Monday, September 9, 2013

Moving Fun

NOT!




After 6 years of a million started and abandoned hobbies, with 4 kids worth of toys and "stuff", and a slight book hoarding problem this isn't going to be an easy move. My husband and I have both moved about 50 times between us....but that was before kids and sooo much STUFF. How does this happen??? It was so easy when I was in the Air Force..they loaned you furniture and sent packers to help and move you. Life was so easy then...alas now we have big heavy sofas,bulky appliances, awkward electronics, and outdoor play-sets that took a day to put together that we have to move in separate trips. Local moves can seem more difficult then the moves across country.

We are all very excited about the new house. We are 6 people living in a 3 bedroom ranch. Yes, I love my house, but it's time. After years of working on renovations I have the kitchen of my dreams. The kids feel lonely out here though. We are moving to the next town over and I'm sacrificing my chickens and gardens so the kids can ride bikes to friends houses and we can take family walks after dinner. We can't do that where we live now. Did I mention the 6 people in 3 bedrooms??? Our new house has 6 bedrooms. The girls will share...but we'll have our own craft/sewing room and my husband gets his dreamed of "man cave". That's nice.

My wonderful husband felt hesitant because he knows how much I love the hobbies I've built up living here. He paid me such a great compliment and I appreciate him. He said that one of my strengths is that I can adapt so easily and I'll  move on and find new things that I love. I'm adaptable. I reminded him that it's also nice to hear that I'm pretty, or better yet, "sexy"...so with prompting he said those things too:) You have to tell them what you want to hear sometimes....there's nothing wrong with that. I'm ready to move on and become a "Towny". (of course my garage quail will be our secret;) )

We'll have lots more writing, crafts, sewing, soap making, cooking, baking, decorating, furniture refinishing, ok...you see I can find new things to keep busy. Oh yeah, and of course the 4 kids. The new house needs a lot of updating. That's how we like a house. My husband and I could sit for days talking about wall colors. He'll paint a wall 4 times if he likes a different color a little bit more. The kitchen is old and needs a wall removed and all that fun stuff. We LOVE that! A bonus to that is that it made a big house in a perfect neighborhood with some of the best schools in the state affordable to us.

On to the next chapter of our life. Thank you Infinite Universe.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Videos for Distant Family


We live pretty far from all our family. Well, my husbands family is up here, but I have no one. Do I sound pathetic? I hope not. I'd never have time to do anything anyway with how busy these four kids keep me! I'm not complaining..I just miss them. My Dad doesn't have Facebook and the videos are too long for his email...so you are warned...this is sappy silly stuff that I hope grandparents will love. You may wish to look away if you don't know me:)
(I love you Dad and Mom)
  
This  makes for a  happy morning                       http://youtu.be/3ZMUxE5GuMs


This is my super soccer player who also is my little piano virtuoso...

http://youtu.be/8Ya1TjVq2q8




Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Saving the World One Seed at a Time

Sometimes neglectful gardening pays off. My kale went to seed during this crazy hot month and I just let it go. We are  now collecting all the seeds and will start up our 2nd crop this week. My girls love to help. I did end up putting the huge pile of seed pods into the sheets and let the walk on it a bit. I was able to roll up the sheet and collect thousands of seeds the easy way. We had to collect them pod by pod at first though....why take the fun out of it:)


 

 While I'm talking about how neglectful I have been, I have to say that my best looking tomato plants are volunteers from my leaving a mess in the garden last Fall. I really think that my tomatoes from last year were volunteers from the year before....really... You have to love the Roma's!

What are some of your best surprises in the garden this year?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Oil on Paper Sun Catchers

Four kids....One project!! Wow!

Is it me, or do these days seem to be extra extra long??? 4 kids saying "I'm bored" is enough to make the sanest Mother crazy.... and I'm far from sane as it is! My special 'me time' is spent searching the blogs and Pinterst for any ideas to keep these guys busy so I can get a little work done....and breath. I found this post on Meaningful Mama (I just love that blog name!) and gave it a go with my brood. 3-13 year olds working on the same project...YES! That's like finding gold in my house.

Follow this link to a great tutorial and enjoy:)  MeaningfulMama.comhttp://www.meaningfulmama.com/2013/05/oil-suncatchers.html






I don't have a great picture of them all done.....we ended up spilling oil on some...hey, it happens..... This one is from the tutorial.  So pretty:)




And because I love my dogs..... Cricket before and after her summer grooming....same dog..I swear.


and that's my 5'8" soon to be 14 year old baby!!! How does this happen?????
 


