Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Enjoy Life...

Hello friends! I am so sorry that I keep disappearing, it just seems that as the year progresses I get busier and busier with school activities. I want to reassure you that our adventures and craftiness have not stopped, they are just not as well documented with everything that we keep doing. 
Friday was my birthday and so began Birthday weekend! A wonderful set of 3 days full of shopping, meals and so much fun.Yes, I am incredibly spoiled by my husband and parents, but I am forever grateful of all they do for me. I am truly Blessed!!
Have you ever noticed HOW MUCH children want to talk? They love to chat and chat and chat, no matter what the topic they are always a wealth of information. This past weekend I was saddened. My parents took me out for a birthday brunch after Mass yesterday and we noticed a family right next to us. EACH of the 3 children were on their phone (oldest was 12 at most, youngest around 7) WITH earbuds. What is the point of going out as a family if no one is really committed to being there. At first I was just confused as to why this would be happening and then I noticed that mom was on her Ipad. Wow...Come on World, it's time to PUT DOWN the electronics and spend QUALITY time with your family. How hard is that?? My children always have so much to say, that there seems to never be any down time :) How about you?


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Explore & Learn

We've recently taken to hiking in the State Park and other Nature Parks in the area after dinner and are finding this to be an awesome way of spending time together as a family and getting some of that after dinner sluggishness out.

A favored path is one where tree branch 'steps' lead a STEEP trail to the river front. The kids absolutely love this and my husband and I pray we all make it in one piece! It's quite an adventure, but everyone always feels excellent when we make it back to the top of the gorge. 
A small waterfall trickles down these walls as we climb down and it sounds so peaceful that we all manage to just hear the sound of each others breathing as we traverse on our adventure.
Having Daddy home lately has been such a Blessing, the kids follow him as though he were the Pied Piper and Me? I'd follow him to the end of the Earth of course!
My kids love to collect things and one of Autumn's collection is of course, leaves! She presses them in between contact paper and marks them on the date and where found. We then slip them in to page protectors and a binder!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Calling...

Wednesday is here and instead of going wordless, I seem to be getting incredibly wordy. We all constantly hear about people and their work and how they were 'called' to it. I was a Travel & Tourism major in college & absolutely adored all the traveling I did and studying about various people and places. It was a true pleasure to do these things all day. Then my oldest came along, followed quickly by the other 2 and it was time to go through with what we had decided before my husband I had even gotten married. It was time to be a full time Mommy.

I drive several carpools and quite frequently have more kids in the car that are NOT my own, than ones that are and we always have fun. A small igloo cooler always sits between the 2 front seats, filled with juice boxes, water bottles and small snacks to take care of those after school muchies. When I walk my children up to their classrooms, so many kids know my name & some even run to hug me. These little things that seem ordinary to so many, make me smile. I volunteer for everything that comes my way and love every minute of if.

Last week as I drove another van full of children home and they all rushed to tell me about their day, I realized something. I had the realization that no matter where I had imagined myself at the age of 31, the exact opposite had happened. The noise in the car was seriously deafening and here I was grinning from ear to ear. I was exactly where I needed to be, doing exactly what I was called to do. I was a Mother and I was absolutely loving everything about it. With my oldest being 7, I know it took me a long time to realize it, but when I did it changed everything. I wasn't just driving kids home, I was serving a purpose. I was called to do this, to help out struggling parents to help my children become the best people that they were called to be and most of all to spread my joy.

To many, I am 'Just A Mom' but to the important few I am so much more. For once in my life I realize that, I know this now and I cannot wait to see what the Future Has To Offer Me...


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tip Tuesday!

Happy Day everyone! We have been busy enjoying this fantastic sign of Spring outdoors and celebrating in all we do. Walks, Parks, Biking etc. We are ready to bring on the nice weather with fun in the sun! What have you been doing outside? Occasionally with Spring weather, comes the rain and we have to be quick with activities to keep them from getting bummed that they are inside! (after the puddle walks OF COURSE!)

PAINT! My kids love to paint but the oldest CANNOT stand when her brothers mix up the colors! How do I keep the squabbling at bay? Egg cartons! I cut them up in sections, depending on how many colors they want and they each get their own.

Sensory Bin of Rice! A great way to practice letter recognition or spelling of sight words! I put letter tiles inside the rice and as they dig for the tiles, they look to see what words can be spelled with the found letters.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday!

Lent has us eating more Sushi for meatless Wednesdays & Fridays!
Is it mid-march already?! Goodness, I honestly believe that I must be sleeping months away, because I do not know where the time goes! With a super busy and activity filled week ahead of us, I know that I have to keep the meals simple so a lot of thought went in to prep and cook time for me!

Putting the dressing at the bottom of every cup means no dripping dressing!
Monday: Brats & Grilled Veggies (The weather is too nice to not have the grill going!)
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Salad & Fresh baked rolls
Wednesday: Cheese Pizza & Veggie Platter 
Thursday: Pork Chops and Steamed Green Beans
Friday: Egg Salad Sandwiches on fresh baked bread and a garden salad
Saturday: We are helping at the school book fair all day, so it will be a day of eating on the go!
Sunday: Mom comes home from vacation, so we will be welcoming her back!

