Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Library Day

Boy this one snuck up on me...I think I still have Christmas in my brain and I can't quite shake it. Yesterday was blissful! We had nothing to do so we did nothing! Prince Charming was home for the day and we just enjoyed being home. The kids were happy to play with their toys, eat pancakes and watch a little more TV. We did have some exchanges to take care of so Prince Charming ran out early and did a few quickies in town then we went out after nap and took care of the biggies. My mom had us over for some leftovers, which is fine with me, I'm always happy not to have to think about what to make for dinner! Then it was home and to bed early, the kids really need to get back into our normal routine. JB in particular, he's been a bit crabby for the last day and a half, too much crazy!!!

So I was thinking, what book can I highlight for Library Day today? I think I've done all I can with Christmas titles and nothing new is hitting me. Then I remembered my new favorite books. So I'll plug them, since all of you reading this are adults, maybe you'd like a book suggestion for you instead of the preschooler in your life :)

First let me just say I'm a bit of a kamakazi reader. I love to read and I do it at top speed. I start off like a normal person, than when the book clicks with my brain (which sometimes only takes a page or two, sometimes half the book) I'm in go mode. I have to know how it ends immediately and I won't cheat by just reading the end. The funny thing about this "style" of reading is, when I'm done, I rarely remember the details of the story. Certainly I understand the story as I go, and I can tell you the "big picture" but don't ask me too many questions, I won't know the answer. I should probably be labeled with some sort of reading disability relating to comprehension, but I guess I'm too old for that. My style has served me well, I can read the blurb on the standardized test, immediately answer the ten stupid questions then clear my mind to go to the next section. What can I say, it's a gift :)

OK, OK...the book! It's no secret that the world has fallen in love with the series, The Hunger Games. I saw it on the library shelf about a year and a half ago, read the back cover and then tried to convince my then book club to give it a try. At that point I think it must have been brand new, because noone had ever heard of it and it's Survivor like quality seemed to turn some of my club off. Oh well, we read something else and I completely forgot about it.

Fast forward to this past July and I decided, after hearing EVERYONE and their BROTHER, talk about it, it was time to read The Hunger Games. Little did I know EVERYONE and their BROTHER had not read it and I think it was mid-September before the library called and said it was finally in and my turn to read it. I picked it up on a Monday morning and by 10 o'clock Monday night it was finished. I read the whole thing in about five hours! COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! (read: children are neglected when mommy has a good book) There was no way I was waiting another three months to read the next installment so a good friend at church (Who happens to teach Miss M in Sunday School and Cubbies and still allows me to be her friend) lent me her Nook. I read part two over two days, just as great as the first. That same wonderful friend had part three too, so I borrowed her book and finished up the series.

I highly recommend them! They are considered Young Adult fiction so they are a quick read. The other benefit of that category is that the content is fairly "clean". I'm not a fan of bad language or explicit sex and violence. The very nature of this story has a violent theme to it, but the book is not gratuitous at all. Someone did ask me what age I thought they were appropriate for, I hate that question. I don't want to be the one to recommend a book that then destroys some innocent quality in a child!! My best answer to that question is "read it yourself and then you decide". I mean really, don't you want to know what your kid is reading/doing/playing/seeing on fb/watching. (oh sorry, I was just about to step up on my soapbox and preach)

I can't think of a fun craft or game to go with this book...just get all three and hunker down...you'll thank me later :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Confessions

It's 10:56 pm...we just wrapped ALL the gifts, put one together, got breakfast prepped and "gave the house a once over"! I always have high hopes of doing these things much earlier, well except the breakfast prep, but I never do. I have even had good excuses this year and last...illness the week before the holiday. But even so, most of the gift have been bought for about two/three weeks now, they could have been wrapped before the flu set in!

Oh well, it's all part of the joy of Christmas Eve. It really is one of my favorite days of the year! It has been since I was young. I love being surprised and I love getting presents, so the anticipation of Christmas morning has always been a favorite! I always loved the thrill of putting cookies out for Santa, listening for sleigh bells (which my brother used to pretend to hear just to torture me) and trying to get to sleep. Then I'd be up at the CRACK OF DAWN and sit at the top of the stairs until everyone else decided to join me. But my real favorite thing Christmas Eve was my church service at Davisville. Every year it was the same exact thing, and every year I loved it! The bell choir playing Ring the Bells, the choir and jr. choir doing the Silent Night echo number (personal fav), the huge crowd that required people to sit in chairs all the way back to the lobby, Les Wilson belting out Christmas carols, getting all dressed up, etc...LOVE those memories, and love making new ones with my family.

Ignore the following statements if you don't want to hear my opinion about Santa Claus!To me as I look back at those memories, it was such a mixture of childhood joy and innocence believing in Santa and then reverence and awe in understanding that the birth of Jesus was just the beginning of my salvation story! I love that we did the fun and the important, it's what made my childhood ideal. I was allowed to believe in make-believe things and I was taught the truth in a consistent loving way. I hope my kids will look back at their young years and think the same thing!! And no, I don't feel lied to and my parents didn't seem to mind sharing some of the gift giving credit with a fictional character...just for clarification :)

Well, on to the confession, which is much less serious than the constant debate over Santa or no Santa...here goes...don't judge...I have never seen White Christmas, Miracle on whatever Street, or It's a Wonderful Life...

Also, it is now 11:09 and Scott is out doing a little last minute shopping...

Merry Christmas...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I've gone and done it again...

Yes, sir, I went ahead and won the mother-of-the-year award again, right out from under you!!!

We've had a rough week here, mommy being sick and all! The kids seemed to turn on me the other day, like they knew I was well enough to handle them misbehavin' but not really well enough to take care of it properly!!! Well, meal times have become a joke in the last two days, I couldn't get either kid to eat anything!

So today at lunch I decided it was time to get them back on board the mommy train! I served them yogurt with frozen blueberries mixed in. This is a favorite lunch of theirs and we hadn't had it in a while. I re-introduced it last week and we've had it every day since. Usually they have a sandwich with it and some fruit but today they had been at my mom's and I knew they had snacked there, so I just gave them the yogurt.

They both took about two bites and then dug their heels in..."we're not eating this". I remained calm. I reasoned with them. I "indulged" them by listening to their tale of woe. But finally, I told them, if you don't eat it now you will eat it the next time you tell my "I'm hungry".

They both took naps and woke up quite pleasant so we ran a few errands. Dinner finally came around and so I got out their yogurt cups and told them to "finish up". They both looked equally startled by the fact that I had just pulled out the gross cups from lunch and sat them down in front of them for dinner. "Where is our real dinner?" asked Miss M. "It's right in front of you, when you eat that you can have something else". I mean c'mon, this is a total move my mom would have made 35 years ago (someday you'll have to ask me about chicken potpie).

I watched JB take a bite or two, and after each bite he made this horrible face. Then Miss M started crying real tears and tried to tell me it just didn't taste the same. BAH!! It's the same yogurt you've been eating for three years!! Although, I must admit at this point I thought, what if the yogurt is bad? Now, I hate yogurt so me tasting it isn't going to help, I think it all tastes rancid!! So I kept at it..."eat it and be done" "two big spoonfuls JB, then you'd be done" "don't you want cookies??????"

Finally I gave in, I went to the fridge, took out the big tub o' yogurt and there it was...instead of the "yummy" french vanilla variety we buy every time...it says plain! Oops...I guess plain yogurt is noticeable even with frozen blueberries added. Poor Miss M, she just hates change and I wasn't even really listening to her complaints!!

I made her eat two bites, JB ended up finishing his off. You know what they ate after that, since they were still starving because of it being day two of their food stand-off? Salmon...you've got to be kidding me...they ate the salmon! Why do I even bother????

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Library Day

It's been quite the week here...last Thursday, on the way home from preschool, I got the flu. Today is Tuesday and I feel more like myself than I have in five days...but not quite "better". I seriously think I'll get the flu shot next year, I don't need to experience this again!

So Library Day kind of snuck up on me. So first I'll confess...I have a stack of library books on my half wall that are late. I just haven't been able to get off the couch and as much as I have tried to pawn them off on my mom or Prince Charming...they are still here! My bill should cover next years library budget increase! UGH! (your welcome Caitlin :))

My next confession...25 Christmas books in December hasn't been that fun! Some days it is, they are always excited to tear open the package, but they haven't always been excited to then sit and listen. I think I'll be wiser next year, like my friend Susan, and just pick four or five and sprinkle them throughout the month. I'm planning a whole new post on "why mother's of preschoolers feel compelled to celebrate Christmas for an entire month and the pitfalls of those efforts"...I'm thinking about getting my doctorate on the subject!!

