Tag Archives: kids

Lets Try This Again!

1 Jul

Wow, I am SO sorry I disappeared again for another 3 months!  I promise it won’t happen again!

 

Life flipped upside down and inside out over the past year and I just didn’t have time for blogging, or cleaning . . . cooking . . . sleeping.  Ahem, anyway, I’m back.  Again.

Having started a new chapter in life and making several very large and somewhat scary changes, I’ve decided to take this blog in a slightly different direction as well.  I will still share craft how-tos, recipes and fun activities for kids, but there will be more to it than that.  More glimpses into my life and my family and more story telling.  It will be fun!

Due to health issues I’ve become a stay home mom, which is something I never expected for myself.  I loved working (even though I spent more time at the office than I did at home) I’d work all day, pick up the kids from school and daycare, cook supper and then I’d be spent.  Most nights I was in bed before the boys!  I didn’t feel like I was living my life, but rather floating through the motions of life.  I felt like someone was pulling me around, forcing me to move.  If I didn’t have that pull, I wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed and do the things I needed to do!

Every weekend I would do my best to enjoy the boys (Big A just turned 9!  Little C isn’t so little anymore at 4 1/2)  If I was having a “good day” I would try to fit in as much as possible.  “Hey kids, lets go to the zoo, have a picnic at the park, go fishing and then come home and play 16 board games!” I felt like I needed to make up for all the nights I was in bed by 7:30.   If I was having a “bad day” (which are more frequent than the latter) I would let the kids watch too much tv, we’d lay around in our pajamas all day.  I felt like I needed those 2 days to recover from the week so that I could get up on Monday and do it all over again.  That is no way to live.

After a LOT of thinking, worrying and number crunching, the Hubby and I decided it would be best if I quit my job and focused on taking care of myself.  The hope was that if I wasn’t working 40-50 hours a week and exhausting myself daily that I’d have fewer “bad days”.  I haven’t had much time to test that theory because a little over a week ago I had a procedure (RFA or Radio Frequency Ablation)  to burn off the nerves in 6 places in my spine to try and reduce the amount of pain I can feel.  That procedure is miserable!    I had the RFA about 3 years ago in 2 places in my spine and it took weeks to feel normal, only to discover later on that the doctor I was seeing at the time had not done the procedure in the right places but that is a whole different story!

The good thing is that I am home with my boys, good day or bad day, I can enjoy them and watch them play and grow.  I feel like I’ve missed out a lot due to my health and my pain, having to miss excursions and day trips or cancel plans because it’s too hot outside.  (Heat and humidity make me physically ill due to my Fibromyalgia)

Now I can focus on being a wife and a mother and on understanding my pain and disabilities with the hopes of my life better.

the 2 reasons I am here

the 2 reasons I am here

 

 

 

 

Welcome Back!

23 Nov

Oh how I have missed you!  Life went bonkers for a while and I had to put my little blog on the farthest back burner I have!  Let’s see, I lost my job almost a year ago, spent 6 months as a stay home mom during which time I discovered being a stay home mom is NOT for me!  I landed a new amazing job that I LOVE, however I am working full time for the first time since I was pregnant with Little C, and he’s 4 now so that was a big change for our family!  Trying to juggle working 40-50 hours a week, 2 kids in school, homework, chores . . . I ran out of time for myself let alone my little slice of heaven here in blogger land!  

Life has settled some and I have months and months of goodies to share! 

Here is what has gone on since we last chatted:

ImageLittle C started “school”.  Ok, he started going to daycare 3-4 days a week, but we call it school and he brings a back pack so he can feel like a big boy.

ImageBig A started 3rd grade (sniffle sniffle whimper) and he is doing AMAZING!  I swear that kid is going to be an engineer or something.  ImageLook at his Minecraft game he is making!  He is not allowed to play the actual game (they play it once in a while during free time at school but we won’t allow it at home)  He and a friend decided since neither of them are allowed to play the game, they would make their own! This is a work in progress, but I am so proud of him for being so imaginative!