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Big Kid Sleep Overs - Oatmeal Bar



I've posted before about enjoying having my kids have their friends come over in my post about being the “Hang Out House”. One thing about kids….boys in particular… is that they like to eat. I’m trying to sway my kids away from the processed cereals for breakfast. I switched to the ones I believe are healthy a long time ago, but organic or not, high in fiber or not, they are still boxed processed cereals. We try to eat a lot of Old Fashion Oatmeal for breakfast. My kids love it, so I figured it might work for sleepovers too. It was a hit. I was actually told that I made the best oatmeal ever! What Mom doesn’t love to hear that? Granted, it’s oatmeal and I can’t take any credit for it…still.. I’ll take a complement when it comes. It was all in the presentation.
 

 This was our selection for the morning:

Cut bananas and strawberries
canned peaches  ( a huge hit!)
craisens
brown sugar
almond slivers (my favorite)
milk

That's it. Super easy. All I had to do was cook the oatmeal and the kids did the rest. I like the easy part. My son had 3 friends over and I really didn't feel like making a million pancakes...because when you have 5 hungry boys that's how many pancakes you need....a million. Oatmeal...much easier:)


Edit:  One of my favorite blogs just posted an amazing amount of information on ways to make oatmeal. I wish I had seen it a long time ago:)  You'll want to see this. Check out Modern Messy Kids at  http://www.modernparentsmessykids.com/2013/03/5-brilliant-ways-to-make-oatmeal-easy.html


Is breakfast ready yet Mom?



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Preschool Flower Lesson - Sizes



I love to use crafts and craft supplies for learning. I found these flowers on one of my favorite sites Fave Crafts at this link:   http://www.favecrafts.com/Ornaments/No-Sew-Felt-Flower-Ornament/ml/1

What little girls don’t love flowers? Not mine...they draw them, piece them together, talk to them, and put them on headbands. We love flowers. My Moon Princess is very good with her shapes and is now past this learning activity, however she’d make them every day if I had it set up for her.  She is getting better and better with her ability to cut and place tape. 

You know this is a skill if you have ever had your little one stick half of roll of tape to itself when they are unrolling it! Little E is mastering her sizes and following directions….OK, she isn’t really mastering the directions part…but we are working on it.

The pictures tell the story. They loved this craft and had many cute flowers that I will use in a future project for them. I hope your little ones (and you) enjoy this.

Materials:


Felt  or construction paper of different colors – prep the shapes a head of time.

Double sided tape ( I use the kind I use to make headbands)  or glue sticks with the paper

About an hour of free time. Really, it took us that long to play with all the color combos before they taped them together.


I like to have the trays prepared for them.

They usually find it easier to work at the table, but I like the trays because they can take the whole project over to their mat if they wanted to.


The finished flowers all sorted by shape....Little E did the Felt (3 yrs old)
 Since my girls surprised me and did the opposite tray than I thought they would, the felt was actually left unattached. My 4 1/2 year old could have done the double sided tape, but not my 3 year old. They wanted to keep them so they could continue to play with them and didn't want them put together. They really really enjoyed this!

I made up the same project in paper because I thought it would be easier for Little E.


My Moon Princess actually choose to do the paper shapes..she liked the glue stick:)
 They did want the paper flowers put together. I think we are going to have paper flowers everywhere soon:) They really loved playing with the shapes and sizes. I had Little E line them up and go through and tell me which one was bigger or smaller. (or the baby ones and the Momma ones as we say in my house) I highly recommend this project. Simple, yet she mastered her size variations.



We did finish one up so we could keep it and to use for the example. I sewed a bead in the center and secured a pin to the back....I love it. I'm putting it on my coat today.


                  








Monday, March 11, 2013

Being the “Hang-Out” House




I’ve been called “over protective” and it’s never hurt my feelings. My kids have been called “nerdy” a time or two and I take it as a complement. I’m not trying to raise the “cool” kid here. I’m trying to raise kids that are secure and proud of themselves. It’s not easy, and I sure don’t have a fool-proof plan I’m working from.  Most days I founder around praying that I’m not going to mess this up. Some days I feel that it’s too late…they have many sessions of therapy talking about me in the future. There are days though,  that I look at them and find myself feeling that I must be doing something right. These are the days any Mom lives for. 