My final confession...I still haven't bought this years Christmas titles. My shopping got railroaded when the fever started. I plan to make a bee-line to B&N tomorrow but it will be stinky leftovers I'm sure. I pray I don't come home with "Bubble Guppy's Underwater Christmas Adventure" or "SpongeBob Elf Pants".

On a positive note...two years running Miss M's favorite Christmas books is "Snowmen at Christmas". It is a very cute story about what snowmen do, while we're sleeping, to celebrate Christmas. It even has a little "eye spy" element in that there are three pictures that the illustrator hid in every picture. If you need a last minute Christmas gift, give it a whirl!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hold Your Breath

Don't lick the screen, don't breath too deeply, and DO NOT for any reason, come to my house. I have the flu...self diagnosed...I started yesterday feeling not so well, which quickly turned into feeling horrible! Fever, chills, swollen glands, achy everything...it's fabulous!

Why am I blogging then? Well, I just took three advil and I can swallow without feeling like razor blades are rubbing together in my throat. The kids are happily watching Curious George Christmas, so I thought I'd type for a minute. But to be honest, it's been a minute, I'm exhausted...

Friday Fun is cancelled today due to lack of energy...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Library Day

We're still up to our eyeballs in Christmas books here!!! We got a little behind at the end of last week but we got all caught up over the weekend. Miss M has finally caught on that every present is a book...we weren't trying to keep that a secret, in fact I say "what book will we open tonight?" but just last night she finally said, "it's just going to be another book". I detected a slight bit of disappointment, until the said book was opened..."Christmas Bear" a Berenstain Bears Christmas story. All disappointment faded and we snuggled on the couch to enjoy our story!!

We are still working on what Christmas titles we are adding to our collection this year, we will get two, one for each kiddo.

I think JB is going to get one of these:

If you're kids haven't gotten into the "I Spy" series yet, they are so much fun!! Miss M enjoyed them for a short time, but JB LOVES them! We get at least one out every library trip, and I sit and do them while I watch TV...without the kids!! I'm so addicted!

We had some fun the other day, we had Walter Wick's Can You See What I See? Toyland Express book and JB and I thoroughly searched every page!! Later that day we were playing with blocks and it hit me...we can make our own I Spy sets (thank you Garven family, I know, you've been doing this for years). We stacked all 200 of his little wood blocks on thier little table top. Than I had him go in the other room and I put his cars, her princesses and ponies, little people, dinosaurs, any little toy I could find all throughout the blocks. When he came back in I'd name something and he had to find it! This was so fun, they both loved it! Then when I was done playing (read: it was time to make dinner) the kids knocked it all over. As if that wasn't fun enough, they rebuilt it and played again, just the two of them.

So easy, so fun, so repeatable...-

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Bucket List

Saw this list on pinterest and thought it was cute, although there are a few things on there I would like to change! To be honest, a couple of the things on the list have nothing to do with Christmas/winter...so I'm skipping them. Like shucking oysters, that will never be on any bucket list I have, EVER. I don't want to eat them, why on earth would I go through the torture of shucking them! And swimming/hot tub? No thanks, although we could do both with no problem since my mom lives in a community that has both indoors. Somehow, even though they are in a nice warm swimming facility, the thought of putting a bathing suit on from November-April just turns my stomach! And s'mores certainly are yummy, but I think I'll stick to making them over the campfire in the summer/fall.

Other items on the list are "gimmes", I mean really, who celebrates Christmas and doesn't drink hot chocolate, look at Christmas lights, fill stockings and bake cookies (okay, maybe everyone doesn't make gingerbread men, but most bake and/or eat some special Christmas cookie).

We still plan to decorate a gingerbread house (read: I need to go to Walmart and pick that five dollar house kit up)and bake cookies for Santa. Ice Skating is a nice idea, not sure we'll have the chance before Christmas, but maybe before winter is over. I think it's a nice bucket list idea, the same with seeing a play. I love the secret gift idea too, we'll discuss that at dinner tonight and see what we can come up with!

My favorite thing we've done so far this season was to volunteer together at our church. Our church, Bible Fellowship, is a major relay center for Operation Christmas Child (that's the shoebox ministry) and we went over as a family twice to help pack boxes, load trucks, unload vans, fill shoeboxes, etc. The kids were actually able to work and they had a blast doing it. We went once and Miss M begged to go back again! What a great tradition to start! That happens before Thanksgiving, which is nice because we're not so busy at that point.

The only thing left on that bucket list is 'make reindeer food'...we'll see about that. We still have 13 Christmas books to unwrap and read, two Christmas videos to watch, cookies to bake, presents to wrap, shopping to finish, etc. The reindeer may or may not be fed by us this year...maybe I can just throw some sprinkles out on the sidewalk!!

And Megan, I've been planning this post for about a week, I swear ;)

Friday, December 9, 2011


Isaiah 40:27-31

Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God?" Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

I had the opportunity to really meditate on these words a few weeks back and they really spoke to my heart. Ever since then I have been replaying them over and over and sharing them with a few friends who I thought might find encouragement from this scripture. I'm posting it today because as exciting and fun as the holidays can be, for many they can be weary days. Family, finances, busyness and the process of looking back on a year that may be filled with disappointment, mistakes or tragedy can drain us of our joy! I love these verses...so blunt..."do you not know, have you not heard? ... He will not grow tired and weary"

I pray you can put your hope in the LORD when you are weary and that you receive HIS strength to carry you through!

I found the soaring eagle here!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Here's the lemonade...

You've heard the expression...When life gives you lemons, make lemonade...

The other day we got a phone call from a friend from our small group. We were all coming over for dinner and she didn't have any coffee filters (as you may or may not know, if you don't have coffee at an event where church people are they all melt into puddles of unrecognizable goo). Sure, no problem, we have coffee filters. I put them on the half wall that we MUST walk past to get out the door and didn't think about them again...until we got to our friends house and she asked "Do you have the coffee filters????"

Thankfully we live a short hop from their house, so Prince Charming ran home for the filters (he is definitely one that will turn into the goo...and he makes a VERY big puddle!). Now here is where Prince Charming and I differ (well lets be honest, I could write a post a day for 10 years on the ways we differ, but this was Sundays glaring example), he ran in the house grabbed one coffee filter off the stack and left the stack on the half wall. I think I would have grabbed the whole stack or grabbed one and put the rest away (I might be giving myself too much credit there).

We had a nice night with our small group, came home, put the kids to bed, and hopped into bed ourselves to watch TV and just take it easy. The next day, got up, did our morning routine and then it happened...I ran in my room to check an email while the kids were playing nicely and all of the sudden it was quiet...too quiet...

I peeked into the living room and what do I see (and I wish I had taken a picture of this) about 100 coffee filters neatly layed all over the room, each one with a toy or two in it. "Look mommy, it's my basket store" Then, as if on cue...JB runs through the basket store "vroom, vroom, vroom" as if he is a racecar cruising in for the win at the Indy 500.

Coffee filters...smashed! Toys...everywhere! Miss M...crying! JB...tickled pink!

Couldn't reuse those coffee filters. I remembered my pre-school teaching days and something about coffee filters, markers and tie-dye. Here is the finished product:

I like to call them "lemonade"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Library Day

As you may have gathered from a previous post (or ten) I do love Christmas Books. I have been reading to my kids since the day they entered this world and they both love books! We read the same books over and over, then we find new ones and fall in love with them. Here are two of my favorite Christmas books and something fun to do with each one! Enjoy!

Night Tree by Eve Bunting
This is the story of a family that has a unique Christmas tradition. They go to the woods one night before Christmas, equipped with food items to decorate a tree with. They choose a tree, hang yummy fruits and popcorn, make it look beautiful than watch the wildlife around the forest come and dine on their very own Christmas present!

Enjoy the book and then make some things to hang outside on a tree in your own yard. Stringed popcorn and cranberries, peeled clementines, or an apple. In first grade we used to get soft pretzels or bagels, slather them with peanut butter and roll them in bird seed. Tie a red ribbon and hang it up for the birds to eat! Look at it as a Christmas present to your animal friends.

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
This is the story of a little lamb, Timothy, who has a crippled leg and can't join the other sheep on the trek to green grass. Instead he stays back, with his best friend the cow, and mills around the stable. Then strangers come into the stable and a miraculous birth occurs. This little crippled lamb offers comfort and proves that God has a special place for everyone!