ImageOur cats learned how to cook, which is great because I just don’t have time anymore!  See?  Gnocchi is tasting his delicious creation!  They like to help with homework too.  Very smart cats.  ImageImageBig A continues to be enamored with Legos.  Look at this incredible Lego train he built with NO instructions!  See?  Engineer for sure.

ImageMy poor Little C spent some time in the hospital a few weeks ago .  He was horribly sick and the doctors just could not figure out what was wrong with him.    They thought it was meningitis, which meant every doctor and nurse to enter his room had to wear a mask.  That was really frightening for Little C!  The worst part of the entire ordeal was having to watch, helplessly as he whimpered in pan,  As a mommy, that broke my heart.  Thankfully, he made a fll recovery and is back to be being his sassy little self again!

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Well, that sums it up for now I guess!  I promise it won’t be another 6 months before you hear from me again!

Road Trip!

21 Mar

When I was a kid road trips meant piling the family into the Suburban and driving for hours and often for days.  We didn’t have DVD players, tvs, MP3 players, hand held games . . .  I was probably 12 or 13 before I even had a Walkman!  So family trips meant my mom had to come up with some resourceful ways to keep the 3 of us quiet in the car because my dad had a hell of a hot temper!  One trip we rented a large RV, so we could move around and play board games and not be sitting practically on top of each other.  I assume that was the least stressful trip for my mom!

Today, even with MP3 players, DVD players and Nintendo DS systems it can be hard to keep kids occupied in the car on long trips.  A parent needs to arm themselves accordingly or risk wanting to strap their children to the hood like a hood ornament!

We’ve taken many road trips with the boys over the years.  It’s always me who has to hand out snacks, change movies and pick up trash they throw on the floor because Daddy is driving.  Until tomorrow.

The boys and I are talking a road trip without Daddy.  That’s right, I’m flying solo on this one.  Yikes.  But it’s not really that scarey, I mean I’ve taken the kids places many time by myself.  Just never for a 9-10 hour trip like we are doing tomorrow!

While a little nervous about the drive-mostly just being the one who is navigating-I must say I am well prepared due to my years as a child riding on long trips as well as my many MANY trips with my kids.  I know what works for us, and what has left me with a splitting migraine.

  • Stop as little as possible.  We stop for bathroom breaks, during which EVERYONE has to use the bathroom.  Otherwise 10 minutes after pulling away from the gas station you will hear “Mooooooom!  I have to peeeeeee!”
  • We pack our own food.  It’s cheaper, healthier, and you don’t waste travel time sitting in a restaurant, or trying to FIND one!  If we need to stretch or the kids are getting antsy, we stop at a rest stop and eat picnic style and let the kids run around.  But NOT if we are traveling in the dark!  Only during the day and only rest stops in a well let and busy area.
  • We don’t buy snacks when we stop for bathrooms and gas.  We have snacks packed, we don’t need to waste money on junk at the gas station!  Same goes for drinks.  We have a cooler with drinks.
  • I pack special items the kids don’t know about.  I buy a couple movies out of the $5 bin at Walmart, I get a new coloring book and new markers, maybe a little stuffed animal.  Last time we took a road trip I bought each kid a new Look and Find book and a travel size Etch-a-Sketch.  When they started getting cranky, out came the surprise to pull them back into happy land.  It’s never an expensive toy, just something little and fun that they can use in the car.

Here is how we packed:

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  • Sandwiches made ahead, but cheese separate so it doesn’t get mushy.
  • Cottage cheese and canned fruit in Take and Toss bowls with lids, spoons taped to the top. (I know you can buy fruit cups, but they are too full and the juice spills.  I scooped the fruit with a fork so I wouldn’t get much juice in the bowls.  Less mess)
  • String cheese individually packaged

In larger Tupperware containers (one for Mommy, on for the kids)

  • Frozen Gogurts- they will stay cold for hours
  • Granola bars
  • Cracker packs
  • snack size bags of peanuts and almonds
  • pre-peeled Clementine oranges in snack bags
  • apples
  • Crystal Light packs for mixing in bottled water
  • mini rice cakes for me
  • corn tortillas with turkey and cheese for me
  • a few packs of cookies and fruit snacks

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It’s a lot harder for me to travel since I cannot eat gluten.  Packing my own snacks and lunch food means I can eat.  There aren’t many gluten free options available at gas stations or fast food joints!  Packing our own snacks and lunches also means that I control what the kids have to choose from.  Fruit, water and individual milks are way better than sugary drinks and chicken nuggets!  A few little treats thrown in, but for the most part they will be eating healthy.

