Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zoo Day!

The day started out bright and sunny, but by the time we pulled up to the zoo, it was rainy and gloomy! Did we turn around? NO WAY! We had a blast! As you can tell by our Flip Flops and Ice Cream post, we know how to enjoy the gloomiest of days! We pulled into the FIRST parking spot at Brookfield and were thrilled with our luck of having an empty zoo! 

First stop, the reptile house, so that we could sit in a boat and map out what to do next! The kids love to write on their laminated maps (we are members and don't like to waste maps, so we laminate them and the kids can write on them with dry erase markers) and each write where they wanted to go!
We lucked out and got to see almost ALL of the animals being fed! The kids thought this was just AMAZING and just wanted to sit and watch. They asked questions and got really into everything.
We make everything a learning experience, even while having fun! At doors, I would say:
'open the door that says PUSH please' or we would take turns reading what the informational signs at each animal would say.

Enjoying their maps AND a brief moment of no rain in the sky! It was so rare to get them to all stand still, that I didn't even bother with the smiling! hahaha!!!
My oldest son is really into Giraffes right now and I put together a little field pack for him to enjoy! I try to give each child a little something on their own day every now and then. It's a way to individualize them in their own way! The blanket and bag are from Target (1.25 each!!), the book was from the zoo and the Bus Notebook is perfect for his field notes!
Their favorite part of the day! This was 25 minutes to closing and we got to see this all up close and so personal!!! We were squealing like crazy! haha! 
For us, a trip to the suburbs isn't complete without stopping at Hamburger University! hhaha! Yes, there is such a thing and my mother happens to work there as a corporate employee for McDonald's. The kids love to stop and visit with Nana for a brief moment and learn any secrets. To them, Nana has the ultimate dream job, second only to Grandpa who gets to work from HOME in his PAJAMAS! hahaha!! You have to love kids!

Do you have any MUST STOP places?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Virtual Vacation Update!

As you all know from my previous post, we are off on a trip around the World this Summer! Alright, it's a virtual vacation, but we are excited none-the-less! I have had 8 people message me and want to join us on our trip! How fun!! I've even sold 6 of the above kits to help others join our trip! I wanted to update everyone on what we have been getting ready, since take off is a little over a month away!!
Our Itinerary is ready and posted! The kids have been asking so many questions and keep looking through our 'suitcase' of stuff!!
I have also purchased this book as a guide to some of our stops! I have been on the internet and the library like crazy, readying myself for all that is to come. Every single time I stop in a charity shop, my eyes are open for maps or guidebooks that will help in some way or another!
The 2 Japan for Kids and Kids Trips in Tokyo books came from a charity shop for .59 each! The Geo Cards are awesome reference cards that I found at Barnes and Noble.
I found these fantastic post cards at Michaels for .98! I love that they are plain on 1 side and will allow the kids to design them from each Country we are in and then they can send them to family members! They are really excited about this part!!

At the moment, the plan is to post on Monday with:
1. Country we are landing in
2. Craft we will make that week
3. Sights we will see
4. Recipe of what we will cook
5. Other activities we will do while in that Country
6. Links to any print outs you may need (for example: Orient Express train ticket)
7. Photos from the previous week of things that we did and any other notes!

Please feel free to link up your blog if you are joining us!!

Virtual Vacation Post (Original Post)
Virtual Vacation Update 1 
Virtual Vacation Update 2
Virtual Vacation Update 3 (not yet posted)


Thursday, April 28, 2011

In The Rain!!!

With so much rain falling constantly this week, I said to heck with it and we headed outside anyway!
Sometimes flip flops and ice cream in the rain is a good thing! A memory that will stay with them for awhile was created and to those people that asked if we needed a ride, thank you, but no, we are busy creating moments that will play in our minds years from now!


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We Play

Thrifty Thursday!

This weeks thrifty purchases were less than 7.00 and some were exactly what I had been looking for! I love going thrifting and finding great things! Each and every one of these items was purchased with a plan for something except for those adorable picket fence trays! They were too good a deal to pass up for 1.00 for all 4 of them!!!!