Enjoy this story and then make Timothy Sticks. I taught for years with a real dynamite (who says that??) teacher, Joyce. She had a knack for coming in my first grade classroom for "special occasions" and showing us a creative, fun way of looking at things. She often came in at Christmas, read The Crippled Lamb and then handed out pretzel sticks dipped in chocolate...she called them Timothy Sticks. We make them at home now to remind us of this sweet story and how God makes us each special!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My hometown :)

A quiet Saturday at our house (read: boring Saturday). Prince Charming had to work and JB is still under the weather, so we played at home all day. The kids made a bakery in their bedroom. Miss M was the brains behind the idea but JB was happy to help, and then destroy, and then help, and then destroy. It was very cute, and although I thought we might have enough play food for two small children, today's adventure indicates we do not. So I am going to try my friend Megan's idea, she crafted some cute baked goods with her son...check it out!

We had a plain, yet yummy dinner, that everyone actually ate. I always love meals like that, they are few and far between here! Prince Charming said that we could go get a treat since some of us haven't hardly left the house since...oh....TUESDAY! (that's not completely accurate but it is very dramatic) So off we went to the Zebra Striped Whale for some delicious ice cream. As we sat there eating ice cream and reading the strange books that they keep there I came up with this list:

You know you're in Newtown when...
1. All girl children are wearing UGGs (Well, all but my girl child! Seriously? I'd like to believe that even if I had that kind of money I would understand that paying $60 for boots for a three year old is worthy of a head exam)
2. The ice cream you just bought your child cost you $3.25 for one scoop. (They do have very fun sprinkles but I don't think they are worth $3.25)
3. The people sitting at the table next to you share with you that they've already been to "the light show" four times (it costs $25 each time!)
4. You walk out of the store at 7:15 pm and everything around you is closed. (Prince Charming really hates this about our lovely little town, you can't get gas after 8 pm)
5. You walk out of the store and notice that across the street is "the Tubby Olive"...an olive oil store (I have nothing else to say about this...)
6. The people sitting on the bench outside are feeding their two dogs each their own $3.25 ice cream cone.

I really, actually, love where I live...but we are way out of our league on most accounts. The fact that I was born and raised here makes little difference! It is NOT the same small town I rode my yellow metallic banana seat bike into to pick up a two dollar hoagie. Nor is it the same town with the five and dime store where you could literally buy candy for a dime! And it certainly isn't the town my parents grew up in...I think then there were more pheasants than people (yes, I said pheasants...when is the last time you heard someone speak of a pheasant?? I have fond memories of driving around with my Dad spotting them in fields...fields that are now things like Dunkin' Donuts, 7-11 and my current home).

I am thankful for where and how I grew up, I am mostly thankful that I can raise my own children here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Fun

Let's follow up Library Day with some Friday Fun :) I'm on a roll...

I decided, after spending wwwwaaaaayyyyy to much time on pinterest, that I wanted to have a homemade Christmas this year. I have already given up that dream and it's only December 2! Actually, it's best I give it up, then there won't be disappointment later. I do have some new, more attainable goals, that we have begun to work on today.

We are going to make three crafts for our tree, I will add more if I get these three done and still have quiet days that need filling (you can laugh out loud at that last part of the sentence if you'd like).

We're going to make tree ornaments using popsicle sticks. Today we painted the sticks green, this is a HUGE undertaking, yet should be so simple!! Getting a four year old a two year old to flip the sticks over and paint the other side is an exercise in futility. I gave up and changed the way we'll put them together for my sanity and their joy :) So, three sticks will now get glued on a piece of green construction paper in the shape of a triangle. We will decorate with little glittery foam cut-outs I found of stockings, snowmen, snowflakes and trees. I have stars for the top and some glitter to make things really crazy! I used to make these with my first graders each year, they would skip the decorating and put a little picture of themselves in the center and then write the year on the star. I may have them each make one of them too, it's nice to have thier little faces on the tree!

The next project, probably for one day next week, is cinnamon and applesauce dough ornaments. The key to this recipe is to find cinnamon at the dollar store in a huge container. It may not be the best cinnamon, but who really cares, it's going to hang on the Christmas tree! You just mix even amounts of the two ingredients and mix and knead it until it is "dough". Then roll it out, use Christmas cookie cutters to make shapes, and a straw to poke a whole for the ribbon. They take a while to dry, like days, but they smell delicious!! I made some years ago that I still use and they still smell wonderful!!

Finally, and this one can't happen until we get our tree, I want to string popcorn and cranberries! I have ALWAYS wanted to do this, seriously it's been on my bucket list since I was like five. I think the Ingall's family probably did this and since I have wanted to be Laura Ingalls all my life (yes, still, that's a whole different post) it's only to be expected that I want to decorate my tree like her! Since I haven't done this before I am accepting "tips"...what kind of string, needle, how to not break the popcorn, etc.

So there is my Friday Fun. And to be very honest with you, the fun was typing it...we have only started the first ornament. The kids are very excited about decorating them, so maybe tonight along with a movie and some popcorn! Friday's in December are Christmas movie night at our house...tonight is Buzz Saw Louie...Miss M's favorite!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

1 Day Early

I really try and hold off on decorating, baking, listening, reading anything Christmas until December 1. But I'm stuck in today with a croupy/asthma/snotty JB and he and Miss M are perfectly content to play! (the first Christmas miracle of the season)

Since the day is wide-open I decided to finish taking down all the fall stuff, throw out the moldy gourds and smooshy pumpkins, wash all the fall linens (yeah, by fall linens I mean 3 dish towels with pumpkins, turkey or candy corn on them, linen just sounds soooo Martha), and put them away. Now, by away I mean I put them in their crate where they will sit at the bottom of the attic steps until Prince Charming gets around to putting them away. It could be tonight...or it could be March 21 (I'm betting on March but praying for tonight!!).

I do a couple of quirky things with decorations and packing them up. First, I keep all my Children's Lit that goes with the season/holiday in the box with the decorations. That way I can use them each year and don't have to search like a mad woman through hundreds of titles in storage. I also put their craft projects from that season in the box. Often, when I open it up the next year I just chuck them, but it puts a smile on my face when I open the box and there are little treasures from the previous year. I do keep a few things, like all the hand turkeys with the year written on the back. It's cute to see their hand grow and what they were thankful for that year. And finally I line the bottom and the top of the crate with that seasons throw blankets...yes, I have seasonal throw blankets...apparently they are a great gift for teachers ;)

So it's all packed up ready to go...Christmas decorations will come down tonight, I hope, and go up over the next few days. But I did cheat a little, the Christmas music is playing one day early and I LOVE IT!!

Off to dig out some red and green sprinkles!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Library Day

Way back when I started this little blog I wrote about Children's Literature every Tuesday...somehow I got out of the practice of doing so. Today I am reinstating Tuesday as Library Day!!

I borrowed this idea from Pinterest (if you don't know what that is and want to check it out just let me know, I'll email you an invitation). The thought is that you wrap one Christmas book for each day of December, leading up to Christmas. The kids can unwrap one each day and then you get to enjoy that book together.

The down-side to this is 1) who has that many Christmas books?? Well, I do, actually I could do more than one many days! What can I say, I'm addicted to Children's Lit and I taught for 13 years. My Christmas book collection is extensive and I add two (one for each kiddo) each year now. 2) who wants to waste all that wrapping paper?? I first saw the pic with the pretty paper, the second one used craft paper. That you can get a roll of pretty cheap and if you don't use it all for this then you have paper for another project. 3) And this is the one that is my biggest hurdle, who remembers to do these "one per day every day leading up to Christmas" activities. I mean really, I have tried every year for the last few to do some sort of advent/craft/book/activity thing and every year I fail, epically! I'm considering two options for this one. First, buck up and do it, this one seems especially easy since we read every day anyway. Second, I could just wrap up books for the week leading up to Christmas.

I think I'm going to try and do the whole month because of our reading habits. But all other Christmas countdowns will only be the week before Christmas...it's really all kids that are four and two can handle anyway...right!?

Well, Library Day is back on, if I feel really motivated I may bring back Friday Fun! It's easy this month with all the Christmas plans I have.

PS The pictures are from www.katherinemariephotography.com and www.ourfamilytreeblog.com

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's all over...

Thanksgiving Day was a success! Here is how I know this...

delicious dinner--check
full bellies--check
lots of leftovers--check
kids behaved--check
kids had fun--check
family enjoyed themselves--check
watched some parade--check
watched some football--check
no arguments--check
no spills--check
dishes are washed and put away--check
already had one plate of leftovers--check
kids in bed by 6:45--check

We really did have a great day. We had a little surprise (read: two extra guests) but you know how it goes on feast day. There is more food than you know what to do with, what's two more mouths???