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For entertainment I have array of coloring books, puzzle and maze books, dry erase books, cameras, Look and Find books, Etch-a-Sketch, Little C’s VTech tablet and Big A’s DS.  They each have a little lap desk with pockets to hold their crayons and markers.  We have the dual headset DVD players and plenty of movies, as well as the secret new movies and 4 secret Beanie Babies that a friend gave me.  I think we are ready for our trip!  Wish us happy travels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Play With Your Food!

5 Mar

I’ve been trying to incorporate learning into Little C’s craft projects lately.  Since he is home with me all day instead of going to daycare I feel like he may miss out on some important stuff.  We’ve been working on ABCs. counting, colors etc.  Colors are very challenging for him as he is red/green colorblind just like his daddy.

We’re hoping if we continue to do Springy projects the weather will take a hint and things will warm up around here!  We decided to play with fruity Cheerios, which are basically Fruit Loops with a LOT less sugar.  Little C wasn’t to sure about it at first, being I always tell him to eat his food, not play with it.  He warmed up to the idea pretty quickly though.

First we sorted our Cheerios by color-red, orange, yellow, green and purple.  He did better than I thought he would, only got slipped up a few times.

After sorting our colors (and eating a few) Little C started gluing the Cheerios onto a piece of blue construction paper to make a rainbow.  We glued cotton balls on for the cloud.  It turned out very cute!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When the rainbow was all done Little C wanted to know what other kinds of things we could do with our Cheerios.  We did some counting, but he was really wanting to glue more food to paper!

I made some letters on construction paper with glue, and he stuck Cheerios and cotton balls onto the glue letters.  He really liked that, and while he was gluing we talking about all the words that started with each letter he did.

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I wonder if there are any projects we can do with a big, juicy T-bone steak?

Melted Bead Sun Catchers

4 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I had a terrible, throbbing headache for several days last week.  The kind that makes even a whisper seem like someone is using your head as a bongo drum.  The kind that makes it very difficult to be home with a rambunctious 3 year old all day.  I needed a quiet activity that would keep him busy and quiet long enough for my Advil to kick in.

Little C and I, thinking Spring and sun, made some cute little sun catchers using plastic craft beads and muffin tins.  Here’s how it’s done:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Do NOT grease the muffin tins.  Create designs in your muffin tins using the craft beads.  We had quite a few designs, as well as a few cups where Little C just packed in as many beads as he could.  You only want to cover the bottom of the tin with your designs.  The thicker you pack them in, the longer they will take to melt and cool.

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Bake the beads at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until fully melted.  The beads stink a little as they are melting, but not nearly as bed as I thought they would.  I cracked a window even though it was pretty cold out, just to ventilate for a while.

When the beads are all melted, remove the muffin tins carefully from the oven and set them somewhere safe to cool.  Little C was anxious to take them out, but you have to let them fully cool and harden or you are going to get some nasty burns!

Once they are cooled and hard again, there are a number of ways to get them out of the tin.  You can place it upside down on a towel on a hard surface.  The towel just softens their fall so they do not break.  The tapOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA the tin until they pop out.  Or, you can use a butter knife and simply press down on the edge of on of the sun catchers until it pops out.

I drilled holes in each little disk using a very small drill bit in Handy Hubby’s power drill.  Then we strung them up with fishing line and hung them in the window!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese would make really cute gifts, and maybe even a cool necklace!

I Haven’t Lost My Marbles

27 Feb

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am sick of Winter!  I am getting cabin fever like you wouldn’t believe, and so are my boys!  Fortunately for me, while Big A is at school Little C and I have plenty of time to get messy!  Hey, kids are washable!

