Monday, April 29, 2013

Angry Birds

One of my piano students recently tried out for his elementary school talent show. His mom mentioned it would be coming up and thought it would be nice for me to find him a new, special song to play for the talent show. I though for a good long while about his song choice. I wanted it to be something "cool" that the other kids at school would really appreciate. And then it hit me: the Angry Birds theme song!

 This boy LOVES angry birds. And so does every other kid. And many adults. I'm not sure why... Anyway, I found free sheet music for an arrangement of Angry Birds for piano (link here), but this was a little advanced for my student. So I just arranged a easier version for him! (No big deal...) It actually wasn't too difficult to do. I mostly used the music I had already found, but I changed the key, simplified even more and shortened the song. Ok, so I changed a lot of it. Here it is:

And here's a link to the actual sheet music. (I was actually hoping to have a picture of the sheet music displayed above but I can't figure out how to do that exactly. It is pretty cool that you can hear and "see" the music though.)

I found this cool website called Noteflight that allows you to compose your own music online and print it. The music editor is a little tedious, but this is the first program like this that I've ever used so I don't know how it compares to others. And it's free (up to 10 compositions) so I figured I'd give it a try.

I'm pretty proud of this song, probably because it's the first arrangement of anything I've ever done. Oh, and my student passed auditions and will be in his talent show! I'm not sure how competitive this talent show audition was, but I am very proud of all his hard work in practicing.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

18 months

Connor is 18 months old!
I'm amazed at how quickly this little boy has grown, from a newborn baby:
to a one year old:
to a big 18 month old boy
who had to be bribed with candy to take these pictures.
Connor will eat anything. While he has a big sweet tooth and loves cookies and candy (which are both words he can say very well), he will also eat healthier food. Most mornings, he will eat a bowl of plain oatmeal for breakfast with fruit on it. He also loves yogurt and granola. He eats raisins like they are candy (he probably thinks they are), and I have to fight him away from my bowl of wheat chex. I guess his taste buds take after mine.
He's mastered a pretty good scowl.
But he can only hold it for so long before he starts to crack a smile.
Last week he learned how to lock the bathroom doors. The first time it happened, he locked himself in the windowless bathroom with no lights on. Luckily, the key tool was on the door frame, but it took me a few minutes to figure it out. (I've never had to unlock these newfangled bathroom doors in this house.) So he sat in the pitch black darkness for a few minutes. Parenting win.
Connor loves books. He made a comfy little reading corner for himself in his room behind the rocking chair.
He'll sit there and look at books by himself for 10 minutes.
All this reading has extended his vocabulary. He knows so many words! I think he benefits from having Dallin only a few steps ahead of him developmentally. We've been working very hard with Dallin on his speech and Connor has picked up a lot of it. He can even count to three!
Connor likes to watch me cook and really tries to help.
He likes to look out the window in his bedroom, especially when people are coming in or leaving our house.
He watches Dallin leave for school and come home. When Mckay walks out the front door each morning, Connor runs to the window to watch as he leaves. And when I tell him it's time for me to teach piano lessons, he watches for my students at the window and tells me when they arrive. It's like having a pet dog that barks when people come over.
Connor could live outside. We can play outside for hours, and he'll still cry when I make him come back inside.
He is only a few pounds short of matching Dallin's weight. They're wearing neighboring sizes in clothes (Connor 18 month, Dallin 2T) and some shirts will fit either one of them.
Connor has grown a lot in 18 months and Dallin hasn't really.
Connor at 2 months, side by side comparison:
 4 months
 6 months, Dallin 3 years
 8 months
 10 months

And apparently I stopped taking these pictures so here is a current comparison.
Connor 18 months, Dallin 4 years.
They won't lay still on the floor anymore. Incidentally, Dallin is also not above being bribed with candy to be in a picture.
And it still took some time to get a decent still picture.
And then Connor wanted to make himself look bigger than Dallin.
Connor has big up and downs in his personality. He can throw huge screaming tantrums when he doesn't get his way. This usually involves him wanting some kind of food and not getting it. He can also be such a sweet calm boy at times. He gives lot of hugs and kisses, especially to me. He knows when he needs to sleep. At night, he asks for pajamas and "teeth" because he knows that once his teeth are brushed he gets to go to bed. He can be super grumpy at night, but as soon as you say "Let's brush your teeth," he smiles and runs to the bathroom.