We are going to relax for a few days (read: Prince Charming goes to work tomorrow so we can lay around and do nothing) and then gear up for Christmas. I think I'm going to take down all autumnal decorations on Monday and then we'll decorate for Christmas on the first of December. I have lots of ideas and plans for Christmas...more on that later!

Oh, and remember those three pics of things I said I was going to do this week...well here are the pics of what really happened. And I added one of our Thanksgiving tree, it's even more full now but I forgot to take a pic of it today!
Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Okay, this is like the first day, it has TONS of leaves on it now!! I swear!!

The rice krispie turkey treats...I will never try this again, although they did taste really yummy if I do say so myself!

Turkey hand print placemats instead of cute nature placecards. The grandmoms loved them!!! And isn't that all that really matters??

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Excitement is building...

I could be talking about excitement building in a number of areas of life right now...

1. Thankgsiving tomorrow!! Kids can't wait for Uncle Don and Aunt Sue and Grandmom to arrive, Miss M has asked me about 20 times today "what day is it?". We've made rice krispie turkeys (which is no easy task as those things are stinkin' hot and sticky to roll into a ball...not a kid friendly activity), I've made coleslaw and the house just needs to be picked up. Tomorrow will be all bird making and potato cooking and EATING :)
2. A job interview...yes folks, I'm applying for a part-time job. I could tell you about it but then I'd have to kill you. More details later, but I do have an interview on December 5th...boy it's been a long time since I had to write a resume, fill out an application and interview. I'm feeling a bit rusty!!
3. Prince Charming's new job should actually start paying this week...don't ask...let's just say it's a good thing we got that free turkey!
4. Wait for it...POTTY TRAINING :) I don't mean to get my hopes up but JB peed on the potty twice today without being prompted. Both times Miss M went and then he wanted to go, he's the ultimate copy cat. But both times he went and both times he got an m&m. Later when we were decorating turkeys with m&m eyes he said, "m&m's?? I didn't go potty yet"

I look forward to all these things! I might just have to go eat a whole bottle of sprinkles :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

I took my turkey to the mall...

I earned my free turkey at Giant again this year. I was thrilled, since I spend most of our livelihood there. It's nice to feel like I got something back. I noticed they got a little smarter this year, you can only earn one! I have earned two in previous years...oh well...beggars can't be choosers!

When I checked out on Saturday morning I had the usual sticker shock. Either grocery prices have skyrocketed or my new Giant has raised their prices or I'm not being as careful as usual. Probably all of the above!

Finally, at dinner on Saturday night I had a minute to check my register tape. This is a very good habit to get into, I often find mistakes. Unfortunately when I'm shopping with Miss M and JB, by the time I get out of the store they are at DefCon 9 and I don't have 10 seconds to review the tape. So, I'm perusing my register tape, looks good...looks good...WAIT ONE HOT SECOND...what did I pay $21.19 for????? Yup, my free turkey cost me $21.19.

Needless to say, after dinner we packed the kids up and ran a few errands. First we dropped off the $1 Red Box movie rental that we didn't watch and kept for five days (we're dumb people, really). Then we high-tailed it to Giant where I was ready to fight. I had my receipt, my Giant card and THE bird, frozen solid and weighing in at 15+ pounds. But alas, they gladly reimbursed me and even gave me an apology and a Happy Thanksgiving.

By then the kids were done being troopers so we headed off to the mall to let them run around. Prince Charming was very worried about leaving the turkey in the car. I told him our options were a. put the turkey in the stroller and take it in or b. leave it in the car and let it continue the 5 day process of thawing...

The turkey never made it in the mall...but it did enjoy some peace and quiet in the JCPenney parking lot :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving: Part Deux

I'm cooking the bird! Haven't cooked the turkey for extended family in 10 years...however I have cooked it for my little troop. Should be fine. I am only in charge of Tom and potatoes. One thing I always appreciated about my Mom's Thanksgiving is she always tried to make everyone's favorite dish. Even if that meant we had three kinds of vegetables, or three starches, or even a dish only one person really liked. So I think I'm going to make some sweet potatoes for my mom and my sister and some old school coleslaw, the way my Nana used to make it. My mom and sister are bringing everything else...woohoo!!

The Thanksgiving Tree I posted about earlier is going so well! The kids actually remind me when I forget to do it and they think of mostly new things every time. Although JB is stuck right now on "Miss Cathie" the woman that watches him on Tuesday mornings at church.

Next week I hope to try a couple of Thanksgiving projects I found on pinterest. We'll see how that goes with cooking and cleaning, but we'll give it a college try! Here's what I'm thinking about doing....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Looking back

I've been working on a photo book for my MIL's 83rd birthday. I collected pics from the whole family and I made the book on Walgreen's website. It was easy, once I figured out how to upload all the pics. I chose Walgreen's because their price was the best. Now that I've seen the book I think I'd try snapfish or shutterfly, probably a much nicer quality!

Anyway, it got me looking at old pics of the kids and I picked out a couple of favs...

Monday, November 14, 2011

New perspective

Prince Charming took on a new position at work, it's a sales job and we've been hoping and praying for this change for over a year now. Now we've got what we asked for and I'm not loving it! When the commission checks finally start coming in I might be able to grow some appreciation for this job, but until then...ugh!

I know many of my friends are married to men that work insane hours, travel regularly and are working into the wee hours from their home offices. I've always felt badly for them and been glad that we didn't have to deal with any of those scenarios. Sure he had to work later than I liked here and there, and an occasional Saturday, but really, I had nothing to complain about.

Things are different now! Every night is a late night, every other Saturday is a must (and he's been asked to work every 'off' Saturday since the switch) and when he finally gets home there is lots of paperwork to catch up on!

I gotta' admit, I'm tuckered out and often feel in desperate need of adult conversation. I start to lose my mind around 4 pm and if he's not home by 7...it's either to bed for the kids or a movie, 'cause momma' ain't playin' no more!!

We will adjust, I really am thankful for the job. Prince Charming loves the new responsibilities, talking with customers, coming home clean and the hope of nice, juicy, commission checks.

My respect for single moms and those that have hubbies that travel for days/weeks at a time has gone up a notch! Our men work hard so we can live the lives we dream of, well, sorta...I think he'd have to rob a bank to really live the way I dream :)

I just need to by some extra sprinkles for those long nights :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Truth be told, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, actually, it is my favorite holiday. I love Christmas too, and Fourth of July ranks pretty high due to the great picnic we attend every year with our church family. But Thanksgiving is really the top on my list!

Here's why:
1. the food--and to be honest, I would like my mom to prepare my Thanksgiving dinner every year until the end of time. I'm nostalgic and I like homemade comfort food!
2. fall--stands to reason that my favorite holiday is also in my favorite season. I love the colors of fall, the decorations, the crisp air and the excitement of everything starting back up after a fun but lazy summer!
3. the simplicity--all though if you've cooked Thanksgiving dinner yourself you're probably laughing out loud at this comment, but I just mean there is no other pressure to the day. Just enjoy family, friends and food!
4. the story--I have always loved the Thanksgiving story of the Pilgrims and the Indians. Whether the way I learned it is accurate or politically correct matters not to me. When I was teaching it was also one of my favorite themes, I developed some wicked cool Thanksgiving lessons if I may say so myself!!
5. Thanksgiving Eve--usually a great church service full of testimonies of God's amazing faithfulness followed by a tradition with some of my favorite peeps--fondue! We won't be having this traditional pig-out fest this year because the peeps have literally "moved on" but I will always remember with fondness those evenings of dipping and laughing and chatting!
6. the food--oh wait, I think I said that :)

This year I decided Miss M is really old enough to comprehend the real meaning of thankfulness. I saw this great idea on pinterest to make a thankful tree. First, we went out and collected a bunch of stick, of course they loved this activity! We looked for sticks with character, not just straight ones. Then we brought them inside, put them in a vase and waa la...thankful tree! I cut out a bunch of leaves from construction paper and every night at dinner we each say one thing we're thankful for, write it on a leaf and tape it on our tree. Then we read Psalm 100, one of my favorite Psalms, and we end with a thankful song. I have a few of them up my sleeve but their favorite so far is "we've got so much, so much, so much...". It's a fun time and I'm finding that Miss M is telling me things throughout the day she is thankful for! Perfect, that's what I was hoping for!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Years before we had children we talked about Halloween and whether or not we would celebrate it when we did finally have our own little goblins. Prince Charming and I both grew up "doing Halloween" and we loved it. Well, truth be told, I always HATED the dressing up part, but I loved the candy, the jack-o-lanterns and the excitement of being outside after dark :)

It's funny, we both have such vivid memories of the exact route we took in our neigbhorhoods, what candy each neighbor was "famous" for giving (the lady around the corner from us gave us dimes...really???), our dad's "checking" the candy and eating a good 10% in the process, and the mad rush about an hour before trick-or-treating to get the costume together. We also remember getting older and going to "the good neighborhoods" so we could get even more candy!!

