Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday...

Today, I share a collection of random thoughts with you.
After my run, I was behind the cutest older couple. I had passed them several times on my run and always heard them laughing, telling stories and holding hands. I hope to be this happy, active and in love with my husband when we get older. Love is truly amazing!

My mother works for a large corporation that rents out the Chicago Land 6 Flags for a night, just for the corporate employees. We had an absolute blast spending time together as a family! My husband has been working so much, I almost forgot how amazing it is to be together for a full day!

My 3 kids are still loving school and loving being silly in the morning! Isn't it so much easier to get everyone out the door by 7am, when they all love their destinations? I'm truly Blessed!

The marathon is closing in on me and I can't believe it! I am in the single digits of days (9) and am actually still getting a bit anxious, nervous and doubting...This is my quote of the day! I am trying and that's all that matters.....right?


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pipe Cleaners and Magnets!

Learning about magnets always seems to be a fan favorite for the little ones, they love to explore their world and see what they can get to stick to their giant magnets and what will not. My youngest still considers it magic and thinks of himself as Harry Potter, when he has his wand handy!

For this fun activity, we took our scissors and a variety of pipe cleaners. I began cutting them down into smaller sticks and eventually my little guy decided to join in on the cutting fun too!

Roman hunted around for a container that was clear and had a lid that fit on rather snugly. This was a great little treasure hunt for him! Next, he loaded in all our strips into the container and snapped lid on tight.

Let the fun begin! He was able to realize what would stick to his wand and what wouldn't. Keeping the magnetic wand on the outside of the container and waving it around the exterior showed him how magnetic properties worked. I also threw in a marble, penny, paperclips and piece of metal chain, this allowed him to see what was alike and different from the pieces that did and did not get attracted to the magnet.

His favorite, was making stars out of the pipe cleaners, too bad he got upset when they would fall to the bottom after he removed the wand. This is such a fun and easy project to do with little ones!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Marathon Update!

I know my posts are quite sporadic right now and unfortunately they will continue like that right now! Why? The marathon is in LESS THAN 2 WEEKS?! Where on earth did the time go? I cannot believe how quickly that this has all flown. I'm still incredibly nervous, but you know what? I'm ready!

Even though all I want to do after my long runs is sleep, we headed out to tour museums, pick pumpkins and even feed giraffes!!! It's been an amazing weekend readers and I truly can't wait for my life to get back to normal, so that I can share more fun photos!!

Have You Added Me Yet?

To Donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities: HERE!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Make Your Own Granola Bars!

My children are huge granola bar fans as am I! One thing I noticed, was that we always had fresh granola on hand, because I love to nibble on it as a snack throughout the day and the kids love it on their yogurt. With all the preservatives in granola bars, I wondered if we could do this on our own with a fresh and healthy angle!

I pick up fresh granola at the farmers market every 2 weeks. It's absolutely phenomenal all on its own, but when sprinkled with fruit or yogurt it's almost magical! hahaha!

Take your granola and flour and mix them together in a bowl to make sure that everything is coated perfectly. Set that aside and simmer your honey, brown sugar and butter over the stove until it is all melted perfectly. Take your pan and pour your mixture over the granola and mix it up well.

Press the entire mixture into a baking dish. I used a cookie sheet, so mine would be thinner. Make sure to spray some PAM on your dish or sheet so that nothing sticks. After you have pressed them in, begin making your slices. Once this cools, it will be more difficult to cut through. Leave on counter or fridge for a few hours to harden. I let mine sit overnight.
I posted this recipe on Facebook and within the next week there were a total of 9 people in my feed that had tried out this recipe and loved it!! The best part? It's SO EASY to do!!

Have You Added Me Yet?


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fun with Letters!

My little guy and I have been having fun with letters lately. Even though he knows his letters, recognition is always good at any level. We used pipe cleaners to make the letters of the alphabet, then took turns assembling them to make up the names of family members. He had a lot of fun with this one, and even wanted to move on to our extended family names!

When he was first starting to learn his name, I took a book ring and flashcards and popped his name onto 1 ring. I then did this for basic words like MOM, DAD and YES, NO. I keep these on a command hook (removeable) on the side of the learning nook bookshelf! They are easily accessible and always used!

I took this sheet of letters and printed it out 2 times and laminated it as well. I then cut out each letter individually and it became an instant memory game. We also use them to spell words or names and with our alphabet clothespins (lower case) to match them up.

There are so many things you can find around the house that are perfect for letter recognition! The upper case and lower case clothespins are in a bin and then I added some alphabet bulletin board pieces and another instant matching game.
Alphabet cookies are tasty and fun when paired with an alphabet place mat, it's fun to search for letters in the bowl and then match them up on the mat!

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Marathon Update!

Saturday was my 20 mile training run. It was brutal near the end and I'm pretty sure I cried midway through, but you know what? When I finished, I was elated! I was smiling, happy and albeit sore, I knew I could still go through with the final 5 miles. (We actually did 21.2) The end of that run told me something super important, it told me: 'Heck YEAH, I can DO THIS!' As many of you know, I have been doubting myself lately. My time isn't getting any better and some of the shorter runs can really do me in, but I haven't given up and I don't plan to on October 9th either.