This kid sure is something.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


 The day before Easter, we went to an egg hunt at a friend's house. This was Connor's first time so we had to teach him how to do it.
This is the only picture that proves my mom was actually here for Easter weekend. And the only picture of me (in the background, without a head).
He eventually figured it out and slowly wandered the yard looking for eggs.
 The problem was there were several kids who were older and faster than him. As soon as he had his eyes set on an egg, another child would reach it before he could.
So he started gathering rocks and chunks of dirt.
And somehow at the end he still didn't have much in his basket. I wonder how that happened?
Maybe if he could keep his basket upright.
 Dallin found lots of eggs and collected a basketful of candy he won't eat.
But he enjoyed the social aspect of opening his eggs and admiring the candy with the other kids anyway.
Easter Sunday is always very busy for us. Our ward at church always does a big musical Easter program and we are part of the choir (Mckay sings, I play the piano) and I'm one of the only people in our ward who will play the piano. (Notice I said WILL play. A few people
do play a little, but don't feel comfortable playing in front of others. Like I'm this outgoing extrovert that loves performing in front of others?! ...but this is a topic for another day...) So we had to get to church early Sunday morning to practice with the choir before performing.
AND there was a stake musical Easter program that night that I was also involved in. (Maybe I should start saying no the people.) Between the 2 musical programs, I learned and semi-perfected 9 new songs in a matter of weeks. (Not to mention the wedding I played for one week before Easter with a few new songs to learn for that.) AND did I mention I played a piano solo as part of the Easter program? I spent A LOT of time at the piano the weeks before Easter, practicing and marking notes on the music; so much time that Connor began to mimic me and make marks of his own on my music.
So, after morning church and a delicious ham dinner, we did a small egg hunt of our own. It was a rainy day, so we hid the eggs inside in our living room.
The boys, waiting at the starting line, thought their baskets should go on their heads.
 Having already hunted for eggs the day before, the boys were warmed up and ready to go! We did have to help them find a few of the harder eggs.
This picture makes me laugh. We told Dallin there was one by the window. He kept looking outside the window and couldn't see the two eggs 6 inches from his head.
 Several times he pointed to the decorative Easter tree and said "Egg!"
Mom and I just nodded. "Yes we know there are eggs on the tree." We didn't see the plastic egg that Mckay hid in the branches. Dallin is a pretty good egg finder.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Homemade Ham and Swiss Cheese Hot Pocket

I know I'm not the only person with lots of leftover ham from Easter. I always have trouble coming up with ways to use up the extra ham. I've actually done pretty well this year. So far, I've already made a ham and white bean soup, ham and asparagus Risotto, and homemade ham stock. But there is still more ham!!! I was feeling a little creative last night and came up with another way to use up my ham: 
I made homemade Ham and Cheese Sandwich Pockets.

These tasted way better than microwavable hot pockets and were pretty easy to make. All you need is:

Sliced Ham
Sliced Swiss Cheese ( I also did some with cheddar)
Honey mustard sauce (This is totally optional, but a little mustard or something does help to moisten the filling.)
Dough -- I used my basic pizza dough/breadstick recipe, but you could use your favorite easy bread/pie/biscuit dough. My recipe is below:

1/2 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 Tbsp. oil
1 1/4 cup flour

Mix yeast, water and sugar. Allow to sit for a few minutes until yeast begins to bubble. Add salt, oil and flour. Mix until dough comes together, and knead the dough for a minute. You may need to add a little more flour so the dough isn't too sticky. Let the dough sit for 30 minutes while you assemble the rest of the ingredients. You can use right away, but the dough will be a little dense.