I find these memories sweet and fun and part of childhood. So we have chosen to celebrate Halloween in much the same way. My kiddos are so young that the last few years have really been, mommy picks out cute costume, kids scream when you put it on, you showcase them to grandparents and the few neighbors that care, then you go home and get them to bed by 7:30. This year Miss M was way more interested and very vocal about her costume and trick-or-treating.

We had a ballerina and a pirate. I do refuse to spend much money on Halloween costumes, it's just not in our budget! I was able to make Miss M's costume using our dress-up box and just bought a little "bling" to make it special. JB's costume proved more difficult and I ended up buying a five dollar job from Five Below...great deal! Prince Charming whipped up a hook so JB could be Captain Hook, he loved it!

Trick-or-treating was lots of fun, they loved knocking on doors, saying "Trick or Treat", "thanks for the treat" and Miss M's line for the night..."And a Happy Trick or Treat to you".

Our doorbell only rang one time! There were about 10 jr. high girls, some in costume, some not. I gave them candy anyway, they were very polite and giggly!

I did go in a few Halloween stores looking for accessories and did find them to be creepy and sleezy and overall full of a very "dark feeling". Lesson learned, stay out of the Halloween stores, make fun homemade costumes, enjoy seeing neighbors and take lots of pictures!

I tried to post a cute pic but it will only show html code...maybe I'll post some later :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

High Fives!

We have had quite a week at our house. If you've ever had young children living in your house, than you know the week we had. The unexplainable, horrific, defcon 6 (thanks Shay) behavior. We can go weeks and I only have to discipline the kids harshly once or twice. I was setting records in just 3-4 hour blocks. I am only consoled by the fact that at least three of my other mommy friends said they had the same kind of week. I swear they mobilize against us while they are in Sunday School!

My friend Kate had this week a little while back and came up with a fabulous little behavior system to try and right the wrongs. Then last Saturday I had the privilege of sitting in on an "in-service" about how to deal with children with behavioral difficulties in Sunday School(I think they need to plan the next in-service to be how to foil the plans of the devious children who ban together to infuriate their parents).

Between the two above inspirations I was able to come up with a new system to try for my crew. We're calling it High Fives. I traced 10 hands on poster board and cut them out. I have one hanging on the fridge. When I "catch" either child following our four "big" rules (to be mentioned later in post) I put a star on one of the fingers. When all five fingers are starred, it's a high five! They can trade that high five in for various prizes, if they hold on to the high fives they can redeem them for bigger prizes! Miss M is very excited, JB has no clue...guess which one it's really for???

I know, I know...so behavioristic! I'm not a huge propronent of this philosophy but something had to give. We'll do this for a week or two until things settle down, then we'll take a break and see what happens. I generally find this stuff works for a little while, usually just long enough for mommy not to lose her mind, and really, isn't that what it's partially about!!

My rules are as follows:
1. Obey the first time
2. Eat all that you've been given (I give tiny portions of each thing so they have to try, then can have seconds of what they like when they've tried everything)
3. Love and respect your brother or sister
Number four is specific to each child:
Miss M-Get your hair combed without kicking and screaming
JB-Use words instead of screaming

I'll let you know how it goes. So far they've received one high five today and they are opting to save it. If they get three than they get a trip to my Mom's indoor pool to go swimming.

Signing off...I think I'll go down some sprinkles!

Friday, October 28, 2011


I have deemed today pumpking day! We will probably have pumpkin weekend, maybe not ending until Tuesday...I love everything about pumpkins :)

Here's how we are pumpkining around:
1. Orange pancakes for breakfast with chocolate chip jack-o-lantern faces. I plan to try actual pumpkin pancakes on Halloween morning...ooh, maybe we'll have them for Halloween dinner instead :)
2. Rice Krispie treat pumpkins! We had some friends over this morning and we made this yummy treat. Next time I try this I will 1) use more food coloring so they actually look orange 2) find the tootsie rolls in the grocery store so we can make stems 3) get all the rice krispie goo out of the pan onto a cutting board and then make the pumpkins, we lost a lot of goo to the sides of the pan, it hardned faster than we could all ball them up (give us a little break here, two adults and five children under the age of 5)
3. Pizza for lunch, used pepperoni to make jack-o-lantern faces
4. Painting a jar orange and making a face using masking tape for eyes, nose and mouth. Then take the tape off when the paint dries and you have a face :) Miss M made one yesterday at school and JB wants one...so I will pull out the paint and masking tape for my little guy!

We have plans to:
1. Go buy the official carving pumpkin and have at it! We will roast the seeds, make a jack-o-lantern and light him for Halloween.
2. Watch The Great Pumpkin...I hope I remembered to DVR that last night?!!?!
3. Go to a Halloween party on Sunday night with our small group and have lots more pumpkin fun and food :)

I love fall...really I do...winter I could do with out!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

things heard in my house/car this week...

Miss M has recently said:
"Daddy is 44 so he can carry a big pumpkin" (I told her we were going to get a big pumpkin this weekend to carve)
"I'll be honest with you Sierra, Everest needs a Halloween costume too" (this conversation happened on the way to Cubbies, I wish I had taped the whole thing!! Along with this precious comment was Sierra's completely speechless reaction to Miss M's news that she wasn't going to be a princess...as if there is anything else to dress up as...)
"I thought you said I was fearfully and wonderfully made" (this was her Cubbies verse this week, she said this to me when I told her that her head must be very sensitive for all the screaming she does when I comb her hair)

JB has recently said:
"I wanna see Megan on the puter" (we just skyped with our friend in the Dominican Republic)
"Mommy get my goldfish right now" (he didn't get what he wanted, but I had to hide my smile at his insistance...he said it in kind of a demanding growl)
"I not destructor, I J..." (he ripped a book cover off a book, so I called him destructor)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

And here we go...

Last winter I found myself stuck at home for long periods of time with my little JB who struggles with viral induced asthma (translation: everytime he gets ANY virus we're tied to the nebulizer and the devil medicince, aka oral steriods). My pediatrician keeps telling me he's going to grow out of it. He hasn't yet...

He started coughing a little on Saturday, couldn't go to church on Sunday and today I kept him home from my Bible Study. We're on day three of limited outside contact and I'm already feeling caged in. Not to mention what it does to Miss M to not get out of the house for a few days! I am not looking forward to the winter, I think I'll start praying that he grows out of this by November (he's got 6 days for his lungs to correct themselves) Ready, set, go...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fake Dinner

I love to cook! I have been addicted to the Food Network since its inception. I have subscribed to many food magazines over the years and my favorite books to take out of the library are cookbooks. Seriously, I take them out and read them almost cover to cover. Some of my favorite cooks (they win this title by simply cooking things I can cook that taste really yummy, and usually I really like them on TV) are Giada, Ina, and Betty (Crocker that is, c'mon, her basic recipe book is a must have and you know it!).

There are two factors that deter my love for cooking and they are
1. my food budget
2. my audience (a 2 and a 4 year old are not the best food testers)

I really do make an effort to look for meals that are healthy, tasty and family friendly. Every once in a while I make something totally selfish that I just want to try, knowing full well the tots are not going to like it! And sometimes, like last night, I make a fake dinner.

What is a fake dinner you ask??? Well, it's something I can quick whip up, no special ingredients. For example a meat, potato and vegetable. Now don't get me wrong, there is really nothing wrong with these meals, Prince Charming and I practically grew up on them. But I like to stretch my culinary legs more often than not and so these meals are my fakes :)

All that to say, last night I made a pork loin over the stove, baked potato wedges and string beans with a little garlic and butter (thanks for the idea Dana). Everyone ate like they hadn't seen food in weeks. Even Prince Charming commented repeatedly about how good dinner was.

Maybe I should reconsider my love for cooking and just stick with fake dinners :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Today I was observing a Student Teacher in a Kindergarten classroom. I haven't seen many Kindergarten classrooms in this little job of mine, certainly none this year. So since I have K on the brain (Miss M will be attending next year), I was particularly curious to go to work today!

As I sat there doing my job, which is to observe and comment on every word, movement, activity, etc. that the Student Teacher does, I was also observing as mommy! The first poriton of the class was a no brainer, Miss M will participate, love it, and thrive. The Math lesson itself was short and sweet, I'm pretty sure Miss M will handle that okay, she might not raise her hand and she might tell the teacher a story or two, but she'll get whats going on for sure!