I had one of those days when it hit me that my son’s friends enjoy coming to our house. We have a modest and messy house. We do have an awesome yard and we have worked hard to make our basement “fun”.  I have never liked my kids going to someone else’s house unless we really knew them. I’m not even thrilled with them going to cousin’s houses when they can end up who-knows where.  I’m not going to rant here, but there have been a good number of times when my son is nowhere to be found because they wondered off to someone else’s house who is a stranger to me. He was 9. I’m sorry…but I find that very upsetting. If I let my kid go to your house I expect them to be there and under your watchful eye. 

I love that they invite people to our home. I can get to know the kids they are hanging out with better and it always helps to see my own child when he’s with his peers. I also get to hear all the gossip from the kids talking and take mental notes of who I may not want my kids to hang out with in the future. It pays to know some things. I would have never known about the recent drug bust in the middle school if it wasn’t for the gossip around the chip bowl. There have been times when I’ve felt the need to influence a friendship one way or another. Is that controlling? Maybe, but you know what? That’s my job. 

I’d rather have a house full of kids and supply them with snacks and entertainment and know they are safe. I let them play, but I take the responsibility for other parents’ kids very seriously. It becomes my complete duty to make sure that they don’t get hurt. I do let them climb trees..and that makes me crazy nervous..but we all know we have to let them be kids. Buying an Air Hockey Table and a big TV for the basement is a small price to pay for my piece of mind. I believe with all my heart that keeping my kids close will help ensure at least a measure of parenting success. So, yes, I’m over protective. 



                              

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How NOT to Sell Insurance

Have you ever had that call come just as you were putting dinner on the table? Maybe when the kids were in the bath tub...or say at nine o'clock at night when frankly, no one except an emergency should be calling. I was raised with the manners to never call anyone after 8:00 P.M. and never before 8:00 A.M.. I know there are exceptions and having family across the country we disregard that rule. Times have changed a bit, but you just don't expect, nor want, a sales call coming in while the kids are sleeping. I make myself laugh at how "old" I sound sometimes. "Back in my day...we didn't call after 8 or say 'yea' to an adult." Don't get me going there......

OK, I did ask for this call at first. However, bad manners followed. After my son's father was killed in a hit-and-run by a drunk driver this September I've been a bit of a mess. Not only was he one of my very best friends for the past 15 years but we were raising my son together, though in separate homes. One of those things you don't want to think about after such heartbreak is money. He was a budding entrepreneur which translates to not having life insurance. Thankfully my husband is blessed enough to have a good career. However, as a stay-at-home wife and Mom I have no income. We get by because we don't have any daycare or before and after school care to pay for and well...I do everything.

There is a financial value to that that would need to be replaced. So, I've been sad. I still cry a lot. I drink a bit of wine when I'm alone at night. I've been going through panic having the reality of how things can change in less than a second. I've been basically going crazy some days. I have to admit, I'm the not the insurance type since I pretty much don't feel like I have any of my own money to spend on it. In one of my moments I requested information. Yes, I am getting myself life insurance. I would be expensive to replace and I would want to feel like I could still be in some way taking care of my family. That being said I'm not going to jump right in to whomever tells me to buy their policy.

Here comes my ranting...(.as if I wasn't doing that all ready). This guy from AIG called me back a few days later. I was running one of the kids to one activity or another and my husband gave him my basic info but told him when I'd be home. He set a time to call me before we put the girls to bed. 8:00 P.M. He called at 8:45..What????? Really? Is it me or should I have put down "Three Billy Goats Gruff" and went running to the phone? He was told to call back the next day.

A week later he called again when I was running out the door to one activity or another...4 kids mind you keep you moving. He set a time to call. I am home all day most days. It's not like I'm that hard to get a hold of as long as it's not during after school activities. So, he was asked to call back. "So sorry I'm being difficult" I nicely tell him.

Another week later he calls at night. "Hey, this is Patrick" Who? "Your AIG director" Huh? A month or more has passed since I've requested a quote....one my computer said was going to email me immediately. I just wanted to know a ball park figure so I can start comparing. He was so familiar with me that I felt it was rude. We're not long time pals. You expect me to remember your voice?

I was very pleasant..because I can be nice sometimes:) I did say that I had expected to hear from him a long time ago when I was told to wait for his call. He set the times...then never called. I told him that I was no longer going to worry about it. He said "Well I won't worry about it either then" in a very snotty tone. Snotty....I have a teenager..I KNOW snotty..and that was snotty. Now, I don't know anything about AIG and I don't really have complaints about a company I don't know...and was unable to even hear anything about. However, I can tell you that I am finding my insurance someplace else.

