Martha will be in the children’s room to greet you between 10:50am-Noon and 1:20-2:30 pm. Children under age 3 are welcome to come meet Martha, but will be unable to attend the program. Registration begins Friday, November 2nd for Penfield town or school district residents and Thursday, November 8th for all others.

Children of all ages are welcome to come meet Martha on Friday, November 16th from 3:45-4:45pm. Child must be accompanied by an adult. No registration is required. Martha will make a special visit to the children’s room, ready for hugs and photos. 

Bedtime Storytime Stuffed Animal Sleepover
Wednesday, December 12th
Ages 3-7 years
Children bring a favorite stuffed animal to hear stories and songs about toys and then tuck them in for a sleepover at the library! The next day, Thursday, December 13th between 2 and 9pm, children come back to pick up their animals and a souvenir of their animal’s experience! (Make sure to bring an animal your child can part with for the night.) Registration begins Wednesday, November 28th for Penfield town  and school district residents and Wednesday, December 5th for all others.

New Years Eve Preschool Dance PartyMonday, December 31st10:30-11:30amAges 2-5 yearsGet your feet moving and rock in the New Year! Join us for this special dance party featuring music, dancing, instruments, bubble and more. Registration begins Monday, December 10th for Penfield town and school district residents and Monday, December 17th for all others.

You can register for any of these events on-line by clicking HERE.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Coupon Madness

Mondays are grocery shopping day here at the Olander household. Mondays always seem to be a quiet day for us. After the madness of the weekend has subsided and before the week gets into full swing...I dunno, it just seems to fit. On Sunday I cruise the store flyers and my favorite couponing web sites, and then plan my battle strategy, er, my shopping trip. AND ...for those of you who know me... you know that I despise buying anything without a coupon to go along with it.

I love Wegmans for my fresh produce and meats, but buy most of my pantry stuffers at Tops. Last week Tops had a great "Meal Deal" where if you bought a frozen Turkey breast for $14.99, you got for FREE a box of stuffing, a box of cake mix, 2 liter bottle of soda, a bag of frozen veggies, Country Crock mashed potatoes, and a disposable roasting pan. I love it when they have those deals! I will be the first to say that Tops is expensive for everyday grocery shopping and I would NEVER buy any health and beauty products there. But if you hit a sale just right with a coupon match-up, you can save a boat load.

Here is what I bought today...

Total out-of-pocket spent: $65.35 ...I saved $67.98 using my Tops Bonus Card and coupons (Tops doubles manufacturer coupons up to $.99). Not my BEST trip, but not to shabby either. Here's a breakdown...

8 Betty Crocker Boxed Muffin Mixes- 2/$4
Used 4 $1/2 coupons from the 9/9/12 and 10/7/12 Sunday newspaper coupon inserts

2 Betty Crocker Cookie Mix Pouches- 2/$4
Used 2 .60/1 printable internet coupons found HERE (you should be able to print it twice)

6 Bounty Single Roll Paper Towels- $1 each
Used 3 $1/2 coupons from the 9/30/12 and 10/14/12 Sunday newspaper coupon inserts

2 McCormick Recipe Inspirations- $1 each
Used $1.75/2 from the 10/7/12 Sunday newspaper coupon inserts

2 Bryers Blasts Ice Cream- 3/$10
Used 2 $.75/1 printable internet coupon found HERE (you should be able to print it twice)

2 Mrs. Smith Frozen Dutch Apple Pies-2/$7
Used 2 $1.50/1 from the 9/30/12 Sunday newspaper coupon inserts

4 Barber Frozen Stuffed Chicken Breasts- BOGO Free ($5.49/each regular price)
Used 2 $1/2 printable internet coupon found HERE (you should be able to print it twice)

Tops is running a promotion this week where if you buy 10 of the following items, you'll save $2 instantly, so I got...
3 Cans of Tops Dark Red Kidney Beans- $1 each
2 Cans of Tops Butter Beans- $1 each
1 Can of Tops Chicken Broth- $1
4 Tops Onion Soup Mix- $1 each

The rest were not sale items, but stuff I needed...except for the bakery muffins, Logan needed those : )

1 Loaf of Tops White Sandwich Bread- $1.29

2 64 oz. Bottles of Tops Apple Juice- $2/each

1 Tops Raisins Snack Boxes- $1.79

Bananas- $1.13

Seedless Grapes- $6.47

4 Pack of Fresh Tops Bakery Blueberry Muffins- $4

Tops 1 Gallon Orange Juice- $4.69

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Trunk or Treat Halloween Fun

This evening Logan and I attended Trunk or Treat at our church, Risen Christ. For those of you not familiar with what Trunk or Treat is, basically it's tailgating Halloween style with decorated trunks, trick or treating car to car, and a few kiddie games and crafts thrown into the mix.

Now, when we left for the event late this afternoon around 4:30pm, it was sunny and about 57 degrees. Perfect Trunk or Treat weather! But, that quickly changed. By 6pm the skies were darkening and the wind was picking up, then at about 6:30pm a total downpour. BUMMER. But, we did manage to get in a craft, a group photo of the kids following a short parade of them in their costumes around the parking lot, and then a little trunk or treating.