Divide the dough into 4 balls. Flatten each ball into a circle of dough (about 6 or 7 inches in diameter). Spread a thin layer of honey mustard (or sauce of choice) on the dough. Leave space around the edge for exposed dough to seal it later.

Place ham and cheese on half of the circle. Try not to overfill the pocket. Fold the dough over so the circle is now folded in half. Press and seal the edges of the now semi-circle with your fingers to seal in the toppings. The shape will look a little something like this:
If you really wanted, you could try to make a more rectangular shape like a real "Hot Pocket," but this is much easier.

Cut a slit or two in the top of the dough with a sharp knife so the steam can escape. Otherwise, you'll have a pocket blowout.

Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the top of the bread is golden brown.


I use the same dough to make easy pizza calzones for dinner. In fact, when I made these last night, half were ham and cheese and half were pizza topping filled for my young boys. They were gobbled up.

Makes 4 pockets. A hungry man could eat two of these for dinner. I had one pocket with a small salad for dinner and that filled me up.

How do you use leftover ham? I'd love to hear more ideas.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Birthday Boy

What happens when Dallin's Birthday, Easter and Grandma Crapo's visit all fall on the same weekend?

It makes for one really fun, very busy weekend!

Dallin turned 4 this year. We threw him a pizza birthday party, because he looooves pizza.
I made the invitations, but I didn't use my Cricut this time, only scissors and paper punches.

To start the party off, the children got to decorate and make their own paper chef hats. 
And I made an apron for each child to wear and take home as a party favor.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of all the aprons before the party, so you don't get to see the cute "girl" ones I made.
The aprons were a fast easy sewing project. I mostly based them off this tutorial HERE.
Super easy chef hat tutorial HERE.

Then everyone got to make their own pizzas. Mckay took over as "master chef" and showed all the kids how to roll out the dough and build a pizza with the toppings of their choice.

 It was kind of a mad house with 28 people (adults and kids) all in our kitchen making pizzas at the same time. I may have bitten off more than I could chew when planning this party. Thank goodness I had Mckay and my mom to help me out. They never once looked at me and told me I was crazy for thinking we could handle this, they just jumped right in and helped from beginning to end. I have a great husband and mom.

 To go with the pizza theme, a friend made a "pizza" cake for me.
The inside was just a regular cake and all the decoration is frosting (no real olives or cheese). Doesn't it look AMAZING?! It was pretty tasty too.

I made some paper bunting for the wall with the colors of the Italian flag, as well as some paper pizza slices for the walls throughout the house.
And I made a playlist of Italian pizzeria type music which really added to the atmosphere. (Here's a link to the playlist if you're really interested.) 

 Dallin isn't a fan of cake and rather than trying to force him to eat cake unsuccessfully for a 4th year in a row, I got him a donut to eat instead.
 And it's a good thing I got him his own "cake" because with all his hard work blowing the candles out at that downward angle, some drool escaped his mouth and put one of the candles out.
 You can see some of the drool in this picture. Cool/gross.

Dallin got lots of fun new toys from his friends, including lots of puzzles, which he is thrilled about.

The next day he opened his big present from Grandma Crapo. 
 I'm not sure if all of this love was for the big box or the Spongebob wrapping paper on it.

 He got a sand/water table to play with outside. 
He is going to have a blast with this once it finally gets warm enough to play outside again.

As if all of this weren't enough birthday fun, Dallin is in a birthday card club for kids with Williams Syndrome. He got tons of birthday cards from buddies all across the country (and even Australia!).
Many of the cards had stickers in them.
He's a sucker for stickers.

 He was so happy to open all the cards.
Even though it's a little blurry, I love this picture. "Yay for cards!"

Yay for birthdays!

Yay for handsome four year old boys!