Is it me, or have we lost our basic manners in our business affairs? "Back in my day......."

I'm done now:)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kids...cleaning

This blog was just what I've been looking for! I'm sure my boys aren't the only ones who spend more time complaining about chores than doing them.

This site was wonderful so I had to share.

Chores for Kids: A Guide to Cleaning with Kids 

http://frugalfun4boys.com/2013/02/10/chores-for-kids-a-guide-to-cleaning-with-kids-by-room-and-age/


I have tried chore charts and I have to admit I let them go for a while and I wish I was more organized. I think I lost them actually....it's true. I'm going to use this advice and create a new plan. With 2 boys, 2 girls, 2 dogs, and 2 cats....I just really really can't keep this place clean on my own.



I'm open to any advice anyone wants to share with me....really...HELP.




Friday, February 8, 2013

Counting with Crafts

This was a lesson in number recognition for my 4 year old and a counting tool for my 3 year old. We "play school" in our craft studio and always use our crafting tools for everything...in part because they are everywhere. (I'm always working on my organization)


 It takes no time to prepare and I keep this on our school shelf with the basket of jacks for our "free choice" time. Once they understand what the tool is for they can go  back to it whenever they want. We like pink in our house if you can't guess, so I simply used a ruler to grid out 12 columns. We are working on 1-12, some use 0-10. My Moon Princess was getting stuck with the "eleventeen" and skipping 12 for a little while until she was able to really see them written in this concrete way. Numbers are very abstract and they really do need to see them in this way to connect the number and the quantity.


MP places which ever objects she chooses to equal the number at the top of the column. Sometimes you have to smooch them in when you use bigger objects.  I allow her to do this completely on her own and it takes some re-counting....which simple means reenforcing on her part. At first you can have them go in order and they can see how each column has one more object than the last. Once they are secure in this you can have them work backwards, learn even / odd numbers, ask for only specific numbers, or count by 3's or 4's. This becomes a game and with simply a sheet of paper and some odds and ends you have a very complete lesson and a lot of fun.

.
 My 3 year old focuses more on the counting of the objects for each column once her sister sets it up for her. One thing I am careful about is keeping tools like this only on the lesson shelf. It's important to learn respect for these things and I believe that leads to them placing a higher value on education. 


 At the end of each play school we enjoy free art time. We love water colors!

Really....you expect me to smile?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Puffy Paint


Materials needed:

closeable plastic baggies - one for each color
Into each bag put -
 - 1/2 cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup water with more on hand to reach desired texture
- food coloring
- card stock.  The moisture makes paper curl..so cardboard would be great. 


 Half the fun with the puffy paint was making it.


Just snip off the corner and squeeze into the bottle....no mess! I bought these off of Amazon for about $3 but I am going to remember to save our mustard bottles from now on.


 I always have their old cookie sheets ready to go. We do most crafts on these and they are so easy to clean no mater what kind of project you are doing. (I keep their play-dough in a plastic container on them and leave it sitting on the table all the time. Great for when I'm making lunch! )
 Keep the constancy thin enough to come out easily but thick enough to keep it's shape. I had to add water after a while.

Beautiful Artist

Yes, it's safe to eat......


I found this through a picture on Google images and checked out a number of recipes. I never have self-raising flour or shaving cream so I felt discouraged. I really try to make our crafts out of stuff I have around the house otherwise I'm afraid of going down that slippery slope of supporting our craft habit. I'm sure some of you can relate:)

I found these directions and voila...I knew this was the one. This is from Tried and True (click on the link)  There are all kinds of great ideas on her site!


Some tips:

Our paint thickened up as we went....we played with them for a while. If this happens just add more water and shake really well. I also had a hard time with clogs. You'll want to make sure it's mixed up really well and you might have to rinse out the top a few times. My youngest had some problems with it a while before I realized it was partially clogged.

 I opened the microwave to find my towel and my daughters picture had brown burn marks. That was the last time I set the time to 1 minute! Some microwaves are stronger, so keep an eye on your work. I highly recommend drying the pictures in short bursts so you can keep an eye on it. I did 30 seconds at a time and stopped as soon as it was dry enough. Warning though...it must be dry "enough" or you may find some mold at a later date. We don't tend to keep stuff we make for very long...or we would be surrounded!

 Keep your water glass away from a thirsty kitten.....he has his own water but ours must taste better. He even tries to steal my tea!


Francis our dog-cat.<3