Then they went to tables and drew a picture of their house, cut out their address from a card they were given and then glued the address on the picture. Simple right...I just about had an anxiety attack...Miss M can't draw our house!! And if I asked her to do that today, she'd cry and say "I don't know how to draw a house".

I have two options here:
1. Begin art lessons 5 minutes ago, start with basic architectural drawings then slowly ease her into 3-D type models that show all the details she has memorized and categorized.
2. Relax and remember that she isn't in K yet so she doesn't have to draw a house yet. Remember that K is for learning the simple foundation it will take to build all her future skills on. Enjoy that I still have her home with me every day and be thankful that she is smart and will do fine when she gets to school NEXT YEAR.

Sometimes having been a teacher first makes me my own worst enemy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kim Kardashian

I knew the second JB came out of my tummy he was going to be my favorite...

Took the kiddos over to the mall this morning to play at Barnes and Noble. As we took our little "hike" through the mall (where we actually collected fall leaves?!?!?) we saw a huge TV screen. JB looks up, points and says "look, it's mommy" with a big happy squeal! I look to see who he is talking about (figuring it's Julia Roberts since that's my celebrity look alike **wink, wink Deb**) and lo and behold...it's Kim Kardashian...from his lips to God's ears Scott might say :)

And, if you know anything about JB's birth story you know I wasn't thinking he was going to be my fav when he came out! I wasn't thinking at all, I was to busy dying from a mistake with the spinal...well, that's a bit dramatic! But, in case Miss M and JB read this when they are older I have two favorite children, a girl and a boy :) I'm one lucky mommy!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

bath anyone?

We love bathtime at our house. I have been a bath person all of my life. I actually grew up in a home that only had a bathtub, no shower. Really, I'm not kidding, the tub was up on pedastools and everything. At some point in my jr. high school life my Dad bought this crazy hose hook up thing that went on the spigot and had a shower head on the end. I hated it, I usually ended up spraying the whole room! We did move when I was entering 11th grade, the new house had two bathrooms (the old house only had one) and both had showers!! I still took baths pretty regularly but I did learn the convience of hopping in the shower before school!!

Fortunately my kiddos have always loved bathtime. Miss M and JB both giggled through their first baths and seemed to enjoy the freedom, the water and the undivided attention.

As they get older it is still a favorite time, marked with a few moments of yuck when JB gets soap in his eyes or Miss M sees the shampoo bottle coming towards her. They still take their bath together, they love it and it's easier for me. Since they have both taken to the idea of swimming in the tub, it's a little crowded with their long bodies sprawled out. Soon we will have to be a one-at-a-time family, but for now, we're keeping them together. And no, we don't feel weird about the boy/girl thing. We could make it weird, but why spoil their innocence. When one asks a question, or just points and ponders, we give them the straight answer and move on. It's a total non-issue!

We've done a couple of fun things in the tub, tried a new one tonight that was a big hit. So if bathtime is getting boring at your house, for you or your kids, try one of these activities out:
1. Homemade tub paint (see previous post) made from shaving cream and food coloring.
2. Close the shower current and have a water gun fight (or squirty fish fight as we do in our house)
3. Bubbles--ya know, I figure if they sit in a tub of bubbles for long enough, who really needs to bother being scrubbed...
4. Toys--we've tried many of our toys in the tub, I figure, if toddler/young child toys can't get wet, they aren't worth their salt (with a few exceptions ie stuffed animals). Miss M likes to bring her princess collection in for a swim FYI Cinderella and Belle float because of their poofy dresses, Pocohontas and Mulan sink like anchors! JB likes to bring his trucks in and then run them all over the tub walls.
6. Gone fishin'--throw in stuff that floats and give them a net.
5. Tonights fun--glow sticks! I bathed them and then turned off the lights and threw a bunch of glow sticks in the water. They loved it, bath time lasted another 1/2 hour easy!

Any ideas you'd like to share???

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bon bons and soap operas

I haven't been posting...if you're a mom of young kids you know why...I'm waaaayyy to busy sitting on the couch eating bon-bons and watching soap operas to blog!!!


We are enjoying fall at our house, especially because it looks like fall but has felt like summer! Love that, thanks God! Morgan has been anxiously awaiting the leaves to turn colors. Just today we pulled in our street and the trees lining it have suddenly turned yellow. Her words..."it's beautiful mommy, fall is my favorite". I love that she has a favorite season and it is based on how pretty she thinks it is!!

We've been apple picking twice, bought baby pumpkins and gourds, spent a day on a farm out in Lancaster, and have tackled a few fall "projects". I think some hiking through the park when the leaves really get going will be on the agenda.

A few other things on my fall bucket list:
1. Strasburg Railroad--we thought we would get to this on Saturday but our day at the farm tuckered us out, the kids were asleep before we left the "parking lot". I love days like that!!
2. Carve pumpkins--we always wait until the week before Halloween for this. We did carve a fake pumpkin though. I cut the top off, filled it with yarn and tiny pieces of straw cut up (to look like pulp and seeds). Then I poked holes in it and the kids put their Mr. Potato head pieces in. My sister-in-law actually gave us a little kit last year with Halloween things to stick into pumpkins. The kids play with this a lot, I can put it away after Halloween and use it again next year!! woo-hoo
3. Jump in the leaves--well, we're already jumping in leaves, but there isn't enough for a pile yet. That's when it gets really fun!!
4. Drink apple cider--just haven't gotten any yet.
5. Roast marshmellows--now this really needs to happen at my friend Mary's house, since she has a firepit. And since I haven't seen her or heard from her since she watched my kids a month ago, I'm not sure this is going to happen. Mary--if you're out there--we're comin' over!!!!
6. Trick-or-Treating--Miss M wants to be a ballerina and JB wants to be Captain Hook! Fun!
7. Scarecrows at Peddler's Village--this is a Bucks County tradition. The kids get a kick out of seeing all the different scare crows and I get my Peddler's Village fix! It's a win win for everyone but Prince Charming, he would prefer to live his life never returning to Peddler's Village for any reason :)

Happy Fall friends!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Fun?!?!?!

Whew...it's been a little while. I have gotten myself a little busier this fall than I probably should have. Today, is a down day, well until about 3 o'clock when the "weekend" begins and we will run, run, run for 2 1/2 days. Ugh!

So, since today is a down day, I think we are going to have some fun at home. I need to run a few errands first thing, but then we're going to work on some fall activites.

On the list (with no promise of completing):
1. Make a giant tree to begin adding leaves of thanksgiving. It's never the wrong time to teach your kiddos to be thankful, we're going to get a head start this year and enjoy a leaf filled tree for a couple of months!
2. Paint apple prints. I got some nasty apples the other day, called Jonagold. I don't recommend this variety, although the kids don't seem to mind them. Anyway, I have a few giant ones in the fridge that will be perfect to dip into paint and then use like a stamp. I might add in a potato, celery and whatever other produce looks good for painting.
3. Take a walk outside, if the weather holds up, and find fall evidence! The days of spending time outside are numbered, I want to enjoy each fall day we can.

If, and by if I mean when, we don't finish all of these ideas today, they will be for Marvelous Monday. I have book-ended my week so all the business is T-Th...well, except for the week I have MOPS, than it busy T-F. Oh well, Miss M will go off to school next year and be busy five days a week for the rest of her life! This is good practice :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

cute, cute, cute

We've had a couple of cute moments these last two days...

Miss M informed JB that "when you do this it means married," at which point she grabbed JB and started dancing with him around the room. I'm going to guess she gets this from Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, etc. We went to a couple of weddings this summer so she kept hearing the terms wedding, getting married, shower...I guess since I didn't stop and explain she was on her own to decide on a definition. Ah, if only it were as easy as just dancing around the room :)

Today I was working up in the attic, changing seasonal clothes and decorations, so I left the stairs down. They are in our bedroom closet and the kids don't see them much. JB wanted to go up, I told him no it was dangerous (terrible aren't I, I just didn't feel like dealing with him at that moment, I was up to my eyeballs in kids clothing!!!) Next thing I know he's sitting at the bottom of the steps, Prince Charming's shoes in his lap, looking up the stairs yelling "daddy ta-mere" (translation: Daddy, come here). It was sooooo cute and slightly heart breaking since Daddy is at work.

That's all...I gotta get back on my creative ideas and posting pictures here. Been a little lazy lately and the kids have been happy to do the regular stuff. Give them a week or two...they'll need some fun mom stuff before long!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Change is in the air...

I've been taking a close look at my two kiddos and have been noticing something astonishing...they are growing up!! Now this isn't really news to me, but all of the sudden they both seem older. It's so bittersweet, you want them to stay little forever so you can protect them and snuggle them and pay $6 for thier pants. But at the same time, it's so fun to watch them learn, grow and develop into the people that God made them to be.