I will start at the birdhouse and work my way clockwise:
Bidhouse with 2 baskets, this is really too Country for the style we have working in our home, but it was PERFECT to hold little bits and baubles at our nature table! (.99 can you believe it???)

Measuring Cups are something that I love to find for the water table and the sandbox and the mad science lab, they are wonderful for kids to use anywhere, even in the bath!! (.10)

5 books all for upcoming lessons we have this Summer and going on right now, except for Travel Mates (Perfect for the upcoming trip to Northern Wisconsin this week and Minnesota next month) and Mommies are for counting stars, I just thought that was sweet! 2.45

Avery Labels will be great for the kids to make their own stickers for their Sprng Break Journals. (.49)

Little Dragonfly Wooden Basket, for holding their salt and pepper shakers in their pretend kitchen. (.49)

Plate Stands are something I use to display books. I find that when you pull out a book from the bookshelf, it becomes a fast favorite! (.49)

The plate holder becomes a book of the week holder, holding a rock collecting book purchased today too!!

I added the BIRDS book too, since we are still studying birds and going to be making another bird feeder very soon with different materials this time! What are your latest thrifty finds?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our Bubble Station!

This Easter brought us over 20 bottles of bubbles!! Can you believe that?! There was just no more space to store these odd sized jars, bottles, jugs etc. This was even AFTER I sorted and separated and put things in the car!

I decided I needed one central location for bubbles and remember seeing something similar on another blog, I had an idea! I found an old water jug we had laying around and tossed all the solutions inside, then mixed them up and added a little water and glycerin too! I had the kids screw on the top and we shook it all up!

I then made a central bubble 'station' for all things bubbles! This holds a large cup holding all the wands (This cup is free with GIANT and Yummy Mai Tais at Bob Chinns!), 1 cup for pouring solution into a using the wands in(old measuring cup!) and 1 tupperware container for the wider wands! (One store brand one that was missing it's lid after too many uses!!).

Easy and Fun! We have found that having stations for everything outside, just as inside helps keep things organized everywhere! Everything here is also portable, as it all  fits in a small rubbermaid container with lid that can be easily put away or taken somewhere!


Oh NO Easter!


Is it just me, or does Easter seem to be the CANDY CANDY CANDY Holiday?? As you all know by now, I do not like to give my children too much of this stuff and every now and then I do give them some junk and all is well! Am I doing my children a disservice this way? Every Easter, it seems that I have children throwing up in the car on our long trek home, due to an overwhelming amount of sweets, that even though Mommy and Daddy say NO! Some still insist on giving! 
"It's only 1 day!" 
"They are kids! Leave them alone!"
"It's EASTER!"
"I see them once a year, let me give them what I want!"

But where are all these 'nice' people when I have a little girl in my arms crying at night and throwing up down Daddy's back?
Where are these people when my litle boy throws up all over our freshly cleaned back seat and moaning that there is more coming??

If I let them indulge more often (I even freeze yogurt and tell them that that is Ice Cream!!), maybe they wouldn't get sick? Argg....The good thing is that many people are catching on to where I stand and I only have a couple more stubborn people to deal with! haha!!

First, thank you thank you, to those of you that gave the kids awesome totes, shopping bags and reusable purses/backpacks! These are great for throwing back into everyday use in many different areas of our life! Those that gave regular baskets? AWESOME! Thank you! They fit right on top of the craft table, once I cut the handles off! Perfect for holding foam stickers, glue sticks and the like!! Then there are the CUTE, but eastery baskets....hmmmmm

Alright, anyways! This post is about little trinkets and candy! After Easter, we end up with anywhere between 18-21 easter baskets total (3 kids and many many people we visit). This is A LOT of trinkets! I wanted to share what we do with the smallest items and the stuff that seems to come in every basket.