At the end of my evening as I tidy over the last bits of mess in the house, I begin to make lunches for the next day. This is one of my favorite parts of the day as it allows me to pack their lunches with care and without rushing. I can write notes, create fun shaped cheeses and make it as delicious and healthy as possible.

Washing, Chopping and Storing all my fruits and veggies ahead of time always allows me to have a fresh snack when I get hungry. Instead of grabbing a super easy cookie, I can grab a bowl of fruit or a container of veggies just as easily.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Writing is Fun!

Do you have a little one that does NOT like to write at all? Make it fun by changing things up every now and then! I found these fun carpenter pencils at the hardware store and all of a sudden, the kids ALL wanted to write with them! Cut up tiny sheets of paper to make mini notebooks and they ALL want to write a book! If you keep changing things up, they will gravitate there on their own!

A roll of receipt tape makes an awesomely delightful way to write! They made banners, played restaurant, tried to make the Worlds Longest Sign! So much laughter always follows a change at the writing center!

Keep all accessories accessible and separated and your kids will always find what they need and enjoy doing it all!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Taking a Break...

This past Monday, I took my little guy out on a 'date'. We went to McDonald's early in the morning for breakfast and quiet time. Together we read from the Bible and then he played quietly at 'painting' me pictures. Did you know that Bingo Daubers are a child's best friend? They kept him entertained long after my tea went cold!
Next stop, was a bakery where he could choose anything at all that he wanted for his after dinner dessert and then he got to choose one for every member of the family. He felt so special doing this, that it must have taken him 15 minutes to decide what to choose for everyone!
Off to the park for some relay races and cone play! The way the wind was whipping, we had to stack the cones 2 or 3 high so that they would have a little more weight to them. The weather was perfectly warm, that darn wind just took away from it all!

The wind was way too harsh for water play outdoors but not INSIDE! I filled up the plastic sensory bin with water! He had so much fun scooping and pouring and then 'washing' everything. I gave him the remnants of hand soap from the bathroom and a washcloth to wash dishes. We had a tea party and then it was time to 'wash' them all up!
At the end of the night he helped me make dinner and was so excited to present the family with their desserts! We had such a fun day that I cannot wait to do it again with 1 of the other kids. I find it very important to give each child their own special day with mom, so that they can be heard & they can feel what it's like to have all the focus on them for one day. Let them choose the activities, the meals, make it all about them!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Making Math Fun!

My children study their Math flashcards every evening and believe me, it gets OLD! They like to spice it up every now and then, so it's not the same thing constantly! I bought a Large Foam Math Dice Set & a pack of 100 numbers flashcards. Roll the die to see if we are adding or subtracting and then pick 2 cards at random from the numbers pile. (we keep them in a bucket and you just reach in and pull). If you need scratch paper for the larger numbers you are free to use it, but the idea is to answer as quickly as possible! This turns studying in to a fun game!
How many of us does this describe???

Yes, it really is!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fun to Make Matching Game!

Kids absolutely LOVE matching games! They help kids work on their Memory & it's a super easy game that even the youngest of them all can join in. I was in need of a super fun and one of a kind gift to give as a birthday present, so we made this game and loved it so much, we made one for ourselves! 

A bag of bare wood pieces (square or round) from Hobby Lobby (Use 40% off coupon) + a pack of large and colorful rub-ons = a game that EVERYONE can enjoy helping out with. My kids all had fun assisting me in making these cute games and after it all we used a little Mod Podge to seal the images on!


Monday, March 5, 2012

And Bingo Was His Name-O!

What a marvelous weekend!!! We spent Saturday having dinner with family and then swept them all away to the school to play BINGO! WOW, my husband and I usually sell the tickets as we work the hall for volunteer hours, but playing was a whole other level of insanity!!

Let me tell you all, I have never laughed so much or had more fun than a table of almost 10 of us having an absolute blast! I learned new things and we donated A LOT of money to the school, as none of us won! Hahaha!!! How was your weekend?


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy Saturday My Friends!! Yesterday was an incredibly stressful day for me and I just had to let go and Let God take over! My children of course had a half day on a day when I needed to relax the most! Haha. I  decided early enough that it would be simple Friday evening of taking in a movie, dinner out and just relaxing. Well, things never work out as planned right? The rain started pouring down early, but the time I made it in to the city to pick up my children from church it had turned to slippery sleet! The snow followed  quite quickly and it was coming down in blankets. I really dislike disappointing my children, but it had to be done. We picked up some sushi to go (meatless friday), stopped at Target for some essentials we knew we needed and picked up a new movie. Our Friday would be at home, but fun none-the-less!

Thursday was the final day for Box Tops to be postmarked and I of course left hundreds until the last minute! Good thing I have a small army at home to help me out! They lasted about an hour before it became boring, so I set them up with a simple art project of their own that they could do unsupervised!

A package of clothespins from the dollar store, some paints and glitter and they were OFF! They painted to their hearts content and we all finished our work at the same time. After letting them dry out over night, we spread them throughout the house to do duties wherever needed! Chip Clips in the kitchen, Oversized paper clips in the homework center, Magnets in the playroom...

How was your week??

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