So the event ended abruptly with everyone scrambling to pack things up and head out...all the while while my friend Jenny was hanging out her car window yelling "Save yourself!". LOL

Here we are lining up for the kiddie costume parade...Logan the puppy dog, and mommy the mail order bride...and yes, that is my wedding dress.

On a funny note...before we got to the church, we stopped at J&L's Pizza (my favorite by the way) to pick up some dinner. When I was getting dressed earlier I couldn't reach to pull the zipper on my dress up all the way and figured I'd just get one of the ladies at the event to do it. It was so bothering me that I was going to arrive "incomplete", that I got some poor, old, unsuspecting patron waiting for his pizza to finish zipping it up for me.

Logan enjoying one of the decorating. Like his dog collar? I got some pretty weird looks at Walmart trying to pick out a dog collar for my toddler. It's a wonder Child Protective Services wasn't waiting for me outside the store. But, we were at the Walmart on 31 in Wayne County...they must see that sort of thing all the time, right?

Group shot of the kiddos. Aren't they all adorable. Naturally, I think mine is the cutest. But, my vote for best kiddie costume goes to the little witch with the cool false eyelashes. I'm sure a future diva in the making.

My vote for best decorated trunk. There were flashing lights strung around the spider and you had to reach into the spider's "nest" to get your treat.

The night also ended with this giant gourd tossed at me. Apparently one of the organizers made an executive decision in all the rain chaos that I won for best adult costume. Cool! My major award : )

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Heart Halloween Decorating

To say I love decorating for Halloween is a HUGE understatement. I think I love decorating for Halloween just as much as I do decorating for Christmas. So now that Logan's birthday party decorations are cleaned up and tucked away, it was time to break me out some Halloween!

Now, my front porch decorating was already done in early September for Fall...

So for Halloween I added ghosts surrounding the crab apple tree in my front yard. I had been saving old white sheets all year with the intention of doing this. I bought some clear buckets at the dollar store, removed the handles, punched a hole in the bottom of the buckets, cut a small hole in the middle of the sheets, fed some twine through the holes, and hung them from the tree using the twine.

Next, it was time to move inside. First, the dining room. I bought some "cob webs" at Rite Aid for $1 and stretched them around the chandelier. Then added some cool little metal spiders hung on chains. These were bought at Pottery Barn years ago, as was the table runner.

Then came the foyer. More "cob webs" and cool little metal spiders on the mirror. The garland of fall leaves were part of my early September Fall decorating. I spray painted some small twigs with a black glossy spray paint and put them in my crystal vase. The black crows I picked up at Dollar Tree for $1/each along with the "creepy cloth" I'm using as a table swag. The mummy and Frankenstein candles are from my existing Halloween collection, bought at Restoration Hardware.

I picked up two sheets of black card stock at Dollar Tree for $.69/each and used a Martha Stewart template you can find HERE to cut them out and then hung them with fishing wire from the foyer chandelier.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Super Easy Apple Cobbler

I'm not much of a cook so when I say something is super easy, I mean it is SUPER EASY! I made this for playgroup the other day and it went over you can see from the photo, there wasn't much left to photograph!
Super Easy Apple Cobbler
6 small, fresh apples (not filling)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
Yellow cake mix (dry)
2 sticks butter 

Layer in 13x9 pan peeled, wedged apples, sprinkle with cinnamon, sugars and cake mix evenly. Top with pats of butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown and slightly bubbly.
This is the perfect recipe for all those apples you just picked : ) 
My favorite apple wedger is made by Pampered Chef. It slices apples into 10 perfect wedges while cutting out the core all at the same time. It retails for $13.99.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ontario Mall Antiques

Last week I made a pilgrimage to Ontario Mall Antiques. Saying I love this place is a HUGE understatement. It's located on Route 332 between Farmington and Canandaigua and is the largest antique mall in New York State.

Although I prefer to go solo, I packed up Logan and brought him along because that was the only was I was gonna make it there. When I walked in the door, I made a b-line for the ever faithful bowl of animal crackers they keep stocked on their coffee bar. This keeps Logan happy in his stroller for about the time it takes me to browse half the store...then it's time to pay for my treasures and evacuate him.

When I say they have EVERYTHING there, I mean, they have EVERYTHING there! Antique toys, jewelery, furniture, glassware, china, kitchen items, etc, etc....knick knacks galore.

On this trip I picked up an old Revere tea pot and antique egg basket...

I am using the tea pot as a pot for simmering potpourri on my stove. It is decorative and makes my home smell AMAZING at the same time! Here is my recipe for simmering potpourri:

Simmering Potpourri
Fill a saucepan (or an antique tea pot looks prettier) with 3 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Add a couple tablespoons of all spice, a few cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon of whole cloves, a teaspoon of ground nutmeg, boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer. If simmering for a long period of time, don't forget to top off with water occasionally, you don’t want the pot burning dry.

The egg basket I decided to use in my powder room to store toilet paper. Thank you Pinterest for the inspiration!

Ontario Mall Antiques is open daily from 10am-6pm. There next major sale is Veterans Day weekend, November 10th, 11th and 12th. 24% off every item over $10, 5% off items $10 or less, and 52% off all red lined items. The perfect time to go and score some great bargains! Happy Shopping : )

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