Some observations:
Miss M
1. She is letting me do her hair. She still screams like I'm killing her for the combing part, but she's actually letting me braid and style it. I love it...we've had a MINI french braid every day this week :)
2. She writes her name by herself!!! We've been working on this for over a year and she just had no interest. I print it on everything and have had her trace it, color it, make the letters in shaving cream...she just didn't care. The other day she came home from Sunday School with her name on her paper, clearly not in Miss Kim's handwriting, and announced she did it herself. She's been doing it ever since!! A little peer pressure can be a beautiful thing! I'm so proud of her!!!
3. She does things on her own that we've been doing as part of our routine. Like putting her shoes in the shoe basket as soon as we get in, no reminder needed. She often puts her dishes in the sink without reminder too, and when I ask her to help me with something she jumps to respond! I see vacuuming, laundry and toilet cleaning in her future :)
4. She has eaten her dinner every night this week without complaint. She is either growing up or I need to make ham and cheesy potatoes, spaghetti, swedish meatballs and breakfast for dinner on a four night rotation for the rest of her life. It's glorious not to fight through the entire meal!!
5. She's bored doing many of the things we've been doing forever, even going to the playground. If there isn't a friend there her age, she is at a loss, she doesn't want to just run, run, run or slide, slide, slide. She wants to play elaboratly imaginative things that JB really could not give a hoot about!!
6. Our conversations are just getting richer and richer. I love it...my baby girl is becoming a little lady :)
JB (don't get your hopes up too high...he's only 2 1/2)
1. He prefers to call us Janet and Scott (cute or not cute?? we think cute and then sweetly correct him)
2. He wants to do everything "by my big self"...ADORABLE!!
3. He is really talking a ton. I was sooo worried about his speech, and his articulation is still iffy, but he's stringing together sentences and thoughts. It's so great to hear what he's thinking. Although he's not above just shrieking if something doesn't suit him. (we're working on it!!!)
4. He wants to help me with everything "I hop you mommy". His services are limited but the heart behind it is worth a mess or a longer process almost every time :)
5. He is really learning to play by himself. It is adorable to watch him play with his trains and make them talk and vroom and whatnot. He and Miss M are actually pretty good playmates. They can last about 20-30 minutes before a crisis. Works out great, I can accomplish something, then when they melt down I can jump in and "save the day".

I treasure these times, I know all to soon I'll wish I could turn back the clock and relive these moments. I love being a mommy, and although you wouldn't always know it by my attitude, my frustration and my lack of compassion, I really can't imagine doing anything else more fun, important and exhausting!! Thank you Jesus for this gift!!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Yesterday in church we sang one of my favorite hymns...I have a lot of favorite hymns actually. I grew up in a Baptist church that sang hymns and only hymns, usually set to organ and piano music, for most of my childhood. Somewhere in my late high school years someone started adding "choruses" but those hymns stick in my brain unlike any praise song I've heard! Maybe it's because I sang them for so many years and heard them played in my home, maybe it's because they are generally more "meaty" than the average praise song and maybe, just maybe, I'm old!!

Anyway, here's what we sang yesterday, perfect for a day of rememberance!

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

a collective "aaahhh"

We're back...

Quick update since my last post...Irene didn't amount to much here at our humble abode, OCMD website on Sunday morning said visitors can arrive as early as 12 noon...we packed up the car and left the house by 11:15 and were on the beach by 3 on Sunday afternoon :)
We basically had OCMD to ourselves until Tuesday when about five more people joined us...by Thursday we could see the holiday weekend crowd arriving and today when we left it was bumper-to-bumper! I think it was Tuesday when we all sort of settled into our "beach house" and our vacation "routine", at that moment, Tuesday on the beach, I think there was a collective "aaahh" from all five of us (my mom spent a few days down there with us).

1. the beach
2. the view at our place was AMAZING...we could lay in our bed and look out a HUGE window wall out onto the bay...same view in the living room, gorgeous!!
3. the beach is free
4. parking is free (at the beach) (and at the boardwalk it's only a dollar an hour...OCMD beats OCNJ on that one!!!!)
5. playing with the kids on the beach...non-stop action but sooooo fun! Maybe I"ll relax on the beach when I'm 60!!
6. dinner with my lovely mom at a restaurant called Dead Freddies...basically a bar with a playground for kids...conservative mom handled it well (and treated)
7. the beach
8. riding surrey's on the boardwalk, twice! The kids LOVED this, mostly they like that they sat in a basket in the front while we sat behind them. Miss M kept saying, "we're in the front and you're in the back sitting in carseats"
9. watching the kids faces on rides (I see a future for Scott and both kids and season pass to Great Adventure...they both loved the thrill and begged to go on the big rollercoaster, thank God they were too small!!!)
10. the fact that we spent $250 to rent our place for the week (don't ask how, just thank God for miracles)
11. watching people crab with a chicken leg tied to a string (this was creepy and fascinating at the same time...and yes, blue crabs really are blue!!)
12. spending a week with Prince Charming, he really is charming when he isn't working out in the hot sun on your roof for 10 hours a day!!
13. have I mentioned the beach????? I am such a beach person, I could sit there ALL day and play, swim, read, snooze, sip lemonade, eat pb&j and people watch. Prince Charming tolerates the beach, and he does it much better now that we have two little ones that take after their mama. I think we could have gotten to the beach each morning by 8 am and stayed until 6 pm and the kids would have been thrilled, exhausted, but thrilled!!
14. a Christian radio station (why is it that everywhere I go in the US they have good Christian radio stations...Philly...nothin')
15. vacation food...need I say more???
16. Miss M saying about 100 times a day, I have good news and bad news, the good news is I'm with my whole family at the beach...(the bad news varied from things like I lost giraffee, there's no more bologna to I only got to watch Tangled twice)
17. my mom coming for a few days...and no, we didn't use her as a babysitter! It was just nice to have her company, the kids LOVE to be with her, she loves the beach and we got to play games at night after we put the kids to bed! All highlights!!

I could go on...

We had such a great week together, that's my favorite part of vacation. I don't think I really care where we go, I just love that we were all together doing fun stuff. No talk about work, bills, church, family issues, hurricanes (well maybe a little, the whole island was still boarded up when we arrived!!) just playing, relaxing and enjoying each others smiles, laughs and hugs!

And when we got home we got a good laugh at what was in our fridge...1 gallon jug of water, 2 Mr. Iced Tea pitchers of water, our regular water pitcher, 10 sippy cups filled with water and all our nalgene type bottles filled with water and a rotten tomato! Good-night Irene!!

Friday, August 26, 2011


We're as ready as we're gonna get, that's only partly true. I suppose we could be much more prepared, I'm just not feeling the urgency. I have done the basics...as per my mother...I filled the car with gas, got cash and stored a little extra water. I have every sippy cup with a lid filled and in the fridge :) I laughed outloud at myself as I filled all 11 of them! I did buy one case of bottled water, figure we'll use it at the beach if we ever get there.

Just spoke with my best girl down in VA...they are bracing for a little more than we are expecting. Sadly she's by herself with her two kids while hubby is out on a ship...protecting our nation (or maybe just protecting the ship from the storm). If you think of her, and other military wives that are often "home alone" for these events, pray for their protection and peace!

The plan for now is to weather Irene here in good ole' PA than head out as early as possible on Monday morning...I'm hoping for beach time Monday...think I'm shooting to high??

Some hurricane activities are planned: make hurricane salad and hurricane cookies, paint with homemade watercolors (that is if I don't have to hoarde the sippy cup water for sustanence), watch a movie or two (read a book or 12 if there is no power for movies), make a giant fort and pack for the beach!

Stay safe friends!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


We are supposed to leave on Saturday for our family vacation to Ocean City, MD. We have been looking forward to it for months and have really gotten the kids all wound up about it this last two weeks. Miss M can't wait to spend time on the beach with Grandmom and JB just keeps telling us that he's going to "go simmin wif shauks and daafins".

Cue the hurricane and the stomach bug...the Miller's have plans that need ruining!! UGH!

Prince Charming would like to go down anyway, he sees some strange sense of adventure in being there for the storm. I think this mornings vomit situation slowed his roll. JB is having a quick recovery though, and if noone else gets sick Prince Charming is going to be ready to go!

When I called the realtor today she said "Well, we aren't evacuating so you can c'mon down if you want" Sounds like a real good idea to me...take the kids somewhere we've never been in the middle of a hurricane, there may be no power, the bay might come right up to the patio of our place, and there is a slight chance we'll evacuate.