As fate would have it, Saturday's mail also held the Participant Guide for the marathon! WHOA! After thumbing through it, I was definitely on information overload. As I have mentioned before, this is my first Marathon EVER...wait, this is my first run of anything EVER. I have never run before, unless you count the painful mile in gym class! I started dabbling in running when I turned 30 and wanted to turn my life in a healthier direction, then this opportunity came up and I thought: 'what the heck?!' HAHAHAHA....ohhhh to be that naive again! I should have started with a 5K, but oh well that ship has sailed and I am 3 weeks until the marathon. Where on earth did the time go?!
I have gone through so many ups and downs during this training period and you want to know the hardest part of it all? The running? NO. The early mornings? NO. The simple fact that my beautiful boots no longer zip up my calves! OMG, I was honestly in tears that morning. I am a slave to my shoes and bags and when this little thing happened, I seriously melted!! How ridiculous is that?! LOL.
I want to remind you all what I am doing this. I am doing this for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. I am raising 2000.00 and am half way there. I hope that you can see how much I have worked and given especially now that my 20 miler is out of the way and I am still alive. If you can donate as little as 1.00 it would be great. These houses do so much for sick children and their families. I only ask if you can help, if you can't, it's totally understandable. 

Please just keep my mother and I in your prayers as we attempt to tackle this hill together. Not only have we gotten into better shape, we have gotten to know each other more. Long runs have a way of bringing out long talks. To my mother, I would like to say: 

Thank you for giving me life twice. This time you have brought out something new in me and made me feel more alive. I love you.


1st Day of Pre-K

Today, my little guy (my youngest, my baby) started pre-k and my heart shattered. I was a mess through 

breakfast, while shopping and then later at Starbucks. I honed my Ninja skills when I arrived 30 minutes 

before he was let out and ducked, bobbed and weaved and peeked through the windows to see how he was 

doing. I was never spotted by him and my heart broke a little more seeing that he was doing just fine. He did 

great and had an absolute blast. When he ran out and into my arms he asked:

"Can I come again tomorrow???"
 I we have to????

His big brother and sister were the first to be dropped off and they were being silly all morning to keep his spirits up and nerves at bay! Little did we all know, the only one that needed her spirits lifted was Mommy!!

He fit right in and took off without a problem! They had one of his favorite books in the center of the morning carpet that he was off into book land before I had a chance to snag my 5th hug!!


Friday, September 16, 2011

The Weekend...

From my family to yours, we would like to wish you a happy weekend! Stay safe and have fun. We have a lot going on once again. Sometimes I wish we could just have a 'down time' weekend where we have absolutely nothing going on and no one to entertain, but we haven't seen one of those in a LOOOOOONG time. How do you feel about your weekends? Would you rather be super busy and occupied or more relaxed and doing things as you think of them?

This is the first weekend in a long time (if ever), that I am wishing to just skip the weekend and fast forward to Monday with no memory at all of the past days. This Saturday is my 20 miler, where I will attempt to set a nice pace and see if I can get 20 miles done in a decent amount of time. If you see this on Saturday or before, please send up a little prayer and some of your strength for me! I definitely need it. I will also be breaking in a new pair of shoes, which should be interesting. My 2 new pairs have reached the end of their lifespan in training and these new ones above are what I plan to have marathon day.

Lately on my runs, I am getting back into my head and driving myself crazy. The marathon is less than a month away and I now completely terrified. I'm terrified that I did all this for nothing and am going to fail. My brain keeps telling me to quit and my shin splints are so bad that even last weekend on my 12 mile run, I was in tears. I don't want to make excuses and all I want to do is FINISH PROUD. I want to be proud of what I have accomplished and show my kids that ANYTHING they set their mind to CAN be done. I am determined to finish this, no matter how long it takes. I just need to get the positive into my head and get rid of all of that negativity that is just swimming in my brain the minute my feet hit the pavement!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Geometric Shape Game!

After purchasing a to-go salad, we were left with a container that I couldn't bring myself to throw away! I saved it, while I set my brain on THINK mode and it came to me! We made a fun game out of it. I purchased a set of geometric shape punches at the local Teacher Store and glued some to a circle that fit the top of the lid. For a longer lasting game, I put it on the inside of the lid. I also purchased a spinner set from the store so that we could make our own games and this was perfect.

1st. Spin and see what shape you get.
What I love most about this game, is that it all stores within itself! It makes a great game to take on the road when we are staying in a hotel or even camping and if I am taking a larger bag, I can even pop it right into my bag.

2nd. Look at the geometric shape sheet above  and see the name of the shape.
3rd. Say the name of the shape aloud.
I printed this out on card stock and then laminated it. This way it is sturdy and can be wiped clean if they decide to use a dry-erase marker on it. This sheet offers 2 more shapes than I have in the shape kit, but I liked keeping them on the sheet, as it offers them a challenge. 

4th. Find the shape in the bowl.
5th. Match it to the shape on the shape game sheet.
1st person to get 4 of each shape wins!

The GAME SHEET can be found HERE. This is a game that my youngest really seems to get into and he loves saying the names of the shapes all day. I have often caught him looking for the shapes out in the stores and saying what he finds. I love being able to create games for my little ones!!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tray Tuesday!

Welcome to another round of Tray Tuesday! It's time to get creative with your food and serve up the perfect portions for little tummies! Together with Mama to 4 Blessings, we are proud to present this week's line up of food! Presenting food in fun and colorful ways, keeps children entertained and ready to try anything! After being gone for the Holiday last week, it was fun to get another tray going today!
This week I had fun with Edible Markers from Betty Crocker! They are such a blast to work with and always bring out smiles all around when served to the kids! Let's Eat!

Left To Right:
Caprese Bites, Pretzels, Carrots, Boiled Egg Man, Celery, Whole Wheat Pasta, Snap Peas
Grape Cabobs, Apple Slices 2 times (Quick Orchard visit!!), Apple Sauce, Chocolate Chips, Marshmallows and Graham Crackers! YUM!

Please grab a button and link up your fun foods!!


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