I decided to take those baskets and make car totes! I took small toys, crayons, stamps, notebooks, bubbles, games etc. and filled 2 baskets. These now sit in my husbands and my car! Each basket has a different variety of items in it and offers the kids something NEW in the car for awhile until it breaks, is worn out etc. I took all the candy and spread it between 3 freezer bags as well and now it's instant snack bag to grab out of the counter and throw into my purse. Now whenever we are waiting a little too long, someone is getting a little too anxious or a bit too hungry (yesterday on  the highway waiting for roadside assitance), then BAM we have something fun and sweet and sugary and maybe this will help ease that once a year massive candy stomach ache! hahha!!

Hope you all had a marvelous Easter Holiday and continue to enjoy the rest of this beautiful Spring that we have been Blessed with! 

One way we re-used Easter Baskets! This was one that the kids got and it now sits on the 'kid tray' of acceptable snacks throughout the day. Instead of having kids opening and closing the pantry all day long, they can look on the counter for an okay snack. They are allowed to only have 1 a day if they are in school or 2 a day if it's a no school day.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bottle Challenge!

 Earth Day at it's finest! We were put to a challenge over at Tinker Lab, to make something out of plastic bottles! We took one bottle to see all that we could do with the parts and went wild! I took care of the cutting and then let the kids take it from there! We were able to make a total of 5 things from ONE bottle! Here is just a hint of what we made and I will share the rest later! The 5 things we did make were:
Bracelet, Ring, Pendant, Flower, Pencil Holder.
Here you see my daughter modeling the bangle bracelets we made!! They are so cool and even fit me! We used our corn syrup paint, since we had so much leftover AND this was a project for kids to do. If an adult were to use spray paint, these would come out SOOOO COOL!


In The Garden With Kids!

 If there is one thing I love to do in the outdoors, it's gardening! It's another one of those Summer Memories that I have with my grandfather on my fathers side. He still keeps a very large garden and we still go there and pick veggies, the only difference is that I go there with my own children and not my parents! (WOW!).

We started our herb garden today and each child had a blast getting involved in their own special ways!! We had garden scoopers, seed pourers and waterers! In honor of earth day we truly had a blast getting muddy!
Since the weather finally started to warm up again (did I mention SNOW last weekend???), the kids hit the water table again! I was THRILLED when I found a Ziploc freezer bag FULL of different sized scoops at a garage sale (.05)!!! This has been the MOST LOVED part of the table! We broke it off into 2 sections. 1 with just water and ducks and all water toys. The other half has these containers, scoops and funnels. The kids LOVE IT! They have a blast filling and squirting and just being silly. Who would have thought that the normal things EVERYONE throws away, are their treasures pieces!
Our very unhealthy but delicious snack that tied in perfectly? Worms in dirt of course!!!

Gummy Worms
Chocolate Pudding
Crushed Oreo Cookies

What did you do to honor Earth Day?


Monday, April 25, 2011

Sewing With Kids!!

 Every Summer, my 2 cousins, my sister and I would be sitting on my grandmothers screened in porch taking sewing lessons with the other neighborhood kids. Do you remember your Summers of youth? We would all be dropped off every morning before our parents would go to work and our days would begin. I loved every minute of it! There was no television, video games or computers, there was a small cassette player and the rosary playing on deck. We would all have our own tiny plastic chairs that we chose ourselves at the market at the beginning of the season. Our embroidery hoops were colorful and our threads all the colors that we chose! We would sketch out own designs and my grandmother would have us all working quietly for hours! We would pray, chat and joke around, we would break for the paleta man and stop for homemade gorditas and frijoles!  These are the summers that memories are made up of! I was lucky enough to have 2 sets of grandparents, but only my grandmother on my mothers side was retired at the moment, so we would stay there. I was lucky enough that my cousins were our age too! (I was 8, cousin 7, Sister 5, cousin 4)

 As Summer approaches and I plan our curriculum, I begin to think of those days! Planting and eating strawberries, searching the basement in hopes of finding old treasures belonging to our mothers, racing each other in the backyard and sometimes just spraying each other with the hose! I know I want similar memories for my children and right away thought that this was the perfect time for them to learn the basics of sewing! (Which is all I know, I own 3 sewing machines and even an antique Singer, but they do NOTHING, since I don't know how to operate them!LOL)

I rummaged around and put together a box from supplies I had around the house and a vintage Wil-hold sewing box. I love that the lid is removable, so that works as an easy access basket when they are working!
A small container holds safety pins, another holds spools of thick yarn and plastic needles and then thicker plastic cording that can be used without the needle (3 year old). Large Buttons, Spool of thick plastic cording,  measuring tape, scissors and plastic jar grips.