Sounds like a great weekend to me...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A pigeon, an elephant and a pig.

As I was wrapping up my 13 year run as an elementary teacher a "newer" children's literature author was really climbing the ladder of success. Mo Willems had written a few books I knew, nothing overly impressive. Then the pigeon hit the bookshelves! I was skeptical at first, the illustrations seemed childish (they are books for children so I'm not sure why this bothered me) and the stories were very untraditional and even a little "sassy".

My last year teaching I had the chance to read aloud at a Barnes and Noble event, a fundraiser for my school. I love to read aloud so I jumped at the opportunity, even though I was 8 months fat, oops, I mean pregnant. I was to read four stories, I chose three I loved and then the librarian handed me "Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late". I still didn't love it but when I read it outloud, with all my best first grade expression, the kids roared with laughter through the whole book!

Fast forward four years and we get to today at the library. We try and go to the library every two weeks, if not more. We get as many books as they let us take out and we make quite an event of our time there. We have many favorites that we check out over and over, or authors that we stick with...but the kids new fav...Mo Willems and all the Pigeon books and the Elephant and Piggie books. We had two last week, one about hot dogs and one about ice cream. Miss M and JB had them both memorized within a day of taking them out and would sit and read them themselves and just crack themselves up! So cute!!

Today we picked out three more, the kids could hardly wait to get home, eat lunch and then read before nap. They didn't disappoint...we read, we laughed and then we read them again! If you haven't checked them out and you have a child in first grade or under...get out from under your rock and find Mo Willems :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rainy Sunday=Bathtime fun!

We have had so much rain this August! I suppose we need it but it does get old after awhile! Yesterday I came down with a cold, right in the middle of Sunday School. Seriously, I was sitting there and all of the sudden I could feel my head getting heavy, my nose started to drip and I sneezed an undisclosed amount of times! I had to get up and leave, I'm sure my friend Pam was thrilled she had sat next to me :(

Anyway, we got the kids and came home, I needed to lay that heavy head down!! It was sunny and hot when I layed down...gray and rainy when I awoke! So we played at the house, ran an errand, made dinner and looked at the clock! Ugh...only 5:30 and the kids have already watched too much TV.

Then I remembered an idea I saw on Pinterest (which is my new obsession...I'm considering dedicating a whole new blog just to ideas from Pinterest and whether they work or not). So I whipped out some foil pans I happened to have, Prince Charming's foamy shaving cream and food coloring. Put them together and...tada...

The kids played for over an hour, they loved it!! The water turned all sorts of green from washing thier brushes off, but their skin didn't take that color on at all! As you can see from the last picture, it all washed right off and the tub is as good as new! It even smells like daddy's freshly shaven face :) I will say the post I got this from, Meet the Dubiens, says it won't discolor the grout...I think it did in just a few spots, but not enough to really notice. Prince Charming thinks with a good spray of shower/grout cleaner, it will come right off. You might want to test that before you find yourself in the midst of a remodeling job you weren't bargaining for!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

...well, I haven't died yet...

I'm 40 now, have been for a number of hours, although if you ask my mom it's only been about 50 minutes since I was born right after 10 pm. If you ask my siblings I've been 40 for a month now, I was a month overdue (like they would let that happen in this day and age) and my sibs made my mom a good-bye dinner, spaghetti, every night for weeks...

It was a very nice day, Prince Charming got up with the kids, who wanted to be in bed with me, so we all snuggled and watched cartoons together. I got breakfast in bed, yummy, and then Miss M informed me "you're stinky, I love you, I just don't love the smell of you". And Happy Birthday to me! Just for the record, I had bathed the day before and had really done nothing to work up as horrid an odor as Miss M accused me of...I think she's just sensitive :)

Off to church we went, only stayed for one service since I forgot to "duck" when I walked by JB's class. He saw me and there was no turning back...so off we went to Kohl's where I got to pick out some new clothes than lunch at Red Robin. Dee-lish!!

Home for naps, off to Mom's for dinner and a fab dessert made by my sister Sue...torte with fruit and chocolate whipped cream...I don't know how many points that was, but I don't really care!! I lost 3.8 lbs. last week going back on Weight Watchers, pretty sure I gained them back today. Oh well...it's 11:02, I'm 40, I'm alive...onward I go...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

only about 10 more hours...

I will be 40 in a matter of hours...how am I spending my last day in this young decade?? We spent the morning at the farm, picking peaches and petting goats, dogs and cats. The kids enjoyed the time and I always love doing whatever with my little family!

I'm not horrified by the fact I'm turning 40 but I am slightly annoyed! I hated 20...I remember vividly telling people "I'm no longer a teenager but I'm not an adult either". Don't know why that bothered me so much! I can't even remember turning 30, really, I can't. Prince Charming turned 30 a month before our wedding and we didn't do anything special. I remember thinking we didn't have any spare cash and everyone was already blessing us with shower and wedding gifts. A birthday bash seemed like too much. I don't recall Prince Charming really caring!

So tomorrow is 40...not liking the title "middle-aged" but I'm not really feeling much older than usual. I have no idea if and how we are celebrating, but you better believe I'll be putting sprinkles on everything tomorrow :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bounce U

I bought my first, and only at this point, Groupon at the beginning of the summer. I paid $15 for 5 passes to Bounce U. It would cost $20 for us to take the kids one time, so this sounded like a great deal. I figured, on a rainy day we'll have something to do. What a great plan...right!?!?!

Fast forward to August, I read my friend Dana's post "had a great time with my boys at BounceU". Uh-oh...where is that pass I bought in June????

I found it, between the fridge and the cabinet, covered in about 6 inches of ew only to discover that it expires on August 17. We have roughly 2 weeks to go two/three times.

We started the fun last night, family night. It was soooo great! We had been once before for a birthday party but JB was really limited with what he could do. He did much better last night, just a few months makes a difference in his physical capabilities. It's still a little much for him, but he hung in there :)

Miss M ran around for two hours like she had a job to do! We went with the divide and conquer theory and each took a kid and played right along side of them. We would catch each other here and there and switch kids, it was great. We didn't buy the pizza dinner portion of the program so during that time period we about had the place to ourselves. We had a family game of chase in the big bounce house and played a bit of basketball in the smaller one. I think the fav of the night was the giant slide, all four of us had a blast on that!

JB took one nasty slide and in my efforts to help him I think I broke my toe...no kidding...it's killing me as I type!! The obstacle course proved tricky for both Prince Charming and I. It's not made for a 6'8" guy or an out of shape 40 year old woman. We both moaned any time the kids ran toward that one!! Miss M mastered it enough to go by herself, and she made a friend at the end who she preferred over either of us!

I have three more "free" passes to use by next Wednesday. I signed up for the preschool playdate on Monday morning at 9:30 am. If you want to join me I can get one of your kids in free...it's only for kids 7 and under...comment me and the ticket is yours :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Random pictures I downloaded from the last two weeks :)

Went to a beautiful and fun wedding on Friday for Laureen and Jon. There were sunflowers EVERYWHERE and it was fantastic! And, the bonus of the evening, if you stuck around long enough you got to bring some home!!! We are enjoying two big vases of them in our house. I think the Garvens might have more sunflowers in their house than they do in all of Kansas!

Made these with the kiddos last week. Saw it somewhere, than my friend Kim posted that she tried it. They were perfectly simple for JB and Miss M enjoys any crafting we do. They are sweet and simple and took two days of "project time". Even Daddy liked this one!I got crazy at dinner about two weeks ago. Made my usual meatloaf but cooked them in muffin tins. Than I used mashed potatoes as icing and a little dollup of ketchup as a cherry. I thought they were adorable...the kids...not so much...why do I even bother????????

The other day I realized that we hadn't eaten very healthy for a few meals (read as "mom was lazy and made a lot of junk") So I was feeling guilty but still had a few hot dogs I didn't want to waste. My kiddos love hot dogs so I wracked my brain to see what I could serve with them that would be really healthy. Miss M is on a NO vegetable kick (has been for about a year and half now) and they've both been giving us a real hard time about eating dinner. So I made a "rainbow" of things that are healthy and that they like. Red strawberries, orange cheese, yellow apple, green cucumber and blue blueberries. I forgot the purple, don't worry, Miss M pointed it out repeatedly!

I ended up laying a blanket down on the floor and we had a picnic dinner, a hot dog for everyone than just noshing on the rainbow. The kids loved it and I felt okay about what they ate for dinner! I just went to the grocery store and stocked up on ingredients for some tried and true recipes, so we can get back to a more balanced diet. Hopefully there won't be too much resistance, if there is, you know what I'll do...just add sprinkles!!