Today we decided to play with paint.  I pulled out an old cookie sheet and some marbles to do some fun marble painting.  Little C thought this was just about the coolest way to paint EVER!

I stuck a piece of paper on the cookie sheet and randomly dripped paint onto the paper.  Then Little C gently tipped the tray back and forth and side to side.  The marbles rolled through the paint and created some very colorful lines!  As the marbles rolled, they even made new colors, so this project was actually educational to a certain extent . . . although Little C is red green color blind, so he didn’t see the changes all the time.

After a few marbles paintings we decided to see what other patterns we could make.  Enter the monster trucks!  Little C rolled the trucks through paint and then rolled them on the paper, which made very interesting textural patterns.  The monster trucks will come clean with a little hot water, so we didn’t ruin and toys.  (pardon the mess behind him, I swear my kitchen island does not always look like that!

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We also took out a rolling pin and wrapped rubber bands around it and experimented with the patterns that would made.  The possibilities for painting go so far beyond just plain old paint and a brush!  Now we have some beautifully colorful new artwork to hang on our “Gallery Wall” as well as in the playroom.

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Making Fun of Winter

22 Feb

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe met another on of Mother Nature’s bratty children today!  Winterstorm Felicia came by for a visit, dump more unwanted snow on us, cancelling schools all over.  We are sick of Winter, sick of being stuck indoors . . .

Wait . . . Who says we have to stay indoors?  As long as temps are above zero, we can-and should- get outside every day!  The kids need to burn off some energy and we all need a little fresh air!  But, what to do outside?  Here are a few of our favorite Snow-filled activities.

Snowman- Kind of a no brainer!  Build a snowman, decorate him with things you can find in your own back yard.  Don’t feel like making the typical snowman?  Make a snow dog, snow bear, snow tarantula . . .  whatever you and your kids can conger up, the wackier the better!

Snow fort-another no brainer, but always a hit with the kids.  We like to use the large hill of snow from the plow as our starting point and hollow it out to make a cave type fort.  But however you build it, it will be fun until it melts!

Snow darts-Not really “darts”, but a fun game.  Make a target on wood or cardboard and take turns throwing snowballs at it.  The bigger the target the easier it will be for smaller kids.  You can use a waterproof paint or thick permanent marker to draw the target on.

Snowball freeze tag- A classic playground game with a Wintery twist.  Instead of just tagging people to freeze them, the person who is “it” throws snowballs at them, if you are hit you freeze in place until someone unfreezes you by tagging you.

Snow paint-My kids LOVE this one because they can draw on the snow, their snowman or any other snow creation they’ve made.  We’ve made a couple of ways and they all work very well.  Mix a few drops of food coloring or some Kool Aid into a spray bottle of water.  Spray the snow to paint your design or paint clothes on your snowman or snow angels.

Freezing bubbles- It has to be pretty cold out for this to work, but we’ve tried it and it was pretty cool.  Blow bubbles on a REALLY cold day outside.  They will freeze in the air and sort of shatter!  But it only works in pure frigid temps, so it’s one of those “we are only going to be outside for 10 minutes” types of activities.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sledding-You don’t need a huge hill in your yard for the kids to enjoy sledding.  My kids like to sled down the snow pile the plows make, sledding into our yard.  They have a race to see who reaches the bottom first, or see who can sled the farthest into the yard.  The best part is it’s not such a huge hill that I have to keep pulling them back up!  Don’t have a hill?  Shovel all your driveway snow into a nice pile for them, pack it down really good and sled away!

Tic Tac Snow- Draw a giant tic tac toe board in the snow and gather some sticks and stones or other objects.  The kids can play a giant game of tic tac toe!

Snow Cookies- bust out some shaped sand molds or pails and have the kids make “snow cookies and snow cakes”.  They can use them the same as they do in the sand.  You can decorate the walkway with them or pile them high to make a fort wall.

For the birds- Create a birdseed mosaic in the snow,by making pictures with different colors and types of birdseed.  When you are done, you can watch the birds from inside as they enjoy eating your artwork.

I’m sure there are a ton of other fun things to do on a snow day, these are just a few of our favorites!  So what are you waiting for?  Go play in the snow!

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