I use the plastic jar grips (pack of 4 1.00 at dollar store!) instead of fabric, because the holes are larger and make it easier for little fingers to figure out the ease of sewing. My 2 big kids dove right in when I pulled out this box a few weeks ago. The large buttons, help kids in learning the basics of sewing on a button! My oldest took to it right away and then my oldest son kind of gave up after awhile :)
Snuggled on the couch next to Mommy, my daughter loves to work on her sewing all the time! Every time I see her, I'm taken back to those hot Summers and before I know it, the air smells like home cooking and I have a crazy urge to pray the rosary!

What are you Summer memories???

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Hope you enjoy this wonderful day with your friends and loved ones! I will spending the morning with the Lord, giving my thanks for every single day! Then the rest of the day with my husband and beautiful children, traveling from one house to another and to another! Ughh, the fun of the Holiday season!
A really bad photo of our Happy Easter Wreath! It looks so cute and I just didn't have another minute to photograph it! We hung plastic and Foam eggs and used puffy paint!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crafting Stop!

 During the average week, I will make about 3 trips to Michaels and I love to check out every single nook and cranny and to see what's new and what all I can use in upcoming projects! I'm there constantly, since I am usually running in for custom work that someone requests from my shop. This week their 1.00 carousel has a VARIETY of alphabet stamps!! I love these for learning projects, making cards with the kids and all around just fooling around! These were such a steal, I took 3 different ones!
One of my favorite tips to do when I shop, is to print out my coupon and write my list on the back of it!! Since I constantly have my list with my as I shop, I know that I will not forget to hand over my coupon! I always get my craft store coupons online.
Here is this weeks coupon, just click to enlarge and then print! Enjoy your weekend readers!!!


Friday, April 22, 2011

I'm Bored....

 One thing I NEVER, ever hear in this house is: 'I'm BORED!' I honestly pride myself in that! The kids always have enough to play with or something to do or a planned activity etc. Today were were working on a challenge put forth by Tinker Lab and while waiting for our paint and mod podge to dry, until we could put on another coat of everything, they said it. First the oldest: 'Mom, I'm bored!' then the next 'Mommy, what should we do?' then the youngest 'Mom, I'm bode (how he says it!) too!'

I quickly looked around at what I had within reach and went with the first idea that popped in my head! Twine and Scissors and a jar of clothespins! I hung up a laundry line and emptied the dryer. Once stringing a line and and putting the basket and jar side by side, I called them in and they have been playing for over an hour so far! It's truly amazing what they do with everyday things!! I'm hoping to string one outside when the rain stops and give them some outdoor rags for them to 'wash' in their water table and hang to dry!
Coupons to use TODAY and TOMORROW only! Hope this helps!!!! Just click to enlarge and print!

What do you do when you hear the dreaded 'I'm bored!'?


Join the HOP! Follow Me and Let me know you are from the hop!!

Four Fill-In Fun Link Up!
1. If not for my significant other, I’d never Get a moment to myself! Love when he is home and wants to hang out with the little ones, letting me steal a minute here and there!

2. On more than one occasion, I have Thrown Up in a car! I tend to have awful motion sickness only in vehicles and it only happens on rare occasions, but it does happen!

3. The worst meal I ever made was My first ever chicken soup! Too many veggies and chicken and nowhere near enough broth!! It was a disaster!!

4. My guilty t.v. pleasure are Soap Operas! I love them, but I don't follow them religiously at all. When I catch AMC or OLTL (about to be cancelled!!) even if it's been years, I sit and watch it and can usually catch right up! haha!!

Nature Play!

Last week we had a wonderful time enjoying the awesome weather that we were Blessed with!!! As soon as  I picked up the last child from school, we headed to the park with a pre packed picnic snack! It was pretty windy and still semi chilly (winter coats), but it was nice enough after a Northern Illinois winter!!
We started by getting our Nature Goodies out of our bag (Collection box for treasures, specimen jar, magnifying glass, tweezers) and sat on a blanket (I always keep an old comforter in my trunk) to snack and read:
After that we headed out and everyone was able to examine what they wished, collect what they thought would look great on our nature table. 
When they were through with that, I opened up our travel case of play scarves and grabbed their walking sticks and we made some kites, tents, flags, blankets, bridges...etc. I'm a huge fan of Waldorf Learning and love their play silks! I don't follow Waldorf, just enjoy many of their pieces. Whenever I go to tag sales, garage sales, thrift stores, I pick up scarves that are under .50 and keep them in this small vintage travel case. The kids ALWAYS have a blast with them and get so creative!! We have about 15 scarves and always collecting more. It's amazing to see what kids can come up with! They have been aprons, dresses, baby carriers, party decorations, curtains and so much more.

I recently found these diving rings in the 1.00 spot at TARGET and knew that they were PERFECT for the scarf box! They work when there are no sticks available and have been known to hold multiple thin scarves as a ribbon train and used alone for an impromptu ring toss game in the park when they put sticks in the ground! A child's imagination is endless!!

What is something that you never thought your kids would play with so much? Share in the comments please!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Right Now........

Right Now I Am...
  • Exhausted from playing and planting on our first nice day this week!
  • In love with blog hopping! (Share your blog link in the comments!)
  • Sitting in a cozy corner of my living room as my kids watch a movie.
  • Watching Bedtime Stories, but my kids call it Raining Gumballs!
  • Thinking of all the fun we are going to have on Spring Break!
  • Painting my toenails, gotta look pretty fora Easter!
  • Wishing the my husband could be here with us!
  • Sipping green tea.
  • Feeling my laptop getting hot! (Have to get my lap table!)
  • Planning our schedule for this upcoming Summer.
  • Smiling, as I watch my 3 kids laying side by side on the living room floor.
  • Happy with what I have been Blessed with!
What are you RIGHT NOW????


Thrifty Thursday

I was super lucky on this past week's thrifty hunt! I found a mint condition, still NEW and unused Bento box from Laptop Lunch!! I love to make my kids fun and super cute lunches that give them a little break in the seriousness of school! When I found this for...are you ready??? .99! I about died! There were actually people in front of me when I spotted it and I reached right in between then and snagged it up! SQUEEEE, it's perfect! It was all shiny and untouched and unopened and perfectly packaged!
My daughter took it today and she things it's so cute! Now let's hope the lunch was just as good! haha!! She always has a report on what could have been better, what not to use anymore and what needs to be colder or warmer :) She is very opinionated, but that's alright! So is Mommy! lol!
My favorite part of lunch today? The baby carrots with cilantro ends!!! hahaha!! I gave her hummus to dip with and part of me is thinking I may make these again for myself to have at lunch today!
Share your creative lunches please!!!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sorting Fun

As you read in Monday's post, we are working with marshmallows this week! Today, we woke up to SNOW in the Midwest! Yup, we were wearing shorts last week and now it's back to Winter coats and sweaters underneath! YIKES! It was definitely an indoor learning day for the little tater tot!

You've seen him before, when he first learned how to use my craft punch! He had a blast just punching anything that was in the scrap bin! The circles were so cute and fun, I had to keep them for other projects!! We made some great stuff and I will continue to share them in future posts!

We used a 1.5 inch punch, marker, plastic eggs and egg carton for this project.
I numbered each circle with 1 number 1-12.
We only used half of an egg in each of the holes and then put 1 circle in each one (yellow paper made them look like yolks!).
I handed him a bowl of marshmallows and told him to put the same amount of marshmallows in each numbered egg. It got tricky when it got to 8 and above, but it was still a lot of fun!!
Share your sorting activities in the comments!!
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